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Mankind in the Making by H. G. Wells

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in war the disadvantage might prove the other way about.] Because the
hereditary kingdom and aristocracy of Great Britain is less and less
representative of economic reality, more and more false to the real
needs of the world, it does not follow that it will disappear, any more
than malarial fever will disappear from a man's blood because it is
irrelevant to the general purpose of his being. These things will only
go when a sufficient number of sufficiently capable and powerful people
are determined they shall go. Until that time they will remain with us,
influencing things about them for evil, as it lies in their nature to

Before, however, any sufficiently great and capable body of men can be
found to abolish these shams, these shams that must necessarily hamper
and limit the development of our children, it is necessary that they
should have some clear idea of the thing that is to follow, and the
real security of these obsolete institutions lies very largely in the
fact that at present the thing that is to follow does not define
itself. It is too commonly assumed that the alternative to a more or
less hereditary government is democratic republicanism of the American
type, and the defence of the former consists usually in an indictment
of the latter, complicated in very illogical cases by the assertion
(drawn from the French instance) that Republics are unstable. But it
does not follow that because one condemns the obvious shams of the
British system that one must accept the shams of the United States.
While in Great Britain we have a system that masks and hampers the best
of our race under a series of artificial inequalities, the United
States theory of the essential equality of all men is equally not in
accordance with the reality of life. In America, just as in England,
the intelligent child grows up to discover that the pretensions of
public life are not justified, and quite equally to be flawed in
thought and action by that discovery.

The American atmosphere has one great and indisputable superiority over
the British: it insists upon the right of every citizen, it almost
presents it as a duty, to do all that he possibly can do; it holds out
to him even the highest position in the state as a possible reward for
endeavour. Up to the point of its equality of opportunity surely no
sane Englishman can do anything but envy the American state. In America
"presumption" is not a sin. All the vigorous enterprise that
differentiates the American from the Englishman in business flows quite
naturally from that; all the patriotic force and loyalty of the common
American, which glows beside the English equivalent as the sun beside
the moon, glows even oppressively. But apart from these inestimable
advantages I do not see that the American has much that an Englishman
need envy. There are certainly points of inferiority in the American
atmosphere, influences in development that are bad, not only in
comparison with what is ideally possible, but even in comparison with
English parallels.

For example, the theory that every man is as good as his neighbour, and
possibly a little better, has no check for fools, and instead of the
respectful silences of England there seems--to the ordinary English
mind--an extraordinary quantity of crude and unsound judgments in
America. One gets an impression that the sort of mind that is passively
stupid in England is often actively silly in America, and, as a
consequence, American newspapers, American discussions, American social
affairs are pervaded by a din that in England we do not hear and do not
want to hear. The real and steady development of American scientific
men is masked to the European observer, and it must be greatly hampered
by the copious silliness of the amateur discoverer, and the American
crop of new religions and new enthusiasms is a horror and a warning to
the common British intelligence. Many people whose judgments are not
absolutely despicable hold a theory that unhampered personal freedom
for a hundred years has made out of the British type, a type less
deliberate and thorough in execution and more noisy and pushful in
conduct, restless rather than indefatigable, and smart rather than
wise. If ninety-nine people out of the hundred in our race are vulgar
and unwise, it does seem to be a fact that while the English fool is
generally a shy and negative fool anxious to hide the fact, the
American fool is a loud and positive fool, who swamps much of the
greatness of his country to many a casual observer from Europe
altogether. American books, American papers, American manners and
customs seem all for the ninety and nine.

Deeper and graver than the superficial defects of manner and execution
and outlook to which these charges point, there are, one gathers, other
things that are traceable to the same source. There is a report of
profounder troubles in the American social body, of a disease of
corruption that renders American legislatures feeble or powerless
against the great business corporations, and of an extreme
demoralization of the police force. The relation of the local political
organization to the police is fatally direct, and that sense of ordered
subordination to defined duties which distinguishes the best police
forces of Europe fails. Men go into the police force, we are told, with
the full intention of making it pay, of acquiring a saleable power.

There is probably enough soundness in these impressions, and enough
truth in these reports and criticisms, to justify our saying that all
is not ideally right with the American atmosphere, and that it is not
to present American conditions we must turn in repudiating our British
hereditary monarchy. We have to seek some better thing upon which
British and American institutions may converge. The American personal
and social character, just like the English personal and social
character, displays very grave defects, defects that must now be
reflected upon, and must be in course of acquisition by the children
who are growing up in the American state. And since the American is
still predominantly of British descent, and since he has not been
separated long enough from the British to develop distinct inherited
racial characteristics, and, moreover, since his salient
characteristics are in sharp contrast with those of the British, it
follows that the difference in his character and atmosphere must be due
mainly to his different social and political circumstances. Just as the
relative defects of the common British, their apathy, their unreasoning
conservatism, and their sordid scorn of intellectual things is bound up
with their politico-social scheme, so, I believe, the noisiness, the
mean practicalness, and the dyspeptic-driving restlessness that are the
shadows of American life, are bound up with the politico-social
condition of America. The Englishman sticks in the mud, and the
American, with a sort of violent meanness, cuts corners, and in both
cases it is quite conceivable that the failure to follow the perfect
way is really no symptom of a divergence of blood and race, but the
natural and necessary outcome of the mass of suggestion about them that
constitutes their respective worlds.

The young American grows up into a world pervaded by the theory of
democracy, by the theory that all men must have an equal chance of
happiness, possessions, and power, and in which that theory is
expressed by a uniform equal suffrage. No man shall have any power or
authority save by the free consent and delegation of his fellows--that
is the idea--and to the originators of this theory it seemed as obvious
as anything could be that these suffrages would only be given to those
who did really serve the happiness and welfare of the greatest number.
The idea was reflected in the world of business by a conception of free
competition; no man should grow rich except by the free preference of a
great following of customers. Such is still the American theory, and
directly the intelligent young American grows up to hard facts he finds
almost as much disillusionment as the intelligent young Englishman. He
finds that in practice the free choice of a constituency reduces to two
candidates, and no more, selected by party organizations, and the free
choice of the customer to the goods proffered by a diminishing number
of elaborately advertised businesses; he finds political instruments
and business corporations interlocking altogether beyond his power of
control, and that the two ways to opportunity, honour, and reward are
either to appeal coarsely to the commonest thoughts and feelings of the
vulgar as a political agitator or advertising trader, or else to make
his peace with those who do. And so he, too, makes his concessions.
They are different concessions from those of the young Englishman,
but they have this common element of gravity, that he has to submit to
conditions in which he does not believe, he has to trim his course to a
conception of living that is perpetually bending him from the splendid
and righteous way. The Englishman grows up into a world of barriers and
locked doors, the American into an unorganized, struggling crowd. There
is an enormous premium in the American's world upon force and
dexterity, and force in the case of common men too often degenerates
into brutality, and dexterity into downright trickery and cheating. He
has got to be forcible and dexterous within his self-respect if he can.
There is an enormous discount on any work that does not make money or
give a tangible result, and except in the case of those whose lot has
fallen within certain prescribed circles, certain oases of organized
culture and work, he must advertise himself even in science or
literature or art as if he were a pill. There is no recognition for him
at all in the world, except the recognition of--everybody. There will
be neither comfort nor the barest respect for him, however fine his
achievement, unless he makes his achievement known, unless he can make
enough din about it, to pay. He has got to shout down ninety-nine
shouting fellow-citizens. That is the cardinal fact in life for the
great majority of Americans who respond to the stirrings of ambition.
If in Britain capacity is discouraged because honours and power go by
prescription, in America it is misdirected because honours do not exist
and power goes by popular election and advertisement. In certain
directions--not by any means in all--unobtrusive merit, soundness of
quality that has neither gift nor disposition for "push," has a better
chance in Great Britain than in America. A sort of duty to help and
advance exceptional men is recognized at any rate, even if it is not
always efficiently discharged, by the privileged class in England,
while in America it is far more acutely felt, far more distinctly
impressed upon the young that they must "hustle" or perish.

It will be argued that this enumeration of American and British defects
is a mere expansion of that familiar proposition of the logic text-
books, "all men are mortal." You have here, says the objector, one of
two alternatives, either you must draw your administrators, your
legislators, your sources of honour and reward from a limited,
hereditary, and specially-trained class, who will hold power as a
right, or you must rely upon the popular choice exercised in the shop
and at the polling booth. What else can you have but inheritance or
election, or some blend of the two, blending their faults? Each system
has its disadvantages, and the disadvantages of each system may be
minimized by education; in particular by keeping the culture and code
of honour of your ruling class high in the former case and by keeping
your common schools efficient in the latter. But the essential evils of
each system are--essential evils, and one has to suffer them and
struggle against them, as one has to struggle perpetually with the
pathogenic bacteria that infest the world. The theory of monarchy is,
no doubt, inferior to the democratic theory in stimulus, but the latter
fails in qualitative effect, much more than the former. There, the
objector submits, lies the quintessence of the matter. Both systems
need watching, need criticism, the pruning knife and the stimulant, and
neither is bad enough to justify a revolutionary change to the other.
In some such conclusion as this most of the English people with whom
one can discuss this question have come to rest, and it is to this way
of looking at the matter that one must ascribe the apathetic
acquiescence in the British hereditary system, upon which I have
already remarked. There is a frank and excessive admission of every
real and imaginary fault of the American system, and with the
proposition that we are on the horns of a dilemma, the discussion is

But are we indeed on the horns of a dilemma, and is there no
alternative to hereditary government tempered by elections, or
government by the ward politician and the polling booth? Cannot we have
that sense and tradition of equal opportunity for all who are born into
this world, that generous and complete acknowledgment of the principle
of promotion from the ranks that is the precious birthright of the
American, without the political gerrymandering, the practical
falsification, that restricts that general freedom at last only to the
energetic, and that subordinates quality to quantity in every affair of
life? It is evident that for the New Republican to admit that the thing
is indeed a dilemma, that there is nothing for it but to make the best
of whichever bad thing we have at hand, that we cannot have all we
desire but only a greater or a lesser moiety, is a most melancholy and
hampering admission. And, certainly, no New Republican will agree
without a certain mental struggle, without a thorough and earnest
inquiry into the possibility of a third direction.

This matter has two aspects, it presents itself as two questions; the
question first of all of administration, and the question of honour and
privilege. What is it that the New Republican idea really requires in
these two matters? In the matter of administration it requires that
every child growing up in a state should feel that he is part owner of
his state, completely free in his membership, and equal in opportunity
to all other children--and it also wants to secure the management of
affairs in the hands of the very best men, not the noisiest, not the
richest or most skilfully advertised, but the best. Can these two
things be reconciled? In the matter of honour and privilege, the New
Republican idea requires a separation of honour from notoriety; it
requires some visible and forcible expression of the essential
conception that there are things more honourable than getting either
votes or money; it requires a class and distinctions and privileges
embodying that idea--and also it wants to ensure that through the whole
range of life there shall not be one door locked against the effort of
the citizen to accomplish the best that is in him. Can these two things
be reconciled also?

I have the temerity to think that in both cases the conflicting
requirements can be reconciled far more completely than is commonly

Let us take, first of all, the question of the reconciliation as it is
presented in the administration of public affairs. The days have come
when the most democratic-minded of men must begin to admit that the
appointment of all rulers and officials by polling the manhood, or most
of the manhood, of a country does not work--let us say perfectly--and
at no level of educational efficiency does it ever seem likely to work
in the way those who established it hoped. By thousands of the most
varied experiments the nineteenth century has proved this up to the
hilt. The fact that elections can only be worked as a choice between
two selected candidates, or groups of candidates, is the unforeseen and
unavoidable mechanical defect of all electoral methods with large
electorates. Education has nothing to do with that. The elections for
the English University members are manipulated just as much as the
elections in the least literate of the Irish constituencies. [Footnote:
There is a very suggestive book on this aspect of our general question,
_The Crowd_, by M. Gustave le Bon, which should interest any one
who finds this paper interesting. And the English reader who would like
a fuller treatment of this question has now available also
Ostrogorski's great work, _Democracy and the Organization of
Political Parties_.] It is not a question of accidentals, but a
question of the essential mechanism. Men have sought out and considered
all sorts of devices for qualifying the present method by polling;
Mills's plural voting for educated men will occur to the reader; Hare's
system of vote collection, and the negative voting of Doctor Grece; and
the defects of these inventions have been sufficiently obvious to
prevent even a trial. The changes have been rung upon methods of
counting; cumulative votes and the prohibition of plumping, and so on,
have been tried without any essential modification of the results.
There are various devices for introducing "stages" in the electoral
process; the constituency elects electors, who elect the rulers and
officers, for example, and there is also that futile attempt to bring
in the non-political specialist, the method of electing governing
bodies with power to "co-opt." Of course they "co-opt" their fellow
politicians, rejected candidates, and so on. Among other expedients
that people have discussed, are such as would make it necessary for a
man to take some trouble and display some foresight to get registered
as a voter or to pass an examination to that end, and such as would
confront him with a voting paper so complex, that only a very
intelligent and painstaking man would be able to fill it up without
disqualification. It certainly seems a reasonable thing to require that
the voter should be able at least to write out fully and spell
correctly the name of the man of his choice. Except for the last, there
is scarcely any of these things but its adoption would strengthen the
power of the political organizer, which they aim to defeat. Any
complication increases the need and the power of organization. It is
possible to believe--the writer believes--that with all this burthen of
shortcomings, the democratic election system is still, on the whole,
better than a system of hereditary privilege, but that is no reason for
concealing how defective and disappointing its practical outcome has
been, nor for resting contented with it in its present form. [Footnote:
The statement of the case is not complete unless we mention that, to
the method of rule by hereditary rulers and the appointment of
officials by noble patrons on the one hand, and of rule by politicians
exercising patronage on the other, there is added in the British system
the Chinese method of selecting officials by competitive examination.
Within its limits this has worked as a most admirable corrective to
patronage; it is one of the chief factors in the cleanhandedness of
British politicians, and it is continually importing fresh young men
from outside to keep officialdom in touch with the general educated
world. But it does not apply, and it does not seem applicable, to the
broader issues of politics, to the appointment and endorsement of
responsible rulers and legislators, where a score of qualities are of
more importance than those an examination can gauge.]

Is polling really essential to the democratic idea? That is the
question now very earnestly put to the reader. We are so terribly under
the spell of established conditions, we are all so obsessed by the
persuasion that the only conceivable way in which a man can be
expressed politically is by himself voting in person, that we do all of
us habitually overlook a possibility, a third choice, that lies ready
to our hands. There is a way by means of which the indisputable evils
of democratic government may be very greatly diminished, without
destroying or even diminishing--indeed, rather enhancing--that
invigorating sense of unhampered possibilities, that the democratic
idea involves. There is a way of choosing your public servants of all
sorts and effectually controlling public affairs on perfectly sound
democratic principles, _without ever having such a thing as an
election, as it is now understood, at all_, a way which will permit
of a deliberate choice between numerous candidates--a thing utterly
impossible under the current system--which will certainly raise the
average quality of our legislators, and be infinitely saner, juster,
and more deliberate than our present method. And, moreover, it is a way
that is typically the invention of the English people, and which they
use to-day in another precisely parallel application, an application
which they have elaborately tested and developed through a period of at
least seven or eight hundred years, and which I must confess myself
amazed to think has not already been applied to our public needs. This
way is the Jury system. The Jury system was devised to meet almost
exactly the same problem that faces us to-day, the problem of how on
the one hand to avoid putting a man's life or property into the hands
of a Ruler, a privileged person, whose interest might be unsympathetic
or hostile, while on the other protecting him from the tumultuous
judgments of a crowd--to save the accused from the arbitrary will of
King and Noble without flinging him to the mob. To-day it is exactly
that problem over again that our peoples have to solve, except that
instead of one individual affair we have now our general affairs to
place under a parallel system. As the community that had originally
been small enough and intimate enough to decide on the guilt or
innocence of its members grew to difficult proportions, there developed
this system of selecting by lot a number of its common citizens who
were sworn, who were then specially instructed and prepared, and who,
in an atmosphere of solemnity and responsibility in absolute contrast
with the uproar of a public polling, considered the case and condemned
or discharged the accused. Let me point out that this method is so
universally recognized as superior to the common electoral method that
any one who should propose to-day to take the fate of a man accused of
murder out of the hands of a jury and place it in the hands of any
British or American constituency whatever, even in the hands of such a
highly intelligent constituency as one of the British universities,
would be thought to be carrying crankiness beyond the border line of

Why then should we not apply the Jury system to the electoral riddle?

Suppose, for example, at the end of the Parliamentary term, instead of
the present method of electing a member of Parliament, we were, with
every precaution of publicity and with the most ingeniously impartial
machine that could be invented, to select a Jury by lot, a Jury
sufficiently numerous to be reasonably representative of the general
feeling of the community and sufficiently small to be able to talk
easily together and to do the business without debating society
methods--between twenty and thirty, I think, might be a good working
number--and suppose we were, after a ceremony of swearing them and
perhaps after prayer or after a grave and dignified address to them
upon the duty that lay before them, to place each of these juries in
comfortable quarters for a few days and isolated from the world, to
choose its legislator. They could hear, in public, under a time limit,
the addresses of such candidates as had presented themselves, and they
could receive, under a limit of length and with proper precautions for
publicity, such documents as the candidates chose to submit. They could
also, in public, put any questions they chose to the candidates to
elucidate their intentions or their antecedents, and they might at any
stage decide unanimously to hear no more of and to dismiss this or that
candidate who encumbered their deliberations. (This latter would be an
effectual way of suppressing the candidature of cranks, and of half-
witted and merely symbolical persons.) The Jury between and after their
interrogations and audiences would withdraw from the public room to
deliberate in privacy. Their deliberations which, of course, would be
frank and conversational to a degree impossible under any other
conditions, and free from the dodges of the expert vote manipulator
altogether, would, for example, in the case of several candidates of
the same or similar political colours, do away with the absurdity of
the split vote. The jurymen of the same political hue could settle that
affair among themselves before contributing to a final decision.

This Jury might have certain powers of inquest. Provision might be made
for pleas against particular candidates; private individuals or the
advocates of vigilance societies might appear against any particular
candidate and submit the facts about any doubtful affair, financial or
otherwise, in which that candidate had been involved. Witnesses might
be called and heard on any question of fact, and the implicated
candidate would explain his conduct. And at any stage the Jury might
stop proceedings and report its selection for the vacant post. Then, at
the expiration of a reasonable period, a year perhaps, or three years
or seven years, another Jury might be summoned to decide whether the
sitting member should continue in office unchallenged or be subjected
to a fresh contest.

This suggestion is advanced here in this concrete form merely to show
the sort of thing that might be done; it is one sample suggestion, one
of a great number of possible schemes of Election by Jury. But even in
this state of crude suggestion, it is submitted that it does serve to
show the practicability of a method of election more deliberate and
thorough, more dignified, more calculated to impress the new generation
with a sense of the gravity of the public choice, and infinitely more
likely to give us good rulers than the present method, and that it
would do so without sacrificing any essential good quality whatever
inherent in the Democratic Idea. [Footnote: There are excellent
possibilities, both in the United States and in this Empire, of trying
over such a method as this, and of introducing it tentatively and
piecemeal. In Great Britain already there are quite different methods
of election for Parliament existing side by side. In the Hythe division
of Kent, for example, I vote by ballot with elaborate secrecy; in the
University of London I declare my vote in a room full of people. The
British University constituencies, or one of them, might very readily
be used as a practical test of this jury suggestion. There is nothing,
I believe, in the Constitution of the United States to prevent any one
State resorting to this characteristically Anglo-Saxon method of
appointing its representatives in Congress. It is not only in political
institutions that the method may be tried. Any societies or
institutions that have to send delegates to a conference or meeting
might very easily bring this conception to a practical test. Even if it
does not prove practicable as a substitute for election by polling, it
might be found of some value for the appointment of members of the
specialist type, for whom at present we generally resort to co-option.
In many cases where the selection of specialists was desirable to
complete public bodies, juries of educated men of the British Grand
Jury type might be highly serviceable.] The case for the use of the
Jury system becomes far stronger when we apply it to such problems as
we now attempt to solve by co-opting experts upon various
administrative bodies.

The necessity either of raising the quality of representative bodies or
of replacing them not only in administration but in legislation by
bureaucracies of officials appointed by elected or hereditary rulers,
is one that presses on all thoughtful men, and is by no means an
academic question needed to round off this New Republican theory. The
necessity becomes more urgent every day, as scientific and economic
developments raise first one affair and then another to the level of
public or quasi-public functions. In the last century, locomotion,
lighting, heating, education, forced themselves upon public control or
public management, and now with the development of Trusts a whole host
of businesses, that were once the affair of competing private concerns,
claim the same attention. Government by hustings' bawling, newspaper
clamour, and ward organization, is more perilous every day and more
impotent, and unless we are prepared to see a government _de
facto_ of rich business organizers override the government _de
jure_, or to relapse upon a practical oligarchy of officials, an
oligarchy that will certainly decline in efficiency in a generation or
so, we must set ourselves most earnestly to this problem of improving
representative methods. It is in the direction of the substitution of
the Jury method for a general poll that the only practicable line of
improvement known to the present writer seems to lie, and until it has
been tried it cannot be conceded that democratic government has been
tried and exhaustively proved inadequate to the complex needs of the
modern state.

So much for the question of administration. We come now to a second
need in the modern state if it is to get the best result from the
citizens born into it, and that is the need of honours and privileges
to reward and enhance services and exceptional personal qualities and
so to stir and ennoble that emulation which is, under proper direction,
the most useful to the constructive statesman of all human motives. In
the United States titles are prohibited by the constitution, in Great
Britain they go by prescription. But it is possible to imagine titles
and privileges that are not hereditary, and that would be real symbols
of human worth entirely in accordance with the Republican Idea. It is
one of the stock charges against Republicanism that success in America
is either political or financial. In England, in addition, success is
also social, and there is, one must admit, a sort of recognition
accorded to intellectual achievement, which some American scientific
men have found reason to envy. In America, of course, just as in Great
Britain, there exists that very enviable distinction, the honorary
degree of a university; but in America it is tainted by the freedom
with which bogus universities can be organized, and by the unchallenged
assumptions of quacks. In Great Britain the honorary degree of a
university, in spite of the fact that it goes almost as a matter of
course to every casual Prince, is a highly desirable recognition of
public services. Beyond this there are certain British distinctions
that might very advantageously be paralleled in America, the Fellowship
of the Royal Society, for example, and that really very fine honour, as
yet untainted by the class of men who tout for baronetcies and
peerages, the Privy Council.

There are certain points in this question that are too often
overlooked. In the first place, _honours and titles meed not be
hereditary_; in the second, _they need not be conferred by the
political administration_; and, in the third, they are not only--as
the French Legion of Honour shows--entirely compatible with, but
_they are a necessary complement to the Republican Idea_.

The bad results of entrusting honours to the Government are equally
obvious in France and Great Britain. They are predominantly given,
quite naturally, for political services, because they are given by
politicians too absorbed to be aware of men outside the political
world. In Great Britain the process is modified rather than improved by
what one knows as court influence. And in spite of the real and
sustained efficiency of the Royal Society in distinguishing meritorious
scientific workers, the French Academy, which has long been captured by
aristocratic dilettanti, and the English Royal Academy of Arts,
demonstrate the essential defects and dangers of a body which fills its
own gaps. But there is no reason why a national system of honours and
titles should not be worked upon a quite new basis, suggested by these
various considerations. Let us, simply for tangibleness, put the thing
as a concrete plan for the reader's consideration.

There might, for example, be a lowest stage which would include--as the
English knighthood once included--almost every citizen capable of
initiative, all the university graduates, all the men qualified to
practice the responsible professions, all qualified teachers, all the
men in the Army and Navy promoted to a certain rank, all seamen
qualified to navigate a vessel, all the ministers recognized by
properly organized religious bodies, all public officials exercising
command; quasi-public organizations might nominate a certain proportion
of their staffs, and organized trade-unions with any claim to skill, a
certain proportion of their men, their "decent" men, and every artist
or writer who could submit a passable diploma work; it would be, in
fact, a mark set upon every man or woman who was qualified to do
something or who had done something, as distinguished from the man who
had done nothing in the world, the mere common unenterprising esurient
man. It might carry many little privileges in public matters--for
instance, it might qualify for certain electoral juries. And from this
class the next rank might easily be drawn in a variety of ways. _In a
modern democratic state there must be many fountains of honour._
That is a necessity upon which one cannot insist too much. There must
be no court, no gang, no traditional inalterable tribunal. Local
legislative bodies, for example,--in America, state legislatures and
in England, county councils,--might confer rank on a limited number of
men or women yearly; juries drawn from certain special constituencies,
from the roll of the medical profession, or from the Army, might
assemble periodically to nominate their professional best, the Foreign
or Colonial Office might confer recognition for political services, the
university governing bodies might be entrusted with the power--just as
in the middle ages many great men could confer knighthood. From among
these distinguished gentlemen of the second grade still higher ranks
might be drawn. Local juries might select a local chief dignitary as
their "earl," let us say, from among the resident men of rank, and
there is no reason why certain great constituencies, the medical
calling, the engineers, should not specify one or two of their
professional leaders, their "dukes." There are many occasions of local
importance when an honourable figure-head is needed. The British fall
back on the local hereditary peer or invite a prince, too often some
poor creature great only by convention--and what the Americans do I do
not know, unless they use a Boss. There are many occasions of something
more than ceremonial importance when a responsible man publicly
honoured and publicly known, and not a professional politician, is of
the utmost convenience. And there are endless affairs, lists,
gatherings, when the only alternative to rank is scramble. For myself I
would not draw the line at such minor occasions for precedence. A
Second Chamber is an essential part of the political scheme of all the
English-speaking communities, and almost always it is intended to
present stabler interests and a smaller and more selected constituency
than the lower house. From such a life nobility as I have sketched a
Second Chamber could be drawn much as the Irish representative peers in
the House of Lords are drawn from the general peerage of Ireland. It
would be far less party bound and far less mercenary than the American
Senate, and far more intelligent and capable than the British House of
Lords. And either of these bodies could be brought under a process of
deliberate conversion in this direction with scarcely any revolutionary
shock at all. [Footnote: In the case of the House of Lords, for
example, the process of conversion might begin by extending the Scotch
and Irish system to England, and substituting a lesser number of
representative peers for the existing English peerage. Then it would
merely revive a question that was already under discussion in middle
Victorian times, to create non-hereditary peerages in the three
kingdoms. The several Privy Councils might next be added to the three
national constituencies by which and from which the representative
peers were appointed, and then advisory boards might be called from the
various Universities and organized professions, and from authoritative
Colonial bodies to recommend men to be added to the voting peerage.
Life peers already exist. The law is represented by life peers. The
lords spiritual are representative life peers--they are the senior
bishops, and they are appointed to represent a corporation--the
Established Church. So a generally non-hereditary functional nobility
might come into being without any violent break with the present
condition of things. The conversion of the American Senate would be a
more difficult matter, because the method of appointment of Senators is
more stereotyped altogether, and, since 1800, unhappily quite bound up
with the political party system. The Senate is not a body of varied and
fluctuating origins into which new elements can be quietly inserted. An
English writer cannot estimate how dear the sacred brace of Senators
for each State may or may not be to the American heart. But the
possibility of Congress delegating the power to appoint additional
Senators to certain non-political bodies, or to juries of a specific
constitution, is at least thinkable as the beginning of a movement that
would come at last into parallelism with that in the British Empire.]

When these issues of public honour and efficient democratic
administration have begun to move towards a definite solution, the
community will be in a position to extend the operation of the new
methods towards a profounder revolution, the control of private
property. "We are all Socialists nowadays," and it is needless,
therefore, to argue here at any length to establish the fact that
beyond quite personal belongings all Property is the creation of
society, and in reality no more than an administrative device. At
present, in spite of some quite hideous and mischievous local aspects,
the institution of Property, even in land and the shares of quasi-
public businesses, probably gives as efficient a method of control, and
even it may be a more efficient method of control than any that could
be devised to replace it under existing conditions. We have no public
bodies and no methods of check and control sufficiently trustworthy to
justify extensive expropriations. Even the municipalization of
industries needs to go slowly until municipal areas have been brought
more into conformity with the conditions of efficient administration.
Areas too cramped and areas that overlap spell waste and conflicting
authorities, and premature municipalization in such areas will lead
only to the final triumph of the private company. Political efficiency
must precede Socialism. [Footnote: See Appendix I. ] But there can be
no doubt that the spectacle of irresponsible property is a terribly
demoralizing force in the development of each generation. It is idle to
deny that Property, both in Great Britain and America, works out into a
practical repudiation of that equality, political democracy so
eloquently asserts. There is a fatalistic submission to inferiority on
the part of an overwhelming majority of those born poor, they hold
themselves cheap in countless ways, and they accept as natural the use
of wealth for wanton pleasure and purposes absolutely mischievous, they
despair of effort in the public service, and find their only hope in
gambling, sharp greedy trading, or in base acquiescences to the rich.
The good New Republican can only regard our present system of Property
as a terribly unsatisfactory expedient and seek with all his power to
develop a better order to replace it.

There are certain lines of action in this matter that cannot but be
beneficial, and it is upon these that the New Republican will, no
doubt, go. One excellent thing, for example, would be to insist that
beyond the limits of a reasonable amount of personal property, the
community is justified in demanding a much higher degree of efficiency
in the property-holder than in the case of the common citizen, to
require him or her to be not only sane but capable, equal mentally and
bodily to a great charge. The heir to a great property should possess a
satisfactory knowledge of social and economic science, and should have
studied with a view to his great responsibilities. The age of twenty-
one is scarcely high enough for the management of a great estate, and
to raise the age of free administration for the owners of great
properties, and to specify a superannuation age would be a wise and
justifiable measure. [Footnote: Something of the sort is already
secured in France by the power of the _Conseil de Famille_ to
expropriate a spendthrift.] There should also be a possibility of
intervention in the case of maladministration, and a code of offences--
habitual drunkenness, for example, assaults of various kinds--offences
that established the fact of unfitness and resulted in deposition,
might be drawn up. It might be found desirable in the case of certain
crimes and misdemeanours, to add to existing penalties the transfer of
all real or share properties to trustees. Vigorous confiscation is a
particularly logical punishment for the proven corruption of public
officers by any property owner or group of property owners. Rich men
who bribe are a danger to any state. Beyond the limits of lunacy it
might be possible to define a condition of malignancy or ruthlessness
that would justify confiscation, attempts to form corners in the
necessities of life, for example, could be taken as evidence of such a
condition. All such measures as this would be far more beneficial than
the immediate improvement they would effect in public management. They
would infect the whole social body with the sense that property was
saturated with responsibility and was in effect a trust, and that would
be a good influence upon rich and poor alike.

Moreover, as public bodies became more efficient and more trustworthy,
the principle already established in British social polity by Sir
William Vernon Harcourt's Death Duties, the principle of whittling
great properties at each transfer, might be very materially extended.
Every transfer of property might establish a state mortgage for some
fraction of the value of that property. The fraction might be small
when the recipient was a public institution, considerable in the case
of a son or daughter, and almost all for a distant relative or no
kindred at all. By such devices the evil influence of property acquired
by mere accidents would be reduced without any great discouragement of
energetic, enterprising, and inventive men. And a man ambitious to
found a family might still found one if he took care to marry wisely
and train and educate his children to the level of the position he
designed for them.

While the New Republican brings such expedients as this to bear upon
property from above, there will also be the expedients of the Minimum
Wage and the Minimum Standard of Life, already discussed in the third
of these papers, controlling it from below. Limited in this way,
property will resemble a river that once swamped a whole country-side,
but has now been banked within its channel. Even when these expedients
have been exhaustively worked out, they will fall far short of that
"abolition of property" which is the crude expression of Socialism.
There is a certain measure of property in a state which involves the
maximum of individual freedom. Either above or below that Optimum one
passes towards slavery. The New Republican is a New Republican, and he
tests all things by their effect upon the evolution of man; he is a
Socialist or an Individualist, a Free Trader or a Protectionist, a
Republican or a Democrat just so far, and only so far, as these various
principles of public policy subserve his greater end.

This crude sketch of a possible scheme of honour and privilege, and of
an approximation towards the socialization of property will, at any
rate, show that in this matter, as in the matter of political control,
the alternative of the British system or the American system does not
exhaust human possibilities. There is also the Twentieth Century
System, which we New Republicans have to discover and discuss and bring
to the test of experience. And for the sake of the education of our
children, which is the cardinal business of our lives, we must refuse
all convenient legal fictions and underhand ways, and see to it that
the system is as true to the reality of life and to right and justice
as we can, in our light and generation, make it. The child must learn
not only from preacher and parent and book, but from the whole frame
and order of life about it, that truth and sound living and service are
the only trustworthy ways to either honour or power, and that, save for
the unavoidable accidents of life, they are very certain ways. And then
he will have a fair chance to grow up neither a smart and hustling
cheat--for the American at his worst is no more and no less than that--
nor a sluggish disingenuous snob--as the Briton too often becomes--but
a proud, ambitious, clean-handed, and capable man.




In the closing years of the school period comes the dawn of the process
of adolescence, and the simple egotism, the egotistical affections of
the child begin to be troubled by new interests, new vague impulses,
and presently by a flood of as yet formless emotions. The race, the
species, is claiming the individual, endeavouring to secure the
individual for its greater ends. In the space of a few years the almost
sexless boy and girl have become consciously sexual, are troubled by
the still mysterious possibilities of love, are stirred to discontent
and adventure, are reaching out imaginatively or actively towards what
is at last the recommencement of things, the essential fact in the
perennial reshaping of the order of the world. This is indeed something
of a second birth. At its beginning the child we have known begins to
recede, the new individuality gathers itself together with a sort of
shy jealousy, and withdraws from the confident intimacy of childhood
into a secret seclusion; all parents know of that loss; at its end we
have an adult, formed and determinate, for whom indeed the drama and
conflict of life is still only beginning, but who is, nevertheless, in
a very serious sense finished and made. The quaint, lovable, larval
human being has passed then into the full imago, before whom there is
no further change in kind save age and decay.

This development of the sexual being, of personal dreams, and the adult
imagination is already commencing in the early teens. It goes on
through all the later phases of the educational process, and it ends,
or, rather, it is transformed by insensible degrees into the personal
realities of adult life.

Now this second birth within the body of the first differs in many
fundamental aspects from that first. The first birth and the body
abound in inevitable things; for example, features, gestures aptitudes,
complexions, and colours, are inherited beyond any power of perversion;
but the second birth is the unfolding not of shaped and settled things
but of possibilities, of extraordinarily plastic mental faculties. No
doubt there are in each developing individual dispositions towards this
or that--tendencies, a bias in the texture this way or that--but the
form of it all is extraordinarily a matter of suggestion and the
influence of deliberate and accidental moulding forces. The universal
Will to live is there, peeping out at first in little curiosities,
inquiries, sudden disgusts, sudden fancies, the stumbling, slow
realization that for this in a mysteriously predominant way we live,
and growing stronger, growing presently, in the great multitude of
cases, to passionate preferences and powerful desires. This flow of sex
comes like a great river athwart the plain of our personal and egoistic
schemes, a great river with its rapids, with its deep and silent
places, a river of uncertain droughts, a river of overwhelming floods,
a river no one who would escape drowning may afford to ignore.
Moreover, it is the very axis and creator of our world valley, the
source of all our power in life, and the irrigator of all things. In
the microcosm of each individual, as in the microcosm of the race, this
flood is a cardinal problem.

And from its very nature this is a discussion of especial difficulty,
because it touches all of us--except for a few peculiar souls--so
intimately and so disturbingly. I had purposed to call this paper "Sex
and the Imagination," and then I had a sudden vision of the thing that
happens. The vision presented a casual reader seated in a library,
turning over books and magazines and casting much excellent wisdom
aside, and then suddenly, as it were, waking up at that title,
arrested, displaying a furtive alertness, reading, flushed and eager,
nosing through the article. That in a vignette is the trouble in all
this discussion. Were we angels--! But we are not angels; we are all
involved. If we are young we are deep in it, whether we would have it
so or not; if we are old, even if we are quite old, our memories still
stretch out, living sensitive threads from our tender vanity to the
great trouble. Detachment is impossible. The nearest we can get to
detachment is to recognize that.

About this question the tragi-comic web of human absurdity thickens to
its closest. When has there ever been a lucid view or ever will be of
this great business? Here is the common madness of our species, here is
all a tissue of fine unreasonableness--to which, no doubt, we are in
the present paper infinitesimally adding. One has a vision of
preposterous proceedings; great, fat, wheezing, strigilated Roman
emperors, neat Parisian gentlemen of the latest cult, the good Saint
Anthony rolling on his thorns, and the piously obscene Durtal
undergoing his expiatory temptations, Mahomet and Brigham Young
receiving supplementary revelations, grim men babbling secrets to
schoolgirls, enamoured errand boys, amorous old women, debauchees
dreaming themselves thoroughly sensible men and going about their queer
proceedings with insane self-satisfaction, beautiful witless young
persons dressed in the most amazing things, all down the vista of
history--a Vision of Fair Women--looking their conscious queenliest,
sentimentalists crawling over every aspect and leaving tracks like
snails, flushed young blockheads telling the world "all about women,"
intrigue, folly--you have as much of it as one pen may condense in old
Burton's Anatomy--and through it all a vast multitude of decent,
respectable bodies pretending to have quite solved the problem--until
one day, almost shockingly, you get their secret from a careless
something glancing out of the eyes. Most preposterous of all for some
reason is a figure--one is maliciously disposed to present it as
feminine and a little unattractive, goloshed for preference, and saying
in a voice of cultivated flatness, "Why cannot we be perfectly plain
and sensible, and speak quite frankly about this matter?" The answer to
which one conceives, would be near the last conclusions of Philosophy.

So much seethes about the plain discussion of the question of sexual
institutions. One echoes the intelligent inquiry of that quite
imaginary, libellously conceived lady in goloshes with a smile and a
sigh. As well might she ask, "Why shouldn't I keep my sandwiches in the
Ark of the Covenant? There's room!" "Of course there's room," one
answers, "but--As things are, Madam, it is inadvisable to try. You see
--for one thing--people are so peculiar. The quantity of loose stones in
this neighbourhood."

The predominant feeling about the discussion of these things is, to
speak frankly, Fear. We know, very many of us, that our present state
has many evil aspects, seems unjust and wasteful of human happiness, is
full of secret and horrible dangers, abounding in cruelties and painful
things; that our system of sanctions and prohibitions is wickedly
venial, pressing far more gravely on the poor than on the rich, and
that it is enormously sapped by sentimentalities of various sorts and
undermined and qualified by secret cults; it is a clogged and an ill-
made and dishonest machine, but we have a dread, in part instinctive,
in part, no doubt, the suggestion of our upbringing and atmosphere, of
any rash alterations, of any really free examination of its
constitution. We are not sure or satisfied where that process of
examination may not take us; many more people can take machines to
pieces than can put them together again. Mr. Grant Allen used to call
our current prohibitions Taboos. Well, the fact is, in these matters
there is something that is probably an instinct, a deeply felt
necessity for Taboos. We know perhaps that our Taboos were not devised
on absolutely reasonable grounds, but we are afraid of just how many
may not collapse before a purely reasonable inquiry. We are afraid of
thinking quite freely even in private. We doubt whether it is wise to
begin, though only in the study and alone. "Why should we--? Why
should we not--?" And the thought of a public discussion without
limitations by a hasty myriad untrained to think, does, indeed, raise
an image of consequences best conveyed perhaps by that fine indefinite
phrase, "A Moral Chaos." These people who are for the free, frank, and
open discussion assume so much; they either intend a sham with foregone
conclusions, or they have not thought of all sorts of things inherent
in the natural silliness of contemporary man.

On the whole I think a man or woman who is no longer a fabric of pure
emotion may, if there is indeed the passion for truth and the clear
sight of things to justify research, venture upon this sinister seeming
wilderness of speculation, and I think, too, it is very probable the
courageous persistent explorer will end at last not so very remote from
the starting-point, but above it, as it were, on a crest that will give
a wider view, reaching over many things that now confine the lower
vision. But these are perilous paths, it must always be remembered.
This is no public playground. One may distrust the conventional code,
and one may leave it in thought, long before one is justified in
leaving it either in expressed opinion or in act. We are social
animals; we cannot live alone; manifestly from the nature of the
question, here, at any rate, we must associate and group. For all who
find the accepted righteousness not good enough or clear enough for
them, there is the chance of an ironical destiny. We must look well to
our company, as we come out of the city of the common practice and kick
its dust from our superior soles. There is an abominable riff-raff gone
into those thickets for purposes quite other than the discovery of the
right thing to do, for quite other motives than our high intellectual
desire. There are ugly rebels and born rascals, cheats by instinct, and
liars to women, swinish unbelievers who would compromise us with their
erratic pursuit of a miscellaneous collection of strange fancies and
betray us callously at last. Because a man does not find the law pure
justice, that is no reason why he should fake his gold to a thieves'
kitchen; because he does not think the city a sanitary place, why he
should pitch his tent on a dust-heap amidst pariah dogs. Because we
criticize the old limitations that does not bind us to the creed of
unfettered liberty. I very much doubt if, when at last the days for the
sane complete discussion of our sexual problems come, it will give us
anything at all in the way of "Liberty," as most people understand that
word. In the place of the rusty old manacles, the chain and shot, the
iron yoke, cruel, ill-fitting, violent implements from which it was yet
possible to wriggle and escape to outlawry, it may be the world will
discover only a completer restriction, will develop a scheme of neat
gyves, light but efficient, beautifully adaptable to the wrists and
ankles, never chafing, never oppressing, slipped on and worn until at
last, like the mask of the Happy Hypocrite, they mould the wearer to
their own identity. But for all that--gyves!

Let us glance for a moment or so now, in the most tentative fashion, at
some of the data for this inquiry, and then revert from this excursion
into general theory to our more immediate business, to the manner in
which our civilized community at present effects the emotional
initiation of youth.

The intellectual trouble in the matter, as it presents itself to me,
comes in upon this, that the question does not lie in one plane. So
many discussions ignore this fact, and deal with it on one plane only.
For example, we may take the whole business on the plane of the medical
man, ignoring all other considerations. On that plane it would probably
be almost easy to reason out a working system. It never has been done
by the medical profession, as a whole, which is fairly understandable,
or by any group of medical men, which is the more surprising, but it
would be an extremely interesting thing to have done and a material
contribution to the sane discussion of this problem. It would not solve
it but it would illuminate certain aspects. Let the mere physiological
problem be taken. We want healthy children and the best we can get. Let
the medical man devise his scheme primarily for that. Understand we are
shutting our eyes to every other consideration but physical or quasi-
physical ones. Imagine the thing done, for example, by a Mr. Francis
Galton, who had an absolutely open mind upon all other questions. Some
form of polygamy, marriage of the most transient description, with
reproduction barred to specified types, would probably come from such a
speculation. But, in addition, a number of people who can have only a
few children or none are, nevertheless, not adapted physiologically for
celibacy. Conceive the medical man working that problem out upon purely
materialistic lines and with an eye to all physiological and
pathological peculiarities. The Tasmanians (now extinct) seem to have
been somewhere near the probable result.

Then let us take one step up to a second stage of consideration,
remaining still materialistic, and with the medical man still as our
only guide. We want the children to grow up healthy; we want them to be
taken care of. This means homes, homes of some sort. That may not
abolish polygamy, but it will qualify it, it will certainly abolish any
approach to promiscuity that was possible at the lowest stage, it will
enhance the importance of motherhood and impose a number of limits upon
the sexual freedoms of men and women. People who have become parents,
at any rate, must be tied to the children and one another. We come at
once to much more definite marriage, to an organized family of some
sort, be it only Plato's state community or something after the Oneida
pattern, but with at least a system of guarantees and responsibilities.
Let us add that we want the children to go through a serious
educational process, and we find at once still further limitations
coming in. We discover the necessity of deferring experience, of
pushing back adolescence, of avoiding precocious stimulation with its
consequent arrest of growth. We are already face to face with an
enlarged case for decency, for a system of suppressions and of
complicated Taboos.

Directly we let our thoughts pass out of this physical plane and rise
so high as to consider the concurrent emotions--and I suppose to a
large number of people these are at least as important as the physical
aspects--we come to pride, we come to preference and jealousy, and so
soon as we bring these to bear upon our physical scheme, crumpling and
fissures begin. The complications have multiplied enormously. More
especially that little trouble of preferences. These emotions we may
educate indeed, but not altogether. Neither pride nor preference nor
jealousy are to be tampered with lightly. We are making men, we are not
planning a society of regulated slaves; we want fine upstanding
personalities, and we shall not get them if we break them down to
obedience in this particular--for the cardinal expression of freedom in
the human life is surely this choice of a mate. There is indeed no
freedom without this freedom. Our men and women in the future must feel
free and responsible. It seems almost instinctive, at least in the
youth of the white races, to exercise this power of choice, not simply
rebelling when opposition is offered to it, but _wanting to
rebel_; it is a socially good thing, and a thing we are justified in
protecting if the odds are against it, this passion for making the
business one's very own private affair. Our citizens must not be caught
and paired; it will never work like that. But in all social
contrivances we must see to it that the freedoms we give are real
freedoms. Our youths and maidens as they grow up out of the protection
of our first taboos, grow into a world very largely in the hands of
older people; strong men and experienced women are there before them,
and we are justified in any effectual contrivance to save them from
being "gobbled up"--against their real instincts. That works--the
reflective man will discover--towards whittling the previous polygamy
to still smaller proportions. Here, indeed, our present arrangements
fail most lamentably; each year sees a hideous sacrifice of girls,
mentally scarcely more than children--to our delicacy in discussion. We
give freedom, and we do not give adequate knowledge, and we punish
inexorably. There are a multitude of women, and not a few men, with
lives hopelessly damaged by this blindfold freedom. So many poor girls,
so many lads also, do not get a fair chance against the adult world.
Things mend indeed in this respect; as one sign the percentage of
illegitimate births in England has almost halved in fifty years, but it
is clear we have much to revise before this leakage to perdition of
unlucky creatures, for the most part girls no worse on the average, I
honestly believe--until our penalties make them so--than other women,
ceases. If our age of moral responsibility is high enough, then our age
of complete knowledge is too high. But nevertheless, things are better
than they were, and promise still to mend. All round we raise the age,
the average age at marriage rises, just as, I believe, the average age
at misconduct has risen. We may not be approaching a period of
universal morality, but we do seem within sight of a time when people
will know what they are doing.

That, however, is something of a digression. The intelligent inquirer
who has squared his initially materialistic system of morals with the
problems arising out of the necessity of sustaining pride and
preference, is then invited to explore an adjacent thicket of this
tortuous subject. It is, we hold, of supreme importance in our state to
sustain in all our citizens, women as well as men, a sense of personal
independence and responsibility. Particularly is this the case with
mothers. An illiterate mother means a backward child, a downtrodden
mother bears a dishonest man, an unwilling mother may even hate her
children. Slaves and brutes are the sexes where women are slaves. The
line of thought we are following out in these papers necessarily
attaches distinctive importance to the woman as mother. Our system of
morals, therefore, has to make it worth while and honourable to be a
mother; it is particularly undesirable that it should be held to be
right for a woman of exceptional charm or exceptional cleverness to
evade motherhood, unless, perhaps, to become a teacher. A woman evading
her high calling, must not be conceded the same claim upon men's toil
and service as the mother-woman; more particularly Lady Greensleeves
must not flaunt it over the housewife. And here also comes the question
of the quality of jealousy, whether being wife of a man and mother of
his children does not almost necessarily give a woman a feeling of
exclusive possession in him, and whether, therefore, if we are earnest
in our determination not to debase her, our last shred of polygamy does
not vanish. From first to last, of course, it has been assumed that a
prolific polygamy alone can be intended, for long before we have
plumbed the bottom of the human heart we shall know enough to imagine
what the ugly and pointless consequences of permitting sterile polygamy
must be.

Then into all this tangle, whether as a light or an added confusion it
is hard to say, comes the fact that while we are ever apt to talk of
what "a woman" feels and what "a man" will do, and so contrive our
code, there is, indeed, no such woman and no such man, but a vast
variety of temperaments and dispositions, monadic, dyadic, and
polymeric souls, and this sort of heart and brain and that. It is only
the young fool and the brooding mattoid who believe in a special
separate science of "women," there are all sorts of people, and some of
each sort are women and some are men. With every stage in educational
development people become more varied, or, at least, more conscious of
their variety, more sensitively insistent upon the claim of their
individualities over any general rules. Among the peasants of a
countryside one may hope to order homogeneous lives, but not among the
people of the coming state. It is well to sustain a home, it is noble
to be a good mother, and splendid to bear children well and train them
well, but we shall get no valid rules until we see clearly that life
has other ways by which the future may be served. There are laws to be
made and altered, there are roads and bridges to be built, figuratively
and really; there is not only a succession of flesh and blood but of
thought that is going on for ever. To write a fruitful book or improve
a widely used machine is just as much paternity as begetting a son.

The last temporary raft of a logical moral code goes to pieces at this,
and its separated spars float here and there. So I will confess they
float at present in my mind. I have no System--I wish I had--and I
never encountered a system or any universal doctrine of sexual conduct
that did not seem to me to be reached by clinging tight to one or two
of these dissevered spars and letting the rest drift disregarded,
making a law for A, B, and C, and pretending that E and F are out of
the question. That motherhood is a great and noble occupation for a
good woman, and not to be lightly undertaken, is a manifest thing, and
so also that to beget children and see them full grown in the world is
the common triumph of life, as inconsequence is its common failure.
That to live for pleasure is not only wickedness but folly, seems easy
to admit, and equally foolish, as Saint Paul has intimated, must it be
to waste a life of nervous energy in fighting down beyond a natural
minimum our natural desires. That we must pitch our lives just as much
as we can in the heroic key, and hem and control mere lasciviousness as
it were a sort of leprosy of the soul, seems fairly certain. And all
that love-making which involves lies, all sham heroics and shining
snares, assuredly must go out of a higher order of social being, for
here more than anywhere lying is the poison of life. But between these
data there are great interrogative blanks no generalization will fill--
cases, situations, temperaments. Each life, it seems to me, in that
intelligent, conscious, social state to which the world is coming, must
square itself to these things in its own way, and fill in the details
of its individual moral code according to its needs. So it seems, at
least, to one limited thinker.

To be frank, upon that common ground of decent behaviour, pride and
self-respect, health and the heroic habit of thinking, we need for
ourselves not so much rules as wisdom, and for others not, indeed, a
foolish and indiscriminate toleration but at least patience, arrests of
judgment, and the honest endeavour to understand. Now to help the
imagination in these judgments, to enlarge and interpret experience, is
most certainly one of the functions of literature. A good biography may
give facts of infinite suggestion, and the great multitude of novels at
present are, in fact, experiments in the science of this central field
of human action, experiments in the "way of looking at" various cases
and situations. They may be very misleading experiments, it is true,
done with adulterated substances, dangerous chemicals, dirty flasks and
unsound balances; but that is a question of their quality and not of
their nature, they are experiments for all that. A good novel may
become a very potent and convincing experiment indeed. Books in these
matters are often so much quieter and cooler as counsellors than
friends. And there, in truth, is my whole mind in this matter.

Meanwhile, as we work each one to solve his own problems, the young
people are growing up about us.


How do the young people arrive at knowledge and at their interpretation
of these things? Let us for a few moments at least, put pretence and
claptrap aside, and recall our own youth. Let us recognize that this
complex initiation is always a very shy and secret process, beyond the
range of parent and guardian. The prying type of schoolmaster or
schoolmistress only drives the thing deeper, and, at the worst,
blunders with a hideous suggestiveness. It is almost an instinct, a
part of the natural modesty of the growing young, to hide all that is
fermenting in the mind from authoritative older people. It would not be
difficult to find a biological reason for that. The growing mind
advances slowly, intermittently, with long pauses and sudden panics,
that is the law of its progress; it feels its way through three main
agencies, firstly, observation, secondly, tentative, confidential talk
with unauthoritative and trusted friends, and thirdly, books. In the
present epoch observation declines relatively to books; books and
pictures, these dumb impersonal initiators, play a larger and a larger
part in this great awakening. Perhaps for all but the children of the
urban poor, the furtive talk also declines and is delayed; a most
desirable thing in a civilizing process that finds great advantage in
putting off adolescence and prolonging the average life.

Now the furtive talk is largely beyond our control, only by improving
the general texture of our communal life can we effectually improve the
quality of that. But we may bear in mind that factor of observation,
and give it a casting vote in any decision upon public decency. That is
all too often forgotten. Before Broadbeam, the popular humorist, for
example, flashes his glittering rapier upon the County Council for
suppressing some vulgar obscenity in the music-halls, or tickles the
ribs of a Vigilance Association for its care of our hoardings, he
should do his best to imagine the mental process of some nice boy or
girl he knows, "taking it in." To come outright to the essential matter
of this paper, we are all too careless of the quality of the stuff that
reaches the eyes and ears of our children. It is not that the stuff is
knowledge, but that it is knowledge in the basest and vulgarest
colourings, knowledge without the antiseptic quality of heroic
interpretation, debased, suggestive, diseased and contagious knowledge.

How the sexual consciousness of a great proportion of our young people
is being awakened, the curious reader may see for himself if he will
expend a few pennies weekly for a month or so upon the halfpenny or
penny "comic" papers which are bought so eagerly by boys. They begin
upon the facts of sex as affairs of nodding and winking, of artful
innuendo and scuffles in the dark. The earnest efforts of Broadbeam's
minor kindred to knock the nonsense out of even younger people may be
heard at almost any pantomime. The Lord Chamberlain's attempts to stem
the tide amaze the English Judges. No scheme for making the best of
human lives can ignore this system of influences.

What could be done in a sanely ordered state to suppress this sort of

There immediately arises the question whether we are to limit art and
literature to the sphere permissible to the growing youth and "young
person." So far as shop windows, bookstalls, and hoardings go, so far
as all general publicity goes, I would submit the answer is Yes. I am
on the side of the Puritans here, unhesitatingly. But our adults must
not walk in mental leading strings, and were this world an adult world
I doubt if there is anything I would not regard as fit to print and
publish. But cannot we contrive that our adult literature shall be as
free as air while the literature and art of the young is sanely

There is in this matter a conceivable way, and as it is the principal
business of these papers to point out and discuss such ways, it may be
given here. It will be put, as for the sake of compact suggestion so
much of these papers is put, in the form of a concrete suggestion, a
sample suggestion as it were. This way, then, is to make a definition
of what is undesirable matter for the minds of young people, and to
make that cover as much suggestive indecency and coarseness as
possible, to cover everything, indeed, that is not _virginibus
puerisque_, and to call this matter by some reasonably inoffensive
adjective, "adult," for example. One might speak of "adult" art,
"adult" literature, and "adult" science, and the report of all
proceedings under certain specified laws could be declared "adult"
matter. In the old times there was an excellent system of putting
"adult" matter into Latin, and for many reasons one regrets that Latin.
But there is a rough practical equivalent to putting "adult" matter
into Latin even now. It depends upon the fact that very few young
people of the age we wish to protect, unless they are the children of
the imbecile rich, have the spending of large sums of money.
Consequently, it is only necessary to state a high minimum price for
periodicals and books containing "adult" matter or "adult"
illustrations, and to prosecute everything below that limit, in order
to shut the flood-gates upon any torrent of over-stimulating and
debasing suggestions there may be flowing now. It should be more
clearly recognized in our prosecutions for obscenity, for example, that
the gravity of the offence is entirely dependent upon the accessibility
of the offensive matter to the young. The application of the same
method to the music-hall, the lecture-theatre, and the shelves of the
public library, and to several other sources of suggestion would not be
impossible. If the manager of a theatre saw fit to produce "adult"
matter without excluding people under the age of eighteen, let us say,
he would have to take his chance, and it would be a good one, of a
prosecution. This latter expedient is less novel than the former, and
it finds a sort of precedent in the legislative restriction of the sale
of drink to children and the protection of children's morals under
specific unfavourable circumstances.

There is already a pretty lively sense in our English-speaking
communities of the particular respect due to the young, and it is
probable that those who publish these suggestive and stimulating prints
do not fully realize the new fact in our social body, that the whole
mass of the young now not only read but buy reading matter. The last
thirty or forty years have established absolutely new relations for our
children in this direction. Legislation against free art and free
writing is, and one hopes always will be, intensely repugnant to our
peoples. But legislation which laid stress not on the indecorum but on
the accessibility to the young, which hammered with every clause upon
that note, is an altogether different matter. We want to make the
pantomime writer, the proprietor of the penny "comic," the billsticker,
and the music-hall artist extremely careful, punctiliously clean, but
we do not want, for example, to pester Mr. Thomas Hardy.

Yet there is danger in all this. The suppression of premature and base
suggestions must not overleap itself and suppress either mature thought
(which has been given its hemlock not once but many times on this
particular pretext) or the destruction of necessary common knowledge.
If we begin to hunt for suggestion and indecency it may be urged we
shall end by driving all these things underground. Youth comes to adult
life now between two dangers, vice, which has always threatened it, and
morbid virtue, which would turn the very heart of life to ugliness and
shame. How are we, or to come closer to the point, how is the average
juryman going to distinguish between these three things; between
advisable knowledge and corruptingly presented knowledge, and
unnecessary and undesirable knowledge? In practice, under the laws I
have sketched, it is quite probable the evil would flourish extremely,
and necessary information would be ruthlessly suppressed. Many of our
present laws and provisions for public decency do work in that manner.
The errand-boy may not look at the Venus de Medici, but he can cram his
mind with the lore of how "nobs" run after ballet girls, and why Lady X
locked the door. One can only plead here, as everywhere, no law, no
succinct statement can save us without wisdom, a growing general wisdom
and conscience, coming into the detailed administration of whatever law
the general purpose has made.

Beside our project for law and the state, it is evident there is scope
for the individual. Certain people are in a position of exceptional
responsibility. The Newsagents, for example, constitute a fairly strong
trade organization, and it would be easy for them to think of the boy
with a penny just a little more than they do. Unfortunately such
instances as we have had of voluntary censorship will qualify the
reader's assent to this proposition. Another objection may be urged to
this distinction between "adult" and general matter, and that is the
possibility that what is marked off and forbidden becomes mysterious
and attractive. One has to reckon with that. Everywhere in this field
one must go wisely or fail. But what is here proposed is not so much
the suppression of information as of a certain manner of presenting
information, and our intention is at the most delay, and to give the
wholesome aspect first.

Let us leave nothing doubtful upon one point; the suppression of
stimulus must not mean the suppression of knowledge. There are things
that young people should know, and know fully before they are involved
in the central drama of life, in the serious business of love. There
should be no horrifying surprises. Sane, clear, matter-of-fact books
setting forth the broad facts of health and life, the existence of
certain dangers, should come their way. In this matter books, I would
insist, have a supreme value. The printed word may be such a quiet
counsellor. It is so impersonal. It can have no conceivable personal
reaction with the reader. It does not watch its reader's face, it is
itself unobtrusively unabashed and safer than any priest. The power of
the book, the possible function of the book in the modern state is
still but imperfectly understood. It need not be, it ought not, I
think, to be, a book specifically on what one calls delicate questions,
that would be throwing them up in just the way one does not want them
thrown up; it should be a sort of rationalized and not too technical
handbook of physiological instruction in the College Library--or at
home. Naturally, it would begin with muscular physiology, with
digestion, and so on. Other matters would come in their due place and
proportion. From first to last it would have all that need be known.
There is a natural and right curiosity on these matters, until we chase
it underground.

Restriction alone is not half this business. It is inherent in the
purpose of things that these young people should awaken sexually, and
in some manner and somewhere that awakening must come. To ensure they
do not awaken too soon or in a fetid atmosphere among ugly surroundings
is not enough. They cannot awaken in a void. An ignorance kept beyond
nature may corrupt into ugly secrecies, into morose and sinister
seclusions, worse than the evils we have suppressed. Let them awaken as
their day comes, in a sweet, large room. The true antiseptic of the
soul is not ignorance, but a touch of the heroic in the heart and in
the imagination. Pride has saved more men than piety, and even
misconduct loses something of its evil if it is conceived upon generous
lines. There lurks a capacity for heroic response in all youth, even in
contaminated youth. Before five-and-twenty, at any rate, we were all
sentimentalists at heart.

And the way to bring out these responses?

Assuredly it is not by sermons on Purity to Men Only and by nasty
little pamphlets of pseudo-medical and highly alarming information
stuffed into clean young hands [Footnote: See Clouston's _Mental
Diseases_, fifth edition, p. 535, for insanity caused by these
pamphlets; see also p. 591 _et seq._ for "adolescent"
literature.]--ultra "adult" that stuff should be--but in the drum and
trumpet style the thing should be done. There is a mass of fine
literature to-day wherein love shines clean and noble. There is art
telling fine stories. There is a possibility in the Theatre. Probably
the average of the theatre-goer is under rather than over twenty-two.
Literature, the drama, art; that is the sort of food upon which the
young imagination grows stout and tall. There is the literature and art
of youth that may or may not be part of the greater literature of life,
and upon this mainly we must depend when our children pass from us into
these privacies, these dreams and inquiries that will make them men and
women. See the right stuff is near them and the wrong stuff as far as
possible away, chase cad and quack together, and for the rest, in this
matter--_leave them alone._



When we digressed to the general question of the political, social, and
moral atmosphere in which the English-speaking citizen develops, we
left the formal education of the average child, whose development
threads through these papers and holds them together, at about the age
of fifteen and at the end of the process of Schooling. We have now to
carry on that development to adult citizenship. It is integral in the
New Republican idea that the process of Schooling, which is the common
atrium to all public service, should be fairly uniform throughout the
social body, that although the average upper-class child may have all
the advantages his conceivably better mental inheritance, his better
home conditions, and his better paid and less overworked teachers may
give him, there shall be no disadvantages imposed upon the child of any
class, there shall be no burking of the intellectual education for any
purpose whatever. To keep poor wretches in serfdom on the land by
depriving them of all but the most rudimentary literary education, as a
very considerable element in the new Nature Study Movement certainly
intends, is altogether antagonistic to New Republican ideas, and there
must be no weeding out of capable and high-minded teachers by filtering
them through grotesque and dishonouring religious tests--dishonouring
because compulsory, whatever the real faith of the teacher may be. And
at the end of the Schooling period there must begin a process of
sorting in the mass of the national youth--as far as possible,
regardless of their social origins--that will go on throughout life.
For the competition of public service must constitute the Battle for
Existence in the civilized state. All-round inferiority in school life
--failure not simply at this or that or at the total result (which,
indeed, may be due very often to the lopsidedness of exceptional gifts)
but failure all along the line--is a mark of essential inferiority. A
certain proportion of boys and girls will have shown this inferiority,
will have done little with any of their chances in or out of school
during their school life, and these--when they are poorer-class
children--will very naturally drop out of the educational process at
this stage and pass into employment suited to their capacity,
employment which should not carry with it any considerable possibility
of prolific marriage. A really well-contrived leaving-school
examination--and it must be remembered that the theory and science of
examinations scarcely exists as yet--an examination which would take
account of athletic development and moral influence (let us say
provisionally by the vote of fellow-pupils) and which would be so
contrived as to make specially high quality in one department as good
as all-round worth--could effect this first classification. It would
throw out the worst of the duffers and fools and louts all along the
social scale. What is to become of the rejected of the upper and
wealthy class is, I admit, a difficult problem as things are to-day. At
present they carry a loutish ingredient to the public schools, to the
Army, to Oxford and Cambridge, and it is open to question whether it
would not be well to set aside one public school, one especially costly
university, and one gentlemen's regiment of an attractively smart type,
into which this mass of expensive slackness might be drained along a
channel of specially high fees, low standards, and agreeable social
conditions. That, however, is a quite subsidiary question in this
discussion. A day may come, as I have already suggested, when it will
be considered as reasonable to insist upon a minimum mental
qualification for the administration of property as for any other form
of power in the state. Pride and their many advantages--of which one is
quite conceivably an average essential superiority--will probably
ensure a satisfactory result from the Schooling process in the case of
a much greater proportion of better-class than of lower-class boys and
girls. [Footnote: In most big public schools, I am told, there is a
system of superannuation about sixteen, but I know nothing of the
provision for those who are weeded out.]

From the mass who show a satisfactory result at the end of the
Schooling process, the functional manhood and womanhood of our peoples
have to be developed, and we have now to discuss the nature of the
second phase of education, the phase that should be the mental parallel
and accompaniment of physical adolescence in all the citizens who are
to count for strength in the state. There is a break in the whole
development of the human being at this age, and it may very well be
paralleled by a break in methods and subjects of instruction. In Great
Britain, in the case of the wealthier classes, schooling and puerile
discipline is prolonged altogether too far, largely through the gross
incapacity of our secondary teachers. These men are unable, boring away
day after day, week after week, year after year, with vain repetitions,
imbecile breaks and new beginnings, through all the vast period from
eleven or twelve until twenty, to achieve that mastery of Latin and
Greek which was once the necessary preliminary to education, and which
has become at last, through the secular decline in scholastic energy
and capacity due to the withdrawal of interest in these studies, the
unattainable educational ideal. These classical pedagogues, however,
carry the thing up to three or four and twenty in the Universities--
though it is inconceivable that any language spoken since the
antediluvian age of leisure, can need more than ten years to learn--and
if they could keep the men until forty or fifty they would still be
fumbling away at the keys to the room that was ransacked long ago. But
with educated men as teachers and practical handbooks to help, and
practical examiners to guide them, there is no reason whatever why the
great mass of the linguistic training of the citizen, in the use of his
own and any other necessary language, should not be done for good and
all by fourteen, why he should not have a fairly complete mastery of
form and quantity through mathematical training and drawing, and why
the way should not be clear and immediate for the development of that
adult mental edifice of which this is the foundation.

By fourteen the power of abstract reasoning and of an analytical
treatment of things is in existence, the learner is now less to be
moulded and more to be guided than he was. We want now to give this
mind we have established, the most stimulating and invigorating
training we can, we want to give it a sane coherent view of our
knowledge of the universe in relation to itself, and we want to equip
it for its own special work in the world. How, on the basis of the
Schooling we have predicated, are these ends to be attained?

Now let us first have it perfectly clear that this second stage in
development lies no more completely within the idea of College than the
former lay completely within the idea of School. In the general
discussion of these things we are constantly faced by the parallel
error to that we have tried to dissipate in regard to schools, the
error that the Professor and his Lecture and (in the case of
experimental sciences) his Laboratory make, or can make, the man, just
precisely in the same way that the Schoolmaster or Schoolmistress is
supposed to be omnipotent in the education of the boy or girl. And,
unhappily, the Professor, unless he is a man of quite exceptional
mental power for a Professor, shares this groundless opinion. The
Schoolmaster is under-educated in regard to his work, and incapable of
doing it neatly; the Professor is too often over-specialized and
incapable of forming an intelligent, modest idea of his place in
education; and the same consequence flows from the defect of either, an
attempt to use an improperly large portion of the learner's time and
energy. Over-direction, and what one may call intellectual
sectarianism, are faults from which few College courses are free to-
day. The Professor stands between his students and books, he says in
lectures in his own way what had far better be left for other men's
books to tell, he teaches his beliefs without a court of appeal.
Students are kept writing up their notes of his not very brilliant
impromptus, and familiarizing themselves with his mental constitution
instead of the subject of study. They get no training in the use of
books as sources of knowledge and ideas, albeit such a training is one
of the most necessary of all acquisitions for an efficient citizen, and
whatever discussion the modern student indulges in is all too often
treated rather as presumption to be discouraged than as the most
necessary and hopeful of mental processes. Our Universities and
Colleges are still but imperfectly aware of the recent invention of the
Printed Book; and its intelligent use in this stage of education has
made little or no headway against their venerable traditions. That
things are only understood by being turned over in the mind and looked
at from various points of view is, of course, altogether too modern a
conception for our educationists. At the London Royal College of
Science, for example, which is an exceptionally new and efficient
College, there is no properly organized escape from the orthodoxy of
the lecture-theatre, no circulating library whatever available to the
students, no library, that is, which will ensure a copious supply and
exchange of the best books on each subject, and, consequently, even to
look up an original paper that has been quoted or discussed, involves
an expenditure of time that is practically prohibitive of the thing as
a general practice. [Footnote: There are three very fine libraries in
the adjacent South Kensington Museum, especially available to students,
but, like almost all existing libraries, they are managed in most
respects on lines conceived when a copy of a book was an almost unique
thing made specially by the copyist's hand. However much a book is in
demand, however cheap its price of publication may be, no library in
England, unless it is a modern subscription library, ever gets
duplicate copies. This is the cause of the dearness of serious books;
they are bought as rarities, and have to be sold in the same spirit.
But when libraries learn to buy by the dozen and the hundred, there is
no reason why the sort of book now published at 10s. 6d. should not be
sold at a shilling from the beginning.] The Professors, being busy and
important men, lecture from their particular standpoints, and having
lectured, bolt; there is no provision whatever for the intelligent
discussion of knotty points, and the only way to get it is to
buttonhole a demonstrator and induce him to neglect his task of
supervising prescribed "practical" work in favour of educational talk.
Let us, therefore, in view of this state of affairs, deal with the
general question how a branch of thought and knowledge may be most
beneficially studied under modern conditions, before discussing the
more particular question what subjects should or should not be

Now the full statement not only of what is known of a subject, but of
its difficulties, dark places, and conflicting aspects should be
luminously set forth in the College text-books, large, well-written,
well-illustrated books by one or several hands, continually revised and
kept abreast of the advance of knowledge by capable and critical-minded
young men. Such books are essential and cardinal in proper modern
teaching. The country may be speckled with universities until they are
as thick as public-houses, and each may be provided with its score or
so of little lecturers, and if it does not possess one or more good
general text-books in each principal subject then all this simply means
that a great number of inadequate, infertile little text-books are
being dictated, one by each of these lecturers. Not the course of
lectures, but the sound, full text-book should be the basis of College
instruction, and this should be supplemented by a greater or lesser
number of more or less controversial pamphlets or books, criticising,
expanding or correcting its matter or putting things in a different and
profitable way. This text-book should be paralleled in the case of
experimental science by a hand-book of illustrative and explanatory
laboratory work. Portions of the book could be set for preparation at
each stage in the course with appropriate experiments, students could
submit difficulties in writing to be dealt with by the Professor in
conversational lectures, and the reading of the students could be
checked by periodic examinations upon cardinal parts, and supplemented,
if these examinations showed it to be necessary, by dissertations upon
special issues of difficulty. Upon the matters that were distinctively
his "subject," or upon his points of disagreement with the general
issues of the book, the Professor might lecture in the accepted way.
This is surely the proper method of work for adolescent students in any
subject, in philology just as much as in comparative anatomy, and in
history just as much as in economics. The cheapening of printing,
paper, and, above all, of illustration has done away with the last
excuse for the vocal course of instruction and the lecturer's diagrams.
But it has not done away with them.

It is one of the most curious of human phenomena, this persistence of
tradition against what one might have imagined the most destructive
facts, and in no connection is this aspect more remarkable than in all
that concerns the higher stages of education. One might think that
somewhere in the seventeenth century it would have been recognized at
the Seats of Learning that thought and knowledge were progressive
things, and that a periodic revision of courses and syllabuses, a
periodic recasting of work and scope, a re-arrangement of chairs and of
the appliances of the faculties, was as necessary to the continued
healthy existence of a University as periodic meals and sleep and
exercise are necessary to a man. But even today we are founding
Universities without any provision for this necessary change, and the
chances are that in a century or so they will present just as much
backwardness and illiteracy as do the ordinary graduation organizations
of Oxford and Cambridge today, that a hundred years from now the past
graduates of ripe old Birmingham, full of spite against newfangled
things "no fellow can understand," will be crowding up to vote against
the substitution of some more modern subject for "Huxley"--"Huxley"
they will call the subject, and not Comparative Anatomy, on the model
of "Euclid"--or for the retention of compulsory "Commercial Geography
of the Nineteenth Century," or "Longhand Bookkeeping" in the Little Go.
(And should any germinating noble founder read these pages I would
implore him with all the earnestness that is possible in printed
matter, to provide that every fifty years, let us say, the whole of his
prospective foundation shall go into solution, shall re-apportion its
funds and reorganize the entire mechanism of its work.)

The idea that a text-book should be regularly reset and reprinted is
still quite foreign to the Professorial mind, as, indeed, is the idea
that the care of text-books and publications is a University function
at all. No one is startled by a proposal to apply 800 or 1000 a year
to a new chair in any subject, but to apply that sum yearly as a
standing charge to the revision and perfection of a specific text-book
would seem, even today, quite fantastically extravagant to most
University men. Yet what could be more obviously helpful to sound and
thorough teaching than for a University, or a group of Universities, to
sustain a Professor in each of the chief subjects of instruction, whose
business would be neither teaching as it is now understood, nor
research, but the critical and exhaustive editing of the College text-
book of his subject, a text-book which would stand in type at the
University Press, which would be revised annually and reprinted
annually, primarily for the use of the matriculated students of the
University and incidentally for publication. His business would be not
only to bring the work up to date and parallel with all the newest
published research and to invite and consider proposals of
contributions and footnotes from men with new views and new matter, but
also to substitute for obscure passages fuller and more lucid
expositions, to cut down or relegate to smaller type passages of
diminishing importance and to introduce fresh and more efficient
illustrations, and his work would be carried on in consultation with
the General Editor of the University Press who would also be a
specialist in modern printing and book-making, and who would be
constantly taking up, trying, and adopting fresh devices of
arrangement, and newer, better, and cheaper methods of printing and
illustration. It would not merely raise the general efficiency of the
College work of adolescents very greatly to have this series of
textbooks living and growing in each subject at one or (better) at
several Universities or grouped Universities, but in each subject the
periodic change in these books would afford a most valuable corrective
to the influence of specialized work by keeping the specialist worker
easily in touch with the current presentation of his science as a

The text-book, however good, and the lecturer, however able, are only
one of two necessary factors in College work, the reciprocal element is
the students' activity. Unless the students are actively engaged not
simply in taking in what they are told, but in rearranging it, turning
it over, trying and testing it, they are doing little good. We
recognize this quite abundantly in the laboratory nowadays, but we
neglect it enormously in the more theoretical study of a subject. The
facts of a subject if it is a science may be got at in the most
thorough way by handling in the laboratory, but the ideas of a subject
must be handled in discussion, reproduction and dispute. Examinations,
examinations by teachers who understand this very fine art, in which
the student is obliged to restate, apply, and use the principles of his
subject, are of the utmost value in keeping the mind active and not
simply receptive. They are just as good and as vitally necessary as
examination papers which merely demand definitions and lists and bald
facts are bad. And then there might be discussions--if the Professor
were clever enough to conduct them. If the students of a class could be
induced to submit propositions for discussion, from which a topic could
be selected, and could then be made to prepare for a disputation to
which all would have to contribute, with the Professor as a controlling
influence in the chair to check facts and logic and to conclude, it
would have the value of a dozen lectures. But Professors who are under
the burthen of perhaps ninety or a hundred lectures a year cannot be
expected to do anything of this sort. Directed reading, conferences on
knotty points, special lectures followed by the questioning of the
lecturer, discussions upon matters of opinion, laboratory work when
needful, fairly frequent test examinations, and a final examination for
places, are the proper ingredients of a good modern College course, and
in the necessity of leaving the Professor's energies free for the
direction of all this really educational work, lies another reason for
that complete, explicit, well-arranged text-book upon which I am

Coming back now from these general propositions about books and
teaching to our mass of young people about fifteen years old, our
adolescent nation, who have accomplished their Schooling and are ready
for the College phase, we have to consider what subjects they are to be
taught, and how far they are to go with these subjects. Whether they
are to give all or part of their time to these College studies, whether
they are going to pursue them in evening classes or before breakfast in
the morning or during the livelong day is a question of secondary
conveniences that may very well be disregarded here. We are concerned
with the general architecture now, and not with the tactical
necessities of the clerk of the works. [Footnote: But I may perhaps
point out here how integral to a sane man-making scheme is the raising
of the minimum age at which children may work. A day will come, I hope,
when even the partial employment of children under fifteen will be
prohibited, and when, as Mr. Sidney Webb suggested some time ago,
employment up to the age of twenty-one will be limited to so few hours
a week--his suggestion was thirty--as to leave a broad margin for the
more or less compulsory college work and physical training that are
becoming essential to the modern citizen.]

We need waste little time nowadays, I submit, in disposing of
Encyclopaedic conceptions of College Education, conceptions that played
a part in almost all educational schemes--Bentham's stupendous
Chrestomathia is the fearful example--before the middle nineteenth
century. We are all agreed in theory, at any rate, that to know one
subject or group of subjects exhaustively is far better than a
universal smattering, that the ideal of education is more particularly
"all about something" with "something about everything" in a very
subordinate place. The fact remains that the normal curriculum of our
higher schools and colleges is a pointless non-educational miscellany,
and the average graduate in Arts knows something, but not enough, of
science, mathematics, Latin, Greek, literature, and history; he has
paid tribute to several conflicting schemes of education, and is a
credit to none. We have to get rid of this state of affairs, and we
have to provide (i) a substantial mental training which shall lead at
last to a broad and comprehensive view of things, and which shall be a
training in generalization, abstraction, and the examination of
evidence, stimulating and disciplining the imagination and developing
the habit of patient, sustained, enterprising and thorough work, and
(ii) we have to add a general culture, a circle of ideas about moral,
aesthetic, and social matters that shall form a common basis for the
social and intellectual life of the community. The former of these two
elements must at some stage develop--after two or five or seven or some
such period of years, which may be different in different cases--into
the special training for the definite function of the individual in the
social body, whether as engineer, business manager, doctor, priest,
journalist, public administrator, professional soldier, or what not.
And before we ask what must constitute (i) it may be well to define the
relation between the first and the second section of the College stage
of education.

It is (i) that will constitute the essential _work_ of the
College, which will be the especial concern of the Professorial staff,
which will "count" in examinations, and I conceive it as occupying
typically four full working days in the week, four good, hard-driving
days, and no more, of the students' time. The remaining three, so far
as they are not engaged by physical exercise, military training, and
mere amusement, must be given to (ii), which I imagine an altogether
more general, discursive, various, and spontaneous series of
activities. To put the thing briefly, with the use of a convenient
slang word (i), is "grind," and (ii) is general culture, elements that
are altogether too greatly confused in adolescent education. A large
number of people will consider it right and proper that (ii) on the
seventh day of the week should become devotional exercise or religious
thought and discussion. I would submit that under (ii) there should be
formally recognized certain extremely valuable educational influences
that are at present too often regarded as irregular or improper
invasions of school and college work, the collegiate debating society,
for example, private reading, experimental science outside the
curriculum, and essays in various arts. It should be possible to
provide a certain definite number of hours weekly in which the student
should be required merely to show that he was doing something of a
developmental kind, he would have his choice between the Library--every
College ought to have a good and not too priggishly conceived Library,
in which he might either read or write--or the music master, the
debating society, the museum, the art studio, the dramatic society, or
any concern of the sort that the College authorities had satisfactory
reason for supposing to be alive and efficient. In addition (ii) should
include certain minor but necessary studies not included in (i), but
pursued for all that with a certain insistence, taught or directed, and
controlled perhaps by examinations. If, for example, the acquisition of
a foreign language was a part of the preliminary schooling, it could be
kept alive by a more fastidious study in the higher grade. For the
making of the good, all-round, average citizen (i) will be the
essential educational factor, but for the boy or girl with a dash of
genius (ii) will rise from the level of culture to that of a great

What subject or group of subjects is to constitute (i)? There are at
least three, and quite probably beyond the very limited range of my
knowledge there are other, arrangements of studies that can be
contrived to supply this essential substantial part of the College
course. Each suffices completely, and I would hesitate to express any
preference for one or the other. Each has its special direction towards
certain sorts of adult function, and for that reason it may be
suggested that the secondary education of an English-speaking country
might very well afford all three (or more) types of secondary course.
The small schools might specialize upon the type locally most
desirable, the larger might group its triplicate (or quadruplicate)
system of sustained and serious courses about a common Library and the
common arrangements for Section ii. of the College scheme.

The first of these possible College courses, and the one most likely to
be useful and fruitful for the mass of the male population in a modern
community, is an expansion of the Physics of the Schooling stage. It
may be very conveniently spoken of as the Natural Philosophy, course.
Its backbone will be an interlocking arrangement of Mathematics,
Physics, and the principles of Chemistry, and it will take up as
illustrative and mind-expanding exercises, Astronomy, Geography, and
Geology conceived as a general history of the Earth. Holding the whole
together will be the theory of the Conservation of Energy in its
countless aspects and a speculative discussion of the constitution of
matter. A certain minimum of Historical and Political reading and of
general "Library" would be insisted upon in Section ii. This could be
made a quite noble and spacious course of instruction extending over
from three to five years, from fourteen or fifteen up to eighteen or
twenty-one (or even longer in the case of those partially employed);
its less successful products would drop out--it might be before
completion--to take up the work of more or less skilled artisans and
technical workers, and its more successful ones would pass some of them
into the technical colleges for special industries with a view to
business direction, into special study for the engineering trades, for
the profession of soldiering, [Footnote: I may perhaps explain that my
conception of military organization is a universal service of citizens
--non-professional soldiers--who will be trained--possibly in boyhood
and youth, to shoot very well indeed, to ride either horses or
bicycles, and to take up positions and move quickly and easily in
organized bodies, and, in addition, a special graduated profession of
soldiers who will be in their various ranks engineers, gunners,
special-force men of various sorts, and, in the higher ranks, masters
of all the organization and methods necessary for the rapid and
effective utilization of the non-professional manhood of the country,
of volunteers, militia, or short-service enlistment levies, drawn from
this general supply, and of all the machinery of communication,
provisioning, and so forth. They will not be necessarily the "social
superiors" of their commands, but they will naturally exercise the same
authoritative command in warfare that a doctor does in a sick-room.] or
for the naval and mercantile services, or into research and the
literature of science. Some also would pass on to study for the
profession of medicine through more special work in Chemistry and
Physiology, and some with a proclivity for drawing and design would
become architects, designers of appliances, and the like. The idea of
the ordinary development of this course is not so very remote from what
already exists in Great Britain as the Organized Science School, but,
as with all these courses, it would be done in varying degrees of
thoroughness and extension under varying conditions. This is the first
of my three alternative College courses.

The second course will probably seem less acceptable to many readers,
but all who are qualified to speak will testify to its enormous
educational value. It is what one may speak of as the Biological
Course. Just as the conception of Energy will be the central idea of
the Natural Philosophy course, so the conception of Organic Evolution
will be the central idea of the Biological Course. A general review of
the whole field of Biology--not only of the Natural History of the
present but of the geological record--in relation to the known laws and
the various main theories of the evolutionary process will be taken,
and in addition some special department, either the Comparative Anatomy
of the Vertebrata chiefly, or of the plants chiefly, or of several
Invertebrated groups chiefly, will be exhaustively worked out in
relation to these speculations. The first of these alternatives is not
only probably the most invigorating mental exercise of the three but
bears also more directly upon the practical concerns of life.
Physiology will be taken up in relation to this special exhaustive
study, and the "Elementary Physics of the Schooling" stage will be
prolonged up into a treatment of Chemistry with especial reference to
biological problems. Through such a course as this students might pass
to the study of medicine just as well as through Natural Philosophy,
and the medical profession would profit by the clash of the two types
of student. The biological course, with its insistence upon heredity
and physiological facts, would also give the very best and gravest
preparation in the world for the practical concerns of motherhood. From
it students would pass on illuminated to the study of psychology,
philosophical science, and educational method. The training in the
discussion of broad generalization, and much of the fact involved,
would be a most excellent preliminary to special theological study and
also to the advanced study of economics and political science. From
this course also artists of various sorts would escape through the
avenue of Section ii. which, by the by, would have to involve
Historical Reading. So much for my second suggested College course.

The third of these three alternative courses is the History course,
done extensively in relation to general geography, economic theory, and
the general evolution of the world, and intensively in relation to
British or American history, and perhaps to some particular period. Out
of it would spring a thorough study of the development of English
literature and also of the legal systems of the English-speaking
peoples. This course also would be a way of approach to philosophical
science, to theology, to the thorough study of economic and political
science, and possibly it would contribute a larger proportion of its
students to imaginative literature than either of the two preceding
courses. It would also be the natural preliminary course to the special
study of law and so a source of politicians. In the Section ii. of this
course a light but lucid treatment of the great generalizations of
physical and biological science would be desirable. And from this
course also the artist would break away.

Conceivably there are other courses. The course in Mathematics as one
sees it given to the Cambridge Tripos men, and what is called the
Classical course, will occur to the reader. Few people, however, are to
be found who will defend the exclusively mathematical "grind" as a
sound intellectual training, and so it need not be discussed here. The
case, however, is different with the classical course. It is alleged by
those who have had the experience that to learn Latin and Greek more or
less thoroughly and then to stumble through one or two Latin and Greek
authors "in the original" has an educational value surpassing any
conceivable alternative. There is a mysterious benefit from one's
private translation however bad that no other translation however good
can impart. Plato, for example, who has certainly in the very best
translations, quite perceptibly no greater mind than Lord Bacon,
Newton, Darwin, or Adam Smith, becomes god-like to all who pass beyond
the Little-Go. The controversy is as old as the Battle of the Books, a
quite interminable wrangle, which I will not even attempt to summarize
here. For my own part I believe all this defence of the classics on the
part of men with classical education is but one more example of that
human weakness that splashes Oxford metaphysical writings with needless
tags and shreds of Greek and set Demetrius the silversmith bawling in
the streets. If the reader is of another opinion there is no need to
convert him in this present argument, provided only that he will admit
the uselessness of his high mystery for the training of the larger mass
of modern men. By his standards they are beneath it. A convention upon
this issue between the two parties therefore is attainable. Let us
admit the classical course for the parents who like and can afford this
sort of thing for their sons and daughters. Let us withdraw all
objections to its endowment, unless it is quite excessive endowment.
Let the classical be the senior service, and the classical professor,
to use his own queer way of putting things, _primus inter pares_.
That will make four courses altogether, the Classical, the Historical,
the Biological, and the Physical, for one or more of which all the
secondary schools and colleges in that great English-speaking community
at which the New Republic aims should be organized. [Footnote: One may,
however, suggest one other course as possible under special conditions.
There is one sort of art that requires not only a very rigorous and
exhaustive training, but also an early commencement, and that is music,
at once the most isolated and the most universal of arts. Exceptional
gifts in the direction of music will have appeared in the schooling
stage, and it is quite conceivable that the college phase for those who
are destined for a musical career should have as its backbone a "grind"
in the theory and practice of music, with languages and general culture
relegated to a Section ii.]

It may be objected that this is an idealized proposal, and that
existing conditions, which are, of course, the material out of which
new conditions are to be made do not present anything like this form.
As a matter of fact, if only the reader will allow for a certain
difference in terminology, they do. What I have here called Schooling
is, so far as the age of the pupils go, typically presented in Great
Britain by what is called the elementary school, and in America by the
public school, and certain schools that unanalytical people in England,
mistaking a social for an educational difference, seem disposed to
class with secondary schools, the inferior Grammar Schools, the cheaper
private schools, and what are called Preparatory Schools, [Footnote: As
things are, there is no doubt a considerable advantage in the child
from a good home going on to a good preparatory school instead of
entering a public elementary school, and the passage above must not be
misread as a sweeping condemnation of such establishments.] are really
also elementary schools. The latter have more social pretension and
sometimes far less efficiency than a Government Elementary School, but
that is all the difference. All these schools admit of a gradual
approximation to the ideal of schooling already set forth in the sixth
of these papers. Some are already within a measureable distance of that
ideal. And above these elementary schools, above the School grade
proper, and answering to what is here called College, there is a great
variety of day and evening schools of the most varied description which
agree all of them in the presentation of a second phase in the
educational process beginning about the age of thirteen to sixteen and
going on to nineteen and twenty. In Great Britain such institutions are
sometimes called secondary schools and sometimes colleges, and they
have no distinct boundary line to separate them from the University
proper, on the one hand, or the organized Science Schools and the
Higher Grade Board Schools and evening classes of the poorer sort. The
Universities and medical schools are, indeed, hampered with work quite
similar to that of secondary schools and which the secondary schools
have failed to do, the Cambridge undergraduate before his Little-Go,
the London University medical student before his Preliminary Scientific
Examination, are simply doing the belated work of this second stage.
And there is, I doubt not, a similar vague complexity in America. But
through the fog something very like the boundary line here placed about
fourteen is again and again made out; not only the general requirements
for efficient education, but the trend of present tendency seems to be
towards a scheme of three stages in which a first stage of nine or ten
years of increasingly serious Schooling (Primary Education), from a
very light beginning about five up to about fourteen, is to be followed
by a second stage of College education (Secondary Education), from
fourteen or sixteen to an upward boundary determined by class and
various facilities, and this is to be succeeded by a third stage, which
we will now proceed to consider in detail.

Let us make it clear at once that this third stage is a much ampler
thing than the graduation or post graduation work of a university. It
may or it may not include that as an ingredient. But the intention is
to express all those agencies (other than political, social, and
economic forces, and the suggestions that arise from them), that go to
increase and build up the mental structure of the man or woman. This
includes the pulpit, so far as it is still a vehicle for the
importation of ideas and emotions, the stage, books that do anything
more than pass the time, newspapers, the Grove and the Agora. These
all, in greater or lesser degrees, work powerfully together to make the
citizen. They work most powerfully, of course, in those plastic
unsettled years that last from adolescence to the middle twenties, but
often in very slowly diminishing intensity right into the closing
decades of middle age. However things may have been in the quieter past
when newspapers did not exist, when creeds were rigid, plays mere
spectacles to be seen only "in Town," and books rare, the fact remains
that to-day everybody goes much further and learns far more than any of
the professedly educational agencies can be held accountable for. There
was a time, perhaps, when a man really did "settle down"
intellectually, at the end of his days of learning, when the only way--
outside the libraries and households of a few princely personages--to
go on thinking and to participate in the secular development of ideas,
was to go to a University and hear and dispute. But those days have
gone for a hundred years at least. They have gone by, and the strange
thing is that a very large proportion of those who write and talk about
education have not discovered they have gone by, and still think and
talk of Universities as though they were the only sources and
repositories of wisdom. They conjure up a vision in my mind of an
absent-minded water-seller, bearing his precious jars and crying his
wares knee-deep, and going deeper into a rising stream. Or if that does
not seem just to the University in the past, an image of a gardener,
who long ago developed a novel variety of some great flower which has
now scattered its wind-borne seed everywhere, but who still proffers
you for sale in a confidential, condescending manner a very little,
very dear packet of that universal commodity. Until the advent of Mr.
Ewart (with his Public Libraries' Act), Mr. Passmore Edwards, and Mr.
Andrew Carnegie, the stream of endowment for research and teaching
flowed just as exclusively to the Universities as it did in Tudor

Let us deal, then, first with the finally less important and more
formal portion of the third stage in the educational process; that is
to say, with the University Course. One may conceive that so far as
positive teaching and learning go, a considerable proportion of the
population will never pass beyond the second stage at all. They will
fail to keep up in the course of that stage, or they will branch off
into the special development of some special aptitude. The failures
will gravitate into positions a little better perhaps, but analogous to
those taken up by the failures of the Schooling phase. The common
clerks and common shop-hands, for example, would come out here. The
others, who fall out without completing their College course, but who
may not be College failures at all, will be all sorts of artists and
specializing persons of that type. A great many girls, for economic and
other reasons, will probably never get beyond the College stage. They
will pass from the Biological and Historical courses into employment,
or marry, or enter domestic life. But what may finally become a much
larger proportion of New Republican citizens will either from the
beginning, taking the College course in the evening, or after a year or
so of full attendance at the College course, start also upon the third-
grade work, the preparation for the upper ranks of some technical and
commercial employment, for the systematic and liberal instruction that
will replace the old rule-of-thumb apprenticeship. One can imagine a
great variety of methods of combining the apprenticeship phase of
serious occupation with the College course. Many waking up to the
demands of life may do better for themselves with a desperately
clutched College course of evening classes than others who will have
progressed comfortably in day Colleges. There should be opportunity by
means of scholarship openings for such cases of a late awakening to
struggle back into the higher education. There may be every gradation
from such students to those who will go completely and exhaustively
through the College and who will then go on at one and twenty or two
and twenty to equally complete and exhaustive work in the third grade.
One imagines the third grade in its completeness as a most varied
choice of thorough studies carried on for three or four years after
eighteen or twenty-one, special schools of medicine, law, engineering,
psychology, and educational science, economics and political science,
economics and commercial science, philosophy and theology, and physical
science. Quite apart from the obvious personal limitation, the
discussion of the method of dealing specifically with each of these
subjects would be too diversified and special a theme to occupy me now.
The larger fact to which attention has to be given is this: that all
these studies and all the technical study and such like preparation at
lower levels of the third stage must be as it were floating in a common
body of Thought, which is the unifying principle, the common
initiative, the real common life of the truly civilized state, and that
this body of Thought is no longer to be contained within the form of a
University. It is the larger of the two things. And the last question,
therefore, in these speculations is the general organization of that
body of Thought, that is to say of contemporary literature, using the
word in its widest sense to cover all that is good in journalism, all
untechnical speculative, philosophical writing, all that is true and
new in the drama, in poetry, fiction or any other distinctly literary
form, and all scientific publication that is not purely a matter of
recording or technical working out, all scientific publication that is,
that deals with general ideas.

There was a time when the higher education was conceived of as entirely
a matter of learning. To endow chairs and teachers, and to enable
promising scholars to come and hear the latter was the complete
organization of the higher education. It is within quite recent years
that the conception of endowing research for its own sake, leaving the
Research Professor free altogether from direct teaching or with only a
few good pupils whose work consisted chiefly in assimilating his ideas
and helping with his researches, has become at all widely acceptable.
Indirectly, of course, the Research Professor is just as much a teacher
as the Teaching Professor, because his results become accessible as he
writes them. Our work now is to broaden both the conception of research

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