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Title: A Hundred Years Hence - The Expectations of an Optimist
Author: Russell, T. Baron
Language: English
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                         A HUNDRED YEARS HENCE
                    The Expectations of an Optimist


                                   By
                            T. BARON RUSSELL
                               Author of
             "A Guardian of the Poor," "The Mandate," etc.


                                 LONDON
                            T. Fisher Unwin
                           Paternoster Square
                                  1905



                There is a history in all men's lives,
                Figuring the nature of the times deceased;
                The which observed, a man may prophesy,
                With a near aim, of the main chance of things
                As yet not come to life; which in their seeds
                And weak beginnings lie intreasured.

                                       Shakespeare, 2 Henry IV., III. i.



                They pass through whirl-pools, and deep woes do shun,
                Who the event weigh, 'ere the action's done.

                                       Webster, Duchess of Malfi, II. 4.



PREFACE


The following was at first intended to be no more than an attempt to
foresee the probable trend of mechanical invention and scientific
discovery during the present century. But as the work took shape
it was seen to involve a certain amount of what may be called
moral conjecture, since the material progress of the new age could
not very well be imagined without taking into account its mental
characteristics. In these expectations of an optimist, a great
ethical improvement of the civilised human race has been anticipated,
and a rate of progress foreseen which perhaps no previous writers
have looked for. Both in regard to moral development and material
progress, it has been the aim of the author to predict nothing that
the tendencies of existing movement do not justify us in expecting.

An attempt of this kind is exposed to facile criticism. It will be easy
for objectors to signalise this or that expected invention as beyond
scientific possibility, that or the other moral reform as fit only for
Utopia. But those who will consent to perpend the enormous and utterly
unforeseen advance of the nineteenth century will recognise the danger
of limiting their anticipations concerning the possibilities of the
twenty-first. A fanciful description in (I think) Addison's Spectator
of an invention by which the movements of an indicator on a lettered
dial were imagined to be reproduced on a similar dial at a distance,
and employed as a means of communication, must have seemed wholly
chimerical to its readers; and even as recently as fifty years ago,
anyone who predicted the telephone would have been laughed at. When
the principle of the accumulator was already discovered a very
competent practical electrician told the writer that he need not
worry himself much about the idea: there was not the least likelihood
that electricity could ever be "bottled up in cisterns"! On the whole
there is more likelihood of error in timidity than in boldness when
we attempt to foresee what will be attained after the increasingly
rapid movement of scientific progress during this twentieth century
shall have gathered full force.

For the rest, criticism of this sort is disarmed, because the reader
has been in any case invited to enter a realm of more or less pure
imagination. No one can exactly know with what births, monstrous or
beautiful, the future may teem. Admitting a certain point of view--that
of almost unrestrained optimism--the predictions here offered will,
it is believed, be found to be along the line of existing progress.


    Beaufort House,

    Brentford.



CONTENTS


    CHAP.                                                  PAGE

       I.   The Rate of Progress                              1
      II.   Housing, Travel and Population. Questions        13
     III.   The Man of Business                              38
      IV.   The Cult of Pleasure                             54
       V.   The Newspaper of the Future and the Future of
            the Newspaper                                    68
      VI.   Utilising the Sea                                95
     VII.   The March of Science                            106
    VIII.   Education a Hundred Years Hence                 134
      IX.   Religion: the Fine Arts, Literature             175
       X.   The Age of Economies                            205
      XI.   The Law a Hundred Years Hence                   233
     XII.   Conclusions                                     286
            INDEX                                           309



A HUNDRED YEARS HENCE


CHAPTER I

THE RATE OF PROGRESS


To anyone who has considered at all attentively the enormous material
advances of the nineteenth century, a much more remarkable thing than
any invention or improvement which that century brought forth must
be the speed of human progression during the hundred years between
1800 and 1900, and the extraordinary acceleration of that speed
which began to establish itself about the year 1880. But indeed,
during the whole century, our forward movement was steadily gaining
impetus. The difference between the state of the world in 1700 and
its state in 1800 is insignificant compared with the differences
established between the latter date and the opening of the twentieth
century. But it is hardly less insignificant than the progress of the
decade 1800-1810 compared with that of the decade 1890-1900. We are,
in fact, picking up speed at an enormous rate. The beginning of the
twenty-first century will exhibit differences, when compared with
our own day, which even the boldest imagination can hardly need to be
restrained in conjecturing. The latter part of the nineteenth century
was the age of electricity, just as the middle part was the age of
steam. The first part of the twentieth century is evidently going
to be the age of wave manipulation, of which wireless telegraphy,
as we know it, is but the first infantile stirring.

What the developments promised (and they are already quite easily
presageable) by wireless telegraphy will give us, and what they
will be superseded by, can only be very dimly imagined; what their
effects will be upon the human race in itself no one has yet ventured
even to hint at. Few things are more remarkable in the numerous
and highly-varied experiments of vaticinatory fiction and more
serious efforts of prognostication than the utter absence of any
adequate attempt to forecast the future of the race itself. Social
and political changes, the enormous differences which are certain
to be effected in the manner of human life, have been from time to
time more or less boldly imagined, and a couple of volumes of very
able forecasts of the future have recently been published by a writer
of singular vision and highly-trained scientific imagination. But it
does not hitherto appear to have been at all fully perceived that the
moral constitution of man himself is quite certain to be profoundly
modified, not alone by the influence of a material environment
which will have been changed as the environment of man has never
been changed since the first inhabitation of this planet, but also
by the steady development of inward changes which have already begun
to manifest themselves. Since the year 1800 ideas which, so far as
we have any means of knowing, had been regarded as irrefragable ever
since man first began to think and to set his thoughts upon record,
have been utterly shattered. One has only to compare the opinions of
even average thinkers of our own day on such subjects as marriage,
the status of woman, and the education of children, with the opinions,
practically current without material change since the dawn of history,
in 1800, to perceive the truth of this statement; and the change of
attitude on the part of civilised people, outside the Roman Catholic
Church (and, to some extent, even within it), towards religion is not
less remarkable. An enlightened man of the present day is so radically
different in all his ideas from a similar individual of the early
nineteenth century, that it is hardly possible for a modern student
to write with any intelligence on the deeper significance of events
and life prior to 1800. Grotesquely inadequate as most historical
novels of our own day are, they are perhaps hardly less inadequate
than our own understanding of the novels of Sir Walter Scott. Scott
could probably write of crusaders and the age of chivalry without
committing serious blunders of sentiment. What the world thought
in the age of Saladin the world practically thought in the age of
Napoleon. But the irresistible infection of modern ideas has made it
hardly possible for us to enter with any fulness into the sentiments
of Scott; and the sentiments put into the mouth, and the thoughts
into the mind, of the hero of any historical novel of our own day
would be utterly incomprehensible to that hero, could he by some
miracle be resuscitated, and could we translate them literally to
him. We unconsciously endow the personages of our historical fiction
with ideas for which they had not even the names.

And the development of the human mind proceeds apace. It will be
even more difficult for the ordinary cultured man of a hundred years
hence to form any full conception of our ideas than it is for us to
appraise the mental attitude of the men of the eighteenth century. To
take a single example: the humanest warrior of the Napoleonic wars
appears a monster of cruelty if compared with the sternest of modern
generals. Napoleon devastated provinces without a word of censure
from competent critics of the art of war. A howl of execration went
up, not from continental Europe alone, at the measures--seriously
embarrassing to our military operations, and enormously helpful to
our enemy--which the British generals took in order to diminish the
sufferings of the non-combatant population of the Transvaal; camps
of refuge, it appears, did not sufficiently excel in comfort the
hospitals of our own wounded! And there is a section of the Press in
this country which still occasionally remembers, to complain of it,
the fact that our generals found it necessary, for military reasons,
to burn farm-houses. I should not like to attempt the conjecture,
what Wellington would have said in answer to such a complaint, or
what he would have done to a self-appointed emissary who visited
his camps for the purpose of criticising his action! It would have
been no more impossible for him to foresee the day of such things,
however, than it is for us to predict the moral sense of the year
2000. The fact is that we have greatly deteriorated in war, although,
or rather because, we have even more greatly improved in morals and
feeling. William Morris conceived of man in the coming time as a
sort of recreated mediæval. Mr Wells conceives him as practically a
nineteenth-century man, with his ideas merely adjusted to new material
conditions. Bellamy described him in terms of a being inconceivable
by any sort of reason. No one appears to have seen that his moral
nature will have been not merely revolutionised, but recreated, just
as our own morality has been recreated during the last hundred years,
not so much by the influence of material environment or the march of
invention, as by the regeneration of human conscience.

In no way will the acceleration of the speed of progress be more
apparent than in the thoughts and emotions of men. But to say this
is not to belittle the progress which science and invention have in
store for the new age. In applying a sort of imaginative telescope
to the mental eye it will be necessary to keep constantly in view
the utter inconceivableness of modern achievement by the civilised
world of the past. When electricity was no more than a sort of
scientific plaything--when notions of its possible uses were (as in
Davy's time) far less substantially imagined than, for instance, the
possible uses of radium are to-day, even scientific thinkers, endowed
with what Huxley so luminously applauded as scientific imagination,
had no rudiment of the materials for conceiving such inventions as
the electric telegraph--far less the possibilities of transmitted
and picked-up wave energy. And here, at the beginning of wireless
telegraphy, we are no less in the dark as to what will develop from
it and what will supersede it. The nineteenth century progressed,
almost from first to last, on the strength of the discovery of how
to utilise the stored energy of coal, whether directly in the steam
engine or indirectly in the dynamo-electric machine and the electric
motor. With the end of the coal age already well in view, we can only
conjecture what the sources of mechanical power will be a hundred
years hence. Before we have quite exhausted our coal measures and
begun to draw more liberally on our stores of petroleum, we shall
no doubt have abandoned altogether so wasteful a contrivance as the
steam engine. There is a clumsiness almost barbarous in the roundabout
employment of coal to produce heat, the steam engine to utilise only
a miserable fraction of the potential energy even of the part of
the coal which we do not fatuously allow to escape as smoke; of the
dynamo to use up a part of the motion yielded by the steam engine
in producing electricity (while a small but recognisable portion of
that motion is converted wastefully back again into heat), and of the
electro-motor to re-convert the electricity into motion, heat, light
and chemical energy, according to our requirements. It cannot be many
years before we learn to use coal far more economically than we do
nowadays, abolishing the furnace and the steam engine, and obtaining
electricity directly from coal itself by some sort of electro-chemical
decomposition. But even so, our coal will not last much longer. The
speed of our progress will exhaust it much sooner than most people
imagine, and probably in another twenty-five years the end of our
petroleum will also begin to be looked forward to with apprehension.

About this period, or perhaps immediately after, progress will have
been accelerated to an enormous degree by the invention of some new
method of decomposing water. The economical analysis of water into its
two component gases, whose chemical affinity and antipodal electrical
attractions are already utilised to some extent in such appliances
as the oxy-hydrogen blowpipe and electrical storage batteries, is
a secret capable of extraordinary beneficences to the new age. By
burning hydrogen in oxygen we can already produce the greatest heat
practically needed in the arts; the electric furnace only superseding
this process because it happens to be more manageable. But when we
want oxygen and hydrogen, we do not, in practice, now obtain them from
water: we only combine them as water in the act of utilisation. The
rational line of progress is obviously to seek means of directly
decomposing water. When we can do this compendiously and economically
we shall have an inexhaustible supply of energy--for water thus
used is not destroyed as water, as coal is destroyed, quâ coal,
when we utilise its stored energy. The very act of utilising the
gases recombines them: and we can use them thus for the production
of almost every kind of energy that man at present needs. We can use
them for heat by burning them together. We can use them for light by
burning them in the presence of any substance capable of being made
incandescent. We shall be able to use them to generate electricity
by some sort of contrivance akin to the accumulator of the present
day (a highly rudimentary invention); and it would be even now a
very simple matter to utilise their explosive recombination for the
direct production of power as motion. Utilised apart, the constituent
gases of water have many other uses and possible uses. Hydrogen,
under suitable treatment, yields the greatest obtainable cold,
as oxygen and hydrogen together yield the greatest heat. If our
flying-machines need a sort of ballast to reinforce their mechanical
lifting apparatus, hydrogen is the best possible assistant. And the
probable uses of oxygen are yet more numerous. So long as we still
burn anything at all except a mixture of oxygen and hydrogen--and
ultimately we shall have nothing else left to burn--oxygen is capable
of multiplying the efficiency of all combustion. One of the greatest
problems of our own day is the disposal of waste products of all
sorts--the sources of inconvenience, disease and dirt. Oxygen,
if readily and copiously obtainable, is capable of destroying them
all. Indeed, it seems likely that medicine, the least progressive of
the sciences to-day, will find in oxygen the great propulsive force of
its forward movement. In considerably less than a hundred years hence
such makeshifts as drugging, and the fighting of one disease by the
instalment in the organism of another, will certainly have gone by
the board. Antisepsis and Asepsis (the latter almost infinitely the
greatest invention in the history of therapeutics) will have pushed
their way from surgery into medicine. There are numerous diseases
which can be not merely cured, but ultimately abolished when we have
once discovered how to use oxygen adequately. The readjustment of
the conditions of life determined by the removal from the civilised
world of the greater number of diseases, and perhaps of all diseases
except those arising out of wilful misconduct (as improper diet) and
even by the elimination of most of the evils of hurry and overwork
(for what are medically and chemically known as fatigue products can
almost certainly be eliminated from the system by the proper use,
yet to be discovered, of oxygen) must inevitably have an enormous
influence not merely upon the physical life of man, but also, and
even more, upon his mental constitution. The rate of progress will
thus in yet another way be vastly accelerated.

Most likely the universal source of power, then, before the middle
of the century, will be the recomposition of water--in other words,
we shall get all the power we want by splitting up water into oxygen
and hydrogen, and then allowing those gases to recombine, thereby
returning to us the energy we have employed in the analysis. How
we shall employ this power is largely for the future to decide, and
certainly in the earlier future we shall employ it in the generation
of etheric waves of various kinds. The world of science is visibly
on the threshold of new and revolutionary discoveries on the nature
and composition of matter, and whither these discoveries will lead us
it is not usefully possible to conjecture. But certainly, after the
usual incubation period of a scientific discovery--when it is merely
a sort of wonderful toy, as argon and radium are at present--there
will come the practical men, suckled at the large and noble breasts of
disinterested, unremunerative truth, and ready to turn that nutriment
into world-moving material usefulness: so, again, the rate of progress
will receive a vast and valuable acceleration. Electricity, whose gift
to the world has been so great, will probably not, until after several
decades, approach the limits of its realm, and so long as electricity
remains a considerable element in the utilisation of those stores
of dissipating energy by which the planet lives, it is possible to
foresee something of what will become of man during the next age.

We have here the limits of such an inquiry as the present. Placing
the end of the age of electricity at provisionally about a hundred
years hence (but it is quite conceivable that the rate of progress may
overtake it earlier and shut the door on conjecture) it is possible to
forecast, not indeed with certainty, but with a measure of imaginative
probability, what will happen as the resources of electricity are
developed and the other material amenities of the world are worked
along the line of natural progress. So far as the light of analogy
can point the way the reader is invited on a sort of conjectural
journey. Of the developments of the moral ideas of man likely to
be determined, not so much by the coming change in his material
environment, as by the evolution of inner forces already at work,
I propose to say something at the end of the book. In the meantime,
the probable material changes in the next hundred years (or less,
according to the rate of our progress) in various departments of life
will be the subject of some intermediate conjectures.



CHAPTER II

HOUSING, TRAVEL AND POPULATION QUESTIONS


When every allowance has been made for the material changes which the
progress of this century threatens, it is easy to see that certain
present-day problems will continue to trouble our successors. Some
things which perplex ourselves will, I think, work out their own
remedy. Others will remain the subject of solutions not difficult to
be imagined in advance.

One chief difficulty which will infallibly confront the immediate
future, and even the future that is more remote, arises out of the
simple fact that the race of man tends to increase numerically at
a speed greater than our devices for its accommodation can quite
conveniently cope with. The population of the world not only increases,
but increases at compound interest. Nor is this all. Improved
sanitation, better habits of life, and the progress of medicine,
prolong lives that in the conditions of last century would have been
shortened, and the rate of increase is thus further accelerated,
as individuals who in different conditions would have died, live
on, perhaps reproducing their species, and thus intensifying the
population problem. Against these influences may be set the effect
of the restrictions imposed by some civilised peoples on the birth
rate, which Mr Roosevelt calls "race suicide." These practices,
just now increasingly prevalent, retard the rate of increase, but
do not at present stop our increase: they alleviate, but do not cure
the difficulty of over-population. Artificial physiological checks on
population, if I am right in certain other conjectures to be presently
developed, will not form part of the permanent morality of the new age,
partly because, with more enlightenment, they will be voluntarily
abandoned or superseded, and partly because the necessity for them
will have disappeared, having worked out its own cure.

But with all this it would be folly to anticipate that the population
of the civilised world will not have greatly increased before the end
of the period contemplated by the present inquiry: and this brings
us face to face with two very important questions--those of housing
and transport. Where shall we live, and how shall we move from place
to place--above all, how shall we proceed from home to the scene of
work and thence home again every day, in the future? Shall we indeed
thus move back and forth at all?

The answer to the last question bifurcates somewhat. In the
earlier future of (say) twenty or thirty years hence, probably the
greatest tendencies will be towards concentration on the one hand and
exceedingly rapid transport on the other. What the ultimate practice
will be, it should not be difficult to guess when we see how these
tendencies are likely to work themselves out.

During the last twenty-five or thirty years of the nineteenth century
the tendency of workers in great cities was more and more towards
suburban life, men travelling to and from the cities in increasing
numbers, to increasing distances, and at increasing speeds. Even
mechanics, even labourers and the other humbler wage-earners (to say
nothing of clerks not earning much more, but spending their money in
a different manner) nowadays travel considerable distances to their
work. But in spite of what is complacently regarded (by railway and
tramway directors) as rapid conveyance, there is lately manifest an
increasing impatience against the time subtracted from men's leisure
by the two daily journeys, an impatience very naturally increased in
the case of manual workers of both sexes by the utter inadequacy of
the legislative control imposed upon railway and tramway companies.

Crowded trams and trains, with desperate men and weak women fighting
a daily battle for conveyance before all the cheap trips have
been made, inflict a shameful degradation upon the class for which
Parliament makes illusory provision in railway and tramway Acts. As
a consequence of this difficulty, and also because of the early hour
at which the companies are allowed to cease carrying working-folk at
the workmen's fare, many men and women are compelled to waste some
hours of their scanty leisure every day between the arrival of their
trains and the opening of their workshops, a cruelty for which the
blame may be pretty equally apportioned to Parliament and the company
directors. The result of it is that many of the poor prefer the evil
of overcrowding in cities before the greater evil of wasted time
and degrading travel. As time goes on, no doubt the monopolists of
transportation will be compelled, as their own necessities increase
and so bring them under the hand of the legislature, to serve more
adequately the necessities of the majority. But even so, and as
long as the effective speed of conveyance is limited by the lack
of permanent-way space and the necessity for frequent stations,
the impatience even now manifested, and manifested chiefly by the
class which suffers least from loss of time in travel, will lead to
concentration. Taking London as an example, it may be said that the
Victorian age was the age of the suburbs. But few people now live in
the suburbs of London who can afford to live anywhere else. Either
they move right out into the country, seeking a spot on some main
line where the greater distance and less-frequent train service is
made up for by speedy and uninterrupted journeys; or they come into
London and occupy houses or flats within easy reach of their working
head-quarters. The suburbs are given over to those who cannot afford
either of these expedients, or who, having been brought up there,
are retained by a sort of inertia. Ultimately, as the demand for
town space becomes intensified, two things will happen. First of all,
the restrictions which many cities, ignoring the freedom of New York
and Chicago, impose upon the erection of excessively high buildings,
will go by the board. The shutting out of sunlight and fresh air
will be the subject of compensations to be presently explained, and
thirty, forty, fifty or a hundred-storey houses, and houses which
perhaps burrow to some distance underground, will, by virtue of the
same compensations, house a vast, concentrated population impatient
of daily travel. As the demand for homes increases, and even the
high buildings cannot cope with it, the cities will push their way
outwards, repopulating the rebuilt suburbs. This kind of thing will
have a tendency to correct itself. Rents will be high in proportion to
position near the centre. But a limit of toleration will be reached,
and as certain improvements will have been effected in transport,
there will ultimately be a reaction, and people will again go right
out to the country, as long as there is any country left.

Before discussing these improvements, however, it will be convenient
to examine the conveniences, social and sanitary, of the homes of
the new age. The greatest convenience of all, no doubt, will be the
modification and partial elimination of the domestic servant. There
is every reason to believe that the great difficulties of the servant
question as at present experienced will solve themselves, forming in
part an instance of the moral changes, accompanying material invention
but only partly resulting from it, which the new age is certain
to experience. It is usual to lay the blame of the unsatisfactory
character and atrocious inefficiency of the domestic servants of
our own day on the institution of free education. They are much more
due to the absence of any education worthy of the name, and to the
imperfect civilisation of modern houses. Thirty-five years or so are
but an instant in the life of an institution so overwhelmingly more
important in its possibilities than any other subject of legislation
as State-compelled education of the people. No one appears to have
recognised that character-making, which Herbert Spencer called the most
important object which can engage the attention of the legislator,
is the only true object of education, free or otherwise. When
politicians have talked of the necessity of national education,
the argument they have used was that Germans are better chemists
than we are. When they praised the usefulness of modern languages
it was in terms of commercial utility. "Modern languages, in fact"
(a recent critic remarked), "make a good bagman." It is inept to
despair of free education because free education has produced no
very satisfactory results while conceived of as a process of shoving
undesired knowledge into the children of the poor. Looking, as everyone
not hidebound by pessimism must look, for a great enlightenment of the
law-giving class when the system of party politics, already beginning
to show signs of decay, has ceased to hold all legislation in its
blighting hand, we have every reason to expect that the true uses of
education will be perceived and attained long before the end of the
period contemplated when we speak of the new age. And then, one very
great factor in the servant question will have been satisfactorily
solved, even if other conditions have not conducted us nearly all
the way to the solution beforehand.

For, while making every allowance for the evil effects of education,
wrongly conceived and improperly administered, on the character
of women destined to become servants, it must be allowed that
much of what we call the servant difficulty could be cured now,
and will unquestionably be cured before long, by inventions capable
of abolishing the grievances which lead to it. These grievances are
real and remediable. I do not refer to the confinement, restraint and
gross lack of consideration on the part of employers which lead young
women of the class from which servants are drawn to prefer labour in
factories and elsewhere, in conditions far less comfortable, before
domestic service; but to our utter lack of ingenuity in removing the
irksomeness and degradation of much domestic labour. Some coming
inventions calculated to improve the lot of Mary Jane will now be
described.

In the first place (as Mr H. G. Wells has pointed out, without
apparently being aware that buildings already exist in which some of
his ideas have been anticipated), modern rooms, equally with those of
all time, seem to have been constructed so as to make it as difficult
as possible to keep them clean. Square corners and rectangular
junctions of wall and floor, wall and ceiling, will certainly before
long be replaced everywhere by curves. But the work of house cleaning
will be rendered easy and unlaborious by another invention, already
indeed in existence on a large scale, but eventually capable of being
rendered portable. I mean a contrivance for applying a vacuum to any
desired spot. There is a very ingenious but rather noisy engine already
in use for pumping the dust out of carpets, curtains and furniture. In
the houses of the future handy contrivances of various shapes, all
independent of any engine, will be found, furnished with elastic
nozzles on the outside and with some sort of appliance capable of
instantly exhausting the air within. Such a utensil wheeled over the
floor will remove instantly every particle of dust from the surface
and below the surface of the carpet, at the same time picking up
any such débris as scraps of paper, pins, and other decidua of the
previous day. A similar instrument, differently shaped, will clean the
curtains, supposing curtains to be still in use at the time, and will
dust the chairs and tables--though there will not be anything like
so much dust as there is now, nearly all kinds of combustion being
abolished. The kitchen fire will of course be an electric furnace:
"o' my word we'll not carry coals." Lighting will all be electric,
and no doubt wireless. The abolition of horse traffic in cities, and
the use of the vacuum apparatus which will be continuously at work
in all streets, keeping them dry and free from mud, will practically
remove the necessity for boot brushing, even supposing that we shall
still wear boots: every man and woman in dressing will pass a vacuum
instrument over his and her clothes and get rid of even the little dust
existing--for we shall be more and more intolerant of dirt in any form,
having by that time fully realised how dangerous dirt is. The new age
will be a clean age. A lady of the year 2000 who could be miraculously
transported back to London at the present moment would probably faint
(they will not have ceased fainting) at the intolerable disgustingness
of what is, I suppose, now one of the cleanest cities in the world,
even if the cruelty of employing horses for traction, and the frightful
recklessness of allowing them to soil the streets in which people walk,
did not overpower her susceptibilities in another way.

Cooking will perhaps not be done at all on any large scale at
home, in flat-homes at all events; and in any case, for reasons
which will hereafter become apparent, cooking will be a much less
disgusting process than it is to-day. In no case will the domestic
servant of a hundred years hence be called upon to stand over a
roaring fire, laid by herself, and to be cleaned up by herself
when done with, in order to cook the family dinner. Every measure
of heat--controllable in gradations of ten degrees or so--will be
furnished in electrically-fitted receptacles, with or without water
jackets or steam jackets: and unquestionably all cooking will be done
in hermetically-closed vessels. We shall not much longer do most of our
cooking by such a wasteful and unwholesome method as boiling, whereby
the important soluble salts of nearly all food are callously thrown
away. As, for reasons to be developed hereafter, it is quite certain
that animal food will have been wholly abandoned before the end of this
century, the débris of the kitchen will be much more manageable than
at present, and the kitchen sink will cease to be, during a great
part of the day, a place of unapproachable loathsomeness. On the
other hand, its conveniences will have been greatly increased. It is
difficult to understand how the old-world fashion of (for instance)
"washing up" plates and dishes can have endured so long. Of course,
in the new age, these utensils will be simply dropped one by one into
an automatic receptacle; swilled clean by water delivered with force
and charged with nascent oxygen; dried by electric heat; and polished
by electric force; being finally oxygen-bathed as a superfluous act
of sanitary cleanliness before being sent to table again. And all
that has come off the plates will drop through the scullery floor
into the destructor beneath to be oxygenated and made away with.

Here we have most of the distasteful elements of domestic service got
rid of. Naturally lifts of various kinds, driven by the same force
(whatever it is) which lights and warms the house, will be everywhere
in evidence. The plan of attaining the upper part of a small house by
climbing, on every occasion, a sort of wooden hill, covered with carpet
of questionable cleanliness, will of course have been abandoned: it
is doubtful whether staircases will be built at all after the next two
or three decades. And it is likely that the more refined sentiment of
the new age will recoil before the spectacle of menial service at the
table. Not because they will despise, but because they will respect,
their domestic assistants, hostesses will dislike to have their guests
waited upon in a servile manner during meals by plush-breeched flunkeys
of the male, or neat-handed Phyllises of the female, sex. Well-arranged
houses will have the kitchen on a level with the dining-room, and
the dividing wall will be so contrived that a table, ready laid at
each course, can be made to slide through it into the presence of the
seated guests. An immense amount of running to and fro between kitchen
and dining-room, and of lifting food and table-ware into and out of
elevators, will thus be obviated, to the vast gastronomic improvement
of the meal and the salvation of servants' time.

Naturally the bedrooms of the new age will have many amenities lacking
to our own. It is not too much to anticipate that we shall have learned
enough of plumbing to be able to connect baths, wash-basins and other
necessary fittings with the drains without poisoning ourselves, and
the inconvenient modern "wash-stand" with its unreticent adjuncts will
decently disappear. It cannot be very long--probably it will only be
a few years--before some kind of reasonable control is exercised over
the technical education of plumbers. [1]

Thus the bedroom of the new age will be a much more convenient
and satisfactory apartment than the one we slept in last night,
and another irksome and unelevating part of the domestic work of our
servants will be eliminated. But the sleeping-apartments, and indeed
all apartments in city homes, will contain yet another very valuable
and necessary article of furniture--the oxygenator. Nearly all the
unhealthiness and the pinched, weary greyness of town-dwellers to-day
could be cured by fresh air. Everyone is familiar with the improvement
which can be effected in the health and appearance of a city family
by even a short visit to the seaside or the country--an improvement
which it happens to be fashionable just now to attribute, in the
former case, to the presence of ozone in the sea air. The fact that
holiday-makers are able to endure the smell of slowly-decaying seaweed
with a dash of putrescent fish about it, which is called "sea-air,"
without injury, and even to pick up health in the presence of it,
is more due to the absence of carbon dioxide and other deleterious
gases of the towns than to anything else. The beneficent effects of
country air are practically all due to the power possessed by green
vegetation of superoxygenating the surrounding air. The atmosphere
of cities, or at all events of city homes, will presently be freed
from the products of combustion and respiration, and endowed with
a slightly-increased proportion of oxygen, by artificial means. And
especially in bedrooms, rendered to-day stuffy and unhealthy by the
idiotic fear of night air which an effete tradition has handed down
to us, will this reform be in evidence. Prudent people to-day insist
on large bedroom windows--preferably of the French-door pattern--and
keep them wide open all night. But this is attended by inconveniences
in cold and wet weather; and while our grandchildren will still keep
their windows open all night in all weathers, they will not be content
with this alone. There will be a chemical apparatus hidden away in some
corner, or built into the wall, which will absorb carbon dioxide and at
the same time slowly give off a certain amount of oxygen--just enough
to raise the oxygenation of the air to the standard of the best country
places. And similar appliances will be at work in the streets of our
cities, so that town air will be just as wholesome, just as tonic and
invigorating, as country air. If the theory that the presence of ozone
(that is, allotropic oxygen) in the sea air is beneficent stand the
test of time, no doubt ozonators will form part of these appliances:
but in any case, as the high buildings of the new age will keep out the
sunlight, electric light, carrying all the ray-activity of sunlight,
and just as capable of fostering life and vegetation, will serve the
streets. Thus, so far as hygiene goes, town life will be on a par with
country life: but many people will prefer the country, and means will
have to be provided to render homes in the country compatible with
work in the cities. This brings us to the question of transport.

I do not think that people will, within the next hundred years at all
events, travel to and from work in flying-machines. But no doubt the
system of railway transport will be revolutionised. What makes suburban
travel so slow is, not so much lack of speed on the part of the trains,
as the necessity for frequent stoppage. You cannot satisfactorily run a
train at sixty miles an hour and stop it every minute or so: otherwise
sixty miles an hour would be quite fast enough, for some decades at
least, to satisfy all requirements of suburban traffic, though it
would be, and indeed is, ridiculously inadequate for long-distance
travelling. The expense of increased permanent-way hampers railway
management, and as there is no possibility of getting more land to
increase the number of available tracks, some method will have to
be devised for running one train over the top of another--perhaps
to the height of several storeys, not necessarily provided with
supporting rails: for we may very conceivably have discovered means
by which vehicles can be propelled above the ground in some kind of
guide-ways, doing away with the great loss of power caused by wheel
friction; that is to say, the guides will direct, but not support,
the carriages. The clumsy device of locomotive engines will have
been dispensed with. Whatever power is employed to drive the trains
of the next century will certainly be conveyed to them from central
power-houses.

But, as the reader has been already reminded, it is the stoppages
which are so wasteful of time on a suburban railway: and they are
also wasteful of force. Now in all respects the new age will be
economical. One thing that will have to be perfected is the art of
getting up speed. Look, as you go home to-night, at the way your train
gathers speed on leaving a station. Observe what a long time it is
before it can attain its full velocity. A large part of the total
time you require in order to reach the suburbs is consumed in this
manner. A hundred years hence trains will almost jump to full speed,
somewhat as a motor-car jumps to-day. In collecting passengers at
suburban stations, the train, a hundred years hence, will perhaps not
stop at all. It will only slacken speed a little; but the platform
will begin to move as the train approaches, and will run along beside
it, at the same speed as the train itself, so that passengers can get
in and out as if the train were standing still. When all are aboard,
the doors will be closed all together by the guard, and the platform
will reverse its motion, and return to its original position ready
for the next train.

With trains travelling at quite 200 miles an hour--and certainly
nothing less will satisfy the remoter suburbanites of next
century--frightful accidents would occur if precautions were not
taken. The moment two trains are in the same section of line they will
be automatically cut off from the source of power, and their brakes
will at the same time bring them to a standstill. A passenger who put
his head out of the window of a train travelling at this speed would be
blinded and suffocated; so the windows will be glazed, the oxygenators
and carbon-dioxide absorbers in each carriage keeping the air sweet,
and other suitable appliances adjusting its temperature. There will be
no such thing as level crossings; wherever the road crosses the line
there will be bridges, provided with an endless moving track (like
the automatic staircase at the Crystal Palace), to carry passengers
and vehicles across. Of course horses will long since have vanished
from the land, except as instruments of the pleasure of a few cranks
who affect the manners of that effete period, the year 1900.

And the omnipresence of high-speed vehicles will in itself have
eliminated much danger of accident. It is not to be supposed that
the unresting march of mechanical improvement will have failed to
have its effect on the people. Man himself will have progressed. He
will be cleverer in avoiding accidents. Cities will be provided
with moving street-ways, always in action at two or more speeds;
and we shall have learned to hop on and off the lowest speed from the
stationary pavement, and from the lower speeds to the higher, without
danger. When streets cross, one rolling roadway will rise in a curve
over the other. There will be no vehicular traffic at all in cities
of any size; all the transportation will be done by the roads' own
motion. In smaller towns, and for getting from one town to another,
automatic motor-cars will exist, coin-worked. A man who wishes to
travel will step into a motor-car, drop into a slot-machine the coin
which represents the hire of the car for the distance he wants to
travel, and assume control. Here again the progress of man will come
into play. Everyone will know how to drive a motor-car safely. If
you doubt it, consider for a moment the position of a man of 1800
suddenly transported into a street of modern London. He would never
be able to cross it; the rush of omnibuses, motors and bicycles
would confuse and frighten him. Imagine the same man trying to use
the underground railways of to-day, or to get up to town from a busy
suburb in the morning. He would either be killed out of hand or left
behind altogether from sheer inability to enter the train.

We may safely suppose that the ocean ships of a hundred years hence
will be driven by energy of some kind transmitted from the shores on
either side. It is absolutely unquestionable that no marine engine in
the least resembling what we know to-day can meet the requirements
of the new age. The expense of driving a steamship increases in
such a ratio to its size and speed that the economic limits of steam
propulsion are foreseen. Probably the ships of A.D. 2000 will differ
entirely in appearance from those we know. Just as road friction
is the bugbear of the railway engineer, so water-resistance is the
bugbear of the marine engineer. The ships of a hundred years hence
will not lie in the water. They will tower above the surface, merely
skimming it with their keels, and the only engines they will carry
will be those which receive and utilise the energy transmitted to
them from the power-houses ashore--perhaps worked by the force of
the very tides of the conquered ocean itself.

The housing problem is so intimately and visibly connected in our
minds with the growth of population that the more vital entanglement
of the latter with the food question is hardly perceptible except
to economic experts. The ordinary newspaper reader is not in a
position to trace the intimate significance of prices; indeed, he
often regards it as rather a good thing that wheat should fetch a
good price per quarter, forgetting that low prices for commodities
mean increased purchasing power for money, and a better standard of
life for the people. When such elementary implications as this are
overlooked, it is hardly remarkable that the more obscure connection
of population with prices is never thought of. Yet it is obvious that
unless the sources of supply increase more rapidly than the consuming
population, prices must rise--in other words, the purchasing power of
money must diminish. Wages, to some extent, will no doubt rise also,
but as competition seriously affects the markets for manufactured goods
and machinery, and the increase of population not only tends to raise
prices of commodities, but also restricts the rise of wages, relief
will have to be found in economies of various sorts. The standard
of comfort in working families must improve considerably; partly
because the demand for improvement, taking the shape of industrial
combination and trade-unionism developed to a high degree, will
be more and more clamorous; partly because of public feeling. What
is currently called the growth of sentimentalism in modern life is
really the development of modern conscience. No doubt the abolition
of judicial torture was at one time regarded as a mark of absurd
sentimentality; and the opinion has already been expressed that a
vast amelioration of public morality is in store for the new age. A
great element in the conflict between comfort on the one hand and
competition on the other will be economy of means. That is why the
new age will, among other things, be an age of economy.

In the matter of food, chiefly, a great saving can be effected. Nothing
is more painfully ludicrous--I use the incongruous collocution
advisedly--than the spectacle every winter of money being laboriously
accumulated for the provision of free meals for the poor, and spent,
to a great extent, so wastefully as on meat soups and white bread. The
crass ignorance of the poor, who will not touch wholemeal bread,
and indeed regard the offer of it as something in the nature of
an insult; and who cannot be induced to believe that meat is one
of the least satisfactory and most expensive forms of nourishment,
is of course responsible in great part for this error. If we would
get our nitrogen from pulses, nuts, and use vegetable fats derived
from nuts, and bread made from entire wheat-kernels finely ground
(instead of being only half ground as in most "brown breads") [2]
our "free dinner" charities would be able to feed at least twice
or three times as many people for every pound collected as they do
at present. But the proposal would probably excite an outcry and we
should hear that the poor were being treated as animals and that we
fain would fill their bellies with the husks that the swine do eat. But
all kinds of influences will tend to eliminate flesh from the dietary
of the new age. "Growing sentimentalism," already in arms against
the use of animals for highly necessary scientific investigations,
will, as it develops, be revolted by the idea of killing for food;
and the refinement of the future will come to regard the eating of dead
bodies as very little better than cannibalism. Moreover, the constantly
increasing demand of the new age upon bodily and nervous energies will
call for nourishment suited to their supply. This, and the wastefulness
of second-hand food, will banish all flesh from the bill of fare. Fish
will be eaten longer than meat. But more than anything else, the need
for economy will reform our dinner-tables, and eventually all food
will have to be obtained directly from the soil, if we are to have
food enough to nourish our overgrown population at all. We shall not
be able to afford to waste the ground on pasturage. We must use it
to produce cereals, nuts and fruits, which are not only a much more
remunerative crop, but will also use up in their assimilation far
less nervous and peptic energy--energy which we shall need to make
the most of. The cereal foods--products of wheat, barley, maize, and
perhaps still (to a certain extent) oats--which will form the staple
of our diet, will be partially cooked at the granaries by dry heat;
they will need very little treatment at home. Vegetables, cooked,
not in the wasteful manner now in vogue, but by conservative methods
which will preserve their valuable saline constituents, will have to
be prepared in our own kitchens; but pulse in various forms (as pease,
lentil flour, etc.) will be supplied to us almost wholly cooked. A
cheap, nourishing and delicious dietary will thus be made available.

Finally, the reader will not be unprepared for the opinion that
alcohol, as a beverage, must inevitably disappear. Not only because the
price of intoxicants is an unproductive expenditure (and we shall have
to be more and more thrifty as time goes on) but because the nerves of
the new age would never stand them, must all alcoholic beverages be
regarded as destined to obsolescence: and the legislative aspect of
this question must presently be touched upon. Already a considerable
part of the people, in no way influenced by the illogical idea that
the abuse of a commodity by one class calls for the abstention from
it of another, refrains from alcohol simply because its use inflicts
too great a strain on the system. A good many people even now find it
necessary to abstain from tea or from coffee for precisely similar
reasons; while the highly-organised nervous systems of others find
in the latter a stimulant capable of all the advantages of alcohol
(and they are many) and not without some of its penalties. I think
it quite likely that when alcohol is gone, the nerves of the future
may find it necessary to place the sale of tea and of coffee under
restrictions similar to those at present inflicted upon the trade
in alcohol: and it is quite certain that morphia, cocaine, chloral,
perhaps ether, and similar products, will have to be very jealously
safeguarded within the next few years.

Differing from many writers, I do not regard this development of
the nervous system as a mark of degeneration. On the contrary, it
is a part of the great and rapid adaptation which is bound to take
place in the constitution of man himself [3] to the rapidly-changing
conditions of his environment, his life, and the duties he will
have to fulfil. To overlook the certainty of such adaptations is to
be blind to all history, and especially to all recent history. The
men and women of the new age will differ from ourselves in much the
same sort of way as we differ from our great-grandfathers. They will
differ more only because the progress of the century which we have
lately begun will be so much more rapid and various than those of the
century before--itself the period of enormously the greatest changes
since the world began to be civilised.



CHAPTER III

THE MAN OF BUSINESS


Whatever changes may take place in the organisation of society during
the present century, we may regard it as certain that the folk who


    "Rise up to buy and sell again"


will be always with us. The man of business will possess many
conveniences denied to the city man of to-day. It is, for instance,
to be supposed that the inordinate defects of even the best
telephone systems will be eliminated. When wireless communication
of ideas has been perfected, of course the telephone exchange
will disappear. Differential "tuning"--the process by which any
wireless telephone will be able to be brought, as transmitter, into
correspondence with any other wireless telephone, as receiver--will
enable every merchant to "call up" every other merchant. Instead of,
as at present, looking up his associate's number in the directory,
and getting connected by the clumsy junction of wires at an exchange
office, the merchant will look up the tuning-formula, adjust his
own telephone to it, and ring a bell, or otherwise employ means
for attracting the attention of the man he wants to speak to. As
a great proportion of all the business transacted will be done
by telephones the frequent occurrence of disputes as to what has
or has not been said in a given conversation will have rendered
safeguards necessary. Consequently, every telephone will be attached
to an instrument, developed from the phonograph, which will record
whatever is said at both ends of the line. Precautions will have to
be devised against eavesdropping. After communication is established,
probably both parties to a conversation will retune their instruments
to a fresh pitch, which, in cases requiring special secrecy, could
be privately agreed upon beforehand.

The form which the records above suggested will ultimately assume
must be a matter of conjecture. It is quite possible that the written
word may in all departments of life lose some of its present vital
importance. We may imagine, if we choose, that instead of creating
records which can be read, we may find it advisable to create records
that can be listened to: and some of the apparent inconveniences of
this substitution may easily be supposed to be dispensed with. The
handiness of a written memorandum is largely a matter of habit. A
practised eye can "skim" a long document, and either through the
use of black-type headlines, or by pure skill, alight upon exactly
the passage required; and if it were necessary, in order to find
a given passage, to listen to the whole document being read over
by the recording phonograph, no doubt much time would be lost. We
shall not be so extremely intolerant of loss of time, perhaps, in
the new age, as some people imagine: but in any case, if the speed
of the phonograph be imagined as adjustable, it will be perceived
that we could then make it gabble parrotwise over the inessential,
and let it linger with more deliberation over what we wanted to
assure ourselves of. We could even "skip" useless portions--one can
do this with phonographs already in use. Probably such aural records
may be made capable of acceptance in courts of law, and the maxim
verbum auditum manet will take the place of a well-known proverb
of our day. Very likely business letters may some day take the form
of conveniently-shaped tablets, made of some plastic material, and
capable of being utilised by means of a talking machine.

Or if these changes seem too chimerical, we may essay the more
difficult task of conceiving a means by which the spoken word may be
directly translatable into print or typewriting. The waste of time and
energy entailed by the present plan of dictating what we want to say
to a stenographer or into a phonograph, for subsequent transcription,
renders some sort of improvement urgently needful; nor are these wastes
the only grievance, as the introduction of a second personality into
the operation of recording speech introduces a simultaneous possibility
of error, and an outrageous waste of time is caused by the necessity
of reading over what one has dictated laboriously to a stenographer or
into a phonograph, to make sure that it is correctly transcribed. It
is obviously a much more difficult matter to translate speech directly
into printed words than to translate it into something which may again
produce the sounds of speech. The first step would be the invention of
something which would print a phonetic representation of speech--as,
for instance, shorthand of the kind invented by Sir Isaac Pitman. Even
this requires us to imagine machinery of a kind whose very rudiments do
not at present exist. Indeed, we can only conceive such an instrument
by the use of the supposition that some entirely new manipulation
of sound-waves will be discovered; and if we conceive that, there
is no particular reason why we should hesitate before the notion of
speech directly translated into print such as we use in everyday
life. If we are going to limit the possibilities of the future by
the actual achievements of the present, we shall certainly fall short
of any adequate notion of what a hundred years' accelerated progress
may be capable of: and I do not see wherein the direct reproduction
suggested is any more inconceivable than, for example, telephony, or
even photography, must have been to a man of a hundred years ago. The
greatest danger attending our attempt to preconceive the amenities
of the next century is that we may limit our expectations too narrowly.

On this ground, perhaps, I may be thought too cautious in assuming
that the present form of alphabetical writing and printing will
survive at all. But there are two things which seem likely to give
it permanence. The first, of course, is literature. If we adopt an
entirely new form of writing and printing for general use, we must
either set to work to translate all our literature into it, thereby
probably losing some formal beauties which the culture of the world
will not consent to sacrifice; or we must make up our minds to use
(as the Japanese do at present) two kinds of writing concurrently;
and the difficulty of overcoming the vast inertia of the human mind
(which alone still suffices to exclude from English commerce so
obviously convenient an innovation as decimal coinage) will probably
negative this. This inertia is the second consideration likely to
give permanence to our present form of English alphabetical writing.

However this may be, the convenience of direct wireless telephony
will certainly, when supplemented by records of whatever kind, greatly
facilitate commerce. The tedious process of writing a letter, posting
it, and awaiting the reply, at present persisted in chiefly because it
is so necessary to have some sort of documentary evidence of what has
passed, will be largely dispensed with when we can secure an automatic
record of what we say. Nearly everything will be done by word of mouth.

The great inconvenience, apart from the absence of record, which
attaches to transactions or negotiations by telephone at the present
day, is that a telephonic conversation is not nearly so satisfactory
as a personal interview face to face. Gesture, attitude, the language
of face and eyes, all do so much to elucidate communication in the
latter way, that we lose a great deal when we meet an associate at
the other end of a telephone wire. Well, the telephone of the new
age will remove this drawback, or rather it will be supplemented by
something which will do so. This invention, not at all difficult
to imagine, I will call provisionally the teleautoscope. It will
no doubt have some name equally barbarous. The teleautoscope can be
explained in a single sentence. It will be an instrument for seeing by
electricity. Whatever is before the transmitting teleautoscope will be
visible before the receiving teleautoscope wirelessly en rapport with
the former. Thus by telephone, by phonograph, and by teleautoscope,
a wireless conversation will combine all the advantages of a personal
interview and a written correspondence.

No doubt the post-office system of this country, despite occasional
lapses, is as nearly perfect as any human institution, in the present
state of society, can be reasonably expected to be. But it is equally
certain that in so far as postal communication is required at all in
the new age it will have to be vastly improved both as to speed and
precision, compared with what we now, sometimes rather thanklessly,
enjoy. For instance, that impatient age will certainly not tolerate the
inconvenience of having to send out to post its letters and parcels,
or the tardiness of having these articles sorted and passed on for
delivery only at intervals of half an hour or so. We may take it for
granted that every well-equipped business office will be in direct
communication, by means of large-calibred pneumatic tubes, with the
nearest post-office. And however rapidly and however frequently the
trains or airships of the period may travel, the process of making
up van loads of mail matter for despatch to remote centres, and
redistribution there, is far too clumsy for what commerce will demand
a hundred years hence. No doubt the soil of every civilised country
will be permeated by vast networks of pneumatic tubes: and all letters
and parcels will be thus distributed at a speed hardly credible to-day.

Already every bank of any importance probably uses calculating
machines. It is not likely that the fatiguing and uncertain process of
having arithmetical calculations of any sort performed in the brains
of clerks will survive the improvements of which these machines
are capable. Account books, invoices, and all similar documents
will doubtless be written by a convenient and compendious form of
combined calculating machine and typewriter, which we may suppose to be
called the numeroscriptor. It will, of course, be capable of writing
anywhere--on a book or on a loose sheet, on a flat surface or on an
irregular one. It will make any kind of calculation required. Even such
operations as the weighing and measurement of goods will all be done by
automatic machinery, [4] capable of recording without any possibility
of error the quantity and values of goods submitted to its operation.

Naturally transport will be the subject of something like
a renascence. So far as inland communication goes, the chief
difficulties to be overcome already call loudly for amendment. We
cannot for more than a decade or so make do with the present railway
tracks, and either (as already hinted) by means of some invention
to enable trains to run one above another, or by some entirely new
carrying device such as I will now try to suggest, the new age will
certainly supersede or supplement the transport of to-day.

The device most likely to be adopted, in the near future at all
events, is something in the nature of elevated trottoirs roulants
for goods. If we can conceive all the cities of a country to be
linked-up by a system of great overways, we have at all events a
feasible solution of the difficulty. There could be a double row of
tall, massive pillars, between which could run a wide track, always in
motion at considerable speed. It need not be a lightning speed. Most
of the tardiness of railway transportation does not, in this country
at all events, arise from slowness of trains, but from congestion at
goods stations, and this in turn is due, partly to insufficiency of
rolling stock, but much more to insufficiency of permanent way. The
latter evil is very difficult to cope with. But the system of moving
ways, providing a rolling stock equal in length to the line itself,
will be a great saving. Returning upon itself the endless track will
continuously transport merchandise in both directions. Elevators,
suitably placed, will give access to it wherever needed. Probably the
motive power will be electrical: and we may confidently anticipate
entirely new sources of electricity. It is obviously clumsy to
create power in the first instance, convert power into electricity
(I use popular language), and then convert electricity back again into
power. Much more hopeful than any idea of developing that method would
be the conception of new ways of creating and applying motive-power
directly. But, almost certainly, electricity, obtained in some new
way, will do the work of the world for many generations yet--until,
in fact, we devise or discover something more convenient.

It will have been perceived that nearly every improvement and
innovation above sketched out involves, and will be indeed designed
to effect, great saving of labour. With such economies, and an
increased population, there is evidently going to be a difficulty
about employment.

Moreover, the great facilities enjoyed by commerce will tend to make
commerce extremely powerful. Already great organisers of business begin
to evade competition by combining in vast "trusts," whose tendency
is to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. There is a further
cause for the aggrandisement of the large trader and manufacturer at
the expense of the petty retail dealer. More and more every year the
unprogressive methods of small shopkeepers foster the success of large
multiple retailers. But it is likely that retail businesses, whether
great or small, will ultimately tend to be eliminated. Manufacturers
and trust companies will supply the public directly. What, then, will
be the solution of the great social difficulties about to be created?

The answer is, that these difficulties, and especially the developments
above confidently predicted for a future comparatively near, are
probably transient in their nature. It is not yet the time to discuss
political questions: but the problem here directly raised demands a
few words of reassurance from the professed optimist.

There can be no doubt of the great social and political dangers
involved in so enormous an aggrandisement of the commercial and
manufacturing class as we shall most of us live to witness. What is
called the problem of the unemployed grows every year more difficult
and less obviously hopeful. Moreover, the concentration of great
wealth in a few hands is in itself a political danger, even apart
from the fact that it implies widespread impoverishment. There are
dangers of corrupt legislation, for instance, and other dangers too.

But there will be another great force at work in which may be foreseen
the solution of many difficulties beside this. When public education
becomes rationalised; when it is employed chiefly as a means of
character-making; when the universal education of mankind has the
effect of turning out men and women capable of thinking, and not
merely of remembering, the teeming population of the working class will
begin to exercise an intelligent influence on the legislature--which
at present it certainly cannot be said to do. And one thing which
the intelligently-elected Parliaments of the new age will assuredly
discover is this principle: that it is not good for the State that
any one man, or any one associated body of men, should possess an
inordinate amount of wealth. [5]

Once this principle is discovered and acted upon; once it is illegal
for any person or corporation to be seised of more than a certain fixed
capital; the dangers of inconvenient aggrandisement will vanish. Nor
is this principle in any way unprogressive or injurious to the
commonwealth. It is, in fact, not even injurious to the individuals
affected. No reasonably-enlightened being can pretend that a sensible
hardship would be inflicted on millionaires by being forbidden to
pile Pelion upon Ossa in their present insane manner. A very rich man,
compelled to desist from the accumulation of wealth, and consequently
driven to the task of finding out how to enjoy it intelligently, would
be almost infinitely better off for this constraint. The effect of the
ordinance for the limitation of wealth will be to remove all temptation
to concentrate manufactures in a few hands. It will open the doors
shut by trust companies on competition. It will multiply factories of
moderate and convenient size: and one other effect of it will be to
improve many manufacturing processes in themselves. There are a great
many things which can be cheaply turned out in uniform batches, every
article exactly the counterpart of every other, hideous in economical
uniformity, because they all emanate from one or two great factories,
which, if the manufacture of them were distributed over a number of
small factories, would, from this circumstance alone, and from the
stress of wholesome competition, be greatly improved. Probably many
industries, desirable in themselves, but driven out of successful
being by our present system of concentrated manufacturing, would
revive. Crafts of what we call regretfully the good old kinds would
spring up, rejuvenated: cheap uniformity would cease to be the
principal ideal of manufacture. The people would be able to afford
agreeable furniture, utensils, decorations, and household goods of
all kinds, where they now have to put up with horrible but cheap
makeshifts. For one great advantage of the ordinance just predicted
must not be lost sight of. When you restrain the rich from becoming
inordinately richer, you concurrently save the poor from being made
proportionately poorer. This ideal, it should be remarked, is in no
sense socialistic. It is, on the contrary, the natural development
of individualism.

Hardly less certain is it that before the beginning of the twenty-first
century all manufactures and all commerce will be co-operative, the
workers in every industry being paid, not by fixed wages, but by a
share in the produce of their labour. Instead of the profit of all
trade and manufacture being secured to the managers and owners of
lands, machinery, transport and other commercial utilities; while
labour, the equally necessary and indeed the preponderant element
of production, is reckoned as a mere element of cost, in the form
of wages; the profit will be shared all round. The more prosperous
the enterprise, the more money the workers will receive. No man
will be able to grow rich by sweating his workmen. Neither will
the present degrading temptation for every workman to perform his
task as perfunctorily and as lazily as he can, so long as he does
not get dismissed from work altogether, survive this reform. On the
contrary, it will be directly worth every man's while to do his work
as well as he possibly can. The dignity of labour--a phrase now justly
mocked--will become an elevating and delightful practicality. A great
many articles of everyday use will be better made than it is possible
to get them made to-day. The spectacle of the producers of wealth
herding in squalid cabins, clothed in the rags of cast-off clothing,
eating garbage, enjoying nothing but intoxication, will give way to
a more wholesome and natural state of affairs. Nor will the owners of
machinery, of factories and the like long oppose this development. What
are called labour-troubles will cease to exist when the interest of
employer and employed is identical. The problem of the unemployed will
solve itself. Leisure, and an opportunity to employ leisure wisely,
will have been bestowed upon the poor as well as we have seen that
it will be bestowed upon the rich. A man will have no need to spend
practically all the unfatigued hours of every day at the bench, the
loom, or the lathe. He will want recreation. While one batch of men
is seeking this there will be an opportunity for other batches to
work. And work itself, once it is work for an intelligent objective,
once it is work that there is a comprehensible reason for trying to
execute as well as it can possibly be executed, will lose much of
its irksomeness--to the vast improvement alike of the product and
the producer.



CHAPTER IV

THE CULT OF PLEASURE


Certain predictions in the foregoing chapter will have suggested to
all who accept them that the cultivation of pleasure must occupy a
large part of the energy of the new age. From the moment when men,
sufficiently astute and purposeful to accumulate enormous fortunes
if they were permitted to do so, are required by law to desist from
useless and injurious money-getting, a vast amount of ingenuity will
be diverted to the development of the useless. The skill expended upon
money-making--and let it be admitted frankly that, however unscrupulous
one may be, it is not easy to become a millionaire--will be turned to
the task, almost equally difficult, of spending it satisfactorily. We
may consider it as practically certain that the pleasures of the
new age will be largely intellectual in their nature. The stupidity
of merely sensual pleasures will revolt the intelligence of the
future. Athletic sports of some kind, facilitated by certain inventions
which can easily be foreseen, will no doubt be a source of much
enjoyment, though the growing gentleness of mankind will abolish, as
barbarous, games which take the form of modified assault, as football,
boxing, wrestling, fencing and the like. We shall certainly acquire a
great distaste for fighting in any form when growing humanitarianism
shall have put an end to war--a development which may confidently be
predicted for the present century. Similarly--"Am I God, to kill and
to make alive?"--we shall cease to take life for our amusement; as,
for sentimental and other reasons, it has been shown that we shall
cease to kill for food.

What then will be our games? One of the most likely instruments
of sport will no doubt be the small flying-machine. It is not in
the least probable, so far as can at present be foreseen, that
purely aërial and self-directed vehicles for purposes of travel
or transportation will be a feature of the new civilisation. The
dangers and inconvenience of large aërostats are less accidents of
imperfect invention than inherent difficulties of the subject. It is
very probable that some means of propelling self-supported vehicles
between guideways may be discovered. But, as it is not at all likely
that any means of suspending the effect of air-resistance can ever be
devised, a flying-machine must always be slow and cumbersome. Travel
and transportation, to be attractive in the new age, must be rapid in
the extreme. Ships no doubt will skim the surface of the sea instead
of resting upon it. But air-ships are not very likely to be anything
but a sort of vast toy, within, at all events, the next hundred years.

But, as a means of amusement, the idea of aërial travel has great
promise. Small one-man flying-machines, or the aërial counterpart
of tandem bicycles, will no doubt be common enough. We shall fly for
pleasure; and just as thousands of working men and women now take a
Saturday-afternoon spin on a bicycle, so they will go for a sky-trip,
and visit interesting mountain-tops for (non-alcoholic) picnics. The
bicycle or the motor-cycle will perhaps be the point of development. It
is quite certain that within the next ten or fifteen years some means
will have been discovered by which we can ride on a single wheel. The
saving of weight thus effected will go a long way towards surmounting
the flight problem. Then, when motor-unicycles are presently propelled
by force transmitted (in the same way as Marconi's telegrams) from a
fixed power-house, the difficulty of flight will be within sight of
an easy solution. Any competent mechanician of the present day could
design a flying-machine if the mere weight of the motive appliance
could be overcome. When the motor is fixed on terra firma, and the
vehicle only needs to carry a device for utilising the ætheric waves
which the source of power wirelessly transmits, flight will be at
least as simple a matter as wireless telegraphy is to-day.

When it is possible to cross the Atlantic in a day by means of
surface-riding ships, propelled, like the flying-machines, by
ætheric force, the field of amusement will be vastly increased,
and although (as I shall show) it will no longer be necessary to
travel in order to "see the sights" of any part of the world, the
pleasure of being present at the actual events of life in different
countries will probably never pall. So long as any parts of the world
remain comparatively unfamiliar, young men and maidens will love
travel. When it is possible, wrapped in warm woollens and provided
with portable heating-appliances, to pay a short visit to the Arctic
circle and enjoy the matchless spectacle of the Aurora Borealis amid
the awe-compelling obscurities of the Polar night: when, with even
less inconvenience, we can take a trip to the tropics and witness,
here the unchangeable processes of Nature's luxuriance, there the
perhaps immutable conservatism of the East, the new leisure of the
coming time will have great stores of recreation for those happy
enough to live in the dawning twenty-first century.

The more distinctively intellectual pleasures of the new age will
be much subserved by one class of invention, of which the rudiments
already exist. By means of the phonograph we are able, not very
perfectly, to reproduce as often as we desire sounds created in
favourable circumstances. By various kinds of kinetoscope we can
reproduce a rudimentary sort of picture of an event which has taken
place in a good light. But when the phonograph has been developed, when
moving pictures have been perfected, what a vast implement of amusement
may be foreseen! Each of these inventions is comparatively new. If
we imagine the discovery of means, developed from the phonograph,
by which any sounds which have once existed in the presence of a
recording machine can be reproduced at will, not in a makeshift sort
of way, but without any loss of timbre and quality, with perfect
articulation where articulation is necessary, with exactly correct
time-regulation automatically determined by the first enunciation, and
all this cheaply and compendiously, what vast resources of cultured
enjoyment are offered to the lover of music! How many people, denied
the pleasure of learning to understand good music by the difficulties
and exertion attendant upon our infrequent and expensive concerts,
will become true lovers and appreciators of it! For music is only to
be really enjoyed by the average man when it is repeatedly heard,
repeatedly considered. Certainly the people of the new age will be
epicures of the emotions which comprehended music is so nobly capable
of stirring.

No doubt the new age will have solved, in a far more satisfactory
way than we have been able to solve as yet, the problem of chromatic
photography. When colour influences photographic plates or some
contrivance substituted for them, not indirectly by a mechanical
sorting-out of tints, but by affecting directly the optical
properties of the plates or whatever may succeed plates, we shall
have marvellously accurate pictures. [6]

Nor is this all. The kinetoscope, as at present exhibited under
various unpleasing names, is imperfect in two ways: first because
it is powerless to reproduce colour, and secondly because it gives
at best a mere magic-lantern picture violently out of focus, and by
its pulsatory motion horribly distressing to the eyes. Chromatic
photography will overcome the former difficulty. When we find out
how to increase greatly the receptive rapidity of photographic
emulsion without spoiling what photographers call the "grain" of
it; or when we have improved, as we every year are improving, the
optical qualities of lenses, we shall be able to have our pictures
in focus. The distressing flicker of moving pictures is an objection
purely mechanical in its cause. But when, as they will be in a few
years, all these objections except the first have been removed, and
even when we have colour-photography in a true sense of the word,
there will still remain one field to conquer. We must have, instead of
moving pictures, something which represents all objects as solid. The
difference is the difference between an ordinary photograph and a
highly-improved stereoscopic picture magnified to life-size. When
these advantages are attained it will be possible to represent,
exactly as it happened, any event which has been suitably photographed.

The utility of this as a means of intelligent amusement will be at once
perceived. Imagine the theatre of the future. Probably it will not be
beyond the means of the rich, even when restrained from over-possession
as it is evident that they must be, to have theatre-rooms in their own
houses. But the masses will no doubt go to the theatre much as they do
now. Only instead of seeing a company of actors and actresses, more or
less mediocre, engaged in the degrading task of repeating time after
time the same words, the same gestures, the same actions, they will
see the performance of a complete "star" company, as once enacted at
its very best, reproduced as often as it may be wanted, the perfected
kinetoscope exhibiting the spectacle of the stage, the talking machine
and the phonograph (doubtless differentiated) rendering perfectly the
voices of the actors and the music of the orchestra. There will be
no need for the employment of inferior actors in the small parts. As
the production of any play will only demand that it be worked up to
the point of perfection and then performed once, there will be no
difficulty in securing the most perfect rendering that it is capable
of. The actor's art will be immensely elevated, not only by his
relief from the drudgery of repeated performance and by the leisure
thus afforded him for study and reflection, but also by the removal
of what is keenly felt by all players of sensibility and ambition as
one of the greatest drawbacks of the stage. We are accustomed to the
actor's complaint that whereas the author, the sculptor, the painter,
the composer of music, makes for himself a fame imperishable as the
products of his art, the actor frets his hour and disappears from
the stage, to be promptly forgotten by an ungrateful public. Well,
the actor's art, like the art of the executant musician, will have the
endowment of permanency. And there will be a magnificent opportunity
for the actor as artist, in that he will be able to compare himself
and his fellows with the actors who are dead and can act no more. It
is probably true that Irving is the greatest actor since Garrick,
but who can prove it? The actor's art is transient to-day: it will
be permanent, it will be classical, in the next century. By this fact
not only will the pleasures of the theatre be made cheap, convenient
and varied, but the art of the theatre will be vastly improved.

Just as the actor will be spared the drudgery of mechanical, parrotlike
repetition, so the indifferent maidens of the new age will have no
need to waste their time in learning to play upon musical instruments
more or less imperfectly. No doubt some who are not professional
musicians will do so for their own pleasure. But the professional
executant himself will cease, like the actor, to rank as a sort of
superior harlequin or performing animal, exhibiting his powers for
the diversion of an assembled public. What he has once played can,
if he choose, be constantly repeated. The executant will be paid by
a royalty on each reproduction, when he is wise. Less prudent artists
will sell their records for a lump sum, just as the unthrifty author
sells his copyrights. But let it be noted that, on the assumption
that the reproduction is perfect, the evolution above predicted
is a highly artistic one. Instead of the executant or singer being
judged by his performance on an occasion when fatigue, illness or
unfavourable circumstances may militate against his perfect success,
when the nerve-shattering conditions of the platform probably in any
case offend his susceptibilities and detract from the perfection of
his performance, he will be able to found his reputation upon the
very best performance he is capable of. He will be able to try and
try again in the privacy of his study. When he has satisfied himself,
and then alone, will he publish his artistic effort to the world. He
can destroy as many unsatisfactory records as he pleases, just as
the sculptor can break up his clay when he has not succeeded, just
as the painter can paint out his picture when it has not pleased him,
and be judged only by his best.

It would be ignoring the most obvious characteristics of mankind to
suppose that the pleasures of the new age will be limited to a mere
mechanical development of those which we enjoy at present. There
can be no doubt that new delights will be invented. With a general
improvement in intelligence and in the standard of comfort; with a
moneyed class compelled, by the enactments which we have imagined, to
enjoy a considerable accession of leisure; with conditions which will,
as we have hoped, reduce materially the necessary hours of labour
for the worker; with some of the most engrossing amusements of the
present age abolished for sentimental reasons; we may take it for
granted that a great demand for new recreations will develop. Some
of these considerations might easily give us pause. We might perhaps
fear that vice--either the extension of existing vices or (if that
indeed be possible) the invention of new ones--might be a terrifying
problem of the next century, if we had not foreseen, concurrently
with the other developments anticipated, a marked moral improvement
in human nature. There is in the calculations of the pessimist and
the reactionary no fallacy more mischievous than the oft-recited
aphorism that human nature is the same in all places and at all
times. That is precisely what human nature is not. Spectacles which
delighted ancient Rome would revolt modern civilisation. Spectacles
which are still keenly enjoyed in Spain would revolt England or the
United States, and probably awaken the activity of the police. Human
morality has demonstrably advanced in historic time: it has very
perceptibly advanced, as I showed in an earlier chapter, [7] during
the nineteenth century. But the improvement in this respect which the
next hundred years will show must, in all human probability, greatly
excel that of the past time. And thus, though a sane and reasonable
anticipation will not exclude the possibility of regrettable accidents
in the future moral history of mankind, it will also regard them as
probably transient. The vices regarded as incident to complicated
civilisations have perhaps been too hastily considered by despairing
moralists. Vice is essentially stupid. It is only in occasional, in
sporadic instances that we are presented with the terrible spectacle
of great intelligences depraved by gross immorality and animalism:
and even then, this combination is only possible where a high degree
of culture is in contact with a widespread unintelligence. Most likely
it will be found, when the abstract laws of vice come to be mapped out
with more exactness than, so far as I am aware, they have yet been,
that the degeneracies and immoralities of greatly-civilised ages are
in reality only the product of luxury seated upon degradation. The
French moralists of the eighteenth century had a glimmering of this
in their idyllic pictures of reformed society, when the old morality
of the simple life was to return with the abolition of oligarchic
splendour and popular misery.

In one direction we may see means by which intelligent
recreation may be supposed capable of vast developments. Already
the study of the psychical side of man has been the means of
extraordinary discoveries. Our knowledge of hypnotism, suggestion,
thought-transference and similar psychological wonders, obscured though
it has unhappily been by charlatanism and the importation into the
subject of irrelevant follies, has great promise for the future man,
whose psychical faculties will unquestionably develop at the expense of
his animal instincts. It is hardly possible to limit our conception of
the means by which thought will be communicated in the next century,
but we may see just where the change will probably come. A printed
essay, such as this, is obviously a successive translation of thought
into words (in the brain), then of the words into letters, and then of
letters into type, which is picked up by the eye, retranslated into
words by one part of the brain, and finally transmuted into thought
again in another part. If some method can be discovered of abolishing
one or more of these processes, thought can be conveyed from brain to
brain at an enormously increased pace, and with a delicacy of which we
have no present conception. This development is not so inconceivable
as it at first appears. We know as yet almost nothing of the processes
by which (for instance) vibration, accepted by the ear as sound, is,
in the brain-cells behind the ear, converted into thought. Speech
and writing are purely conventional devices. If, instead of using
these conventions, we can learn to transmit ideas immediately from
brain to brain, the next step may be an extraordinary development of
intellectual pleasures, in the case of those individuals whose tastes
are capable of thus being ministered to. But to say this is not to
imply that the ordinary means of human intercommunication will be
dispensed with. For most occasions, and for all but the subtlest and
most refined necessities of thought, no doubt books, newspapers and
letters will remain a feature of everyday life--though of course with
such modifications as the progress of the century will have called
forth. The future of the newspaper in particular is a subject of such
great importance that it requires to be discussed in detail.



CHAPTER V

THE NEWSPAPER OF THE FUTURE, AND THE FUTURE OF THE NEWSPAPER


Suspending, as hardly within the bounds of manageable conjecture, any
attempt to follow up the suggestion with which the previous chapter
concluded, we can very easily imagine the lines on which newspapers
such as we know are likely to develop mechanically. A number of
processes already existing in embryo can be shown to be capable of
very great extension; and several discoveries which an intelligent
anticipation is capable of predicting could, and doubtless will,
be applied to journalism.

To foresee the future of the newspaper on what may be called the
editorial side is a much more difficult task, because we have here to
take into account the influence of the developed and rationalised
education of the people, which is certain to demand very great
changes. Daily newspapers of the present moment are in a more or less
transitional state. It can hardly, I think, be denied that the papers
which enjoy the greatest popularity exhibit retrogression in many
respects when compared with the best newspapers of twenty-five years
ago. But they are much more widely and popularly read. The collective
influence of their largely-extended circulations is no doubt very
great, though the influence of the newspaper on the individual is
less, and is attained in a different way. The old newspapers aimed,
and the survivors of their class still aim, at an influence based on
argument. They used to report events, speeches and movements of their
age more or less colourlessly, and to comment upon these things more
or less one-sidedly, according to their respective political bias. They
were ponderous, cultured, dignified, and a trifle dull. When an adverse
statesman made a speech which they did not like, they reported it
faithfully, and tore it to pieces in the formidable middle pages. The
leading article was their most important weapon: they sought their
chief effect by its means. But the day of the leading article is nearly
ended. The newspaper of the early--perhaps the immediate--future will
almost certainly dispense with leading articles altogether, and be
much more a news-carrier than an educator. It will attack adverse
opinion by simply not reporting it. It will sometimes, no doubt,
minimise facts unfavourable to its political side by garbling them. But
leading articles had a useful function not yet mentioned--that of
explaining the news-columns. Things which the ordinary (but fairly
intelligent) newspaper-reader was likely to have forgotten, or to be
ignorant of, were (and still are, where leading articles worthy of the
name exist) explained and amplified. In the newspaper of the future,
little paragraphs having the same purpose will no doubt be, as they
already begin to be, tacked on to the ends of news-items: and so far
as comment continues to be given at all, on such matters as political
speeches from the enemy, it will be given in this form. Speeches
from the newspaper's own side will not require comment. Newspaper
space will have too many demands upon it to permit of a statesman's
arguments being first printed semi-verbatim (actual verbatim reporting
hardly exists even now) and then marshalled forth all over again in
editorials. Whatever attempt is made to influence opinion through
political reporting will be made by selective processes. The arguments
of the adversary will be simply suppressed.

Although the old newspaper was really a much more intelligent affair
than the popular dailies of the present decade--and it is chiefly
of daily papers that I am now speaking--it is not very likely that a
reversion will take place. It is a curious feature of all progress,
that however much an existing institution may be perceived to be
retrograde in comparison with older institutions, reversion hardly ever
occurs. We adapt and modify what we have. We do not revive what we have
lost. And the regeneration of the newspaper will be forced upon the
newspaper-office by the development of public intelligence. Comment
will probably during the next few decades be eliminated from daily
journalism altogether, and confined to serious weekly publications,
somewhat on the lines of our monthly reviews, and to other publications
summarising the latter, like the present Review of Reviews, perhaps
the most useful periodical now being issued, with the single exception
of The Times. Thus the daily newspaper will be entirely a vehicle
for the propagation of news, correctly so called: and very likely
it will become almost entirely colourless, politically, because a
well-informed public will resent obvious garbling or clearly unfair
selection. The newspaper reader will no longer (as now) want only to
hear what is said on a side more or less emotionally and hardly at
all reflectively embraced. He will want to know what is said on all
sides, and will make up his own mind, instead of swallowing whole the
printed opinions, real or momentarily assumed, of other people. Thus,
though the frantic popular paper of to-day will no doubt increase
and multiply, and replenish its circulation books, as long as the
present system of blind half-education survives, the newspaper which
satisfies the new age will be a very different affair. It will no
doubt discard many of the trivialities now reported as news, when a
black woman of Timbuctoo could hardly bring forth four piccaninnies
at a birth without the fact getting into the halfpenny London papers;
but it will record the really important news in ways far more graphic,
and with a far more complete appeal to the imagination, than we have
as yet any but the vaguest notion of.

The news considered most important a hundred years hence will probably
be news as to developments of public opinion. It is hardly conceivable
that exactly the methods of Government which exist at present will
satisfy the developed consciousness of the new time: and most likely
the methods then adopted for the ascertainment of public opinion,
and the machinery devised for giving it administrative effect,
will create subject-matter for a type of journalism of which the
very perceptible rudiments, though still nothing but the rudiments,
already exist. If I am right in expecting great results to flow from
new ideas and practice in our educational system, it is certain that
the notion of political freedom will greatly extend its effect:
and the unavoidable corollary is that movements of public thought
will become a matter of the very keenest journalistic interest and of
the very highest journalistic importance. The most probable means to
be adopted for giving effect, in the middle-distance of the future,
to developed public feeling must be left for discussion in a later
chapter: but when we perceive that the political duty of executing
the will of the people must constitute the paramount work of the
constitution-builder in the latter half of the present century,
we cannot fail to deduce a vast effect on newspapers.

Broadly speaking, what will occur will be the result of clearer
thinking. We shall very likely amend our political institutions after
the characteristic English manner, which is perhaps really the safest,
though it rather suggest the methods of a cobbler who repairs a boot
by, from time to time, successively replacing sole, vamp, golosh and
upper, until there remains a boot which is not a new boot, though it
contains none of the original boot's material. Our constitution has
been built (to employ a better similitude) by a series of architects
who reconstruct and repair the old building, with a constant adhesion
to as much of the old style as they can retain, and who will in the
end present the people with a house entirely reconstructed, but bearing
marks all over it of the original design. We already begin to perceive
that what is regarded as political freedom at the present day has
developed from the entire tyranny of absolute monarchy, through the
modified tyranny of limited monarchies, still not wholly powerless,
to the nearly absolute tyranny of parliaments. The last now begin to
delegate powers to local councils having administrative functions, and
must presently delegate them to local parliaments having legislative
functions on some "home-rule-all-round" principle, not because
decentralisation is liked, but because the intolerable inconveniences
of centralisation will make decentralisation inevitable. The more
energetic propagandists of various systems of constitutional reform
nearly all agree in one respect: they all desire to set up some new
kind of tyranny. Few--except the philosophical anarchists, who suffer
from the opprobrium brought upon the name of anarchists by quite a
different set of thinkers--perceive that to endow with power any sort
of machinery resting on the shifting will of a majority tends very
little towards freedom and not at all towards stability--the latter
even more important in some respects than the former. In proportion
to the development of education (in nature even more than in extent),
it is likely that the present blind faith of the public in the ability
of the State to do almost anything, and the still blinder tendency
of the public to require the State to do all sorts of things which
could be better accomplished otherwise, will diminish, and we shall
perceive the enormous educational disadvantage of allowing the citizen
to lean too heavily on the State. A public properly and sufficiently
educated will, with enormous difficulty (because there is nothing
so hard to get rid of as a bad habit of dependency), gradually
undertake the task of doing for itself by free combination what at
present we try to get done for us by governmental machinery. One
sees how this sort of thing is gradually evolving, in spite of the
violent efforts of politicians to shove the world backwards and
keep us walking on crutches instead of strengthening us to walk
alone. Statutes determining the wages of labourers and the price
of commodities are laughed at as examples of mediæval foolishness,
though (what is exactly the same thing in principle) Government still
interferes with the freights charged by railway companies, and indeed
is obliged thus to interfere because it has already gone out of the
right way by the powers it has granted to railway companies. The new
education--the education which builds character instead of merely
diffusing information (generally useless)--will teach us the far
greater advantages attaching to results attained by free combination,
and the State will be relieved of many functions at present regarded
as essential to it, and often sought to be increased.

Now the working of free combination for the attainment of these
results would be almost impossible without the constant interchange
of views which newspapers subserve, and without careful newsgathering
as to the progress in detail of various schemes and of public opinion
concerning them.

To say that this kind of thing will constitute the most important class
of news is not to imply that the public will develop an unintelligent
indifference to news of other kind, though it is allowable to hope that
it will develop an intelligent indifference to the trivialities at
present solemnly chronicled by the popular papers. It may be doubted
whether, even now, the public is quite so passionately interested in
the minutiæ of murder trials as editors imagine: but with invention
steadily moving on, and its consequences habitually developing in
unexpected ways, there will be plenty of "news" to chronicle.

Of course the one class of news which is at once the most expensive
and the most helpful to a daily paper--I mean its individual
"exclusive" war correspondence--will be done with by the end of this
century. Remembering the rate of progress foreseen in the early part
of this work [8] and the moral nature of that progress, we may take
it as quite certain that war as an institution will be as obsolete
as gladiators in the year 2000. Even if the increasing amenity of the
human race did not abolish war, two other things would be certain to
do so. One is the enormous development, already clearly in sight,
of the means of destruction: the other the revolt of the peoples
against the stupendous cost, not merely or chiefly in time of war,
but also in time of peace, of modern armaments. The rising tide of
educated democracy must inevitably banish war. We have lately, in
our own South African experience, seen how crushingly expensive, how
intolerably impoverishing, a tiny war can be: and all this is a mere
trifle compared with what it had cost us to be even very ill-prepared
for even such an insignificant combat. This kind of thing cannot go
on for very long and the peace of Dives [9] must soon be upon us.

But even while war still continues to recur it is likely that the
newspapers will have to sacrifice many of the advantages which they
at present derive from the intense popular appetite for the details of
organised death. The war-correspondent, when he can use the telegraph,
is a great nuisance to commanders in the field, and the increasing
difficulties and importance of modern combat will have the effect,
eventually, of causing generals to forbid telegraphic communication
from the field or its neighbourhood altogether, on account of the
information, useful to an alert enemy, liable to find its way through
the wires. Consequently [10] war correspondence will be all under
strict censorship, and will take the form chiefly of written and
photographic descriptions, in a documentary form, probably conveyed
by the organisation controlled by the fighting army itself. These may
perhaps be telegraphed to the newspaper office from some intermediate
port when the theatre of war is distant--for unquestionably we
shall, before very long, be able to telegraph pictures quite as
easily as words. And this brings us face to face with one of the
most interesting and important developments to be looked for in the
vending of news. Beyond doubt, newspaper illustration will, in even the
near future, be the subject of great and, in fact, of revolutionary
improvement. Every daily paper will be copiously illustrated, and
illustrated in colour. It is easy to foresee that before many years
we shall be able to photograph any object or scene in its natural
colours at one operation. We can already do so in three, and by the
same number of machinings we can reproduce such pictures in print,
provided we can afford to print slowly enough and on a sufficiently
smooth paper. The process is in its earliest infancy as yet. We shall
ultimately make it far more practicable. But even so, printing presses
of the present sort are far too slow for newspaper use. A hundred
years hence magazines and weekly periodicals may perhaps still be
printed on greatly improved presses; but daily papers will be produced
by photography alone. Already the Röntgen rays will print a dozen or
more images at a time on superimposed sensitive papers. In the next
century all that will be necessary in order to multiply type-matter
and illustrations in any number of colours will be to place the
original on a pile of paper and expose it to the rays of some source
of energy, when the whole matter will be impressed upon every sheet,
and this not by any mere contact of type and process-blocks with paper
(which involves serious difficulties, owing to the interference of the
paper-surface with the grain of the etched "screen") but by direct
action of light, or of some influence taking the place of light,
so that perfectly clear pictures will be produced. And news of all
sorts will be the subject of this kind of illustration.

What will happen will in detail be this. The teleautoscope [11] (the
instrument by which sight will be wirelessly telegraphed) will exhibit
the actual facts in every newspaper office from colour-photographs
taken on the spot. What it shows will be rephotographed and reproduced
in colours.

The amount of verbal description needed will thus be much
diminished. Where an event can be long anticipated--when it is an
event like the Delhi Durbar or the christening of the Czarewitch,
for instance--elaborate preparations will be made, and very perfect
results published. And difficulties of merely photographic detail,
which at present restrict rapid photography to events in full sunlight,
having been overcome, and instantaneous photography by artificial
light having been made possible, such an event as an important
theatrical production in London will be pictorially reported in the
New York and San Francisco papers next morning. Where an event is of
an unexpected character--such as a great fire, a riot, or some sudden
cataclysm of Nature--the teleautoscope will still be employed with
great advantage. Take, for instance, the case of some large public
building or some theatre destroyed by fire--though fires will not be
so frequent in the new age as they are to-day. The local newspaper
artists will select from their portfolios photographs of the building
kept on hand for such occasions and get to work on them with paint-box
and colours, depicting the progress of what they will perhaps still
cling sufficiently to tradition to call the "conflagration"; and
they will transmit these efforts when it is not possible to transmit
actual photographs of the event. And of course, when all is over, the
ruins will be photographed in colours from every desirable standpoint,
and the descriptive photographer will, in a great measure, supplant
the penny-a-liner. Many pieces of news will doubtless be photographed
from the small one-man air-carriages, the employment of which, as a
means of recreation, we have already foreseen. [12]

The real "news" of the world will therefore be served up with far more
vividness than even the most feverish present-day journalism dreams
of, and the newspaper will be far more quickly "read," because long
descriptive articles will have gone out of fashion, and a series of
pictures, occupying much more space, but apprehended by the mind with
far greater rapidity, will supply their place. Even in what remains
of the printed word I think that great compression is probable. It
must be remembered that even in the best-educated parts of England
we are hardly through the first generation which universally knows
how to read, and already newspaper-English is taking on a character
of its own, very different from the "journalese" of the old-fashioned
reporters. By degrees a sort of slang, distinguished chiefly by brevity
and conciseness, will evolve itself in the newspapers, especially
those published in large towns--though indeed it is quite evident that
in a few years daily newspapers will be published nowhere else. This
terse, quick language will, after a period of reprobation, be adopted
even by the less progressive newspapers, at first shocked to tears
of indignant printer's ink by the defilement of the mother tongue,
and it will accelerate vastly the task of "running through the paper,"
a task which must, even in the less hurried manners which I foresee for
the future, be made as speedy as possible by the newspaper that would
thrive and increase its circulation. Thus literature, already restive
in an uncongenial wedlock, will finally obtain divorce from daily
journalism. This does not mean that literature will perish. On the
contrary, it will develop. And the periodicals other than newspapers
will excel our own in merit of every sort. They will be permanent,
dignified and, above all, literary. For with the education of the
people really carried to perfection, and with universal leisure,
the result of improved social arrangements even more than of improved
mechanical processes, we shall have a demand for a really intelligent
periodical literature, for really artistic illustrations, which will
make it commercially possible to publish matter that only artificial
endowment could support nowadays.

And shall we be content with it? Certainly not; for the new age will
still be an age of progress, and the very perfection of the periodical
Press will be the greatest of all stimulants to further effort.

Although, in some of their characteristics, they will be greatly
ameliorated, advertisements may very likely still constitute
one ground of discontent with the newspaper of the future. They
sometimes are, in the newspaper of to-day, the subject of complaint
not altogether reasonable, because if there were no advertisements
there could be no newspapers. At all events, without this powerful
source of revenue our newspapers could be neither so cheap nor so
liberally conducted as they are; and all the economies of the new
age will probably be insufficient to enable newspaper proprietors
to dispense with them. The better and the more generously-conducted
newspapers are, the more money they spend in the careful collection,
editing, printing and illustrating of public information, the more
dependent they will become on the revenue from advertising, which
is the sinew of journalism; and the more widely and attentively
newspapers are read, the greater will be the revenue they are able to
command from this source. Moreover, they would be incomplete without
this feature. The unreflecting newspaper-reader, who anathematises
his favourite journal because its weight and bulk are increased by
the presence of advertisements which he does not want, seldom takes
into account the fact that there are plenty of his fellow-readers
who do want them, or some of them, and that he himself is often in
the same predicament. Thousands of copies of newspapers are bought
every day in order to consult advertisements which they are known
to contain. A man who purposes to take his family to a concert often
buys The Daily Telegraph because he knows that The Daily Telegraph has
more concert announcements in it than any other paper, and that it is
in fact a practically complete directory to all the current musical
opportunities of the Metropolis. Another man, who wants a secretary,
or a steward for his estate, probably orders The Times because he
knows that the best class of secretaries and stewards advertise in
The Times for employment. One hardly goes to the theatre or buys a
supply of coals without looking at the daily paper for information;
and assuredly this information is not inserted without being paid
for; in other words, it forms part of the advertisements. Deprived of
newspaper advertisements as a way of announcing its need of clerks,
warehousemen, labourers and assistants of all kinds, commerce, even
if it could manage without advertisements of the sort more commonly
thought of when the nuisance of them is being condemned, could hardly
keep up its organisation at all. Thus, so far from this feature of our
newspapers being a grievance, it is both directly and indirectly a boon
to all who read them. And when we remember in addition that the cost
of the paper and printing alone in a copy of most newspapers exceeds
the price at which each copy is sold by the proprietor, so that the
whole cost of newsgathering, the whole cost of editing, the fees of
contributors and artists, and the cost of pictures and engraving, as
well as the profit which induces persons to embark upon an enterprise
so troublesome and precarious as newspaper-publishing, must be obtained
from the cost of advertisements and from this alone, we cannot doubt
that the enormously developed newspaper of a hundred years hence will
"give us bold advertisement," even as now, and that our descendants
will have the intelligence to be very glad that it does so.

This being unquestionable, we can hardly think that we have made a
complete forecast of the newspaper of the future unless we consider
what sort of advertisements it will contain, and in order to do this
we must consider just what advertising is likely to be needed in the
new age.

As every condition of commerce must necessarily be affected by the
mechanical and economic developments of another century, evidently
advertising will have to undergo vast changes in order to adapt itself
to new requirements. Already competition and the urgent demand of the
public for all possible utilities and luxuries to be supplied with
the greatest economy of money and trouble have produced changes in
the machinery of supply and demand which must develop at an increasing
speed as time goes on. One tendency of these things is current talk;
we speak of "eliminating the middleman." Well, the middleman will
certainly be eliminated by the end of the century, and one of the
forces which will help to eliminate him is the very force with which,
at present, he endeavours, with a high degree of transient success, to
defend himself--the very force we have to discuss here; advertisement.

So long as a population is scattered into groups in small towns,
and hampered by difficulty and expense in transportation, there is
an evident advantage in the retail-shop system. But we can hardly
with convenience remain a nation of shopkeepers in the present and
future state of concentration and with cheapened transport. It is
only necessary to observe the different ways in which we supply
ourselves with commodities, according to where we live, in order to
understand the tendencies at work. In a village remote from any large
town there are generally one or two general shops, at which a highly
miscellaneous collection of merchandise is handled. The smaller the
village the more miscellaneous the stock kept at a single trading
establishment. In a small town the shops differentiate themselves
more: but they still cross the boundary lines of trade, and one
gets tobacco at the chemist's and goes to the draper's for writing
materials and books. When we come to towns somewhat larger, trades
keep more to themselves, and it is often possible to find a place
where there are no miscellaneous shops at all, except those owned by
the industrial co-operative societies now so common and so useful to
the thriftier artisans. It is only when we enter the largest towns
and cities of all that we find large shops divided into departments
and again selling almost everything under one roof.

The conditions in these large towns are an index to what is likely to
occur a hundred years hence: because (as has already been seen) towns
will certainly grow, and the population will become more concentrated,
while, even where improved facilities for travel enable men to live at
a great distance from their work, the same facilities will enable their
wives to do their shopping in the centres of commerce. Consequently,
except for a few highly perishable commodities, such as milk, butter
and the like, small shopkeepers in residential neighbourhoods will
be driven out of business, as they are in fact already being driven
out of it in the suburbs and dependencies of all large cities.

It is always possible for a large miscellaneous trader to sell at
a smaller percentage of profit than a trader in a single class of
merchandise: and by his bulkier purchases the former is also able
to start with a lower cost price, and thus he is in every way better
situated to meet the demand for cheapness. He can also meet the demand
for convenience, because when he is getting almost the whole trade of a
family, even at some little distance, he can afford to arrange for the
transportation of goods in ways convenient to the purchaser. Thus the
small shopkeeper will lose custom in every way and the large shopkeeper
will gain custom. But there is still a middleman. We have not yet begun
to see how he is to be eliminated, but only how he is to be limited
in his numbers while being individually pampered with increased trade.

No one who observes the trend of things, however, can have failed to
note how, from both sides, the middleman, quâ middleman, is liable
to be squeezed out. These very large retailers tend more and more to
become, little by little, manufacturers instead of merely agents for
the manufactures of other people. Very often they are actually forced
to this by the difficulty of obtaining a regular supply of goods of
satisfactory quality from the existing factories. One of the largest
companies doing a miscellaneous retailing business has an enormous
estate in the neighbourhood of London covered with orchards where fruit
is grown for sale and for jam-making; and it has factories of various
kinds dotted all round the Metropolis, though a few years ago it was a
simple trading concern which manufactured nothing. On the other hand,
large manufacturers in many trades (of which the boot trade is an
example which must have come under the notice of every reader) are
tending to open retail shops of their own in favourable localities,
so as to obtain the retailer's commission as well as the manufacturer's
profit. Evidently these large manufacturer-shopkeepers are more likely
to be extensive advertisers than small one-shop retailers.

Another circumstance which will tend to the increase of advertising
is already apparent in the growing tendency of the public to prefer
branded or packed commodities before bulk goods. Such groceries as tea,
oatmeal and the like are more and more purchased in packets bearing
a manufacturer's name or trade-mark, instead of being purchased from
bulk and wrapped up by the grocer. The obvious reason is that by this
means a housewife can secure a greater uniformity of quality. She
finds that she likes a certain manufacturer's oatmeal better than any
other, and always buys it; whereas if she bought bulk-oatmeal she would
have the product now of one mill, now of another, and these products
would vary. The only way in which a manufacturer can call attention
to his speciality is to advertise it. The immediate consequence of
this movement is the degradation of the retailer, who ceases to be the
custodian (so to speak) of his customers' interest and becomes a mere
hander-out of packed specialities. It is not very likely that every
manufacturer of such specialities will become a retailer with shops
everywhere; but it is practically certain that trusts will be formed
on a sort of co-operative principle by combinations of manufacturers,
who will divide among themselves the expense of organisation and obtain
the whole profit without having to share it with any middleman. And
in many departments of commerce the elimination of the retailer will
be secured by the utilisation of improved transport, orders being
received at the works by letter or telephone and executed direct
from manufacturer to consumer. Such business can only be stimulated
through advertisement, and the newspaper of the future constitutes
the most convenient medium for such advertisement.

The intrinsic nature of the vastly-extended advertising of the new
age will be influenced by the new growth of public intelligence. Once
almost wholly, and now to a very great extent, addressed to the least
intelligent faculties of the public--the faculties most liable to
be influenced by large type and ad captandum phrasing--advertising
will in the future world become gradually more and more intelligent in
tone. It will seek to influence demand by argument instead of clamour,
a tendency already more apparent every year. Cheap attention-calling
tricks and clap-trap will be wholly replaced, as they are already
being greatly replaced, by serious exposition; and advertisements,
instead of being mere repetitions of stale catch-words, will be
made interesting and informative, so that they will be welcomed
instead of being shunned; and it will be just as suicidal for a
manufacturer to publish silly or fallacious claims to notoriety as
for a shopkeeper of the present day to seek custom by telling lies
to his customers. Skilful writers will be employed upon the work, and
skilful journalists will think it no derogation from their dignity to
be employed in the writing of commercial advertisements. No doubt the
methods of illustration employed in journalism proper will also be
pressed into the service of the advertiser, and in this, as in other
respects, our "divine discontent" will still look for improvements,
and the newspaper of the future will be a vast improvement upon the
newspaper of to-day.

Although the distinction between journalism and literature is likely to
define itself more and more sharply--periodicals growing more literary,
and newspapers less literary--it is here convenient to pause for a
moment on the question of the direction in which literature is likely
to develop--meaning especially imaginative literature and poetry. The
past of this development, widely considered, has been, of course, since
the close of the eighteenth century, from the classical, through the
romantic, to the realistic school; and the last has been associated
with a greatly-increased and minute consideration of language as an
implement of exact and elegant expression. Literature has become,
and will no doubt continue to be, increasingly self-conscious. Happy
effects are deliberately sought for. Felicity of phrase is no longer
a matter of unconscious, almost accidental, accomplishment; it is
purposefully and deliberately obtained. We no longer expect inspiration
from the Muses, but climb Parnassus with arduous consciousness of our
meritorious pedestrianism. The methodical, scientific orderliness
of modern thought has, in short, invaded even the field of art,
and we have sometimes an air of trying to make of literature an exact
process. Perhaps very great literature, and certainly, according to all
precedent, very great poetry, cannot be produced in that way. There
is something of mystery about them, something of the instinctive, of
the elemental, or, to speak with a more critical exactness, of the
spiritual. And the development and circumstances of very elaborate
civilisation do not wholly favour the spiritual. But to conclude
from this that great poetry will never again be written would be to
overlook one of the disturbing, the cataclysmal factors of human
life. This factor is one of the greatest pitfalls of the would-be
prophet. By examining the past, one could predict almost unfailingly
the future, if there were not always, and in every department of life,
the strange, incalculable thing which, for want of a better name,
we call genius, to be reckoned with, to be almost alarmed by. We
may examine, we may reason, we may reckon up almost anything; but
athwart all our conjectures, charm we never so wisely, comes genius,
and revolutionises everything! It is the one thing which no formula can
embrace. Not in the realms of literature and art alone will it break in
and stultify our best prevision. In every department of life we must
tread cautiously, aware that no one who would forecast the future can
afford to neglect its disturbing possibilities. We must prayerfully
and joyously expect that from time to time genius will suddenly arrive
and pass across the stage, changing everything, bringing to naught
our cunningest anticipations; and as it is peculiarly the quality of
literature to be thus perturbed and regenerated, we must not even
attempt to predict what schools the literature of the future will
pass through. The only thing we can be certain of is that from time
to time some epoch-making mind will express itself. Acquainted with
all the devices of the schools it will brush them all aside, and half
unconsciously, half a-dream, as if indeed it were literally "inspired,"
it will establish new standards, engender new methods, and endow the
time with new delights. Criticism will dissect, examine and explain,
until the creative mind is almost persuaded that it has all along
understood itself; but the one thing by which criticism must ever
be eluded, the one thing which must ever elude prophecy, is genius
itself. When all is said that man can say, and all is said in vain,
the best explanation of the unexplainable is perhaps the old one, that
genius brings in some way a message from outside the world. Perhaps,
since there is always a demand for something which man can worship,
this inspiration may be the subject of the conscious adoration of
the new age. Perhaps we have here the subject of the religion of
the future; for inspiration, as we may most conveniently name this
mystery, has just that character of the unknowable half-seized,
which is precisely what the soul of man is ever yearning for.



CHAPTER VI

UTILISING THE SEA


Except for a small tribute in the shape of fish food and certain
salts the ocean is to-day almost a dead loss to the world, and what
is worse, the greatest of all obstacles to progress. It separates
us from our kin, wrecks our ships, claims a yearly toll of dead, and
is barren, fruitless, a mere receptacle for garbage. A hundred years
hence we shall have awakened to these facts and found means to make
"the caverns vast of ocean old" something better than a subject for
the poet and a resting-place for the dead whom it murders.

Not every dream, however, can be realised--not even the
engineer's. Some years ago certain ardent spirits in France announced
that the desert of Sahara lay below the level of the sea and could be
flooded with the Atlantic or Mediterranean. The effect of this, it was
considered, would not merely be to inconvenience certain Arabs, but to
change entirely the climate of the rest of equatorial Africa. Laved by
the beneficent waves of ocean, lands at present uninhabitable would, it
was declared, become fertile and salubrious. The project was dismissed
or shelved as impracticable from engineering difficulties. Shall we,
a hundred years hence, have met these difficulties?

Probably not. To work such changes in the distribution of land
and water will be a thing not indeed beyond the power of the next
century's engineers, but beyond their daring. The accomplishment
of them might, if at all rapid, be attended by frightful disasters,
some of which can be readily estimated, but of which the worst would
probably remain unforeseen and unimagined until the irrevocable moment
of fulfilment. To increase to this extent the area of the world's
oceans, without increasing (as of course we could not increase)
their mass, would perceptibly lower the level of the sea everywhere,
and in accordance with the well-known hydrostatic law things would
"right themselves" on a cataclysmal scale. Every narrow strait in
the world, every oceanic canal would become, for the time being,
a roaring cataract. The Mediterranean would rush tumultuously out
through the Straits of Gibraltar and the Suez Canal, and the overflow
would flood the adjacent lands. The Straits of Dover would roar like
Niagara, and all Kent, and the low-lying north-east corner of France,
would be devastated. The isthmus of Panama might at the same time
be swept away, for the narrow banks of the completed Panama Canal
would certainly give way before the weight of the two oceans. All
the rivers of the world would rush down in spate until they ran
nearly dry from the increased outfall. The sea would recede from
all the coasts. Along with this fall in the level of the sea would
come tempests such as, since the appearance of man on the planet,
the world has never known. For the sea-supported atmosphere would
suck into its vacuum the whole weight of the over-lying air until
pressure was equalised. And the climate of all the world would be
reconstituted in new and probably inconvenient ways.

No. We cannot venture thus to change the face of creation. What we can
and shall do is to make the best of it. In a hundred years' time many
countries at present undeveloped will be rich and populous. Canada, for
one example, has an area greater than that of the United States, with a
population smaller than the population of Greater London. And Canada,
endowed as it is with almost every source of wealth, will before long
become perhaps the richest country in the world. By this time next
century it will also be one of the most populous. Siberia, again,
with many fertile and salubrious tracts, will certainly have been more
intelligently utilised than by making a vast prison of it. But when
all the regions available for human habitation are populated and made
use of, the centres of civilisation will probably lie very much where
they lie now; and here the congested populations will have found that
they can no longer tolerate the waste of a neglected ocean. As we push
outward from the centre of the continents, the seaboard will have to
be utilised and extended. There is nothing to daunt the engineers of
a hundred years hence in the project of erecting on the sea a vast
floating city, fully as convenient as the present cities of terra
firma, and, while vastly more healthful, quite substantial enough to
resist storm and every motion of the sea, except the tides on which
the city will rise and fall--tides which will no doubt furnish the
motive power of many conveniences in ocean cities.

There are great advantages in a city thus founded, as compared with
those we at present inhabit; and we certainly shall not be able to
neglect them. There will be no particular reason for economy of space
or for insalubrious overcrowding (since the sea has no landlord), and
breadth would make for stability as well as for convenience. Urban
traffic will employ an entirely new light vehicle, the skimmer. It
has been mentioned as a thing beyond doubt that the ships of a hundred
years hence will no longer float in the sea, but ride on its surface,
thus evading both the instability and the resistance at present so
troublesome to marine engineers. As soon as the necessity arises
for providing street traffic in the ocean city--when "the sea is in
the broad, the narrow streets, ebbing and flowing, and the salt weed
clings to the marble of her palaces"--invention will meet the demand,
and light street waggons and carriages will everywhere glide about,
performing the daily needs of the inhabitants. Something in the nature
of break-waters will provide against wave-play and form an unequalled
exterior boulevard; and by means of an invention which will long
since have been called for by the requirements of other localities,
the air of dwelling-houses in the ocean city will be wholesomely
freed from damp.

For we shall certainly not have failed to act upon our knowledge of
the fact that irregularities in the proportion of atmospheric moisture
are responsible for the unhealthiness of certain areas; and we shall
have learned, by means of the anhydrator, to provide any place with
exactly the degree of damp or dryness necessary to health. The same
apparatus, by desiccating the air to the extreme point, will keep
the houses of an ocean city dry and thus do away with an objection
which would make homes built on the water insufferable to-day.

If we have not wholly reformed throughout the world our system of
land tenure, the conquered ocean will unquestionably relieve the
tension which is created by it, and perhaps a radical change of this
character will only become possible when the enormous advantages of
it have been practically exemplified.

But there is another way in which the conquest of ocean ought to prove
a great economic boon to the world. Except in the case of a few coal
mines, with shafts sunk near the sea beach, we have hardly at all begun
to investigate the contents of the ocean floor. There is, so far as I
am aware, no particular reason to doubt that the constitution of the
subterranean world is in most respects very much the same under the
sea as under the land. Probably vast riches, as yet undreamed of, lie
below the surface of the ocean and beneath its floor. There can be no
question that the needs of the world will make us eager to tap them,
as we should already have begun to, if any way could be discovered of
overcoming the engineering difficulties involved. These difficulties,
in the present state of our knowledge, may well appal the stoutest
imagination. The problem presented by the immense and paralysing air
pressure in a mine at this great depth would have to be overcome. Even
in some great terrestrial excavations already made the problem occurs:
and where (as in river tunnels and elsewhere) men attempt to work
in great air-pressures artificially induced, the phenomenon called
caisson-disease occasions practical difficulty. But the mere fact of
an achievement being almost inconceivable in the light of present
knowledge and invention must not be allowed to put a clog upon a
forecast of what next century may attain. It is a hypothesis which
the reader has been invited to accept, not merely that discovery and
invention will go on, but that they will go at a constantly-increasing
pace. We must not, therefore, allow what may well seem, at the
present day, insuperable engineering difficulties to forbid the
belief that the undiscovered wealth of the earth below the sea will be
tapped for the benefit of the new age. What minerals may lie there,
a rich heirloom for the coming time, we can but roughly imagine. But
enterprise and the world's necessities will spur us on to search them
out, until the new people, deriving like a fresh Antæus constant
stores of strength from Mother Earth, will enter into possessions
which must vastly relieve their necessities. Individual enterprise
will solve the problems and reap its store of profits. But the ocean
is no-man's land, and the people--perhaps a world-people, for this
purpose at least not subdivided into antagonistic communities--will
beyond doubt take toll, for the relief of general taxation, from the
earnings of the new mineralogy.

In other ways, too, the sea itself will be made use of. We shall get
our salt from it, the process of separation being electrolytic. Fish
will probably be eaten later than any other form of animal food. But
the chief gift of the sea to the life of the future will be the two
gases of which water is composed--oxygen and hydrogen: and the other
gas, chlorine, which forms half the salt, as well as the metal sodium
which forms the other half, will probably have many new uses found for
them. Liquefied oxygen will no doubt be our sole disinfectant. It will
also replace the poisonous, noisome and destructive bleaching agents
used to-day. Hydrogen, the lightest of all gases, will be another
staple of commerce. It will (as we have elsewhere seen) probably be
the only fuel employed, for its combustion furnishes the greatest
heat terrestrially known, and its flame is smokeless and yields no
poisonous by-product. Moreover, the evaporation of liquid hydrogen,
by a sort of curious revenge, produces the greatest available cold. If
anything in the nature of balloons should survive the century hydrogen
will inflate them, and both our hydrogen and our oxygen will most
likely be got by preference from the sea. There are many reasons for
this preference. Probably there will be some advantage in the matter
of expense, since the salts of ocean water would be a by-product
of the operation, and it is conceivable that a use may be found for
the rarer among them, which could only be obtained in satisfactory
quantities by reducing to dryness huge amounts of water. And potable or
spring waters will perhaps be too precious a commodity to be consumed
unnecessarily. Distilled water could no doubt be used for drinking
purposes, and bacteriologically it is of course unexceptionable; but
there are certain objections to it, and though these may doubtless
be overcome, natural waters have a value which cannot be ignored.

Thus the oceans of the world, as yet mere watery deserts, useful
to hardly a calculable percentage of the people (and then only at
the expense of the rest) will have become the world's inheritance,
and its hoarded wealth will stave off the time--whose coming we must
not ignore--when our world-capital begins to be exhausted. For that
time must come. We are living upon the hoards which the womb of our
mother the earth has borne to our father the sun. But our mother is,
in respect at all events of mineral wealth, past the age of conception;
and every century brings us more rapidly near to the time when we
shall, like spendthrifts, have lived out our capital. Already the end
of coal is in sight. When, at the end of a vista however long, we begin
to be able to foresee the exhaustion of other minerals, we shall face
a problem appalling in its nature. Perhaps before our store of heat
gives out and reduces earth to the state of a dead world like the moon,
we shall already have exhausted our stock. No economies in the use of
scrap metal and the re-employment of the material of machines which
have been superseded can save us from ultimate metallic bankruptcy
in a future calculated perhaps in thousands (but not many thousands)
of years. Our only succour seems to lie in a conception for which
(despite the efforts of some lively thinkers who have been obliged
to ignore all but the least important difficulties of the subject) we
have no material--the conception of means by which the cold depths of
interplanetary space may be traversed. Even if we allow imagination,
untrammelled by the most evident necessities of the case, to suggest
a speed of transport computable only by astronomical analogies, we
still lag behind anything which could serve this purpose, unless we
concurrently believe that human life shall, by that time, be lengthened
into centuries. Otherwise, however recklessly we may conceive of speed
in interplanetary travel, man would almost require to live for many
centuries in order to reach and return from any destination which
would not inevitably destroy him by fire or cold when he arrived at
it. Most likely man is for ever destined to accept the bounds of his
own planet, and to be limited by its resources. In order that these
resources may be utilised to the uttermost of his needs, the contents
of the ocean floor must undoubtedly be laid under contribution, and
probably we shall not antedate this achievement if we consider that
it will have been at least entered upon a hundred years hence.



CHAPTER VII

THE MARCH OF SCIENCE


In a forecast like the present it is impossible to avoid a certain
amount of overlapping in different sections of the subject and
a certain blending of topics in a single chapter. The attempt to
differentiate consistently between the progress of science as science,
and the concurrent advance of practical invention by which scientific
discovery is turned to use would only involve needless repetition. I
have already had occasion to suggest elements of material progress
which presuppose the advance in pure science that would make them
possible. Thus, in endeavouring to suggest what the methods of commerce
and the condition of our cities are likely to be in the future it
was necessary to conceive certain advances in our knowledge of what
is rather clumsily called "wireless" telegraphy, and to predict
the discovery of new and cheap methods of analysing water into its
component gases as a source of fuel and as means for the production
of electricity: and in order to avoid useless repetition it was found
convenient to work out in a rough manner the various ways in which the
cheap and inexhaustible supplies of hydrogen and oxygen which I have
imagined discovery to have placed at the disposal of invention would
be employed in the arts. Similarly, when we interrogate imagination
on the subject of scientific discovery itself, we shall be forced to
think chiefly of the practical results likely to be achieved by it,
and indeed there would otherwise be hardly any purpose to serve by
the effort. What imports the greatest amount of complexity into the
subject is the difficulty of conceiving the lines upon which science
is likely to travel, unless we allow ourselves to be guided by the
practical requirements of the future as far as we are able to foresee
them. Imagination has indeed superabundant room in which to run riot
when it endeavours to give form to the probabilities of scientific
discovery; and the only danger is that effort may be wasted in purely
fanciful directions, if it be not pretty securely tied down by some
such artificial restraint as the convention of keeping more or less
strictly to the anticipation of discoveries likely to have immediate
practical application.

For instance, there is hardly any end to the developments we might
allow ourselves to imagine as arising out of the new theories, still in
a probationary condition, as to the ultimate physical structure of the
universe. Such conjectures might be followed indefinitely in several
directions, and the resulting conclusions would be more likely to
err by timidity than by extravagance: but as there is no knowledge at
present available which could serve as a guide to the probably-right,
and as a warning against the probably-wrong, directions, it would be
neither interesting nor useful to pursue them. Radium "the revealer,"
as Dr Saleeby has called it in one of those brilliant papers which
fine imagination and delicate fancy have adorned with many another
noble phrase and memorable image, opens the door to a whole world of
new possibilities. Our whole conception of cosmic processes may have
to be remodelled, in the light of those tiny scintillations which the
spinthariscope has popularised. Already our notions concerning the
nature of matter have been revolutionised. We are told that atoms,
regarded hitherto as the ultimate units of matter--so small that Lord
Kelvin has calculated that if a drop of water were magnified to the
size of the earth the atoms in it would be somewhere between the size
of small shot and the size of cricket balls--are themselves made up
of a stuff so almost infinitely more tenuous, that the particles of
it within the atom are, relatively to their size, farther apart than
the planets of the solar system. Nor is this all. These particles,
commonly called electrons, if particles they can still be designated at
all, were at first said to "carry" a charge of electricity. But it now
seems that they are electricity itself. If this be true, we should seem
to be on the point of bridging the void between what used to be called
the eternal antithetics--matter and force: and whither this will lead
us can only with the greatest caution be pre-imagined. In any case the
consequences of this discovery, philosophical as well as scientific,
are stupefying in the possibilities they open up to the thinker as
well as to the man of practical science. At last science begins to join
hands with philosophy. What will be the philosophy of a hundred years
hence, imagination pales before the effort of attempting to conceive.

But the working out of the revelations promised by radiology belongs
rather to this end of the century than to the other. During the
interval there can be no doubt that electricity, already man's chief
handmaid, will have increased and perhaps completed her services
to the race. When, as I ventured to suggest in a former chapter,
inexhaustible and cheap "current" is yielded to us by some method
of utilising the electrical reciprocity of the hydrogen and oxygen
gases derived from water, doubtless all machinery will be electrically
driven, all transport electrically propelled. Perhaps this discovery
lies so far in the foreground of the future as to be irrelevant to any
anticipations of the world's condition a hundred years hence. The
full development of electrically-driven machinery lies in the
middle distance, and the duration of the electrical age can hardly
be precalculated with any greater exactness than the suggestion that
it will probably have reached, or at all events approached, its end
in about a century's time.

The most important problem connected with this subject is to
imagine, if we can, how electrical power will be applied. It is quite
evident that the device of long conductors, either overhead or below
ground--the "live wires" of alarmed America--is too clumsy and too
dangerous to be long tolerated. It is indeed a public scandal that
cables carrying an electrical charge capable of killing or paralysing
at a touch should be suspended over the heads of the citizens, exposed
to momentary breakage by snowfall, high wind, or the inevitable
wear which careless inspectors may overlook: and the mere fact that
a horse can occasionally set foot on a ground plate and fall dead
from the contact shows that even the vaunted "conduit system" must
not be regarded as anything but a strictly-temporary device. Some of
the dangers of the underground electric wires arise out of the use
of our present illuminating gas, when a pipe leaks into a manhole
or inspection chamber, forming an explosive mixture of gas and air,
which presently becomes ignited by an electric spark and blows up the
whole affair. No doubt coal gas is within easily measurable distance
of its end as a convenience of civilisation. But it is extremely
probable that hydrogen and oxygen will be conveyed by mains to houses
and public buildings during a long time: and it is hardly possible
to believe that the mains will not sometimes leak and be capable of
letting out mixtures far more dangerous on ignition than the mixture
of coal gas and air, and still more dangerous because neither of the
gases, nor the mixture of them, has any smell, unless indeed we should
take the precaution of giving them one artificially. Whatever we may
do, and we shall do much, to minimise the dangers of highly-evolved
civilisation, accidents will always occur, and their violence will
probably increase. We must pay our toll to the conveniences of life,
and we shall of course compensate ourselves by a lower death-rate
from diseases, many of which will no doubt in a hundred years' time
have disappeared from the planet.

If we need any motive power other than electricity, or if we need
motive power of some other kind to produce electricity, no doubt
the explosive recombination of oxygen and hydrogen, controlled by
devices developed from existing gas-engines and petrol-engines, will
be a starting-point: because coal will, probably before the complete
exhaustion of the supply of it, have been found altogether too dirty
and unhealthy a thing to use, at all events by way of combustion,
though rumours are heard from time to time of new methods by which
the stored energy of coal may be utilised directly, to the great
economy of the material. [13] In all sorts of ways the early years of
the century will be employing themselves in seeking out new sources
of man's chief necessity--power: and a hundred years hence we shall
have entered upon the full inheritance of them.

But the obtaining of power is only one problem of the mechanician. Of
almost equal, if not quite equal, importance is that of applying power
at the place where it is needed, and the careful reader will not have
overlooked the fact that while we have been discussing the use of
electricity as a source of power we have already been anticipating,
and perhaps anticipating a good deal. For, when we now speak of
machinery and locomotive engines being "driven" by electricity, we
are really only employing a sort of convenient periphrasis. All our
electric machinery, all our electric railways, our "tuppeny" tubes
and the horrible electric trams which make life almost intolerable in
houses along many of the main roads out of London, are really driven by
coal-burning steam engines. In a few places (especially in the Niagara
valley) waterfall power is used. But whatever the real source of power,
electricity is only a means, more or less convenient, of transmitting
it. Even electric launches, and slow-going electric broughams driven
by accumulators, only represent slightly more subtle examples of the
electrical transmission of power. The ultimate source of power is
always either a steam-engine or a waterfall. A few lecture-table toys
and the like are the only existing examples of machinery in which the
actual source of power is electricity. Even here, it may be objected,
the actual source of power is not electricity, but chemical action
in the battery. But no contrivance of man is an ultimate source of
power. Even a steam-engine is only a device for utilising the stored
solar energy of coal. Of course man can no more create power than
he can create matter: the stock of each in the universe is a fixed
quantity. All that we are able to do is to harness to our use a part
of the cosmic store. When I speak of electricity becoming hereafter
a "source" of power, I am merely distinguishing between its use as
a means of transmitting force already perceived as force in some
other form (as where a dynamo-electric machine receives motion from
a steam-engine or waterfall and turns this motion into electricity,
which is conveyed by wires or rails to an electric dynamic engine
that reconverts it into motion) and its use as a primary means of
utilising the cosmic stores of force.

Before we arrive, therefore, at the point of using electricity as
a source of power in itself, our mechanicians will have plenty to
occupy them in the task of devising safer and more convenient methods
of transmitting force, and even at the end of the century, supposing
the use of electricity not to have been entirely superseded by the
discovery of some entirely new force as yet not even conceivable,
invention will doubtless be still busy with further improvements in
the transmission as well as in the production of electricity. It has
been hinted that "wireless" transmission of power will no doubt by
that time have become practicable, and Signor Marconi's achievement
of wireless telegraphy was mentioned as a proof that such transmission
is at least imaginable. In Marconi's invention an enormous electrical
impulse is launched into the æther, and if the very smallest token
of it can be "picked up" in any way at the receiving station, the
wireless telegram is satisfactorily received. But the important fact
for our present purpose is that some product of the original impulse
can be picked up: and though the effort of imagination required to
see in this a starting-point for entirely new inventions, capable
of gathering up a practicable modicum of the transmitted power in
a form capable of being converted into motion, is severe, we shall
bring but a poor imaginative equipment to a task so colossal as that
of guessing what the next century will be capable of if we refuse to
believe that something in the nature of Hertzian waves, or something
propagated as these are propagated, can be used to carry impulse to
machinery at a distance from the source of power. The imaginative
faculty which boggles at this effort will probably overlook the fact
that the mere transmission is only a part of the difficulty which
is pretty sure to have been overcome by this time next century. It
will not be enough to launch waves capable of being used where they
are intended to be used. We must also discover how to launch them
so that they may be incapable of being used anywhere else. I read
the other day the report of a police-court case in which a man was
charged with "stealing electricity" (which seems a rather doubtful
indictment from the point of view of the lawyer) by obtaining the
use of a public telephone station without paying the usual fee. The
electricians of a hundred years hence will certainly have to find
out how to prevent the purloining of wireless force, and perhaps the
police will have to devise means of detecting this at present somewhat
recondite crime. This question of wireless transmission lies within
the province of discovery rather than that of invention. Before it can
receive actuality we have to do more than utilise existing knowledge:
we have to acquire new knowledge.

In the meantime, portable energy will no doubt be achieved in ways
other than electrical. Some very interesting compressed-air tools are
already in limited use. Holes are drilled and rivets driven by little
contrivances which have a store of force within themselves furnished by
compressed air. One of the many uses of the cheap oxygen and hydrogen,
and doubtless of cheaply liquefied gases of high-resisting power, [14]
will no doubt be to work various kinds of machinery. This use of liquid
airs has been much derided, and indeed a good deal of nonsense has been
written as to its possibilities, drawing from a recent and accomplished
writer the remark that "The statements which have sometimes appeared
in the daily papers, announcing impending revolutions in the methods of
obtaining cheap power by the application of liquid air, have originated
from an imperfect comprehension of the problems involved." [15]

In present conditions, and so far as we are able to see at present,
liquefied gases are for a long time not likely to serve any greater
mechanical purpose than that of furnishing a highly portable apparatus
by which great power can be developed for a short time at any required
place. It is easy to believe that it could not be otherwise employed
with any economy, even when discovery has greatly simplified the now
difficult process of liquefaction. But in regard to this matter, and
to almost every other mechanical and engineering improvement suggested
in the present work, it is of the first importance to remember that
the conditions in which the work of the world a hundred years hence
will be done are certain to differ very greatly from anything we know
to-day; and that procedures at present not merely out of proportion,
but in themselves actually chimerical, will become perfectly workable
in the new circumstances of another century. No doubt the problems at
present involved make many of the developments herein suggested almost
laughable to those who examine the subject without imagination. But
what could have been thought of a man who, when Oersted discovered the
influence of a battery current on the compass needle, suggested that
the discovery might, in much less than a hundred years, be practically
developed in such unforeseen ways as to produce locomotive machines
capable of carrying vast weight at a speed of perhaps a hundred
miles an hour? He would have been told that such predictions "could
only have originated from an imperfect comprehension of the problems
involved." But we know that they would have been perfectly sound,
though it would have been difficult to withhold assent from the
derision which instructed hearers would have poured upon them. The
effect of any scientific discovery can only be measured when we are in
a position to judge of the conditions in which it may be applied, and
the further discoveries which may affect it--a consideration which will
help us against the danger of undue caution in estimating the possible
developments of recent discovery when utilised in the conditions of the
next century and reinforced by inventions and discoveries yet to come.

A like caution will, however, teach us to restrain our expectations
from the new knowledge which radium appears to be gradually unfolding,
not because there is any doubt that radio-activity will ultimately
bring priceless gifts to civilisation, but because in our present
ignorance of all but a few facts concerning it we can form no possible
conjecture as to the lines these gifts will follow. Already we seem
to have seen in some of the radium experiments one "element" turn into
another. If this should develop until we acquire the power which used
to be dreamed of as transmutation, the social and economic upheavals
which would result beggar imagination. [16]

The photographic effect of Röntgen rays has already [17] been
the subject of a suggestion, and even the facts now remotest from
practical use in connection with the rays of various sorts so much
discussed in the scientific newspapers will no doubt be utilised in
a manner or in manners far removed from the limited employment in
therapeutics already found for them.

And indeed medicine, not the most progressive of modern sciences,
will no doubt make vast strides during the period under discussion.

It would be altogether fallacious to forecast the position and
probable achievements of medical science in a century's time on the
line of simple development from the practice of to-day. The changes
will be revolutionary rather than evolutionary. When it is remembered
that only fifty years ago limbs were hacked from the quivering flesh
of the sentient patient, held down by muscular assistants lest the
violent struggles of his agony should embarrass the surgeon, and that
wounds of all sorts festered and decayed until a hospital reeked
with their impurity--in other words, that discoveries so great as
anæsthesia and antisepsis are well within living memory--we need not
hesitate to predict for the present century changes in medical and
surgical science almost inconceivable by the light of our present
attainment. Anæsthetics--of which the local kinds, as cocaine and
eucaine, are of entirely recent use--represent an advance in one
direction. Antiseptic surgery, which is the prevention and correction
of blood and wound-poisoning by chemical disinfectants, represented an
advance of a different kind. But antisepsis is already on the point
of being superseded by the far more rational and scientific method
of asepsis, or the exclusion from open wounds of all the germs which
can set up inflammation and festering. The change is typical.

The direction in which medicine is chiefly working at the present
time is that of introducing into the body one disease with the
idea of excluding other diseases. It is conceived that cow-pox
is antagonistic to small-pox, erysipelas possibly to cancer, and
so on. All the talk in medical circles is of serum and attenuated
virus. And, apart from animal products administered by injection, we
cure or attempt to cure all diseases by administering poisons--animal,
vegetable or mineral. Just as by antiseptics we poison the germ which
causes festering and inflammation, so by drugs we attempt to poison
disease--for all drugs are practically poisons. The principle of their
administration is almost wholly empirical. If you ask a doctor why
phenacetin reduces fever, it is impossible to get beyond a metaphysical
explanation. He will reply that phenacetin reduces fever by lowering
the blood pressure, or something of that kind. But this merely
re-states the problem. Why does phenacetin lower blood pressure? We
do not know. The substitution of asepsis for antisepsis--that is,
of cleanliness for disinfection--has hardly yet been perceived
to be in a certain sense the greatest advance in therapeutics
since Hippocrates. It probably contains the germ of future medical
treatment. Hereafter we shall not try to cast out devils of disease
by other disease-germs only less devilish. We shall learn enough of
the causes of disease to stop them at their source, and knowledge
growing from more to more, which has taught us exactly how "matter
in the wrong place"--of whatever sort--is the source of all disease,
will also show how matter may generally be kept in its right place.

Although comparatively little progress has been made by the curative
use of rays, other discoveries, of which we have even now passed the
brink, will have an enormous effect on medicine and surgery. Already
certain kinds of light cure rodent ulcer, one of the most hideous and
terrible diseases, not by the importation of fresh substances into the
body but by the modification of the tissues themselves. When radiation
has been fully studied it will almost certainly be found that the
sun, which is the source of practically all terrestrial activity,
has been showering upon us, ever since the homogeneous vapour which
was the birth-stuff of the universe aggregated itself into worlds and
suns and planets, rays which are capable of correcting every sort of
disease-germination and, properly used, of preventing it. The absolute
deadliness of unmodified sunlight to many sorts of disease-germs is
recognised already. The value of sun-baths--the exposure of the whole
body, undraped or only lightly covered, to the sunlight--is already
discussed in connection with anæmia, chlorosis and the early stages
of consumption. When we know just where all disease originates,
and why it develops, it seems likely that sunlight and oxygen its
child will prevent nearly all disease and cure whatever disease
accidentally arises. In place of temporary and dangerous expedients
like antiseptics, serum and corrective poisons, we shall import nothing
into the human organism, but only exclude what ought to be kept out,
and modify into innocuousness what has found its way in.

A great part of the disease we call constitutional, as distinguished
from infective, arises from food, either because the food itself is
not free from disease, or because, from excess in quantity or error
in choice, the food we take sets up the production of poisons in the
course of digestion, and by yielding, for instance, lactic or uric
acid to the blood causes rheumatism or gout, or by introducing into
the stomach matter in a state of incipient decay, favours typhoid
and other fevers.

When, for reasons already indicated, animal food has been eliminated
from the menu one great source of disease will have been got rid of.

When we completely understand the nature of the infective and
contagious diseases it seems well within the bounds of possibility
that the systematic destruction of their germs may be carried far
enough to remove them altogether from the planet. [18] We have now,
even by the highly imperfect measure of quarantine and a period
of muzzling (from which, on no evident ground except that it would
interfere with the amusements of the governing class to include them,
sporting dogs were excluded), apparently banished hydrophobia from
Great Britain. If it prove to be the case that just as hydrophobia
cannot arise spontaneously, but requires to be "started" by the entry
into the blood of an animal of an existing infection, other infective
diseases require pre-existing disease before they can arise, we may
get rid of them altogether. The dream may appear a wild one. But
it is not wilder than the dreams of a thinker who anticipated any
one of a hundred common facts of to-day must have appeared to our
great-great-grandfathers.

It is, of course, not to be supposed that disease can altogether be
banished from a world so highly artificial as that of the next century
will be. Undoubtedly the growth of sanitary science and the knowledge
of the larger facts of hygiene, which is only now beginning to dawn
upon us, will have a great influence in correcting some of the evils
which over-civilisation at present entails. But the very progress of
the art of healing will no doubt have the effect of perpetuating in a
manner the existence of illness. Every forward step in medicine serves
to save alive some weakling that in a less advanced civilisation would
die; and these survivors, possibly propagating their species, will have
weak descendants, on whom whatever possibility of disease continues
to exist will certainly fasten. The discovery of means by which we
can make a weak "constitution" into a strong one is perhaps the least
likely of medical innovations. It would be altogether contrary to the
general spirit of the times anticipated to expect that we shall have
steeled our hearts to the destruction of feeble lives as dangerous
to the race. We are much more likely to go on finding better means
to perpetuate them: and this means that there will always be work for
the doctor, though the infective fevers will have been banished from
the earth. Medicine, therefore, will still aspire. But apart from
what are called occupation-diseases, caused by certain manufacturing
processes (of which the more deadly, as phosphorus match-making,
lead-glazing of earthenware and the manufacture of enamelled iron
will before long certainly be abolished), the elaborate machinery
and rapid travel of the new age must needs exact a certain toll
of death and mutilation. The surgeon will have more to do than the
physician. Frightful accidents will occur from time to time. The maim,
the halt and the blind must pay the price of progress. And it is hardly
possible that nervous diseases and insanity, incident to the pressure
of civilisation, can be eliminated. But certainly the alleviations of
all but the last, and even of that except in its extreme expression
as total dementia, will have advanced to a high standard. We shall
no doubt, for instance, have discovered means of so acting on the
sensory system that we shall be able innocuously and temporarily to
paralyse at any desired spot the nerves which transmit pain. Thus,
during convalescence, the injured will suffer no discomfort except
that of confinement, and our means of amusing the patient by talking
machines that will read and sing to him, and the theatroscopes that
will project before him moving and coloured pictures of life or the
play, will make the sick bed almost a paradise.

As we have seen that, apart from the sentimental reasons which have
been suggested, [19] animal and flesh foods must, for economical
reasons, have been abandoned long before the end of the century, the
grazing of cattle being far too expensive a method of utilising the
soil, we may be quite sure that the sciences connected with agriculture
will receive far greater attention than they now enjoy. It will grow
more important with every decade to obtain the greatest possible
tribute from the portions of land, steadily decreasing in area,
which can be spared from the growing needs of the builder. Every
discovery of the chemist which can be laid under contribution by the
agriculturist will eagerly be seized upon. Every means which can be
devised for replacing what we take from the soil will be utilised
to the full: and of course the inevitable disappearance of the horse
as a means of traction, and of the flocks and herds which now yield
manure, and perhaps the gradual exhaustion of the minerals (as rock
phosphates) from which artificial soil enrichers are prepared, will
make it necessary to rearrange, on safe, economical and convenient
lines, our present plans of sanitation. The insane wastefulness of
draining into the sea cannot long be tolerated. Every conceivable means
of conserving our mundane capital will have to be made use of. In
other ways science will come to the rescue. The farmer's sufferings
from the depredations of vermin of various kinds will perhaps never
be much affected by invention, because all nature is so curiously
interdependent that the eradication of one pest has an awkward way
of intensifying some greater evil: we destroy birds and are punished
by a plague of caterpillars. The accidents of climate, too, can
perhaps only be obviated in a very small measure, though the science
of meteorology, constantly being helped by facilities for better
observation-reporting, will unquestionably help the agriculturist
by giving him timely warnings. It seems hardly possible to doubt
that the eccentricities of climate and the unexpected shifting of the
rainy season in Manchuria during the Russo-Japanese war must have been
caused by the vast atmospheric disturbances created by days and weeks
of cannonading: and of course it is an old theory that heavy gun-fire
"brings down the rain." Military historians say that the number of
wet-day battles altogether exceeds any expectation which could have
been formed without allowing for effects of this sort. When science
has pondered upon the subject, and instituted in an ordered manner
experiments of a kind hitherto never taken very seriously, it may
very well be that some means less violent than the detonation of
explosives may be discovered by the practical meteorologist for
creating disturbances in the atmosphere; and while it may not be
possible to prevent excessive rainfall at inconvenient times, it
seems easy to conceive that when there is moisture in the atmosphere
we may be able to bring it down as rain. Of course this is a very
different thing from breaking up droughts: and artificial rain-making
cannot in itself be anything but a momentary expedient. The effects
of deforestation have for some time been observed and the plan
of improving waterless areas by the contrary process is already
discussed. While it seems rather a "large order" to undertake to
meddle with the balance of atmospheric composition on a large scale,
especially as we know so little of the conditions that even success
might very possibly be attended by unforeseen and perhaps calamitous
results, there is nothing intrinsically absurd in the notion that we
might adopt means on a vast scale for increasing oceanic evaporation
and, utilising the exact foreknowledge of winds and air currents
which we shall certainly have achieved, bring moisture and rain to
arid tracts or countries suffering from drought. The operation would
no doubt require to be stupendous, but the next century is not going
to be afraid of stupendous operations; and anticipating vast and
unforeseen progress in meteorology, it would be hazardous to believe
that no practical use will be made of such progress.

While our knowledge and mastery of the planet we possess, and of its
forces, are being steadily advanced by scientific discovery, and the
researches of the pure scientist are constantly yielding practical
results at first undreamed of, it is impossible to doubt that man's
knowledge of himself will make equal progress. And it is not alone the
physical constitution of man that will be interrogated. Everything
assists the belief that this century will be among other things the
century of psychical advance. We appear to be on the verge of great
discoveries concerning the human mind, and especially concerning
the relation of body to consciousness. Hypnotism has only during a
comparatively short time been the subject of systematic observation,
even in France; but at any time during the last ten years results have
been achieved which, if foreseen a century ago, would certainly have
produced a widespread recrudescence of belief in witchcraft. What
the developed science of a hundred years hence will be capable
of would certainly be a great deal more surprising if we could
foresee it to-day. It is reported from the Salpetrière Hospital
that a woman, under hypnosis, has had the existence of a picture on
a blank sheet of paper suggested to her with such vividness that,
on the suggestion being revived at a subsequent period, even after
a considerable interval, she was able to detect that the "picture"
was upside down, the blank paper having been actually reversed. This
phenomenon is attributed to a great accentuation of the sense of vision
produced by hypnotism, it being supposed that the paper, perfectly
blank on ordinary observation, had really some local irregularity
of colour or surface which the sharpened vision of the subject was
able, unconsciously, to utilise. What secrets in the mechanism
of the senses may not this fore-shadow? Without any recourse to
hypnotism, as we at present understand hypnotism, impressions have,
in a number of instances sufficient to exclude all possibility of
collusion or error, been conveyed from one mind to another without
the use of any of the ordinary means of communication: and it is
shown in experiments seriously conducted by trained observers that
the faculties of thus communicating and receiving impressions can
be steadily cultivated. In other words, it would appear that human
consciousness possesses some sort of emanation, and although certain
"ray" experiments possibly connected with the subject have not received
universal acceptance, it is evident that the future is going to enlarge
considerably our knowledge of the nature of mental process. At present
we know nothing--and it has been said with some rashness that we must
always remain in a like ignorance--of the interval between sense and
consciousness. We know how the ear receives air-vibrations, how it
collects and conducts them to the auditory nerves, carefully protecting
itself, by the action of beautifully ordered springs and cushions,
from the effects of vibrations violent enough to be dangerous to its
own integrity. But even when we have followed vibrations as far as
the nerve, and recognised the subtle variation of its own substance
by which the nerve conducts the impression of them to the brain, we
have no inkling of the means by which the phenomenon of consciousness
which we call "mind" is produced. Well, now that by suggestion alone we
can with perfect precision, and without the use of any air vibration
whatever, cause a hypnotised person (or even a person who has at some
earlier period been hypnotised but has recovered his normal state)
to hear--in his mind alone--sounds which have no objective existence,
just as vividly and clearly as any sounds we can physically produce,
does it seem extravagant to believe that the whole mechanism of sense,
nay, the dark mind-gulf beyond mechanism too, will receive full
illumination from the science of the coming time? Such a discovery
would, of course, throw utterly into shadow anything we have yet
learned of the nature of man. It would bring us a step nearer to
the knowledge of the unknown soul of him. What secrets might it
not carry with it of those mysterious co-partners, mind and body,
thought and brain? With this, the noblest subject that can be proposed
to the intellect of man, the science of a hundred years hence will
assuredly be busy, and imagination pales before the contemplation
of a notion so vast. Limited as we are by the knowledge of our own
time, we cannot even conjecture whither such discoveries might lead
us. All we can affirm is that the whole outlook of man, nay, the
nature of man himself, might very conceivably be changed by them,
and the greatest problems of the thinker may be resolved when we eat
of the fruit tendered us by this tree of the knowledge of good and
evil. Perhaps the soul of man may quail before the revelations in
store, fearing that in the day we eat thereof we shall surely die.



CHAPTER VIII

EDUCATION A HUNDRED YEARS HENCE


Allowing, as every competent thinker must allow, a full measure of
validity to the contention that social developments are matters of slow
growth and gradual attainment rather than of sudden and catastrophic
change; admitting that even in the sphere of scientific discovery and
mechanical invention changes occur much more gradually than a cursory
glance at individual achievements would suggest; recognising that many
of the most remarkable changes whose arrival in the past is the only
possible valid guide to anticipation of similar or kindred changes in
the future; it is still a condition of such anticipation that we should
take account of causes likely to be operative in altering the rate at
which the world will move. To allow that social improvements generally
have the air of occurring almost automatically is not to conceive that
they are without cause. Neither can it be believed by anyone who has
studied the history of such movements in the past, or watched them in
current progress, that the rate of development is everywhere and at
all periods the same. There have been eras of almost complete moral,
and even of almost complete mechanical, stagnation in the history of
the world. There have been other eras of almost violent reformation
and reconstruction. To reason as if these characteristics were
arbitrarily or miraculously imposed upon the physiognomy of society,
to be content with laboriously unintelligent estimation of the facts
without attempting to learn anything from them of their causes, is to
neglect the only important lesson which either history or observation
is capable of teaching. When, therefore, an enormous acceleration in
a rate of progress already unprecedented in the records of society
has been predicted for the next hundred years of human history, it is
evident that this anticipation must have been based upon some estimate
of forces calculated to be operative in producing acceleration.

So far as scientific or material progress is concerned, it is obvious
enough that we shall move forward with increasing momentum, because
every discovery and every invention tends automatically to facilitate
fresh attainment, and the very growth of population must act in
the same way, as must also the struggle for existence. As there are
every year more men and women working on scientific research and on
mechanical invention, the results must be progressively greater every
year; and as the rewards of success are increased by the growing
demand resulting from a growing population, it is evident that the
incentives to industry in this respect are proportionately liable
to increase. But the ethical progress of the world is actuated by
forces entirely different, and what makes for mechanical improvement
may very easily be conceived--in fact has actually been conceived by
one rather conspicuous prophet--to operate adversely upon the moral
future of the race.

No secret, however, has been made of the present writer's belief
that our descendants a hundred years hence will have made moral
progress quite as remarkable as the mechanical progress of which the
anticipation is likely to be contested by no reasonably imaginative
observer. This ethical improvement, gradual, and momentarily
imperceptible as it may be, necessarily has causes which must now,
however tentatively and however cursorily, be examined.

That these causes will be powerful, continuous in action and based
upon the fundamentals of human character, is evident. That in their
operation they will be opposed by other influences not less easy to
foresee is equally manifest. What we have to precognise are the net
results likely to be achieved by the interaction of opposing forces,
of which those tending to improvement are confidently believed the
stronger.

The most powerful of all moral influences in the future will
undoubtedly be the reform of education, not merely by the improvement
of its methods in various departments, but also, and with much more
importance, in the general spirit with which its objects will be
conceived. But in order to affirm that this reform will occur, we
must first demonstrate that the grounds upon which it is anticipated
are adequate. We must, in the terms of the formula above proposed,
be satisfied that they are in harmony with the fundamentals of human
character.

If there be any human motive of which something approaching
universality can be predicted--quod semper, quod ubique, quod ab
omnibus--it is that of parental solicitude. No progenitor of children,
however little amenable to high aspirations, is wholly free from
the wish that his offspring shall grow up to be wiser, stronger,
better, more prosperous than himself. The innate hopefulness of the
race expressed in the arid comment that, in his own estimation, "man
never is, but always to be blest," is often discouraged by the time
a man's children are beginning to grow up, especially in these days
of late marriage and deferred parenthood. Realising, as most of us
have realised only too acutely by the time we are forty, that we have
more or less failed in the ambitions which seemed so easy of future
attainment when we were twenty-five, aspiration begins to cast a golden
light upon the career of our children, and it is to the successes and
the fame of our first-born that we look for consolation in the failure
which, for ourselves, we no longer hope to evade. Romance, celebrity,
even perhaps worldly reward, we can no longer expect for ourselves;
but these dear hands that a little time ago we held while the first
tottering steps of babyhood were being tried, shall return to us
hereafter with the laurel in them that we have never plucked. Perhaps
we shall not live to see it on our child's brow, but what of that? Our
confident prevision of this glory is what we console ourselves withal:
this, though we hardly know it, is our True Romance:--


   "The comfortress of unsuccess,
    To bid the dead good-night."


Neither in the material and the intellectual spheres alone do we aspire
more nobly for our children than for ourselves. Not success and not
fame limit our demand of Fate, that she repair in our children the
injustice of which we ourselves cease to complain. We want them to be
better men and women than we have been. To put the thing on its lowest
ground (and nothing but the lowest motives ever seem to be accorded the
smallest validity by the more conspicuous among recent vaticinators of
human action) it behoves us to make the best we can of our children's
morals, if we are presently in old age likely to be dependant upon
them. But for those who, like Malvolio, "think nobly of the soul,"
it is sufficient to rely upon the manifested predilection of every
parent in order to be convinced that the education of the future will
be moralised as well as rationalised through the natural emotions
of man. Only the dullest and most turgid imagination will consent to
believe that the horrible conditions of competitive struggle will be
permitted to foster only the lower faculties, as greed, selfishness,
unscrupulous cunning and subtle evasiveness, at the expense of
all the finer characteristics of man. There is no cynic so base as
would deliberately seek the fortune of his sons in the inculcation
of chicane. Struggle must sharpen all our intellects as life grows
yearly more difficult, but one by-product of this attrition will be
the increased morality with which the education of each generation
successively arising will be conceived.

Pausing for a moment to remark, in regard to the methods in detail
by which the improvement of education will most likely be sought,
that to foresee what is probable is not necessarily to endorse it as
ideal, and that the object of this book is not to formulate Utopia,
but to predict the consequences implied by existing forces after the
latter have been during a stated time in operation; and admitting
that no reform ever practised within the recorded history of man has
been without drawbacks inherent in its own constitution, it may be
said at once that the work of instruction is capable of mechanical
and instrumental improvement not less considerable than any other
labour to be undertaken by ourselves and our successors. Even within a
lifetime's limits all sorts of appliances for assisting the mind of the
learner to apprehend the facts sought to be learnt have been invented,
and our children, as we all know, are much more easily taught than we
were ourselves. The laudator temporis acti is always pretty ready to
depreciate the value of these improvements, and perhaps it is natural
enough in most of us to find it difficult to believe that any plan of
teaching can be better for our children than the one which produced
results so pleasingly exemplified by ourselves. But at all events,
it will be generally, if a little grudgingly, admitted that any form
of apparatus capable of saving time and trouble in teaching is capable
of being ranked as an improvement. Unquestionably appliances having
this object will be constantly invented and used during the present
century. For instance, it is hardly conceivable that something less
than perfection in the teaching of a foreign pronunciation by the mouth
of the best teacher who can be hired for the work will content us, when
perfected talking-machines presently enable us to give examples of the
still better speech. Evidently a boy would learn to speak French with a
purer accent by listening to a phonograph which, freed of the present
tin-trumpet timbre and whirring, repeated the speech of the Comédie
Française, than by hearing an ordinary master read aloud. To say this
is not to suggest that professors of languages will be dispensed with;
but their teaching can be thus supplemented. Similarly the use of
magic-lanterns and kinetoscopic pictures is capable of improving
greatly upon the blackboard and chalk still used. But the plan of
education in itself is so greatly more important to be foreseen than
the mechanism by which the details can be worked out, and the latter
can with so very little difficulty be imagined by anyone interested
in them, that the reader shall not be troubled with any discussion of
this branch of the subject, but will rather be asked to concentrate
his attention upon the moral and intellectual aspects of it.

Conceiving, what I have all along endeavoured to show is reasonable
to conceive, that all social institutions will be governed with
ever-increasing intelligence and rationality as time goes on, and
that they could not possibly be tolerated otherwise, it is easy
to see that education as hitherto and at present practised would
never do for our grandchildren, let alone for our more advanced
descendants a hundred years hence. To begin with, parents in that
era would certainly consider it hopelessly and criminally unethical,
if not actively immoral. Projects of reform, especially in morals,
are often dismissed as visionary, because it is pointed out that no
changes can take place in the social order which do not appeal directly
to the self-interest of the individual. In other words, there is no
mainspring of social action except aggregated selfishness. Without
delaying to examine the validity of the belief, it may be said at
once that its full acceptance is no obstacle to the admission of
the whole case on which is founded the belief that education will be
conducted chiefly with a view to its moral effect at the period I am
attempting to describe. The very circumstances on which writers rely,
who predict the ethical deterioration of man, are those which make
the ethical reform of education inevitable. Precisely in proportion
as competition tends to harden and debase, there will arise the
unavoidable necessity for deliberate counter-action of this tendency,
resulting, as the effect of the measures necessitated becomes felt,
in the changes of commercial and political conditions already [20]
predicted. If we consider at all thoughtfully the necessities of
a hundred years hence, it is not difficult to foresee the general
lines upon which they are likely to be met--lines not necessary to
be accepted as representing a perfect or ideal state, but broadly
indicating the methods which the effect of visible tendencies will
by that time demand of a practical people.

Here, as everywhere else, the only safe guidance as to the practice
of the future must be sought in the tendencies of the present. The
tendency most forcibly in evidence during recent times is that in
favour of softening the former acerbities of education. Whereas the
schoolhouse of half a century ago was something like a penitentiary
in the way it was conducted, the schoolhouse of to-day is managed
as much like a place of recreation as it possibly can be. At all
events, recreation is at least as assiduously cultivated as study,
and the candidate for an under-mastership who has a good cricket
record will find employment a good deal more easily than one
with a double-first. If there be any complaint of public and other
upper-class schools at the present time--and there is room for plenty
of complaint--it is more often that games are too much insisted upon
than that brains are overtaxed. There is a visible reaction in regard
to this; but it is not to be regarded as a reaction in favour of the
old draconic methods. On the contrary, "the growing sentimentality
of the age" steadily demands amenity of treatment for the fortunate
offspring of the twentieth century. The late James Payn, sanest
and kindliest of men, was never tired of denouncing what he called
the barbarous and indecent corporal punishments of Eton. He used to
say that if a picture of an Eton boy being birched were published
in the Illustrated London News no boy would ever be birched again,
and I believe that he tried to get either Mr Latey or Mr Shorter to
insert such a picture. Be this as it may, what he said was perfectly
true. I shall have something to say presently on this same question of
school discipline: meantime it may with perfect safety be predicted
of the master's cane a hundred years hence that it will be found
only in museums, and (whether rightly or wrongly) be regarded as
a relic of degrading barbarism. One reason why corporal punishment
will have to be abolished is that boys and girls will certainly be
educated together instead of apart. As we could hardly cane girls
(and it would be of very little use if we could) we shall assuredly
have to get on without caning their masculine schoolmates.

I suppose that few will contest the statement that the religious
teaching practised in schools at the present time not only has very
little to do with the question of morality but tends distinctly, except
in Roman Catholic seminaries and some few non-conforming colleges
where a special kind of education is given, to have less and less
connection therewith. Whatever moral effect "schooling" has upon the
adolescent is recognisably and recognisedly due to the "tone" of the
school itself, that is, to public opinion among the taught, and only
indirectly to anything which emanates from the teachers. Assuredly a
proficient knowledge of Biblical history has no ethical effect greater
than a proficient knowledge of Greek mythology (at least of so much
of it as is properly selected for school use), and we have it on the
authority of Mr E. H. Cooper, a very entertaining if not particularly
sound writer on children, that even "Confirmation" classes are by no
means uniform in promoting a religious sentiment in boys. [21]

The moral advantages of education, therefore, tend to be found in
the effect of public opinion and the general "tone" of a school. It
is discovered in practice that direct moral inculcation is not very
successful. It is to be assumed that the ingenuity of future pædagogues
will be devoted to the discovery of the best ways in which indirect
moral influence can be cultivated. In view of the high importance
which will evidently be attached to such influence, we may take it
for granted that it is not in connection with any single branch of
tuition that it will be sought for, but that it will be root and
branch of the whole scheme of educational work. One very powerful
assistance will be rendered to this by the system of co-education.

It is quite certain that boys and girls will always be educated
together a hundred years hence. The tendency of the sexes to become
less different intellectually is a known fact of sociology. [22]
It carries with it an inevitable tendency to dispense with the
separation of the sexes in education. Wherever co-education has
been tried its effects have been excellent. The presence of female
students in medical colleges has had a markedly reformative influence
on the manners and moral tone of medical student life, not long ago
the opprobrium of civilisation. The advantages to a parent of being
able to send his sons and his daughters to one place of instruction,
and to the children themselves of the companionship and maintenance
of family relations thus afforded, are equally obvious. In one other
respect, which can only be touched upon lightly here, the system of
joint education must be enormously beneficial, at all events to boys,
and greatly beneficial to their sisters. Every competent schoolmaster
is acquainted with special difficulties liable to arise about the
age of puberty. The monastic seclusion of the schoolboy (like that
of the single men in barracks who, according to Mr Kipling, "don't
grow into plaster saints"), and the glamorous mystery surrounding
the opposite sex, tend to accentuate these difficulties. The habit
of constant association with girls who are not his sisters relieves a
boy of the exaggerated sense of sexual isolation. A boy always brought
up with girls is not liable to be constantly thinking about girlhood:
and in practical experience many people are aware that boys who have
had the opportunity of frequent association with the girl friends of
their sisters grow into purer-minded and more chivalrous men, than
those who have lacked this advantage; and the thoughtful future will
assuredly cultivate the system which affords it. It is quite evident,
in addition, that the fatuous and unreasonable mystery with which for
centuries the natural facts most liable to be important in adult life
have been made inevitable subjects of unholy curiosity, will be swept
away, to the great enhancement of sane and clean thought in girls as
well as in boys, in young women even more than in young men: while
the tragedies which knowledge can avert, hidden horrors of our own
day that we are too sentimental to envisage, but that everyone must
now and then have met with a hint of, will happily exist no more,
or occur but rarely.

Among the indirect considerations which will assist us to the
conclusion that co-education is the best, will be the endeavour,
everywhere apparent, to make the work of teaching agreeable to the
taught. This is the keynote of the tendencies whose fruition we may
look for at the end of this century. It will have been recognised
that to conceive of education as a process of forcing knowledge
into unwilling memories is to place the greatest possible obstacle
in the way of success. Even the child whose natural faculties are
joyously receptive is bound to resist more or less unconsciously
teaching that is conducted on the assumption that he won't learn if
he can possibly help it. The worst child in the class sets the tone
of the rest. The boy who can most successfully evade real learning,
and trick his instructors well enough to escape punishment, is the
hero of the place. Nothing could be much worse for morality. Public
opinion in schools, useful as it is in other respects, is everywhere
harmful in this particular. The pædagogue of the future will proceed
on a method far more rational.

In its essence it is quite easy to see what method the tendency
of thought is likely to develop. Here, as in so many other places,
etymology can help us. If we could think, whenever we talk or make
plans concerning the subject, of what education really means--a
drawing-out of the natural faculties of the instructed--we should
always conceive more rationally of the work. There is no animal whose
greatest pleasures are derived from anything else than the exercise of
its faculties. Our dog, whether he jumps and tears about in glee as
we take him for a walk, or sits happily by our side, his head on our
knees, his wistful eyes scrutinising our face, sympathetic with every
emotion, illustrates this fact. In the one case he is exercising the
natural faculties of speed and vigorous agility; in the latter, the
acquired and inherited faculties of mental comprehension. Shut him up
in a room alone, or with an unfriendly person, and he is miserable or
goes to sleep, providently accumulating energy for the next opportunity
of exercise. What I am not afraid to call his mental pleasures are
not less keen, if I know anything at all of dogs (who have loved
many of them) than his physical pleasures; and I never had a dog in
my life who would not cheerfully neglect his food to come indoors
and sit with me in my library. Are children's brains less energetic,
less capable of yielding pleasure to their small proprietors than the
brains of a dog? One of the mistakes that we are already beginning to
find out (and consequently one of those which we may expect to have
amended long before this time next century) is the tacit assumption
that games are richer in pleasure than study. It isn't the boys and
girls themselves that give this tincture to school-government. Plenty
of them really prefer books before balls, until they go to school;
where we at once proceed to show them that we regard cricket as a
sort of alleviation of their hard lot, and with football console them
for their French lessons, and redress arithmetic by "rounders." There
is no reason why this should lead to any neglect of athletics. Only,
athletics will be properly treated as only one of the joys of a school
life that will be fulfilled of other pleasures equally absorbing.

The method which will make education agreeable instead of repulsive is
part and parcel of the system on which education will be conducted,
and it is only incidentally that it will subserve the concurrent
sentimental tenderness which finds expression to-day in unwise use
of games in themselves highly beneficial, just as elsewhere it finds
expression by cultivating gluttony. [23]

The true object of instruction being to show children how to think,
the intellectual exercise of thinking will be always found, as it has
already long ago been found where this highly unusual method has been
experimented with, to give keen pleasure to the instructed. [24]

A great deal that has been said both in regard to the excessive and
in part exclusive training of memory, and in regard to the propriety
of reversing the general order of tuition by proceeding from concrete
facts to generalised theories instead of beginning with generalisations
and illustrating these by specific instances, is, for practical
reasons, hardly likely to be acted upon by our descendants. To begin
with, the culture of memory is not in itself an abuse; on the contrary,
it is a highly necessary feature of education. What is an abuse is the
substitution of remembrance for ratiocination. Teachers in the future
will be more anxious to develop the mind from within than to graft
information upon it from without. But they certainly will foster the
faculty called memory--or to speak more exactly, they will refrain
from destroying that faculty in the way that present-day education
destroys it. For as a matter of fact, the memory of a young child who
has never been taught anything is invariably good, being both copious
and retentive. One often hears it said that children quickly forget;
but it is also the case that they very quickly remember again. An
Anglo-Indian friend told me a somewhat pleasing anecdote which (though
of course it does not prove) illustrates a general fact of which
anyone can find proofs for himself by a little observation. Having
taken home for a year's leave his children, reared, like all other
English children in India, amid native servants, and speaking quite
correct Urdu instead of the barbarous dog-Hindustani which suffices
for their elders, he was under the impression, when the "wicked day
of destiny" arrived, and the family had to return from refreshment
in England to labour in India, that they had completely forgotten
the soft vernacular speech which formerly came much more easily from
them than English. And his belief was confirmed when, the children
having been promptly carried off by the adoring servants, an aged
bearer came to him almost in tears, complaining that "Baba Sahib"
could not understand him. But the next day all the little people were
chattering Urdu as easily as ever. The fact is that a child's mind
concentrates itself intensely upon whatever subject interests at a
given moment, and neglects everything else. By our present method of
education we do all that the most malignant ingenuity could devise
to destroy both this invaluable gift of mental concentration and the
accompanying faculty of memory. The new teaching will industriously
cultivate both. There is no doubt that the premature and unskilful use
of books as implements of instruction is extremely bad for the memory;
and the employment of distasteful and inconsiderate methods of teaching
is equally destructive of concentration. A hundred years hence,
when it has been recognised that the easiest way to teach anything
is to find out how a child can be made to want to learn about it,
there will be no difficulty in securing attention. Children's minds
do not, as most people suppose, tire very easily. On the contrary,
they are with great difficulty fatigued. Anyone who has been so
imprudent as to embark on a course of tale-telling near bedtime or
near a meal hour, knows that the little people are almost incapable
of being satiated. And the descendants of these little people will
be just as insatiable of being taught, because we shall have found
out how to make them want to be taught.

Herein is the whole keynote of the education of the future, moral as
well as intellectual. We shall no longer treat good behaviour as if
it were an artificial and unnatural abstinence from the true desires
of the child or of man. We shall arrange that people, young and old,
may wish to act rightly. The point of reform will be shifted. At
present, all kinds of morality are approached on the assumption that
it is requisite to persuade to an unwilling abstinence from vice, and
that when the desires of the wicked have been curbed into a sort of
ascetic abstemiousness prompted by fear of punishment, whether overt
or implicit, a moral feat has been performed. The new morality will
only be content when the subject of it would not sin if you asked him
to. His moral sense will have been stoically cultivated. Obedience and
the law of Thou-shalt-not will be dethroned. This law represents in
the education of to-day the highest form of youthful virtue. Yet mere
obedience, even where it has always been considered most valuable,
namely, where it takes the shape of military discipline, has proved
an utter failure; the last two great wars proved the fact. If the
lamentable doggerel which enshrines the applauded self-immolation of
Casabianca have not fortunately been forgotten altogether a hundred
years hence, it will assuredly be quoted only as a monumental example
of old-fashioned fat-headedness, even more offensive to the sense
of reason than the verses themselves are to the sense of poetical
taste. The Casabiancas of the next century will have been allowed--I do
not say taught, because children don't need to be taught this--to think
for themselves. And no great exertion will have been required. On the
contrary, it is impossible to listen for many hours to what goes on in
a modern school without being impressed with the ingenious arrangements
that are required in order to prevent boys and girls from thinking
for themselves. The notion of their doing so seems as offensive to
the present race of schoolmasters as, to Mr W. S. Gilbert's sentinel,--


        ... "the prospect of a lot
    Of dull M.P.s in close proximity
    All thinking for themselves."


However, the purpose of this dissertation is not so much to point
out the errors of the present as to indicate the improvements
of the future: and we may be sure that the prime virtues of the
scholar a hundred years hence will be reasonableness and ingenuity,
not dull obedience. Thus right conduct will be inculcated, not as an
expression of obedience but as the only reasonable way of behaving,
and the incentive to right action will be that it is also sensible
action. The test of all conduct will be its results. Whatever does
harm to self and others will be obviously wrong; what does good or
is indifferent will be right. The standard of these things that has
to be accepted all through life will be set up from the first, an
enormous improvement upon the vicious system of exacting irrational
obedience for the first eighteen or twenty-one years of life, and
expecting this to produce reasonable self-government thereafter,
which is so fruitful in the wild-oats of early adulthood. The latter
could hardly be more ingeniously cultivated.

It would be extremely rash to conclude that books will not be employed
as implements of instruction: but it is quite certain that they will
not be employed as they now are, chiefly for the purpose of saving a
schoolmaster the trouble of making his pupils think for themselves:
and incidentally the abolition of this mistake will react most
usefully upon memory, itself, with the exception of reasoning power,
the most valuable of mental faculties. Oral teaching, accompanied in
every possible place by practical illustration, will store and build
up memory (as it always does when we employ it now) far more rapidly
than anything else. The delight which this method of teaching confers
upon the taught is enhanced by the avidity with which such subjects
as chemistry, practical mechanics, and even geometry when taught
with apparatus instead of with figures, are received by children of
every growth.

To imagine that children can ever invariably be controlled without
some sort of punishments would, no doubt, be thought ridiculous
Utopianism. But the greatest part of the necessity for correction
will have disappeared automatically when the greatest source of
youthful misbehaviour--restless superfluous activity--has been
deviated into channels which will utilise it. Children whisper,
fidget, or make a noise in class, simply because they are bored by
the dulness of mechanical processes which we persistently use in
seeking to cram information into their minds from without instead of
exercising the reason that dwells within. As the education of future
generations will assuredly have to be a great deal more copious than
what we are content with now, it is fortunate that this reform will
also be a great economiser of time. Every schoolmaster knows that
an interested class progresses far more rapidly than one that is
bored and consequently inattentive; and the same boy who is alive
to the subtlest implications of the highly complex law of cricket,
will often be found utterly incapable of applying the very simple
definitions at the beginning of Euclid I., for the simple reason that
cricket interests him, while Euclid doesn't. This is not because the
latter is "harder" than cricket, nor yet because cricket is an outdoor
pleasure, while Euclid is (or rather should be) an indoor one. It is
because in cricket we get him into the habit of reasoning for himself,
while in geometry we only too frequently fail to do what Euclid is
supposed to help us to do.

Nevertheless, after making every allowance for reduced temptations
to misbehaviour resulting from the absorption of redundant mental
activity, it is still to be feared that disciplinary punishment
will sometimes be required. This will certainly not be corporal. The
uncivilised and degrading expedient of purposely-inflicted pain is
visibly on its last legs. There are still reactionary people who
write to the papers in order to explain that the use of scholastic
torture makes for manliness; they must be presumed to think that it
would be on the whole rather good for boys to be birched at intervals,
like Charles Lamb, not as a punishment, but to keep them humble. But
the next century will have outgrown such ideas. The commonest
of present-day alternatives--"lines"--is equally obsolescent,
the evil effect of this upon handwriting and health being already
recognised. "Keeping-in" is probably the most injurious of all
forms of correction, but it is only too consistent with our present
plans of education to treat extra tuition as a punishment--the best
possible way to make all teaching hated. It is much more likely that
the schoolmaster of a hundred years hence will punish refractory and
inattentive pupils by keeping-out instead of keeping-in. The most
detested of all chastisements will be exclusion from the pleasant
exercise of learning. During the Russo-Japanese War newspaper readers
noted with saturnine amusement that the artillery regiment which in
St Petersburg had the maladroitness to fire a salute with a shotted
gun and very nearly kill the Czar thereby, was punished by being sent
to the front; while at the beginning of hostilities the exemplary
conduct of the enormous Japanese army crowded in Tokio for transport
was accounted for by the threat that any soldier who misbehaved himself
would be left at home. It is the Japanese and not the Russian ideal
of discipline that will animate the schools of the future. We shall
no doubt emulate the reserve of the Confessor in the Bab Ballads; old
heads upon young shoulders we shall not expect to find; and we shall
punish when punish we must. Future advantage, even for oneself, is
seldom a very powerful motive with the young of any age. But present
deprivation is a chastisement easily and keenly comprehended: and
the loss of intellectual status involved in exclusion from a lesson
will no doubt supplement the immediate boredom very distasteful to an
agile mind, which is the more immediate effect. I imagine that the
naughty child of the future will be punished by being shut up in a
well-ventilated and well-lighted but perfectly empty room, with pockets
equally empty. At the same time, by treating deprivation of it as an
evident chastisement, the desirable nature of instruction will be in
a very useful manner impressed upon the infant mind. Young persons
much more easily believe what they find to be treated as a matter
of course than what is laboriously impressed upon them by explicit
inculcation. Thus the effect of rationalised education will not be,
as one critic has rather rashly supposed, to make children little
prigs. On the contrary, its effect will be to make them naturally
and happily interested little learners--a very different thing. One
of the very greatest improvements in the rationalised education will
precisely be that it cannot possibly foster the awful priggishness
which is a very common result of our own methods.

It has been said already that the education of the happy future will
have to be much more copious than anything that is at all common
nowadays. The nature of its extensions will next be discussed.

One of the most important and most moral objects of education is
to impress upon the mind, as a principle not to be evaded by any
contrivance whatever, the fact that fixed causes (among which are
personal acts of any kind) produce fixed effects--that there is no
circumstance which, with sufficient knowledge, could not be traced back
to pre-existing causative circumstance. No department of knowledge
tends so intimately to give to the mind the impress of this fact in
the course of its acquisition as physical science. And as a proficient
acquaintance with physical science will be necessary to a great many
occupations, when work of all kinds is performed in the intelligent
manner in which we have seen reason to be convinced that it will be
performed a hundred years hence, there will be a greater practical
need for scientific instruction than there is now, though science is
disgracefully neglected even with regard to our present necessities. As
education is to be given with the object of fitting children for
life as well as developing their minds, the science of health will
certainly be taught; but all physical sciences will have their place
on the curriculum even at the early stages, because it will have been
recognised that the habit of mind which is formed by studies of this
kind is not only very necessary to an efficient working life, but also
very helpful as a basis of practical culture. It may be conceived that
a thorough "grounding" in physical science will be thought as much an
essential of all education in the future as a really good training in
Latin and Greek used to be considered in the past, and as many of us
would like it to be considered now. Fifty years ago we believed that
no true education could be given in preparation for ordinary life
without as much Latin as was necessary in order to be able to write
a fair copy of elegiacs, and as much Greek as was necessary in order
to read Homer with comfort. A hundred years hence we shall think it
necessary to be able to read a scientific thesis comprehendingly.

At a later period of school life, but still early in it, specialised
instruction will no doubt be begun; and subjects connected with
the evident tendency of a boy's or a girl's mind, and with the
opportunities likely to be presented to either in forming a career,
will be developed to the exclusion of subjects less immediately
subservient to the object of making a useful citizen of him or
her in some particular profession or branch of industry. Practical
demonstrations of science, instead of being reserved for the more
advanced stages of tuition, will, on the contrary, form the groundwork;
and children will be required to work practically themselves
instead of merely sitting still to watch the performances (in this
case apt to be regarded with little more respect than scholastic
conjuring tricks) of a teacher. They will be invited to deduce laws
for themselves from what occurs in practice, and where they deduce
wrong ones they will not be arbitrarily corrected, but assisted to
make further experiments which will show where the mistake occurs,
until at last the correct generalisation is reached. Only after a
considerable course of practical work will they be entrusted with
books in which great generalisations are to be found ready made,
and these books will always be regarded as a sort of pis aller--a
time-saving contrivance to be employed as a regrettable alternative,
because it would take too long to work everything out by the golden
implement of individual observation. The habit of mind thus cultivated,
and the manual dexterity thus obtained, will be of priceless practical
worth in after-life; and with what rapturous enjoyment will our
descendants acquire knowledge which at present we force upon our
children with stripes!

Along with the physical sciences mathematics will have to be greatly
cultivated. But mathematics, when perceived to be ancillary to
the more immediately delightful work of concrete and experimental
science, will lose much terror. Many mathematical operations can
moreover be demonstrated experimentally, and no opportunity of thus
demonstrating them will be lost. Rightly treated, mathematics need
never be dull. According to my own experience and all that I have
been able to gather from the recollections of others, algebra (for
instance) is never abhorred when a proper care is taken to make use
of its call upon the reasoning faculties; and the art of evoking this
use will have been carefully developed by the educational specialists
who alone will be permitted to direct so delicate and important a task
as the training of the young. For school teachers will not be merely
more or less erudite people employed to dispense their learning: they
will be men and women who have undergone long and careful instruction
in the art of pædagogy studied as a specialised faculty in itself.

After mathematics, no doubt languages occupy chief place in
the righteous abhorrence of present-day school-children. I say
righteous abhorrence with intention, because this department of
useful learning always has the air of being purposely planned in
order to secure the maximum of execration accompanied by the minimum
of advantage. What languages will be taught a hundred years hence,
and in what manner will they be instilled into the children of our
great-great-grand-children? Any opinions upon a controversy so recent
as that which a few months ago raged about the question of compulsory
Greek must be more or less untrustworthy. Every man will take the
view of the future of the dead languages (so called, as someone [25]
sanguinely remarked, because they can never die) determined by his
own view as to whether proficiency in the tongues of Hellas and of
Rome ought to be maintained in his own day. But for a reason probably
admitting of very little controversy, it is at all events permissible
to believe that the classical languages will at least not have to meet
the urgent competition of a variety of current languages as subjects of
useful learning. This reason is to be found in the evident tendency of
a paramount tongue to extrude other tongues from practical employment
in commerce; and commerce, more than anything else, will of course
always determine the question of modern language study. Provided that
the race which becomes paramount in the markets of the world during the
course of this century possesses a reasonably philosophical, copious,
precise language, and one fairly easy to acquire, it is likely that
for commercial purposes it will become (to use an incorrect, but not
conveniently replaceable term) universal. To the facile remark that
every nation considers its own speech easy enough for foreigners to
acquire, and much more satisfactory in the other respects named than
any tongue which it is invited to give itself the trouble of learning,
may be opposed the reply that peoples do in fact recognise, where it
exists, the unsatisfactory nature of their own speech. For example,
nearly every Russian whom one meets in polite or commercial circles
speaks at least French, and often speaks it admirably; while in Norway,
though the Scandinavian languages are none of them anything like so
difficult to learn as Russian, practically everyone speaks English. The
case of Japan is even more illustrative; for apart from the fact that
enough of some European language to enable one to travel with perfect
comfort is always to be found current in the Mikado's empire, it is the
case that even for domestic use the Japanese have a popular language,
printed in newspapers and in some books alongside of the more literary
Chinese idæographs, and frequently used to elucidate the latter. [26]

Thus it is quite easy to believe that the paramount language of
commerce will impose itself upon at least the business population
of the whole world. As the substitution of modern languages for
the dead languages is advocated solely on utilitarian grounds, which
practically means that it is advocated because to know a couple or more
foreign languages is useful in trade; and as no one has ever seriously
pretended that French, German or any other modern language can compare
with Greek and Latin as intellectual gymnastics and as training in
the precise expression of one's thoughts; it may be assumed that,
on the ground of competitive usefulness, the latter will not need to
be dispensed with. Whether the study of them will be abandoned on the
ground that the time they require can be better employed in some study
other than that of languages is another and more difficult question,
the resolution of which depends upon the view we take of the literary
tendencies probably existing after another century. If we believe
that our descendants will have effected so many improvements in the
shape of labour-saving contrivances as to afford a large increase of
leisure for everyone, as compared with what the present time enjoys,
we shall probably expect the languages which enshrine the greatest
literature of the world to remain a subject of study. If we believe in
the growing intellectuality of man, we shall be strengthened in the
same expectation. If, on the other hand, we think that the progress
of our race will exhibit itself in the shape of greedy utilitarianism
and of idiotic and self-destructive immorality, we shall naturally
conclude that no one will be fool enough to trouble himself with Homer
or the Oresteian trilogy, the laments of Sappho or the philosophy
of Plato. Seeing what great men have taken this somewhat despondent
view of the future, it would perhaps be immodest to express any other
opinion on the subject.

In any event, we may safely believe that whatever languages are taught
will not be handled in the manner now current. Mr Andrew Lang has,
in more than one place, described his own "floundering" into Homer--a
plunge certainly attended with the happiest results. A method of
teaching alien languages which founds itself upon an imitation of the
natural picking-up of the mother tongue by babies has been suggested,
perhaps without sufficient consideration of the vast expenditure
of time necessary to the process, and certainly without sufficient
allowance for the fact that it would be impossible to afford the
same incessant practice which enables children to learn the language
of their fathers and mothers so easily. But there is no reason why
we should perpetuate the discouraging preponderance of grammatical
and etymological study which caused the late H. D. Traill to say of
certain professors that


   "They heard with a smile of the flowers of style
    For they recognised nothing but roots!"


In fact, here as elsewhere, the persistent demand that schooling be
made agreeable will have the best possible effect in facilitating
instruction. It is as literature that all languages--including the
native language of the scholars--will be taught; and they will
be taught far more easily than we have any example to assist us
in imagining. Where a foreign language pronounced with a different
accent and intonation from that of the learner is studied, no doubt (as
already mentioned) talking machines will be employed: and in addition,
pupils will be required to read and speak the language aloud on all
possible occasions, in order to exercise the organs of speech in the
alien manner. [27]

It is a trite saying, and one that need not be dwelt upon here,
that history ought not to be taught as if its sole purpose were
to store the memory with the deeds and misdeeds of kings and the
progress of various wars. It will certainly be studied hereafter as
a vast lesson in sociology and politics, as an illustration of the
science of human dynamics. It is perhaps not superfluous to remark
that brilliant examples of the new historiography have shown that the
difference is not, in its result, so great as some critics imagine. But
the deductions from the facts of history are the important matter:
and the way in which history will be used a hundred years hence will
be in instructing the future governors of the world how to use their
citizenship wisely. Among other things expected of the schoolmaster of
the future will be that he implant in his scholars an ardent desire
to do their part in determining the polity of the state they live
in, and the sacred duty of the ballot will certainly be taught with
relation to whatever methods of utilising the popular vote may by
that time have become current.

Moreover, history, like languages, is capable of being taught as
literature; and the protest against the prevalent notion that high
civilisation involves the decadence of beauty in any form implies
belief in all the arts as subjects of cultivation in the schools
of the future. It need not be supposed that the unreasonable waste
of time entailed by the present method of teaching such a subject
as drawing, and our curious neglect of sculpture and modelling,
will be perpetuated. As we can already see the dawn of new ideas on
both these subjects the tendency of the future in regard to them is
not difficult to conceive, nor need space be consumed in discussing
them in detail. Literature and poetry (the latter, I need hardly say,
no longer made merely hateful as the subject of the fatuous torture
called "learning by heart") with belles-lettres, drawing, painting,
and sculpture, will no doubt be taught in an elementary way to all
children, and the study of them developed further where a natural
appetite demands it. In reply to the very natural question, "How can
an art be taught?" it is only needful to say that minds exercised by
being made to think about such subjects, are quite certain to exhibit
special predilections in one place and special aversions in another,
and that the ascertainment of these predilections and aversions will
everywhere be made the subject of painstaking thought. While nobody
seriously pretends nowadays that a taste for literature or the arts
can be inoculated upon a child's understanding, I imagine that few
will question the belief that a natural bent for any one of them can
be assisted in its development, and that taste, while it is incapable
of being artificially implanted, certainly is susceptible of being
guided and assisted. The defect of routine teaching in æsthetics at
present is the defect of all our systems of education. We try to do
a scholar's thinking for him. We laboriously show him how to use a
pencil and how to copy drawings and pictures; and sometimes (though
this kind of instruction is usually retailed by the ingenious writers
who endeavour to instruct the adult public through the Press) we even
go to the trouble of telling him the kind of pictures he ought to
admire (usually forgetting that in the house of Art there are many
mansions, and that a disgust for the early Dutch masters does not
necessarily imply an incapacity for appreciating Velasquez); but,
whether in adolescence or maturity, we never seem to arrive at the
point of trying to get people to think critically for themselves. We
shall reform altogether the processes of artistic education in the
course of this century.

The training of eye and hand will certainly not be neglected. If only
because learning any kind of handicraft gives the keenest enjoyment
to children, we may be sure that manual instruction will be given,
and that the effect of it will be of great value, not only recreative
but also practical. Our mechanics will not have to inaugurate the
wage-earning period of their lives by the elementary acquisition of
the use of tools. Their future occupation will have been foreseen,
and both by scientific understanding of the processes they are to
subserve, and by manual practice of the exact work they are to perform,
they will be prepared for intelligent craftsmanship; the glorious fact
that real anxiety to find out the best possible method of attaining
the best possible results makes every craft, however humble, not merely
delightful but also noble, being automatically grasped, so that work,
like learning, will be a thing of joy and a source, to the worker,
of lifelong self-respect.

Thus in every department of education the result of the training
administered intelligently, and with almost infinite long-sightedness
and subtlety during school-days, will be to form character, not by
repression of any natural predilection, but by cultivation of mental
and moral impulses to good. We shall never be content with an obedient
abstention from misconduct, but shall unrestingly contrive that the
desire to act rightly as well as wisely be implanted in the mind,
until wisdom, righteousness and forethought have been stamped upon
the character with so indelible an imprint that it would do violence
to the whole contour of the mind to act in defiance of them. A people
thus trained will be capable of all the reforms predicted of society
a hundred years hence. Not by any of the unimaginable cataclysms by
which dreamers have expected Utopia to be established, ready-made,
on a basis of unreformed obedience to the will of fantastic lawgivers,
but by the steady growth of national morality will progress,


   "Moving as beauteous order that controls
    With growing sway the growing life of man,"


establish, on the basis of a perfect harmony between the nature
of the units and the institutions of society, the rationalised,
moralised, and still progressive state of the world looked for by all
who contemplate logically and with ordered faith the capabilities of
their kind a hundred years hence.



CHAPTER IX

RELIGION: THE FINE ARTS: LITERATURE


A good many people contemplate the future of the world with an
alarmed feeling that vast material progress and enlarged knowledge
of the visible and tangible universe are likely to be accompanied
by intellectual developments dangerous to the religious spirit in
mankind. But to consider thus is to overlook the manifest trend
of human thought at the present time. Of the two influences named,
material progress and enlarged information about the universe, the
former is probably much more directly liable to affect religious
feeling adversely than the latter. Epochs of high civilisation and
great luxury have often accompanied a general tendency to scepticism,
and these conditions are also perhaps (and for the same reasons)
not highly favourable to the highest developments of poetry. There
have been periods of scientific discovery which have coincided with
the spread of irreligion. During the second half of the nineteenth
century there was, for instance, no doubt a great increase of popular
scepticism arising out of popular deductions (or supposed deductions)
from science. Religion unquestionably lost ground in the sense that
dogmatic irreligion became rather fashionable. When the people began
to learn that geological research had entirely upset the Biblical
chronology, and that biological research had proved the development of
animal life by evolutionary processes not compatible with a literal
acceptance of the account of the creation in Genesis; when knowledge
of the developments of language proved that the various tongues
of mankind could not possibly have been the subject of a sudden,
cataclysmal "confusion" at Babel or elsewhere, and when it became
common knowledge that the sun and stars were not suddenly produced
for the convenience of man, but were, on the contrary, for the most
part much older, as suns and stars, than the earth itself; it is not
surprising that minds untrained in philosophical deduction leaped
towards atheism, although, of course, none of these discoveries has
any more to do with religion, as religion, than, say, chemistry has
to do with music. Unless one takes a highly anthropomorphic view of
the subject they are not even inimical to revelation. Of course it is
open to anyone who chooses, to say that if the statements in the Bible,
said to be inspired, are incorrect, the Creator (and Inspirer) either
did not know how He had done His work, or told untruths about it; and
consequently that scientific discovery has disproved revelation. But
that is what I have called a highly anthropomorphic argument, and
it may safely be left to the apologists to demolish. Assuredly it
is not a sort of argument likely to be met with in the cultured and
logical future. But it was an argument which commended itself very
widely to the uncultured and illogical past, and great efforts were
made to deal with it. These efforts were really inimical to religious
faith. Religion having been declared to rest upon the irrefragable
rock of Holy Scripture, there appeared to many excellent people an
urgent necessity that science should be set right, that the theory
of Evolution (by which was meant, for these thinkers, Darwinism) must
be disproved: otherwise all faith must go by the board, and the world
must descend into pure materialism. The Biblical criticism produced in
Germany, and apparently received in the very heart of the Christian
camp, seemed to plain men not merely to assail this irrefragable
rock but to strike at the roots of religion itself. Atheism, having
become unfashionable, was exchanged from an "agnosticism" of which
the popular conception was not a great deal more philosophical. The
whole question of religion was conceived to hang together. The Bible
was the Word of God: if the Bible could not stand, God must fall. And
the stability of the Bible was considered to rest upon scientific
accuracy. A miscellaneous collection of writings, certainly of great,
but of variously computed antiquity, was to be absolutely right (which
no other documents of anything like the same age have ever been) on
scientific facts; otherwise it could not be retained as a text-book of
the churches. The latter (sometimes themselves claiming inspiration)
had declared the Bible to be directly inspired: and by some people
inspiration was taken to imply literal and detailed truth, though
literal and detailed truth would certainly have made the collection
utterly incomprehensible by the persons who have used it during all
but the last comparatively insignificant portion of its existence, and
to most persons even then. Evidently such a conception of the Bible,
accompanied by the opinion that religion could only exist on the basis
of the Bible, was dangerous to popular religion in proportion as the
opinions here summarised met with public support.

Hardly less dangerous was the endeavour of some apologists to assist
the difficulty of belief by attenuating the minimum required of
it. The exposure of their rather circular arguments--basing Faith
on the inspired Bible, and the inspiration of the Bible on its
internal evidence--titillated in the untrained thinker who had
rejected (as he was encouraged to reject) the claim of the Church
to be the repository of inspired tradition, a sense of his own
logical acuteness. With a warm glow of self-approval he abandoned
the ancient shibboleths and left off going to church, being convinced
that no really well-informed intelligence could tolerate the mutual
contradiction of science and religion. With no more ability to
understand the arguments which supported the one than the philosophy
which lay at the root of the other, and quite unaware that religious
belief is capable of development and is as much a product of evolution
as any material phenomenon, he considered according to temperament
that religion was either a mischievous invention calculated to clog
the progress of the world, or a pardonable aberration of amiable
minds seeking consolation in superstition of one sort or another. The
religiously-minded thinker of the same calibre welcomed with enthusiasm
the antagonisms of scientific schools discovered for him by the less
wary of his teachers, and decided that Darwin was wrong, that Huxley
was following false scents, and that science would have to revise
all its later conclusions. In neither case (naturally) was


                      ... "divine philosophy,
    Not harsh and crabbèd as dull fools suppose,
    But musical as is Apollo's lute,"


called into the assize. "Mistakes of Moses," to be either proved
or justified, were popularly supposed to be the touchstone of
religion's fate. Meanwhile, though the combatants in the popular
arena were quite unaware of it, the true thinkers were realising
vast depths which science had left still unexplored, and the very
investigations undertaken to account for the beginnings of life on
this planet were proving the belief in the spontaneous generation
of life a figment. Whatever effect science may have had upon myth,
it was doing nothing to assail the ultimate mystery which is the
basic fact of religion.

By degrees, too, the philosophical untenableness of materialism began
to be popularised, and although it is a great deal easier to accept
(or decline) scientific discoveries without understanding the evidence
for or against them than to grasp such abstract considerations as the
subjectivity of phenomena, popular scepticism began to be directed
into new channels. If we could only know phenomena we really know
nothing; and it was just as likely that the most absurd myths of
the hagiologist might be true as that they might be false--since
one could know nothing. Towards the end of the century there is no
doubt that among the masses of the people the incomprehensibleness of
things in general had the effect of popularising a certain tolerance
of Christianity among the class which, a little earlier, had been
repudiating it altogether; and if church-going, Sabbath-keeping and
other formal acts of religion continued to be mentioned by the clergy
and their adherents as the subject of lamentable negligence, the habits
thus deplored arose, less and less from conviction and more and more
from taste. People stayed away from church not because they rejected
Christianity but because church-going bored them. If the clergy saw
their congregations dwindle they had themselves to thank for it. The
atrocious dulness of nearly all sermons drove away more churchmen
than were lured from their pews by militant irreligion. There is not
the smallest reason to believe that "free thought" propaganda had any
really important part in producing the indifference denounced by the
churches. The simple fact is that a growing appetite for amusements,
athletic and other, and an intolerance of the boredom inflicted by
preachers too indolent or too imperfectly educated to make their
discourses tolerable by an active mind, robbed the churches of their
visitors. A good preacher never lacked a crowded congregation even
in the middle of a week-day in the city of London; nor are such
congregations lacking now.

No doubt the form of education generally adopted in non-Catholic
countries has been a great cause of indifferentism. The fostering of
parental indolence by States which profess to relieve it of the duty
of religious as well as the expense of other teaching, cannot tend to
promote religious education. To take our own country for an example,
fathers, who would make it a duty to instil as well as they were able
the principles of their own faith into the minds of their children if
the board schools were not supposed to teach Christianity, doubtless
neglect that task in the existing conditions, a fact which makes
it quite easy to understand why congregations are so largely made
up of elderly people, while boys and girls, not young enough to be
haled unwillingly to the parental pew, and young men and maidens,
young wives and husbands "educated" on the prevailing system,
tend more and more to amuse themselves, not in irreligion but in
indifference. The squabbles of the sects have made it impossible to
invest Christianity in board schools, unless the law be flagrantly
violated, with any of the importance necessary to the foundation
of a genuinely religious spirit; and the very children find that
religion is treated as a thing of much less importance than sums or
a good handwriting. No one struggles and wrangles about the right
way to do long division. Long division, therefore, is a settled
thing and important. But everybody quarrels and snarls as to who
shall teach his particular kind of religion. Religion, therefore,
is a doubtful sort of thing, about which even grown-up people do not
agree. It cannot be of much importance. If you ask father about it,
he says it is the teacher's business to answer you. And in school, it
has to be attended to at a certain time so as not to interfere with
the real business of the day. Clearly it doesn't much matter; and
the child resolves, as soon as it is old enough, to escape from the
weekly boredom of sitting still for two hours in a stuffy church or
chapel, saying the same things over and over again, and listening to
a dull man in a sort of elevated and ornamented witness-box talking
in a patronising tone about things not easy to understand, and not
in the least practically useful when heard.

Of course this is not the only sort of influence which has been at
work to produce a result likely to affect the attitude of the present
century towards the question. If the facts are as I have stated them
(which I do not think anyone will dispute) we see one very good reason
why the younger generation is just now somewhat irreligious. I do
not believe it is nearly as irreligious as many good people (on both
sides) think. But I do believe that we, at all events, have as a nation
been doing every thing we can to make it so. There is no surer way of
preventing a thing's being done than for the State to make a show of
doing it and then neglect it. If the school boards had not assumed the
duty of teaching children Christianity, parents would have attended
to the matter, and probably done it a great deal better than the
boards could possibly have done it, even in the best conditions. And
if anyone says that you can't teach Christianity, the reply is, that
in the sort of conditions which exist in England at the present time,
the religious spirit is not favoured unless religion is taught. I said
at the beginning that the sort of life we lead now, and that we are
likely to go on living during the next hundred years, is probably more
unfavourable to the spirit than any directly irreligious influence of
science or discovery. People who are crowded into towns, where they
are out of constant touch with Nature and the immensities of space,
and lead a hurried, busy existence unfavourable to deep thought and
mysticism, are much less liable to yearn for some explanation of the
vast incomprehensible universe, the profound misgivings of the soul,
than people who have other opportunities, who know the massive face
of solitude and have lain under the inscrutable stars. The very
frequency of terrible experience, when death stalks in the streets
and a funeral procession is so common a sight that men hardly turn
their unbared heads to look upon it, blunts the sense of awe; and
in the cheap Press the alleged humorist finds it a choice subject
for joking. A hundred years hence, though I hope our humorous Press
won't be quite so ghastly, still more of us will have lived always
in cities, and been rarely intimate with Nature. Unless, therefore,
some new influences supervene, it is likely that the new age will
be even less religiously inclined than the age we live in. Is it
probable that such an influence will arise? Or will the next century
have turned its face altogether from faith and given up in despair
the world-old riddle of the universe?

Assuredly, with the increase, impossible to be denied, of conditions
unfavourable to church-going, the influence which could arrest
the tendencies of thought at present supposed to exist must be a
powerful one. But in computing the exact potency which it would
require to possess we must take an accurate view of the tendencies
themselves. Now, although dogmatic religion has to a certain extent
lost ground, and though formal observances are somewhat neglected,
it would be a fallacy to consider that morality is in consequence
retrograding. The steady growth of such things as teetotalism; the
revolt of the public conscience against tame stag hunting and against
what was aptly called "murderous millinery"; the support afforded to
the societies for the Protection of Children and for the Prevention
of Cruelty to Animals; the generous responses made to any appeal for
public subscriptions to meet any great disaster; the remarkable way in
which the working people, out of their miserable poverty, help each
other in time of strikes; the waves of public indignation which the
exposure of any great injustice is able to arouse; all show that the
world is by no means retrograde in respect of morals. What is often
called the growing sentimentality of the age, which opens all pockets
at the call of want, and doubtless sometimes leads to ridiculous
exhibitions of mistaken feeling, is a proof that the ethical sense
of the people is by no means blunt; and it shows a constant tendency
to become keener. It is mysticism rather than morality which is
chiefly lacking to a re-development of the religious spirit. And
although the opinions of the mass of the people are likely to be
influenced at all times more by the results at which what are called
leaders of thought arrive than by the reasons which lead up to those
conclusions, it is rational to expect that with the improved and much
more thoroughly disseminated education which the necessities of the
coming century are going to enforce upon us, will make the people
more accessible to philosophical reasoning than they have ever been
since Socrates. Consequently, the general attitude of the world a
hundred years hence towards mysticism will depend greatly upon the
conclusions of eminent thinkers. These conclusions will require time
in order to exercise their influence; but it seems probable that the
influence will be towards and not away from mysticism.

An attempt to foresee the probable position, as an institution, of
religion in the future therefore demands the consideration of what
net result is likely to be deduced from science and philosophy by the
improved average intelligence of this century. I speak expressly of
religion as an institution, intending thereby to limit the inquiry to
an attempt to determine the popular view of religion; the pretence to
anticipate the opinions of the great philosophers that this century
will no doubt produce being a little too presumptuous even for the
present writer, who may not be considered in any event to have fallen
into many errors resulting from excessive modesty.

We can only come within reasonable limits of safety and consistency
in such an inquiry by allowing here, as I have allowed all through,
for a great increase in general intelligence. Probably the mass of the
population will be less greatly removed in reflective and reasoning
powers from the greatest minds than at present; because the changes
which have been predicted are likely to have more effect in raising
the general standard of intelligence than in producing individual
and exceptional minds of very great calibre.

No doubt the people will be in closer touch with advanced thinkers than
now. But I do not see any reason for supposing that the latter can be
conspicuously greater than the thinkers of past time, from Plato to
Herbert Spencer. Consequently it is impossible to restrict the inquiry
to strictly popular developments. We must ask what direction abstract
thought is likely to take: and it certainly does not seem that the
influence of recent discoveries in physics--especially those which
have produced the new theory of the constitution of the atom--can
tend to materialism. With atoms resolved by the latest science into
electrons, which have been declared in a passage already cited to be
not merely carriers of electrical charge but the electrical charges
themselves, the objectivity of matter has assuredly not received any
new support. And if speculation as to the beginning of things (always
the kind of speculation most important to philosophy, where philosophy
is made the handmaid of religion) is relieved of the necessity of
accounting for the creation of matter, and only has to concern itself
with the creation of force, we evidently approach the more abstract
conception of a "Something not ourselves" which is admittedly the
philosophical necessity most favourable to spiritual religion.

But for many people natural religion is a poor alternative for
revelation, and if we interrogate probability as to the future of a
faith in directly-revealed religion we approach a much more difficult
question. The verbal inspiration of Scripture appears to be no longer
regarded as a necessity of this faith; and with its final abandonment
we shall no doubt enter upon a period of much more abstract thought
and of vaguer belief, but (as I think) also a far more spiritual
attitude towards the Unseen. From the moment when faith is relieved
of all danger from the critical discrediting of any particular set of
documents, it is of course freed from certain great dangers. Probably
the Christian of the year 2000 will have abandoned all dependence
upon the authenticity of the original sources of information, and will
be quite ready to let what used to be regarded as the foundations of
belief take their place with other mythologies. But this position need
not be regarded as irreligious; possibly it need not be considered
un-Christian. The hospitality which all truly religious thought
begins to extend, not merely to uncanonical scriptures but to the
best religious thought of all ages, will strengthen rather than
weaken the spiritual attitude; and, however we may probe into the
sciences of life and of the universe, the awful mysteries which lie
beyond the sphere of science will always tempt man to speculate and
to aspire. Always we shall yearn towards the eternities which preceded
and the eternities which must follow the little interval that we call
Time. Always beside the grave that has closed upon what we have loved,
despair will lure us on to seek consolation in a faith which promises
re-union beyond the bourn. Always the manifold injustice of Fate will
make aspiration inevitable. Always the uplifting spectacle of the
stars, the immensities of ocean and infinite mysteries of the soul of
man will make us welcome the spiritual teaching which can throw gleams
of mystic illumination upon the riddles of the universe and justify the
ways of God to man. We may not always see our way to find efficacy in
ritual incense; we may not long continue to ask direct interventions of
the Deity in prayers which we know in a literal sense to be unthinkable
and profane; we may cease the impertinence of offering suggestions to
the Maker of the world on the subject of next week's weather; and yet
when we uplift our hearts in aspiration and beg that we may divine more
spiritually the nature of the Creator, and learn to love our neighbour
more effectually and with a better enlightenment, we may still pray
and know that our prayer is answered. If we cease to think that wicked
men descend into some chastisement of which fire and flames are the
abandoned symbols, we may still realise that none can act against
the moral intuitions of his nature without mutilating his own soul:
and if this soul of man be immortal, its punishment is thus eternal
also, and can be cancelled only by the act of divine mercy which we
shall still call man's redemption. We begin to know something of the
mind's independence of the body where (in phenomena of which evidence
seems to be accumulating) mind can speak to mind by other means than
the senses: and everything which points that way cuts fresh ground
from under the notion that bodily death is the end of us. Although
the philosophical theory of immortality does not need this evidence,
faith is assisted by it. On the great ideas which are the support and
justification of religion there seems no reason to suppose that the
discoveries of the next hundred years are likely to throw discredit.

To sum up, then, I believe that the effect of improved education
will be to conserve rather than to destroy religion; but I do not
believe that religion will be a historical so much as a philosophical
conception. The present great obstacle to religious feeling in
non-Catholic countries, namely the pretence of the State to "teach
religion" as if it were a science or an art, will have been removed
some while before this time next century, and individual effort will
be cultivated in this, as in certain other respects, instead of being
repressed. The Bible will be read for its morals, its poetry, its
literature; and the aspiration to conceive the Divine will continue
to take the shape of some kind of public worship probably much unlike
anything which we now practise, and totally divorced from any faith
in miracles and verbal inspiration. In religion men will seek their
consolation against the buffeting and injustice of destiny, and in a
more reasoned notion of immortality dry their eyes before the poignant
spectacle of Death.

The whole tendency of the modern mind is to become more spiritually
imaginative. We are often scornfully told that this is an age of
hysteria, when the mere fact is that it is an age of imagination. The
highly civilised life of our day [28] naturally exalts intelligence
in comparison with mere activity of body; mind gains ascendency
over muscle. It is much more important to worldly success just now
that a man should be able to think accurately than that he should
be able to lift great weights, endure great physical fatigues or
fight satisfactorily. Consequently, there is a great premium upon
intelligence, and only a much smaller premium upon bodily strength;
and this condition of affairs is likely to become accentuated as
the present century develops. With increase of intellectual agility
we obtain increase of subtlety and intuition, and of those finer
perceptive and critical faculties which make expression of the
emotions important and interesting. It has often been argued that
epochs of high civilisation are unfavourable to poetry and the fine
arts, and a well-known passage of Macaulay argues the point at some
length. Whether such an epoch as that of a hundred years hence be
probably fertile in art or no, assuredly appreciation of the fine
arts will be widespread and acute. Of course you can never account
for the extraordinary phenomenon called genius, and while it is
no doubt true that genius, like everything else, is the product of
its age, yet genius consistently transcends its age. The number of
minds in a thousand able to bring a reasonable degree of competent
appreciation to the writings of Shakespeare is much greater now than
when Shakespeare wrote. There never was a time when a great writer,
or a great painter (despite what happened to Whistler) was in less
danger of public neglect than the present. And the next century
will be yet more critical than this. Every one of the fine arts
will be more generally and more subtly appreciated than now. The
existing masterpieces of antiquity will be even more reverently
enjoyed than now, and the lessons they embody will be more completely
assimilated. It remains to be answered, whether the next century will
be fertile in new masterpieces of literature and art.

There has been, in my opinion, too great a readiness on the part of
most writers to assume that high civilisation necessarily creates
epochs of ugliness. No doubt railways, factories and other civilised
and civilising conveniences do not, in the natural course of things,
tend to assume forms gratifying to the æsthetician. The present
tendency of domestic architecture, for instance, shows an abject sort
of spirit by basing any effort which it may make for comeliness on
an attempt to imitate the picturesqueness of the past rather than to
form new and beautiful styles adapted to modern requirements. Because
old red-brick, timbered rough-cast, and the quaintly-shaped buildings
of old time please the eye by contrast more than by inherent beauty,
unintelligent builders just now think they can redeem dwelling-houses
from plain ugliness by imitating these peculiarities, and they are
encouraged in this course by the people who are to live in such houses
and by the exploiters of estate development. But such fine examples as
the new Westminster Cathedral show that the spirit of beauty has not
left our architects. The growing intelligence of the new age ought, at
all events, to develop, as its resources will reward, originality. And
the developed æstheticism of the age will demand beautiful buildings,
not slavishly copied from the antique, but created by the imagination
of the modern. Reverence for natural beauty, already manifest in the
revolt against advertisement-boards in juxtaposition with notable
scenery and even along the sides of railways (where one would have
thought that a little more ugliness could do no great harm) will
no doubt be accentuated when the unviolated virginities of Nature
have become fewer; and a steady growth of public taste is evidenced
even now by the success of the better sort of street advertisements
and the failure of the uglier kind, as demonstrated by the steady
abandonment of the latter. The most fashionable artists no longer
think it beneath them to design wall-posters. If the advertisers
who pay their large fees find it profitable to purchase art in an
expensive market, it must be because popular taste is better than it
used to be; and even if the cult of the photograph and the process
block in illustrated newspapers, to the detriment of drawings and
wood engravings, be cited as evidence in the other direction, we have
a right to quote in rebuttal of this the rather violent efforts of
the more intelligent class of amateurs to secure a recognition of
selective and manipulated photography as an art. Moreover, just as
some critics have argued that it is better for the people to read
the atrocious letterpress of the popular papers than not to read
anything, it can also presumably be contended that it is better for
the people to look at photographs reproduced by "process" than not
to look at any pictures at all, though, in reality, it is doubtful
whether bad pictures and inferior "literature" are not much worse
and much more degrading to popular taste than none. That we really
do care for pictures even in England (however little critical ability
we may possess to distinguish good pictures from bad) is evidenced by
the crowds which throng the Royal Academy. It would be better if they
thronged the National Gallery; but even the Royal Academy is evidence:
and the success of the sixpenny-admission plan on the days when it is
adopted, and the large attendance at Burlington House on Bank Holidays,
prove that the taste for pictures is shared even by the least educated
part of the public. Thus there is no reason to be found in present
tendencies for apprehending a decay of æstheticism as a result of
material progress. Probably even the cheap papers will eventually
improve, both in their reading-matter and in their illustrations,
when it grows less profitable than it is at present to print the
worst attainable examples of both.

Of course it would be very easy to argue that the tendency of all this
is rather to develop a somewhat higher standard of mediocrity than to
produce brilliant examples of art in any manifestation. Beauty, up to
a certain point, can be bought. The demand will evoke the supply. But
the highest manifestations of the beautiful must be the spontaneous
product of subtle brains and lissom fingers working for Art's
sake. Yet it is also not very difficult to show that circumstances
affect production even of the highest. An example may be found in
the extraordinary merit of modern French sculpture, as compared with
the wretched work produced in England. In the Paris Salon, which may
be said to correspond with our Royal Academy, sculpture is shown
in a manner which renders the huddled cloak-room full of mediocre
marble and third-rate work in clay at Burlington House almost too
painful to be ludicrous. However meritorious the work of an English
statuary, he would get no chance--does get no chance--in the Academy
exhibition: and there is every justification for the opinion that
it is not bad work which in this country produces official neglect,
nor good work which in France has for many years led to the loving
care with which sculpture is shown in Paris; but on the contrary,
that the real opportunity which a French sculptor obtains has been
just as instrumental in fostering the art there as our own utter
neglect to appreciate sculpture of genius has been in stifling the
art here. The French treatment of sculpture has not merely raised the
standard of average production. It has fostered actual genius. Even
so the opportunities which the social conditions of a hundred years
hence will afford to art will assuredly promote the artistic conditions
favourable to the development and fostering of genius, whenever genius,
in its shy, fairy-like way, contrives to be born, no man knows how. A
general power of appreciating masterpieces has never been alleged to
be unfavourable to their production. What is unfavourable to it in
a highly civilised age is the hurry and preoccupation which leave
no time for the appreciative faculties to employ themselves. It
has been very well said that the feature most inimical to art in
American civilisation is the absence of a "leisure class." If there
be any validity in the conclusions for which I have been trying to win
acceptance [29] in the earlier chapters of this work, the new age will
be an age of greatly increased leisure in all ranks, and this condition
ought to favour art in every way as highly as the improvement in the
nature as well as in the extent of education must also favour it. And
in this there will be both action and reaction--increased leisure
and improved appreciation tending to foster genius, genius in the
glorious perfection of its work generously returning the benefit by
cultivating and refining the æsthetic sense of the new age.

Similarly in literature we may hope that the atrocious consequences of
instruction applied to a vast number of minds which no attempt is made
to educate will be only temporary. Popular "literature" and journalism
at the present time might well strike with despair the most hopeful
heart. But when we remember that no attempt whatever is being made to
educate the faculty of imagination, and that we stubbornly restrict
all teaching to a vehement effort to cram as many facts as possible
into the mind of the scholar, with no endeavour at all to improve
the qualities of that mind itself; and when we grant, as I think any
reasonably intelligent prevision of the future must grant, that all
this will before many decades have to give place to really educational
processes: it seems evident that the future will gradually fling aside
in deserved contempt the basely illiterate products of the printing
press which enrich popular publishers and newspaper proprietors to-day,
redeem poetry from its present practical neglect, and revive and enrich
the belles lettres, which, even in the latter part of the nineteenth
century and these latter years of the dawning twentieth century, have
contrived to appear in masterpieces for which readers, fit, if few,
have never ceased to exist. One result of this will be to end, and
end for ever, the idiotic and reactionary policy of "limited editions"
for beautiful books, by which alone, in many cases, the production of
such books has been made possible. As the public for fine literature
decently printed becomes gradually larger, there will no longer be
any object in accentuating popular ignorance by withholding from the
greatest part of the public the opportunity to possess and to enjoy
the best work in letters that the age is producing, and it will be
possible for the poet of delicate imagination, the essayist of subtle
insight, and the story-teller of restrained and modest genius, to be
as well paid as the inventors of nightmare horrors and the biographers
of impossibly ingenious detectives apparently are to-day.

There remains to be considered the much less difficult problem of the
sort of progress likely to be made in the mechanical implements of
the fine arts. Some conceivable developments in what may be called
the mechanism of literature have been discussed in the chapter on
journalism, and just as it was there predicted that the forms of
language hallowed by tradition and made classic by antiquity and
intrinsic beauty must always continue to be employed, so in the arts
it is impossible to believe that the classical methods of expression
can ever become obsolete. But to say this is not to imply that new
processes are incapable of being applied to the arts. Nothing which
the future may evolve as a modelling substance can conceivably
render obsolete clay or make marble antiquated; but innovation
is always possible and may always in the right hands yield new
tributes of loveliness. Prejudice is difficult to overcome where
art is in question. But as was recently seen in the invention of
solid oil paints, new media are quite capable of creating new modes
of expression, and daring as is the flight of imagination required
by such a notion, may it not be conceived that the new methods of
intercommunication between mind and mind, which may develop out of
the new psychology of our own age, might furnish the medium of a
new literature?

In music it does not seem necessary to surmise that the classical gamut
must be the last word of melodic thought. The barrier between East
and West in regard to musical expression--a barrier as yet so firm as
to make us feel that "never the twain can meet"--is precisely of this
nature. A remark by an Indian scholar educated in England, and as well
versed in Western as in Eastern art, is pregnant of promise. He said
to a friend of the present writer, "There is no doubt that in every
form of invention, in every development of intellect, you surpass us,
save in one. Your music is poor and mean, compared with the music of
the East."

Now to any English ear the music of Asia is as yet a mere snarl of
incomprehensible cacophonies, destitute alike of melody, harmony
or rhythm. But that it has laws of its own, intricate, involved and
subtle, no one can doubt. I remember, one night, finding my way into a
Chinese lodging-house in an Australian city. From one of the cubicles
with which it was filled came what seemed to me "a rueful noise and
a ghastful"--a noise as if some more than usually vocal tom-cat were
being severely ill-used.

From time to time the noise ceased, to be succeeded by energetic
disputations in the thin nasal and guttural tones of South China,
themselves, I knew, graduated in pitch, as all Chinese talk requires
to be in order to be understood. Making my way to the source of these
sounds, I found four young Chinamen. One of them was engaged in an
unabashed bathing of his lower limbs. Other two were squatting on the
floor to enjoy the music of the fourth, who sat on a high packing-case,
holding a book in his toes, and performing on an instrument something
like a violin. From time to time one of the others would interrupt,
criticising the executant, and the book would then be referred to
with energy and something as much like excitement as one ever sees
a Chinaman display. The musician would extract a few notes from the
instrument, clearly in defence of his rendering. Then the tumult
would die down while the wailing of the smitten strings went on again.

Now it cannot be impossible to fathom the obscurities of Oriental
music: and it is quite possible that they may, in the future, yield
new harmonies and melodies as yet undreamed-of to the West; for the
difference is mainly, if I understand aright what Orientals say of it,
a difference of scale. No doubt the conventions are all different. I
have often observed in India that music considered to possess a jovial
character is a shrill wailing in slow time; whereas funereal music
always sounds a lively air. Western civilisation finds no difficulty
in comprehending the decorative art of India and the Far East, nor
in highly appreciating it. May not Eastern music have gifts for us
as yet undreamed-of?

But of course painting has a much more direct appeal to the emotions
than music, and it is not at all difficult to imagine--nay, it is
hardly possible to doubt--that a new manner in painting will from
time to time develop, arriving out of newly-invented implements
and materials.

Doubtless improved methods of reproduction will multiply the numbers
of those who can enjoy the masterpieces of the new age and of the
old, just as in music it will unquestionably be possible to repeat
satisfactorily an indefinite number of times any sounds that have
once existed. Neither will any of the arts permanently suffer by the
mechanical improvements applied to them--though the first employment
of the latter will doubtless often have results which will be, to
the artist, rather terrible.



CHAPTER X

THE AGE OF ECONOMIES


The next century will certainly be a frugal age in the sense of
planetary frugality. With a greatly-increased call on the resources
of the world entailed by the vast increase of population it will
be absolutely necessary for us to "make the most of what we here do
spend." And with the more humane and gentler notions which will prevail
it is also certain that the new age will be an age of cheapness. Of
course, cheapness is a purely relative matter. The suit of clothes
which would be very cheap at seven guineas in the United States
would be very dear at that price here, not merely because by reason
of the tariff clothes and other things are expensive in America,
but also because wages are higher there than in England. In spite of
the enormous growth of population since, say, the accession of Queen
Victoria, the standard of comfort is much higher now than then, and
prices are lower, because production has increased more quickly than
population. Comforts are cheaper, wages are higher. But the standard
of comfort will be higher still a hundred years hence. Workmen will
earn a greater share of the commodities of life, and whether their
pay be higher, computed as money, or lower, makes no difference to the
question of cheapness. If wages are low commodities will be low-priced:
that is all.

And probably this is the turn that events will take, though, even then,
the monetary earnings of the worker will probably be much higher than
they are nowadays. It is doubtful whether so clumsy a contrivance
as metallic currencies, of intrinsic values corresponding with their
titles, can survive at all; but of course everything will be computed
in terms of some currency or other--perhaps of an obsolete currency. We
are apt to think that the steady value of gold can be counted upon
to remain a constant factor of economics. But only a very small part
of the real business of the world is even now transacted with actual
gold. Much the greatest part is transacted in paper--that is by the
simple balancing of debits against credits in various clearing-houses.

Of course, if there were any reason to suppose that State Socialism
would be the political basis of future institutions, currency of
intrinsic value (which practically means, even now, only gold currency)
would be easily dispensed with, because almost every transaction would
be effected by means of orders on the national treasury, the State
owning practically everything. Some visionaries have long included
the abolition of money in their schemes for the immediate economic
improvement of the race. But the disuse of a currency is not really a
means to any end. It is only an effect which may or may not arise out
of certain alterations in commercial method. There are signs that the
people are already growing tired of the extravagance attached to the
system of State, and even of municipal, trading: and this fact makes
socialism improbable. Constant complaints are heard about such things
as municipal tramways and municipal gasworks, and the proposal to
transfer the entire working of telephones to the Government has been
fiercely opposed. Where the post-office works telephones side by side
with a telephone company, as in London, there is no indication that
the public prefers the Government service before the private service;
and it is admitted that tramways privately owned work more cheaply and
yield better returns on their capital than municipal tramways. Any
interference of the State in matters that could practically be left
to private enterprise provokes incessant complaint. When continued and
developed, however, this interference has a vicious habit of extending
itself into fresh fields. Having first undertaken the education
of the people the State was not long in carrying that system to its
natural limit by relieving parents of school fees. Now, free meals for
poor children, or meals sold below cost, are gradually becoming the
fashion; what is the use of reading out lessons to children who are
too hungry to listen? So the State must feed as well as educate. From
this to the free clothing of school children is a very short step. But
once the unavoidable sequence of such things is recognised, public
opinion begins to revolt, asking where, if we go on at this rate,
we are likely to stop, so long as there is any parental duty that the
State has omitted to assume. We perceive that, unless the process is
arrested, the begetter of children will have no obligations left,
and the awful effects of relieving every member of the public of
all responsibility being at length recognised, there is sure to be a
reaction. It is certainly not beyond the wit of man to contrive that
it shall be impossible for parents to leave their children untaught,
without Government taking upon itself the function of schoolmaster. A
hundred years hence I hope that it will long have been unnecessary
to use force at all to compel parents to educate their children:
and by that time the folly of our (perhaps temporarily unavoidable)
expedients will be laughed at, and the fatuity of a minimum standard
of proficiency, which inevitably becomes the maximum standard also,
will be wondered at. In the matter here selected as the most convenient
for illustration, and in other matters where State powers, or powers
devolved by the State, are now employed in enterprises which do
not properly fall into the province of Governments, the abuses and
wastefulness of governmental interference are already acting as the
best possible object-lessons against further interferences of the
kind which makes for socialism.

But of all the restraining influences inimical to socialism, none will
be anything like so powerful in the present century as the new anxiety
with which the people will safeguard their own self-respect. It must
be borne in mind, and cannot be too often repeated, that before many
decades, systems of education will be valued chiefly in proportion as
they tend to develop and establish character in the individual. And
with the recognition of the great truth that character is much the
most important thing in the world, there will grow up a great jealousy
of anything which tends to damage the public sense of individual
responsibility. This jealousy cannot but be adverse to socialism,
whose ideal is to relieve the individual of all responsibilities and
to throw them upon committees.

Not that the value of organisation and combination for various objects
will at all be lost sight of. But we shall perceive that voluntary
combination is a form of self-government vastly more friendly to the
preservation of self-respect than legislative action, and also a form
much less likely to be oppressive. It will be seen, for instance,
that it is more desirable for working men to fix, through their
trade-unions, the hours of labour in various industries, arranging
to meet exceptional circumstances where the latter arise, than for
Parliament to decree that nobody shall work more than eight hours
a day. Neither is the panacea of compulsory arbitration in trade
disputes likely to be a feature of future politics, because we shall
certainly not be long before we perceive that, while it is no doubt
quite easy to compel employers and employed to submit their respective
cases to a tribunal appointed by law, there is no known way in which
the award of such a tribunal can be enforced, and if there were, the
effect of its employment would be almost intolerably injurious to the
commerce of the country. What will happen a hundred years hence is
that trade disputes will have disappeared, because all the workers
will be practically their own employers.

Consequently free contract and not socialism will be the basis of
the political system of a hundred years hence, and the standard of
comfort will be adjusted in the same way as everything else. But in
order that this standard may be as high as the advanced humanity of
the new age will certainly demand for a population vastly increased,
it will be necessary that all the resources of the planet be made the
most of. That motive power, one of the most important, if not the most
important of all these resources, should be economically produced is,
as has already been said, an absolute essential. When we make the most
of the sources of power, and are able to apply power in convenient
and portable ways to all sorts of work at present done by hand, one of
the greatest economies conceivable will have been effected. Probably
muscle, as an element of workmanship, will become quite obsolete,
though muscular strength will be developed by athletics as a recreation
and a safeguard to the health of the race. Here again self-respect will
be sedulously nurtured, for nothing fosters it so much as a man's sense
of his inherent bodily power. All sorts of wastefully laborious methods
of labour will be superseded, in the same way as the steam hammer
has superseded the sledge hammer. With the perfect development of
power-production achieved, a great deal of the dirtiness of manufacture
will vanish: and moreover, a use will have been discovered for every
by-product of every manufacture. We are hideously wasteful as yet: and
wastefulness makes for dirt. One perceives this at once on comparing a
factory where the by-products are of a nature to be utilised directly,
with one where these products are of small value. A goldsmith's shop
is a clean place compared with the gasworks of even a modern town:
but these again are clean compared with what they used to be before
the various chemical uses of coal-tar and gas-liquor were discovered.

In the planning of machinery, notwithstanding the fact that power
will be obtained at a minimum of expense, all contrivances which
economise force will be highly valued. We have been increasingly
valuing them ever since steam first became important as a source
of motive power. Early machines in the Patents' Museum at South
Kensington exhibit the most extraordinary recklessness in the waste
of power. Considering the feebleness of the motive force available,
one would have expected that every means would be sought to minimise
friction. But instead, the force was transmitted by contrivances which,
to a modern eye, seemed deliberately contrived to introduce as much
friction as possible. Every year brings out fresh inventions for the
avoidance of friction: and still we are but upon the very threshold
of the subject. It was only in 1904 that a party of railway engineers
was entertained by a patentee who wished to show them the saving in
coal per train-mile which can be saved by a new bearing for passenger
coaches, and the superior smoothness (which is of course a factor in
the economy) of their running. Hardly any vehicle except a bicycle
or a trotting buggy is yet constructed with any serious attempt to
save friction at the axles. The number of industrial machines to
which ball-bearings might be applied with great economy of power
is enormous. But ball-bearings are very little used. It is probably
considered as yet that the saving in coal would not pay for the working
expenses connected with them and with other improvements. But as
machinery is further improved economies at present merely theoretical
will become practical and remunerative. In a hundred years' time
we shall certainly be able to make generally profitable the use
of many devices as yet applicable only to delicate and exceptional
machines, and shall be able to use much power which at present runs to
waste. Every time a locomotive is stopped there is a great waste of
power in the operation of the brakes, because it is not worth while
to adopt any contrivance for utilising it. It disappears, as heat,
and is lost. Many similar wastages could be cited, and engineers
would scoff at the citation, on the ground that the loss is not worth
saving. But it will be worth saving a hundred years hence. We shall
not be able to afford any waste. The world will have to be worked,
as we say, "for all it is worth."

Of course all sorts of other wastes will be avoided through the natural
progress of discovery and the natural development of thought. Illness
is a waste. Illness will be much less common in a hundred years'
time. A man who eats and consumes the world's products without
contributing to them will be too expensive a luxury for the new
age to indulge itself with: and the present excuse for a "leisure"
class--already scorned in America--that a rich and leisured class
fosters and patronises the arts, will be absurd. All classes will
foster and patronise the arts. For, just as we shall see that idleness
is waste (and even more injurious to the idler than to his fellows),
so we shall also see that overwork is a waste, because the legitimate
purpose of human endeavour is not wealth, but happiness. When all work,
all will be able to play.

Planetary economy will be a determining factor in the change of diet
which the coming century must inevitably witness. Such a wasteful food
as animal flesh cannot survive: and even apart from the moral necessity
which will compel mankind, for its own preservation, to abandon the
use of alcohol, the direct and indirect wastefulness of alcohol will
make it impossible for beverages containing it to be tolerated. Very
likely tobacco will follow it. We are already in sight of legislation
to restrain the use of tobacco by the young. It will probably be
unnecessary for the law to prohibit its use by adults. The frugal adult
of the new age will abandon it unbidden, the change taking place as
smoothly and silently as the process from the universal drunkenness
of our great-grandfathers to the relative sobriety of ourselves,
a process of which it is surprising that anyone can fail to perceive
that the natural end must be the total disuse of alcoholic drinks. All
things work their way to their natural conclusion, and there is no
more fertile source of sociological blindness than the fallacy which
treats certain phenomena of society as static, whereas all phenomena
of society are really in the dynamic state, and always must be so.

In such matters as the exhaustion of the soil, and the reckless
waste of wood, our present practice will certainly be reformed. There
will be great improvements in agricultural chemistry, necessitated
by the disappearance of animal manure. The obsolescence of the
horse is already in sight; probably we ourselves shall see the day
when the horse will cease to be employed except in the organised
material of war: and as soon as we cease to eat animals we shall
cease to herd cattle, sheep and poultry. But some means will have
to be found for returning to the soil the materials we take out of
it. Of course the idiotic wastefulness of many systems of sewage
disposal, and the dangers, inconveniences and degrading occupations
associated with existing alternatives, will be rectified. By improved
agricultural methods, lands at present unutilised will be brought
under cultivation: and the wasteful and selfish reservation of
game preserves, deer forests and excessive pleasure-grounds will
have to be abolished--not by legislative enactment, but probably
by spontaneous social developments; by the natural development, in
short, of economy in the world's possessions. A hundred years hence
we shall cease to behave as though the resources of the planet were
illimitable and could be wasted at will. In the succession of the
ages the spendthrift will have given birth to the miser, reversing the
usual order of generations. No doubt the attention concentrated upon
agriculture as a consequence of the greatly increased use of vegetable
and cereal foods will have, as one of its consequences, the discovery
of new means for improving all sorts of crops--means of which even the
wonderful achievements of the scientific agriculture of the present
day do not contain even the first germs. We shall also, perhaps,
find means for avoiding the terrible losses and wastage entailed by
climatic accidents. At all events, irrigation will be perfected, and
probably we shall be able by acclimatisation and modification to find
uses for crops that will flourish during that portion of the year when,
in temperate climates, the land at present lies idle. This will both
stimulate and further necessitate the improvements in agricultural
chemistry already mentioned.

As the combustions of solids will no longer be a general method of
obtaining heat, we shall greatly economise wood; and the wickedly
mischievous word "inexhaustible" will not be applied to timber
regions like the Rocky Mountain district of Canada. Arboriculture will
become a more practical art than it as yet shows any signs of being;
and along with careful afforestation will go skilled improvement in
tree-growing. We shall replace all the trees we use by better trees,
better cultivated. Even so, however, there will have to be devised
great economies in the use of wood--economies like the recent invention
of a method by which, instead of being wastefully sawn into planks,
a tree-trunk can be cut up spirally, so that almost the whole of it
may be used. In many places where wood is now employed in the arts,
metals will doubtless be used instead, their greater neatness and
durability making it advisable thus to substitute them, for reasons of
convenience as well as economy; and probably new alloys, into which
the lighter metals, as aluminium, will enter, may give us increased
strength without increased weight, which will again be an economy,
because it will save power. But even so, the world's expenditure of
wood will continue to be enormous.

War has been alluded to above. War is too wasteful, as well as too
imbecilely uncivilised, to survive this century. It may be well to
inquire as to the manner in which its abolition is most likely to be
brought about. We may take it for granted that no sudden political
or revolutionary movement will abolish the physical conflict of
peoples. "All the arts which brutalise the practical polemist" will not
be abandoned at a moment's notice on the bidding of any potentate or
combination of potentates. To conceive of them as thus abandoned is to
overlook the whole nature of political change. It is absurd (as Herbert
Spencer remarks) to assume "that out of a community morally imperfect
and intellectually imperfect, there may in some way be had legislative
regulation that is not proportionately imperfect." But it would be
equally absurd to believe that the moral and intellectual advance which
our present tendencies show to be gradually taking place--an advance
certain to be greatly accelerated during the middle half of the next
hundred years--can fail to put a stop to war as a political device.

War will probably not be dispensed with in response to any great and
sudden revolt of the world's conscience against the bloodshed and
other evils much worse than bloodshed which it entails--of which
indeed it actually consists. The world knows quite well already
that war is wicked, wasteful and silly: if it were possible for a
suddenly-exasperated realisation of this to take an instantaneous
effect, we could and should similarly abolish numerous other evils
which we show every disposition to tolerate for some time yet. The
fact that single families are able to hold wealth in enormous excess
of the maximum amount which it can possibly be good for the community
that individuals should hold, is such an evil. The "Yellow" journalism
of America and England is another evil just about as difficult, or as
easy, to abolish at a stroke as war, and not much less injurious. The
manipulation of tariffs and currencies to suit the greedy aims of
manufacturers, landowners and capitalists is another evil which is
constantly experienced or threatened in one part of the world or
another; and if as a race we were yet enlightened enough to utter
that great "Peace; be still!" which must some day be breathed over the
troubled waters of international diplomacy, we should be enlightened
enough to rid ourselves of these other evils. But instead, the change
must be gradually worked up to. It is not even at all certain that the
whole world will at one given moment decide to abandon war. It is not
necessarily the case that the first nation enlightened enough to lay
down the sword would immediately fall under the oppression of its armed
neighbours, as Bismarck prophesied, and would no doubt have practised
to arrange. Nor need we assume, as so many have thought it necessary
to believe, that universal peace can only follow the exhaustion of
universal war, the dove winging her first flight over the shambles of
Armageddon. I do not for an instant believe that the actual horrors of
war are the likely or possible source of peace; on the contrary, war
always tends to breed war, partly through international exasperation,
partly through the unashamed and cynical self-seeking of professional
warriors. Peace hath her outrages no less severe than war. It is
against the preparation for war, rather than against war itself,
that we shall revolt.

Of course the increased urbanity of future thought, the tenderer
conscience of the future, will help the cause of peace. The world's
rulers will be more humane, less reckless than those set up by the
inferior morality and intellect of the present age. It is not from
the rulers, but from the ruled, however, that peace will come. It is
the peoples that will refuse to be the supporters of idle, useless,
profligate and dangerous millions, trained to no duty but slaughter,
skilful only in the service of national crime. Every decade will see
the burden of armament grow heavier. In every decade fresh efforts will
be made to lift the weight of them off the rich, the governing classes,
and throw it upon the poor, the governed classes. The workers will
be taxed, and their taxes manipulated to their disadvantage. And they
must pay in person as well as purse. There is no civilised and highly
developed country in the world that can possibly escape universal
military service within the next quarter of a century, unless it be
the United States: and only that country if the people of the United
States abandon absolutely their present dreams of empire and renounce
the luxury of an effective Foreign Office. As for ourselves, it is
most likely universal naval service that we shall have to endure. And
the rulers of the nations will play the chess of diplomacy, using the
peoples as their pawns, until the pawns, grown wiser than the bishops,
and more agile than the knights, reach the eighth square of intellect
and become sovereign in themselves. It is not by high diplomacy
that war will be abandoned, but by the will of the workers. Only a
very careless and unthoughtful observer of the last fifteen years'
history can have failed to note the steady growth of international
solidarity in labour questions. The trade societies of different
nations frequently contribute to each other's strike-funds: they
constantly communicate and confer, and they do so with increasing
frequency and effectiveness every time there is any special advantage
to be seen in joint action against the common enemy--greed. Conceive
for an instant what is going to be the effect of this when working
men and women, infinitely the most important and most worthy part of
the race, are no longer degraded by stupid restrictions of education,
no longer brought up on the insane system of striving only for a
stuffed memory instead of for a developed character, and have learned
to think about their political duties instead of only transacting them
without thought, without any possible opportunity of learning how to
think. The whole mass of workers throughout the world will come to
an understanding. They have no possible conflicting interests which
can compare in importance with the interests which, for their class,
are identical all the world over. Already the improved morality of
the peoples will have yielded improved governments, more enlightened
parliaments, wiser statesmanship. The administrative organ will
only need to be properly stimulated by the solid agreement of workers
throughout civilisation. There is never the least sign of international
or racial jealousy among working men in their international relations,
and what, by reason of the clash of international interests and the
danger of national aggression diplomatists could not accomplish, the
irresistible volition of the unanimous peoples will force upon the
cabinets of the world. It will come about by degrees. The preparations
for it will be long visible, long misunderstood. And we shall usefully
tinker at the question, often stave off little dangers of war by
arbitrations, treaties of mutual understanding, peace conferences and
the like; and though probably no great war necessary to reconcile the
conflicting destinies of peoples was ever prevented by such means,
we shall avoid many fights which might have arisen out of the vain
notions of prestige, dignity, and national self-sufficiency. But
once means have been found for the destruction of the machinery of
war, the worst danger of war will have been got rid of: and then the
practice we shall have had in settling disputes peacefully will be
of the greatest service to us.

When the armies and the navies of the world are disbanded there will be
a condition of affairs which it is highly necessary to consider. In all
nations entitled to rank as world-powers there is an enormous military
class. When the armies go home for the last time, and magazine rifles
and machine guns become museum objects and nothing more; when it is no
longer conceived to be the greatest service a man can render to his
country to organise clubs wherein men may inexpensively learn how to
shoot, so as to be able to kill each other with a creditable precision
when the chance comes; then there will arise the problem of how to
employ these disbanded drones: and to some this problem has appeared to
present acute difficulties on account of the labour-problem involved.

But to apprehend anything beyond the most transient embarrassments from
this cause is surely to misconceive the whole subject of economics. The
men at present withdrawn from productive labour by employment,
either transiently (as in countries where conscription is used),
or more or less permanently (as in England), have to be fed, clothed
and housed in any event; and they can only be thus supplied with the
commodities of life by the labour of other men. What the term of their
military service happens to be is immaterial to the subject. Whether
there are standing armies and navies with long or short service, and
a reserve; or armies and navies served for three years by successive
drafts; the amount of labour withdrawn in any community is at any one
period the same in that community. The return to civil life of the
volunteer armies employed in the United States during the Civil War
and the war of the deliverance of Cuba did not produce troublesome
economic conditions; and only those persons who think that a society
is enriched by the circulation of money spent in wasteful expenditure
like the fireworks and banquets consumed in celebrating an event
like the visit of a foreign potentate, or commemorating more or less
irrelevantly the failure of "Gunpowder treason and plot," can imagine
that a nation would be impoverished by the vast accession to its
productive power yielded by the abolition of armaments. Similarly,
to think that the suppression of Woolwich arsenal and the closing
of Krupp's gun factory would be an industrial calamity instead of
an enormous saving of national money, is to adopt the uninstructed
view of politics which conceives of governments as self-supported
and self-created institutions whose expenditure is a gift to the
people; instead of as being organisations paid by the people out of
earnings which would otherwise be enjoyed by themselves. This sort
of conception, fatuous as it appears when once reduced to logical
terms, is common enough. Whenever any object of popular desire
appears inaccessible we are always being told that the Government
ought to provide it--as if Government were a sort of deity capable of
producing wealth from somewhere outside the world. But such notions
have only to be for a moment examined in order that their fallacy may
become manifest and palpable; and it is equally easy to see that the
wealth-producing power of the men composing armies would be a direct
gift to the community of the world if armies were abolished, and that
the moneys formerly, but no longer, expended upon their accoutrements,
weapons and sustenance would be so much waste obviated. Here will,
in fact, be one of the many economies of a hundred years hence.

It will be convenient to digress, in passing, in order to notice one
very curious contention sometimes rather fancifully introduced into
discussions on the subject of universal peace.

It is stated that war is an inevitable feature of national life, and
that it exercises a beneficent effect upon national character--that it
fosters manliness and a respect for the virile attributes of courage,
steadfastness and self-respect; that nations which have abandoned
the art of war sink into effeminacy, slothfulness and destructive
luxury; and that the peace of the nations, if it ever comes, will
be associated with a terrible deterioration of the race. As to the
notion that anything can prevent the abolition of armed conflict as
a means of settling the differences of peoples, we may very well be
satisfied to await the issue. No one who recognises the steady growth
of humanitarian feeling; no one who remembers, even to deplore, our
growing sentimentalism; no one who has insight enough to perceive
that progress, at an ever-increasing speed, must inevitably be
accompanied by advanced intellectuality, increased self-restraint and
greater wisdom, can doubt that a process so illogical, barbarous and
brutalising as battle must be banished, as well by the new humanity as
by the economic necessities of our race. But the notion of deploring,
on moral grounds, the assured coming of a reform so salutary, calls
for more strenuous reprobation. One would have thought it evident,
from the popular effect of the war in South Africa, that, so far from
being a matter for self-congratulation, this highly necessary war was
a terrible lesson in the brutalising effect of armed conflict, not
alone on the men actually engaged, but also on the people who remained
at home. Indeed, since it is only a comparatively small fraction of a
community that can ever be personally active in military operations,
the effect on the home-stayers is evidently what the upholders
of war as a civilising influence must be thinking of. It would be
ridiculous, and it is quite unnecessary to the argument, to deny the
fine qualities of determination, of fortitude before national disaster,
and of calm confidence in the prowess of the nation's arms which, in
the bulk of the English people, the Transvaal war called forth. It
would be just as idle to deny the sublime exhibition of patriotism
and self-abnegation which, on one side at least, was provoked by the
Russo-Japanese war. But it would also be foolish not to recognise
the quite evident brutalisation which has followed our war in South
Africa, the remarkable increase in crimes of murderous violence, and
especially of double crimes--murder and suicide--which has lately
occurred. The true source of these increased evils is the reflex
effect of familiarity (either at first hand, or more remotely through
newspaper reading and through the personal narrative of returned
soldiers) with the notion of violent slaying, and the diminished
sense of the sanctity of human life which accompanies the spectacle
of man-slaying by wholesale held up to popular admiration, and indeed
necessitated and justified by the conditions of war and the duty of
patriotism. No doubt it is true (as has been finely said) that there
is one thing which is worse for a nation than war, and that is that
a nation should be so afraid of war as to submit to aggression rather
than fight in defence of its rights. But to subscribe to this doctrine,
which no rational thinker will dispute, is a very different thing from
agreeing that the nations would be otherwise than strengthened and
civilised by the universal abandonment of battle. Probably we are as
yet some decades from the time when we shall have sufficient nobility
of sentiment to be entirely agreed, without a single dissentient,
in recognising the enormous service to national and international
morality which Mr Gladstone rendered when he had the courage to
withdraw from the conflict with the Boers after Majuba. It will
be long before we are logical enough to see that the fact of this
magnanimity having been basely abused does not in the least detract
from its moral weight and moral beneficence. But the influence of such
an act cannot be without effect upon progress. It is by such acts,
and the possibility of their glad acceptance by nations of sufficient
moral elevation to perform them, that war will be banished.

In the meantime, while noble virtues can be displayed by nations in
time of combat, and by civilians as well as soldiers, it is a new
doctrine that we are asked to accept when we are told that there is
anything individually elevating to the character in sitting at home
while someone else goes out and fights for that home's protection. One
of the least satisfactory features of public interest in games of
manly endeavour and endurance, games of danger and violent effort,
like football and cricket, is that of the very greatly increased
numbers who "follow" these games and watch the fortunes of selected
teams in the Cup contests only a very small proportion play the
games themselves. Thousands of young men hardly see a football match
from September to April, though they keenly follow the admirable
descriptions of them in their sporting papers. It is taking a very
short-sighted view to applaud the growing interest in athletics, which,
just now, we show, as a sign of our manliness. Not very much endurance
is required in order to bet on the success of a favourite team: and to
assist, as a contributor to gate-moneys, in paying selected athletes
to endure risk and violent fatigue in a game which one does not play
for oneself is exactly on a level with applauding the exploits of an
army to which one contributes nothing but taxes.

Moreover, this beneficent effect of actual war-in-progress could only
exercise itself during limited and distressful periods. No nation is
able to be seriously at war, in modern conditions, for very long, and
great periods of recuperation must intervene between war and war; the
combatant nations being meanwhile subject to aggressions from keepers
of the peace, because they are not in a position to fight again with
a fresh and an unexhausted adversary. Consequently, any beneficent
effect must be expected to be exercised chiefly in time of peace. And,
in practice, it does not seem to be the case that nations in which
the military standard is high and the military class is exalted above
the civil class, show always in any remarkable manner the virtues
supposed to be fostered by the manly art of war. No one would contend
that the average German is more self-reliant and self-respecting,
quicker to decide on action in a moment of stress, braver, manlier,
more enduring of reverses of fortune, than the average American. Yet
Germany, where military officers are held in such esteem that they
can behave with unrestrained arrogance and brutality towards civilians
in public places without provoking any signs of popular indignation,
unless when their acts are commented upon in the socialist newspapers;
and can even inflict disgusting and degrading indignities upon private
soldiers without being officially punished, except where they have
carried brutality to the limit (and they are punished with the
greatest tenderness even then): Germany, I say, ought to show the
virtues of a military state at their best. Whereas in America, where
there is practically no standing army, and where military titles,
the residue of wars conducted almost entirely by volunteer and
amateur soldiers, are so common that the very holders of them treat
these titles as subjects of humorous depreciation, the people are
conspicuous for manliness, for high endurance, for patience under the
reverses of fortune, for temperance: and in the average of physical
courage America far excels any military nation. There seems to be no
reason at all for apprehending that the obsolescence of militarism
will have a deleterious effect on the manhood of the race: while
there are incontestable evidences that it will greatly foster the
equally important virtues of gentleness, humanity, and respect for
the weak. Thus, while, for reasons of sentiment and common sense,
war is certain to become obsolete before the end of this century,
we shall find in the release of the funds and of the labour hitherto
employed in the organisation of war one of the greatest economies of
an age which in all things will be thrifty: and there is no reason at
all to apprehend difficulty in providing for the warrior who finds his
occupation gone, when we have so reorganised (as we must reorganise)
our social system, that no man will live in excessive luxury on the
labour of his fellows, but that all will be contributors to a common
frugality.



CHAPTER XI

THE LAW A HUNDRED YEARS HENCE


Using the figurative words, "the law," in their widest possible
sense, to mean the entire system which governs the relations of the
individuals in a community with each other and with the community at
large, we can easily see that in a century's time many changes of law
will have taken place. If it be true that legislative restraints are
mostly necessitated by the ill-conceived energies of mankind, and
that the right function of the law is to assure to each citizen the
largest possible liberty that is consistent with the equal liberty of
every other citizen and of all, then it will be right to believe that
the great extension of general intelligence, and the equally great
extension of general morality, anticipated for the next century,
will render many forms of existing restraint obsolete because
unnecessary. Regarding offences both against the person and against
property as manifestations, for the most part, of unintelligence, we
may expect that increased intelligence will lead to a diminution of
their number. In applying statistics to an examination of the question
whether and to what extent improvements in the general standard of
education have in the past diminished crime, and consequently how
far crime is likely to be still further diminished in the future,
we must be careful to keep in sight two considerations--first, that
an increased vigilance and elaboration on the part of authority
may easily make it appear that crime has failed to diminish under
educational influences, when it is only the detection and punishment
of crime that have been rendered more perfect; and second, that if
one kind of education have not had all the salutary effects expected
of it, it does not follow that a different kind will not have all
this expected efficacy and more. Manifestly, legislation against
crimes formerly outside the reach of the law--that creation of "new
offences" which one hears rather foolishly objected to--will increase
statistics of crime, if we compute crime in terms of prison-admissions;
and the fact that such increase, due entirely to legislation, has taken
place concurrently with some other reform, such as the improvement of
education, obviously does not entitle us to connect the increase with
the reform. The latter may even be operating in exactly the opposite
manner, despite the statistics. A number of new offences were created,
for instance, by what is called in England the Criminal Law Amendment
Act, and it would be easy for a shocked observer of prison statistics
to observe, in a period of years during which the administration of
that useful act was being perfected, dreadful increases in the crimes
which it represses; whereas the fact probably is that crime of this
sort has diminished, largely through the action of the very causes
which would make it appear to have been increasing. Therefore, if
anyone still argues that education as a means of diminishing crime has
proved a failure, it is not upon judicial statistics that he must base
his contentions. Probably that argument is obsolete: but if it were
not, and if it were allowed all the validity of which it is capable,
it would still furnish no ground whatever from which to throw doubt
upon the expectation that in a hundred years' time crime will have
diminished very greatly, as a result of the improved education of the
new era. For indeed, as education is at present conducted, it would
be rather a remarkable thing that it should have any effect upon
criminality at all. What influence increased intelligence may have
in restraining one part of the population from the desire to commit
crime might easily be neutralised by the effect, on another portion,
of the increased craft and subtlety imparted by education. Knowledge
can facilitate crime as well as deter from it. A man who has not
learned to write, it has been shrewdly remarked, will not commit
forgery: but that is not a reason for thinking that a knowledge of
writing tends to promote criminality. The man who, being (perhaps
unduly) proficient in it, becomes a forger, would not necessarily
have remained blameless if he had continued illiterate. He would very
probably have been a thief, which does not require penmanship: but
on the other hand, the increased facility of obtaining employment
when one can write might just as easily have saved him from some
temptations to dishonesty. It is not very rational to expect a great
moral effect upon character from the mere acquisition of knowledge. But
from the moment we conceive that means and methods of education in the
future will be valued in proportion to their influence in developing
character, and especially intelligent self-control, it is impossible
to doubt that the new teaching will be among the most potent of moral
influences. One benefit derived from this will be the possibility
of abandoning legislative restrictions whose effect is inimical to
self-control and to intelligent self-protection. It will no longer be
necessary to protect the people by law from the consequences of their
own foolishness, and we shall have learned that it is much better
for the public to be encouraged to safeguard its own interests than
to be relieved of the necessity to do so.

Anticipating, therefore, that many existing forms of restraint will
have become obsolete because unnecessary, we may very fairly ask
ourselves whether, in an improved moral and intellectual atmosphere,
it will not have been found advisable to abolish other restraints and
requisitions as a directly remedial measure. The suggestion may, at the
moment, appear chimerical, but so must every intelligent anticipation
of a coming time appear to anyone who approaches the subject without
allowing for the difference of conditions, and conceives of changes
which will take place so gradually as to be almost unperceived,
as if they were to occur per saltum, without any process of slow
moral preparation. So would nearly every social condition of the
present age have appeared individually to a citizen of the world
of 1800, if, possessing intelligence to foresee it, he lacked the
imagination necessary to foresee the accompanying and subservient
conditions. That public opinion should be so shocked by the execution
of capital punishment, that only the most atrocious murders are thus
punished--the sentence, where there is any real extenuation at all,
being habitually commuted nowadays--is a condition which would hardly
have suggested itself even to the most alert imaginations in an age
where small thefts were constantly punished by death. Our sense of
what may be called the accidental influences of punitive measures is
even yet so little developed that only a small minority of the public
at the present day is able to perceive that the deterrent effect of
flogging, as a punishment for violent robbery, is dearly purchased at
the expense of the brutalising relish with which sentences of flogging
are welcomed by the public, and even on the judicial bench, where
expressions of regret that the same penalty cannot be inflicted for
other crimes are still common. Yet it would seem obvious enough that
the sanction given to acts of violence by the deliberate adoption of
hanging and flogging by the law, which is supposed to be the exemplar
of public morality, must tend nearly as much to perpetuate crimes
of violence as fear of these chastisements to deter. In attempting
to foresee the spirit of legislation in the future it is absolutely
necessary to foresee concurrently the spirit of the communities by
which the legislation will be adopted. Anticipating, as we cannot fail
to anticipate, a sedulous care for moral effects in education, we must
anticipate an equal care in legislation. It would be unworthy of the
supremely logical age which assuredly is coming, to use all possible
measures in the schoolroom to foster in childhood self-reliance and
intelligent self-protection, while continuing by "grandmotherly"
government of the people to remove as often as possible any need for
self-reliance in the adult. The advantages attending little bits of
protective law-making often blind us to their ill-effects. It is no
doubt very useful to provide, as we do provide, that condensed milk,
when deprived of its full proportion of cream, shall only be sold in
packages notifying that deprivation. If we did not do this children
would be starved by their parents' ignorance. But the necessity for
this enactment is at least in part created by the existence of a host
of similar laws, the aggregate effect of which is to give a general
impression that anything sold as food is good and useful unless it
bears some warning to the contrary; and meantime every evasion of
commercial morality which does not come under legislative restraint
is naturally held to be perfectly justifiable--not at all a good
thing for commercial morality. Now it would be a highly perilous
measure to abolish, at a stroke, all protective legislation against
adulterated or impoverished foods. We have built up a social condition
in which every man thinks himself entitled to be protected against
such frauds. But in a community which has been taught to take care of
itself, and protect itself against frauds by its own intelligence,
such protections would be retrograde and injurious. The aim of
legislatures in the next century will be to foster all kinds of
self-reliance. They will perceive that even the high importance of
a reform which can be more or less easily enforced by law does not
compensate for the bad effect of thus enforcing it, if it could be
maintained by the spontaneous vigilance of a wisely-nurtured public;
and the degrading effect of superfluous law will be more dreaded than
the temporary dangers against which the law might protect the citizens.

Nevertheless, it is inevitable that, during a period more or less
extended, material progress will be accompanied by numerous legal
enactments such as a perfect state would dispense with, and possibly
the end of all of them will not have been reached even in a century's
time. How invention tends to promote legislation has recently been
noticeable in the new laws affecting automobile traffic on roads. In
a perfect state it would doubtless be unnecessary to provide legal
machinery to compel the owners of powerful and rapid vehicles to
respect the rights of their fellow-citizens and to abstain from
running away without identifying themselves when they had caused an
accident. In proportion as the moral condition of the next century
approximates to perfection, such ordinances as the motor-car laws
will be unnecessary. But for a long time new laws will always be
coming into necessity as a result of new inventions. For instance,
when, as was suggested in an earlier chapter, business is carried
on largely through the medium of recording telephones, wirelessly
actuated, special laws will have to be devised to protect trade
against the various kinds of fraud which this method of transaction
would otherwise facilitate, and some methods will have to be devised
for giving legal force to arrangements made by telephony, akin to the
methods which now give legal force to written contracts. Similarly,
various by-laws will have to be enacted to protect the public against
the accidents incidental to the various methods of rapid transit that
will have come into use. Probably it will no longer be necessary,
and it will have been perceived to be injurious, to protect travellers
against their own rashness.

It is a well-known phenomenon that periods of material prosperity and
high wages are fruitful in crime. Probably increased consumption of
alcohol in prosperous times is the sole cause of this. There can be
no direct connection between wealth and criminality; the bulk of the
criminal population is, on the contrary, poor. It would be idle to
speculate as to whether the next century will or will not continue
to legislate against intoxicants, because it is morally certain that
intoxicants will have been legislated out of existence already, without
waiting for the period when it would no longer be necessary to abolish
them forcibly. For at present, and in the more immediate future,
there is no ground whatever for anticipating that the legislative hand
will be withheld wherever law-making appears the simplest and most
obvious method of getting rid of any crying evil: and there can be no
doubt that the abuse of alcohol is an evil of precisely the sort that
legislature will be active in suppressing. Some changes in the method
of government will have to take place before Parliament can legislate
against alcohol: but that it will so legislate before the middle of
this century is morally certain. In what country the alcohol law is
first likely to be passed is immaterial. Every country which adopts it
will thereby assist in forcing the same measure upon other countries,
because, with international travel constantly becoming cheaper and more
easy, it is certain that numerous people who object to being deprived
of stimulants and intoxicants in one country will migrate to others
where their appetite can have full play, and will intensify the drink
problem in those countries until these, too, are forced, or will think
themselves forced, to legislate in self-protection. Thus such laws will
become universal. No doubt this condition will be reached gradually,
measures of restriction preceding measures of prohibition. But the
end will be the same, and it will be forced upon the world as much
by the increased evils inflicted by alcohol on nerves increasingly
susceptible to its influence, as by any other consideration. Anyone who
has taken the trouble to observe the nervous and physical condition of
men and women in the average, during even so short a period as the last
quarter of a century, must have been impressed by the marked increase
of neurotic states, not merely in exceptional individuals, but in all
the people. The neurotic temperament is much more adversely affected
by alcohol than any other; and we are all growing more neurotic. All
the conditions of modern life tend that way: and it is not alcohol
alone that will have to go, but all sorts of habit-inducing drugs,
such as morphine, cocaine, and the rest, all of which, like alcohol
itself, will soon be so restricted in regard to their sale that
their abuse will be rendered practically impossible, and their use
restricted to a purely medical employment. It is even quite possible,
and I have already ventured to predict, [30] that when the progress of
neurotism has worked itself out, even such mild exhilarants as tea and
coffee will have to be made the subjects of legal restriction. There
exist many individuals at the present moment upon whom coffee acts
as a stimulant nearly as powerful as alcohol, moderately employed,
upon the rest of us--that is to say, they experience the same mild
exhilaration after a cup of strong coffee as a moderate man does
after a glass of burgundy or a whisky-and-soda. These effects are no
more injurious, at present, than those of a moderate use of wine or
spirits: but they can become perilous, and may develop in all sorts
of ways, when the nervous organisation becomes more delicate. Thus,
the abolition of alcoholic beverages, at present the fad of a minority
not always very respectable in the methods of its propaganda, will
presently be an indispensable feature of social progress.

Unless all criminologists are wrong in their deductions, something
like fifty per cent. of all crime will be got rid of when alcohol no
longer exists to cause crime. There are further ameliorative influences
certain to be at work which will tend to reduce the sorts of crime
chiefly troublesome at present. Adopting the familiar division of
crime into (a) offences against the person and (b) offences against
property, it is very easy to see that what may be called private crime
(as distinguished from crime against the body politic) will diminish
automatically. When the extremes of wealth and poverty have become as
much less marked as I have endeavoured to show that they must become,
it is evident that the temptation to offences of greed will be greatly
diminished. A large proportion of all these crimes arises out of
poverty alone, or out of poverty coupled with stupidity. A man who
has not enough intelligence to earn is very likely to steal in order
to provide for himself; and one who is equipped by the knowledge of
a trade is consequently not so liable to be dishonest as one who is
less hopefully situated. He is also likely to be more intelligent,
and consequently better qualified to perceive that the balance of
comfort is on the side of the honest worker and not on the side
of the burglar or thief. Anyone who has had occasion to observe
the proceedings of criminal courts must have noticed the frequency
with which the description "labourer" is adopted by the offenders
charged. "Labourer" means an unskilled worker--a man who has learned
no trade, and brings nothing to his work but thews and sinews. It
is much less common to find a trade claimed: one rarely sees a thief
or burglar described on the charge sheet as "John Doe, carpenter," or
"Richard Roe, gas-fitter." They do not even profess to have a trade. Of
course where a man's business is such as to lend itself to criminal
pursuits, the case is different: one finds banknote forgers described
as "engravers" and "lithographers," and makers of counterfeit money
as "die sinkers." But in the average of crime--at least crime of
the more stupid sorts--it is the tradeless man who is nearly always
charged. It is impossible to resist the inference that poverty is
a determining cause in most crimes of greed. In a hundred years'
time the spread of technical education will have thinned the ranks of
the unskilled. At the same time the inducements to honesty and steady
industry will have been enormously increased through the universality
of the profit-sharing system; and the position of the steady worker
will have become so greatly more attractive than that of the casual
thief, that only the utmost stupidity can tempt anyone to the latter's
course of life. Self-respecting labour for a share in the profits
of labour, instead of mechanical toil for wages that do not bear any
relation to profits nor to anything else except the fluctuations of
the labour-market, will so elevate the average of industrial character
that it will be rare for workmen to drift into crime. At the same
time, and similarly, the restraint placed upon undue accumulation
of wealth will diminish temptation to crimes of greed at the other
extremity of social life. It will no longer be worth anyone's while
to organise colossal schemes of dishonest company-promoting. Thus,
crimes against property are certain to become relatively infrequent,
because the greatest temptations to them will have been removed.

Apart from the largely preponderating number of cases in which
offences against the person--assaults and the like--arise now out of
intoxication, the tendency to crimes of violence will also diminish
as the temper of society grows milder. An age so much advanced in
sentimentality as to revolt against the cruelty of breeding horses for
traction and cattle for food is not likely to be fruitful in offences
of violence. These offences, where associated neither with drink nor
robbery, probably arise more often from jealousy between the sexes
than anything else. It is unfortunately impossible to suggest that
sexual jealousy can be wholly eliminated from human nature. But no
doubt its violent exhibition will have been educated out of us to
a large measure. Other personal offences, as rape, criminal assault
and various criminal vices will doubtless diminish in frequency as
a consequence of general moral improvement. In short, the work of
the policeman will be greatly eased in the course of this century,
and no doubt many functions at present relegated to the police, such
as the direction of street traffic, the care of vagrant dogs, and the
like, will be performed by officials of a different character. Even
these duties will be far less onerous than they now are, when we have
become intelligent enough to see that the best way for every man to
secure his own freedom and comfort is to respect the freedom and the
rights of others.

It remains an open question whether at some time during this century
it may not be temporarily needful for the State to undertake the
restraint of offences against the intellect, such as the publication
of false or grossly exaggerated news, and of matter calculated to
encourage vice, as betting. No doubt the balance of advantage is in
favour of the entire freedom of the Press; but it cannot be denied
that this freedom is at present greatly abused. It would be easy to
name a dozen types of periodicals whose forcible suppression would be
an enormous gain to the public; and in an age so increasingly prone to
look to the governing body for assistance in every conceivable matter
no one can deny the probability of some legislative steps being taken,
when the public first begins to concern itself seriously with public
morals. But this possibility is much nearer at hand than the end of
this century; at the latter period public opinion will probably be
well able to take care of itself, and any laws of the kind I have
suggested will, like numerous other forms of legislation, including
many now operative, have fallen into desuetude because there will be no
temptation to the misdemeanours they are, or may be, framed to repress.

The question of the form which the repression of crime will take a
hundred years hence can only be answered if we first endeavour to
see what the developments of penology, or the science of punishment,
are likely to be during the next hundred years. Naturally, they will
have the same tendencies as the society which produces them. We may
safely anticipate that the more savage punishments, as death, flogging
and painful labour will be eliminated, together with all punishments
that are not believed to be reformatory in their character. And even
the relatively mild penalty of long imprisonment may to the gentler
mind of a new age appear unduly vindictive.

Punishment will be regarded as a diminishingly necessary evil; and
our "object all sublime" will not be to make it fit the particular
crime for which it is awarded, but to make it diminish crime as a
whole. Punition as a moral force will be judged according to its effect
in two different directions, namely, its force as a means of reforming
the convicted individual by preventing his relapse into crime, and its
force as a means of deterring other persons from committing the same
crimes at all; and of these two the second will be considered greatly
the more important in an age that will be logical as well as mild;
because it is obviously a greater object to produce an effect upon
the minds of a possibly great number than to produce it upon the mind
of one culprit. Consequently, although a benevolent solicitude for
the reformation of the detected offender will not be excluded from
the consideration of future penologists, the deterring from crime of
the tempted classes will be much more demanded. As to this, it cannot
be questioned that improvements in detection and in legal procedure
(eliminating the chances of escape for the guilty without endangering
the freedom of the innocent) are capable of accomplishing a great
deal more than could possibly be looked for from any alteration in
the nature of the punishment used. Experience shows that hitherto
a ferocious punishment not very certainly applied does not deter
anything like so much as comparatively mild punishment with very
little chance of escape. Coining, for instance, is less common
now than when coiners were slowly pressed to death under weights,
if detected; and the diminution of this crime has not been due to
fear of the punishment now long abandoned; neither was that penalty
removed from our system of criminal law because it had done its work
and stamped out counterfeiting. On the contrary, improvements in the
minting of real money, by rendering the detection of counterfeits
easy, may be said to have almost eliminated the offence in question,
and this result is all the more remarkable when we remember that,
owing to the appreciation of gold, real silver shillings, half-crowns
and other pieces just as good in assay as the royal mintage could be
coined by counterfeiters at a handsome profit.

Our very proper anxiety to avoid every possible chance of committing
and punishing the innocent doubtless enables many guilty persons to
escape every year; and probably quite half the prisoners acquitted
at every assize are really guilty in some degree. The jurisprudence
of a hundred years hence will certainly have been so much improved
that innocent persons will rarely be accused at all, and that
guilty ones will not be able to escape on technical grounds: and
with improved detective methods the chances of escape in any given
case will be greatly diminished. What punishments are inflicted will
be of a reformatory character, and no doubt provisional release,
freed from the many crying scandals of the ticket-of-leave system,
will play a great part in scientific penology. Recidivism will, of
course, be the subject of much sharper punishment. In the meantime,
the study of mental science in its relation to crime will have made
great strides, and if the views of our own age in regard to heredity
should be maintained, a very great source of crime will probably be got
rid of altogether, because men and women with just that mental twist
which leads to crime will, by one device or another, be absolutely
prevented from propagating their race. [31]

It is impossible to work out here the various methods of individual
reform applicable to convicts of various sorts, because the nature of
these methods must necessarily depend, to a great extent, upon the
conditions of a society of which only the most salient and extreme
peculiarities can be foreseen even by the most imaginative. But all
evidence seems to suggest that actual crime will have become much
diminished in amount, while the necessity for dealing with what
may be called technical crimes--misdemeanours, and offences against
regulations made for the convenience of society rather than for the
defence of life and morals--will probably have been reduced to a
minimum, partly by the intelligence of the population, and partly
through the fact that the minor offences will have ceased to be
dealt with by law, and will be sufficiently repressed by natural
causes. Not only, therefore, will the amount of necessary restraint
become less, through the diminution of crime and of temptation to
crime, but the employment of legal restraint will be less demanded,
the latter being recognised as, when avoidable, dangerous to public
morals. And, while criminal law will be less active, civil litigation
will also probably be much less heavy. The same causes which will
tend to make us more careful to avoid committing offences against
the common right of others, will make us more scrupulous to perform
contracts. And as a consequence of the improved morality which there
seems every reason to anticipate, a hundred years hence, it will no
doubt have become possible to execute a reform which many thinkers have
desiderated as an element of perfected polity. It is hardly necessary
here to recapitulate the arguments in favour of the contention that
the cost of civil suits should be borne, as the cost of criminal
prosecutions is always supposed to be borne, by the State. That
the man who brings successfully an action at law, or successfully
defends one, should be able to do so only at an expense to himself,
is against public policy: and there are even now numerous cases every
year in which even the unsuccessful party in a lawsuit is really doing
the public a service. In a perfect state of public morality he would
always be doing so: and in a hundred years' time he will certainly
be more often worthy of public thanks than he is now--he will be
less often seeking to impose or defend a wrong. As matters stand,
it is notorious that the grant of costs following the judgment in a
civil suit is only a partial relief to the successful suitor. He has
to pay his solicitor more than his solicitor can obtain leave from
the taxing master to collect from the other side; while if (as not
infrequently happens) the other side cannot pay, the costs awarded
by the Court have to be borne by the winner of the suit. It is a
frequent reply of dishonest defendants, when threatened with legal
proceedings, that they "will meet the plaintiff in the Bankruptcy
Court." On the other hand, a man will often submit to oppression rather
than be subjected to the expense of even a successful defence. Every
litigant who maintains his right, whether as plaintiff or defendant,
renders very much the same service to the public which we often hear
applauded on the part of persons who "come forward to prosecute"
in criminal or misdemeanour cases. He is assisting to make probity
profitable and evasion dangerous; in other words, he is subserving
public morality and helping to repress dishonesty. It would be much
to the public advantage that his costs should be borne by the public
purse, and borne generously, every expense legitimately incurred
being allowed him. Logically, he ought also to receive a sufficient,
and even a fairly liberal, solatium for his trouble and loss of time:
and an honest loser ought to be able to receive a certificate from the
court entitling him to the same amenities, the withholding of which
would constitute a deterrent penalty against factious litigation. But
it may be urged on practical grounds that to make the path of the
litigant too easy would lead to too much invocation of the law, and
that the full recognition of the public usefulness of litigants must
be postponed to the millennium--which age of ideal perfection will
not occur (it may be thought necessary to concede) a hundred years
hence. And it is not difficult to imagine means by which the public can
be protected against the factious and unnecessary litigation to which,
in the absence of some safeguard, we should certainly be exposed. The
plaintiff might be required to obtain some sort of fiat, such as is
required now before a suit of criminal libel can be prosecuted: and
there would be no hardship in the litigant who failed to obtain the
fiat being left to bear his own expenses up to the time of failure,
though, in the event of his success, he would of course have them
repaid. The legal machinery for obtaining permission to sue need not
be made too complicated: it must not be allowed to develop into a
sort of preliminary trial. Probably some sort of arrangement as the
above will be instituted a hundred years hence, and all law-costs
borne by the State, except in the case of obvious dishonesty or bad
faith; the trouble and loss of time necessarily incurred exercising
a restraining influence upon the litigious.

In regard to the general machinery of the law it would be tedious to
attempt to foresee all the reforms of which the growing complexity
of human affairs will certainly impose the necessity upon us. The
clumsiness of a system by which important civil cases have to be tried
three times, in ways differing in detail, before a final decision is
reached, needs no insisting upon: and there is a manifest inconsistency
in the fact that an action about a matter worth £101 can be twice
appealed, while a man tried for his life, or something even more
important than life, has no appeal at all against an adverse verdict,
except to a secret tribunal of Civil Service clerks--for in the
"commutation" of sentences the Crown stands for the Home Secretary,
and the Home Secretary is necessarily obliged to depend upon his
assistants, who in their turn may very possibly have to derive their
information from officials whose credit would be damaged if some fact
favourable to the prisoner came out. To admit this inconsistency is
not by any means equivalent to admitting the necessity for courts
of criminal appeal: and anyone who knows the methods of criminal
jurisprudence in the United States must recognise that such courts are
capable of abuse highly dangerous to public morality, so dependent upon
respect for law. But with the great increase in scrupulosity and in
the mildness of public temper which the tendencies of human development
clearly vaticinate for the next century, it seems impossible to doubt
that some method will be adopted by which criminal trials can be
reviewed, even though the class of cases in which the necessity for
review is most often mentioned now will no doubt have disappeared with
the abolition of capital punishment. And it does not seem likely to
be beyond the ingenuity of the coming time to discover some means by
which civil cases can be settled in one trial, instead of requiring
three, without danger to the justice of any individual suit.

It is sometimes questioned whether trial by jury will continue a
feature of modern civilisation. The remark of a legal cynic that
"the man with a good case is always safe with a judge, while the man
with a bad case has always a chance with a jury," is sufficiently
sound to make it a question whether juries are worth the trouble
given to the members of them, and the vast amount of additional
labour which their employment inflicts on the courts of which they
are a feature. The conditions which make trial by jury "the blest
palladium of our liberties" have passed away in civilised countries,
and to a great extent in Ireland. It is no doubt characteristic of
the British people that we should so long as this have retained the
use of juries in civil suits, though even here there are many cases
(especially in divorce and libel) where the average common sense of
a jury is really helpful to the judge, and constitutes a check upon
his prejudice or impatience. There was a time when the jury was a
genuine safeguard against oppression in private as well as Crown
cases, and it is like us, as a nation, to have retained them when
their usefulness in this respect was happily obsolete. But it seems
to the writer pretty certain that in civil trials juries will have
been dispensed with long before the end of this century, and this
dispensation will probably be the stepping-stone to a system whereby
criminal causes will be tried by a bench of judges, instead of by
a judge and jury. The whole tendency of modern conditions (in which
must be included our growing, and highly discreditable, individual
impatience of the trouble of jury-service) seems to point to this. [32]

Reforms of judicial procedure of course constitute only a relatively
small part of the legislative work which will have been accomplished by
the end of the century. Apart from the work of gradually remodelling
the law with the idea (which nowhere seems to suggest itself to
present-day legislators) of making it act beneficially upon public
character, there will no doubt be a vast amount of work for the
various parliaments of the world in codifying existing statute-
and common-law systems, which in all communities have fallen
into complexity and confusion of a degree which makes them highly
unsatisfactory instruments of social protection: and there will also
be a great amount of constructive legislation, particularly in regard
to the tenure of land, to the simplification of conveyancing, to a
more intelligent machinery of contracts, to the equitable handling of
such accidental or conditional sources of wealth as we call "unearned
increment" and the discovery of unexpected minerals, to the useful
limitation of inheritance, and to other matters too numerous to be
safely named. And in order that these great works may be accomplished,
it is quite certain that, not only in England, but in all those
States where really free parliaments exist, great reforms will have
been found necessary, and will have become so much a part of the
machinery of legislation and administration a hundred years hence,
that our descendants will hardly be able to realise how Government
was ever carried on without them. Indeed, it is by the difficulty of
administering anything at all by parliamentary methods--every year
more evidently breaking down--rather than by the desire to undertake
large schemes of legislation, that statesmen will in a very short time
be forced to initiate the changes whose full development will have
become time-honoured by the end of this century. The organisation of
political opposition in parliaments has reached a point which makes it
evident that before long the minority in parliaments will have become
a nonentity. The minority, in fact, has already, here and in other
countries (of which the Austro-Hungarian empire is, at the moment,
the most noticeable example), become so powerful for obstruction
of business that, by a sort of paradox, its power is on the eve of
complete destruction. At St Stephen's the effect of obstruction working
in this manner is plainly visible. Whatever party is in power will
always, so long as the existing system continues, be obliged to silence
the opposition by the force of parliamentary machine; and whatever
party is in power will always be accused of tyranny and autocracy by
the other party. In practice there is no method by which any important
government measure can be passed through the House of Commons except
by force. It is a mere farce to make a show of debating the details
in committee. Naturally the Opposition, when it does not want the
measure passed at all, will delay its passage to the last possible
moment, and will make its enactment impossible unless a term is set
to the deliberations of committee of the whole house. Whether the
time granted by the Government be long or short makes no difference:
it is impossible to pass any serious and complex bill except by the
closure. In other words, the Government (which practically means
the Civil Service officials and parliamentary draftsmen employed by
the particular department concerned with the bill--the Home Office,
the Local Government Board Office, the Exchequer, or what not)
must triumph. Even the suggestions of individual supporters of the
administration in power must be ignored, unless there is a cave
which might turn out the ministry altogether. In detail, therefore,
we are governed, not by Parliament, but by the permanent officials,
so far as really important Government measures are concerned: and it is
quite evident that bills introduced by private members will very soon
not be considered at all. The private member is rapidly being reduced
to nothingness by the force of parliamentary development. Meantime,
the waste of public time by the introduction and debating of bills
which the Opposition eventually succeeds in destroying, is appalling,
and of course it is aggravated by the idiotic rule which destroys
at the end of each session all the work which has been begun and
not completed. The system, not less imbecile, in which opinion is
ascertained in Parliament is another great time-waster. It is only
necessary to ask for a single moment what our grandsons, or even
the younger of our children, will think of a Parliament in which a
vote was taken by solemnly walking through lobbies, with elaborate
arrangements for counting and checking the members (when it might
all be done by the simple use of an electric signal in front of each
seat in the chamber) in order to perceive the miserable inadequacy
of even the mechanical arrangements of all the parliaments of the
world. And if even all the crass follies and mediæval stupidities of
modern parliamentary arrangements were reformed, as nine-tenths of
them could be by any competent board composed of a few engineers,
electricians and architects, we should still be in possession of a
legislative machine such as the intelligence of a hundred years hence
would laugh to scorn if its restoration were suggested.

Nor is this all. The whole institution of parliaments, as a contrivance
for giving effect to the will of the peoples, has long been utterly
inadequate, and must be reformed from the bottom. We elect members
to carry out schemes of legislation and forms of policy never fully,
and sometimes not even partially, formulated, upon which, even if
they were set out in full detail, we could not possibly have any
complete influence in giving our votes. For instance, let us suppose
that, at a general election, one party wishes to increase the Navy,
to abolish publicans' compensation, and to legalise marriage with
a deceased wife's sister: while the other party not only objects
to all these three proposals but also wishes to put a protective
tariff on foodstuffs and machinery, to give Home Rule to Ireland,
and to disestablish the Church of England. A Home Ruler who was
also a teetotaler could not vote for either party without outraging
one or other of his convictions. A believer in the support of our
national supremacy who also considered that the Church ought to
be disestablished would have to choose between voting against the
increase of the Navy or against the Disestablishment: and the Deceased
Wife's Sister Bill advocate must vote against all the proposals on
the other side (all of which he may agree with) if he do not wish
to assist in perpetuating what he believes to be a hardship to his
fellow-countrymen, and very possibly to some of his own friends, or to
himself. And any of these perplexed voters, having somehow contrived
to strike a balance with his conscience, and to give a vote, will,
perhaps, in a year's, or in six years', time find that he has been
the instrument of placing in power an administration which is now
proceeding to pass measures that he abhors. He has no redress. Nor,
abandoning the extreme case of such highly-mixed policies as I have
endeavoured to amuse the reader by imagining, has the voter who changes
his mind, or who finds that he has been bamboozled with false promises,
any means of helping to undo the harm he has helped to do. It used to
be said that, on an average, parliamentary government worked well--that
it carried out in a rough way the will of the people. But the peoples
of a hundred years hence are going to be much more particular about
matters of such high importance. They are not going to be content
with a rough approximation in matters of the very highest moment when
they are able to secure with perfect accuracy most of their wishes
in matters of quite minor importance. They will not be satisfied to
know exactly what time it is at any moment of the day (as of course
they will know, all instruments for time-measuring being controlled
by wireless synchronisation) and not to know exactly what their rulers
are going to do about matters upon which the very fate of the country
may depend. Neither will they have remained so stupid as to think that
whatever one body of politicians considers right must be right and
that whatever another body thinks right must necessarily be wrong. It
is quite certain that in a really intelligent age so clumsy a system
as that of party government will have been relegated to oblivion.

The political machinery to replace it will be of a nature determined by
causes much too complex to be foreseen, except in the merest outline,
as yet; and probably it will, like most political institutions, be a
development rather than an invention. The system, already talked of,
by which any matter of great national importance should be made a
referendum, the subject of a direct vote by the whole nation, is no
doubt capable of ingeniously modified arrangement so as to provide
for its expeditious use, without undue interference with the course
of ordinary business. But obviously this device is only capable of
limited application, and it could not be employed at all, without
producing dangerous confusions and incongruities, except in a community
whose political education had made strides almost inconceivable in
the light of our present limited experience. It is difficult to see
how the general legislative business of a considerable nation could
be carried on unless by committees of a parliamentary character;
and limited as we are by the history of political institutions
arising out of states of public intelligence which will have become
contemptible in comparison with the intelligence of the next century,
there is a difficulty in conceiving how such committees or parliaments
could work out otherwise than on some sort of party system. But the
analogy of progress in general may help us to a conjecture, which is
here offered only for what it is worth. All progress, as we know it,
is a development from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous. One form
of progress consists of the development of specialism. At one time,
and not so very long ago, every housewife made her own jams, pickles,
perfumes, essences and condiments, which are now purchased ready
made. A man of science, in Davy's time, often embraced a number of
different branches as his province; whereas now even a single science
is seldom completely handled by any individual professor, entomologists
differentiating themselves from general biologists, and coleopterists
from general entomologists. Does it not appear likely, then, that
the functions of the politician and of the legislator will presently
be differentiated, with great advantage to nations? In a legislature
of the present time professional law-makers are numerically few, and
not very highly regarded. While in a matter relatively unimportant,
like coach-building, civilisation has made specialism necessary; in
a matter of the highest importance, the making of a nation's laws,
we continue to trust the general practitioner, and the suggestion
that specialists alone should be employed in it would probably awaken
a torrent of objection not unmingled with execration. But specialism
of all sorts will have extended its sway to such an extent a hundred
years hence that the likeliest solution of the difficulties at present
envisaged is that the business of law-making will be relegated to a
specially qualified and specially educated class, and that parliaments,
if they exist at all, will have nothing to do with it, but will concern
themselves with what they are often rather contumeliously told now is
not their business (though it ought to be); namely, the management of
international policy. The way in which this evolution will come about
is, moreover, fairly easy to imagine. At some time during the century
the manifold confusions, inconsistencies and evident inconveniences
of the existing corpus of the law are pretty sure to require drastic
and laborious treatment, which can only be administered by professional
experts. At the same time, the public, having awakened to the ludicrous
fact that laws are passed in every session of every Parliament in the
world, which, when they come to be administered, break down because
they have either been so stupidly and unimaginatively conceived,
or so clumsily expressed in the statutes which embody them, that
practical working immediately reveals their fatal defects. A clever
young lawyer once said to the present writer that he knew of no
intellectual pleasure so delightful as that of discovering how to
circumvent the provisions of an Act of Parliament. This diverting,
if immoral, remark illustrates the faults of a social system in
which laws are made chiefly by persons having little experience in
the working of laws, and elected to that duty by persons having no
such experience at all. Having in mind the fact that international
law is already relegated practically to specialists, it requires no
great effort of imagination to foresee that the Hercules that will
cleanse the Augean stable of the Statute Book will be a committee
of professors of law. And once the public has become familiarised
with the idea, what more natural than that a similar body should
be formed to provide against such legislative blunders as we were
all recently laughing at, when, having provided for the restraint of
habitual drunkards by placing them on what was called the black list,
Parliament presently learned that it had so framed the law that no
one could be black-listed except by his own consent? The development
from this to a system by which laws would not merely be amended,
but devised ab ovo, by professional legislators, is easy to foresee;
and with properly-devised precautions to ensure that the laws created
shall express the will of a sovereign people sufficiently educated
in political duty to possess a will worthy of consideration, probably
no better solution of the legislative difficulty can be imagined.

The conduct of foreign affairs is a matter much less easy to reform. If
despotisms were not such desperately untrustworthy things, a good
sound autocracy would probably be the best form of government for the
function of conducting the affairs of one nation with another. The
extraordinary diplomatic success of Russia is an evidence of
this. But Russia also illustrates the drawbacks of despotism. In its
management of foreign affairs Russia has (despite the habit which
its departments occasionally display of acting in conflict with one
another) beaten all the civilised nations. Russia has a "continuous"
foreign policy. There are no changes of ministers to nullify each
other's work and to encourage the diplomatists of other nations to
procrastinate and shilly-shally over negotiations in the hope that
a general election will bring in a new set of statesmen, easier to
deal with. And Russia can herself procrastinate, prevaricate and play
all sorts of tricks, neglect her promises, ignore her pledges, and
prosecute her cryptic aims, without the smallest fear of a question
in Parliament to spoil her game by letting all the world into her
dark and devious secrets. The more a nation becomes democratised,
the less competent it is to manage its foreign policy against less
democratic nations, and a truly popular Government is, in the present
state of the world, about the worst conceivable instrument for that
purpose. With an ever-increasing democratisation of all governments
such as we are sure to witness during this century, foreign offices
of the present kind will become more and more incompetent until some
sort of machinery is invented in their place.

Nor will the disappearance of the ultimate resort to arms, as a
possibility always threatening in the background, tend to improve
matters. It will, on the contrary, make them worse. There can be
no doubt that the awful fear of war, which must haunt the pillow
of every statesman in our day with dreams of pitiable horror,
does exercise an influence in settling controversies which, without
this terror, would drag their slow length along from generation to
exasperated generation. And if we try to imagine that the increased
conscientiousness of a better time will help nations to deal more
honourably with each other, it is to be feared that even the vast
progress of the quick-moving century on which we have entered will not
suffice to bind the princes to its pleasure and teach their senators
wisdom. It is unfortunately in regard to honour between nation and
nation that conscience develops most slowly, and many a man who would
scorn to trick a fellow-citizen, or even defraud a railway company,
and who would quite possibly hesitate before smuggling a box of cigars
through the custom-house, will calmly advocate acts of international
dishonesty and oppression abhorrent to any conscientious mind.

There can be no doubt that the most deleterious influence of our times,
which encourages nations to delay and deny to each other justice and
the fulfilment of solemn obligations, is the habit of waiting upon
the chances of a minister's fall, and a resulting change of policy. So
long as almost any day may bring a new set of statesmen, predisposed
against anything which their predecessors may have approved, diplomacy
will be disfigured by ways that are dark and tricks that are vain:
and the logical twentieth of the centuries may be trusted to perceive
this. Consequently some method will have to be devised by which a
continuous foreign policy may be made compatible with the performance
of a nation's will. And here the wiser nature of the new age will
assist the constructive genius of the reformer. No doubt the habit of
changing our minds on the basic principles of government about once
every six years will have been eradicated. Peoples will deliberate
more intelligently upon the important questions which they decide by
their votes: and it will no longer be thought--or rather, we shall no
longer act as if we thought--that a modification of general opinion
in regard (say) to Home Rule for Ireland must necessarily carry with
it a change of opinion as to whether it is desirable to extend our
influence in Afghanistan. When this error is abandoned, probably
foreign affairs will no longer be made part and parcel of the work
of the same set of men that is elected to manage domestic policy. It
will then be possible for the people to express--as they rarely have
any opportunity to express under the present system--their sovereign
will in regard to international matters. And here, as everywhere,
responsibility will certainly exercise an educative influence. When men
intelligently realise that by their votes they are deciding the fate
of their country, they will deliberate long before yielding a decision
so momentous. Inasmuch as the foreign affairs of any nation are truly
understood only by a very limited class, because very few people are
willing to give up enough of their leisure to the studies necessary for
such an understanding, it seems reasonable to think that one feature
of the polity of the year 2000 may be the limitation of the right to
vote on foreign affairs to men and women who have demonstrated in some
sufficient manner their competence to assist in directing the action
of their representatives in matters so intricate. The increased leisure
with which other reforms already foreseen will endow the people will of
course facilitate the acquirement of this competence, and the right to
vote on foreign affairs will doubtless be a coveted social distinction,
subserving the perennial love of titles and the childlike pleasure of
having letters after one's name. Nor need we be too much daunted in
this conjecture by the whispered word "oligarchy." When oligarchy
really means government by those best qualified to govern--the
nature of this "bestness" being intelligently determined--oligarchy
will be recognised as the most satisfactory form of government:
and in order to exclude objectionable one-sidedness in the method of
selecting voters for the high duty of guarding the nation's honour,
no doubt some method of selection by vote can be discovered, free
from liability to reintroduce the baleful evil of party.

Coming now to other functions of a State, the most obvious subject
for conjecture is that suggested by the tendency in recent times of
governments (and following their example of municipalities) to engage
in trade. The comment which gained currency over a decade ago, that
we were all socialists then, is still more justified now. Will States
continue their increasing practice of usurping the place of private
adventurers? Will railways, canals, telephonic and teleautographic
systems, street conveyances, and so forth, be owned and controlled
by various public authorities, after education, some other functions,
including the feeding and clothing of poor children during school age,
and the care of the unemployed (which States before long will certainly
have embraced) have by a more enlightened polity been returned to the
proper hands? The whole question of whether socialism is a probable
solution of the difficulties which its advocates believe it capable of
solving is here involved. Applying our familiar principle of estimating
the tendencies of the future by the trend of events in the past, it
seems certain that there will for a good many years immediately to
come be an increase in the functions assumed by the State: but that
the whole plunge into socialism will not be undertaken. For, while
measures undisguisedly socialistic in character are more and more
advocated and adopted, the open principle of State socialism seems
to find less support every year. Whenever distress becomes prevalent,
plenty of writers, for instance, loudly denounce Governments for not
finding work for everyone who fails to find work for himself--so long
as he is a man! (No one appears to think it the Government's duty to
find work for women.) But when socialism is openly propounded, the
same authors just as vehemently denounce the socialistic system to
which this principle of regarding the State as the duty-bound employer
of the workless clearly tends. What will most likely happen is that
devices, more and more socialistic, for dealing with emergencies, and
inconveniences of various sorts, will be adopted and maintained until
their own inconvenience and injustice have made themselves felt: and
then a more reasonable age will get rid of them--better remedies having
meantime been discovered--at the same time perceiving their deleterious
effect upon private responsibility, and wondering why it has tolerated
the old methods so long. In other words, socialistic experiments will
have demonstrated their own evils before the habit of indulging in
them has gone so far as to allow States to drift the whole way into
socialism. It is even possible that the example of some single nation,
drifting thus far, and setting up a socialistic State, may serve as
a useful warning to the rest of the world, and determine the gradual
abandonment of the dangerous tendencies which will have increasingly
manifested themselves. For it is certain that, unless in exceptional
and abnormal instances--of which the Australian Commonwealth is very
likely to furnish an example--political systems will always continue
to develop by evolutionary, and not by revolutionary, steps. We shall
pass gradually, and by a process of construction and elimination,
from one condition to another, until the very greatly improved system
of government and administration whose period of existence I have
ventured to place at about the beginning of the next century, has
become general throughout the world.

We may, for instance, very easily imagine how a more intelligent
electorate will abolish some abuses, by considering the condition
of the post-office department of this and other countries. It is
hardly thinkable that, during any period of the world's history, the
business of carrying letters can be thrown open to anyone who chooses
to undertake it. If there were nothing to be dealt with except the
domestic correspondence of each nation, probably it would be a great
deal better that it should be thus thrown open to competition: it is
hardly likely that the vast business of international correspondence
can ever be satisfactorily conducted, except by administrations
acting in the name and behalf of every State. But there is not the
least reason for thinking that the abuses which deface the postal
department of this and every other nation will be perpetual. The
British post-office contributes annually a "profit" of several
millions sterling to the Exchequer. Every person who writes a letter,
therefore, is taxed for doing it. In proportion to the intelligence,
commercial enterprise, family affection, or professional diligence
by which he is prompted to use correspondence, every one of us is
compelled to contribute something more to the up-keep of the State
than his neighbour who is too lazy, too ignorant or too callous to
trouble himself with letter-writing. No doubt it is impossible,
without a loss which would amount to subsidising, in an equally
objectionable manner, the users of the post-office, to conduct that
department except at a profit of some sort: but it surely will
not be pretended that it could not be conducted without exacting
such a surplus as the post-office does annually contribute to the
Budget. The vicious manner in which we treat the postal service as a
sort of trading department, expected to yield the Chancellor of the
Exchequer a convenient sum towards his expenditure, is illustrated by
the disgraceful underpayment of the minor officials, such as postmen,
small post-masters, telegraph messengers and the like. The post-office
buys its labour in the cheapest market: there is but too much reason
for the belief that it treats with oppressive harshness attempts on
the part of its servants to better their wages by organisation: and
when reproved in the House of Commons for sweating his work-people,
a postmaster-general can always reply, amid applause, that he dare
not embarrass his right-honourable friend the Chancellor of the
Exchequer. The polity of the enlightened future will assuredly desist
from penalising intelligence, enterprise, and the other commendable
characteristics which tend to increase a man's correspondence; and
the postmaster-general who will be praised a hundred years hence
will be that one who has succeeded in managing his department with
the smallest possible surplus. We have only to envisage the obvious
justice of this ambition to perceive the objections which attach to
the adoption of trading functions by the State. Though it is very
likely that railways will be nationalised in this, as they have been
nationalised or subsidised in many other countries, it is quite
certain that if we do nationalise them we shall be compensated by
none of the advantages which make us tolerant, and even unconscious,
of the abuses of the British post-office--itself in most respects
one of the least imperfect of bureaucracies. The faults generally
found with railways are precisely the faults of bureaucracy, and in
proportion as railways become more and more united in their policy,
through amalgamation and arrangements for mutual assistance, those
faults constantly increase. The same will presently be found true of
all governmental usurpations of private enterprise: and it cannot be
doubted that in this, as in so many other respects, the functions of
governments will be greatly reduced a hundred years hence.

One subject which cannot be neglected in any attempt to foresee the
conditions of the law in the next century is the delicate and difficult
one of marriage laws: and on no subject are differences of opinion so
numerous and so acute. All that seems to be generally agreed is that
under the present system inconveniences and immoralities occur: and
it is (of course) supposed to be a corollary that if the system were
changed these inconveniences and immoralities would disappear. This is
the usual method of considering social difficulties. Hardly anyone will
consent to base plans for the future upon experience of the past. It
is always presumed that new laws can reform abuses, without changes
in the spirit of the age, which gives rise to the abuses. One class of
thinkers, despairing of moral improvement, considers that, immorality
being irremediable, the only thing to be done is to give it sanction;
as it must exist, it must be made respectable and unscandalous. Another
set of reformers would penalise immorality by forbidding the guilty
party in a divorce suit to re-marry, just as there are people who
would prevent the physically unfit from marrying at all. Both forget
that the prohibition of legal unions is much more likely to lead to an
increase of irregular connections than to produce any other effect. No
doubt we could improve the physical standard of the legitimately born
by the prohibition last digressively mentioned: but it would be at
the expense of an increase in illegitimate births accompanied by the
additional disadvantage of bodily weakness. Similarly, so far from
the prohibition of re-marriage restraining the immorally disposed,
it is much more likely that it would encourage them: the fact that a
co-respondent could not be called upon to marry the woman divorced
in consequence of her guilty association with him would hardly act
generally as a deterrent; while, if he had been willing to face the
probable consequences of publicity, expense and inconvenience attending
a liaison with a woman under coverture, the co-respondent would not
think it necessary to abandon his confederate, if he wished, and she
were willing, to continue their connection after all the penalties had
been suffered, merely because the law prevented a regular union. It
is agreed by all jurists that the only justification for the greater
severity with which matrimonial infidelity is visited on women
as compared with men is the greater social degradation with which
society visits women who have offended. To penalise their offence
by prohibiting re-marriage would only perpetuate their degradation,
and does in fact so perpetuate and increase it in countries where
the condemned party in a divorce is forbidden the altar.

On the other hand, to recognise a sort of promiscuity, as some
writers have suggested that we shall be obliged to do, would probably
be attended by worse effects than the bold and straightforward
acceptance of polygamy as a necessary remedy for the excess of feminine
population, which a writer of letters to the shocked and astonished
newspapers of this city recently proposed. Neither expedient is capable
of being adopted: nor does there seem much likelihood that public
morality can be improved by legislation, though it is certain to be
much improved by the spontaneous amelioration of public sentiment. No
doubt in one or two particulars the marriage laws will gradually
undergo amendment. It will be realised that it is much more immoral
to compel unwilling couples to live together matrimonially, than
to set them free to remedy one of the most hideous of all possible
mistakes. The difficulty of determining what shall be done where
one party wishes for divorce, while the other does not, is greater:
but on the whole it will probably be considered more conducive to
morality to dissolve the marriage here, after a precautionary and
experimental period of provisional separation, than to insist upon its
perpetuation. That age will only be ripe for such a reform as this,
which, by moral progress, has rendered intolerable the position of
a libertine capable of entering into matrimony with the deliberate
intention of getting out of it again when it ceases to be attractive,
and in which the social estimate of a person who acted in the same
manner through instability of character would be not much better. In
any reform of the kind suggested, it would no doubt be arranged
that pecuniary liabilities, allocated to the support and education
of children, would follow the party insisting on divorce; and this
also would act as a check upon dishonest contracts of marriage.

Thus, for any radical improvement in the system of matrimonial
connections, we must look to a corresponding improvement in the
spirit of the age, and the first step in advance will have been
taken when marriage ceases to be the only legal contract which is
enforced notwithstanding the ignorance of a contracting party as to
the engagement entered into. The frequency of divorce petitions will be
greatly diminished from the time we get rid of the idiotic and almost
incredibly wicked convention by which we take every possible precaution
we can think of to ensure that a girl, when she marries, shall have
no possible means of knowing to what she is committing herself. No
more ingenious contrivance for obtaining marital infelicity could be
imagined. The next step will have been taken when it is recognised
as disgraceful for parents to put pressure upon the inclinations
of their children of either sex to induce them to marry, and when
social execration renders such pressure impossible. Concurrently
with this, or as a result of it, a third step will be some abatement
of our present entire neglect of any demand for good character in a
bridegroom who would be outraged if he thought that the least aspersion
could be suggested concerning his bride. In other words, the greatest
improvements in the status of the world with regard to matrimony will
be effected when we recognise the claim of woman to be made the equal
of man in knowledge, in discretion and in social rights. No legislative
reform as yet ever suggested could have anything like as much effect
in removing the evils under which we groan, in respect to matrimony,
as this natural and inevitable development.

Naturally the improvement in the position of women in the new age
will not arrive at a bound, nor will their rights in relation to
marriage be unaccompanied by other rights at present withheld,
and perhaps not always unreasonably withheld. On the contrary, the
recognition of one set of rights will facilitate and accelerate the
recognition of the other. It is generally agreed that the tendency
of the sexes is to become less divergent, intellectually and morally,
for reasons connected with what Spencer calls "the less early arrest
of individual evolution, and the result everywhere seen throughout
the organic world, of a self-preserving power inversely proportionate
to the race-preserving power." [33]

As it will have been realised, long before the advent of the next
century, that the surest way to improved capacity is to be found
in increased responsibility, women will not, a hundred years hence,
be allowed or compelled to shirk their political obligations. We may
see with half an eye that every year women are becoming more capable,
and also more desirous of aiding the counsels of the public: and
in some of our Colonies, as well as in some States of the American
Union, they are already voting, and voting (as it turns out) with
the most wonderful intelligence and usefulness. The influence of
the female vote in, for example, New Zealand has been for some time
perceptible in the legislation of that highly-enlightened colony:
and I never heard anyone object to the results of this influence
except persons whose conduct, or the conduct which they approved in
their associates, was likely to be inconvenienced by them. It is no
doubt true that women are a great deal more fond of demanding that
the law should do work which it would be better to leave to natural
developments of public character than could be wished: but then so are
men, and it is an unquestionable thing that the misdeeds which men more
readily condone than women are much more likely to be bad for public
morality than those which women condone more freely than men. There is
no particular reason for thinking at the present time (though there
was ample reason for thinking a few decades ago) that women will be
more prone to legislate unnecessarily, and therefore mischievously,
than men: and we are in any case bound to pass through a good many
years of parliament-worship before we awaken to the fact that the law
cannot do everything, and that any reform which is accomplished by
the spontaneous influence of public opinion is always a great deal
more complete, a great deal more conducive to public self-respect,
and a great deal better adjusted to the special requirements of every
individual circumstance that it touches, than one which is laboriously
and mechanically embodied in statutes which cannot but be imperfect,
cannot possibly fail to act oppressively and unjustly in one place or
another, and frequently prove to be unworkable from beginning to end.



CHAPTER XII

GENERAL CONCLUSIONS


"On the other hand, after observing how the processes that have
brought things to their present stage are still going on, not with
a decreasing rapidity indicating approach to cessation, but with
an increasing rapidity that implies long continuance and immense
transformations; there follows the conviction that the remote future
has in store, forms of social life higher than any we have imagined:
there comes a faith transcending that of the Radical, whose aim is
some re-organisation admitting of comparison to organisations which
exist. And while this conception of societies has naturally evolved,
beginning with small and simple types which have their short existences
and disappear, advancing to higher types that are larger, more complex,
and longer-lived, coming to still-higher types like our own, great
in size, complexity, and duration, and promising types transcending
these in times after existing societies have died away--while this
conception of societies implies that in the slow course of things
changes almost immeasurable in amount are possible, it also implies
that but small amounts of such changes are possible, within "short
periods"--Herbert Spencer: The Study of Sociology, Chapter XVI.

It has repeatedly been necessary, in the course of this survey, to
stimulate the indulgence of the reader by a reminder, based upon the
speed of our progress in the past and its steady acceleration in recent
decades, that there is much more danger of underestimating than of
exaggerating the advances likely to have been achieved a hundred years
hence. In order to guard against misconception of the manner in which
these advances will be brought about, it is now advisable to mention
specifically what has been once or twice hinted parenthetically,
namely, the fact that the progress of the Future is certain to be
produced in a way perfectly capable of being deduced from the manner
of our progress in the past. One of the most fruitful causes of error
in existing prognostications has been the tacit assumption that,
at some vague moment in the spacious middle-distance of the coming
time, sudden and cataclysmal movements of society, and also unexpected
and revolutionary discoveries in science, will occur: and it is as a
precaution against one aspect of this mistake that a weighty quotation
from the writings of one of the sanest and most perspicuous thinkers
who have ever written upon that science of society which he may almost
be said to have created has been recalled to the memory of the reader
at the head of this chapter.

The forecast now almost concluded, imperfect and visionary as it
must necessarily be, was commenced with some reflections on the
rate of future progress made probable by the movements of the recent
past. But nothing whatever can be deduced from what history, remote
or recent, shows us, to suggest that any stable institution can be
created otherwise than by steady development: it is only the speed
of development which is likely to alter, and even this will only
alter by a progression gaining impetus from the influence of its
own components. Whether we consider material improvements effected
by science and invention and the interaction of these; or social
improvements effected by readjustment of the conditions of life forced
upon us through the influence of intellectual and moral changes in
the individual units of society making themselves felt as aggregated
forces; the manner of attainment is nearly identical. It is commonly
objected to this view, that whereas science and invention commonly
progress in a movement characterised (so to speak) by a succession
of jerks, social conditions change imperceptibly. But thus to object
is to overlook the fact that, while no doubt society develops from
time to time certain needs whose growth is so steady as to preclude
the possibility of pointing to a final moment when the satisfaction
of them has become at length inevitable, yet, when this satisfaction
is gained by legislative enactment, there is always a moment when
the public, ripe for a given reform, takes definite possession of
it. For example (to name a comparatively recent case), no doubt
the desire for some method by which the public could distinguish
between foreign and home-made articles of merchandise had for some
time been generally felt before the passing of the Merchandise Marks
Act fixed a moment at which all dubiety on the subject would vanish,
by endeavouring to require that any imported object bearing marks
calculated to give the impression that it had been manufactured in
England should also bear a definite and correct statement as to
its place of origin. Whether we consider this enactment to have
been desirable or not, it is impossible to deny that there was a
specific moment when it took effect. And similarly, the bill for
the repression of secret commissions in business has come so near
to being passed through Parliament that many people imagine it to
be already law, though it is not, at the time of writing, even (in a
technical sense) before the legislature. Without question, therefore,
public opinion is ripe for this reform, and has with great gradualness
become so: but the reform itself, when it takes place (as it may quite
conceivably have taken place by the time this book is printed), will
occur suddenly. There will be a day when the manager of a business
house could, with immunity from any overt punishment except the loss
of his employment, receive a secret bribe from another house with
which he was doing business on behalf of his master; and a succeeding
day on which, for the same offence against commercial integrity,
he could be charged before a magistrate and ultimately punished by
the law. Thus the difference between scientific progress and social
progress is not so great as has been sometimes imagined. And on the
other hand, although to the casual observer scientific discoveries and
new inventions often appear to have been attained at a single step,
to a person interested in the particular branch of science, or the
particular path of invention where a new achievement occurs, it is
generally quite evident that the latter has been led up to by steady
progress extending over a long period. The existence of unidentified
constituents in atmospheric air, for instance, must have been long
suspected before the isolation of argon gave, to the public eye, the
impression of a sudden discovery: and astronomical disturbances have
generally puzzled a great army of observers for a long time before the
public is indulged by the announcement of a "new" star in the heavens.

To the reader who has been good enough to grant any validity at all
to the arguments by which I have sought to show that, as time goes
on, there will be a decreasing tendency to attempt desired reforms by
legislative process, and an increasing tendency to make the public the
guardian of its own security, it will be evident that any differences
which exist between the nature of scientific progress and the nature of
social progress are likely to be accentuated rather than diminished in
the course of this century. A change brought about by the spontaneous
activity of the people naturally occurs without the definite line of
demarcation created by an Act of Parliament.

But there is one way in which the analogy between scientific and
social progress will be noteworthy. It is a commonplace of industrial
history that an improvement in one machine, or the introduction of some
novel method of applying power, always produces, and may very often
necessitate, modifications in a number of procedures not previously
seen to be connected with it: and great results from little causes
flow. No one foresaw, when Mr Edison discovered the differences in
the electrical conductivity of carbon induced by slight variations of
pressure--a discovery at first utilised only in the micro-tasimeter,
the appliance used for measuring small changes in the size of
objects submitted to it--that the same discovery would presently
render commercially practicable the electrical transmission of speech
and numerous other conveniences, themselves the progenitors of fresh
inventions now in constant use. Similarly, political and social changes
quite easy to foresee will undoubtedly have effects which in their
entirety no one can possibly foresee. The rate of advancement cannot
be calculated like a geometrical progression: all that we can hope
to do is to realise more or less vaguely the acceleration which the
action and interaction of anticipated (and often antagonistic) forces
will produce; the general manner of the world's progress representing
the resultant of their activities. What we must constantly keep in
mind is the fact that changes in the institutions of society can only
be stable when they are the result of corresponding changes in the
temper of the age which yields them. As this temper is a thing of
gradual development, we must believe that many temporary expedients
will have to be tolerated by advanced thinkers since (as Spencer
remarks) society can only be held together when the institutions
existing, and the conceptions generally current, are in tolerable
harmony. We can foresee many changes which will be in beneficent
existence a hundred years hence; but it would be irrational to show
impatience because these changes cannot be immediately proposed; since,
being not yet in harmony with the current conceptions of the world,
their immediate adoption would be mischievous instead of beneficial,
and their results anarchic instead of stable. For a great many
years we must go on passing laws for the regulation of social life,
which we can quite easily perceive that the altered social life of a
future age will not need, because they would be injurious to it. The
zealous reformer who wishes, as we must all wish, to help the world
in its wearied way to perfection must aim rather to assist the mind
of people to demand greater reforms than it could as yet assimilate,
than to procure the arrival of reforms for which society is not yet
ripe, and must be content with the effort


        "... to ease the burden of the world
    Laboriously tracing what must be
    And what may yet be better."


To say this is not to deprecate the greatest possible energy in
all endeavour that makes for progress. The doctrine, founded upon
a perception of the impossibility of regenerating society except by
utilising the natural and evolutionary movement of society itself, that
nothing ought to be done except to wait upon this movement, betrays
an evident confusion of thought, akin to the fallacy of the schoolmen,
commonly called realism, partly adopted by Comte. "Society" is not in
itself an entity separable from the units of society; a progress of
society is only possible as the result of human volition progressively
exercised. What we have to look for is a steady enlightenment of public
ideals, issuing in the triumph of wisdom over folly, of virtue over
laxity, of progress over reaction and inertia. Always there will be
differences of opinion, exercising a salutary check upon hasty public
action, and giving time for the establishment of harmony between the
spirit of the age and the new institutions which mark its progress.

Naturally there will have been many changes in the material of daily
life which, either because they did not fit in with any one of the
divisions into which a forecast of the future naturally fell, or
because the consideration of them would have obscured the exposition
of matters more immediately connected with each other, it has not been
possible to mention. For example, we have had occasion to debate the
methods by which men and women will transact the business of trade and
commerce with the aid of certain foreseen conveniences; and we have
glanced at the probable future aspect of dwellings, conveyances and
similar conveniences; but nothing has been said as to the clothes in
which our descendants are likely to attire themselves or the enjoyment
of these advantages. The latter and a few other minor subjects may
perhaps be considered now, without very much mutual connection.

The clothing of men and women happens to illustrate rather
appropriately the very same tendency of civilised institutions to
develop by gradual, rather than violent, changes which has just been
referred to. For, while a good deal is heard about the "vagaries"
of fashion, technical writers on the subject always seem to be able
to predict some time in advance the movements of modish costume; and
they sometimes even condescend to explain the processes of thought
and observation by which their apparently inspired predictions are
arrived at. Moreover, admitting, and allowing for, the extremest
variations in detail, costume in civilised countries can hardly be
said to have materially and intrinsically altered--cannot, that is to
say, be said to have altered its fundamental characteristics--during
a century, in the case of men, nor during a great many centuries
in the case of women. Since the age of knee-breeches succeeded the
age of doublet and hose, men have always protected their legs with
"bifurcated integuments"--some sort of double tube secured to a
copious bag enclosing the middle of the body--and the upper part of
the trunk with a coat and waistcoat; while women have always worn
bodices and petticoats of one shape or another. Neither has the
loudest outcry against the irrationality of costume as a whole, nor
even the ridicule showered upon single elements of it, ever had the
least effect in producing revolutionary modification. Punch laughed
in vain at crinolines; Lord Ronald Gower protests in vain against
the silk "chimney-pot" hat. Will a more scientific and a more logical
age replace absurd or otherwise objectionable garments by others more
reasonably designed, to such an extent as to produce an entire change
in the sartorial aspect of civilised peoples?

It is impossible to doubt that in some respects it will. Already
sensible women decline to injure themselves and risk the injury of
their possible offspring at the command of fashion. Tight-lacing
and the wearing of such corsets as unnaturally compress the internal
organs of the body are evidently near the end of their long reign. In
a comparatively short time it is hardly possible to doubt that
at least these, the most evidently injurious articles of clothing
still surviving, will have joined the farthingale and the ruff in
the lumber-room of the obsolete, and when what is really the more
reasonable moiety of mankind is thus within easy reach of sacrificing
to hygiene what was dedicated to a wholly mistaken conception of
æsthetics, can we question that reforms in male dress founded upon
convenience and reason will follow, even to the abandonment of the
silk hat? If one were asked to suggest the various steps by which
the ultimate costume of the century, whether male or female, will be
arrived at, few would not boggle at the task. But the general nature of
the more-or-less-perfected dress of a hundred years hence may perhaps
be not unsuccessfully imagined, having in mind the considerations
likely to determine it.

We may be quite certain that two characteristics will be demanded
of all costume--that it shall give to all movements of the body the
greatest possible freedom consistent with warmth, and that it shall be
as easy as possible to put on and take off. The highly intellectual
life of the next century will certainly be impatient of anything
which detains it with occupations so uninteresting as the putting
on and taking off of clothes from pursuits more attractive. Hence
there will doubtless be a great deal of simplification of details, the
greatest practical diminution in the number of single objects worn. The
essentials of a satisfactory outfit will be, first, an inner garment
next the skin, worn merely for cleanliness; next a middle garment
for warmth, and finally an outer suit for protection. The innermost
garment will no doubt be made of some fabric not much unlike the soft
silky papers now made in Japan, so that it can be destroyed as soon
as it is taken off. It is not in the least likely that so insanitary
and degrading an occupation as that of the washerwoman can survive
in a civilisation really advanced. The middle garment, completely
cleansable by vacuum action and oxygenation, will of course have to be
made of some vegetable fibre like cotton or flax. It will most likely
be some developed form of "combination," easy to put on and take off,
fastening by means of a single knot or button, and will be just tight
enough to give freedom to the movements. Its warmth will be dependent
upon contained air, and it, like everything else we wear, will be
highly porous; for the importance of properly ventilating the skin,
perfectly well understood even now, will by that time be also acted
upon. Thus far male costume and female costume will be practically
identical. There is no reason to expect, however, that this identity
will be carried so far as the externals of dress, because realising
(as we shall of course realise) the tendency of the sexes to become
less divergent in their natural and moral characteristics, we shall
instinctively seek to maintain all the salutary and romantic contrast
that we can. But it is not to be believed that woman, already long
since emancipated from the corset, will have continued a slave
to the skirt, the petticoat and other restraining garments. With
underclothes practically identical with the sensible garments of men,
our female descendants will no doubt wear a costume much like what
Miss Rehan wore as Rosalind--a tunic and knee-skirt (probably in one)
with gaiters made of some elastic material.

Deprived as we shall be of animal products, the leather boot will
naturally be unavailable, and a totally different kind of foot
covering will be used. But it is not the absence of leather which
will determine this change. Perfectly satisfactory boots of the
present form are worn by some extreme vegetarians already, carrying
consistency to its limit. With the disappearance of the horse from the
streets, however--a disappearance which will doubtless be at least
seventy years old by this time next century (for the motor car is
fast pushing out the horse already)--the chief need for an entirely
impervious foot-covering will have been obviated. Towns will be
sanitary underfoot--they are disgusting now--and free from mud; while
the drying appliances mentioned in an earlier chapter will clear away
rain as fast as it falls. Consequently it will no longer be necessary
to wear uncomfortable, unhealthy and deforming boots; the human foot
will cease to be the source of discomfort it now more or less acutely
is to nine people out of every ten, and we shall be much better walkers
and athletes. For health will be the consideration dominating all our
actions, health being a subject of careful tuition in every school:
and as men and women will rarely need to use muscular strength in
their work, they will gratify the natural yearning of healthy animals
for exertion, in athletic sports, by no means confined to the male sex.

Whether fashion as an institution will continue to exist is doubtful,
but probably it will not exhibit the extravagances, nor the capricious
development which now characterise it, and "a general uniformity
with infinitesimal differences," which has been defined as one of
Nature's uniformities, will be perceptible in the natural development
of the race.

Of course one object sought consciously or unconsciously to be attained
by the use of fashions is class distinction; and similarly jewellery is
probably worn much more because it is a sign of wealth than because
of any intrinsic beauty which it is supposed to possess. At one time
a man's occupation (and consequently his rank in society) could be
ascertained by his dress; and sumptuary laws occasionally made such
distinctions obligatory. It is no doubt of some law of his own time
that Shakespeare was thinking [34] when he made the tribune in Julius
Cæsar reprove the workmen for appearing on a business-day without
the leather aprons which marked their trade:--


            "What, know you not
    Being mechanical you ought not walk,
    Upon a labouring day, without the sign
    Of your profession?"


Will class distinction survive the democratising influence of
a century?

The dress of our own time tends to obliterate the evidence of these
distinctions; but a development from heterogeneity to homogeneity is
a reversal of the usual law of progress, and it can hardly be called
a sign of social advancement that artisans of our day generally wear,
when at work, the cast-off clothes of the employing classes, bought
second-hand, and for "Sunday best" often ape the fashions of the
rich. In a hundred years' time assuredly no worker will be ambitious
to give himself the aspect of an idler, and one may perpend the dry
answer of an American to the remark that in the United States there
is no leisure-class. "Oh, yes, there is," said the moralist, "only
we don't call them that; we call them tramps." Everyone will take
pride in his work, when work is no longer treated with the disgraceful
contempt which we are only by degrees becoming ashamed of. Consequently
the clothes worn at work will no doubt be, in every trade, specially
designed to facilitate the exertions of the worker: and in the copious
hours of leisure there will be variety, increased by the wearing of
special garments for special amusements. It is difficult to believe
that anyone, whatever his work, will dispense with the comfort of
a complete change of dress when play-time comes: and the ingenious
simplification of fastenings, and the reduced number of garments worn,
will facilitate the enjoyment of this luxury. Everyone will dress
for dinner--but not (one fancies) in a "swallow-tail" coat and stiff
shirt. It is quite certain that all our clothes will be soft, supple,
porous, light and warm a hundred years hence, and the clear-starcher
will no longer have the opportunity to destroy them.

Some attempt has already been made to suggest the general domestic
and architectural conveniences of the next century, but the subject
of furniture has not been referred to in detail. Allowing for the fact
that animal fabrics, as wool, leather, etc., will be absent, there is
no particular reason why chairs, carpets and curtains should be very
different from what they are now. No doubt light metallic alloys will
often be used in the framework of chairs and tables instead of wood,
because the tendency of civilisation is to make things lighter and
less cumbersome whenever this is possible. At one time it might have
been thought that upholstery, carpets and curtains would have to be
dispensed with. But to a thoughtful observer there must always have
been a difficulty here. A wooden chair, and even a rattan one, however
cunningly shaped, is so extremely discomfortable to sit in without
cushions, that it was easier to imagine that invention would correct
the unhealthiness of cushions and stuffing, than that an advanced
age would consent to dispense with these luxuries. The manner in
which the former solution of the difficulty would be attained was
actually foreseen by the present writer before the introduction of
vacuum cleaning was accomplished, and several passages in an earlier
chapter had to be rewritten when what had been somewhat fancifully
described as a convenience of the future suddenly became an existing
factor of the present: and in one or two places innovations have
similarly called for changes in the text--a circumstance which, it is
to be hoped, will give pause to critics disposed to condemn certain
suggestions in this book as chimerical. [35] Obviously, now that we can
thoroughly cleanse and free from every particle of dust by a simple
mechanical process any fabric or mass of fabrics, there is no longer
any reason to expect that our descendants will, on hygienic grounds,
find it necessary to dispense with comforts so essential to restful
leisure as easy-chairs, soft carpets and wall hangings.

On the other hand, it is quite certain that numerous inventions will
enhance and beautify the luxury of an age where rational luxury
will reign universally. One source of frequent discomfort to-day
is the necessity of living always in rooms of one size. Whether
we sit alone, or entertain a number of friends, the same apartment
has to serve our needs: consequently we are crowded on one day and
chilly on the next. With combustion abolished as a heating device,
there will be no objection against light sliding walls--a convenience
long since adopted by our allies the Japanese--which would be rather
dangerous nowadays and not particularly desirable, at all events in
England, where we have no means of warming most rooms except a fire
on one side, and no means of cooling them at all except by letting
in draughts and noise through the window. No doubt when matches and
fireplaces, about equally causative of conflagration, have vanished,
and when we have invented methods of warming the air in houses without
the horrible drying of it caused by the American pipe-stove system,
houses will be much more lightly built: and it is certainly not going
to be impossible to use thin, light walls without being able to hear
in each room every sound that occurs in the next. Concurrently, we
shall be able to change the size of rooms--a convenience greater than
might be supposed by those who have not thought about the matter. In
summer we shall just as easily cool our houses as we shall heat them
in winter. Very few servants will be required (another great comfort);
and lighting arrangements will naturally be free from their present
inadequacy.

Except that no one has yet troubled to think about it, there is
surely no reason why bathing should be such a tedious operation as it
is. Probably the speediest dresser of our own day does not consume less
than a quarter of an hour over his morning tub and the operation of
drying himself. A hundred years hence, people will be so avid of every
moment of life, life will be so full of busy delight, that time-saving
inventions will be at a huge premium. It is not because we shall be
hurried in nerve-shattering anxiety, as it is often complained that
we now are, but because we shall value at its true worth the refining
and restful influence of leisure, that we shall be impatient of the
minor tasks of every day. The bath of the next century will lave
the body speedily with oxygenated water delivered with a force that
will render rubbing unnecessary, and beside it will stand the drying
cupboard, lined with some quickly-moving arrangement of soft brushes,
and fed with highly desiccated air, from which, almost in a moment,
the bather will emerge, dried, and with a skin gently stimulated,
and perhaps electrified, to clothe himself quickly and pass down the
lift to his breakfast, which he will eat to the accompaniment of a
summary of the morning's news read out for the benefit of the family,
or whispered into his ears by a talking-machine.

Does this manner of beginning the day sound like a nightmare? That
is only because the purpose of it has been overlooked. Not because
they will be "short" of time will our descendants thus arrange their
lives, but because they wish to reserve as much time as possible
for culture (physical as well as intellectual) and for thought;
which the better distribution of wealth and labour will facilitate;
while labour itself, everywhere performed intelligently and with
interest, will be no longer irksome. The working man will ply his
trade with zest--working for himself and family--instead of seeking
every opportunity to shirk and evade it. And, his task accomplished,
he will hasten to enjoyments as elevating as labour itself.

Will man then, the critic may ask incredulously, have really been
perfected in a century? Decidedly not. But unless we doubt the evidence
which shows that improved institutions not only arise out of improved
popular character, but also help to promote it, we cannot resist the
inference that the removal of many causes of degradation must bring
us nearer to perfection, to which the moral evolution of the race
is slowly proceeding. There is nothing Utopian in the belief that
honesty, truthfulness, respect for the rights of others, will be
fostered by the increased intelligence of the new age; and from the
moment when this intelligence, disseminated throughout all society,
begins to make the moral improvement of the race a prime object in
every social reform, in every piece of legislation (emancipating
as well as restrictive) we have a right to expect the progress of
morality to receive a marked impetus. "Nature, careless of the single
life," will be assisted in the perfecting of the moral type, and the
dishonest man, the liar, the sensualist, and the man too stupid to
be unselfish, will become with every decade less fit for survival,
because the same unwisdom which is at the bottom of his faults will
handicap him in the battle of life, will hinder him in the competition
for the right to perpetuate his characteristics in children born of
his loins. It is only those who conceive of the race as capable of
remaining stationary, or moving backward, in morals, while in every
other respect it moves forward with constantly-increasing momentum,
who imagine that cunning and unscrupulousness are likely to be fostered
by enlarged civilisation. So long as we allow the world to be exploited
for the selfish advantage of a handful of millionaires, no doubt these
characteristics will continue at a premium. But it is impossible to
believe that the irresistible power of the mass of humanity will submit
in perpetuity to be thus made the tools of a minority. If the "ruling"
classes wished to maintain that status they should have kept the
people from the schoolroom. Numbers must inevitably prevail, and the
world will have reorganised itself in ways which, if we could foresee
them in their entirety, would suggest an almost unthinkable perfection.



INDEX


A

Actor, the (his art), 61
Agriculture, economies in, 216
----, scientific development of, 127
Alcohol, abandonment of, 36
---- and the law, 242
---- and crime, 244
Alphabet, the, 42
Anæsthetics, 120
Animal food, abandonment of, 34, 126
Antisepsis and asepsis, 10
Arboriculture, 217
Architecture, 194
Argon, 11, 290
Art, A.D. 2000, 196
Atheism, 177


B

Bacillary diseases, destruction of, 123
Ballot, the (its inadequacy), 262
Bathing, A.D. 2000, 305
Bedroom, the, A.D. 2000, 25
Bellamy, Edward, 5
Bible, inspiration of the, 176
Birth-rate, the (its artificial restriction), 14
Bread, wholemeal, 34
Buildings, high, 17


C

Calculating machines, 45
Canada (its future), 97
Casabianca, 155
Cereals, 35
Climate, artificial manipulation of, 128
Clothes, A.D. 2000, 294
Coal (its utilisation), 7
----, exhaustion of, 104
Combination, voluntary, as a mode of self-government, 210
Comte, Auguste, 293
Conscience, public, 185
Cooper, E. H. (The Twentieth Century Child), 145, 150, note
Co-operation, 51
Cooking, 22
Crime and heredity, 251
---- and poverty, 244
---- elimination, 247
Criminal appeals (in law), 257


D

Daily Telegraph, the, 84
Darwin, Charles, 179
Davy, Sir Humphry, 6
Diplomacy, A.D. 2000, 269
Domestic servants, 18, 24
Drainage, 25, note, 127


E

Economy in agriculture, 215
----, relation of prices to, 205
---- in use of wood, 215
Edison, T. A., 291
Education, A.D. 2000, apparatus of, 140
----, art in, 171
----, books in, 163
---- by pleasure, 149
----, corporal punishment in, 144
----, crime in relation to, 234
----, history in, 170
----, rational obedience in, 154
----, languages in, 164, 166
----, literature in, 171
----, mathematics in, 163
----, mixed (of boys and girls), 146
----, phonograph in, 141, 303, note
----, physical science in, 161
----, punishments in, 158
----, specialised, 162
----, Spencer on, 151 note
Education, Intellectual, Moral and Physical (H. Spencer), 151, note
Electricity, the end of its age, 11
----, wireless transmission of, 114
Eton, punishments at, 144
Euclid, 157, 158
Evolution (the term), 37, note


F

Fashion, A.D. 2000, 299
Flying-machines, 27, 55
Foods, vegetable, 33
Freight transportation, 46
Furniture, A.D. 2000, 302


G

Games in education, 143
Gases, liquefied, as a source of power, 116


H

Handicrafts, revival of, 50
Horse traffic (its abolition), 22
House construction, 20
---- cleaning, 21
Huxley, Thomas H., 6, 179
Hydrogen, uses of, 9, 102
Hypnotism, 131


I

Idæography, Chinese, 166, note


J

Journalism and literature, 92
Jury, trial by, 257


K

Kelvin, Lord, 108
Kipling, Rudyard, 147
Kitchen, the, A.D. 2000, 22


L

Lamb, Charles, 158
Land tenure, 99, 259
Lang, Andrew, 123, note, 164, note, 168
Language, a "universal," 165
Languages, modern, 19
Literature, A.D. 2000, 193, 198
---- and journalism, 92
Latey, John, 144
Law, the, A.D. 2000, 233
---- ----, alcohol and, 241
---- ----, changes in, necessitated by new conditions, 240
---- ----, cost of civil suits to be borne by Government, 253
---- ----, education and, 234
---- ----, marriage and, 278
---- ----, methods of legislation, 259
---- ----, "new offences" and, 234
---- ----, penology and, 249
---- ----, poverty and, 244
---- ----, protective enactments injurious where avoidable, 239
---- ----, protecting property, 245
---- ---- ----, the person, 246
---- ----, trial by jury, 257
Legislation, reform of, 266


M

Macaulay, Lord, 193
Manures (see Agriculture), 127
Marriage, law of, A.D. 2000, 278
Medicine, progress of, 119
Memory (children's), 151
Merchandise Marks Act, 289
Middleman, the, 88
Morality and education, 154
---- as affected by education, 136, 139, 235.
---- as affected by progress, 64
----, improving tendency of, 307
----, progress of, 136
Morris, William, 5
Motor-cars, slot-worked, 31
Music, A.D. 2000, 58, 201
----, Oriental, 201
Musician, the (his art), 62


N

Napoleon, 4
Newspapers, advertisements in, 83
----, editorship of, 68
----, A.D. 2000, how illustrated, 80
---- ---- ----, language of, 82
---- ---- ----, how printed, 79


O

Ocean cities, 98
---- ---- and the anhydrator, 99
---- ----, urban traffic in, 98
Oersted, 117
Oxygen, uses of, 9, 26, 102
Ozone and ozonators, 27


P

Payn, James, 144
Parliament, reform of, 260
Penology, principles of, in A.D. 2000, 249
Philosophy, A.D. 2000, 109
Phonograph, the, 40
---- in education, 141, 303, note
----, the printing, 41
Photography, chromatic, 59
Plato, 188
Plumbers (their technical education), 25
Poetry of the future, 193
Post Office, the, 276
---- in A.D. 2000, 44
Power, economy of, 212
Prayer in A.D. 2000, 190
Press, freedom of the (its possible restriction), 247
Prices, relation of, and economy, 205
----, significance of, 32
Progress, rate of, 1, 135, 288
Psychical faculties, development of, 65, 130
Punishment, capital, 237, 257
Punishments, violent, will be abandoned, 238 (see Penology)


R

Radiation in therapeutics, 119
Radium, 11, 108, 118
Railway transport, 27
Recent Development of Physical Science (Whetham), 116, note
Referendum, 265
Religion, A.D. 2000, 175
----, education and, 182
----, high civilisation and, 175
----, indifference towards, 181
----, morality and, 186
----, mysticism and, 186, 188
----, "natural," 188
----, philosophy and, 187
Review of Reviews, the, 71
Roadways, moving, 30


S

Sahara, desert of, proposal to flood, 95
Saleeby, Dr. C. W., 108, 123, note
Salpetrière Hospital, 130
Scott, Sir Walter, 4
Sculpture, A.D. 2000, 198
Sea air, 26
----, the, mineral wealth of, 101
---- ----, utilisation of, 95
Shakespeare, 186
Ships, A.D. 2000, 30
Shorter, Clement K., 144
Siberia (its future), 93
Socialism, 51, 206, 210, 273
Society, gradual progress of, 287
Socrates, 186
Spencer, Herbert, 18, 146, note, 188, 287, 292
Sports, athletic, 54
State, the, usurpation of wrong functions by, 74, 273 (see Socialism)
Steam-engine, the (its imperfections), 7
Suburbs, 15


T

Talking-machines (see Phonograph), 61
Teleautoscope, the (an instrument for seeing by electricity), 43
Telephones, recording, 39
Telephony, wireless, 38
Theatre, the, 60
Times, The, 68, 71, 84
Tobacco, 214
Trade, retail (its development and changes), 86
Traill, H. D., 169
Transmutation of matter, 119
Travel, pleasures of, 57
Tyndall, John, 151, note


U

Unemployed, problem of the, 48


V

Vacuum, cleaning by, 21
Vice, effect of progress on, 64


W

Wages, 33
---- and co-operation, 51
War, abolition of, predicted, 76
---- correspondence, 74, note, 76, 78, note
----, its supposed advantages discussed, 226
Waste by alcohol, 215
---- by animal food, 215
----, illness regarded as a, 214
----, sewage disposal a, 215
----, war as a, 219 (see Economy)
Water, electrolysis of, 8
Weaklings, perpetuation of, 125
Wealth, limitation of, 49
Wellington, 5
Wells, H. G., 5, 20
Whetham, W. C., 116, note
Woman (her political influence), 283
---- (her political influence in America), 284
---- (her political influence in New Zealand), 284
----, position of, A.D. 2000, 283, (see Law and Marriage)
Workmen, condition of, 52
----, trains for, 15



NOTES


[1] Drains, it might be supposed, would disappear altogether from the
scheme of things in favour of some kind of destructors. For reasons
connected with a more enlightened view than we have yet reached of
certain aspects of terrestrial economy, however, I think they will,
with modifications, still exist.

[2] The chief difficulty in utilising the useful integument of wheat
disappears when the whole grain is finely milled.

[3] It is necessary to say here, as an offset to possible
misconstruction, that the word "evolution" has been purposely abstained
from. The processes of evolution are far slower than the changes
here contemplated. The latter are voluntary and purposeful, involving
no constructional alteration in the physical frame of man, but only
functional modifications, intentionally inaugurated and pursued.

[4] There is a contrivance already in existence which not only weighs
what is placed upon it, but can also be made to calculate the value
of the goods at any desired rate per ounce, pound or hundredweight.

[5] A practical objection to this principle may be here anticipated
and answered. Politicians may say that for any one nation to be
the pioneer in the adoption of such a policy would have the effect
of driving trade and manufactures into other countries where the
restriction did not exist. But there are so many highly necessary
reforms open to a similar objection that I think there is no doubt
that ultimately the jurists of all nations will agree upon some
arrangement for universal legislation, whereby laws not affecting the
relations of one country with another will be simultaneously enacted
by a comity of nations. We have already one very imperfect example
of such a procedure in the Convention against bounty-helped sugar.

[6] Not of course in the artistic sense of the word; nor is the
supersession of art by optical process in the least contemplated
here. The psychological interest of art will have appreciators more
and more numerous in virtue of the diffusion of culture confidently
anticipated.

[7] Ante, Chapter I.

[8] Ante, Chapter I.

[9] Kipling: The Five Nations.

[10] It can hardly be disputed that the British generals in the late
war in South Africa would have done well to cut the cables altogether,
or at all events reserve them exclusively for their own use. There
is very good evidence that, in spite of the interdiction of "coded"
messages, information passed both ways between the enemy and his agents
in Europe. The resolute manner in which the Japanese kept newspaper
correspondents away from the scene of action until no action remained
for them to correspond about, shows conclusively what will become of
the war-reporter during the few remaining decades which separate us
from the final disappearance of moribund war itself from the planet.

[11] Ante, Chapter III.

[12] Ante, Chapter IV.

[13] Ante, page 7.

[14] That is to say, the gases which are most difficult to liquefy, and
which consequently store up most energy in liquefying, viz., hydrogen,
oxygen and nitrogen, as distinguished from ammonia, carbon-dioxide,
chlorine, and other gases relatively easy to liquefy.

[15] The Recent Development of Physical Science. By W. C. Whetham,
F.R.S., 1904. London: John Murray.

[16] I do not forget that a good deal of what is on record as an
account of experiments in transmutation is purely mystical writing,
and that when Paracelsus and some of the French alchemists describe
what appear to be chemical experiments they are in reality referring
to something quite different. But the learned in these matters tell
me that one of their chief difficulties arises from the fact that,
contemporary with the mystics, there were other investigators who,
not having the key to the occult significance of the masters'
writings, really devoted themselves to research, some valuable, if
accidental, results of which have come down to us and are recorded
in all text-books of chemistry.

[17] Ante, page 79.

[18] I might have "boggled" (to use one of Mr Andrew Lang's
stately colloquialisms) before this suggestion, but for a remark
by Dr C. W. Saleeby, which may here be quoted, to keep me in
countenance. "Malaria," he writes in Nova Medica, Nov. 1904,
"which causes more illness than any other disease, is already
obsolescent. Tuberculosis, which causes more deaths than any other
disease, can be disposed of, apparently, whenever the human race,
now mightily smitten with internecine strife, decides that this
campaign against a common foe is worth while. It takes some seconds
to realise--or begin to realise--what the extinction of tuberculosis
will signify in private and hospital practice. Yet the extermination
of the last tubercle bacillus is an event quite certainly hidden in
the womb of time--time pregnant by science."

[19] Ante, page 34.

[20] Ante, Chapter III.

[21] The Twentieth Century Child. Chapter III.

[22] Spencer: Study of Sociology. Chapter XV.

[23] Having properly decided that it is well for children to be
fed plainly while at school, parents take the greatest pleasure in
alleviating this plainness by "tuck baskets" during term, and the
most wicked and immoral palate-tickling during holidays. Indeed an
excessive appetite seems to be regarded even by quite sensible people
as rather an ornament to the juvenile character. Mr Cooper, whose
charming book, The Twentieth Century Child, has already been referred
to, describes with what I am afraid is approval the incident of a boy
whom he brought away from school for a pleasure-trip just after lunch,
and who cheerfully devoured a second lunch in the company of his
friend. Assuredly our descendants will make no such mistakes as this.

[24] Tyndall "On the Importance of the Study of Physics as a Branch
of Education," a lecture at the Royal Institution: quoted by Herbert
Spencer in his Education, Intellectual, Moral and Physical, a work
which, though not very practical, contains a mass of very suggestive
matter on a subject which no one else, so far as I am aware, has
approached in quite the same spirit. As this book has been reprinted
at so low a price as sixpence, there is no excuse for any parent who
is unacquainted with its absolutely invaluable teachings.

[25] I think Mr Andrew Lang.

[26] Should we ever have a "universal" language, is it altogether
chimerical to imagine that it might be an idæographic one? Provided
that some simple code of idæographic writing were invented to denote
the very limited number of concrete notions essential to commercial
correspondence, no one who has had occasion to study Chinese, even
in the most cursory manner, would think it at all a severe effort of
the imagination to conceive of an idæographic notation as being used
for business correspondence. In Chinese, the unit of expression is
an idea. Words which relate to kindred subjects include, in their
idæographs, the sign for the connecting link. Thus the idæograph
for "agriculture" is made up of the sign for "strength" and for
"a field." Consequently, although the Japanese language when spoken
sounds so entirely unlike Chinese that a person knowing neither can
distinguish one from the other when heard across the width of a street,
the Japanese can read Chinese books without difficulty, and one form
of printing can be read by the Chinese of the North and those of
the South, although the spoken dialects differ so much that "pidgin"
English is often used by the two as a means of spoken communication. An
idæographic medium of commercial writing (not of course so archaic nor
so cumbersome as Chinese, but philosophically devised for the purpose)
would release the student from all difficulties of speech and accent;
he would always name the signs to himself in his own language.

[27] A method, it may be added, which can very usefully be practised
now. Those of us who "rub-up" our French or German a little before
a summer holiday by reading a novel or two, would always find the
results of this rubbing-up process to be greatly more effective, when
presently utilised abroad, if we would read always aloud instead of
in silence according to the usual procedure.

[28] Over-civilised, if one please, but I do not admit for an instant
that man can be over-civilised.

[29] Ante, Chapter III.

[30] Ante, Chapter II.

[31] Against some methods of securing this object no doubt the
unintelligent sentimentality of the present time would rebel; but if
any inconsistency be detected in my suggestion that the next century,
which is expected to be even milder than this, will accept them, it
only needs to be replied that the gentleness of our descendants will
be a reasonable and ordered gentleness, not a mere effect of morbid
sentimentality. They will not hesitate before an apparent and temporary
cruelty which is capable of preventing much greater suffering in a
much greater number of persons. The crime of permitting children to
be born with brains abnormally predisposed to evil of any sort will
more greatly revolt an intelligent age than any conceivable measure
adopted for its prevention.

[32] It may, perhaps, be thought that the disuse of trial by jury
would be liable to perpetuate a somewhat glaring abuse of our
present jurisprudence--the disproportionately severe repression of
offences against property as compared with the disproportionately
light repression of offences against the person. But the mere fact
that the "unlearned" bench is conspicuously inept in this particular
is no reason for thinking that "learned" courts would be so: and
meantime, as judges, like other men, are children of their epoch,
we may suppose that the increased mildness of the new age will be
reflected here as elsewhere, and that extenuating circumstances
will be allowed more weight in determining a sentence for larceny,
and less weight in determining a sentence for assault.

[33] Study of Sociology, Chapter XV.

[34] At least this was the opinion of the editors of the Clarendon
Press edition of the Plays.

[35] While actually correcting the proof sheets I read in a London
evening newspaper, The Star, that gramophones had been utilised in
certain schools for the teaching of foreign languages, a device I had
suggested in the chapter on Education as likely to be adopted in the
schools of the future.



                                THE END


           COLSTON AND COMPANY, LIMITED, PRINTERS, EDINBURGH





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