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Title: Liberty In The Nineteenth Century
Author: Holland, Frederic May
Language: English
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By Frederic May Holland




THIS book is a result of having studied the development of political
and religious liberty for forty years. How well I have selected
my authorities the reader can judge. I will merely say that I have
mentioned no writer whom I have not studied carefully. The sun-dial has
been so far my model that victories in the cause of freedom are more
prominent than defeats in the pages that follow. It did not seem
necessary to give much space to familiar authors, though I should have
liked to do justice to Buckle, George Eliot, and Swinburne.

I regret that I have been unable to tell at any adequate length how the
Republic which was proclaimed at Paris in 1870 has survived longer than
any other government set up in France during the century. Its enemies
have been voted down repeatedly everywhere; the schools have been made
free from ecclesiastical control; and the hostility of the clergy has
been suppressed by the Pope. The French are still too fond of military
glory, and too ignorant of the value of personal liberty and local
self-government; but rapid advance in freedom is already possible under
the Constitution of 1884. Not only France, but also Great Britain,
Canada, and Australia, give proof that the time has gone by when
Americans had any right to claim, as they did in my boyhood, to be the
only people able to govern themselves.

If any nation can maintain a free press, just laws, and elections of
local magistrates, it ought to enjoy these rights, however slight may
be its fitness for becoming a real republic; and the suppression of such
rights by Cromwell and Napoleon cannot be pardoned consistently by any
friend to liberty. Napoleon's chief guilt, as I must here mention,
was in ordering the expulsion from office by soldiers, in 1797, of
representatives of the people who were striving to maintain liberty at
home and establish peace abroad. If there were any necessity for his
usurpation two years later, it was largely of his own making. Despotism
had already been made tolerable, however, even during the first
Republic, by the national fondness for war. This is according to a
principle which is taught by Herbert Spencer, and which is illustrated
in the following pages by many instances from the history of France
and other nations. The horrors of the Reign of Terror may be explained,
though not excused, by the greatness of the danger from invaders as well
as rebels. And there were very few cases of punishing differences merely
about religion by the guillotine.

I have also tried to show how the centralising tendencies of a
government are strengthened by the wish of its citizens to gain private
advantages by state aid. John Stuart Mill and Herbert Spencer have
published timely warnings against the danger of checking the development
of individual energy and ability by meddlesome laws. Whether the power
of the government ought to be reduced to the narrow limits proposed by
these great thinkers, is a question which has been discussed at some
length in my last chapter. It is there suggested that such a reduction
would be much more practicable in the case of national than of local
governments. It is not likely to be made anywhere at present; but
it might be well for reformers to try to restrict the operations of
governments according to the following rule: nothing to be undertaken by
a national government which can be done as well by municipalities; and
nothing to be attempted by either a local or central government which
can be done as well by private citizens, acting singly or in voluntary
associations. This rule would justify towns and cities in taking such
care of roads, streets, and schools as is not sanctioned by Spencer; but
it would leave municipalities free to decide the question whether
they ought to carry on gas- and water-works, electric roads, and other
enterprises according to the merits of each special case. Here in
America internal improvements seem to be the proper charge of the State,
rather than of the nation; but whether the former has any right to
enforce Sunday laws, and the latter to impose protective tariffs, are
questions which I have taken the liberty of discussing thoroughly.
Herbert Spencer should not be held responsible for any opinions not
printed plainly as his. Most of the instances of the working of Sunday
statutes were taken from a religious newspaper entitled The American
Sentinel. Among very recent cases are these. A Georgian was sentenced on
May 16, 1899, to pay a fine of twenty dollars or spend six months in the
chain-gang for working on his farm. That same month a clergyman was
arrested in Mississippi, merely for taking a little exercise with a hoe
in his garden. In 1898, a farmer in the State of New York was arrested
for picking a few apples from one of his own trees. The total number of
Sabbath-breakers arrested that year in New York City is estimated at a
thousand; and there were nearly four thousand arrests for Sunday trading
in England and Wales in 1897.

The principle of giving each citizen every opportunity of development
compatible with the general welfare, is so plainly irreconcilable with
Socialism, that I have thought it well to give several instances of the
fact that a man seldom does his best work except for his own benefit and
that of his family. Even the exceptionally energetic and conscientious
founders of New England did not raise food enough until it was agreed
that "They should set corne, every man for his own particular." Another
difficulty in the way of state Socialism is that the requisite number
of competent managers could not be found after the abolition of the
competitive system. It is that which brings forward men of unusual
ability and energy, though scarcely in sufficient numbers. Socialism
would increase the demand, but lessen the supply. Spencer calls it "the
coming slavery." It might better be called a slavery which is becoming
obsolete. Our existing system of industry certainly needs improvement;
but this will have to be made by following the laws of social science.
Their action has done much during the present century to improve the
condition of the poor; and we may trust that it will do more hereafter.
The nineteenth might be called the philanthropic century, if that title
did not belong also to the eighteenth.

The latter has the peculiar merit of doing so much to abolish
persecution that there have been comparatively few instances during the
period covered by this book. Much more has been done during the last
hundred years to extend political than religious liberty; but I have not
neglected to mention the most active champions of the great principle,
that human rights ought not to be affected by individual differences
about theology. If there is too little agitation at present for
this principle in the United States, it is largely on account of an
unfortunate occurrence of which I have written at some length in the
last chapter but one. Here I had the valuable assistance of Francis E.
Abbot, Ph.D., author of _Scientific Theism_, and Benjamin F. Underwood.
If the words, "militant liberals," had been used in this chapter, they
would express my meaning more plainly than the term "aggressive."

The least pleasant part of my work has been the pointing out defects in
a system of philosophy, ethics, and theology which I once delighted to
honour. As valuable results may have been reached by the metaphysical
method as by the scientific; but if the latter is right the former
is certainly wrong. When we find so consistent and warmhearted a
Transcendentalist as Miss Cobbe placing pantheism and scepticism among
"the greatest of sins" (see her _Religious Duty_, pp. 19, 65, and 100),
we may suspect that this philosophy aggravated Carlyle's natural
bitterness against opponents. There has been comparatively little
intolerance among American intuitionalists, thanks to the genial
influence of Emerson.

F. M. H.

August, 1899.



I. France had been freed by the Revolution from many ghosts of kingly,
feudal, and priestly privileges; but she was still the prey of the most
deadly of vampires,--military glory. The followers of this fatal guide
had driven the party of peace and liberty from power by force and fraud,
and found a ruler after their own hearts in the conqueror who, in 1804,
became the Emperor Napoleon.

Thus was established what some metaphysicians suppose to be the best
form of government,--an enlightened despotism. The autocrat knew that he
had risen to power as the most popular champion of political equality;
and he gave this democratic principle such additional authority that it
has continued supreme in France. Her sons are still equals before the
law, owners of the land they till, exempt from taxes levied for the
benefit of any privileged class, and free to choose their own career and
mode of worship. This is due in great part to the usurper who reduced
representative government to an empty shell, and who centralised the
administration of schools, police, streets, roads, and bridges, and all
other local concerns even more completely than had ever been done before
the Revolution.

He knew the real needs of France well enough to give her peace with all
her enemies; but scarcely had he signed the last treaty when he took
possession of Switzerland, and continued to annex territory, in defiance
of the protests of the British ministers that he was making peace
impossible. War was declared by them in 1803 and kept up against him
for eleven years continuously, with occasional assistance from Russia,
Austria, Prussia, Spain, and other countries. This was a period of
great glory for France, but also of great suffering. Her boundaries were
enlarged; but her most patriotic citizens were slaughtered in foreign
lands; her shipping was swept away by British cruisers; her people
were hindered in obtaining American grain, British cloth, and other
necessaries of life, in exchange for wine, silk, lace, and other
luxuries; the Emperor could not supervise the prefects who managed,
or mismanaged, all internal interests, and who were responsible to him
alone; freedom of the press was prohibited; and all the arts of peace

This was the price which France paid for Auster-litz, Jena, and other
famous victories over Russia, Austria, and Prussia, which in 1807
brought peace with every enemy but England, and made Napoleon master,
either directly through his prefects, or indirectly through tributary
kings, not only of France but of the Netherlands, Denmark, Switzerland,
Spain, Venice with the rest of Italy, and about three-fourths of
Germany, including one-half of what had formerly been Prussian
territory. Eight years from the usurpation in 1799 brought him to his
zenith: eight years later, he was at Saint Helena.

His German, Swiss, and Italian subjects gained political equality, and
also the permanent advantage of the code which bears his name. It had
really been made by his lawyers, on foundations laid by the Convention.
Throughout his dominions, Jew, Catholic, and Protestant became equals
before the law. The fact that these reforms survived his authority
proves that they could have been established without it. They were
unavoidable results of the eighteenth century.

How little he was influenced by philanthropy is shown by his driving
into exile a statesman named Stein, who had abolished serfdom in
Prussia, and made it equally possible for the members of all classes
to buy land and choose occupations. The establishment of the Empire had
been preceded by the revival of slavery in several colonies where it
had been abolished by the Convention. It was for helping the Haytians
preserve their independence by heroic resistance, that Toussaint was
sent by Napoleon to die in prison. The conquered nations in Europe were
handed over from one master to another, without being even invited to
consent; but what was still more oppressive was inability to exchange
their own products for cloth and hardware from England, grain from the
United States, coffee and sugar from the West Indies, and many other
articles whose lack was keenly felt. This trouble was largely due to the
blockade kept up by British Ships; but Napoleon was so ignorant of the
advantage of commerce to both parties engaged in it as to suppose he
could conquer England by a plan which really injured only himself and
his subjects. He forbade all importation from Great Britain and her
colonies wherever he had power or even influence; and many of the
prohibited goods were taken from merchants and destroyed without
compensation. Germany suffered also from having her manufactures
forbidden to compete with the French. The latter asked in vain for
freer trade, and were told by Napoleon that he understood their business
better than they did. Countless outrages on prominent individuals helped
the growth of disaffection.

II. The British ministry retaliated against Napoleon's attack on the
right to trade freely, with a success which led to a great outrage on
individual liberty in the United States. The war with Europe gave much
of the world's commerce to American ships; but they were forbidden
by Great Britain, in 1806, to trade with some of their best customers
unless they stopped to pay tribute in her ports. The seizures for
disobedience increased the anger which had been long felt against
the British for impressing sailors on board of American ships. Three
thousand citizens of the United States had been forced into a hostile
navy before the refusal of our frigate, _Chesapeake_, in 1807, to submit
to a search brought on a bloody contest.

Napoleon was then at the height of his power; and Great Britain was
fighting against him single-handed. It was an unusually good time for
declaring a war which soon proved inevitable in defence of merchants'
and sailors' rights. Jefferson preferred to violate those rights
himself, as had been done by the Federalists in 1794, and Congress aided
him in forbidding American ships to sail for foreign ports. This embargo
was so plainly unnecessary that every captain who was able to get out
of New York harbour did so at once without caring what crew, cargo, or
papers he had on board. Fifty million dollars' worth of shipping was
kept idle for more than a year; a hundred thousand sailors and mechanics
were thrown out of work; farms and plantations ceased to be profitable;
clothing and tools became ruinously dear; thirteen hundred New Yorkers,
who had been ruined by the embargo, were imprisoned for debt; and laws
for protection against creditors were passed by the Southern and Western
States. No one gained by the embargo except the smugglers; and attempts
to suppress them called out dangerous manifestations of popular
discontent. No one suffered less than the British merchants.

III. Meantime, Napoleon took the first step towards ruin in placing his
brother on the throne of Spain. The Spaniards had borne patiently the
loss of ships, commerce, and colonies; but this fresh wrong stirred up
insurrection. The new King was brought to Madrid by French troops; but
not a single Spaniard would enter his service; and he was soon obliged
to leave the city. He said to his brother, "Your glory will be wrecked
in Spain"; but Napoleon kept on sending in armies, whose victories made
him hated, but not obeyed. He offered to abolish feudal privileges, the
inquisition, and the tariffs which separated province from province. The
only result was to make reform odious to a people which cared much more
for nationality than progress. The clergy encouraged the peasants to
keep up a guerilla war, in which his veterans perished ignominiously;
and British auxiliaries won victories which made Wellington famous.

Austria took advantage of the situation to try to reconquer the lost
provinces. The Tyrolese had been made subjects of the King of Bavaria;
but they rose at the call of Hofer, and gained glorious victories over
French and Bavarian soldiers. Other defeats were suffered by Napoleon;
but he soon succeeded in forcing Austria to grant him, not only much
more of her territory, but the hand of a young princess, who had never
thought of him but with abhorrence. This involved his divorce from the
loving Josephine. He pleaded desire for a son who might succeed him; but
he was not likely to live until any child who might be born after this
would be old enough to keep together an empire whose basis was conquest.

The Austrian princess had been demanded before Napoleon's application
for a Russian one had been answered decisively; his plans for restoring
Poland had given additional offence to the Czar; and the welfare of
Russia demanded freedom to use the products of her forests, fields, and
mines in buying British goods. This right was insisted upon by the Czar;
and Napoleon had only abuse for the friends who warned him that defeat
in Russia would call all Germany to arms against him. He was already so
unpopular at Paris, that he had to remove with his Court.

The enormous army with which he invaded Russia might easily have taken
possession of her Polish provinces, where the people were friendly.
He preferred to march a thousand miles, through a hostile and barren
country, to Moscow. The city was set on fire at his arrival; but he
wasted so much time there, that winter helped the Russians turn
his retreat into a rout. Hundreds of thousands of soldiers perished

The Prussians flew to arms; and Austria demanded restoration of her
provinces. He replied that he should not yield an inch, and cared
nothing for the loss of a million lives. He was driven out of Germany by
"the Battle of the Nations," which was won at Leipsic, in October,
1813, by zealous cooperation of the Russians with Prussians, Austrians,
Bavarians, and other Germans.

One result was described by saying that "The Dutch have taken Holland."
Need of a strong government in time of war had given a power almost
monarchical to the successors of that Prince of Orange who had saved
his republic from Philip II. One of these princes was driven out by
a democratic rebellion in 1787, but restored by a Prussian army. The
French Revolution enabled Holland to return to republicanism; but
alliance with the Directory meant continual spoliation; and there were
grievous conscriptions under Napoleon, whose rule was extremely
unpopular in a nation which lived by commerce. When the Dutch heard of
his defeat at Leipsic, they rose against him without waiting for
auxiliaries; and the French garrisons were soon driven out by the help
of soldiers from Russia, Prussia, and England. The rulers of these
countries sanctioned the desire of the Orange faction to make the prince
a king. The people were not consulted, but were reconciled by a
constitution, under which there was a legislature with some power, local
self-government, freedom of worship, political equality, and liberty in

Napoleon might have remained emperor; but he refused to make any
concessions, and kept on fighting until his generals abandoned him, and
his deposition was voted by the Senate. The people would not rise for
him, as they had done for the Republic; and the Parisians refused to
cry "Vive l'Empereur" as he returned from Elba, to be overthrown at
Waterloo. Three million Frenchmen perished in his wars; and he left
France smaller than he found her. His restrictions on commerce were
removed so suddenly as to destroy the industries which he had tried to
foster; and the proportion of paupers to the population was three times
as great as in 1880.

France was still desirous that the press should be free, and that
taxation should be controlled by representatives of the people. Louis
XVIII. had to promise that he would respect these rights which his
predecessors had violated. Toleration continued; and the peasants kept
the property and equality which the Revolution had given them, and which
no sovereign could take away.

Napoleon is the most famous of generals; but his greatness as a
statesman would have been plainer if he had not undertaken so many showy
enterprises which had little chance of success. He failed signally in
founding a dynasty, in making France the greatest of manufacturers, and
in giving her an invincible navy, though he might have gained the first
of these objects by peace, and the last by free trade. He could not even
leave to his successor the territory which had been conquered by the
Revolution. Yet these were his dearest purposes, except the wild dream
of humbling England. Was he the greatest of architects, every one of
whose colossal structures fell under their own weight before they could
be used? Greater is he who builds what lasts for ages.

Napoleon made the twenty years ending with 1815 more glorious than any
later period, and much more wretched. Western Europe was afflicted by
bloody wars, and impoverished by restrictions on commerce. If his reign
had been peaceable, he might have deprived France much more completely
of what liberty she had enjoyed under the Directory. Every despot,
however enlightened and benevolent, must necessarily interfere so much
with the liberty of his subjects as to hinder their making themselves
happy. France and Germany lost nothing in freedom and gained much in
prosperity by his defeat; for it gave the world many years of peace.
What he brought of political and religious equality to Prussia,
Western Germany, and Switzerland survived him; for it was part of his
inheritance from the Revolution which he closed treacherously. France
had received her legacy without his help; and she retained much of it in
spite of his interference. His victories over hereditary monarchs were
so suggestive that books about him are still prohibited in Russia; but
no people lost much by his overthrow except the Italians.

IV. Waterloo might have been called a "of the Nations" as well as
Leipsic; but the best fighting was under the British flag. The English
had suffered much from Napoleon, in spite of his never succeeding in
making an invasion. The worst injury he did was in forcing them to
remain in that absorption in war which had checked the growth of
toleration, democracy, and prosperity in 1793. George III. was
personally popular; but his weak, unprincipled successor was merely a
figurehead. Two-thirds of the members of the House of Commons in 1815
had been appointed by the Ministry, or by some nobleman, and most of
the others owned or rented some pocket-borough almost destitute of
inhabitants. The House of Lords was overwhelmingly opposed to government
by the people; and no Tories were more consistent than those sons or
protégés of noblemen, the bishops. The successors of the apostles had
no sympathy with the struggle of the Cross against the Crescent in lands
where Paul had preached. They helped to vote down propagation of the
Gospel in India, as well as enfranchisement of Roman Catholics, and
mitigation of laws which punished pilfering with death. They tried in
vain to save the slave-trade from prohibition; and most of the clerical
and lay members of both Houses were in league to keep the tax on
importation of wheat heavy enough to give them large incomes from their
real estate.

This tariff and the depreciation of currency made food excessively dear.
The country labourer was often unable to earn more than the price of a
loaf a day. Employers agreed on wages so low that the peasants had to
ask continually for parochial relief, and could not afford to go out of
the parish to seek higher pay. Their degradation was increased by
their almost universal illiteracy; and their misdemeanours, especially
poaching, were punished cruelly; for the rural magistrate was either the
squire or his ally, the parson. There was little chance of justice for
the poor against the rich; the rural labourer could seldom improve his
position; and the bad harvests of 1816, 1817, and 1818 helped to make
him worse off than ever before or since.

The operatives had higher wages, but suffered under the friction of an
industrial revolution, which has done more than any political convulsion
for human happiness. The factory had been enabled by the invention of
the steam-engine and other machines, shortly before 1800, to take the
place of the cottages in making cloth. British goods were in great
demand abroad during the war, and had to be carried in British ships.
Improved roads and canals led merchants and manufacturers to opulence.
The rich grew richer, as has usually been the case; but there were some
exceptional years during which the poor really grew poorer. One man
could make as much cotton cloth in a day as two hundred could have done
before; but what was to become of the one hundred and ninety-nine?
Demand for factory labour kept increasing until 1815; but population
grew faster still. Wages were already falling; the return of peace
lessened the demand abroad; and hundreds of thousands of discharged
soldiers and sailors were added to the multitude of unemployed.
Labourers were forbidden either to emigrate or to combine in order to
keep up wages; and their earnings were lowest at the time when bread was
the highest. Meat, sugar, foreign fruit, and many other articles now in
common use were almost unattainable by the poor until late in the
century. There was much more intelligence in the towns than in the
country; but there were no opportunities of education in 1818 in England
for one-half of the children.

Boys and girls entered the factory at the age of six, and often from the
poor-house, where they had been sold into slavery. The regular time was
fourteen hours a day; sitting down was seldom permitted; food was scanty
and bad; punishment was constant and cruel; deformity and disease were
frequent; and the death-rate was unusually high. Terrible cases occurred
of pauper children, kept sixteen hours at a stretch without rest or
food, driven by hunger to rob the troughs in the pig-sty, tortured
merely for amusement by the overseer, and even advertised for sale with
the mill.

The middle class differed much more widely than at present, both from
the masses on one hand and from the aristocracy on the other, as regards
food, dress, culture, amusements, and political liberty. Taxation
was heavy and vexatious; representation in Parliament was notoriously
inadequate; and honest men and women were still liable to imprisonment
for debt. No one but an Episcopalian had a right to study at a
university, enter Parliament, or hold any civil, naval, or military
office in England; and neither Dissenters nor Catholics could marry
without going through ceremonies which conscience forbade. The press
was fettered by laws which kept Leigh Hunt imprisoned for two years,
on account of an article acknowledging the unpopularity of the Prince
Regent. Cobbett underwent an equally long imprisonment in Newgate for
blaming the cruelty of sentencing insubordinate militiamen to be flogged
five hundred lashes. No plays could be performed in London in 1814 until
they had been read and licensed by the Lord Chamberlain's deputy.

As soon as a strong government ceased to be needed for protection
against Napoleon, there broke out much agitation for relief of the
disfranchised as well as of the destitute. There was an unprecedented
circulation of the cheap pamphlets in which Cobbett advised the
discontented to abstain from lawless violence, which could only give
them another Robespierre, and devote themselves to striving peaceably
for their political rights. Among these he asserted that of every man
who paid taxes to vote for members of Parliament. The serious riots
which took place in many parts of Great Britain, even London, made
the aristocracy consider all opportunities of addressing the people
dangerous. The ministry were empowered in 1817 to arrest speakers and
authors without any warrant, and keep them in prison without a trial.
Prohibition of public meetings was made possible by an act which
extended to reading-rooms, debating societies, even among students at
Cambridge, and scientific lectures.

The mounted militia was sent to disperse a meeting of fifty thousand
unarmed men and women at Manchester, on August 16, 1819, in behalf of
parliamentary reform. The people were packed together so closely that
they were unable to separate quickly. Fear that some of the young
gentlemen who had ridden into the throng might get hurt led the
magistrates to order several hundred hussars to charge, without notice,
into the dense crowd. The meeting was soon reduced to heaps of fallen
men and women, who had been overthrown in the general struggle to escape
or cut down by the soldiers; and the field was covered with bloody hats,
shawls, and bonnets. Six people were killed, and more than thirty others
wounded severely. There was indignation everywhere against this wanton
cruelty; and the Common Council of London voted their censure; but
Parliament passed laws that same year which made public meetings
almost impossible, and put cheap pamphlets under a prohibitory tax, by
requiring that they must have such an expensive stamp as kept newspapers
beyond the reach of people generally. Arrests for printing and selling
unstamped publications were thenceforward frequent. There were many
bloody riots; and a conspiracy for assassinating the Ministry was
organised in 1820. A dangerous revolution might then have broken out, if
food had not been made plenty by abundant harvests.

Roman Catholics were still forbidden to hold any office under the
British Government. They could not sit in either House of Parliament,
or be married legally in Ireland, where they formed four-fifths of the
population, and almost all the offices on that island were filled by
Protestants who had been sent over from England, or else elected by
close corporations containing scarcely any Catholics. The disfranchised
nation was all the more indignant on account of such facts as
that two-thirds of the soil of Ireland had been taken away without
compensation by English invaders before 1700, and that the share of the
Irish in 1800 was only one-tenth. This was held mostly in great estates,
as was the rest of the island. Rents were everywhere high and wages low,
for population was superabundant; manufactures had been crushed by laws
to protect British interests; the people were left ignorant, even of
agriculture; and there were frequent famines. Both the land and the
government were mismanaged by an anti-Irish minority which took little
pains to keep its own partisans from lawless violence, but did its
utmost to extort money for a legion of priests, who were merely servants
of oppression to nine-tenths of the people. How little they cared
about their professed duty may be judged from the case mentioned by a
traveller named Inglis (vol. i., p. 349), of a bishop who drew four or
five hundred pounds a year for calling himself rector of a parish
where there was no pretence of any public worship but the Catholic.
Indignation of Irish Presbyterians had been one main cause of the bloody
rebellion of 1798; and all patriotic Irishmen were exasperated at the
oppression of the poor by the rich. Removal of religious disabilities
was urgently demanded, and most of the men were members in 1825 of an
independent association, which could easily have turned the island into
one vast camp.

V. Germany had been devastated by twenty years of battles; and many
thousand Germans had perished, either in defending their homes against
Napoleon, or in serving under him in Russia. His overthrow left them in
deeper subjection than ever to a league of despots, who differed in pomp
of title and extent of territory, but agreed in obstinately denying any
political liberty to the people. The servitude of Germany was confirmed
by the agreement of clergymen and philosophers, that absolute monarchy
was "ordained of God." The ban of church and university was on the
revolutionary rationalism which had inspired the eighteenth century. The
predominant philosophy during the first half of the nineteenth century
insisted on the infallibility of what was called intuition, but was
often merely tradition. This was already the case in Germany, where
moribund ideas of politics and theology were worshipped as the loftiest
revelations of pure reason.

Devout disciples still hold that all established institutions are
justified and all knowledge revealed by Hegel's method of deduction
from his own peculiar definition of the Infinite. That definition
seems self-contradictory; but this is only a trifle, compared with the
method's permitting the master to prefer absolute monarchy, and forcing
him to deny that any nation, not extremely limited in area, can long
remain a democracy. Hegel's indifference to the existence of the United
States was like his asserting, after the discovery of Ceres, that the
place where it had been found, and where hundreds of other planets are
now known to exist, must be empty. Among other results of his system
were a denial that lightning is electricity, and an assertion that rain
is merely a change of air into water. Neither liberty nor knowledge
gains by disregard of experience in favour of deductions from imaginary

Unfortunately, the experience of Europe under Napoleon, as well as
during the Revolution, seemed to justify restoration of old institutions
as well as of former boundaries. The latter purpose was ostensibly that
for which the conquerors of Napoleon met at Vienna, soon after he had
retired to Elba; but their real object was to divide the spoils among
themselves. The Emperors of Russia and Austria had the assistance, or
opposition, of five kings, and of so many princes and nobles that three
hundred carriages of state were kept in constant readiness. Lovely
ladies of high rank came from many lands; and it seemed to the
uninitiated as if nothing was going on but masked balls, private
theatricals, hunting parties, stately dinners, and concerts. Beethoven
was among the musicians. There was no general meeting of the monarchs
and ambassadors; but there were frequent conferences of those most
interested in one point or another; and the name of Congress of Vienna
was amply justified by the number of bargains and compromises. The only
persons never consulted were the thirty millions whose masters were thus

Belgium, for instance, was forced into a union with Holland, which
led to civil war; and the Norwegians were put under subjection to the
Swedes, against whom they had just been fighting. Ten millions more
of Poles were made subjects of the Czar; and his original wish to rule
mildly was frustrated by their rebellion. The Italians had been brought
by Napoleon into such unity and sense of nationality as they had not
felt for many centuries. Offers of greater liberty made Lombardy and
Venice take sides against him; they were rewarded by being put under the
most hated of rulers, the Austrians; and the latter were made virtually
masters of all Italy. When all the plunder had been divided, the
royal robbers united in a declaration, acknowledging Jesus as the only
sovereign and recommending the daily and universal practice of religion.

The only sovereign who kept his promise, that he would give his subjects
a new constitution if they would help him conquer Napoleon, was Goethe's
patron at Weimar. He presided over the University of Jena, which
Schiller, Fichte, and other professors had made the centre of democratic
influence in Germany. A secret political society was formed by students
who had fought at Waterloo; and all the universities were invited to
help celebrate, on October 18, 1817, the anniversary, not only of the
victory at Leipsic, but of the opening of the Protestant Reformation.
Five hundred students from various parts of Germany met in the Wartburg,
the castle where Luther found refuge after bidding defiance at Worms to
both Pope and Emperor. It was agreed that the new society should extend
through all the universities, and should have banners of black, red, and
yellow. These henceforth were the colours of liberty in Germany.

Napoleon had reduced Prussia's army to a minimum; among the preparations
for breaking his yoke had been the practice of such gymnastics as are
still kept up by the Turners; and a public exhibition was given that
evening near the castle, before an immense bonfire. Reference was made
there to kings who broke their word; and as the audience broke up, some
of the students fed the blaze with various emblems of despotism, such
as the canes with which soldiers were flogged by corporals. Then
they burned a number of blank books, with titles copied from those of
pamphlets recently published in opposition to progress.

The King of Prussia had taken some steps towards constitutional liberty,
but these boyish freaks brought him completely under the influence
of Prince Metternich. This crafty but kind-hearted Austrian worked
steadily, from 1814 to 1848, at much sacrifice of ease and pleasure, in
hope of preserving civilisation and religion from being destroyed by
any new revolution. He was now the real Emperor of Germany; the British
Ministry was in sympathy; and the Czar, who had at first been an admirer
of parliamentary government, was converted by an outrage in the name of
liberty on the right of free speech. One of the literary champions
of Russian autocracy, Kotzebue, was assassinated, early in 1819, by
a divinity student who had been at the Wartburg. That same year the
representatives of the leading German states met at Carlsbad, and
agreed, with the Czar's approval, that all German journals and
universities should be under strict supervision, that political
offenders should be tried by a special central tribunal, and that the
new colours should be prohibited.

VI. Louis XVIII. cared as little as Charles II. of England about
promises, but was quite as unwilling to have to travel abroad. He
dissolved a legislature which was too reactionary; subsequent elections
returned liberal candidates, though only one man in a hundred could
vote; the National Guard was revived; and progressive ideas were
expressed freely. France was moving forwards until February 13, 1820,
when a Bonapartist murdered the King's nephew, in hope of cutting off
the succession. The legislature was obliged, two days later, to let the
press be muzzled; sanctions of individual liberty were thrown aside; and
a law was passed to give rich men two votes apiece. The Liberal Ministry
was dismissed; and its successor put all education under control of
the priests, forbade Cousin and Guizot to lecture, and sent Béranger to
prison for publishing incendiary songs. Louis XVIII., like Charles II.,
left the crown to a bigoted brother, who had been taught by the Jesuits
to care much more for religion than human rights, or the duty of
chastity; and Charles X. did his utmost to make himself an absolute
monarch. Still worse results of assassination in the name of liberty had
already been suffered in Spain and Italy.

No people had really lost much by the overthrow of Napoleon except the
Italians. They were learning how to love each other as fellow-citizens
of one common country, and how to care more for the welfare of the
people than for that of the priests. The Congress of Vienna restored
the supremacy of the clergy, and cut up Italy once more into little
principalities, whose stupid and cruel despots were guided by
Metternich. The people were already conscious of the tie of nationality,
desirous to be governed with some regard to their own welfare, and
destitute of faith in the divine right of kings. Few of them have been
so plainly not "ordained of God" as Ferdinand of Naples and Sicily. He
had run away basely from the invaders, and been brought back to promise
amnesty, and to massacre men, women, and children by thousands. No
criminals but patriots were watched closely; and brigands defied the
government. There was no pretence of liberty, even on the stage; and the
Jesuits kept literature and education down to merely nominal existence.
The only refuge of freedom was among the Carbonari, or members of a
secret society, half a million strong. Their flags of black, red, and
blue were hoisted in many towns and villages on July 2, 1820, when the
army led the revolt. The King swore on the Bible, and after hearing
mass, that he would establish a constitution like the French one of
1791, and then asked help from Metternich. The latter brought the
Austrian, Russian, and Prussian monarchs together at Troppau, Silesia,
where they agreed, on December 8, 1820, to put down all rebels,
especially in Italy. An Austrian army won a decisive victory next March
over the Neapolitans, whose best troops were fighting against an attempt
at secession in Sicily.

Austria took part, a month later, in suppressing a revolt which had just
broken out against the petty despot nicknamed "King of Sardines." His
first step on his restoration, in 1814, had been to reappoint every man
who had been in office in 1798; and Napoleon's code gave way to ancient
statutes which, for instance, forbade the Piedmontese to send wheat they
could not use themselves to the Savoyards, who were starving. He was
forced to abdicate by a revolt of citizens who wanted a constitution and
of soldiers who wished to free Lombardy from Austria. Her help enabled
his successor to keep the monarchy absolute; and her influence became
paramount in Sardinia, as elsewhere in Italy.

VII. The month of April, 1821, brought an end of rebellion in Italy, and
the outbreak of a ferocious revolution in Greece. The Turkish rule
was intolerant, and intentionally oppressive. Exportation of food and
clothing, for instance, was forbidden in hope of keeping down prices;
and the result was to check production. The country was full of
brigands; and the worst of wrongs were inflicted on unbelievers by
the officials. Priests and rulers in other lands refused to help their
fellow-Christians against Moslem tyrants; and the famous victory won by
Bozzaris was over Roman Catholics. The new republic had only nominal
authority. Independent bands of patriots fought desperately; and the
Crescent soon gave place to the Cross in the Archipelago as well as
in the Morea, once famous as the Peloponnesus; but the cause was
continually disgraced by pillage, perfidy, massacre, and civil war.
Several millions of contributions, mainly English, were squandered by
the captains. Byron sacrificed his life in a vain attempt to create
military discipline; and lack of any permitted the Morea to be conquered
in 1825 by the regular army sent over by the Pasha of Egypt.

All resistance, north of the Isthmus of Corinth, was soon suppressed
by the co-operation of Egyptians and Turks; and the islanders could do
nothing better than ask help from foreigners. The only government which
had thus far aided Greece was the American; and Congress had done much
less than the people to relieve distress. An alliance between Great
Britain, France, and Russia, for preventing extermination of the Greeks,
was brought about by Canning. The sovereigns of Turkey and Egypt were
so obstinate that their ships were destroyed by the allied fleet at
Navarino, Messenia, on October 20, 1827. The Egyptians were driven out
of the Morea by French soldiers; and Northern Greece rose against the
Turks with a success which secured the present boundary. The Greeks were
not permitted to establish a republic; but the monarchy finally became
constitutional under the pressure of insurrection.

VIII. No nation had been less capable than the Spanish of appreciating
the advantage, either of a vigorous government, or of toleration,
freedom of the press, political equality, and personal liberty.

All the time-honoured abuses abolished by Napoleon had been at once
restored with the help of the populace; but nothing effective was done
to suppress the insurrections which had broken out, during the war, in
Mexico and South America. Up to that time, the Indians were serfs
and the negroes were slaves. All political power was monopolised by
officials sent over from Spain. Spanish interests were protected so
thoroughly that all domestic industries were crippled, and goods often
cost six times as much as in Europe. Schools and newspapers were almost
unknown; no books but religious ones could be bought; and heresy was
punished pitilessly.

The invasion of Spain by Napoleon gave opportunity for several
simultaneous insurrections. That in Venezuela was crushed by a great
earthquake, which was accepted as a sign of divine wrath. Among the
leaders was Bolivar, who retreated to Colombia. A Spanish version of
Paine's _Rights of Man_ had been circulated there, and the patriots
were fighting gallantly. There were many bloody battles in Venezuela
and Colombia; but both countries were finally made free by the battle of
Carabolo, won on June 24, 1821, by Bolivar.

On July 28th, in that same year, the independence of Peru was proclaimed
by General San Martin, who had liberated Chili, three years previously,
with an army which he led from the Argentine Republic across the Andes
by paths never used thus before. His decisive victories were won by the
help of emancipated slaves. Chili would have made him her ruler; but
he asked only her help against the Spaniards, who were concentrated
in Peru. There he found such disorder as led him to declare himself
Protector; but this made him so unpopular that he resigned his power and
left the continent which he had done more than anyone else to liberate.

The war went on until the hold of Spain on America was broken forever
by a battle fought, 12,000 feet above the sea, on December 9, 1826, at
Ayacucho, a name given long before by Indians who had fought there among
themselves, and meaning "the Corner of Death." Constitutions like that
of the United States had already been proclaimed; too much power was
held by Bolivar and other despots; but they did not keep the people
in such poverty, ignorance, and apathy as had been inflicted by Spain.
Paraguay, however, had a tyrant who dressed himself after a caricature
of Napoleon, and tried to imitate his despotism, but had nothing of his
genius. Francia was one of Carlyle's model rulers, perhaps because he
allowed no elections, juries, public meetings, or newspapers, and sent
everyone who talked politics to prison. Men who would not take off
their hats to him were cut down by his guards; and timid boys were seen
running through the streets with no other article of dress. There were
no imports or exports, except by special permission; and goods cost
ten times as much as at Buenos Ayres. Equality of races was sought by
degrading the whites; but Francia's reign had the one merit of peace.

IX. Intelligent Spaniards were provoked at their king's failure to
suppress the rebellion; and the soldiers who were called together for
this purpose in 1819 had been so badly paid that they plotted with the
friends of progress. A revolt broke out in the camp on the first day of
1820; and it was soon followed by one at Madrid, where the dungeon of
the Inquisition was broken open. The King was forced to restore the
Constitution which had been framed by the patriots in 1812, after the
model of the French instrument of 1791. The prospect of freedom in
religion made the clergy and peasantry mutinous. The reactionists in
France and Spain found favour with the sovereigns of Russia, Austria,
and Prussia. The Liberal Government was overthrown in April, 1823, by
a French army. The peasants took sides with the invaders, and many
patriots were massacred by the populace. Absolute monarchy and other
ancient iniquities were restored, but not the Inquisition. France would
have gone on to subdue the rebels in South America for her own benefit;
but this was prevented by the British Ministry, which was now showing
the liberalising influence of peace.

Napoleon's despotism had the awful and baneful grandeur of an eruption
of Vesuvius; but his despicable enemies merely kept up the oppression of
his empire without its glory. Their work completed his, as the last
of the petty emperors at Rome and Constantinople showed the legitimate
tendency of the political system of the mighty founder. Caesar and
Napoleon had much in common as conquerors; but it showed far more
greatness to found an empire which endured for fifteen centuries, than
one which held together for scarcely as many years. Even that length of
despotism was sadly too long for the welfare of mankind.


EXIGENCIES of war had given the British nobles a despotic power, which
they retained long after it ceased to be needed for the nation's safety.
The King was their puppet and Parliament their property. The laws were
framed and administered for their protection and emolument. Clergy,
army, militia, and police were all organised for keeping the people
down; and education could do nothing to raise the lowly. Pensions and
salaries, even in the Church, were reserved for members and servants of
the aristocracy, with little care for the public good. Wages were low,
food dear, illiteracy common, and paupers numerous. Even the middle
class was in great part disfranchised; taxation was needlessly severe;
the press was restricted grievously; and Ireland was shamefully

I. As public attention ceased to be absorbed by victorious generals,
it turned to the miseries of the poor; and there was much discussion of
plans for their relief. Early in the century it became generally known
that Robert Owen's factories were unusually profitable, on account of
what he did for the intelligence, health, and happiness of the
operatives. His pamphlet, published in 1813, and often reprinted as a
_New View of Society_ argued strongly for universal education as the
remedy for poverty and crime; public opinion was much enlightened on the
Continent, as well as in England; but a sagacious member of the British
aristocracy said to him: "Oh, I see it all! Nothing could be more
complete for the working-classes; but what will become of us?"

Owen complained in this pamphlet that Sabbatarianism denied "innocent
and cheerful recreation to the labouring man"; and he spoke in public
of the influence of religion on progress, with a hostility which sadly
injured his popularity. His life was examined with a jealousy which
brought to light only its elevation. The opposition of people who
thought themselves respectable drove him into agitation for what he was
the first to call "Socialism." He published on May 1, 1820, his plan for
forming villages, where the people were to work under the supervision of
the eldest, and "be freely permitted to receive from the general store
of the community whatever they might require." These last words contain
the characteristic principle of Socialism, that every labourer is to be
paid according to his needs, whatever the value of the work.

A dozen such experiments were made in the United States, about 1825; but
it was found impossible to unlearn the experience of the race. Progress
has consisted in bringing each man's welfare into more exact proportion
to the value of his work. This tendency has never safely been suspended,
except under such coercion as has kept up industry and economy among
monks, Rappites, Shakers, and other docile enthusiasts. The cooperative
stores which Owen was among the first to open seem to have failed
because the salaries were not high enough to secure skilful managers.

II. The proof that a reformer was before his age is the fact that later
years caught up with him; and this is by no means so true of Owen as of
Bentham, who declared Socialism impracticable. He was one of the first
to advocate woman suffrage (_Works_, vol. iii., p. 463), savings banks,
cheap postage, collection of statistics, direction of punishment towards
reformation, and repeal of usury laws. His bulky volumes are in great
part occupied with suggestions for making the courts of justice less
dilatory and uncertain, less expensive to the poor, and less partial to
the rich. His _Principles of Morals and Legislation_ declared, in
1787, that the sole end of a ruler ought to be the happiness of all
the people, and that this rule should be the basis of ethics as well as
politics. One of his publications in 1817 claimed the suffrage for every
man and woman who could read, but insisted that this would be "worse
than nothing" without that "shield to freedom," the secret ballot.
An opponent who feared that this would destroy private property was
answered thus: "Has he ever heard of Pennsylvania?" The complaint
that freedom of the press to expose corrupt officials might weaken
the government was met by showing that there can be no good government
without it. To think our ancestors wiser than us, he says, is to take
it for granted that it is not experience but inexperience that is the
"mother of wisdom."

Bentham's best work was in sowing seed that his friends might reap the
harvest. Other authors were generously assisted by his manuscripts,
purse, and library; and there has been no stronger advocate of reform
than the _Westminster Review_, which he founded in 1824. The first
number showed that the Whigs were too much like the Tories. Their
leaders were noblemen or millionaires; their favourite measure,
abolition of rotten boroughs, was mainly in the interest of the
middle class; and their policy towards the masses was a seesaw between
promising elevation and permitting oppression. This article was by James
Mill, who showed in a later number that any church which was established
must, on that account, be bigoted. His essay _On Government_ urges that
the masses cannot be protected unless fully represented. They had
not yet found out all they needed; but education would teach it; and
occasional mistakes would not be so bad as systematic oppression. Among
his ablest books is a defence of the rationalism, bequeathed by the
eighteenth century, against Transcendentalism, which eclipsed it during
the first half of the nineteenth.

The inspiration of the new philosophy was added to that of many new
reforms; and a glorious literature blossomed in the long summer of
peace. Wordsworth's fear of "too much liberty" did not prevent his
encouraging intellectual independence most impressively. Scott tried "to
revive the declining spirit of loyalty"; but the result was universal
admiration of rebels and sympathy with peasants. Many authors who
adapted themselves much more closely and intentionally to the needs of
the age ceased long ago, for this very reason, to find readers. This,
for instance, was the fate of the indefatigable Cobbett.

Landor, on the other hand, was unpopular from the first, because
devotion to Greek and Latin literature made his style as well as some of
his favourite topics uninteresting, except for scholarly people who
were soon offended by such remarks as "Law in England and in most other
countries is the crown of injustice. According to her laws and usages,
Brutus would have been hanged at Newgate; Cato buried with a stake
through his body in the highroad; Cicero transported to Botany Bay."
"Certain I am, that several of the bishops would not have patted Cain
upon the back while he was about to kill Abel." "A peerage I consider as
the park-paling of despotism." In his _Imaginary Conversations_, Hofer
and Metternich, the emperors of Russia and China, the kings of Spain
and Portugal, the Spanish priest, Merino, and many other extraordinary
personages tell how badly England was governed by "the hereditarily
wise," and what a misfortune it was for all Europe, to have her rulers
enjoy such an intimate and universal friendship as was never known among
their predecessors.

No writer has spoken more mightily than Byron against the "blasphemy"
of ascribing divine authority to these "royal vampires." He knew that
Napoleon had been "the scourge of the world"; but he was indignant to
see the men who had struck down the lion kneeling before wolves; and yet
he looked forward to the reign everywhere of "equal rights and laws." He
spoke freely of the "sacerdotal gain but general loss" in superstition;
and his own highest faith was that "they who die in a great cause" would

     "Augment the deep and sweeping thoughts
     Which overpower all others and conduct
     The world at last to freedom."

His poems revealed the grandeur of scenery, as well as history, and made
delight in mountains and thunderstorms felt as an ennobling influence.
His speeches in the House of Lords were pleas for parliamentary reform,
Catholic emancipation, and mercy to rioters infuriated by famine. In
1820, he was one of the leading Carbonari in Italy; he gave his life
to help the Greeks become free; and his name is still a watchword of

His friend, Shelley, went so far in the same direction as to call
himself a republican, as well as an atheist. His life was pure in his
own eyes; but his opinions about divorce were punished by a decision in
Chancery that he was unfit to be trusted with his own children. He had
consecrated himself in boyhood to war against all oppressors; and
his position to the last was that of his own Prometheus, suffering
continually with the enslaved, but consoled by faith that his sympathy
will hasten the glorious day when every man shall be "king over
himself," when women, free "from custom's evil taint," shall make earth
like heaven, when "thrones, altars, judgment-seats, and prisons" shall
seem as antiquated as the pyramids, and when human nature shall be "its
own divine control." He took the side of the poor against the rich in
a drama which was suppressed on account of its severity against George
IV., and which ends with a portentous scene, where

     "Freedom calls Famine, her eternal foe,
     To brief alliance."

He spoke as well as wrote for the independence of Ireland; and he
would have done much for that of Greece, if he had not died soon
after publishing a magnificent tragedy, in which he showed what cruel
massacres were perpetrated while the rulers of Christendom refused to
help Christian patriots against the Turks. Byron is called the poet of
revolution; but Shelley was the poet of liberty. One was like a painter
who captivated the multitude, sometimes by his brilliancy of colour,
sometimes by his tragic pathos, and sometimes by his amorous warmth. The
other was like a sculptor who left a few statues and tablets, fanciful
in design and majestic in execution, for the delight of connoisseurs.
Fortunately the marble is likely to outlast the canvas.

III. These poets and philanthropists helped the people of England
contrast the wrongs they were suffering with the rights they ought
to have. That love of liberty which drove out the Stuarts revived, as
despotism was seen to increase pauperism and excite more crime than it
suppressed. The conflict between republicanism and monarchy in Europe
had changed to one between despotism and constitutionalism; and peace
made England free to resume the advanced position she had held in the
eighteenth century. The declaration of President Monroe, in December,
1823, that the United States would not permit the South American
republics to be overthrown by any despot in Europe, gained much
authority from the concurrence of the British Ministry; and the latter
was induced by Canning to form that alliance with France and Russia
which gave independence to Greece.

The attack on the slave-trade, which began while England was at peace
with her neighbours, had slackened in the shadow of the long war. The
wicked traffic was prohibited in 1807; but little more could be done
before 1823. Then an appeal for emancipation in the West Indies was made
to Parliament by Wilberforce and other organised abolitionists; and the
agitation went on until victory was made possible by the rescue of the
House of Commons from the aristocrats. The acts forbidding workingmen
to combine for higher wages, or to emigrate were repealed in 1824. The
criminal laws had already been mitigated, and some protection given
to children in factories; and the duties on wool and raw silk were now
reduced, to the common benefit of consumer, manufacturer, and operative.

The Whigs were strong enough in 1828 to repeal the Test Act, which had
been passed in 1673, for the purpose of enabling the Episcopalians to
hold all the offices, but had become a dead letter so far as regarded
Protestants. The House of Lords gave way unwillingly; and one of the
bishops secured such a compromise as kept Jews out of Parliament for
the next thirty years. Conscientious scruples against taking oaths
were treated at this time with due respect; and all British Protestants
became equals before the law. Canning had already made the House of
Commons willing to emancipate Catholics; but neither this reform nor
that of abolishing rotten boroughs could pass the bench of bishops; and
the Church stood in the way of a plan for free public schools. It was
the organised resistance of all Ireland to disfranchisement of Catholics
which won toleration from a Tory Ministry. Its leader, Wellington, cared
nothing for public opinion or the people's rights; but he was too good
a general to risk a war with a united nation. Even the minister whose
sympathy with Orangemen had won the nickname of "Orange Peel" declared
that it was time to yield. Popular prejudice against Romanism had
been much diminished by gratitude for the aid given by Catholic allies
against Napoleon. The bishops rallied around the King, who had never
before been influenced by what he called religion; but he was forced to
sign, on April 13, 1829, the bill which ended a strife that had cursed
Europe for three hundred years. Two-thirds of the bishops resisted to
the last; and the Tory party was so badly divided as to be unable to
prevent England from following the example set next year by France.

IV. By the Constitution of 1814, the power belonged mainly to the
Parisian bankers, merchants, and manufacturers. These men preferred
constitutional monarchy to either democracy or military despotism; but
they meant to maintain their own rights; and they were much offended
at the attempts of Charles X. to check mental progress and revive
superstition. His plans for fettering the press were voted down in the
Chamber of Nobles; journalists prosecuted by his orders were acquitted
by the courts; and he could not enforce a law under which burglars who
robbed a Catholic church would have mounted the guillotine.

Early in 1830, he dissolved the Legislature for declaring that he was
not governing according to the wish of the people. The candidates next
elected were two to one against him. On Monday, July 26, appeared his
ordinances forbidding publication of newspapers without his permission,
unseating all the deputies just chosen, and threatening that subsequent
elections would be empty formalities. The plan was like that of 1797;
but this time the soldiers in Paris were few in number and ill-supplied
with provisions, while their general was not even notified of his
appointment. The police allowed the journalists to spread the news
throughout Paris and publish a protest declaring that they would not
obey the ordinances and appealing to the people for support. The leader,
Thiers, had already called for a king who would reign but not govern.
Lawyers and magistrates pronounced the ordinances illegal. Printers and
other employers told their men that the next day would be a holiday.

On Tuesday, the crowds of operatives, clerks, students, ragged men and
boys could not be dispersed by the police. Marmont took command of the
troops that afternoon, and shot a few insurgents. That night all the
street-lamps were put out; thousands of barricades went up, after plans
but recently invented; and gun-shops, powder-magazines, arsenals,
and even museums were broken open. On Wednesday, there was a new city
government in the Hôtel de Ville; everywhere hung the tri-coloured
banner of Napoleon and the Republic; and the tocsin called out a hundred
thousand rebels in arms. The weapons of Crusaders were seen side by side
with the bayonets and uniforms of the National Guard, which had been
revived by Napoleon but disbanded by Charles X.

Marmont's orders were to clear the streets that afternoon; but the
soldiers were met everywhere by a heavy fire and a shower of paving
stones and furniture. One patriotic girl was said to have sacrificed her
piano. All the detachments were finally hemmed in between barricades
and crowds of rebels with pikes, muskets, and bayonets. During the night
they were concentrated around the Tuileries, where they suffered
greatly from hunger and thirst, as they had done during the day. Their
ammunition was almost exhausted; and new barricades were put up around
them. Marmont ordered that there should be no more firing, except in
self-defence, and tried in vain to make truce with the rebels. The
latter were joined on Thursday by the regiments in the Place Vendôme.
This position was entrusted to part of the Swiss who had defended the
Louvre; but the others were soon driven out by men and boys who swarmed
in at unguarded doors and windows. All the soldiers took flight that
noon from Paris.

All this time the King was amusing himself at St. Cloud, and boasting
that there would be no concessions. He now offered to dismiss his
Ministry and revoke the ordinances; but more than a thousand lives had
been lost. The Parisians marched against him: he abdicated and fled: the
Bourbons had ceased to reign. The men who had fought against him called
for a republic with universal suffrage and no State church; but the
wealthier citizens were afraid of war with Russia and Austria. A
descendant of Louis XIII. and a friend of Thiers was made King by the
Legislature. He called himself Louis Philippe, and promised cordially
to carry out the Constitution, which now meant freedom of the press, and
equal privileges for all Christian churches. The supremacy of Rome
in France was at an end. Seats in the Upper House could no longer be
inherited; and the right to vote for deputies was given to twice as many
Frenchmen as before. Patriots in all nations were encouraged; and the
Swiss cantons became more democratic; but Hegel was frightened to death.

Among other results were unsuccessful revolts in Rome and Warsaw, with
successful ones in Brussels, Cassell, and Dresden. The subjection to
Holland, which had been imposed by the Congress of Vienna, was hated
by the Belgians, partly because it made education secular, and partly
because it gave them only half the Legislature, and very few offices
elsewhere, although they formed three-fifths of the population. Priests
were active in stirring up the revolt which began at Brussels on August
25, 1830, after the performance of an opera telling how Masaniello had
set Naples free. The Dutch were driven out; Belgium was made a separate
constitutional monarchy by the vote of a convention of deputies; France
and England helped her maintain political independence; but it was to
the loss of intellectual liberty.

V. The success of rebellion with the pressure of hard times enabled the
Whigs to carry England for parliamentary reform. Peel and Wellington
hastened their fall by boasting that there could be no improvement of a
Legislature which accepted members for places without any inhabitants,
but not for Birmingham, Leeds, Manchester, or some parts of London,
and which actually enabled one Scotchman to elect himself as sole
representative of fourteen thousand people, in a district where he was
the only voter.

The people were so discontented with the whole system of Church and
State, that thousands of sympathisers gathered around Cobbett in July,
1831, when he was tried for printing a statement that riots of farm
hands were doing good in forcing the clergy to reduce their tithes. Lord
Brougham, who had been made Chancellor, was among the witnesses to
the generally pacific tendency of Cobbett's writings. The jury did not
agree; and the Government gave up the case. There was but little more
political persecution of British authors.

Reform triumphed that autumn in the House of Commons. The House of Lords
would then have been conquered, if the bishops had acted like successors
of the apostles; but twenty-one out of twenty-three voted for prolonging
their own dominion. Their conduct made it unsafe for them to wear their
peculiar costume in the streets. Bells tolled, and newspapers put on
mourning. There were riots in all the cathedral towns. A duke's castle
was burned, because he insisted that the votes of his tenants were
his private property, and attempts to punish the incendiaries brought
Bristol, one Sunday, into the hands of a mob which burned the bishop's
palace, the custom-house, and many other buildings. It was agreed by a
meeting of a hundred thousand people at Birmingham, that no more taxes
should be paid until Parliament was reformed; and on very many houses,
especially in London, there was the following notice: "To save the
Collector unnecessary trouble, he is informed that No Taxes on this
house will be paid, until the Reform Bill pass into a Law." It was at
a meeting to encourage this course that Sydney Smith, who had done good
service for Catholic emancipation, told how vainly Mrs. Partington tried
to sweep back the Atlantic, during a great storm, and added: "Be quiet
and steady. You will beat Mrs. Partington."

The episcopal Partingtons continued to be even more hostile than the
lay members of the House of Lords; but all finally yielded to the
threat that there would be new peers enough created to vote them down. A
popular song made the Reform Bill boast that, "Twenty peers shall carry
me, If twenty won't, then forty will; For I 'm his Majesty's bouncing

The throne was then filled by William IV., who reigned from 1830 to
1837, and who gave his consent, though sometimes unwillingly, to several
of the greatest reforms ever passed in England. The bill which he signed
on June 7, 1832, enabled 141 members of Parliament to be elected by
populous districts hitherto unrepresented, instead of by little
boroughs where the voters were so few as to be bought up easily, or else
intimidated constantly; and the franchise was also much extended,
though not outside of the middle class. Thus Great Britain ceased to be
governed by a league of irresponsible nobles, bishops, and other lords
of vast estates.

VI. They had kept the lower classes ignorant, in order to secure
obedience; and their methods were not given up at once. Newspapers had
already become the chief teachers of politics; and therefore they were
under a triple tax. A duty on paper added one-fourth to the cost
of publication. There was also a tax of three-and-sixpence on each
advertisement; and more of this lucrative business was done by the
publishers in New York City than by all those in Great Britain. A third
exaction was that of fourpence for a stamp on every copy; and prices
were thus prevented from falling below seven-pence, except in case of
violation of the laws. These threatened fine or imprisonment to whoever
should publish or sell any periodical costing less than sixpence,
and containing "news, intelligence, occurrences, and remarks and
observations thereon, tending to excite hatred and contempt of the
government and constitution of this country as by law established, and
also to vilify religion." This purpose was avowed explicitly, in so
many words, by _The Poor Man's Guardian_, which announced that it
was published "contrary to law" and would be sold for one penny. The
circulation was twice that of _The Times_, and the language often
violent. The publisher, Hetherington, was sent twice to prison for six
months; and could not go about except disguised as a Quaker. His papers
were packed in chests of tea, by an agent who was afterwards mayor
of Manchester. Another publisher, who devoted himself to reports of
criminal trials, used to send them out in coffins. Many unstamped
periodicals were in circulation. Some dealers carried them about in
their hats and pockets. Others hawked them in the streets, and declared,
when sentenced to prison, that they should resume the business on the
same spot as soon as they were released. Paid informers and spies helped
the Whig Government carry on more than two hundred prosecutions in 1835,
and more than five hundred previously. Subscription boxes for the relief
of the martyrs could be seen everywhere. Remonstrances were signed and
indignation meetings held in London and Manchester. "The Society for the
Repeal of All Taxes on Knowledge" kept up a vigorous agitation, which
was aided by Bulwer in Parliament. At last the publishers who bought
stamps found they could not compete with men who bought none. This duty,
and also that on advertisements, were reduced in 1836; and the result
was so gratifying, even to publishers of the best periodicals, that all
these taxes have been abolished.

Protestant bigotry had not prevented unsectarian public schools from
being opened in Ireland in 1833; and that year is also memorable for
the abolition of slavery in the West Indies, the extension of universal
suffrage in Scotland, the beginning of free trade with India and China,
the removal of disability for office from Hindoo subjects of Great
Britain, the protection of children from being overworked in factories,
and the suppression of supernumerary bishops and rectors in Ireland.

During the next three years, the local government of most English towns
and cities, though not yet of London, was taken from corrupt oligarchies
and given to all inhabitants who paid even a moderate rent; seamen
ceased to be impressed; Irish Catholics and English dissenters were
enabled to marry without apostasy; vexatious methods of collecting
tithes were abolished in England; the poor-laws were made less
favourable to the increase of pauperism; and the growth of prosperity
and independence among the poor was assisted by the introduction of a
system of unsectarian education, in 1839, though the bishops would
have preferred that one-third of the people of England should remain
illiterate. Penny postage was established in 1840, the last year when
Great Britain was governed by the Whigs.

Parliament was so philanthropic and tolerant as to reject repeatedly a
proposal to impose heavy fines for attending secular meetings, visiting
eating-houses, travelling, fishing, or hiring horses on Sunday. Labour,
too, was to be forbidden, but not that of "menial servants." This bill
would have prevented the poor from enjoying their only holiday; but
there was to be no interference with the pleasures of the rich; and the
fact was pointed out by a young man, whose _Pickwick Papers_ had just
begun to appear in monthly parts. His illustrated pamphlet is entitled:
_Sunday as it Is; as Sabbath Bills would Make it; as it might be Made_.
It has been reprinted with his plays and poems. He tells how much was
done for the health and happiness of London by those privileges which
the Sabbatarians were trying to abolish; and he shows what gain there
would be in knowledge and virtue from opening all the museums and
galleries Sunday afternoons.

The pamphlet shows that delight in the bright side of life, and that
sympathy with the pleasures of the poor, which won popularity for _The
Pickwick Papers_ in 1836, and afterwards for _The Old Curiosity Shop_
and the _Christmas Carol_. The novels most like _Sunday as it Is_,
however, are such protests against bigotry and cruelty as _Oliver Twist,
Nicholas Nickleby, and Barnaby Rudge_. Powerful pictures of the gloom
of that British Sabbath which locked up everything "that could by any
possibility afford relief to an overworked people," may be found in
_Little Dorrit_; and the plot turns on the Sabbatarianism of a cruel
fanatic who had made felony part of her religion. Much was done by this
novel, as well as by _Pickwick_ and _Nicholas Nickleby_ towards the
abolition of imprisonment for debt in 1869. His tone was very mild,
compared with that of the popular orators. Resistance to bad laws was
urged by Richard Carlile; and a clergyman named Taylor, who held the
Gospel to be a solar myth, was imprisoned on October 24, 1827, for
saying that the first martyrs for Jesus Christ were the Gadarene pigs.
Another London lecturer declared on Sunday evening, December 2, 1832,
that "The elective franchise should belong to women, as a part of the
people," and again that "Women are qualified to elect and to be elected
to all public offices." "Any argument for exclusion is of that kind
which has justified every tyranny," says this discourse, which was
printed for the first time, on May 11, 1833, in an American newspaper,
_The Free Enquirer_. Its columns show that a young lady had already
presented very advanced ideas as a lecturer at the Rotunda in London;
but the general opinion of the sex was expressed by the wife of the
Rev. John Sandford, whose popular book declared that "There is something
unfeminine in independence. A really sensible woman... is conscious of
inferiority." The Irish have supported themselves so successfully in
America, and obeyed the laws so generally, as to prove that failure to
do either in Ireland should not be attributed to their race or their
religion, but wholly to their oppression. Memory of the seventeenth and
eighteenth centuries was all the more bitter in the nineteenth, because
the destitution of the peasantry was increasing hopelessly. Removal of
religious disabilities and reform of Parliament did not prevent bands of
armed peasants from fighting against attempts to take away their cattle
in payment of the tithes exacted by well-paid dignitaries of the hated
Church. It sometimes happened that a dozen of the combatants were
killed. Sydney Smith estimated that this way of keeping up a state
church cost a million lives, from first to last, and Ireland had to
be as heavily garrisoned as India, until a less vexatious system was
established in 1838. Municipal government was wholly in the hands of
little corporations, which had the sole power of electing new members
and seldom admitted a Catholic. The ruling oligarchy was to the
population as one to two hundred in Limerick, and only as one
to twenty-five hundred in Protestant Belfast. The right of local
self-government was given to the people of these cities and a few others
in 1840; but even this small and tardy justice provoked an English
bishop to threaten that it would call down vengeance from God. Full
municipal suffrage throughout the island and a domestic Parliament
were demanded by all Ireland, under the guidance of the mighty orator
O'Connell; but the prejudice against his cause in Great Britain was made
invincible by his denouncing "the Saxons," as he called the English, for
the crimes of their ancestors.

VII. All reforms stopped in 1841, when the Whigs lost the supremacy.
It was not their fault that excess in speculation on both sides of the
Atlantic had brought on a panic which threw thousands of people out of
work in the factory towns, and reduced other thousands to earning only
twopence a day. A succession of bad harvests, just before 1841, made
wages very low on the farms, and food too dear everywhere. Bread was
sold in halfpenny slices; labourers robbed pigs of swill; children
fought with dogs for bones in the streets; one person in every eleven
was a pauper; and England seemed to Dickens like one vast poorhouse. The
old ways of giving charity had been so lavish and indiscriminate as to
encourage pauperism; the new system of relief proved really kinder;
but at first it was administered too slowly and cautiously for the
emergency; and there was some ground for the complaints in _Oliver
Twist_. Knowledge that paupers were neglected strengthened the belief of
the working-men, that all they needed to make them as well off as their
brethren in America was the ballot. Paine, Cobbett, and Hetherington
were widely read; manhood suffrage and a secret ballot were called "the
People's Charter"; and there were more than a million signatures to
the Chartist petition in 1839. These demands were just; but about one
Englishman in three was unable to write his name at this time; and
many who had acquired this accomplishment knew dangerously little about
politics. When we think how much mischief has recently been done in the
United States by illiterate and venal votes, we cannot blame Englishmen
of the upper and middle classes for delaying to grant universal
suffrage. They ought to have made rapid preparation for it, by liberal
encouragement of popular education through free schools and a cheap
press; but even the Whigs were too indignant at the violence of the
Chartists, who made bloody riots in 1841. How ignorant these men
were was shown by their doing their worst that year to help carry the
elections against the Whigs, who were much less hostile to Chartism than
the Conservatives, as those Tories were called who still condescended to

The most culpable blunder of the Whigs had been that of allowing the
revenue to fall below the expenses; and the policy they had proposed for
making up the deficit was too much like that halfhearted way of dealing
with slavery which brought ruin upon the party of the same name in
America. The British tariff was raised by the war against Napoleon, as
the American was under similar pressure afterwards, so high as in some
cases to prohibit imports and actually check revenue. Either tariff
could have been used as an almost complete list of the world's products;
and both were framed on the principle of protecting everybody, except
consumers, against competition. Great Britain unfortunately could
produce only part of the food needed by the people; and the tariff was
so much in the interest of owners of land as to make bread and meat
dearer than if the island had been barren. Importation of cattle was
prohibited; and that of wheat and other grain was not permitted until
prices were high enough to cause famine. Then importation would begin
slowly, and keep increasing until the supply of both foreign- and
home-grown wheat would become large enough to glut the market and make
farmers bankrupt. These duties on grain, which were known as the corn
laws, acted with similar taxes on all other necessaries of life in
impoverishing factory hands and other members of the working class. They
were told that the laws which kept living dear kept wages high; but we
shall see that this turned out not to be the fact. The only real gainers
by the corn laws were those wealthy owners of great estates of whom
Parliament was composed entirely, with the exception of a few members of
the House of Commons.

That body allowed Manchester and other factory towns to send
representatives who had found out the tendency of protectionism from
their own business experience, as well as from study of political
economy. Among these men was Cobden, who had already planted himself in
the road to wealth, but who preferred to remain poor that he might make
England rich. He and his associates knew that imports are paid for by
exporting what can be produced most profitably; that nothing is imported
which could be produced as cheaply at home; that large imports make
large exports; that the average Englishman knows how to carry on his
own business; and that the Government could not encourage any otherwise
unprofitable industry without checking the really profitable ones. On
these facts were based the following predictions. In the first place,
free trade in grain and cattle would lower the average price of food
in England, and make the supply so regular that there would be no more
famines. Second, those countries which were allowed to send grain and
cattle, cotton and other raw materials, etc., to England would buy
British manufactures in return. Third, removal of duties from raw
materials would enable factories to produce goods more cheaply, and
sell larger quantities at home as well as abroad. Then, fourth, this
increased activity in manufacturing would raise wages, while remission
of duties would make all the necessaries of life cheaper, so that
pauperism would diminish and prosperity become more general in the
working class. And finally, the commerce of England with other countries
would grow rapidly to their mutual benefit; and thus international
relations would be kept friendly by free trade.

In this faith the reformers at Manchester and Birmingham asserted the
right of all men to buy and sell freely, and demanded the removal of
all duties except those best adapted to bring in necessary revenue. They
were wise enough to attack the monstrous tariff at its weakest point,
the tax on bread. The Anti-Corn-Law League was organised in 1839; the
spot where the Peterloo massacre had been perpetrated, twenty years
before, was soon used for a free trade banquet in which five thousand
working-men took part; and appeals to the people were made in all parts
of England. The Conservatives were all protectionists; and so many Whigs
were on that side that those leaders who were opposed to the bread tax
did not dare to come out against it. They did propose in 1841 to meet
the deficit in the revenue by reducing some duties which were so high as
to prevent importation, for instance, the tax on all sugar not grown in
British colonies. The protectionist Whigs voted with the Conservatives
against the Ministry; and it had to go out of office without having
done enough against the corn laws to secure the support of the League.
Protectionists, Chartists, and opponents of the new poor-law helped
to give the Conservatives control of the next Parliament, where the
free-traders were one to four.

Such was the state of things in October, 1841, when the League went to
work more vigorously than before in educating the people, and especially
voters of the poorer class. During the next twelve months, half a
million dollars was spent in this work. In 1843, there were fourteen
regular lecturers in the field, besides countless volunteers, and five
hundred distributors of tracts. The annual number of publications was
about ten million copies; and the annual weight exceeded a hundred tons.
The dissenting ministers did good work for reform; but the Episcopalian
clergy were too friendly to a tax which kept up the value of tithes. The
League soon had the support of John Bright, who was one of the greatest
of British orators. Prominent among opponents was the Chartist leader,
Feargus O'Connor; and those Chartists who were not protectionists held
that their cause ought to take the lead. Public opinion was so strongly
for free trade in 1845 that Parliament took off the duties from cotton
and other raw materials, in hope of conciliating the manufacturers;
but these latter redoubled their efforts to abolish the tax on food.
Subscriptions were larger than ever; and much land was bought by
free-traders who wished to qualify themselves as voters for members of
the next Parliament, which would have to be elected in or before 1848.

Reform seemed still distant, when Shelley's prophecy was fulfilled.
Freedom's eternal foe, Famine, came suddenly to her help. Dearness of
wheat and meat had obliged half of the Irish and many of the
English to live entirely on potatoes. Wages were often paid in Ireland
by loan of land for raising this crop. The rot which began in August,
1845, soon became so destructive that Peel, who was then Prime Minister,
proposed in October that grain should be made free of duty. Wellington
and other members of the Cabinet demurred; and the question had to be
submitted to Parliament. Disraeli insisted to the last on keeping up the
tariff; but famine was increasing; and both Houses finally agreed, after
long debate, to accept Peel's proposal, that not only the duties on food
and raw materials, but most of the others, should be either reduced or
abolished. His conservatism did not keep him from seeing that the
whole system of protecting home industries must stand or fall together.
Prominent among obstructionists were the bishops. The House of Lords did
not agree before June 25, 1846, to the reform which had been accepted on
May 15th by the House of Commons, and which was publicly acknowledged
by Wellington to be inevitable. Such was the exasperation of the
protectionists that they helped the opponents, of coercion in Ireland
to drive Peel out of office, by a vote which was taken in the House
of Commons on the very day when his plan of tariff reform gained that
victory in the House of Lords which made free trade for ever the system
of Great Britain.

About one-half of the import duties are now levied on tobacco,
one-fourth more on wine and strong drink; and most of the rest on tea
and other groceries. Duties on articles which could be produced in Great
Britain are offset by internal-revenue taxes. No monopoly is given to
farm or factory; no necessary article is made too dear for the poor; and
there are no needless violations of the right of the labourer to spend
his wages in the best market.

This reform made the relief of Ireland possible, though the loss of life
was terrible. Never again has England been so near to a famine as in
1841. Food is now so plenty that five times as much sugar is used in
proportion to population as in 1842, and more than twice as much butter
and eggs. This does not mean that the millionaire eats five times as
much sugar, or twice as many eggs, as before, but that poor people can
now buy freely what formerly were almost unattainable luxuries. The
proportion of money in savings banks in England and Wales has doubled;
and that of paupers sank from 1 in 11 in 1842 to 1 in 37 in 1895. Wages
have risen fifty per cent., while other prices have fallen; and British
workmen are better off than any others in Europe. The annual value of
English exports declined steadily from 1815 to 1842; but it is now four
times as great as in the latter year; and it is more than twice as large
in proportion to population as in those highly protected countries,
the United States and France. Low tariffs also enable Belgium to export
nearly three times as much for each inhabitant as France, and New South
Wales to export five times as much as the United States. Large exports
do not depend on density of population but on ability to import freely.
Readiness of any country to buy freely of her neighbours keeps them able
and willing to buy whatever she has to sell. Free trade has given
Great Britain, New South Wales, and Belgium their choice of the world's
markets. Great Britain has also been enabled to keep up much more
friendly relations with the rest of Europe than would otherwise have
been the case. Liberty of commerce has helped her enjoy peace; and peace
has preserved free institutions.

The reforms which culminated in free trade showed Englishmen that they
could right any wrong without resort to violence. The attempt of the
Chartists to overawe Parliament in 1848 was seen to be inexcusable; and
it failed ridiculously. Never since then has insurrection in England
been even possible. The atmosphere of thought has been so quiet that
suffrage was greatly extended in 1867, and made practically universal
in 1894. Voters gained the protection of a secret ballot in 1872; and
municipal self-government was given in 1894 to every part of England
where it had not already been established.

No wonder that there is little of the revolutionary ardor of Shelley and
Byron in Tennyson, Browning, and other recent poets. They have delighted
in progress; but they have seen that it must come through such peaceable
changes in public opinion, and then in legislation, as are caused by
free discussion. The benign influence of peace has enabled them to
display such brilliancy as had not been seen in England for more than
two hundred years. No other writers ever paid so much attention to
public health and the general happiness. The ablest thought of the
century has been devoted to enriching human life, and not to destroying
it. This has enabled science to make unprecedented progress. A new
period of intellectual history has been opened by Spencer and Darwin.

VIII. Prominent among reformers who had no wish for revolution, and no
respect for science, were Dickens and Carlyle. The latter's ("former's"
Ed.) aversion to political economy as "the dismal science" was echoed in
the pages of _Hard Times_; and the absence of any reference in _Dombey
and Son_ to the great movement against the corn laws is characteristic
of a novelist whose _Pickwick Papers_ made fun of scientific
investigation. What was there called the "tittlebat" is really that
nest-building fish, the stickleback. Passages ridiculing the use of
statistics might be quoted at great length from both authors. Dickens
had too much sympathy with paupers, especially those who suffered under
the poor-law of 1834; and Carlyle had much too little. They agreed in
opposition to model prisons and other new forms of philanthropy. Perhaps
it was mainly the habit of indiscriminate ridicule which suggested such
caricatures as Mrs. Jellaby and Mrs. Pardiggle. Carlyle's belief that
abolitionism was "an alarming Devil's Gospel" and his denunciation of
"the sugary, disastrous jargon of philanthropy" were legitimate results
of idolatry of what he called "early, earnest times," namely the Dark
Ages. His sympathy with mediaeval methods was so narrow that he spoke
of a poet of weak health and high culture, whom he saw suffering under
a sentence of two years in a pestilential prison, forbidden books or
writing materials, kept most of the time alone and on bread and water,
but guilty of nothing worse than a Chartist speech, as "master of his
own time and spiritual resources to, as I supposed, a really enviable
extent." Dickens shows much more appreciation of the real superiority
of modern times, though personal disappointments, during his visit
to America, prevented him from acknowledging the merits of democracy.
Carlyle's reverence for the early Hebrews and other primitive barbarians
made him present hero-worship as the only secure corner-stone of
politics. His receipt for a perfect government is this: "Find in any
country the ablest man that exists there; raise him to the supreme
place; and loyally reverence him." "Such a government is not to be
improved by voting or debating." "Neither except in obedience to the
Heaven-chosen is freedom so much as conceivable." This theory showed its
own absurdity in prompting eulogies on Francia and other despots; but
Carlyle's apologies for Cromwell were of some service to the cause
of liberty fifty years ago, when England had forgotten to honour
the champions of the Long Parliament. Dickens thought more about the
asceticism than the independence of the Puritans. He and Carlyle
have dispelled some of the prejudices against the heroes of the First
Republic; but they perpetuated others. Carlyle's best work was in
encouraging the readers of his first books to think for themselves. The
power of Dickens to call out sympathy with the unfortunate will never
cease to bless mankind.

As much pity for the outcast has been shown by his great rival, Victor
Hugo, and even more fellow-feeling with the oppressed. The spirit which
has made France free animates all his writings, especially those
grand poems which were called out by the usurpation of Louis Napoleon
Bonaparte. His early dramas dealt so vigorously with royal weakness and
vice that _Marion de Lorme_ was suppressed by Charles X. and _Le Roi
s'amuse_ by Louis Philippe. The work which has made him best known,
and which appeared in 1862 in nine languages, is a plea for mercy to
criminals, or in his own words, to "the miserable." The chief aim is to
show "the oppression of laws," and the mistake of aiding the tyranny
of the police by thinking too severely of the fallen. He finds an
opportunity to introduce an enthusiastic panegyric on the victories of
Napoleon, closing with the question: "What could be more grand?" "To be
free," is the reply. Full justice to the French Revolution is done by
that most dramatic of novels, _Ninety-Three_. Here he says: "The agony
of the nations ended with the fall of the Bastile." "Perhaps the
Convention is the culmination of history." "It declared poverty and
disability sacred." "It branded the slave-trade, and freed the blacks."
"It decreed gratuitous education." "The object of two-thirds of its
decrees was philanthropic." Such facts are all the more worthy of
mention, because they were omitted by Carlyle.


I. Thomas Carlyle's prejudice against democracy was strengthened by
the failure of the revolutions of 1848. Constitutional monarchy was as
hostile to reform in France as it was friendly in England.

Only one Frenchman in thirty could vote; and the legislature cared
nothing for public opinion. Louis Philippe was hated for habitual
dishonesty. There had been several attempts at regicide and some bloody
revolts. One of the latter gave a basis from history for Victor Hugo's
_Misérables_. Restrictions on the press and on public meetings increased
the unwillingness of the working-men at Paris to be governed by
the rich. Socialism was popular, and employment insufficient. The
prohibition of a reform banquet caused barricades to be thrown up on
February 22d in Paris. The militia took sides with the populace; the
King fled to England; and all France accepted the Republic, which was
proclaimed on February 24th. Slavery had been reestablished in the
colonies by Napoleon; but it was now abolished; and so was capital
punishment for political offences.

The example of Paris was followed in March by successful insurrections
at Berlin, Vienna, and other German cities, as well as in Lombardy
and Venice. Home rule was demanded by Hungary and Bohemia, and
constitutional governments were soon established there as well as in
Austria, Prussia, and other German states, and in every part of Italy.
The King of Sardinia took the lead in a war for driving back the
Austrians across the Alps. Co-operation of French, German, Hungarian,
and Italian patriots might have made all these countries permanently

Such a union would have been difficult on account of international
jealousies; and it was made impossible by the Socialists at Paris.
Scarcely had a provisional government been set up, when recognition of
"the right of employment" was demanded by a workman, who came musket in
hand, and was supported by a multitude of armed artisans. They extorted
a decree which promised every citizen work enough for his support. A
ten-hour law was passed. Co-operative factories were started with
aid from the city authorities, and had some success. Opening national
workshops was not advised by leading Socialists; but it was considered
necessary by some of the Ministry in order to keep the unemployed from
revolt. Every applicant drew money constantly, even if not at work. What
little labour was actually performed was done so lazily, and paid so
highly, that the number of men soon rose to 120,000. The expenses became
enormous; and the tax-payers insisted that they too had rights. In order
to be able to employ all the labourers a government would have to own
all the property; and it would also have to be strong enough to enforce
industry. Even Victor Hugo admitted that the experiment had failed. The
National Assembly, of which he was a member, notified the men in
the shops that they must enlist in the army, or go to work at a safe
distance from Paris on state pay, or look out for themselves. They rose
in arms against the Republic, and took possession of nearly one-half of
the city on June 23, 1848. "Bread or Lead" was the motto on their
red flags; and two of their terrible barricades are described at the
beginning of the last Part of _Les Misérables_. They held out against
regular troops and cannon during four days of such fighting as had never
been seen before in Paris. More Frenchmen are supposed to have fallen
than in any of Napoleon's battles. Two thousand of the soldiers were
slain; but no one knows how many times that number of insurgents
perished in the fight or in penal colonies.

Thenceforth the French Government was much more desirous to repress
insurrection at home than to sustain it abroad. Louis Napoleon Bonaparte
was elected President that same year, partly on account of his name,
and partly on account of his promise that he would defend the right of
private property against Socialism. Austrian generals of the rough and
reckless type which Carlyle loved forced Lombardy and Bohemia back into
the Empire, and restored absolute monarchy at Vienna, while the King of
Sardinia was obliged to abdicate after such a defeat in March, 1849, as
almost extinguished liberty in Italy. Venice alone held out against them
under that purest of patriots, Manin, and suffered terribly during a
siege of twenty-one weeks. Hungary was subdued that summer with the aid
of Russia. France did nothing except to revive the papal despotism at
Rome. Mazzini's republic was crushed by that which had a Bonaparte
for President. His power had been increased by the disfranchisement
of several million French voters of the poorer class. His promise to
restore universal suffrage joined with memory of the massacres of June,
1848, in preventing much resistance to his usurpation of absolute power
on December 2, 1851. There was a monstrous vote, next November, for an
empire, where the centralisation of administration was complete, and
the legislature merely ornamental. Thus the liberation of Europe was
prevented, partly by race prejudices, but mainly by attempts to benefit
the poor by overtaxing the rich. France and Hungary were left with less
political liberty than before; and Italy gained very little; but some of
the constitutional freedom acquired in 1848 was retained in Prussia and
other parts of Western Germany.

II. It was contrary to the general tendency of wars, that those of the
latter half of the century aided the growth of free institutions in
Italy. An honoured place among nations was given by the Crimean war to
Sardinia. Then her patriotic statesman, Cavour, persuaded Napoleon III.
to help him rescue Lombardy from Austria. Garibaldi took the opportunity
to liberate Naples; and Victor Emanuel made himself King over all
Italy except Rome and Venice. The latter city also was brought under a
constitutional and friendly government by a third great war, which
made the King of Prussia and his successors Emperors of Germany, while
Austria was compelled to grant home rule to Hungary. The liberation and
secularisation of Italy were completed in 1870 by the expulsion from
Rome of the French garrison. The Emperor had lost his throne by waging
war wantonly against a united Germany.

III. The Third Republic was soon obliged to fight for her life against
the same enemy which had wounded her sister mortally. Socialism was
still the religion of the working-men of Paris, who now formed the
majority of the National Guard. Indignation at the failure of the new
Government to repulse the Prussians led, on March 18, 1871, to the
capture of all Paris by what was avowedly the revolution of the workmen
against the shopkeepers, "in the name of the rights of labour," for
"the suppression of all monopolies," "the reign of labour instead of
capital," and "the emancipation of the worker by himself." This was
in harmony with the teaching of the International Working-men's
Association, which endorsed the insurrection fully and formally, and
which held with Karl Marx that wealth is produced entirely by labour
and belongs only to the working class. Socialists were active in the
rebellion; but property-holders in Paris took no part; and all the
rest of France took sides with the Government. What professed to be
the rising of the many against the few turned out to be that of the few
against the many. Impressment was necessary for manning the barricades,
and pillage for raising money. The general closing of stores, factories,
and offices showed that capital had been frightened away by the red
flag. One of the last decrees of its defenders was, "Destroy all
factories employing more than fifteen workers. This monopoly crushes the
artisan." This spirit would have caused the confiscation of the funds
of the National Bank, if the managers had not said: "If you do that,
you will turn the money your own comrades have in their pockets to waste
paper." The priceless pictures and statues in the Louvre were condemned
to destruction because they represented "gods, kings, and priests."
Millions of dollars worth of works of art perished in company with
docks, libraries, and public buildings; but this vandalism, like the
massacre of prisoners, was largely the work of professional criminals.
The capture of Paris, late in May, was accompanied with pitiless
slaughter of the rebels, though many lives were saved by Victor Hugo.

Since then the French Republic has been able to keep down not only the
Socialists but the Bonapartists and Royalists. It has also succeeded,
with the help of writers like Renan, in checking the ambition of the
clergy. Continuance of peace in Europe has assisted the growth of local
self-government in France, and also in Germany. The famous Prussian
victories seem, however, to have increased the power of the German
Emperor; and there is still danger that the growth of standing armies
may check that of free institutions.


I. The fall of the English aristocracy was hastened by the success of
democracy in America. Nowhere were the masses more willing to obey the
law; and nowhere else were they so intelligent and prosperous. The gains
of the many made the country rich; territory and population increased
rapidly; and Britannia found a dangerous competitor on every sea.
Political liberty and equality were secured by the almost uninterrupted
supremacy of the Democratic party from 1800 to 1860. Twelve presidential
elections out of fifteen were carried by Jefferson and his successors;
and the Congress whose term began in 1841 was the only one out of the
thirty in which both Houses were anti-Democratic.

Political equality was increased in State after State by dispensing with
property qualifications for voting or holding office. Jefferson and
his successor, Madison, refused to appoint days for fasting and giving
thanks, or grant any other special privileges to those citizens who
held favoured views about religion. Congress after Congress refused to
appoint chaplains; so did some of the States; and a national law,
still in force, for opening the post-offices on every day of the week,
was passed in 1810. Many attempts were made by Sabbatarians to stop the
mails; but the Senate voted in 1829, that "Our government is a civil,
and not a religious institution"; and the lower House denied next year
that the majority has "any authority over the minority except in matters
which regard the conduct of man to his fellow-man." The opposition
made by the Federalists to the establishment of religious equality in
Connecticut, in 1816, increased the odium which they had incurred by not
supporting the war against Great Britain. Four years later, the party
was practically extinct; and the disestablishment of Congregationalism
as the state church of Massachusetts, in 1833, was accomplished easily.

The Northern States were already so strong in Congress that they might
have prevented Missouri from entering the Union that year without
any pledge to emancipate her slaves. The sin of extending the area of
bondage so far northwards was scarcely palliated by the other conditions
of the compromise. The admission of Maine gave her citizens no
privileges beyond what they had previously as citizens of Massachusetts;
and the pledge that slavery should not again be extended north of
latitude thirty-six, thirty, proved worthless.

The North was so far from being united in 1820 that it was not even able
to raise the tariff. New York, Pennsylvania, and Ohio wished to exclude
foreign competition in manufacturing; but the embargo was too recent
for New England to forget the evils of restricting commerce. The
Salem merchants petitioned for "free trade" "as the sure foundation of
national prosperity"; and the solid men of Boston declared with Webster
that "A system of bounties and protection" "would have a tendency to
diminish the industry, impede the prosperity, and corrupt the morals of
the people."

II. The dark age of American literature had ended in 1760. Before that
date there were few able books except about theology; and there were
not many during the next sixty years except about politics. The works
of Franklin, Jefferson, and other statesmen were more useful than
brilliant. Sydney Smith was not far wrong in 1820, when he complained in
the _Edinburgh Review_ that the Americans "have done absolutely nothing
for the sciences, for art, for literature." He went on to ask, "In the
four quarters of the globe, who reads an American book?" His question
was answered that same year by the publication in London of Irving's
_Rip Van Winkle_ and _Legend of Sleepy Hoi-low_. Bryant's first volume
of poems appeared next year, as did Cooper's popular novel, _The Spy_;
and the _North American Review_ had begun half a dozen years before.
But even in 1823, Channing could not claim that there really was any
national literature, or much devotion of intellectual labour to great
subjects. "Shall America," he asked, "be only an echo of what is thought
and written in the aristocracies beyond the ocean?"

This was published during the very year in which President Monroe
declared that the people of the United States would look upon attempts
of European monarchs "to extend their system to any portion of this
hemisphere as dangerous to our peace and liberty." Channing was much
interested in the study of German philosophy; but he rested his
"chief hopes of an improved literature," on "an improved religion."
He maintained that no man could unfold his highest powers until he had
risen above "the prevalent theology, which has come down to us from the
Dark Ages," and which was then "arrayed against intellect, leagued with
oppression, fettering inquiry, and incapable of being blended with the
sacred dictates of reason and conscience."

Unitarianism claimed for every individual, what Protestantism had at
most asked for the congregation,--the right to think for one's self.
This right was won earlier in Europe than in America, for here the
clergy kept much of their original authority and popularity. Their
influence over politics collapsed with Federalism. On all other subjects
they were still listened to as "stewards of the mysteries of God," who
had been taught all things by the Holy Spirit, and were under a divine
call to preach the truth necessary for salvation. The clergyman was
supposed to have acquired by his ordination a peculiar knowledge of
all the rights and duties of human life. No one else, however wise and
philanthropic, could speak with such authority about what books might
be read and what amusements should be shunned. Scientific habits of
thought, free inquiry about religion, and scholarly study of the Bible
were put under the same ban with dancing, card-playing, reading novels,
and travelling on Sunday. The pulpit blocked the path of intellectual
progress. Its influence on literature was wholly changed by the
Unitarian controversy, which was at its height in 1820. Still more
beneficial controversies followed.

The trinitarian clergymen tried to retain their imperilled supremacy by
getting up revivals. One of these, in the summer of 1828, was carried so
far at Cincinnati that many a woman lost her reason or her life. These
excesses confirmed the anti-clerical suspicions of Frances Wright, who
had come over from England to study the negro character, and had failed,
after much labour and expense, to find the slaves she bought for the
purpose capable of working out their freedom. She had made up her mind
that slavery is only one of many evils caused by ignorance of the duties
of man to man, that these duties needed to be studied scientifically,
and that scientific study, especially among women, was dangerously
impeded by the pulpit.

That autumn she delivered the first course of public lectures ever given
by a woman in America. Anne Hutchinson and other women had preached; but
she was the first lecturer. The men and women of Cincinnati crowded to
hear the tall, majestic woman, who stood in the court-house, plainly
dressed in white. Her style was ladylike throughout; but she complained
of the many millions wasted on mere teachers of opinions, whose
occupation was to set people by the ears, and whose influence
was stifling the breath of science. "Listen," she said, "to the
denunciations of fanaticism against pleasures the most innocent,
recreations the most necessary to bodily health." "See it make of
the people's day of leisure a day of penance." Her main theme was the
necessity of establishing schools to teach children trades, and also
halls of science with museums and public libraries.

This course was repeated in Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York, Boston,
and other cities. Her audiences were always large, but she charged no
admission fee. What were called "Fanny Wright societies" were formed in
many places. A Baptist church in New York City was turned into a Hall
of Science, which remained open for three years, beginning with the last
Sunday of April, 1829. It contained a hall for scientific lectures
and theological discussions, a free dispensary, a gymnasium, and a
bookstore. Here was published _The Free Enquirer_, the only paper in
America which permitted the infallibility of Christianity to be called
in question. The principal editor, Robert Dale Owen, son of the famous
Socialist, claimed to have twenty thousand adherents in that city, and a
controlling influence in Buffalo. Celebrations of Paine's birthday were
now frequent. It was fortunate for the clergy that controversies about
religion soon lost their interest in the fierce struggle about politics.

III. The fame won by Jackson as a conqueror of British invaders in
1815, blinded Americans to a fact which had been made manifest by both
Napoleon and Wellington, as it is said to have been still more recently
by Grant. The habit of commanding an army has a tendency to create scorn
of public opinion, and also of those restrictions on arbitrary authority
which are necessary for popular government, as well as for individual
liberty. Jackson had the additional defect of holding slaves; and it is
probable that if he had never done so, nor even had soldiers under
his orders, he would have been sadly indifferent to the rights of his
fellow-citizens and to the principles of free government. He was elected
in 1828, and proved enough of a Democrat to renounce the policy,
which had recently become popular, of making local improvements at
the national expense; but he was the first President who dismissed
experienced officials, in order to appoint his own partisans without
inquiry as to their capacity to serve the nation. He was especially
arbitrary about a problem not yet fully solved, namely, what the
Government should do with the banks. The public money was then deposited
in a National Bank whose constitutionality was admitted by the Supreme
Court. Its stock was at a premium and its notes at par in 1829; and it
had five hundred officials in various States. Jackson thought it had
opposed his election; and he suggested that the public money should be
removed to the custody of a branch of the Treasury, to be established
for that purpose. The plan has since been adopted; but his friends were
too much interested in rival banks, and his opponents thought only of
preventing his re-election in 1832. They could not, however, prevent his
obtaining a great majority as "the poor man's champion."

The Bank had spent vast sums in publishing campaign documents, and
even in bribery; and Jackson suspected that it would try to buy a new

He decided, with no sanction from Congress, and against the advice of
his own Cabinet, that the public money already in the Bank should be
drawn out as fast as it could be spent, and that no more should be
deposited there. He removed the Secretary of the Treasury for refusing
to carry out this plan; and obliged his successor to set about it before
he was confirmed by the Senate. To all remonstrances he replied, "I take
the responsibility"; and he met the vote of the Senators, that he was
assuming an authority not conferred by the Constitution, by boasting
that he was "the direct representative of the American people." Webster
replied that this would reduce the government to an elective monarchy;
and the opponents to what they called Jackson's Toryism agreed to call
themselves Whigs. Their leader was Henry Clay; and they believed,
like the Federalists, in centralisation, internal improvements, and
protective tariffs.

Jackson was sustained by the Democrats; but their quarrel with the Whigs
prevented Congress from providing any safe place for the public money.
It was loaned to some of the State banks; and all these institutions
were encouraged to increase their liabilities enormously. Speculation
was active and prices high. That of wheat in particular rose so much
after the bad harvest of 1836 that there was a bread riot in New York
City. Scarcely had Jackson closed his eight years of service, in 1837,
when the failure of a business firm in New Orleans brought on so many
others that all the banks suspended payment. Prices of merchandise fell
so suddenly as to make the dealers bankrupt; many thousand men were
thrown out of employment; and so much public money was lost that there
was a deficit in the Treasury, where there had been a surplus.

IV. These bad results of Jackson's administration strengthened the
Whigs. They had not ventured to make protectionism the main issue in
1832; and Clay had acknowledged that all the leading newspapers and
magazines were against it in 1824. Its adoption that year was by close
votes, and in spite of Webster's insisting that American manufactures
were growing rapidly without any unnatural restrictions on commerce. The
duties were raised in 1828 to nearly five times their average height in
1789; and there was so much discontent at the South, that some slight
reductions had to be made in the summer of 1832; but the protectionist
purpose was still predominant. If the opponents of all taxation except
for revenue had done nothing more than appeal to the people that autumn,
they would have had Congress with them; Jackson was already on their
side; and the question might have been decided on its merits after full
discussion. The threat of South Carolina to secede caused the reduction,
which was actually made in 1833, to appear too much like a concession
made merely to avoid civil war; and this second attempt to preserve the
Union by a compromise was a premium upon disloyalty. This bargain, like
that of 1820, was arranged by Henry Clay; and one condition was that the
rates should fall gradually to a maximum of twenty per cent. Before that
process was completed, the Treasury was exhausted by bad management;
and additional revenue had to be obtained by raising the tariff in 1842.
The Whigs were then in power; but they were defeated in the presidential
election of 1844, when the main issue was protectionism. The tariff was
reduced in 1846 by a much larger majority than that of 1842 in the House
of Representatives; and the results were so satisfactory that a further
reduction to an average of twenty per cent, was made in 1857, with the
general approval of members of both parties. The revenue needed for war
had to be procured by increase of taxation in 1861; but the country had
then had for twenty-eight years an almost uninterrupted succession of
low tariffs.

The universal prosperity in America between 1833 and 1842 is mentioned
by a French traveller, Chevalier, by a German philanthropist, Dr.
Julius, by Miss Martineau, Lyell, and Dickens. The novelist was
especially struck by the healthy faces and neat dresses of the factory
girls at Lowell, where they began to publish a magazine in 1840. Lyell
said that the operatives in that city looked like "a set of ladies and
gentlemen playing at factory for their own amusement." Our country had
seven times as many miles of railroads in 1842 as in 1833; our factories
made more than nine times as many dollars' worth of goods in 1860 as
in 1830; and they sold more than three times as many abroad as in 1846.
Twice as much capital was invested in manufacturing in 1860 as in 1850;
the average wages of the operatives increased sixteen per cent, during
these ten years; America became famous for inventions; her farms doubled
in value, as did both her imports and her exports; and the tonnage of
her vessels increased greatly. Such are the blessings of liberty in

Especially gratifying is the growth of respect for the right of free
speech. The complaints by Dickens, Chevalier, and Miss Martineau of
the despotism of the majority were corroborated by Tocqueville, who
travelled here in 1831 and published in 1835 a very valuable statement
of the results and tendencies of democracy. The destruction that year
of a Catholic convent near Boston by a mob is especially significant,
because the anniversary was celebrated next year as a public
holiday. The worst sufferers under persecution at that time were the

V. In order to do justice to all parties in this controversy we should
take especial notice of the amount of opposition to slavery about 1825
in what were afterwards called the Border States. Here all manual labour
could have been done by whites; and much of it was actually, especially
in Kentucky. There slaves never formed a quarter of the population; and
in Maryland they sank steadily from one-fourth in 1820 to one-eighth in
1860. Of masters over twenty or more bondmen in 1856, there were only
256 in Kentucky and 735 in Maryland. It was these large holders who
monopolised the profits, as they did the public offices. White men with
few or no slaves had scarcely any political power; and their chance to
make money, live comfortably, and educate their children, was much
less than if all labour had become free. Such a change would have made
manufacturing prosper in both Kentucky and

Maryland; but all industries languished except that of breeding slaves
for the South. The few were rich at the expense of the many. Only time
was needed in these and other States to make the majority intelligent
enough to vote the guilty aristocrats down.

Two thousand citizens of Baltimore petitioned against admitting Missouri
as a slave State in 1820; and several avowed abolitionists ran for
the Legislature shortly before 1830. At this time there were annual
anti-slavery conventions in Baltimore, with prominent Whigs among the
officers, and nearly two hundred affiliated societies in the Border
States. There were fifty in North Carolina, where two thousand slaves
had been freed in 1825, and three-fifths of the whites were reported as
favourable to emancipation. Henry Clay was openly so in 1827; and the
Kentucky Colonisation Society voted in 1830 that the disposition
towards voluntary emancipation was strong enough to make legislation
unnecessary. The abolition of slavery as "the greatest curse that God in
his wrath ever inflicted upon a people" was demanded by a dozen members
of the Virginia Legislature, as well as by the _Richmond Inquirer_, in
1832; and similar efforts were made shortly before 1850 in Kentucky,
Delaware, Maryland, Western Virginia, Western North Carolina, Eastern
Tennessee, and Missouri.

From 1812 to 1845 the Senate was equally divided between free and slave
States; and any transfer, even of Delaware, from one side to the other
would have enabled the North to control the upper House as well as the
lower. The plain duty of a Northern philanthropist was to co-operate
with the Southern emancipationists and accept patiently their opinion
that abolition had better take place gradually, as it had done in New
York, and, what was much more important, that the owner should have
compensation. This had been urged by Wilberforce in 1823, as justice to
the planters in the West Indies; the legislatures of Ohio, Pennsylvania,
and New. Jersey recommended, shortly before 1830, that the nation should
buy and free the slaves; and compensation was actually given by Congress
to loyal owners of the three thousand slaves in the District of Columbia
emancipated in 1862. Who can tell the evils which we should have
escaped, if slavery could have continued after 1830 to be abolished
gradually by State after State, with pecuniary aid from Congress or the

This was the hope of Benjamin Lundy, who passed much of his life in
the South, though he was born in New Jersey. He had advocated gradual
emancipation in nearly every State, visiting even Texas and Missouri,
organising anti-slavery societies, and taking subscriptions to his
_Genius of Universal Emancipation_, which was founded in Tennessee in
1821, but afterwards was issued weekly at Baltimore. He published the
names of nine postmasters among his agents, and copied friendly articles
from more than forty newspapers. One of his chief objects was to prevent
that great extension of slavery, the annexation of Texas.

VI. The election of the first pro-slavery President, Jackson, in 1828,
discouraged the abolitionists; and Lundy was obliged to suspend his
paper for lack of subscribers early next year. When he resumed it in
September, he took an assistant editor, who had declared on the previous
Fourth of July, in a fashionable Boston church: "I acknowledge that
immediate and complete emancipation is not desirable. No rational man
cherishes so wild a vision." Before Garrison set foot on slave soil,
it occurred to him that every slave had a right to instant freedom, and
also that no master had any right to compensation. These two ideas he
advocated at once, and ever after, as obstinately as George the Third
insisted on the right to tax America. Garrison, of course, was a zealous
philanthropist; and he was as conscientious as Paul was in persecuting
the Christians. But he seems to have been more anxious to free his own
conscience than to free the slaves. Immediate emancipation had been
advocated in Lundy's paper at much length, and even as early as
1825, but so mildly as to call out little opposition. Insisting on no
compensation was much more irritating; and Garrison's writings show that
his mind was apt to free itself in bitter words, even against such men
as Whittier, Channing, Longfellow, Douglass, and Sumner. He had been
but three months in Baltimore when he published a censure by name of the
owner and captain of one of the many vessels which were permitted by law
to carry slaves South, as "highway robbers and murderers," who "should
be sentenced to solitary confinement for life," and who deserved "to
occupy the lowest depths of perdition." He was found guilty of libel,
and imprisoned for seven weeks because he could not pay a moderate fine.

The money was given by a generous New Yorker; but Garrison's work in the
South was over, and Lundy's was of little value thenceforth. The man who
brought the libel suit was an influential citizen of Massachusetts; and
Boston pulpits were shut against Garrison on his return. He could not
pay for a hall; but one was given him without cost by the anti-clerical
society, whose leader, Abner Knee-land, was imprisoned thirty days in
1834 for a brief expression of atheism which would not now be considered

Two weeklies, which were unpopular from the first, began to be published
at Boston early in 1831. Kneeland's _Investigator_ was pledged "to
contend for the abolition of slavery" and "advocate the rights of
women." It was friendly to labour reform as well as to scientific
education, and opposed capital punishment, imprisonment for debt, and
legislation about religion; but its predominant tone has been skeptical
to the present day. Garrison was too orthodox in 1831 to favour the
emancipation of women; he was in sympathy with other reforms; but his
chief theme was the "pernicious doctrine of gradual abolition." The
next mistake of his _Liberator_ was the prominence given to negro
insurrection and other crimes against whites. The Southerners were
naturally afraid to have such subjects mentioned, even in condemnation;
and guilty consciences made slave-holders think the danger much greater
than it was. The first number of the _Liberator_ contained Garrison's
verses about the horrors of the revolt which might bring emancipation.
He announced at the same time that he was going to review a recent
pamphlet which he described thus: "A better promoter of insurrection was
never sent forth to an oppressed people." His contributors spoke often
of the right of slaves to resist, and asked, "In God's name, why should
they not cut their masters' throats?" Many women and children were
massacred by rebel slaves in Virginia that autumn; and Garrison promptly
declared that the assassins "deserve no more blame than our fathers did
for slaughtering the British," and that "When the contest shall have
again begun, it must again be a war of extermination." Similar language
was often used in the _Liberator_ afterwards.

Garrison was too firm a non-resistant to go further than this; but
the majority of Northerners would have agreed with the Reverend Doctor
Wayland, President of Brown University, who declared slavery "very
wicked," but declined to have the _Liberator_ sent him, and wrote to
Mr. Garrison that its tendency was to incite the slaves to rebellion.
Of course this was not the editor's intention; but history deals mainly
with causes and results.

The consequences were especially bad at the South. Calhoun and other
Democrats were striving to unite all her people in resistance to
emancipation, as well as to protectionism. They appealed to the
insurrection in 1831, and to the treatment of this subject in the
_Liberator_, as proofs that abolitionism was incendiary; and the feeling
was so intense in Georgia, that the Governor was authorised by the
Legislature, before the end of 1831, to offer five thousand dollars
for the head of the editor or of any of his agents in that State.
Southerners were generally provoked at such comparisons of slave-holders
to thieves as were often made in the _Liberator_ and were incorporated
into the formal declaration made by Garrison and the other founders of
the New England Anti-Slavery Society at Boston early in 1832. Planters
friendly to emancipation were discouraged by Garrison's insisting that
they ought not to have compensation, an opinion which was adopted by
the American Anti-Slavery Society at its organisation at Philadelphia
in 1833. Such protests on moral grounds were of great use to politicians
who opposed any grant of money for emancipation, because they wished to
preserve slavery. The national Constitution provided that emancipation
should not take place in any State which did not give its consent;
and this was much less attainable in 1835 than it had been ten years

So fierce was the hatred of anti-slavery periodicals, that many pounds
of them were taken from the Charleston post-office and burned by the
leading citizens in July, 1835; and this action was praised by a public
meeting, which was attended by all the clergy. The papers were printed
in New York, and do not seem to have been destroyed on account of their
own mistakes, but of those made by the Liberator. Southern postmasters
refused after this to deliver any anti-slavery matter; and their conduct
was approved by the Postmaster-General, as well as by the President. The
legislatures of North Carolina and Virginia demanded, in the session of
1835 and 1836, that all such publications be suppressed legally by the
Northern States.

South Carolina, Georgia, and Alabama took the same course; and it was
agreed everywhere that abolitionists were to be lynched. Loyalty
to slavery was required of all preachers and editors; no other
qualification for every office, in the service either of the nation
or of the State, was exacted so strictly; other controversies lost
interest; and men who would have gained greatly from the introduction
of free labour helped the slave-holders silence those intelligent
Southerners who knew what urgent need there was in their section of
emancipation for the general welfare.

Garrison, meantime, made both friends and enemies at the North. He had
the support of nearly four hundred anti-slavery societies in 1835; but
some of these had been founded in Ohio by Lundy on the principle of
gradual emancipation, and others in New York by Jay, whose main objects
were repeal of the Fugitive Slave Act and emancipation in the District
of Columbia. Agitation for immediate abolition without compensation was
nowhere active at that time, except in New England. The highest estimate
of its partisans in 1840 was only two hundred thousand; most of them had
already renounced the leadership of Garrison; and there is no reason to
believe that the number of his thorough going followers ever reached one
hundred thousand.

Most of the original abolitionists were church members; and the
agitation was never opposed, even at first, by so large a proportion of
the clergy at the North as of the people generally. Several ministers
joined Garrison at once; 125 enrolled their names for publication as
abolitionists in 1833; and two years later he had the open support of
the New England Methodist Conference, the Maine Baptist Convention, and
the Detroit Presbytery, as well as of many Congregationalists, and
of most of the Quakers, Unitarians, and Free-Will Baptists. Preaching
against slavery was not common in denominations where the pastor was
more liable to be gagged by ecclesiastical superiors.

One reason that this authority, as well as that of public opinion in
the Northern cities, was directed against agitation, was the pressure
of business interests. The South sent most of her products, especially
cotton, to manufacturers or merchants in Philadelphia, New York, and
New England. This region in return supplied her with clothes, tools,
and furniture. Much of her food came from the Western farmers; and these
latter were so unable to send grain or cattle eastward until after 1850,
that the best road for most of them to market was the Mississippi.
The slave-holders were such good customers, that people along the Ohio
River, as well as in Eastern seaports and factory towns, were slow to
see how badly the slaves were oppressed.

Enlightenment on this subject, as well as about capacity for free
labour, was also delayed by prejudices of race and colour, while there
was much honest ignorance throughout the North. What was best understood
about slavery was that it was merely a State institution, not to be
abolished or even much ameliorated by the national Government. The main
responsibility rested accordingly upon the Southern States; and the
danger that these might be provoked to secede could not be overlooked.
These considerations prevented the majority of the Northerners, and
especially the leading members of every sect, from opposing slavery as
actively as they would otherwise have been glad to do.

The most active partisan of the slave-holders was the politician who
knew they had votes in Congress and in the electoral college for all the
whites in the South and also for three-fifths of the coloured people.
The views of the Democratic party about the tariff, the bank, and State
rights had made it in 1832 victorious everywhere south of Maryland and
Kentucky; and its preponderance in the cotton States, as well as in
Virginia, enabled it long to resist the growing disaffection at the
North. The Whigs went far enough in the same course for their own
destruction; and the principle of individual liberty found few

VII. Politicians and merchants worked together in getting up the series
of mobs against abolitionists, which began in 1833, under the lead of
a Methodist bishop in New York, and kept breaking out in that city,
Philadelphia, Cincinnati, Boston, and less important places, until they
culminated in the burning of Pennsylvania Hall in 1838. After that year,
they were neither frequent nor violent. The worst crime of the rioters
was murdering a clergyman named Lovejoy in 1837 for trying to save
his printing-press. Most of the Baptist, Methodist, and Presbyterian
preachers and editors were now doing what they could to suppress the
agitation; but the riots called out no indignation like that which had
poured forth from all the churches in 1828 against Sunday mails.

There was little freedom of speech for unpopular opinions in America
in 1835, when Channing declared that the mob against Garrison had made
abolitionism "the cause of Freedom." There were many readers, even in
the South, for the little book in which he insisted that "Slavery ought
to be discussed." He protested against depriving the slave of his
right to improve and respect himself, and vindicated "the sacredness of
individual man." He was the first to appeal from the Fugitive Slave
Law to that "everlasting and immutable rule of right revealed in
conscience." And few other clergymen gave such help to John Quincy
Adams, who was then asserting the right of petition and of discussion
in Congress. Memorials with a hundred and fifty thousand signatures
had been presented against the annexation of Texas, and in favour of
emancipation in the District of Columbia, when it was voted by all
the Southern Representatives, as well as by the Northern Democrats, in
January, 1837, that all petitions relating to slavery "shall be laid on
the table and no action taken thereon." The ex-President, who was then
a Representative from Massachusetts, protested indignantly, as did other
Whigs, and they continued to plead for the constitutional rights of
the North until 1844, when the gag-rule was abolished. On July 4, 1837,
Adams told the people that "Freedom of speech is the only safety-valve
which, under the high pressure of slavery, can preserve your political
boiler from a fearful explosion." The number of names, including many
repetitions, signed in the next two years to anti-slavery petitions was
two millions.

Emancipation in the District of Columbia was out of the question, if
only because the South chose half the Senate. The North was strong
enough in the House of Representatives to prevent any pro-slavery
legislation; and the annexation of Texas was actually postponed until
1845, in consequence partly of the petitions and partly of remonstrances
from the legislatures of Massachusetts, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio,
and other States. These bodies also protested against the neglect of
petitions in Congress. The subsidence of mobs after 1838 was due to
a general feeling at the North, not only that the rioters were too
violent, but also that the South was too dictatorial in gagging
Congress, in tampering with the mails, in asking Northern legislatures
to suppress public meetings, and in trying to annex Texas.

VIII. On all these points the Whigs were so far in advance of the
Democrats in 1840, as to receive much support from abolitionists. These
last, however, were widely and unfortunately divided among themselves.
Many of the men still called themselves Democrats; for the old party
which had been founded by Jefferson had liberal members, who had
formerly been called "Fanny Wright men," and were now known as
"Loco Focos." A few abolitionists took the Gospel aphorisms about
non-resistance so blindly as to say it would be a sin for them to vote.
Garrison renounced the franchise "for conscience" sake and the slave's;
but it is hard to see precisely what any slave gained by his friends'
refusing to vote for Adams, Sumner, or Lincoln. The most consistent
abolitionists voted regularly, and selected a candidate for his work in
the cause, without regard to his party record.

The Democrats took decided ground in the national convention of 1840 and
afterwards against abolitionism. Their nominee, Van Buren, was then at
the head of a corrupt administration. The Whig candidate, Harrison, was
in favour of free speech and honest government. He had been chosen in
preference to Clay, because of the latter's attacking the abolitionists.
Another slave-holder who wanted to lynch them, had, however, been
nominated by acclamation for Vice-President at the Whig convention; and
the party had no platform.

It is hard to see what ought to have been done under these circumstances
by abolitionists. Some who were afterwards known as "Liberty men" set up
an independent ticket, headed by a martyr to the cause. They had quite
as much right to do this as Garrison had to refuse to vote. He had
hitherto taken little responsibility for the proceedings of the national
society; but when the annual meeting was held at New York in May, 1840,
he brought on more than five hundred of his own adherents from New
England, in order to pack the convention. Thus he secured the passage
of a declaration that the independent nominations were "injurious to the
cause" and ought not to be supported. Garrison has justly been compared
to Luther, and this was like Luther at his worst.

Most of the officers and members seceded and organised a rival society
which did good work in sympathy not only with the Liberty men but with
the Free Soilers; and these parties gained most of the new converts
to abolitionism. In 1847 the _Liberator_ published without comment an
estimate that it did not represent the views of one active abolitionist
in ten; and a coloured clergyman of high ability, Dr. Garnett, declared
in 1851 that the proportion was less than one per cent. Most of the
clergymen who were friendly to Garrison before 1840 were thenceforth
against him. So many pulpits were suddenly closed against the agitators,
that one of them, named Foster, kept insisting on speaking in meeting
without leave in various parts of New England. He was usually dragged
out summarily, and often to the injury of his coat-tails, though never
of his temper. Boston was one of the most strongly anti-slavery cities;
but twenty pastors out of forty-four refused to asked the people to pray
for a fugitive slave who was imprisoned illegally in 1842. Those who
complied had comparatively little influence. The rural clergy in New
England, New York, Michigan, and Northern Ohio, had much more sympathy
with reform than their brethren to the southward, especially in large
cities. Garrison's personal unpopularity in the churches had been
much increased by his violent language against them, and also by his
asserting the injustice of Sunday laws, as well as the right of women
to speak for the slave. His position on these points will be considered

IX. His worst mistake was the demand, which he published in the
_Liberator_, in May, 1842, for "a repeal of the Union between
Northern Liberty and Southern Slavery." This he called "essential" for
emancipation. In January, 1843, the Massachusetts Anti-Slavery Society
passed the resolution which was afterwards published regularly in the
_Liberator_ as the Garrisonist creed. It declared the Union "a covenant
with death and an agreement with hell" which "should be immediately
annulled." This position was held by Garrison, Phillips, and their
adherents until 1861. It was largely due, like their refusal to vote,
to indignation at the support given to slavery by the national
Constitution, the Fugitive Slave Act, and some recent legislation
at Washington. Garrison was also confident, as he said at a Disunion
convention in 1857, that if the South were to secede, she would not "be
able to hold a single slave one hour after the deed is done." Phillips,
too, declared that "All the slave asks of us is to stand out of his
way." "Let no cement of the Union bind the slave, and he will right
himself." It is true that secession brought on emancipation; but
it would not have done so if Phillips and Garrison had succeeded in
quenching love of the Union in the North. That patriotic feeling burst
out in a fierce flame; and it was the restoration of the Union which
abolished slavery. Another important fact is that the chief guilt
of slavery rested on the South. The national Government was only an
accessory at worst. No Northerner was responsible for any clause in the
Constitution which he had not sanctioned, or for any action of Congress
which he had done his best to prevent.

The best work against slavery which could be done in 1843 and 1844 was
to defeat a new attempt to annex Texas. This scheme was avowedly for the
extension of slavery over a great region where it had been prohibited by
Mexico. There would probably be war with that country; and success would
increase the power of the slave-holders in the Senate. One half of its
members were from the slave States in 1844; but annexation was rejected
in June by a vote of two to one; and the House of Representatives was
plainly on the same side, though otherwise controlled by the Democrats.

Public warning of the danger to liberty had been given by Adams and
other Whigs in Congress early in 1843; but little heed was taken either
by the clergy or by the Garrisonists. Both were too busy with their own
plans. Channing died in 1842; and Parker went to Europe in September,
1843. It was not until two months later that the _Liberator_ found room
for Texas. Garrison never spoke against annexation until too late; and
it was scarcely mentioned in the May meetings of 1843 at New York and
Boston, in the one hundred anti-slavery conventions which were held that
summer in Western New York, Ohio, and Indiana, with the powerful aid of
Frederick Douglass, or in the one hundred conventions in Massachusetts
early in 1844. At the May meeting in New York, Foster said he should
rejoice to see Texas annexed; and Phillips exulted in the prospect that
this would provoke the North to trample on the Constitution. Annexation
had been opposed by three candidates for the presidency: Birney, who had
already been selected by the "Liberty men"; Van Buren, who was rejected
soon after on this account by the Democrats; and Clay, who had already
been accepted by the Whigs. All three were formally censured, under
various pretexts, in company with John Quincy Adams, at this and other
gatherings of the Garrisonians. Their convention soon after in
Boston voted ten to one for disunion, and closed on June 1st with the
presentation to Garrison of a red flag bearing on one side the motto,
"No Union with Slave-holders," and on the other an eagle wrapped in the
American flag and trampling on a prostrate slave. Two months later,
and three before the election, this banner was carried through gaily
decorated streets in Hingham, amid ringing of church bells, to a meeting
attended by several thousand disunionists. The Garrisonians thought so
much about getting out of the Union, that they had nothing to say in
favour of keeping out Texas.

Among the few abolitionists who saw the duty of the hour were Whittier
and Lowell. The full force of their poetry was not much felt before
1850; but among the stirring publications early in 1842 was a
_Rallying-Cry for New England against the Annexation of Texas_, which
Lowell sent forth anonymously. It was reprinted in _Harper's Weekly_ for
April 23, 1892, but not in the earlier editions of the poems. Among the
most striking lines are these:

     "Rise up New England, buckle on your mail of proof sublime,
     Your stern old hate of tyranny, your deep contempt of crime.

     One flourish of a pen,
     And fetters shall be riveted on millions more of men.

     One drop of ink to sign a name, and Slavery shall find
     For all her surplus flesh and blood a market to her mind.

     Awake New England! While you sleep, the foe advance their lines,
     Already on your stronghold's wall their bloody banner shines.

     Awake and hurl them back again in terror and despair!
     The time has come for earnest deeds: we 've not a man to spare."

If the Whigs had nominated Webster that May, on a platform opposing both
annexation and disunion, they would have gained more votes at the North
than they would have lost at the South. They might possibly have carried
that election; and their strength in the Border States would have
enabled them, sooner or later, to check the extension of slavery without
bringing on civil war. Their platform was silent about Texas, as well
as about the Union; their chief candidate, Clay, had already made
compromises in the interest of the South in 1820 and 1833; he did so
again in 1850; and he admitted, soon after the convention, that he
"should be glad to see" Texas annexed, if it could be done without war.
This failure of the Whigs to oppose the extension of slavery, together
with their having made the tariff highly protective in 1842, cost them
so many votes in New York and Michigan that they lost the election.

Negligence and dissension at the North had enabled the South to set
aside Van Buren in favour of Polk at the Democratic convention. The
party was pledged to annex Texas; and Northern members were appeased
by a crafty promise that all which was worth having in British America,
west of the Rocky Mountains, should be acquired also. The declaration
in the platform of 1840, that the government ought not "to foster one
branch of industry to the detriment of others," was repeated in 1844, as
often afterwards, but it was so cunningly explained away in Pennsylvania
that this State voted for the President who signed the low-tariff bill
of 1846.

The election of 1844 strengthened the influence of the South. Texas was
soon annexed by the same Congress which had refused to do so
previously, and was admitted like Florida, as a slave State, in spite of
remonstrances made by the legislatures of Massachusetts and Vermont, as
well as by two-thirds of the Unitarian ministers.

In March, 1846, Polk's army invaded Mexico; her soldiers resisted; the
Democrats in Congress voted that she had begun the war, which lasted for
the next eighteen months; and the Whigs assented reluctantly. Most of
the volunteers were Southerners, and there was much opposition at the
North to warfare for the extension of slavery. The indignation was
increased by the publication of Whittier's pathetic poem, _The Angels
of Buena Vista_, as well as of that series of powerful satires, Lowell's
_Biglow Papers_, The greatest achievement of literary genius thus far
in America was the creation of _Birdofre-dom Sawin_; and no book except
Mrs. Stowe's famous novel did so much for emancipation.

A foremost place among abolitionists was taken by Parker in 1845, when
he began to preach in Boston. His first sermon against the war with
Mexico was delivered the same month as the publication of the first of
the _Biglow Papers_, June, 1846.

Early in 1847 he spoke with such severity, at an indignation meeting in
Faneuil Hall, that his life was threatened by drunken volunteers. Other
preachers that year in Massachusetts followed his example so generally
as to win praise from the Garrisonians, as well as from the most
patriotic abolitionists; and great effect was produced by his _Letter to
the People_, which showed, early in 1848, that slavery was ruining the
prosperity, as well as the morals, of the South. More about his work
may be found in Chapter V. There we shall see how active the
Transcendentalists were in carrying on the revolt begun by Channing. The
most important victory for liberty recorded in this chapter was that
of 1844 over the protectionists. The defeat of the Garrisonians was
due largely to their mistakes; and there was urgent need of a new
anti-slavery movement on broader ground.


THE revolutionary movements of 1848 did much to encourage love of
liberty in America, where the anti-slavery agitation was now becoming
prominent in politics. The indignation against the Mexican war increased
as it was found that nothing would be done to keep the promise of 1844,
that Great Britain should be excluded from the Pacific. The purpose of
the South, to enlarge the area of slavery but not that of freedom, was
so plain that the northern Democrats proposed the Wilmot Proviso, by
which slavery would have been forbidden in all territory acquired
from Mexico; and they actually carried it through the House of
Representatives, with the help of the Whigs, in 1846. Similar action was
taken by the legislatures of New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Delaware,
and seven other States. The Senate was so unwilling to have slavery
prohibited anywhere as to oppose, merely on this account, a bill for
giving a territorial government to Oregon.

I. Many of the New York delegates to the national Democratic convention
in 1848 came pledged to "uncompromising hostility to the extension of
slavery," and were so badly treated that they withdrew. Cass was
nominated as a friend to the South; the Mexican war was declared "just
and necessary"; and abolitionism was denounced, as it had been in 1840
and 1844. Van Buren was nominated soon after by the anti-slavery
Democrats. A similar movement had already been made by Sumner, Wilson,
and other men who were known as "conscience Whigs," and who had some
support from Clay and Webster. Both these candidates for the presidency
were set aside in favour of a slave-holder, who had been very successful
in conquering Mexico, but never cast a vote. In fact, General Taylor had
taken so little interest in politics, that he was supported in the North
as a friend, and in the South as an enemy, to the Wilmot Proviso. No
opinion on this or any other question could be extorted from the
majority; Wilson declared in the convention that he should do all he
could to defeat its nominee; the conscience Whigs made an alliance with
the Van Buren Democrats; and the new movement was joined by the "Liberty
men," whose vote of sixty thousand had decided the election of 1844.
Thus was formed the Free Soil party, whose fundamental idea, like that
afterwards held by the Republicans, was preservation of the Union by
checking the extension of slavery.

Douglass and other Garrisonists were present at the Free Soil
convention, where he was invited to speak. The new party pledged itself
to "Free Soil, Free Speech, Free Labour, and Free Men." The national
Government was to relieve itself of "all responsibility for slavery,"
and begin by prohibiting its extension. There should be "no more slave
States," "no more slave territory," and "no more compromises with
slavery." The convention also demanded that Oregon should be organised
as a territory with free labour only; and this was granted at once by
President Polk and both Houses of Congress. Most of the members of the
convention were Transcendental enough to think that wisdom must be
spontaneous; and their scorn of political machinery left it to be used
for making Van Buren the candidate. Lowell, who was then at his height
of productiveness, complained that,

     "He aint half anti-slav'ry 'nough";

but Whittier exclaimed, that September:

     "Now joy and thanks forever more!
     The dreary night has well-nigh passed:
     The slumbers of the North are o'er:
     The giant stands erect at last!"

The anti-slavery vote was nearly five times as large as in 1844. Cass
would have been elected if the Free Soilers had supported him in
New York. Their hostility gave that State, as well as Vermont and
Massachusetts, to Taylor, who thus became President. He also carried
Georgia and seven other Southern States; but the West was solidly
Democratic. It was not an anti-slavery victory, but a pro-slavery

II. The first question before the new President and Congress was about
California. The discovery of gold, before the country was ceded by
Mexico, had brought in crowds of settlers, but scarcely any slaves.
Unwillingness to have another free State prevented Polk and his Senate
from allowing California to have any better government than a military
one; and this was deprived of all authority by the desertion of
the soldiers to the diggings. The settlers knew the value of a free
government, and made one independently. The constitution which they
completed in October, 1848, was so anti-slavery that it was not
sanctioned for nearly two years by Congress. Meantime there was no legal
authority in California to levy taxes, or organise fire departments,
or arrest criminals. Robberies and conflagrations were numerous; the
mushroom cities were not graded, paved, or lighted; the uncertainty of
titles to land caused fights in which lives were lost; and criminals
became so desperate that several were lynched by a Vigilance Committee.

The duty of admitting California as a free State was urged upon the
new Congress in December, 1849, by Taylor, who promised to make an
unexpectedly good President. This plan had become so popular at the
North that it was recommended by the Democratic State conventions of
Massachusetts and Wisconsin, as well as by the legislature of every
Northern State, except Iowa. The House of Representatives could
easily have been carried; for the Whigs and Free Soilers constituted
a majority, and would have had some help from Northern Democrats. The
Senate would probably not have consented until after another appeal to
the people; but this might have been made with success at the elections
of 1850.

Taylor had carried Kentucky, Tennessee, Louisiana, Florida, Georgia,
North Carolina, Maryland, and Delaware. The last two States had
permitted some Free Soil votes to be cast; this was also the case in
Virginia; and anti-slavery meetings had been held publicly in St. Louis.
The pro-slavery defeat in 1848 encouraged Southerners who knew the
advantage of free labour to agitate for emancipation. The convention
held for this purpose in Kentucky, in 1849, was attended by delegates
from twenty-four counties; and its declaration that slavery was
"injurious to the prosperity of the Commonwealth," was endorsed
by Southern newspapers. Clay himself proposed a plan of gradual
emancipation; and such a measure was called for, according to the
_Richmond Southerner_ (quoted in Hoist's _Constitutional History_, vol.
iii., p. 433), by "two-thirds of the people of Virginia." Admissions
that "Kentucky must be free," that "Delaware and Maryland are now in a
transition, preparatory to becoming free States," and that "Emancipation
is inevitable in all the farming States, where free labour can be
advantageously used," were published in 1853, at New Orleans, in De
Bow's _Industrial Resources of the Southern and Western States_ (vols.
i., p. 407; ii., p. 310; Hi., p. 60). A book which was written soon
after by a North Carolinian named Helper, and denounced violently in
Congress, shows how much those Southerners who did not hold slaves would
have gained by emancipation; and what was so plainly for the interest of
the majority of the voters would have been established by them, sooner
or later, if it had not been for the breaking out of civil war.

How much danger there was, even in 1849, to slave-holders is shown by
their threats to secede. They wished to increase the hostility between
North and South in order to check the spread southwards of Northern
views. It was in this spirit that Senators and Representatives from the
cotton States demanded a more efficient law for returning fugitives.
Most of the thirty thousand then at the North had come from Maryland,
Virginia, Kentucky, and Missouri; and these States were invited to act
with their southern neighbours against abolitionism.

There were very few secessionists at this time, except in South
Carolina, Mississippi, and Texas. President Taylor was so popular at
the South, and so avowedly ready to take command himself against rebels,
that no army could have been raised to resist him. Webster declared,
in February, 1850, that there was no danger of secession; and the same
opinion was held by Benton of Missouri, Seward, and other Senators.
There was not enough alarm at the North to affect the stock-market. All
that the Whigs needed to do for the Union was to sustain it with all the
strength which they could use for that purpose at the South. If they had
also insisted that California should be admitted unconditionally, they
would soon have had support enough from Northern Democrats in Congress.
The demand for a national party of freedom was urgent. The Free Soilers
were too sectional; but the Whigs had so much influence at the South
that they could have checked the extension of slavery without bloodshed;
and this would have ensured the progress of emancipation.

III. All this might have been done if Clay's hatred of the
abolitionists, who had refused to make him President, had not made him
try to cripple them by another compromise. He proposed that California
should be admitted at once and without slavery; that it should be
left to the settlers in Utah and New Mexico to decide whether these
territories should ultimately become free or slave States; that Texas
should receive a large sum of money, as well as a great tract of land
which she had threatened to take from New Mexico by force; and, worst
of all, that a new fugitive-slave bill should be passed. The law then
on the statute books left the question whether the defendant should
be enslaved to be decided by a magistrate elected by the people or
appointed by the governor; and the court was so apt to be restricted
by local legislation or public opinion, that recovery of fugitives was
practically impossible in New England. The new law retained the worst
provision of the old one; namely, that no jury could be asked to decide
whether the defendant had ever been a slave. The principal change was
that the judge was to come into such close relations with the national
administration as to be independent of the people of the State.
In short, fugitive slaves were to be punished, and disloyal Texans
rewarded, in order that California might get her rights.

This plan was approved by Webster, who hoped that the grateful South
would make him President, and then help him restore those protective
duties which had been removed in 1846. Other Northerners called the
compromise one-sided; and so did men from those cotton States which
were to gain scarcely anything. President Taylor would yield nothing
to threats of rebellion. It was not until after his death that Clay's
proposals could be carried through Congress; and it was necessary to
present them one by one. The bill by which California was admitted, in
September, 1850, was sandwiched in between those about Texas and the
fugitives. The latter were put under a law by which their friends were
liable to be fined or imprisoned; but the new Fugitive Slave Act
had only three votes from the northern Whigs in the House of
Representatives; and there were only four Senators who actually
consented to all Clay's propositions.

The compromise seemed at first to have silenced both secessionists and
abolitionists. The latter were assailed by worse mobs in Boston and New
York than had been the case in these cities for many years. The rioters
were sustained by public opinion; enthusiastic Union meetings were
held in the large cities; and Webster's course was praised by leading
ministers of all denominations, even the Unitarian. Abolitionism had
apparently been reduced to such a position that it could lead to nothing
but civil war. Parker complained, in May, 1850, that the clergy were
deserting the cause. Phillips spoke at this time as if there were no
anti-slavery ministers left. I once heard friendly hearers interrupt him
by shouting out names like Parker's and Beecher's. He smiled, and began
counting up name after name on the fingers of his left hand; but he soon
tossed it up, and said with a laugh, "I have not got one hand full yet."

Webster's friends boasted that Satan was trodden underfoot; but the
compromise was taken as an admission by the Whigs that their party had
cared too little about slavery. Many of its adherents went over, sooner
or later, to the Democratic party, which had at least the merit of
consistency. About half of the Free Soilers deserted what seemed to be
a lost cause; but few if any went back to help the Whigs. The latter did
not elect even three-fourths as many members of Congress in November,
1850, as they did in 1848; and they fared still worse in 1852.
Democratic aid enabled the Free Soilers in 1851 to send Sumner to
represent them in the Senate, in company with Hale and Chase. Seward had
already been sent there by the anti-slavery Whigs, and had met Webster's
plea for the constitutionality of the new Fugitive Slave Law by
declaring that "There is a higher law than the Constitution."
Sumner maintained in Washington, as he had done in Boston, that the
Constitution as well as the moral law forbade helping kidnappers. He was
never a disunionist; but he insisted that "Unjust laws are not binding";
and he was supported by the mighty influence of Emerson.

The effects of Transcendentalism will be so fully considered in the
next chapter but one, that I need speak here merely of what it did to
encourage resistance to the new law which made philanthropy a crime.
The penalties on charity to fugitives were so severe as to call out much
indignation from the rural clergy at the North. In November, 1850, the
Methodist ministers of New York City agreed to demand the repeal of the
law; and Parker wrote to Fillmore, who had been made President by
Taylor's death, that among eighty Protestant pastors in Boston there
were not five who would refuse hospitality to a slave. The first hunters
of men who came there met such a resistance that they did not try to
capture the fugitives. A negro who was arrested was taken by coloured
friends from the court-house; and a second rescue was prevented only by
filling the building with armed hirelings, surrounding it with heavy
chains under which the judges were obliged to stoop, and finally calling
out the militia to guard the victim through the streets of Boston. A
slaveholder who was supposed to be trying to drag his own son back to
bondage, was shot dead by coloured men in Pennsylvania. Other fugitives
were rescued in Milwaukee and Syracuse. The new law lost much of its
power in twelve months of such conflicts; and it was reduced almost to a
dead letter by Personal Liberty bills, which were enacted in nearly
every Northern State. The compromise was not making the North and South
friends, but enemies.

The hostility was increased by the publication of the most influential
book of the century. _Uncle Tom's Cabin_ had attracted much attention as
a serial; and three thousand copies were sold on the day it appeared
in book form, March 20, 1852. There was a sale that year of two hundred
thousand copies, which were equally welcome in parlour, nursery, and
kitchen. Dramatic versions had a great run; and one actress played
"Little Eva" at more than three hundred consecutive performances. Some
of the most effective scenes were intended to excite sympathy with
fugitive slaves.

The total number of votes for all parties did not increase one-third as
fast between 1848 and 1852 as between 1852 and 1856, when many of "Uncle
Tom's" admirers went to the polls for the first time. The Whigs were
so much ashamed of their party, that they permitted every State, except
Massachusetts, Vermont, Kentucky, and Tennessee to be carried by
the Democrats. The latter had the advantage, not only of unity and
consistency as regards slavery, but of having made their low tariff
so much of a success that there was another reduction in 1857. The two
parties had been made nearly equal in Congress by the election of 1848;
but the proportion was changed four years later, to two to one, and the
beaten party soon went to pieces.

The Free Soil candidates and platform were singularly good in 1852; yet
the vote was but little more than one-half as large as in 1848. There
was no election between 1835 and 1865 when anti-slavery votes seemed so
little likely to do any immediate good. The compromise looked like an
irreparable error; and many reformers thought they could do nothing
better than vote with the Democrats for free trade.

IV. The victors in 1852 might have had many years of supremacy, if they
had kept true to the Jeffersonian principle of State rights. They were
consistent in holding that the position of coloured people in each State
ought to be determined by the local majority. The rights of Northerners
had been invaded by the new law, which forbade hospitality to fugitives
and demanded participation in kidnapping; but this wrong might have been
endured if the South had not denied the right of Kansas to become a free
State. This was guaranteed by the compromise of 1820, which had been
kept by the North. Early in 1854, Senator Douglas of Illinois proposed
that the compact should be repudiated, and that it should be left for
future settlers to decide whether there should be freedom or slavery in
a region ten times as large as Massachusetts, with a fertile soil and a
climate warm enough for negro labour.

There was such prompt and intense indignation throughout the North
at this breach of faith, that Douglas said he could find his way from
Chicago to Boston by the light of the bonfires in which he was burned in
effigy. The difference of opinion between city and country clergy ceased
at once. An Episcopalian bishop headed the remonstrance which was signed
by nearly every minister in New York City. Two other bishops signed
the New England protest in company with the presidents of Yale, Brown,
Williams, and Amherst, with the leaders of every Protestant sect,
and with so many other clergymen that the sum total rose above three
thousand, which was four-fifths of the whole number. Five hundred
ministers in the North-west signed a remonstrance which Douglas was
obliged to present; and so many such memorials came in from all the free
States, as to show that there was very little pro-slavery feeling left
among the clergy, except in the black belt north of the Ohio.

One-half of the Northern Democrats in the House of Representatives
refused to follow Douglas. Leading men from all parties united to form
the new one, which took the name of Republican on July 6, 1854, and
gained control of the next House of Representatives. It was all the
more popular because it began "on the sole basis of the non-extension
of slavery." Victory over the South could be gained only by uniting
the North; but Garrison still kept on saying, "If we would see the
slave-power overthrown, the Union must be dissolved." On July 4, 1854,
two days before the Republican party adopted its name, he burned the
Constitution of the United States amid several thousand spectators. Then
it was that Thoreau publicly denied his allegiance to Massachusetts,
which was already doing its best to save Kansas.

Emigrants from New England were sent into that territory so rapidly that
the Douglas plan seemed likely to hasten the time when it would be a
free State. The South had insisted on the rights of the settlers; but
they were outvoted, in November, 1854, and afterwards, by bands of armed
Missourians, who marched off when they had carried the election. The
Free State men were then supplied with rifles; and an anti-slavery
constitution was adopted by the majority of actual residents.
The minority were supported by the President, as well as by the
"border-ruffians"; two rival governments were set up; and civil war
began early in 1855. Lawrence, the principal town in Kansas, was sacked
by command of the United States Marshal, the most important buildings
burned, and much private property stolen. Five settlers, whose threats
of violence had offended John Brown, were slain in cold blood by him and
his men, in retaliation for the Lawrence outrage, in May, 1856. Anarchy
continued; but the new State was not admitted until 1861.

Prominent among the Northerners who insisted on the right of Kansas to
govern herself, was Sumner. His speech in the Senate in May, 1856,
was so powerful that half a million copies were printed as campaign
literature, and Whittier said, "It has saved the country." The orator
had attacked some of his colleagues with needless severity; and on the
day after the sack of Lawrence, he was assaulted by a Representative
from South Carolina in the Senate Chamber with such ferocity that he
could not return to his seat before 1860. This cruel outrage against
freedom of speech was universally applauded throughout the South.

There was indignation enough at the North in 1856 to have given the
election to the Republicans, if the field had been clear; but Protestant
bigotry enabled the South to choose the President who failed to
oppose rebellion. The Catholics had objected as early as 1840 to the
Protestantism which was taught, in part at their expense, to their
children in the public schools. Some ways in which this was done then
have since been abandoned; but the principal controversy has been
about using a book which is universally acknowledged to be a bulwark of
Protestantism. There would not be so much zeal at present for having
it read daily in the schools, if it has no religious influence; and our
Catholic citizens have a right to prefer that their children should be
taught religion in ways not forbidden by their Church. Pupils have not
had much moral or even religious benefit from school-books against which
their conscience rebelled, however unreasonably.

The Catholic position in 1841, according to Bishop Hughes, afterwards
Archbishop, was this: "We do not ask money from the school fund;--all
our desire is that it should be administered in such a way as to promote
the education of all" and "leave the various denominations each in
the full possession of its religious rights over the minds of its
own children. If the children are to be educated promiscuously, as at
present, let religion in every shape and form be excluded."

The Catholics soon changed their ground, and demanded that their
parochial schools should be supported by public money. This called out
the opposition of a secret society, which insisted on keeping the Bible
in the schools and excluding Catholics from office. The Know Nothings
had the aid of so many Whigs in 1854 as to elect a large number of
candidates, most of whom were friendly to the Republicans. The leaders
wished to remain neutral between North and South; but it is hard to
say whether the pledge of loyalty to the Union did not facilitate the
capture of the organisation by the insatiable South early in 1856.
Beecher had already declared that the Know Nothing lodges were
"catacombs of freedom" in which indignation against slavery was stifled.

The presidential election showed that the outburst of bigotry had
done more harm to friends than enemies of liberty. The Democrats lost
Maryland, but gained Pennsylvania and four other Northern States. This
enabled them to retain the Presidency and the Senate, as well as to
recover the House of Representatives, where they had become weaker than
the Republicans. The party of freedom polled eight times as many votes
as in 1852, and made its first appearance in the electoral colleges. It
carried eleven States. The Whigs had accepted the Know Nothing nominee;
and both these neutral parties soon dissolved.

Anarchy in Kansas had been suppressed by United States dragoons; but
they did not prevent the adoption of a pro-slavery constitution by bogus
elections. Buchanan promptly advised Congress to admit Kansas as a slave
State, and declared she was already as much one as Georgia or South
Carolina. This opinion he based on the Dred Scott decision by the
Supreme Court, that Congress had no power to prohibit slavery in any
territory. Douglas insisted on the right of the people of Kansas to
"vote slavery up or down." They were enabled by the joint efforts of
Republicans and Northern Democrats to have a fair chance to say whether
they wished to become a slave State or remain a territory; and the
latter was preferred by four-fifths of the voters.

V. The South called Douglas a traitor; but leading Republicans helped
the Illinois Democrats, in 1858, to elect the Legislature which gave him
another term in the Senate. He might have become the next President if
his opponent in the senatorial contest, Abraham Lincoln, had not led the
Republican party into the road towards emancipation. On June 16, 1858,
he said, in the State convention: "A house divided against itself cannot
stand. I believe this government cannot endure permanently half slave
and half free. I do not expect the Union to be dissolved--I do not
expect the house to fall--but I do expect it will cease to be divided.
It will become all one thing or all the other." Seward took the same
position, four months later, in his speech about the "irrepressible
conflict." Lincoln held that summer and autumn a series of joint debates
with his opponent, before audiences one of which was estimated at twenty
thousand. The speeches were circulated by the Republicans as campaign
documents; and Lincoln's were remarkable, not only for his giving no
needless provocation to the South, but for his proving that slavery
ought not to be introduced into any new territory or State by local
elections. He represented Douglas as really holding that if one man
chooses to enslave another no third man has any business to interfere;
and he repudiated the decision in the Dred Scott case, that coloured
people "had no rights which the white man was bound to respect." He had
more votes that fall than Douglas; but the latter's friends were enabled
by the district system to control the Legislature. Douglas was sent back
to the Senate. Lincoln gained the national reputation which made him

The congressional elections were more favourable to the Republicans than
in 1856, for Northern indignation was growing under the stimulus, not
only of the new wrong to Kansas, but of attempts to annex Cuba and
revive the slave trade. Plans for emancipation were still discussed in
the South; and the agitation had reached even Texas. Helper's _Impending
Crisis_ had gained circulation enough in his own State, North Carolina,
to alarm the slaveholders. They knew that they constituted only
three-tenths of the Southern voters, and that the proportion was less
than one-sixth in Maryland. Helper proved that emancipation would be
greatly to the advantage of many men who held slaves, as well as of all
who did not. When this was found out by the majority in any Southern
State, slavery would begin to fall by its own weight. It had been kept
up by popular ignorance; but the prop was crumbling away. This way of
emancipation might have been long; but it would have led to friendly
relations between whites and blacks, as well as between North and South.

What was most needed in 1859 was that all friends of freedom should work
together, and that no needless pretext should be given for secession.
Garrison still insisted on disunion, and predicted that the South would
not "be able to hold a single slave one hour after the deed is done,"
but he also maintained, as most abolitionists did, that nothing would be
more foolish than trying to excite a slave insurrection. Precisely this
greatest of blunders was committed at Harper's Ferry. If the attempt had
been made six months later, or had had even a few weeks of success,
it might have enabled the slaveholders to elect at least one more
President. The bad effect, in dividing the North, was much diminished by
John Brown's heroism at his trial and execution; but great provocation
was given to the South, and especially to Virginia, which soon turned
out to be the most dangerous of the rebel States. Business men were
driven North by the dozen from cities which were preparing for war.

The quarrel between Northern and Southern Democrats kept growing
fiercer; and the party broke up at the convention for 1860 into two
sectional factions with antagonistic platforms and candidates. Douglas
still led the opposition to those Southerners who maintained that the
nation ought to protect slavery in the territories. A third ticket was
adopted by neutrals who had been Whigs or Know Nothings, and who now
professed no principle but a vague patriotism. The Republicans remained
pledged to exclude slavery from the territories; but they condemned John
Brown, and said nothing against the Fugitive Slave Law or in favour of
emancipation in the District of Columbia. Their leaders had favoured
free trade in 1857; but the platform was now made protectionist, in
order to prevent Pennsylvania from being carried again by the Democrats.
Illinois and Indiana were secured by the nomination of Lincoln. He was
supported enthusiastically by the young men throughout the North:
public meetings were large and frequent; torchlight processions were
a prominent feature of the campaign. The wealth and intellect of the
nation, as well as its conscience, were now arrayed against slavery; but
the clergy are said to have been less active than in 1856. Lincoln had
the majority in every Northern State, except New Jersey, California, and
Oregon. He also had 17,028 votes in Missouri, and 8042 in other slave
States which had sent delegates to the Republican convention. Not one
of the Southern electors was for Lincoln; but he would have become
President if all his opponents had combined against him.

VI. The South had nothing to fear from Congress before 1863, but she had
lost control of the North. Kansas would certainly be admitted sooner or
later; and there would never be another slave State, for the Republican
plan for the territories was confirmed by their geographical position.
The free States might soon become so numerous and populous as to
prohibit the return of fugitives, abolish slavery in the District
of Columbia, repeal the clause of the Constitution which allowed
representation for slaves, and forbid their transportation from State
to State. It was also probable, in the opinion of Salmon P. Chase,
afterwards Secretary of the Treasury, and of many leading Southerners,
that under Federal patronage there might soon be a majority for
emancipation in Maryland, Kentucky, and other States (see _Life of
Theodore Parker_, by Weiss, vol. ii., pp. 229, 519). The vote of thanks
given to Parker in 1855 by the hearers of his anti-slavery lecture in
Delaware, showed that abolitionism would eventually become predominant
in the Senate, as it was already in the House of Representatives.

This prospect was especially alarming to the comparatively few men who
owned so many slaves that they could not afford emancipation on any
terms. Their wealth and leisure gave them complete control of politics,
business, public opinion, and social life in the cotton States; where
both press and pulpit were in bondage. Their influence was much less
in the farming States than in 1850; but they had since come into such
perfect union among themselves, as to constitute the most powerful
aristocracy then extant. Their number may be judged from the fact that
there were in 1850 about six thousand people in the cotton States who
owned fifty slaves or more each.

It was in the interest of these barons of slavery that South Carolina
seceded soon after the election, and that her example was followed by
Georgia and all the Gulf States before Lincoln was inaugurated. The
Garrisonists wished to have them depart in peace; but there was a
strong and general preference for another compromise. Lincoln and other
Republicans insisted that the territories should be kept sacred to
freedom, and that "The Union must be preserved." The question was
settled by those aggressions on national property which culminated in
the bombardment of Fort Sumter. Lincoln's call to arms was answered by a
great uprising of the united North. Loyalty to the nation burst forth in
so fierce a flame that abolitionists who had been trying for many years
to extinguish it now welcomed it as the destined destroyer of slavery.

War had been declared for the sole purpose of suppressing rebellion; and
nothing more could at first have been attempted without violating the
Constitution. Fugitives were sent back promptly by Federal generals, and
anti-slavery songs forbidden in the camps. This policy seemed necessary
to keep the North united, and prevent secession of doubtful States.
Some of those already in revolt might thus, it was hoped, be induced to
return voluntarily, or be conquered easily. These expectations were
soon disappointed. A few of the slave States were kept in subjection
by military force; but the people of the others united in a desperate
resistance, with the aid of the slaves, who supplied the armies with
food and laboured without complaint in camps and forts. But little
was accomplished by the immense armies raised at the North; for the
discipline was at first lax, and the generals were inefficient. Many
defeats of Union armies by inferior forces showed how difficult it is
for a nation that has enjoyed many years of peace to turn conqueror.

VII. The innate incompatibility of war and liberty was disclosed by the
unfortunate fact that even Lincoln was obliged to consent unwillingly to
war measures of a very questionable sort; for instance, the conscription
and that Legal Tender Act which was really a forced loan, and which has
done much to encourage subsequent violations of the right of property by
both Republicans and Democrats in Congress. More harm than good was done
to the Union cause by arbitrary arrests for talking and writing against
the war. Phillips declared, in December, 1861, that "The right of free
meetings and a free press is suspended in every square mile of the
republic." "At this moment one thousand men are bastilled." Hale and
other Republican Senators remonstrated; and so patriotic an author as
Holmes said that teapots might be dangerous, if the lids were shut. All
political prisoners but spies were released by the President early in
1862; and there were no more arbitrary arrests except under plea of
military necessity.

Failures of Union generals encouraged opposition to the war from men who
still preferred compromise; and their disaffection was increased by
the passage, in March, 1863, of a bill establishing a conscription and
putting all the people under martial law. The commander of the military
district that included Ohio issued orders which forbade "declaring
sympathy for the enemy," and threatened with death "all persons within
our lines who harbour, protect, feed, clothe, or in any way aid the
enemies." These orders were denounced as unconstitutional at a public
meeting before more than ten thousand citizens. Many wore badges cut
from the large copper coins then in use and bearing the sacred image
and superscription of Liberty. This practice brought the nickname
"Copperheads" upon people who longed to have the South invited back
on her own terms. Such a policy was recommended at the meeting by
Vallandigham, who had recently represented Ohio in Congress. He called
upon the people to vote against the "wicked war," and said he would
never obey orders aimed against public discussion.

For this speech he was arrested at night, by soldiers who broke into
his house, tried by court-martial, and sentenced on May 7, 1863, to
imprisonment during the remainder of the war. A writ of _habeas corpus_
was refused by the United States Court, which admitted itself "powerless
to enforce obedience." At the clang of war, laws are silent.

Indignation meetings in great cities voted that "The Union cannot be
restored without freedom of speech." Loyal newspapers regretted that
Vallandigham was under "a penalty which will make him a martyr." A
petition for his release was sent to Lincoln, who had not ordered
the arrest and admitted that it was not justified by the speech. He
concluded that the culprit's behaviour towards the army had been so
dangerous that he had better be sent South, beyond the lines. This was
done at once; but the agitator was allowed to return through Canada in
the last summer of the war. Even Lincoln found it difficult to respect
individual liberty under the pressure of military necessity. A strong
government was needed; and that fact has opened the way for Congress to
interfere with private business, for instance in changing the tariff,
during the latter part of the century much more frequently and
extensively than had been done before. Another significant fact is that
the old controversy about internal improvements has died away since our
government was centralised by war; and much money is wasted under that
pretext by Congress.

VIII. The impossibility of putting down the rebellion without
interfering with slavery gradually became plain, even to men who had
formerly hated abolitionism. The only question was how to turn what
was the strength of the Confederacy into its weakness. In March, 1862,
Congress forbade the army to return fugitives; and many thousand fled
into the Union camps, where they did good service, not only as teamsters
and labourers, but even as soldiers. The number under arms amounted
finally to more than a hundred thousand; and they did some of the best
fighting that took place during the war. The colour prejudice at the
North yielded slowly; but the leading Republicans saw not only the need
of more soldiers, but the justice of setting free the wives and children
of men who were risking death for the nation. An Emancipation League was
formed during the first gloomy winter of the war; and Frederick Douglass
said on the Fourth of July amid great applause: "You must abolish
slavery, or abandon the Union"; "for slavery is the life of the

Lincoln was already thinking of setting free the slaves in all the
States which should continue in rebellion after the close of the year;
and his draft of a proclamation, announcing this purpose, was read
to the Cabinet on July 22, 1862. The army in Virginia had been so
unfortunate that summer as to cause a postponement; but the victory
of Antietam was followed by the publication, on September 22d, of
the formal notice that emancipation might be proclaimed on the 1st of
January. How welcome the new policy was to loyal citizens may be judged
from the approbation expressed by the clergy of all denominations, even
the New School Presbyterian, Episcopalian, and Roman Catholic. When
New Year's Day dawned there was much doubt whether the promise would
be fulfilled. Abolitionists and coloured people met in Boston and other
cities, and waited hour after hour, hoping patiently. It was evening
before the proclamation began to pass over the wires. It promised
freedom to all slaves in Arkansas, Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida,
Georgia, South Carolina, and North Carolina, besides most of those
in Louisiana and Virginia. Tennessee and some other States were not
mentioned, because held to have been brought back into the Union. There
was to be freedom thenceforth wherever the Stars and Stripes waved. No
wonder that the news caused great audiences to shout or weep with joy,
and many to spend the night in praise and prayer. The North was now
inspired by motives amply sufficient to justify even a war of conquest;
and her men and money were given freely, until superiority in resources
enabled General Grant to close the war in April, 1865. The revolted
States came back, one by one, and left slavery behind. Even where it had
not been formally abolished, it was practically extinct. Douglass was
right in saying "It was not the destruction, but the salvation of the
Union, that saved the slave."

An amendment to the Constitution, which swept away the last vestiges
of slavery, and made it for ever impossible in the United States, was
adopted on December 18, 1865. It had been proposed two years before;
but the assent of several States then actually in revolt would have been
necessary to secure the majority of three-fourths necessary for adoption
of an amendment. It was by no means certain that even the nominally
loyal States would all vote unanimously for emancipation. In order to
increase the majority for the Thirteenth Amendment, the admission
of Nevada and Colorado as States was voted by Congress, despite some
opposition by the Democrats, in March, 1864. Nevada had a population of
less than 43,000 in 1870. There were not 46,000 people there in 1890,
and there had been a decline since 1880. It is not likely that her
inhabitants will ever be numerous enough to justify her having as much
power in the Senate as New York or Pennsylvania. Senators who represent
millions of constituents have actually been prevented from passing
necessary laws by Senators who did not represent even twenty-five
thousand people each. Nevada is still the worst instance of such
injustice; but it is by no means the only one; and these wrongs can
never be righted, for the Constitution provides that. "No State, without
its consent, shall be deprived of its equal suffrage in the Senate."
The Thirteenth Amendment did not, I think, come into force a day earlier
than it would have done if Nevada had never been admitted, for the
_bona-fide_ States came forward with unexpected willingness. Colorado
was not fully admitted before 1876. Lincoln's favouring the bills
for admitting these States was a serious error, though the motive was
patriotic. His beauty and grandeur of character make the brightest
feature of those dark, sad years. No name stands higher among martyrs
for freedom.

IX. There is no grander event in all history than the emancipation of
four million slaves. This was all the more picturesque because done by
a conquering army; but it was all the more hateful to the former owners.
They refused to educate or enfranchise the freedmen, and tried to reduce
them to serfdom by heavy taxes and cruel punishments for petty crimes.
The States which had seceded were kept under military dictators after
the war was over; and their people were forced to accept the Fourteenth
Amendment, which gave protection to coloured people as citizens of the
United States.

In 1867 there were twenty-one Northern States; but only Maine, New
Hampshire, and Vermont gave the ballot freely to illiterate negroes
without property. Massachusetts had an educational test for all voters;
there were other restrictions elsewhere; and no coloured men could vote
in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, or the North-west. In fact, very few had
ever voted anywhere when Congress gave the suffrage to all the freed men
for their own protection, with no discrimination against illiteracy.

The result of this measure in the District of Columbia was that
unscrupulous politicians gained strong support from needy and ignorant
voters of all colours. Public money was spent recklessly; taxation
became oppressive; and the public debt grew to alarming size. On June
17, 1874, when Grant was President and each branch of Congress was more
than two-thirds Republican, the House of Representatives voted, ten to
one, in favour of taking away the suffrage, not only from the blacks
who had received it seven years before, but even from the whites who had
exercised it since the beginning of the century. All local government
was entrusted to three commissioners appointed by the President and
confirmed by the Senate. There was no opposition; for the arrangement
seemed only temporary. It proved permanent. Even taxation without
representation has been thought better than negro suffrage; and the
citizens of the national capital remain in 1899 without any voice in
their own municipal government.

The problem has been still more difficult in those eleven States which
had to accept negro suffrage, in or after 1867, as a condition of
restoration to the Union. The extension of franchise made in all the
States by the Fifteenth Amendment, in 1870, seemed such a blessing to
the Republicans that Frederick Douglass was much censured for holding
that it might possibly have been attained without special supernatural
assistance. It soon became plain, however, that Congress ought to have
given the spelling-book earlier than the ballot. The suffrage proved no
protection to the freedman; for his white neighbours found that he could
be more easily intimidated than educated. Congress tried to prevent
murder of coloured voters by having the polls guarded by Federal troops
and the elections supervised by United States marshals. The _Habeas
Corpus_ Act was suspended by President Grant in districts where the
blacks outnumbered the whites. It was hard to see what liberty had

The negro's worst enemies were his own candidates. They had enormous
majorities in South Carolina; and there, as Blaine admits, they "brought
shame upon the Republican party," "and thus wrought for the cause of
free government and equal suffrage in the South incalculable harm."
Between 1868 and 1872 they added ten millions by wanton extravagance to
the State debt. Large sums were stolen; taxes rose to six per cent.; and
land was assessed far above its value, with the avowed purpose of taking
it away from the whites. Such management was agreed at a public meeting
of coloured voters under Federal protection, in Charleston, in 1874,
to have "ruined our people and disgraced our State." Negro suffrage was
declared by the New York Evening Post to have resulted in "organising
the ignorance and poverty of the State against its property and

This took place all over the South, and also in Philadelphia, New
York, and other northern cities. Here the illiterate vote was largely
European; and the corruption of politics was facilitated by the
absorption of property-holders in business. There was great need that
intelligent citizens of all races, parties, and sections should work
together to reform political methods sufficiently to secure honest
government. Some progress has already been made, but by no means so much
as might have been gained if the plundered taxpayers at the South had
made common cause with those at the North in establishing constitutional
bulwarks against all swindlers whose strength was in the illiterate and
venal vote.

Unfortunately, prejudice against negroes encouraged intimidation; and
fraud was used freely by both parties. When elections were doubted,
Republican candidates were seated by Federal officials and United States
soldiers. These latter were not resisted; but the Southern Democrats
made bloody attacks on the negro militia. One such fight at New Orleans,
on September 14, 1874, cost nearly thirty lives. What was called a
Republican administration collapsed that day throughout Louisiana; but
it was soon set up again by the army which had brought it into power.

At last the negroes found out that, whoever might conquer in this
civil war, they would certainly lose. They grew tired of having hostile
parties fighting over them, and dropped out of politics. The Republicans
held full possession of the presidency, both branches of Congress, the
Federal courts, the army, the offices in the nation's service, and most
of the State governments; but they could not prevent the South from
becoming solidly Democratic. The new governments proved more economical,
and the lives of the coloured people more secure. The last important
result of negro suffrage in South Carolina and Louisiana was an alarming
dispute as to who was elected President in 1876. The ballot has not been
so great a blessing to the freedmen as it might have been if it had
been preceded by national schools, and given voluntarily by State after

These considerations justify deep regret that emancipation was not
gained peaceably and gradually. Facts have been given to show that it
might have been if there had been more philanthropy among the clergy,
more principle among the Whigs, and more wisdom among the abolitionists.


I. The best work for liberty has been done by men who loved her too
wisely to vituperate anyone for differing from them, or to forestall
the final verdict of public opinion by appealing to an ordeal by battle.
Such were the men who took the lead in establishing freedom of thought
in America. Very little individual independence of opinion was found
there by Tocqueville in 1831; and the flood of new ideas which had
already burst forth in England was not as yet feeding the growth of
originality in American literature. This sterility was largely due to
preoccupation with business and politics; but even the best educated men
in the United States were repressed by the dead weight of the popular
theology; and Channing complained that the orthodox churches were
"arrayed against intellect." The silence of the pulpit about slavery
is only one instance of the general indifference of the clergy to new
ideas. We shall see that at least one other reform was opposed much more
zealously. The circulation of new books and magazines from Europe was
retarded by warnings against infidelity; and colleges were carefully
guarded against the invasion of new truth.

Intercourse with Europe was fortunately close enough for the brightness
of her literature and art to attract many longing eyes from New England.
Goethe, Schiller, Fichte, Jean Paul, Mme. de Stâel, and Rousseau won
readers in the original, as well as in translations; and the influence
of Shelley, Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Carlyle increased rapidly.
Plato and Kant found many worshippers, and a few students. The plain
incapacity of orthodoxy to solve the pressing moral and intellectual
problems of the day permitted young people who knew nothing about
science to welcome the idea that the highest truth is revealed by
intuitions which transcend experience and should supersede logic. This
system is peculiarly that of Schelling, who was then expounding it in
Germany; but the credit for it in America was given to his disciples,
and especially to Coleridge. A few admirers of these authors formed
the Transcendental Club in Boston, in September, 1836; and the new
philosophy made converts rapidly. Severity of climate and lack of social
amusements favoured introspection. Thinkers welcomed release from the
tyranny of books. Lovers of art were glad of the prospect of a broader
culture than was possible in the shadow of Puritanism. Reformers seized
the opportunity of appealing from pro-slavery texts and constitutions
to a higher law. Friends of religion hoped that the gloom of the popular
theology would be dispelled by a new revelation coming direct from God
into their souls.

II. A mighty declaration of religious independence was made on July 15,
1838, when Emerson said to the Unitarian ministers: "The need was never
greater of new revelation than now." "It cannot be received at second
hand." There has been "noxious exaggeration about the person of Jesus."
"Cast aside all conformity, and acquaint men at first hand with
Deity." "The old is for slaves." Much controversy was called out by
the publication of this address. It was preceded by another in which
educated men were told that they must believe themselves "inspired
by the Divine Soul which inspires all men." "There can be no scholar
without the heroic mind." "Each age must write its own books." Emerson
had also sent out in 1836 a pamphlet entitled _Nature_; and one of its
first readers has called it "an 'open sesame' to all thought, and
the first we had ever had." Still more important were the essays on
"Heroism" and "Self-Reliance," which were part of a volume published in
1841. Then Emerson's readers were awakened from the torpor of submission
to popular clergymen and politicians by the stern words: "Whoso would
be a man must be a nonconformist." "Insist on yourself: never imitate."
"The soul looketh steadily forwards." "It is no follower: it never
appeals from itself." The Russian Government was so well aware of the
value of these essays as to imprison a student for borrowing them. A
Lord Mayor in England acknowledged that their influence had raised him
out of poverty and obscurity. Bradlaugh's first impulse to do battle for
freedom in religion came from Emerson's exhortation to self-reliance.

The author's influence was all the greater, because he was already an
impressive lecturer. There was much more demand, both in England and
in America, between 1830 and 1860, for literary culture and useful
knowledge than was supplied by the magazines and public libraries.
The Americans were peculiarly destitute of public amusements. Dancing,
playing cards, and going to the theatre were still under the ban; and
there was not yet culture enough for concerts to be popular. There was
at the same time much more interest, especially in New England, in the
anti-slavery movement than has been called out for later reforms; for
these have been much less picturesque. The power with which Phillips and
Parker pleaded for the slave was enough to make lectures popular; but
I have known courses attended, even in 1855, by young people who went
merely because there was nowhere else to go, and who came away in
blissful ignorance of the subjects. Deeper than all other needs lay that
of a live religion. Emerson was among the first to satisfy this demand.
His earliest lecture, in 1833, took a scientific subject, as was then
customary; but he soon found that he had the best possible opportunity
for declaring that "From within, or from behind, a light shines through
upon things and makes us aware that we are nothing, but the light is
all." Invitations were frequent as early as 1844, though the audience
was usually small; and his genius became generally recognised after his
return, in 1848, from a visit to England. There scholarship was high
enough to give him, as early as 1844, thousands of readers for that
little book on _Nature_, of which only a few hundred copies had been
sold in America. Invitations to lecture came from all parts of Great
Britain, and in such numbers that many had to be declined. The
aristocracy of rank as well as of intellect helped to crowd the halls in
Manchester, Edinburgh, and London. Once at least, he had more than two
thousand hearers. The newspapers reported his lectures at such length
that much of his time was spent in writing new ones. He had not intended
to be anyone's guest; but invitations were so numerous and cordial, that
he could seldom escape into solitude. He wrote to his wife, "My
reception here is really a premium on authorship."

Success in England increased his opportunities, as well as his courage,
to speak in America. Invitations grew more and more frequent, and
compensation more liberal. His thrilling voice was often heard,
thenceforth, in the towns and cities of New England. In 1850, he went to
lecture at St. Louis, and met audience after audience on the way. During
the next twenty years he spent at least two months of discomfort,
every winter, lecturing in city after city throughout the free States.
Everywhere he gave his best thought, and as much as possible of it, in
every lecture. Logical order seemed less important; and he spent much
more time in condensing than in arranging the sentences selected from
his note-books. Strikingly original ideas, which had flashed upon him at
various times, were presented one after another as if each were complete
in itself. The intermixture of quotations and anecdotes did not save the
general character from becoming often chaotic; but the chaos was
always full of power and light. Star after star rose rapidly upon his
astonished and delighted hearers. They sometimes could not understand
him; but they always felt lifted up. Parker described him in 1839 as
pouring forth "a stream of golden atoms of thought"; and Lowell called
him some twenty years later "the most steadily attractive lecturer in
America." These young men and others of like aspirations walked long
distances to visit him or hear him speak in public. The influence of
his lectures increased that of the books into which they finally
crystallised. In 1860, he had made his way of thinking so common that
his _Conduct of Life_ had a sale of 2500 copies in two days. His readers
were nowhere numerous, outside of Boston; but they were, and are, to be
found everywhere.

Lovers of liberty on both sides of the Atlantic were brought into closer
fellowship by books singularly free from anti-British prejudice; but he
was so thoroughly American that he declared, even in London, that the
true aristocracy must be founded on merit, for "Birth has been tried and
failed." This lecture was often repeated, and was finally given in 1881
as his last word in public. Introspective and retiring habits kept him
for some time from engaging actively in the reforms which were in full
blast about 1840; but Lowell said he was "the sleeping partner who has
supplied a great part of their capital." His words about slavery
were few and cold before the Fugitive Slave Bill was passed in 1850.
Indignation at this command to kidnap made him publicly advise his
neighbours to break the wicked law. He spoke in support of a Free Soil
candidate in 1852, and for the Republican party in 1854; but John Brown
called out much more of his praise than any other abolitionist. The
attempt of the Garrisonians to persuade the North to suffer the seceders
to depart in peace won his active aid; but the speech which he tried to
deliver on their platform, early in 1861, was made inaudible by a mob
of enthusiasts for maintaining the Union by war. He rejoiced in
emancipation; but it was not achieved until he had lost much of his
mental vigour. This, in fact, was at its height between 1840 and 1850.
His last volumes were in great part made up of his earliest writings.
There was no change in his opinions; and his address in 1838 was fully
approved by him when he re-read it shortly before his death.

His most useful contribution to the cause of reform was the
characteristic theory which underlies all he wrote. In the essays
published in 1841, he states it thus: "Every man knows that to his
involuntary perceptions a perfect faith is due."... "We know truth when
we see it." From first to last he held that "Books are for the
scholar's idle hours."... "A sound mind will derive its principles from
insight."... "Truth is always present; it only needs to lift the iron
lids of the mind's eye to read its oracles." This was a doctrine much
more revolutionary than Luther's. Emerson proclaimed independence of the
Bible as well as of the Church. His innate reverence was expressed in
such sayings as "The relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so
pure, that it is profane to interpose helps." Love of spontaneity made
him declare that "Creeds are a disease of the intellect." It was in
his indignation at the Fugitive-Slave Law that he said, "We should not
forgive the clergy for taking on every issue the immoral side." His
treatment of religious institutions was not perfectly consistent; but
the aim of all his writings was to encourage heroic thought. He wrote
the Gospel of Nonconformity. Personal knowledge of his influence
justified Bishop Huntington in saying that he has "done more to unsettle
the faith of the educated young men of our age and country in the
Christianity of the Bible than any other twenty men combined."

How desirous Emerson was to have the inner light obeyed promptly and
fully may be judged from his describing his own habit of writing as
follows: "I would not degrade myself by casting about for a thought,
nor by waiting for it."... "If it come not spontaneously, it comes not
rightly at all." Much of the peculiar charm of his books is due to his
having composed them thus. Again and again he says: "It is really of
little importance what blunders in statement we make, so only that we
make no wilful departure from the truth."... "Why should I give up
my thought, because I cannot answer an objection to it?"... "With
consistency, a great soul has simply nothing to do."... "Speak what you
think now in hard words, and to-morrow speak what to-morrow thinks in
hard words again, though it contradict everything you said to-day."...
"I hope in these days we have heard the last of conformity and
consistency. Let the words be"... "ridiculous henceforward." This
is not meant for mere theory. We are told often that "Virtue is the
spontaneity of the will."... "Our spontaneous action is always the
best."... "The only right is what is after my own constitution, the only
wrong what is against it."

III. The passages quoted in the last paragraph are of great importance;
for they did more than any others to abolish slavery. Its defenders
appealed to the Bible as confidently as to the national Constitution;
but the Garrisonians declared with Emerson, that "The highest virtue is
always against the law." They were confident that they knew the truth
as soon as they saw it, and had no need to answer objections. The same
faith in spontaneous impressions inspired the suffragists, of whom the
next chapter will give some account. Agitations against
established institutions sprang up thickly under the first step of
Transcendentalism. Church, State, family ties, and business relations
seemed all likely to be broken up. Lowell says that "Everybody had a
mission (with a capital M) to attend to everybody else's business."...
"Conventions were held for every hitherto inconceivable purpose."
"Communities were established where everything was to be in common
but common sense." The popular authors about 1840 were mostly
Transcendentalists; and nearly every Transcendentalist was a Socialist.
Some forty communities were started almost simultaneously; but not
one-half lasted through the second year. One of the first failures was
led by a man who had been working actively against slavery, but who had
come to think that the only way to attack it was to try to do away with
all private property whatever. Brook Farm lasted half a dozen years,
with a success due partly to the high culture of the inmates, and partly
to some recognition of the right of private ownership. The general
experience, however, was that a Transcendentalist was much more willing
to make plans for other people, than to conform in his own daily life
to regulations proposed by anyone else. The very multiplicity of the
reforms, started in the light of the new philosophy, did much to prevent
most of them from attaining success. We have seen how slavery was
abolished; but no one should regret the failure of most of the
Transcendentalist schemes.

The subsidence of Socialism was especially fortunate on account of the
frankness with which matrimony was repudiated by the system most in
vogue, that of Fourier. He had followed the spontaneous and instinctive
impulses of man with the utmost consistency. Other Socialists have been
more cautious; but the problem of reconciling family ties with communal
life has not been solved. Some of the English Transcendentalists
published a pamphlet recommending systematic encouragement of
licentiousness; and an American philosopher, who turned Roman Catholic
in 1844, declared that free love was "Transcendentalism in full
bloom." The term "higher law" was used to support the pretence of some
obligation more binding than marriage. A free-love convention was held
in New York about 1857; and very lax ideas had been already announced by
active apostles of spontaneity known as Spiritualists.

No writer has done more to encourage purity of thought than Emerson. His
life was stainless; but perhaps the best proof of this is his saying,
"Our moral nature is vitiated by any interference of our will"; and
again, "If the single man plant himself indomitably on his instincts,
and there abide, the huge world will come round to him." No man
ever wrote thus who was not either notoriously corrupt or singularly
innocent. Policemen and jailers exist largely for the purpose of
preventing people from planting themselves on their instincts--for
instance, those which lead to theft, drunkenness, and murder. Socialism
would perhaps be practicable if industry were as natural as laziness.
Almost all moralists have thought it necessary to insist on constant
interference with the instincts. So earnest and able a Transcendentalist
as Miss Cobbe gives these definitions in her elaborate treatise on
_Intuitive Morals_: "Happiness is the gratification of all the desires
of our nature." "Virtue is the renunciation of such of them as are
forbidden by the moral law." Theodore Parker insisted on the duty of
subordinating "the low qualities to the higher," but Emerson held, as
already mentioned, that "Virtue is the spontaneity of the will."

Such language was largely due to his perception that all activity,
however innocent, of thought and feeling had been too much repressed by
the Puritanical churches, in whose shadow he was brought up. The same
mistake was made in the Dark Ages; and the reaction from that asceticism
was notorious during the Renaissance. The early Unitarians overrated
human nature in their hostility to the Trinitarians, who underrated
it; and Emerson went beyond his original associates in the Unitarian
ministry because he was more Transcendental. The elevation of his own
character encouraged him to hope that our higher qualities are so strong
as to need only freedom to be enabled to keep all impure desire in
subjection. It was a marked change of tone when in 1876 he allowed these
words to be printed in one of his books: "Self-control is the rule. You
have in you there a noisy, sensual savage which you are to keep down,
and turn all his strength to beauty." Similar passages, especially
a censure of the pruriency of Fourierism, occur in essays which were
probably written some years earlier, but were not published until after
his death. Most of the Transcendentalists have fortunately acknowledged
the duty of self-control much more plainly and readily. It is a fair
question whether they were more consistent. How does anyone know which
of his instincts and impulses to control and which to cultivate? What
better light has he than is given either by his own experience or by
that of his parents and other teachers? I acknowledge the power of
conscience; but its dictates differ so much in different individuals as
to be plainly due to early education. Thus even a Transcendentalist has
to submit himself to experience; as he would not do if it were really
transcended by his philosophy.

Emerson himself was singularly fortunate in his "involuntary
perceptions." Those of most men are dark with superstition and
prejudice. It is what we have heard earliest and oftenest that recurs
most spontaneously. If all mankind had continued satisfied to "trust
the instinct to the end though it can render no reason," we should still
believe in the divine right of kings, and the supremacy of evil spirits.
There would have been very little persecution if men could have known
truth when they saw it. Parker believed devoutly in the intuitions, but
he said that Emerson exaggerated their accuracy to such an extent that
he "discourages hard and continuous thought." "Some of his followers
will be more faithful than he to the false principles which he lays
down, and will think themselves wise because they do not study, and
inspired because they say what outrages common sense." The danger of
following instinctive impressions in regard to the currency has
been shown in recent American politics. Anyone who is familiar with
scientific methods will see where Emerson's failed. It is true that he
prized highly many of the results of science, especially the theory of
evolution as it was taught by Lamarck and other forerunners of Darwin.
His inability to see the value of investigation and verification is
disclosed plainly; and he preferred to have people try to "build science
on ideas." He acknowledged that too much time was given to Latin and
Greek in college; but his wishes in regard to study of the sciences were
so old-fashioned as to call out a remonstrance from Agassiz.

IV. How little scientific culture there was before 1860 may be judged
from the rapid growth of Spiritualism. Transcendentalism had shown
tremendous strength in helping people escape from the old churches; but
it was of little use in building new ones. Churches exist for the
express purpose of enabling believers in a common faith to unite in
public worship. No society could be so holy as solitude to a sincere
Transcendentalist; and the beliefs of his neighbours seemed much less
sacred than his own peculiar intuitions. Exceptional eloquence might
make him pastor of a large society; but it began to decline when he
ceased to speak. Transcendentalism was excellent material for
weathercocks, but it had to be toughened by adulteration with baser
metal before it supplied any solid foundation for a new temple.

Most of the people who had lost faith in the old churches were longing
after some better way of receiving knowledge about the heavenly world.
Millions of Americans and Europeans rejoiced to hear that spirits had
begun to communicate by mysterious raps at Rochester, N. Y., on the last
day of March, 1848. Messages from the departed were soon received in
many places; but the one thing needful was that the room be filled with
believers; and a crowded hall was peculiarly likely to be favoured with
strange sounds and sights. Here was the social element necessary for
founding a new religion. It appealed as confidently as its rivals to
miracles and prophecies, while it had the peculiar attraction of being
preached mainly by young women. Instinctive impulses were regarded as
revelations from the spirit-land, but not considered infallible except
by the very superstitious. The highest authority of an intelligent
Spiritualist has usually been his own individual intuition. Some of
the earliest lectures on that platform had little faith in anything but
science, and put their main strength into announcing those revelations
of geology which have dethroned Genesis. One of the first teachers of
evolution in America was a Spiritualist named Denton, who held a public
debate in Ohio, in 1858, when he defended the theory of man's gradual
development from lower animals against a preacher named Garfield, who
became President of the United States. Some eminent scientists have
become converts to Spiritualism; but its general literature has shown
little influence from scientific methods of thought.

The advocates of the new religion have owed much of their success to
impassioned eloquence. Opposition to Christianity has been expressed
boldly and frequently. Girls of seventeen have declared, before large
audiences, that all the creeds and ceremonies of the churches are mere
idolatry. Among the earliest communications which were published as
dictated by angels in the new dispensation were denials of the miracles
of Jesus, and denunciations of the clergy as "the deadliest foes of
progress." An eminent Unitarian divine declared in 1856, that "the
doctrines professedly revealed by a majority of the spirits, whose
words we have seen quoted, are at open war with the New Testament."
Some moderate Spiritualists have kept in friendly relations with liberal
churches; but many others have been in active co-operation with the most
aggressive of unbelievers in religion. The speakers at the Spiritualist
anniversary in 1897 said to one another, "You and I are Christs, just
as Jesus was," and claimed plainly that "our religion" was distinct from
every "Christian denomination." Spiritualists have all, I think, been in
favour of woman suffrage; and the majority were abolitionists. Some
of Garrison's companions, however, deserted in the heat of the battle,
saying that there was nothing more to do, for the spirits would free
the slaves. Anti-slavery lecturers in the North-west found themselves
crowded out of halls and school-houses by trance-speakers and mediums.
One of the most eminent of converts made by the latter, Judge Edmonds,
was prominent among the defenders of slavery in the free States.

Freedom from any definite creed or rigid code of morality joined with
the constant supply of ever-varying miracles in attracting converts.
Those in the United States were soon estimated in millions. Spiritualism
swept over Great Britain so rapidly that it was declared by the
_Westminster Review_ to give quite as much promise as Christianity had
done, at the same age, of becoming a universal religion. No impartial
observer expects that now. Believers are still to be found in all parts
of Europe and South America, and they are especially numerous in the
United States. Proselytes do not seem to be coming in anywhere very
thickly; and the number of intelligent men and women who have renounced
Spiritualism, after a brief trial, is known to be large. The new
religion has followed the old ones into the policy of standing on the

One instance of this is the opposition to investigation. A Mediums'
National Defence Association was in open operation before 1890. A
leading Spiritualist paper suggested in 1876, that the would-be inquirer
should be "tied securely hand and foot, and placed in a strong iron
cage, with a rope or small chain put tightly about his neck, and
fastened to an iron ring in the wall." Early in 1897, some young men
who claimed to have exposed an impostor, before a large audience in the
Spiritualist Temple in Boston, were prosecuted by his admirers on the
charge of having disturbed public worship.

V. During the last quarter of the century, free love has been much
less prominent than before in Spiritualistic teachings; but the
only Americans who were able to proclaim liberty without encouraging
self-indulgence, prior to 1870, were the logical and scholarly
Transcendentalists. Theodore Parker, for instance, is to be reckoned
among the followers of Hegel rather than of Schelling; for he tried by
hard study and deep thought to build up a consistent system of religion
and morality by making deductions from a few central principles which he
revered as great primary intuitions, held always and everywhere sacred.
His faith in his ideas of God, duty, and immortality was very firm; and
he did his best to live and think accordingly. He began to preach in
1836, the year of the publication of Emerson's first book, but soon
found his work hindered by an idolatry of the Bible, then prevalent even
among Unitarians. Familiarity with German scholarship enabled him to
teach his people to think rationally.

His brethren in the Unitarian ministry were alarmed; and a sermon
which he preached in Boston against the mediatorship of Jesus made it
impossible for him to occupy an influential pulpit. The lectures which
he delivered that year in a hall in the city, and published in 1842,
won the support of many seekers for a new religion. They voted that he
should "have a chance to be heard in Boston"; and on February 16, 1845,
he preached in a large hall to what soon became a permanent and famous

Thither, as Parker said, he "came to build up piety and morality; to
pull down only what cumbered the ground." His main purpose to the last
was to teach "the naturalness of religion," "the adequacy of man for
his functions" without priestly aid, and, most important of all, that
superiority of the real Deity to the pictures drawn in the orthodox
creeds, which Parker called "the infinite perfection of God." He was
singularly successful in awakening the spirit of religion in men who
were living without it, but the plainness with which he stated his
faith, in sermons which had a large circulation, called out many
attacks. Prayers were publicly offered up in Boston, asking that the
Lord would "put a hook in this man's jaws, so that he may not be able to
preach, or else remove him out of the way and let his influence die with
him." No controversy hindered his labouring systematically for the moral
improvement of his hearers, who sometimes amounted to three thousand.
His sermons are full of definite appeals for self-control and
self-culture; and his personal interest in every individual who could
be helped was so active that he soon had seven thousand names on his
pastoral visiting list. Appeals for advice came from strangers at a
distance, and were never neglected.

Not one of the great national sins, however popular, escaped his severe
rebuke; and he became prominent as early as 1845 among the preachers
against slavery. He was active in many ways as an abolitionist, but was
not a disunionist. He seldom quitted his pulpit without speaking for the
slave; and every phase of the anti-slavery movement is illustrated in
his published works. Pro-slavery politicians were as bitter as orthodox
clergymen against him; and he describes himself as "continually fired
upon for many years from the barroom and pulpit." His resistance to the
Fugitive Slave Law caused him to be arrested and prosecuted, in company
with Wendell Phillips, by the officials of the national Government.

Desire to awaken the people to the danger that lay in the growth of the
national sin made him begin to lecture in 1844. Invitations flowed in
freely; and he said, after he had broken down under the joint burden
of overwork and of exposure in travelling: "Since 1848, I have lectured
eighty or a hundred times each year, in every Northern State east of the
Mississippi,--once also in a slave State and on slavery itself."
This was his favourite subject, but he never missed an opportunity of
encouraging intellectual independence; and he found he could say what he
pleased. The total number of hearers exceeded half a million; among them
were the most influential men in the North; and he never failed to make
himself understood. No one else did so much to develop that love of the
people for Union and Liberty which secured emancipation. His works have
no such brilliancy as Emerson's; but they burned at the time of need
with a much more warm and steady light. No words did more to melt the
chains of millions of slaves. No excess of individualism made him shrink
back, like Emerson, from joining the abolitionists; or discredit them,
as Thoreau did, by publicly renouncing his allegiance to Massachusetts
in 1854, when that State stood foremost on the side of freedom.

The account of a solitary life in the woods, which Thoreau published
that year, has done much to encourage independence of public opinion;
and Americans of that generation needed sadly to be told that they took
too little amusement, especially out of doors, and made too great haste
to get rich. Their history, however, like that of the Swiss, Scotch,
and ancient Athenians, proves that it is the industrious, enterprising,
money-making nations that are best fitted for maintaining free
institutions. As for individual independence of thought and action,
the average man will enjoy much more of it, while he keeps himself in
comfortable circumstances by regular but not excessive work, than he
could if he were to follow the advice of an author who prided himself
on not working more than "about six weeks in a year," and on enduring
privations which apparently shortened his days.

Thoreau's self-denial was heroic; but he sometimes failed to see the
right of his neighbours to indulge more expensive tastes than his own.
The necessary conditions of health and comfort for different individuals
vary much more than he realised. Many a would-be reformer still
complains of the "luxury" of people who find physical rest or mental
culture in innocent ways, not particularly to his own fancy. Such
censures are really intolerant. They are survivals of that meddlesome
disposition which has sadly restricted freedom of trade, amusement, and

We have had only one Emerson; but many scholarly Transcendentalists have
laboured to construct the new morality needed in the nineteenth
century. Parker's work has peculiar interest, because done in a terrible
emergency; but others have toiled as profitably though less famously.
The search after fundamental intuitions has led to a curious variety of
statements which agree only in the assumption of infallibility; but the
result has been the general agreement of liberal preachers in teaching a
system of ethics at once free from superstition, bigotry, or asceticism,
and at the same time vigorous enough to repress impure desire and
encourage active philanthropy. Theology has improved in liberality, as
well as in claiming less prominence. Thus the clergy have come into much
more friendly relations with the philosophers than in the middle of the
century. Our popular preachers quote Emerson; but really they follow,
though often unconsciously, the methods of Hegel and Kant. This
increases their sympathy with Parker, who has the advantage over Emerson
of having believed strongly in personal immortality. His works are
circulated by the very denomination which cast him out. The most popular
preachers in many sects openly accept him and Emerson among their
highest authorities. Transcendentalism has become the foundation of
liberal Christianity.

This agreement is not, however, necessary and may not be permanent.
Hegel's great success was in bringing forward the old dogmas with new
claims to infallibility. When some of his disciples showed that his
methods were equally well adapted for the destruction of orthodoxy,
Schelling gave his last lectures in its defence. The singular fitness
of traditions for acceptance as intuitions has been proved, late in the
century, by the Rev. Joseph Cook in Boston as well as by many speakers
at the Concord School of Philosophy. The reactionary tendency is already
so strong that it may yet become predominant. We must not forget that
Shelley called himself an atheist, or that among Hegel's most famous
followers were Strauss and Renan. Who can say whether unbelief,
orthodoxy, or liberal Christianity is the legitimate outcome of this
ubiquitous philosophy?

Transcendentalism has been the inspiration of the century. Its influence
has been mighty in behalf of political liberty and social progress. But
there was no inconsistency in Hegel's opposing the education of women,
and denying the possibility of a great republic, or in Carlyle's
defending absolute monarchy and chattel slavery, or in Parker's
successor in Boston trying to justify the Russian despotism.
Transcendentalism is a swivel-gun, which can be fired easily in any
direction. Perhaps it can be used most easily against science. The
difference in methods, of course, is irreconcilable, as is seen in
Emerson; and the brilliant results attained by Herbert Spencer have been
sadly disparaged by leading Transcendentalists in the conventions of the
Free Religious Association, as well as in sessions of the Concord School
of Philosophy.

VI. The necessary tendency of Transcendentalism may be seen in the
agitation against vivisection, which was begun in 1863 by Miss Cobbe.
She was aided by Carlyle, Browning, Ruskin, Lecky, Mar-tineau, and other
Transcendentalists, one of whom, Rev. W. H. Channing, had been prominent
in America about 1850. Most of the active anti-vivisectionists, however,
belong to the sex which has been peculiarly ready to adopt unscientific
methods of thought. It is largely due to women with a taste for
metaphysics or theology that the agitation still goes on in Great
Britain and the United States.

Attempts ought certainly to be made to prevent torture of animals by
inexperienced students, or by teachers who merely wish to illustrate
the working of well-known laws. There ought to be little difficulty
in securing the universal adoption of such statutes as were passed by
Parliament in 1876. Vivisection was then forbidden, except when carried
out for the purpose of important discoveries, by competent investigators
duly licensed, and in regular laboratories. It was further required that
complete protection against suffering pain be given by anaesthetics,
though these last could be dispensed with in exceptional cases covered
by a special license.

The animal must at all events be killed as soon as the experiment was
over. This law actually put a stop to attempts to find some antidote
to the poison of the cobra, which slays thousands of Hindoos annually.
Professor Ferrier, who was discovering the real functions of various
parts of the brain, was prosecuted in 1881 by the Anti-Vivisection
Society for operating without a license upon monkeys; but the charge
turned out to be false.

The real question since 1876 has been as to whether vivisection should
be tolerated as an aid to scientific and medical discovery. Darwin's
opinion on this point is all the more valuable, because he hated all
cruelty to animals. In April, 1881, he wrote to _The Times_ as follows:

"I know that physiology cannot possibly progress except by means of
experiments on living animals; and I feel the deepest conviction that
he who retards the progress of physiology commits a crime against
mankind.... No one, unless he is grossly ignorant of what science has
done for mankind, can entertain any doubt of the incalculable benefits
which will hereafter be derived from physiology, not only by man but by
the lower animals. Look, for instance, at Pasteur's results in modifying
the germs of the most malignant diseases, from which, as it so happens,
animals will in the first place receive more relief than man. Let it be
remembered how many lives, and what a fearful amount of suffering,
have been saved by the knowledge gained of parasitic worms, through the
experiments of Virchow and others upon living animals."

Another high authority, Carpenter, says that vivisection has greatly
aided physicians in curing heart disease, as well as in preventing
blood-poisoning by taking antiseptic precautions. Much has been learned
as to the value of hypodermic injections, and also of bromide of
potassium, chloral, salicylic acid, cocaine, amyl, digitalis, and
strychnia. Some of these drugs are so poisonous that they would never
have been administered to human beings if they could not have been
tried previously on the lower animals. The experiments in question have
recently assisted in curing yellow fever, sunstroke, diabetes, epilepsy,
erysipelas, cholera, consumption, and trichinosis. The German professors
of medicine testified in a body that vivisection has regenerated the
healing art. Similar testimony was given in 1881 by the three thousand
members of the International Medical Congress; and the British Medical
Association has taken the same position.

The facts are so plain that an English judge, who was a vice-president
of Miss Cobbe's society, admitted that "vivisection enlarges knowledge";
but he condemned it as ''displeasing to Almighty God.'' It was said to
go "hand in hand with atheism"; and several of the Episcopalian bishops,
together with Cardinal Manning, opposed it as irreligious.

Transcendentalists are compelled by their philosophy to decide on the
morality of all actions solely by the inner light, and not permitted to
pay any attention to consequences. Many of them in England and America
agreed to demand the total suppression of vivisection, "even should it
chance to prove useful." This ground was taken in 1877 by Miss Cobbe's
society; and she declared, five years later, in _The Fortnightly_,
that she was determined "to stop the torture of animals, a grave moral
offence, with the consequences of which--be they fortunate or the
reverse--we are no more concerned than with those of any other evil
deed." Later she said: "Into controversies concerning the utility of
vivisection, I for one refuse to enter"; and she published a leaflet
advising her sisters to follow her example. Ruskin took the same ground.
These hasty enthusiasts were equally indifferent to another fact, which
ought not to have been overlooked, namely, that suffering was usually
prevented by the use of anaesthetics, which are indispensable for the
success of many experiments. The bill for prohibiting any vivisection
was brought into the House of Lords in 1879; But was opposed by a
nobleman who presided over the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals; and it was lost by 16 votes against 97. The House of Commons
refused even to take action on the subject, despite four years of
agitation. Thus the right of scientific research was finally secured.

Miss Cobbe was one of the noblest of women; but even she was made blind
by her philosophy to the right of people who prefer scientific methods
to act up to their convictions. Garrison, too, was notoriously unable to
do justice to anyone, even an abolitionist, who did not agree with
him. There is nothing in Transcendentalism to prevent intolerance. This
philosophy has done immense service to the philanthropy as well as the
poetry of the nineteenth century; but human liberty will gain by the
discovery that no such system of metaphysics can be anything better than
a temporary bridge for passing out of the swamps of superstition, across
the deep and furious torrent of scepticism, into a land of healthy
happiness and clear, steady light.


DURING the nineteenth century the authority of preachers and pastors has
diminished plainly; and this is largely due to a fact of which Emerson
spoke thus: "We should not forgive the clergy for taking on every issue
the immoral side." This was true in England, where the great reforms
were achieved for the benefit of the masses, and against the interest of
the class to which most clergymen belonged. The American pastor seldom
differed from his parishioners, unless he was more philanthropic. He
was usually in favour of the agitation against drunkenness; and he had
a right to say that the disunionism of Phillips and Garrison, together
with their systematically repelling sympathy in the South, went far to
offset their claim for his support. It was difficult, during many years,
to see what ought to be done in the North. When a practical issue was
made by the attack on Kansas, the clergy took the side of freedom almost
unanimously in New England, and quite generally in rural districts
throughout the free States. The indifference of the ministers to
abolitionism, before 1854, was partly due, however, to their almost
universal opposition to a kindred reform, which they might easily have

I. It was before Garrison began his agitation that Frances Wright
denounced the clergy for hindering the intellectual emancipation of her
sex; and her first ally was not _The Liberator_, but _The Investigatory_
though both began almost simultaneously. She pleaded powerfully for the
rights of slaves, as well as of married women, before large audiences
in the middle States as early as 1836, when these reforms were also
advocated by Mrs. Ernestine L. Rose, a liberal Jewess. These ladies
spoke to men as well as women; and so next summer did Miss Angelina
Grimké, whose zeal against slavery had lost her her home in South
Carolina. Her first public lecture was in Massachusetts; and the
Congregationalist ministers of that State promptly issued a declaration
that they had a right to say who should speak to their parishioners, and
that the New Testament forbade any woman to become a "public reformer."
Their action called out the spirited poem in which Whittier said:

        "What marvel if the people learn
     To claim the right of free opinion?
     What marvel if at times they spurn
     The ancient yoke of your dominion?"

Garrison now came out in favour of "the rights of women," and thus
lost much of the support which he was receiving from the country clergy
generally in New England. The final breach was in May, 1840, at the
meeting of the National Association of Abolitionists in New York City.
There came Garrison with more than five hundred followers from New
England. They gained by a close vote a place on the business committee
for that noble woman, Abby Kelley. Ministers and church members seceded
and started a new anti-slavery society, which carried away most of the
members and even the officers of the old one. The quarrel was embittered
by the vote of censure, passed at this meeting upon those abolitionists
who had dared to nominate a candidate of their own for the presidency
without leave from Mr. Garrison; but the chief trouble came from the
prejudice which, that same summer, caused most of the members of the
World's Anti-Slavery Convention in London, to refuse places to Harriet
Martineau and other ladies as delegates. This exclusion was favoured
by all the eight clergymen who spoke, and by no other speakers so
earnestly. Among the rejected delegates were Mrs. Lucretia Mott and
Mrs. Elizabeth Cady Stanton; and they resolved, that night, to hold a
convention for the benefit of their sex in America.

The volume of essays which Emerson published in 1844 praised "the new
chivalry in behalf of woman's rights"; and the other Transcendentalists
in America came, one after another, to the same position. Mrs. Stanton
and Mrs. Mott called their convention in that year of revolutions, 1848,
on July 19th. The place was the Methodist church at Seneca Falls, in
central New York. The reformers found the door locked against them;
and a little boy had to climb in at the window. The Declaration of
Independence, adopted on July 4, 1776, furnished a model for a protest
against the exclusion of girls from high schools and colleges, the
closing of almost every remunerative employment against the sex, and the
laws forbidding a married woman to own any property, whether earned or
inherited by her, even her own clothing. This declaration was adopted
unanimously; but a demand for the suffrage had only a small majority.
Not a single minister is known to have been present; but there were two
at a second convention, that August, in Rochester, where the Unitarian
church was full of men and women.

There were more than twenty-five thousand ministers in the United
States; but only three are mentioned among the members of the national
convention, held at Worcester, Massachusetts, in October, 1850, by
delegates from eleven States. As Phillips was returning from this
meeting, Theodore Parker said to him, "Wendell, why do you make a fool
of yourself?" The great preacher came out a few years later in behalf of
the rights of women; but it was long before a single religious newspaper
caught up with _The Investigator_.

How the clergy generally felt was shown in 1851, at Akron, in northern
Ohio. There Episcopalian, Presbyterian, Baptist, Methodist, and
Universalist ministers appealed to the Bible in justification of the
subjugation of women. There was no reply until they began to boast of
the intellectual superiority of their own sex. Then an illiterate old
woman who had been a slave arose and said: "What 's dat got to do with
women's rights, or niggers' rights either? If my cup won't hold but a
pint, and yourn holds a quart, would n't ye be mean not to let me have
my little half-measure full?" The convention was with her; but the Bible
argument was not to be disposed of easily. The general tone of both
Testaments is in harmony with the familiar texts attributed to Paul and
Peter. These latter passages were written, in all probability, when
the position of women was changing for the better throughout the Roman
Empire: and the original words, asserting the authority of husbands, are
the same as are used in regard to the power of masters over slaves. Such
language had all the more weight, because the ministers had been brought
up as members of the ruling sex. They may have also been biassed by the
fact that their profession depends, more than any other, for success
upon the unpaid services in many ways of devoted women. Emancipation was
by no means likely to promote work for the Church. There was an audience
of two thousand at Syracuse, in 1852, when what was called the "Bloomer
Convention," on account of the short dresses worn by some members,
took up a resolution, declaring that the Bible recognises the rights of
women. Mrs. Rose said that the reform had merits enough of its own,
and needed no justification by any book. A letter was read from Mrs.
Stanton, saying that "among the clergy we find our most violent enemies,
those most opposed to any change in woman's position." The accuracy
of this statement was readily admitted, after a reverend gentleman
had denounced the infidelity of the movement, in a speech described
as "indecent" and "coarsely offensive" in the New York Herald; and the
resolution was lost.

The lady who offered it was ordained soon after for the
Congregationalist ministry; but she was obliged to confess, at the
Woman's Rights' Convention, in 1853, that "the Church has so far cast
me off, that to a great extent I have been obliged to go to just such
infidels as those around me for aid to preach my Christian views." It
was at this meeting that a doctor of divinity, and pastor of a prominent
society, denounced the reform so violently that Mr. Garrison called him
a blackguard and a rowdy, with the result of having his nose pulled
by the champion of the Church militant. There were many such unseemly
manifestations of clerical wrath. The _History of Woman Suffrage_, which
was edited by Mrs. Stanton and other leading reformers, said, in 1881:
"The deadliest opponents to the recognition of the equal rights of women
have ever been among the orthodox clergy." The Unitarians were more
friendly; but I do not think that the reform was openly favoured, even
as late as 1860, by one clergyman in a thousand out of the whole number
in the United States. The proportion was even smaller in Europe.

Even as late as 1878, it was resolved by the Woman Suffrage Convention
at Rochester, N. Y., "that as the first duty of every individual is
self-development, the lessons of self-sacrifice and obedience taught
woman by the Christian Church have been fatal, not only to her own vital
interests but through her to those of the race." Influences were already
at work, however, which have made the relations of platform and pulpit
comparatively friendly in this respect.

The women of the North showed their patriotism, during the great war,
by establishing and managing the Sanitary Commission, the Freedman's
Bureau, and the Woman's Loyal National League. Important elections
were carried in 1862 by the eloquence of Anna E. Dickinson, for the
Republican party; and it has often since had similar help. The success
of the Women's Christian Temperance Union and other partly philanthropic
and partly religious organisations, has proved the ability of women to
think and act independently. Many of their demands have been granted,
one by one; and public opinion has changed so much in their favour, that
they ceased long ago to encounter any general hostility from the clergy
in the Northern States.

Even there, however, women still find it much too difficult for them
to enter a peculiarly easy, honourable, and lucrative profession. Their
elocutionary powers are shown on the stage as well as the platform.
Their capacity for writing sermons is plain to every one familiar with
recent literature. Their ability to preach is recognised cordially in
the Salvation Army, as well as by Spiritualists, Quakers, Unitarians,
and Universalists. Much of the pastoral work is done by women, in actual
fact; and more ought to be. The Sunday-school, choir, social gathering,
and other important auxiliaries to the pulpit are almost entirely in
female hands. Women enjoy practically the monopoly of those kinds of
church work for which there is no pay; and their exclusion from the kind
which is paid highly, in the largest and wealthiest denominations, looks
too much like a preference of clergymen to look after the interest of
their own sex. The most orthodox churches are the most exclusive;
and the same forces which are driving bigotry out of the pulpits are
bringing women in.

This reform is one of many in which a much more advanced position has
been taken by New England and the far West than by the South; and the
American Transcendentalists led public opinion in the section where most
of them lived. In Great Britain the struggle has been carried on in the
interest of the middle and lower classes, and under much opposition from
the class to which most admirers of philosophy belonged. No wonder that
one of the keenest critics of Transcendentalism was prominent among the
champions in England of the oppressed sex. John Stuart Mill declared,
in his widely circulated book on _The Subjection of Women_, that "nobody
ever arrived at a general rule of duty by intuition." He held that the
legal subjection of wives to husbands bore more resemblance, as far as
the laws were concerned, to slavery, than did any other relationship
existing in Great Britain in 1869. He did not argue from any theory
of natural rights, but pointed out the advantage to society of women's
developing their capacities freely. He also insisted on the duty
of government not to restrict the liberty of any woman, except when
necessary to prevent her diminishing that of her neighbours. This last
proposition will be examined in the next chapter. The fact that Mill's
great work for freedom was done through the press, and not on the
platform, makes it unnecessary to say more about him in this place.

II. Clergymen, like Transcendentalists, in England were generally
conservative, or reactionary; and the friends of reform were much more
irreligious than in America. Their appeal against the authority of
Church and Bible was not to intuition but to science; and they were
aided by Lyell's demonstration, in 1830, that geology had superseded
Genesis. Working-men were warned in lectures, tracts, and newspapers
against immorality in the Old Testament; and even the New was said
to discourage resistance to oppression and efforts to promote health,
comfort, and knowledge.

The most popular of these champions against superstition and tyranny
was Bradlaugh. He began to lecture in 1850, when only seventeen, and
continued for forty years to speak and write diligently. His atheism
obliged him to undergo poverty for many years, and much hardship. He
charged no fee for lecturing, went willingly to the smallest and poorest
places, and was satisfied with whatever was brought in by selling
tickets, often for only twopence each. He once travelled six hundred
miles in forty-eight hours, to deliver four lectures which did not repay
his expenses. Many a hall which he had engaged was closed against him;
and he was thus obliged to speak in the open air one rainy Sunday, when
he had two thousand hearers. At such times his voice pealed out like a
trumpet; his information was always accurate; opposition quickened the
flow of ideas; and he had perfect command of the people's English. His
great physical strength was often needed to defend him against violence,
sometimes instigated by the clergy. He had much to say against the Old
Testament; but no struggle for political liberty, whether at home or
abroad, failed to receive his support; and he was especially active for
that great extension of suffrage which took place in 1867. His knowledge
that women would vote against him did not prevent his advocating their
right to the ballot; but it was in the name of "the great mass of the
English people" that he was an early supporter of the cause of Union and
Liberty against the slave-holders who seceded.

In 1866 he became president of the National Society of Secularists, who
believe only in "the religion of the present life." Most of the members
were agnostics; and one of Bradlaugh's many debates was with Holyoake,
the founder of secularism, on the question whether that term ought to be
used instead of atheism. The society was so well organised that only
a telegram from the managers was needed to call out a public meeting
anywhere in England. Among Bradlaugh's hearers in America in 1873 were
Emerson, Sumner, Garrison, Phillips, and O. B. Frothingham. He won soon
after a powerful ally in a clergyman's wife, who had been driven from
her home by her husband because she would not partake of the communion.
Mrs. Besant began to lecture in 1874, and with views like Bradlaugh's;
but her chief interest was in woman suffrage. Both held strict views
about the obligation of marriage; and their relations were blameless.

Bradlaugh's place in history is mainly as a champion of the right of
atheists to sit in Parliament. He was elected by the shoemakers of
Northampton in 1880, when oaths of allegiance were exacted in the
House of Commons. Quakers, however, could affirm; and he asked the
same privilege. As this was refused, he offered to take the oath, and
declared that the essential part would be "binding upon my honour and
conscience." This, too, was forbidden; but there was much discussion,
not only in Parliament but throughout England, as to his right to
affirm. His friends held two hundred public meetings in a single week,
and sent in petitions with two hundred thousand signatures during twelve
months. The liberal newspapers were on his side; but the Methodist and
Episcopalian pulpits resounded with denials of the right of atheists
to enter Parliament on any terms. Among the expounders of this view
in leading periodicals were Cardinal Manning and other prominent
ecclesiastics. They had the support of the Archbishop of Canterbury,
as well as of many petitions from Sunday-schools. Public opinion showed
itself so plainly that Brad-laugh was finally allowed by a close vote to
make affirmation and take his seat. He was soon forced to leave it by an
adverse decision of the judges, but was promptly re-elected.

Again he offered in vain to take the oath. After several months
of litigation, and many appeals to audiences which he made almost
unanimous, he gave notice that he should try to take his seat on August
3, 1881, unless prevented by force. It took fourteen men to keep him
out; and he was dragged down-stairs with such violence that he fainted
away. His clothes were badly torn; and the struggle brought on an
alarming attack of erysipelas. A great multitude had followed him to
Westminster Hall, and there would have been a dangerous riot, if it had
not been for the entreaties of Mrs. Besant, who spoke at Bradlaugh's
request. His next move was to take the oath without having it properly
administered. He was expelled in consequence, but re-elected at once.
Thus the contest went on, until the Speaker decided that every member
had a right to take the oath which could not be set aside. Bradlaugh was
admitted accordingly, on January 13, 1886; and two years later he
brought about the passage of a bill by which unbelievers were enabled to
enter Parliament by making affirmation. The Irish members had tried to
keep him out; but this did not prevent his advocating home rule for
Ireland, and also for India. From first to last he fought fearlessly and
steadily for freedom of speech and of the press. His beauty of character
increased his influence. Mrs. Besant is right in saying: "That men and
women are now able to speak as openly as they do, that a broader spirit
is visible in the churches, that heresy is no longer regarded as morally
disgraceful--these things are very largely due to the active and
militant propaganda carried on under the leadership of Charles

III. Similar ideas to his have been presented ever since 1870 to immense
audiences, composed mostly of young men, in Chicago, New York, Boston,
and other American cities, by Robert G. Ingersoll. Burning hatred of
all tyranny and cruelty often makes him denounce the Bible with a
pathos like Rousseau's or a brilliancy like Voltaire's. He was decidedly
original when he asked why Jesus, if he knew how Christianity would
develop, did not say that his followers ought not to persecute one
another. In protesting against subordinating reason to faith, Ingersoll
says: "Ought the sailor to throw away his compass and depend entirely
on the fog?" Among other characteristic passages are these: "Banish
me from Eden when you will, but first let me eat of the tree of
knowledge!"... "Religion has not civilised man: man has civilised
religion."... "Miracles are told simply to be believed, not to be

Ingersoll is not merely a destroyer but an earnest pleader for what he
calls the gospel of cheerfulness and good health, "the gospel of water
and soap," the gospels of education, liberty, justice, and humanity. He
regards "marriage as the holiest institution among men"; but holds that
"the woman is the equal of the man. She has all the rights I have and
one more; and that is the right to be protected." He believes fully "in
the democracy of the family," and "in allowing the children to think for
themselves." He is not so much interested as Bradlaugh was in political
reform and social progress, but has often taken the conservative side;
and his speaking in public has been more like an occasional recreation
than a life-work. Some of his lectures have had an immense circulation
as pamphlets; and his Biblical articles in the _North American Review_
attracted much notice. He is never at his best, however, without an
audience before him; and he sometimes writes too rapidly to be strictly

IV. A better parallel to Bradlaugh is furnished by Mr. B. F. Underwood,
who was only eighteen when he began to lecture in Rhode Island. The
great revival of 1857 was in full blast; and he showed its evils with
an energy which called down much denunciation from the pulpit. He
spoke from the first as an evolutionist, though Darwin had not yet
demonstrated the fact. To and fro through the Connecticut valley went
the young iconoclast, speaking wherever he could find hearers, asking
only for repayment of expenses, and sometimes failing to receive even
that. His work was interrupted by the war, in which he took an active
and honourable part. When peace was restored, he studied thoroughly the
_Origin of Species_ and the _Descent of Man_; and he began in 1868 to
give course after course of lectures on Darwinism in New England, New
York, and Pennsylvania. The new view had been nine years before the
public, but had received little or no support from any clergyman in the
United States, or any journal except _The Investigator_.

For thirty years Mr. Underwood has been busily propagating evolutionism
on the platform, as well as in print. No other American has done so
much to make the system popular, or has reproduced Herbert Spencer's
statements with such fidelity. He has taken especial pains to prove that
"evolution disposes of the theory that the idea of God is innate," as
well as of the once mighty argument from design. He has said a great
deal about the Bible and Christianity, but in a more constructive spirit
than either Bradlaugh or Ingersoll. He has discredited old books by
unfolding new truth. Among his favourite subjects have been: "What Free
Thought Gives us in Place of the Creeds," "The Positive Side of Modern
Liberal Thought," "If you Take away Religion, what will you Give in its
Place?" "The Influence of Civilisation on Christianity." He has always
shown himself in favour of the interests of working-men, and also of
women's rights and other branches of political reform. During the twelve
years ending in 1881, he lectured five or six times a week for at least
nine months out of twelve, often travelling from Canada to Arkansas and
Oregon. Occasionally he spoke every night for a month; but he has seldom
lectured in summer, except when on the Pacific coast.

His lectures in Oregon in 1871 on evolution awoke much opposition in the
pulpits. Two years afterwards he held a debate in that State against a
clergyman who was president of a college, and who denounced evolution
as in conflict with "the Word of God." Such views were then prevalent in
that city; but in 1888 it was found by Mr. Underwood to have become the
seat of the State University, where the new system was taught regularly.
Underwood, like Bradlaugh, has always challenged discussion, and he has
held over a hundred public debates. The first was in 1867; and some have
occupied twenty evenings. Most of his opponents have been clergymen;
and a hundred and fifty of the profession were in the audience at one
contest in Illinois in 1870. How much public opinion differs in various
States of the Union is shown by the fact that nine years later the doors
of a hall which had been engaged for him in Pennsylvania were closed
against him, merely because he was "an infidel." His friends broke in
without his consent; and he was fined $70. The first lecture which he
tried to give in Canada was prevented by similar dishonesty.
Another hall was hired for the next night at great expense; but much
interruption was made by clergymen; and when suit was brought for
damages through breach of contract, the courts decided that bargains
with unbelievers were not binding in Canada.

Both Bradlaugh and Underwood have usually spoken _extempore_, but both
have been busy journalists. The American agitator wrote as early as 1856
for both _The Liberator_ and _The Investigator_. His connection with the
latter paper lasted until the time when a serious difference of opinion
arose between those aggressive unbelievers who called themselves
"freethinkers," or even "infidels," and those moderate liberals who
belong to the Free Religious Association, and formerly supported _The
Index_. This journal came in 1881 under the management of Mr. Underwood.
His colleague, Rev. W. J. Potter, was nominally his equal in authority;
but I know, from personal acquaintance with both gentlemen, that the
real editor from first to last was Mr. Underwood. It was mainly due to
him that much attention was given, both in the columns of the journal
and in the meetings of the association, to efforts for secularising the
State. He was in charge of _The Index_ until it stopped at the end
of 1886. In 1882 he held a discussion in Boston with the president of
Williams College, and Professor Gray, the great botanist, on the
relations between evolution and "evangelical religion." About four
hundred orthodox clergymen were present. In 1897 Mr. Underwood was still
in his original occupation. Early that year he lectured in Illinois,
Indiana, Michigan, Ohio, New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island,
Massachusetts, and Canada. He now believes, like Emerson, in "a higher
origin for events than the will I call mine."

V. The difference of opinion among liberals, just referred to, grew
out of the agitation for a free Sunday, which had been begun by Frances
Wright in 1828. A call for "an anti-Sabbath convention" in Boston was
issued by some Transcendentalists in 1848, when men had recently been
imprisoned in Massachusetts for getting in hay, and in Pennsylvania
for selling anti-slavery books. Churches were closed on Sunday against
lecturers for any reform, however popular; and even the most innocent
amusement was prohibited by public opinion. Only a moderate protest had
any chance of a hearing; but Garrison and the other managers insisted in
the call that "the first day of the week is no holier than any other,"
and refused to allow anyone who did not believe this to speak. Very
little was said about what the Sunday laws really were; but most of the
time was occupied with arguments that the Sabbath was only for the Jews,
and that keeping Sunday is not a religious duty. This last assertion
called out an earnest remonstrance from Theodore Parker; but his
resolutions were voted down. The Garrisonians insisted, as usual, that
the big end of the wedge ought to go in first; and their convention was
a failure. Twenty-eight years went by without any protest of importance
against Sunday laws in America.

Meantime the Free Religious Association was organised in Boston by
Unitarian clergymen who were indignant at the recent introduction into
their denomination of a doctrinal condition of fellowship. The first
public meeting, on May 30, 1867, called out an immense audience. Emerson
was one of the speakers; and he held his place among the vice-presidents
as long as he lived. A similar position was offered to Lucretia Mott,
but she declined on the platform. Her reason was that practical work
was subordinated to theological speculation by the announcement in
the constitution that the association was organised "to promote the
interests of pure religion, to encourage the scientific study of
theology, and to increase fellowship in the Spirit." These phrases were
altered afterwards; but the association has always been, in the words
of one of its leading members "a voice without a hand." Free religious
conventions have regularly increased the confusion of tongues in that
yearly Boston Babel called "Anniversary Week"; and there have been
many similar gatherings in various cities; but not one in four of these
meetings has given much attention to any practical subject, like the use
of the Bible in the public schools. A vigorous discussion of the Sunday
laws of Massachusetts took place in 1876, under peculiar circumstances
to be described in the next section; but there was no other until 1887.
_The Index_ started in 1870; but it was largely occupied with vague
speculations about theology; and its discontinuance in 1886 left the
association without any organ of frequent communication among its
members, or even an office for business. Dr. Adler, who became president
in 1878, tried to awaken an interest in unsectarian education, and
especially in ethical culture; but he resigned on account of lack of
support; and the Ethical Culture societies were started outside of the
association. Comparatively few of its members took any interest in the
petitions presented by its direction to the Massachusetts Legislature in
1884 and 1885, asking for taxation of churches, protection of witnesses
from molestation on account of unbelief, and rescue of the Sunday law
from giving sanctuary to fraud. The president acknowledged in 1892 that
there had been a "general debility for practical work." There seems to
have been a lack of energy among the managers; and some of the members
were too anxious to preserve their individuality, while others had too
much regard for ecclesiastical interests. The Parliament of Religions
next year, however, showed what good the association had done by
insisting continually on fellowship in religion, and keeping its
platform open to Jews, Hindoos, and unbelievers, as well as to
Christians of every sect.

VI. Prominent among the founders of the Free Religious Association
was Francis E. Abbot, who lost his place soon after as pastor of an
independent society, because the Supreme Court of New Hampshire decided,
on the request of some Unitarians for an injunction against him, that
his opinions were "subversive of the fundamental principles of
Christianity. He was the first editor of _The Index_; and there appeared
in April, 1872, his statement of what are generally recognised as


"1. We demand that churches and other ecclesiastical property shall no
longer be exempt from just taxation.

"2. We demand that the employment of chaplains in Congress, in State
legislatures, in the navy and militia, and in prisons, asylums, and all
other institutions supported by public money, shall be discontinued.

"3. We demand that all public appropriations for educational and
charitable institutions of a sectarian character shall cease.

"4. We demand that all religious services now sustained by the
Government shall be abolished; and especially that the use of the Bible
in the public schools, whether ostensibly as a text-book or avowedly as
a book of religious worship, shall be prohibited.

"5. We demand that the appointment, by the President of the United
States, or by the Governors of the various States, of all religious
festivals and fasts shall wholly cease.

"6. We demand that the judicial oath in the courts and in all other
departments of the Government shall be abolished, and that simple
affirmation under the pains and penalties of perjury shall be
established in its stead.

"7. We demand that all laws directly or indirectly enforcing the
observance of Sunday as the Sabbath shall be repealed.

"8. We demand that all laws looking to the enforcement of "Christian"
morality shall be abrogated, and that all laws shall be conformed to the
requirements of natural morality, equal rights, and impartial liberty.

"9. We demand that not only in the Constitutions of the United States,
and of the several States, but also in the practical administration of
the same, no privilege or advantage shall be conceded to Christianity
or any other special religion; that our entire political system shall
be founded and administered on a purely secular basis; and that whatever
changes shall prove necessary to this end shall be consistently,
unflinchingly, and promptly made."

He knew how unlikely it was that the Association would agitate for
anything; and in January, 1873, he published a call for organisation
of liberal leagues, in order to obtain the freedom already asked. Such
leagues were soon formed in most of the States, as well as in Germany
and Canada. Among the members were Phillips, Garrison, Lucretia Mott,
Higginson, and other famous abolitionists, Karl Heinzen and other
radical Germans, several Rabbis and editors of Jewish papers,
Inger-soll, Underwood, the editor of _The Investigatory_ and other
active agitators, several wealthy men of business, Collyer, Savage,
and other Unitarian clergymen. Hundreds of newspapers supported
the movement; and eight hundred members had been enrolled before a
convention of the National Liberal League met in Philadelphia, on
the first four days of July, 1876. The managers of the International
Exhibition in that city had already decided that it should be closed on
Sunday, in violation of the rights, and against the wishes, of the Jews,
unbelievers, and many other citizens. The Free Religious Association had
been requested in vain, at a recent meeting, to remonstrate against this
iniquity. The League passed a strong vote of censure without opposition,
and appointed a committee to present a protest which had been circulated
during the convention. Resolutions were also passed asserting the right
of all Americans to enjoy on Sunday the public libraries, museums,
parks, and similar institutions "for the support of which they are
taxed," and demanding "that all religious exercises should be prohibited
in the public schools."

It was under the influence of this example that the Free Religious
Association held a special convention on November 15, 1876, to protest
against the Sunday laws of Massachusetts. A Jewish Rabbi complained that
more than two thousand Hebrew children in Boston were prevented from
keeping holy the day set apart for rest and worship in Exodus and
Deuteronomy, and many of them actually obliged by their teachers to
break the Sabbath. This was the effect of the law commanding them to go
to school on Saturday, which is that "seventh day" whose observance
is required by the fourth commandment. Other speakers declared that
no legislation was needed to ensure Sunday's remaining a day of rest.
Mention was made of the fact that "any game, sport, play, or public
diversion," not specially licensed, on Saturday evening, made all
persons present liable to be fined. This was already a dead letter; and
the theatres had announced with perfect safety twenty years before, in
their playbills, "We defy the law." A few months after this convention,
its influence was shown in the opening of the Art Museum free of charge
to the people of Boston, Sunday afternoons.

Thus the Association began to co-operate with the National League; and
the latter soon had the support of more than sixty local organisations.
The movement for establishing "Equal Rights in Religion" was uniting
Liberal Christians, Jews, independent theists, Spiritualists,
materialists, evolutionists, agnostics, and atheists. All were willing
to call themselves "Freethinkers" and work together as they have never
done since 1877. Then the League felt itself strong enough to call
for "taxation of church property," "secularisation of public schools,"
"abrogation of Sabbatarian laws," and also for woman suffrage, as well
as compulsory education throughout the United States. Steps were taken
towards nominating Ingersoll on this platform for President of the

These plans had to be abandoned; the agitation subsided; and the harmony
between lovers of liberty from various standpoints was lost. A fatal
difference of opinion was manifest in 1878, in regard to those Acts of
Congress called "the Comstock laws."

These statutes forbade sending obscene literature through the mails;
and there had been more than a hundred recent convictions. Some of the
prosecutions were said to have been prompted by religious bigotry; and
there seems to have been unjustifiable examination of mail matter.
The most important question was whether the laws ought to be enforced
against newspapers and pamphlets about free love and marital tyranny,
which were not meant to be indecent but really were so occasionally. A
publisher in Massachusetts was sentenced in June, 1878, to two years
of imprisonment for trying to mail such a pamphlet; but he was soon
released. More severe punishment has been inflicted recently for similar
offences. The majority of people in America and England favoured the
exclusion by law of indecent literature from circulation; and this
course has been considered necessary on account of the known frailty of
human nature. The members of the Free Religious Association were willing
to have the Comstock laws changed, but not repealed; and they voted,
early in 1878, to take no part in what threatened to be an unfortunate
controversy. The League, however, was divided on the question whether
these laws ought to be amended or repealed. Abbot, Underwood, and other
prominent members declared that literature ought to be excluded from
the mails or admitted according as it was intentionally and essentially
indecent, or only accidentally so. Thus Ingersoll said: "We want all
nastiness suppressed for ever; but we also want the mails open to all
decent people." Other members held that the Comstock laws ought to be
repealed entirely, and no restriction put on the circulation of any
literature except by public opinion. This must be admitted to agree with
the principle that each one ought to have all the liberty consistent
with the equal liberty of everyone else; but this application of the
theory cannot be considered politic in agitating for religious freedom.
The _Investigator, Truthseeker_, and other aggressive papers, however,
called for complete repeal; and a petition with this object received
seventy thousand signatures.

The National League had voted, in 1876, that legislation against obscene
publications was absolutely necessary, but that the existing laws needed
amendment. The question whether this position should be maintained,
was announced as the principal business to be settled in the convention
which met at Syracuse on October 26, 1878. Mr. Abbot, the president, and
other prominent officers declared that they should not be candidates
for re-election if the position assumed two years before was not kept.
Scarcely had the convention met, when its management passed into the
hands of the friends of repeal. They allowed Judge Hurlbut, formerly
on the bench in the Supreme Court of the State, to argue in favour of
closing the mails against publications "manifestly designed or mainly
tending to corrupt the morals of the young." Much respect was due to the
author of a book which declared, in 1850, that married women had a right
to vote and hold property, as well as that the State "cannot rightfully
compel any man to keep Sunday as a religious institution; nor can it
compel him to cease from labour or recreation on that day; since it
cannot be shown that the ordinary exercise of the human faculties on
that day is in any way an infringement upon the rights of mankind." On
Sunday morning, October 27th, it was agreed that the question of repeal
or reform should be postponed until the next annual convention; but
the decision was made a foregone conclusion that afternoon, when
three-fifths of the members voted not to re-elect Mr. Abbot and other
champions of reform. The defeated candidates left the convention at
once, as did Mr. Underwood and many other members, Judge Hurlbut taking
the lead. A new league was organised by the seceders; but it was not a

The movement for amending, but not repealing, the Comstock laws was
given up; and most of those who had favoured it took sides with those
who had refused to agitate. There was little interest in "The Demands
of Liberalism" thenceforth among the Liberal Christians, Reformed Jews,
Transcendentalists, and evolutionists. These and other moderate liberals
refuse to call themselves "Freethinkers"; and they make little attempt
at collective and distinctive action. The Free Religious Association did
nothing towards secularising the laws of Massachusetts between 1876
and 1884. The agitation which began in the latter year ended on May
27, 1887, when the Sunday laws were discussed at Boston in a large
and enthusiastic convention. The Legislature had just passed a bill
to legalise Saturday evening amusements, as well as boating, sailing,
driving, use of telegraph, and sale of milk, bread, newspapers, and
medicines on Sunday; the signature of the Governor had not yet been
given; but it was agreed that these changes must be made, and for the
reason that the old restrictions could not be enforced. Judge Putnam, of
the State District Court, told the convention that "the Sunday law,
so called, has not in a long, long time been enforced," except by
"a prosecution here and there"; and that if it were to be enforced
strictly, the prosecutions would occupy nearly all the week. He opposed
any restraint on "entertainments not of an immoral tendency." Mr.
Garrison, son of the famous abolitionist, declared that Sunday ought to
be "the holiday of the week." Captain Adams, of Montreal, said: "This
is not a mere question how much men may do or enjoy on Sunday: it is
a question of human liberty, a question whether ecclesiastical
tyranny shall still put its yoke on our necks." The tone was bold, but
thoroughly practical from first to last.

An earnest protest against closing the Chicago Exposition on the
people's day of leisure was made by the F. R. A., in May, 1893; and
an important victory in behalf of religious liberty was won in 1898 in
Massachusetts. The Sunday laws of this State have been so improved as to
permit what are called "charity concerts," and are not made up entirely
of ecclesiastical music, to be given for the pecuniary benefit of
charitable and religious societies on Sunday evenings. The Legislature
which met early in 1898 was asked by representatives of the Monday
Conference of Unitarian Ministers, the Women's Christian Temperance
Union, and several other religious organisations to alter the law so as
to prevent any but "sacred music" from being heard on the only evening
when many people in Boston can go to concerts. The officers of the F. R.
A. made a formal request to be heard by a committee of the Legislature
through counsel, who proved that the "charity concerts" were really
unobjectionable, and that the opposition to them was due entirely to
zeal for an ancient text forbidding Hebrews to labour on Saturday in

The injustice of stretching this prohibition so far as to try to stop
concerts on Sunday evenings in America was pointed out by
representatives, not only of the F. R. A., but also of the International
Religious Liberty Association, which has been formed to protect
Christians who have kept the Sabbath on the original day set apart in
Exodus and Deuteronomy, from being punished for not prolonging their
rest from honest labour over an additional day, first selected by an
emperor whose decrees are not worthy of reverence. This association has
offices in Chicago, New York City, Toronto, London, Basel, and other
cities; and its principles are ably advocated in a weekly paper entitled
the _American Sentinel_. Representatives of this organisation assisted
those of the F. R. A. in forcing the "charity concerts" question to be
decided on its own merits, independent of ancient texts. The members of
the legislative committee made a unanimous report against suppressing
these harmless amusements; and their opinion was sustained by their
colleagues. This victory was duly celebrated at the annual convention of
the F. R. A., in Boston, on May 27, 1898. Among the speakers that
afternoon was the secretary of the I.R.L. A., who said: "If any nation
under heaven has the right to confiscate one-seventh of my time, and
tell how I shall and how I shall not use that, then the whole principle
of inherent rights is denied, and it now is simply a matter of policy
whether it shall not confiscate two-sevenths, three-sevenths,
or seven-sevenths, and take away all my liberty."

Since 1878, the agitation for religious equality has been carried on
mainly by materialistic atheists and agnostics, with some assistance
from Spiritualists. These aggressive liberals continue to call
themselves to Liberty in the Nineteenth Century.

"Freethinkers," and to support the _Investigatory Truthseeker_, and
other papers which have much to say against Sunday laws, religious use
of the Bible in public schools, and exemption of churches from taxation.
They often reprint "The Demands of Liberalism"; and one of these
requests has been so amended in Canada as to ask for the repeal of "all
laws directly or indirectly enforcing the observance of Sunday or the
Sabbath." The attack on the Comstock laws has subsided; and no
reference was made to them in 1897 in the call for a convention of the
organisation which took the place of the whole system of national and
local leagues in 1885. The name then chosen was "The American Secular
Union." The words, "and Freethought Federation" were added in 1895,
when two kindred associations were consolidated. It was under strong and
constant pressure from these aggressive liberals that the great museums
of art and natural history in New York were thrown open on Sundays to
longing crowds. One of the petitions was signed by representatives of a
hundred and twelve labour organisations. The trustees of the Art Museum
were induced to open it in the summer of 1891 by the contribution of
$3000, which had been collected by some young ladies for meeting extra
expenses. Thirty-eight thousand people took advantage, in August, 1892,
of their first opportunity to visit the Museum of Natural History on
their one day of leisure; and these visitors were remarkable for good
behaviour. There has been a similar experience in the Boston Art Museum
ever since the Sunday opening in 1877.

VII. An exciting contest took place at Chicago in 1893. More than fifty
nations were co-operating with the people of every one of the United
States in commemorating the discovery of America. Disreputable
politicians had persuaded Congress to pass a bill, by which closing the
Exposition on Sundays was made a condition of receiving aid from the
National Treasury. The people of Chicago had given three times as much,
however, as Congress; and there was much dissatisfaction among those
citizens who had bought stock in the enterprise. The grounds had been
kept open to visitors for some months, Sunday after Sunday, until the
buildings were formally thrown open on May 1st; and the receipts had
been liberal enough to prove that continuance of this course would be
greatly to the advantage of these shareholders, while Sunday closing
might result in heavy loss. During the first three Sundays of May the
gates were kept shut by order of the Board of National Commissioners,
made up of members from every State. Their action and that of Congress
had been sanctioned by petitions bearing millions of signatures; but
it is a significant fact that the alleged signers in Pennsylvania were
three times as many as the entire population of the State. Many people
had been counted again and again as members of different organisations;
and this fraud was committed in other parts of the country. No attempt
to find out what the people really wished was made except in Texas;
and there the majority was in favour of opening the gates. Sabbatarians
acknowledged publicly that they got little support from the secular
press; and much opposition was made to them by some of the great
dailies, as well as by the organs of aggressive liberalism.

Sunday after Sunday in May the gates were surrounded by immense crowds
who waited there vainly, hour after hour. Many of them could evidently
not come on other days; and the number was so large that the local
directors, who had been elected by the shareholders, voted on May 16th
for opening both gates and doors. This action was warmly approved by
the leading citizens of Chicago at a public meeting; but Sabbatarians
demanded that visitors be kept out by Federal bayonets. The National
Commissioners, however, permitted the entrance of a hundred and fifty
thousand people on the last Sunday of May. On Monday, the 29th, a judge
of Hebrew race, in a State court, pronounced the contract with Congress
null and void, because the money had not been fully paid. He decided,
accordingly, that there was no excuse for violating the Illinois law,
which guaranteed the right of the citizens to visit on Sunday the park
where the Exposition was held. This ensured the admission of visitors
on June 4th, and for twenty of the remaining twenty-one Sundays. The
Government buildings and many others, however, were closed; numerous
exhibits, for instance, one of Bibles, were shrouded in white; machinery
was not allowed to run; there were no cheap conveyances about the
ground; and there was little opportunity to get food or drink. No wonder
that the Sunday attendance was comparatively small; but there were one
hundred and forty thousand paying visitors on October 22d and 29th.

This was a victory of the press rather than the platform. There has been
no successor to the original Liberty League, and no rival to the Sunday
Society. The latter was organised in 1875 in England, where there has
been constant agitation since 1853 for opening the British Museum,
Crystal Palace, and other public institutions to their owners on Sunday.
Dean Stanley was president of this society; and among its members have
been Herbert Spencer, Huxley, Tyndall, Charles Reade, Lecky, Miss Cobbe,
Mrs. Craik, and many prominent clergymen. The real issue was stated
clearly at one of the public meetings by Tyndall as follows: "We only
ask a part of the Sunday for intellectual improvement." The justice
of this request has been so far admitted that on May 24, 1896, all the
national museums and galleries in London were opened for the first time
on Sunday. Among these educational institutions from which the
owners are no longer shut out are the National Gallery and the South
Kensington, British, and Natural History Museums. Many libraries and
museums in other parts of England were opened some years earlier.

VIII. Nowhere has the platform done so much to regenerate the pulpit as
in Chicago. Religious history has been largely a record of strife. There
was little brotherly feeling between clergymen of different sects in
America before 1860; but they were often brought into co-operation by
the great war. Even Unitarians were shocked to hear Emerson speak with
reverence of Zoroaster in 1838; but he won only applause in 1869 when he
spoke of the charm of finding "identities in all the religions of men."
This was at a convention of the Free Religious Association, which has
pleaded from the first for "fellowship in religion," and often made this
real upon its platform. The secretary, Mr. Potter, said in 1872,
that some of his hearers would live to see "a peace convention" "of
representatives from all the great religions of the globe." Chicago
was so peculiarly cosmopolitan that the local managers of the Columbian
Exposition were glad to have products of the various intellectual
activities of mankind exhibited freely. Ample provision was made for
conventions in behalf of education and reform; but what was to be done
for religion?

An orthodox citizen of Chicago, Mr. Charles Carroll Bonney, took counsel
in 1891 with Rev. J. LI. Jones, a Unitarian, who has been preaching for
twenty years the essential oneness of all religions. Rabbis, bishops,
and doctors of divinity were consulted also; and thus was formed the
committee which invited "the leading representatives of the great
historic religions of the world for the first time in history," to meet
in friendly conference and show what they "hold and teach in common,"
as well as "the important distinctive truths" claimed for each religion.
Thus the Columbian Exposition offered an opportunity "to promote and
deepen the spirit of human brotherhood among religious men of diverse
faiths," "to inquire what light each religion has afforded or may
afford to the other religions of the world," and, finally, "to bring
the nations of the earth into a more friendly fellowship in the hope
of securing a permanent international peace." Thus was announced the
"Parliament of Religions." All the members were to meet as equals; and
there was to be neither controversy nor domination. The Archbishop of
Canterbury and some leading Protestants in America protested against
abandoning the exclusive claims made for Christianity; and similar
objections were offered by the Sultan of Turkey. The Jews, Buddhists,
and other believers in the ancient religions welcomed the invitation, as
did the dignitaries of the Greek Church, and also the Protestants on
the continent of Europe, and many members of every Christian sect in the
United States. The Catholic archbishops of America appointed a delegate;
and many Methodist and Episcopalian bishops agreed to attend the

The sessions were held in the permanent building erected in the centre
of Chicago to accommodate the intellectual portion of the Exposition.
Four thousand people assembled on Monday, September 11, 1893, to see a
Roman Catholic cardinal mount the platform at 10 A.M., in company with
the Shinto high-priest, an archbishop of the Greek Church, a Hindoo
monk, a Confucian mandarin, and a long array of Buddhists and Taoists
from the far East. All these dignitaries wore gorgeous robes of
various colours. With them were a Parsee girl, a Theosophist, a Moslem
magistrate from India, a Catholic archbishop from New Zealand, a Russian
and an African prince, a negro bishop, several Episcopalian prelates,
Rabbis, and Jewesses, missionaries returned from many lands, doctors of
divinity of various Protestant sects, and the lady managers of the great
Fair. A prominent Presbyterian pastor took the chair, and cordial
declarations of the brotherhood of religions were made by Catholic
archbishops, the Shinto high-priest, a Buddhist delegate, and the
Confucian sent by the Emperor of China. Full hearing was given in
subsequent sessions to advocates of the Jain religion, which is perhaps
the oldest, as well as of the Parsee, Jewish, Moslem, Taoist, and Vedic
faiths, besides a score of the leading Christian denominations. The
Parliament lasted seventeen days; and the audiences were so large that
most of the essays were repeated in overflow meetings. There were also
some forty congresses held in smaller halls for speakers who could not
find room on the great platforms. One of these meetings was held by
Jewesses, of whom nineteen spoke. Some of them were also heard from the
platform of the Parliament; as were many clergy women.

Mr. Underwood presided at the Congress of Evolutionists. There was also
a convention of the Free Religionists, in connection with the Parliament
which they had made possible; but "The Freethought Federation" could get
no chance to meet in the great building, or even to sell pamphlets. Mr.
Bonney had proposed a union of all religions against irreligion; and
this would have been in harmony with the policy adopted by many States
of the American Union. Their Sunday laws and similar statutes show a
purpose of encouraging all the popular sects alike, with little regard
for the rights of citizens outside of these favoured associations. Most
of the speakers in the Parliament, especially the Buddhists, were so
zealous for the brotherhood of man, that they protested against any
discrimination on account of theology. The great audiences gave most
applause to the broadest declarations; and the few utterances of
Protestant bigotry were plainly out of place. The general tendency of
the Parliament was strongly in favour of recognising the equal rights
of all mankind, without regard to belief or unbelief. All legislation
inconsistent with this principle will be swept away, sooner or later,
by that great wave of public opinion which broke forth during the
Parliament of Religions. There the golden age of religion began, and war
must give place to peace.


WE have seen how the Transcendentalists tried to suppress vivisection,
in spite of all it has done for the health and happiness of mankind. The
sanguinary intolerance of Robespierre and other disciples of Rousseau
was described earlier in this volume. And the notorious inability of
Carlyle and Garrison to argue calmly with those who differed with
them further illustrates the tendency of confidence in one's own
infallibility. Only he who knows that he may be wrong can admit
consistently that those who reject his favourite beliefs may be right.
The Parliament of Religions showed that there has been a growing
conviction of the equal rights of holders of all forms of belief and
unbelief; this conviction has been promoted by recognition of two great
facts: first, that knowledge is based upon experience, and, second, that
no one's life is so complete that he has nothing to learn from other
people. If they do not believe as he does, it may be merely because
experience has taught them truth which he still needs to learn. Each
one knows only in part; and therefore no one can afford to take it for
granted that anyone else is completely in error.

I. This tolerant method of thought has gained greatly in popularity
since Darwin proved its capacity to solve the problem of the origin
of man. The possibility that all forms of life, even the highest, are
results of a natural process of gradual development has often been
suggested by poets and philosophers. The probability was much discussed
by men of science early in the nineteenth century; but it was not until
1858 that sufficient evidence was presented to justify acceptance of
evolution as anything better than merely a theory. Twenty-one years had
then elapsed since Darwin began a long series of investigations. In
the first place, he collected an irresistible number of cases of the
influence of environment in causing variations in structure, and of the
tendency of such variations to be inherited. Most men who accepted
these propositions admitted their insufficiency to account for the
multiplicity of species; but the explanation became complete when Darwin
discovered that any plant or animal which is peculiarly fit for survival
in the continual struggle for existence is likely to become largely
represented in the next generation. A spontaneous variation which
prolongs the life of its possessor may thus become not only more common
but more firmly fixed in successive generations, until a new species is

To this tendency Darwin gave the name "natural selection"; but this term
literally implies a deliberate choice by some superhuman power. Herbert
Spencer proposed the phrase, "survival of the fittest"; but it must be
remembered that the fitness is not necessarily that of greater moral

There may be merely such a superiority in strength and cunning
as enables savages to devour a missionary. Spencer says that "the
expression, 'survival of the fittest,'" merely means "the leaving alive
of those which are best able to utilise surrounding aids to life, and
best able to combat or avoid surrounding dangers." Weeds are fitter than
flowers for natural growth; and Joan of Arc proved unfit to survive in
the contest against wicked men.

This discovery of Darwin's made it his duty to avow a view which was so
unpopular that he felt as if he were about "confessing a murder." He was
making "a big book" out of the facts he had collected, when a manuscript
statement of conclusions like his own was sent him by Wallace, who had
discovered independently the great fact of the survival of the fittest.
Darwin wished at first to resign all claim to originality; but his
friends insisted on his taking a share of the honour of the discovery.
Accordingly an essay, which he had written in 1844, was read in company
with that sent him by Wallace before the Linnæan Society, in London, on
July 1, 1858. The importance of the new view was so well understood that
the entire first edition, amounting to 1250 copies, of Darwin's _Origin
of Species_, which book he wrote soon after, was sold on the day of
publication, November 24, 1859. Other editions followed rapidly, with
translations into many languages. No book of the century has been more

II. Theologians still insisted on the supernatural creation of each
species of plant or animal, and especially of the human race, in
its final form. The inference that man had been developed by natural
processes out of some lower animal, was easily drawn from the _Origin of
Species_, though not expressly stated therein; and there was great alarm
among the clergy. An Anglican bishop, who was nicknamed "Soapy Sam" on
account of his subserviency to public opinion, declared in a leading
quarterly that Darwin held views "absolutely incompatible" with
the Bible, and tending to "banish God from nature." Other prominent
Episcopalians called the new book "an attempt to dethrone God," and
propagate infidelity. Cardinal Manning denounced the "brutal philosophy"
which taught that "There is no God, and the ape is our Adam." Both
Catholics and Protestants started anti-Darwinian societies in London,
and, in 1863, Huxley saw "the whole artillery of the pulpit brought upon
the doctrine of evolution and its supporters." The example of England
was followed promptly by France and Germany. America was distracted
by civil war; and her men of science were so few and timid that the
denunciations of Darwinism which were prompted by the theological and
metaphysical prejudices of Agassiz were generally accepted as final
decisions. The position of the Unitarians and Transcendentalists may be
judged from the fact that, during a period of nearly three years after
the publication of the _Origin of Species_, nothing was said about
Darwinism in the extremely liberal divinity school where I was then
a student. Evolutionism had to look for advocates in America to
Spiritualists like Denton or unbelievers like Underwood at that period.

Clerical opposition increased the general unwillingness of scientific
men to snatch up new views. As early as 1863, however, Darwin received
the support of the famous geologist, Lyell, as well as of a younger
naturalist destined to achieve even more brilliant success. Huxley has
distinguished himself in arguments against the scientific value of the
Bible. Among his other exploits was a demonstration that a chain, in
which no link is missing, connects the horse with a small, extinct
quadruped possessed of comparatively few equine peculiarities. In this
case, transformation of species is an undeniable fact. Other young
naturalists in England, as well as in Germany, gradually became willing
to push the new view to its last results; and Darwin was encouraged
to publish, in 1871, his elaborate account of the origin of our race,
entitled _The Descent of Man_. The wrath of the churches blazed forth
once more; and Gladstone entered the arena. Englishmen ventured no
longer to say much about the differences between Moses and Darwin; for
the obvious retort would have been, "So much the worse for Moses." A
German Lutheran, however, bade his congregation choose between Christ
and Darwin; and the infallibility of Moses was asserted so zealously by
a Parisian Catholic as to win formal thanks from the Pope.

America was now wide awake; irreligious tendencies were assigned to
evolutionism by the president of Yale, as well as by some Princeton
professors; and one of these latter warned believers in the development
of man that they would be punished as infidels after death. The verdict
of men of science has at last been pronounced so plainly as to be
accepted by thoroughly educated people in the Northern States; but
the Southerners are more bigoted. Even so late as 1894, a professor
of biology at the University of Texas was dismissed, in violation of
contract, for teaching evolutionism. A similar offence had been found
sufficient, ten years before, by the Presbyterians of South Carolina,
for driving a devout member of their own sect from his chair in a
theological seminary. That popular writer on geology, Winchell, was
requested in 1878 by a Methodist bishop to resign a professorship at
Nashville, Tennessee, where he had expressed doubt of the descent of
all men from Adam. The geologist refused to resign, and the chair was

Voltaire's chief grievance was the intolerance of Christianity. Paine
and Bradlaugh complained that there was much immorality in the Old
Testament. The most damaging of recent attacks have been made in the
name of science. Genesis and geology had been found irreconcilable
before the appearance of Darwinism; but the new system widened the
breach. The most serious offence to the theologian, however, was that
he could not longer point without danger of contradiction to beneficial
peculiarities in the structure of plants and animals, as marks of the
divine hand. The old argument about design was met by a demonstration
that such peculiarities were apt to arise spontaneously, and become
permanent under the pressure of the struggle for existence. The
theologian has had to retreat to the position that Darwinism has not
accounted for the soul, the intellect, and especially the intuitions.

III. Whether Darwin succeeded or not in this part of his work is not so
important as the fact that, several years before he announced his great
discovery, an elaborate account of the process by which the powers of
thought and feeling have been developed gradually out of the lowest
forms of consciousness was given by Herbert Spencer. The first edition
of his _Principles of Psychology_, published in 1855, carried the
explanation so far as to show the real origin and value of the
intuitions. Their importance had been almost ignored by thinkers who
relied entirely on individual experience, and greatly overrated by the
Transcendentalists; but neither set of philosophers could explain
these mysterious ideas. The infallibility of conscience is not to be
reconciled with such facts as that Paul thought it his duty to persecute
the Christians, or that Garrison, Sumner, John Brown, and Stonewall
Jackson were among the most conscientious men of the century. The
ancient Greeks agreed in recognising justice, but not benevolence, among
the cardinal virtues; precisely the opposite error was made by Kant
and Miss Cobbe; and a tabular view of all the lists of fundamental
intuitions which have been made out by noted metaphysicians might
be mistaken for a relic from the Tower of Babel. Emerson's religious
instincts were not so much impressed as Parker's with the personality of
God and immortality; but the difference seems almost insignificant when
we remember what ideas of theology arose spontaneously in New Zealand.
How widely the intuition of beauty varies may be judged from the
inability of aesthetic Chinamen to admire the white teeth and rosy
cheeks of an English belle. Intuition is plainly not an infallible
oracle; but is it merely a misleading prejudice?

The puzzle was solved when Spencer showed that intuition is a result of
the experience of the race. Courage, for instance, was so important
for the survival of a primitive tribe in the struggle against its
neighbours, that every man found his comfort and reputation depend
mainly on his prowess. If he fought desperately he gained wealth,
honour, and plenty of wives; but cowards were maltreated by other men
and scorned even by the women. The bravest man left the largest number
of offspring; and every boy was told so early and earnestly to be
courageous as to develop a pugnacious instinct, which has come down to
the present day in much greater strength than is needed for the ordinary
demands of civilised life. We love war too much, because our ancestors
were in danger of not loving it enough for their own safety. As courage
ceased to be the one all-important excellence, industry, fidelity, and
honesty were found so useful as to be encouraged with a care which has
done much to mould conscience into its present shape. Other virtues
were inculcated in the same way. The welfare of the family was found to
depend largely on the fidelity of wife to husband; and the result was
that chastity has held a much higher place in the feminine than in
the masculine conscience. So our religious instincts owe much of their
strength to the zeal with which our ancestors sought to avert the divine
wrath. Thus we have ideas which were originally only vague inferences
from primitive experience, but which have gradually gained such strength
and definiteness, that they have much more power than if we had thought
them out unaided by the past. Spencer himself says, "There have
been, and still are, developing in the race certain fundamental moral
intuitions" which "are the results of accumulated experiences of
utility, gradually organised and inherited," but "have come to be quite
independent of conscious experience." They "have no apparent basis in
the individual experiences of utility"; and thus conscience has acquired
its characteristic disinterestedness.

When we feel this inner prompting to a brave or honest action which
must be done promptly or left undone, it is our duty to act without
hesitation or regard to our own interest. We are serving our race in
the way which its experience has taught. Suppose, however, that there is
time enough for deliberation, and that we see a possibility of harm to
our neighbours, our family, or even to our own highest welfare. In this
case, we ought to compare the good and evil results carefully. We should
also do well to consider what was the decision of the consciences of
the best and wisest men under similar circumstances. If we neglect
these precautions, we may be in danger of following not conscience but
passion. There is also a possibility that conscience may embody only
such primitive ideas of duty as have since been found incorrect. This
has often been the case with persecutors and monarchists.

Generosity is still too apt to take an impulsive and reckless form which
perpetuates pauperism. Spencer has taught us that conscience is worthy
not only of obedience, but of education.

Spencer's attempt to substitute a thoughtful for a thoughtless
goodness of character has been much aided by his protest against such
undiscriminating exhortations to self-sacrifice as are constantly heard
from the pulpit. Good people, and especially good women, welcome the
idea of giving up innocent pleasure and enduring needless pain. The
glory of martyrdom blinds them to the fact that, as Spencer says in his
_Psychology_, "Pains are the correlatives of actions injurious to the
organism, while pleasures are the correlatives of actions conducive
to its welfare." In other words, "Pleasures are the incentives to
life-supporting acts, and pains the deterrents from life-destroying
acts." Abstinence from pleasure may involve loss of health.
Self-sacrifice is scarcely possible without some injury to mind or
body; as is the case with people who make it a religious duty to read
no interesting books and take scarcely any exercise on Sunday. It is
further true that "The continual acceptance of benefits at the expense
of a fellow-being is morally injurious"; as "The continual giving up of
pleasures and continual submission to pains are physically injurious."
Blind self-sacrifice "curses giver and receiver--physically deteriorates
the one and morally deteriorates the other," "the outcome of the policy
being destruction of the worthy in making worse the unworthy." No wonder
that men are stronger, and also more selfish, than women. Almost all
self-sacrifice involves loss of individual liberty. The subjection of
women has been deepened by their readiness to sacrifice themselves to
those they love; their fondness for martyrdom often leads them into the
sin of marrying without love; and generosity of heart facilitates ruin.
Women would really be more virtuous if they felt less obligation to
their lovers and more to their race.

IV. Spencer's psychological discoveries were corollaries to that great
principle of evolution of which he made the following announcement as
early as 1857 in the _Westminster Review_. After declaring his belief in
"that divergence of many races from one race which we inferred must have
continually been occurring during geologic time," he stated that "The
law of all progress is to be found in these varied evolutions of the
homogeneous into the heterogeneous," or in other words, "out of the
simple into the complex." The discoveries of Darwin and Wallace were
not announced before 1858, but Spencer avowed in 1852 his belief in "the
theory of evolution" or "development hypothesis," according to which
"complex organic forms may have arisen by successive modifications out
of simple ones." It was without any aid or suggestion from Darwin that
Spencer's statement of the law of evolution was brought into the final
form published in 1862. Evolution was then described as change, not
only from the simple to the complex, but also from the chaotic to
the concentric and consolidated, or, in Spencer's own words, "from an
indefinite incoherent homogeneity to a definite coherent heterogeneity."
Progress, he says, consists in integration as well as differentiation.
There is an increase in permanence and definiteness as well as in
variety. Higher forms are not only more complex and unlike than lower
ones, but also more stable and more strongly marked.

Spencer has been represented by some Transcendentalists as Darwin's
pupil; but the whole system just described would, in all probability,
have been built up in substantially its present form, if both Darwin and
Wallace had kept their discoveries to themselves. The only difference
would have been that Spencer could not have been sustained by such a
great mass of evidence. All these facts were collected by Darwin merely
to prove the physical development of men and other animals from lower
forms of life; but Spencer showed that all the phenomena of thought and
feeling, as well as of astronomy, geology, and chemistry, are results of
the great laws of integration and differentiation. All human history and
social relations can be accounted for in this way. And if this extension
had not been given to the principle of evolution, Darwin's discoveries
might soon have ceased to have much interest, except for students of
natural history. Each of the two great evolutionists helped the other
gain influence; but their co-operation was almost as unintentional as
that of two luminaries which form a double star.

V. Spencer has done much to diminish intolerance, by teaching, as early
as 1862, that all religions are necessary steps in the upward march of

He has also attempted to reconcile religion and science, by teaching
that the one all-essential belief is in a great unknowable reality,
which is not only inscrutable but inconceivable. In writing about this
supreme power, he uses capitals with a constancy which would look like
an assumption of knowledge, if the same habit were not followed in
regard to many other words of much less importance. He admits that "We
cannot decide between the alternative suppositions, that phenomena are
due to the variously conditioned workings of a single force, and
that they are due to the conflict of two forces." "Matter cannot be
conceived," he says, "except as manifesting forces of attraction and
repulsion"; but he also says that these antagonistic and conflicting
forces "must not be taken as realities but as our symbols of the
reality," "the forms under which the workings of the unknowable are
cognisable." This creed is accepted by many American evolutionists.
It is the doctrine of one of Spencer's most elaborate and brilliant
interpreters, Professor John Fiske, of such popular clergymen as Doctors
Minot J. Savage and Lyman Abbott, and of many of the members of that
energetic organisation, "The Brooklyn Ethical Association." _The Open
Court_ of Chicago and other periodicals are working avowedly for "the
Religion of Science"; but that is not to be established without much
closer conformity to the old-fashioned creeds and ceremonies than
has been made by Spencer. His later works seem more orthodox than his
earlier ones; but his final decision is that "The very notions, origin,
cause, and purpose, are relations belonging to human thought, which are
probably irrelevant to the ultimate reality." He has also admitted that
the proposition, "Evolution is caused by mind," "cannot be rendered into
thought." And he is right in saying that he has nowhere suggested

Whether he has proposed a reconciliation, or only a compromise, whether
evolutionism will ever be as popular in the pulpit as Transcendentalism,
and whether there is not more reality in the forces of attraction and
repulsion than in Spencer's great unknowable, are problems which I will
not discuss. Darwin was an agnostic like Huxley, who held that "We know
nothing of what may be beyond phenomena," and "Science commits suicide
when she adopts a creed." Huxley pronounced the course of nature
"neither moral nor immoral, but non-moral," and declared that "The
ethical progress of society depends not on imitating the cosmic process
but on combating it." The severity of his criticism of the Gospel
narratives called out threats of prosecution for blasphemy. He avowed
"entire concurrence" with Haeckel, who holds that belief in a personal
God and an immortal soul are incompatible with the fundamental
principles of evolution. The German scientist argues in his elaborate
history of the development of animals, that life is no manifestation of
divine power, working with benevolent purpose, but merely the necessary
result of unconscious forces, inherent in the chemical constitution
and physical properties of matter, and acting mechanically according
to immutable laws. The position of Haeckel and Huxley is all the more
significant because Frederic Harrison knows of "no single thinker in
Europe who has come forward to support this religion of an unknown

VI. A much more important controversy has been called out by Spencer's
theory of the limits of government. As early as 1842 he proposed "the
limitation of state action to the maintenance of equitable relations
among citizens." His _Social Statics_ demanded, in 1850, as a necessary
condition of high development, "the liberty of each, limited only by the
like liberty of all." His ideal would be a government where "every man
has freedom to do all he wills, provided he infringes not the equal
freedom of any other man." These propositions are repeated in the
revised edition of 1892, which differs from the earlier one in omitting
a denial of the right of private property in land, and also a demand for
female suffrage. How far Spencer had changed his views may be seen in
his volume on _Justice_. Both editions of _Social Statics_ deny the
right of governments to support churches, public schools, boards of
health, poorhouses, lighthouses, or mints. Spencer would have titles
to land guaranteed by the State, and property-holders protected against
unjust lawsuits; but otherwise the government ought to confine itself,
he thinks, to managing the army, navy, and police.

This position is defended by an appeal to the fact that the citizen is
most energetic and intelligent where he is most free to act for himself.
No American is as helpless before pestilence or famine as a Russian
peasant, or as afraid to go to a burning house until summoned by the
police. A despotism may begin with a strong army; but it ends, like the
Roman Empire, in the weakness which it has brought on by crushing the
spirit of its soldiers. Strong governments make weak men. Never was
there a mightier army than was given by the French Republic to Napoleon.
Industrial prosperity depends even more closely than military glory
on the energy of men who have been at liberty to think and act freely.
People develop most vigorously where they are least meddled with. The
average man knows much more than his rulers do about his own private
business; and he is active to promote it in ways which secure the
general welfare.

Great stress is laid not only in _Social Statics_ but in Spencer's book
on _The Man versus the State_, and in several essays, on the many times
that the British Government has increased an evil by trying to cure it.
What is said about its extravagance will not surprise any American who
remembers what vast sums are squandered by Congress. The post-office is
often spoken of as proof that our Government could run our railroads;
but one of Boston's best postmasters said, "No private business could be
managed like this without going into bankruptcy." The British Government
has a monopoly of the telegraph; and introduction of the telephone was
very difficult in consequence. In Victoria, the Postmaster-General
has abused his privileges so much as to appoint a "sporting agent"
to telegraph the results of a horse-race; and this same highly
protectionist colony has had laws forbidding any shop to be open after
7 P.M., except on Saturday, and any woman to work more than forty-eight
hours a week in any factory. How governments interfered in former
centuries with people's right to feed, clothe, employ, and amuse
themselves, seems almost inconceivable at present.

Persecution was one among many forms of mischievous meddling. Locke, in
arguing for toleration in 1689, was obliged to take the ground that "The
whole jurisdiction of the magistrate reaches only" to securing unto all
the people "life, liberty, health," and also "outward things such as
money, lands, houses, furniture, and the like." "Government," he said,
"hath no end but preservation, and therefore can never have a right
to destroy, enslave, or designedly to impoverish the subject."
Clearer language was used by those French patriots who declared in the
Constitution of 1791 that liberty consists in ability to do everything
which brings no harm to others; and, two years afterwards, that the
liberty of each citizen should extend to where that of some other
citizen begins. Nearly fifty years later, a theory very like Spencer's
was published by Wilhelm von Humboldt, brother of the great naturalist.
Among the many writers who have held that government ought not to be
merely limited but repudiated totally was Thoreau. It was in 1854 that
this zealous abolitionist publicly renounced his allegiance to a great
anti-slavery commonwealth, and that he asserted, in _Walden_, the
necessity of preserving individual liberty by conforming as little as
possible to any social usages, even that of working regularly in order
to support one's self and family in comfort. That same year, Spencer
showed in his essay on _Manners and Fashion_ the difference between a
regulation by which public opinion tries to prevent rude people from
making themselves unnecessarily disagreeable to their neighbours, and
one which encourages dissipation by arbitrarily check-ing innocent
amusement. Even in the latter case, however, there is, as he says, but
little gain from any solitary nonconformity. Reform must be carried on
in co-operation.

That powerful assailant of Transcendentalism, John Stuart Mill, was
not an evolutionist; but it was largely due to his liberal aid that the
system of differentiation and integration was published. This generosity
was consistent with his own position, that all opinions ought to have
a hearing, and especially those which are novel and unpopular, for
they are peculiarly likely to contain some exposure of ancient error or
revelation of new truth. This fact was set forth with such ability in
his book, _On Liberty_, in 1859, that several long passages were
quoted in the public protest, delivered in Ohio five years later by
Vallandigham, against the war then carried on for bringing back the
seceded States. Mill holds that neither government nor public opinion
ought to interfere with any individual, except "to prevent doing harm
to others." He says, for instance, that there would be no tyranny in
forcing parents to let their children have education enough to become
safe members of society. Such a law could scarcely be justified by the
principle of giving all the liberty to each compatible with the like
liberty of all. Among the restrictions which Mill mentions as oppressive
are those in England and America against selling liquor, gambling, and
Sunday amusements. He admits the difficulty of deciding "how far liberty
may be legitimately invaded for the prevention of crime."

VII. It was in full conformity with the principles of Mill, Spencer, and
Locke that the Constitution of Louisiana, as revised in 1879, declared
that the only legitimate object of government "is to protect the citizen
in the enjoyment of life, liberty, and property. When it assumes other
functions, it is usurpation and oppression." Similar sentiments have
been occasionally expressed in political platforms. Such narrow limits
have not, so far as I know, ever been observed in the United States or
in any other civilised land. Few people love liberty so much as not to
be willing that the state should give them security against
conflagration and contagious disease. There is also a general demand for
such safety as is given by roads, streets, bridges, lighthouses, and
life-saving stations. The necessity of hospitals, asylums, and
poorhouses is manifest. If all this expense had to be met by
public-spirited individuals, it is probable that their wealth would prove
insufficient. It is further necessary for the public safety that there
should be compulsory vaccination during epidemics of smallpox,
confinement of dangerous lunatics and tramps, rescue of children from
vicious parents, and maintenance of what ought not to be called
compulsory but guaranteed education. Marriage has to be made binding for
the protection of mothers as well as children. The thirst for drink
needs at least as much restraint as is kept up in Scandinavia. And the
tendency of bad money to drive out good is strong enough to justify laws
against circulation of depreciated currency.

Public schools are particularly important in America, where presidential
and congressional elections are apt to turn on financial issues which
can scarcely be understood by men not thoroughly educated. Spencer's
objections apply more closely to the European system, that of
centralisation of management, than to the American. It is well to know
also that he was misled by a hasty reference, perhaps by some assistant,
to an English statistician named Fletcher. This high authority
did admit, in 1849, that he found "a superficial evidence against
instruction." He went on, however, to say much which is not mentioned in
_Social Statics_, and which proved the evidence to be only superficial.
By classifying crimes according to enormity, he showed that the worst
were most frequent in the least educated districts. He also discovered
that those counties in England where ability to sign the marriage
register was most common were most free from paupers, dangerous
criminals, and illegitimate children. "The conclusion is therefore
irresistible," says Fletcher, "that education is essential to the
security of modern society." Most of the other testimony brought forward
in _Social Statics_ is invalidated by Fletcher's method; and Spencer
added nothing in the second edition to the insufficient statements in
the first.

British education has improved greatly in both quality and quantity
since 1876; but the prisons of England and Wales had only two-thirds as
many inmates in 1890 as in 1878, and only one-half as large a part of
the population. The most dangerous prisoners were only one-third as
numerous in 1890 and 1891 as forty-five years earlier; and the
percentage of forgers only one-tenth as great as in 1857. We ought
further to remember the almost complete unanimity of opinion in favour
of free education wherever it is universal.

Public schools in America are all the more useful because they are
superintended by town and city officials, elected in great part by
men who know them personally. This is also the case with the boards of
health, and the managers of poorhouses, cemeteries, public libraries,
and parks. Among other subjects of local self-government are the
roads, bridges, streets, and sewers. Our large cities are notoriously
misgoverned, but it will be easier to raise the character of the
officials than to contract their powers. Much is to be hoped from civil
service reform, proportional representation, and nonpartisan elections.
Town affairs are usually so carefully looked after by people not in
office as to be managed for the public welfare. Both in towns and cities
the tendency is to enlarge rather than contract the functions of the
government. A proposal that any city should let tenements or sell coal
more cheaply than is done by individuals, would seem to be for the
advantage of everybody except a few payers of heavy taxes. The majority
of voters would care little about increase of taxation, in comparison
with the prospect of more demand for labour and greater activity in
business. It is easy to make extravagance popular where the majority
rules. Our State constitutions would probably make it impossible for
coal to be sold or tenements let by cities and towns; but these latter
often carry on gas-works, water-works, electric roads, and other highly
beneficial industries. This may be necessary to check the rapacity of
corporations; but otherwise there is too much danger of extravagance,
discouragement of individual enterprise, and delay in improving the
processes monopolised by the municipality. Some evils would be lessened
by a transfer of the control of lighthouses and life-saving stations
from the national Government to that of the nearest cities, or else of
single States.

Our people are much better able to judge of the success of State than
of Federal legislation and management. Of course the chief duties of the
State are to pass laws for the protection of life and property
against crime, and to manage such indispensable penal, charitable, and
educational institutions as are not provided by the municipalities. It
is still necessary for the States of our Union to keep up the militia;
but perhaps the best thing that could be done for the public safety
would be to have tramps kept from crime, and assisted to employment by
a State police. Ownership of real estate would be more secure, and sale
easier, if titles were guaranteed by the State; and it would also do
well, as Spencer suggests, to help people of moderate means resist
lawsuits brought to extort money. It seems, at all events, well that our
States keep up their boards of health, and their supervision of banks,
railroads, steamboats, and factories. There are a great many unnecessary
laws, as, for instance, was one in Massachusetts for selling coal below
market price. This was fortunately decided to be unconstitutional; but
whether this commonwealth ought to continue to supply free
text-books, especially in high schools, seems to me questionable. Many
individualists object to laws against gambling, selling liquor, and
other conduct which does no direct injury except to those who take part
voluntarily. There are vicious tendencies enough in human nature, I
think, to justify attempts to keep temptation out of sight.

No advantage of this kind can be claimed for the Sunday laws in our
Eastern and Southern States. It is certainly desirable to have one day
a week of rest from labour and business; but it is equally true that a
man's ploughing his field or weeding his garden does not infringe on
the liberty of his neighbours, diminish their security of person and
property, or encourage their vicious propensities, even on Sunday. It
is setting a bad example to break any law; but I do not think that
any citizen of Massachusetts was seriously corrupted by resisting the
Fugitive Slave Act; and I doubt if any Vermonter was morally the worse
for breaking the law in that State against Sunday "visits from house
to house, except from motives of humanity or charity, or for moral
and religious edification." It is better to have the laws obeyed
intelligently than blindly; and those really worthy of respect would
have more authority if every prohibition which is never enforced, except
out of malice, were repealed. Much aid is given to morality by such
religious observances as are voluntary and conscientious; but compulsory
observance breeds both slaves and rebels.

How far our Sunday laws are meant to encourage the peculiar usages
of the popular sects is seen in the fact that, since 1877, about 150
professed Christians, who had kept the Sabbath on the day set apart in
the Bible, were arrested on the charge of having profaned Sunday by such
actions as ploughing a retired field, weeding a garden, cutting wood
needed for immediate use, or making a dress. They refused to pay
any fine; most of them were imprisoned accordingly; in one case the
confinement lasted 129 days; two deaths were hastened by incarceration;
and in the summer of 1895 eight of these "Saturdarians," as they were
nicknamed, were working in a chain-gang on the roads in Tennessee. One
of the eight was a clergyman. Among the commonwealths which prosecuted
observers of the original Sabbath as Sabbath-breakers were Georgia,
Maryland, Missouri, Arkansas, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, and
seven other States. Such prosecutions were too much like persecutions;
for people who kept neither Saturday nor Sunday were not so much
molested. If the Sunday laws were really meant for the public welfare,
every citizen would be allowed to choose his own Sabbath, and no one
who kept Saturday sacred would be required to rest on Sunday also. Such
liberal legislation has actually been passed by Rhode Island and many
other States.

How strict the law is against doing business on Sunday may be judged
from the fact that in 1896 a decrepit old woman was sent to jail in
New York City for selling a couple of bananas, and a boy of fifteen was
arrested for selling five cents' worth of coal in January. Three men
were fined for selling umbrellas in the street on a rainy Sunday in
1895, and others were arrested for selling five cents' worth of ice.
People who have no refrigerators suffer under the difficulty of buying
ice, fruit, and meat on a hot Sunday in our Eastern cities.

Sunday laws and customs differ so widely in our various States, that
they cannot all be wise and just. Rest from labour and business is
secured in Southern California, without State legislation, by the
action of public opinion; and were this to become too weak, it would
be reinforced by the trades-unions. Personal liberty is not necessarily
violated by laws prohibiting disturbance of public worship; but it would
be if anyone were compelled to testify in court, or sit on the jury, or
do any other business elsewhere, on any day set apart for rest by his
conscience and religion. There seems to be little necessity for other
legislation, except under peculiar local circumstances to which town
and city magistrates are better able than members of State and national
legislatures to do justice. The question, what places of business that
have no vicious tendencies ought to be allowed to open on Sunday, might
settle itself, as does the question how early they are to close on other
days of the week. There needs no law to prevent business being done at
night. Stores which could offer nothing that many people need to buy
on Sunday, would have so few customers that the proprietors could ill
afford to open their doors. Where the demand is as great and innocent
as it is for fresh meat and fruit in hot weather, the interest of the
proprietor is no more plain than is the duty of the legislator and
magistrate. People employed in hotels, stables, telegraph offices,
libraries, museums, and parks, can, of course, protect themselves from
overwork, as domestic servants do, by stipulating for holidays and

Whatever may be the gain to public health from cessation of labour and
business on Sunday, there is no such advantage, but rather injury,
from the prohibition of healthy recreations and amusements, which are
acknowledged to be perfectly innocent on at least six days of the week.
Sunday is by no means so strictly observed, especially in this respect,
on the continent of Europe as in the United States. Sabbatarianism is
peculiarly an American and British institution; and this fact justifies
the position that it is by no means a necessary condition of the
security, or even the welfare, of civilised nations. If our Sunday
laws cannot be proved to be necessary, they must be admitted to be
oppressive. Over-taxation is but a slight grievance compared with the
tyranny of sending men and women to jail for inability or unwillingness
to pay the fines imposed in 1895 by the State of Tennessee for working
on their farms, or in Massachusetts soon after for playing cards in
their own rooms. Further consideration of the question, what amusements
should be permitted on Sunday, will be found in an appendix.

Such problems are peculiarly unfit for treatment by our central
Government. Its chief duty, of course, is protection of our people
against invasion and rebellion; and the authority of the President and
Congress ought not to be weakened by vain attempts to settle disputes
which would be dealt with much more satisfactorily by the cities and
towns. A Sunday law too lax for Pennsylvania might be too strict for
California. The system of post-offices is too well adapted for the
general welfare to be given up hastily; but the Government ought to
surrender the monopoly which now makes it almost impossible for citizens
to free themselves from dependence on disobliging or incompetent
postmasters. I have nothing to say against the Census, Education,
Health, and Patent Bureaus, nor against the Smithsonian Museum, except
that our citizens have a right to use their own property as freely on
Sunday as on any other day of the week. I do not see why our Government
should have more than that of other nations to do with the issue of
paper money; but I leave the bank question to abler pens.

The tariff is a much plainer issue. We are told in _Social Statics_ that
"A government trenches upon men's liberties of action" in obstructing
commercial intercourse; "and by so doing directly reverses its function.
To secure for each man the fullest freedom to exercise his faculties,
compatible with the like freedom of all others, we find to be the
state's duty. Now trade-prohibitions and trade-restrictions not only
do not secure this freedom, but they take it away, so that in enforcing
them the state is transformed from a maintainer of rights into a
violator of rights." The obstacles to importation deliberately set up by
American tariffs, indirectly check exportation; for unwillingness to
buy from any other nation diminishes not only its willingness but its
ability to buy our products in return. The United States are actually
exporting large amounts of cattle, wheat, and cotton, as well as
of boots and shoes, agricultural implements, steel rails, hardware,
watches, and cotton cloth. These commodities are produced by Americans
who can defy foreign competition. In some cases the tariff enables them
to raise their prices at home, to the loss of their fellow-citizens.
Prices abroad cannot be raised by our Government. What it can and does
do is to burden both farms and factories by duties on lumber, glass,
coal, wool, woollen goods, and many other imports. The rates are
arranged with a view to increase, not individual liberty or public
security, but the profits of managers of enterprises which would not pay
without such help. Men who are carrying on profitable industries have to
make up part of what is lost in unprofitable ones. In fact, the cost
of living is increased needlessly for all our citizens, except the
privileged few.

There would be less injustice in aiding new enterprises by bounties; but
the proper authorities to decide how much money should be voted for such
purposes are the cities and towns. Some of the makers of our national
Constitution wished to make tariff legislation in Congress impossible
except by a majority of two-thirds; and this might properly be required
for all measures not planned in behalf of individual liberty or the
public safety. Much of the business now done by the nation ought to be
transferred to the States. They took the lead between 1830 and 1870 in
improving rivers and harbours, building railroads, and digging canals.
The result of transferring such work to Congress was that in 1890 it
voted $25,000,000 to carry on 435 undertakings, more than one-fourth of
which had been judged unnecessary by engineers. Two years later, four
times as many new jobs were voted as had been recommended by the House
committee. Among these plans was one, in regard to the Hudson River,
which was the proper business of the State of New York. The extravagance
of our pension system is notorious. If the restriction proposed by
Spencer is applicable anywhere, it is to central rather than local

VIII. Great as are the evils of unnecessary laws, Spencer's remedy
is too sweeping to be universally supported by evolutionists. Huxley
protests against it as "administrative Nihilism," and declares that if
his next-door neighbour is allowed to bring up children "untaught and
untrained to earn their living, he is doing his best to restrict my
freedom, by increasing the burden of taxation for the support of gaols
and workhouses which I have to pay." His conclusion is that "No limit is
or can be theoretically set to state interference." The impossibility
of drawing "a hard and fast line" is admitted even by so extreme an
individualist as Wordsworth Donisthorpe, who complains that "Crimes go
unpunished in England," while the "Great National Pickpocket" is busy
"reading through all the comedies and burlesques brought out in the
theatres," "running after little boys who dare to play pitch-farthing,"
or "going on sledging expeditions to the North Pole."

Lecky agrees so far with Spencer and Mill as to say, in _Democracy and
Liberty_, that punishment should "be confined, as a general rule, to
acts which are directly injurious to others," and accordingly that
"With Sunday amusements in private life, the legislator should have
no concern." As a check to over-legislation, he recommends biennial
sessions, instead of annual; and he protests against the despotism of
trades-unions. His strongest point against Spencer is that sanitary
legislation has added several years to the average length of life in
England and Wales, prevented more than eighty thousand deaths there in a
single year, and actually reduced the death-rate of the army in India by
more than four-fifths.

IX. Spencer has succeeded in increasing the number of individualists so
much, that Donisthorpe says they can be counted by the thousand, though
there were scarcely enough in 1875 in England to fill an omnibus.
Transcendentalism had made individualism comparatively common long
before in America. The principle of not interfering with other people,
except to prevent their wronging us, is fully applicable, as Spencer
says, to the relation of husband with wife, and also to that of parent
and teacher with child. It could also be followed with great advantage
in the case of domestic servants. There can be no doubt of the
correctness of the position, taken in the _Principles of Sociology_,
that delight in war has a tendency to stifle love of liberty. Sparta,
Russia, and the new German Empire show that where the ideal of a nation
is military glory, "The individual is owned by the State." The citizens
are so graded, that "All are masters of those below and subjects of
those above." The workers must live for the benefit of the fighters,
and both be controlled closely by the government. Armies flourish on the
decay of individual rights. How difficult it was to avoid this, during
some bloody years, even in America, has been shown in Chapter IV. A
nation of shopkeepers is better fitted than a nation of soldiers to
develop free institutions.

One of Spencer's objections to Socialism is that it would "end in
military despotism." Nothing else could replace competition so far as
to keep a nation industrious. Spencer is right in saying, "Benefit and
worth must vary together," which means that wages and salaries should
correspond to value of work. Otherwise, "The society decays from
increase of its least worthy members and decrease of its most worthy

These facts are so generally known already, that there is less danger
than is thought by Spencer, of either the national establishment of
Socialism or of a ruinous extension of governmental interference.
The average American is altogether too willing to have his wealthy
neighbours taxed for his own benefit; but he knows that he can make
himself and his family more comfortable by his own exertions than his
poor neighbours are; and he is not going to let any government forbid
his doing so. He does not object to public libraries, and perhaps
would not to free theatres; but he would vote down any plan which would
prevent his using his money and time to his own greatest advantage. He
is sometimes misled by plausible excuses for wasting public money,
and arresting innocent people; but he insists on at least some better
pretext than was made for the old-fashioned meddling with food,
clothing, business, and religion. He may not call himself an
individualist; but he will never practise Socialism.

This sort of man is already predominant in Great Britain, as well as in
America; and multiplication of the type elsewhere is fostered by mighty
tendencies. The duty of treating every form of religion according to
ethical and not theological standards is rapidly becoming the practice
of all civilised governments; and persecution is peculiar to Turkey
and Russia. These two despotisms form, with Germany, the principal
exceptions to the rule that political liberty is on the increase
throughout Europe, especially in the form of local self-government. The
nineteenth century has made even the poorest people more secure than
ever before from oppression and lawless violence, as well as from
pestilence and famine. Destitution is relieved more amply and wisely,
while industry and intelligence are encouraged by opportunity to enjoy
comforts and luxuries once almost or altogether out of the reach of
monarchs. The fetters formerly laid on trade of cities with their own
suburbs have been broken; and the examples of Great Britain and New
South Wales are proving that nations profit more by helping than
hindering one another in the broad paths of commerce. Industrial
efficiency has certainly been much promoted by the tendency, not only of
scientific education but of manual training, to substitute knowledge of
realities for quarrels about abstractions. All these changes favour the
extension of free institutions and also of individual liberty, wherever
peace can be maintained. Industrial nations gain more than warlike ones
by encouraging intellectual independence; but the general advantage is
great enough to ensure the final triumph of liberty.


THIS is much more common in New England and Great Britain than it was in
the eighteenth century. The dinner has become the best, instead of the
worst in the week. Scarcely anyone rises early; and nobody is shocked
at reading novels. There is an enormous circulation in both English and
American cities of Sunday papers whose aim is simply amusement. There
is plenty of lively music in the parlours, as well as of merry talk in
which clergymen are ready to lead. People who have comfortable homes can
easily make Sunday the pleasant-est day of the week.

For people who cannot get much recreation at home, there are increasing
opportunities to go to concerts, picture-galleries, and museums. Among
the reading-rooms thrown open on Sunday in America about 1870 was that
of the Boston Public Library; and no difference is now made in this
great institution among the seven days, except that more children's
books and magazines are accessible on Sunday. What important museums are
now open in London, Boston, and New York have been already mentioned
in Chapter VI. These opportunities are still limited; but there is no
obstacle, except that of bad weather, to excursions on foot or bicycle,
behind horse or locomotive, in electric car or steamboat, to beaches,
ponds, and other places of amusement. The public parks are crowded all
day long in summer; and people who go to church in the morning have no
scruple about walking or riding for pleasure in the afternoon. These
practices were expressly sanctioned by Massachusetts in 1887, and by New
Jersey in 1893; and the old law against Sunday visiting has been
repealed since 1880 in Vermont.

The newer States have taken care not to pass such absurd statutes. I
believe that the majority of our people were willing, as for instance
was that prominent Episcopalian, Bishop Potter, to have the Chicago
Exposition open on Sundays. Theatres and baseball grounds attract crowds
of visitors in our cities, especially those west of the Alleghanies.
Whatever changes are made in the East will probably be in the
direction of greater liberty. The only question is how fast the present
opportunities of recreation ought to be increased.

No one would now agree with Dr. Chalmers in calling the Sabbath "an
expedient for pacifying the jealousies of a God of vengeance." Good
people have ceased to think, as the Puritans did, that "Pleasures are
most carefully to be avoided" on every day of the week, or that "Amity
to ourselves is enmity against God." Preachers no longer recommend
"abstaining not only from unlawful pleasures, but also from lawful
delights." Popular clergymen now say with Dr. Bellows: "Amusement is not
only a privilege but a duty, indispensable to health of body and mind,
and essential even to the best development of religion itself." "I put
amusement among the necessaries and not the luxuries of life." "It is
as good a friend to the church as to the theatre, to sound morals and
unsuperstitious piety as to health and happiness,... an interest of
society which the religious class instead of regarding with hostility
and jealousy, ought to encourage and direct." "There is hardly a more
baleful error in the world than that which has produced the feud between
morality and amusement, piety and pleasure."

The fact is that pleasure means health. As I have said in a newspaper
entitled _The Index_: "It is a violation of the laws of health for
anyone, not absolutely bed-ridden or crushed by fatigue, to spend
thirty-six hours without some active exercise in the open air. Trying
to take enough on Saturday to last until Monday, is dangerous, and most
people have little chance for healthy exercise except on Sunday. The
poor, ignorant girl who has had no fresh air for six days ought to be
encouraged to take it freely on the seventh. And we all need our daily
exercise just as much as our regular food and sleep. The two thousand
delegates who asked, in behalf of ninety thousand working men, in 1853,
to have the Crystal Palace open on Sundays, were right in declaring
that 'Physical recreation is as necessary to the working man as food and
drink on the Sabbath.' The fact is that pleasure is naturally healthy
even when not involving active exercise. Dark thoughts breed disease
like dark rooms. The man who never laughs has something wrong about
his digestion or his conscience. Herbert Spencer has proved that our
pleasant actions are beneficial, while painful ones are injurious both
to ourselves and to our race.  (_Principles of Psychology_, vol. i., pp.
278-286; Am. Ed.). Thus Sunday amusements are needed for the general

"They are also necessary for the preservation of morality. This consists
in performing the actions which benefit ourselves and our neighbours, in
other words, pleasant ones, and abstaining from whatever is painful and
injurious. It is only in exceptional cases that we can make others
happy by suffering pain ourselves. Now and then the paths of virtue and
pleasure diverge; but they always come together again. As a rule, they
traverse precisely the same ground and in exactly the same direction.
This is very fortunate; for if pleasure were always vicious, virtue
would be hateful and impossible. The most blessed of all peacemakers is
he who keeps virtue and pleasure from falling out. There is no
better text than that which the little girl said she had learned at
Sunday-school: 'Chain up a child and away she will go!' Even so strict a
man as Dr. Johnson said: 'I am a great friend to public amusements, for
they keep people from vice.' Is there no need of them on the day when
there is more drinking, gambling, and other gross vice than on any
other? Need I say what day keeps our policemen and criminal courts most
busy, or crowds our hospitals with sufferers from riotous brawls?
Has not the experience of two hundred and fifty years justified those
English statesmen who showed themselves much wiser than their Puritan
contemporaries in recommending archery, dancing, and other diversions
on Sunday, because forbidding them 'sets up filthy tippling and
drunkenness?' To keep a man who does not care to go to church from
getting any amusement, is to push him towards the saloon. And not only
the laws against liquor selling, but others even more necessary for
our safety, would be much better enforced if we did not encourage
lawlessness by keeping up statutes which our best men and women violate
without scruple and with impunity, or which actually prevent good people
from taking such recreation as they know they ought to have. Outgrown
ordinances should not be suffered to drag just and necessary laws down
into contempt. "Nobody wants to revive those old laws of Massachusetts
Bay which forbade people to wear lace, or buy foreign fruit, or charge
more than a fixed price for a day's work. No more Quakers will ever
swing from a Boston gallows merely for preaching. But our laws against
Sunday amusements are in the same spirit as that which hung Mary Dyer.
In old times, government kept continually telling people what to do, and
took especial pains to make them go to church on Sunday. If they stayed
away, they were fined; if they did not become members, they were not
allowed to vote; if they got up rival services, they were hung; if they
took any amusement on Sunday, they were whipped. All four classes of
laws for the same unjust end have passed away, except that against
Sunday recreation. This still survives in a modified form. But even in
this shape it is utterly irreconcilable with the fundamental principles
of our government. All American legislation, from the Declaration of
Independence, rests on the great truth that our government is founded in
order to secure us in our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness. Our State is a limited partnership for mutual
protection. We carry it on in order to make our freedom more complete;
and we tolerate no restrictions on ourselves except such as are
necessary conditions of the greatest possible liberty. These principles
are already fully acknowledged on six days of the week, but only partly
on the seventh. Still, there is a growing recognition of the likeness
between laws against Sunday amusements and such prohibitions of eating
meat in Lent as once caused people to be burned alive."

A weekly day of rest is a blessing; but David Swing is right in saying
that "Absolute rest, perfectly satisfactory to horse and dog, is not
adequate to the high nature of man." Complete torpor of mind and body is
more characteristic of a Hindoo fakir than of a Christian saint. Should
those who wish to rest as much as possible on Sunday sleep in church?
There is nothing irreligious in fresh air. The tendency of outdoor
exercise to purify and elevate our thoughts is so strong that Kingsley
actually defended playing cricket on Sunday as "a carrying out of the
divineness of the Sabbath." If there is no hostility between religion
and amusement on six days of the week, there cannot be much on the

No Protestants are more religious than the Swedes and Norwegians.
Everybody goes to church; there is theological teaching in the
public-schools; and advocacy of liberal religious views was punished in
1888 with imprisonment. No Scandinavian objects, so far as I know, to
indoor games, croquet, dancing, or going to the theatre on Sunday; and
these amusements are acknowledged to be perfectly proper throughout
continental Europe. No one who allows himself any exercise or recreation
on Sunday has a right to say that his neighbours do not need more than
he does. Lyman Beecher could not preach his best on any day when he did
not work hard at sawing wood or shovelling sand in his cellar. There
would be less dyspepsia on Monday if there were more exercise on Sunday.
Herbert Spencer tells us that "Happiness is the most powerful of
tonics. By accelerating the circulation of the blood, it facilitates
the performance of every function; and so tends alike to increase health
where it exists, and to restore it when it has been lost. Hence the
essential superiority of play to gymnastics."

A Bible Dancing Class is said to have been organised, in deference to
such facts, in New Jersey by an Episcopalian pastor, who perhaps wishes
to accomplish Jeremiah's prediction of the Messianic kingdom, "Then
shall the virgin rejoice in the dance." Among other liberal clergymen is
Brooke Herford, who says: "We want Sunday to be the happiest day in all
the week. Keep it free from labour, but free for all quiet, innocent
recreations." Rev. Charles Voysey wrote me in 1887, lamenting the
immorality arising "from the curse of having nothing to do or nowhere to
go on Sunday afternoons and evenings." "Young persons especially," he
said, "would be better, and morally more safe, for greater opportunities
of innocent pleasure and games at the hours of enforced idleness on the

The spirit of the legislators is changing like that of the clergy. The
first laws against Sunday amusement were passed by men who thought all
pleasure vicious on every day of the week. Our present statutes are kept
in force by people who like amusement, and get all they want of it; but
who make it almost impossible for their poor neighbours, in order
to conciliate ecclesiastical prejudice. "They bind heavy burdens
and grievous to be borne and lay them on men's shoulders"; but they
themselves do not feel the weight.

Whatever may be the advantage of keeping Sunday, it cannot be kept
religiously when it is kept compulsorily. Rest from unnecessary labour
and business on one day every week may be for the public welfare; but
this rest is not made more secure by indiscriminate prohibitions of
amusement. The idlest man is the most easily tempted to disturb his
neighbours. No man's property is more safe or his personal liberty more
secure because his neighbours are liable to be fined for playing golf.
Laws against Sunday recreation do not protect but violate individual
liberty. A free government has no business to interfere with the right
of the citizens to take healthy exercise and innocent amusement whenever
they choose.

These considerations would justify a protest, not only against the
Sunday laws made by Congress for the District of Columbia, but also
against the statutes of every State in the Union, except Arizona,
California, Idaho, Louisiana, and Wyoming. "Whoever is present at any
sport, game, play, or public diversion, except a concert of sacred
music, or an entertainment given by a religious or charitable society,
the proceeds of which, if any, are to be devoted exclusively to a
religious or charitable purpose," on what is called "the Lord's day"
in Massachusetts is liable to a fine of five dollars; the penalty for
taking part may be fifty dollars; and the proprietor or manager may be
fined as much as five hundred dollars. New Jersey still keeps her
old law against "singing, fiddling, or other music for the sake of
merriment"; and express prohibitions of "any sport" are still maintained
by Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island. Prominent among other States
which forbid amusements acknowledged innocent on six days of the week,
are New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Many of
our States show particular hostility to card-playing, dancing, and
theatre-going. The fact that fishing was practised by some of the
Apostles on Sunday has not saved this quiet recreation from being
prohibited by more than twenty commonwealths.

If every Sunday law were a dead letter, it ought to be repealed, because
it tends to bring needed laws into contempt; but among recent results of
Sunday legislation are the following. In 1876 some children were fined
for playing ball in Rhode Island; so, about this time, in Massachusetts,
were a boy for skating, a young man for playing lawn-tennis, and a
merchant for fishing with his little son. In 1894 two men were fined
$10 each for playing golf on a lonely hill, in the commonwealth just
mentioned; five boys under fifteen arrested for playing marbles in New
York City; and every member of a baseball club in Pennsylvania fined. In
1895 a man and a boy of fifteen were fined $20 each for fishing in New
York; and the attempt of some clergymen, aided by police, to break up
a show in Missouri, caused a tumult in which men's heads were broken by
clubs, while women and children were trampled underfoot. On the first
Sunday that the London galleries and museums were thrown open to their
owners, May 24, 1896, two men were shot dead in Attleboro, Mass., by a
policeman who had been ordered to break up a clambake. In that same year
and State, a manager was fined $70 for allowing _Yankee Doodle_ to be
performed in the Boston Theatre; three men were arrested for bowling;
half a dozen Jews who had been playing cards in a private house were
fined $10 or $20 each, and those who could not pay were sent to jail.
Among the Sabbath-breakers arrested in 1897 were a number of newsboys
at the national capital, nine golfers in Massachusetts, a young man for
holding one end of a rope over which some little girls were skipping in
New York City, and also the manager of a show in New Jersey, who
spent ten days in jail. Fines were levied in 1898 for playing golf in
Connecticut, and twenty-five fishermen were arrested on one Sunday in
Buffalo, N. Y. Such are the risks which still accompany innocent and
healthy amusements in the Eastern States. Many such arrests are made in
order to collect fees, or gratify malice; and neither motive ought to be
encouraged by the friends of religion.

Some magistrates in Long Island, N. Y., are believed, while still
holding that baseball breaks the Sabbath, to have discovered that golf
does not. It is further said that on July 9, 1899, some baseball men who
had been playing a Sunday game to a large crowd saved themselves from
arrest by using their bats and balls to imitate golfing as soon as a
policeman appeared in their grounds.

None of the Sunday laws is so mischievous as the decree of Mrs. Grundy
against all forms of recreation not practised by the wealthy and
fashionable. These people have so much time on six days of the week for
active outdoor sport and indoor public entertainments, that they make
little attempt to indulge in such recreations on Sunday. People who
have only this one chance of playing ball, or dancing, or going to
stereopticon lectures, concerts, and operas, suffer in health by having
these recreations made unpopular as well as illegal. The climate of
New England and New York, as well as of Great Britain and Canada, has
unfortunately been so arranged that there are a great many cold and
rainy Sundays, when much time cannot be spent pleasantly in walking or
riding. This matters little to people who get all the amusement they
want in their parlours. But what becomes of people who have no parlours?
For instance, of servant-girls who have no place where they can sing or
even laugh? Shop-girls and factory-girls find their little rooms, Sunday
after Sunday, too much like prisons. Young men are perhaps even more
unfortunate; for they go to the saloon, though this is often closed
without any better place of amusement being opened. Why should every
week in a democratic country begin with an aristocratic Sunday, a day
whose pleasures are mainly for the rich?

Libraries and museums are blessed places of refuge; but "What are
they among so many?" The residents of the District of Columbia are
particularly unfortunate, as the Smithsonian Museum, National Library,
and other buildings, which are open during six days, are kept shut on
Sunday. Congress seems to be of the opinion that working people need
no knowledge of natural history, except what they can get from sermons
about Jonah's whale and Noah's ark. Washington is not the only
city whose rich men ought to remember the warning of Heber Newton:
"Everything that tends to foster among our working people the notion of
class privilege is making against the truest morality in our midst.
As they look upon the case, it is the wealthy people, whose homes are
private libraries and galleries of art, who protest against the opening
of our libraries and museums to those who can afford no libraries
and buy no pictures. Sabbatarianism is building very dangerous fires

We should all be glad to have more intellectual culture given on
Sunday. One way of giving it would be for the churches to open public
reading-rooms in the afternoon. This would be decidedly for their own
interest; and so would be delivery of evening lectures on history,
biography, and literature. The Sunday-schools in England found it
necessary, even as late as 1850, to give much time to teaching reading
and writing as well as the higher branches. Sunday-school rooms in
America, which now are left useless after Sunday noon, might be employed
in teaching English to German, Italian, and Scandinavian immigrants
during the afternoon and evening. Classes might also be formed in vocal
music, light gymnastics, American and English history and literature,
physiology, sociology, and political economy. Such changes would make
our churches all the more worthy of the founder, who "went about doing

The observance of Sunday as a day of rest from labour and business will
be all the more popular as it is made precious to irreligious people.
They are numerous enough to have a right to ask that the public
school-houses be opened for free classes in French, German, drawing,
and modelling; botany, chemistry, and bird-lore; cooking, sewing, and
wood-work. If teachers of these branches were employed on Sunday by our
cities, less money would be needed for police. Our industrial interests
would certainly gain by having this system carried out as far,
for instance, as is done by Lyons and Milan, which have special
Sunday-schools for teaching weaving. Goldsmiths are instructed by
similar schools in Austria, and blacksmiths in Saxony. The full
advantage of Sunday classes of the various kinds here suggested might
not perhaps be seen until a taste for them could be made general, but
doing this would go far to diminish the taste for saloons.

The first step, however, which ought to be taken by our legislatures
is the repeal of all laws hindering the sale of tickets on Sunday to
exhibitions of pictures or curiosities, concerts, stereopticon lectures,
or other instructive entertainments which are acknowledged inoffensive
during the rest of the week. How far dramatic performances and other
very attractive forms of public amusement should be permitted to take
place on Sunday is a question which ought to be settled by municipal
authorities, with due reference to each special case. The people whose
feelings ought to be considered are not those who wish to stay away from
such places. They can easily do that without help from the police. The
people who ought to be heard, first and last, are those who wish to get
innocent amusement on their one day of leisure; and the only thing which
the police need do is to see that they do get it without being defrauded
or tempted into vice. Only the actual existence of such temptation can
justify interference with dancing or card-playing in a private house.
The Sunday reforms most needed, however, are those which will promote
out-door exercise and mental culture.


1776. Declaration of American independence, July 4th.

1780. Emancipation in Massachusetts and Pennsylvania.

1783. Peace between IL S. A. and Great Britain, September 3d.

1785. Great prosperity of British factories about this time.

1787. Slavery prohibited north of Ohio River; slave-trade opposed in
England; Bentham's Principles of Morals and Legislation published.

1788. Constitution of U. S. A. ratified by a sufficient number of
States, June 21st.

1789. Bastille taken, July 14th.

1791. Paine's Rights of Man, Part L, published, March 13th; Louis XVI.
accepts the new constitution, September 14th.

1792. France a republic, September 21st.

1793. Slavery abolished in French colonies, February 4th.

1795. Insurrection in Paris crushed by Bonaparte, October 5th; free
public schools founded throughout France.

1796. Bonaparte commander of army of Italy, March 4th.

1797. French Directory makes itself absolute, September 4th; Venice
ceded by France to Austria.

1798. Irish rebellion, May 23d.

1799. Usurpation by Bonaparte, November 10th.

1800. Election of Jefferson; Schelling's Transcendental Idealism

1801. Inauguration of Jefferson, March 4th.

1802. Birth of Victor Hugo, February 26th; Lamarck's Recherches

1803. Hayti declares herself independent, January 2d; death of
Toussaint in prison, April 27th; birth of Emerson, May 25th; Emmet's
insurrection in Ireland, July 23d.

1804. The Code Napoleon announced, January; Napoleon pro-Liberty in the
Nineteenth Century claimed Emperor, May 18th; crowned, December 2d;
Schiller's William Tell published.

1805. Battle of Austerlitz, December 2d.

1806. Death of Schiller, May 9th; birth of J. S. Mill, May 20th; battle
of Jena, October 14th; Berlin decree of Napoleon against commerce with
Great Britain, November 21st.

1807. Slave-trade prohibited by Great Britain, March 25th; Peace of
Tilsit, July 7th, raises Napoleon to height of power; embargo laid by U.
S. A., December 22d; Oken announces the vertebral analogy of the skull;
Hegel's Phaenomenologie des Geistes published.

1808. Rebellion of Spaniards against French rule; witchcraft mob in
England; Goethe's Faust, Part L, published.

1809. Birth of Darwin, February 12th; revolt of Tyrolese under
Hofer, April 8th; states of the Church annexed to France, May 17th;
death of Paine, June 8th; Pope imprisoned, July 6th; divorce of
Josephine, December 15th; Lamarck's Philosophie Zoôlogique published.

1810. Hofer shot, February 20th; marriage of Napoleon with Austrian
Archduchess, April 1st; post-offices required to open every Sunday in U.
S. A., April 30th; revolt against Spanish rule of Buenos Ayres, May
25th, and of Chili, September 18th.

1811. Nottingham riots against machinery, November.

1812. Birth of Dickens, February 7th; war against Great Britain declared
by U. S. A., June 18th; Wellington enters Madrid, August 12th; Moscow
burned, September 14th; Byron's Childe Harold, Coleridge's Friend, and
Hegel's Logik published.

1813. Wellington invades France, October 7th; battle of Leipsic, October
16th, 18th, and 19th; Francia ruler of Paraguay; Unitarian disabilities
removed in England; Shelley's Queen Mab and Owen's New View of Society

1814. Napoleon is deposed by Senate, April 1st, and abdicates, April
11th; liberal constitution introduced by Louis XVIII., May; Washington
taken and burned by British, August 24th; Peace of Ghent between U. S.
A. and Great Britain, December 24th; Congress of Vienna opens November
3d; graves of Voltaire and Rousseau violated.

1815. Battle of New Orleans, January 8th; Waterloo, June 18th;
controversy of Unitarians and Trinitarians in U. S. A.; last heretic
burned in Mexico; Lamarck publishes the first volume of his Histoire

1817. Shelley's children taken from him on account of his opinions,
March 26th; demonstration at the Wartburg, October 18th; unusual poverty
in England; her authors and orators made liable to imprisonment without
a trial; Ben-tham demands suffrage for men and women not illiterate;
Shelley's Revolt of Islam published.

1818. Chili liberated by battle of Maipu, won by San Martin, April 5th;
religious tests abolished in Connecticut; Hannah M. Crocker's Rights of
Women published.

1819. Assassination of Kotzebue, March 23d; Carlsbad Conference, August
1st; "Peterloo" massacre at Manchester, August 16th; Shelley's
Prometheus Unbound published.

1820. Revolution in Spain, January 1st; and at Naples, July 2d;
assassination of French princes, February 13th, causes reaction against
liberalism; birth of Herbert Spencer, April 27th; Owen's plan of
Socialism proposed, May 1st; conference of Troppau, December 8th;
Missouri Compromise; Sydney Smith asks, "Who reads an American book?";
Irving's Rip Van Winkle and Legend of Sleepy Hollow published.

1821. Brazil begins a revolt, January 1st, as do Greece and Sardinia
in April, and Peru in July; death of Napoleon, May 5th; Venezuela and
Colombra made free by battle of Carabolo, won June 24th, by Bolivar;
Austria supreme in Italy; Lundy begins his Genius of Universal

1822. Death of Shelley, July 8th; independence of Brazil proclaimed,
September 8th; massacre at Scio; Fourrier's book on Association

1823. Spanish patriots crushed by French army, April; Monroe Doctrine
announced, December 1st; British Anti-Slavery Society formed; Victor
Hugo's Odes and Ballads published.

1824. Mexico a republic, January 31st; Bolivar, dictator of Feru,
February 10th, defeats Spaniards at Ayachuco, December 9th; death of
Byron, April 19th; accession of Charles X., September 16th; repeal
of statutes forbidding English labourers to combine or emigrate;
Westminster Review founded.

1825. Much opposition to slavery in Kentucky, Maryland, and North
Carolina; many socialist communities founded in U. S. A.; elective
courses of study at Harvard College, and also at the University of
Virginia, where attendance at religious exercises is made voluntary;
Coleridge's Aids to Reflection published.

1826. Citizens of New York petition for repeal of Fugitive Slave
Law, and for emancipation in the District of Columbia.

1827. Battle of Navarino, October 20th; Taylor sent to prison for
blasphemy, October 24th.

1828. Test Act repealed; Frances Wright lectures against clergy.

1829. Jackson inaugurated March 4th; Catholic Emancipation Act signed,
April 13th; Miss Wright opens a Hall of Science in New York City on
Sunday, April 25th; James Mill's Analysis and Fourrier's Industrial New
World published.

1830. Independence of Greece acknowledged by Turkey, April 25th;
accession of William IV., July 26th; revolution at Paris begins July
27th; King's troops driven out, July 29th; he is succeeded by Louis
Philippe, August 9th; revolts in Brussels, Warsaw, and Dresden;
independence of Belgium acknowledged, December 26th; Hetherington sent
to prison for six months for publishing The Poor Man's Guardian; Victor
Hugo's Hernani acted; Tennyson's Poems and Lyell's Principles of Geology

1831. First number of The Liberator\ January 1st, and of The
Investigator, April 2d; Carlile sent to prison for his writings, January
10th; Cobbett tried and acquitted, July 31st; massacre of fifty-five
white men, women, and children by slaves in Virginia, Sunday, August
21st; Warsaw surrenders to Russians, September 7th; Reform Bill defeated
by bishops, October 7th; Jamaica insurrection, December 22d; free trade
convention in Philadelphia; Victor Hugo's Notre Dame de Paris published.

1832. New England Anti-Slavery Society founded in Boston, January
1st (becomes Mass. A. S. in 1836); death of Goethe, March 22d; the
insurrection at Paris described in Les Misérables, June 5th and 6th;
Reform Bill passed and signed, June 7th; Jackson re-elected, November
6th; woman suffrage lecture in London, December 2d; Jackson's
proclamation against attempt of South Carolina to secede, December
11th; bloody resistance to tithes in Ireland; Elliott's Corn Law Rhymes

1833. Gradual reduction of tariff voted by Congress, March 1st; death
of Bentham, June 6th; Act of Parliament for emancipation in West
Indies passed August 28th; American Anti-Slavery Society founded at
Philadelphia, December; pro-slavery mobs there and in New York City;
municipal suffrage extended in Scotland; unsectarian public schools in
Ireland; first free town library in U. S. A. founded at Peterboro, N.
H., and opened Sundays thenceforth; Emerson's first lecture; Carlyle's
Sartor Resartus published.

1834. Emancipation in West Indies takes place, August ist; new poor law
in England, August 14th; insurrection headed by Mazzini in Italy.

1835. Death of Cobbett, June 16th; anti-slavery periodicals taken from
post-office at Charleston, S. C, and burned by mob, July; convent at
Charlestown, Mass., burned by a mob, August; Garrison mobbed in Boston,
and other abolitionists in New York and Vermont, October 21st; extension
of municipal suffrage in England; Tocqueville's Democracy in America
and Strauss's Life of Jesus published.

1836. Transcendental Club founded in Boston, September; Parker begins
to preach; tithes commuted in England; taxes on newspapers reduced;
dissenters permitted to marry without disobedience to conscience;
Emerson's Nature and Dickens' Pickwick Papers published.

1837. Discussion of slavery in House of Representatives suppressed,
January; Miss Grimké's anti-slavery lectures, June; Emerson's address
on The American Scholar, August 31st; Anti-Slavery Convention of N. E.
Methodists, October 25th; Carlyle's French Revolution published.

1838. Emerson's Divinity School Address, July 15th; Kneeland imprisoned
sixty days, that same summer, for blasphemy; Pennsylvania Hall burned by
a pro-slavery mob; Irish tithe system reformed; daguerreotypes
invented; Atlantic crossed by steam; railroad from London to Birmingham;
Channing's Self-Culture published.

1839. Anti-Corn-Law League organised, March 20th; unsectarian common
schools in England; great Chartist petition; Pope forbids attendance at
the scientific congress at Pisa.

1840. Penny postage, January 10th; nomination of candidate for
President, April ist, by Liberty party: quarrels in May among
abolitionists; World's Anti-Slavery Convention at London, in June,
refuses seats to female delegates; local self-government in Irish
cities; protest of American Catholics against sectarianism of public
schools; The Dial begins; Carlyle's Heroes and Hero Worship published.

1841, Hetherington imprisoned in England for publishing Letters to the
Clergy, and the editor of the Oracle of Reason for attacking the Bible;
Emerson's first volume of Essays published.

1842. Garrison calls on free States to secede, May; death of Channing,
October 2d; Brook Farm started, as are many communties about this time;
Spencer's theory of the limits of government published, 1844. Morse
proves value of telegraph by announcing nomination of Frelinghuysen for
Vice-President by Whigs, May 1st; disunion banner publicly accepted by
Garrison, June 1st; annexation of Texas and reduction of tariff decided
by election on November 5th; rule against discussing slavery repealed by
House of Representatives; Lowell's Poems published.

1845. Parker begins to preach regularly in Boston, February 16th; potato
rot in Ireland, August; Vestiges of Creation published.

1846. Mexico invaded by U. S. troops, March; free trade established
in England, June 25th, and bill to reduce American tariff signed, June
26th; first volume of Grote's Greece and first number of Lowell's Biglow
Papers published.

1847. Mexicans defeated at Buena Vista by General Taylor, February 22d
and 23d; death of O'Connell, May 15th.

1848. Revolution in Paris, February 22d; King abdicates, February 24th;
insurrections in Munich, Vienna, Berlin, Venice, and Milan in March,
afterwards in other cities; "spirit rappings" at Rochester, N.Y.,
begin March 31st; Chartist demonstration at London, April 10th;
Emancipation decreed by French Republic, April 27th; socialist
insurrection at Paris, June 23d, 24th, 25th, and 26th; "Woman's Rights"
Convention at Seneca Falls, N. Y., July 19th; revolt in Ireland, July
29th; Buffalo Convention of Free Soilers, August 9th; Kossuth dictator
of Hungary, September 25th; State constitution and town ordinances
made in October by citizens of California without Federal sanction;
pro-slavery defeat at election of Taylor, November 7th; flight of Pope
from Rome, November 24th; Louis Napoleon president of France, December
10th; Lowell's Vision of Sir Launfal, Fable for Critics, and Biglow
Papers published, 1849. Defeat of King of Sardinia by Austrians at
Novara, March 23d, prevents liberation of Italy; Rome captured by
French, July 3d; Hungarian army surrendered to Russians by Gorgei,
August 13th; Venice taken by Austrians, August 28th; Emancipation
Convention in Kentucky.

1850. Death of Wordsworth, April 24th, and of President Taylor, July
9th; Fugitive Slave Bill signed, September 18th; first national
"Woman's Rights" Convention at Worcester, Mass., October 23d and 24th;
Bradlaugh's first lecture; Hawthorne's Scarlet Letter, Spencer's Social
Statics, and Tennyson's In Memoriam published.

1851. London Great Exhibition opens May ist; a fugitive slave rescued at
Boston, Sunday, February 16th, another at Syracuse, N. Y., October ist;
usurpation of Louis Napoleon, December 2d, 1851.

1852. Uncle Tom's Cabin published, March 20th; death of Frances Wright,
and accession of Napoleon III., December 2d; Herbert Spencer announces
the principle of Differentiation.

1854. Repeal of Missouri Compromise proposed by Douglas, January
23d; return of Burns, a fugitive slave, from Boston, June 2d; U. S.
Constitution publicly burned by Garrison, July 4th; Kansas election
carried by border ruffians, November 29th; Thoreau's Walden published.

1855. Spencer's Pyschology and Walt Whitman's Leaves of Grass published,
1856. Sumner assaulted, May 22d..

1857. Disunion Convention, Worcester, Mass., January 15th; death of
Béranger, July 16th, and of Comte, September 5th; tariff reduced twenty
per cent, in U. S. A.; Buckle's History of Civilisation, vol. i.,

1858. Essays by Darwin and Wallace read in public, July ist; Jews
admitted to Parliament by act passed July 23d; death of Robert Owen,
November 17th; Lincoln and Douglas campaign in Illinois.

1859. Austrians defeated at Magenta, June 4th, and Solferino.

June 24th; Lombardy annexed to Sardinia by treaty of Villafranca, July
nth; John Brown takes possession of Harper's Ferry, Sunday, October
16th, and is tried November 2d; Darwin's Origin of Species published,
November 24th; John Brown hung, December 2d. 1860. Split of Democratic
party, April 30th; death of Theodore Parker, May 10th; Garibaldi enters
Naples, September 7th; election of Lincoln, November 6th; secession of
South Carolina, December 20th; annexation of two Sicilies to Sardinia,
December 26th; Mill on Liberty published.

1861. Confederate States of America organised, February 8th; protective
tariff passed, March 2d; Russian serfs emancipated, March 3d; Lincoln
inaugurated, March 4th; Victor Emmanuel King of Italy, March 17th;
Fort Sumter bombarded, April 12th, surrendered, April 13th; Lincoln's
proclamation, Monday, April 15th, calls all the North to arms; death of
Cavour, June 6th; Union defeat at Bull Run, Sunday, July 21st.

1862. Paper money made legal tender in U. S. A., February 25th; return
of fugitives from slavery by army or navy forbidden, March 13th; negro
soldiers, April; death of Thoreau, May 6th, and of Buckle, May 29th;
disastrous campaign of McClellan in Virginia ends by his retreat, July
8th; Union victory at Antietam, September 19th; emancipation announced
as a possible war measure by Lincoln, September 22d; Union defeat at
Fredericksburg, December 13th; Victor Hugo's Les Misérables published,
also Spencer's First Principles containing his full theory of
Integration and Differentiation.

1863. Lincoln proclaims emancipation, January 1st; signs bills
suspending Habeas Corpus Act and establishing conscription, March 3d;
Union defeat at Chancellorsville, May 3d; Vallandigham sentenced, May
7th; battle of Gettysburg, July 1st, 2d, and 3d, ending in a Union
victory; Vicksburg surrendered to General Grant, July 4th; Mississippi
opened by surrender of Port Hudson, July 9th; Union victories at Lookout
Mountain, November 24th, and Chattanooga, November 25th; Fenian
Convention at Chicago, November 25th; Darwinism much opposed by European
clergy about this time.

1864. General Grant takes command of all the Union armies, March 12th;
undecisive battles in the Wilderness and at Spottsylvania, May 5th-10th;
Fugitive Slave Act repealed, June 23d; Nevada admitted, October 31st;
Lincoln re-elected, November 8th; Sherman marches from Atlanta, November
16th, and enters Savannah, December 22d.

1865. Death of Cobden, April 2d; Richmond entered by coloured cavalry,
April 3d; Lee surrenders, April 9th; Lincoln shot, Good Friday, April
14th, dies April 15th; slavery abolished by Thirteenth Amendment,
December 18th; Lecky's Rationalism published.

1866. Prussian victory over Austria at Kônîggratz, July 3d; Venice part
of Kingdom of Italy, November 4th.

1867. First convention of the Free Religious Association, May 30th;
suffrage extended in England, August 15th; Home Rule in Hungary.

1868. Fourteenth Amendment in force, July 28th; Cuban declaration of
independence, October 10th.

1869. Irish Church disestablished, July 26th; witnesses allowed to
affirm in Great Britain.

1870. Death of Dickens, June 9th; Napoleon III. defeated at

Sedan, September 1st; France a republic, September 4th; Rome part of the
kingdom of Italy, October 9th; Inger-soll begins to lecture; Home Rule
agitation in Ireland, 1871. Paris surrendered to Prussians, January
28th; Communists supreme there, March 18th, suppressed, May 28th;
emancipation in Brazil; Darwin's Descent of Man published.

1872. Death of Mazzini, March 10th; secret ballot in England; Abbot's
"Demands of Liberalism" published in The Index (which began January 1,

1873. Spain a republic, February 11th; death of J. S. Mill, May 8th;
American Liberal League, September 1st.

1874. Military usurpation at Madrid, January 3d; death of Sumner, March
11th; citizens of District of Columbia disfranchised, June 17th;
Alphonso XII. king of Spain, December 30th; Mrs. Besant begins to
lecture; Victor Hugo's Ninety-Three published.

1875. Sunday Society organised at London.

1876. Centennial Exhibition at Philadelphia opens, May 10th, and
conventiom of Liberal League, July 1st; disputed election for President,
November 7th; Sunday convention in Boston, November 15th; vivisection
restricted in England; Cuban rebellion suppressed, 242 Liberty in the
Nineteenth Century.

1877. Museum of Fine Arts in Boston open in and after March on Sundays.

1878. Anti-clerical resolution passed by Woman Suffrage Convention,
Rochester, N. Y., July; split of Liberal League at Syracuse, N. Y.,
Sunday, October 27th; Professor Winchell obliged to leave Nashville,
Tenn., for evolutionism.

1879. Specie payment resumed in U. S. A., January 1st; death of
Garrison, May 24th; Henry George's Progress and Poverty published.

1880. Bradlaugh refused his seat in Parliament, May 21st; many patriots
banished to Siberia.

1881. Czar Alexander II. assassinated, March 13th, anti-Jewish mobs on
and after April 27th; Bradlaugh excluded by force, August 1st.

1882. Death of Longfellow, March 24th, of Darwin, April 18th, of
Emerson, April 27th, and of Garibaldi, June 2d.

1883. Foote and Ramsay, English journalists, sentenced respectively to
twelve and nine months in prison for blasphemy.

1884. Death of Wendell Phillips; February 2d; Cleveland elected
President, November 4th; Professor Woodrow dismissed from Presbyterian
Theological Seminary at Columbia, S. C, for teaching evolution, December

1885. Death of Victor Hugo, May 20th, and of General Grant, July 23d.

1886. Bradlaugh takes his seat, January 13th; railroad strike in

Missouri suppressed by Federal troops, March; bloody conflict of Chicago
anarchists with police, May 4th; statue of Liberty unveiled in New York
Harbour, October 28th.

1887. Chicago anarchists hung, November 11th.

1888. U. S. tariff reduced by Mills Bill, July 21st; Cleveland defeated,
November 6th; imprisonment in Sweden for blasphemy; Bellamy's Looking
Backward published.

1889. Brazil a republic, November 15th; death of Browning, December

1890. Australian ballot tried in Rhode Island, April 2d; U. S.
tariff raised by McKinley Bill, passed by the 4 Billion Dollars
Congress, and signed October 1st.

1891. Death of Bradlaugh, January 30th, and of Lowell, August 12th; Jews
expelled from Moscow in April, and much persecuted this year and in
1892; New York Museum of Art opened on Sunday, May 31st, to 10,000

1892. Death of Walt Whitman, March 26th, of Whittier, September 7th, and
of Tennyson, October 6th; bill excluding Chinese from U. S. A. signed,
May 5th; Congress votes for closing Chicago Exposition on Sundays, July
19th; Cleveland re-elected, November 8th; New York Museum of Natural
History open Sundays; revised edition of Spencer's Social Statics

1893. Chicago Exposition formally opened May ist, first open
Sunday, May 28th; Parliament of Religions begins Monday, September nth,
10 a.m.

1894. Death of Kossuth, March 20th, of Holmes, October 7th, of

Lucy Stone, October 18th, and of Tyndall, December 4th; Debs, leader of
a riot in Chicago, enjoined by U. S. judges, July 2d, and put down by
Federal troops; reduction of U. S. tariff, August 2d; Home Rule approved
by House of Commons, September ist, refused by House of Lords, September
8th; universal suffrage and extension of local self-government in
England; a professor in University of Texas dismissed for evolutionism.

1895. Death of Frederick Douglass, February 20th, and of Huxley, June
29th; rebellion in Cuba; men arrested in New York City for selling ice,
umbrellas, etc., on Sunday; eight men who had worked on that day, after
keeping Saturday as the Sabbath, forced to labour in the chain-gang in

1896. British Museum, National Gallery, and other institutions opened
to the public on Sunday, May 24th, and afterwards; two Sabbath-breakers
shot dead that same day by a policeman in Massachusetts; death of
William Morris, October 3d; Democratic candidates defeated on a
free-silver platform, November 3d.

1897. Dingley Bill to increase tariff, signed July 24th; death of
Henry George, October 27th.

1898. War declared by U. S. A. against Spain, April 21st; death of
Gladstone, Ascension Day, May 19th; independence of Cuba secured by
treaty, August 12th.

1899. Death of Ingersoll, July 21st.

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