National Life and Character/Chapter 2

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The break-up of the Roman Empire has shown that a splendid political organisation may be destroyed by the concert of inferior or less highly developed races.—Although this was the birth of a new world, it involved the extinction of thought, art, and style for centuries.—Parallels may be found in the histories of Greece, of Peru, and of Cambodia.—The fortunes of Spain and Turkey are striking illustrations of the same law from modern times.—The supremacy of the inferior races in the future is likely to be achieved by industrial progress rather than by military conquest.—The Englishman is changing from faith in private enterprise to faith in State organisation.—The change is likely to affect the character of the race for vigorous originality.—We see the beginning of decadence in the decline of speculative thought.—We find a decay of mechanical invention, and even more, that a less hearty welcome is given to it.—With impaired faith in himself, the Englishman will trust more and more to the State, and to State Socialism, which is likely to be accompanied with a change to the stationary order, population and wealth ceasing to increase.—This change may not necessarily be bad, but it will be great Yet, in fact, great parts of State Socialism have already been adopted, and the arguments against the remainder, even if valid, are not demonstrably irrefutable.—What democracies really aim at, that Governments shall give immediate effect to the popular will, need not be a source of unrest and instability if some satisfactory order can be achieved, and if there are the conditions for maintaining it.—The military spirit will not die out, because the instinct of existence is driving every State to aggrandise itself, that it may not be absorbed.—It seems certain, too, that sooner or later China must become a formidable military power.—For all nations, except perhaps the United States and England, military strength means a strong executive organisation, large forces, and the power to mobilise them rapidly.—The belief of some Liberals, that a strong militia may supersede the necessity for a highly trained army, is refuted by the precedents of American history.—In revolutionary France the Republic was not saved by raw levies, but by militia and regulars, commanded by trained generals, and operating in superior numbers. Napoleon disapproved of short-service men, and lost battles from the time he began to employ them.—The Spanish volunteers were of no use, except behind walls.—The partial successes of the Boers against England admit of easy explanation.—Therefore military absolutism will be combined with industrial Socialism in the communities of the future. When they are not State soldiers, citizens will very commonly be State servants.—This form of polity is congenial to Eastern nations; and these, as they become powerful, will begin to influence European habits and thought.—As, however, the Englishman has a higher standard of comfort than the Chinaman, he cannot hold his own, other things being equal, against the Chinaman.—The ideal of the European Socialist is, however, not to intensify toil, but to diminish it, and to increase the material and moral well-being of the man. Throughout Europe this may be done by industrial combination; but Chinese competition will force the European either to protect himself by hostile tariffs or to limit the increase of population.—The belief that the stationary state has been reached will produce general discouragement, and will probably affect the intellectual energy of the people concerned.—If the Mahommedans succeed in becoming dominant in China, China will be an aggressive military power; but this is perhaps less to be dreaded than its industrial development.

The preceding pages have aimed at showing that certain races which we regard as inferior, and the highest of which is certainly our inferior in military and political organisation, are likely to increase very largely in comparison with the races which at present constitute what claims to be the civilised world. Such an event has happened once before under such circumstances, that its character and results are tolerably well known. An old order, which we call in the first period of its existence the Roman Empire, broke up as invaders poured down upon it from Germany and Russia, from Central Asia, and from Persia. It seems at first incredible that so magnificent a polity as Trajan succeeded to should not have been able to maintain itself. Lying centrally round the sea which was then the great highway and artery of commerce, the Roman dominion was traversed by roads, which gave its armies the great advantage of concentrating rapidly on any point that was menaced. Its population was incomparably greater than that of any neighbour; its generals and engineers and the equipment of its troops were unsurpassed in the world; and the emperors of capacity were sufficiently numerous to have atoned for the incompetence of a few. An observer speculating upon manifest destiny, and knowing nothing more of the earth than was known a little earlier to the elder Pliny, might surely have said with reason in Trajan's time, that sooner or later the eagles would certainly fly in triumph over the whole habitable world. Even now, though we can trace the stages of decadence, it is difficult not to be astonished at the completeness of the ruin. Summing up the most obvious causes, we seem to see that the institution of slavery deprived Italy of a large part of her natural and best defenders; that the burden of taxes produced a depopulation in the provinces, as men ceased to marry, or escaped across the border and joined the barbarians; and that while Rome was thus losing her life-blood, Germans and Parthians were acquiring the arts of war, and becoming conscious of their strength. Even so, we have to fall back upon other explanations—upon famines and pestilences that desolated provinces, and upon an upheaval of peoples in the far East, resulting in an exodus of Tartars across Europe—fully to understand why the attack on the Roman Empire became so strong, and was at last so weakly combated.

Optimists are fond of showing that, after all, all happened for the best in the best of all possible worlds.[1] A larger polity, making country life and local institutions possible, supplanted the rule by municipal garrisons, the centralisation under prefects and emperor, which Rome had imposed upon her provinces. The German, whom Tacitus had admired, superseded the polished, servile, and profoundly immoral society which Tacitus and Juvenal had denounced. The cross surmounting the Capitol; Telemachus sealing with his blood the decisive protest against the atrocities of the Coliseum; the guild-hall taking the place of the basilica; charitable institutions sown broadcast over the earth; freedom for national life everywhere, and, after a time, freedom for industry, are the obvious contrasts between the old order and the new.[2] There is an element of truth in all this, but it is not a complete statement of the case. We are apt to forget that the process of transformation lasted over centuries. One of the first results of the conquest of the Roman world was that all the highest science and thought, the tradition of the public opinion of the best men, died out with the upper classes, who were its depositories. In Roman law the world lost the jurisconsult while it retained the notary; in the arts of construction, it kept the mason and lost the architect; while in art, in poetry, in philosophy, and in history, it unhappily lost everything. Whether the Germans of a generation later than Arminius were quite as virtuous as Tacitus thought them may reasonably be doubted. What admits of no doubt is, that the Germanic conquerors of France were as vicious and sensual as Tiberius or Vitellius, without being educated up to the level which made a Roman patrician capable of carrying on the government of a civilised country. Even the times of Roman decadence give us Marcus Aurelius, Lucian, and a succession of great fathers, with Appian, Arrian, and Dio Cassius among historians; and Roman poetry may be said to have died out worthily in Claudian. The six centuries that succeeded the invasion of Attila are almost absolutely barren of thought and style. The races that produced Charlemagne and Alfred, Eginhardt and Bede, and to which we owe the Nibelungen Lied, and a host of minor poems, were certainly not wanting in original power, or even in literary capacity. Only criticism, and the appreciation of the best models, and the instinctive apprehension of perfect form had died out; and though the fraternity of great thinkers began again with Anselm, it was not till the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries that the new world seemed able to create poets of the first order, or historians like Joinville and Froissart, whom the charm of expression has endeared to all time.

Now the disastrous gap made in civilisation by the destruction of the Roman Empire has many parallels in history on a smaller scale. There can be little doubt that the wars of Alexander's successors, and the Roman conquests in Greece and Asia, destroyed a very high form of Greek literature,[3] and that Roman supremacy arrested the spread of Greek influence in the East. In Germany, the terrible Thirty Years' War threw back the country in the estimation of good judges for two centuries at least,[4] though in this case the eclipse of literature was less noticeable than the injury inflicted on population and industrial progress. A striking example of the way in which a people civilised up to a certain point may be plunged again into barbarism, is exhibited by the fate of the native Peruvians. This people could build roads and aqueducts, such as the Spaniards only knew of by inheriting them from Rome; and the Temple of the Sun at Cuzco was admitted by the Spanish historian, Sarmiento, to be surpassed only by two buildings in Spain, which at that time possessed all really good that it has now.[5] A Spanish conqueror has left it on record, that the Government was so admirable that there was perfect administration, absolute security of property, and a morality far higher than that of the Christian conquerors.[6] It was all swept away within a generation, and we only know of it by the labours of antiquaries. Cambodia and Cochin China are covered with magnificent ruins, which the present occupants of the country cannot account for, and do not claim for their ancestors.[7] No one knows whether the race which constructed them was exterminated, or has emigrated, or has relapsed into barbarism. We can only say that a people of eminent architectural genius, and wielding great resources, and probably Buddhist in faith, once occupied these regions, and that its place is now taken by a mongrel population of the Chinese type, and which has contributed nothing to the world's history.

The illustrations of complete ruin in the cases of Rome, Peru, and Cambodia, may seem to belong to times when the forces of the world were not properly equipoised, and when it was impossible to predict how the balance of strength would ultimately incline. At present, large states are very much contained within natural boundaries, and there is a general consent that none shall be aggrandised by inordinate extensions of territory. Napoleon himself, though he was ruined by aiming at too much, did not propose to keep Spain, or any large part of Germany in his own hands; and the annexation of Alsace-Lorraine by conquest may still be regarded as a hazardous experiment. Those who think in this way, may turn profitably to two instances of comparatively modern history.

The Spain of Queen Elizabeth's time possessed Portugal, Naples, Milan, Franche-Comte, and Flanders in Europe; the greater part of what is now called Spanish America, and a line of important settlements in Africa, India, and Malaysia.[8] Its European dominions included most of the highly civilised and wealthy parts of Europe; the tribute of gold and exotic products that it received from its colonies appeared fabulous to its contemporaries.[9] Spanish state-craft was more highly esteemed in courts than even Italian subtlety; Spanish armies were the best in the world; and Bacon, who held that "no nation which doth not directly profess arms, may look to have greatness fall into their laps," declared that of Christian Europe, only the Spaniards had an effective military organisation.[10] Neither was the greatness of Spain only material. It was the Spaniard Ignatius Loyola who restored the old faith, making it again a militant power, even among thoughtful men; and no country of that day, except England, can show such names in literature as Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Mendoza.

What Spain was for the western world, Turkey with even greater pageantry of power was for the eastern. "While its Sultan reigned in the palace of the Cæsars by the shores of the Bosphorus, his viceroys gave law in the halls of the Caliphs at Bagdad in the east, or collected tribute beneath the shadow of Atlas in the west. From Aden in the south, his banners emblazoned with the cross scimitars were unfurled to the Indian sea; and at Buda in the north his pashas quaffed their sherbet in the libraries and the galleries of the poet-king, Matthias. The Shah of Persia, the chief of the Holy Roman Empire, and the proud republics of Genoa and Venice were reckoned among the vassals whose tribute swelled his annual revenue."[11] The observer, who looks to moral conduct as one of the forces of empire, must have admitted that Turk and Spaniard were distinguished in private life by intense religious conviction, by loyalty to the chief of the State, by a temperate habit of life, such as monasteries profess and the service of arms exacts, and by scrupulous fidelity to their word once given. Their vices were those of soldiers in every age, lawlessness to all but their own chiefs, a cynical licentiousness and ferocity; drawbacks no doubt to a perfect character, but not very much in excess of what was held to be permissible at the time. With all these elements of strength, the Spaniard and Turk were justly regarded as a menace to the existence of other nations. Luther spoke of the Turk as the personified wrath of God,[12] and modern criticism declares that the Turk saved Europe by curbing the power of Spain.[13] No one doubted the strength of the two great Empires. Yet within a century from the death of Philip II. the cabinets of Europe were discussing in what way Spain should be dismembered, as they have been discussing for two generations past on whom the inheritance of the Turk in Europe shall devolve. It can hardly have been religious bigotry that destroyed Spain, for its place in Europe was taken by France, which, under Louis XIV., was almost as intolerant of heresy as Spain had ever been. It can hardly have been the drain of colonies, for those colonies were fostering Spanish trade and contributing revenue to the exchequer; and colonies, poorer and not much more wisely administered, made England a great power. It can scarcely have been comparative barbarism that ruined the Turk, for the conquerors of Constantinople compared as well for civilisation with the degenerate race they overthrew as the Poles and Russians, who have inflicted the severest losses upon them, compare with the Turks. The truth surely is, that we may extend Bacon's axiom, by saying, that if the nation which cultivates war absorbingly is bound to achieve great success, it is bound also to do it at the cost, within measurable time, of its place among the nations of the world.

It may be argued that all the instances quoted are those in which the immediate agent of dissolution has been defeat in war. It is easy to imagine the inferior races increasing more rapidly than they do upon the higher, but difficult to suppose that they will ever be in such numbers as to crush superior skill and energy by brute weight. It is not, however, the purpose of this argument to assume that Europe is ever likely to be overrun by the Chinese, or North America subject to insurgent negroes. Each century has its own way of doing its appropriate work, and though in the face of Europe under arms it may seem perilous to count upon any dying out of the military spirit, every year seems to increase the pre-eminence of industrial over essentially martial nations.[14] The Chinese would be less dangerous than they are if they were as warlike as the Turks in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, because, in that case, they would waste their reproductive forces in arms. The danger for Europe, and for the higher races everywhere, if the black and yellow belt encroaches upon the earth, will not be the risk that St. Petersburg or London may be made tributary to Pekin, but that the expansion of Englishmen and Russians and other like nations will be arrested, and the character of the peoples profoundly modified, as they have to adapt themselves to a stationary condition of society. Beyond this there is the more subtle danger that, while the lower races are raising themselves to the material level of the higher, the higher may be assimilating to the moral and mental depression of the lower. It is fashionable to talk regretfully of the unrest of modern civilisation. We have become conscious of the cravings for something better than they have which animate almost all classes of society, but especially those who toil with the hand. Emigration to America or Australia is the great outlet for the most energetic in Western Europe; the less imaginative merely go from the country into the large towns, and many of these latter, as they find their hopes disappointed, are seized with the desire to reconstruct society. "If the Englishman," said Fortescue, four hundred years ago, "be poor, and see another man having riches, which may be taken from him by might, he will not spare to do so."[15] The Englishman is a little less disposed now to right himself by violence, but he has a power of righting himself by law which he did not possess in Fortescue's days, and which may be used with very notable consequences. His tendency in Australia, where he is carrying out modern ideas with great freedom, is to adopt a very extensive system of State Socialism. He goes to the State for railways and irrigation works; the State in Victoria provides him with costless schooling for his children; the State in New Zealand insures him; the State everywhere provides work for him if times are bad; and it is more than probable that the State will soon be called upon to run steamers, to work coal-mines, and at least to explore for the miner in any kind of ore. In Victoria,, and more or less in all the colonies, though least of all at present in New South Wales, the State tries to protect its citizens from foreign competition. These changes from English policy have been adopted gradually, and are partially explained by the peculiar circumstances of a young country. What is noteworthy is that they entirely recommend themselves to public sentiment. It is difficult to suppose, that if emigration from England suddenly received a great check, the mother country, confronted with the task of providing for its yearly surplus of population within its own boundaries, would not gradually and cautiously resort to a Socialism like that of Australia. Even as it is, English statesmen have had to make remarkable concessions. The very existence of a Poor Law is the affirmation of the right of every man to have State support in the last extremity. The rights of property and the right of free contract have alike been disregarded in Ireland, when it became a question of the many against the few. The landlord has been assisted to drain with cheap money out of the public exchequer; English diplomacy and arms have been freely employed to open up new markets for British manufactures. The corn of India has been transported at unremunerative rates upon Government lines, in order that the food of the people might be cheapened.[16] There is now a cry for giving free primary education to every one. All these are absolute departures from the time-honoured English principle of leaving every man to do the best for himself, and fare as he may. Some of them are unconscious concessions, and others are conscious approaches to State Socialism. It is scarcely conceivable that we have seen the end yet. There seems nothing overstrained in supposing that the State in England, as elsewhere, may undertake the construction of railways, or the reclaiming of land from the sea; and may, in fact, engage largely in industrial enterprises, so as to ensure work and support for a large part of the population. Again, it may buy up existing railways, as it has bought up telegraphs; and in this case a great body of workmen possessing votes will look to the State as paymaster, and will have a voice in determining what they are to get Lastly, it is more than conceivable that education of every kind will be made free. The expediency of giving intellect, in every condition of life, its chance to assert itself will recommend this change, and the upper classes are certain to contend that if the State relieves parents in one class of life from the charge of their children's schooling, it is bound to relieve all.

Now, it is impossible to say beforehand whether these changes will be for good or ill. What seems evident is that they are bound to affect the character of the whole people. Nowhere in the world has the struggle for existence been so fierce as in Great Britain; and it has been the mainspring of English energy. In the sixteenth century Meteren declared that Englishmen were as lazy as Spaniards.[17] They were, in fact, like the Spaniards of that time, ready for adventure, able to endure great hardships, unsurpassable explorers and privateers, but indisposed to the plodding industry for which Germans and Flemings were conspicuous. Two centuries later Holberg declared that the greatest examples of human indolence were to be found among the pauper class in England, and the best examples of well-applied toil among the English adventurers and merchants.[18] The praise, though Holberg uses the word "industry," is evidently directed to English enterprise. A greater thinker than Holberg, Kant, was peculiarly impressed by the factitious self-reliance and capricious originality of the English character;[19] and taking the general estimate of our nation in that century, we may say that it was a popular reflection of Kant's judgment, though commonly more favourable. The Englishman of old French novels is habitually an original, disregardful of the opinion of the world, ready to measure himself against any odds, and taking nothing upon trust. Peterborough and Clive, the knights-errant at the head of armies and councils, were in fact glorified instances of the Englishman, as his contemporaries appraised him. The reputation which the Englishman of Great Britain enjoyed has now been in great measure transferred to the Anglo-American. The original race has grown " bulbous, heavy-witted, material,"[20] as Hawthorne cynically puts it; is careful of its bank-balance and of the proprieties; is weighted with an ever-present sense of responsibilities. No Peterborough or Clive would now be allowed a free hand by his Government. The first impetuous act would provoke a recall by telegram. The conquest of an Empire would only terrify the British Cabinet with an apprehension of Parliamentary criticism.

Now, this change, which we see most conspicuously in matters of foreign policy, is one that may be traced in every direction. "The English," says Holberg, "as soon as they hear of anything they are not familiar with, take hold of it at once, examine it, accept it, and teach it publicly." Holberg referred to new opinions; and the contrast between the English school of free thought, which moulded religious enlightenment in the eighteenth century, and the utter sterility of our literature in the nineteenth, except for a single name, is sufficiently remarkable. Heine has said, that the most stupid Englishman can talk sensibly about politics, and that it is impossible to extract anything but nonsense from [21] the best educated Englishman when religion is discussed. The reason is not that educated Englishmen are unconscious of the movement of speculative thought all the world over, but that they deliberately shrink from the impulse to explore new regions, at the cost of surrendering certain accepted and acceptable conclusions. Certainly no one can now say, as Holberg did, that there is a ready taking in and promulgation of new thought. The results of Biblical criticism in Germany have never been tolerated in England, till they were so nearly superseded in their native country as to appear comparatively Conservative; and even the scientific conclusions of the Englishman Darwin were being disseminated in text-books on the Continent while English society was reading refutations of them, or at best taking refuge in half-hearted attempts to reconcile the doctrine of evolution with the teaching of Genesis. Still, it is probably true to say that English speculation is more fearless in physical science than in metaphysics or Biblical exegesis, or the critical reconstruction of history. A great many persons are glad to acquiesce in the view that the conclusions of science may be allowed to stand by themselves, and that when they are absolutely opposed to those of faith, it is not necessary to disbelieve either.

Perhaps one of the best instances of the decadence of English energy is in the imperfect welcome accorded to mechanical invention. The end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth were conspicuous in England by the number of new inventions given to the world. The industrial supremacy of the globe was achieved almost at a bound by the men whose catalogue of names includes Arkwright and Hargreaves, Watt and Bramah, Brinsley and Stephenson, Wedgwood, Maudsley, and Davy. There is no reason why this inventive faculty should not have continued in the country. Nasmyth, Bessemer, Whitworth, and Armstrong are conspicuous instances that the race retains the power of magnificent conceptions, and the great multiplication of factories and workshops in Great Britain ought to have stimulated the thought, as it has trained the eyes and hands of a large industrial population. Indeed, it may be said that England still contributes the larger half of the world's inventive fertility; but England no longer gets or deserves the credit for it. If we look back to actual history, we shall find that many of the best patents, such as the steam -plough, the sewing-machine, and the electric telegraph had to cross back to England from America before they could obtain recognition.[22] Even Nasmyth's steam-hammer was employed in Creuzot before the foundries of his own country adopted it.[23] The English inventor is still more than the equal of his rivals; more fertile in expedients than the German, and more patient than the American. Where he fails is when he carries his work to market. The instinctive feeling in England is, that if an invention were really valuable it would have been hit upon before; the feeling in America, that whatever is new ought simply because it is new to have a trial. Naturally, perhaps, the Conservative impulse is strongest in our military administration. In 1848 the Prussian needle-gun attracted so much attention in the campaign against Denmark, that a committee of officers was appointed to report upon it. They agreed that it was quite unnecessary to give up Brown Bess, and the change to a long-range rifle had accordingly to be made during the Crimean War.[24] "We hold our empire and preserve national existence on the condition of being stronger at sea than any other power, and yet France—a formidable rival and possible enemy—was allowed to outstrip us for a time in the construction of ironclads.[25]

Now, the Conservatism of an ancient society, which shrinks instinctively from change, because any change may lead to dangerous combinations, is most remarkable in England, because England has in many matters been the principle of ferment in the modern world. It has changed Catholicism for Protestantism, and tempered Protestantism with free thought; it has limited monarchy; it has given a peculiar meaning to aristocracy, making that elastic and flexible which is rigid everywhere else; it has associated the working classes with government; it has experimented in making labour free, and in freeing the exchange of labour from fetters; and it has popularised the feeling, that men may make themselves a country anywhere under the sun. It has boasted that it makes the functions of the State small in order to leave the widest possible sphere to energy and enterprise. Therefore, if England becomes temporising in her policy, if her best literary work is circumscribed to the criticism of style, and the construction of literary mosaics; if her wealth is more and more withdrawn from speculative adventures; if her industry is less and less originative; if her people appear to be losing the impulse to better themselves outside of England, or are denied the opportunity, we may surely assume that these changes will be accompanied with a transformation of character. Crushed or cowed by the forces that surround him, the Englishman will invoke the aid of the State. Universal suffrage, which was inevitable, has given him the machinery for moulding all the forces of Government to his purpose, and he will in all likelihood employ them to introduce an extended socialism of the Australian type. It is quite possible that these changes will be worked out slowly, temperately, and wisely. There is no reason why they should be attended with any forcible confiscations of property or cancelling of national obligations. It is conceivable that the soil of England and Scotland might be bought back from its present proprietors, as different statesmen have proposed the soil of Ireland should be, by the creation of a large three per cent stock, the interest on which should be paid by a peasant proprietary. The coal-mines of England might be resumed in the same way, and worked for the State. The question is not whether these changes are desirable and would answer the ends expected, but whether they are not possible and even likely. The case assumed is, that the races of Europe have very nearly reached the extreme limit of expansion, that they will wrest nothing from the inhabitants of tropical countries, and are even likely to lose a little to them, and that when the Temperate Zone is fairly peopled, so that immigration on a large scale will be discouraged by every country, England, which unites a small territory to a dense population, will find itself face to face with the problem how to feed and clothe its people. If we assume a nation, so circumstanced, to become stationary, as France is tending to do, that in itself involves a very great change in character and habits of life -- a change, perhaps, quite as great as the adoption of State Socialism. If, on the other hand, we suppose, as perhaps is more probable, that the passage to a stationary condition has to be spread over several generations, in that case there must be some means of supporting the ever-pressing burden of fresh lives.

The case of England has been taken because England is of all countries that which has benefited most by emigration, that which will suffer most when emigration is checked, and that in which socialistic theories have so far found least favour. There are some European countries, like Spain and Russia, which will admit of a very large increase within their own boundaries, and which accordingly need not feel the pressure of population till long after it has become a factor in British politics. There are others again, like France and Italy, which will perhaps readily adapt themselves to the stationary state. Meanwhile we may surely say of all, that it means a great deal for them if dispersion over the earth is checked, and a great deal also if liberty and enterprise come to be powerfully trammelled in the country which hitherto has furnished the greatest argument for their utility. It is possible, of course, that the new order, in which the individual withers and the man is less and less, may have compensating advantages of its own. To some it has seemed that the struggle for existence, which the English theory of unlimited competition involves, is unutterably brutal, and that the survival of the fittest in industrial war means the extinction of all who are weak, of all who have other interests than gain, of all who are scrupulous. It is not the purpose of this argument to consider whether there is any truth in this point of view. All that is contended is, that if anything like the democratic programme of the day comes to be realised; if every man, weak or strong, skilled or unskilled, is assured work on fairly equal terms; if the hours of labour are limited; if the State takes the employment of labour more and more into its own hands, buying up lands and factories and mines, the change will practically be as great as that which has transformed serfs or slaves all over the world into free labourers.

It will also be a change that will reproduce many conditions of primitive society and conditions that we associate with inferior races. The proprietorship of land by communities, as distinct from private property, has existed, to quote M. de Laveleye, "in Germany and ancient Italy, in Peru and China, in Mexico and India, among the Scandinavians and the Arabs, with precisely similar characteristics."[26] A change in the practice of the Western nations has accustomed us to regard this stage in a nation's life as a rude and ephemeral one. It is difficult even to assume a modern State deriving rent from all the land in the country, and running all the factories. Yet, as a matter of fact, we administer India in conformity with the primitive rule;[27] and every State has been compelled to organise great establishments for the construction of ships, or for providing warlike stores. In addition to this, there are numerous instances of mines belonging to the State, like the salt-mine of Wieliczka, and the quicksilver mines of Almaden. The railways are owned by the State half the world over, and there are cases where the State runs commercial steamers,[28] though the more usual practice is for the State to subsidise them. Habitually, the European Governments have only instituted manufactures when the article to be produced was one of limited demand, like the porcelain of Sevres and Meissen, or the tapestry of the Gobelins, or when it was important to naturalise a new industry, as was the case for some time in Russia. Frederick the Great's practice, approved by Mirabeau and by Mr. Carlyle,[29] of forcing the rich abbeys to establish manufactures, was the action of an exceptional man, more vigorous than economically intelligent, in an exceptional time. If, however, we ask why the best economists, especially in England, have always disapproved of the State mixing itself up in industrial undertakings, we shall find the reasons to be such as would not weigh much, if at all, with Trades-Unionists. Mr. Mill, for instance, argues, that a people whose work is found for them become deficient in initiative; that as a general rule the business of life is better performed when those who have an immediate interest in it are left to take their own course, uncontrolled either by the mandate of the law, or of any public functionary; above all, that it is exceedingly dangerous to multiply State functionaries, and concentrate all the power of organised action in a dominant bureaucracy.[30] It is a corollary from these principles that Government work cannot be as cheaply done as the work in private establishments. A Socialist, however, will only regard the first of these arguments as important, and will probably demur to its validity. He will argue, that in private establishments the workman's improvements are habitually confiscated for the use of the master; and that if men continue to invent, where they reap only trifling advantages, they will probably have their wits sharpened when their work is secure of recognition, because the Government has no interest in defrauding them. He will maintain that the logical tendency of unlimited competition is to make profits by sweating the operative, and that the State, which can command its own market, is not liable to this temptation. A Socialist is not afraid of increasing the power of the State, or of multiplying State functionaries. He wishes the interest of the community to be paramount, and that all should be in the State's service. Neither does he think cheap production the main object to be aimed at. It is important, because it economises the wage-fund of the administration; but the real essentials are that the work done should be good, and the workman adequately requited.

This argument has assumed throughout that the progress of the world is not, as is commonly taken for granted, to democracy, but to some form of State Socialism. It is not contended for a moment that democracy may not be, or indeed is not likely to be, a temporary form of political growth. What, however, does democracy mean? Not necessarily the extinction of hereditary kingship, for a sovereign, and even a line of sovereigns, may be approved the best possible exponents of the popular will. Not necessarily, or perhaps conceivably, the destruction of social inequality, for even if a House of Lords be swept away, men who are pre-eminent by practical ability or by wealth will always make their superiority felt, and if they use their power wisely may count upon a generous recognition. What democracy seems really to mean is the vesting of power in the people in such way that their changes of purpose may have instantaneous effect given to them. It is this approval of mutability which statesmen dread. It may mean that a w r ar will be declared wantonly, and given up disgracefully; that an alliance of long standing will suddenly be discarded; that ruinous expenditure will be incurred; that a national debt will be repudiated, or property confiscated to relieve temporary pressure; that inexperienced men will be put at the public helm in virtue of a certain talent of voluble speech, and a fertility in plausible expedients. Perhaps all these dangers have been exaggerated. The most real of all seems to be the risk of profuse expenditure; and even in this respect it would be difficult for a democracy to transcend the extravagance of the old military monarchies. At any rate, it seems likely that two great causes will so far modify the democratic unrest as to make political society in the rather distant future more stable, more wary, and more compactly cemented than it is now. In the first place, the growth of new military powers, such as China, or the augmentation of old empires, if we assume Hindoos and negroes to be subject to European States, will make it more and more necessary for every country to keep its armies and fleets in a high state of efficiency. In the next place, Socialism, which gives an industrial programme, is almost certain to be the complement of democracy, which only gives the power of adopting a programme. Socialism, however, which strives to annihilate the struggle for existence, competition, and the collision of capital with labour, aims at a millennium of orderly progress from which the pressure of want and the stimulus of ambition shall be excluded.

It may be argued, that as the nations of the world become more and more enlightened, the barbarism of war will tend more and more to be discarded; and the fact noted above, that purely warlike nations cannot hold their own against the industrial races, seems to indicate that the earth may some day be covered with States, all of which desire peace. Unhappily, the dream of peace, which was very prevalent fifty years ago, has been succeeded by a period of wars causing more eventful changes than have been known for many centuries; and Europe is now little better than a camp of instruction. The great cause that has determined this activity seems to be the conviction that only powerful empires can maintain themselves in the immediate future; and that for purposes of self-preservation the weak must unite, and the strong secure themselves by anticipating their neighbours. The gross results are, that Prussia, which could be disregarded thirty years ago, is now a first-rate Power; that Italy has become important as an ally, and that Russia is as strong as ever in Eastern Europe, and incomparably stronger in Central Asia. Meanwhile, France, Austria, and Turkey are all weaker than they were. Unless we assume the Powers that have gained strength to be satisfied with what they have got, and the nations that have lost to be convinced they cannot retrieve their losses, the war which is always being anticipated is certain some day to break out. The accident of a military sovereign, or an ambitious minister, of troubles at home or possibilities abroad, will be sufficient to determine it. More than this, the great Powers see what they may gain by annexing dominions which will give them soldiers or revenue, or outlets for their commerce. Russia is as certainly working for a harbour in the Persian Gulf as for one in the Dardanelles. Even if we assume that the next fifty years will bring a settlement of all these questions, can any one believe that finality will have been reached? The larger any empire becomes, the more numerous will be the points of contact with its neighbours and possible enemies. There will always be the little adjoining province that is desirable to round off the Imperial territory.

Neither does it seem possible to imagine that the great inert force of China will not some day be organised, and rendered mobile and capable of military aggression. Almost the most secluded of the nations in early times, China was barred from a career of conquest by the mountains of Thibet, the desert of Gobi, and the snows of Siberia. She was swept over by Tartar conquerors, and the repeated attempts of her people to trade or colonise in the Malay Archipelago were met with restrictive measures,[31] or foiled by massacres. Gradually, her policy became one of deified inactivity. She tried to concentrate all the energy of her people upon her own soil, and was as unwilling to let the labourer depart as to welcome the merchant. Her great resources went to feed the luxury of a court and the greed of officials. We have compelled her to come into the fellowship of nations. She has adopted steamers, and European artillery and army organisation; she has accepted the telegraph; she is about to introduce railways; and she has credit enough to carry out the changes she needs with foreign capital. On three sides of her lie countries that she may easily seize, over which very often she has some old claim, and in the climate of which her people can live. Flexible as Jews, they can thrive on the mountain plateaux of Thibet, and under the sun of Singapore; more versatile even than Jews, they are excellent labourers, and not without merit as soldiers and sailors; while they have a capacity for trade which no other nation of the East possesses. They do not need even the accident of a man of genius to develop their magnificent future. Ordinary statesmanship, adopting the improvements of Europe without offending the customs and prejudices of the people, may make them a State which no Power in Europe will dare to disregard; with an army which could march by fixed stages across Asia; and a fleet which could hold its own against any the strongest of the European Powers could afford to keep permanently in Chinese waters.

It is not the purpose of this argument to anticipate what the career of military conquest may be in Europe or Asia. All that is aimed at is to show that, though the world may become more and more industrial in its tendencies, the most powerful States will still continue, and indeed must continue, to keep up large armaments, and to be prepared at a moment's notice for defence or aggression. This, however, implies a strong and tolerably permanent Executive. The cases of the United States of America and of England offer no parallel to the condition of the continent of Europe, of Asia, and of part at least of Africa. The United States have no neighbour who can threaten them, and can afford to run the risk of being over-mastered at sea for a few weeks. The Power that ventured on such an experiment would be apt to expiate its short-lived triumph severely. England has a first line of defence for her own shores in her navy. But England is compelled, even now, to keep her Indian army more efficient and more easily mobilised than her forces at home; and this obligation will grow upon her with every decade. For the rest of the world outside the American continent, something like the state of preparation in which France, Germany, Austria, Russia, and Italy keep themselves at present, seems to be inevitable to all time. Even if a general reduction of armaments were agreed to, it is doubtful if it would much alter the equilibrium. One administration would always be in advance of another, by giving more instruction during the same term of service in the militia; so that, when war was declared, it would have an advantage of six weeks over an opponent. But, beyond this, it is difficult to conceive how a great reduction of armaments could ever be effected. Russia, for instance, may need less defence than was once the case on the side of Turkey and Sweden; but she has to guard an infinitely larger frontier against Germany and Austria, against England and China, and against the allies which any one of these powers might succeed in influencing. From the moment China becomes as strong as Roumania is now that—is, can dispose of a corps of 100,000 trained men, or their equivalent, she becomes a power that must enter into the combinations of England, Russia, and France. It seems, therefore, as if the utility of armies was likely to endure; and, if so, it can hardly be doubted that, under present conditions, the ability to handle them promptly and vigorously will also be indispensable. In other words, every State must have a strong military executive more or less independent of party combinations, and more or less autocratic. The alternative is that it ceases to exist, and in this case it will be organised by its conqueror.

It may be argued, on the other hand, by a few Liberals who love peace, that, under free institutions which endear the existing order to every man, it will be easy to enforce an universal conscription of volunteers, militia, or landwehr, on such a scale as to make invasion a danger only to the invader. Unfortunately, the conclusive evidence of history shows that half- trained troops are perfectly valueless in the open field against trained; that even where the troops are fairly matched enthusiasm is a very imperfect substitute for generalship; and that, other things being equal, those who wage a purely defensive war are at a disadvantage. If we take the most thoroughly accepted of the views referred to, the belief in volunteer soldiers, we shall find it to rest very much on the success of the Americans in the War of Independence against England; on the victories of the French Republican armies in 1793-94; on the tenacious resistance of the Spanish guerillas to the French armies; and on the defeat of a body of English soldiers by the Boers at Majuba Hill. Now every one of these supposed instances can be shown to tell the other way. Whether the Americans, many of whom had seen active service against the French, were not more than an ordinary militia may be fairly questioned. It may be conceded that they were less than regulars, and they were accordingly beaten, not dishonourably, but decisively, at Bunker's Hill, at Brooklyn, at Chatterton's Hill, at Germantown, at Brandy wine, at Camden, and at Guildford, though the English generals were never more than second-rate, though half the English troops were German mercenaries, and though the Americans latterly were, of course, trained soldiers. The one great success that the militia really achieved was in the third year of the war, when, with an army of 13,216 effectives, it obliged a British force of 3500 to capitulate at Saratoga. Except for the support of the French army under Rochambeau, it is more than doubtful if the Americans could have maintained the struggle in the last year of the war against an English army which never mustered more than 8000 in the field. In this instance, we must bear in mind that the Americans, from their great poverty, were unable to keep their forces together the whole year round, so as to give them the habit of concerted action which distinguishes regular from irregular troops. In 1812 their militia did incomparably worse against the veterans sent out under Ross of Bladensburg, and a little body of 4500 men marched where it liked, defeated armies of 7400 and 6400 successively, burnt Washington, and would probably have taken Baltimore in the teeth of 15,000 militia, if the enemy had not sunk ships to make the co-operation of the British fleet impossible. It may be said that the same year witnessed the defeat of a highly -trained British force under Pakenham before New Orleans. In that case 6000 men, without artillery, and without fascines or scaling ladders, were hurled against strong works defended by twice the number, and were shot down.[32] It is no discredit to the Americans to say that, with equally good strategy, and an equally strong position, almost any troops in the world could have repelled the attack which Pakenham ought never to have made.

The second supposed instance of a defeat of regular soldiers by insurrectionary levies is when France was invaded by the Duke of Brunswick in 1793, and by the Prussians, Austrians, and British in 1794. The popular assumption is that the old French army had been disbanded or allowed to disappear, and that under the influence of revolutionary excitement hundreds of thousands of citizen soldiers sprung to arms under the command of citizen officers, drove the invaders back, and overflowed Italy, Spain, and the Low Countries. "O youth, O hope, O infinite strength of the consciousness and the feeling of right—who could resist them?" says M. Michelet poetically, while he develops this view;[33] and General Foy, a much higher authority on military matters, says that from " the year 1794 inclusive, our young army, commanded by new men who had escaped from studies and counting-houses, was seen to demolish the reputation of old armies and old generals."[34] General Foy probably refers to Moreau, who had been a lawyer, and to Jourdan, who, after serving as a private in the American War, had settled down as a draper. Taking now the facts of history, we shall find that the poetical view requires to be largely discounted. The army of the monarchy was never disbanded, though it lost a great many of its officers and men by emigration, or otherwise, and was more or less demoralised. The work of reorganising it was constantly going on. "The regulation of the infantry manoeuvres of 1791," says Foy, "is a model of concision and clearness," and he explains that in that year a change, bringing privates into closer contact with their officers, was introduced.[35] "If in 1792," says Napoleon, "France repelled the aggression of the first coalition, it is because she had had three years to prepare in, and in which to levy 200 battalions of the National Guard; it is because she was only attacked by armies of at most 100,000 men. If 800,000 men had marched under the orders of the Duke of Brunswick, Paris would have been taken, in spite of the energy and the onward rush of the nation."[36] What really happened then in 1792 is that a very inadequate though efficient army, under the Duke of Brunswick, prepared to march upon Paris, capturing fortresses and defeating armies on its way. The French troops, though not good enough to be called soldiers, were a great deal better than volunteers. They consisted partly of regiments out of the old army, and partly of the National Guard, under experienced officers. Dumouriez, Kellerman, Rochambeau, Lafayette, Luckner, Montesquieu, Dillon, Beurnonville, Custine, Biron, and Beaurepaire—the men who are responsible for the failures and successes of 1792—were all old officers of the aristocratic régime. They could not at first give cohesion or self-confidence to the troops under them. Brunswick's army advanced, taking Longwy and Verdun, and winning two victories at Grand-Prè and Vaux,—in the latter of which 1500 Prussian hussars scattered a whole corps of 10,000 men in a disorderly flight which carried some of the fugitives to Paris.[37] Gradually, however, Dumouriez received reinforcements, and was able to keep his men together in the entrenched camp of Valmy under a cannonade which only cost each side 800 men out of 70,000 or 80,000 brought into the field. The mere fact that the French forces were able to hold their position was equivalent to a victory under the circumstances. From that time forward the French were on the aggressive, and before the end of the year the victory of Jemappes, in which, however, they were two to one against the Austrians, gave them possession of Austrian Flanders.[38] Valmy and Jemappes, such as they are, are the only victories that can be claimed for the French insurrectionary levies. They were won by soldiers and militia troops under veteran officers; and if their leaders had had a little more time in which to weld together their excellent but discordant materials, the army would have been a more than average specimen of a well-trained French force of those days. During the years next succeeding its composition steadily grew better. Carnot, a man of genius, organised it; and the opportunities given to privates and young men of rising to important command were taken advantage of by a number of able officers. Still, Moreau is perhaps the one instance of a civilian who rose rapidly to distinction in the army. Hoche, Ney, Jourdan, Junot, Massena, Bernadotte, and Berthier, had all been privates or non-commissioned officers in the Royalist army before they rose to command under the Republic.

We know what Napoleon's opinion of short-service men was. Decrès once said to him in council, "I cannot extemporise a sailor as you do a soldier. It takes seven years to make a sailor. You turn out a soldier in six months." "Taisez-vous," said Napoleon. "Such ideas are enough to destroy an empire. It takes six years to make a soldier."[39] On another occasion he wrote of himself: "The First Consul did very good things, he put everything in the right way, but he did not work miracles; the heroes of Hohen-Linden and Marengo were not recruits, but good and old soldiers."[40] Evidently Napoleon's knowledge of the levies of 1792 and 1793 had not inclined him to suppose that enthusiasm can be a substitute for drill. His own experience was, in fact, very significant. The French navy, deprived of its best officers and gunners, who were largely Royalist, had to trust to reconstruction under such administrators as the man who wound up his official report with the words, "Legislators, these are the impulses of an ingenuous patriot, who has no guiding principle but nature, and a truly French heart"; or the other, who appended a marginal note to his acceptance of resignations from the old staff: "there are plenty more to be got."[41] The result was seen in those engagements when ships, officered and manned by men who for courage were worthy foes of Nelson and Collingwood's heroes, were constantly out-manœuvred and destroyed in the first engagement.[42] Napoleon's fall is the record of a struggle by volunteers handled by some of the best leaders in the world against men only a little better drilled, and who scarcely dared face them. If half the conscripts who fought at Leipzig could have been exchanged for an equal number of the veterans sacrificed in Russia, the map of Europe would be very different now from what it is. Raw levies did not save the Republic in 1792, but they ruined the Empire in 1814.

As little can it be said that irregular levies or guerillas saved Spain during the war with the French that began in 1808, and only ended when Wellington crossed the Pyrenees in 1813. The capitulation of Baylen and the defence of Saragossa are the only important instances during the whole of that period when raw Spanish levies did good service against a regular force. At Baylen, where the French general was incapable, perhaps half-hearted, where his forces were divided, and where two Swiss regiments turned against him in the battle, the Spanish regulars were twice as numerous as the French actually engaged, and the presence of a few thousand armed peasants only gave solidity and confidence to the regular force.[43] At the first siege of Saragossa the defenders were as two to one compared with the investing army, and, in spite of a heroic defence, must have capitulated if the news of Baylen had not forced the French to retire. At the second siege, where the besieged were as many in number as the besiegers, they were forced to surrender after a defence in which three-fourths of their number had perished.[44] In short, even behind walls, and when they were largely mixed with regular troops, volunteers could not hold their own against military experience and discipline. Of the guerillas, Napier tells us that they could do nothing against even a house or church, of which the French had barricaded the entrance.[45] They were excellent for cutting off stragglers, intercepting communications, and generally giving annoyance, especially when they were backed by a regular army; but as a rule they were more formidable to their friends than to the enemy. The attempt to employ them has never again been made, except during the French occupation of Mexico, and then also it was a complete failure. Under generals of very ordinary talent, a small body of French troops kept the country down, as long as they were allowed to remain there.

The successes of the Boers in the Transvaal against British troops have revived in some quarters the belief that men who are good shots, and know the country, may be employed against well-disciplined troops, even in the open field. It must be borne in mind that one of the great sources of weakness in irregulars—their liability to get in one another's way—scarcely occurs when only handfuls of men are brought into action. The Boers had also seen service enough in Kaffir wars to be free from the liability to sudden panics. The force which Sir George Colley led to three separate defeats consisted altogether of less than 1100 men. They were wasted in attacks on strong positions in the hills, and at Majuba Hill a portion of them were sent to occupy ground of which they knew nothing, surrounded by an enemy in superior force, whom they had neither cannon, Gatlings, nor rockets to dislodge.[46] Such defeats, however creditable to the Boers who inflicted them, could not have affected the issue of the campaign. The English forces within striking distance of the enemy were overwhelming, and must have dispersed the insurgents, if a peace, politically defensible, but more remarkable in its surrender of military honour than the capitulations of Kloster-Zeven or Baylen, had not been hastily rushed through by the British Government.

It has seemed important to discuss this question of defence without defiance at length, because if there be any organisation by which a great State can secure itself from attack, without spending large sums on its army and navy, and using up many years of its subjects' lives in forced service, there can be no doubt but that the wisest statesmanship will adopt it; and in that case the military influence, which is essentially absolutist, would be withdrawn from politics. What, however, we have to anticipate is, that every State will have to be constantly on its guard against dismemberment or subjugation; and this not only as now, but more than now, because some new States will have been formed, or even more, because some old ones will have become very formidable. If, however, the industrial requirements of old States have led to something like State Socialism, we may expect this to take an all-pervading form. The child will be taught at State schools, and, perhaps, taught the elements of a craft, and drilled there. The youth will be compelled to take service in the State forces; when he is discharged from service will have employment found for him by the State; and will be supported in sickness or old age from a State Insurance Fund. He will find it increasingly difficult to emigrate; and as the principal forms of labour will have been monopolised by the State, he will find it difficult to invest his savings in anything but the purchase of State funds. It is conceivable that loafers and vagrants will be hunted down and punished under this régime, with incomparably more severity than any modern State attempts. Even the institution of an idle Monday may be put down, when labour is regarded as a due to the country, and not as the private property of the individual, which he may sell or withhold at pleasure. States organised on the democratic basis for giving labour its greatest possible return, and citizens compelled to submit impartially to military discipline, 'are likely to approach the problems of life with great seriousness, and to be very intolerant of the Bohemian element in rich and poor. Besides, if private speculation has been to a great extent extinguished by the State monopoly of some form of enterprise, large fortunes will gradually be subdivided, and the privileged class, that spends lavishly and claims to exempt itself from the ordinary burdens, from the conscription or the obligation to work, will become very unimportant.

Now it is noticeable that this form of society will be an approximation to old forms, which are eminently consonant to the genius of those races the Chinese, the Hindoo, and the American Indian which it has been shown are likely to increase in numbers and become strong. If we can assume a really powerful China, and an united India, independent, or practically so, and a strong Central African State, or federation of States—suppositions which are at least possible—we can hardly suppose that they will be without influence upon the States of European growth. The conquest of India not only introduced the Nabob into English society, but naturalised the vulgar profusion to which adventurers in the East had become accustomed. Algeria was a very small province to have any effect on French society, but many Frenchmen declare that it infected their soldiers with what is known in France as "the vice of Algeria." To take the strongest instance of all, no one can doubt that the planters and mean whites of the Southern States were powerfully modified by their contact with the black race, becoming imperious, licentious, and disdainful of patient toil. It is the habit in England to assume that the reprobation of Chinese vice—from opium-eating and gambling to nameless immorality—which Australians and Californians feel is mere political affectation, because there is a vicious white class in every great city. The fact, however, is, that a community is distinctly injured by the introduction of new forms of immorality, which attract some for whom the old would have no fascinations. In all the instances cited, the foreign element and influence have been comparatively weak. If, however, China were organised, as she is likely to be; if her flag floated on every sea, and her naval officers visited every great port as honoured guests; if her army was an important factor in the peace of the world, and her diplomatists respected in consequence; if her commerce was world- wide; if her literature was achieving a success of esteem for style and thought, it is inconceivable that these, influences would not tell upon the character and conduct of mankind. It is not assumed that this effect would necessarily be all evil. The Chinaman might, for instance, be an example of patient toil; and this, with certain reasonable limitations, is to be admired. What, however, seems probable is, that as the Chinese race forced itself into a position of equality with its neighbours, the spectacle of lives consumed in labour, lives rewarded by nothing but the supply of animal wants, would cease to be considered repulsive and humiliating. European Socialism aims at distributing labour and wealth, so that every man may have leisure and the opportunity of becoming better than he is. The practical Socialism of the East has never aimed at more than the satisfaction of material needs. The question is, whether, when the two forces are measured one against the other, that which has the lowest aims is not bound to starve the other out of the field.

No one in California or Australia, where the effects of Chinese competition have been studied, has, I believe, the smallest doubt that Chinese labourers, if allowed to come in freely, could starve all the white men in either country out of it, or force them to submit to harder work and a much lower standard of wages. In Victoria, a single trade, that of furniture-making, was taken possession of, and ruined for white men within the space of something like five years. Only two large employers excluded Chinamen altogether; and white men, where they were retained, were kept on only to supply a limited demand for the best kind of work.[47] Now, what Chinamen can do in Melbourne, where only the worst workmen go, and where these receive wages which would be thought high in China, Chinamen at home could do incomparably better, if they worked in establishments fitted up with the best machinery, and were directed by foremen knowing the European taste. Does any one doubt that the day is at hand when China will have cheap fuel from her coal-mines, cheap transport by railways and steamers, and will have founded technical schools to develop her industries? Whenever that day comes, she may wrest the control of the world's markets, especially throughout Asia, from England and Germany. The alternative will be that England—having adopted and developed the principles of State Socialism—will enforce a rigidly protective tariff against the cheap industry of her rival. How far this can be practicable with the races subject to England may be a question. The Hindoo may strongly resent having to purchase English muslins, if he can get a better article at half the price from Canton. What, however, it is really important to notice is, that a reversion by England to a protective tariff would be a very powerful modification of English thought and policy; and, if there be any truth in Free Trade, would be financially disastrous to England herself in the long run. Probably, however, it would be evaded, as regarded the East, by the establishment of Chinese factories upon English soil in some part of the Straits Settlements.

It will be observed that both the changes at work within English society and the change resulting from the organisation of labour in the Black and Yellow Belt will tend to intensify toil, and to diffuse it more uniformly throughout the strata of society. Socialism, however, is aiming at something very different. Its desire is to abolish competition, to secure a fair day's work at a fair day's wage to every man, and to arrange for intervals of toil,—a day and a half or two days in every week,—when the body may recruit strength, and the attention be relaxed. It is certain that neither the days of slavery, nor those of serfdom, nor the palmy times when capital and labour were left to make their own terms, have ever given the workers an even tolerable existence, except it may be now and again for brief intervals. The best Professor Rogers is able to say for the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries is, that it was tolerably easy to support life, and that "the poorest and meanest man had no insurmountable and absolute impediment put in his career, if he would seize his opportunity, and make use of it."[48] The most grudging requirements of modern legislation demand that a family shall live in wholesome tenements, that children shall be educated up to a certain low level, that children shall not be stunted by overwork, and that women shall not be allowed to unsex themselves by certain kinds of rough labour. Practically, however, only a part of all this is enforced. Is it too much to say that, in the general interest, separation of the sexes in homes might be insisted on, with the result that, instead of families living in a single room, there should be three bedrooms at least to every married man's domicile? Ought not the average of wages to be such, that every able-bodied man could bring up his family in a house good enough for self-respect, on food good enough to maintain the body at its highest efficiency, and at the same time to make a provision against sickness and old age? Is it not for the interest of the State that every child should be well taught, that the most capable should be able to rise out of the ranks, and that all should have a little sunshine, some respite from toil during their early years? There is so little in all this that is extravagant, that in fact everything suggested is being cared for in one country or another by philanthropists or the law. It would, no doubt, be a great step to see all carried out together in the same society, but it would not be as great a change as the transition from slavery to free labour has been.

For Europe and North America to be brought up to this state of development—other things being as they are—would imply a levelling-up of wages that is not at first sight impossible. Practically, the highest-paid artisans hold their own in the race for supremacy, so that England and the United States have nothing to fear from the competition of Russia and Austria. Indeed, in America the opportunities of money-making afforded by a young country are so great, that private enterprise is not as yet seriously threatened by Socialism, except in the bastard form of Protection. In England the principle that men who will work must not starve has always been admitted, though in a somewhat grudging fashion: law and the unions are limiting the hours of labour and fixing the wage-rate; and little remains to be done beyond providing State employment on a large scale. Probably the Continental workman would require to be content with a little less than his rival in Birmingham or Manchester, because his employer would have to get similar results to the English on a larger expenditure upon coal; but it cannot be impossible to adjust differences of this kind. In that case, we may assume that all the races possessed of the same, or nearly the same civilisation, will belong, so to speak, to the same trades-union, so far as production is concerned, but will more or less rigidly exclude one another's manufactures by protective tariffs. England, of course, might not conform to this policy; but if England stood alone in her Free Trade, the exception would be unimportant. She would not be able to force her products upon her neighbours; she might lose to some of them, and find her industries dying out one by one. It is quite conceivable, for instance, that she might lose the carrying trade in the eastern seas to China, as her steamers there are already very largely manned by Lascars and Chinamen.

Now, it is surely probable that the European nations, with their production limited, and its price enhanced by Socialism, and with exchange among themselves fettered by protection, would find themselves at a great disadvantage in competing with a really industrial China. The resources of China are immense, the capacity of its people for toil is almost unlimited, and their wants are of the slenderest. The great mass of the people lives ascetically, and retains its habits, even when it is thrown among wasteful races like the English of America and Australia, who despise and distrust asceticism. The organisation of labour appears to be largely in the hands of employers, who maintain their ascendency by murder. We may assume all this to be modified, but we cannot assume the change to be so sudden and complete that Chinese industry will conform to the standards of the western world. What is true of the Chinese is true more or less of Hindoos and negroes. A hundred years hence when these races, which are now as two to one to the higher, shall be as three to one; when they have borrowed the science of Europe, and developed their still virgin worlds, the pressure of their competition upon the white man will be irresistible. He will be driven from every neutral market and forced to confine himself within his own. Ultimately he will have to conform to the Oriental standard of existence, or, and this is the probable solution, to stint the increase of population. If he does this by methods that are inconsistent with morality, the very life-springs of the race will be tainted. If he does it by a patient self-restraint that shows itself in a limitation to late marriages, national character will be unimpaired, but material decline will have commenced. With civilisation equally diffused, the most populous country must ultimately be the most powerful; and the preponderance of China over any rival—even over the United States of America—is likely to be overwhelming.

Let us conceive the leading European nations to be stationary, while the Black and Yellow Belt, including China, Malaysia, India, Central Africa, and Tropical America is all teeming with life, developed by industrial enterprise, fairly well administered by native governments, and owning the better part of the carrying trade of the world. Can any one suppose that, in such a condition of political society, the habitual temper of mind in Europe would not be profoundly changed? Depression, hopelessness, a disregard of invention and improvement would replace the sanguine confidence of races that at present are always panting for new worlds to conquer. Here and there, it may be, the more adventurous would profit by the tradition of old supremacy to get their services accepted in the new nations, but as a rule there would be no outlet for energy, no future for statesmanship. The despondency of the English people, when their dream of conquest in France was dissipated, was attended with a complete decay of thought, with civil war, and with a standing still, or perhaps a decline of population, and to a less degree of wealth.[49] The discovery of the New World, the resurrection of old literature, the trumpet of the Reformation scarcely quickened the national pulse with real life till the reign of Elizabeth. Then, however, there was revival, because there were possibilities of golden conquest in America, speculative treasures in the reanimate learning of Greece, and a new faith that seemed to thrust aside the curtain drawn by priests, and to open heaven. It is conceivable that our later world may find itself deprived of all that it valued on earth, of the pageantry of subject provinces and the reality of commerce, while it has neither a disinterred literature to amuse it nor a vitalised religion to give it spiritual strength.

The foregoing argument has assumed that the growth of China will be gradual and peaceable, and that India, if it ever becomes independent of England, will split up into a cluster of states, federated it may be, but not capable of an aggressive foreign policy. There is one possible alternative to this future too important to be disregarded. We are not yet able to say whether Mahommedanism has ceased to be a ferment and a great organising influence. It was beaten in the Indian Mutiny; it has been stamped out in Yunnan and Ili, after wars in which millions of lives were destroyed; and its solitary success in the Soudan has not been followed up, and was due very much to the fact that it was combined with a national uprising against a detested foreign rule. Still it is impossible to forget that an active Mahommedan propaganda is being carried on in China, and that the province of Yunnan was, at one time, almost in the hands of the followers of the Prophet. Father Girard says that, in a single instance, when there was a famine in the province of Chan-tong, the Mahommedans bought ten thousand children, whom they educated in their own faith.[50] The whole number of Moslems in the Empire "is estimated by some officials at 20,000,000 to 25,000,000."[51] Observers agree that the Mahommedan may commonly be distinguished from his Buddhist countryman by his erect bearing and fearless tones. Islam, in this country also, transforms its votaries into military fanatics. As the popular Buddhism is nothing more than Paganism of a rather gross kind, though, with a fairly good ethical code, it may, in spite of the advantage it possesses of being the faith of the large majority, and backed by the Government, go down before a monotheism that has already been embraced by the Turkish division of the Tartars, and which is the predominant religion in Malaysia. The accident of a leader of genius arising to combine the Mahommedans in a common organisation might conceivably transfer sovereignty to a follower of Islam. In that case it is difficult to suppose that China would not become an aggressive military power, sending out her armies in millions to cross the Himalayas, and traverse the Steppes, or occupying the islands and the northern parts of Australia, by pouring in immigrants protected by fleets. Luther's old name for the Turks, that they were "the people of the wrath of God," may receive a new and terrible application. It seems reasonable to suppose that such a visitation can only be possible in the distant future, and not unreasonable to hope that it may never occur. Should it, however, take place, the ultimate effect would probably be to drain China of population and wealth, which die out gradually whereever the Crescent floats in triumph. The military aggrandisement of the Empire, which would provoke general resistance, is, in fact, less to be dreaded than its industrial growth, which other nations will be, to some extent, interested in maintaining. Still, even a ten years' conflict against forces far greater than Tamerlane's, and inspired with as ferocious a spirit, would be something so horrible that we may well pray for it to be never anything more than an evil dream.

  1. Guizot, La Civilisation en Europe, Leçons 2 and 4.
  2. The late Professor Maurice put these ideas very happily when he said that the title of Gibbon's great work had expressed its limitations; that Gibbon had understood the decline and fall of the old order, but had not appreciated the birth of a new society.
  3. "Professor Thiersch, with whom I once discussed this period, said that in his opinion there never existed a period more charming, in an intellectual point of view, than the age of Menander at Athens."—Niebuhr, Lectures on Ancient History, vol. iii. p. 49.
  4. "When Germans tell us, as they often do, that their country is only just recovering the ravages of the Thirty Years' War, we are, at first, tempted to smile; but if we examine into the matter closely, we shall find that the statement is literally and perfectly correct."—Grant Duff, Studies in European Politics, p. 249, published in 1866.
  5. "The road from Quito to Peru is variously estimated at from 1500 to 2000 miles long, built of heavy flags of freestone." Prescott, Conquest of Peru, p. 27. " The aqueduct that traversed the district of Condesugu measured between 400 and 500 miles."—Prescott, Conquest of Peru, p. 57. The aqueduct of Chimu is still more than 60 feet in height.—Squier's Peru, p. 118. Mr. Squier says that the fortress of the Sacrahuaman can only properly be compared with the Pyramids, or Stonehenge, or the Coliseum. He also calls it " the most massive among monuments of similar character, either in the old or the new world." Of Chimu Mr. Squier says, that a plain from 12 to 15 miles long, by 5 to 6 broad, is thickly studded over with the ruins of the ancient city.—Squier, Peru, pp. 468, 469, 118; Prescott, Conquest of Peru, p. 41.
  6. Will of Manco Sierra Lejesama.—Prescott, Conquest of Peru, Appendix iv.
  7. For good popular descriptions of these ruins, discovered in 1861 by M. Henri Mouhot, see Thomson's Malacca, Indo-China, and China, pp. 135-152; Cotteau's Un Touriste dans l'Extréme Orient, pp. 409-414; and Vincent's "Rival to Solomon's Temple," printed in his In and Out of Central America, pp. 146-181. The date is conjecturally assigned to between 1295 and 1373. Mr. Wallace notices similar ruins in Java, and states that they far surpass those of Central America, perhaps even those of India. He also notices that the present inhabitants " look upon these relics of their forefathers with ignorant amazement, as the undoubted productions of giants or of demons."—Wallace's Malay Archipelago, pp. 104-106.
  8. "From Borneo to California the great ocean was but a Spanish lake." Motley's United Netherlands, iii. p. 485.
  9. "Contarini estimates Philip II.'s American revenues for the year 1593 at 2,000,000 of scudi, which is certainly not too high."—Ranke's Spanish Empire, p. 96. Motley estimates the revenue from Mexico at from 2,500,000 to 3,000,000 of dollars.—United Netherlands, vol. iii. p. 487. The English public expenditure in years of peace averaged about £400,000 in the first part of the reign of James I.—Gardiner's History of England, vol. ii. Appendix viii.
  10. Bacon's Essays, No. xxix.
  11. Stirling-Maxwell's Don John of Austria, vol. i. pp. 289, 290.
  12. Luther's Tisch-Reden, Band iv. S. 656.
  13. Michelet's Histoire de France, Réforme, chap. xv.
  14. Even as regards the size of armies, it would be a mistake to suppose that the armies now maintained in time of peace are much larger than was the case anciently. Prussia, in 1740, had an army of 83,468 men to a population of 2,240,000. This is larger in proportion than the Prussian army on the war footing now is. Russia, with a population estimated at 12,000,000, had a peace establishment of 92,000 regulars and about 80,000 irregulars. It has now a population of 107,000,000, and a peace establishment of 841,000. France, in consequence of Fleury's pacific policy, had the smallest army proportionally of any great power at that time only—130,000 regulars and 36,000 militia, to a population a little under 20,000,000. But the peace establishment in the last years of Louis XIV. had been 360,000 men to a smaller popula- population.—Histoire de mon Temps, Œuvres de Frederic II. chap, i The numbers given by Frederic for Prussia have been altered in accordance with the corrections of the editor, Herr Preuss.
  15. Fortescue on Monarchy, chap. xiii.
  16. "The railways, so far from being a commercial success, have entailed the very heavy burden of over 4 7,000,000 on the Indian taxpayer. … The Indus Valley and Sind-Punjab and Delhi Railways are the most signal instance of bounty-supported lines, but to a less extent; all the wheat-carrying lines are only worked by the help of the State."—Connell on "Indian Railways and Indian Wheat," Statistical Journal, 1885, pp. 244-253.
  17. Quoted in Motley's United Netherlands, vol. i. p. 291. This is the criticism of a foreigner, but it is incidentally confirmed by the negative testimony of the Venetian Ambassador, Andrea Trevisano, of Nicander Nucius, of Borde, and of Lely, who agree in omitting all mention of industry as a feature in English character. It must be borne in mind that the ploughman was scarce in times like the sixteenth century, when most of the land was in pasture, and that we owe our manufactures to Flemish settlers. The two classes most distinguished for steady toil were, therefore, scantily represented.P
  18. Holberg's Betänkning over nogle Europäiske Nationer, S. 232.
  19. Kant's Anthropologie. Kant's estimate is distinctly an unfriendly one. He calls the English "a people of whim:" glances at their "brutal pride:" (stolze Grobheit] and suggests that English self-assertiveness is not natural, but the result of circumstances.
  20. Hawthorne's Our Old Home, vol. i. p. 99.
  21. Heine, England: Die Emancipation der Katholiken, Band xi. S. 115.
  22. It may be added that the electric telephone was first invented by Mr. Graham Bell of Edinburgh, who had studied the subject under his father in Scotland, though he took out the first patent in America. — Moncel's Le Téléphone, pp. 6, 33. A reaping-machine, resembling the Australian stripper, has been traced back to the Belgae as known by Pliny; and Mr. Smiles shows that one was in use in France in the sixteenth century (Industrial Biography, p. 173); while the present form was invented by Commin of Denwick (1812), and Patrick Bell of Dumfries (1827), before M'Cormick patented it in America. The sewing-machine was first invented by Saint in England, c. 1790. Howe in America improved it, and sold the patent for a trifle (£250) to Thomas in England. Thomas neglected to bring it out, and Howe bought it again and made it a success in America.
  23. Smiles's Industrial Biography, p. 287. Compare Goethe's remark: "Der Englander ist Meister das Eutdeckte gleich zu nützen, bis es wieder zur neuen Entdeckung, und frischer That führt. Man frage nur, warum sie uns überall voraus sind."—Ueber Naturwissenschaft, Band iii. S. 268.
  24. My authority for this is an officer who was on the committee.
  25. In the summer of 1866 the English ironclad fleet consisted of 36 vessels, carrying 637 guns; the French ironclad fleet of 33 vessels, carrying 777 guns. Even if ships chiefly valuable for coast defence were deducted from these lists, the French still remained superior in guns by 613 to 526, though inferior in the number of sea-going ships by 17 to 27.—Statesman's Year-Book, 1886-87. "France undoubtedly was the first to construct sea-going ironclads, a policy we at first thought folly, and then were constrained to follow."—Eardley Wilmot: The Development of Navies, p. 249.
  26. Laveleye on Primitive Property, p. 2.
  27. The State in India derives more than £23,000,000 from the rent of land.
  28. The Russian Volunteer fleet—seven ships, bought by subscription, and presented to the Crown—is used for commercial purposes in time of peace.
  29. "Friedrich was not the least of a free-trader," etc. Carlyle's History of Frederick the Great, vol. vi. p. 365.
  30. Mill's Political Economy, Book iii. chap. xi. s. 26; Hearne's Plutology, chap. xxiii.
  31. Thus at Bantam, in the 16th century, the Chinese used to be confined to a quarter of their own outside the town.—Voyages des Hollandais, tome ii. p. 41. Kerr's Travels, vol. viii. p. 143.
  32. Gleig's Washington and New Orleans, chaps, vii.-xiv, and xxi.-xxiii.
  33. Michelet, Hist. de la Revolution, tome iv. p. 68.
  34. Foy, Guerre de la Peninsule, tome i. p. 100.
  35. Foy, Guerre de la Péninsule, tome i. p. 109. Compare Stephen's French Revolution, vol. ii. pp. 197-200, and 451.
  36. Napoleon, Notes et Mélanges, tome ii. p. 294, edition of 1823.
  37. "At the very outset the French encountered the most ludicrous reverses. The French troops had proved as worthless as their leaders were incapable. Whole brigades turned tail, crying that they were betrayed, casting away their weapons as they ran, and betraying the most abject cowardice and terror."—Griffith, French Revolutionary Generals, p. 4.
  38. Alison says 40,000 to 19,000. Hist. of Europe, vol. ii. p 188.
  39. Thiers quoted by Senior, Conversations, vol. i. p. 291.
  40. Napoleon, Notes et Mélanges, tome ii. p. 218.
  41. Jurien de la Gravière, Guerres Maritimes, tome i. pp. 138, 139.
  42. "In 1810 or 1811," said Admiral Mathieu, "I was on board a French corvette, which fought an action with an English vessel, the Lively. We passed three times under her stern, and raked her each time. We ought to have cleared her decks. Not a shot touched her."—Senior's Correspondence of A. de Tocqueville, tome ii. p. 202.
  43. Foy reckons the French force actually engaged under Dupont at 12,000 against 40,000 Spaniards. After Dupont's surrender, Vedel's division came up, and was forced to capitulate.—Guerre de la Peninsule, tome iv. p. 68. Alison puts the army of Castanos at 28,000 foot and 2000 horse, who appear, however, to have received reinforcements. Alison ascribes the victory to the Swiss and Walloon guards, and to the Spanish artillery, all regulars.—Hist. of Europe, vol. vii. pp. 359-362.
  44. Thiers estimates the troops actually before the walls at 18,000 (Consulat et Empire, livre 33); Alison at 16,500 (vol. vii. p. 243); while the troops inside Saragossa are put by Thiers at 40,000 to 45,000, and by Alison at 40,000. French troops, variously estimated at 17,000 to 26,000, were, however, employed in keeping open communications.
  45. Napier's Peninsular War, book xv. chap. i.
  46. Bellair's Transvaal War, chap. x.
  47. See the evidence upon Technical Education in Victoria taken before a Commission in 1888. Mr. Svenson, a cabinetmaker, was asked, "You think that the Chinese competition has interfered with you." "Yes; very much. I hardly know one of what I may call my mates in the cabinet-making line. They have all gone to other occupations." Mr. Harwood, a cabinetmaker, said, "The lower branches of the trade are monopolised by the Chinese."—Blue Book, pp. 37 and 46, published 1889.
  48. Rogers, Six Centuries of Work and Wages, pp. 183, 184.
  49. "The population of this island does not appear to me to bear any proportion to her fertility and resources."—Italian Relation of England, c. 1500, p. 31. "Hereof is much experience had in England, France, and other lands, and cause hereof is this that evermore the world decreaseth in people."—Pecock's Represser of overmuch blaming of the Clergy, p. 306, c. 1449. When we remember that the population of England was "never in excess of 2,500,000, and was often less," down to the end of the sixteenth century, it will be evident that the Wars of the Roses, when as many as 30,000—by one estimate 38,000—perished in a single battle, that of Towton, must have reduced the population for a time nearly one-half. It is noticeable, that while 108,000 men were brought into the field at Towton, not more than about 30,000 were present at Bosworth.—Pauli's Geschichte Englands, Band v. SS. 359, 360, 511; Lingard's History of England, vol. v. pp. 173, 174, 270.
  50. Girard, France et Chine, tome ii. p. 250.
  51. Balfour's Waifs and Strays from the Far East, pp. 31, 32.