A Short History of English Liberalism/XI

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[ 324 ]



The policy of the Liberal Government which came into power in 1906 was the policy of those who had followed the old course during the Imperialist reaction. The general principles laid down by the new Prime Minister did not differ substantially from those of Gladstone, though the problems with which he had to deal were not precisely the same. His argument against Tariff Reform was inspired by the same zeal for personal freedom as those which he used against Chinese Labour, the Education Act, and aggression in South Africa. It was a conflict between habits of mind, and not a difference of opinion. Protection placed the common people at the mercy of capitalists and landlords, and increased the political power of plutocracy. Chinese labour established an industrial system, which had for its primary object, not the well-being of all its members, but the increase of the profits of capital. The Education Act subjected large numbers of Nonconformists to the domination of the Established Church in the instruction of their children. The Boer War was a brutal interference with the national concerns of a foreign race. The Liberal attack on the Imperialist position was thus general and not particular. Liberals in this matter were not fighting a single proposal, but a whole spirit and tone of policy and administration and legislation. "These fiscal proposals were saturated, as the whole of the present Government had been found to be, with restriction against freedom, with inequality between trade and trade with injustice towards the community of consumers, with [ 325 ] privilege and monopoly, with jealousy and unfriendliness towards other nations. They were essentially part of a retrograde and anti-democratic system."[347] It was this clear sight of the real issues of the moment which extinguished Lord Rosebery, and brought back the Liberals who had supposed they could at once support the Boer War and retain Liberal habits of mind in domestic affairs. The great social currents which had run strong until Home Rule produced a temporary diversion had once more gathered head, and those who suggested that the Liberal party could take a clean slate, and ignore the writings of its predecessors, were sharply reminded by the result of the election that it was their duty to take up the tale where it had been interrupted twenty years before. When the flood of war had subsided, the social stream was found running in the channel which it had followed since the French Revolution. The bad memories of Ireland were not effaced. The problems of industry were more urgent than ever. The pent-up hopes of women broke free. Nonconformity once more demanded relief from sectarian domination. Only those could deal with the new situation who had not tried to forget how they had been accustomed to deal with the old. Lord Rosebery, punting about for a new course, grounded on the shallows, and was left behind. Campbell-Bannerman, holding on the old course through the storm, found himself afloat, and set for a prosperous journey.

Much of the Liberal work done since 1905 has consisted in the undoing of the work of reactionary Toryism. For the first time since the close of the French War, Liberalism has found itself engaged in maintaining establishments, and in leading the people to reoccupy positions which they have evacuated. Free Trade is a purely negative policy, and means nothing but keeping the ground clear for economic reconstruction. The unsuccessful attempts at Education and Licensing Reform would at best have done no more than restore the social values which had been established in the previous century. The extension of [ 326 ] self-government to the Transvaal and the Orange River Colony undid, so far as it could be undone, the war, and restored freedom.[348] The abolition of Chinese Labour was a complete reversal of a policy only a few years old. The Trade Disputes Act of 1906 put Trade Unions in the legal position which they had occupied without question for twenty years after 1874.[349] All this work of restoration hampered the Government in its positive work, and when it ought to have been free to deal with the peculiar problems of its own day, it was forced to wait while it resettled those of a previous generation. The most original work of the new Liberalism has been economic. What most distinguishes the Governments which have held office since 1906 is the degree to which they have interfered with the economic structure of society in order to give greater freedom to the poorer classes. This work was begun under Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman, and since Mr. Lloyd George has relieved Mr. Asquith of the duty of inspiring his followers with new ideas, has been controlled and directed by the present Chancellor of the Exchequer. The Budget of 1909, the Old Age Pensions Act, the Workmen's Compensation Act, the Wages Boards Act, the Labour Exchanges Act, the Education (Provision of Meals) Act, and the Insurance Act have all one feature in common, the use of State machinery for the active assistance of the economically weak. The principle of the Factory Acts has been extended into projects for Social Reform, the number and variety of which may be almost indefinitely increased. Burke's test of convenience is applied even to the [ 327 ] right of property. "Private property is no longer regarded as one of the natural rights of man; its incidents are considered and settled by the common modern criterion of all these matters—to wit, the balance of social advantage."[350]

This growth of the importance attached to economic problems has appeared sudden only to those who have been at once deaf to the warnings of history and without experience of personal hardship. The dangers once expected from extensions of the franchise had receded from the view of a plutocracy and a middle class, which had contemplated for twenty years a common people dazzled by visions of national greatness.[351] The clamour with which these disposing classes greeted the new democracy in 1906 expressed the natural dismay of those who had thought that they could always manage the people as they pleased, and now realized, in the presence of forty working men elected to the House of Commons, that the people were going to manage themselves. Gladstone's concentration upon Ireland had delayed this advent. But for his adoption of Home Rule, the new policy, already suggested by Mr. Chamberlain, would have been incorporated in practical Liberalism at least fifteen years earlier. It was not made less ominous by the postponement. Economic discontent was both more bitter and more articulate in 1906 than it would have been in 1891. The Trade Unions had been roused by hostile judicial decisions. The political organizations of workmen were perfected, and the Trade Unions and the Independent Labour Party worked in harmony. The workmen formed a distinct party of their own, and several of their [ 328 ] representatives were of definitely Socialist opinions. Outside the working classes the public mind had been directed more and more to the study of industrial problems. The Fabian Society had been active for twenty years, and Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Webb were only the most industrious of the many investigators who were establishing a historical and scientific case for reform. All this improvement of machinery marched with an increase in actual distress. The war added not only to the temporary, but also to the permanent burdens of the poor, and not merely by accumulating debt, but by increasing the expenditure on armaments which an immoral policy required for its defence. The dislocation of industry, which always follows a war, had brought insecurity to many and destitution to not a few. Casual labour was more general, and sweating not less than at any previous period. In every direction distress and discontent had increased, and the political machinery was now adapted to the direct and articulate expression of the feelings of the common people. The Parliament of 1906 represented the desire of the masses to fit their conditions of life to their own capacity for growth.

Liberals were bound to apply themselves to the new conditions in a new way, and it savours of pedantry to accuse Liberal economists of 1906 of having departed from the principles of Liberal economists of 1846. Paradoxical as it may appear to say that a positive policy of constant interference is the same as a negative policy of constant abstention, it is true that the mental habit at the back of the one is identical with that at the back of the other. Both aim at emancipating the individual from the things which prevent him from developing his natural capacities. The Manchester School saw only the fetters which directly impeded him. The modern Liberal sees also the want of the positive aids without which he is only half free. "Of all the obstacles which obstruct men's advance towards good living, and of all the evils with which politics can help to deal, there is no obstacle more formidable and no evil more grave than poverty.... Our first principle leads clearly and directly to a policy of social [ 329 ] reform. Whoever admits that the duty of the State is to secure, so far as it is able, the fullest opportunities to lead the best life, cannot refuse to accept the further proposition, that to lessen the causes of poverty and to lighten its effects are essential parts of a right policy of State action."[352] Poverty cripples the individual in many ways. It deprives him of mobility, so that he cannot travel freely in search of employment. It prevents him from accumulating reserves for times of emergency, so that a depression in trade or an illness of a month's duration may drive an honest and industrious man with his wife and family to the workhouse, and make it impossible for him ever again to resume his place in the ranks of independent labour. It disables him from saving enough to keep himself in his old age, and thus makes him either an additional burden on his children or a charge upon the ratepayers. If bad enough, it permanently reduces his bodily, mental, and moral efficiency, stunts his faculties, prevents the full development of his children, and creates disease, vice, and crime in himself and his descendants. The diseases, the temporary losses of employment, and the fluctuations in income which, to a man of substantial means, may never be, and cannot immediately be disastrous, often involve in the case of the ordinary wage-earner, the complete destruction of everything which makes life worth living. No one who seriously believes that it is the duty of society to secure freedom of growth to every one of its members can doubt that it is its duty to mitigate, so far as it is able, those consequences of poverty which no degree of thrift, enterprise, or fortitude can avert.

To this end the economic reforms of the new Liberalism have been directed. The Labour Exchanges Act did not furnish work for all. It provided facilities for obtaining work for all who sought for it. The workman is no longer left to scramble about for fresh employment. He goes to a public office, where he learns what posts are vacant, and is put in touch with those who may be willing to employ him. No man can now complain that because he cannot afford to travel in search of work, or to delay [ 330 ] for more than a day or two before he finds it, he has suffered a permanent deterioration in health or character. If this Act can eliminate the evils of casual and irregular labour, it will have enormously increased individual liberty for growth.[353] The Old Age Pensions Act removed from the shoulders of working-class families what was to many an intolerable burden. Before the Act came into force some thousands of men and women, from no cause but the lapse of time, became incapable of supporting themselves. The alternatives were the workhouse and the generosity of their children. The first meant a loss of independence for themselves, the second a fetter upon the freedom of their relations. In the absence of sickness requiring hospital treatment, the pension of five shillings a week is generally sufficient to maintain the dignity of the pensioner and the efficiency of the children. The Workmen's Compensation Act, extending Mr. Chamberlain's Acts of 1896 and 1900, insures the working people against accident as the Old Age Pensions Act insures them against age, and the Insurance Act against sickness and unemployment due to causes beyond their control. So the Act providing for the feeding of necessitous children in public schools aims at preventing the permanent deterioration of body and character which is produced by inadequate nourishment in the early years of life. So the Wage Boards Act and the Miners' Minimum Wage Act established machinery for fixing a wage in certain employments which, having regard to the circumstances of each trade, would insure that the wage-earner should enjoy a reasonable standard of health and comfort. All these measures are based upon the same principle, that absolute liberty of the individual meant the degradation, if not the destruction, of many individuals who were poor. There can be no equal chance of growth so long as accidents which cannot be averted, by any effort of the individual, may permanently impair his natural capacity. Social reform is [ 331 ] justified as a national army is justified. It is a system of common organization for the purpose of common protection. What Mr. Churchill said of insurance may be said of all these economic projects: "I think it is our duty to use the strength and the resources of the State to arrest the ghastly waste, not merely of human happiness, but of national health and strength, which follows when a working man's home, which has taken him years to get together, is broken up and scattered through a long spell of unemployment, or when, through the death, the sickness, or the invalidity of the bread-winner, the frail boat in which the fortunes of the family are embarked founders, and the women and children are left to struggle helplessly on the dark waters of a friendless world."[354] The conception of society is no longer that of an extended procession, the strongest pushing on to the full limit of their powers, while the country to the rear is strewn with the sick and injured. It is that of a compact army, every man of which has to be brought in, with a sufficient organization of waggons and ambulances to pick up all the stragglers.

This elaboration of the system of protection is not inconsistent with such competition as is necessary for the development of character, and for the production of the wealth which is so distributed among the members of society. It is not Socialism. It is not a system of doles. It removes only some of the risks of failure, and only those which are beyond individual control. No man is made less thrifty because at the age of seventy he will receive five shillings a week. No man works the better for knowing that if he is ever ill for a month he and his family will never be free again, or will work the worse for knowing that his home will be kept together until he is able once more to support it by his own exertions. No woman gets any virtue out of working fifteen hours a day for seven days a week, with the knowledge that even then she will not earn enough to keep herself in food and clothing without recourse to charity or prostitution, and her character will not be deteriorated when a [ 332 ] level is fixed below which her wages cannot fall. The benefit of competition remains. The disasters inevitably attendant on it are averted. The poorer people no longer wrestle on the brink of an unfenced precipice. "I do not want to see impaired the vigour of competition, but we can do much to mitigate the consequences of failure. We want to draw a line below which we will not allow persons to live and labour, yet above which they may compete with all the strength of their manhood. We want to have free competition upwards; we decline to allow free competition to run downwards. We do not want to pull down the structures of science and civilization, but to spread a net over the abyss."[355] "It is clear that the unlimited and uncontrolled struggle of wages spells anarchy almost as painful in its effects as the unlimited and uncontrolled competition of physical force in our streets and highways. What is to be the remedy? What, using the expression in its broadest sense, appears to be the solution—whether through Parliament, local boards, or an independent Commission—to which we are heading? A Plimsoll line for labour as well as for ships; a line above which the ship is not to sink with its burden when it puts out to sea; a line to limit with human lives on land as with those 'who go down to the sea in great ships,' the extent of peril and suffering to which the worker is to be liable. Not to abolish competition any more than competition has been abolished in ships. Competition will always be powerful enough. But to limit the strife—to fix a ring round the prize-fight—to protect the vital parts from the blows of the combatants."[356] These statements reconcile the old individualism with the new. Individual growth can only take place in competition. But it is not necessary that failure in competition should be mortal. The struggle of competition is to go on. But it is not to go on to the death. Economic society is to be converted into a gigantic Trade Union,[357] based upon the [ 333 ] belief that the highest good of the individual can only be secured in co-operation with his fellows, and limiting his freedom only in so far as it is necessary to secure freedom to his associates.

It is obvious that this new economic Liberalism has borrowed largely from Socialism, and it has one character in common with Protection. Once we admit that it is right for the State to interfere with economic freedom, we have advanced one step on the road which leads towards the nationalization of industry and towards the regulation of production by tariffs. The difference between Social Reform and Tariff Reform is nevertheless clear. Social Reform operates directly, only where it is needed, and without substantially interfering with any individual's enjoyment of life. Tariff Reform, if it can destroy poverty at all, can only destroy it indirectly by giving higher profits to the employer, who may or may not share his increased gains with his workpeople. Its operation is also entirely capricious, it can only apply to industries which suffer from foreign competition, and cannot touch those many underpaid forms of employment in which such competition cannot or does not in fact exist. Finally, as it can only operate by raising prices, it can only give benefits to one class of labour by imposing burdens upon another. It has only one certainty, the increase of prices, with the consequent increase of profits and rents. The benefits to be obtained from it by the poor are vague, must be confined to one section only, and cannot be got by that except at the cost of those which are differently situated.

The resemblance between Social Reform and Socialism is much more real. The sympathies and the objects of the two are not dissimilar, though their practical proposals are essentially different. Socialism, so far as it is ever expressed in definite terms, makes a logical application of a general formula. Private ownership of the means of production, distribution, and exchange means a combination of the owners of capital against the wage-earners to the injury of the class which is economically the weaker of the two. Therefore society as a whole must take possession of industrial capital, production for use must be substituted for [ 334 ] production for profit, work at a good wage must be guaranteed to every one who asks for it, and the fair distribution of wealth among the workers must be regarded as of more primary importance than the quantity which is produced. Socialists differ widely about methods and the rapidity with which the economic change is to be effected. Generally, the modern Socialist of the Fabian type prefers a gradual evolution to the cruder appropriations of early thinkers, he is prepared to exempt certain industries from his scheme, and the equal distribution of rewards has gone the way of the class war and community of goods. But all agree that, sooner or later, society, as politically organized in the form of the State, shall produce and distribute or control the production and distribution of wealth according to ethical principles. The Liberal is less universal in his proposals. He does not object to the municipalization, or even nationalization, of mechanical monopolies, of industries which in fact do not admit of competition. Such industries as the supply of water, gas and electricity, tramways and railways, are not in fact competitive, and efficiency is probably as well maintained by aggrieved payers of rates and taxes as by shareholders disappointed of their profits. But the Liberal is not disposed to admit that similar conditions would produce similar results in industries of a more speculative or hazardous character. Nor can he admit that private ownership of capital necessarily involves the exploitation of labour. In certain industries, notably the cotton industry of Lancashire, he sees examples of the successful combination of individual enterprise in management with minimum standards of life and wages fixed either by the Factory Acts or by powerful Trade Unions, and he is not satisfied that the enterprise would be as brilliant or the minimum standards as high if the capital engaged were owned by the State.

In particular, the Liberal distrusts the bureaucratic system of management which Socialism involves. The London School of Economics seems to him a very good servant. He has no doubt that it would be a bad master. Even with its disadvantages, the system which makes private gain at once the [ 335 ] incentive to efficiency and its only possible test may be much superior to that which leaves the determination of industrial policy to a sort of lay hierarchy. An active and persecuting aristocracy will at least keep its subjects alive. The dull and unimaginative methods of bureaucracy stifle even when they are inspired by benevolence. Officialism is generally fatal to new ideas, and apart from the reduction of wealth which would probably follow the abolition of private profit, the officialization of mind which would be diffused throughout society is a sufficiently deadly argument against Socialism. It might even destroy individual life as completely as did some of the religions of the East. This argument against Socialism is to some extent an argument against Social Reform. Social Reform requires the appointment of many officials. But the functions of such as have already been appointed are confined to inspection, to advice, and to the collection of money or information. We have had no experience of officials engaged in the manufacture of goods for export, or in the conduct of the shipping trade. Such experience as we have had of municipal enterprise has only satisfied us of the capacity of officials who are controlled and criticized by unofficial ratepayers, who have a personal and pecuniary interest in the efficiency of the official. No Liberal Government has yet proposed to extend official management to those many fields where success depends upon the judicious calculation of risks. Until that proposal is made there will always be a gulf between Liberals and Socialists, and a distinction between the policy which limits the destructiveness of competition for private gain and that which abolishes such competition altogether.

A second objection which is urged against Social Reform is its cost; and the charges on the public, required by Old Age Pensions, Insurance, and Labour Exchanges, have afforded a good opportunity for contrasting the greatly increased expenditure of Liberal Government with the demand of Liberal Opposition for "Peace, Retrenchment, and Reform." As the terms are now understood, Retrenchment and Reform cannot go together. The new Liberalism has been compelled to recognize that [ 336 ] economy and parsimony are not synonymous expressions, and that the mere refusal to spend money may in the end prove more costly than a judicious outlay in the present. What is too generally ignored by the critics of this new policy is that, in one way or another, all the service which is now being rendered by the State has already been rendered by society. Since the reign of Elizabeth we have admitted our duty to provide for the destitute, and the burden which has not fallen upon the poor rates has been borne by private charity, by public hospitals, and by the police. In public or private poor relief, in the curing of disease, and in the punishment of crime we have long been accustomed to pay for the consequences of poverty. The new Social Reforms merely transfer these various duties to the national Exchequer. It is impossible to compare figures of expenditure. But it is most probable that ultimately the total weight of poverty will be considerably less than under the old system. Prevention is better than cure. Relief used to be delayed until some permanent degradation of body or character had taken place. It is now applied while there is still a chance of restoring the unfortunate to their old efficiency. The Old Age Pension directly relieves the rates by keeping the pensioner out of the workhouse, or gives his family the opportunity of a fuller life by releasing the money hitherto required for his support. The Insurance Act should eventually abolish all that very large proportion of pauperism which is produced by casual sickness, prevent the deterioration which so often follows the temporary loss of work, and maintain the average level of industrial efficiency at a higher level than before. The Minimum Wage Acts impose a direct charge upon industry. It is possible that some trades may be extinguished because they cannot bear the charge. If that should be the event, it can only be because the trades in question are at present parasitic: they do not support themselves, but suck nourishment from society by way of outdoor relief, charity, petty larceny, or prostitution. The cost to the community will here be made definite instead of remaining unknown. But in most of the underpaid trades the Acts will have the same effect as a powerful [ 337 ] Trade Union. So long as Parliament abstains from fixing wages, and confines itself to the erection of machinery for fixing them in accordance with the conditions of the trade, Minimum Wage Acts merely create by law what Trade Unionism creates by voluntary effort. The higher wages established under the Acts will do what higher wages established under Trade Unionism have done. They will mean increased efficiency, increased production of wealth, and increased purchasing power. In this case, as in those of the Workmen's Compensation Act and the Insurance Act, not only will a burden be transferred from one part of the community to another, but it will in time be reduced in weight. So the Act for feeding necessitous school-children, by preventing the reduction of physical, mental, and moral strength in the present, will prevent future expenditure in poor relief, hospitals, and police. The survey which includes nothing but the legislative reforms themselves is partial and deceptive. It is only when we realize that poverty is already being relieved in a tardy, disorganized, and unscientific way that we can see how the cost of the new reforms will be in fact a most wise economy of national resources, and that by spending on prevention instead of on restoration we will actually be saving money.

The philosophical argument against Social Reform which has most weight is neither the argument from bureaucracy nor the argument from expense. It is the argument which is more justly directed against Socialism, that by helping individuals the State deprives them, in whole or in part, of the disposition to help themselves, that they tend to rely more and more upon the social organization and less upon their own strength. Everything in the way of public assistance is thus regarded with suspicion. To feed school-children is to weaken parental responsibility. To raise wages by legislation is as demoralizing as to distribute doles. To offer a pension of five shillings a week in old age is to discourage thrift in youth. It is therefore better, in the end, that poverty should be allowed to run its course than that a misdirected benevolence should demoralize [ 338 ] the people. This argument, reproducing the logical individualism of the Utilitarians, has been greatly strengthened by Darwinism. No less impartial a man than Herbert Spencer has thus applied the theory of evolution to political affairs. "The well-being of existing humanity, and the unfolding of it into ... ultimate perfection, are both secured by the same beneficent, though severe discipline to which the animate creation at large is subject; a felicity-pursuing law which never swerves for the avoidance of partial and temporary suffering. The poverty of the incapable, the distresses that come upon the imprudent, the starvation of the idle, and those shoulderings aside of the weak by the strong, which leave so many in shallows and in miseries, are the decree of a large, far-seeing benevolence."[358] The conception, which makes of foreign politics an immoral conflict between nations, is to make of domestic politics an equally immoral conflict between individuals, in which justice and humanity are to be set aside as inconsistent with the progress of the race. At first sight it would appear that the whole of that progress up to the time of Darwin had been along a wrong line. If there is one thing which most distinguishes modern from ancient society, and society of any kind from the disorganized existence of primitive man, it is the prevalence of the idea that we are, in some measure, responsible for the condition of our neighbours. The emotions and the reasoning faculties which have produced moral inhibitions on our own desires, laws for the protection of the weak against the strong, the machinery of private charity, and the public relief of the poor, all these have been evolved with the other characteristics of humanity as we know it. If the course of past development is any guide we may be certain that unless we take steps to alter our conditions, we shall certainly continue in the same course in the future. It would be at least surprising that the salvation of the race should now be found to lie in deliberate reaction, against the movement of countless ages towards the stage of undisciplined human egoism which followed that of the anthropoid apes. A doctrine so repugnant to what we [ 339 ] have been accustomed to regard as our better feelings requires little examination to discover its fallacies.

The evolutionary argument against Social Reform falls to the ground when it is once admitted that the individuals in contemplation are individuals organized in a society, and that it is only so long as they are so organized that development, as we understand it, can take place. If mankind were left to scramble for such good things as it could get without co-operation, the race would no doubt, in course of time, develop such characteristics as that competition would allow to survive. But if we erect higher standards, and require, even from selfish motives, the moral, intellectual, and physical benefits which only organization, culture, and the communication of ideas will produce, the comparison between human beings and the rest of the animate creation is useless for our purpose. Some limitation of the struggle for existence is obviously needed, if we are not to fall back to the level where only the brute qualities of strength, swiftness, and cunning are of value. Once we admit the need of a social organization, which involves a very considerable check on mechanical evolution by the survival of the fittest, the only controversy is about the extent and character of the limits on competition, and not about their existence. The beasts, birds, and fishes which are unfit for their environment, and have not those qualities which make for survival, perish by disease or are destroyed by their enemies. The man generally remains a drag on the community. What is the community to do with him? The lethal chamber being regarded as impossible, it must keep him in hospital, in prison, in the workhouse, or in a charitable institution, and if he is not thus maintained he will maintain himself by crime or beggary. Throughout his life he remains a parasite upon his fellows. It is always therefore the most economical course, if it be possible, to alter his environment, so that he may have the chance of supporting himself.

But the argument for Social Reform is not based only on the possibility of altering environment so that individuals who are unfit for it may maintain themselves so long as they live. Spencer was reasoning away from the facts. It is not only the incapable [ 340 ] who are poor. It is not only the imprudent who are overcome by distresses. It is not only the idle who starve. Bad conditions of life destroy not only the inefficient, but the efficient, and many of those whom they do not kill they maim. He is a very dull and stupid observer who supposes that all the slovenly, debauched, and criminal men and women whom he sees around him are what they are because of their innate qualities, or that all those who die of their own dirt, debauchery, and criminality are any worse. They were not all born criminals whom our great-grandfathers hung or transported for petty larceny, nor are they all born inefficients whom some modern eugenists would segregate or sterilize. A bad environment does not merely destroy the inefficient, it manufactures them; and it is as reasonable to oppose social reform, because it prevents the elimination of the unfit, as it would be to defend excessive eating and drinking, or sitting in wet clothes. Unhealthy living would no doubt destroy people with weak stomachs and livers, and a tendency to chalky deposits in the joints. But for every one who perished in this struggle with environment there would be ten who survived. Bad housing and bad wages produce the same results as bad habits. Of all the slum children who die of their surroundings, a large number would have lived to become valuable citizens if they had had better conditions of life in their early years. An ill-fed girl becomes the mother of weakly children. Inadequate housing produces disease, incest, and prostitution, besides killing a few undesirable infants. Casual labour kills only after it has given birth to an incalculable amount of laziness, vice, and mental disorder. Everywhere the good is kept back, even if some of the bad is prevented from development. The slum creates what the slum destroys, and it discharges upon the community much that it does not destroy. The elimination of the unfit is uncertain and capricious. The deterioration of the fit is certain and remorseless. Social Reform, if it is nothing else, is thus the only possible means of discovering which individuals are fit in the human sense. It is only when all have a chance of survival that we can distinguish the naturally inefficient from the accidentally inefficient. The [ 341 ] reformer need have no fear that his generous impulses are signs of an anti-social sentimentalism. He is in fact only Evolution conscious of itself. He marks a point in the great course of life, at which the cultivation of individuals ceases to be careless and wasteful, and becomes deliberate and economical, adapting its own environment to the achievement of its ideals.

When the necessity for Social Reform is admitted, the provision for its cost affords another opportunity for the conflict of Liberalism and Toryism. The Budget of 1909, which tempted a plutocratic House of Lords into a rashness which an aristocratic House of Lords had never ventured to display, was a clear expression of the new Liberal principles. Part of that Budget was merely an extension of the Finance Act of 1894. Another part was entirely new. It carried the principle of graduation to a further point, both in income tax and in death duties, and it imposed for the first time a tax upon the natural monopoly of land. To those who understand the meaning of Social Reform, the necessity of the Budget is clear. Money must be found for the purpose of relieving poverty. To raise it by a general taxation of rich and poor would be to lay a new burden upon the poor in order to remove an old burden, to increase by one act the poverty which the other was intended to diminish. Social Reform financed by Protection is an economic contradiction. The money required to improve the condition of the poor must be taken from the rich, if it is to be of any practical use. The heaviest of the new taxes were therefore placed, according to a graduated scale, upon the payers of income tax, the inheritors of large estates, and the recipients of unearned increments from land. These taxes had one principle in common. They were based, not upon the enjoyment of property, but the method of its acquisition. Those who drew incomes from permanent investments were taxed more heavily than those whose prosperity depended upon their personal exertions, and the owners of property, which was a natural monopoly and grew in value without any effort of their own, were compelled to pay charges, from which the owners of property of other kinds were exempted. Other taxes were imposed upon [ 342 ] the luxuries of the working classes. These would in any case be paid by those who could afford them, and would not deprive a poor man of anything which was a real necessity of life.

The arguments against the Budget were characteristic of their plutocratic origin. The class which had used Imperialist sentiment in the interest of its foreign investments, and had proposed at once to finance its military exploits and to increase its wealth by taxation of the common people, naturally resented this increase of its own fiscal burdens. The super-tax on incomes of more than £5,000 a year was described as a penalty upon thrift and enterprise, and it was urged with most patriotic zeal that these appropriations of surplus wealth would produce unemployment. The answer to the first argument is that incomes and accumulations of a size to be affected by the new taxes are not produced by thrift, in any real sense of the word, nor will the enterprise which produces them be checked by such trifling deductions. Enterprise was as vigorous and successful fifty years ago, when £10,000 a year was a very large income, as it is now, when incomes of £50,000 and £100,000, are almost as common. A certain definite inducement is required to stimulate a man to the utmost use of his capacity for producing wealth. Beyond that limit all that he earns is sheer waste, and uneconomic remuneration which evokes no further effort. Upon that surplus, and upon that only, do the new taxes operate. The argument from unemployment is more specious. It is that, deprived of the money required for income tax and death duties, the more prosperous citizens will be compelled to dismiss some of their servants. During the discussion of the Budget, the general public learnt, for the first time, that those wealthy persons who spent money on horses and dogs, motor-cars, jewellery, and china, shooting-boxes, racing stables, and rock-gardens were animated by no selfish love of their own ease and comfort, but by a disinterested passion for providing remunerative labour for the common people. The argument was partial. It dealt only with the taxes of the Budget, and ignored the alternative taxes of Tariff Reform. The problem was to raise money. Whatever form the taxation took, it must [ 343 ] deprive the taxpayer of his power of spending money and employing labour. If £1,000 was paid by a man with £20,000 a year, his power to employ motormen and gardeners, jockeys, gamekeepers, and dealers in pictures and jewellery was reduced by precisely that amount. But if the same sum is paid by a thousand cotton operatives, their power to employ butchers, bakers, tailors, and bootmakers is equally reduced. The reduction of employment is precisely the same in each case, whether the £1,000 is taxed out of one rich man or out of a thousand poor men. But there is an infinite difference in the other consequences of the two systems of taxation. The rich man paying the £1,000 is not deprived of anything which contributes to his present efficiency, to his future security, or to his reasonable enjoyment of life.[359] The poor men paying the same sum may suffer in any one of the three ways. A charge of sixpence a week upon an artisan who earns twenty-five shillings a week may be the difference between sufficiency and insufficiency. A charge of £1,000 a year upon the head of a family who earns, or receives without earning, £20,000 a year leaves him with everything which could be required for the fullest development of all his natural capacities. Taxation of poverty cripples life. Taxation of wealth does not. The new Liberalism, seeking to extend life, must draw upon abundance and superfluity.


In their economic proposals the Liberal Governments since 1906 have thus advanced along the old line towards the more complete emancipation of the individual. If they have interfered with liberty, they have interfered with liberty on one side only to enlarge it on another, and the money required for reform has been so provided as to reduce by as little as possible individual capacity for growth. Whatever the particular defects of these [ 344 ] social reforms may be, their general character has been as Liberal as that of the reforms of 1832 and 1868. In other matters they have met with varied success. Their repayment of debt and their refusal to continue the wasteful policy of borrowing for the construction of works have followed the best traditions of Peel and Gladstone, though Mr. Lloyd George's treatment of the surplus of 1912 affords a vicious precedent for less economical successors. The Irish University Act, the Home Rule Bill, and the Welsh Disestablishment Bill are partly recognitions of the principle of nationality, concessions to the demand that matters of local concern shall be regulated by local opinion. They also express the other Liberal principle, that sects shall be equal in the State. Recent demonstrations in Ulster, the persecution of Catholic and Liberal workmen in the shipyards of Belfast, and speeches which reveal a ferocity of religious bigotry equal to that of the seventeenth century, have confirmed rather than weakened Liberal belief in Home Rule. So long as one section of Irish society looks to England as the successor of an ancient enemy, and the other looks to her as a protector against the descendants of those whom their fathers kept beneath their heel, so long will incompatibility of temper exist. As soon as possible Liberals intend to put the inhabitants of Ireland in such a position that, ceasing to batten upon the exhumed remains of mediæval controversies, they may discover, in the course of managing their joint affairs, that they are only Irishmen after all. The various Education Bills seem to have only partially expressed Liberal principles. It is impossible, in a country where sharply divided sects exist side by side, to establish a system which shall completely satisfy any party. Denominationalists and undenominationalists must agree upon mutual concessions. No practical hardship is done where denominational schools, with teachers subjected to denominational tests, are confined to the instruction of children whose parents approve of such a system. The demand of some Nonconformists, that they should not be compelled to pay for denominational teaching, cannot be recognized unless the demand of some Churchmen and all Catholics, [ 345 ] that they should not be compelled to pay for undenominational teaching, is also recognized. Whatever logical answer there may be to the second, a Liberal State, accepting the equality of all sects as its first principle, must give them precisely the same liberty as the first. If a Churchman is not to count for more than a Dissenter, a Dissenter is not to count for more than a Churchman. Where the denominationalist case passes from a reasonable request for justice to the assertion of an insolent and intolerable claim to control the opinions of others is when it requires that any school, which was founded for denominational purposes, shall be maintained by public money as a denominational school, with denominational teachers, for the instruction of Nonconformist children. No Liberal can have regard to this claim, not to teach their own opinions to their own children, but to teach their own opinions to other people's children. Nothing can justify this part of the denominationalist case, which would not also justify a grant from the national Exchequer to the Church of England for a mission to convert Dissenters. So far as the recent proposals tend to overthrow this denominational control of schools to which the children of Nonconformist parents are compelled by circumstances to go, they are as purely Liberal as the repeal of the Test Act or the abolition of the Church monopoly of the Universities.


In two matters of vital importance the Liberal Governments have conspicuously failed to express Liberal principles. The right of the individual to control his own government was recognized, with equal courage and wisdom, when the conquered Dutch Republics, in the face of Tory opposition, received the grant of responsible government under the Crown. The contest with the House of Lords in 1910 re-established the control of government elected by representatives, and the subordination of the hereditary and irresponsible House to that which the people could choose for themselves. The payment of Members has somewhat enlarged the field of choice, though the expense of an election is still an almost impassable obstacle to a [ 346 ] poor man. The Plural Voting Bill, passed through the Commons and rejected by the Lords, was an attempt of the same sort to give equal political rights to individuals, irrespective of the amount of their property, and the Franchise Bill of 1912 proposed to abolish the property qualification, or limitation, altogether. The extension of political freedom in South Africa and the defeat of the House of Lords in its attempt to prevent the application of the new economic principles of Liberalism represented real conflicts in matters of vital importance. The other measures were comparatively trifling, and the proposal to enfranchise all adult men has less popular enthusiasm behind it than any previous Reform Bill which was introduced by a Government. The only existing problem which involves the struggle between essential Liberalism and essential Toryism is that of Woman Suffrage. It is here, more than in any other field of domestic policy, that the Government have failed to discover and to pursue the Liberal course.

It is not the purpose of the writer to describe in detail a course of events which has been so interesting to the student of reforming fanaticism, unimaginative administration, and political chicanery. The levity with which Members of Parliament have given pledges which they never meant to perform, and have prepared to break pledges given openly, in the face of all circumstances, existing, probable, and possible, may seem ludicrous or contemptible according to the disposition of those who watch the working of the political machine.[360] The writer has little to say about this subject in this place. He is now only concerned to place the demand for the enfranchisement of women in relation [ 347 ] with other expressions of the Liberal habit of mind. The arguments which support Woman Suffrage are those which have supported every proposal for the enfranchisement of men. Women claim now to be treated in political society as Dissenters claimed to be treated in 1828, and Catholics in 1829, and the middle class in 1832. They decline to remain any longer at the disposition of governors over whom they have no control. They desire to enforce their opinions, not merely as a sex, for the removal of such political disabilities as are imposed upon them on account of their sex, but as separate and distinct individuals, each of whom has the same interest in questions of general politics as a man. Women have peculiar grievances in marriage laws, in the law dealing with sexual vice and crime, in the payment of women in the Civil Service, and in threatened legislation for excluding married women from work in factories. But their peculiar grievances are no more to them than those which they share with men. They pay taxes, their conditions of labour are regulated by the State, their wages may be affected, favourably or adversely, by legislation, questions of peace and war are decided to their benefit or detriment, in almost every action of Government the individual woman is involved to precisely the same extent as the individual man. It is not to them a question of men imposing oppressive taxes upon women, it is a question of a legislature imposing taxes upon individuals. The human being who controls his own fortunes and takes all the chance of life in society is to them no different from any other human being in the same situation. To confer political control upon one class of such human beings and to deny it to the other is to establish one of those artificial distinctions in social value which are of the essence of Toryism, and produce the private egoism in the superior and the incomplete development of the inferior which have been already described.

The arguments against Woman Suffrage are the usual arguments of Toryism. The franchise is not a right, but a privilege, to be conferred by a disposing class upon such persons as it selects. Women are, from physical causes, periodically incapable of taking a rational interest in public affairs. To enfranchise women will [ 348 ] distract them from their proper duties of maternity and the management of the home. It will produce dissension between husband and wife. It will lead to the admission of women to the professions, to Parliament, and to public offices. To those who have followed the course of Liberalism, as described in these pages, the arguments will appear familiar. The first is the general Tory assumption, inconsistent with every Liberal proposal of every kind, that the individual has no rights, except such as the State, or rather the governing class, chooses to bestow upon him. The second, third, and fourth are the egoistic arguments, which express the mind of a person who sees another always in relation with himself. They assume that the other is completely defined in terms of that relationship, and has outside its limits no character. All the actions of the other are explained by abstract reasoning from that assumption. Women are thus supposed to be involved entirely in their sex, and while no man suggests that the demand of transport workers for higher wages or the violence incident to a transport strike is an expression of maleness, the demand of women for the franchise and the violence of militant Suffragists are assumed to be the actions of spinsters disappointed of maternity and of females impelled by perverted sexual instincts.[361] The argument from maternity is one of those which imply that the governed class must be confined, so far as artificial methods permit, to those occupations which it can only perform in association with the governors. Women's political fortunes must be regulated upon the assumption that they ought to become mothers. Women are not to be free to choose maternity out of all possible occupations, they must be driven to it by the want of opportunity to do anything else. It is not a question of what women think that they ought to do, but of what men think that they ought to do. The individual is not to have the right to plan out her life as she pleases. Maternity is her business, and men will so contrive the State as to [ 349 ] discourage her from engaging in any other. In the same way eighteenth-century fathers warned their daughters not to develop their minds, lest the revelation of intellectual power should discourage suitors. Literary education was withheld in the reign of George III for the same reason that political education is withheld to-day, because it involves the independent activity of the individual. The fourth argument is even more crudely selfish than the third. Stated in plain terms, it means that if women have votes they will tend to form political opinions of their own, that these may differ from those of their husbands, and that as such a discordance could not be tolerated, the home will be broken up. The husband might be wrong. But the argument has nothing to do with the soundness of his opinions. He is entitled to think for himself, and in order to maintain his unquestioned despotism of political judgment the wife is to be deprived of the encouragement to thinking for herself. Another argument, that the natives of India will refuse to submit to government by a race which has enfranchised its women, is a characteristic example of the reaction of Imperialism upon domestic liberty. The constitution of the United Kingdom is to be determined, not by the needs of its inhabitants, but by the wishes of a race whom they have conquered. The development of the individual is subordinated to the use which the disposing class wishes to make of her. Even if it were true that the Indian peoples would object to the enfranchisement of English women, an assertion which has never been supported by any evidence, the success of the argument would be the most astonishing example of Toryism in English history. No Englishman would suggest, after the loss of the American Colonies, that one self-governing community of white men within the Empire should dictate to another how its government should be constituted. But it carries the opposite doctrine of interference in local affairs to a frantic extremity, to say that a conquered race shall be allowed to dictate the constitution of the government of the conquerors. If this argument prevails, and the ill temper of the Indian peoples is allowed to decide the form of our political [ 350 ] system, our eighteenth-century exploitation of them will be amply avenged. The last argument, that enfranchisement will only be a step towards other measures of emancipation, is another characteristic expression of Toryism. Private depreciation will cease, as soon as political depreciation is abolished. How can a Liberal man dictate to a woman how she shall exert herself in society? There is no motive, other than that of selfish interest, the desire to retain the most honourable and profitable occupations for the dominant sex, which can impel a man to the use of this argument. It is precisely that which most roused Burke to the support of the Catholics. It was used forty years ago against the women who wished to practise medicine, and Sophia Jex-Blake was covered with insult, and even pelted with mud, for no other reason than that she tried to obtain admission to the medical schools of Edinburgh. It is now admitted that if a woman has the natural capacities which enable her to practise medicine mere artificial restrictions shall not stand in her way. When the medical profession is opened, how can any other logically be kept closed? When the individual can satisfy the tests which are imposed at the entrance, whether they are tests by examination or tests by election, why should she be excluded because she possesses the quality of sex, which has nothing to do with those tests? This is simply to brand women, who vary infinitely among themselves, with a class mark, and to decide the fortunes of each individual by some general assumption which may be true in other cases and false in hers. No one can use this argument, who is not steeped in those ideas of domination and disposition, which once operated in the same way to prevent the free development of Catholics and Dissenters. The case against Woman Suffrage varies little from the case against every other Liberal movement, and some of the arguments are literally the same as the arguments against the Reform Bills of 1832, 1867, and 1884. Fundamentally the case is pure Toryism.[362]

[ 351 ]

In 1906 the movement in favour of Woman Suffrage, neglected during the Imperialist reaction, became once more prominent. Various causes contributed to produce this revival. Like all the other movements for enlarging the opportunities of women, it partook of the fortunes of the general movement of Liberalism. In the history of English women the periods of emancipation have always been those of Liberal ascendancy, and the geographical and social divisions between Liberalism and Toryism have always been substantially the same as those between Feminism and Anti-Feminism.[363] The manufacturing districts of the North are Liberal and Feminist. The agricultural districts of the South are Tory and Anti-Feminist. The Feminist movement is strong among the better sort of artisans and those of the middle class who depend upon their own exertions. It is weak among the country gentry and those whom accumulated wealth enables to live a parasitic or partly parasitic existence. The so-called Liberal who opposes the emancipation of women finds himself allied with his hereditary political enemies. Liberalism must be universal. The immediate causes of the new agitation for Woman Suffrage were three. The first was the [ 352 ] economic condition of working women, upon whom the low wages, long hours, and unhealthy surroundings, which are described by the general term of "sweating," pressed with far greater force than upon men. The second was the general improvement in feminine education, not only by the improvement of schools and colleges for women of the middle class and the public education of women of the working class, but by the development of women's organizations. Bodies like the Women's Liberal Federation, a purely political association, the National Union of Women Workers, an association of middle-class women for the study and improvement of women's labour of all sorts, the Women's Co-operative Guild, an association of working women, the various Women's Trade Unions, associations of women for the protection of their industrial interests, all these bodies, founded in the twenty-five years preceding the Liberal victory, had broadened and deepened the minds of women, extended their knowledge of affairs, increased their practical capacity, and given them that interest in association for the management of common concerns which is the basis of all political movements. In particular, their attention had been directed to foreign countries like the United States, Australia, and Norway, where women had recently been enfranchised, and more than one international association linked up the English movement with the rest of the universal progress of women. But the most influential of all the causes of the new strength of the agitation was the increased knowledge of physical facts and the consequences of sexual vice. The development of sick nursing since Florence Nightingale, the experience of work among prostitutes since Josephine Butler, and the study of medicine since Elizabeth Garrett Anderson and Sophia Jex-Blake, had revealed to an increasing number of women the dreadful consequences of a moral standard which indulged men and degraded women. Prostitution appears to the Suffragist to be a direct consequence of the political supremacy of one sex over the other, to be the result of that encouragement of egoism which always follows the disposition of the political affairs of one class by another. There are in the United Kingdom at the [ 353 ] present day not less than one hundred thousand women who are kept, through no desire of their own, for no other purpose than that of the destruction of their bodies and souls for the gratification of their political superiors. In 1899 Englishmen went to war, as they supposed, to rescue some of their countrymen from oppressive taxation and the abuse of the machinery of justice. The Suffragists since 1906 have been conducting a political agitation of a milder sort, as they suppose, to rescue some of their fellow-creatures from an infinitely more dreadful fate. Those who require an explanation of their earnestness, or an excuse for their extravagance, will find it in their belief that social degradation is the inevitable consequence of political inferiority. The White Slave Traffic Act of 1913, flung by Parliament as a sop to womanhood in revolt, merely touches the surface of the problem. The whole system of sexual ethics is put in issue by the Woman Suffrage movement.[364]

The failure of the Government and their followers to deal liberally with this question has been an interesting revelation of the incompleteness of self-styled Liberalism, and of the power of the party machine to subdue independent thinking to the convenience of Ministers with stereotyped minds. The majority of members of the Liberal party, in the Cabinet and elsewhere, have acknowledged the justice of the demand, even though its sudden violence has taken them by surprise. A minority, which unhappily includes Mr. Asquith, have displayed a Toryism, in matters of sex, as complete as that of Castlereagh. It has been particularly unfortunate for the credit of the Liberal party that its leader at such a critical moment should be a man of little imagination. It is the large imagination, ever ranging beyond the bounds of the practicable and the expedient, and detecting in the obscurity of apparent chaos the currents of new social forces, which distinguishes the greatest statesmen from those who are merely [ 354 ] great. Peel had it, though in him it was often blind and groping. Disraeli had it, though spoilt by his mean and tawdry ideals. Gladstone had it, in full measure, and so, with less practical gifts, had Campbell-Bannerman. The mantle of leadership descended in 1908 upon the shoulders of a man who had all the qualities of a great leader except the greatest of all; and Mr. Asquith's inability to see the rightness of the women's movement has brought his party into great difficulty and greater discredit. In spite of his own public promise to adopt the opinion of the House of Commons, even if it be contrary to his own, a perverted sense of loyalty has caused many of his followers to find in his feelings a reason for the violation of their own express and public pledges. This dullness of vision in Ministers has been severely blamed. But it is not for the want of imagination which disables them from understanding the problem that they are to be condemned. The historian who wastes his indignation on such natural incapacities will have little to spare for the graver political vices. The blameworthiness of the Liberal party and the Government lies in their mismanagement of the disorder which was produced by their refusal to redress grievances. The writer has nothing to say in defence of the recent actions of the militant Suffragists. The earliest breaches of the law produced no substantial injury to anybody but the women themselves. Those of the last twelve months have in some cases been as wicked as they have in all cases been foolish. But however arrogant, reckless, and unscrupulous the militant movement may now have become, it was in origin as disinterested and as remorseless in its self-sacrifice as any political movement in history, and its corruption is due no more to the native ill-disposition of the women than to the folly of the Government and its supporters.[365]

[ 355 ]

However that may be, the treatment of the militant Suffrage movement since the death of Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman has been in the very temper of the Toryism of the French Revolution. Trifling disorders, springing from political discontent, have been treated as serious crimes, and people who offended, not out of private malice or greed, but out of a desire to improve the conditions of society, have been subjected to harsh and degrading punishments. It has always been the contention of Liberals in opposition that a distinction should be drawn between criminals whose motives are political and criminals whose motives are personal, between those who break the law for private and anti-social ends and those who break it for ends which they honestly believe represent the advantage of their fellow-creatures. This distinction, obvious to the moralist, is expressed in the legislation of almost every other civilized state, as well as in that Act of Parliament which provides that a seditious libeller shall be treated in prison, not as a common offender, but as a first-class misdemeanant. The same ethical distinction impelled the Whigs to oppose Tory methods of repression during the French War, and was the basis of all modern Liberal attacks on Tory methods in Ireland. Liberals have always recognized that the maintenance of order is only a condition of the redress of grievances, and that those who are impatient for redress are to be restrained only and not to be injured. If there is one principle of administration more distinctively Liberal than any other, it is that wrongful action from right motives requires delicate handling, and that even if it must be punished, the motives which produce it must be destroyed, not by brutality, but by removal of the abuse which has created them. What the Government did with the militant Suffrage movement was to violate this essentially Liberal principle, and while they refused to remove the cause of discontent, they repressed its early and trifling symptoms with a severity which only dangerous crime could have deserved.[366] The [ 356 ] Government in fact did what Tory Governments have always done. They looked, not to the people concerned, to find out what they were, and why they acted as they did, but to the class brand which custom had placed upon them. They thought they were dealing with women, when in fact they were only dealing with human beings. They assumed that the disorder was due to something peculiar to the sex, and not to a state of mind which was common to men and women alike. Their formula was not the general political formula, "Disorder springs from grievances," but some hasty deduction from inaccurate assumptions about the physical constitution of women. They thought that they were dealing, not with political discontent, but with sexual aberration, and they sought for explanations, not in the history of Reform, Chartism, and Fenianism, but in medical treatises on the diseases of women.[367] They did not reflect that this revolt of women did not differ in any essential from previous revolts of men, or that as it sprang from similar causes it could be cured by the same remedies. When Ministers ought to have been giving facilities to a Woman Suffrage Bill, they were contriving means of avoiding vitriol, and based their policy upon speculations about erotic mania when they should have thought of nothing but common political principles. This sexuality of mind, exactly reproducing the mental habit of eighteenth-century Toryism, determined their fatal course of action.

Ministers could not reasonably have been required to introduce a Government Bill for the enfranchisement of women. The Cabinet had not been formed on that basis, and no Anti-Suffrage [ 357 ] Minister could be compelled to submit his judgment to that of his colleagues. But there has not been, at any time since 1906, any reason why facilities should not have been given for the passing of a private members' Bill. So long as the Government refused to help the women, and refused to allow private members to help them, even while they continued to inflict degrading forms of punishment, so long must their administration increase instead of diminish discontent. Facilities for the private Bill were refused year after year, until the militant women and their sympathizers had become convinced of the insincerity of the Government, and when at last the concession was obtained it was robbed of all value by the recollection of previous quibbling and evasion. In the meantime punishment had failed to do anything but poison the temper of agitation. Imprisonment in the third division among common felons was at first imposed upon women who had been guilty only of technical offences. When the women were roused to demand privileged treatment in the second division, the Government advanced to granting ordinary treatment in the second division. When the demand became a demand for imprisonment in the first division, the Government consented to privileged treatment in the second division. When the women refused to submit to any imprisonment at all, and prepared to starve rather than remain in jail, the Government made a partial surrender, and offered the leaders the first division, while it kept their followers, the tools and instruments of their conspiracy, in the second. Each stage of the disease has been conscientiously treated with those remedies which would have cured it at the preceding stage, and always without any result, except to increase the contempt with which the offenders regarded the Government. Concessions, which should have been made boldly and generously, have been made grudgingly and parsimoniously, and where prompt and spontaneous action would have been effective, this tardy and reluctant yielding to pressure has produced no good at all.

The folly of the Government has not been confined to their neglect. In two matters they have been guilty of positive action, [ 358 ] for which they cannot escape heavy censure. The first was the adoption of the policy of feeding by force those women who starved rather than submit to degrading conditions of imprisonment. The second was Mr. Churchill's refusal to inquire into the charges which were brought against the police in connection with one of the women's deputations. The writer will not attempt to argue the abstract merits of the operation of forcible feeding. He has read most of the public and private proofs that among criminals, lunatics, and dyspeptics it is a harmless process. They appear to him to have nothing to do with the Government's adoption of it in the case of people who were neither of bad character nor of unsound mind, and who were not only unwilling patients, but were already inspired by a profound resentment against their political superiors. It is not the business of a statesman to consider how his actions would affect other persons in other conditions. It is his business to consider only what is their effect upon the particular individuals with whom he has to deal at the particular moment. Tried by this test, the Government's forcible feeding was of almost incredible stupidity. It is clear that in the case of the militant women it produced grave physical and mental injuries, in many cases of a permanent kind.[368] Of its political consequences the writer can speak from personal knowledge. It exasperated the temper of the agitation to an infinitely greater degree, and brought us, in 1909, from the breaking of a few panes of glass to the brink of assassination. The concession of privileged treatment which was wrested from Mr. Churchill in 1910 at once allayed this dangerous spirit, but it was at once revived in 1912, when Mr. McKenna, defying all experience, resumed the stupid and brutal policy of his predecessor. It is of course argued that the Government cannot enforce the law unless it adopts this course. Are we to release dangerous criminals because they refuse food? The [ 359 ] answer to this is simply that if the Government had been wise in the past they would have had no such difficulty to encounter in the present. When forcible feeding was first employed, hardly a single assault, even of the most trivial character, had been committed, and there had only been a few isolated cases of the breaking of windows. If concessions had been freely granted then, crime would not have become so frequent or so dangerous now. The Government, having adopted harsh methods at the beginning, are impelled to use harsher methods now. They have been occupied with great diligence in turning enthusiasts into fanatics, and fanatics into criminals, and they are now faced with dangers and difficulties which could once have been prevented by the use of tact and discretion. Five years ago they might have disarmed their rebellious subjects by giving a week of Parliamentary time for the study of their grievance. To-day, they can only subdue them by starvation or hanging. They will get little credit from posterity either for humanity or for wisdom.

The episode of Parliament Square was as ugly an affair as Mitchelstown or Peterloo. On the 18th November, 1910, the militant organization known as the Social and Political Union sent a numerous body of women to present a memorial to the Prime Minister. Mr. Asquith, whose views had been repeatedly published, declined to receive the deputation, it was turned back by the police, and many women were arrested. Women, under similar circumstances, had been more than once maltreated by the mob. On this occasion it was alleged that brutality was displayed by the police as well as by the populace. In more than twenty cases specific charges of indecent assault were made. Many of the women concerned are known to the writer, personally or by reputation, and however strongly he may disagree with their general policy, he has no doubt that they are incapable of fabricating accusations of this sort. The police, against whom the charges were made, were not those who had had to deal with previous deputations, but had been brought in from rougher districts like Whitechapel. The case against them was not [ 360 ] brought by the militant women, but by the committee of Members of Parliament of all parties, which had been formed to press forward the cause of Woman Suffrage in the House of Commons, and it was with great reluctance that the women consented to give the committee the information for which it asked. Mr. Ellis Griffith, a Liberal, and Lord Robert Cecil, a Conservative, both lawyers of experience and reputation, personally examined some of the women, and read the written statements of the rest, and came to the conclusion that the complaints were made honestly and deserved inquiry. In the face of this request Mr. Churchill behaved precisely as Lord Grenville behaved in 1819, and Mr. Balfour in 1887. He made no attempt to examine any witnesses against the police, and he declared that the charges should be brought against individuals in a court of law.[369] But while he refused to pronounce judgment on the constables, he was eager to pronounce judgment on the women. He acted, not as an impartial representative of the public in a dispute between officials and private citizens, but as a champion of the officials. He threw all his influence against the women, described their story as a fabrication, and the Social and Political Union as "a copious fountain of mendacity." Mr. Churchill's party followers will no doubt be content to accept his judgment. Posterity cannot act so lightly. It is not to accept accusations [ 361 ] against individual policemen to say that charges put forward under such circumstances, and supported by such responsible and independent authorities, must have had some foundation in fact. No impartial observer can acquit either the police of misconduct, or the Home Secretary of a gross and partisan abuse of the powers of his office. Lord Gladstone, who began the maladministration of the law, could urge that he was taken by surprise, and that he knew neither the character of the individual women, nor the force of the movement which was behind them. Mr. McKenna, who succeeded Mr. Churchill, and has developed the policy of harshness with a caprice and a partiality which has enormously increased its ill effects, may plead his natural incompetence in explanation of all his blunders. Mr. Churchill has neither one excuse nor the other. He acted in cold-blood, and he is too wise a man to be allowed to suggest that he did not know his duty. His was a deliberate refusal to grant to his political opponents the opportunity of obtaining a public endorsement of their complaints, and it will always remain a blot upon the reputation of the Government. The memory of this affair, added to the passionate resentment provoked by forcible feeding, now prevents all chance of reconciliation. The loss of the Franchise Bill of 1912, which no reasonable person believes to be the result of deliberate dishonesty on the part of the Government, has only completed the process of satisfying the militant women that there is no good faith to be found in Parliament. The Government should have given full facilities to the Private Members' Bills of 1910 and 1911. When they had the opportunity, they refused to disarm the hostile party by concession, and when they at last had the will, the opportunity was taken away. They will now be faced by a conspiracy, involving danger, certainly to property, and probably to life, less extensive and less excusable, but no less determined than Irish Fenianism. They will suppress it with the approval of the great majority of English men and women. But no acknowledgment of the moral corruption which has now fallen upon the women will blind those who have followed closely the varying fortunes of the Suffrage [ 362 ] movement to the fact that that moral corruption is largely due to the gross administrative blunders of the Government and the levity and moral cowardice of Members of Parliament. Such clumsy folly in the management of discontent has not been displayed in England since 1832.[370]

While the failure of the Liberal party in one important part of domestic policy has thus been unquestionable and complete, it appears, so far as it is possible to get an accurate sight of events, that they have also failed in foreign policy. In India, the Liberalism of Lord Morley triumphed over official tradition. The admission of natives of India to a greater share in their own government was as much an expression of Liberalism as the reversal of Lord Curzon's partition of Bengal, a preference of the national idea over one of those mechanically efficient devices by which despotic Governments continually increase their own difficulties. Outside India, the management of external affairs has been less successful. The deportation of Cole of Nairobi was an excellent example of the protection of native populations against the arbitrary power of white colonists. But no effort on the part of the British Government could guarantee the political rights of black men under the new South African Constitution, and this and the equally complete failure to secure freedom of movement and occupation for coloured immigrants into the new Federation are disquieting evidence of the conflict between the two Imperial principles of self-government for white men and full opportunities of development for black and brown. These failures could hardly have been avoided. The general failure of foreign policy, so far as it is possible to speak with certainty, is due largely, if not entirely, to our own fault.

[ 363 ]

The writer has already indicated, in the first chapter of this book, how little he is disposed to lay down hard and fast rules for the conduct of foreign policy. It is conceivable, in his view, that facts may subsequently be disclosed which will satisfy Liberals of another generation that Sir Edward Grey's abandonment of most of the principles of his Liberal predecessors has been forced upon him, and that the speeches, in which he has appeared to repudiate them, have been the utterances of diplomacy rather than conviction.[371] Imperialism has not been a monopoly of Great Britain. Russia in China and Persia, Japan in China, Austria in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Italy in Tripoli, and France in Morocco, have in turn shown their willingness to upset the established rules of international morality in the pursuit of their own interests. In the almost universal demoralization of foreign policy which has followed The Hague Peace Conference of 1899, it has perhaps been impossible for a single statesman to tread a straight path. When Sir Edward Grey failed to persuade the Powers to take concerted action to prevent Austria's cynical appropriations of 1908, the fault was unquestionably not his.[372] The selfish aims of his associates prevented him from attaining his own object. But other circumstances suggest that he has not had the will to act liberally, even if he has had the opportunity. Before 1908 he had shown a personal incapacity, which had nothing to do with the machinations of competing diplomatists. The public execution and flogging of the villagers of Denshawi in 1906, for an offence which barely amounted to manslaughter, and was committed under extreme provocation, was more in the Russian than in the English temper. Here the Foreign Secretary acted [ 364 ] under the direction of Lord Cromer, and it is not impossible that in other cases he may have surrendered himself to the hierarchy of the Foreign Office.[373] Whatever the cause, the desertion of Liberalism is clear. Even Lord Lansdowne and the late Lord Salisbury, after the Boer War, gave up some of the inheritance of Beaconsfield. They ceased to befriend Turkey, and in 1903 Lord Lansdowne failed, through no fault of his own, to revive the policy of concerted European pressure on the Turk. He, like Lord Salisbury, generally pursued a policy which tended towards internationalism, and away from egoism. But his successor twisted even his internationalism into weapons of offence. In 1904 Lord Lansdowne made an agreement with France by which the two contracting Powers settled all their outstanding disputes. This was intended by its author to be only the first of a series of international agreements. It was converted by Sir Edward Grey into a weapon of offence against Germany, the country upon which, after passing from Russia to the United States, and from the United States to France, the animosity of modern Toryism had definitely settled. The fortunes of Great Britain were bound up with those of France. The theory of the Balance of Power was revived, every diplomatic conference was made a conflict between France and Great Britain on the one side and Germany on the other, and in 1911 the lives and the wealth of the British people were endangered, not to maintain any moral principle or any British interest, but to promote the material interests of French financiers in Morocco. To this diplomatic warfare, and to the military warfare which it constantly contemplates, our whole foreign policy is subdued. When Germany proposed at a Hague Conference, that international agreement should abolish the system of destroying private property at sea, Great Britain refused even to discuss the point. When we fought Germany, our great fleet would be able to destroy her commerce. The right to destroy her commerce was our [ 365 ] most powerful weapon against her, and as our peace policy was determined by our war policy, we preserved this relic of barbarism. The inevitable consequence of our diplomacy was to give German Jingoism an irresistible argument for the increase of the German Fleet. The increase in the German Fleet was described in threatening language by Mr. Churchill, and was matched by an increase in our own. The burden of armaments increased, and unremunerative expenditure drained the resources which should have been available for the costs of social reform. Such was the foreign policy of Great Britain until the outbreak of the Balkan War at the end of 1912. There may have been information in the possession of the Foreign Office which justified this persistent hostility towards Germany. That country may have been animated by some desire to destroy our commerce, or to appropriate our Colonies. So far as we are allowed by our governors to learn any facts at all, there is no more than a shadow of a foundation for such an assumption. Up to the end of 1912 we were bound straight for a conflict, of the causes of which not one Englishman in ten thousand knew anything definite, and not one in a thousand knew anything at all. All the Gladstonian principles, rightly or wrongly, had been forsaken. We made no serious attempt to establish the comity of nations, we carefully distinguished between Germany and the rest of the world, and we entangled ourselves in engagements with France and Russia, which brought us no profit, and served only to increase the suspicions of the German people. This violation of Liberal principle, which was also a violation of the practice of the last Tory Foreign Secretary, may have been inevitable. But its justification is not contained in anything that has yet been said or written on behalf of Sir Edward Grey, and those of us who held by the old rules during the Boer War can get only a melancholy satisfaction out of a comparison of the failure of this Imperialist Liberal in foreign affairs with the successes of his Pro-Boer associates in South Africa, in India, and in Social Reform.[374]

[ 366 ]

The departure from principle which has most disgusted the supporters of the Government is the alliance with Russia. This, like so many of our modern associations, is cemented by finance, and the union of the two Governments has been followed by a steady flow of British capital into Russian municipal and industrial securities. It is suggested that the object of both the diplomatic and the financial support is the same, to restore the influence of Russia, seriously impaired by her humiliation at the hands of Japan and by her violent internal dissensions, in the councils of Europe. In other words, we have strengthened the Russian Government as part of our scheme for keeping Germany in her place. This is one of those alliances which would have been repugnant to a Liberal of the old school. Russian Government and British Government are essentially different. The temper of national independence, which is welcomed by English Liberals everywhere, and even by English Tories outside the boundaries of the Empire, is to the governing class of Russia what a heap of dirt is to a sanitary inspector. It is a perpetual menace to what it is their business to protect, and they devote to the extinction of some of the noblest of human aspirations the untiring zeal with which better men apply themselves to the destruction of evil. No Government in the world has so persistently violated the rules of morality in its dealings with its own subjects or with the foreign peoples who lie without its boundaries. In five years of the [ 367 ] twentieth century it executed 3,750 persons, its courts of law sentenced 31,885 political offenders to imprisonment or exile, and its administrative orders transported 28,173 others without trial. More than 30,000 of its Jewish subjects have been massacred in organized riots at which it has connived. In these affairs it has had to deal with all sorts of persons. But it has exercised little discrimination in its treatment, and if some of its victims have been the vilest of criminals, it has also caused thousands of honourable men and women to be shot or bludgeoned, to be exiled, or to rot in crowded prisons. It has even employed agents to promote the assassination of its own associates, that it might have the better excuse for taking violent measures to suppress peaceful agitation. It has now crowned its career of domestic misgovernment by beginning to destroy the liberties of the Finnish people, whose social policy has been at once the admiration of the civilized world, and a standing rebuke to the comparative brutality of Russia. It is not the business of Great Britain to dictate to established Governments, or to go to war with them for the better regulation of their internal affairs. Nor is it the business of a British Government to refuse to make agreements with any foreign Government for the management of matters in which they are jointly concerned. But it is the duty of a British Government not to corrupt its own people by involving itself intimately with a Government whose methods are not only different but are utterly alien from its own. An alliance with France is bad only in so far as it is turned into a combination against Germany. An alliance with Russia is in itself unnatural and horrible.

The Persian Agreement of 1907 appears to have been twisted into such an alliance. Originally that Agreement, like the Moroccan Agreement with France, provided merely for the settlement of outstanding disputes in Asia, and as such it was welcomed by all Liberals. It has been converted into an instrument for the destruction of the independence of Persia, which both Powers had solemnly declared it was their intention to maintain, and more recently into a means of enabling Russia [ 368 ] to blackmail the struggling Chinese Republic. The successive steps of Russian aggression cannot be described here. In effect, the Northern Sphere, marked out by the Agreement solely for the purposes of financial and commercial development, has been annexed politically to Russia, and occupation by her troops has been followed by outrages of almost indescribable brutality. The attempt of the Persian Government to restore the finances of the country, with the aid of the American Mr. Morgan Shuster, was frustrated by Russian intervention, and for want of money the protection of trade routes, life, and private property has ceased in many districts. In each successive act of Russian insolence, except the foul barbarities at Tabriz, Sir Edward Grey has acquiesced, and he actively assisted in the removal of Mr. Shuster. He has apparently acted Liberally in only two matters, in his protest against the outrages which followed the Russian occupation, and in his refusal to participate in the guilt of a formal partition. But the national independence of Persia to which the recent revolution seemed to give a new justification, has been practically destroyed, and the supposed limitations on British freedom of action by war of protest are construed out of that Agreement, which professed to be based upon its preservation. The strangling of Persia has not been such a plain affair of right and wrong as some critics of Sir Edward Grey suggest. Generations of misgovernment had corrupted the native system. Mr. Shuster gave provocation by his straightforward independence where a more supple diplomatist might have succeeded in managing even Russia. But he was the only hope of Persia, and if he could have been supported as Afghanistan has been supported, even Russia might have been forced to hold her hand.[375] Here again we are brought up against our policy of isolating Germany. At all costs Russia was to be kept out of the orbit of German diplomacy. We acquiesced in Russian appropriations in Persia for the same reason that we supported French exploitations of Morocco. We were bound to make it to the [ 369 ] interest of our allies to prefer association with us to association with our enemy. Where we might have defended a people against Russia on moral grounds, we sacrificed them for our diplomatic interests. Where we might have promoted international agreements for the disposition of uncivilized races, we were compelled to resist them in the interest of the ally, with whom we had just arranged a private deal. All came back to our settled policy of acting in opposition to Germany. There may be excuses, of which we have as yet no knowledge. But it is unquestionable that the present Government had lost the habit of expressing Liberalism in foreign policy. Liberals had certainly reason to regret it. Posterity alone will know whether or not they had also reason to be ashamed.

More recent events have lightened the general gloom. The Persian disgrace remains, and the Russian penetration of Mongolia proceeds steadily. But just as the rising tide of French Jingoism seems to have found a President and a Premier who will float easily upon its surface, the Anglo-German feud has begun to ebb. Apparently by no effort of our own, but simply through the overwhelming pressure of our common interest in peace, the Balkan crisis has united Great Britain, France, and Germany in preventing war between Austria and Russia. We have not lacked suggestions that we should make war on Germany because Russia wished to prevent Austria from attacking Servia. This would have been the climax of anti-Liberalism; to engage in war because Servia wished to impose her will upon that of the Albanians, and because the allies with whom we were entangled decided to support her.[376] From this disgrace, and from the destruction of European civilization which such a war would have involved, we have been preserved. The reality of common interests and common aims has broken the fiction of the Balance of Power into pieces, and Sir Edward Grey, whose career had been watched with dismay by the most Liberal of his followers, now finds [ 370 ] himself in universal favour as he expresses once more the pure theory of Liberalism. The Concert of Europe has been revived, with Great Britain at the head of it, and if the Foreign Secretary can make out of our temporary association with Germany something in the nature of a permanent friendship he will render a greater service to his country than any of his predecessors. The gross brutality of Denshawi in 1906 and the unexplained provocation of Germany in 1911 will not be obliterated by a peaceful and honourable issue out of our afflictions, and the Russian difficulty is only now beginning. It is possible that there can be no such thing as a permanently Liberal Foreign Policy, that the systematic application of Liberal principles to foreign affairs can never be undertaken with any chance of success. No Liberal as yet will be content with that desperate assumption, and the recent improvement in the international situation rather confirms than weakens his belief that abroad, as at home, politics will ultimately rest upon a basis of ethics. His chief hope is not in the chancelleries, but in the large and increasing body of international associations of private persons. Unions for the purpose of promoting peace, and for the discussion of the unnational interests of women and of working men, and periodical meetings of representatives of all nations to determine the principles of commercial law, and even the rules of war, are steadily uniting the nations by "organic filaments." For what the present Government has apparently done in the way of preventing rather than encouraging union, Liberals are ready enough to find excuses. But until they are presented with more facts than have yet been published by the Government itself, they will continue to contemplate its foreign record with more regret than satisfaction.

347 ^  Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman's Speeches reprinted from the Times, 167.

348 ^  It has been suggested that without the war this would have been impossible. Even if this were true, the case against the war would still stand. Material success cannot be balanced against morality. It might similarly be argued that an eruption on the skin is a good thing, because it rids the body of poisonous matter. Clean living would have prevented the accumulation of the poison, and made the violent means of discharge unnecessary.

349 ^  The questions of limiting the number of "pickets," and of making Unions liable for the wrongful acts of their central executive committees are not yet finally settled. The Acts of 1871 and 1874 did not, I think contemplate an absolute immunity.

350 ^  Lord Morley's Miscellanies, iv. 311. The same principles are of course being applied in all civilized countries. See Mr. Jethro Brown's Underlying Principles of Modern Legislation.

351 ^  In a very remarkable article in the Edinburgh Review for January, 1912, an anonymous writer declares that the better sort of workmen are now not merely politically, but actually, in character and ability, the superiors of the middle class. The shameless ignorance and hostility to ideas, which he discovers in the latter, are due partly to the increase of luxury and partly to the public-school system. The reform of the latter, which is now in progress, is probably as urgent a need of the middle, as industrial insurance is of the working class.

352 ^  Herbert Samuel's Liberalism, 8, 11.

353 ^  The Labour Exchange at Liverpool has actually decasualized the whole of the system of dock labour in that port. Credit for this is due to Mr. Rowland Williams, of the Exchange, and Mr. Lawrence D. Holt, a local shipowner. The machinery established by the Act has done what private effort had for a generation found beyond its strength.

354 ^  Liberalism and the Social Problem, 316. These speeches are by far the best expression of the philosophy of the new Liberalism.

355 ^  Churchill, op. cit., 82.

356 ^  Mr. Harold Spender, in Mr. Philip Snowden's Living Wage, x.

357 ^  It should be remembered that in the peculiar case of women Trade Unionism is almost impossible. Without the State, they have no means of raising their wages as men have raised theirs by combination.

358 ^  Social Statics (1851), 325.

359 ^  A great proportion of this surplus wealth is spent on giving fictitious values to works of art and curiosities. A china jar which cost £500 fifty years ago may be bought for £5,000 to-day. The increase represents no real increase in value, but simply an increased capacity of millionaires to bid against each other. The price will again fall, as incomes are reduced.

360 ^  Accusations of moral corruption are most rarely made by those who are best acquainted with political history. But what other term is to be applied to this action, of which I am informed on the best possible authority? For several days before the day on which the Woman Suffrage amendment was moved to the Franchise Bill, a Liberal Member, who had refused to pledge himself to either side, was "bombarded" with requests from pledged Suffragist Members that he would vote against them and defeat the amendment. We hang soldiers who commit this offence in military warfare.

361 ^  Sir Almroth Wright's notorious pamphlet has of course been repudiated by the saner women Anti-Suffragists. But it certainly represents the opinions of the average man Anti-Suffragist.

362 ^  I cannot deal seriously with the argument that the vote is merely an expression of physical force, that a minority only yields to a majority because it would be beaten in a civil war, that substantially all women might vote on one side at an election and substantially all men on the other, that the women outnumber the men and would therefore be able to procure the legislation which they wanted, that the men would refuse to obey the law, that civil war would follow, that the women would be beaten, and that society would be dissolved. Those politicians who believe in the possibility of such a succession of miracles had better retire each to a separate desert island. They will not find in any society of human beings a constitution which does not admit, on similarly logical grounds, of the same dreadful disasters. Such an absurd and pedantic example of reasoning away from human nature has not been seriously maintained in England since the time of Cartwright.

363 ^  I use these terms as a convenient way of referring to the general movements for and against emancipation. They may mean anything in themselves. So far as I am concerned, I believe neither in that sexual promiscuity which some Anti-Suffragists charge against their opponents, nor on the other hand in that theory of a primitive matriarchate upon which some Suffragists base their claims.

364 ^  For the history of the agitation see Mrs. Fawcett's Women's Suffrage ("The People's Books" series); and for its philosophical basis, Mrs. Olive Schreiner's Women and Labour, and my own Emancipation of English Women.

365 ^  I refer those who believe that the militant women were suffering from hysteria or other sexual disorder to the deliberate contradiction of Mr. H. L. Carre-Smith, in the Standard of the 9th April, 1912. Mr. Smith is a competent physician, and an Anti-Suffragist, and he has made a careful study of the militant type. "As a rule," he says, "I have been struck by their normal demeanour."

366 ^  The only Government department which acted wisely in dealing with the women was the Irish Office. The first offenders against the law in Dublin were promptly placed in the first division. Unhappily, this was after Mr. McKenna had revived forcible feeding, and too late to produce any effect. The next Irish offences were attempts at arson and murder, committed by one of Mr. McKenna's prisoners. Had Mr. Birrell been at the Home Office in 1906, we should still be far from arson and explosives.

367 ^  I received a letter from a Cabinet Minister in 1909, in which he said that he expected vitriol-throwing at any moment. Vitriol is, of course, the weapon of an outraged sex instinct, the injured wife or discarded mistress.

368 ^  I refer my readers to the grave and responsible report of Sir Victor Horsley, Dr. Mansell Moulin, and Dr. Agnes Saville, three physicians of unquestioned competence and probity, which appeared in the Lancet of the 24th August, 1912.

369 ^  One of the charges, that a large number of plain-clothes policemen had mingled with the crowd for the purpose of attacking the women, was no more a subject for investigation in a court of law than the subject of the Parnell Commission. On this point Mr. Churchill denied the charges without inquiring of anybody but police officers, whose evidence, even if it was perfectly honest, was of little value. For a police officer to say that he did not see a fact, one of a large number of facts, is not sufficient proof that a private person is lying when he states that he did see it. Two gentlemen known to me say that they saw a large number (one says "more than a hundred") of plain-clothes men march back into Scotland Yard after the disturbance. Mr. Churchill says that there were "not more than a dozen" on duty. My informants may be lying or mistaken. But Mr. Churchill is not in a position to say so, because he never attempted to cross-examine them. Both appear to me to be honest witnesses.

370 ^  For a naïve and illuminating statement of the militant women's case see The Suffragette, by Sylvia Pankhurst; and for a fuller statement of my own opinions, my Emancipation of English Women (1913 edition). For the case against Mr. Churchill see the pamphlet Treatment of the Women's Deputations by the Metropolitan Police (The Woman's Press, 1911). See also my pamphlet Political Prisoners (National Political League, 1912). During the London Dock strike of 1912 charges similar to those above mentioned were made against the police. Mr. McKenna granted a public inquiry at once.

371 ^  No Liberal questions Sir Edward Grey's honesty or good will. His record in connection with Woman's Suffrage, no bad touchstone, is conspicuously pure.

372 ^  The action of Austria in establishing formal sovereignty over Bosnia and Herzegovina was not such a gross violation of moral rules as it appears at first sight. Austria had been in occupation of these territories, with European sanction, for more than a generation, and there is no question that they had been well governed. It was only in taking advantage of the revolution in Turkey, without obtaining the formal consent of the Powers, that she acted immorally.

373 ^  It should be remembered that the whole of the Foreign Service is recruited from among people with minimum incomes of £400 a year. This ensures a Tory bias among permanent officials.

374 ^  There is great need of a history of foreign policy which shall trace in a satisfactory way the various currents which have brought us to our present situation. For the present we have to rely on detached studies like Mr. E. D. Morel's Morocco in Diplomacy, Mr. E. H. Perris's Our Foreign Policy and Sir Edward Grey's Failure, Mr. J. A. Spender's pamphlet reprinted from the Westminster Gazette, Mr. Morgan Shuster's Strangling of Persia, Professor E. G. Browne's pamphlets on the same subject, and the Hon. George Peel's Friends of England, Enemies of England, and Future of England. There is no general historical survey, and until there is, foreign policy will remain as much the monopoly of a caste as ancient legal systems. It is time that this mysterification of such important affairs was ended. At this moment (February, 1913), though the French Government has published a huge Yellow Book on the Morocco crisis, Sir Edward Grey still refuses to the English people any explanation of the reason why he nearly led them into war eighteen months ago.

375 ^  An article in the Times of the 15th March, 1913 seems to endorse all our Liberal protests and criticisms.

376 ^  See, for example, the article by Mr. Sydney Brooks in the Fortnightly Review for January, 1913. The suggestion was also made in a leading article in the Daily Telegraph, the date of which I forget.