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IT is desirable that the present volume, the origin of 
which is explained in the author s preface, should be accom 
panied by a brief statement in relation to Mr. Spencer s 
other works upon sociological science. The " Principles of 
Sociology " was projected by Mr. Spencer as a part of his 
philosophical system, the publication of which was com 
menced in 1860. Five volumes of that system have ap 
peared, viz. : " First Principles," in one volume ; the 
" Principles of Biology," in two volumes ; and the " Prin 
ciples of Psychology," in two volumes. " First Principles " 
develops the general method of the philosophy to be carried 
out in the subsequent works. In the two succeeding parts 
that method is applied to the interpretation of the phenom 
ena of Life and Mind, the whole course of exposition being 
preparatory to the " Principles of Sociology," in three vol 
umes, which are next in order. Upon this work Mr. Spen 
cer has now entered, and it will be published in quarterly 
parts, by subscription, in the same form that was adopted 
with the previous divisions of the work. 

Several years since Mr. Spencer foresaw a difficulty that 
would arise in working out the principles of social science 
from a lack of the data or facts necessary as a basis of rea 
soning upon the subject ; and he saw that, before the philos 
ophy could be elaborated, these facts must be systematically 
and exhaustively collected. How early and how clearly Mr. 
Spencer perceived the nature, diversity, and extent of the 



facts upon which a true social science must rest is well, 
shown in the following passage from a review article pub 
lished in 1859, 1 before he had commenced his great under 
taking : 

" That which constitutes history, properly so called, is in great part 
omitted from works on this subject. Only of late years have historians 
commenced giving us, in any considerable quantity, the truly valuable 
information. As in past ages the king was every thing and the people 
nothing, so, in past histories, the doings of the king fill the entire pict 
ure, to which the national life forms but an obscure background. 
While only now, when the welfare of nations rather than of rulers is 
becoming the dominant idea, are historians beginning to occupy them 
selves with the phenomena of social progress. The thing it really con 
cerns us to know is, the natural history of society. We want all facts 
which help us to understand how a nation has grown and organized 
itself. Among these, let us of course have an account of its govern 
ment ; with as little as may be of gossip about the men who officered 
it, and as much as possible about the structure, principles, methods, 
prejudices, corruptions, etc., which it exhibited ; and let this account 
include not only the nature and actions of the central government, but 
also those of local governments, down to their minutest ramifications. 
Let us of course also have a parallel description of the ecclesiastical 
government its organization, its conduct, its power, its relations to the 
state ; and, accompanying this, the ceremonial, creed, and religious ideas 
not only those nominally believed, but those really believed and acted 
upon. Let us at the same time be informed of the control exercised by 
class over class, as displayed in social observances in titles, saluta 
tions, and forms of address. Let us know, too, what were all the other 
customs which regulated the popular life out-of-doors and in-doors> 
including those concerning the relations of the sexes, and the relations 
of parents to children. The superstitions, also, from the more impor 
tant myths down to the charms in common use, should be indicated. 
Next should come a delineation of the industrial system : showing to 
what extent the division of labor was carried ; how trades were regu 
lated, whether by caste, guilds, or otherwise; what was the connection 
between employers and employed ; what were the agencies for dis 
tributing commodities ; what were the means of communication ; what 
was the circulating medium. Accompanying all which should be given 
an account of the industrial arts technically considered : stating the 

1 " What Knowledge is of most Worth ? " ( Westminster Iteview). 


processes in use, and the quality of the products. Further, the intel 
lectual condition of the nation in its various grades should be de 
picted ; not only with respect to the kind and amount of education, 
but with respect to the progress made in science, and the prevailing 
manner of thinking. The degree of aesthetic culture, as displayed in 
architecture, sculpture, painting, dress, music, poetry, and fiction, 
should be described. Nor should there be omitted a sketch of the 
daily lives of the people their food, their homes, and their amuse 
ments. And, lastly, to connect the whole, should be exhibited the 
morals, theoretical and practical, of all classes, as indicated in their 
laws, habits, proverbs, deeds. These facts, given with as much brevity 
as consists with clearness and accuracy, should be so grouped and ar 
ranged that they may be comprehended in their ensemble, and con 
templated as mutually-dependent parts of one great whole. The aim 
should be so to present them that men may readily trace the consensus 
subsisting among them, with the view of learning what social phenom 
ena coexist with what others. And then the corresponding delinea 
tions of succeeding ages should be so managed as to show how each be 
lief, institution, custom, and arrangement, was modified, and how the 
consensus of preceding structures and functions was developed into 
the consensus of succeeding ones. Such alone is the kind of informa 
tion, respecting past times, which can be of service to the citizen for 
the regulation of his conduct. The only history that is of practical 
value is, what may be called Descriptive Sociology. And the highest 
office which the historian can discharge is that of so narrating the 
lives of nations as to furnish materials for a Comparative Sociology, 
and for the subsequent determination of the ultimate laws to which 
social phenomena conform." 

Such were the character and scope of the facts which re 
quired to be collected concerning all forms and grades of 
human societies before any thing like a valid social science 
could be constructed. A descriptive Sociology, furnishing 
comprehensive data, must precede the establishment of prin 
ciples, and so Mr. Spencer began the collection of his mate 
rials five years ago. He first devised a system of tables 
suited to present all orders of social facts displayed by any 
community facts of structure, function, and development, 
in such a manner that they can be compared with each other 
at a glance each table being a kind of chart of the social 


condition of the community to which it is devoted. His ob 
ject was at first solely to facilitate his own work, but it soon 
appeared that the results would be of great general impor 
tance, and Mr. Spencer decided to execute the undertaking 
with a view to publication. The communities of mankind 
were divided into three great groups : 1. Uncivilized Socie 
ties ; 2. Civilized Societies, Extinct or Decayed ; 3. Civilized 
Societies, Eecent or still Flourishing. Having arranged his 
plan, Mr. Spencer engaged three educated gentlemen to de 
vote themselves to the systematic collection of the various 
orders of facts pertaining to these three groups of societies. 
In each case, the tables are filled in with the facts under 
their appropriate heads, while extracts are separately given 
from the authorities consulted. The description of the Un 
civilized Societies, by Prof. David Duncan, embracing sev 
enty tables, is substantially completed. Of the second divi 
sion, in charge of Dr. Richard Scheppig, the first installment, 
including the four ancient American civilizations, is nearly 
finished. The third division, dealing with civilized socie 
ties, under charge of Mr. James Collier, of St. Andrew s and 
Edinburgh Universities, is well advanced, and the first part, 
treating of the English civilization, or the Sociological His 
tory of England, is now published. It covers seven con 
secutive tables, and the verifying extracts occupy seventy 
pages folio. 

This series of works, which will be published as they are 
completed, will form a regular Cyclopaedia of Descriptive 
Sociology, and, as the facts are given independently of the 
ory, they will have value for all students of social phenom 
ena. Of the execution and influence of this work, the Brit 
ish Quarterly Review well observes : " No words are needed 
to indicate the immense labor here bestowed, or the great 
sociological benefit which such a mass of tabulated matter 
done under such competent direction will confer. The 
work will constitute an epoch in the science of comparative 


It will be understood that these works do not form a 
part of Mr. Spencer s Philosophical System, but a separate 
preparation for the third division of it. Mr. Spencer will 
use his extensive materials in establishing the inductions of 
the science which will be presented in the successive parts 
of the " Principles of Sociology." 

E. L. Y. 


THIS little work has been written at the instigation of 
my American friend, Professor Youmans. When, some 
two years ago, he was in England making arrangements 
for that International Scientific Series which he origi 
nated and succeeded in organizing, he urged me to 
contribute to it a volume on the Study of Sociology. 
Feeling that the general undertaking in which I am 
engaged, is extensive enough to demand all my energies, 
I continued for a long time to resist ; and I finally yielded 
only to the modified proposal that I should furnish the 
ideas and materials, and leave the embodiment of them to 
some fit collaborates. As might have been expected, it 
was difficult to find one in all respects suitable; and, 
eventually, I undertook the task myself. 

After thus committing myself, it occurred to me as de 
sirable that, instead of writing the volume simply for the 
International Scientific Series, I should prepare it for pre 
vious issue in a serial form, both here and in the United 
States. In pursuance of this idea, arrangements were 
made with the Contemporary Review to publish the suc 
cessive chapters ; and in America they have been simul 
taneously published in the Popular Science Monthly. 
Beginning in May, 1872, this publication by instalments 


has, with two brief intervals, since continued, and will be 
completed on the 1st October next : the issue of this 
volume being delayed until after that date. 

Since commencing the work, I have not regretted that I 
was led to undertake it. Various considerations which 
seemed needful by way of introduction to the Principles 
of Sociology, presently to be written, and which yet could 
not be conveniently included in it, have found, in this 
preliminary volume, a fit place. Much illustrative mate 
rial also, partly accumulated during past years and lying 
unused, I have thus gained an occasion for turning to 
account. Further, the opportunity has been afforded me 
of commenting on special topics which the Principles of 
Sociology could not properly recognize ; and of comment 
ing on them in a style inadmissible in a purely-philo 
sophical treatise a style adapted, however, as I hope, to 
create such interest in the subject as may excite to 
serious pursuit of it. 

In preparing the successive chapters for final publica 
tion, I have, besides carefully revising them, here and 
there enforced the argument by a further illustration. 
Not much, however, has been done in this way : the 
only additions of moment being contained in the Appen 
dix. One of these, pursuing in another direction the 
argument concerning academic discipline, will be found 
among the notes to Chapter IX. ; and another, illus 
trative of the irrelation between intellectual culture 
and moral feeling, will be found in the notes to Chap 
ter XV. 

LONDON, July, 1873. 


















XVI. CONCLUSION . . . ; 350 


NOTES . . 387 




OVER liis pipe in the village ale-house, the labourer says 
very positively what Parliament should do about the "foot 
and mouth disease." At the farmer s market-table, his master 
makes the glasses jingle as, with his fist, he emphasizes the as 
sertion that he did not get half enough compensation for his 
slaughtered beasts during the cattle-plague. These are not 
hesitating opinions. On a matter affecting the agricultural 
interest, statements are still as dogmatic as they were during 
the Anti-Corn-Law agitation, when, in every rural circle, you 
heard that the nation would be ruined if the lightly-taxed for 
eigner was allowed to compete in our markets with the heav 
ily-taxed Englishman : a proposition held to be so self-evident 
that dissent from it implied either stupidity or knavery. 

Now, as then, may be daily heard among other classes, 
opinions just as decided and just as unwarranted. By men 
called educated, the old plea for extravagant expenditure, that 
u it is good for trade," is still continually urged with full be 
lief in its sufficiency. Scarcely any decrease is observable in 
the fallacy that whatever gives employment is beneficial : no 
regard being had to the value for ulterior purposes of that 
which the labour produces : no question being asked what 
would have resulted had the capital which paid for the labour 
taken some other channel and paid for some other labour. 
Neither criticism nor explanation appreciably modifies these 
beliefs. When there is again an opening for them they are 
expressed with undiminished confidence. Along with delu 
sions of this kind go whole families of others. People who 
2 1 


think that the relations between expenditure and production 
are so simple, naturally assume simplicity in other relations 
among social phenomena. Is there distress somewhere ? 
They suppose nothing more is required than to subscribe 
money for relieving it. On the one hand, they never trace 
the reactive effects which charitable donations work on bank 
accounts, on the surplus-capital bankers have to lend, on the 
productive activity which the capital now abstracted would 
have set up, on the number of labourers who would have re 
ceived wages and who now go without w r ages they do not 
perceive that certain necessaries of life have been withheld 
from one man who would have exchanged useful work for 
them, and given to another who perhaps persistently evades 
working. Nor, on the other hand, do they look beyond the 
immediate mitigation of misery. They deliberately shut their 
eyes to the fact that as fast as they increase the provision for 
those who live without labour, so fast do they increase the 
number of those who live without labour ; and that with an 
ever-increasing distribution of alms, there comes an ever-in 
creasing outcry for more alms. Similarly throughout all their 
political thinking. Proximate causes and proximate results 
are alone contemplated. There is scarcely any consciousness 
that the original causes are often numerous and widely differ 
ent from the apparent cause ; and that beyond each immedi 
ate result there will be multitudinous remote results, most of 
them quite incalculable. 

Minds in which the conceptions of social actions are thus 
rudimentary, are also minds ready to harbour wild hopes of 
benefits to be achieved by administrative agencies. In each 
such mind there seems to be the unexpressed postulate that 
every evil in a society admits of cure ; and that the cure lies 
within the reach of law. " Why is not there a better inspec 
tion of the mercantile marine ? " asked a correspondent of the 
Times the other day : apparently forgetting that within the 
preceding twelve months the power he invoked had lost two 
of its own vessels, and barely saved a third. " Ugly buildings 
are eyesores, and should not be allowed," urges one who is 
anxious for esthetic culture. Meanwhile, from the agent 
which is to foster good taste, there have come monuments and 
public buildings of which the less said the better; and its 


chosen design for the Law-Courts meets with almost universal 
condemnation. " Why did those in authority allow such de 
fective sanitary arrangements ? " was everywhere asked, after 
the fevers at Lord Londesborough s ; and this question you 
heard repeated, regardless of the fact that sanitary arrange 
ments having such results in this and other cases, were them 
selves the outcome of appointed sanitary administrations 
regardless of the fact that the authorized system had itself 
been the means of introducing foul gases into houses. 1 "The 
State should purchase the railways," is confidently asserted by 
those who, every morning, read of chaos at the Admiralty, or 
cross-purposes in the dockyards, or wretched army-organiza 
tion, or diplomatic bungling that endangers peace, or frustration 
of justice by technicalities and costs and delays, all without 
having their confidence in officialism shaken. " Building Acts 
should insure better ventilation in small houses," says one who 
either never knew or has forgotten that, after Messrs. Reid and 
Barry had spent 200,000 in failing to ventilate the Houses of 
Parliament, the First Commissioner of Works proposed that, 
" the House should get some competent engineer, above sus 
picion of partiality, to let them see what ought to be done." 2 
And similarly there are continually cropping out in the press, 
and at meetings, and in conversations, such notions as that the 
State might provide " cheap capital " by some financial sleight 
of hand ; that " there ought to be bread-overseers appointed by 
Government : " 3 that " it is the duty of Government to provide 
a suitable national asylum for the reception of all illegitimate 
children." 4 And here it is doubtless thought by some, as it is 
in France by M. de Lagevenais, that Government, by supply 
ing good music, should exclude the bad, such as that of Offen 
bach. 6 We smile on reading of that French princess, cele 
brated for her innocent wonder that people should starve 
when there was so simple a remedy. But why should we 
smile ? A great part of the current political thought evinces 
notions of practicability not much more rational. 

That connexions among social phenomena should be so 
little understood, need not surprise us if we note the ideas 
which prevail respecting the connexions among much simpler 
phenomena. Minds left ignorant of physical causation, are 


unlikely to appreciate clearly, if at all, that causation so much 
more subtle and complex, which runs through the actions of 
incorporated men. In almost every house, servants and those 
who employ them, alike believe that a poker leaned up in 
front of the bars, or across them, makes the fire burn ; and 
you will be told, very positively, that experience proves the 
eificacy of the device the experience being that the poker has 
been repeatedly so placed and the fire has repeatedly burned ; 
and no comparisons having been made with cases in which 
the poker was absent, and all other conditions as before. In 
the same circles the old prejudice against sitting down thirteen 
to dinner still survives: there actually exists among ladies 
who have been at finishing schools of the highest character, 
and among some gentlemen who pass as intelligent, the con 
viction that adding or subtracting one from a number of 
people who eat together, will affect the fates of some among 
them. And this state of mind is again displayed at the card- 
table, by the opinion that So-and-so is always lucky or un 
lucky that influences are at work which, 011 the average, 
determine more good cards to one person than to another. 
Clearly, those in whom the consciousness of causation in these 
simple cases is so vague, may be expected to have the wildest 
notions of social causation. Whoever even entertains the 
supposition that a poker put across the fire can make it burn, 
proves himself to have neither a qualitative nor a quantitative 
idea of physical causation ; and if, during his life, his experi 
ences of material objects and actions have failed to give him 
an idea so accessible and so simple, it is not likely that they 
have given him ideas of the qualitative and quantitative rela 
tions of cause and effect holding throughout society. Hence, 
there is nothing to exclude irrational interpretations and dis- 
proportioned hopes. Where other superstitions flourish, polit 
ical superstitions will take root. A consciousness in which 
there lives the idea that spilling salt will be followed by some 
evil, obviously allied as it is to the consciousness of the savage, 
filled with beliefs in omens and charms, gives a home to other 
beliefs like those of the savage. It may not have faith in the 
potency of medicine-bags and idols, and may even wonder 
how any being can reverence a thing shaped with his own 
hands ; and yet it readily entertains subtler forms of the same 


feelings. For, in those whose modes of thought we have been 
contemplating, there is a tacit supposition that a government 
moulded by themselves, has some efficiency beyond that natu 
rally possessed by a certain group of citizens subsidized by the 
rest of the citizens. True, if you ask them, they may not de 
liberately assert that a legislative and administrative appa 
ratus can exert power, either mental or material, beyond the 
power proceeding from the nation itself. They are compelled 
to admit, when cross-examined, that the energies moving a 
governmental machine are energies which would cease were 
citizens to cease working and furnishing the supplies. But, 
nevertheless, their projects imply an unexpressed belief in 
some store of force that is not measured by taxes. When 
there arises the question Why does not Government do this 
for us ? there is not the accompanying thought Why does 
not Government put its hands in our pockets, and, with the 
proceeds, pay officials to do this, instead of leaving us to do it 
ourselves ; but the accompanying thought is Why does not 
Government, out of its inexhaustible resources, yield us this 
benefit ? 

Such modes of political thinking, then, naturally go along 
with such conceptions of physical phenomena as are current. 
Just as the perpetual-motion schemer hopes, by a cunning 
arrangement of parts, to get from one end of his machine 
more energy than he puts in at the other ; so the ordinary po 
litical schemer is convinced that out of a legislative apparatus, 
properly devised and worked with due dexterity, may be had 
beneficial State-action without any detrimental reaction. He 
expects to get out of a stupid people the effects of intelligence, 
and to evolve from inferior citizens superior conduct. 

But while the prevalence of crude political opinions among 
those whose conceptions about simple matters are so crude, 
might be anticipated, it is surprising that the class disciplined 
by scientific culture should bring to the interpretation of 
social phenomena, methods but little in advance of those used 
by others. Now that the transformation and equivalence of 
forces is seen by men of science to hold not only throughout 
all inorganic actions, but throughout all organic actions ; now 
that even mental changes are recognized as the correlatives of 


cerebral changes, which also conform to this principle ; and 
now, that there must he admitted the corollary, that all ac 
tions going 011 in a society are measured by certain antecedent 
energies, which disappear in effecting them, while they them 
selves become actual or potential energies from which subse 
quent questions arise ; it is strange that there should not have 
arisen the consciousness that these highest phenomena are to 
be studied as lower phenomena have been studied not, of 
course, after the same physical methods, but in conformity 
with the same principles. And yet scientific men rarely dis 
play such a consciousness. 

A mathematician who had agreed or disagreed with the 
view of Professor Tait respecting the value of Quaternions for 
pursuing researches in Physics, would listen with raised eye 
brows were one without mathematical culture to express a 
decided opinion on the matter. Or, if the subject discussed 
was the doctrine of Helmholtz, that hypothetical beings oc 
cupying space of two dimensions, might be so conditioned that 
the axioms of our geometry would prove untrue, the mathe 
matician would marvel if an affirmation or a negation came 
from a man who knew no more of the properties of space than 
is to be gained by daily converse with things around, and no 
more of the principles of reasoning than the course of business 
taught him. And yet, were we to take members of the Mathe 
matical Society, who, having severally devoted themselves 
to the laws of quantitative relations, know that, simple as 
these are intrinsically, a life s study is required for the full 
comprehension of them were we to ask each of these his 
opinion on some point of social policy, the readiness with 
which he answered would seem to imply that in these cases, 
where the factors of the phenomena are so numerous and so 
much involved, a general survey of men and things gives data 
for trustworthy judgments. 

Or, to contrast more fully the mode of reaching a conclu 
sion which the man of science uses in his own department, 
with that which he regards as satisfactory in the department 
of politics, let us take a case from a concrete science : say, the 
qiiestion What are the solar spots, and what constitution of 
the Sun is implied by them ? Of tentative answers to 

this question there is first Wilson s, adopted by Sir William 


Herschel, that the visible surface of the Sun is a luminous en 
velope, within which there are cloudy envelopes covering a 
dark central body ; and that when, by some disturbance, the 
luminous envelope is broken through, portions of the cloudy 
envelope and of the dark central body, become visible as the 
penumbra and umbra respectively. This hypothesis, at one 
time received with favour mainly because it seemed to permit 
that teleological interpretation which required that the Sun 
should be habitable, accounted tolerably well for certain of 
the appearances more especially the appearance of concavity 
which the spots have when near the limb of the Sun. But 
though Sir John Herscliel supported his father s hypothesis, 
pointing out that cyclonic action would account for local dis 
persions of the photosphere, there has of late years become 
more and more manifest the fatal objection that the genesis of 
light and heat remained unexplained, and that no supposition 
of auroral discharges did more than remove the difficulty a 
step back ; since, unless light and heat could be perpetually 
generated out of nothing, there must be a store of force per 
petually being expended in producing them. A counter-hy 
pothesis, following naturally from the hypothesis of nebular 
origin, is that the mass of the Sun must be incandescent ; that 
its incandescence has been produced, and is maintained, by 
progressing aggregation of its once widely-diffused matter ; 
and that surrounding its molten surface there is an atmos 
phere of metallic gases continually rising, condensing to form 
the visible photosphere, and thence precipitating. What, in 
this case, are the solar spots ? Kirchhoff, proceeding upon the 
hypothesis just indicated, which had been set forth before he 
made his discoveries by the aid of the spectroscope, contended 
that the solar spots are simply clouds, formed of these con 
densed metallic gases, so large as to be relatively opaque ; and 
he endeavoured to account for their changing forms as the 
Sun s rotation carries them away, in correspondence with this 
view. But the appearances as known to astronomers, are quite 
irreconcilable with the belief that the spots are simply drift 
ing clouds. Do these appearances, then, conform to the sup 
position of M. Faye, that the photosphere encloses matter 
which is wholly gaseous and non-luminous ; and that the 
spots are produced when occasional up-rushes from the in- 


terior burst through the photosphere ? This supposition, while 
it may be held to account for certain traits of the spots, and to 
be justified by the observed fact that there are up-rushes of 
gas, presents difficulties not readily disposed of. It does not 
explain the manifest rotation of many spots ; nor, indeed, does 
it seem really to account for that darkness which constitutes 
them spots ; since a non-luminous gaseous nucleus would be 
permeable by light from the remoter side of the photosphere, 
and hence holes through the near side of the photosphere 
would not look dark. There is, however, another hypothesis 
which more nearly reconciles the facts. Assuming the incan 
descent molten surface, the ascending metallic gases, and the 
formation of a photosphere at that outer limit where the gases 
condense ; accepting the suggestion of Sir John Herschel, so 
amply supported by evidence, that zones north and south of 
the Sun s equator are subject to violent cyclones; this hy 
pothesis is, that if a cyclone occurs within the atmosphere of 
metallic gases between the molten surface and the photo 
sphere, its vortex will become a region of rarefaction, of re 
frigeration, and therefore of precipitation. There will be 
formed in it a dense cloud extending far down towards the 
body of the Sun, and obstructing the greater part of the light 
radiating from below. Here we have an adequate cause for 
the formation of an opaque vaporous mass a cause which 
also accounts for the frequently observed vortical motion ; for 
the greater blackness of the central part of the umbra ; for the 
formation of a penumbra by the drawing-in of the adjacent 
photosphere ; for the elongation of the luminous masses form 
ing the photosphere, and the turning of their longer axes 
towards the centre of the spot ; and for the occasional drift 
ing of them over the spot towards its centre. Still, there is 
the difficulty that vortical motion is by no means always ob 
servable ; and it remains to be considered whether its non- 
visibility in many cases is reconcilable with the hypothesis. 
At present none of the interpretations can be regarded as 
established. See, then, the rigour of the inquiry. Here 

are sundry suppositions which the man of science severally 
tests by observations and necessary inferences. In this, as in 
other cases, he rejects such as unquestionably disagree with 
unquestionable truths. Continually excluding untenable hy- 


potheses, he waits to decide among the more tenable ones 
until further evidence discloses further congruities or incon 
gruities. Checking every statement of fact and every conclu 
sion drawn, he keeps his judgment suspended until no anom 
aly remains unexplained. Not only is he thus careful to shut 
out all possible error from inadequacy in the number and 
variety of data, but he is careful to shut out all possible error 
caused by idiosyncrasy in himself. Though not perhaps in 
astronomical observations such as those above implied, yet in 
all astronomical observations where the element of time is 
important, he makes allowance for the intervals occupied by 
his nervous actions. To fix the exact moment at which a cer 
tain change occurred, his perception of it has to be corrected 
for the "personal equation." As the speed of the nervous dis 
charge varies, according to the constitution, from thirty to 
ninety metres per second, and is somewhat greater in summer 
than in winter ; and as between seeing a change and register 
ing it with the finger, there is an interval which is thus ap 
preciably different in different persons ; the particular amount 
of this error in the particular observer has to be taken into 

Suppose now that to a man of science, thus careful in test 
ing all possible hypotheses and excluding all possible sources 
of error, we put a sociological question say, whether some 
proposed institution will be beneficial. An answer, and often 
a very decided one, is forthcoming at once. It is not thought 
needful, proceeding by deliberate induction, to ascertain what 
has happened in each nation where an identical institution, or 
an institution of allied kind, has been established. It is not 
thought needful to look back in our own history to see whether 
kindred agencies have done what they were expected to do. It 
is not thought needful to ask the more general question how 
far institutions at large, among all nations and in all times, 
have justified the theories of those who set them up. Nor is 
it thought needful to infer from analogous cases, what is likely 
to happen if the proposed appliance is not set up to ascertain, 
inductively, whether in its absence some equivalent appliance 
will arise. And still less is it thought needful to inquire what 
will be the indirect actions and reactions of the proposed or 
ganization how far it will retard other social agencies, and 


how far it will prevent the spontaneous growth of agencies 
having like ends. I do not mean that none of these questions 
are recognized as questions to be asked ; but I mean that no 
attempts are made after a scientific manner to get together 
materials for answering them. True, some data have been 
gathered from newspapers, periodicals, foreign correspondence, 
books of travel ; and there have been read sundry histories, 
which, besides copious accounts of royal misdemeanours, con 
tain minute details of every military campaign, and careful 
disentariglings of diplomatic trickeries. And on information 
thus acquired a confident opinion is based. Most remarkable 
of all, however, is the fact that no allowance is made for the 
personal equation. In political observations and judgments, 
the qualities of the individual, natural and acquired, are by 
far the most important factors. The bias of education, the 
bias of class-relationships, the bias of nationality, the political 
bias, the theological bias these, added to the constitutional 
sympathies and antipathies, have much more influence in de 
termining beliefs on social questions than has the small 
amount of evidence collected. Yet, though in his search after 
a physical truth, the man of science allows for minute errors 
of perception due to his own nature, he makes no allowance 
for the enormous errors which his own nature variously mod 
ified and distorted by his conditions of life, is sure to intro 
duce into his perceptions of political truth. Here, where cor 
rection for the personal equation is all-essential, it does not 
occur to him that there is any personal equation to be 
allowed for. 

This immense incongruity between the attitude in which 
the most disciplined minds approach other orders of natural 
phenomena, and the attitude in which they approach the phe 
nomena presented by societies, will be best illustrated by a 
series of antitheses thus : 

The material media through which we see things, always 
more or less falsify the facts : making, for example, the appar 
ent direction of a star slightly different from its real direction, 
and sometimes, as when a fish is seen in the water, the appar 
ent place is so far from the real place, that great misconcep 
tion results unless large allowance is made for refraction ; but 


sociological observations are not thus falsified: through the 
daily press light comes without any bending of its rays, and 
in studying past ages it is easy to make allowance for the re 
fraction due to the historic medium. The motions of 
gases, though they conform to mechanical laws which are 
well understood, are nevertheless so involved, that the art of 
controlling currents of air in a house is not yet mastered ; but 
the waves and currents of feeling running through a society, 
and the consequent directions and amounts of social activities, 
may be readily known beforehand. Though molecules of 
inorganic substances are very simple, yet prolonged study is 
required to understand their modes of behaviour to one 
another, and even the most instructed frequently meet with 
interactions of them producing consequences they never antic 
ipated ; but where the interacting bodies are not molecules but 
living beings of highly-complex natures, it is easy to foresee 
all results which will arise. Physical phenomena are 
so connected that between seeming probability and actual 
truth, there is apt to be a wide difference, even where but two 
bodies are acting : instance the natural supposition that dur 
ing our northern summer the Earth is nearer to the Sun than 
during the winter, which is just the reverse of the fact ; but 
among sociological phenomena, where the bodies are so multi 
tudinous, and the forces by which they act on one another so 
many, and so multiform, and so variable, the probability and 
the actuality will of course correspond. Matter often be 
haves paradoxically, as when two cold liquids added together 
become boiling hot, or as when the mixing of two clear liquids 
produces an opaque mud, or as when water immersed in sul 
phurous acid freezes on a hot iron plate ; but what we dis 
tinguish as Mind, especially when massed together in the way 
which causes social action, evolves no paradoxical results 
always such results come from it as seem likely to come. 

The acceptance of contradictions like these, tacitly implied 
in the beliefs of the scientifically cultivated, is the more re 
markable when we consider how abundant are the proofs that 
human nature is difficult to manipulate ; that methods appar 
ently the most rational disappoint expectation ; and that the 
best results frequently arise from courses which common sense 
thinks unpractical. Even individual human nature shows us 


these startling anomalies. A man of leisure is the man natu 
rally fixed upon if something has to be done ; but your man of 
leisure cannot find time, and the man most likely to do what 
is wanted, is the man who is already busy. That the boy who 
studies longest will learn most, and that a man will become 
wise in proportion as he reads much, are propositions which 
look true but are quite untrue ; as teachers are now-a-days 
finding out in the one case, and as Hobbes long ago found out 
in the other. How obvious it appears that when minds go de 
ranged, there is no remedy but replacing the weak internal 
control by a strong external control. Yet the " non-restraint 
system " has had far more success than the system of strait- 
waistcoats. Dr. Batty Tuke, a physician of much experience 
in treating the insane, has lately testified that the desire to es 
cape is great when locks and keys are used, but almost disap 
pears when they are disused : the policy of unlocked doors 
has had 95 per cent, of success arid 5 per cent, of failure." And 
in further evidence of the mischief often done by measures 
supposed to be curative, here is Dr. Maudsley, also an author 
ity on such questions, speaking of "asylum-made lunatics." 
Again, is it not clear that the repression of crime w r ill be 
effectual in proportion as the punishment is severe ? Yet the 
great amelioration in our penal code, initiated by Romilly, has 
not been followed by increased criminality but by decreased 
criminality ; and the testimonies of those who have had most 
experience Maconochie in Norfolk Island, Dickson in West 
ern Australia, Obermier in Germany, Montesinos in Spain 
unite to show that in proportion as the criminal is left to suffer 
no other penalty than that of maintaining himself under such 
restraints only as are needful for social safety, the reformation 
is great : exceeding, indeed, all anticipation. French school 
masters, never questioning the belief that boys can be made to 
behave well only by rigid discipline and spies to aid in carry 
ing it out, are astonished on visiting England to find IIOAV 
much better boys behave when they are less governed : nay 
more among English boys themselves, Dr. Arnold has shown 
that more trust is followed by improved conduct. Similarly 
with the anomalies of incorporated human nature. We habit 
ually assume that only by legal restraints are men to be kept 
from aggressing on their neighbours ; and yet there are facts 


which should lead us to qualify our assumption. So-called 
debts of honour, for the non-payment of which there is no 
legal penalty, are held more sacred than debts that can be 
legally enforced; and on the Stock-Exchange, where only 
pencil memoranda in the respective note-books of two brokers 
guarantee the sale and purchase of many thousands, contracts 
are safer than those which, in the outside world, are formally 
registered in signed and sealed parchments. 

Multitudes of cases might be accumulated showing how, 
in other directions, men s thoughts and feelings produce kinds 
of conduct which, a priori, would be judged very improbable. 
And if, going beyond our own society and our own time, we 
observe what has happened among other races, and among the 
earlier generations of our own race, we meet, at every step, 
workings-out of human nature utterly unlike those which we 
assume when making political forecasts. Who, generalizing 
the experiences of his daily life, would suppose that men, to 
please their gods, would swing for hours from hooks drawn 
through the muscles of their backs, or let their nails grow 
through the palms of their clenched hands, or roll over and 
over hundreds of miles to visit a shrine ? Who would have 
thought it possible that a public sentiment and a private feel 
ing might be as in China, where a criminal can buy a substi 
tute to be executed in his stead : the substitute s family having 
the money ? Or, to take historical cases more nearly concern 
ing ourselves Who foresaw that the beliefs in purgatory and 
priestly intercession would cause one-half of England to lapse 
into the hands of the Church ? or who foresaw that a defect 
in the law of mortmain would lead to bequests of large estates 
consecrated as graveyards ? Who could have imagined that 
robber-kings and bandit-barons, with vassals to match, would, 
generation after generation, have traversed all Europe through 
hardships and dangers to risk their lives in getting possession 
of the reputed burial place of one whose injunction was to 
turn the left cheek when the right was smitten ? Or who, 
again, would have anticipated that when, in Jerusalem, this 
same teacher disclaimed political aims, and repudiated political 
instrumentalities, the professed successors of his disciples 
would by and by become rulers dominating over all the kings 
of Europe ? Such a result could be as little foreseen as it 


could be foreseen that an instrument of torture used by the 
Jews would give the ground-plans to Christian temples 
throughout Europe ; and as little as it could be foreseen that 
the process of this torture, recounted in Christian narratives, 
might come to be mistaken for a Christian institution, as it 
was by the Malay chief who, being expostulated with for cru 
cifying some rebels, replied that he was following " the Eng 
lish practice," which he read in "their sacred books." 7 

Look where we will at the genesis of social phenomena, we 
shall similarly find that while the particular ends contem 
plated and arranged for have commonly not been more than 
temporarily attained if attained at all, the changes actually 
brought about have arisen from causes of which the very ex 
istence was unknown. 

How, indeed, can any man, and how more especially can 
any man of scientific culture, think that special results of 
special political acts can be calculated, when he contemplates 
the incalculable complexity of the influences under which each 
individual, and a fortiori each society, develops, lives, and 
decays ? The multiplicity of the factors is illustrated even 
in the material composition of a man s body. Every one who 
watches closely the course of things, must have observed that 
at a single meal he may take in bread made from Russian 
wheat, beef from Scotland, potatoes from the midland coun 
ties, sugar from the Mauritius, salt from Cheshire, pepper.from 
Jamaica, curry-powder from India, wine from France or Ger 
many, currants from Greece, oranges from Spain, as well as 
various spices and condiments from other places ; and if he 
considers whence came the draught of water he swallows, 
tracing it back from the reservoir through the stream and the 
brook and the rill, to the separate rain-drops which fell wide 
apart, and these again to the eddying vapours which had been 
mingling and parting in endless ways as they drifted over the 
Atlantic, he sees that this single mouthful of water contains 
molecules which, a little time ago, were dispersed over hun 
dreds of square miles of ocean swell. Similarly tracing back 
the history of each solid he has eaten, he finds that his body is 
made up of elements which have lately come from all parts 
of the Earth s surface. 


And what thus holds of the substance of the body, holds 
no less of the influences, physical and moral, which modify 
its actions. You break your tooth with a small pebble among 
the currants, because the industrial organization, in Zante is so 
imperfect. A derangement of your digestion goes back for its 
cause to the bungling management in a vineyard on the 
Rhine several years ago ; or to the dishonesty of the mer 
chants at Cette, where imitation wines are produced. Because 
there happened a squabble between a consul and a king in 
Abyssinia, an increased income-tax obliges you to abridge your 
autumn holiday ; or because slave-owners in North America 
try to extend the u peculiar institution " further west, there re 
sults here a party dissension which perhaps entails on you loss 
of friends. If from these remote causes you turn to causes at 
home, you find that your doings are controlled by a plexus of 
influences too involved to be traced beyond its first meshes. 
Your hours of business are pre-determined by the general hab 
its of the community, which have been slowly established no 
one knows how. Your meals have to be taken at intervals 
which do not suit your health ; but under existing social ar 
rangements you must submit. Such intercourse with friends 
as you can get, is at hours and under regulations which 
everybody adopts, but for which nobody is responsible ; 
and you have to yield to a ceremonial which substitutes 
trouble for pleasure. Your opinions, political and religious, 
are ready moulded for you ; and unless your individual 
ity is very decided, your social surroundings will prove too 
strong for it. Nay, even such an insignificant event as 
the coming-of-age of grouse affects your goings and comings 
throughout life. For has not the dissolution of Parliament 
direct reference to the 12th of August ? and does not the dis 
solution end the London season ? and does not the London 
season determine the times for business and relaxation, and so 
affect the making of arrangements throughout the year ? If 
from co-existing influences we turn to influences that have 
been working through past time, the same general truth be 
comes still more conspicuous. Ask how it happens that men 
in England do not work every seventh day, and you have to 
seek through thousands of past years to find the initial cause. 
Ask why in England, and still more in Scotland, there is not 


only a cessation from work, which the creed interdicts, but 
also a cessation from amusement, which it does not interdict ; 
and for an explanation you must go back to successive waves 
of ascetic fanaticism in generations long dead. And what 
thus holds of religious ideas and usages, holds of all others, 
political and social. Even the industrial activities are often 
permanently turned out of their normal directions by social 
states that passed away many ages ago : .witness what has hap 
pened throughout the East, or in Italy, where towns and vil 
lages are still perched on hills and eminences chosen for de 
fensive purposes in turbulent times, and where the lives of the 
inhabitants are now made laborious by having daily to carry 
themselves and all the necessaries of life from a low level to a 
high level. 

The extreme complexity of social actions, and the tran 
scendent difficulty which hence arises of counting on special 
results, will be still better seen if we enumerate the factors 
which determine one simple phenomenon, as the price of a 
commodity, say, cotton. A manufacturer of calicoes has to 
decide whether he will increase his stock of raw material at 
its current price. Before doing this, he must ascertain, as well 
as he can, the following data : Whether the stocks of calico 
in the hands of manufacturers and wholesalers at home, are 
large or small ; whether by recent prices retailers have been 
led to lay in stocks or not ; whether the colonial and foreign 
markets are glutted or otherwise ; and what is now, and is 
likely to be, the production of calico by foreign manufacturers. 
Having formed some idea of the probable demand for calico, 
he has to ask what other manufacturers have done, and are 
doing, as buyers of cotton whether they have been waiting 
for the price to fall, or have been buying in anticipation of a 
rise. From cotton-brokers circulars he has to judge what is 
the state of speculation at Liverpool whether the stocks there 
are large or small, and whether many or few cargoes >are on 
their way. The stocks and prices at New Orleans, and at other 
cotton-ports throughout the world, have also to be taken^note 
of; and then there come questions respecting forthcoming 
crops in the Southern States, in India, in Egypt, and else 
where. Here are sufficiently-numerous factors, but these are 
by no means all. The consumption of calico, and therefore 


the consumption of cotton, and therefore the price of cotton, 
depends in part on the supplies and prices of other textile fab 
rics. If, as happened during the American Civil War, calico 
rises in price because its raw material becomes scarce, linen 
comes into more general use, and so a further rise in price is 
checked. Woollen fabrics, also, may to some extent compete. 
And, besides the competition caused by relative prices, there is 
the competition caused by fashion, which may or may not pres 
ently change. Surely the factors are now all enumerated ? By 
no means. There is the estimation of mercantile opinion. The 
views of buyers and sellers respecting future prices, never more 
than approximations to the truth, often diverge from it very 
widely. Waves of opinion, now in excess now in defect of the 
fact, rise and fall daily, and larger ones weekly and monthly, 
tending, every now and then, to run into mania or panic ; for it 
is among men of business as among other men, that they stand 
hesitating until some one sets the example, and then rush all one 
way, like a flock of sheep after a leader. These characteristics 
in human nature, leading to these perturbations, the far-seeing 
buyer takes into account judging how far existing influences 
have made opinion deviate from the truth, and how far im 
pending influences are likely to do it. Nor has he got to the 
end of the matter even when he has considered all these 
things. He has still to ask what are the general mercantile 
conditions of the country, and what the imm_ediate future of 
the money market will be ; since the course of speculation in 
every commodity must be affected by the rate of discount. 
See, then, the enormous complication of causes which deter 
mine so simple a thing as the rise or fall of a farthing per 
pound in cotton some months hence ! 

If the genesis of social phenomena is so involved in cases 
like this, where the effect produced has no concrete persistence 
but very soon dissipates, judge what it must be where there is 
produced something which continues thereafter to be an in 
creasing agency, capable of self -propagation. Not only has 
a society as a whole a power of growth and development, but 
each institution set up in it has the like draws to itself units 
of the society and nutriment for them, and tends ever to mul 
tiply and ramify. Indeed, the instinct of self-preservation in 
each institution soon becomes dominant over everything else ; 


and maintains it when it performs some quite other function 
than that intended, or no function at all. See, for instance, 
what has come of the " Society of Jesus," Loyola set up ; or 
see what grew out of the company of traders who got a foot 
ing on the coast of Hiiidostaii. 

To such considerations as these, set down to show the in 
consistency of those who think that prevision of social phenom 
ena is possible without much study, though much study is 
needed for prevision of other phenomena, it will doubtless be 
replied that time does not allow of systematic inquiry. From 
the scientific, as from the unscientific, there w;ill come the plea 
that, in his capacity of citizen, each man has to act must 
vote, and must decide before he votes must conclude to the 
best of his ability on such information as he has. 

In this plea there is some truth, mingled with a good deal 
more that looks like truth. It is a product of that " must-do- 
something 1 impulse which is the origin of much mischief, 
individual and social. An amiable anxiety to undo or neutral 
ize an evil, often prompts to rash courses, as you may see in 
the hurry with which one who has fallen is snatched up by 
those at hand ; just as though there were danger in letting 
him lie, which there is not, and no danger in incautiously 
raising him, which there is. Always you find among people 
in proportion as they are ignorant, a belief in specifics, and a 
great confidence in pressing the adoption of them. Has some 
one a pain in the side, or in the chest, or in the bowels ? Then, 
before any careful inquiry as to its probable cause, there comes 
an urgent recommendation of a never-failing remedy, joined 
probably with the remark that if it does no good it can do no 
harm. There still prevails in the average mind a large amount 
of the fetishistic conception clearly shown by a butler to some 
friends of mine, who, having been found to drain the half- 
emptied medicine-bottles, explained that he thought it a pity 
good physic should be wasted, and that w T Iiat benefited his 
master would benefit him. But as fast as crude conceptions 
of diseases and remedial measures grow up into Pathology and 
Therapeutics, we find increasing caution, along with increas 
ing proof that evil is often done instead of good. This con 
trast is traceable not only as we pass from popular ignorance 


to professional knowledge, but as we pass from the smaller 
professional knowledge of early times to the greater pro 
fessional knowledge of our own. The question with the mod 
ern physician is not as with the ancient shall the treatment 
be blood-letting ? shall cathartics, or shall diaphoretics be 
given ? or shall mercurials be administered ? But there rises 
the previous question shall there be any treatment beyond 
a wholesome regimen ? And even among existing physicians 
it happens that in proportion as the judgment is most culti 
vated, there is the least yielding to the " must-do-something " 

Is it not possible, then is it not even probable, that this 
supposed necessity for immediate action, which is put in as an 
excuse for drawing quick conclusions from few data, is the con 
comitant of deficient knowledge ? Is it not probable that as in 
Biology so in Sociology, the accumulation of more facts, the 
more critical comparison of them, and the drawing of con 
clusions on scientific methods, will be accompanied by in 
creasing doubt about the benefits to be secured, and increasing 
fear of the mischiefs which may be worked ? Is it not prob 
able that what in the individual organism is improperly, 
though conveniently, called the vis medicatrix natures, may 
be found to have its analogue in the social organism ? and 
will there not very likely come along with the recognition of 
this, the consciousness that in both cases the one thing need 
ful is to maintain the conditions under which the natural 
actions have fair play ? Such a consciousness, to be antici 
pated from increased knowledge, will diminish the force of 
this plea for prompt decision after little inquiry ; since it will 
check this tendency to think of a remedial measure as one 
that may do good and cannot do harm. Nay more, the study 
of Sociology, scientifically carried on by tracing back proxi 
mate causes to remote ones, and tracing down primary effects 
to secondary and tertiary effects which multiply as they dif 
fuse, will dissipate the current illusion that social evils 
admit of radical cures. Given an average defect of nature 
among the units of a society, and no skilful manipulation of 
them will prevent that defect from producing its equivalent of 
bad results. It is possible to change the form of these bad 
results ; it is possible to change the places at which they are 


manifested ; but it is not possible to get rid of them. The 
belief that faulty character can so organize itself socially, as to 
get out of itself a conduct which is not proportionately faulty, 
is an utterly-baseless belief. You may alter the incidence of 
the mischief, but the amount of it must inevitably be borne 
somewhere. Very generally it is simply thrust out of one 
form into another ; as when, in Austria, improvident marriages 
being prevented, there come more numerous illegitimate chil 
dren ; or as when, to mitigate the misery of foundlings, hos 
pitals are provided for them, and there is an increase in the 
number of infants abandoned ; or as when, to insure the sta 
bility of houses, a Building Act prescribes a structure which, 
making small houses unremunerative, prevents due multipli 
cation of them, and so causes overcrowding ; or as when a 
Lodging-House Act forbids this overcrowding, and vagrants 
have to sleep under the Adelphi-arches, or in the Parks, or 
even, for warmth s sake, 011 the dung-heaps in mews. Where 
the evil does not, as in cases like these, reappear in another 
place or form, it is necessarily felt in the shape of a diffused 
privation. For suppose that by some official instrumentality 
you actually suppress an evil, instead of thrusting it from one 
spot into another suppose you thus successfully deal with a 
number of such evils by a number of such instrumentalities; 
do you think these evils have disappeared absolutely ? To 
see that they have not, you have but to ask Whence comes 
the official apparatus ? What defrays the cost of working it ? 
Who supplies the necessaries of life to its members through all 
their gradations of rank ? There is no other source but the 
labour of peasants and artisans. When, as in France, the ad 
ministrative agencies occupy some 600,000 men, who are taken 
from industrial pursuits, and, with their families, supported in 
more than average comfort, it becomes clear enough that 
heavy extra work is entailed on the producing classes. The 
already-tired labourer has to toil an additional hour ; his 
wife has to help in the fields as well as to suckle her in 
fant ; his children are still more scantily fed than they 
would otherwise be ; and beyond a decreased share of re 
turns from increased labour, there is a diminished time and 
energy for such small enjoyments as the life, pitiable at the 
best, permits. How, then, can it be supposed that the evils 


have been extinguished or escaped ? The repressive action 
has had its corresponding- reaction ; and instead of inteiiser 
miseries here and there, or now and then, you have got a 
misery that is constant and universal. 

When it is thus seen that the evils are not removed, but at 
best only re-distributed, and that the question in any case is 
whether re-distribution, even if practicable, is desirable ; it 
will be seen that the " must-do-something " plea is quite in 
sufficient. There is ample reason to believe that in proportion 
as scientific men carry into this most-involved class of phe 
nomena, the methods they have successfully adopted with 
other classes, they will perceive that, even less in this class 
than in other classes, are conclusions to be drawn and action 
to be taken without prolonged and critical investigation. 

Still there will recur the same plea under other forms. " Po 
litical conduct must be matter of compromise." " We must 
adapt our measures to immediate exigencies, and cannot be 
deterred by remote considerations." " The data for forming 
scientific judgments are not to be had : most of them are un 
recorded, and those which are recorded are difficult to find as 
well as doubtful when found." "Life is too short, and the 
demands upon our energies too great, to permit any such elab 
orate study as seems required. We must, therefore, guide our 
selves by common sense as best we may." 

And then, behind the more scientifically-minded who give 
this answer, there are those who hold, tacitly or overtly, that 
guidance of the kind indicated is not possible, even after any 
amount of inquiry. They do not believe in any ascertainable 
order among social phenomena there is no such thing as a 
social science. This proposition we will discuss in the next 



ALMOST every autumn may be heard the remark that a 
hard winter is coming-, for that the hips and haws are abun 
dant : the implied belief being that God, intending to send 
much frost and snow, has provided a large store of food for 
the birds. Intei pretations of this kind, tacit or avowed, pre 
vail widely. Not many weeks since, one who had received 
the usual amount of culture said in my hearing, that the 
swarm of lady-birds which overspread the country some sum 
mers ago, had been providentially designed to save the crop 
of hops from the destroying aphides. Of course this theory of 
the divine government, here applied to occurrences bearing 
but indirectly, if at all, on human welfare, is applied with still 
greater confidence to occurrences that directly affect us, indi 
vidually and socially. It is a theory carried out with logical 
consistency by the Methodist who, before going on a journey 
or removing to another house, opens his Bible, and in the first 
passage his eye rests upon, finds an intimation of approval or 
disapproval from heaven. And in its political applications it 
yields such appropriate beliefs as that the welfare of England 
in comparison with Continental States, has been a reward for 
better observance of the Sunday, or that an invasion of chol 
era was consequent on the omission of Dei gratia from an 
issue of coins. 

The interpretation of historical events in general after this 
same method, accompanies such interpretations of ordinary 
passing events ; and, indeed, outlives them. Those to whom 
the natural genesis of simpler phenomena has been made 
manifest by increasing knowledge, still believe in the super 
natural genesis of phenomena that are very much involved, 


and cannot have their causes readily traced. The form of 
mind which, in an official despatch, prompts the statement 
that " it has pleased Almighty G-od to vouchsafe to the British 
arms the most successful issue to the extensive combinations 
rendered necessary for the purpose of effecting 1 the passage of 
the Chenaub," 1 is a form of mind which, in the records of the 
past, everywhere sees interpositions of the Deity to bring about 
results that appear to the interpreter the most desirable. Thus, 
for example, Mr. Schomberg writes : 

" It seemed good to the All-beneficent Disposer of human events, 
to overrule every obstacle ; and through His instrument, William of 
Normandy, to expurgate the evils of the land ; and to resuscitate its 
dying powers." * 
And elsewhere : 

"The time had now arrived when the Almighty Governor, after 
having severely punished the whole nation, was intending to raise its 
drooping head to give a more rapid impulse to its prosperity, and to 
cause it to stand forth more prominently as an EXEMPLAR STATE. For 
this end, He raised up an individual eminently fitted for the intended 
work" [Henry VII.J. 3 

And again : 

" As if to mark this epoch of history with greater distinctness, it 
Was closed by the death of George III., the GREAT and the GOOD, who 
had been raised up as the grand instrument of its accomplishment." 4 

The late catastrophes on the Continent are similarly ex 
plained by a French writer who, like the English writer just 
quoted, professes to have looked behind the veil of things ; 
and who tells us what have been the intentions of God in 
chastising his chosen people, the French. For it is to be ob 
served in passing that, just as the evangelicals among our 
selves think we are divinely blessed because we have preserved 
the purity of the faith, so it is obvious to the author of La 
Main de VHomme et le Doigt de Dieu, as to other Frenchmen, 
that France is hereafter still to be, as it has hitherto been, the 
leader of the world. This writer, in chapters entitled " Causes 
providentielles de nos malheurs," " Les Prussiens et les fleaux 
de Dieu," and " Justification de la Providence," carries out his 
interpretations in ways we need not here follow, and then 
closes his " Epilogue " with these sentences : 


" La Revolution moderee, habile, sagace, machiavoliqne, diabolique- 
ment sage, a ete vaincue et confondue par la justice divine dans la 
personne et dans le gouvernement de Napoleon III. 

" La Revolution exaltee, bouillonnante, etourdie, a ete vaincue et 
confondue par la justice divine dans les personnes et dans les gouverne- 
ments successifs de Gambetta et de Felix Pyat et compagnie. 

" La sagesse humaine, applaudie et trioinphante, personnifiee dans 
M. Thiers, ne tardera pas a etre vaincue et confondue par cette 
meme Revolution deux fois humiliee, mais toujours renaissante et 

" Ce n est pas une prophetic : c est la prevision de la philosophic et 
de la foi chretiennes. 

" Alors ce sera vraiment le tour du Tres-Haut ; car il faut que 
Dieu et son Pils regneut par son Evangile et par son Eglise. 

" Ames frangaises et chretiennes, priez, travaillez, souffrez et ayez 
confiance! nous somines pres de la fin. C est quand tout semblera 
perdu que tout sera vraiment sauvc. 

" Si la France avait su profiter des desastres subis, Dieu lui eut 
rendu ses premieres favours. Elle s obstine dans 1 erreur et le vice. 
Croyons que Dieu la sauvera malgre elle, en la regenerant toutefois 
par 1 eau et par le feu. C est quand Fimpuissance humaine apparait 
qu eclate la sagesse divine. Mais quelles tribulations! quelles an- 
goisses! Ileureux ceux qui survivront et jouiront du triomphe de 
Dieu et de son Eglise sainte, catholique, apostolique et romaine." 5 

Conceptions of this kind are not limited to historians 
whose names have dropped out of remembrance, and to men 
who, while the drama of contemporary revolution is going 
on, play the part of a Greek chorus, telling the world of spec 
tators what has been the divine purpose arid what are the di 
vine intentions ; but we have lately had a Professor of History 
setting forth conceptions essentially identical in nature. Here 
are his words : 

" And now, gentlemen, was this vast campaign [of Teutons against 
Romans] fought without a general ? If Trafalgar could not be won 
without the mind of a Nelson, or Waterloo without the mind of a 
Wellington, was there no one mind to lead those innumerable armies 
on whose success depended the future of the whole human race ? Did 
no one marshal them in that impregnable convex front, from the 
Euxine to the North Sea? No one guide them to the two great 
strategic centres of the Black Forest and Trieste? No one cause 
them, blind barbarians without maps or science, to follow those rules 
of war without which victory in a protracted struggle is impossible ; 


and by the pressure of the Huns behind, force on their flagging myri 
ads to an enterprise which their simplicity fancied at first beyond the 
powers of mortal men ? Believe it who will : but I cannot. I may be 
told that they gravitated into their places, as stones and mud do 
Be it so. They obeyed natural laws of course, as all things do on 
earth, when they obeyed the laws of war : those, too, are natural laws, 
explicable on simple mathematical principles. But while 1 believe 
that not a stone or a handful of mud gravitates into its place without 
the will of God ; that it was ordained, ages since, into what particular 
spot each grain of gold should be washed down from an Australian 
quartz reef, that a certain man might find it at a certain moment and 
crisis of his life ; if I be superstitious enough (as, thank God, I am) 
to hold that creed, shall I not believe that, though this great war had 
no general upon earth, it may have had a general in heaven 1 and 
that, in spite of all their sins, the hosts of our forefathers were the 
hosts of God." 6 

It does not concern us here to seek a reconciliation of the 
incongruous ideas bracketed together in this paragraph to 
ask how the results of gravitation, which acts with such uni 
formity that under given conditions its effect is calculable 
with certainty, can at the same time be regarded as the results 
of will, which we class apart because, as known by our expe 
rience, it is comparatively irregular ; or to ask how, if the 
course of human affairs is divinely pre-determined just as 
material changes are, any distinction is to be drawn between 
that prevision of material changes which constitutes physical 
science and historical prevision : the reader may be left to 
evolve the obvious conclusion that either the current idea of 
physical causation has to be abandoned, or the current idea of 
will has to be abandoned. All which I need call attention to 
as indicating the general character of such interpretations, is 
the remarkable title of the chapter containing this passage 
" The Strategy of Providence." 

In common with some others, I have often wondered how 
the Universe looks to those who use such names for its Cause 
as " The Master Builder," or " The Great Artificer ; " and who 
seem to think that the Cause of the Universe is made more 
marvellous by comparing its operations to those of a skilled 
mechanic. But really the expression, "Strategy of Provi 
dence," reveals a conception of this Cause which is in some 
respects more puzzling. Such a title as " The Great Artificer," 


while suggesting simply the process of shaping a pre-existing 
material, and leaving the question whence this material came 
untouched, may at any rate be said not to negative the assump 
tion that the material is created by "The Great Artificer" 
who shapes it. The phrase, " Strategy of Providence," how 
ever, necessarily implies difficulties to be overcome. The 
Divine Strategist must have a skilful antagonist to make 
strategy possible. So that we are inevitably introduced to the 
conception of a Cause of the Universe continually impeded 
by some independent cause which has to be out-gencralled. 
It is not every one who would thank God for a belief, the im 
plication of which is that God is obliged to overcome opposi 
tion by subtle devices. 

The disguises which piety puts on are, indeed, not unfre- 
quently suggestive of that which some would describe by a 
quite opposite name. To study the Universe as it is manifested 
to us; to ascertain by patient observation the order of the 
manifestations; to discover that the manifestations are con 
nected with one another after a regular way in Time and 
Space ; and, after repeated failures, to give up as futile the 
attempt to understand the Power manifested ; is condemned 
as irreligious. And meanwhile the character of religious is 
claimed by those who figure to themselves a Creator moved 
by motives like their own ; who conceive themselves as dis 
covering his designs ; and who even speak of him as though 
he laid plans to outwit the Devil ! 

This, however, by the way. The foregoing extracts and 
comments are intended to indicate the mental attitude of 
those for whom there can be no such thing as Sociology, prop 
erly so called. That mode of conceiving human affairs which 
is implied alike by the " D. V." of a missionary-meeting placard 
and by the phrases of Emperor William s late despatches, 
where thanks to God come next to enumerations of the thou 
sands slain, is one to which the idea of a Social Science is 
entirely alien, and indeed repugnant. 

An allied class, equally unprepared to interpret sociologi 
cal phenomena scientifically, is the class which sees in the 
course of civilization little else than a record of remarkable 
persons and their doings. One who is conspicuous as the ex- 


ponent of this view writes : "As I take it, universal history, 
the history of what man has accomplished in this world, is at 
bottom the history of the great men who have worked here." 
And this, not perhaps distinctly formulated, but everywhere 
implied, is the belief in which nearly all are brought up. Let 
us glance at the genesis of it. 

Round their camp-fire assembled savages tell the events of 
the day s chase ; and he among them who has done some feat 
of skill or agility is duly lauded. On a return from the war 
path, the sagacity of the chief and the strength or courage of 
this or that warrior, are the all-absorbing themes. When the 
day, or the immediate past, affords no remarkable deed, the 
topic is the achievement of some noted leader lately dead, or 
some traditional founder of the tribe: accompanied, it may 
be, with a dance dramatically representing those victories 
which the chant recites. Such narratives, concerning, as they 
do, the prosperity and indeed the very existence of the tribe, 
are of the intensest interest ; and in them we have the com 
mon root of music, of the drama, of poetry, of biography, of 
history, and of literature in general. Savage life furnishes 
little else worthy of note ; and the chronicles of tribes contain 
scarcely anything more to be remembered. Early his 

toric races show us the same thing. The Egyptian frescoes 
and the wall-sculptures of the Assyrians, represent the deeds 
of leading men ; and inscriptions such as that on the Moabite 
stone, tell of nothing more than royal achievements : only by 
implication do these records, pictorial, hieroglyphic, or written, 
convey anything else. And similarly from the Greek epics, 
thougli we gather incidentally that there were towns, and 
war-vessels, and war-chariots, and sailors, and soldiers to be 
led and slain, yet the direct intention is to set forth the 
triumphs of Achilles, the prowess of Ajax, the wisdom of 
Ulysses, and the like. The lessons given to every civilized 
child tacitly imply, like the traditions of the uncivilized and 
semi-civilized, that throughout the past of the human race, 
the doings of conspicuous persons have been the only things 
worthy of remembrance. How Abraham girded up his loins 
and gat him to this place or that ; how Samuel conveyed 
divine injunctions which Saul disobeyed ; how David re 
counted his adventures as a shepherd, and was reproached for 


his misdeeds as a king these, and personalities akin to these, 
are the facts about which the juvenile reader of the Bible is 
interested and respecting which he is catechized : such indica 
tions of Jewish institutions as have unavoidably got into the 
narrative, being regarded neither by him nor by his teacher 
as of moment. So too, when, with hands behind him, he 
stands to say his lesson out of Pinnock, we see that the things 
set down for him to learn, are when and by whom Eng 
land was invaded, what rulers opposed the invasions and how 
they were killed, what Alfred did and what Canute said, who 
fought at Agincourt and who conquered at Flodden, which 
king abdicated and which usurped, &c. ; and if by some 
chance it comes out that there were serfs in those days, that 
barons were local rulers, some vassals of others, that subordi 
nation of them to a central power took place gradually, these 
are facts treated as relatively unimportant. Nay, the like 

happens when the boy passes into the hands of his classical 
master, at home or elsewhere. " Arms and the man " form 
the end of the story as they form its beginning. After the 
mythology, which of course is all-essential, come the achieve 
ments of rulers and soldiers from Agamemnon down to 
Cyesar : what knowledge is gained of social organization, man 
ners, ideas, morals, being little more than the biographical 
statements involve. And the value of the knowledge is so 
ranked that while it would be a disgrace to be wrong about 
the amours of Zeus, and while inability to name the com 
mander at Marathon would be discreditable, it is excusable to 
know nothing of the social condition that preceded Lycurgus 
or of the origin and functions of the Areopagus. 

Thus the great-man-theory of History finds everywhere a 
ready-prepared conception is, indeed, but the definite expres 
sion of that which is latent in the thoughts of the savage, 
tacitly asserted in all early traditions, and taught to every 
child by multitudinous illustrations. The glad acceptance it 
meets with has sundry more special causes. There is, 

first, this universal love of personalities, which, active in the 
aboriginal man, dominates still a love seen in the urchin 
who asks you to tell him a story, meaning, thereby, some 
body s adventures ; a love gratified in adults by police-reports, 
court-news, divorce-cases, accounts of accidents and lists of 


births, marriages, and deaths ; a love displayed even by con 
versations in the streets, where fragments of dialogue, heard 
in passing, show that mostly between men, and always be 
tween women, the personal pronouns recur every instant. If 
you want roughly to estimate any one s mental calibre, you 
cannot do it better than by observing a ratio of generalities to 
personalities in his talk how far simple truths about indi 
viduals are replaced by truths abstracted from numerous 
experiences of men and things. And when you have 
thus measured many, you find but a scattered few likely 
to take anything more than a biographical view of human 
affairs. In the second place, this great-man-theory com 

mends itself as promising instruction along with amusement. 
Being already fond of hearing about people s sayings and 
doings, it is pleasant news that, to understand the course of 
civilization, you have only to read diligently the lives of dis 
tinguished men. What can be a more acceptable doctrine than 
that while you are satisfying an instinct not very remotely 
allied to that of the village gossip while you are receiving 
through print instead of orally, remarkable facts concerning 
notable persons, you are gaining that knowledge which will 
make clear to you why things have happened thus or thus in 
the world, and will prepare you for forming a right opinion on 
each question coming before you as a citizen. And then, 

in the third place, the interpretation of things thus given is so 
beautifully simple seems so easy to comprehend. Providing 
you are content with conceptions that are out of focus, as 
most people s conceptions are, the solutions it yields appear 
quite satisfactory. Just as that theory of the Solar System which 
supposes the planets to have been launched into their orbits 
by the hand of the Almighty, looks feasible so long as you do 
not insist on knowing exactly what is meant by the hand of 
the Almighty ; and just as the special creation of plants and 
animals seems a tenable hypothesis until you try and picture 
to yourself definitely the process by which one of them is 
brought into existence ; so the genesis of societies by the 
actions of great men, may be comfortably believed so long as, 
resting in general notions, you do not ask for particulars. 

But now, if, dissatisfied with vagueness, we demand that 
our ideas shall be brought into focus and exactly defined, we 


discover the hypothesis to be utterly incoherent. If, not 
stopping at the explanation of social progress as due to the 
great man, we go back a step and ask whence comes the great 
man, we find that the theory breaks down completely. The 
question has two conceivable answers : his origin is super 
natural, or it is natural. Is his origin supernatural ? Then 
he is a deputy -god, and we have Theocracy once removed or, 
rather, not removed at all ; for we must then agree with Mr. 
Schomberg, quoted above, that "the determination of Caesar 
to invade Britain " was divinely inspired, and that from him, 
down to "George III. the GREAT and the GOOD," the succes 
sive rulers were appointed to carry out successive designs. Is 
this an unacceptable solution ? Then the origin of the great 
man is natural ; and immediately this is recognized he must 
be classed with all other phenomena in the society that gave 
him birth, as a product of its antecedents. Along with the 
whole generation of which he forms a minute part along 
with its institutions, language, knowledge, manners, and its 
multitudinous arts and appliances, he is a resultant of an 
enormous aggregate of forces that have been co-operating for 
ages. True, if you please to ignore all that common observa 
tion, verified by physiology, teaches if you assume that two 
European parents may produce a Negro child, or that from 
woolly-haired prognathous Papuans may come a fair, straight- 
haired infant of Caucasian type you may assume that the 
advent of the great man can occur anywhere and under any 
conditions. If, disregarding those accumulated results of ex 
perience which current proverbs and the generalizations of 
psychologists alike express, you suppose that a Newton might 
be born in a Hottentot family, that a Milton might spring up 
among the Aiidamanese, that a Howard or a Clarkson might 
have Fiji parents, then you may proceed with facility to ex 
plain social progress as caused by the actions of the great 
man. But if all biological science, enforcing all popular 
belief, convinces you that by no possibility will an Aristotle 
come from a father and mother with facial angles of fifty 
degrees, and that out of a tribe of cannibals, whose chorus in 
preparation for a feast of human flesh is a kind of rhythmical 
roaring, there is not the remotest chance of a Beethoven aris 
ing ; then you must admit that the genesis of the great man 


depends on the long series of complex influences which has 
produced the race in which he appears, and the social state 
into which that race has slowly grown. If it be a fact that 
the great man may modify his nation in. its structure and 
actions, it is also a fact that there must have been those ante 
cedent modifications constituting national progress before he 
could be evolved. Before he can re-make his society, his 
society must make him. So that all those changes of which 
he is the proximate initiator have their chief causes in the 
generations he descended from. If there is to be anything 
like a real explanation of these changes, it must be sought in 
that aggregate of conditions out of which both he and they 
have arisen. 

Even were we to grant the absurd supposition that the 
genesis of the great man does not depend on the antecedents 
furnished by the society he is born in, there would still be the 
quite-sufficient facts that he is powerless in the absence of the 
material and mental accumulations which his society inherits 
from the past, and that he is powerless in the absence of the 
co-existing population, character, intelligence, and social ar 
rangements. Given a Shakspeare, and what dramas could 
he have written without the multitudinous traditions of civil 
ized life without the various experiences which, descending 
to him from the past, gave wealth to his thought, and without 
the language which a hundred generations had developed and 
enriched by use ? Suppose a Watt, with all his inventive 
power, living in a tribe ignorant of iron, or in a tribe that 
could get only as much iron as a fire blown by hand-bellows 
will smelt ; or suppose him born among ourselves before 
lathes existed ; what chance would there have been of the 
steam-engine ? Imagine a Laplace unaided by that slowly- 
developed system of Mathematics which we trace back to its 
beginnings among the Egyptians ; how far would he have got 
with the Mecanique Celeste 1 Nay, the like questions may be 
put and have like answers, even if we limit ourselves to those 
classes of great men on whose doings hero-worshippers more 
particularly dwell the rulers and generals. Xenophon could 
not have achieved his celebrated feat had his Ten Thousand 
been feeble, or cowardly, or insubordinate. Caesar would 
never have made his conquests without disciplined troops, in- 


heriting their prestige and tactics and organization from the 
Romans who lived before them. And, to take a recent in 
stance, the strategical genius of Moltke would have triumphed 
in no great campaigns had there not been a nation of some 
forty millions to supply soldiers, and had not those soldiers 
been men of strong bodies, sturdy characters, obedient na 
tures, and capable of carrying out orders intelligently. 

Were any one to marvel over the potency of a grain of det 
onating powder, which explodes a cannon, propels the shell, 
and sinks a vessel hit were he to enlarge on the transcendent 
virtues of this detonating powder, not mentioning the ignited 
charge, the shell, the camion, and all that enormous aggre 
gate of appliances by which these have severally been pro 
duced, detonating powder included ; we should not regard his 
interpretation as very rational. But it would fairly compare 
in rationality with this interpretation of social phenomena 
which, dwelling on the important changes the great man 
works, ignores that vast pre-existing supply of latent power he 
unlocks, and that immeasurable accumulation of antecedents 
to which both he and this power are due. 

Recognizing what truth there is in the great-man-theory, 
w T e may say that, if limited to early societies, the histories of 
which are little else than endeavours to destroy or subju 
gate one another, it approximately expresses the fact in rep 
resenting the capable leader as all-important ; though even 
here it leaves out of sight too much the number and the 
quality of his followers. But its immense error lies in 
the assumption that what was once true is true for ever ; 
and that a relation of ruler and ruled which was possible 
and good at one time is possible and good for all time. 
Just as fast as this predatory activity of early tribes dimin 
ishes, just as fast as larger aggregates are formed by con 
quest or otherwise, just as fast as war ceases to be the busi 
ness of the whole male population, so fast do societies begin 
to develop, to show traces of structures and functions not 
before possible, to acquire increasing complexity along with 
increasing size, to give origin to new institutions, new activi 
ties, new ideas, sentiments, and habits ; all of which unob 
trusively make their appearance without the thought of any 
king or legislator. And if you wish to understand these 


phenomena of social evolution, you will not do it though you 
should read yourself blind over the biographies of all the 
great rulers on record, down to Frederick the Greedy and 
Napoleon the Treacherous. 

In addition to that passive denial of a Social Science im 
plied by these two allied doctrines, one or other of which is 
held by nine men out of ten, there comes from some an active 
denial of it either entire or partial. Reasons are given for 
the belief that no such thing is possible. The invalidity of 
these reasons can be shown only after the essential nature of 
Social Science, overlooked by those who give them, has been 
pointed out ; and to point this out here would be to forestal 
the argument. Some minor criticisms may, however, fitly 
precede the major criticism. Let us consider first the positions 
taken up by Mr. Froude : 

" When natural causes are liable to be set aside and neutralized by 
what is called volition, the word Science is out of place. If it is free 
to a man to choose what he will do or not, do, there is no adequate 
science of him. If there is a science of him, there is no free choice, 
and the praise or blame with which we regard one another are im 
pertinent and out of place." 

" It is in this marvellous power in men to do wrong . . . that 
the impossibility stands of forming scientific calculations of what men 
will do "before the fact, or scientific explanations of what they have 
done after the fact." 8 

" Mr. Buckle would deliver himself from the eccentricities of this 
and that individual by a doctrine of averages. . . . Unfortunately 
the average of one generation need not be the average of the next : 
. . . no two generations are alike." 9 

" There [in history] the phenomena never repeat themselves. There 
we are dependent wholly on the record of things said to have hap 
pened once, but which never happen or can happen a second time. 
There no experiment is possible ; we can watch for no recurring fact 
to test the worth of our conjectures." 10 

Here Mr. Froude changes the venue, and joins issue on the 
old battle-ground of free will versus necessity : declaring a 
Social Science to be incompatible with free will. The first 
extract implies, not simply that individual volition is incal 
culable that " there is no adequate science of " man (no Sci 
ence of Psychology) ; but it also asserts, by implication, that 


there are no causal relations among his states of mind : the 
volition by which " natural causes are liable to be set aside," 
being 1 put in antithesis to natural, must be supernatural. 
Hence we are, in fact, carried back to that primitive form of 
interpretation contemplated at the outset. A further com 

ment is, that because volitions of some kinds cannot be fore 
seen, Mr. Froude argues as though no volitions can be fore 
seen : ignoring the fact that the simple volitions determining 
ordinary conduct, are so regular that prevision having a high 
degree of probability is easy. If, in crossing a street, a man 
sees a carriage coming upon him, you may safely assert that, 
in nine hundred and ninety-nine cases out of a thousand, be 
will try to get out of the way. If, being pressed to catch a 
train, he knows that by one route it is a mile to the station 
and by another two miles, you may conclude with consider 
able confidence that he will take the one-mile route; and 
should he be aware that losing the train will lose him a for 
tune, it is pretty certain that, if he has but ten minutes to do 
the mile in, he will either run or call a cab. If he can buy 
next door a commodity of daily consumption better and 
cheaper than at the other end of the town, we may affirm 
that, if he does not buy next door, some special relation be 
tween him and the remoter shop-keeper furnishes a strong 
reason for taking a worse commodity at greater cost of money 
and trouble. And though, if he has an estate to dispose of, it 
is within the limits of possibility that he will sell it to A for 
1,000, though B has offered 2,000 for it ; yet the unusual 
motives leading to such an act need scarcely be taken into 
account as qualifying the generalization that a man will sell 
to the highest bidder. Now, since the predominant activities 
of citizens are determined by motives of this degree of regu 
larity, there must be resulting social phenomena that have 
corresponding degrees of regularity greater degrees, indeed, 
since in them the effects of exceptional motives become lost in 
the effects of the aggregate of ordinary motives. Another 

comment may be added. Mr. Froude exaggerates the antith 
esis he draws by using a conception of science which is too 
narrow : he speaks as though there were no science but exact 
science. Scientific previsions, both qualitative and quantita 
tive, have various degrees of definiteness ; and because among 


certain classes of phenomena the previsions are approximate 
only, it is not, therefore, to be said that there is no science of 
those phenomena : if there is some prevision, there is some sci 
ence. Take, for example, Meteorology. The Derby has been 
run in a snow-storm, and you may occasionally want a fire in 
July ; but such anomalies do not prevent us from being per 
fectly certain that the coming summer will be warmer than 
the past winter. Our south-westerly gales in the autumn may 
come early or may come late, may be violent or moderate, at 
one time or at intervals ; but that there will be an excess of 
wind from the south-west at that part of the year we may be 
sure. The like holds with the relations of rain and dry weather 
to the quantity of water in the air and the weight of the at 
mospheric column : though exactly-true predictions cannot be 
made, approximately-true ones can. So that, even were there 
not among social phenomena more definite relations than 
these (arid the all-important ones are far more definite), there 
would still be a Social Science. Once more, Mr. Froude con 

tends that the facts presented in history do not furnish subject- 
matter for science, because they * never repeat themselves," 
because u we can watch for no recurring fact to test the worth 
of our conjectures." I will not meet this assertion by the 
counter-assertion often made, that historic phenomena do re 
peat themselves ; but, admitting that Mr. Froude here touches 
on one of the great difficulties of the Social Science (that social 
phenomena are in so considerable a degree different in each 
case from what they were in preceding cases), I still find a 
sufficient reply. For in no concrete science is there absolute 
repetition ; and in some concrete sciences the repetition is no 
more specific than in Sociology. Even in the most exact of 
them, Astronomy, the combinations are never the same twice 
over; the repetitions are but approximate. And on turning 
to Geology, we find that, though the processes of denudation, 
deposition, upheaval, subsidence, have been ever going on in 
conformity with laws more or less clearly generalized, the 
effects have been always new in their proportions and ar 
rangements ; though not so completely new as to forbid com 
parisons, consequent deductions, and approximate previsions 
based on them. 

Were there no such replies as these to Mr. Froude s rea- 


sons, there would still be the reply furnished by his own inter 
pretations of history ; which make it clear that his denial must 
be understood as but a qualified one. Against his pixrfessed 
theory may be set his actual practice, which, as it seems to 
me, tacitly asserts that explanations of some social phenomena 
in terms of cause and effect are possible, if not explanations 
of all social phenomena. Thus, respecting the Vagrancy Act 
of 1547, which made a slave of a confirmed vagrant, Mr. 
Froude says : " In the condition of things which was now 
commencing .... neither this nor any other penal act 
against idleness could be practically enforced." " That is to 
say, the operation of an agency brought into play was neu 
tralized by the operation of natural causes coexisting. Again, 
respecting the enclosure of commons and amalgamation of 
farms, &c., Mr. Froude writes : " Under the late reign these 
tendencies had, with great difficulty, been held partially in 
check, but on the death of Henry they acquired new force and 
activity." ia Or, in other words, certain social forces previ 
ously antagonized by certain other forces, produced their nat- 
ural effects when the antagonism ceased. Yet again, Mr. 
Froude explains that, " unhappily, two causes [debased cur 
rency and an alteration of the farming system] were operating 
to produce the rise of prices." I3 And throughout Mr. Froude s 
History of England there are, I need scarcely say, other cases 
in which he ascribes social changes to causes rooted in human 
nature. Moreover, in his lecture on The Science of History, 
there is a distinct enunciation of "one lesson of History;" 
namely, that " the moral law is written on the tablets of eter 
nity Justice and truth alone endure and live. In 
justice and falsehood may be long-lived, but doomsday comes 
at last to them, in French revolutions and other terrible ways." 
And elsewhere he says that " the miseries and horrors which 
are now destroying the Chinese Empire are the direct and or 
ganic results of the moral profligacy of its inhabitants." " 
Each of these statements tacitly asserts that certain social rela 
tions, and actions of certain kinds, are inevitably beneficial, 
and others inevitably detrimental an historic induction fur 
nishing a basis for positive deduction. So that we must not 
interpret Mr. Froude too literally when he alleges the " impos 
sibility of forming scientific calculations of what men will 


do before the fact, or scientific explanations of what they have 
done after the fact." 

Another writer who denies the possibility of a Social 
Science, or who, at any rate, admits it only as a science which 
lias its relations of phenomena so traversed by providential 
influences that it does not come within the proper definition 
of a science, is Canon Kingsley. In his address on The Limits 
of Exact Science as applied to History, he says : 

" You say that as the laws of matter are inevitable, so probably are 
the laws of human life? Be it so: but in what sense are the laws of 
matter inevitable? Potentially or actually? Even in the seemingly 
most uniform and universal law, where do we find the inevitable or 
the irresistible? Is there not in nature a perpetual competition of 
law against law, force against force, producing the most endless and 
unexpected variety of results? Cannot each law be interfered with at 
any moment by some other law, so that the first law, though it may 
struggle for the mastery, shall be for an indefinite time utterly de 
feated? The law of gravity is immutable enough : but do all stones 
veritably fall to the ground ? Certainly not, if I choose to catch one, 
and keep it in my hand. It remains there by laws: and the law of 
gravity is there, too, making it feel heavy in rny hand : but it has not 
fallen to the ground, and will not, till I let it. So much for the inev 
itable action of the laws of gravity, as of others. Potentially, it is 
immutable ; but actually, it can be conquered by other laws." 15 
This passage, severely criticized, if I remember rightly, when 
the address was originally published, it would be scarcely fair 
to quote were it not that Canon Kingsley has repeated it at a 
later date in his work, The Roman and the Teuton. The 
very unusual renderings of scientific ideas which it contains, 
need here be only enumerated. Mr. Kingsley differs pro 
foundly from philosopher s and men of science, in regarding a 
law as itself a power or force, and so in thinking of one law 
as " conquered by other laws ; " whereas the accepted concep 
tion of law is that of an established order, to which the mani 
festations of a power or force conform. He enunciates, too, a 
quite-exceptional view of gravitation. As conceived by as 
tronomers and physicists, gravitation is a universal and ever- 
acting force, which portions of matter exercise on one another 
when at sensible distances ; arid the law of this force is that it 
varies directly as the mass and inversely as the square of the 
distance. Mr. Kingsley s view, is that the law of gravitation 


is "defeated" if a stone is prevented from falling to the 
ground that the law "struggles" (not the force), and that be 
cause it no longer produces motion, the " inevitable action of 
the laws of gravity (not of gravity) is suspended : the truth 
being that neither the force nor its law is in the slightest de 
gree modified. Further, the theory of natural processes which 
Mr. Kingsley has arrived at, seems to be that when two or 
more forces (or laws, if he prefers it) come into play, there is 
a partial or complete suspension of one by another. Whereas 
the doctrine held by men of science is, that the forces are all 
in full operation, and tl\e effect is their resultant ; so that, for 
example, when a shot is fired horizontally from a cannon, the 
force impressed on it produces in a given time just the same 
amount of horizontal motion as though gravity were absent, 
while gravity produces in that same time a fall just equal to 
that which it would have produced had the shot been dropped 
from the mouth of the cannon. Of course, holding these pe 
culiar views of causation as displayed among simple physical 
phenomena, Canon Kingsley is consistent in denying histori 
cal sequence; and in saying that "as long as man has the 
mysterious power of breaking the laws of his own being, such 
a sequence not only cannot be discovered, but it cannot exist." " 
At the same time it is manifest that until he comes to some 
agreement with men of science respecting conceptions of 
forces, of their laws, and of the modes in which phenomena 
produced by compositions of forces are interpretable in terms 
of compound laws, no discussion of the question at issue can 
be carried on with profit. 

Without waiting for such an agreement, however, which is 
probably somewhat remote. Canon Kingsley s argument may 
be met by putting side by side with it some of his own conclu 
sions set forth elsewhere. In an edition of Alton Locke pub 
lished since the delivery of the address above quoted from, 
there is a new preface containing, among others, the following 
passages : 

" The progress towards institutions more and more popular may be 
slow, but it is sure. Whenever any class has conceived the hope of 
being fairly represented, it is certain to fulfil its own hopes, unless it 
employs, or provokes, violence impossible in England. The thing 
will be. 11 . . . "If any young gentlemen look forward .... 


to a Conservative reaction of any other kind than this .... to 
even the least stoppage of what the world calls progress which I 
should define as the putting in practice the results of inductive science ; 
then do they, like King Picrochole in Rabelais, look for a kingdom 
which shall be restored to them at the coming of the Cocqcigrues." l8 
And in a preface addressed to workingmen, contained in an 
earlier edition, he says : 

" If you are better off than you were in 1848, you owe it principally 
to those laws of political economy (as they are called), which I call the 
brute natural accidents of supply and demand," &c. 19 
Which passages offer explanations of changes now gone by 
as having been wrought out by natural forces in conformity 
with natural laws, and also predictions of changes which 
natural forces at present in action will work out That is to 
say, by the help of generalized experiences there is an inter 
pretation of past phenomena and a prevision of future phe 
nomena. There is an implicit recognition of that Social Sci 
ence which is explicitly denied. 

A reply to these criticisms may be imagined. In looking 
for whatever reconciliation is possible between these positions 
which seem so incongruous, we must suppose the intended 
assertion to be, that only general interpretations and previs 
ions can be made, not those which are special. Bearing in 
mind Mr. Froude s occasional explanations of historical phe 
nomena as naturally caused, we must conclude that he be 
lieves certain classes of sociological facts (as the politico-eco 
nomical) to be scientifically explicable, while other classes are 
not : though, if this be his view, it is not clear how, if the re 
sults of men s wills, separate or aggregated, are incalculable, 
politico-economical actions can be dealt with scientifically; 
since, equally with other social actions, they are determined 
by aggregated wills. Similarly, Canon Kingsley, recognizing 
no less distinctly economical laws, and enunciating also cer 
tain laws of progress nay, even warning his hearers against 
the belief that he denies the applicability of the inductive 
method to social phenomena, must be assumed to think that 
the applicability of the inductive method is here but partial. 
Citing the title of his address and some of its sentences, he 
may say they imply simply that there are limits to the expla 
nation of social facts in precise ways; though this position 


does not seem really reconcilable with the doctrine that social 
laws are liable to be at any time overruled, providentially or 
otherwise. But, merely hinting these collateral criticisms, 
this reply is to be met by the demurrer that it is beside the 
question. If the sole thing- meant is that sociological previs 
ions can be approximate only if the thing denied is the pos 
sibility of reducing Sociology to the form of an exact science ; 
then the rejoinder is that the thing denied is a thing which no 
one has affirmed. Only a moiety of science is exact science 
only phenomena of certain orders have had their relations 
expressed quantitatively as well as qualitatively. Of the re 
maining orders there are some produced by factors so numer 
ous and so hard to measure, that to develop our knowledge of 
their relations into the quantitative form will be extremely 
difficult, if not impossible. But these orders of phenomena 
are not therefore excluded from the conception of Science. In 
Geology, in Biology, in Psychology, most of the previsions are 
qualitative only ; and where they are quantitative their quan- 
titativeness, never quite definite, is mostly very indefinite. 
Nevertheless we unhesitatingly class these previsions as scien 
tific. It is thus with Sociology. The phenomena it presents, 
involved in a higher degree than all others, are less than all 
other, capable of precise treatment : such of them as can be 
generalized, can be generalized only within wide limits of 
variation as to time and amount ; and there remains much 
that cannot be generalized. But so far as there can be gener 
alization, and so far as there can be interpretation based on it, 
so far there can be science. Whoever expresses political opin 
ions whoever asserts that such or such public arrangements 
will be beneficial or detrimental, tacitly expresses belief in a 
Social Science ; for he asserts, by implication, that there is a 
natural sequence among social actions, and that as the sequence 
is natural results may be foreseen. 

Reduced to a more concrete form, the case may be put 
thus : Mr. Froude and Canon Kingsley both believe to a con 
siderable extent in the efficiency of legislation probably to a 
greater extent than it is believed in by some of those who 
assert the existence of a Social Science. To believe in the 
efficiency of legislation is to believe that certain prospective 
penalties or rewards will act as deterrents or incentives will 


modify individual conduct, and therefore modify social ac 
tion. Though it may be impossible to say that a given law 
will produce a foreseen effect on a particular person, yet no 
doubt is felt that it will produce a foreseen effect on the mass 
of persons. Though Mr. Froude, when arguing against Mr. 
Buckle, says that he " would deliver himself from the eccen 
tricities of this and that individual by a doctrine of averages," 
but that " unfortunately, the average of one generation need 
not be the average of the next ; " yet Mr. Froude himself so 
far believes in the doctrine of averages as to hold that legis 
lative interdicts, with threats of death or imprisonment be 
hind them, will restrain the great majority of men in ways 
which can be predicted. While he contends that the results 
of individual will are incalculable, yet, by approving certain 
laws and condemning others, he tacitly affirms that the results 
of the aggregate of wills are calculable. And if this be as 
serted of the aggregate of wills as affected by legislation, it 
must be asserted of the aggregate of wills as affected by social 
influences at large. If it be held that the desire to avoid 
punishment will so act on the average of men as to produce an 
average foreseen result ; then it must also be held that on the 
average of men, the desire to get the greatest return for la 
bour, the desire to rise into a higher rank of life, the desire to 
gain applause, and so forth, will each of them poduce a certain 
average result. And to hold this is to hold that there can be 
prevision of social phenomena, and therefore Social Science. 

In brief, then, the alternative positions are these. On the 
one hand, if there is no natural causation throughout the ac 
tions of incorporated humanity, government and legislation 
are absurd. Acts of Parliament may, as well as not, be made 
to depend on the drawing of lots or the tossing of a coin ; or, 
rather, there may as well be none at all : social sequences 
having no ascertainable order, no effect can be counted upon 
everything is chaotic. On the other hand, if there is natu 
ral causation, then the combination of forces by which every 
combination of effects is produced, produces that combination 
of effects in conformity with the laws of the forces. And if 
so, it behoves us to use all diligence in ascertaining what the 
forces are, what are their laws, and what are the ways in 
which they co-operate. 


Such further elucidation as is possible will be gained by 
discussing- the question to which we now address ourselves 
the Nature of the Social Science. Along with a definite idea 
of this, will come a perception that the denial of a Social Sci 
ence has arisen from the confusing of two essentially-different 
classes of phenomena which societies present the one class, 
almost ignored by historians, constituting the subject-matter 
of Social Science, and the other class, almost exclusively occu 
pying them, admitting of scientific co-ordination in a very 
small degree, if at all. 



OUT of bricks, well burnt, hard, and sharp-angled, lying 1 in 
heaps by his side, the bricklayer builds, even without mortar, 
a wall of some height that has considerable stability. With 
bricks made of bad materials, irregularly burnt, warped, 
cracked, and many of them broken, he cannot build a dry 
wall of the same height and stability. The dockyard-labourer, 
piling cannon-shot, is totally unable to make these spherical 
masses stand at all as the bricks stand. There are, indeed, 
certain definite shapes into which they may be piled that of a 
tetrahedron, or that of a pyramid having a square base, or that 
of an elongated wedge allied to the pyramid. In any of these 
forms they may be put together symmetrically and stably ; 
but not in forms with vertical sides or highly-inclined sides. 
Once more, if, instead of equal spherical shot, the masses to be 
piled are boulders, partially but irregularly rounded, and of 
various sizes, no definite stable form is possible. A loose heap, 
indefinite in its surface and angles, is all the labourer can 
make of them. Putting which several facts together, and ask 
ing what is the most general truth they imply, we see it to be 
this that the character of the aggregate is determined by the 
characters of the units. 

If we pass from units of these visible, tangible kinds, to the 
units contemplated by chemists and physicists as making up 
masses of matter, the same truth meets us. Each so-called 
element, each combination of elements, each re-combination 
of the compounds, has a form of crystallization. Though its 
crystals differ in their sizes, and are liable to be modified by 
truncations of angles and apices, as well as by partial merg- 
ings into one another, yet the type of structure, as shown by 


cleavage, is constant : particular kinds of molecules severally 
have particular shapes into which they settle themselves as 
they aggregate. And though in some cases it happens that a 
suhstance, simple or compound, has two or even more forms 
of aggregation, yet the recognized interpretation is, that these 
different forms are the forms assumed by molecules made dif 
ferent in their structures by allotropic or isomeric changes. 
So constant is the relation between the nature of any mole 
cules and their mode of crystallizing, that, given two kinds of 
molecules which are known, from their chemical actions, to 
be closely allied in their natures, and it is inferred with cer 
tainty that their crystals will be closely allied. In brief, it 
may be unhesitatingly affirmed, as an outcome of physics and 
chemistry, that throughout all phenomena presented by dead 
matter, the natures of the units necessitate certain traits in the 

This truth is again exemplified by aggregates of living 
matter. In the substance of each species of plant or animal, 
there is a proclivity towards the structure which that plant or 
animal presents a proclivity conclusively proved *in cases 
where the conditions to the maintenance of life are sufficient 
ly simple, and w r here the tissue has not assumed a structure 
too finished to permit re-arrangement. The perpetually-cited 
case of the polype, each part of which, when it is cut into 
several, presently puts on the polype-shape, and gains struc 
tures and powers like those of the original whole, illustrates 
this truth among animals. Among plants it is well exempli 
fied by the Begonias. Here a complete plant grows from a 
fragment of a leaf stuck in the ground; and, in Begonia 
pliyllomaniaca, complete plants grow even out of scales that 
fall from the leaves and the stem a fact showing, like the 
fact which the polype furnishes, that the units everywhere 
present, have for their type of aggregation the type of the 
organism they belong to ; and reminding us of the universal 
fact that the units composing every germ, animal or vegetal, 
have a proclivity towards the parental type of aggregation. 

Thus, given the natures of the units, and the nature of the 
aggregate they form is pre-determined. I say the nature, 
meaning, of course, the essential traits, and not including the 
incidental. By the characters of the units are necessitated 


certain limits within which the characters of the aggregate 
must fall. The circumstances attending 1 aggregation greatly 
modify the results ; but the truth here to be recognized is, 
that these circumstances, in some cases perhaps preventing 
aggregation altogether, in other cases impeding it, in other 
cases facilitating it more or less, can never give to the aggre 
gate, characters that do not consist with the characters of the 
units. No favouring conditions will give the labourer power 
to pile cannon-shot into a vertical wall ; no favouring con 
ditions will make it possible for common salt, which crys 
tallizes on the regular system, to crystallize, like sulphate of 
soda, on the oblique prismatic system ; no favouring con 
ditions will enable the fragment of a polype to take on the 
structure of a mollusk. 

Among such social aggregates as inferior creatures fall 
into, more or less definitely, the same truth holds. Whether 
they live in a mere assemblage, or whether they live in 
something like an organized union with division of labour 
among its members, as happens in many cases, is unquestion 
ably determined by the properties of the units. Given the 
structures and consequent instincts of the individuals as we 
find them, and the community they form will inevitably 
present certain traits ; and no community having such traits 
can be formed out of individuals having other structures 
and instincts. 

Those who have been brought up in the belief that there is 
one law for the rest of the Universe and another law for man 
kind, will doubtless be astonished by the proposal to include 
aggregates of men in this generalization. And yet that the 
properties of the units determine the properties of the whole 
they make up, evidently holds of societies as of other things. 
A general survey of tribes and nations, past and present, 
shows clearly enough that it is so ; and a brief considera 
tion of the conditions shows, with no less clearness, that it 
must be so. 

Ignoring for the moment the special traits of races and in 
dividuals, observe the traits common to members of the spe 
cies at large ; and consider how these must affect their rela 
tions when associated. 


They have all needs for food, and have corresponding 
desires. To all of them exertion is a physiological expense ; 
must bring a certain return of nutriment, if it is not to be 
detrimental ; and is accompanied by repugnance when pushed 
to excess, or even before reaching it. They are all of them 
liable to bodily injury, without accompanying pain, from va 
rious extreme physical actions ; and they are liable to emo 
tional pains, of positive and negative kinds, from one an 
other s actions. As says Shylock, insisting on that human 
nature which Jews have in common with Christians 

" Hath not a Jew eyes ? hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, 
senses, affections, passions ? fed with the same food, hurt with the 
same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, 
warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer, as a Christian is ? 
If you prick us, do we not bleed ? if you tickle us, do we not laugh I 
if you poison us, do we not die I and if you wrong us, shall we not 
revenge ? If we are like you in the rest, we will resemble you in that." 

Conspicuous, however, as is this possession of certain fun 
damental qualities by all individuals, there is no adequate 
recognition of the truth that from these individual qualities 
must result certain qualities in an assemblage of individuals ; 
that in proportion as the individuals forming one assemblage 
are like in their qualities to the individuals forming another 
assemblage, the two assemblages will have likenesses ; and 
that the assemblages will differ in their characters in propor 
tion as the component individuals of the one differ from those 
of the other. Yet when this, which is almost a truism, has 
been admitted, it cannot be denied that in every community 
there is a group of phenomena growing naturally out of the 
phenomena presented by its members a set of properties in 
the aggregate determined by the sets of properties in the 
units ; arid that the relations of the two sets form the subject- 
matter of a science. It needs but to ask what would happen 
if men avoided one another, as various inferior creatures do, 
to see that the very possibility of a society depends on a cer 
tain emotional property in the individual. It needs but to 
ask what would happen if each man liked best the men who 
gave him most pain, to perceive that social relations, suppos 
ing them to be possible, would be utterly unlike the social 
relations resulting from the greater liking which men indi- 


vidually have for others who give them pleasure. It needs 
but to ask what would happen if, instead of ordinarily prefer 
ring the easiest ways of achieving their ends, men preferred 
to achieve their ends in the most troublesome ways, to infer 
that then, a society, if one could exist, would be a widely-dif 
ferent society from any we know. And if, as these extreme 
cases show us, cardinal traits in societies are determined by 
cardinal traits in men, it cannot be questioned that less-marked 
traits in societies are determined by less-marked traits in men ; 
and that there must everywhere be a consensus between the 
special structures and actions of the one and the special struc 
tures and actions of the other. 

Setting out, then, with this general principle, that the 
properties of the units determine the properties of the aggre 
gate, we conclude that there must be a Social Science express 
ing the relations between the two, with as much definiteness 
as the natures of the phenomena permit. Beginning with 
types of men who form but small and incoherent social ag 
gregates, such a science has to show in what ways the indi 
vidual qualities, intellectual and emotional, negative further 
aggregation. It has to explain how slight modifications of 
individual nature, arising under modified conditions of life, 
make somewhat larger aggregates possible. It has to trace 
out, in aggregates of some size, the genesis of the social rela 
tions, regulative and operative, into which the members fall. 
It has to exhibit the stronger and more prolonged social influ 
ences which, by further modifying the characters of the units, 
facilitate further aggregation with consequent further com 
plexity of social structure. Among societies of all orders and 
sizes, from the smallest and rudest up to the largest and most 
civilized, it has to ascertain what traits there are in common, 
determined by the common traits of human beings ; what 
less-general traits, distinguishing certain groups of societies, 
result from traits distinguishing certain races of men ; and 
what peculiarities in each society are traceable to the pecul 
iarities of its members. In every case it has for its subject- 
matter the growth, development, structure, and functions of 
the social aggregate, as brought about by the mutual actions 
of individuals whose natures are partly like those of all men, 
partly like those of kindred races, partly distinctive. 


These phenomena of social evolution have, of course, to be 
explained with due reference to the conditions each society is 
exposed to the conditions furnished by its locality and by its 
relations to neighbouring societies. Noting this merely to 
prevent possible misapprehensions, the fact which here con 
cerns us, is, not that the Social Science exhibits these or those 
special truths, but that, given men having certain properties, 
and an aggregate of such men must have certain derivative 
properties which form the subject-matter of a science. 

" But were we not told some pages back, that in societies, 
causes and effects are related in ways so involved that previs 
ion is often impossible ? Were we not warned against rashly 
taking measures for achieving this or that desideratum, re 
gardless of the proofs, so abundantly supplied by the past, 
that agencies set in action habitually work out results never 
foreseen ? And were not instances given of all-important 
changes that were due to influences from which no one would 
have anticipated them ? If so, how can there be a Social Sci 
ence ? If Louis Napoleon could not have expected that the 
war he began to prevent the consolidation of Germany, would 
be the very means of consolidating it ; if to M. Thiers, five- 
and-twenty years ago, it would have seemed a dream exceed 
ing all ordinary dreams in absurdity, that he would be fired at 
from his own .fortifications ; how in the name of wonder is it 
possible to formulate social phenomena in anything approach 
ing scientific order ? " 

The difficulty thus put in as strong a form as I can find for 
it. is that which, clearly or vaguely, rises in the minds of most 
to whom Sociology is proposed as a subject to be studied after 
scientific methods, with the expectation of reaching results 
having scientific certainty. Before giving to the question its 
special answer, let me give it a general answer. 

The science of Mechanics has reached a development higher 
than has been reached by any but the purely-abstract sciences. 
Though we may not call it perfect, yet the great accuracy of 
the predictions which its ascertained principles enable astron 
omers to make, shows how near to perfection it has come ; and 
the achievements of the skilful artillery-officer prove that in 
their applications to terrestrial motions these principles yield 


previsions of considerable exactness. But now, taking Me 
chanics as the type of a highly-developed science, let us note 
what it enables us to predict, and what it does not enable 
us to predict, respecting some concrete phenomenon. Say 
that there is a mine to be exploded. Ask what will hap 
pen to the fragments of matter sent into the air. Then 
observe how much we can infer from established dynamical 
laws. By that common observation which precedes the more 
exact observations of science, we are taught that all the frag 
ments, having risen to heights more or less various, will fall ; 
that they will reach the ground at scattered places within a 
circumscribed area, and at somewhat different times. Science 
enables us to say more than this. From those same principles 
whence are inferable the path of a planet or a projectile, it de 
duces the truth that each fragment will describe a curve ; that 
all the curves, though individually different, will be specifi 
cally alike ; that (ignoring deviations caused by atmospheric 
resistance) they will severally be portions of ellipses so eccen 
tric as to be indistinguishable from parabolas such parts of 
them, at least, as are described after the rush of gases ceases 
further to accelerate the fragments. But while the principles 
of Mechanics help us to these certainties, we cannot learn 
from them anything more definite respecting the courses that 
will be taken by particular fragments. Whether, of the mass 
overlying the powder to be exploded, the part on the left will 
be propelled upwards in one fragment or several ? whether 
this piece will be shot higher than that ? whether any, and if 
so, which, of the projected masses will be stopped in their 
courses by adjacent objects they strike ? are questions it can 
not answer. Not that there will be any want of conformity 
to law in these results ; but that the data on which predic 
tions of them are to be based, cannot be obtained. 

Observe, then, that respecting a concrete phenomenon of 
some complexity, the most exact science enables us to make 
predictions that are mainly general, or only partially special. 
Seeing that this is so, even where the causes and effects are 
not greatly involved, and where the science of them is well 
developed, much more may we expect it to be so among the 
most involved causes and effects, the science of which is but 
rudimentary. This contrast between the generalities that ad- 


mit of prevision and the specialties that do not admit of pre 
vision, will be still more clearly seen on passing from this 
preliminary illustration to an illustration in which the anal 
ogy, is closer. 

What can we say about the future of this newly-born child ? 
Will it die of some disorder during infancy ? Will it survive 
awhile, and be carried off by scarlet fever or whooping-cough ? 
Will it have measles or small-pox, and succumb to one or the 
other ? None of these questions can be answered. Will it 
some day fall down-stairs, or be run over, or set fire to its 
clothes ; and be killed or maimed by one or other of these ac 
cidents ? These questions also have no answers. None can 
tell whether in boyhood there may come epilepsy, or St. 
Vitus s dance, or other formidable affection. Looking at the 
child now in the nurse s arms, none can foresee with certainty 
that it will be stupid or intelligent, tractable or perverse. 
Equally beyond possibility of prediction are those events 
which, if it survives, will occur to it in maturity partly 
caused by its own nature, and partly by surrounding condi 
tions. Whether there will come the success due to skill and 
perseverance; whether the circumstances will be such as to 
give these scope or not ; whether accidents will thwart or 
favour efforts ; are wholly-unanswerable inquiries. That is to 
say, the facts we ordinarily class as biographical, do not ad 
mit of prevision. 

If from quite special facts we turn to facts somewhat less 
special which the life of this infant will present, we find, 
among those that are gitasz-biographical, a certain degree of 
prevision possible. Though the unfolding of the faculties is 
variable within limits, going on here precociously and there 
with unusual slowness, yet there is such order in the unfold 
ing as enables us to say that the child will not be a mathema 
tician or a dramatist at three years old, will not be a psycholo 
gist by the time he is ten, will not reach extended political 
conceptions while his voice is still unbroken. Moreover, of 
the emotional nature we may make certain predictions of a 
kindred order. Whether he will marry or not, no one can 
say ; but it is possible to say, if not with certainty still with 
much probability, that after a certain age an inclination to 


marry will arise ; and though none can tell whether he will 
have children, yet that, if he has, some amount of the paternal 
feeling will be manifested, may be concluded as very likely. 

But now if, looking at the entire assemblage of facts that 
will be presented during the life of this infant as it becomes 
mature, decays and dies, we pass over the biographical and 
guasi-biographical, as admitting of either 110 prevision or but 
imperfect prevision ; we find remaining classes of facts that 
may be asserted beforehand : some with a high degree of 
probability, and some with certainty some with great defi- 
niteness and some within moderate limits of variation. I re 
fer to the facts of growth, development, structure, and func 

Along with that love of personalities which exalts every 
thing inconstant in human life into a matter of interest, there 
goes the habit of regarding whatever is constant in human 
life as a matter of no interest ; and so, when contemplating 
the future of the infant, there is a tacit ignoring of all the 
vital phenomena it will exhibit phenomena that are alike 
kiiowable and important to be known. The anatomy and 
physiology of Man, comprehending under these names not 
only the structures and functions of the adult, but the pro 
gressive establishment of these structures and functions dur 
ing individual evolution, form the subject-matter of what 
every one recognizes as a science. Though there is imperfect 
exactness in the generalized coexistences and sequences mak 
ing up this science ; though general truths respecting struc 
tures are met by occasional exceptions in the way of malfor 
mations ; though anomalies of function also occur to negative 
absolute prediction ; though there are considerable variations 
of the limits within which growth and structure may range, 
and considerable differences between the rates of functions 
and between the times at which functions are established ; yet 
no one doubts that the biological phenomena presented by the 
human body, may be organized into a knowledge having the 
definiteness which constitutes it scientific, in the understood 
sense of that word. 

If, now, any one, insisting on the incalculableness of a 
child s future, biographically considered, asserted that the 
child, therefore, presented no subject-matter for science, ignor- 


ing altogether what we will for the moment call its anthro 
pology (though the meaning now given to the word scarcely 
permits this use of it), he would fall into a conspicuous error 
an error in this case made conspicuous because we are able 
daily to observe the difference between an account of the 
living body, and an account of its conduct and the events 
that occur to it. 

The reader doubtless anticipates the analogy. What Biog 
raphy is to Anthropology, History is to Sociology History, I 
mean, as commonly conceived. The kind of relation which 
the sayings and doings that make up the ordinary account of 
a man s life, bear to an account of his bodily and mental evo 
lution, structural and functional, is like the kind of relation 
borne by that narrative of a nation s actions and fortunes its 
historian gives us, to a description of its institutions, regula 
tive and operative, and the ways in which their structures and 
functions have gradually established themselves. And if it is 
an error to say that there is no Science of Man, because the 
events of a man s life cannot be foreseen, it is equally an error 
to say that there is no Science of Society, because there can be 
no prevision of the occurrences which make up ordinary 

Of course, I do not say that the parallel between an indi 
vidual organism and a social organism is so close, that the 
distinction to be clearly drawn in the one case may be drawn 
with like clearness in the other. The structures and func 
tions of the social organism are obviously far less specific, far 
more modifiable, far more dependent on conditions that are 
variable and never twice alike. All I mean is that, as in the 
one case so in the other, there lie underneath the phenomena 
of conduct, not forming subject-matter for science, certain 
vital phenomena, which do form subject-matter for science. 
Just as in the man there are structures and functions which 
make possible the doings his biographer tells of, so in the na 
tion there are structures and functions which make possible 
the doings its historian tells of ; and in both cases it is with 
these structures and functions, in their origin, development, 
and decline, that science is concerned. 

To make better the parallel, and further to explain the 


nature of the Social Science, we must say that the morphology 
and physiology of Society, instead of corresponding to the 
morphology and physiology of Man, correspond rather to 
morphology and physiology in general 1 . Social organisms, 
like individual organisms, are to be arranged into classes and 
sub-classes not, indeed, into classes and sub-classes having 
anything like the same definiteness or the same constancy, 
but nevertheless having likenesses and differences which jus 
tify the putting of them into major groups most-markedly 
contrasted, and, within these, arranging them in minor groups 
less-markedly contrasted. And just as Biology discovers cer 
tain general traits of development, structure, and function, 
holding throughout all organisms, others holding throughout 
certain great groups, others throughout certain sub-groups 
these contain ; so Sociology has to recognize truths of social 
development, structure, and function, that are some of them 
universal, some of them general, some of them special. 

For, recalling the conclusion previously reached, it is 
manifest that in so far as human beings, considered as social 
units, have properties in common, the social aggregates they 
form will have properties in common ; that likenesses of nature 
holding throughout certain of the human races, will originate 
likenesses of nature in the nations arising out of them ; and 
that such peculiar traits as are possessed by the highest varieties 
of men, must result in distinctive characters possessed in com 
mon by the communities into which they organize themselves. 
So that whether we look at the matter in the abstract or in 
the concrete, we reach the same conclusion. We need but to 
glance, on the one hand, at the varieties of uncivilized men 
and the structures of their tribes, and, on the other hand, at 
the varieties of civilized men and the structures of their na 
tions, to see inference verified by fact. And thus recognizing, 
both a priori and a posteriori, these relations between the 
phenomena of individual human nature and the phenomena 
of incorporated human nature, we cannot fail to see that the 
phenomena of incorporated human nature form the subject- 
matter of a science. 

And now to make more definite the conception of a Social 
Science thus shadowed forth in a general way, let me set down 


a few truths of the kind indicated. Some that I propose to 
name are very familiar ; and others I add, not because of their 
interest or importance, but because they are easy of exposi 
tion. The aim is simply to convey a clear idea of the nature 
of sociological truths. 

Take, first, the general fact that along with social aggrega 
tion there always goes some kind of organization. In the 
very lowest stages, where the assemblages are very small and 
very incoherent, there is no established subordination no 
centre of control. Chieftainships of settled kinds come only 
along with larger and more coherent aggregates. The evolu 
tion of a governmental structure having some strength and 
permanence, is the condition under which alone any con 
siderable growth of a society can take place. A differentiation 
of the originally-homogeneous mass of units into a co-ordinat 
ing part and a co-ordinated part, is the indispensable initial 

Along with evolution of societies in size there goes evolu 
tion of their co-ordinating centres ; which, having become 
permanent, presently become more or less complex. In small 
tribes, chieftainship, generally wanting in stability, is quite 
simple ; but as tribes become larger by growth, or by reduc 
tion of other tribes to subjection, the co-ordinating apparatus 
begins to develop by the addition of subordinate governing 

Simple and familiar as are these facts, we are not, therefore, 
to overlook their significance. That men rise into the state of 
social aggregation only on condition that they lapse into rela 
tions of inequality in respect of power, and are made to co 
operate as a whole only by the agency of a structure securing 
obedience, is none the less a fact in science because it is a trite 
fact. This is a primary common trait in social aggregates de 
rived from a common trait in their units. It is a truth in 
Sociology, comparable to the biological truth that the first 
step in the production of any living organism, high or low, 
is a certain differentiation whereby a peripheral portion be 
comes distinguished from a central portion. And such excep 
tions to this biological truth as we find in those minute 
non-nucleated portions of protoplasm that are the very lowest 
living things, are paralleled by those exceptions to the so- 


ciological truth, seen in the small incoherent assemblages 
formed by the very lowest types of men. 

The differentiation of the regulating part and the regulated 
part, is, in small primitive societies, not only imperfectly estab 
lished but vague. The chief does not at first become unlike 
his fellow-savages in his functions, otherwise than by exercis 
ing greater sway. He hunts, makes his weapons, works, and 
manages his private affairs, in just the same ways as the rest ; 
while in war he differs from other warriors only by his pre 
dominant influence, not by ceasing to be a private soldier. 
And along with this slight separation from the rest of the 
tribe in military functions and industrial functions, there is 
only a slight separation politically : judicial action is but very 
feebly represented by exercise of his personal authority in 
keeping order. 

At a higher stage, the power of the chief being well estab 
lished, he no longer supports himself. Still he remains un 
distinguished industrially from other members of the domi 
nant class, which has grown up while chieftainship has been 
getting settled ; for he simply gets productive work done by 
deputy, as they do. Nor is a further extension of his power 
accompanied by complete separation of the political from the 
industrial functions ; for he habitually remains a regulator of 
production, and in many cases a regulator of trade, presiding 
over acts of exchange. Of his several controlling activities, 
this last is, however, the one which he first ceases personally 
to carry on. Industry early shows a tendency towards self- 
control, apart from the control which the chief exercises more 
and more as political and military head. The primary social 
differentiation which we have noted between the regulative 
part and the operative part, is presently followed by a distinc 
tion, which eventually becomes very marked, between the 
internal arrangements of the two parts : the operative part 
slowly developing within itself agencies by which processes 
of production, distribution, and exchange are co-ordinated, 
w T hile co-ordination of the non-operative part continues on its 
original footing. 

Along with a development which renders conspicuous the 
separation of the operative and regulative structures, there 
goes a development within the regulative structures them- 


selves. The chief, at first uniting the characters of king, 
judge, captain, and often priest, has his functions more and 
more specialized as the evolution of the society in size and 
complexity advances. Though remaining supreme judge, he 
does most of his judging by deputy ; though remaining nomi 
nally head of his army, the actual leading of it falls more and 
more into the hands of subordinate officers ; though still 
retaining ecclesiastical supremacy, his priestly functions 
practically almost cease ; though in theory the maker and 
administrator of the law, the actual making and administra 
tion lapse more and more into other hands. So that, stating 
the facts broadly, out of the original co-ordinating agent 
having undivided functions, there eventually develop several 
co-ordinating agencies which divide these functions among 

Each of these agencies, too, follows the same law. Origi 
nally simple, it step by step subdivides into many parts, and 
becomes an organization, administrative, judicial, ecclesiasti 
cal, or military, having graduated classes within itself, and a 
more or less distinct form of government within itself. 

I will not complicate this statement by doing more than 
recognizing the variations that occur in cases where supreme 
power does not lapse into the hands of one man (which, 
however, in early stages of social evolution is an unstable 
modification). And I must explain that the above general 
statements are to be taken with the qualification that differ 
ences of detail are passed over to gain brevity and clearness. 
Add to which that it is beside the purpose of the argument 
to carry the description beyond these first stages. But duly 
bearing in mind that without here elaborating a Science of 
Sociology, nothing more than a rude outline of cardinal facts 
can be given, enough has been said to show that in the de 
velopment of social structures, there may be recognized cer 
tain most-general facts, certain less-general facts, and certain 
facts successively more special ; just as there may be recog 
nized general and special facts of evolution in individual 

To extend, as well as to make clearer, this conception of 
the Social Science, let me here set down a question which 
comes within its sphere. What is the relation in a society 


between structure and growth ? Up to what point is structure 
necessary to growth ? after what point does it retard growth ? 
at what point does it arrest growth ? 

There exists in the individual organism a duplex relation 
between growth and structure which it is difficult adequately 
to express. Excluding the cases of a few low organisms liv 
ing under special conditions, we may properly say that great 
growth is not possible without high structure. The whole 
animal kingdom, throughout its invertebrate and vertebrate 
types, may be cited in evidence. On the other hand, among 
the superior organisms, and especially among those leading 
active lives, there is a marked tendency for completion of 
structure to go along with arrest of growth. While an ani 
mal of elevated type is growing rapidly, its organs continue 
imperfectly developed the bones remain partially cartilagi 
nous, the muscles are soft, the brain lacks definiteness ; and 
the details of structure throughout all parts are finished only 
after growth has ceased. Why these relations are as we find 
them, it is not difficult to see. That a young animal may 
grow, it must digest, circulate blood, breathe, excrete w r aste 
products, and so forth ; to do which it must have tolerably- 
complete viscera, vascular system, &c. That it may eventually 
become able to get its own food, it has to develop gradually 
the needful appliances and aptitudes ; to which end it must be 
gin with limbs, and senses, and nervous system, that have 
considerable degrees of efficiency. But along with every 
increment of growth achieved by the help of these partially- 
developed structures, there has to go an alteration of the 
structures themselves. If they were rightly adjusted to the 
preceding smaller size, they are wrongly adjusted to the suc 
ceeding greater size. Hence they must be re-moulded un 
built and re-built. Manifestly, therefore, in proportion as the 
previous building has been complete, there arises a great ob 
stacle in the shape of un-building and re-building. The 
bones show us how this difficulty is met. In the thigh-bone 
of a boy, for instance, there exists between the head and 
the cylindrical part of the bone, a place where the original 
cartilaginous state continues ; and where, by the addition of 
new cartilage in which new osseous matter is deposited, the 
shaft of the bone is lengthened: the like going on in an 


answering place at the other end of the shaft. Complete 
ossification at these two places occurs only when the bone has 
ceased to increase in length ; and, on considering what would 
have happened had the bone been ossified from end to end 
before its lengthening was complete, it will be seen how great 
an obstacle to growth is thus escaped. What holds here, 
holds throughout the organism : though structure up to a cer 
tain point is requisite for growth, structure beyond that point 
impedes growth. How necessary is this relation we shall 

equally perceive in a more complex case say, the growth of 
an entire limb. There is a certain size and proportion of 
parts, which a limb ordinarily has in relation to the rest of 
the body. Throw upon that limb extra function, and within 
moderate limits it will increase in strength and bulk. If the 
extra function begins early in life, the limb may be raised 
considerably above its usual size ; but if the extra function 
begins after maturity, the deviation is less : in neither case, 
however, being great. If we consider how increase of the 
limb is effected, we shall see why this is so. More active 
function brings a greater local supply of blood; and, for a 
time, new tissue is formed in excess of waste. But the local 
supply of blood is limited by the sizes of the arteries which 
bring it ; and though, up to a certain point, increase of flow 
is gained by temporary dilatation of them, yet beyond that 
point increase can be gained only by un-building and re 
building the arteries. Such alterations of arteries slowly 
take place less slowly with the smaller peripheral ones, 
more slowly with the larger ones out of which these branch ; 
since these have to be altered all the way back to their 
points of divergence from the great central blood vessels. 
In like manner, the channels for carrying off waste products 
must be re-modelled, both locally and centrally. The nerve- 
trunks, too, and also the centres from which they come, must 
be adjusted to the greater demands upon them. Nay, more ; 
with a given visceral system, a large extra quantity of blood 
cannot be permanently given to one part of the body, with 
out decreasing the quantities given to other parts ; and, there 
fore, structural changes have to be made by which the 
drafting-off of blood to these other parts is diminished. 
Hence the great resistance to increase in the size of a limb 


beyond a certain moderate limit. Such increase cannot be 
effected without un-building and re-building not only the 
parts that directly minister to the limb, but, eventually, all 
the remoter parts. So that the bringing of structures into 
perfect fitness for certain requirements, immensely hinders 
the adaptation of them to other requirements re-ad justments 
become difficult in proportion as adjustments are made com 

How far does this law hold in the social organism ? To 
what extent does it happen here, too, that the multiplying and 
elaborating of institutions, and the perfecting of arrangements 
for gaining immediate ends, raise impediments to the develop 
ment of better institutions and to the future gaining of higher 
ends ? Socially, as well as individually, organization is indis 
pensable to growth : beyond a certain point there cannot be 
further growth without further organization. Yet there is not 
a little reason for suspecting that beyond this point organiza 
tion is indirectly repressive increases the obstacles to those 
re-adjustments required for larger growth and more perfect 
structure. Doubtless the aggregate we call a society is much 
more plastic than an individual living aggregate to which it 
is here compared its type is far less fixed. Nevertheless, there 
is evidence that its type tends continually to become fixed, and 
that each addition to its structures is a step towards the fixa 
tion. A few instances will show how this is true alike of the 
material structures a society develops and of its institutions, 
political or other. 

Cases, insignificant, perhaps, but quite to the point, are 
furnished by our appliances for locomotion. Not to dwell on 
the minor ones within cities, which, however, show us that 
existing arrangements are impediments to better arrangements, 
let us pass to railways. Observe how the inconveniently-nar 
row gauge (which, taken from that of stage-coach wheels, was 
itself inherited from an antecedent system of locomotion), has 
become an insuperable obstacle to a better gauge. Observe, 
also, how the type of carriage, which was derived from the 
body of a stage-coach (some of the early first-class carriages 
bearing the words "trio, juncta in imo"), having become 
established, it is immensely difficult now to introduce the 
more convenient type later established in America; where 


they profited by our experience, but were not hampered by 
our adopted plans. The enormous capital invested in our 
stock of carriages cannot be sacrificed. Gradually to intro 
duce carriages of the American type, by running them along 
with those of our own type, would be very difficult, because 
of our many partings and joinings of trains. And thus we 
are obliged to go 011 with a type that is inferior. 

Take, again, our system of drainage. Urged on as it was 
some thirty years ago as a panacea for sundry sanitary evils, 
and spread as it has been by force of law through all our great 
towns, this system cannot now be replaced by a better system 
without extreme difficulty. Though, by necessitating decom 
position where oxygen cannot get, and so generating chemical 
compounds that are unstable and poisonous, it has in many 
cases produced the very diseases it was to have prevented ; 
though, by delivering the morbid products from fever-patients, 
&c., into a branching tube which, communicating with all 
houses, effectually conveys to them infecting gases that are 
kept out only so long as stink-traps are in good order ; yet it 
has become almost out of the question now to adopt those 
methods by which the excreta of towns may be got rid of at 
once innocuously and usefully. Nay, worse one part of our 
sanitary administration having insisted on a sewage-system 
by which Oxford, Beading, Maidenhead, Windsor, &c., pollute 
the water London has to drink, another part of our sanitary 
administration makes loud protests against the impurity of the 
water, which it charges with causing disease (not remarking, 
however, that law-enforced arrangements have produced the 
impurity). And now there must be a re-organization, that will 
be immensely impeded by the existing premature organization, 
before we can have either pure air or pure water. 

Our mercantile arrangements, again, furnish abundant illus 
trations teaching the same lesson. In each trade there is an 
established course of business ; and however obvious may be 
some better course, the difficulties of altering the settled routine 
are, if not insurmountable, still very considerable. Take, for 
instance, the commerce of literature. In days when a letter 
cost a shilling and no book-post existed, there grew up an or 
ganization of wholesalers and retailers to convey books from 
publishers to readers : a profit being reached by each distribut- 


ing- agent, primary and secondary. Now that a book may be 
ordered for a half -penny and sent for a few pence, the old sys 
tem of distribution might be replaced by one that would di 
minish the cost of transfer, and lower the prices of books. But 
the interests of distributors practically negative the change. 
An advertised proposal to supply a book direct by post at a 
reduced rate, offends the trade ; and by ignoring the book they 
check its sale more than its sale is otherwise furthered. And 
so an old organization, once very serviceable, now stands iu 
the way of a better organization. The commerce of liter 

ature furnishes another illustration. At a time when the 
reading public was small and books were dear, there grew up 
circulating libraries, enabling people to read books without 
buying them. At first few, local, and unorganized, these cir 
culating libraries have greatly multiplied, and have become 
organized throughout the kingdom : the result being that the 
demand for library-circulation is in many cases the chief de 
mand. This arrangement being one which makes few copies 
supply many readers, the price per copy must be high, to ob 
tain an adequate return on the edition. And now reading 
people in^ general, having been brought up to the habit of get 
ting books through libraries, usually do not think of buying 
the books themselves would still get most of them through 
libraries even were they considerably cheapened. We are, 
therefore, except with works of very popular authors, pre 
vented by the existing system of book-distribution in England 
from adopting the American system a system which, not ad 
justing itself to few libraries but to many private purchasers, 
issues large editions at low prices. 

Instances of another class are supplied by our educational 
institutions. Richly endowed, strengthened by their prestige, 
and by the bias given to those they have brought up, our col 
leges, public schools, and other kindred schools early founded, 
useful as they once were, have long been enormous impedi 
ments to a higher education. By subsidizing the old, they 
have starved the new. Even now they are retarding a culture 
better in matter and manner ; both by occupying the field, 
and by partially incapacitating those who pass through them 
for seeing what a better culture is. Evidence of a kindred 

kind is offered by the educational organization developed for 


dealing with the masses. The struggle going on between 
Secularism and Deiiominationalism in teaching, might alone 
show to any one who looks for the wider meanings of facts, 
that a structure which has ramified throughout a society, ac 
quired an army of salaried officials looking for personal wel 
fare and promotion, backed by classes, ecclesiastical and polit 
ical, whose ideas and interests they further, is a structure 
which, if not unalterable, is difficult to alter in proportion as 
it is highly developed. 

These few examples, which might be supported by others 
from the military organization, the ecclesiastical organization, 
the legal organization, will make comprehensible the analogy 
I have indicated ; while they make clearer the nature- of the 
Social Science, by bringing into view one of its questions. 
That with social organisms, as with individual organisms, 
structure up to a certain point is needful for growth is obvious. 
That in the one case, as in the other, continued growth implies 
un-building and re-building of structure, which therefore be 
comes in so far an impediment, seems also obvious. Whether 
it is true in the one case, as in the other, that completion of 
structure involves arrest of growth, and fixes the society to 
the type it has then reached, is a question to be considered. 
Without saying anything more by way of answer, it is, I 
think, manifest enough that this is one belonging to an order 
of questions entirely overlooked by those who contemplate 
societies from the ordinary historical point of view ; and one 
pertaining to that Social Science which they say does not 

Are there any who utter the cui bono criticism ? Proba 
bly not a few. I think I hear from some whose mental atti 
tude is familiar to me, the doubt whether it is worth while to 
ask what happens among savage tribes ; in what way chiefs 
and medicine-men arise ; how the industrial functions become 
separated from the political ; what are the original relations 
of the regulative classes to one another ; how far the social 
structure is determined by the emotional natures of individ 
uals, how far by their ideas, how far by their environment. 
Busied as men of this stamp are with what they call " prac 
tical legislation " (by which they seemingly mean legislation 


that recognises proximate causes and effects while ignoring 
remote ones), they doubt whether conclusions of the kind 
Social Science proposes to draw, are good for much when 

Something may, however, be said in defence of this study 
which they thus estimate. Of course, it is not to be put on 
the same level with those historical studies so deeply interest 
ing to them. The supreme value of knowledge respecting the 
genealogies of kings, and the fates- of dynasties, and the quar 
rels of courts, is beyond question. Whether or not the plot 
for the murder of Amy Robsart was contrived by Leicester 
himself, with Queen Elizabeth as an accomplice ; and whether 
or not the account of the G-owrie Conspiracy, as given by 
King James, was true ; are obviously doubts to be decided 
before there can be formed any rational conclusions respect 
ing the development of our political institutions. That Fried- 
rich I. of Prussia quarrelled with his stepmother, suspected 
her of trying to poison him, fled to his aunt, and when he suc 
ceeded to the Electorate, intrigued and bribed to obtain his 
kingship ; that half-aii-hour after his death his son Friedrich 
Wilhelm gave his courtiers notice to quit, commenced forth 
with to economize his revenues, made it his great object to 
recruit and drill his army, and presently began to hate and 
bully his son these, and facts like these about all royal fam 
ilies in all ages, are facts without which civilization would 
obviously be incomprehensible. Nor can one dispense with 
full knowledge of events like those of Napoleon s wars his 
Italian conquests and exactions, and perfidious treatment of 
Venice ; his expedition to Egypt, successes and massacres 
there, failure at Acre, and eventual retreat ; his various cam 
paigns in Germany, Spain, Russia, &c., including accounts 
of his strategy, tactics, victories, defeats, slaughters ; for how, 
in the absence of such information, is it possible to judge what 
institutions should be advocated, and what legislative changes 
should be opposed ? 

Still, after due attention has been, paid to these indispensa 
ble matters, a little time might, perhaps, with advantage be 
devoted to the natural history of societies. Some guidance 
for political conduct would possibly be reached by asking 
What is the normal course of social evolution, and how will 


it be effected by this or that policy ? It may turn out that 
legislative action of 110 kind can be taken that is not either in 
agreement with, or at variance with, the processes of national 
growth and development as naturally going on ; and that its 
desirableness is to be judged by this ultimate standard rather 
than by proximate standards. Without claiming too much, 
we may at any rate expect that, if there does exist an order 
among those structural and functional changes which socie 
ties pass through, knowledge of that order can scarcely fail 
to affect our judgments as to what is progressive and what 
retrograde what is desirable, what is practicable, what is 

To those who think such an inquiry worthy to be pursued, 
will be addressed the chapters that are to follow. There are 
sundry considerations important to be dwelt upon, before 
commencing Sociology. To a clear idea of the nature of the 
science have to be added clear ideas of the conditions to suc 
cessful study of it. These will henceforth occupy us. 



FROM the intrinsic natures of its facts, from our own na 
tures as observers of its facts, and from the peculiar relation 
in which we stand towards the facts to he observed, there arise 
impediments in the way of Sociology greater than those in 
the way of any other science. 

The phenomena to be generalized are not of a directly-per 
ceptible kind cannot be noted by telescope and clock, like 
those of Astronomy; cannot be measured by dynamometer 
and thermometer, like those of Physics ; cannot be elucidated 
by scales and test-papers, like those of Chemistry ; are not to 
be got at by scalpel and microscope, like the less obvious bio 
logical phenomena ; nor are to be recognized by introspection, 
like the phenomena Psychology deals with. They have sev 
erally to be established by putting together many details, no 
one of which is simple, and which are dispersed, both in Space 
and Time, in ways that make them difficult of access. Hence 
the reason why even cardinal truths in Sociology, such as the 
division of labour, remain long unrecognized. That in ad 
vanced societies men follow different occupations, was indeed 
a generalization easy to make ; but that this form of social 
arrangement had neither been specially created, nor enacted 
by a king, but had grown up without forethought of any one, 
was a conclusion which could be reached only after many 
transactions of many kinds between men had been noted, re 
membered, and accounted for, and only after comparisons 
had been made between these transactions and those taking 
place between men in simpler societies and in earlier times. 
And when it is remembered that the data for the inference 
that labour becomes specialized, are far more accessible than 
G 65 


the data for most other sociological inferences, it will be seen 
how greatly the advance of Sociology is hindered by the na 
ture of its subject-matter. 

The characters of men as observers, add to this first diffi 
culty a second that is perhaps equally great. Necessarily men 
take with them into sociological inquiries, the modes of obser 
vation, and reasoning which they have been accustomed to in 
other inquiries those of them, at least, who make any inqui 
ries worthy to be so called. Passing over the great majority 
of the educated, and limiting ourselves to the very few who 
consciously collect data, compare them, and deliberately draw 
conclusions ; we may see that even these have to struggle with 
the difficulty that the habits of thought generated by converse 
with relatively-simple phenomena, partially unfit them for 
converse with these highly-complex phenomena. Faculty of 
every kind tends always to adjust itself to its work. Special 
adjustment to one kind of work involves more or less non- 
adjustment to other kinds. And hence, intellects disciplined 
in dealing with less-involved classes of facts, cannot success 
fully deal with this most-involved class of facts without par 
tially unlearning the methods they have learnt. From the 
emotional nature, too, there arise great obstacles. Scarcely 
any one can contemplate social arrangements and actions 
with the unconcern felt when contemplating arrangements 
and actions of other kinds. For correct observation and cor 
rect drawing of inferences, there needs the calmness that is 
ready to recognize or to infer one truth as readily as another. 
But it is next to impossible thus to deal with the truths of 
Sociology. In the search for them, each is moved by feel 
ings, more or less strong, which make him eager to find this 
evidence, oblivious of that which is at variance with it, reluc 
tant to draw any conclusion but that already drawn. And 
though perhaps one in ten among those who think, is con 
scious that his judgment is being warped by prejudice, yet 
even in him the warp is not adequately allowed for. Doubt 
less in nearly every field of inquiry emotion is a perturbing 
intruder: mostly there is some preconception, and some 
amour propre that resists disproof of it. But a peculiarity of 
Sociology is, that the emotions with which its facts and con 
clusions are regarded, have unusual strength. The personal 


interests are directly affected ; or there is gratification or offence 
to sentiments that have grown out of them ; or else other sen 
timents which have relation to the existing form of society, 
are excited, agreeably or disagreeably. 

And here we are introduced to the third kind of difficulty 
that caused by the position occupied, in respect to the phenom 
ena to be generalized. In no other case has the inquirer to 
investigate the properties of an aggregate in which he is him 
self included. His relation towards the facts he here studies, 
we may figure to ourselves by comparing it to the relation be 
tween a single cell forming part of a living body, and the 
facts which that living body presents as a whole. Speaking 
generally, the citizen s life is made possible only by due per 
formance of his function in the place he fills ; and he cannot 
wholly free himself from the beliefs and sentiments generated 
by the vital connexions hence arising between himself and 
his society. Here, then, is a difficulty to which no other 
science presents anything analogous. To cut himself off in 
thought from all his relationships of race, and country, and 
citizenship to get rid of all those interests, prejudices, likings, 
superstitions, generated in him by the life of his own society 
and his own time to look on all the changes societies have 
undergone and are undergoing, without reference to national 
ity, or creed, or personal welfare ; is what the average man 
cannot do at all, and what the exceptional man can do very 

The difficulties of the Social Science, thus indicated in 
vague outline, have now to be described and illustrated in 



ALONG with much that has of late years been done towards 
changing primitive history into myth, and along with much 
that has been done toward changing once-unquestioned esti 
mates of persons living in past ages, much has been said about 
the untrustworthiness of historical evidence. Hence there 
will be ready acceptance of the statement that one of the im 
pediments to sociological generalization, is the uncertainty of 
our data. We find this uncertainty not alone in early stories, 
such as those about the Amazons, their practices, the particu 
lar battles with them, &c. ; which are recorded and sculptui ed 
as circumstantially as they might be were the persons and 
events historic. We find it even in accounts of a well-known 
people like the New-Zealanders, who "by some . . . are said 
to be intelligent, cruel, and brave; by others weak, kindly, 
and cowardly." * And on remembering that between these 
extremes we have to deal with an enormous accumulation of 
conflicting statements, we cannot but feel that the task of se 
lecting valid evidence is in this case a more arduous one than 
in any other case. Passing over remote illustrations, let us 
take an immediate one. 

Last year advertisements announced the "Two-headed 
Nightingale," and the walls of London were placarded with a 
figure in which one pair of shoulders were shown to bear 
two heads looking the same way (I do not refer to the later 
placards, which partially differed from the earlier). To some, 
this descriptive name and answering diagram seemed suffi 
ciently exact ; for in my hearing a lady, who had been to see 
this compound being, referred to the placards and handbills 
as giving a good representation. If we suppose this lady to 


have repeated in a letter that which I heard her say, and if we 
ask what would appear the character of the evidence to one 
who, some fifty years hence, had before him the advertise 
ment, the representation, and the letter, we shall see that the 
alleged fact would be thought by him incontestable. Only if, 
after weary search through all the papers and periodicals of the 
time, he happened to come upon a certain number of the Lan 
cet, would he discover that this combination was not that of two 
heads on one body, but that of two individuals united back to 
back, with heads facing opposite ways, and severally complete 
in all respects, except where the parts were so fused as to form 
a double pelvis, containing certain pelvic viscera common to 
the two. Seeing, then, that about facts so simple and so easily 
verifiable, where no obvious motive for misrepresentations ex 
ists, we cannot count on true representations, how shall we 
count on true representations of social facts, which, being so 
diffused and so complex, are so difficult to observe, and in re 
spect to which the perceptions are so much perverted by inter 
ests, and prepossessions, and party-feelings ? 

In exemplifying this difficulty, I will limit myself to cases 
supplied by the life of our own time : leaving it to be inferred 
that if, in a comparatively calm and critical age, sociological 
evidence is vitiated by various influences, much more must 
there have been vitiation of such evidence in the past, when 
passions ran higher and credulity was greater. 

Those who have lately -become conscious of certain facts 
are apt to suppose those facts have lately arisen. After a 
changed state of mind has made us observant of occurrences 
we were before indifferent to, there often results the belief 
that such occurrences are more common than they were. It 
happens so even with accidents and diseases. Having lamed 
himself, a man is surprised to find how many lame people 
there are ; and, becoming dyspeptic, he discovers that dyspep 
sia is much more frequent than he supposed when he was 
young. For a kindred reason he is prone to think that serv 
ants do not behave nearly so well as they did during his boy 
hood : not remembering that in Shakespeare s days the service 
obtainable was similarly reprobated in comparison w r ith " the 
constant service of the antique world." In like manner, now 


that he has sons to establish in life, he fancies that the diffi 
culty of getting places is much greater than it used to be. 

As witnesses to social phenomena, men thus impressed by 
facts which did not before impress them, became perverters of 
evidence. Things they have suddenly recognized, they mis 
take for things that have suddenly come into existence ; and 
so are led to regard as a growing evil or good, that which is 
very likely a diminishing evil or good. Take an example 
or two. 

In generations not long passed away, sobriety was the ex 
ception rather than the rule: a man who had never been 
drunk was a rarity. Condiments were used to create thirst ; 
glasses were so shaped that they would not stand, but must be 
held till emptied ; and a man s worth was in part measured 
by the number of bottles he could take in. After a reaction 
had already diminished the evil among the upper and middle 
ranks, there came an open recognition of the evil ; resulting 
in Temperance Societies, which did their share towards fur 
ther diminishing it. Then came the Teetotal Societies, more 
thorough-going in their views and more energetic in their 
acts, which have been making the evil still less. Such has 
been the effect of these causes, that for a long time past among 
the upper classes, the drinking which was once creditable has 
been thought a disgrace ; while among the lower classes it 
has greatly decreased, and come to be generally reprobated. 
Those, however, who, carrying on the agitations against it, 
have had their eyes more and more widely opened to the vice, 
assert or imply in their speeches and petitions that the vice is 
not only great but growing. Having in the course of a gen 
eration much mitigated it by their voluntary efforts, they 
now make themselves believe, and make others believe, that 
it is too gigantic to be dealt with otherwise than by repressive 
enactments Maine-Laws and Permissive-Prohibitory Bills. 
And, if we are to be guided by a Select Committee which has 
just reported, fines and imprisonments for drunkenness must 
be made far more severe than now, and reformatories must be 
established in which inebriates shall be dealt with much as 
criminals are dealt with. 

Take, again, the case of education. Go back far enough, 
and you find nobles not only incapable of reading and writ- 


ing, but treating these accomplishments with contempt. Go 
back not quite so far, and you find, along with a slight en 
couragement by authority of such learning as referred to 
Theology, a positive discouragement of all other learning ; a 
joined with the belief that only for the clergy is learning of 
any kind proper. Go back a much smaller distance, and you 
find in the highest classes inability to spell tolerably, joined 
with more or less of the feeling that good spelling was a 
pedantry improper for ladies a feeling akin to that named 
by Shakespeare as shown by those who counted it " a mean 
ness to write fair." Down even to quite modern times, well- 
to-do farmers and others of their rank were by no means all 
of them able to read and write. Education, spreading thus 
slowly during so many centuries, has during the last century 
spread with comparative rapidity. Since Raikes commenced 
Sunday-schools in 1771 ; since Lancaster, the Quaker, in 1796 
set up the first of the schools that afterwards went by his 
name ; since 1811, when the Church had to cease its opposi 
tion and become a competitor in educating poor children ; the 
strides have been enormous. A degree of ignorance which 
had continued the rule during so many centuries, was made, 
in the course of half a century, the exception. And then in 
1834, after this unobtrusive but speedy diffusion of knowl 
edge, there came along with a growing consciousness of the 
still-remaining deficiency, the system of State-subsidies ; 
which, beginning with 20,000, grew, in less than thirty years, 
to more than a million. Yet now, after this vast progress at 
an ever-increasing rate, there has come the outcry that the 
nation is perishing for lack of knowledge. Any one not 
knowing the past, and judging from the statements of those 
who have been urging on educational organizations, would 
suppose that strenuous efforts are imperative to save the 
people from some gulf of demoralization and crime into which 
ignorance is sweeping them. 

How testimonies respecting objective facts are thus per 
verted by the subjective states of the witnesses, and how we 
have to be ever on our guard against this cause of vitiation in 
sociological evidence, may indeed be inferred from the illu 
sions that daily mislead men in their comparisons of past with 
present. Returning after many years to the place of his boy- 


hood, and finding how insignificant are the buildings he re 
membered as so imposing, every one discovers that in this 
case it was not that the past was so grand, but that his im 
pressibility was so great and his power of criticism so small 
He does not perceive, however, that the like holds generally ; 
and that the apparant decline in various things is really due 
to the widening of his experiences and the growth of a judg 
ment no longer so easily satisfied. Hence the mass of wit 
nesses may be under the impression that there is going on a 
change just the reverse of that which is really going on ; as 
we see, for example, in the notion current in every age, that 
the size and strength of the race have been decreasing, when, 
as proved by bones, by mummies, by armour, and by the ex 
periences of travellers in contact with aboriginal races, they 
have been on the average increasing. 

Most testimony, then, on which we have to form ideas of 
sociological states, past and present, has to be discounted to 
meet this cause of error ; and the rate of discount has to be 
varied according to the epoch, and the subject, and the witness. 

Beyond this vitiation of sociological evidence by general 
subjective states of the witnesses, thei e are vitiations due to 
more special subjective states. Of these, the first to be noted 
are of the class which foregone conclusions produce. 

Extreme cases are furnished by fanatical agitators, such as 
members of the Anti-Tobacco Society ; in the account of whose 
late meeting we read that " statistics of heart-disease, of insan 
ity, of paralysis, and the diminished bulk and stature of the 
population of both sexes proved, according to the Report, that 
these diseases were attributable to the use of tobacco." But 
without making much of instances so glaring as this, we may 
find abundant proof that evidence is in most cases uncon 
sciously distorted by the pet theories of those who give it. 

Early in the history of our sanitary legislation, a leading 
officer of health, wishing to show the need for those measures 
he advocated, drew a comparison between the rate of mortality 
in some salubrious village (in Cumberland, I think it was) 
and the rate of mortality in London ; and then, pointing out 
the marked difference, alleged that this difference was due to 
"preventible causes" to causes, that is, which good sanitary 


administration would exclude. Ignoring the fact that the 
carbonic acid exhaled by nearly three millions of people and 
by their fires, caused in the one case a vitiation of the air 
which in the other case did not exist ignoring the fact that 
most city-occupations are of necessity indoor, and many of 
them sedentary, while the occupations of village life are out- 
of-door and active ignoring the fact that in many of the Lon 
doners the activities are cerebral in a degree beyond that to 
which the constitution of the race is adapted, while in the vil 
lagers the activities are bodily, in a degree appropriate to the 
constitution of the race ; he set down the whole difference in 
the death-rate to causes of the kind which laws and officials 
might get rid of. 

A still more marked example of this effect of a cherished 
hypothesis in vitiating evidence, was once unconsciously 
yielded to me by another enthusiast for sanitary regulation. 
Producing his papers, he pointed out the great contrast be 
tween the number of deaths per annum in the small town 
near London where he lived, and the number of deaths per 
annum in a low district of London Bermondsey, or Lam 
beth, or some region on the Surrey side. On this great con 
trast he triumphantly dilated, as proving how much could be 
done by good drainage, ventilation, &c. On the one hand, 
he passed over the fact that his suburban place was, in large 
measure, inhabited by a picked population people of means, 
well fed and clothed, able to secure all appliances for comfort, 
leading regular lives, free from over- work and anxiety. On 
the other hand, he passed over the fact that this low region of 
London was, by virtue of its lowness, one out of which all 
citizens pecuniarily able to take care of themselves escaped if 
they could, and into which were thrust great numbers whose 
poverty excluded them from better regions the ill-fed, the 
drunken, the dissolute, and others on the highway to death. 
Though, in the first case, the healthiness of the locality obvi 
ously drew to it an excess of persons otherwise likely to live 
long ; and though, in the second case, the unhealthiness of the 
locality made it one in which an excess of those not likely to 
live long were left to dwell, or hid themselves to die ; yet the 
whole difference was put down to direct effects of pure air and 
impure air respectively. 


Statements proceeding from witnesses whose judgments 
are thus warped statements republished by careless sub 
editors, and readily accepted by the uncritical who believe all 
they see in print, diffuse erroneous prepossessions ; which, 
again, tend to justify themselves by drawing the attention 
to confirmatory facts and away from facts that are adverse. 
Throughout all past time vitiations of evidence by influences 
of this nature have been going on in degrees varying with 
each people and each age ; and hence arises an additional ob 
stacle to the obtainment of fit data. 

Yet another, and perhaps stronger, distorting influence ex 
isting in the medium through which facts reach us, results 
from the self-seeking, pecuniary or other, of those who testify. 
We require constantly to bear in mind that personal interests 
effect most of the statements on which sociological conclusions 
are based, and on which legislation proceeds. 

Everyone knows this to be so where the evidence concerns 
mercantile affairs. That railway -enterprise, at first prompted 
by pressing needs for communication, presently came to be 
prompted by speculators, professional and financial ; and that 
the estimates of cost, of traffic, of profits, &c., set forth in pros- 
pectiises were grossly misleading ; many readers have been 
taught by bitter experience. That the gains secured by 
schemers who float companies have fostered an organized sys 
tem which has made falsification of data a business, and 
which, in the case of bubble Insurance Companies, has been 
worked so methodically that it has become the function of a 
journal to expose the frauds continually repeated, are also 
familiar facts : reminding us how, in these directions, it is 
needful to look very sceptically on the allegations put before 
us. But there is not so distinct a consciousness that in other 
than business-enterprises, self-seeking is an active cause of mis 

Like the getting-up of companies, the getting-up of agita 
tions and of societies is, to a considerable extent, a means of 
advancement. As in the United States politics has become a 
profession, into which a man enters to get an income, so here 
there has grown up, though happily to a smaller extent, a pro 
fessional philanthropy, pursued with a view to position, or to 


profit, or to both. Much as the young clergyman in want of 
a benefice, feeling 1 deeply the spiritual destitution of a suburb 
that has grown beyond churches, busies himself in raising 
funds to build a church, and probably does not, during his 
canvass, understate the evils to be remedied ; so every here 
and there an educated man with plenty of leisure and small 
income, greatly impressed with some social evil to be remedied 
or benefit to be achieved, makes himself the nucleus to an in 
stitution, or the spur to a movement. And since his success 
depends mainly on the strength of the case he makes out, it is 
not to be expected that the evils to be dealt with will be faintly 
pictured, or that he will insist very strongly upon facts adverse 
to his plan. As I can personally testify, there are those who, 
having been active in getting up schemes for alleged beneficial 
public ends, consider themselves aggrieved when not after 
wards appointed salaried officials. The recent exposure of the 
" Free Dormitory Association," which, as stated at a meeting 
of the Charity-Organization Society, was but one of a class, 
shows what this process may end in. And the vitiation of 
evidence is an inevitable concomitant. One whom I have 
known during his thirty years experience of Leagues, Alli 
ances, Unions, &c., for various purposes, writes: "Like re 
ligious bodies, they [Associations] form creeds, and every ad 
herent is expected to cry up the shibboleth of his party. . . . 
All facts are distorted to the aid of their own views, and such 
as cannot be distorted are suppressed." " In every association 
with which I have had any connection, this fraud has been 

The like holds in political agitations. Unfortunately, 
agencies established to get remedies for crying evils, are 
liable to become agencies maintained and worked in a con 
siderable degree, and sometimes chiefly, for the benefit of 
those who reap incomes from them. An amusing instance 
of this was furnished, not many years ago, to a Member of 
Parliament who took an active part in advocating a certain 
radical measure which had for some years been making way, 
and which then seemed not unlikely to be carried. Being a 
member of the Association that had pushed forward this 
measure, he happened to step into its offices just before a 
debate which was expected to end in a majority for the bill, 


and he found the secretary and his subs in a state of conster 
nation at the prospect of their success : feeling, as they ob 
viously did, that their occupation was in danger. 

Clearly, then, where personal interests come into play, there 
must be, even in men intending to be truthful, a great readiness 
to see the facts which it is convenient to see, and such reluc 
tance to see opposite facts as will prevent much activity in seek 
ing for them. Hence, a large discount has mostly to be made 
from the evidence furnished by institutions and societies in 
justification of the policies they pursue or advocate. And since 
much of the evidence respecting both past and present social 
phenomena comes to us through agencies calculated thus to 
pervert it, there is here a further impediment to clear vision of 

That the reader may fully appreciate the difficulties which 
these distorting influences, when combined, put in the way of 
getting good materials for generalization, let him contemplate 
a case. 

All who are acquainted with such matters know that up to 
some ten years since, it was habitually asserted by lecturers 
when addressing students, and by writers in medical journals, 
that in our day, syphilis is a far less serious evil than it was in 
days gone by. Until quite recently this was a commonplace 
statement, called in question by no one in the profession. But 
just as, while a decrease of drunkenness has been going on, 
Temperance-fanatics have raised an increasing outcry for 
strenuous measures to put down drunkenness; so, while ve 
nereal disease has been diminishing in frequency and severity, 
certain instrumentalities and agencies have created a belief 
that rigorous measures are required to check its progress. 
This incongruity would by itself be a sufficient proof of the 
extent to which, on the one side or the other, evidence must 
have been vitiated. What, then, shall we say of the incon 
gruity on finding that the first of these statements has recently 
been repeated by many of the highest medical authorities, as 
one verified by their experience ? Here are some of their tes 

The Chairman of the late Government Commission for 
inquiring into the treatment and prevention of syphilis, Mr. 


Skey, Consulting Surgeon to St. Bartholomew s Hospital, 
gave evidence before a House of Lords Committee. Refer 
ring to an article expressing the views of the Association for 
promoting the extension of the Contagious Diseases Acts, he 
said it was 

" largely overcharged," and " coloured too highly." " The disease is 
by no means so common or universal, I may say, as is represented in 
that article, . . . and I have had an opportunity since I had the 
summons to appear here to-day of communicating with several lead 
ing members in the profession at the College of Surgeons, and we are 
all of the same opinion, that the evil is not so large by any means as it 
is represented by the association." 

Mr. John Simon, F.E.S., for thirty-five years a hospital 
surgeon, and now Medical Officer to the Privy Council, writes 
in his official capacity 

" I have not the least disposition to deny that venereal affections 
constitute a real and great evil for the community ; though I suspect 
that very exaggerated opinions are current as to their diffusion and 

By the late Prof. Syme it was asserted that 

" It is now fully ascertained that the poison of the present day 
(true syphilis) does not give rise to the dreadful consequences which 
have been mentioned, when treated without mercury. . . . None 
of the serious effects that used to be so much dreaded ever appear, and 
even the trivial ones just noticed comparatively seldom present them 
selves. We must, therefore, conclude either that the virulence of the 
poison is worn out, or that the effects formerly attributed to it de 
pended on treatment." 3 

The British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review, 
which stands far higher than any other medical journal, and 
is friendly to the Acts as applied to military and naval sta 
tions, writes thus : 

" The majority of those who have undergone the disease, thus far 
[including secondary manifestations] live as long as they could other 
wise have expected to live, and die of diseases with which syphilis has 
no more to do than the man in the moon." 4 . . . " Surely 455 
persons suffering from true syphilis in one form or another, in a poor 
population of a million and a half [less than 1 in 3000] . . . can 
not be held to be a proportion so large as to call for exceptional action 
on the part of any Government." 5 

Mr. Holmes Coote, F.RC.S., Surgeon and Lecturer on Sur 
gery at St. Bartholomew s Hospital, says 


" It is a lamentable truth that the troubles which respectable hard 
working married women of the working class undergo are more trying 
to the health, and detrimental to the looks, than any of the irregu 
larities of the harlot s career." 

Again, it is stated by Mr. Byrne, Surgeon to the Dublin 
Lock Hospital, that * there is not nearly so much syphilis as 
there used to be ; " and, after describing some of the serious 
results that were once common, he adds : " You will not see 
such a case for years a fact that no medical man can have 
failed to remark." Mr. W. Burns Thompson, F.R.C.S., for 
ten years head of the Edinburgh Dispensary, testifies as. 
follows : 

" 1 have had good opportunities of knowing the prevailing dis 
eases, and I can only say that the representations given by the advo 
cates of these Acts are to me perfectly unintelligible ; they seem to 
me to be gross exaggerations." 

Mr. Surgeon-Major Wyatt, of the Coldstream Guards, 
when examined by the Lords Committee, stated that he 
quite concurred with Mr. Skey. Answering question 700, he 
said : 

" The class of syphilitic diseases which we see are of a very mild 
character ; and, in fact, none of the ravages which used formerly to 
be committed on the appearance and aspect of the men are now to be 
seen. ... It is an undoubted fact that in this country and in 
France the character of the disease is much diminished in intensity. 
Question 708: I understand you to say, that in your opinion the 
venereal disease has generally, independent of the Act, become more 
mitigated, and of a milder type ? Ansiver : Yes ; that is the experi 
ence of all surgeons, both civil and military." 

Dr. Druitt, President of the Association of the Medical 
Officers of Health for London, affirmed at one of its meet 

" that, speaking from thirty-nine years experience, he was in a posi 
tion to say that cases of syphilis in London were rare among the 
middle and better classes, and soon got over." 

Even Mr. Acton, a specialist to whom more than to any 
other man the Acts are due, admitted before the Lords Com 
mittee that "the disease is milder than it was formerly." 

And then, most important of all, is the testimony of Mr. 
Jonathan Hutchinson, who is recognized as the highest au 
thority on inherited syphilis, and to whose discoveries, indeed, 


the identifications of syphilitic taint are mainly due. Though 
thus under a natural bias rather to over-estimate than under 
estimate the amount of inherited syphilis, Mr. Hutchinson, 
while editor of the British Medical Journal, wrote : 

" Although there is an impression to the contrary, yet recent dis 
coveries and more accurate investigations, so far from extending the 
domain of syphilis as a cause of chronic disease, have decidedly tended 
to limit it .... although we have admitted as positively syphilitic 
certain maladies of a definite kind not formerly recognized, we have 

excluded a far larger number which were once under suspicion 

We can identify now the subject of severe hereditary taint by his teeth 
and physiognomy ; but those who believe most firmly in the value of 
these signs, believe also that they are not displayed by one in five thou 
sand of our population.* 

Like testimony is given by continental surgeons, among 
whom it was long ago said by Ambrose Pare, that the disease 
"is evidently becoming milder every day;" and by Auzias 
Turenne, that " it is on the wane all over Europe." Astruc 
and Diday concur in this statement. And the latest authority 
on syphilis, Lancereaux, whose work is so highly valued that 
it has been translated by the Sydenham Society, asserts 
that : 

" In these cases, which are far from being rare, syphilis is but an 
abortive disease ; slight and benignant, it does not leave behind any 
troublesome trace of its passage. It is impossible to lay too much 
stress upon this point. At the present day especially, when syphilis 
still inspires exaggerated fears, it should be known that this disease 
becomes dissipated completely in a great number of cases after the ces 
sation of the cutaneous eruptions, and perhaps sometimes even with 
the primary lesion." 

It will, perhaps, be remarked that these testimonies of med 
ical men who, by their generally high position, or their length 
ened experience, or their special experience, are so well quali 
fied to judge, are selected testimonies ; and against them will 
be set the testimonies of Sir James Paget, Sir W. Jenner, and 
Mr. Prescott Hewett, who regard the evil as a very grave one. 
Possibly there will be quoted in reply an authoritative State- 
document, which, referring to the views of the three gentle 
men just named as having " the emphatic concurrence of nu 
merous practitioners," says that they "are hardly answered by 
a few isolated opinions that the evil has been exaggerated " a 


somewhat inadequate description of the above-quoted testi 
monies, considering not only the general weight of the names, 
but also the weight of sundry of them as those of specialists. 
To gather accurately the consensus of medical opinion would 
be impracticable without polling the whole body of physicians 
and surgeons ; but we have a means of judging which view 
most truly meets with " the emphatic concurrence of numer 
ous practitioners " : that, namely, of taking a local group of 
medical men. Out of fifty-eight physicians and surgeons re 
siding in Nottingham and its suburbs, fifty-four have put their 
signatures to a public statement that syphilis is " very much 
diminished in frequency, and so much milder in form that we 
can scarcely recognize it as the disease described by our fore 
fathers." And among these are the medical men occupying 
nearly all the ollicial medical positions in the town Senior 
Physician to the General Hospital, Honorary Surgeon ditto, 
Surgeons to the Jail, to the General Dispensary, to the Free 
Hospital, to the Union Hospital, to the Lock Hospital (four in 
number), Medical Officers to the Board of Health, to the 
Union, to the County Asylum, &c., &c. Even while I write 
there comes to me kindred evidence in the shape of a letter 
published in the British Medical Journal for 20th July, 1872, 
by Dr. Carter, Honorary Physician to the Liverpool Southern 
Hospital, who states that, after several debates at the Liver 
pool Medical Institution, " a form of petition strongly condem 
natory of the Acts was written out by myself, and .... in 
a few days one hundred and eight signatures [of medical men] 
were obtained." Meanwhile, he adds, "earnest efforts were 
being made by a number of gentlemen to procure medical sig 
natures to the petition in favour of the Acts known as the 
London Memorial, efforts which resulted in twenty-nine 
signatures only." 

Yet notwithstanding this testimony, great in quantity and 
much of it of the highest quality, it has been possible so to 
present the evidence as to produce in the public mind, and in 
the Legislature, the impression that peremptory measures for 
dealing with a spreading pest are indispensable. As lately 
writes a Member of Parliament, " We were assured, on what 
appeared unexceptionable testimony, that a terrible constitu 
tional disease was undermining the health and vigour of the 


nation, and especially destroying innocent women and chil 

And then note the startling circumstance that while so 
erroneous a conception of the facts may be spread abroad, 
there may, by the consequent alarm, be produced a blindness 
to facts of the most unquestionable kind, established by the 
ever-accumulating 1 experiences of successive generations. Un 
til quite recently, our forms of judicial procedure embodied 
the principle that some overt injury must be committed before 
legal instrumentalities can be brought into play ; and con 
formity to this principle was in past times gradually brought 
about by efforts to avoid the terrific evils that otherwise arose. 
As a Professor of Jurisprudence reminds us, "the object of 
the whole complicated system of checks and guards provided 
by English law, and secured by a long train of constitutional 
conflicts, has been to prevent an innocent man being even mo 
mentarily treated as a thief, a murderer, or other criminal, on 
the mere alleged or real suspicion of a policeman." Yet now, 
in the state of groundless fright that has been g ot up, " the 
concern hitherto exhibited by the Legislature for the personal 
liberty of the meanest citizen has been needlessly and reck 
lessly lost sight of." 8 It is an a priori inference from human 
nature that irresponsible power is sure, on the average of cases, 
to be grossly abused. The histories of all nations, through all 
times, teem with proofs that irresponsible power has been 
grossly abused. The growth of representative governments is 
the growth of arrangements made to prevent the gross abuse 
of irresponsible power. Each of our political struggles, end 
ing in a further development of free institutions, has been 
made to put an end to some particular gross abuse of irrespon 
sible power. Yet the facts thrust upon us by our daily expe 
riences of men, verifying the experiences of the whole human 
race throughout the past, are now tacitly denied; and it is 
tacitly asserted that irresponsible power will not be grossly 
abused. And all because of a manufactured panic about a de 
creasing disease, which kills not one-fifteenth of the number 
killed by scarlet fever, and which takes ten years to destroy as 
many as diarrhoea destroys in one year. 

See, then, what we have to guard against in collecting so 
ciological data even data concerning the present, and, still 


more, data concerning the past. For testimonies that come 
down to us respecting bygone social states, political, religious, 
judicial, physical, moral, &c., and respecting the actions of 
particular causes on those social states, have been liable to 
perversions not simply as great, but greater ; since while the 
regard for truth was less, there was more readiness to accept 
unproved statements. 

Even where deliberate measures are taken to obtain valid 
evidence on any political or social question raised, by sum 
moning witnesses of all classes and interests, there is difficulty 
in getting at the truth ; because the circumstances of the in 
quiry tend of themselves to bring into sight some kinds of 
evidence, and to keep out of sight other kinds. In illustra 
tion may be quoted the following statement of Lord Lincoln 
on making his motion concerning the enclosures of com 
mons : 

" This I know, that in nineteen cases out of twenty, committees 
sitting in this House on private bills neglected the rights of the poor. 
I do not say that they wilfully neglected those rights far from it ; 
but this I affirm, that they were neglected in consequence of the com 
mittees being permitted to remain in ignorance of the rights of the 
poor man, because by reason of his very poverty he is unable to come 
up to London to fee counsel, to procure witnesses, and to urge his 
claims before a committee of this House." Hansard. 1 May, 1845. 9 

Many influences of a different order, but similarly tending 
to exclude particular classes of facts pertinent to an inquiry, 
come into play. Given a question at issue, and it will very 
probably happen that witnesses on the one side may, by evi 
dence of a certain nature, endanger a system 011 which they 
depend for the whole or for part of their livelihood ; and by 
evidence of an opposite nature may preserve it. By one kind 
of testimony they may offend their superiors and risk their 
promotion : doing the reverse by another kind. Moreover, 
witnesses not thus directly interested are liable to be indirectly 
swayed by the thought that to name certain facts they know 
will bring on them the ill-will of important persons in their 
locality a serious consideration in a provincial town. And 
while such influences strongly tend to bring out evidence, say 
in support of some established organization, there may very 


possibly, and, indeed, very probably, be no organized adverse 
interest with abundant resources which busies itself to bring 
out a contrary class of facts no occupation in danger, no pro 
motion to be had, no applause to be gained, no odium to be 
escaped. The reverse may happen : there may be positive sac 
rifices serious in amount to be made before such contrary class 
of facts can be brought to light. And thus it may result that, 
perfectly open and fair as the inquiry seems, the circumstances 
will insure a one-sided representation. 

A familiar optical illusion well illustrates the nature of 
these illusions which often deceive sociological inquirers. 
When standing by a lake-side in the moonlight, you see 
stretching over the rippled surface towards the moon, a bar of 
light which, as shown by its nearer part, consists of flashes 
from the sides of separate wavelets. You walk, and the bar 
of light seems to go with you. There are, even among the 
educated classes, many who suppose that this bar of light has 
an objective existence, and who believe that it really moves as 
the observer moves occasionally, indeed, as I can testify, ex 
pressing surprise at the fact. But, apart from the observer 
there exists no such bar of light ; nor when the observer moves 
is there any movement of this line of glittering wavelets. All 
over the dark part of the surface the undulations are just as 
bright with moonlight as those he sees ; but the light reflected 
from them does not reach his eyes. Thus, though there steems to 
be a lighting of some wavelets and not of the rest, and though, 
as the observer moves, other wavelets seem to become lighted 
that were not lighted before, yet both these are utterly false 
seemings. The simple fact is, that his position in relation to 
certain wavelets brings into view their reflections of the 
moon s light, while it keeps out of view the like reflections 
from all other wavelets. 

Sociological evidence is largely vitiated by illusions thus 
caused. Habitually the relations of observers to the facts are 
such as make visible the special, and exceptional, and sensa 
tional, and leave invisible the common-place and uninterest 
ing, which form the great body of the facts. And this, which 
is a general cause of deceptive appearances, is variously aided 
by those more special causes above indicated ; which conspire 
to make the media through which the facts are seen, 


transparent in respect of some and opaque in respect of 

Again, very serious perversions of evidence result from 
the unconscious confounding 1 of observation with inference. 
Every where, a fertile source of error is the putting down as 
something perceived what is really a conclusion drawn from 
something perceived ; and this is a more than usually fertile 
source of error in Sociology. Here is an instance. 

A few years ago Dr. Stark published the results of com 
parisons he had made between the rates of mortality among 
the married and among the celibate : showing, as it seemed, 
the greater healthfulness of married life. Some criticisms 
made on his argument did not seriously shake it ; and he has 
been since referred to as having conclusively proved the 
alleged relation. More recently I have seen quoted from the 
Medical Press and Circular, the following summary of re 
sults supposed to tell the same tale : 

" M. Bertillon has made a communication on this subject ( The 
Influence of Marriage ) to the Brussels Academy of Medicine, which 
has been published in the Revue Scientifique. From 25 to 30 years of 
age the mortality per 1000 in France amounts to G - 2 in married men, 
10 - 2 in bachelors, and 21 - 8 in widows. In Brussels the mortality of 
married women is 9 per 1000, girls the same, and widows as high as 
16 9. Iii Belgium from 7 per 1000 among married men, the number 
rises to 8*5 in bachelors, and 24 6 in widows. The proportion is the 
same in Holland. From 8 2 in married men, it rises to 11-7 in bache 
lors, and 16-9 in widowers, or 12 8 among married women, 8 5 in spin 
sters, and 13 - 8 in widows. The result of all the calculations is that 
from 25 to 30 years of age the mortality per 1000 is 4 in married men, 
10 4 in bachelors, and 22 in widows. This beneficial influence of mar 
riage is manifested at all ages, being always more strongly marked in 
men than in women." 

I will not dwell on the fallacy of the above conclusions as re 
ferring to the relative mortality of widows a fallacy suffi 
ciently obvious to any one who thinks awhile. I will confine 
myself to the less-conspicuous fallacy in the comparison be 
tween the mortalities of married and celibate, fallen into by 
M. Bertillon as well as by Dr. Stark. Clearly as their figures 
seem to furnish proof of some direct causal relation between 


marriage and longevity, they really furnish no proof what 
ever. There may be such a relation ; but the evidence assigned 
forms no warrant for inferring it. 

We have but to consider the circumstances which in many 
cases determine marriage, and those which in other cases pre 
vent marriage, to see that the connexion which the figures 
apparently imply is not .the real connexion. Where attach 
ments exist what most frequently decides the question for or 
against marriage ? The possession of adequate means. Though 
some improvidently marry without means, yet it is undeniable 
that in many instances marriage is delayed by the man, or for 
bidden by the parents, or not assented to by the woman, until 
there is reasonable evidence of ability to meet the responsi 
bilities. Now of men whose marriages depend on getting the 
needful incomes, which are the most likely to get the needful 
incomes ? The best, physically and mentally the strong, 
the intellectually capable, the morally well-balanced. Often 
bodily vigour achieves a success, and therefore a revenue, 
which bodily weakness, unable to bear the stress of competi 
tion, cannot achieve. Often superior intelligence brings pro 
motion and increase of salary, while stupidity lags behind in 
ill-paid posts. Often caution, self-control, and a far-seeing 
sacrifice of present to future, secure remunerative offices that 
are never given to the impulsive or the reckless. But what 
are the effects of bodily vigour, of intelligence, of prudence, 
on longevity ; when compared with the effects of feebleness, 
of stupidity, of deficient self-control ? Obviously, the first 
further the maintenance of life, and the second tend towards 
premature death. That is, the qualities which, on the average 
of cases, give a man an advantage in gaining the means of 
marrying, are the qualities which make him likely to be a 
long-liver ; and conversely. 

There is even a more direct relation of the same general 
nature. In all creatures of high type, it is only when indi 
vidual growth and development are nearly complete, that the 
production of new individuals becomes possible; and the 
power of producing and bringing up new individuals, is 
measured by the amount of vital power in excess of that need 
ful for self-maintenance. The reproductive instincts, and all 
their accompanying emotions, become dominant when the de- 


mands for individual evolution are diminishing, and there is 
arising 1 a surplus of energy which makes possible the rearing 
of oii spring as well as the preservation of self ; and, speaking 
generally, these instincts and emotions are strong in propor 
tion as this surplus vital energy is great. But to have a large 
surplus of vital energy implies a good organization an or 
ganization likely to last long. So that, in fact, the superiority 
of physique which is accompanied by strength of the instincts 
and emotions causing marriage, is a superiority of physique 
also conducive to longevity. 

One further influence tells in the same direction. Mar 
riage is not altogether determined by the desires of men ; it is 
determined in part by the preferences of women. Other 
things equal, women are attracted towards men of power 
physical, emotional, intellectual ; and obviously their freedom 
of choice leads them in many cases to refuse inferior samples 
of men : especially the malformed, the diseased, and those 
who are ill-developed, physically and mentally. So that, in 
so far as marriage is determined by female selection, the aver 
age result on men is that while the best easily get wives, a 
certain proportion of the worst are left without wives. This 
influence, therefore, joins in bringing into the ranks of married 
men those most likely to be long-lived, and keeping in bache 
lorhood those least likely to be long-lived. 

In three ways, then, does that superiority of organization 
which conduces to long life, also conduce to marriage. It is 
normally accompanied by a predominance of the instincts 
and emotions prompting marriage ; there goes along with it 
that power which can secure the means of making marriage 
practicable ; and it increases the probability of success in 
courtship. The figures given afford no proof that marriage 
and longevity are cause and consequence; but they simply 
verify the inference which might be drawn a priori, that 
marriage and longevity are concomitant results of the same 

This striking instance of the way in which inference 
may be mistaken for fact, will serve as a warning against an 
other of the dangers that await us in dealing with sociological 
data. Statistics having shown that married men live longer 
than single men, it seems an irresistible implication that 


married life is healthier than single life. And yet we see that 
the implication is not at all irresistible : though such a con 
nexion may exist, it is not demonstrated by the evidence as 
signed. Judge, then, how difficult it must be, among social 
phenomena that have more entangled dependencies, to dis 
tinguish between the seeming relations and the real relations. 

Once more, we are liable to be led away by superficial, 
trivial facts, from the deep-seated and really-important facts 
they indicate. Always the details of social life, the interest 
ing events, the curious things which serve for gossip, will, if 
we allow them, hide from us the vital connexions and the 
vital actions underneath. Every social phenomenon results 
from an immense aggregate of general and special causes ; 
and we may either take the phenomenon itself as intrinsically 
momentous, or may take it along with other phenomena, as 
indicating some inconspicuous truth of real significance. Let 
us contrast the two courses. 

Some months ago a correspondent of the Times, writing 
from Calcutta, said : 

" The Calcutta University examinations of any year would supply 
curious material for reflection on the value of our educational sys 
tems. The prose test in the entrance examination this year includes 
Ivanhoe. Here are a few of the answers which I have picked up. 
The spelling is bad, but that I have not cared to give : 

"Question: Dapper man? (Answer 1.) Man of superfluous 
knowledge. (A. 2.) Mad. (Q.) Democrat ? (A.I.) Petticoat 
Government. (A. 2.) Witchcraft. (A. 3.) Half-turning of the 
horse. (Q.) Babylonish jargon ? (A. 1.) A vessel made at Baby 
lon. (A. 2.) A kind of drink made at Jerusalem. (A. 3.) A kind 
of coat worn by Babylonians. (Q.) Lay brother? (A. 1.) A 
bishop. (A. 2.) A step-brother. (A. 3.) A scholar of the same 
godfather. (Q.) Sumpter mule? (A.) A stubborn Jew. (Q.) 
Bilious-looking fellow ? (A. 1.) A man of strict character. (A. 2.) 
A person having a nose like the bill of an eagle. (Q.) Cloister ? 
(A.) A kind of shell. (Q.) Tavern politicians? (A.I.) Politi 
cians in charge of the alehouse. (A. 2.) Mere vulgars. (A. 3.) 
Managers of the priestly church. (Q.) A pair of cast-off galli 
gaskins ? (A.) Two gallons of wine. 

The fact here drawn attention to as significant, is, that these 
Hindu youths, during their matriculation examination, be- 


trayed so much ignorance of the meaning of words arid ex 
pressions contained in an English work they had read. And 
the intended implication appears to be that they were proved 
unfit to begin their college careers. If, now, instead of accept 
ing that which is presented to us, we look a little below it, 
that which may strike us is the amazing folly of an examiner 
who proposes to test the fitness of youths for commencing 
their higher education, by seeing how much they know of the 
technical terms, cant-phrases, slang, and even extinct slang, 
talked by the people of another nation. Instead of the unfit- 
ness of the boys, which is pointed out to us, we may see rather 
the unfitness of those concerned in educating them. 

If, again, not dwelling 011 the particular fact underlying 
the one offered to our notice, we consider it along with others 
of the same class, our attention is arrested by the general fact 
that examiners, and especially those appointed under recent 
systems of administration, habitually put questions of which 
a large proportion are utterly inappropriate. As I learn from 
his son, one of our judges not long since found himself un 
able to answer an examination-paper that had been laid before 
law-students. A well-known Greek scholar, editor of a Greek 
play, who was appointed examiner, found that the examina 
tion-paper set by his predecessor was too ditlicult for him. 
Mr. Froude, in his inaugural address at St. Andrews, describ 
ing a paper set by an examiner in English history, said, " I 
could myself have answered two questions out "of a dozen." 
And I learn from Mr. G. H. Lewes that he could not give re 
plies to the questions on English literature which the Civil 
Service examiners had put to his son. Joining which testi 
monies with kindred ones coming from students and pro 
fessors on all sides, we find the really-noteworthy thing to be 
that examiners, instead of setting questions fit for students, set 
questions which make manifest their own extensive learning. 
Especially if they are young, and have reputations to make or 
to justify, they seize the occasion for displaying their erudi 
tion, regardless of the interests of those they examine. 

If we look through this more significant and general fact 
for the still deeper fact it grows out of, there arises before us 
the question Who examines the examiners ? How happens 
it that men competent in their special knowledge, but so in- 


competent in their general judgment, should occupy the places 
they do? This prevailing faultiiiess of the examiners shows 
conclusively that the administration is faulty at its centre. 
Somewhere or other, the power of ultimate decision is exer 
cised by those who are unfit to exercise it. If the examiners 
of the examiners were set to fill up an examination-paper 
which had for its subject the right conduct of examinations, 
and the proper qualifications for examiners, there would come 
out very unsatisfactory answers. 

Having seen through the small details and the wider facts 
down to these deeper facts, we may, on contemplating them, 
perceive that these, too, are not the deepest or most significant. 
It becomes clear that those having supreme authority suppose, 
as men in general do, that the sole essential thing for a 
teacher or examiner is complete knowledge of that which he 
has to teach, or respecting which he has to examine. Whereas 
a co-essential thing is a knowledge of Psychology- and espe 
cially that part of Psychology which deals with the evolution 
of the faculties. Unless, either by special study or by daily 
observation and quick insight, he has gained an approximately- 
true conception of how minds perceive, and reflect, and gen 
eralize, and by what processes their ideas grow from concrete 
to abstract, and from simple to complex, no one is competent 
to give lessons that will effectually teach, or to ask ques 
tions which will effectually measure the efficiency of teach 
ing. Further, it becomes manifest that, in common with 
the public, those in authority assume that the goodness of 
education is to be tested by the quantity of knowledge ac 
quired. Whereas it is to be much more truly tested by the 
capacity for using knowledge by the extent to which the 
knowledge gained has been turned into faculty, so as to be 
available both for the purposes of life and for the purposes of 
independent investigation. Though there is a growing con 
sciousness that a mass of unorganized information is, after all, 
of little value, and that there is more value in less informa 
tion well-organized, yet the significant truth is that this con 
sciousness has not got itself officially embodied ; and that our 
educational administration is working, and will long continue 
to work, in pursuance of a crude and out-worn belief. 

As here, then, so in other cases meeting us in the present 


and all through the past, we have to contend with the diffi 
culty that the greater part of the evidence supplied to us as of 
chief interest and importance, is of value only for what it in 
dicates. We have to resist the temptation to dwell on those 
trivialities which make up nine-tenths of our records and his 
tories ; and which are worthy of attention solely because of 
the things they indirectly imply or the things tacitly asserted 
along with them. 

Beyond those vitiations of evidence due to random obser 
vations, to the subjective states of the observers, to their en 
thusiasms, or preposessions, or self-interests beyond those 
arising from the general tendency to set down as a fact ob 
served what is really an inference from an observation, and 
also those arising from the general tendency to admit the dis 
section by which small surface results are traced to large in 
terior causes ; there come those vitiations of evidence conse 
quent on its distribution in Space. Of whatever class, political, 
moral, religious, commercial, &c., may be the phenomena we 
have to consider, a society presents them in so diffused and 
multitudinous a way, and under such various relations to us, 
that the conceptions we can frame are at best extremely inade 

Consider how impossible it is truly to conceive so rela 
tively-simple a thing as the territory which a society covers. 
Even by the aid of maps, geographical and geological, slowly 
elaborated by multitudes of surveyors even by the aid of de 
scriptions of towns, counties, mountainous and rural districts 
even by the aid of such personal examinations as we have 
made here and there in journeys during life ; we can reach 
nothing approaching to a true idea of the actual surface 
arable, grass-covered, wooded ; flat, undulating, rocky ; drained 
by rills, brooks, and slow rivers ; sprinkled with cottages, 
farms, villas, cities. Imagination simply rambles hither and 
thither, and fails utterly to frame an adequate thought of the 
whole. How then shall we frame an adequate thought of a 
diffused moral feeling, of an intellectual state, of a commer 
cial activity, pervading this territory ; unaided by maps, and 
aided only by the careless statements of careless observers ? 
Eespecting most of the phenomena, as displayed by a nation 


at large, only dim apprehensions are possible ; and how un 
trustworthy they are, is shown by every parliamentary de 
bate, by every day s newspapers, and by every evening s con 
versations ; which severally disclose quite conflicting estimates. 

See how various are the statements made respecting any 
nation in its character and actions by each traveller visiting 
it. There is a story, apt if not true, of a Frenchman who, 
having been three weeks here, proposed to write a book on 
England; who, after three months, found that he was not 
quite ready ; and who, after three years, concluded that he 
knew nothing about it. And every one who looks back and 
compares his early impressions respecting states of things in 
his own society with the Impressions he now has, will see how 
erroneous were the beliefs once so decided, and how probable 
it is that even his revised beliefs are but partially true. On 
remembering how wrong he was in his pre-conceptions of the 
people and the life in some unvisited part of the kingdom on 
remembering how different from those he had imagined, were 
the characters he actually found in certain alien classes and 
along with certain alien creeds ; he will see how greatly this 
wide diffusion of social facts impedes true appreciation of 

Moreover, there are illusions consequent on what we may 
call moral perspective, which we do not habitually correct in 
thought, as we correct in perception the illusions of physical 
perspective. A small object close to, occupies a larger visual 
area than a mountain afar off ; but here our well-organized ex 
periences enable us instantly to rectify a false inference sug 
gested by the subtended angles. No such prompt rectification 
for the perspective is made in sociological observations. A 
small event next door, producing a larger impression than a 
great event in another country, is over-estimated. Conclu 
sions prematurely drawn from social experiences daily occur 
ring around us, are difficult to displace by clear proofs that 
elsewhere wider social experiences point to opposite conclu 

A further great difficulty to which we are thus introduced 
is, that the comparisons by which alone we can finally estab 
lish relations of cause and effect among social phenomena, can 
rarely be made between cases in all respects fit for comparison. 


Every society differs specifically, if not generically, from every 
other. Hence it is a peculiarity of the Social Science that 
parallels drawn between different societies, do not afford 
grounds for decided conclusions will not, for instance, show 
us with certainty, what is an essential phenomenon in a given 
society and what is a non-essential one. Biology deals with 
numerous individuals of a species, and with many species of a 
genus, and by comparing them can see what traits are specifi 
cally constant and what generically constant ; and the like 
holds more or less with the other concrete sciences. But com 
parisons between societies, among which we may almost say 
that each individual is a species by itself, yield much less defi 
nite results : the necessary characters are not thus readily dis 
tinguishable from the accidental characters. 

So that even supposing we have perfectly- valid data for our 
sociological generalizations, there still lies before us the diffi 
culty that these data are, in many cases, so multitudinous and 
diffused that we cannot adequately consolidate them into true 
conceptions ; the additional difficulty that the moral perspec 
tive under which they are presented, can scarcely ever be so 
allowed for as to secure true ideas of proportions ; and the fur 
ther difficulty that comparisons of our vague and incorrect 
conceptions concerning one society with our kindred concep 
tions concerning another society, have always to be taken with 
the qualification that the comparisons are only partially justi 
fiable, because the compared things are only partially alike in 
their other traits. 

An objective difficulty, even greater still, which the Social 
Science presents, arises from the distribution of its facts in 
Time. Those who look on a society as either supernaturally 
created or created by Acts of Parliament, and who conse 
quently consider successive stages of its existence as having 
no necessary dependence on one another, will not be deterred 
from drawing political conclusions from passing facts, by a 
consciousness of the slow genesis of social phenomena. But 
those who have risen to the belief that societies are evolved in 
structure and function, as in growth, will be made to hesitate 
on contemplating the long unfolding through which early 
causes work out late results. 


Even true appreciation of the successive facts which an 
individual life presents, is generally hindered by inability to 
grasp the gradual processes by which ultimate effects are pro 
duced ; as we may see in the foolish mother who, yielding to 
her perverse child, gains the immediate benefit of peace, and 
cannot foresee the evil of chronic dissension which her policy 
will hereafter bring about. And in the life of a nation, which, 
if of high type, lasts at least a hundred individual lives, cor 
rect estimation of results is still more hindered by this im 
mense duration of the actions through which antecedents 
bring their consequents. In judging of political good and 
evil, the average legislator thinks much after the manner of 
the mother dealing with the spoiled child : if a course is pro 
ductive of immediate benefit, that is considered sufficient jus 
tification. Quite recently an inquiry has been made into the 
results of an administration which had been in action some 
five years only, with the tacit assumption that supposing the 
results were proved good, the administration would be justified. 

And yet to those who look into the records of the past not 
to revel in narratives of battles or to gloat over court-scandals, 
but to find how institutions and laws have arisen and how 
they have worked, there is no truth more obvious than that 
generation after generation must pass before the outcome of 
an action that has been set up can be seen. Take the example 
furnished us by our Poor Laws. When villeinage had passed 
away and serfs were no longer maintained by their owners 
when, in the absence of any one to control and take care of 
serfs, there arose an increasing class of mendicants and " stur 
dy rogues, preferring robbery to labour " when, in Richard 
the Second s time, authority over such was given ^to justices 
and sheriffs, out of which there presently grew the binding of 
servants, labourers, and beggars, to their respective localities 
- when, to meet the case of beggars, " impotent to serve," the 
people of the districts in which they were found, were made 
in some measure responsible for them (so re-introducing in a 
more general form the feudal arrangement of attachment to 
the soil, and reciprocal claim on the soil) ; it was not sus 
pected that the foundations were laid for a system which 
would, in after times, bring about a demoralization threaten- ~ 
ing general ruin. When, in subsequent centuries, to meet 


the evils of again-increasing vagrancy which punishment 
failed to repress, these measures, re-enacted with modifica 
tions, ended in making the people of each parish chargeable 
with the maintenance of their poor, while it re-established the 
severest penalties on vagabondage, even to death without 
benefit of clergy, no one ever anticipated that while the penal 
elements of this legislation would by and by become so modi 
fied as to have little practical effect in checking idleness, the 
accompanying arrangements would eventually take such 
forms as immensely to encourage idleness. Neither legisla 
tors nor others foresaw that in 230 years the poor s-rate, hav 
ing grown to seven millions, would become a public spoil of 
which we read that 

" The ignorant believed it an inexhaustible fund which belonged 
to them. To obtain their share the brutal bullied the administrators, 
the profligate exhibited their bastards which must be fed, the idle 
folded their arms and waited till they got it ; ignorant boys and girls 
married upon it ; poachers, thieves, and prostitutes, extorted it by in 
timidation ; country justices lavished it for popularity, and guardians 
for convenience. . . . Better men sank down among the worse : 
the rate-paying cottager, after a vain struggle, went to the pay-table 
to seek relief; the modest girl might starve while her bolder neighbour 
received Is. Qd. per week for every illegitimate child." 
As sequences of the law of Elizabeth, no one imagined that, 
in rural districts, farmers, becoming chief administrators, 
would pay part of their men s wages out of the rates (so tax 
ing the rest of the ratepayers for the cultivation of their 
fields) ; and that this abnormal relation of master and man 
would entail bad cultivation. No one imagined that, to escape 
poor s-rates, landlords would avoid building cottages, and 
would even clear cottages away : so causing over-crowding, 
with consequent evils, bodily and mental. No one imagined 
that workhouses, so called, would become places for idling in ; 
and places where married couples would display their " elec 
tive affinities " time after time. 10 Yet these, and detrimental 
results which it would take pages to enumerate, culminating 
in that general result most detrimental of all helping the 
worthless to multiply at the expense of the worthy finally 
came out of measures taken out ages ago merely to mitigate 
certain immediate evils. 


Is it not obvious, then, that only in the course of those 
long periods required to mould national characters and habits 
and sentiments, will the truly-important results of a public 
policy show themselves ? Let us consider the question a 
little further. 

In a society living 1 , growing, changing, every new factor 
becomes a permanent force ; modifying more or less the direc 
tion of movement determined by the aggregate of forces. 
Never simple and direct, but, by the co-operation of so many 
causes, made irregular, involved, and always rhythmical, the 
course of social change cannot be judged of in its general 
direction by inspecting any small portion of it. Each action 
will inevitably be followed, after a while, by some direct or 
indirect reaction, and this again by a re-action ; and until the 
successive effects have shown themselves, no one can say how 
the total motion will be modified. You must compare posi 
tions at great distances from one another in time, before you 
can tell rightly whither things are tending. Even so simple 
a thing as a curve of single curvature cannot have its nature 
perceived unless there is a considerable length of it. See here 
these five points close together. The curve passing through 
them may be a circle, an ellipse, a parabola, an hyperbola. 
Let the points be further apart, and it becomes possible to 
form some opinion of the nature of the curve it is obviously 
not a circle. Let them, or some of them, be more remote still, 
and it may be seen that if not an infinite curve it must be a 
highly eccentric ellipse. And when the points are at relative 
ly great distances, the mathematician can say with certainty 
what conic section alone will pass through them all. Surely, 
then, in such complex and slowly-evolving movements as 
those of a nation s life, all the smaller and greater rhythms of 
which fall within certain general directions, it is impossible 
that such general directions can be traced by looking at stages 
that are close together it is impossible that the effect wrought 
on any general direction by some additional force, can be truly 
computed from observations extending over but a few years, 
or but a few generations. 

For, in the case of these most-involved of all movements, 
there is the difficulty, paralleled in no other movements (being 
only approached in those of individual evolution), that each 


new factor, besides modifying in an immediate way the course 
of a movement, modifies it also in a remote way, by changing 
the amounts and directions of all other factors. A fresh influ 
ence brought into play on a society, not only affects its mem 
bers directly in their acts, but also indirectly in their charac 
ters. Continuing to work on their characters generation after 
generation, and altering by inheritance the feelings which 
they bring into social life at large, this influence alters the in 
tensities and bearings of all other influences throughout the 
society. By slowly initiating modifications of nature, it brings 
into play forces of many kinds, incalculable in their strengths 
and tendencies, that act without regard to the original influ 
ence, and may cause quite opposite effects. 

Fully to exhibit this objective difficulty, and to show more 
clearly still how important it is to take as data for sociological 
conclusions, not the brief sequences, but the sequences that 
extend over centuries or are traceable throughout civilization, 
let us draw a lesson from a trait which all regulative agencies 
in all nations have displayed. 

The original meaning of human sacrifices, otherwise toler 
ably clear, becomes quite clear on finding that where canni 
balism is still rampant, and where the largest consumers of 
human flesh are the chiefs, these chiefs, undergoing apotheosis 
when they die, are believed thereafter to feed on the souls of 
the departed the souls being regarded as duplicates equally 
material with the bodies they belong to. And should any 
doubt remain, it must be dissipated by the accounts we have 
of the ancient Mexicans, whose priests, when war had not 
lately furnished a victim, complained to the king that the god 
was hungry ; and who, when a victim was sacrificed, offered 
his heart to the idol (bathing its lips with his blood, and even 
putting portions of the heart into his mouth) and then cooked 
and ate the rest of the body themselves. Here the fact to 
which attention is drawn, and which various civilizations 
show us, is that the sacrificing of prisoners or others, once a 
general usage among cannibal ancestry, continues as an eccle 
siastical usage long after having died out in the ordinary life 
of a society. Two facts, closely allied with this fact, have like 
general implications. Cutting implements of stone remain in 


use for sacrificial purposes when implements of bronze, and 
even of iron, are used for all other purposes : the Hebrews are 
commanded in Deuteronomy to build altars of stone without 
using iron tools; the high priest of Jupiter at Rome was 
shaved with a bronze knife. Further, the primitive method 
of obtaining fire by the friction of pieces of wood, survives in 
religious ceremonies ages after its abandonment in the house 
hold ; and even now, among the Hindus, the flame for the 
altar is kindled by the "fire drill." These are striking in 
stances of the pertinacity with which the oldest part of the 
regulative organization maintains its original traits in the 
teeth of influences that modify things around it. 

The like holds in respect of the language, spoken and 
written, which it employs. Among the Egyptians the most 
ancient form of hieroglyphics was retained for sacred records, 
when more developed forms were adopted for other purposes. 
The continued use of Hebrew for religious services among the 
Jews, and the continued use of Latin for the Roman Catholic 
service, show us how strong this tendency is, apart from the 
particular creed. Among ourselves, too, a less dominant 
ecclesiasticism exhibits a kindred trait. The English of the 
Bible is of an older style than the English of the date at 
which the translation was made ; and in the church service 
various words retain obsolete meanings, and others are pro 
nounced in obsolete ways. Even the typography, with its illu 
minated letters of the rubric, shows traces of the same ten 
dency; while Puseyites and ritualists, aiming to reinforce 
ecclesiasticism, betray a decided leaning towards archaic print, 
as well as archaic ornaments. In the aesthetic direction, in 
deed, their movement has brought back the most primitive 
type of sculpture for monumental purposes ; as may be seen 
in Canterbury Cathedral, where, in two new monuments to 
ecclesiastics, one being Archbishop Sumner, the robed figures 
recline on their backs, with hands joined, after the manner of 
the mailed knights on early tombs presenting complete sym 
metry of attitude, which is a distinctive trait of barbaric art, 
as shown by every child s drawing of a man and every idol 
carved by a savage. 

A conscious as well as an unconscious adhesion to the old 
in usage and doctrine is shown. Not only among Roman 


Out-holies but among many Protestants, to ascertain what the 
Fathers said, is to ascertain what should be believed. In the 
pending controversy about tho Athanasian Creed, we see how 
much authority attaches to an antique document. Tho an 
tagonism between Convocation and tho lay members of the 
Church the one as a body wishing to retain the cursing 
clauses and the other to exclude them further shows that 
ollicial Protestantism adheres to antiquity much more than 
non-official Protestantism : a contrast equally displayed .not 
long since between the opinions of the lay part and the clerical 
part of the Protestant Irish Church. 

Throughout political organizations the like tendency, 
though less dominant, is very strong. The gradual establish 
ment of law by the consolidation of custom, is tho formation 
of something fixed in tho midst of things that are changing ; 
and, regarded under its most general aspect as the agency 
which maintains a permanent order, it is in the very nature 
of ;i State-organization to be relatively rigid. Tho way in 
which primitive principles and practices, no longer fully in 
force among individuals ruled, survive in tho actions of ruling 
agents, is curiously illustrated by the long retention between 
nobles of a right of feud after it had been disallowed between 
eiti/ens. Chief vassals, too, retained this power to secure jus 
tice for themselves after smaller vassals lost it : not only was 
a right of war with one another recognized, but also a right of 
defence against the king. And we see that even now, in the 
dealings between Governments, armed force to remedy in 
juries is still employed, as it originally was between all indi 
viduals. As bearing in the same direction, it is significant 
that the right of trial by battle, which was a regulated form 
of the aboriginal system under which men administered jus 
tice in their own cases, survived among the ruling classes 
when no longer legal among inferior classes. Even on behalf 
of religious communities judicial duels were fought. Here 
the thing it concerns us to note is that tho system of fighting 
in person and lighting by deputy, when no longer otherwise 
lawful, was retained, actually or formally, in various parts of 
the regulative organization. Up to the reign of ( leorge 111., 
trial by battle could bo claimed as an alternative of trial In 
jury. Duels continued till quite recently between members of 


the ruling classes, and especially between officers; and even 
now in Continental armies duelling is not only recognized as 
proper, but is, in some cases, imperative. And then, showing 
most strikingly how these oldest usages survive longest, in 
connexion with the oldest part of the governing organization, 
we have had in the coronation ceremony, up to modern times, 
a champion in armour uttering by herald a challenge to all 
comers 011 behalf of the monarch. 

If, from the agencies by which law is enforced, we pass to 
legal forms, language, documents, &c., the like tendency is 
everywhere conspicuous. Parchment is retained for law- 
deeds though paper has replaced it for other purposes. The 
form of writing is an old form. Latin and Norman-French 
terms are still in use for legal purposes, though not otherwise 
in use; and even old English words, such as "seize," retain in 
Law, meanings which they have lost in current speech. In 
the execution of documents, too, the same truth is illustrated; 
for the seal, which was originally the signature, continues, 
though the written signature now practically replaces it 
n ay, we retain a symbol of the symbol, as may be seen in 
every share transfer, where there is a pa per- wafer to repre 
sent the seal. Even still more antique usages survive in 
legal transactions ; as in the form extant in Scotland of 
handing over a portion of rock when an estate is sold, 
which evidently answers to the ceremony among the an 
cient nations of sending earth and water as a sign of yielding 

From the working of State-departments, too, many kin 
dred illustrations might be given. Even under the peremp 
tory requirements of national safety, the Hint-lock for muskets 
was but tardily replaced by the percussion-lock ; and the rifle 
had been commonly in use for sporting purposes generations 
before it came into more than sparing use for military pur 
poses. Book-keeping by double entry had long been perma 
nently established in the mercantile world before it superseded 
book-keeping by single entry in Government offices : its adop 
tion dating back only to 1834, when a still more antique sys 
tem of keeping accounts by notches cut on sticks, was put an 
c,n(\ to by the conflagration that resulted from the burning of 
UK; Exchequer-tallies. 


The like holds with apparel, in general and in detail. 
Cocked hats are yet to be seen on the heads of officers. An 
extinct form of dress still holds its ground as the Court-dress ; 
and the sword once habitually worn by gentlemen has be 
come the dress-sword worn only on State-occasions. Every 
where officialism has its established uniforms, which may be 
traced back to old fashions that have disappeared from ordi 
nary life. Some of these antique articles of costume we see sur 
mounting the heads of judges; others there are which still 
hang round the necks of the clergy ; and others which linger 
on the legs of bishops. 

Thus, from the use of a flint-knife by the Jews for the reli 
gious ceremony of circumcision, down to the pronunciation of 
the terminal syllable of the prseterite in our Church-service, 
down to the oyez shouted in a law-court to secure attention, 
down to the retention of epaulets for officers, and down to the 
Norman-French words in which the royal assent is given, this 
persistence is everywhere traceable. And when we find this 
persistence displayed through all ages in all departments of 
the regulative organization, when we see it to be the natural 
accompaniment of the function of that organization, which is 
essentially restraining when we estimate the future action of 
the organization in any case, by observing the general sweep 
of its curve throughout long periods of the past ; we shall see 
how misleading may be the conclusions drawn from recent 
facts taken by themselves. Where the regulative organization 
is anywhere made to undertake additional functions, we shall 
not form sanguine anticipations on the strength of immediate 
results of the desired kind ; but we shall suspect that after the 
phase of early activity has passed by, the plasticity of the new 
structure will rapidly diminish, the characteristic tendency 
towards rigidity will show itself, and in place of expansive 
effect there will come a restrictive effect. 

The reader will now understand more clearly the meaning 
of the assertion that true conceptions of sociological changes 
are to be reached only by contemplating their slow genesis 
through centuries, and that basing inferences on results shown 
in short periods, is as illusory as would be judging of the 
Earth s curvature by observing whether we are walking up or 
down hill. After recognizing which truth he will perceive 


how great is another of the obstacles in the way of the Social 

" But does not all this prove too much ? If it is so difficult 
to get sociological evidence that is not vitiated by the sub 
jective states of the witnesses, by their prejudices, enthusi 
asms, interests, &c. if where there is impartial examination, 
the conditions to the inquiry are of themselves so apt to falsify 
the result if there is so general a proneiiess to assert as facts 
observed what were really inferences from observations, and 
so great a tendency also to be blinded by exterior trivialities 
to interior essentials if even where accurate data are accessi 
ble, their multitudiiiousiiess and diffusion in Space make it 
impracticable clearly to grasp them as wholes, while their un 
folding in Time is so slow that antecedents and consequents 
cannot be mentally represented in their true relations ; is it 
not manifestly impossible that a Social Science can be 
framed ? " 

It must be admitted that the array of objective difficulties 
thus brought together is formidable ; and were it the aim of 
the Social Science to draw quite special and definite conclu 
sions, which must depend for their truth upon exact data ac 
curately co-ordinated, it would obviously have to be abandoned. 
But there are certain classes of general facts which remain 
after all errors in detail, however produced, have been allowed 
for. Whatever conflicts there may be among accounts of 
events that occurred during feudal ages, comparison of them 
brings out the incontestable truth that there was a Feudal 
System. By their implications, chronicles and laws indicate 
the traits of this system ; and on piitting side by side narra 
tives and documents written, not to tell us about the Feudal 
System but for quite other purposes, we get tolerably clear 
ideas of these traits in their essentials ideas made clearer still 
on collating the evidence furnished by different contemporary 
societies. Similarly throughout. By making due use not so 
much of that which past and present witnesses intend to tell 
us, as of that which they tell us by implication, it is possible 
to collect data for inductions respecting social structures and 
functions in their origin and development : the obstacles 
which arise in the disentangling of such data in the case of 


any particular society, being mostly surmountable by the help 
of the comparative method. 

Nevertheless, the difficulties above enumerated must be 
ever present to us. Throughout, we have to depend on testi 
mony ; and in every case we have to beware of the many 
modes in which evidence may be vitiated have to estimate 
its worth when it has been discounted in various ways ; and 
have to take care that our conclusions do not depend on any 
particular class of facts gathered from any particular place or 



IF you watch the management of a child by a mother of 
small capacity, you may be struck by the inability she betrays 
to imagine the child s thoughts and feelings. Full of energy 
which he must expend in some way, and eager to see every 
thing, her little boy is every moment provoking her by his 
restlessness. The occasion is perhaps a railway journey. Now 
he strives to look out of the window ; and now, when forbid 
den to do that, climbs on the seats, or meddles with the small 
luggage. " Sit still," " Get down, I tell you," " Why can t you 
be quiet ? " are the commands and expostulations she utters 
from minute to minute partly, no doubt, to prevent the dis 
comfort of fellow-passengers. But, as you will see at times 
when no such motive comes into play, she endeavours to re 
press these childish activities mainly out of regard for what 
she thinks propriety, and does it without any adequate recog 
nition of the penalties she inflicts. Though she herself lived 
through this phase of extreme curiosity this early time when 
almost every object passed has the charm of novelty, and when 
the overflowing energies generate a painful irritation if pent 
up ; yet now she cannot believe how keen is the desire for see 
ing which she balks, and how difficult is the maintenance of 
that quietude on which she insists. Conceiving her child s 
consciousness in terms of her own consciousness, and feeling 
how easy it is to sit still and not look out of the window, she 
ascribes his behaviour to mere perversity. 

I recall this and kindred cases to the reader s mind, for the 
purpose of exemplifying a necessity and a difficulty. The ne 
cessity is that in dealing with other beings and interpreting 
their actions, we must represent their thoughts and feelings in 


terms of our own. The difficulty is that iu so representing 
them we can never be more than partially right, and are fre 
quently very wrong. The conception which any one frames 
of another s mind, is inevitably more or less after the pattern 
of his own mind is automorphic ; and in proportion as the 
mind of which he has to frame a conception dift ers from his 
own, his automorphic interpretation is likely to be wide of the 

That measuring other person s actions by the standards our 
own thoughts and feelings furnish, often causes misconstruc 
tion, is a remark familiar even to the vulgar. But while 
among members of the same society, having natures nearly 
akin, it is seen that automorphic explanations are often er 
roneous, it is not seen with due clearness how much more 
erroneous such explanations commonly are, when the actions 
are those of men of another race, to whom the kinship in na 
ture is comparatively remote. We do, indeed, perceive this, 
if the interpretations are not our own ; and if both the inter 
preters and the interpreted are mentally alien to us. When, 
as in early English literature, we find Greek history conceived 
in terms of feudal institutions, and the heroes of antiquity 
spoken of as princesses, knights, and squires, it becomes clear 
that the ideas concerning ancient civilization must have been 
utterly wrong. When we find Virgil named in religious 
stories of the middle ages as one among the prophets who vis 
ited the cradle of Christ when an illustrated psalter gives 
scenes from the life of Christ in which there repeatedly figures 
a castle with a portcullis when even the crucifixion is de 
scribed by Langland in the language of chivalry, so that the 
man who pierced Christ s side with a spear is considered as a 
knight who disgraced his knighthood * when we read of the 
Crusaders calling themselves " vassals of Christ ; " we need 
no further proof that by carrying their own sentiments and 
ideas to the interpretation of social arrangements and transac 
tions among the Jews, our ancestors were led into absurd mis 
conceptions. But we do not recognize the fact that in virtue 
of the same tendency, we are ever framing conceptions which, 
if not so grotesquely untrue, are yet very wide of the truth. 
How difficult it is to imagine mental states remote from our 
own so correctly that we can understand how they issue in 


individual actions, and consequently in social actions, an 
instance will make manifest. 

The feeling of vague wonder with which he received his 
first lessons in the Greek mythology, will most likely be 
dimly remembered by every reader. If not in words, still 
inarticulately, there passed through him the thought that 
faith in such stories was unaccountable. When, afterwards, 
he read in books of travels details of the amazing superstitions 
of savages, there was joined with a sense of the absurdity of 
these superstitions, much astonishment at their acceptance by 
any human beings, however ignorant or stupid. Such beliefs 
as that the people of a neighbouring tribe had descended from 
ducks, that rain fell when certain deities began to spit on the 
Earth, that the island lived upon had been pulled up from the 
bottom of the ocean by one of their gods, whose hook got fast 
when he was fishing these, and countless beliefs equally 
laughable, seemed to imply an irrationality near to insanity. 
He interpreted them automorphically carrying with him not 
simply his own faculties developed to a stage of complexity 
considerably beyond that reached by the faculties of the sav 
age, but also the modes of thinking in which he was brought 
up, and the stock of information he had acquired. Probably 
it has never since occurred to him to do otherwise. Even if 
he now attempts to see things from the savage s point of view, 
he most likely fails entirely ; and if he succeeds at all, it is 
but partially. Yet only by seeing things as the savage sees 
them can his ideas be understood, his behaviour accounted 
for, and the resulting social phenomena explained. These 
apparently-strange superstitions are quite natural quite ra 
tional, in a certain sense, in their respective times and places. 
The laws of intellectual action are the same for civilized and 
uncivilized. The difference between civilized and uncivilized 
is in complexity of faculty and in amount of knowledge ac 
cumulated and generalized. Given, reflective powers devel 
oped only to that lower degree in which they are possessed by 
the aboriginal man given, his small stock of ideas, collected 
in a narrow area of space, and not added to by records extend 
ing through time given, his impulsive nature incapable of 
patient inquiry ; and these seemingly-monstrous stories of his 
become in reality the most feasible explanations he can find of 


surrounding things. Yet even after concluding that this 
must be so, it is not easy to think from the savage s stand 
point, clearly enough to follow the effects of his ideas on his 
acts, through all the relations of life, social and other. 

A parallel difficulty stands in the way of rightly conceiv 
ing character remote from our own, so as to see how it issues 
in conduct. We may best recognize our inability in this re 
spect, by observing the converse inability of other races to 
understand our characters, and the acts they prompt. 

"Wonderful are the works of Allah! Behold! That Frank is 
trudging about when he can, if he pleases, sit still I " J 
In like manner Captain Speke tells us, 

" If I walked up and down the same place to stretch my legs, they 
[Somali] formed councils of war on my motives, considering I must 
have some secret designs upon their country, or 1 would not do it, as 
no man in his senses could be guilty of working his legs unneces 
sarily." 3 

But while, by instances like these, we are shown that our 
characters are in a large measure incomprehensible by races 
remote in nature from us, the correlative fact that we cannot 
rightly conceive their sentiments and motives is one perpetu 
ally overlooked in our sociological interpretations. Feeling, 
for instance, how natural it is to take an easier course in place 
of a more laborious course, and to adopt new methods that 
are proved to be better methods, we are puzzled on finding the 
Chinese stick to their dim paper-lamps, though they admire 
our bright argand-lamps, which they do not use if given to 
them ; or on finding that the Hindus prefer their rough primi 
tive tools, after seeing how our improved tools do more work 
with less effort. And on descending to races yet more remote 
in civilization, we still oftener discover ourselves wrong when 
we suppose that under given conditions they will act as we 
should act. 

Here, then, is a subjective difficulty of a serious kind. To 
understand any fact in social evolution, we have to see it as 
resulting from the joint actions of individuals having certain 
natures. We cannot so understand it without understanding 
their natures; and this, even by care and effort, we are 
able to do but very imperfectly. Our interpretations must 


be automorphic ; and yet automorphism perpetually mis 
leads us. 

One would hardly suppose, a priori, that untruthfulness 
would habitually co-exist with credulity. Rather our infer 
ence might be that, because of the tendency above enlarged 
upon, people most given to making false statements must be 
people most inclined to suspect statements made by others. 
Yet, somewhat anomalously, as it seems, habitual veracity 
generally goes with inclination to doubt evidence ; and ex 
treme untrustworthiness of assertion often has for its con 
comitant, readiness to accept the greatest improbabilities on the 
slenderest testimony. If you compare savage with civilized, 
or compare the successive stages of civilization with one an 
other, you find untruthfulness and credulity decreasing to 
gether ; until you reach the modern man of science, who is at 
once exact in his statements and critical respecting evidence. 
The converse relation to that seen in the man of science, is 
even now startlingly presented in the East, where greediness 
in swallowing fictions goes along with superfluous telling of 
falsehoods. An Egyptian prides himself in a clever lie, 
uttered perhaps without motive ; and a dyer will even ascribe 
the failure in fixing one of his colours to the not having been 
successful in a deception. Yet so great is the readiness to be 
lieve improbabilities, that Mr. St. John, in his Two Years 
Residence in a Levantine Family, narrates how, when the 
" Arabian Nights Entertainments " was being read aloud, and 
when he hinted that the stories must not be accepted as true, 
there arose a strong protest against such scepticism : the ques 
tion being asked, " Why should a man sit down and write so 
many lies ? " * 

I point out this union of seemingly-inconsistent traits, not 
because of the direct bearing it has on the argument, but be 
cause of its indirect bearing. For I have here to dwell on the 
misleading effects of certain mental states which similarly 
appears unlikely to co-exist, and which yet do habitually co 
exist. I refer to the belief which, even while I write, I find 
repeated in the leading journal, that " the deeper a student of 
history goes, the more does he find man the same in all time ; " 
and to the opposite belief embodied in current politics, that 


human nature may be readily altered. These two beliefs, 
which ought to cancel one another but do not, originate two 
classes of errors in sociological speculation ; and nothing like 
correct conclusions in Sociology can be drawn until they have 
been rejected and replaced by a belief which reconciles them 
the belief that human nature is indefinitely modifiable, but 
that 110 modification of it can be brought about rapidly. We 
will glance at the errors to which each of these beliefs leads. 

While it was held that the stars are fixed and that the hills 
are everlasting, there was a certain coiigruity in the notion 
that man continues unchanged from age to age ; but now 
when we know that all stars arc in motion, and that there are 
no such things as everlasting hills now when we find all 
things throughout the Universe to be in a ceaseless flux, it is 
time for this crude conception of human nature to disappear 
out of our social conceptions ; or rather it is time for its dis 
appearance to be followed by that of the many narrow notions 
respecting the past and the future of society, which have 
grown out of it, and which linger notwithstanding the loss of 
their root. For, avowedly by some and tacitly by others, it 
continues to be thought that the human heart is as " desper 
ately wicked " as it ever was, and that the state of society 
hereafter will be very much like the state of society now. If, 
when the evidence has been piled mass upon mass, there comes 
a reluctant admission that aboriginal man, of troglodyte or 
kindred habits, differed somewhat from man as he was dur 
ing feudal times, and that the customs and sentiments and 
beliefs he had in feudal times, imply a character appreciably 
unlike that which he has now if, joined with this, there is a 
recognition of the truth that along with these changes in man 
there have gone still more conspicuous changes in society; 
there is, nevertheless, an ignoring of the implication that 
hereafter man and society will continue to change, until they 
have diverged as widely from their existing types as their ex- 
istiiig tvpes have diverged from those of the earliest recorded 
ages. It is true that among the more cultured the probability, 
or even the certainty, that such transformations will go on, 
may be granted ; but the granting is but nominal the adtais- 
sion does not become a factor in the conclusions drawn. The 
first discussion on a political or social topic, reveals the tacit 


assumption that, in times to come, society will have a struc 
ture substantially like its existing structure. If, for instance, 
the question of domestic service is raised, it mostly happens 
that its bearings are considered wholly in reference to those 
social arrangements which exist around us : only a few pro 
ceed on the supposition that these arrangements are probably 
but transitory. It is so throughout. Be the subject industrial 
organization, or class-relations, or rule by fashion, the thought 
which practically moulds the conclusions, if not the thought 
theoretically professed, is, that whatever changes they may 
undergo, our institutions will not cease to be recognizably the 
same. Even those who have, as they think, deliberately freed 
themselves from this perverting tendency even M. Comte and 
his disciples, believing in an entire transformation of society, 
nevertheless betray an incomplete emancipation ; for the ideal 
society expected by them, is one under regulation by a hier 
archy essentially akin to hierarchies such as mankind have 
known. So that everywhere sociological thinking is more or 
less impeded by the difficulty of bearing in mind that the 
social states towards which our race is being carried, are prob 
ably as little conceivable by us as our present social state was 
conceivable by a Norse pirate and his followers. 

Note, now, the opposite difficulty, which appears to be sur 
mountable by scarcely any of our parties, political or philan 
thropic, the difficulty of understanding that human nature, 
though indefinitely modifiable, can be modified but very 
slowly ; and that all laws and institutions and appliances 
which count on getting from it, within a short time, much 
better results than present ones, will inevitably fail. If we 
glance over the programmes of societies, and sects, and schools 
of all kinds, from Rousseau s disciples in the French Con 
vention up to the members of the United Kingdom Alliance, 
from the adherents of the Ultramontane propaganda up to 
the enthusiastic advocates of an education exclusively secular, 
we find in them one common trait. They are all pervaded 
by the conviction, now definitely expressed and now taken as 
a self-evident truth, that there needs but this kind of in 
struction or that kind of discipline, this mode of repression or 
that system of culture, to bring society into a very much 
better state. Here we read that " it is necessary completely 


to re-fashion the people whom one wishes to make free " : the 
implication being 1 that a re-fashioning is practicable. There 
it is taken as undeniable that when you have taught children 
what they ought to do to be good citizens, they will become 
good citizens. Elsewhere it is held to be a truth beyond 
question, that if by law temptations to drink are removed 
from men, they will not only cease to drink, but thereafter 
cease to commit crimes. And yet the delusiveness of all such 
hopes is obvious enough to any one not blinded by a hypoth 
esis, or carried away by an enthusiasm. The fact, often 
pointed out to temperance-fanatics, that some of the soberest 
nations in Europe yield a proportion of crime higher than 
our own, might suffice to show them that England would 
not be suddenly moralized if they carried their proposed re 
strictions into effect. The superstition that good behaviour is 
to be forthwith produced by lessons learnt out of school- 
books, which was long ago statistically disproved, 8 would, 
but for preconceptions, be utterly dissipated by observing to 
what a slight extent knowledge affects conduct by observing 
that the dishonesty implied in the adulterations of tradesmen 
and manufacturers, in fraudulent bankruptcies, in bubble- 
companies, in " cooking " of railway accounts and financial 
prospectuses, differs only in form, and not in amount, from 
the dishonesty of the uneducated by observing how amaz 
ingly little the teachings given to medical students affect 
their lives, and how even the most experienced medical men 
have their prudence scarcely at all increased by their infor 
mation. Similarly, the Utopian ideas which come out afresh 
along with every new political scheme, from the " paper-con 
stitutions " of the Abbe Sieves down to the lately-published 
programme of M. Louis Blanc, and from agitations for vote- 
by-ballot up to those which have a Eepublic for their aim, 
might, but for this tacit belief we are contemplating, be 
extinguished by the facts perpetually and startlingly thrust 
on our attention. Again and again for three generations has 
France been showing to the world how impossible it is essen 
tially to change the type of a social structure by any re 
arrangement wrought out through a revolution. However 
great the transformation may for a time seem, the original 
thing re-appears in disguise. Out of the nominally-free 


government set up a new despotism arises, differing from the 
old by having a new shibboleth and new men to utter it; 
but identical with the old in the determination to put down 
opposition and in the means used to this end. Liberty, w T hen 
obtained, is forthwith surrendered to an avowed autocrat ; or, 
as we have seen within this year, is allowed to lapse into the 
hands of one who claims the reality of autocracy without its 
title. Nay, the change is, in fact, even less ; for the regulative 
organization which ramifies throughout French society, con 
tinues unaltered by these changes at the governmental centre. 
The bureaucratic system persists equally under Imperialist, 
Constitutional, and Republican arrangements. As the Due 
d Audiffret-Pasquier pointed out, "Empires fall, Ministries 
pass away, but Bureaux remain." The aggregate of forces 
and tendencies embodied, not only in the structural arrange 
ments holding the nation together, but in the ideas and 
sentiments of its units, is so powerful, that the excision of 
a part, even though it be the government, is quickly fol 
lowed by the substitution of a like part. It needs but to 
recall the truth exemplified some chapters back, that the 
properties of the aggregate are determined by the properties 
of its units, to see at once that so long as the characters of 
citizens remain substantially unchanged, there can be no sub 
stantial change in the political organization which has slowly 
been evolved by them. 

This double difficulty of thought, with the double set of 
delusions fallen into by those who do not surmount it, is, 
indeed, naturally associated with the once-universal, and still- 
general, belief that societies arise by manufacture, instead of 
arising, as they do, by evolution. Recognize the truth that 
incorporated masses of men grow, and acquire their structural 
characters through modification upon modification, and there 
are excluded these antithetical errors that humanity remains 
the same and that humanity is readily alterable ; and along 
with exclusion of these errors comes admission of the infer 
ence, that the changes which have brought social arrange 
ments to a form so different from past forms, will in future 
carry them on to forms as different from those now existing. 
Once become habituated to the thought of a continuous 
unfolding of the whole and of each part, and these misleading 


ideas disappear. Take a word and observe how, while chang 
ing 1 , it gives origin in course of time to a family of words, 
each changing member of which similarly has progeny ; take 
a custom, as that of giving eggs at Easter, which has now 
developed in Paris into the fashion of making expensive 
presents of every imaginable kind inclosed in imitation-eggs, 
becoming at length large enough to contain a brougham, and 
which entails so great a tax that people go abroad to evade it; 
take a law, once quite simple and made to meet a special case, 
and see how it eventually, by successive additions and 
changes, grows up into a complex group of laws, as, out of 
two laws of William the Conqueror came our whole legal 
system regulating land-tenure ; * take a social appliance, as the 
Press, and see how from the news-letter, originally private 
and written, and then assuming the shape of a printed fly-leaf 
to a written private letter, there has slowly evolved this vast 
assemblage of journals and periodicals, daily, weekly, general, 
and local, that have, individually and as an aggregate, grown 
in size while growing in heterogeneity ; do this, and do the 
like with all other established institutions, agencies, products, 
and there will come naturally the conviction that now, too, 
there are various germs of things which will in the future 
develop in ways no one imagines, and take shares in pro 
found transformations of society and of its members : trans 
formations that are hopeless as immediate results, but certain 
as ultimate results. 

Try to fit a hand with five fingers into a glove with four. 
Your difficulty aptly parallels the difficulty of putting a com 
plex conception into a mind not having a proportionately-com 
plex faculty. As fast as the several terms and relations which 
make up a thought become many and varied, there must be 
brought into play many and varied parts of the intellectual 
structure, before the thought can be comprehended : and if 
some of these parts are wanting, only fragments of the thought 
can be taken in. Consider an instance. 

What is meant by the ratio of A to B, may be explained to 
a boy by drawing a short line A and a long line B, telling him 
that A is said to bear a small ratio to B; and then, after 
lengthening the line A, telling him that A is now said to bear 


a larger ratio to B. But suppose I have to explain what is 
meant by saying that the ratio of A to B, equals the ratio of 
C to D. Instead of two different quantities and one relation, 
there are now four different quantities and three relations. 
To understand the proposition, the boy has to think of A and 
B and their difference, and, without losing his intellectual grasp 
of these, he has to think of C and D and their difference, and, 
without losing his intellectual grasp of these, he has to think 
of the two differences as each having a like relation to its pair 
of quantities. Thus the number of terms and relations to be 
kept before the mind, is such as to imply the co-operation of 
many more agents of thought ; any of which being absent, 
the proposition cannot be understood : the boy must be older 
before he will understand it, and, if uncultured, will probably 
never understand it at all. Let us pass on to a conception of 
still greater complexity say that the ratio of A to B varies as 
the ratio of C to D. Far more numerous things have now to 
be represented in consciousness with approximate simulta 
neity. A and B have to be thought of as not constant in their 
lengths, but as one or both of them changing in their lengths ; 
so that their difference is indefinitely variable. Similarly 
with C and D. And then the variability of the ratio in each 
case being duly conceived in terms of lines that lengthen and 
shorten, the thing to be understood is, that whatever differ 
ence any change brings about between A and B, the relation 
it bears to one or other of them, is always like that which the 
difference simultaneously arising between C and D bears to 
one or other of them. The greater multiplicity of ideas re 
quired for mentally framing this proposition, evidently puts 
it further beyond the reach of faculties not developed by ap 
propriate culture, or not capable of being so developed. And 
as the type of proposition becomes still more involved, as it 
does when two such groups of dependent variables are com 
pared and conclusions drawn, it begins to require a grasp that 
is easy only to the disciplined mathematician. 

One who does not possess that complexity of faculty which, 
as we here see, is requisite for grasping a complex conception, 
may, in cases like these, become conscious of his incapacity ; 
not from perceiving what he lacks, but from perceiving that 
another person achieves results which he cannot achieve. 


But where no such thing as the verifying of exact predictions 
comes in to prove to one of inferior faculty that his faculty 
is inferior, he is usually unaware of the inferiority. To im 
agine a higher mode of consciousness, is in some degree to 
have it; so that until he has it in some degree, he cannot 
really conceive of its existence. An illustration or two will 
make this clear. 

Take a child on your knee, and, turning over with him 
some engravings of landscapes, note what he observes. " I 
see a man in a boat," says he, pointing. " Look at the cows 
coming down the hill." " And there is a little boy playing 
with a dog." These and other such remarks, mostly about the 
living objects in each scene, are all you get from him. Never 
by any chance does he utter a word respecting the scene as a 
whole. There is an absolute unconsciousness of anything to 
be pleased with in the combination of wood and water and 
mountain. And while the child is entirely without this com 
plex aesthetic consciousness, you see that he has not the re 
motest idea that such a consciousness exists in others but is 
wanting in himself. Note now a case in which a kin 

dred defect is betrayed by an adult. You have, perhaps, in 
the course of your life, had some musical culture ; and can 
recall the stages through which you have passed. In early 
days a symphony was a mystery; and you were somewhat 
puzzled to find others applauding it. An unfolding of musical 
faculty, that went on slowly through succeeding years, brought 
some appreciation ; and now these complex musical combina 
tions which once gave you little or no pleasure, give you more 
pleasure than any others. Eemembering all this, you suspect 
that your indifference to certain still more involved musical 
combinations may arise from incapacity in you, and not from 
faults in them. See, on the other hand, what happens with 
one who has undergone no such series of changes say, an old 
naval officer, whose life at sea kept him out of the way of con 
certs and operas. You hear him occasionally confess, or 
rather boast, how much he enjoys the bagpipes. While the 
last cadences of a sonata which a young lady has just played, 
are still in your ears, he goes up to her and asks whether she 
can play " Polly, put the kettle on," or " Johnny comes march 
ing home." And then, when concerts are talked about at 


table, he seizes the occasion for expressing his dislike of clas 
sical music, and scarcely conceals his contempt for those who 
go to hear it. On contemplating his mental state, you see 
that along with absence of the ability to grasp complex mu 
sical combinations, there goes no consciousness of the absence 
there is no suspicion that such complex combinations exist, 
and that other persons have faculties for appreciating them. 

And now for the application of this general truth to our 
subject. The conceptions with which sociological science is 
concerned, are complex beyond all others. In the absence of 
faculty having a corresponding complexity, they cannot be 
grasped. Here, however, as in other cases, the absence of an 
adequately-complex faculty is not accompanied by any con 
sciousness of incapacity. Rather do we find that deficiency 
in the required kind of mental grasp, is accompanied by ex 
treme confidence of judgment on sociological questions, and a 
ridicule of those who, after long discipline, begin to perceive 
what there is to be understood, and how difficult is the right 
understanding of it. A simple illustration of this will prepare 
the way for more-involved illustrations. 

A few months ago the Times gave us an account of the last 
achievement in automatic printing the " Walter-Press," by 
which its own immense edition is thrown off in a few hours 
every morning. Suppose a reader of the description, adequately 
familiar with mechanical details, follows what he reads step 
by step with full comprehension : perhaps making his ideas 
more definite by going to see the apparatus at work and ques 
tioning the attendants. Now he goes away thinking he un 
derstands all about it. Possibly, under its aspect as a feat in 
mechanical engineering, he does so. Possibly, also, under 
its biographical aspect, as implying in Mr. Walter and those 
who co-operated with him certain traits, moral and intellec 
tual, he does so. But under its sociological aspect he prob 
ably has no notion of its meaning ; and does not even suspect 
that it has a sociological aspect. Yet if he begins to look into 
the genesis of the thing, he will find that he is but 011 the 
threshold of the full explanation. On asking not what is 

its proximate but what is its remote origin, he finds, in the 
first place, that this automatic printing-machine is lineally 
descended from other automatic printing-machines, which 


have undergone successive developments each pre-supposing 
others that went before : without cylinder printing-machines 
long previously used and improved, there would have been 
no "Walter-Press." He inquires a step further, and discovers 
that this last improvement became possible only by the help 
of papier-mache stereotyping, which, first employed for mak 
ing flat plates, afforded the possibility of making cylindrical 
plates. And tracing this back, he finds that plaster-of-paris 
stereotyping came before it, and that there was another pro 
cess before that. Again, he learns that this highest form of 
automatic printing, like the many less-developed forms pre 
ceding it, depended for its practicability on the introduction 
of rollers for distributing ink, instead of the hand-implements 
used by " printer s-devils " fifty years ago ; which rollers, again, 
could never have been made fit for their present purposes, 
without the discovery of that curious elastic compound out of 
which they are cast. And then, on tracing the more remote 
antecedents, he finds an ancestry of hand printing-presses, 
which, through generations, had been successively im 
proved. Now, perhaps, he thinks he understands the ap 
paratus, considered as a sociological fact. Far from it. Its 
multitudinous parts, which will work together only when 
highly finished and exactly adjusted, came from machine- 
shops ; where there are varieties of complicated, highly-fin 
ished engines for turning cylinders, cutting out wheels, plan 
ing bars, and so forth ; and on the pre-existence of these the 
existence of this printing-machine depended. If he inquires 
into the history of these complex automatic tools, he finds they 
have severally been, in the slow course of mechanical progress, 
brought to their present perfection by the help of preceding 
complex automatic tools of various kinds, that co-operated to 
make their component parts each larger, or more accurate, 
lathe or planing-machine having been made possible by pre 
existing lathes and planing-machines, inferior in size or exact 
ness. And so if he traces back the whole contents of the 
machine-shop, with its many different instruments, he comes 
in course of time to the blacksmith s hammer and anvil ; and 
even, eventually, to still ruder appliances. The explana 
tion is now completed, he thinks. Not at all. No such pro 
cess as that which the " Walter-Press " shows us, was possible 


until there had been invented, and slowly perfected, a paper- 
machine capable of making- miles of paper without break. 
Thus there is the genesis of the paper-machine involved, and 
that of the multitudinous appliances and devices which pre 
ceded it, and are at present implied by it. Have we now 
got to the end of the matter ? No ; we have just glanced at 
one group of the antecedents. All this development of me 
chanical appliances this growth of the iron-manufacture, this 
extensive use of machinery made from iron, this production 
of so many machines for making machines has had for one 
of its causes the abundance of the raw materials, coal and 
iron ; has had for another of its causes the insular position 
which has favoured peace and the increase of industrial ac 
tivity. There have been moral causes at work too. Without 
that readiness to sacrifice present ease to future benefit, which 
is implied by enterprise, there would never have arisen the 
machine in question, nay, there would never have arisen the 
multitudinous improved instruments and processes that have 
made it possible. And beyond the moral traits which enter 
prise pre-supposes, there are those pre-supposed by efficient 
co-operation. Without mechanical engineers who fulfilled 
their contracts tolerably well, by executing work accurately, 
neither this machine itself nor the machines that made it, could 
have been produced ; and without artizans having consider 
able conscientiousness, no master could insure accurate work. 
Try to get such products out of an inferior race, and you will 
find defective character an insuperable obstacle. So, too, will 
you find defective intelligence an insuperable obstacle. The 
skilled artizan is not an accidental product, either morally or 
intellectually. The intelligence needed for making a new 
thing is not everywhere to be found ; nor is there every 
where to be found the accuracy of perception and nicety of 
execution without which no complex machine can be so made 
that it will act. Exactness of finish in machines has devel 
oped pari passu with exactness of perception in artizans. In 
spect some mechanical appliance made a century ago, and 
you may see that, even had all other requisite conditions been 
fulfilled, want of the requisite skill in workmen would have 
been a fatal obstacle to the production of an engine requiring 
so many delicate adjustments. So that there are implied in 


this mechanical achievement, not only our slowly-generated 
industrial state, with its innumerable products and processes, 
but also the slowly-moulded moral and intellectual natures of 
masters and workmen. Has nothing now been forgotten ? 

Yes, we have left out a whole division of all-important social 
phenomena those which we group as the progress of knowl 
edge. Along with the many other developments that have 
been necessary antecedents to this machine, there has been 
the development of Science. The growing and improving 
arts of all kinds, have been helped up, step after step, by those 
generalized experiences, becoming ever wider, more complete, 
more exact, which make up what we call Mathematics, Phys 
ics, Chemistry, &c. Without a considerably-developed Ge 
ometry, there could never have been the machines for mak 
ing machines ; still less this machine that has proceeded from 
them. Without a developed Physics, there would have been 
no steam-engine to move these various automatic appliances, 
primary and secondary ; nor would the many implied metal- 
lurgic processes have beeri brought to the needful perfection. 
And in the absence of a developed Chemistry, many other 
requirements, direct and indirect, could not have been ade 
quately fulfilled. So that, in fact, this organization of knowl 
edge which began with civilization, had to reach something 
like its present stage before such a machine could come into 
existence ; supposing all other pre-requisites to be satis 
fied. Surely we have now got to the end of the history. 
Not quite : there yet remains an essential factor. No one 
goes on year after year spending thousands of pounds and 
much time, and persevering through disappointment and 
anxiety, without a strong motive : the " Walter-Press " was 
not a mere tour de force. Why, then, was it produced ? To 
meet an immense demand with great promptness to print, 
with one machine, 16,000 copies per hour. Whence arises this 
demand ? From an extensive reading public, brought in the 
course of generations to have a keen morning-appetite for 
news of all kinds merchants who need to know the latest 
prices at home and the latest telegrams from abroad ; politi 
cians who must learn the result of last night s division, be 
informed of the new diplomatic move, and read the speeches 
at a meeting ; sporting men who look for the odds and the 


result of yesterday s race ; ladies who want to see the births, 
marriages, and deaths. And on asking the origin of these 
many desires to be satisfied, they prove to be concomitants of 
our social state in general its trading, political, philanthropic, 
and other activities ; for in societies where these are not domi 
nant, the demand for news of various kinds rises to no such 
intensity. See, then, how enormously involved is the gen 

esis of this machine, as a sociological phenomenon. A whole 
encyclopaedia of mechanical inventions some dating from 
the earliest times go to the explanation of it. Thousands of 
years of discipline, by which the impulsive improvident na 
ture of the savage has been evolved into a comparatively self- 
controlling nature, capable of sacrificing present ease to future 
good, are pre-supposed. There is pre-supposed the equally- 
long discipline by which the inventive faculty, almost wholly 
absent in the savage, has been evolved ; and by which accu 
racy, not even conceived by the savage, has been cultivated. 
And there is further pre-supposed the slow political and social 
progress, at once cause and consequence of these other 
changes, that has brought us to a state in which such a ma 
chine finds a function to fulfil. 

The complexity of a sociological fact, and the difficulty of 
adequately grasping it, will now perhaps be more apparent. 
For as in this case there has been a genesis, so has there been 
in every other case, be it of institution, arrangement, custom, 
belief, &c. ; but while in this case the genesis is comparatively 
easy to trace, because of the comparatively-concrete character 
of process and product, it is in other cases difficult to trace, be 
cause the factors are mostly not of sensible kinds. And yet 
only when the genesis has been traced only when the ante 
cedents of all orders have been observed in their co-operation, 
generation after generation, through past social states is there 
reached that interpretation of a fact which makes it a part of 
sociological science, properly understood. If, for instance, the 
true meaning of such phenomena as those presented by trade- 
combinations is to be seen, it is needful to go back to those 
remote Old-English periods when analogous causes produced 
analogous results. As Brentano points out 

"The workmen formed their Trade- Unions against the aggressions 
of the then rising manufacturing lords, as in earlier times the old 


freemen formed their Frith-Gilds against the tyranny of medieval 
magnates, and the free handicraftsmen their Craft-Gilds against the 
aggressions of the Old-burghers." 7 

Then, having studied the successive forms of such organiza 
tions in relation to the successive industrial states, there have 
to be observed the ways in which they are severally related to 
other phenomena of their respective times the political in 
stitutions, the class- distinctions, the family-arrangements, the 
modes of distribution and degrees of intercourse between 
localities, the amounts of knowledge, the religious beliefs, the 
morals, the sentiments, the customs, the ideas. Considered as 
parts of a nation, having structures that form parts of its struc 
ture, and actions that modify and are modified by its actions, 
these trade-societies can have their full meanings perceived, 
only when they are studied in their serial genesis through 
many centuries, and their changes considered in relation to 
simultaneous changes throughout the social organism. And 
even then there remains the deeper inquiry How does it hap 
pen that in nations of certain types no analogous institutions 
exist, and that in nations of other types the analogous institu 
tions have taken forms more or less different ? 

That phenomena so involved cannot be seen as they truly 
are, even by the highest intelligence at present existing, is 
tolerably manifest. And it is manifest also that a Science of 
Society is likely for a long time hence to be recognized by but 
few ; since, not only is there in most cases an absence of 
faculty complex enough to grasp its complex phenomena, but 
there is mostly an absolute unconsciousness that there are any 
such complex phenomena to be grasped. 

To the want of due complexity of conceptive faculty, has 
to be added, as a further difficulty, the want of due plasticity 
of conceptive faculty. The general ideas of nearly all men 
have been framed out of experiences gathered within com 
paratively-narrow areas ; and general ideas so framed are far 
too rigid readily to admit the multitudinous and varied com 
binations of facts which Sociology presents. The child of Puri 
tanic parents, brought up in the belief that Sabbath-breaking 
brings after it all kinds of transgressions, and having had 
pointed out, in the village or small town that formed his 


world, various instances of this connection, is somewhat per 
plexed in after-years, when acquaintance with more of his 
countrymen has shown him exemplary lives joined with non- 
observance of the Sunday. When during continental travel 
he finds that the best people of foreign societies neglect in 
junctions which he once thought essential to right conduct, 
he still further widens his originally small and stiff concep 
tion. Now the process thus exemplified in the change of a 
single superficial belief, has to be gone through with numer 
ous beliefs of deeper kinds, before there can be reached the 
flexibility of thought required for dealing properly with socio 
logical phenomena. Not in one direction, but in most direc 
tions, we have to learn that those connexions of social facts 
which we commonly regard as natural and even necessary, 
are not necessary, and often have 110 particular naturalness. 
On contemplating past social states, we are continually re 
minded that many arrangements, and practices, and convic 
tions, that seem matters of course, are very modern ; and that 
others which we now regard as impossible were quite possible 
a few centuries ago. Still more on studying societies alien in 
race as well as in stage of civilization, we perpetually meet 
with things contrary to everything we should have thought 
probable, and even such as we should have scarcely hit upon 
in trying to conceive the most unlikely things. 

Take in illustration the varieties of domestic relations. 
That monogamy is not the only kind of marriage, we are 
early taught by our Bible-lessons. But though the conception 
of polygamy is thus made somewhat familiar, it does not 
occur to us that polyandry is also a possible arrangement ; 
and we are surprised on first learning that it exists, and was 
once extremely general. When we contemplate these marital 
institutions unlike our own, we cannot at first imagine that 
they are practised with a sense of propriety like that with 
which we practise ours. Yet Livingstone narrates that in a 
tribe bordering one of the Central African lakes, the women 
were quite disgusted on hearing that in England a man has 
only one wife. This is a feeling by no means peculiar to 

" An intelligent Kandyan chief with whom Mr. Bailey visited these 
Veddahs was perfectly scandalised at the utter barbarism of living 


with only one wife, and never parting until separated by death. It 
was, he said, just like the wanderoos (monkeys)." 8 
Again, one would suppose that, as a matter of course, mo 
nogamy, polygamy, and polyandry, in its several varieties, ex 
hausted the possible forms of marriage. An utterly-unex 
pected form is furnished us by one of the Arabian tribes. 
Marriage, among them, is for so many days in the week 
commonly for four days in the week, which is said to be " the 
custom in the best families : " the wife during the off-days be 
ing regarded as an independent woman who may do what she 
pleases. We are a little surprised, too, on reading that by 
some of the Hill-tribes of India, unfaithfulness on the part of 
the husband is held to be a grave offence, but unfaithfulness 
on the part of the wife a trivial one. We assume, as self-evi 
dent, that good usage of a wife by a husband, implies, among 
other things, absence of violence ; and hence it seems scarcely 
imaginable that in some places the opposite criterion holds. 
Yet it does so among the Tartars. 

" A nursemaid of mine left me to be married, and some short time 
after she went to the Natchalnick of the place to make a complaint 
against her husband. Me inquired into the matter, when she coolly 
told him her husband did not love her. He asked how she knew he 
did not love her; Because, she replied, he never whipped her. " 9 
A statement which might be rejected as incredible were it 
not for the analogous fact that, among the South-African 
races, a white master who does not thrash his men, is ridi 
culed and reproached by them as not worthy to be called a 
master. Among domestic customs, again, who, if he had been 
set to imagine all possible anomalies, would have hit upon 
that which is found among the Basques, and has existed 
among other races the custom that on the birth of a child 
the husband goes to bed and receives the congratulations of 
friends, while his wife returns to her household work ? Or 
who, among the results of having a son born, would dream of 
that which occurs among some Polynesian races, where the 
father is forthwith dispossessed of his property, and becomes 
simply a guardian of it on behalf of the infant ? The varieties 
of filial relations and of accompanying sentiments, continually 
show us things equally strange, and at first sight equally unac 
countable. No one would imagine that it might anywhere be 


thought a duty on the part of children to bury their parents 
alive. Yet it is so thought among the Fijians ; of whom we 
read also that the parents thus put out of the way, go to their 
graves with smiling faces. Scarcely less incredible does it 
seem that a man s affection should be regarded as more fitly 
shown towards the children of others than towards his own 
children. Yet the Hindus of Malabar supply an example. 

Among the Nairs " every man looks upon his sister s children as his 
heirs, . . . and he would be considered as an unnatural monster 
were he to show such signs of grief at the death of a child which . . . 
he might suppose to be his own, as he did at the death of a child of his 
sister." 10 

" The philoprogenitiveness of philosophical Europe is a strange 
idea, as well as term, to the Nair of Malabar, who learns with his 
earliest mind that his uncle is a nearer relation to him than his father, 
and consequently loves his nephew much more than his son." n 

When, in the domestic relations, we meet with such varie 
ties of law, of custom, of sentiment, of belief, thus indicated 
by a few examples which might be indefinitely multiplied, it 
may be imagined how multitudinous are the seeming incon 
gruities among the social relations at large. To be made con 
scious of these, however, it is not needful to study uncivilized 
tribes, or alien races partially civilized. If we look back to 
the earlier stages of European societies, we find abundant 
proofs that social phenomena do not necessarily hang together 
in ways such as our daily experiences show us. Religious 
conceptions may be taken in illustration. 

The grossness of these among civilized nations as they at 
present exist, might, indeed, prepare us for their still greater 
grossness during old times. When, close to Boulogne, one 
passes a crucifix, at the foot of which lies a heap of moulder 
ing crosses, each made of two bits of lath nailed together, de 
posited by passers-by in the expectation of Divine favour to 
be so gained, one cannot but have a sense of strangeness on 
glancing at the adjacent railway, and on calling to mind the 
achievements of the French in science. Still more may one 
marvel on finding, as in Spain, a bull-fight got up in the in 
terest of the Church the proceeds being devoted to a " Holy 
House of Mercy ! " And yet great as seem the incongruities 
between religious beliefs and social states now displayed, 


more astonishing 1 incongruities are disclosed on going far 
back. Consider the conceptions implied by sundry mystery- 
plays ; and remember that they were outgrowths from a the 
ory of the Divine government, which men were afterwards 
burnt for rejecting. Payments of wages to actors are entered 
thus : 

" Imprimis, to God, ij - 
Item, to Cayphas, iij - iiij* 

Item, to one of the knights, ij- 
Item, to the devyll and to Judas, xviij<*- 

" We have frequently such entries as : Item, payd for the spret (spirit)" 
God s cote, ij - We learn from these entries that God s coat was of 
leather, painted and gilt, and that he had a wig of false hair, also 
gilt," 12 

" Even the Virgin s conception is made a subject of ribaldry ; and 
in the Coventry collection we have a mystery, the play, on the subject of 
her pretended trial. It opens with the appearance of the somnour, who 
reads a long list of offences that appear in his book ; then come two 
detractors who repeat certain scandalous stories relating to Joseph 
and Mary, upon the strength of which they are summoned to appear 
before the ecclesiastical court. They are accordingly put upon their 
trial, and we have a broad picture of the proceedings in such a case," 
&c. 13 

Again, on looking into the illuminated missals of old times, 
there is revealed a mode of conceiving Christian doctrine 
which it is difficult to imagine as current in a civilized, or 
even semi-civilized, society : instance the ideas implied by a 
highly-finished figure of Christ, from whose wounded side a 
stream of wafers spouts on to a salver held by a priest. Or 
take a devotional book of later date a printed psalter pro 
fusely illustrated with woodcuts representing incidents in the 
life of Christ. Page after page exhibits ways in which his 
sacrifice is utilized after a perfectly-material manner. Here 
are .shown vines growing out of his wounds, and the grapes 
these vines bear are being devoured by bishops and abbesses. 
Here the cross is fixed on a large barrel, into which his blood 
falls in torrents, and out of which there issue jets on to groups 
of ecclesiastics. And here, his body being represented in a 
horizontal position, there rise from the wounds in his hands 
and feet fountains of blood, which priests and nuns are col- 


lecting in buckets and jars. Nay, even more astonishing- is 
the mental state implied by one of the woodcuts, which tries 
to aid the devotional reader in conceiving the Trinity, by repr 
resenting three persons standing in one pair of boots ! " 
Quite in harmony with these astoundingly-gross conceptions 
are the conceptions implied by the popular literature. The 
theological ideas that grew up in times when Papal authority 
was supreme, and before the sale of indulgences had been pro 
tested against, may be judged from a story contained in the 
Folk-lore collected by the Brothers Grimm, called " The Tailor 
in Heaven." Here is an abridged translation that has been 
made for me : 

" God, having one day gone out with the saints and the apostles for 
a walk, left Peter at the door of heaven with strict orders to admit no 
one. Soon after a tailor came and pleaded to be let in. But Peter 
said that God had forbidden any one to be admitted ; besides, the tailor 
was a bad character, and cabbaged the cloth he used. The tailor 
said the pieces he had taken were small, and had fallen into his basket ; 
and he was willing to make himself useful he would carry the babies, 
and wash or mend the clothes. Peter at last let him in, but made him 
sit clown in a corner, behind the door. Taking advantage of Peter s 
going outside for a minute or two. the tailor left his seat and looked 
about him. He soon came to a place where there were many stools, 
and a chair of massive gold and a golden footstool, which were God s. 
Climbing up on the chair, he could see all that was happening on the 
earth ; and he saw an old woman, who was washing clothes in a stream, 
making away with some of the linen. In his anger, he took up the 
footstool and threw it at her. As he could not get it back, he thought 
it best to return to his place behind the door, where he sat down, put 
ting on an air of innocence. God now re-entered, without observing 
the tailor. Finding his footstool gone, he asked Peter what had be 
come of it had he let anyone in ? The apostle at first evaded the 
question, but confessed that he had let in one only, however, a poor 
limping tailor. The tailor was then called, and asked what he had 
done with the footstool. When he had told, God said to him : O 
you knave, if I judged like you, how long do you think you would 
have escaped ? For long ago I should not have had a chair or even a 
poker left in the place, but should have hurled everything at the sin 
ners. " 1B 

These examples, out of multitudes that might be given, 
show the wide limits of variation within which social phe- 


nomena range. When we bear in mind that, along 1 with the 
ological ideas that now seem little above those of savages, 
there went (in England) a political constitution having out 
lines like the present, an established body of laws, a regular 
taxation, an emancipated working-class, an industrial system 
of considerable complexity, with the general intelligence and 
mutual trust implied by social co-operations so extensive and 
involved, we see that there are possibilities of combination far 
more numerous than we are apt to suppose. There is proved 
to us the need for greatly enlarging those stock-notions which 
are so firmly established in us by daily observations of sur 
rounding arrangements and occurrences. 

We might, indeed, even if limited to the evidence which 
our own society at the present time supplies, greatly inci-ease 
the plasticity of our conceptions, did we contemplate the facts 
as they really are. Could we nationally, as well as individu 
ally, " see ourselves as others see us," we might find at home 
seeming contradictions, sufficient to show us that what we 
think necessarily-connected traits are by no means necessarily 
connected. We might learn from our own institutions, and 
books, and journals, and debates, that while there are certain 
constant relations among social phenomena, they are not the 
relations commonly supposed to be constant ; and that when, 
from some conspicuous characteristic we infer certain other 
characteristics, we may be quite wrong. To aid ourselves in 
perceiving this, let us, varying a somewhat trite mode of rep 
resentation, consider what might be said of us by an inde 
pendent observer living in the far future supposing his state 
ments translated into our cumbrous language. 

" Though the diagrams used for teaching make every child 
aware that many thousands of years ago the Earth s orbit 
began to recede from its limit of greatest excentricity ; and 
though all are familiar with the consequent fact that the 
glacial period, which has so long made a large part of the north 
ern hemisphere uninhabitable, has passed its climax ; yet it is 
not universally known that in some regions, the retreat of gla 
ciers has lately made accessible, tracts long covered. Amid 
moraines and under vast accumulations of detritus, have been 
found here ruins, there semi-fossilized skeletons, and in some 


places even records, which, by a marvellous concurrence of 
favourable conditions, have been so preserved that parts of 
them remain legible. Just as fossil cephalopods, turned up by 
our automatic quarry ing-engines, are sometimes so perfect that 
drawings of them are made with the sepia taken from their 
own ink-bags ; so here, by a happy chance, there have come 
down to us, from a long-extinct race of men, those actual 
secretions of their daily life, which furnish colouring matter 
for a picture of them. By great perseverance our explorers 
have discovered the key to their imperfectly-developed lan 
guage ; and in course of years have been able to put together 
facts yielding us faint ideas of the strange peoples who lived 
in the northern hemisphere during the last pre-glacial period. 
"A report just issued refers to a time called by these .peo 
ples the middle of the nineteenth century of their era ; and it 
concerns a nation of considerable interest to us the English. 
Though until now no traces of this ancient nation were known 
to exist, yet there survived the names of certain great men it 
produced one a poet whose range of imagination and depth 
of insight are said to have exceeded those of all who went 
before him ; the other, a man of science, of whom, profound 
as we may suppose in many ways, we know definitely this, 
that to all nations then living, and that have since lived, he 
taught how this Universe is balanced. What kind of people 
the English were, and what kind of civilization they had, 
have thus always been questions exciting curiosity. The 
facts disclosed by this report, are scarcely like those antici 
pated. Search was first made for traces of these great 
men, who, it was supposed, would be conspicuously com 
memorated. Little was found, however. It did, indeed, ap 
pear that the last of them, who revealed to mankind the 
constitution of the heavens had received a name of honour 
like that which they gave to a successful trader who pre 
sented an address to their monarch ; and besides a tree planted 
in his memory, a small statue to their great poet had been put 
up in one of their temples, where, however, it was almost lost 
among the many and large monuments to their fighting 
chiefs. Not that commemorative structures of magnitude 
were never erected by the English. Our explorers discovered 
traces of a gigantic one, in which, apparently, persons of dis- 


tinction and deputies from all nations were made to take part 
in honouring some being man he can scarcely have been. 
For it is difficult to conceive that any man could have had a 
worth transcendent enough to draw from them such extreme 
homage, when they thought so little of those by whom their 
name as a race has been saved from oblivion. Their dis 

tribution of monumental honours was, indeed, in all respects 
remarkable. To a physician named Jenner, who, by a mode 
of mitigating the ravages of a horrible disease, was said to 
have rescued many thousands from death, they erected a 
memorial statue in one of their chief public places. After 
some years, however, repenting them of giving to this statue 
so conspicuous a position, they banished it to a far corner of 
one of their suburban gardens, frequented chiefly by children 
and nursemaids ; and in its place, they erected a statue to a 
great leader of their fighters one Napier, who had helped 
them to conquer and keep down certain weaker races. The 
reporter does not tell us whether this last had been instru 
mental in destroying as many lives as the first had saved ; 
but he remarks I could not cease wondering at this strange 
substitution among a people who professed a religion of 
peace. This does not seem to have been an act out of har 
mony with their usual acts : quite the contrary. The records 
show that to keep up the remembrance of a great victory 
gained over a neighbouring nation, they held for many years 
an annual banquet, much in the spirit of the commemorative 
scalp-dances of still more barbarous peoples ; and there was 
never wanting a priest to ask on the banquet, a blessing from 
one they named the God of love. In some respects, indeed, 
their code of conduct seems not to have advanced beyond, but 
to have gone back from, the code of a still more ancient peo 
ple from whom their creed was derived. One of the laws of 
this ancient people was. k an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a 
tooth ; but sundry laws of the English, especially those con 
cerning acts that interfei-ed with some so-called sports of their 
ruling classes, inflicted penalties which imply that their prin 
ciple had become a leg for an eye, and an arm for a tooth. 
The relations of their creed to the creed of this ancient people, 
are, indeed, difficult to understand. They had at one time 
cruelly persecuted this ancient people Jews they were called 


because that particular modification of the Jewish religion 
which they, the English, nominally adopted, was one which 
the Jews would not adopt. And yet, marvellous to relate, 
while they tortured the Jews for not agreeing with them, 
they substantially agreed with the Jews. Not only, as above 
instanced, in the law of retaliation did they outdo the Jews, 
instead of obeying the quite-opposite principle of the teacher 
they worshipped as divine, but they obeyed the Jewish law, 
and disobeyed this divine teacher, in other ways as in the 
rigid observance of every seventh day, which he had deliber 
ately discountenanced. Though they were angry with those 
who did not nominally believe in Christianity (which was the 
name of their religion), yet they ridiculed those who really 
believed in it ; for some few people among them, nicknamed 
Quakers, who aimed to carry out Christian precepts instead of 
Jewish precepts, they made butts for their jokes. Nay, more ; 
their substantial adhesion to the creed they professedly re 
pudiated, was clearly demonstrated by this, that in each of 
their temples they fixed up in some conspicuous place, the ten 
commandments of the Jewish religion, while they rarely, if 
ever, fixed up the two Christian commandments given instead 
of them. And yet, says the reporter, after dilating on these 
strange facts, though the English were greatly given to mis 
sionary enterprises of all kinds, and though I sought diligently 
among the records of these, I could find no trace of a society 
for converting the English people from Judaism to Chris 
tianity. This mention of their missionary enterprises 
introduces other remarkable anomalies. Being anxious to 
get adherents to this creed which they adopted in name but 
not in fact, they sent out men to various parts of the world to 
propagate it one part, among others, being that subjugated 
territory above named. There the English missionaries taught 
the gentle precepts of their faith ; and there the officers em 
ployed by their government exemplified these precepts : one 
of the exemplifications being that, to put down a riotous sect, 
they took fifty out of sixty-six who had surrendered, and, 
without any trial, blew them from the guns, as they called it 
tied them to the mouths of cannon and shattered their 
bodies to pieces. And then, curiously enough, having thus 
taught and thus exemplified their religion, they expressed 


great surprise at the fact that the only converts their mis 
sionaries could obtain among- these people, were hypocrites 
and men of characters so bad that no one would employ them. 

" Nevertheless, these semi-civilized English had their good 
points. Odd as must have been the delusion which made 
them send out missionaries to inferior races, who were always 
ill used by their sailors and settlers, and eventually extirpated, 
yet on finding that they spent annually a million of their 
money in missionary and allied enterprises, we cannot but 
see some generosity of motive in them. Their country was 
clotted over with hospitals and almshouses, and institutions 
for taking care of the diseased and indigent ; and their towns 
were overrun with philanthropic societies, which, without 
saying anything about the wisdom of their policy, clearly 
implied good feeling. They expended in the legal- relief of 
their poor as much as, and at one time more than, a tenth 
of the revenue raised for all national purposes. One of their 
remarkable deeds was, that to get rid of a barbarous institu 
tion of those times, called slavery, under which, in their 
colonies, certain men held complete possession of others, their 
goods, their bodies, and practically even their lives, they paid 
down twenty millions of their money. And a not less strik 
ing proof of sympathy was that, during a war between two 
neighbouring nations, they contributed large sums, and sent 
out many men and women, to help in taking care of the 
wounded and assisting the ruined. 

" The facts brought to light by these explorations are thus 
extremely instructive. Now that, after tens of thousands of 
years of discipline, the lives of men in society have become 
harmonious now that character and conditions have little by 
little grown into adjustment, we are apt to suppose that con- 
gruity of institutions, conduct, sentiments, and beliefs, is nec 
essary. We think it almost impossible that, in the same so 
ciety, there should be daily practised principles of quite 
opposite kinds ; and it seems to us scarcely credible that men 
should have, or profess to have, beliefs with which their acts 
are absolutely irreconcilable. Only that extremely-rare dis 
order, insanity, could explain the conduct of one who, know 
ing that fire burns, nevertheless thrusts his hand into the 
flame ; and to insanity also we should ascribe the behaviour 


of one who, professing 1 to think a certain course morally right, 
pursued the opposite course. Yet the revelations yielded by 
these ancient remains, show us that societies could hold to 
gether notwithstanding what we should think a chaos of con 
duct and of opinion. Nay more, they show us that it was pos 
sible for men to profess one thing 1 and do another, without 
betraying a consciousness of inconsistency. One piece of evi 
dence is curiously to the point. Among their multitudinous 
agencies for - beneficent purposes, the English had a Naval 
and Military Bible Society a society for distributing copies 
of their sacred book among their professional fighters on sea 
and land ; and this society was subscribed to, and chiefly man 
aged by, leaders among these fighters. It is, indeed, suggested 
by the reporter, that for these classes of men they had an ex 
purgated edition of their sacred book, from which the injunc 
tions to return good for evil, and to turn the cheek to the 
smiter, were omitted. It may have been so ; but, even if so, 
we have a remarkable instance of the extent to which convic 
tion and conduct may be diametrically opposed, without any 
apparent perception that they are opposed. We habitually 
assume that a distinctive trait of humanity is rational, and 
that rationality involves consistency ; yet here we find an ex 
tinct race (unquestionably human and regarding itself as ra 
tional) in which the inconsistency of conduct and professed 
belief was as great as can well be imagined. Thus we are 
warned against supposing that what now seems to us natural 
was always natural. We have our eyes opened to an error 
which has been getting confirmed among us for these thou 
sands of years, that social phenomena and the phenomena of 
human nature necessarily hang- together in the ways we see 
around us." 

Before summing up what has been said under the title of 
" Subjective difficulties Intellectual," I may remark that this 
group of difficulties is separated from the group of " Objective 
Difficulties," dealt with in the last chapter, rather for the sake 
of convenience than because the division can be strictly main 
tained. In contemplating obstacles to interpretation phe 
nomena being on the one side and intelligence on the other 
we may, as we please, ascribe failure either to the inadequacy 


of the intelligence or to the involved nature of the phenomena. 
An obstacle is subjective or objective according to our point of 
view. But the obstacles above set forth arise in so direct a way 
from conspicuous defects of human intelligence, that they may, 
more appropriately than the preceding ones, be classed as sub 

So regarding them, then, we have to beware, in the first place, 
of this tendency to automorphic interpretation ; or rather, hav 
ing no alternative but to conceive the natures of other men in 
terms furnished by our own feelings and ideas, we have to be 
ware of the mistakes likely hence to arise discounting our con 
clusions as well as we can. Further, we must be on our guard 
against the two opposite prevailing errors respecting Man, and 
against the sociological errors flowing from them : we have to 
get rid of the two beliefs that human nature is unchangeable, and 
that it is easily changed ; and we have, instead, to become famil 
iar with the conception of a human nature that is changed in the 
slow succession of generations by social discipline. Another ob 
stacle not to be completely surmounted by any, and to be partial 
ly surmounted by but few, is that resulting from the want of 
intellectual faculty complex enough to grasp the extremely- 
complex phenomena which Sociology deals with. There can be 
no complete conception of a sociological fact, considered as a 
component of Social Science, unless there are present to thought 
all its essential factors; and the power of keeping them in 
mind with due clearness, as well as in their proper propor 
tions and combinations, has yet to be reached. Then beyond 
this difficulty, only to be in a measure overcome, there is the 
further difficulty, not however by any means so great, of en 
larging the conceptive capacity; so that it may admit the 
widely-divergent and extremely-various combinations of social 
phenomena. That rigidity of conception produced in us by ex 
periences of our own social life in our own time, has to be ex 
changed for a plasticity that can receive with ease, and accept 
as natural, the countless combinations of social phenomena 
utterly unlike, and sometimes exactly opposite to, those we 
are familiar with. Without such a plasticity there can be no 
proper understanding of co-existing social states allied to our 
own, still less of past social states, or social states of alien civ 
ilized races and races in early stages of development. 



THAT passion perverts judgment, is an observation suffi 
ciently trite ; but the more general observation of which it 
should form part, that emotion of every kind and degree dis 
turbs the intellectual balance, is not trite, and even where 
recognized, is not duly taken into account. Stated in full, the 
truth is that no propositions, save those which are absolutely 
indifferent to us, immediately and remotely, can be contem 
plated without likings and repugnances affecting the opinions 
we form about them. There are two modes in which pur con 
clusions are thus falsified. Excited feelings make us wrongly 
estimate probability ; and they also make us wrongly estimate 
importance. Some cases will show this. 

All who are old enough, remember the murder committed 
by Miiller on the North London Eailway some % years ago. 
Most persons, too, will remember that for some time after 
wards there was universally displayed, a dislike to travelling 
by railway in company with a single other passenger sup 
posing him to be unknown. Though, up to the date of the 
murder in question, countless journeys had been made by two 
strangers together in the same compartment without evil 
being suffered by either though, after the death of Mr. 
Briggs, the probabilities were immense against the occurrence 
of a similar fate to another person similarly placed ; yet there 
was habitually aroused a fear that would have been appro 
priate only had the danger been considerable. The amount 
of feeling excited was quite incommensurate with the risk. 
While the chance was a million to one against evil, the antic 
ipation of evil was as strong as though the chance had been a 
thousand to one or a hundred to one. The emotion of dread 



destroyed the balance of judgment, and a rational estimate of 
likelihood became impossible ; or rather, a rational estimate 
of likelihood if formed was wholly inoperative on conduct. 

Another instance was thrust on my attention during 1 the 
small-pox epidemic, which a while since so unaccountably 
spread, after twenty years of compulsory vaccination. A lady 
living in London, sharing in the general trepidation, was ex 
pressing her fears to me. I asked her whether, if she lived in 
a town of twenty thousand inhabitants and heard of one per 
son dying of small-pox in the course of a week, she would be 
much alarmed. Naturally she answered, no ; and her fears 
were somewhat calmed when I pointed out that, taking the 
whole population of London, and the number of deaths per 
week from small-pox, this was about the rate of mortality at 
that time caused by it. Yet in other minds, as in her mind, 
panic had produced an entire incapacity for forming a ra 
tional estimate of the peril. Nay, indeed, so perturbing was 
the emotion, that an unusual amount of danger to life was 
imagined at a time when the danger to life was smaller than 
usual. For the returns showed that the mortality from all 
causes was rather below the average than above it. While 
the evidence proved that the risk of death was less than com 
mon, this wave of feeling which spread through society pro 
duced an irresistible conviction that it was uncommonly great. 

These examples show in a clear way, what is less clearly 
shown of examples hourly occurring, that the associated ideas 
constituting a judgment, are much affected in their relations 
to one another by the co-existing emotion. Two ideas will 
cohere feebly or strongly, according as the correlative nervous 
states involve a feeble or a strong discharge along the lines of 
nervous connexion ; and hence a large wave of feeling, imply 
ing as it does a voluminous discharge in all directions, ren 
ders such two ideas more coherent. This is so even when the 
feeling is not relevant to the ideas, as is shown by the vivid 
recollections of trivialities seen on occasions of great excite 
ment ; and it is still more so when the feeling is relevant 
that is, when the proposition formed by the ideas is itself the 
cause of excitement. Much of the emotion tends, in such case, 
to discharge itself through the channels connecting the ele 
ments of the proposition ; and predicate follows subject with 


a persistence out of all proportion to that which is justified by 

We see this with emotions of all orders. How greatly ma 
ternal affection falsifies a mother s opinion of her child, every 
one observes. How those in love fancy superiorities where 
none are visible to unconcerned spectators, and remain blind 
to defects that are conspicuous to all others, is matter of com 
mon remark. Note, too, how, in the holder of a lottery-ticket, 
hope generates a belief utterly at variance with probability as 
numerically estimated; or how an excited inventor confi 
dently expects a success which calm judges see to be impossi 
ble. That " the wish is father to the thought," here so obvi 
ously true, is true more or less in nearly all cases where there 
is a wish. And in other cases, as where horror is aroused by 
the fancy of something supernatural, we see that in the ab 
sence of wish to believe, there may yet arise belief if violent 
emotion goes along with the ideas that are joined together. 

Though there is some recognition of the fact that men s 
judgments on social questions are distorted by their emotions, 
the recognition is extremely inadequate. Political passion, 
class-hatred, and feelings of great intensity, are alone admitted 
to be large factors in determining opinions. But, as above 
implied, we have to take account of emotions of many kinds 
and of all degrees, down to slight likes and dislikes. For, if 
we look closely into our own beliefs on public affairs, as well 
as into the beliefs of those around us, we find them to be 
caused much more by aggregates of feelings than by examina 
tions of evidence. No one, even if he tries, succeeds in pre 
venting the slow growth of sympathies with, or antipathies 
to, certain institutions, customs, ideas, &c. ; and if he watches 
himself, he will perceive that unavoidably each new question 
coming before him, is considered in relation to the mass of 
convictions which have been gradually moulded into agree 
ment with his sympathies and antipathies. 

When the reader has admitted, as he must if he is candid 
with himself, that his opinion on any political act or proposal 
is commonly formed in advance of direct evidence, and that 
he rarely takes the trouble to inquire whether direct evidence 
justifies it ; he will see how great are those difficulties in the 


way of sociological science, which arise from the various emo 
tions excited by the matters it deals with. Let us note, first, 
the effects of some emotions of a general kind, which we are 
apt to overlook. 

The state of mind called impatience is one of these. If a 
man swears at some inanimate thing which he cannot adjust 
as he wishes, or if, in wintry weather, slipping down and 
hurting himself, he vents his anger by damning gravitation ; 
his folly is manifest enough to spectators, and to himself also 
when his irritation has died away. But in the political 
sphere it is otherwise. A man may here, in spirit if not in 
word, damn a law of nature without being himself aware, and 
without making others aware, of his absurdity. 

The state of feeling often betrayed towards Political Econ 
omy exemplifies this. An impatience accompanying the 
vague consciousness that certain cherished convictions or pet 
schemes are at variance with politico-economical truths, shows 
itself in contemptuous words applied to these truths. Know 
ing that his theory of government and plans for social refor 
mation are discountenanced by it, Mr. Carlyle manifests his 
annoyance by calling Political Economy u the dismal science." 
And among others than his adherents, there are many belong 
ing to all parties, retrograde and progressive, who display re 
pugnance to this body of doctrine with which their favourite 
theories do not agree. Yet a little thought might show them 
that their feeling is much of the same kind as would be scorn 
vented by a perpetual-motion schemer against the principles 
of Mechanics. 

To see that these generalizations which they think of as 
cold and hard, and acceptable only by the unsympathetic, are 
nothing but statements of certain modes of action arising out 
of human nature, which are no less beneficent than necessary, 
they need only suppose for a moment that human nature had 
opposite tendencies. Imagine that, instead of preferring to 
buy things at low prices, men habitually preferred to give 
high prices for them ; and imagine that, conversely, sellers 
rejoiced in getting low prices instead of high ones. Is it not 
obvious that production and distribution and exchange, as 
suming them possible under such conditions, would go on in 


ways entirely different from their present ways ? If men 
went for each commodity to a place where it was difficult of 
production, instead of going to a place where it could be pro 
duced easily; and if instead of transferring articles of con 
sumption from one part of a kingdom to another along the 
shortest routes, they habitually chose roundabout routes, so 
that the cost in labour and time might be the greatest ; is it 
not clear that, could industrial and commercial arrangements 
of any kinds exist, they would be so unlike the present ar 
rangements as to be inconceivable by us ? And if this is un 
deniable, is it not equally undeniable that the processes of 
production, distribution, and exchange, as they now go on, 
are processes determined by certain fundamental traits in 
human nature ; and that Political Economy is nothing more 
than a statement of the laws of these processes as inevitably 
resulting from such traits ? 

That the generalizations of political economists are not all 
true, and that some, which are true in the main, need qualifi 
cation, is very likely. But to admit this, is not in the least to 
admit that there are no true generalizations of this order to be 
made. Those who see, or fancy they see, flaws in politico- 
economical conclusions, and thereupon sneer at Political 
Economy, remind me of the theologians who lately rejoiced 
so much over the discovery of an error in the estimation of 
the Sun s distance ; and thought the occasion so admirable a 
one for ridiculing men of science. It is characteristic of theo 
logians to find a solace in whatever shows human imperfec 
tion ; and in this case they were elated because astronomers 
discovered that, while their delineation of the Solar System 
remained exactly right in all its proportions, the absolute 
dimensions assigned were too great by about one-thirtieth. 
In one respect, however, the comparison fails ; for though the 
theologians taunted the astronomers, they did not venture to 
include Astronomy within the scope of their contempt did 
not do as those to whom they are here compared, who show 
contempt, not for political economists only, but for Political 
Economy itself. 

Were they calm, these opponents of the political economists 
would see that as, out of certain physical properties of things 
there inevitably arise certain modes of action, which, as gen- 


eralized, constitute physical science ; so out of the properties 
of men., intellectual and emotional, there inevitably arise cer 
tain laws of social processes, including, among 1 others, those 
through which mutual aid in satisfying wants is made pos 
sible. They would see that, but for these processes, the laws 
of which Political Economy seeks to generalize, men would 
have continued in the lowest stage of barbarism to the present 
hour. They would see that instead of jeering at the science 
and those who pursue it, their course should be to show in 
what respects the generalizations thus far made are untrue, 
and how they may be so expressed as to correspond to the 
truth more nearly. 

I need not further exemplify the perturbing influence of 
impatience in sociological inquiry. Along with irrational 
hope so conspicuously shown by every party having a new 
project for the furtherance of human welfare, there habitually 
goes this irrational irritation in presence of stern truths which 
negative sanguine anticipations. Be it some way of remedy 
ing the evils of competition, some scheme for rendering the 
pressure of population less severe, some method of organiz 
ing a government so as to secure complete equity, some plan 
for reforming men by teaching, by restriction, by punish 
ment ; anything like calm consideration of probabilities as 
estimated from experience, is excluded by this eagerness for 
an immediate result ; and instead of submission to the neces 
sities of things, there comes vexation, felt if not expressed, 
against them, or against those who point them out, or against 

That feelings of love and hate make rational judgments 
impossible in public affairs, as in private affairs, we can clearly 
enough see in others, though not so clearly in ourselves. 
Especially can we see it when these others belong to an alien 
society. France, during and since the late war, has furnished 
us almost daily with illustrations. The fact that while the 
struggle was going on, any foreigner in Paris was liable to be 
seized as a Prussian, and that, if charged with being a Prus 
sian, he was forthwith treated as one, sufficiently proves that 
hate makes rational estimation of evidence impossible. The 
marvellous distortions which this passion produces were 


abundantly exemplified during the reign of the Commune ; 
and yet again after the Commune was subdued. The " pre 
ternatural suspicion," as Mr. Carlyle called it, which charac 
terized conduct during the first revolution, characterized con 
duct during the late catastrophe. And it is displayed still. 
The sayings and doings of French political parties, alike in 
the Assembly, in the press, and in private societies, show that 
mutual hate causes mutual misinterpretations, fosters false in 
ferences, and utterly vitiates sociological ideas. 

While, however, it is manifest to us that among our neigh 
bours, strong sympathies and antipathies make men s views 
unreasonable, we do not perceive that among ourselves sym 
pathies and antipathies distort judgments in degrees, not per 
haps so extreme, but still in very great degrees. Instead of 
French opinion on French affairs, let us take English opinion 
on French affairs not affairs of recent date, but affairs of the 
past. And instead of a case showing how these feelings fal 
sify the estimates of evidence, let us take a case showing how 
they falsify the estimates of the relative gravities of evils, and 
the relative degrees of blame worthiness of actions. 

Feudalism had decayed : its benefits had died out and only 
its evils had survived. While the dominant classes no longer 
performed their functions, they continued their exactions and 
maintained their privileges. Seignorial power was exercised 
solely for private benefit, and at every step met the unprivi 
leged with vexatious claims and restrictions. The peasant 
was called from his heavily-burdened bit of land to work 
gratis for a neighbouring noble, who gave him no protection 
in return. He had to bear uncomplainingly the devouring of 
his crops by this man s game ; to hand him a toll before he 
could cross the river ; to buy from him the liberty to sell at 
market nay, such portion of grain as he reserved for his own 
use he could eat only after paying for the grinding of it at his 
seigneur s mill, and for having it baked at his bakehouse. And 
then, added to the seignorial exactions, came the exactions of 
the Church, still more mercilessly enforced. Town-life 

was shackled as much as country-life. Manufacturers were 
hampered by almost incredible restrictions. Government de 
cided on the persons to be employed, the articles to be made, 
the materials to be used, the processes to be followed, and the 


qualities of the products. State-officers broke the looms and 
burnt the goods that were not made according to law. Im 
provements were illegal and inventors were fined. 1 " Taxa 
tion was imposed exclusively on the industrious classes, and 
in such a manner as to be an actual penalty on produc 
tion."* The currency had been debased to one seventy- 
third of its original value. " No redress was obtainable for 
any injury to property or person when inflicted by people 
of rank or court influence." 3 And the ruling power was upheld 
by "spies, false- witnesses, and pretended plots." Along 

with these local tyrannies and universal abuses and exasperat 
ing obstacles to living almost beyond belief, there had gone 
on at the governing centre maladministration, corruption, ex 
travagance : treasures were spent in building vast palaces, and 
enormous armies were sacrificed in inexcusable wars. Pro 
fuse expenditure, demanding more than could be got from 
crippled industry, had caused a chronic deficit. New taxes 
on the poor workers brought in no money, but only clamour 
and discontent ; and to tax the rich idlers proved to be imprac 
ticable : the proposal that the clergy and noblesse should no 
longer be exempt from burdens such as were borne by tbe 
people, brought from these classes " a shriek of indignation 
and astonishment." Arid then, to make more conspicuous the 
worthlessness of the governing agencies of all orders, there was 
the corrupt life led by the Court, from the King downwards 
France lying " with a harlot s foot on its neck." Passing 

over the various phases of the break-up which ended this intoler 
able state phases throughout which the dominant classes, good- 
for-nothing and unrepentant, strove to recover their power, and, 
enlisting foreign rulers, brought upon France invading armies 
we come presently to a time when, mad with anger and fear, 
the people revenged themselves on such of their past tor 
mentors as remained among them. Leagued, as many of 
these were, with those of their order who were levying war 
against liberated France leagued, as many others were sup 
posed to be, with these enemies to the Republic at home and 
abroad incorrigible as they proved themselves by their plot- 
tings and treacheries; there at length came down on them 
the September massacres and the Reign of Terror, during 
which nearly ten thousand of those implicated, or supposed to 


be implicated, were killed or formally executed. The Nemesis 
was sufficiently fearful. Lamentable sufferings and death 
fell on innocent as well as guilty. Hate and despair com 
bined to arouse an undistinguishing cruelty, and, in some of 
the leading actors, a cold-blooded ferocity. Nevertheless, rec 
ognizing all this recognizing also the truth that those who 
wreaked this vengeance were intrinsically no better than 
those on whom it was wreaked we must admit that the 
bloodshed had its excuse. The panic of a people threatened 
with re-imposition of dreadful shackles, was not to be won 
dered at. That the expected return of a time like that in 
which gaunt figures and haggard faces about the towns and 
the country, indicated the social disorganization, should excite 
men to a blind fury, was not unnatural. If they became 
frantic at the thought that there was coming back a state 
under which there might again be a slaying of hundreds of 
thousands of men in battles fought to gratify the spite of a 
King s concubine, we need not be greatly astonished. And some 
of the horror expressed at the fate of the ten thousand victims, 
might fitly be reserved for the abominations which caused it. 

From this partially-excusable bloodshed, over which men 
shudder excessively, let us turn now to the immeasurably- 
greater bloodshed, having no excuse, over which they do not 
shudder at all. Out of the sanguinary chaos of the Revolu 
tion, there presently rose a soldier whose immense ability, 
joined with his absolute unscrupulousness, made him now 
general, now consul, now autocrat. He was untruthful in an 
extreme degree : lying in his despatches day by day, never 
writing a page without bad faith, 4 nay, even giving to others 
lessons in telling falsehoods. 6 He professed friendship while 
plotting to betray ; and quite early in his career made the 
wolf-and-lamb fable his guide. He got antagonists into his 
power by promises of clemency, and then executed them. To 
strike terror, he descended to barbarities like those of the 
bloodthirsty conquerors of old, of whom his career reminds 
us : as in Egypt, when, to avenge fifty of his soldiers, he be 
headed 2,000 fellahs, throwing their headless corpses into the 
Nile ; or as at Jaffa, when 2,500 of the garrison who finally 
surrendered, were, at his order, deliberately massacred. Even 
his own officers, not over-scrupulous, as we may suppose, were 


shocked by his brutality sometimes refusing to execute his 
sanguinary decrees. Indeed, the instincts of the savage were 
scarcely at all qualified in him by what we call moral senti 
ments ; as we see in his proposal to burn " two or three of the 
larger communes " in La Vendee ; as we see in his wish to 
introduce bull-fights into France, and to revive the combats 
of the Roman arena; as we see in the cold-blooded sacrifice of 
his own soldiers, when he ordered a useless outpost attack 
merely that his mistress might witness an engagement ! That 
such a man should have prompted the individual killing of 
leading antagonists, and set prices on their heads, as in the 
cases of Mourad-Bey and Count Frotte, and that to remove 
the Due d Enghien he should have committed a crime like in 
its character to that of one who hires a bravo, but unlike by 
entailing on him no danger, was quite natural. It was natu 
ral, too, that in addition to countless treacheries and breaches 
of faith in his dealings with foreign powers, such a man 
should play the traitor to his own nation, by stamping out its 
newly-gained free institutions, and substituting his own mili 
tary despotism. Such being the nature of the man, and 
such being a few illustrations of his cruelty and unscrupu- 
lousness, contemplate now his greater crimes and their mo 
tives. Year after year he went on sacrificing by tens of thou 
sands and hundreds of thousands the French people and the 
people of Europe at large, to gratify his lust of power and his 
hatred of opponents. To feed his insatiable ambition, and to 
crush those who resisted his efforts after universal dominion, 
he went on seizing the young men of France, forming army 
after army, that were destroyed in destroying like armies 
raised by neighbouring nations. In the Russian campaign 
alone, out of 552,000 men in Napoleon s army left dead or 
prisoners, but few returned home ; while the Russian force of 
more than 200.000 was reduced to 30,000 or 40,000 : implying a 
total sacrifice of considerably more than half-a-million lives. 
And when the mortality on both sides by death in battle, by 
wounds, and by disease, throughout the Napoleonic campaigns 
is summed up, it exceeds at the lowest computation two mill 
ions.* And all this slaughter, all this suffering, all this dev 
astation, was gone through because one man had a restless 
desire to be despot over all men. 



What has been thought and felt in England about the 
two sets of events above contrasted, and about the actors in 
them ? The bloodshed of the Revolution has been spoken of 
with words of horror ; and for those who wrought it there has 
been unqualified hate. About the enormously-greater blood 
shed which these w r ars of the Consulate and the Empire en 
tailed, little or no horror is expressed ; while the feeling 
towards the modern Attila who was guilty of this bloodshed, 
is shown by decorating rooms with portraits and busts of 
him. See the beliefs which these respective feelings imply : 
Over ten thousand deaths Two million deaths call for 
we may fitly shudder and la- no shuddering or lamenta- 
ment. tion. 

As the two millions, inno 
cent of offence, were taken by 
force from classes already op 
pressed and impoverished, the 
slaughter of them need excite 
no pity. 

There is nothing heart 
rending in the sufferings of 
the two millions who died for 
no crimes of their own or 

As the ten thousand were 
slain because of the tyrannies, 
cruelties, and treacheries, com 
mitted by them or their class, 
their deaths are very pitiable. 

The sufferings of the ten 
thousand and of their rela 
tives, who expiated their own 
misdeeds and the misdeeds of 
their class, may fitly form sub 
jects for heart-rending stories 
and pathetic pictures. 

their class ; nor is there any 
thing pathetic in the fates of 
the families throughout Eu 
rope, from which the two mill 
ions were taken. 

That one vile man s lust of 
power was gratified through 
the deaths of the two millions, 
greatly palliates the sacrifice 
of them. 

That despair and the in 
dignation of a betrayed peo 
ple, brought about this slaugh 
ter of ten thousand, makes the 
atrocity without palliation. 

These are the antithetical propositions tacitly implied in 
the opinions that have been current in England about the 
French Revolution and the Napoleonic wars. Only by ac 
ceptance of such propositions can these opinions be defended. 
Such have been the emotions of men that, until quite recently, 
it has been the habit to speak with detestation of the one set 
of events, and to speak of the other set of events in words be- 


traying admiration. Nay, even now these feelings are but 
partially qualified. "While the names of the leading actors in 
the Reign of Terror are names of execration, we speak of 
Napoleon as "the Great," and Englishmen worship him by 
visiting his tomb and taking oft their hats ! 

How, then, with such perverting emotions, is it possible 
to take rational views of sociological facts ? Forming, as 
men do, such astoundingly-false conceptions of the relative 
amounts of evils and the relative characters of motives, how 
can they judge truly among institutions and actions, past or 
present ? Clearly, minds thus swayed by disproportionate 
hates and admirations, cannot frame those balanced conclu 
sions respecting social phenomena which alone constitute 
Social Science. 

The sentiment which thus vents itself in horror at bad 
deeds for which there was much excuse, while to deeds incom 
parably more dreadful and without excuse, it gives applause 
very slightly qualified with blame, is a sentiment which, 
among other effects, marvellously perverts men s political 
conceptions. This awe of power, by the help of which social 
subordination has been, and still is, chiefly maintained this 
feeling which delights to contemplate the imposing, be it in 
military successes, or be it in the grand pageantries, the sound 
ing titles, and the sumptuous modes of living that imply su 
preme authority this feeling which is offended by outbreaks 
of insubordination and acts or words of the kind called dis 
loyal ; is a feeling that inevitably generates delusions respect 
ing governments, their capacities, their achievements. It 
transfigures them and all their belongings ; as does every strong 
emotion the objects towards which it is drawn out. Just as 
maternal love, idealizing offspring, sees perfections but not 
defects, and believes in the future good behaviour of a worth 
less son, notwithstanding countless broken promises of amend 
ment ; so this power-worship idealizes the State, as embodied 
either in a despot, or in king, lords, and commons, or in a re 
publican assembly, and continually hopes in spite of continual 

How awe of power sways men s political beliefs, will be 
perceived on observing how it sways their religious beliefs. 


We shall best see this by taking an instance supplied by a 
people whose religious ideas are extremely crude. Here is an 
abstract of a description given by Captain Burton : 

" A pot of oil with a lighted wick was placed every night by the 
half-bred Portuguese Indians, before the painted doll, the patron saint 
of the boat in which we sailed from Goa. One evening, as the weather 
appeared likely to be squally, we observed that the usual compliment 
was not offered to the patron, and had the curiosity to inquire why. 
Why? vociferated the tindal [captain], indignantly, if that chap 
can t keep the sky clear, he shall have neither oil nor wick from me, 
d n him ! But I should have supposed that in the hour of danger 
you would have paid him more than usual attention ? The fact is, 
Sahib, I have found out that the fellow is not worth his salt : the last 
time we had an infernal squall with him on board, and if he does not 
keep this one off, I ll just throw him overboard, and take to Santa 
Caterina ; hang me if I don t the brother-in-law ! " [brother-in-law, 
a common term of insult]. 7 

By us it is scarcely imaginable that men should thus be 
have to their gods and demi-gods should pray to them, 
should insult and sometimes whip them for not answering 
their prayers, and then should presently pray to them 
again. Let us pause before we laugh. Though in the sphere 
of religion our conduct does not betray such a contradiction, 
yet a contradiction essentially similar is betrayed by our 
conduct in the political sphere. Perpetual disappointment 
does not here cure us of perpetual expectation. Conceiving 
the State-agency as though it were something more than a 
cluster of men (a few clever, many ordinary, and some de 
cidedly stupid), we ascribe to it marvellous powers of doing 
multitudinous things which men otherwise clustered are un 
able to do. We petition it to procure for us in some way 
which we do not doubt it can find, benefits of all orders ; and 
pray it with unfaltering faith to secure us from every fresh 
evil. Time after time our hopes are balked. The good is not 
obtained, or something bad comes along with it ; the evil is 
not cured, or some other evil as great or greater is produced. 
Our journals, daily and weekly, general and local, perpetually 
find failures to dilate upon : now blaming, and now ridiculing, 
first this department and then that. And yet, though the rec 
tification of blunders, administrative and legislative, is a main 
part of public business though the time of the Legislature is 


chiefly occupied in amending and again amending, until, after 
the many mischiefs implied by these needs for amendments, 
there often comes at last repeal ; yet from day to day increas 
ing numbers of wishes are expressed for legal repressions and 
State-management. This emotion which is excited by the 
forms of governmental power, and makes governmental power 
possible, is the root of a faith that springs up afresh however 
often cut down. To see how little the perennial confidence 
it generates is diminished by perennial disappointment, we 
need but remind ourselves of a few State-performances in the 
chief State-departments. 

On the second page of the first chapter, by way of illustrat 
ing Admiralty -mismanagement, brief reference was made to 
three avoidable catastrophes which had happened to vessels 
of war within the twelvemonth. Their frequency is further 
shown by the fact that before the next chapter was published, 
two others had occurred : the Lord Clyde ran aground in the 
Mediterranean, and the Royal Alfred was seven hours on the 
Bahama reef. And then, more recently still, we have had the 
collision of the Northumberland and Hercules at Funchal, 
and the sinking of a vessel at Woolwich by letting a 35-ton 
gun fall from the slings on to her bottom. That the au 

thorities of the Navy commit errors which the merchant 
service avoids, has been repeatedly shown of late, as in times 
past. It was shown by the disclosure respecting the corrosion 
of the Glutton s plates, which proved that the Admiralty had 
not adopted the efficient protective methods long used by pri 
vate shipowners. It was shown when the loss of the Ariadne s 
sailors made us aware that a twenty-six gun frigate had not 
as many boats for saving life as are prescribed for a passenger- 
ship of 400 tons ; and that for lowering her boats there was 011 
board neither Kynaston s apparatus nor the much better ap 
paratus of Clifford, which experience in the merchant service 
has thoroughly tested. It was shown by the non-adoption of 
Silver s governor for marine steam-engines ; long used in pri 
vate steam-ships to save machinery from breakage, but only 
now being introduced into the Navy after machinery has been 
broken. On going back a little, this relative inefficiency 

of administration is still more strikingly shown : instance the 
fact that during the Chinese expedition of 1841, a mortality at 


the rate of three or four per day in a crew of three hundred, 
arose from drinking muddy water from the paddy-fields, 
though, either by boiling it or by filtering it through charcoal, 
much of this mortality might have been prevented ; instance 
the fact that, within the memory of living officers (I have it 
from the mouth of one who had the experience), vessels of 
war leaving Deptford, filled their casks with Thames-water 
taken at ebb-tide, which water, during its subsequent period of 
putrefaction, had to be filtered through handkerchiefs before 
drinking, and then swallowed while holding the nose ; or in 
stance the accumulation of abominable abuses and malversa 
tions and tyrannies which produced the mutiny at Spit- 
head. But, perhaps, as all such illustrations, the most 
striking is that which the treatment of scurvy furnishes. It 
was in 1593 that sour juices were first recommended by Al- 
bertus ; and in the same year Sir R. Hawkins cured his crew 
of scurvy by lemon-juice. In 1COO Commodore Lancaster, 
who took out the first squadron of the East India Company s 
ships, kept the crew of his own ship in perfect health by 
lemon-juice, while the crews of the three accompanying ships 
were so disabled that he had to send his men on board to set 
their sails. In 1636 this remedy was again recommended in 
medical works on scurvy. Admiral Wagner, commanding 
our fleet in the Baltic in 1726, once more showed it to be a 
specific. In 1757 Dr. Liiid, the physician to the naval hospital 
at Haslar, collected and published in an elaborate work, these 
and many other proofs of its efficacy. Nevertheless, scurvy 
continued to carry off thousands of our sailors. In. 1780, 
2,400 in the Channel Fleet were affected by it ; and in 1795 the 
safety of the Channel Fleet was endangered by it. At length, 
in that year, the Admiralty ordered a regular supply of lemon- 
juice to the navy. Thus two centuries after the remedy was 
known, and forty years after a chief medical officer of the 
Government had given conclusive evidence of its worth, the 
Admiralty, forced thereto by an exacerbation of the evil, first 
moved in the matter. And what had been the effect of this 
amazing perversity of officialism ? The mortality from 
scurvy during this long period had exceeded the mortality 
by battles, wrecks, and all casualties of sea-life put together ! 8 
How, through military administration there has all along 


run, and still runs, a kindred stupidity and obstructiveness, 
pages of examples might be accumulated to show. The de 
bates pending 1 the abolition of the purchase-system furnish 
many; the accounts of life at Aldershot and of autumn 
manoeuvres furnish many ; and many might be added in the 
shape of protests like those made against martinet riding- 
regulations, which entail ruptures on the soldiers, and against 
" our ridiculous drill-book," as independent officers are now 
agreeing to call it. Even limiting ourselves to sanitary 
administration in the army, the flies of our journals and the 
reports of our commissions would yield multitudinous in 
stances of scarcely-credible bungling as in bad barrack- 
arrangements, of which we heard so much a few years ago ; 
as in an absurd style of dress, such as that which led to the 
wholesale cutting-down of the Twelfth Cameronians when 
they arrived in China in 1841 ; as in the carelessness which 
lately caused the immense mortality by cholera among the 
18th Hussars at Secunderabad, where, spite of medical pro 
tests repeated ever since 1818, soldiers have continued to be 
lodged in barracks that had " throughout India an infamous 
notoriety." 9 Or, not further to multiply instances, take the 
long-continued ignoring of ipecacuanha as a specific for 
dysentery, which causes so much mortality in our Indian 
Service : 

" It is a singular fact, that the introducers of the ipecacuanha into 
European practice, the Brazilian traveller Marcgrav, and the phy 
sician Piso (in 1648), explicitly stated that the powder is a specific 
cure for dysentery, in doses of a drachm and upwards ; but that 
this information appears never to have been acted upon till 1813, 
when Surgeon G. Playfair, of the East Indian Company s service, 
wrote testifying to its use in these doses. Again, in 1831, a number 
of reports of medical officers were published by the Madras Medical 
Board, stowing its great effects in hourly doses of five grains, till 
frequently 100 grains were given in a short period ; testimony which, 
notwithstanding its weight, was doomed to be similarly overlooked, 
till quite recently, when it has been again brought directly under the 
notice of the Indian Government, which is making very vigorous 
efforts to introduce the culture of the plant into suitable districts of 
India." 10 

So that, notwithstanding the gravity of the evil, and the 
pressing need for this remedy from time to time thrust on the 


attention of the Indian authorities, nearly sixty years passed 
before the requisite steps were taken. 11 

That the State, which fails to secure the health of men, 
even in its own employ, should fail to secure the health of 
beasts, might perhaps be taken as self-evident ; though possi 
bly some, comparing the money laid out on stables with the 
money laid out on cottages, might doubt the corollary. Be 
this as it may, however, the recent history of cattle-diseases 
and of legislation to prevent cattle-diseases, yields the same 
lessons as are yielded above. Since 1848 there have been 
seven Acts of Parliament bearing the general titles of Con 
tagious Diseases (Animals) Acts. Measures to "stamp out," 
as the phrase goes, this or that disease, have been called for as 
imperative. Measures have been passed, and then, expecta 
tion not having been fulfilled, amended measures have been 
passed, and then re-amended measures ; so that of late no 
session has gone by without a bill to cure evils which pre 
vious bills tried to cure, but did not. Notwithstanding the 
keen interest felt by the ruling classes in the success of these 
measures, they have succeeded so ill, that the "foot-and- 
mouth disease " has not been " stamped out," has not even 
been kept in check, but during the past year has spread 
alarmingly in various parts of the kingdom. Continually the 
Times has had blaming letters, and reports of local meetings 
called to condemn the existing laws and to insist on better. 
From all quarters there have come accounts of ineffective 
regulations and incapable officials of policemen who do the 
work of veterinary surgeons of machinery described by Mr. 
Fleming, veterinary surgeon of the Royal Engineers, as 
" clumsy, disjointed, and inefficient. 1 " 

Is it alleged that the goodness of State-agency cannot be 
judged by measures so recent, the administration of w T hich is 
at present imperfect ? If so, let us look at that form of State- 
agency which is of most ancient date, and has had the longest 
time for perfecting its adjustments let us take the Law in 
general, and its administration in general. Needs there do 
more than name these to remind the reader of the amazing 
inefficiency, confusion, doubtfulness, delay, which, proverbial 
from early times, continue still ? Of penal statutes alone, 
which are assumed to be known by every citizen, 14,408 had 


been enacted from the time of Edward III. down to 1844. 
As was said by Lord Cranworth in the House of Peers, 16th 
February, 1853, the judges were supposed to be acquainted 
with all these laws, but, in fact, no human mind could 
master them, and ignorance had ceased to be a disgrace. 18 
To this has to be added the accumulation of civil laws, 
similarly multitudinous, involved, unclassified, and to this 
again the enormous mass of "case law," filling over 1200 
volumes and rapidly increasing, before there can be formed 
an idea of the chaos. Consider next, how there has 

come this chaos; out of which not even the highest legal 
functionaries, much less the lower functionaries, much less 
the ordinary citizens, can educe definite conclusions. Session 
after session the confusion has been worse confounded by 
the passing of separate Acts, and successive amendments of 
Acts, Avhich are left unconnected with the multitudinous 
kindred Acts and amendments that lie scattered through the 
accumulated records of centuries. Suppose a trader should 
make, day by day, separate memoranda of his transactions 
with A, B, C, and the rest of his debtors and creditors. Sup 
pose he should stick these on a file, one after another as they 
were made, never even putting them in order, much less 
entering them in his ledger. Suppose he should thus go on 
throughout his life, and that, to learn the state of his account 
with A, B, or C, his clerks had to search through this enor 
mous confused file of memoranda : being helped only by 
their memories and by certain private note-books which pre 
ceding clerks had made for their own guidance, and left 
behind them. What would be the state of the business ? 
What chance would A, B, and C have of being rightly dealt 
with ? Yet this, which, as a method of conducting private 
business, is almost too ludicrous for fiction, is in public 
business nothing more than grave fact. And the result of 
the method is exactly the one to be anticipated. Counsel s 
opinions differing, authorities contradicting one another, 
judges at issue, courts in collision. The conflict extends all 
through the system from top to bottom. Every day s law- 
reports remind us that each decision given is so uncertain 
that the probability of appeal depends chiefly on the courage 
or pecuniary ability of the beaten litigant not on the nature 


of the decision : and if the appeal is made, a reversal of the 
decision is looked for as by no means unlikely. And 

then, on contemplating the ultimate effect, we find it to be 
the multiplication of aggressions. Were the law clear, were 
verdicts certain to be in conformity with it, and did asking 
for its protection entail no chance of great loss or of ruin, very 
many of the causes that come before our courts would never 
be heard of, for the reason that the wrongs they disclose 
would not be committed ; nor would there be committed 
those yet more numerous wrongs to which the bad are 
prompted by the belief that the persons wronged will not 
dare to seek redress. Here, where State-agency has had 
centuries upon centuries in which to develop its appliances 
and show its efficiency, it is so inefficient that citizens dread 
employing it, lest instead of getting succour in their distress 
they should bring on themselves new sufferings. And then 
startling comment on the system, if we could but see it ! 
there spring up private voluntary combinations for doing the 
business which the State should do, but fails to do. Here 
in London there is now proposed a Tribunal of Commerce, 
for administering justice among traders, on the pattern of that 
which in Paris settles eighteen thousand cases a year, at an 
average cost of fifteen shillings each ! 

Even after finding the State perform so ill this vital func 
tion, one might have expected that it would perform well such 
a simple function as the keeping of documents. Yet, in the 
custody of the national records, there has been a carelessness 
such as " no merchant of ordinary prudence " would show in 
respect to his account-books. One portion of these records 
was for a long time kept in the White Tower, close to. some 
tons of gunpowder ; and another portion was placed near a 
steam-engine in daily use. Some records were deposited in a 
temporary shed at the end of Westminster Hall, and thence, 
in 1830, were removed to other sheds in the King s Mews, 
Charing Cross, where, in 1836, their state is thus described by 
the Eeport of a Select Committee : 

" In these sheds 4,136 cubic feet of national records were deposited 
in the most neglected condition. Besides the accumulated dust of 
centuries, all, when these operations commenced (the investigation into 
the state of the Records), were found to be very damp. Some were in 


a state of inseparable adhesion to the stone walls. There were nu 
merous fragments which had only just escaped entire consumption by 
vermin, and many were in the last stage of putrefaction. Decay and 
damp had rendered a large quantity so fragile as hardly to admit of 
being touched ; others, particularly those in the form of rolls, were so 
coagulated together that they could not be uncoiled. Six or seven 
perfect skeletons of rats were found imbedded, and bones of these 
vermin were generally distributed throughout the mass." 

Thus if we array in order the facts which are daily brought 
to light, but unhappily drop out of men s memories as fast as 
others are added, we find a like history throughout. Now the 
complaint is of the crumbling walls of the Houses of Parlia 
ment, which, built of stone chosen by a commission, never 
theless begin to decay in parts first built before other parts 
are completed. Now the scandal is about a new fort at Sea- 
ford, based on the shingle so close to the sea that a storm 
washes a great part of it away. Now there comes the account 
of a million and a half spent in building the Alderney har 
bour, which, being found worse than useless, threatens to en 
tail further cost for its destruction. And then there is an as 
tounding disclosure about financial irregularities in the Post- 
office and Telegraph departments a disclosure showing that, 
in 1870-1, two-thirds of a million having been spent by offi 
cials without authority, and the offence having been condoned 
by Parliament, there again occurs, in 1871-2, a like unwar 
ranted expenditure of four-fifths of a million a disclosure 
showing that while the Audit-department disputes a charge 
of sixpence for porterage in a small bill, it lets millions slip 
through its fingers without check. 14 Scarcely a journal can 
be taken up that has not some blunder referred to in a debate, 
or brought to light by a Report, or pointed out in a letter, or 
commented on in a leader. Do I need an illustration ? I take 
up the Times of this morning (November 13) and read that 
the new bankruptcy law, substituted for the bankruptcy laws 
which failed miserably, is administered in rooms so crowded 
and noisy that due care and thought on the part of officials is 
scarcely possible, and, further, that as one part of the court 
sits in the City and another part in Lincoln s Inn, solicitors 
have often to be in both places at the same time. Do I need 
more illustrations ? They come in abundance between the 


day on which the foregoing sentence was written and the day 
(November 20) on which I revise it. Within this short time 
mismanagement has been shown in a treatment of the police 
that has created a mutiny among them ; in a treatment of 
government copying-clerks that causes them publicly to com 
plain of broken promises ; in a treatment of postmen that 
calls from them disrespectful behaviour towards their supe 
riors : all at the same time that there is going on the contro 
versy about Park-rules, which have been so issued as to evade 
constitutional principles, and so administered as to bring the 
law into contempt. Yet as fast as there come proofs of 

mal-administration there come demands that administration 
shall be extended. Here, in the very same copy of the Times, 
are two authorities, Mr. Reed and Sir W. Fairbairn, speaking 
at different meetings, both condemning the enormous bun 
gling and consequent loss of life that goes on under the exist 
ing Government-supervision of vessels, and both insisting on 
" legislation " and " proper inspection " as the remedies. 18 Just 
as, in societies made restive by despotism, the proposed remedy 
for the evils and dangers brought about is always more despot 
ism ; just as, along with the failing power of a decaying Papacy, 
there goes, as the only fit cure, a re-assertion of Papal infalli 
bility, with emphatic obbligato from a Council ; so, to set right 
the misdoings of State-agency, the proposal always is more 
State-agency. When, after long continuance of coal-mine in 
spection, coal-mine explosions keep recurring, the cry is for 
more coal-mine inspection. When railway accidents multiply, 
notwithstanding the oversight of officials appointed by law 
to see that railways are safe, the unhesitating demand is for 
more such officials. Though, as Lord Salisbury lately re 
marked of governing bodies deputed by the State, " they begin 
by being enthusiastic and extravagant, and they are very apt 
to end in being wooden " though, through the press and by 
private conversation, men are perpetually reminded that 
when it has ceased to wield the new broom, each deputy gov 
erning power tends to become either a king-stork that does 
mischief, or a king-log that does nothing ; yet more deputy 
governing powers are asked for with unwavering faith. 
While the unwisdom of officialism is daily illustrated, the 
argument for each proposed new department sets out with the 


postulate that officials will act wisely. After endless com 
ments on the confusion and apathy and delay of Government 
offices, other Government offices are advocated. After cease 
less ridicule of red-tape, the petition is for more red-tape. 
Daily we castigate the political idol with a hundred pens, and 
daily pray to it with a thousand tongues. 

The emotion which thus destroys the balance of judgment, 
lies deep in the natures of men as they have been and still are. 
This root out of which there grow hopes that are no sooner 
blighted than kindred hopes grow up in their places, is a root 
reaching down to the lowest stages in civilization. The con 
quering chief, feared, marvelled at, for his strength or sagac 
ity distinguished from others by a quality thought of as 
supernatural (when the antithesis of this with natural be 
comes thinkable), ever excites a disproportionate faith and ex 
pectation. Having done or seen things beyond the power or 
insight of inferiors, there is no knowing what other things he 
may not do or see. After death his deeds become magnified 
by tradition ; and his successor, inheriting his authority, exe 
cuting his commands, and keeping up secret communication 
with him, acquires either thus, or by his own superiority, or 
by both, a like credit for powers that transcend the ordinary 
human powers. So there accumulates an awe of the ruler, 
with its correlative faith. On tracing the genealogy of the 
governing agent, thus beginning as god, and descendant of 
the gods, and having titles and a worship in common with 
the gods, we see there clings to it, through all its successive 
metamorphoses, more or less of this same ascribed character, 
exciting this same sentiment. " Divinely descended " be 
comes presently " divinely appointed," " the Lord s anointed," 
"ruler by divine right," "king by the grace of God," &c. 
And then as fast as declining monarchical power brings with 
it decreasing belief in the supernaturalness of the monarch 
(which, however, long lingers in faint forms, as instance the 
supposed cure of king s evil), the growing powers of the bodies 
that assume his functions bring to them a share of the still- 
surviving sentiment. The " divinity that doth hedge a king " 
becomes, in considerable measure, the divinity that doth 
hedge a parliament. The superstitious reverence once felt 


towards the one, is transferred, in a modified form, to the 
other ; taking with it a tacit belief in an ability to achieve 
any end that may be wished, and a tacit belief in an authority 
to which 110 limits may be set. 

This sentiment, inherited and cultivated in men from 
childhood upwards, sways their convictions in spite of them. 
It generates an irrational confidence in all the paraphernalia 
and appliances and forms of State-action. In the very aspect 
of a law-deed, written in an archaic hand 011 dingy parch 
ment, there is something which raises a conception of validity 
not raised by ordinary writing on paper. Around a Govern- 
meiit-stamp there is a certain glamour which makes us feel as 
though the piece of paper bearing it was more than a mere 
mass of dry pulp with some indented marks. To any legal 
form of words there seems to attach an authority greater than 
that which would be felt were the language free from legal 
involutions and legal technicalities. And so is it with all the 
symbols of authority, from royal pageants downwards. That 
the judge s wig gives to his decisions a weight and sacrediiess 
they would not have were he bare-headed, is a fact familiar to 
every one. And when we descend to the lowest agents of the 
executive organization, we find the same thing. A man in 
blue coat and white-metal buttons, which carry with them the 
thought of State-authority, is habitually regarded by citizens 
as having a trustworthiness beyond that of a man who wears 
no such uniform ; and this confidence survives all disproofs. 
Obviously, then, if men s judgments are thus ridiculously 
swayed, notwithstanding better knowledge, by the mere sym 
bols of State-power, still more must they be so swayed by 
State-power itself, as exercised in ways that leave greater scope 
for the imagination. If awe and faith are irresistibly called 
out towards things which perception and reason tell us posi 
tively should not call them out, still more will awe and faith 
be called out towards those State-actions and influences 011 
which perception and reason can less easily be brought to bear. 
If the beliefs prompted by this feeling of reverence survive 
even where they are flatly contradicted by common sense, still 
more will they survive where common sense cannot flatly 
contradict them. 

How deeply rooted is this sentiment excited in men by em- 


bodied supremacy, will be seen on noting 1 how it sways in 
common all orders of politicians, from the old-world Tory to 
the Eed Republican. Contrasted as the extreme parties are in 
the types of Government they approve, and in the theories 
they hold respecting 1 the source of governmental authority, 
they are alike in their unquestioning 1 belief in governmental 
authority, and in showing .almost unlimited faith in the 
ability of a Government to achieve any desired end. Though 
the form of the agency towards which the sentiment of loyalty 
is directed, is much changed, yet there is little change in the 
sentiment itself, or in the general conceptions it creates. The 
notion of the divine right of a person, has given place to the 
notion of the divine right of a representative assembly. While 
it is held to be a self-evident falsity that the single will of a 
despot can justly override the wills of a people, it is held to be 
a self-evident truth that the wills of one-half of a people plus 
some small fraction, may with perfect justice override the 
wills of the other half minus this small fraction may over 
ride them in respect of any matter whatever. Unlimited 
authority of a majority has been substituted for unlimited 
authority of an individual. So unquestioning is the belief in 
this unlimited authority of a majority, that even the tacit sug 
gestion of a doubt produces astonishment. True, if of one 
who holds that power deputed by the people is subject to no 
restrictions, you ask whether, if the majority decided that no 
person should be allowed to live beyond sixty, the decision 
might be legitimately executed, he would possibly hesitate. 
Or if you asked him whether the majority, being Catholic, 
might rightly require of the Protestant minority that they 
should either embrace Catholicism or leave the country, he 
would, influenced by the ideas of religious liberty in which he 
has been brought up, probably say no. But though his an 
swers to sundry such questions disclose the fact that State- 
authority, even when uttering the national will, is not be 
lieved by him to be absolutely supreme ; his latent conviction 
that there are limits to it, lies so remote in the obscure back 
ground of his consciousness as to be practically non-existent. 
In all he says about what a Legislature should do, or forbid, 
or require, he tacitly assumes that any regulation may be en 
acted, and when enacted must be obeyed. And then, along 


with this authority not to be gainsaid, he believes in a capacity 
not to be doubted. Whatever the governing body decides to 
do, can be done, is the postulate which lies hidden in the 
schemes of the most revolutionary reformers. Analyze the 
programme of the Communalists, observe what is hoped for 
by the adherents of the Social and Democratic Republic, or 
study the ideas of legislative action which our own Trades- 
Unionists entertain, and you find the implied belief to be that 
a Government, organized after an approved pattern, will be 
able to remedy all the evils complained of and to secure each 
proposed benefit. 

Thus, the emotion excited by embodied power is one which 
sways, and indeed mainly determines, the beliefs, not only of 
those classed as the most subordinate, but even of those classed 
as the most insubordinate. It has a deeper origin than any 
political creed ; and it more or less distorts the conceptions of 
all parties respecting governmental action. 

This sentiment of loyalty, making it almost impossible to 
study the natures and actions of governing agencies with per 
fect calmness, greatly hinders sociological science, and must 
long continue to hinder it. For the sentiment is all-essential. 
Throughout the past, societies have been mainly held together 
by it. It is still an indispensable aid to social cohesion and 
the maintenance of order. And it will be long before 
social discipline has so far modified human character, that 
reverence for law, as rooted in the moral order of things, 
will serve in place of reverence for the power which en 
forces law. 

Accounts of existing uncivilized races, as well as histories 
of the civilized races, show us a posteriori, what we might 
infer with certainty a priori, that in proportion as the mem 
bers of a society are aggressive in their natures, they can be 
held together only by a proportionately-strong feeling of un 
reasoning reverence for a ruler. Some of the lowest types of 
men, who show but little of this feeling, show scarcely any 
social cohesion, and make no progress instance the Austra 
lians. Where appreciable social development has taken place, 
we find subordination to chiefs ; and, as the society enlarges, 
to a king. If we need an illustration that where there is great 


savageness, social union can be maintained only by great 
loyalty, we have it among those ferocious cannibals, the Fi- 
jians. Here, where the barbarism is so extreme that a late 
king- registered by a row of many hundred stones the number 
of human victims he had devoured, the loyalty is so extreme 
that a man stands unbound to be knocked on the head if the 
king wills it : himself saying that the king s will must be 
done. And if, with this case in mind, we glance back over 
the past, and note the fealty that went along with brutality in 
feudal ages; or if, at the present time, we observe bow the 
least advanced European nations show a superstitious awe of 
the ruler which in the more advanced has become conven 
tional respect ; we shall perceive that decrease of the feeling 
goes on, and can normally go on, only as fast as the fitness of 
men for social co-operation increases. Manifestly, throughout 
all past time, assemblages of men in whom the aggressive 
selfishness of the predatory nature existed without this feeling 
which induces obedience to a controlling power, dissolved 
and disappeared : leaving the world to be peopled by men 
who had the required emotional balance. And it is mani 
fest that even in a civilized society, if the sentiment of sub 
ordination becomes enfeebled without self-control gaining 
in strength proportionately, there arises a danger of social 
dissolution : a truth of which France supplies an illustra 

Hence, as above said, the conceptions of sociological phe 
nomena, or, at least, of those all-important ones relating to 
governmental structures and actions, must now, arid for a long 
time to come, be rendered more or less untrue by this perturb 
ing emotion. Here, in the concrete, may be recognized the 
truth before stated in the abstract, that the individual citizen, 
imbedded in the social organism as one of its units, moulded 
by its influences, and aiding reciprocally to re-mould it, fur 
thering its life while enabled by it to live, cannot so emanci 
pate himself as to see things around him in their real relations. 
Unless the mass of citizens have sentiments and beliefs in 
something like harmony with the social organization in which 
they are incorporated, this organization cannot continue. The 
sentiments proper to each type of society inevitably sway the 
sociological conclusions of its units. And among other senti- 


monts, this awe of embodied power takes a large share in doing 

How large a share it takes, we shall see 011 contemplating 
the astonishingly-perverted estimates of rulers it has produced, 
and the resulting perversions of history. Recall the titles of 
adoration given to emperors and kings ; the ascription to them 
of capacities, beauties, powers, virtues, transcending those of 
mankind in general ; the fulsome flatteries used when com 
mending them to God in prayers professing to utter the truth. 
Now, side by side with these, put records of their deeds through 
out all past times in all nations ; notice how these records are 
blackened with crimes of all orders ; and then dwell awhile 
on the contrast. Is it not manifest that the conceptions of 
State-actions that went along with these profoundly-untrue 
conceptions of rulers, must also have been profoundly untrue ? 
Take, as a single example, King James, who, as described by 
Mr. Bisset in agreement with other historians, was " in every 
relation of life in which he is viewed . . . equally an object 
of aversion or contempt;" but to whom, nevertheless, the 
English translation of the Bible is dedicated in sentences be 
ginning" Great and manifold were the blessings, most dread 
sovereign, which Almighty God, the Father of all mercies, 
bestowed upon us the people of England, when first He sent 
Your Majesty s Royal Person to rule and reign over us," &c., 
&c. Think of such a dedication of such a book to such a man ; 
and then ask if, along with a sentiment thus expressing itself, 
there could go anything like balanced judgments of political 

Does there need an illustration of the extent to which bal 
anced judgments of political transactions are made impossible 
by this sentiment during times when it is strong ? We have 
one in the warped conceptions formed respecting Charles I. 
and Cromwell, and respecting the changes with which their 
names are identified. Now that many generations have gone 
by, and it begins to be seen that Charles was not worthy to be 
prayed for as a martyr, while Cromwell deserved treatment 
quite unlike .that of exhuming his body and insulting it ; it 
begins to be seen also, how utterly wrong have been the inter 
pretations of the events these two rulers took part in, and how 


entirely men s sentiments of loyalty have incapacitated them 
for understanding those events under their sociological aspects. 
Naming this as an instance of the more special perverting 
effects of this sentiment, we have here chiefly to note its more 
general perverting effects. From the beginning it has tended 
ever to keep in the foreground of consciousness, the governing 
agent as causing social phenomena ; and so has kept in the 
background of consciousness all other causes of social phe 
nomena or rather, the one has so completely occupied con 
sciousness as to exclude the other. If we remember that his 
tory has been full of the doings of kings, but that only in 
quite recent times have the phenomena of industrial organi 
zation, conspicuous as they are, attracted any attention, if 
we remember that while all eyes and all thoughts have been 
turned to the actions of rulers, no eyes and no thoughts have, 
until modern days, been turned to those vital processes of 
spontaneous co-operation by which national life, and growth, 
and progress, have been carried on ; we shall not fail to see 
how profound have been the resulting errors in men s conclu 
sions about social affairs. And seeing this, we shall infer that 
the emotion excited in men by embodied political power must 
now, and for a long time to come, be a great obstacle to the 
formation of true sociological conceptions : tending, as it must 
ever do, to exaggerate the importance of the political factor in 
comparison with other factors. 

Under the title of "Subjective Difficulties Emotional," I 
have here entered upon an extensive field, the greater part of 
which remains to be explored. The effects of impatience, the 
effects of that all-glorifying admiration felt for military suc 
cess, the effects of that sentiment which makes men submit to 
authority by keeping up a superstitious awe of the agent exer 
cising it, are but a few among the effects which the emotions 
produce on sociological beliefs. Various other effects have 
now to be described and illustrated. I propose to deal with 
them in chapters on the Educational Bias, the Bias of Patri 
otism, the Class-Bias, the Political Bias, and the Theological 



IT would clear up our ideas about many things, if we dis 
tinctly recognized the truth that we have two religions. 
Primitive humanity has but one. The humanity of the re 
mote future will have but one. The two are opposed ; and we 
who live midway in the course of civilization have to believe 
in both. 

These two religions are adapted to two conflicting sets of 
social requirements. The one set is supreme at the beginning ; 
the other set will be supreme at the end ; and a compromise 
has to be maintained between them during the progress from 
beginning to end. On the one hand, there must be social self- 
preservation in face of external enemies. On the other hand, 
there must be co-operation among fellow-citizens, which can 
exist only in proportion as fair dealing of man with man cre 
ates mutual trust. Unless the one necessity is met, the society 
disappears by extinction, or by absorption into some conquer 
ing society. Unless the other necessity is met, there cannot 
be that division of labour, exchange of services, consequent 
industrial progress and increase of numbers, by which a society 
is made strong enough to survive. In adjustment to these two 
conflicting requirements, there grow up two conflicting codes 
of duty ; which severally acquire supernatural sanctions. And 
thus we get the two coexisting religions the religion of enmity 
and the religion of amity. 

Of course, I do not mean that these are both called religions. 
Here I am not speaking of names ; I am speaking simply of 
things. Nowadays, men do not pay the same verbal homage 
to the code which enmity dictates that they do to the code 
which amity dictates the last occupies the place of honour. 
12 161 


But the real homage is paid in large measure, if not in the 
larger measure, to the code dictated by enmity. The religion 
of enmity nearly all men actually believe. The religion of 
amity most of them merely believe they believe. In some dis 
cussion, say, about international affairs, remind them of cer 
tain precepts contained in the creed they profess, and the most 
you get is a tepid assent. Now let the conversation turn on 
the " tunding " at Winchester, or on the treatment of Indian 
mutineers, or on the Jamaica business ; and you find that 
while the precepts tepidly assented to were but nominally be 
lieved, quite opposite precepts are believed undoubtingly and 
defended with fervour. 

Curiously enough, to maintain these antagonist religions, 
which in our transitional state are both requisite, we have 
adopted from two different races two different cults. From 
the books of the Jewish New Testament we take our religion 
of amity. Greek and Latin epics and histories serve as gos 
pels for our religion of enmity. In the education of our 
youth we devote a small portion of time to the one, and a 
large portion of time to the other. And, as though to make 
the compromise effectual, these two cults are carried on in the 
same places by the same teachers. At our Public Schools, as 
also at many other schools, the same men are priests of both 
religions. The nobility of self-sacrifice, set forth in Scripture- 
lessons and dwelt on in sermons, is made conspicuous every 
seventh day ; while during the other six days, the nobility of 
sacrificing others is exhibited in glowing words. The sacred 
duty of blood-revenge, which, as existing savages show us, 
constitutes the religion of enmity in its primitive form 
which, as shown us in ancient literature, is enforced by divine 
sanction, or rather by divine command, as well as by the opin 
ion of men is the duty which, during the six days, is deeply 
stamped on natures quite ready to receive it ; and then some 
thing is done towards obliterating the stamp, when, on the 
seventh day, vengeance is interdicted. 

A priori, it might be thought impossible that men should 
continue through life holding two doctrines which are mutu 
ally destructive. But their ability to compromise between 
conflicting beliefs is very remarkable remarkable, at least, if 
we suppose them to put their conflicting beliefs side by side ; 


not so remarkable if we recognize the fact that they do not 
put them side by side. A late distinguished physicist, whose 
science and religion seemed to his friends irreconcilable, re 
tained both for the reason that he deliberately refused to com 
pare the propositions of the one with those of the other. To 
speak in metaphor when he entered his oratory he shut the 
door of his laboratory ; and when he entered his laboratory 
he shut the door of his oratory. It is because they habitually 
do something similar, that men live so contentedly under this 
logically-indefensible compromise between their two creeds. 
As the intelligent child, propounding to his seniors puzzling 
theological questions, and meeting many rebuffs, eventually 
ceases to think about difficulties of which he can get no solu 
tions ; so, a little later, the contradictions between the -things 
taught to him in school and in church, at first startling and 
inexplicable, become by-and-by familiar, and no longer attract 
his attention. Thus while growing up he acquires, in com 
mon with all around him, the habit of using first one and 
then the other of his creeds as the occasion demands ; and at 
maturity the habit has become completely established. Now 
he enlarges on the need for maintaining the national honour, 
and thinks it mean to arbitrate about an aggression instead of 
avenging it by war ; and now, calling his servants together, 
he reads a prayer in which he asks God that our trespasses 
may be forgiven as we forgive trespasses against us. That 
which he prays for as a virtue on Sunday, he scorns as a vice 
on Monday. 

The religion of amity and the religion of enmity, with the 
emotions they respectively enlist, are important factors in so 
ciological conclusions ; and rational sociological conclusions 
can be produced only when both sets of factors come into 
play. We have to look at each cluster of social facts as a 
phase in a continuous metamorphosis. We have to look at 
the conflicting religious beliefs and feelings included in this 
cluster of facts as elements in this phase. We have to do 
more. We have to consider as transitional, also, the conflict 
ing religious beliefs and feelings in which we are brought up, 
and which distort our views not only of passing phenomena 
in our own society, but also of phenomena in other societies 
and in other times ; and the aberrations they cause in our in- 


fere rices have to be sought for and rectified. Of these two 
religions taught us, we must constantly remember that during 
civilization the religion of enmity is slowly losing strength, 
while the religion of amity is slowly gaining strength. We 
must bear in mind that at each stage a certain ratio between 
them has to be maintained. We must infer that the existing 
ratio is only a temporary one ; and that the resulting bias to 
this or that conviction respecting social affairs is temporary. 
And if we are to reach those unbiassed convictions which form 
parts of the Social Science, we can do it only by allowing for 
this temporary bias. 

To see how greatly our opposite religions respectively per 
vert sociological beliefs, and how needful it is that the opposite 
perversions they cause should be corrected, we must here con 
template the extremes to which men are carried, now by the 
one and now by the other. 

As from antagonist physical forces, as from antagonist 
emotions in each man, so from the antagonist social tenden 
cies men s emotions create, there always results, not a medium 
state, but a rhythm between opposite states. The one force or 
tendency is not continuously counterbalanced by the other 
force or tendency ; but now the one greatly predominates, and 
presently by reaction there comes a predominance of the 
other. That which we are shown by variations in the prices 
of stocks, shares, or commodities, occurring daily, weekly, 
and in longer intervals that which we see in the alternations 
of manias and panics, caused by irrational hopes and absurd 
fears that which diagrams of these variations express by the 
ascents and descents of a line, now to a great height and now 
to an equivalent depth, we discover in all social phenomena, 
moral and religious included. It is exhibited on a large scale 
and on a small scale by rhythms extending over centuries 
and by rhythms of short periods. And we see it not only in 
waves of conflicting feelings and opinions that pass through 
societies as wholes, but also in the opposite excesses gone to 
by individuals and sects in the same society at the same time. 
There is nowhere a balanced judgment and a balanced action, 
but always a cancelling of one another by contrary errors : 
" men pair off in insane parties," as Emerson puts it. Some- 


thing 1 like rationality is finally obtained as a product of mu 
tually-destructive irrationalities. As for example, in the 
treatment of our criminals, there alternate, or co-exist, an un 
reasoning severity and an unreasoning lenity. Now we pun 
ish in a spirit of vengeance ; now we pamper with a maudlin 
sympathy. At 110 time is there a due adjustment of penalty 
to transgression such as the course of nature shows us an in 
flicting of neither more nor less evil than the reaction which 
the action causes. 

In the conflict between our two religions we see this gen 
eral law on a great scale. The religion of unqualified altru 
ism arose to correct by an opposite excess the religion of un 
qualified egoism. Against the doctrine of entire selfishness 
it set the doctrine of entire self-sacrifice. In place of the 
aboriginal creed not requiring you to love your fellow-man at 
all, but insisting only that certain of your fellow-men you 
shall hate even to the death, there came a creed directing that 
you shall in no case do anything prompted by hate of your 
fellow-man, but shall love him as yourself. Nineteen cen 
turies have since wrought some compromise between these 
opposite creeds. It has never been rational, however, but only 
empirical mainly, indeed, unconscious compromise. There 
is not yet a distinct recognition of what truth each extreme 
stands for, and a perception that the two truths must be co 
ordinated ; but there is little more than a partial rectifying 
of excesses one way by excesses the other way. By these per 
sons purely-egoistic lives are led. By those, altruism is car 
ried to the extent of bringing on ill health and premature 
death. Even on comparing the acts of the same individual, 
we find, not an habitual balance between the two tendencies, 
but now an effort to inflict great evil on some foreign ag 
gressor or some malefactor at home, and now a dispropor- 
tioned sacrifice on behalf of one often quite unworthy of it. 
That altruism is right, but that egoism is also right, and that 
there requires a continual compromise between the two, is a 
conclusion which but few consciously formulate and still 
fewer avow. 

Yet the untenability of the doctrine of self-sacrifice in its 
extreme form is conspicuous enough ; and is tacitly admitted 
by all in their ordinary inferences and daily actions. Work, 


enterprise, invention, improvement, as they have gone on from 
the beginning 1 and are going on now, arise out of the principle 
that among citizens severally having unsatisfied wants, each 
cares more to satisfy his own wants than to satisfy the wants of 
others. The fact that industrial activities grow from this root, 
being recognized, the inevitable implication is that unquali 
fied altruism would dissolve all existing social organizations : 
leaving the onus of proof that absolutely-alien social organi 
zations would act. That they would not act becomes clear on 
supposing the opposite principle in force. Were A to be care 
less of himself, and to care only for the welfare of B, C, and 
D, while each of these, paying no attention to his own needs, 
busied himself in supplying the needs of the others ; this 
roundabout process, besides being troublesome, would very ill 
meet the requirements of each, unless each could have his 
neighbour s consciousness. After observing this, we must in 
fer that a certain predominance of egoism over altruism is 
beneficial ; and that in fact no other arrangement would an 
swer. Do but ask what would happen if, of A, B, C, D, &c., 
each declined to have a gratification in his anxiety that some 
one else should have it, and that the someone else similarly 
persisted in refusing it out of sympathy with his fellows do 
but contemplate the resulting confusion and cross-purposes 
and loss of gratification to all, and you will see that pure al 
truism would bring things to a deadlock just as much as pure 
egoism. In truth nobody ever dreams of acting out the altru 
istic theory in all the relations of life. The Quaker who pro 
poses to accept literally, and to practise, the precepts of Chris 
tianity, carries on his business on egoistic principles just as 
much as his neighbours. Though, nominally, he holds that 
he is to take no thought for the morrow, his thought for the 
morrow betrays as distinct an egoism as that of men in gen 
eral ; and he is conscious that to take as much thought for the 
morrows of others, would be ruinous to him and eventually 
mischievous to all. 

While, however, no one is entirely altruistic while no 
one really believes an entirely altruistic life to be practicable, 
there continues the tacit assertion that conduct ought to be 
entirely altruistic. It does not seem to be suspected that pure 
altruism is actually wrong. Brought up, as each is, in the 


nominal acceptance of a creed which wholly subordinates 
egoism to altruism, and gives sundry precepts that are abso 
lutely altruistic, each citizen, while ignoring these in his busi 
ness, and tacitly denying them in various opinions he utters, 
daily gives to them lip-homage, and supposes that acceptance 
of them is required of him though he finds it impossible. Feel 
ing that he cannot call them in question without calling in 
question his religion as a whole, he pretends to others and to 
himself that he believes them believes things which in his 
innermost consciousness he knows he does not believe. He 
professes to think that entire self-sacrifice must be right, 
though dimly conscious that it would be fatal. 

If he had the courage to think out clearly what he vaguely 
discerns, he would discover that self-sacrifice passing a certain 
limit entails evil on all evil on those for whom sacrifice is 
made as well as on those who make it. While a continual 
giving-up of pleasures and continual submission to pains is 
physically injurious, so that its final outcome is debility, dis 
ease, and abridgment of life; the continual acceptance of 
benefits at the expense of a fellow-being is morally injurious. 
Just as much as unselfishness is cultivated by the one, selfish 
ness is cultivated by the other. If to surrender a gratification 
to another is noble, readiness to accept the gratification so sur 
rendered is ignoble ; and if repetition of the one kind of act is 
elevating, repetition of the other kind of act is degrading. So 
that though up to a certain point altruistic action blesses giver 
and receiver, beyond that point it curses giver and receiver 
physically deteriorates the one and morally deteriorates the 
other. Everyone can remember cases where greediness for 
pleasures, reluctance to take trouble, and utter disregard of 
those around, have been perpetually increased by unmeasured 
and ever-ready kindnesses ; while the unwise benefactor has 
shown by languid movements and pale face the debility con 
sequent on disregard of self : the outcome of the policy being 
destruction of the worthy in making worse the unworthy. 

The absurdity of unqualified altruism becomes, indeed, 
glaring on remembering that it can be extensively practised 
only if in the same society there coexist one moiety altruistic 
and one moiety egoistic. Only those who are intensely selfish 
will allow their fellows habitually to behave to them with 


extreme unselfishness. If all are duly regardful of others, 
there are none to accept the sacrifices which others are ready 
to make. If a high degree of sympathy characterizes all, no 
one can be so unsympathetic as to let another receive positive 
or negative injury that he may benefit. So that pure altru 
ism in a society implies a nature which makes pure altruism 
impossible, from the absence of those towards whom it may 
be exercised ! 

Equally untenable does the doctrine show itself when 
looked at from another point of view. If life and its gratifi 
cations are valuable in another, they are equally valuable 
in self. There is no total increase of happiness if only as 
much is gained by one as is lost by another ; and if, as con 
tinually happens, the gain is not equal to the loss if the re 
cipient, already inferior, is further demoralized by habitual 
acceptance of sacrifices, and so made less capable of happiness 
(which he inevitably is), the total amount of happiness is di 
minished : benefactor and beneficiary are both losers. 

The maintenance of the individuality is thus demonstrably 
a duty. The assertion of personal claims is essential ; both as 
a means to self-happiness, which is a unit in the general hap 
piness, and as a means to furthering the general happiness al 
truistically. Resistance to aggression is not simply justifiable 
but imperative. Non-resistance is at variance with altruism 
and egoism alike. The extreme Christian theory, which 110 
one acts upon, which no one really believes, but which most 
tacitly profess and a few avowedly profess, is as logically in 
defensible as it is impracticable. 

The religion of amity, then, taken by itself, is incomplete 
it needs supplementing. The doctrines it inculcates and 
the sentiments it fosters, arising by reactions against opposite 
doctrines and sentiments, run into extremes the other way. 

Let us now turn to these opposite doctrines and sentiments, 
inculcated and fostered by the religion of enmity, and note 
the excesses to which they run. 

Worthy of highest admiration is the " Tasmanian devil," 
which, fighting to the last gasp, snarls with its dying breath. 
Admirable, too, though less admirable, is our own bull-dog a 
creature said sometimes to retain its hold even when a limb is 


cut off. To be admired also for their " pluck," perhaps nearly 
in as great a degree, are some of the carnivora, as the lion and 
the tiger ; since when driven to bay they fight against great 
odds. Nor should we forget the game-cock, supplying as it 
does a word of eulogy to the mob of roughs who witness the 
hanging of a murderer, and who half condone his crime if he 
" dies game." Below these animals come mankind ; some of 
whom, indeed, as the American Indians, bear tortures without 
groaning. And then, considerably lower, must be placed the 
civilized man ; who, fighting up to a certain point, and bear 
ing considerable injury, ordinarily yields when further fight 
ing is useless. 

Is the reader startled by this classification ? Why should 
he be ? It is but a literal application of that standard of worth 
tacitly assumed by most, and by some deliberately avowed. 
Obviously it is the standard of worth believed in by M. Gam- 
betta, who, after bloodshed carried to the extent of prostrating 
France, lately reproached the French Assembly by saying 
" You preferred peace to honour ; you gave five milliards and 
two provinces." And there are not a few among ourselves 
who so thoroughly agree in M. Gambetta s feeling, that this 
utterance of his has gone far to redeem him in their estima 
tion. If the reader needs encouragement to side with such, 
plenty more may be found for him. The Staffordshire collier, 
enjoying the fighting of dogs when the fighting of men is not 
to be witnessed, would doubtless take the same view. In the 
slums of Whitechapel and St. Giles s, among leaders of " the 
fancy," it is an unhesitating belief that pluck and endurance 
are the highest of attributes ; and probably most readers of 
Bell s Life in London would concur in this belief. More 
over, if he wants further sympathy to support him, he may 
find entire races ready to give it ; especially that noble race of 
cannibals, the Fijians, among whom bravery is so highly 
honoured that, on their return from battle, the triumphant 
warriors are met by the women, who place themselves at 
their unrestricted disposal. So that whoever inclines to adopt 
this measure of superiority will find many to side with him 
that is, if he likes his company. 

Seriously, is it not amazing that civilized men should espe 
cially pride themselves on a quality in which they are ex- 


eecded br inferior varieties of their own race, and still more 
eivvevied by inferior " m fi^* f Instead of regarding a man 
as manly in proportion as he po<ssesses moral attributes dis 
tinctively human, -we regard him as manly in proportion as 
he shows an attribute possessed in greater degrees by beings 
from whom we derive our words of contempt It was lately 
remarked by Mr. Greg that we take our point of honour from 
the prbe-rin^r : but we do worse, we take our point of honour 
from beasts. Nay. we take it from a beast inferior to those 
we are familiar with : for the ~ Tasnianian devil," in structure 
and intelligence, stands on a much lower level of brutality 
than our lions and bull-dogs. 

That resistance to aggression is to be applauded, and that 
the courage implied by resistance is to be valued and admired, 
may be fully admitted while denying that courage is to be 
regarded as the supreme virtue. A large endowment of it is 
essential to a complete nature ; bat so are large endowments of 
other things which we do not therefore make oar measures of 
worth, A good body, well grown, well proportioned, and of 
such quality in its tissues as to be enduring, should brimr. as it 
does brn: i. its share of admiration. Admirable, too* in their 
wavs, are gvxxl stomach and lungs, as well as a vigorous vas 
cular system -. for without these the power of self-preservation 
and die power of preserving others will fall short. To be a 
fine animal is. indeed, essential to many kinds of achieve- 

_ - 

_ , - -;-. 

-. :c 
ng 1 from in 
aement ; or 

. : - 

- j 

as it is called. 

men, that heart- 

eaowek to show 


circumstances of peril. But while we are thus taught that in 
admiring courage, we are admiring physical superiorities and 
those superiorities of mental faculty which give fitness for 
dealing with emergencies, we are also taught that unless we 
rank as supreme the bodily powers and those powers which 
directly conduce to self-preservation, we cannot say that cour 
age is the highest attribute, and that the degree of it should 
be our standard of honour. 

That an over-estimate of courage is appropriate to cm- 
phase of civilization may be very true. It is beyond doubt 
that during the struggle for existence among nations, it is 
needful that men should admire extremely the quality with 
out which there can be no success in the struggle. While. 
among neighbouring nations, we have one in which all the 
males are trained for war while the sentiment of this nation 
is such that students slash one another s faces in duels about 
trifles, and are admired for their scars, especially by women 
while the military ascendancy it tolerates is such that, for ill- 
usage by soldiers, ordinary citizens have no adequate redress 
while the government is such that though the monarch as 
head of the Church condemns duelling as irreligious, and as 
head of the Law forbids it as a crime, yet as head of the Army 
he insists on it to the extent of expelling officers who will 
not fight duels while. I say. we have a neighbouring nation 
thus characterized, something of a kindred character in appli 
ances, sentiments, and beliefs, has to be maintained among 
ourselves. When we find another neighbouring nation be 
lieving that no motive is so high as the love of glory, and no 
glory so great as that gained by successful war when we 
perceive the military spirit so pervading this nation that it 
loves to clothe its children in ^ ^n *** when. 
we find one of its historians writing that the French army is 
the great civilizer. and one of its generals lately saying that 
the army is the soul of France when we see that the vital 
energies of this nation run mainly to teeth and claws, and 
that it quickly grows new sets of teeth and claws in place of 
those pulled out : it is needful that we. too. should keep our 
teeth and claws in order, and should maintain ideas and feel 
ings adapted to the effectual use of them. There is no gain 
saying the truth that while the predatory instincts continue 


prompting nations to rob one another, destructive agencies 
must be met by antagonist destructive agencies ; and that this 
may be done, honour must be given to the men who act as 
destructive agents, and there must be an exaggerated estimate 
of the attributes which make them efficient. 

It may be needful, therefore, that our boys should be accus 
tomed to harsh treatment, giving and receiving brutal punish 
ments without too nice a consideration of their justice. It 
may be that as the Spartans and as the North- American In 
dians, in preparation for warfare, subjected their young men 
to tortures, so should we ; and thus, perhaps, the " education 
of a gentleman " may properly include giving and receiving 
" hacking " of the shins at foot-ball : boot-toes being purposely 
made heavy that they may inflict greater damage. So, too, it 
may be well that boys should all in turn be subject to the 
tender mercies of elder boys ; with whose thrashings and kick- 
ings the masters decline to interfere, even though they are 
sometimes carried to the extent of maiming for life. Possibly, 
also, it is fit that each boy should be disciplined in submission 
to any tyrant who may be set over him, by finding that appeal 
brings additional evils. That each should be made callous, 
morally as well as physically, by the bearing of frequent 
wrongs, and should be made yet more callous when, coming 
into power, he inflicts punishments as whim or spite prompts, 
may also be desirable. Nor, perhaps, can we wholly regret 
that confusion of moral ideas which results when breaches of 
conventional rules bring penalties as severe as are brought by 
acts morally wrong. For war does not consist with keen sen 
sitiveness, physical or moral. Reluctance to inflict injury, 
and reluctance to risk injury, would equally render it impos 
sible. Scruples of conscience respecting the rectitude of their 
cause would paralyze officers and soldiers. So that a certain 
brutalization has to be maintained during our passing phase 
of civilization. It may be, indeed, that "the Public School 
spirit," which, as truly said, is carried into our public life, is 
not the most desirable for a free country. It may be that 
early subjection to despotism and early exercise of uncon 
trolled power, are not the best possible preparations for legis 
lators. It may be that those who, on the magistrate s bench, 
have to maintain right against might, could be better trained 


than by submission to violence and subsequent exercise of 
violence. And it may be that some other discipline than that 
of the stick, would be desirable for men who officer the press 
and guide public opinion on questions of equity. But, doubt 
less, while national antagonisms continue strong and national 
defence a necessity, there is a fitness in this semi-military dis 
cipline, with pains and bruises to uphold it. And a duly- 
adapted code of honour has the like defence. 

Here, however, if we are to free ourselves from transitory 
sentiments and ideas, so as to be capable of framing scientific 
conceptions, we must ask what warrant there is for this exal 
tation of the destructive activities and of the qualities implied 
by them ? We must ask how it is possible for men rightly to 
pride themselves on attributes possessed in higher degrees by 
creatures so much lower ? We must consider whether, in the 
absence of a religious justification, there is any ethical justifi 
cation for the idea that the most noble traits are such as can 
not be displayed without the infliction of pain and death. 
When we do this, -we are obliged to admit that the religion of 
enmity in its unqualified form, is as indefensible as the re 
ligion of amity in its unqualified form. Each proves itself to 
be one of those insane extremes out of which there comes a 
sane mean by union with its opposite. The two religions 
stand respectively for the claims of self and the claims of 
others. The first religion holds it glorious to resist aggres 
sion, and, while risking death in doing this, to inflict death 
on enemies. The second religion teaches that the glory is in 
not resisting aggression, and in yielding to enemies while not 
asserting the claims of self. A civilized humanity will render 
either glory just as impossible of achievement as its opposite. 
A diminishing egoism and an increasing altruism, must make 
each of these diverse kinds of honour unattainable. For such 
an advance implies a cessation of those aggressions which 
make possible the nobility of resistance ; while it implies a 
refusal to accept those sacrifices without which there cannot 
be the nobility of self-sacrifice. The two extremes must can 
cel ; leaving a moral code and a standard of honour free 
from irrational excesses. Along with a latent self-assertion, 
there will go a readiness to yield to others, kept in check by 
the refusal of others to accept more than their due. 


And now, having noted the perversions of thought and 
sentiment fostered by the religion of amity and the religion of 
enmity, under which we are educated in so chaotic a fashion, 
let us go on to note the ways in which these affect sociological 
conceptions. Certain important truths apt to be shut out from 
the minds of the few w r ho are unduly swayed by the religion 
of amity, may first be set down. 

One of the facts difficult to reconcile with current theories 
of the Universe, is that high organizations throughout the 
animal kingdom habitually serve to aid destruction or to aid 
escape from destruction. If we hold to the ancient view, we 
must say that high organization has been deliberately devised 
for such purposes. If we accept the modern view, we must 
say that high organization has been evolved by the exercise 
of destructive activities during immeasurable periods of the 
past. Here we choose the latter alternative. To the never- 
ceasiiig efforts to catch and eat, and the never-ceasing en 
deavours to avoid being caught and eaten, is to be ascribed 
the development of the various senses and the various motor 
organs directed by them. The bird of prey with the keenest 
vision, has, other things equal, survived when members of its 
species that did not see so far, died from want of food ; and by 
such survivals, keenness of vision has been made greater in 
course of generations. The fleetest members of a herbivorous 
herd, escaping when the slower fell victims to a carnivore, 
left posterity ; among which, again, those with the most per 
fectly-adapted limbs survived : the carnivores themselves 
being at the same time similarly disciplined and their speed in 
creased. So, too, with intelligence. Sagacity that detected a 
danger which stupidity did not perceive, lived and propagated ; 
and the cunning which hit upon a new deception, and so se 
cured prey not otherwise to be caught, left posterity where a 
smaller endowment of cunning failed. This mutual perfect 
ing of pursuer and pursued, acting upon their entire organiza 
tions, has been going on throughout all time ; and human beings 
have been subject to it just as much as other beings. Warfare 
among men, like warfare among animals, has had a large share 
in raising their organizations to a higher stage. The following 
are some of the various ways in which it has worked. 


In the first place, it has had the effect of continually ex 
tirpating races which, for some reason or other, were least 
fitted to cope with the conditions of existence they were sub 
ject to. The killing-off of relatively-feeble tribes, or tribes 
relatively wanting in endurance, or courage, or sagacity, or 
power of co-operation, must have tended ever to maintain, 
and occasionally to increase, the amounts of life-preserving 
powers possessed by men. 

Beyond this average advance caused by destruction of the 
least-developed races and the least-developed individuals, 
there has been an average advance caused by inheritance of 
those further developments due to functional activity. Re 
member the skill of the Indian in following a trail, and re 
member that under kindred stimuli many of his perceptions 
and feelings and bodily powers have been habitually taxed to 
the uttermost, and it becomes clear that the struggle for ex 
istence between neighbouring tribes has had an important 
effect in cultivating faculties of various kinds. Just as, to 
take an illustration from among ourselves, the skill of the 
police cultivates cunning among burglars, which, again, lead 
ing to further precautions generates further devices to evade 
them ; so, by the unceasing antagonisms between human so 
cieties, small and large, there has been a mutual culture of an 
adapted intelligence, a mutual culture of certain traits of char 
acter not to be undervalued, and a mutual culture of bodily 

A large effect, too, has been produced upon the develop 
ment of the arts. In responding to the imperative demands 
of war, industry made important advances and gained much 
of its skill. Indeed, it may be questioned whether, in the 
absence of that exercise of manipulative faculty which the 
making of weapons originally gave, there would ever have 
been produced the tools required for developed industry. If 
we go back to the Stone- Age, we see that implements of the 
chase and implements of war are those showing most labour 
and dexterity. If we take still-existing human races which 
were without metals when we found them, we see in their skil 
fully-wrought stone clubs, as well as in their large war- 
canoes, that the needs of defence and attack were the chief 
stimuli to the cultivation of arts afterwards available for 


productive purposes. Passing over intermediate stages, we 
may note in comparatively-recent stages the same rela 
tion. Observe a coat of mail, or one of the more highly- 
finished suits of armour compare it with articles of iron 
and steel of the same date ; and there is evidence that these 
desires to kill enemies and escape being killed, more ex 
treme than any other, have had great effects on those 
arts of working in metal to which most other arts owe 
their progress. The like relation is shown us in the uses 
made of gunpowder. At first a destructive agent, it has . be 
come an agent of immense service in quarrying, mining, 
railway-making, &c. 

A no less important benefit bequeathed by war, has been 
the formation of large societies. By force alone were small 
nomadic hordes welded into large tribes ; by force alone were 
large tribes welded into small nations ; by force alone have 
small nations been welded into large nations. While the 
fighting of societies usually maintains separateness, or by 
conquest produces only temporary unions, it produces, from 
time to time, permanent unions; and as fast as there are 
formed permanent unions of small into large, and then of 
large into still larger, industrial progress is furthered in three 
ways. Hostilities, instead of being perpetual, are broken by 
intervals of peace. When they occur, hostilities do not so 
profoundly derange the industrial activities. And there arises 
the possibility of carrying out the division of labour much 
more effectually. War, in short, in the slow course of things, 
brings about a social aggregation which furthers that indus 
trial state at variance with war; and yet nothing but war 
could binrig about this social aggregation. These truths, 

that without war large aggregates of men cannot be formed, 
and that without large aggregates of men there cannot be a 
developed industrial state, are illustrated in all places and 
times. Among existing uncivilized and semi-civilized races, 
we everywhere find that union of small societies by a con 
quering society is a step in civilization. The records of peo 
ples now extinct show us this with equal clearness. On look 
ing back into our own history, and into the histories of 
neighbouring nations, we similarly see that only by coercion 
were the smaller feudal governments so subordinated as to 


secure internal peace. And even lately, the long-desired con 
solidation of Germany, if not directly effected by " blood and 
iron," as Bismarck said it must be, has been indirectly effected 
by them. The furtherance of industrial development by 

aggregation is no less manifest. If we compare a small so 
ciety with a large one, we get clear proof that those processes 
of co-operation by which social life is made possible, assume 
high forms only when the numbers of the co-operating citi 
zens are great. Ask of what use a cloth-factory, supposing 
they could have one, would be to the members of a small 
tribe, and it becomes manifest that, producing as it would in 
a single day a year s supply of cloth, the vast cost of making 
it and keeping it in order could never be compensated by the 
advantage gained. Ask what would happen were a shop like 
Shoolbred s, supplying all textile products, set up in a village, 
and you see that the absence of a sufficiently-extensive dis 
tributing function would negative its continuance. Ask what 
sphere a bank would have had in the Old English period, when 
nearly all people grew their own food and spun their own 
wool, and it is at once seen that the various appliances for 
facilitating exchange can grow up only when a community 
becomes so large that the amount of exchange to be facilitated 
is great. Hence, unquestionably, that integration of societies 
effected by war, has been a needful preliminary to industrial 
development, and consequently to developments of other kinds 
Science, the Fine Arts, &c. 

Industrial habits too, and habits of subordination to social 
requirements, are indirectly brought about by the same cause. 
The truth that the power of working continuously, wanting 
in the aboriginal man, could be established only by that per 
sistent coercion to which conquered and enslaved tribes are 
subject, has become trite. An allied truth is, that only by a 
discipline of submission, first to an owner, then to a personal 
governor, presently to government less personal, then to the 
embodied law proceeding from government, could there even 
tually be reached submission to that code of moral law by 
which the civilized man is more and more restrained in his 
dealings with his fellows. 

Such being some of the important truths usually ignored 
by men too exclusively influenced by the religion of amity, 


]et us now glance at the no less important truths to which men 
are blinded by the religion of enmity. 

Though, during barbarism and the earlier stages of civiliza 
tion, war has the effect of exterminating the weaker societies, 
and of weeding out the weaker members of the stronger so 
cieties, and thus in both ways furthering the development of 
those valuable powers, bodily and mental, which war brings 
into play ; yet during the later stages of civilization, the sec 
ond of these actions is reversed. So long as all adult males 
have to bear arms, the average result is that those of most 
strength and quickness survive, while the feebler and slower 
are slain ; but when the industrial development has become 
such that only some of the adult males are drafted into the 
army, the tendency is to pick out and expose to slaughter the 
best-grown and healthiest : leaving behind the physically-in 
ferior to propagate the race. The fact that among ourselves, 
though the number of soldiers raised is not relatively large, 
many recruits are rejected by the examining surgeons, shows 
that the process inevitably works towards deterioration. 
Where, as in France, conscriptions have gone on taking away 
the finest men, generation after generation, the needful lower 
ing of the standard proves how disastrous is the effect on 
those animal qualities of a race which form a necessary basis 
for all higher qualities. If the depletion is indirect also if 
there is such an overdraw on the energies of the industrial 
population that a large share of heavy labour is thrown on 
the women, whose systems are taxed simultaneously by hard 
work and child-bearing, a further cause of physical degen 
eracy comes into play : France again supplying an example. 
War, therefore, after a certain stage of progress, instead of 
furthering bodily development and the development of cer 
tain mental powers, becomes a cause of retrogression. 

In like manner, though war, by bringing about social con 
solidations, indirectly favours industrial progress and all its 
civilizing consequences, yet the direct elfect of war on indus 
trial progress is repressive. It is repressive as necessitating 
the abstraction of men and materials that would otherwise go 
to industrial growth ; it is repressive as deranging the com 
plex inter-dependencies among the many productive and dis- 


tributive agencies ; it is repressive as drafting off much ad 
ministrative and constructive ability, which would else have 
gone to improve the industrial arts and the industrial organi 
zation. And if we contrast the absolutely military Spartans 
with the partially-military Athenians, in their respective atti 
tudes towards culture of every kind, or call to mind the con 
tempt shown for the pursuit of knowledge in purely-military 
times like those of feudalism ; we cannot fail to see that per 
sistent war is at variance not only with industrial develop 
ment, but also with the higher intellectual developments that 
aid industry and are aided by it. 

So, too, with the effects wrought on the moral nature. 
While war, by the discipline it gives soldiers, directly culti 
vates the habit of subordination, and does the like indirectly 
by establishing strong and permanent governments ; and 
while in so far it cultivates attributes that are not only tem 
porarily essential, but are steps towards attributes that are 
permanently essential ; yet it does this at the cost of main 
taining, and sometimes increasing, detrimental attributes 
attributes intrinsically anti-social. The aggressions which 
selfishness prompts (aggressions which, in a society, have to 
be restrained by some power that is strong in proportion as 
the selfishness is intense) can diminish only as fast as selfish 
ness is held in check by sympathy ; and perpetual warlike 
activities repress sympathy : nay, they do worse they culti 
vate aggressiveness to the extent of making it a pleasure to 
inflict injury. The citizen made callous by the killing and 
wounding of enemies, inevitably brings his callousness home 
with him. Fellow-feeling, habitually trampled down in mili 
tary conflicts, cannot at the same time be active in the rela 
tions of civil life. In proportion as giving pain to others is 
made a habit during war, it will remain a habit during peace : 
inevitably producing in the behaviour of citizens to one 
another, antagonisms, crimes of violence, and multitudinous 
aggressions of minor kinds, tending towards a disorder that 
calls for coercive government. Nothing like a high type of 
social life is possible without a type of human character in 
which the promptings of egoism are duly restrained by regard 
for others. The necessities of war imply absolute self-regard, 
and absolute disregard of certain others. Inevitably, there- 


fore, the civilizing discipline of social life is antagonized by 
the uncivilizing discipline of the life war involves. So that 
beyond the direct mortality and miseries entailed by war, it 
entails other mortality and miseries by maintaining anti-social 
sentiments in citizens. 

Taking the most general view of the matter, we may say 
that only when the sacred duty of blood-revenge, constituting 
the religion of the savage, decreases in sacredness, does there 
come a possibility of emei gence from the deepest barbarism. 
Only as fast as retaliation, which for a murder on one side in 
flicts a murder or murders oil the other, becomes less impera 
tive, is it possible for larger aggregates of men to hold together 
and civilization to commence. And so, too, out of lower 
stages of civilization higher ones can emerge, only as there 
diminishes this pursuit of international revenge and re-re 
venge, which the code we inherit from the savage insists 
upon. Such advantages, bodily and mental, as the race derives 
from the discipline of war, are exceeded by the disadvantages, 
bodily and mental, but especially mental, which result aiter a 
certain stage of progress is reached. Severe and bloody as 
the process is, the killing-off of inferior races and inferior 
individuals, leaves a balance of benefit to mankind during 
phases of progress in which the moral development is low, 
and there are no quick sympathies to be continually seared 
by the infliction of pain and death. But as there arise higher 
societies, implying individual characters fitted for closer co 
operation, the destructive activities exercised by such higher 
societies have injurious re-active effects on the moral natures 
of their members injurious effects which outweigh the bene 
fits resulting from extirpation of inferior races. After this 
stage has been reached, the purifying process, continuing still 
an important one, remains to be carried on by industrial war 
by a competition of societies during which the best, physically, 
emotionally, and intellectually, spread most, and leave the 
least capable to disappear gradually, from failing to leave a 
sufficiently-numerous posterity. 

Those educated in the religion of enmity those who dur 
ing boyhood, when the instincts of the savage are dominant, 
have revelled in the congenial ideas and sentiments which 
classic poems and histories yield so abundantly, and have be 


come confirmed in the belief that war is virtuous and peace 
ignoble, are naturally blind to truths of this kind. Rather 
should we say, perhaps, that they have never turned their 
eyes in search of such truths. And their bias is so strong that 
nothing more than a nominal recognition of such truths is 
possible to them ; if even this. What perverted conceptions 
of social phenomena this bias produces, may be seen in the 
following passage from Gibbon : 

" It was scarcely possible that the eyes of contemporaries should dis 
cover in the public felicity the causes of decay and corruption. The 
long peace, and the uniform government of the Romans, had introduced 
a slow and secret poison into the vitals of the empire." 
In which sentences there is involved the general proposition 
that in proportion as men are long held together in that mu 
tual dependence which social co-operation implies, they will 
become less fit for mutual dependence and co-operation. the 
society will tend towards dissolution. While in proportion as 
they are habituated to antagonism and to destructive activities, 
they will become better adapted to activities requiring union 
and agreement. 

Thus the two opposite codes in which we are educated, and 
the sentiments enlisted on behalf of their respective precepts, 
inevitably produce misinterpretations of social phenomena. 
Instead of acting together, now this and now the other sways 
the beliefs; and instead of consistent, balanced conclusions, 
there results a jumble of contradictory conclusions. 

It is time, not only with a view to right thinking in Social 
Science, but with a view to right acting in daily life, that this 
acceptance in the unqualified forms of two creeds which con 
tradict one another completely, should come to an end. Is it 
not a folly to go on pretending to ourselves and others that 
we believe certain perpetually-repeated maxims of entire self- 
sacrifice, which we daily deny by our business activities, by 
the steps we take to protect our persons and property, by the 
approval we express of resistance against aggression ? Is it 
not a dishonesty to repeat in tones of reverence, maxims 
which we not only refuse to act out but dimly see would be 
mischievous if acted out ? Everyone must admit that the 
relation between parent and child is one in which altruism is 


pushed as far as is practicable. Yet even here there needs a 
predominant egoism. The mother can suckle her infant only 
on condition that she has habitually gratified her appetite in 
due degree. And there is a point beyond which sacrifice of 
herself is fatal to her infant. The bread-winner, too, on whom 
both depend is it not undeniable that wife and child can be 
altruistically treated by their protector, only on condition that 
he is duly egoistic in his transactions with his fellow citizens ? 
If the dictate live for self, is wrong in one way, the opposite 
dictate " live for others," is wrong in another way. The ra 
tional dictate is live for self and others. And if we all do 
actually believe this, as our conduct conclusively proves, is it 
not better for us distinctly to say so, rather than continue 
enunciating principles which we do not and cannot practise : 
thus bringing moral teaching itself into discredit ? 

On the other hand, it is time that a ferocious egoism, which 
remains unaffected by this irrational altruism, professed but 
not believed, should be practically modified by a rational al 
truism. This sacred duty of blood-revenge, insisted on by the 
still-vigorous religion of enmity, needs qualifying actually 
and not verbally. Instead of senselessly reiterating in cate 
chisms and church services the duty of doing good to those 
that hate us, while an undoubting belief in the duty of retalia 
tion is implied by our parliamentary debates, the articles in 
our journals, and the conversations over our tables, it would 
be wiser and more manly to consider how far the first should 
go in mitigation of the last. Is it stupidity or is it moral 
cowardice which leads men to continue professing a creed that 
makes self-sacrifice a cardinal principle, while they urge the 
sacrificing of others, even to the death, when they trespass 
against us ? Is it blindness, or is it an insane inconsistency, 
which makes them regard as most admirable the bearing of 
evil for the benefit of others, while they lavish admiration on 
those who, out of revenge, inflict great evils in return for 
small ones suffered ? Surely our barbarian code of right 
needs revision, and our barbarian standard of honour should 
be somewhat changed. Let us deliberately recognize what 
good they represent and what mixture of bad there is with it. 
Courage is worthy of respect when displayed in the mainte 
nance of legitimate claims and in the repelling of aggressions, 


bodily or other. Courage is worthy of yet higher respect 
when danger is faced in defence of claims common to self and 
others, as in resistance to invasion. Courage is worthy of 
the highest respect when risk to life or linih is dared in de 
fence of others ; and becomes grand when those others have 
110 claims of relationship, and still more when they have no 
claims of race. But though a bravery which is altruistic 
in its motive is a trait we cannot too highly applaud, and 
though a bravery which is legitimately egoistic in its motive 
is praiseworthy, the bravery that is prompted by aggressive 
egoism is not praiseworthy. The admiration accorded to the 
" pluck v of one who fights in a base cause is a vicious ad 
miration, demoralizing to those who feel it. Like the physi 
cal powers, courage, which is a concomitant of these, is to be 
regarded as a servant of the higher emotions very valuable, 
indispensable even, in its place ; and to be honoured when dis 
charging its function in subordination to these higher emo 
tions. But otherwise not more to be honoured than the like 
attribute as seen in brutes. 

Quite enough has been said to show that there must be a 
compromise between the opposite standards of conduct on 
which the religions of amity and enmity respectively insist, 
before there can be scientific conceptions of social phenomena. 
Even on passing affairs, such as the proceedings of philan 
thropic bodies and the dealings of nation with nation, there 
cannot be rational judgments without a balance between the 
self -asserting emotions and the emotions which put a limit to 
self-assertion, with an adjustment of the corresponding beliefs. 
Still less can there be rational judgments of past social evolu 
tion, or of social evolution in the future, if the opposing actions 
which these opposing creeds sanction, are not both continuously 
recognized as essential. No mere impulsive recognition, now 
of the purely-egoistic doctrine and now of the purely-altruistic 
one, will suffice. The curve described by a planet cannot be 
understood by thinking at one moment of the centripetal force 
and at another moment of the tangential force ; but the two 
must be kept before consciousness as acting simultaneously. 
And similarly, to understand social progress in the vast sweep 
of its course, there must be ever present to the mind, the 
egoistic and the altruistic forces as co-operative factors equally 


indispensable, and neither of them to be ignored or repro 

The criticism likely to be passed on this chapter, that 
" The Educational Bias " is far too comprehensive a title for 
it, is quite justifiable. There are in truth few, if any, of the 
several kinds of bias, that are not largely, or in some meas 
ure, caused by education using this word in an extended 
ssene. As, however, all of them could not be dealt with in 
one chapter, it seemed best to select these two opposite forms 
of bias which are directly traceable to teachings of opposite 
dogmas, and fosterings of opposite sentiments, during early 
life. Merely recognizing the fact that education has much 
to do with the other kinds of bias, we may now most con 
veniently deal with these each under its specific title. 



" OUR country, right or wrong 1 ," is a sentiment not unfre- 
quently expressed on the other side of the Atlantic ; and, if 
I remember rightly, an equivalent sentiment was some years 
ago uttered in our own House of Commons, by one who 
rejoices, or at least who once rejoiced, in the title of philo 
sophical Radical. 

Whoever entertains such a sentiment has not that equi 
librium of feeling required for dealing scientifically with 
social phenomena. To see how things stand, apart from 
personal and national interests, is essential before there can 
be reached those balanced judgments respecting the course 
of human affairs in general, which constitute Sociology. To 
be convinced of this, it needs but to take a case remote from 
our own. Ask how the members of an aboriginal tribe re 
gard that tide of civilization which sweeps them away. Ask 
what the North-American Indians said about the spread of 
the white man over their territories, or what the ancient 
Britons thought of the invasions which dispossessed them of 
England ; and it becomes clear that events which, looked at 
from an un-national point of view, were steps towards a 
higher life, seemed from a national point of view entirely 
evil. Admitting the truth so easily perceived in these cases, 
we must admit that only in proportion as we emancipate 
ourselves from the bias of patriotism, and consider our own 
society as one among many, having their histories and their 
futures, and some of them, perhaps, having better claims than 
we have to the inheritance of the Earth only in proportion 
as we do this, shall we recognize those sociological truths 



which have nothing to do with particular nations or par 
ticular races. 

So to emancipate ourselves is extremely difficult. It is 
with patriotism as we lately saw it to be with the sentiment 
causing political subordination : the very existence of a so 
ciety implies predominance of it. The two sentiments join 
in producing that social cohesion without which there cannot 
be co-operation and organization. A nationality is made 
possible only by the feeling which the units have for the 
whole they form. Indeed, we may say that the feeling has 
been gradually increased by the continual destroying of types 
of men whose attachments to their societies were relatively 
small ; and who are therefore incapable of making adequate 
sacrifices on behalf of their societies. Here, again, we are 
reminded that the citizen, by his incorporation in a body 
politic, is in a great degree coerced into such sentiments and 
beliefs as further its preservation : unless this is the average 
result the body politic will not be preserved. Hence another 
obstacle in the way of Social Science. We have to allow 
for the aberrations of judgment caused by the sentiment of 

Patriotism is nationally that which egoism is individually 
has, in fact, the same root ; and along with kindred benefits 
brings kindred evils. Estimation of one s society is a reflex 
of self-estimation ; and assertion of one s society s claims is 
an indirect assertion of one s own claims as a part of it. The 
pride a citizen feels in a national achievement, is the pride in 
belonging to a nation capable of that achievement : the be 
longing to such a nation having the tacit implication that 
in himself there exists the superiority of nature displayed. 
And the anger aroused in him by an aggression on his nation, 
is an anger against something which threatens to injure him 
also, by injuring his nation. 

As, lately, we saw that a duly- ad justed egoism is essential ; 
so now, we may see that a duly-adjusted patriotism is essen 
tial. Self-regard in excess produces tw T o classes of evils : by 
prompting undue assertion of personal claims it breeds aggres 
sion and antagonism; and by creating undue estimation of 
personal powers it excites futile efforts that end in catastro- 


plies. Deficient self-regard produces two opposite classes of 
evils : by not asserting personal claims, it invites aggression, 
so fostering selfishness in others ; and by not adequately 
valuing personal powers it causes a falling short of attain 
able benefits. Similarly with patriotism. From too much, 
there result national aggressiveness and national vanity. 
Along with too little, there goes an insufficient tendency to 
maintain national claims, leading to trespasses by other 
nations; and there goes an undervaluing of national capa 
cities and institutions, which is discouraging to effort and 

The effects of patriotic feeling which here concern us, are 
those it works on belief rather than those it works on conduct. 
As disproportionate egoism, by distorting a man s conceptions 
of self and of others, vitiates his conclusions respecting hu 
man nature and human actions ; so, disproportionate patriot 
ism, by distorting his conceptions of his own society and of 
other societies, vitiates his conclusions respecting the natures 
and actions of societies. And from the opposite extremes 
there result opposite distortions; which, however, are com 
paratively infrequent and much less detrimental. 

Here we come upon one of the many ways in which the 
corporate conscience proves itself less developed than the 
individual conscience. For while excess of egoism is every 
where regarded as a fault, excess of patriotism is nowhere 
regarded as a fault. A man who recognizes his own errors of 
conduct and his own .deficiencies of faculty, shows a trait of 
character considered praiseworthy ; but to admit that our 
doings toward other nations have been wrong is reprobated 
as unpatriotic. Defending the acts of another people with 
whom we have a difference seems to most citizens something 
like treason ; and they use offensive comparisons concerning 
birds and their nests, by way of condemning those who as 
cribe misconduct to our own people rather than to the people 
with whom we are at variance. Not only do they exhibit 
the unchecked sway of this reflex egoism which constitutes 
patriotism not only are they unconscious that there is any 
thing blameworthy in giving the rein to this feeling ; but 
they think the blameworthiiiess is in those who restrain it, 
and try to see what may be said 011 both sides. Judge, then, 


how seriously the patriotic bias, thus perverting our judg 
ments about international actions, necessarily perverts our 
judgments about the characters of other societies, and so 
vitiates sociological conclusions. 

We have to guard ourselves against this bias. To this end 
let us take some examples of the errors attributable to it. 

What mistaken estimates of other races may result from 
over-estimation of one s own race, will be most vividly shown 
by a case in which we are ourselves valued at a very low rate 
by a race we hold to be far inferior. Here is such a case 
supplied by a tribe of negroes : 

" They amused themselves by remarking on the sly, The white 
man is an old ape. The African will say of the European, He looks 
like folks, [men], and the answer will often be, No, he don t. . . . 
Whilst the Caucasian doubts the humanity of the Ilamite, the latter 
repays the compliment in kind." 

Does anyone think this instance so far out of the ordinary 
track of error as to have 110 instruction for us ? To see the 
contrary he has but to look at the caricatures of Frenchmen 
that were common a generation ago, or to remember the pop 
ular statement then current respecting the relative strengths 
of French and English. Such reminders will convince him 
that the reflex self-esteem we call patriotism, has had, among 
ourselves, perverting effects sufficiently striking. And even 
now there are kindred opinions which the facts, when exam 
ined, do not bear out : instance the opinion respecting personal 
beauty. That the bias thus causing misjudgments in cases 
where it is checked by direct perception, causes greater mis- 
judgments where direct perception cannot check it, needs no 
proof. How great are the mistakes it generates, all histories 
of international struggles show us, both by the contradictory 
estimates the two sides form of their repective leaders and by 
the contradictory estimates the two sides form of their deeds. 
Take an example : 

"Of the character in which Wallace first became formidable, the 
accounts of literature are distractingly conflicting. With the chroni 
clers of his own country, who write after the War of Independence, he 
is raised to the highest pinnacle of magnanimity and heroism. To 
the p]nglish contemporary chroniclers he is a pestilent ruffian ; a dis- 


turber of the peace of society ; an outrager of all laws and social 
duties ; finally, a robber the head of one of many bands of robbers 
and marauders then infesting Scotland." 2 

That, along with such opposite distortions of belief about 
conspicuous persons, there go opposite distortions of belief 
about the conduct of the peoples they belong to, the accounts 
of every war demonstrate. Like the one-sidedness shown 
within our own society by the remembrance among Protes 
tants of Roman Catholic cruelties only, and by the remem 
brance among 1 Roman Catholics of Protestant cruelties only, 
is the one-sidedness shown in the traditions preserved by each 
nation concerning the barbarities of nations it has fought 
with. As in old times the Normans, vindictive themselves, 
were shocked at the vindictiveness of the English when driven 
to bay ; so in recent times the French have enlarged on the 
atrocities committed by Spanish guerillas, and the Russians 
on the atrocities the Circassians perpetrated. In this conflict 
between the views of those who commit savage acts, and the 
views of those on whom they are committed, we clearly per 
ceive the bias of patriotism where both sides are aliens ; but 
we fail to perceive it where we are ourselves concerned as 
actors. Every one old enough remembers the reprobation 
vented here when the French in Algiers dealt so cruelly with 
Arabs who refused to submit lighting fires at the mouths of 
caves in which they had taken refuge ; but we do not see a 
like barbarity in deeds of our own in India, such as the ex 
ecuting a group of rebel sepoys by fusillade, and then setting 
fire to the heap of them because they were not all dead, 8 or in 
the wholesale shootings and burnings of houses, after the sup 
pression of the Jamaica insurrection. Listen to what is said 
about such deeds in our own colonies, and you find that habit 
ually they are held to have been justified by the necessities of 
the case. Listen to what is said about such deeds when other 
nations are guilty of them, and you find the same persons in 
dignantly declare that no alleged necessities could form a jus 
tification. Nay, the bias produces perversions of judgment 
even more extreme. Feelings and deeds we laud as virtuous 
when they are not in antagonism with our own interests and 
power, we think vicious feelings and deeds when our own in 
terests and power are endangered by them. Equally in the 


mythical story of Tell and in any account not mythical, we 
read with glowing 1 admiration of the successful rising of an 
oppressed race ; but admiration is changed into indignation if 
the race is one held down by ourselves. We can see nothing 
save crime in the endeavour of the Hindus to throw off our 
yoke ; and we recognize no excuse for the efforts of the Irish 
to establish their independent nationality. We entirely ig 
nore the fact that the motives are in all such cases the same, 
and are to be judged apart from results. 

A bias which thus vitiates even the perceptions of physical 
appearances, which immensely distorts the beliefs about con 
spicuous antagonists and their deeds, which leads us to repro 
bate when others commit them, severities and cruelties we 
applaud when committed by our own agents, and which 
makes us regard acts of intrinsically the same kind as wrong 
or right according as they are or are not directed against our 
selves, is a bias which inevitably perverts our sociological 
ideas. The institutions of a despised people cannot be judged 
with fairness ; and if, as often happens, the contempt is un 
warranted, or but partially warranted, such value as their 
institutions have will certainly be under-estimated. When 
antagonism has bred hatred towards another nation, and has 
consequently bred a desire to justify the hatred by ascribing 
hateful characters to members of that nation, it inevitably 
happens that the political arrangements under which they 
live, the religion they profess, and the habits peculiar to 
them, become associated in thought with these hateful char 
acters become themselves hateful, and cannot therefore have 
their natures studied with the calmness required by science. 

An example will make this clear. The reflex egoism we 
name patriotism, causing among other things a high valua 
tion of the religious creed nationally professed, makes us 
overrate the effects this creed has produced, and makes us 
underrate the effects produced by other creeds and by influ 
ences of other orders. The notions respecting savage and 
civilized races, in which we are brought up, show this. 

The word savage, originally meaning wild or uncultivated, 
has come to mean cruel and blood-thirsty, because of the rep 
resentations habitually made that wild or uncultivated tribes 


of men are cruel and blood-thirsty. And ferocity being- now 
always thought of as a constant attribute of uncivilized races, 
which are also distinguished by not having our religion, it is 
tacitly assumed that the absence of our religion is the cause 
of this ferocity. But if, struggling successfully against the 
bias of patriotism, we correct the evidence w^hich that bias 
has garbled, we find ourselves obliged to modify this assump 

When, for instance, we read Cook s account of the Tahi- 
tians, as first visited by him, we are surprised to meet with 
some traits among them, higher than those of their civilized 
visitors. Though pilfering was committed by them, it was 
not so serious as that of which the sailors were guilty in steal 
ing the iron bolts out of their own ship to pay the native 
women. And when, after Cook had enacted a penalty for 
theft, the natives complained of one of his own crew w r hen 
this sailor, convicted of the offence he w^as charged with, was 
condemned to be whipped, the natives tried to get him off, 
and failing to do this, shed tears on seeing preparations for 
the punishment. If, again, we compare critically the accounts 
of Cook s death, we see clearly that the Sandwich Islanders 
behaved amicably until they had been ill-used, and had rea 
son to fear further ill-usage. The experiences of many other 
travellers similarly show us that friendly conduct on the part 
of uncivilized races when first visited, is very general ; and 
that their subsequent unfriendly conduct, when it occurs, is 
nothing but retaliation for injuries received from the civilized. 
Such a fact as that the natives of Queen Charlotte s Island did 
not attack Captain Carteret s party till after they had received 
just cause of offence, 4 may be taken as typical of the histories 
of transactions between wild races and cultivated races. 
When we inquire into the case of the missionary Williams, 
"the Martyr of Erromanga," we discover that his murder, di 
lated upon as proving the wickedness of unreclaimed natures, 
was a revenge for injuries previously suffered from wicked 
Europeans. Read a few testimonies about the relative be 
haviours of civilized and uncivilized : 

"After we had killed a man at the Marquesas, grievously wounded 
one at Easter Island, hooked a third with a boat-hook at Tonga-tabu, 
wounded one at Namocka, another at Mallicollo, and killed another at 


Tanna ; the several inhabitants behaved in a civil and harmless man 
ner to us, though they might have taken ample revenge by cutting off 
our straggling parties." 5 

" Excepting at Cafta, where I was for a time supposed to come 
with hostile intent, I was treated inhospitably by no one during all my 
travels, excepting by Europeans, who had nothing against me but my 
apparent poverty." 6 

" In February, 1812, the people of Winnebah [Gold Coast] seized 
their commandant, Mr. Meredith," and so maltreated him that he 
died. The town and fort were destroyed by the English. " For many 
years afterwards, English vessels passing Winnebah were in the habit 
of pouring a broadside into the town, to inspire the natives with an 
idea of the severe vengeance which would be exacted for the spilling 
of European blood." * 

Or, instead of these separate testimonies, take the opinion of 
one who collected many testimonies. Referring to the kind 
treatment experienced by Enciso from the natives of Car 
tagena (on the coast of New Granada), who a few years before 
had been cruelly treated by the Spaniards, Washington Irving 
says : 

" When we recall the bloody and indiscriminate vengeance wreaked 
upon this people by Ojida and his followers for their justifiable resist 
ance of invasion, and compare it with their placable and considerate 
spirit when an opportunity for revenge presented itself, we confess we 
feel a momentary doubt whether the arbitrary appellation of savage is 
always applied to the right party." 8 

The reasonableness of this doubt will scarcely be ques 
tioned, after reading of the diabolical cruelties committed by 
the invading Europeans in America ; as, for Instance, in St. 
Domingo, where the French made the natives kneel in rows 
along the edge of a deep trench and shot them batch after 
batch, until the trench was full, or, as an easier method, tied 
numbers of them together, took them out to sea, and tumbled 
them overboard ; and where the Spaniards treated so horribly 
the enslaved natives, that these killed themselves wholesale : 
the various modes of suicide being shown in Spanish draw 

Does the Englishman say that these, and hosts of like 
demoniacal misdeeds, are the misdeeds of other civilized races 
in other times ; and that they are attributable to that corrupted 
religion which he repudiates ? If so, he may be reminded 


that sundry of the above facts are facts against ourselves. He 
may be reminded, too, that the purer religion he professes has 
not prevented a kindred treatment of the North American In 
dians by our own race. And he may be put to the blush by 
accounts of barbarities going on in our own colonies at the 
present time. Without detailing these, however, it will suf 
fice to recall the most recent notorious case that of the kid 
nappings and murders in the South Seas. Here we find re 
peated the typical transactions : betrayals of many natives 
and merciless sacrifices of their lives ; eventual retaliation by 
the natives to a small extent ; a consequent charge against the 
natives of atrocious murder ; and finally, a massacre of them, 
innocent and guilty together. 

See, then, how the bias of patriotism indirectly produces 
erroneous views of the effects of an institution. Blinded by na 
tional self-love to the badness of our conduct towards inferior 
races, while remembering what there is of good in our con 
duct; forgetting how well these inferior races have usually 
behaved to us, and remembering only their misbehaviour, 
which we refrain from tracing to its cause in our own trans 
gressions ; we over-value our own natures as compared with 
theirs. And then, looking at the two as respectively Christian 
and Heathen, we over-rate the good done by Christian institu 
tions (which has doubtless been great), and we under-rate the 
advance that has been made without them. We do this ha 
bitually in other cases. As, for instance, when we ignore evi 
dence furnished by the history of Buddhism ; respecting the 
founder of which Canon Liddon lately told his hearers that 
" it might be impossible for honest Christians to think over 
the career of this heathen Prince without some keen feelings 
of humiliation and shame." 9 And ignoring all such evidence, 
we get one-sided impressions. Thus our sociological concep 
tions are distorted do not correspond with the facts ; that is, 
are unscientific. 

To illustrate some among the many effects wrought by the 
bias of patriotism in other nations, and to show how mischiev 
ous are the beliefs it fosters, I may here cite evidence fur 
nished by France and by Germany. 

Contemplate that undue self-estimation which the French 


have shown us. Observe what has resulted from that exceed 
ing faith in French power which the writings of M. Thiers did 
so much to maintain and increase. When we remember how, 
by causing under-valuation of other nations, it led to a disre 
gard of their ideas and an ignorance of their doings when we 
remember how, in the late war, the French, confident of vic 
tory, had maps of G-erman territory but not of their own, and 
suffered catastrophes from this and other kinds of unprepared- 
ness ; we see what fatal evils this reflex self-esteem may pro 
duce when in excess. So, too, on studying the way in 
which it has influenced French thought in other directions. 
On reading the assertion, " La chimie est une science fran- 
$aise," with which Wurtz commences his Histoire des Doc 
trines Chimiques, one cannot but see that the feeling which 
prompted such an assertion must vitiate the comparisons made 
between things in France and things elsewhere. Looking at 
Crimean battle-pieces, in which French soldiers are shown to 
have achieved everything looking at a picture like Ingres 
" Crowning of Homer," and noting French poets conspicuous 
in the foreground, while the figure of Shakspeare in one 
corner is half in and half out of the picture reading the 
names of great men of all nations inscribed on the string 
course running round the Palais de V Industrie, and finding 
many unfamiliar French names, while (strange oversight, as 
we must suppose) the name of Newton is conspicuous by its 
absence ; we see exemplified a national sentiment which, gen 
erating the belief that things not French deserve little atten 
tion, acts injuriously on French thought and French progress. 
From Victor Hugo s magniloquent description of France as 
the " Saviour of Nations," down to the declamations of those 
who urged that were Paris destroyed the light of civilization 
w^ould be extinguished, we see throughout, the conviction that 
France is the teacher, and by implication needs not to be a 
learner. The diffusion of French ideas is an essential thing 
for other nations ; while the absorption of ideas from other 
nations is not an essential thing for France : the truth being, 
rather, that French ideas, more than most other ideas, stand 
in need of foreign influence to qualify the undue definiteiiess 
and dogmatic character they habitually display. That 
such a tone of feeling, and the mode of thinking appropriate 


to it, should vitiate sociological speculation, is a matter of 
course. If there needs proof, we have a conspicuous one in the 
writing s of M. Conite ; where excessive self -estimation under 
its direct form, and under that reilex form constituting patriot 
ism, has led to astounding sociological misconceptions. If we 
contemplate that scheme of Positivist reorganization and feder 
ation in which France was, of course, to be the leader if we 
note the fact that M. Comte expected the transformation he so 
rigorously formulated to take place during the life of his own 
generation ; and if, then, we remember what has since hap 
pened, and consider what are the probabilities of the future, 
we shall not fail to see that great perversions are produced by 
this bias in the conceptions of social phenomena. 

How national self-esteem, exalted by success in war, warps 
opinions about public affairs, is again shown of late in Ger 
many. As a German professor writes to me : " there is, alas, 
no want of signs " that the " happy contrast to French self- 
sufficiency " which Germany heretofore displayed, is disap 
pearing "since the glory of the late victories." The German 
liberals, he says, " overflow with talk of Germanism, German 
unity, the German nation, the German empire, the German 
army and the German navy, the German church, and German 

science They ridicule Frenchmen, and what animates 

them is, after all, the French spirit translated into Ger 
man." To illustrate the injurious reaction on German 
thought, and on the estimates of foreign nations and their do 
ings, he describes a discussion with an esteemed German profes 
sor of philosophy, against whom he was contending that the 
psychical and ethical sciences would gain in progress and influ 
ence by international communion, like that among the physico- 
mathematical sciences. He " to my astonishment declared that 
even if such an union were possible, he did not think it desir 
able, as it would interfere too much with the peculiarity of Ger 
man thought Second to Germany," he said, " it was Italy, 

w r hich, in the immediate future, was most likely to promote 

philosophy It appeared that what made him prefer the 

Italians .... was nothing else than his having observed that 
in Italy they were acquainted with every philosophical treatise 
published in Germany, however unimportant." And thus, 
adds my correspondent, "the finest German characteristics 


are disappearing- in an exaggerated Teutonomania." One 

more truth his comments on German feeling disclose. An in 
direct antagonism exists between the sentiment of nationality 
and the sentiment of individuality ; the result of which is that 
exaltation of the one involves depression of the other, and a 
decreased regard for the institutions it originates. Speaking 
of the "so-called National Liberals," he says: "A friend of 
mine was lately present at a discussion, in the course of which 

a professor of philosophy, of the University of , was very 

eloquently, and witli perfect seriousness, contending that only 
one thing is now wanted to complete our German institutions 
a national costume. Other people, who, no doubt, are fully 
aware of the ridiculousness of such things, are nevertheless 
guilty of an equally absurd and even more-intolerable en 
croachment on individual liberty ; since, by proposing to es 
tablish a national church, they aim at constraining the adher 
ents of the various religious bodies into a spiritual uniform. 
Indeed, I should hardly have thought it possible that a Ger 
man government could encourage such monstrous proposi 
tions, if they had not been expounded to me at the Ministry 
of Public Worship." 

Saying no more about patriotism and its perverting effects 
on sociological judgments, which are, indeed, so conspicuous 
all through history as scarcely to need pointing out, let me 
devote the remaining space to the perverting effects of the 
opposite feeling anti-patriotism. Though the distortions of 
opinion hence resulting are less serious, still they have to be 
guarded against. 

In England the bias of anti-patriotism does not diminish in 
a marked way the admiration we have for our political insti 
tutions ; biit only here and there prompts the wish for a strong 
government, to secure the envied benefits ascribed to strong 
governments abroad. Nor does it appreciably modify the gen 
eral attachment to our religious institutions ; but only in a 
few who dislike independence, shows itself in advocacy of an 
authoritative ecclesiastical system, fitted to remedy what they 
lament as a chaos of religious beliefs. In other directions, 
however, it is displayed so frequently and conspicuously as to 
affect public opinion in an injurious way. In respect to the 


higher orders of intellectual achievement, under-valuation of 
ourselves has become a fashion ; and the errors it fosters react 
detrimentally on the estimates we make of our social regime, 
and on our sociological beliefs in general. 

What is the origin of this undue self -depreciation ? In 
some cases no doubt it results from disgust at the jaunty self- 
satisfaction caused by the bias of patriotism when excessive. 
In other cases it grows out of affectation : to speak slightingly 
of what is English seems to imply a wide knowledge of what 
is foreign, and brings a reputation for culture. In the remain 
ing cases it is due to ignorance. Passing over such of these 
self -depreciatory estimates of our powers and achievements as 
have partial justifications, I will limit myself to one which 
has no justification. Among the classes here indicated, it is 
the custom to speak disrespectfully of the part we play in dis 
covery and invention. There is an assertion occasionally to be 
met with in public journals, that the French invent and we 
improve. Not long since it was confessed by the Attorney - 
General that the English are not a scientific nation. Recently 
the Times, commenting 011 a speech in which Mr. Gladstone 
had been disparaging our nation and its men, said : " There is 
truth, however, in the assertion that we are backward in ap 
preciating and pursuing abstract knowledge." 10 Such state 
ments exhibit the bias of anti-patriotism creating a belief that is 
wholly indefensible. As we shall presently see, they are flatly 
contradicted by facts ; and they can be accounted for only by 
supposing that those who make them have had a culture ex 
clusively literary, 

A convenient way of dealing with this bias of anti-patri 
otism will be to take an individual example of it. More than 
any other, Mr. Matthew Arnold has of late made himself an 
exponent of the feeling. His motive cannot be too highly 
respected; and for much that he has said in rebuke of the 
vainglorious, entire approval may rightly be felt. Many 
grave defects in our social state, many absurdities in our 
modes of action, many errors in our estimates of ourselves, 
are to be pointed out and dwelt upon ; and great good is done 
by a writer who efficiently executes the task of making us feel 
our shortcomings. In his condemnation of the ascetic view 
of life which still prevails here, one may entirely agree. That 


undue valuation of material prosperity common with us, is a 
fault justly insisted on by him. And the overweening confi 
dence so often shown in a divine favour gained by our greater 
national piety, is also an attitude of mind to be reprobated. 
But by reaction Mr. Arnold is, I think, carried too far in the 
direction of anti-patriotism ; and weakens the effect of his 
criticism by generating a re-action. Let us glance at some of 
his views. 

The mode of procedure generally followed by Mr. Arnold, 
is not that of judicially balancing the evidence, but that of 
meeting the expression of self-satisfied patriotism by some few 
facts calculated to cause dissatisfaction : not considering what 
is their quantitative value. To reprove a piece of national 
self-laudation uttered by Mr. Roebuck, he comments on the 
murder of an illegitimate child by its mother, reported in the 
same paper. Now this would be effective if infanticide were 
peculiar to England, or if he could show a larger proportion 
of infanticide here than elsewhere ; but his criticism is at once 
cancelled on calling to mind the developed system of baby- 
farming round Paris, and the extensive getting-rid of infants 
to which it is instrumental. By following Mr. Arnold s method, 
it would be easy to dispose of his conclusions. Suppose, 

for instance, that I were to set down the many murders com 
mitted in England by foreigners within our own memories, 
including those by Courvoisier, by Mrs. Manning, by Barthe- 
lemi near Fitzroy Square, by a Frenchman in Foley Place 
(about 1854-7), that by Muller, that by Kohl in the Essex 
marshes, that by Lani in a brothel near the Haymarket, that 
by Marguerite Diblanc, the tragedy of the two young Ger 
mans (Mai and Nagel) at Chelsea, ending with the recent one 
in Great Coram Street suppose I were to compare the ratio 
between this number of murderers and the number of for 
eigners in England, with the answering ratio among our own 
people ; and suppose I were to take this as a test of the Conti 
nental culture Mr. Arnold so much admires. Probably he 
would not think the test quite relevant ; and yet it would be 
quite as relevant as that he uses perhaps somewhat more 
relevant. Suppose, again, that by way of criticism on 

German administration, I were to dwell on the catastrophe 


at Berlin, where, during the celebration of victory, fourteen 
sightseers were killed and some hundreds injured ; or suppose 
I were to judge it by the disclosures of the leading Berlin phy 
sician, Virchow, who shows that one out of every thi ee chil 
dren born in Berlin dies the first year, and whose statistics 
prove the general mortality to be increasing so rapidly that 
while " in 1854 the death-rate was 1000, in 1851-63 it rose to 
1164, and in 1864-8 to 1817 " "suppose, I say, that I took 
these facts as proof of failure in the social system Mr. Arnold 
would have us copy. Possibly he would not be much shaken ; 
though it seems to me that this evidence would be more to the 
point than a case of infanticide among ourselves. Fur 

ther, suppose I were to test French administration by the sta 
tistics of mortality in the Crimea, as given at the late meeting 
of the French Association for the Advancement of Science, 
by M. Le Fort, who pointed out that 

" Dans ces six mois d hiver 1855-1856, alors qu il n y a plus guere 
d hostilites, alors que les Anglais ont seulement en six mois 165 
blesses, et les Francais 323, 1 armee anglaise, grace aux precautions 
prises, n a que peu de malades et ne perd que 606 homines ; 1 armee 
francaise voit eclater au milieu d elle le typhus, qu on eut pu eviter, et 
perd par les maladies seules 21,190 hommes ; " 

and who further, respecting the relative mortalities from 
operations, said that 

" En Crimee, les armees anglaise et francaise se trouvent exposees 
aux memes besoins, aux memes vicissitudes atmospheriques, et cepen- 
dant quelle difference dans la mortalite des operes. Les Anglais per- 
dent 24 pour 100 de leurs amputes du bras, nous en perdons plus du 
double, 55 sur 100 ; il en est de meme pour I amputation de la jambe : 
35 centre 71 pour 100." 

suppose. I say, that I were thus to deal with the notion that 
"they manage these things better in France." Mr. Arnold 
would, very likely, not abandon his belief. And yet this con 
trast would certainly be as damaging as the fact about the 
girl Wragg, to which he more than once refers so emphati 
cally. Surely it is manifest enough that by selecting the evi 
dence, any society may be relatively blackened and any other 
society relatively whitened. 

From Mr. Arnold s method let us turn to some of his spe 
cific statements ; taking first the statement that the English 


are deficient in ideas. He says : " There is the world of ideas, 
and there is the world of practice ; the French are often for 
suppressing the one, and the English the other." ia Admitting 
the success of the English in action, Mr. Arnold thinks that it 
goes along with want of faith in speculative conclusions. 
But by putting ideas and practice in this antithesis, he im 
plies his acceptance of the notion that effectual practice does 
not depend on superiority of ideas. This is an erroneous no 
tion. Methods that answer are preceded by thoughts that are 
true. A successful enterprise presupposes an imagination of 
all the factors, and conditions, and results an imagination 
which differs from one leading to an unsuccessful enterprise 
in this, that what will happen is clearly and completely fore 
seen, instead of being foreseen vaguely and incompletely: 
there is greater ideality. Every scheme is an idea: every 
scheme more or less new, implies an idea more or less orig 
inal : every scheme proceeded with, implies an idea vivid 
enough to prompt action ; and every scheme which succeeds, 
implies an idea so accurate and exhaustive that the results 
correspond with it. When an English company accommo 
dates Amsterdam with water (an element the Dutch are very 
familiar with, and in the management of which they, cen 
turies ago, gave us lessons) must we not say that by leaving 
us to supply their chief city they show a want of confidence 
in results ideally seen ? Is it replied that the Dutch are not 
an imaginative people ? Then take the Italians. How hap 
pens it that such a pressing need as the draining of Naples, 
has never suggested to Italian rulers or Italian people the tak 
ing of measures to achieve it ; and how happens it that the 
idea of draining Naples, instead of emanating from French or 
Germans, supposed by Mr. Arnold to have more faith in ideas, 
emanates from a company of Englishmen, who are now pro 
posing to do the "work without cost to the municipality. 11 Or 
what shall we infer as to relative faith in ideas, on learning 
that even within their respective territories the French and 
Germans wait for us to undertake new things for them ? 
When we find that Toulouse and Bordeaux were lighted with 
gas by an English company, must we not infer lack of ideas 
in the people of those places ? When we find that a body of 
Englishmen, the Rhone Hydraulic Company, seeing that at 


Bellegarde there are rapids having a fall of forty feet, made a 
tunnel carrying a fourth of the river, and so got 10,000 horse 
power, which they are selling to manufacturers ; and when 
we ask why this source of wealth was not utilized by the 
French themselves ; must we not say that it was because the 
idea did not occur to them, or because it was not vivid and 
definite enough to prompt the enterprise ? And when, on 
going north, we discover that not only in Belgium and Hol 
land are the chief towns, Brussels, Antwerp, Lille, Ghent, 
Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Haarlem, &c., lighted by our Con 
tinental Gas Association, but that this combination of Eng 
lishmen lights many towns in Germany also Hanover. Aix- 
la-Chapelle, Stolberg. Cologne. Frankfort Vienna, nay. that 
even the head-quarters of geist, Berlin itself, had to wait for 
light until this CoTupauy supplied it. must we not say that 
more faith in ideas was shown by English than by Germans ? 
Germans have plenty of energy, are not without desire to 
make money, and knew that gas was used in England ; and 
if neither they nor their Governments undertook the work, 
we must infer that the benefits and means were inadequately 
conceived. English enterprises have often been led by ideas 
that looked wholly unpractical : as when the first English 
steamer astonished the people of Coblentz. in 1S17. by making 
its appearance there, so initiating the Rhine steam-navigation ; 
or as when the first English steamer started across the Atlan 
tic. Instead of our practice being unideal. the ideas which 
guide it sometimes verge on the romantic. Fishing up a cable 
from the bottom of an ocean three miles deep, was an idea 
seemingly more fitted for The Arabian Xights than for actual 
life : and yet success proved how truly those who conducted 
the operation had put together their ideas in correspondence 
with the facts the true test of vivid imagination. 

To show the groundlessness of the notion that new ideas 
are not evolved and appreciated as much in England as else 
where, I am tempted here to enumerate our modern inven 
tions of all orders: from those directly aiming at material 
results, such as Trevethick s first locomotive, up to the calculat 
ing-machines of Babbage and the logic-machine of Jevons, 
quite remote from practice in their objects. But merely assert 
ing that those who go through the list will find that neither 


in number nor in importance do they yield to those of any 
nation during- the same period, I refrain from details. Partly 
I do this because the space required for specifying them would 
be too great ; and partly because inventions, mostly having 
immediate bearings on practice, would perhaps not be thought 
by Mr. Arnold to prove fertility of idea : though, considering 
that each machine is a theory before it becomes a working 
reality, this would be a position difficult to defend. To avoid 
all possible objection, I will limit myself to scientific dis 
covery, from which the element of practice is excluded ; and 
to meet the impression that scientific discovery in recent days 
has not maintained its former pace, I will name only our 
achievements since 1800. 

Taking first the Abstract Sciences, let us ask what has been 
done in Logic. We have the brief but pregnant statement of 
inductive methods by Sir John Herschel, leading to the defi 
nite systematization of them by Mr. Mill ; and we have, in 
the work of Professor Bain, elaborately-illustrated applica 
tions of logical methods to science and to the business of life. 
Deductive Logic, too, has been developed by a further concep 
tion. The doctrine of the quantification of the predicate, set 
forth in 1827 by Mr. George Bentham, and again set forth 
under a numerical form by Professor De Morgan, is a doctrine 
supplementary to that of Aristotle ; and the recognition of it 
has made it easier than before to see that Deductive Logic is 
a science of the relations implied by the inclusions, exclusions, 
and overlappings of classes. 14 Even were this all, the instal 
ment of progress would be large for a single generation. But 
it is by no means all. In the work by Professor Boole, Inves 
tigation of the Laivs of Thought, the application to Logic of 
methods like those of Mathematics, constitutes another step 
far greater in originality and in importance than any taken 
since Aristotle. So that, strangely enough, the assertion 
quoted above, that " we are backward in appreciating and pur 
suing abstract knowledge," and this complaint of Mr. Arnold 
that our life is wanting in ideas, come at a time when we have 
lately done more to advance the most abstract and purely- 
ideal science, than has been done anywhere else, or during 
any past period ! 

In the other division of Abstract Science Mathematics, a 


recent revival of activity has brought results sufficiently 
striking. Though, during a long period, the bias of patriot 
ism and undue reverence for that form of the higher calculus 
which Newton initiated, greatly retarded us ; yet since the re 
commencement of progress, some five-and-twenty years ago, 
Englishmen have again come to the front. Sir W. R. Hamil 
ton s method of Quaternions is a new instrument of research ; 
and whether or not as valuable as some think, undoubtedly 
adds a large region to the world of known mathematical 
truth. And then, more important still, there are the achieve 
ments of Cayley and Sylvester in the creation and develop 
ment of the higher algebra. From competent and unbiassed 
judges I learn that the Theory of Invariants, and the methods 
of investigation which have grown out of it, constitute a step 
in mathematical progress larger than any made since the Dif 
ferential Calculus. Thus, without enumerating the minor 
achievements of others, there is ample proof that abstract 
science, of this order also, is nourishing among us in great 

Nor, on passing to the Abstract-Concrete Sciences, do we 
find better ground for this belief entertained by Mr. Arnold and 
others. Though Huyghens conceived of light as constituted 
of undulations, yet he was wrong in conceiving the undula 
tions as allied in form to those of sound ; and it remained for 
Dr. Young to establish the true theory. Respecting the prin 
ciple of interference of the rays of light propounded by 
Young, Sir John Herschel says, " regarded as a physical law 
[it] has hardly its equal for beauty, simplicity, and extent of 
application, in the whole circle of science ; " and of Young s 
all-important discovery that the luminiferous undulations are 
transverse not longitudinal, he says that it showed " a sagac 
ity which would have done honour to Newton himself." Just 
naming the discovery of the law of expansion of gases by 
Dalton, the laws of radiation by Leslie, the theory of dew by 
Wells, the discrimination by Wollaston of quantity and inten 
sity in electricity, and the disclosure of electrolysis by Nicholson 
and Carlisle (all of them cardinal discoveries) and passing 
over minor contributions to physical science, we come to the 
great contributions of Faraday magneto-electricity, the quan 
titative law of electrolysis, the magnetization of light, and dia- 


magnetism : not mentioning others of much significance. 
Next there is the great truth which men still living have 
finally established the correlation and equivalence of the 
physical forces. In the establishment of this truth English 
men have had a large share some think the larger share. 
Remembering that in England the conception of heat as a 
mode of motion dates from Bacon, by whom it was expressed 
with an insight that is marvellous considering the knowledge 
of his time remembering, too, that " Locke stated a similar 
view with singular felicity ; " we come, among Englishmen 
of the present century, first to Davy, whose experiments and 
arguments so conclusively supported those of Eumford ; then 
to the view of Roget and the postulate on which Faraday 
habitually reasoned, that all force arises only as other force is 
expended ; then to the essay of Grove, in which the origin of 
the various forms of force out of one another was abundantly 
exemplified ; and finally to the investigations by which Joule 
established the quantitative relations between heat and mo 
tion. Without dwelling on the important deductions from 
this great truth made by Sir W. Thomson, Rankine, Tyndall, 
and others, I will merely draw attention to its highly-abstract 
nature as again showing the baselessness of the above-quoted 

Equally conclusive is the evidence w r hen we pass to Chem 
istry. The cardinal value of the step made by Dalton in 1808, 
when the apergu of Higgins was reduced by him to a scien 
tific form, will be seen on glancing into Wurtz Introduction 
to Chemical Philosophy, and observing how the atomic 
theory underlies all subsequent chemical discovery. Nor, in 
more recent days, has the development of this theory fallen 
unduly into foreign hands. Prof. Williamson, by reconciling 
the theory of radicals with the theory of types, and by intro 
ducing the hypothesis of condensed molecular types, has taken 
a leading part in founding the modern views of chemical com 
binations. We come next to the cardinal conception of atom 
icity. In 1851, Prof. Frankland initiated the classification of 
the elements by their atomicities : his important interpretation 
being now avowedly accepted in Germany by those who orig 
inally disputed it ; as by Kolbe in his Moden der Modernen 
Chemie. On turning from the more general chemical truths 


to the more special chemical truths, a like history meets us. 
Davy s discovery of the metallic bases of the alkalies and 
earths, revolutionized chemists ideas. Passing over many 
other achievements in special chemistry, I may single out for 
their significance, the discoveries of Andrews, Tait, and espe 
cially of Brodie, respecting the constitution of ozone as an 
allotropic form of oxygen ; and may join with these Brodie s 
discoveries respecting the allotropic forms of carbon, as throw 
ing so much light on allotropy at large. And then we come 
to the all-important discoveries, general and special, of the 
late Prof. Graham. The truths he established respecting the 
hydration of compounds, the transpiration and the diffusion 
of liquids, the transpiration and the diffusion of gases, the dial 
ysis of liquids and the dialysis of gases, and the occlusion of 
gases by metals, are all of them cardinal truths. And even 
of still greater value is his luminous generalization respecting 
the crystalloid and colloid states of matter a generalization 
which, besides throwing light on many other phenomena, has 
given us an insight into organic processes previously incom 
prehensible. These results, reached by his beautifully-coher 
ent series of researches extending over forty years, constitute 
a new revelation of the properties of matter. 

Neither is it true that in advancing the Concrete Sciences 
we have failed to do our share. Take the first in order As 
tronomy. Though, for the long period during which our 
mathematicians were behind, Planetary Astronomy progressed 
but little in England, and the development of the Newtonian 
theory was left chiefly to other nations, yet of late there has 
been no want of activity. When I have named the inverse prob 
lem of perturbations and the discovery of Neptune, the honour 
of which we share with the French, I have called to mind an 
achievement sufficiently remarkable. To Sidereal Astronomy 
we have made great contributions. Though the conception 
of Wright, of Durham, respecting stellar distribution was here 
so little attended to that when afterwards enunciated by Kant 
(who knew Wright s views) arid by Sir W. Herschel, it was 
credited to them ; yet since Sir W. Herschel s time the re 
searches in Sidereal Astronomy by Sir John Herschel and 
others, have done much to further this division of the science. 
Quite recently the discoveries made by Mr. Huggins respect- 


ing the velocities with which certain stars are approaching us 
and others receding, have opened a new field of inquiry ; and 
the inferences reached by Mr. Proctor respecting groupings of 
stars and the " drifting " of star-groups, now found to harmo 
nize with the results otherwise reached by Mr. Huggins, go 
far to help us in conceiving the constitution of our galaxy. 
Nor must we forget how much has been done towards explain 
ing the physical constitutions of the heavenly bodies, as well 
as their motions : the natures of nebula;, and the processes going 
on in Sun and stars, have been greatly elucidated by Huggins, 
Lockyer, and others. 

In Geology, the progress made here, and especially the 
progress in geological theory, is certainly not less good judges 
say much greater than has been made elsewhere. Just 
noting that English Geology goes back to Ray, whose notions 
were far more philosophical than those set forth long after 
wards by Werner, we come to Hutton, with whom in fact ra 
tional Geology commences. For the untenable Neptunist hy 
pothesis, asserting a once-universal aqueous action unlike the 
present, Hutton substituted an aqueous action, marine and 
fluviatile, continuously operating as we now see it, antago 
nized by a periodic igneous action. He recognized denudation 
as producing mountains and valleys ; he denied so-called 
primitive rocks ; he asserted metamorphism ; he taught the 
meaning of unconformity. Since his day rapid advances in 
the same direction had been made. William Smith, by estab 
lishing the order of superposition of strata throughout Eng 
land, prepared the way for positive generalization; and by 
showing that contained fossils are safer tests of correspondence 
among strata than mineral characters, laid the basis for subse 
quent classifications. The better data thus obtained, theory 
quickly turned to account. In his Principles of Geology, 
Lyell elaborately worked out the uiiiformitarian doctrine the 
doctrine that the Earth s crust has been brought to its present 
complex structure by the continuous operation of forces like 
those we see still at work. More recently, Prof. Ramsay s 
theory of lake-formation by glaciers has helped in the inter 
pretation ; and by him, as well as by Prof. Huxley, much has 
been done towards elucidating past distributions of continents 
and oceans. Let me name, too, Mallet s Theory of Earth- 


quakes the only scientific explanation of them yet given. 
And there must be added another fact of moment. Criticism 
has done far more here than abroad, towards overthrowing the 
crude hypothesis of universal " systems " of strata, which suc 
ceeded the still cruder hypothesis of universal strata, enun 
ciated by Werner. 

That our contributions to Biological science have in these 
later times not been unimportant, may, I think, be also main 
tained. Just noting that the " natural system " of Plant- 
classification, though French by development is English by 
origin, since Kay made its first great division and sketched 
out some of its sub-divisions ; we come, among English botan 
ists, to Brown. He made a series of investigations in the mor 
phology, classification, arid distribution of plants, which in 
number and importance have never been equalled : the Pro- 
dromus Florae Novce-Hollandice is the greatest achievement 
in classification since Jussieu s Natural Orders. Brown, too, 
it was who solved the mystery of plant-fertilization. Again, 
there is the conception that existing plant-distribution has 
been determined by past geological and physical changes a 
conception we owe to Dr. Hooker, who has given us sundry 
wide interpretations in pursuance of it. In Animal-physiology 
there is Sir Charles Bell s discovery respecting the sensory 
and motor functions of the nerve-roots in the spinal cord ; and 
this underlies multitudinous interpretations of organic phe 
nomena. More recently we have had Mr. Darwin s great addi 
tion to biological science. Following in the steps of his 
grandfather, who had anticipated Lamarck in enunciating the 
general conception of the genesis of organic forms by adap 
tive modifications, but had not worked out the conception as 
Lamarck did, Mr. Darwin, perceiving that both of them were 
mistaken in attributing the modifications to causes which, 
though some of them true, were inadequate to account for all the 
effects, succeeded, by recognizing the further cause he called 
Natural Selection, in raising the hypothesis from a form but 
partially tenable to a quite tenable form. This view of his, 
so admirably worked out, has been adopted by the great ma 
jority of naturalists; and, by making the process of organic 
evolution more comprehensible, it is revolutionizing biological 
conceptions throughout the world. In the words of Professor 


Cohn, " no book of recent times lias influenced the concep 
tions of modern science like the first edition of Charles Dar 
win s Origin of Species." 16 Nor should we overlook the vari 
ous kindred minor discoveries, partly dependent, partly in 
dependent : Mr. Darwin s own respecting the dimorphism of 
flowers ; Mr. Bates s beautiful interpretation of mimicry in in 
sects, which led the way to many allied interpretations ; Mr. 
Wallace s explanations of dimorphism and polymorphism in 
Lepidoptera. Finally, Professor Huxley, besides dissipat 
ing some serious biological errors of continental origin, has 
made important contributions to morphology and classifica 

Nor does the balance turn against us on passing to the next- 
highest concrete science. After those earlier inquiries by 
which Englishmen so largely advanced the Science of Mind, 
and set up much of the speculation subsequently active in 
France and Germany, there came a lull in English thinking ; 
and during this arose the absurd notion that the English are 
not a philosophical people. But the lull, ending some forty 
years ago, gave place to an activity which has quickly made 
up for lost time. On this point I need not rest in assertion, 
but will quote foreign testimony. The first chapter of Prof. 
Eibot s work, La Psychologie Anglaise Contemporaine be 
gins thus : 

" Le sceptre de la psychologic, dit M. Stuart Mill, est decidement 
revenu a PAngleterre. On pourrait soutenir qu il n cn est janmis 
sorti. Sans doute, les etudes psychologiques y sont maintenant cul- 
tivees par des hommes de premier ordre qui, par la solidite de leur 
methode, et ce qui est plus rare, par la precision de leurs resultats, out 
fait entrer la science dans une periode nouvelle; mais c est plutot un 
redoublement qu un renouvellement d eclat." 

Similarly, on turning to Ethics considered under its psycho 
logical aspect, we find foreign testimony that English thinkers 
have done most towards the elaboration of a scientific system. 
In the preface to his late work, La Morale nella Filosofia 
Positiva (meaning by " Positiva" simply scientific), Prof. 
Barzellotti, of Florence, states that for this reason he limits 
himself to an account of English speculation in this depart 

And then, if, instead of Psychology and Ethics, Philosophy 


at large comes in question, there is independent testimony of 
kindred nature to be cited. Thus, in the first number of La 
Critique Philosophique (8 Fevrier, 1872), published under 
the direction of M. Renouvier, the acting editor, M. Pillon, 
writes : 

" On travaille beaucoup dans le champ des idees en Angleterre. . . 
" Non-seulement 1 Angleterre surpasse la France par 1 ardeur et le tra 
vail, ce qui est malheureusement bien peu dire, et par Finteret des in 
vestigations et des debats de ses penseurs, mais meme elle laisse loin 
derriere elle 1 Allemagne en ce dernier point." 

And still more recently M. Martins, in the leading French 
periodical, has been referring to 

"les nouvelles idees nees dans la libre Angleterre et appelees a 
transformer un jour les sciences naturelles." 17 

So that while Mr. Arnold is lamenting the want of ideas in 
England, it is discovered abroad that the genesis of ideas in 
England is very active. While he thinks our conceptions are 
commonplace, our neighbours find them new, to the extent of 
being revolutionary. Oddly enough, at the very time when 
he is reproaching his countrymen with lack of geist French 
men are asserting that there is more geist here than anywhere 
else ! Nor is there wanting testimony of kindred nature from 
other nations. In the lecture above cited, Dr. Cohn, while 
claiming for Germany a superiority in the number of her 
earnest workers, says that " England especially has always 
been, and is particularly now, rich in men whose scientific 
works are remarkable for their astonishing laboriousness, 
clearness, profundity, and independence of thought " a 
further recognition of the truth that instead of merely plod 
ding along the old ruts, the English strike out new tracks : are 
unusually imaginative. 

In his essay on the " Functions of Criticism at the Present 
Time," Mr. Arnold insists that the thing most needful for us 
now, in all branches of knowledge, is " to see the object as in 
itself it really is " ; and in Friendship s Garland, his alter 
ego, Arminius, exhorts our Philistinism "to search and not 
rest till it sees things more as they really are." Above, I have 
done that which Mr. Arnold urges ; not by picking-up stray 
facts, but by a systematic examination. Feeling sure that Mr. 
Arnold has himself taken the course he advises, and is there- 


fore familiar with all this evidence, as well as with the large 
quantity which might be added, I am somewhat puzzled on 
finding him draw from it a conclusion so different from that 
which presents itself to me. Were any one, proceeding on the 
foregoing data, to assert that since the beginning of this cen 
tury, more lias been done in England to advance scientific 
knowledge than has ever been done in a like interval, at any 
time, in any country, I should think his inference less wide 
of the truth than that which, strange to say, Mr. Arnold draws 
from the same data. 

And now to consider that which more immediately con 
cerns us the effect produced by the bias of anti-patriotism on 
sociological speculation. Whether in Mr. Arnold, whom I 
have ventured to take as a type, the leaning towards national 
self-depreciation was primary and the over- valuing of foreign 
institutions secondary, or whether his admiration of foreign 
institutions was the cause and his tendency to depreciatory 
estimates of our social state the effect, is a question which 
may be left open. For present purposes it suffices to observe 
that the two go together. Mr. Arnold is impatient with the 
unregulated and. as he thinks, anarchic state of our society ; 
and everywhere displays a longing for more administrative 
and controlling agencies. " Force till right is ready," is one 
of the sayings he emphatically repeats : apparently in the be 
lief that there can be a sudden transition from a coercive sys 
tem to a non-coercive one ignoring the truth that there has 
to bo a continually-changing compromise between force and 
right, during which force decreases step by step as right in 
creases step by step, and during which every step brings some 
temporary evil along with its ultimate good. Thinking more 
force needful for us, and lauding institutions which exercise 
it, Mr. Arnold holds that even in our literature we should 
benefit by being under authoritative direction. Though he 
is not of opinion that an Academy would succeed here, he 
casts longing glances at the French Academy, and wishes we 
could have had over us an influence like that to which he 
ascribes certain excellencies in French literature. 

The French Academy was established, as he points out, 
" to work with all the care and all the diligence possible at 


giving sure rules to our "the French] language, and rendering 
it pore, eloquent, and capable of treating the arts and sci 
ences." Let us consider whether it has fulfilled this in 
tention, by removing the most conspicuous defects of the Ian- 
Down to the present time, there is in daily use 
the expression quest ce que c est ! and even qu est ce que 
c est que cela * If in some remote corner of England is heard 
the analogous expression, >k what is that there here ? " it is 
held to imply entire absence of culture : the use of two super 
fluous words proves a want of that close adjustment of lan 
guage to thought which even partially-educated persons 
among us have reached. How is it. then, that though in. this 
French phrase there are five superfluous words (or six if we 
take cela as twoX the purifying criticism of the French 
Academy has not removed it from French speech not even 
from the speech of the educated ? Or why. again, has 

the Academy not condemned, forbidden, and so expelled from 
the language, the double negative ? If among ourselves any 
one lets drop the sentence. " I didn t say nothing. the in 
evitable inference is that he has lived with the ill-taught : 
and. further, that in his mind words and ideas answer to one 
another very loosely. Though in French the second negative 
is by derivation positive, yet in acquiring a negative mean 
ing it became alike superfluous and illogical ; and its use 
should then have been interdicted, instead of being en 
forced. Once more, why has not the French Academy 
systematized the senders ? No one who considers language 
as an instrument of thought, which is good in proportion as 
its special parts are definitely adjusted to special functions, 
can doubt that a meaningless use of genders is a defect. It is 
undeniable that to employ marks of gender in ways always 
suggesting attributes that are possessed, instead of usually 
suggesting attributes that are not possessed, is an improvement. 
Having an example of this improvement before them, why 
did not the Academy introduce it -into French ? And 
then more significant question still how, without the aid of 
any Academy, came the genders to be systematized in Eng 
lish ? Mr. Arnold, and those who. in common with him. seem 
to believe only in agencies that have visible organizations, 
might, perhaps, in seeking the answer to this question, lose 


faith in artificial appliances and gain faith in natural pro 
cesses. For as, on asking the origin of language in general, 
we are reminded that all its complex, marvellously-adjusted 
parts and arrangements have been evolved without the aid or 
oversight of any embodied power, Academic or other; so, on 
asking the origin of this particular improvement in language, 
we find that it, too, arose naturally. Nay, more, it was made 
possible by one of those anarchic states which Mr. Arnold so 
much dislikes. Out of the conflict of Old-English dialects, 
sufficiently allied to co-operate but sufficiently different to 
have contradictory marks of gender, there came a disuse of 
meaningless genders and a survival of the genders having 
meaning a change which an Academy, had one existed here 
in those days, would doubtless have done its best to prevent ; 
seeing that during the transition there must have been a dis 
regard of rules and apparent corruption of speech, out of 
which no benefit could have been anticipated. 

Another fact respecting the French Academy is by no 
means congruous with Mr. Arnold s conception of its value. 
The compiling of an authoritative dictionary was a fit under 
taking for it. Just recalling the well-known contrast between 
its dilatory execution of this undertaking, and the active exe 
cution of a kindred one by Dr. Johnson, we have more espe 
cially to note the recent like contrast between the perform 
ances of the Academy and the performances of M. Littre. 
The Academy has long had in hand two dictionaries the one 
a second edition of its original dictionary, the other an his 
torical dictionary. The first is at letter D; and the initial 
number of the other, containing A B, issued fifteen years 
ago, has not yet had a successor. Meanwhile, M. Littre, 
single-handed, has completed a dictionary which, besides 
doing all that the two Academy-dictionaries propose to do, 
does much more. With which marvellous contrast we have 
to join the startling fact, that M. Littre was refused admission 
to the Academy in 1863, and at length admitted in 1871 only 
after violent opposition. 

Even if we pass over these duties which, in pursuance of 
its original purpose, the French Academy might have been 
expected to perform, and limit ourselves to the duty Mr. Ar 
nold especially dwells upon the duty of keeping "the fine 


quality of the French spirit unimpaired," and exercising "the 
authority of a recognised master in matters of tone and taste " 
(to quote his approving paraphrase of M. Kenan s definition) 
it may still, I think, be doubted whether there have been 
achieved by it the benefits Mr. Arnold alleges, and whether 
there have not been caused great evils. That its selection of 
members has tended to encourage bad literature instead of 
good, seems not improbable when we are reminded of its past 
acts, as we are in the well-known letter of Paul-Louis Courier, 
in which there occurs this, among other passages similarly 
damaging : 

" Un due et pair honore P Academic francaise, qui ne veut point de 
Boileau, refuse la Bruyere .... mais recoit tout d abord Chape- 
lain et Conrart. De nieme nous voyons a P Academic grecque le 
vicomte invite, Corai repousse, lorsque Jomard y entre comme dans 
un moulin." 18 

Nor have its verdicts upon great works been such as to en 
courage confidence : instance the fact that it condemned the 
Cid of Corneille, now one of the glories of French literature. 
Its critical doctrines, too, have not been beyond question. 
Upholding those canons of dramatic art which so long ex 
cluded the romantic drama, and maintained the feeling shown 
by calling Shakspeare an " intoxicated barbarian," may pos 
sibly have been more detrimental than beneficial. And when 
we look, not at such select samples of French literary taste as 
Mr. Arnold quotes, but at samples from the other extreme, we 
may question whether the total effect has been great. If, as 
Mr. Arnold thinks, France " is the country in Europe where 
the people is most alive," it clearly is not alive to the teach 
ings of the Academy : witness the recent revival of the Pere 
Duchene; the contents of which are no -less remarkable for 
their astounding obscenity then for their utter stupidity. Nay, 
when we look only where we are told to look only where the 
Academy exercises its critical function on modern literature, 
we find reason for scepticism. Instance the late award of the 
Halphen Prize to the author of a series of poems called 
L Invasion, of which M. Patin, a most favourable critic, 
says : 

" Their chief characteristic is a warmth of sentiment and a verve, 
which one would wish to see under more restraint, but against which 


one hesitates to set up, however just might be their application under 
other circumstances, the cold requirements of taste." 
Thus we have the Academy pandering to the popular feeling. 
The ebullitions of a patriotic sentiment which it is the misfor 
tune of France to possess in too great a degree, are not checked 
by the Academy but encouraged by it : even at the expense of 
good taste. 

And then, lastly, observe that some of the most cultivated 
Frenchmen, not so w T ell satisfied with institutions of the 
Academy-type as Mr. Arnold seems to be, have recently estab 
lished, on an English model, a French Association for the 
Advancement of Science. Here are passages from their pros 
pectus, published in La Revue Scientifique, 20 Janvier, 1872 ; 
commencing with an account of the founding of the Royal 
Institution : 

"II y avait cinquante-huit membres presents a cette reunion. 
Chacun d eux souscrivit, sans plus attendre, une action de cinquante 
guinees ; c est a pen pres treize cents francs de notre monnaie. qui en 
vaudraient aujourd hui bien pres de deux mille cinque. Le lende- 
main, la Societe, [Institution] royale de Londres etait constitute. 

" On sait depuis ce qu elle est devenue. 

" Ce qu ont fait les Anglais en 1799, d illustres savants de notre 
pays veulent le renouveler aujourd hui pour la France. 

" Eux aussi, ils ont juge, comme Rumfort au siecle dernier, que la 
vieille suprematie du nom franais dans tous les ordres de sciences 
commencait a etre serieusement ebranlee, et risquait de s ecrouler un 

" A Dieu ne plaise qu ils accusent 1 Academic de cette decadence ! 
ils en font presque tous partie eux-memes. Mais 1 Academie. qui a 
conserve en Europe le prestige de son nom, s enferme un peu plus 
dans la majeste de sa grandeur. Elle ne possede ni des moyens d ac- 
tion assez puissants, ni une energie assez active pour les mettre en 
osuvre. Le nerf de la guerre, 1 argent, lui manque, et plus encore 
peut-etre 1 initiative intelligente et hardie. Elle s est endormie dans 
le respect de ses traditions seculaires." 

A further testimony from a foreigner to the value of our 
methods of aiding intellectual progress, in comparison with 
continental methods, has been still more recently given by 
M. Alphonse de Candolle, in his Histoire des Sciences et des 
Savants. His fear for us is that we may adopt the continental 


policy and abandon our own. Respecting Science in England, 
he says : 

" Je ne vois qu un seul indice de faiblesse pour 1 avenir, c est une 
disposition croissante des hommes de science a solliciter 1 appui du 
gouvernement. On dirait qu ils ne se fient plus aux forces individu- 
elles, dont le resultat pourtant a ete si admirable dans leur pays." 19 

Thus, curiously enough, we find another contrast parallel 
to that noted already. As with English ideas so with English 
systems while depreciated at home they are eulogized abroad. 
While Mr. Arnold is lauding French institutions, Frenchmen, 
recognizing their shortcomings, are adopting English institu 
tions. From which we may fairly infer that, great as is Mr. 
Arnold s desire " to see the object as in itself it really is," he 
has not in this case succeeded ; and that, endeavouring to es 
cape the bias of patriotism, he has been carried too far the 
other way by the bias of anti-patriotism. 20 

One more illustration of the effect this bias has on Mr. 
Arnold calls for brief comment. Along with his over-valua 
tion of foreign regulative institutions, there goes an under 
valuation of institutions at home which do not exhibit the 
kind of regulation he thinks desirable, and stand in the way 
of authoritative control. I refer to those numerous Dissent 
ing organizations characterizing this " anarchy " of ours, 
which Mr. Arnold curiously makes the antithesis to culture." 

Mr. Arnold thinks that as a nation we show undue faith in 

" Faith in machinery is, I said, our besetting danger What 

is freedom but machinery ? what is population but machinery ? what 
is coal but machinery? what are railroads but machinery? what is 
wealth but machinery? what are religious organizations but ma 
chinery ? " " 

And in pursuance of this conception he regards the desire 
to get Church-rates abolished and certain restrictions on mar 
riage removed, as proving undue belief in machinery among 
Dissenters ; while his own disbelief in machinery he considers 
proved by wishing for stronger governmental restraints, 25 by 
lauding the supervision of an Academy, and by upholding a 
Church-establishment. I must leave unconsidered the ques 
tion whether an Academy, if we had one, would authorize this 


use of language ; which makes it seem that voluntary religious 
agency is machinery and that compulsory religious agency is 
not machinery. I must pass over, too, Mr. Arnold s compari 
son of Ecclesiasticism and Nonconformity in respect of the 
men they have produced. Nor have I space to examine what 
he says about the mental attitudes of the two. It must suffice 
to say that were the occasion fit, it might be shown that his 
endeavour " to see the object as in itself it really is," has not 
succeeded much better in this case than in the cases above 
dealt with. Here I must limit myself to a single criticism. 

The trait which in Mr. Arnold s view of Nonconformity 
seems to be most remarkable, is that in breadth it so little 
transcends the view of the Nonconformists themselves. The 
two views greatly differ in one respect antipathy replaces 
sympathy ; but the two views are not widely unlike in exten 
sion. Avoiding that provincialism of thought which he says 
characterizes Dissenters, I should have expected Mr. Arnold 
to estimate Dissent, not under its local and temporary aspect, 
but under its general aspect as a factor in all societies at all 
times. Though the Nonconformists themselves think of Non 
conformity as a phase of Protestantism in England, Mr. 
Arnold s studies of other nations, other ages, and other creeds, 
would, I should have thought, have led him to regard Non 
conformity as a universal power in societies, which has in our 
time and country its particular embodiment, but which is to 
be understood only when contemplated in all its other em 
bodiments. The thing is one in spirit and tendency, whether 
shown among the Jews or the Greeks whether in Catholic 
Europe or in Protestant England. Wherever there is disa 
greement with a current belief, no matter what its nature, 
there is Nonconformity. The open expression of difference 
and avowed opposition to that which is authoritatively estab 
lished, constitutes Dissent, whether the religion be Pagan or 
Christian, Monotheistic or Polytheistic. The relative atti 
tudes of the dissenter and of those in power, are essentially 
the same in all cases ; and in all cases lead to persecution and 
vituperation. The Greeks who poisoned Socrates were moved 
by just the same sentiment as the Catholics who burnt Cran- 
mer, or as the Protestant Churchmen who imprisoned Bunyan 
and pelted Wesley. And while the manifestations of feeling 


are essentially the same, while the accompanying evils are es 
sentially the same, the resulting benefits are essentially the 
same. Is it not a truism that without divergence from that 
which exists, whether it be in politics, religion, manners, or 
anything else, there can be no progress ? And is it not an 
obvious corollary that the temporary ills accompanying the 
divergence, are out-balanced by the eventual good ? It is cer 
tain, as Mr. Arnold holds, that subordination is essential ; but 
it is also certain that insubordination is essential essential, if 
there is to be any improvement. There are two extremes in 
the state of a social aggregate, as of every other aggregate, 
which are fatal to evolution rigidity and incoherence. A 
medium plasticity is the healthful condition. On the one 
hand, a force of established structures and habits and beliefs, 
such as offers considerable resistance to change ; on the other 
hand, an originality, an independence, and an opposition to 
authority, energetic enough to overcome the resistance little 
by little. And while the political nonconformity we call 
Eadicalism has the function of thus gradually modifying one 
set of institutions, the religious nonconformity we call Dis 
sent has the function of thus gradually modifying another 

That Mr. Arnold does not take this entirely-unprovincial 
view, which would lead him to look on Dissenters with less 
aversion, may in part, I think, be ascribed to that over-valua 
tion of foreign restraints and under- valuation of home free 
dom, which his bias of anti-patriotism fosters; and serves 
further to illustrate the disturbing effects of this bias on socio 
logical speculation. 

And now to sum up this somewhat-too-elaborate argument. 
The general truth that by incorporation in his society, the 
citizen is in a measure incapacitated for estimating rightly its 
characters and actions in relation to those of other societies, 
has been made abundantly manifest. And it has been made 
manifest, also, that when he strives to emancipate himself 
from these influences of race, and country, and locality, which 
warp his judgment, he is apt to have his judgment warped in 
the opposite way. From the perihelion of patriotism he is 
carried to the aphelion of anti-patriotism ; and is almost cer- 


tain to form views that are more or less excentric, instead of 
circular, all-sided, balanced views. 

Partial escape from this difficulty is promised by basing 
our sociological conclusions chiefly on comparisons made 
among other societies excluding our own. But even then 
these perverting sentiments are sure to intrude more or less ; 
for we cannot contemplate the institutions of other nations 
without our sympathies or antipathies being in some degree 
aroused by consciousness of likeness or unlikeness to our own 
institutions. Discounting our conclusions as well as we may, 
to allow for the errors we are thus led into, we must leave the 
entire elimination of such errors to a future in which the de 
creasing antagonisms of societies will go along witli decreas 
ing intensities of these sentiments. 



MANY years ago a solicitor sitting by me at dinner, com 
plained bitterly of the injury which the then lately-established 
County Courts, were doing his profession. He enlarged on 
the topic in a way implying that he expected me to agree with 
him in therefore condemning them. So incapable was he of 
going beyond the professional point of view, that what he re 
garded as a grievance he thought I also ought to regard as a 
grievance : oblivious of the fact that the more economical ad 
ministration of justice of which his lamentation gave me 
proof, was to me, not being a lawyer, matter for rejoicing. 

The bias thus exemplified is a bias by which nearly all 
have their opinoiis warped. Naval officers disclose their un 
hesitating belief that we are in imminent danger because the 
cry for more fighting ships and more sailors has not been met 
to their satisfaction. The debates on the purchase-system 
proved how strong was the conviction of military men that 
our national safety depended on the maintenance of an army- 
organization like that in which they were brought up, and had 
attained their respective ranks. Clerical opposition to the 
Corn-Laws showed how completely that view which Christian 
ministers might have been expected to take, was shut out by 
a view more congruous with their interests and alliances. In 
all classes and sub-classes it is the same. Hear the murmurs 
uttered when, because of the Qxieen s absence, there is less ex 
penditure in entertainments and the so-called gaieties of the 
season, and you perceive that London traders think the nation 
suffers if the consumption of superfluities is checked. Study 
the pending controversy about co-operative stores versus retail 
shops, and you find the shop keeping mind possessed by the 



idea that Society commits a wrong if it deserts shops and goes 
to stores is quite unconscious that the present distributing 
system rightly exists only as a means of economically and 
conveniently supplying consumers, and must yield to another 
system if that should prove more economical and convenient. 
Similarly with other trading bodies, general and special 
similarly with the merchants who opposed the repeal of the 
Navigation Laws : similarly with the Coventry-weavers, who 
like free-trade in all things save ribbons. 

The class-bias, like the bias of patriotism, is a reflex ego 
ism: and like it has its uses and abases. As the strong attach 
ments citizens feel for their nation cause that enthusiastic co 
operation by which its integrity is maintained in presence of 
other nations, severally tending to spread and subjugate their 
neighbours : so the esprit de corps more or less manifest in 
each specialized part of the body politic, prompts measures to 
preserve the integrity of that part in opposition to other parts. 
all somewhat antagonistic. The egoism of individuals leads 
to an egoism of the class they form : and besides the separate 
efforts, generates a joint effort to get an undue share of the 
aggregate proceeds of social activity. The aggressive tendency 
of each class, thus produced, has to be balanced by like ag 
gressive tendencies of other classes. The implied feelings do. 
in short develop one another : and the respective organiza 
tions in which they embody themselves develop one another. 
Large classes of the community marked-off by rank, and sub 
classes marked-off by special occupations, severally combine, 
and severally set up organs advocating their interests : the 
reason Miripifd being in all cases the same the need for self- 

Along with the good which a society derives from this self- 
asserting and self -preserving action, by which each division 
and sub-division keeps itself strong enough for its functions, 
there goes, among other evils, this which we are considering 
the aptness to contemplate all social arrangements in their 
bearings on class-interests, and the resulting inability to esti 
mate rightly their effects on Society as a whole. The habit of 

tkms which directly touch iUnlfiii : but it perverts the 


judgments on questions which touch class-welfare very indi 
rectly, if at alL It fosters an adapted theory of social relations 
of everv kind, with sentiments to fit the theory ; and a char 
acteristic stamp is given to the beliefs on public matters in 
general. Take an instance. 

Whatever its technical ownership may be. Hyde Park is 
open for the public benefit : no title to special benefit is pro 
ducible by those who ride and drive. It happens, however, 
that those who ride and drive make large use of it daily ; and 
extensive tracts of it have been laid out for their convenience : 
the tracts for equestrians having been from time to time in 
creased. Of people "without carriages and horses, a few, 
mostly of the kinds who lead easy lives, use Hyde Park 
frequently as a promenade. Meanwhile, by the great mass of 
Londoners, too busy to go so far. it is scarcely ever visited : 
their share of the general benefit is scarcely appreciable. 
And now what do the few who have a constant and almost 
exclusive use of it, think about the occasional use of it by 
the many ? They are angry when, at long intervals, even a 
small portion of it, quite distant from their haunts, is occu 
pied for a few hours in ways disagreeable to them nay. even 
when such temporary occupation is on a day during which 
Rotten Row is nearly vacant and the drives not one-third 
filled. In this, anyone unconcerned may see the influence of 
the class-bias. But he will have an inadequate conception of 
its distorting power unless he turns to some letters from 
members of the ruling class published in the Times in No 
vember last, when the question of the Park-Rules was being 
agitated. One writer, signing himself " A Liberal M.P.,~ ex 
pressing his disgust at certain addresses he heard, proposed, 
if others would join bim, to give the offensive speakers 
punishment by force of fists : and then, on a subsequent day. 
another legislator, similarly moved, writes : 

~ If M.P. is in earnest in his desire to get some honest men to 
gether to take the law into their own hands. I can promise him a 
pretty good backing from those who are not afraid to take all the 
consequences. I am, Sir, your obedient servant, 

- AX EX-M.P." 

And thus we find class-feeling extinguishing rational politi 
cal thinking so completely that, wonderful to relate, two 


law-makers propose to support the law by breaking the 
law ! 

In larger ways we have of late seen the class-bias doing 
the same thing causing contempt for those principles of con 
stitutional government slowly and laboriously established, 
and prompting a return to barbaric principles of govern 
ment. Read the debate about the payment of Governor 
Eyre s expenses, and study the division-lists, and you see 
that acts which, according to the Lord Chief Justice, u have 
brought reproach not only on those who were parties to them, 
but on the very name of England/ can nevertheless find 
numerous defenders among men whose class-positions, mili 
tary, naval, official, &c., make them love power and detest 
resistance. Nay more, by raising an Eyre-Testimonial Fund 
and in other ways, there was shown a deliberate approval of 
acts which needlessly suspended orderly government and 
substituted unrestrained despotism. There was shown a de 
liberate ignoring of the essential question raised, which was 
whether an executive head might, at will, set aside all those 
forms of administration by which men s lives and liberties 
are guarded against tyranny. 

More recently, this same class-bias has been shown by the 
protest made when Mr. Cowan was dismissed for executing 
the Kooka rioters who had surrendered. The Indian Govern 
ment, having inquired into the particulars, found that this 
killing of many men without form of law and contrary to 
orders, could not be defended on the plea of pressing danger ; 
and finding this, it ceased to employ the officer who had 
committed so astounding a deed, and removed to another 
province the superior officer who had approved of the deed. 
Not excessive punishment, one would say. Some might con 
tend that extreme mildness was shown in thus inflicting no 
greater evil than is inflicted on a labourer when he does not 
execute his work properly. But now mark what is thought 
by one who displays in words the bias of the governing 
classes, intensified by life in India. In a letter published in 
the Times of May 15, 1872, the late Sir Donald M Leod writes 
concerning this dismissal and removal : 

" All the information that reaches me tends to prove that a severe 
blow has been given to all chance of vigorous or independent action 


in future, when emergencies may arise. The whole service appears to 
have been astonished and appalled by the mode in which the officers 
have been dealt with." 

That we may see clearly what amazing perversions of 
sentiment and idea are caused by contemplating actions from 
class points of view, let us turn from this feeling of sympa 
thy with Mr. Cowan, to the feeling of detestation shown by 
members of the same class in England towards a man who 
kills a fox that destroys his poultry. Here is a paragraph 
from a recent paper : 

" Five poisoned foxes have been found in the neighbourhood of 
Penzance, and there is consequently great indignation among the 
western sportsmen. A reward of 20/. has been offered for informa 
tion that shall lead to the conviction of the poisoner." 
So that wholesale homicide, condemned alike by religion, by 
equity, by law, is approved, and the mildest punishment of it 
blamed ; while vulpicide, committed in defence of property, 
and condemned neither by religion, nor by equity, nor by 
any law save that of sportsmen, excites an anger that cries 
aloud for positive penalties ! 

I need not further illustrate the more special distortions of 
sociological belief which result from the class-bias. They may 
be detected in the conversations over every table, and in the 
articles appearing in every party-journal or professional pub 
lication. The effects here most worthy of our attention are 
the general effects the effects produced on the minds of the 
upper and lower classes. Let us observe how greatly the 
prejudices generated by their respective social positions, per 
vert the conceptions of employers and employed. We will 
deal with the employed first. 

As before shown, mere associations of ideas, especially 
when joined with emotions, affect our beliefs, not simply 
without reason but in spite of reason causing us, for in 
stance, to think there is something intrinsically repugnant in 
a place where many painful experiences have been received, 
and something intrinsically charming in a scene connected 
with many past delights. The liability to such perversions of 
judgment is greatest where jjersoHS are the objects with which 
pleasures and pains are habitually associated. One who has 


often been, even unintentionally, a cause of gratification, is 
favourably judged ; and an unfavourable judgment is formed 
of one who, even involuntarily, has often inflicted sufferings. 
Hence, when there are social antagonisms, arises the universal 
tendency to blame the individuals, and to hold them respon 
sible for the system. 

It is thus with the conceptions the working-classes frame 
of those by whom they are immediately employed, and of 
those who fill the higher social positions. Feeling keenly 
what they have to bear, and tracing sundry real grievances 
to men who buy their labour and men who are most influen 
tial in making the laws, artizans and rustics conclude that, 
considered individually and in combination, those above them 
are personally bad selfish, or tyrannical, in special degrees. 
It never occurs to them that the evils they complain of result 
from the average human nature of our age. And yet were it 
not for the class-bias, they would see in their dealings with 
one another, plenty of proofs that the injustices they suffer 
are certainly not greater, and possibly less, than they would 
be were the higher social functions discharged by individuals 
taken from among themselves. The simple fact, notorious 
enough, that working-men who save money and become mas 
ters, are not more considerate than usual towards those they 
employ, but often the contrary, might alone convince them 
of this. On all sides there is ample evidence having kindred 
meaning. Let them inquire about the life in every kitchen 
where there are several servants, and they will find quarrels 
about supremacy, tyrannies over juniors who are made to do 
more than their proper work, throwings of blame from one to 
another, and the many forms of misconduct caused by want 
of right feeling ; and very often the evils growing up in one 
of these small groups exceed in intensity the evils pervading 
society at large. The doings in workshops, too, illustrate in 
various ways the ill-treatment of artizans by one another. 
Hiding the tools and spoiling the work of those who do not 
conform to their unreasonable customs, prove how little indi 
vidual freedom is respected among them. And still more 
conspicuously is this proved by the internal governments of 
their trade-combinations. Not to dwell on the occasional 
killing of men among them who assert their rights to sell 


their labour as they please, or on the frequent acts of violence 
and intimidation committed by those on strike against those 
who undertake the work they have refused, it suffices to cite 
the despotism exercised by trades-union officers. The daily 
acts of these make it manifest that the ruling powers set up 
by working-men, inflict on them grievances as great as, if 
not greater than, those inflicted by the ruling powers, political 
and social, which they decry. When the heads of an asso 
ciation he has joined forbid a collier to work more than three 
days in the week when he is limited to a certain " get " in 
that space of time when he dares not accept from his em 
ployer an increasing bonus for every extra day he works 
when, as a reason for declining, he says that he should be 
made miserable by his comrades, and that even his wife 
would not be spoken to ; it becomes clear that he and the 
rest have made for themselves a tyranny worse than the 
tyrannies complained of. Did he look at the facts apart 
from class-bias, the skilful artizan, who in a given time can 
do more than his fellows, but who dares not do it because 
he would be "sent to Coventry" by them, and who conse 
quently cannot reap the benefit of his superior powers, would 
see that he is thus aggressed upon by his fellows more seri 
ously than by Acts of Parliament or combinations of capital 
ists. And he would further see that the sentiment of justice 
in his own class is certainly not greater than in the classes he 
thinks so unjust. 

The feeling which thus warps working-men s conceptions, 
at the same time prevents them from seeing that each of their 
unions is selfishly aiming to benefit at the expense of the in 
dustrial population at large. When an association of car 
penters or of engineers makes rules limiting the number of 
apprentices admitted, with the view of maintaining the rate 
of wages paid to its members when it thus tacitly says to 
every applicant beyond the number allowed, "Go and ap 
prentice yourself elsewhere;" it is indirectly saying to all 
other bodies of artizans, " You may have your wages lowered 
by increasing your numbers, but we will not." And when 
the other bodies of artizans severally do the like, the general 
result is that the incorporated workers of all orders, say to the 
surplus sons of workers who want to find occupations, " We 


will none of us let our masters employ you." Thus each 
trade, in its eagerness for self-protection, is regardless of other 
trades, and sacrifices numbers among the rising generation of 
the artizan-class. Nor is it thus only that the interest 

of each class of artizans is pursued to the detriment of the arti 
zan-class in general. I do not refer to the way in which when 
bricklayers strike they throw out of employment the labourers 
who attend them, or to the way in which the colliers now on 
strike have forced idleness on the ironworkers ; but I refer to 
the way in which the course taken by any one set of opera 
tives to get higher wages, is taken regardless of the fact that 
an eventual rise in the price of the commodity produced, is a 
disadvantage to all other operatives. The class-bias, fostering 
the belief that the question in each case is entirely one between 
employer and employed, between capital and labour, shuts out 
the truth that the interests of all consumers are involved, and 
that the immense majority of consumers belong to the work 
ing-classes themselves. If the consumers are named, such of 
them only are remembered as belong to the wealthier classes, 
who, it is thought, can well afford to pay higher prices. Lis 
ten to a passage from Mr. George Potter s paper read at the 
late Leeds Congress : 

" The consumer, in fact, in so high a civilization, so arrogant a 
luxuriousness, and so impatient an expectancy as characterize him in 
our land and age, is ever ready to take the alarm and to pour out the 
vials of his wrath upon those whom he merely suspects of taking a 
course which may keep a feather out of his bed, a spice out of his 
dish, or a coal out of his fire ; and, unfortunately for the chances of 
fairness, the weight of his anger seldom falls upon the capitalist, but 
is most certain to come crushing down upon the lowly labourer, who 
has dared to stand upon his own right and independence." 

From which it might be supposed that all skilled and un 
skilled artizans, all farm-labourers, all other workers, with all 
their wives and children, live upon air need no food, no 
clothing, no furniture, no houses, and are therefore unaffected 
by enhanced prices of commodities. However fully prepared 
for the distorting effects of class-bias, one would hardly have 
expected effects so great. One would have thought it mani 
fest even to an extreme partizan of trades-unions, that a strike 
which makes coals as dear again, affects in a relatively-small 


degree the thousands of rich consumers above described, and 
is very keenly felt by the millions of poor consumers, to whom 
in winter the outlay for coal is a serious item of expenditure. 
One would have thought that a truth so obvious in this case, 
would be recognized throughout the truth that with nearly 
all products of industry, the evil caused by a rise of price falls 
more heavily on the vast numbers who work for wages than 
on the small numbers who have moderate incomes or large 


Were not their judgments warped by the class-bias, work 
ing-men might be more pervious to the truth that better forms 
of industrial organization would grow up and extinguish the 
forms which they regard as oppressive, were such better forms 
practicable. And they might see that the impracticability of 
better forms results from the imperfections of existing human 
nature, moral and intellectual. If the workers in any busi 
ness could so combine and govern themselves that the share 
of profit coming to them as workers was greater than now, 
while the interest on the capital employed was less than now ; 
and if they could at the same time sell the articles produced 
at lower rates than like articles produced in businesses man 
aged as at present ; then, manifestly, businesses managed as 
at present would go to the wall. That they do not go to 
the wall that such better industrial organizations do not 
replace them, implies that the natures of working-men them 
selves are not good enough ; or, at least, that there are not 
many of them good enough. Happily, to some extent organ 
izations of a superior type are becoming possible : here and 
there they have achieved encouraging successes. But, speak 
ing generally, the masses are neither sufficiently provident, 
nor sufficiently conscientious, nor sufficiently intelligent. 
Consider the evidence. 

That they are not provident enough they show both by 
wasting their higher wages when they get them, and by neg 
lecting such opportunities as occur of entering into modified 
forms of co-operative industry. When the Gloucester Wag 
gon Company was formed, it was decided to reserve a thou 
sand of its shares, of 10 each, for the workmen employed ; 
and to suit them, it was arranged that the calls of a pound 
each should be at intervals of three months. As many of the 


men earned 2 10s. per week, in a locality where living" was 
not costly, it was considered that the taking-up of shares in 
this manner would be quite practicable. All the circumstances 
were at the outset such as to promise that prosperity which 
the company has since achieved. The chairman is no less re 
markable for his skill in the conduct of large undertakings 
than for that sympathy with the working-classes which led 
him to adopt this course. The manager had been a working- 
man ; and possessed the confidence of woi king-men in so high 
a degree, that many migrated with him from the Midland 
counties when the company was formed. Further, the man 
ager entered heartily into the plan telling me himself, that 
he had rejoiced over the founding of a concern in which 
those employed would have an interest. His hopes, however, 
and those of the chairman, were disappointed. After the 
lapse of a year not one of the thousand shares was taken up ; 
and they were then distributed among the proprietors. Doubt 
less, there have been in other cases more encouraging results. 
But this case is one added to others which show that the 
proportion of working-men adequately provident is not great 
enough to permit an extensive growth of better industrial 
organizations. 1 

Again, the success of industrial organizations higher in 
type, requires in the members a nicer sense of justice than is 
at present general. Closer co-operation implies greater mutual 
trust ; and greater mutual trust is not possible without more 
respect for one another s claims. When we find that in sick- 
clubs it is not uncommon for members to continue receiving 
aid when they are able to work, so that spies have to be set to 
check them ; while, on the other hand, those who administer 
the funds often cause insolvency by embezzling them ; we 
cannot avoid the inference that want of conscientiousness pre 
vents the effective union of workers under no regulation but 
their own. When, among skilled labourers, we find a certain 
rate per hour demanded, because less " did not suffice for their 
natural wants," though the unskilled labourers working under 
them were receiving little more than half the rate per hour, 
and were kept out of the skilled class by stringent rules, we 
do not discover a moral sense so much above that shown by 
employers as to promise success for industrial combinations 


superior to our present ones. While workmen think them 
selves justified in combining- to sell their labour only on cer 
tain terms, but think masters not justified in combining 1 to 
buy it only on certain terms, they show a conception of equity 
not high enough to make practicable a form of co-operation 
requiring that each shall recognize the claims of others as 
fully as his own. One pervading- misconception of justice be 
trayed by them would alone suffice to cause failure the mis 
conception, namely, that justice requires an equal sharing- of 
benefits among producers, instead of requiring-, as it does, 
equal freedom to make the best of their faculties. The gen 
eral policy of trades-unionism, tending everywhere to restrain 
the superior from profiting by his superiority lest the inferior 
should be disadvantaged, is a policy which, acted out in any 
industrial combinations, must make them incapable of com 
peting with combinations based on the principle that benefit 
gained shall be proportioned to faculty put forth. 

Thus, as acting on the employed in general, the class-bias 
obscures the truth, otherwise not easy to see, that the existing 
type of industrial organization, like the existing type of polit 
ical organization, is about as good as existing human nature 
allows. The evils there are in it are nothing but the evils 
brought round on men by their own imperfections. The rela 
tion of master and workman has to be tolerated, because, for 
the time being, no other will answer as well. Looked at apart 
from special interests, this organization of industry we now 
see around us, must be considered as one in which the cost of 
regulation, though not so great as it once was, is still exces 
sive. In any industrial combination there must be a regulat 
ing agency. That regulating agency, whatever its nature, 
must be paid for must involve a deduction from the total 
proceeds of the labour regulated. The present system is one 
under which the share of- the total proceeds that goes to pay 
for regulation, is considerable ; and under better systems to 
be expected hereafter, there will doubtless be a decrease in the 
cost of regulation. But, for the present, our comparatively- 
costly system has the justification that it alone succeeds. Reg 
ulation is costly because the men to be regulated are defec 
tive. With decrease of their defects will come economy of reg 
ulation, and consequently greater shares of profit to themselves. 


Let me not be misunderstood. The foregoing criticism 
does not imply that operatives have no grievances to com 
plain of ; nor does it imply that ti ade-combi nations and strikes 
are without adequate justifications. It is quite possible to hold 
that when, instead of devouring their captured enemies, men 
made slaves of them, the change was a step in advance ; and 
to hold that this slavery, though absolutely bad, was relatively 
good was the best thing practicable for the time being. It is 
quite possible also to hold that when slavery gave place to a 
serfdom under which certain personal rights were recognized, 
the new arrangement, though in the abstract an inequitable 
one, was more equitable than the old, and constituted as great 
an amelioration as men s natures then permitted. It is quite 
possible to hold that when, instead of serfs, there came free 
men working for wages, but held as a class in extreme sub 
ordination, this modified relation of employers and employed, 
though bad, was as good a one as could then be established. 
And so it may be held that at the present time, though the 
form of industrial government entails serious evils, those 
evils, much less than the evils of past times, are as small as 
the average human nature allows are not due to any special 
injustice of the employing class, and can be remedied only as 
fast as men in general advance. On the other hand, 

while contending that the policy of trades-unions and the 
actions of men on strike, manifest an injustice as great as that 
shown by the employing classes, it is quite consistent to ad 
mit, and even to assert, that the evil acts of trade-combina 
tions are the unavoidable accompaniments of a needful self- 
defence. Selfishness on the one side resisting selfishness on 
the other, inevitably commits sins akin to those it complains 
of cannot effectually check harsh dealings without itself 
using harsh measures. Further, it may be fully admitted 
that the evils of working-class combinations, great as they are, 
go along with certain benefits, and will hereafter be followed 
by greater benefits are evils involved by the transition to 
better arrangements. 

Here my purpose is neither to condemn nor to applaud the 
ideas and actions of the employed in their dealings with em 
ployers ; but simply to point out how the class-bias warps 
working-men s judgments of social relations makes it diffi- 


cult for working-men to see that our existing industrial sys 
tem is a product of existing human nature, and can be im 
proved only as fast as human nature improves. 

The ruling and employing classes display an equally-strong 
bias of the opposite kind. From their point of view, the be 
haviour of their poorer fellow -citizens throughout these strug 
gles appears uniformly blarnable. That they experience from 
a strike inconvenience more or less considerable, sufficiently 
proves to them that the strike must be wrong. They think 
there is something intolerable in this independence which 
leads to refusals to work except at higher wages or for shorter 
times. That the many should be so reckless of the welfare of 
the few, seems to the few a grievance not to be endured. 
Though Mr. George Potter, as shown above, wrongly speaks 
of the consumer as though he were always rich, instead of 
being, in nine cases out of ten, poor ; yet he rightly describes 
the rich consumer as indignant when operatives dare to take 
a course which threatens to raise the prices of necessaries and 
make luxuries more costly. This feeling, often betrayed in 
private, exhibited itself in public on the occasion of the late 
strike among the gas-stokers ; when there were uttered pro 
posals that acts entailing so much annoyance should be put 
down with a strong hand. And the same spirit was shown in 
that straining of the law which brought on the men the pun 
ishment for conspiracy, instead of the punishment for breach 
of contract ; which was well deserved, and would have been 
quite sufficient. 

This mental attitude of the employing classes is daily 
shown by the criticisms passed on servants. Read The Great 
est Plague in Life, or listen to the complaints of every house 
wife, and you see that the minds of masters and mistresses are so 
much occupied with their own interests as to leave little room 
for the interests of the men and maids in their service. The 
very title, The Greatest Plague in Life, implies that the only 
life worthy of notice is the life to which servants minister ; 
and there is an entire unconsciousness that a book with the 
same title, written by a servant about masters and mistresses, 
might be filled with equally-severe criticisms and grievances 
far more serious. The increasing independence of servants is 


enlarged upon as a change greatly to be lamented. There is 
no recognition of the fact that this increasing independence 
implies an increasing prosperity of the classes from which 
servants come ; and that this amelioration in the condition of 
the many is a good far greater than the evil entailed on the few. 
It is not perceived that if servants, being in great demand and 
easily able to get places, will no longer submit to restrictions, 
say about dress, like those of past times, the change is part of 
the progress towards a social state which, if apparently not so 
convenient for the small regulating classes, implies an eleva 
tion of the large regulated classes. 

The feeling shown by the rich in their thoughts about, and 
dealings with, the poor, is, in truth, but a mitigated form of 
the feeling which owners of serfs and owners of slaves dis 
played. In early times bondsmen were treated as though they 
existed simply for the benefit of their owners ; and down to 
the present time the belief pervading the select ranks (not in 
deed expressed but clearly enough implied) is, that the con 
venience of the select is the first consideration, and the welfare 
of the masses a secondary consideration. Just as an Old-Eng 
lish thane would have been astonished if told that the only 
justification for his existence as an owner of thralls, was that 
the lives of his thralls were on the whole better preserved and 
more comfortable than they would be did he not own them ; 
so, now, it will astonish the dominant classes to assert that 
their only legitimate raison d etre is that by their instrumen 
tality as regulators, the lives of the people are. on the average, 
made more satisfactory than they would otherwise be. And 
yet, looked at apart from class-bias, this is surely an undeniable 
truth. Ethically considered, there has never been any war 
rant for the subjection of the many to the few, except that it 
has furthered the welfare of the many ; and at the present 
time, furtherance of the welfare of the many is the only war 
rant for that degree of class-subordination which continues. 
The existing conception must be, in the end, entirely changed. 
Just as the old theory of political government has been so 
transformed that the ruling agent, instead of being owner of 
the nation, has come to be regarded as servant of the nation ; 
so the old theory of industrial and social government has to 
underg-o a transformation which will make the regulating 


classes feel, while duly pursuing their own interests, that their 
interests are secondary to the interests of the masses whose 
labours they direct. 

While the bias of rulers and masters makes it difficult for 
them to conceive this, it also makes it difficult for them to con 
ceive that a decline of class-power and a decrease of class-dis 
tinction may be accompanied by improvement not only in the 
lives of the regulated classes, but in the lives of the regulating 
classes. The sentiments and ideas proper to the existing social 
organization, prevent the rich from seeing that worry and 
weariness and disappointment result to them indirectly from 
this social system apparently so conducive to their welfare. 
Yet, would they contemplate the past, they might find strong 
reasons for suspecting as much. The baron of feudal days 
never imagined the possibility of social arrangements that 
would serve him far better than the arrangements he so 
strenuously upheld ; nor did he see in the arrangements he 
upheld the causes of his many sufferings and discomforts. 
Had he been told that a noble might be much happier with 
out a moated castle, having its keep and secret passages and 
dungeons for prisoners that he might be more secure without 
drawbridge and portcullis, men-at-arms and sentinels that he 
might be in less danger having no vassals or hired mercenaries 
that he might be wealthier without possessing a single serf ; 
he would have thought the statements absurd even to the ex 
tent of insanity. It would have been useless to argue that the 
regime seeming so advantageous to him, entailed hardships of 
many kinds perpetual feuds with his neighbours, open at 
tacks, surprises, betrayals, revenges by equals, treacheries by 
inferiors ; the continual carrying of arms and wearing of 
armour : the perpetual quarrellings of servants and disputes 
among vassals ; the coarse and unvaried food supplied by an 
unprosperous agriculture ; a domestic discomfort such as no 
modern servant would tolerate ; resulting in a wear and tear 
that brought life to a comparatively-early close, if it was not 
violently cut short in battle or by murder. Yet what the class- 
bias of that time made it impossible for him to see, has become 
to his modern representative conspicuous enough. The peer 
of our day knows that he is better off without defensive ap 
pliances and retainers and serfs than his predecessor was with 


them. His country-house is more secure than was an embat 
tled tower ; he is safer among his unarmed domestics than a 
feudal lord was when surrounded by armed guards ; he is in 
less danger going about weaponless than was the mail-clad 
knight with lance arid sword. Though he has no vassals to 
fight at his command, there is no suzerain who can call on 
him to sacrifice his life in a quarrel not his own ; though he 
can compel 110 one to labour, the labours of freemen make 
him immensely more wealthy than was the ancient holder of 
bondsmen ; and along with the loss of direct control over 
workers, there has grown up an industrial system which sup 
plies him with multitudinous conveniences and luxuries un 
dreamt of by him who had workers at his mercy. 

May we not, then, infer that just as the dominant classes of 
ancient days were prevented by tho feelings and ideas appro 
priate to the then-existing social state, from seeing how much 
evil it brought on them, and how much better for them might 
be a social state in which their power was much less ; so the 
dominant classes of the present day are prevented from seeing 
how the existing forms of class-subordination redound to their 
own injury, and how much happier may be their future rep 
resentatives having social positions less prominent ? Occa 
sionally recognizing, though they do, certain indirect evils 
attending their supremacy, they do not see that by accumula 
tion these indirect evils constitute a penalty which supremacy 
brings on them. Though they repeat the trite reflection that 
riches fail to purchase content, they do not draw the inference 
that there must be something wrong in a system which thus 
deludes them. You hear it from time to time admitted that 
great wealth is a heavy burden : the life of a rich peer being 
described as made like the life of an attorney by the extent of 
his affairs. You observe among those whose large means and 
various estates enable them to multiply their appliances to 
gratification, that every new appliance becomes an additional 
something to be looked after, and adds to the possibilities of 
vexation. Further, if you put together the open confessions 
and the tacit admissions, you find that, apart from these anxie 
ties and annoyances, the kind of life which riches and honours 
bring is not a satisfactory life its inside differs immensely 
from its outside. In candid moments the " social treadmill " 


is complained of by those who nevertheless think themselves 
compelled to keep up its monotonous round. As everyone 
may see, fashionable life is passed, not in being happy, but in 
playing 1 at being happy. And yet the manifest corollary is 
not drawn by those engaged in this life. 

To an outsider it is obvious that the benefits obtained by 
the regulative classes of our day, through the existing form of 
social organization, are full of disguised evils ; and that this 
undue wealth which makes possible the passing of idle lives 
brings dissatisfactions in place of the satisfactions expected. 
Just as in feudal times the appliances for safety were the ac 
companiments to a social state that brought a more than 
equivalent danger; so, now, the excess of aids to pleasure 
among the rich is the accompaniment of a social state that 
brings a counterbalancing displeasure. The gratifications 
reached by those who make the pursuit of gratifications a 
business, dwindle to a minimum ; while the trouble, and 
weariness, and vexation, and jealousy, and disappointment, 
rise to a maximum. That this is an inevitable result any 

one may see who studies the psychology of the matter. The 
pleasure-hunting life fails for the reason that it leaves large 
parts of the nature unexercised : it neglects the satisfactions 
gained by successful activity, and there is missing from it the 
serene consciousness of services rendered to others. Egoistic 
enjoyments continuously pursued, pall because the appetites 
for them are satiated in times much shorter than our waking 
lives give us : leaving times that are either empty or spent in 
efforts to get enjoyment after desire has ceased. They pall 
also from the want of that broad contrast which arises when a 
moiety of life is actively occupied. These negative causes of 
dissatisfaction are joined with the positive cause indicated 
the absence of that content gained by successful achievement. 
One of the most massive and enduring gratifications is the 
sense of personal worth, ever afresh demonstrating itself to 
consciousness by effectual action ; and an idle life is balked 
of its hopes partly because it lacks this. Lastly, the implied 
neglect of altruistic activities, or of activities felt to be in some 
way serviceable to others, brings kindred evils a deficiency 
of certain positive pleasures of a high order, not easily ex 
hausted, and a further falling-back on egoistic pleasures, again 


tending towards satiety. And all this, with its resulting 1 wear 
iness and discontent, we may trace to a social organization 
under which there comes to the regulating classes a share of 
produce great enough to make possible large accumulations 
that support useless descendants. 

The bias of the wealthy in favour of arrangements appar 
ently so conducive to their comforts and pleasures, while it 
shuts out the perception of these indirect penalties brought 
round on them by their seeming advantages, also shuts out 
the perception that there is anything mean in being a useless 
consumer of things which others produce. Contrariwise, 
there still survives, though much weakened, the belief that it 
is honourable to do nothing but seek enjoyment, and relatively 
dishonourable to pass life in supplying others with the means 
to enjoyment. In this, as in other things, our temporary state 
brings a temporary standard of honour appropriate to it ; and 
the accompanying sentiments and ideas exclude the concep 
tion of a state in which what is now thought admirable will 
be thought disgraceful. Yet it needs only, as before, to 

aid imagination by studying other times and other societies, 
remote in nature from our own, to see at least the possibility 
of this. When we contrast the feeling of the Fijians, among 
whom a man has a restless ambition to be acknowledged as a 
murderer, with the feeling among civilized races, who shrink 
with horror from a murderer, we get undeniable proof that 
men in one social state pride themselves in characters and 
deeds elsewhere held in the greatest detestation. Seeing 
which, we may infer that just as the Fijians, believing in the 
honourableness of murder, are regarded by us with astonish 
ment ; so those of our own day who pride themselves in con 
suming much and producing nothing, and who care little for 
the well-being of their society so long as it supplies them 
good dinners, soft beds, and pleasant lounging-places, may be 
regarded with astonishment by men of times to come, living 
under higher social forms. Nay, we may see not merely 

the possibility of such a change in sentiment, but the prob 
ability. Observe, first, the feeling still extant in China, where 
the honourableness of doing nothing, more strongly held than 
here, makes the wealthy wear their nails so long that they 
have to be tied back out of the way, and makes the ladies 


submit to prolonged tortures that their crushed feet may show 
their incapacity for work. Next, remember that in genera 
tions gone by, both here and on the Continent, the disgrace- 
fulness of trade was an article of faith among the upper 
classes, maintained very strenuously. Now mark how mem 
bers of the landed class are going into business, and even 
sons of peers becoming professional men and merchants ; and 
observe among the wealthy the feeling that men of their 
order have public duties to perform, and that the absolutely- 
idle among them are blameworthy. Clearly, then, we have 
grounds for inferring that, along with the progress to a regu 
lative organization higher than the present, there will be a 
change of the kind indicated in the conception of honour. 
It will become a matter of wonder that there should ever 
have existed those who thought it admirable to enjoy with 
out working, at the expense of others who worked without 

But the temporarily-adapted mental state of the ruling and 
employing classes, keeps out, more or less effectually, thoughts 
and feelings of these kinds. Habituated from childhood to 
the forms of subordination at present existing regarding 
these as parts of a natural and permanent order finding satis 
faction in supremacy, and conveniences in the possession of 
authority ; the regulators of all kinds remain unconscious 
that this system, made necessary as it is by the defects of ex 
isting human nature, brings round penalties on themselves as 
well as on those subordinate to them, and that its pervading 
theory of life is as mistaken as it is ignoble. 

Enough has been said to show that from the class-bias arise 
further obstacles to right thinking in Sociology. As a part of 
some general division of his community, and again as a part 
of some special sub-division, the citizen acquires adapted feel 
ings and ideas which inevitably influence his conclusions 
about public affairs. They affect alike his conceptions of the 
past, his interpretations of the present, his anticipations of the 

Members of the regulated classes, kept in relations more or 
less antagonistic with the classes regulating them, are thereby 
hindered from seeing the need for, and the benefits of, this 


organization which seems the cause of their grievances ; they 
are at the same time hindered from seeing the need for, and 
the benefits of, those harsher forms of industrial regulation 
that existed during past times ; and they are also hindered 
from seeing that the improved industrial organizations of the 
future, can come only through improvements in their own 
natures. On the other hand, members of the regulating 
classes, while partially blinded to the facts that the defects of 
the working-classes are the defects of natures like their own 
placed under different conditions, and that the existing sys 
tem is defensible, not for its convenience to themselves, but as 
being the best now practicable for the community at large ; 
are also partially blinded to the vices of past social arrange 
ments, and to the badness of those who in past social systems; 
used class-power less mercifully than it is used now ; while 
they have difficulty in seeing that the present social order, like 
past social orders, is but transitory, and that the regulating 
classes of the future may have, with diminished power, in 
creased happiness. 

Unfortunately for the Social Science, the class-bias, like 
the bias of patriotism, is, in a degree, needful for social pres 
ervation. It is like in this, too, that escape from its influ 
ence is often only effected by an effort that carries belief to 
an opposite extreme changing approval into a disapproval 
that is entire instead of partial. Hence in the one case, as in 
the other, we must infer that the resulting obstacle to well- 
balanced conclusions, can become less only as social evolution 
becomes greater. 



EVERY day brings events that show the politician what the 
events of the next day are likely to be, while they serve also 
as materials for the student of Social Science. Scarcely a 
journal can be read, that does not supply a fact which, be 
yond the proximate implication seized by the party-tactician, 
has an ultimate implication of value to the sociologist. Thus 
a propos of political bias, I am, while writing, furnished by 
an Irish paper with an extreme instance. Speaking of the 
late Ministerial defeat, the Nation says : 

" Mr. Gladstone and his administration are hurled from power, and 
the iniquitous attempt to sow broadcast the seed of irreligion and in 
fidelity in Ireland has recoiled with the impact of a thunderbolt upon 
its authors. The men who so long beguiled the ear of Ireland with 
specious promises, who mocked us with sham reforms and insulted us 
with barren concessions, who traded on the grievances of this country 
only to aggravate them, and who, with smooth professions on their 
lips, trampled out the last traces of liberty in the land, are to-day a 
beaten and outcast party." 

Which exhibition of feeling we may either consider specially, 
as showing how the "Nationalists" are likely to behave in 
the immediate future; or may consider more generally, as 
giving us a trait of Irish nature tending to justify Mr. Froude s 
harsh verdict on Irish conduct in the past ; or may consider 
most generally, after the manner here appropriate, as a strik 
ing example of the distortions which the political bias works 
in men s judgments. 

When we remember that all are thus affected more or less, 
in estimating antagonists, their acts, and their views, we are 
reminded what an immense obstacle political partlzanship is 


in the way of Social Science. I do not mean simply that, as 
all know, it often determines opinions about pending 1 ques 
tions ; as shown by cases in which a measure reprobated by 
Conservatives when brought forward by Liberals, is approved 
when brought forward by their own party. I refer to the far 
wider effect it has on men s interpretations of the past and of 
the future ; and therefore 011 their sociological conceptions in 
general. The political sympathies and antipathies fostered by 
the conflicts of parties, respectively upholding this or that 
kind of institution, become sympathies and antipathies drawn 
out towards allied institutions of other nations, extinct or sur 
viving. These sympathies and antipathies inevitably cause 
tendencies to accept or reject favourable or unfavorable evi 
dence respecting such institutions. The well-known contrast 
between the pictures which the Tory Mitford and the Radical 
Grote have given of the Athenian democracy, serves as an in 
stance to which many parallels may be found. In proof of 
the perverting effects of the political bias, I cannot do better 
than quote some sentences from Mr. Froude s lecture on The 
Scientific Method applied to History. 

" Thucydides wrote to expose the vices of democracy ; Tacitus, the 
historian of the Caesars, to exhibit the hatefulness of Imperialism." l 

" Read Macaulay on the condition of the English poor before the 
last century or two, and you wonder how they lived at all. Read 
Cobbett, and I may even say Hallam, and you wonder how they en 
dure the contrast between their past prosperity and their present 
misery." 2 

" An Irish Catholic prelate once told me that to his certain knowl 
edge two millions of men, women, and children had died in the great 
famine of 1846. I asked him if he was not including those who had 
emigrated. He repeated that over and above the emigration two mill 
ions had actually died ; and added, we might assert that every one 
of these deaths lay at the door of the English Government. I men 
tioned this to a distinguished lawyer in Dublin, a Protestant. His 
grey eyes lighted up. He replied : Did he say two millions now 
did he? Why there were not a thousand died there were not five 
hundred. The true number, so far as can be gathered from a com 
parison of the census of 1841 with the census of 1851, from the emi 
gration returns, which were carefully made, and from an allowance for 
the natural rate of increase, was about two hundred thousand." 3 

Further insistance on this point is needless. That the ver- 


diets which will be given by different party-journals upon 
each ministerial act may be predicted, and that the opposite 
opinions uttered by speakers and applauded by meetings con 
cerning the same measure, may be foreseen if the political 
bias is known ; are facts from which any one may infer that 
the party politician must have his feelings greatly moderated 
before he can interpret, with even approximate truth, the 
events of the past, and draw correct inferences respecting the 

Here, instead of dilating on this truth, I will call attention 
to kindred truths that are less conspicuous. Beyond those 
kinds of political bias indicated by the names of political 
parties, there are certain kinds of political bias transcending 
party-limits. Already in the chapter on "Subjective Diffi 
culties Emotional," I have commented on the feeling which 
originates them the feeling drawn out towards the govern 
ing agency. In addition to what was there said respecting 
the general effects of this feeling 011 sociological inquiry, 
something must be said about its special effects. And first, 
let us contemplate a common fallacy in men s opinions about 
human affairs, which pervades the several fallacies fostered by 
the political bias. 

Results are proportionate to appliances see here the tacit 
assumption underlying many errors in the conduct of life, 
private and public. In private life everyone discovers the un 
truth of this assumption, and yet continues to act as though 
he had not discovered its untruth. Reconsider a moment, 
under this fresh aspect, a familiar experience lately dwelt 

"How happy I shall be," thinks the child, "when I am as 
old as my big brother, and own all the many things he will 
not let me have." "How happy," the big brother thinks, 
" shall I be when, like my father. I have got a house of my 
own and can do as I like." " How happy I shall be," thinks 
the father, " when, achieving the success in prospect, I have 
got a large income, a country house, carriages, horses, and a 
higher social position." And yet at each stage the possession 
of the much-desired aids to satisfaction does not bring all the 
happiness expected, and brings many annoyances. 


A good example of the fallacy that results are proportion 
ate to appliances, is furnished by domestic service. It is an 
inference naturally drawn that if one servant does so much, 
two servants will do twice as much ; and so on. But when 
this common-sense theory is tested by practice, the results are 
quite at variance with it. Not simply does the amount of serv 
ice performed fail to increase in proportion to the number of 
servants, but frequently it decreases : fewer servants do more 
w r ork and do it better. 

Take, again, the relation of books to knowledge. The nat 
ural assumption is that one who has stores of information at 
hand will become well-informed. And yet, very generally, 
when a man begins to accumulate books he ceases to make 
much use of them. The filling of his shelves with volumes 
and the filling of his brain with facts, are processes apt to go 
on with inverse rapidities. It is a trite remark that those who 
have become distinguished for their learning, have often been 
those who had great difficulties in getting books. Here, too, 
the results are quite out of proportion to the appliances. 

Similarly if w T e go a step further in the same direction not 
thinking of books as aids to information, but thinking of in 
formation as an aid to guidance. Do we find that the quan 
tity of acquirement measures the quantity of insight ? Is the 
amount of cardinal truth reached to be inferred from the mass 
of collected facts that serve as appliances for reaching it ? By 
no means. Wisdom and information do not vary together. 
Though there must be data before there can be generalization, 
yet ungeneralized data acctimulated in excess, are impedi 
ments to generalization. When a man s knowledge is not in 
order, the more of it he has the greater will be his confusion 
of thought. When facts are not organized into faculty, the 
greater the mass of them the more will the mind stagger 
along under its burden, hampered instead of helped by its 
acquisitions. A student may become a very Daniel Lambert 
of learning, and remain utterly useless to himself and all 
others. Neither in this case, then, are results proportionate to 

It is so, too, with discipline, and with the agencies estab 
lished for discipline. Take, as an instance, the use of lan 
guage. From his early days the boy whose father can afford 


to give him the fashionable education, is drilled in grammar, 
practised in parsing 1 , tested in detecting errors of speech. After 
his public-school career, during which words, their meanings, 
and their right applications, almost exclusively occupy him, 
he passes through a University where a large, and often the 
larger, part of his attention is still given to literary culture 
models of style in prose and poetry being daily before him. 
So much for the preparation ; now for the performance. It is 
notorious that commentators on the classics are among the 
most slovenly writers of English. Readers of Punch will re 
member how, years ago, the Provost and Head-Master of 
Eton were made to furnish food for laughter by quotations 
from a letter they had published. Recently the Head-Master 
of Winchester has given us, in entire unconsciousness of its 
gross defects, a sample of the English which long study of 
language produces. If from these teachers, who are literally 
the select of the select, we turn to men otherwise selected, 
mostly out of the same highly-disciplined class men who are 
distilled into the House of Commons, and then re-distilled into 
the Ministry, we are again disappointed. Just as in the last 
generation, Royal Speeches drawn up by those so laboriously 
trained in the right use of words, furnished for an English 
grammar examples of blunders to be avoided ; so in the pres 
ent generation, a work on style might fitly take from these 
documents which our Government annually lays before all 
the world, warning instances of confusions, and illogicalities, 
and pleonasms. And then on looking at the performances of 
men not thus elaborately prepared, we are still more struck by 
the seeming anomaly. How great the anomaly is, we may 
best see by supposing some of our undisciplined authors to 
use expressions like those used by the disciplined. Imagine 
the self-made Cobbett deliberately saying, as is said in the last 
Royal Speech, that 

"I have kept in view the double object of an equitable regard to 
existing circumstances, and of securing a general provision more 
permanent in its character, and resting on a reciprocal and equal basis, 
for the commercial and maritime transactions of the two countries." 4 
Imagine the poet who had " little Latin and less Greek," giv 
ing the order that 

" No such address shall be delivered in any place where the assem- 


blage of persons to hear the same may cause obstruction to the use of 
any road or walk by the public." 6 

an order which occurs, along with half-a-dozen lax and su 
perfluous phrases, in the eighteen lines announcing the minis 
terial retreat from the Hyde-Park contest. Imagine the 
ploughman Burns, like one of our scholars who has heen 
chosen to direct the education of gentlemen s sons, expressing 
himself in print thus 

" I should not have troubled you with this detail (which was, in 
deed, needless in my former letter) if it was not that I may appear to 
have laid a stress upon the dates which the boy s accident has pre 
vented rne from being able to claim to do." 6 

Imagine Bunyan, the tinker, publishing such a sentence as 
this, written by one of our bishops : 

" If the 546 gentlemen who signed the protest on the subject of 
deaconesses had thought proper to object to my having formally 
licensed a deaconess in the parish of Dilton s Marsh, or to what they 
speak of when they say that recognition had been made (I presume 
on a report of which no part or portion was adopted by resolution of 
the Synod) as to sisters living together in a more conventual manner 
and under stricter rule, I should not have thought it necessary to do 
more than receive with silent respect the expression of their opinion ;" 
&c., &C. 1 

Or, to cite for comparison modern self-educated writers, im 
agine such a sentence coming from Hugh Miller, or Alexander 
Smith, or Gerald Massey, or "the Norwich weaver-boy" (W. 
J. Fox), or " the Journeyman Engineer." Shall we then say 
that in the case of literary culture, results are proportionate to 
appliances ? or shall we not rather say that, as in other cases, 
the relation is by no means so simple a one. 

Nowhere, then, do we find verified this assumption which 
we are so prone to make. Quantity of effect does not vary as 
quantity of means. From a mechanical apparatus up to an 
educational system or a social institution, the same truth 
holds. Take a rustic to see a new machine, and his admiration 
of it will be in proportion to the multiplicity of its parts. 
Listen to the criticism of a skilled engineer, and you find that 
from all this complication he infers probable failure. Not 
elaboration but simplification is his aim : knowing, as he 
does, that every additional wheel or lever implies inertia and 


friction to be overcome, and occasional derangement to be recti 
fied. It is thus everywhere. Up to a certain point appliances 
are needful for results ; but beyond that point, results decrease 
as appliances increase. 

This undue belief in appliances, joined with the general 
bias citizens inevitably have in favour of governmental agen 
cies, prompts the multiplication of laws. It fosters the notion 
that a society will be the better the more its actions are every 
where regulated by artificial instrumentalities. And the effect 
produced on sociological speculation is, that the benefits 
achieved by laws are exaggerated, while the evils they entail 
are overlooked. 

Brought to bear on so immensely-complicated an aggregate 
as a society, a law rarely, if ever, produces as much direct 
effect as was expected, and invariably produces indirect effects, 
many in their kinds and great in their sum, that were not ex 
pected. It is so even with fundamental changes : witness tbe 
two we have seen in the constitution of our House of Com 
mons. Both advocates and opponents of the first Reform Bill 
anticipated that the middle classes would select as representa 
tives many of their own body. But both were wrong. The 
class-quality of the House of Commons remained very much 
what it was before. While, however, the immediate and spe 
cial result looked for did not appear, there were vast remote 
and general results foreseen by no one. So, too, with the re 
cent change. We had eloquently-uttered warnings that dele 
gates from the working-classes would swamp the House of 
Commons ; and nearly everyone expected that, at any rate, a 
sprinkling of working-class members would be chosen. Again 
all were wrong. The conspicuous alteration looked for has 
not occurred ; but, nevertheless, governmental actions have 
already been much modified by the raised sense of responsi 
bility. It is thus always. No prophecy is safer than that the 
results anticipated from a law will be greatly exceeded in 
amount by results not anticipated. Even simple physical ac 
tions might suggest to us this conclusion. Let us contem 
plate one. 

You see that this wrought-iron plate is not quite flat: it 
sticks up a little here towards the left " cockles," as we say. 


How shall we flatten it ? Obviously, you reply, by hitting 
down on the part that is prominent. Well, here is a hammer, 
and I give the plate a blow as you advise. Harder, you say. 
Still no effect. Another stroke ? Well, there is one, and an 
other, and another. The prominence remains, you see: the 
evil is as great as ever greater, indeed. But this is not all. 
Look at the warp which the plate has got near the opposite 
edge. Where it was flat before it is now curved. A pretty 
bungle we have made of it. Instead of curing the original 
defect, we have produced a second. Had we asked an artizaii 
practised in " planishing," as it is called, he would have told 
us that no good was to be done, but only mischief, by hitting 
down on the projecting part. He would have taught us how 
to give variously-directed and specially-adjusted blows with 
a hammer elsewhere : so attacking the evil not by direct but 
by indirect actions. The required process is less simple than 
you thought. Even a sheet of metal is not to be successfully 
dealt with after those common-sense methods in which you 
have so much confidence. What, then, shall we say about a 
society ? " Do you think I am easier to be played on than a 
pipe ? asks Hamlet. Is humanity more readily straightened 
than an iron plate ? 

Many, I doubt not. failing to recognize the truth that in 
proportion as an aggregate is complex, the effects wrought by 
an incident force becomes more multitudinous, confused, and 
incalculable, and that therefore a society is of all kinds of ag 
gregates the kind most difficult to affect in an intended way 
and not in unintended ways many such wall ask evidence of 
the difficulty. Eesponse would perhaps be easier were the 
evidence less abundant. It is so familiar as seemingly to 
have lost its significance ; just as perpetually-repeated saluta 
tions and prayers have done. The preamble to nearly every 
Act of Parliament supplies it ; in the report of every commis 
sion it is presented in various forms : and for anyone asking 
instances, the direction might be Hansard passim. Here I 
will give but a single example which might teach certain rash 
enthusiasts of our day, were they teachable. I refer to meas 
ures for the suppression of drunkenness. 

Not to dwell on the results of the Maine Law, which, as I 
know from one whose personal experience verified current 


statements, prevents the obtainment of stimulants by travel 
lers in urgent need of them, but does not prevent secret drink 
ing by residents not to dwell, either, upon the rigorous 
measures taken in Scotland in 1617, for the restraint of the 
vile and detestable vice of drunkenness daily increasing," but 
which evidently did not produce the hoped-for effect ; I will 
limit myself to the case of the Licensing Act, 9 Geo. II., ch. 
23, for arresting the sale of spirituous liquors (chiefly gin) by 
prohibitory licences. 

" Within a few months after it passed, Tindal tells us, the commis 
sioners of excise themselves became sensible of the impossibility or 
unadvisableness of carrying it rigorously into execution. * * * 
Smollett, who has drawn so dark a picture of the state of things the 
act was designed to put down, has painted in colours equally strong 
the mischiefs which it produced : The populace, he writes, soon 
broke through all restraint. Though no licence was obtained and no 
duty paid, the liquor continued to be sold in all corners of the streets ; 
informers were intimidated by the threats of the people; and the jus 
tices of the peace, either from indolence or corruption, neglected to 
put the law in execution. In fact, in course of time, it appeared, he 
adds, that the consumption of gin had considerably increased every 
year since those heavy duties were imposed. " 8 

When, in 1743, this Act was repealed, it was shown during 
the debates that 

" The quantity of gin distilled in England, which, in 1C84, when 
the business was introduced into this country, had been 527,000 gal 
lons, had risen to 948,000 in 1G94. to 1.375,000 in 1704, to 2,000,000 in 
1714. to 3,520.000 in 1724, to 4.947.000 in 1734, and to not less than 
7.100,000 in 1742. * * * Retailers were deterred from vending 
them [spirituous liquors] by the utmost encouragement that could be 
given to informers. * * * The prospect of raising money by de 
tecting their [unlicensed retailers ] practices incited many to turn 
information into a trade ; and the facility with which the crime was 
to be proved encouraged some to gratify their malice by perjury, and 
others their avarice ; so that the multitude of informations became a 
public grievance, and the magistrates themselves complained that the 
law was not to be executed. The perjuries of informers were now so 
flagrant and common, that the people thought all informations ma 
licious ; or, at least, thinking themselves oppressed by the law, they 
looked upon every man that promoted its execution as their enemy ; 
and therefore now began to declare war against informers, many of 


whom they treated with great cruelty, and some they murdered in 
the streets. " 9 

Here, then, with absence of the looked-for benefit there 
went pi-eduction of unlooked-for evils, vast in amount. To 
recur to our figure, the original warp, instead of being made 
less by these direct blows, was made greater ; while other dis 
tortions, serious in kind and degree, were created. And be 
yond the encouragement of fraud, lying, malice, cruelty, 
murder, contempt of law, and the other conspicuous crooked 
nesses named, multitudinous minor twists of sentiment and 
thought were caused or augmented. An indirect demoraliza 
tion was added to a direct increase of the vice aimed at. 

Joining with the prevalent fallacy that results are propor 
tionate to appliances, the general political bias has the further 
effect of fostering an undue faith in political forms. This 
tendency to ascribe everything to a visible proximate agency, 
and to forget the hidden forces without which the agency is 
worthless this tendency which makes the child gazing at a 
steam-engine suppose that all is done by the combination of 
parts it sees, not recognizing the fact that the engine is power 
less without the steam-generating boiler, and the boiler power 
less without the water and the burning fuel, is a tendency 
which leads citizens to think that good government can be 
had by shaping public arrangements in this way or that way. 
Let us frame our state-machinery rightly, they urge, and all 
will be well. 

Yet this belief in the innate virtues of constitutions is as 
baseless as was the belief in the natural superiorities of royal 
personages. Just, as of old, loyalty to ruling men kept alive 
a faith in their powers and virtues, notwithstanding perpetual 
disproofs ; so, in these modern days, loyalty to constitutional 
forms keeps alive this faith in their intrinsic worth, spite of re 
curring demonstrations that their worth is entirely conditional. 
That those forms only are efficient which have grown natural 
ly out of character, and that in the absence of fit character 
forms artificially obtained will be inoperative, is well shown 
by the governments of trading corporations. Let us contem 
plate a typical instance of this government. 

The proprietors of a certain railway (I am here giving my 


personal experience as one of them) were summoned to a 
special meeting. The notice calling- them together stated that 
the directors had agreed to lease their line to another com 
pany ; that everything had been settled ; that the company 
taking the lease was then in possession ; and that the pro 
prietors were to be asked for their approval on the day named 
in the notice. The meeting took place. The chairman gave 
an account of the negotiation and of the agreement entered 
into. A motion expressing approval of the agreement was 
proposed and to some extent discussed no notice whatever 
being taken of the extraordinary conduct of the board. 
Only when the motion was about to be put, did one pro 
prietor protest against the astounding usurpation which the 
transaction implied. He said that there had grown up a 
wrong conception of the relation between boards of directors 
and bodies of proprietors ; that directors had come to look on 
themselves as supreme and proprietors as subordinate, where 
as, in fact, directors were simply agents appointed to act in 
the absence of their principals, the proprietors, and remained 
subject to their principals ; that if, in any private business, an 
absent proprietor received from his manager the news that he 
had leased the business, that the person taking it was then in 
possession, and that the proprietor s signature to the lease was 
wanted, his prompt return would be followed by a result quite 
different from that looked for namely, a dismissal of the 
manager for having exceeded his duty in a very astonishing 
manner. This protest against the deliberate trampling down 
of principles recognized by the constitutions of companies, 
met with no response whatever not a solitary sympathizer 
joined in the protest, even in a qualified form. Not only was 
the motion of approval carried, but it was carried without any 
definite knowledge of the agreement itself. Nothing more 
than the chairman s verbal description was vouchsafed : no 
printed copies of it had been previously circulated, or were to 
be had at the meeting. And yet, wonderful to relate, this 
proprietary body had been already once betrayed by an agree 
ment with this same leasing company ! had been led to un 
dertake the making of the line on the strength of a seeming 
guarantee which proved to be no guarantee ! See, then, 

the lesson. The constitution of this company, like that of 


companies in general, was purely democratic. The proprietors 
elected their directors, the directors their chairman ; and there 
were special provisions for restraining directors and replacing 
them when needful. Yet these forms of free government had 
fallen into disuse. And it is thus in all cases. Save 011 occa 
sions when some scandalous mismanagement, or corruption 
bringing great loss, has caused a revolutionary excitement 
among them, rail way -proprietors do not exercise their power s. 
Retiring directors being re-elected as a matter of form, the 
boai d becomes practically a close body ; usually some one 
member, often the chairman, acquires supremacy ; and so the 
government lapses into something between oligarchy and 
monarchy. All this, observe, happening not exceptionally but 
as a rule, happens among bodies of men mostly well educated, 
and many highly educated people of means, merchants, law 
yers, clergymen, &c. Ample disproof, if there needed any, of 
the notion that men are to be fitted for the right exercise of 
power by teaching. 

And now to return. Anyone who looks through these 
facts and facts akin to them for the truth they imply, may see 
that forms of government arc valuable only where they are 
products of national character. No cunningly -devised polit 
ical arrangements will of themselves do anything. No 
amount of knowledge respecting the uses of such arrange 
ments will suffice. Nothing will suffice but the emotional 
nature to which such arrangements are adapted a nature 
which, during social progress, has evolved the arrangements. 
And wherever there is want of congruity between the nature 
and the arrangements wherever the arrangements, suddenly 
established by revolution or pushed too far by reforming 
change, are of a higher type than the national character de 
mands, there is always a lapse proportionate to the incongru 
ity. In proof I might enumerate the illustrations that lie 
scattered through the modern histories of Greece, of South 
America, of Mexico. Or I might dwell on the lesson (before 
briefly referred to) presented us in France ; where the political 
cycle shows us again and again that new Democracy is but 
old Despotism differently spelt where now, as heretofore, we 
find Liberte, Egalite, Fraternitt, conspicuous on the public 
buildings, and now, as heretofore, have for interpretations of 


these words the extremest party-hatreds, vituperations and 
actual assaults in the Assemhly, wholesale arrests of men un 
friendly to those in power, forbiddings of public meetings, 
and suppressions of journals ; and where now, as heretofore, 
writers professing to be ardent advocates of political freedom, 
rejoice in these acts which shackle and gag their antagonists. 
But I will take, instead, a case more nearly allied to our own. 
For less strikingly, and in other ways, but still with suffi 
cient clearness, this same truth is displayed in the United 
States. I do not refer only to such extreme illustrations of it 
as were at one time furnished in California ; where, along 
with that complete political freedom which some think the 
sole requisite for social welfare, most men lived in perpetual 
fear for their lives, while others prided themselves on the 
notches which marked, on the hilts of their pistols, the num 
bers of men they had killed. Nor will I dwell on the state of 
society existing under republican forms in the West, where a 
white woman is burned to death for marrying a negro, where 
secret gangs murder in the night men whose conduct they 
dislike, where mobs stop trains to lynch offending persons 
contained in them, where the carrying of a revolver is a 
matter of course, where judges are intimidated and the execu 
tion of justice often impracticable. I do but name these as 
extreme instances of the way in which, under institutions that 
nominally secure men from oppression, they may be intoler 
ably oppressed unable to utter their opinions and to conduct 
their private lives as they please. Without going so far, we 
may find in the Eastern states proof enough that the forms of 
liberty and the reality of liberty are not necessarily commen 
surate. A state of things under which men administer justice 
in their own cases, are applauded for so doing, and mostly ac 
quitted if tried, is a state of things which has, in so far, retro 
graded towards a less civilized state ; for one of the cardinal 
traits of political progress is the gradual disappearance of per 
sonal retaliation, and the increasing supremacy of a ruling 
power which settles the differences between individuals and 
punishes aggressors. And in proportion as this ruling power 
is enfeebled the security of individuals is lessened. How se 
curity, lessened in this general way, is lessened in more special 
ways, we see in the bribery of judges, in the financial frauds 


by which many are robbed without possibility of remedy, in 
the corruptness of New York administration, which, taxing so 
heavily, does so little. And, under another aspect, we see the 
like in the doings of legislative bodies in the unfair advan 
tages which some individuals gain over others by "lobbying," 
in Credit-Mobilier briberies, and the like. While the outside 
form of free government remains, there has grown up within 
it a reality which makes government not free. The body of 
professional politicians, entering public life to get incomes, 
organizing their forces and developing their tactics, have, in 
fact, come to be a ruling class quite different from that which 
the constitution intended to secure ; and a class having inter 
ests by no means identical with public interests. This 
worship of the appliances to liberty in place of liberty itself, 
needs continually exposing. There is no intrinsic virtue in 
votes. The possession of representatives is not itself a benefit. 
These are but means to an end ; and the end is the mainte 
nance of those conditions under which each citizen may carry 
on his life without further hindrances from other citizens than 
are involved by their equal claims is the securing to each 
citizen all such beneficial results of his activities as his activi 
ties naturally bring. The worth of the means must be meas 
ured by the degree in which this end is achieved. A citizen 
nominally having complete means and but partially securing 
the end, is less free than another who uses incomplete means 
to more purpose. 

But why go abroad for proofs of the truth that political 
forms are of worth only in proportion as they are vitalized by 
national character ? We have proofs at home. I do not 
mean those furnished by past constitutional history I do not 
merely refer to those many facts showing us that the nominal 
power of our representative body became an actual power 
only by degrees ; and that the theoretically-independent 
House of Commons took centuries to escape from regal and 
aristocratic sway, and establish a practical independence. I 
refer to the present time, and to actions of our representative 
body in the plenitude of its power. This assembly of deputies 
chosen by large constituencies, and therefore so well fitted, as 
it would seem, for guarding the individual of whatever grade 
against trespasses upon his individuality, nevertheless itself 


authorizes new trespasses upon his individuality. A popular 
government has established, without the slightest hindrance, 
an official organization that treats with contempt the essential 
principles of constitutional rule ; and since it has been made 
still more popular, has deliberately approved and maintained 
this organization. Here is a brief account of the steps leading 
to these results. 

On the 20th June, 1864, just before 2 o clock in the morn 
ing, there was read a first time an Act giving, in some locali 
ties, certain new powers to the police. On the 27th of that 
month, it was read a second time, entirely without comment 
at what hour Hansard does not show. Just before 2 o clock 
in the morning on. June 30th, there was appointed, without 
remark, a Select Committee to consider this proposed Act. 
On the 15th July the Report of this Committee was received. 
On the 19th the Bill was re-committed, and the Report on it 
received all in silence. On the 20th July it was considered 
still in silence as amended. And on the 21st July it was 
read a third time and passed equally in silence. Taken next 
day to the House of Lords, it there, in silence no less profound, 
passed through all its stages in four days (? three). This Act 
not proving strong enough to meet the views of naval and 
military officers (who, according to the testimony of one of 
the Select Committee, were the promoters of it), was, in 1866, 
"amended." At 1 o clock in the morning on March 16th of 
that year, the Act amending it was read a first time ; and it 
was read a second time on the 22nd, when the Secretary of 
the Admiralty, describing it as an Act to secure the better 
health of soldiers and sailors, said " it was intended to renew 
an Act passed in 1864, with additional powers." And now, 
for the first time, there came brief adverse remarks from two 
members. On April 9th there was appointed a Select Com 
mittee, consisting mainly of the same members as the previous 
one predominantly state-officers of one class or other. On 
the 20th, the Report of the Committee was received. On the 
26th, the Bill was re-committed just before 2 o clock in the 
morning ; and on the Report there came some short com 
ments, which were, however, protested against on the ground 
that the Bill was not to be publicly discussed. And here ob 
serve the reception given to the only direct opposition raised. 


When, to qualify a clause defining 1 the powers of the police, it 
was proposed to add, " that the justices before whom such in 
formation shall be made, shall in all cases require corrobora 
tive testimony and support thereof, other than that of the 
members of the police force," this qualification was negatived 
without a word. Finally, this Act was approved and made 
more stringent by the present House of Commons in 1809. 

And now what was this Act, passed the first time ab 
solutely without comment, and passed in its so-called amended 
form with but the briefest comments, made under protest that 
comments were interdicted ? What was this measure, so 
conspicuously right that discussion of it was thought super 
fluous ? It was a measure by which, in certain localities, 
one-half of the people were brought under the summary 
jurisdiction of magistrates, in respect of certain acts charged 
against them. Further, those by whom they were to be 
charged, and by whose unsupported testimony charges were 
to be proved, were agents of the law, looking for promotion as 
the reward of vigilance agents placed under a permanent 
temptation to make and substantiate charges. And yet more, 
the substantiation of charges was made comparatively easy, 
by requiring only a single local magistrate to be convinced, 
by the testimony on oath of one of these agents of the law, 
that a person charged was guilty of the alleged acts acts 
which, held to be thus proved, were punished by periodic 
examinations of a repulsive kind and forced inclusion in a 
degraded class. A House of Commons elected by large con 
stituencies, many of them chiefly composed of working-men, 
showed the greatest alacrity in making a law under which, 
in sundry districts, the liberty of a working-man s wife or 
daughter remains intact, only so long as a detective does not 
give evidence which leads a magistrate to believe her a pros 
titute ! And this Bill which, even had there been some 
urgent need (which we have seen there was not) for dispens 
ing with precautions against injustice, should, at any rate, 
have been passed only after full debate and anxious criticism, 
was passed with every effort to maintain secrecy, on the 
pretext that decency forbade discussion of it ; while Mor- 
daunt-cases and the like were being reported with a fulness 
proportionate to the amount of objectionable details they 


brought out! Nor is this all. Not only do the provisions 
of the Act make easy the establishment of charges by men 
who are placed under temptations to make them ; but these 
men are guarded against penalties apt to be brought oil them 
by abusing their power. A poor woman who proceeds against 
one of them for making a groundless accusation ruinous to 
her character, does so with this risk before her ; that if she 
fails to get a verdict she has to pay the defendant s costs; 
whereas a verdict in her favour does not give her costs : only 
by a special order of the judge does she get costs ! And this 
is the " even-handed justice " provided by a government freer 
in form than any we have ever had ! 10 

Let it not be supposed that in arguing thus I am implying 
that forms of government are unimportant. While contend 
ing that they are of value only in so far as a national charac 
ter gives life to them, it is consistent also to contend that 
they are essential as agencies through which that national 
character may work out its effects. A boy cannot wield to 
purpose an implement of size and weight fitted to the hand 
of a man. A man cannot do effective work with a boy s 
implement : he must have one adapted to his larger grasp 
and greater strength. To each the implement is essential ; 
but the results which each achieves are not to be measured 
by the size or make of the implement alone, but by its adap 
tation to his powers. Similarly with political instrumen 
talities. It is possible to hold that a political instrumentality 
is of value only in proportion as there exists a strength of 
character needful for using it, and at the same time to hold 
that a fit political instrumentality is indispensable. Here, as 
before, results are not proportionate to appliances ; but they 
are proportionate to the force for due operation of which 
certain appliances are necessary. 

One other still more general and more subtle kind of 
political bias has to be guarded against. Beyond that excess 
of faith in laws, and in political forms, which is fostered by 
awe of regulative agencies, there is, even among those least 
swayed by this awe, a vague faith in the immediate possi 
bility of something much better than now exists a tacit 
assumption that, even with men as they are, public affairs 


might be much better managed. The mental attitude of such 
may be best displayed by an imaginary conversation between 
one of them and a member of the Legislature. 

" Why do your agents, with no warrant but a guess, mako 
this surcharge on my income-tax return ; leaving me to pay 
an amount that is not due and to establish a precedent for 
future like payments, or else to lose valuable time in proving 
their assessment excessive, and, while so doing, to expose my 
affairs ? You require me to choose between two losses, direct 
and indirect, for the sole reason that your assessor fancies, 
or professes to fancy, that I have under-stated my income. 
Why do you allow this ? Why in this case do you invert the 
principle which, in cases between citizens, you hold to be an 
equitable one the principle that a claim must be proved by 
him who makes it, not disproved by him against whom it is 
made ? Is it in pursuance of old political usages that you 
do this ? Is it to harmonize with the practice of making one 
whom you had falsely accused, pay the costs of his defence, 
although in suits between citizens you require the loser to 
bear all the expense ? a practice you have but lately re 
linquished. Do you desire to keep up the spirit of the good 
old rulers who impressed labourers and paid them what they 
pleased, or the still older rulers who seized whatever they 
wanted ? Would you maintain this tradition by laying hands 
on as much as possible of my earnings and leaving me to get 
part back if I can : expecting, indeed, that I shall submit to 
the loss rather than undergo the worry, and hindrance, and 
injury, needful to recover what you have wrongfully taken ? 
I was brought up to regard the Government and its officers 
as my protectors ; and now I find them aggressors against 
whom I have to defend myself." 

" What would you have ? Our agents could not bring for 
ward proof that an income-tax return was less than it should 
be. Either the present method must be pursued, or the tax 
must be abandoned." 

" I have no concern with your alternative. I have merely 
to point out that between man and man you recognize no 
such plea. When a plaintiff makes a claim but cannot pro 
duce evidence, you do not make the defendant submit if he 
fails to show that the claim is groundless. You say that if 


no evidence can be given, nothing can be done. Why do you 
ignore this principle when your agent makes the claim ? 
Why from the fountain of equity comes there this inequity ? 
Is it to maintain consistency with that system of criminal 
jurisprudence under which, while professing to hold a man 
innocent till proved guilty, you treat him before trial like a 
convict as you did Dr. Hessel ? Are your views really 
represented by these Middlesex magistrates you have ap 
pointed, who see 110 hardships to a man of culture in the 
seclusion of a prison-cell, and the subjection to prison-rules, 
on the mere suspicion that he has committed a murder ? " 

" The magistrates held that the rules allowed them to make 
no distinctions. You would not introduce class-legislation 
into prison-discipline ? " 

" I remember that was one of the excuses ; and I cheerfully 
give credit to this endeavour to treat all classes alike. I do so 
the more cheerfully because this application of the principle 
of equality differs much from those which you ordinarily 
make as when, on discharging some of your well-paid of 
ficials who have held sinecures, you give them large pensions, 
for the reason, I suppose, that their expensive styles of living 
have disabled them from saving anything ; while, when you 
discharge dock-yard labourers, you do not give them compen 
sation, for the reason, I suppose, that out of weekly wages it is 
easy to accumulate a competence. This, however, by the way. 
I am here concerned with that action of your judicial system 
which makes it an aggressor on citizens, whether rich or poor, 
instead of a protector. The instances I have given are but 
trivial instances of its general operation. Law is still a name 
of dread, as it was in past times. My legal adviser, being my 
friend, strongly recommends me not to seek your aid in re 
covering property fraudulently taken from me; and I per 
ceive, from their remarks, that my acquaintances would pity 
me as a lost man if I got into your Court of Equity. Whether 
active or passive, I am in danger. Your arrangements are 
such that I may be pecuniarily knocked on the head by some 
one who pretends I have injured his property. I have the 
alternative of letting my pocket be picked by the scamp who 
makes this baseless allegation in the hope of being paid to 
desist, or of meeting the allegation in Chancery, and there 


letting my pocket be picked, probably to a still greater extent, 
by your agencies. Nay, when you have, as you profess, done 
me justice by giving me a verdict and condemning the scamp 
to pay costs, I find I may still be ruined by having to pay 
my own costs if he has no means. To make your system con 
gruous throughout, it only needs that, when I call him to save 
me from the foot-pad, your policeman should deal me still 
heavier blows than the foot-pad did, and empty my purse of 
what remains in it. 

" Why so impatient ? Are we not going to reform it all ? 
Was it not last session proposed to make a Court of Appellate 
Jurisdiction by appointing four peers with salaries of 7000 
each ? And has there not been brought forward this ses 
sion, even quite early, a Government-measure for prevent 
ing the conflict of Law and Equity, and for facilitating ap 
peals ? " 

" Thanks in advance for the improvement. When I have 
failed to ruin myself by a first suit, it w r ill be a consolation to 
think that I can complete my ruin by a second with less delay 
than heretofore. Meanwhile, instead of facilitating appeals, 
which you seem to tbink of primary importance, I should be 
obliged if you would diminish the occasion for appeals, by 
making your laws such as it is possible for me to know, or at 
any rate, such as it is possible for your judges to know ; and I 
should be further obliged if you would give me easier reme 
dies against aggressions, instead of remedies so costly, so de 
ceptive, so dangerous, that I prefer suffering the aggressions 
in silence. Daily I experience the futility of your system. I 
start on a journey expecting that in conformity with the ad 
vertised times, I shall just be able to reach a certain distant 
town before night ; but the train being an hour late at one of 
the junctions, I am defeated am put to the cost of a night 
spent on the way and lose half the next day. I paid for a 
first-class seat that I might have space, comfort, and unobjec 
tionable fellow-travellers; but, stopping at a town where a 
fair is going on, the guard, on the plea that the third-class 
carriages are full, thrusts into the compartment more persons 
than there are places for, who, both by behaviour and odour, 
are repulsive. Thus in two ways I am defrauded. For part 
of the fraud I have no remedy ; and for the rest my remedy, 


doubtful at best, is practically unavailable. Is the reply that 
against the alleged breach of contract as to time, the com 
pany has guarded itself, or professes to have guarded itself, 
by disclaiming responsibility ? The allowing such a dis 
claimer is one of your countless negligences. You do not 
allow me to plead irresponsibility if I give the company bad 
money, or if, having bought a ticket for the second class, I 
travel in the first. On my side you regard the contract as 
quite definite ; but on the other side you practically allow the 
contract to remain undefined. And now see the general effects 
of your carelessness. Scarcely any trains keep their times ; 
and the result of chronic unpunctuality is a multiplication of 
accidents with increased loss of life." 

" How about laissez-faire ? I thought your notion was 
that the less Government meddled with these things the 
better ; and now you complain that the law does not secure 
your comfort in a railway-carriage and see that you are de 
livered at your journey s end in due time. I suppose you ap 
proved of the proposal made in the House last session, that 
companies should be compelled to give foot-warmers to sec 
ond-class passengers." 

" Really you amaze me. I should have thought that not 
even ordinary intelligence, much less select legislative intelli 
gence, would have fallen into such a confusion. I am not 
blaming you for failing to secure me comfort or punctuality. 
I am blaming you for failing to enforce contracts. Just as 
strongly as I protest against your neglect in letting a com 
pany take my money and then not give me all I paid for ; so 
strongly should I protest did you dictate how much conven 
ience should be given me for so much money. Surely I need 
not remind you that your civil law in general proceeds on the 
principle that the goodness or badness of a bargain is the 
affair of those who make it, not your affair; but that it is 
your duty to enforce the bargain when made. Only in pro 
portion as this is done can men s lives in society be main 
tained. The condition to all life, human or other, is that 
effort put forth shall bring the means of repairing the parts 
wasted by effort shall bring, too, more or less of surplus. A 
creature that continuously expends energy without return in 
nutriment dies; and a creature is indirectly killed by any- 


thing which, after energies have been expended, habitually 
intercepts the return. This holds of associated human beings 
as of all other beings. In a society, most citizens do not ob 
tain sustenance directly by the powers they exert, but do it 
indirectly : each gives the produce of his powers exerted in 
his special way, in exchange for the produce of other men s 
powers exerted in other ways. The condition under which 
only this obtaining of sustenance to replace the matter wasted 
by effort, can be carried on in society, is fulfilment of con 
tract. Non-fulfilment of contract is letting energy be ex 
pended in expectation of a return, and then withholding the 
return. Maintenance of contract, therefore, is maintenance 
of the fundamental principle of all life, under the form given 
to it by social arrangements. I blame you because you do not 
maintain this fundamental principle ; and, as a consequence, 
allow life to be impeded and sacrificed in countless indirect 
ways. You are, I admit, solicitous about my life as endan 
gered by my own acts. Though you very inadequately guard 
me against injuries from others, you seem particularly anx 
ious that I shall not injure myself. Emulating Sir Peter 
Laurie, who made himself famous by threatening to put 
down suicide, you do what you can to prevent me from risk 
ing my limbs. Your great care of me is shown, for instance, 
by enforcing a bye-law which forbids me to leave a railway- 
train in motion ; and if I jump out, I find that whether I hurt 
myself or not, you decide to hurt me by a fine. 11 Not only 
do you thus punish me when I run the risk of punishing my 
self ; but your amiable anxiety for my welfare shows itself in 
taking money out of my pocket to provide me with various 
conveniences baths and wash-houses, for example, and free 
access to books. Out of my pocket, did I say ? Not always. 
Sometimes out of the pockets of those least able to afford it ; 
as when, from poor authors who lose by their works, you de 
mand gratis copies for your public libraries, that I and others 
may read them for nothing Dives robbing Lazarus that he 
may give alms to the well-clad ! But these many things you 
offer are things I do not ask ; and you will not effectually 
provide the one thing I do ask. I do not want you to ascer 
tain for me the nature of the Sun s corona, or to find a north 
west passage, or to explore the bottom of the sea ; but I do 


want you to insure me against aggression, by making the 
punishment of aggressors, civil as well as criminal, swift, cer 
tain, and not ruinous to complainants. Instead of doing this, 
you persist in doing other things. Instead of securing me the 
bread due to my efforts, you give me a stone a sculptured 
block from Ephesus. I am quite content to enjoy only what 
I get by my own exertions, and to have only that information 
and those pleasures for which I pay. I am quite content to 
suffer the evils brought on me by my own defects believing, 
indeed, that for me and for all there is no other wholesome 
discipline. But you fail to do what is needed. You are 
careless about guaranteeing me the unhindered enjoyment 
of the benefits my efforts have purchased ; and you insist on 
giving me, at other people s expense, benefits my efforts 
have not purchased, and on saving me from penalties I de 

u You are unreasonable. We are doing our best with the 
enormous mass of business brought before us : sitting on com 
mittees, reading evidence and reports, debating till one or two 
in the morning. Session after session we work hard at all 
kinds of measures for the public welfare devising plans for 
educating the people; enacting better arrangements for the 
health of towns ; making inquiries into the impurity of rivers ; 
deliberating on plans to diminish drunkenness; prescribing 
modes of building houses that they may not fall ; deputing 
commissioners to facilitate emigration ; and so on. You can 
go to no place that does not show signs of our activity. Here 
are public gardens formed by our local lieutenants, the mu 
nicipal bodies ; here are lighthouses we have put up to prevent 
shipwrecks. Everywhere we have appointed inspectors to see 
that salubrity is maintained ; everywhere there are vaccinators 
to see that due precautions against small-pox are observed ; 
and if, happening to be in a district where our arrangements 
are in force, your desires are not well controlled, we do our 
best to insure you a healthy "- 

" Yes, I know what you would say. It is all of a piece 
with the rest of your policy. While you fail to protect me 
against others, you insist on protecting me against myself. 
And your failure to do the essential thing, results from the 
absorption of your time in doing non-essential things. Do 


you think that your beneficences make up for the injustices 
you let me bear ? I do not want these sops and gratuities ; 
but I do want security against trespasses, direct and indirect 
security that is real and not nominal. See the predica 
ment in which I am placed. You forbid me (quite rightly 
I admit) to administer justice on my own behalf ; and you 
profess to administer it for me. I may not take summary 
measures to resist encroachment, to reclaim my own, or to 
seize that which I bargained to have for my services : you tell 
me that I must demand your aid to enforce my claim. But 
demanding your aid commonly brings such frightful evils 
that I prefer to bear the wrong done me. So that, practically, 
having forbidden me to defend myself, you fail to defend me. 
By this my life is vitiated, along with the lives of citizens in 
general. All transactions are impeded ; time and labour are 
lost ; the prices of commodities are raised. Honest men are 
defrauded, while rogues thrive. Debtors outwit their cred 
itors ; bankrupts make purses by their failures and recom 
mence on larger scales ; and financial frauds that ruin their 
thousands go unpunished." 

Thus far our impatient friend. And now see how unten 
able is his position. He actually supposes that it is possible 
to get government conducted on rational principles ! His 
tacit assumption is that out of a community morally imper 
fect and intellectually imperfect, there may in some w T ay be 
had legislative regulation that is not proportionately imper 
fect ! He is under a delusion. Not by any kind of govern 
ment, established after any method, can the thing be done. A 
good and wise autocrat cannot be chosen or otherwise ob 
tained by a people not good and wise. Goodness and wisdom 
will not characterize the successive families of an oligarchy, 
arising out of a bad and foolish people, any more than they 
will characterize a line of kings. Nor w T ill any system of rep 
resentation, limited or universal, direct or indirect, do more 
than represent the average nature of citizens. To dissipate his 
notion that truly-rational government can be provided for 
themselves by a people not truly rational, he needs but to 
read election-speeches and observe how votes are gained by 
clap-trap appeals to senseless prejudices and by fostering 
hopes of impossible benefits, while votes are lost by candid 


statements of stern truths and endeavours to dissipate ground 
less expectations. Let him watch the process, and he will 
see that when the fermenting mass of political passions and 
beliefs is put into the electoral still, there distils over not the 
wisdom alone but the folly also sometimes in the larger 
proportion. Nay, if he watches closely, he may suspect that 
not only is the corporate conscience lower than the average 
individual conscience, but the corporate intelligence too. The 
minority of the wise in a constituency is liable to be wholly 
submerged by the majority of the foolish : often foolishness 
alone gets represented. In the representative assembly, again, 
the many mediocrities practically rule the few superiorities : 
the superior are obliged to express those views only which the 
rest can understand, and must keep to themselves their best 
and farthest-reaching thoughts as thoughts that would have 
no weight. He needs but remember that abstract principles 
are pooh-poohed in the House of Commons, to see at once 
that while the unwisdom expresses itself abundantly, what of 
highest wisdom there may be has to keep silence. And if he 
asks an illustration of the way in which the intelligence of 
the body of members brings out a result lower than would 
the intelligence of the average member, he may see one in 
those muddlings of provisions and confusions of language in 
Acts of Parliament, which have lately been calling forth pro 
tests from the judges. 

Thus the assumption that it is possible for a nation to get, 
in the shape of law, something like embodied reason, when it 
is not itself pervaded by a correlative reasonableness, is im 
probable a priori and disproved a posteriori. The belief 
that truly-good legislation and administration can go along 
with a humanity not truly good, is a chronic delusion. While 
our own form of government, giving means for expressing 
and enforcing claims, is the best form yet evolved for pre 
venting aggressions of class upon class, and of individuals on 
one another ; yet it is hopeless to expect from it, any more 
than from other forms of government, a capacity and a recti 
tude greater than that of the society out of which it grows. 
And criticisms like the foregoing, which imply that its short 
comings can be set right by expostulating with existing gov 
erning agents or by appointing others, imply that subtlest 


kind of political bias which is apt to remain when the stronger 
kinds have been got rid of. 

Second only to the class-bias, we may say that the political 
bias most seriously distorts sociological conceptions. That 
this is so with the bias of political party, everyone sees in 
some measure, though not in full measure. It is manifest to 
the Radical that the prejudice of the Tory blinds him to a 
present evil or to a future good. It is manifest to the Tory 
that the Radical does not see the benefit there is in that which 
he wishes to destroy, and fails to recognize the mischiefs likely 
to be done by the institution he would establish. But neither 
imagines that the other is no less needful than himself. The 
Radical, with his impracticable ideal, is unaware that his en 
thusiasm will serve only to advance things a little, but not at 
all as he expects ; and he will not admit that the obstructive- 
iiess of the Tory is a wholesome check. The Tory, doggedly 
resisting, cannot perceive that the established order is but 
relatively good, and that his defence of it is simply a means of 
preventing premature change ; while he fails to recognize in 
the bitter antagonism and sanguine hopes of the Radical, the 
agencies without which there could be no progress. Thus 
neither fully understands his own function or the function of 
his opponent ; and by as much as he falls short of understand 
ing it, he is disabled from understanding social phenomena. 

The more general kinds of political bias distort men s socio 
logical conceptions in other ways, but quite as seriously. There 
is this perennial delusion, common to Radical and Tory, that 
legislation is omnipotent, and that things will get done because 
laws are passed to do them ; there is this confidence in one or 
other form of government, due to the belief that a government 
once established will retain its form and work as was intended ; 
there is this hope that by some means the collective wisdom 
can be separated from the collective folly, and set over it in 
such way as to guide things aright ; all of them implying 
that general political bias which inevitably coexists with sub 
ordination to political agencies. The effect on sociological 
speculation is to maintain the conception of a society as some 
thing manufactured by statesmen, and to turn the mind from 
the phenomena of social evolution. While the regulating 


agency occupies the thoughts, scarcely any attention is given 
to those astounding processes and results due to the energies 
regulated. The genesis of the vast producing, exchanging, 
and distributing agencies, which has gone on spontaneously, 
often hindered, and at best only restrained, by governments, 
is passed over with unobservant eyes. And thus, by continu 
ally contemplating the power which keeps in order, and con 
templating rarely, if at all, the activities kept in order, there 
is produced an extremely one-sided theory of Society. 

Clearly, it is with this kind of bias as it is with the kinds 
of bias previously considered the degree of it bears a certain 
necessary relation to the temporary phase of progress. It can 
diminish only as fast as Society advances. A well-balanced 
social self-consciousness, like a well-balanced individual self- 
consciousness, is the accompaniment of a high evolution. 



" WHAT a log for hell-fire ! " exclaimed a Wahhabee, on 
seeing a corpulent Hindu. This illustration, startling by its 
strength of expression, which Mr. Gifford Palgrave gives * of 
the belief possessing these Mahommedan fanatics, prepares us 
for their general mode of thinking about God and man. Here 
is a sample of it : 

" When Abd-el-Lateef, a Wahhabee, was preaching one day to the 
people of Iliad, he recounted the tradition according to which Mahomet 
declared that his followers should divide into seventy-three sects, and 
that seventy-two were destined to hell-fire, and one only to Paradise. 
And what, messenger of God, are the signs of that happy sect to 
which is ensured the exclusive possession of Paradise ? Whereto Ma 
homet had replied, It is those who shall be in all conformable to my 
self and to my companions. And that, added Abd-el-Lateef, low 
ering his voice to the deep tone of conviction, that, by the mercy of 
God, are we, the people of Riad. " 2 

For present purposes we are not so much concerned to ob 
serve the parallelism between this conception and the concep 
tions that have been, and are, current among sects of Chris 
tians, as to observe the effects produced by such conceptions 
on men s views of those who have alien beliefs, and on their 
views of alien societies. What extreme misinterpretations of 
social facts result from the theological bias, may be seen still 
better in a case even more remarkable. 

By Turner, by Erskiiie, and by the members of the United 
States Exploring Expedition, the characters of the Samoans 
are, as compared with the characters of the uncivilized gener 
ally, very favourably described. Though, in common with 
savages at large, they are said to be " indolent, covetous, fickle, 


and deceitful," yet they are also said to be " kind, good-hu 
moured, . . . desirous of pleasing 1 , and very hospitable. Both 
sexes show great regard and love for their children ; " and age 
is much respected. " A man cannot bear to be called stingy 
or disobliging." The women "are remarkably domestic and 
virtuous." Infanticide after birth is unknown in Samoa. 
" The treatment of the sick was . . . invariably humane and 
all that could be expected." Observe, now, what is said 

of their cannibal neighbours, the Fijians. They are indiffer 
ent to human life ; they live in perpetual dread of one an 
other ; and, according to Jackson, treachery is considered by 
them an accomplishment. " Shedding of blood is to him [the 
Fijian] no crime but a glory." They kill the decrepit, maimed, 
and sick. While, on the one hand, infanticide covers nearer 
two-thirds than one-half of the births, 011 the other hand, " one 
of the first lessons taught the infant is to strike its mother : " 
anger and revenge are fostered. Inferiors are killed for neg 
lecting proper salutes ; slaves are buried alive with the posts 
on which a king s house stands; arid ten or more men are 
slaughtered on the decks of a newly-launched canoe, to bap 
tize it with their blood. A chief s wives, courtiers, and aides- 
de-camp, are strangled at his death being thereby honoured. 
Cannibalism is so rampant that a chief, praising his deceased 
son, ended his eulogy by saying that he would " kill his own 
wives if they offended him, and eat them afterwards." Vic 
tims were sometimes roasted alive before being devoured ; and 
Tanoa, one of their chiefs, cut off a cousin s arm, drank the 
blood, cooked the arm and ate it in presence of the owner, who 
was then cut to pieces. Their gods, described as having like 
characters, commit like acts. They live on the souls of those 
who are devoured by men, having first " roasted " them (the 
"souls" being simply material duplicates). They "are proud 
and revengeful, and make war, and kill and eat each other ; " 
and among the names of honour given to them are " the adul 
terer," "the woman-stealer," "the brain-eater," "the mur 
derer." Such being the account of the Samoans, and such 
the account of the Fijians, let us ask what the Fijians think 
of the Samoans. " The Feegeeans looked upon the Samoans 
with horror, because they had no religion, no belief in any 
such deities [as the Feegeean], nor any of the sanguinary rites 


which prevailed in other islands ; " a statement quite in har 
mony with that made by Jackson, who, having- behaved dis 
respectfully to one of their gods, was angrily called by them 
" the white infidel." 

Any one may read while running the lesson conveyed ; 
and, without stopping to consider much, may see its applica 
tion to the beliefs and sentiments of civilized races. The fero 
cious Fijian doubtless thinks that to devour a human victim 
in the name of one of his cannibal gods, is a meritorious act ; 
while he thinks that his Samoaii neighbour, who makes no 
sacrifice to these cannibal gods, but is just and kind to his fel 
lows, thereby shows that meanness goes along with his shock 
ing irreligioii. Construing the facts in this way, the Fijian 
can form no rational conception of Samoan society. With 
vices and virtues interchanged in conformity with his creed, 
the benefits of certain social arrangements, if he thinks about 
them at all, must seem evils and the evils benefits. 

Speaking generally, then, each system of dogmatic the 
ology, with the sentiments that gather round it, becomes an 
impediment in the way of Social Science. The sympathies 
drawn out towards one creed and the correlative antipathies 
aroused by other creeds, distort the interpretations of all the 
associated facts. On these institutions and their results the 
eyes are turned with a readiness to observe everything that is 
good, and on those with a readiness to observe everything that 
is bad. Let us glance at some of the consequent perversions 
of opinion. 

Already we have seen, by implication, that the theological 
element of a creed, subordinating the ethical element com 
pletely in early stages of civilization and very considerably in 
later stages, maintains a standard of right and wrong, rela 
tively good perhaps, but perhaps absolutely bad good, that is, 
as measured by the requirements of the place and time, bad 
as measured by the requirements of an ideal society. And 
sanctifying, as an associated theology thus does, false concep 
tions of right and wrong, it falsifies the measures by which 
the effects of institutions are to be estimated. Obviously, the 
sociological conclusions must be vitiated if beneficial and det 
rimental effects are not respectively recognized as such. An 


illustration enforcing this is worth giving. Here is Mr. Pal- 
grave s account of Wahhabee morality, as disclosed in answers 
to his questions : 

" The first of the great sins is the giving divine honours to a 

" Of course, I replied, the enormity of such a sin is beyond all 
doubt. But if this be the first, there must be a second ; what is it ? 

" Drinking the shameful, in English, smoking tobacco, was the 
unhesitating answer. 

" And murder, and adultery, and false witness? I suggested. 

" God is merciful and forgiving, rejoined my friend; that is, 
these are merely little sins. 

" Hence two sins alone are great, polytheism and smoking, I con 
tinued, though hai dly able to keep countenance any longer. And 
Abd-el-Kareem, with the. most serious asseveration, replied that such 
was really the case." 4 

Clearly a creed which makes smoking one of the blackest 
crimes, and has only mild reprobation for the worst acts com 
mitted by man against man, negatives anything like Social 
Science. Deeds and habits and laws not being judged by the 
degrees in which they conduce to temporal welfare, the ideas 
of better and worse, as applying to social arrangements, cannot 
exist, and such notions as progress and retrogression are ex 
cluded. But that which holds so conspicuously in this case 
holds more or less in all cases. At the present time as in past 
times, and in our own society as in other societies, public acts 
are judged by two tests the test of supposed divine appro 
bation, and the test of conduciveness to human happiness. 
Though, as civilization advances, there grows up the belief 
that the second test is equivalent to the first though, conse 
quently, conduciveness to human happiness comes to be more 
directly considered ; yet the test of supposed divine approba 
tion, as inferred from the particular creed held, continues to 
be very generally used. The wrongness of conduct is con 
ceived as consisting in the implied disobedience to the sup 
posed commands, and not as consisting in its intrinsic character 
as causing suffering to others or to self. Inevitably the effect 
on sociological thinking is, that institutions and actions are 
judged more by their apparent congruity or incongruity with 
the established cult, than by their tendencies to further or to 
hinder well-being. 


This effect of the theological bias, manifest enough every 
where, lias been forced on my attention by one whose mental 
attitude often supplies me with matter for speculation an old 
gentleman who unites the religion of amity and the religion 
of enmity in startling contrast. On the one hand, getting up 
early to his devotions, going to church even at great risk to 
his feeble health, always staying for the sacrament when there 
is one, he displays what is ordinarily regarded as an exem 
plary piety. On the other hand, his thoughts ever tend in the 
direction of warfare : fights on sea and land furnish topics of 
undying interest to him ; he revels in narratives of destruc 
tion ; his talk is of cannon. To say that he divides his reading 
between the Bible and Alison, or some kindred book, is an ex 
aggeration ; but still it serves to convey an idea of his state of 
feeling. Now you may hear him waxing wroth over the dis 
establishment of the Irish Church, which he looks upon as an 
act of sacrilege ; and now, when the conversation turns on 
works of art, he names as engravings which above all others 
he admires, Creur-de-Lion fighting Salndin, and Wellington 
at Waterloo. Or after manifesting some kindly feeling, which, 
to give him his clue, he frequently does, he will shortly pass 
to some bloody encounter, the narration of which makes his 
voice tremulous with delight. Marvelling though I did at 
first over these incongruities of sentiment and belief, the ex 
planation was reached on observing that the subordination- 
element of his creed was far more dominant in his conscious 
ness than the moral element. Watching the movements of 
his mind made it clear that to his imagination, God was sym 
bolized as a kind of transcendently -powerful sea-captain, and 
made it clear that he went to church from a feeling akin to 
that with which, as a middy, he went to muster. On perceiv 
ing that this, which is the sentiment common to all religions, 
whatever be the name or ascribed nature of the deity wor 
shipped, was supreme in him, it ceased to be inexplicable that 
the sentiment to which the Christian religion specially ap 
peals should be so readily over-ridden. It became easier to 
understand how, when the Hyde-Park riots took place, he 
could wish that we had Louis Napoleon over here to shoot 
down the mob, and how he could recall, with more or less of 
chuckling, the deeds of press-gangs in his early days. 


That the theological bias, thus producing conformity to 
moral principles from motives of obedience only, and not 
habitually insisting on such principles because of their in 
trinsic value, obscures sociological truths, will now not be 
difficult to see. The tendency is to substitute formal recog 
nitions of such principles for real recognitions. So long as 
they are not contravened directly enough to suggest dis 
obedience, they may readily be contravened indirectly ; for 
the reason that there has not been cultivated the habit of 
contemplating consequences as they work out in remote 
ways. Hence it happens that social arrangements essen 
tially at variance with the ethics of the creed, give no offence 
to those who are profoundly offended by whatever seems at 
variance with its theology. Maintenance of the dogmas and 
forms of the religion becomes the primary, all-essential thing ; 
and the secondary thing, often sacrificed, is the securing of 
those relations among men which the spirit of the religion re 
quires. How conceptions of good and bad in social affairs are 
thus warped, the pending controversy about the Athanasian 
creed shows us. Here we have theologians who believe that 
our national welfare will be endangered, if there is not in all 
churches an enforced repetition of the dogmas that Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost, are each of them almighty; that yet 
there are not three Almighties, but one Almighty ; that one of 
the Almighties suffered on the cross and descended into hell 
to pacify another of them ; and that whoever does not believe 
this, " without doubt shall perish everlastingly." They say 
that if the State makes its priests threaten with eternal tor 
ments all who question these doctrines, things will go well ; 
but if those priests who, in this threat, perceive the devil- 
worship of the savage usurping the name of Christianity, are 
allowed to pass it by in silence, woe to the nation ! Evidently 
the theological bias leading to such a conviction entirely ex 
cludes Sociology, considered as a science. 

Under its special forms, as well as under its general form, 
the theological bias brings errors into the estimates men make 
of societies and institutions. Sectarian antipathies, growing 
out of differences of doctrine, disable the members of each 
religious community from fairly judging other religious com- 


munities. It is always difficult, and often impossible, for the 
zealot to conceive that his own religious system and his own 
zeal on its behalf may have but a relative truth and a relative 
value ; or to conceive that there may be relative truths and 
relative values in alien beliefs and the fanaticisms which 
maintain them. Though the adherent of each creed daily has 
thrust on his attention the fact that adherents of other creeds 
are no less confident than he is though he can scarcely fail 
sometimes to reflect that these adherents of other creeds have, 
in nearly all cases, simply accepted the dogmas current in the 
places and families they were born in, and that he has done 
the like ; yet the special theological bias which his education 
and surroundings have given him, makes it almost beyond 
imagination that these other creeds may, some of them, have 
justifications as good as, if not better than, his own, and that 
the rest, along with certain amounts of absolute worth, may 
have their special fitnesses to the people holding them. 

We cannot doubt, for instance, that the feeling with which 
Mr. Whalley or Mr. Newdegate regards Roman Catholicism, 
must cause extreme reluctance to admit the services which 
Roman Catholicism rendered to European civilization in the 
past ; and must make almost impossible a patient hearing of 
anyone who thinks that it renders some services now. Whether 
great benefit did not arise in early times from the tendency 
towards unification produced within each congeries of small 
societies by a common creed authoritatively imposed ? 
whether papal power supposed to be divinely deputed, and 
therefore tending to subordinate the political authorities dur 
ing turbulent feudal ages, did not serve to curb warfare and 
further civilization ? whether the strong tendency shown by 
early Christianity to lapse into separate local paganisms, was 
not beneficially checked by an ecclesiastical system having a 
single head supposed to be infallible ? whether morals were 
not improved, manners softened, slavery ameliorated, and the 
condition of women raised, by the influence of the Church, 
notwithstanding all its superstitions and bigotries ? are 
questions to which Dr. Camming, or other vehement op 
ponent of popery, could not bring a mind open to con 
viction. Similarly, from the Roman Catholic the 
meaning and worth of Protestantism are hidden. To the 


Ultramontane, holding that the temporal welfare no less than 
the eternal salvation of men depends on submission to the 
Church, it is incredible that Church-authority has but a tran 
sitory value, and that the denials of authority which have 
come along with accumulation of knowledge and change of 
sentiment, mark steps from a lower social regime to a higher. 
Naturally, the sincere Papist thinks schism a crime ; and books 
that throw doubt on the established beliefs seem to him ac 
cursed. Nor need we wonder when from such a one there 
comes a saying like that of the Mayor of Bordeaux, so much 
applauded by the Comte de Chambord, that " the Devil was 
the first Protestant ; " or when, along with this, there goes a 
vilification of Protestants too repulsive to be repeated. Clear 
ly, with such a theological bias, fostering such ideas respect 
ing Protestant morality, there must be extremely-false esti" 
mates of Protestant institutions, and of all the institutions 
associated with them. 

In less striking ways, but still in ways sufficiently marked, 
the special theological bias warps the judgments of Conform 
ists and Nonconformists among ourselves. A fair estimate of 
the advantages which our State-Church has yielded, is not to 
be expected from the zealous dissenter : he sees only the dis 
advantages. Whether voluntaryism could have done cen 
turies ago all that it can do now ? whether a State-sup 
ported Protestantism was not once the best thing practicable ? 
are questions which he is unlikely to discuss without preju 
dice. Contrariwise, the churchman is reluctant to be 
lieve that the union of Church and State is beneficial only 
during a certain phase of progress. He knows that within 
the Establishment divisions are daily increasing, while volun 
tary agency is doing daily a larger share of the work origi 
nally undertaken by the State ; but he does not like to think 
that there is a kinship between such facts and the fact that 
outside the Establishment the power of Dissent is growing. 
That these changes are parts of a general change by which 
the political and religious agencies, which have been differ 
entiating from the beginning, are being separated and special 
ized, is not an acceptable idea. He is averse to the conception 
that just as Protestantism at large was a rebellion against an 
Ecclesiasticism which dominated over Europe, so Dissent 


among ourselves is a rebellion against an Ecclesiasticism 
which dominates over England ; and that the two are but 
successive stages of the same beneficial development. That 
is to say, his bias prevents him from contemplating the facts 
in a way favourable to scientific interpretations of them. 

Everywhere, indeed, the special theological bias accom 
panying a special set of doctrines, inevitably pre-judges many 
sociological questions. One who holds a creed as absolutely true, 
and who by implication holds the multitudinous other creeds 
to be absolutely false in so far as they differ from his own, 
cannot entertain the supposition that the value of a creed is 
relative. That a particular religious system is, in a general 
sense, a natural part of the particular society in which it is 
found, is an entirely-alien conception ; and, indeed, a repug 
nant one. His system of dogmatic theology he thinks good 
for all places and all times. He does not doubt that when 
planted among a horde of savages, it will be duly understood 
by them, duly appreciated by them, and work on them results 
such as those he experiences from it. Thus prepossessed, he 
passes over the proofs found everywhere, that a people is no 
more capable of suddenly receiving a higher form of religion 
than it is capable of suddenly receiving a higher form of gov 
ernment ; and that inevitably with such religion, as with such 
government, there will go on a degradation which presently 
reduces it to one differing but nominally from its predecessor. 
In other words, his special theological bias blinds him to an 
important class of sociological truths. 

The effects of the theological bias need no further elucida 
tion. We will turn our attention to the distortions of judg 
ment caused by the anti-theological bias. Not only the actions 
of religious dogmas, but also the reactions against them, are 
disturbing influences we have to beware of. Let us glance 
first at an instance of that indignation against the established 
creed, which all display more or less when they emancipate 
themselves from it. 

" A Nepaul king, Rum Bahadur, whose beautiful queen, finding 
that her lovely face had been disfigured by small-pox, poisoned her 
self, cursed his kingdom, her doctors, and the gods of Nepaul, vow 
ing vengeance on all. Having ordered the doctors to be flogged, and 


the right ear and nose of each to be cut off, he then wreaked his 
vengeance on the gods of Nepaul, and after abusing them in the most 
gross way, he accused them of having obtained from him twelve 
thousand goats, some hundred-weights of sweetmeats, two thousand 
gallons of milk. &c., under false pretences. . . . He then ordered 
all the artillery, varying from three to twelve-pounders, to be brought 
in front of the palace. ... All the guns were then loaded to the 
muzzle, and down he marched to the head-quarters of the Nepaul 
deities. . . . All the guns were drawn up in front of the several 
deities, honouring the most sacred with the heaviest metal. When 
the order to fire was given, many of the chiefs and soldiers ran away 
panic-stricken, and others hesitated to obey the sacrilegious order ; 
and not until several gunners had been cut down, were the guns 
opened. Down came the gods and goddesses from their hitherto sacred 
positions; and after six hours heavy cannonading not a vestige of the 
deities remained." B 

This, which is one of the most remarkable pieces of icono- 
clasm on record, exhibits in an extreme form the reactive an 
tagonism usually accompanying abandonment of an old 
belief an antagonism that is high in proportion as the pre 
vious submission has been profound. By stabling their horses 
in cathedrals and treating the sacred places and symbols with 
intentional insult, the Puritans displayed this feeling in a 
marked manner ; as again did the French revolutionists by 
pulling down sacristies and altar-tables, tearing mass-books 
into cartridge-papers, drinking brandy out of chalices, eating 
mackerel off pateiias, making mock ecclesiastical processions, 
and holding drunken revels in churches. Though in our day 
the breaking of bonds less rigid effected by struggles less vio 
lent, is followed by a less excessive opposition and hatred ; 
yet, habitually, the thro wing-off of the old form involves a 
replacing of the previous sympathy by more or less of antip 
athy : perversion of judgment caused by the antipathy taking 
the place of that caused by the sympathy. What before was 
reverenced as wholly true is now scorned as wholly false ; 
and what was treasured as invaluable is now rejected as 

In some, this state of sentiment and belief continues. In 
others, the reaction is in course of time followed by a re-action. 
To carry out the Carlylean figure, the old clothes which had 
been outgrown and were finally torn off and thrown aside 


with contempt, come presently to be looked back upon with 
more calmness, and with recognition of the fact that they did 
good service in their time nay, perhaps with the doubt 
whether they were not thrown off too soon. This re-action 
may be feeble or may be strong ; but only when it takes place 
in due amount is there a possibility of balanced judgments 
either on religious questions or on those questions of Social 
Science into which the religious element enters. 

Here we have to glance at the sociological errors caused 
by the anti-theological bias among those in whom it does not 
become qualified. Thinking only of what is erroneous in the 
rejected creed, they ignore the truth for which it stands ; con 
templating only its mischiefs they overlook its benefits ; and 
doing this, they think that nothing but good would result 
from its general abandonment. Let us observe the tacit as 
sumptions made in drawing this conclusion. 

It is assumed, in the first place, that adequate guidance for 
conduct in life, private and public, could be had ; and that a 
moral code, rationally elaborated by men as they now are, 
would be duly operative upon them. Neither of these propo 
sitions commends itself when we examine the evidence. We 
have but to observe human action as it meets us at every 
turn, to see that the average intelligence, incapable of guiding 
conduct even in simple matters, where but a very moderate 
reach of reason would suffice, must fail in apprehending with 
due clearness the natural sanctions of ethical principles. The 
unthinking ineptitude with which even the routine of life is 
carried on by the mass of men, shows clearly that they have 
nothing like the insight required for self-guidance in the ab 
sence of an authoritative code of conduct. Take a day s ex 
perience, and observe the lack of thought indicated from hour 
to hour. 

You rise in the morning, and, while dressing, take up a 
phial containing a tonic, of which a little has been prescribed 
for you; but after the first few drops have been counted, 
succeeding drops run down the side of the phial, for the rea 
son that the lip is shaped without regard to the require 
ment. Yet millions of such phials are annually made by 
glass-makers, and sent out by thousands of druggists: so 


small being the amount of sense brought to bear on busi 
ness. Now, turning to the looking-glass, you find that, if not 
of the best make, it fails to preserve the attitude in which you 
put it ; or, if what is called a " box " looking-glass, you see that 
maintenance of its position is insured by an expensive appli 
ance which would have been superfluous had a little reason 
been used. Were the adjustment such that the centre of grav 
ity of the glass came in the line joining the points of support 
(which would be quite as easy an adjustment), the glass would 
remain steady in whatever attitude you gave it. Yet, year 
after year, tens of thousands of looking-glasses are made with 
out regard to so simple a need. Presently you go down to 
breakfast, and taking some Harvey or other sauce with your 
fish, find the bottle has a defect like that which you found in 
the phial : it is sticky from the drops which trickle down, and 
occasionally stain the table-cloth. Here are other groups of 
traders similarly so economical of thought, that they do noth 
ing to rectify this obvious inconvenience. Having break 
fasted, you take up the paper, and, before sitting down, wish 
to put some coal on the fire. But the lump you seize with the 
tongs slips out of them, and, if large, you make several at 
tempts before you succeed in lifting it : all because the ends 
of the tongs are smooth. Makers and venders of fire-irons go 
on, generation after generation, without meeting this evil by 
simply giving to these smooth ends some projecting points, or 
even roughening them by a few burrs made with a chisel. 
Having at length grasped the lump and put it on the fire, you 
begin to read ; but before getting through the first column you 
are reminded, by the changes of position which your sensa 
tions prompt, that men still fail to make easy-chairs. And 
yet the guiding principle is simple enough. Just that advan 
tage secured by using a soft seat in place of a hard one the 
advantage, namely, of spreading over a larger area the pres 
sure of the weight to be borne, and so making the pressure less 
intense at any one point is an advantage to be sought in the 
form of the chair. Ease is to be gained by making the shapes 
and relative inclinations of seat and back, such as will evenly 
distribute the weight of the trunk and limbs over the widest- 
possible supporting surface, and with the least. straining of the 
parts out of their natural attitudes. And yet only now, after 


these thousands of years of civilization, are there being 
reached (and that not rationally but empirically) approxima 
tions to the structure required. 

Such are the experiences of the first hour ; and so they con 
tinue all the day through. If you watch and criticize, you 
may see that the immense majority bring to bear, even on 
those actions which it is the business of their lives to carry on 
effectually, an extremely-small amount of faculty. Employ 
a workman to do something that is partly new, and not the 
clearest explanations and sketches will prevent him from 
blundering ; and to any expression of surprise, he will reply 
that he was not brought up to such work : scarcely ever be 
traying the slightest shame in confessing that he cannot do a 
thing he was not taught to do. Similarly throughout the 
higher grades of activity. Remember how generally improve 
ments in manufactures come from outsiders, and you are at 
once shown with what mere unintelligent routine manufactures 
are commonly carried on. Examine into the management of 
mercantile concerns, and you perceive that those engaged in 
them mostly do nothing more than move in the ruts that have 
gradually been made for them by the process of trial and 
error during a long succession of generations. Indeed, it 
almost seems as though most men made it their aim to 
get through life with the least possible expenditure of 

How, then, can there be looked for such power of self- 
guidance as, in the absence of inherited authoritative rules, 
would require them to understand why, in the nature of 
things, these modes of action are injurious and those modes 
beneficial would require them to pass beyond proximate re 
sults, and see clearly the involved remote results, as worked 
out on self, on others, and on society ? 

The incapacity need not, indeed, be inferred : it may be 
seen, if we do but take an action concerning which the sancti 
fied code is silent. Listen to a conversation about gambling ; 
and, where reprobation is expressed, note the grounds of the 
reprobation. That it tends towards the ruin of the gambler ; 
that it risks the welfare of family and friends ; that it alienates 
from business, and leads into bad company these, and such 
as these, are the reasons given for condemning the practice. 


Rarely is there any recognition of the fundamental reason. 
Rarely is gambling condemned because it is a kind of action 
by which pleasure is obtained at the cost of pain to another. 
The normal obtaiiiment of gratification, or of the money 
which purchases gratification, implies, firstly, that there has 
been put forth equivalent effort of a kind which, in some way, 
furthers the general good; and implies, secondly, that those 
from whom money is received, get, directly or indirectly, 
equivalent satisfactions. But in gambling the opposite hap 
pens. Benefit received does not imply effort put forth ; and 
the happiness of the winner involves the misery of the loser. 
This kind of action is therefore essentially anti-social sears 
the sympathies, cultivates a hard egoism, and so produces a 
general deterioration of character and conduct. 

Clearly, then, a visionary hope misleads those who think 
that in an imagined age of reason, which might forthwith re 
place an age of beliefs but partly rational, conduct would be cor 
rectly guided by a code directly based on considerations of util 
ity. A utilitarian system of ethics cannot at present be rightly 
thought out even by the select few, and is quite beyond the men 
tal reach of the many. The value of the inherited and theolog 
ically-enforced code is that it formulates, with some approach 
to truth, the accumulated results of past human experience. 
It has not arisen rationally but empirically. During past 
times mankind have eventually gone right after trying all 
possible ways of going wrong. The wrong-goings have been 
habitually checked by disaster, and pain, and death ; and the 
right-goings have been continued because not thus checked. 
There has been a growth of beliefs corresponding to these 
good and evil results. Hence the code of conduct, embodying 
discoveries slowly and almost unconsciously made through a 
long series of generations, has transcendent authority on its 

Nor is this all. Were it possible forthwith to replace a 
traditionally-established system of rules, supposed to be super- 
naturally warranted, by a system of rules rationally elabo 
rated, no such rationally-elaborated system of rules would be 
adequately operative. To think that it would, implies the 
thought that men s beliefs and actions are throughout deter- 


mined by intellect ; whereas they are in much larger degrees 
determined by feeling. 

There is a wide difference between the formal assent given 
to a proposition that cannot be denied, and the efficient belief 
which produces active conformity to it. Often the most con 
clusive argument fails to produce a conviction capable of 
swaying conduct ; and often mere assertion, with great em 
phasis and signs of confidence on the part of the utterer, will 
produce a fixed conviction where there is no evidence, and 
even in spite of adverse evidence. Especially is this so among 
those of little culture. Not only may we see that strength of 
affirmation and an authoritative manner create faith in them ; 
but we may see that their faith sometimes actually decreases 
if explanation is given. The natural language of belief dis 
played by another, is that which generates their belief not 
the logically-conclusive evidence. The dependencies of this 
they cannot clearly follow ; and in trying to follow, they so 
far lose themselves that premisses and conclusion, not per 
ceived to stand in necessary relation, are rendered less coher 
ent than by putting them in juxtaposition and strengthening 
their connexion by a wave of the emotion which emphatic 
affirmation raises. 

Nay, it is even true that the most cultivated intelligences, 
capable of criticizing evidence and valuing arguments to a 
nicety, are not thereby made rational to the extent that they 
are guided by intellect apart from emotion. Continually men 
of the widest knowledge deliberately do things they know to 
be injurious ; suffer the evils that transgression brings ; are 
deterred awhile by the vivid remembrance of them ; and, 
when the remembrance has become faint, transgress again. 
Often the emotional consciousness over-rides the intellectual 
consciousness absolutely, as hypochondriacal patients show 
us. A sufferer from depressed spirits may have the testimony 
of his physicians, verified by numerous past experiences of his 
own, showing that his gloomy anticipations are illusions 
caused by his bodily state ; and yet the conclusive proofs that 
they are irrational do not enable him to get rid of them : he 
continues to feel sure that disasters are coming on him. 

All which, and many kindred facts, make it certain that 
the operativeness of a moral code depends much more on the 


emotions called forth by its injunctions, than on the con 
sciousness of the utility of obeying such injunctions. The 
feelings drawn out during early life towards moral principles, 
by witnessing the social sanction and the religious sanction 
they possess, influence conduct far more than the perception 
that conformity to such principles conduces to welfare. And 
in the absence of the feelings which manifestations of these 
sanctions arouse, the utilitarian belief is commonly inade 
quate to produce conformity. 

It is true that the sentiments in the higher races, and espe 
cially in superior members of the higher races, are now in 
considerable degrees adjusted to these principles : the sympa 
thies that have become organic in the most developed men, 
produce spontaneous conformity to altruistic precepts. Even 
for such, however, the social sanction, which is in part de 
rived from the religious sanction, is important as strengthen 
ing the influence of these precepts. And for persons endowed 
with less of moral sentiment, the social and religious sanctions 
are still more important aids to guidance. 

Thus the anti-theological bias leads to serious errors, both 
when it ignores the essential share hitherto taken by religious 
systems in giving force to certain principles of action, in part 
absolutely good and in part good relatively to the needs of 
the time, and again when it prompts the notion that these 
principles might now be so established on rational bases as to 
rule men effectually through their enlightened intellects. 

These errors, however, which the anti-theological bias pro 
duces, are superficial compared with the error that remains. 
The antagonism to superstitious beliefs habitually leads to 
entire rejection of them. They are thrown aside with the as 
sumption that along with so much that is wrong there is 
nothing right. Whereas the truth, recognizable only after 
antagonism has spent itself, is that the wrong beliefs rejected 
are superficial, and that a right belief hidden by them remains 
when they have been rejected. Those who defend, equally 
with those who assail, religious creeds, suppose that every 
thing turns on the maintenance of the particular dogmas at 
issue ; whereas the dogmas are but temporary forms of that 
which is permanent. 


The process of Evolution which has gradually modified 
and advanced men s conceptions of the Universe, will con 
tinue to modify and advance them during the future. The 
ideas of Cause and Origin, which have been slowly changing, 
will change still further. But no changes in them, even when 
pushed to the extreme, will expel them from consciousness ; 
and hence there can never be an extinction of the correlative 
sentiments. No more in this than in other things, will Evo 
lution alter its general direction : it will continue along the 
same lines as hitherto. And if we wish to see whither it 
tends, we have but to observe how there has been thus far a 
decreasing coiicreteness of the consciousness to which the re 
ligious sentiment is related, to infer that hereafter this coii 
creteness will further diminish : leaving behind a substance 
of consciousness for which there is 110 adequate form, but 
which is none the less persistent and powerful. 

Without seeming so, the development of religious senti 
ment has been continuous from the beginning ; and its nature 
when a germ was the same as is its nature when fully devel 
oped. The savage first shows it in the feeling excited by a 
display of power in another exceeding his own power some 
skill, some sagacity, in his chief, leading to a result he does 
not understand something which has the element of mystery 
and arouses his wonder. To his unspeculative intellect there 
is nothing wonderful in the ordinary course of things around. 
The regular sequences, the constant relations, do not present 
themselves to him as problems needing interpretation. Only 
anomalies in that course of causation which he knows most 
intimately, namely, human will and power, excite his surprise 
and raise questions. And only when experiences of phenom 
ena of other classes become multiplied enough for generaliza 
tion, does the occurrence of anomalies among these also, 
arouse the same idea of mystery and the same sentiment of 
wonder : hence one kind of fetichism. Passing over in 

termediate stages, the truth to be noted is, that as fast as ex 
planation of the anomalies dissipates the wonder they excited, 
there grows up a wonder at the uniformities : there arises the 
question How come they to be uniformities ? As fast as 
Science transfers more and more things from the category of 
irregularities to the category of regularities, the mystery that 


once attached to the superstitious explanations of them be 
comes a mystery attaching to the scientific explanations of 
them : there is a merging of many special mysteries in one 
general mystery. The astronomer, having shown that the 
motions of the Solar System imply a uniform and invariably- 
acting force he calls gravitation, finds himself utterly incapa 
ble of conceiving this force. Though he helps himself to 
think of the Sun s action on the Earth by assuming an inter 
vening medium, and finds he must do this if he thinks about 
it at all ; yet the mystery re-appears when he asks what is the 
constitution of this medium. While compelled to use units 
of ether as symbols, he sees that they can be but symbols. 
Similarly with the physicist and the chemist. The hypothesis 
of atoms and molecules enables them to work out multitudi 
nous interpretations that are verified by experiment ; but the 
ultimate unit of matter admits of no consistent conception. 
Instead of the particular mysteries presented by those actions 
of matter they have explained, there rises into prominence 
the mystery which matter universally presents, and which 
proves to be absolute. So that, beginning with the germinal 
idea of mystery which the savage gets from a display of 
power in another transcending his own, and the germinal 
sentiment of awe accompanying it, the progress is towards an 
ultimate recognition of a mystery behind every act and ap 
pearance, and a transfer of the awe from something special 
and occasional to something universal and unceasing. 

No one need expect, then, that the religious consciousness 
will die away or will change the lines of its evolution. Its 
specialities of form, once strongly marked and becoming less 
distinct during past mental progress, will continue to fade ; 
but the substance of the consciousness will persist. That the 
object-matter can be replaced by another object-matter, as 
supposed by those who think the " Religion of Humanity " 
will be the religion of the future, is a belief countenanced 
neither by induction nor by deduction. However dominant 
may become the moral sentiment enlisted on behalf of Hu 
manity, it can never exclude the sentiment, alone properly 
called religious, awakened by that which is behind Humanity 
and behind all other things. The child by wrapping its head 
in the bed-clothes, may, for a moment, suppress the conscious- 


ness of surrounding darkness ; but the consciousness, though 
rendered less vivid, survives, and imagination persists in 
occupying itself with that which lies beyond perception. No 
such thing as a " Religion of Humanity " can ever do more 
than temporarily shut out the thought of a Power of which 
Humanity is but a small and fugitive product a Power 
which was in course of ever-changing manifestations before 
Humanity was, and will continue through other manifesta 
tions when Humanity has ceased to be. 

To recognitions of this order the anti-theological bias is a 
hindrance. Ignoring the truth for. which religions stand, it 
under-values religious institutions in the past, thinks they are 
needless in the present, and expects they will leave no repre 
sentatives in the future. Hence mistakes in sociological 

To the various other forms of bias, then, against which we 
must guard in studying the Social Science, has to be added the 
bias, perhaps as powerful and perverting as any, which relig 
ious beliefs and sentiments produce. This, both generally 
under the form of theological bigotry, and specially under 
the form of sectarian bigotry, affects the judgments about 
public affairs ; and reaction against it gives the judgments an 
opposite warp. 

The theological bias under its general form, tending to 
maintain a dominance of the subordination-element of re 
ligion over its ethical element tending, therefore, to measure 
actions by their formal congruity with a creed rather than by 
their intrinsic congruity with human welfare, is unfavourable 
to that estimation of worth in social arrangements which is 
made by tracing out results. And while the general theo 
logical bias brings into Sociology an element of distortion, by 
using a kind of measure foreign to the science properly so 
called, the special theological bias brings in further distor 
tions, arising from special measures of this kind which it uses. 
Institutions, old and new, home and foreign, are considered as 
congruous or incongruous with particular sets of dogmas, 
and are liked or disliked accordingly : the obvious result 
being that, since the sets of dogmas differ in all times and 
places, the sociological judgments affected by them must 


inevitably be wrong in all cases but one, and probably in all 

On the other hand, the reactive bias distorts conceptions of 
social phenomena by under-valuing religious systems. It 
generates an. unwillingness to see that a religious system is a 
normal and essential factor in every evolving society ; that the 
specialities of it have certain fitnesses to the social conditions ; 
and that while its form is temporary its subsistence is perma 
nent. In so far as the anti-theological bias causes an ignoring 
of these truths, or an inadequate appreciation of them, it causes 

To maintain the required equilibrium amid the conflicting 
sympathies and antipathies which contemplation of religious 
beliefs inevitably generates, is difficult. In presence of the 
theological thaw going on so fast on all sides, there is 011 the 
part of many a fear, and on the part of some a hope, that 
nothing will remain. But the hopes and the fears are alike 
groundless ; and must be dissipated before balanced judg 
ments in Social Science can be formed. Like the transfor 
mations that have succeeded one another hitherto, the trans 
formation now in progress is but an advance from a lower 
form, no longer fit, to a higher and fitter form ; and neither 
will this transformation, nor kindred transformations to come 
hereafter, destroy that which is transformed, any more than 
past transformations have destroyed it. 



IN the foregoing eight chapters we have contemplated, 
under their several heads, those * Difficulties of the Social 
Science " which the chapter bearing that title indicated in a 
general way. After thus warning the student against the 
errors he is liable to fall into, partly because of the nature of 
the phenomena themselves and the conditions they are pre 
sented under, and partly because of his own nature as observer 
of them, which by both its original and its acquired charac 
ters causes twists of perception and judgment ; it now remains 
to say something about the needful preliminary studies. I do 
not refer to studies furnishing the requisite data ; but I refer 
to studies giving the requisite discipline. Right thinking in 
any matter depends very much on the habit of thought ; and 
the habit of thought, partly natural, depends in part on the 
artificial influences to which the mind has been subjected. 

As certainly as each person has peculiarities of bodily 
action that distinguish him from his fellows, so certainly has 
he peculiarities of mental action that give a character to his 
conceptions. There are tricks of thought as well as tricks of 
muscular movement. There are acquired mental aptitudes for 
seeing things under particular aspects, as there are acquired 
bodily aptitudes for going through evolutions after particular 
ways. And there are intellectual perversities produced by 
certain modes of treating the mind, as there are incurable 
awkwardnesses due to certain physical activities daily re 

Each kind of mental discipline, besides its direct effects on 
the faculties brought into play, has its indirect effects on the 
faculties left out of play ; and when special benefit is gained 


by extreme special discipline, there is inevitably more or less 
general mischief entailed on the rest of the mind by the con 
sequent want of discipline. That antagonism between body 
and brain which we see in those who, pushing brain-activity 
to an extreme, enfeeble their bodies, and those who, pushing 
bodily activity to an extreme, make their brains inert, is an 
antagonism which holds between the parts of the body itself 
and the parts of the brain itself. The greater bulk and strength 
of the right arm resulting from its greater use, and the greater 
aptitude of the right hand, are instances in point ; and that 
the relative incapacity of the left hand, involved by cultivat 
ing the capacity of the right hand, would become still more 
marked were the right hand to undertake all manipulation, is 
obvious. The like holds among the mental faculties. The 
fundamental antagonism between feeling and cognition, run 
ning down through all actions of the mind, from the conflicts 
between emotion and reason to the conflicts between sensa 
tion and perception, is the largest illustration. We meet with 
a kindred antagonism among the actions of the intellect itself, 
between perceiving and reasoning. Men who have aptitudes 
for accumulating observations are rarely men given to gen 
eralizing; while men given to generalizing are commonly 
men who, mostly using the observations of others, observe for 
themselves less from love of particular facts than from desire 
to put such facts to use. We may trace the antagonism within 
even a narrower range, between general reasoning and special 
reasoning. One prone to far-reaching speculations rarely pur 
sues to much purpose those investigations by which particular 
truths are reached; while the scientific specialist ordinarily 
has but little tendency to occupy himself with wide views. 

No more is needed to make it clear that habits of thought 
result from particular kinds of mental activity ; and that each 
man s habits of thought influence his judgment on any ques 
tion brought before him. It will be obvious, too, that in pro 
portion as the question is involved and many-sided, the habit 
of thought must be a more important factor in determining 
the conclusion arrived at. Where the subject-matter is sim 
ple, as a geometrical truth or a mechanical action, and has 
therefore not many different aspects, perversions of view con 
sequent on intellectual attitude are comparatively few; but 


where the subject-matter is complex and heterogeneous, and 
admits of being mentally seen in countless different ways, 
the intellectual attitude affects very greatly the form of the 

A fit habit of thought, then, is all-important in the study 
of Sociology ; and a fit habit of thought can be acquired only 
by study of the Sciences at large. For Sociology is a science 
in which the phenomena of all other sciences are included. 
It presents those necessities of relation with which the Ab 
stract Sciences deal ; it presents those connexions of cause 
and effect which the Abstract-Concrete Sciences familiarize 
the student with ; and it presents that concurrence of many 
causes and production of contingent results, which the Con 
crete Sciences show us, but which we are shown especially by 
the organic sciences. Hence, to acquire the habit of thought 
conducive to right thinking in Sociology, the mind must be 
familiarized with the fundamental ideas which each class of 
sciences brings into view ; and must not be possessed by those 
of any one class, or any two classes, of sciences. 

That this may be better seen, let me briefly indicate the 
indispensable discipline which each class of sciences gives to 
the intellect ; and also the wrong intellectual habits produced 
if that class of sciences is studied exclusively. 

Entire absence of training in the Abstract Sciences, leaves 
the mind without due sense of necessity of relation. Watch 
the mental movements of the wholly-ignorant, before whom 
there have been brought not even those exact and fixed con 
nexions which Arithmetic exhibits, and it will be seen that 
they have nothing like irresistible convictions that from 
given data there is an inevitable inference. That which to 
you has the aspect of a certainty, seems to them not free from 
doubt. Even men whose educations have made numerical 
processes and results tolerably familiar, will show in a case 
where the implication is logical only, that they have not ab 
solute confidence in the dependence of conclusion on premisses. 

Unshakeable beliefs in necessities of relation, are to be 
gained only by studying the Abstract Sciences, Logic and 
Mathematics. Dealing with necessities of relation of the sim 
plest class, Logic is of some service to this end ; though often 


of less service than it might be, for the reason that the sym 
bols used are not translated into thoughts, and hence the con 
nexions stated are not really represented. Only when, for a 
logical implication expressed in the abstract, there is sub 
stituted an example so far concrete that the inter-dependencies 
can be contemplated, is there an exercise of the mental power 
by which logical necessity is grasped. Of the discipline given 
by Mathematics, also, it is to be remarked that the habit of 
dealing with necessities of numerical relation, though in a 
degree useful for cultivating the consciousness of necessity, is 
not in a high degree useful ; because, in the immense majority 
of cases, the mind, occupied with the symbols used, and not 
passing beyond them to the groups of units they stand for, 
does not really figure to itself the relations expressed does 
not really discern their necessities ; and has not therefore the 
conception of necessity perpetually repeated. It is the more 
special division of Mathematics, dealing with Space-relations, 
which above all other studies yields necessary ideas ; and so 
makes strong and definite the consciousness of necessity in 
general. A geometrical demonstration time after time pre 
sents premisses and conclusion in such wise that the relation 
alleged is seen in thought cannot be passed over by mere 
symbolization. Each step exhibits some connexion of posi 
tions or quantities as one that could not be otherwise ; and 
hence the habit of taking such steps makes the consciousness 
of such connexions familiar and vivid. 

But while mathematical discipline, and especially disci 
pline in Geometry, is extremely useful, if not indispensable, as 
a means of preparing the mind to recognize throughout Nature 
the absoluteness of uniformities ; it is, if exclusively or too- 
habitually pursued, apt to produce perversions of general 
thought. Inevitably it establishes a special bent of mind; 
and inevitably this special bent affects all the intellectual 
actions causes a tendency to look in a mathematical way at 
matters beyond the range of Mathematics. The mathemati 
cian is ever dealing with phenomena of which the elements 
are relatively few and definite. His most involved problem 
is immeasurably less involved than are the problems of the 
Concrete Sciences. But, when considering these, he cannot 
help thinking after his habitual way : in dealing with ques- 


tions which the Concrete Sciences present, he recognizes some 
few only of the factors, tacitly ascribes to these a definiteness 
which they have not, and proceeds after the mathematical 
manner to draw positive conclusions from these data, as 
though they were specific and adequate. 

Hence the truth, so often illustrated, that mathematicians 
are bad reasoners on contingent matters. To older illustra 
tions may he added the recent one yielded by M. Michel 
Chasles, who proved himself incapable as a judge of evidence 
in the matter of the Newton-Pascal forgeries. Another was 
supplied by the late Professor De Morgan, who, bringing his 
mental eye to bear with microscopic power on some small part 
of a question, ignored its main features. 

By cultivation of the Abstract-Concrete Sciences, there is 
produced a further habit of thought, not otherwise produced, 
which is essential to right thinking in general ; and, by im 
plication, to right thinking in Sociology. Familiarity with 
the various orders of physical and chemical phenomena, gives 
distinctness and strength to the consciousness of cause and 

Experiences of things around do, indeed, yield conceptions 
of special forces and of force in general. The uncultured get 
from these experiences, degrees of faith in causation such that 
where they see some striking effect they usually assume an 
adequate cause, and where a cause of given amount is mani 
fest, a proportionate effect is looked for. Especially is this so 
where the actions are simple mechanical actions. Still, these 
impressions which daily life furnishes, if unaided by those de 
rived from physical science, leave the mind with but vague 
ideas of causal relations. It needs but to remember the readi 
ness with which people accept the alleged facts of the Spiritu 
alists, many of which imply a direct negation of the mechan 
ical axiom that action and reaction are equal and opposite, to 
see how much the ordinary thoughts of causation lack quan- 
titativeness lack the idea of proportion between amount of 
force expended and amount of change wrought. Very gen 
erally, too, the ordinary thoughts of causation are not even 
qualitatively valid : the most absurd notions as to what cause 
will produce what effect are frequently disclosed. Take, for 


instance, the popular belief that a goat kept in a stable will 
preserve the health of the horses ; and note how this belief, 
accepted on the authority of grooms and coachmen, is repeated 
by their educated employers as I lately heard it repeated by 
an American general, and agreed in by two retired English 
officials. Clearly, the readiness to admit, on such evidence, 
that such a cause can produce such an effect, implies a con 
sciousness of causation which, even qualitatively considered, 
is of the crudest kind. And such a consciousness is, indeed, 
everywhere betrayed by the superstitions traceable among all 

Hence we must infer that the uncompared and unanalyzed 
observations men make in the course of their dealings with 
things around, do not suffice to give them wholly-rational 
ideas of the process of things. It requires that physical actions 
shall be critically examined, the factors and results measured, 
and different cases contrasted, before there can be reached 
clear ideas of necessary causal dependence. And thus to in 
vestigate physical actions is the business of the Abstract-Con 
crete Sciences. Every experiment which the physicist or the 
chemist makes, brings afresh before his consciousness the 
truth, given countless times in his previous experiences, that 
from certain antecedents of particular kinds there will inevi 
tably follow a particular kind of consequent ; and that from 
certain amounts of the antecedents, the amount of the conse 
quent will be inevitably so much. The habit of thought gen 
erated by these hourly-repeated experiences, always the same, 
always exact, is one which makes it impossible to think of any 
effect as arising without a cause, or any cause as expended 
without an effect ; and one which makes it impossible to think 
of an effect out of proportion to its cause, or a cause out of 
proportion to its effect. 

While, however, study of the Abstract-Concrete Sciences 
carried 011 experimentally, gives clearness and strength to the 
consciousness of causation, taken alone it is inadequate as a 
discipline ; and if pursued exclusively, it generates a habit of 
thought which betrays into erroneous conclusions when higher 
orders of phenomena are dealt with. The process of physical 
inquiry is essentially analytical ; and the daily pursuit of this 
process generates two tendencies the tendency to contemplate 


singly those factors which it is the aim to disentangle and 
identify and measure ; and the tendency to rest in the results 
reached, as though they were the final results to be sought. 
The chemist, by saturating, neutralizing, decomposing, pre 
cipitating, and at last separating, is enabled to measure what 
quantity of this element had been held in combination by a 
given quantity of that ; and when, by some alternative course 
of analysis, he has verified the result, his inquiry is in so far 
concluded : as are kindred inquiries respecting other affinities 
of the element, when these are qualitatively and quantitatively 
determined. Plis habit is to get rid of, or neglect as much as 
possible, the concomitant disturbing factors, that he may ascer 
tain the nature and amount of some one, and then of some 
other; and his end is achieved when accounts have been 
given of all the factors, individually considered. So is it, too, 
with the physicist. Say the problem is the propagation of 
sound through air, and the interpretation of its velocity say, 
that the velocity as calculated by Newton is found less by one- 
sixth than observation gives : and that Laplace sets himself to 
explain the anomaly. He recognizes the evolution of heat by 
the compression which each sound-wave produces in the air ; 
finds the extra velocity consequent on this ; adds this to the 
velocity previously calculated ; finds the result answer to the 
observed fact; and then, having resolved the phenomenon 
into its components and measured them, considers his task 
concluded. So throughout : the habit is that of identifying, 
parting, and estimating factors; and stopping after having 
done this completely. 

This habit, carried into the interpretation of things at large, 
affects it somewhat as the mathematical habit affects it. It 
tends towards the formation of unduly-simple and unduly- 
definite conceptions ; and it encourages the natural propensity 
to be content with proximate results. The daily practice of 
dealing with single factors of phenomena, and with factors 
complicated by but few others, and with factors ideally sepa 
rated from their combinations, inevitably gives to the thoughts 
about surrounding things an analytic rather than a synthetic 
character. It promotes the contemplation of simple causes 
apart from the entangled plexus of co-operating causes which 
all the higher natural phenomena show us ; and begets a ten- 


dency to suppose that when the results of such simple causes 
have been exactly determined, nothing remains to be asked. 

Physical science, then, though indispensable as a means of 
developing the consciousness of causation in its simple definite 
forms, and thus preparing the mind for dealing with complex 
causation, is not sufficient of itself to make complex causation 
truly comprehensible. In illustration of its inadequacy, I 
might name a distinguished mathematician and physicist 
whose achievements place him in the first rank, but who, 
nevertheless, when entering on questions of concrete science, 
where the data are no longer few and exact, has repeatedly 
shown defective judgment. Choosing premisses which, to say 
the least, were gratuitous and in some cases improbable, he has 
proceeded by exact methods to draw definite conclusions ; and 
has then enunciated those conclusions as though they had a 
certainty proportionate to the exactness of his methods. 

The kind of discipline which affords the needful corrective, 
is the discipline which the Concrete Sciences give. Study of 
the forms of phenomena, as in Logic and Mathematics, is 
needful but by 110 means sufficient. Study of the factors of 
phenomena, as in Mechanics, Physics, Chemistry, is also 
essential, but not enough by itself, or enough even joined 
with study of the forms. Study of the products themselves, 
in their totalities, is no less necessary. Exclusive attention to 
forms and factors not only fails to give right conceptions of 
products, but even tends to make the conceptions of products 
wrong. The analytical habit of mind has to be supplemented 
by the synthetical habit of mind. Seen in its proper place, 
analysis has for its chief function to prepare the way for syn 
thesis : and to keep a due mental balance, there must be not 
only a recognition of the truth that synthesis is the end to 
which analysis is the means, but there must also be a practice 
of synthesis along with a practice of analysis. 

All the Concrete Sciences familiarize the mind with certain 
cardinal conceptions which the Abstract and Abstract-Con 
crete Sciences do not yield the conceptions of continuity, 
complexity, and contingency. The simplest of the Concrete 
Sciences, Astronomy and Geology, yield the idea of continuity 
with great distinctness. I do not mean continuity of existence 


merely ; I mean continuity of causation : the unceasing pro 
duction of effect the never-ending work of every force. On 
the mind of the astronomer there is vividly impressed the idea 
that any one planet which has been drawn out of its course 
by another planet, or by a combination of others, will through 
all future time follow a route different from that it would 
have followed but for the perturbation ; and he recognizes its 
reaction upon the perturbing planet or planets, as similarly 
having effects which, while ever being complicated and ever 
slowly diffused, will never be lost during the immeasurable 
periods to come. So, too, the geologist sees in each change 
wrought on the Earth s crust, by igneous or aqueous action, a 
new factor that goes on perpetually modifying all subsequent 
changes. An upheaved portion of sea-bottom alters the courses 
of ocean-currents, modifies the climates of adjacent lands, af 
fects their rain- falls and prevailing winds, their denudations 
and the deposits round their coasts, their floras and faunas ; 
and these effects severally become causes that act unceasingly 
in ever-multiplying ways. Always there is traceable the per 
sistent working of each force, and the progressive complica 
tion of the results through succeeding geologic epochs. 

These conceptions, not yielded at all by the Abstract and 
Abstract-Concrete Sciences, and yielded by the inorganic Con 
crete Sciences in ways which, though unquestionable, do not 
arrest attention, are yielded in clear and striking ways by the 
organic Concrete Sciences the sciences that deal with living 
things. Every organism, if we read the lesson it gives, shows 
us continuity of causation and complexity of causation. The 
ordinary facts of inheritance illustrate continuity of causa 
tion very conspicuously where varieties so distinct as negro 
and white are united, and where traces of the negro come out 
generation after generation ; and still better among domestic 
animals, where traits of remote ancestry show the persistent 
working of causes which date far back. Organic phenomena 
make us familiar with complexity of causation, both by show 
ing the co-operation of many antecedents to each consequent, 
and by showing the multiplicity of results which each in 
fluence works out. If we observe how a given weight of a 
given drug produces on no two persons exactly like effects, 
and produces even on the same person different effects in dif- 


ferent constitutional states ; we see at once how involved is 
the combination of factors by which the changes in an organ 
ism are brought about, and how extremely contingent, there 
fore, is each particular change. And we need but watch what 
happens after an injury, say of the foot, to perceive how, if 
permanent, it alters the gait, alters the adjustment and bend 
of the body, alters the movements of the arms, alters the fea 
tures into some contracted form accompanying pain or incon 
venience. Indeed, through the re-adjustments, muscular, 
nervous, and visceral, which it entails, this local damage acts 
and re-acts on function and structure throughout the whole 
body : producing effects which, as they diffuse, complicate in 

While, in multitudinous ways, the Science of Life thrusts 
on the attention of the student the cardinal notions of con 
tinuity, and complexity, and contingency, of causation, it in 
troduces him to a further conception of moment, which the 
inorganic Concrete Sciences do not furnish the conception 
of what we may call fructifying causation. For as it is a 
distinction between living and not-living bodies that the first 
propagate while the second do not ; it is also a distinction be 
tween them that certain actions which go on in the first are 
cumulative, instead of being, as in the second, dissipative. 
Not only do organisms as wholes reproduce, and so from small 
beginnings reach, by multiplication, great results ; but com 
ponents of them, normal and morbid, do the like. Thus a 
minute portion of a virus introduced into an organism, does 
not work an effect proportionate to its amount, as would an 
inorganic agent on an inorganic mass ; but by appropriating 
materials from the blood of the organism, and thus immensely 
increasing, it works effects altogether out of proportion to its 
amount as originally introduced effects which may continue 
with accumulating power throughout the remaining life of 
the organism. It is so with internally-evolved agencies as 
well as with externally-invading agencies. A portion of 
germinal matter, itself microscopic, may convey from a parent 
some constitutional peculiarity that is infinitesimal in relation 
even to its minute bulk ; and from this there may arise, fifty 
years afterwards, gout or insanity in the resulting man : after 
this great lapse of time, slowly increasing actions and prod- 


ucts show themselves in large derangements of function and 
structure. And this is a trait characteristic of organic phenom 
ena. While from the destructive changes going on through 
out the tissues of living bodies, there is a continual production 
of effects which lose themselves by subdivision, as do the 
eifects of inorganic forces ; there arise from those constructive 
changes going on in them, by which living bodies are distin 
guished from not-living bodies, certain classes of effects which 
increase as they diffuse go on augmenting in volume as well 
as in variety. 

Thus, as a discipline, study of the Science of Life is essen 
tial ; partly as familiarizing the mind with the cardinal ideas 
of continuity, complexity, and contingency, of causation, in 
clearer and more various ways than do the other Concrete 
Sciences, and partly as familiarizing the mind with the cardi 
nal idea of fructifying causation, which the other Concrete 
Sciences do not present at all. Not that, pursued exclusively, 
the Organic Sciences will yield these conceptions in clear 
forms : there requires a familiarity with the Abstract-Concrete 
Sciences to give the requisite grasp of simple causation. 
Studied by themselves, the Organic Sciences tend rather to 
make the ideas of causation cloudy ; for the reason that the 
entanglement of the factors and the contingency of the results 
is so great, that definite relations of antecedents and conse 
quents cannot be established: the two are not presented in 
such connexions as to make the conception of causal action, 
qualitative and quantitative, sufficiently distinct. There re 
quires, first, the discipline yielded by Physics and Chemistry, 
to make definite the^deas of forces and actions as necessarily 
related in their kinds and amounts ; and then the study of or 
ganic phenomena may be carried on with a clear conscious 
ness that while the processes of causation are so involved as 
often to be inexplicable, yet there is causation, no less neces 
sary and no less exact than causation of simpler kinds. 

And now to apply these considerations on mental discipline 
to our immediate topic. For the effectual study of Sociology 
there needs a habit of thought generated by the studies of all 
these sciences not, of course, an exhaustive, or even a very 
extensive, study ; but such a study as shall give a grasp of 


the cardinal ideas they severally yield. For, as already said, 
social phenomena involve phenomena of every order. 

That there are necessities of relation such as those with 
which the Abstract Sciences deal, cannot be denied when it is 
seen that societies present facts of number and quantity. That 
the actions of men in society, in all their movements and pro 
ductive processes, must conform to the laws of the physical 
forces, is also indisputable. And that everything thought and 
felt and done in the course of social life, is thought and felt 
and done in harmony with the laws of individual life, is also 
a truth almost a truism, indeed ; though one of which few 
seem conscious. 

Scientific culture in general, then, is needful ; and above 
all, culture of the Science of Life. This is more especially 
requisite, however, because the conceptions of continuity, 
complexity, and contingency of causation, as well as the con 
ception of fructifying causation, are conceptions common to 
it and to the Science of Society. It affords a specially-fit dis 
cipline, for the reason that it alone among the sciences pro 
duces familiarity with these cardinal ideas presents the data 
for them in forms easily grasped, and so prepares the mind to 
recognize the data for them in the Social Science, where they 
are less easily grasped, though no less constantly presented. 

The supreme importance of this last kind of culture, how 
ever, is not to be adequately shown by this brief statement. 
For besides generating habits of thought appropriate to the 
study of the Social Science, it furnishes special conceptions 
which serve as keys to the Social Science. The Science of 
Life yields to the Science of Society, certain great generaliza 
tions without which there can be no Science of Society at all. 
Let us go on to observe the relations of the two. 



THE parable of the sower has its application to the progress 
of Science. Time after time new ideas are sown and do not 
germinate, or, having germinated, die for lack of fit environ 
ments, before they are at last sown under such conditions as 
to take root and flourish. Among other instances of this, one 
is supplied by the history of the truth here to be dwelt on 
the dependence of Sociology on Biology. Even limiting the 
search to our own society, we may trace back this idea nearly 
three centuries. In the first book of Hooker s Ecclesiastical 
Polity, it is enunciated as clearly as the state of knowledge in 
his age made possible more clearly, indeed, than was to be 
expected in an age when science arid scientific ways of think 
ing had advanced so little. Along with the general notion of 
natural law along, too, with the admission that human ac 
tions, resulting as they do from desires guided by knowledge, 
also in a sense conform to law ; there is a recognition of the 
fact that the formation of societies is determined by the at 
tributes of individuals, and that the growth of a govern 
mental organization follows from the natures of the men 
who have associated themselves the better to satisfy their 
needs. Entangled though this doctrine is with a theological 
doctrine, through the restraints of which it has to break, it is 
expressed with considerable clearness : there needs but better 
definition and further development to make it truly scientific. 

Among re-appearances of this thought in subsequent Eng 
lish writers, I will here name only one, which I happen to 
have observed in An Essay on the History of Civil Society, 
published a century ago by Dr. Adam Ferguson. In it the 
first part treats " of the General Characteristics of Human Na- 


ture." Section I., pointing out the universality of the grega 
rious tendency, the dependence of this on certain affections 
and antagonisms, and the influences of memory, foresight, 
language, and communicativeness, alleges that "these facts 
must be admitted as the foundation of all our reasoning rela 
tive to man." Though the way in which social phenomena 
arise out of the phenomena of individual human nature, is 
seen in but a general and vague way, yet it is seen there is a 
conception of causal relation. 

Before this conception could assume a definite form, it was 
necessary both that scientific knowledge should become more 
comprehensive and precise, and that the scientific spirit should 
be strengthened. To M. Comte, living when these conditions 
were fulfilled, is due the credit of having set forth with com 
parative defmiteness, the connexion between the Science of 
Life and the Science of Society. He saw clearly that the facts 
presented by masses of associated men, are facts of the same 
order as those presented by groups of gregarious creatures of 
inferior kinds ; and that in the one case, as in the other, the 
individuals must be studied before the assemblages can be 
understood. He therefore placed Biology before Sociology in 
his classification of the sciences. Biological preparation for 
sociological study, he regarded as needful not only because 
the phenomena of corporate life, arising out of the phenomena 
of individual life, can be rightly co-ordinated only after the 
phenomena of individual life have been rightly co-ordinated ; 
but also because the methods of inquiry which Biology uses, 
are methods to be used by Sociology. In various ways, which 
it would take too much space here to specify, he exhibits this 
dependence very satisfactorily. It may, indeed, be con 

tended that certain of his other beliefs prevented him from 
seeing all the implications of this dependence. When, for 
instance, he speaks of " the intellectual anarchy which is the 
main source of our moral anarchy " when he thus discloses 
the faith, pervading his Course of Positive Philosophy, that 
true theory would bring right practice ; it becomes clear that 
the relation between the attributes of citizens and the phe 
nomena of societies is incorrectly seen by him ; the relation is 
far too deep a one to be changed by mere change of ideas. 
Again, denying, as he did, the indefinite modifiability of spe- 


cies, he almost ignored one of the cardinal truths which Biol 
ogy yields to Sociology a truth without which sociological 
interpretations must go wrong. Though he admits a certain 
modifiability of Man, both emotional and intellectual, yet the 
dogma of the fixity of species, to which he adhered, kept his 
conceptions of individual and social change within limits 
much too specific. Hence arose, among other erroneous pre 
conceptions, this serious one, that the different forms of so 
ciety presented by savage and civilized races all over the 
globe, are but different stages in the evolution of one form : 
the truth being, rather, that social types, like types of indi 
vidual organisms, do not form a series, but are classifiable 
only in divergent and re-divergent groups. Nor did 

he arrive at that conception of the Social Science which alone 
fully affiliates it upon the simpler sciences the conception of 
it as an account of the most complex forms of that continu 
ous redistribution of matter and motion which is going on 
universally. Only when it is seen that the transformations 
passed through during the growth, maturity, and decay of a 
society, conform to the same principles as do the transforma 
tions passed through by aggregates of all orders, inorganic 
and organic only when it is seen that the process is in all 
cases similarly determined by forces, and is not scientifically 
interpreted until it is expressed in terms of those forces ; 
only then is there reached the conception of Sociology as a 
science, in the complete meaning of the word. 

Nevertheless, we must not overlook the greatness of the 
step made by M. Comte. His mode of contemplating the 
facts was truly philosophical. Containing, along with special 
views not to be admitted, many thoughts that are true as well 
as large and suggestive, the introductory chapters to his 
Sociology show a breadth and depth of conception beyond 
any previously reached. Apart from the tenability of his so 
ciological doctrines, his way of conceiving social phenomena 
was much superior to all previous ways : and among other 
of its superiorities, was this recognition of the dependence of 
Sociology on Biology. 

Here leaving the history of this idea, let us turn to the 
idea itself. There are two distinct and equally-important 
ways in which these sciences are connected. In the first 


place, all social actions being determined by the actions of 
individuals, and all actions of individuals being- vital actions 
that conform to the laws of life at large, a rational interpre 
tation of social actions implies knowledge of the laws of life. 
In the second place, a society as a whole, considered apart 
from its living units, presents phenomena of growth, struc 
ture, and function, like those of growth, structure, and func 
tion in an individual body ; and these last are needful keys to 
the first. We will begin with this analogical connexion. 

Figures of speech, which often mislead by conveying the 
notion of complete likeness where only slight similarity ex 
ists, occasionally mislead by making an actual correspondence 
seem a fancy. A metaphor, when used to express a real re 
semblance, raises a suspicion of mere imaginary resemblance ; 
and so obscures the perception of intrinsic kinship. It is thus 
with the phrases "body politic," "political organization," and 
others, which tacitly liken a society to a living creature : they 
are assumed to be phrases having a certain convenience but 
expressing no fact tending rather to foster a fiction. And 
yet metaphors are here more than metaphors in the ordinary 
sense. They are devices of speech hit upon to suggest a truth 
at first dimly perceived, but which grows clearer the more 
carefully the evidence is examined. That there is a real anal 
ogy between an individual organism and a social organism, 
becomes undeniable when certain necessities determining 
structure are seen to govern them in common. 

Mutual dependence of parts is that which initiates and 
guides organization of every kind. So long as, in a mass of 
living matter, all parts are alike, and all parts similarly live 
and grow without aid from one another, there is no organiza 
tion : the undifferentiated aggregate of protoplasm thus 
characterized, belongs to the lowest grade of living things. 
Without distinct faculties, and capable of but the feeblest 
movements, it cannot adjust itself to circumstances ; and is at 
the mercy of environing destructive actions. The changes by 
which this structureless mass becomes a structured mass, hav 
ing the characters and powers possessed by what we call an 
organism, are changes through which its parts lose their orig 
inal likenesses ; and do this while assuming the unlike kinds 


of activity for which their respective positions towards one 
another and surrounding things fit them. These differences 
of function, and consequent differences of structure, at first 
feebly marked, slight in degree, and few in kind, become, 
as organization progresses, definite and numerous; and 
in proportion as they do this the requirements are better 
met. Now structural traits expressible in the same 

language, distinguish lower and higher types of societies from 
one another; and distinguish the earlier stages of each so 
ciety from the later. Primitive tribes show no established 
contrasts of parts. At first all men carry on the same kind of 
activities, with no dependence on one another, or but occa 
sional dependence. There is not even a settled chieftainship ; 
and only in times of war is there a spontaneous and temporary 
subordination to those who show themselves the best leaders. 
From the small unformed social aggregates thus character 
ized, the progress is towards social aggregates of increased size, 
the parts of which acquire unlikenesses that become ever 
greater, more definite, and more multitudinous. The units of 
the society as it evolves, fall into different orders of activities, 
determined by differences in their local conditions or their 
individual powers ; and there slowly result permanent social 
structures, of which the primary ones become decided while 
they are being complicated by secondary ones, growing in 
their turns decided, and so on. 

Even were this all, the analogy would be suggestive ; but 
it is not all. These two metamorphoses have a cause in com 
mon. Beginning with an animal composed of like parts, 
severally living by and for themselves, on what condition 
only can there be established a change, such that one part 
comes to perform one kind of function, and another part 
another kind ? Evidently each part can abandon that orig 
inal state in which it fulfilled for itself all vital needs, and 
can assume a state in which it fulfils in excess some single 
vital need, only if its other vital needs are fulfilled for it by 
other parts that have meanwhile undertaken other special 
activities. One portion of a living aggregate cannot devote 
itself exclusively to the respiratory function, and cease to get 
nutriment for itself, unless other portions that have become 
exclusively occupied in absorbing nutriment, give it a due 


supply. That is to say, there must be exchange of services. 
Organization in an individual creature is made possible only by 
dependence of each part on all, and of all on each. Now 

this is obviously true also of social organization. A member 
of a primitive society cannot devote himself to an order of 
activity which satisfies one only of his personal wants, thus 
ceasing the activities required for satisfying his other personal 
wants, unless those for whose benefit he carries on his special 
activity in excess, give him in return the benefits of their 
special activities. If he makes weapons instead of continuing 
a hunter, he must be supplied with the produce of the chase 
on condition that the hunters are supplied with his weapons. 
If he becomes a cultivator of the soil, no longer defending 
himself, he must be defended by those who have become 
specialized defenders. That is to say, mutual dependence of 
parts is essential for the commencement and advance of social 
organization, as it is for the commencement and advance of 
individual organization. 

Even were there no more to be pointed out, it would be 
clear enough that we are not here dealing with a figurative 
resemblance, but with a fundamental parallelism in principles 
of structure. We have but begun to explore the analogy, 
however. The further we inquire, the closer we find it to be. 
For what, let us ask, is implied by mutual dependence by 
exchange of services ? There is implied some mode of com 
munication between mutually-dependent parts. Parts that 
perform functions for one another s benefit, must have appli 
ances for conveying to one another the products of their 
respective functions, or for giving to one another the benefits 
(when these are not material products) which their respective 
functions achieve. And obviously, in proportion as the 
organization becomes high, the appliances for carrying on 
the intercourse must become involved. This we find to hold 
in both cases. In the lowest types of individual organ 

isms, the exchange of services between the slightly-differen 
tiated parts is effected in a slow, vague way, by an irregular 
diffusion of the nutrient matters jointly elaborated, and by an 
irregular propagation of feeble stimuli, causing a rude co-ordi 
nation in the actions of the parts. It is thus, also, with small 
and simple social aggregates. No definite arrangements for 


interchanging services exist ; but only indefinite ones. Barter 
of products food, skins, weapons, or what not takes place 
irregularly between individual producers and consumers 
throughout the whole social body : there is no trading or dis 
tributing system, as, in the rudimentary animal, there is no 
vascular system. So, too, the social organism of low type, 
like the individual organism of low type, has no appli 
ances for combining the actions of its remoter parts. When 
co-operation of them against an enemy is called for, there 
is nothing but the spread of an alarm from man to man 
throughout the scattered population ; just as in an unde 
veloped kind of animal, there is merely a slow undirected 
diffusion of stimulus from one point to all others. In 

either case, the evohition of a larger, more complex, more 
active organism, implies an increasingly-efficient set of agen 
cies for conveying from part to part the material products of 
the respective parts, and an increasingly-efficient set of agen 
cies for making the parts co-operate, so that the times and 
amounts of their activities may be kept in fit relations. And 
this, the facts everywhere show us. In the individual organ 
ism as it advances to a high structure, no matter of what class, 
there arises an elaborate system of channels through which 
the common stock of nutritive matters (here added to by ab 
sorption, there changed by secretion, in this place purified by 
excretion, and in another modified by exchange of gases) is 
distributed throughout the body for the feeding of the various 
parts, severally occupied in their special actions ; while in the 
social organism as it advances to a high structure, no matter 
of what political type, there develops an extensive and com 
plicated trading organization for the distribution of commod 
ities, which, sending its heterogeneous currents through the 
kingdom by channels that end in retailers shops, brings 
within reach of each citizen the necessaries and luxuries that 
have been produced by others, while he has been producing 
his commodity or small part of a commodity, or performing 
some other function or small part of a function, beneficial to 
the rest. Similarly, development of the individual organism, 
be its class what it may, is always accompanied by develop 
ment of a nervous system which renders the combined actions 
of the parts prompt and duly proportioned, so making possible 


the adjustments required for meeting the varying contingen 
cies ; while, along with development of the social organism, 
there always goes development of directive centres, general 
and local, with established arrangements for inter-changing 
information and instigation, serving to adjust the rates and 
kinds of activities going on in different parts. 

Now if there exists this fundamental kinship, there can be 
no rational apprehension of the truths of Sociology until there 
has been reached a rational apprehension of the truths of Bi 
ology. The services of the two sciences are, indeed, recipro 
cal. We have but to glance back at its progress, to see that 
Biology owes the cardinal idea on which we have been dwell 
ing, to Sociology; and that having derived from Sociology 
this explanation of development, it gives it back to Sociology 
greatly increased in defiiiiteness, enriched by countless illus 
trations, and fit for extension in new directions. The lumi 
nous conception first set forth by one whom we may claim as 
our countryman by blood, though French by birth, M. Milne- 
Edwards the conception of "the physiological division of 
labour," obviously originates from the generalization pre 
viously reached in Political Economy. Recognition of the 
advantages gained by a society when different groups of its 
members devote themselves to different industries, for which 
they acquire special aptitudes and surround themselves with 
special facilities, led to recognition of the advantages which 
an individual organism gains when parts of it, originally 
alike and having like activities, divide these activities among 
them ; so that each taking a special kind of activity acquires 
a special fitness for it. But when carried from Soci 

ology to Biology, this conception was forthwith greatly ex 
panded. Instead of being limited to the functions included 
in nutrition, it was found applicable to all functions what 
ever. It turned out that the arrangements of the entire or 
ganism, and not of the viscera alone, conform to this funda 
mental principle even the differences arising among the 
limbs, originally alike, were seen to be interpretable by it. 
And then mark that the idea thus developed into an all-em 
bracing truth in Biology, returns to Sociology ready to be for 
it, too, an all-embracing truth. For it now becomes manifest 
that not to industrial arrangements only does the principle of 


the division of labour apply, but to social arrangements in 
general. The progress of organization, from that first step by 
which there arose a controlling chief, partially distinguished 
by his actions from those controlled, has been everywhere 
the same. Be it in the growth of a regulative class more or 
less marked off from classes regulated be it in the partings 
of this regulative class into political, ecclesiastical, etc. be it 
in those distinctions of duties within each class which are sig 
nified by gradations of rank ; we may trace everywhere that 
fundamental law shown us by industrial organization. And 
when we have once adequately grasped this truth which Bi 
ology borrows from Sociology and returns with vast interest, 
the aggregate of phenomena which a society at any moment 
presents, as well as the series of developmental changes through 
which it has risen to them, become suddenly illuminated, and 
the rationale comparatively clear. 

After a recognition of this fundamental kinship there can 
be no difficulty in seeing how important, as an introduction 
to the study of social life, is a familiarization with the truths 
of individual life. For individual life, while showing us this 
division of labour, this excbange of services, in many and 
varied ways, shows it in ways easily traced ; because the 
structures and functions are presented in directly-perceivable 
forms. And only when multitudinous biological examples 
have stamped on the mind the conception of a growing inter 
dependence that goes along with a growing specialization, and 
have thus induced a habit of thought, will its sociological 
applications be duly appreciated. 

Turn we now from the indirect influence which Biology 
exerts on Sociology, by supplying it with rational conceptions 
of social development and organization, to the direct influence 
it exerts by furnishing an adequate theory of the social unit 
Man. For while Biology is mediately connected with Soci 
ology by a certain parallelism between the groups of phenom 
ena they deal with, it is immediately connected with Soci 
ology by having within its limits this creature whose prop 
erties originate social evolution. The human being is at once 
the terminal problem of Biology and the initial factor of 


If Man were uniform and unchangeable, so that those 
attributes of him which lead to social phenomena could be 
learnt and dealt with as constant, it would not much concern 
the sociologist to make himself master of other biological 
truths than those cardinal ones above dwelt upon. But 
since, in common with every other creature, Man is modi 
fiable since his modifications, like those of every other 
creature, are ultimately determined by surrounding condi 
tions and since surrounding conditions are in part consti 
tuted by social arrangements ; it becomes requisite that the 
sociologist should acquaint himself with the laws of modifica 
tion to which organized beings in general conform. Unless 
he does this he must continually err, both in thought and 
deed. As thinker, he will fail to understand the increasing 
action and reaction of institutions and character, each slowly 
modifying the other through successive generations. As actor, 
his furtherance of this or that public policy, being unguided 
by a true theory of the effects wrought on citizens, will proba 
bly be mischievous rather than beneficial ; since there are 
more ways of going wrong than of going right. How needful 
is enlightenment on this point, will be seen on remembering 
that scarcely anywhere is attention given to the modifications 
which a new agency, political or other, will produce in men s 
natures. Immediate influence on actions is alone contem 
plated ; and the immeasurably more important influence on 
the bodies and minds of future generations, is wholly ig 

Yet the biological truths which should check this random 
political speculation and rash political action, are conspicu 
ous ; and might, one would have thought, have been recog 
nized by everyone, even without special preparation in Biol 
ogy. That faculties and powers of all orders, while they grow 
by exercise, dwindle when not used ; and that alterations of 
nature descend to posterity ; are facts continually thrust on 
men s attention, and more or less admitted by each. Though 
the evidence of heredity, when looked at in detail, seems ob 
scure, because of the multitudinous differences of parents and 
of ancestors, which all take their varying shares in each new 
product ; yet, when looked at in the mass, the evidence is over 
whelming. Not to dwell on the countless proofs furnished by 


domesticated animals of many kinds, as modified by breeders, 
the proofs furnished by the human races themselves are 
amply sufficient. That each variety of man goes 011 so repro 
ducing 1 itself that adjacent generations are nearly alike, how 
ever appreciable may sometimes be the divergence in a long 
series of generations, is undeniable. Chinese are recognizable 
as Chinese in whatever part of the globe we see them ; every 
one assumes a black ancestry for any negro he meets ; and no 
one doubts that the less-marked racial varieties have great 
degrees of persistence. On the other hand, it is unquestion 
able that the likenesses which the members of one human 
stock preserve, generation after generation, where the condi 
tions of life remain constant, give place to unlikenesses that 
slowly increase in the course of centuries and thousands of 
years, if the members of that stock, spreading into different 
habitats, fall under different sets of conditions. If we assume 
the original unity of the human race, we have no alternative 
but to admit such divergencies consequent on such causes ; 
and even if we do not assume this original unity, we have 
still, among the races classed by the community of their lan 
guages as Aryan, abundant proofs that subjection to different 
modes of life, produces in course of ages permanent bodily 
and mental differences : the Hindu and the Englishman, the 
Greek and the Dutchman, have acquired undeniable contrasts 
of nature, physical and psychical, which can be ascribed to 
nothing but the continuous effects of circumstances, material, 
moral, social, on the activities and therefore on the constitu 
tion. So that, as above said, it might have been expected that 
biological training would scarcely be needed to impress men 
with these large facts, all-important as elements in sociological 

As it is, however, we see that a deliberate study of Biology 
cannot be dispensed with. It is requisite that these scattered 
evidences which but few citizens put together and think about, 
should be set before them in an orderly way ; and that they 
should recognize in them the universal truths which living 
things exhibit. There requires a multiplicity of illustra 
tions, various in their kinds, often repeated and dwelt upon. 
Only thus can there be produced an adequately-strong convic 
tion that all organic beings are modifiable, that modifications 


are inheritable, and that therefore the remote issues of any 
new influence brought to bear on the members of a commu 
nity must be serious. 

To give a more definite and effective shape to this general 
inference, let me here comment on certain courses pursued by 
philanthropists and legislators eager for immediate good re 
sults, but pursued without regard to biological truths, which, 
if borne in mind, would make them hesitate if not desist. 

Every species of creature goes on multiplying till it 
reaches the limit at which its mortality from all causes bal 
ances its fertility. Diminish its mortality by removing or 
mitigating any one of these causes, and inevitably its num 
bers increase until mortality and fertility are again in equi 
librium. However many injurious influences are taken away, 
the same thing holds ; for the reason that the remaining in 
jurious influences grow more intense. Either the pressure on 
the means of subsistence becomes greater ; or some enemy of 
the species, multiplying in proportion to the abundance of 
its prey, becomes more destructive ; or some disease, encour 
aged by greater proximity, becomes more prevalent. This 
general truth, everywhere exemplified among inferior races of 
beings, holds of the human race. True, it is in this case vari 
ously traversed and obscured. By emigration, the limits 
against which population continually presses are partially 
evaded ; by improvements in production, they are continually 
removed further away; and along with increase of knowl 
edge there comes an avoidance of detrimental agencies. 
Still, these are but qualifications of an inevitable action and 

Let us here glance at the relation between this general 
truth and the legislative measures adopted to ward off certain 
causes of death. Every individual eventually dies from ina 
bility to withstand some environing action. It may be a me 
chanical force that cannot be resisted by the strengths of his 
bodily structures ; it may be a deleterious gas which, ab 
sorbed into his blood, so deranges the processes throughout 
his body as finally to overthrow their balance ; or it may be 
an absorption of his bodily heat by surrounding things, that 
is too great for his enfeebled functions to meet. In all cases, 


however, it is one, or some, of the many forces to which he is 
exposed, and in presence of which his vital activities have to 
be carried on. He may succumb early or late, according to 
the goodness of his structure and the incidents of his career. 
But in the natural working of things, those having imperfect 
structures succumb before they have offspring : leaving those 
with fitter structures to produce the next generation. And 
obviously, the working of this process is such that as many 
will continue to live and to reproduce as can do so under the 
conditions then existing : if the assemblage of influences be 
comes more difficult to withstand, a larger number of the 
feebler disappear early ; if the assemblage of influences is 
made more favourable by the removal of, or mitigation of, 
some unfavourable influence, there is an increase in the num 
ber of the feebler who survive and leave posterity. Hence 
two proximate results, conspiring to the same ultimate result. 
First, population increases at a greater rate than it would 
otherwise have done : so subjecting all persons to certain 
other destroying agencies in more-intense forms. Second, 
by intermarriage of the feebler who now survive, with the 
stronger who would otherwise have alone survived, the gen 
eral constitution is brought down to the level of strength re 
quired to meet these more-favourable conditions. Tbat is to 
say, there by-and-by arises a state of things under which a 
general decrease in the power of withstanding this mitigated 
destroying cause, and a general increase in the activity of 
other destroying causes, consequent on greater numbers, 
bring mortality and fertility into the same relation as before 
there is a somewhat larger number of a somewhat weaker 

There are further ways in which this process necessarily 
works a like general effect, however far it is carried. For as 
fust as more and more detrimental agencies are removed or 
mitigated, and as fast as there goes on an increasing survival 
and propagation of those having delicately-balanced constitu 
tions, there arise new destructive agencies. Let the average 
vitality be diminished by more effectually guarding the weak 
against adverse conditions, and inevitably there come fresh 
diseases. A general constitution previously able to bear with 
out derangement certain variations in atmospheric conditions 


and certain degrees of other unfavourable actions, if lowered 
in tone, will become subject to new kinds of perturbation and 
new causes of death. In illustration, I need but refer to the 
many diseases from which civilized races suffer, but which 
were not known to the uncivilized. Nor is it only by such 
new causes of death that the rate of mortality, when decreased 
in one direction increases in another. The very precautions 
against death are themselves in some measure new causes of 
death. Every further appliance for meeting an evil, every ad 
ditional expenditure of effort, every extra tax to meet the cost 
of supervision, becomes a fresh obstacle to living. For always 
in a society where population is pressing on the means of sub 
sistence, and where the efforts required to fulfil vital needs 
are so great that they here and there cause premature death, 
the powers of producers cannot be further strained by calling 
on them to support a new class of non-producers, without, in 
some cases, increasing the wear and tear to a fatal extent. 
And in proportion as this policy is carried further in propor 
tion as the enfeeblemeiit of constitution is made greater, the 
required precautions multiplied, and the cost of maintaining 
these precautions augmented; it must happen that the in 
creasing physiological expenditure thrown on these enfeebled 
constitutions, must make them succumb so much the earlier : 
the mortality evaded in one shape must come round in 

The clearest conception of the state brought about, will be 
gained by supposing the society thus produced to consist of 
old people. Age differs from maturity and youth in being 
less able to withstand influences that tend to derange the 
functions, as well as less able to bear the efforts needed to get 
the food, clothing, and shelter, by which resistance to these 
influences may be carried on ; and where no aid is received 
from the younger, this decreased strength and increased lia 
bility to derangement by incident forces, make the life of age 
difficult and wearisome. Those who, though young, have 
weak constitutions, are much in the same position : their lia 
bilities to .derangement are similarly multiplied, and where 
they have to support themselves, they are similarly over- taxed 
by the effort, relatively great to them and made greater by the 
maintaining of precautions. A society of enfeebled people, 


then, must lead a life like that led by a society of people who 
had outlived the vigour of maturity, and yet had none to help 
them ; and their life must also be like in lacking that over 
flowing energy which, while it makes labours easy, makes 
enjoyments keen. In proportion as vigour declines, not only 
do the causes of pain multiply, while the tax on the energies 
becomes more trying, but the possibilities of pleasure decrease : 
many delights demanding, or accompanying, exertion are 
shut out ; and others fail to raise the flagging spirits. So that, 
to sum up, lowering the average type of constitution to a level 
of strength below that which meets without difficulty the or 
dinary strains and perturbations and dangers, while it fails 
eventually to diminish the rate of mortality, makes life more 
a burden and less a gratification. 

I am aware that this reasoning may be met by the criti 
cism that, carried out rigorously, it would negative social 
ameliorations in general. Some, perhaps, will say that even 
those measures by which order is maintained, might be op 
posed on the ground that there results from them a kind of 
men less capable of self-protection than would otherwise exist. 
And there will doubtless be suggested the corollary that no 
influences detrimental to health ought to be removed. I am 
not concerned to meet such criticisms, because I do not mean 
the conclusions above indicated to be taken without qualifica 
tion. Manifestly, up to a certain point, the removal of de 
structive causes leaves a balance of benefit. The simple fact 
that with a largely-augmented population, longevity is greater 
now than heretofore, goes far towards showing that up to the 
time lived through by those who die in our day, there had 
been a decrease of the causes of mortality in some directions, 
greater than their increase in other directions. Though a 
considerable drawback may be suspected though, on observ 
ing how few thoroughly-strong people we meet, and how 
prevalent are chronic ailments notwithstanding the care taken 
of health, it may be inferred that bodily life now is lower in 
quality than it was, though greater in quantity ; yet there has 
probably been gained a surplus of advantage. All. I wish to 
show is, that there are limits to the good gained by such a 
policy. It is supposed in the Legislature, and by the public 
at large, that if, by measures taken, a certain number of 


deaths by disease have been prevented, so much pure benefit has 
been secured. But it is not so. In any case, there is a set-off 
from the benefit ; and if such measures are greatly multiplied, 
the deductions may eat up the benefit entirely, and leave an 
injury in its place. Where such measures ought to stop, is a 
question that may be left open. Here my purpose is simply 
to point out the way in which a far-reaching biological truth 
underlies rational conclusions in Sociology ; and also to point 
out that formidable evils may arise from ignoring it. 

Other evils, no less serious, are entailed by legislative ac 
tions and by actions of individuals, single and combined, 
which overlook or disregard a kindred biological truth. Be 
sides an habitual neglect of the fact that the quality of a so 
ciety is physically lowered by the artificial preservation of its 
feeblest members, there is an habitual neglect of the fact that 
the quality of a society is lowered morally and intellectually, 
by the artificial preservation of those who are least able to 
take care of themselves. 

If anyone denies that children bear likenesses to their pro 
genitors in character and capacity if he holds that men 
whose parents and grandparents were habitual criminals, 
have tendencies as good as those of men whose parents and 
grandparents were industrious and upright, he may consist 
ently hold that it matters not from what families in a society 
the successive generations descend. He may think it just as 
well if the most active, and capable, and prudent, and con 
scientious people die without issue ; while many children are 
left by the reckless and dishonest. But whoever does not 
espouse so insane a proposition, must admit that social ar 
rangements which retard the multiplication of the mentally- 
best, and facilitate the multiplication of the mentally-worst, 
must be extremely injurious. 

For if the unworthy are helped to increase, by shielding 
them from that mortality which their unworthiness would 
naturally entail, the effect is to produce, generation after gen 
eration, a greater unworthiness. From diminished use of self- 
conserving faculties already deficient, there must result, in 
posterity, still smaller amounts of self-conserving faculties. 
The general law which we traced above in its bodily applica- 


tions, may be traced here in its mental applications. Removal 
of certain difficulties and dangers which have to be met by 
intelligence and activity, is followed by a decreased ability to 
meet difficulties and dangers. Among children born to the 
more capable who marry with the less capable, thus artificially 
preserved, there is not simply a lower average power of self- 
preservation than would else have existed, but the incapacity 
reaches in some cases a greater extreme. Smaller difficulties 
and dangers become fatal in proportion as greater ones are 
warded off. Nor is this the whole mischief. For such mem 
bers of a population as do not take care of themselves, but are 
taken care of by the rest, inevitably bring on the rest extra 
exertion ; either in supplying them with the necessaries of 
life, or in maintaining over them the required supervision, or 
in both. That is to say, in addition to self -conservation and 
the conservation of their own offspring, the best, having to 
undertake the conservation of the worst, and of their off 
spring, are subject to an overdraw upon their energies. In. 
some cases this stops them from marrying ; in other cases it 
diminishes the numbers of their children; in other cases it 
causes inadequate feeding of their children ; in other cases it 
brings their children to orphanhood in every way tending 
to arrest the increase of the best, to deteriorate their consti 
tutions, and to pull them down towards the level of the 

Fostering the good-for-nothing at the expense of the good, 
is an extreme cruelty. It is a deliberate storing-up of miseries 
for future generations. There is no greater curse to posterity 
than that of bequeathing them an increasing population of 
imbeciles and idlers and criminals. To aid the bad in multi 
plying, is, in effect, the same as maliciously providing for our 
descendants a multitude of enemies. It may be doubted 
whether the maudlin philanthropy which, looking only at di 
rect mitigations, persistently ignores indirect mischiefs, does 
not inflict a greater total of misery than the extremest selfishness 
inflicts. Eefusing to consider the remote influences of his in 
continent generosity, the thoughtless giver stands but a de 
gree above the drunkard who thinks only of to-day s pleasure 
and ignores to-morrow s pain, or the spendthrift who seeks 
immediate delights at the cost of ultimate poverty. In one 


respect, indeed, he is worse ; since, while getting the present 
pleasure produced in giving pleasure, he leaves the future 
miseries to be borne by others escaping them himself. And 
calling for still stronger reprobation is that scattering of 
money prompted by misinterpretation of the saying that 
"charity covers a multitude of sins." For in the many 
whom this misinterpretation leads to believe that by large 
donations they can compound for evil deeds ; we may trace 
an element of positive baseness an effort to get a good place 
in another world, no matter at what injury to fellow-crea 

How far the mentally-superior may, with a balance of bene 
fit to society, shield the mentally-inferior from the evil results 
of their inferiority, is a question too involved to be here dis 
cussed at length. Doubtless it is in the order of things that 
parental affection, the regard of relatives, and the spontane 
ous sympathy of friends and even of strangers, should miti 
gate the pains which incapacity has to bear, and the penalties 
which unfit impulses bring round. Doubtless, in many cases 
the reactive influence of this sympathetic care which the better 
take of the worse, is morally beneficial, and in a degree com 
pensates by good in one direction for evil in another. It may 
be fully admitted that individual altruism, left to itself, will 
work advantageously wherever, at least, it does not go to the 
extent of helping the unworthy to multiply. But an unques 
tionable injury is done by agencies which undertake in a 
wholesale way to foster good-for-nothings : putting a stop to 
that natural process of elimination by which society continu 
ally purifies itself. For not only by such agencies is this 
preservation of the worst and destruction of the best carried 
further than it would else be, but there is scarcely any of that 
compensating advantage which individual altruism implies. 
A mechanically-working State-apparatus, distributing money 
drawn from grumbling ratepayers, produces little or no 
moralizing effect on the capables to make up for multiplica 
tion of the incapables. Here, however, it is needless to dwell 
on the perplexing questions hence arising. My purpose is 
simply to show that a rational policy must recognize certain 
general truths of Biology ; and to insist that only when study 
of these general truths, as illustrated throughout the living 


world, has woven them into the conceptions of things, is there 
gained a strong conviction that disregard of them must cause 
enormous mischiefs. 1 

Biological truths and their corollaries, presented under 
these special forms as bases for sociological conclusions, are 
introductory to a more general biological truth including 
them a general biological truth which underlies all rational 
legislation. I refer to the truth that every species of organ 
ism, including the human, is always adapting itself, both 
directly and indirectly, to its conditions of existence. 

The actions which have produced every variety of man, 
the actions which have established in the Negro and the 
Hindu, constitutions that thrive in climates fatal to Euro 
peans, and in the Fuegian a constitution enabling him to bear 
without clothing an inclemency almost too great for other 
races well clothed the actions which have developed in the 
Tartar-races nomadic habits that are almost insurmountable, 
while they have given to North American Indians desires 
and aptitudes which, fitting them for a hunting life, make a 
civilized life intolerable the actions doing this, are also ever 
at work moulding citizens into correspondence with their cir 
cumstances. While the bodily natures of citizens are being 
fitted to the physical influences and industrial activities of 
their locality, their mental natures are being fitted to the 
structure of the society they live in. Though, as we have 
seen, there is always an approximate fitness of the social unit 
to its social aggregate, yet the fitness can never be more than 
approximate, and re-adjustment is always going on. Could a 
society remain unchanged, something like a permanent equi 
librium between the nature of the individual and the nature 
of the society would presently be reached. But the type of 
each society is continually being modified by two causes by 
growth, and by the actions, warlike or other, of adjacent 
societies. Increase in the bulk of a society inevitably leads 
to change of structure ; as also does any alteration in the 
ratio of the predatory to the industrial activities. Hence con 
tinual social metamorphosis, involving continual alteration 
of the conditions under which the citizen lives, produces in 
him an adaptation of character which, tending towards com- 


pleteness, is ever made incomplete by further social meta 

While, however, each society, and each successive phase of 
each society, presents conditions more or less special, to which 
the natures of citizens adapt themselves ; there are certain 
general conditions which, in every society, must be fulfilled 
to a considerable extent before it can hold together, and which 
must be fulfilled completely before social life can be complete. 
Each citizen has to carry on his activities in such ways as not 
to impede other citizens in the carrying-on of their activities 
more than he is impeded by them. That any citizen may so 
behave as not to deduct from the aggregate welfare, it is need 
ful that he shall perform such function, or share of function, 
as is of value equivalent at least to what he consumes ; and it 
is further needful that, both in discharging his function and 
in pursuing his pleasure, he shall leave others similarly free 
to discharge their functions and to pursue their pleasures. 
Obviously a society formed of units who cannot live without 
mutual hindrance, is one in which the happiness is of smaller 
amount than it is in a society formed of units who can live 
without mutual hindrance numbers and physical conditions 
being supposed equal. And obviously the sum of happiness in 
such a society is still less than that in a society of which the 
units voluntarily aid one another. 

Now, under one of its chief aspects, civilization is a process 
of developing in citizens a nature capable of fulfilling these 
all-essential conditions ; and, neglecting their superfluities, 
laws and the appliances for enforcing them, are expressions 
and embodiments of these all-essential conditions. On the one 
hand, those severe systems of slavery, and serfdom, and 
punishment for vagabondage, which characterized the less- 
developed social types, stand for the necessity that the social 
unit shall be self-supporting. On the other hand, the punish 
ments for murder, assault, theft, etc., and the penalties on 
breach of contract, stand for the necessity that, in the coiirse 
of the activities by which he supports himself, the citizen shall 
neither directly injure other citizens, nor shall injure them 
indirectly, by taking- or intercepting the returns their activi 
ties bring. And it needs no detail to show that a fundamental 
trait in social progress, is an increase of industrial energy, 


leading citizens to support themselves without being coerced 
in the harsh ways once general ; that another fundamental 
trait is the gradual establishment of such a nature in citizens 
that, while pursuing their respective ends, they injure and 
impede one another in smaller degrees ; and that a concomi 
tant trait is the growth of governmental restraints which 
more effectually check the remaining aggressiveness. That 
is to say, while the course of civilization shows us a clearer rec 
ognition and better enforcement of these essential conditions, 
it also shows us a moulding of humanity into correspondence 
with them. 

Along with the proofs thus furnished that the biological 
law of adaptation, holding of all other species, holds of the 
human species, and that the change of nature undergone by 
the human species since societies began to develop, has been 
an adaptation of it to the conditions implied by harmonious 
social life, we receive the lesson, that the one thing needful is 
a rigorous maintenance of these conditions. While all -see 
that the immediate function of our chief social institutions is 
the securing of an orderly social life by making these condi 
tions imperative, very few see that their further function, and 
in one sense more important function, is that of fitting men to 
fulfil these conditions spontaneously. The two functions are 
inseparable. From the biological laws we have been contem 
plating, it is, on the one hand, an inevitable corollary that if 
these conditions are maintained, human nature will slowly 
adapt itself to them ; while, on the other hand, it is an inevit 
able corollary that by no other discipline than subjection to 
these conditions, can fitness to the social state be produced. 
Enforce these conditions, and adaptation to them will con 
tinue. Relax these conditions, and by so much there will be 
a cessation of the adaptive changes. Abolish these conditions, 
and after the consequent social dissolution, there will com 
mence (unless they are re-established) an adaptation to the 
conditions then resulting those of savage life. These are con 
clusions from which there is no escape, if Man is subject to 
the laws of life in common with living things in general. 

It may, indeed, be rightly contended that if those who are 
but little fitted to the social state are rigorously subjected to 
these conditions, evil will result : intolerable restraint, if it 


does not deform or destroy life, will be followed by violent re 
action. We are taught by analogy, that greatly-changed cir 
cumstances from which there is no escape, fail to produce 
adaptation because they produce death. Men having consti 
tutions fitted for one climate, cannot be fitted to an extremely- 
different climate by persistently living in it, because they 
do not survive, generation after generation. Such changes 
can be brought about only by slow spreadings of the race 
through intermediate regions having intermediate climates, to 
which successive generations are accustomed little by little. 
And doubtless the like holds mentally. The intellectual and 
emotional natures required for high civilization, are not to be 
obtained by thrusting on the completely-uncivilized, the need 
ful activities and restraints in unqualified forms : gradual de 
cay and death, rather than adaptation, would result. But so 
long as a society s institutions are indigenous, no danger is to 
be apprehended from a too-strict maintenance of the condi 
tions to the ideally-best social life ; since there can exist 
neither the required appreciation of them nor the required ap 
pliances for enforcing them. Only in those abnormal cases 
where a race of one type is subject to a race of much-superior 
type, is this qualification pertinent. In our own case, as in 
the cases of all societies having populations approximately 
homogeneous in character, and having institutions evolved by 
that character, there may rightly be aimed at the greatest 
rigour possible. The merciful policy, no less than the just 
policy, is that of insisting that these all-essential requirements 

of self-support and non-aggression, shall be conformed to 

the just policy, because failing to insist is failing to protect 
the better or more-adapted natures against the worse or less- 
adapted ; the merciful policy, because the pains accompany 
ing the process of adaptation to the social state must be gone 
through, and it is better that they should be gone through 
once than gone through twice, as they have to be when any 
relaxation of these conditions permits retrogression. 

Thus, that which sundry precepts of the current religion 
embody that which ethical systems, intuitive or utilitarian, 
equally urge, is also that which Biology, generalizing the laws 
of life at large, dictates. All further requirements are unim 
portant compared with this primary requirement, that each 


shall so live as neither to burden others nor to injure others. 
And all further appliances for influencing the actions and 
natures of men, are unimportant compared with those serving 
to maintain and increase the conformity to this primary re 
quirement. But unhappily, legislators and philanthropists, 
busy with schemes which, instead of aiding adaptation, indi 
rectly hinder it, give little attention to the enforcing and im 
proving of those arrangements by which adaptation is ef 

And here, on behalf of the few who uphold this policy of 
natural discipline, let me emphatically repudiate the name of 
laissez-faire as applied to it, and emphatically condemn the 
counter-policy as involving a laissez-faire of the most vicious 
kind. While holding that, when the State leaves each citizen 
to get what food for himself he can, and to suffer what evil he 
brings on himself, such a let-alone policy is eventually bene 
ficial ; I contend that, when the State leaves him to bear the 
evils inflicted by other citizens, and can be induced to defend 
him only at a ruinous cost, such a let-alone policy is both im 
mediately and remotely injurious. When a Legislature takes 
from the worthy the things they have laboured for, that it may 
give to the unworthy the things they have not earned when 
cause and consequence, joined in the order of Nature, are thus 
divorced by law-makers ; then may properly come the sug 
gestion " Cease your interference." But when, in any way, 
direct or indirect, the unworthy deprive the worthy of their 
dues, or impede them in the quiet pursuit of their ends, then 
may properly come the demand " Interfere promptly ; and 
be, in fact, the protectors you are in name." Our politicians 
and philanthropists, impatient with a salutary laissez-faire, 
tolerate and even defend a laissez-faire that is in the high 
est degree mischievous. Without hesitation, this regulative 
agency we call the Government takes from us some 100,000 
a year to pay for Art-teaching and to establish Art-museums ; 
while, in guarding us against robbers and murderers, it makes 
conviction difficult by demurring to the cost of necessary 
evidence : even the outlay for a plan, admitted by the taxing- 
master, being refused by the Treasury ! Is not that a disastrous 
laissez-faire ? While millions are voted without a murmur 
for an expedition to rescue a meddling consul from a half- 


savage king 1 , our Executive resists the spending- of a few extra 
thousands to pay more judges : the result being not simply 
vast arrears and long delays, but immense injustices of other 
kinds, costs being run up in cases which lawyers know will 
never be heard, and which, when brought into court, the 
over-burdened judges get rid of by appointing junior counsel 
as referees : an arrangement under which the suitors have not 
simply to pay over again all their agents, at extra rates, but 
have also to pay their judges. 3 Is not that, too, a flagitious 
laissez-faire ? Though, in our solicitude for Negroes, we 
have been spending 50,000 a year to stop the East- African 
slave-trade, and failing to do it, yet only now are we provid 
ing protection for our own sailors against unscrupulous ship 
owners only now have sailors, betrayed into bad ships, got 
something more than the option of risking death by drowning 
or going to prison for breach of contract ! Shall we not call 
that, also, a laissez-faire that is almost wicked in its indiffer 
ence ? At the same time that the imperativeness of teaching 
all children to write, and to spell, and to parse, and to know 
where Timbuctoo lies, is being agreed to with acclamation, 
and vast sums raised that these urgent needs may be met, it is 
not thought needful that citizens should be enabled to learn 
the laws they have to obey; and though these laws are so 
many commands which, on any rational theory, the Govern 
ment issuing them ought to enforce, yet in a great mass of 
cases it does nothing when told that they have been broken, 
but leaves the injured to try and enforce them at their own 
risk, if they please. Is not that, again, a demoralizing laissez- 
faire an encouragement to wrong-doing by a half-promise 
of impunity ? Once more, what shall we say of the laissez- 
faire which cries out because the civil administration of jus 
tice costs us 800,000 a year because to protect men s rights 
we annually spend half as much again as would build an 
ironclad ! because to prevent fraud and enforce contracts we 
lay out each year nearly as much as our largest distiller pays 
in spirit-duty ! what, I ask, shall we say of the laissez-faire 
which thus thinks it an extravagance that one-hundredth part 
of our national revenue should go in maintaining the vital 
condition to national well-being ? Is not that a laissez-faire 
which we might be tempted to call insane, did not most sane 


people agree in it ? And thus it is throughout. The policy of 
quiescence is adopted where active interference is all-essen 
tial ; while time, and energy, and money, are absorbed in 
interfering with things that should be left to themselves. 
Those who condemn the let-alone policy in respect to matters 
which, to say the least, are not of vital importance, advocate 
or tolerate the let-alone policy in respect to vitally-important 
matters. Contemplated from the biological point of view, 
their course is doubly mischievous. They impede adaptation 
of human nature to the social state, both by what they do and 
by what they leave undone. 

Neither the limits of this chapter, nor its purpose, permit 
exposition of the various other truths which Biology yields 
as data for Sociology. Enough has been said in proof of that 
which was to be shown the use of biological study as a prep 
aration for grasping sociological truths. 

The effect to be looked for from it, is that of giving strength 
and clearness to convictions otherwise feeble and vague. Sun 
dry of the doctrines I have presented under their biological 
aspects, are doctrines admitted in considerable degrees. Such 
acquaintance with the laws of life as they have gathered in 
cidentally, lead many to suspect that appliances for preserv 
ing the physically-feeble, bring results that are not wholly 
good. Others there are who occasionally get glimpses of evils 
caused by fostering the reckless and the stupid. But their 
suspicions and qualms fail to determine their conduct, because 
the inevitableness of the bad consequences has not been made 
adequately clear by the study of Biology at large. When 
countless illustrations have shown them that all strength, all 
faculty, all fitness, presented by every living thing, has arisen 
partly by a growth of each power consequent on exercise of 
it, and partly by the more frequent survival and greater multi 
plication of the better-endowed individuals, entailing gradual 
disappearance of the worse-endowed when it is seen that all 
perfection, bodily and mental, has been achieved through this 
process, and that suspension of it must cause cessation of prog 
ress, while reversal of it would bring universal decay when 
it is seen that the mischiefs entailed by disregard of these 
truths, though they may be slow, are certain ; there comes a 


conviction that social policy must be conformed to them, and 
that to ignore them is madness. 

Did not experience prepare one to find everywhere a degree 
of irrationality remarkable in beings who distinguish them 
selves as rational, one might have assumed that, before devis 
ing modes of dealing with citizens in their corporate relations, 
special attention would be given to the natures of these citi 
zens individually considered, and by implication to the na 
tures of living things at large. Put a carpenter into a black 
smith s shop, and set him to forge, to weld, to harden, to 
anneal, etc., and he will not need the blacksmith s jeers to 
show him how foolish is the attempt to make and mend tools 
before he has learnt the properties of iron. Let the carpenter 
challenge the blacksmith, who knows little about wood in 
general and nothing about particular kinds of wood, to do his 
work, and unless the blacksmith declines to make himself a 
laughing-stock, he is pretty certain to saw askew, to choke up 
his plane, and presently to break his tools or cut his fingers. 
But while everyone sees the folly of supposing that wood or 
iron can be shaped and fitted, without an apprenticeship dur 
ing which their ways of behaving are made familiar ; no one 
sees any folly in undertaking to devise institutions, and to 
shape human nature in this way or that way, without a pre 
liminary study of Man, and of Life in general as explaining 
Man s life. For simple functions we insist on elaborate spe 
cial preparations extending through years ; while for the most 
complex function, to be adequately discharged not even by 
the wisest, we require no preparation ! 

How absurd are the prevailing conceptions about these 
matters, we shall see still more clearly on turning to consider 
that more special discipline which should precede the study 
of Sociology ; namely, the study of Mental Science. 



PROBABLY astonishment would make the reporters drop 
their pencils, were any member of Parliament to enunciate a 
psychological principle as justifying his opposition to a pro 
posed measure. That some law of association of ideas, or 
some trait in emotional development, should be deliberately 
set forth as a sufficient ground for saying " aye " or " no " to a 
motion for second reading, would doubtless be too much for 
the gravity of legislators. And along with laughter from 
many there would come from a few cries of " question : " the 
entire irrelevancy to the matter in hand being conspicuous. 
It is true that during debates the possible behaviour of citizens 
under the suggested arrangements is described. Evasions of 
this or that provision, difficulties in carrying it out, probabili 
ties of resistance, connivance, corruption, &c., are urged ; and 
these tacitly assert that the mind of man has certain charac 
ters, and under the conditions named is likely to act in certain 
ways. In other words, there is an implied recognition of the 
truth that the effects of a law will depend on the manner in 
which human intelligence and human feeling are influenced 
by it. Experiences of men s conduct which the legislator has 
gathered, and which lie partially sorted in his memory, fur 
nish him with empirical notions that guide his judgment on 
each question raised ; and he would think it folly to ignore all 
this unsystematized knowledge about people s characters and 
actions. But at the same time he regards as foolish the pro 
posal to proceed, not on vaguely-generalized . facts, but on 
facts accurately generalized ; and, as still more foolish, the 
proposal to merge these minor definite generalizations in gen- 


eralizations expressing the ultimate laws of Mind. Guidance 
by intuition seems to him much more rational. 

Of course, I do not mean to say that his intuition is of 
small value. How should I say this, remembering- the im 
mense accumulation of experiences by which his thoughts 
have been moulded into harmony with things ? We all know 
that when the successful man of business is urged by wife 
and daughters to get into Parliament, that they may attain a 
higher social standing, he always replies that his occupations 
through life have left him no leisure to prepare himself, by 
collecting and digesting the voluminous evidence respecting 
the effects of institutions and policies, and that he fears he 
might do mischief. If the heir to some large estate, or scion 
of a noble house powerful in the locality, receives a deputation 
asking him to stand for the county, we constantly read that 
he pleads inadequate knowledge as a reason for declining : 
perhaps hinting that after ten years spent in the needful studies, 
he may have courage to undertake the heavy responsibilities 
proposed to him. So, too, we have the familiar fact that when, 
at length, men who have gathered vast stores of political in 
formation, gain the confidence of voters who know how care 
fully they have thus fitted themselves, it still perpetually hap 
pens that after election they find they have entered on their 
work prematurely. It is true that beforehand they had sought 
anxiously through the records of the past, that they might 
avoid legislative errors of multitudinous kinds, like those com 
mitted in early times. Nevertheless when Acts are proposed 
referring to matters dealt with in past generations by Acts 
long since cancelled or obsolete, immense inquiries open before 
them. Even limiting themselves to the 1126 Acts repealed in 
1823-9, and the further 770 repealed in 1861, they find that to 
learn what these aimed at, how they worked, why they failed, 
and whence arose the mischiefs they wrought, is an arduous 
task, which yet they feel bound to undertake lest they should 
re-inflict these mischiefs ; and hence the reason why so many 
break down under the effort, and retire with health destroyed. 
Nay, more on those with constitutions vigorous enough to 
carry them through such inquiries, there continually presses 
the duty of making yet further inquiries. Besides tracing the 
results of abandoned laws in other societies, there is at home, 


year by year, more futile law-making to be investigated and 
lessons to be drawn from it ; as, for example, from the 134 
Public Acts passed in 1856-7, of .which all but 68 are wholly 
or partially repealed. 1 And thus it happens that, as every 
autumn shows us, even the strongest men, finding their lives 
during the recess over-taxed with the needful study, are obliged 
so to locate themselves that by an occasional day s hard riding 
after the hounds, or a long walk over the moors with gun in 
hand, they may be enabled to bear the excessive strain on their 
nervous systems. Of course, therefore, I am not so unreason 
able as to deny that judgments, even empirical, which are 
guided by such carefully-amassed experiences must be of 
much worth. 

But fully recognizing the vast amount of information 
which the legislator has laboriously gathered from the 
accounts of institutions and laws, past and present, here and 
elsewhere ; and admitting that before thus instructing himself 
he would no more think of enforcing a new law than would a 
medical student think of plunging an operating-knife into the 
human body before learning where the arteries ran ; the re 
markable anomaly here demanding our attention is, that he 
objects to anything like analysis of these phenomena he has 
so diligently collected, and has 110 faith in conclusions drawn 
from the ensemble of them. Not discriminating very correctly 
between the word "-general " and the word " abstract," and re 
garding as abstract principles what are in nearly all cases 
general principles, he speaks contemptuously of these as be 
longing to the region of theory, and as not concerning the 
law-maker. Any wide truth that is insisted upon as being im 
plied in many narrow truths, seems to him remote from reality 
and unimportant for guidance. The results of recent experi 
ments in legislation he thinks worth attending to ; and if any 
one reminds him of the experiments he has read so much 
about, that were made in other times and other places, he re 
gards these also, separately taken, as deserving of consideration. 
But if, instead of studying special classes of legislative experi 
ments, someone compares many classes together, generalizes 
the results, and proposes to be guided by the generalization, 
he shakes his head sceptically. And his scepticism passes into 
ridicule if it is proposed to affiliate such generalized results on 


the laws of Mind. To prescribe for society on the strength of 
countless unclassified observations, appears to him a sensible 
course ; but to colligate and systematize the observations so 
as to educe tendencies of human behaviour displayed through 
out cases of numerous kinds, to trace these tendencies to their 
sources in the mental natures of men, and thence to draw con 
clusions for guidance, appears to him a visionary course. 

Let us look at some of the fundamental facts he ignores, 
and at the results for ignoring them. 

Rational legislation, based as it can only be on a true theory 
of conduct, which is derivable only from a true theory of 
mind, must recognize as a datum the direct connexion of action 
with feeling. That feeling and action bear a constant ratio, is 
a statement needing qualification ; for at the one extreme 
there are automatic actions which take place without feeling, 
and at the other extreme there are feelings so intense that, by 
deranging the vital functions, they impede or arrest action. 
But speaking of those activities which life in general presents, 
it is a law tacitly recognized by all, though not distinctly for 
mulated, that action and feeling vary together in their 
amounts. Passivity and absence of facial expression, both 
implying rest of the muscles, are held to show that there is 
being experienced neither much sensation nor much emotion. 
While the degree of external demonstration, be it in move 
ments that rise finally to spasms and contortions, or be it in 
sounds that end in laughter and shrieks and groans, is habitu 
ally accepted as a measure of the pleasure or pain, sensational 
or emotional. And so, too, where continued expenditure of 
energy is seen, be it in a violent struggle to escape or be it in 
the persevering pursuit of an object, the quantity of effort is 
held to show the quantity of feeling. 

This truth, undeniable in its generality, whatever qualifica 
tions secondary truths make in it, must be joined with the 
truth that cognition does not produce action. If I tread on 
a pin, or unawares dip my hand into very hot water, I start : 
the strong sensation produces motion without any thought 
intervening. Conversely, the proposition that a pin pricks, 
or that hot water scalds, leaves me quite unmoved. True, if 
to one of these propositions is joined the idea that a pin is 


about to pierce my skin, or to the other the idea that some 
hot water will fall on it, there results a tendency, more or less 
decided, to shrink. But that which causes shrinking 1 is the 
ideal pain. The statement that the pin will hurt or the water 
scald, produces no effect so long as there is nothing beyond a 
recognition of its meaning : it produces an effect only when 
the pain verbally asserted, becomes a pain actually conceived 
as impending only when there rises in consciousness a repre 
sentation of the pain, which is a faint form of the pain as 
before felt. That is to say, the cause of movement here, as 
in other cases, is a feeling and not a cognition. What 

we see even in these simplest actions, runs through actions of 
all degrees of complexity. It is never the knowledge which 
is the moving agent in conduct ; but it is always the feeling 
which goes along with that knowledge, or is excited by it. 
Though the drunkard knows that after to-day s debauch will 
come to-morrow s headache, yet he is not deterred by con 
sciousness of this truth, unless the penalty is distinctly repre 
sented unless there rises in his consciousness a vivid idea of 
the misery to be borne unless there is excited in him an 
adequate amount of feeling antagonistic to his desire for 
drink. Similarly with improvidence in general. If coming 
evils are imagined with clearness and the threatened suffer 
ings ideally felt, there is a due check on the tendency to take 
immediate gratifications without stint ; but in the absence of 
that consciousness of future ills which is constituted by the 
ideas of pains, distinct or vague, the passing desire is not 
opposed effectually. The truth that recklessness brings dis 
tress, fully acknowledged though it may be, remains in 
operative. The mere cognition does not affect conduct 
conduct is affected only when the cognition passes out of that 
intellectual form in which the idea of distress is little more 
than verbal, into a form in which this term of the proposition 
is developed into a vivid imagination of distress a mass of 
painful feeling. It is thus with conduct of every 

kind. See this group of persons clustered at the river side. 
A boat has upset, and some one is in danger of drowning. 
The fact that in the absence of aid the youth in the water 
will surely die, is known to them all. That by swimming 
to his assistance his life may be saved, is a proposition denied 


by none of them. The duty of helping fellow-creatures who 
are in difficulties, they have been taught all their lives ; and 
they will severally admit that running a risk to prevent a 
death is praiseworthy. Nevertheless, though sundry of them 
can swim, they do nothing beyond shouting for assistance or 
giving advice. But now here comes one who, tearing off his 
coat, plunges in to the rescue. In what does he differ from 
the others ? Not in knowledge. Their cognitions are equally 
clear with his. They know as well as he does that death is 
impending ; and know, too, how it may be prevented. In 
him, however, these cognitions arouse certain correlative emo 
tions more strongly than they are aroused in the rest. Groups 
of feelings are excited in all ; but whereas in the others the 
deterrent feelings of fear, &c., preponderate, in him there is a 
surplus of the feelings excited by sympathy, joined, it may be, 
with others not of so high a kind. In each case, however, 
the behaviour is not determined by knowledge, but by emo 
tion. Obviously, change in the actions of these passive spec 
tators is not to be effected by making their cognitions clearer, 
but by making their higher feelings stronger. 

Have we not here, then, a cardinal psychological truth to 
which any rational system of human discipline must con 
form ? Is it not manifest that a legislation which ignores 
it and tacitly assumes its opposite, will inevitably fail ? Yet 
much of our legislation does .this ; and we are at present, 
legislature and nation together, eagerly pushing forward 
schemes which proceed on the postulate that conduct is 
determined not by feelings, but by cognitions. 

For what else is the assumption underlying this anxious 
urging-on of organizations for teaching ? What is the root- 
notion common to Secularists and Denominationalists, but 
the notion that spread of knowledge is the one thing needful 
for bettering behaviour ? Having both swallowed certain 
statistical fallacies, there has grown up in them the belief 
that State-education will check ill-doing. In newspapers, 
they have often met with comparisons between the numbers 
of criminals who can read and write and the numbers who 
can not ; and finding the numbers who can not greatly exceed 
the numbers who can, they accept the inference that igno- 


ranee is the cause of crime. It does not occur to them to ask 
whether other statistics, similarly drawn up, would not prove 
with like conclusiveiiess that crime is caused by absence of 
ablutions, or by lack of clean linen, or by bad ventilation, or 
by want of a separate bed-room. Go through any jail and 
ascertain how many prisoners had been in the habit of taking 
a morning bath, and you would find that criminality habit 
ually went with dirtiness of skin. Count up those who had 
possessed a second suit of clothes, and a comparison of the 
figures would show you that but a small percentage of crim 
inals were habitually able to change their garments. Inquire 
whether they had lived in main streets or down courts, and 
you would discover that nearly all urbane crime comes from 
holes and corners. Similarly, a fanatical advocate of total 
abstinence or of sanitary improvement, could get equally- 
strong statistical justifications for his belief. But if, not 
accepting the random inference presented to you that igno 
rance and crime are cause and effect, you consider, as above, 
whether crime may not with equal reason be ascribed to 
various other causes, you are led to see that it is really con 
nected with an inferior mode of life, itself usually conse 
quent on original inferiority of nature ; and you are led 
to see that ignorance is simply one of the concomitants, no 
more to be held the cause of crime than various other con 

But this obvious criticism, and the obvious counter-conclu 
sion it implies, are not simply overlooked, but, when insisted 
on, seem powerless to affect the belief which has taken pos 
session of men. Disappointment alone will now affect it. A 
wave of opinion reaching a certain height, cannot be changed 
by any evidence or argument : but has to spend itself in the 
gradual course of things before a reaction of opinion can 
arise. Otherwise it would be incomprehensible that this 
confidence in the curative effects of teaching, which men 
have carelessly allowed to be generated in them by the re 
iterations of doctrinaire politicians, should survive the direct 
disproofs yielded by daily experience. Is it not the trouble 
of every mother and every governess, that perpetual insisting 
on the right and denouncing the wrong do not suffice ? Is 
it not the constant complaint that on many natures reason- 


ing and explanation and the clear demonstration of con 
sequences are scarcely at all operative ; that where they 
are operative there is a more or less marked difference of 
emotional nature ; and that where, having" before failed, they 
begin to succeed, change of feeling rather than difference of 
apprehension is the cause ? Do we not similarly hear from 
every housekeeper that servants usually pay but little atten 
tion to reproofs ; that they go on perversely in old habits, 
regardless of clear evidence of their foolishness ; and that 
their actions are to be altered not by explanations and 
reasonings, but by either the fear of penalties or the ex 
perience of penalties that is, by the emotions awakened in 
them ? When we turn from domestic life to the life of the 
outer world, do not like disproofs everywhere meet us ? Are 
not fraudulent bankrupts educated people, and getters-up of 
bubble-companies, and makers of adulterated goods, and users 
of false trade-marks, and retailers who have light weights, 
and owners of unseaworthy ships, and those who cheat in 
surance-companies, and those who carry on turf -chicaneries, 
and the great majority of gamblers ? Or, to take a more 
extreme form of turpitude, is there not, among those who 
have committed murder by poison within our memories, a 
considerable number of the educated a number bearing as 
large a ratio to the educated classes as does the total number 
of murderers to the total population ? 

This belief in the moralizing effects of intellectual culture, 
flatly contradicted by facts, is absurd a priori. What imag 
inable connexion is there between the learning that certain 
clusters of marks on paper stand for certain words, and the 
getting a higher sense of duty ? What possible effect can ac 
quirement of facility in making written signs of sounds, have 
in strengthening the desire to do right ? How does knowledge 
of the multiplication-table, or quickness in adding and divid 
ing, so increase the sympathies as to restrain the tendency to 
trespass against fellow-creatures ? In what way can the at 
tainment of accuracy in spelling and parsing, &c., make the 
sentiment of justice more powerful than it was ; or why from 
stores of geographical information, perseveringly gained, is 
there likely to come increased regard for truth ? The irrela- 
tion between such causes and such effects, is almost as great 


as that between exercise of the fingers and strengthening of 
the legs. One who should by lessons in Latin hope to give a 
knowledge of geometry, or one who should expect practice in 
drawing to be followed by expressive rendering of a sonata, 
would be thought fit for an asylum ; and yet he would be 
scarcely more irrational than are those who by discipline of 
the intellectual faculties expect to produce better feelings. 

This faith in lesson-books and readings is one of the super 
stitions of the age. Even as appliances to intellectual culture 
books are greatly over-estimated. Instead of second-hand 
knowledge being regarded as of less value than first-hand 
knowledge, and as a knowledge to be sought only where first 
hand knowledge cannot be had, it is actually regarded as of 
greater value. Something gathered from printed pages is sup 
posed to enter into a course of education ; but if gathered by 
observation of Life and Nature, is supposed not thus to enter. 
Reading is seeing by proxy is learning indirectly through 
another man s faculties instead of directly through one s own 
faculties; and such is the prevailing bias that the indirect 
learning is thought preferable to the direct learning, and 
usurps the name of cultivation ! We smile when told that 
savages consider writing as a kind of magic ; and we laugh at 
the story of the negro who hid a letter under a stone, that it 
might not inform against him when he devoured the fruit he 
was sent with. Yet the current notions about printed infor 
mation betray a kindred delusion : a kind of magical efficacy 
is ascribed to ideas gained through artificial appliances, as 
compared with ideas otherwise gained. And this delusion, 
injurious in its effects even on intellectual culture, produces 
effects still more injurious on moral culture, by generating 
the assumption that this, too, can be got by reading and the 
repeating of lessons. 

It will, I know, be said that not from intellectual teaching 
but from moral teaching, is improvement of conduct and 
diminution of crime looked for. While, unquestionably, 
many of those who urge on educational schemes believe in 
the moralizing effects of knowledge in general, it must be ad 
mitted that some hold general knowledge to be inadequate, 
and contend that rules of right conduct must be taught. Al 
ready, however, reasons have been given why the expectations 


even of these, are illusory ; proceeding 1 , as they do, on the as 
sumption that the intellectual acceptance of moral precepts 
will produce conformity to them. Plenty more reasons are 
forthcoming. I will not dwell on the contradictions to this 
assumption furnished by the Chinese, to all of whom the high 
ethical maxims of Confucius are taught, and who yet fail to 
show us a conduct proportionately exemplary. Nor will I 
enlarge on the lesson to be derived from the United States, the 
school-system of which brings up the whole population under 
the daily influence of chapters which set forth principles of 
right conduct, and which nevertheless in its political life, and 
by many of its social occurrences, shows us that conformity to 
these principles is anything but complete. It will suffice if I 
limit myself to evidence supplied by our own society, past and 
present ; which negati ves, very decisively, these sanguine ex 
pectations. For what have we been doing all these many 
centuries by our religious agencies, but preaching right prin 
ciples to old and young ? What has been the aim of services 
in our ten thousand churches week after week, but to enforce 
a code of good conduct by promised rewards and threatened 
penalties ? the whole population having been for many gen 
erations compelled to listen. What have the multitudinous 
Dissenting chapels been used for, unless as places where pur 
suance of right and desistance from wrong have been unceas 
ingly commended to all from childhood upwards ? And if 
now it is held that something more must be done if, notwith 
standing perpetual explanations and denunciations and ex 
hortations, the misconduct is so great that society is endan 
gered, why, after all this insistance has failed, is it expected 
that more insistance will succeed ? See here the proposals and 
the implied beliefs. Teaching by clergymen not having 
had the desired effect, let us try teaching by schoolmasters. 
Bible-reading from a pulpit, with the accompaniment of im 
posing architecture, painted windows, tombs, and " dim re 
ligious light," having proved inadequate, suppose we try 
bible - reading in rooms with bare walls, relieved only by 
maps and drawings of animals. Commands and interdicts 
uttered by a surpliced priest to minds prepared by chant and 
organ-peal, not having been obeyed, let us see whether they 
will be obeyed w r hen mechanically repeated in schoolboy sing- 


song to a threadbare usher, amid the buzz of lesson-learning 
and clatter of slates. Not very hopeful proposals, one would 
say ; proceeding, as they do, upon one or other of the beliefs, 
that a moral precept will be effective in proportion as it is 
received without emotional accompaniment, and that its 
effectiveness will increase in proportion to the number of 
times it is repeated. Both these beliefs are directly at vari 
ance with the results of psychological analysis and of daily 
experience. Certainly, such influence as may be gained by 
addressing moral truths to the intellect, is made greater if the 
accompaniments arouse an appropriate emotional excitement, 
as a religious service does ; while, conversely, there can be no 
more effectual way of divesting such moral truths of their 
impress! veness, than associating them with the prosaic and 
vulgarizing sounds and sights and smells coming from 
crowded children. And no less certain is it that precepts 
often heard and little regarded, lose by repetition the small 
influence they had. What do public-schools show us ? are 
the boys rendered merciful to one another by listening to re 
ligious injunctions every morning ? What do Universities 
show us ? have perpetual chapels habitually made under 
graduates behave better than the average of young men ? 
What do Cathedral-towns show us ? is there in them a moral 
tone above that of other towns, or must we from the common 
saying, " the nearer the Church," &c., infer a pervading im 
pression to the contrary ? What do clergymen s sons show 
us ? has constant insistence 011 right conduct made them 
conspicuously superior, or do we not rather hear it whispered 
that something like an opposite effect seems produced. Or, to 
take one more case, what do religious newspapers show us ? 
is it that the precepts of Christianity, more familiar to their 
writers than to other writers, are more clearly to be traced in 
their articles, or has there not ever been displayed a want of 
charity in their dealings with opponents, and is it not still dis 
played ? * Nowhere do we find that repetition of rules of right, 
already known but disregarded, produces regard for them ; but 
we find that, contrariwise, it makes regard for them less than 
before. 8 

The prevailing assumption is, indeed, as much disproved 
by analysis as it is contradicted by familiar facts. Already 


we have seen that the connexion is between action and feel 
ing ; and hence the corollary that only by a frequent passing 
of feeling into action, is the tendency to such action strength 
ened. Just as two ideas often repeated in a certain order, be 
come coherent in that order ; and just as muscular motions, 
at first difficult to combine properly with one another and 
with guiding perceptions, become by practice facile, and at 
length automatic ; so the recurring production of any conduct 
by its prompting emotion, makes that conduct relatively easy. 
Not by precept, though heard daily ; not by example, unless it 
is followed ; not only by action, often caused by the related 
feeling, can a moral habit be formed. And yet this truth, 
which Mental Science clearly teaches, and which is in har 
mony with familiar sayings, is a truth wholly ignored in 
current educational fanaticisms. 

There is ignored, too, the correlative truth ; and ignoring 
it threatens results still more disastrous. While we see an 
expectation of benefits which the means used cannot achieve, 
we see no consciousness of injuries which will be entailed by 
these means. As usually happens with those absorbed in the 
eager pursuit of some good by governmental action, there is a 
blindness to the evil reaction on the natures of citizens. Al 
ready the natures of citizens have suffered from kindred 
reactions, due to actions set up centuries ago ; and now the 
mischievous effects are to be increased by further such reac 

The English people are complained of as improvident. 
Very few of them lay by in anticipation of times when work 
is slack; and the general testimony is that higher wages 
commonly result only in more extravagant living or in drink 
ing to greater excess. As we saw a while since, they neglect 
opportunities of becoming shareholders in the Companies they 
are engaged under ; and those who are most anxious for their 
welfare despair on finding how little they do to raise them 
selves when they have the means. This tendency to seize 
immediate gratification regardless of future penalty, is com 
mented on as characteristic of the English people ; and con 
trasts between them and their Continental neighbours having 
been drawn, surprise is expressed that such contrasts should 


exist. Improvidence is spoken of as an inexplicable trait of 
the race no regard being paid to the fact that races with 
which it is compared are allied in blood. The people of Nor 
way are economical and extremely prudent. The Danes, too, 
are thrifty ; and Defoe, commenting on the extravagance of 
his countrymen, says that a Dutchman gets rich on wages out 
of which an Englishman but just lives. So, too, if we take 
the modern Germans. Alike by the complaints of the Amer 
icans, that the Germans are ousting them from their own 
businesses by working hard and living cheaply, and by the 
success here of German traders and the preference shown for 
German waiters, we are taught that in other divisions of the 
Teutonic race there is nothing like this lack of self-control. 
Nor can we ascribe to such portion of Norman blood as exists 
among us, this peculiar trait : descendants of the Normans in 
France are industrious and saving. Why, then, should the 
English people be improvident ? If we seek explanation in 
their remote lineage, we find none ; but if we seek it in the 
social conditions to which they have been subject, we find a 
sufficient explanation. The English are improvident 

because they have been for ages disciplined in improvidence. 
Extravagance has been made habitual by shielding them 
from the sharp penalties extravagance brings. Carefulness 
has been discouraged by continually showing to the careful 
that those who were careless did as well as, or better than, 
themselves. Nay, there have been positive penalties on care 
fulness. Labourers working hard and paying their way, have 
constantly found themselves called on to help in supporting 
the idle around them ; have had their goods taken under dis 
tress-warrants, that paupers might be fed; and eventually 
have found themselves and their children reduced also to 
pauperism. 4 Well-conducted poor women, supporting them 
selves without aid or encouragement, have seen the ill-con 
ducted receiving parish-pay for their illegitimate children. 
Nay, to such extremes has the process gone, that women with 
many illegitimate children, getting from the rates a weekly 
sum for each, have been chosen as wives by men who wanted 
the sums thus derived ! Generation after generation the hon 
est and independent, not marrying till they had means, and 
striving to bring up their families without assistance, have 


been saddled with extra burdens, and hindered from leaving 
a desirable posterity ; while the dissolute and the idle, espe 
cially when given to that lying and servility by which those 
in authority are deluded, have been helped to produce and to 
rear progeny, characterized, like themselves, by absence of 
the mental traits needed for good citizenship. And then, 
after centuries during which we have been breeding the race 
as much as possible from the improvident, and repressing the 
multiplication of the provident, we lift our hands and exclaim 
at the recklessness our people exhibit ! If men who, for a 
score generations, had by preference bred from their worst- 
tempered horses and their least-sagacious dogs, were then to 
wonder because their horses were vicious and their dogs 
stupid, we should think the absurdity of their policy paral 
leled only by the absurdity of their astonishment ; but hu 
man beings instead of inferior animals being in question, no 
absurdity is seen either in the policy or in the astonishment. 
And now something more serious happens than the over 
looking of these evils \vrought on men s natures by centuries 
of demoralizing influences. We are deliberately establishing 
further such influences. Having, as much as we could, sus 
pended the civilizing discipline of an industrial life so carried 
on as to achieve self-maintenance without injury to others, 
we now proceed to suspend that civilizing discipline in 
another direction. Having in successive generations done 
our best to diminish the sense of responsibility, by warding- 
off evils which disregard of responsibility brings, we now 
carry the policy further by relieving parents from certain 
other responsibilities which, in the order of nature, fall on 
them. By way of checking recklessness, and discouraging 
improvident marriages, and raising the conception of duty, 
we are diffusing the belief that it is not the concern of parents 
to fit their children for the business of life ; but that the na 
tion is bound to do this. Everywhere there is a tacit enuncia 
tion of the marvellous doctrine that citizens are not responsi 
ble individually for thebringing-up, each of his own children, 
but that these same citizens incorporated into a society, are 
each of them responsible for the bringing-up of everybody 
else s children ! The obligation does not fall upon A in his 
capacity of father, to rear the minds as well as the bodies of 


his offspring ; but in his capacity of citizen, there does fall on 
him the obligation of mentally rearing the offspring of B, C, 
D, and the rest; who similarly have their direct parental 
obligations made secondary to their indirect obligations to 
children not their own ! Already it is estimated that, as mat 
ters are now being arranged, parents will soon pay in school- 
fees for their own children, only one-sixth of the amount 
which is paid by them through taxes, rates, and voluntary 
contributions, for children at large : in terms of money, the 
claims of children at large to their care, will be taken as six 
times the claim of their own children ! And if, looking back 
forty years, we observe the growth of the public claim versus 
the private claim, we may infer that the private claim will 
presently be absorbed wholly. Already the correlative theory 
is becoming so definite and positive that you meet with the 
notion, uttered as though it were an unquestionable truth, 
that criminals are " society s failures. Presently it will be 
seen that, since good bodily development, as well as good 
mental development, is a pre-requisite to good citizenship, (for 
without it the citizen cannot maintain himself, and so avoid 
wrong-doing,) society is responsible also for the proper feeding 
and clothing of children : indeed, in School-Board discussions, 
there is already an occasional admission that no logically- 
defensible halting-place can be found between the two. And 
so we are progressing towards the wonderful notion, here and 
there finding tacit expression, that people are to marry when 
they feel inclined, and other people are to take the conse 
quences ! 

And this is thought to be the policy conducive to improve 
ment of behaviour. Men who have been made improvident 
by being shielded from many of the evil results of improvi 
dence, are now to be made more provident by further shield 
ing them from the evil results of improvidence. Having had 
their self-control decreased by social arrangements which less 
ened the need for self-control, other social arrangements are 
devised which will make self-control still less needful ; and it 
is hoped so to make self-control greater. This expectation is 
absolutely at variance with the whole order of things. Life 
of every kind, human included, proceeds on an exactly-oppo 
site principle. All lower types of beings show us that the 


rearing of offspring 1 affords the highest discipline for the 
faculties. The parental instinct is everywhere that which 
calls out the energies most persistently, and in the greatest 
degree exercises the intelligence. The self-sacrifice and the 
sagacity which inferior creatures display in the care of their 
young, are often commented upon ; and everyone may see 
that parenthood produces a mental exaltation not otherwise 
producible. That it is so among mankind is daily proved. 
Continually we remark that men who were random grow 
steady when they have children to provide for ; and vain, 
thoughtless girls, becoming mothers, begin to show higher 
feelings, and capacities that were not before drawn out. In 
both there is a daily discipline in unselfishness, in industry, 
in foresight. The parental relation strengthens from hour to 
hour the habit of postponing immediate ease and egoistic 
pleasure to the altruistic pleasure obtained by furthering the 
welfare of offspring. There is a frequent subordination of 
the claims of self to the claims of fellow-beings ; and by no 
other agency can the practice of this subordination be so 
effectually secured. Not, then, by a decreased, but by an 
increased, sense of parental responsibility is self-control to be 
made greater and recklessness to be checked. And yet the 
policy now so earnestly and undoubtingly pursued is one 
which will inevitably diminish the sense of parental responsi 
bility. This all-important discipline of parents emotions is 
to be weakened that children may get reading and grammar 
and geography more generally than they would otherwise do. 
A superficial intellectualization is to be secured at the cost of 
a deep-seated demoralization. 

Few, I suppose, will deliberately assert that information is 
important and character relatively unimportant. Everyone 
observes from time to time how much more valuable to him 
self and others is the workman who, though unable to read, is 
diligent, sober, and honest, than is the well-taught workman 
who breaks his engagements, spends days in drinking, and 
neglects his family. And, comparing members of the upper 
classes, no one doubts that the spendthrift or the gambler, 
however good his intellectual training, is inferior as a social 
unit to the man who, not having passed through the approved 
curriculum, nevertheless prospers by performing well the 


work he undertakes, and provides for his children instead of 
leaving them in poverty to the care of relatives. That is to 
say, looking at the matter in the concrete, all see that for 
social welfare, good character is more important than much 
knowledge. And yet the manifest corollary is not drawn. 
What effect will be produced on character by artificial appli 
ances for spreading knowledge, is not asked. Of the ends to 
be kept in view by the legislator, all are unimportant com 
pared with the end of character-making ; and yet character- 
making is an end wholly unrecognized. 

Let it be seen that the future of a nation depends on the 
natures of its units ; that their natures are inevitably modified 
in adaptation to the conditions in which tliey are placed ; 
that the feelings called into play by these conditions will 
strengthen, while those which have diminished demands on 
them will dwindle ; and it will be seen that the bettering of 
conduct can be effected, not by insisting on maxims of good 
conduct, still less by mere intellectual culture, but only by 
that daily exercise of the higher sentiments and repression of 
the lower, which results from keeping men subordinate to the 
requirements of orderly social life letting them suffer the 
inevitable penalties of breaking these requirements and reap 
the benefits of conforming to them. This alone is national 

One further instance of the need for psychological in 
quiries as guides to sociological conclusions may be named 
an instance of quite a different kind, but one no less relevant 
to questions of the time. I refer to the comparative psychol 
ogy of the sexes. Women, as well as men, are units in a 
society ; and tend by their natures to give that society certain 
traits of structure and action. Hence the question Are the 
mental natures of men and women the same ? is an impor 
tant one to the sociologist. If they are, an increase of femi 
nine influence is not likely to affect the social type in a 
marked manner. If they are not, the social type will inevi 
tably be changed by increase of feminine influence. 

That men and women are mentally alike, is as untrue as 
that they are alike bodily. Just as certainly as they have 
physical differences which are related to the respective parts 


they play in the maintenance of the race, so certainly have 
they psychical differences, similarly related to their respective 
shares in the rearing and protection of offspring. To suppose 
that along with the unlikenesses between their parental activ 
ities there do not go unlikenesses of mental faculties, is to 
suppose that here alone in all Nature, there is no adjustment 
of special powers to special functions. 6 

Two classes of differences exist between the psychical, as 
between the physical, structures of men and women, which 
are both determined by this same fundamental need adapta 
tion to the paternal and maternal duties. The first set of 
differences is that which results from a somewhat-earlier 
arrest of individual evolution in women than in men ; necessi 
tated by the reservation of vital power to meet the cost of re 
production. Whereas, in man, individual evolution continues 
until the physiological cost of self -maintenance very nearly 
balances what nutrition supplies, in woman, an arrest of indi 
vidual development takes place while there is yet a con 
siderable margin of nutrition : otherwise there could be no 
offspring. Hence the fact that girls come earlier to maturity 
than boys. Hence, too, the chief contrasts in bodily form : 
the masculine figure being distinguished from the feminine 
by the greater relative sizes of the parts which carry on ex 
ternal actions and entail physiological cost the limbs, and 
those thoracic viscera which their activity immediately taxes. 
And hence, too, the physiological truth that throughout their 
lives, but especially during the child-bearing age, women ex 
hale smaller quantities of carbonic acid, relatively to their 
weights, than men do ; showing that the evolution of energy 
is relatively less as well as absolutely less. This rather earlier 
cessation of individual evolution thus necessitated, showing 
itself in a rather smaller growth of the nervo-muscular sys 
tem, so that both the limbs which act and the brain which 
makes them act are somewhat less, has two results on the 
mind. The mental manifestations have somewhat less of 
general power or massiveness ; and beyond this there is a per 
ceptible falling-short in those two faculties, intellectual and 
emotional, which are the latest products of human evolution 
the power of abstract reasoning and that most abstract of 
the emotions, the sentiment of justice the sentiment which 


regulates conduct irrespective of personal attachments and 
the likes or dislikes felt for individuals. 6 

After this quantitative mental distinction, which becomes 
incidentally qualitative by telling most upon the most recent 
and most complex faculties, there come the qualitative mental 
distinctions consequent on the relations of men and women 
to their children and to one another. Though the parental 
instinct, which, considered in its essential nature, is a love of 
the helpless, is common to the two ; yet it is obviously not 
identical in the two. That the particular form of it which 
responds to infantine helplessness is more dominant in women 
than in men, cannot be questioned. In man the instinct is 
not so habitually excited by the very helpless, but has a more 
generalized relation to all the relatively-weak who are depen 
dent upon him. Doubtless, along with this more specialized 
instinct in w r ornen, there go special aptitudes for dealing with 
infantine life an adapted power of intuition and a fit adjust 
ment of behaviour. That there is here a mental specializa 
tion, joined with the bodily specialization, is undeniable ; and 
this mental specialization, though primarily related to the 
rearing of offspring, affects in some degree the conduct at 

The remaining qualitative distinctions between the minds 
of men and women, are those which have grow r n out of their 
mutual relation as stronger and weaker. If we trace the 
genesis of human character, by considering the conditions of 
existence through which the human race passed in early bar 
baric times and during civilization, we shall see that the 
weaker sex has naturally acquired certain mental traits by its 
dealings with the stronger. In the course of the struggles for 
existence among wild tribes, those tribes survived in which 
the men were not only powerful and courageous, but aggres 
sive, unscrupulous, intensely egoistic. Necessarily, then, the 
men of the conquering races which gave origin to the civil 
ized races, were men in whom the brutal characteristics were 
dominant ; and necessarily the women of such races, having 
to deal with brutal men, prospered in proportion as they pos 
sessed, or acquired, fit adjustments of nature. How were 
women, unable by strength to hold their own, otherwise en 
abled to hold their own ? Several mental traits helped them 


to do this. We may set down, first, the ability to 

please, and the concomitant love of approbation. Clearly, 
other things equal, among women living at the mercy of men, 
those who succeeded most in pleasing would be the most likely 
to survive and leave posterity. And (recognizing the pre 
dominant descent of qualities on the same side) this, acting on 
successive generations, tended to establish, as a feminine trait, 
a special solicitude to be approved, and an aptitude of manner 
to this end. Similarly, the wives of merciless savages 

must, other things equal, have prospered in proportion to 
their powers of disguising their feelings. Women who be 
trayed the state of antagonism produced in them by ill-treat 
ment, would be less likely to survive and leave offspring than 
those who concealed their antagonism ; and hence, by inherit 
ance and selection, a growth of this trait proportionate to the 
requirement. In some cases, again, the arts of persua 

sion enabled women to protect themselves, and by implication 
their offspring, where, in the absence of such arts, they would 
have disappeared early, or would have reared fewer chil 
dren. One further ability may be named as likely,. to 
be cultivated and established the ability to distinguish 
quickly the passing feelings of those around. In barbarous 
times a woman who could from a movement, tone of voice, or 
expression of face, instantly detect in her savage husband the 
passion that was rising, would be likely to escape dangers run 
into by a woman less skilled in interpreting the natural lan 
guage of feeling. Hence, from the perpetual exercise of this 
power, and the survival of those having most of it. we may 
infer its establishment as a feminine faculty. Ordinarily, this 
feminine faculty, showing itself in an aptitude for guessing 
the state of mind through the external signs, end simply in 
intuitions formed without assignable reasons ; but when, as 
happens in rare cases, there is joined with it skill in psycho 
logical analysis, there results an extremely-remarkable ability 
to interpret the mental states of others. Of this ability we have 
a living example never hitherto paralleled among women, and 
in but few, if any, cases exceeded among men. Of 
course, it is not asserted that the specialities of mind here de 
scribed as having been developed in women by the necessities 
of defence in their dealings with men, are peculiar to them : 


in men also they have been developed as aids to defence in 
their dealings with one another. But the difference is that 
whereas, in their dealings with one another, men depended on 
these aids only in some measure, women in their dealings 
with men depended upon them almost wholly within the 
domestic circle as well as without it. Hence, in virtue of that 
partial limitation of heredity by sex, which many facts through 
out Nature shows us, they have come to be more marked in 
women than in men. 7 

One further distinctive mental trait in women, springs out 
of the relation of the sexes as adjusted to the welfare of the 
race. I refer to the effect which the manifestation of power 
of every kind in men, has in determining the attachments of 
women. That this is a trait inevitably produced, will be 
manifest on asking what would have happened if women had 
by preference attached themselves to the weaker men. If the 
weaker men had habitually left posterity when the stronger 
did not, a progressive deterioration of the race would have 
resulted. Clearly, therefore, it has happened (at least, since 
the cessation of marriage by capture or by purchase has 
allowed feminine choice to play an important part), that, 
among women unlike in their tastes, those who were fasci 
nated by power, bodily or mental, and who married men able 
to protect them and their children, were more likely to sur 
vive in posterity than women to whom weaker men were 
pleasing, and whose children were both less efficiently guarded 
and less capable of self-preservation if they reached maturity. 
To this admiration for power, caused thus inevitably, is ascri- 
bable the fact sometimes commented upon as strange, that 
women will continue attached to men who use them ill, 
but whose brutality goes along with power, more than 
they will continue attached to weaker men who use them 
well. With this admiration of power, primarily hav 

ing this function, there goes the admiration of power in gen 
eral ; which is more marked in women than in men, and 
shows itself both theologically and politically. That the emo 
tion of awe aroused by contemplating whatever suggests 
transcendent force or capacity, which constitutes religious 
feeling, is strongest in women, is proved in many ways. We 
read that among the Greeks the women were more religiously 


excitable than the men. Sir Rutherford Alcock tells us of 
the Japanese that " in the temples it is very rare to see any 
congregation except women and children ; the men, at any 
time, are very few, and those generally of the lower classes." 
Of the pilgrims to the temple of Juggernaut, it is stated that 
"at least five-sixths, and often nine-tenths, of them are fe 
males." And we are also told of the Sikhs, that the women 
believe in more gods than the men do. Which facts, coming 
from different races and times, sufficiently show us that the 
like fact, familiar to us in Roman Catholic countries and to 
some extent at home, is not, as many think, due to the edu 
cation of women, but has a deeper cause in natural character. 
And to this same cause is in like manner to be ascribed the 
greater respect felt by women for all embodiments and sym 
bols of authority, governmental and social. 

Thus the a priori inference, that fitness for their respec 
tive parental functions implies mental differences between 
the sexes, as it implies bodily differences, is justified ; as is 
also the kindred inference that secondary differences are 
necessitated by their relations to one another. Those uiilike- 
nesses of mind between men and women, which, under the 
conditions, were to be expected, are the unlikenesses we actu 
ally find. That they are fixed in degree, by no means follows : 
indeed, the contrary follows. Determined as we see they some 
of them are by adaptation of primitive women s natures to the 
natures of primitive men, it is inferable that as civilization re 
adjusts men s natures to higher social requirements, there 
goes on a corresponding re-adjustment between the natures of 
men and women, tending in sundry respects to diminish their 
differences. Especially may we anticipate that those mental 
peculiarities developed in women as aids to defence against 
men in barbarous times, will diminish. It is probable, too, 
that though all kinds of power will continue to be attractive 
to them, the attractiveness of physical strength and the 
mental attributes that commonly go along with it, will de 
cline ; while the attributes which conduce to social influence 
will become more attractive. Further, it is to be anticipated 
that the higher culture of women, carried 011 within such 
limits as shall not unduly tax the physique (and here, by 
higher culture, I do not mean mere language-learning and an 


extension of the detestable cramming-system at present in 
use), will in other ways reduce the contrast. Slowly leading 
to the result everywhere seen throughout the organic world, 
of a self-preserving power inversely proportionate to the 
race-preserving power, it will entail a less-early arrest of in 
dividual evolution, and a diminution of those mental differ 
ences between men and women, which the early arrest pro 

Admitting such to be changes which the future will prob 
ably see wrought out, we have meanwhile to bear in mind 
these traits of intellect and feeling which distinguish women, 
and to take note of them as factors in social phenomena- 
much more important factors than we commonly suppose. 
Considering them in the above order, we may note, first, that 
the love of the helpless, which in her maternal capacity wom 
an displays in a more special form than man, inevitably 
affects all her thoughts and sentiments ; and this being joined 
in her with a less-developed sentiment of abstract justice, she 
responds more readily when appeals to pity are made, than 
when appeals are made to equity. In foregoing chapters we 
have seen how much our social policy disregards the claims 
of individuals to whatever their efforts purchase, so long as 
no obvious misery is brought on them by the disregard ; but 
when individuals suffer in ways conspicuous enough to excite 
commiseration, they get aid, and often as much aid if their 
sufferings are caused by themselves as if they are caused by 
othersoften greater aid, indeed. This social policy, to which 
men tend in an injurious degree, women tend to still more. 
The maternal instinct delights in yielding benefits apart from 
deserts; and being partially excited by whatever shows a 
feebleness that appeals for help (supposing antagonism has 
not been aroused), carries into social action this preference of 
generosity to justice, even more than men do. A further 
tendency having the same general direction, results from the 
aptitude which the feminine intellect has to dwell on the con 
crete and proximate rather than on the abstract and remote. 
The representative faculty in women deals quickly and clearly 
with the personal, the special, and the immediate ; but less 
readily grasps the general and the impersonal. A vivid im 
agination of simple direct consequences mostly shuts out from 


her mind the imagination of consequences that are complex 
and indirect. The respective behaviours of mothers and fathers 
to children, sufficiently exemplify this difference, mothers 
thinking chiefly of present effects on the conduct of children, 
and regarding less the distant effects on their characters ; while 
fathers often repress the promptings of their sympathies with 
a view to ultimate benefits. And this difference between their 
ways of estimating consequences, affecting their judgments on 
social affairs as on domestic affairs, makes women err still 
more than men do in seeking what seems an immediate pub 
lic good without thought of distant public evils. Once more, 
we have in women the predominant awe of power and au 
thority, swaying their ideas and sentiments about all institu 
tions. This tends towards the strengthening of governments, 
political and ecclesiastical. Faith in whatever presents itself 
with imposing accompaniments, is, for the reason above as 
signed, especially strong in women. Doubt, or criticism, or 
calling-in-question of things that are established, is rare among 
them. Hence in public affairs their influence goes towards 
the maintenance of controlling agencies, arid does not resist 
the extension of such agencies : rather, in pursuit of immedi 
ate promised benefits, it urges on that extension ; since the 
concrete good in view excludes from their thoughts the re 
mote evils of multiplied restraints. Reverencing power more 
than men do, women, by implication, respect freedom less 
freedom, that is, not of the nominal kind, but of that real kind 
which consists in the ability of each to carry on his own life 
without hindrance from others, so long as he does not hinder 

As factors in social phenomena, these distinctive mental 
traits of women have ever to be remembered. Women have 
in all times played a part, and, in modern days, a very nota 
ble part, in determining social arrangements. They act both 
directly and indirectly. Directly, they take a large, if not the 
larger, share in that ceremonial government which supple 
ments the political and ecclesiastical governments , and as 
supporters of these other governments, especially the ecclesi 
astical, their direct aid is by no means unimportant. Indi 
rectly, they act by modifying the opinions and sentiments of 
men first, in education, when the expression of maternal 


thoughts and feelings affects the thoughts and feelings of 
boys, and afterwards in domestic and social intercourse, dur 
ing which the feminine sentiments sway men s public acts, 
both consciously and unconsciously. Whether it is desirable 
that the share already taken by women in determining social 
arrangements and actions should be increased, is a question 
we will leave undiscussed. Here I am concerned merely to 
point out that, in the course of a psychological preparation for 
the study of Sociology, we must include the- comparative psy 
chology of the sexes ; so that if any change is made, we may 
make it knowing what we are doing. 

Assent to the general proposition set forth in this chapter, 
does not depend on assent to the particular propositions un 
folded in illustrating it. Those who, while pressing forward 
education, are so certain they know what good education is, 
that, in an essentially-Papal spirit, they wish to force chil 
dren through their existing school-courses, under penalty on 
parents who resist, w T ill not have their views modified by 
what has been said. I do not look, either, for any appreciable 
effect on those who shut out from consideration the reactive 
influence on moral nature, entailed by the action of a system 
of intellectual culture w r hich habituates parents to make the 
public responsible for their children s minds. Nor do I think 
it likely that many of those who wish to change funda 
mentally the political status of women, will be influenced by 
the considerations above set forth on the comparative psy 
chology of the sexes. But without acceptance of these illus 
trative conclusions, there may be acceptance of the general 
conclusion, that psychological truths underlie sociological 
truths, and must therefore be sought by the sociologist. For 
whether discipline of the intellect does or does not change the 
emotions; whether national character is or is not progres 
sively adapted to social conditions ; whether the minds of 
men and women are or are not alike ; are obviously psycho 
logical questions ; and either answer to any one of them, im 
plies a psychological conclusion. Hence, whoever on any of 
these questions has a conviction to which he would give legis 
lative expression, is basing a sociological belief upon a psy 
chological belief ; and cannot deny that the one is true only 


if the other is true. Having admitted this, he must admit 
that without preparation in Mental Science there can be no 
Social Science. For, otherwise, he must assert that the ran 
domly-made and carelessly-grouped observations on Mind, 
common to all people, are better as guides than observations 
cautiously collected, critically examined, and generalized in a 
systematic way. 

No one, indeed, who is once led to dwell on the matter, can 
fail to see how absurd is the supposition that there can be a 
rational interpretation of men s combined actions, without a 
previous rational interpretation of those thoughts and feelings 
by which their individual actions are prompted. Nothing 
comes out of a society but what originates in the motive of an 
individual, or in the united similar motives of many individ 
uals, or in the conflict of the united similar motives of some 
having certain interests, with the diverse motives of others 
whose interests are diff erent. Always the power which initi 
ates a change is feeling, separate or aggregated, guided to its 
ends by intellect ; and not even an approach to an explana 
tion of social phenomena can be made, without the thoughts 
and sentiments of citizens being recognized as factors. How, 
then, can there be a true account of social actions without a 
true account of these thoughts and sentiments ? Manifestly, 
those who ignore Psychology as a preparation for Sociology, 
can defend their position only by proving that while other 
groups of phenomena require special study, the phenomena of 
Mind, in all their variety and intricacy, are best understood 
without special study ; and that knowledge of human nature 
gained haphazard, becomes obscure and misleading in propor 
tion as there is added to it knowledge deliberately sought and 
carefully put together. 



OF readers who have .accompanied me thus far, probably 
some think that the contents of the work go beyond the limits 
implied by its title. Under the head, Study of Sociology, so 
many sociological questions have been incidentally discussed, 
that the science itself has been in a measure dealt with while 
dealing with the study of it. Admitting 1 this criticism, my 
excuse must be that the fault, if it is one, has been scarcely 
avoidable. Nothing to much purpose can be said about the 
study of any science without saying a good deal about the 
general and special truths it includes, or what the expositor 
holds to be truths. To write an essay on the study of Astron 
omy in which there should be no direct or implied conviction 
respecting the Copernican theory of the Solar System, nor any 
such recognition of the Law of Gravitation as involved ac 
ceptance or rejection of it, would be a task difficult to execute, 
and, when executed, probably of little value. Similarly with 
Sociology it is next to impossible for a writer who points out 
the way towards its truths, to exclude all tacit or avowed 
expressions of opinion about those truths ; and, were it possi 
ble to exclude such expressions of opinion, it would be at 
the cost of those illustrations needed to make his exposition 

Such must be, in part, my defence for having set down 
many thoughts which the title of this work does not cover. 
Especially have I found myself obliged thus to transgress, 
by representing the study of Sociology as the study of Evolu 
tion in its most complex form. It is clear that to one who 
considers the facts societies exhibit as having had their origin 
in supernatural interpositions, or in the wills of individual 


ruling men, the study of these facts will have an aspect 
wholly unlike that which it has to one who contemplates 
them as generated by processes of growth and development 
continuing through centuries. Ignoring, as the first view 
tacitly does, that conformity to law, in the scientific sense of 
the word, which the second view tacitly asserts, there can be 
but little community between the methods of inquiry proper 
to them respectively. Continuous causation, which in the 
one case there is little or no tendency to trace, becomes, in the 
other case, the chief object of attention ; whence it follows 
that there must be formed wholly-different ideas of the ap 
propriate modes of investigation. A foregone conclusion 
respecting the nature of social phenomena, is thus inevitably 
implied in any suggestions for the study of them. 

While, however, it must be admitted that throughout this 
work there runs the assumption that the facts, simultaneous 
and successive, which societies present, have a genesis 110 less 
natural than the genesis of facts of all other classes ; it is not 
admitted that this assumption was made unawares, or without 
warrant. At the outset, the grounds for it were examined. 
The notion, widely accepted in name though not consistently 
acted upon, that social phenomena differ from phenomena of 
most other kinds as being under special providence, we found 
to be entirely discredited by its expositors ; nor, when closely 
looked into, did the great-man-theory of social affairs prove 
to be more tenable. Besides finding that both these views, 
rooted as they are in the ways of thinking natural to primi 
tive men, would not bear criticism ; we found that even their 
defenders continually betrayed their beliefs in the production 
of social changes by natural causes tacitly admitted that 
after certain antecedents certain consequents are to be ex 
pected tacitly admitted, therefore, that some prevision is 
possible, and therefore some subject-matter for Science. 
From these negative justifications for the belief that So 
ciology is a science, we turned to the positive justifications. 
We found that every aggregate of units of any order, has 
certain traits necessarily determined by the properties of its 
units. Hence it was inferable, a priori, that, given the 
natures of the men who are their units, and certain charac 
ters in the societies formed are pre-determined other charac- 


ters being determined by the co-operation of surrounding 
conditions. The current assertion that Sociology is not 
possible, implies a misconception of its nature. Using the 
analogy supplied by a human life, we saw that just as bodily 
development and structure and function, furnish subject- 
matter for biological science, though the events set forth by 
the biographer go beyond its range ; so, social growth, and the 
rise of structures and functions accompanying it, furnish 
subject-matter for a Science of Society, though the facts with 
which historians fill their pages mostly yield no material for 
Science. Thus conceiving the scope of the science, we saw, 
on comparing rudimentary societies with one another and 
with societies in different stages of progress, that they do 
present certain common traits of structure and of function, 
as well as certain common traits of development. Further 
comparisons similarly made, opened large questions, such as 
that of the relation between social growth and organization, 
which form parts of this same science ; questions of tran 
scendent importance compared with those occupying the 
minds of politicians and writers of history 

The difficulties of the Social Science next drew our atten 
tion. We saw that in this case, though in no other case, the 
facts to be observed and generalized by the student, are ex 
hibited by an aggregate of which he forms a part. In his 
capacity of inquirer, he should have no inclination towards 
one or other conclusion respecting the phenomena to be gen 
eralized ; but in his capacity of citizen, helped to live by the 
life of his society, imbedded in its structures, sharing in its 
activities, breathing its atmosphere of thought and sentiment, 
he is partially coerced into such views as favour harmonious 
co-operation with his fellow-citizens. Hence immense ob 
stacles to the Social Science, unparalleled by those standing 
in the way of any other science. 

From considering thus generally these causes of error, we 
turned to consider them specially. Under the head of objec 
tive difficulties, wejglanced at those many ways in which evi 
dence collected by the sociological inquirer is vitiated. That 
extreme untrustworthiness of witnesses which results from 
carelessness, or fanaticism, or self-interest, was illustrated; 


and we saw that, in addition to the perversions of statement 
hence arising, there are others which arise from the tendency 
there is for some kinds of evidence to draw attention, while 
evidence of opposite kinds, much larger in quantity, draws no 
attention. Further, it was shown that the nature of socio 
logical facts, each of which is not observable in a single object 
or act, but is reached only through registration and compari 
son of many objects and acts, makes the perception of them 
harder than that of other facts. It was pointed out that the 
wide distribution of social phenomena in Space, greatly hin 
ders true apprehensions of them ; and it was also pointed out 
that another impediment, even still greater, is consequent on 
their distribution in Time a distribution such that many of 
the facts to be dealt with, take centuries to unfold, and can be 
grasped only by combining in thought multitudinous changes 
that are slow, involved, and not easy to trace. Beyond 

these difficulties which we grouped as distinguishing the 
science itself, objectively considered, we saw that there are 
other difficulties, conveniently to be grouped as subjective, 
which are also great. For the interpretation of human con 
duct as socially displayed, every one is compelled to use, as a 
key, his own nature ascribing to others thoughts and feelings 
like his own ; and yet, while this automorphic interpretation 
is indispensable, it is necessarily more or less misleading. 
Very generally, too, a subjective difficulty arises from the lack 
of intellectual faculty complex enough to grasp these social 
phenomena, which are so extremely involved. And again, 
very few have by culture gained that plasticity of faculty 
requisite for conceiving and accepting those immensely-varied 
actualities which societies in different times and places dis 
play, and those multitudinous possibilities to be inferred from 
them. Nor, of subjective difficulties, did these exhaust 

the list. From the emotional, as well as from the intellectual, 
part of the nature, we saw that there arise obstacles. The 
ways in which beliefs about social affairs are perverted by in 
tense fears and excited hopes, were pointed out. We noted 
the feeling of impatience, as another common cause of mis- 
judgment. A contrast was drawn showing, too, what per 
verse estimates of public events men are led to make by their 
sympathies and antipathies how, where their hate has been 


aroused, they utter unqualified condemnations of ill-deeds for 
which there was much excuse, while, if their admiration is 
excited by vast successes, they condone inexcusable ill-deeds 
immeasurably greater in amount. And we also saw that 
among the distortions of judgment caused by the emotions, 
have to be included those immense ones generated by the 
sentiment of loyalty to a personal ruler, or to a ruling power 
otherwise embodied. 

These distortions of judgment caused by the emotions, thus 
indicated generally, we went on to consider specially treat 
ing of them as different forms of bias. Though, during edu 
cation, understood in a wide sense, many kinds of bias are 
commenced or given, there is one which our educational sys 
tem makes especially strong the double bias in favour of the 
religions of enmity and of amity. Needful as we found both 
of these to be, we perceived that among the beliefs about social 
affairs, prompted now by the one and now by the other, there 
are glaring incongruities ; and that scientific conceptions can be 
formed only when there is a compromise between the dictates 
of pure egoism and the dictates of pure altruism, for which 
they respectively stand. We observed, next, the warp 

ing of opinion which the bias of patriotism causes. Recogniz 
ing the truth that the preservation of a society is made possi 
ble only by a due amount of patriotic feeling in citizens, we 
saw that this feeling inevitably disturbs the judgment when 
comparisons between societies are made, and that the data re 
quired for Social Science are thus vitiated ; and we saw that 
the effort to escape this bias, leading as it does to an oppo 
site bias, is apt to vitiate the data in another way. While 
finding the class-bias to be no less essential, we found that it 
no less inevitably causes one-sidedness in the conceptions of 
social affairs. Noting how the various sub-classes have their 
specialities of prejudice corresponding to their class-interests, 
we noted, at greater length, how the more general prejudices of 
the larger and more widely-distinguished classes, prevent them 
from forming balanced judgments. That in politics the 
bias of pai ty interferes with those calm examinations by 
which alone the conclusions of Social Science can be reached, 
scarcely needed pointing out. We observed, however, that 
beyond the political bias under its party-form, there is a more 


general political bias the bias towards an exclusively-political 
view of social affairs, and a corresponding- faith in political 
instrumentalities. As affecting the study of Social Science, 
this bias was shown to be detrimental as directing the atten 
tion too much to the phenomena of social regulation, and ex 
cluding from thought the activities regulated, constituting an 
aggregate of phenomena far more important. Lastly, 

we came to the theological bias, which, under its general form 
and under its special forms, disturbs in various ways our 
judgments on social questions. Obedience to a supposed 
divine command, being its standard of rectitude, it does not 
ask concerning any social arrangement whether it conduces 
to social welfare, so much as whether it conforms to the 
creed locally established. Hence, in each place and time, 
those conceptions about public affairs which the theological 
bias fosters, tend to diverge from the truth in so far as the 
creed then and there accepted diverges from the truth. And 
besides the positive evil thus produced, there is a negative 
evil, due to discouragement of the habit of estimating actions 
by the results they eventually cause a habit which the study 
of Social Science demands. 

Having thus contemplated, in general and in detail, the 
difficulties of the Social Science, we turned our attention to the 
preliminary discipline required. Of the conclusions reached 
so recently, the reader scarcely needs reminding. Study of 
the sciences in general having been pointed out as the proper 
means of generating fit habits of thought, it was shown that 
the sciences especially to be attended to are those treating of 
Life and of Mind. There can be no understanding of social 
actions without some knowledge of human nature ; there can 
be no deep knowledge of human nature without some knowl 
edge of the laws of Mind ; there can be no adequate knowledge 
of the laws of Mind without knowledge of the laws of Life. 
And that knowledge of the Laws of Life, as exhibited in Man, 
may be properly grasped, attention must be given to the laws 
of Life in general. 

What is to be hoped from such a presentation of difficulties 
and such a programme of preparatory studies ? Who, in 
drawing his conclusions about public policies, will be made to 


hesitate by remembering the many obstacles that stand in the 
way of right judgments ? Who will think it needful to fit 
himself by inquiries so various and so extensive ? Who, in 
short, will be led to doubt any of the inferences he has drawn 
or be induced to pause before he draws others, by conscious 
ness of these many liabilities to error arising from want of 
knowledge, want of discipline, and want of duly-balanced 
sentiments ? 

To these questions there can be but the obvious reply a 
reply which the foregoing chapters themselves involve that 
very little is to be expected. The implication throughout the 
argument has been that for every society, and for each stage in 
its evolution, there is an appropriate mode of feeling and 
thinking ; and that no mode of feeling and thinking not 
adapted to its degree of evolution, and to its surroundings, can 
be permanently established. Though not exactly, still approxi 
mately, the average opinion in any age and country, is a func 
tion of the social structure in that age arid country. There 
may be, as we see during times of revolution, a considerable 
incongruity between the ideas that become current and the 
social arrangements which exist, and are, in great measure, 
appropriate ; though even then the incongruity does but mark 
the need for a re-adjustment of institutions to character. 
While, however, those successive compromises which, during 
social evolution, have to be made between the changed natures 
of citizens and the institutions evolved by ancestral citizens, im 
ply disagreements, yet these are but partial and temporary in 
those societies, at least, which are developing and not in course 
of dissolution. For a society to hold together, the institutions 
that are needed and the conceptions that are generally current, 
must be in tolerable harmony. Hence, it is not to be expected 
that modes of thinking on social affairs, are to be in any con 
siderable degree changed by whatever may be said respecting 
the Social Science, its difficulties, and the required preparations 
for studying it. 

The only reasonable hope is, that here and there one may 
be led, in calmer moments, to remember how largely his be 
liefs about public matters have been made for him by circum 
stances, and how probable it is that they are either untrue or 
but partially true. When he reflects on the doubtfulness of 


the evidence which he generalizes, collected hap-hazard from 
a narrow area when he counts up the perverting sentiments 
fostered in him by education, country, class, party, creed 
when, observing those around, he sees that from other evi 
dence selected to gratify sentiments partially unlike his own, 
there result unlike views ; he may occasionally recollect how 
largely mere accidents have determined his convictions. Rec 
ollecting this, he may be induced to hold these convictions 
not quite so strongly ; may see the need for criticism of them 
with a view to revision ; and, above all, may be somewhat less 
eager to act in pursuance of them. 

While the few to whom a Social Science is conceivable, 
may in some degree be thus influenced by what is said con 
cerning the study of it, there can, of course, be no effect on 
the many to whom such a science seems an absurdity, or an 
impiety, or both. The feeling usually excited by the proposal 
to deal scientifically with these most-complex phenomena, is 
like that which was excited in ancient times by the proposal 
to deal scientifically with phenomena of simpler kinds. As 
Mr. Grote writes of Socrates 

" Physics and astronomy, in his opinion, belonged to the divine 
class of phenomena, in which human research was insane, fruitless, 
and impious." 1 

And as he elsewhere writes respecting the attitude of the 
Greek mind in general : 

"In his [the early Greek s] view, the description of the sun, as 
given in a modern astronomical treatise, would have appeared not 
merely absurd, but repulsive and impious : even in later times, when 
the positive spirit of inquiry had made considerable progress, Anaxago- 
ras and other astronomers incurred the charge of blasphemy for dis- 
personifying Helios, and trying to assign invariable laws to the solar 
phenomena." 2 

That a likeness exists between the feeling then displayed 
respecting phenomena of inorganic nature, and the feeling 
now displayed respecting phenomena of Life and Society, is 
manifest. The ascription of social actions and political events 
entirely to natural causes, thus leaving out Providence as a 
factor, seems to the religious mind of our day, as seemed to 
the mind of the pious Greek the dispersonification of Helios 


and the explanation of celestial motions otherwise than by 
immediate divine agency. As was said by Mr. Gladstone, in 
a speech made shortly after the first publication of the second 
chapter of this volume 

" I lately read a discussion on the manner in which the raising up 
of particular individuals occasionally occurs in great crises of human 
history, as if some sacred, invisible power had raised them up and 
placed them in particular positions for special purposes. The writer 
says that they are not uniform, but admits that they are common so 
common and so remarkable that men would be liable to term them 
providential in a pre-scientific age. And this was said without the 
smallest notion apparently in the writer s mind that he was giving 
utterance to anything that could startle or alarm it was said as a 
kind of commonplace. It would seem that in his view there was a 
time when mankind, lost in ignorance, might, without forfeiting en 
tirely their title to the name of rational creatures, believe in a Provi 
dence, but that since that period another and greater power has arisen 
under the name of science, and this power has gone to war with Provi 
dence, and Providence is driven from the field and we have now the 
happiness of living in the scientific age, when Providence is no longer 
to be treated as otherwise than an idle dream." 3 

Of the mental attitude, very general beyond the limits of 
the scientific world, which these utterances of Mr. Gladstone 
exemplify, he has since given further illustration ; and, in his 
anxiety to check a movement he thinks mischievous, has so 
conspicuously made himself the exponent of the anti-scientific 
view, that we may fitly regard his thoughts on the matter as 
typical. In an address delivered by him at the Liverpool Col 
lege, and since re-published with additions, he says : 

" Upon the ground of what is termed evolution, God is relieved of 
the labour of creation ; in the name of unchangeable laws, He is dis 
charged from governing the world." 

This passage proves the kinship between Mr. Gladstone s con 
ception of things and that entertained by the Greeks, to be 
even closer than above alleged ; for its implication is, not 
simply that the scientific interpretation of vital and social 
phenomena as conforming to fixed laws, is repugnant to him, 
but that the like interpretation of inorganic phenomena is re 
pugnant. In common with the ancient Greek, he regards as 
irreligious, any explanation of Nature which dispenses with 
immediate divine superintendence. He appears to overlook 


the fact that the doctrine of gravitation, with the entire sci 
ence of physical Astronomy, is open to the same charge as this 
which he makes against the doctrine of evolution ; and he 
seems not to have remembered that throughout the past, each 
further step made by Science has been denounced for reasons 
like those which he assigns. 4 

It is instructive to observe, however, that in these prevail 
ing conceptions expressed by Mr. Gladstone, which we have 
here to note as excluding the conception of a Social Science, 
there is to be traced a healthful process of compromise be 
tween old and new. For as in the current conceptions about 
the order of events in the lives of persons, there is a partner 
ship, wholly illogical though temporarily convenient, between 
the ideas of natural causation and of providential interference ; 
so, in the current political conceptions, the belief in divine in 
terpositions goes along with, and by no means excludes, the 
belief in a natural production of effects on society by natural 
agencies set to work. In relation to the occurrences of indi 
vidual life, we displayed our national aptitude for thus enter 
taining mutually-destructive ideas, when an unpopular prince 
suddenly gained popularity by outliving certain abnormal 
changes in his blood, and when, on the occasion of his re 
covery, providential aid and natural causation were unitedly 
recognized by a thanksgiving to God and a baronetcy to the 
doctor. And similarly, we see that throughout all our public 
actions, the theory which Mr. Gladstone represents, that great 
men are providentially raised up to do things God has decided 
upon, and that the course of affairs is supernaturally ordered 
thus or thus, does not in the least interfere with the passing 
of measures calculated to achieve desired ends in ways classed 
as natural, and nowise modifies the discussion of such meas 
ures on their merits, as estimated in terms of cause and conse 
quence. While the prayers with which each legislative sitting 
commences, show a nominal belief in an immediate divine 
guidance, the votes with which the sitting ends, given in pur 
suance of reasons which the speeches assign, show us a real 
belief that the effects will be determined by the agencies set 
to work. 

Still, it is clear that the old conception, while it qualifies 
the new but little in the regulating of actions, qualifies it very 


much in the forming of theories. There can be no complete 
acceptance of Sociology as a science, so long as the belief in a 
social order not conforming to natural law, survives. Hence, 
as already said, considerations touching the study of Sociology, 
not very influential even over the few who recognize a Social 
Science, can have scarcely any effects on the great mass to 
whom a Social Science is an incredibility. 

I do not mean that this prevailing imperviousness to scien 
tific conceptions of social phenomena is to be regretted. As 
implied in a foregoing paragraph, it is part of the required 
adjustment between existing opinions and the forms of social 
life at present requisite. With a given phase of human char 
acter there must, to maintain equilibrium, go an adapted class 
of institutions, and a set of thoughts and sentiments in toler 
able harmony with those institutions. Hence, it is not to be 
wished that with the average human nature we now have, 
there should be a wide acceptance of views natural only to a 
more-highly-developed social state, and to the improved type 
of citizen accompanying such a state. The desirable thing is, 
that a growth of ideas and feelings tending to produce modifi 
cation, shall be joined with a continuance of ideas and feelings 
tending to preserve stability. And it is one of our satisfactory 
social traits, exhibited in a degree never before paralleled, 
that along with a mental progress which brings about con 
siderable changes, there is a devotion of thought and energy 
to the maintenance of existing arrangements, and creeds, and 
sentiments an energy sufficient even to re-invigorate some 
of the old forms and beliefs that were decaying. When, there 
fore, a distinguished statesman, anxious for human welfare as 
he ever shows himself to be, and holding that the defence of 
established beliefs must not be left exclusively to its " stand 
ing army " of " priests and ministers of religion," undertakes 
to combat opinions at variance with a creed he thinks essen 
tial ; the occurrence may be taken as adding another to the 
many signs of a healthful condition of society. That in our 
day, one in Mr. Gladstone s position should think as he does, 
seems to me very desirable. That we should have for our 
working-king one in whom a purely-scientific conception of 
things had become dominant, and who was thus out of har- 


mony with our present social state, would probably be detri 
mental, and might be disastrous. 

For it cannot be too emphatically asserted that this policy 
of compromise, alike in institutions, in actions, and in beliefs, 
which especially characterizes English life, is a policy essen 
tial to a society going through the transitions caused by con 
tinued growth and development. The illogicalities and the 
absurdities to be found so abundantly in current opinions and 
existing arrangements, are those which inevitably arise in the 
course of perpetual re-adjustments to circumstances perpetu 
ally changing. Ideas and institutions proper to a past social 
state, but incongruous with the new social state that has 
grown out of it, surviving into this new social state they have 
made possible, and disappearing only as this new social state 
establishes its own ideas and institutions, are necessarily, dur 
ing their survival, in conflict with these new ideas and insti 
tutions necessarily furnish elements of contradiction in 
men s thoughts and deeds. And yet as, for the carrying-on 
of social life, the old must continue so long as the new is not 
ready, this perpetual compromise is an indispensable accom 
paniment of a normal development. Its essentialness we may 
see on remembering that it equally holds throughout the evo 
lution of an individual organism. The structural and func 
tional arrangements during growth, are never quite right : 
always the old adjustment for a smaller size is made wrong 
by the larger size it has been instrumental in producing 
always the transition-structure is a compromise between the 
requirements of past and future, fulfilling in an imperfect 
way the requirements of the present. And this, which is 
shown clearly enough where there is simple growth, is shown 
still more clearly where there are metamorphoses. A creature 
which leads at two periods of its existence two different kinds 
of life, and which, in adaptation to its second period, has to 
develop structures that were not fitted for its first, passes 
through a stage during which it possesses both partially 
during which the old dwindles while the new grows : as hap 
pens, for instance, in creatures that continue to breathe water 
by external branchiae during the time they are developing the 
lungs that enable them to breathe air. And thus it is with 
the alterations produced by growth in societies, as well as 


with those metamorphoses accompanying 1 change in the mode 
of life especially those accompanying change from the pred 
atory life to the industrial life. Here, too, there must be 
transitional stages during which incongruous organizations 
co-exist : the first remaining indispensable until the second 
has grown up to its work. Just as injurious as it would be to 
an amphibian to cut off its branchiae before its lungs were 
well developed ; so injurious must it be to a society to destroy 
its old institutions before the new have become well-organized 
enough to take their places. 

Non-recognition of this truth characterizes too much the 
reformers, political, religious, and social, of our own time ; as 
it has characterized those of past times. On the part of men 
eager to rectify wrongs and expel errors, there is still, as there 
ever has been, so absorbing a consciousness of the evils caused 
by old forms and old ideas, as to permit no consciousness of 
the benefits these old forms and old ideas have yielded. This 
partiality of view is, in a sense, necessary. There must be 
division of labour here as elsewhere : some who have the 
function of attacking, and who, that they may attack effectu 
ally, must feel strongly the viciousness of that which they 
attack ; some who have the function of defending and who, 
that they may be good defenders, must over-value the things 
they defend. But while this one-si dediiess has to be tolerated, 
as in great measure unavoidable, it is in some respects to be 
regretted. Though, with grievances less serious and animos 
ities less intense than those which existed here in the past, 
and which exist still abroad, there go mitigated tendencies to 
a rash destructiveiiess on the one side, and an unreasoning 
bigotry on the other ; yet even in our country and age there 
are dangers from the want of a due both-sidedness. In the 
speeches and writings of those who advocate various political 
and social changes, there is so continuous a presentation of in 
justices, and abuses, and mischiefs, and corruptions, as to leave 
the impression that for securing a wholesome state of things, 
there needs nothing but to set aside present arrangements. 
The implication seems ever to be that all who occupy places 
of power, and form the regulative organization, are alone to 
blame for whatever is not as it should be ; and that the classes 
regulated are blameless. " See the injuries which these insti- 


tutions inflict on you," says the energetic reformer. " Con 
sider how selfish must be the men who maintain them to their 
own advantage and your detriment," he adds. And then he 
leaves to be drawn the manifest inference, that were these 
selfish men got rid of, all would be well. Neither he nor his 
audience recognizes the facts that regulative arrangements are 
essential ; that the arrangements in question, along with their 
many vices, have some virtues ; that such vices as thy have 
do not result from an egoism peculiar to those who uphold 
and work them, but result from a general egoism an egoism 
no less decided in those who complain than in those com 
plained of. Inequitable government can be upheld only by 
the aid of a people correspondingly inequitable, in its senti 
ments and acts. Injustice cannot reign if the community 
does not furnish a due supply of unjust agents. No tyrant 
can tyrannize over a people save on condition that the people 
is bad enough to supply him with soldiers who will fight for 
his tyranny and keep their brethren in slavery. Class-suprem 
acy cannot be maintained by the corrupt buying of votes, un 
less there are multitudes of voters venal enough to sell their 
votes. It is thus everywhere and in all degrees misconduct 
among those in power is the correlative of misconduct among 
those over whom they exercise power. 

And while, in the men who urge on changes, there is an 
unconsciousness that the evils they denounce are rooted in 
the nature common to themselves and other men, there is also 
an unconsciousness that amid the things they would throw 
away there is much worth preserving. This holds of beliefs 
more especially. Along with the destructive tendency there 
goes but little constructive tendency. The criticisms made, 
imply that it is requisite only to dissipate errors, and that it is 
needless to insist on truths. It is forgotten that, along with 
forms which are bad, there is a large amount of substance 
which is good. And those to whom there are addressed con 
demnations of the forms, unaccompanied by the caution that 
there is a substance to be preserved in higher forms, are left, 
not only without any coherent system of guiding beliefs, but 
without any consciousness that one is requisite. 

Hence the need, above admitted, for an active defence of 
that which exists, carried on by men convinced of its entire 


worth ; so that those who attack may not destroy the good 
along with the bad. 

And here let me point out distinctly, the truth already im 
plied, that studying Sociology scientifically, leads to fairer ap 
preciations of different parties, political, religious, and other. 
The conception initiated and developed by Social Science, is 
at the same time Radical and Conservative Radical to a de 
gree beyond anything which current Radicalism conceives ; 
Conservative to a degree beyond anything conceived by pres 
ent Conservatism. When there has been adequately seized 
the truth that societies are products of evolution, assuming, in 
their various times and places, their various modifications of 
structure, and function ; there follows the conviction that 
what, relatively to our thoughts and sentiments, were arrange 
ments of extreme badness, had fitnesses to conditions which 
made better arrangements impracticable : whence comes a 
tolerant interpretation of past tyrannies at which even the 
bitterest Tory of our own days would be indignant. On the 
other hand, after observing how the processes that have 
brought things to their present stage are still going on, not 
with a decreasing rapidity indicating approach to cessation, 
but with an increasing rapidity that implies long continuance 
and immense transformations ; there follows the conviction 
that the remote future has in store, forms of social life higher 
than any we have imagined : there comes a faith transcend 
ing that of the Radical, whose aim is some re-organization 
admitting of comparison to organizations which exist. And 
while this conception of societies as naturally evolved, be 
ginning with small and simple types which have their short 
existences and disappear, advancing to higher types that are 
larger, more complex, and longer-lived, coming to still-higher 
types like our own, great in size, complexity, and duration, 
and promising types transcending these in times after exist 
ing societies have died away while this conception of so 
cieties implies that in the slow course of things changes 
almost immeasurable in amount are possible, it also implies 
that but small amounts of such changes are possible within 
short periods. 

Thus, the theory of progress disclosed by the study of 


Sociology as science, is one which greatly moderates the 
hopes and the fears of extreme parties. After clearly seeing 
that the structures and actions throughout a society are de 
termined by the properties of its units, and that (external dis 
turbances apart) the society cannot be substantially and per 
manently changed without its units being substantially and 
permanently changed, it becomes easy to see that great altera 
tions cannot suddenly be made to much purpose. And when 
both the party of progress arid the party of resistance perceive 
that the institutions which at any time exist are more deeply 
rooted than they supposed when the one party perceives 
that these institutions, imperfect as they are, have a tem 
porary fitness, while the other party perceives that the main 
tenance of them, in so far as it is desirable, is in great measure 
guaranteed by the human nature they have grown out of ; 
there must come a diminishing violence of attack on one 
side, and a diminishing perversity of defence 011 the other. 
Evidently, so far as a doctrine can influence general conduct 
(which it can do, however, in but a comparatively-small de 
gree), the Doctrine of Evolution, in its social application, is 
calculated to produce a steadying effect, alike on thought and 

If, as seems likely, some should propose to draw the seem 
ingly-awkward corollary that it matters not what we believe 
or what we teach, since the process of social evolution will 
take its own course in spite of us ; I reply that while this 
corollary is in one sense true, it is in another sense untrue. 
Doubtless, from all that has been said it follows that, suppos 
ing surrounding conditions continue the same, the evolution 
of a society cannot be in any essential way diverted from its 
general course ; though it also follows (and here the corollary 
is at fault) that the thoughts and actions of individuals, being 
natural factors that arise in the course of the evolution itself, 
and aid in further advancing it, cannot be dispensed with, but 
must be severally valued as increments of the aggregate force 
producing change. But while the corollary is even here par 
tially misleading, it is, in another direction, far more seriously 
misleading. For though the process of social evolution is in 
its general character so far pre-determined, that its successive 
stages cannot be ante-dated, and that hence no teaching or 


policy can advance it beyond a certain normal rate, which is 
limited by the rate of organic modification in human beings ; 
yet it is quite possible to perturb, to retard, or to disorder the 
process. The analogy of individual development again serves 
us. The unfolding of an organism after its special type, has 
its approximately-uniform course taking its tolerably-definite 
time ; and no treatment that may be devised will fundamen 
tally change or greatly accelerate these : the best that can be 
done is to maintain the required favourable conditions. But 
it is quite easy to adopt a treatment which shall dwarf, or de 
form, or otherwise injure : the processes of growth and de 
velopment may be, and very often are, hindered or de 
ranged, though they cannot be artificially bettered. Similarly 
with the social organism. Though, by maintaining favour 
able conditions, there cannot be more good done than that of 
letting social progress go on unhindered ; yet an immensity 
of mischief may be done in the way of disturbing and dis 
torting and repressing, by policies carried out in pursuance of 
erroneous conceptions. And thus, notwithstanding first ap 
pearances to the contrary, there is a very important part to be 
played by a true theory of social phenomena. 

A few words to those who think these general conclusions 
discouraging, may be added. Probably the more enthusi 
astic, hopeful of great ameliorations in the state of mankind, 
to be brought about rapidly by propagating this belief or 
initiating that reform, will feel that a doctrine negativing 
their sanguine anticipations takes away much of the stimulus 
to exertion. If large advances in human welfare can come 
only in the slow process of things, which will inevitably bring 
them ; why should we trouble ourselves ? 

Doubtless it is true that on visionary hopes, rational criti 
cisms have a depressing influence. It is better to recognize the 
truth, however. As between infancy and maturity there is no 
shortcut by which there may be avoided the tedious process 
of growth and development through insensible increments ; so 
there is no way from the lower forms of social life to the 
higher, but one passing through small successive modifica 
tions. If we contemplate the order of nature, we see that 
everywhere vast results are brought about by accumulations 


of minute actions. The surface of the Earth has been sculp 
tured by forces which in the course of a year produce altera 
tions scarcely anywhere visible. Its multitudes of different 
organic forms have arisen by processes so slow, that, during 
the periods our observations extend over, the results are in 
most cases inappreciable. We must be content to recognize 
these truths and conform our hopes to them. Light, falling 
upon a crystal, is capable of altering its molecular arrange 
ments, but it can do this only by a repetition of impulses 
almost innumerable : before a unit of ponderable matter can 
have its rhythmical movements so increased by successive 
etherial waves, as to be detached from its combination and 
arranged in another way, millions of such etherial waves 
must successively make infinitesimal additions to its motion. 
Similarly, before there arise in human nature and human in 
stitutions, changes having that permanence which makes them 
an acquired inheritance for the human race, there must go in 
numerable recurrences of the thoughts, and feelings, and 
actions, conducive to such changes. The process cannot be 
abridged ; and must be gone through with due patience. 

Thus, admitting that for the fanatic some wild anticipation 
is needful as a stimulus, and recognizing the usefulness of his 
delusion as adapted to his particular nature and his particular 
function, the man of higher type must be content with 
greatly-moderated expectations, while he perseveres with un- 
diminished efforts. He has to see how comparatively little 
can be done, and yet to find it worth while to do that little : 
so uniting philanthropic energy w T ith philosophic calm. 


EVEN in conversations about simple matters, statements 
clearly made are often misconceived from impatience of at 
tention. The tendency to conclude quickly from small evi 
dence, which leads most people to judge of strangers on a first 
meeting, and which causes them to express surprise when to 
the question " How do you like so and so," you reply that 
you have formed no opinion, is often betrayed in their habits 
as listeners. Continually it turns out that from the beginning 
of a sentence in course of utterance, they have inferred an 
entire meaning ; and, ignoring the qualifying clauses which 
follow, quite misapprehend the idea conveyed. This impa 
tience of attention is connected with, and often results from, 
inability to grasp as a whole the elements of a complex propo 
sition. One who undertakes to explain an involved matter to 
a person of undisciplined intelligence, finds that though the 
person has understood each part of the explanation, he has 
failed to co-ordinate the parts ; because the first has dropped 
out of his mind before the last is reached. 

This holds not of listeners only, but of many readers. 
Either a premature conclusion positively formed from the 
earlier portions of an exposition, makes further reading seem 
superfluous ; or else the explanations afterwards read do not 
adequately modify this conclusion which has already ob 
tained possession, and on behalf of which some amour propre 
is enlisted ; or else there is an incapacity for comprehending 
in their totality the assembled propositions, of which the 
earlier are made tenable only by combination with the later. 

I am led to make these remarks by finding how greatly 
misunderstood have been some of the doctrines set forth in 

25 369 


this work. Where I had, as I believed, made my meaning 
clear, and where, on re-reading, the statements still seem to 
me adequate, I have been supposed to express views quite 
different from those I intended to express. The issue of this 
revised edition affords an opportunity for rectifying these 
misinterpretations, and I gladly take it. 

I will begin with one which, partly ascribable to the 
causes just indicated, is partly ascribable to another cause. It 
shows in a striking manner, how established modes of con 
ceiving things hinder the formation of alien conceptions : 
even to the extent of producing an apparent inability to form 

In Chapter XIV., I have contended that policies, legislative 
and other, which, while hindering survival of the fittest, 
further the propagation of the unfit, work grave mischiefs. In 
the course of the argument I have said : 

" Fostering the good-for-nothing at the expense of the good, is an 
extreme cruelty. It is a deliberate stirring-up of miseries for future 
generations. There is no greater curse to posterity than that of be 
queathing them an increasing population of imbeciles and idlers and 
criminals. To aid the bad in multiplying is, in effect, the same as 
maliciously providing for our descendants a multitude of enemies. 
It may be doubted whether the maudlin philanthropy which, looking 
only at direct mitigations, persistently ignores indirect mischiefs, does 
not inflict a greater total of misery than the extremest selfishness 

After insisting on the blameworthiness of those who, by 
thoughtless giving, increase suffering instead of decreasing 
it, I have guarded myself against misinterpretation by say 

" Doubtless it is in the order of things that parental affection, the 
regard of relatives, and the spontaneous generosity of friends and 
even of strangers, should mitigate the pains which incapacity has to 
bear, and the penalties which unfit impulses bring round. Doubtless 
in many cases the reactive influence of this sympathetic care which 
the better take of the worse, is morally beneficial, and in a degree 
compensates by good in one direction for evil in another. It may be 
fully admitted that individual altruism, left to itself, will work ad 
vantageously wherever, at least, it does not go to the extent of help 
ing the unworthy to multiply." 


And the reprobation I have expressed is mainly directed 
against the public agencies which do coercively what should 
be done voluntarily : as where I have said that 

"A mechanically-working State-apparatus, distributing money 
drawn from grumbling rate-payers, produces little or no moralizing 
effect on the capables to make up for multiplication of the incapables." 

Little did I think that these passages would bring on me 
condemnation as an enemy to the poor. Yet in four French 
periodicals, representing divergent schools of French opinion, 
have I been thus condemned. Here is a passage from the 
Bulletin du Mouvement Social, 15 Juin, 1879 : 

"Qu un economiste imbu exclusivement des principes du Dar- 
winisme se mette a raisonner sur la condition des miserables, votis le 
verrez arriver a un VCR mis&ris aussi barbare que le vce victis des an- 
ciens. II vous dira que, dans Finteret du progres de Fespecc, il faut 
sacrifier sans pitie ceux qui ne sont pas armes dans la lutte pour 
Fexistence. Je le ne leur fais pas dire. Ecoutez Spencer," &c. 
And here are passages from a review of the Study of Soci 
ology, published in the Revue des deux Mondes, Vol. VI. of 
1874, pp. 107-8 : 

" Condamner d avance la faiblesse et Finfirmite, c est revenir a la 
theorie lacedemonienne de 1 exposition des enfans. Si Ton etait meme 
consequent, il ne sufflrait plus de laisser mourir, il faudrait aller jusqu a 

Then representing it as monstrous to "afficher ces conse 
quences barbares au nom d une loi biologique," and reproach 
ing me with paying no regard to the social sentiments, to the 
tenderness for the feeble, and so on, the reviewer winds up by 
exclaiming : k 

"Quelle ecole de philosophic que celle ou un Las Cases, un Vincent 
de Paul, un abbe de 1 fipee, un Wilberforce, seraient considered comme 
les ennemis de Fespece humaine ! " 

M. Paul Janet, a member of the Institute of France, is the 
writer of these last passages. I have recognized, as who would 
not, the beneficence of " parental affection " as fostering the 
feeble ; and yet he describes me as practically desiring a re 
turn to the Spartan practice of exposing infants ! I have said 
that "the regard of relatives" may rightly "mitigate the 
pains which incapacity has to bear : " and yet he asserts that 
I would leave the infirm to die, and, logically, am bound to 
wish them destroyed ! I have admitted that the spontaneous 


generosity of friends and even of strangers " should qualify 
" the penalties which unfit impulses bring round ; " and yet 
the " consequences barbares " of my doctrine are represented 
as being not simply absence of aid to the inferior but active 
suppression of them ! I have said that "individual altruism, 
left to itself, will work advantageously ; " and yet it is alleged 
that I must consider the distinguished philanthropists he 
names as enemies of the human race ! 

That M. Janet s reproaches are unwarranted, and that he 
has circulated statements of my views widely at variance with 
the truth, is sufficiently manifest. A thing not so manifest is 
that he does not see, or will not see, that the general doctrine 
urged, is urged as being more humane instead of less humane. 
He is apparently blind to the fact that a kindness which con 
siders only proximate effects may be, and often is, much less 
in degree than a kindness which takes into account ultimate 
effects. A sympathy which thinks only of the suffering an 
operation will give, and exclaims at the cruelty of performing 
it, is a sympathy inferior to that which, equally affected by 
the pain inflicted, nevertheless inflicts it, that dying agonies 
may be escaped and restoration to health and happiness 
achieved. Anxiety for the welfare of the poor and efforts on 
their behalf may coexist with profound disapproval of, and 
strong opposition to, all policies which forcibly burden the 
worthy that the unworthy may be fostered. If an illustration 
of their coexistence be asked, I can furnish a conclusive one 
in the case of a late relative of mine, the Rev. Thos. Spencer, 
for many years clergyman of a rural parish in Somerset 
shire. Uncared-for as were his parishioners when he went 
among them, he established first a Sunday-school, then a vil 
lage day-school, then a village-library, then land-allotments 
for labourers, then a clothing club. To his local philanthropic 
actions were added general ones. He made efforts for church- 
reform (thus offending his bishop and destroying his chance 
of preferment) ; he publicly shared in a movement for extend 
ing the suffrage ; he took an active part as writer and speaker 
in the Aiiti-Corn-Law agitation ; he gave countless lectures in 
furtherance of temperance. When not otherwise occupied he 
wrote pamphlets (twenty-two in number) all directed in one or 
other way to improving the condition, bodily and mental, of 


the masses ; and he eventually died prematurely from the 
effects of over-work in seeking to ameliorate the lives of the 
less-happily placed and the less-happily constituted. And 
now what were his views on the question here at issue ? Orig 
inally, while yet his experience of results was narrow, he 
was always on the side of the pauper and against the over 
seer ; but as his experience widened, first in his own parish 
and then as chairman of the Bath Union, he became an 
avowed opponent to all compulsory charity. Of his four 
tracts under the title Reasons for a Poor-law considered, 
dated 1841, the first, setting out by adverting to the evils a 
Poor-law entails, asks, " whether there are any adequate rea 
sons that such a law should exist at all ; " and the remaining 
three are occupied in showing that there are no adequate rea 
sons. In the course of the argument he gives cases, coming 
under his own observation, of the sufferings caused. He 
names industrious men for many weeks out of work, com 
pelled to pay rates and starve their children, that the idle 
might not be hungry ; men invalided, whose allowances from 
sick clubs to which they had for years subscribed, were in 
part swept away by the overseer s agent ; widows whose off 
spring had to be further pinched that support might be given 
to women with illegitimate offspring ; artizans settled in other 
parishes, losing their goods by distraint for nonpayment of 
rates and obliged to return to their own parishes as paupers. 
These and other such atrocities committed in the name of 
Law, strengthened in him the conviction otherwise reached, 
that public charity is essentially vicious ; and the evidence I 
have given proves that not lack of deep sympathy with the 
inferior and the miserable was the cause, but a still deeper 
sympathy with good men in adversity, whose difficulties, 
already great, were artificially made greater. 

While to repudiate M. Janet s interpretation of my views 
has been one purpose of the foregoing paragraphs, a further 
purpose has been that of illustrating the truth set forth in 
Chapter III., that in every society there is maintained a gen 
eral congruity between the nature of the aggregate and the 
nature of the units a truth which I have elsewhere (Data of 
Ethics, 38, 50) reverted to as implying that always a gen 
eral harmony between institutions and opinions establishes 


itself. For with a clearness greater even than I was prepared 
to find, we are here shown how the form of a social organiza 
tion and the entailed social habits, generate a correlative mode 
of thinking from which it seems scarcely possible to escape. 
M. Janet and those various other French critics who have 
expressed the same view, are so habituated to the thought of 
State-control as extending over all social affairs, that they 
have become almost incapacitated for conceiving of social 
affairs as any of them otherwise regulated. Everything in 
their experience being administered, they are scarcely able to 
entertain the idea that anything can do without administra 
tion. The question with regard to each public matter is 
Will it be better for the Government to take this course or that 
course ? and the question Will it be better for the Govern 
ment to do nothing ? is a question which can scarcely find 
entrance. Hence in the case before us, it happens that the 
only possible alternatives recognized, are fostering the inferior 
or suppressing the inferior. Tbat public agency should neither 
foster nor suppress seems to have become inconceivable. For 
there is entirely ignored the conclusion I have urged, that the 
unworthy, and those whose defects bring evils on them, while 
they should be left free to do the best they can for themselves, 
should receive such help only as private sympathy prompts 
relatives, friends, and strangers to give them. 

From the doctrines set forth in this work, some have 
drawn the corollary that effort in furtherance of progress is 
superfluous. " If," they argue, " the evolution of a society 
conforms general laws if the changes which, in the slow 
course of things bring it about, are naturally determined ; 
then what need is there of endeavours to aid it ? The hy 
pothesis implies that the transformation results from causes 
beyond individual wills ; and, if so, the acts of individuals in 
fulfilment of their wills are not required to effect it. Hence 
we may occupy ourselves exclusively with personal concerns ; 
leaving social evolution to go its own way." 

This is a misapprehension -naturally fallen into and not 
quite easy to escape from ; for to get out of it the citizen must 
simultaneously conceive himself as one whose will is a factor 
in social evolution, and yet as one whose will is a product of 


all antecedent influences, social included. How to unite 
these conceptions will best be seen on reverting to the rela 
tions between the social organism, and its components, as 
most generally stated. 

In Chapter III. the truth that the nature of an aggregate 
is determined by the natures of its units, first illustrated in 
the cases of aggregates of simpler kinds, was then alleged of 
the social aggregate. It was pointed out that the particular 
set of relations into which the members of a community fall, 
depends on their characters that where their characters are 
of a certain kind, no social structure at all arises ; that where 
some ability to co-operate is shown, they habitually present 
some common traits implied by submission to control ; and 
that, on comparing societies of all orders, those which differ 
widely in their structures are found to differ widely in the 
natures of their members, while those which are but little 
dissimilar do not present great dissimilarities of popular 
character. Further, we saw that there goes on a reciprocal 
action and reaction between each people and its institutions. 
If by altered circumstances, such as those which continuous 
war or prolonged peace involve, some social structures are 
rendered inactive and dwindle, while others are brought into 
greater activity and grow, the natures of citizens are modified 
into congruity with them. While, conversely, if changed 
modes of life change the characters of citizens, their changed 
characters presently cause responsive changes in their in 

But now under what condition alone can the changed 
characters of citizens work changes in their institutions ? The 
condition is that their changed characters shall display them 
selves in changed actions. To expect that the society will 
evolve further while they remain passive, is to expect that it 
will evolve further without cause. Each man in whom dis 
satisfaction is aroused by institutions which have survived 
from a less civilized past, or whose sympathies make certain 
evils repugnant to him, must regard his feelings thus excited 
as units in the aggregate of forces by which progress is to be 
brought about ; and is called on to expend his feelings in 
appropriate deeds. An analogy will best show how there 
may be reconciled the two propositions that social evolution 


is a process conforming- to natural laws, and yet that it results 
from the voluntary efforts of citizens. 

It is a truth statistically established, that in each com 
munity, while its conditions remain the same, there is a uni 
form rate of marriage : such variations in the numbers of 
marriages as accompany variations in the prices of food, 
serving to show that so long as the impediments to marriage 
do not vary the frequency of marriages does not vary. Sim 
ilarly, it is found that along with an average frequency of 
marriages there goes an average frequency of births. But 
though these averages show that the process of human multi 
plication presents uniformities, implying constancy in the 
action of general causes, it is riot therefore inferred that the 
process of human multiplication is independent of people s 
wills. If anyone were to argue that marriages and births, 
considered in the aggregate, are social phenomena statistically 
proved to depend on influences which operate uniformly, and 
that therefore the maintenance of population does not de 
pend on individual actions, his inference would be rejected 
as absurd. Daily experience proves that marrying and 
the rearing of cliildren in each case result from the pur 
suit of exclusively private ends. It is only by fulfilling 
their individual wills in establishing and maintaining 
the domestic relations, that citizens produce these aggre 
gate results which exhibit uniformities apparently inde 
pendent of individual wills. In this instance, then, it is ob 
vious that social phenomena follow certain general courses ; 
and yet that they can do this only on condition that so 
cial units voluntarily act out their natures. While every 
one holds that, in the matter of marriage, his will is, in the 
ordinary sense of the word, free; yet he is obliged to rec 
ognize the fact that his will, and the wills of others, are 
so far determined by common elements of human nature, 
as to produce these average social resxilts ; and that no such 
social results could be produced did they not fulfil their 

Similarly, then, with these changes constituting progress, 
which are desired by the philanthropic. Though higher in 
stitutions will evolve in conformity with general laws, when 
the natures of citizens permit ; yet they will do this only in 


proportion as each citizen manifests in action, that nature to 
which they are the correlatives. 

But now instead of these reasons for passivity which may 
thus be met, there come from some, other reasons for passivity 
more difficult to meet. Admitting that social evolution can 
result only if the natures of citizens issue in appropriate con 
duct, and that therefore those who have human progress at 
heart must use fit means, some will put the question What 
are fit means ? Impressed by the evidence that legislative 
acts, and deeds prompted by benevolence, prove in multitu 
dinous cases injurious rather than advantageous, they hesitate 
lest they should work evil instead of good. They ask how 
the apparently beneficial but really mischievous measures, 
are to be distinguished from measures that are essentially 
and permanently beneficial. Let us listen to one of them. 

"When goldsmiths, and mercers, and fishmongers, and 
traders of other kinds, severally formed guilds for the pro 
tection and regulation of their respective businesses, they 
would have thought insane the prophecy that centuries 
afterwards the guilds would be composed of men uncon 
nected with these businesses, who would spend the vast funds 
accumulated chiefly in gigantic and luxurious feasts. Those 
who in past times founded schools for the poor, never dreamt 
that the funds they bequeathed would be perverted to the 
use of the rich ; nor could they have believed that by pro 
viding what was then thought good education they would 
eventually hinder the spread of better education. How do I 
know that an agency which I aid in establishing to achieve 
one end, will not similarly be turned in future to some other 
end ? or that what now seems to me a benefit, w r ill not 
eventually prove an evil by standing in the way of greater 
benefit ? Am I told that in future, more control and better 
judgment will prevent corruptions and perversions ? I can 
not hope it. Even now I see recurring, mischiefs of the same 
nature as have before occurred under like conditions. For 
instance, there are signs that again in Ireland, the steps taken 
to meet distress are working evils akin to those worked dur 
ing the distress of 1847, when the relief -system fostered an 
organised combination to discourage the cultivation of the 


soil, and to persuade the people that if they leave it until led 
the Government and Parliament will forever be obliged to 
maintain them (Debates, February 19, 1847) ; and when a 
landlord, responding- to the request of his tenants for seed- 
wheat, but doubting their intentions, had the 800 stones he 
bought steeped in a solution of sulphate of iron and then 
announced that they might have it, but they, finding they 
could not eat it, would not take a grain; (Times, March 
2(5th, 1847). Every day brings examples of the -ways in 
w T hich measures work these unexpected results : instance the 
evil which has come along with the good promised by State- 
telegraphy. Just noting that within the metropolis teleg 
raphy has been doubled in price that a lower uniform rate 
might be given for all places observing, too, that as the 
telegraph-wires extended into remote districts yield miserably 
small returns, it results that the more populous places are 
taxed for the benefit of the less populous ; I pass to the fact 
which chiefly strikes me. Improvement in telegraphy has 
been arrested since State purchase of the telegraphs. As Dr. 
Charles Siemens, the highest authority points out, before this 
change England led the way in telegraphic inventions ; but 
since this change telegraphic inventions come to us from 
America, where telegraphs do not belong to the State, and are 
here introduced not at all or with difficulty after great delay. 
And further proof is now furnished by the Times (May 27, 
1880), which tells us that its chief difficulty in establishing 
Parliamentary reporting by telephone, has been the opposi 
tion of the Post-office. 

" More reasons for pausing are disclosed on observing the 
wider results produced. Beyond the special effects of each 
measure taken for artificially curing evils or achieving bene 
fits, there comes a general effect of an unobtrusive but moment 
ous kind. Every extension of public action limits the sphere 
for private action ; modifies the conceptions of private re 
sponsibility and public responsibility ; makes further exten 
sions of public responsibility easier ; and tends eventually to 
make them needful, since the more help the more helplessness. 
Obligations even of primary kinds are willingly transferred by 
individuals to the community, when the opportunity is given. 
Witness the history of the Bureau Municipal des Nourrices 


in Paris, which has existed for more than a century, at a cost 
latterly of 20,000 a year, to assist the bourgeoises in finding 
wet-nurses an institution under which the mortality of chil 
dren has varied from 45 per cent, downwards, and which has 
been at length abolished (see Medical Times, February, 1870). 
And if, where parental affection might be expected to resist, 
such a perversion of normal into abnormal relations between 
parent and offspring may take place, still more may it take 
place where the natural resistance to be anticipated is less. 
Certain sequences of State-teaching now showing themselves 
amoiig us, may presently have large developments. Already 
in London there have been set up in connexion with Board- 
schools, sundry nurseries where infants are taken care of 
while the elder children are taught their lessons : and, con 
venient as they are, such school appendages, multiplying, may 
make public nursing a familiar idea and the care of infants 
by their mothers a less peremptory obligation. Public feed 
ing, too, has been not only suggested but even effected, though 
not yet in Board-schools (see Times, May 17th, 1880, where 
the advantages derived are insisted upon). Some urge that 
shoeless and ragged children should be provided with cloth 
ing by the Parish, that they may be more fit to attend school ; 
and presently, perhaps, some steps in this direction, first small 
and then large, will be taken. Though at present there seems 
little fear that the rearing of children will be made a State- 
business instead of a family-business, which is the logical out 
come of the policy, yet the tendency in that direction must 
increase with the widening of popular power. Every exten 
sion of the policy affects at once the type of social organiza 
tion and the concomitant social sentiments and theories. As 
fast as there are established by the help of taxes, public libra 
ries, public museums, public gardens, public gas and water 
supplies, public industrial dwellings, and by and by public 
railways as well as telegraphs as fast as there are multiplied, 
inspectors of schools, of factories, of ships, of mines, of lodg 
ing houses, and of multitudinous things down to water-closets 
and prostitutes there is strengthened the idea that corporate 
agency is to do everything and individual agency nothing. 
The inevitable result is an increasing dissociation of faculty 
from prosperity; first as realized in experience and then as 


established in the general belief. The greater the number of 
benefits provided by public means for all, and the fewer bene 
fits provided by each for himself, the less marked becomes the 
advantage of merit and the less effort is there to be meritori 
ous. This uridiscriminating distribution of aids, as its effects 
grow familiar, becoming popular with the inferior who form 
the majority, must tend ever to grow where the majority can 
get their way by voting or by intimidation the more so since 
each generation, habituated to it from childhood, accepts it as 
the natural order of things and becomes impatient if every 
suggested good is not provided or evil cured. One who recalls 
the cry of the Eoman populace bread and games, may see to 
what lengths this policy and its concomitant theory may go. 
Long-established and spreading usage can produce the most 
perverse ideas. Who, for instance, would have imagined that 
the State-licensing system under the French despotism would 
have generated the belief that the right of working is a royal 
right which the prince can sell and subjects must buy. And 
if thus by a certain social system, the correlative doctrine may 
be carried to so astonishing an extreme in one direction ; so, 
to an equally astonishing extreme, may another social system 
carry its correlative doctrine in an opposite direction. In the 
alleged right to a maintenance out of the soil, claimed for 
each man whatever his conduct, which was the popular 
dogma under the old Poor-law, we have a conception which, 
fostered by ever-multiplying public agencies for carrying 
home benefits to individuals irrespective of labour expended 
by them, is capable of developing into the conviction that the 
personal well being of each is a matter not of private concern 
but of public concern : the manifest limit being absolute com 

" And then if I go a step further, and ask how these ideas 
and usages react on the characters and capacities of citizens, 
there is forced upon me the conclusion that they work towards 
industrial inefficiency and national decay. This equalising, 
so far as may be, the results of merit and demerit, slowly pro 
duces in a large community effects that are not easy to trace 
and identify ; but in small corporate bodies the effects are 
quickly and clearly shown. A typical instance is furnished 
by the history of the Chamounix guides. Some twenty years 


ago things stood on their proper footing. Climbers of the 
high peaks chose guides whose skill and trustworthiness had 
been well proved ; while guides of characters not so well es 
tablished, received smaller pay for less difficult expeditions. 
At the same time there was a free choice of mules, and travel 
lers naturally picked out the best. Afterwards arose an incor 
poration of guides which put a check on this liberty of selec 
tion ; and their system was further developed on the annexa 
tion of Savoy to France: with French annexation came 
French officialism. Guides had to pass an examination ; and, 
when certified, were placed on a list from which travellers 
had to accept them in rotation. The mules, too, had to be 
taken in turn. That is, differences of efficiency were, as much 
as possible, prevented from producing their normal effects. 
And now what has happened ? Mr. Wills, a late president 
of the Alpine Club, writes (and his statement is confirmed by 
another late president, Professor Tyndall) : I have been a 
resident in Savoy during a part of every year since the an 
nexation, as well as having known it very well before, and I 
have seen with pain and sorrow the rapid deterioration brought 
about by a system so fearfully and wonderfully perfect in all 
the arts and means by which public spirit, independence, and 
self-respect can be crushed out of the national life. Now the 
influences here seen operating in a special way, on a small 
scale, and in a short time, inevitably operate in a general way 
on a large scale, and in a long time, throughout a nation 
which divorces individual worth from individual prosperity. 
When funds raised from all citizens, are turned into advan 
tages distributed in common to all citizens, the better and the 
worse are to that extent reduced to the same level ; and the 
more multitudinous the ways in which this is done, the more 
are the lives of the efficient and prudent made like the lives 
of the inefficient and imprudent. Inevitably, therefore, socie 
ties which pursue this policy which impedes the multiplica 
tion of the better while aiding the multiplication of the worse, 
must so deteriorate in average nature that in the struggle for 
existence they must go to the wall before societies which allow 
the worthy to reap their rewards and the unworthy to suffer 
their penalties. 

" Thus when I consider what steps I ought to take in 


furtherance of social evolution, there rise before me so many 
probabilities of evils likely to be entailed by this or the other 
measure proposed, that I think it safer to remain passive." 

But now, admitting in full these arguments, which rein 
force arguments set forth in sundry of the foregoing chapters, 
it may be contended that, so far from justifying passivity, 
they render all the more imperative a special kind of activity. 
For if the outcome of them is that evil arises from divorcing 
cause and consequence in conduct, then the implication is 
that good arises from making the connexion between cause 
and consequence more definite and certain. And in improv 
ing the means to this end there is ample scope for effort. 
Contemplate a moment the obverse of .the proposition above 
set forth. 

Though in low societies, formed of unadapted men held 
together by coercion, no better arrangement is practicable 
than that under which the relation between effort and benefit 
is traversed by force, so that those who work enjoy but little 
of that which they produce, while that which they produce is 
largely appropriated by others who have not worked ; yet we 
recognize this regime as one not consistent with the greatest 
individual welfare or greatest sum of happiness. Along with 
advance to a higher social state, in which life is carried on not 
by compulsory cooperation but by voluntary cooperation, 
there has grown the moral perception of what we call equity. 
Continued through many generations, the discipline of indus 
trialism (implying in every transaction fulfilment of contract, 
which involves respect for the claims of others and assertion 
of the claims of self) has developed the consciousness that 
each ought to get neither more nor less than an equivalent for 
his services, of what kind soever they may be : the amount of 
such equivalent being in every case determined by the agree 
ment to give it. And, considered in their ensemble, the pro 
gressive improvements of laws, and all those political amelio 
rations which bring after them improvements of laws, have 
as their general effect the better maintenance of this normal 
relation between effort and benefit. 

It follows, then, that successful endeavours to make the 
administration of justice prompt, complete, and economical, 


will bring 1 pure benefit ; or if not pure benefit, still, an im 
mense surplus of benefit. That which the philanthropist and 
the political reformer leave almost unthought of as an object 
to be laboured for, is that which, above all other objects, is 
worthy of their labour. Attracted as their attention is by 
special evils to be cured, they think little of the universally- 
diffused evils which the non-enforcement of equity entails. 
Nor do they see that many of the beneficial changes which 
they fail to achieve by direct measures, would be achieved in 
directly were easy remedies for all injustices within the reach 
of every citizen. Let us consider the matter under its several 
aspects some familiar, some unfamiliar. 

On the individual sufferings entailed by the uncertainty 
and costliness of law, it is needless to dwell. Every family 
can furnish one or more histories of lawsuits by which rela 
tives seeking- justice have been impoverished. When I have 
repeated the remark lately made to me by a judge, in agree 
ment with another judge he quoted, that he often wished he 
could charge the costs of the suits brought before him, on the 
lawyers who conducted them when I have conveyed the 
feeling of a solicitor expressed to me but yesterday, that how 
ever strong his case might be, he would rather toss-up with 
his antagonist which should yield than go into court ; I have 
said enough to remind all how vicious is the judicial system 
under which we live, and how often ruin rather than restitu 
tion comes to those who seek its aid when wronged. Usually, 
indeed, it is thought that these evils which, extreme as they 
are, custom reconciles us to, are evils felt only by the classes 
carrying on business and by those who possess property. 
Though in rural districts there frequently occur such aggres 
sions on labourers as those which take away rights of com 
mon though by magistrates belonging to the upper ranks, 
the punishments inflicted for offences committed by those be 
longing to the lower ranks are often utterly disproportioned 
though the assault which, in default of money, brings impris 
onment on the poor man, brings on the rich man only a fine 
easily paid ; yet the silence concerning law-reform at work 
ing-class meetings, and the coldness with which the topic is 
received if introduced, imply the current belief that a better 
administration of justice is a matter which touches the few 


rather than the many. But besides the ways in which they 
individually suffer from time to time from injustices for 
which no remedy is to be had, the people at large suffer uni 
versally in diffused ways. 

For maladministration of justice raises, very considerably, 
the cost of living for all. Payments to lawyers form one of 
the current expenses of business in general. Manufacturers 
and merchants and traders have to take account of these items 
in their outlays, and average extra profits on their transac 
tions have to be made to meet these items. Further, there are 
bad debts debts which are crossed off from ledgers because, 
even if recoverable at all, their amounts would probably be 
exceeded by the costs of recovering them ; and there are also 
occasional losses by bankruptcies, made needlessly great by 
the involved legal process of liquidation. These, too, are 
items of expenditure which have to be met by larger profits 
on the commodities sold. Moreover, the rise of prices necessi 
tated in these several ways is cumulative. The producer has 
to charge extra to the wholesale distributor ; the wholesale 
distributor must add to this extra charge a further extra 
charge to the retail distributor ; and the retail distributor must 
do the like to the consumer. Nor after observing that the 
effect is thus triplicated shall we fully appreciate the total rise 
caused. For on recalling the truth that every tax on a com 
modity increases its price by a greater amount than the 
amount imposed, because of the extra capital employed and 
business transacted, we must infer that similarly, the loss 
which maladministration of justice entails on the producer, 
the wholesale dealer, and the retailer, raises each of their 
prices by a greater amount than is directly needed to meet it : 
all three of these enhancements eventually coming on the 

Not by the raised prices of commodities only, does the con 
sumer, and especially the poor consumer, suffer from imper 
fect enforcement of equity. He suffers, too, in the rela 
tive badness of the things he buys. It is needless to enlarge 
on the prevalence of adulteration. All it concerns us here to 
observe is that the nutritive qualities of food eaten and the 
wearing qualities of fabrics worn, are diminished, often very 
greatly, by breaches of contract, which good laws well admin- 


istered would prevent. Whoso sells as the thing asked for, 
that which is in part some other thing-, breaks the tacit agree 
ment to give so much of the commodity for so much money ; 
and a legal process easily available ought quickly to bring 
punishment on him for the fraud. 

But the immediate evils resulting from a system which 
affords inadequate protection against aggressors, are not the 
sole evils not, indeed, the chief evils. A further evil is the 
multiplication of aggressions. That impunity generates con 
fidence that the man who has committed a wrong and es 
caped punishment is thereby encouraged to commit another 
wrong is a trite remark. As certain as it is that pickpockets 
would multiply if the police became less efficient in catching 
them, and that the cooking of joint-stock companies accounts 
would be made still more common were there no prospect of 
possible imprisonment on discovery ; so certain is it that in all 
cases, failure of justice tempts men to injustices. Every un 
punished delinquency has a family of delinquencies. Those 
on whom is urged the need for a judicial system which shall 
give to the citizen easy remedies for injuries suffered, com 
monly reply that the amount of litigation would become 
enormous. But they overlook the fact that with facilities 
for obtaining remedies the occasions for seeking remedies 
would decrease. As it is clear that the criminal aggressor 
would not commit a crime if he were quite certain to be 
caught and punished ; so it is clear that the civil aggressor 
would not do the inequitable thing he is tempted to do, did he 
know that the aggrieved person would without difficulty at 
once obtain justice. So that intelligible laws and a good 
judicial system, would advantage everyone, not simply by 
righting him when wronged, but by preventing him from 
being wronged. 

And then there has to be added the remoter but no less cer 
tain result a raised moral tone. If punishments follow trans 
gressions with certainty, and if the temptations to transgress 
are, by the prospect of certain punishment, more effectually 
repressed, such temptations must diminish in strength. Ener 
gies directed to the illegitimate pursuit of advantages, will be 
turned to the legitimate pursuit of advantages ; and with the 
decrease of those antagonistic relations among citizens caused 


by injustices, by the fears of injustices, and by the precautions 
against injustices, will go a growth of good feeling and more 
sympathetic social relations. 

Here, then, is an ample iield for efforts that must, beyond 
all question, be beneficent. If, as above shown, more evil 
than good eventually results from measures which give to in 
dividual citizens benefits which their individual efforts have 
given them no claims to ; then, contrariwise, more benefits 
than evils, if not pure benefits, will eventually result from 
measures which ensure to them the full advantages due to 
their efforts. Enforcement of justice is nothing else than 
maintenance of the conditions to life as carried on in the so 
cial state. And the more completely justice is enforced, the 
higher will the life become. 



1 Of various testimonies to this, one of the most striking was that 
given by Mr. Charles Mayo, M. B., of New College, Oxford, who, hav 
ing had to examine the drainage of Windsor, found " that in a previ 
ous visitation of typhoid fever, the poorest and lowest part of the town 
had entirely escaped, while the epidemic had been very fatal in good 
houses. The difference was this, that while the better houses were all 
connected with the sewers, the poor part of the town had no drains, 
but made use of cesspools in the gardens. And this is by no means 
an isolated instance." 

2 Debates, Times, February 12, 1852. 

3 Letter in Daily News, Nov. 28, 1851. 

4 Recommendation of a Coroner s Jury, Times, March 26, 1850. 

5 Revue des Deux Mondes, February 15, 1872. 

6 Journal of Mental Science, January, 1872. 

7 Boyle s Borneo, p. 116. 


1 Daily paper, January 22, 1849. 

2 The Theocratic Philosophy of English History, vol. i. p. 49. 

3 Ibid., vol. i. p. 289. 

4 Ibid., vol. ii. p. 681. 

5 La Main de VHomme et le Doigt de Dieu dans les malheurs de la 
France. Par J. C., Ex-aumonier dans 1 armee auxiliaire. Paris, Dou- 
niol & Cie., 1871. 

6 The Roman and the Teuton, pp. 339-40. 

1 Short Studies on Great Subjects, vol. i. p. 11. 

8 Ibid., vol. i. p. 22. 

9 Ibid., vol. i. p. 24. 



10 Ibid,, vol. i. p. 15. 

11 History of England, vol. v. p. 70. 

12 Ibid., vol. v. p. 108. 

13 Ibid., vol. v. p. 109. 

14 Short Studies on Great Subjects, p. 59. 

15 The Limits of Exact Science as applied to History, p. 20. 

16 Ibid., p. 22. 

11 Alton Locke, new edition, preface, p. xxi. 

18 Ibid., pp. xxiii. xxiv. 

19 Ibid., preface (1854), p. xxvii. 


1 Thomson s New Zealand, vol. i. p. 80. 
8 Hallam s Middle Ages, ch. ix., part ii. 

3 Principles of Surgery. 5th ed. p. 434. 

4 British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review, January, 1870, 
p. 103. 

5 Ibid., p. 106. 

* British Medical Journal, August 20th, 1870. I took the precau 
tion of calling on Mr. Ilutchinson to verify the extract given, and to 
learn from him what he meant by " severe." 1 found that he meant 
simply recognizable. He described to me the mode in which he had 
made his estimate ; and it was clearly a mode which tended rather to 
wards exaggeration of the evil than otherwise. I also learned from 
him that in the great mass of cases those who have recognizable syph 
ilitic taint pass lives that are but little impaired by it. 

7 A Treatise on Syphilis, by Dr. E. Lancereaux. Vol. ii. p. 120. 
This testimony I quote from the work itself, and have similarly taken 
from the original sources the statements of Skey, Simon, Wyatt, Acton, 
as well as the British and Foreign Medico-Chirurgical Review and 
British Medical Journal. The rest, with various others, will be found 
in the pamphlet of Dr. C. B. Taylor on The Contagious Diseases Acts. 

8 Professor Sheldon Amos. See also his late important work, A 
Systematic View of the Science of Jurisprudence, pp. 119, 303, 512, 
and 514. 

Quoted by Nasse, The Agricultural Community of the Middle 
Ages, &c., English translation, p. 94. 

10 In one case, " out of thirty married couples, there was not one 
man then living with his own wife, and some of them had exchanged 
wives two or three times since their entrance." This, along with 

NOTES. 389 

various kindred illustrations, will be found in tracts on the Poor-Law, 
by a late uncle of mine, the Rev. Thomas Spencer, of Hinton Char 
terhouse, who was chairman of the Bath Union during its first six 


1 Warton s History of English Poetry, vol. ii., p. 57, note. 

2 Burton s Scinde, vol. ii., p. 13. 

3 Speke s Journal of Discovery of Source of the Nile, p. 85. 

4 See pp. 71 and 115. 

5 Summary of the Moral Statistics of England and Wales. By 
Joseph Fletcher, Esq., one of Her Majesty s Inspectors of Schools. 

6 lieeves s History of English Law, vol. i., pp. 34-36. Second edi 

I Brentano s Introduction to English Gilds, p. cxcv. 

8 Lubbock s Prehistoric Times, p. 344. First edition. 

9 Mrs. Atkinson s Recollections of Tartar Steppes, p. 220. 

10 Quoted in M Lennan s Primitive Marriage, p. 187. 

II Burton s History of Sindh, p. 244. 

12 Wright s Essays on Archaeology, vol. ii., pp. 175-6. 

13 Hid., vol. ii. p. 184. 

14 Only four copies of this psalter are known to exist. The copy 
from which I make this description is contained in the splendid col 
lection of Mr. Henry Huth. 

15 Kinder- und Ilausmarchen, by William and James Grimm. 
Larger edition (1870), pp. 140-2. 


1 M. Dunoyer, quoted in Mill s Political Economy. 
y Mill s Political Economy. 

3 Mill s Political Economy. 

4 Translation of Lanfrey s History of Napoleon the First, vol. ii., 
p. 25. 

5 Ibid., vol. ii., p. 442. 

6 M. Lanfrey sets down the loss of the French alone, from 1802 on 
wards, at nearly two millions. This may be an over-estimate ; though, 
judging from the immense armies raised in France, such a total seems 
quite possible. The above computation of the losses to European na 
tions in genera], has been made for me by adding up the numbers of 


killed and wounded in the successive battles, as furnished by such state 
ments as are accessible. The total is 1,500,000. This number has to be 
greatly increased by including losses not specified the number of killed 
and wounded on one side only, being given in some cases. It has to be 
further increased by including losses in numerous minor engagements, 
the particulars of which are unknown. And it has to be again increased 
by allowance for under-statement of his losses, which was habitual 
with Napoleon. Though the total, raised by these various additions 
probably to something over two millions, includes killed and wounded, 
from which last class a large deduction has to be made for the num 
ber who recovered ; yet it takes no account of the loss by disease. 
This may be set down as greater in amount than that which battles 
caused. (Thus, according to Kolb, the British lost in Spain three 
times as many by disease as by the enemy ; and in the expedition to 
Walcheren, seventeen times as many.) So that the loss by killed and 
wounded and by disease, for all the European nations during the 
Napoleonic campaigns, is probably much understated at two mill 

7 Burton s Ooa, &c., p. 107. 

8 See Tweedie s System of Practical Medicine, vol. v. pp. 62-69. 

9 Dr. Maclean : see Times, Jan. 6, 1873. 

10 Report on the Progress and Condition of the Royal Gardens at 
Kew, 1870, p. 5. 

11 My attention was drawn to this case by one who has had experi 
ence in various government services; and he ascribed this obstructive- 
ness in the medical service to the putting of young surgeons under 
old. The remark is significant, and has far-reaching implications. 
Putting young officials under old is a rule of all services civil, mili 
tary, naval, or other ; and in all services, necessarily has the effect of 
placing the advanced ideas and wider knowledge of a new generation, 
under control by the ignorance and bigotry of a generation to which 
change has become repugnant. This, which is a seemingly ineradicable 
vice of public organizations, is a vice to which private organizations 
are far less liable ; since, in the life-and-death struggle of competi 
tion, merit, even if young, takes the place of demerit, even if old. 

13 Let me here add what seems to be a not-impossible cause, or at 
any rate part-cause, of the failure. The clue is given by a letter in 
the Times, signed " Landowner," dating Tollesbury, Essex, Aug. 2, 
1872. He bought "ten fine young steers, perfectly free from any 
symptom of disease," and " passed sound by the inspector of foreign 
stock." They were attacked by foot and mouth disease after five days 
passed in fresh paddocks with the best food. On inquiry he found 

NOTES. 391 

that foreign stock, however healthy, " mostly all go down with it 
after the passage." And then, in proposing a remedy, he gives us a 
fact of which he does not seem to recognize the meaning. He sug 
gests, " that, instead of the present quarantine at Harwich, which con 
sists in driving the stock from the steamer into pens for a limited 
number of hours," &c., &c. If this description of the quarantine is 
correct, the spread of the disease is accounted for. Every new drove 
of cattle is kept for hours in an infected pen. Unless the successive 
droves have been all healthy (which the very institution of the quaran 
tine implies that they have not been) some of them have left in the pen 
diseased matter from their mouths and feet. Even if disinfectants 
are used after each occupation, the risk is great the disinfection is 
almost certain to be inadequate. Nay, even if the pen is adequately 
disinfected every time, yet if there is not also a complete disinfec 
tion of the landing appliances, the landing-stage, and the track to 
the pen, the disease will be communicated. No wonder healthy cattle 
" mostly go down with it after the passage." The quarantine regu 
lations, if they are such as here implied, might properly be called 
" regulations for the better diffusion of cattle-diseases." 

13 Fischel s English Constitution, translated by Shee, p. 487. 

14 See Report of the Committee on Public Accounts, nominated on 
7 Feb., 1873. 

15 Times, April 3, 1873 (I add this during the re-revision of these 
pages for permanent publication, as also the reference to the telegraph- 
expenditure. Hence the incongruities of the dates). 


"Decline and Fall" &c., chap. ii. 


1 Burton s Abeokuta, vol. i. pp. 43, 44. 

2 Burton s Histoiy of Scotland, vol. ii. pp. 281-2. 

3 1 make this statement on the authority of a letter read to me at 
the time by an Indian officer, written by a brother officer in India. 

4 Hawkesworth s Voyages, vol. i. p. 573. 

5 Forster s Observations, &c., p. 406. 

6 Parkyns s Abyssinia, vol. ii. p. 431. 

7 Cruickshank, Eighteen Years on the Gold Coast of Africa, vol. i. 
p. 100. 


8 Companions of Columbus, p. 115. 

9 Times, Jan. 22, 1873. 

10 Times, Dec. 23, 1872. 

11 Lancet, Dec. 28, 1872. 

18 Essays in Criticism, p. 12. 

13 Times, Jan. 22, 1873. 

14 Most readers of logic will, I suppose, be surprised on missing 
from the above sentence the name of Sir W. Hamilton. They will not 
be more surprised than I was myself on recently learning that Mr. 
George Bentham s work. Outline of a New System of Logic, was pub 
lished six years before the earliest of Sir W. Hamilton s logical writ 
ings, and that Sir W. Hamilton reviewed it. The case adds another to 
the multitudinous ones in which the world credits the wrong man; 
and persists in crediting him in defiance of evidence. [In the number 
of the Contemporary Review following that in which this note origi 
nally appeared, Professor Baynes, blaming me for my incaution in thus 
asserting Mr. Bentham s claim, contended for the claim of Sir W. 
Hamilton and denied the validity of Mr. Bentham s. The month 
after, the question was taken up by Professor Jevons, who, differing 
entirely from Professor Baynes, gave reasons for assigning the credit 
of the discovery to Mr. Bentham. Considering that Professor Baynes, 
both as pupil of Sir W. Hamilton and as expositor of his developed 
logical system, is obviously liable to be biassed in his favour, and that, 
contrariwise, Professor Jevons is not by his antecedents committed on 
behalf of either claimant, it may I think, be held that, leaving out 
other reasons, his opinion is the most trustworthy. Other reasons jus 
tify this estimate. The assumption that Sir W. Hamilton, when he 
reviewed Mr. Bentham s work, did not read as far as the page on 
which the discovery in question is indicated, though admissible as a 
defence, cannot be regarded as a very satisfactory ground for a coun 
ter-claim. That in Mr. Bentham s work the doctrine is but briefly in 
dicated, whereas by Sir W. Hamilton it was elaborately developed, is 
an objection sufficiently met by pointing out that Mr. Bentham s work 
is an " Outline of a New System of Logic ; " and that in it he has said 
enough to show that if, instead of being led into another career, he 
had become a professional logician, the outline would have been ade 
quately filled in. While these notes are still standing in type, 
Prof. Baynes has published (in the Contemporary Review for July, 
1873) a rejoinder to Prof. Jevons. One who reads it critically may, I 
think, find in it more evidence against, than in favour of, the conclu 
sion drawn. Prof. Baynes partiality will be clearly seen on compar 
ing the way in which he interprets Sir W. Hamilton s acts, with the 

NOTES. 393 

way in which he interprets Mr. Bentham s acts. He thinks it quite a 
proper supposition that Sir W. Hamilton did not read the part of Mr. 
Bentham s work containing the doctrine in question. Meanwhile, he 
dwells much on the fact that during Sir W. Hamilton s life Mr. Ben- 
tham never made any claim; saying "The indifference it displays 
is incredible had Mr. Bentham really felt himself entitled to the 
honour publicly given to another:" the implication being that Mr. 
Bentham was of necessity cognizant of the controversy. Thus it is 
reasonable to suppose that Sir W. Hamilton read only part of a work 
he reviewed on his own special topic ; but " incredible " that Mr. Ben 
tham should not have read certain letters in the Athenceum /the fact 
being that, as I have learnt from Mr. Bentham, he knew nothing about 
the matter till his attention was called to it. Clearly, such a way of 
estimating probabilities is not conducive to a fair judgment. Prof. 
Baynes unfairness of judgment is, I think, sufficiently shown by one 
of his own sentences, in which he says of Mr. Bentham that, " while 
he constantly practises the quantification of the predicate, he never 
appears to have realized it as a principle." To an unconcerned ob 
server, it seems a strong assumption that one who not only " con 
stantly practises" the method, but who even warns the student against 
errors caused by neglect of it, should have no consciousness of the 
" principle " involved. And I am not alone in thinking this a strong 
assumption : the remark was made to me by a distinguished mathe 
matician who was reading Prof. Baynes rejoinder. But the weakness 
of Prof. Baynes rejoinder is best shown by its inconsistency. Prof. 
Baynes contends that Sir W. Hamilton " had been acquainted with the 
occasional use of a quantified predicate by writers on logic " earlier 
than Mr. Bentham ; and Prof. Baynes speaks of Mr. Bentham as hav 
ing done no more than many before him. But he also says of Sir W. 
Hamilton that, " had he at the time, therefore, looked into Mr. Ben 
tham s eighth and ninth chapters, the mere use of a quantified predi 
cate would have been no novelty to him, although, as I have said, it 
might have helped to stimulate his speculations on the subject." So 
that though Mr. Bentham did not carry the doctrine further than 
previous logicians had done, yet what he wrote about it was calculated 
"to stimulate" "speculations on the subject" in a way that they had 
not been stimulated by the writings of previous logicians. That is, 
Prof. Baynes admits in one part of his argument what he denies in 
another. One further point only will I name. Prof. Baynes says : 
" Professor De Morgan s emphatic rejection of Mr. Bentham s claim, 
after examining the relevant chapters of his Outline, is in striking 
contrast to Mr. Herbert Spencer s easy-going acceptance of it." Now 


though, to many readers, this will seem a telling comparison, yet to 
those who know that Prof. De Morgan was one of the parties to the 
controversy, and had his own claims to establish, the comparison will 
not seem so telling. To me, however, and to many who have remarked 
the perversity of Prof. De Morgan s judgment, his verdict on the mat 
ter, even were he perfectly unconcerned, will go for but little. Who 
ever will take the trouble to refer to the Athenaeum for November 5, 
1804, p. GOO, and after reading a sentence which he there quotes, will 
look at either the title of the chapter it is taken from or the sentence 
which succeeds it, will be amazed that such recklessness of misrepre 
sentation could be shown by a conscientious man ; and will be there 
after but little inclined to abide by Prof. De Morgan s authority on 
matters like that here in question.] 

15 These words are translated for me from Die Entwicklung der 
Naturwissenschaft in den letzen Junfundzwanzig Jahren. By Profes 
sor Dr. Ferdinand Cohn. Breslau, 1872. 

16 1 am told that his reasons for this valuation are more fully given 
at p. 143. 

" Revue des Deux JUondes, 1 Fevrier, 1873, p. 731. 

18 CEuvres de P. L. Courier (Paris, 1845), p. 304. 

19 Histoire des Sciences et des Savants, &c. 

20 Before leaving the question of Academies and their influences, 
let me call attention to a fact which makes me doubt whether as a 
judge of style, considered simply as correct or incorrect, an Academy 
is to be trusted. Mr. Arnold, insisting on propriety of expression, and 
giving instances of bad taste among our writers, due, as he thinks, to 
absence of Academic control, tacitly asserts that an Academy, if we 
had one, would condemn the passages he quotes as deserving condem 
nation, and, by implication, would approve the passages he quotes as 
worthy of approval. Let us see to what Mr. Arnold awards his praise. 
He says : 

" To illustrate what I mean by an example. Addison, writing as a moral 
ist on fixedness in religious faith, says: 

" Those who delight in reading books of controversy do very seldom ar 
rive at a fixed and settled habit of faith. The doubt which was laid revives 
again, and shows itself in new difficulties; and that generally for this reason, 
because the mind, which is perpetually tossed in controversies and disputes, 
is apt to forget the reasons which had once set it at rest, and to bo disquieted 
with any former perplexity when it appears in a new shape, or is started by a 
different hand. 

" It may be said, that is classical English, perfect in lucidity, measure, and 
propriety. I make no objection ; but in my turn, 1 say that the idea expressed 
is perfectly trite and barren," &c., &c. 

NOTES. 395 

In Mr. Arnold s estimate of Addison s thought I coincide entirely ; 
but I cannot join him in applauding the " classical English " convey 
ing the thought. Indeed, I am not a little astonished that one whose 
taste in style is proved by his own writing to be so good, and who to 
his poems especially gives a sculpturesque finish, should have quoted, 
not simply without condemnation but with tacit eulogy, a passage full 
of faults. Let us examine it critically, part by part. How 

shall we interpret into thought the words " arrive at a ... habit " ? 
A habit is produced. But " arrival " implies, not production of a 
thing, but coming up to a thing that pre-exists, as at the end of a 
journey. What, again, shall we say of the phrase, " a fixed and settled 
habit"? Habit is a course of action characterized by constancy, as 
distinguished from courses of action that are inconstant. If the word 
"settled" were unobjectionable, we might define habit as a settled 
course of action; and on substituting for the word this equivalent, 
the phrase would read " a fixed and settled settled course of action." 
Obviously the word habit itself conveys the whole notion; and if there 
needs a word to indicate degree, it should be a word suggesting force, 
not suggesting rest. The reader is to be impressed with the strength 
of a tendency in something active, not with the firmness of something 
passive, as by the words " fixed and settled." And then why " fixed 
and settled"? Making no objection to the words as having inappli 
cable meanings, there is the objection that one of them would suffice : 
surely whatever is fixed must be settled. Passing to the next 

sentence, we are arrested by a conspicuous fault in its first clause 
" The doubt which was laid revives again." To revive is to live again ; 
so that the literal meaning of the clause is " the doubt which was laid 
lives again again." In the following line there is nothing objection 
able ; but at the end of it we come to another pleonasm. The words 
run: "and that generally for this reason, because the mind . . ." 
The idea is fully conveyed by the words, " and that generally because 
the mind." The words " for this reason " are equivalent to an ad 
ditional "because." So that we have here another nonsensical dupli 
cation. Going a little further there rises the question Why "contro 
versies and disputes " ? Dispute is given in dictionaries as one of 
the synonyms of controversy ; and though it may be rightly held to 
have not quite the same meaning, any additional meaning it has does 
not aid, but rather hinders, the thought of the reader. Though, 
where special attention is to be drawn to a certain element of the 
thought, two almost synonymous words may fitly be used to make the 
reader dwell longer on that element, yet where his attention is to be 
drawn to another element of the thought (as here to the effect of con- 


troversy on the mind), there is no gain, but a loss, in stopping him to 
interpret a second word if the first suffices. One more fault remains. 
The mind is said " to be disquieted with any former perplexity when 
it appears in a new shape, or is started by a different hand." This 
portion of the sentence is doubly defective. The two metaphors are 
incongruous. Appearing in a shape, as a ghost might be supposed to 
do, conveys one kind of idea ; and started by a hand, as a horse or a 
hound might be, conveys a conflicting kind of idea. This defect, 
however, is less serious than the other ; namely, the unfitness of the 
second metaphor for giving a concrete form to the abstract idea. 
How is it possible to start a perplexity I Perplexity, by deriva 
tion and as commonly used, involves the thought of entanglement 
and arrest of motion; while to start a thing is to set it in motion. 
So that whereas the mind is to be represented as enmeshed, and 
thus impeded in its movements, the metaphor used to describe its 
state is one suggesting the freedom and rapid motion of that which 
enmeshes it. 

Even were these hyper-criticisms, it might be said that they are 
rightly to be made on a passage which is considered a model of style. 
But they are not hyper-criticisms. To show that the defects indicated 
are grave, it only needs to read one of the sentences without its 
tautologies, thus : " The doubt which was laid revives, and shows it 
self in new difficulties; and that generally because the mind which is 
perpetually tossed in controversies is apt to forget the reasons which 
had once set it at rest " &c. &c. Omitting the six superfluous words 
unquestionably makes the sentence clearer adds to its force without 
taking from its meaning. Nor would removal of the other excres 
cences, and substitution of appropriate words for those which are 
unfit, fail similarly to improve the rest of the passage. 

And now is it not strange that two sentences which Mr. Arnold 
admits to be "classical English, perfect in lucidity, measure, and 
propriety," should contain so many defects : some of them, indeed, 
deserving a stronger word of disapproval f It is true that analysis 
discloses occasional errors in the sentences of nearly all writers some 
due to inadvertence, some to confusion of thought. Doubtless, from 
my own books examples could be taken ; and I should think it unfair 
to blame any one for now and then tripping. But in a passage of 
which the diction seems " perfect " to one who would like to have 
style refined by authoritative criticism, we may expect entire con 
formity to the laws of correct expression : and may not unnaturally 
be surprised to find so many deviations from those laws. Pos 

sibly, indeed, it will be alleged that the faults are not in Addison s 

NOTES. 397 

English, but that I lack the needful aesthetic perception. Having, 
when young, effectually resisted that classical culture which Mr. 
Arnold thinks needful, I may be blind to the beauties he perceives ; 
and my undisciplined taste may lead me to condemn as defects what 
are, in fact, perfections. Knowing absolutely nothing of the master 
pieces of ancient literature in the original, and very little in trans 
lation, I suppose I must infer that a familiarity with them equal to 
Mr. Arnold s familiarity, would have given me a capacity for admiring 
these traits of style which he admires. Perhaps redundance of 
epithets would have afforded me pleasure; perhaps I should have 
been delighted by duplications of meaning ; perhaps from inconsistent 
metaphors I might have received some now-unimaginable gratifica 
tion. Being, however, without any guidance save that yielded by 
Mental Science having been led by analysis of thought to conclude 
that in writing, words must be so chosen and arranged as to convey 
ideas with the greatest ease, precision, and vividness; and having 
drawn the corollaries that superfluous words should be struck out, 
that words which have associations at variance with the propositions 
to be set forth should be avoided, and that there should be used no 
misleading figures of speech ; I have acquired a dislike to modes of 
expression like these Mr. Arnold regards as perfect in their propriety. 
Almost converted though I have been by his eloquent advocacy of 
Culture, as he understands it, 1 must confess that, now I see what he 
applauds, my growing faith receives a rude check. While recogniz 
ing my unregenerate state, and while admitting that I have only 
Psychology and Logic to help me, I am perverse enough to rejoice 
that we have not had an Academy ; since, judging from the evidence 
Mr. Arnold affords, it would, among other mischievous acts, have 
further raised the estimate of a style which even now is unduly 

21 Culture and Anarchy, p. 16. 

22 Ibid., pp. 130140. 


1 Shortly after the first publication of this chapter, I met with a 
kindred instance. At a Co-operative Congress : " Mr. Head (of the 
firm of Fox, Head, & Co., Middlesbrough) * * * remarked that he 
had thrown his whole soul daring the last six years into the carrying 
out of the principle involved in the Industrial Partnership at Middles 
brough with which he was connected. In that Industrial Partner 
ship there was at present no arrangement for the workmen to invest 


their savings. A clause to give that opportunity to the workmen 
was at first put into the articles of agreement, but, as there was only 
one instance during three years of a workman under the firm apply 
ing to invest his savings, that clause was withdrawn. The firm 
consequently came to the conclusion that this part of their scheme 
was far ahead of the time." Times, April 15, 1873. 


I Fronde, Short Studies on Great Subjects, Second Series, 1871, 
p. 480. 

Ibid., p. 483. 

Ibid., pp. 483-4. 

Daily papers, Feb. 7, 1873. 

Times and Post, Feb. 11, 1873. 

Times, Nov. 25, 1872. 

Ibid., Nov. 27, 1872. 

Craik, in Pid. Hist., vol. iv., p. 853. 

Ibid., vol. iv., p. 853. 

When, in dealing with the vitiation of evidence, I before re 
ferred to the legislation here named, I commented on the ready 
acceptance of those one-sided statements made to justify such legis 
lation, in contrast with the contempt for those multitudinous proofs 
that gross abuses would inevitably result from the arrangements 
made. Since that passage was written, there has been a startling 
justification of it. A murder has been committed at Lille by a gang 
of sham-detectives (one being a government employe) ; and the trial 
has brought out the fact that for the last three years the people of 
Lille have been subject to an organized terrorism which has grown 
out of the system of prostitute-inspection. Though, during these 
three years, five hundred women are said by one of these criminals to 
have fallen into their clutches though the men have been black 
mailed and the women outraged to this immense extent, yet the 
practice went on for the reason (obvious enough, one would have 
thought, to need no proof by illustration) that those aggrieved pre 
ferred to submit rather than endanger their characters by complain 
ing ; and the practice would doubtless have gone on still but for the 
murder of one of the victims. To some this case will carry convic 
tion : probably not, however, to those who, in pursuance of what 
they are pleased to call " practical legislation," prefer an induction 
based on a Blue Book to an induction based on Universal History. 

II See case in Times, Dec. 11, 1872. 

NOTES. 399 


Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia, vol. ii. p. 370. 
Ibid., vol. ii. p. 22. 

Lubbock s Prehistoric Times. Second edition, p. 442. 
Journey through Central and Eastern Arabia, vol. ii. p. 11. 
Five Years Residence at Nepaul. By Capt. Thomas Smith. 
Vol. i. p. 168. 


1 Probably most readers will conclude that in this, and in the 
preceding section, I am simply carrying out the views of Mr. Darwin 
in their applications to the human race. Under the circumstances, 
perhaps, I shall be excused for pointing out that the same beliefs, 
otherwise expressed, are contained in Chapters XXV. and XXVIII. 
of Social Statics, published in December, 1850 ; and that they are 
set forth still more definitely in the Westminster Review for April, 
1852 (pp. 498500). As Mr. Darwin himself points out. others be 
fore him have recognized the action of that process he has called 
" Natural Selection," but have failed to see its full significance and 
its various effects. Thus in the Review-article just named, I have 
contended that " this inevitable redundancy of numbers this con 
stant increase of people beyond the means of subsistence," necessitates 
the continual carrying-off of " those in whom the power of self-pres 
ervation is the least ; " that all being subject to the " increasing 
difficulty of getting a living which excess of fertility entails," there 
is an average advance under the pressure, since " only those who do 
advance under it eventually survive ; " and that these. " must be the 
select of their generation." There is, however, in the essay from 
which 1 here quote, no recognition of what Mr. Darwin calls " spon 
taneous variation," nor of that divergence of type which this natural 
selective process is shown by him to produce. 

2 And even then there are often ruinous delays. A barrister tells 
me that in a case in which he was himself the referee, they had but 
six meetings in two years. 


1 " The Statistics of Legislation," read before the Statistical So 
ciety, May, 1873, by Frederick H. Janson, Esq., F.L.S., vice-president 
of the Incorporated Law Society. 


J Among recent illustrations of the truth that frequent repetition 
of Christian doctrines does not conduce to growth of Christian feel 
ings, here are two that seem worth preserving. The first I quote 
from The Church Herald for May 14, 1873. 

" Mr. J. Stuart Mill, who has just gone to his account, would have 
been a remarkable writer of English, if his innate self-consciousness 
and abounding self-confidence had not made him a notorious literary 
prig. ***** His death is no loss to anybody, for he was 
a rank but amiable infidel, and a most dangerous person. The sooner 
those lights of thought, who agree with him, go to the same place, 
the better it will be for both Church and State." 

The second, which to an English manifestation of sentiment yields 
a parallel from America, I am permitted to publish by a friend to 
whom it was lately addressed : 

" (From a Clergyman of 28 years service.) 

" U. S. America, March 10th, 1873. 

" J. TYNDALL, How it ought to heap coals of fire on your head, 
that, in return for your insults to their Religion, in your various 
works, the American people treated you with distinguished considera 
tion. You have repeatedly raised your puny arm against God and 
His Christ ! You have endeavoured to deprive mankind of its only 
consolation in life, and its only hope in death (vide Fragments of 
Science, &c.), without offering anything instead, but the dry-light 
of your molecules and atoms. Shall we praise you for this? We 
praise you not ! 

" Do not T hate them, Lord, that hate Thee? 

" Every suicide in our land (and they are of daily occurrence) is 
indirectly the effect of the bestial doctrines of yourself, Darwin, Spen 
cer, Huxley, et id omne genus. 

" The pit is digged up for you all? 

" Woe unto you that laugh now, for ye shall mourn and lament. 
" With the supremest contempt, I remain, 

A. F. F ." 

3 To show how little operative on conduct is mere teaching, let me 
add a striking fact that has fallen under my own observation. Some 
twelve years ago was commenced a serial publication, grave and un 
interesting to most, and necessarily limited in its circulation to the 
well-educated. It was issued to subscribers, from each of whom a 
small sum was due for every four numbers. As was to be expected, 
the notification, periodically made, that another subscription was due, 
received from some prompt attention ; from others an attention more 
or less tardy ; and from others no attention at all. The defaulters, 

NOTES. 401 

from time to time reminded by new notices, fell, many of them, two 
subscriptions in arrear ; but after receiving from the publishers letters 
intimating the fact, some of these rectified what was simply a result 
of forgetfulness : leaving, however, a number who still went on receiv 
ing the serial without paying for it. When these were three subscrip 
tions in arrear, further letters from the publishers, drawing their 
attention to the facts, were sent to them, bringing from some the 
amounts due, but leaving a remainder who continued to disregard the 
claim. Eventually these received from the publishers intimations 
that their names would be struck off for non-payment ; and such of 
them as continued insensible were at length omitted from the list. 
After a lapse of ten years, a digest was made of the original list, to 
ascertain the ratio between the number of defaulters and the total 
number ; and to ascertain, also, the ratios borne by their numbers to 
the numbers of their respective classes. Those who had thus finally 
declined paying for what they had year after year received, constituted 
the following percentages : 

Subscribers of unknown status . . . .27 per cent. 

Physicians 29 

Clergymen (mostly of the Established Church) . 31 

Secularists 32 

Journalists 82 

Admitting that the high percentage among the journalists may 
have been due to the habit of receiving gratis copies of books, we have 
to note, first of all, the surprising fact that nearly one-third of these 
highly educated men were thus regardless of an equitable claim. 
Further, on comparing the subdivisions, we discover that the class 
undistinguished by titles of any kind, and therefore including, as we 
must suppose, those whose education, though good, was not the high 
est, furnished the smallest percentage of defaulters : so far as the evi 
dence goes, it associates increase of intellectual culture with decrease 
of conscientiousness. And then one more thing to be noted is the 
absence of that beneficial effect expected from repetition of moral pre 
cepts : the Clergy and the Secularists are nearly on a level. So that, 
both in general and in detail, this evidence, like the evidence given in 
the text, is wholly at variance with the belief that addressing the in 
tellect develops the higher sentiments. 

4 Even after the reform of the Poor-Law, this punishment for good 
behaviour was continued. Illustrations will be found in the before- 
mentioned Tracts on the Poor-Laws, by a late uncle of mine illustra 
tions that came under his personal observation as clergyman and as 



5 The comparisons ordinarily made between the minds of men and 
women are faulty in many ways, of which these are the chief : 

Instead of comparing either the average of women with the aver 
age of men, or the elite of women with the elite of men, the common 
course is to compare the elite of women with the average of men. 
Much the same erroneous impression results as would result if the 
relative statures of men and women were judged by putting very tall 
women side by side with ordinary men. 

Sundry manifestations of nature in men and women, are greatly 
perverted by existing social conventions upheld by both. There are 
feelings which, under our predatory regime, with its adapted standard 
of propriety, it is not considered manly to show ; but which, contrari 
wise, are considered admirable in women. Hence repressed manifesta 
tions in the one case, and exaggerated manifestations in the other ; 
leading to mistaken estimates. 

The sexual sentiment comes into play to modify the behaviour of 
men and women to one another. Respecting certain parts of their 
general characters, the only evidence which can be trusted is that fur 
nished by the conduct of men to men, and of women to women, when 
placed in relations which exclude the personal affections. 

In comparing the intellectual powers of men and women, no proper 
distinction is made between receptive faculty and originative faculty. 
The two are scarcely commensurable ; and the receptivity may, and 
frequently does, exist in high degree where there is but a low degree 
of originality, or entire absence of it. 

Perhaps, however, the most serious error usually made in drawing 
these comparisons is that of overlooking the limit of normal mental 
power. Either sex under special stimulations is capable of manifest 
ing powers ordinarily shown only by the other ; but we are not to 
consider the deviations so caused as affording proper measures. Thus, 
to take an extreme case, the mammas of men will, under special excita 
tion, yield milk : there are various cases of gynaecomasty on record, 
and in famines infants whose mothers have died have been thus saved. 
But this ability to yield milk, which, when exercised, must be at the 
cost of masculine strength, we do not count among masculine attri 
butes. Similarly, under special discipline, the feminine intellect will 
yield products higher than the intellects of most men can yield. But 
we are not to count this productivity as truly feminine if it entails 
decreased fulfilment of the maternal functions. Only that mental 
energy is normally feminine which can coexist with the production 
and nursing of the due number of healthy children. Obviously a 
power of mind which, if general among the women of a society, would 

NOTES. 403 

entail/lisappearance of the society, is a power not to be included in an 
estimate of the feminine nature as a social factor. 

6 Of course it is to be understood that in this, and in the succeed 
ing statements, reference is made to men and women of the same 
society, in the same age. If women of a more-evolved race are com 
pared with men of a less-evolved race, the statement will not be true. 

1 As the validity of this group of inferences depends on the occur 
rence of that partial limitation of heredity of sex here assumed, it 
may be said that.I should furnish proof of its occurrence. Were the 
place fit, this might be done. I might detail evidence that has been 
collected showing the much greater liability there is for a parent to 
bequeath malformations and diseases to children of the same sex, than 
to those of the opposite sex. I might cite the multitudinous instances 
of sexual distinctions, as of plumage in birds and colouring in insects, 
and especially those marvellous ones of dimorphism and polymorphism 
among females of certain species of Lepidoptera, as necessarily imply 
ing (to those who accept the Hypothesis of Evolution) the predominant 
transmission of traits to descendants of the same sex. It will suffice, 
however, to instance, as more especially relevant, the cases of sexual 
distinctions within the human race itself, which have arisen in some 
varieties and not in others. That in some varieties the men are 
bearded and in others not, may be taken as strong evidence of this 
partial limitation of heredity ; and perhaps still stronger evidence is 
yielded by that peculiarity of feminine form found in some of the 
negro races, and especially the Hottentots, which does not distinguish 
to any such extent the women of other races from the men. There is 
also the fact, to which Agassiz draws attention, that among the South 
American Indians males and females differ less than they do among 
the negroes and the higher races ; and this reminds us that among 
European and Eastern nations the men and women differ, both bodily 
and mentally, not quite in the same ways and to the same degrees, 
but in somewhat different ways and degrees a fact which would be 
inexplicable were there no partial limitation of heredity by sex. 


1 History of Greece, vol. i. p. 498. 

2 Ibid. vol. i. p. 466. 

8 Morning Post, May 15, 1872. 

4 In the appendix to his republished address, Mr. Gladstone, in 
illustration of the views he condemns, refers to that part of First 


Principles which, treating of the reconciliation of Science and Relig 
ion, contends that this consists in a united recognition of an Ultimate 
Cause which though ever present to consciousness, transcends knowl 
edge. Commenting on this view, he says : " Still it vividly recalls to 
mind an old story of the man who, wishing to be rid of one who was 
in his house, said, Sir, there are two sides to iny house, and we will 
divide them ; you shall take the outside. " This seems to me by no 
means a happily-chosen simile ; since it admits of an interpretation 
exactly opposite to the one Mr. Gladstone intends. The doctrine he 
combats is that Science, unable to go beyond the outsides of things, is 
for ever debarred from reaching, and even from conceiving, the Power 
within them ; and this being so, the relative positions of Religion and 
Science may be well represented by inverting the application of his 

6 Since the first edition of this volume was issued, there has ap 
peared, in the Contemporary Review for December, 1873, the following 
letter, addressed by Mr. Gladstone to the Editor: 

Nov. 3, 1873. 

" MY DEAR SIR, I observe in the Contemporary Review for Octo 
ber, p. 670, that the following words are quoted from an address of 
mine at Liverpool : 

" Upon the ground of what is termed evolution, God is relieved of 
the labour of creation : in the name of unchangeable laws he is dis 
charged from governing the world. 

" The distinguished writer in the Review says that by these words 
I have made myself so conspicuously the champion (or exponent) of 
the anti-scientific view, that the words may be regarded as typical. 

" To go as directly as may be to my point, I consider this judgment 
upon my declaration to be founded on an assumption or belief that it 
contains a condemnation of evolution, and of the doctrine of unchange 
able laws. I submit that it contains no such thing. Let me illustrate 
by saying, What if I wrote as follows : 

" Upon the ground of what is termed liberty, flagrant crimes have 
been committed : and (likewise) in the name of law and order, human 
rights have been trodden under foot. 

" I should not by thus writing condemn liberty, or condemn law 
and order ; but condemn only the inferences that men draw, or say 
they draw, from them. Up to that point the parallel is exact : and I 
hope it will be seen that Mr. Spencer has inadvertently put upon my 
words a meaning they do not bear. 

"Using the parallel thus far for the sake of clearness, I carry it no 

NOTES. 405 

farther. For while I am ready to give in my adhesion to liberty, and 
likewise to law and order, on evolution and on unchangeable laws I 
had rather be excused. 

" The words with which I think Madame de Stae l ends Corinne, 
are the best for me : Je ne veux ni la bldmer, ni Vabsoudre. Before 
I could presume to give an opfnion on evolution, or on unchangeable 
laws, I should wish to know more clearly and more fully than I yet 
know, the meaning attached to those phrases by the chief apostles of 
the doctrines ; and very likely even after accomplishing this prelimi 
nary stage, I might find myself insufficiently supplied with the knowl 
edge required to draw the line between true and false. 

" I have then no repugnance to any conclusions whatever, legiti 
mately arising upon well-ascertained facts or well-tested reasonings : 
and rny complaint is that the functions of the Almighty as Creator 
and Governor of the world are denied upon grounds, which, whatever 
be the extension given to the phrases I have quoted, appear to me to 
be utterly and manifestly insufficient to warrant such denial. 

" I am desirous to liberate myself from a supposition alien, I think, 
to my whole habits of mind and life. But I do not desire to effect 
this by the method of controversy ; and if Mr. Spencer does not see, 
or does not think, that he has mistaken the meaning of my words, I 
have no more darts to throw ; and will do myself, indeed, the pleasure 
of concluding with a frank avowal that his manner of handling what 
he must naturally consider to be a gross piece of folly is as far as pos 
sible from being offensive. 

" Believe me, 

" Most faithfully yours, 


Mr. Gladstone s explanation of his own meaning must, of course, 
be accepted ; and, inserting a special reference to it in the stereotype- 
plate, I here append his letter, that the reader may not be misled by 
my comments. Paying due respect to Mr. Gladstone s wish to avoid 
controversy, I will say no more here than seems needful to excuse my 
self for having misconstrued his words. " Evolution," as I understand 
it, and " creation," as usually understood, are mutually exclusive : if 
there has been that special formation and adjustment commonly meant 
by creation, there has not been evolution ; if there has been evolution, 
there has not been special creation. Similarly, unchangeable laws, as 
conceived by a man of science, negative the current conception of 
divine government, which implies interferences or special providences: 
if the laws are unchangeable, they are never traversed by divine voli 
tions suspending them ; if God alters the predetermined course of 


things from time to time, the laws are not unchangeable. I assumed 
that Mr. Gladstone used the terms in these mutually-exclusive senses ; 
but my assumption appears to have been a wrong one. This is mani 
fest to me on reading what he instances as parallel antitheses; seeing 
that the terms of his parallel antitheses are not mutually exclusive. 
That which excludes " liberty," and is excluded by it, is despotism ; 
and that which excludes " law and order," and is excluded by them, 
is anarchy. Were these mutually-exclusive conceptions used, Mr. 
Gladstone s parallel would be transformed thus : 

" Upon the ground of what is termed liberty, there has been rebel 
lion against despotism : and (likewise) in the name of law and order, 
anarchy has been striven against." 

As this is the parallel Mr. Gladstone would have drawn had the 
words of his statement been used in the senses I supposed, it is clear 
that I misconceived the meanings he gave to them ; and I must, there 
fore, ask the reader to be on his guard against a kindred misconcep 

[In the earlier-sold copies of the second edition of this volume, there 
here followed a paragraph, one part of which was based upon an ab 
surd misconstruction of the second sentence contained in the first of 
the two passages quoted from Mr. Gladstone a misconstruction so 
absurd that, when my attention was drawn to it, I could scarcely be 
lieve I had made it, until reference to the passage itself proved to me 
that I had. I am greatly annoyed that careless reading should have 
betrayed me into such a mistake ; and I apologize for having given 
some currency to the resulting misrepresentation. 

In a letter referring to this misrepresentation, Mr. Gladstone ex 
presses his regret that his letter to the Contemporary Review did not 
explicitly embrace both the passages I quoted from him ; and he adds 
that in his opinion, there is " no conflict between the doctrine of Provi 
dence and the doctrine of uniform laws." My description of his view 
as anti-scientific, the reader must therefore take with the qualifica 
tion that Mr. Gladstone does not regard it as involving the alleged 


Abstract science, discipline given by, 
288-91, 296, 297 ; investigation of 
physical action, the province of, 

Action, relation to feeling, 327 ; not 
produced by cognition, 328-335. 

Acts, building, 3 ; contagious disease, 
149; parliamentary, 203 ; licensing, 
247 ; public, 325, 326. 

Adaptation of organisms to environ 
ment, 316. 317, 319, 361 ; to social 
conditions, 319, 361; need for, 340. 

Admiralty mismanagement, 146-147, 

Allotropic form, of oxygen, 205 ; of 
carbon, 205. 

Alton Locke, extract from, 38. 

Altruism, 165-168, 173, 182 ; individual, 
315, 316. 

Amity, religion of, 163-169 ; truths ig 
nored by adherents to the religion 
of, 174-178. 

Analogy, between individual and social 
organisms, 301-305. 

Analysis, chief function of, 293. 

Anomalies, manifested by human na 
ture, 11-14. 

Antagonistic creeds, 181 ; social states, 
223, 224. 

Anti-patriotism, 196 ; bias of, 197 ; ex 
ample of, 197 ; effect on sociologi 
cal speculation, 210. 

Anti-theological bias, distortions of 
judgment caused by, 274 ; errors 
from, 281, 284. 

Antithesis, series 9f, 10, 11. 

Anti-Tobacco Society, report from, 72. 

Appliances for discipline, 242 ; undue 
belief in, 245. 

Art-museums, 320. 

Aryan races, 308. 

Astronomy, progress in, 205 ; sidereal, 
205 ; idea of continuity from, 293 ; 
theories in, 350 ; charge against, 

Athanasian Creed, 271. 

Athenian democracy, 240. 

Atomicity, conception of, 204. 

Atomic theory, 204. 

Automorphic interpretation, 103, 104 ; 

illustrations of, 105, 106 ; necessity 

for guarding against, 132. 
Average intelligence, inadequate for 

guidance, 276, 277. 

Barbarities, committed by Europeans, 

Bias, educational, 161-184 ; patriotic, 
1&5-218 ; class, 219-238 ; political, 
239-265 ; theological, 266-285 ; of 
enmity, 180 ; of the wealthy. 236. 

Biological truth, a check to rash politi 
cal action, 307 ; underlying legisla 
tion, 316 ; laws, 318 ; use of, 322. 

Biology, preparation in, 298 ; position 
assigned by M. Cointe, 299 : cardi 
nal truth of, 300 ; contributions to, 

Buddhism, 193. 

Building acts, 3. 

Bureaucratic system, 111. 

Calico, demand for, 16 ; consumption 

of, 16. 
Causation, physical, 4 ; crude notions 

regarding, 290 ; fructifying, 295, 

296 ; continuous, 351. 
Changes, destructive and constructive, 


Character, genesis of, 342. 
Charles I., 159. 

Chemistry, progress in. 204, 205. 
Circulating libraries, effect of, 61. 
Civilization, course of, 317. 
Class-bias, 219, 220; illustrations of, 

221-223; truth obscured by, 229, 

230, 233. 234 ; in China, 236. 
Cognition, 327, 328. 
Commemorative structures, 127, 128. 
Commerce of literature, 60, 61. 
Commons, enclosure of, 36 ; House of, 

245, 252, 254, 263. 
Commune, reign of, 139. 
Comparative psychology of the sexes, 




Compromise, between old and new be 
liefs, 359-361. 

Conceptions, complex, 112; sociologi 
cal, 115, 119. 

Conceptlve faculty, want of, 120 ; plas 
ticity of, 120, 121, 126. 

Conclusions, general, 366, 367. 

Concrete sciences, discipline given by, 
293, 294, 2%. 

Conformists, warped judgment of, 

Confucius, maxims of, 333. 

Conservatism, 364. 

Consolidation, the result of war, 176, 
177 ; of Germany, 177. 

Constitutions, belief in, 248 ; useful only 
when products of national charac 
ter, 250-255. 

Continuity, conceptions of. 293, 294. 

Cooperative industry, 227-229, 231. 

Corollary, from the doctrine of evolu 
tion, 365. 

Cotton, its price, 16, 17. 

Courage, 170, 182 ; over-estimate of, 171, 

Credulity, its coexistence with untruth- 
fulness, 107. 

Creeds, 208, 269 ; Athanasian, 271 ; re 
actions against^ the, 274 ; antago 
nistic, 181. 

Crime not the result of ignorance, 330, 

Cromwell, 159. 


Davy, experiments of, 204, 205. 

Democracy, a despotism, 250. 

Despotism, lesson of, from France, 250. 

Difficulties of the social science, 65-67 ; 
objective, 68-102, 352 ; subjective, 
101, 133-160, 353. 

Discipline, mental. 286 ; effect on habits 
of thought, 2H8 ; acquired by study 
of abstract science, 288 ; acquired 
by study of physical science, 290, 
291 ; sole study of physical science 
inadequate as a, 291, 293. 355. 

Dissenting organizations, 215. 

Divine government, outgrowths from 

theory of, 124. 
strategist, 25. 

Doctrine of averages, 41. 

Domestic relations, 121, 122. 

Drainage, 60, 73. 

Dutch, not imaginative, 200. 


Easter-eggs, 112. 

Education, national, 340. 

Educational institutions, 61, 70, 71. 

Egoism, 165-168, 173, 182, 186 ; reflex, 
190 ; general, 363. 

Embodied power, emotion excited by, 

Emotion, effect on judgment. 133 ; illus 
trations, 134-136; excited by em 
bodied power, 154-157. 

Employed, conceptions of the, 224-231. 

Employers, bias of, 231 ; mental atti 
tude of, 231. 

English, early history of the, 127-131 ; 
self -depreciation by, 197 ; ideas of 
the, 200 ; enterprises of the, 200 ; 
inventions of the, 201 ; imagination 
of, 209 ; science, 214 ; improvidence, 

Enmity, emotions enlisted by, 163, 168- 
173 ; religion of, 180. 

Equilibrium, between fertility and mor 
tality, 309 ; between conflicting 
sympathies and antipathies, 285. 

Ether, units of, 283. 

Ethics, 208 ; utilitarian system of, 279. 

Evidence, untrustworthiness of his 
torical, 08, 09 ; distorted, 72, 74, 76 ; 
perverted through confounding ob 
servation with inference, 84-90. 

Evils, suppression of, 19 ; redistribu 
tion of, 21. 

Evolution, process of, 282 ; individual, 
341, 342 ; products of human, 342 ; 
arrest of, 340 ; study of, 350 ; charge 
against, 358 ; societies products of, 
304 ; effect of, 365. 

Examinations, results obtained from, 


Factors, cooperative, 183. 

Faculty, complexity of, 112; illustra 
tions of, 114, 115 ; absence of, 120. 

Fallacies, popular, 1-4. 

Fertility, balance by mortality, 309. 

Fetichism, 282. 

Feudal system, 101, 233. 

Figures of speech, 301. 

Fijians, 230, 207, 268. 

Force, correlation and equivalence of, 

Froude s opinions regarding social sci 
ence, 33-41. 

French, undue self-estimation by, 193 ; 
soldiers, 194: poets, 194; adminis 
tration, 199; Academy, 210-214; 
language, 210, 211 ; Revolution, 139- 
141, 143 ; lesson from the, 250. 

Functions, preparation for, 323 ; ad 
justment of special powers to, 341. 


Gambling, grounds of reprobation, 278. 

Generosity in women, 346. 

Genesis of character, 342. 

of facts, 351. 

of the great man, 30-32. 

of the belief in universal history, 


Geology, progress in, 206 ; idea of con 
tinuity from, 293. 

Germany, self-sufficiency of, 195 ; na 
tional costume of, 196. 

Gin. quantity distilled in England, 247. 

Gladstone s theory, 358. 

Government, its duty, 4, 5 ; officers or, 
153; regulative agency of, 320. 

Great artificer, 25. 



Great-man theory of history, 28, 29, 

351 ; error concerning, 32. 
Greeks, 344, 367, 358. 


Hamlet, quotation from, 246. 

Hate, effect on judgment, 338-144. 

Heat, as a mode of motion, 204. 

Heredity, 307, 308, 313. 

Historical evidence, untrustworthiness 

of, 68, 69. 
Historical sequence denied by Canon 

Kiugsley, 38. 
History of England, 36 ; science of, 36 ; 

limits of exact science as applied 

to, 37; scientific method as applied 

to, 240. 

Hopes, visionary, 366, 367. 
Human nature, indefinitely modifiable, 

108 ; slow changes in, 109, 110. 
Hyde Park, 221 ; riots in, 270. 
Hypothesis of atoms and molecules, 


Iconoclasm, example of, 275. 

Ideas, relative faith in, 199, 200. 

Ignorance not the cause of crime, 330. 

Illusions, optical, 83, 84. 

Impatience, effect of this emotion, 136, 

Improvidence of the English, 335-338. 

Infanticide, 198. 

Institutions, self-preservation of, 17. 

Insurance companies, 74. 

Intellectual culture, moralizing effects 
of, 331 ; appliances to, 332. 

Intelligence, average, 27C, 277; culti 
vated, 280. 

Intuition, guidance by, 325 ; power of, 

Invariants, theory of, 203. 

Ipecacuanha, 148. 

Japanese, 345. 

Jews, 128. 

Judgments. 32C; affected by coexisting 

emotion, 134, 154, 353, 354 ; effect of 

love and hate on, 138-144. 
Juggernaut, 345. 
Justice, abstract, 346. 

Kingsley s views regarding social sci 
ence. 37-40. 

Knowledge, second-hand, 332 ; effects 
on moral culture, 332, 333. 

Laissez-faire policy, 320, 321. 
Land tenure, system regulating, 112. 
Language, use of old forms of, 97. 
Law, 149-151 ; reverence for, 157. 
Legislation, rational, 327. 

icensing act, 247. 

..ocomotiou. appliances for, 59. 
Logic, 202 ; discipline given by, 288. 
Loyalty, 157, 158. 


Married life, healthfulness of, 84 ; cir 
cumstances which determine, 85-87. 
Master-builder, 25. 
Mathematics, 202 ; discipline given by, 

Matthew Arnold s method, 197-200 ; 
statements of, 199-210. 

rleehanics, 48. 

dental science, truth taught by, 335. 

Mercantile marine, inspection of, 3. 

Metamorphoses, 361, 862. 

Meteorology, 35. 

Mind, laws of, 324, 326 ; true theory 
of, 326. 

Mod inability of species, 299 ; of man, 
300, 300-308 ; of all organic beings, 

Monogamy, 121, 122. 

Moral code, operativeness of, 279, 280. 

nature, effects of war on, 179. 
teaching, effect of, 332-335. 

Mordaunt cases, 254. 

Mortality, 309 ; of children, 199 ; statis 
tics of, 199 ; rate of, 311, 312 ; de 
crease in the causes of, 312. 

Murders, committed in England, 198 ; 
by foreigners, 198, 199. 

" Must-do-something" impulse, 18, 19 ; 
result of deficient knowledge, 19. 

Mutual dependence, of parts, 303, 304 ; 
of sociology and biology, 305. 

Napoleon, his despotism, 142, 143. 
Nature of the aggregate determined 

by the nature of the units, 43-48 ; 

objection to this theory, 48. 
Naval and Military Bible Society, 131. 
Nonconformists, judgment warped by 

theological bias, 273. 
Nonconformity, 216. 
Non-restraint system, 12. 


Observations, systematic, 320. 

Old beliefs, reaction from, 275, 276. 

Old-English periods, 119. 

Optical illusions, 83. 

Organization, regulative, 363 ; mutual 

dependence of parts necessary to, 

301, 302. 

Parable of the sower, application of, 


Parenthood, mental influence of, 338. 
Parliament, acts of, 263 ; member of, 

Patriotism, 185, 186 ; effects on beliefs, 

187, 188 ; leads to a low estimate of 



other peoples, 188, 189, 193 ; effects 
on sociological judgments, 196, 354. 

Personal equation, 9. 

interests, 75. 

Phenomena, 357 ; interpretation of, 358. 

Philanthropy, a means of evil, 314. 

Policy, 319, 320 ; conducive to improve 
ment. 338. 

Political bias, 239 ; perverting effects 
of, 240 ; subtle form of, 255 ; op 
posed to sociological conceptions, 
264. 354. 

economy, 136, 137 ; flaws in, 138 ; 

laws of, 138. 

Instrumentalities, 252-255. 
Polyandry, 121. 

Poor-laws, examples of. 93, 94. 
Positive philosophy, faith pervading, 


Positivism, 105. 

Power, manifestation of, 344 ; rever 
ence for, 347 ; its influence on po 
litical beliefs, 144. 

Preglacial period, 126. 

Press. 112. 

Prevision, 34 ; scientific, 34 ; of social 
phenomena, 41 ; impossible, 50 ; 
possible 51, 52, 351. 

Proaromut Florte Xor<r-Ho!lan(U<t, 207. 

Progress in chemistry, 204, 205 ; in 
mathematics, 202 ; in physics, 203 ; 
in astronomy, 205 ; in geology, 206 ; 
in biology, 207 ; in psychology, 208; 
in ethics, 208. 

Properties of aggregates determined 
by properties of its units, 53, 111. 

Protestantism, 272. 

Proximate causes, 2. 

results, 2, 310. 

Psychological inquiries, need for, 340 ; 

analysis, 343. 

Psychology, 208 ; preparation in, 324. 
Public affairs, better management of, 

255 ; conversation concerning, 256- 

Quaternions, 202 ; value of, 6. 


Radicalism, 364. 
Reign of Terror, 140, 144. 
Religion, of amity. 270, 271 ; of enmity, 

270, 271 ; of humanity, 283. 
Religions, 161 ; antagonistic, 162-164 ; 

conflict between, 165. 
Religious conceptions, 123-126. 
sentiment, development of, 282, 


Representative faculty, 346. 
Results proportional to appliances, 241 ; 

fallacy that, 242-255. 
Revolution. French, 139-141, 143. 
Rhone Hydraulic Company, 200. 
Ribot, extract from, 208. 
Roman Catholicism, 272. 


Sacrifices, human, 96. 
Samoans, 266, 268. 

Sandwich-Islanders, friendly conduct 
of, 191. 

Sanitary arrangements, 3. 

Savages, as described by various writ 
ers, 26(3 ; morality of, 207 ; bar 
barity of, 191 ; kind treatment by, 

Science of life, related to the science 
of society. 299 ; importance of study 
of, 296, 297. 

Sciences, abstract, 202 ; abstract-con 
crete. 203. 

Scurvy, 147. 

Self-control, 338. 

depreciation, origin of, 197. 

regard, evils resulting from, 186, 

sacrifice, 162 ; untenability of the 
doctrine of, K55. 

Sexes, mental differences, 340-346. 

Shakspeare, 31. 

Slave-trade, 321. 

Small-pox epidemic, 134. 

Social actions, complexity of, 16, 17. 

phenomena, relations of , 4 ; should 
be studied in conformity with meth 
ods employed in physical research, 
5 ; false method of investigating, 
10 ; prevision in, 18 ; ascertainable 
order of, 21 ; no absolute repetition 
of, 35 ; explanations of, 48 ; two 
modes of interpreting, 87 ; per 
verted conceptions of, 181 ; origin 
in the phenomena of individual 
human nature, 299 ; factors in 
volved in, 340, 347 ; imperviousness 
to, 360. 

science, ideas alien to, 26-33 ; de 
nial of, 33 : positions taken by Mr. 
Froude regarding. 33 ; free-will in 
compatible with, 33 ; denial of a, 
37 ; recognition of, 39 ; reply to 
criticisms concerning, 39, 40 ; na 
ture of, 52, 53 ; definite conception 
of, 53 ; value of the study of, 63, 
64; difficulties of the, 65-67, 352; 
right thinking in, 181 ; political 
partizanship in the way of, 239 ; 
balanced judgments in, 285 ; men 
tal science necessary to, 349 ; con 
clusion regarding, 350 ; conception 
developed by, 364. 

Social structures, development of, 54- 

Society, multiplicity of factors in 
volved, 14, 15 ; structure and 
growth as related in, 56-62; its 
physical quality lowered, 311-313 ; 
its intellectual and moral qualities 
lowered, 313-316 ; type modified, 

Sociology, necessity for the study of, 
1-21 ; hindered by sentiments of 
loyalty, 157 ; class-bias opposed to 
right thinking in, 237 ; political bias 
opposed to, 264 ; a fit habit of 
thought important to the study of, 
288 ; its dependence on biology, 
296, 299 ; difficulties of. 352. 

Solar spots, constitution of sun implied 



by, 6-8 ; Wilson s hypothesis re 
garding, 6 ; counter-hypothesis, 7 ; 
Kirchhoff s hypothesis, 7 ; hypothe 
sis, reconciling facts, 8. 

Spartans, 172, 179. 

State agency, 147-157 ; confidence in, 
154 ; education through, 329. 

Statutes, penal, 149. 

Stone age, 175. 

Strategy of Providence, 25. 

Structure and growth, 56-59 ; law in 
social organisms of, 59, CO. 

Subjective difficulties, intellectual, 103- 
132, 352 : emotional, 133-100, 353. 

Sun s distance, error in estimating, 187. 

Supernatural genesis of phenomena, 

Superstitions, 5. 

Survivals, of the fittest, 174, 175 ; of 
primitive practices, 97-101. 

Svnt IK-SIS, practice of, 293. 

Syphilis, 76-82. 


Tailor in heaven, story of, 125. 

Tasmanian devil, 168, 170. 

Temperance societies, growth of, 70 ; 
results of, 246. 

Tendency, destructive and construc 
tive, 363. 

Testimony, necessity for discounting, 
71 ; personal interests affecting, 74; 
political influences affecting, 75. 

Theological bias, leading to misinter 
pretation of social facts, 266 ; effect 
of, 270 ; obscures sociological truth, 
271 ; leads to erroneous estimates 
of societies and institutions, 271, 

Theory of Mr. Gladstone, 358. 

Theory of light, 203. 

Titles, 159. 

Trade-unions, genesis of, 119 ; ideas of 
legislative action entertained by, 
157 ; internal governments of, 224. 
225 ; general policy of. 229. 

Transitional periods, 362. 

Trinity, 125, 271. 

Truth, taught by mental science 335 

Two-headed nightingale, 68. 


United States, truth displayed in, 251. 

Untrustworthy evidence, the result of, 
subjective states of the witnesses, 
69-74, 352 ; of personal interest, 74- 
82 ; of confounding observation 
with inference, 84-90 ; distribution 
in space, 90, 91 ; distribution of 
facts in time, 92-101. 

Vagrancy act, 36. 
Veracity, habitual, 107. 


Wallace, contradictory estimates of the 
character of, 188. 

Walter-press, genesis of, 115-119. 

War, the means of consolidation, 176 ; 
of industrial habits, 177 ; of retro 
gression, 178 ; its effects on the 
moral nature, 179 ; general effects 
of, 180. 

Women, mental characteristics of, 340 ; 
physical peculiarities of, 341 ; traits 
of intellect and feeling peculiar to, 

Spencer, Herbert 

The study of sociology 


A ^ *