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Freeland by Theodor Hertzka

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more to tell you of my experiences both inside and outside of the house of
the Neys.


Eden Vale: July 18, ----.

To-day I take up again the report of our experiences here, which I began a
week ago. You will readily imagine that my father and I were both full of
curiosity to see the town. Guessing this, Mr. Ney next morning invited us
to join him and his son on a tour round Eden Vale. The carriage was already
waiting! It was a light and elegant vehicle with steel wheels like those of
a velocipede, and with two seats each comfortably accommodating two
persons. As we, in response to David's signal, exhibited some hesitation
and made no effort to get into the vehicle, David perceived that we
missed--the horses! He explained to us that in Freeland, and particularly
in the towns, the use of animals to draw vehicles was for many reasons
given up in favour of mechanical power, which was safer, cleaner, and also
cheaper. This vehicle was a kind of _draisine_, and the driver, whose place
is on the right side of the front seat, has nothing to do but to press
lightly downwards upon a small lever at his right hand, in order to set the
machine in motion, the speed depending upon the strength of the pressure.
The upward motion of the lever slacks the speed or brings the vehicle to a
standstill; while a turning to right or left is effected by a corresponding
rotary motion of the same lever. The motive power is neither steam nor
electricity, but the elasticity of a spiral spring, which is not
inseparably attached to the vehicle, but can be inserted or removed at

'The cylindrical box, a little over half a yard long and about eight inches
deep, here over the front axle,' demonstrated my friend, 'contains the
spiral spring. Before being used the spring is wound up and that very
tightly--an operation which is effected by steam-engines in the workshops
of the Association for Transport, the energy present in the steam being
thus converted into the energy of the tension of the spring. The power thus
laid up in the spring is transferred to the axle by a very simple
mechanism, and is sufficient to make the wheel revolve ten thousand times
even if the vehicle is tolerably heavily loaded; and as the wheel has a
circumference of about six feet and a half, the spring will carry the
vehicle a distance of about twelve miles and a half. The speed depends, on
the one hand, upon the load in the vehicle, and on the other hand upon the
amount of pressure upon the regulating lever. The maximum speed attained by
these ordinary _draisines_, on a good road and with a moderate load, is two
and a half revolutions--that is, about thirteen feet--in the second, or a
little over eleven miles an hour. But we have what are called racing
carriages with which we can attain nearly twice that speed. The force of
the spring is exhausted when the wheel has made ten thousand revolutions,
which in slow travelling occurs in from one and a quarter to one and a half
hours. On longer or more rapid journeys provision must therefore be made
for sufficient reserve force, and this is done in various ways. One can
take with him one or more springs ready wound up, for carrying which
surplus boxes are attached to the back of the vehicle. When the spring is
wound up and the escapement secured, it will retain its energy for years.
But as every spring weighs at least nearly eighty pounds, this mode of
providing reserve power has its limits. Besides, the changing of the
springs is no little trouble. As a rule, a second method is preferred. The
Transport Association has a number of station-houses for other purposes, on
all the more frequented roads. These stations are indicated by flags, and
travellers in the _draisines_ can halt at these and get their springs
changed. Every station always has on hand a number of wound-up springs; and
so travellers can journey about at any time without let or hindrance,
particularly if they are prudent enough to furnish themselves with a
reserve spring for emergencies. Such stations exist not merely in and
around Eden Vale, but in and around all the towns in Freeland as well as on
all the more frequented country roads. And as the different associations
carrying on the same industry all over the country were shrewd enough to
adopt the same measure for all their springs, it is possible to travel
through the whole of Freeland certain of finding everywhere a relay of
springs. But if one would be absolutely sure, he can bespeak the necessary
springs for any specified route through the agency of his own association;
and in this case nothing would prevent him from leaving the highways and
taking the less frequented byways so far as they are not too rough and
steep--a contingency which, in view of the perfect development of the
Freeland system of roads, is not to be feared except among the most remote
mountain-paths. In this way, two years ago, our family went through the
whole of the Aberdare and Baringo districts, travelling a distance of above
a thousand miles, and doing the whole journey most comfortably in a

At last, with a shake of the head, we consented to get into the automatic
carriage. My father sat in front with Mr. Ney, and David and I behind; a
pressure by Ney upon the lever, and the machine noiselessly moved off
towards the Eden lake. The banks of this lake--except on the north-western
side, where quays for the merchant traffic stretch for more than three
miles--are bordered by a fourfold avenue of palm-trees, and are laid out in
marble steps reaching down to the water, except where occupied by piers
covered with lines of rails. At these piers the passengers are landed from
the steamers which navigate the lake in all directions, but which, in order
not to pollute the balmy air, are provided with perfectly effective
smoke-consuming apparatus. Even the discordant shriek of the steam-whistle
has been superseded in Freeland. For the Eden lake is only incidentally a
seat of traffic; its chief character is that of an enormous piece of water
for pleasure and ornament. A large portion of the shore is taken up by the
luxuriously furnished bathing-establishments which stretch far out into the
lake and are frequented by thousands at all times in the day. These baths
are for the most part surrounded by shady groves, and near them are to be
found the theatres, opera-houses, and concert-halls of Eden Vale, to the
number of sixteen, which we on this occasion saw only on the outside. Our
hosts told us that the lake looked most charming by moonlight or under the
electric light, and that therefore we would visit it in the course of a few

We then turned away from the lake, and went to the heights which rose in a
half-crescent form around Eden Vale. Here we perceived at once, even at a
distance of nearly two miles, a gigantic building which must constantly
excite the admiration of even those who are accustomed to it, and which
fairly bewildered us strangers. It is as unparalleled in size as it is
incomparable in the proportions and harmonious perfection of all its parts.
It gives at once the impression of overpowering majesty and of fairy-like
loveliness. This wonderful structure is the National Palace of Freeland,
and was finished five years ago. It is the seat of the twelve supreme
Boards of Administration and the twelve Representative Bodies. It is built
entirely of white and yellow marble, surpasses the Vatican in the area it
covers, and its airy cupolas are higher than the dome of St. Peter's. That
it could be built for 9,500,000£ is explained only by the fact that all the
builders as well as all the best artists of the country pressed to be
employed in some way in its erection. And--so David told me--the motive
that prompted the artists and builders to do this was not patriotism, but
pure enthusiasm for art. Freeland is rich enough to pay any price for its
National Palace, and no one had a thought of lessening the cost of the
building; but the peculiar and impressive beauty of the work as seen in the
design had fascinated all artists. David described the feverish excitement
with which the commissioners appointed to decide upon the designs sent in
announced that a plan had been presented, by a hitherto unknown young
architect, which was beyond description; that a new era had been opened in
architecture, a new style of architecture invented which in nobility of
form rivalled the best Grecian, and in grandeur the most massive Egyptian
monuments. And all who saw the design shared in this enthusiasm. The
competitors--there were not less than eighty-four, for there had already
been a great deal of beautiful building in Eden Vale--without exception
withdrew their designs and paid voluntary homage to the new star that had
risen in the firmament of art.

We were loth to turn away and look at any other buildings. Not until we had
three times been round the National Palace did we consent to leave it. I
will spare you the catalogue of the numberless handsome buildings which we
hurriedly passed by; I will only say that I was quite bewildered by the
number and magnificence of the public buildings devoted to different
scientific and artistic purposes. The academies, museums, laboratories,
institutions for experiment and research, &c., seemed endless; and one
could see at a glance that they were all endowed with extravagant
munificence. I must confine myself to a description of the largest of the
three public libraries of Eden Vale, the interior of which we were invited
to inspect. I was at once struck with the great number of visitors, and
next with the fact that only a part of the magnificent rooms were devoted
exclusively to reading, other rooms being filled with guests who were
enjoying ices or coffee, or with readers of both sexes who were smoking, or
again with people talking and laughing. 'It seems,' said I to Mr. Ney,
'that in Freeland the libraries are also _cafés_ and conversation
_salons_.' He admitted this, and asked if I supposed that the number of
serious readers was affected by this arrangement. As I hesitated to answer,
he told me that at first a considerable party in Freeland saw in this
combination of reading with recreative intercourse a desecration of
science. But all opposition was given up when it was seen that the
possibility of alternating study with cheerful conversation very largely
increased the number of readers. Of course the Association for Providing
Refreshments--for this, and not the library executive, provide the
refreshments--was not allowed to enter a certain number of reading-rooms,
and in certain of the rooms where refreshments and smoking were allowed
talking was forbidden. Thus people visited the library either to study, to
amuse themselves with a book, or to converse with acquaintances, according
to their mood. The magnificent airy rooms, particularly those with large
verandahs communicating with the central pillared court laid out with
flower-beds and shrubs, formed, even in the heat of mid-day, a pleasant
rendezvous; so that in the public life of Eden Vale the libraries played
somewhat the same _rôle_ as the Agora in that of ancient Athens or the
Forum in that of ancient Rome. At times there were as many as 5,000 persons
of both sexes assembled in this building: at least, our host assured us, as
many as that might be found in the two smaller libraries at the northern
and western ends of the city; and anyone who cared to take the trouble to
examine the eighty-two rooms of the building would probably find that quite
one half of those present made a considerable use of the 980,000 volumes
which the institution already possessed.

After we had passed numberless public buildings, the purposes of some of
which I could scarcely understand, as our 'civilised' Europe possesses
nothing like them--I mention, as an example, merely the Institute for
Animal Breeding Experiments, the work of which is, by experiment and
observation, to establish what influence heredity, mode of life, and food
exercise upon the development of the human organism--it occurred to me that
we had not passed a hospital. As I was curious to see how the
world-renowned Freeland benevolence, which for years past had richly
furnished half the hospitals of the world with means, dealt with the sick
poor in its own country, I asked David to take me to at least one hospital.
'I can show you a hospital as little as I can a prison or a barracks, in
Eden Vale, for the very simple reason that we do not possess one in all
Freeland,' was his answer.

'The absence of prisons and barracks I can understand; we knew that you
Freelanders can manage without criminal laws or a military administration;
but--so I thought--sickness must exist here: that has nothing to do with
your social institutions!'

'Your last sentence I cannot unconditionally assent to,' said Mr. Ney,
joining in our conversation. 'Even diseases have decreased under the
influence of our social institutions. It is true they have not
disappeared--we have sick in Freeland--but no poor sick, for we have no
poor at all, either sick or sound. Therefore we do not possess those
reservoirs of the diseased poor which in other countries are called
"hospitals." We certainly have institutions in which sick persons can, at
good prices, procure special and careful treatment, and they are largely
patronised, particularly in cases requiring surgical operations; but they
are private institutions, and they resemble both in their constitution and
their management your most respectable sanatoria for "distinguished

I was satisfied with this explanation so far; but now another doubt
suggested itself. Without public hospitals there could be no proper medical
study, I thought; and anatomy in particular could not be studied without
the corpses of the poor for dissecting purposes. But Mr. Ney removed this
doubt by assuring me that the so-called clinical practice of Freeland
medical men was in many respects far superior to that of the West, and even
anatomical studies did not suffer at all. It had become the practice, both
in Eden Vale and in all Freeland university towns, for medical students in
their third year to assist practising physicians, whom, with the permission
of the patients and under pledge of behaving discreetly, they accompanied
in their visits to the sick, of course only in twos, or at most in threes,
if the patient required the assistance of several persons. As all the
physicians approved of this practice, which secured to them very valuable
gratuitous assistance of various kinds, and as the patients also for the
same reason profited much by it, the people rapidly became accustomed to
it. In difficult cases these assistants were a great boon to the sick, to
whom they ministered with indefatigable care, and whose kindness in
allowing them to be present they thus repaid by their skilful attention.
When you reflect that in Freeland only _one_ commodity is dear and scarce,
the labour of man, it can easily be estimated how valuable, as a rule, such
assistance is both to the physician and to the patient. And in this way on
the average the young medical men learn more than is learnt by hospital
practice. They do not see so many sick persons, but those whom they do see
they see and treat more fully and more considerately. As a layman, he--Mr.
Ney--could not perhaps give sufficiently exhaustive proof of the fact, but
he knew that men who had been trained in hospitals admitted that
physicians educated as they were in Freeland became better diagnosticians
than hospital students. As to anatomical studies, he said, in the
first place, that preparations and models afforded--certainly very
expensive--substitutes for many school dissections, and in numerous
instances were to be preferred; and, in the next place, that the scarcity
of subjects for dissection was by no means so extreme in Freeland as I
seemed to think. It was true there were no poor who, against their own will
and that of their friends, could be subjected to the dissecting-knife; but
on this very account there was to be found here no such foolish prejudice
against dissection as was elsewhere entertained by even the so-called
cultured classes. The medical faculty received great numbers of subjects;
and it could scarcely be a detriment to study that the students were
compelled to treat these subjects with more respect, and to restore them in
a short time to their surviving friends for cremation.

David further told me that in Freeland the physician is not paid by the
patient, but is a public official, as is also the apothecary. The study of
medicine is nevertheless as free in the universities here as any other
study, and no one is prevented from practising as a physician because he
may not have undergone an examination or passed through a university. This
is the inevitable consequence of the principles of the commonwealth. On the
other hand, however, the commonwealth exercises the right of entrusting the
care of health and sanitation to certain paid officials, as in every other
kind of public service. These appointments are made, according to the
public needs, by the head of the Education Department, who, like all other
heads of departments, is responsible to his own representative board--or
parliament of experts, as we may call it. It is the practice for the
professors to propose the candidates, who, of course, undergo many severe
examinations before they are proposed. Anyone who fails to get proposed
_may_ practise medicine, but as the public knows that the most skilful are
always chosen with the utmost conscientiousness conceivable, this liberty
to practise is of no value. Anyone who thus fails to get proposed, and has
neither the energy nor the patience to attempt to wipe off his disgrace at
the next opportunity, simply hangs his medical vocation on a nail and turns
to some other occupation. The elected physicians are not allowed to receive
any payment whatever from their patients. At first their salary is
moderate, scarcely more than the average earnings of a worker--that is,
1,800 hour-equivalents per annum; but it is increased gradually, as in the
cases of the other officials, and the higher sanitary officials are taken
from among the physicians. As the payments are controlled by the
departmental parliament, and as this is elected by the persons who in one
way or another are interested in this branch of the government, the best
possible provision is made to prevent the physicians from assuming an
unbecoming attitude towards their patients. No one is obliged to call in
any one particular physician. The physicians live in different parts of
each town, as conveniently distributed as possible; but everyone calls in
the physician he likes best; and as physicians are naturally elected as far
as possible upon the Representative Board for Sanitation--whose sittings,
it may be remarked in passing, are generally very short--the number of
votes which the representatives receive is the best evidence of their
relative popularity. It goes without saying that foreign physicians also,
if they are men of good repute and do not object, have the same right as
the Freeland physicians to submit their qualifications to the proposing
body of professors. It should be added that in the larger towns, besides
the ordinary physicians and surgeons, specialists are also appointed for
certain specific diseases.

We had now been in our carriage for four hours, and were tired of riding,
as was natural, notwithstanding the easy motion and comfort of the vehicle.
The Neys proposed that we should send the carriage home and return on foot,
to which we assented. We left the carriage at one of the stations of the
Transport Association, and walked, under the shady alleys with which every
street in Eden Vale is bordered. We now had leisure to examine more closely
the elegant private houses, which, while they all showed the Eden Vale
style of architecture--half-Moorish half-Grecian in its character--were for
the rest alike neither in size nor in embellishment. The most conspicuous
charm of these villas consists in their wonderfully lovely gardens, with
their choice trees, their surpassingly beautiful flowers, the white marble
statuary, the fountains, and the many tame animals--especially monkeys,
parrots, brightly coloured finches, and all sorts of song-birds--which were
sporting about in them among merrily shouting children. We were astonished
at the extraordinary cleanness of the streets; and the chief reason of this
was said to be that, since the invention of automatic carriages, no draught
animals kicked up dust or dropped filth in the streets of Freeland towns.

'Are there no horses here?' I asked; and I was told that there were a great
number, and of the noblest breed; but they were used only for riding
outside of the town, among the neighbouring meadows, groves, and woods.

'But that must be a very expensive luxury here,' I said. 'The horse itself
and its keep may be cheap enough; but, as human labour is the dearest thing
in Freeland, I cannot understand how any Freeland income can support the
cost of a groom. Or do such servants receive exceptionally low wages here?'

'The last would be scarcely possible among us,' answered Mr. Ney, smiling;
'for who would be willing to act as groom in Freeland? We are obliged to
give those who attend to horses the same average payment as other workers;
and if, for the seven saddle, horses which I keep in the stables of the
Transport Association, I had to pay for servants after the scale of Western
lands, the cost would be more than the whole of my income. But the riddle
is easily solved: the work in the stables is done by means of machinery, so
that on an average one man is enough for every fifty horses. You shake your
heads incredulously! But when you have soon in how few minutes a horse can
be groomed and made to look as bright as a mirror by our enormous
cylindrical brushes set in rotation by mechanism; in how short a time our
scouring-machines and water-service can cleanse the largest stable of dung
and all sorts of filth; and how the fodder is automatically supplied to the
animals, you will not only understand how it is that we can keep horses
cheaply, but you will also perceive that in Freeland even the "stablemen"
are cultured gentlemen, as deserving of respect and as much respected as
everybody else.'

Conversing thus we reached home, where a hearty luncheon was taken, and
some matters of business attended to. After the dinner described in my
last, our hosts and we went again to the lake, and visited first the large
opera-house, where, on that day, the work of a Freeland composer was given.
This piece was not new to us, for it is one of the many Freeland
compositions which have been well received and are often performed in other
countries. But we were astonished at the peculiar--yet common to all
Freeland theatres--arrangement of the auditorium. The seats rise in an
amphitheatre to a considerable height; and the roof rests upon columns,
between which the outer air passes freely. As many as ten thousand persons
can find abundant room in the larger of these theatres, without an
accumulation of vitiated air or any excessive heat.

The performance was excellent, the appointments in every respect brilliant;
yet the price--which was not varied by any difference of rank--was
ridiculously low according to Western notions. A seat cost sixpence--that
is in the large opera-house; the other theatres are considerably cheaper.
The undertakers are in all cases the urban communes, and the performers, as
well as the managers, act as communal officials. The theatres are all
conducted on the economic principle that the cost and maintenance of the
building fall upon the communal budget; and the door-money has to cover
merely the hire of the performers and the stage expenses.

I learnt from David that Eden Vale possessed, besides the grand opera, also
a dramatic opera, and four theatres, as well as three concert-halls, in
which every evening orchestral and chamber music and choruses are to be
heard. But as a Freeland specialty he mentioned five different theatres for
instruction, in which astronomical, archaeological, geological,
palaeontological, physical, historical, geographical, natural history--in
short, all conceivable scientific lectures were delivered, illustrated by
the most comprehensive display of plastic representative art. The lectures
are written by the most talented specialists, delivered by the most
eloquent orators, and placed on the stage by the most skilful engineers and
decorators. This kind of theatre is the most frequented; as a rule, the
existing accommodation is not sufficient, hence the commune is building two
new lecture-houses, which will be opened in the course of a few months. The
grandeur of these presentations--as I learnt for myself the next
evening--is really astounding; and though the young generally compose the
greater part of the audience, adults also attend in large numbers.

When we left the theatre, the Neys engaged one of the gondolas which an
association keeps there in readiness, and which is propelled by a screw
worked by an elastic spring; and we steered out into the lake. The lake
was lit up as brilliantly as if it were day, by elevated electric lights,
with reflectors all round the shore. We had that evening the special
pleasure of hearing a new cantata by Walter, the most renowned composer
of Freeland, performed for the first time by the members of the Eden
Vale Choral Society. This society, which generally chooses the Eden
lake as the scene of its weekly performances, makes use on such occasions
of a number of splendid barges, the cost of whose--often positively
fairylike--appointments is defrayed by the voluntary contributions of its
members and admirers.

Was it the influence of the very peculiar scenery, or was it the beauty of
the composition itself?--certainly the effect which this cantata produced
upon me was overwhelming. On the way home I confessed to David that I had
never before been so struck with what I might call the transcendental power
of music as during the performance on the lake. I seemed to hear the
World-spirit speaking to my soul in those notes; and I seemed to understand
what was said, but not to be able to translate it into ordinary Italian or
English. At the same time I expressed my astonishment that so young a
community as that of Freeland should have produced not merely notable works
in all branches of art, but in two--architecture and music--works equal to
the best examples of all times.

Mrs. Ney was of opinion that this was simply a necessary consequence of the
general tendency of the Freeland spirit. Where the enjoyment of life and
leisure co-exist the arts must flourish, since the latter are merely
products of wealth and noble leisure. And it could be easily explained how
it was that architecture and music were the first of the arts to develop.
Architecture necessarily and at once received a strong stimulus from the
needs of a commonwealth of a novel and comprehensive character; and in the
case of Freeland the influence of the grand yet charming nature of the
country was unmistakable. On the other hand, music is the earliest of all
forms of art--that to which the genius of man first turns itself whenever a
new era of artistic creation is introduced by new modes of feeling and

'From the circumstance that your greatest master has to-day given the
public a gratuitous first performance of his new composition, one might
almost conclude that in this country the composers, or at any rate some of
them, are also public officials. Is it so?' asked my father.

Mr. Ney said it was not so, and added that composers, poets, authors, and
creative artists in general, when they produced anything of value, could
with certainty reckon upon making a very good income from the sale of their
works. As all Freeland families spent large sums in purchasing books,
journals, musical compositions, and works of art of all kinds, the
conditions of the art-world could not be correctly measured by Western
standards. The artistic productions sold during the previous year had
realised 300,000,000£. Of this sum, however, the greater part represented
the cost of reproductions, particularly in the case of printed works; yet
the author of an only tolerably popular composition, book, or essay was
sure of a very considerable profit. Editions numbering hundreds of
thousands were here not at all remarkable; and editions of millions were by
no means rare. For instance, Walter had hitherto composed in all six larger
and eighteen smaller works, and for the sale of them the Musical Publishing
Association had, up to the end of the last year, paid him 21,000£. In fact,
it could be positively asserted that an author of any kind, who produced
only one exceptionally good work, could live very comfortably upon the
proceeds of its sale. It had even happened that the public libraries had
bought 50,000 copies of a single book. Freeland possesses 3,050 such
institutions, and the larger of them are sometimes compelled to keep many
hundred copies of books which are much sought after. When the interest of
the reading public diminishes, the libraries withdraw a part of these
copies, and there are yearly large auctions of such withdrawn books,
without, however, diminishing the sales of the publishing associations.
Moreover, the authors of Freeland are continuously and profitably kept busy
by thousands of journals of all conceivable kinds which, so far as they
offer what is of value, have a colossal sale. Capable architects,
sculptors, painters can always reckon upon brilliant successes, for the
demand for good and original plans and beautiful statues and pictures is
always greater than the supply. The _grand_ art, it is true, finds
employment only in public works, but here, as we have seen, it finds it on
a most magnificent and most profitable scale. In Freeland they attach
extraordinary importance to the cultivation of the beautiful and the noble;
they hold the grand art to be one of the most effectual means of ethical
culture; and as the community is rich enough to pay for everything that it
thinks desirable, the public outlay for monumental buildings and their
adornment finds its limits only in the capacities of the creative artists.
And the happy organisation of the departments which have these things in
charge has--hitherto at any rate--preserved the Freelanders from serious
blunders. Not everything that has been produced at the public cost is
worthy of being accepted as perfect--many works of art thus produced have
been thrown into the shade by better ones; but even those subsequently
surpassed creations were at the time of their production the best which the
existing art could produce, and to ask for more would be unjust. And I
could not avoid perceiving that the population of Freeland are not merely
proud of their public expenditure in art, but that they thoroughly enjoy
what they pay for; and in this respect they are comparable to the ancient
Athenians, of whom we are told that, with solitary exceptions, they all had
an intense appreciation of the marvellous productions of their great

'With such a universal taste for the beautiful among your people,' said my
father to Mrs. Ney, 'I am surprised that so little attention is given to
the adornment of the most beautiful embellishment of Freeland--its queenly
women. Certainly their dress is shapely, and I have nowhere noticed such a
correct taste in the choice of the most becoming forms and colours; but of
actual ornaments one sees none at all. Here and there a gold fastener in
the hair, here and there a gold or silver brooch on the dress--that is all;
precious stones and pearls seem to be avoided by the ladies here. What is
the reason of this?'

'The reason is,' answered Mrs. Ney, 'that the sole motive which makes
ornaments so sought after among other nations is absent from us in
Freeland. Vanity is native here also, among both men and women; but it does
not find any satisfaction in the display of so-called "valuables," things
whose only superiority consists in their being dear. Do you really believe
that it is the _beauty_ of the diamond which leads so many of our pitiable
sisters in other parts of the world to stake happiness and honour in order
to get possession of such glittering little bits of stone? Why does the
woman who has sold herself for a genuine stone thrust aside as unworthy of
notice the imitation stone which in reality she cannot distinguish from the
real one? And do you doubt that the real diamond would itself be degraded
to the rank of a valueless piece of crystal which no "lady of taste" would
ever glance at, if it by any means lost its high price? Ornaments do not
please, therefore, because they are beautiful, but because they are dear.
They flatter vanity not by their brilliancy, but by giving to the owner of
them the consciousness of possessing in these scarcely visible trifles the
extract of so many human lives. "See, here on my neck I wear a talisman for
which hundreds of slaves have had to put forth their best energies for
years, and the power of which could lay even you, who look upon the pretty
trifle with such reverent admiration, as a slave at my feet, obedient to
all my whims! Look at me: I am more than you; I am the heiress who can
squander upon a trifling toy what you vainly crave to appease your hunger."
That is what the diamond-necklace proclaims to all the world; and _that is
why_ its possessor has betrayed and made miserable perhaps both herself and
others, merely to be able to throw it as her own around her neck. For note
well that ornaments adorn only those to whom they belong; it is mean to
wear borrowed ornaments--it is held to be improper; and rightly so, for
borrowed ornaments lie--they are a crown which gives to her who wears it
the semblance of a power which in reality does not belong to her.

The power of which ornaments are the legitimate expression--the power over
the lives and the bodies of others--does not exist in Freeland. Anyone
possessing a diamond worth, for example, 600£, would here have at his
disposal a year's income from one person's labour; but to buy such a
diamond and to wear it because it represented that value would, in view of
our institutions, be to make oneself ridiculous; for he who did it would
simply be investing in that way the profits of _his own labour_. Value for
value must he give to anyone whose labour he would buy for himself with his
stone; and, instead of reverent admiration, he would only excite compassion
for having renounced better pleasures, or for having put forth profitless
efforts, in order to acquire a paltry bit of stone. It would be as if the
owner of the diamond announced to the world: "See, whilst you have been
enjoying yourselves or taking your ease, I have been stinting myself and
toiling in order to gain this toy!" In everybody's eyes he would appear not
the more powerful, but the more foolish: the stone, whose fascination lies
purely in the supposition that its owner belongs to the masters of the
earth who have power over the labour of others, and _therefore_ can amuse
themselves by locking up the product of so much sweating toil in useless
trinkets--the stone can no longer have any attraction for him. He who buys
such a stone in Freeland is like a man who should set his heart upon
possessing a crown which was no longer the symbol of authority.'

'Then you do not admit that ornaments have any real adorning power? You
deny that pearls or diamonds add materially to the charms of a beautiful
person?' asked my father in reply.

'That I do, certainly,' was the answer. 'Not that I dispute their
decorative effect altogether; only I assert that they do not produce the
same and, as a rule, not so good an effect as can be produced by other
means. But, in general, the toy, which has no essential appropriateness to
the human body, does not adorn, but, in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred,
rather disfigures, its proud possessor. That in other parts of the world a
lady decked with diamonds pleases you gentlemen better than one decked with
flowers is due to the same cause that makes you--though you may be staunch
Republicans--see more beauty in a queen than in her rivals, though at the
bar of an impartial aesthetics the latter would be judged the more
beautiful. A certain something, a peculiar witchery, surrounds her--the
witchery (excuse the word) of servility; this it is, and not your aesthetic
judgment, which cheats you into believing that the diamond lends a higher
charm than the rose-wreath. Let the rose become the symbol of authority to
be worn only by queens, and you would without any doubt find that roses
were the adornment best fitted to reveal true majesty.'

'But the precious metals'--thus I interposed--'are not so completely
abjured in Freeland as precious stones and pearls. Is there no
inconsistency here?'

'I think not,' answered Mrs. Ney. 'We make use of any material in
proportion to its beauty and suitability. If we find gems or pearls really
useful for decorative purposes, and sufficiently beautiful when thus used
to compensate in their aesthetic attractiveness for their cost, we make use
of them without hesitation. But that does not apply to jewels as personal
ornaments: the natural rose is, under all circumstances, a better adornment
than its imitation in rubies and diamonds. The precious metals, on the
other hand, have certain properties--durability, lustre, and extraordinary
malleability--which in many cases make it imperative to employ them for
decorative purposes. Nevertheless, even their employment is very limited
among us. These studs here, and the fillet in my daughter's hair, are not
of pure gold, but are made of an alloy the principal ingredient in which is
steel, and which owes its colour and immunity from rust to gold, without
being as costly as silver. No one wishes to pass off such steel-gold for
real gold; we use this material simply because we think it beautiful and
suitable, and would at once exchange it for another which was cheaper and
yet possessed the same properties. We use pure gold only exceptionally. Our
table-plate, which you perhaps thought to be silver, is made of an alloy
which owes to silver nothing but its resistance to most of the acids. If
you examine the plate more closely you will see that this silver-alloy
differs from pure silver both in being of a lighter colour and in being
less weighty. In short, we use the noble metals never _because_ of, but now
and then _in spite of_, their costliness.

'I might say that we women of Freeland are vain, because our desire to
please is more pronounced than that of our Western sisters. We are not
content with being beautiful; we wish to appear beautiful, and the men do
all they can to stimulate us in this endeavour; only I must ask you to make
this distinction--we do not wish to make a show, but to please. Therefore
to a Freeland woman dress and adornment are never ends in themselves, but
means to an end. In Europe a lady of fashion often disfigures herself in
the cruellest manner because she cares less about the effect produced by
her person than about that produced by her clothes, her adornment; she does
not choose the dress that best brings out her personal charms, but the most
costly which her means will allow her to buy. We act differently. Our own
aesthetic taste preserves us from the folly of allowing a dressmaker to
induce us to wear garments different from those which we think or know will
best bring out the good points of our figure. Besides, we can always avail
ourselves of the advice of artistically cultured men. No painter of renown
would disdain to instruct young women how to choose their toilette; in
fact, special courses of lectures are given upon this important subject.
Naturally there cannot be any uniform fashion among us, since the
composition, the draping, and the colours of the clothing are made to
harmonise with the individuality of the wearer. To dress the slender and
the stout, the tall and the short, the blonde and the brunette, the
imposing and the _petite_, according to the same model would be regarded
here as the height of bad taste. A Freeland woman who wishes to please
would think it quite as ridiculous if anyone advised her to change a mode
of dressing or of wearing her hair which she had proved to be becoming to
her, merely because she had been seen too often dressed in this style. We
cannot imagine that, in order to please, it is best to disfigure oneself in
as many ways as possible; but we hold firmly to the belief--and in this we
are supported by the men--that the human form should be covered and veiled
by clothing, but not distorted and disfigured.'

We gallantly declared that we thoroughly agreed with these principles of
the toilette. The truth is, that a stranger in Freeland, accustomed to the
eccentricities of Western fashions, at first thinks the artistically
designed costumes of the women a little too simple, but he ultimately comes
to find a return to the Western caricatures simply intolerable. You will
remember that in Rome David assured us that European fashions gave him
exactly the same impression as those of the African savages. After being
here scarcely a week, I begin to entertain the same opinion.

But I see that I must conclude without having exhausted my matter.
Promising to give next time what I have omitted here,




Eden Vale: July 28, ----

I could not keep my promise to write again soon, because last week was
taken up with a number of excursions which I made with David on horseback,
or by means of automatic _draisines_, into the environs of Eden Vale and to
the neighbouring town of Dana, and by rail to the shores of the Victoria
Nyanza. In this way I have got to know quite a number of Freeland towns, as
well as several scattered industrial and agricultural colonies. I have seen
the charming places embosomed in shady woods in the Aberdare range, where
extensive metallurgical industries are carried on; Naivasha city, the
emporium of the leather industry and the export trade in meat, and whose
rows of villas reach round the Naivasha lake, stretching a total distance
of some forty miles; the settlements among the hills to the north of the
Baringo lake, with their numerous troops of noble horses, herds of cattle
and swine, flocks of sheep, multitudes of tame elephants, buffaloes, and
zebras, their gold and silver mines; and Ripon, the centre of the mill
industry and of the Victoria Nyanza trade. In all the towns I found the
arrangements essentially the same as in Eden Vale: electric railways in the
principal streets, electric lighting and heating, public libraries,
theatres, &c. But what surprised me most was that even the rural
settlements, with very few exceptions, were not behind the towns in the
matter of comforts and conveniences. Electric railways placed them in
connection with the main lines. Wherever five or six villas--for the villa
style prevails universally in Freeland--stand together, they have electric
lighting and heating; even the remotest mountain-valleys are not without
the telegraph and the telephone; and no house is without its bath. Wherever
a few hundred houses are not too widely scattered a theatre is built for
them, in which plays, concerts, and lectures are given in turn. There is
everywhere a superfluity of schools; and if a settler has built his house
too far from any neighbours for his children to be able to attend a school
near home, the children are sent to the house of a friend, for in Freeland
nothing is allowed to stand in the way of the education of the young.

Of course I have not neglected the opportunity of observing the people of
Freeland at their work, both in the field and in the factory. And it was
here that I first discovered the greatness of Freeland. What I saw
everywhere was on an overpoweringly enormous scale. The people of the
Western nations can form as faint a notion of the magnitude of the
mechanical contrivances, of the incalculable motive force which the powers
of nature are here compelled to place at the disposal of man, as they can
of the refined, I might almost say aristocratic, comfort which is
everywhere associated with labour. No dirty, exhausting manual toil; the
most ingenious apparatus performs for the human worker everything that is
really unpleasant; man has for the most part merely to superintend his
never-wearying iron slaves. Nor do these busy servants pain the ears of
their masters by their clatter, rattle, and rumbling. I moved among the
pounding-mills of Lykipia, which prepare the mineral manure for the local
Manure Association by grinding it between stone-crushers with a force of
thousands of hundredweights, and there was no unpleasantly loud sound to be
heard, and not an atom of dust to be seen. I went through iron-works in
which steel hammers, falling with a force of 3,000 tons, were in use. The
same quiet prevailed in the well-lit cheerful factory; no soiling of the
hands or faces of the workers disturbed the impression that one here had to
do with gentlemen who were present merely to superintend the smithy-work of
the elements. In the fields I saw ploughing and sowing: again the same
appearance of the lord of the creation who, by the pressure of a finger,
directed at will the giants Steam and Electricity, and made them go whither
and on what errand he thought fit. I was _under_ the ground, in the
coal-pits and the iron-mines, and there I did not find it different: no
dirt, no exhaustive toil for the man who looked on in gentlemanly calm
whilst his obedient creatures of steel and iron wrought for him without
weariness and without murmuring, asking of him nothing but that he should
guide them.

During these same excursions I learnt more about a number of the
recreations in which the Freelanders specially indulge. With David I
visited the numerous points on the Kenia and the Aberdare mountains from
which one obtains the most charming views. To these points every Sunday the
young people resort for singing and dancing, and as a rule they are treated
to some surprise which the Recreation Committee--a standing institution in
every Freeland town--has organised in celebration of some event or other.
To me the most surprising was the Ice-Festival on the great skating-pool on
the Kenia glacier. Five years before, the united Recreation Committees of
Eden Vale, Dana City, and Upper Lykipia had converted a plateau nearly
14,000 feet above the sea, and covering 5,900 acres, into a pool fed by
water from the adjoining large icefield. From the end of May until the
middle of August there are always at this elevation severe night frosts,
which quickly convert the glacier-water of the pool, already near the
freezing-point, into a solid floor of ice. After surrounding this
magnificent skating-place with luxurious warmable waiting, dressing, and
refreshment rooms, and connecting it with the foot of the mountain by means
of an inclined railway, the united committees handed over their work to the
public for gratuitous use. The large expense of construction was easily
defrayed by voluntary contributions, and the cost of maintenance was more
than covered by the donations of the numerous visitors. During the whole of
the cool season the large ice-pool is covered by skaters, very many of whom
are women, not merely from the Kenia district--that is, from a radius of
sixty or seventy miles--but also from all parts of Freeland. Even from the
shores of the Indian Ocean and of the great lakes men and women who are
fond of this healthy amusement come to participate in the brilliant
ice-festivals. There is at present a project on foot to build at the
skating-place a magnificent hotel, which shall enable the lovers of this
graceful and invigorating exercise to spend the night at an elevation of
nearly 14,000 feet above the sea. Moreover, the great popularity of the
Kenia ice-pool has given occasion to another similar undertaking, which is
nearly completed on the Kilimanjaro, at a level 1,640 feet higher than the
ice-pool of the Kenia. Another projected ice-pool on the Mountains of the
Moon, near the Albert Nyanza, has not yet been begun, as the local
committee have not yet found a site sufficiently high and large.

But all these arrangements for recreation did not excite my admiration and
astonishment so much as the buoyant and--in the best sense of the
word--childlike delight and gladness with which the Freelanders enjoyed not
merely their pleasures, but their whole life. One gets the impression
everywhere that care is unknown in this country. That ingenuous
cheerfulness, which among us in Europe is the enviable privilege of the
early years of youth, here sits upon every brow and beams from every eye.
Go through any other civilised country you please, you will seldom, I might
say never, find an adult upon whose countenance untroubled happiness,
buoyant enjoyment of life, are to be read; with a careful, most often with
an anxious, expression of face men hurry or steal past us, and if there is
anywhere to be seen a gaiety that is real and not counterfeited it is
almost always the gaiety of recklessness. With us it is only the 'poor in
spirit' who are happy; reflection seems to be given us only that we may
ponder upon the want and worry of life. Here for the first time do I find
men's faces which bear the stamp of both conscious reflection and
untroubled happiness. And this spectacle of universal happy contentedness
is to me more exhilarating than all else that there is to be seen here. One
breathes more freely and more vigorously; it is as if I had for the first
time escaped from the oppressive atmosphere of a stifling prison into the
freedom of nature where the air was pure and balmy. 'Whence do you get all
this reflected splendour of sunny joyousness?' I asked David.

'It is the natural result of the serene absence of care which we all
enjoy,' was his answer. 'For it is not a mere appearance, it is a reality,
that care is unknown in this country, at least that most hideous, most
degrading of all care--how to get daily bread. It is not because we are
richer, not even because we are all well-off, but because we--that is,
every individual among us--possess the absolute certainty of continuing to
be well-off. Here one _cannot_ become poor, for everyone has an inalienable
right to his share of the incalculable wealth of the community. To-morrow
lies serene and smiling before us; it cannot bring us evil, for the
well-being of even the last among us is guaranteed and secured by a power
as strong and permanent as the continuance of our race upon this
planet--the power of human progress. In this respect we are really like
children, whom the shelter and protection of the parental house save from
every material care.'

'And are you not afraid,' I interposed, 'that this absence of care will
eventually put an end to that upon which you rely--that is, to progress?
Hitherto at least want and care have been the strongest incentives to human
activity; if these incentives are weakened, if the torturing anxiety about
to-morrow ceases, then will progress be slackened, stagnation and then
degeneration will follow, and together with the consequent inevitable
impoverishment want and care will come again. I must admit that none of
this has so far shown itself among you; but this does not remove my fears.
For at present you in Freeland are enjoying the fruits of the progress of
others. What has been thought out and invented under the pressure of the
want and sorrow of unnumbered centuries, what is still being thought out
and invented under the pressure of the want and sorrow of untold millions
outside the boundaries of your own country--it is all this which makes your
present happiness possible. But how will it be when what you are striving
after has happened, when the whole human race shall have been converted to
your principles? Do you believe that want can completely disappear from off
the face of the earth without taking progress with it?'

'We not only believe that,' was his answer, 'but we know it; and everyone
who does not allow obsolete prejudices to distort his judgment of facts
must agree with us. To struggle for existence is the inexorable command,
upon the observance of which nature has made progress--nay, the very being
of every living thing--to depend: this we understand better than any other
people in the world. But that this struggle must necessarily be prompted by
hunger we deny; and we deny also that it is necessarily a struggle between
individuals of the same species. Even we have to struggle for existence;
for what we require does not fall into our lap without effort and labour.
Yet not _opposed_ but _side by side_ do we stand in our struggle; and it is
on this very account that the result is never doubtful to us. When we are
referred to the conflict to be found everywhere in the animal world, we can
appeal to the fact that man possesses other means of struggling than do his
fellow-creatures which stand on a lower level, and can work out his
evolution in a different manner. But to plead this would be to resort to a
poor and unnecessary subterfuge, for in reality the reverse is the case.
Want and material care are--with very rare exceptions--no natural
stimulants to fight in the competitive struggle for existence. By far the
larger number of animals never suffer lack, never feel any anxiety whatever
about the morrow; and yet from the beginning all things have been subjected
to the great and universal law of progress. Very rarely in the animal world
is there the struggle of antagonism between members of the same species;
the individuals live together in peace and generally without antagonism,
and it is against foes belonging to other species that their weapons are
directed. It is against lions and panthers that the gazelle fights for
existence by its vigilance and speed, not against its own fellows; lions
and panthers employ their cunning and strength against the gazelle and the
buffalo, and not against other lions and panthers. Conflict among ourselves
and against members of our own species was and is the privilege of the
human race. But this sad privilege has sprung from a necessity of
civilisation. In order to develop into what we have become we have been
obliged to demand from nature more than she is in a position voluntarily to
offer us; and for many thousands of years there has been no way of
obtaining it but that of satisfying our higher needs by a system of mutual
plunder and oppression. And in this way want became a stimulus to conflict
in the human struggle for existence. Note, therefore, that the fighting of
man against man, with material care as the sharpest spur to the conflict,
was not and is not the simple transference to human society of a law
everywhere prevalent in nature, but an exceptional distortion of this great
natural law under the influence of a certain phase of human development. We
suffered want not because nature compelled us to do so, but because we
robbed each other; and we robbed each other because with civilisation there
arose a disproportion between our requirements and our natural means of
satisfying them. But now that civilisation has attained to control over the
forces of nature, this disproportion is removed; in order to enjoy plenty
and leisure we no longer need to exploit each other. Thus, to put an end to
the conflict of man with man, and at the same time of material want, is not
to depart from the natural form of the struggle for existence, but in
reality to return to it. The struggle is not ended, but simply the
unnatural form of it. In its endeavour to raise itself above the level of
the merely animal nature, humanity was betrayed into a long-enduring strife
with nature herself; and this strife was the source of all the unspeakable
torture and suffering, crime and cruelty, the unbroken catalogue of which
makes up the history of mankind from the first dawn of civilisation until
now. But this dreadful strife is now ended by a most glorious victory; we
have become what we have endeavoured for thousands of years to become, a
race able to win from nature plenty and leisure for all its members; and by
this very re-acquired harmony between our needs and the means of satisfying
them have we brought ourselves again into unison with nature. We remain
subject to nature's unalterable law of the struggle for existence; but
henceforth we shall engage in this conflict in the same manner as all other
creatures of nature--our struggle will be an external, not an internal one,
not against our fellow-men nor prompted by the sting of material want.'

'But,' I asked, 'what will prompt men to struggle in the cause of progress
when want has lost its sting?'

'Singular question! You show very plainly how difficult it is to understand
things which contradict the views we have drunk in with our mother's milk,
and which we have been accustomed to regard as the foundation-stones of
order and civilisation, even when those views most manifestly contradict
the most conspicuous facts. As if want had ever been the sole, or even the
principal, spring of human progress! The strife with nature, in which the
disproportion between the needs of civilisation and the ability to satisfy
those needs led mankind through a long period of transition from barbarism
to a state of culture worthy of human nature, had, it is true this
result--viz. that the struggle for existence assumed not only its natural
forms, but also forms which were unnatural, and which did violence to the
real and essential character of most of nature's offspring; yet these
latter forms never attained to absolute dominion. In fact, as a rule nature
has shown herself stronger than the human institutions which were in
conflict with her. During the whole of the history of civilisation we owe
the best achievements of the human intellect not to want, but to those
other impulses which are peculiar to our race, and which will remain so as
long as that race dominates the earth. Thrice blind is he who will not see
this! The great thinkers, inventors, and discoverers of all ages and all
nations have not been spurred on by hunger; and in the majority of cases it
may be asserted that they thought and speculated, investigated and
discovered, not _because_ they were hungry, but _in spite_ of it. Yet--so
it may be objected--those men were the elect of our race; the great mass of
ordinary men can be spurred on only by vulgar prosaic hunger to make the
best use of what the elect have discovered and invented. But those who
judge thus are guilty of a most remarkable act of oversight. Only those who
are strongly prejudiced can fail to see that it is just the well-to-do, the
non-hungry, who most zealously press forward. Hunger is certainly a
stimulus to labour, but an unnerving and pernicious one; and those who
would point triumphantly to the wretches who can be spurred on to activity
only by the bitterest need, and sink into apathy again as soon as the pangs
of hunger are stilled, forget that it is this very wretchedness which is
the cause of this demoralisation. The civilised man who has once acquired
higher tastes will the more zealously strive to gratify those tastes the
less his mental and physical energy has been weakened by degrading want,
and the less doubtful the result of his effort is. For all unprejudiced
persons must recognise the most effective stimulus to activity not in
hopeless want, but in rational self-interest cheerfully striving after a
sure aim. Now, _our_ social order, far from blunting this self-interest,
has in reality for the first time given it full scope. You may therefore be
perfectly certain of this: the superiority over other nations in
inventiveness and intellectual energy which you have already noted among us
is no accidental result of any transitory influences, but the necessary
consequence of our institutions. Every nation that adopts these
institutions will have a similar experience. Just as little as we need the
stimulus of the pangs of want to call forth those inventions and
improvements which increase the amount and the variety of our material and
intellectual enjoyments, so little will progress he checked in any other
nation which, like us, finds itself in the happy position of enjoying the
fruits of progress.'

I was deeply moved as my friend thus spoke like an inspired seer. 'When I
look at the matter closely,' I said, 'it seems as if, according to the
contrary conception, there can be progress only where it is to all intents
and purposes useless. For the fundamental difference between you
Freelanders and ourselves lies here--that you enjoy the fruits of progress,
while we merely busy ourselves with the Danaidean vessel of
over-production. No one doubts that Stuart Mill was right when he
complained that all our discoveries and inventions had not been able to
alleviate the sorrow and want of a single working-man; nevertheless, what
terrible folly it would be to believe that that very want was necessary in
order that further discoveries and inventions might be made!

'But,' I continued, 'to return to the point at which we started: you have
not yet fully explained to me all the astonishing, heart-quickening
cheerfulness which prevails everywhere in this land of the happy. Want and
material care are here unknown: admitted. But there are outside of Freeland
hundreds of thousands, nay millions, who are free from oppressive care: why
do they not feel real cheerfulness? Compare, for instance, our respective
fathers. Mine is unquestionably the richer of the two, and yet what deep
furrows care has engraved upon his forehead, what traces of painful
reflection there are about his mouth; but what a gladsome light of eternal
youth shines from every feature of your father! I might almost imagine that
the air which one breathes in this country has a great deal to do with
this; for the folds and wrinkles in my father's features of which I have
just spoken have in the fortnight of our stay here grown noticeably less,
and I myself feel brighter and happier than ever I felt before.'

'You have forgotten the most important thing,' replied David--'the
influence of public feeling upon the feelings of the individual. Man is a
social being whose thoughts and feelings are derived only in part from his
own head and his own heart, whilst a not less important part of them--I
might say the fundamental tone which gives colour and character to the
individual's intellectual and emotional life--has its source in the social
surroundings for the time being. Everyone stands in a not merely external,
but also an internal, indissoluble relation of contact with those who are
around him; he imagines that he thinks and feels and acts as his own
individuality prompts, but he thinks, feels, and acts for the most part in
obedience to an external influence from which he cannot escape--the
influence of the spirit of the age which embraces all heads, all hearts,
and all actions. Had the enlightened humane freethinker of to-day been born
three centuries ago, he would have persecuted those who differed from him
upon the most subtile, and, as he now thinks, ridiculous points of belief,
with the same savage hatred as did all others who were then living. And had
he seen the light yet a few centuries earlier--say, among the pagan Saxons
of the days of Charlemagne--human sacrifices would have shocked him as
little as they did the other worshippers of the goddess Hertha. And the man
who, brought up as a pagan Saxon in the forests of the Weser and the Elbe,
would have held it honourable and praiseworthy to make the altar-stone of
Hertha smoke with the blood of slaughtered captives, would in that same age
have felt invincible horror at such a deed, had he--with exactly the same
personal capabilities--by accident been born in imperial Byzantium instead
of among German barbarians. At Byzantium, on the other hand, he would have
indulged in lying and deceit without scruple, whilst, if surrounded by the
haughty German heroes, he--in other respects the same man from head to
foot--would have been altogether incapable of such weak vices. Since this
is so--since the virtues and vices, the thoughts and the feelings, of those
of our contemporaries among whom we are born and brought up give the
fundamental tone to our own character, it is simply impossible that the
members of a community, maddened by a ceaseless fear of hunger, should pass
their lives in undisturbed serenity. Where an immense majority of the
people never know what the morrow may bring forth--whether it may bring a
continuance of miserable existence or absolute starvation--under the
dominion of a social order which makes one's success in the struggle for
existence depend upon being able to snatch the bread out of the mouth of a
competitor, who in his turn is coveting the bread we have, and is striving
with feverish anxiety to rob us of it--in a society where everyone is
everyone's foe, it is the height of folly to talk of a real gladsome
enjoyment of life. No individual wealth protects a man from the sorrow that
is crushing the community. The man who is a hundredfold a millionaire, and
who cannot himself consume the hundredth part of the interest of his
interest, even he cannot escape the sharp grip of the horrid hunger-spectre
any more than the most wretched of the wretched who wanders, roofless and
cold and hungry, through the streets of your great cities. The difference
between the two lies not in the brain and in the heart, but simply in the
stomach; the second simply endures physical suffering over and above the
psychical and intellectual suffering of the first. But the psychical and
mental suffering is permanent, and therefore more productive of results.
Look at him, your Croesus plagued with a mad hunger-fever; how breathlessly
he rushes after still greater and greater gains; how he sacrifices the
happiness and honour, the enjoyment and peace, of himself and of those who
belong to him to the god from whom he looks to obtain help in the universal
need--the god Mammon. He does not possess his wealth, he is possessed by
it. He heaps estate upon estate, imagining that upon the giddy summit of
untold millions he shall obtain security from the sea of misery which rages
horridly around him. Nay, so blinded is the fool that he does not perceive
how it is merely this ocean of universal misery that fills him with horror;
but he rather cherishes the sad delusion that his dread will become less if
but the abyss below be deeper and farther removed from his giddy seat
above. And let it not be supposed that by this superstitious dread of
hunger merely the foolishness of individuals is referred to. The whole age
is possessed by it, and the best natures most completely so. For the more
sensitive are the head and the heart, the more potent is the influence
exerted by the common consciousness of universal want in contrast with
transitory individual comfort. Only absolutely cold-hearted egoists or
perfect idiots form here and there an exception; they alone are able really
to enjoy their wealth undisturbed by the hunger-spectre which is strangling
millions of their brethren.

'This, Carlo, is what imprints upon the faces of all of you such
Hippocratic marks of suffering. You can never give yourselves up to the
unrestrained enjoyment of life so long as you breathe an atmosphere of
misery, sorrow, and dread. And it is this community of feeling, which
connects every man with his surroundings, that enables you here, only just
arrived among a society to which this misery, this sorrow, this dread, are
totally unknown, to enjoy that cheerful serenity of thought and emotion
which is the innate characteristic of every healthy child of nature. And
we, who have lived for a generation in the midst of this community from
which both misery and the fear of misery are absent--we have almost
completely got rid of that gloomy conception of human destiny of which we
were the victims so long as the Old World was about us with its
self-imposed martyrdom. I use the limiting expression "almost" with
reference to those among us who had reached adult manhood before they came
to Freeland. We younger ones, who were born and have grown up here without
having ever seen misery, differ in this respect very considerably from our
elders who in their youth saw the Medusa-head of servility face to face. It
is five-and-twenty years since my father and mother, who were both among
the first arrivals at the Kenia, escaped from the mephitic atmosphere of
human misery, the degradation of man by man. But the recollection of the
horrors among which they formerly lived, and which they shared without
being able to prevent, will never quite fade out of their minds, and their
hearts can never be fully possessed by that godlike calm and cheerful
serenity which is the natural heritage of their children, whose hands have
never been stained by the sweat and blood of enslaved fellow-men, and who
have never had to appropriate for their own enjoyment the fruit of the
labour of others--have never stood before the cruel alternative of being
either the hammer or the anvil in the struggle for existence.'

You know me well enough to imagine what an overpowering impression these
words would make upon me. But I recalled by accident at this very moment a
conversation I had had with the elder Ney about savings and insurance in
Freeland, and it occurred to me that these were both things that did not
harmonise with the absence of care of which his son had just been speaking.
So I asked David, 'Why do men save in a country in which everyone can
reckon with certainty upon a constantly increasing return for his industry,
and in which even those who are incapable of work are protected not merely
against material want, but even against the lack of higher enjoyments? Does
not this thrift prove that anxiety for the morrow is not after all quite
unknown here?'

'Almost all men save in Freeland,' answered David; 'nay, I can with
certainty say that saving is more general here than in any other country.
The object of this saving is to provide for the future out of the
superfluity of the present; and certainly it follows from this that a
certain kind of care for the morrow is very well known among us also. The
distinction between our saving and the anxious thrift of other peoples lies
merely here, that our saving is intended net to guard us against want, but
simply against the danger of a future diminution of the standard of our
accustomed enjoyments; and that we pursue this aim in our saving with the
same calm certainty as we do our aim in working. A contradiction between
this and what was said just now is found only when you overlook the
equivocal meaning of the _word_ "care." We know no "care" so far as a
_fear_ concerning the morrow is implied by the word; but our whole public
and private life is pervaded by _foresight_, in the sense of making
precautionary arrangements to-day in order that the needs of to-morrow may
be met. Fear and uneasiness about the future, the _atra cura_ of the
Latins, you will look for among us in vain. It is this care which poisons
the pleasure of the present; whilst that other, which can only improperly
be called care, but the real name of which is foresight, by means of the
perfect sense of security which it creates concerning the morrow enhances
the delight of present enjoyment by the foretaste to-day of future
enjoyments already provided for. Herein lies the guarantee of the success
of our institutions, that, while solidarity is secured between the interest
of the individual and the interest of the community, the individual
possesses, together with liberty of action, a part of the responsibility of
his action. Only a part, because the action of the individual is not
altogether without limitations. Everyone in Freeland is hedged in by the
equal rights of all the others, even more and more effectually than
elsewhere. Consequently, everyone's responsibility finds its limitations
just where the responsibility of all can be substituted for his own. And
the guarding against actual deprivation on the part of anyone is one of the
obligations of the whole community, which thereby and at the same time
protects itself. Just as among you, a noble family, acting in its own
well-understood interest, would not allow any of its members to fall into
sordid misery, so long as it could in any way prevent it, so we, who act
upon the principle that all men are brothers of the _one_ noble race
destined to exercise control over the rest of nature, do not allow anyone
who bears our family features to suffer want so far as our means allow us
to save him from it. An existence altogether worthy of man, participation
in all that the highest culture makes _necessary_--this we guarantee to all
who live in our midst, even when they have left off working. But absolute
necessaries do not include the whole of the good things attainable at any
given time; whence it follows that the transition from labour to the ever
so well-earned leisure of age would be connected with the deprivation of a
number of highly prized customary enjoyments, if the copious proceeds of
former labour were not in part laid by for use in this time of leisure.
Take, for example, my father: if he pleased to spend now the 1,440£ which
he receives as one of the Freeland executive, together with the 90£ which
my mother's claim for maintenance amounts to, he could not, after his
retirement from office, with the fifty-five per cent. of the
maintenance-unit to which he and my mother together would be entitled--that
is, with 330£--carry on his household without retrenchments which, though
they might deprive him only of superfluities, would nevertheless be keenly
felt, because they would involve the giving up of what he has accustomed
himself to. It is true that a considerable number of his present expenses
consists of items which in part would cease in the course of time, in
part--_e.g._, his contributions to benevolent objects in other parts of the
world--could not be expected from persons who are receiving a maintenance
from the commonwealth, and in part would no longer accord with the tastes
and capacities of aged persons. But in spite of all this, my parents would
have to forego many things to which they are accustomed; and to avoid this
is the purpose of their saving.

'In order that this end may be attained, we have an altogether peculiar
form of insurance. The insurance department of our central bank supplies
the stipulated insurance-money not in fixed amounts, but in sums bearing a
certain proportion to the common maintenance-allowance, or--which amounts
to the same thing--to the average value of labour for the time being. As
the aim of the insured is to be completely saved from anxiety as to the
future, there must, in view of the continual increase in the profits of
labour, be maintained an exact correspondence between those profits and the
amount of insurance. For the requirements of the individual are regulated
by the standard of life around him, and when this is raised so are his
requirements raised. The annuity secured by the insurance must therefore be
variable, if its object is to be completely attained. Consequently, the
premiums are regulated by the height of the profits of labour for the time
being. Certainly the inevitable arbitrariness of the connection between the
premium and the claim of the insured is thereby magnified; but we do not
allow that to trouble us. Our experts have taken into consideration, with
the most scrupulous attempt at accuracy, all the appertaining factors, and
the premiums--the rates of which have, since the institution has been in
existence, been slightly amended to bring them into harmony with the
teaching of experience--were so fixed as to make it probable that they
would suffice to cover all current demands. If, however, contrary to our
expectation, we should find that we erred on one side or the other, we
should not look upon this as a great misfortune. The satisfaction of having
secured to ourselves means sufficient to meet our requirements at all times
will not appear to us to have been too dearly bought even if it prove that
we have paid a few shillings or pounds more than was necessary; and, on the
other hand, if the premiums should prove to have been too small, the
deficiency will be at once made up out of the resources of the

'Perhaps you will ask what right we have in this way to burden future
generations to the profit of their ancestors? The same right that we have
continually to project into the future the claims upon the
maintenance-allowance. As you know, these are entirely discharged out of
the current public revenue, no reserve being accumulated for this purpose,
the principle acted upon being that the workers of the present have to
support the invalids of the past. Our parents when incapable of working are
maintained out of the proceeds of our labour; and when we in our turn
become incapable of working, it will be the duty of our children to support
us out of the proceeds of their labour. It is no favour which we show to
our parents and expect from our children, but a right--a right based upon
the fact that each successive generation enjoys not merely the fruits of
its own labour, but also the fruits of the labour of its predecessors.
Without the treasures of knowledge and inventiveness, of wealth and
capital, which we accumulate and bequeath, our posterity would be very
poorly provided for. And if the next generation should find itself called
upon to make up any deficit in favour of those of their parents who--it is
immaterial on what ground--held an extraordinary increase in their
maintenance-allowance to be necessary, we should not find any injustice in
that, because the payments of the insured at once found employment in such
a way as to benefit not merely the present, but also the future. The
insurance-premiums have already accumulated to milliards; they have been
invested chiefly in railways, canals, factories--in short, in works in aid
of labour, most of which will endure for many generations. You may
therefore regard the additional sums which may _possibly_ have to be paid
by the workers of the future to the insured of to-day as an insignificant
interest subsequently levied by the latter upon the former; or, what is
simpler still, you can imagine that the fathers retain for their own use
until the end of their lives a part of the wealth they themselves have
earned, and then at their death bequeath their whole property to their

Here David ended his instructions for the time; and I will imitate him.



Eden Vale: Aug. 2, ----

For some time I have been deeply interested in the education of the young
here, and the day before yesterday was devoted to the study of this
subject. Accompanied by David, I first visited one of the many
kindergartens which are pretty evenly distributed about the town in Eden
Vale. In an enclosure consisting partly of sunny sward and partly of shady
grove, some fifty boys and girls of from four to six years of age were
actively occupied under the direction of two young women of about eighteen
or twenty, and a young widow. The children sang, danced, indulged in all
sorts of fun and frolic, looked at picture-books which were explained to
them, listened sometimes to fairy-tales and sometimes to instructive
narratives, and played games, some of which were pure pastime and others
channels of instruction. Among the little people, who enjoyed themselves
right royally, there was a constant coming and going. Now one mother
brought her little one, and now another fetched hers away. In general the
Freeland mothers prefer to have their children with them at home; only when
they leave home or pay a visit, or have anything to attend to, do they take
their little ones to the nearest kindergarten and fetch them away on their
return. Sometimes the young people beg to be allowed to go to the
kindergarten, and the mothers grant them their request. But that is an
exception; as a rule the children sport about at home under the eyes of
their parents, and the earliest education is the special duty of the
mother. A Freeland wife seldom needs to be taught how this duty can be best
fulfilled; if she does there is a kindergarten not far off, or, later, the
pedagogium, where good advice can always be obtained. I was told that every
Freeland child of six years can read, has some skill in mental arithmetic,
and possesses a considerable amount of general information, without having
seen anything but a picture-book.

After the kindergarten came the elementary school. These schools also are
pretty evenly distributed about Eden Vale, and, like the kindergartens, are
surrounded by large gardens. They have four classes, and girls and boys are
taught together. The teaching is entirely in the hands of women, married or
unmarried; only gymnastics and swimming are taught by men to the boys.
These two subjects occupy both boys and girls an hour every day. At least
thrice a week excursions of several hours' duration are made into the
neighbouring woods and hills, accompanied by a teacher for each class, and
during these excursions all kinds of object-teaching are pursued. I watched
the pupils at their books and in the gymnasium, in the swimming-school and
on the hills, and had abundant opportunity of convincing myself that the
children possessed at least as much systematised knowledge as European
children of the same ago; whilst upon vaulting-horse and bars,
climbing-pole and rope, they were as agile as squirrels; in the water they
swam like fishes, and after a three hours' march over hill and dale they
were as fresh and sprightly as roes.

We next went to the middle schools, in which boys and girls of from ten to
sixteen years are taught apart, the former solely by men, the latter partly
by women. Here still greater attention is paid to bodily exercises of all
kinds, and in order to obtain the requisite space these schools are located
on the outskirts of the town, in the neighbourhood of the woods. I was
astonished at the endurance, strength, and grace of the boys and girls in
gymnastics, running, jumping, dancing, and riding. The boys I also saw
wrestling, fencing, and shooting. A few passes with the rapier and the
sabre with several of the youngsters showed me, to my surprise, that they
were not merely my equals, but in many points were superior to me, though
you know that I am one of the best fencers in Italy, the country so
renowned for this art. I was not less astonished at the splendid muscular
development of the half-grown wrestlers and gymnasts, than at the ease with
which the same youths overtook a horse at full gallop and threw themselves
upon its back. But I was completely dumfounded with the skill with which
the lads used their rifles. The target--scarcely so large as an ordinary
dinner-plate--was seldom missed at a distance of 550 yards, and not a few
of the young marksmen sent ball after ball into the bull's-eye. Altogether
the upper classes of these middle schools gave me the impression that they
were companies of picked young athletes; at the same time these athletes
showed themselves well acquainted with all those branches of learning which
are taught in the best European secondary schools.

I learnt that, up to this age, the instruction given to all the children of
Freeland is the same, except that among the girls less time is given to
bodily exercises and more to musical training. At sixteen years of age
begins the differentiation of the training of the sexes, and also the
preparation of the boys for their several vocations. The girls either
remain at home, and there complete their education in those arts and
branches of knowledge, the rudimental preparation for which they have
already received; or they are sent as pupil-daughters, with the same view,
to the house of some highly cultured and intellectually gifted woman.
Others enter the pedagogic training institutions, where they are trained as
teachers, or they hear a course of lectures on nursing, or devote
themselves to aesthetics, art, &c.

The boys, on the other hand, are distributed among the various higher
educational institutions. Most of them attend the industrial and commercial
technical institutions, where they spend a year or two in a scientific and
practical preparation for the various branches of commerce and industry.
Every Freeland worker passes through one of these institutions, whether he
intends to be agriculturist, spinner, metal-worker, or what not. There is a
double object aimed at in this: first, to make every worker, without
distinction, familiar the whole circle of knowledge and practice connected
with his occupation; and next to place him in the position of being able to
employ himself profitably, if he chooses to do so, in several branches of
production. The mere spinner, who has nothing to do but to watch the
movements of his spindles, in Freeland understands the construction and the
practical working of everything connected with his industry, and knows what
are the sources whence it derives its materials and where its best markets
are; from which it follows that when the functionaries of his association
are to be elected the worker is guided in voting by his technical
knowledge, and it is almost impossible that the choice should fall upon any
but the best qualified persons. But, further, this simple spinner in
Freeland is no mere automaton, whose knowledge and skill begin and end with
the petty details of his own business: he is familiar with at least one or
several other branches of industry; and from this again it follows that the
man can take advantage of any favourable circumstance that may occur in
such other branch or branches of industry, and can exchange the plough for
the loom, the turning-lathe for the hammer, or even any of these for the
writing-desk or the counting-house; and by this means there can be brought
about that marvellous equilibrium in the most diverse sources of income
which is the foundation of the social order of the country.

Young persons who have given evidence of possessing superior intellectual
ability attend the universities, in which Freeland's professors, the higher
government officials, physicians, technicians, &c., are educated; or the
richly endowed academies of art, which send forth the architects,
sculptors, painters, and musicians of the country. Even in all these
educational institutions great importance is attached to physical as well
as to intellectual development. The industrial and commercial technical
colleges have each their gymnasium, wrestling-hall, and riding-school,
their shooting and fencing ground, just as the universities and academies
have; and as in these places the youths are not so directly under the
control of their teachers as are the boys in the intermediate schools, the
institution of public local and national exercises prevents the students
from relaxing in their zeal for bodily exercises. All young men between
sixteen and twenty-two years of age are organised in companies of a
thousand each, according to their place of abode; and, under officers
chosen by themselves, they meet once a month for exercise, and in this way
still further develop their physical powers and skill. Once a year, in each
of the forty-eight districts into which Freeland is divided for
administrative purposes, a great competition for prizes takes place, before
a committee of judges selected from the winners of previous years. On these
occasions there are first single contests between fencers, marksmen,
riders, wrestlers, and runners, the competitors being champions chosen by
each thousand from their own number; and next, contests between the
thousands themselves as such. A few weeks later there is a national
festival in a valley of the Aberdare range specially set apart for this
purpose; at that festival the winners in the district contests compete for
the national championship. I am assured that no Greek youth in the best age
of Hellas more eagerly contended for the olive-branch at the Isthmian Games
than do the Freeland youths for the prize of honour at these Aberdare
games, although here also the prize consists of nothing but a simple crown
of leaves--a prize which, certainly, is enhanced by the fanfares of triumph
which resound from the Indian Ocean to the Mountains of the Moon and from
Lake Tanganika to Lake Baringo, and by the enthusiastic jubilation of such
districts and towns as may be fortunate enough to have sent successful
competitors. Hundreds of thousands stream out of all parts of the country
to these contests; and the places to which the victors belong, particularly
the district of the conquering thousand, welcome back their youths with a
series of the most brilliant festivals.

When I heard this, I could not refrain from remarking that such enthusiasm
on the occasion of a mere pastime seemed to me to be extravagant; and I
particularly expressed my astonishment that Freeland, the home of social
equity, could exhibit such enthusiasm for performances which might appear
important in warlike Hellas, but which here, where everything breathed
inviolable peace, could have no value but as simple bodily exercises.

'Quite right,' answered David, 'only it is this very superiority in bodily
exercises which secures to us Freelanders the inviolable peace which we
enjoy. We have no military institutions; and if it were not for our
superiority in all that appertains to bodily strength and skill we should
be an easy prey to any military Power that coveted our wealth.'

'But you surely do not imagine,' I cried, not without a sarcastic smile,
'that your boy-fencers and marksmen and the victors at your Isthmian Games
make you a match for any great military Power that might really attack you?
In my opinion, your safety lies in the mutual jealousy of the European
Powers, each of which is prevented by the others from seizing such a prize;
and yet more in your isolation, the sea and mountains saving you from such
dangerous visits. But, to secure yourselves against contingencies, I think
it would be well for you to make some military provision, such as a
competent militia, and particularly a powerful fleet, the expense of which
would be nothing in comparison with your wealth.'

'We think differently,' said David. 'Not our war-games, but our superior
physical ability which is exhibited in those games perfectly secures us
against any attack from the most powerful foe who, against our harmoniously
developed men and youths perfected in the use of every kind of arm, could
bring into the field nothing but a half-starved proletariat scarcely able
to handle their weapons when required to do so. We hold that in war the
number of shots is of less moment than the number of hits, and that the
multitude of fighters counts for less than their efficiency. If you had
seen, as I did, at the last year's national festival how the victorious
thousand won their prize, you would perhaps admit that troops composed of
such men, or of men who approached them in skill, need fear no European

On my asking what were the wonderful feats performed on the occasion
referred to, David gave me a detailed account of the proceedings, the
substance of which I will briefly repeat. In the contests between the
thousands, the firing _en masse_ is directed against a gigantic movable
target, which represents in life-size a somewhat loosely ordered front-line
of a thousand men; by a special apparatus, the front line, when at a
distance of about 1,300 yards, is set quickly in motion towards the
firing-party, and the mechanism of the target is so arranged that every
bullet which hits one of the thousand figures at once throws that figure
down, so that the row of the imaginary foes gets thinner at every hit. The
rule is that that thousand is the victor which knocks down the whole of the
figures in the approaching target in the shortest time and with the least
expenditure of bullets. Of course these two conditions compensate each
other according to certain rules--that is, a small _plus_ in time is
corrected by a corresponding _minus_ in the ammunition consumed, and _vice
versâ_. At all events, it is incumbent to shoot quickly and accurately; and
in particular the competing thousands must be so thoroughly well drilled
and so completely under command that on no account are two or more marksmen
to aim at the same figure in the target. This last condition is no trifling
one; for if it is difficult in a line of a thousand men to allot to every
marksman his particular aim, and that instantaneously, without reflection
and without recall, the difficulty must be very much greater when the
number of the objects aimed at is continually becoming less, whilst the
number of the marksmen remains the same. In addition to all this, in order
to have any chance at all of winning the olive-branch, the firing must
begin the moment the target is set in motion--that is, when the figures are
at a distance of 1,300 yards. At the last contest, the victorious thousand
emptied the target within 145 seconds from the moment of starting. The
target during this time had only got within 924 yards of the marksmen, who
had fired 1,875 shots. Of course, it is not to be inferred that the same
results would necessarily be obtained from firing at living and not
inactive foes. But if it be taken into consideration--so David
thought--that the intensity of the excitement of the Freeland youth in
front of a European army could scarcely be so great as on the
competition-field, when they are striving to wrest the much-coveted prize
from well-matched opponents--for the least successful of the competing
forty-eight thousands emptied the target in 190 seconds, when it had got
within a distance of 930 yards and had fired 2,760 shots; and when,
further, it is remembered that, in the presence of an actual foe, the most
difficult of the conditions of the contest--viz. that of the lowest number
of shots--ceases to exist; then it must certainly be admitted that such
firing would, probably in a few minutes, completely annihilate an equally
numerous body of men within range, and that it would sweep away twice or
thrice as many as the shooters before the foe would be in a position to do
the shooters any very material injury. There is no European army, however
numerous it may be, which would be able to stand against such firing. It is
not to be expected that men, who are driven forward by nothing but mere
discipline, would even for a few minutes face such a murderous fusillade.

On my part I had no argument of weight to meet this. I did not deny that
the soldiers in our gigantic European armies, who do nothing with their
shooting-sticks but allay their helpless fears by shooting innumerable
holes in the air, only one out of two hundred of their bullets reaching its
billet, could do little with such antagonists. 'But how would you defend
yourselves against the artillery of European armies?' I asked.

'By our own artillery,' answered David. 'Since these institutions of ours
have the double purpose of stimulating zeal for physical development and of
making us secure against attack without maintaining an army, we give
considerable prominence in our exercises to practising with cannons of the
most various calibres. And even this practice is begun at school. Those
boys who, having reached the fourth class in the intermediate schools, have
shown proficiency in other things, are promoted to artillery practice--and
this, it may be observed, has proved to be a special stimulus to effort.
The reason you have not seen the cannons is that the exercise-ground lies
some distance outside of the town--a necessary arrangement, as some of the
guns used are monsters of 200 tons, whose thunder would ill accord with the
idyllic peace of our Eden Vale. The young men are so familiar with this
kind of toy, and many of them have, after profound ballistic studies,
brought their skill to such perfection, that in my opinion they would show
themselves as superior to their European antagonists in artillery as they
would in rifle-practice. The same holds good of our horsemen. In brief, we
have no army; but our men and youths handle all the weapons which an army
needs infinitely better than the soldiers of any army whatever. And as,
moreover, for the purposes of our great prize-contests there exists an
organisation by means of which, out of the 2,500,000 men and youths whom
Freeland now possesses capable of bearing arms, the best two or three
hundred thousand are always available, we think it would he a very easy
thing to ward off the greatest invading army--a danger, indeed, which we do
not seriously anticipate, as we doubt if there is a European people that
would attack us. Rifles and cannons collected for use against us would very
soon--without our doing anything--be directed against those who wished us

To this I assented. We then discussed several other topics connected with
the education of the young; and I took occasion to ask how it was that the
before-mentioned voluntary insurance against old age and death in Freeland
was effected on behalf of only the insurer himself and his wife, and not of
his children. According to all I had seen and heard, indifference towards
the fate of the children could not be the reason. I therefore asked David
to tell me why, whilst we in Europe saved chiefly for the children, here in
Freeland nothing was laid by for them.

'The reason,' explained David, 'lies here; the children are already
sufficiently provided for--as sufficiently as are those who are unable to
work, and the widows. And this is necessarily involved in the principle of
economic justice; for if the children were thrown upon the voluntary thrift
of their parents--as they are with you--they would be made dependent upon
conduct upon which they in truth could exercise no influence. If I accustom
myself to requirements which my maintenance-allowance could not enable me
to satisfy, it lies in my own power permanently to secure what I need by
means of an insurance-premium. If I neglect to do this, it is my own fault,
and I have no right to complain when I afterwards have to endure unpleasant
privations. The case is the same with my wife, for she exercises the same
influence over the management of the household as I do. My children, on the
other hand, would suffer innocently if they were thrown upon our personal
forethought for what they would need in the future. They must, therefore,
be protected from any privation whatever, independently of anything that I
may do. And that is the case. What we bequeath to our children, and
bequeath it in all cases, is the immense treasure of the powers and wealth
of the commonwealth delivered into their care and disposition. Just think.
The public capital of Freeland already amounts to as much as 6,000£ for
every working inhabitant; and last year this property yielded to everyone
who was moderately industrious a net income of 600£, and the ratio of
income is, moreover, constantly growing year by year.'

'But,' I interposed, 'suppose a child is or becomes incapable of work?'

'If he is so from childhood, then the forty per cent. of the
maintenance-unit, to which in such a case he has a right, is abundantly
sufficient to meet all his requirements, for he neither can nor should have
an independent household. If he _becomes_ incapable of work, after he has
set up a household and perhaps has children of his own, it would be his
own, not his parents' fault, if he had neglected to provide for this
emergency--assuming, of course, that he considered it necessary to make
such provision.'

'Very well; I perfectly understand that. But how is it with those who are
orphaned in infancy? Is no provision made for such? It cannot possibly
accord with the sentiments of Freeland parents who live in luxury to hand
over their children to public orphanages?'

'As to orphanages, it is the same as with hospitals,' answered David. 'If
by orphanages you mean those barracks of civilised Europe or America, in
which the waifs of poverty are without love, and after a mechanical pattern
educated into the poor of the future, there are certainly none such among
us. But if you mean the institutions in which the Freeland orphans are
brought up, I can assure you that the most sensitive parents can commit
their children to them with the most perfect confidence. Of course, nothing
can take the place of parental love; but otherwise the children are cared
for and brought up exactly as if they were in their parents' house. The
sexes dwell apart by tens in houses which differ in nothing from other
Freeland private houses; and they are under the care of pedagogically
trained guardians, whose duty it is not to teach them, but to watch over
them and attend to all their domestic wants. Food, clothing, play,--in
short, the whole routine of life is in every respect similar to that of the
rest of Freeland. They are taught in the public schools; and after they
have passed through the intermediate schools, the young people themselves
decide whether they will go to a technical school or to a university. Until
their majority they remain in the adoptive home selected for them by the
authorities, and then, if they are not yet able to maintain themselves,
they enjoy the general right of maintenance-allowance. What more could the
most affectionate care of parents do for them? Not even the most intangible
reproach can attach to training in such a public orphanage, for the
children are not the children of poverty, but simply orphans.'

'But I imagine that orphans from better houses are adopted by relatives or
acquaintances, particularly if the parents make full provision for their
support,' I answered.

'In case there are such houses to which the children can go, the parents
need make no provision for their maintenance, but merely a testamentary
declaration, and the children will then be transferred to such houses
without becoming any pecuniary burden to their adoptive parents. For in
such a case the commonwealth pays to the household in question an
equivalent to what would have been the cost of maintenance at the
orphanage; and as, besides the ordinary expenses of living in every
Freeland house, the fee for personal superintendence must be paid out of
this equivalent, the allowance will not be much more than the child will
cost its foster-parents. Thus no parental provision is needed to save the
orphans from being dependent upon the liberality or goodwill of strangers.
But I should tell you that this interposition of friendly or even related
families on behalf of orphans is exceptional. Unless circumstances are very
much in favour of such an arrangement, Freeland parents prefer to leave
their children to the care of the public orphanages. And this is very
intelligible to all who have had opportunities of observing the touching
tenderness of the guardian angels who rule in these houses, and of the
intimate relations which quickly develop between the children and their
attendants. Our Board of Maintenance, supported by our Board of Education,
lays great weight upon this part of its duty. Only the most approved
masters and mistresses--and the latter must also be experienced nurses--are
appointed as guardians of the orphans; and to have been successfully
occupied in this work for a number of years is a high distinction zealously
striven after, particularly by the flower of our young women.'

'I can quite understand that,' I said. 'May I, in this connection, ask how
you deal with the right of inheritance in general, and of inheritance of
real property in particular? For here, in property in houses there seems to
me to be a rock upon which your general principles as to property in land
might be wrecked. It is one of the fundamental principles of your
organisation that no one can have a right of property in land; but
houses--if I have been rightly informed--are private property. How do you
reconcile these things?'

'Everyone,' answered David, 'can dispose freely of his own property, at
death as in life. The right of bequest is free and unqualified; but it must
be noted that between husband and wife there is an absolute community of
goods, whence it follows that only the survivor can definitively dispose of
the common property. The right of property in the house, however, cannot be
divided; and it is not allowable to build more than one dwelling-house upon
a house-and-garden plot. Finally, the dwelling-house must be used by the
owner, and cannot be let to another. If the house-plot be used for any
other purpose than as the site of the owner's home, the breach of the law
involves no punishment, and no force will be brought to bear upon the
owner, but the owner at once loses his exclusive right as usufructuary of
the plot. The plot becomes at once, _ipso facto_, ground to which no one
has a special right, and to which everyone has an equal claim. For,
according to our views, there is no right of property in land, and
therefore not in the building-site of the house; and the right to
appropriate such ground to one's own house is simply a right of usufruct
for a special purpose. Just as, for example, the traveller by rail has a
claim to the seat which he occupies, but only for the purpose of sitting
there, and not for the purpose of unpacking his goods or of letting it to
another, so I have the right to reserve for myself, merely for occupation,
the spot of ground upon which I wish to fix my home; and no one has any
more right to settle upon my building-site than he has to occupy my cushion
in the railway, even if it should be possible to crowd two persons into the
one seat. But neither am I at liberty to make room for a friend upon my
seat; for my fellow-travellers are not likely to approve of the
inconvenience thereby occasioned, and they may protest that the legs and
elbows of the sharer of my seat crowd them too much, and that the air-space
calculated for one pair of lungs is by my arbitrary action shared by two
pair. Just so my house-neighbours are not likely to approve of having my
walls and roof too near to theirs, and will resent the arbitrary act by
which I fill the air-space of the town with more persons than the
commonwealth allows.

'Now, in the exercise of my right of usufruct of a definite plot of ground,
I have inseparably connected with this plot something over which I have not
merely the right of usufruct, but also the right of property--namely, a
house. Consequently my right of usufruct passes over to the person to
whom--whether gratuitously or not--I transfer my right of property in the
house. Therefore I can sell, or bequeath, or give away my house without
being prevented from doing so by the fact that I have no right of property
in the building-site.

'But if, through any circumstances independent of my labour or of the
building cost, the site on which my house stands acquires a value above
that of other building-sites, this increased value belongs not to me, but
to those who have given rise to it, and that is, without exception, the
community. Let us suppose that building-ground in Eden Vale has acquired
such an exceptional value, while there are still sites available throughout
Freeland for milliards of persons: this local increase of value can be
attributed merely to the fact that the excellent streets, public grounds,
splendid monuments, theatres, libraries--in short, the public institutions
of Eden Vale--have made living in this town more desirable than in any
other place in the country. But these public institutions are not my
work--they are the work of the community; and I have no right to put into
my pocket the increased ground-value derived from the common enjoyment of
these institutions. All that I myself have expended upon the house and
garden belongs to me, and on a change of ownership must be either made good
to me or put to my credit; but the ground-price--and, indeed, the whole of
it--belongs to the commonwealth; for building-sites which offer no
advantages over any others are, in view of the still existing surplus of
unoccupied ground, valueless. The commonwealth, therefore, has, strictly
speaking, a right at any time to claim this value or an equivalent; and if
the question were an important one, it would be advisable actually to
exercise this right--that is, from time to time, or at least on a change of
ownership, to assess the value of the sites of houses and gardens, and to
appropriate the surplus of the sale-price to the public treasury.

'In reality, in view of our other arrangements, this question of the value
of building-sites in Freeland is of no importance whatever. It must not be
forgotten that our private houses are not lodging-houses, but merely family
dwellings. As I have already said, every contract to let renders absolutely
void the occupier's right of exclusive usufruct of the house-site. He who
lets his house has, by the very act of doing so, made his plot masterless.
A secret letting is prevented by our general constitution, and particularly
by the central bank, which we will visit next. Thus the increased value
which may be acquired by a building-plot cannot become a question of
importance, and we are able to refrain altogether from interfering with
free trade in houses. We buy, sell, bequeath, and give away our
dwelling-houses, and no one troubles himself about it. I may remark, in
passing, that up to the present there has been no noticeable increase in
the prices of sites. A man pays for his house what the house itself is held
to be worth, the trifling differences being due to the greater or less
taste exhibited in the structure, the greater or less beauty of the garden,
&c., &c. But that the Eden Vale plots, for example, as such, have a special
value cannot be asserted, as there are still many thousands freely
available to anyone, but which are not taken. The conveniences of life are
pretty evenly distributed throughout Freeland, and no town can boast of
attractions which are not balanced by attractions of other kinds in other
towns. Eden Vale, for instance, possesses the most splendid buildings, and
is distinguished by incomparable natural beauty; hence it is less adapted
to industries, and has no agricultural colony in its neighbourhood. Dana
City, on the other hand, which is specially suitable for industry, and is
in the midst of agricultural land, is unattractive to many on account of
its ceaseless and noisy business activity. And, in general, we Freelanders
are not fond of large towns; we love to have woods and meadows as near us
as possible, and those who are able to live in the country do it in
preference to living in towns. Of course, there is not likely to be any
lack of rural building-sites; hence there can never be any ground-price
proper among us. If, however, building-ground should acquire a price, we
are in any case protected by our way and manner of building and living from
such prices as would give rise to any material derangement of our property
relations. Whether a family residence has a higher or a lower value is,
therefore, after all, only a question of subordinate interest, and it is
not worth the trouble, in order to equalise the differences in value which
arise, to bring into play an apparatus which, under the circumstances,
might lead to chicanery.'

I agreed with him. Wishing, however, to understand this important matter in
all its relations, I supposed a case in which the opportunity of gaining an
extraordinarily high profit was connected with a certain definite locality,
and asked what would happen then. 'Let us imagine that in a small valley
surrounded by uninhabitable rocks or marshes, a mine of incalculable value
is discovered, the exploitation of which would give twice or thrice as much
profit as the average profit in Freeland at that time. Naturally everyone
will labour at this mine until the influx of workers produces an
equilibrium in the profits. If there were sufficient space round the mine
for dwelling-houses, nothing would stand in the way of this equalisation of
profits; but as, in the supposed case, the space is limited, only the first
comers will be able to work at the mine; all later comers--unless they camp
out--will be as effectually excluded from competing as if an insuperable
barrier had been raised round the mine. The fortunate usufructuaries of the
few building-sites will, therefore, be in the pleasant situation of
permanently pocketing twice or thrice the average proceeds of labour--let
us say, for example, 1,600£ a year, whilst 600£ is the average.
Consequently their early occupation of the ground will be worth 1,000£ a
year to them, exactly the same as to a London house-owner the lucky
circumstance that his ancestors set up their huts on that particular spot
on the banks of the Thames is worth his 1,000£ or more a year. That this is
the rule and is the principal source of wealth, not only in London, but
everywhere outside of Freeland, whilst in this country it would require an
extraordinary concurrence of circumstances to produce similar phenomena,
makes no difference in the fact itself that it can occur everywhere, and
that, if you know of no means to prevent it, the ground-rent you have
fortunately got rid of might revive among you. Nay, in this--I will admit
extreme--case the Freeland institutions would prove themselves a hindrance
to the national exploitation of such a highly profitable opportunity for
labour, the most intense utilisation of which would evidently be to the
general interest. If such a case occurred in Europe or America, the
fortunate owners would surround the mines with large lodging-barracks, from
which certainly they would without any trouble derive enormous profits, but
which at the same time would make it possible to extract the rich treasures
from the earth. Your Freeland house-right, on the contrary, would in such a
case prevent the exploitation of the treasure of the earth, merely in order
that an exceptional increase of the wealth of individuals should be
avoided. And yet it is characteristic of your institutions as a whole to
render labour more productive than is possible under an exploiting system
of industry. A correct principle, however, must be correct under all

'That is also my view,' answered David; 'but in such cases even your
Western law affords a means of help--namely, expropriation. Let it be
assumed that we could by no means whatever make the neighbourhood of the
mine accommodate a greater number of dwelling-houses; then, in the public
interest, we would redeem the houses already existing at the mine, and in
their place we would erect large lodging-houses after the pattern of our
hotels. If that would not suffice to accommodate as many workers as were
required in order to bring the profit of labour at the mine into
equilibrium with the average profit of the country, we would proceed to the
last resource and expropriate the mine for the benefit of the commonwealth.
By no means would even such a very improbable contingency present any
serious difficulties to the carrying out of our principles. For you will
certainly admit that the undertaking of a really monopolist production by
the commonwealth is not contrary to our principles. If you would deny it,
you must go farther, and assert that in working the railways, the
telegraphs, the post, nay, even in assuming the ultimate control of the
community, there is to be found a violation of the principle of individual

'You are only too right,' I answered, 'and I cannot defend myself from the
charge of harbouring a doubt which would have been seen to be superfluous
if I had only been unreservedly willing to admit that the people of
Freeland, whatever might happen, would probably make the wisest and not the
stupidest provision against such a contingency as I imagined. The ground of
that inconceivable stubbornness with which we adherents of the old are apt
to resist every new idea is, that we imagine difficulties, which exist only
in our fancy, and most unnecessarily suppose that there is no other way of
surmounting those imaginary difficulties than the stupidest imaginable. We
then triumphantly believe we have reduced the new ideas _ad absurdum_;
whilst we should have done better to have been ashamed of our own

With this fierce self-accusation I will close my letter to-day; but not
without telling you in confidence that in making it I was thinking less of
myself than of--others.



Eden Vale: Aug. 6, ----

Yesterday, accompanied by the two English agents, we inspected the Freeland
Central Bank. The comprehensive and--as a necessary consequence--
exceedingly simple clearing system excited the highest admiration of the
two experienced gentlemen. The remarkably small amount of cash required to
adjust the accounts of the whole of the gigantic business transactions
drew from Lord E---- the inquiry why Freeland retained gold as a measure
of value. He thought that, as the Freelanders already made the value of a
unit of labour-time the standard of calculation in their most important
affairs, the simplest plan would be to universalise this method--that is,
to declare the labour-hour to be the measure of value, the money-unit.
This would, he thought, far better harmonise with the general social order
of Freeland, in which labour is the source and basis of all value.

The director of the bank (Mr. Clark) replied: 'That is a view which has
been repeatedly expressed by strangers; but it is based simply upon
confounding the _measure of value_ with the _source of income_. For labour
alone is not the source of value, though most Socialists adopt this error
of the so-called classical economists as the ground of their demands. If
all value were derived from labour and from labour alone, then even among
you in the old exploiting world everything would be in favour of the
workers, for even there the workers have control over their working power.
The misery among you is due to the fact that the workers have no control
over the other things which are requisite for the creation of value,
namely, the product of previous work--_i.e._ capital, and the forces and
materials derived from nature. We in Freeland have guaranteed to labour the
whole of what it assists to produce. But we do not base this right upon the
erroneous proposition that labour is the sole source of the value of what
it produces, but upon the proposition that the worker has the same claim to
the use of those other factors requisite for the creation of value as he
has to his working-power. But this is only by the way. Even if labour were
the only source of and the only ingredient in value, it would still be in
any case the worst conceivable _measure_ of value; for it is of all things
that possess value the one the value of which is most liable to variations.
Its value rises with every advance in human dexterity and industry; that
is, a labour-day or a labour hour is continuously being transformed into an
increasing quantity of all imaginable other kinds of value. That the value
of the product of labour differs as the labour-power is well or badly
furnished with tools, well or badly applied, cannot be questioned, and
never has been seriously questioned. Now, among us in Freeland _all_
labour-power is as well equipped and applied as possible, because the
perfect and unlimited freedom of labour to apply itself at any time to
whatever will then create the highest value brings about, if not an
absolute, yet a relative equilibrium of values; but, in order that this may
be brought about, there must exist an unchangeable and reliable standard by
which the value of the things produced by labour can be measured. That the
labour expended by us upon shoe goods and upon textile fabrics, upon
cereals and turnery goods, possesses the same value is shown by the fact
that these various kinds of wares produced in the same period of time
possess the same value; but this fact can be shown, not by a comparison
between the respective amounts of labour-time, but only by a comparison
with something that has a constant value in itself. If we concluded that
the things which required an equal time to produce were of equal value
because they were produced in an equal time, we might soon find ourselves
producing shoes which no one wanted, while we were suffering from a lack of
textile fabrics; and we might see with unconcern the superfluity of turnery
wares, the production of which was increasing, while perhaps all available
hands were required in order to correct a disastrous lack of cereals. To
make the labour-day the measure of value--if it were not, for other
reasons, impossible--involves Communism, which, instead of leaving the
adjustment of the relations between supply and demand to free commerce,
fixes those relations by authority; doing this, of course, without asking
anyone what he wishes to enjoy, or what he wishes to do, but
authoritatively prescribing what everyone shall consume, and what he shall

'But we in Freeland strive after what is the direct opposite of
Communism--namely, absolute individual freedom. Consequently we, more
imperatively than any other people, need a measure of value as accurate and
reliable as possible--that is, one the exchange-power of which, with
reference to all other things, is exposed to as little variation as
possible. This best possible, most constant, standard the civilised world
has hitherto found rightly in gold. There is no difference in value between
two equal quantities of gold, whilst one labour-day may be very materially
more valuable than another; and there is no means of ascertaining with
certainty the difference in value of the two labour-days except by
comparing them both with one and the same thing which possesses a really
constant value. Yet this equality in value of equal quantities of gold is
the least of the advantages possessed by gold over other measures of value.
Two equal quantities of wheat are of nearly equal value. But the value of
gold is exposed to less _variation_ than is the value of any other thing.
Two equal quantities of wheat are of equal value at the same time; but
to-morrow they may both be worth twice as much as to-day, or they may sink
to half their present value; while gold can change its value but very
little in a short time. If its exchange-relation to any commodity whatever
alters suddenly and considerably, it can be at once and with certainty
assumed that it is the value not of the gold, but of the other commodity,
which has suddenly and considerably altered. And this is a necessary
conclusion from that most unquestionable law of value according to which
the price of everything is determined by supply and demand, if we connect
with this law the equally unquestionable fact that the supply and demand of
no other thing are exposed to so small a relative variation as are those of
gold. This fact is not due to any mysterious quality in this metal, but to
its peculiar durability, in consequence of which in the course of thousands
of years there has been accumulated, and placed at the service of those who
can demand it, a quantity of gold sufficient to make the greatest temporary
variations in its production of no practical moment. Whilst a good or a bad
wheat harvest makes an enormous difference in the supply of wheat for the
time being, because the old stock of wheat is of very subordinate
importance relatively to the results of the new harvest, the amount of gold
in the world remains relatively unaltered by the variations, however great
they may be, of even several years of gold-production, because the existing
stock of gold is enormously greater than the greatest possible
gold-production of any single year. If all the gold-mines in the world
suddenly ceased to yield any gold, no material influence would be produced
upon the quantity of available gold; whilst a single general failure in the
cereal crop would at once and inevitably produce the most terrible
corn-famine. This, then, is the reason why gold is the best possible,
though by no means an absolutely perfect, measure of value. But labour-time
would be the worst conceivable measure of value, for neither are two equal
periods of labour necessarily of equal value, nor does labour-time in
general possess an unalterable value, but its exchange-power in relation to
all other things increases with every step forward in the methods of

We were all convinced, but Lord E---- could not refrain from remarking that
the Freelanders did nevertheless estimate the value of many things in
labour-equivalents. He at once received from my father the pertinent answer
that, according to all they had yet heard, this happened only in cases in
which an increase of payment had to run parallel with a rise in the value
of labour. Salaries and maintenance-allowances _ought_ to rise in
proportion as the proceeds of labour and therewith the general consumption
rose; and it was only when this relation had to be kept in view that the
value of things could be estimated in labour-equivalents.

Mr. Clark now drew our attention to the comprehensive, transparent, and
detailed publicity which marked all the pecuniary affairs of Freeland, in
consequence of the entry in the bank books of all commercial and industrial
relations. No one can deceive either himself or others as to his
circumstances; and one of the most important social consequences of this is
that no one has any desire to shine by extravagant spending. Extravagance
is only too often prompted by a desire to make oneself appear in the eyes
of the world richer than one really is; such an attempt in this country
would only provoke a smile. And if anyone wished to spend in luxuries more
than he earned, the bank would naturally refuse him credit for such a
purpose; and without this credit the spendthrift would have to appeal to
the liberality of his fellow-citizens before he could indulge in his
extravagance. The amounts of all incomes and of all outgoings lie open to
the day; all the world knows what everybody has and whence he gets it. And
as everyone is free to engage in any branch of industry whatever, the
difference of income can excite no one's envy.

But Lord E---- here asked whether the degree of authoritative arbitrariness
inevitable in fixing salaries of different kinds--_e.g._ of officials--did
not present some contradiction to the otherwise operative principle of
unconditional freedom of choice of calling, and to the equilibrium in the
proceeds of different kinds of labour which resulted from this freedom.
'When the profits of the woollen industry are higher than those of
agriculture, fresh labour will be transferred to the former until an
equilibrium has been established between the two profits; if a permanent
excess of profit shows itself in one of these branches of production, it is
evident under your institutions that this can be due solely to the fact
that the labour in this more profitable industry is less agreeable, more
exhausting, or demands a higher or rarer knowledge or skill. No one has the
slightest ground to complain of injury; and so far the harmony produced by
freedom is worthy of all admiration. But when it comes to appointments and
salaries, this absolute freedom must cease. You, as the head of a
department of the government, receive 1,400£, your neighbour the
hand-worker earns merely 600£; how do you know that the latter does not
feel that he is wronged thereby?'

'My lord,' said Mr. Clark, smiling, 'if you mean, how do I know whether my
neighbour does not feel himself wronged _by nature_ because he is not able,
like me, to earn 1,400£ a year, I must answer that I can speak only from
conjecture, and that I really possess no certain knowledge as to his
feelings. But if you think that my neighbour, or anyone else in Freeland,
could find in my higher salary an advantage conferred on me by an arbitrary
exercise of authoritative power, or by the favour of the electors, or for
any inadequate reason, I can certainly show that you are mistaken. For my
salary is, in the last resort, as much the result of free competition as is
the labour-profit of my neighbour. Whether I am the right man for my post
is a question which is decided by the corporations by whom my election is
made, and whose choice is controlled or superseded by no automatically
working contrivance; with what salary my office must be endowed, in order
that qualified men, or let us say men who are held to be qualified, may be
obtained, this is regulated by exactly the same automatic laws as is the
labour-profit of a weaver or an agriculturist. And this holds good of the
salary of the youngest official up to that of the heads of the departments
of the Freeland government. The fixing of the salaries in every case
depends upon the free judgment of the presidents or of the electoral
colleges; but these presidents or electoral colleges must fix the salaries
at such sums as will at any time attract a sufficient number of qualified
candidates. Of course, a pound more or less a year would make no
difficulty--it is a recognised principle that the salaries should be high
enough to attract rather a superfluity than a lack of candidates; but when
the number of candidates is greater than a certain ratio, the salaries are
reduced, whilst a threatened lack of candidates is met by an increase of
salaries. I will add, that it is to be taken as a matter of course that in
Freeland the unsuccessful candidates are not breadless aspirants. Success
or failure is never therefore a question of a livelihood, but of the
gratification of inclination and sometimes of vanity. A man gives up his
office when more profitable or more agreeable occupation attracts him
elsewhere. The public officials are not paid the same salaries in all the
branches of the public service. Specially trying work, or work demanding
special knowledge, obtains here higher profits, just as in the various
industries. And whilst the labour-earnings of ordinary manual labour are
the measure of the salaries of the lower officials, so do the salaries of
the various association-managers exercise a regulative influence upon the
salaries of the higher public officials. You, also, have often experienced
that the attractions of positions connected with public activity have in no
small degree brought down the salaries of government officials, professors,
&c., below the level of the incomes of those who hold the chief posts in
associations. As a rule, it is found that with a rise in the general level
of intelligence there is a _relative_--by no means an absolute--sinking of
the higher salaries. While the directors of several large associations
receive as much as 5,000 hour-equivalents a year, the highest officials in
the Freeland central government at the present time receive only 3,600
more, and that because our persistent assertion of the relative
depreciation of the higher salaries is met by the parliaments with an
equally persistent resistance, and the parliaments yield to our
importunities only very slowly and very reluctantly. To be just, it should
be added that the same game is repeated in the associations. The directors
would often be satisfied with much lower salaries, for they often really do
not know what to do with their incomes, which, in comparison with prices in
Freeland, are in some cases exorbitant, and increase with every increase in
the value of labour. Particularly during the last decade, since the value
of the hour-equivalent has increased so much, proposals from above to
reduce salaries have become a standing rule. I repeat, this reduction must
be understood to be merely relative--that is, to refer merely to the number
of hour-equivalents. The value of a labour-hour has quadrupled within the
last twenty years; those of us, therefore--we public officials, for
example--who receive twenty-eight per cent. fewer hour-equivalents than we
did originally, still have incomes which, when reckoned in money, have been
nearly tripled. As a rule, however, the associations will not hear of even
such a reduction. Though their directors openly avow their willingness to
accept lower salaries, the associations are afraid of offending some one or
other of the competing societies which pay higher salaries; and as a few
hundred pounds are not worth considering in view of the enormous sums which
a great association annually turns over, the reduction of the salaries goes
on but slowly. Nevertheless there is a gradual lessening of the difference
between the maximum and the minimum earnings, plainly proving that even in
this matter of salaries the law of supply and demand is in full operation.'

Lord E---- thanked him for this explanation. But now Sir B---- proposed a
far weightier question. 'What struck me most,' said he, 'when I was
examining the enormous operations of your central bank, and what I am not
yet able to understand, is how it is possible, without arbitrary exercise
of authority and communistic consequences, to accumulate the immense
capital which you require, and yet neither pay nor reckon any interest.
That interest is the necessary and just reward of the capitalist's
self-denial I do not indeed believe; but I hold it to be the tribute which

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