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i/iO Library cI \':yj Dcpt. 

of City Planning and LanJsupe Architecture 

r^ % Copyright, 1909, 


Yalb Univbbsity Pbbbs. 

Ektbbbd at Stationbbs* Hall, London. 



13 I ^ 

Fbinted in the Unitbd Statbs. 





When first I was honoured by the request to 
deliver this course of lectures, founded by one 
whom I knew and respected, and who was himself 
the model of a generous and public-spirited citizen, 
zealous in many good works, I hesitated to under- 
take a function which could, as it seemed to me, be 
better discharged by some American citizen who, 
because he was a citizen, knew from personal ob- 
servation and experience what are the duties and 
responsibilities that belong to citizenship in this 
country. Such a lecturer would, I thought, have 
the facts more thoroughly before him than a stranger 
could, and could deal with them more freely than 
one who might feel that it would be unbecoming 
for him to criticise the standard of civic duty in 
a nation to which he did not belong. 

Presently, however, it struck me that the funda- 
mental problems of citizenship are the same in all 

free countries, that as all preceding lecturers had 



viewed them from an American point of view, 
there might be some advantage in having them 
presented from an European point of view also, 
that the experience we Europeans have gained 
might be profitable to you here, and finally that 
every man who has in one country enjoyed excep- 
tional opportunities of studying the actualities of 
politics owes it to his friends in other countries to 
give them such conclusions as he has been able to 
form. Such opportunities have, as it happens, 
come in my way during many years spent in active 
political life in the British Parliament. Moreover, 
we English students owe a special duty to America, 
not only in respect of our fraternal attachment 
to your nation, but also because our political phe- 
nomena resemble yours more nearly than they do 
those of any other country, so that reflections 
drawn from Great Britain are likely to have some 
practical ^orth for you. Thus, I came eventually 
to the conclusion that the privilege of addressing 
you on the Duties of Citizenship was one I ought 
not to forego. 

What I have to say to you will accordingly be 
mainly based on what I have seen in Europe, and 
especially in England. When my observations are 


expressed in general terms, you will understand that 
they primarily refer to the phenomena of Europe, 
and when they are meant to refer to the United 
States, I shall say so expressly. I dwell on this point 
in order to avert possible misconceptions and to 
prevent you from supposing that I shall in any way 
approach that field of current politics which is to 
me, who represent here another country, a forbidden 
field. It will be only natural if some remarks I may 
have to make, though drawn from English expe- 
rience, should be applicable here, because the differ- 
ences between your institutions and ours are 
differences more often of form than of substance. 
The hindrances to good citizenship are at bottom 
and in principle the same in both countries, though 
the particular shape and aspect they take in one 
or the other may sometimes conceal their resem- 
blance. Accordingly, when I have occasion to note 
and comment on some phenomenon which occurs 
both in Europe and here, you will not suppose that 
my remarks are necessarily suggested by, or directed 
to, what I have observed in the United States. 

Everywhere in human society two principles Principles 


have been and are at work, principles antagonistic popular 
to one another, yet equally essential to the well- ma^ 


being of civil society. These are the principle of 
Obedience and the principle of Independence, the 
submission of the individual will to other wills and 
the assertion of that will against other wills. The 
former principle, carried to excess, gives Despotism. 
The latter, carried to excess, and generally diffused 
through a people, ends in Anarchy. The undue 
extension of the former has been so widespread 
as to have brought nearly all communities into a 
stage of despotic government and (till very re- 
cently) kept most of them there, whereas Anarchy 
has scarcely existed except in that detachment 
of individuals or families from one another which 
belongs to the very rudest states of society. 

The reasonable mean between, or an adjustment 
to one another of, these two principles creates 
what we call Free or Popular government, in which 
a relatively large number of individual wills agree 
to form a collective will of the community, and to 
obey that will cheerfully because each individual 
has borne a part in forming it. 

This scheme seems to offer not only the best 
security that the interests of all will be fully con- 
sidered and the common interest best attained, 
but also the best prospect that each individual 


will be stimulated to bear his proper share in the 
efforts and labours of the community. Accord- 
ingly^ men are now agreed, far more generally 
agreed than at any previous moment in history, 
that governments of a more or less popular type 
are to be preferred. The progress of civilized 
societies is evidently in that direction. 

Popular government, however, resting on the Civic 
recognition of the principle of Independence no less 
than on that of Obedience, requires for its success 
the presence of the conditions which make Inde- 
pendence real and serviceable. Each member of 
a free community must be capable of citizenship. 
Capacity involves three qualities — Intelligence, 
Self-control, Conscience. The citizen must be able 
to understand the interests of the community, 
must be able to subordinate his own will to the 
general will, must feel his responsibility to the 
community and be prepared to serve it by voting, 
working, or (if need be) fighting. 

Upon the extent to which these civic capacities 
are present in the community, the excellence of 
its government will generally depend. Such as 
are the stones, such will be the temple into which 
they are fitly compacted together. 


Of the three requisites, the two former are the 
more frequent and are the more easy to produce 
by proper training. The last, Conscience, or a 
sense of civic duty, is the rarest. 

Why is this? 
Rights and When the struggle for political liberty began 


by the wresting of power from kings or ruling 
groups^ the war was waged in the name of Rights. 
Whether the claim of Rights was based on old 
precedent, as happened in the England of Pym 
and Hampden, or deduced from the nature of man 
himself, as his inherent possession, as happened in 
France in 1789, or on both, as was the way of 
your ancestors in 1776, the demand was made for 
something which the citizen was to receive and 
enjoy. It might be a share in the government. 
It might be exemption or immunity from some 
exercise of arbitrary power. It might be equality 
of taxation. It might be the freedom to express 
opinion or to worship God. But in every case it 
was something claimed by the citizen as due to 
him, to be held and exercised by him for his benefit 
and satisfaction. He stood over against the ruling 
man or ruling class and said defiantly, ^'Thus 
far, and no farther." Rights to be won were the 


cry of battle. Rights to be enjoyed were the 
crown of victory. 

In the long conflict the other side of the civic 
relation naturally fell out of sight. Whoever 
claims a right for himself must respect the like 
right in another. Whoever wishes to assert his 
will as a member of the community must not only 
consent to obey the will of the community, but 
bear his share in serving it. As he is to profit by 
the safety and prosperity the community provides, 
so he must seek its good and place his personal 
will at its disposal. Benefit and burden, power 
and responsibility, go together. Duty is the cor- 
relative of Right. Nevertheless, the latter relation 
is the one which always tends to be forgotten 
and to drop into the background, so much more 
do men enjoy being honoured by the ascription 
of Rights than they do being reminded of Duties. 
It is more blessed to give than to receive. But to 
the average man it is less agreeable. 

Although in point of fact. Rights rather than 
Duties have been in the mind and on the lips of 
the champions of popular government, it needs no 
argument to prove that the theory of such a gov- 
ernment implies and assumes both intellectual 


capacity and moral zeal on the part of the citizens. 
A democracy which the bulk of its members did 
not care to join in directing would not be a 
democracy at all, but a government of the many 
by the few. If the citizens were ignorant and 
foolish; the laws would be bad and failure would 
dog the steps of government. If each sought his 
own good disregardf ul of the good of the commu- 
nity; it would go to pieces or succumb to violence. 
Ideal There was in the latter part of the eighteenth 


of popular and the earlier part of the nineteenth century a 
^^ faith widespread among educated men, and not 
wholly confined to those of a sanguine temper; that 
the government of the people by the people was 
the chief and a sufficient remedy for the ills that 
had afflicted society. It would be interesting to 
examine the sources of this Perfectionist doctrine 
(as one may call it). Was it partly a reaction 
from the theological violence and intolerance of 
the seventeenth century? Was it due to a per- 
ception of the faults of existing governments, so 
strong as to induce the belief that when they had 
been removed, all would go well? How much was 
contributed to it by the advance of scientific 
knowledge and by the notion that progress in man's 


mastery over nature must somehow be accom- 
panied by a mastery over his own worse impulses ? 
how much by the first stirrings of the spirit of 
Romanticism and the longing to return to nature 
and simplicity? For such an inquiry, however, 
this is not the place. All I ask you to note is 
that these Perfectionists based their ideal of 
Democracy on a view of human nature which had 
been held neither in the ancient world nor (so far as 
I recall) by anybody in the Middle Ages. They as- 
sumed, and the modern apostles of popular govern- 
ment have generally assumed, that the mass of 
mankind, at any rate in what are called civilized 
countries, will be Capable Citizens, i,e, that they 
will have sense enough to judge of public affairs, 
discernment enough to choose the right men for 


office, self-control enough to accept the decision of 
the majority, honesty enough to seek the general 
interest rather than try to secure their own at the 
expense of the community, public spirit enough to 
take trouble or even face danger for the good of 
the community. When in the course of events it 
became painfully evident that the bulk of the 
people at any given time in any given country 
might not and in fact did not possess these merits. 


the idealist was not dismayed. His faith in the 
vivifjdng force of freedom made him hope all 
things and believe all things. 

"The people/' so he used to argue, "may be 
more ignorant and apathetic than we foresaw. 
That is because they have not been heretofore 
trusted. Now that their destinies are being com- 
mitted to their own hands, their capacity will 
grow. Opportunity will soon evoke intelligence. 
Power wiU bring responsibiUty and kindle zeal. 
Trust the people and they will quickly justify your 

Throughout the long struggle for liberty and 
nationaUty which began in Western Europe in 
1789, and has now reached the shores of the Bos- 
phorus, these hopes sustained the combatants and 
found voice in predictions still more confident, 
predictions which saw in freedom the cure for all 
human ills. 
American The founders of your republic were somewhat less 
sanguine. They had enjoyed self-government long 
enough to know that it is not a sovereign remedy 
for the faults of poUtical society. Some of them, 
especially in Connecticut and Massachusetts, had 
the Puritan faith in Original Sin. Others, like 


Hamilton and Morris, were keen observers and 
austere censors of human frailty. They knew that 
there would be some bad mer in politics, and plenty 
of weak, ignorant, or foolish men. They made 
due provision in their Constitutions against those 
who should try to deceive and mislead the people. 
But Jefferson had, at least till he gained experience 
as President, boundless reliance on the capacity of 
the people to know and do what was best. To 
hold or at least to profess such a belief became in 
the United States the habit, almost the duty, of 
good republicans for many a long year. The most 
daring application of the doctrine in a concrete 
case was that made by the men who more than a 
generation ago carried the Fourteenth and Fif- 
teenth amendments to the Federal Constitution. 
In Europe, those who, early in the last century, European 


sympathized with the patriots in Greece and Spain, 
those who conspired and fought for liberty in Italy 
and Poland, those who made or approved the 
revolutions of 1830 and 1848 in France, those who 
worked for constitutional government and national 
unity in Germany, were filled with the brightest 
hopes for the future. Under the light of Uberty 
all the evils which misgovernment had produced 


ment in 

in the past were to vanish. A reign of brother- 
hood and peace, an age of tranquil prosperity and 
assured order, was to dawn upon the long afflicted 
peoples. They would govern themselves well, not 
merely because every one would seek the common 
good, but because Freedom is the parent of Virtue. 
These feelings were less passionately expressed by 
Liberals in England than by the disciples of Mazzini 
in Italy, or by men like Victor Hugo, Lamartine, 
and Louis Blanc in France. But from 1830 to 
1870 the general atttitude of most of the powerful 
intellects and nearly all the finest characters among 
the thinkers and writers of Europe was a hopeful 
one, expecting immense gains to human progress 
and human happiness from the establishment of 
free institutions. 

These expectations have been in so far realized 
that the" condition of all the countries where such 
institutions now exist shows a marked improve- 
ment in the condition of the masses of the people, 
an improvement due not merely to the advance 
of science and consequent diffusion of comfort, but 
also to a juster and more humane legislation. No- 
body denies that our world of to-day is a better 
world for the common man. Few deny that this 


is largely due to better political institutions. A 
striking evidence of this general conviction is to 
be found in the efforts which Japan and Russia 
have made, which Persia and the Turks are be- 
ginning to make for the establishment of parlia- 
mentary institutions. Even in China these have 
been talked of: De conducendo loquitur iam rhetore 

Nevertheless, there has been disappointment. 
Freedom has done much for the European and 
American continents, yet far less than was ex- 
pected. This cannot be ascribed to defects in the 
particular form of government adopted, for many 
forms have been tried in many countries. Neither 
is it wholly due to inexperience, for the faults 
incident to popular government appear in peoples 
which have long enjoyed a considerable measure of 
freedom as well as in those that have but lately 
won it. Some of the evils familiar under a mo- 
narchical system have recurred, such as class hatred, 
corruption, extravagance, the spirit of militarism, 
the tendency to disorder and disregard of the law. 
Other new evils have emerged. Though the aspect 
these evils take differs in different countries, you 
are everywhere told that the cause is practically 


the same. The citizens have failed to respond to 
the demand for active virtue and intelligent public 
spirit which free government makes and must 
make. Everywhere there is the same contrast 
between that which the theory of democracy re- 
quires and that which the practice of democracy 
reveals. Remember, for this is the kernel of the 
matter, that the theory of democracy assumes a 
far higher level of good sense, judgment, honest 
purpose, devotion to the public welfare in the 
citizen of a free country, than is either looked for 
or needed in the subject of a despotic monarchy 
or of an oligarchy. Thus the deficiencies which 
free governments show reduce themselves to the 
failure of the citizens to reach the needed standard 
of civic excellence. 

Human nature, which may appear to have im- 
proved and to be still improving, has not yet come 
anywhere near to reaching the Christian standard 
set forth in the New Testament. Neither has it yet 
shown itself quite good enough for the responsi- 
bilities which self-government imposes. In no 
European country is the average citizen what the 
citizen in a democracy ought to be, and in Switzer- 
land, the country where he seems to have attained 


the highest level, his superiority may be largely 
due to the comparative absence of the temptations 
which wealth brings. 

Let us fix our eyes on the Average Man, because The Aver- 
in a popular government he is the man to whom 
everything is ultimately referred, upon whom 
everything ultimately turns. The government is 
his. Officials are only his agents, working under 
his eye. The principles of a democracy ascribe 
and must ascribe to him the supreme and final 
voice in the conduct of public affairs. He cannot 
disclaim his responsibility without the risk of for- 
feiting his rights. 

Strictly speaking, there is no Average Man. 
Every individual has qualities which make his • 
character more or less different from that of other 
individuals. Hence the conduct of no single per- 
son can ever be predicted with certainty. Those 
who have studied living things, oak trees, for in- 
stance, or kittens, know that there is no normal 
oak tree and, still more evidently, no normal kitten. 
Kitten differs from kitten in character, as you may 
see when they are only a fortnight old. Neverthe- 
less, we form for ourselves a notion of the average 
kitten and its probable behaviour; and most of the 



so-called ''social sciences" are obliged to posit for 
their purpose an average individual. The Roman 
lawyers created a normal ''good householder" (I say 
normal; because he was conceived of as rather 
better than average) whom they called the bonvs 
paterfamilias, and whose conduct in managing his 
own property was deemed to set the standard of 
diligence to which the law expected every man to 
conform when he had to care for the property of 

If, taking any group of men, we strike off ten per 
cent as exceptionally intelligent and ten per cent 
as exceptionally dull, and then try to find a de- 
scription which is broadly or roughly true of the 
remaining eighty per cent in the particular aspect 
— here the civic aspect — in which they are to be 
studied, that will be a description of the Average 
Man. It will not be exactly true of any one per- 
son in the eighty per cent, but it will be so far 
true that the range of variation between the ex- 
tremes will be small; and it will therefore be true 
enough for most practical purposes in a given con- 
crete case, as regards any mental habit which the 
majority may evince, any action to which the ma- 
jority may incUne. 


When a man sitting beside you in the cars 
makes a remark on some incident of the day, and 
you say to yourself, " Just what one expects," you 
recognize him as a specimen of that class of Aver- 
age Man which you cannot ' define, but which you 
respect as constituting the majority of your fellow- 

The person whom it is proposed chiefly to con- 
sider in these lectures is the Average Citizen, and 
the question to be asked is — Why does he fall 
short of the proper standard of civic duty ? 

Man is confessedly a very imperfect being. 
Nowhere has that been more emphatically stated 
than in Connecticut and in this University, the 
home of Jonathan Edwards. The special point we 
have to discuss is the source of man's deficiencies 
in the performance of that particular class of his 
social duties which he owes to the poUtical com- 
munity whereof he is a member. 

Those deficiencies may be traced to three main Three chief 
causes. They are Indolence, Personal Self-interest, the defeo- 
Party Spirit. I propose to devote a lecture to c^rg^f 
each of these causes, and in a concluding lecture <»vicduty. 
to inquire what are the remedies that offer the 
best prospect of removing the evils found to exist. 


Why in- 
dolence is 
in public 


Dr. Samuel Johnson; being once asked how he 
came to have made a blunder in his famous Eng- 
lish Dictionary, is reported to have answered, " Ig- 
norance, Sir, sheer ignorance." Whoever has grown 
old enough to look back over the wasted oppor- 
tunities of life — and we all of us waste more 
opportunities than we use — will be apt to ascribe 
most of his blunders to sheer indolence. Some- 
times one has omitted to learn what it was 
needful to learn in order to proceed to action; 
sometimes one has shrunk from the painful effort 
required to reflect and decide on one's course, 
leaving it to Fortune to settle what Will ought to 
have settled; sometimes one has, from mere self- 
indulgent sluggishness, let the happy moment sUp. 

The difference between men who succeed and 
men who fail is not so much as we commonly 
suppose, due to differences in intellectual capacity. 
The difference which counts for most is that be- 
tween activity and slackness; between the man 
who, observing alertly and reflecting incessantly, 
anticipates contingencies before they occur, and 
the lazy, easy-going, slowly-moving man who is 


roused with difficulty, will not trouble himself to 
look ahead, and so being taken unprepared loses or 
misuses the opportunities that lead to fortune. If 
it be true that everywhere, though perhaps less here 
than in European countries, energy is the exception 
rather than the rule, we need not wonder that men 
show in the discharge of civic duty the defects 
which they show in their own affairs. No doubt 
public affairs demand only a small part of their 
time. But the spring of self-interest is not strong 
where public affairs are concerned. The need for 
activity is not continuously present. A duty shared 
with many others seems less of a personal duty. 
If a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand other citi- 
zens are as much bound to speak, vote, or act as 
each one of us is, the sense of obligation becomes to 
each of us weak. Still weaker does it become when 
one perceives the neglect of others to do their 
duty. The need for the good citizen's action, no 
doubt, becomes then all the greater. But it is only 
the best sort of citizen that feels it to be greater. 
The Average Man judges himself by the average 
standard and does not see why he should take 
more trouble than his neighbours. Thus we arrive 
at a result summed up in the terrible dictum, 


which reveals the basic fault of democracy, " What 
is Everybody's business is Nobody's business." 
Causes Of indolence, indifference, apathy, in general, no 

tended to Hiore need be said. It is a sin that easily besets 
lencere^ US all. We might suppose that where public 
the growth affairs are concerned it would decrease under the 


duty. influence of education and the press. But several 

general causes have tended to increase it in our 
own generation, despite the increasing strength of 
the appeal which civic duty makes to men who 
are, or if they cared might be, better informed 
about public affairs than were their fathers. 

Anindui- The first of these causes is that manners have 

gent spirit. 

grown gentler and passions less angry. A chief duty 
of the good citizen is to be angry when anger is 
called for, and to express his anger by deeds, to 
attack the bad citizen in office, or otherwise in 
power, to expose his dishonesty, to eject him from 
office, to brand him with an ignominy which will 
prevent his returning to any post of trust. In 
former days indignation flamed higher, and there 
was little tenderness for offenders. Jehu smote the 
prophets of Baal. Bad ministers — and no doubt 
sometimes good ministers also — were in England 
beheaded on Tower Hill. Everywhere punishment 


came quicker and was more severe, though to 
be sure it was often too harsh. Nowadays the 
arm of justice is often arrested by an indulgence 
which forgets that the true aim of punishment 
is the protection of the community. The very 
safeguards with which our slower and more careful 
procedure has surrounded trials and investigationsi 
proper as such safeguards are for the security of 
the innocent, have often so delayed the march of 
justice that when a conviction has at last been 
obtained, the offence has begun to be forgotten and 
the offender escapes with a trifling penalty, or 
with none. This is an illustration of the principle 
that as righteous indignation is a valuable motive 
power in politics, the decline in it means a decline 
either in the standard of virtue or in the standard 
of zeal, possibly in both. 
Another cause may be found in the fact that the Vast size 

of modem 

enormous growth of modern states has made the states, 
share in government of the individual citizen seem 
infinitesimally small. In an average Greek repub- 
lic, he was one of from two to ten thousand voters. 
In England or France to-day he is one of many 
millions. The chance that his vote will make any 
difference to the result is so slender that it appears 


to him negligible. We are proud, and justly 
proud, of having adapted free government to 
areas far vaster than were formerly thought capa- 
ble of receiving free institutions. It was hoped 
that the patriotism of the citizen would expand 
with the magnitude of the State. But this did 
not happen in Rome, the greatest of ancient re- 
publics. Can we say that it has happened in the 
modern world ? Few of us realize that though our 
own share may be smaller our responsibility in- 
creases with the power our State exerts. The late 
Professor Henry Sidgwick once travelled from Davos 
in the easternmost corner of Switzerland to the 
town of Cambridge in England and back again to 
deliver his vote against Home Rule at the general 
election of 1886, though he knew that his own side 
would have a majority in the constituency. Those 
who knew applauded, his opponents included, but I 
fear that few of us followed this shining example of 
civic virtue. 
Indepen- Thirdly, the highest, because the most difficult 

ri ftfi fifl less 

easy in huge duty, of a citizen is to fight valiantly for his con- 

— ""- victions when he is in a minority. The smaUer the 

minority, and the more unpopular it is, and the more 

violent are the attacks upon it, so much the louder 


is the call of duty to defend one's opinions. To 
withstand the "ardor civium prava iubentium" — 
to face "the multitude hasting to do evil" — this 
is the note and the test of genuine virtue and 
courage. Now this iS; or seems to be^ a more 
formidable task the vaster the community be- 
comes. It is harder to make your voice heard 
against the roar of ocean than against the whis- 
tling squall that sweeps down over a mountain lake. 

Lastly, there has been within the last century other in- 
a great accession to our knowledge of nature, a petingwith 
more widely diffused and developed interest in ^ *^' 
literature and art as well as in science. This de- 
velopment, in itself fraught with laudable means 
of enjoyment; has had the unforeseen yet natural 
result of reducing the interest in public affairs 
among the educated classes, while the ardour with 
which competitions in physical strength and skill 
are followed has in like manner diverted the thoughts 
and attention of the less educated — and indeed, 
not of them alone but of many also in a class from 
whom better things might have been expected. 
Politics, in fact, have nowadays to strive against 
more rival subjects attracting men's eyes and 
minds than they had before scientific discovery and 


art; and above all; athletic sportS; came to fill news- 
papers and magazines. 

But so far from being less important than they 
were, politics are growing in every country more 
important the wider the sphere of governmental 
action becomes. Nevertheless, even in England, 
which is perhaps slightly less addicted to this new 
passion for looking on at and reading about athletic 
competitions than are North America and Australia, 
a cricket or foot-ball match or a horse race seems, 
if one may judge by the eager throngs that snatch 
the evening newspapers, to excite more interest in 
the middle as well as in the richer and in the upper 
section of the poorer classes than does any political 
Forms in How to overcome these adverse tendencies is a 

which the 

indifference question which I reserve till the last of these lec- 
duty ap- tures. Meantime, let us look at some of the forms 
^^®*"' in which indifference to the obligations of citizen- 

ship reveals itself. 
Neglect to The first duty of the citizen used to be to fight, 


and to fight not merely against foes from another 
State, but against those also who, within his own 
State, were tr3dng to overturn the Constitution or 
resist the laws. It is a duty still incumbent on us 


all, though the existence of soldiers and a police 
force calls us to it less frequently. The omission to 
take up arms in a civil strife was a grave offence in 
the republics of antiquity, where revolutions were 
frequent; as they are to-day in some of the states 
of Latin America. When respectable people stayed 
at home instead of taking sword and spear to drive 
out the adherents of an adventurer trying to make 
himself Tyrant, they gave the adventurer his chance : 
and in any case their abstention tended to prolong 
a civil war which would end sooner when it was 
seen which way the bulk of the people inclined. 
There was accordingly a law in some of the Greek 
republics that every citizen must take one side or 
the other in an insurrection. If he did not, he 
was liable to punishment. I have not heard of 
any one being indicted in England or the United 
States for failing to discharge his legal duty to 
join in the hue and cry after a thief, or to rally 
to the sheriff when he calls upon the posse comita^ 
tiLS to support him in maintaining law and order. 
But possibly an indictment would still lie; and 
in England we have within recent times enrolled 
bodies of special constables from the civil popula- 
tion to aid in maintaining public tranquillity. 


Neglect More peaceful times have substituted for the 

duty of fighting the duty of voting. But even in 
small communities the latter duty has been often 
neglected. In Athens the magistrates used to send 
round the Scythian bowmen, who acted as their 
police, to scour the streets with a rope coloured 
with vermilion, and drag towards the Pnyx (the 
place of assembly), citizens who preferred to lounge 
or to mind what they called their own business, as 
if ruling the State was not their business. So in 
modern Switzerland some cantons have enacted 
laws fining those who, without reasonable excuse, 
neglect to vote.^ This is the more remarkable be- 
cause the Swiss have a good record in the matter 
of voting, better, I think, than any other Euro- 
pean people. Such a law witnesses not to excep- 
tional negligence but to an exceptionally high 
standard of duty. In Britain we sometimes bring 
to the polls at a parliamentary election eighty, 
or even more than eighty, per cent of our regis- 
tered electors, which is pretty good when it is re- 
membered that the register may have been made 
up eleven months earlier, so that many electors are 
sure to have moved elsewhere. At elections for 

1 This example has, I believe, been followed in Belgium. 


local authorities a much smaller proportion vote; 
and I f ancy^ though I have no figures at hand, that 
in France, Bel^um, and still more in Italy the per- 
centage voting at all sorts of elections is less than 
in Switzerland or in Britain. The number who vote 
does not perfectly measure the personal sense of 
duty among electors, because an efficient party or- 
ganization may, like the Scythian bowmen, sweep 
voters who do not care but who can be either driven 
to the polls or paid to go. Unless it is money that 
takes the voters there, it is well that they should 
go; for it helps to form the habit. 
Another form of civic apathy is the reluctance to Neglect to 

seek or to 

undertake civic functions. In England this is not serve in 
discoverable in any want of candidates for Parlia- 
ment. They abound, though sometimes the fittest 
men prefer ease or business success to public life. 
But seats upon local authorities and especially 
upon municipal councils and district councils, sel- 
dom attract the best ability of the local community. 
In English and Scottish cities the leading com- 
mercial, financial, and professional men do not 
often appear as candidates, leaving the work to 
persons who are not indeed incompetent, being 
usually intelligent business men, but whose edu- 



cation and talents are sometimes below the level 
of the functions which these bodies discharge. No 
great harm has followed, because our city coun- 
cillors are almost always honest. Local public 
opinion is vigilant and exacting, so a high 
standard of probity is maintained. But munici- 
palities have latterly embarked on so many kinds 
of new work, and the revenues of the greater cities 
have so grown, that not merely business capacity 
and experience, but a large grasp of economic 
principles is required. This is no less true here 
in America, yet I gather that here it is found even 
more difficult than in Europe to secure the pres- 
ence of able administrators in city councils. 

A man engaged in a large business who takes up 
municipal work may doubtless find that he is 
making a pecuniary sacrifice. But if he has 
already an income sufficient for his comfort, may 
it not be his best way of serving his fellow-men? 

Many such men do serve as governors or trustees 
of educational or other public institutions which 
make nearly as great a demand on their time as 
the membership of a public body would. Others, 
in Europe, if less frequently here, give to amuse- 
ment much more of their leisure than the needs 



of recreation and health require. This is often due 
rather to thoughtlessness than to a conscious in- 
diflference to the call of duty. 
Some of your political reformers have dwelt on Exouaes 

made for 

the difficulties which party organizations, specially failure to 
powerful in the United States, place in the way ^bUc"* 
of educated and public-spirited men seeking to ^^^' 
enter politics. There may be truth in this as re- 
gards the lower districts of the larger cities, but 
one can scarcely think it generally true even of 
the cities. More frequently it is alleged that the 
work of local politics is disagreeable, bringing a 
man into contact with vulgar people and expos- 
ing him to misrepresentation and abuse. 

This is an excuse for abstention which ought 
never to be heard in a democratic country. If 
politics are anywhere vulgar, they ought not to 
be suffered to remain vulgar, as they will remain 
if the better educated citizens keep aloof. They 
involve the highest interests of the nation or the 
city. The way in which they are handled is a 
lesson to the people either in honesty or in knavery. 
The best element in a community cannot aflford to 
let its interests be the sport of self-seekers or rogues. 
Moreover, the loss by maladministration or robbery. 


large as it may sometimes be, is a less serious evil 
than is the damage to public morals. If those who 
have the manners and speak the language of edu- 
cated men refuse to enter practical politics, they 
must cease to complain of a want of refinement in 
poUtics. In reality, good manners are the best 
way in which to meet rudeness; and he who is 
too thin skinned to disregard abuse confesses his 
own want of manliness. The mass of the people, 
even those who are neither educated nor fastidious, 
know honesty when they see it, and discount such 
abuse. When a man is firm and upright, nothing 
better braces him up and fits him to serve his 
country than to be attacked on the platform or in 
the press for faults he has not committed. It 
puts him on his mettle. It toughens his fibre. 
It gives him self-control and teaches him how 
to do right in the way which is least exposed to 
misrepresentation. It nerves his courage for the 
far more difficult trials which come when friends 
as well as opponents censure him because honour 
and obedience to his conscience have required him 
to take an unpopular line and speak unwelcome 
truths. A little persecution for righteousness' sake 
is a wholesome thing. 


The deficient sense of civic duty, though most Neglect to 
frequently noted in the form of a neglect to vote, is and reflect 
really more general and serious in the neglect to actions *° 
think. Were it possible to have statistics to show 
what percentage of those who vote reflect upon the 
vote they have to give, there would in no country 
be found a large percentage. Yet what is the 
worth of a vote except as the expression of a con- 
sidered opinion? The act of marking a ballot is 
nothing unless the mark carries with it a judg- 
ment, the preference of a good candidate to a 
bad one, the approval of one policy offered the 
people, the rejection of another. The citizen owes 
it to the community to inform himself about the 
questions submitted for his decision, and weigh 
the arguments on each side; or if the issue be one 
rather of persons than of policies, to learn all he 
can regarding the merits of the candidates offered 
to his choice. 

How many voters really trouble themselves to do 
this ? One in five ? One in ten ? One in twenty ? 

It may be asked, How can they do it? What Difficulties 
means have they of studying public questions and round the 
reaching just conclusions? If the means are votwf^ 
wanting, can we blame them if they do not think? 


If they feel they do not understand, can we 
blame them if they do not vote? In every free 
country the suffrage is now so wide that the 
great majority of the voters have to labour for 
their daily bread. In most European countries 
many are imperfectly educated. In the rural 
districts they read with difficulty, see either no 
newspaper or one which helps them but little, 
lead isolated lives in which there are scanty oppor- 
tunities for learning what passes, so that the best 
they can do seems to be to ask advice from the 
priest, or the village schoolmaster, or take advice 
from their landlord or their employer. In the 
northern parts of the United States and also in 
Canada, the native population has indeed received 
a fair instruction, and reads newspapers; but the 
mass of voters is swelled by a crowd of recent 
immigrants, most of whom cannot read English 
and know nothing of your institutions. 

Broadly speaking, in modern countries ruled by 
universal suffrage the 'Average Citizen has not the 
means of adequately discharging the function 
which the constitution throws upon him of follow- 
ing, examining, and judging those problems of 
statesmanship which the ever growing range of 


government administration and the ever increasing 
complexity of our civilization set before him as a 
voter to whom issues of policy are submitted. 

As things stand, he votes, when he votes, not 
from knowledge, but as his party or his favourite 
newspaper bids him, or according to his predilec- 
tion for some particular leader. Unless it be 
held that every man has a natural and indefea- 
sible right to a share in the government of the 
country in which he resides, the ground for giv- 
iilg that share would seem to be the competence 
of the recipient and the belief that his sharing will 
promote the general welfare. So one may almost 
say that the theory of universal suffrage assumes 
that the Average Citizen is an active, instructed, 
intelligent ruler of his country.* The facts con- 
tradict this assumption. 

Does this mean that widely extended suffrage is 
a failure, and that the Average Man is not a com- 
petent citizen in a democracy? 

This question brings us to reflect on another The duty 
branch of civic duty not yet mentioned. Besides competeDt 

citisens to 
* It may no doubt be argued that even if he is not competent, }ieln the less 

it is better he should be within than without the voting class, competent. 

But this was not the ground generally taken by those who brought 

in universal suffrage. 


the civic duties already described of Fighting, 
Voting, and Thinking, there is another duty. It 
is the duty of Mutual Help, the duty incum- 
bent on those who possess, through their know- 
ledge and intelligence, the capacity of Instruction 
and Persuasion to advise and to guide their less 
competent fellow-citizens. No sensible man ought 
ever to have supposed that under such conditions as 
large modem communities present, the bulk of the 
citizens could vote wisely from their own private 
knowledge and intelligence. Even in small cities, 
such as was Sicyon in the days of Aratus, or Boston 
in the days of James Otis, the Average Man needed 
the help of his more educated and wiser neigh- 
bours. While communities remained small, it was 
easy to get this help. But now the swift and vast 
growth of states and cities has changed everything. 
Private talk counts for less when the richer citi- 
zens dwell apart from the poorer; their oppor- 
tunities of meeting are fewer, and there is less 
friendliness, if also less dependence, in the rela- 
tion of the employed to the employer. Public 
meetings do not give nearly all that the Average 
Man needs, not to add that being got together 
to present one set of facts and arguments and 


deliberately to ignore the other, they do not put 
him in a fair position to judge. Besides, the men 
who most need instruction are usually those who 
least come to meetings to receive it. 

To fill this void the newspapers have arisen, — Newspapen 
organs purporting to supply the materials required ^^^ *° 
for the formation of political opinion. Whatever **^**"«^^' 
the services of the newspaper in other respects, it 
has the inevitable defect of superseding, with 
most of those who read it, the exercise of inde- 
pendent thought. The newspaper, — I speak gen- 
erally, for there are some brilliant exceptions, — is, 
in Europe even more than here, almost always par- 
tisan in its views, often partisan in its selection of 
facts or at least in its way of stating them. Pre- 
senting one side of a case, addressing chiefly those 
who are already adherents of that side, putting a 
colour on the events it reports, — it serves up to the 
reader ideas, perhaps only mere phrases or catch- 
words, which confirm him in his prepossessions, and 
by its daily iteration makes him take them for 
truths. Seldom has he the leisure, still more seldom 
the impulse or the patience, to scrutinize these 
ideas for himself and form his own judgment. He 
is glad to be relieved of the necessity for thinking, 


because thinking is hard work. Indolence again I 
The habit of mind that is formed by hasty reading, 
and especially by the reading of newspapers and 
magazines in which the matter, excellent as parts 
of it often are, is so multifarious that one topic di- 
verts attention from the others, tends to a general 
dissipation and distraction of thought. It is a habit 
which tells upon us all and makes continuous 
reflection and a critical or logical treatment of the 
subjects deserving reflection more irksome to us in 
the full sunlight of to-day than it was to those 
whom we call our benighted ancestors. 
"The read- This is Only one form of that supersession of the 
practice of thinking by the vice commonly called 
"the reading habit" which is profoundly affecting 
the intellectual life of our time. Yet as steady 
thinking was never really common even among the 
educated; the difference from earlier days is not so 
correctly described by saying that people think 
less than formerly, as by noting that while people 
read more, and while far more people read, the 
ratio of thinking to reading does not increase either 
in the individual or in the mass, and may possibly 
be decreasing. Intelligence and independence of 
thought have not grown in proportion to the dif- 


fusion of knowledge. The number of persons who 
both read and vote is in England and France more 
than twenty times as great as it was seventy years 
ago. The percentage of those who reflect before 
they vote has not kept pace either with popular 
education or with the extension of the suffrage. 

The persons who constitute that percentage are. How the 
and must for the reasons already given continue citizens 
for some time to be, only a fraction, in some "^y*««*- 
countries a small fraction, of the voting popula- 
tion. But the fraction might be made much 
larger than it is. The citizens who stand above 
their fellows in knowledge and mental power 
ought to set an example, not only by themselves 
thinking more and thinking harder about public 
affairs than most of them do, but also by exerting 
themselves to stimulate and aid their less instructed 
or more listless neighbours. The voter, it is said, 
should be independent. Yes. But independence 
does not mean isolation. He must not commit his 
personal responsibility to the keeping of another. 
Yes. But personal responsibility does not mean 
the vain conceit of knowledge and judgment where 
knowledge is wanting and judgment is untrained. 

Just as his religion throws upon every Christian 

ReBponsible the duty of loving his neighbour and giving prac- 


essential in tical expression to his love by helping his neigh- 
gover^ hour, succouring him in the hour of need, trying 
ments. ^ rescue him from sin, seeking to guide his steps 

into the way of peace, so civic duty requires each 
of us to raise the level of citizenship not merely 
by ourselves voting and bearing a share in political 
agitation, but by trying to diffuse among our 
fellow-citizens whose opportunities have been less 
favourable, the knowledge and the fairness of mind 
and the habit of grappling with political questions 
which a democratic government must demand 
even from the Average Man. Democracy, they 
say, is based on EquaUty. But in no form of 
government is leadership so essential. A multi- 
tude without intelligent, responsible leaders whom 
it respects and follows is a crowd ready to be- 
come the prey of any self-seeking knave. Nor is 
it true that because men value equality they 
reject eminence. They are always glad to be led 
if some one, eschewing pretension and condescen- 
sion, speaking to them with respect, but also with 
that authority which knowledge and capacity 
imply, will point out the path and give them the 
lead for which they are looking. To do this has 


now, in our great cities, become more difficult 
than it used to be, because men of different classes 
and different occupations do not know one another 
as well as they once did, and economic conflicts 
have made workingmen suspicious. But there are 
those in our English and Scottish cities who do it 
successfully, and I have never heard that it is 
resented. It is largely a matter of tact, and of 
knowing how to express that genuine sense of 
human fellowship which is commoner in the richer 
class than the constraint and shyness that are 
supposed to beset Englishmen sometimes allow to 

If you and we, both here and in Britain, are 
less active than we should be in this and other 
forms of civic work, the fault lies in our not caring 
enough for our country. It is easy to wave a 
flag, to cheer an eminent statesman, to exult in 
some achievement by land or sea. But our imag- 
inations are too dull to realize either the grandeur 
of the State in its splendid opportunities for pro- 
moting the welfare of the masses, or the fact that 
the nobility of the State lies in its being the true 
child, the true exponent, of the enlightened will of 
a right-minded and law-abiding people. Absorbed 


in business or pleasure, we think too little of what 
our membership in a free nation means for the 
happiness of our poorer fellow-citizens. The elo- 
quent voice of a patriotic reformer sometimes 
breaks our slumber. But the daily round of busi- 
ness and pleasure soon again fills the mind, and 
public duty fades into the background of life. This 
dulness of imagination and the mere indolence 
which makes us neglect to stop and think, are a 
chief cause of that indifference which chokes the 
growth of civic duty. It is because a great Uni- 
versity like this is the place where the imagina- 
tion of young men may best be quickened by the 
divine fire, because the sons of a great University 
are those who may best carry with them into after 
life the inspiration which history and philosophy 
and poetry have kindled within its venerable walls, 
that I have ventured to dwell here on the special 
duty which those who enjoy these privileges owe 
to their brethren, partners in the citizenship of 
a great republic. 



The school of political philosophers dominant in The recent 
France and England a century ago sought to re- eiJarge°the 
duce the functions of government to a minimum. L'^ernmen- 
To them, the freedom of the individual was the *»! action, 
indispensable guarantee for progress and happiness. 
The less he was interfered with, or superseded, or 
exposed to competition, by the State, so much the 
better for him and for it. Some writers of this 
school went so far as to leave to the State hardly 
any sphere of action except defence against foreign 
enemies — a danger which was then believed to be 
disappearing and which has never seriously threat- 
ened the United States — together with the main- 
tenance of law and order at home. The old 
catchword "Anarchy plus a street constable," 

expressed this view of the ideal community. 



Both in Europe and in America this doctrine 
was deserted in practice long before it was denied 
in theory. Some forty years ago the current 
turned, and has been thereafter running toward a 
widening of the State's range of action and the 
multiplying its points of contact with the individ- 
ual.* That it did so silently, and so to speak uncon- 
sciously, in England, and even more unconsciously 
in the United States, shows how strong were the 
actual forces moving in that direction. Both here 
and in England the earher manifestations of the 
new tendency were defended, or excused, as mere 
trivial exceptions to a principle still recognized as 
generally sound. But latterly theory has adapted 
itself to practice. We see an active propaganda 
carried on by various groups from various motives, 
all constantly demanding, and justifying on prin- 
ciple, more and more interference by public 
authorities with matters formerly left to private 
Influence of Without disparaging the value of the theoretical 

the flTt 1 Aif ir A» 

mentof arguments employed to recommend or discredit 
in*^n^h-° this tendency, we may agree that it must ulti- 

* This subject has been treated with great knowledge and pene- 
tration by Mr. A. V. Dicey in his book entitled Law and Opinion. 


mately be tested by experience, and that our present ing oppor- 
tunities for 
experience is too limited to justify general con- making 

elusions. But one aspect of the matter which has by means of 
so far received little attention concerns our present *^® ***®' 
inquiry. I mean the influence which the exten- 
sion of State action has had upon the part played 
by private interests in legislation and adminis- 
tration. The more any pubUc authority, be it a 
county or city, or a State of this Union, or any 
national government, either itself undertakes, or in- 
terferes with the conduct by private persons of, any 
matter in which money can be either made or 
spent, the more grounds does it supply to private 
persons for trying to influence its action in the 
direction which will benefit such persons. So much 
the more, therefore, will those persons have a 
private interest diflEerent from the interest of the 
community, so much the more will they be 
tempted to raise their voices and give their votes 
with a view, not to the common good, but to their 
own pockets. 

Never was there a time when or a country where 
politics were not more or less tainted and per- 
verted by selfish private interests. Bangs sought 
their own personal advantage. So did the rela- 


tives and ministers or favourites of kings. So 
did nobles, so did the members of those small 
councils through which oligarchies have ruled. 
The land-owning class, which controlled Eng- 
lish legislation in the eighteenth century, thought 
first of itself, and passed laws to benefit itself. In 
fact, one of the strongest practical arguments used 
on behalf of the extension of the suffrage has been 
that it would secure the general interest of the 
nation by depriving any class of a predominant 
influence. And the friends of democracy expected 
that by setting up the common good as the com- 
mon aim, the pursuit of selfish purposes, whether 
by oflicials or by particular privileged classes, 
would be discredited and practically banished. 

Nevertheless, selfish purposes have continued in 
all popular governments to determine the action of 
classes or groups of citizens. They constitute a 
grave temptation, obscuring with many persons 
that sense of the duty to think first of the whole 
community which ought to be the pole star 
guiding the citizens' course. 

Let us note some of the forms in which this 
evil appears in modern States. They are as many 
as the ways in which the action of government. 


whether legislative or administrative, can afifect Various 

.... forms in 

private pecuniary interests. which seif- 

Of some old and vulgar forms no more need be j^tCTeet*** 
said than is sufficient to indicate that these forms °^*yp«^- 

vert CIVIC 

have not escaped our recollection. Bribery is one ^^^y* 
of them. The taker of a bribe, be he an elector The buying 
or a member of a legislature, makes an obviously 
flagrant sacrifice of public duty to personal cupid- 
ity. The briber who tempts him may seem less 
base, but is even more mischievous, because he 
a£Fects a wider circle. Yet not long ago — I can 
myself remember the time — the corruption of a 
constituency was treated in England as a sort of 
joke. The humble bribe-taker did not su£Fer much 
in the opinion of the class to which he belonged. 
The rich bribe-giver was not deemed a really black 
sheep, but only gray, or perhaps a little spotted. 
Public opinion has within the last thirty years 
risen. Stringent legislation, the enactment of which 
witnessed to an improving tone, has attached 
graver penalties to the oflEence, although of course 
it has not been able to prevent voters from being 
influenced by the recollection, or expectation, of 
favours from a candidate. There are now-a-days 
only a very few constituencies in England, and 


none in Scotland, where corruption survives. The 
different view men have come to take of the 
practice shows how the law may serve to form 
popular sentiment and may maintain the ethical 
standard which it helped to raise. 
The in- I pass to a class of cases in which it is scarcely 

Gidenceof mi . . ^ j.^ p 

taxes. possible to prevent personal motives from warp- 

ing the sense of duty to the nation, and which for 
that very reason presents especial difficulties. 
Taxes have to be imposed both for national and 
for local purposes. The widening range of gov- 
ernmental action, both national and local, and the 
tendency, strong in most European countries, to 
increase the expenditure on naval and military 
armaments, make taxation go on constantly ris- 
ing. Now, taxes may be so imposed as to press 
more heavily upon some one class or classes in the 
nation, less heavily upon the others. Each class, 
therefore, has a motive for trying to shift the bur- 
den on to the others. The manual labourers, 
though of course opposed to a poll tax, are dis- 
posed to favour a direct tax upon property or in- 
come rather than indirect taxes in the form of 
duties on imports, because income or property 
taxes can be most easily levied on the rich, and 


can be raised progressively, i.e., in proportion to 
the wealth of the persons required to pay. The 
poor escape them, not only because it would seem 
harsh to charge an income tax on the poor, but 
also because the expense of collection would be 
practically prohibitive. Progressive income taxes 
are much in favour in many of the cantons of 
Switzerland, and progressive succession duties 
have been adopted in Great Britain. Such taxa- 
tion may be entirely right in itself, but the ques- 
tions connected with it are apt to present them- 
selves to the individual citizen rather as affect- 
ing his own pocket than as matters of general 

One particular form of taxation specially tends Duties on 
to afifect political action. In nearly all countries affecting 
of Europe, though not in the United Kingdom, P"^®^* 
duties on imports are imposed not merely for 
the sake of raising revenue, but in order to check 
foreign competition in the home market, and 
thereby to give an advantage to home products. 
Such duties, since they are deemed to benefit the 
home producer by more or less keeping out the for- 
eign product, and since they evidently enable him 
to raise the price of what he sells, are much in 


favour with the producing classes. Accordingly, 
the agriculturists in France, a very large part 
of the population, demand a high tariff on food 
products brought from abroad. As you know, 
the German land-owners have fought for years, 
and fought successfully, to keep up duties on 
bread-stuffs and bacon, while the working class 
oppose these duties, because they desire cheap 
food. Similarly, in both those countries, manu- 
facturers have pressed for high import duties on 
manufactured goods. 

Tariff issues have come to be among the most 
cardinal issues and the most constant issues in 
many countries, so that the voter is apt to ask 
himself not who is the best man to be chosen and 
what is the best policy for the country, but whether 
the candidate, be he a good man or a bad one, 
stands pledged to a high tariff which will put money 
into his own pocket if he looks at the subject as 
producer, or will increase the price of the com- 
modities he consumes if his point of view is that 
of a consumer. Rarely does a voter find any diffi- 
culty in convincing himself that what is for his 
own interest is for the interest of the country. 
Anyhow he always says so. But every one knows 


what a disturbing, and possibly a perverting, in- 
fluence, these considerations must exercise and do 
exercise upon the citizen's mind. 

In many countries large sums are taken from Appropria- 
the public treasury to be spent on public works, locaUties 
the expenditure in the locality, as well as the work ^orto. 
itself when completed, being deemed a benefit to 
the place. There is, therefore, much eagerness to 
secure appropriations of public money for local 
objects, such as harbours, piers, canals, roads, and 
public buildings of various kinds. Accordingly, the 
voters who reside in a place which is trying to 
secure such an appropriation, are prone to set 
their private interest as residents, or expectants of 
wages, before their general duty as citizens. They 
give their support to the candidate or to the party 
which seems most likely to procure for them what 
may really be a needless or wasteful expenditure 
of public money, or at least an expenditure in so 
far unfair that the benefit to the locaUty is no 
benefit at all to tax payers in other places to 
whom no corresponding grant is to be made. 
There are countries in which the distribution of 
favours by the government to localities is steadily 
practised as a means of securing votes in particu- 


The obtain- 
ing of local 

ment con- 

lar localities; and this practice may come pretty 
neat to a species of political corruption. 

Similar self-regarding motives of a business 
order operate upon smaller sections of local com- 
munities. As we all know, such franchises as the 
construction of street railways, or water-works or 
gas-works, for the supply of a city, are often of 
great value. The directors of a joint stock com- 
pany seeking to secure such a franchise are tempted 
to postpone the common interest of the city to 
their own interest as promoters. They are some- 
times not only thus tempted themselves, but dis- 
posed to tempt others. The shareholders, who in 
most European countries are usually numerous, 
though here the stock of these large undertak- 
ings is often in comparatively few hands, think of 
their dividends and cease to regard the interests 
of the city with a single eye. When questions arise 
between the city and the corporation that works 
their undertaking, they are not impartial, and 
may seek to bring unfair influence to bear upon 

Modern governments, the governments of cities 
as well as those of nations, are large employers of 
labour and large contractors. The more works any 


public authority undertakes, the more ships it 
builds, the more camion it casts, the more roads it 
constructs, so much the more numerous are the 
opportunities for gain to those with whom it deals 
and to those whom it employs. Whoever has, or 
seeks to have, dealings with a public authority has 
a private interest of his own to study and pursue, 
distinct from, and usually opposed to, the public 
interest, for he wishes to sell dear and the public 
wish to buy cheap. The dangers arising from 
such a private interest were deemed so serious 
in the case of members of the British Parlia- 
ment that a statute was long ago passed forbid- 
ding contractors with the government to sit in 
the legislature. But this is evidently only a par- 
tial check. 

One class who deal with governments need to Govem- 
be specially mentioned; I mean those who sell pioyeea." 
their labour. They desire higher wages and shorter 
hours than they might be able to obtain from other 
employers, with such other favourable conditions 
as they can secure. In some countries these gov- 
ernment servants are numerous enough to affect 
elections. In one of the Australian colonies, for 
instance, where the railroads are the property of 


the State^ the employees in each electoral area 
organized themselves to extort from every candi- 
date a promise to vote for raising wages. Where 
parties were nearly divided, their vote might often 
be decisive. The pressure thus put upon the legis- 
lature proved at first disagreeable and at last intol- 
erable, so a law was passed taking these employees 
out of the ordinary constituencies where they re- 
sided and putting them into two constituencies all 
by themselves. Thus, while deprived of the in- 
ordinate power they had enjoyed, they were given 
representatives who could present their claims as 
avowed advocates.* 

In England the clerks employed in the postal 
and telegraph services have frequently endeavoured 
to exert similar pressure at parliamentary elections, 
to the great inconvenience of the Administration. 
So, too, the elections in towns where government 
dockyards are situated have often turned upon the 
claims of the dockyard workmen to better wages 
or more favourable conditions. Similarly the per- 
sons employed by municipal authorities have in 
some cities attempted to start a similar agitation. 

' I have been informed since these lectures were prepared that 
this law is now no longer in force. 


Much disapproval is expressed by the govern- 
mental authorities, but the obvious remedy of dis- 
franchising every one who receives any government 
pay so long as he receives it, including, of course, 
judges, administrative ofiBicials, and members of 
the military and naval services, has never been 
resorted to, because the notion that every man 
has a sort of natural right to vote is now gen- 
erally diffused, and any administration that pro- 
posed to withdraw the electoral franchise from a 
large class would risk its popularity. 

There are many ways in which public legisla- other ways 
tion may affect for their gain or their loss particu- %^^^ 
lar professions or industries, or particular sections be^a^ectS^ 
of the community. Labouring men may desire fej/^ 
laws shortening the hours of labour, or awarding 
compensation for accidents, or legalizing certain 
modes of conducting strikes. Employers may 
object to such laws. Shipowners may protest 
against the laws regulating the load line and deck 
cargoes. Railroad directors may resist proposals to 
impose conditions on the working of their lines 
or the publication of their accounts, most of all 
upon the rates of freight they charge; and the 
shareholders may join in the resistance. Horse 


breeders or saloon keepers may think it in their 
interest to have horse racing maintained as an 
attractive sport and may therefore oppose laws 
seeking to extinguish betting. A recent English 
instance is illustrative. The businesses of brewing 
and of distilling have largely passed from private 
firms into the hands of joint stock companies, so 
that the persons interested as shareholders in these 
industries are now very numerous. When meas- 
ures are proposed in Parliament, proposing to re- 
strict the number of places licensed to sell liquor, 
the directors of the companies issue circulars call- 
ing upon the shareholders to defend their property 
by putting pressure on Parliament to reject these 
measures; and it is supposed that the opposition 
to such bills is thereby greatly strengthened, be- 
cause not a few legislators may be afraid to lose 
the votes of the shareholders aforesaid. 

There is in our time a great deal of what is 
called social legislation, directed to securing reforms 
which cannot but interfere with existing trades. 
Some of it may be thought to attempt too much. 
Some goes so far that, being in advance of 
public opinion, or of public opinion in certain 
localities, it fails to be enforced, and so does 


harm by presenting the spectacle of laws dis- 
regarded with impunity. That, however, is . be- 
side the present question. What we have here to 
note is the large number of cases in which private 
interest may, in the mind of the voters, over-ride 
considerations of public policy. 
One more class of instances deserves attention. The interest 

,1 - I • , , of persons 

VIZ., the case of persons who have a personal m- employed 
terest in keeping a political party in power. Every n^nt In™" 
government has, besides soldiers and sailors and ^®®?^^^_^ 

° ' their party 

police and workmen in navy yards or gun f ac- « power, 
tories, a large number of civil employees in its 
service, from the higher officials in the adminis- 
trative departments down to clerks and custom- 
house examiners and letter carriers. In some 
countries school teachers belong to this category. 
Adding to all these the persons who are em- 
ployed by cities, such as engineers, clerks, tax 
collectors, and adding further the persons who 
have not got, but desire to have, a post under 
the central or under a local government, the num- 
ber of those who have a personal motive for sup- 
porting one or other political party may be, at 
any rate in a constituency where parties are nearly 
equal, large enough to affect the result of an 


Position of 
public em- 
ployees in 

election. If these government employees are 
permanently employed, i.e., not appointed for a 
term and not dismissible at pleasure, they may be 
expected to vote like other citizens, because their 
tenure will not be affected by the vote they give. 
If, however, they are liable to be dismissed on a 
change of government, they are usually deemed 
bound to vote, and probably also to work, for the 
government actually in power. Presumably they 
belonged at the time of their appointment to the 
party which appointed them, and therefore did not 
change their politics to secure a place. Still, the 
interest they have in supporting that party, what- 
ever their personal opinions, tends to lessen their 
independence and to reduce them to the level of 
voting machines, because their livelihood depends 
on the government. With them private interest 
must needs displace civic duty. 

The status of public servants differs in different 
parts of Europe. In some their tenure is perma- 
nent, and they can vote as they please. This has 
now become the case in England, where, however, 
they are very properly forbidden to take any part 
in party politics, — to canvass, for instance, or to 
speak at public meetings. Formerly many were 


appointed and dismissed on party grounds, but 
this plan worked so badly that it was by degrees 
abolished; and abolished with universal approval. 
Members of Parliament themselves rejoiced to be 
set free from the importunities of applicants and 
from the odious task of pushing candidates whose 
competence they did not know or might even dis- 
trust. In Germany, the instinct of loyalty to the 
, Crown or that of deference to authority is said to 
induce employees usually to support the govern- 
ment. In France they are still generally expected 
to do so; and although they no longer exert the 
local pressure which was common under Louis 
Napoleon and Marshal MacMahon, they sometimes 
do electoral work for the party in power. Teach- 
ers in public elementary schools are said to be 
active and effective in this way. 

As I have referred to France, it may be added that 
in that country two other motives of interest exist 
which may affect the citizen's action. The sale 
of tobacco and of hquor requires a license, and this 
is apt to be granted as a favour to supporters 
of the party in power. Although the decoration 
of the Legion of Honour is, so far as regards its 
higher ranks, bestowed upon eminent men of all 


parties^ yet in the distribution of the lower grades 
regard is apt to be had to political services. The 
red ribbon in the button-hole is so much prized in 
France that this species of patronage is largely 
used to win or reward political support among men 
of some local influence. 

The result of European experience generally has 
been to show that the more the administrative 
service both of the nation and of local authorities 
is kept .entirely apart from politics, so much the 
better all round. The voter is more free. The 
official is exposed to less temptation. He is sure 
to be more trusted. He is likely to be more efficient. 
I need not tell you, for you all know it, what the 
situation formerly was in the United States; what 
evils the "spoils system" used to breed, what 
efforts were made to get rid of it; how by slow 
degrees public offices have more and more been 
taken out of the category of party rewards, and 
how much good has resulted therefrom. This has 
been the work partly of an enlightened public 
opinion, partly of the action of such strong and 
public-spirited men as President Cleveland and 
President Roosevelt. 

If we desire to estimate the total number, in any 


given State, of the citizens whose action on public Proportion 
issues, whether national or municipal, is distorted SS^be 
or depraved by personal self-interest, we must by private 
begin by distinguishing the cases in which that "^*«^«st. 
interest is solely pecuniary, or otherwise purely Two classes 
selfish, from that larger class in which an interest tinguished. 
which is in one sense personal may be advocated 
also on general grounds of economic or social policy 
which may appeal to those who have nothing di- 
rectly to gain or to lose. Labour legislation belongs 
to this latter category. An Eight Hours law, for 
instance, or a law making an employer liable to 
pay compensation to a workman for all accidents, 
does directly benefit one class, no doubt a very 
large class. But it may also be recommended 
as just and beneficial, or censured as unjust and 
pernicious, to the community at large. A Pro- 
hibition law directly affects the makers and sellers 
of intoxicating beverages, and they may oppose 
it because it will reduce their profits. But it may 
be opposed as unduly restricting personal liberty, 
or as unlikely to be effectively enforced. A teeto- 
taler who has no personal interest in selling or in 
getting liquor might disapprove it for those reasons. 
The same may be said of a protective tariff. Some 


consumers who have no personal motive for desir- 
ing a duty to be imposed on imported foodstuffs, 
because they do not produce or sell foodstuffs, 
are nevertheless Protectionists, for the issue of 
Free Trade or Protection is one which may be 
argued on general economic principles. Although 
manufacturers who profit by protective duties must, 
of course, feel the influence of personal motives, 
still they cannot be ruled out of a debate which has 
large general bearings going beyond the interest 
of a section. However, when the fixing of a 
customs tariff comes down to details and the 
scale has in each case to be settled, we may 
expect personal interest to be paramount. The 
Belgian or German manufacturers who sell a par- 
ticular kind of agricultural machinery may employ 
comparatively few persons, and their branch of 
industry may be of no great importance to the 
nation. But their interest in excluding American 
competition will be keen, and where self-interest is 
keenly felt, public interest goes to the wall. They 
may persuade themselves that the protective duty 
they desire will benefit the nation at large. But 
they cannot be deemed impartial judges; and in 
practice it is seen that those who expect benefit 


from such a duty fight fiercely for it. The results 
of bringing these private interests, enormous in 
their aggregate, into the field of politics have 
been too frequently pointed out to need discussion 
here and now. 
If we put aside this large class of persons whose Percentage 

1 . . J. T • i 1 f » 1 • 1 o^ citizens 

personal interest lies in the scope of issues which uabietobe 
may claim to be disputable, apart from personal in- pn^a^ini^ 
terest, because they happen to coincide with a ^^'^^^s- 
policy advocated on general grounds, the percentage 
of citizens who have selfish reasons to determine 
their political action becomes small. That percent- 
age includes those who want to have public money 
expended in their own neighbourhood, those who 
seek lucrative governmental contracts or public 
franchises, those who in some other way desire to 
draw from the public some advantage by private 
legislation, those who, being servants of a public 
authority, agitate for higher wages, those who are 
striving, by voting or by working for a party, to 
win, or to keep, public office. It may be thought 
that these persons, taken all together, are too tri- 
fling a part of the electorate to afifect the course of 
politics, or lower the level of good citizenship in 
the nation. 


Why the 
by selfish 
small, is 

Energy of 


Numerically they are insignificant. Their im- 
portance arises from two facts. One is the keen- 
ness of their selfish interest. The other is the se- 
crecy of the means to which most of them resort. 
These men, and especially those who promote 
private bills or intrigue to secure contracts and 
franchises, have a spur of self-interest which sharpens 
their ingenuity and keeps them incessantly active. 
They are too strong for the ordinary citizen. His 
individual personal interest in efficient government 
and cheap government is slender. A rise in city 
taxation which may result from the improvident 
grant of a franchise or a corruptly placed contract, 
will make only an infinitesimal difference to him. 
The bad city administration he will receive at the 
hands of incompetent men put into office for po- 
litical reasons will only occasionally touch him. 
But to the man who wants a contract or a franchise 
the getting of it means wealth and influence. He 
becomes strenuous and adroit. He is like a pro- 
fessional golfer pitted against you or me. He 
"wins all the time." 

The men who are "after money," — and this 
is largely true also of the men who are after office, 
where it is the reward of political work — prefer 


to pursue their object by covert means. Many 
are the kinds of influence, political, personal, 
pecuniary, they can bring to bear. Those who 
expect to make a fortune out of the public are 
willing to spend freely to over-reach the public. 
The least part of the harm done is the pecuniary 
loss the public suffers. Far worse is the example 
which the successful tempter sets and the demoral- 
ization which he spreads. 

Even the purchase of political support in a 
locality by spending money there on public works, 
a thing said to be frequent in Italy, and not un- 
known in some British colonies, is not only dis- 
creditable to the politicians who practise it, but 
involves some dereliction of duty on the part of 
the local citizens who give their votes in a particular 
way because money is coming to the locality. It 
lowers the moral standard of the administration 
that consents to spend the money, of the member 
who procures the grant, of the constituency that 
receives it. 

It has been said that the evil most generally The Power 

of Money as 

incident to modern democratic states, and most a danger 
characteristic of modern as distinguished from popular 
ancient democracy, is the tendency to turn govern- moT^' 


mental action to private ends.* Perhaps with even 
more general truth may it be said that as the Love 
of Money is the root of all evil, so the Power of 
Money is for popular governments the most con- 
stant source of danger, worse than ignorance, worse 
than apathy, worse than faction, worse than dema- 
gogism. This is because it is so multiform, so 
insidious, so hard to detect, so quick to spread. 
You may remark that among the average voters 
there are comparatively few who have anything 
to gain from the government. Indolence afifects 
more people than selfish interest does. But where 
the influence of sordid personal aims is felt, it is 
more harmful. Moreover it tells chiefly on the 
class whose wealth or education or connection 
with public affairs makes them prominent. 
Results of Those men constitute what may be called the 
ardinthe Tone-Setting class, by which I mean the class 
ciass.^ which from its social authority as well as its 
intelligence and power forms the standard not only 
for those who conduct public business but also 
to a great extent for the whole community. Such 

^ Although the debasement of politics by private interests 
never appeared on a more tremendous scale than in the struggle 
for office, and for provinces as a means of enrichment, which 
went on in the later days of the Roman republic. 


a class ought to set a high standard. When it, or 
any considerable part of it; sets a low standard 
and admits or tolerates in public life motives and 
methods which would be condemned in private 
life, it depraves the morality of the community, 
and thus the stream is poisoned at its source and 
politics are defiled and debased, selfishness and 
trickery are taken to be natural, and public life 
becomes the favourite hunting ground of unscru- 
pulous or reckless men. The republic of Rome in 
the last century of its life is the most familiar 
example of these evils. 

Philip of Macedon used to say that he could 
take any city into which he Could drive an ass 
laden with gold. Modern governments control 
enormous pecuniary interests and the men who 
administer the government are often poor. Con- 
sidering the temptations which wealth can offer 
it is creditable to most of our modern democracies 
that they have on the whole maintained a pretty 
high standard of honour. But the danger is ever 
present. Once the moral standard is allowed to 
sink, the task of restoring it becomes a hard 
task, harder than that of rousing a people from 
indolent indifference, for a national crisis, a real 


issue which comes suddenly and thrills all hearts^ 
may do this, while moral decay, eating into the 
national character, destroys the very sentiments 
to which the reformer has to appeal. A nation 
may be stirred to splendid effort by schemes of 
conquest or by the need for self-defence, and yet 
remain the prey of sordid interests. 
Publicity To eliminate from politics the money power with 

against the the rapacity which moves it and the selfishness on 
Money. which it plays, ought to be a first aim of all pa- 
triotic citizens. Publicity is the most generally 
available means of effecting this. In free countries, 
the people are rightly jealous of the power of wealth, 
and the better its methods are known the less dan- 
gerous does it become. But on the general principle 
that prevention is better than cure, it is much to be 
desired that legislation and administration should 
offer the fewest possible facilities for enabling men to 
grow rich by their dealings with the public or through 
special provisions of the law. The difficulty of limit- 
ing these facilities is so great and with the increase 
of governmental action becomes daily so much 
greater, as to make a sweeping application of this 
doctrine seem to be a Counsel of Perfection. Never- 
theless^ the more broadly it is applied the better. 


The two best and purest democratic States of The Orange 
recent times have been those two in which the and Swit»- 
administration was most cheaply conducted and ^^ ° ' 
which gave the fewest opportunities to their citi- 
zens of using government as a means for gain. 
But I must add that in one of these republics, the 
Orange Free State, there were no men, in the other, 
Switzerland, there are very few men, rich enough 
to be able to pervert either administration or 
legislation, or before whose eyes large temptations 

Our consideration of the part played in politics 
by self-regarding interests suggests a reflection 
with which this lecture may close. 

The chief issues which have divided nations Nature of 
and given rise to political conflict have belonged ©n which 
to one or other of four classes. There have been ^ntests 
strifes of diflFerent races or class-groups within ^f^®^' 
the same State. There have been quarrels of ^^^^rned. 
religion. There have been struggles over political 
power between those who held it as their exclusive 
possession and those who sought to be admitted 
to share it. There have been struggles between 
different economic classes in which the poorer 
strove to improve by legislation their material 


condition, as, for instance, to obtain possession of 
land or to shake off burdensome taxes. The three 
former kinds of conflict have now almost passed 
away from west and middle European countries 
with the cooling of reUgious passion and the de- 
mocratization of nearly all States. There remain 
only conflicts of the fourth kind, which turn upon 
material conditions, and which tend to become 
struggles between the richer and the poorer classes. 
The efforts of the latter to better their lot in the 
world have often caused and sometimes justified 
revolutions, and several long steps in human prog- 
ress have been marked by their success. The 
liberation of the French peasantry from the sort 
of serfdom in which many of them had remained, 
was one of the best results of the movement that 
overthrew the old French monarchy. Through 
a more peaceful series of political struggles and 
changes the British legislature has bettered during 
the last forty years the condition of the peasantry 
in Ireland, and has given to the masses of the 
British people the inestimable benefits of untaxed 
food and a system of universal public education. 
Unavoidable as are these struggles between the 
more and less wealthy parts of the community, 


it is unfortunate when they become the chief Evils to be 
issues in politics and draw the lines by which par- when the 
ties are divided. Every free people may well say ^^^ '' 
with the Hebrew sage, " Give me neither poverty ^^^® 
nor riches." The ideal condition for a State would "°*^ *^^ 


be that in which the fortunes of its members were 
pretty nearly equal. Aiistotle tells us that power 
is most safely lodged in the hands of the citizens 
of moderate means who have no motive for plun- 
dering the rich and are not likely to be plundered 
by the poor. This class, he thinks, is less tempted 
to show insolence. Neither does it excite envy. 
And Plato, deploring the intestine strife which tore 
Greek republics, explains it by observing that in 
every city there are two cities, the Rich and the 

Where a small body of rich men are set over 
against a large body of poor men, both having 
equal political rights, the majority will naturally 
be tempted to use their power to secure economic 
benefits for themselves. Where this goes so far 
that the rich form one party and the poor another, 
there being comparatively few of middling fortune 
between the two, the temptation to the latter to 
throw undue burdens on the former, and the con- 


sequent temptation to the former to defend them- 
selves by those illegitimate means which wealth 
provides, will seldom be resisted. In former days 
such a conflict of interest and parties used to end 
in a clash of arms. Even where the strife is car- 
ried on by constitutional methods the community 
will hardly escape unscathed. Class hatreds are 
embittered. Confidence is weakened. Capital may 
be driven out of the country, or may try to save 
itself by methods of corruption which demoralize 
public life. 
In England Nothing, therefore, is more to be desired than 
divisions that in every free government the lines which divide 
followed^ ^ political parties should not be the lines which divide 
ec(momic ^j^^ ncher from the poorer. It was the good fortune 
of England that the Whig party, which from the 
time of Charles the Second onwards was, generally 
speaking, the advocate of popular rights, included a 
large section of the gentry, some even among the 
great land-owners, and a still larger proportion of 
the well-to-do commercial class, while the Tory or 
Conservative party included plenty of the poorer 
citizens. Thus those who were usually the advo- 
cates of political reform and champions of freedom 
were led to proceed cautiously and had a respect; 


perhaps sometimes an undue respect, for what are 
called the rights of property, and for vested rights 
generally. So also in the United States the lines of 
political parties have run quite across those lines This still 

more true of 

by which men are classified according to property, the United 


Neither the Republicans and Federalists of your 
early days, nor the Democratic Republicans and 
Whigs of your second period, nor the Democrats 
and RepubUcans of the last fifty years, have ever 
been associated with the claims and efforts either 
of the richer or of the poorer classes. This 
means that neither in England nor in the United 
States has self-interest in its more sordid form of 
the selfish assertion of pecuniary interest, been a 
mainspring in the machinery of political life. 
Those who attacked the existing state of things, 
those who resisted proposals to change it, have 
been actuated by many motives. Self-interest 
has been present, has indeed been more or less 
constantly active. But it has seldom, if ever, been 
consciously dominant. Neither abstract justice, nor 
the interest of the whole nation, have, in the minds 
of either set of partisans, been subordinated to 
the gain they expected to secure for themselves. 
That the mass of the poor should in the United 


States come to form one party, and the mass of the 
rich another, seems highly improbable. You have 
what Aristotle desired, the decisive voice lodged 
in an enormous body of citizens, well-to-do town 
workers and small rural land-owners, who possess 
enough property to be inclined to disapprove and 
oppose measures of a revolutionary kind. This 
body of intelligent and steady men, who have 
something to lose, yet are not interested in main- 
taining abuses or excusing evasions of the law 
contrived by unscrupulous wealth, bridges the 
chasm between the extremes of wealth and pov- 
erty. The same holds true of Canada. It is less 
true of most European countries. 

Serious as are the economic problems which now 
confront all civilized nations, the conditions which 
you in North America enjoy, and the traditions you 
have inherited, may well encourage you to look for- 
ward to their peaceful solution by constitutional 
means. But you, like all other nations, have already 
found that you must guard yourselves against the 
insidious power of money, which knows how to play 
upon the self-interest of voters and legislators, pol- 
luting at its source the spring of Civic Duty. 




Those who have written on the philosophy of 
politics or of history have usually placed the spirit 
of Party among the hindrances to good citizenship. 
I have followed the custom in so placing it for our 
consideration this evening. But is it really a hin- 
drance? Some may deem it to be just as much a 
help; a means of instruction, or a stimulus to action. 
Anyhow, does not experience show it to be indis- 
pensable ? 

Very different views have been taken of the Diflferent 

views en- 
worth and results of Party as a motive force in tertained 

politics. Philosophers, treating the matter in their p^y ^ 
idealistic and abstract way, and historians, recording x^^ 
the violence of civil strife, have usually condemned 
it altogether. They call it Faction. They point 
out how it blinds men to the truth, how it incites 
them to mutual hatred, substitutes the interest of a 
section for that of the nation, engenders seditions 



and conspiracies, treasons and rebellions. The classic 
description — and a terrible description it is — of the 
excesses into which the spirit of faction drives 
men, perverting or destroying the principles of 
morality, and the ordinary instincts of human 
nature, is that given by Thucydides in the Third 
Book of his History, where he narrates the massacres 
in Corcyra. 

Practical politicians, on the other hand, especially 
in England and America, have little but praise 
for party spirit. It supplies the motive power in 
free governments. It enables men to work together. 
It "brings out the vote." I remember that nearly 
forty years ago, being in the company of Robert 
Lowe, then a member of Mr. Gladstone's first 
Cabinet, and the talk turning on the difficulties 
in the way of Parliamentary business, something 
was said deploring the vehemence of party spirit. 
Lowe promptly replied, " I wish we had much more 
of party spirit. There isn't enough." We saw 
that what he wanted was an unquestioning support 
from the Liberal party in the House of Commons, and 
no doubt he was right. That was what the Ministry 
did want, and what every Ministry wants. As law- 
yers say that it is more important that the law 


should be certain than that it should be just^ so a 
statesman, even a philosophical one such as Lowe 
was, might well hold that it was better that the 
party which constituted the majority of the House 
should steadily and heartily support the Executive 
through thick and thin than that the members of 
this majority should think more of truth than of 
party, each man or group voting according to his 
or its own view of what was right. 

Those philosophical writers who have also been Better and 
immersed in practical politics, have, like Edmund ©f Party. 
Burke, the greatest among them, while recognizing 
the necessity for Party as a means of government, 
usually distinguished its legitimate from its per- 
verted forms. Burke defines it as "a body of men 
united for promoting by their joint endeavours the 
national interest upon some point in which they are 
all agreed." It is, in the view of such writers, 
legitimate and useful when it is based on a principle 
and embodies a doctrine. It is pernicious when it 
blindly follows a leader or concentrates the eflForts 
of a group to seize or keep political power, or per- 
haps some other more distinctly material benefit. 
Its worth is in any given case to be tested by 
inquiring whether in each case it does or does not 


stand for a genuine principle or line of policy hon- 
estly advocated as being for the good of the com- 
Party in A Party appears under analysis to be a complex 

the ab- . 

stractand sort of thmg, in which the abstract or subjective 
Crete!*'*' ^^® ^^^ ^^^ Concrete or objective side do not neces- 
sarily correspond. It is abstract so far as it repre- 
sents the common adhesion of many minds to one 
set of opinions. It is concrete in respect of its con- 
sisting of a number of men who profess to be acting 
together because they hold or say that they hold 
those opinions. But these men may practically 
be indifferent to the opinions they appear to stand 
for, and may be really bound together by other 
motives and feelings which have little to do with 
the party tenets. Thus the concrete reality of the 
party as embodied in its members may be diflFerent 
from the description any one would give of it who 
knew only its history and its formal declarations of 

Party, being a natural offspring of the condi- 
tions under which popular governments have to 
be worked, is coloured and moulded by certain per- 
manent tendencies of human nature and especially 
of the four following — to wit : 



The disposition to imitate, 

The liking for association, 

The love of a fight. 
These tendencies are intermingled, in each group and 
indeed in each individual, in var3ring proportions, 
some being more prominent in one person or group, 
some in another. So, too, what we call Party Spirit 
is itself, as the result of these tendencies, a sin- 
gular blend of Thought and Emotion, the element 
of reason and that of feeling being present in very 
different relative strength in diflFerent persons. 

Let us see how Parties are formed. In every Mode in 
community there must needs be diversities of view parties are 
regarding public matters. Leading men become °"^® * 
the exponents of opposed views. Other men fall 
in behind them, professing agreement. To gather 
adherents and to make their views prevail they 
combine and organize. Forthwith a party emerges. 
The matter in dispute need not be important and 
may be anything in the world, perhaps something 
which is at first quite apart from politics. Re- 
ligious quarrels, family quarrels, a rivalry between 
two prominent men for a particular post, attach- 
ment to one or other side in some competitive 


game or sport, have sometimes started the Party, 
which has presently become committed to a set 
of political tenets. A party may be built on any 
foundation; wood or stubble will do as well as rock. 
Once it is formed, its members acquire the habit of 
thinking and acting together in many things besides 
those which originally drew them together. Once 
alive, nothing is more tenacious of life. Often it 
tends to become hereditary, especially in the ruder 
states of society. It may continue to live by its 
traditions, by its war-cries, even by its hatreds, when 
it has long outlived its doctrines and its usefulness. 
Since we are going to examine in what way 
Party Spirit may become an obstacle to the dis- 
charge of civic duty, let us begin by admitting its 
merits and recognizing the sort of necessity that 
has produced it. 
Political Party has been a practical necessity — and I 

give birth ^1^ i^ot now Speaking of the natural human ten- 
^ ^ ^' dencies that develop and shape it, but of the political 
circumstances that call it into being — because 
in a large, free community, where each man has 
his own affairs to occupy him, there must be some 
means of bringing current questions to the know- 
ledge of the citizens, of explaining their meaning 


and purport, of presenting and advocating par- The need 
ticular proposals for handling current issues. The pubUc 
larger the community grows, the greater the need ^ ®^^ ' 
for this. Accordingly, those who think together 
and wish to act together must organize; and their 
organization becomes a party. 

Furthermore, in a large commtmity the great Theselec- 
bulk of the citizens do not and hardly can know candidates, 
who are their best men, the fittest to think, to lead, 
to be selected for office. When persons have to 
be chosen by vote to hold office, there must be 
some means of recommending them and getting 
the electors, some of whom will be remiss, or heed- 
less, or ignorant, to come and vote for them. Where 
the community is a very large one, or where the 
structure of society does not indicate particular 
persons as prima facie fit men for office, there must 
be some means of selecting particular persons to 
be candidates, else voting will be all at random. 
A party organization supplies the obvious means. 
This function of nominating candidates increases 
not only the range of its action, but its power, 
because ambitious men become forthwith eager 
to control it and to develop it for their own 


An instance Where the posts filled by election do not cany 

ficuity in" much distinction and are not greatly sought after, 

S^d^ ^^^ member of a large community may find it hard 

of knowing ^^ know whom to vote for. London, while governed 

for whom ' P 

to vote. for certain common purposes by a body called the 
County Council, is divided for other local purposes 
into a large number of boroughs, each administered 
by its Borough Council.* The candidates for seats 
on these Councils are mostly men of so little per- 
sonal eminence that one may reside in a borough 
during a lifetime and have never heard their names. 
Not long ago at an election for the London borough 
in which I had lived for many years, a long list of 
candidates was issued, which I studied carefully, 
seeking, as a citizen ought, to vote for the best 
men. There was but one name I had ever seen 
before. It was that of a man who had won fame 
by his classical attainments at Cambridge Uni- 
versity and had afterwards become one of our 
leading Homeric scholars. Having nothing else 
to guide me, no suggestions from private acquaint- 
ances or from any party organization, I voted for ^ 

^ The Ancient City, a small area within the now vast London, 
retains its ancient government and is not subject to the County 


him, and for some of those other men on the same 
list who appeared, bo far as I could gather, to be 
associated with his candidacy. I happened to 
know that he was a man not only of learning, but 
of the highest personal character, but had I known 
nothing except that he was a distinguished Homeric 
scholar, I should have had to vote for him just the 
same, in default of all other data for a judgment, 
and not happening to know anybody to whom 
I could apply for information with a certainty of 
getting it. 

In such a case, though the principles of our 
political parties have nothing to do with the ques- 
tions that arise in boroueh administration, it 
might ] 
dates I 
have nt 
have b( 
of the 
whose 1 
have CB ..>.„_.. 

If parties existed, as they profess to exist, solely 
for the purpose of promoting the public welfare 
by advocating views and proposals deemed to be 


The nature 
and com- 
elements of 

in the 
of these 

conducive to that welfare, Party Spirit could 
hardly do mischief. It would then be nothing 
more than zeal for doctrines held to be true and 
wholesome. But in fact parties exist for other 
reasons and the spirit that moves them ceases to 
be regardful solely or even mainly of the public 

This appears when we consider what are the 
forces of sentiment that hold a party together. 
One is faith in the principles it professes. An- 
other is attachment to its leaders. A third is the 
desire to see the party strong and successful. A 
fourth is the love of combat, the wish, not merely 
to succeed, but to fight with and overcome the 
opposing party. This last mentioned element in 
Party Spirit is pretty conspicuous in Englishmen, 
Irishmen, and Americans, and gives -tt^^lections the 
vivacity which makes their charm. During the 
later hours of an election it is supreme; the merits 
of the issue are forgotten, and each side fights to 

The extent to which each of these several senti- 
ments, which taken together make up Party Spirit, 
exists in any given party, is constantly varying. 
Sometimes devotion to leaders, sometimes an- 


tagonism, rising into hatred, to the opposite party, 
acquires a strength out of all proportion to the 
interest felt in the principles and tenets of the 
party. It may happen that passion and principles 
are powerful in an inverse ratio. But it may also 
happen that when there is little passion there is 
also little thought or care for the doctrines of the 
party, because the organization stands simply as 
an organization. The party may have drifted 
from its old moorings and ceased to care for its 
old doctrines, but may still hold together as a 
concrete body which desires to maintain its as- 
cendancy in the nation, its leaders having a strong 
interest in that ascendancy. 

However, this is not the place for a Natural 
History of Party, fascinating as the subject is. 
We are now considering only the effects of Party 
Spirit on Civic Duty, having to examine the allega- 
tion that it seduces the citizen from a fair and candid 

There are endless instances to show that the 
spirit of party may be so diverted from its original 
character of an attachment to certain principles as 
to become a mere instinct of loyalty to a leader, 
or to a name, or to a set of catchwords. Then 


the dominant desire is to win the game and defeat 
the antagonists. When it is thus transformed, it 
may supersede independent thought and con- 
scientious purpose in the citizen's mind. Alle- 
^ance to the party replaces loyalty to the nation. 
Victory, not truth, becomes the aim; and the 
victory is less that of a doctrine than of a man or 
a group. Measures are judged not on their merits, 
but according to the quarter they proceed from. 
Sometimes strife grows so bitter that fellow-citi- 
zens of the opposite party are treated as enemies 
rather than partners in a common state. Each 
party hates and reviles the standard bearers of 
the other. Hostility may go so far as to distract 
the counsels of the State and expose it to foreign 
intrigue or invasion. 

Recognizing this liability to perversion which 
inheres in Party Spirit, let us see how it may be- 
come a hindrance to good citizenship, even in that 
milder aspect which it wears in the more advanced 
parts of modern Europe, for in some of the smaller 
southern eastern countries those harsher lineaments 
to which I have referred may still be discerned. 
Suppose an ordinary honest citizen to be considering 
how he shall vote on some public issue. Presumably 


he belongs to one party, and prefers to continue to 
support that party. If he finds his own opinion on 
the question, be the question that of a legislative 
proposal or that of the election of a particular per- 
son, to coincide with his party's opinion, all is simple. 
If, however, he differs in opinion from his party, 
what is his action likely to be and what ought it 
to be? 

In four cases out of five (perhaps more), the Aver- 
age Man will simply follow his party, not troubling 
himself to examine the matter. The party has 
done the thinking and made the decision. That is 
enough for him. 

If, however, being a somewhat more active or 
conscientious citizen than is the Average Man, he 
examines the issue for himself, and concludes that 
his party is wrong, the question follows whether he 
shall be ruled by his own opinion, or subordinate 
it to that of the party. 

Let us distinguish the case of the conscientious citi- 
zen, who is only a private in the party army, having 
nothing to do but cast his vote, from the case of the 
prominent conscientious citizen, who is an oflBcer, per- 
haps a colonel, or even a general in that army. The 
conscientious citizen, who is what I call a private, 


will usually hesitate to desert his party. He is bound 
to it by habit and by a preference for its leaders 
over those of the other side. It is unpleasant to 
support by his vote those whom he has hitherto 
opposed, and he hates to be regarded by his party 
associates as a deserter. Nevertheless, the voice 
of duty seems to require him to obey his convic- 
tions. He may, and if the issue is an important 
one, he probably will, being ex hypothesi conscien- 
tious, and in this instance convinced, ultimately 
follow it. But he has not been, and cannot be, a 
detached and impartial judge in the matter. 

Let us, however, suppose the citizen to be a 
leader in his party, not necessarily one of the chief- 
tains, but so far a prominent politician that others 
look to him and that his own political future is 
bound up with the party fortunes. To such an 
one it is doubly hard to form or give effect to a 
perfectly disinterested opinion. His career may 
be at stake. He will be exposed to censure, per- 
haps to obloquy, from his own side if he for- 
sakes them, and will receive from the other side 
those compliments for his candour which are even 
more deadly than abuse. The entrance into the 
matter of his personal interest, as a man having a 


political reputation and career, cannot but afifect 
his judgment. 

Other considerations come in to confuse the 
issue. A man prominent in his party may think 
that the good he can do by remaining in it and 
trying to back it up, so that it may fight efifec- 
tively in other then pending questions, outweighs 
the harm he will do by voting on this particular 
instance against his own conviction. Or he may 
value so highly the influence of his party on the 
welfare of the nation, and may so much fear to 
weaken it by helping to expose it to defeat on 
this particular issue, that it will in the particular 
case seem right to do what would otherwise be 
wrong for the sake of the greater good to follow 
from keeping the party in power. 

Though a politician may of course use such argu- 
ments as these to deceive himself and justify any 
line of action his interest prompts, still they are 
arguments which have their weight and worth, and 
deserve to be considered by men who seek to do right. 
Much depends on the gravity of the particular issue. 
If it is one profoundly afifecting the national wel- 
fare, the statesman must at all hazards follow his 
conscience. If it is of passing and secondary con- 


sequence^ he may feel it his duty to forego his 
own views for the sake of the party. Most cases 
lie between these extremes. They are not easy 
even for the ordinary voter who has nothing to 
lose or gain, while for the political leader they are 
far harder, not only because his personal interest 
is involved, but also because he sees more of the 
general conditions of party government and can 
survey the whole field of politics. 

In England, for instance, which I take because 
I know it best, our system of Cabinet and Parlia- 
mentary Government rests on Party. Without 
stable parties, commanding the habitual alle- 
giance of a body of electors in the country, and 
receiving the habitual support of their adherents 
in the House of Commons, the business of the 
country could not go on. If the majority which 
supports the Ministry in the House were to be al- 
ways chopping and changing, voting with them 
one day and against them the next, they would 
have no authority. Indeed, they could not stay 
in office. Accordingly, a member of the House 
cannot always vote according to his personal con- 
victions. He must support the Ministry, not 
only because his constituents sent him there to 


stand by it upon the main lines of policy, but also 
because it is more important to maintain a strong 
Executive and make its policy consistent and con- 
tinuous than it is to please one*s self by always 
following one's own views. 

This general principle is — I am still speaking of 
the British Parliament — subject to two exceptions. 
In small matters, not affecting the fate of a Minis- 
try, the member has some latitude, can now and 
then oppose Ministers, and may benefit them by 
doing so, because he apprises them of the diver- 
sities of view among their followers, and warns them 
not to put too severe a strain on party loyalty. 
I remember, when a private member, to have often 
told the government Whips that I was doing better 
for them by voting against them than by voting 
with them ; and sometimes (not indeed always, to be 
sure), they admitted this to be true. In very great 
matters, where the welfare of the nation may be 
involved, he must put that welfare, as he sees it, 
above party loyalty, and be prepared to turn out 
the Ministry rather than help it to do wrong. 
Mutatis mutandis, similar considerations affect the 
action, though, of course, to a much smaller ex- 
tent, of the private members of the Opposition 


party in Parliament, for the leaders of the Op- 
position, being presumably the persons out of which 
the next Ministry will be formed, hold a position of 
high responsibility, and are deemed entitled to the 
support of their party. 

The questions of honour and duty that arise 
under our conditions of parliamentary government 
in England are infinitely perplexing. The experi- 
ence of one who sat for five years as a private mem- 
ber in the House of Commons was that in nearly 
every week there arose more cases of conscience to 
settle as to what was the right course to take in 
voting in a division than had arisen every year dur- 
ing all the time when he practised law as a barrister. 
One soon learns not to worry over these things; it is 
seldom that one vote makes a difference to the par- 
liamentary result, though of course it may make a 
difference to the member's own future. When a man 
becomes a member of the Administration, the con- 
ditions change, and though questions of conscience 
are at least as difficult, they do not arise so often, 
because a government must at all hazards keep to- 
gether, and resignation (the proper course when a 
minister seriously disagrees from his colleagues) is 
justified only by the gravest differences of opinion. 


Lord Melbourne is said to have once observed, 
"The supporters I value are those who will sup- 
port me when I am wrong. Any one can sup- 
port me when I am right." The saying may 
seem cynical, but those who know practical poli- 
tics will recognize a truth in it. It may be proper 
sometimes to follow a leader whom in a partic- 
ular issue you think mistaken. In political life 
there is seldom an absolutely right and an abso- 
lutely wrong course. The choice is usually be- 
tween that which is somewhat the worse and that 
which is somewhat the better. You may think 
your party is committing an error and wish to dis- 
sociate yourself from that error. But if you quit 
your party, you lose such chance as you have of 
saving it from other errors. If your vote helps to 
turn it out of oflSce, the consequences of bringing 
in the other party may be more damaging to the 
country, for the errors you think that party likely 
to commit may be far more serious. It used to 
be a maxim with some of us when we were new 
private members in the House of Commons that 
while it was sometimes right and even necessary 
to vote against the Government, it was very sel- 
dom right to vote against the Government along 


with the Opposition, because our views on general 
policy differed so profoundly from those of the 
latter, that if we went along with them on a par- 
ticular division, it was quite probable that we 
might, however innocently, be taking a course 
harmful to our own principles. We were, so to 
speak, freshmen in Parliament, and were modest, 
as freshmen ought to be, and we felt that the 
"old hands" of the Opposition might see further 
into a political situation than we did, and we 
might be furthering what we thought their per- 
nicious purposes with the help which our simplicity 

Whoever holds a more or less leading position 
in poUtics — and a member of a legislative body 
may be deemed a leader when compared with the 
ordinary private citizen — is perhaps less liable to 
be carried away by Party Spirit than is the aver- 
age member of a party, because he is behind the 
scenes; he has got to know the seamy side of 
politics, and he so often, if a man of any thinking 
power, personally dislikes the line which he sees 
the party (or its most prominent figures) to be 
taking, that he can stand pretty free from mere 
partisan bias or prepossession. The most incisive 


criticism of party blunders is usually to be heard 
in the inner councils of the party ; and party leaders 
are the last people to be blind to one another's 
faults. But to the average party man, especially 
if he be a local worker, eager for the success of his 
own side, party is apt to become a fetish. He 
shouts for it, he canvasses for it, he supports it 
without stopping to think whether it is right or 
wrong. So the ordinary citizen who has all his life 
belonged to the party, is glad to be relieved of the 
trouble of thinking for himself, shuts his eyes, and 
goes forward with a rush. It is chiefly among these 
well-meaning, heedless men that Party Spirit sub- 
stitutes passion or habit for independent reflection. 
It is they who, honest and well intentioned as they 
may be, fail to apply a candid mind to the merits 
of measures and the characters of men. 

So far we have been considering national rather 
than local politics. A word may now be said 
about local, and especially municipal elections. 
Here in the United States the practice of making 
elections turn on party seems to be almost universal 
in cities but much less frequent in rural areas of 
local government, and sometimes departed from in 
State elections held in those areas. I understand 


that in electing representatives to the State Legis- 
lature from your towns in Connecticut it often 
happens that little regard is had to party. In 
England municipal elections are frequently, perhaps 
in about half or two-thirds of the boroughs, fought 
on party Unes. In Scotland party feeling comes 
very much less into them. In Ireland they are 
almost always political. Now the principles which 
national parties profess have seldom, in any coun- 
try, a real bearing on municipal issues. What a 
city wants is, first and foremost, honest and capable 
men. Whether they are Tories or Liberals makes 
no practical difference. It is sometimes said that 
by running city elections on party lines better men 
can be induced to stand for office, because they get 
an opportunity of making themselves known, and 
because the party indorsement furnishes a certain 
guarantee of their merits. Nevertheless, our English 
and Scottish experience suggests that Party Spirit 
ought to be kept out of city elections. It distracts 
the minds of the electors from considering those per- 
sonal merits of the candidates which ought to be 
the ground of choice. It is more likely to tend to 
jobbery. It may diminish that vigilant and im- 
partial criticism of municipal administration which 


is needed to maintain efficiency as well as purity. 
If a political party has put a man into office, it is 
apt, when his conduct is impugned, to think itself 
bound to stand up for him and see him through, 
whereas he ought to be judged simply by his con- 
duct and neither by his political opinions nor by 
his affiliations. 

This definite conclusion, drawn from our British 
experience, I can accordingly give you. — The less 
national politics in city elections the better. 

But if you ask for definite conclusions as to the 
use and abuse of Party Spirit in national affairs, all 
I can do is to indicate on the one side the dangers 
that attend it, and on the other the difficulty of dis- 
pensing with such a motive power. The case is Uke 
that of the Roman poet who said to the provoking 
lady he loved, Nee cum te possum vivere, nee sine te. 
Party spirit has at least this merit as compared with 
Indolence or Apathy, that it does at any rate stimu- 
late the interest of the citizen. It is far less per- 
nicious than Selfish Interest, because it is not sordid. 
It is the excess — an excess which is doubtless apt 
to run to an extreme — of a feeUng in itself natural 
and wholesome. Exactly how far it ought to be 
allowed to fill one's mind and guide one's action 


is a matter on which no rule can be laid down. 
Each man must exercise his common sense and 
deal with each case as it arises, tr3ring to be honest, 
but not splitting hairs, for fine-drawn casuistry 
defeats itself. 

Although practical politicians are always extoll- 
ing the obligations of party loyalty, they admit 
that there are cases in which a man must forsake 
his party; for we in Europe observe that they fre- 
quently appeal, especially on the eve of an election, 
to the "moderate and reasonable men" on the 
other side in politics to put the interests of the 
nation above party, to abandon their own leaders, 
who are (so it is alleged) sacrificing those interests, 
and to cast a vote, if only for this once, for the party 
to which the speaker belongs. Such speakers must 
sometimes wish that they could address the other 
side in a tongue which their own friends did not 
understand. I have been told that in the Highlands 
of Scotland, there are shepherds who keep two 
dogs, to one of which they talk English, to the 
other Gaelic. (I have never myself seen these dogs, 
but I believe in them.) When the flock of sheep, 
scattered along the side of a mountain, has to be 
gathered and driven to a point halfway up the slope. 


the shepherd shouts to one of the dogs m Gaelic, 
bidding him drive the upper sheep down, and to the 
other dog in English, bidding him drive the lower 
sheep up. Each dog understands the orders given 
in the tongue he comprehends and there is no con* 

Independence is a good thing; conscience a vital 
thing. Politics would soon become rotten if the 
citizens did not exercise their own judgment, and 
keep in check that instinct of association which 
makes the strength of Party Spirit. But one must 
also beware of magnifying smaU differences, of 
indulging the habit and exaggerating the tone of 
independence, into which there may possibly enter 
a spice of vanity and self-importance. You will 
sometimes see a man of ability and courage who 
effects less than he ought to do in the world be- 
cause he finds it hard to work with others, and lets 
divergencies of opinion on secondary issues isolate 
him from his party. 

There is a perspective in politics. The man to 
whom small things near the eye seem to be big, 
becomes what you in America call a Crank. We 
have not got the name in England, but we, like all 
other nations, have got the thing. He has often hit 


upon a good idea, but he sees things out of perspective, 
attaching such undue importance to his own pet no- 
tions as to make '' fads'' of them, and thus to become 
an obstacle to real work. St. Paul complimented his 
Corinthian converts on their " suffering fools gladly. " 
It is hard to suffer cranks gladly, for they are im- 
practicable persons, who while they explain their own 
views at inordinate length, will seldom try to under- 
stand your arguments and are all the more provoking 
because their intentions are usually excellent. Yet 
they ought to be borne with, for the propensity to 
mere imitation is so common, and independence of 
thinking is so rare, that much must be pardoned to 
those who break the monotony of ordinary opinion. 
Moreover, the longer we are in politics, the more do 
we realize that our judgment is faUible. Practical 
politicians are apt to be too impatient of what seems 
unpractical. Some of those so-called cranks for whom 
their own contemporaries "had no use," proved in 
the end to haVe been the pioneers in great reforms. 
Another class of men are sometimes hard to 
bear with; I mean those detached and highly 
superior critics who censure most of what the 
practical man does, but do not step down to help 
him. Here especially I notice that such critics 


are found exasperating and called sometimes cyn- 
ical, sometimes kid-gloved, and sometimes "goody 
goody." But they too have their use and must be 
listened to. People who stand out of the dust of 
practical poUtics sometimes see things more clearly 
than those who are in the middle of the fray. We 
should get on worse without the critics, for their 
criticisms often strike nearer to the truth than do 
those of political opponents, who are thinking only 
of scoring a party advantage, and who so overstate 
their case that we fail to recognize such truth and 
worth as there may be in it. 

Hard as it is for a member of a Cabinet or a 
Legislature to steer his course aright between an 
angular and unpractical independence on the one 
hand, and slavish obedience to party on the other, 
the difficulty is not very great for that Average 
Citizen, who has been all through most in our mind. 
For him to be forewarned is to be forearmed. Let 
him remember that Party is not an End but a 
Means. Let him absolutely refuse to vote for a dis- 
honest man, unless perhaps when he knows the other 
candidate to be even more dishonest. When he feels 
himself at variance with his party on an important 
issue, let him consider whether or no it is the leading 


issue of the election. When he feels vexed with 
his party for the action they have been taking, let 
him ask himself whether his disapproval is given on 
general public grounds or in respect of some ground 
peculiar to himself as to which he may have a bias 
of interest or sentiment. These questions, if not 
always easy, are easier to answer than are those 
which trouble the leader. If our well-meaning Aver- 
age Man realizes the danger of )delding himself up 
to party spirit and neglecting the duty of judging 
for himself, he need not go far wrong. The advice 
which Speaker Reed is reported to have given to a 
young friend in Maine, " See which crowd has the 
honester men and vote with it," is not bad for local 
elections. Such vague general exhortations as " Do 
what is right and disregard the consequences," or 
" Always stick to your friends," are useless. Every 
case must be considered by itself, for there are no 
general rules. But common sense and common 
honesty will keep him straight. 

The Average Citizen who belongs to a party, 
but is not the slave of his party, has a most im- 
portant function to perform besides that of voting 
for his party when he agrees with it. It is to save 
his party from itself and the country from the 


tyranny of any one party. I have had occasion 
more than once to remark that leadership is 
essential to a democracy. Creative ideas and 
constructive policies always come from a very 
few superior minds. But just as the multitude 
need leaders to inspire them and to think for them, 
so leaders need the great mass of sensible, well- 
intentioned followers to keep them in check. The 
most brilliant leaders may be unscrupulous or 
domineering. The most earnest leaders may be 
eager to go too fast or too far. The leaders and 
the more active party workers taken together may 
have grown accustomed to care more for their 
party than for the country, and to use the party 
mainly as a means of keeping office. We have 
seen all these things happen in England and France. 
When such things do happen, it is for the ordi- 
nary citizens who have nothing to gain by party 
success, and who keep their heads free from the 
fumes of party passion to shift their votes from 
one side to the other and so rebuke the errors of 
their chiefs and moderate a dominance dangerous 
to the public weal. No more than an individual 
is a party fit to be trusted with overwhelming 
power. In this way they can maintain the equi- 


librium of the government and recall parties and 
leaders to a sense of the real objects for which 
political organizations exist. Was it not this that 
Abraham Lincoln meant when he spoke of the 
people as the ultimate force and the reserve of 
practical wisdom in the nation? or, when he de- 
livered that admirable dictum " You may fool some 
of the people all the time and all the people some 
of the time, but not all the people all the time"? 
Nations may err, as individuals err. Majorities, 
so Garlyle and others have said, are just as often 
wrong as are minorities. Sometimes a quite small 
mipiority turns out to have been right. StiU there 
is, in the long run, a wisdom in the whole people 
greater than the wisdom of any one man or group. 
No leader, no party, no legislature, can ever ruin 
a State while the great body of Average Citizens, 
the better educated and the less educated taken to- 
gether, continue to maintain a high level of public 
spirit and practical good sense. 



In the preceding three lectures the chief hin- 
drances to the discharge of civic duty have been 
considered. Let us now go on to inquire what 
can be done to remove these hindrances by grap- 
pling with those faults or weaknesses in the citizen 
to which they are due. When symptoms have 
been examined, one looks about for remedies. 

We have seen that of the three causes assigned, 
Indolence, Selfish Personal Interest, and Party 
Spirit, the first is the most common, the second 
the most noxious, the third the most excusable, 
yet also the most subtle, and perhaps the most 
likely to affect the class which takes the lead in 
politics and is incessantly employed upon its daily 
work. Whether the influence of these causes, or of 
any of them, is increasing with that more complete 
democratization of government which we see going 
on in Europe, is a question that cannot yet be 



answered. Fifty years may be needed before it 
can be answered, for new tendencies both for good 
and for evil are constantly emerging and affecting 
one another in unpredictable ways. 

The remedies that may be applied to any defects in 
the working of governments are some of them Me- 
chanical, some of them Ethical. By Mechanical reme- 
dies I understand those which consist in improving 
the structure or the customs and working devices of 
government, i.e., the laws and the institutions or polit- 
ical methods, by Ethical those which affect the char- 
acter and spirit of the people. If you want to get 
more work and better work done in any industry, 
you may either improve the machinery, or the 
implements, by which the work is done, or else im- 
prove the strength and skill of the men who run 
the machinery and use the tools. In doing the 
former, you sometimes do the latter also, for when 
the workman has finer tools, he is led on to at- 
tempt more difficult work, and thus not only does 
his own skill become more perfect, but his interest 
in the work is likely to be increased. 

Although in politics by far the most real and 
lasting progress may be expected from raising the 
intelligence and virtue of the citizens, still improve- 


ments in the machinery of government must not 
be undervalued. To take away from bad men the 
means and opportunities by which they may work 
evil, to furnish good men with means and oppor- 
tunities which make it easier for them to prevent 
or overcome evil, is to render a great service. And 
as laws which breathe a high spirit help to educate 
the whole community, so does the presence of 
opportunities for reform stimulate and invigorate 
the best citizens in their efforts after better things. 

I will enumerate briefly some of the remedies 
that may be classed as Mechanical because they 
consist in alterations of institutions or methods. 

Two of these need only a few passing words, 
because they are so sweeping as to involve the 
whole fabric of government, and therefore too 
large to be discussed here. 

One is propounded by those thinkers whom, to 
distinguish them from the persons who announce 
themselves as enemies of all society, we may call the 
Philosophical Anarchists, thinkers who are entitled 
to respectful consideration because their doctrine 
represents a protest that needs to be made against 
the conception of an all-engulfing State in which 
individual initiative and self-guided development 


might be merged and lost. They desire to get rid of 
the defects of government by getting rid of govern- 
ment itself; that is to say, by leaving men entirely 
alone without any coercive control, trusting to their 
natural good impulses to restrain them from harm- 
ing one another. In such a state of things there 
would be no Citizenship, properly so called, but only 
the isolation of families, or perhaps of individuals — 
for it is not quite clear how far the family is ex- 
pected to remain in the Anarchist paradise — an 
isolation more or less qualified by brotherly love. 
We are so far at present from a prospect of reach- 
ing the conditions needed for such an amelioration 
that it is enough to note this view and pass on. 

A second and diametrically opposite cure for the 
evils of existing society comes from those who are 
commonly termed Socialists or GoUectivists. It 
consists in so widely enlarging the functions of 
government as to commit to it not merely all the 
work it now performs of defending the country, 
maintaining order, enacting laws, and enforcing 
justice between man and man, but also the further 
work of producing and distributing all commodi- 
ties, allotting to each man his proper labour and 
proper remuneration, or possibly, instead of giving 


any pecuniary remuneration^ providing each man 
with what he needs for life. Under this regime two 
of the hindrances to good citizenship would be much 
reduced. There ought to be less indifference to 
politics when everybody's interest in the man- 
agement of public concerns had been immensely 
increased by the fact that he found himself depen- 
dent on the public officials for every-thing. No- 
body could plead that he was occupied by his own 
private business, because his private business 
would have vanished. So also selfish personal 
interest in making gains out of government must 
needs disappear when private property itself had 
ceased to exist. Whether, however, self-interest 
might not still find means of influencing public 
administration in ways beneficial to individual 
cupidity, and whether personal selfishness might 
not be even more dangerous, under such conditions, 
in proportion to the extended range and power of 
government, — this is another question which can- 
not be discussed till some definite scheme for the 
allotment of work and of remuneration (if any) 
shall have been propounded. Party Spirit would 
evidently, in a Collectivistic State, pass into new 
forms. It might, however, become more potent 


than ever before. But that again would depend on 
the kind of scheme for the reshaping of economic 
society that had been adopted. 

We may pass from these suggestions for the 
extinction, or reconstruction on new lines, of the 
existing social and political system to certain minor 
devices for improving the structure and methods of 
government which have been put forward as likely 
to help the citizen to discharge his duties more 

One of these is the system of Proportional Rep- 
resentation. It is argued that if electoral areas 
were created with more than two members each, 
and if each elector was either allowed to vote for a 
number of candidates less than the number to be 
chosen, or was allowed to concentrate all his votes 
upon one candidate, or more, according to the 
nmnber to be chosen, two good results would follow. 
The will of the electors would be more adequately 
and exactly expressed, because the minority, or 
possibly more than one minority, as well as the 
majority, would have everywhere its representative. 
The zeal of the electors would be stimulated, be- 
cause in each district a section of opinion not large 
enough to have a chance of winning an election, 


if there were but one member, and accordingly 
now apathetic, because without hope, would then 
be roused to organize itself and to take a warmer 
interest in public affairs. The Proportional system 
is, therefore, advocated as one of those improve- 
ments in machinery which would react upon the 
people by quickening the pulses of pubUc Ufe. 
Some experiments have already been made in this 
direction. Those tried in England did not win 
general approval and have been dropped. That 
which is still in operation in the State of Illinois 
has not, if my informants are right, given much 
satisfaction. But the plan is said to work well 
both in Belgium and in some of the cantons of 
Switzerland; so one may hope that further experi- 


ments will be attempted. It deserves your careful 
study, but it is too complicated and opens too many 
side issues to be further discussed now and here.^ 

Attempts have been made in some places to 
overcome the indifference of citizens to their duty 
by fining those who, without sufficient excuse, 
fail to vote. This plan of Obligatory Voting, as it 

' Since the above was written a Royal Commission has been 
appointed in Britun to examine divers questions relating to 
elections, and is investigating this, among other plans. 


is called, finds favour in some Swiss cantons and 
in Belgium, but is too uncongenial to the habits 
of England or of the United States to be worth 
considering as a practical measure in either 
country. Moreover, the neglect to vote is no very 
serious evil in either country, at least as regards 
the more important elections. Swiss legislation on 
the subject is evidence not so much of indifference 
among the citizens of that country as of the high 
standard of public duty they are expected to reach. 
When we come to the proposals made both here 
and in England for the reference of proposals to 
a direct popular vote, we come to a question of 
real practical importance. I wish that I had time 
to state to you and to examine the arguments 
both for and against this mode of legislation, which 
has been practised for many years in Switzerland 
with a virtually unanimous approval, and has 
been applied pretty freely in some of your States. 
It has taken two forms. One is the so-called 
Initiative, under which a section of the electors 
(being a number, or a proportion, prescribed by 
law) may propose a law upon which the people 
vote. This is being tried in Switzerland, but so 
far as I have been able to gather, has not yet 


proved its utility. The balance of skilled opinion 
seems to incline against it. The other is called 
the Referendum, and consists in the submission 
to popular vote of measures already passed by 
the legislative body. In this form the reference 
of laws to the people undoubtedly sharpens the 
interest of the ordinary citizen in the conduct of 
pubUc affairs. The Swiss voters, at any rate, take 
pains to inform themselves on the merits of the 
measures submitted to them. These are widely 
and acutely canvassed at public meetings, and in 
the press. A large vote is usually cast, and all, 
whether or no they approve the result, agree that 
it is an intelligent, not a heedless, vote. The Swiss 
do not seem to think that the power and dignity 
of the legislature is weakened, as some might ex- 
pect it to be, when their final voice is thus super- 
seded by that of the people. All I need now ask 
you to note and remember is that the practice of 
bringing political issues directly before the people, 
whatever its drawbacks, does tend to diminish 
both that indolence and indifference which is 
pretty common among European voters. It re- 
quires every citizen to think for himself and de- 
liver his vote upon all the more important measures, 


and it also reduces the power of that Party Spirit 
which everywhere distracts men's minds from the 
real merits of the questions before the coimtry. 
When a law is submitted to the Swiss people for 
their judgment, their decision nowise afiFects either 
the Executive or the Legislature. The law may 
be rejected by the people, but the oflScials who 
drafted the law continue to hold office. The party 
which brought it in and carried it through the Legis- 
lature is not deemed to have been censured or 
weakened by the fact of its ultimate rejection. That 
party spirit is less strong in Switzerland than in any 
other free country (except perhaps Norway) may be 
largely attributed to this disjunction of the deciding 
voice in legislation from those governmental organs 
which every political party seeks to control. The 
Swiss voter is to-day an exceptionally intelligent 
and patriotic citizen, fitter to exercise the function 
of direct legislation than perhaps any other citizen 
in Europe, and the practice of directly legislating has 
doubtless helped to train him for the function. 
It must, however, be admitted that the circum- 
stances of that little republic and its cantons are too 
peculiar to make it safe to draw inferences from 
Swiss experience to large countries like Britain and 


France, the political life of which is highly central- 
ized. The States of your Union may appear to ofiFer 
a better field, and the results of the various experi- 
ments which some of them (such as Oklahoma) are 
trying will be watched with interest by Europeans. 

In considering the harm done to civic duty by 
selfish personal interests we were led to observe 
that the fewer points of contact between govern- 
ment and the pecuniary interests of private citi- 
zens, the better both for the purity of government 
and for the conscience of the private citizen. How 
far government ought to include within its fimc- 
tions schemes for increasing national wealth, 
otherwise than by such means (being means which 
a government alone can employ because to be effec- 
tive they must be done on a great scale) as the 
improving of education, the diffusing of know- 
ledge, the providing means of transportation, the 
conservation of natural resources, and so forth, 
may be matter for debate. But at any rate govern- 
ment ought to avoid measures tending to enrich 
any one person or group of persons at the expense 
of the citizens generally. Common justice re- 
quires that. Accordingly, all contracts should be 
made on the terms best for the pubUc, and if pos- 


sible by open bidding. Franchises, if not re- 
served by the public authority for itself, should be 
granted only for limited times and so as to secure 
the interests of the community, whether by way of 
a rent payable to the city or coimty treasury or 
otherwise. Public employees should not be made 
into a privileged class, to which there is given larger 
pay than other workers of the same class and ca- 
pacity receive. All bills promoted by a private 
person, firm, or company looking to his or their 
pecuniary advantage ought to be closely scrutinized 
by some responsible public authority. In Eng- 
land we draw a sharp distinction between such 
bills and general public legislation, and we submit 
the former to a quasi-judicial examination by a 
Parliamentary committee in order to avoid possi- 
ble jobs or scandals or losses to the public. As 
respects general legislation, ^.e., that which is not 
in its terms local or personal, it may be difficult 
or impossible to prevent a law from incidentally 
benefiting one group or class of men and injuring 
another. But everjrthing that can be done ought 
to be done to prevent any set of men from abusing 
legislation to serve their own interest. If there 
be truth in what one hears about the groups which 


in France, Belgium, and Germany have, through 
political pressure, obtained by law bounties bene- 
fiting their industries, or tariffs specially favour- 
able to their own commercial enterprises, the danger 
that the general tax payer, or the consumer, may 
be sacrificed to these private interests, is a real dan- 
ger. To remove the occasion and the opportunities 
for the exercise of such pressure, which is likely to 
be often exerted in a covert way and to warp or 
pervert the legislator's mind, is to diminish a temp- 
tation and to remove a stumbhng block that lies in 
the path of civic duty. Whether a man be in theory 
a Protectionist or a Free Trader, whether or not he 
desires to nationalize public utilities, he must rec- 
ognize the dangers incident to the passing of laws 
which influential groups of wealthy men may have 
a personal interest in promoting or resisting, because 
they offer a prospect of gain sufiiciently large to 
make it worth while to ''get at" legislatures and 
ofiicials. Such dangers arise in all governments. 
That which makes them formidable in democracies is 
the fact that the interest of each individual citizen in 
protecting himself and the public against the selfish 
groups may be so small an interest that everybody 
neglects it, and the groups get their way. 


As we have been considering improvements in 
the machinery of government, this would be a fitting 
place for a discussion of what you call Primary Elec- 
tion Laws, which are intended both to reduce the 
power of party organizations and to stimulate the per- 
sonal zeal of the voter by making it easier for him to 
influence the selection of a candidate. We have, how- 
ever, in Europe, nothing corresponding to the Primary 
Laws of American States, nothing which recognizes a 
political party as a concrete body, nothing which deals 
with the mode of selecting candidates; and many of 
you doubtless know better than I do what has been 
the effect of these American enactments and whether 
they have really roused the ordinary citizen to bestir 
himself and to assert his independence of such party 
organizations as may have heretofore interfered with 
it. Europeans do not take kindly to the notion of 
giving statutory recognition to a Party, and they 
doubt whether the astuteness of those whom you 
call "machine politicians" may not succeed in get- 
ting hold of the new statutory Primaries as they did 
of the old ones. Be the merits of the new legisla- 
tion what they may, one must hope that its exist- 
ence will not induce the friends of reform to relax 
their efforts to reduce in other ways the power of 
political " Machines." 


One obvious expedient to which good citizens may 
resort for keeping other citizens up to the mark is to 
be found in the enactment and enforcement of strin- 
gent laws against breaches of public trust. I took 
occasion, in referring to the practices of bribery 
and treating at elections, to note the wholesome 
effect of the statute passed in England in 1883 for 
repressing those offences. Although St. Paul has 
told us that he who is under grace does not need to 
be under the law, Christianity has not yet gone 
far enough to enable any of us to dispense with the 
moral force law can exert, both directly through the 
penalties it imposes and indirectly through the 
type of conduct which it exhorts the community 
to maintain. Laws may do much to raise and sustain 
the tone of all the persons engaged in public affairs 
as officials or as legislators, not only by appealing 
to their conscience, but by giving them a quick 
and easy reply to those who seek improper favours 
from them. A statute may express the best con- 
science of the whole people and set the standard 
they approve, even where the practice of most indi- 
viduals falls short of the standard. If the prosecut- 
ing authorities and the Courts do their duty unflinch- 
ingly, without regard to the social position of the 


oflfender, a statute may bring the practice of ordi- 
nary men up to the level of that collective con- 
science of the nation which it embodies. 

In every walk of Ufe a class of persons constantly 
subject to a particular set of temptations is apt to 
form habitS; due to the pressure of those tempta- 
tions, which are below what the conscience of the 
better men in the community approves. The aim 
of legislation, as expressing that best conscience of 
the whole community, ought to be to correct or 
extirpate those habits and make each particular 
class understand that it is not to be excused be- 
cause it has special temptations and thinks its 
own sins venial. Even the men who 3deld to the 
temptations peculiar to theu- own class are willing to 
join in condemning those who yield to some other 
kind of temptation. Thus the "better conscience" 
may succeed in screwing up one class after another 
to a higher level. But the enactment of a law is 
not enough. It must be strictly enforced. Procedure 
must be prompt. Juries must be firm. Technicali- 
ties must not be suffered to obstruct the march of 
justice. Sentences must be carried out, else the 
statute will become, as statutes often have become, a 
record of aspiration rather than of accomplishment. 


To contrive plans by which the interest of the 
citizen in public affairs shall be aroused and sus- 
tainedy is far easier than to induce the citizen to 
use and to go on using, year in and year out, the 
contrivances and opportunities provided for his 
benefit. Yet it is from the heart and will of the 
citizen that all real and lasting improvements must 
proceed. In the words of the Gospel, it is the in- 
side of the cup and platter that must be made clean. 
The central problem of civic duty is the ethical 
problem. Indifference, selfish interests, the excesses 
of party spirit, wiU aU begin to disappear as civic 
life is lifted on to a higher plane, and as the number 
of those who, standing on that higher plane, will 
apply a strict test to their own conduct and to that 
of their leaders, realizing and striving to discharge 
their responsibilities, goes on steadily increasing 
until they come to form the majority of the people. 
What we have called "the better conscience" must 
be grafted on to the ''wild stock" of the natural 
Average Man. 

How is this to be done? The diificulty is the 
same as that which meets the social reformer or 
the preacher of religion. 

One must try to reach the Will through the Soul. 


The most obvious way to begin is through the educa- 
tion of those who are to be citizens, moral education 
combined with and made the foimdation for instruc- 
tion in civic duty. This is a task which the Swiss 
alone among European nations seem to have seriously 
undertaken. Here in America it has become doubly 
important through the recent entrance into your 
community of a vast mass of immigrants, most of 
them ignorant of our language, still more of them 
ignorant, not only of your institutions, but of the 
general principles and habits of free government. 
Most of them doubtless belong to races of high natu- 
ral intelligence, and many of them have the simple 
virtues of the peasant. You are providing for all of 
them good schools, and their children will soon be- 
come Americans in speech and habits, quite patriotic 
enough so far as flag-waving goes. But they will 
not so soon or so completely acquire your intellec- 
tual and moral standard, or imbibe your historical 
and religious traditions. There is no fear but what 
they will quickly learn to vote. To some Europeans 
you seem to have been overconfident in intrusting 
them with a power which most of them cannot yet 
have learned to use wisely. That however you have 
done, and as you hold that it cannot now be un- 
done, your task must now be to teach them, if 


you can, to understand your institutions, to think 
about the vote they have to give, and to realize 
the responsibilities which the suffrage implies as 
these were realized by your New England fore- 
fathers when they planted free commonwealths 
in the wilderness nearly three centuries ago. 

Valuable as instruction may be in fitting the 
citizen to comprehend and judge upon the issues 
which his vote determines, there must also be the 
will to apply his knowledge for the public good. 
What appeal shall be made to him? 

We, — I say "we" because this is our task in 
Europe no less than it is yours here — we may 
appeal to his enlightened self-interest, making 
self-interest so enlightened that it loses its selfish 
quality. We can remind him of all the useful 
work which governments may accompUsh when 
they are conducted by the right men in the right 
spirit. Take, for instance, the work to be per- 
formed in those cities wherein so large and in- 
creasing a part of the population now dwell. How 
much remains to be done to make cities healthier, 
to secure better dwellings for the poor, to root out 
nests of crime, to remove the temptations to intem- 
perance and gambling, to bring within the reach of 
the poorest all possible facilities both for intellectual 


progress and for enjoying the pleasures of art and 
music. How much may we do so to adorn- the city 
with parks and public buildings as to make its ex- 
ternal aspect instil the sense of beauty into its in- 
habitants and give them a fine pride in it I These 
are some of the tasks which cannot safely be in- 
trusted to a municipality unless its government 
is above suspicion, unless men of probity and 
capacity are placed in power, unless the whole 
community extends its sympathy to the work and 
keeps a vigilant eye upon all the officials. Mu- 
nicipal governments cannot be encouraged to own 
public utilities so long as there is a risk that some- 
body may own municipal governments. Have we 
not here a strong motive for securing purity and 
efficiency in city administration? Is it not the per- 
sonal interest of every one of us that the city we 
dwell in should be such as I have sought to describe? 
Nothing makes more for happiness than to see 
others around one happy. The rich residents need 
not grudge — nor indeed would your rich residents 
grudge, for there is less grumbling among the 
rich tax payers here than in Europe — taxation 
which they could see was being honestly spent for 
the benefit of the city. The interest each one of 


us has as a member of a city or a nation in seeing 
our fellow-citizens healthy, peaceful, and happy is 
a greater interest, if it be measured in terms of our 
own real enjoyment of life, than is that interest, of 
which we so constantly are reminded, which we have 
in making the State either wealthy by the develop- 
ment of trade, or formidable to foreign countries 
by its armaments. 

We may also appeal to every citizen's sense of 
dignity and self-respect. We may bid him recollect 
that he is the heir of rights and privileges which 
your and our ancestors fought for, and which place 
him, whatever his birth or fortune, among the rulers 
of his country. He is unworthy of himself, unmind- 
ful of what he owes to the Constitution that has 
given him these functions, if he does not try to 
discharge them worthily. These considerations 
are no doubt familiar to us Englishmen and Ameri- 
cans, though we may not always feel their force as 
deeply as we ought. To the new immigrants of whom 
I have already spoken they are unfamiliar; yet to 
the best among these also they have sometimes 
powerfully appealed. You had, in the last genera- 
tion, no more high-minded and patriotic citizen than 
the German exile of 1849, the late Mr. Carl Schurz. 


When every motive has been invoked, and every 
expedient applied that can stimulate the sense of 
civic duty, one never can feel sure that the desired 
result will follow. The moral reformer and the 
preacher of religion have the same experience. 
The ebbs and flows of ethical life are beyond the 
reach of scientific prediction. There are times of 
awakening, "times of refreshing from the presence 
of the Lord/' as your Puritan ancestors said, but 
we do not know when they will come nor can we 
explain why they come just when they do. Every 
man can recall moments in his own life when the 
sky seemed to open above him, and when his vision 
was so quickened that all things stood transfigured 
in a purer and brighter radiance, when duty, and even 
toil done for the sake of duty, seemed beautiful and 
full of joy. 

You remember Wordsworth's lines 

" Hence, in a season of fair weather, 
Though inland far we be, 
Our souls have sight of that celestial sea 
That brought us hither." 

If we survey the wide field of European history, 
we shall find that something like this happens 
with nations also. They, too, have moments of 
exaltation, moments of depression. Their ideals 


rise and fall. They are for a time filled with a 
spirit which seeks truth, which loves honour, which 
is ready for self-sacrifice; and after a time the 
light begins to fade from the hills and this spirit 
lingers only among the best souls. 

Such a spirit is sometimes evoked by a great 
national crisis which thrills all hearts. This 
happened to England or at least to a large part of 
the people of England, in the seventeenth century. 
It happened to Germany in the days of the War 
of Liberation, and to Italy when she was striving 
to expel the Austrians and the petty princes who 
ruled by Austria's help. You here felt it during 
the War of Secession. Sometimes, and usually 
at one of these crises, a great man stands out who 
helps to raise the feeling of his people and inspire 
them with his own lofty thoughts and aims. Such 
a man was Mazzini, seventy years ago in Italy. 
Such were Washington and Lincoln, the former 
more by his example than by his words, the latter 
by both, yet most by the quiet patience, dignity, 
and hopefulness which he showed in the darkest 
hours. Nations respond to the appeal which such 
a man makes to their best instincts. He typifies 
for the moment whatever is highest in them. 


Unhappily, with nations as with individuals, 
there is apt to be a relapse from these loftier moods 
into the old common ways when selfish interest and 
trivial pleasures resume their sway. There comes 
a sort of reaction from the stress of virtue and 
strenuous high soaring effort. Everything looks 
gray and dull. The divine light has died out of 
the sky. This, too, is an oft-repeated lesson of 
European history. Yet the reaction and decline 
are not inevitable. When an individual man has 
been raised above himself by some spiritual impulse, 
he is sometimes able to hold the ground he has won. 
His will may have been strengthened. He has 
learnt to control the meaner desires. The impulse 
that stirred him is not wholly spent, because the 
nobler thoughts and acts which it prompted have 
become a habit with him. So, too, with a nation. 
What habits are to the individual man, that, to 
a nation, are its Traditions. They are the memories 
of the Past turned into the standards of the Pres- 
ent. High traditions go to form a code of honour, 
which speaks with authority to the sense of honour. 
Whoever transgresses that code is felt to be unworthy 
of the nation, unfit to hold that place in its respect 
and confidence which the great ones of the days of 


old have held. Pride in the glorious foretime of the 
race and in its heroes sustains in the individual 
man who is called to public duty, the personal 
pride which makes him feel that all his affections 
and all his emotions stand rooted in the sense of 
honour, which is, for the man and for the nation, 
the foundation of all virtue. 

We have seen in our own time, in the people of 
Japan, a striking example of what the passionate 
attachment to a national ideal can do in war to 
intensify the sense of duty and self-sacrifice. A 
similar example is held up to us by those who have 
recorded the earlier annals of Rome. The deep- 
est moral they teach is the splendid power which 
the love of Rome and the idea of what her chil- 
dren owed to her exercised over her great citizens, 
enabling them to set shining examples of devotion 
to the city which the world has admired ever since. 
Each example evoked later examples in later gen- 
erations, till at last in a changed community, its 
upper class demoralized by wealth and power even 
more than it was torn by discord, its lower classes 
corrupted by the upper and looking on their suf- 
frage as a means of gain, the ancient traditions 
died out. Whoever, studying the conditions of 


modern European democracies; sees the infinite 
facilities which popular government in large coun- 
tries full of rich men and of opportunities for 
acquiring riches, offers for the perversion of gov- 
ernment to private selfish ends, will often feel that 
those European states which have maintained the 
highest standard of civic purity have done it in 
respect of their Traditions. Were these to be weak- 
ened, the fabric might crumble into dust. 

Every new generation as it comes up can make 
the traditions which it finds better or worse. If 
its imagination is touched and its emotions stirred 
by all that is finest in the history of its country, 
it learns to live up to the ideals set before it, and 
thus it strengthens the best standards of conduct 
it has inherited and prolongs the reverence felt 
for them. 

The responsibility for forming ideals and fixing 
standards does not belong to statesmen alone. 
It belongs, and now perhaps more largely than 
ever before, to the intellectual leaders of the nation, 
and especially to those who address the people in 
the Universities and through the press. Teachers, 
writers, journalists, are forming the mind of modern 
nations to an extent previously unknown. Here 


they have opportunities such as have existed never 
before, nor in any other country, for tr3dng to in- 
spire the nation with a love of truth and honour, 
with a sense of the high obligations of citizenship, 
and especially of those who hold public office. 

Of the power which the daily press exerts upon 
the thought and the tastes of the people through 
the matter it scatters among them, and of the 
grave import of the choice it has always and every- 
where to make between the serious treatment of 
public issues and that cheap cynicism which so 
many readers find amusing, there is no need to 
speak here. You know better than I do how far 
those who direct the press realize and try to dis- 
charge the responsibilities which attach to their 

The observer who seeks to discern and estimate 
the forces working for good or evil that mark the 
spirit and tendencies of an age, finds it easiest 
to do this by noting the changes which have 
occurred within his own memory. To-day every- 
one seems to dwell upon the growth not only of 
luxury, but of the passion for amusement, and 
most of those who can look back thirty or forty 
years find in this growth grounds for discourage- 


ment. I deny neither the fact nor the significance 
of the auguries that it suggests. But let us also 
note a hopeful sign manifest during the last twenty 
years both here and in England. It is the diflfusion 
among the educated and richer classes of a warmer 
feeling of sympathy and a stronger feeling of re- 
sponsibility for the less fortunate sections of the 
community. There is more of a sense of brother- 
hood, more of a desire to help, more of a discontent 
with those arrangements of society which press 
hardly on the common man than there was forty 
years ago. This altruistic spirit which is now every- 
where visible in the field of private philanthropic 
work, seems likely to spread into the field of civic 
action also, and may there become a new motive 
power. It has already become a more eflicient 
force in legislation than it ever was before. We 
may well hope that it will draw more and more of 
those who love and seek to help their fellow-men 
into that legislative and administrative work whose 
opportunities for grappling with economic and 
social problems become every day greater. 

Here in America I am told in nearly every city 
I visit that the young men are more and more 
caring for and bestirring themselves to discharge 


their civic duties. That is the best news one can 
hear. Surely no country makes so clear a call 
upon her citizens to work for her as yours doeis. 
Think of the wide-spreading results which good 
solid work produces on so vast a community, where 
everything achieved for good in one place is quickly 
known and may be quickly imitated in another. 
Think of the advantages for the development of 
the highest civilization which the boundless re- 
sources of your territory provide. Think of that 
principle of the Sovereignty of the People which 
you have carried further than it was ever carried 
before and which requires and inspires and, indeed, 
compels you to endeavour to make the whole 
people fit to bear a weight and discharge a task 
such as no other multitude of men ever yet under- 
took. Think of the sense of fraternity, also with- 
out precedent in any other great nation, which 
binds all Americans together and makes it easier 
here than elsewhere for each citizen to meet every 
other citizen as an equal upon a common ground. 
One who, coming from the Old World, remem- 
bers the greater difficulties the Old World has to 
face, rejoices to think how much, with all these 
advantages, the youth of America, such youth as 


I see here to-night in this venerable University, 
may accomplish for the future of your country. 
Nature has done her best to provide a foundation 
whereon the fabric of an enlightened and steadily 
advancing civilization may be reared. It is for 
you to build upon that foundation. Free from 
many of the dangers that surround the states of 
Europe, you have unequalled opportunities for 
showing what a high spirit of citizenship — zealous, 
intelligent, disinterested — may do for the happi- 
ness and dignity of a mighty nation, enabling it to 
become what its founders hoped it might be — a 
model for other peoples more lately emerged into 
the simlight of freedom. 


Anarchists, philosophical, doo- 
trine of, 107, 108. 

Anarchy, the result of inde- 
pendence carried to excess, 6. 

Anger, righteous, 22; valuable 
motive power in politics, 23. 

Appropriations for public works, 
51; effect on voting, 51. 

Athletics, extreme interest in, 
lessens interest in politics, 26. 

Australia, athletics excite more 
interest than politics, 26; 
government employees influ- 
enced elections, 53. 

Average citizen, description of, 
17-19; advice to, 101-103. 

Belgium, laws against non- 
voters, 28; proportional rep- 
resentation in, 111; obligar 
tory voting in, 112. 

Blanc, Louis, advocate of popu- 
lar government, 14. 

Borough Councils of London, 82. 

Bribery, 47; former leniency in 
England regarding, 47; legis- 
lation against, and its improv- 
ing effect, 47; not practised 
in Scotland, 48. 

Burke, Edmund, on party, 77. 

Carlyle on majorities and minor- 
ities, 104. 

Citizenship, requisites of, 7, 10. 

Civic capacity, 7. 

Cleveland, Grover, a purifier of 
politics, 60. 

Collectivists, 108-110. 

Conscience, a requisite of good 
citizenship, 7, 10; compara- 
tive rarity of, 8; in voting, 
92; a vital thing in politics, 
99, 120. 

Contracts, government, may 
affect legislation, 53; check 
against, 53, 115. 

County Council of London, 82. 

Cranks in politics, 99; some- 
times useful for reform, 100. 

Despotism the result of exces- 
sive obedience, 6. 

Dicey, A. V., Law and Opinionf 

Direct popular legislation, suc- 
cessful in Switzerland, 112- 
114; advocated for England 
and the United States, 112; 
practised in some of the 
States, 112, 115. 

Duties and rights of citizens, 9. 

Eight Hours law, benefit of, 61. 

England and the United States, 
similarity of political phe- 
nomena in, 4, 5. 

Fighting, a citizen's duty, 26, 

Franchises, motive power in 

self-interest, 52; remedial 

suggestion, 116. 
Free government. See Popular 





Qovemment employees, influ- 
ence elections, 53-55, 57, 58; 
prohibitive remedy, 55 ; 
status in European countries, 

Hugo, Victor, advocate of 
popular government, 14. 

Immigration, effect on political 
conditions, 122. 

Income tax, graduated, 49; 
adopted in some cantons of 
Switzerland, 49. 

Independence an underlying 
principle of popular govern- 
ment, 6, 7. 

Individual freedom, 43. 

Indolence, a imiversal sin, 22; 
tendency to increase, and its 
causes, 22-26; checks civic 
growth, 42; a more wide- 
spread evil than self-interest, 

Intelligence, a requisite of good 
citizenship, 7, 10; easily ac- 
quired, 8. 

Ireland bettered by British 
legislation, 70. 

Italy, proportional representa- 
tion in, 29. 

Japan, efforts toward represent- 
ative government, 15; incen- 
tive of traditions, 129. 

Jefferson, Thomas, his faith in 
the people, 13. 

Johnson, Dr. Samuel, cited, 20. 

Lamartine, Alphonse de, advo- 
cate of popular government, 

Leadership essential in a de- 
mocracy, 40. 

Legion of Honour a prominent 

factor in French local poli- 
tics, 59. 60. 

Legislation, moral force exerted 
by, 119; altruistic spirit in, 
132. See also Direct Legis- 

Lincoln, famous sajring of, 104 ; 
a tsrpe of the highest in man, 

Lowe, Kobert, on party spirit, 

Mazzini, Giuseppe, Italian pa- 
triot, 14, 127. 

Melbourne, Lord, on party sup- 
port, 93. 

Money, power of, a widespread 
evil, 66; publicity a weapon 
against, 68. 

Mutual help, 36. 

Newspapers as guides to politi- 
cal thought, 37, 38, 131. 

Obedience an underl3dng prin- 
ciple of popular government, 
6, 7. 

Obligatory voting not practical, 
proposal for United States, 

Oklahoma, direct legislation in, 

Orange Free State, purity of 
politics in, 69. 

Partisanship, Greek law to 
enforce, 27. 

Party, a motive force in politics, 
75; Edmimd Burke on, 77; 
in the abstract and concrete, 
78; how formed, 79; a prac- 
tical necessity, 80; selecting 
candidates, 81; influence on 
voting, 87-90; the basis of 
English politics in practice, 
90; justifiable desertion of, 



08; not an end but a means, 

Party spirit, condemned by 
philosophers and historians, 
75; praised by practical poli- 
ticians, 76, 98; nature and 
component elements of, 84; 
supreme in elections, 84; 
perversion of, 85, 86; domi- 
nates the Average Man, 87, 
95; controls municipal elec- 
tions, 96; not necessarily 
sordid, 97; not strong in 
Switzerland and Norway, 114. 

Patriotism, lack of true, 41, 42. 

Perfectionist doctrine, 10, 12. 

Persia, efforts toward . repre- 
sentotive government, 15. 

Philip of Macedon on the power 
of money, 67. 

Plato on political strife, 71. 

Political struggles, nature of, 69, 

Politics, athletic sports in com- 
petition with, 26; newspapers 
as guides in, 37; vast im- 
provement in United States, 
60; debasing power of money 
in, 65-68; local politics and 
elections, 95; the ''crank'' 
in, 99, 100; remedial sug- 
gestions for, 106-110, 115- 
117; effect of immigration on, 
122; benefits of purer politics, 
123-125; influence of tradi- 
tion on, 130. 

Popular government, underly- 
ing principles, 5-7; condi- 
tions for its success, 7; ideal 
conceptions of, 10-12; not a 
sovereign remedy, 12; foimd- 
ers of American, 13; Euro- 
pean advocates of, 13, 14; in 
practice and in theory, 14r- 
16; not up to expectations, 
15; evils of, and their cause. 

15, 16; the average citizen 
the pivot of, 17; responsible 
leadership essential in, 40, 
103; tendency to widen 
range of action, 44; self- 
interest a prominent factor in, 
46; debasement of politics in, 
65-67; danger of the Power 
of Money in, 65-68; party 
spirit a motive power in, 

Primary election laws distinc- 
tively American, 118. 

Prohibition law, why opposed, 

Proportional representation, 110, 

Protective tariff, self-interest 
as tending to affect, 62. 

Public office, neglect of edu- 
cated men to serve in, 29-32; 
a cause of bad politics, 32. 

Reading habit, 38; not con- 
ducive to thought, 38. 

Reed, Thomas B., advice on 
voting, 102. 

Referendum, in practice in 
Switzerland, 113. 

Rich and poor, political strife 
between, 71-74. 

Rights and duties of citizens, 
8, 9. 

Roosevelt a purifier of politics, 

Russia, efforts toward repre- 
sentative government, 15. 

School teachers classed as gov- 
ernment employees in some 
coimtries, 57, 59. 

Schurz, Carl, 125. 

Scotland, no bribery in, 48. 

Self-control, a requisite of good 
citizenship, 7; may be ac- 
quired, 8. 



Self-interest, an ancient and 
universal danger in politics, 
45; an effect of widened 
State action, 45; voting af- 
fected by, 45; bribery a 
form of, 47; effect of taxa- 
tion on, 48; granting of 
franchises a prominent fac- 
tor in, 52; government em- 
ployees controlled by, 53- 
55, 57, 58; proportion of citi- 
zens influenced by, 61, 63; 
public interest subordinate 
to, 62; energy of, 64. 

Sidgwick, Professor Henry, an 
example of civic virtue, 24. 

Socialists or Collectivists, doc- 
trine of, 108-110. 

Succession tax in England, 

Switzerland, superior quality 
of democracy of, 16, 69, 112, 
114, 122; laws against non- 
voters, 28; income tax in, 49; 
proportional representation 
in, 111 ; obligatory voting in, 
112; direct legislation in, 

Tariff, 49; as affecting self- 
interest, 50. 

Taxation a motive power in 
self-interest, 48. 

Thucydides on party spirit, 76. 

Traditions as capable of incit- 
ing dvic purity, 130. 

Turkey, efforts toward rep- 
resentative government, 15. 

Voting, laws against neglect of, 
28, 111; lack of thought in, 
33; importance of education 
in, 34, 39; affected by self- 
interest, 45; by the tariff, 50; 
by appropriation for public 
works, 51; by franchises, 52; 
by government contracts, 52; 
by government employees, 
55-56, 57, 58; by various 
professions and industries, 
55 f 56; influence of party on, 
87-90, 93; subservient to 
national welfare, 91 ; Speaker 
Reed's advice on, 102; not 
to be given overwhelming 
power, 103; effect of immi- 
gration on, 122.