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The Emancipation of Massachusetts by Brooks Adams

Part 2 out of 7

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Had Moses left the matter there it would not have been so bad, but he
could not contain his vexation, because his staff had not divined his
wishes. Those men, though they had done their strict duty only, must be
punished, so he thought, to maintain his ascendancy.

Of the twelve "spies" whom Moses had sent into Canaan to report to him,
ten had incurred his bitter animosity because they failed to render him
such a report as would sustain him before the people in making the
campaign of invasion to which he felt himself pledged, and on the success
of which his reputation depended. Of these ten men, Moses, to judge by the
character of his demands upon the Lord, thought it incumbent on him to
make an example, in order to sustain his own credit.

To simply exclude these ten spies from Palestine, as he proposed to do
with the rest of the congregation, would hardly be enough, for the rest of
the Hebrews were, at most, passive, but these ten had wilfully ignored the
will of Moses, or, as he expressed it, of the Lord. Therefore it was the
Lord's duty, as Moses saw it, to punish them. And this Moses proposed that
the Lord should do in a prompt and awful manner: the lesson being pointed
by the immunity of Joshua and Caleb, the two spies who had had the wit to
divine the will of Moses. Therefore, all ten of these men died of the
plague while the congregation lay encamped at Kadesh, though Joshua and
Caleb remained immune.

Moses, as the commanding general of an attacking army, took a course
diametrically opposed to that of Joshua, and calculated to be fatal to
victory. He vented his irritation in a series of diatribes which he
attributed to the "Lord," and which discouraged and confused his men at
the moment when their morale was essential to success.

Therefore, the Lord, according to Moses, went on:

"But as truly as I live, all the earth shall be filled with the glory of
the Lord.

"Because all those men which have seen my glory, and my miracles, which I
did in Egypt and in the wilderness, have tempted me now these ten times,
and have not hearkened to my voice;

"Surely they shall not see the land which I swear unto their fathers,
neither shall any of them that provoked me see it:

"But my servant Caleb, because he had another spirit with him, and hath
followed me fully, him will I bring into the land whereinto he went;..."

Having said all this, and, as far as might be, disorganized the army,
Moses surrendered suddenly his point. He made the "Lord" go on to command:
"Tomorrow turn you, and get you into the wilderness by the way of the Red
Sea." But, not even yet content, Moses assured them that this retreat
should profit them nothing.

"And the Lord spake unto Moses and unto Aaron, saying, How long shall I
bear with this evil congregation, which murmur against me? I have heard
the murmurings of the children of Israel, which they murmur against me."
And the Lord continued:

"Say unto them, As truly as I live, ... as ye have spoken in mine ears, so
will I do to you.

"Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness; and all that were numbered
of you, ... from twenty years old and upward, which have murmured against

"Doubtless ye shall not come into the land....

"But as for you, your carcases, they shall fall in this wilderness....

"And the men which Moses sent to search the land, who returned, and made
all the congregation to murmur against him, by bringing up a slander upon
the land,--

"Even those men that did bring up the evil report upon the land, died by
the plague before the Lord.

"But Joshua ... and Caleb, ... which were of the men that went to search
the land, lived still.

"And Moses told these sayings unto all the children of Israel and the
people mourned greatly."

The congregation were now completely out of hand. They knew not what Moses
wanted to do, nor did they comprehend what Moses was attempting to make
the Lord threaten: except that he had in mind some dire mischief.
Accordingly, the people decided that the best thing for them was to go
forward as Joshua and Caleb proposed. So, early in the morning, they went
up into the top of the mountain, saying, "We be here, and will go up unto
the place which the Lord hath promised: for we have sinned."

But Moses was more dissatisfied than ever. "Wherefore now do you
transgress the commandment of the Lord? But it shall not prosper."
Notwithstanding, "they presumed to go up unto the hilltop: nevertheless
the ark of the covenant of the Lord, and Moses, departed not out of the

"Then the Amalekites came down, and the Canaanites, which dwelt in that
hill, and smote them, and discomfited them, even unto Hormah"; which was
at a very considerable distance,--perhaps not less than thirty miles,
though the positions are not very well established.

This is the story as told by the priestly chronicler, who, of course, said
the best that could be said for Moses. But he makes a sorry tale of it.
According to him, Moses, having been disappointed with the report made by
his officers on the advisability of an immediate offensive, committed the
blunder of summoning the whole assembly of the people to listen to it, and
then, in the midst of the panic he had created, he lost his self-
possession and finally his temper. Whereupon his soldiers, not knowing
what to do or what he wanted, resolved to follow the advice of Joshua and

But this angered Moses more than ever, who committed the unpardonable
crime in the eyes of the soldier; he abandoned his men in the presence of
the enemy and by this desertion so weakened them that they sustained the
worst defeat the Israelites suffered during the whole of their wanderings
in the wilderness. Such a disaster brought on a crisis. The only wonder is
that it had been so long delayed. Moses had had since the exodus a
wonderful opportunity to test the truth of his theories. He had asserted
that the universe was the expression of a single and supreme mind, which
operated according to a fixed moral law. That he alone, of all men,
understood this mind, and could explain and administer its law, and that
this he could and would do were he to obtain absolute obedience to the
commands which he uttered. Were he only obeyed, he would win for his
followers victory in battle, and a wonderful land to which they should
march under his guidance, which was the Promised Land, and thereafter all
was to be well with them.

The disaster at Hormah had demonstrated that he was no general, and even
on that very day the people had proof before their eyes that he knew
nothing of the desert, and that the Lord knew no more than he, since there
was no water at Kadesh, and to ask the congregation to encamp in such a
spot was preposterous. Meanwhile Moses absorbed all the offices of honor
and profit for his family. Aaron and his descendants monopolized the
priesthood, and this was a bitter grievance to other equally ambitious
Levites. In short, the Mosaic leadership was vulnerable on every hand.
Attack on Moses was, therefore, inevitable, and it came from Korah, who
was leader of the opposition.

Korah was a cousin of Moses, and one of the ablest and most influential
men in the camp, to whom Dathan and Abiram and "two hundred and fifty"
princes of the assembly, famous in the congregation, men of renown, joined
themselves. "And they gathered themselves together against Moses and
against Aaron, and said unto them, Ye take too much upon you, seeing all
the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them:
wherefore then lift you up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord?"

Koran's grievance was that he had been, although a Levite, excluded from
the priesthood in favor of the demands of Aaron and his sons.

"And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face."

And yet something had to be done. Moses faced an extreme danger. His life
hung upon the issue. As between him and Korah he had to demonstrate which
was the better sorcerer or magician, and he could only do this by
challenging Korah to the test of the ordeal: the familiar test of the
second clause of the code of Hammurabi; "If the holy river makes that man
to be innocent, and has saved him, he who laid the spell upon him shall be
put to death. He who plunged into the holy river shall take to himself the
house of him who wove the spell upon him." [Footnote: Code of Laws
promulgated by Hammurabi, King of Babylon. Translated by C. H. W. Johns,
M.A., Section 2.] And so with Elijah, to whom Ahaziah sent a captain of
fifty to arrest him. And Elijah said to the captain of fifty, "If I be a
man of God, then let fire come down from heaven, and consume thee and thy
fifty. And there came down fire from heaven, and consumed him and his
fifty." [Footnote: 2 Kings I, 10.]

In a word, the ordeal was the common form of test by which the enchanter,
the sorcerer, or the magician always was expected to prove himself. Moses
already had tried the test by fire at least once, and probably oftener. So
now Moses reproached Korah because he was jealous of Aaron; "and what is
Aaron, that ye murmur against him?... This do; Take you censers, Korah,
and all his company; and put fire therein, and put incense in them before
the Lord to-morrow; and ... whom the Lord doth choose, he shall be holy:
ye take too much upon you, ye sons of Levi."

But it was not only about the priesthood that Moses had trouble on his
hands. He had undertaken, with the help of the Lord, to lead the
Israelites through the wilderness. But at every step of the way his
incompetence became more manifest. Even there, at that very camp of
Kadesh, there was no water, and all the people clamored. And, therefore,
Dathan and Abiram taunted him with failure, and with his injustice to
those who served him. And Moses had no reply, except that he denied having
abused his power.

"And Moses sent to call Dathan and Abiram, the sons of Eliab: which said,
We will not come up:

"Is it a small thing that thou hast brought us up out of a land that
floweth with milk and honey, to kill us in the wilderness, except thou
make thyself altogether a prince over us?

"Moreover, thou hast not brought us into a land that floweth with milk and
honey, or given us inheritance of fields and vineyards: wilt thou put out
the eyes of these men [probably alluding to the "spies"]? We will not come

This was evidently an exceedingly sore spot. Moses had boasted that,
because the "spies" had rendered to the congregation what they believed to
be a true report instead of such a report as he had expected, the "Lord"
had destroyed them by the plague. And it is pretty evident that the
congregation believed him. It could hardly have been by pure accident that
out of twelve men, the ten who had offended Moses should have died by the
plague, and the other two alone should have escaped. Moses assumed to have
the power of destroying whom he pleased by the pestilence through prayer
to the "Lord," and he, indeed, probably had the power, in such a spot as
an ancient Jewish Nomad camp, not indeed by prayer, but by the very human
means of communicating so virulent a poison as the plague: means which he
very well understood.

Therefore it is not astonishing that this insinuation should have stung
Moses to the quick.

"And Moses was very wroth, and said unto the Lord, Respect not thou their
offering: I have not taken one ass from them, neither have I hurt one of

Then Moses turned to Korah, "Be thou and all thy company before the Lord,
thou, and they, and Aaron, to-morrow:

"And take every man his censer, and put incense in them, and bring ye
before the Lord every man his censer, two hundred and fifty censers."

And Korah, on the morrow, gathered all the congregation against them unto
the door of the tabernacle. And the "Lord" then as usual intervened and
advised Moses to "separate yourselves from among this congregation, that I
may consume them in a moment." And Moses did so. That is to say, he made
an effort to divide the opposition, who, when united, he seems to have
appreciated, were too strong for him.

What happened next is not known. That Moses partially succeeded in his
attempt at division is admitted, for he persuaded Dathan and Abiram and
their following to "depart ... from the tents of these wicked men, and
touch nothing of theirs, lest ye be consumed in all their sins."

Exactly what occurred after this is unknown. The chronicle, of course,
avers that "the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their
houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods."
But it could not have been this or anything like it, for the descendants
of Korah, many generations after, were still doing service in the Temple,
and at the time of the miracle the spectators were not intimidated by the
sight, although all "Israel that were round about them fled at the cry of
them: for they said, Lest the earth swallow us up also.

"And there came out a fire from the Lord, and consumed the two hundred and
fifty men that offered incense."

Notwithstanding all which, the congregation next day were as hostile and
as threatening as ever.

"On the morrow all the congregation of the children of Israel murmured
against Moses and against Aaron, saying, Ye have killed the people of the

"And they fell upon their faces."

In this crisis of his fate, when it seemed that nothing could save Moses
from a conflict with the mass of his followers, who had renounced him,
Moses showed that audacity and fertility of resource, which had hitherto
enabled him, and was destined until his death to enable him, to maintain
his position, at least as a prophet, among the Jewish people.

The plague was always the most dreaded of visitations among the ancient
Jews: far more terrible than war. It was already working havoc in the
camp, as the death of the "spies" shows us. Moses always asserted his
ability to control it, and at this instant, when, apparently, he and Aaron
were lying on their faces before the angry people, he conceived the idea
that he would put his theurgetic powers to the proof. Suddenly he called
to Aaron to "take a censer and put fire therein from off the altar, and
put on incense, and go quickly unto the congregation, and make an
atonement for them: for there is wrath gone out from the Lord; the plague
is begun."

"And Aaron took as Moses commanded, and ran into the midst of the
congregation; and, behold, the plague was begun among the people: ... and
made an atonement for the people.

"And he stood between the dead and the living; and the plague was stayed.

"Now they that died in the plague were fourteen thousand and seven
hundred, beside them that died about the matter of Korah."

Even this was not enough. The discontent continued, and Moses went on to
meet it by the miracle of Aaron's rod.

Moses took a rod from each tribe, twelve rods in all and on Aaron's rod he
wrote the name of Levi, and Moses laid them out in the tabernacle. And the
next day Moses examined the rods and showed the congregation how Aaron's
rod had budded. And Moses declared that Aaron's rod should be kept for a
token against the rebels: and that they must stop their murmurings "that
they die not."

This manipulation of the plague by Moses, upon what seems to have been a
sudden inspiration, was a stroke of genius in the way of quackery. He was,
indeed, in this way almost portentous. It had a great and terrifying
effect upon the people, who were completely subdued by it. Against
corporeal enemies they might hope to prevail, but they were helpless
against the plague. And they all cried out with one accord, "Behold we
die, we perish, we all perish. Whosoever cometh anything near unto the
tabernacle of the Lord shall die: shall we be consumed with dying?"

As I have already pointed out, Moses was a very great theurgist, as many
saints and prophets have been. When in the actual presence of others he
evidently had the power of creating a belief in himself which approached
the miraculous, so far as disease was concerned. And he presumed on this
power and took correspondingly great risks. The case of the brazen serpent
is an example. The story is--and there is no reason to doubt its
substantial truth--that the Hebrews were attacked by venomous serpents
probably in the neighborhood of Mount Hor, where Aaron died, and thereupon
Moses set up a large brazen serpent on a pole, and declared that whoever
would look upon the serpent should live. Also, apparently, it did produce
an effect upon those who believed: which, of course, is not an
unprecedented phenomenon among faith healers. But what is interesting in
this historical anecdote is not that Moses performed certain faith cures
by the suggestion of a serpent, but that the Israelites themselves, when
out of the presence of Moses, recognized that he had perpetrated on them a
vulgar fraud. For example, King Hezekiah destroyed this relic, which had
been preserved in the Temple, calling it "Nehushtan," "a brazen thing," as
an expression of his contempt. And what is more remarkable still is that
although Hezekiah reigned four or five centuries after the exodus, yet
science had made no such advance in the interval as to justify this
contempt. Hezekiah seems to have been every whit as credulous as were the
pilgrims who looked on the brazen serpent and were healed. Hezekiah "was
sick unto death, and Isaiah came to see him, and told him to set his house
in order; for thou shalt die, and not live.... And Hezekiah wept sore."

Then, like Moses, Isaiah had another revelation in which he was directed
to return to Hezekiah, and tell him that he was to live fifteen years
longer. And Isaiah told the attendants to take "a lump of figs." "And they
took it and laid it on the boil, and he recovered."

Afterward Hezekiah asked of Isaiah how he was to know that the Lord would
keep his word and give him fifteen additional years of life. Isaiah told
him that the shadow should go back ten degrees on the dial. And Isaiah
"cried unto the Lord," and he brought the shadow ten degrees backward "by
which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz." [Footnote: 2 Kings xx, 11.]
And yet this man Hezekiah, who could believe in this marvellous cure of
Isaiah, repudiated with scorn the brazen serpent as an insult to
credulity. The contrast between Moses, who hesitated not to take all risks
in matters of disease with which he felt himself competent to cope, and
his timidity and hesitation in matters of war, is astounding. But it is a
common phenomenon with the worker of miracles and indicates the limit of
faith at which the saint or prophet has always betrayed the impostor. For
example: Saint Bernard, when he preached in 1146 the Second Crusade, made
miraculous cures by the thousand, so much so that there was danger of
being killed in the crowds which pressed upon him. And yet this same
saint, when chosen by the crusaders four years later, in 1150, to lead
them because of his power to constrain victory by the intervention of God,
wrote, after the crusaders' defeat, in terror to the pope to protect him,
because he was unfit to take such responsibility.

But even with this reservation Moses could not gain the complete
confidence of the congregation and the insecurity of his position finally
broke him down.

At this same place of Kadesh, Miriam died, "and the people chode with
Moses because there was no water for the congregation." [Footnote: Numbers
xx, 8.] Moses thereupon withdrew and, as usual, received a revelation. And
the Lord directed him to take his rod, "and speak ye unto the rock before
their eyes; and it shall give forth his water."

And Moses gathered the congregation and said unto them, "Hear now, ye
rebels; must we fetch you water out of this rock?"

"And he smote the rock twice: and the water came out abundantly."

But Moses felt that he had offended God, "Because ye believed me not, to
sanctify me in the eyes of the children of Israel, therefore ye shall not
bring this congregation into the land which I have given them."

Moses had become an old man, and he felt himself unequal to the burden he
had assumed. He recognized that his theory of cause and effect had broken
down, and that the "Lord" whom at the outset he had firmly believed to be
an actual and efficient power to be dominated by him, either could not or
would not support him in emergency. In short, he had learned that he was
an adventurer who must trust to himself. Hence, after Hormah he was a
changed man. Nothing could induce him to lead the Jews across the Jordan
to attack the peoples on the west bank, and though the congregation made a
couple of campaigns against Sihon and Og, whose ruthlessness has always
been a stain on Moses, the probability is that Moses did not meddle much
with the active command. Had he done so, the author of Deuteronomy would
have given the story in more detail and Moses more credit. All that is
attributed to Moses is a division of the conquests made together with
Joshua, and a fruitless prayer to the Lord that he might be permitted to
cross the Jordan.

Meanwhile life was ending for him. His elder sister Miriam died at Kadesh,
and Aaron died somewhat later at Mount Hor, which is supposed to lie about
as far to the east of Kadesh as Hormah is to the west, but there are
circumstances about the death of Aaron which point to Moses as having had
more to do with it than of having been a mere passive spectator thereof.

The whole congregation is represented as having "journeyed from Kadesh and
come unto Mount Hor ... by the coast of the land of Edom," and there the
"Lord" spoke unto Moses and Aaron, and explained that Aaron was to be
"gathered unto his people, ... because ye rebelled ... at the water of
Meribah." Therefore Moses was to "take Aaron and Eleazar his son, and
bring them up unto Mount Hor: and strip Aaron of his garments, and put
them upon Eleazar," ... and that Aaron ... shall die there.

"And they went up into Mount Hor in the sight of all the congregation. And
Moses stripped Aaron of his garments, and put them upon Eleazar his son;
and Aaron died there in the top of the mount: and Moses and Eleazar came
down from the mount." [Footnote: Numbers xx, 22-28.]

Now it is incredible that all this happened as straightforwardly as the
chronicle would have us believe. Aaron was an old man and probably
failing, but his death was not imminent. On the contrary, he had strength
to climb Mount Hor with Moses, without aid, and there is no hint that he
suffered from any ailment likely to end his life suddenly. Moses took care
that he and Eleazar should be alone with Aaron so that there should be no
witness as to what occurred, and Moses alone knew what was expected.

Moses had time to take off the priestly garments, which were the insignia
of office and to put them on Eleazar, and then, when all was ready, Aaron
simply ceased to breathe at the precise moment when it was convenient for
Moses to have him die, for the policy of Moses evidently demanded that
Aaron should live no longer. Under the conditions of the march Moses was
evidently preparing for his own death, and for a complete change in the
administration of affairs. Appreciating that his leadership had broken
down and that the system he had created was collapsing, he had dawdled as
long on the east side of the Jordan as the patience of the congregation
would permit. An advance had become inevitable, but Moses recognized his
own inability to lead it. The command had to be delegated to a younger man
and that man was Joshua. Eleazar, on the other hand, was the only
available candidate for the high priesthood, and Moses took the
opportunity of making the investiture on Mount Hor. So Aaron passed away,
a sacrifice to the optimism of Moses. Next came the turn of Moses himself.
The whole story is told in Deuteronomy. Within, probably, something less
than a year after Aaron's death the "Lord" made a like communication to

"Get thee up ... unto Mount Nebo, which is in the land of Moab, that is
over against Jericho;

"And die in the Mount whither thou goest up, and be gathered unto thy
people; as Aaron, thy brother died in Mount Hor;

"Because ye trespassed against me among the children of Israel at the
waters of Meribah-Kadesh, in the wilderness of Zin, because ye sanctified
me not in the midst of the children of Israel.

"And Moses went up from the plains of Moab unto the mountain of Nebo, ...
And the Lord showed him all the land of Gilead, unto Dan.

"And Moses the servant of the Lord died there in the land of Moab,
according to the word of the Lord.... But no man knoweth of his sepulchre
unto this day.

"And Moses was an hundred and twenty years old when he died: his eye was
not dim, nor his natural force abated."

The facts, as preserved by Josephus, appear to have been these: Moses
ascended the mountain with only the elders, the high priest Eleazar, and
Joshua. At the top of the mountain he dismissed the elders, and then, as
he was embracing Joshua and Eleazar and still speaking, a cloud covered
him, and he disappeared in a ravine. In other words, he killed himself.

Such is the story of Moses, a fragment of history interesting enough in
itself, but especially material to us not only because of the development
of the thought dealt with in the following volumes, but of the inferences
which, at the present time, it permits us to draw touching our own
immediate future.

Moses was the first great optimist of whom any record remains, and one of
the greatest. He was the prototype of all those who have followed. He was
a visionary. All optimists must be visionaries. Moses based the social
system which he tried to organize, not on observed facts, but on _a
priori_ theories evolved out of his own mind, and he met with the
failure that all men of that cast of mind must meet with when he sought to
realize his visions. His theory was that the universe about him was the
expression of an infinite mind which operated according to law. That this
mind, or consciousness, was intelligent and capable of communicating with
man. That it did, in fact, so communicate through him, as a medium, and
that other men had only to receive humbly and obey implicitly his
revelations to arrive at a condition nearly approaching, if not absolutely
reaching, perfection, while they should enjoy happiness and prosperity in
the land in which they should be permitted, by an infinite and
supernatural power and wisdom, to dwell. All this is not alien to the
attitude of scientific optimists at the present day, who anticipate
progressive perfection.

Let us consider, for a moment, whither these _a priori_ theories led,
when put in practice upon human beings, including himself. And, in the
first place, it will probably be conceded that no optimist could have, or
ever hope to have, a fairer opportunity to try his experiment than had
Moses on that plastic Hebrew community which he undertook to lead through
Arabia. Also it must be admitted that Moses, as an expounder of a moral
code, achieved success. The moral principles which he laid down have been
accepted as sound from that day to this, and are still written up in our
churches, as a standard for men and women, however slackly they may be
observed. But when we come to mark the methods by which Moses obtained
acceptance of his code by his contemporaries, and, above all, sought to
constrain obedience to himself and to it, we find the prospect unalluring.
To begin with, Moses had only begun the exodus when he learned from his
practical father-in-law that the system he employed was fantastic and
certain to fail: his notion being that he should sit and judge causes
himself, as the mouthpiece of the infinite, and that therefore each
judgment he gave would demand a separate miracle or imposture. This could
not be contemplated. Therefore Moses was constrained to impose his code in
writing, once for all, by one gigantic fraud which he must perpetrate
himself. This he tried at Sinai, unblushingly declaring that the stone
tablets which he produced were "written with the finger of God";
wherefore, as they must have been written by himself, or under his
personal supervision, he brazenly and deliberately lied. His good faith
was obviously suspected, and this suspicion caused disastrous results. To
support his lie Moses caused three thousand unsuspecting and trusting men
to be murdered in cold blood, whose only crime was that they would have
preferred another leadership to his, and because, had they been able to
effect their purpose, they would have disappointed his ambition.

To follow Moses further in the course which optimism enforced upon him
would be tedious, as it would be to recapitulate the story which has
already been told. It suffices to say shortly that, at every camp, he had
to sink to deeper depths of fraud, deception, lying, and crime in order to
maintain his credit. It might be that, as at Meribah, it was only claiming
for himself a miracle which he knew he could not work, and for claiming
which, instead of giving the credit to God, he openly declared he deserved
and must receive punishment; or it might be some impudent quackery, like
the brazen serpent, which at least was harmless; or it might have been
complicated combinations which suggest a deeper shade; as, for example,
the outbreak of the plague, after Korah's rebellion, which bears the
aspect of a successful effort at intimidation to support his own wavering
credit. But the result was always the same. Moses had promised that the
supernatural power he pretended to control should sustain him and give
victory. Possibly, when he started on the exodus he verily believed that
such a power existed, was amenable and could be constrained to intervene.
He found that he had been mistaken on all these heads, and when he
accepted these facts as final, nothing remained for him but suicide, as
has been related. It only remains to glance, for a single moment, at what
befell, when he had gone, the society he had organized on the optimistic
principle of the approach of human beings toward perfection. During the
period of the Judges, when "there was no king in Israel, but every man did
that which was right in his own eyes," [Footnote: Judges xvii, 6.] anarchy
supervened, indeed, but also the whole Mosaic system broke down because of
the imbecility of the men on whom Moses relied to lift the people toward

Eli, a descendant of Aaron, was high priest, and a judge, being the
predecessor of Samuel, the last of the judges. Now Eli had two sons who
"were sons of Belial; they knew not the Lord."

Eli, being very old, "heard all that his sons did unto all Israel; and how
they lay with the women that assembled at the door of the tabernacle...."
And Eli argued with them; "notwithstanding they harkened not unto the
voice of their father."

Samuel succeeded Eli. He was not a descendant of Aaron, but became a
judge, apparently, upon his own merits. But as a judge he did not
constrain his sons any better than Eli had his, for "they took bribes, and
perverted judgment." So the elders of Israel came to Samuel and said,
"Give us a king to judge us." "And Samuel prayed unto the Lord," though he
disliked the idea. Yet the result was inevitable. The kingdom was set up,
and the Mosaic society perished. Nothing was left of Mosaic optimism but
the tradition. Also there was the Mosaic morality, and what that amounted
to may best, perhaps, be judged by David, who was the most perfect flower
of the perfection to which humanity was to attain under the Mosaic law,
and has always stood for what was best in Mosaic optimism. David's
morality is perhaps best illustrated by the story of Uriah the Hittite.

One day David saw Uriah's wife taking a bath on her housetop and took a
fancy to her. The story is all told in the Second of Samuel. How David
sent for her, took her into the palace, and murdered Uriah by sending him
to Joab who commanded the army, and instructing Joab to set Uriah in the
forefront of the hottest battle, and "retire ye from him that he may be
smitten and die." And Uriah was killed.

Then came the famous parable by Nathan of the ewe lamb. "And David's anger
was greatly kindled against the man; and he said to Nathan, As the Lord
liveth, the man who hath done this thing shall surely die.

"And Nathan said to David, Thou art the man."

And Nathan threatened David with all kinds of disaster and even with
death, and David was very repentant and "he fasted and lay all night upon
the earth." But for all that, when assured that nothing worse was to
happen to him than the loss of the son Bathsheba had borne him, David
comforted Bathsheba. He by no means gave her up. On the contrary, "he went
in unto her ... and she bare him a son, and he called his name Solomon:
and the Lord loved him."

Again the flesh had prevailed. And so it has always been with each new
movement which has been stimulated by an idealism inspired by a belief
that the spirit was capable of generating an impulse which would overcome
the flesh and which could cause men to move toward perfection along any
other path than the least resistant. And this because man is an automaton,
and can move no otherwise. In this point of view nothing can be more
instructive than to compare the Roman with the Mosaic civilization, for
the Romans were a sternly practical people and worshipped force as Moses
worshipped an ideal.

As Moses dreamed of realizing the divine consciousness on earth by
introspection and by prayer, so the Romans supposed that they could attain
to prosperity and happiness on earth by the development of superior
physical force and the destruction of all rivals. Cato the Censor was the
typical Roman landowner, the type of the class which built up the great
vested interest in land which always moved and dominated Rome. He
expressed the Roman ideal in his famous declaration in the Senate, when he
gave his vote for the Third Punic War; "_Delenda est Carthago_," Carthage
must be destroyed. And Carthage was destroyed because to a Roman to
destroy Carthage was a logical competitive necessity. Subsequently, the
Romans took the next step in their social adjustment at home. They deified
the energy which had destroyed Carthage. The incarnation of physical force
became the head of the State;--the Emperor when living, the Divus, when
dead. And this conception gained expression in the law. This godlike
energy found vent in the Imperial will; "_Quod principi placuit, legis
habet vigorem_." [Footnote: Inst. l, 2, 6.]

Nothing could be more antagonistic to the Mosaic philosophy, which invoked
the supernatural unity as authority for every police regulation. Moreover,
the Romans carried out their principle relentlessly, to their own
destruction. That great vested interest which had absorbed the land of
Italy, and had erected the administrative entity which policed it, could
not hold and cultivate its land profitably, in competition with other
lands such as Egypt, North Africa, or Assyria, which were worked by a
cheaper and more resistant people. Therefore the Roman landowners imported
this competitive population from their homes, having first seized them as
slaves, and cultivated their own Italian fields with them after the
eviction of the original native peasants, who could not survive on the
scanty nutriment on which the eastern races throve. [Footnote: I have
dealt with this subject at length in my _Law of Civilization and
Decay_, chapter II, to which I must refer the reader. More fully still
in the French translation. "This unceasing emigration gradually changed
the character of the rural population, and a similar alteration took place
in the army. As early as the time of Cæsar, Italy was exhausted; his
legions were mainly raised in Gaul, and as the native farmers sank into
serfdom or slavery, and then at last vanished, recruits were drawn more
and more from beyond the limits of the empire." I cannot repeat my
arguments here, but I am not aware that they have been seriously

The Roman law, the _Romana lex_, was as gigantic, as original, and as
comprehensive a structure as was the empire which gave to it expression.
Modern European law is but a dilution thereof. The Roman law attained
perfection, as I conceive, about the time of the Antonines, through the
great jurists who then flourished. If one might name a particular moment
at which so vast and complex a movement culminated, one would be tempted
to suggest the reign of Hadrian, who appointed Salvius Julianus to draw up
the _edictum perpetuum_, or permanent edict, in the year 132 A.D.
Thenceforward the magistrate had to use his discretion only when the edict
of Julianus did not apply.

I am not aware that any capital principle of municipal law has been
evolved since that time, and the astonishing power of the Roman mind can
only be appreciated when it is remembered that the whole of this colossal
fabric was original. Modern European law has been only a servile copy.
But, regard being had to the position of the emperor in relation to the
people, and more especially in relation to the vast bureaucracy of Rome,
which was the embodiment of the vested interest which was Rome itself, the
adherence of Roman thought to the path of least resistance was absolute.
"So far as the cravings of Stoicism found historical and political
fulfilment, they did so in the sixty years of Hadrian and the Antonines,
and so far again as an individual can embody the spirit of an age, its
highest and most representative impersonation is unquestionably to be
found in the person of Marcus Antoninus.... Stoicism faced the whole
problem of existence, and devoted as searching an investigation to
processes of being and of thought, to physics and to dialectic, as to the
moral problems presented by the emotions and the will." [Footnote:
_Marcus Aurelius Antoninus_, in English, by Gerald H. Rendall,
Introduction, xxvii.]

Such was stoicism, of which Marcus Aurelius was and still remains the
foremost expression. He admitted that as emperor his first duty was to
sacrifice himself for the public and he did his duty with a constancy
which ultimately cost him his life. Among these duties was the great duty
of naming his successor. The Roman Empire never became strictly
hereditary. It hinged, as perhaps no other equally developed system ever
hinged, upon the personality of the emperor, who incarnated the
administrative bureaucracy which gave effect to the _Pax Romana_ and
the _Romana lex_ from the Euphrates to the Atlantic and from Scotland
to the Tropic of Cancer. Of all men Marcus Aurelius was the most
conscientious and the most sincere, and he understood, as perhaps no other
man in like position ever understood, the responsibility which impinged on
him, to allow no private prevention to impose an unfit emperor upon the
empire But Marcus had a son Commodus, who was nineteen when his father
died, and who had already developed traits which caused foreboding.
Nevertheless, Marcus associated Commodus with himself in the empire when
Commodus was fourteen and Commodus attained to absolute power when Marcus
died. Subsequently, Commodus became the epitome of all that was basest and
worst in a ruler. He was murdered by the treachery of Marcia, his favorite
concubine, and the Senate decreed that "his body should be dragged with a
hook into the stripping room of the gladiators, to satiate the public
fury." [Footnote: _Decline and Fall_, chap. iv.]

From that day Rome entered upon the acute stage of her decline, and she
did so very largely because Marcus Aurelius, the ideal stoic, was
incapable of violating the great law of nature which impelled him to
follow not reason, but the path of least resistance in choosing a
successor; or, in other words, the instinct of heredity. Moreover, this
instinct and not reason is or has been, among the strongest which operate
upon men, and makes them automata. It is the basis upon which the family
rests, and the family is the essence of social cohesion. Also the
hereditary instinct has been the prime motor which has created
constructive municipal jurisprudence and which has evolved religion.

With the death of Marcus Aurelius individual competition may be judged to
have done its work, and presently, as the population changed its character
under the stress thereof, a new phase opened: a phase which is marked, as
such phases usually are, by victory in war. Marcus Aurelius died in 180
A.D. Substantially a century later, in 312, Constantine won the battle of
the Milvian Bridge with his troops fighting under the Labarum, a standard
bearing a cross with the device "_In hoc signo vinces_"; By this sign
conquer. Probably Constantine had himself scanty faith in the Labarum, but
he speculated upon it as a means to arouse enthusiasm in his men. It
served his purpose, and finding the step he had taken on the whole
satisfactory, he followed it up by accepting baptism in 337 A.D.

From this time forward the theory of the possibility of securing divine or
supernatural aid by various forms of incantation or prayer gained steadily
in power for about eight centuries, until at length it became a passion
and gave birth to a school of optimism, the most overwhelming and the most
brilliant which the world has ever known and which evolved an age whose
end we still await.

The Germans of the fourth century were a very simple race, who
comprehended little of natural laws, and who therefore referred phenomena
they did not understand to supernatural intervention. This intervention
could only be controlled by priests, and thus the invasions caused a rapid
rise in the influence of the sacred class. The power of every
ecclesiastical organization has always rested on the miracle, and the
clergy have always proved their divine commission as did Moses. This was
eminently the case with the mediæval Church. At the outset Christianity
was socialistic, and its spread among the poor was apparently caused by
the pressure of servile competition; for the sect only became of enough
importance to be persecuted under Nero, contemporaneously with the first
signs of distress which appeared through the debasement of the denarius.
But socialism was only a passing phase, and disappeared as the money value
of the miracle rose, and brought wealth to the Church. Under the Emperor
Decius, about 250, the magistrates thought the Christians opulent enough
to use gold and silver vessels in their service, and by the fourth century
the supernatural so possessed the popular mind that Constantine, as we
have seen, not only allowed himself to be converted by a miracle, but used
enchantment as an engine of war.

The action of the Milvian Bridge, fought in 312, by which Constantine
established himself at Rome, was probably the point whence nature began to
discriminate decisively against the vested interest of Western Europe.
Capital had already abandoned Italy; Christianity was soon after
officially recognized, and during the next century the priest began to
rank with the soldier as a force in war.

Meanwhile, as the population sank into exhaustion, it yielded less and
less revenue, the police deteriorated, and the guards became unable to
protect the frontier. In 376, the Goths, hard pressed by the Huns, came to
the Danube and implored to be taken as subjects by the emperor. After
mature deliberation the Council of Valens granted the prayer, and some
five hundred thousand Germans were cantoned in Moesia. The intention of
the government was to scatter this multitude through the provinces as
_coloni,_ or to draft them into the legions; but the detachment detailed
to handle them was too feeble, the Goths mutinied, cut the guard to
pieces, and having ravaged Thrace for two years, defeated and killed
Valens at Hadrianople. In another generation the disorganization of the
Roman army had become complete, and Alaric gave it its death-blow in his
campaign of 410.

Alaric was not a Gothic king, but a barbarian deserter, who, in 392, was
in the service of Theodosius. Subsequently he sometimes held imperial
commands, and sometimes led bands of marauders on his own account, but was
always in difficulty about his pay. Finally, in the revolution in which
Stilicho was murdered, a corps of auxiliaries mutinied and chose him their
general. Alleging that his arrears were unpaid, Alaric accepted the
command, and with this army sacked Rome.

During the campaign the attitude of the Christians was more interesting
than the strategy of the soldiers. Alaric was a robber, leading mutineers,
and yet the orthodox historians did not condemn him. They did not condemn
him because the sacred class instinctively loved the barbarians whom they
could overawe, whereas they could make little impression on the
materialistic intellect of the old centralized society. Under the empire
the priests, like all other individuals, had to obey the power which paid
the police; and as long as a revenue could be drawn from the provinces,
the Christian hierarchy were subordinate to the monied bureaucracy who had
the means to coerce them.

Yet only very slowly, as the empire disintegrated, did the theocratic idea
take shape. As late as the ninth century the pope prostrated himself
before Charlemagne, and did homage as to a Roman emperor. [Footnote: Perz,
_Annales Lauressenses_, I, 188.]

Saint Benedict founded Monte Cassino in 529, but centuries elapsed before
the Benedictine order rose to power. The early convents were isolated and
feeble, and much at the mercy of the laity, who invaded and debauched
them. Abbots, like bishops, were often soldiers, who lived within the
walls with their wives and children, their hawks, their hounds, and their
men-at-arms; and it has been said that, in all France, Corbie and Fleury
alone kept always something of their early discipline.

Only in the early years of the most lurid century of the Middle Ages, when
decentralization culminated, and the imagination began to gain its fullest
intensity, did the period of monastic consolidation open with the
foundation of Cluny. In 910 William of Aquitaine draw a charter [Footnote:
Bruel, _Recueil des Chartes de l'Abbaye de Cluny_, I, 124.] which, so
far as possible, provided for the complete independence of his new
corporation. There was no episcopal visitation, and no interference with
the election of the abbot. The monks were put directly under the
protection of the pope, who was made their sole superior. John XI
confirmed this charter by his bull of 932, and authorized the affiliation
of all converts who wished to share in the reform. [Footnote: _Bull.
Clun._ p. 2, col. 1. Also Luchaire, _Manuel des Institutions Françaises_,
93, 95, where the authorities are collected.]

The growth of Cluny was marvellous; by the twelfth century two thousand
houses obeyed its rule, and its wealth was so great, and its buildings so
vast, that in 1245 Innocent IV, the Emperor Baldwin, and Saint Louis were
all lodged together within its walls, and with them all the attendant
trains of prelates and nobles with their servants.

In the eleventh century no other force of equal energy existed. The monks
were the most opulent, the ablest, and the best organized society in
Europe, and their effect upon mankind was proportioned to their strength.
They intuitively sought autocratic power, and during the centuries when
nature favored them, they passed from triumph to triumph. They first
seized upon the papacy and made it self-perpetuating; they then gave
battle to the laity for the possession of the secular hierarchy, which had
been under temporal control since the very foundation of the Church.

According to the picturesque legend, Bruno, Bishop of Toul, seduced by the
flattery of courtiers and the allurements of ambition, accepted the tiara
from the emperor, and set out upon his journey to Italy with a splendid
retinue, and with his robe and crown. On his way he turned aside at Cluny,
where Hildebrand was prior. Hildebrand, filled with the spirit of God,
reproached him with having seized upon the seat of the vicar of Christ by
force, and accepted the holy office from the sacrilegious hand of a
layman. He exhorted Bruno to cast away his pomp, and to cross the Alps
humbly as a pilgrim, assuring him that the priests and people of Rome
would recognize him as their bishop, and elect him according to canonical
forms. Then he would taste the joys of a pure conscience, having entered
the fold of Christ as a shepherd and not as a robber. Inspired by these
words, Bruno dismissed his train, and left the convent gate as a pilgrim.
He walked barefoot, and when after two months of pious meditations he
stood before Saint Peter's, he spoke to the people and told them it was
their privilege to elect the pope, and since he had come unwillingly he
would return again, were he not their choice.

He was answered with acclamations, and on February 2, 1049, he was
enthroned as Leo IX. His first act was to make Hildebrand his minister.

The legend tells of the triumph of Cluny as no historical facts could do.
Ten years later, in the reign of Nicholas II, the theocracy made itself
self-perpetuating through the assumption of the election of the pope by
the college of cardinals, and in 1073 Hildebrand, the incarnation of
monasticism, was crowned under the name of Gregory VII.

With Hildebrand's election, war began. The Council of Rome, held in 1075,
decreed that holy orders should not be recognized where investiture had
been granted by a layman, and that princes guilty of conferring
investiture should be excommunicated. The Council of the next year, which
excommunicated the emperor, also enunciated the famous propositions of
Baronius--the full expression of the theocratic idea. The priest had grown
to be a god on earth.

"So strong in this confidence, for the honour and defence of your Church,
on behalf of the omnipotent God, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost,
by your power and authority, I forbid the government of the German and
Italian kingdoms, to King Henry, the son of the Emperor Henry, who, with
unheard-of arrogance, has rebelled against your Church. I absolve all
Christians from the oaths they have made or may make to him, and I forbid
that any one should obey him as king." [Footnote: Migne, CXLVIII, 790.]

Henry marched on Italy, but in all European history there has been no
drama more tremendous than the expiation of his sacrilege. To his soldiers
the world was a vast space, peopled by those fantastic beings which are
still seen on Gothic towers. These demons obeyed the monk of Rome, and his
army, melting from about the emperor under a nameless horror, left him

Gregory lay like a magician in the fortress of Canossa: but he had no need
of carnal weapons, for when the emperor reached the Alps he was almost
alone. Then his imagination also took fire, the panic seized him, and he
sued for mercy.

On August 7, 1106, Henry died at Liège, an outcast and a mendicant, and
for five long years his body lay at the church door, an accursed thing
which no man dared to bury.

Gregory prevailed because, to the understanding of the eleventh century,
the evidence at hand indicated that he embodied in a high degree the
infinite energy. The eleventh century was intensely imaginative and the
evidence which appealed to it was those phenomena of trance, hypnotism,
and catalepsy which are as mysterious now as they were then, but whose
effect was then to create an overpowering demand for miracle-working
substances. The sale of these substances gradually drew the larger portion
of the wealth of the community into the hands of the clergy, and with
wealth went temporal power. No vested interest in any progressive
community has probably ever been relatively stronger, for the Church found
no difficulty, when embarrassed, in establishing and operating a thorough
system for exterminating her critics.

Under such a pressure modern civilization must have sunk into some form of
caste had the mediæval mind resembled any antecedent mind, but the middle
age, though superficially imaginative, was fundamentally materialistic, as
the history of the crusades showed.

At Canossa the laity conceded as a probable hypothesis that the Church
could miraculously control nature; but they insisted that if the Church
possessed such power, she must use that power for the common good. Upon
this point they would not compromise, nor would they permit delay. During
the chaos of the ninth century turmoil and violence reached a stage at
which the aspirations of most Christians ended with self-preservation; but
when the discovery and working of the Harz silver had brought with it some
semblance of order, an intense yearning possessed both men and women to
ameliorate their lot. If relics could give protection against oppression,
disease, famine, and death, then relics must be obtained, and, if the
cross and the tomb were the most effective relics, then the cross and the
tomb must be conquered at any cost. In the north of Europe especially,
misery was so acute that the people gladly left their homes upon the
slenderest promise of betterment, even following a vagrant like Peter the
Hermit, who was neither soldier nor priest. There is a passage in William
of Tyre which has been often quoted to explain a frenzy which is otherwise
inexplicable, and in the old English of Caxton the words still glow with
the same agony which makes lurid the supplication of the litany,--"From
battle and murder, and from sudden death, Good Lord deliver us":

"Of charyte men spack not, debates, discordes, and warres were nyhe
oueral, in suche wyse, that it seemed, that thende of the world was nyghe,
by the signes that our lord sayth in the gospell, ffor pestylences and
famynes were grete on therthe, ferdfulness of heuen, tremblyng of therthe
in many places, and many other thinges there were that ought to fere the
hertes of men....

"The prynces and the barons brente and destroyed the contrees of theyr
neyghbours, yf ony man had saved ony thynge in theyr kepyng, theyr owne
lordes toke them and put them in prison and in greuous tormentis, for to
take fro them suche as they had, in suche qyse that the chyldren of them
that had ben riche men, men myght see them goo fro dore to dore, for to
begge and gete theyr brede, and some deye for hungre and mesease."
[Footnote: Godeffroy of Bologne, by William, Archbishop of Tyre,
translated from the French by William Caxton, London, 1893, 21, 22.]

Throughout the eleventh century the excitement touching the virtues of the
holy places in Judea grew, until Gregory VII, about the time of Canossa,
perceived that a paroxysm was at hand, and considered leading it, but on
the whole nothing is so suggestive of the latent scepticism of the age as
the irresolution of the popes at this supreme moment. The laity were the
pilgrims and the agitators. The kings sought the relics and took the
cross; the clergy hung back. Robert, Duke of Normandy, for example, the
father of William the Conqueror, died in 1035 from hardship at Nicæa when
returning from Palestine, absorbed to the last in the relics which he had
collected, but the popes stayed at home. Whatever they may have said in
private, neither Hildebrand nor Victor nor Urban moved officially until
they were swept forward by the torrent. They shunned responsibility for a
war which they would have passionately promoted had they been sure of
victory. The man who finally kindled the conflagration was a half-mad
fanatic, a stranger to the hierarchy. No one knew the family of Peter the
Hermit, or whence he came, but he certainly was not an ecclesiastic in
good standing. Inflamed by fasting and penance, Peter followed the throng
of pilgrims to Jerusalem, and there, wrought upon by what he saw, he
sought the patriarch. Peter asked the patriarch if nothing could be done
to protect the pilgrims, and to retrieve the Holy Places. The patriarch
replied, "Nothing, unless God will touch the heart of the western princes,
and will send them to succor the Holy City." The patriarch did not propose
meddling himself, nor did it occur to him that the pope should intervene.
He took a rationalistic view of the Moslem military power. Peter, on the
contrary, was logical, arguing from eleventh-century premises. If he could
but receive a divine mandate, he would raise an invincible army. He
prayed. His prayer was answered. One day while prostrated before the
sepulchre he heard Christ charge him to announce in Europe that the
appointed hour had come. Furnished with letters from the patriarch, Peter
straightway embarked for Rome to obtain Urban's sanction for his design.
Urban listened and gave a consent which he could not prudently have
withheld, but he abstained from participating in the propaganda. In March,
1095, Urban called a Council at Piacenza, nominally to consider the
deliverance of Jerusalem, and this Council was attended by thirty thousand
impatient laymen, only waiting for the word to take the vow, but the pope
did nothing. Even at Clermont eight months later, he showed a disposition
to deal with private war, or church discipline, or with anything in fact
rather than with the one engrossing question of the day, but this time
there was no escape. A vast multitude of determined men filled not only
Clermont but the adjacent towns and villages, even sleeping in the fields,
although the weather was bitterly cold, who demanded to know the policy of
the Church. Urban seems to have procrastinated as long as he safely could,
but, at length, at the tenth session, he produced Peter on the platform,
clad as a pilgrim, and, after Peter had spoken, he proclaimed the war.
Urban declined, however, to command the army. The only effective force
which marched was a body of laymen, organized and led by laymen, who in
1099 carried Jerusalem by an ordinary assault. In Jerusalem they found the
cross and the sepulchre, and with these relics as the foundation of their
power, the laity began an experiment which lasted eighty-eight years,
ending in 1187 with the battle of Tiberias. At Tiberias the infidels
defeated the Christians, captured their king and their cross, and shortly
afterward seized the tomb.

If the eleventh-century mind had been as rigid as the Roman mind of the
first century, mediæval civilization could hardly, after the collapse of
the crusades, have failed to degenerate as Roman civilization degenerated
after the defeat of Varus. Being more elastic, it began, under an
increased tension, to develop new phases of thought. The effort was indeed
prodigious and the absolute movement possibly slow, but a change of
intellectual attitude may be detected almost contemporaneously with the
fall of the Latin kingdom in Palestine. It is doubtless true that the
thirteenth century was the century in which imaginative thought reached
its highest brilliancy, when Albertus Magnus and Saint Thomas Aquinas
taught, when Saint Francis and Saint Clara lived, and when Thomas of
Celano wrote the _Dies Iræ_. It was then that Gothic architecture touched
its climax in the cathedrals of Chartres and Amiens, of Bourges and of
Paris; it was then also that Blanche of Castile ruled in France and that
Saint Louis bought the crown of thorns, but it is equally true that the
death of Saint Louis occurred in 1270, shortly after the thorough
organization of the Inquisition by Innocent IV in 1252, and within two
years or so of the production by Roger Bacon of his _Opus Majus_.

The establishment of the Inquisition is decisive, because it proves that
sceptical thought had been spread far enough to goad the Church to general
and systematic repression, while the _Opus Majus_ is a scientific
exposition of the method by which the sceptical mind is trained.

Roger Bacon was born about 1214, and going early to Oxford fell under the
influence of the most liberal teachers in Europe, at whose head stood
Robert Grosseteste, afterward Bishop of Lincoln. Bacon conceived a
veneration for Grosseteste, and even for Adam de Marisco his disciple, and
turning toward mathematics rather than toward metaphysics he eagerly
applied himself, when he went to Paris, to astrology and alchemy, which
were the progenitors of the modern exact sciences. In the thirteenth
century a young man like Bacon could hardly stand alone, and Bacon joined
the Franciscans, but before many years elapsed he embroiled himself with
his superiors. His friend, Grosseteste, died in 1253, the year after
Innocent IV issued the bull _Ad extirpanda_ establishing the
Inquisition, and Bacon felt the consequences. The general of his order,
Saint Bonaventura, withdrew him from Oxford where he was prominent, and
immured him in a Parisian convent, treating him rigorously, as Bacon
intimated to Pope Clement IV. There he remained, silenced, for some ten
years, until the election of Clement IV, in 1265. Bacon at once wrote to
Clement complaining of his imprisonment, and deploring to the pope the
plight into which scientific education had fallen. The pope replied
directing Bacon to explain his views in a treatise, but did not order his
release. In response Bacon composed the _Opus Majus_.

The _Opus Majus_ deals among other things with experimental science,
and in the introductory chapter to the sixth part Bacon stated the theory
of inductive thought quite as lucidly as did Francis Bacon three and a
half centuries later in the _Novum Organum_. [Footnote: Positis radicibus
sapientiae Latinorum penes Linguas et Mathematicam et Perspectivam, nunc
volo revolvere radices a parte Scientiae Experimentalis, quia sine
experientia nihil sufficienter scire protest. Duo enim simt modi
cognoscendi, scilicet per argumentum et experimentum. Argumentum concludit
et facit nos concedere conclusionem, sed non certificat neque removet
dubitationem ut quiescat animus in intuitu veritatis, nisi eam inveniat
via experientiae; quia multi habent argumenta ad scibilia, sed quia non
habent experientiam, negligunt ea, nee vitant nociva nex persequuntue
bona. J. H. Bridges, _The Opus Majus of Roger Bacon_ (Oxford, 1897), II,

Clement died in 1268. The papacy remained vacant for a couple of years,
but in 1271 Gregory X came in on a conservative reaction. Bacon passed
most of the rest of his life in prison, perhaps through his own
ungovernable temper, and ostensibly his writings seem to have had little
or no effect on his contemporaries, yet it is certain that he was not an
isolated specimen of a type of intelligence which suddenly bloomed during
the Reformation. Bacon constantly spoke of his friends, but his friends
evidently did not share his temperament. The scientific man has seldom
relished martyrdom, and Galileo's experience as late as 1633 shows what
risks men of science ran who even indirectly attacked the vested interests
of the Church. After the middle of the thirteenth century the danger was
real enough to account for any degree of secretiveness, and a striking
case of this timidity is related by Bacon himself. No one knows even the
name of the man to whom Bacon referred as "Master Peter," but according to
Bacon, "Master Peter" was the greatest and most original genius of the
age, only he shunned publicity. The "Dominus experimentorum," as Bacon
called him, lived in a safe retreat and devoted himself to mathematics,
chemistry, and the mechanical arts with such success that, Bacon insisted,
he could by his inventions have aided Saint Louis in his crusade more than
his whole army. [Footnote: Émile Charles, _Roger Bacon. Sa vie et ses
ouvrages_, 17.] Nor is this assertion altogether fantastic. Bacon
understood the formula for gunpowder, and if Saint Louis had been provided
with even a poor explosive he might have taken Cairo; not to speak of the
terror which Greek fire always inspired. Saint Louis met his decisive
defeat in a naval battle fought in 1250, for the command of the Nile, by
which he drew supplies from Damietta, and he met it, according to Matthew
Paris, because his ships could not withstand Greek fire. Gunpowder, even
in a very simple form, might have changed the fate of the war.

Scepticism touching the value of relics as a means for controlling nature
was an effect of experiment, and, logically enough, scepticism advanced
fastest among certain ecclesiastics who dealt in relics. For example, in
1248 Saint Louis undertook to invade Egypt in defence of the cross.
Possibly Saint Louis may have been affected by economic considerations
also touching the eastern trade, but his ostensible object was a crusade.
The risk was very great, the cost enormous, and the responsibility the
king assumed of the most serious kind. Nothing that he could do was left
undone to ensure success. In 1249 he captured Damietta, and then stood in
need of every pound of money and of every man that Christendom could
raise; yet at this crisis the Church thought chiefly of making what it
could in cash out of the war, the inference being that the hierarchy
suspected that even if Saint Louis prevailed and occupied Jerusalem,
little would be gained from an ecclesiastical standpoint. At all events,
Matthew Paris has left an account, in his chronicle of the year 1249, of
how the pope and the Franciscans preached this crusade, which is one of
the most suggestive passages in thirteenth-century literature:

"About the same time, by command of the pope, whom they obeyed implicitly,
the Preacher and Minorite brethren diligently employed themselves in
preaching; and to increase the devotion of the Christians, they went with
great solemnity to the places where their preaching was previously
indicated, and granted many days of indulgence to those who came to hear
them.... Preaching on behalf of the cross, they bestowed that symbol on
people of every age, sex and rank, whatever their property or worth, and
even on sick men and women, and those who were deprived of strength by
sickness or old age; and on the next day, or even directly afterwards,
receiving it back from them, they absolved them from their vow of
pilgrimage, for whatever sum they could obtain for the favour. What seemed
unsuitable and absurd was, that not many days afterwards, Earl Richard
collected all this money in his treasury, by the agency of Master Bernard,
an Italian clerk, who gathered in the fruit; whereby no slight scandal
arose in the Church of God, and amongst the people in general, and the
devotion of the faithful evidently cooled." [Footnote: Matthew Paris,
_English History_, translated by the Rev. J. A, Giles, II, 309.]

When the unfortunate Baldwin II became Emperor of the East in 1237, the
relics of the passion were his best asset. In 1238, while Baldwin was in
France trying to obtain aid, the French barons who carried on the
government at Constantinople in his absence were obliged to pledge the
crown of thorns to an Italian syndicate for 13,134 perpera, which Gibbon
conjectures to have been besants. Baldwin was notified of the pledge and
urged to arrange for its redemption. He met with no difficulty. He
confidently addressed himself to Saint Louis and Queen Blanche, and
"Although the king felt keen displeasure at the deplorable condition of
Constantinople, he was well pleased, nevertheless, with the opportunity of
adorning France with the richest and most precious treasure in all
Christendom." More especially with "a relic, and a sacred object which was
not on the commercial market." [Footnote: Du Cange, _Histoire de L'empire
de Constantinople sous les empereurs Français_, edition de Buchon, I,

Louis, beside paying the loan and the cost of transportation which came to
two thousand French pounds (the mark being then coined into £2, 15 sous
and 6 pence), made Baldwin a present of ten thousand pounds for acting as
broker. Baldwin was so well contented with this sale which he closed in
1239, that a couple of years later he sent to Paris all the contents of
his private chapel which had any value. Part of the treasure was a
fragment of what purported to be the cross, but the authenticity of this
relic was doubtful; there was beside, however, the baby linen, the spear-
head, the sponge, and the chain, beside several miscellaneous articles
like the rod of Moses.

Louis built the Sainte Chapelle at a cost of twenty thousand marks as a
shrine in which to deposit them. The Sainte Chapelle has usually ranked as
the most absolutely perfect specimen of mediaeval religious architecture.
[Footnote: On this whole subject of the inter-relation of mediæval
theology with architecture and philosophy the reader is referred to
_Mont-Saint-Michel et Chartres_, by Henry Adams, which is the most
philosophical and thorough exposition of this subject which ever has been

When Saint Louis bought the Crown of Thorns from Baldwin in 1239, the
commercial value of relics may, possibly, be said to have touched its
highest point, but, in fact, the adoration of them had culminated with the
collapse of the Second Crusade, and in another century and a half the
market had decisively broken and the Reformation had already begun, with
the advent of Wycliffe and the outbreak of Wat Tyler's Rebellion in 1381.
For these social movements have always a common cause and reach a
predetermined result.

In the eleventh century the convent of Cluny, for example, had an enormous
and a perfectly justified hold upon the popular imagination, because of
the sanctity and unselfishness of its abbots. Saint Hugh won his sainthood
by a self-denial and effort which were impossible to ordinary men, but
with Louis IX the penitential life had already lost its attractions and
men like Arnold rapidly brought religion and religious thought into
contempt. The famous Grosseteste, Bishop of Lincoln, born, probably, in
1175, died in 1253. He presided over the diocese of Lincoln at the precise
moment when Saint Louis was building the Sainte Chapelle, but Grosseteste
in 1250 denounced in a sermon at Lyons the scandals of the papal court
with a ferocity which hardly was surpassed at any later day.

To attempt even an abstract of the thought of the English Reformation
would lead too far, however fascinating the subject might be. It must
suffice to say briefly that theology had little or nothing to do with it.
Wycliffe denounced the friars as lazy, profligate impostors, who wrung
money from the poor which they afterwards squandered in ways offensive to
God, and he would have stultified himself had he admitted, in the same
breath, that these reprobates, when united, formed a divinely illuminated
corporation, each member of which could and did work innumerable miracles
through the interposition of Christ. Ordinary miracles, indeed, could be
tested by the senses, but the essence of transubstantiation was that it
eluded the senses. Thus nothing could be more convenient to the government
than to make this invisible and intangible necromancy a test in capital
cases for heresy-Hence Wycliffe had no alternative but to deny
transubstantiation, for nothing could be more insulting to the
intelligence than to adore a morsel of bread which a priest held in his
hand. The pretension of the priests to make the flesh of Christ was,
according to Wycliffe, an impudent fraud, and their pretension to possess
this power was only an excuse by which they enforced their claim to
collect fees, and what amounted to extortionate taxes, from the people.
[Footnote: Nowhere, perhaps, does Wycliffe express himself more strongly
on this subject than in a little tract called _The Wicket_, written
in English, which he issued for popular consumption about this time.] But,
in the main, no dogma, however incomprehensible, ever troubled
Protestants, as a class. They easily accepted the Trinity, the double
procession, or the Holy Ghost itself, though no one had the slightest
notion what the Holy Ghost might be. Wycliffe roundly declared in the
first paragraph of his confession [Footnote: Fasciculi Zizaniorum, 115.]
that the body of Christ which was crucified was truly and really in the
consecrated host, and Huss, who inherited the Wycliffian tradition,
answered before the Council of Constance, "Verily, I do think that the
body of Christ is really and totally in the sacrament of the altar, which
was born of the Virgin Mary, suffered, died, and rose again, and sitteth
on the right hand of God the Father Almighty." [Footnote: Foxe, _Acts
and Monuments_, III, 452.] That which has rent society in twain and has
caused blood to flow like water, has never been abstract opinions, but
that economic competition either between states or classes, that lust for
power and wealth, which makes a vested interest. Thus by 1382 the
eucharist had come to represent to the privileged classes power and
wealth, and they would have repudiated Wycliffe even had they felt strong
enough to support him. But they were threatened by an adversary equally
formidable with heresy in the person of the villeins whom the constantly
increasing momentum of the time had raised into a position in which they
undertook to compete for the ownership of the land which they still tilled
as technical serfs.


Now the courts may say what they will in support of the vested interests,
for to support vested interests is what lawyers are paid for and what
courts are made for. Only, unhappily, in the process of argument courts
and lawyers have caused blood to flow copiously, for in spite of all that
can be said to the contrary, men have practically proved that they do own
all the property they can defend, all the courts in Christendom
notwithstanding, and this is an issue of physical force and not at all of
words or of parchments. And so it proved to be in England in the
fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, alike in Church and State. It was a
matter of rather slow development. After the conquest villeins could
neither in fact nor theory acquire or hold property as against their lord,
and the class of landlords stretched upwards from the owner of a knight's
fee to the king on his throne, who was the chief landlord of all, but by
so narrow a margin that he often had enough to do to maintain some vestige
of sovereignty. So, to help himself, it came to pass that the king
intrigued with the serfs against their restive masters, and the abler the
king, the more he intrigued, like Henry I, until the villeins gained very
substantial advantages. Thus it was that toward 1215, or pretty nearly
contemporaneously with the epoch when men like Grosseteste began to show
restlessness under the extortionate corruption of the Church, the villein
was discovered to be able to defend his claim to some portion of the
increment in the value of the land which he tilled and which was due to
his labor: and this title the manorial courts recognized, because they
could not help it, as a sort of tenant right, calling it a customary
tenancy by base service. A century later these services in kind had been
pretty frequently commuted into a fixed rent paid in money, and the serf
had become a freeman, and a rather formidable freeman, too. For it was
largely from among these technical serfs that Edward III recruited the
infantry who formed his line at Crécy in 1346, and the archers of Crécy
were not exactly the sort of men who take kindly to eviction, to say
nothing of slavery. As no one meddled much with the villeins before 1349,
all went well until after Crécy, but in 1348 the Black Death ravaged
England, and so many laborers died that the cost of farming property by
hired hands exceeded the value of the rent which the villeins paid. Then
the landlords, under the usual reactionary and dangerous legal advice,
tried coercion. Their first experiment was the famous Statute of Laborers,
which fixed wages at the rates which prevailed in 1347, but as this
statute accomplished nothing the landlords repudiated their contracts, and
undertook to force their villeins to render their ancient customary
services. Though the lay landlords were often hard masters, the
ecclesiastics, especially the monks, were harder still, and the
ecclesiastics were served by lawyers of their own cloth, whose sharp
practice became proverbial. Thus the law declined to recognize rights in
property existing in fact, with the inevitable result of the peasant
rising in 1381, known as Wat Tyler's Rebellion. Popular rage perfectly
logically ran highest against the monks and the lawyers. Both the
Archbishop of Canterbury, Simon de Sudbury, the Lord Chancellor, and the
Chief Justice were killed, and the insurgents wished to kill, as Capgrave
has related, "all the men that had learned ony law." Finally the rebellion
was suppressed, chiefly by the duplicity of Richard II. Richard promised
the people, by written charters, a permanent tenure as freemen at
reasonable rents, and so induced them to go home with his charters in
their hands; but they were no sooner gone than vengeance began. Though
Richard had been at the peasants' mercy, who might have killed him had
they wished, punitive expeditions were sent in various directions. One was
led by Richard himself, who travelled with Tresilian, the new Chief
Justice, the man who afterward was himself hanged at Tyburn. Tresilian
worked so well that he is said to have strung up a dozen villeins to a
single beam in Chelmsford because he had no time to have them executed
regularly. Stubbs has estimated that seven thousand victims hardly
satisfied the landlords' sense of outraged justice. What concerns us,
chiefly, is that this repression, however savage, failed altogether to
bring tranquillity. After 1381 a full century of social chaos supervened,
merging at times into actual civil war, until, in 1485, Henry Tudor came
in after his victory at Bosworth, pledged to destroy the whole reactionary
class which incarnated feudalism. For the feudal soldier was neither
flexible nor astute, and allowed himself to be caught between the upper
and the nether millstone. While industrial and commercial capital had been
increasing in the towns, capitalistic methods of farming had invaded the
country, and, as police improved, private and predatory warfare, as a
business, could no longer be made to pay. The importance of a feudal noble
lay in the body of retainers who followed his banner, and therefore the
feudal tendency always was to overcharge the estate with military
expenditure. Hence, to protect themselves from creditors, the landlords
passed the Statute _De Donis_ [Footnote: 13 Edw. I, c. I (A.D.
1284).] which made entails inalienable. Toward the end of the Wars of the
Roses, however, the pressure for money, which could only be raised by
pledging their land, became too strong for the feudal aristocracy. Edward
IV, who was a very able man, perceived, pretty early in his reign, that
his class could not maintain themselves unless their land were put upon a
commercial basis. Therefore he encouraged the judges, in the collusive
litigation known to us as Taltarum's Case, decided in 1472, to set aside
the Statute _De Donis_, by the fiction of the Common Recovery. The
concession, even so, came too late. The combination against them had grown
too strong for the soldiers to resist. Other classes evolved by
competition wanted their property, and these made Henry Tudor king of
England to seize it for them.

Henry's work was simple enough. After Bosworth, with a competent police
force at hand to execute process, he had only to organize a political
court, and to ruin by confiscatory fines all the families strong enough,
or rash enough, to maintain garrisoned houses. So Henry remodelled the
Star Chamber, in 1486, [Footnote: 3 Henry 7, C 1.] to deal with the
martial gentry, and before long a new type of intelligence possessed the

The feudal soldiers being disposed of, it remained to evict the monks, who
were thus left without their natural defenders. No matter of faith was
involved. Henry VIII boasted that in doctrine he was as orthodox as the
pope. There was, however, an enormous monastic landed property to be
redistributed This was confiscated, and appropriated, not to public
purposes, but, as usually happens in revolutions, to the use of the
astutest of the revolutionists. Among these, John Russell, afterward Earl
of Bedford, stood preeminent. Russell had no particular pedigree or
genius, save the acquisitive genius, but he made himself useful to Henry
in such judicial murders as that of Richard Whiting, Abbot of Glastonbury.
He received in payment, among much else, Woburn Abbey, which has since
remained the Bedford country seat, and Covent Garden or Convent Garden,
one of the most valuable parcels of real estate in London. Covent Garden
the present duke recently sold, anticipating, perhaps, some such
legislation as ruined the monks and made his ancestor's fortune. As for
the monks whom Henry evicted, they wandered forth from their homes
beggars, and Henry hanged all of them whom he could catch as vagrants. How
many perished as counterpoise for the peasant massacres and Lollard
burnings of the foregoing two centuries can never be known, nor to us is
it material. What is essential to mark, from the legal standpoint, is that
while this long and bloody revolution, of one hundred and fifty years,
displaced a favored class and confiscated its property, it raised up in
their stead another class of land monopolists, rather more greedy and
certainly quite as cruel as those whom they superseded. Also, in spite of
all opposition, labor did make good its claim to participate more or less
fully in the ownership of the property it cultivated, for while the
holding of the ancient villein grew to be well recognized in the royal
courts as a copyhold estate, villeinage itself disappeared.

Yet, unless I profoundly err, in the revolution of the sixteenth century,
the law somewhat conspicuously failed in its function of moderating
competition, for I am persuaded that competition of another kind
sharpened, and shortly caused a second civil war bloodier than the Wars of
the Roses.

Fifteen years before the convents were seized, Sir Thomas More wrote
_Utopia_, in whose opening chapter More has given an account of a
dinner at Cardinal Morton's, who, by the way, presided in the Star
Chamber. At this dinner one of the cardinal's guests reflected on the
thievish propensities of Englishmen, who were to be found throughout the
country hanged as felons, sometimes twenty together on a single gallows.
More protested that this was not the fault of the poor who were hanged,
but of rich land monopolists, who pastured sheep and left no fields for
tillage. According to More, these capitalists plucked down houses and even
towns, leaving nothing but the church for a sheep-house, so that "by covin
and fraud, or by violent oppression, ... or by wrongs and injuries," the
husbandmen "be thrust out of their own," and, "must needs depart away,
poor, wretched souls, men, women, husbands, wives, fatherless children,
widows." The dissolution of the convents accelerated the process, and more
and more of the weaker yeomanry were ruined and evicted. It is
demonstrated that the pauperization of the feebler rural population went
on apace by the passage of poor-laws under Elizabeth, which, in the Middle
Ages, had not been needed and, therefore, were unknown. This movement,
described by More, was the beginning of the system of enclosing common
lands which afterward wrought havoc among the English yeomen, and which, I
suppose, contributed more than any other single cause to the Great
Rebellion of the seventeenth century. In the mediæval village the owners
of small farms enjoyed certain rights in the common land of the community,
affording them pasturage for their cattle and the like, rights without
which small farming could not be made profitable. These commons the land
monopolists appropriated, sometimes giving some shadow of compensation,
sometimes by undisguised force, but on the whole compensation amounted to
so little that the enclosure of the commons must rank as confiscation.
Also this seizure of property would doubtless have caused a convulsion as
lasting as that which followed the insurrection of 1381, or as did
actually occur in Ireland, had it not been for an unparalleled
contemporaneous territorial and industrial expansion. Thorold Rogers
always insisted that between 1563, the year of the passage of the Statute
of Apprentices, [Footnote: 5 Eliz. c. 4.] and 1824, a regular conspiracy
existed between the lawyers "and the parties interested in its success ...
to cheat the English workman of his wages, ... and to degrade him to
irremediable poverty." [Footnote: _Work and Wages_, 398.] Certainly
the land monopolists resorted to strong measures to accumulate land, for
something like six hundred and fifty Enclosure Acts were passed between
1760, the opening of the Industrial Revolution, and 1774, the outbreak of
the American War. But without insisting on Rogers's view, it is not denied
that the weakest of the small yeomen sank into utter misery, becoming
paupers or worse. On the other hand, of those stronger some emigrated to
America, others, who were among the ablest and the boldest, sought fortune
as adventurers over the whole earth, and, like the grandfather of Chatham,
brought home from India as smugglers or even as pirates, diamonds to be
sold to kings for their crowns, or, like Clive, became the greatest
generals and administrators of the nation. Probably, however, by far the
majority of those who were of average capacity found compensation for the
confiscated commons in domestic industry, owning their houses with lots of
land and the tools of their trade. Defoe has left a charming description
of the region about Halifax in Yorkshire, toward the year 1730, where he
found the whole population busy, prosperous, healthy, and, in the main,
self-sufficing. He did not see a beggar or an idle person in the whole
country. So, favored by circumstances, the landed oligarchy met with no
effective resistance after the death of Cromwell, and achieved what
amounted to being autocratic power in 1688. Their great triumph was the
conversion of the House of Commons into their own personal property, about
the beginning of the eighteenth century, with all the guaranties of law.
In the Middle Ages the chief towns of England had been summoned by the
king to send burgesses to Westminster to grant him money, but as time
elapsed the Commons acquired influence and, in 1642, became dominant.
Then, after the Restoration, the landlords conceived the idea of
appropriating the right of representation, as they had appropriated and
were appropriating the common lands. Lord John Russell one day observed in
the House of Commons that the burgesses were originally chosen from among
the inhabitants of the towns they represented, but that, in the reign of
Anne, the landlords, to depress the shipping interest, opened the borough
representation to all qualified persons without regard to domicile.
[Footnote: 36 Hansard, Third Series, 548.] Lord John was mistaken in his
date, for the change occurred earlier, but he described correctly enough
the persistent animus of the landlords. An important part of their policy
turned on the so-called Determination Acts of 1696 and 1729, which defined
the franchises and which had the effect of confirming the titles of
patrons to borough property, [Footnote: Porritt, _Unreformed House of
Commons_, I, 9, _et seq._] thus making a seat in the House of
Commons an incorporeal hereditament fully recognized by law. On this point
so high an authority as Lord Eldon was emphatic. [Footnote: 12 Hansard,
Third Series, 396.] By the time of the American War the oligarchy had
become so narrow that one hundred and fifty-four peers and commoners
returned three hundred and seven members, or much more than a majority of
the House as then organized. [Footnote: Grey's motion for Reform, 30
_Parl. Hist._ 795 (A.D. 1793)] With the privileged class reduced to
these contemptible numbers a catastrophe necessarily followed. Almost
impregnable as the position of the oligarchy appeared, it yet had its
vulnerable point. As Burke told the Duke of Portland, a duke's power did
not come from his title, but from his wealth, and the landlords' wealth
rested on their ability to draw a double rent from their estates, one rent
for themselves, and another to provide for the farmer to whom they let
their acres. Evidently British land could not bear this burden if brought
in competition with other equally good land that paid only a single rent,
and from a pretty early period the landlords appear to have been alive to
this fact. Nevertheless, ocean freights afforded a fair protection, and as
long as the industrial population remained tolerably self-supporting,
England rather tended to export than to import grain. But toward 1760
advances in applied science profoundly modified the equilibrium of English
society. The new inventions, stimulated by steam, could only be utilized
by costly machinery installed in large factories, which none but
considerable capitalists could build, but once in operation the product of
these factories undersold domestic labor, and ruined and evicted the
population of whole regions like Halifax. These unfortunate laborers were
thrust in abject destitution into filthy and dark alleys in cities, where
they herded in masses, in misery and crime. In consequence grain rose in
value, so much so that in 1766 prayers were offered touching its price.
Thenceforward England imported largely from America, and in 1773
Parliament was constrained to reduce the duty on wheat to a point lower
than the gentry conceded again, until the total repeal of the Corn Laws in
1846. [Footnote: John Morley, _The Life of Richard Cobden_, 167, note
5.] The situation was well understood in London. Burke, Governor Pownall,
and others explained it in Parliament, while Chatham implored the
landlords not to alienate America, which they could not, he told them,
conquer, but which gave them a necessary market,--a market as he aptly
said, both of supply and demand. And Chatham was right, for America not
only supplied the grain to feed English labor, but bought from England at
least one third of all her surplus manufactures.

This brings us to the eighteenth century, which directly concerns us,
because the religious superstition, which had previously caused men to
seek in a conscious supreme energy the effective motor in human affairs,
had waned, and the problem presented was reduced to the operation of that
acceleration of movement by the progress of applied science which always
has been, and always must be, the prime cause of the quickening of
economic competition either as between communities or as between
individuals. And this is the capital phenomenon of civilization. For it is
now generally admitted that war is nothing but economic competition in its
acutest form. When competition reaches a certain intensity it kindles into
war or revolution, precisely as when iron is raised to a certain heat it
kindles into flame. And, for the purposes of illustration, possibly the
best method of showing how competition was quickened, and how it affected
adjacent communities during the eighteenth century, is to take navigation,
not only because navigation was much improved during the first three
quarters of that period, but because both England and France competed for
control in America by means of ships. It suffices to mention, very
succinctly, a few of the more salient advances which were then made.

Toward 1761 John Harrison produced the chronometer, by which longitude
could be determined at sea, making the ship independent in all parts of
the world. At the same time more ingenious rigging increased her power of
working to windward. With such advantages Captain Cook became a mighty
discoverer both in the southern and western oceans, charted New Zealand
and much else, and more important than all, in 1759 he surveyed the Saint
Lawrence and piloted ships up the river, of which he had established the
channel. Speaking of Cook naturally leads to the solution of the problem
of the transportation of men, sailors, soldiers, and emigrants, on long
voyages, thereby making population fluid. Cook, in his famous report, read
before the Royal Society in March, 1776, after his second voyage,
established forever the hygienic principles by observing which a ship's
company may safely be kept at sea for any length of time. Previously there
had always been a very high mortality from scurvy and kindred diseases,
which had, of course, operated as a very serious check to human movement.
On land the same class of phenomena were even more marked. In England the
Industrial Revolution is usually held to date from 1760, and, by common
consent, the Industrial Revolution is attributed altogether to applied
science, or, in other words, to mechanical inventions. In 1760 the flying-
shuttle appeared, and coal began to replace wood for smelting. In 1764
Hargreaves invented the spinning-jenny; in 1779 Crompton contrived the
mule; and in 1768 Watt brought the steam-engine to maturity. In 1761 the
first boat-load of coals sailed over the Barton viaduct, which James
Brindley built for the Duke of Bridgewater's canal, to connect Worsley
with Manchester, thus laying the foundation of British inland navigation,
which before the end of the century had covered England; while John
Metcalf, the blind road-builder, began his lifework in 1765. He was
destined to improve English highways, which up to that time had been
mostly impossible for wheeled traffic. In France the same advance went on.
Arthur Young described the impression made on him in 1789 by the
magnificence of the French roads which had been built since the
administration of Colbert, as well as by the canal which connected the
Mediterranean with the Atlantic.

In the midst of this activity Washington grew up. Washington was a born
soldier, engineer, and surveyor with the topographical instinct peculiar
to that temperament. As early as 1748 he was chosen by Lord Fairfax, who
recognized his ability, though only sixteen years old, to survey his vast
estate west of the Blue Ridge, which was then a wilderness. He spent three
years in this work and did it well. In 1753 Governor Dinwiddie sent
Washington on a mission to the French commander on the Ohio, to warn him
to cease trespassing on English territory, a mission which Washington
fulfilled, under considerable hardship and some peril, with eminent
success. Thus early, for he was then only twenty-two, Washington gained
that thorough understanding of the North American river system which
enabled him, many years afterward, to construct the Republic of the United
States upon the lines of least resistant intercommunication. And
Washington's conception of the problem and his solution thereof were, in
substance, this:

The American continent, west of the mountains and south of the Great
Lakes, is traversed in all directions by the Mississippi and its
tributaries, but we may confine our attention to two systems of
watercourses, the one to the west, forming by the Wisconsin and the main
arm of the Mississippi, a thoroughfare from Lake Michigan to the Gulf; and
the other by French Creek and the Allegheny, broken only by one easy
portage, affording a perfect means of access to the Ohio, a river which
has always operated as the line of cleavage between our northern and
southern States. The French starting from Quebec floated from Lake Erie
down the Allegheny to Pittsburgh, the English ascended the Potomac to
Cumberland, and thence, following the most practicable watercourses,
advanced on the French position at the junction of the Allegheny and the
Monongahela. There Washington met and fought them in 1754, and ever after
Washington maintained that the only method by which a stable union among
the colonies could be secured was by a main trunk system of transportation
along the line of the Ohio and the Potomac. This was to be his canal which
should bind north and south, east and west, together by a common interest,
and which should carry the produce of the west, north, and south, to the
Atlantic coast, where it should be discharged at the head of deep-water
navigation, and which should thus stimulate industry adjacent to the spot
he chose for the Federal City, or, in our language, for the City of
Washington. Thus the capital of the United States was to become the
capital of a true nation, not as a political compromise, but because it
lay at the central point of a community made cohesive by a social
circulation which should build it up, in his own words, into a capital, or
national heart, if not "as large as London, yet of a magnitude inferior to
few others in Europe." [Footnote: Washington to Mrs. Fairfax, 16 May,
1798; Sparks, xi, 233.] Maryland and Virginia abounded, as Washington well
knew, in coal and iron. His canal passing through this region would
stimulate industry, and these States would thus become the focus of
exchanges. Manufacturing is incompatible with slavery, hence slavery would
gradually and peacefully disappear, and the extremities of the Union would
be drawn together at what he described as "the great emporium of the
United States." To crown all, a national university was to make this
emporium powerful in collective thought.

Doubtless Grenville and Townshend had not considered the American problem
as maturely as had Washington, but nevertheless, most well-informed
persons now agree that Englishmen in 1763 were quite alive to the
advantages which would accrue to Great Britain, by holding in absolute
control a rich but incoherent body of colonies whose administrative centre
lay in England, and were as anxious that London should serve as the heart
of America as Washington was that America should have its heart on the

Accordingly, England attempted to isolate Massachusetts and pressed an
attack on her with energy, before the whole thirteen colonies should be
able to draw to a unity. On the other hand, Washington, and most sensible
Americans, resisted this attack as resolutely as might be under such
disadvantages, not wishing for independence, but hoping for some
compromise like that which Great Britain has since effected with her
remaining colonies. The situation, however, admitted of no peaceful
adjustment, chiefly because the imbecility of American administration
induced by her incapacity for collective thought, was so manifest, that
Englishmen could not believe that such a society could wage a successful
war. Nor could America have done so alone. She owed her ultimate victory
altogether to Washington and France.

It would occupy too much space for me to undertake to analyze, even
superficially, the process by which, after the Seven Years' War,
competition between America and England reached an intensity which kindled
the American Revolution, but, shortly stated, the economic tension arose
thus: As England was then organized, the estates of the English landlords
had to pay two rents, one to the landlord himself, the other to the farmer
who leased his land, and this it could not do were it brought into direct
competition with equally good land which paid but one profit, and which
was not burdened by an excessive cost of transportation in reaching its
market. As freights between England and America fell because of improved
shipping and the greater safety of the seas, England had to have
protection for her food and she proposed to get it thus: If competing
Continental exports could be excluded from America, and, at the same time,
Americans could be prevented from manufacturing for themselves, the
colonists might be constrained to take what they needed from England, at
prices which would enable labor to buy food at a rate which would yield
the double profit, and thus America could be made to pay the cost of
supporting the landlords. As Cobden afterward observed, the fortunes of
England have turned on American competition. A part of these fortunes were
represented by the Parliamentary boroughs which the landlords owned and
which were confiscated by the Reform Bill, and these boroughs were held by
Lord Eldon to be incorporeal hereditaments: as truly a part of the private
property of the gentry who owned them as church advowsons, or the like.
And the gentry held to their law-making power which gave them such a
privilege with a tenacity which precipitated two wars before they yielded;
but this was naught compared to the social convulsion which rent France,
when a population which had been for centuries restrained from free
domestic movement, burst its bonds and insisted on levelling the barriers
which had immobilized it.

The story of the French Revolution is too familiar to need recapitulation
here: indeed, I have already dealt with it in my _Social Revolutions_; but
the effects of that convulsion are only now beginning to appear, and these
effects, without the shadow of a doubt, have been in their ultimate
development the occasion of that great war whose conclusion we still

France, in 1792, having passed into a revolution which threatened the
vested interests of Prussia, was attacked by Prussia, who was defeated at
Valmy. Presently, France retaliated, under Napoleon, invaded Prussia,
crushed her army at Jena, in 1807, dismembered the kingdom and imposed on
her many hardships. To obtain their freedom the Prussians found it needful
to reorganize their social system from top to bottom, for this social
system had descended from Frederic William, the Great Elector of
Brandenburg (1640-1688), and from Frederic the Great (1740-1786), and was
effete and incapable of meeting the French onset, which amounted, in
substance, to a quickened competition. Accordingly, the new Prussian
constitution, conceived by Stein, put the community upon a relatively
democratic and highly developed educational basis. By the Emancipating
Edict of 1807, the peasantry came into possession of their land, while,
chiefly through the impulsion of Scharnhorst, who was the first chief of
staff of the modern army, the country adopted universal military service,
which proved to be popular throughout all ranks. Previous to Scharnhorst,
under Frederic the Great, the qualification of an officer had been birth.
Scharnhorst defined it as education, gallantry, and intelligence.
Similarly, Gneisenau's conception of a possible Prussian supremacy lay in
its army, its science, and its administration. But the civil service was
intended to incarnate science, and was the product of the modernized
university, exemplified in the University of Berlin organized by William
von Humboldt. Herein lay the initial advantage which Germany gained over
England, an advantage which she long maintained. And the advantage lay in
this: Germany conceived a system of technical education matured and put in
operation by the State. Hence, so far as in human affairs such things are
possible, the intelligence of Germans was liberated from the incubus of
vested interests, who always seek to use education to advance themselves.
It was so in England. The English entrusted education to the Church, and
the Church was, by the necessity of its being, reactionary and hostile to
science, whereas the army, in the main, was treated in England as a social
function, and the officers, speaking generally, were not technically
specially educated at all. Hence, in foreign countries, but especially in
Germany which was destined to be ultimately England's great competitor,
England laid herself open to rather more than a suspicion of weakness, and
indeed, when it came to a test, England found herself standing, for
several years of war, at a considerable disadvantage because of the lack
of education in those departments wherein Germany had, by the attack of
France, been forced to make herself proficient. This any one may see for
himself by reading the addresses of Fichte to the German nation, delivered
in 1807 and 1808, when Berlin was still occupied by the French. In fine,
it was with Prussia a question of competition, brought to its ultimate
tension by war. Prussia had no alternative as a conquered land but to
radically accelerate her momentum, or perish. And so, at the present day,
it may not improbably be with us. Competition must grow intenser.

With England the situation in 1800 was very different. It was less
strenuous. Nothing is more notable in England than to observe how, after
the Industrial Revolution began, there was practically no means by which a
poor man could get an education, save by educating himself. For instance,
in February 1815, four months before Waterloo, George Stephenson took out
a patent for the locomotive engine which was to revolutionize the world.
But George Stephenson was a common laborer in the mines, who had no state
instruction available, nor had he even any private institution at hand in
which the workmen whom he employed in practical construction could be
taught. He and his son Robert, had to organize instruction for themselves
and their employees independently. So it was even with a man like Faraday,
who began life as an errand boy, and later on who actually went abroad as
a sort of valet to Sir Humphry Davy. Davy himself was a self-made man. In
short, England, as a community, did little or nothing by education for
those who had no means, and but little to draw any one toward science. It
was at this precise moment that Germany was cast into the furnace of
modern competition with England, who had, because of a series of causes,
chiefly geographical, topographical, and mineralogical, about a century
the start of her. Against this advantage Germany had to rely exclusively
upon civil and military education. At first this competition by Germany
took a military complexion, and very rapidly wrought the complete
consolidation of Germany by the Austrian and the French wars. But this
phase presently passed, and after the French campaign of 1870 the purely
economic aspect of the situation developed more strenuously still, so much
so that intelligent observers, among whom Lord Roberts was conspicuous,
perceived quite early in the present century that the heat generated in
the conflict must, probably, soon engender war. Nor could it either
theoretically or practically have been otherwise, for the relations
between the two countries had reached a point where they generated a
friction which caused incandescence automatically. And, moreover, the
inflammable material fit for combustion was, especially in Germany,
present in quantity. From the time of Fichte and Scharnhorst downward to
the end of the century, the whole nation had learned, as a sort of gospel,
that the German education produced a most superior engine of economic
competition, whereas the slack education and frivolous amusements of
English civil and military life alike, had gradually created a society apt
to crumble. And it is only needful for any person who has the curiosity,
to glance at the light literature of the Victorian age, which deals with
the army, to see how dominant a part such an amusement as hunting played
in the life of the younger officers, especially in the fashionable
regiments, to be impressed with the soundness of much of this German

Assuming, then, for the sake of argument, that these historical premises
are sound, I proceed to consider how they bear on our prospective

This is eminently a scientific age, and yet the scientific mind, as it is
now produced among us, is not without tendencies calculated to cause
uneasiness to those a little conversant with history or philosophy. For
whereas no one in these days would dream of utilizing prayer, as did Moses
or Saint Hugh, as a mechanical energy, nevertheless the search for a
universal prime motor goes on unabated, and yet it accomplishes nothing to
the purpose. On the contrary, the effect is one which could neither be
expected nor desired. Instead of being an aid to social coordination, it
stimulates disintegration to a high degree as the war has shown. It has
stimulated disintegration in two ways. First, it has enormously quickened
physical movement, which has already been discussed, and secondly, it has
stimulated the rapidity with which thought is diffused. The average human
being can only absorb and assimilate safely new forms of thought when
given enough time for digestion, as if he were assimilating food. If he be
plied with new thought too rapidly he fails to digest. He has a surfeit,
serious in proportion to its enormity. That is to say, his power of
drawing correct conclusions from the premises submitted to him fails, and
we have all sorts of crude experiments in sociology attempted, which end
in that form of chaos which we call a violent revolution. The ordinary
result is infinite waste fomented by fallacious hopes; in a word,
financial disaster, supplemented usually by loss of life. The experience
is an old one, and the result is almost invariable.

For example, during the Middle Ages, men like Saint Hugh and Peter the
Venerable, and, most of all, Saint Francis, possessed by dreams of
attaining to perfection, by leading lives of inimitable purity, self-
devotion, and asceticism, inspired the community about them with the
conviction that they could work miracles. They thereby, as a reward, drew
to the Church they served what amounted to being, considering the age they
lived in, boundless wealth. But the effect of this economic phenomenon was
far from what they had hoped or expected. Instead of raising the moral
standard of men to a point where all the world would be improved, they so
debased the hierarchy, by making money the standard of ambition within it,
that, as a whole, the priesthood accepted, without any effective protest,
the fires of the Council of Constance which consumed Huss, and the
abominations of the Borgias at Rome. Perfectly logically, as a corollary
to this orgy of crime and bestiality, the wars of the Reformation swept
away many, many thousands of human beings, wasted half of Europe, and only
served to demonstrate the futility of ideals.

And so it was with the Puritans, who were themselves the children of the
revolt against social corruption. They fondly believed that a new era was
to be ushered in by the rule of the Cromwellian saints. What the
Cromwellian saints did in truth usher in, was the carnival of debauchery
of Charles II, in its turn to be succeeded by the capitalistic competitive
age which we have known, and which has abutted in the recent war.

Man can never hope to change his physical necessities, and therefore his
moral nature must always remain the same in essence, if not in form. As
Washington truly said, "The motives which predominate most in human
affairs are self-love and self-interest," and "nothing binds one country
or one state to another but interest."

If, then, it be true, that man is an automatic animal moving always along
the paths of least resistance toward predetermined ends, it cannot fail to
be useful to us in the present emergency to mark, as distinctly as we can,
the causes which impelled Germany, at a certain point in her career, to
choose the paths which led to her destruction rather than those which, at
the first blush, promised as well, and which seemed to be equally as easy
and alluring. And we may possibly, by this process, expose certain
phenomena which may profit us, since such an examination may help us to
estimate what avenues are like to prove ultimately the least resistant.

Throughout the Middle Ages North Germany, which is the region whereof
Berlin is the capital, enjoyed relatively little prosperity, because
Brandenburg, for example, lay beyond the zone of those main trade routes
which, before the advent of railways, served as the arteries of the
eastern trade. Not until after the opening of the Industrial Revolution in
England, did that condition alter. Nor even then did a change come rapidly
because of the inertia of the Russian people. Nevertheless, as the Russian
railway system developed, Berlin one day found herself standing, as it
were, at the apex of a vast triangle whose boundaries are, roughly,
indicated by the position of Berlin itself, Petersburg, Warsaw, Moscow,
Kiev, and the Ukraine. Beyond Berlin the stream of traffic flowed to
Hamburg and thence found vent in America, as a terminus. Great Britain,
more especially, demanded food, and food passed by sea from Odessa. Hence
Russia served as a natural base for Germany, taking German manufactures
and offering to Germany a reservoir capable of absorbing her redundant
population. Thus it had long been obvious that intimate relations with
Russia were of prime importance to Germany since all the world could
perceive that the monied interests of Russia must more and more fall into
German hands, because of the intellectual limitations of the Russians.
Also pacification to the eastward always was an integral part of
Bismarck's policy. Notwithstanding which other influences conflicted with,
and ultimately overbalanced, this eastern trend in Germany.

For many thousand years before written history began, the economic capital
of the world, the seat for the time being of opulence and of splendor, and
at once the admiration and the envy of less favored rivals, has been a
certain ambulatory spot upon the earth's surface, at a point where the
lines of trade from east to west have converged. And always the marked
idiosyncrasy of this spot has been its unrest. It has constantly
oscillated from east to west according as the fortunes of war have
prevailed, or as the march of applied science has made one or another
route of transportation cheaper or more defensible.

Thus Babylon was conquered and robbed by Rome, and Rome, after a long
heyday of prosperity, yielded to Constantinople, while Constantinople lost
her supremacy to Venice, Genoa, and North Italy, following the sack of
Constantinople by the Venetians in 1202 A.D. The Fairs of Champaign in
France, and the cities of the Rhine and Antwerp were the glory of the
Middle Ages, but these great markets faded when the discovery of the long
sea voyage to India threw the route by the Red Sea and Cairo into
eccentricity, and caused Spain and Portugal to bloom. Spain's prosperity
did not, however, last long. England used war during the sixteenth century
as an economic weapon, pretty easily conquering. And since the opening of
the Industrial Revolution, at least, London, with the exception of the few
years when England suffered from the American revolt of 1776, has assumed
steadily more the aspect of the great international centre of exchanges,
until with Waterloo her supremacy remained unchallenged. It was this
brilliant achievement of London, won chiefly by arms, which more than any
other cause impelled Germany to try her fortunes by war rather than by the
methods of peace.

Nor was the German calculation of chances unreasonable or unwarranted. For
upwards of two centuries Germany had found war the most profitable of all
her economic ventures; especially had she found the French war of 1870 a
most lucrative speculation. And she felt unbounded confidence that she
could win as easy a triumph with her army, over the French, in the
twentieth as in the nineteenth century. But, could she penetrate to Paris
and at the same time occupy the littoral of the Channel and Antwerp, she
was persuaded that she could do to the commerce of England what England
had once done to the commerce of Spain, and that Hamburg and Berlin would
supplant London. And this calculation might have proved sound had it not
been for her oversight in ignoring one essential factor in the problem.
Ever since North America was colonized by the English, that portion of the
continent which is now comprised by the Republic of the United States, had
formed a part of the British economic system, even when the two fragments
of that system were competing in war, as has occurred more than once. And
as America has waxed great and rich these relations have grown closer,
until of recent years it has become hard to determine whether the centre
of gravity of this vast capitalistic mass lay to the east or to the west
of the Atlantic. One fact, however, from before the outset of this war had
been manifest, and that was that the currents of movement flowed with more
power from America to England than from America to Germany. And this had
from before the outbreak of hostilities affected the relations of the
parties. Should Germany prevail in her contest with England, the result
would certainly be to draw the centre of exchanges to the eastward, and
thereby to throw the United States, more or less, into eccentricity; but
were England to prevail the United States would tend to become the centre
toward which all else would gravitate. Hence, perfectly automatically,
from a time as long ago as the Spanish War, the balance, as indicated by
the weight of the United States, hung unevenly as between Germany and
England, Germany manifesting something approaching to repulsion toward the
attraction of the United States while Great Britain manifested favor. And
from subsequent evidence, this phenomenon would seem to have been thus
early developed, because the economic centre of gravity of our modern
civilization had already traversed the Atlantic, and by so doing had
decided the fortunes of Germany in advance, in the greater struggle about
to come. Consider attentively what has happened. In April, 1917, when the
United States entered the conflict, Germany, though it had suffered
severely in loss of men, was by no means exhausted. On the contrary, many
months subsequently she began her final offensive, which she pushed so
vigorously that she penetrated to within some sixty miles of Paris. But
there, at Château Thierry, on the Marne, she first felt the weight of the
economic shift. She suddenly encountered a division of American troops
advancing to oppose her. Otherwise the road to Paris lay apparently open.
The American troops were raw levies whom the Germans pretended to despise.
And yet, almost without making a serious effort at prolonged attack, the
Germans began their retreat, which only ended with their collapse and the
fall of the empire.

A similar phenomenon occurred once before in German history, and it is not
an uncommon incident in human experience when nature has already made, or
is on the brink of making, a change in the seat of the economic centre of
the world. In the same way, when Constantine won the battle of the Milvian
Bridge, with his men fighting under the standard of the Labarum, it was
subsequently found that the economic capital of civilization had silently
migrated from the Tiber to the Bosphorus, where Constantine seated himself
at Constantinople, which was destined to be the new capital of the world
for about eight hundred years. So in 1792, when the Prussians and the
French refugees together invaded France, they never doubted for an instant
that they should easily disperse the mob, as they were pleased to call it,
of Kellermann's "vagabonds, cobblers, and tailors." Nevertheless the
Germans recoiled on the slope of Valmy from before the republican army,
almost without striking a blow, nor could they be brought again to the
attack, although the French royalists implored to be allowed to storm the
hill alone, provided they could be assured of support. Then the retreat of
the Duke of Brunswick began, and this retreat was the prelude to the
Napoleonic empire, to Austerlitz, to Jena, to the dismemberment and to the
reorganization of Prussia and to the evolution of modern Germany: in
short, to the conversion of the remnants of mediæval civilization into the
capitalistic, industrial, competitive society which we have known. And all
this because of the accelerated movement caused by science.

If it be, indeed, a fact that the victory of Château Thierry and the
subsequent retreat of the German army together with the collapse of the
German Empire indicate, as there is abundant reason to suppose that they
may, a shift in the world's social equilibrium, equivalent to the shift in
Europe presaged by Valmy, or to that which substituted Constantinople for
Rome and which was marked by the Milvian Bridge, it follows that we must
prepare ourselves for changes possibly greater than our world has seen
since it marched to Jerusalem under Godfrey de Bouillon. And the tendency
of those changes is not so very difficult, perhaps, roughly to estimate,
always premising that they are hardly compatible with undue optimism.
Supposing, for example, we consider, in certain of their simpler aspects,
some of the relations of Great Britain toward ourselves, since Great
Britain is not only our most important friend, assuming that she remain a
friend, but our most formidable competitor, should competition strain our
friendship. Also Great Britain has the social system nearest akin to our
own, and most likely to be influenced by the same so-called democratic
tendencies. For upwards of a hundred years Great Britain has been, and she
still is, absolutely dependent on her maritime supremacy for life. It was
on that issue she fought the Napoleonic wars, and when she prevailed at
Trafalgar and Waterloo she assumed economic supremacy, but only on the
condition that she should always be ready and willing to defend it, for it
is only on that condition that economic supremacy can be maintained. War
is the most potent engine of economic competition. Constantinople and
Antwerp survived and flourished on the same identical conditions long
before the day of London. She must keep her avenues of communication with
all the world open, and guard them against possible attack. So long as
America competed actively with England on the sea, even for her own trade,
her relations with Great Britain were troubled. The irritation of the
colonies with the restrictions which England put upon their commerce
materially contributed to foment the revolution, as abundantly appears in
the famous case of John Hancock's sloop Liberty, which was seized for
smuggling. So in the War of 1812, England could not endure the United
States as a competitor in her contest with France. She must be an ally,
or, in other words, she must function as a component part of the British
economic system, or she must be crushed. The crisis came with the attack
of the Leopard on the Chesapeake in 1807, after which the possibility of
maintaining peace, under such a pressure, appeared, in its true light, as
a phantasm. After the war, with more or less constant friction, the same
conditions continued until the outbreak of the Rebellion, and then Great
Britain manifested her true animus as a competitor. She waged an
unacknowledged campaign against the commerce of the United States,
building, equipping, arming, manning, and succoring a navy for the South,
which operated none the less effectively because its action was officially
repudiated. And in this secret warfare England prevailed, since when the
legislation of the United States has made American competition with
England on the sea impossible. Wherefore we have had peace with England.
We have supplied Great Britain with food and raw materials, abandoning to
England the carrying trade and an undisputed naval supremacy. Consequently
Great Britain feels secure and responds to the full force of that economic
attraction which makes America naturally, a component part of the British
economic system. But let American pretensions once again revive to the
point of causing her to attempt seriously to develop her sea power as of
yore, and the same friction would also revive which could hardly, were it
pushed to its legitimate end, eventuate otherwise than in the ultimate
form of all economic competition.

If such a supposition seems now to be fanciful, it is only necessary to
reflect a moment on the rapidity with which national relations vary under
competition, to be assured that it is real. As Washington said, the only
force which binds one nation to another is interest. The rise of Germany,
which first created jealousy in England, began with the attack on Denmark
in 1864. Then Russia was the power which the British most feared and with
whom they were on the worst of terms. About that period nothing would have
seemed more improbable than that these relations would be reversed, and
that Russia and England would jointly, within a generation, wage fierce
war on Germany. We are very close to England now, but we may be certain
that, were we to press, as Germany pressed, on British maritime and
industrial supremacy, we should be hated too. It is vain to disguise the
fact that British fortunes in the past have hinged on American
competition, and that the wisest and most sagacious Englishmen have been
those who have been most alive to the fact. Richard Cobden, for example,
was one of the most liberal as he was one of the most eminent of British
economists and statesmen of the middle of the nineteenth century. He was a
democrat by birth and education, and a Quaker by religion. In 1835, just
before he entered public life, Cobden visited the United States and thus
recorded his impressions on his return:

"America is once more the theatre upon which nations are contending for
mastery; it is not, however, a struggle for conquest, in which the victor
will acquire territorial dominion--the fight is for commercial supremacy,
and will be won by the cheapest.... It is from the silent and peaceful
rivalry of American commerce, the growth of its manufactures, its rapid
progress in internal improvements, ... it is from these, and not from the
barbarous policy or the impoverishing armaments of Russia, that the
grandeur of our commercial and national prosperity is endangered."
[Footnote: John Morley, _The Life of Richard Cobden_, 107, 108.]

It is not, however, any part of my contention that nature should push her
love of competition so far as necessarily to involve us in war with Great
Britain, at least at present, for nature has various and most unlooked-for
ways of arriving at her ends, since men never can determine, certainly in
advance, what avenue will, to them, prove the least resistant. They very
often make an error, as did the Germans, which they can only correct by
enduring disaster, defeat, and infinite suffering. Nature might very well,
for example, prefer that consolidation should advance yet another step
before a reaction toward chaos should begin.

This last war has, apparently, been won by a fusion of two economic
systems which together hold and administer a preponderating mass of fluid
capital, and which have partially pooled their resources to prevail. They

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