National Life and Character/Chapter 4

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The future of society depends very much on the perpetuity of national feeling.—Patriotism is generally regarded as an accidental and not very high altruism.—In antiquity it was largely alloyed with self-interest and the municipal feeling.—Patriotism is now the filial feeling to a mother country; the acknowledgment that we owe duties to our fellowmen, and cannot adequately perform them to the human race.—A nation from its richer memories and larger life ought to command more devoted allegiance than a city.—The rival feeling of personal loyalty is now disappearing, and need not be regretted.—The Church has incidentally done good work for society in vindicating the limits within which thought and morals ought to be independent of the State.—On the other hand, the attempt of the State to force morality upon the immoral will was never more than partially successful, and ended by provoking general revolt.—The State, which restrains immorality only when it becomes dangerous to society, has practically done more than the Church to enforce the moral law.—Sacrilege has ceased since it has been treated only as a secular offence.—The substitution of restraint by moderate laws and public opinion for ecclesiastical censures and punishments has not been visibly unfavourable to sexual purity.—The hypocritical formalism of modern society is not so dangerous to individuality as pressure by a Church inquisition. Moreover, under the Church rich offenders escaped, and these are now the most severely restrained.—The Church relieved poverty in a casual and ineffective way, and from a wrong motive, the idea that the alms-giver would be benefited. The State relieves it in a way better calculated to preserve self-respect in the poor, and from the higher motive, that every member of the community who will work is entitled to live.—Both systems have been only partially effective; but the Church system was a complete failure, while the State system, under all disadvantages, has reduced pauperism till it is a comparatively small feature of society.—Though the Church has in some respects and in some times and places mitigated slavery, slave emancipation has been a triumph of secular statesmanship.—The Mediæval Church has been over-praised for its services to learning. Its real object always was to save the soul, not to inform the mind.—The great extension of primary education in modern times is an. achievement of secular statesmanship, and has been repeatedly and violently opposed by the Churches.—The State has superseded the Church in its hold on popular imagination by the great benefits it assures its members.—In some instances the morality of the State is higher than that of the Churches; for instance, in the treatment of women and children and dumb animals.—The feeling of the industrial classes for industrial organisations is not likely to supersede national feeling, and industry is likely to be restricted within national limits.—The nation is bound to remain the unit of political society, because the interests and feelings of different races and countries are too discordant to be harmonised under a central Government.—The modern State does incomparably more for men and women than ancient forms of society attempted, and ought to inspire deeper reverence and love.—In return for its services it is entitled to demand a more complete surrender of selfish personal interests.

The argument thus far has attempted to show that what we now call the higher races will not only not spread over the world, but are likely to be restricted to a portion only of the countries lying in the Temperate Zone; that under the pressure which will be increasingly felt as outlets to trade and energy are closed, State Socialism will be resorted to as the most effective means of securing labour from want; that great armies will need to be maintained; that the population of cities will grow in number year by year; and that in proportion as the State's sphere of activity is increased will the indebtedness of the State increase also in every civilised country. Whether this condition of things will be good, tolerable, or bad, must depend very much on the spirit in which the community takes it. If we compare the description in Thucydides of the state of Athens during the Peloponnesian war and that in Synesius of a Roman provincial city, surrounded and sometimes blockaded by barbarians, we shall see that the great difference lies in the temper of the men rather than in the circumstances of the time.[1] If the people of Athens had not been quickened with the inspiration of empire, if they had stooped to count heads or ships, they would have acquiesced in the secondary place which was all their leading families were disposed to claim for them. As it was, they staked their existence upon a splendid adventure, and though they eventually failed, crowded centuries of glorious life into the achievements of two generations. Had the people of Ptolemais been led and inspired as the Athenians were, they might have made their city a stronghold of civilisation; and what is true of Ptolemais is true, of course, in a much higher degree of the Roman Empire. It fell to pieces, not because its administrators were always inefficient, or its armies weak, or its finances and mechanical resources inferior to those of the nations which overpowered it, but because there was really no sense of national life in the community. Unless the general feeling in a people is to regard individual existence and fortunes as of no practical account in comparison with the existence and self-respect of the body politic, the disintegrating forces of time will always be stronger in the long run than any given organisation.

Now patriotism, or the readiness to make sacrifices for fatherland, is a very peculiar virtue. It is generally treated as a mere phase of altruism, and is more praised by poets and orators than taken into account by moralists. For instance, Kant strikes at the root of patriotism by denying that the country has any original and natural right to claim obedience from its citizens,[2] and theologians and writers on ethics commonly hold that patriotism is dangerously apt to be a misleading force, diverting men from their obedience to a higher law, such as the recognition of Papal authority, or of the supreme dictates of morality. Mr. Lowell—surely a patriot of very rare and high type—has laid it down that our true country is that ideal realm which we represent to ourselves under the names of religion, duty, and the like. Mr. Lowell adds: "That it is an abuse of language to call a certain portion of land, much more certain personages, elevated for the time being to high station, our country."[3] Now it is obvious that a view of this kind may be reconciled with conduct which appears to the world to be dictated by national sentiment. For instance, when America was rent in twain by the War of Liberation, Mr. Lowell lent his powerful assistance to the cause of nationality, and though all that he did might have been justified on cosmopolitan grounds—such as abhorrence of slavery, or the desire to see the experiment of free institutions worked out fairly upon a great continent—the fact remains, that the transcendentalist was fighting in the ranks with men who cared chiefly for the national flag, and that, except for the momentum of numbers and energy which these men gave, the cause of general civilisation could not have triumphed. It is, of course, theoretically conceivable, though it is surely very improbable, that the human race may gradually be educated into the cosmopolitan conception of duty. Capital, we are often told, has no sentiment. It is determined in its choice of a home by no other considerations than those of gain and security. Accordingly, manufactures are freely transplanted from England to Belgium, or America, or India, without regard to the interests of the English people, the merchant navy of a State entering upon a war is transferred without delay to a neutral flag, and it constantly happens that a belligerent power is supplied with arms or food or money from its enemy.[4] It may be asked, whether the average citizen will not at some future date be careless of local and temporary interests. The man who emigrates undoubtedly shows, by the act of renouncing his native country, that he thinks himself entitled to carry his labour to the market where it is best paid without regard to any claims that England or Germany may have on him. Practically, he is often justified in contending that he will be more useful to his countrymen in his new dwelling-place than at home. A day may come, however, when a man who leaves an old and indebted State will be like the partner who peremptorily withdraws from an embarrassed firm. In other words, if it is right for States to assume large obligations, it can only be so because they have a reasonable certainty that successive generations of citizens will accept the responsibility of that indebtedness. Therefore, unless we regard the State as merely the casual aggregation of persons who find it to their advantage to live in a certain part of the earth, we must assume that there is, or ought to be, a virtue of patriotism, which will bind the Englishman to England, and the Frenchman to France in some special and not easily dissoluble way.

The difficulty is to separate patriotism, as we know it, from infinite base alloys of interest, personal feeling, or vanity, and to define its exact place in the moral code. The patriotism of Greek statesmen and heroes seems to have been a very mixed quantity. It was undoubtedly leavened—and very largely so—by self-interest. It was not as easy then as it has been in modern times to transfer nationality. The circle of possible friends was smaller even for a man of patrician birth; the isolation of exile was intolerable; the trust placed by his new protectors in the deserter more suspicious and exacting. Demaratos, Pausanias, Themistocles, Aristeides, Alcibiades are conspicuous instances of the false position in which a man disowned by his fellow-citizens found himself; while Englishmen like the Dukes of Berwick and Ormond, or Lord Bolingbroke; Frenchmen like Dumouriez, Moreau, and Pozzo di Borgo, enjoyed consideration, at least, in their new homes, and the full confidence of the Courts that protected them. Mr. Symonds has explained at length an element of Greek patriotism, so-called, that has often been misconceived the personal attachment that bound together the companies in the Sacred Band of Thebes.[5] When it became possible for Greeks to prosper in Alexandria and Antioch and Rome, and when the peculiar feeling of the Sacred Band came to be out of date, the Greek ceased to be a patriot. So it was with Rome also, and we may say naturally and excusably. The old feeling for Rome as a sacred city, which sustained its people during the Punic Wars, seems to have passed away by the time of Sylla; and national feeling in the days of Cicero, Augustus, and Trajan, was little more than the desire of an aristocracy for caste ascendency, the contempt of Italians for conquered races, and a feeling in the higher circles of society that life was only desirable in Rome. We can scarcely give the name of patriotism to the devotion of a tribe to its chief, or to the bitter hatred of one race for another; and these feelings come out predominantly in the history of the Middle Ages. The gentlemen of Aquitaine, who so largely contributed to win the battle of Poitiers, were fighting against what we should now consider France, and were certainly not fighting for England, but for an English king, who had claims upon their allegiance, and whom they renounced when his yoke proved burdensome. Nevertheless, it is probable that the terrible French and English wars did actually lead to a great development of the spirit of nationality as we understand it, and so to a larger conception of patriotism. Still, both in England and in France, centuries passed before the duty to the laws or to Fatherland was recognised as more important than loyalty to the sovereign.

It may be admitted that a great many various motives contribute to form even a modern patriot. Still, it is not very difficult to express a popular idea of the limitations of the modern feeling. Patriotism is now the feeling that binds together people who are of the same race, or who at least inhabit the same country, so that they shall try to preserve the body politic as it exists, and recover for it what it has lost, or acquire what seems naturally to belong to it. It seeks within the country to procure the establishment of the best possible order. It enjoins the sacrifice of property, liberty, or life for the attainment of these objects. It favours the existence of whatever is peculiar and local; of a distinctive literature, manners, dress, and character. When it conceives the common country to be weak, it tries to discard every foreign element as dangerous; and when it is conscious of its strength, it tries to assimilate what is best from abroad. The fierce pride of the Englishmen in Algiers, who went back into captivity sooner than acknowledge that they owed their liberty to the King of France, is now out of date;[6] but the general rule, that no man can receive distinctions except from the head of his country, is expressed in law and approved by opinion. Stated in this way, patriotism seems to be based on the reasonable acknowledgment of two facts in our nature: that we owe a duty to our fellowmen, and that we cannot adequately perform it to the race at large. In the American War of Liberation, to which reference has been made, there was a Southern general of high moral character (Stonewall Jackson), who, though he was a believer in State rights, was not a believer in slavery. He found it impossible to dissever the two causes, and he elected, as most will think, pardonably, to fight for the good of the State, which he clearly apprehended, against the abstract and transcendental rights of humanity. Such problems are constantly occurring; and no community can allow its citizens to take part against itself on the ground that they belong to an ideal realm of religion, duty, and the like. If a body of English officers, for instance, feeling strongly that our intervention in Egypt was immoral, had fought at Tel-el-Kebir against their countrymen, they would have been shot by martial law if they were taken, and no public opinion, however hostile to England, would have condemned the execution. Practically, it would seem, therefore, as far as our imperfect moral sense can see, there is an obligation upon every citizen not actively to injure the State he belongs to, which no man is allowed to disregard. If he finds the State attacking what he thinks a true religion, or violating the rights of labour, or waging an iniquitous war, he is bound to oppose its action by civic means; and if he fails in this, he is by modern practice allowed to renounce his citizenship. If, however, he does not take this extreme step, he commits himself to supporting the policy of the State, though he disapproves of it, and is not blamed for assisting to carry it to a successful issue.

In some important particulars, a lofty feeling of patriotism has become more possible now than it ever was in past centuries. The physical law, that the greater mass attracts more powerfully than the smaller, holds good in the moral world, and attachment to a great country is bound, other things being equal, to be more dignified and generous than attachment to a city, though the city may have been Athens or Rome. No doubt there were certain great periods in the life of antiquity when the Athenian was merged in the Hellene, fighting for the whole west against eastern barbarians, and when the cause of Rome against Carthage was practically the cause of Italy. These, accordingly, were the ideal times, when men rose above their natural level. A modern nation, however, if it has a past of any kind worth remembering, is likely to have survived greater struggles than any Greek city, to have ampler records of heroism, and an incomparably more varied life. A great country, of which it can be said that

One half her soil has walked the rest,
In poets, heroes, martyrs, sages,

is one in which the religion of the soil can scarcely be dissevered from national life. Of course it is essential to the perpetuity of this sentiment that the nation should be homogeneous. The Turks have not inherited the fame of Justinian and his generals by over-running their empire; and if by some industrial migration Germans, Polish Jews, and other even more alien races were to supersede the English labourer to any great extent, the new England would be weaker than the old by all the links of tradition. Practically, however, the case of the Turks, who have camped in Europe without absorbing or being absorbed, is exceptional; and a nation, as a rule, is too large to be swamped by an industrial immigration, as cities have now and again been. We may therefore reckon the substitution of the nation for the city in political organisation as one circumstance that is favourable to the growth of an enlightened patriotism. For intensity, nothing probably surpasses the municipal feeling, as it has existed in cities that were just powerful and dignified enough to appeal to sentiment.

The substitution of attachment to the State, the country, the fatherland, for the feeling of personal loyalty must also be regarded as a distinct moral gain. Such a sentiment as that which led Jacobites and non-Jurors to fight for a line of sovereigns whose triumph in their own estimation was bound to be dangerous to Church and law, or at least to abstain from recognising a better order, and to estrange themselves from all interest in their country's struggles, all wish to see that country triumph, must be regarded as among the most lamentable of delusions. It was possible for the sovereign in times when this feeling prevailed to be sincerely patriotic. A king, like Charles II., who cared first for his pleasures, and next for power as a means for promoting these, and who valued neither the well-being nor the honour of his country, has been the rare exception in England. Perhaps Louis XV.—as selfish, as immoral, and less able—is his only counterpart in France. But loyalists like Strafford, who would have employed half-savage Irish troops against his own countrymen; like the Scotch Jacobites, who invited a French invasion; like the French émigrés, who were willing to serve indifferently in English, Austrian, or Prussian ranks, provided they fought against the cause approved by their countrymen—are unhappily only typical instances of what the loyalist must logically become. In a few cases the want of nobler feeling has been redeemed by an unselfish devotion, which asked for no private gain, and shrunk at no sacrifices. Habitually, the loyalist in exile has either calculated that he was on the side which would win ultimately, or has been so completely demoralised by life outside of his countrymen, as to have lost every trace of disinterested public feeling when he returned in triumph. Of the Cavaliers who lived to see the Restoration, and of the émigrés who returned to France, it may be said pretty generally that they acted as if they had not intended to serve the lost cause for nothing. The Cavaliers, indeed, though they asked for a great deal, got comparatively little, because many of their estates had been sold in the open market, and because the Presbyterians enjoyed the credit of having brought the King back.[7] The French émigrés, whose offence against their country had been more serious, came back to find their debts and encumbrances sponged out,[8] to get a compensation of £40,000,000, and to have something like a monopoly of office and promotion for fifteen years. It can scarcely be matter of regret that a feeling which so constantly passed into the merest self-seeking is disappearing from the domain of public life.

Even those who most feel what a gain it has been that religious considerations should be ceasing to balance secular in the estimation of citizens, will regard the old fanaticism for Churches very differently from the irrational sentiment of loyalty in its more extravagant forms. It may be presumptuous for a man to believe that the Church he was born in, or has passed over to, represents the final results of thought on the most difficult matters of speculation, and that God will punish to all eternity those who, through perversity, or it may be for want of spiritual light, refuse to accept the truth when it is put before them. Still, most men will admit that there must be one way of conceiving the relations of God to man which is truer than any other at any given time, and that to apprehend this rightly ought to be of supreme importance. Even if we assume blank materialism to be the gospel of the future, it must be useful to apprehend it distinctly, that we may clear our minds of dreams and human inventions. Still more, if we believe in any form of religion that teaches a higher law than the State prescribes, and is able to enforce it by a sanction that is not of this world, must the benefit of Church authority appear incontestable. It is well to remember that secular society has revolted not only against obsolete faiths,—for many forms of Christianity appear to men in general as rational as unbelief; not only against a corrupt clergy,—for the clergy have not always been corrupt, and, to take a single instance, were both learned and zealous in England when the great Rebellion descended upon them;[9] but against the persistent efforts of religious organisations to enforce common morality at the expense of individual liberty. Let it be borne in mind, also, that the Church in western Europe has perpetually represented a dualism that was of the highest value for freedom of thought. Sir Thomas More died on the scaffold, not because he disputed the right of Parliament to make Anne Boleyn Queen, or to settle the crown upon her children, but because he denied that the ultimate power to determine religious controversy could be vested in the head of the State.[10] It is probable that he misinterpreted the intentions of his contemporaries; but it is certain that after the lapse of three centuries and a half, when the secular power is far stronger than it was, it claims nothing in any civilised State that Sir Thomas More would have denied it. Except for the protest of men like Sir Thomas More, Henry VIII. might have' made the State supreme in England, as it actually is in Russia. Take again modern times. That marriage should be treated by the State as a civil contract, and that primary education should be given on secular lines, are principles now very generally accepted. They seem to many men worth fighting for, worth dying for. Nevertheless, although their acceptance has been delayed by the opposition of the Churches, it may surely be contended that the gain resulting from a marriage-law controversy or a Kultur-Kampf infinitely outweighs its inconveniences to an administration. Few, indeed, are the journalists and thinkers on the Continent who can speak and write against a government measure with the freedom which is tolerated in the meanest priest. Lacordaire was silenced for calling Louis Napoleon a tyrant, but he submitted only because his Church was subservient to the usurper, and where he was simply ordered to change the form of his work, a lay journalist would have been imprisoned or sent to Cayenne. A few years later, the French clergy were freely comparing the head of the State to Pontius Pilate, and suffered no annoyance.

It is one thing, however, to feel that the Churches have been useful in past time as a counterpoise to autocracy, and quite another to wish that their authority should be maintained. As a rule, the Churches are in their very essence opposed to liberty of thought and conduct; while the State is gradually tending to become more and more tolerant of each. It has been noticed above that the law of life which the Churches seek to impose has been found intolerable. Two familiar instances will show what is meant. Every thoughtful student of history is aware that the Protestant Reformation was attended with a general dissolution of morals in those countries which did not provide adequately for the maintenance of ecclesiastical law.[11] The old Church discipline was relaxed or swept away; and while even the best men, such as Luther, found themselves at sea on such a question as polygamy, the illiterate and lax plunged into every kind of vicious extravagance. We see Luther perpetually grappling with the problem, why sin was bolder and prayer less earnest since the Gospel had come into the world.[12] Yet it does not appear difficult to understand that when the drunkard, the fornicator, or the adulterer was no longer liable to be summoned into the Dean's Court, and was not punishable at common law, there was bound to be an interval of decline before a sound public opinion had time to form and make itself felt. The great success of Calvinism in the latter half of the century is probably due very much to the fact that Calvin's rigorous discipline kept his Church free from scandal. The Calvinistic model was accordingly adopted in England, and the English diocesan courts combined the old Catholic rigour against ecclesiastical offences with the Calvinistic zeal against moral frailty. After a fair trial, lasting for about two generations, the whole nation rose up in arms against the inquisition domiciled in every archdeaconry.[13] The revolt, however, had two sides. It was supported by worldly men who wished not to be meddled with, and by Puritans, who approved highly of the principle of interference, but desired to keep it in their own hands, and to use it against social gaiety as well as against faulty living. The result was that at the Restoration there was a general and strong reaction against the exercise of Church authority in any shape. It was not extinguished suddenly; but it had to content itself more and more with obscure offenders, till it became an anomaly and ridiculous. Like most abuses in England, it has remained on the Statute Book long after it had died out in practice. Less than fifty years ago an Englishman could be punished for not attending church or a registered chapel on Sunday;[14] and later still the Ecclesiastical Court retained the theoretical right to punish him for incest and incontinence. Indeed, these were in England the only courts taking cognisance of such offences, except as private injuries; yet even this has not tended to the preservation of their use or influence. The modern State habitually prefers to legislate on secular principles for such offences against morality—incest, unnatural vice, seduction, and the like—as it finds it desirable not to tolerate.

Now the practical effect of this change is, that where the Church has always aimed at substituting a perfect rule of thought and life for liberty of opinion and moral conduct, the State has never attempted to do more than to protect its own existence against the excesses of liberty. The Church and the State may each punish the publication of blasphemy, but the Church does it because it is an offence against God, and because the individual ought not to blaspheme; while the State only considers that licentious attacks upon convictions which are sacred to some of its subjects are an offence to good feeling, and an incentive to disorder, or a cause of undesirable acrimony. The Church punishes sexual immorality as dishonouring to the libertine, and the State, as a rule, only meddles with it when advantage is taken of the young and weak, or when there is likely to be a public scandal. The Church denounces Sunday traffic as a breach of the fourth commandment, and the State only proscribes it as an encroachment on necessary rest. The Church almost invariably regards the marriage-tie as indissoluble, or nearly so; and the State, where it is not influenced by the Church, habitually allows divorce in a great number of cases. It would seem, in all these particular instances, as if the State was deliberately substituting a lower law for a higher. Practically, however, secular society will bear comparison, even on these points where it is least exacting, with any State that was governed by the Church in old days, taking even the times that were best for Church discipline. In the first place, it has never been possible to maintain the religious ideal. Now and again history records with admiration how some saintly prelate or confessor has reproved a monarch for flagrant immorality. The Bishop of Soissons, for instance, compelled Louis XV. to dismiss Mdme. de Château-Roux and her sister for a few days, as the price of receiving the sacraments. Unhappily, this brilliant instance of a great duty bravely discharged, and the fact that thirty years later the Abbé of Beauvais denounced the same king to his face, are very insufficient offsets to the general toleration which the Church extended to the vilest debauchee in Christendom. There is no occasion to suppose that the Popes or the rulers of the French hierarchy were indifferent to the scandals of Versailles and of the Œil-de-Boeuf. What influenced them in remaining apathetic—in not excommunicating the king and his mistresses—was the fear lest the Church should lose the support of royal authority; and this or a meaner motive has been equally operative with the Anglican clergy, who ought to have admonished George IV., and with the French clergy under the Second Empire. It may be said that the case taken of a sovereign and his court is exceptional. It is exceptional only in the fact that the infamy is conspicuous. How many English clergymen in the last three centuries have dared to denounce a large landowner for drunken or immoral habits? If they have done so, it has been at the risk of a civil suit for defamation of character, with a fair chance that their bishop would disapprove their zeal, and with the certainty that their parochial work would be heavily hindered, that opposition to them would be fomented, and that the alms of the richest contributor would be withdrawn. Even during the short rule of the Puritans, which was strict enough to provoke a reaction of unbridled licentiousness, there is evidence that powerful offenders—a Martyn or a Wentworth—were never meddled with.[15] In the struggle to repress irrepressible human nature, the Churches have always been worsted, and their defeats have necessarily been disgraceful.

Even, however, if the Church ideal could be maintained, it would be at the cost of something better than the formal abstinence from evil,—of human liberty. If we can conceive a generation that abstained from saying what it thought for fear of Church censures; that was sober, moral, and cleanly-mouthed, not because it regarded vice as evil, but because it feared fine, imprisonment, or disgrace; that talked with the tongue of By-ends, while within was all uncleanness, we should have the picture of a society more hopelessly corrupt than the world has ever yet seen. The sons of such men would be born, suckled, and bred in lies; would inherit the lust of the flesh, the craven spirit, and the tortuous intellect. In vindicating for every man the right to think mistakenly, to speak foolishly, and to live within limits riotously, the State has vindicated also the right to believe on conviction, to denounce error fearlessly, and to lead sweet and wholesome lives, untainted by Pharisaism, and not degraded by the reproach of a profitable conformity. When we measure the actual results of liberty, we find surely that they are good, even in the domain where liberty is accounted most dangerous. The offence of sacrilege is so peculiar by its nature, that what appears revolting profanity to the Conservative may seem nothing more than a splendid iconoclasm to the Eeformer. In ages when there has been a religion established by law, the policy of those who assailed it has invariably been to show their contempt for it and lessen it in popular estimation by acts of public indignity. Not to mention the early Christians, who, it may be said, could not compromise with such flagrant errors as those of Paganism, we find that Protestantism, even in England, which has been conspicuously temperate, carried on its war against the Established Church by acts that must have been profoundly offensive to every pious person who retained his ancestral faith. Thus, for instance, we find as early as the days of Wycliffe that a gentleman of Wiltshire, who had received the sacramental bread from his parish priest, took it home and lunched upon it with wine, oysters, and onions.[16] Under Henry VIII. and Queen Mary, acts which we can only designate as deliberate outrages upon the Church of the majority, were extremely common. Sometimes it was a crucifix—the symbol to ordinary men of their Lord's death and suffering—that was carried off and burned or broken up; sometimes a cat in priest's robes was hanged, or the priest parodied behind his back while he was officiating in the sacred mysteries; very constantly the consecrated bread of the Eucharist was ostentatiously seized and trampled under foot, or given for food to a dog.[17] In short, the more hotheaded of the English Reformers were guilty of deliberate acts which it is possible a Hell-fire Club would have shrunk from two centuries later;[18] and though the intemperance of the Reformers was palliated by the sincerity of their convictions, and their readiness to seal them with their blood, it is certain that much which they did would be punished in any civilised State as sacrilege. No administration, however, finds it necessary in these days to protect the convictions of its citizens from deliberate insult, except in the rare cases where the Church is practically stronger than the State, and where the war of faiths is carried on under something like the old conditions. To all appearance the liberty granted might with safety be greater than it is. The line of demarcation between the late Dr. Matthew Arnold comparing the Trinity to three Lord Shaftesburys,[19] and the late Mr. Bradlaugh editing a comparison of it to a monkey with three tails,[20] is rather one of literary style than of reverence; and it is difficult to see why the two offenders were so differently punished. Meanwhile, it is instructive to notice that these two sallies of irreverence, and a few lines by Mr. Swinburne, are all that represent the sacrilegious spirit in Englishmen who have taken any noticeable place among their countrymen during the last fifty years, though the temper of the times is believed to be sceptical, and even aggressively irreligious.

It would be easy to give plausible grounds for supposing that the absence of Church control, though it always led to excesses when it first ceased, has in the long run been attended with advantage to sexual purity. There are certain patent facts which give colour to this supposition. England has not seen for two centuries such a Court as that which Hamilton described in the Memoirs of Grammont, and whose tone was reflected in Wycherley's comedies. The days when the wits of the Rolliad made it their inexhaustible joke against Pitt that he led a cleanly life, seem as far off as the days of Charles II., and it is popularly assumed now that public opinion demands absolute decorum from a leading man. Nelson, who intrigued with his friend's wife; Wellington, who was certainly not irreproachable; and Warren Hastings, who purchased a divorced wife from a needy foreigner, would scarcely be permitted now to save the Empire. A similar change, though not quite so strongly accentuated, may be noticed everywhere. The French nation has always been taxed with a disposition to regard immorality as inevitable and venial, and so long as it is not carried to excess, nothing more than one of "such wild tricks as gentlemen will have."[21] Headers of Rabelais, of Brantome, of Bussy Rabutin, of Duclos, of Voltaire, and of Champfort, find it difficult to believe that there was a moral French society between Francis I. and Louis XVI. The best observers tell us that, at present, provincial life in France is as pure as it is anywhere, and that Paris would not be perceptibly worse than any other great city if it was not the favourite resort of profligate and wealthy Bohemians from every part.[22] It is probably true to say that the rich men, who give a tone to society, are everywhere more liable to suffer from a social scandal, and consequently more anxious to avoid it, than they have been in any previous part of the world's history. It is also true that girls and young women are better protected by law than they have ever been, and that the disposition to protect them is only kept from going further than it does by practical difficulties. The old Poor-Law of England, for instance, which threw the whole cost of an illegitimate birth upon the father, has been discarded, because it was found to deprive women of a desirable reason for self-restraint.[23] Therefore, it is perhaps correct to say that the substitution of secular for clerical influence, of moderate laws and the restraint of public opinion for ecclesiastical censures and punishments, has not been visibly unfavourable to correctness of life in the sexes. More than this it might be hazardous to affirm at present. The great sin of great cities does not seem to be on the decrease; and temporary, or it may be permanent but irregular unions, in which the women and the children are not safeguarded as in marriage, seem to have increased of late years in undesirable proportions, especially in Catholic countries.[24] Above all, we have to remember that what Goethe said of humanity—that "it is always advancing, but in spiral lines"—is eminently true of the ascetic principle in morals. The times of Charles I. and of the Commonwealth appeared to establish a tradition of austerity, and scarcely any one could have anticipated the deluge of depravity that overwhelmed England after the Restoration. It is certain that the literature, the art, and the tone of wealthy society in France were demoralised by the libertinage in high places of the Second Empire.

It may be asked whether the mechanical pressure exerted by public opinion in modern society is not just as destructive of vigorous individuality as Church authority could have been. Under the old system, a sceptic bowed to the consecrated wafer, though he did not believe in the Real Presence, and abstained from sacrilegious words and acts, because he was afraid of being imprisoned or burned. In the nineteenth century he attends church, repeats a creed which he believes to be outworn, and lets his children be taught from a book which he regards as a collection of old wife's fables, because he knows that violently to repudiate the faith of the majority will injure him in society and in his profession. Under the old system, a libertine abstained from seducing his neighbour's wife for fear of being fined in the Dean's Court, and made to do public penance; at present, he is afraid of an action at law, of some social disrepute, and of political ruin. Are not the conformity and the morality no better than an organised hypocrisy? And where is the gain in having discarded the ecclesiastical system? The gain, it may be admitted, is not complete or unalloyed. Nevertheless, in matters of religion, it may surely be said that the tolerance of secular society is distinctly greater than that of Church courts influenced by professional feeling as well as by conviction. Probably, even now, there is essential truth in the description of English society which a German cynic gave thirty years ago. "A man in England may be an atheist, but he must belong to the Church of the atheists." "What is dreaded is not so much the reproach of wrong belief, or of unbelief, as the awkwardness—the indecency, so to speak—of isolation. Even so, have the prophets of unpopular doctrines—a Colenso, a Herbert Spencer, or a Renan—suffered anything comparable to the treatment of a Latimer or a Du Bourg, a Servetus or a Giordano Bruno? Is it not the case, too, that where the penalty exacted is small, and almost fanciful, a man does not feel degraded by submitting to it as he does by an imperious demand upon his allegiance? Many a man is a formalist because he will not fritter away his life in the worry of a fight for his small and half-formulated doubts, who would show something of the old spirit if he were called upon to turn Protestant, being Catholic; or, being Protestant, to worship the Host. In the case of morality, another difference between ancient and modern times has to be remembered. Anciently it was the rich offender for whom the laws were spiders' webs, which he could break through at pleasure. At present, it is the prince, the statesman, or the man in society, who is marked down for a flagrant offence against morals, while the mechanic escapes unobserved. We may surely say that a condition of society which exacts a severer rule of life from the rich than from the poor, is to that extent healthy and full of promise, and better than the old practice of the Churches.

While it is apparent that society has lost nothing by transferring the correctional functions of the old Churches in certain matters of religious and moral obligation to the secular law-giver, it is demonstrable that it has gained very much since the State has vindicated its supreme right to deal with such matters as pauperism, the rights of labour, and popular education. All these are issues in which the Church has failed from having a low ideal, as well as from inherent ineffectiveness. Take, for instance, pauperism. It is probable that no Church has ever possessed the wealth requisite for coping with national indigence after discharging the other duties that were justly demanded of it. From the very nature of Church endowments, it is habitually the wealthy parts of a country that are best supplied, and national interests and needs are inevitably sacrificed to local and family considerations. Thus we find in England of the Middle Ages that, in all Cumberland and Lancashire, with an area of more than 2,000,000 acres, there were only seventeen religious houses; and in East Hampshire, in a district that measured fifty miles by twenty, there was not a single foundation from which the poor could be relieved. On the other hand, wealthy counties, like Norfolk and Lincolnshire, were studded with rich houses at easy distances from one another.[25] To them that had was given. But this inherent defect in the Church system, that it has always been local and parochial, rather than national, is very far from being its worse fault. Charity in the Churches is inculcated as a religious duty profitable to the person who practices it. It occasionally blesses him that gives, and it habitually demoralises and degrades him who takes. The condition of receiving Church doles has always been to need them at the moment; and the question of deserving them is most frequently treated as of very minor importance. Nothing like an attempt to give work, or even to test by work on any large scale, has ever been attempted, as a rule, by religious benefactors. Now it may freely be admitted that secular methods of dealing with pauperism have often been foolish and bad. The English Poor-Law system, as competent observers found it in 1834, was so administered as to promote inefficiency in men and immorality in women. Still the spirit of all English legislation on this subject is in its intentions sound and liberal. What lies at the bottom of every Poor-Law Act is the feeling that every man born into the body politic is bound to work, and must have work found for him if he cannot find it for himself, on the ground that every man is responsible for the support of his family—parents or children. Whether the State is to organise public works, and provide an insurance fund against sickness or old age, or whether it is best to leave these matters as much as possible to private initiative, are questions that need not be discussed here. What is important to notice is, that the promiscuous alms-giving which the Churches have habitually encouraged is discontinued, or even punished, in the most civilised communities; that secular legislation compels wealth to contribute to the support of industry; and that we seem slowly but surely to be approaching a time when no man shall need bread, except by his own fault, and when no woman shall have to purchase her children's bread by her own shame.

It must be borne in mind that it does not necessarily follow because a bad system is abolished that a better is immediately substituted. The dissolution of the English monasteries was followed by a great debasement of the English coinage, by the confiscation of the Guild lands, which were the English artisan's benefit funds, and by arbitrary legislation which proposed to fix the labourer's wages below his needs. Therefore it is no wonder if the transition to the secular system of relief was not generally welcomed. The change from the old order had been complicated in an unnecessary and mischievous manner. So again, the enclosure of common lands in a later century, and the one-sided legislation in matters of trade—the sweeping away of all safeguards for workmen—were aggravations of the poverty that is bound to exist. Every country has passed through a phase when the nobles succeeding to the Church have been even less regardful of the industrial class. None the less is it on the whole true, that pauperism has declined over the greater part of the world since the Church ceased to dispense charity, and that the right of the labourer to work has come to receive universal recognition. Moreover, it is at least noticeable that in the Middle Ages the leaders of a Jacquerie were as hostile to the Church as to the State.[26] The Primate of England was beheaded by Tyler's followers, and the Convent of St. Albans terrorised by sympathisers with Tyler; the Bishop of Salisbury was beheaded by sympathisers with Cade, and in either movement Church officials were obliged to hide for their lives. It can scarcely be supposed, therefore, that the poor were conscious of profiting to any great extent by Church alms. As a fact, we know that lawless vagabondage and extreme destitution in great cities were features of every period of the Middle Ages. The tendency of the representatives of labour in modern times is to give increased power to the State, and to attain their ends by influencing its councils. It may prove that the expectation of obtaining relief through the State has been a fallacious one. Meanwhile, that the vagrant poverty of our large communities has been considerably reduced can hardly be doubted. The English poor-rate in Charles II. 's time amounted to little less than half the entire revenue of the Crown,[27] and the paupers and beggars in 1696 were estimated at more than one-fifth of the population. They are now one-thirtieth. Two years later (1698) Fletcher of Saltoun declared that in Scotland, which had then a population of about a million, there were 200,000 persons begging from door to door, and that "in all times there have been about 100,000 of those vagabonds, who have lived without any regard or subjection either to the laws of the land, or even those of God and nature."[28] Scotland has now about 100,000 paupers to a population of 4,000,000. It seems on the whole fair to say, that the Church system of relieving poverty was neither effective nor popular, and entailed great demoralisation; and, on the other hand, that though the State blundered for centuries in its methods, it has already achieved an appreciable measure of success, and has raised the character of the working-man, while it has mitigated distress. It is the more remarkable that this should be the case as the action of the State in every country was for a long time trammelled or misdirected by the prejudices or interests of a wealthy class.

Next in importance to the recognition of the right of the labourer to be assured employment, is the right of the labourer to sell his work at the best possible price. In early times it was a more imperative necessity for the State to see that labour was not withheld than to secure its proper recognition. Leaving out of account, therefore, those remote ages in which whole populations were sold in the slave market, till the slave superseded the free labourer in many parts of the civilised world, we find two forms of personal bondage existing in modern or comparatively modern times—serfdom and slavery. The serf, owing duty to an estate rather than to a lord, could not be separated from wife and children, and practically has always been able to work for himself. His position, though far from perfect, has not necessarily, except at times, been so bad as to demand the interposition of the Churches, which are not charged primarily with the care of man's material needs. This, however, cannot be said of slavery. It has habitually been so cruel that the weaker races, like Caribs and other American Indians, have died out or declined under it, and even so strong a race as the negro could not maintain itself in the West Indian Islands under British rule.[29] Again, slavery has been the fertile cause of sexual immorality, the master practically doing as he pleased with his female slaves, even to the extent of taking married women from their husbands. Lastly, the slave system was inherently regardless of family ties, so that even in the Southern States Virginia was a mere breeding-place, out of which the members of one household were sold into every part of the country. Now it is true that an exceptional churchman, like Las Casas, has now and again denounced slavery in unsparing terms, or has even devoted his life to a crusade against it. It may also be claimed for some particular Churches that they have in their corporate capacity done a good deal to improve the position of the slave. The Roman Catholic Church, for instance, has habitually treated black and white as equals before the altar, and the Independent Smith, the Wesleyan Shrewsbury, and the Baptist Underhill did good work in exposing the cruelties of the Demerara, Jamaica, and Barbadoes planters. Habitually, however, in countries where slavery was established, the Churches have acquiesced in it as the natural order of things, have perhaps vindicated its divine original, have thrown in their weight against its abolition, and have not even protested solemnly that the marriage-tie was sacred, or that religious instruction ought to be imparted. In the latter days of North American slavery, an opinion that religious negroes were more tricky and idle than others became prevalent, and led to the withdrawal of religious teaching on many estates—the Churches making no protest.[30] Now it may be granted that the Churches were not called upon to denounce the unrighteousness of the sin of slavery while it was tolerated by the State. Bishops and pastors have to take the world as they find it in many matters, and the great majority in a slave State are likely to have been honestly in favour of an institution with which they were familiar from childhood. Still, even moderate men have always accounted it a blot on the great Christian sects, that in their desire not to lose their influence over the propertied classes they have habitually refrained from inculcating humanity, purity, and regard for family ties, except in a very general and abstract way. At any rate, the credit of abolishing the slave-trade, of freeing the slave by war in the United States, and by legal reforms in other countries, has been left essentially to secular politicians. The negro race is not that which has profited most by the abolition of slavery. The white labourer is even a greater gainer by the fact that he is no longer forced to compete with the products of unremunerated toil, and a disgrace that was reflected on all manual labour has been removed. The industrial classes have to thank the State everywhere for this reform, and, to say the least, owe no gratitude to the Churches.

In this matter of slavery, and in the cognate question of the right of workmen to unite in Trades-Unions that they may raise the rate of wages, what we have to notice is the fact that the State is everywhere doing work which the Churches will not or cannot do, and where it has the same object as the Churches, habitually employs a more reasonable method. Another emphatic instance of this difference is seen in the treatment of education by the two great organisations. The mediaeval Church, often unwarrantably abused for defects which belonged to the age, has as often been extravagantly over-praised for its supposed services to learning. The broad fact is, that its services were to a large extent accidental, and that when it was best performing its own functions, it was hostile to letters. Accidentally it was the interest of men who had a taste for study to take the tonsure, and so secure themselves a maintenance, protection, and, if they were in a monastery, the command of a few books. The true purpose of the Church, however, as conceived by the best of its own sons, was not to inform the mind but to save the soul; and to take a single conspicuous instance, the Franciscan revival of religion in the thirteenth century was aimed at the pride of intellect as much as at the lust of the flesh. "The habit and one little book," satisfied the founder of the order;[31] and his disciples improved upon his teaching. There is not a more pathetic history in the records of literature than that of Roger Bacon, who, having as he believed the secret of all knowledge, was constrained to sacrifice the labours of forty years, his superiors strictly forbidding him to write or communicate his thoughts.[32] Now in this particular instance a Pope interposed to procure for Bacon the liberty of bequeathing his results to posterity; and we have to remember that the secular clergy as a body had no tradition of opposition to learning, and that the Benedictines in particular have a splendid record—chiefly it is true for later times—of devotion to studies bearing upon ecclesiastical matters. Still, the broad fact remains, that the Church of the Middle Ages did not of set purpose promote learning of a secular kind beyond what was necessary for the vulgar needs of life; and that when there was a revival of learning, the scholars and the clergy were soon at feud. Bishop Pecock, for instance, was disgraced for teaching that faith rested upon reason; Reuchlin was fiercely attacked for studying Hebrew; and Ramus silenced for attacking the old logic. It fared no better with the precursors of scientific anatomy and the founders of astronomical science. Looking back, it is easy for us to say that the Church was unwise in its policy of attacking the new learning, which was certain to establish itself; yet this view is not indisputable. If the Church could have silenced a handful of scholars and scientific men, it would probably be the Universal Church at this day. If its rulers believed that the life of men beyond the grave was more important to them than their present enlightenment, they were justified in putting free inquiry down by the axe and by the stake.

After three centuries the opposition of all the Christian Churches to education not directed by themselves is as marked as it ever was. It is not now a question of the liberty to publish treatises that will only be read in the first instance by a highly educated minority, but of opening the gates of knowledge to every child. To the politician of western Europe, of America, or Australia, the question presents itself as a very simple one. The educated workman can use his powers more efficiently than the uneducated; the educated soldier is more than a match for the drilled barbarian, other things being equal; and there is, as a rule, less crime in an educated community.[33] Sound schools of every kind are therefore not a mere luxury or convenience but a condition of national existence. Practically, the statesman in every country would gladly enlist the clergy on the side of education if he could do it by concessions that were not destructive of his purpose. Practically, the clergy in every country demand the control of the schools; and while they are willing to teach the elements of knowledge, desire above all to send out the scholars entrusted to them saturated with a superficial and gross theology. The battle, of course, varies in different countries. In parts of South America the clergy have succeeded in keeping the schools in their own hands, and these are among the most backward States on that continent; in Belgium they would compound for the liberty to drive out a teacher they dislike, and to interfere as they choose in school hours; in England they are united in dislike of Board or quasi-secular schools, and aspire to prohibit any improvements that may make these dangerously attractive. In Holland they have actually succeeded in securing a return to pure denominationalism. In Ontario the Church of Rome, in the first instance, procured an exceptional right for those of its members who were not within a certain distance of a Catholic school to remain uneducated;[34] and the Protestants later on have retaliated by introducing an expurgated Bible, compiled by order of the Minister of Education, into the mixed schools. In Victoria, Catholics and Protestant ministers agreeing to oppose secular teaching, are divided among themselves what is to be substituted. On the whole, however, it is probably correct to say, that the Churches everywhere distrust and oppose any educational system which they do not themselves administer or cannot meddle in freely; and that the State everywhere finds it impossible to leave the schools to the Churches. That experiment has in fact been tried in every country and has failed in all. In England it was so absolute a mockery that in 1838 an impostor or lunatic succeeded in passing himself off as the Messiah, almost under the shadow of Canterbury Cathedral, and in a county where Church influence ought to have been predominant. A year later the Archbishop of Canterbury carried an address to the Queen, protesting against grants in aid to any but Church schools. In Victoria, after twenty years of subsidies to the denominational system, it was found that thirty per cent of the children had no school teaching provided for them,[35] and that about forty per cent of the schools established had no religious instruction given in them at all.[36] In France the favour .shown to the Church under the Second Empire led to a complete paralysis of school-teaching, and in the day of trial France with one-third of its population illiterate was no match for Germany with her soldiers, one and all, educated up to the highest point compatible with their station in life. No doubt, secular education has also been advocated in France on moral grounds; and M. Paul Bert unquestionably showed good reason for believing that the doctrines taught in Catholic seminaries are still very much those which Pascal dissected in the Provincial Letters.[37] The great reason, however, why secular education has been adopted generally in France, and specially in Paris, has been because the Church showed itself apathetic and unsuccessful as a disseminator of any knowledge that did not bear upon religion and obedience to the Church.

It may freely be admitted that the Church has not always been to blame for its deficiencies. It has been impossible to entrust it with that compulsory power, without which a school system can never be universally successful. It has never disposed—in modern times—of such enormous funds as the State can raise by a local rate or a tax. Its worst sins of omission belong to periods when statesmen also were careless how the children of the poor grew up. There is some truth in what the advocates of the clerical party say, when they contend that education without moral training is only putting weapons into the hands of criminals, and that to enlarge the mental horizon of many thousands, who can never struggle out of their actual low level, is only to increase misery and unrest. Even those who believe with De Maistre, that the moral man can only be formed upon his mother's knee;[38] even those who are convinced by the teaching of history, that the character cannot suffer because the mind is cleared, may admit that no great experiment is so absolutely successful at once as to make cavil impossible. Still, when all abatements have been made, the success achieved by the secular system is enormous. It is now the State everywhere which is fascinating every family by proffering the bâton de maréchal to its children, as it forces upon them an education that will fit them to rise to wealth and dignity. More and more the State is endeavouring to do this work costlessly, or at the smallest possible cost to the parent. Can we wonder if all the world over it is superseding the Church in its hold on popular imagination. It is still true that the peasant's son may rise to be Bishop, Cardinal, or Pope; but it is no longer true—even proximately—that the secular lottery offers only blanks to the poor man's son. In the United States, where primary education was well developed before the higher education had struck roots, every avenue of success is not only theoretically but practically open to the son of the poorest labourer; he may be head of department, general, judge, or president. Every State in the civilised world is approximating to this model. Every Church is proportionately weaker in the capacity to stir the democratic fibre.

It would be easy, if we pursued the comparison of State and Church ideals, to show that the State has taken the larger, more liberal, and more tender view of the relations of the weak to the strong. The Church undoubtedly forbade infanticide, but it has habitually left children under the parental control, even when this was capricious or intolerably severe. It is the State that has interposed to prevent the child's strength from being overtaxed, and to insist that it shall receive proper education. The Churches from all time have treated the wife as the handmaid of the husband; bound to submit to ill-treatment, to spoliation, and to unfaithfulness at his hands, with none or with the slightest possible redress. The State has insensibly remodelled its customs till a woman in every civilised country can own property, can live apart from her husband, and in certain cases can retain the guardianship of her children. In these instances the State has done little more than many excellent though not typical churchmen have always desired to see done. In one remarkable particular, secular politicians deserve the credit of having discerned and successfully applied a new principle in morality—the duty of tenderness to the brute creation. No doubt it has always been natural for good men to feel compassion for everything that is capable of suffering; but even men like St. Anselm and St. Francis,[39] who felt this instinctively, never raised it to the rank of a religious obligation. In one remarkable instance—the opposition to vivisection for scientific purposes—the reformers have proceeded on the transcendental ground that humanity at large has no right to purchase relief from its own suffering by torturing the helpless. The question is not whether all these changes are maturely thought out and administered with the wisest possible limitations. The broad fact can hardly be disputed that secular civilisation, "the wisdom and the wit of this world,"[40] is informed with a moral purpose, and is steadily working out what we may call the Christian law of life, though it respects human liberty so profoundly that it shivers and shrinks back repeatedly before it ventures to step within the sphere of spiritual activity. The advocates of Church authority and of individual lawlessness unite to denounce as violations of freedom every fresh act of that impassive, ever-dilating power which rends asunder the unrighteous contract between employer and servant, between landlord and tenant, which protects the child from degradation and rescues the woman from misuse; but the trust of citizens in the justice of human society grows stronger as the powers of the State are enlarged. The love of an Englishman for his country in old days might be little more than love for the land in which men of his own tongue governed themselves and kept their homes from the foreign enemy. He might be at the mercy of corrupt officials, governed by harsh laws, weighted by oppressive taxation, and without the possibility of rising in any service but that of the Church. The love of any man speaking the English tongue for his country is now for a land that can give him ampler protection than his fathers ever dreamed of, that invests him with the prestige of a dominant race, that adjusts his public burdens so as to be least onerous, that gives him the right to assist in making the laws, that protects him against his own weakness, and offers him the means to start on equal terms in the race for honour or wealth. Merely the dream of what a country might be has transformed ignorant men, serving forcibly in the hostile ranks, into heroes who fell where they stood sooner than drive back the army of liberation; and has transfigured prosaic women into heroines, who gave son after son to the national cause. Is it wonderful if the prodigies of Hungarian and Italian heroism have been more than matched in America, where there was a country of noble memories with a settled government and wise liberties to maintain?

Only two causes seem likely to interfere with the growth of national feeling. On the one hand, the great body of the citizens may be more interested in industrial organisations stretching over the whole earth; and on the other hand, the dream of a few thinkers, that we shall rise beyond the nation as we have risen beyond the family, the tribe, and the province, may come to be realised. The first is the more immediate danger. It is possible to suppose the great body of artisans, for instance, taking a supreme interest in the claims of the various trades, and attaching only a secondary importance to the different countries in which individual members happen to live. Something of this kind is discernible at present. If we can assume that it will extend, it might conceivably happen that a whole labouring population would decide to repudiate burdens of purely national concern, and would migrate freely from the State, if they were outvoted, sooner than submit to any inconvenient pressure. That a man should be first a Trades -Unionist, and only in the second place an Englishman or Australian, would not be in itself more remarkable than the spectacle, which has often been witnessed, of men who were first Catholics and only Englishmen or Frenchmen when the claims of the Church were satisfied. It is difficult to conceive, however, that men will ever attach themselves as devotedly to a Trades-Union, wise and dignified though it may be, as they did in times past to the Church, which gave them a great deal in this world, and promised them everything in the next. It must be borne in mind, too, that while the State professes to reconcile or adjust conflicting interests, no trades organisation has ever been able to make itself more than sectional. The claims of one body of workers are habitually opposed to the needs of others, so that they can only unite, now and again, on some very general ground, like the limitation of the hours of work. It may be added that there is a great and not unreasonable jealousy among the workmen of every country lest they should be swamped by the immigration of competitors. This feeling is likely to become stronger as times go on, as America and Australia fill up, and as it becomes increasingly clear that there is no great field for the employment of whites in the Tropical Zone. It may, indeed, be hoped by optimists that in the far future the comity of nations will be so far extended as to make it increasingly easy for individuals to change their country; but it can hardly be expected that the United States, to take the most important instance, will continue to find land and labour for several hundred thousand emigrants yearly. It is needless to say, however, that if population in England and Germany continues to increase at its present rate, an emigration of a million will mean no more thirty years hence than half a million meant thirty years ago. Practically, then, the Trades -Unions of the future are likely to become not more international in their character, but more exclusively national. Each will try to secure the best possible terms for itself in its own country; each will protect itself against competition from outside; and as a consequence the mass of men will have to abide in the land where they are born, and to make the best of it.

These considerations apply partly to the cosmopolitan theory. It will have to contend with the narrower feeling that is bound to prevail, when men no longer look upon the world as full of possible homes for them. There are, of course, some who dream that the whole human race will be united into one grand federation. Visions of this sort, if they are ever realised, can only be so in so distant a future that it is scarcely worth while to discuss them. It may be observed, however, that there seem to be certain limits to national growth which no policy however imperial can transcend. It is fashionable to lament the infatuation of the British counsels that severed the connection of the American colonies with Great Britain; and no one at this day would care to defend George III., or Grenville, or Lord North. None the less it may be doubted whether the colonies could have borne the strain of the French war in which England engaged a few years later; and more generally, whether England has not done better for herself in India, Africa, and Australia, from having an absolutely free hand. At this moment Australia and England are united in a manner that gratifies sentiment and interest, and entails no particular obligation on either party to the union. The Australian colonies are protected to some extent by the prestige of imperial power, and attract English capital rather more freely than they would do if they were independent. England gets the repute of Empire, and the advantage that trade follows the flag, and the certainty that, in the case of another Indian Mutiny, she could call up thousands to her standard from an adjoining continent, whereas, if the colonies were independent, the Irish element would be actively sympathising with whatever was hostile to Great Britain. If, however, the dream of some English theorists were accomplished, so that Australia exchanged a very satisfactory form of self-government for representation in an imperial senate, the loss to the great dependency would be incalculable. The best men would be taken away to a distant country, would lose touch of their own proper countrymen, and even if they clearly saw what was good for Australia, would be perpetually compelled to compromise and accept what was best for the Empire. The result would be an angry separation in a very short term of years. Nevertheless, the interests of Australia and Great Britain would be incomparably more easy to reconcile in a British Parliament than the interests of the whole world in a general council. Putting aside the union of the human race as chimerical, is it possible to conceive even the Germanic race—including Germany, Scandinavia, and Holland, with the British Empire and the United States—combining for such simple purposes as the preservation of the world's peace, or to procure Free Trade, or a common system of Protection? Yet these people have a common origin, cognate tongues, to a great extent a common religion, and might conceivably arrange their commercial interests so as not to clash violently. The difficulty is that each would feel it was surrendering more than it gave. The citizen of California would object to being taxed that a Russian attack on Herat might be repulsed; and the Australian would not care to guarantee Alsace and Lorraine. The chances are as great that some powers which are now unwieldy will be broken up, as that others will increase their boundaries; and that any but a compact dominion will be kept together under a centralised form of government seems difficult to believe. The best we can hope is, that the federal principle will be developed, and that international arbitration will become more and more practicable.

Dr. Matthew Arnold circulated a story that a catechism used in French schools, after enumerating the various benefits of civic society, asks the question, "Who gives you all this?" and makes answer, "the State." Mr. Hamerton has shown that this story is substantially incorrect, and that all that can be said is, that in a single manual, which teachers are allowed but not obliged to use, something of this sort may perhaps be found with the words "the country" in place of "the State."[41] It is surely permissible to inquire whether teaching of this sort, instead of being ridiculed as superficial, denounced as irreligious, or condemned for placing the Commonwealth in a place of honour that belongs to the parents, ought not to be enforced in every school. A child, whose parents do their duty by it in a spirit of tenderness, is never likely to be insensible in after-life of what it has owed them. It is useful, no doubt, to inculcate filial reverence at schools, but it is really taught in homes. On the other hand, the more general teaching, that all good things come from God, ought not to exclude the obvious fact that God works upon human society through the agency of men and women, that is, through parents, and through the civil power. Whatever may have been the case in old days, a child's obligations to the State are now infinite. The State watches over the infant life from birth; provides that the growing child is not stunted by excessive toil, is properly clothed and fed, and is so educated as to have a fair start in life; it assures the adult against starvation, protects him from foreign enemies, from tyrannical employers, and from the criminal classes that prey upon property; it secures him liberty of thought and faith, and it offers him the means of safe and easy insurance against illness or death.[42] It is constantly endeavouring to extend the sphere of its beneficent energies. It is no doubt true that though all this is attempted, there are many inadequacies in the political scheme, and that myriads of human beings lead lives of unbroken toil or horrible destitution. Still the broad fact remains that human co-operation for political ends is yearly becoming more fruitful of good purpose, more sympathetic, and more successful in its attempts to relieve want; and that every child growing up towards citizenship ought to understand the incalculable debt which it owes to the brotherhood of man. Neither is it merely material benefits with which a great country endows its citizens. The countrymen of Chatham and Wellington, of Washington and Lincoln, of Joan of Arc and Grambetta,—in short, the citizens of every historic State,—are richer by great deeds that have formed the national character, by winged words that have passed into current speech, by the example of lives and labours consecrated to the service of the Commonwealth. The religion of the State is surely as worthy of reverence as any creed of the Churches, and ought to grow in intensity year by year.

It is the note of every true religion, however, that if it promises great good, it demands proportionate sacrifices. In days when to be an Englishman meant little more than to be safe from Spain and the Inquisition, and to be allowed to live in the land where a man's fathers had made their homes, even these benefits appeared so transcendently important by the side of what was possible in France and the Low Countries, that Englishmen of every degree seemed to quicken to an electric spark of heroism. The sailors and explorers achieved impossible adventures; the poets and thinkers were of more than mortal stature. The new England which does incomparably more for its people than the Elizabethan England did, commands less and indeed scarcely any gratitude, because the Englishman has a choice of fatherlands in which he may preserve the English nationality. He transfers himself without a pang to America or Australia. If, however, the world is filling up, as seems probable; if great migrations of toilers are bound to become impossible at no very distant date, the mass of men will have to regard the country they are born in as their home for life, and will be attached to it by interest as well as by sentiment. It seems not quite visionary to suppose that a day will come when service of some sort will be exacted from every man under pain of social discredit, or legal liabilities, as military service is now exacted from every able-bodied man on the Continent; when the immigration of aliens will be restrained within reasonable limits, when wealthy men will be forced by public opinion to give money for national endowments as freely as they did in the Middle Ages;, and when the doctrine that men can divest themselves of obligations to their country by leaving it will seem extravagant. In that case, the spirit of uncalculating devotion to the common cause, which even in our own days has changed the face of half Europe and rescued society from dissolution in North America, will become a steady principle of action, deserving to be accounted a faith, and lifting all who feel it into a higher life.

  1. Synesius, Epistolae, civ. It may be admitted that Ptolemais was never as populous as Athens in its best days, though Procopius speaks of the African town as having been anciently prosperous and well-peopled (De Aedif, vi. 2); but if Athens was the more powerful, it was assailed by more formidable enemies. The great difference is the measureless inferiority of the Roman governor of Ptolemais, Phryx Johannes, to Pericles.
  2. Kant no doubt conditions this principle by saying that the independence of other men, which is inalienable to humanity, must not be exercised so as to encroach on the independence of others (Rechts-Lehre, Band iii. SS. 38, 39). At the same time he recognises the right of the citizen to emigrate "Der Unterthan (auch als Bürger betrachtet) hat das Eecht der Auswanderung," Band iii. S. 174. Mr. Sidgwick observes, "the duties of patriotism are difficult to formulate," and goes on to remark, that "whether a citizen is at any time morally bound to more than certain legally or constitutionally determined duties does not now seem to be clear; nor, again, whether he can rightfully abrogate these altogether by voluntary expatriation" (The Methods of Ethics, pp. 223, 224). The question is certainly not a simple one; but if thousands of citizens, who have supported a policy of lavish expenditure, leave the country when the burden of taxation becomes unpleasant, the very existence of the State may be threatened. No moralist will defend this extreme case; but is there no duty upon the sons of men who ran into debt for the general good,- as they not unreasonably conceived it, to take the consequences of their fathers' mistakes upon themselves?
  3. Biglow Papers, note to No. III.
  4. Two remarkable instances of this may be quoted from the history of the great war with France when feeling on both sides was strained to the uttermost. Rothschild having to transmit £800,000 to the Duke of Wellington, sent it through France (Life of Buxton, p. 289). Bourrienne, being ordered to provide 16,000 military cloaks, 37,000 jackets, and 200,000 pairs of shoes for the French army before the campaign of Eylau, procured them from England through a Hamburg house (Mémoires de Bourrienne, tome vii. chap. xx). In the first case, Frenchmen smuggled eight tons of gold through France to supply the needs of an army fighting against their own countrymen. In the second instance, whole factories in England must have been employed upon what—in the case of the jackets and cloaks, at least—every one knew to be military equipments for the use of the enemy.
  5. Contemporary Review, September 1890, pp. 415-417. Sir George Cox has demurred by anticipation to Mr. Symonds's view, but practically admits the fact.—General History of Greece, p. 574.
  6. Siècle de Louis XIV. chap. 14.
  7. Autobiography of Sir John Bramston, p. 117. Clarendon gives an instance where Lord Lovelace, having sold an estate below its value to Bulstrode Whitelocke, refused to complete the title unless he was paid an additional sum; but even in this strong case, Lord Lovelace seems to have prevailed only through legal technicalities (Clarendon's Life, s. 281). Mrs. Hutchinson says that her husband saved the estates of many gentlemen of his county by getting himself appointed sequestrator.—Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson, pp. 326, 327.
  8. "The emigration and the laws of 1793 by depriving them" (the grand seigneurs) "of their estates, set them free from their creditors" (Madame de Remusat's Memoirs, vol. ii. p. 414). "The whole mass of confiscated land, not now in possession of the families to whom it belonged in 1793, or of those to whom those families have sold it, would not amount to the value of property lost by confiscation in Ireland by the single family of Fitzgerald."—Lord Holland's Foreign Reminiscences, p. 281, published in 1850.
  9. "All confess there never was a more learned clergy," said Selden of the Caroline divines.—Selden's Table-Talk, p. 134.
  10. More declared openly that he believed Parliament could make a private person king, and told his friends in confidence that he had freely remonstrated with the King about relaxing the Statute of Præmunire.—Roper's Life of More, pp. 66, 80, 81. The Act of Uniformity, as Mr. Child has pointed out, drew up "all manner of spiritual authority " into the Crown, and practically gave the King the power of denning doctrine.—Child's Church and State under the Tudors, pp. 66, 67. Still, it is probably to be assumed that Henry never contemplated using these extreme powers to their logical extent. He and his successors always acted with the advice of the bishops, who presented the same mixture of pliancy and independence in Church matters that the Parliaments displayed in matters temporal.
  11. "Of the following general facts I hold superfluous proof (1) that after the religious revolution in Protestant Germany, there began and long prevailed a fearful dissolution of morals; (2) that of this moral corruption there were two principal foci—Wittenberg and Hesse."—Discussions on Philosophy, by Sir W. Hamilton, pp, 497-499, note. Compare Ranke, Gesch. der Deutschen Reformation, Band v. SS. 435-437.
  12. "As the cold is greater and quicker in winter when the days get longer and the sun comes nearer to us,—so also is the wickedness of man greater, that is, more apparent, and breaks strongly forth when the Gospel is preached." The lady doctor says to him, "Doctor, how is it, that in Popery we prayed so fervently, earnestly, and often; but now is our prayer quite cold; nay, we do not often pray?" The doctor answers thereto, and said: " The devil is always urging on his servants, who are untiring and laborious in service of their god; but the Holy Ghost teaches and advises us how to pray rightly; yet we are so icy cold and slack in prayer that it will not come out."—Luther's Tisch-Reden, Band i. S. 226; Band ii. S. 233.
  13. See vols. xxi. and xxxiv. of the Surtees Society Publications, containing the Acts of the High Commission Court within the Diocese of Durham, 1560-1591, and 1626-1639. We find the offences varying from adultery, blasphemy, and insults to the clergy, to clandestine marriages and nonconformity. Fines, sometimes as high as £3000, penance, and imprisonment were the penalties.
  14. Homersham Cox, Institutions of English Society, p. 463, note. The penalties incurred for non-attendance at church under 1 Eliz. c. 2, 14, and 3 Jac. I. 14, were repealed by the 9th and 10th Victoria, c. 59, 1. I believe they were last put in force against men suspected of poaching. The law of sacrilege was abolished by 24 and 25 Victoria, c. 96, 50. Breaking into a church, however, is more heavily punished than breaking into other buildings.—Stephen's Blackstone, vol. iv. pp. 203, 204.
  15. Clarendon goes so far as to say that Cromwell was well pleased to see Cavaliers and Presbyterians notorious for "scandalous lives," "luxury and voluptuousness."—Clarendon's Life, c. 37.
  16. Walsingham's Historia Anglicana, vol. i. pp. 450, 451.
  17. See Maitland's chapters on the Ribalds of the Reformation, and specially pp. 242, 252, 254, and 291, 293.—Maitland's Reformation in England.
  18. The worst acts imputed to the monks of Medmenham who may appropriately be termed a Hell-fire Club are, I believe, the invocation of the devil by Lord Sandwich, the giving the sacrament to a dog by the same worthy, and a picture in which a naked Venus was represented as "mater sanctorum," excesses which were meant to be private, and acts, however scandalous, which were probably much less offensive to the apathetic religion of those times than the acts of the reforming ribalds to the more pious among their countrymen.—Rae's Wilkes, Sheridan, and Fox, pp. 13, 134; |Dilke's Papers of a Critic, vol. ii p. 233.
  19. Literature and Dogma, pp. 306, 307.
  20. In my first edition I mistakenly charged Mr. Bradlaugh with the authorship of a comparison which he only gave publicity to.
  21. "The French, even when practically chaste in their own lives, regard adultery in the male sex, at least, with a sort of amusement, not unmingled with admiration." Hamerton's French and English, p. 232.
  22. Hamerton's French and English, pp. 206-232, and Hamerton's Round my House, pp. 178-181.
  23. This was the emphatic opinion of the Poor-Law Commissioners, pp. 346, 347.
  24. France and the South and Central American Republics are the countries specially alluded to. See Nelson's Central America, p. 51.
  25. Pearson's Historical Maps, pp. 61, 62.
  26. The confession of Jack Straw says: "We would have destroyed all the beneficed clergy, bishops, monks, canons, and the rectors of churches off the face of the earth."—Walsingham, vol. ii. p. 10. Even if we take this confession to be a forgery, it must be assumed to represent in an exaggerated form the views held by the insurgents.
  27. Macaulay's History of England vol. i. pp. 437, 438.
  28. Fletcher's Second Discourse on the Affairs of Scotland, pp. 100, 101.
  29. Between 1817-1822 and 1827-1832, in an average term of twelve years, the slaves registered in the West India Islands diminished in a population of 558,194 by 60,219 wear and tear, and exclusive of manumissions.—"Parliamentary Papers," quoted in Appendix to Memoirs of Buxton. Compare M. Lewis's Journal, pp. 50, 140, 141.
  30. See Olmsted's Journeys in the Cotton Kingdom, vol. ii. pp. 212-229, and Kemble's Journal of Residence on a Georgian Plantation, pp. 342, 346.
  31. Milman's History of Latin Christianity, vol. iv. p. 265, note. "He despised and prohibited human learning," p. 275.
  32. Bacon's superiors threatened to confiscate his book and impose a severe fast on him if he communicated anything that he wrote to the outside world.—Opus Tertium, cap. ii.
  33. My impression is that the great causes of crime are want and congenital predisposition. Education has a tendency to reduce want and to inspire a keener fear of consequences. More perhaps cannot be claimed for it.
  34. Catholics in Ontario cannot be compelled to attend any school, unless they reside in a separate school section, i.e. in a section in which there is a school of their own denomination.—School Act of 1871, § 3.
  35. Within a year after the passing of the Victorian Education Act, 1872, the school-attendance had increased from 68,436 children to 99,536.
  36. In the evidence taken before Mr. Higinbotham's Commission (1866) the Inspector-General testified, that in 39 out of 100 schools visited no religious instruction at all was given, while in three schools only was religious instruction given by the clergyman. Almost every witness spoke more or less to the same effect.
  37. Paul Bert. Speech of July 5, 1879, and La Morale des Jesuites.
  38. "Ce qu'on appelle l'homme, c'est a dire, 1'homme moral, est peutetre forme" a dix arts; et s'il ne l'à pas été sur les genoux de sa mère, ce sera toujours un grand malheur."—Soirées de St. Pétersbourg, Troisième Entretien.
  39. Eadmer, Vita Anselmi, lib. ii. cap. iii. 27, 28; Milman's Latin Christianity, vol. iv. p. 269.
  40. Sermons by Dean Church, p. 120.
  41. Hamerton's French and English, pp. 194-196.
  42. Of course, no one State does all this; but the exceptions are so trifling that it has seemed not misleading to speak generally.