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Title: The Task of Social Hygiene

Author: Havelock Ellis

Release date: July 17, 2007 [eBook #22090]

Language: English

Credits: E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Ross Wilburn, and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team



E-text prepared by Juliet Sutherland, Ross Wilburn,
and the Project Gutenberg Online Distributed Proofreading Team













Printed in Great Britain.



The study of social hygiene means the study of those things which concern the welfare of human beings living in societies. There can, therefore, be no study more widely important or more generally interesting. I fear, however, that by many persons social hygiene is vaguely regarded either as a mere extension of sanitary science, or else as an effort to set up an intolerable bureaucracy to oversee every action of our lives, and perhaps even to breed us as cattle are bred.

That is certainly not the point of view from which this book has been written. Plato and Rabelais, Campanella and More, have been among those who announced the principles of social hygiene here set forth. There must be a social order, all these great pioneers recognized, but the health of society, like the health of the body, is marked by expansion as much as by restriction, and, the striving for order is only justified because without order there can be no freedom. If it were not the mission of social hygiene to bring a new joy and a new freedom into life I should not have concerned myself with the writing of this book.

When we thus contemplate the process of social hygiene, we are no longer in danger of looking upon it as an artificial interference with Nature. It is in the [vi] Book of Nature, as Campanella put it, that the laws of life and of government are to be read. Or, as Quesnel said two centuries ago, more precisely for our present purpose, "Nature is universal hygiene." All animals are scrupulous in hygiene; the elaboration of hygiene moves pari passu with the rank of a species in intelligence. Even the cockroach, which lives on what we call filth, spends the greater part of its time in the cultivation of personal cleanliness. And all social hygiene, in its fullest sense, is but an increasingly complex and extended method of purification—the purification of the conditions of life by sound legislation, the purification of our own minds by better knowledge, the purification of our hearts by a growing sense of responsibility, the purification of the race itself by an enlightened eugenics, consciously aiding Nature in her manifest effort to embody new ideals of life. It was not Man, but Nature, who realized the daring and splendid idea—risky as it was—of placing the higher anthropoids on their hind limbs and so liberating their fore-limbs in the service of their nimble and aspiring brains. We may humbly follow in the same path, liberating latent forces of life and suppressing those which no longer serve the present ends of life. For, as Shakespeare said, when in The Winter's Tale he set forth a luminous philosophy of social hygiene and applied it to eugenics,

"Nature is made better by no mean But Nature makes that mean ... This is an art Which does mend Nature, change it rather, but The art itself is Nature."

[vii] In whatever way it may be understood, however, social hygiene is now very much to the front of people's minds. The present volume, I wish to make clear, has not been hastily written to meet any real or supposed demand. It has slowly grown during a period of nearly twenty-five years, and it expresses an attitude which is implicit or explicit in the whole of my work. By some readers, doubtless, it will be seen to constitute an extension in various directions of the arguments developed in the larger work on "Sex in Relation to Society," which is the final volume of my Studies in the Psychology of Sex. The book I now bring forward may, however, be more properly regarded as a presentation of the wider scheme of social reform out of which the more special sex studies have developed. We are faced to-day by the need for vast and complex changes in social organization. In these changes the welfare of individuals and the welfare of communities are alike concerned. Moreover, they are matters which are not confined to the affairs of this nation or of that nation, but of the whole family of nations participating in the fraternity of modern progress.

The word "progress," indeed, which falls so easily from our lips is not a word which any serious writer should use without precaution. The conception of "progress" is a useful conception in so far as it binds together those who are working for common ends, and stimulates that perpetual slight movement in which life consists. But there is no general progress in Nature, nor any unqualified progress; that is to say, that there [viii] is no progress for all groups along the line, and that even those groups which progress pay the price of their progress. It was so even when our anthropoid ancestors rose to the erect position; that was "progress," and it gained us the use of hands. But it lost us our tails, and much else that is more regrettable than we are always able to realize. There is no general and ever-increasing evolution towards perfection. "Existence is realized in its perfection under whatever aspect it is manifested," says Jules de Gaultier. Or, as Whitman put it, "There will never be any more perfection than there is now." We cannot expect an increased power of growth and realization in existence, as a whole, leading to any general perfection; we can only expect to see the triumph of individuals, or of groups of individuals, carrying out their own conceptions along special lines, every perfection so attained involving, on its reverse side, the acquirement of an imperfection. It is in this sense, and in this sense only, that progress is possible. We need not fear that we shall ever achieve the stagnant immobility of a general perfection.

The problems of progress we are here concerned with are such as the civilized world, as represented by some of its foremost individuals or groups of individuals, is just now waking up to grapple with. No doubt other problems might be added, and the addition give a greater semblance of completion to this book. I have selected those which seem to me very essential, very fundamental. The questions of social hygiene, as here understood, go to the heart of life. It is the task of this hygiene not [ix] only to make sewers, but to re-make love, and to do both in the same large spirit of human fellowship, to ensure finer individual development and a larger social organization. At the one end social hygiene may be regarded as simply the extension of an elementary sanitary code; at the other end it seems to some to have in it the glorious freedom of a new religion. The majority of people, probably, will be content to admit that we have here a scheme of serious social reform which every man and woman will soon be called upon to take some share in.

Havelock Ellis.




The aim of Social Hygiene—Social Reform—The Rise of Social Reform out of English Industrialism—The Four Stages of Social Reform—(1) The Stage of Sanitation—(2) Factory Legislation—(3) The Extension of the Scope of Education—(4) Puericulture—The Scientific Evolution corresponding to these Stages—Social Reform only Touched the Conditions of Life—Yet Social Reform Remains highly Necessary—The Question of Infantile Mortality and the Quality of the Race—The Better Organization of Life Involved by Social Hygiene—Its Insistence on the Quality rather than on the Conditions of Life—The Control of Reproduction—The Fall of the Birth-rate in Relation to the Quality of the Population—The Rejuvenation of a Society—The Influence of Culture and Refinement on a Race—Eugenics—The Regeneration of the Race—The Problem of Feeble-mindedness—The Methods of Eugenics—Some of the Problems which Face us

II.—The Changing Status of Women

The Origin of the Woman Movement—Mary Wollstonecraft—George Sand—Robert Owen—William Thompson—John Stuart Mill—The Modern Growth of Social Cohesion—The Growth of Industrialism—Its Influence in Woman's Sphere of Work—The Education of Women—Co-education—The Woman Question and Sexual Selection—Significance of Economic Independence—The State Regulation of Marriage—The Future of Marriage—Wilhelm von Humboldt—Social Equality of Women—The Reproduction of the Race as a Function of Society—Women and the Future of Civilization

III.—The New Aspect of the Woman's Movement

Eighteenth-Century France—Pioneers of the Woman's Movement—The Growth of the Woman's Suffrage Movement—The Militant [xii] Activities of the Suffragettes—Their Services and Disservices to the Cause—Advantages of Women's Suffrage—Sex Questions in Germany—Bebel—The Woman's Rights Movement in Germany—The Development of Sexual Science in Germany—The Movement for the Protection of Motherhood—Ellen Key—The Question of Illegitimacy—Eugenics—Women as Law-makers in the Home

IV.—The Emancipation of Women in Relation to Romantic Love

The Absence of Romantic Love in Classic Civilization—Marriage as a Duty—The Rise of Romantic Love in the Roman Empire—The Influence of Christianity—The Attitude of Chivalry—The Troubadours—The Courts of Love—The Influence of the Renaissance—Conventional Chivalry and Modern Civilization—The Woman Movement—The Modern Woman's Equality of Rights and Responsibilities excludes Chivalry—New Forms of Romantic Love still remain possible—Love as the Inspiration of Social Hygiene

V.—The Significance of a Falling Birth-rate

The Fall of the Birth-rate in Europe generally—In England—In Germany—In the United States—In Canada—In Australasia—"Crude" Birth-rate and "Corrected" Birth-rate—The Connection between High Birth-rate and High Death-rate—"Natural Increase" measured by Excess of Births over Deaths—The Measure of National Well-being—The Example of Russia—Japan—China—The Necessity of viewing the Question from a wide Standpoint—The Prevalence of Neo-Malthusian Methods—Influence of the Roman Catholic Church—Other Influences lowering the Birth-rate—Influence of Postponement of Marriage—Relation of the Birth-rate to Commercial and Industrial Activity—Illustrated by Russia, Hungary, and Australia—The Relation of Prosperity to Fertility—The Social Capillarity Theory—Divergence of the Birth-rate and the Marriage-rate—Marriage-rate and the Movement of Prices—Prosperity and Civilization—Fertility among Savages—The lesser fertility of Urban Populations—Effect of Urbanization on Physical Development—Why Prosperity fails permanently to increase Fertility—Prosperity creates Restraints on Fertility—The process of Civilization involves Decreased Fertility—In this Respect it is a Continuation of Zoological Evolution—Large Families as [xiii] a Stigma of Degeneration—The Decreased Fertility of Civilization a General Historical Fact—The Ideals of Civilization to-day—The East and the West

VI.—Eugenics and Love

Eugenics and the Decline of the Birth-rate—Quantity and Quality in the Production of Children—Eugenic Sexual Selection—The Value of Pedigrees—Their Scientific Significance—The Systematic Record of Personal Data—The Proposal for Eugenic Certificates—St. Valentine's Day and Sexual Selection—Love and Reason—Love Ruled by Natural Law—Eugenic Selection not opposed to Love—No Need for Legal Compulsion—Medicine in Relation to Marriage.

VII.—Religion and the Child

Religious Education in Relation to Social Hygiene and to Psychology—The Psychology of the Child—The Contents of Children's Minds—The Imagination of Children—How far may Religion be assimilated by Children?—Unfortunate Results of Early Religious Instruction—Puberty the Age for Religious Education—Religion as an Initiation into a Mystery—Initiation among Savages—The Christian Sacraments—The Modern Tendency as regards Religious Instruction—Its Advantages—Children and Fairy Tales—The Bible of Childhood—Moral Training

VIII.—The Problem of Sexual Hygiene

The New Movement for giving Sexual Instruction to Children—The Need of such a Movement—Contradictions involved by the Ancient Policy of Silence—Errors of the New Policy—The Need of Teaching the Teacher—The Need of Training the Parents—And of Scientifically equipping the Physician—Sexual Hygiene and Society—The far-reaching Effects of Sexual Hygiene

IX.—Immorality and the Law

Social Hygiene and Legal Compulsion—The Binding Force of Custom among Savages—The Dissolving Influence of Civilization—The Distinction between Immorality and Criminality—Adultery as a Crime—The Tests of Criminality—National Differences in laying down the Boundary between Criminal and Immoral Acts—France—Germany—England—The United [xiv] States—Police Administration—Police Methods in the United States—National Differences in the Regulation of the Trade in Alcohol—Prohibition in the United States—Origin of the American Method of Dealing with Immorality—Russia—Historical Fluctuations in Methods of Dealing with Immorality and Prostitution—Homosexuality—Holland—The Age of Consent—Moral Legislation in England—In the United States—The Raines Law—America Attempts to Suppress Prostitution—Their Futility—German Methods of Regulating Prostitution—The Sound Method of Approaching Immorality—Training in Sexual Hygiene—Education in Personal and Social Responsibility

X.—The War against War

Why the Problem of War is specially urgent To-day—The Beneficial Effects of War in Barbarous Ages—Civilization renders the Ultimate Disappearance of War Inevitable—The Introduction of Law in disputes between Individuals involves the Introduction of Law in disputes between Nations—But there must be Force behind Law—Henry IV's Attempt to Confederate Europe—Every International Tribunal of Arbitration must be able to Enforce its decisions—The Influences making for the Abolition of Warfare—(1) Growth of International Opinion—(2) International Financial Development—(3) The Decreasing Pressure of Population—(4) The Natural Exhaustion of the Warlike Spirit—(5) The Spread of Anti-military Doctrines—(6) The Over-growth of Armaments—(7) The Dominance of Social Reform—War Incompatible with an Advanced Civilization—Nations as Trustees for Humanity—The Impossibility of Disarmament—The Necessity of Force to ensure Peace—The Federated State of the Future—The Decay of War still leaves the Possibilities of Daring and Heroism

XI.— The Problem of an International Language

Early Attempts to construct an International Language—The Urgent Need of an Auxiliary Language To-day—Volapük—The Claims of Spanish—Latin—The Claims of English—Its Disadvantages—The Claims of French—Its Disadvantages—The Modern Growth of National Feeling opposed to Selection of a Natural Language—Advantages of an Artificial Language—Demands it must Fulfil—Esperanto—Its Threatened Disruption—The International Association for the Adoption of an Auxiliary International Language—The First Step to Take

XII.—Individualism and Socialism

Social Hygiene in Relation to the Alleged Opposition between Socialism and Individualism—The Two Parties in Politics—The Relation of Conservatism and Radicalism to Socialism and Individualism—The Basis of Socialism—The Basis of Individualism—The seeming Opposition between Socialism and Individualism merely a Division of Labour—Both Socialism and Individualism equally Necessary—Not only Necessary, but Indispensable to each other—The Conflict between the Advocates of Environment and Heredity—A New Embodiment of the supposed Conflict between Socialism and Individualism—The place of Eugenics—Social Hygiene ultimately one with the Hygiene of the Soul—The Function of Utopias






The Aim of Social Hygiene—Social Reform—The Rise of Social Reform out of English Industrialism—The Four Stages of Social Reform—(1) The Stage of Sanitation—(2) Factory Legislation—(3) The Extension of the Scope of Education—(4) Puericulture—The Scientific Evolution corresponding to these Stages—Social Reform only Touched the Conditions of Life—Yet Social Reform Remains highly Necessary—The Question of Infantile Mortality and the Quality of the Race—The Better Organization of Life Involved by Social Hygiene—Its Insistence on the Quality rather than on the Conditions of Life—The Control of Reproduction—The Fall of the Birth-rate in Relation to the Quality of the Population—The Rejuvenation of a Society—The Influence of Culture and Refinement on a Race—Eugenics—The Regeneration of the Race—The Problem of Feeble-Mindedness—The Methods of Eugenics—Some of the Problems which Face us.

Social Hygiene, as it will be here understood, may be said to be a development, and even a transformation, of what was formerly known as Social Reform. In that transformation it has undergone two fundamental changes. In the first place, it is no longer merely an attempt to deal with the conditions under which life is lived, seeking to treat bad conditions [2] as they occur, without going to their source, but it aims at prevention. It ceases to be simply a reforming of forms, and approaches in a comprehensive manner not only the conditions of life, but life itself. In the second place, its method is no longer haphazard, but organized and systematic, being based on a growing knowledge of those biological sciences which were scarcely in their infancy when the era of social reform began. Thus social hygiene is at once more radical and more scientific than the old conception of social reform. It is the inevitable method by which at a certain stage civilization is compelled to continue its own course, and to preserve, perhaps to elevate, the race.

The era of social reform followed on the rise of modern industrialism, and, no doubt largely on this account, although an international movement, it first became definite and self-conscious in England. There were perhaps other reasons why it should have been in the first place specially prominent in England. When at the end of the seventeenth century, Muralt, a highly intelligent Swiss gentleman, visited England, and wrote his by no means unsympathetic Lettres sur les Anglais, he was struck by a curious contradiction in the English character. They are a good-natured people, he observed, very rich, so well-nourished that sometimes they die of obesity, and they detest cruelty so much that by royal proclamation it is ordained that the fish and the ducks of the ponds should be duly and properly fed. Yet he found that this good-natured, rich, cruelty-hating nation systematically allowed the prisoners [3] in their gaols to die of starvation. "The great cruelty of the English," Muralt remarks, "lies in permitting evil rather than in doing it." [1] The root of the apparent contradiction lay clearly in a somewhat excessive independence and devotion to liberty. We give a man full liberty, they seem to have said, to work, to become rich, to grow fat. But if he will not work, let him starve. In that point of view there were involved certain fallacies, which became clearer during the course of social evolution.

It was obvious, indeed, that such an attitude, while highly favourable to individual vigour and independence, and not incompatible with fairly healthy social life under the conditions which prevailed at the time, became disastrous in the era of industrialism. The conditions of industrial life tore up the individual from the roots by which he normally received strength, and crowded the workers together in masses, thus generating a confusion which no individual activity could grapple with. So it was that the very spirit which, under the earlier conditions, made for good now made for evil. To stand by and applaud the efforts of the individual who was perhaps slowly sinking deeper and deeper into a miry slough of degradation began to seem an even diabolical attitude. The maxim of laissez-faire, which had once stood for the whole unfettered action of natural activities in life, began to be viewed with horror and contempt. It was realized that there must be an intelligent superintendence of social conditions, humane regulation, systematic organization. The very intensity of the evils which the English spirit produced led to [4] a reaction by which that spirit, while doubtless remaining the same at heart, took on a different form, and manifested its energy in a new direction.

The modern industrial era, replacing domestic industry by collective work carried out by "hands" in factories, began in the eighteenth century. The era of social reform was delayed until the second quarter of the nineteenth century. It has proceeded by four successively progressive stages, each stage supplementing, rather than supplanting, the stage that preceded it. In 1842 Sir Edwin Chadwick wrote an official Report on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain, in which was clearly presented for the first time a vivid, comprehensive, and authoritative picture of the incredibly filthy conditions under which the English labouring classes lived. The times were ripe for this Report. It attracted public attention, and exerted an important influence. Its appearance marks the first stage of social reform, which was mainly a sanitary effort to clear away the gross filth from our cities, to look after the cleansing, lighting, and policing of the streets, to create a drainage system, to improve dwellings, and in these ways to combat disease and to lower the very high death-rate.

At an early stage, however, it began to be seen that this process of sanitation, necessary as it had become, was far too crude and elementary to achieve the ends sought. It was not enough to improve the streets, or even to regulate the building of dwellings. It was [5] clearly necessary to regulate also the conditions of work of the people who lived in those streets and dwellings. Thus it was that the scheme of factory legislation was initiated. Rules were made as to the hours of labour, more especially as regards women and children, for whom, moreover, certain specially dangerous or unhealthy occupations were forbidden, and an increasingly large number of avocations were brought under Government inspection. This second stage of social reform encountered a much more strenuous opposition than the first stage. The regulation of the order and cleanliness of the streets was obviously necessary, and it had indeed been more or less enforced even in medieval times; [2] but the regulation of the conditions of work in the interests of the worker was a more novel proceeding, and it appeared to clash both with the interests of the employers and the ancient principles of English freedom and independence, behind which the employers consequently [6] sheltered themselves. The early attempts to legislate on these lines were thus fruitless. It was not until a distinguished aristocratic philanthropist of great influence, the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, took up the question, that factory legislation began to be accepted. It continues to develop even to-day, ever enlarging the sphere of its action, and now meeting with no opposition. But, in England, at all events, its acceptance marks a memorable stage in the growth of the national spirit. It was no longer easy and natural for the Englishmen to look on at suffering without interference. It began to be recognized that it was perfectly legitimate, and even necessary, to put a curb on the freedom and independence which involved suffering to others.

But as the era of factory legislation became established, a further advance was seen to be necessary. Factory legislation had forbidden the child to work. But the duty of the community towards the child, the citizen of the future, was evidently by no means covered by this purely negative step. The child must be prepared to take his future part in life, in the first place by education. The nationalization of education in England dates from 1870. But during the subsequent half century "education" has come to mean much more than mere instruction; it now covers a certain amount of provision for meals when necessary, the enforcement of cleanliness, the care of defective conditions, inborn or acquired, with special treatment for mentally defective children, an ever-increasing [7] amount of medical inspection and supervision, while it is beginning to include arrangements for placing the child in work suited to his capacities when he leaves school.

During the past ten years the movement of social reform has entered a fourth stage. The care of the child during his school-days was seen to be insufficient; it began too late, when probably the child's fate for life was already decided. It was necessary to push the process further back, to birth and even to the stage before birth, by directing social care to the infant, and by taking thought of the mother. This consideration has led to a whole series of highly important and fruitful measures which are only beginning to develop, although they have already proved very beneficial. The immediate notification to the authorities of a child's birth, and the institution of Health Visitors to ascertain what is being done for the infant's well-being, and to aid the mother with advice, have certainly been a large factor in the recent reduction in the infantile death-rate in England. [3]

The care of the infant has indeed now become a new applied science, the science of puericulture. Professor [8] Budin of Paris may fairly be regarded as the founder of puericulture by the establishment in Paris, in 1892, of Infant Consultations, to which mothers were encouraged to bring their babies to be weighed and examined, any necessary advice being given regarding the care of the baby. The mothers are persuaded to suckle their infants if possible, and if their own health permits. For the cases in which suckling is undesirable or impossible, Budin established Milk Depôts, where pure milk is supplied at a low price or freely. Infant Consultations and Milk Depôts are now becoming common everywhere. A little later than Budin, another distinguished French physician, Pinard, carried puericulture a step further back, but a very important step, by initiating a movement for the care of the pregnant woman. Pinard and his pupils have shown by a number of detailed investigations that the children born to working mothers who rest during the last three months of pregnancy, are to a marked extent larger and finer than the children of those mothers who enjoy no such period of rest, even though the mothers themselves may be equally robust and healthy in both cases. Moreover, it is found that premature birth, one of the commonest accidents of modern life, tends to be prevented by such rest. The children of mothers who rest enjoy on the average three weeks longer development in the womb than the children of the mothers who do not rest, and this prolonged ante-natal development cannot fail to be a benefit for the whole of the [9] child's subsequent life. The movement started by Pinard, though strictly a continuation of the great movement for the improvement of the conditions of life, takes us as far back as we are able to go on these lines, and has in it the promise of an immense benefit to human efficiency.

In connection with the movement of puericulture initiated by Budin and Pinard must be mentioned the institution of Schools for Mothers, for it is closely associated with the aims of puericulture. The School for Mothers arose in Belgium, a little later than the activities of Budin and Pinard commenced. About 1900 a young Socialist doctor of Ghent, Dr. Miele, started the first school of this kind, with girls of from twelve to sixteen years of age as students and assistants. The School eventually included as many as twelve different services, among these being dispensaries for mothers, a mothers' friendly society, milk depôts both for babies and nursing mothers, health talks to mothers with demonstrations, courses on puericulture (including anatomy, physiology, preparation of foods, weighing, etc.) to girls between fourteen and eighteen, who afterwards become eligible for appointment as paid assistants. [4] In 1907 Schools for Mothers were introduced into England, at first under the auspices of Dr. Sykes, Medical Officer of Health for St. Pancras, London. Such Schools are now spreading everywhere. In the end they will probably be considered necessary centres for any national system of puericulture. Every girl at the end of her school life [10] should be expected to pass through a certain course of training at a School for Mothers. It would be the technical school for the working-class mother, while such a course would be invaluable for any girl, whatever her social class, even if she is never called to be a mother herself or to have the care of children.

The great movement of social reform during the nineteenth century, we thus see, has moved in four stages, each of which has reinforced rather than replaced that which went before: (1) the effort to cleanse the gross filth of cities and to remedy obvious disorder by systematic attention to scavenging, drainage, the supply of water and of artificial light, as well as by improved policing; (2) the great system of factory legislation for regulating the conditions of work, and to some extent restraining the work of women and of children; (3) the introduction of national systems of education, and the gradual extension of the idea of education to cover far more than mere instruction; and (4), most fundamental of all and last to appear, the effort to guard the child before the school age, even at birth, even before birth, by bestowing due care on the future mother. [5]

[11] It may be pointed out that this movement of practical social reform has been accompanied, stimulated, and guided by a corresponding movement in the sciences which in their application are indispensable to the progress of civilized social reform. There has been a process of mutual action and reaction between science and practice. The social movement has stimulated the development of abstract science, and the new progress in science has enabled further advances to be made in social practice. The era of expansion in sanitation was the era of development in chemistry and physics, which alone enabled a sound system of sanitation to be developed. The fight against disease would have been impossible but for bacteriology. The new care for human life, and for the protection of its source, is associated with fresh developments of biological science. Sociological observations and speculation, including economics, are intimately connected with the efforts of social reform to attain a broad, sound, and truly democratic basis. [6]

[12] When we survey this movement as a whole, we have to recognize that it is exclusively concerned with the improvement of the conditions of life. It makes no attempt to influence either the quantity or the quality of life. [7] It may sometimes have been carried out with the assumption that to improve the conditions of life is, in some way or other, to improve the quality of life itself. But it accepted the stream of life as it found it, and while working to cleanse the banks of the stream it made no attempt to purify the stream itself.

[13] It must, however, be remembered that the arguments which, especially nowadays, are brought against the social reform of the condition of life, will not bear serious examination. It is said, for instance, or at all events implied, that we need bestow very little care on the conditions of life because such care can have no permanently beneficial effect on the race, since acquired characters, for the most part, are not transmitted to descendants. But to assume that social reform is unnecessary because it is not inherited is altogether absurd. The people who make this assumption would certainly not argue that it is useless for them to satisfy their own hunger and thirst, because their children will not thereby be safeguarded from experiencing hunger and thirst. Yet the needs which the movement of organized social reform seeks to satisfy are precisely on a level with, and indeed to some extent identical with, the needs of hunger and thirst. The impulse and the duty which move every civilized community to elaborate and gratify its own social needs to the utmost are altogether independent of the race, and would not cease to exist even in a community vowed to celibacy or the most absolute Neo-Malthusianism. Nor, again, must it be said that social reform destroys the beneficial results of natural selection.

Here, indeed, we encounter a disputed point, and it may be admitted that the precise data for absolute demonstration in one direction or the other cannot yet be found. Whenever human beings breed in reckless and unrestrained profusion—as is the case under some conditions before a free and self-conscious civilization is attained—there is an immense infantile mortality. It is claimed, on the one hand, that this is beneficial, [14] and need not be interfered with. The weak are killed off, it is said, and the strong survive; there is a process of natural survival of the fittest. That is true. But it is equally true, as has also been clearly seen on the other hand, that though the relatively strongest survive, their relative strength has been impaired by the very influences which have proved altogether fatal to their weaker brethren. There is an immense infantile mortality in Russia. Yet, notwithstanding any resulting "survival of the fittest," Russia is far more ravaged by disease than Norway, where infantile mortality is low. "A high infantile mortality," as George Carpenter, a great authority on the diseases of childhood, remarks, "denotes a far higher infantile deterioration rate"; or, as another doctor puts it, "the dead baby is next of kin to the diseased baby," The protection of the weak, so frequently condemned by some Neo-Darwinians, is thus in reality, as Goldscheid terms it, "the protection of the strong from degeneration."

There is, however, more to be said. Not only must an undue struggle with unfavourable conditions enfeeble the strong as well as kill the feeble; it also imposes an intolerable burden upon these enfeebled survivors. The process of destruction is not sudden, it is gradual. It is a long-drawn-out process. It involves the multiplication of the diseased, the maimed, the feeble-minded, of paupers and lunatics and criminals. Even natural selection thus includes the need for protecting the feeble, and so renders urgent the task of social reform, while the more thoroughly this task is carried out with the [15] growth of civilization, the more stupendous and overwhelming the task becomes.

It is thus that civilization, at a certain point in its course, renders inevitable the appearance of that wider and deeper organization of life which in the present volume we are concerned with under the name of Social Hygiene. That movement is far from being an abrupt or revolutionary manifestation in the ordinary progress of social growth. As we have seen, social reform during the past eighty years may be said to have proceeded in four successive stages, each of which has involved a nearer approach to the sources of life. The fourth stage, which in its beginnings dates only from the last years of the nineteenth century, takes us to the period before birth, and is concerned with the care of the child in the mother's womb. The next stage cannot fail to take us to the very source of life itself, lifting us beyond the task of purifying the conditions, and laying on us the further task of regulating the quantity and raising the quality of life at its very source. The duty of purifying, ordering, and consolidating the banks of the stream must still remain. [8] But when we are able to control the stream at its source we are able to some extent to prevent the contamination of that stream by filth, and ensure that its muddy floods shall not sweep away the results of our laborious work on the banks. Our sense of social responsibility is developing into a sense of racial responsibility, and that development is expressed in the nature of the tasks of Social Hygiene which now lie before us.

[16] It is the control of the reproduction of the race which renders possible the new conception of Social Hygiene. We have seen that the gradual process of social reform during the first three quarters of the nineteenth century, by successive stages of movement towards the sources of life, finally reached the moment of conception. The first result of reform at this point was that procreation became a deliberate act. Up till then the method of propagating the race was the same as that which savages have carried on during thousands of years, the chief difference being that whereas savages have frequently sought to compensate their recklessness by destroying their inferior offspring, we had accepted all the offspring, good, bad, and indifferent, produced by our indiscriminate recklessness, shielding ourselves by a false theology. Children "came," and their parents disclaimed all responsibility for their coming. The children were "sent by God," and if they all turned out to be idiots, the responsibility was God's. But when it became generally realized that it was possible to limit offspring without interfering with conjugal life a step of immense importance was achieved. It became clear to all that the Divine force works through us, and that we are not entitled to cast the burden of our evil actions on any [17] Higher Power. Marriage no longer fatally involved an endless procession of children who, in so far as they survived at all, were in a large number of cases doomed to disease, neglect, misery, and ignorance. The new Social Hygiene was for the first time rendered possible.

It was in France during the first half of the nineteenth century that the control of reproduction first began to become a social habit. In Sweden and in Denmark, the fall in the birth-rate, though it has been irregular, may be said to have begun in 1860. It was not until about the year 1876 that, in so far as we may judge by the arrest of the birth-rate, the movement began to spread to Europe generally. In England it is usual to associate this change with a famous prosecution which brought a knowledge of the means of preventing conception to the whole population of Great Britain. Undoubtedly this prosecution was an important factor in the movement, but we cannot doubt that, even if the prosecution had not taken place, the course of social progress must still have pursued the same course. It is noteworthy that it was about this same period, in various European countries, that the tide turned, and the excessively high birth-rate began to fall. [9] Recklessness was giving place to foresight and self-control. Such foresight and self-control are of the essence of civilization. [10]

[18] It cannot be disputed that the transformation by which the propagation of the race became deliberate and voluntary has not been established in social custom without a certain amount of protestation from various sides. No social change, however beneficial, ever is established without such protestation, which may, therefore, be regarded as an inevitable and probably a salutary part of social change. Even some would-be scientific persons, with a display of elaborate statistics, set forth various alarmistic doctrines. If, said these persons, this new movement goes on at the present pace, and if all other conditions remain unchanged, then all sorts of terrible results will ensue. But the alarming conclusion failed to ensue, and for a very sufficient reason. The assumed premises of the argument were unsound. Nothing ever goes on at the same pace, nor do all other conditions ever remain unchanged. [19] The world is a living fire, as Heraclitus long ago put it. All things are in perpetual flux. Life is a process of perpetual movement. It is idle to bid the world stand still, and then to argue about the consequences. The world will not stand still, it is for ever revolving, for ever revealing some new facet that had not been allowed for in the neatly arranged mechanism of the statistician.

It is perhaps unnecessary to dwell on a point which is now at last, one may hope, becoming clear to most intelligent persons. But I may perhaps be allowed to refer in passing to an argument that has been brought forward with the wearisome iteration which always marks the progress of those who are feeble in argument. The good stocks of upper social class are decreasing in fertility, it is said; the bad stocks of lower social class are not decreasing; therefore the bad stocks are tending to replace the good stocks. [11]

[20] It must, however, be pointed out that, even assuming that the facts are as stated; it is a hazardous assumption that the best stocks are necessarily the stocks of high social class. In the main no doubt this is so, but good stocks are nevertheless so widely spread through all classes—such good stocks in the lower social classes being probably the most resistent to adverse conditions—that we are not entitled to regard even a slightly greater net increase of the lower social classes as an unmitigated evil. It may be that, as Mercier has expressed it, "we have to regard a civilized community somewhat in the light of a lamp, which burns at the top and is replenished from the bottom." [12]

The soundness of a stock, and its aptitude for performing efficiently the functions of its own social sphere, cannot, indeed, be accurately measured by any tendency to rise into a higher social sphere. On the whole, from generation to generation, the men of a good stock remain within their own social sphere, whether high or low, adequately performing their functions in that sphere, from generation to generation. They remain, we may say, in that social stratum of which the specific gravity is best suited for their existence. [13]

[21] Yet, undoubtedly, from time to time, there is a slight upward social tendency, due in most cases to the exceptional energy and ability of some individual who succeeds in permanently lifting his family into a slightly higher social stratum. [14] Such a process has always taken place, in the past even more conspicuously than in the present. The Normans who came over to England with William the Conqueror and constituted the proud English nobility were simply a miscellaneous set of adventurers, professional fighting men, of unknown, and no doubt for the most part undistinguished, lineage. William the Conqueror himself was the son of a woman of the people. The Catholic Church founded no families, but its democratic constitution opened a career to men of all classes, and the most brilliant sons of the Church were often of the lowliest social rank. We should not, therefore, say that the bad stocks are replacing the good stocks. There is not the slightest evidence for any such theory. All that we are entitled to say is that when in the upward progression of a community the vanishing point of culture and refinement is attained the bearers of that culture and refinement die off as naturally and inevitably as flowers in autumn, and from their roots spring up new and more vigorous shoots to replace them and to pass in their turn through the same stages, with that perpetual slight novelty in which lies the secret of life, as well as of art. An aristocracy which is merely an aristocracy because it is "old"—whether it is an aristocracy of families, or of races, or of species—has already ceased to be an aristocracy in any sound meaning of the term. We need not regret its disappearance.

[22] Do not, therefore, let us waste our time in crying over the dead roses of the summer that is past. There is something morbid in the perpetual groaning over that inevitable decay which is itself a part of all life. Such a perpetual narrow insistence on one aspect of life is scarcely sane. One suspects that these people are themselves of those stocks over whose fate they grieve. Let us, therefore, mercifully leave them to manure their dead roses in peace. They will soon be forgotten. The world is for ever dying. The world is also for ever bursting with life. The spring song of Sursum corda easily overwhelms the dying autumnal wails of the Dies Iræ.

It would thus appear that, even apart from any deliberate restraint from procreation, as a family attains the highest culture and refinement which civilization can yield, that family tends to die out, at all events in the male line. [15] This is, for instance, the result which Fahlbeck has reached in his valuable demographic study of the Swedish nobility, Der Adel Schwedens. "Apparently," says Fahlbeck, "the greater demands on nervous and intellectual force which the culture and refinement of the upper classes produce are chiefly responsible for this. For these are the two personal [23] factors by which those classes are distinguished from the lower classes: high education and refinement in tastes and habits. The first involves predominant activity of the brain, the last a heightened sensitiveness in all departments of nervous life. In both respects, therefore, there is increased work for the nervous system, and this is compensated in the other vital functions, especially reproduction. Man cannot achieve everything; what he gains on one side he loses on the other." We should do well to hold these wise words in mind when we encounter those sciolists who in the presence of the finest and rarest manifestations of civilizations, can only talk of race "decay." A female salmon, it is estimated, lays about nine hundred eggs for every pound of her own weight, and she may weigh fifty pounds. The progeny of Shakespeare and Goethe, such as it was, disappeared in the very centuries in which these great men themselves died. At the present stage of civilization we are somewhat nearer to Shakespeare and Goethe than to the salmon. We must set our ideals towards a very different direction from that which commends itself to our Salmonidian sciolists. "Increase and multiply" was the legendary injunction uttered on the threshold of an empty world. It is singularly out of place in an age in which the earth and the sea, if not indeed the very air, swarm with countless myriads of undistinguished and indistinguishable human creatures, until the beauty of the world is befouled and the glory of the Heavens bedimmed. To stem back that tide is the task now imposed on our heroism, to elevate and purify and [24] refine the race, to introduce the ideal of quality in place of the ideal of quantity which has run riot so long, with the results we see. "As the Northern Saga tells that Odin must sacrifice his eye to attain the higher wisdom," concludes Fahlbeck, "so Man also, in order to win the treasures of culture and refinement, must give not only his eye but his life, if not his own life that of his posterity." [16] The vulgar aim of reckless racial fertility is no longer within our reach and no longer commends itself as worthy. It is not consonant with the stage of civilization we are at the moment passing through. The higher task is now ours of the regeneration of the race, or, if we wish to express that betterment less questionably, the aggeneration of the race. [17]

[25] The control of reproduction, we see, essential as it is, cannot by itself carry far the betterment of the race, because it involves no direct selection of stocks. Yet we have to remember that though this control, with the limitation of offspring it involves, fails to answer all the demands which Social Hygiene to-day makes of us, it yet achieves much. It may not improve what we abstractly term the "race," but it immensely improves the individuals of which the race is made up. Thus the limitation of the family renders it possible to avoid the production of undesired children. That in itself is an immense social gain, because it tends to abolish excessive infantile mortality. [18] It means that [26] adequate care will be expended upon the children that are produced, and that no children will be produced unless the parents are in a position to provide for them. [19] Even the mere spacing out of the children in a family, the larger interval between child-births, is a very great advantage. The mother is no longer exhausted by perpetually bearing, suckling, and tending babies, while the babies themselves are on the average of better quality. [20] Thus the limitation of offspring, far from being an egoistic measure, as some have foolishly supposed, is imperatively demanded in the altruistic interests of the individuals composing the race.

But the control of reproduction, enormously beneficial as it is even in its most elementary shapes, mainly concerns us here because it furnishes the essential condition for the development of Social Hygiene. The control of reproduction renders possible, and leads on to, a wise selection in reproduction. It is only by such selection of children to be born that we can balance our indiscriminate care in the preservation of all children that are [27] born, a care which otherwise would become an intolerable burden. It is only by such selection that we can work towards the elimination of those stocks which fail to help us in the tasks of our civilization to-day. It is only by such selection that we can hope to fortify the stocks that are fitted for these tasks. More than two centuries ago Steele playfully suggested that "one might wear any passion out of a family by culture, as skilful gardeners blot a colour out of a tulip that hurts its beauty." [21] The progress of civilization, with the self-control it involves, has made it possible to accept this suggestion seriously. [22] The difference is that whereas the flowers of our gardens are bettered only by the control of an arbitrary external will and intelligence, our human flowers may be bettered by an intelligence and will, a finer sense of responsibility, developed within themselves. Thus it is that human culture renders possible Social Hygiene.

Three centuries ago an inspired monk set forth his ideal of an ennobled world in The City of the Sun. Campanella wrote that prophetic book in prison. But his spirit was unfettered, and his conception of human society, though in daring it outruns all the visions [28] we may compare it with, is yet on the lines along which our civilization lies. In the City of the Sun not only was the nobility of work, even mechanical work,—which Plato rejected and More was scarcely conscious of,—for the first time recognized, but the supreme impulse of procreation was regarded as a sacred function, to be exercised in the light of scientific knowledge. It was a public rather than a private duty, because it concerned the interests of the race; only valorous and high-spirited men ought to procreate, and it was held that the father should bear the punishments inflicted on the son for faults due to his failure by defects in generation. [23] Moreover, while unions not for the end of procreation were in the City of the Sun left to the judgment of the individuals alone concerned, it was not so with unions for the end of procreation. These were arranged by the "great Master," a physician, aided by the chief matrons, and the public exercises of the youths and maidens, performed in a state of nakedness, were of assistance in enabling unions to be fittingly made. No eugenist under modern conditions of life proposes that unions should be arranged by a supreme medical public official, though he might possibly regard such an official, if divested of any compulsory powers, a kind of public trustee for the race, as a useful institution. But it is easy to see that the luminous conception of racial betterment which, since Galton rendered it practicable, is now inspiring social progress, was already burning brightly three centuries ago in the brain of this imprisoned [29] Italian monk. Just as Thomas More has been called the father of modern Socialism, so Campanella may be said to be the prophet of modern Eugenics.

By "Eugenics" is meant the scientific study of all the agencies by which the human race may be improved, and the effort to give practical effect to those agencies by conscious and deliberate action in favour of better breeding. Even among savages eugenics may be said to exist, if only in the crude and unscientific practice of destroying feeble, deformed, and abnormal infants at birth. In civilized ages elaborate and more or less scientific attempts are made by breeders of animals to improve the stocks they breed, and their efforts have been crowned with much success. The study of the same methods in their bearing on man proceeded out of the Darwinian school of biology, and is especially associated with the great name of Sir Francis Galton, the cousin of Darwin. Galton first proposed to call this study "Stirpiculture." Under that name it inspired Noyes, the founder of the Oneida Community, with the impulse to carry it into practice with a thoroughness and daring—indeed a similarity of method—which caused Oneida almost to rival the City of the Sun. But the scheme of Noyes, excellent as in some respects it was as an experiment, outran both scientific knowledge and the spirit of the times. It was not countenanced by Galton, who never had any wish to offend general sentiment, but sought to win it over to his side, and before 1880 the Oneida Community was brought to an end in consequence of the antagonism it aroused. [30] Galton continued to develop his conceptions slowly and cautiously, and in 1883, in his Inquiries into Human Faculty, he abandoned the term "Stirpiculture" and devised the term "Eugenics," which is now generally adopted to signify Good Breeding.

Galton was quite well aware that the improved breeding of men is a very different matter from the improved breeding of animals, requiring a different knowledge and a different method, so that the ridicule which has sometimes been ignorantly flung at Eugenics failed to touch him. It would be clearly undesirable to breed men, as animals are bred, for single points at the sacrifice of other points, even if we were in a position to breed men from outside. Human breeding must proceed from impulses that arise, voluntarily, in human brains and wills, and are carried out with a human sense of personal responsibility. Galton believed that the first need was the need of knowledge in these matters. He was not anxious to invoke legislation. [24] The compulsory presentation of certificates of health and good breeding as a preliminary to marriage forms no part of Eugenics, nor is compulsory sterilization a demand made by any reasonable eugenist. Certainly the custom of securing certificates of health and ability is excellent, not only as a preliminary to marriage, but as a general custom. Certainly, also, there are cases in which sterilization is desirable, if [31] voluntarily accepted. [25] But neither certification nor sterilization should be compulsory. They only have their value if they are intelligent and deliberate, springing out of a widened and enlightened sense of personal responsibility to society and to the race.

Eugenics constitutes the link between the Social Reform of the past, painfully struggling to improve the conditions of life, and the Social Hygiene of the future, which is authorized to deal adequately with the conditions of life because it has its hands on the sources of life. On this plane we are able to concentrate our energies on the finer ends of life, because we may reasonably expect to be no longer hampered by the ever-increasing burdens which were placed upon us by the failure to control life; while the more we succeed in our efforts to purify and strengthen life, the more magnificent become the tasks we may reasonably hope to attempt and compass.

A problem which is often and justly cited as one to be settled by Eugenics is that presented by the existence among us of the large class of the feeble-minded. No doubt there are some who would regret the disappearance of the feeble-minded from our midst. The philosophies of the Bergsonian type, which to-day prevail so widely, place intuition above reason, and the "pure fool" has [32] sometimes been enshrined and idolized. But we may remember that Eugenics can never prevent absolutely the occurrence of feeble-minded persons, even in the extreme degree of the imbecile and the idiot. [26] They come within the range of variation, by the same right as genius so comes. We cannot, it may be, prevent the occurrence of such persons, but we can prevent them from being the founders of families tending to resemble themselves. And in so doing, it will be agreed by most people, we shall be effecting a task of immense benefit to society and the race.

Feeble-mindedness is largely handed on by heredity. It was formerly supposed that idiocy and feeble-mindedness are mainly due to environmental conditions, to the drink, depravity, general disease, or lack of nutrition of the parents, and there is no doubt an element of truth in that view. But serious and frequent as are the results of bad environment and acquired disease in the parentage of the feeble-minded, they do not form the fundamental factor in the production of the feeble-minded. [27]

[33] Feeble-mindedness is essentially a germinal variation, belonging to the same large class as all other biological variations, occurring, for the most part, in the first place spontaneously, but strongly tending to be inherited. It thus resembles congenital cataract, deaf-mutism, the susceptibility to tuberculous infection, etc. [28]

Exact investigation is now showing that feeble-mindedness is passed on from parent to child to an enormous extent. Some years ago Ashby, speaking from a large experience in the North of England, estimated that at least seventy-five per cent of feeble-minded children are born with an inherited tendency [34] to mental defect. More precise investigation has since shown that this estimate was under the mark. Tredgold, who in England has most carefully studied the heredity of the feeble-minded, [29] found that in over eighty-two per cent cases there is a bad nervous inheritance. In a large number of cases the bad heredity was associated with alcoholism or consumption in the parentage, but only in a small proportion of cases (about seven per cent) was it probable that alcoholism and consumption alone, and usually combined, had sufficed to produce the defective condition of the children, while environmental conditions only produced mental defect in ten per cent cases. [30] Heredity is the chief cause of feeble-mindedness, and a normal child is never born of two feeble-minded parents. The very thorough investigation of the heredity of the feeble-minded which is now being carried on at the institution for their care at Vineland, New Jersey, shows even more decisive results. By making careful pedigrees of the families to which the inmates at Vineland belong it is seen that in a large proportion of cases feeble-mindedness is handed on from generation to generation, and is traceable through three generations, though it sometimes skips [35] a generation. In one family of three hundred and nineteen persons, one hundred and nineteen were known to be feeble-minded, and only forty-two known to be normal. The families tended to be large, sometimes very large, most of them in many cases dying in infancy or growing up weak-minded. [31]

Not only is feeble-mindedness inherited, and to a much greater degree than has hitherto been suspected even by expert authorities, but the feeble-minded thus tend (though, as Davenport and Weeks have found, not invariably) to have a larger number of children than normal people. That indeed, we might expect, apart altogether from the question of any innate fertility. The feeble-minded have no forethought and no self-restraint. They are not adequately capable of resisting their own impulses or the solicitations of others, and they are unable to understand adequately the motives which guide the conduct of ordinary people. The average number of children of feeble-minded people seems to be frequently about one-third more than in normal families, and is sometimes much greater. Dr. Ettie Sayer, when investigating for the London County Council the family histories of one hundred normal families and one hundred families in which mentally defective children had been found, ascertained that the families of the latter averaged 7.6 children, while in the normal families they averaged 5. Tredgold, specially investigating 150 feeble-minded cases, found that they belonged to families in which 1269 children had been born, that is to say 7.3 per family, [36] or, counting still-born children, 8.4. Nearly two-thirds of these abnormally large families were mentally defective, many showing a tendency to disease, pauperism, criminality, or else to early death. [32]

Here, indeed, we have a counterbalancing influence, for, in the large families of the feeble-minded, there is a correspondingly large infantile mortality. A considerable proportion of Tredgold's group of children were born dead, and a very large number died early. Eichholz, again, found that, in one group of defective families, about sixty per cent of the children died young. That is probably an unusually high proportion, and in Eichholz's cases it seems to have been associated with very unusually large families, but the infant mortality is always very high.

This large early mortality of the offspring of the feeble-minded is, however, very far from settling the question of the disposal of the mentally defective, or we should not find families of them propagated from generation to generation. The large number who die early merely serves, roughly speaking, to reduce the size of the abnormal family to the size of a normal family, and some authorities consider that it scarcely suffices to do this, for we must remember that there [37] is a considerable mortality even in the so-called normal family during early life. Even when there is no abnormal fertility in the defective family we may still have to recognize that, as Davenport and Weeks argue, their defectiveness is intensified by heredity. Moreover, we have to consider the social disorder and the heavy expense which accompany the large infantile mortality. Illegitimacy is frequently the result of feeble-mindedness, since feeble-minded women are peculiarly unable to resist temptation. A great number of such women are continually coming into the workhouses and giving birth to illegitimate children whom they are unable to support, and who often never become capable of supporting themselves, but in their turn tend to produce a new feeble-minded generation, more especially since the men who are attracted to these feeble-minded women are themselves—according to the generally recognized tendency of the abnormal to be attracted to the abnormal—feeble-minded or otherwise mentally defective. There is thus generated not only a heavy financial burden, but also a perpetual danger to society, and, it may well be, a serious depreciation in the quality of the community. [33]

It is not only in themselves that the feeble-minded are a burden on the present generation and a menace [38] to future generations. In large measure they form the reservoir from which the predatory classes are recruited. This is, for instance, the case as regards prostitutes. Feeble-minded girls, of fairly high grade, may often be said to be predestined to prostitution if left to themselves, not because they are vicious, but because they are weak and have little power of resistance. They cannot properly weigh their actions against the results of their actions, and even if they are intelligent enough to do that, they are still too weak to regulate their actions accordingly. Moreover, even when, as often happens among the high-grade feeble-minded, they are quite able and willing to work, after they have lost their "respectability" by having a child, the opportunities for work become more restricted, and they drift into prostitution. It has been found that of nearly 15,000 women who passed through Magdalen Homes in England, over 2500, or more than sixteen per cent—and this is probably an under-estimate—were definitely feeble-minded. The women belonging to this feeble-minded group were known to have added 1000 illegitimate children to the population. In Germany Bonhoeffer found among 190 prostitutes who passed through a prison that 102 were hereditarily degenerate and 53 [39] feeble-minded. This would be an over-estimate as regards average prostitutes, though the offences were no doubt usually trivial, but in any case the association between prostitution and feeble-mindedness is intimate. Everywhere, there can be no doubt, the ranks of prostitution contain a considerable proportion of women who were, at the very outset, in some slight degree feeble-minded, mentally and morally a little blunted through some taint of inheritance. [34]

Criminality, again, is associated with feeble-mindedness in the most intimate way. Not only do criminals tend to belong to large families, but the families that produce feeble-minded offspring also produce criminals, while a certain degree of feeble-mindedness is extremely common among criminals, and the most hopeless and typical, though fortunately rare, kind of criminal, frequently termed a "moral imbecile," is nothing more than a feeble-minded person whose defect is shown not so much in his intelligence as in his feelings and his conduct. Sir H.B. Donkin, who speaks with authority on this matter, estimates that, though it is difficult to obtain the early history of the criminals who enter English prisons, about twenty per cent of them are of primarily defective mental capacity. This would [40] mean that every year some 35,000 feeble-minded persons are sent to English prisons as "criminals." The tendency of criminals to belong to the feeble-minded class is indeed every day becoming more clearly recognized. At Pentonville, putting aside prisoners who were too mentally affected to be fit for prison discipline, eighteen per cent of the adult prisoners and forty per cent of the juvenile offenders were found to be feeble-minded. This includes only those whose defect is fairly obvious, and is not the result of methodical investigation. It is certain that such methodical inquiry would reveal a very large proportion of cases of less obvious mental defect. Thus the systematic examination of a number of delinquent children in an Industrial School showed that in seventy-five per cent cases they were defective as compared to normal children, and that their defectiveness was probably inborn. Even the possession of a considerable degree of cunning is no evidence against mental defect, but may rather be said to be a sign of it, for it shows an intelligence unable to grasp the wider relations of life, and concentrated on the gratification of petty and immediate desires. Thus it happens that the cunning of criminals is frequently associated with almost inconceivable stupidity. [35]

Closely related to the great feeble-minded class, and from time to time falling into crime, are the inmates of workhouses, tramps, and the unemployable. The so-called "able-bodied" inmates of the workhouses are frequently found, on medical examination, to be, [41] in more than fifty per cent cases, mentally defective, equally so whether they are men or women. Tramps, by nature and profession, who overlap the workhouse population, and are estimated to number 20,000 to 30,000 in England and Wales, when the genuine unemployed are eliminated, are everywhere found to be a very degenerate class, among whom the most mischievous kinds of feeble-mindedness and mental perversion prevail. Inebriates, the people who are chronically and helplessly given to drink, largely belong to the same great family, and do not so much become feeble-minded because they drink, but possess the tendency to drink because they have a strain of feeble-mindedness from birth. Branthwaite, the chief English authority on this question, finds that of the inebriates who come to his notice, putting aside altogether the group of actually insane persons, about sixty-three per cent are mentally defective, and scarcely more than a third of the whole number of average mental capacity. It is evident that these people, even if restored to sobriety, would still retain their more or less inborn defectiveness, and would remain equally, unfit to become the parents of the coming generation.

These are the kind of people—tramps, prostitutes, paupers, criminals, inebriates, all tending to be born a little defective—who largely make up the great degenerate families whose histories are from time to time recorded. Such a family was that of the Jukes in America, who, in the course of five generations, by constantly intermarrying with bad stocks, produced 709 known descendants who were on the whole unfit for society, [42] and have been a constant danger and burden to society. [36] A still larger family of the same kind, more recently studied in Germany, consisted of 834 known persons, all descended from a drunken vagabond woman, probably somewhat feeble-minded but physically vigorous. The great majority of these descendants were prostitutes, tramps, paupers, and criminals (some of them murderers), and the direct cost in money to the Prussian State for the keep and care of this woman and her family has been a quarter of a million pounds. Yet another such family is that of the "Zeros." Three centuries ago they were highly respectable people, living in a Swiss valley. But they intermarried with an insane stock, and subsequently married other women of an unbalanced nature. In recent times 310 members of this family have been studied, and it is found that vagrancy, feeble-mindedness, mental troubles, criminality, pauperism, immorality are, as it may be termed, their patrimony. [37]

These classes, with their tendency to weak-mindedness, their inborn laziness, lack of vitality, and unfitness for organized activity, contain the people who complain that they are starving for want of work, though they will never perform any work that is given them. [43] Feeble-mindedness is an absolute dead-weight on the race. It is an evil that is unmitigated. The heavy and complicated social burdens and injuries it inflicts on the present generation are without compensation, while the unquestionable fact that in any degree it is highly inheritable renders it a deteriorating poison to the race; it depreciates the quality of a people. The task of Social Hygiene which lies before us cannot be attempted by this feeble folk. Not only can they not share it, but they impede it; their clumsy hands are for ever becoming entangled in the delicate mechanism of our modern civilization. Their very existence is itself an impediment. Apart altogether from the gross and obvious burden in money and social machinery which the protection they need, and the protection we need against them, casts upon the community, [38] they dilute the spiritual quality of the community to a degree which makes it an inapt medium for any high achievement. It matters little how small a city or a nation is, provided the spirit of its people is great. It is the smallest communities that have most powerfully and most immortally raised the level of civilization, and surrounded the human species (in its own eyes) with a halo of glory which belongs to no other species. Only a handful of people, hemmed in on every side, created the eternal radiance of Athens, and the fame of the little city of Florence may outlive that of the whole [44] kingdom of Italy. To realize this truth in the future of civilization is one of the first tasks of Social Hygiene. [39]

It is here that the ideals of Eugenics may be expected to work fruitfully. To insist upon the power of heredity was once considered to indicate a fatalistic pessimism. It wears a very different aspect nowadays, in the light of Eugenics. "To the eugenist," as Davenport observes, "heredity stands as the one great hope of the human race: its saviour from imbecility, poverty, disease, immorality." [40] We cannot, indeed, desire any compulsory elimination of the unfit or any centrally regulated breeding of the fit. [41] Such notions are idle, and even the mere fact that unbalanced brains may air them abroad tends to impair the legitimate authority of eugenic ideals. The two measures which are now commonly put forward for the attainment of eugenic ends—health certificates as a legal preliminary to marriage and the sterilization [45] of the unfit—are excellent when wisely applied, but they become mischievous, if not ridiculous, in the hands of fanatics who would employ them by force. Domestic animals may be highly bred from outside, compulsorily. Man can only be bred upwards from within through the medium of his intelligence and will, working together under the control of a high sense of responsibility. The infinite cunning of men and women is fully equal to the defeat of any attempt to touch life at this intimate point against the wish of those to whom the creation of life is entrusted. The laws of marriage even among savages have often been complex and strenuous in the highest degree. But it has been easy to bear them, for they have been part of the sacred and inviolable traditions of the race; religion lay behind them. And Galton, who recognized the futility of mere legislation in the elevation of the race, believed that the hope of the future lies in rendering eugenics a part of religion. The only compulsion we can apply in eugenics is the compulsion that comes from within. All those in whom any fine sense of social and racial responsibility is developed will desire, before marriage, to give, and to receive, the fullest information on all the matters that concern ancestral inheritance, while the registration of such information, it is probable, will become ever simpler and more a matter of course. [42] And if he finds [46] that he is not justified in aiding to carry on the race, the eugenist will be content to make himself, in the words of Jesus, "a eunuch for the kingdom of Heaven's sake," whether, under modern conditions, that means abstention in marriage from procreation, or voluntary sterilization by operative methods. [43] For, as Giddings has put it, the goal of the race lies, not in the ruthless exaltation of a super-man, but in the evolution of a super-mankind. Such a goal can only be reached by resolute selection and elimination. [44]

The breeding of men lies largely in the hands of women. That is why the question of Eugenics is to a great extent one with the woman question. The realization of eugenics in our social life can only be attained with the realization of the woman movement in its latest and completest phase as an enlightened culture of motherhood, in all that motherhood involves alike on the physical and the psychic sides. Motherhood on the eugenic basis is a deliberate and selective process, calling for the highest [47] intelligence as well as the finest emotional and moral aptitudes, so that all the best energies of a long evolution of womanhood in the paths of modern culture here find their final outlet. The breeding of children further involves the training of children, and since the expansion of Social Hygiene renders education a far larger and more delicate task than it has ever been before, the responsibilities laid upon women by the evolution of civilization become correspondingly great.

For the men who have been thus born and taught the tasks imposed by Social Hygiene are in no degree lighter. They demand all the best qualities of a selectively bred race from which the mentally and physically weak have, so far as possible, been bred out. The substitution of law for war alike in the relations of class to class, and of nation to nation, and the organization of international methods of social intercourse between peoples of different tongues and unlike traditions, are but two typical examples of the tasks, difficult but imperative, which Social Hygiene presents and the course of modern civilization renders insistent. Again, the adequate adjustment of the claims of the individual and the claims of the community, each carried to its farthest point, can but prove an exquisite test of the quality of any well-bred and well-trained race. It is exactly in that balancing of apparent opposites, the necessity of pushing to extremes both opposites, and the consequent need of cultivating that quality of temperance the Greeks estimated so highly, that the supreme difficulties of modern civilization lie. We see these difficulties again [48] in relation to the extension of law. It is desirable and inevitable that the sphere of law should be extended, and that the disputes which are still decided by brutal and unreasoning force should be decided by humane and reasoning force, that is to say, by law. But, side by side with this extension of law, it is necessary to wage a constant war with the law-making tendency, to cherish an undying resolve to maintain unsullied those sacred and intimate impulses, all the finest activities of the moral sphere, which the generalizing hand of law can only injure and stain.

It is these fascinating and impassioning problems, every day becoming of more urgent practical importance, which it is the task of Social Hygiene to solve, having first created the men and women who are fit to solve them. It is such problems as these that we are to-day called upon to illuminate, as far as we may—it may not yet be very far—by the dry light of science.

[1] Muralt, Lettres sur les Anglais. Lettre V.

[2] In the reign of Richard II (1388) an Act was passed for "the punishment of those which cause corruption near a city or great town to corrupt the air." A century later (in Henry VII's time) an Act was passed to prevent butchers killing beasts in walled towns, the preamble to this Act declaring that no noble town in Christendom should contain slaughter-houses lest sickness be thus engendered. In Charles II's time, after the great fire of London, the law provided for the better paving and cleansing of the streets and sewers. It was, however, in Italy, as Weyl points out (Geschichte der Sozialen Hygiene im Mittelalter, at a meeting of the Gesellschaft für Soziale Medizin, May 25, 1905), that the modern movement of organized sanitation began. In the thirteenth century the great Italian cities (like Florence and Pistoja) possessed Codici Sanitarii; but they were not carried out, and when the Black Death reached Florence in 1348, it found the city altogether unprepared. It was Venice which, in the same year, first initiated vigorous State sanitation. Disinfection was first ordained by Gian Visconti, in Milan, in 1399. The first quarantine station of which we hear was established in Venice in 1403.

[3] The rate of infant mortality in England and Wales has decreased from 149 per 1000 births in 1871-80 to 127 per 1000 births in 1910. In reference to this remarkable fall which has taken place pari passu with the fall in the birth-rate, Newsholme, the medical officer to the Local Government Board, writes: "There can be no reasonable doubt that much of the reduction has been caused by that 'concentration' on the mother and the child which has been a striking feature of the last few years. Had the experience of 1896-1900 held good there would have been 45,120 more deaths of infants in 1910 than actually occurred." In some parts of the country, however, where the women go out to work in factories (as in Lancashire and parts of Staffordshire) the infantile mortality remains very high.

[4] Mrs. Bertrand Russell, "The Ghent School for Mothers," Nineteenth Century, December, 1906.

[5] It is scarcely necessary to say that other classifications of social reform on its more hygienic side may be put forward. Thus W.H. Allen, looking more narrowly at the sanitary side of the matter, but without confining his consideration to the nineteenth century, finds that there are always seven stages: (1) that of racial tutelage, when sanitation becomes conscious and receives the sanction of law; (2) the introduction of sanitary comfort, well-paved streets, public sewers, extensive waterworks; (3) the period of commercial sanitation, when the mercantile classes insist upon such measures as quarantine and street-cleaning to check the immense ravages of epidemics; (4) the introduction of legislation against nuisances and the tendency to extend the definition of nuisance, which for Bracton, in the fourteenth century, meant an obstruction, and for Blackstone, in the eighteenth, included things otherwise obnoxious, such as offensive trades and foul watercourses; (5) the stage of precaution against the dangers incidental to the slums that are fostered by modern conditions of industry; (6) the stage of philanthropy, erecting hospitals, model tenements, schools, etc.; (7) the stage of socialistic sanitation, when the community as a whole actively seeks its own sanitary welfare, and devotes public funds to this end.
(W.H. Allen, "Sanitation and Social Progress," American Journal of Sociology, March, 1903.)

[6] Dr. F. Bushee has pointed out ("Science and Social Progress," Popular Science Monthly, September, 1911) that there is a kind of related progression between science and practice in this matter: "The natural sciences developed first, because man was first interested in the conquest of nature, and the simpler physical laws could be grasped at an early period. This period brought an increase of wealth, but it was wasteful of human life. The desire to save life led the way to the study of biology. Knowledge of the physical environment and of life, however, did not prevent social disease from flourishing, and did not greatly improve the social condition of a large part of society. To overcome these defects the social sciences within recent years have been cultivated with great seriousness. Interest in the social sciences has had to wait for the enlarged sympathies and the sense of solidarity which has appeared with the growing interdependence of dense populations, and these conditions have been dependent upon the advance of the other sciences. With the cultivation of the social sciences, the chain of knowledge will be complete, at least so far as the needs which have already appeared are concerned. For each group of sciences will solve one or more of the great problems which man has encountered in the process of development. The physical sciences will solve the problems of environment, the biological sciences the problems of life, and the social sciences the problems of society."

[7] This exclusive pre-occupation with the improvement of the environment has been termed Euthenics by Mrs. Ellen H. Richards, who has written a book with this title, advocating euthenics in opposition to eugenics.

[8] Not one of the four stages of social reform already summarized can be neglected. On the contrary, they all need to be still further consolidated in a completely national organization of health. I may perhaps refer to the little book on The Nationalization of Health, in which, many years ago, I foreshadowed this movement, as well as to the recent work of Professor Benjamin Moore on the same subject. The gigantic efforts of Germany, and later of England, to establish National Insurance systems, bear noble witness to the ardour with which these two countries, at all events, are moving towards the desired goal.

[9] In some countries, however, the decline, although traceable about 1876, only began to be pronounced somewhat later, in Austria in 1883, in the German Empire, Hungary and Italy in 1885, and in Prussia in 1886. Most of these countries, though late in following the modern movement of civilization initiated by France, are rapidly making their way in the same direction. Thus the birth-rate in Berlin is already as low as that of Paris ten years ago, although the French decline began at a very early period. In Norway, again, the decline was not marked until 1900, but the birth-rate has nevertheless already fallen as low as that of Sweden, where the fall began very much earlier.

[10] "Foresight and self-control is, and always must be, the ground and medium of all Moral Socialism," says Bosanquet (The Civilization of Christendom, p. 336), using the term "Socialism" in the wide and not in the economic sense. We see the same civilized growth of foresight and self-control in the decrease of drunkenness. Thus in England the number of convictions for drunkenness, while varying greatly in different parts of the country, is decreasing for the whole country at the rapid rate of 5000 to 8000 a year, notwithstanding the constant growth of the population. It is incorrect to suppose that this decrease has any connection with decreased opportunities for drinking; thus in London County and in Cardiff the proportion of premises licensed for drinking is the same, yet while the convictions for drunkenness in 1910 were in London 83 per 10,000 inhabitants, in Cardiff they were under 6 per 10,000.

[11] Thus Heron finds that in London during the past fifty years there has been 100 per cent increase in the intensity of the relation between low social birth and high birth-rate, and that the high birth-rate of the lower social classes is not fully compensated by their high death-rate (D. Heron, "On the Relation of Fertility in Man to Social Status," Drapers' Company Research Memoirs, No. I, 1906). As, however, Newsholme and Stevenson point out (Journal Royal Statistical Society, April, 1906, p. 74), the net addition to the population made by the best social classes is at so very slightly lower a rate than that made by the poorest class that, even if we consent to let the question rest on this ground, there is still no urgent need for the wailings of Cassandra.

[12] Sociological Papers of the Sociological Society, 1904, p. 35.

[13] There is a certain profit in studying one's own ancestry. It has been somewhat astonishing to me to find how very slight are the social oscillations traceable in a middle-class family and the families it intermarries with through several centuries. A professional family tends to form a caste marrying within that caste. An ambitious member of the family may marry a baronet's daughter, and another, less pretentious, a village tradesman's daughter; but the general level is maintained without rising or falling. Occasionally, it happens that the ambitious and energetic son of a prosperous master-craftsman becomes a professional man, marries into the professional caste, and founds a professional family; such a family seems to flourish for some three generations, and then suddenly fails and dies out in the male line, while the vigour of the female line is not impaired.

[14] The new social adjustment of a family, it is probable, is always difficult, and if the change is sudden or extreme, the new environment may rapidly prove fatal to the family. Lorenz (Lehrbuch der Genealogie, p. 135) has shown that when a peasant family reaches an upper social class it dies out in a few generations.

[15] See, on this point, Reibmayr, Entwicklungsgeschichte des Talentes und Genies, Vol. I, ch. vii.

[16] Fahlbeck, op. cit., p. 168.

[17] Regeneration implies that there has been degeneration, and it cannot be positively affirmed that such degeneration has, on the whole, occurred in such a manner as to affect the race. Reibmayr (Die Entwicklungsgeschichte des Talentes und Genies, Bd. I, p. 400) regards degeneration as a process setting in with urbanization and the tendency to diminished population; if so, it is but another name for civilization, and can only be condemned by condemning civilization, whether or not physical deterioration occurs. The Inter-departmental Commission on Physical Deterioration held in 1904, in London, concluded that there are no sufficient statistical or other data to prove that the physique of the people in the present, as compared with the past, has undergone any change; and this conclusion was confirmed by the Director-General of the Army Medical Service. There is certainly good reason to believe that urban populations (and especially industrial workers in factories) are inferior in height and weight and general development to rural populations, and less fit for military or similar service. The stunted development of factory workers in the East End of London was noted nearly a century ago, and German military experience distinctly shows the inferiority of the town-dweller to the country-dweller. (See e.g. Weyl, Handbuch der Hygiene, Supplement, Bd. IV, pp. 746 et seq.; Politisch-Anthropologische Revue, 1905, pp. 145 et seq.) The proportion of German youths fit for military service slowly decreases every year; in 1909 it was 53.6 per cent, in 1910 only 53 per cent; of those born in the country and engaged in agricultural or forest work 58.2 were found fit; of those born in the country and engaged in other industries, 55.1 per cent; of those born in towns, but engaged in agricultural or forest work, 56.2 per cent; of those born in towns and engaged in other industries 47.9 per cent. It is fairly clear that this deterioration under urban and industrial conditions cannot properly be termed a racial degeneration. It is, moreover, greatly improved even by a few months' training, and there is an immense difference between the undeveloped, feeble, half-starved recruit from the slums and the robust, broad-shouldered veteran when he leaves the army. The term "aggeneration"—not beyond criticism, though it is free from the objection to "regeneration"—was proposed by Prof. Christian von Ehrenfels ("Die Aufsteigende Entwicklung des Menschen," Politisch-Anthropologische Revue, April, 1903, p. 50).

[18] It is unnecessary to touch here on the question of infant mortality, which has already been referred to, and will again come in for consideration in a later chapter. It need only be said that a high birth-rate is inextricably combined with a high death-rate. The European countries with the highest birth-rates are, in descending order: Russia, Bulgaria, Roumania, Servia, and Hungary. The European countries with the highest death-rates are, in descending order, almost the same: Russia, Hungary, Spain, Bulgaria, and Servia, It is the same outside Europe. Thus Chile, with a birth-rate which comes next after Roumania, has a death-rate that is only second to Russia.

[19] Nyström (La Vie Sexuelle, 1910, p. 248) believes that "the time is coming when it will be considered the duty of municipal authorities, if they have found by experience or have reason to suspect that children will be thrown upon the parish, to instruct parents in methods of preventive conception."

[20] The directly unfavourable influences on the child of too short an interval between its birth and that of the previous child has been shown, for instance, by Dr. R.J. Ewart ("The Influence of Parental Age on Offspring," Eugenics Review, October, 1911). He has found at Middlesbrough that children born at an interval of less than two years after the birth of the previous child still show at the age of six a notable deficiency in height, weight, and intelligence, when compared with children born after a longer interval, or with first-born children.

[21] Tatler, Vol. II, No. 175, 1709.

[22] "Write Man for Primula, and the stage of the world for that of the greenhouse," says Professor Bateson (Biological Fact and the Structure of Society, 1912, p. 9), "and I believe that with a few generations of experimental breeding we should acquire the power similarly to determine how the varieties of men should be represented in the generations that succeed." But Bateson proceeds to point out that our knowledge is still very inadequate, and he is opposed to eugenics by Act of Parliament.

[23] E. Solmi, La Città del Sole di Campanella, 1904, p. xxxiv.

[24] Only a year before his death Galton wrote (Preface to Essays in Eugenics): "The power by which Eugenic reform must chiefly be effected is that of Popular Opinion, which is amply strong enough for that purpose whenever it shall be roused."

[25] It may perhaps be necessary to remark that by sterilization is here meant, not castration, but, in the male vasectomy (and a corresponding operation in the female), a simple and harmless operation which involves no real mutilation and no loss of power beyond that of procreation. See on this and related points, Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society," chap. xii.

[26] The term "feeble-minded" may be used generally to cover all degrees of mental weakness. In speaking a little more precisely, however, we have to recognize three main degrees of congenital mental weakness: feeble-mindedness, in which with care and supervision it is possible to work and earn a livelihood; imbecility, in which the subject is barely able to look after himself, and sometimes only has enough intelligence to be mischievous (the moral imbecile); and idiocy, the lowest depth of all, in which the subject has no intelligence and no ability to look after himself. More elaborate classifications are sometimes proposed. The method of Binet and Simon renders possible a fairly exact measurement of feeble-mindedness.

[27] Mott (Archives of Neurology and Psychiatry, Vol. V, 1911) accepts the view that in some cases feeble-mindedness is simply a form of congenital syphilis, but he points out that feeble-mindedness abounds in many rural districts where syphilis, as well as alcoholism, is very rare, and concludes by emphasizing the influence of heredity; the prevalence of feeble-mindedness in these rural districts is thus due to the fact that the mentally and physically fit have emigrated to the great industrial centres, leaving the unfit to procreate the race.

[28] "Whether germinal variations," remarked Dr. R.J. Ryle at a Conference on Feeble-mindedness (British Medical Journal, October 3, 1911), "be expressed by cleft palate, cataract, or cerebral deficiency of the pyramidal cells in the brain cortex, they may be produced, and, when once produced, they are reproduced as readily as the perfected structure of the face or eye or brain, if the gametes which contain these potentialities unite to form the ovum. But Nature is not only the producer. Given a fair field and no favour, natural selection would leave no problem of the unfit to perplex the mind of man who looks before and after. This we know cannot be, and we know, too, that we have no longer the excuse of ignorance to cover the neglect of the new duties which belong to the present epoch of civilization. We know now that we have to deal with a growing group in our community who demand permanent care and control as well for their own sakes as for the welfare of the community. All are now agreed on the general principle of segregation, but it is true that something more than this should be forthcoming. The difficulties of theory are clearing up as our wider view obtains a firmer grasp of our material, but the difficulties of practice are still before us." These remarks correspond with the general results reached by the Royal Commission on the Feeble-minded, which issued its voluminous facts and conclusions in 1908.

[29] See, for instance, A.F. Tredgold, Mental Deficiency, 1908.

[30] The investigation of Bezzola showing that the maxima in the conception of idiots occur at carnival time, and especially at the vintage, has been held (especially by Forel) to indicate that alcoholism of the parents at conception causes idiocy in the offspring. It may be so. But it may also be that the licence of these periods enables the defective members of the community to secure an amount of sexual activity which they would be debarred from under normal conditions. In that case the alcoholism would merely liberate, and not create, the idiocy-producing mechanism.

[31] Godden, Eugenics Review, April, 1911.

[32] Feeble-mindedness and the other allied variations are not always exactly repeated in inheritance. They may be transmuted in passing from father to son, an epileptic father, for instance, having a feeble-minded child. These relationships of feeble-mindedness have been clearly brought out in an important investigation by Davenport and Weeks (Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, November, 1911), who have for the first time succeeded in obtaining a large number of really thorough and precise pedigrees of such cases.

[33] It may be as well to point out once more that the possibility of such limited depreciation must not be construed into the statement that there has been any general "degeneration of the race." It maybe added that the notion that the golden age lay in the past, and that our own age is degenerate is not confined to a few biometricians of to-day; it has commended itself to uncritical minds in all ages, even the greatest, as far back as we can go. Montesquieu referred to this common notion (and attempted to explain it) in his Pensées Diverses: "Men have such a bad opinion of themselves," he adds, "that they have believed not only that their minds and souls were degenerate, but even their bodies, and that they were not so tall as the men of previous ages." It is thus quite logically that we arrive at the belief that when mankind first appeared, "there were giants on the earth in those days," and that Adam lived to the age of nine hundred and thirty. Evidently no syndromes of degenerescence there!

[34] The Superintendent of a large State School for delinquent girls in America (as quoted in the Chicago Vice Commission's Report on The Social Evil in Chicago, p. 229) says: "The girls who come to us possessed of normal brain power, or not infected with venereal disease, we look upon as a prize indeed, and we seldom fail to make a woman worth while of a really normal girl, whatever her environment has been. But we have failed in numberless cases where the environment has been all right, but the girl was born wrong."

[35] See e.g. Havelock Ellis, The Criminal, 4th ed., 1910, chap IV.

[36] R.L. Dugdale, The Jukes, 4th ed., 1910. It is noteworthy that Dugdale, who wrote nearly forty years ago, was concerned to prove the influence of bad environment rather than of bad heredity. At that time the significance of heredity was scarcely yet conceived. It remains true, however, that bad heredity and bad environment constantly work together for evil.

[37] Jörger, Archiv für Rassen-und Gesellschafts-Biologie, 1905, p. 294. Criminal families are also recorded by Aubry, La Contagion du Meutre.

[38] Even during school life this burden is serious. Mr. Bodey, Inspector of Schools, states that the defective school child costs three times as much as the ordinary school child.

[39] I have set forth these considerations more fully in a popular form in The Problem of the Regeneration of the Race, the first of a series of "New Tracts for the Times," issued under the auspices of the National Council of Public Morals.

[40] C.B. Davenport, "Euthenics and Eugenics," Popular Science Monthly, January, 1911.

[41] The use of the terms "fit" and "unfit" in a eugenic sense has been criticized. It is said, for instance, that in a bad environment it may be precisely the defective classes who are most "fit" to survive. It is quite true that these terms are not well adapted to resist hyper-critical attack. The persistence with which they are employed seems, however, to indicate a certain "survival of the fittest." The terms "worthy" and "unworthy," which some would prefer to substitute, are unsatisfactory, for they have moral associations which are misleading. Galton spoke of "civic worth" in this connection, and very occasionally used the term "worthy" (with inverted commas), but he was careful to point out (Essays in Eugenics, p. 35) that in eugenics "we must leave morals as far as possible out of the discussion, not entangling ourselves with the almost hopeless difficulties they raise as to whether a character as a whole is good or bad."

[42] Dr. Toulouse has devoted a whole volume to the results of a minute personal examination of Zola, the novelist, and another to Poincaré, the mathematician. Such minute investigations are at present confined to men of genius, but some day, perhaps, we shall consider that from the eugenic standpoint all men are men of genius.

[43] Sterilization for social ends was introduced in Switzerland a few years ago, in order to enable some persons with impaired self-control to be set at liberty and resume work without the risk of adding to the population defective members who would probably be a burden on the community. It was performed with the consent of the subjects (in some cases at their urgent request) and their relations, so requiring no special legislation, and the results are said to be satisfactory. In some American States sterilization for some classes of defective persons has been established by statute, but it is difficult to obtain reliable information as regards the working and the results of such legislation.

[44] When Professor Giddings speaks of the "goal of mankind," it must, of course, be remembered, he is using a bold metaphor in order to make his meaning clearer. Strictly speaking, mankind has no "goals," nor are there any ends in Nature which are not means to further ends.




The Origin of the Woman Movement—Mary Wollstonecraft—George Sand—Robert Owen—William Thompson—John Stuart Mill—The Modern Growth of Social Cohesion—The Growth of Industrialism—Its Influence in Woman's Sphere of Work—The Education of Women—Co-education—The Woman Question and Sexual Selection—Significance of Economic Independence—The State Regulation of Marriage—The Future of Marriage—Wilhelm von Humboldt—Social Equality of Women—The Reproduction of the Race as a Function of Society—Women and the Future of Civilization.


It was in the eighteenth century, the seed-time of modern ideas, that our great-grandfathers became conscious of a discordant break in the traditional conceptions of women's status. The vague cries of Justice, Freedom, Equality, which were then hurled [50] about the world, were here and there energetically applied to women—notably in France by Condorcet—and a new movement began to grow self-conscious and coherent. Mary Wollstonecraft, after Aphra Behn the first really noteworthy Englishwoman of letters, gave voice to this movement in England.

The famous and little-read Vindication of the Rights of Women, careless and fragmentary as it is, and by no means so startling to us as to her contemporaries, shows Mary Wollstonecraft as a woman of genuine insight, who saw the questions of woman's social condition in their essential bearings. Her intuitions need little modification, even though a century of progress has intervened. The modern advocates of woman's suffrage have little to add to her brief statement. She is far, indeed, from the monstrous notion of Miss Cobbe, that woman's suffrage is the "crown and completion" of all progress so far as women's movements are concerned. She looks upon it rather as one of the reasonable conditions of progress. It is pleasant to turn from the eccentric energy of so many of the advocates of women's causes to-day, all engaged in crying up their own particular nostrum, to the genial many-sided wisdom of Mary Wollstonecraft, touching all subjects with equal frankness and delicacy.

The most brilliant and successful exponent of the new revolutionary ideas—making Corinne and her prototype seem dim and ineffectual—was undoubtedly George Sand. The badly-dressed woman who earned her living by scribbling novels, and said to M. du Camp, [51] as she sat before him in silence rolling her cigarette, "Je ne dis rien parceque je suis bête," has exercised a profound influence throughout Europe, an influence which, in the Sclavonic countries especially, has helped to give impetus to the resolution we are now considering. And this not so much from any definite doctrines that underlie her work—for George Sand's views on such matters varied as much as her political views—as from her whole temper and attitude. Her large and rich nature, as sometimes happens in genius of a high order, was twofold; on the one hand, she possessed a solid serenity, a quiet sense of power, the qualities of a bonne bourgeoise, which found expression in her imperturbable calm, her gentle look and low voice. And with this was associated a massive, almost Rabelaisian temperament (one may catch glimpses of it in her correspondence), a sane exuberant earthliness which delighted in every manifestation of the actual world. On the other hand, she bore within her a volcanic element of revolt, an immense disgust of law and custom. Throughout her life George Sand developed her strong and splendid individuality, not perhaps as harmoniously, but as courageously and as sincerely as even Goethe.

Robert Owen, who, like Saint-Simon in France, gave so extraordinary an impulse to all efforts at social reorganization, and who planted the seed of many modern movements, could not fail to extend his influence to the region of sex. A disciple of his, William Thompson, who still holds a distinguished position in the history of the economic doctrines of Socialism, [52] wrote, under the inspiration of a woman (a Mrs. Wheeler), and published in 1825, an Appeal of One Half of the Human Race, Women, against the Pretensions of the Other Half, Men, to retain them in Political, and thence in Civil and Domestic Slavery. It is a thorough and logical, almost eloquent, demand for the absolute social equality of the sexes. [46]

Forty years later, Mill, also inspired by a woman, published his Subjection of Women. However partial and inadequate it may seem to us, this was at that day a notable book. Mill's clear vision and feminine sensibilities gave freshness to his observations regarding the condition and capacity of women, while his reputation imparted gravity and resonance to his utterances. Since then the signs in literature of the breaking up of [53] the status of women have become far too numerous to be chronicled even in a volume. It is enough to have mentioned here some typical initiatory names. Now, the movement may be seen at work anywhere, from Norway to Italy, from Russia to California. The status which women are now entering places them, not, as in the old communism, in large measure practically above men, nor, as in the subsequent period, both practically and theoretically in subordination to men. It places them side by side, with like rights and like duties in relation to society.


Condorcet, Mary Wollstonecraft, George Sand, Owen, Mill—these were feathers on the stream. They indicated the forces that had their source at the centre of social life. That historical movement which produced mother-law probably owed its rise, as well as its fall, to demands of subsistence and property—that is, to economic causes. The decay of the subsequent family system, in which the whole power is concentrated in the male head, is being produced by similar causes. The early communism, and the modes of action and sentiment which it had produced, still practically persisted long after the new system had arisen. In the patriarchal family the woman still had a recognized sphere of work and a recognized right to subsistence. It was not, indeed, until the sudden development of the industrial system, and the purely individualistic economics with which it was associated, at the beginning of the nineteenth [54] century, that women in England were forced to realize that their household industries were gone, and that they must join in that game of competition in which the field and the rules had alike been chosen with reference to men alone. The commercial and industrial system, and the general diffusion of education that has accompanied it, and which also has its roots in economic causes, has been the chief motive force in revolutionizing the status of women; and the epoch of unrestricted competition on masculine lines has been a necessary period of transition. [47]

At the present time two great tendencies are visible in our social organization. On the one hand, the threads of social life are growing closer, and organization, as regards the simple and common means of subsistence, is increasing. On the other hand, as regards the things that most closely concern the individual person, the sphere of freedom is being perpetually enlarged. Instead of every man digging a well for his own use and at his own free pleasure, perhaps in a graveyard or a cesspool, we consent to the distribution of water by a central executive. We have carried social methods so far that, [55] instead of producing our own bread and butter, we prefer to go to a common bakery and dairy. The same centralizing methods are extending to all those things of which all have equal need. On the other hand, we exercise a very considerable freedom of individual thought. We claim a larger and larger freedom of individual speech and criticism. We worship any god we choose, after any fashion we choose. The same individual freedom is beginning to invade the sexual relationships. It is extending to all those things in regard to which civilized men have become so variously differentiated that they have no equal common needs. These two tendencies, so far from being antagonistic, cannot even be carried out under modern conditions of life except together. It is only by social co-operation in regard to what is commonly called the physical side of life that it becomes possible for the individual to develop his own peculiar nature. The society of the future is a reasonable anarchy founded on a broad basis of Collectivism.

It is not our object here to point out how widely these tendencies affect men, but it is worth while to indicate some of their bearings on the condition of women. While genuine productive industries have been taken out of the hands of women who work under the old conditions, an increasingly burdensome weight of unnecessary duties has been laid upon them. Under the old communistic system, when a large number of families lived together in one great house, the women combined to perform their household duties, the cooking [56] being done at a common fire. They had grown up together from childhood, and combination could be effected without friction. It is the result of the later system that the woman has to perform all the necessary household duties in the most wasteful manner, with least division of labour; while she has, in addition, to perform a great amount of unnecessary work, in obedience to traditional or conventional habits, which make it impossible even to perform the simple act of dusting the rooms of a small house in less than perhaps an hour and a half. She has probably also to accomplish, if she happens to belong to the middle or upper classes, an idle round of so-called "social duties." She tries to escape, when she can afford it, by adopting the apparently simple expedient of paying other people to perform these necessary and unnecessary household duties, but this expedient fails; the "social duties" increase in the same ratio as the servants increase and the task of overseeing these latter itself proves formidable. It is quite impossible for any person under these conditions to lead a reasonable and wholesome human life. A healthy life is more difficult to attain for the woman of the ordinary household than for the worker in a mine, for he at least, when the work of his set is over, has two-thirds of the twenty-four hours to himself. The woman is bound by a thousand Lilliputian threads from which there seems no escape. She often makes frantic efforts to escape, but the combined strength of the threads generally proves too strong. There can be no doubt that the present household [57] system is doomed; the higher standard of intelligence demanded from women, the growth of interest in the problems of domestic economy, the movement for association of labour, the revolt against the survivals of barbaric complication in living—all these, which are symptoms of a great economic revolution, indicate, the approach of a new period.

The education of women is an essential part of the great movement we are considering. Women will shortly be voters, and women, at all events in England, are in a majority. We have to educate our mistresses as we once had to educate our masters. And the word "education" is here used by no means in the narrow sense. A woman may be acquainted with Greek and the higher mathematics, and be as uneducated in the wider relationships of life as a man in the like case. How much women suffer from this lack of education may be seen to-day even among those who are counted as leaders.

There are extravagances in every period of transition. Undoubtedly a potent factor in bringing about a saner attitude will be the education of boys and girls together. The lack of early fellowship fosters an unnatural divergence of aims and ideals, and a consequent lack of sympathy. It makes possible those abundant foolish generalizations by men concerning "women," by women concerning "men." St. Augustine, at an early period of his ardent career, conceived with certain friends the notion of forming a community having goods in common; the scheme was almost effected when it was discovered that "those little wives, which some [48] already had, and others would shortly have," objected, and so it fell through. Perhaps the mulierculæ were right. It is simply a rather remote instance of a fundamental divergence amply illustrated before our eyes. If men and women are to understand each other, to enter into each other's natures with mutual sympathy, and to become capable of genuine comradeship, the foundation must be laid in youth. Another wholesome reform, promoted by co-education, is the physical education of women. In the case of boys special attention has generally been given to physical education, and the lack of it is one among several artificial causes of that chronic ill-health which so often handicaps women. Women must have the same education as men, Miss Faithfull shrewdly observes, because that is sure to be the best. The present education of boys cannot, however, be counted a model, and the gradual introduction of co-education will produce many wholesome reforms. If the intimate association of the sexes destroys what remnant may linger of the unhealthy ideal of chivalry—according to which a woman was treated as a cross between an angel and an idiot—that is matter for rejoicing. Wherever men and women stand in each other's presence the sexual instinct will always ensure an adequate ideal halo.


The chief question that we have to ask when we consider the changing status of women is: How will it affect the reproduction of the race? Hunger and [59] love are the two great motor impulses, the ultimate source, probably, of all other impulses. Hunger—that is to say, what we call "economic causes"—has, because it is the more widespread and constant, though not necessarily the more imperious instinct, produced nearly all the great zoological revolutions, including, as we have seen, the rise and fall of that phase of human evolution dominated by mother-law. Yet love has, in the form of sexual selection, even before we reach the vertebrates, moulded races to the ideal of the female; and reproduction is always the chief end of nutrition which hunger waits on, the supreme aim of life everywhere.

If we place on the one side man, as we know him during the historical period, and on the other, nearly every highly organized member of the animal family, there appears, speaking roughly and generally, a distinct difference in the relation which these two motor impulses bear to each other. Among animals generally, economics are comparatively so simple that it is possible to satisfy the nutritive instinct without putting any hard pressure on the spontaneous play of the reproductive instinct. And nearly everywhere it is the female who has the chief voice in the establishment of sexual relationships. The males compete for the favour of the female by the fascination of their odour, or brilliant colour, or song, or grace, or strength, as revealed in what are usually mock-combats. The female is, in these respects, comparatively unaccomplished and comparatively passive. With her rests the final decision, and [60] only after long hesitation, influenced, it seems, by a vaguely felt ideal resulting from her contemplation of the rivals, she calls the male of her choice. [48] A dim instinct seems to warn her of the pains and cares of maternity, so that only the largest promises of pleasure can induce her to undertake the function of reproduction. In civilized man, on the other hand, as we know him, the situation is to some extent reversed; it is the woman who, by the display of her attractions, competes for the favour of the man. The final invitation does not come, as among animals generally, from the female; the decision rests with the man. It would be a mistake to suppose that this change reveals the evolution of a superior method; although it has developed the beauty of women, it has clearly had its origin in economic causes. The demands of nutrition have overridden those of reproduction; sexual selection has, to a large extent, given place to natural selection, a process clearly not for the advantage of the race. The changing status of women, in bestowing economic independence, will certainly tend to restore to sexual selection its due weight in human development.

In so doing it will certainly tend also to destroy prostitution, which is simply one of the forms in which the merging of sexual selection in natural selection has shown itself. Wherever sexual selection has free play, unhampered by economic considerations, prostitution [61] is impossible. The dominant type of marriage is, like prostitution, founded on economic considerations; the woman often marries chiefly to earn her living; here, too, we may certainly expect profound modifications. We have long sought to preserve our social balance by placing an unreasonable licence in the one scale, an equally unreasonable abstinence in the other; the economic independence of women, tending to render both extremes unnecessary, can alone place the sexual relationships on a sound and free basis.

The State regulation of marriage has undoubtedly played a large and important part in the evolution of society. At the present time the advantages of this artificial control no longer appear so obvious (even when the evidence of the law courts is put aside); they will vanish altogether when women have attained complete economic independence. With the disappearance of the artificial barriers in the way of friendship between the sexes and of the economic motive to sexual relationships—perhaps the two chief forces which now tend to produce promiscuous sexual intercourse, whether dignified or not with the name of marriage—men and women will be free to engage, unhampered, in the search, so complicated in a highly civilized condition of society, for a fitting mate. [49]

[62] It is probable that this inevitable change will be brought about partly by the voluntary action of individuals, and in greater measure by the gradual and awkward method of shifting and ever freer divorce laws. The slow disintegration of State-regulated marriage from the latter cause may be observed now throughout the United States, where there is, on the whole, a developing tendency to frequency and facility of divorce. It is [63] clear, however, that on this line marriage will not cease to be a concern to the State, and it may be as well to point out at once the important distinction between State-regulated and State-registered marriage. Sexual relationships, so long as they do not result in the production of children, are matters in which the community has, as a community, little or no concern, but as soon as a sexual relationship results in the pregnancy of the woman the community is at once interested. At this point it is clearly the duty of the State to register the relationship. [50]

It is necessary to remember that the kind of equality of the sexes towards which this change of status is leading, is social equality—that is, equality of freedom. It is not an intellectual equality, still less is it likeness. Men and women can only be alike mentally when they are alike in physical configuration and physiological function. Even complete economic equality is not attainable. Among animals which live in herds under the guidance of a leader, this leader is nearly always [64] a male; there are few exceptions. [51] In woman, the long period of pregnancy and lactation, and the prolonged helplessness of her child, render her for a considerable period of her life economically dependent. On whom shall she be dependent? This is a question of considerable moment. According to the old conception of the family, all the members were slaves producing for the benefit of the owner, and it was natural that the wife should be supported by the husband when she is producing slaves for his service. But this conception is, as we have seen, no longer possible. It is clearly unfair also to compel the mother to depend on her own previous exertions. The reproduction of the race is a social function, and we are compelled to conclude that it is the duty of the community, as a community, to provide for the child-bearer when in the exercise of her social function she is unable to provide for herself. The woman engaged in producing a new member, who may be a source of incalculable profit or danger to the whole community, cannot fail to be a source of the liveliest solicitude to everyone in the community, and it was a sane and beautiful instinct that found expression of old in the permission accorded to a pregnant woman to enter gardens and orchards, and freely help herself. Whether this instinct will ever again be embodied in a new form, and the reproduction of the race be recognized as truly a social function, is a question which even yet lacks actuality. The care of the child-bearer and her child will at present continue to be a matter for individual [65] arrangement. That it will be arranged much better than at present we may reasonably hope. On the one hand, the reckless multiplication of children will probably be checked; on the other hand, a large body of women will no longer be shut out from maternity. That the state should undertake the regulation of the birth-rate we can scarcely either desire or anticipate. Undoubtedly the community has an abstract right to limit the number of its members. It may be pointed out, however, that under rational conditions of life the process would probably be self-regulating; in the human races, and also among animals generally, fertility diminishes as the organism becomes highly developed. And, without falling back on any natural law, it may be said that the extravagant procreation of children, leading to suffering both to parents and offspring, carried on under existing social conditions, is largely the result of ignorance, largely of religious or other superstition. A more developed social state would not be possible at all unless the social instincts were strong enough to check the reckless multiplication of offspring. Richardson and others appear to advocate the special cultivation of a class of non-childbearing women. Certainly no woman who freely chose should be debarred from belonging to such a class. But reproduction is the end and aim of all life everywhere, and in order to live a humanly complete life, every healthy woman should have, not sexual relationships only, but the exercise at least once in her life of the supreme function of maternity, and the possession of those experiences which only maternity [66] can give. That unquestionably is the claim of natural and reasonable living in the social state towards which we are moving.

To deal with the social organization of the future would be to pass beyond the limits that I have here set myself, and to touch on matters of which it is impossible to speak with certainty. The new culture of women, in the light and the open air, will doubtless solve many matters which now are dark to us. Morgan supposed that it was in some measure the failure of the Greeks and Romans to develop their womanhood which brought the speedy downfall of classic civilization. The women of the future will help to renew art and science as well as life. They will do more even than this, for the destiny of the race rests with women. "I have sometimes thought," Whitman wrote in his Democratic Vistas, "that the sole avenue and means to a reconstructed society depended primarily on a new birth, elevation, expansion, invigoration of women." That intuition is not without a sound basis, and if a great historical movement called for justification here would be enough.

[45] This chapter was written so long ago as 1888, and published in the Westminster Review in the following year. I have pleasure in here including it exactly as it was originally written, not only because it has its proper place in the present volume, but because it may be regarded as a programme which I have since elaborated in numerous volumes. The original first section has, however, been omitted, as it embodied a statement of the matriarchal theory which, in view of the difficulty of the subject and the wide differences of opinion about it, I now consider necessary to express more guardedly (see, for a more recent statement, Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society," chap. x). With this exception, and the deletion of two insignificant footnotes, no changes have been made. After the lapse of a quarter of a century I find nothing that I seriously wish to withdraw and much that I now wish to emphasize.

[46] The following passage summarizes this Appeal: "The simple and modest request is, that they may be permitted equal enjoyments with men, provided they can, by the free and equal development and exercise of their faculties, procure for themselves such enjoyments. They ask the same means that men possess of acquiring every species of knowledge, of unfolding every one of their faculties of mind and body that can be made tributary to their happiness. They ask every facility of access to every art, occupation, profession, from the highest to the lowest, without one exception, to which their inclinations and talents may direct and may fit them to occupy. They ask the removal of all restraints and exclusions not applicable to men of equal capacities. They ask for perfectly equal political, civil, and domestic rights. They ask for equal obligations and equal punishments from the law with men in case of infraction of the same law by either party. They ask for an equal system of morals, founded on utility instead of caprice and unreasoning despotism, in which the same action, attended with the same consequences, whether done by man or woman, should be attended with the same portion of approbation or disapprobation; in which every pleasure, accompanied or followed by no preponderant evil, should be equally permitted to women and to men; in which every pleasure accompanied or followed by preponderant evil should be equally censured in women and in men."

[47] A period of transition not the less necessary although it is certainly disastrous and tends to produce an unwholesome tension between the sexes so long as men and women do not receive equal payment for equal work. "A thing of beauty is a joy for ever," as a working man in Blackburn lately put it, "but when the thing of beauty takes to doing the work for 16s. a week that you have been paid 22s. for, you do not feel as if you cannot live without possessing that thing of beauty all to yourself, or that you are willing to lay your life and your fortune (when you have one) at its feet." On the other hand, the working girl in the same town often complains that a man will not look at a girl unless she is a "four-loom weaver," earning, that is, perhaps, 20s. or 25s. a week.

[48] See the very interesting work of Alfred Espinas, Des Sociétés Animales, which contains many fruitful suggestions for the student of human sociology.

[49] The subtle and complex character of the sexual relationships in a high civilization, and the unhappy results of their State regulation, was well expressed by Wilhehm von Humboldt in his Ideen zu einen Versuch, die Grenzen der Wirksamkeit des Staates zu bestimmen, so long ago as 1792: "A union so closely allied with the very nature of the respective individuals must be attended with the most hurtful consequences when the State attempts to regulate it by law, or, through the force of its institutions, to make it repose on anything save simple inclination. When we remember, moreover, that the State can only contemplate the final results of such regulations on the race, we shall be still more ready to admit the justice of this conclusion. It may reasonably be argued that a solicitude for the race only conducts to the same results as the highest solicitude for the most beautiful development of the inner man. For after careful observation it has been found that the uninterrupted union of one man with one woman is most beneficial to the race, and it is likewise undeniable that no other union springs from true, natural, harmonious love. And further, it may be observed that such love leads to the same results as those very relations which law and custom tend to establish. The radical error seems to be that the law commands; whereas such a relation cannot mould itself according to external arrangements, but depends wholly on inclination; and wherever coercion or guidance comes into collision with inclination, they divert it still farther from the proper path. Wherefore it appears to me that the State should not only loosen the bonds in this instance, and leave ampler freedom to the citizen, but that it should entirely withdraw its active solicitude from the institution of marriage, and both generally and in its particular modifications, should rather leave it wholly to the free choice of the individuals, and the various contracts they may enter into with respect to it. I should not be deterred from the adoption of this principle by the fear that all family relations might be disturbed, for although such a fear might be justified by considerations of particular circumstances and localities, it could not fairly be entertained in an inquiry into the nature of men and States in general. For experience frequently convinces us that just where law has imposed no fetters, morality most surely binds; the idea of external coercion is one entirely foreign to an institution which, like marriage, reposes only on inclination and an inward sense of duty; and the results of such coercive institutions do not at all correspond to the intentions in which they originate."

[50] Such register should, as Bertillon rightly insisted, be of the most complete description—setting forth all the anthropological traits of the contracting parties—so that the characteristics of a human group at any time and place may be studied and compared. Registration of this kind would, beside its more obvious convenience, form an almost indispensable guide to the higher evolution of the race. I may here add that I have assumed, perhaps too rashly, that the natural tendency among civilized men and women is towards a monogamic and more or less permanent union; preceded, it may be in most individuals, by a more restless period of experiment. Undoubtedly, many variations will arise in the future, leading to more complex relationships. Such variations cannot be foreseen, and when they arise they will still have to prove their stability and their advantage to the race.

[51] As among geese, and, occasionally, it is said, among elephants.




Eighteenth-Century France—Pioneers of the Woman's Movement—The Growth of the Woman's Suffrage Movement—The Militant Activities of the Suffragettes—Their Services and Disservices to the Cause—Advantages of Women's Suffrage—Sex Questions in Germany—Bebel—The Woman's Rights Movement in Germany—The Development of Sexual Science in Germany—the Movement for the Protection of Motherhood—Ellen Key—The Question of Illegitimacy—Eugenics—Women as Law-makers in the Home.


The modern conception of the political equality of women with men, we have seen, arose in France in the second half of the eighteenth century. Its way was prepared by the philosophic thinkers of the Encyclopédie, and the idea was definitely formulated by some of the finest minds of the age, notably by Condorcet, [52] as part of the great new programme of social and political reform which was to some small degree realized in the upheaval of the Revolution. [68] The political emancipation of women constituted no part of the Revolution. It has indeed been maintained, and perhaps with reason, that the normal development of the revolutionary spirit would probably have ended in vanquishing the claim of masculine predominance if war had not diverted the movement of revolution by transforming it into the Terror. Even as it was, the rights of women were not without their champions even at this period. We ought specially to remember Olympe de Gouges, whose name is sometimes dismissed too contemptuously. With all her defects of character and education and literary style, Olympe de Gouges, as is now becoming recognized, was, in her biographer's words, "one of the loftiest and most generous souls of the epoch," in some respects superior to Madame Roland. She was the first woman to demand of the Revolution that it should be logical by proclaiming the rights of woman side by side with those of her equal, man, and in so doing she became the great pioneer of the feminist movement of to-day. [53] She owes the position more especially to her little pamphlet, issued in 1791, entitled Déclaration des Droits de la Femme. It is this Déclaration which contains the oft-quoted (or misquoted) saying: "Women have the right to ascend the scaffold; they must also have the right to ascend the tribune." Two years later she had herself ascended the scaffold, but the other right she claimed is only now [69] beginning to be granted to women. At that time there were too many more pressing matters to be dealt with, and the only women who had been taught to demand the rights of their sex were precisely those whom the Revolution was guillotining or exiling. Even had it been otherwise, we may be quite sure that Napoleon, the heir of the Revolution and the final arbiter of what was to be permanent in its achievements, would have sternly repressed any political freedom accorded to women. The only freedom he cared to grant to women was the freedom to produce food for cannon, and so far as lay in his power he sought to crush the political activities of women even in literature, as we see in his treatment of Mme de Staël. [54]

An Englishwoman of genius was in Paris at the time of the Revolution, with as broad a conception of the place of woman side by side with man as Olympe de Gouges, while for the most part she was Olympe's superior. In 1792, a year after the Déclaration des Droits de la Femme, Mary Wollstonecraft—it is possible to some extent inspired by the brief Déclaration—published her Vindication of the Rights of Women. It was not a shrill outcry, [70] nor an attack on men—in that indeed resembling the Déclaration—but just the book of a woman, a wise and sensible woman, who discusses many women's questions from a woman's point of view, and desires civil and political rights, not as a panacea for all evils, but simply because, as she argues, humanity cannot progress as a whole while one half of it is semi-educated and only half free. There can be little doubt that if the later advocates of woman's suffrage could have preserved more of Mary Wollstonecraft's sanity, moderation, and breadth of outlook, they would have diminished the difficulties that beset the task of convincing the community generally. Mary Wollstonecraft was, however, the inspired pioneer of a great movement which slowly gained force and volume. [55] During the long Victorian period the practical aims of this movement went chiefly into the direction of improving the education of girls so as to make it, so far as possible, like that of boys. In this matter an immense revolution was slowly accomplished, involving the entrance of women into various professions and employments hitherto reserved to men. That was a very necessary preliminary to the extension of the franchise to women. The suffrage propaganda could not, moreover, fail to benefit by the better education of women and their increased [71] activity in public life. It was their activity, indeed, far more than the skill of the women who fought for the franchise, which made the political emancipation of women inevitable, and the noble and brilliant women who through the middle of the nineteenth century recreated the educational system for women, and so prepared them to play their proper part in life, were the best women workers the cause of women's enfranchisement ever had. There was, however, one distinguished friend of the emancipation of women whose advocacy of the cause at this period was of immense value. It is now nearly half a century since John Stuart Mill—inspired, like Thompson, by a woman—wrote his Subjection of Women, and it may undoubtedly be said that since that date no book on this subject published in any country—with the single exception of Bebel's Woman—has been so widely read or so influential. The support of this distinguished and authoritative thinker gave to the woman's movement a stamp of aristocratic intellectuality very valuable in a land where even the finest minds are apt to be afflicted by the disease of timidity, and was doubtless a leading cause of the cordial reception which in England the idea of women's political emancipation has long received among politicians. Bebel's book, speedily translated into English, furnished the plebeian complement to Mill's.

The movement for the education of women and their introduction into careers previously monopolized by men inevitably encouraged the movement for extending [72] the franchise to women. This political reform was remarkably successful in winning over the politicians, and not those of one party only. In England, since Mill published his Subjection of Women in 1869, there have always been eminent statesmen convinced of the desirability of granting the franchise to women, and among the rank and file of Members of Parliament, irrespective of party, a very large proportion have pledged themselves to the same cause. The difficulty, therefore, in introducing woman's suffrage into England has not been primarily in Parliament. The one point, at which political party feeling has caused obstruction—and it is certainly a difficult and important point—is the method by which woman's suffrage should be introduced. Each party—Conservative, Liberal, Labour—naturally enough desires that this great new voting force should first be applied at a point which would not be likely to injure its own party interests. It is probable that in each party the majority of the leaders are of opinion that the admission of female voters is inevitable and perhaps desirable; the dispute is as to the extent to which the floodgates should in the first place be opened. In accordance with English tradition, some kind of compromise, however illogical, suggests itself as the safest first step, but the dispute remains as to the exact class of women who should be first admitted and the exact extent to which entrance should be granted to them.

The dispute of the gate-keepers would, however, be easily overcome if the pressure behind the gate were sufficiently strong. But it is not. However large a [73] proportion of the voters in Great Britain may be in favour of women's franchise, it is certain that only a very minute percentage regard this as a question having precedency over all other questions. And the reason why men have only taken a very temperate interest in woman's suffrage is that women themselves, in the mass, have taken an equally temperate interest in the matter when they have not been actually hostile to the movement. It may indeed be said, even at the present time, that whenever an impartial poll is taken of a large miscellaneous group of women, only a minority are found to be in favour of woman's suffrage. [56] No significant event has occurred to stimulate general interest in the matter, and no supremely eloquent or influential voice has artificially stirred it. There has been no woman of Mary Wollstonecraft's genius and breadth of mind who has devoted herself to the cause, and since Mill the men who have made up their minds on this side have been content to leave the matter to the women's associations formed for securing the success of the cause. These associations have, however, been led by women of a past generation, who, while of unquestionable intellectual power and high moral character, have viewed the woman question in a somewhat narrow, [74] old-fashioned spirit, and have not possessed the gift of inspiring enthusiasm. Thus the growth of the movement, however steady it may have been, has been slow. John Stuart Mill's remark, in a letter to Bain in 1869, remains true to-day: "The most important thing women have to do is to stir up the zeal of women themselves."

In the meanwhile in some other countries where, except in the United States, it was of much more recent growth, the woman's suffrage movement has achieved success, with no great expenditure of energy. It has been introduced into several American States and Territories. It is established throughout Australasia. It is also established in Norway. In Finland women may not only vote, but also sit in Parliament.

It was in these conditions that the Women's Social and Political Union was formed in London. It was not an offshoot from any existing woman's suffrage society, but represented a crystallization of new elements. For the most part, even its leaders had not previously taken any active part in the movement for woman's suffrage. The suffrage movement had need of exactly such an infusion of fresh and ardent blood; so that the new society was warmly welcomed, and met with immediate success, finding recruits alike among the rich and the poor. Its unconventional methods, its eager and militant spirit, were felt to supply a lacking element, and the first picturesque and dashing exploits of the Union were on the whole well received. The obvious sincerity and earnestness of these very fresh recruits [75] covered the rashness of their new and rather ignorant enthusiasm.

But a hasty excess of ardour only befits a first uncalculated outburst of youthfulness. It is quite another matter when it is deliberately hardened into a rigid routine, and becomes an organized method of creating disorder for the purpose of advertising a grievance in season and out of season. Since, moreover, the attack was directed chiefly against politicians, precisely that class of the community most inclined to be favourable to woman's suffrage, the wrong-headedness of the movement becomes as striking as its offensiveness.

The effect on the early friends of the new movement was inevitable. Some, who had hailed it with enthusiasm and proclaimed its pioneers as new Joans of Arc, changed their tone to expostulation and protest, and finally relapsed into silence. Other friends of the movement, even among its former leaders, were less silent. They have revealed to the world, too unkindly, some of the influences which slowly corrupt such a movement from the inside when it hardens into sectarianism: the narrowing of aim, the increase of conventionality, the jealousy of rivals, the tendency to morbid emotionalism.

It is easy to exaggerate the misdeeds and the weaknesses of the suffragettes. It is undoubtedly true that they have alienated, in an increasing degree, the sympathies of the women of highest character and best abilities among the advocates of woman's suffrage. Nearly all Englishwomen to-day who stand well above the average in mental distinction are in favour of woman's [76] suffrage, though they may not always be inclined to take an active part in securing it. Perhaps the only prominent exception is Mrs. Humphry Ward. Yet they rarely associate themselves with the methods of the suffragettes. They do not, indeed, protest, for they feel there would be a kind of disloyalty in fighting against the Extreme Left of a movement to which they themselves belong; but they stand aloof. The women who are chiefly attracted to the ranks of the suffragettes belong to three classes: (1) Those of the well-to-do class with no outlet for their activities, who eagerly embrace an exciting occupation which has become, not only highly respectable, but even, in a sense, fashionable; they have no natural tendency to excess, but are easily moved by their social environment; some of these are rich, and the great principle—once formulated in an unhappy moment concerning a rich lady interested in social reform—"We must not kill the goose that lays the golden eggs," has never been despised by the suffragette leaders; (2) the rowdy element among women which is not so much moved to adopt the methods for the sake of the cause as to adopt the cause for the sake of the methods, so that in the case of their special emotional temperament it may be said, reversing an ancient phrase, that the means justify the end; this element of noisy explosiveness, always found in a certain proportion of women, though latent under ordinary circumstances, is easily aroused by stimulation, and in every popular revolt the wildest excesses are the acts of women. (3) In this small but important group we find [77] women of rare and beautiful character who, hypnotized by the enthralling influence of an idea, and often having no great intellectual power of their own, are even unconscious of the vulgarity that accompanies them, and gladly sacrifice themselves to a cause that seems to be sacred; these are the saints and martyrs of every movement.

When we thus analyse the suffragette outburst we see that it is really compounded out of quite varied elements: a conventionally respectable element, a rowdy element, and an ennobling element. It is, therefore, equally unreasonable to denounce its vices or to idealize its virtues. It is more profitable to attempt to balance its services and its disservices to the cause of women's suffrage.

Looked at dispassionately, the two main disadvantages of the suffragette agitation—and they certainly seem at the first glance very comprehensive objections—lie in its direction and in its methods. There are two vast bodies of people who require to be persuaded in order to secure woman's suffrage: first women themselves, and secondly their men-folk, who at present monopolize the franchise. Until the majority of both men and women are educated to understand the justice and reasonableness of this step, and until men are persuaded that the time has come for practical action, the most violent personal assaults on cabinet ministers—supposing such political methods to be otherwise unobjectionable—are beside the mark. They are aimed in the wrong direction. This is so even when we leave [78] aside the fact that politicians are sufficiently converted already. The primary task of women suffragists is to convert their own sex. Indeed it may be said that that is their whole task. Whenever the majority of women are persuaded that they ought to possess the vote, we may be quite sure that they will communicate that persuasion to their men-folk who are able to give them the vote. The conversion of the majority of women to a belief in women's suffrage is essential to its attainment because it is only by the influence of the women who belong to him, whom he knows and loves and respects, that the average man is likely to realize that, as Ellen Key puts it, "a ballot paper in itself no more injures the delicacy of a woman's hand than a cooking recipe." The antics of women in the street, however earnest those women may be, only leave him indifferent, even hostile, at most, amused.

It may be added that in any case it would be undesirable, even if possible, to bestow the suffrage on women so long as only a minority have the wish to exercise it. It would be contrary to sound public policy. It would not only discredit political rights, but it would tend to give the woman's vote too narrow and one-sided a character. To grant women the right to vote is a different matter from granting women the right to enter a profession. In order to give women the right to be doctors or lawyers it is not necessary that women generally should be convinced of the advantage of such a step. The matter chiefly concerns the very small number of women who desire the privilege. But the [79] women who vote will be in some measure legislating for women generally, and it is therefore necessary that women generally should participate.

But even if it is admitted—although, as we have seen, there is a twofold reason for not making such an admission—that the suffragettes are justified in regarding politicians as the obstacles in the way of their demands, there still remains the question of the disadvantage of their method. This method is by some euphemistically described as the introduction of "nagging" into politics; but even at this mild estimate of its character the question may still be asked whether the method is calculated to attain the desired end. One hears women suffragettes declare that this is the only kind of argument men understand. There is, however, in the masculine mind—and by no means least when it is British—an element which strongly objects to be worried and bullied even into a good course of action. The suffragettes have done their best to stimulate that element of obstinacy. Even among men who viewed the matter from an unprejudiced standpoint many felt that, necessary as woman's suffrage is, the policy of the suffragettes rendered the moment unfavourable for its adoption. It is a significant fact that in the countries which have so far granted women the franchise no methods in the slightest degree resembling those of the suffragettes have ever been practised. It is not easy to imagine Australia tolerating such methods, and in Finland full Parliamentary rights were freely granted, as is generally recognized, precisely [80] as a mark of gratitude for women's helpfulness in standing side by side with their men in a great political struggle. The policy of obstruction adopted by the English suffragettes, with its "tactics" of opposing at election times the candidates of the very party whose leaders they are imploring to grant them the franchise, was so foolish that it is little wonder that many doubted whether women at all understand the methods of politics, or are yet fitted to take a responsible part in political life.

The suffragette method of persuading public men seems to be, on the whole, futile, even if it were directed at the proper quarter, and even if it were in itself a justifiable method. But it would be possible to grant these "ifs" and still to feel that a serious injury is done to the cause of woman's suffrage when the method of violence is adopted by women. Some suffragettes have argued, in this matter, that in political crises men also have acted just as badly or worse. But, even if we assume that this is the case, [57] it has been one of the chief arguments hitherto for the admission of women into political life that they exercise an elevating and refining influence, so that their entrance into this field will serve to purify politics. That, no doubt, is an argument mostly brought forward by men, and may be regarded as, in some measure, an amiable [81] masculine delusion, since most of the refining and elevating elements in civilization probably owe their origin not to women but to men. But it is not altogether a delusion. In the virtues of force—however humbly those virtues are to be classed—women, as a sex, can never be the rivals of men, and when women attempt to gain their ends by the demonstration of brute force they can only place themselves at a disadvantage. They are laying down the weapons they know best how to use, and adopting weapons so unsuitable that they only injure the users.

Many women, speaking on behalf of the suffragettes, protest against the idea that women must always be "charming." And if "charm" is to be understood in so narrow and conventionalized a sense that it means something which is incompatible with the developed natural activities, whether of the soul or of the body, then such a protest is amply justified. But in the larger sense, "charm"—which means the power to effect work without employing brute force—is indispensable to women. Charm is a woman's strength just as strength is a man's charm. And the justification for women in this matter is that herein they represent the progress of civilization. All civilization involves the substitution in this respect of the woman's method for the man's. In the last resort a savage can only assert his rights by brute force. But with the growth of civilization the wronged man, instead of knocking down his opponent, employs "charm"; in other words he engages an advocate, who, by the exercise of sweet reasonableness, [82] persuades twelve men in a box that his wrongs must be righted, and the matter is then finally settled, not by man's weapon, the fist, but by woman's weapon, the tongue. Nowadays the same method of "charm" is being substituted for brute force in international wrongs, and with the complete substitution of arbitration for war the woman's method of charm will have replaced the man's method of brute force along the whole line of legitimate human activity. If we realize this we can understand why it is that a group of women who, even in the effort to support a good cause, revert to the crude method of violence are committing a double wrong. They are wronging their own sex by proving false to its best traditions, and they are wronging civilization by attempting to revive methods of savagery which it is civilization's mission to repress. Therefore it may fairly be held that even if the methods of the suffragettes were really adequate to secure women's suffrage, the attainment of the franchise by those methods would be a misfortune. The ultimate loss would be greater than the gain.

If we hold the foregoing considerations in mind it is difficult to avoid the conclusion that neither in their direction nor in their nature are the methods of the suffragettes fitted to attain the end desired. We have still, however, to consider the other side of the question.

Whenever an old movement receives a strong infusion of new blood, whatever excesses or mistakes may arise, it is very unlikely that all the results will be on the same side. It is certainly not so in this case. [83] Even the opposition to woman's suffrage which the suffragettes are responsible for, and the Anti-Suffrage societies which they have called into active existence, are not an unmitigated disadvantage. Every movement of progress requires a vigorous movement of opposition to stimulate its progress, and the clash of discussion can only be beneficial in the end to the progressive cause.

But the immense advantage of the activity of the suffragettes has been indirect. It has enabled the great mass of ordinary sensible women who neither join Suffrage societies nor Anti-Suffrage societies to think for themselves on this question. Until a few years ago, while most educated women were vaguely aware of the existence of a movement for giving women the vote, they only knew of it as something rather unpractical and remote; its reality had never been brought home to them. When women witnessed the eruption into the streets of a band of women—most of them apparently women much like themselves—who were so convinced that the franchise must be granted to women, here and now, that they were prepared to face publicity, ridicule, and even imprisonment, then "votes for women" became to them, for the first time, a real and living issue. In a great many cases, certainly, they realized that they intensely disliked the people who behaved in this way and any cause that was so preached. But in a great many other cases they realized, for the first time definitely, that the demand of votes for women was a reasonable demand, and that they were themselves [84] suffragists, though they had no wish to take an active part in the movement, and no real sympathy with its more "militant" methods. There can be no doubt that in this way the suffragettes have performed an immense service for the cause of women's suffrage. It has been for the most part an indirect and undesigned service, but in the end it will perhaps more than serve to counterbalance the disadvantages attached to their more conscious methods and their more deliberate aims.

If, as we may trust, this service will be the main outcome of the suffragette phase of the women's movement, it is an outcome to be thankful for; we may then remember with gratitude the ardent enthusiasm of the suffragettes and forget the foolish and futile ways in which it was manifested. There has never been any doubt as to the ultimate adoption of women's suffrage; its gradual extension among the more progressive countries of the world sufficiently indicates that it will ultimately reach even to the most backward countries. Its accomplishment in England has been gradual, although it is here so long since the first steps were taken, not because there has been some special and malignant opposition to it on the part of men in general and politicians in particular, but simply because England is an old and conservative country, with a very ancient constitutional machinery which effectually guards against the hasty realization of any scheme of reform. This particular reform, however, is not an isolated or independent scheme; it is an essential part of a great [85] movement in the social equalization of the sexes which has been going on for centuries in our civilization, a movement such as may be correspondingly traced in the later stages of the civilizations of antiquity. Such a movement we may by our efforts help forward, we may for a while retard, but it is a part of civilization, and it would be idle to imagine that we can affect the ultimate issue.

That the issue of women's suffrage may be reached in England within a reasonable period is much to be desired for the sake of the woman's movement in the larger sense, which has nothing to do with politics, and is now impeded by this struggle. The enfranchisement of women, Miss Frances Cobbe declared thirty years ago, is "the crown and completion" of all progress in women's movement. "Votes for women," exclaims, more youthfully but not less unreasonably, Miss Christabel Pankhurst, "means a new Heaven and a new Earth." But women's suffrage no more means a new Heaven or even a new Earth than it means, as other people fear, a new Purgatory and a new Hell. We may see this quite plainly in Australasia. Women's votes aid in furthering social legislation and contribute to the passing of acts which have their good side, and, no doubt, like everything else, their bad side. As Elizabeth Cady Stanton, who devoted her life to the political enfranchisement of women, declared, the ballot is, at most, only the vestibule to women's emancipation. Man's suffrage has not introduced the millennium, and it is foolish to suppose that woman's suffrage can. [86] It is merely an act of justice and a reasonable condition of social hygiene.

The attainment of the suffrage, if it is a beginning and not an end, will thus have a real and positive value in liberating the woman's movement from a narrow and sterilizing phase of its course. In England, especially, the woman's movement has in the past largely confined itself to imitating men and to obtaining the same work and the same rights as men. Putting the matter more broadly, it may be said that it has been the aim of the woman's movement to secure woman's claims as a human being rather than as woman. But that is only half the task of the woman's movement, and perhaps not the most essential half. Women can never be like men, any more than men can be like women. It is their unlikeness which renders them indispensable to each other, and which also makes it imperative that each sex should have its due share in moulding the conditions of life. Woman's function in life can never be the same as man's, if only because women are the mothers of the race. That is the point, the only point, at which women have an uncontested supremacy over men. The most vital problem before our civilization to-day is the problem of motherhood, the question of creating the human beings best fitted for modern life, the practical realization of a sound eugenics. Manouvrier, the distinguished anthropologist, who carries feminism to its extreme point in the scientific sphere, yet recognizes the fundamental fact that "a woman's part is to make children." But he clearly perceives [87] also that "in all its extent and all its consequences that part is not surpassed in importance, in difficulty, or in dignity, by the man's part." On the contrary it is a part which needs "an amount of intelligence incontestably superior, and by far, to that required by most masculine occupations." [58] We are here at the core of the woman's movement. And the full fruition of that movement means that women, by virtue of their supremacy in this matter, shall take their proper share in legislation for life, not as mere sexless human beings, but as women, and in accordance with the essential laws of their own nature as women.


There is a further question. Is it possible to discern the actual embodiment of this new phase of the woman movement? I think it is.

To those who are accustomed to watch the emotional pulse of mankind, nothing has seemed so remarkable during recent years as the eruption of sex questions in Germany. We had always been given to understand that the sphere of women and the laws of marriage had been definitely prescribed and fixed in Germany for at least two thousand years, since the days of Tacitus, in fact, and with the best possible results. Germans assured the world in stentorian tones that only in Germany could young womanhood be seen in all its purity, and that in the German Hausfrau the supreme ideal [88] had been reached, the woman whose great mission is to keep alive the perennial fire of the ancient German hearth. Here and there, indeed, the quiet voice of science was heard in Germany; thus Schrader, the distinguished investigator of Teutonic origins, in commenting on the oft-quoted testimony of Tacitus to the chastity of the German women, has appositely referred to the detailed evidences furnished by the Committee of pastors of the Evangelical Church as to the extreme prevalence of unchastity among the women of rural Germany, and argued that these widespread customs must be very ancient and deep-rooted. [59] But Germans in general refused to admit that Tacitus had only used the idea of German virtue as a stick to beat his own fellow-countrywomen with.

The Social-Democratic movement, which has so largely overspread industrial and even intellectual Germany, prepared the way for a less traditional and idealistic way of feeling in regard to these questions. The publication by Bebel of a book, Die Frau, in which the leader of the German Social-Democratic party set forth the Socialist doctrine of the position of women in society, marked the first stage in the new movement. This book exercised a wide influence, more especially on uncritical readers. It is, indeed, from a scientific point [89] of view a worthless book—if a book in which genuine emotions are brought to the cause of human freedom and social righteousness may ever be so termed—but it struck a rude blow at the traditions of Teutonic sentiment. With something of the rough tone and temper of the great peasant who initiated the German Reformation, a man who had himself sprung from the people, and who knew of what he was speaking, here set down in downright fashion the actual facts as to the position of women in Germany, as well as what he conceived to be the claims of justice in regard to that position, slashing with equal vigour alike at the absurdities of conventional marriage and of prostitution, the obverse and the reverse, he declared, of a false society. The emotional renaissance with which we are here concerned seems to have no special and certainly no exclusive association with the Social-Democratic movement, but it can scarcely be doubted that the permeation of a great mass of the German people by the socialistic conceptions which in their bearing on women have been rendered so familiar by Bebel's exposition has furnished, as it were, a ready-made sounding-board which has given resonance and effect to voices which might otherwise have been quickly lost in vacuity.

There is another movement which counts for something in the renaissance we are here concerned with, though for considerably less than one might be led to expect. What is specifically known as the "woman's rights' movement" is in no degree native to Germany, though Hippel is one of the pioneers of the woman's [90] movement, and it is only within recent years that it has reached Germany. It is alien to the Teutonic feminine mind, because in Germany the spheres of men and women are so far apart and so unlike that the ideal of imitating men fails to present itself to a German woman's mind. The delay, moreover, in the arrival of the woman's movement in Germany had given time for a clearer view of that movement and a criticism of its defects to form even in the lands of its origin, so that the German woman can no longer be caught unawares by the cry for woman's rights. Still, however qualified a view might be taken of its benefits, it had to be recognized, even in Germany, that it was an inevitable movement, and to some extent at all events indispensable from the woman's point of view. The same right to education as men, the same rights of public meeting and discussion, the same liberty to enter the liberal professions, these are claims which during recent years have been widely made by German women and to some extent secured, while—as is even more significant—they are for the most part no longer very energetically disputed. The International Congress of Women which met in Berlin in 1904 was a revelation to the citizens of Berlin of the skill and dignity with which women could organize a congress and conduct business meetings. It was notable, moreover, in that, though under the auspices of an International Council, it showed the large number of German women who are already entitled to take a leading part in the movements for women's welfare. Both directly and indirectly, indeed, such a movement [91] cannot be otherwise than specially beneficial in Germany. The Teutonic reverence for woman, the assertion of the "aliquid divinum," has sometimes been accompanied by the openly expressed conviction that she is a fool. Outside Germany it would not be easy to find the representative philosophers of a nation putting forward so contemptuous a view of women as is set forth by Schopenhauer or by Nietzsche, while even within recent years a German physician of some ability, the late Dr. Möbius, published a book on the "physiological weak-mindedness of women."

The new feminine movement in Germany has received highly important support from the recent development of German science. The German intellect, exceedingly comprehensive in its outlook, ploddingly thorough, and imperturbably serious, has always taken the leading and pioneering part in the investigation of sexual problems, whether from the standpoint of history, biology, or pathology. Early in the nineteenth century, when even more courage and resolution were needed to face the scientific study of such questions than is now the case, German physicians, unsupported by any co-operation in other countries, were the pioneers in exploring the paths of sexual pathology. [60] From the antiquarian side, Bachofen, more than half a century ago, put forth his conception of the exalted position of the primitive mother which, although it has been [92] considerably battered by subsequent research, has been by no means without its value, and is of special significance from the present standpoint, because it sprang from precisely the same view of life as that animating the German women who are to-day inaugurating the movement we are here concerned with. From the medical side the late Professor Krafft-Ebing of Vienna and Dr. Albert Moll of Berlin are recognized throughout the world as leading authorities on sexual pathology, and in recent times many other German physicians of the first authority can be named in this field; while in Austria Dr. F.S. Krauss and his coadjutors in the annual volumes of Anthropophyteia are diligently exploring the rich and fruitful field of sexual folk-lore. The large volumes of the Jahrbuch für Sexuelle Zwischenstufen, edited by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld of Berlin, have presented discussions of the commonest of sexual aberrations with a scientific and scholarly thoroughness, a practical competence, as well as admirable tone, which we may seek in vain in other countries. In Vienna, moreover, Professor Freud, with his bold and original views on the sexual causation of many abnormal mental and nervous conditions, and his psycho-analytic method of investigating and treating them, although his doctrines are by no means universally accepted, is yet exerting a revolutionary influence all over the world. During the last ten years, indeed, the amount of German scientific and semi-scientific literature, dealing with every aspect of the sexual question, and from every point of view, is altogether unparalleled. It need scarcely be said [93] that much of this literature is superficial or worthless. But much of it is sound, and it would seem that on the whole it is this portion of it which is most popular. Thus Dr. August Forel, formerly professor of psychiatry at Zurich and a physician of world-wide reputation, published a few years ago at Munich a book on the sexual question, Die Sexuelle Frage, in which all the questions of the sexual life, biological, medical, and social, are seriously discussed with no undue appeal to an ignorant public; it had an immediate success and a large sale. Dr. Forel had not entered this field before; he had merely come to the conclusion that every man at the end of his life ought to set forth his observations and conclusions regarding the most vital of questions. Again, at about the same time, Dr. Iwan Bloch, of Berlin, published his many-sided work on the sexual life of our time, Das Sexualleben Unserer Zeit, a work less remarkable than Forel's for the weight of the personal authority expressed, but more remarkable by the range of its learning and the sympathetic attitude it displayed towards the best movements of the day; this book also met with great success. [61] Still more recently (1912) Dr. Albert Moll, with characteristic scientific thoroughness, has edited, and largely himself written, a truly encyclopædic Handbuch der Sexualwissenschaften. The eminence [94] of the writers of these books and the mental calibre needed to read them suffice to show that we are not concerned, as a careless observer might suppose, with a matter of supply and demand in prurient literature, but with the serious and widespread appreciation of serious investigations. This same appreciation is shown not only by several bio-sociological periodicals of high scientific quality, but by the existence of a journal like Sexual-Probleme, edited by Dr. Max Marcuse, a journal with many distinguished contributors, and undoubtedly the best periodical in this field to be found in any language.

At the same time the new movement of German women, however it may arise from or be supported by political or scientific movements, is fundamentally emotional in its character. If we think of it, every great movement of the Teutonic soul has been rooted in emotion. The German literary renaissance of the eighteenth century was emotional in its origin and received its chief stimulus from the contagion of the new irruption of sentiment in France. Even German science is often influenced, and not always to its advantage, by German sentiment. The Reformation is an example on a huge scale of the emotional force which underlies German movements. Luther, for good and for evil, is the most typical of Germans, and the Luther who made his mark in the world—the shrewd, coarse, superstitious peasant who blossomed into genius—was an avalanche of emotion, a great mass of natural human instincts irresistible in their impetuosity. When we bear in mind this general tendency to emotional expansiveness in the manifestations [95] of the Teutonic soul we need feel no surprise that the present movement among German women should be, to a much greater extent than the corresponding movements in other countries, an emotional renaissance. It is not, first and last, a cry for political rights, but for emotional rights, and for the reasonable regulation of all those social functions which are founded on the emotions. [62]

This movement, although it may properly be said to be German, since its manifestations are mainly exhibited in the great German Empire, is yet essentially a Teutonic movement in the broader sense of the word. Germans of Austria, Germans of Switzerland, Dutch women, Scandinavians, have all been drawn into this movement. But it is in Germany proper that they all find the chief field of their activities.

If we attempt to define in a single sentence the specific object of this agitation we may best describe it as based on the demands of woman the mother, and as directed to the end of securing for her the right to control and regulate the personal and social relations which spring from her nature as mother or possible mother. Therein we see at once both the intimately emotional and practical nature of this new claim and its decisive unlikeness to the earlier woman movement. That was definitely a demand for emancipation; political enfranchisement was its goal; its perpetual assertion was that women [96] must be allowed to do everything that men do. But the new Teutonic woman's movement, so far from making as its ideal the imitation of men, bases itself on that which most essentially marks the woman as unlike the man.

The basis of the movement is significantly indicated by the title, Mutterschutz—the protection of the mother—originally borne by "a Journal for the reform of sexual morals," established in 1905, edited by Dr. Helene Stöcker, of Berlin, and now called Die Neue Generation. All the questions that radiate outwards from the maternal function are here discussed: the ethics of love, prostitution ancient and modern, the position of illegitimate mothers and illegitimate children, sexual hygiene, the sexual instruction of the young, etc. It must not be supposed that these matters are dealt with from the standpoint of a vigilance society for combating vice. The demand throughout is for the regulation of life, for reform, but for reform quite as much in the direction of expansion as of restraint. On many matters of detail, indeed, there is no agreement among these writers, some of whom approach the problems from the social and practical side, some from the psychological and philosophic side, others from the medical, legal, or historical sides.

This journal was originally the organ of the association for the protection of mothers, more especially unmarried mothers, called the Bund für Mutterschutz. There are many agencies for dealing with illegitimate children, but the founders of this association started from the conviction [97] that it is only through the mother that the child can be adequately cared for. As nearly a tenth of the children born in Germany are illegitimate, and the conditions of life into which such children are thrown are in the highest degree unfavourable, the question has its actuality. [63] It is the aim of the Bund für Mutterschutz to rehabilitate the unmarried mother, to secure for her the conditions of economic independence—whatever social class she may belong to—and ultimately to effect a change in the legal status of illegitimate [98] mothers and children alike. The Bund, which is directed by a committee in which social, medical, and legal interests are alike represented, already possesses numerous branches, in addition to its head-quarters in Berlin, and is beginning to initiate practical measures on the lines of its programme, notably Homes for Mothers, of which it has established nearly a dozen in different parts of Germany.

In 1911 the first International Congress for the Protection of Mothers and for Sexual Reform was held at Dresden, in connection with the great Exhibition of Hygiene. As a result of this Congress, an International Union was constituted, representing Germany, Austria, Italy, Sweden, and Holland, which may probably be taken to be the countries which have so far manifested greatest interest in the programme of sexual reform based on recognition of the supreme importance of motherhood. This movement may, therefore, be said to have overcome the initial difficulties, the antagonism, the misunderstanding, and the opprobrium, which every movement in the field of sexual reform inevitably encounters, and often succumbs to.

It would be a mistake to regard this Association as a merely philanthropic movement. It claims to be "An Association for the Reform of Sexual Ethics," and Die Neue Generation deals with social and ethical rather than with philanthropic questions. In these respects it reflects the present attitude of many thoughtful German women, though the older school of women's rights advocates still holds aloof. We may here, for [99] instance, find a statement of the recent discussion concerning the right of the mother to destroy her offspring before birth. This has been boldly claimed for women by Countess Gisela von Streitberg, who advocates a return to the older moral view which prevailed not only in classic antiquity, but even, under certain conditions, in Christian practice, until Canon law, asserting that the embryo had from the first an independent life, pronounced abortion under all circumstances a crime. Countess von Streitberg takes the standpoint that as the chief risks and responsibilities must necessarily rest upon the woman, it is for her to decide whether she will permit the embryo she bears to develop. Dr. Marie Raschke, taking up the discussion from the legal side, is unable to agree that abortion should cease to be a punishable offence, though she advocates considerable modifications in the law on this matter. Dr. Siegfried Weinberg, summarizing this discussion, again from the legal standpoint, considers that there is considerable right on the Countess's side, because from the modern juridical standpoint a criminal enactment is only justified because it protects a right, and in law the embryo possesses no rights which can be injured. From the moral standpoint, also, it is argued, its destruction often becomes justifiable in the interests of the community.

This debatable question, while instructive as an example of the radical manner in which German women are now beginning to face moral questions, deals only with an isolated point which has hardly yet reached [100] the sphere of practical politics. [64] It is more interesting to consider the general conceptions which underlie this movement, and we can hardly do this better than by studying the writings of Ellen Key, who is not only one of its recognized leaders, but may be said to present its aims and ideals in a broader and more convinced manner than any other writer.

Ellen Key's views are mainly contained in three books, Love and Marriage, The Century of the Child, and The Women's Movement, in which form they enjoy a large circulation, and are now becoming well known, through translations, in England and America. She carefully distinguishes her aims from what she regards as the American conception of progress in woman's movements, that is to say the tendency for women to seek to capture the activities which may be much more adequately fulfilled by the other sex, while at the same time neglecting the far weightier matters that concern their own sex. Man and woman are not natural enemies who need to waste their energies in fighting over their respective rights and privileges; in spiritual as in physical life they are only fruitful together. Women, indeed, need free scope for their activities—and the earlier aspirations of feminism are thus justified—but they need it, not to wrest away any tasks that men may be better fitted to perform, but to play their part in that field of creative life which is peculiarly their own. Ellen Key would say that the highest human unit is triune: [101] father, mother, and child. Marriage, therefore, instead of being, as it is to-day, the last thing to be thought of in education, becomes the central point of life. In Ellen Key's conception, "those who love each other are man and wife," and by love she means not a temporary inclination, but "a synthesis of desire and friendship," just as the air is a mixture of oxygen and nitrogen. It must be this for both sexes alike, and Ellen Key sees a real progress in what seems to her the modern tendency for men to realize that the soul has its erotic side, and for women to realize that the senses have. She has no special sympathy with the cry for purity in masculine candidates for marriage put forward by some women of the present day. She observes that many men who have painfully struggled to maintain this ideal meet with disillusion, for it is not the masculine lamb, but much more the spotted leopard, who fascinates women. The notion that women have higher moral instincts than men Ellen Key regards as absurd. The majority of Frenchwomen, she remarks, were against Dreyfus, and the majority of Englishwomen approved the South African war. The really fundamental difference between man and woman is that he can usually give his best as a creator, and she as a lover, that his value is according to his work and hers according to her love. And in love the demand for each sex alike must not be primarily for a mere anatomical purity, but for passion and for sincerity.

The aim of love, as understood by Ellen Key, is always marriage and the child, and as soon as the child comes [102] into question society and the State are concerned. Before fruition, love is a matter for the lovers alone, and the espionage, ceremony, and routine now permitted or enjoined are both ridiculous and offensive. "The flower of love belongs to the lovers, and should remain their secret; it is the fruit of love which brings them into relation to society." The dominating importance of the child, the parent of the race to be, alone makes the immense social importance of sexual union. It is not marriage which sanctifies generation, but generation which sanctifies marriage. From the point of view of "the sanctity of generation" and the welfare of the race, Ellen Key looks forward to a time when it will be impossible for a man and woman to become parents when they are unlikely to produce a healthy child, though she is opposed to Neo-Malthusian methods, partly on æsthetic grounds and partly on the more dubious grounds of doubt as to their practical efficiency; it is from this point of view also that she favours sexual equality in matters of divorce, the legal assimilation of legitimate and illegitimate children, the recognition of unions outside marriage,—a recognition already legally established under certain circumstances in Sweden, in such a way as to confer the rights of legitimacy on the child,—and she is even prepared to advise women under some conditions to become mothers outside marriage, though only when there are obstacles to legal marriage, and as the outcome of deliberate will and resolution. In these and many similar proposals in detail, set forth in her earlier books, it is clear that Ellen [103] Key has sometimes gone beyond the mandate of her central conviction, that love is the first condition for increasing the vitality alike of the race and of the individuality, and that the question of love, properly considered, is the question of creating the future man. As she herself has elsewhere quite truly pointed out, practice must precede, and precede by a very long time, the establishment of definite rules in matters of detail.

It will be noticed that a point with which Ellen Key and the leaders of the new German woman's movement specially concern themselves is the affectional needs of the "supernumerary" woman and the legitimation of her children. There is an excess of women over men, in Germany as in most other countries. That excess, it is said, is balanced by the large number of women who do not wish to marry. But that is too cheap a solution of the question. Many women may wish to remain unmarried, but no woman wishes to be forced to remain unmarried. Every woman, these advocates of the rights of women claim, has a right to motherhood, and in exercising the right under sound conditions she is benefiting society. But our marriage system, in the rigid form which it has long since assumed, has not now the elasticity necessary to answer these demands. It presents a solution which is often impossible, always difficult, and perhaps in a large proportion of cases undesirable. But for a woman who is shut out from marriage to grasp at the vital facts of love and motherhood which she perhaps regards, unreasonably or not, as the supreme things in the world, must often be under [104] such conditions a disastrous step, while it is always accompanied by certain risks. Therefore, it is asked, why should there not be, as of old there was, a relationship established which while of less dignity than marriage, and less exclusive in its demands, should yet permit a woman to enter into an honourable, open, and legally recognized relationship with a man? Such a relationship a woman could proclaim to the whole world, if necessary, without reflecting any disesteem upon herself or her child, while it would give her a legal claim on her child's father. Such a relationship would be substantially the same as the ancient concubinate, which persisted even in Christendom up to the sixteenth century. Its establishment in Sweden has apparently been satisfactory, and it is now sought to extend it to other countries. [65]

It is interesting to compare, or to contrast, the movement of which Ellen Key has been a conspicuous champion with the futile movement initiated nearly a century ago by the school of Saint-Simon and Prosper Enfantin, in favour of "la femme libre." [66] That earlier movement [105] had no doubt its bright and ideal side, but it was not supported by a sound and scientific view of life; it was rooted in sand and soon withered up. The kind of freedom which Ellen Key advocates is not a freedom to dispense with law and order, but rather a freedom to recognize and follow true law; it is the freedom which in morals as well as in politics is essential for the development of real responsibility.

[106] People talk, Ellen Key remarks, as though reform in sexual morality meant the breaking up of a beautiful idyll, while the idyll is impossible as long as the only alternative offered to so many young men and women at the threshold of life is between becoming "the slave of duty or the slave of lust." In these matters we already possess licence, and the only sound reform lies in a kind of "freedom" which will correct that licence by obedience to the most fundamental natural instincts acting in harmony with the claims of the race, which claims, it must be added, cannot be out of harmony with the best traditions of the race. Ellen Key would agree with a great German, Wilhelm von Humboldt, who wrote more than a century ago that "a solicitude for the race conducts to the same results as the highest solicitude for the most beautiful development of the inner man." The modern revolt against fossilized laws is inevitable; it is already in progress, and we have to see to it that the laws written upon tables of stone in their inevitable decay only give place to the mightier laws written upon tables of flesh and blood. Life is far too rich and manifold, Ellen Key says again, to be confined in a single formula, even the best; if our ideal has its worth for ourselves, if we are prepared to live for it and to die for it, that is enough; we are not entitled to impose it on others. The conception of duty still remains, duty to love and duty to the race. "I believe in a new ethics," Ellen Key declares at the end of The Women's Movement, "which will be a synthesis growing out of the nature of man and the nature [107] of woman, out of the demands of the individual and the demands of society, out of the pagan and the Christian points of view, out of the resolve to mould the future and out of piety towards the past."

No reader of Ellen Key's books can fail to be impressed by the remarkable harmony between her sexual ethics and the conception that underlies Sir Francis Galton's scientific eugenics. In setting forth the latest aspects of his view of eugenics before the Sociological Society, Galton asserted that the improvement of the race, in harmony with scientific knowledge, would come about by a new religious movement, and he gave reasons to show why such an expectation is not unreasonable; in the past men have obeyed the most difficult marriage rules in response to what they believed to be supernatural commands, and there is no ground for supposing that the real demands of the welfare of the race, founded on exact knowledge, will prove less effective in calling out an inspiring religious emotion. Writing probably at the same time, Ellen Key, in her essay entitled Love and Ethics, set forth precisely the same conception, though not from the scientific but from the emotional standpoint. From the outset she places the sexual question on a basis which brings it into line with Galton's eugenics. The problem used to be concerned, she remarks, with the insistence of society on a rigid marriage form, in conflict with the demand of the individual to gratify his desires in any manner that seemed good to him, while now it becomes a question of harmonizing the claims of the improvement of the race with the claims [108] of the individual to happiness in love. She points out that on this aspect real harmony becomes more possible. Regard for the ennoblement of the race serves as a bridge from a chaos of conflicting tendencies to a truer conception of love, and "love must become on a higher plane what it was in primitive days—a religion." She compares the growth of the conception of the vital value of love to the modern growth of the conception of the value of health as against the medieval indifference to hygiene. It is inevitable that Ellen Key, approaching the question from the emotional side, should lay less stress than Galton on the importance of scientific investigation in heredity, and insist mainly on the value of sound instincts, unfettered by false and artificial constraints, and taught to realize that the physical and the psychic aspects of life are alike "divine."

It would obviously be premature to express either approval or disapproval of the conceptions of sexual morality which Ellen Key has developed with such fervour and insight. It scarcely seems probable that the methods of sexual union, put forward as an alternative to celibacy by some of the adherents of the new movement, are likely to become widely popular, even if legalized in an increasing number of countries. I have elsewhere given reasons to believe that the path of progress lies mainly in the direction of a reform of the present institution of marriage. [67] The need of such reform is pressing, and there are many signs that it is being [109] recognized. We can scarcely doubt that the advocates of these alternative methods of sexual union will do good by stimulating the champions of marriage to increased activity in the reform of that institution. In such matters a certain amount of competition sometimes has a remarkably vivifying effect.

We may be sure that women, whose interests are so much at stake in this matter, and who tend to look at it in a practical rather than in a legal and theological spirit, will exert a powerful influence when they have acquired the ability to enforce that influence by the vote. This is significantly indicated by an inquiry held in England during 1910 by the Women's Co-operative Guild. A number of women who had held official positions in the Guild were asked (among other questions) whether or not they were in favour of divorce by mutual consent. Of 94 representative women conversant with affairs who were thus consulted, as many as 82 deliberately recorded their opinion in favour of divorce by mutual consent, and only 12 were against that highly important marriage reform.

It is probably unnecessary to discuss the opinions of other leaders in this movement, though there are several, such as Frau Grete Meisel-Hess, whose views deserve study. It will be sufficiently clear in what way this Teutonic movement differs from that Anglo-Saxon woman's rights' movement with which we have long been familiar. These German women fully recognize that women are entitled to the same human rights as men, and that until such rights are attained [110] "feminism" still has a proper task to achieve. But women must use their strength in the sphere for which their own nature fits them. Even though millions of women are enabled to do the work which men could do better the gain for mankind is nil. To put women to do men's work is (Ellen Key has declared) as foolish as to set a Beethoven or a Wagner to do engine-driving.

It has probably excited surprise in the minds of some who have been impressed by the magnitude and vitality of this movement that it should have manifested itself in Germany rather than in England, which is the original home of movements for women's emancipation, or in America, where they have reached their fullest developments. This, however, ceases to be surprising when we realize the special qualities of the Anglo-Saxon and Teutonic temperaments and the special conditions under which the two movements arose. The Anglo-Saxon movement was a special application to women of the general French movement for the logical assertion of abstract human rights. That special application was not ardently taken up in France itself, though first proclaimed by French pioneers, [68] partly perhaps because such one-sided applications make little appeal to the French mind, and mainly, no doubt, because women throughout the eighteenth century enjoyed such high [111] social consideration and exerted so much influence that they were not impelled to rise in any rebellious protest. But when the seed was brought over to England, especially in the representative form of Mary Wollstonecraft's Vindication of the Rights of Women, it fell in virgin soil which proved highly favourable to its development. This special application escaped the general condemnation which the Revolution had brought upon French ideas. Women in England were beginning to awaken to ideas,—as women in Germany are now,—and the more energetic and intelligent among them eagerly seized upon conceptions which furnished food for their activities. In large measure they have achieved their aims, and even woman's suffrage has been secured here and there, without producing any notable revolution in human affairs. The Anglo-Saxon conception of feminine progress—beneficial as it has undoubtedly been in many respects—makes little impression in Germany, partly because it fails to appeal to the emotional Teutonic temperament, and partly because the established type of German life and civilization offers very small scope for its development. When Miss Susan Anthony, the veteran pioneer of woman's movements in the United States, was presented to the German Empress she expressed a hope that the Emperor would soon confer the suffrage on German women; it is recorded that the Empress smiled, and probably most German women smiled with her. At the present time, however, there is an extraordinary amount of intellectual activity in Germany, a widespread and massive activity. For the [112] first time, moreover, it has reached women, who are taking it up with characteristic Teutonic thoroughness. But they are not imitating the methods of their Anglo-Saxon sisters; they are going to work their own way. They are spending very little energy in waving the red flag before the fortresses of male monopoly. They are following an emotional influence which, strangely enough, it may seem to some, finds more support from the biological and medical side than the Anglo-Saxon movement has always been able to win. From the time of Aristophanes downwards, whenever they have demonstrated before the masculine citadels, women have always been roughly bidden to go home. And now, here in Germany, where of all countries that advice has been most freely and persistently given, women are adopting new tactics: they have gone home. "Yes, it is true," they say in effect, "the home is our sphere. Love and marriage, the bearing and the training of children—that is our world. And we intend to lay down the laws of our world."

[52] In 1787 Condorcet declared (Lettres d'un Bourgeois de New Haven, Lettre II) that women ought to have absolutely the same rights as men, and he repeated the same statement emphatically in 1790, in an article "Sur l'Admission des Femmes au Droit de Cité," published in the Journal de la Société de 1789. It must be added that Condorcet was not a democrat, and neither to men nor to women would he grant the vote unless they were proprietors.

[53] Léopold Lacour has given a full and reliable account of Olympe de Gouges (who was born at Montauban in 1755) in his Trois Femmes de la Révolution, 1900.

[54] It is noteworthy that the Empire had even a depressing effect on the physical activities of women. The eighteenth-century woman in France, although she was not athletic in the modern sense, enjoyed a free life in the open air and was fond of physical exercises. During the Directoire this tendency became very pronounced; women wore the scantiest of garments, were out of doors in all weathers, cultivated healthy appetites, and enjoyed the best of health. But with the establishment of the Empire these wholesome fashions were discarded, and women cultivated new ideals of fragile refinement indoors. (This evolution has been traced by Dr. Lucien Nars, L'Hygiène, September, 1911.)

[55] Concerning the rise and progress of this movement in England much information is sympathetically and vivaciously set forth in W. Lyon Blease's Emancipation of English Women (1910), a book, however, which makes no claim to be judicial or impartial; the author regards "unregulated male egoism" as the source of the difficulties in the way of women's suffrage.

[56] Thus, in 1911 the National League for Opposing Women's Suffrage took an impartial poll of the women voters on the municipal register in several large constituencies, by sending a reply-paid postcard to ask whether or not they favoured the extension to women of the Parliamentary franchise. Only 5579 were in favour of it; 18,850 were against; 12,621 did not take the trouble to answer, and it was claimed, probably with reason, that a majority of these were not in favour of the vote.

[57] It must not be too hastily assumed. Unless we go back to ancient plots of the Guy Fawkes type (now only imitated by self-styled anarchists), the leaders of movements of political reform have rarely, if ever, organized outbursts of violence; such violence, when it occurred, has been the spontaneous and unpremeditated act of a mob.

[58] Revue de l'Ecole d'Anthropologie, February, 1909, p. 50.

[59] O. Schrader, Reallexicon, Art. "Keuschheit." He considers that Tacitus merely shows that German women were usually chaste after marriage. A few centuries later, Lea points out, Salvianus, while praising the barbarians generally for their chastity, makes an exception in the case of the Alemanni. (See also Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society," pp. 382-4.)

[60] Thus Kaan, anticipating Krafft-Ebing, published a Psychopathia Sexualis, in 1844, and Casper, in 1852, was the first medical authority to point out that sexual inversion is sometimes due to a congenital psychic condition.

[61] Both Forel's and Bloch's books have become well known through translations in England and America. Dr. Bloch is also the author of an extremely erudite and thorough history of syphilis, which has gone far to demonstrate that this disease was introduced into Europe from America on the first discovery of the New World at the end of the fifteenth century.

[62] This attitude is plainly reflected even in many books written by men; I may mention, for instance, Frenssen's well-known novel Hilligenlei (Holyland).

[63] In most countries illegitimacy is decreasing; in Germany it is steadily increasing, alike in rural and urban districts. Illegitimate births are, however, more numerous in the cities than in the country. Of the constituent states of the German Empire, the illegitimate birth-rate is lowest in Prussia, highest in Saxony and Bavaria. In Munich 27 per cent of the births are illegitimate. (The facts are clearly brought out in an article by Dr. Arthur Grünspan in the Berliner Tagblatt for January 6, 1911, reproduced in Die Neue Generation, July, 1911.) Thus, in Prussia, while the total births between 1903 and 1908, notwithstanding a great increase in the population, have only increased 2.6 per cent, the illegitimate births have increased as much as 11.1 per cent. The increase is marked in nearly all the German States. It is specially marked in Saxony; here the proportion of illegitimate births to the total number of births was, in 1903, 12.51 per cent, and in 1908 it had already risen to 14.40 per cent. In Berlin it is most marked; here it began in 1891, when there were nearly 47,000 legitimate births; by 1909, however, the legitimate births had fallen to 38,000, a decrease of 19.4 per cent. But illegitimate births rose during the same period from nearly 7000 to over 9000, an increase of 35 per cent. The proportion of illegitimate births to the total births is now over 20 per cent, so that to every four legitimate children there is rather more than one illegitimate child. It may be said that this is merely due to an increasing proportion of unmarried women. That, however, is not the case. The marriage-rate is on the whole rising, and the average age of women at marriage is becoming lower rather than higher. Grünspan considers that this increase in illegitimacy is likely to continue, and he is inclined to attribute it less to economic than to social-psychological causes.

[64] I have discussed this point in Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society," chap. xii.

[65] It is remarkable that in early times in Spain the laws recognized concubinage (barragania) as almost equal to marriage, and as conferring equal rights on the child, even on the sons of the clergy, who could thus inherit from their fathers by right of the privileges accorded to the concubine or barragana. Barragania, however, was not real marriage, and in many regions it could be contracted by married men (R. Altamira, Historia de España y de la Civilazacion Española, Vol. I, pp. 644 et seq.).

[66] "La femme libre," in quest of whom the young Saint-Simonians preached a crusade, must be a woman of reflection and intellect who, having meditated on the fate of her "sisters," knowing the wants of women, and having sounded those feminine capacities which man has never completely penetrated, shall give forth the confession of her sex, without restriction or reserve, in such a manner as to furnish the indispensable elements for formulating the rights and duties of woman. Saint Simon had asked Madame de Staël to undertake this rôle, but she failed to respond. When George Sand published her first novels, one Guéroult was commissioned to ascertain if the author of Lélia would undertake this important service. He found a badly dressed woman who was using her talents to gain a living, but was by no means anxious to become the high priestess of a new religion. Even after his disappointment Enfantin looked eagerly forward to the publication of George Sand's Histoire de ma Vie, hoping that at last the great revelation was coming, and he was again disillusioned. But before this Emile Barrault had arisen and declared that in the East, in the solitude of the harem, "la femme libre" would be found in the person of some odalisque. The "mission of the mother" was formed, and with Barrault at the head it set out for Constantinople. All were dressed in white as an indication of the vow of chastity they had taken before leaving Paris, and on the road they begged in the name of the Mother. They arrived at Constantinople and preached the faith of Saint-Simon to the Turks in French. But "la femme libre" seemed as far off as ever, and they resolved to go to Rotourma in Oceana, there to establish the religion of Saint-Simon and a perfect Government which might serve as a model to the States of Europe. First, however, they felt it a duty to make certain that the Mother was not hiding somewhere in Russia, and they went therefore to Odessa, but the Governor, who was wanting in sympathy, speedily turned them out, and having realized that Rotourma was some distance off, the mission broke up, most of the members going to Egypt to rejoin Enfantin, whom the Arabs, struck by his beauty, had called Abu-l-dhunieh, the Father of the World. (This account of the movement is based on that given by Maxime du Camp, in his Souvenirs Littéraires)

[67] Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society," chap. x.

[68] It is worth noting that a Frenchwoman has been called "the mother of modern feminism." Marie de Gournay, who died in 1645 at the age of eighty, is best known as the adopted daughter of Montaigne, for whom she cherished an enthusiastic reverence, becoming the first editor of his essays. Her short essay, Egalité des Hommes et des Femmes, was written in 1622. See e.g. M. Schiff, La Fille d'Alliance de Montaigne.




The Absence of Romantic Love in Classic Civilization—Marriage as a Duty—The Rise of Romantic Love in the Roman Empire—The Influence of Christianity—The Attitude of Chivalry—The Troubadours—The Courts of Love—The Influence of the Renaissance—Conventional Chivalry and Modern Civilization—The Woman Movement—The Modern Woman's Equality of Rights and Responsibilities excludes Chivalry—New Forms of Romantic Love still remain possible—Love as the Inspiration of Social Hygiene.

What will be the ultimate effect of the woman's movement, now slowly but surely taking place among us, upon romantic love? That is really a serious question, and it is much more complex than many of those who are prepared to answer it off-hand may be willing to admit.

It must be remembered that romantic love has not been a constant accompaniment of human relationships, even in civilization. It is true that various peoples very low down in the scale possess romantic love-songs, often, it appears, written by the women. But the classic civilizations of Greece and Rome in their most robust and brilliant periods knew little or nothing of romantic love in connection with normal sexual relationships culminating in marriage. Classic antiquity reveals [114] a high degree of conjugal devotion, and of domestic affection, at all events in Rome, but the right of the woman to follow the inspirations of her own heart, and the idealization and worship of the woman by the man, were not only scarcely known but, so far as they were known, reprehended or condemned. Ovid, in the opinion of some, represents a new movement in Rome. We are apt to regard Ovid as, in erotic matters, the representative of a set of immoral Roman voluptuaries. That view probably requires considerable modification. Ovid was not indeed a champion of morality, but there is no good reason to suppose that, before he appeared, the rather stern Roman mind had yet conceived those refinements and courtesies which he set forth in such charming detail. If we take a wide survey of his work, we may perhaps regard Ovid as the pioneer of a chivalrous attitude towards women and of a romantic conception of love not only new in Rome but of significance for Europe generally. Ovid was a powerful factor in the Renaissance movement, and not least in England, where his influence on Shakespeare and some others of the Elizabethans cannot easily be overrated. [69]

For the ordinary classic mind, Greek or Roman, marriage was intended for the end of building up the family, and the family was consecrated to the State. The fulfilment of so exalted a function involved a certain austere dignity which excluded wayward inclination [115] or passionate emotion. These might indeed occur between a man and a woman outside marriage, but putting aside the very limited phenomena of Athenian hetairism, they were too shameful to be idealized. Some trace of this classic attitude may be said to persist even to-day among the so-called Latin nations, notably in the French tradition (now dying out) of treating marriage as a relationship to be arranged, not by the two parties themselves, but by their parents and guardians; Montaigne, attached as he was to maxims of Roman antiquity, was not very alien from the ordinary French attitude of his time when he declared that, since we do not marry so much for our own sakes as for the sake of posterity and the race, marriage is too sacred a process to be mixed with amorous extravagance. [70] There is something to be said for that point of view which is nowadays too often forgotten, but it certainly fails to cover the whole of the ground.

It is not only in the West that a contemptuous attitude towards the romantic and erotic side of life has prevailed at some of the most vigorous moments of civilization. It is also found in the East. In Japan, for instance, even at the present day, romantic love, as a reputable element of ordinary life, is unknown or disapproved; its existence is not recognized in the schools, and the European novels that celebrate it are scarcely understood. [71]

The development of modern romantic love in connection [116] with marriage seems to be found in the late Greek world under the Roman Empire. [72] That is commonly called a period of decadence. In a certain limited sense it was. Greece had become subjugated to Rome. Rome herself had lost her military spirit and was losing her political power. But the fighting instinct, and even the ruling spirit, are not synonymous with civilization. The "decline and fall" of empires by no means necessarily involves the decay of civilization. It is now generally realized that the later Roman Empire was not, as was once thought, an age of social and moral degeneration. [73] The State indeed was dissolving, but the individual was evolving. The age which produced a Plutarch—for fifteen hundred years one of the great [117] inspiring forces of the world—was the reverse of a corrupt age. The life of the home and the life of the soul were alike developing. The home was becoming more complex, more intimate, more elevated. The soul was being turned in on itself to discover new and joyous secrets: the secret of the love of Nature, the secret of mystic religion, and, not least, the secret of romantic love. When Christianity finally conquered the Roman world its task very largely lay in taking over and developing those three secrets already discovered by Paganism.

It was inevitable, however, that in developing these new forms of the emotional life, the ascetic bent of Christianity should make itself felt. It was not possible for Christianity to cast its halo around the natural sexual life, but it was possible to refine and exalt that life, to lift it into a spiritual sphere. Neither woman the sweetheart nor woman the mother were in ordinary life glorified by the Church; they were only tolerated. But on a higher than natural plane they were surrounded by a halo and raised to the highest pedestal of reverence and even worship. The Virgin was exalted, Bride and Bridegroom became terms of mystical import, and the Holy Mother received the adoring love of all Christendom. Even in the actual relations of men and women, quite early in the history of Christianity, we sometimes find men and women cultivating relationships which excluded that earthly union the Church looked down on, but yet involved the most tender and intimate physical affection. Many charming stories of such relationships are found in the lives of the saints, and sometimes they existed [118] even within the marriage bond. [74] Christianity led to the use of ideas and terms borrowed from earthly love in a different and symbolic sense. But the undesigned result was that a new force and beauty were added to those ideas and terms, however applied, and also that many emotions were thus cultivated which became capable of re-inforcing earthly human love. In this way it happened that, though Christianity rejected the ideal of romantic love in its natural associations, it indirectly prepared the way for a loftier and deeper realization of that love.

There can be no doubt that the emotional training and refining of the fleshly instincts by Christianity was the chief cause of the rise of that conception of romantic love which we associate with the institution of chivalry. Exalted and sanctified by contact with the central dogmas of religion, the emotion of love was brought down from this spiritual atmosphere by the knightly lover, with something of its ethereal halo still clinging to it, and directed towards an earthly mistress. The most extravagant phase of romantic love which has ever been seen was then brought about, and in many cases, certainly, it was a real erotomania which passed beyond the bounds of sanity. [75] In its [119] extreme forms, however, this romantic love was a rare, localized, and short-lived manifestation. The dominant attitude of the chivalrous age towards women, as Léon Gautier has shown in his monumental work on chivalry, was one of indifference, or even contempt. The knight's thoughts were more of war than of women, and he cherished his horse more than his mistress. [76]

But women, above all in France, reacted against this attitude, and with splendid success. Their husbands treated them with indifference or left them at home while they sought adventure in the world. The neglected wives proceeded to lay down the laws of society, and took upon themselves the part of rulers in the domain of morals. In the eleventh, the twelfth, the thirteenth centuries, says Méray in a charming book on life in the days of the Courts of Love, we find women "with infinite skill and an adorable refinement seizing the moral direction of French society." They did so, he remarks, in a spirit so Utopian, so ideally poetic, that historians have hesitated to take them seriously. The laws of the Courts of Love [77] may sometimes seem to us immoral and licentious, but in reality they served to restrain the worst immoralities and licences of the time. They banished violence, they allowed no venality, and they inculcated moderation in passion. The task of the Courts of Love was facilitated by the relative degree of peace which then reigned, [120] especially by the fact that the Normans, holding both coasts of the Channel, formed a link between France and England. When the murderous activities of French kings and English kings destroyed that link, the Courts of Love were swept away in the general disorder and the progress of civilization indefinitely retarded. [78] Yet in some degree the ideals which had been thus embodied still persisted. As the Goncourts pointed out in their invaluable book, La Femme au Dix-huitième Siècle (Chap. v), from the days of chivalry even on into the eighteenth century, when on the surface at all events it apparently disappeared, an exalted ideal of love continued to be cherished in France. This conception remained associated, throughout, with the great social influence and authority which had been enjoyed by women in France even from medieval times. That influence had become pronounced during the seventeenth century, and at that time Sir Thomas Smith in his Commonwealth of England, writing of the high position of women in England, remarked that they possessed "almost as much liberty as in France."

There were at least two forms of medieval romantic love. The first arose in Provence and northern Italy during the twelfth century, and spread to Germany as Minnedienst. In this form the young knights directed their respectful and adoring devotion to a high-born married woman who chose one of them as her own cavalier, to do her service and reverence, the two vowing devotion to each other until death. It was a part of this amorous code that there could not be love between husband and [121] wife, and it was counted a mark of low breeding for a husband to challenge his wife's right to her young knight's services, though sometimes we are told the husband risked this reproach, occasionally with tragic results. This mode of love, after being eloquently sung and practised by the troubadours—usually, it appears, younger sons of noble houses—died out in the place of its origin, but it had been introduced into Spain, and the Spaniards reintroduced it into Italy when they acquired the kingdom of Naples; in Italy it was conventionalized into the firmly rooted institution of the cavaliere servente. From the standpoint of a strict morality, the institution was obviously open to question. But we can scarcely fail to see that at its origin it possessed, even if unconsciously, a quasi-religious warrant in the worship of the Holy Mother, and we have to recognize that, notwithstanding its questionable shape, it was really an effort to attain a purer and more ideal relationship than was possible in a rough and warlike age which placed the wife in subordination to her husband. A tender devotion that inspired poetry, an unalloyed respect that approached reverence, vows that were based on equal freedom and independence on both sides—these were possibilities which the men and women of that age felt to be incompatible with marriage as they knew it.

The second form of medieval romantic love was more ethereal than the first, and much more definitely and consciously based on a religious attitude. It was really the worship of the Virgin transferred to a young [122] earthly maiden, yet retaining the purity and ideality of religious worship. To so high a degree is this the case that it is sometimes difficult to be sure whether we are concerned with a real maiden of flesh and blood or only a poetic symbol of womanhood. This doubt has been raised, notably by Bartoli, concerning Dante's Beatrice, the supreme type of this ethereal love, which arose in the thirteenth century, and was chiefly cultivated in Florence. The poets of this movement were themselves aware of the religious character of their devotion to the donna angelicata to whom they even apply, as they would to the Queen of Heaven, the appellation Stella Maris. That there was an element of flesh and blood in these figures is believed by Remy de Gourmont, but when we gaze at them, he remarks, we see at first, "in place of a body only two eyes with angel's wings behind them, on the background of an azure sky sown with golden stars"; the lover is on his knees and his love has become a prayer. [79] This phase of romantic love was brief, and perhaps mostly the possession of the poets, but it represented a really important moment in the evolution of modern romantic love. It was a step towards the realization of the genuinely human charm of young womanhood in real human relationships, of which we already have a foretaste in the delicious early French story of Aucassin and Nicolette.

The re-discovery of classic literature, the movements of Humanism and the Renaissance, swept away what [123] was left of the almost religious idealization of the young virgin. The ethereal maiden, thin, pale, anæmic, disappeared alike from literature and from art, and was no longer an ideal in actual life. She gave place to a new woman, conscious of her own fully developed womanhood and all its needs, radiantly beautiful and finely shaped in every limb. She lacked the spirituality of her predecessors, but she had gained in intellect. She appears first in the pages of Boccaccio. After a long interval Titian immortalized her rich and mature beauty; she is Flora, she is Ariadne, she is alike the Earthly Love and the Heavenly Love. Every curve of her body was adoringly and minutely described by Niphus and Firenzuola. [80] She was, moreover, the courtesan whose imperial charm and adroitness enabled her to trample under foot the medieval conception of lust as sin, even in the courts of popes. At the great academic centre of Bologna, finally, she chastely taught learning and science. [81] The people of the Italian Renaissance placed women on the same level as men, and to call a woman a virago implied unalloyed praise. [82]

[124] The very mixed conditions of what we have been accustomed to consider the modern world then began for women. They were no longer cloistered—whether in convents or the home—but neither were they any longer worshipped. They began to be treated as human beings, and when men idealized them in figures of romantic charm or pathos—figures like Shakespeare's Rosalind or Marivaux's Sylvia or Richardson's Clarissa—this humanity was henceforth the common ground out of which the vision arose. But, one notes, in nearly all the great poets and novelists up to the middle of the last century, it was usually in the weakness of humanity that the artist sought the charm and pathos of his feminine figures. From Shakespeare's Ophelia to Thackeray's Amelia this is the rule, more emphatically expressed in the literature of England than of any other country. There had been no actual emancipation of women; though now they had entered the world of men, they were not yet, socially and legally, of that world. Even the medieval traditions still lived on in subtly conventionalized forms. The "chivalrous" attitude towards women was, as the word itself suggests, a medieval survival. It belonged to a period of barbarism when brutal force ruled and when the man who magnanimously placed his force at the disposition of a woman was really doing her a service and granting her a privilege. But civilization means the building up of an orderly society in which individual rights are respected, and force no longer dominates. So that as civilization advances the occasions on which women require the aid [125] of masculine force become ever fewer and more unimportant. The conventionalized chivalry of men then tends to become an offer of services which it would be better for women to do for themselves and a bestowal of privileges to which they are nowise entitled. [83] Moreover, this same chivalry is, under these conditions, apt to take on a character which is the reverse of its face value. It becomes the assertion of a power over women instead of a power on their behalf; and it carries with it a tinge of contempt in place of respect. Theoretically, a thousand chivalrous swords should leap from their scabbards to succour the distressed woman. In practice this may only mean that the thousand owners of these metaphorical weapons are on the alert to take advantage of the distressed woman.

Thus the romantic emotions based on medieval ideals gradually lost their worth. They were not in relation to the altered facts of life; they had become an empty convention which could be turned to very unromantic uses. The movement for the emancipation [126] of women was not consciously or directly a movement of revolt against an antiquated chivalry. It was rather a part of the development of civilization which rendered chivalry antique. Medieval romantic love implied in women a weakness in the soil of which only a spiritual force could flourish. The betterment of social conditions, the subordination of violence to order, the growing respect for individual rights, took away the reasons for consecrating weakness in women, and created an ever larger field in which women could freely seek to rival men, because it is a field in which knowledge and skill are of far more importance than muscular strength. The emancipation of women has simply been the later and more conscious phase of the process by which women have entered into this field and sought their share of its rights and its responsibilities.

The woman movement of modern times, properly understood, has thus been the effort of women to adapt themselves to the conditions of an orderly and peaceful civilization. Education, under the changed conditions, can effect what before needed force of arms; responsibility is now demanded where before only tutelage was possible. A civilized society in which women are ignorant and irresponsible is an anachronism, and, however great the wrench with the past might be, it was necessary that women should be adjusted to the changing times. The ideal of the weak, ignorant, inexperienced woman—the cross between an angel and an idiot, as I have elsewhere described her [84]—no longer [127] fulfilled any useful purpose. Civilized society furnishes the conditions under which all adult persons are socially equal and all are free to give to society the best they are capable of.

It was inevitable, but unfortunate, that this movement should have sometimes tended to take the form of an attempt on the part of women to secure, not merely equality with men, but actual imitation of men. These women said that since men had attained mastery in life, captured all the best things, and adopted the most successful methods of living, it was necessary for women to copy them at every point. That was a specious plea which even had in it a certain element of truth. But the fact remained that women and men are different, that the difference is based in fundamental natural functions, and that to place one sex in exactly the same position as the other sex is to deform its outlines and to hamper its activities.

From the present point of view we are only concerned with the influence of the woman's movement on love. On the traditional conception of romantic love inherited from medieval days there can be no doubt that this influence has been highly dissolvent. Medieval romantic love, in its original form, had been part of a conception of womanhood made up of opposites, and all the opposites balanced each other. The medieval man laid his homage at the feet of the great lady in the castle hall, but he himself lorded it over the wife who drudged in his own home. On his knees he gazed up in devotion at the ethereal virgin, but when she ceased to be a virgin, he [128] asserted himself by cursing her as a demon sent from hell to seduce and torment him. All this was possible because the woman was outside the orbit of the man's life, never on the same plane, necessarily higher or lower. It became difficult if woman was man's equal, absurdly impossible if she was of identical nature with him.

The medieval romantic tradition has come down to us so laden with beauty and mystery that we are apt to think, as we see it melt away, that human achievements are being permanently depreciated. That illusion occurs in every age of transition. It was notably so in the eighteenth century, which represented a highly important stage in the emancipation of women. To some that century seems to have been given up to empty gallantry and facile pleasure. Yet it was not only the age in which women for the first time succeeded in openly attaining their supreme social influence, [85] it was an age of romantic love, and the noble or poignant love-stories which have reached us from the records of that period surpass those of any other age.

If we believe with Goethe that the religion of the future consists in a triple reverence—the reverence for what is above us, the reverence for what is below us, and the reverence for our equals [86]—we need not grieve overmuch if one form of this reverence, the first, and that which Goethe regarded as the earliest and crudest, [129] has lost its exclusive claim. Reverence is essential to all romantic love. To bring down the Madonna and the Virgin from their pedestals to share with men the common responsibilities and duties of life is not to divest them of the claim to reverence. It is merely the sign of a change in the form of that reverence, a change which heralds a new romantic love.

It would be premature to attempt to define the exact outline of the new forms of romantic love, or the precise lineaments of the beings who will most ardently evoke that love. In literature, indeed, the ideals of life cast their shadow before, and we may surely trace a change in the erotic ideals mirrored in literature. The woman whom Dickens idealized in David Copperfield is unlike indeed to the series of women of a new type introduced by George Meredith, and the modern heroine generally exhibits more of the robust, open-eyed and spontaneous qualities of that later type than the blind and clinging nature of the amiable simpletons of the older type. That the changed conditions of civilization should produce new types of womanhood and of love is not surprising, if we realize that, even within the ancient chivalrous forms it was possible to produce similar robust types when the qualities of a race were favourable to them. Spain furnishes a notable illustration. Spanish literature from Cervantes and Tirso to Valera and Blasco Ibañez reflects a type of woman who stands on the same ground as man and is his equal and often his superior on that ground, alike in vigour of body and of spirit, acquiring all that she cares to of virility, while losing nothing feminine [130] that is of worth. [87] In more than one respect the ideal woman of Spain is the ideal woman our civilization now renders necessary. The women of the future, Grete Meisel-Hess declares in her femininely clever and frank discussion of present-day conditions, Die Sexuelle Krise, will be full, strong, elementary natures, devoid alike of the impulse to destroy or the aptitude to be destroyed. She considers, moreover, that so far from romantic love being a thing of the past, "love as a form of worship is reserved for the future." [88] In the past it has only been found among a few rare souls; in the future world, fostered by the finer selection of a conscious eugenics, and a new reverence and care for motherhood, we may reasonably hope for a truly efficient humanity, the bearers and conservers of the highest human emotions. It is in this sense, indeed, that the voices of the greatest and most typical leaders of the woman's movement of emancipation to-day are heard. Ellen Key, in her Love and Marriage, seeks to conciliate the cultivation of a free and sacred sexual relationship with the worship of the child, as the embodiment of the future race, while Olive Schreiner proclaims in her Woman and Labour that the woman of the future will walk side by side with man in a higher and deeper relationship than has ever been possible before because it will involve a new community in activity and insight.

Nor is it alone from the feminine side that these [131] forecasts are made. Certainly for the most part love has been cultivated more by women than by men. Primacy in the genius of intellect belongs incontestably to men, but in the genius of love it has doubtless oftener been achieved by women. They have usually understood better than men that in this matter, as Goethe insisted, it is the lover and not the beloved who reaps the chief fruits of love. "It is better to love, even violently," wrote the forsaken Portuguese nun, in her immortal Letters, "than merely to be loved." He who loses his life here saves it, for it is only in so far as he becomes a crucified god that Love wins the sacrifice of human hearts. Of late years, by an inevitable reaction, women have sometimes forgotten this eternal verity. The women of the twentieth century in their anxiety for self-possession and their rightful eagerness to gain positions they feel they have been too long excluded from, have perhaps yet failed to realize that the women of the eighteenth century, who exerted a sway over life that the women of no age before or since have possessed, were, above all women, great and heroic lovers, and that those two fundamental facts cannot be cut asunder. But this failure, temporary as it is doubtless destined to be, will work for good if it is the point of departure for a revival among men of the art of love.

Men indeed have here fallen behind women. The old saying, so tediously often quoted, concerning love as a "thing apart" in the lives of men would scarcely have occurred to a medieval poet of Provence or Florence. It is not enough for women to proclaim a new avatar [132] of love if men are not ready and eager to learn its art and to practise its discipline. In a profoundly suggestive fragment on love, left incomplete at his death by the distinguished sociologist Tarde, [89] he suggests that when masculine energy dies down in the fields of political ambition and commercial gain, as it already has in the field of warfare, the energy liberated by greater social organization and cohesion may find scope once more in love. For too long a period love, like war and politics and commerce, has been chiefly monopolized by the predatory type of man, in this field symbolized by the figure of Don Juan. In the future, Tarde suggests, the Don Juan type of lover may fall into disrepute, giving place to the Virgilian type, for whom love is not a thing apart but a form of life embodying its best and highest activities.

When we come upon utterances of this kind we are tempted to think that they represent merely the poetic dreams of individuals, standing too far ahead of their fellows to possess any significance for men and women in general. But it is probable that Ovid, and certain that Dante, set forth erotic conceptions that were unintelligible to most of their contemporaries, yet they have been immensely influential over the ideas and emotions of men in later ages. The poets and prophets of one generation are engaged in moulding ideals which will be realized in the lives of a subsequent generation; in expressing their own most intimate emotions, as it [133] has been truly said, they become the leaders in a long file of men and women. Whatever may yet be uncertain and undefined, we may assuredly believe that the emotion of love is far too deeply rooted in the depth of man's organism and woman's organism ever to be torn out or ever to be thrust into a subordinate place. And we may also believe that there is no measurable limit to its power of putting forth ever new and miraculous flowers. It is recorded that once, in James Hinton's presence, the conversation turned on music, and it was suggested that, owing to the limited number of musical combinations and the unlimited number of musical compositions, a time would come when all music would only be a repetition of exhausted harmonies. Hinton remarked that then would come a man so inspired by a new spirit that his feeling would be, not that all music has been written, but that no music has yet been written. It was a memorable saying. In every field that is the perpetual proclamation of genius: Behold! I create all things new. And in this field of love we can conceive of no age in which to the inspired seer it will not be possible to feel: There has yet been no love!

[69] See especially Sidney Lee, "Ovid and Shakespeare's Sonnets," Quarterly Review, April, 1909.

[70] Montaigne, Essais, Book III, chap. V.

[71] See e.g. Mrs. Fraser, World's Work and Play, December, 1906.

[72] A more modern feeling for love and marriage begins to emerge, however, at a much earlier period, with Menander and the New Comedy. E.F.M. Benecke, in his interesting little book on Antimachus of Colophon and the Position of Women in Greek Poetry, believes that the romantic idea (that is to say, the idea that a woman is a worthy object for a man's love, and that such love may well be the chief, if not the only, aim of a man's life) had originally been propounded by Antimachus at the end of the fifth century B.C. Antimachus, said to have been the friend of Plato, had been united to a woman of Lydia (where women, we know, occupied a very high position) and her death inspired him to write a long poem, Lyde, "the first love poem ever addressed by a Greek to his wife after death." Only a few lines of this poem survive. But Antimachus seems to have greatly influenced Philetas (whom Croiset calls "the first of the Alexandrians") and Asclepiades of Samos, tender and exquisite poets whom also we only know by a few fragments. Benecke's arguments, therefore, however probable, cannot be satisfactorily substantiated.

[73] As I have elsewhere pointed out (Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society," chap. ix), most modern authorities—Friedländer, Dill, Donaldson, etc.—consider that there was no real moral decline in the later Roman Empire; we must not accept the pictures presented by satirists, pagan or Christian, as of general application.

[74] I have discussed this phase of early Christianity in the sixth volume of Studies in the Psychology of Sex, "Sex in Relation to Society," chap. V.

[75] Ulrich von Lichtenstein, in the thirteenth century, is the typical example of this chivalrous erotomania. His account of his own adventures has been questioned, but Reinhold Becker (Wahrheit und Dichtung in Ulrich von Lichtenstein's Frauendienst, 1888) considers that, though much exaggerated, it is in substance true.

[76] Léon Gautier, La Chevalerie, pp. 236-8, 348-50.

[77] The chief source of information on these Courts is André le Chapelain's De Arte Amatoria. Boccaccio made use of this work, though without mentioning the author's name, in his own Dialogo d' Amore.

[78] A. Méray, La Vie au Temps des Cours d'Amour, 1876.

[79] Remy de Gourmont, Dante, Béatrice et la Poésie Amoureuse, 1907, p. 32.

[80] Niphus (born about 1473), a physician and philosopher of the Papal Court, wrote in his De Pulchro, sometimes considered the first modern treatise on æsthetics, a minute description of Joan of Aragon, whose portrait, traditionally ascribed to Raphael, is in the Louvre. The famous work of Firenzuola (born 1493) entitled Dialogo delle Bellezze delle Donne, was published in 1548. It has been translated into English by Clara Bell under the title On the Beauty of Women.

[81] See, for example, Edith Coulson James, Bologna: Its History, Antiquities and Art, 1911.

[82] See, for an interesting account of the position of women in the Italian Renaissance, Burckhardt, Die Kultur der Renaissance, Part V, ch. vi.

[83] I may quote the following remarks from a communication I have received from a University man: "I am prepared to show women, and to expect from them, precisely the same amount of consideration as I show to or expect from other men, but I rather resent being expected to make a preferential difference. For example, in a crowded tram I see no more adequate reason for giving up my seat to a young and healthy girl than for expecting her to give up hers to me; I would do so cheerfully for an old person of either sex on the ground that I am probably better fit to stand the fatigue of 'strap-hanging,' and because I recognize that some respect is due to age; but if persons get into over-full vehicles they should not expect first-comers to turn out of their seats merely because they happen to be men." This writer acknowledges, indeed, that he is not very sensitive to the erotic attraction of women, but it is probable that the changing status of women will render the attitude he expresses more and more common among men.

[84] Ante, p. 58.

[85] "Women then were queens," as Taine writes (L'Ancien Régime, Vol. I, p. 219), and he gives references to illustrate the point.

[86] Goethe, Wilhelm Meisters Wanderjahre, Book II, ch. i.

[87] Havelock Ellis, The Soul of Spain, chap. III, "The Women of Spain."

[88] Grete Meisel-Hess, Die Sexuelle Krise, 1909, pp. 148, 168.

[89] "La Morale Sexuelle," Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle, January, 1907.




The Fall of the Birth-rate in Europe generally—In England—In Germany—In the United States—In Canada—In Australasia—"Crude" Birth-rate and "Corrected" Birth-rate—The Connection between High Birth-rate and High Death-rate—"Natural Increase" measured by Excess of Births over Deaths—The Measure of National Well-being—The Example of Russia—Japan—China—The Necessity of viewing the Question from a wide Standpoint—The Prevalence of Neo-Malthusian Methods—Influence of the Roman Catholic Church—Other Influences lowering the Birth-rate—Influence of Postponement of Marriage—Relation of the Birth-rate to Commercial and Industrial Activity—Illustrated by Russia, Hungary, and Australia—The Relation of Prosperity to Fertility—The Social Capillarity Theory—Divergence of the Birth-rate and the Marriage-rate—Marriage-rate and the Movement of Prices—Prosperity and Civilization—Fertility among Savages—The lesser Fertility of Urban Populations—Effect of Urbanization on Physical Development—Why Prosperity fails permanently to increase Fertility—Prosperity creates Restraints on Fertility—The Process of Civilization involves Decreased Fertility—In this Respect it is a Continuation of Zoological Evolution—Large Families as a Stigma of Degeneration—The Decreased Fertility of Civilization a General Historical Fact—The Ideals of Civilization to-day—The East and the West.


One of the most interesting phenomena of the early part of the nineteenth century was the immense expansion of the people of the so-called "Anglo-Saxon" race. [90] This expansion coincided with that development of industrial and commercial activity [135] which made the English people, who had previously impressed foreigners as somewhat lazy and drunken, into "a nation of shopkeepers." It also coincided with the end of the supremacy of France in Europe; France had succeeded to Spain as the leading power in Europe, and had on the whole maintained a supremacy which Napoleon brought to a climax, and, in doing so, crushed. The growing prosperity of England represented an entirely new wave of influence, mainly economic in character, but not less forceful than that of Spain and of France had been; and this prosperity was reflected in the growth of the nation. The greater part of the Victorian period was marked by this expansion of population, which reached its highest point in the early years of the second half of that period. While the population of England was thus increasing with ever greater rapidity at home, at the same time the English-speaking peoples overspread the whole of North America, and colonized the fertile fringe of Australia. It was, on a still larger scale, a phenomenon similar to that which had occurred three hundred years earlier, when Spain covered the world and founded an empire upon which, as Spaniards proudly boasted, the sun never set.

When now, a century later, we survey the situation, not only has industrial and commercial activity ceased to be a special attribute of the Anglo-Saxons—since the Germans have here shown themselves to possess qualities of the highest order, and other countries are rapidly rivalling them—but within the limits of the English-speaking world itself the English have found formidable [136] rivals in the Americans. Underlying, however, even these great changes there is a still more fundamental fact to be considered, a fact which affects all branches of the race; and that is, that the Anglo-Saxons have passed their great epoch of expansion and that their birth-rate is rapidly falling to a normal level, that is to say, to the average level of the world in general. Disregarding the extremely important point of the death-rate in its bearing on the birth-rate, England is seen to possess a medium birth-rate among European countries, not among the countries with a high birth-rate, like Russia, Roumania, or Bulgaria, nor among those with a low birth-rate, like Sweden, Belgium, and France. It was in this last country that the movement of decline in the European birth-rate began, and though the rate of decline has in France now become very gradual the long period through which it has extended has placed France in the lowest place, so far as Europe is concerned. In 1908 out of a total of over 11,000,000 French families, in nearly 2,000,000 there were no children, and in nearly 3,000,000 there was only one child. [91] The general decline in the European birth-rate, during the years 1901-1905, was only slight in Switzerland, Ireland and Spain, while it was large not only in France, but in Italy, Servia, England and Wales, and especially in Hungary (while, outside Europe, it was largest of all in South Australia). Since 1905 there has been a further general decline throughout Europe, only excepting Ireland, Bulgaria, and Roumania. In Prussia [137] in 1881-1885 the birth-rate was 37.4; in 1909 it was only 31.8; while in the German Empire as a whole it is throughout lower than in Prussia, though somewhat higher than in England. In Austria and Spain alone of European countries during the twenty years between 1881 and 1901 was there any tendency for the fertility of wives to increase. In all other countries there was a decrease, greatest in Belgium, next greatest in France, then in England. [92]

If we consider the question, not on the basis of the crude birth-rate, but of the "corrected" birth-rate, with more exact reference to the child-producing elements in the population, as is done by Newsholme and Stevenson, [93] we find that the greatest decline has taken place in New South Wales, then in Victoria, Belgium, and Saxony, followed by New Zealand. But France, the German Empire generally, England, and Denmark all show a considerable fall; while Sweden and Norway show a fall, which, especially in Norway, is slight. Norway illustrates the difference between the "crude" and the "corrected" birth-rate; the crude birth-rate is lower than that of Saxony, but the corrected birth-rate is higher. Ireland, again, has a very low crude birth-rate, but the population of child-bearing age has a high birth-rate, considerably higher than that of England.

Thus while forty years ago it was usual for both the English and the Germans to contemplate, perhaps with [138] some complacency, the spectacle of the falling birth-rate in France as compared with the high birth-rate in England and Germany, we are now seen to be all marching along the same road. In 1876 the English birth-rate reached its maximum of 36.3 per thousand; while in France the birth-rate now appears almost to have reached its lowest level. Germany, like England, now also has a falling birth-rate, though it will take some time to sink to the English level. The birth-rate for Germany generally is still much higher than for England generally, but urbanization in Germany seems to have a greater influence than in England in lowering the birth-rate, and for many years past the birth-rate of Berlin has been lower than that of London. The birth-rate in Germany has long been steadily falling, and the increase in the population of Germany is due to a concomitant steady fall in the death-rate, a fall to which there are inevitable natural limits. [94] Moreover, as Flux has shown, [95] urbanization is going on at a greater speed in Germany than in England, and practically the entire natural increase of the German population for a quarter of a century has drifted into the towns. But the death-rate of the young in German towns is far higher than in English towns, and the first five years of life in Germany produce as much mortality as the first twenty-five years in England. [96] So that a [139] thousand children born in England add far more to the population than a thousand children born in Germany. The average number of children per family in German towns is less than in English towns of the same size. These results, reached by Flux, suggest that in a few years' time the rate of increase in the German population will be lower than it is at present in England. In England, since 1876, the decline has been so rapid as to be equal to 20 per cent within a generation, and in some of the large towns to 40 per cent. Against this there has, indeed, to be set the general tendency during recent years for the death-rate to fall also. But this saving of life has until lately been effected mainly at the higher ages; there has been but little saving of the lives of infants, upon whom the death-rate falls most heavily. Accompanying this falling off in the number of children produced there has often been, as we might expect, a fall in the marriage-rate; but this has been less regular, and of late the marriage-rate has sometimes been high when the birth-rate was low. [97] There has, however, been a [140] steady postponement of the average age at which marriage takes place. On the whole, the main fact that emerges is, that nowadays in England we marry less and have fewer children.

This is now a familiar fact, and perhaps it should not excite very great surprise. England is an old and fairly stable country, and it may be said that it would be unreasonable to expect its population to retain indefinitely a high degree of fertility. Whether this is so or not, there is the further consideration to be borne in mind that, during nearly the whole of the Victorian period, emigration of the most vigorous stocks took place to a very marked extent. It is not difficult to see the influence of such emigration in connection with the greatly diminished population of Ireland, as compared with Scotland; and we may reasonably infer that it has had its part in the decreased fertility of the United Kingdom generally.

But we encounter the remarkable fact that this decreased fertility of the Anglo-Saxon populations is not confined to the United Kingdom. It is even more pronounced in those very lands to which so many thousand shiploads of our best people have been taken. In the United States the question has attracted much attention, and there is little disagreement among careful observers as to the main facts of the situation. The question is, [141] indeed, somewhat difficult for two reasons: the registration of births is not generally compulsory in the United States, and, even when general facts are ascertained, it is still necessary to distinguish between the different classes of the population. Our conclusions must therefore be based, not on the course of a general birth-rate, but on the most reliable calculations, based on the census returns and on the average size of the family at different periods, and among different classes of the population. A bulletin of the Census Bureau of the United States since 1860 was prepared a few years ago by Walter F. Wilcox, of Cornell University. It determines from the data in the census office the proportion of children to the number of women of child-bearing age in the country at different periods, and shows that there has been, on the whole, a fall from the beginning to the end of the last century. Children under ten years of age constituted one-third of the population at the beginning of the century, and at the end less than one-fourth of the total population. Between 1850 and 1860 the proportion of children to women between fifteen and forty-nine years of age increased, but since 1860 it has constantly decreased. In 1860 the number of children under five years of age to one thousand women between fifteen and forty-nine years of age was 634; in 1900 it was only 474. The proportion of children to potential mothers in 1900 was only three-fourths as large as in 1860. In the north and west of the United States the decline has been regular, while in the south the change has been less regular and the decline less marked. A comparison is [142] made between the proportion of children in the foreign-born population and in the American. The former was 710 to the latter's 462. In the coloured population the proportion of children is greater than in the corresponding white population.

There can be no doubt whatever that, from the eighteenth century to the twentieth, there has been a steady decrease in the size of the American family. Franklin, in the eighteenth century, estimated that the average number of children to a married couple was eight; genealogical records show that, while in the seventeenth century it was nearly seven, it was over six at the end of the eighteenth century. Since then, as Engelmann and others have shown, there has been a steady decrease in the size of the family; in the earlier years of the nineteenth century there were between four and five children to each marriage, while by the end of the century the number of children had fallen to between four and but little over one. Engelmann finds that there is but a very trifling difference in this respect between the upper and the lower social classes; the average for the labouring classes at St. Louis he finds to be about two, and for the higher classes a little less. It is among the foreign-born population, and among those of foreign parents, that the larger families are found; thus Kuczynski, by analysing the census, finds that in Massachusetts the average number of children to each married woman among the American-born of all social classes is 2.7, while among the foreign-born of all social classes it is 4.5. Moreover, sterility is much more frequent among American women [143] than among foreign women in America. Among various groups in Boston, St. Louis, and elsewhere it varies between 20 and 23 per cent, and in some smaller groups is even considerably higher, while among the foreign-born it is only 13 per cent. The net result is that the general natality of the United States at the present day is about equal to that of France, but that, when we analyse the facts, the fertility of the old native-born American population of mainly Anglo-Saxon origin is found to be lower than that of France. This element, therefore, is rapidly dwindling away in the United States. The general level of the birth-rate is maintained by the foreign immigrants, who in many States (as in New York, Massachusetts, Michigan, and Minnesota) constitute the majority of the population, and altogether number considerably over ten millions. Among these immigrants the Anglo-Saxon element is now very small. Indeed, the whole North European contingent among the American immigrants, which was formerly nearly 90 per cent of the whole, has since 1890 steadily sunk, and the majority of the immigrants now belong to the Central, Southern, and Eastern European stocks. The racial, and, it is probable, the psychological characteristics of the people of the United States are thus beginning to undergo, not merely modification, but, it may almost be said, a revolution. If, as we may well believe, the influence of the original North-European racial elements—Anglo-Saxon, Dutch, and French—still continues to persist in the United States, it can only be the influence of a small aristocracy, maintained by intellect and character.

[144] When we turn to Canada, a land that is imposing, less by the actual size of the population than by the vast tracts it possesses for its development, the question has not yet been fully investigated; but such facts and official publications as I have been able to obtain all indicate that, in this matter, the English Canadians approximate to the native Americans. In the United States it is the European immigrants who maintain the general population at a productive level, and thus indirectly oust the Anglo-Saxon element. In Canada the chief dividing line is between the Anglo-Saxon element and the old French element in the population; and here it is the French Canadians who are gaining ground on the English elements in the population. Engelmann ascertained that an examination of one thousand families in the records of Quebec Life Assurance companies shows 9.2 children on the average to the French Canadian child-bearing woman. It is found also from the records of the French Canadian Society for Artisans that 500 families from town districts, taken at random, show 9.06 children per family, and 500 families from country districts show 9.33 children per family. [98] It must be remembered that this average, which is even higher than that found in Russia, the most prolific of European countries, is not quite the same as the number of children per marriage; but it indicates very great fertility, while it may be noted also that sterile marriages are comparatively rare among French Canadians, although among English Canadians the proportion of childless families is found [145] to be almost exactly the same (nearly 20 per cent) as among the infertile Americans of Massachusetts. The annual Reports of the Registrar-General of Ontario, a province which is predominantly of Anglo-Saxon origin, show that the average birth-rate during the decade 1899-1908 has been 22.3 per 1000; it must be noted, however, that there has been a gradual rise from a rate of 19.4 in 1899 to one of 25.6 in 1908. The report of Mr. Prévost, the recorder of vital statistics for the predominantly French province of Quebec, shows much higher rates. The general birth-rate for the province for the year 1901 is high, being 35.2, much higher than that of England, and nearly as high as that of Germany. If, however, we consider the thirty-five counties of the province in which the population is almost exclusively French Canadian, we find that 35 represents almost the lowest average; as many as twenty-two of these counties show a rate of over forty, and one (Yamaska) reached 51.52. It is very evident that, in order to pull down these high birth-rates to the general level of 35.2, we have to assume a much lower birth-rate among the counties in which the English element is considerable. It must be remembered, however, that infant mortality is high among the French Canadians. The French Canadian Catholic, it has been said, would shrink in horror from such an unnatural crime as limiting his family before birth, but he sees nothing repugnant to God or man in allowing the surplus excess of children to die after birth. In this he is at one with the Chinese. Dr. E.P. La Chapelle, the President of the Provincial Conseil d'Hygiène, [146] wrote some years ago to Professor Davidson, in answer to inquiries: "I do not believe it would be correct to ascribe the phenomenon to any single cause, and I am convinced it is the result of several factors. For one, the first cause of the heavy infant mortality among the French Canadians is their very heavy natality, each family being composed of an average of twelve children, and instances of families of fifteen, eighteen, and even twenty-four children being not uncommon. The super-abundance of children renders, I think, parents less careful about them." [99]

The net result is a slight increase on the part of the French Canadians, as compared with the English element in the province, as becomes clear when we compare the proportion of the population of English, Scotch, Irish, and all other nationalities with the total population of the province, now and thirty years ago. In 1871 it was 21 per cent; in 1901 it was only 19 per cent. The decrease of the Anglo-Saxons may here appear to be small, though it must be remembered that thirty years is but a short period in the history of a nation; but it is significant when we bear in mind that the English element has here been constantly reinforced by immigrants (who, as the experience of the United States shows, are by no means an infertile class), and that such reinforcement cannot be expected to continue in the future.

From Australia comes the same story of the decline of Anglo-Saxon fertility. In nearly all the Australian colonies [147] the highest birth-rate was reached some twenty or thirty years ago. Since then there has been a more or less steady fall, accompanied by a marked decrease in the number of marriages, and a tendency to postpone the age of marriage. One colony, Western Australia, has a birth-rate which sometimes fluctuates above that of England; but it is the youngest of the colonies, and, at present, that with the smallest population, largely composed of recent immigrants. We may be quite sure that its comparatively high birth-rate is merely a temporary phenomenon. A very notable fact about the Australian birth-rate is the extreme rapidity with which the fall has taken place; thus Queensland, in 1890, had a birth-rate of 37, but by 1899 the rate had steadily fallen to 27, and the Victorian rate during the same period fell from 33 to 26 per thousand. In New South Wales, the state of things has been carefully studied by Mr. Coghlan, formerly Government statistician of New South Wales, who comes to the conclusion that the proportion of fertile marriages is declining, and that (as in the United States) it is the recent European immigrants only who show a comparatively high birth-rate. Until 1880, Coghlan states, the Australasian birth-rate was about 38 per thousand, and the average number of children to the family about 5.4. In 1901 the birth-rate had already fallen to 27.6 and the size of the family to 3.6 children. [100] It should be added [148] that in all the Australasian colonies the birth-rate reached its lowest point some years ago, and may now be regarded as in a state of normal equipoise with a slight tendency to rise. The case of New Zealand is specially interesting. New Zealand once had the highest birth-rate of all the Australasian colonies; it is without doubt the most advanced of all in social and legislative matters; a variety of social reforms, which other countries are struggling for, are, in New Zealand, firmly established. Its prosperity is shown by the fact that it has the lowest death-rate of any country in the world, only 10.2 per thousand, as against 24 in Austria and 22 in France; it cannot even be said that the marriage-rate is very low, for it is scarcely lower than that of Austria, where the birth-rate is high. Yet the birth-rate in New Zealand fell as the social prosperity of the country rose, reaching its lowest point in 1899.

We thus find that from the three great Anglo-Saxon centres of the world—north, west, and south—the same story comes. We need not consider the case of South Africa, for it is well recognized that there the English constitute a comparatively infertile fringe, mostly confined to the towns, while the earlier Dutch element is far more prolific and firmly rooted in the soil. The position of the Dutch there is much the same as that of the French in Canada.

Thus we find that among highly civilized races generally, and not least among the English-speaking peoples who were once regarded as peculiarly prolific, a great diminution of reproductive activity has taken [149] place during the past forty years, and is in some countries still taking place. But before we proceed to consider its significance it may be well to look a little more closely at our facts.

We have seen that the "crude" birth-rate is not an altogether reliable index of the reproductive energy of a nation. Various circumstances may cause an excess or a defect of persons of reproductive age in a community, and unless we allow for these variations, we cannot estimate whether that community is exercising its reproductive powers in a fairly normal manner. But there is another and still more important consideration always to be borne in mind before we can attach any far-reaching significance even to the corrected birth-rate. We have, that is, to bear in mind that a high or a low birth-rate has no meaning, so far as the growth of a nation is concerned, unless it is considered in relation to the death-rate. The natural increase of a nation is not the result of its birth-rate, but of its birth-rate minus its death-rate. A low birth-rate with a low death-rate (as in Australasia) produces a far greater natural increase than a low birth-rate with a rather high death-rate (as in France), and may even produce as great an increase as a very high birth-rate with a very high death-rate (as in Russia). Many worthy people might have been spared the utterance of foolish and mischievous jeremiads, if, instead of being content with a hasty glance at the crude birth-rate, they had paused to consider this fairly obvious fact.

There is an intimate connection between a high birth-rate [150] and a high death-rate, between a low birth-rate and a low death-rate. It may not, indeed, be an absolutely necessary connection, and is not the outcome of any mysterious "law." But it usually exists, and the reasons are fairly obvious. We have already encountered the statement from an official Canadian source that the large infantile mortality of French Canadian families is due to parental carelessness, consequent, no doubt, not only on the dimly felt consciousness that children are cheap, but much more on inability to cope with the manifold cares involved by a large family. Among the English working class every doctor knows the thinly veiled indifference or even repulsion with which women view the seemingly endless stream of babies they give birth to. Among the Berlin working class, also, Hamburger's important investigation has indicated how serious a cause of infantile mortality this may be. By taking 374 working-class women, who had been married twenty years and conceived 3183 times, he found that the net result in surviving children was relatively more than twice as great among the women who had only had one child when compared to the women who had had fifteen children. The women with only one child brought 76.47 per cent of these children to maturity; the women who had produced fifteen children could only bring 30.66 of them to maturity; the intermediate groups showed a gradual fall to this low level, the only exception being that the mothers of three children were somewhat more successful than the mothers of two children. Among well-to-do mothers Hamburger [151] found no such marked contrast between the net product of large families as compared to small families. [101]

It we look at the matter from a wider standpoint we can have no difficulty in realizing that a community which is reproducing itself rapidly must always be in an unstable state of disorganization highly unfavourable to the welfare of its members, and especially of the new-comers; a community which is reproducing itself slowly is in a stable and organized condition which permits it to undertake adequately the guardianship of its new members. The high infantile mortality of the community with a high birth-rate merely means that that community is unconsciously making a violent and murderous effort to attain to the more stable and organized level of the country with a low birth-rate.

The English Registrar-General in 1907 estimated the natural increase by excess of births over deaths as exceptionally high (higher than that of England) in several Australian Colonies, in the Balkan States, in Russia, the Netherlands, the German Empire, Denmark, and Norway, though in the majority of these lands the birth-rate is very low. On the other hand, the natural increase by excess of births over deaths is below the English rate in Austria, in Hungary, in Japan, in Italy, in Sweden, Switzerland, Spain, Belgium, and Ontario, though in the majority of these lands the birth-rate is high, and in some very high. [102] [152] In most cases it is the high death-rate in infancy and childhood which exercises the counterbalancing influence against a high birth-rate; the death-rate in adult life may be quite moderate. And with few exceptions we find that a high infantile mortality accompanies a high birth-rate, while a low infantile mortality accompanies a low birth-rate. It is evident, however, that even an extremely high infantile mortality is no impediment to a large natural increase provided the birth-rate is extremely high to a more than corresponding extent. But a natural increase thus achieved seems to be accompanied by far more disastrous social conditions than when an equally large increase is achieved by a low infantile death-rate working in association with a low birth-rate. Thus in Norway on one side of the world and in Australasia on the opposite side we see a large natural increase effected not by a profuse expenditure of mostly wasted births but by an economy in deaths, and the increase thus effected is accompanied by highly favourable social conditions, and great national vigour. Norway appears to have the lowest infantile death-rate in Europe. [103]

[153] Rubin has suggested that the fairest measure of a country's well-being, as regards its actual vitality—without direct regard, of course, to the country's economic prosperity—is the square of the death-rate divided by the birth-rate. [104] Sir J.A. Baines, who accepts this test, states that Argentina with its high birth-rate and low death-rate stands even above Norway, and Australia still higher, while the climax for the world is attained by New Zealand, which has attained "the nearest approach to immortality yet on record." [105] The order of descending well-being in Europe is thus represented (at the year 1900) by Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Holland, England, Scotland, Finland, Belgium, Switzerland, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, Italy, Austria, France, and Spain.

On the other hand, in all the countries, probably without exception, in which a large natural increase is effected by the efforts of an immense birth-rate to overcome an enormous death-rate the end is only effected with much friction and misery, and the process is accompanied by a general retardation of civilization. [154] "The greater the number of children," as Hamburger puts it, "the greater the cost of each survivor to the family and to the State."

Russia presents not only the most typical but the most stupendous and appalling example of this process. Thirty years ago the mortality of infants under one year was three times that of Norway, nearly double that of England. More recently (1896-1900) the infantile mortality in Russia has fallen from 313 to 261, but as that of the other countries has also fallen it still preserves nearly the same relative position, remaining the highest in Europe, while if we compare it with countries outside Europe we find it is considerably more than four times greater than that of South Australia. In one town in the government of Perm, some years ago if not still, the mortality of infants under one year regularly reached 45 per cent, and the deaths of children under five years constituted half the total mortality. This is abnormally high even for Russia, but for all Russia it was found that of the boys born in a single year during the second half of the last century only 50 per cent reached their twenty-first year, and even of these only 37.6 per cent were fit for military service. It is estimated that there die in Russia 15 per thousand more individuals than among the same number in England; this excess mortality represents a loss of 1,650,000 lives to the State every year. [106]

Thus Russia has the highest birth-rate and at the [155] same time the highest death-rate. The large countries which, after Russia, have the highest infantile mortality are Austria, Hungary, Prussia, Spain, Italy, and Japan; all these, as we should expect, have a somewhat high birth-rate.

The case of Japan is interesting as that of a vigorous young Eastern nation, which has assimilated Western ways and is encountering the evils which come of those ways. Japan is certainly worthy of all our admiration for the skill and vigour with which it has affirmed its young nationality along Western lines. But when the vital statistics of Japan are vaguely referred to either as a model for our imitation or as a threatening peril to us, we may do well to look into the matter a little more closely. The infantile mortality of Japan (1908) is 157, a very high figure, 50 per cent higher than that of England, much more than double that of New Zealand, or South Australia. Moreover, it has rapidly risen during the last ten years. The birth-rate of Japan in 1901-2 was high (36), though it has since fallen to the level of ten years ago. But the death-rate has risen concomitantly (to over 24 per 1000), and has continued to rise notwithstanding the slight decline in the birth-rate. We see here a tendency to the sinister combination of a falling birth-rate with a rising death-rate. [107] It is obvious that such a tendency, if continued, will furnish a serious problem to Japanese social reformers, [156] and at the same time make it impossible for Western alarmists to regard the rise of Japan as a menace to the world.

It is behind China that these alarmists, when driven from every other position, finally entrench themselves. "The ultimate future of these islands may be to the Chinese," incautiously exclaims Mr. Sidney Webb, who on many subjects, unconnected with China, speaks with authority. The knowledge of the vital statistics of China possessed by our alarmists is vague to the most extreme degree, but as the knowledge of all of us is scarcely less vague, they assume that their position is fairly safe. That, however, is an altogether questionable assumption. It seems to be quite true—though in the absence of exact statistics it may not be certain—that the birth-rate in China is very high. But it is quite certain that the infantile death-rate is extremely high. "Out of ten children born among us, three, normally the weakest three, will fail to grow up: out of ten children born in China these weakest three will die, and probably five more besides," writes Professor Ross, who is intimately acquainted with Chinese conditions, and has closely questioned thirty-three physicians practising in various parts of China. [108] Matignon, a French physician familiar with China, states that it is the custom for a woman to suckle her child for at least three years; should pregnancy occur during this period, it is usual, [157] and quite legal, to procure abortion. Infants brought up by hand are fed on rice-flour and water, and consequently they nearly all die. [109]

Putting aside altogether the question of infanticide, such a state of things is far from incredible when we remember the extremely insanitary state of China, the superstitions that flourish unchecked, and the famines, floods, and pestilences that devastate the country. It would appear probable that when vital statistics are introduced into China they will reveal a condition of things very similar to that we find in Russia, but in a more marked degree. No doubt it is a state of things which will be remedied. It is a not unreasonable assumption, supported by many indications, that China will follow Japan in the adoption of Western methods of civilization. [110] These methods, as we know, involve in the end a low birth-rate with a general tendency to a lower death-rate. Neither in the near nor in the remote future, under present conditions or under probable future conditions, is there any reason for imagining that the Chinese are likely to replace the Europeans in Europe. [111]

[158] This preliminary survey of the ground may enable us to realize that not only must we be cautious in attaching importance to the crude birth-rate until it is corrected, but that even as usually corrected the birth-rate can give us no clue at all to natural increase because there is a marked tendency for the birth-rate and the infantile death-rate to rise or sink together. Moreover, it is evident that we have also to realize that from the point of view of society and civilization there is a vast difference between the natural increase which is achieved by the effort of an enormously high birth-rate to overcome an almost correspondingly high death-rate and the natural increase which is attained by the dominance of a low birth-rate over a still lower death-rate.

Having thus cleared the ground, we may proceed to attempt the interpretation of the declining birth-rate which marks civilization, and to discuss its significance.


It must be admitted that it is not usual to consider the question of the declining birth-rate from a broad or scientific standpoint. As we have seen, no attempt is usually made to correct the crude birth-rate; still more rarely is it pointed out that we cannot consider the significance of a falling birth-rate apart from the question of the death-rate, and that the net increase or decrease in a nation can only be judged by taking both these factors into account. It is scarcely necessary to add, in view of so superficial a way of looking at [159] the problem, that we hardly ever find any attempt to deal with the more fundamental question of the meaning of a low birth-rate, and the problematical character of the advantages of rapid multiplication. The whole question is usually left to the ignorant preachers of the gospel of brute force, would-be patriots who desire their own country to increase at the cost of all other countries, not merely in ignorance of the fact that the crude birth-rate is not the index of increase, but reckless of the effect their desire, if fulfilled, would have upon all the higher and finer ends of living.

When the question is thus narrowly and ignorantly considered, it is usual to account for the decreased birth-rate, the smaller average families, and the tendency to postpone the age of marriage, as due mainly to a love of luxury and vice, combined with a newly acquired acquaintance with Neo-Malthusian methods, [112] which must be combated, and may successfully be combated, by inculcating, as a moral and patriotic duty, the necessity of marrying early and procreating large families. [113] In France, the campaign against the [160] religious Orders in their educational capacity, while doubtless largely directed against educational inefficiency, was also supported by the feeling that such education is not on the side of family life; and Arsène Dumont, one of the most vigorous champions of a strenuously active policy for increasing the birth-rate, openly protested against allowing any place as teachers to priests, monks, and nuns, whose direct and indirect influence must degrade the conception of sex and its duties while exalting the place of celibacy. In the United States, also, Engelmann, who, as a gynæcologist, was able to see this process from behind the scenes, urged his fellow-countrymen "to stay the dangerous and criminal practices which are the main determining factors of decreasing fecundity, and which deprive women of health, the family of its highest blessings, and the nation of its staunchest support." [114]

[161] We must, however, look at these phenomena a little more broadly, and bring them into relation with other series of phenomena. It is almost beyond dispute that a voluntary restriction of the number of offspring by Neo-Malthusian practices is at least one of the chief methods by which the birth-rate has been lowered. It may not indeed be—and probably, as we shall see, is not—the only method. It has even been denied that the prevalence of Neo-Malthusian practices counts at all. [115] Thus while Coghlan, the Government Statistician of New South Wales, concludes that the decline in the birth-rate in the Australian Commonwealth was due to "the art of applying artificial checks to conception," McLean, the Government Statistician of Victoria, concludes [162] that it was "due mainly to natural causes." [116] He points out that when the birth-rate in Australia, half a century ago, was nearly 43 per 1000, the population consisted chiefly of men and women at the reproductive period of life, and that since then the proportion of persons at these ages has declined, leading necessarily to a decline in the crude birth-rate. If we compare the birth-rate of communities among women of the same age-periods, McLean argues, we may obtain results quite different from the crude birth-rate. Thus the crude birth-rate of Buda-Pesth is much higher than that of New South Wales, but if we ascertain the birth-rate of married women at different age-periods (15 to 20, 20 to 25, etc.) the New South Wales birth-rate is higher for every age-period than that of Buda-Pesth. McLean considers that in young communities with many vigorous immigrants the population is normally more prolific than in older and more settled communities, and that hardships and financial depression still more depress the birth-rate. He further emphasizes the important relationship, which we must never lose sight of in this connection, between a high birth-rate and a high death-rate, especially a high infantile death-rate, and he believes, indeed, that "the solution of the problem of the general decline in the birth-rate throughout all civilized communities lies in the preservation of human life." The mechanism of the connection would be, he maintains, that prolonged suckling in the case [163] of living children increases the intervals between childbearing. As we have seen, there is a tendency, though not a rigid and invariable necessity, [117] for a high birth-rate to be associated with a high infantile death-rate, and a low birth-rate with a low infantile death-rate. Thus in Victoria, we have the striking fact that while the birth-rate has declined 24 per cent the infantile death-rate has declined approximately to the still greater extent of 27 per cent.

No doubt the chief cause of the reduction of the birth-rate has been its voluntary restriction by preventive methods due to the growth of intelligence, knowledge, and foresight. In all the countries where a marked decline in the birth-rate has occurred there is good reason to believe that Neo-Malthusian methods are generally known and practised. So far as England is concerned this is certainly the case. A few years ago Mr. Sidney Webb made inquiries among middle-class people in all parts of the country, and found that in 316 marriages 242 were thus limited and only 74 unlimited, while for the ten years 1890-9 out of 120 marriages 107 were limited and only 13 unlimited, but as five of these 13 were childless there were only 8 unlimited fertile marriages out of 120. As to the causes assigned for limiting the number of children, in [164] 73 out of 128 cases in which particulars were given under this head the poverty of the parents in relation to their standard of comfort was a factor; sexual ill-health—that is, generally, the disturbing effect of child-bearing—in 24; and other forms of ill-health of the parents in 38 cases; in 24 cases the disinclination of the wife was a factor, and the death of a parent had in 8 cases terminated the marriage. [118] In the skilled artisan class there is also good reason to believe that the voluntary limitation of families is constantly becoming more usual, and the statistics of benefit societies show a marked decline in the fertility of superior working-class people during recent years; thus it is stated by Sidney Webb that the Hearts of Oak Friendly Society paid benefits on child-birth to 2472 per 10,000 members in 1880; by 1904 the proportion had fallen to 1165 per 10,000, a much greater fall than occurred in England generally.

The voluntary adoption of preventive precautions may not be, however, the only method by which the birth-rate has declined; we may have also to recognize a concomitant physiological sterility, induced by delayed marriage and its various consequences; we have also to recognize pathological sterility due to the impaired vitality and greater liability to venereal disease of an increasingly urban life; and we may have to recognize that stocks differ from one another in fertility.

The delay in marriage, as studied in England, is so far apparently slight; the mean age of marriage for [165] all husbands in England has increased from 28.43 in 1896 to 28.88 in 1909, and the mean age of all wives from 26.21 in 1896 to 26.69 in 1909. This seems a very trifling rate of progression. If, however, we look at the matter in another way we find that there has been an extremely serious reduction in the number of marriages between 15 to 20, normally the most fecund of all age-periods. Between 1876 and 1880 (according to the Registrar-General's Report for 1909) the proportion of minors in 1000 marriages in England and Wales was 77.8 husbands and 217.0 wives. In 1909 it had fallen to only 39.8 husbands and 137.7 wives. It has been held that this has not greatly affected the decline in the birth-rate. Its tendency, however, must be in that direction. It is true that Engelmann argued that delayed marriages had no effect at all on the birth-rate. But it has been clearly shown that as the age of marriage increases fecundity distinctly diminishes. [119] This is illustrated by the specially elaborate statistics of Scotland for 1855; [120] the number of women having children, that is, the fecundity, was higher in the years 15 to 19, than at any subsequent age-period, except 20 to 24, and the fact that the earliest age-group is not absolutely highest is due to the presence of a number of immature women. In New South Wales, Coghlan has shown that [166] if the average number of children is 3.6, then a woman marrying at 20 may expect to have five children, a woman marrying at 28 three children, at 32 two children, and at 37 one child. Newsholme and Stevenson, again, conclude that the general law of decline of fertility with advancing age of the mother is shown in various countries, and that in nearly all countries the mothers aged 15 to 20 have the largest number of children; the chief exception is in the case of some northern countries like Norway and Finland, where women develop late, and there it is the mothers of 20 to 25 who have the largest number of children. [121] The postponement in the age of marriage during recent years is, however, so slight that it can only account for a small part of the decline in the birth-rate; Coghlan calculates that of unborn possible children in New South Wales the loss of only about one-sixth is to be attributed to this cause. In London, however, Heron considers that the recognized connection between a low birth-rate and a high social standing might have been entirely accounted for sixty years ago by postponement of marriage, and that such postponement may still account for 50 per cent of it. [122]

It is not enough, however, to consider the mechanism by which the birth-rate declines; to realize the significance of the decline we must consider the causes which set the mechanism in action.

We begin to obtain a truer insight into the meaning [167] of the curve of a country's birth-rate when we realize that it is in relation with the industrial and commercial activity of the country. [123] It is sometimes stated that a high birth-rate goes with a high degree of national prosperity. That, however, is scarcely the case; we have to look into the matter a little more closely. And, when we do so, we find that, not only is the statement of a supposed connection between a high birth-rate and a high degree of prosperity an imperfect statement; it is altogether misleading.

If, in the first place, we attempt to consider the state of things among savages, we find, indeed, great variations, and the birth-rate is not infrequently low. But, on the whole, it would appear, the marriage-rate, the birth-rate, and, it may be added, the death-rate are all alike high. Karl Ranke has investigated the question with considerable care among the Trumai and Nahuqua Indians of Central Brazil. [124] These tribes are yet totally uncontaminated by contact with European influences; consumption and syphilis are alike unknown. In the two villages he investigated in detail, Ranke found that every man over twenty-five years of age was married, and that the only unmarried woman he discovered was feeble-minded. [168] The average size of the families of those women who were over forty years of age was between five and six children, while, on the other hand, the mortality among children was great, and a relatively small proportion of the population reached old age. We see therefore that, among these fairly typical savages, living under simple natural conditions, the fertility of the women is as high as it is among all but the most prolific of European peoples; while, in striking contrast with European peoples, among whom a large percentage of the population never marry, and of those who do, many have no children, practically every man and woman both marries and produces children.

If we leave savages out of the question and return to Europe, it is still instructive to find that among those peoples who live under the most primitive conditions much the same state of things may be found as among savages. This is notably the case as regards Russia. In no other great European country do the bulk of the women marry at so early an age, and in no other is the average size of the family so large. And, concomitantly with a very high marriage-rate and a very high birth-rate, we find in Russia, in an equally high degree, the prevalence among the masses of infantile and general mortality, disease (epidemical and other), starvation, misery. [125]

[169] So far we scarcely see any marked connection between high fertility and prosperity. It is more nearly indicated in the high birth-rate of Hungary—only second to that of Russia, and also accompanied by a high mortality—which is associated with the rapid and notable development of a young nationality. The case of Hungary is, indeed, typical. In so far as high fertility is associated with prosperity, it is with the prosperity of a young and unstable community, which has experienced a sudden increase of wealth and a sudden expansion. The case of Western Australia illustrates the same point. Thirty years ago the marriage-rate and the birth-rate of this colony were on the same level as those of the other Australian colonies; but a sudden industrial expansion occurred, both rates rose, and in 1899 the fertility of Western Australia was higher than that of any other English-speaking community. [126]

If now we put together the facts observed in savage life and the facts observed in civilized life, we shall begin to see the real nature of the factors that operate to raise [170] or lower the fertility of a community. It is far, indeed, from being prosperity which produces a high fertility, for the most wretched communities are the most prolific, but, on the other hand, it is by no means the mere absence of prosperity which produces fertility, for we constantly observe that the on-coming of a wave of prosperity elevates the birth-rate. In both cases alike it is the absence of social-economic restraints which conduces to high fertility. In the simple, primitive community of savages, serfs, or slaves, there is no restraint on either nutritive or reproductive enjoyments; there is no adequate motive for restraint; there are no claims of future wants to inhibit the gratification of present wants; there are no high standards, no ideals. Supposing, again, that such restraints have been established by a certain amount of forethought as regards the future, or a certain calculation as to social advantages to be gained by limiting the number of children, a check on natural fertility is established. But a sudden accession of prosperity—a sudden excess of work and wages and food—sweeps away this check by apparently rendering it unnecessary; the natural reproductive impulse is liberated by this rising wave, and we here see whatever truth there is in the statement that prosperity means a high birth-rate. In reality, however, prosperity in such a case merely increases fertility because its sudden affluence reduces a community to the same careless indifference in regard to the future, the same hasty snatching at the pleasures of the moment, as we find among the most hopeless and least prosperous communities. It is a [171] significant fact, as shown by Beveridge, that the years when the people of Great Britain marry most are the years when they drink most. It is in the absence of social-economic restraints—the absence of the perception of such restraints, or the absence of the ability to act in accordance with such perception—that the birth-rate is high.

Arsène Dumont seems to have been one of the first who observed this significance of the oscillation of the birth-rate, though he expressed it in a somewhat peculiar way, as the social capillarity theory. It is the natural and universal tendency of mankind to ascend, he declared; a high birth-rate and a strong ascensional impulse are mutually contradictory. Large families are only possible when there is no progress, and no expectation of it can be cherished; small families become possible when the way has been opened to progress. "One might say," Dumont puts it, "that invisible valves, like those which direct the circulation of the blood, have been placed by Nature to direct the current of human aspiration in the upward path it has prescribed." As the proletariat is enabled to enjoy the prospect of rising it comes under the action of this law of social capillarity, and the birth-rate falls. It is the effort towards an indefinite perfection, Dumont declares, which justifies Nature and Man, consoles us for our griefs, and constitutes our sovereign safeguard against the philosophy of despair. [127]

When we thus interpret the crude facts of the falling [172] birth-rate, viewing them widely and calmly in connection with the other social facts with which they are intimately related, we are able to see how foolish has been the outcry against a falling birth-rate, and how false the supposition that it is due to a new selfishness replacing an ancient altruism. [128] On the contrary, the excessive birth-rate of the early industrial period was directly stimulated by selfishness. There were no laws against child-labour; children were produced that they might be sent out, when little more than babies, to the factories and the mines to increase their parents' income. The fundamental instincts of men and women do not change, but their direction can be changed. In this field the change is towards a higher transformation, introducing a finer economy into life, diminishing death, disease, and misery, making possible the finer ends of living, and at the same time indirectly and even directly improving the quality of the future race. [129] This is now becoming recognized [173] by nearly all calm and sagacious inquirers. [130] The wild outcry of many unbalanced persons to-day, that a falling birth-rate means degeneration and disaster, is so altogether removed from the sphere of reason that we ought perhaps to regard it as comparable to those manias which, in former centuries, have assumed other forms more attractive to the neurotic temperament of those days; fortunately, it is a mania which, in the nature of things, is powerless to realize itself, and we need not anticipate that the outcry against small families will have the same results as the ancient outcry against witches. [131]

It may be proper at this stage to point out that while, in the foregoing statement, a high birth-rate and a high marriage-rate have been regarded as practically the same thing, we need to make a distinction. The true relation of the two rates may be realized when it is stated that, the more primitive a community is, the more closely the two rates vary together. As a community becomes more civilized and more complex, the two rates tend to diverge; the restraints on child-production [174] are deeper and more complex than those on marriage, so that the removal of the restraint on marriage by no means removes the restraint on fertility. They tend to diverge in opposite directions. Farr considered the marriage-rate among civilized peoples as a barometer of national prosperity. In former years, when corn was a great national product, the marriage-rate in England rose regularly as the price of wheat fell. Of recent years it has become very difficult to estimate exactly what economic factors affect the marriage-rate. It is believed by some that the marriage-rate rises or falls with the value of exports. [132] Udny Yule, however, in an expertly statistical study of the matter, [133] finds (in agreement with Hooker) that neither exports nor imports tally with the marriage-rate. He concludes that the movement of prices is a predominant—though by no means the sole—factor in the change of marriage-rates, a fall in prices producing a fall in the marriage-rates and also in the birth-rates, though he also thinks that pressure on the labour market has forced both rates lower than the course of prices would lead one to expect. In so far as these causes are concerned, Udny Yule states, the fall is quite normal and pessimistic views are misplaced. Udny Yule, however, appears to be by no means confident that his explanation covers a large part of the causation, and he admits that he cannot understand the rationale of the connection between marriage-rates [175] and prices. The curves of the marriage-rates in many countries indicate a maximum about or shortly before, 1875, when the birth-rate also tended to reach a maximum, and another rise towards 1900, thus making the intermediate curve concave. There was, however, a large rise in money wages between 1860 and 1875, and the rise in the consuming power of the population has been continuous since 1850. Thus the factors favourable to a high marriage-rate must have risen from 1850 to a maximum about 1870-1875, and since then have fallen continuously. This statement, which Mr. Udny Yule emphasizes, certainly seems highly significant from our present point of view. It falls into line with the view here accepted, that the first result of a sudden access of prosperity is to produce a general orgy, a reckless and improvident haste to take advantage of the new prosperity, but that, as the effects of the orgy wear off, it necessarily gives place to new ideals, and to higher standards of life which lead to caution and prudence. Mr. N.A. Hooker seems to have perceived this, and in the discussion which followed the reading of Udny Yule's paper he set forth what (though it was not accepted by Udny Yule) may perhaps fairly be regarded as the sound view of the matter. "During the great expansion of trade prior to 1870," he remarked, "the means of satisfying the desired standard of comfort were increasing much more rapidly than the rise in the standard; hence a decreasing age of marriage and a marriage-rate above the normal. After about 1873, however, the means of satisfying the standard of comfort no longer increased [176] with the same rapidity, and then a new factor, he thought, became important, viz. the increased intelligence of the people." [134] This seems to be precisely the same view of the matter as I have here sought to set forth; prosperity is not civilization, its first tendency is to produce a reckless abandonment to the satisfaction of the crudest impulses. But as prosperity develops it begins to engender more complex ideals and higher standards; the inevitable result is a greater forethought and restraint. [135]

If we consider, not the marriage-rate, but the average age at marriage, and especially the age of the woman, which varies less than that of the man, the results, though harmonious, would not be quite the same. The general tendency as regards the age of girls at marriage is summed up by Ploss and Bartels, in their monumental work on Woman, in the statement: "It may be said in general that the age of girls at marriage is lower, the lower the stage of civilization is in the community to which they belong." [136] We thus see one reason why it is that, in an advanced stage of civilization, a high marriage-rate [177] is not necessarily associated with a high birth-rate. A large number of women who marry late may have fewer children than a smaller number who marry early.

We may see the real character of the restraints on fertility very well illustrated by the varying birth-rate of the upper and lower social classes belonging to the same community. If a high birth-rate were a mark of prosperity or of advanced civilization, we should expect to find it among the better social class of a community. But the reverse is the case; it is everywhere the least prosperous and the least cultured classes of a community which show the highest birth-rate. As we go from the very poor to the very rich quarters of a great city—whether Paris, Berlin, or Vienna—the average number of children to the family diminishes regularly. The difference is found in the country as well as in the towns. In Holland, for instance, whether in town or country, there are 5.19 children per marriage among the poor, and only 4.50 among the rich. In London it is notorious that the same difference appears; thus Charles Booth, the greatest authority on the social conditions of London, in the concluding volume of his vast survey, sums up the condition of things in the statement that "the lower the class the earlier the period of marriage and the greater the number of children born to each marriage." The same phenomenon is everywhere found, and it is one of great significance.

The significance becomes clearer when we realize that an urban population must always be regarded as more "civilized" than a rural population, and that, in [178] accordance with that fact, an urban population tends to be less prolific than a rural population. The town birth-rate is nearly always lower than the country birth-rate. In Germany this is very marked, and the rapidly growing urbanization of Germany is accompanied by a great fall of the birth-rate in the large cities, but not in the rural districts. In England the fall is more widespread, and though the birth-rate is much higher in the country than in the towns the decline in the rural birth-rate is now proceeding more rapidly than that in the urban birth-rate. England, which once contained a largely rural population, now possesses a mainly urban population. Every year it becomes more urban; while the town population grows, the rural population remains stationary; so that, at the present time, for every inhabitant of the country in England, there are more than three town-dwellers. As the country-dweller is more prolific than the town-dweller, this means that the rural population is constantly being poured into the towns. The larger our great cities grow, the more irresistible becomes the attraction which they exert on the children of the country, who are fascinated by them, as the birds are fascinated by the lighthouse or the moths by the candle. And the results are not altogether unlike those which this analogy suggests. At the present time, one-third of the population of London is made up of immigrants from the country. Yet, notwithstanding this immense and constant stream of new and vigorous blood, it never suffices to raise the urban population to the same level of physical and nervous stability which [179] the rural population possesses. More alert, more vivacious, more intelligent, even more urbane in the finer sense, as the urban population becomes,—not perhaps at first, but in the end,—it inevitably loses its stamina, its reserves of vital energy. Dr. Cantlie very properly defines a Londoner as a person whose grandparents all belonged to London—and he could not find any. Dr. Harry Campbell has found a few who could claim London grandparents; they were poor specimens of humanity. [137] Even on the intellectual side there are no great Londoners. It is well known that a number of eminent men have been born in London; but, in the course of a somewhat elaborate study of the origins of British men of genius, I have not been able to find that any were genuinely Londoners by descent. [138] An urban life saps that calm and stolid strength which is necessary for all great effort and stress, physical or intellectual. The finest body of men in London, as a class, are the London police, and Charles Booth states that only 17 per cent of the London police are born in London, a smaller proportion than any other class of the London population except the army and navy. As Mr. N.C. Macnamara has pointed out, it is found that London men do not possess the necessary [180] nervous stability and self-possession for police work; they are too excitable and nervous, lacking the equanimity, courage, and self-reliance of the rural men. Just in the same way, in Spain, the bull-fighters, a body of men admirable for their graceful strength, their modesty, courage, and skill, nearly always come from country districts, although it is in the towns that the enthusiasm for bull-fighting is centred. Therefore, it would appear that until urban conditions of life are greatly improved, the more largely urban a population becomes, the more is its standard of vital and physical efficiency likely to be lowered. This became clearly visible during the South African War; it was found at Manchester (as stated by Dr. T.P. Smith and confirmed by Dr. Clayton) that among 11,000 young men who volunteered for enlistment, scarcely more than 10 per cent could pass the surgeon's examination, although the standard of physique demanded was extremely low, while Major-General Sir F. Maurice has stated [139] that, even when all these rejections have been made, of those who actually are enlisted, at the end of two years only two effective soldiers are found for every five who enlist. It is not difficult to see a bearing of these facts on the birth-rate. The civilized world is becoming a world of towns, and, while the diminished birth-rate of towns is certainly not mainly the result of impaired vitality, these phenomena are correlative facts of the first importance for [181] every country which is using up its rural population and becoming a land of cities.

From our present point of view it is thus a very significant fact that the equipoise between country-dwellers and town-dwellers has been lost, that the towns are gaining at the expense of the country whose surplus population they absorb and destroy. The town population is not only disinclined to propagate; it is probably in some measure unfit to propagate.

At the same time, we must not too strongly emphasize this aspect of the matter; such over-emphasis of a single aspect of highly complex phenomena constantly distorts our vision of great social processes. We have already seen that it is inaccurate to assert any connection between a high birth-rate and a high degree of national prosperity, except in so far as at special periods in the history of a country a sudden wave of prosperity may temporarily remove the restraints on natural fertility. Prosperity is only one of the causes that tend to remove the restraint on the birth-rate; and it is a cause that is never permanently effective.


To get to the bottom of the matter, we thus find it is necessary to look into it more closely than is usually attempted. When we ask ourselves why prosperity fails permanently to remove the restraints on fertility the answer is, that it speedily creates new restraints. Prosperity and civilization are far [182] from being synonymous terms. The savage who is able to glut himself with the whale that has just been stranded on his coast, is more prosperous than he was the day before, but he is not more civilized, perhaps a trifle less so. The working community that is suddenly glutted by an afflux of work and wages is in exactly the same position as the savage who is suddenly enabled to fill himself with a rich mass of decaying blubber. It is prosperity; it is not civilization. [140] But, while prosperity leads at first to the reckless and unrestrained gratification of the simplest animal instincts of nutrition and reproduction, it tends, when it is prolonged, to evolve more complex instincts. Aspirations become less crude, the needs and appetites engendered by prosperity take on a more social character, and are sharpened by social rivalries. In place of the earlier easy and reckless gratification of animal impulses, a peaceful and organized struggle is established for securing in ever fuller degree the gratification of increasingly insistent and increasingly [183] complex desires. Such a struggle involves a deliberate calculation and forethought, which, sooner or later, cannot fail to be applied to the question of offspring. Thus it is that affluence, in the long run, itself imposes a check on reproduction. Prosperity, under the stress of the urban conditions with which it tends to be associated, has been transformed into that calculated forethought, that deliberate self-restraint for the attainment of ever more manifold ends, which in its outcome we term "civilization."

It is frequently assumed, as we have seen, that the process by which civilization is thus evolved is a selfish and immoral process. To procreate large families, it is said, is unselfish and moral, as well as a patriotic, even a religious duty. This assumption, we now find, is a little too hasty and is even the reverse of the truth; it is necessary to take into consideration the totality of the social phenomena accompanying a high birth-rate, more especially under the conditions of town life. A community in which children are born rapidly is necessarily in an unstable position; it is growing so quickly that there is insufficient time for the conditions of life to be equalized. The state of ill-adjustment is chronic; the pressure is lifted from off the natural impulse of procreation, but is increased on all the conditions under which the impulse is exerted. There is increased overcrowding, increased filth, increased disease, increased death. It can never happen, in modern times, that the readjustment of the conditions of life can be made to keep pace with a high birth-rate. It is [184] sufficient if we consider the case of English towns, of London in particular, during the period when British prosperity was most rapidly increasing, and the birth-rate nearing its maximum, in the middle of the great Victorian epoch, of which Englishmen are, for many reasons, so proud. It was certainly not an age lacking in either energy or philanthropy; yet, when we read the memorable report which Chadwick wrote in 1842, on the Sanitary Condition of the Labouring Population of Great Britain, or the minute study of Bethnal Green which Gavin published in 1848 as a type of the conditions prevailing in English towns, we realize that the magnificence of this epoch was built up over circles of Hell to which the imagination of Dante never attained.

As reproductive activity dies down, social conditions become more stable, a comparatively balanced state of adjustment tends to be established, insanitary surroundings can be bettered, disease diminished, and the death-rate lowered. How much may thus be accomplished we realize when we compare the admirably precise and balanced pages in which Charles Booth, in the concluding volumes of his great work, has summarized his survey of London, with the picture presented by Chadwick and Gavin half a century earlier. Ugly and painful as are many of the features of this modern London, the vision which is, on the whole, evoked is that of a community which has attained self-consciousness, which is growing into some faint degree of harmony with its environment, and is seeking to gain the full amount of the satisfaction which an organized urban life can yield. Booth, who [185] appears to have realized the significance of a decreased fertility in the attainment of this progress, hopes for a still greater fall in the birth-rate; and those who seek to restore the birth-rate of half a century ago are engaged on a task which would be criminal if it were not based on ignorance, and which is, in any case, fatuous.

The whole course of zoological evolution reveals a constantly diminishing reproductive activity and a constantly increasing expenditure of care on the offspring thus diminished in number. [141] Fish spawn their ova by the million, and it is a happy chance if they become fertilized, a highly unlikely chance that more than a very small proportion will ever attain maturity. Among the mammals, however, the female may produce but half a dozen or fewer offspring at a time, but she [186] lavishes so much care upon them that they have a very fair chance of all reaching maturity. In man, in so far as he refrains from returning to the beast and is true to the impulse which in him becomes a conscious process of civilization, the same movement is carried forward. He even seeks to decrease still further the number of his offspring by voluntary effort, and at the same time to increase their quality and magnify their importance. [142]

When in human families, especially under civilized conditions, we see large families we are in the presence of a reversion to the tendencies that prevail among lower organisms. Such large families may probably be regarded, as Näcke suggests, as constituting a symptom of degeneration. It is noteworthy that they usually occur in the pathological and abnormal classes, among the insane, the feeble-minded, the criminal, the consumptive, the alcoholic, etc. [143]

This tendency of the birth-rate to fall with the growth of social stability is thus a tendency which is of the very essence of civilization. It represents an impulse which, however deliberate it may be in the individual, may, in the community, be looked upon as an instinctive effort to gain more complete control of the conditions of [187] life, and to grapple more efficiently with the problems of misery and disease and death. It is not only, as is sometimes supposed, during the past century that the phenomena may be studied. We have a remarkable example some centuries earlier, an example which very clearly illustrates the real nature of the phenomena. The city of Geneva, perhaps first of European cities, began to register its births, deaths, and marriages from the middle of the sixteenth century. This alone indicates a high degree of civilization; and at that time, and for some succeeding centuries, Geneva was undoubtedly a very highly civilized city. Its inhabitants really were the "elect," morally and intellectually, of French Protestantism. In many respects it was a model city, as Gray noted when he reached it in the course of his travels in the middle of the eighteenth century. These registers of Geneva show, in a most illuminating manner, how extreme fertility at the outset, gradually gave place, as civilization progressed, to a very low fertility, with fewer and later marriages, a very low death-rate, and a state of general well-being in which the births barely replaced the deaths.

After Protestant Geneva had lost her pioneering place in civilization, it was in France, the land which above all others may in modern times claim to represent the social aspects of civilization, that the same tendency most conspicuously appeared. But all Europe, as well as all the English-speaking lands outside Europe, is now following the lead of France. In a paper read before the Paris Society of Anthropology a few years ago, [188] Emile Macquart showed clearly, by a series of ingenious diagrams, that whereas, fifty years ago, the condition of the birth-rate in France diverged widely from that prevailing in the other chief countries of Europe, the other countries are now rapidly following in the same road along which France has for a century been proceeding slowly, and are constantly coming closer to her, England closest of all. In the past, proposals have from time to time been made in France to interfere with the progress of this downward movement of the birth-rate—proposals that were sufficiently foolish, for neither in France nor elsewhere will the individual allow the statistician to interfere officiously in a matter which he regards as purely intimate and private. But the real character of this tendency of the birth-rate, as an essential phenomenon of civilization, with which neither moralist nor politician can successfully hope to interfere, is beginning to be realized in France. Azoulay, in summing up the discussion after Macquart's paper [144] had been read at the Society of Anthropology, pointed out that "nations must inevitably follow the same course as social classes, and the more the mass of these social classes becomes civilized, the more the nation's birth-rate falls; therefore there is nothing to be done legally and administratively." And another member added: "Except to applaud."

It is probably too much to hope that so sagacious a view will at once be universally adopted. The United States and the great English colonies, for instance, find [189] it difficult to realize that they are not really new countries, but branches of old countries, and already nearing maturity when they began their separate lives. They are not at the beginning of two thousand years of slow development, such as we have passed through, but at the end of it, with us, and sometimes even a little ahead of us. It is therefore natural and inevitable that, in a matter in which we are moving rapidly, Massachusetts and Ontario and New South Wales and New Zealand should have moved still more rapidly, so rapidly indeed, that they have themselves failed to perceive that their real natural increase and the manner in which it is attained place them in this matter at the van of civilization. These things are, however, only learnt slowly. We may be sure that the fundamental and complex character of the phenomena will never be obvious to our fussy little politicians, so apt to advocate panaceas which have effects quite opposite to those they desire. But, whatever politicians may wish to do or to leave undone, it is well to remember that, of the various ideals the world holds, there are some that lie on the path of our social progress, and others that do not there lie. We may properly exercise such wisdom as we possess by utilizing the ideals which are before us, serenely neglecting many others which however precious they may once have seemed, no longer form part of the stage of civilization we are now moving towards.


[190] What are the ideals of the stage of civilization we of the Western world are now moving towards? We have here pushed as far as need be the analysis of that declining birth-rate which has caused so much anxiety to those amongst us who can only see narrowly and see superficially. We have found that, properly understood, there is nothing in it to evoke our pessimism. On the contrary, we have seen that, in the opinion of the most distinguished authorities, the energy with which we move in our present direction, through the exercise of an ever finer economy in life, may be regarded as a "measure of civilization" in the important sphere of vital statistics. As we now leave the question, some may ask themselves whether this concomitant decline in birth-rates and death-rates may not possibly have a still wider and more fundamental meaning as a measure of civilization.

We have long been accustomed to regard the East as a spiritual world in which the finer ends of living were counted supreme, and the merely materialistic aspects of life, dissociated from the aims of religion and of art, were trodden under foot. Our own Western world we have humbly regarded as mainly absorbed in a feverish race for the attainment, by industry and war, of the satisfaction of the impulses of reproduction and nutrition, and the crudely material aggrandizement of which those impulses are the symbol. A certain outward idleness, a semi-idleness, as Nietzsche said, is the necessary condition for a real religious life, for a real æsthetic life, for [191] any life on the spiritual plane. The noisy, laborious, pushing, "progressive" life we traditionally associate with the West is essentially alien to the higher ends of living, as has been intuitively recognized and acted on by all those among us who have sought to pursue the higher ends of living. It was so that the nineteenth-century philosophers of Europe, of whom Schopenhauer was in this matter the extreme type, viewed the matter. But when we seek to measure the tendency of the chief countries of the West, led by France, England, and Germany, and the countries of the East led by Japan, in the light of this strictly measurable test of vital statistics, may we not, perhaps, trace the approach of a revolutionary transposition? Japan, entering on the road we have nearly passed through, in which the perpetual clash of a high birth-rate and a high death-rate involves social disorder and misery, has flung to the winds the loftier ideals it once pursued so successfully and has lost its fine æsthetic perceptions, its insight into the most delicate secrets of the soul. [145] And while Japan, certainly to-day voicing the aspirations of the East, is concerned to become a great military and industrial power, we in the West are growing weary of war, and are coming to look upon commerce as a necessary routine [192] no longer adequate to satisfy the best energies of human beings. We are here moving towards the fine quiescence involved by a delicate equipoise of life and of death; and this economy sets free an energy we are seeking to expend in a juster social organization, and in the realization of ideals which until now have seemed but the imagination of idle dreamers. Asia, as an anonymous writer has recently put it, is growing crude, vulgar, and materialistic; Europe, on the other hand, is growing to loathe its own past grossness. "London may yet be the spiritual capital of the world, while Asia—rich in all that gold can buy and guns can give, lord of lands and bodies, builder of railways and promulgator of police regulations, glorious in all material glories—postures, complacent and obtuse, before a Europe content in the possession of all that matters," [146] Certainly, we are not there yet, but the old Earth has seen many stranger and more revolutionary changes than this. England, as this writer reminds us, was once a tropical forest.

[90] It must be understood that, from the present point of view, the term "Anglo-Saxon" covers the peoples of Wales, Scotland, and Ireland, as well as of England.

[91] The decline of the French birth-rate has been investigated in a Lyons thesis by Salvat, La Dépopulation de la France, 1903.

[92] The latest figures are given in the Annual Reports of the Registrar-General for England and Wales.

[93] Newsholme and Stevenson, "Decline of Human Fertility as shown by corrected Birth-rates," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, 1906.

[94] Werner Sombart, International Magazine, December, 1907.

[95] A.W. Flux, "Urban Vital Statistics in England and Germany," Journ. Statist. Soc., March, 1910.

[96] German infantile mortality, Böhmert states ("Die Säuglingssterblichkeit in Deutschland und ihre Ursachen," Die Neue Generation, March, 1908), is greater than in any European country, except Russia and Hungary, about 50 per cent greater than in England, France, Belgium, or Holland. The infantile mortality has increased in Germany, as usually happens, with the increased employment of women, and, largely from this cause, has nearly doubled in Berlin in the course of four years, states Lily Braun (Mutterschutz, 1906, Heft I, p. 21); but even on this basis it is only 22 per cent in the English textile industries, as against 38 per cent in the German textile industries.

[97] In England the marriage-rate fell rather sharply in 1875, and showed a slight tendency to rise about 1900 (G. Udny Yule, "On the Changes in the Marriage-and Birth-rates in England and Wales," Journal of the Statistical Society, March, 1906). On the whole there has been a real though slight decline. The decline has been widespread, and is most marked in Australia, especially South Australia. There has, however, been a rise in the marriage-rate in Ireland, France, Austria, Switzerland, Germany, and especially Belgium. The movement for decreased child-production would naturally in the first place involve decreased marriage, but it is easy to understand that when it is realized the marriage is not necessarily followed by conception this motive for avoiding marriage loses its force, and the marriage-rate rises.

[98] Medicine, February, 1904.

[99] Davidson, "The Growth of the French-Canadian Race," Annals of the American Academy, September, 1896.

[100] T.A. Coghlan, The Decline of the Birth-rate of New South Wales, 1903. The New South Wales statistics are specially valuable as the records contain many particulars (such as age of parents, period since marriage, and number of children) not given in English or most other records.

[101] C. Hamburger, "Kinderzahl und Kindersterblichkeit," Die Neue Generation, August, 1909.

[102] Looked at in another way, it may be said that if a natural increase, as ascertained by subtracting the death-rate from the birth-rate, of 10 to 15 per cent be regarded as normal, then, taking so far as possible the figures for 1909, the natural increase of England and Scotland, of Germany, of Italy, of Austria and Hungary, of Belgium, is normal; the natural increase of New South Wales, of Victoria, of South Australia, of New Zealand, is abnormally high (though in new countries such increase may not be undesirable) while the natural increase of France, of Spain, and of Ireland is abnormally low. Such a method of estimation, of course, entirely leaves out of account the question of the social desirability of the process by which the normal increase is secured.

103] Johannsen, Janus, 1905.

[104] Rubin, "A Measure of Civilization," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, March, 1897. "The lowest stage of civilization," he points out, "is to go forward blindly, which in this connection means to bring into the world a great number of children which must, in great proportion, sink into the grave. The next stage of civilization is to see the danger and to keep clear of it. The highest stage of civilization is to see the danger and overcome it." Europe in the past and various countries in the present illustrate the first stage; France illustrates the second stage; the third stage is that towards which we are striving to move to-day.

[105] Baines, "The Recent Growth of Population in Western Europe," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, December, 1909.

[106] Various facts and references are given by Havelock Ellis, The Nationalization of Health, chap. XIV.

[107] These are the figures given by the chief Japanese authority, Professor Takano, Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, July, 1910, p. 738.

[108] E.A. Ross, "The Race Fibre of the Chinese," Popular Science Monthly, October, 1911. According to another competent and fairly concordant estimate, the infantile death-rate of China is 90 per cent. Of the female infants, probably about 1 in 10 is intentionally destroyed.

[109] J.J. Matignon, "La Mère et l'Enfant en Chine," Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle, October to November, 1909.

[110] Arsène Dumont, for instance, points out (Dépopulation et Civilization, p. 116) that the very early marriages and the reckless fertility of the Chinese cannot fail to cease as soon as the people adopt European ways.

[111] The confident estimates of the future population of the world which are from time to time put forward on the basis of the present birth-rate are quite worthless. A brilliantly insubstantial fabric of this kind, by B.L. Putnam Weale (The Conflict of Colour, 1911), has been justly criticized by Professor Weatherley (Popular Science Monthly, November, 1911).

[112] It is sometimes convenient to use the term "Neo-Malthusianism" to indicate the voluntary limitation of the family, but it must always be remembered that Malthus would not have approved of Neo-Malthusianism, and that Neo-Malthusian practices have nothing to do with the theory of Malthus. They would not be affected could that theory be conclusively proved or conclusively disproved.

[113] We even find the demand that bachelors and spinsters shall be taxed. This proposal has been actually accepted (1911) by the Landtag of the little Principality of Reuss, which proposes to tax bachelors and spinsters over thirty years of age. Putting aside the arguable questions as to whether a State is entitled to place such pressure on its citizens, it must be pointed out that it is not marriage but the child which concerns the State. It is possible to have children without marriage, and marriage does not ensure the procreation of children. Therefore it would be more to the point to tax the childless. In that case, it would be necessary to remit the tax in the case of unmarried people with children, and to levy it in the case of married people without children. But it has further to be remembered that not all persons are fitted to have sound children, and as unsound children are a burden and not a benefit to the State, the State ought to reward rather than to fine those conscientious persons who refrain from procreation when they are too poor, or with too defective a heredity, to be likely to produce, or to bring up, sound children. Moreover, some persons are sterile, and thorough medical investigation would be required before they could fairly be taxed. As soon as we begin to analyse such a proposal we cannot fail to see that, even granting that the aim of such legislation is legitimate and desirable, the method of attaining it is thoroughly mischievous and unjustifiable.

[114] J.G. Engelmann, "Decreasing Fecundity," Philadelphia Medical Journal, January 18, 1902.

[115] It has, further, been frequently denied that Neo-Malthusian practices can affect Roman Catholic countries, since the Church is precluded from approving of them. That is true. But it is also true that, as Lagneau long since pointed out, the Protestants of Europe have increased at more than double the annual rate of the Catholics, though this relationship has now ceased to be exact. Dumont states (Dépopulation et Civilisation, chap. XVIII) that there is not the slightest reason to suppose that (apart from the question of poverty) the faithful have more children than the irreligious; moreover, in dealing with its more educated members, it is not the policy of the Church to make indiscreet inquiries (see Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society," p. 590). A Catholic bishop is reported to have warned his clergy against referring in their Lent sermons to the voluntary restriction of conception, remarking that an excess of rigour in this matter would cause the Church to lose half her flock. The fall in the birth-rate is as marked in Catholic as in Protestant countries; the Catholic communities in which this is not the case are few, and placed in exceptional circumstances. It must be remembered, moreover, that the Church enjoins celibacy on its clergy, and that celibacy is practically a Malthusian method. It is not easy while preaching practical Malthusianism to the clergy to spend much fervour in preaching against practical Neo-Malthusianism to the laity.

[116] McLean, "The Declining Birth-rate in Australia," International Medical Journal of Australasia, 1904.

[117] Thus in France the low birth-rate is associated with a high infantile death-rate, which has not yet been appreciably influenced by the movement of puericulture in France. In England also, at the end of the last century, the declining birth-rate was accompanied by a rising infantile death-rate, which is now, however, declining under the influence of greater care of child-life.

[118] Sidney Webb, Times, October 11 and 16, 1906; also Popular Science Monthly, 1906, p. 526.

[119] It is important to remember the distinction between "fecundity" and "fertility." A woman who has one child has proved that she is fecund, but has not proved that she is fertile. A woman with six children has proved that she is not only fecund but fertile.

[120] They have been worked out by C.J. Lewis and J. Norman Lewis, Natality and Fecundity, 1905.

[121] Newsholme and Stevenson, op. cit.; Rubin and Westergaard, Statistik der Ehen, 1890, p. 95.

[122] D. Heron, "On the Relation of Fertility in Man to Social Status," Drapers' Company Research Memoirs, No. 1, 1906.

[123] The recognition of this relationship must not be regarded as an attempt unduly to narrow down the causation of changes in the birth-rate. The great complexity of the causes influencing the birth-rate is now fairly well recognized, and has, for instance, been pointed out by Goldscheid, Höherentwicklung und Menschenökonomie, Vol. I, 1911.

[124] In a paper read at the Brunswick Meeting of the German Anthropological Society (Correspondenzblatt of the Society, November, 1898); a great many facts concerning the fecundity of women among savages in various parts of the world are brought together by Ploss and Bartels, Das Weib, Vol I, chap. XXIV.

[125] The proportion of doctors to the population is very small, and the people still have great confidence in their quacks and witch-doctors. The elementary rules of sanitation are generally neglected, water supplies are polluted, filth is piled up in the streets and the courtyards, as it was in England and Western Europe generally until a century ago, and the framing of regulations or the incursions of the police have little effect on the habits of the people. Neglect of the ordinary precautions of cleanliness is responsible for the wide extension of syphilis by the use of drinking vessels, towels, etc., in common. Not only is typhoid prevalent in nearly every province of Russia, but typhus, which is peculiarly the disease of filth, overcrowding, and starvation, and has long been practically extinct in England, still flourishes and causes an immense mortality. The workers often have no homes and sleep in the factories amidst the machinery, men and women together; their food is insufficient, and the hours of labour may vary from twelve to fourteen. When famine occurs these conditions are exaggerated, and various epidemics ravage the population.

[126] It must, however, be remembered that in small and unstable communities a considerable margin for error must be allowed, as the crude birth-rate is unduly raised by an afflux of immigrants at the reproductive age.

[127] Arsène Dumont, Dépopulation et Civilisation, 1890, chap. VI. The nature of the restraint on fertility has been well set forth by Dr. Bushee ("The Declining Birth-rate and its Causes," Popular Science Monthly, August, 1903), mainly in the terms of Dumont's "social capillarity" theory.

[128] Even Dr. Newsholme, usually so cautious and reliable an investigator in this field, has been betrayed into a reference in this connection (The Declining Birth-rate, 1911, p. 41) to the "increasing rarity of altruism," though in almost the next paragraph he points out that the large families of the past were connected with the fact that the child was a profitable asset, and could be sent to work when little more than an infant. The "altruism" which results in crushing the minds and bodies of others in order to increase one's own earnings is not an "altruism" which we need desire to perpetuate. The beneficial effect of legislation against child-labour in reducing an unduly high birth-rate has often been pointed out.

[129] It may suffice to take a single point. Large families involve the birth of children at very short intervals. It has been clearly shown by Dr. R.J. Ewart ("The Influence of Parental Age on Offspring," Eugenics Review, October, 1911) that children born at an interval of less than two years after the birth of the previous child, remain, even when they have reached their sixth year, three inches shorter and three pounds lighter than first-born children.

[130] For instance, Goldscheid, in Höherentwicklung und Menschenökonomie; it is also, on the whole, the conclusion of Newsholme, though expressed in an exceedingly temperate manner, in his Declining Birth-rate.

[131] If, however, our birth-rate fanatics should hear of the results obtained at the experimental farm at Roseville, California, by Professor Silas Wentworth, who has found that by placing ewes in a field under the power wires of an electric wire company, the average production of lambs is more than doubled, we may anticipate trouble in many hitherto small families. Their predecessors insisted, in the cause of religion and morals, on burning witches; we must not be surprised if our modern fanatics, in the same holy cause, clamour for a law compelling all childless women to live under electric wires.

[132] J. Holt Schooling, "The English Marriage Rate," Fortnightly Review, June, 1901.

[133] G. Udny Yule, "Changes in the Marriage-and Birth-rate in England," Journal of the Royal Statistical Society, March, 1906.

[134] At an earlier period Hooker had investigated the same subject without coming to any very decisive conclusions ("Correlation of the Marriage-rate with Trade," Journ. Statistical Soc., September, 1901). Minor fluctuations in marriage and in trade per head, he found, tend to be in close correspondence, but on the whole trade has risen and the marriage-rate has fallen, probably, Hooker believed, as the result of the gradual deferment of marriage.

[135] The higher standard need not be, among the mass of the population, of a very exalted character, although it marks a real progress. Newsholme and Stevenson (op. cit.) term it a higher "standard of comfort." The decline of the birth-rate, they say, "is associated with a general raising of the standard of comfort, and is an expression of the determination of the people to secure this greater comfort."

[136] Ploss, Das Weib, Vol. I, chap. XX.

[137] It must not, however, be assumed that the rural immigrants are in the mass better suited to urban life than the urban natives. It is probable that, notwithstanding their energy and robustness, the immigrants are less suited to urban conditions than the natives. Consequently a process of selection takes place among the immigrants, and the survivors become, as it were, immunized to the poisons of urban life. But this immunization is by no means necessarily associated with any high degree of nervous vigour or general physical development.

[138] Havelock Ellis, A Study of British Genius, pp. 22, 43.

[139] "National Health: a Soldier's Study," Contemporary Review, January, 1903. The Reports of the Inspector-General of Recruiting are said to show that the recruits are every year smaller, lighter, and narrower-chested.

[140] This has been well illustrated during the past forty years in the flourishing county of Glamorgan in Wales, as is shown by Dr. R.S. Stewart ("The Relationship of Wages, Lunacy, and Crime in South Wales," Journal of Mental Science, January, 1904). The staple industry here is coal, 17 per cent of the population being directly employed in coal-mining, and wages are determined by the sliding scale as it is called, according to which the selling price of coal regulates the wages. This leads to many fluctuations and sudden accesses of prosperity. It is found that whenever wages rise there is a concomitant increase of insanity and at the same time a diminished output of coal due to slacking of work when earnings are greater; there is also an increase of drunkenness and of crime. Stewart concludes that it is doubtful whether increased material prosperity is conducive to improvement in physical and mental status. It must, however, be pointed out that it is a sudden and unstable prosperity, not necessarily a gradual and stable prosperity, which is hereby shown to be pernicious.

[141] The relationship is sometimes expressed by saying that the more highly differentiated the organism the fewer the offspring. According to Plate we ought to say that, the greater the capacity for parental care the fewer the offspring. This, however, comes to the same thing, since it is the higher organisms which possess the increased capacity for parental care. Putting it in the most generalized zoological way, diminished offspring is the response to improved environment. Thus in Man the decline of the birth-rate, as Professor Benjamin Moore remarks (British Medical Journal, August 20, 1910, p. 454), is "the simple biological reply to good economic conditions. It is a well-known biological law that even a micro-organism, when placed in unfavourable conditions as to food and environment, passes into a reproductive phase, and by sporulation or some special type produces new individuals very rapidly. The same condition of affairs in the human race was shown even by the fact that one-half of the births come from the least favourably situated one-quarter of the population. Hence, over-rapid birth-rate indicates unfavourable conditions of life, so that (so long as the population was on the increase) a lower birth-rate was a valuable indication of a better social condition of affairs, and a matter on which we should congratulate the country rather than proceed to condolences."

[142] "The accumulations of racial experience tend to show," remarks Woods Hutchinson ("Animal Marriage," Contemporary Review, October, 1904), "that by the production of a smaller and smaller number of offspring, and the expenditure upon those of a greater amount of parental care, better results can be obtained in efficiency and capacity for survival."

[143] Toulouse, Causes de la Folie, p. 91; Magri, Archivio di Psichiatria, 1896, fasc. vi-vii; Havelock Ellis, A Study of British Genius, pp. 106 et seq.

[144] Emile Macquart, "Mortalité, Natalité, Dépopulation," Bulletin de la Société d'Anthropologie, 1902.

[145] It is interesting to observe how Lafcadio Hearn, during the last years of his life, was compelled, however unwillingly, to recognize this change. See e.g. his Japan: An Attempt at Interpretation, 1904, ch. XXI, on "Industrial Dangers." The Japanese themselves have recognized it, and it is the feeling of the decay of their ancient ideals which has given so great an impetus to new ethical movements, such as that, described as a kind of elevated materialism, established by Yukichi Fukuzawa (see Open Court, June, 1907).

[146] Athenæum, October 7, 1911.




Eugenics and the Decline of the Birth-rate—Quantity and Quality in the Production of Children—Eugenic Sexual Selection—The Value of Pedigrees—Their Scientific Significance—The Systematic Record of Personal Data—The Proposal for Eugenic Certificates—St. Valentine's Day and Sexual Selection—Love and Reason—Love Ruled by Natural Law—Eugenic Selection not opposed to Love—No Need for Legal Compulsion—Medicine in Relation to Marriage


During recent years the question of the future of the human race has been brought before us in a way it has never been brought before. The great expansive movement in civilized countries is over. Whereas, fifty years ago, France seemed to present a striking contrast to other countries in her low and gradually falling birth-rate, to-day, though she has herself now almost reached a stationary position, France is seen merely to have been the leader in a movement which is common to all the more highly civilized nations. They are all now moving rapidly in the direction in which she moved slowly. It was inevitable that this movement, world-wide as it is, should call forth energetic protests, for there is no condition of things so bad but it finds some to advocate its perpetuation. There has, therefore, been much vigorous preaching against "race [194] suicide" by people who were deaf to the small voice of reason, who failed to understand that this matter could not be settled by mere consideration of the crude birth-rates, and that, even if it could, we should have still to realize that, as an economist remarks, it is to the decline of the birth-rate only that we probably owe it that the modern civilized world has been saved from economic disaster. [147]

But whatever the causes of the declining birth-rate it is certain that even when they are within our control they are of far too intimate a character for the public moralist to be permitted to touch them, even though we consider them to be in a disastrous state. It has to be recognized that we are here in the presence, not of a merely local or temporary tendency which might be shaken off with an effort, but of a great fundamental law of civilization; and the fact that we encounter it in our own race merely means that we are reaching a fairly high stage of civilization. It is far from the first time, in the history of the world, that the same phenomenon has been witnessed. It was seen in Imperial Rome; it was seen, again, in the "Protestant Rome," Geneva. Wherever are gathered together an exceedingly fine race of people, the flower of the race, individuals of the highest mental and moral distinction, there the birth-rate falls steadily. Vice or virtue alike avails nothing in this field; with high civilization fertility inevitably diminishes.



Under these circumstances it was to be expected that a new ideal should begin to flash before men's eyes. If the ideal of quantity is lost to us, why not seek the ideal of quality? We know that the old rule: "Increase and multiply" meant a vast amount of infant mortality, of starvation, of chronic disease, of widespread misery. In abandoning that rule, as we have been forced to do, are we not left free to seek that our children, though few, should be at all events fit, the finest, alike in physical and psychical constitution, that the world has seen?

Thus has come about the recent expansion of that conception of Eugenics, or the science and art of Good Breeding in the human race, which a group of workers, pioneered by Francis Galton [148]—at first in England and later in America, Germany and elsewhere—have been developing for some years past. Eugenics is beginning to be felt to possess a living actuality which it failed to [196] possess before. Instead of being a benevolent scientific fad it begins to present itself as the goal to which we are inevitably moving.

The cause of Eugenics has sometimes been prejudiced in the public mind by a comparison with the artificial breeding of domestic animals. In reality the two things are altogether different. In breeding animals a higher race of beings manipulates a lower race with the object of securing definite points that are of no use whatever to the animals themselves, but of considerable value to the breeders. In our own race, on the other hand, the problem of breeding is presented in an entirely different shape. There is as yet no race of super-men who are prepared to breed man for their own special ends. As things are, even if we had the ability and the power, we should surely hesitate before we bred men and women as we breed dogs or fowls. We may, therefore, quite put aside all discussion of eugenics as a sort of higher cattle-breeding. It would be undesirable, even if it were not impracticable.

But there is another aspect of Eugenics. Human eugenics need not be, and is not likely to be, a cold-blooded selection of partners by some outside scientific authority. But it may be, and is very likely to be, a slowly growing conviction—first among the more intelligent members of the community and then by imitation and fashion among the less intelligent members—that our children, the future race, the torch-bearers of civilization for succeeding ages, are not the mere result of chance or Providence, but that, in a very real sense, [197] it is within our power to mould them, that the salvation or damnation of many future generations lies in our hands since it depends on our wise and sane choice of a mate. The results of the breeding of those persons who ought never to be parents is well known; the notorious case of the Jukes family is but one among many instances. We could scarcely expect in any community that individuals like the Jukes would take the initiative in movements for the eugenic development of the race, but it makes much difference whether such families exist in an environment like our own which is indifferent to the future of the race, or whether they are surrounded by influences of a more wholesome character which can scarcely fail to some extent to affect, and even to control, the reckless and anti-social elements in the community.

In considering this question, therefore, we are justified in putting aside not only any kind of human breeding resembling the artificial breeding of animals, but also, at all events for the present, every compulsory prohibition on marriage or procreation. We must be content to concern ourselves with ideals, and with the endeavour to exert our personal influence in the realization of these ideals.


Such ideals cannot, however, be left in the air; if they depend on individual caprice nothing but fruitless confusion can come of them. They must be firmly grounded on a scientific basis of ascertained fact. This was always emphasized by Galton. He not only initiated [198] schemes for obtaining, but actually to some extent obtained, a large amount of scientific knowledge concerning the special characteristics and aptitudes of families, and his efforts in this direction have since been largely extended and elaborated. [149] The feverish activities of modern life, and the constant vicissitudes and accidents that overtake families to-day, have led to an extraordinary indifference to family history and tradition. Our forefathers, from generation to generation, carefully entered births, baptisms, marriages, and deaths in the fly-leaf of the Family Bible. It is largely owing to these precious entries that many are able to carry their family history several centuries further back than they otherwise could. But nowadays the Family Bible has for the most part ceased to exist, and nothing else has taken its place. If a man wishes to know what sort of stocks he has come from, unless he is himself an antiquarian, or in a position to employ an antiquarian to assist him, he can learn little, and in the most favourable position he is helpless without clues; though with such clues he might often learn much that would be of the greatest interest to him. The entries in the Family Bible, however, whatever their value as clues and even [199] as actual data, do not furnish adequate information to serve as a guide to the different qualities of stocks; we need far more detailed and varied information in order to realize the respective values of families from the point of view of eugenics. Here, again, Galton had already realized the need for supplying a great defect in our knowledge, and his Life-history Albums showed how the necessary information may be conveniently registered.

The accumulated histories of individual families, it is evident, will in time furnish a foundation on which to base scientific generalizations, and eventually, perhaps, to justify practical action. Moreover, a vast amount of valuable information on which it is possible to build up a knowledge of the correlated characteristics of families, already lies at present unused in the great insurance offices and elsewhere. When it is possible to obtain a large collection of accurate pedigrees for scientific purposes, and to throw them into a properly tabulated form, we shall certainly be in a position to know more of the qualities of stocks, of their good and bad characteristics, and of the degree in which they are correlated. [150]

In this way we shall, in time, be able to obtain a clear [200] picture of the probable results on the offspring of unions between any kind of people. From personal and ancestral data we shall be able to reckon the probable quality of the offspring of a married couple. Given a man and woman of known personal qualities and of known ancestors, what are likely to be the personal qualities, physical, mental and moral, of the children? That is a question of immense importance both for the beings themselves whom we bring into the world, for the community generally, and for the future race.

Eventually, it seems evident, a general system, whether private or public, whereby all personal facts, biological and mental, normal and morbid, are duly and systematically registered, must become inevitable if we are to have a real guide as to those persons who are most fit, or most unfit, to carry on the race. [151] Unless they are full and frank such records are useless. But it is obvious that for a long time to come such a system of registration must be private. According to the belief which is still deeply rooted in most of us, we regard as most private those facts of our lives which are most intimately connected with the life of the race, and most fateful for the future of humanity. The feeling is no doubt inevitable; it has a certain rightness and justification. As, however, our knowledge increases we shall learn that we are, on the one hand, a little more responsible for future generations than we are accustomed to think, and, on [201] the other hand, a little less responsible for our own good or bad qualities. Our fiat makes the future man, but, in the same way, we are ourselves made by a choice and a will not our own. A man may indeed, within limits, mould himself, but the materials he can alone use were handed on to him by his parents, and whether he becomes a man of genius, a criminal, a drunkard, an epileptic, or an ordinarily healthy, well-conducted, and intelligent citizen, must depend at least as much on his parents as on his own effort or lack of effort, since even the aptitude for effective effort is largely inborn. As we learn to look on the facts from the only sound standpoint of heredity, our anger or contempt for a failing and erring individual has to give way to the kindly but firm control of a weakling. If the children's teeth have been set on edge it is because the parents have eaten sour grapes.

If, however, we certainly cannot bring legal or even moral force to compel everyone to maintain such detailed registers of himself, his ancestral stocks, and his offspring—to say nothing of inducing him to make them public—there is something that we can do. We can make it to his interest to keep such a record. [152]If it [202] became an advantage in life to a man to possess good ancestors, and to be himself a good specimen of humanity in mind, character, and physique, we may be sure that those who are above the average in these matters will be glad to make use of that superiority. Insurance offices already make an inquisition into these matters, to which no one objects, because a man only submits to it for his own advantage; while for military and some other services similar inquiries are compulsory. Eugenic certificates, according to Galton's proposal, would be issued by a suitably constituted authority to those candidates who chose to apply for them and were able to pass the necessary tests. Such certificates would imply an inquiry and examination into the ancestry of the candidate as well as into his own constitution, health, intelligence and character; and the possession of such a certificate would involve a superiority to the average in all these respects. No one would be compelled to offer himself for such examination, just as no [203] one is compelled to seek a university degree. But its possession would often be an advantage. There is nothing to prevent the establishment of a board of examiners of this kind to-morrow, and we may be sure that, once established, many candidates would hasten to present themselves. [153] There are obviously many positions in life wherein a certificate of this kind of superiority would be helpful. But its chief distinction would be that its possession would be a kind of patent of natural nobility; the man or woman who held it would be one of Nature's aristocrats, to whom the future of the race might be safely left without further question.


By happy inspiration, or by chance, Galton made public his programme of eugenic research, in a paper read before the Sociological Society, on February 14, the festival of St. Valentine. Although the ancient [204] observances of that day have now died out, St. Valentine was for many centuries the patron saint of sexual selection, more especially in England. It can scarcely be said that any credit in this matter belongs to the venerable saint himself; it was by an accident that he achieved his conspicuous position in the world. He was simply a pious Christian who was beheaded for his faith in Rome under Claudius. But it so happened that his festival fell at that period in early spring when birds were believed to pair, and when youths and maidens were accustomed to select partners for themselves or for others. This custom—which has been studied together with many allied primitive practices by Mannhard [154]—was not always carried out on February 14, sometimes it took place a little later. In England, where it was strictly associated with St. Valentine's Day, the custom was referred to by Lydgate, and by Charles of Orleans in the rondeaus and ballades he wrote during his long imprisonment in England. The name Valentins or Valentines was also introduced into France (where the custom had long existed) to designate the young couples thus constituted. This method of sexual selection, half playful, half serious, flourished especially in the region between England, the Moselle, and the Tyrol. The essential part of the custom lay in the public choice of a fitting mate for marriageable girls. Sometimes the question of fitness resolved itself into one of [205] good looks; occasionally the matter was settled by lot. There was no compulsion about these unions; they were often little more than a game, though at times they involved a degree of immorality which caused the authorities to oppose them. But very frequently the sexual selection thus exerted led to weddings, and these playful Valentine unions were held to be a specially favourable prelude to a happy marriage.

It is scarcely necessary to show how the ancient customs associated with St. Valentine's Day are taken up again and placed on a higher plane by the great movement which is now beginning to shape itself among us. The old Valentine unions were made by a process of caprice tempered more or less by sound instincts and good sense. In the sexual selection of the future the same results will be attained by more or less deliberate and conscious recognition of the great laws and tendencies which investigation is slowly bringing to light. The new St. Valentine will be a saint of science rather than of folk-lore.

Whenever such statements as these are made it is always retorted that love laughs at science, and that the winds of passion blow where they list. [155] That, however, [206] is by no means altogether true, and in any case it is far from covering the whole of the ground. It is hard to fight against human nature, but human nature itself is opposed to indiscriminate choice of mates. It is not true that any one tends to love anybody, and that mutual attraction is entirely a matter of chance. The investigations which have lately been carried out show that there are certain definite tendencies in this matter, that certain kinds of people tend to be attracted to certain kinds, especially that like are attracted to like rather than unlike to unlike, and that, again, while some kinds of people tend to be married with special frequency other kinds tend to be left unmarried. [156] Sexual selection, even when left to random influences, is still not left to chance; it follows definite and ascertainable laws. In that way the play of love, however free it may appear, is really limited in a number of directions. People do not tend to fall in love with those who are in racial respects a contrast to themselves; they do not tend to fall in love with foreigners; they do not tend to be attracted to the ugly, the diseased, the deformed. All these things may happen, but they are the exception and not the rule. These limitations to the roving impulses of love, while very real, to some extent vary at different periods in accordance with the ideals which happen to be fashionable. In more remote ages they have been still more profoundly modified by religious [207] and social ideas; polygamy and polyandry, the custom of marrying only inside one's own caste, or only outside it, all these various and contradictory plans have been easily accepted at some place and some time, and have offered no more conscious obstacle to the free play of love than among ourselves is offered by the prohibition against marriage between near relations.

Those simple-minded people who talk about the blind and irresistible force of passion are themselves blind to very ordinary psychological facts. Passion—when it occurs—requires in normal persons cumulative and prolonged forces to impart to it full momentum. [157] In its early stages it is under the control of many influences, including influences of reason. If it were not so there could be no sexual selection, nor any social organization. [158]

The eugenic ideal which is now developing is thus not an artificial product, but the reasoned manifestation of a natural instinct, which has often been far more severely strained by the arbitrary prohibitions of the past than it is ever likely to be by any eugenic ideals of the future. The new ideal will be absorbed into the conscience of the [208] community, whether or not like a kind of new religion, [159] and will instinctively and unconsciously influence the impulses of men and women. It will do all this the more surely since, unlike the taboos of savage societies, the eugenic ideal will lead men and women to reject as partners only the men and women who are naturally unfit—the diseased, the abnormal, the weaklings—and conscience will thus be on the side of impulse.

It may indeed be pointed out that those who advocate a higher and more scientific conscience in matters of mating are by no means plotting against love, which is for the most part on their side, but rather against the influences that do violence to love: on the one hand, the reckless and thoughtless yielding to mere momentary desire, and, on the other hand, the still more fatal influences of wealth and position and worldly convenience which give a factitious value to persons who would never appear attractive partners in life were love and eugenic ideals left to go hand in hand. It is such unions, and not those inspired by the wholesome instincts of wholesome lovers, which lead, if not to the abstract "deterioration [209] of the race," at all events in numberless cases to the abiding unhappiness of persons who choose a mate without realizing how that mate is likely to develop, nor what sort of children may probably be expected from the union. The eugenic ideal will have to struggle with the criminal and still more resolutely with the rich; it will have few serious quarrels with normal and well constituted lovers.

It will now perhaps be clear how it is that the eugenic conception of the improvement of the race embodies a new ideal. We are familiar with legislative projects for compulsory certificates as a condition of marriage. But even apart from all the other considerations which make such schemes both illusory and undesirable, these externally imposed regulations fail to go to the root of the matter. If they are voluntary, if they spring out of a fine eugenic aspiration, it is another matter. Under these conditions the method may be carried out at once. Professor Grasset has pointed out one way in which this may be effected. We cannot, he remarks, follow the procedure of a military conseil de revision and compulsorily reject the candidate for a definite defect. But it would be possible for the two families concerned to call a conference of their two family doctors, after examination of the would-be bride and bridegroom, permitting the doctors to discuss freely the medical aspects of the proposed union, and undertaking to accept their decision, without asking for the revelation of any secrets, the families thus remaining ignorant of the defect which prevented this union but might not prevent [210] another union, for the chief danger in many cases comes from the conjunction of convergent morbid tendencies. [160] In France, where much power remains with the respective families, this method might be operative, provided complete confidence was felt in the doctors concerned. In some countries, such as England, the prospective couple might prefer to take the matter into their own hands, to discuss it frankly, and to seek medical advice on their own account; this is now much more frequently done than was formerly the case. But all compulsory projects of this kind, and indeed any mere legislation, cannot go to the root of the matter. For in the first place, what we need is a great body of facts, and a careful attention to the record and registration and statistical tabulation of personal and family histories. In the second place, we need that sound ideals and a high sense of responsibility should permeate the whole community, first its finer and more distinguished members and then, by the usual contagion that rules in such matters, the whole body of its members. [161] In time, no [211] doubt, this would lead to concerted social action. We may reasonably expect that a time will come when if, for instance, an epileptic woman conceals her condition from the man she is marrying it would generally be felt that an offence has been committed serious enough to invalidate the marriage. We must not suppose that lovers would be either willing or competent to investigate each other's family and medical histories. But it would be at least as easy and as simple to choose a partner from those persons who had successfully passed the eugenic test—more especially since such persons would certainly be the most attractive group in the community—as it is for an Australian aborigine to select a conjugal partner from one social group rather than from any other. [162] It is a matter of accepting an ideal and of exerting our personal and social influence in the direction of that ideal. If we really seek to raise the level of humanity we may in this way begin to do so to-day.



The extreme interest of a Life-History Record is obvious, even apart from its eventual scientific value. Most of us would have reason to congratulate ourselves had such records been customary when we were ourselves children. It is probable that this is becoming more generally realized, though until recently only the pioneers have here been active. "I started a Life-History Album for each of my children," writes Mr. F.H. Perrycoste in a private letter, "as soon as they were born; and by the time they arrive at man's and woman's estate they will have valuable records of their own physical, mental, and moral development, which should be of great service to them when they come to have children of their own, whilst the physical—in which are included, of course, medical—records may at any time be of great value to their own medical advisers in later life. I have reason to regret that some such Albums were not kept for my wife and myself, for they would have afforded the necessary data by which to 'size up' the abilities and conduct of our children. I know, for instance, pretty well what was my own Galtonian rank as a schoolboy, and I am constantly asking myself whether my boy will do as well, better, or worse. Now fortunately I do happen to remember roughly what stages I had reached at one or two transition periods of school-life; but if only such an Album had been kept for me, I could turn it up and check my boy against myself in each subject at each yearly stage. You will gather from this that I consider it of great importance that ample details of school-work and intellectual development should be entered in the Album. I find the space at my disposal for these entries insufficient, and consequently I summarize in the Album and insert a reference to sheets of fuller details which I keep; but it might be well, when another edition of the [213] Album comes to be published, to agitate for the insertion of extra blank pages after the age of eight or nine, in order to allow of the transcription of full school-reports. However, the great thing is to induce people to keep an Album that will form the nucleus round which any number of fuller records can cluster."

It is not necessary that the Galtonian type of Album should be rigidly preserved, and I am indebted to "Henry Hamill," the author of The Truth We Owe to Youth, for the following suggestions as to the way in which such a record may be carried out:

"The book should not be a mere dry rigmarole, but include a certain appeal to sentiment. The subject should begin to make the entries himself when old enough to do so properly, i.e. so that the book will not be disfigured—though indeed the naivity of juvenile phrasing, etc., may be of a particular interest. From a graphological point of view, the evolution of the handwriting will be of interest; and if for no other reason, specimens of handwriting ought to appear in it from year to year, while the parent is still writing the other entries. There may now be a certain sacramental character in the life-history. The subject should be led to regard the book as a witness, and to perceive in it an additional reason for avoiding every act the mention of which would be a disfigurement of the history. At the same time, the nature of the witness may be made to correct the wrong notions prevailing as to the worthiness of acts, and to sanctify certain of them that have been foolishly degraded. Thus there may be left several leaves blank before the pages of forms for filling in anthropometric and physiological data, and the headings may be made to suggest a worthier way of viewing these things. For instance, there may be the indication 'Place and time of conception,' and a specimen entry may be of service to lead commonplace minds into a more reverent and poetical view than is now usual—such as the one I culled from the life-history [214] of an American child: 'Our second child M—— was conceived on Midsummer Day, under the shade of a friendly sycamore, beneath the cloudless blue of Southern California.' Or, instead of restricting the reference to the particular episode, it may refer to the whole chapter of Love which that episode adorned, more especially in the case of a first child, when a poetical history of the mating of the parents may precede. The presence of the idea that the book would some day be read by others than the intimate circle, would restrain the tendency of some persons to inordinate self-revelation and 'gush.' Such books as these would form the dearest heirlooms of a family, helping to knit its bonds firmer, and giving an insight into individual character which would supplement the more tangible data for the pedigree in a most valuable way. The photographs taken every three months or so ought to be as largely as possible nude. The gradual transition from childhood would help to prevent an abrupt feeling arising, and the practice would be a valuable aid to the rehabilitation of the nude, and of genuineness in our daily life, no matter in what respect. This leads to the difficult question of how far moral aspects should be entertained. 'To-day Johnnie told his first fib; we pretended to disbelieve everything else he said, and he began to see that lying was bad policy.' 'Chastised Johnnie for the first time for pulling the wings off a fly; he wanted to know why we might kill flies outright, but not mutilate them,' and so on. For in this way parents would train themselves in the psychology of education and character-building, though books by specially gifted parents would soon appear for their guidance.

"Of course, whatever relevant circumstances were available about the ante-natal period or the mother's condition would be noted (but who would expect a mother to note that she laced tight up to such and such a month? Perhaps the keeping of a log like this might act as a deterrent). Similarly, [215] under diet and regimen, year by year, the assumption of breast-feeding—provision of columns for the various incidents of it—weight before and after feeding, etc., would have a great suggestive value.

"The provision under diet and regimen of columns for 'drug habits, if any'—tea, coffee, alcohol, nicotine, morphia, etc.—would have a suggestive value and operate in the direction of the simple life and a reverence for the body. Some good aphorisms might be strewed in, such as:

"'If anything is sacred, the human body is sacred' (Whitman).

"As young people circulate their 'Books of Likes and Dislikes,' etc., and thus in an entertaining way provide each other with insight into mutual character, so the Life-History need not be an arcanum—at least where people have nothing to be ashamed of. It would be a very trying ordeal, no doubt, to admit even intimate friends to this confidence. But as eugenics spread, concealment of taint will become almost impracticable, and the facts may as well be confessed. But even then there will be limitations. There might be an esoteric book for the individual's own account of himself. Such important items as the incidence of puberty (though notorious in some communities) could not well be included in a book open even to the family circle, for generations to come. The quiescence of the genital sense, the sedatives naturally occurring, important as these are, and occupying the consciousness in so large a degree, would find no place; nevertheless, a private journal of the facts would help to steady the individual, and prove a check against disrespect to his body.

"As the facts of individual evolution would be noted, so likewise would those of dissolution. The first signs of decay—the teeth, the elasticity of body and mind—would provide a valuable sphere for all who are disposed to the diary-habit. The journals of individuals with a gift for introspection would [216] furnish valuable material for psychologists in the future. Life would be cleansed in many ways. Journals would not have to be bowdlerized, like Marie Bashkirtseff's, for the morbidity that gloats on the forbidden would have a lesser scope, much that is now regarded as disgraceful being then accepted as natural and right.

"The book might have several volumes, and that for the periods of infancy and childhood might need to be less private than the one for puberty. More, in his Utopia, demands that lovers shall learn to know each other as they really are, i.e. naked. That is now the most Utopian thing in More's Utopia. But the lovers might communicate their life-histories to each other as a preliminary.

"The whole plan would, of course, finally have to be over-hauled by the so-called 'man of the world.'"

Not everyone may agree with this conception of the Life-History Album and its uses. Some will prefer a severely dry and bald record of measurements. At the present time, however, there is room for very various types of such documents. The important point is to realize that, in some form or another, a record of this kind from birth or earlier is practicable, and constitutes a record which is highly desirable alike on personal, social, and scientific grounds.

[147] Dr. Scott Nearing, "Race Suicide versus Over-Population," Popular Science Monthly, January, 1911. And from the biological side Professor Bateson concludes (Biological Fact and the Structure of Society, p. 23) that "it is in a decline in the birth-rate that the most promising omen exists for the happiness of future generations."

[148] Galton himself, the grandson of Erasmus Darwin, and the half-cousin of Charles Darwin, may be said to furnish a noble illustration of an unconscious process of eugenics. (He has set forth his ancestry in Memories of My Life.) On his death, the editor of the Popular Science Monthly wrote, referring to the fact that Galton was nominated to succeed William James in the honorary membership of an Academy of Science: "These two men are the greatest whom he has known. James possessed the more complicated personality; but they had certain common traits—a combination of perfect aristocracy with complete democracy, directness, kindliness, generosity, and nobility beyond all measure. It has been said that eugenics is futile because it cannot define its end. The answer is simple—we want men like William James and Francis Galton" (Popular Science Monthly, March, 1911.) Probably most of those who were brought, however slightly, in contact with these two fine personalities will subscribe to this conclusion.

[149] Galton chiefly studied the families to which men of intellectual ability belong, especially in his Hereditary Genius and English Men of Science; various kinds of pathological families have since been investigated by Karl Pearson and his co-workers (see the series of Biometrika); the pedigrees of the defective classes (especially the feeble-minded and epileptic) are now being accurately worked out, as by Godden, at Vineland, New Jersey, and Davenport, in New York (see e.g. Eugenics Review, April, 1911, and Journal of Nervous and Mental Disease, November, 1911).

[150] "When once more the importance of good birth comes to be recognized in a new sense," wrote W.C.D. Whetham and Mrs. Whetham (in The Family and the Nation, p. 222), "when the innate physical and mental qualities of different families are recorded in the central sociological department or scientifically reformed College of Arms, the pedigrees of all will be known to be of supreme interest. It would be understood to be more important to marry into a family with a good hereditary record of physical and mental and moral qualities than it ever has been considered to be allied to one with sixteen quarterings."

[151] The importance of such biographical records of aptitude and character are so great that some, like Schallmayer (Vererbung und Auslese, 2nd ed., 1910, p. 389) believe that they must be made universally obligatory. This proposal, however, seems premature.

[152] In many undesigned and unforeseen ways these registers may be of immense value. They may even prove the means of overthrowing our pernicious and destructive system of so-called "education." A step in this direction has been suggested by Mr. R.T. Bodey, Inspector of Elementary Schools, at a meeting of the Liverpool branch of the Eugenics Education Society: "Education facilities should be carefully distributed with regard to the scientific likelihood of their utilization to the maximum of national advantage, and this not for economic reasons only, but because it was cruel to drag children from their own to a different sphere of life, and cruel to the class they deserted. Since the activities of the nation and the powers of the children were alike varied in kind and degree, the most natural plan would be to sort them both out, and then design a school system expressly in order to fit one to the other. At present there was no fixed purpose, but a perpetual riot of changes, resulting in distraction of mind, discontinuity of purpose, and increase of cost, while happiness decayed because desires grew faster than possessions or the sense of achievement. The only really scientific basis for a national system of education would be a full knowledge of the family history of each child. With more perfect classification of family talent the need of scholarships of transplantation would become less, for each of them was the confession of an initial error in placing the child. Then there would be more money to be spared for industrial research, travelling and art studentships, and other aids to those who had the rare gift of original thought" (British Medical Journal, November 18, 1911).

[153] I should add that there is one obstacle, viz. expense. When the present chapter was first published in its preliminary form as an article in the Nineteenth Century and After (May, 1906), Galton, always alive to everything bearing on the study of Eugenics, wrote to me that he had been impressed by the generally sympathetic reception my paper had received, and that he felt encouraged to consider whether it was possible to begin giving such certificates at once. He asked for my views, among others, as to the ground which should be covered by such certificates. The programme I set forth was somewhat extensive, as I considered that the applicant must not only bring evidence of a sound ancestry, but also submit to anthropological, psychological, and medical examination. Galton eventually came to the conclusion that the expenses involved by the scheme rendered it for the present impracticable. My opinion was, and is, that though the charge for such a certificate might in the first place be prohibitive for most people, a few persons might find it desirable to seek, and advantageous to possess, such certificates, and that it is worth while at all events to make a beginning.

[154] Mannhardt, Wald-und Feldkulte, 1875, Vol. I, pp. 422 et seq. I have discussed seasonal erotic festivals in a study of "The Phenomena of Sexual Periodicity," Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. I.

[155] Thus we read in a small popular periodical: "I am prepared to back human nature against all the cranks in Christendom. Human nature will endure a faddist so long as he does not interfere with things it prizes. One of these things is the right to select its partner for life. If a man loves a girl he is not going to give her up because she happens to have an aunt in a lunatic asylum or an uncle who has epileptic fits," etc. In the same way it may be said that a man will allow nothing to interfere with his right to eat such food as he chooses, and is not going to give up a dish he likes because it happens to be peppered with arsenic. It may be so, let us grant, among savages. The growth of civilization lies in ever-extended self-control guided by foresight.

[156] I have summarized some of the evidence on these points, especially that showing that sexual attraction tends to be towards like persons and not, as was formerly supposed, towards the unlike, in Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. IV, "Sexual Selection in Man."

[157] In other words, the process of tumescence is gradual and complex. See Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. III, "The Analysis of the Sexual Impulse."

[158] As Roswell Johnson remarks ("The Evolution of Man and its Control," Popular Science Monthly, January, 1910): "While it is undeniable that love when once established defies rational considerations, yet we must remark that sexual selection proceeds usually through two stages, the first being one of mere mutual attraction and interest. It is in this stage that the will and reason are operative, and here alone that any considerable elevation of standard may be effective."

[159] Galton looked upon eugenics as fitted to become a factor in religion (Essays in Eugenics, p. 68). It may, however, be questioned whether this consummation is either probable or desirable. The same religious claim has been made for socialism. But, as Dr. Eden Paul remarks in a recent pamphlet on Socialism and Eugenics, "Whereas both Socialism and Eugenics are concerned solely with the application of the knowledge gained by experience to the amelioration of the human lot, it seems preferable to dispense with religious terminology, and to regard the two doctrines as complementary parts of the great modern movement known by the name of Humanism." Personally, I do not consider that either Socialism or Eugenics can be regarded as coming within the legitimate sphere of religion, which I have elsewhere attempted to define (Conclusion to The New Spirit).

[160] J. Grasset, in Dr. A. Marie's Traité International de Psychologie Pathologique, 1910, Vol. I, p. 25. Grasset proceeds to discuss the principles which must guide the physician in such consultations.

[161] This has been clearly realized by the German Society of Eugenics or "Racial Hygiene," as it is usually termed in Germany (Internationale Gesellschaft für Rassen-Hygiene), founded by Dr. Alfred Ploetz, with the co-operation of many distinguished physicians and men of science, "to further the theory and practice of racial hygiene." It is a chief aim of this Society to encourage the registration by the members of the biological and other physical and psychic characteristics of themselves and their families, in order to obtain a body of data on which conclusions may eventually be based; the members undertake not to enter on a marriage except they are assured by medical investigation of both parties that the union is not likely to cause disaster to either partner or to the offspring. The Society also admits associates who only occupy themselves with the scientific aspects of its work and with propaganda. In England the Eugenics Education Society (with its organ the Eugenics Review) has done much to stimulate an intelligent interest in eugenics.

[162] How influential public opinion may be in the selection of mates is indicated by the influence it already exerts—in less than a century—in the limitation of offspring. This is well marked in some parts of France. Thus, concerning a rural district near the Garonne, Dr. Belbèze, who knows it thoroughly, writes (La Neurasthénie Rurale, 1911): "Public opinion does not at present approve of multiple procreation. Large families, there can be no doubt, are treated with contempt. Couples who produce a numerous progeny are looked on, with a wink, as 'maladroits,' which in this region is perhaps the supreme term of abuse.... Public opinion is all-powerful, and alone suffices to produce restraint, when foresight is not adequate for this purpose."




Religious Education in Relation to Social Hygiene and to Psychology—The Psychology of the Child—The Contents of Children's Minds—The Imagination of Children—How far may Religion be assimilated by Children?—Unfortunate Results of Early Religious Instruction—Puberty the Age for Religious Education—Religion as an Initiation into a Mystery—Initiation among Savages—The Christian Sacraments—The Modern Tendency as regards Religious Instruction—Its Advantages—Children and Fairy Tales—The Bible of Childhood—Moral Training.

It is a fact as strange as it is unfortunate that the much-debated question of the religious education of children is almost exclusively considered from the points of view of the sectarian and the secularist. In a discussion of this question we are almost certain to be invited to take part in an unedifying wrangle between Church and Chapel, between religion and secularism. That is the strange part of it, that it should seem impossible to get away from this sectarian dispute as to the abstract claims of varying religious bodies. The unfortunate part of it is that in this quarrel the interests of the community, the interests of the child, even the interests of religion are alike disregarded.

If we really desire to reach a sound conclusion on a matter which is unquestionably of great moment, both for the child and for the community of which he will one [218] day become a citizen, we must resolutely put into the background, as of secondary importance, the cries of contending sects, religious or irreligious. The first place here belongs to the psychologist, who is building up the already extensive edifice of knowledge concerning the real nature of the child and the contents and growth of the youthful mind, and to the practical teacher who is in touch with that knowledge and can bring it to the test of actual experience. Before considering what drugs are to be administered we must consider the nature of the organism they are to be thrust into.

The mind of the child is at once logical and extravagant, matter-of-fact and poetic or rather mytho-p[oe]ic. This combination of apparent opposites, though it often seems almost incomprehensible to the adult, is the inevitable outcome of the fact that the child's dawning intelligence is working, as it were, in a vacuum. In other words, the child has not acquired the two endowments which chiefly give character to the whole body of the adult's beliefs and feelings. He is without the pubertal expansion which fills out the mind with new personal and altruistic impulses and transforms it with emotion that is often dazzling and sometimes distorting; and he has not yet absorbed, or even gained the power of absorbing, all those beliefs, opinions, and mental attitudes which the race has slowly acquired and transmitted as the traditional outcome of its experiences.

The intellectual processes of children, the attitude and contents of the child's mind, have been explored during recent years with a care and detail that have never been [219] brought to that study before. This is not a matter of which the adult can be said to possess any instinctive or matter-of-course knowledge. Adults usually have a strange aptitude to forget entirely the facts of their lives as children, and children are usually, like peoples of primitive race, very cautious in the deliberate communication of their mental operations, their emotions, and their ideas. That is to say that the child is equally without the internally acquired complex emotional nature which has its kernel in the sexual impulse, and without the externally acquired mental equipment which may be summed up in the word tradition. But he possesses the vivid activities founded on the exercise of his senses and appetites, and he is able to reason with a relentless severity from which the traditionalized and complexly emotional adult shrinks back with horror. The child creates the world for himself, and he creates it in his own image and the images of the persons he is familiar with. Nothing is sacred to him, and he pushes to the most daring extremities—as it seems to the adult—the arguments derived from his own personal experiences. He is unable to see any distinction between the natural and the supernatural, and he is justified in this conviction because, as a matter of fact, he himself lives in what for most adults would be a supernatural atmosphere; most children see visions with closed and sometimes with open eyes; [163] they are not infrequently subject [220] to colour-hearing and other synæsthetic sensations; and they occasionally hear hallucinatory voices. It is possible, indeed, that this is the case with all children in some slight degree, although the faculty dies out early and is easily forgotten because its extraordinary character was never recognized.

Of 48 Boston children, says Stanley Hall, [164] 20 believed the sun, moon, and stars to live, 16 thought flowers could feel, and 15 that dolls would feel pain if burnt. The sky was found the chief field in which the children exercise their philosophic minds. About three-quarters of them thought the world a plain with the sky like a bowl turned over it, sometimes believing that it was of such thin texture that one could easily break through, though so large that much floor-sweeping was necessary in Heaven. The sun may enter the ground when it sets, but half the children thought that at night it rolls or flies away, or is blown or walks, or God pulls it higher up out of sight, taking it up into Heaven, according to some putting it to bed, and even taking off its clothes and putting them on again in the morning, or again, it is believed to lie under the trees at night and the angels mind it. God, of whom the children always hear so [221] much, plays a very large part in these conceptions, and is made directly responsible for all cosmic phenomena. Thus thunder to these American children was God groaning or kicking or rolling barrels about, or turning a big handle, or grinding snow, or breaking something, or rattling a big hammer; while the lightning is due to God putting his finger out, or turning the gas on quick, or striking matches, or setting paper on fire. According to Boston children, God is a big, perhaps a blue, man, to be seen in the sky, on the clouds, in church, or even in the streets. They declare that God comes to see them sometimes, and they have seen him enter the gate. He makes lamps, babies, dogs, trees, money, etc., and the angels work for him. He looks like a priest, or a teacher, or papa, and the children like to look at him; a few would themselves like to be God. His house in the sky may be made of stone or brick; birds, children, and Santa Claus live with God.

Birds and beasts, their food and their furniture, as Burnham points out, all talk to children; when the dew is on the grass "the grass is crying," the stars are candles or lamps, perhaps cinders from God's stove, butterflies are flying pansies, icicles are Christmas candy. Children have imaginary play-brothers and sisters and friends, with whom they talk. Sometimes God talks with them. Even the prosiest things are vivified; the tracks of dirty feet on the floor are flowers; a creaking chair talks; the shoemaker's nails are children whom he is driving to school; a pedlar is Santa Claus.

Miss Miriam Levy once investigated the opinions of 560 [222] children, boys and girls, between the ages of 4 and 14, as to how the man in the moon got there. Only 5 were unable to offer a serious explanation; 48 thought there was no man there at all; 50 offered a scientific explanation of the phenomena; but all the rest, the great majority, presented imaginative solutions which could be grouped into seventeen different classes.

Such facts as these—which can easily be multiplied and are indeed familiar to all, though their significance is not usually realized—indicate the special tendencies of the child in the religious sphere. He is unable to follow the distinctions which the adult is pleased to make between "real," "spiritual" and "imaginary" beings. To him such distinctions do not exist. He may, if he so pleases, adopt the names or such characteristics as he chooses, of the beings he is told about, but he puts them into his own world, on a footing of more or less equality, and he decides himself what their fate is to be. The adult's supreme beings by no means always survive in the struggle for existence which takes place in the child's imaginative world. It was found among many thousand children entering the city schools of Berlin that Red Riding Hood was better known than God, and Cinderella than Christ. That is the result of the child's freedom from the burden of tradition.

Yet at the same time the opposite though allied peculiarity of childhood—the absence of the emotional developments of puberty which deepen and often cloud the mind a few years later—is also making itself felt. Extravagant as his beliefs may appear, the child is an [223] uncompromising rationalist and realist. His supposed imaginativeness is indeed merely the result of his logical insistence that all the new phenomena presented to him shall be thought of in terms of himself and his own environment. His wildest notions are based on precise, concrete, and personal facts of his own experience. That is why he is so keen a questioner of grown-up people's ideas, and a critic who may sometimes be as dangerous and destructive as Bishop Colenso's Zulus. Most children before the age of thirteen, as Earl Barnes states, are inquirers, if not sceptics.

If we clearly realize these characteristics of the childish mind, we cannot fail to understand the impression made on it by religious instruction. The statements and stories that are repeated to him are easily accepted by the child in so far, and in so far only, as they answer to his needs; and when accepted they are assimilated, which means that they are compelled to obey the laws of his own mental world. In so far as the statements and stories presented to him are not acceptable or cannot be assimilated, it happens either that they pass by him unnoticed, or else that he subjects them to a cold and matter-of-fact logic which exerts a dissolving influence upon them.

Now a few of the ideas of religion are assimilable by the child, and notably the idea of a God as the direct agent in cosmic phenomena; some of the childish notions I have quoted illustrate the facility with which the child adopts this idea. He adopts, that is, what may be called the hard precise skeleton of the idea, and imagines a [224] colossal magician, of anthropomorphic (if not paidomorphic) nature, whose operations are curious, though they altogether fail to arouse any mysterious reverence or awe for the agent. Even this is not very satisfactory, and Stanley Hall, in the spirit of Froebel, considers that the best result is attained when the child knows no God but his own mother. [165] But for the most part the ideas of religion cannot be accepted or assimilated by children at all; they were not made by children or for children, but represent the feelings, thoughts, and experiences of men, and sometimes even of very exceptional and abnormal men. "The child," it has been said, "no doubt has the psychical elements out of which the religious experience is evolved, just as the seed has the promise of the fruit which will come in the fullness of time. But to say, therefore, that the average child is religious, or capable of receiving the usual advanced religious instruction, is equivalent to saying that the seed is the fruit or capable of being converted into fruit before the fullness of time." [166] The child who grows devout and becomes anxious about the state of his soul is a morbid [225] and unwholesome child; if he prefers praying for the conversion of his play-fellows to joining them in their games he is not so much an example of piety as a pathological case whose future must be viewed with anxiety; and to preach religious duties to children is exactly the same, it has been well said, as to exhort them to imagine themselves married people and to inculcate on them the duties of that relation. Fortunately the normal child is usually able to resist these influences. It is the healthy child's impulse either to let them fall with indifference or to apply to them the instrument of his unmerciful logic.

Naturally, the adult, in self-defence, is compelled to react against this indifferent or aggressive attitude of the child. He may be no match for the child in logic, and even unspeakably shocked by his daring inquiries, like an amiable old clergyman I knew when a Public School teacher in Australia; he went to a school to give Bible lessons, and was one day explaining how King David was a man after God's own heart, when a small voice was heard making inquiries about Uriah's wife; the small boy was hushed down by the shocked clergyman, and the cause of religion was not furthered in that school. But the adult knows that he has on his side tradition which has not yet been acquired by the child, and the inner emotional expansion which still remains unliberated in the child. The adult, therefore, fortified by this superiority, feels justified in falling back on the weapon of authority: "You may not want to believe this and to learn it, but you've got to."

[226] It is in this way that the adult wins the battle of religious education. In the deeper and more far-seeing sense he has lost it. Religion has become, not a charming privilege, but a lesson, a lesson about unbelievable things, a meaningless task to be learnt by heart, a drudgery. It may be said that even if that is so, religious lessons merely share the inevitable fate of all subjects which become school tasks. But that is not the case. Every other subject which is likely to become a school task is apt to become intelligible and attractive to some considerable section of the scholars because it is within the range of childish intelligence. But, for the two very definite reasons I have pointed out, this is only to an extremely limited degree true as regards the subject of religion, because the young organism is an instrument not as yet fitted with the notes which religion is most apt to strike.

Of all the school subjects religion thus tends to be the least attractive. Lobsien, at Kiel, found a few years since, in the course of a psychological investigation, that when five hundred children (boys and girls in equal numbers), between the ages of nine and fourteen, were asked which was their favourite lesson hour, only twelve (ten girls and two boys) named the religious lesson. [167] In other words, nearly 98 per cent children (and nearly all the boys) find that religion is either an indifferent or a repugnant subject. I have no reports at hand as regards English children, but there is little reason to suppose that the result would be widely different. [168] [227] Here and there a specially skilful teacher might bring about a result more favourable to religious teaching, but that could only be done by depriving the subject of its most characteristic elements.

This is, however, not by any means the whole of the mischief which, from the religious point of view, is thus perpetrated. It might, on a priori grounds, be plausibly argued that even if there is among healthy young children a certain amount of indifference or even repugnance to religious instruction, that is of very little consequence: they cannot be too early grounded in the principles of the faith they will later be called on to profess; and however incapable they may now be of understanding the teaching that is being inculcated in the school, they will realize its importance when their knowledge and experience increase. But however plausible this may seem, practically it is not what usually happens. The usual effect of constantly imparting to children an [228] instruction they are not yet ready to receive is to deaden their sensibilities to the whole subject of religion. [169] The premature familiarity with religious influences—putting aside the rare cases where it leads to a morbid pre-occupation with religion—induces a reaction of routine which becomes so habitual that it successfully withstands the later influences which on more virgin soil would have evoked vigorous and living response. So far from preparing the way for a more genuine development of religious impulse later on, this precocious scriptural instruction is just adequate to act as an inoculation against deeper and more serious religious interests. The commonplace child in later life accepts the religion it has been inured to so early as part of the conventional routine of life. The more vigorous and original child for the same reason shakes it off, perhaps for ever.

Luther, feeling the need to gain converts to Protestantism as early as possible, was a strong advocate for the religious training of children, and has doubtless had much influence in this matter on the Protestant churches. "The study of religion, of the Bible and the Catechism," [229] says Fiedler, "of course comes first and foremost in his scheme of instruction." He was also quite prepared to adapt it to the childish mind. "Let children be taught," he writes, "that our dear Lord sits in Heaven on a golden throne, that He has a long grey beard and a crown of gold." But Luther quite failed to realize the inevitable psychological reaction in later life against such fairy-tales.

At a later date, Rousseau, who, like Luther, was on the side of religion, realized, as Luther failed to realize, the disastrous results of attempting to teach it to children. In La Nouvelle Héloïse, Saint-Preux writes that Julie had explained to him how she sought to surround her children with good influences without forcing any religious instruction on them: "As to the Catechism, they don't so much as know what it is." "What! Julie, your children don't learn their Catechism?" "No, my friend, my children don't learn their Catechism." "So pious a mother!" I exclaimed; "I can't understand. And why don't your children learn their Catechism?" "In order that they may one day believe it. I wish to make Christians of them." [170]

Since Rousseau's day this may be said to be the general attitude of nearly all thinkers who have given attention to the question, even though they may not have viewed it psychologically. It is an attitude by no means confined [230] to those who are anxious that children should grow up to be genuine Christians, but is common to all who consider that the main point is that children should grow up to be, at all events, genuine men and women. "I do not think," writes John Stuart Mill, in 1868, "there should be any authoritative teaching at all on such subjects. I think parents ought to point out to their children, when the children begin to question them or to make observations of their own, the various opinions on such subjects, and what the parents themselves think the most powerful reasons for and against. Then, if the parents show a strong feeling of the importance of truth, and also of the difficulty of attaining it, it seems to me that young people's minds will be sufficiently prepared to regard popular opinion or the opinion of those about them with respectful tolerance, and may be safely left to form definite conclusions in the course of mature life." [171]

There are few among us who have not suffered from too early familiarity with the Bible and the conceptions of religion. Even for a man of really strong and independent intellect it may be many years before the precociously dulled feelings become fresh again, before the fetters of routine fall off, and he is enabled at last to approach the Bible with fresh receptivity and to realize, for the first time in his life, the treasures of art and beauty and divine wisdom it contains. But for most that moment never comes round. For the majority the religious education of the school as effectually seals the [231] Bible for life as the classical education of the college seals the great authors of Greece and Rome for life; no man opens his school books again when he has once left school. Those who read Greek and Latin for love have not usually come out of universities, and there is surely a certain significance in the fact that the children of one's secularist friends are so often found to become devout church-goers, while, according to the frequent observation, devout parents often have most irreligious offspring, just as the bad boys at school and college are frequently sons of the clergy.

At puberty and during adolescence everything begins to be changed. The change, it is important to remember, is a natural change, and tends to come about spontaneously; "where no set forms have been urged, the religious emotion," as Lancaster puts it, "comes forth as naturally as the sun rises." [172] That period, really and psychologically, marks a "new birth." Emotions which are of fundamental importance, not only for the individual's personal life but for his social and even cosmic relationships, are for the first time born. Not only is the child's body remoulded in the form of a man or a woman, but the child-soul becomes a man-soul or a woman-soul, and nothing can possibly be as it has been before. The daringly sceptical logician has gone, and so [232] has the imaginative dreamer for whom the world was the automatic magnifying mirror of his own childish form and environment. It has been revealed to him that there are independent personal and impersonal forces outside himself, forces with which he may come into a conscious and fascinatingly exciting relationship. It is a revelation of supreme importance, and with it comes not only the complexly emotional and intellectual realization of personality, but the aptitude to enter into and assimilate the traditions of the race.

It cannot be too strongly emphasized that this is the moment, and the earliest moment, when it becomes desirable to initiate the boy or girl into the mysteries of religion. That it is the best moment is indicated by the well-recognized fact that the immediately post-pubertal period of adolescence is the period during which, even spontaneously, the most marked religious phenomena tend to occur. [173] Stanley Hall seems to think that twelve is the age at which the cultivation of the religious consciousness may begin; "the age, signalized by the ancient Greeks as that at which the study of what was comprehensively called music should begin, the age at which Roman guardianship ended, at which boys are [233] confirmed in the modern Greek, Catholic, Lutheran and Episcopal Churches, and at which the Child Jesus entered the Temple, is as early as any child ought consciously to go about his Heavenly Father's business." 174] But I doubt whether we can fix the age definitely by years, nor is it indeed quite accurate to assert that so early an age as twelve is generally accepted as the age of initiation; the Anglican Church, for example, usually confirms at the age of fifteen. It is not age with which we ought to be concerned, but a biological epoch of psychic evolution. It is unwise to insist on any particular age, because development takes place within a considerably wide limit of years.

I have spoken of the introduction to religion at puberty as the initiation into a mystery. The phrase was deliberately chosen, for it seems to me to be not a metaphor, but the expression of a truth which has always been understood whenever religion has been a reality and not a mere convention. Among savages in nearly all parts [234] of the world the boy or girl at puberty is initiated into the mystery of manhood or of womanhood, into the duties and the privileges of the adult members of the tribe. The youth is taken into a solitary place, for a month or more, he is made to suffer pain and hardship, to learn self-restraint, he is taught the lore of the tribe as well as the elementary rules of morality and justice; he is shown the secret things of the tribe and their meaning and significance, which no stranger may know. He is, in short, enabled to find his soul, and he emerges from this discipline a trained and responsible member of his tribe. The girl receives a corresponding training, suited to her sex, also in solitude, at the hands of the older women. A clear and full description of a typical savage initiation into manhood at puberty is presented by Dr. Haddon in the fifth volume of the Reports of the Cambridge Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, and Dr. Haddon makes the comment: "It is not easy to conceive of more effectual means for a rapid training."

The ideas of remote savages concerning the proper manner of initiating youth in the religious and other mysteries of life may seem of little personal assistance to superiorly civilized people like ourselves. But let us turn, therefore, to the Greeks. They also had preserved the idea and the practice of initiation into sacred mysteries, though in a somewhat modified form because religion had ceased to be so intimately blended with all the activities of life. The Eleusinian and other mysteries were initiations into sacred knowledge and insight which, as is now recognized, involved no revelation of [235] obscure secrets, but were mysteries in the sense that all intimate experiences of the soul, the experiences of love quite as much as those of religion, are mysteries, not to be lightly or publicly spoken of. In that feeling the Greek was at one with the Papuan, and it is interesting to observe that the procedure of initiation into the Greek mysteries, as described by Theon of Smyrna and other writers, followed the same course as the pubertal initiations of savages; there was the same preliminary purification by water, the same element of doctrinal teaching, the same ceremonial and symbolic rubbing with sand or charcoal or clay, the same conclusion in a joyous feast, even the same custom of wearing wreaths.

In how far the Christian sacraments were consciously moulded after the model of the Greek mysteries is still a disputed point; [175] but the first Christians were seeking the same spiritual initiation, and they necessarily adopted, consciously or unconsciously, methods of procedure which, in essentials, were fundamentally the same as those they were already familiar with. The early Christian Church adopted the rite of Baptism not merely as a symbol of initiation, but as an actual component part of a process of initiation; the purifying ceremony was preceded by long preparation, and when at last completed the baptized were sometimes crowned with garlands. When at a later period in the history of the Church the physical part of the initiation was divorced [236] from the spiritual part, and baptism was performed in infancy and confirmation at puberty, a fatal mistake was made, and each part of the rite largely lost its real significance.

But it still remains true that Christianity embodied in its practical system the ancient custom of initiating the young at puberty, and that the custom exists in an attenuated form in all the more ancient Christian Churches. The rite of Confirmation has, however, been devitalized, and its immense significance has been almost wholly lost. Instead of being regarded as a real initiation into the privileges and the responsibilities of a religious communion, of an active fellowship for the realization of a divine life on earth, it has become a mere mechanical corollary of the precedent rite of baptism, a formal condition of participation in the Sacrament of Holy Communion. The splendid and many-sided discipline by which the child of the savage was initiated into the secrets of his own emotional nature and the sacred tradition of his people has been degraded into the learning of a catechism and a few hours' perfunctory instruction in the schoolroom or in the parlour of the curate's lodgings. The vital kernel of the rite is decayed and only the dead shell is left, while some of the Christian Churches have lost even the shell.

It is extremely probable that in no remote future the State in England will reject as insoluble the problem of imparting religious instruction to the young in its schools, in accordance with a movement of opinion which is [237] taking place in all civilized countries. [176] The support which the Secular Education League has found in the most various quarters is without doubt a fact of impressive significance. [177] It is well known also that the working classes—the people chiefly concerned in the matter—are distinctly opposed to religious teaching in State schools. There can be little doubt that before many years have passed, in England as elsewhere, the Churches will have to face the question of the best methods of themselves undertaking that task of religious training which they have sought to foist upon the State. If they are to fulfil this duty in a wise and effectual manner they must follow the guidance of biological psychology at the point where it is at one with the teaching of their own most ancient traditions, and develop the merely formal rite of confirmation into a true initiation of the new-born soul at puberty into the deepest secrets of life and the highest mysteries of religion.

It must, of course, be remembered that, so far as England is concerned, we live in an empire in which [238] there are 337 millions of people who are not even nominally Christians, [178] and that even among the comparatively small proportion (about 14 per cent) who call themselves "Christians," a very large proportion are practically Secularists, and a considerable number avowedly so. If, however, we assume the Secularist's position, the considerations here brought forward still retain their validity. In the first place, the undoubtedly frequent hostility of the Freethinker to Christianity is not so much directed against vital religion as against a dead Church. The Freethinker is prepared to respect the Christian who by free choice and the exercise of thought has attained the position of a Christian, but he resents the so-called Christian who is merely in the Church because he finds himself there, without any effort of his will or his intelligence. The convinced secularist feels respect for the sincere Christian, even though it may only be in the sense that the real saint feels tenderness for the hopeless sinner. And in the second place, as I have sought to point out, the facts we are here concerned with are far too fundamental to concern the Christian alone. They equally concern the secularist, who also is called upon to satisfy the spiritual hunger of the adolescent youth, to furnish him with a discipline for his entry into life, and a satisfying vision of the universe. And if secularists have not always grasped this necessity, we may perhaps find therein one main reason why secularism [239] has not met with so enormous and enthusiastic a reception as the languor and formalism of the churches seemed to render possible.

If the view here set forth is sound,—a view more and more widely held by educationists and by psychologists trained in biology,—the first twelve years must be left untouched by all conceptions of life and the world which transcend immediate experience, for the child whose spiritual virginity has been prematurely tainted will never be able to awake afresh to the full significance of those conceptions when the age of religion at last arrives. But are we, it may be asked, to leave the child's restless, inquisitive, imaginative brain without any food during all those early years? By no means. Even admitting that, as it has been said, at the early stage religious training is the supreme art of standing out of Nature's way, it is still not hard to find what, in this matter, the way of Nature is. The life of the individual recapitulates the life of the race, and there can be no better imaginative food for the child than that which was found good in the childhood of the race. The child who is deprived of fairy tales invents them for himself,—for he must have them for the needs of his psychic growth just as there is reason to believe he must have sugar for his metabolic growth,—but he usually invents them badly. [179] The savage sees the [240] world almost exactly as the civilized child sees it, as the magnified image of himself and his own environment; but he sees it with an added poetic charm, a delightful and accomplished inventiveness which the child is incapable of. The myths and legends of primitive peoples—for instance, those of the British Columbian Indians, so carefully reproduced by Boas in German and Hill Tout in English—are one in their precision and their extravagance with the stories of children, but with a finer inventiveness. It was, I believe, many years ago pointed out by Ziller that fairy-tales ought to play a very important part in the education of young children, and since then B. Hartmann, Stanley Hall and many others of the most conspicuous educational authorities have emphasized the same point. Fairy tales are but the final and transformed versions of primitive myths, creative legends, stories of old gods. In purer and less transformed versions the myths and legends of primitive peoples are often scarcely less adapted to the child's mind. Julia Gayley argues that the legends of early Greek civilization, the most perfect of all dreams, should above all be revealed to children; the early traditions of the East and of America yield material that is scarcely less fitted for the child's imaginative uses. Portions of the Bible, especially of Genesis, are in the strict sense fairy tales, that is legends of early gods and their deeds which have become stories. In the opinion of many these portions of the Bible may suitably be given to children (though it is curious to observe that a Welsh Education Committee a few years ago prohibited the reading in [241] schools of precisely the most legendary part of Genesis); but it must always be remembered, from the Christian point of view, that nothing should be given at this early age which is to be regarded as essential at a later age, for the youth turns against the tales of his childhood as he turns against its milk-foods. Some day, perhaps, it may be thought worth while to compile a Bible for childhood, not a mere miscellaneous assortment of stories, but a collection of books as various in origin and nature as are the books of the Hebraic-Christian Bible, so that every kind of child in all his moods and stages of growth might here find fit pasture. Children would not then be left wholly to the mercy of the thin and frothy literature which the contemporary press pours upon them so copiously; they would possess at least one great and essential book which, however fantastic and extravagant it might often be, would yet have sprung from the deepest instincts of the primitive soul, and furnish answers to the most insistent demands of primitive hearts. Such a book, even when finally dropped from the youth's or girl's hands, would still leave its vague perfume behind.

It may be pointed out, finally, that the fact that it is impossible to teach children even the elements of adult religion and philosophy, as well as unwise to attempt it, by no means proves that all serious teaching is impossible in childhood. On the imaginative and spiritual side, it is true, the child is re-born and transformed during adolescence, but on the practical and concrete side his life and thought are for the most part but the regular and orderly development of the habits he has already acquired. [242] The elements of ethics on the one hand, as well as of natural science on the other, may alike be taught to children, and indeed they become a necessary part of early education, if the imaginative side of training is to be duly balanced and complemented. The child as much as the adult can be taught, and is indeed apt to learn, the meaning and value of truth and honesty, of justice and pity, of kindness and courtesy; we have wrangled and worried for so long concerning the teaching of religion in schools that we have failed altogether to realize that these fundamental notions of morality are a far more essential part of school training. It must, however, always be remembered that they cannot be adequately treated merely as an isolated subject of instruction, and possibly ought not to be so treated at all. As Harriet Finlay-Johnson wisely says in her Dramatic Method of Instruction: "It is impossible to shut away moral teaching into a compartment of the mind. It should be firmly and openly diffused throughout the thoughts, to 'leaven the whole of the lump.'" She adds the fruitful suggestion: "There is real need for some lessons in which the emotions shall not be ignored. Nature study, properly treated, can touch both senses and emotions." [180]

[243] The child is indeed quite apt to acquire a precise knowledge of the natural objects around him, of flowers and plants and to some extent of animals, objects which to the savage also are of absorbing interest. In this way, under wise guidance, the caprices of his imagination may be indirectly restrained and the lessons of life taught, while at the same time he is thus being directly prepared for the serious studies which must occupy so much of his later youth.

The child, we thus have to realize, is, from the educational point of view of social hygiene, a being of dual nature, who needs ministering to on both sides. On the one hand he demands the key to an imaginative paradise which one day he must leave, bearing away with him, at the best, only a dim and haunting memory of its beauty. On the other hand he possesses eager aptitudes on which may be built up concrete knowledge and the sense of human relationships, to serve as a firm foundation when the period of adolescent development and discipline at length arrives.

[163] De Quincey in his Confessions of an Opium Eater referred to the power that many, perhaps most, children possess of seeing visions in the dark. The phenomenon has been carefully studied by G.L. Partridge (Pedagogical Seminary, April, 1898) in over 800 children. He found that 58.5 of them aged between thirteen and sixteen could see visions or images at night with closed eyes before falling asleep; of those aged six the proportion was higher. There seemed to be a maximum at the age of ten, and probably another maximum at a much earlier age. Among adults this tendency is rudimentary, and only found in a marked form in neurasthenic subjects or at moments of nervous exhaustion. See also Havelock Ellis, The World of Dreams, chap. II.

[164] G. Stanley Hall, "The Contents of Children's Minds on Entering School," Pedagogical Seminary, June, 1891.

[165] "The mother's face and voice are the first conscious objects as the infant soul unfolds, and she soon comes to stand in the very place of God to her child. All the religion of which the child is capable during this by no means brief stage of its development consists of these sentiments—gratitude, trust, dependence, love, etc.—now felt only for her, which are later directed towards God. The less these are now cultivated towards the mother, who is now their only fitting if not their only possible object, the more feebly they will later be felt towards God. This, too, adds greatly to the sacredness of the responsibilities of motherhood." (G. Stanley Hall, Pedagogical Seminary, June, 1891, p. 199).

[166] J. Morse, American Journal of Religious Psychology, 1911, p. 247.

[167] Lobsien, "Kinderideale," Zeitschrift für Päd. Psychologie, 1903.

[168] Mr. Edmond Holmes, formerly Chief Inspector of Elementary Education in England, has an instructive remark bearing on this point in his suggestive book, What Is and What Might be (1911, p. 88): "The first forty minutes of the morning session are given in almost every elementary school to what is called Religious Instruction. This goes on, morning after morning, and week after week. The fact that the English parent, who must himself have attended from 1500 to 2000 Scripture lessons in his schooldays, is not under any circumstance to be trusted to give religious instruction to his own children, shows that those who control the religious education of the youthful 'masses' have but little confidence in the effects of their system on the religious life and faith of the English people." Miss Harriet Finlay-Johnson, a highly original and successful elementary school teacher, speaks (The Dramatic Method of Teaching, 1911, p. 170) with equal disapproval of the notion that any moral value attaches to the ordinary school examinations in "Scripture."

[169] If it were not so, England, after sixty years of National Schools, ought to be a devout nation of good Church people. Most of the criminals and outcasts have been taught in Church Schools. A clergyman, who points this out to me, adds: "I am heartily thankful that religion was never forced on me as a child. I do not think I had any religion, in the ethical sense, until puberty, or any conscious realization of religion, indeed, until nineteen." "The boy," remarks Holmes (op. cit., p. 100), "who, having attended two thousand Scripture lessons, says to himself when he leaves school: 'If this is religion I will have no more of it,' is acting in obedience to a healthy instinct. He is to be honoured rather than blamed for having realized at last that the chaff on which he has so long been fed is not the life-giving grain which, unknown to himself, his inmost soul demands."

[170] La Nouvelle Héloïse, Part V, Letter 3. In more recent times Ellen Key remarks in a suggestive chapter on "Religions Education" in her Century of the Child: "Nothing better shows how deeply rooted religion is in human nature than the fact that 'religious education' has not been able to tear it out."

[171] J.S. Mill, Letters, Vol. II, p. 135.

[172] Lancaster found ("The Psychology and Pedagogy of Adolescence," Pedagogical Seminary, July, 1897) that among 598 individuals of both sexes in the United States, as many as 518 experienced new religious emotions between the ages of 12 and 20, only 80 having no such emotions at this period, so that more than 5 out of 6 have this experience; it is really even more frequent, for it has no necessary tendency to fall into conventional religious moulds.

[173] Professor Starbuck, in his Psychology of Religion, has well brought together and clearly presented much of the evidence showing this intimate association between adolescence and religious manifestations. He finds (Chap. III) that in females there are two tidal waves of religious awakening, one at about 13, the other at 16, with a less significant period at 18; for males, after a wavelet at 12, the great tidal wave is at 16, followed by another at 18 or 19. Ruediger's results are fairly concordant ("The Period of Mental Reconstruction," American Journal of Psychology, July, 1907); he finds that in women the average age of conversion is 14, in men it is at 13 or 14, and again at 18.

[174] G. Stanley Hall, "The Moral and Religious Training of Children and Adolescents," Pedagogical Seminary, June, 1891, p. 207. From the more narrowly religious side the undesirability of attempting to teach religion to children is well set forth by Florence Hayllar (Independent Review, Oct., 1906). She considers that thirteen is quite early enough to begin teaching children the lessons of the Gospels, for a child who acted in accordance with the Gospels would be "aggravating," and would generally be regarded as "an insufferable prig." Moreover, she points out, it is dangerous to teach young children the Christian virtues of charity, humility, and self-denial. It is far better that they should first be taught the virtues of justice and courage and self-mastery, and the more Christian virtues later. She also believes that in the case of the clergy who are brought in contact with children a preliminary course of child-study, with the necessary physiology and psychology, should be compulsory.

[175] The varying opinions on this point have been fairly and clearly presented by Cheetham in his Hulsean lectures on the Mysteries Pagan and Christian.

[176] Thus at the first Congress of Italian Women held at Rome in 1908—a very representative Congress, by no means made up of "feminists" or anti-clericals, and marked by great moderation and good sense—a resolution was passed against religious teaching in primary schools, though a subsequent resolution declared by a very large majority in favour of teaching the history of religions in secondary schools. These resolutions caused much surprise at the time to those persons who still cherish the superstition that in matters of religion women are blindly prejudiced and unable to think for themselves.

[177] See e.g. an article by Halley Stewart, President of the Secular Education League, on "The Policy of Secular Education," Nineteenth Century, April, 1911.

[178] So far as numbers go, the dominant religion of the British Empire, the religion of the majority, is Hinduism; Mohammedanism comes next.

[179] "Not long ago," says Dr. L. Guthrie (Clinical Journal, 7th June, 1899), "I heard of a lady who, in her desire that her children should learn nothing but what was true, banished fairy tales from her nursery. But the children evolved from their own imagination fictions which were so appalling that she was glad to divert them with Jack-the-Giant-Killer."

[180] In his interesting study of comparative education (The Making of Citizens, 1902, p. 194), Mr. R.E. Hughes, a school inspector, after discussing the methods of settling the difficulties of religious education in England, America, Germany, and France, reasonably concludes: "The solution of the religious problem of the schools of these four peoples lies in the future, but we believe it will be found not to be beyond human ingenuity to devise a scheme of moral and ethical training for little children which will be suitable. It is the moral principles underlying all conduct which the school should teach. Indeed, the school, to justify its existence, dare not neglect them. It will teach them, not dogmatically or by precept, but by example, and by the creation of a noble atmosphere around the child." Holmes also (op. cit., p. 276) insists that the teaching of patriotism and citizenship must be informal and indirect.




The New Movement for giving Sexual Instruction to Children—The Need of such a Movement—Contradictions involved by the Ancient Policy of Silence—Errors of the New Policy—The Need of Teaching the Teacher—The Need of Training the Parents—And of Scientifically equipping the Physician—Sexual Hygiene and Society—The far-reaching Effects of Sexual Hygiene.

It is impossible to doubt the vitality and the vigour of the new movement of sexual hygiene, especially that branch of it concerned with the instruction of children in the essential facts of life. [181] In the eighteenth century the great educationist, Basedow, was almost alone when, by practice and by precept, he sought to establish this branch of instruction in schools. [182] A few years ago, when the German Dürer Bund offered prizes for the best essays on the training of the young in matters of sex, as many as five hundred papers were sent in. [183] We may say that during the past ten years more has been [245] done to influence popular feeling on this question than during the whole of the preceding century.

Whenever we witness a sudden impulse of zeal and enthusiasm to rush into a new channel, however admirable the impulse may be, we must be prepared for many risks and perhaps even a certain amount of damage. This is, indeed, especially the case when we are concerned with a new activity in the sphere of sex. The sexual relationships of life are so ancient and so wide, their roots ramify so complexly and run so deep, that any sudden disturbance in this soil, however well-intentioned, is certain to have many results which were not anticipated by those responsible for it. Any movement here runs the risk of defeating its own ends, or else, in gaining them, to render impossible other ends which are of not less value.

In this matter of sexual hygiene we are faced at the outset by the fact that the very recognition of any such branch of knowledge as "sexual hygiene" involves not merely a new departure, but the reversal of a policy which has been accepted, almost without question, for centuries. Among many primitive peoples, indeed, we know that the boy and girl at puberty are initiated with solemnity, and even a not unwholesome hardship, into the responsibilities of adult life, including those which have reference to the duties and privileges of sex. [184] But in our own traditions scarcely even a relic of any such custom is preserved. On the contrary, we tacitly maintain [246] a custom, and even a policy, of silent obscurantism. Parents and teachers have considered it a duty to say nothing and have felt justified in telling lies, or "fairy tales," in order to maintain their attitude. The oncoming of puberty, with its alarming manifestations, especially in the girl, has often left them unmoved and still silent. They have taken care that our elementary textbooks of anatomy and physiology, even when written by so independent and fearless a pioneer as Huxley, should describe the human body absolutely as though the organs and functions of reproduction had no existence. The instinct was not thus suppressed; all the inevitable stimulations which life furnishes to the youthful sexual impulse have continued in operation. [185] Sexual activities were just as liable to break out. They were all the more liable to break out, indeed, because fostered by ignorance, often unconscious of themselves, and not held in check by the restraints which knowledge and teaching might have furnished. This, however, has seemed a matter of no concern to the guardians of youth. They have congratulated themselves if they could pilot the youths, and especially the maidens, under their guardianship into the haven of matrimony not only in apparent [247] chastity, but in ignorance of nearly everything that marriage signifies and involves, alike for the individual and the coming race.

This policy has been so firmly established that the theory of it has never been clearly argued out. So far as it exists at all, it is a theory that walks on two feet pointing opposite ways: sex things must not be talked about because they are "dirty"; sex things must not be talked about because they are "sacred." We must leave sex things alone, they say, because God will see to it that they manifest themselves aright and work for good; we must leave sex things alone, they also say, because there is no department in life in which the activity of the Devil is so specially exhibited. The very same person may be guilty of this contradiction, when varying circumstances render it convenient. Such a confusion is, indeed, a fate liable to befall all ancient and deeply rooted tabus; we see it in the tabus against certain animals as foods (as the Mosaic prohibition of pork); at first the animal was too sacred to eat, but in time people came to think that it is too disgusting to eat. They begin the practice for one reason, they continue it for a totally opposed reason. Reasons are such a superficial part of our lives!

Thus every movement of sexual hygiene necessarily clashes against an established convention which is itself an inharmonious clash of contradictory notions. This is especially the case if sexual hygiene is introduced by way of the school. It is very widely held by many who accept the arguments so ably set forth by Frau Maria [248] Lischnewska, that the school is not only the best way of introducing sexual hygiene, but the only possible way, since through this channel alone is it possible to employ an antidote to the evil influences of the home and the world. [186] Yet to teach children what some of their parents consider as too sacred to be taught, and others as too disgusting, and to begin this teaching at an age when the children, having already imbibed these parental notions, are old enough to be morbidly curious and prurient, is to open the way to a complicated series of social reactions which demand great skill to adjust.

Largely, no doubt, from anxiety to counterbalance these dangers, there has been a tendency to emphasize, or rather to over-emphasize, the moral aspects of sexual hygiene. Rightly considered, indeed, it is not easy to over-value its moral significance. But in the actual teaching of such hygiene it is quite easy, and the error is often found, to make statements and to affirm doctrines—all in the interests of good morals and with the object of exhibiting to the utmost the beneficial tendencies of this teaching—which are dubious at the best and often at [249] variance with actual experience. In such cases we seem to see that the sexual hygienist has indeed broken with the conventional conspiracy of silence in these matters, but he has not broken with the conventional morality which grew out of that ignorant silence. With the best intention in the world he sets forth, dogmatically and without qualification, ancient half-truths which to become truly moral need to be squarely faced with their complementary half-truths. The inevitable danger is that the pupil sooner or later grasps the one-sided exaggeration of this teaching, and the credit of the sexual hygienist is gone. Life is an art, and love, which lies at the heart of life, is an art; they are not science; they cannot be converted into clear-cut formulæ and taught as the multiplication table is taught. Example here counts for more than precept, and practice teaches more than either, provided it is carried on in the light of precept and example. The rash and unqualified statements concerning the immense benefits of continence, or the awful results of self-abuse, etc., frequently found in books for young people will occur to every one. Stated with wise moderation they would have been helpful. Pushed to harsh extravagance they are not only useless to aid the young in their practical difficulties, but become mischievous by the injury they inflict on over-sensitive consciences, fearful of falling short of high-strung ideals. This consideration brings us, indeed, to what is perhaps the chief danger in the introduction of any teaching of sexual hygiene: the fact that our teachers are themselves untaught. Sexual hygiene in the full sense—in so far as [250] it concerns individual action and not the regulative or legislative action of communities—is the art of imparting such knowledge as is needed at successive stages by the child, the youth and maiden, the young man and woman, in order to enable them to deal rightly, and so far as possible without injury either to themselves or to others, with all those sexual events to which every one is naturally liable. To fulfil his functions adequately the master in the art of teaching sexual hygiene must answer to three requirements: (1) he must have a sufficing knowledge of the facts of sexual psychology, sexual physiology, and sexual pathology, knowledge which, in many important respects, hardly existed at all until recently, and is only now beginning to become generally accessible; (2) he must have a wise and broad moral outlook, with a sane idealism which refrains from demanding impossibilities, and resolutely thrusts aside not only the vulgar platitudes of worldliness, but the equally mischievous platitudes of an outworn and insincere asceticism, for the wise sexual hygienist knows, with Pascal, that "he who tries to be an angel becomes a beast," and is less anxious to make his pupils ineffective angels than effective men and women, content to say with Browning, "I may put forth angels' pinions, once unmanned, but not before"; (3) in addition to sound knowledge and a wise moral outlook, the sexual hygienist must possess, finally, a genuine sympathy with the young, an insight into their sensitive shyness, a comprehension of their personal difficulties, and the skill to speak to them simply, frankly, and humanly. If we ask ourselves [251] how many of the apostles of sexual hygiene combine these three essential qualities, we shall probably not be able to name many, while we may suspect that some do not even possess one of the three qualifications. If we further consider that the work of sexual hygiene, to be carried out on a really national scale, demands the more or less active co-operation of parents, teachers, and doctors, and that parents, teachers, and doctors are in these matters at present all alike untrained, and usually prejudiced, we shall realize some of the dangers through which sexual hygiene must at first pass.

It is, I hope, unnecessary for me to say that, in thus pointing out some of the difficulties and the risks which must assail every attempt to introduce an element of effective sexual hygiene into life, I am far from wishing to argue that it is better to leave things as they are. That is impossible, not only because we are realizing that our system of incomplete silence is mischievous, but because it is based on a confusion which contains within itself the elements of disruption. We have to remember, however, that the creation of a new tradition cannot be effected in a day. Before we begin to teach sexual hygiene the teachers must themselves be taught.

There are many who have insisted, and not without reason, on the right of the parent to control the education of the child. Sexual hygiene introduces us to another right, the right of the child to control the education of the parents. For few parents to-day are fitted to exercise the duty of training and guiding the child in the difficult field of sex without preliminary education, and such [252] education, to be real and effective, must begin at an early age in the parents' life. [187]

The school teacher, again, on whom so many rely for the initial stage in sexual hygiene, is at present often in almost exactly the same stage of ignorance or prejudice in these matters as his or her pupils. The teacher has seldom been trained to impart even the most elementary scientific knowledge of the facts of sex, of reproduction, and of sexual hygiene, and is more often than not without that personal experience of life in its various aspects which is required in order to teach wisely in such a difficult field as that of sex, even if the principle is admitted that the teacher in class, equally whether addressing one sex or both sexes, is not called upon to go beyond the scientific, abstract, and objective aspects of sex.

This difficulty of the lack of suitable teachers is not, indeed, insuperable. It would be largely settled, no doubt, if a wise and thorough course of sexual hygiene and puericulture formed part of the training of all school teachers, as, in France, Pinard has proposed for the Normal schools for young women. Dr. W.O. Henry, in a paper read before the Nebraska State Medical Association in May, 1911, put forward the proposal: "Let each State have one or more competent physicians whose duty it shall be to teach [253] these things to the children in all the public schools of the State from the time they are eight years of age. The boys and girls should be given the instruction separately by means of charts, pictures, and stereopticon views, beginning with the lower forms of life, flowers, plants, and then closing with the organs in man. These lectures and illustrations should be given every year to all the boys and girls separately, having those from eight to ten together at one time, and those from ten to twelve, and those from over twelve to sixteen." Dr. Henry was evidently not aware that the principle of a special teacher appointed by Government to give special instruction in matters of sex in all State schools had already been adopted in Canada, in the province of Ontario; the teacher thus appointed goes from school to school and teaches the elements of sexual physiology and anatomy, and the duty of treating sexual matters with reverence, to classes of boys and of girls from the age of ten. The course is not compulsory, but any School Board may call upon the special teacher to deliver the lectures. This appointment has met with so much approval that it is proposed to appoint further teachers on the same lines, women as well as men.

It is not necessary that the school teacher of sex should be a physician. For personal and particular advice on the concrete difficulties of sex, however, as well as for the more special and detailed hygiene of the sexual relationship and the precautions demanded by eugenics, we must call in the physician. Yet none of these things so far enter the curriculum through which the physician [254] passes to reach his profession; he is often only a layman in relation to them. Even if we are assured that these subjects form part of his scientific equipment, that fact by no means guarantees his tact, sympathy, and insight in addressing the young, whether by general lectures or individual interviews, both these being forms of imparting sexual hygiene for which we may properly call upon the physician, especially towards the end of the school or college course, and at the outset of any career in the world. [188]

Undoubtedly we have amongst us many mothers, teachers, and physicians who are admirably equipped to fulfil their respective parts—elementary, secondary, and advanced—in the work of sexual hygiene. But so long as they are few and far apart their influence is negatived, if it is not even rendered harmful.

It must often be useless for a mother to instil into her little boy respect for his own body, reverence for the channel of motherhood through which he entered the world, any sense of the purity of natural functions or the beauty of natural organs, if outside his home the little boy finds that all other little boys and girls [255] regard these things as only an occasion for sniggering. It is idle for the teacher to describe plainly the scientific facts of sex as a marvellous culmination in the natural unfolding of the world if, outside the schoolroom, the pupil finds that, in the newspapers and in the general conversation of adults, this sacred temple is treated as a common sewer, too filthy to be spoken of, and that the books which contain even the most necessary descriptions of it are liable to be condemned as "obscene" in the law courts. [189] It is vain for the physician to explain to young men and women the subtle and terrible nature of venereal poisons, to declare the right and the duty of both partners in marriage to know, authoritatively and beforehand, the state of each other's health, or to warn them that a proper sense of responsibility towards the race must prevent some ill-born persons from marrying, or at all events from procreating, if the young man and woman find, on leaving the physician, that their acquaintances are prepared to accept all these risks, light-heartedly, in the dark, in a heedless dream from which they somehow hope there will be no awful awakening.

The moral to which these observations point is fairly clear. Sex penetrates the whole of life. It is not a branch of mathematics, or a period of ancient history, which we can elect to teach, or not to teach, as may seem best to us, which if we teach we may teach as we choose, and if we neglect to teach it will never trouble us. Love and Hunger are the foundations of life, and the impulse [256] of sex is just as fundamental as the impulse of nutrition. It will not remain absent because we refuse to call for its presence, it will not depart because we find its presence inconvenient. At the most it will only change its shape, and mock at us from beneath masks so degraded, and sometimes so exalted, that we are no longer able to recognize it.

"People are always writing about education," said Chamfort more than a century ago, "and their writings have led to some valuable methods. But what is the use, unless side by side with the introduction of such methods, corresponding reforms are not introduced in legislation, in religion, in public opinion? The only object of education is to conform the child's reason to that of the community. But if there is no corresponding reform in the community, by training the child to reason you are merely training him to see the absurdity of opinions and customs consecrated by the seal of sacred authority, public or legislative, and you are inspiring him with contempt of them." [190] We cannot too often meditate on these wise words.

It is useless to attempt to introduce sexual hygiene as a subject apart, and in some respects it may be dangerous. When we touch sex we are touching sensitive fibres which thrill through the whole of our social organism, just as the touch of love thrills through the whole of the bodily organism. Any vital reform here, any true introduction of sexual hygiene to replace our traditional policy of confused silence, affects the whole of life or it affects [257] nothing. It will modify our social conventions, enter our family life, transform our moral outlook, perhaps re-inspire our religion and our philosophy.

That conclusion need by no means render us pessimistic concerning the future of sexual hygiene, nor unduly anxious to cling to the policy of the past. But it may induce us to be content to move slowly, to prepare our movements widely and firmly, and not to expect too much at the outset. By introducing sexual hygiene we are breaking with the tradition of the past which professed to leave the process by which the race is carried on to Nature, to God, especially to the devil. We are claiming that it is a matter for individual personal responsibility, deliberately exercised in the light of precise knowledge which every young man and woman has a right, or rather a duty, to possess. That conception of personal responsibility thus extended to the sphere of sex in the reproduction of the race may well transform life and alter the course of civilization. It is not merely a reform in the class-room, it is a reform in the home, in the church, in the law courts, in the legislature. If sexual hygiene means that, it means something great, though something which can only come slowly, with difficulty, with much searching of hearts. If, on the other hand, sexual hygiene means nothing but the introduction of a new formal catechism, and an occasional goody-goody perfunctory exhortation, it may be introduced at once, quite easily, without hurting anyone's feelings. But, really, it will not be worth worrying about, one way or the other.

[181] For a full discussion of the movement, see Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society," chaps. II and III.

[182] Basedow (born at Hamburg 1723, died 1790) set forth his views on sexual education—which will seem to many somewhat radical and advanced even to-day—in his great treatise Elementarwerk (1774). His practical educational work is dealt with by Pinloche, La Réforme de l'Education en Allemagne au Dix-huitième Siècle.

[183] The best of these papers have been printed in a volume entitled Am Lebensquell.

[841] The elaborate and admirable initiation of boys among the natives of Torres Straits furnishes a good example of this education, and has been fully described by Dr. A.C. Haddon, Reports of the Anthropological Expedition to Torres Straits, Vol. V, chaps. VII and XII.

[185] Moll in his wise and comprehensive work, The Sexual Life of the Child (German ed., p. 225), lays it down emphatically that "we must clearly realize at the outset that the complete exclusion of sexual stimuli in the education of children is impossible." He adds that the demands made by some "fanatics of hygiene" would be dangerous even if they were practicable. Games and physical exercises induce in many cases a considerable degree of sexual stimulation. But this need not cause us undue alarm, nor must we thereby be persuaded to change our policy of recommending such games and exercises.

[186] See Frau Maria Lischnewska's excellent pamphlet, Geschlechtliche Belehrung der Kinder, first published in Mutterschutz, 1905, Heft 4 and 5. This is perhaps the ablest statement of the argument in favour of giving the chief place in sexual hygiene to the teacher. Frau Lischnewska recognizes three factors in the movement for freeing the sexual activities from degradation: (1) medical, (2) economic, and (3) rational. But it is the last—in the broadest sense as a comprehensive process of enlightenment—which she regards as the chief. "The views and sentiments of people must be changed," she says. "The civilized man must learn to gaze at this piece of Nature with pure eyes; reverence towards it must early sink into his soul. In the absence of this fundamental renovation, medical and social measures will merely produce refined animals."

[187] "We parents of to-day," as Henriette Fürth truly says ("Erotik und Elternpflicht," Am Lebensquell, p. 11), "have not yet attained that beautiful naturalness out of which in these matters simplicity and freedom grow. And however willing we may be to learn afresh, most of us have so far lost our inward freedom from prejudice—the standpoint of the pure to whom all things are pure—that we cannot acquire it again. We parents of to-day have been altogether wrongly brought up. The inoculated feeling of shame still remains even after we have recognized that shame in this connection is false."

[188] The method of imparting a knowledge of sexual hygiene (especially in relation to venereal diseases) at the outset of adult life has most actively been carried out in Germany and the United States. In Germany lectures by doctors to students and others on these matters are frequently given. In the United States information and advice are spread abroad chiefly by the aid of societies. The American Society of Sanitary and Moral Prophylaxis, with which the name of Dr. Morrow is specially connected, was organized in 1905. The Chicago Society of Social Hygiene was established in 1906. Since then many other similar societies have sprung up under medical auspices in various American cities and states.

[189] Many flagrant cases in point are set forth from the legal point of view by Theodore Schroeder, "Obscene" Literature and Constitutional Law, New York, 1911, chap. IV.

[190] Chamfort, [OE]uvres Choisies, ed. by Lescure, Vol. I, p. 33.




Social Hygiene and Legal Compulsion—The Binding Force of Custom among Savages—The Dissolving Influence of Civilization—The Distinction between Immorality and Criminality—Adultery as a Crime—The Tests of Criminality—National Differences in laying down the Boundary between Criminal and Immoral Acts—France—Germany—England—The United States—Police Administration—Police Methods in the United States—National Differences in the Regulation of the Trade in Alcohol—Prohibition in the United States—Origin of the American Method of Dealing with Immorality—Russia—Historical Fluctuations in Methods of dealing with Immorality and Prostitution—Homosexuality—Holland—The Age of Consent—Moral Legislation in England—In the United States—The Raines Law—American Attempts to Suppress Prostitution—Their Futility—German Methods of Regulating Prostitution—The Sound Method of Approaching Immorality—Training in Sexual Hygiene—Education in Personal and Social Responsibility.

The modern development of Social Hygiene in matters of Eugenics has already sufficed to show that there are certain people in the community, anxious to take quick cuts to the millennium, who think that Eugenics can be promoted by hasty legislation. That method of attempting to further social progress is not new. It has been practised with signal lack of success for several thousand years. Therefore, if Social Hygiene is really to progress among us on sane and fundamental lines, it is necessary for us to realize clearly the mistakes of the past. Again and again [259] the blind haste of over-zealous reformers has led not to progress, but to retrogression. The excellent intentions of such social reformers have been defeated, not so much by the evils they have sought to overcome, as by their own excesses of ignorant zeal. As our knowledge of history and of psychology increases, we learn that, in dealing with human nature, what seems the longest way round is sometimes the shortest way home.

Among savages, and no doubt in primitive societies generally, the social reaction against injurious or even unusual acts on the part of individuals is regulated by the binding force of custom. The ruling opinion is the opinion of all, the ruling custom is the duty for all. The dictates of custom, even of ritual and etiquette, are stringent dictates of morality binding upon all, and the breach of any is equivalent to what we should consider a crime. The savage man is held in the path of duty by a much more united force of public opinion than is the civilized man. But, as Westermarck points out, in a suggestive chapter on customs and laws as the expression of moral ideas, "custom never covers the whole field of morality, and the uncovered space grows larger in proportion as the moral consciousness develops.... The rule of custom is the rule of duty at early stages of development. Only progress in culture lessens its sway." [191] As a community increases in size and in cultivation, growing more heterogeneous, it adheres [260] rigidly to fundamental conceptions of right and wrong, but in less fundamental matters its moral ideas become both more subjective and more various. If a man kills another man out of love to that man's wife, all civilized society is of opinion that the homicide is a "crime" to be severely punished; but if the man should make love to the wife without killing the husband, then, although in some savage societies the act would still have been a "crime," in a civilized society it would usually be regarded as more properly a case for civil action, not for criminal action; while should it come to be known that the wife had from the first been in love with the man, and was married by compulsion to a husband who had brutally ill-used her, then a very considerable section of the civilized community would actually transfer their sympathies to the offending couple and look upon the husband as the real offender.

This is why the vestigial relics of the ancient ecclesiastical view of adultery as a "crime" are no longer supported by public opinion; [192] they are no longer enforced, or else the penalty is reduced to ridiculous dimensions (as in France, where a fine of a few francs may be imposed), and there is a general inclination to abolish them altogether. Penalties for adultery are not nowadays enacted afresh, except in the United States, where [261] medieval regulations are enabled to survive through the strength of the Puritan tradition. Thus in the State of New York a law was passed in 1907 rendering any person guilty of adultery punishable by six months' imprisonment, or a heavy fine, or both. The law was largely due to agitation by the National Christian League for the Promotion of Purity; it was supposed the law would act to prevent adultery. Less than three months after the Act became law, lawyers reached the conclusion that it was a dead letter. During the two years after its enactment, notwithstanding the large number of divorces, only three persons were sent to prison, for a few days, under this Act, and only four fined a small sum. The Committee of Fourteen state that it is "of practically no effect," and add: "The preventive values of this statute cannot be determined, but, judging from the prosecutions, it has proved an ineffective weapon against immorality, and has practically no effect upon commercialized vice." [193] When such laws remain on the Statute Book as relics of practically medieval days they deserve a certain respect, even if it is impossible to enforce them; to re-enact them in modern times is a gratuitous method of bringing law into contempt.

It is clear that all such cases affecting morals are not only altered by circumstances, and by consideration of the psychic state of the individual, but that in regard to them different sections of the community hold widely different views. The sanctions of the criminal law to be firm and unshakeable must be capable of literal interpretation [262] and of unfailing execution, and in that interpretation and execution be accepted as just by the whole community. But as soon as law enters the sphere of morals this becomes impossible; law loses all its certainty and all the reverence that rightly belongs to it. It no longer voices the conscience of the whole community; it tends to be merely an expression of the feelings of a small upper-class social circle; the feelings and the habits and the necessities of the mass of the population are altogether ignored. [194] Nor are such legislative incursions into the sphere of morals any more satisfactory from the point of view of the class which is responsible for them. It very soon begins to be felt that, as Hagen puts it, "the formulas of penal law are stiff and clumsy instruments which can only in the rarest instance serve to disentangle the delicate and manifoldly interwoven threads of the human soul, and decide what is just and what unjust. Formulas are adopted for simple, uncomplicated, rough everyday cases. Only in such cases do they achieve the conquest of justice over injustice."

It is true that no sharp line divides criminal acts from merely immoral acts, and the latter tend to be indirectly, even when not directly, anti-social. It would be highly convenient if we could draw a sharp distinction between major anti-social acts, which may properly be described as "crime," and justly be pursued [263] with the full rigour of the law, and minor anti-social acts, which may be left to the varying reaction of the social environments since they cannot properly be visited by the criminal law. [195] Such a distinction exists, but it cannot be made sharply because there are a large number of intermediate anti-social acts which some sections of the community regard as major, while others regard them as minor, or even, in some cases, as not anti-social at all. The only convenient test we can apply is the strength of the social reaction—provided we are dealing with an act which is definitely anti-social, injuring recognized rights, and not merely an unusual or disgusting act. [196] When an anti-social act meets with a reaction of social indignation which is fairly universal and permanent, it may be regarded as a crime coming under the jurisdiction of the law. If opinion varies, if a considerable section of the community revolt against the punishment of the alleged anti-social act, then we are not entitled to dignify it with the appellation of "crime." This is not an altogether sure or satisfactory criterion because there are frequently times and places, especially [264] under the stimulation of some particular occurrence evoking an outburst of increased public emotion, when a section of the community succeeds by its noisy vigour in creating the impression that it voices the universal will. But, on the whole, it works out justly. Ethical standards differ in different places at different times. They are, indeed, always changing. Therefore, in regard to all matters which belong to the sphere of what we commonly call morals, there are in every community some who approve of a given act, others who disapprove of it, yet others who regard it with indifference. In such a shifting sphere we cannot legislate with the certainty of carrying the whole community with us, nor can we properly introduce the word "crime," which ought to indicate only an action of so gravely anti-social nature that there can be no possibility of doubt about it.

It is, however, important to understand the marked national differences in the reaction to these slightly or dubiously anti-social acts, for such differences rest on ancient tradition, and are to some extent the expression of the genius of a people, though they are not the absolutely immutable product of racial constitution, and, within limits, they undergo transformation. It thus happens that acts which in some countries are pursued by the law and punished as crime, are in other countries untouched by the law, and left to the social reaction of the community. It becomes, therefore, of some importance to compare national differences in the attitude towards immorality, to find out whether the attempt to repress it directly, by law, is more effective, [265] or less effective, than the method of leaving it to social reaction.

In many respects France and Germany present a remarkable contrast in their respective methods of dealing with immorality. The contrast has only existed since the sweeping legal reforms which followed the Revolution in France. In old France the laws against sexual and religious offences were extremely severe, involving in some cases death at the stake, and even during the eighteenth century this extreme penalty of the law was sometimes carried out. The police were active, their methods of investigation elaborate and thorough, yet the rigour of the law and the energy of the police signally failed to suppress irreligion and immorality in eighteenth-century France. The Revolution, by popularizing the opinions of the more enlightened men of the time, and by giving to the popular voice an authority it had never possessed before, remoulded the antiquated ecclesiastical laws in accordance with the ideas of the average modern man. In 1791 nearly all the ancient laws against immorality, which had proved so ineffectual, were flung away, and when in 1810 Napoleon established the great penal code which bears his name, he was careful to limit to a minimum the moral offences of which the law was empowered to take cognisances, and—acting certainly in accordance with deeply rooted instincts of the French people—he avoided any useless or dangerous interference with private life and the freedom of the individual. The penal code in France remains substantially the same to-day, while [266] the other countries which have constructed their codes on the French model have shown similar tendencies.

In Germany, and more especially in Prussia, which now dominates German opinion, a very different tendency prevails. The German feels nothing of that sensitive jealousy with which the French seek to guard private life and the rights of the individual. He tolerates a police system which, as Fuld has pointed out, is the most military police system in the world, and he makes little complaint of the indiscriminating thoroughness, even harshness, with which it exercises its functions. "The North German," as a German lawyer puts it, "gazes with sacred respect on every State authority, and on every official, especially on executive and police functionaries; he complacently accepts police inquisition into his private life, and the regulation of his behaviour by law and police affects his impulse of freedom in a relatively slight manner. Hence the law-maker's interference with his private life seems to him a customary and not too injurious encroachment on his individuality." [197] It thus comes about that a great many acts, of for the most part unquestioned immoral character—such as incest, the procuring of women for immoral purposes, and acts of a homosexual character—which, when adults are alone concerned, the French leave to be dealt with [267] by the social reaction, are in Germany directly dealt with by the law. These things and the like are viewed in France with fully as much detestation as in Germany, but while the German considers that that detestation is itself a reason for inflicting a legal penalty on the detested act, the Frenchman considers that to inflict a punishment upon such acts by law is an inadmissible interference of the State in private affairs, and an unnecessary interference since the social reaction is quite adequate. In Germany, Dr. Wilhelm points out, a man who allows his daughter's fiancé to stay overnight in his house with her is liable to be dragged before the police court and sent to prison for procuring immorality; [198] to a Frenchman this is a shocking and inconceivable insult to private rights. [199] So also with the German legal attitude towards sexual inversion. The German method of [268] dragging private scandals into the glare of day and investigating them at interminable length in the law courts is a perpetual source of astonishment to Frenchmen. They point out that not only does this method defeat its own end by concentrating attention on the abnormal practices it attacks, but it adds dignity to them; a certain small section of the community justifies and upholds these practices, but while in France this section has no reason to come prominently before the public since it has no grievances demanding redress, in Germany the existence of a cause to advocate in the name of justice has produced a serious and imposing body of literature which has no parallel in France. [200] Thus, as Wilhelm points out, we find exactly opposite methods adopted in Germany and France to obtain the same ends: "In Germany, punishment on account of alleged injury to general interests; in France absence of punishment in order to avoid injury to general interests; in Germany the police baton is called for in order to ward off threatened injury, while in France it is feared that the use of the police baton will itself cause the injury."

The question naturally arises: Which method is the more effective? Wilhelm finds that these differences in [269] national attitude towards immorality have not by any means rendered immorality more prevalent in France than in Germany; on the contrary, though extra-conjugal intercourse is in Germany almost a crime, sexual offences against children are far more prevalent than in France, while family life is at least as stable in France as in Germany, and more intimate. "The freer way of regarding sexual matters and its results in legislation have, as compared to Germany, in no respect led to more immoral conditions, while, on the other hand, it has been the reason why the vigorous agitation which we find in Germany for certain legal reforms in respect to sexuality are quite unknown."

It is forgotten, in Germany and in some other countries, sometimes even in France, that to bring immorality within reach of the arm of the law is not necessarily by any means to make the actual penalty, in the largest sense of the term, more severe. So long as he retains the good opinion of his fellows, imprisonment is no injury to a man; it has happened to some of our most distinguished and respected public men. The bad opinion of his fellows, even when the law is powerless to touch him, is often an irretrievable injury to a man. We do not fortify the social reaction, in most matters, when we attempt to give it a legal sanction; we do not even need to fortify it, for it is sometimes harsher and more severe than the law, overlooking or not knowing all the extenuating circumstances. In France, as in England, the force of social opinion, independently of the law, is exceedingly and perhaps excessively strong.

[270] In England, however, we see an attitude towards immorality which differs alike from the French attitude and the German attitude, though it has points of contact with both. The distinctive feature of the Englishman's attitude is his spirit of extreme individualism (which distinguishes him from the German) combined with the religious nature of his moral fervour (which distinguishes him from the Frenchman), both being veiled by a shy prudery (which distinguishes him alike from the Frenchman and the German). The Englishman's reverence for the individual's rights goes beyond the Frenchman's, for in France there is a tendency to subordinate the individual to the family, and in England the interests of the individual predominate. But while in France the laws have been re-moulded to the national temperament, this has not been the case to anything like the same extent in England, where in modern times no great revolution has occurred to shake off laws which still by their antiquity, rather than by their reasonableness, retain the reverence of the people. Thus it comes about that, on the legal side the English attitude towards immorality in many respects resembles the German attitude. Yet undoubtedly the most fundamental element in the English attitude is the instinct for personal freedom, and even the religious fervour of the moral impulse has strengthened the individualistic element. [201] We see this clearly in the fact [271] that England has even gone beyond France in rejecting the control of prostitutes. The French are striving to abolish such control, but in England where it was never extensively established it has long been abolished, leaving only a few faint traces behind. It is abhorrent to the English mind that even the most degraded specimens of humanity should be compulsorily deprived of rights over their own persons, even when it is claimed that the deprivation of such rights might be for the benefit of the community. In no country, perhaps, is the prostitute so free to parade the streets in the exercise of her profession as in England, and in no country is public opinion so intolerant of even the suspicion of a mistake by the police in the exercise of that very limited control over prostitutes which they possess. The freedom of the prostitute in England is further guaranteed by the very fervour of English religious feeling; for active interference with prostitutes involves regulation of prostitution, and that implies a national recognition of prostitution which to a very large section of the English people would be altogether repellant. Thus English love of freedom and English love of God combine to protect the prostitute. It has to be added that this result is by no means, as some have imagined, hostile to morality. It is the opinion of many foreign observers that in this matter London, for all its freedom, compares favourably with many other large cities where prostitution is severely regulated by the police and so far as possible concealed. For the police can never become the agents of any morality of the heart, and all the repression in the world can only touch the surface of life.

[272] The English attitude, again, is characteristically seen in the method of dealing with homosexual practices and other similar sexual aberrations. Here, legally, England is closer to Germany than to modern France. No country in the world, it is often said, has preserved by tradition and even maintained by recent accretion such severe penalties against homosexual offences as England. Yet, unlike the Germans, the English do not actively prosecute in these cases and are usually content to leave the law in abeyance, so long as public order and decency are reasonably maintained. English people, like the French people, are by no means impressed by the advantages of the German system by which purely private scandals are made public scandals, to be set forth day after day in all their details before the court, and discussed excitedly by the whole population. Yet the English law in this matter is still very widely upheld. There are very many English people who think that the fact that homosexuality is disgusting to most people is a reason for punishing it with extreme severity. Yet disgust is a matter of taste, we cannot properly impart it into our laws; a disgusting person is not necessarily a criminal person, or we shall have to enact that many inmates of our hospitals and lunatic asylums be hanged. There is thus a fundamental inconsistency in the English method of dealing with immorality; it is made up of opposite views, some of them extreme in contrary directions. But by virtue of the national tendency to compromise, these conflicting tendencies work in a fairly harmonious manner. The result is that the general state of English morality—notwithstanding, [273] and perhaps partly by reason of, its prudish anxiety to leave unpleasant matters alone—is at least as satisfactory as that of countries where much more logical and thorough methods are in favour.

In the United States we see yet another attitude towards immorality. It is, indeed, related to the English attitude, necessarily so, since the most ancient and fundamental element of it was carried over to America by the English Puritans, who cherished in the extreme form alike the English passion for individualism and the English fervour of religious idealism. These germs have been too potent for destruction even under all the new influences of American life. But they are not altogether in harmony with those influences, and the result has been that the American attitude towards immorality has sometimes looked rather like a caricature of the English method. The influx of a vast and racially confused population with the over-rapid development of urbanization which has necessarily followed, opens an immense field for idealistic individualism to attempt reforms. But this individualism has not been held in check by the English spirit of compromise, which is not a part of Puritanism, and it has thus tended alike to excess and to impotence. This result is brought about partly by facilities for individualistic legislation not voicing the tendencies of the whole population, and therefore fatally condemned to sterility, and partly by the fact that in a new and rapidly developed civilization it is impossible to secure an army of functionaries who may be trusted to deal with the regulation of delicate and complex moral [274] questions in regard to which the community is not really agreed. The American police are generally admitted to be open with special frequency to the charge of ineffectiveness and venality. It is not so often realized that these defects are fostered by the impossible nature of the tasks which are imposed on the American police.

This aspect of the matter has been very clearly set forth by Dr. Fuld, of Columbia University, in his able and thorough book on police administration. [202] He shows that, though the American police system as a system has defects which need to be remedied, it is not true that the individual members of the American police forces are inferior to those of other countries; on the contrary, they are, in some respects, superior; it is not a large proportion which sells the right to break the law. [203] Their most serious defects are due to the impracticable laws and regulations made by inexperienced legislators. These laws and ordinances in many cases cannot possibly be enforced, and the weak police officers accept money from the citizen for not enforcing rules which in any case they could not enforce. "The American police forces," says Fuld, "have been corrupted almost solely by the statutes.... The real blame attaches not to the policeman who accepts a bribe temptingly offered him, nor to the bribe-giver who seeks by giving a bribe to make the best [275] possible business arrangement, but rather to the law, which by giving the police a large and uncontrolled discretion in the enforcement of the law places a premium upon bribe-giving and bribe-taking." This state of things is rendered possible by the fact that the duties of the police are not confined to matters affecting crime and public order—matters which the whole community consider essential, and in regard to which any police negligence is counted a serious charge—but are extended to unessential matters which a considerable section of the community, including many of the police themselves, view with complete indifference. It is impossible to regard seriously a conspiracy to defeat laws which a large proportion of citizens regard as unnecessary or even foolish. It thus unfortunately comes about that the charge brought against the American police that "it sells the right to break the law" has not the same grave significance which it would have in most countries, for the rights purchased in America may in most countries be obtained without purchase. "An act ought to be made criminal," as Fuld rightly lays down, "only when it is socially expedient to punish its criminality.... The American people, or at least the American legislators, do not make this clear distinction between vice and crime. There seems to be a feeling in America that unless a vice is made a crime, the State countenances the vice and becomes a party to its commission. There are unfortunately a large number of men in the community who believe that they have satisfied the demands made upon them to lead a virtuous life by incorporating into some statute the [276] condemnation of a particular vicious act as a crime." [204] This special characteristic of American laws, with its failure to distinguish between vice and crime, is clearly a legacy of the early Puritans. The Puritans carried over to New England independent autonomous laws of morality, and were contemptuous of external law. The sturdy pioneers of the first generation were faithful to that attitude, and were not even guilty of punishing witches. But, when the opportunity came, their descendants could not resist the temptation to erect an external law of morals, and, like the Calvinists of Geneva, they set up an inquisition backed by the secular arm. It was not until the days of Emerson that American Puritanism regained autonomous freedom and moved in the same air as Milton. But in the meantime the mischief had been done. Even to-day an inquisition of the mails has been established in the United States. It is said to be unconstitutional, and one can well believe that that is so, but none the less it flourishes under the protection of what a famous American has called "the never-ending audacity of elected persons." But to allow subordinate officials to masquerade in the Postal Department as familiars of the inquisition, in the supposed interests of public morals, is a dangerous policy. [205] Its deadening [277] influence on national life cannot fail sooner or later to be realized by Americans. To moralize by statute is idle and unsatisfactory enough; but it is worse to attempt to moralize by the arbitrary dicta of minor government officials.

It is interesting to observe the methods which find favour in some parts of the United States for dealing with the trade in alcoholic liquors. Alcohol is, on the one hand, a poison; on the other hand, it is the basis of the national drinks of every civilized country. Every state has felt called upon to regulate its sale to more or less extent, in such a way that (1) in the interests of public health alcohol may not be too easily or too cheaply obtainable, that (2) the restraints on its sale may be a source of revenue to the State, and that (3) at the same time this regulation of the sale may not be a vexatious and useless attempt to interfere unduly with national customs. States have sought to attain these ends in various ways. The sale of alcohol may be made a State monopoly, as in Russia, or, again, it may be carried on under disinterested municipal or other control, as by the Gothenburg system of Sweden or the Samlag system of Norway. [206] In England the easier and more usual plan is adopted of heavily [278] taxing the sale, with, in addition, various minor methods for restraining the sale of alcoholic drinks and attempting to improve the conditions under which they are sold.

In France an ingenious method of influencing the sale of alcohol has lately been adopted, in the interests of public health, which has proved completely successful. The French national drink is light wine, which may be procured in abundance, of excellent and wholesome quality and very cheaply, provided it is not heavily taxed. But of recent years there has been a tendency in France to consume in large quantity the heavy alcoholic spirits, often of a specially deleterious kind. The plan has been adopted of placing a very high duty on distilled beverages and reducing the duty on the light wines, as well as beer, so that a wholesome and genuine wine can be supplied to the consumer at as low a price as beer. As a result the French consumer has shown a preference for the cheap and wholesome wine which is really his national drink, and there is an enormous fall in the consumption of spirits. Whereas formerly the consumption of brandy in French towns amounted to seven or eight litres of absolute alcohol per head, it has now fallen in the large towns to 4.23 litres. [207]

In America, however, there is a tendency to deal with the sale of alcohol totally opposed to that which nearly everywhere prevails in Europe. When in Europe a man abandons the use of alcohol he makes no demand on his fellow men to follow his example, or, if he does, he is [279] usually content to employ moral suasion to gain this end. But in the United States, where there is no single national drink, a large number of people have abandoned the use of alcohol, and have persuaded themselves that its use by other people is a vice, for it is not universally recognized that—"Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live." Moreover, as in the United States the medieval confusion between vice and crime still subsists among a section of the population, being a part of the national tradition, it became easy to regard the drinking of alcohol as a crime and to make it punishable. Hence we have "Prohibition," which has prevailed in various States of the Union and is especially associated with Maine, where it was established in a crude form so long ago as 1846 and (except for a brief interval between 1856 and 1858) has prevailed until to-day. The law has never been effective. It has been made more and more stringent; the wildest excuses of arbitrary administration have been committed; scandals have constantly occurred; officials of iron will and determination have perished in the faith that if only they put enough energy into the task the law might, after all, be at last enforced. It was all in vain. It has always been easy in the cities of Maine for those to obtain alcohol who wished to obtain it. Finally, in 1911, by a direct Referendum, the majority by which the people of Maine are maintaining Prohibition has been brought down to 700 in a total poll of 120,000, while all the large towns have voted for the repeal of Prohibition by enormous majorities. The people of Maine are evidently [280] becoming dimly conscious that it is worse than useless to make laws which no human power can enforce. "The result of the vote," writes Mr. Arthur Sherwell, an English social Reformer, not himself opposed to temperance legislation, "from every point of view, and not least from the point of view of temperance, is eminently unsatisfactory, and it unquestionably creates a position of great difficulty and embarrassment for the authorities. A majority of 700 in a total poll of 120,000 is clearly not a sufficient mandate for a drastic law which previous experience has conclusively shown cannot be enforced successfully in the urban districts of the State." Successful enforcement of prohibition on a State basis would appear to be hopeless. The history of Prohibition in Maine will for ever form an eloquent proof of the mischief which comes when the ancient ecclesiastical failure to distinguish between the sphere of morals and the sphere of law is perpetuated under the conditions of modern life. The attempt to force men to render unto Cæsar the things which are God's must always end thus.

In these matters we witness in America the survival of an ancient tradition. The early Puritans were individualists, it is true, but their individualism took a theocratic form, and, in the name of God, they looked upon crimes and vices equally and indistinguishably as sins. We see exactly the same point of view in the Penitentials of the ninth century, which were ecclesiastical codes dealing, exactly in the same spirit and in the same way, with crime and with vice, recognizing nothing but a certain difference in degree between murder and masturbation. [281] In the ninth century, and even much later, in Calvin's Geneva and Cotton Mather's New England, it was possible to carry into practice this theocratic conception of the unity of vices and crimes and the punishment as sins of both alike, for the community generally accepted that point of view. But that is very far from being the case in the United States of to-day. The result is that in America in this respect we find a condition of things analogous to that which existed in France, before the Revolution remoulded the laws in accordance with the temperament of the nation. Laws and regulations of the medieval kind, for the moral ordering of the smallest details of life, are still enacted in America, but they are regarded with growing contempt by the community and even by the administrators of the laws. It is realized that such minute inquisition into the citizen's private life can only be effectively carried out where the citizen himself recognizes the divine right of the inquisitor. But the theocratic conception of life no longer corresponds to American ideas or American customs; this minute moral legislation rests on a basis which in the course of centuries has become rotten. Thus it has come about that nowhere in the world is there so great an anxiety to place the moral regulation of social affairs in the hands of the police; nowhere are the police more incapable of carrying out such regulation.

When we thus bear in mind the historical aspect of the matter we can understand how it has come about that the individualistic idealist in America has been much more resolute than in England to effect reforms, much more [282] determined that they shall be very thorough and extreme reforms, and, especially, much more eager to embody his moral aspirations in legal statutes. But his tasks are bigger than in England, because of the vast, unstable, heterogeneous and crude population he has to deal with, and because, at the same time, he has no firmly established centralized and reliable police instrument whereby to effect his reforms. The fiery American moral idealist is determined to set out for the Kingdom of Heaven at once, but every steed he mounts proves broken-winded, and speedily drops down by the wayside. Don Quixote sets the lance at rest and digs his spurs into Rosinante's flanks, but he fails to realize that, in our modern world, he will never bear him anywhere near the foe.

If we wish to see a totally different national method of regarding immorality we may turn to Russia. Here also we find idealism at work, but it is not the same kind of idealism, since, far from desiring to express itself by force, its essential basis is an absolute disbelief in force. Russia, like France, has inherited from an ancient ecclesiastical domination an extremely severe code of regulations against immorality and all sexual aberrations, but, unlike France, it has not cast them off in order to mould the laws in accordance with national temperament. The essence of the Russian attitude in these matters is a sympathy with the individual which is stronger than any antipathy aroused by his immoral acts; his act is a misfortune rather than a sin or a crime. We may observe this attitude in the kindly and helpful fashion in which the Russian assists along the streets his fellow-man who has [283] drunk too much vodka, and, on a higher plane, we see the same spirit of forgiving human tenderness in the Russian novelists, most clearly in the greatest and most typically national, in Dostoieffsky and in Tolstoy. The harsh rigidity of the old Russian laws had not the slightest influence, either in changing this national attitude or in diminishing the prevalence, at the very least as great as elsewhere, of sexual laxity or sexual aberration. Nowadays, as Russia attains national self-consciousness, these laws against immorality are being slowly remoulded in accordance with the national temperament, and in some respects—as in its attitude towards homosexuality and the introduction in 1907 of what is practically divorce by mutual consent—they allow a freedom and latitude scarcely equalled in any other country. [208]

Undoubtedly there is, within certain limits, mutual action and reaction in these matters among nations. Thus the influence of France has led to the abolition of the penalty against homosexual practices in many countries, notably Holland, Spain, Portugal, and, more recently, Italy, while even in Germany there is a strong and influential party, among legal as well as medical authorities, in favour of taking the same step. On the other hand, France has in some matters of detail departed from her general principle in these matters, and has, for [284] instance—without doubt in an altogether justifiable manner—taken part in the international movement against what is called the white slave trade. This mutual reaction of nations is well recognized by the more alert and progressive minds in every country, jealous of any undue interference with liberty. When, for instance, a Bill is introduced in the English Parliament for promoting inquisitorial and vexatious interference with matters that are not within the sphere of legislation it is eagerly discussed in Germany before even its existence is known to most people in England, not so much out of interest in English Affairs as from a sensitive dread that English example may affect German legislation. [209]

Not only, indeed, have we to recognize the existence of these clearly marked and profound differences in legislative reaction to immorality. We have also to realize that at different periods there are general movements, to some extent overpassing national bounds, of rise and of fall in this reaction.

A sudden impulse seizes on a community, and spreads to other communities, to attempt to suppress some form of immorality by law. Such attempts, as we know, have always ended in failure or worse than failure, for laws [285] against immorality are either not carried out, or, if they are carried out, it is at once realized that new evils are created worse than the original evils, and the laws speedily fall into abeyance or are repealed. That has been repeatedly seen, and is well illustrated by the history of prostitution, a sexual manifestation which for two thousand years all sorts of persons in authority have sought to suppress off-hand by law or by administrative fiat. From the time when Christianity gained full political power, prostitution has again and again been prohibited, under the severest penalties, but always in vain. The mightiest emperors—Theodosius, Valentinian, Justinian, Karl the Great, St. Louis, Frederick Barbarossa—all had occasion to discover that might was here in vain, and worse than in vain, that they could not always obey their own moral ordinances, still less coerce their subjects into doing so, and that even so far as, on the surface, they were successful they produced results more pernicious than the evils they sought to suppress. The best known and one of the most vigorous of these attempts was that of the Empress Maria Theresa in Vienna; but all the cruelty and injustice of that energetic effort, and all the stringent, ridiculous, and brutal regulations it involved—its prohibition of short dresses, its inspection of billiard-rooms, its handcuffing of waitresses, its whippings and its tortures—proved useless and worse than useless, and were soon quietly dropped. [210] No more fortunate were more recent municipal attempts in England and America (Portsmouth, Pittsburgh, New York, etc.) to [286] suppress prostitution off-hand; for the most part they collapsed even in a few days.

The history of the legal attempts to suppress homosexuality shows the same results. It may even be said to show more, for when the laws against homosexuality are relaxed or abolished, homosexuality becomes, not perhaps less prevalent (in so far as it is a congenital anomaly we cannot expect its prevalence to be influenced by law), but certainly less conspicuous and ostentatious. In France, under the Bourbons, the sexual invert was a sacrilegious criminal who could legally be burnt at the stake, but homosexuality flourished openly in the highest circles, and some of the kings were themselves notoriously inverted. Since the Code Napoléon was introduced homosexual acts, per se, have never been an offence, yet instead of flourishing more vigorously, homosexuality has so far receded into the background that some observers regard it as very rare in France. In Germany and England, on the other hand, where the antiquated laws against this perversion still prevail, homosexuality is extremely prominent, and its right to exist is vigorously championed. The law cannot suppress these impulses and passions; it can only sting them into active rebellion. [211]

But although it has invariably been seen that all attempts to make men moral by law are doomed to disappointment, spasmodic attempts to do so are continually being made afresh. No doubt those who make these [287] attempts are but a small minority, people whose good intentions are not accompanied by knowledge either of history or of the world. But though a minority they can often gain a free field for their activities. The reason is plain. No public man likes to take up a position which his enemies may interpret as favourable to vice and probably due to an anxiety to secure legal opportunities for his own enjoyment of vice. This consideration especially applies to professional politicians. A Member of Parliament, who must cultivate an immaculately pure reputation, feels that he is also bound to record by his vote how anxious he is to suppress other people's immorality. Thus the philistine and the hypocrite join hands with the simple-minded idealist. Very few are left to point out that, however desirable it is to prevent immorality, that end can never be attained by law.

During the past ten years one of these waves of enthusiasm for the moralization of the public by law has been sweeping across Europe and America. Its energy is scarcely yet exhausted, and it may therefore be worthwhile to call attention to it. The movement has shown special activity in Germany, in Holland, in England, in the United States, and is traceable in a minor degree in many other countries. In Germany the Lex Heintze in 1900 was an indication of the appearance of this movement, while various scandals have had the result of attracting an exaggerated amount of attention to questions of immorality and of tightening the rigour of the law, though as Germany already holds moral matters in a very complex web of regulations it can scarcely [288] be said that the new movement has here found any large field of activity. In Holland it is different. Holland is one of the traditional lands of freedom; it was the home of independent intellect, of free religion, of autonomous morals, when every other country in Europe was closed to these manifestations of the spirit, and something of the same tradition has always inspired its habits of thought, even when they have been largely Puritanic. So that there was here a clear field for the movement to work in, and it has found expression, of a very thorough character indeed, in the new so-called "Morals Law" which was passed in 1911 after several weeks' discussion. Undoubtedly this law contains excellent features; thus the agents of the "white slave trade," who have hitherto been especially active in Holland, are now threatened with five years' imprisonment. Here we are concerned with what may fairly be regarded as crime and rightly punishable as such. But excellent provisions like these are lost to sight in a great number of other paragraphs which are at best useless and ridiculous, and at worst vexatious and mischievous in their attempts to limit the free play of civilization. Thus we find that a year's imprisonment, or a heavy fine, threatens any one who exposes any object or writing which "offends decency," a provision which enabled a policeman to enter an art-pottery shop in Amsterdam and remove a piece of porcelain on which he detected an insufficiently clothed human figure. Yet this paragraph of the law had been passed with scarcely any opposition. Another provision of this law deals extensively with the difficult and complicated question of the "age of consent" [289] for girls, which it raises to the age of twenty-one, making intercourse with a girl under twenty-one an offence punishable by four years' imprisonment. It is generally regarded as desirable that chastity should be preserved until adult age is well established. But as soon as sexual maturity is attained—which is long before what we conventionally regard as the adult age, and earlier in girls than in boys—it is impossible to dismiss the question of personal responsibility. A girl over sixteen, and still more when she is over twenty, is a developed human being on the sexual side; she is capable of seducing as well as of being seduced; she is often more mature than the youth of corresponding age; to instruct her in sexual hygiene, to train her to responsibility, is the proper task of morals. But to treat her as an irresponsible child, and to regard the act of interfering with her chastity when her consent has been given, as on a level with an assault on an innocent child merely introduces confusion. It must often be unjust to the male partner in the act; it is always demoralizing and degrading to the girl whom it aims at "protecting"; above all, it reduces what ought to be an extremely serious crime to the level of a merely nominal offence when it punishes one of two practically mature persons for engaging with full knowledge and deliberation in an act which, however undesirable, is altogether according to Nature. There is here a fatal confusion between a crime and an action which is at the worst morally reprehensible and only properly combated by moral methods.

These objections are not of a purely abstract or theoretical character. They are based on the practical outcome [290] of such enactments. Thus in the State of New York the "age of consent" was in former days thirteen years. It was advanced to fourteen and afterwards to sixteen. This is the extreme limit to which it may prudently be raised, and the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, which had taken the chief part in obtaining these changes in the law, was content to stop at this point. But without seeking the approval of this Society, another body, the White Cross and Social Purity League, took the matter in hand, and succeeded in passing an amendment to the law which raised the age of consent to eighteen. What has been the result? The Committee of Fourteen, who are not witnesses hostile to moral legislation, state that "since the amendment went into effect making the age of consent eighteen years there have been few successful prosecutions. The laws are practically inoperative so far as the age clause is concerned." Juries naturally require clear evidence that a rape has been committed when the case concerns a grown-up girl in the full possession of her faculties, possibly even a clandestine prostitute. Moreover, as rape in the first degree involves the punishment of imprisonment for twenty years, there is a disinclination to convict a man unless the case is a very bad one. One judge, indeed, has asserted that he will not give any man the full penalty under the present law, so long as he is on the bench. The natural result of stretching the law to undue limits is to weaken it. Instead of being, as it should be, an extremely serious crime, rape loses in a large proportion of cases the opprobrium which rightly belongs to it. It is, therefore, [291] a matter for regret that in some English dominions there is a tendency to raise the "age of consent" to an unduly high limit. In New South Wales the Girls' Protection Act has placed the age of consent at sixteen, and in the case of offences by guardians, schoolmasters, or employers at seventeen years, notwithstanding the vigorous opposition of a distinguished medical member of the Legislative Council (the Hon. J.M. Creed), who presented the arguments against so high an age. Not a single prosecution has so far occurred under this Act.

In England the force of the moral legislation wave has been felt, but it has been largely broken against the conservative traditions of the country, which make all legislation, good or bad, very difficult. A lengthy, elaborate and high-strung Prevention of Immorality Bill was introduced in the House of Commons by a group of Nonconformists mainly on the Liberal side. This Bill was very largely on the lines of the Dutch law already mentioned; it proposed to raise the age of consent to nineteen; making intercourse with a girl under that age felony, punishable by five years' penal servitude, and any attempt at such intercourse by two years' imprisonment. Such a measure would be, it may be noted, peculiarly illogical and inconsistent in England and Scotland, in both of which countries (though their laws in these matters are independent) even a girl of twelve is legally regarded as sufficiently mature and responsible to take to herself a husband. At one moment the Bill seemed to have a chance of becoming law, but a group of enlightened and independent Liberals, realizing that such [292] a measure would introduce intolerable social conditions, organized resistance and prevented the acceptance of the Bill.

The chief organization in England at the present time for the promotion of public morality is the National Council of Public Morals, which is a very influential body, with many able and distinguished supporters. Law-enforced morality, however, constitutes but a very small part of the reforms advocated by this organization, which is far more concerned with the home, the school, the Church, and the influences which operate in those spheres. It has lately to a considerable extent joined hands with the workers in the eugenic movement, advocating sexual hygiene and racial betterment, thus allying itself with one of the most hopeful movements of our day. Certainly there may be some amount of zeal not according to knowledge in the activities of the National Council of Public Morals, but there is also very much that is genuinely enlightened, and the very fact that the Council includes representatives from so many fields of action and so many schools of thought largely saves it from running into practical excesses. Its influence on the whole is beneficial, because, although it may not be altogether averse to moral legislation, it recognizes that the policeman is a very feeble guide in these matters, and that the fundamental and essential way of bettering the public morality is by enlightening the private conscience.

In the United States conditions have been very favourable, as we have seen, for the attempt to achieve social reform by moral legislation, and nowhere else in the [293] world has it been so clearly demonstrated that such attempts not only fail to cure the evils they are aimed at, but tend to further evils far worse than those aimed at. A famous example is furnished by the so-called "Raines Law" of New York. This Act was passed in 1896, and was intended to regulate the sale of alcoholic liquor in all its phases throughout the State. The grounds for bringing it forward were that the number of drinking saloons was excessive, that there was no fixed licensing fee, that too much discretionary power was allowed to the local commissioner; while, above all, the would-be Puritanic legislators wished so far as possible to suppress the drinking of alcoholic liquors on Sunday. To achieve these objects the licensing fee was raised to four times its usual amount previously to this enactment; heavy penalties, including the forfeiture of a large surety-bond, were established, and more surely to prevent Sunday drinking only hotels, not ordinary drinking bars, were allowed, with many stringent restrictions, to sell drink on that day. In order that there should be no mistake, it was set forth in the Act that the hotel must be a real hotel with at least ten properly furnished bedrooms. The legislators clearly thought that they had done a fine piece of work. "Seldom," wrote the Committee of Fourteen, who are by no means out of sympathy with the aims of this legislation, "has a law intended to regulate one evil resulted in so aggravated a phase of another evil directly traceable to its provisions." [212]

[294] In the first place, the passing of this law alarmed the saloon keepers; they realized that it had them in a very tight grip, and they suspected that it might be strictly enforced. They came to the conclusion, therefore, that their best policy would be to accept the law and to conform themselves to its provisions by converting their drinking bars into real hotels, with ten properly furnished bedrooms, kitchen, and dining-room. The immediate result was the preparation of ten thousand bedrooms, for which there was of course no real demand, and by 1905 there were 1407 certificated hotels in Manhattan and the Bronx alone, about 1150 of these hotels having probably been created by the Raines Law.

But something had to be done with all these bedrooms, properly furnished according to law, for it was necessary to meet the heavy expenses incurred under the new conditions created by the law. The remedy was fairly obvious. These bedrooms were excellently adapted to serve as places of assignation and houses of prostitution. Many hotel proprietors became practically brothel keepers, the women in some cases becoming boarders in the hotels; and saloons and hotels have entered into a kind of alliance for their mutual benefit, and are sometimes indeed under the same management. When a hotel is thus run in the interests of prostitution it has what may be regarded as a staff of women in the neighbouring streets. In some districts of New York it is found that practically all the prostitutes on the street are connected with some Raines Law hotel. These wise moral legislators of New York thought they were placing a penalty on [295] Sunday drinking; what they have really done is to place a premium on prostitution [213].

An attempt of a different kind to strike a blow at once at alcohol and at prostitution has been made in Chicago, with equally unsatisfactory results. Drink and prostitution are connected, so intimately connected, indeed, that no attempt to separate them can ever be more than superficially successful even with the most minute inquisition by the police, least of all by police officers, who, in Chicago, we are officially told, are themselves sometimes found, when in uniform and on duty, drinking among prostitutes in "saloons." On May 1, 1910, the Chicago General Superintendent of Police made a rule prohibiting the sale of liquor in houses of prostitution. On the surface this rule has in most cases been observed (though only on the surface, as the field-workers of the Chicago Vice Commission easily discovered), and a blow was thus dealt to those houses which derive a large profit from the sale of drinks on account of the high price at which they retail them. Yet even so far as the rule has been obeyed, and not evaded, has it effected any good? On this point we may trust the evidence of the Vice Commissioners of Chicago, a municipal body appointed by the Mayor and [296] City Council, and not anxious to discredit the actions of their Police Superintendent. "As to the benefits derived from this order, either to the inmates or the public, opinions differ," they write. "It is undoubtedly true that the result of the order has been to scatter the prostitutes over a wide territory and to transfer the sale of liquor carried on heretofore in houses to the near-by saloon-keepers, and to flats and residential sections, but it is an open question whether it has resulted in the lessening of either of the two evils of prostitution and drink." [214] That is a mild statement of the results. It may be noted that there are over seven thousand drinking saloons in Chicago, so that the transfer is not difficult, while the migration to flats—of which an enormous number have been taken for purposes of prostitution (five hundred in one district alone) since this rule came into force—may indeed enable the prostitute to live a freer and more humanizing life, but in no faintest degree diminishes the prevalence of prostitution. From the narrow police standpoint, indeed, the change is a disadvantage, for it shelters the prostitute from observation, and involves an entirely new readjustment to new conditions.

It cannot be said that either the State of New York or the city of Chicago has been in any degree more fortunate in its attempts at moral legislation against prostitution than against drinking. As we should expect, the laws of New York regard prostitution and the prostitute with an eye of extreme severity. Every prostitute in New York, [297] by virtue of the mere fact that she is a prostitute, is technically termed a "vagrant." As such she is liable to be committed to the workhouse for a term not exceeding six months; the owner of houses where she lives may be heavily fined, as she herself may be for living in them, and the keeper of a disorderly house may be imprisoned and the disorderly house suppressed. It is not clear that the large number of prostitutes in New York have been diminished by so much as a single unit, but from time to time attempts are made in some district or another by an unusually energetic official to put the laws into execution, and it is then possible to study the results. When disorderly houses are suppressed on a large scale, there are naturally a great number of prostitutes who have to find homes elsewhere in order to carry on their business. On one occasion, under the auspices of District-Attorney Jerome, it is stated by the Committee of Fourteen that eight hundred women were reported to be turned out into the street in a single night. For many there are the Raines Law hotels. A great many others take refuge in tenement houses. Such houses in congested districts are crowded with families, and with these the prostitute is necessarily brought into close contact. Consequently the seeds of physical and mental disorder which she may bear about her are disseminated in a much more fruitful soil than they were before. Moreover, she is compelled by the laws to exert very great energy in the pursuit of her profession. As it is an offence to harbour her she has to pay twice as high a rent as other people would have to pay for the same rooms. She may have [298] to pay the police to refrain from molesting her, as well as others to protect her from molestation. She is surrounded by people whom the law encourages to prey upon her. She is compelled to exert her energies at highest tension to earn the very large sums which are necessary, not to gain profits for herself, but to feed all the sharks who are eager to grab what is given to her. The blind or perverse zeal of the moral legislators not only intensifies the evils it aims at curing, but it introduces a whole crop of new evils.

How large these sums are we may estimate by the investigation made by the Vice Commissioners of Chicago. They conclude after careful inquiry that the annual profits of prostitution in the city of Chicago alone amount to between fifteen to sixteen million dollars, and they regard this as "an ultra-conservative estimate." It is true that not all this actually passes through the women's hands and it includes the sales of drinks. If we confine ourselves strictly to the earnings of the girls themselves it is found to work out at an average for each girl of thirteen hundred dollars per annum. This is more than four times as much as the ordinary shop-girl can earn in Chicago by her brains, virtue, and other good qualities. But it is not too much for the prostitute's needs; she is compelled to earn so large an income because the active hostility of society, the law, and the police facilitates the task of all those persons—and they are many—who desire to prey upon her. Thus society, the law, and the police gain nothing for morals by their hostility to the prostitute. On the contrary, they give strength and [299] stability to the very vice they nominally profess to fight against. This is shown in the vital matter of the high rents which it is possible to obtain where prostitution is concerned. These high rents are the direct result of legal and police enactments against the prostitute. Remove these enactments and the rents would automatically fall. The enactments maintain the high rents and so ensure that the mighty protection of capital is on the side of prostitution; the property brings in an exorbitant rate of interest on the capital invested, and all the forces of sound business are concerned in maintaining rents. So gross is the ignorance of the would-be moral legislators—or, some may think, so skilful their duplicity—that the methods by which they profess to fight against immorality are the surest methods for enabling immorality not merely to exist—which it would in any case—but to flourish. A vigorous campaign is initiated against immorality. On the surface it is successful. Morality triumphs. But, it may be, in the end we are reminded of the saying of M. Desmaisons in one of Remy de Gourmont's witty and profound Dialogues des Amateurs: "Quand la morale triomphe il se passe des choses très vilaines."

The reason why the "triumphs" of legislative and administrative morality are really such ignominious failures must now be clear, but may again be repeated. It is because on matters of morals there is no unanimity of opinion as there is in regard to crime. There is always a large section of the community which feels tolerant towards, and even practises, acts which another section, [300] it may be quite reasonably, stigmatizes as "immoral." Such conditions are highly favourable for the exercise of moral influence; they are quite unsuitable for legislative action, which cannot possibly be brought to bear against a large minority, perhaps even majority, of otherwise law-abiding citizens. In the matter of prostitution, for instance, the Vice Commissioners of Chicago state emphatically the need for "constant and persistent repression" leading on to "absolute annihilation of prostitution." They recommend the appointment of a "Morals Commission" to suppress disorderly houses, and to prosecute their keepers, their inmates, and their patrons; they further recommend the establishment of a "Morals Court" of vaguely large scope. Among the other recommendations of the Commissioners—and there are ninety-seven such recommendations—we find the establishment of a municipal farm, to which prostitutes can be "committed on an indeterminate sentence"; a "special morals police squad"; instructions to the police to send home all unattended boys and girls under sixteen at 9 p.m.; no seats in the parks to be in shade; searchlights to be set up at night to enable the police to see what the public are doing, and so on. The scheme, it will be seen, combines the methods of Calvin in Geneva with those of Maria Theresa in Vienna. [215]

[301] The reason why any such high-handed repression of immorality by force is as impracticable in Chicago as elsewhere is revealed in the excellent picture of the conditions furnished by the Vice Commissioners themselves. They estimate that the prostitutes in disorderly houses known to the police—leaving out of account all prostitutes in flats, rooms, hotels and houses of assignation, and also taking no note of clandestine prostitutes—receive 15,180 visits from men daily, or 5,540,700 per annum. They consider further that the men in question may be one-fourth of the adult male population (800,000 in the city itself, leaving the surrounding district out of the reckoning), and they rightly insist that this estimate cannot possibly cover all the facts. Yet it never occurs to the Vice Commissioners that in thus proposing to brand one-third or even only one quarter of the adult male population as criminals, and as such to prosecute them actively, is to propose an absurd impossibility.

It is not by any means only in the United States that an object lesson in the foolishness of attempting to make people moral by force is set up before the world. It has often been set up before, and at the present day it is illustrated in exactly the same way in Germany. Unlike as are the police systems and the national temperaments of Germany and the United States, in this matter social reformers tell exactly the same story. They report that [302] the German laws and ordinances against immorality increase and support the very evil they profess to attack. Thus by making it criminal to shelter, even though not for purposes of gain, unmarried lovers, even when they intend to marry, the respectable girl is forced into the position of the prostitute, and as such she becomes subject to an endless amount of police regulation and police control. Landlords are encouraged to live on her activities, charging very high rates to indemnify themselves for the risks they run by harbouring her. She, in her turn, to meet the exorbitant demands which the law and the police encourage the whole environment to make upon her, is forced to exercise her profession with the greatest activity, and to acquire the maximum of profit. Law and the police have forged the same vicious circle. [216]

The illustrations thus furnished by Germany, Holland, England, and the United States, will probably suffice to show that there really is at the present time a wave of feeling in favour of the notion that it is possible to promote public morals by force of law. It only remains to observe that the recognition of the futility of such attempts by no means necessarily involves a pessimistic conservatism. To point out that prostitution never has been, and never can be, abolished by law, is by no means to affirm that it is an evil which must endure for ever and that no influence can affect it. But we have to realize, in the first place, that prostitution belongs to that sphere of human impulses in which mere external police ordinances count for [303] comparatively little, and that, in the second place, even in the more potent field of true morals, which has nothing to do with moral legislation, prostitution is so subtly and deeply rooted that it can only be affected by influences which bear on all our methods of thought and feeling and all our social custom. It is far from being an isolated manifestation; it is, for instance, closely related to marriage; any reforms in prostitution, therefore, can only follow a reform in our marriage system. But prostitution is also related to economics, and when it is realized how much has to be altogether changed in our whole social system to secure even an approximate abolition of prostitution it becomes doubtful whether many people are willing to pay the price of removing the "social evil" they find it so easy to deplore. They are prepared to appoint Commissions; they have no objection to offer up a prayer; they are willing to pass laws and issue police regulations which are known to be useless. At that point their ardour ends.

If it is impossible to guard the community by statute against the central evil of prostitution, still more hopeless is it to attempt the legal suppression of all the multitudinous minor provocations of the sexual impulse offered by civilization. Let it be assumed that only by such suppression, and not by frankly meeting and fighting temptations, can character be formed, yet it would be absolutely impossible to suppress more than a fraction of the things that would need to be suppressed. "There is almost no feature, article of dress, attitude, act," Dr. Stanley Hall has truly remarked, "or even animal, or [304] perhaps object in nature, that may not have to some morbid soul specialized erogenic and erethic power." If, therefore, we wish to suppress the sexually suggestive and the possibly obscene we are bound to suppress the whole world, beginning with the human race, for if we once enter on that path there is no definite point at which we can logically stop. The truth is, as Mr. Theodore Schroeder has so repeatedly insisted, [217] that "obscenity" is subjective; it cannot reside in an object, but only in the impure mind which is influenced by the object. In this matter Mr. Schroeder is simply the follower, at an interval, of St. Paul. We must work not on the object, but on the impure mind affected by the object. If the impure heart is not suppressed it is useless to suppress the impure object, while if the heart is renewed the whole task is achieved. Certainly there are books, pictures, and other things in life so unclean that they can never be pure even to the purest, but these things by their loathsomeness are harmless to all healthy minds; they can only corrupt minds which are corrupt already. Unfortunately, when ignorant police officials and custom-house officers are entrusted with the task of searching for the obscene, it is not to these things that their attention is exclusively directed. Such persons, it seems, cannot distinguish between these things and the noblest productions of human art and intellect, and the law has proved powerless to set them right; in all civilized countries the list is indeed formidable of the splendid and [305] inspiring productions, from the Bible downwards, which officials or the law courts have been pleased to declare "obscene." So that while the task of moralizing the community by force must absolutely fail of its object, it may at the same time suffice to effect much mischief.

It is one of the ironies of history that the passion for extinguishing immorality by law and administration should have arisen in what used to be called Christendom. For Christianity is precisely the most brilliant proof the world has ever seen of the truth that immorality cannot so be suppressed. From the standpoint of classic Rome Christianity was an aggressive attack on Roman morality from every side. It was not so only in appearance, but in reality, as modern historians fully recognize. [218] Merely as a new religion Christianity would have been received with calm indifference, even with a certain welcome, as other new religions were received. But Christianity denied the supremacy of the State, carried on an anti-military propaganda in the army, openly flouted established social conventions, loosened family life, preached and practised asceticism to an age that was already painfully aware that, above all things, it needed men. The fatal though doubtless inevitable step was taken of attempting to suppress the potent poison of this manifold immorality by force. The triumph of Christianity [306] was largely due to the fine qualities which were brought out by that annealing process, and the splendid prestige which the process itself assured. Yet the method of warfare which it had so brilliantly proved to be worthless was speedily adopted by Christianity itself, and is even yet, at intervals, spasmodically applied.

That these attempts should have such results as we see is not surprising when we remember that even movements, at the outset, mainly inspired by moral energy, rather than by faith in moral legislation, when that energy becomes reckless, violent and intolerant, lead in the end to results altogether opposed to the aims of those who initiated them. It was thus that Luther has permanently fortified the position of the Popes whom he assailed, and that the Reformation produced the Counter-Reformation, a movement as formidable and as enduring as that which it countered. When Luther appeared all that was rigid and inhuman in the Church was slowly dissolving, certainly not without an inevitable sediment of immorality, yet the solution was in the highest degree favourable to the development of the freer and larger conceptions of life, the expansion of science and art and philosophy, which at that moment was pre-eminently necessary for the [307] progress of civilisation, and, indirectly, therefore, for the progress of morals. [219] The violence of the Reformation not only resulted in a new tyranny for its own adherents—calling in turn for fresh reformations by Puritans, Quakers, Deists, and Freethinkers—but it re-established, and even to-day continues to support, that very tyranny of the old Church against which it was a protest.

When we try to regulate the morals of men on the same uniform pattern we have to remember that we are touching the most subtle, intimate, and incalculable springs of action. It is useless to apply the crude methods of "suppression" and "annihilation" to these complex and indestructible forces. When Charles V retired in weariness from the greatest throne in the world to the solitude of the monastery at Yuste, he occupied his leisure for some weeks in trying to regulate two clocks. It proved very difficult. One day, it is recorded, he turned to his assistant and said: "To think that I attempted to force the reason and conscience of thousands of men into one mould, and I cannot make two clocks agree!" Wisdom [308] comes to the rulers of men, sometimes, usually when they have ceased to be rulers. It comes to the moral legislators not otherwise than it comes to the immoral persons they legislate against. "I act first," the French thief said; "then I think."

It seems to some people almost a paradox to assert that immorality should not be encountered by physical force. The same people would willingly admit that it is hopeless to rout a modern army with bows and arrows, even with the support of a fanfare of trumpets. Yet that metaphor, as we have seen, altogether fails to represent the inadequacy of law in the face of immorality. We are concerned with a method of fighting which is not merely inadequate, but, as has been demonstrated many times during the last two thousand years, actually fortifies and even dignifies the foe it professes to attack. But the failure of physical force to suppress the spiritual evil of immorality by no means indicates that a like failure would attend the more rational tactics of opposing a spiritual force by spiritual force. The virility of our morals is not proved by any weak attempt to call in the aid of the secular arm of law or the ecclesiastical arm of theology. If a morality cannot by its own proper virtue hold its opposing immorality in check then there is something wrong with that morality. It runs the risk of encountering a fresh and more vigorous movement of morality. Men begin to think that, if not the whole truth, there is yet a real element of truth in the assertion of Nietzsche: "We believe that severity, violence, slavery, danger in the street and in the heart, secrecy, [309] stoicism, tempter's art and devilry of every kind, everything wicked, tyrannical, predatory and serpentine in man, serves as well for the elevation of the human species as its opposite." [220] To ignore altogether the affirmation of that opposing morality, it may be, would be to breed a race of weaklings, fatally doomed to succumb helplessly to the first breath of temptation.

Although we are passing through a wave of moral legislation, there are yet indications that a sounder movement is coming into action. The demand for the teaching of sexual hygiene which parents, teachers, and physicians in Germany, the United States and elsewhere, are now striving to formulate and to supply will, if it is wisely carried out, effect far more for public morals than all the legislation in the world. Inconsistently enough, some of those who clamour for moral legislation also advocate the teaching of sexual hygiene. But there is no room for compromise or combination here. A training in sexual hygiene has no meaning if it is not a training, for men and women alike, in personal and social responsibility, [310] in the right to know and to discriminate, and in so doing to attain self-conquest. A generation thus trained to self-respect and to respect for others has no use for a web of official regulations to protect its feeble and cloistered virtues from possible visions of evil, and an army of police to conduct it homewards at 9 p.m. Nor, on the other hand, can any reliable sense of social responsibility ever be developed in such an unwholesome atmosphere of petty moral officialdom. The two methods of moralization are radically antagonistic. There can be no doubt which of them we ought to pursue if we really desire to breed a firmly-fibred, clean-minded, and self-reliant race of manly men and womanly women.

[191] Westermarck, Origin and Development of the Moral Ideas, Vol. I, p. 160; see also chapter on sexual morality in Havelock Ellis, Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society," chap. IX.

[192] It must be remembered that in medieval days not only adultery but the smallest infraction of what the Church regarded as morality could be punished in the Archdeacon's court; this continued to be the case in England even after the Reformation. See Archdeacon W.W. Hales' interesting work, Precedents and Proceedings in Criminal Causes (1847), which is, as the author states, "a History of the Moral Police of the Church."

[193] The Social Evil in New York City, p. 100.

[194] This has been emphasized in an able and lucid discussion of this question by Dr. Hans Hagen, "Sittliche Werturteile," Mutterschutz, Heft I and II, 1906. Such recognition of popular morals, he justly remarks, is needed not only for the sake of the people, but for the sake of law itself.

[195] Grabowsky, in criticizing Hiller's book, Das Recht über sich Selbst (Archiv für Kriminalanthropologie und Kriminalistik, Bd. 36, 1809), argues that in some cases immorality injures rights which need legal protection, but he admits it is difficult to decide when this is the case. He does not think that the law should interfere with homosexuality in adults, but he does consider it should interfere with incest, on the ground that in-breeding is not good for the race. But it is the view of most authorities nowadays that in-breeding is only injurious to the race in the case of an unsound stock, when the defect being in both partners of the same kind would probably be intensified by heredity.

[196] The occurrence of, for instance, incestuous, bestial, and homosexual acts—which are generally abhorrent, but not necessarily anti-social—makes it necessary to exercise some caution here.

[197] I quote from a valuable and interesting study by Dr. Eugen Wilhelm, "Die Volkspsychologischen Unterschiede in der französischen und deustchen Sittlichkeits-Gesetzgebung und Rechtsprechung," Sexual-Probleme, October, 1911. It may be added that in Switzerland, also, the tyranny of the police is carried to an extreme. Edith Sellers gives some extraordinary examples, Cornhill, August, 1910.

[198] The absurdities and injustice of the German law, and its interference with purely private interests in these matters, have often been pointed out, as by Dr. Kurt Hiller ("Ist Kuppelei Strafwürdig?" Die Neue Generation, November, 1910). As to what is possible under German law by judicial decision since 1882, Hagen takes the case of a widow who has living with her a daughter, aged twenty-five or thirty, engaged to marry an artisan now living at a distance for the sake of his work; he comes to see her when he can; she is already pregnant; they will marry soon; one evening, with the consent of the widow, who looks on the couple as practically married, he stays over-night, sharing his betrothed's room, the only room available. Result: the old woman becomes liable to four years' penal servitude, a fine of six thousand marks, loss of civil rights, and police supervision.

[199] In another respect the French code carries private rights to an excess by forbidding the unmarried mother to make any claim on the father of her child. In most countries such a prohibition is regarded as unreasonable and unjust. There is even a tendency (as by a recent Dutch law) to compel the father to provide for his illegitimate child not on the scale of the mother's social position but on the scale of his own social position. This is, possibly, an undue assertion of the superiority of man.

[200] The same point has lately been illustrated in Holland, where a recent modification in the law is held to press harshly on homosexual persons. At once a vigorous propaganda on behalf of the homosexual has sprung into existence. We see here the difference between moral enactments and criminal enactments. Supposing that a change in the law had placed, for instance, increased difficulties in the way of burglary. We should not witness any outburst of literary activity on behalf of burglars, because the community, as a whole, is thoroughly convinced that burglary ought to be penalized.

[201] Apart from the attitude towards immorality, we have an illustration of the peculiarly English tendency to unite religious fervour with individualism in Quakerism. In no other European country has any similar movement—that is, a popular movement of individualistic mysticism—ever appeared on the same scale.

[202] E.F. Fuld, Ph.D., Police Administration, 1909.

[203] Ex-Police Commissioner Bingham, of New York, estimated (Hampton's Magazine, September, 1909) that "fifteen per cent. or from 1500 to 2000 members of the police force are unscrupulous 'grafters' whose hands are always out for easy money." See also Report of the Committee of Fourteen on The Social Evil in New York City, p. 34.

[204] Fuld, op. cit., pp. 373 et seq. This last opinion by no means stands alone. Thus it is asserted by the Committee of Fourteen in their Report on The Social Evil in New York City (1910, p. xxxiv) that "some laws exist to-day because an unintelligent, cowardly public puts unenforceable statutes on the book, being content with registering their hypocrisy."

[205] It is also a blundering policy. Its blind anathema is as likely as not to fall on its own allies. Thus the Report of the municipally appointed and municipally financed Vice Commission of Chicago is not only an official but a highly moral document, advocating increased suppression of immoral literature, and erring, if it errs, on the side of over-severity. It has been suppressed by the United States Post Office!

[206] This system applies only to spirits, not to beer and wine, but it has proved very effective in diminishing drunkenness, as is admitted by those who are opposed to the system. A somewhat similar system exists in England under the name of the Trust system, but its extension appears unfortunately to be much impeded by English laws and customs.

[207] Jacques Bertillon, in a paper read to the Académie des Sciences Morales et Politiques, 30th September, 1911.

[208] During the present century a great wave of immorality and sexual crime has been passing over Russia. This is not attributable to the laws, old or new, but is due in part to the Russo-Japanese War, and in part to the relaxed tension consequent on the collapse of the movement for political reform. (See an article by Professor Asnurof, "La Crise Sexuelle en Russie," Archives d'Anthropologie Criminelle, April, 1911.)

[209] It was by this indirect influence that I was induced to write the present chapter. The editor of a prominent German review wrote to me for my opinion regarding a Bill dealing with the prevention of immorality which had been introduced into the English Parliament and had aroused much interest and anxiety in Germany, where it had been discussed in all its details. But I had never so much as heard of the Bill, nor could I find any one else who had heard of it, until I consulted a Member of Parliament who happened to have been instrumental in causing its rejection.

[210] J. Schrank, Die Prostitution in Wien, Bd. I, pp. 152-206.

[211] The history of this movement in Germany may be followed in the Vierteljahrsberichte des Wissenschaftlich-humanitären Komitees, edited by Dr. Magnus Hirschfeld, a great authority on the matter.

[212] Report on The Social Evil in New York City, p. 38; see also Rev Dr. J.P. Peters, "Suppression of the 'Raines Law Hotels,'" American Academy of Political and Social Science, November, 1908.

[213] It is probably needless to add that the specific object of the Act—the Puritanic observance of Sunday—was by no means attained. On Sunday, the 8th December, 1907, the police made a desperate attempt to enforce the law; every place of amusement was shut up; lectures, religious concerts, even the social meetings of the Young Men's Christian Association, were rigorously put a stop to. There was, of course, great popular indignation and uproar, and the impromptu performances got up in the streets, while the police looked on sympathetically, are said to have been far more outrageous than any entertainment indoors could possibly have been.

[214] The Social Evil in Chicago, p. 112.

[215] The methods of Maria Theresa never had any success; the methods of Calvin at Geneva had, however, a certain superficial success, because the right conditions existed for their exercise. That is to say, that a theocratic basis of society was generally accepted, and that the suppression of immorality was regarded by the great mass of the population, including in most cases, no doubt, even the offenders themselves, as a religious duty. It is, however, interesting to note that, even at Geneva, these "triumphs of morality" have met the usual fate. At the present day, it appears (Edith Sellers, Cornhill, August, 1910), there are more disorderly houses in Geneva, in proportion to the population, than in any other town in Europe.

[216] See e.g. P. Hausmeister, "Zur Analyse der Prostitution," Geschlect und Gesellschaft, 1907, p. 294.

[217] Theodore Schroeder, "Obscene" Literature and Constitutional Law, New York, 1911.

[218] Thus Sir Samuel Dill (Roman Society, p. 11) calls attention to the letter of St. Paulinus who, when the Empire was threatened by barbarians, wrote to a Roman soldier that Christianity is incompatible with family life, with citizenship, with patriotism, and that soldiers are doomed to eternal torment. Christians frequently showed no respect for law or its representatives. "Many Christian confessors," says Sir W.M. Ramsay (The Church in the Roman Empire, chap. xv), "went to extremes in showing their contempt and hatred for their judges. Their answers to plain questions were evasive and indirect; they lectured Roman dignitaries as if the latter were the criminals and they themselves the judges; and they even used violent reproaches and coarse, insulting gestures." Bouché-Leclercq (L'Intolérance Religieuse et le Politique, 1911, especially chap. X) shows how the early Christians insisted on being persecuted. We see much the same attitude to-day among anarchists of the lower class (and also, it may be added, sometimes among suffragettes), who may be regarded as the modern analogues of the early Christians.

[219] It may well be, indeed, that in all ages the actual sum of immorality, broadly considered—in public and in private, in thought and in act—undergoes but slight oscillations. But in the nature of its manifestations and in the nature of the manifestations that accompany it, there may be immense fluctuations. Tarde, the distinguished thinker, referring to the "delicious Catholicism" of the days before Luther, asks: "If that amiable Christian evolution had peacefully continued to our days, should we be still more immoral than we are? It is doubtful, but in all probability we should be enjoying the most æsthetic and the least vexatious religion in the world, in which all our science, all our civilization, would have been free to progress" (Tarde, La Logique Sociale, p. 198). As has often been pointed out, it was along the lines indicated by Erasmus, rather than along the lines pursued by Luther, that the progress of civilization lay.

[220] Nietzsche, Beyond Good and Evil, chap. II. A century earlier Godwin had written in his Political Justice (Book VII, chap. VIII): "Men are weak at present because they have always been told they are weak and must not be trusted with themselves. Take them out of their shackles, bid them enquire, reason, and judge, and you will soon find them very different beings. Tell them that they have passions, are occasionally hasty, intemperate, and injurious, but that they must be trusted with themselves. Tell them that the mountains of parchment in which they have been hitherto entrenched, are fit only to impose upon ages of superstition and ignorance, that henceforth we will have no dependence but upon their spontaneous justice; that, if their passions be gigantic, they must rise with gigantic energy to subdue them; that if their decrees be iniquitous, the iniquity shall be all their own."




Why the Problem of War is specially urgent To-day—The Beneficial Effects of War in Barbarous Ages—Civilization renders the Ultimate Disappearance of War Inevitable—The Introduction of Law in disputes between Individuals involves the Introduction of Law in disputes between Nations—But there must be Force behind Law—Henry IV's Attempt to Confederate Europe—Every International Tribunal of Arbitration must be able to enforce its Decisions—The Influences making for the Abolition of Warfare—(1) Growth of International Opinion—(2) International Financial Development—(3) The Decreasing Pressure of Population—(4) The Natural Exhaustion of the Warlike Spirit—(5) The Spread of Anti-military Doctrines—(6) The overgrowth of Armaments—(7) The Dominance of Social Reform—War Incompatible with an Advanced Civilization—Nations as Trustees for Humanity—The Impossibility of Disarmament—The Necessity of Force to ensure Peace—The Federated State of the Future—The Decay of War still leaves the Possibilities of Daring and Heroism.

There are, no doubt, special reasons why at the present time war and the armaments of war should appear an intolerable burden which must be thrown off as soon as possible if the task of social hygiene is not to be seriously impeded. But the abolition of the ancient method of settling international disputes by warfare is not a problem which depends for its solution on the conditions of the moment. It is implicit in the natural development of the process of civilization. At one stage, no doubt, warfare plays an important part in constituting states and so, indirectly, in promoting [312] civilization. But civilization tends slowly but surely to substitute for war in the later stages of this process the methods of law, or, in any case, methods which, while not always unobjectionable, avoid the necessity for any breach of the peace. [221] As soon, indeed, as in primitive society two individuals engage in a dispute which they are compelled to settle not by physical force but by a resort to an impartial tribunal, the thin end of the wedge is introduced, and the ultimate destruction of war becomes merely a matter of time. If it is unreasonable for two individuals to fight it is unreasonable for two groups of individuals to fight. [222]

[313] The difficulty has been that while it is quite easy for an ordered society to compel two individuals to settle their differences before a tribunal, in accordance with abstractly determined principles of law and reason, it is a vastly more difficult matter to compel two groups of individuals so to settle their differences. A large part of the history of all the great European countries has consisted in the progressive conquest and pacification of small but often bellicose states outside, and even inside, their own borders. [223] This is the case even within a community. Hobbes, writing in the midst of a civil war, went so far as to lay down that the "final cause" of a commonwealth is nothing else but the abolition of "that miserable condition of war which is necessarily consequent to the natural passions of men when there is no visible power to keep them in awe." Yet we see to-day that even within our highly civilized communities there is not always any adequately awful power to prevent employers and employed from engaging in what is little better than a civil war, nor even to bind them to accept the decision of an impartial tribunal they may have been persuaded [314] to appeal to. The smallest state can compel its individual citizens to keep the peace; a large state can compel a small state to do so; but hitherto there has been no guarantee possible that large states, or even large compact groups within the state, should themselves keep the peace. They commit what injustice they please, for there is no visible power to keep them in awe. We have attained a condition in which a state is able to enforce a legal and peaceful attitude in its own individual citizens towards each other. The state is the guardian of its citizens' peace, but the old problem recurs: Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

It is obvious that this difficulty increases as the size of states increases. To compel a small state to keep the peace by absorbing it if it fails to do so is always an easy and even tempting process to a neighbouring larger state. This process was once carried out on a complete scale, when practically the whole known world was brought under the sway of Rome. "War has ceased," Plutarch was able to declare in the days of the Roman Empire, and, though himself an enthusiastic Greek, he was unbounded in his admiration of the beneficence of the majestic Pax Romana, and never tempted by any narrow spirit of patriotism to desire the restoration of his own country's glories. But the Roman organization broke up, and no single state will ever be strong enough to restore it.

Any attempt to establish orderly legal relationships between states must, therefore, be carried out by the harmonious co-operation of those states. At the end of the sixteenth century a great French statesman, Sully, [315] inspired Henry IV with a scheme of a Council of Confederated European Christian States; each of these states, fifteen in number, was to send four representatives to the Council, which was to sit at Metz or Cologne and regulate the differences between the constituent states of the Confederation. The army of the Confederation was to be maintained in common, and used chiefly to keep the peace, to prevent one sovereign from interfering with any other, and also, if necessary, to repel invasion of barbarians from without. The scheme was arranged in concert with Queen Elizabeth, and twelve of the fifteen Powers had already promised their active co-operation when the assassination of Henry destroyed the whole plan. Such a Confederation was easier to arrange then than it is now, but probably it was more difficult to maintain, and it can scarcely be said that at that date the times were ripe for so advanced a scheme. [224]

To-day the interests of small states are so closely identified with peace that it is seldom difficult to exert pressure on them to maintain it. It is quite another matter with the large states. The fact that during the [316] past half century so much has been done by the larger states to aid the cause of international arbitration, and to submit disputes to international tribunals, shows how powerful the motives for avoiding war are nowadays becoming. But the fact, also, that no country hitherto has abandoned its liberty of withdrawing from peaceful arbitration any question involving "national honour" shows that there is no constituted power strong enough to control large states. For the reservation of questions of national honour from the sphere of law is as absurd as would be any corresponding limitation by individuals of their liability for their acts before the law; it is as though a man were to say: "If I commit a theft I am willing to appear before the court, and will probably pay the penalty demanded; but if it is a question of murder, then my vital interests are at stake, and I deny altogether the right of the court to intervene." It is a reservation fatal to peace, and could not be accepted if pleaded at the bar of any international tribunal with the power to enforce its decisions. "Imagine," says Edward Jenks, in his History of Politics, "a modern judge 'persuading' Mr. William Sikes to 'make it up' with the relatives of his victim, and, on his remaining obdurate, leaving the two families to fight the matter out." Yet that is what was in some degree done in England until medieval times as regards individual crimes, and it is what is still done as regards national crimes, in so far as the appeal to arbitration is limited and voluntary. The proposals, therefore—though not yet accepted by any Government—lately mooted in the United States, in England, and in [317] France, to submit international disputes, without reservation, to an impartial tribunal represent an advance of peculiar significance.

The abolition of collective fighting is so desirable an extension of the abolition of individual fighting, and its introduction has waited so long the establishment of some high compelling power—for the influence of the Religion of Peace has in this matter been less than nil—that it is evident that only the coincidence of very powerful and peculiar factors could have brought the question into the region of practical politics in our own time. There are several such factors, most of which have been developing during a long period, but none have been clearly recognized until recent years. It may be worth while to indicate the great forces now warring against war.

(1) Growth of International Opinion. There can be no doubt whatever that during recent years, and especially in the more democratic countries, an international consensus of public opinion has gradually grown up, making itself the voice, like a Greek chorus, of an abstract justice. It is quite true that of this justice, as of justice generally, it may be said that it has wide limits. Renan declared once, in a famous allocution, that "what is called indulgence is, most often, only justice," and, at the other extreme, Remy de Gourmont has said that "injustice is sometimes a part of justice;" in other words, there are varying circumstances in which justice may properly be tempered either with mercy or with severity. In any case, and however it may be qualified; a popular international voice generously pronouncing itself in favour of [318] justice, and resonantly condemning any Government which clashes against justice, is now a factor of the international situation. It is, moreover, tending to become a factor having a certain influence on affairs. This was the case during the South African War, when England, by offending this international sense of justice, fell into a discredit which had many actual unpleasant results and narrowly escaped, there is some reason to believe, proving still more serious. The same voice was heard with dramatically sudden and startling effect when Ferrer was shot at Barcelona. Ferrer was a person absolutely unknown to the man in the street; he was indeed little more than a name even to those who knew Spain; few could be sure, except by a kind of intuition, that he was the innocent victim of a judicial murder, for it is only now that the fact is being slowly placed beyond dispute. Yet immediately after Ferrer was shot within the walls of Monjuich a great shout of indignation was raised, with almost magical suddenness and harmony, throughout the civilized world, from Italy to Belgium, from England to Argentina. Moreover, this voice was so decisive and so loud that it acted like those legendary trumpet-blasts which shattered the walls of Jericho; in a few days the Spanish Government, with a powerful minister at its head, had fallen. The significance of this event we cannot easily overestimate. For the first time in history, the voice of international public opinion, unsupported by pressure, political, social, or diplomatic, proved potent enough to avenge an act of injustice by destroying a Government. A new force has appeared in the world, [319] and it tends to operate against those countries which are guilty of injustice, whether that injustice is exerted against a State or even only against a single obscure individual. The modern developments of telegraphy and the Press—unfavourable as the Press is in many respects to the cause of international harmony—have placed in the hands of peace this new weapon against war.

(2) International Financial Development. There is another international force which expresses itself in the same sense. The voice of abstract justice raised against war is fortified by the voice of concrete self-interest. The interests of the propertied classes, and therefore of the masses dependent upon them, are to-day so widely distributed throughout the world that whenever any country is plunged into a disastrous war there arises in every other country, especially in rich and prosperous lands with most at stake, a voice of self-interest in harmony with the voice of justice. It is sometimes said that wars are in the interest of capital, and of capital alone, and that they are engineered by capitalists masquerading under imposing humanitarian disguises. That is doubtless true to the extent that every war cannot fail to benefit some section of the capitalistic world, which will therefore favour it, but it is true to that extent only. The old notion that war and the acquisition of territories encouraged trade by opening up new markets has proved fallacious. The extension of trade is a matter of tariffs rather than of war, and in any case the trade of a country with its own acquisitions by conquest is a comparatively insignificant portion of its total trade. But even if the [320] financial advantages of war were much greater than they are, they would be more than compensated by the disadvantages which nowadays attend war. International financial relationships have come to constitute a network of interests so vast, so complicated, so sensitive, that the whole thrills responsively to any disturbing touch, and no one can say beforehand what widespread damage may not be done by shock even at a single point. When a country is at war its commerce is at once disorganized, that is to say that its shipping, and the shipping of all the countries that carry its freights, is thrown out of gear to a degree that often cannot fail to be internationally disastrous. Foreign countries cannot send in the imports that lie on their wharves for the belligerent country, nor can they get out of it the exports they need for their own maintenance or luxury. Moreover, all the foreign money invested in the belligerent country is depreciated and imperilled. The international voice of trade and finance is, therefore, to-day mainly on the side of peace.

It must be added that this voice is not, as it might seem, a selfish voice only. It is justifiable not only in immediate international interests, but even in the ultimate interests of the belligerent country, and not less so if that country should prove victorious. So far as business and money are concerned, a country gains nothing by a successful war, even though that war involves the acquisition of immense new provinces; after a great war a conquered country may possess more financial stability than its conqueror, and both may stand lower in this respect than some other country which is internationally [321] guaranteed against war. Such points as these have of late been ably argued by Norman Angell in his remarkable book, The Great Illusion, and for the most part convincingly illustrated. [225] As was long since said, the ancients cried, Væ victis! We have learnt to cry, Væ victoribus!

It may, indeed, be added that the general tendency of war—putting aside peoples altogether lacking in stamina—is to moralize the conquered and to demoralise the conquerors. This effect is seen alike on the material and the spiritual sides. Conquest brings self-conceit and intolerance, the reckless inflation and dissipation of energies. Defeat brings prudence and concentration; it ennobles and fortifies. All the glorious victories of the first Napoleon achieved less for France than the crushing defeat of the third Napoleon. The triumphs left enfeeblement; the defeat acted as a strong tonic which is still working beneficently to-day. The corresponding reverse process has been at work in Germany: the German soil that Napoleon ploughed yielded a Moltke and a Bismarck, [226] while to-day, however mistakenly, the German Press is crying out that only another war—it ought in honesty to say an unsuccessful war—can restore the nation's flaccid muscle. It is yet too early to see the [322] results of the Russo-Japanese War, but already there are signs that by industrial overstrain and the repression of individual thought Japan is threatening to enfeeble the physique and to destroy the high spirit of the indomitable men to whom she owed her triumph.

(3) The Decreasing Pressure of Population. It was at one time commonly said, and is still sometimes repeated, that the pressure of over-population is the chief cause of wars. That is a statement which requires a very great deal of qualification. It is, indeed, possible that the great hordes of warlike barbarians from the North and the East which invaded Europe in early times, sometimes more or less overwhelming the civilized world, were the result of a rise in the birth-rate and an excess of population beyond the means of subsistence. But this is far from certain, for we know absolutely nothing concerning the birth-rate of these invading peoples either before or during the period of their incursions. Again, it is certain that, in modern times, a high and rising birth-rate presents a favourable condition for war. A war distracts attention from the domestic disturbances and economic wretchedness which a too rapid growth of population necessarily produces, while at the same time tending to draw away and destroy the surplus population which causes this disturbance and wretchedness. Yet there are other ways of meeting this over-population beside the crude method of war. Social reform and emigration furnish equally effective and much more humane methods of counteracting such pressure. No doubt the over-population resulting from an excessively high birth-rate, [323] when not met, as it tends to be, by a correspondingly high death-rate from disease, may be regarded as a predisposing cause of war, but to assert that it is the pre-eminent cause is to go far beyond the evidence at present available.

To whatever degree, however, it may have been potent in causing war in the past, it is certain that the pressure of population as a cause of war will be eliminated in the future. The only nations nowadays that can afford to make war on the grand scale are the wealthy and civilized nations. But civilization excludes a high birth-rate: there has never been any exception to that law, nor can we conceive any exceptions, for it is more than a social law; it is a biological law. Russia, a still imperfectly civilized country, stands apart in having a very high birth-rate, but it also has a very high death-rate, and even should it happen that in Russia improved social conditions lower the death-rate before affecting the birth-rate, there is still ample room within Russian territory for the consequent increase of population. Among all the other nations which are considered to threaten the world's peace, the birth-rate is rapidly falling. This is so, for instance, as regards England and Germany. Germany, especially, it was once thought—though in actual fact Germany has not fought for over forty years—had an interest in going to war in order to find an outlet for her surplus population, compelled, in the absence of suitable German colonies, to sacrifice its patriotism and lose its nationality by emigrating to foreign countries. But the German birth-rate is falling, German emigration is decreasing, and the [324] immense growth of German industry is easily able to absorb the new generation. Thus the declining birth-rate of civilized lands will alone largely serve in the end to eliminate warfare, partly by removing one of its causes, partly because the increased value of human life will make war too costly.

(4) The Natural Exhaustion of the Warlike Spirit. It is a remarkable tendency of the warlike spirit—frequently emphasized in recent years by the distinguished zoologist, President D.S. Jordan, who here follows Novikov [227]—that it tends to exterminate itself. Fighting stocks, and peoples largely made up of fighting stocks, are naturally killed out, and the field is left to the unwarlike. It is only the prudent, those who fight and run away, who live to fight another day; and they transmit their prudence to their offspring. Great Britain is a conspicuous example of a land which, being an island, was necessarily peopled by predatory and piratical invaders. A long series of warlike and adventurous peoples—Celts, Romans, Anglo-Saxons, Danes, Normans—built up England and imparted to it their spirit. The English were, it was said, "a people for whom pain and death are nothing, and who only fear hunger and boredom." But for over eight hundred years they have never been reinforced by new invaders, and the inevitable consequences have followed. There has been a gradual killing out of the warlike stocks, a process immensely accelerated during the [325] nineteenth century by a vast emigration of the more adventurous elements in the population, pressed out of the overcrowded country by the reckless and unchecked increase of the population which occurred during the first three-quarters of that century. The result is that the English (except sometimes when they happen to be journalists) cannot now be described as a warlike people. Old legends tell of British heroes who, when their legs were hacked away, still fought upon the stumps. Modern poets feel that to picture a British warrior of to-day in this attitude would be somewhat far-fetched. The historian of the South African War points out, again and again, that the British leaders showed a singular lack of the fighting spirit. During that war English generals seldom cared to engage the enemy's forces except when their own forces greatly outnumbered them, and on many occasions they surrendered immediately they realized that they were themselves outnumbered. Those reckless Englishmen who boldly sailed out from their little island to face the Spanish Armada were long ago exterminated; an admirably prudent and cautious race has been left alive.

It is the same story elsewhere. The French long cherished the tradition of military glory, and no country has fought so much. We see the result to-day. In no country is the attitude of the intellectual classes so calm and so reasonable on the subject of war, and nowhere is the popular hostility to war so strongly marked. [228] Spain [326] furnishes another instance which is even still more decisive. The Spanish were of old a pre-eminently warlike people, capable of enduring all hardships, never fearing to face death. Their aggressively warlike and adventurous spirit sent them to death all over the world. It cannot be said, even to-day, that the Spaniards have lost their old tenacity and hardness of fibre, but their passion for war and adventure was killed out three centuries ago.

In all these and the like cases there has been a process of selective breeding, eliminating the soldierly stocks and leaving the others to breed the race. The men who so loved fighting that they fought till they died had few chances of propagating their own warlike impulses. The men who fought and ran away, the men who never fought at all, were the men who created the new generation and transmitted to it their own traditions.

This selective process, moreover, has not merely acted automatically; it has been furthered by social opinion and social pressure, sometimes very drastically expressed. Thus in the England of the Plantagenets there grew up a class called "gentlemen"—not, as has sometimes been [327] supposed, a definitely defined class, though they were originally of good birth—whose chief characteristic was that they were good fighting men, and sought fortune by fighting. The "premier gentleman" of England, according to Sir George Sitwell, and an entirely typical representative of his class, was a certain glorious hero who fought with Talbot at Agincourt, and also, as the unearthing of obscure documents shows, at other times indulged in housebreaking, and in wounding with intent to kill, and in "procuring the murder of one Thomas Page, who was cut to pieces while on his knees begging for his life." There, evidently, was a state of society highly favourable to the warlike man, highly unfavourable to the unwarlike man whom he slew in his wrath. Nowadays, however, there has been a revaluation of these old values. The cowardly and no doubt plebeian Thomas Page, multiplied by the million, has succeeded in hoisting himself into the saddle, and he revenges himself by discrediting, hunting into the slums, and finally hanging, every descendant he can find of the premier gentleman of Agincourt.

It must be added that the advocates of the advantages of war are not entitled to claim this process of selective breeding as one of the advantages of war. It is quite true that war is incompatible with a high civilization, and must in the end be superseded. But this method of suppressing it is too thorough. It involves not merely the extermination of the fighting spirit, but of many excellent qualities, physical and moral, which are associated with the fighting spirit. Benjamin Franklin seems to have [328] been the first to point out that "a standing army diminishes the size and breed of the human species." Almost in Franklin's lifetime that was demonstrated on a wholesale scale, for there seems little reason to doubt that the size and stature of the French nation have been permanently diminished by the constant levies of young recruits, the flower of the population, whom Napoleon sent out to death in their first manhood and still childless. Fine physical breed involves also fine qualities of virility and daring which are needed for other purposes than fighting. In so far as the selective breeding of war kills these out, its results are imperfect, and could be better attained by less radical methods.

(5) The Growth of the Anti-Military Spirit. The decay of the warlike spirit by the breeding out of fighting stocks has in recent years been reinforced by a more acute influence of which in the near future we shall certainly hear more. This is the spirit of anti-militarism. This spirit is an inevitable result of the decay of the fighting spirit. In a certain sense it is also complementary to it. The survival of non-fighting stocks by the destruction of the fighting stocks works most effectually in countries having a professional army. The anti-military spirit, on the contrary, works effectually in countries having a national army in which it is compulsory for all young citizens to serve, for it is only in such countries that the anti-militarist can, by refusing to serve, take an influential position as a martyr in the cause of peace.

Among the leading nations, it is in France that the spirit of anti-militarism has taken the deepest hold of [329] the people, though in some smaller lands, notably among the obstinately peaceable inhabitants of Holland, the same spirit also flourishes. Hervé, who is a leader of the insurrectional socialists, as they are commonly called in opposition to the purely parliamentary socialists led by Jaurès,—though the insurrectional socialists also use parliamentary methods,—may be regarded as the most conspicuous champion of anti-militarism, and many of his followers have suffered imprisonment as the penalty of their convictions. In France the peasant proprietors in the country and the organized workers in the town are alike sympathetic to anti-militarism. The syndicalists, or labour unionists with the Confédération Générale du Travail as their central organization, are not usually anxious to imitate what they consider the unduly timid methods of English trade unionists; [229] they tend to be revolutionary and anti-military. The Congress of delegates of French Trade Unions, held at Toulouse in 1910, passed the significant resolution that "a declaration of war should be followed by the declaration of a general revolutionary strike." The same tendency, though in a less radical form, is becoming international, and the great International Socialist Congress at Copenhagen has passed a resolution instructing the International Bureau to "take the opinion of the organized workers of the world on the [330] utility of a general strike in preventing war." [230] Even the English working classes are slowly coming into line. At a Conference of Labour Delegates, held at Leicester in 1911, to consider the Copenhagen resolution, the policy of the anti-military general strike was defeated by only a narrow majority, on the ground that it required further consideration, and might be detrimental to political action; but as most of the leaders are in favour of the strike policy there can be no doubt that this method of combating war will shortly be the accepted policy of the English Labour movement. In carrying out such a policy the Labour Party expects much help from the growing social and political power of women. The most influential literary advocate of the Peace movement, and one of the earliest, has been a woman, the Baroness Bertha von Suttner, and it is held to be incredible that the wives and mothers of the people will use their power to support an institution which represents the most brutal method of destroying their husbands and sons. "The cause of woman," says Novikov, "is the cause of peace." "We pay the first cost on all human life," says Olive Schreiner. [231]

[331] The anti-militarist, as things are at present, exposes himself not only to the penalty of imprisonment, but also to obloquy. He has virtually refused to take up arms in defence of his country; he has sinned against patriotism. This accusation has led to a counter-accusation directed against the very idea of patriotism. Here the writings of Tolstoy, with their poignant and searching appeals for the cause of humanity as against the cause of patriotism, have undoubtedly served the anti-militarists well, and wherever the war against war is being urged, even so far as Japan, Tolstoy has furnished some of its keenest weapons. Moreover, in so far as anti-militarism is advocated by the workers, they claim that international interests have already effaced and superseded the narrower interests of patriotism. In refusing to fight, the workers of a country are simply declaring their loyalty to fellow-workers on the other side of the frontier, a loyalty which has stronger claims on them, they hold, than any patriotism which simply means loyalty to capitalists; [332] geographical frontiers are giving place to economic frontiers, which now alone serve to separate enemies. And if, as seems probable, when the next attempt is made at a great European war, the order for mobilization is immediately followed in both countries by the declaration of a general strike, there will be nothing to say against such a declaration even from the standpoint of the narrowest patriotism, although there may be much to say on other grounds against the policy of the general strike. [232]

If we realize what is going on around us, it is easy to see that the anti-militarist movement is rapidly reaching a stage when it will be easily able, even unaided, to paralyse any war immediately and automatically. The pioneers in the movement have played the same part as was played in the seventeenth century by the Quakers. In the name of the Bible and their own consciences, the Quakers refused to recognize the right of any secular authority to compel them to worship or to fight; they [333] gained what they struggled for, and now all men honour their memories. In the name of justice and human fraternity, the anti-militarists are to-day taking the like course and suffering the like penalties. To-morrow, they also will be revered as heroes and martyrs.

(6) The Over-growth of Armaments. The hostile forces so far enumerated have converged slowly on to war from such various directions that they may be said to have surrounded and isolated it; its ultimate surrender can only be a matter of time. Of late, however, a new factor has appeared, of so urgent a character that it is fast rendering the question of the abolition of war acute: the over-growth of armaments. This is, practically, a modern factor in the situation, and while it is, on the surface, a luxury due to the large surplus of wealth in great modern states, it is also, if we look a little deeper, intimately connected with that decay of the warlike spirit due to selective breeding. It is the weak and timid woman who looks nervously under the bed for the burglar who is the last person she really desires to meet, and it is old, rich, and unwarlike nations which take the lead in laboriously protecting themselves against enemies of whom there is no sign in any quarter. Within the last half-century only have the nations of the world begun to compete with each other in this timorous and costly rivalry. In the warlike days of old, armaments in time of peace consisted in little more than solid walls for defence, a supply of weapons stored away here and there, sometimes in a room attached to the parish church, and occasional martial exercises with the sword or the bow, which were little more than [334] an amusement. The true fighting man trusted to his own strong right arm rather than to armaments, and considered that he was himself a match for any half-dozen of the enemy. Even in actual time of war it was often difficult to find either zeal or money to supply the munitions of war. The Diary of the industrious Pepys, who achieved so much for the English navy, shows that the care of the country's ships mainly depended on a few unimportant officials who had the greatest trouble in the world to secure attention to the most urgent and immediate needs.

A very difficult state of things prevails to-day. The existence of a party having for its watchword the cry for retrenchment and economy is scarcely possible in a modern state. All the leading political parties in every great state—if we leave aside the party of Labour—are equally eager to pile up the expenditure on armaments. It is the boast of each party, not that it spends less, but more, than its rivals on this source of expenditure, now the chief in every large state. Moreover, every new step in expenditure involves a still further step; each new improvement in attack or defence must immediately be answered by corresponding or better improvements on the part of rival powers, if they are not to be outclassed. Every year these moves and counter-moves necessarily become more extensive, more complex, more costly; while each counter-move involves the obsolescence of the improvements achieved by the previous move, so that the waste of energy and money keeps pace with the expenditure. It is well recognized that there is absolutely no [335] possible limit to this process and its constantly increasing acceleration.

There is no need to illustrate this point, for it is familiar to all. Any newspaper will furnish facts and figures vividly exemplifying some aspect of the matter. For while only a handful of persons in any country are sincerely anxious under present conditions to reduce the colossal sums every year wasted on the unproductive work of armament; an increasing interest in the matter testifies to a vague alarm and anxiety concerning the ultimate issue. For it is felt that an inevitable crisis lies at the end of the path down which the nations are now moving.

Thus, from this point of view, the end of war is being attained by a process radically opposite to that by which in the social as well as in the physical organism ancient structures and functions are outgrown. The usual process is a gradual recession to a merely vestigial state. But here what may perhaps be the same ultimate result is being reached by the more alarming method of over-inflation and threatening collapse. It is an alarming process because those huge and heavily armed monsters of primeval days who furnish the zoological types corresponding to our modern over-armed states, themselves died out from the world when their unwieldy armament had reached its final point of expansion. Will our own modern states, one wonders, more fortunately succeed in escaping from the tough hides that ever more closely constrict them, and finally save their souls alive?

(7) The Dominance of Social Reform. The final factor [336] in the situation is the growing dominance of the process of social reform. On the one hand, the increasing complexity of social organisation renders necessary a correspondingly increasing expenditure of money in diminishing its friction and aiding its elaboration; on the other hand, the still more rapidly increasing demands of armament render it ever more difficult to devote money to such social purposes. Everywhere even the most elementary provision for the finer breeding and higher well-being of a country's citizens is postponed to the clamour for ever new armaments. The situation thus created is rapidly becoming intolerable.

It is not alone the future of civilization which is for ever menaced by the possibility of war; the past of civilization, with all the precious embodiments of its traditions, is even more fatally imperilled. As the world grows older and the ages recede, the richer, the more precious, the more fragile, become the ancient heirlooms of humanity. They constitute the final symbols of human glory; they cannot be too carefully guarded, too highly valued. But all the other dangers that threaten their integrity and safety, if put together, do not equal war. No land that has ever been a cradle of civilization but bears witness to this sad truth. All the sacred citadels, the glories of humanity,—Jerusalem and Athens, Rome and Constantinople,—have been ravaged by war, and, in every case, their ruin has been a disaster that can never be repaired. If we turn to the minor glories of more modern ages, the special treasure of England has been its parish churches, a treasure of unique charm in the [337] world and the embodiment of the people's spirit: to-day in their battered and irreparable condition they are the monuments of a Civil War waged all over the country with ruthless religious ferocity. Spain, again, was a land which had stored up, during long centuries, nearly the whole of its accumulated possessions in every art, sacred and secular, of fabulous value, within the walls of its great fortress-like cathedrals; Napoleon's soldiers over-ran the land, and brought with them rapine and destruction; so that in many a shrine, as at Montserrat, we still can see how in a few days they turned a Paradise into a desert. It is not only the West that has suffered. In China the rarest and loveliest wares and fabrics that the hand of man has wrought were stored in the Imperial Palace of Pekin; the savage military hordes of the West broke in less than a century ago and recklessly trampled down and fired all that they could not loot. In every such case the loss is final; the exquisite incarnation of some stage in the soul of man that is for ever gone is permanently diminished, deformed, or annihilated.

At the present time all civilized countries are becoming keenly aware of the value of their embodied artistic possessions. This is shown, in the most decisive manner possible, by the enormous prices placed upon them. Their pecuniary value enables even the stupidest and most unimaginative to realize the crime that is committed when they are ruthlessly and wantonly destroyed. Nor is it only the products of ancient art which have to-day become so peculiarly valuable. The products of modern science are only less valuable. So highly complex and [338] elaborate is the mechanism now required to ensure progress in some of the sciences that enormous sums of money, the most delicate skill, long periods of time, are necessary to produce it. Galileo could replace his telescope with but little trouble; the destruction of a single modern observatory would be almost a calamity to the human race.

Such considerations as these are, indeed, at last recognized in all civilized countries. The engines of destruction now placed at the service of war are vastly more potent than any used in the wars of the past. On the other hand, the value of the products they can destroy is raised in a correspondingly high degree. But a third factor is now intervening. And if the museums of Paris or the laboratories of Berlin were threatened by a hostile army it would certainly be felt that an international power, if it existed, should be empowered to intervene, at whatever cost to national susceptibilities, in order to keep the peace. Civilization, we now realize, is wrought out of inspirations and discoveries which are for ever passed and repassed from land to land; it cannot be claimed by any individual land. A nation's art-products and its scientific activities are not mere national property; they are international possessions, for the joy and service of the whole world. The nations hold them in trust for humanity. The international force which will inspire respect for that truth it is our business to create.

The only question that remains—and it is a question the future alone will solve—is the particular point at which this ancient and overgrown stronghold of war, now [339] being invested so vigorously from so many sides, will finally be overthrown, whether from within or from without, whether by its own inherent weakness, by the persuasive reasonableness of developing civilization, by the self-interest of the commercial and financial classes, or by the ruthless indignation of the proletariat. That is a problem still insoluble, but it is not impossible that some already living may witness its solution.

Two centuries ago the Abbé de Saint-Pierre set forth his scheme for a federation of the States of Europe, which meant, at that time, a federation of all the civilised states of the world. It was the age of great ideas, scattered abroad to germinate in more practical ages to come. The amiable Abbé enjoyed all the credit of his large and philanthropic conceptions. But no one dreamed of realizing them, and the forces which alone could realize them had not yet appeared above the horizon. [233] In this [340] matter, at all events, the world has progressed, and a federation of the States of the world is no longer the mere conception of a philosophic dreamer. The first step will be taken when two of the leading countries of the world—and it would be most reasonable for the states having the closest community of origin and language to take the initiative—resolve to submit all their differences without reserve to arbitration. As soon as a third power of magnitude joined this federation the nucleus would be constituted of a world state. Such a state would be able to impose peace on even the most recalcitrant outside states, for it would furnish that "visible power to keep them in awe," which Hobbes rightly declared to be indispensable; it could even, in the last resort, if necessary, enforce peace by war. Thus there might still be war in the world. But there would be no wars that were not Holy Wars. There are other methods than war of enforcing peace, and these such a federation of great states would be easily able to bring to bear on even the most warlike of states, but the necessity of a mighty armed international force would remain for a long time to come. To suppose, as some seem to suppose, that the establishment of arbitration in place of war means immediate disarmament is an idle dream. At Conferences of the English Labour Party on this question, the most active [341] opposition to the proposed strike method for rendering war impossible comes from the delegates representing the workers in arsenals and dockyards. But there is no likelihood of arsenals and dockyards closing in the lifetime of the present workers, and though the establishment of peaceful methods of settling international disputes cannot fail to diminish the number of the workers who live by armament, it will be long before they can be dispensed with altogether.

It is, indeed, so common to regard the person who points out the inevitable bankruptcy of war under highly civilized conditions as a mere Utopian dreamer, that it becomes necessary to repeat, with all the emphasis necessary, that the settlement of international disputes by law cannot be achieved by disarmament, or by any method not involving force. All law, even the law that settles the disputes of individuals, has force behind it, and the law that is to settle the disputes between nations cannot possibly be effective unless it has behind it a mighty force. I have assumed this from the outset in quoting the dictum of Hobbes, but the point seems to be so easily overlooked by the loose thinker that it is necessary to reiterate it. The necessity of force behind the law ordering international relations has, indeed, never been disputed by any sagacious person who has occupied himself with the matter. Even William Penn, who, though a Quaker, was a practical man of affairs, when in 1693 he put forward his Essay Towards the Present and Future Peace of Europe by the Establishment of a European Diet, Parliament or Estate, proposed that if any imperial [342] state refused to submit its pretensions to the sovereign assembly and to abide by its decisions, or took up arms on its own behalf, "all the other sovereignties, united as one strength, shall compel the submission and performance of the sentence, with damages to the suffering party, and charges to the sovereignties that obliged their submission." In repudiating some injudicious and hazardous pacificist considerations put forth by Novikov, the distinguished French philosopher, Jules de Gaultier, points out that law has no rights against war save in force, on which war itself bases its rights. "Force in abstracto creates right. It is quite unimaginable that a right should exist which has not been affirmed at some moment as a reality, that is to say a force.... What we glorify under the name of right is only a more intense and habitual state of force which we oppose to a less frequent form of force." [234] The old Quaker and the modern philosopher are thus at one with the practical man in rejecting any form of pacification which rests on a mere appeal to reason and justice.

[343] It cannot be said that the progress of civilization has so far had any tendency to render unnecessary the point of view adopted by Penn and Jules de Gaultier. The acts of states to-day are apt to be just as wantonly aggressive as they ever were, as reckless of reason and of justice. There is no country, however high it may stand in the comity of nations, which is not sometimes carried away by the blind fever of war. France, the land of reason, echoed, only forty years ago, with the mad cry, "À Berlin!" England, the friend of the small nationalities, jubilantly, with even an air of heroism, crushed under foot the little South African Republics, and hounded down every Englishman who withstood the madness of the crowd. The great, free intelligent people of the United States went to war against Spain with a childlike faith in the preposterous legend of the blowing up of the Maine. There is no country which has not some such shameful page in its history, the record of some moment when its moral and intellectual prestige was besmirched in the eyes of the whole world. It pays for its momentary madness, it may valiantly strive to atone for its injustice, but the damaging record remains. The supersession of war is needed not merely in the interests of the victims of aggression; it is needed fully as much in the interests of the aggressors, driven by their own momentary passions, or by the ambitious follies of their rulers, towards crimes for which a terrible penalty is exacted. There has never been any country at every moment so virtuous and so wise that it has not sometimes needed to be saved from itself. For every country has sometimes gone mad, while every [344] other country has looked on its madness with the mocking calm of clear-sighted intelligence, and perhaps with a pharisaical air of virtuous indignation.

During the single year of 1911 the process was unrolled in its most complete form. The first bad move—though it was a relatively small and inoffensive move—was made by France. The Powers, after much deliberation, had come to certain conclusions concerning Morocco, and while giving France a predominant influence in that country, had carefully limited her power of action. But France, anxious to increase her hold on the land, sent out, with the usual pretexts, an unnecessary expedition to Fez. Had an international tribunal with an adequate force behind it been in existence, France would have been called upon to justify her action, and whether she succeeded or failed in such justification, no further evils would have occurred. But there was no force able or willing to call France to account, and the other Powers found it a simpler plan to follow her example than to check it. In pursuance of this policy, Germany sent a warship to the Moroccan port of Agadir, using the same pretext as the French, with even less justification. When the supreme military power of the world wags even a finger the whole world is thrown into a state of consternation. That happened on the present occasion, though, as a matter of fact, giants are not given to reckless violence, and Germany, far from intending to break the world's peace, merely used her power to take advantage of France's bad move. She agreed to condone France's mistake, and to resign to her the Moroccan rights to which [345] neither country had the slightest legitimate claim, in return for an enormous tract of land in another part of Africa. Now, so far, the game had been played in accordance with rules which, though by no means those of abstract justice, were fairly in accordance with the recognized practices of nations. But now another Power was moved to far more openly unscrupulous action. It has long been recognized that if there must be a partition of North Africa, Italy's share is certainly Tripoli. The action of France and of Germany stirred up in Italy the feeling that now or never was the moment for action, and with brutal recklessness, and the usual pretexts, now flimsier than ever, Italy made war on Turkey, without offer of mediation, in flagrant violation of her own undertakings at the Hague Peace Convention of 1899. There was now only one Mohammedan country left to attack, and it was Russia's turn to make the attack. Northern Persia—the most civilized and fruitful half of Persia—had been placed under the protection of Russia, and Russia, after cynically doing her best to make good government in Persia impossible, seized on the pretext of the bad government to invade the country. If the Powers of Europe had wished to demonstrate the necessity for a great international tribunal, with a mighty force behind it to ensure the observance of its decisions, they could not have devised a more effective demonstration.

Thus it is that there can be no question of disarmament at present, and that there can be no effective international tribunal unless it has behind it an effective army. A [346] great army must continue to exist apart altogether from the question as to whether the army in itself is a school of virtue or of vice. Both these views of its influence have been held in extreme forms, and both seem to be without any great justification. On this point we may perhaps accept the conclusion of Professor Guérard, who can view the matter from a fairly impartial standpoint, having served in the French army, closely studied the life of the people in London, and occupied a professorial chair in California. He denies that an army is a school of all the vices, but he is also unable to see that it exercises an elevating influence on any but the lowest: "A regiment is not much worse than a big factory. Factory life in Europe is bad enough; military service extends its evils to agricultural labourers, and also to men who would otherwise have escaped these lowering influences. As for traces of moral uplift in the army, I have totally failed to notice any. War may be a stern school of virtue; barrack life is not. Honour, duty, patriotism, are feelings instilled at school; they do not develop, but often deteriorate, during the term of compulsory service." [235]

But, as we have seen, and as Guérard admits, it is probable that wars will be abolished generations before armies are suppressed. The question arises what we are to do with our armies. There seem to be at least two ways in which armies may be utilized, as we may already see in France, and perhaps to some slight extent in England. In the first place, the army may be made a [347] great educational agency, an academy of arts and sciences, a school of citizenship. In the second place, armies are tending to become, as William James pointed out, the reserve force of peace, great organized unemployed bodies of men which can be brought into use during sudden emergencies and national disasters. Thus the French army performed admirable service during the great Seine floods a few years ago, and both in France and in England the army has been called upon to help to carry on public duties indispensable to the welfare of the nation during great strikes, though here it would be unfortunate if the army came to be regarded as a mere strike-breaking corps. Along these main lines, however, there are, as Guérard has pointed out, signs of a transformation which, while preserving armies for international use, yet point to a compromise between the army and modern democracy.

It is feared by some that the reign of universal peace will deprive them of the opportunity of exhibiting daring and heroism. Without inquiring too carefully what use has been made of their present opportunities by those who express this fear, it must be said that such a fear is altogether groundless. There are an infinite number of positions in life in which courage is needed, as much as on a battlefield, though, for the most part, with less risk of that total annihilation which in the past has done so much to breed out the courageous stocks. Moreover, the certain establishment of peace will immensely enlarge the scope for daring and adventure in the social sphere. There are departments in the higher breeding and social evolution of the race—some perhaps even involving [348] questions of life and death—where the highest courage is needed. It would be premature to discuss them, for they can scarcely enter the field of practical politics until war has been abolished. But those persons who are burning to display heroism may rest assured that the course of social evolution will offer them every opportunity.

[221] The respective parts of war and law in the constitution of states are clearly and concisely set forth by Edward Jenks in his little primer, A History of Politics. Steinmetz, who argues in favour of the preservation of the method of war, in his book Die Philosophie des Krieges (p. 303) states that "not a single element of the warlike spirit, not one of the psychic conditions of war, is lacking to the civilized European peoples of to-day." That may well be, although there is much reason to believe that they have all very considerably diminished. Such warlike spirit as exists to-day must be considerably discounted by the fact that those who manifest it are not usually the people who would actually have to do the fighting. It is more important to point out (as is done in a historical sketch of warfare by A. Sutherland, Nineteenth Century, April, 1899) that, as a matter of fact, war is becoming both less frequent and less ferocious. In England, for instance, where at one period the population spent a great part of their time in fighting, there has practically been no war for two and a half centuries. When the ancient Germans swept through Spain (as Procopius, who was an eye-witness, tells) they slew every human being they met, including women and children, until millions had perished. The laws of war, though not always observed, are constantly growing more humane, and Sutherland estimates that warfare is now less than one-hundredth part as destructive as it was in the early Middle Ages.

[222] This inevitable extension of the sphere of law from the settlement of disputes between individuals to disputes between individual states has been pointed out before, and is fairly obvious. Thus Mougins-Roquefort, a French lawyer, in his book De la Solution Juridique des Conflits Internationaux (1889), observes that in the days of the Roman Empire, when there was only one civilized state, any system of international relationships was impossible, but that as soon as we have a number of states forming units of international society there at once arises the necessity for a system of international relationships, just as some system of social order is necessary to regulate the relations of any community of individuals.

[223] In England, a small and compact country, this process was completed at a comparatively early date. In France it was not until the days of Louis XV (in 1756) that the "last feudal brigand," as Taine calls the Marquis de Pleumartin in Poitou, was captured and beheaded.

[224] France, notwithstanding her military aptitude, has always taken the pioneering part in the pacific movement of civilization. Even at the beginning of the fourteenth century France produced an advocate of international arbitration, Pierre Dubois (Petrus de Bosco), the Norman lawyer, a pupil of Thomas Aquinas. In the seventeenth century Emeric Crucé proposed, for the first time, to admit all peoples, without distinction of colour or religion, to be represented at some central city where every state would have its perpetual ambassador, these representatives forming an assembly to adjudicate on international differences (Dubois and Crucé have lately been studied by Prof. Vesnitch, Revue d'Histoire Diplomatique, January, 1911). The history of the various peace projects generally has been summarily related by Lagorgette in Le Rôle de la Guerre, 1906, Part IV, chap. VI.

[225] The same points had previously been brought forward by others, although not so vigorously enforced. Thus the well-known Belgian economist and publicist, Emile de Laveleye, pointed out (Pall Mall Gazette, 4th August, 1888) that "the happiest countries are incontestably the smallest: Switzerland, Norway, Luxembourg, and still more the Republics of San Marino and Val d'Andorre"; and that "countries in general, even when victorious, do not profit by their conquests."

[226] Bismarck himself declared that without the deep shame of the German defeat at Jena in 1806 the revival of German national feeling would have been impossible.

[227] D. Starr Jordan, The Human Harvest, 1907; J. Novikov, La Guerre et ses Prétendus Bienfaits, 1894, chap. IV; Novikov here argued that the selection of war eliminates not the feeble but the strong, and tends to produce, therefore, a survival of the unfittest.

[228] "The most demoralizing features in French military life," says Professor Guérard, a highly intelligent observer, "are due to an incontestable progress in the French mind—its gradual loss of faith and interest in military glory. Henceforth the army is considered as useless, dangerous, a burden without a compensation. Authors of school books may be censured for daring to print such opinions, but the great majority of the French hold them in their hearts. Nay, there is a prevailing suspicion among working men that the military establishment is kept up for the sole benefit of the capitalists, and the reckless use of troops in case of labour conflicts gives colour to the contention." It has often happened that what the French think to-day the world generally thinks to-morrow. There is probably a world-wide significance in the fact that French experience is held to show that progress in intelligence means the demoralization of the army.

[229] The influence of Syndicalism has, however, already reached the English Labour Movement, and an ill-advised prosecution by the English Government must have immensely aided in extending and fortifying that influence.

[230] Some small beginnings have already been made. "The greatest gain ever yet won for the cause of peace," writes Mr. H.W. Nevinson, the well-known war correspondent (Peace and War in the Balance, p. 47), "was the refusal of the Catalonian reservists to serve in the war against the Riff mountaineers of Morocco in July, 1909.... So Barcelona flared to heaven, and for nearly a week the people held the vast city. I have seen many noble, as well as many terrible, events, but none more noble or of finer promise than the sudden uprising of the Catalan working people against a dastardly and inglorious war, waged for the benefit of a few speculators in Paris and Madrid."

[231] J. Novikov, Le Fédération de l'Europe, chap. iv. Olive Schreiner, Woman and Labour, chap. IV. While this is the fundamental fact, we must remember that we cannot generalize about the ideas or the feelings of a whole sex, and that the biological traditions of women have been associated with a primitive period when they were the delighted spectators of combats. "Woman," thought Nietzsche, "is essentially unpeaceable, like the cat, however well she may have assumed the peaceable demeanour." Steinmetz (Philosophie des Krieges, p. 314), remarking that women are opposed to war in the abstract, adds: "In practice, however, it happens that women regard a particular war—and all wars are particular wars—with special favour"; he remarks that the majority of Englishwomen fully shared the war fever against the Boers, and that, on the other side, he knew Dutch ladies in Holland, very opposed to war, who would yet have danced with joy at that time on the news of a declaration of war against England.

[232] The general strike, which has been especially developed by the syndicalist Labour movement, and is now tending to spread to various countries, is a highly powerful weapon, so powerful that its results are not less serious than those of war. To use it against war seems to be to cast out Beelzebub by Beelzebub. Even in Labour disputes the modern strike threatens to become as serious and, indeed, almost as sanguinary as the civil wars of ancient times. The tendency is, therefore, in progressive countries, as we see in Australia, to supersede strikes by conciliation and arbitration, just as war is tending to be superseded by international tribunals. These two aims are, however, absolutely distinct, and the introduction of law into the disputes between nations can have no direct effect on the disputes between social classes. It is quite possible, however, that it may have an indirect effect, and that when disputes between nations are settled in an orderly manner, social feeling will forbid disputes between classes to be settled in a disorderly manner.

[233] The Abbé de Saint-Pierre (1658-1743), a churchman without vocation, was a Norman of noble family, and first published his Mémoires pour rendre la Paix Perpetuelle à l'Europe in 1722. As Siégler-Pascal well shows (Les Projets de l'Abbé dé Saint-Pierre, 1900) he was not a mere visionary Utopian, but an acute and far-seeing thinker, practical in his methods, a close observer, an experimentalist, and one of the first to attempt the employment of statistics. He was secretary to the French plenipotentiaries who negotiated the Treaty of Utrecht, and was thus probably put on the track of his scheme. He proposed that the various European states should name plenipotentiaries to form a permanent tribunal of compulsory arbitration for the settlement of all differences. If any state took up arms against one of the allies, the whole confederation would conjointly enter the field, at their conjoint expense, against the offending state. He was opposed to absolute disarmament, an army being necessary to ensure peace, but it must be a joint army composed of contingents from each Power in the confederation. Saint-Pierre, it will be seen, had clearly grasped the essential facts of the situation as we see them to-day. "The author of The Project of Perpetual Peace" concludes Prof. Pierre Robert in a sympathetic summary of his career (Petit de Julleville, Histoire de la Langue et de la Littérature Française, Vol. VI), "is the precursor of the twentieth century." His statue, we cannot doubt, will be a conspicuous object, beside Sully's, on the future Palace of any international tribunal.

[234] Jules de Gaultier, "Comment Naissent les Dogmes," Mercure de France, 1st Sept., 1911. Jules de Gaultier also observes that "conflict is the law and condition of all existence." That may be admitted, but it ceases to be true if we assume, as the same thinker assumes, that "conflict" necessarily involves "war." The establishment of law to regulate the disputes between individuals by no means suppresses conflict, but it suppresses fighting, and it ensures that if any fighting occur the aggressor shall not profit by his aggression. In the same way the existence of a tribunal to regulate the disputes between national communities of individuals can by no means suppress conflict; but unless it suppresses fighting, and unless it ensures that if fighting occurs the aggressor shall not profit by his aggression, it will have effected nothing.

[235] A.L. Guérard, "Impressions of Military Life in France," Popular Science Monthly, April, 1911.




Early Attempts to Construct an International Language—The Urgent Need of an Auxiliary Language To-day—Volapük—The Claims of Spanish—Latin—The Claims of English—Its Disadvantages—The Claims of French—Its Disadvantages—The Modern Growth of National Feeling opposed to Selection of a Natural Language—Advantages of an Artificial Language—Demands it must fulfil—Esperanto—Its Threatened Disruption—The International Association for the adoption of an Auxiliary International Language—The First Step to Take.

Ever since the decay of Latin as the universal language of educated people, there have been attempts to replace it by some other medium of international communication. That decay was inevitable; it was the outward manifestation of a movement of individualism which developed national languages and national literatures, and burst through the restraining envelope of an authoritarian system expounded in an official language. This individualism has had the freest play, and we are not likely to lose all that it has given us. Yet as soon as it was achieved the more distinguished spirits in every country began to feel the need of counterbalancing it. The history of the movement may be said to begin with Descartes, who in 1629 wrote to his friend Mersenne that it would be possible to construct an artificial [350] language which could be used as an international medium of communication. Leibnitz, though he had solved the question for himself, writing some of his works in Latin and others in French, was yet all his life more or less occupied with the question of a universal language. Other men of the highest distinction—Pascal, Condillac, Voltaire, Diderot, Ampère, Jacob Grimm—have sought or desired a solution to this problem. [236] None of these great men, however, succeeded even in beginning an attempt to solve the problem they were concerned with.

Some forty years ago, however, the difficulty began again to be felt, this time much more keenly and more widely than before. The spread of commerce, the facility of travel, the ramifications of the postal service, the development of new nationalities and new literatures, have laid upon civilized peoples a sense of burden and restriction which could never have been felt by their forefathers in the previous century. Added to this, a new sense of solidarity had been growing up in the world; the financial and commercial solidarity, by which any disaster or disturbance in one country causes a wave of disaster or disturbance to pass over the whole civilized globe, was being supplemented by a sense of spiritual solidarity. Men began to realize that the tasks of civilization cannot be carried out except by mutual understanding and mutual sympathy among the more civilized nations, that every nation has something to learn from [351] other nations, and that the bonds of international intercourse must thus be drawn closer. This feeling of the need of an international language led in America to several serious attempts to obtain a consensus of opinion among scientific men regarding an international language. Thus in 1888 the Philosophical Society of Philadelphia, the oldest of American learned societies, unanimously resolved, on the initiative of Brinton, to address a letter to learned societies throughout the world, asking for their co-operation in perfecting a language for commercial and learned purposes, based on the Aryan vocabulary and grammar in their simplest forms, and to that end proposing an international congress, the first meeting of which should be held in Paris or London. In the same year Horatio Hale read a paper on the same subject before the American Association for the Advancement of Science. A little later, in 1890, it was again proposed at a meeting of the same Association that, in order to consider the question of the construction and adoption of a symmetrical and scientific language, a congress should be held, delegates being in proportion to the number of persons speaking each language.

These excellent proposals seem, however, to have borne little fruit. It is always an exceedingly difficult matter to produce combined action among scientific societies even of the same nation. Thus the way has been left open for individuals to adopt the easier but far less decisive or satisfactory method of inventing a new language by their own unaided exertions. Certainly over a hundred such languages have been proposed during the past century. [352] The most famous of these was undoubtedly Volapük, which was invented in 1880 by Schleyer, a German-Swiss priest who knew many languages and had long pondered over this problem, but who was not a scientific philologist; the actual inception of the language occurred in a dream. Volapük was almost the first real attempt at an organic language capable of being used for the oral transmission of thought. On this account, no doubt, it met with great and widespread success; it was actively taken up by a professor at Paris, societies were formed for its propagation, journals and hundreds of books were published in it; its adherents were estimated at a million. But its success, though brilliant, was short-lived. In 1889, when the third Volapük Congress was held, it was at the height of its success, but thereafter dissension arose, and its reputation suddenly collapsed. No one now speaks Volapük; it is regarded as a hideous monstrosity, even by those who have the most lively faith in artificial languages. Its inventor has outlived his language, and, like it, has been forgotten by the world, though his achievement was a real step towards the solution of the problem.

The collapse of Volapük discouraged thoughtful persons from expecting any solution of the problem in an artificial language. It seemed extremely improbable that any invented language, least of all the unaided product of a single mind, could ever be generally accepted, or be worthy of general acceptance, as an international mode of communication. Such a language failed to carry the prestige necessary to overcome the immense inertia [353] which any attempt to adopt it would meet with. Invented languages, the visionary schemes of idealists, apparently received no support from practical men of affairs. It seemed to be among actual languages, living or dead, that we might most reasonably expect to find a medium of communication likely to receive wide support. The difficulty then lay in deciding which language should be selected.

Russian had sometimes been advocated as the universal language for international purposes, and it is possible to point to the enormous territory of Russia, its growing power and the fact that Russian is the real or official language of a larger number of people than any other language except English. But Russian is so unlike the Latin and Teutonic tongues, used by the majority of European peoples; it is so complicated, so difficult to acquire, and, moreover, so lacking in concision that it has never had many enthusiastic advocates.

The virtues and defects of Spanish, which has found many enthusiastic supporters, are of an opposite character. It is an admirably vigorous and euphonious language, on a sound phonetic basis, every letter always standing for a definite sound; the grammar is simple and exceptionally free from irregularities, and it is the key to a great literature. Billroth, the distinguished Austrian surgeon, advocated the adoption of Spanish; he regarded English as really more suitable, but, he pointed out, it is so difficult for the Latin races to speak non-Latin tongues that a Romance language is essential, and Spanish is the simplest and most logical of the [354] Romance tongues. [237] It is, moreover, spoken by a vast number of people in South America and elsewhere.

A few enthusiasts have advocated Greek, and have supported their claim with the argument that it is still a living language. But although Greek is the key to a small but precious literature, and is one of the sources of latter-day speech and scientific terminology, it is difficult, it is without special adaptation to modern uses, and there are no adequate reasons why it should be made an international language.

Latin cannot be dismissed quite so hastily. It has in its favour the powerful argument that it has once already been found adequate to serve as the universal language. There is a widespread opinion to-day among the medical profession—the profession most actively interested in the establishment of a universal language—that Latin should be adopted, and before the International Medical Congress at Rome in 1894, a petition to this effect was presented by some eight hundred doctors in India. [238] It is undoubtedly an admirable language, expressive, concentrated, precise. But the objections are serious. The [355] relative importance of Latin to-day is very far from what it was a thousand years ago, for conditions have wholly changed. There is now no great influence, such as the Catholic Church was of old, to enforce Latin, even if it possessed greater advantages. And the advantages are very mixed. Latin is a wholly dead tongue, and except in a degenerate form not by any means an easy one to learn, for its genius is wholly opposed to the genius even of those modern languages which are most closely allied to it. The world never returns on its own path. Although the prestige of Latin is still enormous, a language could only be brought from death to life by some widespread motor force; such a force no longer exists behind Latin.

There remain English and French, and these are undoubtedly the two natural languages most often put forward—even outside England and France—as possessing the best claims for adoption as auxiliary international mediums of communication.

English, especially, was claimed by many, some twenty years ago, to be not merely the auxiliary language of the future, but the universal language which must spread all over the world and supersede and drive out all others by a kind of survival of the fittest. This notion of a universal language is now everywhere regarded as a delusion, but at that time there was still thought by many to be a kind of special procreative activity in the communities of Anglo-Saxon origin which would naturally [356] tend to replace all other peoples, both the people and the language being regarded as the fittest to survive. [239] English was, however, rightly felt to be a language with very great force behind it, being spoken by vast communities possessing a peculiarly energetic and progressive temperament, and with much power of peaceful penetration in other lands. It is generally acknowledged also that English fully deserves to be ranked as one of the first of languages by its fine aptitude for powerful expression, while at the same time it is equally fitted for routine commercial purposes. The wide extension of English and its fine qualities have often been emphasized, and it is unnecessary to dwell on them here. The decision of the scientific societies of the world to use English for bibliographical purposes is not entirely a tribute to English energy in organization, but to the quality of the language. One finds, indeed, that these facts are widely recognized abroad, in France and elsewhere, though I have noted that those who foretell the conquest of English, even when they are men of intellectual distinction and able to read English, are often quite unable to speak it or to understand it when spoken.

That brings us to a point which is overlooked by those who triumphantly pointed to the natural settlement of this question by the swamping of other tongues in the [357] overflowing tide of English speech. English is the most concise and laconic of the great languages. Greek, French and German are all more expansive, more syllabically copious. Latin alone may be said to equal, or surpass English in concentration, because, although Latin words are longer on the average, by their greater inflection they cover a larger number of English words. This power of English to attain expression with a minimum expenditure of energy in written speech is one of its chief claims to succeed Latin as the auxiliary international language. But it furnishes no claim to preference for actual speaking, in which this economy of energy ceases to be a supreme virtue, since here we have also to admit the virtues of easy intelligibility and of persuasiveness. Greek largely owed its admirable fitness for speech to the natural richness and prolongation of its euphonious words, which allowed the speaker to attain the legitimate utterance of his thought without pauses or superfluous repetition. French, again, while by no means inapt for concentration, as the pensée writers show, most easily lends itself to effects that are meant for speech, as in Bossuet, or that recall speech, as in Mme de Sevigné in one order of literature, or Renan in another. But at Rome, we feel, the spoken tongue had a difficulty to overcome, and the mellifluously prolonged rhetoric of Cicero, delightful as it may be, scarcely seems to reveal to us the genius of the Latin tongue. The inaptitude of English for the purposes of speech is even more conspicuous, and is again well illustrated in our oratory. Gladstone was an orator of acknowledged eloquence, [358] but the extreme looseness and redundancy into which his language was apt to fall in the effort to attain the verbose richness required for the ends of spoken speech, reveals too clearly the poverty of English from this point of view. The same tendency is also illustrated by the vain re-iterations of ordinary speakers. The English intellect, with all its fine qualities, is not sufficiently nimble for either speaker or hearer to keep up with the swift brevity of the English tongue. It is a curious fact that Great Britain takes the lead in Europe in the prevalence of stuttering; the language is probably a factor in this evil pre-eminence, for it appears that the Chinese, whose language is powerfully rhythmic, never stutter. One authority has declared that "no nation in the civilized world speaks its language so abominably as the English." We can scarcely admit that this English difficulty of speech is the result of some organic defect in English nervous systems; the language itself must be a factor in the matter. I have found, when discussing the point with scientific men and others abroad, that the opinion prevails that it is usually difficult to follow a speaker in English. This experience may, indeed, be considered general. While an admirably strong and concise language, English is by no means so adequate in actual speech; it is not one of the languages which can be heard at a long distance, and, moreover, it lends itself in speaking to so many contractions that are not used in writing—so many "can'ts" and "won'ts" and "don'ts," which suit English taciturnity, but slur and ruin English speech—that English, as spoken, is almost a different [359] language from that which excites admiration when written. So that the exclusive use of English for international purposes would not be the survival of the fittest so far as a language for speaking purposes is concerned.

Moreover, it must be remembered that English is not a democratic language. It is not, like the chief Romance languages and the chief Teutonic languages, practically homogeneous, made out of one block. It is formed by the mixture of two utterly unlike elements, one aristocratic, the other plebeian. Ever since the Norman lord came over to England a profound social inequality has become rooted in the very language. In French, b[oe]uf and mouton and veau and porc have always been the same for master and for man, in the field and on the table; the animal has never changed its plebeian name for an aristocratic name as it passed through the cook's hands. That example is typical of the curious mark which the Norman Conquest left on our speech, rendering it so much more difficult for us than for the French to attain equality of social intercourse. Inequality is stamped indelibly into our language as into no other great language. Of course, from the literary point of view, that is all gain, and has been of incomparable aid to our poets in helping them to reach their most magnificent effects, as we may see conspicuously in Shakespeare's enormous vocabulary. But from the point of view of equal social intercourse, this wealth of language is worse than lost, it is disastrous. The old feudal distinctions are still perpetuated; the "man" still speaks his "plain Anglo-Saxon," and the "gentleman" still speaks his refined Latinized speech. In every language, [360] it is true, there are social distinctions in speech, and every language has its slang. But in English these distinctions are perpetuated in the very structure of the language. Elsewhere the working-class speak—with a little difference in the quality—a language needing no substantial transformation to become the language of society, which differs from it in quality rather than in kind. But the English working man feels the need to translate his common Anglo-Saxon speech into foreign words of Latin origin. It is difficult for the educated person in England to understand the struggle which the uneducated person goes through to speak the language of the educated, although the unsatisfactory result is sufficiently conspicuous. But we can trace the operation of a similar cause in the hesitancy of the educated man himself when he attempts to speak in public and is embarrassed by the search for the set of words most suited for dignified purposes.

Most of those who regarded English as the coming world-language admitted that it would require improvement for general use. The extensive and fundamental character of the necessary changes is not, however, realized. The difficulties of English are of four kinds: (1) its special sounds, very troublesome for foreigners to learn to pronounce, and the uncertainty of its accentuation; (2) its illogical and chaotic spelling, inevitably leading to confusions in pronunciation; (3) the grammatical irregularities in its verbs and plural nouns; and (4) the great number of widely different words which are almost or quite similar in pronunciation. A vast [361] number of absurd pitfalls are thus prepared for the unwary user of English. He must remember that the plural of "mouse" is "mice," but that the plural of "house" is not "hice," that he may speak of his two "sons," but not of his two "childs"; he will indistinguishably refer to "sheeps" and "ships"; and like the preacher a little unfamiliar with English who had chosen a well-known text to preach on, he will not remember whether "plough" is pronounced "pluff" or "plo," [240] and even a phonetic spelling system would render still more confusing the confusion between such a series of words as "hair," "hare," "heir," "are," "ere" and "eyre." Many of these irregularities are deeply rooted in the structure of the language; it would be an extremely difficult as well as extensive task to remove them, and when the task was achieved the language would have lost much of its character and savour; it would clash painfully with literary English.

Thus even if we admitted that English ought to be the international language of the future, the result is not so satisfactory from a British point of view as is usually taken for granted. All other civilized nations would be bilingual; they would possess the key not only to their own literature, but to a great foreign literature with all the new horizons that a foreign literature opens out. The English-speaking countries alone would be furnished with only one language, and would have no stimulus to [362] acquire any other language, for no other language would be of any practical use to them. All foreigners would be in a position to bring to the English-speaking man whatever information they considered good for him. At first sight this seems a gain for the English-speaking peoples, because they would thus be spared a certain expenditure of energy; but a very little reflection shows that such a [363] saving of energy is like that effected by the intestinal parasitic worm who has digested food brought ready to his mouth. It leads to degeneracy. Not the people whose language is learnt, but the people who learn a language reap the benefit, spiritual and material. It is now admitted in the commercial world that the ardour of the Germans in learning English has brought more advantage to the Germans than to the English. Moreover, the high intellectual level of small nations at the present time is due largely to the fact that all their educated members must be familiar with one or two languages besides their own. The great defect of the English mind is insularity; the virtue of its boisterous energy is accompanied by lack of insight into the differing virtues of other peoples. If the natural course of events led to the exclusive use of English for international communication, this defect would be still more accentuated. The immense value of becoming acquainted with a foreign language is that we are thereby led into a new world of tradition and thought and feeling. Before we know a new language truly, we have to realize that the words which at first seem equivalent to words in our own language often have a totally different atmosphere, a different rank or dignity from that which they occupy in our own language. It is in learning this difference in the moral connotation of a language and its expression in literature that we reap the real benefit of knowing a foreign tongue. There is no other way—not even residence in a foreign land if we are ignorant of the language—to take us out of the customary circle of our own [364] traditions. It imparts a mental flexibility and emotional sympathy which no other discipline can yield. To ordain that all non-English-speaking peoples should learn English in addition to their mother tongue, and to render it practically unnecessary for English-speakers (except the small class of students) to learn any other language, would be to confer an immense boon on the first group of peoples, doubling their mental and emotional capacity; it is to render the second group hidebound.

When we take a broad and impartial survey of the question we thus see that there is reason to believe that, while English is an admirable literary language (this is the ground that its eulogists always take), and sufficiently concise for commercial purposes, it is by no means an adequate international tongue, especially for purposes of oral speech, and, moreover, its exclusive use for this purpose would be a misfortune for the nations already using it, since they would be deprived of that mental flexibility and emotional sympathy which no discipline can give so well as knowledge of a living foreign tongue.

Many who realized these difficulties put forward French as the auxiliary international language. It is quite true that the power behind French is now relatively less than it was two centuries ago. [241] At that time France [365] by its relatively large population, the tradition of its military greatness, and its influential political position, was able to exert an immense influence; French was the language of intellect and society in Germany, in England, in Russia, everywhere in fact. During the eighteenth century internal maladministration, the cataclysm of the Revolution, and finally the fatal influence of Napoleon alienated foreign sympathy, and France lost her commanding position. Yet it was reasonably felt that, if a natural language is to be used for international purposes, after English there is no practicable alternative to French.

French is the language not indeed in any special sense of science or of commerce, but of the finest human culture. It is a well-organized tongue, capable of the finest shades of expression, and it is the key to a great literature. In most respects it is the best favoured child of Latin; it commends itself to all who speak Romance languages, and, as Alphonse de Candolle has remarked, a Spaniard and an Italian know three-quarters of French beforehand, and every one who has learnt Latin knows [366] half of French already. It is more admirably adapted for speaking purposes than perhaps any other language which has any claim to be used for international purposes, as we should expect of the tongue spoken by a people who have excelled in oratory, who possess such widely diffused dramatic ability, and who have carried the arts of social intercourse to the highest point.

Paris remains for most people the intellectual capital of Europe; French is still very generally used for purposes of intercommunication throughout Europe, while the difficulty experienced by all but Germans and Russians in learning English is well known. Li Hung Chang is reported to have said that, while for commercial reasons English is far more widely used in China than French, the Chinese find French a much easier language to learn to speak, and the preferences of the Chinese may one day count for a good deal—in one direction or another—in the world's progress. One frequently hears that the use of French for international purposes is decaying; this is a delusion probably due to the relatively slow growth of the French-speaking races and to various temporary political causes. It is only necessary to look at the large International Medical Congresses. Thus at one such Congress at Rome, at which I was present, over six thousand members came from forty-two countries of the globe, and over two thousand of them took part in the proceedings. Four languages (Italian, French, German and English) were used at this Congress. Going over the seven large volumes of Transactions, I find that fifty-nine communications were presented in English, one hundred [367] and seventy-one in German, three hundred and one in French, the rest in Italian. The proportion of English communications to German is thus a little more than one to three, and the proportion of English to French less than one to six. Moreover, the English-speaking members invariably (I believe) used their own language, so that these fifty-nine communications represent the whole contribution of the English-speaking world. And they represent nothing more than that; notwithstanding the enormous spread of English, of which we hear so much, not a single non-English speaker seems to have used English. It might be supposed that this preponderance of French was due to a preponderance of the French element, but this was by no means the case; the members of English-speaking race greatly exceeded those of French-speaking race. But, while the English communications represented the English-speaking countries only, and the German communications were chiefly by German speakers, French was spoken not only by members belonging to the smaller nations of Europe, from the north and from the south, by the Russians, by most of the Turkish and Asiatic members, but also by all the Mexicans and South Americans. These figures may not be absolutely free from fallacy, due to temporary causes of fluctuation. But that they are fairly exact is shown by the results of the following Congress, held at Moscow. If I take up the programme for the department of psychiatry and nervous disease, in which I was myself chiefly interested, I find that of 131 communications, 80 were in French, 37 in [368] German and 14 in English. This shows that French, German and English bear almost exactly the same relation to one another as at Rome. In other words, 61 per cent of the speakers used French, 28 per cent German, and only 11 per cent English.

If we come down to one of the most recent International Medical Congresses, that of Lisbon in 1906, we find that the supremacy of French, far from weakening, is more emphatically affirmed. The language of the country in which the Congress was held was ruled out, and I find that of 666 contributions to the proceedings of the Congress, over 84 per cent were in French, scarcely more than 8 per cent in English, and less than 7 per cent in German. At the subsequent Congress at Budapesth in 1909, the French contributions were to the English as three to one. Similar results are shown by other International Congresses. Thus at the third International Congress of Psychology, held at Munich, there were four official languages, and on grounds of locality the majority of communications were in German; French followed with 29, Italian with 12, and English brought up the rear with 11. Dr. Westermarck, who is the stock example of the spread of English for international purposes, spoke in German. It is clearly futile to point to figures showing the prolific qualities of English races; the moral quality of a race and its language counts, as well as mere physical capacity for breeding, and the moral influence of French to-day is immensely greater than that of English. That is, indeed, scarcely a fair statement of the matter in view of the typical cases just quoted; one should rather say that, as a means of spoken international communication [369] for other than commercial purposes, English is nowhere.

There is one other point which serves to give prestige to French: its literary supremacy in the modern world. While some would claim for the English the supreme poetic literature, there can be no doubt that the French own the supreme prose literature of modern Europe. It was felt by those who advocated the adoption of English or French that it would surely be a gain for human progress if the auxiliary international languages of the future should be one, if not both, of two that possess great literatures, and which embody cultures in some respects allied, but in most respects admirably supplementing each other. [242]

The collapse of Volapük stimulated the energy of those who believed that the solution of the question lay in the adoption of a natural language. To-day, however, there are few persons who, after carefully considering the matter, regard this solution as probable or practicable. [243]

[370] Considerations of two orders seem now to be decisive in rejecting the claims of English and French, or, indeed, any other natural language, to be accepted as an international language: (1) The vast number of peculiarities, difficulties, and irregularities, rendering necessary so revolutionary a change for international purposes that the language would be almost transformed into an artificial language, and perhaps not even then an entirely satisfactory one. (2) The extraordinary development during recent years of the minor national languages, and the jealousy of foreign languages which this revival has caused. This latter factor is probably alone fatal to the adoption of any living language. It can scarcely be disputed that neither English nor French occupies to-day so relatively influential a position as it once occupied. The movement against the use of French in Roumania, as detrimental to the national language, is significant of a widespread feeling, while, as regards English, the introduction by the Germans into commerce of the method of approaching customers in their own tongue, has rendered impossible the previous English custom of treating English as the general language of commerce.

The natural languages, it became realized, fail to answer to the requirements which must be made of an auxiliary international language. The conditions which have to be fulfilled are thus formulated by Anna Roberts: [244]

"First, a vocabulary having a maximum of internationality in its root-words for at least the Indo-European races, living or bordering on the confines of the old Roman [371] Empire, whose vocabularies are already saturated with Greek and Latin roots, absorbed during the long centuries of contact with Greek and Roman civilization. As the centre of gravity of the world's civilization now stands, this seems the most rational beginning. Such a language shall then have:

"Second, a grammatical structure stripped of all the irregularities found in every existing tongue, and that shall be simpler than any of them. It shall have:

"Third, a single, unalterable sound for each letter, no silent letters, no difficult, complex, shaded sounds, but simple primary sounds, capable of being combined into harmonious words, which latter shall have but a single stress accent that never shifts.

"Fourth, mobility of structure, aptness for the expression of complex ideas, but in ways that are grammatically simple, and by means of words that can easily be analysed without a dictionary.

"Fifth, it must be capable of being, not merely a literary language, [245] but a spoken tongue, having a pronunciation that can be perfectly mastered by adults through the use of manuals, and in the absence of oral teachers.

"Finally, and as a necessary corollary and complement to all of the above, this international auxiliary language must, to be of general utility, be exceedingly easy of acquisition by persons of but moderate education, [372] and hitherto conversant with no language but their own."

Thus the way was prepared for the favourable reception of a new artificial language, which had in the meanwhile been elaborated. Dr. Zamenhof, a Russian physician living at Warsaw, had been from youth occupied with the project of an international language, and in 1887 he put forth in French his scheme for a new language to be called Esperanto. The scheme attracted little notice; Volapük was then at the zenith of its career, and when it fell, its fall discredited all attempts at an artificial language. But, like Volapük, Esperanto found its great apostle in France. M. Louis de Beaufront brought his high ability and immense enthusiasm to the work of propaganda, and the success of Esperanto in the world is attributed in large measure to him. The extension of Esperanto is now threatening to rival that of Volapük. Many years ago Max Müller, and subsequently Skeat, notwithstanding the philologist's prejudice in favour of natural languages, expressed their approval of Esperanto, and many persons of distinction, moving in such widely remote spheres as Tolstoy and Sir William Ramsay, have since signified their acceptance and their sympathy. Esperanto Congresses are regularly held, Esperanto Societies and Esperanto Consulates are established in many parts of the world, a great number of books and journals are published in Esperanto, and some of the world's classics have been translated into it.

It is generally recognized that Esperanto represents a great advance on Volapük. Yet there are already signs [373] that Esperanto is approaching the climax of its reputation, and that possibly its inventor may share the fate of the inventor of Volapük and outlive his own language. The most serious attack on Esperanto has come from within. The most intelligent Esperantists have realized the weakness and defects of their language (in some measure due to the inevitable Slavonic prepossessions of its inventor) and demand radical reforms, which the conservative party resist. Even M. de Beaufront, to whom its success was largely due, has abandoned primitive Esperanto, and various scientific men of high distinction in several countries now advocate the supersession of Esperanto by an improved language based upon it and called Ido. Professor Lorenz, who is among the advocates of Ido, admits that Esperanto has shown the possibility of a synthetic language, but states definitely that "according to the concordant testimony of all unbiased opinions" Esperanto in no wise represents the final solution of the problem. This new movement is embodied in the Délégation pour l'Adoption d'une Langue Auxiliaire Internationale, founded in Paris during the International Exhibition in 1900 by various eminent literary and scientific men, and having its head-quarters in Paris. The Délégation consider that the problem demands a purely scientific and technical solution, and it is claimed that 40 per cent of the stems of Ido are common to six languages: German, English, French, Italian, Russian and Spanish. The Délégation appear to have approached the question with a fairly open mind, and it was only after study of the subject that they finally reached the [374] conclusion that Esperanto contained a sufficient number of good qualities to furnish a basis on which to work. [246]

The general programme of the Délégation is that (1) an auxiliary international language is required, adapted to written and oral language between persons of different mother tongues; (2) such language must be capable of serving the needs of science, daily life, commerce, and general intercourse, and must be of such a character that it may easily be learnt by persons of average elementary education, especially those of civilized European nationality; (3) the decision to rest with the International Association of Academies, and, in case of their refusal, with the Committee of the Délégation. [247]

The Délégation is seeking to bring about an official international Congress which would either itself or through properly appointed experts establish an internationally and officially recognized auxiliary language. The chief step made in this direction has been the formation at Berne in 1911 of an international association whose object is to take immediate steps towards bringing the question before the Governments of Europe. The Association is pledged to observe a strict neutrality in regard to the language to be chosen.

The whole question seems thus to have been placed on a sounder basis than hitherto. The international language [375] of the future cannot be, and ought not to be, settled by a single individual seeking to impose his own invention on the world. This is not a matter for zealous propaganda of an almost religious character. The hasty and premature adoption of some privately invented language merely retards progress. No individual can settle the question by himself. What we need is calm study and deliberation between the nations and the classes chiefly concerned, acting through the accredited representatives of their Governments and other professional bodies. Nothing effective can be done until the pressure of popular opinion has awakened Governments and scientific societies to the need for action. The question of international arbitration has become practical; the question of the international language ought to go hand in hand with that of international arbitration. They are closely allied and both equally necessary.

While the educational, commercial, and official advantages of an auxiliary international language are obvious, it seems to me that from the standpoint of social hygiene there are at least three interests which are especially and deeply concerned in the settlement of this question.

The first and chief is that of international democracy in its efforts to attain an understanding on labour questions. There can be no solution of this question until a simpler mode of personal communication has become widely prevalent. This matter has from time to time already been brought before international labour congresses, and those who attend such congresses have doubtless had occasion to realize how essential it is. [376] Perhaps it is a chief factor in the comparative failure of such congresses hitherto.

Science represents the second great interest which has shown an active concern in the settlement of this question. To follow up any line of scientific research is already a sufficiently gigantic work, on account of the absence of proper bibliographical organization; it becomes almost overwhelming now that the search has to extend over at least half a dozen languages, and still leaves the searcher a stranger to the important investigations which are appearing in Russian and in Japanese, and will before long appear in other languages. Sir Michael Foster once drew a humorous picture of the woes of the physiologist owing to these causes. In other fields—especially in the numerous branches of anthropological research, as I can myself bear witness—the worker is even worse off than the physiologist. Just now science is concentrating its energies on the organization of bibliography, but much attention has been given to this question of an international language from time to time, and it is likely before long to come pressingly to the front.

The medical profession is also practically concerned in this question; hitherto it has, indeed, taken a more lively interest in the effort to secure an international language than has pure science. It is of the first importance that new discoveries and methods in medicine and hygiene should be rendered immediately accessible; while the now enormously extended domain of medicine is full of great questions which can only be solved by international co-operation on an international basis. [377] The responsibility of advocating a number of measures affecting the well-being of communities lies, in the first place, with the medical profession; but no general agreement is possible without full facilities for discussion in international session. This has been generally recognized; hence the numerous attempts to urge a single language on the organizers of the international medical congresses. I have already observed how large and active these congresses were. Yet it cannot be said that any results are achieved commensurate with the world-wide character of such congresses. Partly this is due to the fact that the organizers of international congresses have not yet learnt what should be the scope of such conferences, and what they may legitimately hope to perform; but very largely because there is no international method of communication; and, except for a few seasoned cosmopolitans, no truly international exchange of opinions takes place. This can only be possible when we have a really common and familiar method of intercommunication.

These three interests—democratic, scientific, medical—seem at present those chiefly concerned in the task of putting this matter on a definite basis, and it is much to be desired that they should come to some common agreement. They represent three immensely important modes of social and intellectual activity, and the progress of every nation is bound up with an international progress of which they are now the natural pioneers. It cannot be too often repeated that the day has gone by when any progress worthy of the name can be purely national. [378] All the most vital questions of national progress tend to merge themselves into international questions. But before any question of international progress can result in anything but noisy confusion, we need a recognized mode of international intelligence and communication. That is why the question of the auxiliary international language is of actual and vital interest to all who are concerned with the tasks of social hygiene.


It must be remembered that the international auxiliary language is an organic part of a larger internationalization which must inevitably be effected, and is indeed already coming into being. Two related measures of intercommunication are an international system of postage stamps, and an international coinage, to which may be added an international system of weights and measures, which seems to be already in course of settlement by the increasingly general adoption of the metric system. The introduction of the exchangeable international stamp coupon represents the beginning of a truly international postal system; but it is only a beginning. If a completely developed international postal system were incidentally to deliver some nations, and especially the English, from the depressingly ugly postage stamps they are now condemned to use, this reform would possess a further advantage almost as great as its practical utility. An international coinage is, again, a prime necessity, which would possess immense commercial advantages in addition to the great saving of trouble it would effect. The progress of civilization is already working towards an international coinage. In an interesting paper on this subject ("International Coinage," Popular Science Monthly, March, 1910) T.F. van Wagenen writes; "Each in its way, the great [379] commercial nations of the day are unconsciously engaged in the task. The English shilling is working northwards from the Cape of Good Hope, has already come in touch with the German mark and the Portuguese peseta which have been introduced on both the east and west sides of the Continent, and will in due time meet the French franc and Italian lira coming south from the shores of the Mediterranean. In Asia, the Indian rupee, the Russian rouble, the Japanese yen, and the American-Philippine coins are already competing for the patronage of the Malay and the Chinaman. In South America neither American nor European coins have any foot-hold, the Latin-American nations being well supplied by systems of their own, all related more or less closely to the coinage of Mexico or Portugal. Thus the plainly evolutionary task of pushing civilization into the uneducated parts of the world through commerce is as badly hampered by the different coins offered to the barbarian as are the efforts of the evangelists to introduce Christianity by the existence of the various denominations and creeds. The Church is beginning to appreciate the wastage in its efforts, and is trying to minimize it by combinations among the denominations having for their object to standardize Christianity, so to speak, by reducing tenet and dogma to the lowest possible terms. Commerce must do the same. The white man's coins must be standardized and simplified.... The international coin will come in a comparatively short time, just as will arrive the international postage stamp, which, by the way, is very badly needed. For the upper classes of all countries, the people who travel, and have to stand the nuisance and loss of changing their money at every frontier, the bankers and international merchants who have to cumber their accounts with the fluctuating item of exchange between commercial centres will insist upon it. All the European nations, with the exception of Russia and Turkey, are ready for the change, and when these reach the stage of real constitutionalism in [380] their progress upward, they will be compelled to follow, being already deeply in debt to the French, English, and Germans. Japan may be counted upon to acquiesce instantly in any unit agreed upon by the rest of the civilized world."

This writer points out that the opening out of the uncivilized parts of the world to commerce will alone serve to make an international coinage absolutely indispensable.

Without, however, introducing a really new system, an auxiliary international money system (corresponding to an auxiliary international language) could be introduced as a medium of exchange without interfering with the existing coinages of the various nations. Réné de Saussure (writing in the Journal de Genève, in 1907) has insisted on the immense benefit such a system of "monnaie de compte" would be in removing the burden imposed upon all international financial relations by the diversity of money values. He argues that the best point of union would be a gold piece of eight grammes—almost exactly equivalent to one pound, twenty marks, five dollars, and twenty-five francs—being, in fact, but one-third of a penny different from the value of a pound sterling. For the subdivisions the point of union must be decimally divided, and M. de Saussure would give the name of speso to a ten-thousandth part of the gold coin.

[236] The history of the efforts to attain a universal language has been written by Couturat and Leau, Histoire de la Langue Universelle, 1903.

[237] The distinguished French physician, Dr. Sollier, also, in an address to the Lisbon International Medical Congress, on "La Question de la Langue Auxiliaire Internationale," in 1906, advocating the adoption of one of the existing Romance tongues, said: "Spanish is the simplest of all and the easiest, and if it were chosen for this purpose I should be the first to accept it."

[238] It has even been stated by a distinguished English man of science that Latin is sometimes easier for the English to use than is their own language. "I have known Englishmen who could be trusted to write a more intelligible treatise, possibly even to make a more lucid speech, in Latin than in English," says Dr. Miers, the Principal of London University (Lancet, 7th October, 1911), and he adds: "Quite seriously, I think some part of the cause is to be sought in the difficulty of our language, and many educated persons get lost in its intricacies, just as they get lost in its spelling." Without questioning the fact, however, I would venture to question this explanation of it.

[239] Thus in one article on the growing extension of the English language throughout the world (Macmillan's Magazine, March, 1892) we read: "English is practically certain to become the language of the world.... The speech of Shakespeare and Milton, of Dryden and Swift, of Byron and Wordsworth, will be, in a sense in which no other language has been, the speech of the whole world." We do not nowadays meet with these wild statements.

[240] The stumbling-stones for the foreigner presented by English words in "ough" have often been referred to, and are clearly set forth in the verses in which Mr. C.B. Loomis has sought to represent a French learner's experiences—and the same time to show the criminal impulses which these irregularities arouse in the pupil.

"I'm taught p-l-o-u-g-h Shall be pronouncèd 'plow,' 'Zat's easy when you know,' I say, 'Mon Anglais I'll get through.'
"My teacher say zat in zat case O-u-g-h is 'oo,' And zen I laugh and say to him 'Zees Anglais make me cough.'
"He say, 'Not coo, but in zat word O-u-g-h is "off,"' Oh, sacre bleu! such varied sounds Of words make me hiccough!
"He say, 'Again, mon friend ees wrong! O-u-g-h is "up," In hiccough,' Zen I cry, 'No more, You make my throat feel rough,'
"'Non! non!' he cry, 'you are not right— O-u-g-h is "uff."' I say, 'I try to speak your words, I can't prononz zem though,'
"'In time you'll learn, but now you're wrong, O-u-g-h is "owe."' 'I'll try no more. I sall go mad, I'll drown me in ze lough!'
"'But ere you drown yourself,' said he, 'O-u-g-h is "ock."' He taught no more! I held him fast, And killed him wiz a rough!"

[241] It is interesting to remember that at one period in European history, French seemed likely to absorb English, and thus to acquire, in addition to its own motor force, all the motor force which now lies behind English. When the Normans—a vigorous people of Scandinavian origin, speaking a Romance tongue, and therefore well fitted to accomplish a harmonizing task of this kind—occupied both sides of the English Channel, it seemed probable that they would dominate the speech of England as well as of France. "At that time," says Méray (La Vie aux Temps des Cours d'Amour, p. 367), who puts forward this view, "the people of the two coasts of the Channel were closer in customs and in speech than were for a long time the French on the opposite banks of the Loire.... The influential part of the English nation and all the people of its southern regions spoke the Romance of the north of France. In the Crusades the Knights of the two peoples often mixed, and were greeted as Franks wherever their adventurous spirit led them. If Edward III, with the object of envenoming an antagonism which served his own ends, had not broken this link of language, the two peoples would perhaps have been united to-day in the same efforts of progress and of liberty.... Of what a fine instrument of culture and of progress has not that fatal decree of Edward III deprived civilization!"

[242] I was at one time (Progressive Review, April, 1897) inclined to think that the adoption of both English and French, as joint auxiliary international languages—the first for writing and the second for speaking—might solve the problem. I have since recognized that such a solution, however advantageous it might be for human culture, would present many difficulties, and is quite impracticable.

[243] I may refer to three able papers which have appeared in recent years in the Popular Science Monthly: Anna Monsch Roberts, "The Problem of International Speech" (February, 1908); Ivy Kellerman, "The Necessity for an International Language," (September, 1909); Albert Léon Guérard, "English as an International Language" (October, 1911). All these writers reject as impracticable the adoption of either English or French as the auxiliary international language, and view with more favour the adoption of an artificial language such as Esperanto.

[244] A.M. Roberts, op. cit.

[245] It should be added, however, that the auxiliary language need not be used as a medium for literary art, and it is a mistake, as Pfaundler points out, to translate poems into such a language.

[246] See International Language and Science, 1910, by Couturat, Jespersen, Lorenz, Ostwald, Pfaundler, and Donnan, five professors living in five different countries.

[247] The progress of the movement is recorded in its official journal, Progreso, edited by Couturat, and in De Beaufront's journal, La Langue Auxiliaire.




Social Hygiene in Relation to the Alleged Opposition between Socialism and Individualism—The Two Parties in Politics—The Relation of Conservatism and Radicalism to Socialism and Individualism—The Basis of Socialism—The Basis of Individualism—The seeming Opposition between Socialism and Individualism merely a Division of Labour—Both Socialism and Individualism equally Necessary—Not only Necessary but Indispensable to each other—The Conflict between the Advocates of Environment and Heredity—A New Embodiment of the supposed Conflict between Socialism and Individualism—The Place of Eugenics—Social Hygiene ultimately one with the Hygiene of the Soul—The Function of Utopias.

The controversy between Individualism and Socialism, the claim of the personal unit as against the claim of the collective community, is of ancient date. Yet it is ever new and constantly presented afresh. It even seems to become more acute as civilization progresses. Every scheme of social reform, every powerful manifestation of individual energy, raise anew a problem that is never out of date.

It is inevitable, indeed, that with the development of social hygiene during the past hundred years there should also develop a radical opposition of opinion as to the methods by which such hygiene ought to be accomplished. There has always been this opposition in the political sphere; it is natural to find it also in the social sphere. The very fact that old-fashioned politics are [382] becoming more and more transformed into questions of social hygiene itself ensures the continuance of such an opposition.

In politics, and especially in the politics of constitutional countries of which England is the type, there are normally two parties. There is the party that holds by tradition, by established order and solidarity, the maintenance of the ancient hierarchical constitution of society, and in general distinguishes itself by a preference for the old over the new. There is, on the other side, the party that insists on progress, on freedom, on the reasonable demands of the individual, on the adaptation of the accepted order to changing conditions, and in general distinguishes itself by a preference for the new over the old. The first may be called the party of structure, and the second the party of function. In England we know the adherents of one party as Conservatives and those of the other party as Liberals or Radicals.

In time, it is true, these normal distinctions between the party of structure and the party of function tend to become somewhat confused; and it is precisely the transition of politics into the social sphere which tends to introduce confusion. With a political system which proceeds ultimately out of a society with a feudalistic basis, the normal attitude of political parties is long maintained. The party of structure, the Conservative party, holds by the ancient feudalistic ideals which are really, in the large sense, socialistic, though a socialism based on a foundation of established inequality, and so altogether unlike the democratic socialism promulgated [383] to-day. The party of function, the Liberal party, insists on the break-up of this structural socialism to meet the new needs of progressive civilization. But when feudalism has been left far behind, and many of the changes introduced by Liberalism have become part of the social structure, they fall under the protection of Conservatives who are fighting against new Liberal innovations. Thus the lines of delimitation tend to become indistinct.

In the politics of social hygiene there are the same two factors: the party of structure and the party of function. In their nature and in their opposition to each other they correspond to the two parties in the old political field. But they have changed their character and their names: the party of structure is here Socialism or Collectivism, [248] the party of function is Individualism. [249] And while the Tory, the Conservative of early days, was allied to Collectivism, and the Whig, the Liberal of early days, to Individualism, that correspondence has ceased to be [384] invariable owing to the confused manner in which the old political parties have nowadays shifted their ground. We may thus see a Liberal who is a Collectivist when a Collectivist measure may involve that innovation to secure adjustment to new needs which is of the essence of Liberalism, and we may see a Conservative who is an Individualist when Individualism involves that maintenance of the existing order which is of the essence of Conservatism. Whether a man is a Conservative or a Liberal, he may incline either to Socialism or to Individualism without breaking with his political tradition. It is, therefore, impossible to import any political animus into the fundamental antagonism between Individualism and Socialism, which prevails in the sphere of social hygiene.

We cannot hope to see clearly the grave problems involved by the fundamental antagonism between Socialism and Individualism unless we understand what each is founded on and what it is aiming at.

When we seek to inquire how it is that the Socialist ideal exerts so powerful an attraction on the human mind, and why it is ever seeking new modes of practical realization, we cannot fail to perceive that it ultimately proceeds from the primitive need of mutual help, a need which was felt long before the appearance of humanity. [250] If, however, we keep strictly to our immediate mammalian traditions it may be said that the earliest socialist community [385] is the family, with its trinity of father, mother, and child. The primitive family constitutes a group which is conditioned by the needs of each member. Each individual is subordinated to the whole. The infant needs the mother and the mother needs the infant; they both need the father and the father needs both for the complete satisfaction of his own activities. Socially and economically this primitive group is a unit, and if broken up into its individual parts these would be liable to perish.

However we may multiply our social unit, however we may enlarge and elaborate it, however we may juggle with the results, we cannot disguise the essential fact. At the centre of every social agglomeration, however vast, however small, lies the social unit of the family of which each individual is by himself either unable to live or unable to reproduce, unable, that is to say, to gratify the two fundamental needs of hunger and love.

There are many people who, while willing to admit that the family is, in a sense, a composite social unit to which each part has need of the other parts, so that all are mutually bound together, seek to draw a firm line of distinction between the family and society. Family life, they declare, is not irreconcilable with individualism; it is merely un égoïsme à trois. It is, however, difficult to see how such a distinction can be maintained, whether we look at the matter theoretically or practically. In a small country like Great Britain, for instance, every Englishman (excluding new immigrants) is related by blood to every other Englishman, as would become clearer if every man possessed his pedigree for a thousand years back. When [386] we remember, further, also, that every nation has been overlaid by invasions, warlike or peaceful, from neighbouring lands, and has, indeed, been originally formed in this way since no people has sprung up out of the soil of its own land, we must further admit that the nations themselves form one family related by blood.

Our genealogical relation to our fellows is too remote and extensive to concern us much practically and sentimentally, though it is well that we should realize it. If we put it aside, we have still to remember that our actual need of our fellows is not definitely to be distinguished from the mutual needs of the members of the smallest social unit, the family.

In practice the individual is helpless. Of all animals, indeed, man is the most helpless when left to himself. He must be cared for by others at every moment during his long infancy. He is dependent on the exertions of others for shelter and clothes, while others are occupied in preparing his food and conveying it from the ends of the world. Even if we confine ourselves to the most elementary needs of a moderately civilized existence, or even if our requirements are only those of an idiot in an asylum, yet, for every one of us, there are literally millions of people spending the best of their lives from morning to night and perhaps receiving but little in return. The very elementary need of the individual in an urban civilization for pure water to drink can only be attained by organized social effort. The gigantic aqueducts constructed by the Romans are early monuments of social activity typical of all the rest. The primary needs of the individual can only [387] be supplied by an immense and highly organized social effort. The more complex civilization becomes, and the more numerous individual needs become, so much the more elaborate and highly organized becomes the social response to those needs. The individual is so dependent on society that he needs not only the active work of others, but even their mere passive good opinion, and if he loses that he is a failure, bankrupt, a pauper, a lunatic, a criminal, and the social reaction against him may suffice to isolate him, even to put him out of life altogether. So dependent indeed on society is the individual that there has always been a certain plausibility in the old idea of the Stoics, countenanced by St. Paul, and so often revived in later days (as by Schäffle, Lilienfeld, and René Worms), that society is an organism in which the individuals are merely cells depending for their significance on the whole to which they belong. Just as the animal is, as Hegel, the metaphysician, called it, a "nation," and Dareste, the physiologist, a "city," made up of cells which are individuals having a common ancestor, so the actual nation, the real city, is an animal made up of individuals which are cells having a common ancestor, or, as Oken long ago put it, individuals are the organs of the whole. [251] Man is a social animal in constant action and reaction with all his fellows of the same group—a group which becomes ever greater as civilization advances—and socialism is merely the formal statement of this ultimate social fact. [252]

[388] There is a divinity that hedges certain words. A sacred terror warns the profane off them as off something that might blast the beholder's sight. In fact it is so, and even a clear-sighted person may be blinded by such a word. Of these words none is more typical than the word "socialism." Not so very long ago a prominent public man, of high intelligence, but evidently susceptible to the terror-striking influence of words, went to Glasgow to deliver an address on Social Reform. He warned his hearers against Socialism, and told them that, though so much talked about, it had not made one inch of progress; of practical Socialism or Collectivism there were no signs at all. Yet, as some of his hearers pointed out, he gave his address in a municipally owned hall, illuminated by municipal lights, to an audience which had largely arrived in municipal tramcars travelling through streets owned, maintained, and guarded by the municipality. This audience was largely educated in State schools, in which their children nowadays can receive not only free education and free books, but, if necessary, free food and free medical inspection and treatment. Moreover, the members of this same audience thus assured of the non-existence of Socialism, are entitled to free treatment in the municipal hospital, should an infective disease overtake them; the municipality provides them freely with concerts and picture galleries, golf courses and swimming ponds; and in old age, finally, if duly qualified, they [389] receive a State pension. Now all these measures are socialistic, and Socialism is nothing more or less than a complicated web of such measures; the socialistic State, as some have put it, is simply a great national co-operative association of which the Government is the board of managers.

It is said by some who disclaim any tendency to Socialism, that what they desire is not the State-ownership of the means of production, but State-regulation. Let the State, in the interests of the community, keep a firm control over the individualistic exploitation of capital, let it tax capital as far as may be desirable in the interests of the community. But beyond this, capital, as well as land, is sacred. The distinction thus assumed is not, however, valid. The very people who make this distinction are often enthusiastic advocates of an enlarged navy and a more powerful army. Yet these can only be provided by taxation, and every tax in a democratic State is a socialistic measure, and involves collective ownership of the proceeds, whether they are applied to making guns or swimming-baths. Every step in the regulation of industry assumes the rights of society over individualistic production, and is therefore socialistic. It is a question of less or more, but except along those two lines, there is no socialism at all to be reckoned with in the practical affairs of the world. That revolutionary socialism of the dogmatically systematic school of Karl Marx which desired to transfer society at a single stroke by taking over and centralizing all the means of production may now be regarded as a dream. It never at any time [390] took root in the English-speaking lands, though it was advocated with unwearying patience by men of such force of intellect and of character as Mr. Hyndman and William Morris. Even in Germany, the land of its origin, nearly all its old irreconcilable leaders are dead, and it is now slowly but steadily losing influence, to give place to a more modern and practical socialism.

As we are concerned with it to-day and in the future, Socialism is not a rigid economic theory, nor is it the creed of a narrow sect. In its wide sense it is a name that covers all the activities—first instinctive, then organized—which arise out of the fundamental fact that man is a social animal. In its more precise sense it indicates the various orderly measures that are taken by groups of individuals—whether States or municipalities—to provide collectively for the definite needs of the individuals composing the group. So much for Socialism.

The individualist has a very different story to tell. From the point of view of Individualism, however elaborate the structure of the society you erect, it can only, after all, be built up of individuals, and its whole worth must depend on the quality of those individuals. If they are not fully developed and finely tempered by high responsibilities and perpetual struggles, all social effort is fruitless, it will merely degrade the individual to the helpless position of a parasite. The individual is born alone; he must die alone; his deepest passions, his most exquisite tastes, are personal; in this world, or in any other world, all the activities of society cannot suffice to save his soul. Thus it is that the individual must bear [391] his own burdens, for it is only in so doing that the muscles of his body grow strong and that the energies of his spirit become keen. It is by the qualities of the individual alone that work is sound and that initiative is possible. All trade and commerce, every practical affair of life, depend for success on the personal ability of individuals. [253] It is not only so in the everyday affairs of life, it is even more so on the highest planes of intellectual and spiritual life. The supreme great men of the race were termed by Carlyle its "heroes," by Emerson its "representative men," but, equally by the less and by the more democratic term, they are always individuals standing apart from society, often in violent opposition to it, though they have always conquered in the end. When any great person has stood alone against the world it has always been the world that lost. The strongest [392] man, as Ibsen argued in his Enemy of the People, is the man who stands most alone. "He will be the greatest," says Nietzsche in Beyond Good and Evil, "who can be the most solitary, the most concealed, the most divergent." Every great and vitally organized person is hostile to the rigid and narrow routine of social conventions, whether established by law or by opinion; they must ever be broken to suit his vital needs. Therefore the more we multiply these social routines, the more strands we weave into the social web, the more closely we draw them, by so much the more we are discouraging the production of great and vitally organized persons, and by so much the more we are exposing society to destruction at the hands of such persons.

Beneath Socialism lies the assertion that society came first and that individuals are indefinitely apt for education into their place in society. Socialism has inherited the maxim, which Rousseau, the uncompromising Individualist, placed at the front of his Social Contract: "Man is born free, and everywhere he is in chains." There is nothing to be done but to strike off the chains and organize society on a social basis. Men are not this or that; they are what they have been made. Make the social conditions right, says the thorough-going Socialist, and individuals will be all that we could desire them to be. Not poverty alone, but disease, lunacy, prostitution, criminality are all the results of bad social and economic conditions. Create the right environment and you have done all that is necessary. To some extent that is clearly true. But the individualist insists that there are definite [393] limits to its truth. Even in the most favourable environment nearly every ill that the Socialist seeks to remove is found. Inevitably, the Individualist declares, because we do not spring out of our environment, but out of our ancestral stocks. Against the stress on environment, the Individualist lays the stress on the ascertained facts of heredity. It is the individual that counts, and for good or for ill the individual brought his fate with him at birth. Ensure the production of sound individuals, and you may set at naught the environment. You will, indeed, secure results incomparably better than even the most anxious care expended on environment alone can ever hope to secure.

Such are the respective attitudes of Socialism and Individualism. So far as I can see, they are both absolutely right. Nor is it even clear that they are really opposed; for, as happens in every field, while the affirmations of each are sound, their denials are unsound. Certainly, along each line we may be carried to absurdity. The Individualism of Max Stirner is not far from the ultimate frontier of sanity, and possibly even on the other side of it; [254] while the Socialism of the Oneida Community involved a self-subordination which it would be idle to expect from the majority of men and women. But there is a perfect division of labour between Socialism and Individualism. We cannot have too much of either [394] of them. We have only to remember that the field of each is distinct. No one needs Individualism in his water supply, and no one needs Socialism in his religion. All human affairs sort themselves out as coming within the province of Socialism or of Individualism, and each may be pushed to its furthest extreme. [255]

It so happens, however, that the capacity of the human brain is limited, and a single brain is not made to hold [395] together the idea of Socialism and the idea of Individualism. Ordinary people have, it is true, no practical difficulty whatever in acting concurrently in accordance with the ideas of Socialism and of Individualism. But it is different with the men of ideas; they must either be Socialists or Individualists; they cannot be both. The tendency in one or the other direction is probably inborn in these men of ideas.

We need not regret this inevitable division of labour. On the contrary, it is difficult to see how the right result could otherwise be brought about. People without ideas experience no difficulty in harmonizing the two tendencies. But if the ideas of Socialism and Individualism tended to appear in the same brain they would neutralize each other or lead action into an unprofitable via media. The separate initiative and promulgation of the two tendencies encourages a much more effective action, and best promotes that final harmony of the two extremes which the finest human development needs.

There is more to be said. Not only are both alike indispensable, and both too profoundly rooted in human nature to be abolished or abridged, but each is indispensable to the other. There can be no Socialism without Individualism; there can be no Individualism without Socialism. Only a very fine development of personal character and individual responsibility can bear up any highly elaborated social organization, which is why small Socialist communities have only attained success by enlisting finely selected persons; only a highly organized social structure can afford scope for the play of individuality. [396] The enlightened Socialist nowadays often realizes something of the relationship of Socialism to Individualism, and the Individualist—if he were not in recent times, for all his excellent qualities, sometimes lacking in mental flexibility and alertness—would be prepared to admit his own relationship to Socialism. "The organization of the whole is dominated by the necessities of cellular life," as Dareste says. That truth is well recognized by the physiologists since the days of Claude Bernard. It is absolutely true of the physiology of society. Social organization is not for the purpose of subordinating the individual to society; it is as much for the purpose of subordinating society to the individual.

Between individuals, even the greatest, and society there is perpetual action and reaction. While the individual powerfully acts on society, he can only so act in so far as he is himself the instrument and organ of society. The individual leads society, but only in that direction whither society wishes to go. Every man of science merely carries knowledge or invention one further step, a needed and desired step, beyond the stage reached by his immediate predecessors. Every poet and artist is only giving expression to the secret feelings and impulses of his fellows. He has the courage to utter for the first time the intimate emotion and aspiration which he finds in the depth of his own soul, and he has the skill to express them in forms of radiant beauty. But all these secret feelings and desires are in the hearts of other men, who have not the boldness to tell them nor the ability to [397] embody them exquisitely. In the life of man, as in nature generally, there is a perpetual process of exfoliation, as Edward Carpenter calls it, whereby a latent but striving desire is revealed, and the man of genius is the stimulus and the incarnation of this exfoliating movement. That is why every great poet and artist when once his message becomes intelligible, is acclaimed and adored by the crowd for whom he would only have been an object of idle wonderment if he had not expressed and glorified themselves. When the man of genius is too far ahead of his time, he is rejected, however great his genius may be, because he represents the individual out of vital relation to his time. A Roger Bacon, for all his stupendous intellect, is deprived of pen and paper and shut up in a monastery, because he is undertaking to answer questions which will not be asked until five centuries after his death. Perhaps the supreme man of genius is he who, like Virgil, Leonardo, or Shakespeare, has a message for his own time and a message for all times, a message which is for ever renewed for every new generation.

The need for insisting on the intimate relations between Socialism and Individualism has become the more urgent to-day because we are reaching a stage of civilization in which each tendency is inevitably so pushed to its full development that a clash is only prevented by the realization that here we have truly a harmony. Sometimes a matter that belongs to one sphere is so closely intertwined with a matter that belongs to the other that [398] it is a very difficult problem how to hold them separate and allow each its due value. [256]

At times, indeed, it is really very difficult to determine to which sphere a particular kind of human activity belongs. This is notably the case as regards education. "Render unto Cæsar the things that be Cæsar's, and unto God the things that be God's." But is education among the things that belong to Cæsar, to social organization, or among the things that belong to God, to the province of the individual's soul? There is much to be said on both sides. Of late the Socialist tendency prevails here, and there is a disposition to standardize rigidly an education so superficial, so platitudinous, so uniform, so unprofitable—so fatally oblivious of what even the word education means [257]—that some day, perhaps, the revolted Individualist spirit will arise in irresistible might to sweep away the whole worthless structure from top to bottom, with even such possibilities of good as it may conceal. The educationalists of to-day may do well to remember that it is wise to be generous to your enemies even in the interests of your own preservation.

[399] In every age the question of Individualism and Socialism takes on a different form. In our own age it has become acute under the form of a conflict between the advocates of good heredity and the advocates of good environment. On the one hand there is the desire to breed the individual to a high degree of efficiency by eugenic selection, favouring good stocks and making the procreation of bad stocks more difficult. On the other hand there is the effort so to organize the environment by collectivist methods that life for all may become easy and wholesome. As usual, those who insist on the importance of good environment are inclined to consider that the question of heredity may be left to itself, and those who insist on the importance of good heredity are indifferent to environment. As usual, also, there is a real underlying harmony of those two demands. There is, however, here more than this. In this most modern of their embodiments, Socialism and Individualism are not merely harmonious, each is the key to the other, which remains unattainable without it. However carefully we improve our breed, however anxiously we guard the entrance to life, our labour will be in vain if we neglect to adapt the environment to the fine race we are breeding. The best individuals are not the toughest, any more than the highest species are the toughest, but rather, indeed, the reverse, and no creature needs so much and so prolonged an environing care as man, to ensure his survival. On the other hand, an elaborate attention to the environment, combined with a reckless inattention to the quality of the individuals born to live in that environment can [400] only lead to an overburdened social organization which will speedily fall by its own weight.

During the past century the Socialists of the school for bettering the environment have for the most part had the game in their own hands. They founded themselves on the very reasonable basis of sympathy, a basis which the eighteenth-century moralists had prepared, which Schopenhauer had formulated, which George Eliot had passionately preached, which had around its operations the immense prestige of the gospel of Jesus. The environmental Socialists—always quite reasonably—set themselves to improve the conditions of labour; they provided local relief for the poor; they built hospitals for the free treatment of the sick. They are proceeding to feed school children, to segregate and protect the feeble-minded, to insure the unemployed, to give State pensions to the aged, and they are even asked to guarantee work for all. Now these things, and the likes of them, are not only in accordance with natural human impulses, but for the most part they are reasonable, and in protecting the weak the strong are, in a certain sense, protecting themselves. No one nowadays wants the hungry to hunger or the suffering to suffer. Indeed, in that sense, there never has been any laissez-faire school. [258]

[401] But as the movement of environmental Socialism realizes itself, it becomes increasingly clear that it is itself multiplying the work which it sets itself to do. In enabling the weak, the incompetent, and the defective to live and to live comfortably, it makes it easier for those on the borderland of these classes to fall into them, and it furnishes the conditions which enable them to propagate their like, and to do this, moreover, without that prudent limitation which is now becoming universal in all classes above those of the weak, the incompetent, and the defective. Thus unchecked environmental Socialism, obeying natural impulses and seeking legitimate ends, would be drawn into courses at the end of which only social enfeeblement, perhaps even dissolution, could be seen.

The key to the situation, it is now beginning to be more and more widely felt, is to be found in the counterbalancing tendency of Individualism, and the eugenic guardianship of the race. Not, rightly understood, as a method of arresting environmental Socialism, nor even as a counterblast to its gospel of sympathy. Nietzsche, indeed, has made a famous assault on sympathy, as he has on conventional morality generally, but his "immoralism" in general and his "hardness" in particular are but new and finer manifestations of those faded virtues he was really seeking to revive. The superficially sympathetic man flings a coin to the beggar; the more deeply sympathetic man builds an almshouse for him so that he need no longer beg; but perhaps the most radically sympathetic of all is the man who arranges that the beggar shall not be born.

[402] So it is that the question of breed, the production of fine individuals, the elevation of the ideal of quality in human production over that of mere quantity, begins to be seen, not merely as a noble ideal in itself, but as the only method by which Socialism can be enabled to continue on its present path. If the entry into life is conceded more freely to the weak, the incompetent, and the defective than to the strong, the efficient, and the sane, then a Sisyphean task is imposed on society; for every burden lifted two more burdens appear. But as individual responsibility becomes developed, as we approach the time to which Galton looked forward, when the eugenic care for the race may become a religion, then social control over the facts of life becomes possible. Through the slow growth of knowledge concerning hereditary conditions, by voluntary self-restraint, by the final disappearance of the lingering prejudice against the control of procreation, by sterilization in special cases, by methods of pressure which need not amount to actual compulsion, [259] it will be possible to attain an increasingly firm grip on the evil elements of heredity. Not until such measures as these, under the controlling influence of a sense of personal responsibility extending to every member of the [403] community, have long been put into practice, can we hope to see man on the earth risen to his full stature, healthy in body, noble in spirit, beautiful in both alike, moving spaciously and harmoniously among his fellows in the great world of Nature, to which he is so subtly adapted because he has himself sprung out of it and is its most exquisite flower. At this final point social hygiene becomes one with the hygiene of the soul. [260]

Poets and prophets, from Jesus and Paul to Novalis and Whitman, have seen the divine possibilities of Man. There is no temple in the world, they seem to say, so great as the human body; he comes in contact with Heaven, they declare, who touches a human person. But these human things, made to be gods, have spawned like frogs over all the earth. Everywhere they have beslimed its purity and befouled its beauty, darkening the very sunshine. Heaped upon one another in evil masses, preying upon one another as no other creature has ever preyed upon its kind, they have become a festering heap which all the oceans in vain lave with their antiseptic waters, and all the winds of heaven cannot purify. It is only in the unextinguished spark of reason within him that salvation for man may ever be found, in the realization [404] that he is his own star, and carries in his hands his own fate. The impulses of Individualism and of Socialism alike prompt us to gain self-control and to learn the vast extent of our responsibility. The whole of humanity is working for each of us; each of us must live worthy of that great responsibility to humanity. By how fine a flash of insight Jesus declared that few could enter the Kingdom of Heaven! Not until the earth is purified of untold millions of its population will it ever become the Heaven of old dreamers, in which the elect walk spaciously and nobly, loving one another. Only in such spacious and pure air is it possible for the individual to perfect himself, as a rose becomes perfect, according to Dante's beautiful simile, [261] in order that he may spread abroad for others the fragrance that has been generated within him. If one thinks of it, that seems a truism, yet, even in this twentieth century, how few, how very few, there are who know it!

This is why we cannot have too much Individualism, we cannot have too much Socialism. They play into each other's hands. To strengthen one is to give force to the other. The greater the vigour of both, the more vitally a society is progressing. "I can no more call myself an Individualist or a Socialist," said Henry George, "than one who considers the forces by which the planets are held to their orbits could call himself a centrifugalist or a centripetalist." To attain a society in which Individualism and Socialism are each carried to its extreme point would be to attain to the society that lived in the [405] Abbey of Thelema, in the City of the Sun, in Utopia, in the land of Zarathustra, in the Garden of Eden, in the Kingdom of Heaven. It is a kingdom, no doubt, that is, as Diderot expressed it, "diablement idéal." But to-day we hold in our hands more certainly than ever before the clues that were imperfectly foreshadowed by Plato, and what our fathers sought ignorantly we may attempt by methods according to knowledge. No Utopia was ever realized; and the ideal is a mirage that must ever elude us or it would cease to be ideal. Yet all our progress, if progress there be, can only lie in setting our faces towards that goal to which Utopias and ideals point.

[248] In the narrow sense Socialism is identical with the definite economic doctrine of the Collectivistic organization of the productive and distributive work of society. It also possesses, as Bosanquet remarks (in an essay on "Individualism and Socialism," in The Civilization of Christendom), "a deeper meaning as a name for a human tendency that is operative throughout history." Every Collectivist is a Socialist, but not every Socialist would admit that he is a Collectivist. "Moral Socialism," however, though not identical with "Economic Socialism," tends to involve it.

[249] The term "Individualism," like the term "Socialism," is used in varying senses, and is not, therefore, satisfactory to everyone. Thus E.F.B. Fell (The Foundations of Liberty, 1908), regarding "Individualism," as a merely negative term, prefers the term "Personalism," to denote a more positive ideal. There is, however, by no means as any necessity to consider "Individualism," a more negative term than "Socialism."

[250] The inspiring appeal of Socialism to ardent minds is no doubt ethical. "The ethics of Socialism," says Kirkup, "are closely akin to the ethics of Christianity, if not identical with them." That, perhaps, is why Socialism is so attractive to some minds, so repugnant to others.

[251] This idea was elaborated by Eimer in an appendix to his Organic Evolution on the idea of the individual in the animal kingdom.

[252] The term "socialism" is said to date from about the year 1835. Leroux claimed that he invented it, in opposition to the term "individualism," but at that period it had become so necessary and so obvious a term that it is difficult to say positively by whom it was first used.

[253] An important point which the Individualist may fairly bring forward in this connection is the tendency of Socialism to repress the energy of the best worker among its officials at the expense of the public. Alike in government offices at Whitehall and in municipal offices in the town halls there is a certain proportion of workers who find pleasure in putting forth their best energies at high pressure. But the majority take care that work shall be carried on at low pressure, and that the output shall not exceed a certain understood minimum. They ensure this by making things uncomfortable for the workers who exceed that minimum. The gravity of this evil is scarcely yet realized. It could probably be counteracted by so organizing promotion that the higher posts really went to the officials distinguished by the quantity and the quality of their work. Pensions should also be affected by the same consideration. In any case, the evil is serious, and is becoming more so since the number of public officials is constantly increasing. The Council of the Law Society found some years ago that the cost of civil administration in England had increased between the years 1894 and 1904 from 19 millions to 25 millions, and, excluding the Revenue Departments, it is now said to have gone up to 42 millions. It is an evil that will have to be dealt with sooner or later.

[254] Max Stirner wrote his work, Der Einzige und sein Eigenthum (The Ego and His Own, in the English translation of Byington), in 1845. His life has been written by John Henry Mackay (Max Stirner: Sein Leben und Sein Werk), and an interesting study of Max Stirner (whose real name was Schmidt) will be found in James Huneker's Egoists.

[255] In the introduction to my earliest book, The New Spirit (1889), I set forth this position, from which I have never departed: "While we are socializing all those things of which all have equal common need, we are more and more tending to leave to the individual the control of those things which in our complex civilization constitute individuality. We socialize what we call our physical life in order that we may attain greater freedom for what we call our spiritual life." No doubt such a point of view was implicit in Ruskin and other previous writers, just as it has subsequently been set forth by Ellen Key and others, while from the economic side it has been well formulated by Mr. J.A. Hobson in his Evolution of Capital: "The very raison d'être of increased social cohesiveness is to economize and enrich the individual life, and to enable the play of individual energy to assume higher forms out of which more individual satisfaction may accrue." "Socialism will be of value," thought Oscar Wilde in his Soul of Man, "simply because it will lead to Individualism." "Socialism denies economic Individualism for any," says Karl Nötzel ("Zur Ethischen Begrundung des Sozialismus," Sozialistische Monatshefte, 1910, Heft 23), "in order to make moral intellectual Individualism possible for all." And as it has been seen that Socialism leads to Individualism, so it has also been seen that Individualism, even on the ethical plane, leads to Socialism. "You must let the individual make his will a reality in the conduct of his life," Bosanquet remarks in an essay already quoted, "in order that it may be possible for him consciously to entertain the social purpose as a constituent of his will. Without these conditions there is no social organism and no moral Socialism.... Each unit of the social organism has to embody his relations with the whole in his own particular work and will; and in order to do this the individual must have a strength and depth in himself proportional to and consisting of the relations which he has to embody." Grant Allen long since clearly set forth the harmony between Individualism and Socialism in an article published in the Contemporary Review in 1879.

[256] An instructive illustration is furnished by the question of the relation of the sexes, and elsewhere (Studies in the Psychology of Sex, Vol. VI, "Sex in Relation to Society") I have sought to show that we must distinguish between marriage, which is directly the affair of the individuals primarily concerned, and procreation, which is mainly the concern of society.

[257] See, for instance, the opinion of the former Chief Inspector of Elementary Schools in England, Mr. Edmond Holmes, What Is and What Might Be (1911). He points out that true education must be "self-realization," and that the present system of "education" is entirely opposed to self-realization. Sir John Gorst, again, has repeatedly attacked the errors of the English State system of education.

[258] The phrase Laissez faire is sometimes used as though it were the watchword of a party which graciously accorded a free hand to the Devil to do his worst. As a matter of fact, it was simply a phrase adopted by the French economists of the eighteenth century to summarize the conclusion of their arguments against the antiquated restrictions which were then stifling the trade and commerce of France (see G. Weuleresse, Le Mouvement Physiocratique en France, 1910, Vol. II, p. 17). Properly understood, it is not a maxim which any party need be ashamed to own.

[259] I would again repeat that I do not regard legislation as a channel of true eugenic reform. As Bateson well says (op. cit. p. 15); "It is not the tyrannical and capricious interference of a half-informed majority which can safely mould or purify a population, but rather that simplification of instinct for which we ever hope, which fuller knowledge alone can make possible." Even the subsidising of unexceptionable parents, as the same writer remarks, cannot be viewed with enthusiasm. "If we picture to ourselves the kind of persons who would infallibly be chosen as examples of 'civic worth' the prospect is not very attractive."

[260] "Aristotle, herein the organ and exponent of the Greek national mind," remarks Gomperz, "understood by the hygiene of the soul the avoidance of all extremes, the equilibrium of the powers, the harmonious development of aptitudes, none of which is allowed to starve or paralyse the others." Gomperz points out that this individual morality corresponded to the characteristics of the Greek national religion—its inclusiveness and spaciousness, its freedom and serenity, its ennoblement alike of energetic action and passive enjoyment (Gomperz, Greek Thinkers, Eng. Trans., Vol. III, p. 13).

[261] Convito, IV, 27.




(Names of Authors quoted are italicized.)




Transciber's notes:

With the following exceptions spelling and punctuation of the original text have been maintained:

  1. Obvious typographical errors and punctuation inconsistencies.
  2. Chapter V, Par 16 "high death-rate" has been changed to "high birth-rate".
  3. Chapter VII Par 16 "precocious sexual" has been changed to "precocious scriptural".