Monday, March 24, 2008

Notes on 1st Meeting discussing Kropotkin

Here are Adam's detail notes from the beginning of the meeting:

Adam asked about minutes to 2/25 meeting. Jani says she sent them to Adam.


Adam asked that she resend to him and the others in the working group and also send to Freegannyc-discussion.


Adam made a flyer and brought it to WBAI and Bluestockings.

Adam emailed nycanarchists, NY Metro Alliance of Anarchists, Direct ActionNetwork, ActionGreens, Wetlands, NY Protest, and other email lists about the reading group. Wayne Price of the Northeast Federation of Anarcho-Communists responded with the suggestion that we read "Kropotkin Was No Crackpot" by Stephen Jay Gould, which assesses the scientific validity of Kropotkin's arguments in "Mutual Aid: A Factor in Evolution".


Adam suggested that we keep notes on the highlights of our discussion and email them out over Freegannyc-discussion. Jani strongly objected. Jani felt we should not clog the email list with more messages. Adam felt that the point of the reading group is to expand the collective intelligence of the group by contributing new perspectives, insights, and facts from the works we read and felt that to do this we needed a record of the salient points of our discussion. Jani said that if we email the list, other people will respond and add even more emails to the list. People expressed a variety of opinions on the issue. After a lengthy discussion including
several rejected compromise offers, we agreed to post a brief summary of the meeting to the forum section of the website.

The summary:

This is how I remember the remarks around the table. Obviously I am not doing justice to the deep and complex points made by others, since I didn't write most of it down and can only summarize in a general way:

(Someone objected to names being used in the written record, so I will give fake names, except for Adam, who prefers his real name used. If anyone else wants their real name used, let me know please.)

Kari pointed out what is termed, in our present society, blatant racism and euro-centric-ism:

The paragraph she cited, from the end of the second chapter:
"But no Siberian horse is capable of carrying half the weight which a European horse carries with ease; no Siberian cow gives half the amount of milk given by a Jersey cow, and no natives of uncivilized countries can bear a comparison with Europeans. They may better endure hunger and cold, but their physical force is very far below that of a well-fed European, and their intellectual progress is despairingly slow. "Evil cannot be productive of good," as Tchernyshevsky wrote in a remarkable essay upon Darwinism."

Kari made no direct comment on this. But pointed it out to the group.

Jani said, in reply, that the world, as known when this book was written, was thought of in entirely different terms than as we know now (by American society, presumably). She also said that she understood the passage to mean that through opportunities of various kinds people could and would develop skills and understandings which they could not develop otherwise. And that therefore life should not be reduced to merely a bitter struggle for survival only.

Rani said that working together has been very much under emphasized and she wanted to get inspiration from the animal world. (I may have dreamed this since I only have a vague recollection of what she actually said). She and Kari did, later in the discussion, say that I was being unfair to psychopaths by calling them "they."

At least that is what I think happened.

It turns out I was not making myself clear, since at least a few people took offense at what I said. And, however, objected to something that I didn't recall saying: i.e. That people who are "energetic" are psychopaths.

What I meant to say, and one person did say he understood me perfectly, although perhaps did not agree, was that there is much more energy behind people who are selfish. People who like to help others are usually, as a general rule, not as energetic about it as those who are looking out for themselves and for their own families. (Jani is the exception and she belongs to our group. So I don't mind her taking exception to my observation. And meant no offense against her personally by that remark).

My point about "psychopaths" was only that we, as presumably "good-hearted" people: "freegans" - those who live off trash in order that the waste stream of our society will not be increased; We, who are often vegans and will not eat animal products from issues around animal treatment, use and abuse; We, people who are anti-"consumption" for how it affects the planet and grossly damages the various beings who live here; We, I am justified in labeling our little group, at least relatively, "good-hearted."

The point I attempted to make is the the "good-hearted" extrapolate to the population at large and lack the imagination to understand what is out there. And the problem, what we have to solve, is directly related to human's selfishness and/or their lack thereof.

Just as those who are tending toward the end of the scale labeled "lack of compassion for others," will discount the existence of altruism and label it "ruse," (ultimately for the benefit of the individual who displays it or carries it, even to the point where it is believed to be feigned, in all cases, for direct personal benefit), those who are selfless will tend to suspect everyone is like themselves, "if only."

Under the influence of reading Darwin I was instructed on the relevance of "diversity" and "variation" which are said to be a source of strength for a species. I was attempting to point out that anti-social behavior and anti-social individuals are a naturally occurring human variation and that those people who exhibit that characteristic, by their very nature, rise in the scheme of social power.

I am "Pegi" and my comments were too long and obscure. I recommended books for further reading: "Guns Germs and Steel" by Jared Diamond, "The Mask of Sanity" by Cleckley. I should've mentioned "The Emotional Life of Animals" by Masson, but did not. And most definitely should've mentioned "Culture and Imperialism" by Edward Said.

My basic point, if I can recall it clearly, was that the "struggle for existence" concept was, maybe, "created" by Darwin as an elaboration out of his undeniably awesome achievements - putting the data together to show our, the humans, relation to the entire history of life on the planet through direct "descent." Darwin put the data together to the point where he could rightly conclude that the age of the Earth is on a very different scale, very old, compared to anyone's previous understanding. ( And of course he didn't do all this himself, but there were others of his time thinking along the same lines) [P.S. I spent two days minutely going through the Darwin exhibit at the American Museum of Natural History and so know a bit about his life]. Yet for political reasons, and for cultural reasons (Darwin living at the height of the British Imperial Enterprise, and himself being British), his new scientific understandings of nature were high-jacked by the makers of cultural myths, for the cultural ends that suited a justification of their actions. cf: Said.

My first point was: ~"Much of this emphasis and repetition of "struggle for existence" is and was Propaganda."

Darwin himself wrote that if you observe nature you will see little of any massive struggle day-to-day. And that the checks on population (of groups, mind you, not of individuals) goes on at certain moments. For instance, a famine. And not particularly as routine event(s) day-to-day - not enough anyway, for an observer to immediately notice.

I brought an illustrated book of the writings of Darwin, where I had learned what I wrote just above, and a book on Ants (my second most prized possession) co-written by E.O. Wilson.

My second point, built on the first, is one I learned from David Haenke of the Ozarks, who is a great thinker on the philosophy of nature. He explained to me that "survival" itself is no goal. "Survival" of itself is nothing to struggle for. No one wants mere survival.

To take this point to a political level, I tried to explain, not very well I must admit: Those who would dominate us, and who benefit from our domination, desire to reduce our existence to a "struggle for survival."


Because under those circumstances we are not in a position to recognize what is going on and to arrange for any other structure of society. Under those circumstances we are grateful: for not being put to death immediately, for any amount of food, for the most tiring and pointless job....because all of our energy, as dictated by a "Law" of nature, is focused upon our achievement of survival alone.

Next is Davi:
Davi was the only person, other than myself, extremely excited by the "Ant" book. He found in the index, I assume, a picture of an ant infected with a fungus, which he had seen pictures of on YouTube:

Davi said that it appears that ant colonies will enforce cooperation within the group. He said there are accounts of ant individuals who stray from the role given them by the colony and who are, as a result, put to death.

Adam said, in his comments later, that he was unsure if there is scientific evidence for ants behaving as individuals. And, as a corollary to that issue, he brought up the quasi-legal issue "Do ants voluntarily form colony associations?"


In a later private conversation with Adam the issue of slime mold arose.

Time lapse photography of slime molds:

(If these videos cause you to lose your appetite? Me too!

P.S. Darwin was also a person of "sensitive" nature, had a "weak stomach." For this reason he was not able to follow in his father's footsteps and become a doctor. He couldn't bear seeing too much blood and therefore was unable to perform any dissections. This killed his medical career. He also was sickened by certain events - a creature laying eggs inside another animal's body and then bursting out, killing the host animal. Darwin, upon my understanding, had a difficult time reconciling aspects of nature with the concept of a benign Deity.)

Slime molds behave as individuals until there is a scarcity of water, in which case they combine together to become a multi-cellular creature, which will release spores. (In the same way as do humans band together into a fascist group, once the body politic has been struck? Or a fruit tree will bear an inordinately enormous amount of fruit after an injury?)

Niki is next: He created the most deep and important questions, IMO.
1. Why should we emulate animals?
2. Aren't animals often violent? Don't we hold ourselves to a higher standard?

(I made the trite reply: "But we are already animals!" which I am not sure is to the point, because I knew what he meant and it it's a great question. ~ "many people gave Darwin a difficult time for noting that 'human is an animal'" and that "this idea 'human is an animal' is, even still, almost a secret or something that humans seem to overlook or ignore."

I find the idea that the human is a part of nature, and not something outside of it, to be an extremely exciting discovery. And I've noticed that most people do not share my excitement. )

Jani next: ~"People can develop a greater and more positive world through working together toward that end. If people have the opportunity, they can build something great."

Adam next: ~"Stephen Jay Gould" said that "Kropotkin was not nuts." ~"I would like to find scientific peer reviewed documentation of animal behavior in which animals are shown to exhibit emotion."

Adam wanted notes taken. I said I would write a paragraph, and this is it.

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Kropotkin's "Mutual Aid" Chapter 3

Supposed war of each against all. -- Tribal origin of human society. -- Late appearance of the separate family. -- Bushmen and Hottentots. -- Australians, Papuas. -- Eskimos, Aleoutes. -- Features of savage life difficult to understand for the European. -- The Dayak's conception of justice. -- Common law.

The immense part played by mutual aid and mutual support in the evolution of the animal world has been briefly analyzed in the preceding chapters. We have now to cast a glance upon the part played by the same agencies in the evolution of mankind. We saw how few are the animal species which live an isolated life,

As Quinn pointed out, "Why is it that we should take the animal 'kingdom' as our model' : This is a question about assumptions and axioms. Has the human become so successful that socialbility is no longer necessary? Also, the human most definitely practices socialbility at least to the extent Kropotkin describes it as taking place in the animal world.

[]and how numberless are those which live in societies, either for mutual defence, or for hunting and storing up food, or for rearing their offspring, or simply for enjoying life in common.

OK we are looking at 'quality of life' issues for animals. I like that.

We also saw that, though a good deal of warfare goes on between different classes of animals, or different species, or even different tribes of the same species, peace and mutual support are the rule within the tribe or the species;

My question: Yes, mutual support and peace within a tribe...even the Neo-Cons will agree with that. Their ur-Guru, Karl Schmidt, who was the teacher and mentor of Leo Strauss, believed that to have a society one must have a common enemy. So what will bind us together? Altruism alone can't work, since not everyone is motivated by it, in a group which is not defined by common interest, bloodline etc. How will we define our group?

and that those species which best know how to combine, and to avoid competition, have the best chances of survival and of a further progressive development. They prosper, while the unsociable species decay.

Since I believe the world is run by criminal syndicate(s), "religious" and political, I understand "Mutual Aid" in that context. Yes, the crooks work together.

"Zeitgeist", documentary on Christian Religion, the attack in NYC on Sept. 11, 2001, and the Central Bank ("Fed") / Current Monetary System.

It is evident that it would be quite contrary to all that we know of nature if men were an exception to so general a rule: if a creature so defenceless as man was at his beginnings should have found his protection and his way to progress, not in mutual support, like other animals, but in a reckless competition for personal advantages, with no regard to the interests of the species.

To a mind accustomed to the idea of unity in nature,

I am going to have to pause and really think about that very beautiful principle: unity in nature. Yet, to un-pack it? What does that really mean?

such a proposition appears utterly indefensible. And yet, improbable and unphilosophical as it is, it has never found a lack of supporters. There always were writers who took a pessimistic view of mankind. They knew it, more or less superficially, through their own limited experience; they knew of history what the annalists, always watchful of wars, cruelty, and oppression, told of it, and little more besides; and they concluded that mankind is nothing but a loose aggregation of beings, always ready to fight with each other, and only prevented from so doing by the intervention of some authority.

Probably there is a method and motive to the promotion of such a belief in authority:

(Click on Chart to see it larger scale, if you want.)

Hobbes took that position; and while some of his eighteenth-century followers endeavoured to prove that at no epoch of its existence -- not even in its most primitive condition -- mankind lived in a state of perpetual warfare; that men have been sociable even in "the state of nature," and that want of knowledge, rather than the natural bad inclinations of man, brought humanity to all the horrors of its early historical life, --

Good point since there is truly nothing necessary about the state of the political and social world in its present condition - it is not something dictated by Nature; though there are those who would like to claim that, as an excuse.

his idea was, on the contrary, that the so-called "state of nature" was nothing but a permanent fight between individuals, accidentally huddled together by the mere caprice of their bestial existence. True, that science has made some progress since Hobbes's time, and that we have safer ground to stand upon than the speculations of Hobbes or Rousseau. But the Hobbesian philosophy has plenty of admirers still; and we have had of late quite a school of writers who, taking possession of Darwin's terminology rather than of his leading ideas, made of it an argument in favour of Hobbes's views upon primitive man,

Again how and why does "primitive man" bear upon us now? As an example? As a model? Or as a fate and an instinct?

and even succeeded in giving them a scientific appearance. Huxley, as is known, took the lead of that school, and in a paper written in 1888 he represented primitive men as a sort of tigers or lions, deprived of all ethical conceptions, fighting out the struggle for existence to its bitter end, and living a life of "continual free fight"; to quote his own words -- "beyond the limited and, temporary relations of the family, the Hobbesian war of each against all was the normal state of existence."(1*)

Instructive Ritual for the First Weekend of Spring?

It has been remarked more than once that the chief error of Hobbes, and the eighteenth-century philosophers as well, was to imagine that mankind began its life in the shape of small straggling families, something like the "limited and temporary" families of the bigger carnivores, while in reality it is now positively known that such was not the case. Of course, we have no direct evidence as to the modes of life of the first man-like beings.

This can't be the most up-to-date in terms of knowledge on this subject?!

I read Rachel Carson, "On the Oceans" written in the 50's. Great book, and some things never change. But at that time the ocean floor itself had scarcely been mapped!

We are not yet settled even as to the time of their first appearance, geologists being inclined at present to see their traces in the pliocene, or even the miocene, deposits of the Tertiary period.

Geologists!? Now it's the Biologists who study that, through gene mapping.

"inclined 'at present'" Kropotkin says?( These essay were first published by William Heinemann in London as a book in October 1902. The individual chapters had originally been published in 1890-96 as a series of essays) OK written over 100 years ago. That's a long time for a book on natural science to expire; especially the past 100. (Hey is this book past its expiration date?)

Geological Time Chart

Now Biologists are used to map early migrations. Some 100K years ago a migration of "humans" left Africa and most likely were the cause of the disappearance there of the Neanderthal, who shows traces of existing in Europe for some 350K years. It is thought the population of Neanderthal was never more than 10K individuals.

early humans first reached Australia about 50,000 years ago.

Scientists rough out Human 50K year old story

I think the 5-6 million figure, for years of history for "human," as Kropotkin says was thought in his day, is exaggerated. Looks more like 50K for "modern style" and 10K for any agriculture to speak of?

But we have the indirect method which permits us to throw some light even upon that remote antiquity. A most careful investigation into the social institutions of the lowest races has been carried on during the last forty years, and it has revealed among the present institutions of primitive folk some traces of still older institutions which have long disappeared, but nevertheless left unmistakable traces of their previous existence. A whole science devoted to the embryology of human institutions has thus developed in the hands of Bachofen, MacLennan, Morgan, Edwin Tylor, Maine, Post, Kovalevsky, Lubbock, and many others. And that science has established beyond any doubt that mankind did not begin its life in the shape of small isolated families.

Far from being a primitive form of organization, the family is a very late product of human evolution. As far as we can go back in the palaeo-ethnology of mankind, we find men living in societies -- in tribes similar to those of the highest mammals; and an extremely slow and long evolution was required to bring these societies to the gentile, or clan organization, which, in its turn, had to undergo another, also very long evolution, before the first germs of family, polygamous or monogamous, could appear.

Wonder how he knows all this or if it is speculation? Don't you think love between male and female partners was instrumental in the dovotion needed to raise human offspring, who take many years to reach maturity? I'm not saying "yes' or "no," just that I am unconvinced and would need to check all the sources he listed.

I noticed on purusing the German writer Frederick Engels recently in his, "The Origin of the Family, Private Property and the State" that he wrote seeming to know all these things which, I would imagine, have scarce documentation?

i.e. "The pairing family arose on the border line between savagery and barbarism, mainly at the upper stage of savagery, and here and there only at the lower stage of barbarism. It is the form of the family characteristic of barbarism in the same way as group marriage is characteristic of savagery and monogamy of civilization."

Here's an even more interesting passage from the same Engels book:

"Bachofen (same source Kropotkin cites above) is again absolutely right when he contends throughout that the transition from what he terms "hataerism" of Sumpfzeugung" to monogamy was brought about essentially by the women. The more the old traditional sexual relations lost their naive, primitive jungle character, as a result of the development of the economic conditions of life, that is, with the undermining of the old Communism and the growing density of the population, the more degrading and oppressive must they have appeared to the women; the more fervently must they have longed for he right to chastity, to temporaty or permanent marriage with one man only, as a deliverance. This advance could not have originated from the men, if only for the reason that they have never - not even to the present day - dreamed of renouncing the pleasures of actual group marrige. Only after the transtion to pairing marriage had been effected by the women could the men introduce strict monogamy - for the women only, of course."

Is Engels implying here that women are accustomed to being raped?

Societies, bands, or tribes -- not families -- were thus the primitive form of organization of mankind and its earliest ancestors. That is what ethnology has come to after its painstaking researches. And in so doing it simply came to what might have been foreseen by the zoologist. None of the higher mammals, save a few carnivores and a few undoubtedly-decaying species of apes (orang-outans and gorillas), live in small families, isolatedly straggling in the woods. All others live in societies. And Darwin so well understood that isolately-living apes never could have developed into man-like beings, that he was inclined to consider man as descended from some comparatively weak but social species, like the chimpanzee, rather than from some stronger but unsociable species, like the gorilla.(2*)

I don't think there was a direct line of genetic descent, but instead a common ancestor?

I feel some of this, what I see as a pretention to the understanding of the progress of historical social relations, to be speculative.

Zoology and palaeo-ethnology are thus agreed in considering that the band, not the family, was the earliest form of social life. The first human societies simply were a further development of those societies which constitute the very essence of life of the higher animals.(3*)

So is Kropotkin conteneding that we, as a species, have regressed, now that the family is the main unit of society?

If we now go over to positive evidence, we see that the earliest traces of man, dating from the glacial or the early post-glacial period, afford unmistakable proofs of man having lived even then in societies. Isolated finds of stone implements, even from the old stone age, are very rare; on the contrary, wherever one flint implement is discovered others are sure to be found, in most cases in very large quantities. At a time when men were dwelling in caves, or under occasionally protruding rocks, in company with mammals now extinct, and hardly succeeded in making the roughest sorts of flint hatchets, they already knew the advantages of life in societies. In the valleys of the tributaries of the Dordogne,

the surface of the rocks is in some places entirely covered with caves which were inhabited by palaeolithic men.(4*) Sometimes the cave-dwellings are superposed in storeys, and they certainly recall much more the nesting colonies of swallows than the dens of carnivores.

Well, Kropotkin mentioned Dorgogne, which is a more fashionable place in the South of France and filled with caves in which the Gallish tribes there would hide out against the Catholics and the Romans.

But the real cave treasure was found in the Rhone Valley region, Ardeche, also in the south of France. IN 1994 was found many remnants of early humans in the area there: arrowheads and silex knives (for spearing veggies, of course.) And beautiful 30K year old cave drawings.

Oops. The human cave dated 30K (to 50K) B.C. found in the region contained lots of bones and charred skulls.

As to the flint implements discovered in those caves, to use Lubbock's words, "one may say without exaggeration that they are numberless." The same is true of other palaeolithic stations. It also appears from Lartet's investigations that the inhabitants of the Aurignac region in the south of France partook of tribal meals at the burial of their dead. So that men lived in societies, and had germs of a tribal worship, even at that extremely remote epoch.

The same is still better proved as regards the later part of the stone age. Traces of neolithic man have been found in numberless quantities, so that we can reconstitute his manner of life to a great extent. When the ice-cap (which must have spread from the Polar regions as far south as middle France, middle Germany, and middle Russia, and covered Canada as well as a good deal of what is now the United States) began to melt away, the surfaces freed from ice were covered, first, with swamps and marshes, and later on with numberless lakes.(5*) Lakes filled all depressions of the valleys before their waters dug out those permanent channels which, during a subsequent epoch, became our rivers. And wherever we explore, in Europe, Asia, or America, the shores of the literally numberless lakes of that period, whose proper name would be the Lacustrine period, we find traces of neolithic man.

Time scales are off.

The Ardèche River, where the cave dwellings were found, was there at least a million years longer than had the band of humans.

They are so numerous that we can only wonder at the relative density of population at that time. The "stations" of neolithic man closely follow each other on the terraces which now mark the shores of the old lakes. And at each of those stations stone implements appear in such numbers, that no doubt is possible as to the length of time during which they were inhabited by rather numerous tribes. Whole workshops of flint implements, testifying of the numbers of workers who used to come together, have been discovered by the archaeologists.

Traces of a more advanced period, already characterized by the use of some pottery, are found in the shell-heaps of Denmark. They appear, as is well known, in the shape of heaps from five to ten feet thick, from 100 to 200 feet wide, and 1,000 feet or more in length, and they are so common along some parts of the sea-coast that for a long time they were considered as natural growths. And yet they "contain nothing but what has been in some way or other subservient to the use of man," and they are so densely stuffed with products of human industry that, during a two days' stay at Milgaard, Lubbock dug out no less than 191 pieces of stone-implements and four fragments of pottery.(6*)

The very size and extension of the shell heaps prove that for generations and generations the coasts of Denmark were inhabited by hundreds of small tribes which certainly lived as peacefully together as the Fuegian tribes, which also accumulate like shellheaps, are living in our own times.

"lived peacefully together?" Maybe. But I can't find Kropokin's reasoning. Why certainly?

Maybe if they had fought like the denizens of Easter Island, there were so few of them they would'v killed each and every? As what happened on Easter Island?

If Kropotikin is trying to argue from the historical record that human beings are by nature peaceful, clean and non-genocide producing, I think he may have a thesis ... not conforming with known facts "in our present moment" and with known history of human "civilization."

As to the lake-dwellings of Switzerland, which represent a still further advance in civilization, they yield still better evidence of life and work in societies. It is known that even during the stone age the shores of the Swiss lakes were dotted with a succession of villages, each of which consisted of several huts, and was built upon a platform supported by numberless pillars in the lake. No less than twenty-four, mostly stone age villages, were discovered along the shores of Lake Leman, thirty-two in the Lake of Constance, forty-six in the Lake of Neuchâtel, and so on; and each of them testifies to the immense amount of labour which was spent in common by the tribe, not by the family. It has even been asserted that the life of the lake-dwellers must have been remarkably free of warfare. And so it probably was, especially if we refer to the life of those primitive folk who live until the present time in similar villages built upon pillars on the sea coasts.

Maybe it's a tradition in Swizerland? I can't be sure I can extrapolate from it.

It is thus seen, even from the above rapid hints, that our knowledge of primitive man is not so scanty after all, and that, so far as it goes, it is rather opposed than favourable to the Hobbesian speculations. Moreover, it may be supplemented, to a great extent, by the direct observation of such primitive tribes as now stand on the same level of civilization as the inhabitants of Europe stood in prehistoric times.

The "Hobbsian" speculation refers to people in groups, group vs. group. The notion that it is individual against individual is promoted as Propaganda to keep the masses in fear of their life and under control. Naturally, the global perpertrators, the elite, work together. Far be it from me to actually know, but I assume those groups and individuals also have their power plays, among themselves. As do the poor. Yet, in my experience, people with no money, or who have the experience of no money at some time in their lives, are much more likely to help others. Scarcity can create a mutual dependancy and compassion.

That these primitive tribes which we find now are not degenerated specimens of mankind who formerly knew a higher civilization, as it has occasionally been maintained, has sufficiently been proved by Edwin Tylor and Lubbock. However, to the arguments already opposed to the degeneration theory, the following may be added. Save a few tribes clustering in the less-accessible highlands, the "savages" represent a girdle which encircles the more or less civilized nations, and they occupy the extremities of our continents, most of which have retained still, or recently were bearing, an early post-glacial character. Such are the Eskimos and their congeners in Greenland, Arctic America, and Northern Siberia; and, in the Southern hemisphere, the Australians, the Papuas, the Fuegians, and, partly, the Bushmen; while within the civilized area, like primitive folk are only found in the Himalayas, the highlands of Australasia, and the plateaus of Brazil.

In the past 100 years things have really changed! There is only one hunter gatherer group remaining on the planet and it appears the hunters in that group are ready to die since a Saudi Arabian Prince (big family here....poligamy) is taking over their 50K hunting ground.

Now it must be borne in mind that the glacial age did not come to an end at once over the whole surface of the earth. It still continues in Greenland. Therefore, at a time when the littoral regions of the Indian Ocean, the Mediterranean, or the Gulf of Mexico already enjoyed a warmer climate, and became the seats of higher civilizations, immense territories in middle Europe, Siberia, and Northern America, as well as in Patagonia, Southern Africa, and Southern Australasia, remained in early postglacial conditions which rendered them inaccessible to the civilized nations of the torrid and sub-torrid zones. They were at that time what the terrible urmans of North-West Siberia are now, and their population, inaccessible to and untouched by civilization, retained the characters of early post-glacial man. Later on, when desiccation rendered these territories more suitable for agriculture, they were peopled with more civilized immigrants; and while part of their previous inhabitants were assimilated by the new settlers, another part migrated further, and settled where we find them. The territories they inhabit now are still, or recently were, sub-glacial, as to their physical features; their arts and implements are those of the neolithic age; and, notwithstanding their racial differences, and the distances which separate them, their modes of life and social institutions bear a striking likeness. So we cannot but consider them as fragments of the early post-glacial population of the now civilized area.

The first thing which strikes us as soon as we begin studying primitive folk is the complexity of the organization of marriage relations under which they are living. With most of them the family, in the sense we attribute to it, is hardly found in its germs. But they are by no means loose aggregations of men and women coming in a disorderly manner together in conformity with their momentary caprices. All of them are under a certain organization, which has been described by Morgan in its general aspects as the "gentile," or clan organization.(7*)

To tell the matter as briefly as possible, there is little doubt that mankind has passed at its beginnings through a stage which may be described as that of "communal marriage"; that is, the whole tribe had husbands and wives in common with but little regard to consanguinity. But it is also certain that some restrictions to that free intercourse were imposed at a very early period. Inter-marriage was soon prohibited between the sons of one mother and her sisters, granddaughters, and aunts. Later on it was prohibited between the sons and daughters of the same mother, and further limitations did not fail to follow. The idea of a gens, or clan, which embodied all presumed descendants from one stock (or rather all those who gathered in one group) was evolved, and marriage within the clan was entirely prohibited. It still remained "communal," but the wife or the husband had to be taken from another clan. And when a gens became too numerous, and subdivided into several gentes, each of them was divided into classes (usually four), and marriage was permitted only between certain well-defined classes. That is the stage which we find now amOng the Kamilaroi-speaking Australians. As to the family, its first germs appeared amidst the clan organization. A woman who was captured in war from some other clan, and who formerly would have belonged to the whole gens, could be kept at a later period by the capturer, under certain obligations towards the tribe. She may be taken by him to a separate hut, after she had paid a certain tribute to the clan, and thus constitute within the gens a separate family, the appearance of which evidently was opening a quite new phase of civilization.(8*)

Now, if we take into consideration that this complicated organization developed among men who stood at the lowest known degree of development, and that it maintained itself in societies knowing no kind of authority besides the authority of public opinion, we at once see how deeply inrooted social instincts must have been in human nature, even at its lowest stages. A savage who is capable of living under such an organization, and of freely submitting to rules which continually clash with his personal desires, certainly is not a beast devoid of ethical principles and knowing no rein to its passions. But the fact becomes still more striking if we consider the immense antiquity of the clan organization. It is now known that the primitive Semites, the Greeks of Homer, the prehistoric Romans, the Germans of Tacitus, the early Celts and the early Slavonians, all have had their own period of clan organization, closely analogous to that of the Australians, the Red Indians, the Eskimos, and other inhabitants of the "savage girdle."(9*) So we must admit that either the evolution of marriage laws went on on the same lines among all human races, or the rudiments of the clan rules were developed among some common ancestors of the Semites, the Aryans, the Polynesians, etc., before their differentiation into separate races took place, and that these rules were maintained, until now, among races long ago separated from the common stock. Both alternatives imply, however, an equally striking tenacity of the institution -- such a tenacity that no assaults of the individual could break it down through the scores of thousands of years that it was in existence. The very persistence of the clan organization shows how utterly false it is to represent primitive mankind as a disorderly agglomeration of individuals, who only obey their individual passions, and take advantage of their personal force and cunningness against all other representatives of the species. Unbridled individualism is a modern growth, but it is not characteristic of primitive mankind.(10*)

Going now over to the existing savages, we may begin with the Bushmen, who stand at a very low level of development -- so low indeed that they have no dwellings and sleep in holes dug in the soil, occasionally protected by some screens. It is known that when Europeans settled in their territory and destroyed deer, the Bushmen began stealing the settlers' cattle, whereupon a war of extermination, too horrible to be related here, was waged against them. Five hundred Bushmen were slaughtered in 1774, three thousand in 1808 and 1809 by the Farmers' Alliance, and so on. They were poisoned like rats, killed by hunters lying in ambush before the carcass of some animal, killed wherever met with.(11*) So that our knowledge of the Bushmen, being chiefly borrowed from those same people who exterminated them, is necessarily limited. But still we know that when the Europeans came, the Bushmen lived in small tribes (or clans), sometimes federated together; that they used to hunt in common, and divided the spoil without quarrelling; that they never abandoned their wounded, and displayed strong affection to their comrades. Lichtenstein has a most touching story about a Bushman, nearly drowned in a river, who was rescued by his companions. They took off their furs to cover him, and shivered themselves; they dried him, rubbed him before the fire, and smeared his body with warm grease till they brought him back to life. And when the Bushmen found, in Johan van der Walt, a man who treated them well, they expressed their thankfulness by a most touching attachment to that man.(12*) Burchell and Moffat both represent them as goodhearted, disinterested, true to their promises, and grateful,(13*) all qualities which could develop only by being practised within the tribe. As to their love to children, it is sufficient to say that when a European wished to secure a Bushman woman as a slave, he stole her child: the mother was sure to come into slavery to share the fate of her child.(14*)

The same social manners characterize the Hottentots, who are but a little more developed than the Bushmen. Lubbock describes them as "the filthiest animals," and filthy they really are. A fur suspended to the neck and worn till it falls to pieces is all their dress; their huts are a few sticks assembled together and covered with mats, with no kind of furniture within. And though they kept oxen and sheep, and seem to have known the use of iron before they made acquaintance with the Europeans, they still occupy one of the lowest degrees of the human scale. And yet those who knew them highly praised their sociability and readiness to aid each other. If anything is given to a Hottentot, he at once divides it among all present -- a habit which, as is known, so much struck Darwin among the Fuegians. He cannot eat alone, and, however hungry, he calls those who pass by to share his food. And when Kolben expressed his astonishment thereat, he received the answer. "That is Hottentot manner." But this is not Hottentot manner only: it is an all but universal habit among the "savages." Kolben, who knew the Hottentots well and did not pass by their defects in silence, could not praise their tribal morality highly enough. "Their word is sacred," he wrote. They know "nothing of the corruptness and faithless arts of Europe." "They live in great tranquillity and are seldom at war with their neighbours." They are "all kindness and goodwill to one another.. One of the greatest pleasures of the Hottentots certainly lies in their gifts and good offices to one another." "The integrity of the Hottentots, their strictness and celerity in the exercise of justice, and their chastity, are things in which they excel all or most nations in the world."(15*)

Tachart, Barrow, and Moodie(16*) fully confirm Kolben's testimony. Let me only remark that when Kolben wrote that "they are certainly the most friendly, the most liberal and the most benevolent people to one another that ever appeared on the earth" (i. 332), he wrote a sentence which has continually appeared since in the description of savages. When first meeting with primitive races, the Europeans usually make a caricature of their life; but when an intelligent man has stayed among them for a longer time, he generally describes them as the "kindest" or "the gentlest" race on the earth. These very same words have been applied to the Ostyaks, the Samoyedes, the Eskimos, the Dayaks, the Aleoutes, the Papuas, and so on, by the highest authorities. I also remember having read them applied to the Tunguses, the Tchuktchis, the Sioux, and several others. The very frequency of that high commendation already speaks volumes in itself.

The natives of Australia do not stand on a higher level of development than their South African brothers. Their huts are of the same character. very often simple screens are the only protection against cold winds. In their food they are most indifferent: they devour horribly putrefied corpses, and cannibalism is resorted to in times of scarcity. When first discovered by Europeans, they had no implements but in stone or bone, and these were of the roughest description. Some tribes had even no canoes, and did not know barter-trade. And yet, when their manners and customs were carefully studied, they proved to be living under that elaborate clan organization which I have mentioned on a preceding page.(17*)

The territory they inhabit is usually allotted between the different gentes or clans; but the hunting and fishing territories of each clan are kept in common, and the produce of fishing and hunting belongs to the whole clan; so also the fishing and hunting implements.(18*) The meals are taken in common. Like many other savages, they respect certain regulations as to the seasons when certain gums and grasses may be collected.(19*) As to their morality altogether, we cannot do better than transcribe the following answers given to the questions of the Paris Anthropological Society by Lumholtz, a missionary who sojourned in North Queensland:(20*) --

"The feeling of friendship is known among them; it is strong. Weak people are usually supported; sick people are very well attended to; they never are abandoned or killed. These tribes are cannibals, but they very seldom eat members of their own tribe (when immolated on religious principles, I suppose); they eat strangers only. The parents love their children, play with them, and pet them. Infanticide meets with common approval. Old people are very well treated, never put to death. No religion, no idols, only a fear of death. Polygamous marriage. quarrels arising within the tribe are settled by means of duels fought with wooden swords and shields. No slaves; no culture of any kind; no pottery; no dress, save an apron sometimes worn by women. The clan consists of two hundred individuals, divided into four classes of men and four of women; marriage being only permitted within the usual classes, and never within the gens."

For the Papuas, closely akin to the above, we have the testimony of G.L. Bink, who stayed in New Guinea, chiefly in Geelwink Bay, from 1871 to 1883. Here is the essence of his answers to the same questioner:(21*) -- "They are sociable and cheerful; they laugh very much. Rather timid than courageous. Friendship is relatively strong among persons belonging to different tribes, and still stronger within the tribe. A friend will often pay the debt of his friend, the stipulation being that the latter will repay it without interest to the children of the lender. They take care of the ill and the old; old people are never abandoned, and in no case are they killed -- unless it be a slave who was ill for a long time. War prisoners are sometimes eaten. The children are very much petted and loved. Old and feeble war prisoners are killed, the others are sold as slaves. They have no religion, no gods, no idols, no authority of any description; the oldest man in the family is the judge. In cases of adultery a fine is paid, and part of it goes to the negoria (the community). The soil is kept in common, but the crop belongs to those who have grown it. They have pottery, and know barter-trade -- the custom being that the merchant gives them the goods, whereupon they return to their houses and bring the native goods required by the merchant; if the latter cannot be obtained, the European goods are returned.(22*) They are head-hunters, and in so doing they prosecute blood revenge. 'Sometimes,' Finsch says, 'the affair is referred to the Rajah of Namototte, who terminates it by imposing a fine.'"

When well treated, the Papuas are very kind. Miklukho-Maclay landed on the eastern coast of New Guinea, followed by one single man, stayed for two years among tribes reported to be cannibals, and left them with regret; he returned again to stay one year more among them, and never had he any conflict to complain of. True that his rule was never -- under no pretext whatever -- to say anything which was not truth, nor make any promise which he could not keep. These poor creatures, who even do not know how to obtain fire, and carefully maintain it in their huts, live under their primitive communism, without any chiefs; and within their villages they have no quarrels worth speaking of. They work in common, just enough to get the food of the day; they rear their children in common; and in the evenings they dress themselves as coquettishly as they can, and dance. Like all savages, they are fond of dancing. Each village has its barla, or balai -- the "long house," "longue maison," or "grande maison" -- for the unmarried men, for social gatherings, and for the discussion of common affairs -- again a trait which is common to most inhabitants of the Pacific Islands, the Eskimos, the Red Indians, and so on. Whole groups of villages are on friendly terms, and visit each other en bloc.

Unhappily, feuds are not uncommon -- not in consequence of "Overstocking of the area," or "keen competition," and like inventions of a mercantile century, but chiefly in consequence of superstition. As soon as any one falls ill, his friends and relatives come together, and deliberately discuss who might be the cause of the illness. All possible enemies are considered, every one confesses of his own petty quarrels, and finally the real cause is discovered. An enemy from the next village has called it down, and a raid upon that village is decided upon. Therefore, feuds are rather frequent, even between the coast villages, not to say a word of the cannibal mountaineers who are considered as real witches and enemies, though, on a closer acquaintance, they prove to be exactly the same sort of people as their neighbours on the seacoast.(23*)

Many striking pages could be written about the harmony which prevails in the villages of the Polynesian inhabitants of the Pacific Islands. But they belong to a more advanced stage of civilization. So we shall now take our illustrations from the far north. I must mention, however, before leaving the Southern Hemisphere, that even the Fuegians, whose reputation has been so bad, appear under a much better light since they begin to be better known. A few French missionaries who stay among them "know of no act of malevolence to complain of." In their clans, consisting of from 120 to 150 souls, they practise the same primitive communism as the Papuas; they share everything in common, and treat their old people very well. Peace prevails among these tribes.(24*) With the Eskimos and their nearest congeners, the Thlinkets, the Koloshes, and the Aleoutes, we find one of the nearest illustrations of what man may have been during the glacial age. Their implements hardly differ from those of palaeolithic man, and some of their tribes do not yet know fishing: they simply spear the fish with a kind of harpoon.(25*) They know the use of iron, but they receive it from the Europeans, or find it on wrecked ships. Their social organization is of a very primitive kind, though they already have emerged from the stage of "communal marriage," even under the gentile restrictions. They live in families, but the family bonds are often broken; husbands and wives are often exchanged.(26*) The families, however, remain united in clans, and how could it be otherwise? How could they sustain the hard struggle for life unless by closely combining their forces? So they do, and the tribal bonds are closest where the struggle for life is hardest, namely, in North-East Greenland. The "long house" is their usual dwelling, and several families lodge in it, separated from each other by small partitions of ragged furs, with a common passage in the front. Sometimes the house has the shape of a cross, and in such case a common fire is kept in the centre. The German Expedition which spent a winter close by one of those "long houses" could ascertain that "no quarrel disturbed the peace, no dispute arose about the use of this narrow space" throughout the long winter. "Scolding, or even unkind words, are considered as a misdemeanour, if not produced under the legal form of process, namely, the nith-song."(27*) Close cohabitation and close interdependence are sufficient for maintaining century after century that deep respect for the interests of the community which is characteristic of Eskimo life. Even in the larger communities of Eskimos, "public opinion formed the real judgment-seat, the general punishment consisting in the offenders being shamed in the eyes of the people."(28*)

Eskimo life is based upon communism. What is obtained by hunting and fishing belongs to the clan. But in several tribes, especially in the West, under the influence of the Danes, private property penetrates into their institutions. However, they have an original means for obviating the inconveniences arising from a personal accumulation of wealth which would soon destroy their tribal unity. When a man has grown rich, he convokes the folk of his clan to a great festival, and, after much eating, distributes among them all his fortune. On the Yukon river, Dall saw an Aleonte family distributing in this way ten guns, ten full fur dresses, 200 strings of beads, numerous blankets, ten wolf furs, 200 beavers, and 500 zibelines. After that they took off their festival dresses, gave them away, and, putting on old ragged furs, addressed a few words to their kinsfolk, saying that though they are now poorer than any one of them, they have won their friendship.(29*) Like distributions of wealth appear to be a regular habit with the Eskimos, and to take place at a certain season, after an exhibition of all that has been obtained during the year.(30*) In my opinion these distributions reveal a very old institution, contemporaneous with the first apparition of personal wealth; they must have been a means for re-establishing equality among the members of the clan, after it had been disturbed by the enrichment of the few. The periodical redistribution of land and the periodical abandonment of all debts which took place in historical times with so many different races (Semites, Aryans, etc.), must have been a survival of that old custom. And the habit of either burying with the dead, or destroying upon his grave, all that belonged to him personally -- a habit which we find among all primitive races -- must have had the same origin. In fact, while everything that belongs personally to the dead is burnt or broken upon his grave, nothing is destroyed of what belonged to him in common with the tribe, such as boats, or the communal implements of fishing. The destruction bears upon personal property alone. At a later epoch this habit becomes a religious ceremony. It receives a mystical interpretation, and is imposed by religion, when public opinion alone proves incapable of enforcing its general observance. And, finally, it is substituted by either burning simple models of the dead man's property (as in China), or by simply carrying his property to the grave and taking it back to his house after the burial ceremony is over -- a habit which still prevails with the Europeans as regards swords, crosses, and other marks of public distinction.(31*)

The high standard of the tribal morality of the Eskimos has often been mentioned in general literature. Nevertheless the following remarks upon the manners of the Aleoutes -- nearly akin to the Eskimos -- will better illustrate savage morality as a whole. They were written, after a ten years' stay among the Aleoutes, by a most remarkable man -- the Russian missionary, Veniaminoff. I sum them up, mostly in his own words: --

Endurability (he wrote) is their chief feature. It is simply colossal. Not only do they bathe every morning in the frozen sea, and stand naked on the beach, inhaling the icy wind, but their endurability, even when at hard work on insufficient food, surpasses all that can be imagined. During a protracted scarcity of food, the Aleoute cares first for his children; he gives them all he has, and himself fasts. They are not inclined to stealing; that was remarked even by the first Russian immigrants. Not that they never steal; every Aleoute would confess having sometime stolen something, but it is always a trifle; the whole is so childish. The attachment of the parents to their children is touching, though it is never expressed in words or pettings. The Aleoute is with difficulty moved to make a promise, but once he has made it he will keep it whatever may happen. (An Aleoute made Veniaminoff a gift of dried fish, but it was forgotten on the beach in the hurry of the departure. He took it home. The next occasion to send it to the missionary was in January; and in November and December there was a great scarcity of food in the Aleoute encampment. But the fish was never touched by the starving people, and in January it was sent to its destination.) Their code of morality is both varied and severe. It is considered shameful to be afraid of unavoidable death; to ask pardon from an enemy; to die without ever having killed an enemy; to be convicted of stealing; to capsize a boat in the harbour; to be afraid of going to sea in stormy weather. to be the first in a party on a long journey to become an invalid in case of scarcity of food; to show greediness when spoil is divided, in which case every one gives his own part to the greedy man to shame him; to divulge a public secret to his wife; being two persons on a hunting expedition, not to offer the best game to the partner; to boast of his own deeds, especially of invented ones; to scold any one in scorn. Also to beg; to pet his wife in other people's presence, and to dance with her to bargain personally: selling must always be made through a third person, who settles the price. For a woman it is a shame not to know sewing, dancing and all kinds of woman's work; to pet her husband and children, or even to speak to her husband in the presence of a stranger.(32*)

Such is Aleoute morality, which might also be further illustrated by their tales and legends. Let me also add that when Veniaminoff wrote (in 1840) one murder only had been committed since the last century in a population of 60,000 people, and that among 1,800 Aleoutes not one single common law offence had been known for forty years. This will not seem strange if we remark that scolding, scorning, and the use of rough words are absolutely unknown in Aleoute life. Even their children never fight, and never abuse each other in words. All they may say is, "Your mother does not know sewing," or "Your father is blind of one eye."(33*)

Many features of savage life remain, however, a puzzle to Europeans. The high development of tribal solidarity and the good feelings with which primitive folk are animated towards each other, could be illustrated by any amount of reliable testimony. And yet it is not the less certain that those same savages practise infanticide; that in some cases they abandon their old people, and that they blindly obey the rules of blood-revenge. We must then explain the coexistence of facts which, to the European mind, seem so contradictory at the first sight. I have just mentioned how the Aleoute father starves for days and weeks, and gives everything eatable to his child; and how the Bushman mother becomes a slave to follow her child; and I might fill pages with illustrations of the really tender relations existing among the savages and their children. Travellers continually mention them incidentally. Here you read about the fond love of a mother; there you see a father wildly running through the forest and carrying upon his shoulders his child bitten by a snake; or a missionary tells you the despair of the parents at the loss of a child whom he had saved, a few years before, from being immolated at its birth. you learn that the "savage" mothers usually nurse their children till the age of four, and that, in the New Hebrides, on the loss of a specially beloved child, its mother, or aunt, will kill herself to take care of it in the other world.(34*) And so on.

Like facts are met with by the score; so that, when we see that these same loving parents practise infanticide, we are bound to recognize that the habit (whatever its ulterior transformations may be) took its origin under the sheer pressure of necessity, as an obligation towards the tribe, and a means for rearing the already growing children. The savages, as a rule, do not "multiply without stint," as some English writers put it. On the contrary, they take all kinds of measures for diminishing the birth-rate. A whole series of restrictions, which Europeans certainly would find extravagant, are imposed to that effect, and they are strictly obeyed. But notwithstanding that, primitive folk cannot rear all their children. However, it has been remarked that as soon as they succeed in increasing their regular means of subsistence, they at once begin to abandon the practice of infanticide. On the whole, the parents obey that obligation reluctantly, and as soon as they can afford it they resort to all kinds of compromises to save the lives of their new-born. As has been so well pointed out by my friend Elie Reclus,(35*) they invent the lucky and unlucky days of births, and spare the children born on the lucky days; they try to postpone the sentence for a few hours, and then say that if the baby has lived one day it must live all its natural life.(36*) They hear the cries of the little ones coming from the forest, and maintain that, if heard, they forbode a misfortune for the tribe; and as they have no baby-farming nor crèches for getting rid of the children, every one of them recoils before the necessity of performing the cruel sentence; they prefer to expose the baby in the wood rather than to take its life by violence. Ignorance, not cruelty, maintains infanticide; and, instead of moralizing the savages with sermons, the missionaries would do better to follow the example of Veniaminoff, who, every year till his old age, crossed the sea of Okhotsk in a miserable boat, or travelled on dogs among his Tchuktchis, supplying them with bread and fishing implements. He thus had really stopped infanticide.

The same is true as regards what superficial observers describe as parricide. We just now saw that the habit of abandoning old people is not so widely spread as some writers have maintained it to be. It has been extremely exaggerated, but it is occasionally met with among nearly all savages; and in such cases it has the same origin as the exposure of children. When a "savage" feels that he is a burden to his tribe; when every morning his share of food is taken from the mouths of the children -- and the little ones are not so stoical as their fathers: they cry when they are hungry; when every day he has to be carried across the stony beach, or the virgin forest, on the shoulders of younger people there are no invalid carriages, nor destitutes to wheel them in savage lands -- he begins to repeat what the old Russian peasants say until now-a-day. "Tchujoi vek zayedayu, Pora na pokoi!" ("I live other people's life: it is time to retire!") And he retires. He does what the soldier does in a similar case. When the salvation of his detachment depends upon its further advance, and he can move no more, and knows that he must die if left behind, the soldier implores his best friend to render him the last service before leaving the encampment. And the friend, with shivering hands, discharges his gun into the dying body. So the savages do. The old man asks himself to die; he himself insists upon this last duty towards the community, and obtains the consent of the tribe; he digs out his grave; he invites his kinsfolk to the last parting meal. His father has done so, it is now his turn; and he parts with his kinsfolk with marks of affection. The savage so much considers death as part of his duties towards his community, that he not only refuses to be rescued (as Moffat has told), but when a woman who had to be immolated on her husband's grave was rescued by missionaries, and was taken to an island, she escaped in the night, crossed a broad sea-arm, swimming and rejoined her tribe, to die on the grave.(37*) It has become with them a matter of religion. But the savages, as a rule, are so reluctant to take any one's life otherwise than in fight, that none of them will take upon himself to shed human blood, and they resort to all kinds of stratagems, which have been so falsely interpreted. In most cases, they abandon the old man in the wood, after having given him more than his share of the common food. Arctic expeditions have done the same when they no more could carry their invalid comrades. "Live a few days more. may be there will be some unexpected rescue!" West European men of science, when coming across these facts, are absolutely unable to stand them; they can not reconcile them with a high development of tribal morality, and they prefer to cast a doubt upon the exactitude of absolutely reliable observers, instead of trying to explain the parallel existence of the two sets of facts: a high tribal morality together with the abandonment of the parents and infanticide. But if these same Europeans were to tell a savage that people, extremely amiable, fond of their own children, and so impressionable that they cry when they see a misfortune simulated on the stage, are living in Europe within a stone's throw from dens in which children die from sheer want of food, the savage, too, would not understand them. I remember how vainly I tried to make some of my Tungus friends understand our civilization of individualism: they could not, and they resorted to the most fantastical suggestions. The fact is that a savage, brought up in ideas of a tribal solidarity in everything for bad and for good, is as incapable of understanding a "moral" European, who knows nothing of that solidarity, as the average European is incapable of understanding the savage. But if our scientist had lived amidst a half-starving tribe which does not possess among them all one man's food for so much as a few days to come, he probably might have understood their motives. So also the savage, if he had stayed among us, and received our education, may be, would understand our European indifference towards our neighbours, and our Royal Commissions for the prevention of "babyfarming." "Stone houses make stony hearts," the Russian peasants say. But he ought to live in a stone house first.

Similar remarks must be made as regards cannibalism. Taking into account all the facts which were brought to light during a recent controversy on this subject at the Paris Anthropological Society, and many incidental remarks scattered throughout the "savage" literature, we are bound to recognize that that practice was brought into existence by sheer necessity. but that it was further developed by superstition and religion into the proportions it attained in Fiji or in Mexico. It is a fact that until this day many savages are compelled to devour corpses in the most advanced state of putrefaction, and that in cases of absolute scarcity some of them have had to disinter and to feed upon human corpses, even during an epidemic. These are ascertained facts. But if we now transport ourselves to the conditions which man had to face during the glacial period, in a damp and cold climate, with but little vegetable food at his disposal; if we take into account the terrible ravages which scurvy still makes among underfed natives, and remember that meat and fresh blood are the only restoratives which they know, we must admit that man, who formerly was a granivorous animal, became a flesh-eater during the glacial period. He found plenty of deer at that time, but deer often migrate in the Arctic regions, and sometimes they entirely abandon a territory for a number of years. In such cases his last resources disappeared. During like hard trials, cannibalism has been resorted to even by Europeans, and it was resorted to by the savages. Until the present time, they occasionally devour the corpses of their own dead: they must have devoured then the corpses of those who had to die. Old people died, convinced that by their death they were rendering a last service to the tribe. This is why cannibalism is represented by some savages as of divine origin, as something that has been ordered by a messenger from the sky. But later on it lost its character of necessity, and survived as a superstition. Enemies had to be eaten in order to inherit their courage; and, at a still later epoch, the enemy's eye or heart was eaten for the same purpose; while among other tribes, already having a numerous priesthood and a developed mythology, evil gods, thirsty for human blood, were invented, and human sacrifices required by the priests to appease the gods. In this religious phase of its existence, cannibalism attained its most revolting characters. Mexico is a well-known example; and in Fiji, where the king could eat any one of his subjects, we also find a mighty cast of priests, a complicated theology,(38*) and a full development of autocracy. Originated by necessity, cannibalism became, at a later period, a religious institution, and in this form it survived long after it had disappeared from among tribes which certainly practised it in former times, but did not attain the theocratical stage of evolution. The same remark must be made as regards infanticide and the abandonment of parents. In some cases they also have been maintained as a survival of olden times, as a religiously-kept tradition of the past.

I will terminate my remarks by mentioning another custom which also is a source of most erroneous conclusions. I mean the practice of blood-revenge. All savages are under the impression that blood shed must be revenged by blood. If any one has been killed, the murderer must die; if any one has been wounded, the aggressor's blood must be shed. There is no exception to the rule, not even for animals; so the hunter's blood is shed on his return to the village when he has shed the blood of an animal. That is the savages' conception of justice -- a conception which yet prevails in Western Europe as regards murder. Now, when both the offender and the offended belong to the same tribe, the tribe and the offended person settle the affair.(39*) But when the offender belongs to another tribe, and that tribe, for one reason or another, refuses a compensation, then the offended tribe decides to take the revenge itself. Primitive folk so much consider every one's acts as a tribal affair, dependent upon tribal approval, that they easily think the clan responsible for every one's acts. Therefore, the due revenge may be taken upon any member of the offender's clan or relatives.(40*) It may often happen, however, that the retaliation goes further than the offence. In trying to inflict a wound, they may kill the offender, or wound him more than they intended to do, and this becomes a cause for a new feud, so that the primitive legislators were careful in requiring the retaliation to be limited to an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, and blood for blood.(41*)

It is remarkable, however, that with most primitive folk like feuds are infinitely rarer than might be expected; though with some of them they may attain abnormal proportions, especially with mountaineers who have been driven to the highlands by foreign invaders, such as the mountaineers of Caucasia, and especially those of Borneo -- the Dayaks. With the Dayaks -- we were told lately -- the feuds had gone so far that a young man could neither marry nor be proclaimed of age before he had secured the head of an enemy. This horrid practice was fully described in a modern English work.(42*) It appears, however, that this affirmation was a gross exaggeration. Moreover, Dayak "head-hunting" takes quite another aspect when we learn that the supposed "headhunter" is not actuated at all by personal passion. He acts under what he considers as a moral obligation towards his tribe, just as the European judge who, in obedience to the same, evidently wrong, principle of "blood for blood," hands over the condemned murderer to the hangman. Both the Dayak and the judge would even feel remorse if sympathy moved them to spare the murderer. That is why the Dayaks, apart from the murders they commit when actuated by their conception of justice, are depicted, by all those who know them, as a most sympathetic people. Thus Carl Bock, the same author who has given such a terrible picture of head-hunting, writes: "As regards morality, I am bound to assign to the Dayaks a high place in the scale of civilization.... Robberies and theft are entirely unknown among them. They also are very truthful.... If I did not always get the ' whole truth,' I always got, at least, nothing but the truth from them. I wish I could say the same of the Malays" (pp. 209 and 210).

Bock's testimony is fully corroborated by that of Ida Pfeiffer. "I fully recognized," she wrote, "that I should be pleased longer to travel among them. I usually found them honest, good, and reserved... much more so than any other nation I know."(43*) Stoltze used almost the same language when speaking of them. The Dayaks usually have but one wife, and treat her well. They are very sociable, and every morning the whole clan goes out for fishing, hunting, or gardening, in large parties. Their villages consist of big huts, each of which is inhabited by a dozen families, and sometimes by several hundred persons, peacefully living together. They show great respect for their wives, and are fond of their children; and when one of them falls ill, the women nurse him in turn. As a rule they are very moderate in eating and drinking. Such is the Dayak in his real daily life.

It would be a tedious repetition if more illustrations from savage life were given. Wherever we go we find the same sociable manners, the same spirit of solidarity. And when we endeavour to penetrate into the darkness of past ages, we find the same tribal life, the same associations of men, however primitive, for mutual support. Therefore, Darwin was quite right when he saw in man's social qualities the chief factor for his further evolution, and Darwin's vulgarizers are entirely wrong when they maintain the contrary.

The small strength and speed of man (he wrote), his want of natural weapons, etc., are more than counterbalanced, firstly, by his intellectual faculties (which, he remarked on another page, have been chiefly or even exclusively gained for the benefit of the community). and secondly, by his social qualities, which led him to give and receive aid from his fellow men.(44*)

In the last century the "savage" and his "life in the state of nature" were idealized. But now men of science have gone to the opposite extreme, especially since some of them, anxious to prove the animal origin of man, but not conversant with the social aspects of animal life, began to charge the savage with all imaginable "bestial" features. It is evident, however, that this exaggeration is even more unscientific than Rousseau's idealization. The savage is not an ideal of virtue, nor is he an ideal of "savagery." But the primitive man has one quality, elaborated and maintained by the very necessities of his hard struggle for life -- he identifies his own existence with that of his tribe; and without that quality mankind never would have attained the level it has attained now.

Primitive folk, as has been already said, so much identify their lives with that of the tribe, that each of their acts, however insignificant, is considered as a tribal affair. Their whole behaviour is regulated by an infinite series of unwritten rules of propriety which are the fruit of their common experience as to what is good or bad -- that is, beneficial or harmful for their own tribe. Of course, the reasonings upon which their rules of propriety are based sometimes are absurd in the extreme. Many of them originate in superstition; and altogether, in whatever the savage does, he sees but the immediate consequences of his acts; he cannot foresee their indirect and ulterior consequences -- thus simply exaggerating a defect with which Bentham reproached civilized legislators. But, absurd or not, the savage obeys the prescriptions of the common law, however inconvenient they may be. He obeys them even more blindly than the civilized man obeys the prescriptions of the written law. His common law is his religion; it is his very habit of living. The idea of the clan is always present to his mind, and self-restriction and self-sacrifice in the interest of the clan are of daily occurrence. If the savage has infringed one of the smaller tribal rules, he is prosecuted by the mockeries of the women. If the infringement is grave, he is tortured day and night by the fear of having called a calamity upon his tribe. If he has wounded by accident any one of his own clan, and thus has committed the greatest of all crimes, he grows quite miserable: he runs away in the woods, and is ready to commit suicide, unless the tribe absolves him by inflicting upon him a physical pain and sheds some of his own blood.(45*) Within the tribe everything is shared in common; every morsel of food is divided among all present; and if the savage is alone in the woods, he does not begin eating before he has loudly shouted thrice an invitation to any one who may hear his voice to share his meal.(46*)

In short, within the tribe the rule of "each for all" is supreme, so long as the separate family has not yet broken up the tribal unity. But that rule is not extended to the neighbouring clans, or tribes, even when they are federated for mutual protection. Each tribe, or clan, is a separate unity. Just as among mammals and birds, the territory is roughly allotted among separate tribes, and, except in times of war, the boundaries are respected. On entering the territory of his neighbours one must show that he has no bad intentions. The louder one heralds his coming, the more confidence he wins; and if he enters a house, he must deposit his hatchet at the entrance. But no tribe is bound to share its food with the others: it may do so or it may not. Therefore the life of the savage is divided into two sets of actions, and appears under two different ethical aspects: the relations within the tribe, and the relations with the outsiders; and (like our international law) the "inter-tribal" law widely differs from the common law. Therefore, when it comes to a war the most revolting cruelties may be considered as so many claims upon the admiration of the tribe. This double conception of morality passes through the whole evolution of mankind, and maintains itself until now. We Europeans have realized some progress -- not immense, at any rate -- in eradicating that double conception of ethics; but it also must be said that while we have in some measure extended our ideas of solidarity -- in theory, at least -- over the nation, and partly over other nations as well, we have lessened the bonds of solidarity within our own nations, and even within our own families.

The appearance of a separate family amidst the clan necessarily disturbs the established unity. A separate family means separate property and accumulation of wealth. We saw how the Eskimos obviate its inconveniences; and it is one of the most interesting studies to follow in the course of ages the different institutions (village communities, guilds, and so on) by means of which the masses endeavoured to maintain the tribal unity, notwithstanding the agencies which were at work to break it down. On the other hand, the first rudiments of knowledge which appeared at an extremely remote epoch, when they confounded themselves with witchcraft, also became a power in the hands of the individual which could be used against the tribe. They were carefully kept in secrecy, and transmitted to the initiated only, in the secret societies of witches, shamans, and priests, which we find among all savages. By the same time, wars and invasions created military authority, as also castes of warriors, whose associations or clubs acquired great powers. However, at no period of man's life were wars the normal state of existence. While warriors exterminated each other, and the priests celebrated their massacres, the masses continued to live their daily life, they prosecuted their daily toil. And it is one of the most interesting studies to follow that life of the masses; to study the means by which they maintained their own social organization, which was based upon their own conceptions of equity, mutual aid, and mutual support -- of common law, in a word, even when they were submitted to the most ferocious theocracy or autocracy in the State.


1. Nineteenth Century., February 1888, p. 165.

2. The Descent of Man, end of ch. ii. pp. 63 and 64 of the 2nd edition.

3. Anthropologists who fully endorse the above views as regards man nevertheless intimate, sometimes, that the apes live in polygamous families, under the leadership of "a strong and jealous male." I do not know how far that assertion is based upon conclusive observation. But the passage from Brehm's Life of Animals, which is sometimes referred to, can hardly be taken as very conclusive. It occurs in his general description of monkeys; but his more detailed descriptions of separate species either contradict it or do not confirm it. Even as regards the cercopithèques, Brehm is affirmative in saying that they "nearly always live in bands, and very seldom in families" (French edition, p. 59). As to other species, the very numbers of their bands, always containing many males, render the "polygamous family" more than doubtful further observation is evidently wanted.

4. Lubbock, Prehistoric Times, fifth edition, 1890.

5. That extension of the ice-cap is admitted by most of the geologists who have specially studied the glacial age. The Russian Geological Survey already has taken this view as regards Russia, and most German specialists maintain it as regards Germany. The glaciation of most of the central plateau of France will not fail to be recognized by the French geologists, when they pay more attention to the glacial deposits altogether.

6. Prehistoric Times, pp. 232 and 242.

7. Bachofen, Das Mutterrecht, Stuttgart, 1861; Lewis H. Morgan, Ancient Society, or Researches in the Lines of Human Progress from Savagery through Barbarism to Civilization, New York, 1877; J.F. MacLennan, Studies in Ancient History, 1st series, new edition, 1886; 2nd series, 1896; L. Fison and A.W. Howitt, Kamilaroi and Kurnai, Melbourne. These four writers -- as has been very truly remarked by Giraud Teulon, -- starting from different facts and different general ideas, and following different methods, have come to the same conclusion. To Bachofen we owe the notion of the maternal family and the maternal succession; to Morgan -- the system of kinship, Malayan and Turanian, and a highly gifted sketch of the main phases of human evolution; to MacLennan -- the law of exogeny; and to Fison and Howitt -- the cuadro, or scheme, of the conjugal societies in Australia. All four end in establishing the same fact of the tribal origin of the family. When Bachofen first drew attention to the maternal family, in his epoch.making work, and Morgan described the clan-organization, -- both concurring to the almost general extension of these forms and maintaining that the marriage laws lie at the very basis of the consecutive steps of human evolution, they were accused of exaggeration. However, the most careful researches prosecuted since, by a phalanx of students of ancient law, have proved that all races of mankind bear traces of having passed through similar stages of development of marriage laws, such as we now see in force among certain savages. See the works of Post, Dargun, Kovalevsky, Lubbock, and their numerous followers: Lippert, Mucke, etc.

8. See Appendix VII.

9. For the Semites and the Aryans, see especially Prof. Maxim Kovalevsky's Primitive Law (in Russian), Moscow, 1886 and 1887. Also his Lectures delivered at Stockholm (Tableau des origines et de l'évolution de la famille et de la propriété, Stockholm, 1890), which represents an admirable review of the whole question. Cf. also A. Post, Die Geschlechtsgenossenschaft der Urzeit, Oldenburg 1875.

10. It would be impossible to enter here into a discussion of the origin of the marriage restrictions. Let me only remark that a division into groups, similar to Morgan's Hawaian, exists among birds; the young broods live together separately from their parents. A like division might probably be traced among some mammals as well. As to the prohibition of relations between brothers and sisters, it is more likely to have arisen, not from speculations about the bad effects of consanguinity, which speculations really do not seem probable, but to avoid the too-easy precocity of like marriages. Under close cohabitation it must have become of imperious necessity. I must also remark that in discussing the origin of new customs altogether, we must keep in mind that the savages, like us, have their "thinkers" and savants-wizards, doctors, prophets, etc. -- whose knowledge and ideas are in advance upon those of the masses. United as they are in their secret unions (another almost universal feature) they are certainly capable of exercising a powerful influence, and of enforcing customs the utility of which may not yet be recognized by the majority of the tribe.

11. Col. Collins, in Philips' Researches in South Africa, London, 1828. Quoted by Waitz, ii. 334.

12. Lichtenstein's Reisen im südlichen Afrika, ii. Pp. 92, 97. Berlin, 1811.

13. Waitz, Anthropologie der Naturvolker, ii. pp. 335 seq. See also Fritsch's Die Eingeboren Afrika's, Breslau, 1872, pp. 386 seq.; and Drei Jahre in Süd Afrika. Also W. Bleck, A Brief Account of Bushmen Folklore, Capetown, 1875.

14. Elisée Reclus, Géographie Universelle, xiii. 475.

15. P. Kolben, The Present State of the Cape of Good Hope, translated from the German by Mr. Medley, London, 1731, vol. i. pp. 59, 71, 333, 336, etc.

16. Quoted in Waitz's Anthropologie, ii. 335 seq.

17. The natives living in the north of Sidney, and speaking the Kamilaroi language, are best known under this aspect, through the capital work of Lorimer Fison and A.W. Howitt, Kamilaroi and Kurnaii, Melbourne, 1880. See also A.W. Howitt's "Further Note on the Australian Class Systems," in Journal of the Anthropological Institute, 1889, vol. xviii. p. 31, showing the wide extension of the same organization in Australia.

18. The Folklore, Manners, etc., of Australian Aborigines, Adelaide, 1879, p. 11.

19. Grey's Journals of Two Expeditions of Discovery in North-West and Western Australia, London, 1841, vol. ii. pp. 237, 298.

20. Bulletin de la Société d'Anthropologie, 1888, vol. xi. p. 652. I abridge the answers.

21. Bulletin de la Société d'Anthropologie, 1888, vol. xi. p. 386.

22. The same is the practice with the Papuas of Kaimani Bay, who have a high reputation of honesty. "It never happens that the Papua be untrue to his promise," Finsch says in Neuguinea und seine Bewohner, Bremen, 1865, p. 829.

23. Izvestia of the Russian Geographical Society, 1880, pp. 161 seq. Few books of travel give a better insight into the petty details of the daily life of savages than these scraps from Maklay's notebooks.

24. L.F. Martial, in Mission Scientifique au Cap Horn, Paris, 1883, vol. i. pp. 183-201.

25. Captain Holm's Expedition to East Greenland.

26. In Australia whole clans have been seen exchanging all their wives, in order to conjure a calamity (Post, Studien zur Entwicklungsgeschichte des Familienrechts, 1890, p. 342). More brotherhood is their specific against calamities.

27. Dr. H. Rink, The Eskimo Tribes, p. 26 (Meddelelser om Grönland, vol. xi. 1887).

28. Dr. Rink, loc. cit. p. 24. Europeans, grown in the respect of Roman law, are seldom capable of understanding that force of tribal authority. "In fact," Dr. Rink writes, "it is not the exception, but the rule, that white men who have stayed for ten or twenty years among the Eskimo, return without any real addition to their knowledge of the traditional ideas upon which their social state is based. The white man, whether a missionary or a trader, is firm in his dogmatic opinion that the most vulgar European is better than the most distinguished native." -- The Eskimo Tribes, p. 31.

29. Dall, Alaska and its Resources, Cambridge, U.S., 1870.

30. Dall saw it in Alaska, Jacobsen at Ignitok in the vicinity of the Bering Strait. Gilbert Sproat mentions it among the Vancouver indians; and Dr. Rink, who describes the periodical exhibitions just mentioned, adds: "The principal use of the accumulation of personal wealth is for periodically distributing it." He also mentions (loc. cit. p. 31) "the destruction of property for the same purpose,' (of maintaining equality).

31. See Appendix VIII.

32. Veniaminoff, Memoirs relative to the District of Unalashka (Russian), 3 vols. St. Petersburg, 1840. Extracts, in English, from the above are given in Dall's Alaska. A like description of the Australians' morality is given in Nature, xlii. p. 639.

33. It is most remarkable that several writers (Middendorff, Schrenk, O. Finsch) described the Ostyaks and Samoyedes in almost the same words. Even when drunken, their quarrels are insignificant. "For a hundred years one single murder has been committed in the tundra;" "their children never fight;" "anything may be left for years in the tundra, even food and gin, and nobody will touch it;" and so on. Gilbert Sproat "never witnessed a fight between two sober natives" of the Aht Indians of Vancouver Island. "Quarrelling is also rare among their children." (Rink, loc. cit.) And so on.

34. Gill, quoted in Gerland and Waitz's Anthropologie, v. 641. See also pp. 636-640, where many facts of parental and filial love are quoted.

35. Primitive Folk, London, 1891.

36. Gerland, loc. cit. v. 636.

37. Erskine, quoted in Gerland and Waitz's Anthropologie, v. 640.

38. W.T. Pritchard, Polynesian Reminiscences, London, 1866, p. 363.

39. It is remarkable, however, that in case of a sentence of death, nobody will take upon himself to be the executioner. Every one throws his stone, or gives his blow with the hatchet, carefully avoiding to give a mortal blow. At a later epoch, the priest will stab the victim with a sacred knife. Still later, it will be the king, until civilization invents the hired hangman. See Bastian's deep remarks upon this subject in Der Mensch in der Geschichte, iii. Die Blutrache, pp. 1-36. A remainder of this tribal habit, I am told by Professor E. Nys, has survived in military executions till our own times. In the middle portion of the nineteenth century it was the habit to load the rifles of the twelve soldiers called out for shooting the condemned victim, with eleven ball-cartridges and one blank cartridge. As the soldiers never knew who of them had the latter, each one could console his disturbed conscience by thinking that he was not one of the murderers.

40. In Africa, and elsewhere too, it is a widely-spread habit, that if a theft has been committed, the next clan has to restore the equivalent of the stolen thing, and then look itself for the thief. A. H. Post, Afrikanische Jurisprudenz, Leipzig, 1887, vol. i. p. 77.

41. See Prof. M. Kovalevsky's Modern Customs and Ancient Law (Russian), Moscow, 1886, vol. ii., which contains many important considerations upon this subject.

42. See Carl Bock, The Head Hunters of Borneo, London, 1881. I am told, however, by Sir Hugh Law, who was for a long time Governor of Borneo, that the "head-hunting" described in this book is grossly exaggerated. Altogether, my informant speaks of the Dayaks in exactly the same sympathetic terms as Ida Pfeiffer. Let me add that Mary Kingsley speaks in her book on West Africa in the same sympathetic terms of the Fans, who had been represented formerly as the most "terrible cannibals."

43. Ida Pfeiffer, Meine zweite Weltrieze, Wien, 1856, vol. i. pp. 116 seq. See also Müller and Temminch's Dutch Possessions in Archipelagic India, quoted by Elisée Reclus, in Géographie Universelle, xiii.

44. Descent of Man, second ed., pp. 63, 64.

45. See Bastian's Mensch in der Geschichte, iii. p. 7. Also Grey, loc. cit. ii. p. 238.

46. Miklukho-Maclay, loc. cit. Same habit with the Hottentots.

Huxley's "Struggle for Existence" Essay

Kropotkin, on Wiki information, wrote his "Mutual Aid" as a reply to the following by Thomas Huxley:

The Struggle for Existence in Human Society (1888)

Collected Essays IX

[195] The vast and varied procession of events, which we call Nature, affords a sublime spectacle and an inexhaustible wealth of attractive problems to the speculative observer. If we confine our attention to that aspect which engages the attention of the intellect, nature appears a beautiful and harmonious whole, the incarnation of a faultless logical process, from certain premisses in the past to an inevitable conclusion in tile future. But if it be regarded from a less elevated, though more human, point of view; if our moral sympathies are allowed to influence our judgment, and we permit ourselves to criticise our great mother as we criticise one another; then our verdict, at least so far as sentient nature is concerned, can hardly be so favourable.

In sober truth, to those who have made a [196] study of the phenomena of life as they exhibited

by the higher forms of the animal world, the optimistic dogma, that this is the best of all possible worlds, will seem little better than a libel upon possibility. It is really only another instance to be added to the many extant, of the audacity of a priori speculators who, having created God in their own image, find no difficulty in assuming that the Almighty must have been actuated by the same motives as themselves. They are quite sure that, had any other course been practicable, He would no more have made infinite suffering a necessary ingredient of His handiwork than a respectable philosopher would have done the like.

But even the modified optimism of the time-honoured thesis of physico-theology, that the sentient world is, on the whole, regulated by principles of benevolence, does but ill stand the test of impartial confrontation with the facts of the case. No doubt it is quite true that sentient nature affords hosts of examples of subtle contrivances directed towards the production of pleasure or the avoidance of pain; and it may be proper to say that these are evidences of benevolence. But if so, why is it not equally proper to say of the equally numerous arrangements, the no less necessary result of which is the production of pain, that . they are evidences of malevolence?

If a vast amount of that which, in a piece of human workmanship, we should call skill, is [197] visible in those parts of the organization of a deer to which it owes its ability to escape from beasts of prey, there is at least equal skill displayed in that bodily mechanism of the wolf which enables him to track, and sooner or later to bring down, the deer. Viewed under the dry light of science, deer and wolf are alike admirable; and, if both were non-sentient automata, there would be nothing to qualify our admiration of the action of the one on the other. But the fact that the deer suffers, while the wolf inflicts suffering, engages our moral sympathies. We should call men like the deer innocent and good, men such as the wolf malignant and bad; we should call those who defended the deer and aided him to escape brave and compassionate, and those who helped the wolf in his bloody work base and cruel. Surely, if we transfer these judgments to nature outside the world of man at all, we must do so impartially. In that case, the goodness of the right hand which helps the deer, and the wickedness of the left hand which eggs on the wolf, will neutralize one another: and the course of nature will appear to be neither moral nor immoral, but non-moral.

This conclusion is thrust upon us by analogous facts in every part of the sentient world; yet, inasmuch as it not only jars upon prevalent prejudices, but arouses the natural dislike to that which is painful, much ingenuity has been exercised in devising an escape from it.

[198] From the theological side, we are told that this is a state of probation, and that the seeming injustices and immoralities of nature will be compensated by and by. But how this compensation is to be effected, in the case of the great majority of sentient things, is not clear. I apprehend that no one is seriously prepared to maintain that the ghosts of all the myriads of generations of herbivorous animals which lived during the millions of years of the earth's duration, before the appearance of man, and which have all that time been tormented and devoured by carnivores, are to be compensated by a perennial existence in clover; while the ghosts of carnivores are to go to some kennel where there is neither a pan of water nor a bone with any meat on it. Besides, from the point of view of morality, the last stage of things would be worse than the first. For the carnivores, however brutal and sanguinary, have only done that which, if there is any evidence of contrivance in the world, they were expressly constructed to do. Moreover, carnivores and herbivores alike have been subject to all the miseries incidental to old age, disease, and over-multiplication, and both might well put in a claim for "compensation" on this score.

On the evolutionist side, on the other hand, we are told to take comfort from the reflection that

the terrible struggle for existence tends to final good, and that the suffering of the ancestor is paid for by the increased perfection of the progeny. There would be something in this argument if, in [199] Chinese fashion, the present generation could pay its debts to its ancestors; otherwise it is not clear what compensation the Eohippus gets for his sorrows in the fact that, some millions of years afterwards, one of his descendants wins the Derby. And, again, it is an error to imagine that evolution signifies a constant tendency to increased perfection. That process undoubtedly involves a constant remodelling of the organism in adaptation to new conditions; but it depends on the nature of those conditions whether the direction of the modifications effected shall be upward or downward. Retrogressive is as practicable as progressive metamorphosis. If what the physical philosophers tell us, that our globe has been in a state of fusion, and, like the sun, is gradually cooling down, is true; then the time must come when evolution will mean adaptation to an universal winter, and all forms of life will die out, except such low and simple organisms as the Diatom of the arctic and antarctic ice and the Protococcus of the red snow. If our globe is proceeding from a condition in which it was too hot to support any but the lowest living thing to a condition in which it will be too cold to permit of the existence of any others, the course of life upon its surface must describe a trajectory like that of a ball fired from a mortar; and the sinking half of that course is as much a part of the general process of evolution as the rising.

From the point of view of the moralist the [200] animal world is on about the same level as a gladiator’s show.. The creatures are fairly well treated, and set to fight–whereby the strongest, the swiftest, and the cunningest live to fight another day. The spectator has no need to turn his thumbs down, as no quarter is given. He must admit that the skill and training displayed are wonderful. But he must shut his eyes if he would not see that more or less enduring suffering is the meed of both vanquished and victor. And since the great game is going on in every corner of the world, thousands of times a minute; since, were our ears sharp enough, we need not descend to the gates of hell to hear–
sospiri, pianti, ed alti guai.
. . .
Voci alte e floche, e suon di man con elle

–it seems to follow that, if the world is governed by benevolence, it must be a different sort of benevolence from that of John Howard.

But the old Babylonians wisely symbolized Nature by their great goddess Istar, who combined the attributes of Aphrodite with those of Ares. Her terrible aspect is not to be ignored or covered up with shams; but it is not the only one. If the optimism of Leibnitz is a foolish though pleasant dream, the pessimism of Schopenhauer is a nightmare, the more foolish because of its hideousness. Error which is not pleasant is surely the worst form of wrong.

[201] This may not be the best of all possible worlds, but to say that it is the worst is mere petulant nonsense. A worn-out voluptuary may find nothing good under the sun, or a vain and inexperienced youth, who cannot get the moon he cries for, may vent his irritation in pessimistic moanings; but there can be no doubt in the mind of any reasonable person that mankind could, would, and in fact do, get on fairly well with vastly less happiness and far more misery than find their way into the lives of nine people out of ten. If each and all of us had been visited by an attack of neuralgia, or of extreme mental depression, for one hour in every twenty-four–a supposition which many tolerably vigorous people know, to their cost, is not extravagant–the burden of life would have been immensely increased without much practical hindrance to its general course. Men with any manhood in them find life quite worth living under worse conditions than these.

There is another sufficiently obvious fact, which renders the hypothesis that the course of sentient nature is dictated by malevolence quite untenable. A vast multitude of pleasures, and these among the purest and the best, are superfluities, bits of good which are to all appearances unnecessary as inducements to live, and are, so to speak, thrown into the bargain of life. To those who experience them, few delights can be more [202] entrancing than such as are afforded by natural beauty, or by the arts, and especially by music; but they are products of, rather than factors in, evolution, and it is probable that they are known, in any considerable degree, to but a very small proportion of mankind.

The conclusion of the whole matter seems to be that, if Ormuzd has not had his way in this world, neither has Ahriman. Pessimism is as little consonant with the facts of sentient existence as optimism. If we desire to represent the course of nature in terms of human thought, and assume that it was intended to be that which it is, we must say that its governing principle is intellectual and not moral; that it is a materialized logical process, accompanied by pleasures and pains, the incidence of which, in the majority of cases, has not the slightest reference to moral desert. That the rain falls alike upon the just and the unjust, and that those upon whom the Tower of Siloam fell were no worse than their neighbours, seem to be Oriental modes of expressing the same conclusion.

In the strict sense of the word "nature," it denotes the sum of the phenomenal world, of that

which has been, and is, and will be; and society, like art, is therefore a part of nature. But it is convenient to distinguish those parts of nature in which man plays the part of immediate cause, as [203] some thing apart; and, therefore, society, like art, is usefully to be considered as distinct from nature. It is the more desirable, and even necessary, to make this distinction, since society differs from nature in having a definite moral object; whence it comes about that the course shaped by the ethical man–the member of society or citizen–necessarily runs counter to that which the non-ethical man–the primitive savage, or man as a mere member of the animal kingdom–tends to adopt. The latter fights out the struggle for existence to the bitter end, like any other animal; the former devotes his best energies to the object of setting limits to the struggle.1

In the cycle of phenomena presented by the life of man, the animal, no more moral end is discernible than in that presented by the lives of the wolf and of the deer. However imperfect the relics of prehistoric men may be, the evidence which they afford clearly tends to the conclusion that, for thousands and thousands of years, before the origin of the oldest known civilizations, men were savages of a very low type. They strove with their enemies and their competitors; they preyed upon things weaker or less cunning than themselves; they were born, multiplied without stint, and died, for thousands of generations alongside the mammoth, the urus, the lion, and [204] the hyaena, whose lives were spent in the same way; and they were no more to be praised or blamed on moral grounds, than their less erect and more hairy compatriots.

As among these, so among primitive men, the weakest and stupidest went to the wall, while the toughest and shrewdest, those who were best fitted to cope with their circumstances, but not the best in any other sense, survived. Life was a continual free fight, and beyond the limited and temporary relations of the family, the Hobbesian war of each against all was the normal state of existence. The human species, like others, plashed and floundered amid the general stream of evolution, keeping its head above water as it best might, and thinking neither of whence nor whither.

The history of civilization–that is, of society–on the other hand, is the record of the attempts which the human race has made to escape from this position. The first men who substituted the state of mutual peace for that of mutual war, whatever the motive which impelled them to take that step, created society. But, in establishing peace, they obviously put a limit upon the struggle for existence. Between the members of that society, at any rate, it was not to be pursued a outrance. And of all the successive shapes which society has taken, that most nearly approaches perfection in which the war of individual against individual is most strictly limited.

[205] The primitive savage, tutored by Istar, appropriated whatever took his fancy, and killed whomsoever opposed him, if he could. On the contrary, the ideal of the ethical man is to limit his freedom of action to a sphere in which he does not interfere with the freedom of others; he seeks the common weal as much as his own; and, indeed, as an essential part of his own welfare. Peace is both end and means with him; and he founds his life on a more or less complete self-restraint, which is the negation of the unlimited struggle for existence. He tries to escape from his place in the animal kingdom, founded on the free development of the principle of non-moral evolution, and to establish a kingdom of Man, governed upon tile principle of moral evolution. For society not only has a moral end, but in its perfection, social life, is embodied morality.

But the effort of ethical man to work towards a moral end by no means abolished, perhaps has hardly modified, the deep-seated organic impulses which impel the natural man to follow his non-moral course. One of the most essential conditions, if not the chief cause, of the struggle for existence, is the tendency to multiply without limit, which man shares with all living things. It is notable that "increase and multiply" is a commandment traditionally much older than the ten; and that it is, perhaps, the only one which [206] has been spontaneously and ex animo obeyed by the great majority of the human race. But, in civilized society, the inevitable result of such obedience is the re-establishment, in all its intensity, of that struggle for existence–the war of each against all–the mitigation or abolition of which was the chief end of social organization.

It is conceivable that, at some period in the history of the fabled Atlantis, the production of food should have been exactly sufficient to meet the wants of the population, that the makers of the commodities of the artificer should have amounted to just the number supportable by the surplus food of the agriculturists. And, as there is no harm in adding another monstrous supposition to the foregoing, let it be imagined that every man, woman, and child was perfectly virtuous, and aimed at the good of all as the highest personal good. In that happy land, the natural man would have been finally put down by the ethical man. There would have been no competition, but the industry of each would have been serviceable to all; nobody being vain and nobody avaricious, there would have been no rivalries; the struggle for existence would have been abolished, and the millennium would have finally set in. But it is obvious that this state of things could have been permanent only with a stationary population. Add ten fresh mouths; and as, by the supposition, there was [207] only exactly enough before, somebody must go on short rations. The Atlantis society might have been a heaven upon earth, the whole nation might have consisted of just men, needing no repentance, and yet somebody must starve. Reckless Istar, non-moral Nature, would have riven the ethical fabric. I was once talking with a very eminent physician2 about the vis medicatrix naturoe. "Stuff!" said he; "nine times out of ten nature does not want to cure the man: she wants to put him in his coffin." And Istar-Nature appears to have equally little sympathy with the ends of society. "Stuff! she wants nothing but a fair field and free play for her darling the strongest."

Our Atlantis may be an impossible figment, but the antagonistic tendencies which the fable adumbrates have existed in every society which was ever established, and, to all appearance, must strive for the victory in all that will be. Historians point to the greed and ambition of rulers, to the reckless turbulence of the ruled, to the debasing effects of wealth and luxury, and to the devastating wars which have formed a great part of the occupation of mankind, as the causes of the decay of states and the foundering of old civilizations, and thereby point their story with a moral. No doubt immoral motives of all sorts have figured largely among the minor [208] causes of these events. But beneath all this superficial turmoil lay the deep-seated impulse given by unlimited multiplication. In the swarms of colonies thrown out by Phoenicia and by old Greece; in the ver sacrum of the Latin races; in the floods of Gauls and of Teutons which burst over the frontiers of tile old civilization of Europe; in the swaying to and fro of the vast Mongolian hordes in late times, the population problem comes to the front in a very visible shape. Nor is it less plainly manifest in the everlasting agrarian questions of ancient Rome than in the Arreoi societies of the Polynesian Islands.

In the ancient world, and in a large part of that in which we live, the practice of infanticide was, or is, a regular and legal custom; famine, pestilence, and war were and are normal factors in the struggle for existence, and they have served, in a gross and brutal fashion, to mitigate the intensity of the effects of its chief cause.

But, in the more advanced civilizations, the progress of private and public morality has steadily tended to remove all these checks. We declare infanticide murder, and punish it as such; we decree, not quite so successfully, that no one shall die of hunger; we regard death from preventible causes of other kinds as a sort of constructive murder, and eliminate pestilence to the best [209] of our ability; we declaim against the curse of war, and the wickedness of the military spirit, and we are never weary of dilating on the blessedness of peace and the innocent beneficence of Industry. In their moments of expansion, even statesmen and men of business go thus far. The finer spirits look to an ideal civitas Dei; a state when, every man having reached the point of absolute self-negation, and having nothing but moral perfection to strive after, peace will truly reign, not merely among nations, but among nien, and the struggle for existence will be at an end.

Whether human nature is competent, under any circumstances, to reach, or even seriously advance towards, this ideal condition, is a question which need not be discussed. It will be admitted that mankind has not yet reached this stage by a very long way, and my business is with the present. And that which I wish to point out is that, so long as the natural man increases and multiplies without restraint, so long will peace and industry not only permit, but they will necessitate, a struggle for existence as sharp as any that ever went on under the regime of war. If Istar is to reign on the one hand, she will demand her human sacrifices on the other.

Let us look at home. For seventy years peace and industry have had their way among us with less interruption and under more favourable conditions than in any other country on the [210] face of the earth. The wealth of Croesus was nothing to that which we have accumulated, and our prosperity has filled the world with envy. But Nemesis did not forget Croesus: has she forgotten us?

I think not. There are now 36,000,000 of people in our islands, and every year considerably more than 300,000 are added to our numbers.3 That is to say, about every hundred seconds, or so, a new claimant to a share in the common stock or maintenance presents him or herself among us. At the present time, the produce of the soil does not suffice to feed half its population. The other moiety has to be supplied with food which must be bought from the people of food-producing countries. That is to say, we have to offer them the things which they want in exchange for the things we want. And the things they want and which we can produce better than they can are mainly manufactures–industrial products.

The insolent reproach of the first Napoleon had a very solid foundation. We not only are, but, under penalty of starvation, we are bound to be, a nation of shopkeepers. But other

Judged by an ethical standard, nothing can be less satisfactory than the position in which we find ourselves. In a real, though incomplete, degree we have attained the condition of peace which is the main object of social organization; and, for argument's sake, it may be assumed that we desire nothing but that which is in itself innocent and praiseworthy–namely, the enjoyment of the fruits of honest industry. And lo! in spite of ourselves, we are in reality engaged in an internecine struggle for existence with our presumably no less peaceful and well-meaning neighbours. We seek peace and we do not ensue it. The moral nature in us asks for no more than is compatible with the general good; the non-moral nature proclaims and acts upon that fine old Scottish family motto, "Thou shalt starve ere I want." Let us be under no illusions, then. So long as unlimited multiplication goes on, no social organization which has ever been devised, or is [212] likely to be devised, no fiddle-faddling with the distribution of wealth, will deliver society from the tendency to be destroyed by the reproduction within itself, in its intensest form, of that struggle for existence the limitation of which is the object of society. And however shocking to the moral sense this eternal competition of man against man and of nation against nation may be; however revolting may be the accumulation of misery at the negative pole of society, in contrast with that of monstrous wealth at the positive pole;4 this state of things must abide, and grow continually worse, so long as Istar holds her way unchecked. It is the true riddle of the Sphinx; and every nation which does not solve it will sooner or later be devoured by the monster itself has generated.

The practical and pressing question for us, just now, seems to me to be how to gain time. "Time brings counsel," as the Teutonic proverb has it; and wiser folk among our posterity may see their way out of that which at present looks like an impasse.

It would be folly to entertain any ill-feeling towards those neighbours and rivals who, like

ourselves, are slaves of Istar; but, if somebody is to be starved, the modern world has no Oracle of Delphi to which the nations can appeal for an indication of the victim. It is open to us to try [213] our fortune; and, if we avoid impending fate, there will be a certain ground for believing that we are the right people to escape. Securus judicat orbis.

To this end, it is well to look into the necessary condition of our salvation by works. They are two, one plain to all the world and hardly needing insistence; the other seemingly not so plain, since too often it has been theoretically and practically left out of sight. The obvious condition is that our produce shall be better than that of others. There is only one reason why our goods should be preferred to those of our rivals–our customers must find them better at the price. That means that we must use more knowledge, skill, and industry in producing them, without a proportionate increase in the cost of production; and, as the price of labour constitutes a large element in that cost, the rate of wages must be restricted within certain limits. It is perfectly true that cheap production and cheap labour are by no means synonymous; but it is also true that wages cannot increase beyond a certain proportion without destroying cheapness. Cheapness, then, with, as part and parcel of cheapness, a moderate price of labour, is essential to our success as competitors in the markets of the world.

The second condition is really quite as plainly indispensable as the first, if one thinks seriously about the matter. It is social stability. Society [214] is stable, when the wants of its members obtain as much satisfaction as, life being what it is, common sense and experience show may be reasonably expected. Mankind, in general, care very little for forms of government or ideal considerations of any sort; and nothing really stirs the great multitude to break with custom and incur the manifest perils of revolt except the belief that misery in this world, or damnation in the next, or both, are threatened by the continuance of the state of things in which they have been brought up. But when they do attain that conviction, society becomes as unstable as a package of dynamite, and a very small matter will produce the explosion which sends it back to the chaos of savagery.

It needs no argument to prove that when the price of labour sinks below a certain point, the worker infallibly falls into that condition which the French emphatically call la misere–a word for which I do not think there is any exact English equivalent. It is a condition in which the food, warmth, and clothing which are necessary for the mere maintenance of the functions of the body in their normal state cannot be obtained; in which men, women, and children are forced to crowd into dens wherein decency is abolished and the most ordinary conditions of healthful existence are impossible of attainment; in which the pleasures within reach are reduced to bestiality [215] and drunkenness; in which the pains accumulate at compound interest, in the shape of starvation, disease, stunted development, and moral degradation; in which the prospect of even steady and honest industry is a life of unsuccessful battling with hunger, rounded by a pauper's grave.

That a certain proportion of the members of every great aggregation of mankind should constantly tend to establish and populate such a Slough of Despond as this is inevitable, so long as some people are by nature idle and vicious, while others are disabled by sickness or accident, or thrown upon the world by the death of their bread-winners. So long as that proportion is restricted within tolerable limits, it can be dealt with; and, so far as it arises only from such causes, its existence may and must be patiently borne. But, when the organization of society, instead of mitigating this tendency, tends to continue and intensify it; when a given social order plainly makes for evil and not for good, men naturally enough begin to think it high time to try a fresh experiment. The animal man, finding that the ethical man has landed him in such a slough, resumes his ancient sovereignty, and preaches anarchy; which is, substantially, a proposal to reduce the social cosmos to chaos, and begin the brute struggle for existence once again.

Any one who is acquainted with the state of the population of all great industrial centres, [216] whether in this or other countries, is aware that, amidst a large and increasing body of that population, La misere reigns supreme. I have no pretensions to the character of a philanthropist, and I have a special horror of all sorts of sentimental rhetoric; I am merely trying to deal with facts, to some extent within my own knowledge, and further evidenced by abundant testimony, as a naturalist; and I take it to be a mere plain truth that, throughout industrial Europe, there is not a single large manufacturing city which is free from a vast mass of people whose condition is exactly that described; and from a still greater mass who, living just on the edge of the social swamp, are liable to be precipitated into it by any lack of demand for their produce. And, with every addition to the population, the multitude already sunk in the pit and the number of the host sliding towards it continually increase.

Argumentation can hardly be needful to make it clear that no society in which the elements of decomposition are thus swiftly and surely accumulating can hope to win in the race of industries.

Intelligence, knowledge, and skill are undoubtedly conditions of success; but of what avail are they likely to be unless they are backed up by honesty, energy, goodwill, and all the physical and moral faculties that go to the making of manhood, and unless they are stimulated by hope of such reward as men may fairly look to? And what [217] dweller in the slough of want, dwarfed in body and soul, demoralized, hopeless, can reasonably be expected to possess these qualities?

Any full and permanent development of the productive powers of an industrial population, then, must be compatible with and, indeed, based upon a social organization which will secure a fair amount of physical and moral welfare to that population; which will make for good and not for evil. Natural science and religious enthusiasm rarely go hand in hand, but on this matter their concord is complete; and the least sympathetic of naturalists can but admire the insight and the devotion of such social reformers as the late Lord Shaftesbury, whose recently published "Life and Letters" gives a vivid picture of the condition of the working classes fifty years ago, and of the pit which our industry, ignoring these plain truths, was then digging under its own feet.

There is, perhaps, no more hopeful sign of progress among us, in the last half-century, than the steadily increasing devotion which has been and is directed to measures for promoting physical and moral welfare among the poorer classes. Sanitary reformers, like most other reformers whom I have had the advantage of knowing, seem to need a good dose of fanaticism, as a sort of moral coca, to keep them up to the mark, and, doubtless, they have made many mistakes; but that the endeavour to improve the condition under [218] our industrial population live, to amend the drainage of densely peopled streets, to provide baths, washhouses, and gymnasia, to facilitate habits of thrift, to furnish some provision for instruction and amusement in public libraries and the like, is not only desirable from a philanthropic point of view, but an essential condition of safe industrial development, appears to me to be indisputable. It is by such means alone, so far as I can see, that we can hope to check the constant gravitation of industrial society towards la misere, until the general progress of intelligence and morality leads men to grapple with the sources of that tendency. If it is said that the carrying out of such arrangements as those indicated must enhance the cost of production, and thus handicap the producer in the race of competition, I venture, in the first place, to doubt the fact; but if it be so, it results that industrial society has to face a dilemma, either alternative of which threatens destruction.

On the one hand, a population the labour of which is sufficiently remunerated may be physi-

cally and morally healthy and socially stable, but may fail in industrial competition by reason of the dearness of its produce. On the other hand, a population the labour of which is insufficiently remunerated must become physically and morally unhealthy, and socially unstable; and though it may succeed for a while in industrial competition, by reason of the [219] cheapness of its produce, it must in the end fall, through hideous misery and degradation, to utter ruin.

Well, if these are the only possible alternatives, let us for ourselves and our children choose the former, and, if need be, starve like men. But I do not believe that the stable society made up of healthy, vigorous, instructed, and self-ruling people would ever incur serious risk of that fate. They are not likely to be troubled with many competitors of the same character, just yet; and they may be safely trusted to find ways of holding their own.

Assuming that the physical and moral well-being and the stable social order, which are the indispensable conditions of permanent industrial development, are secured, there remains for consideration the means of attaining that knowledge and skill without which, even then, the battle of competition cannot be successfully fought. Let us consider how we stand. A vast system of elementary education has now been in operation among us for sixteen years, and has reached all but a very small fraction of the population. I do not think that there is any room for doubt that, on the whole, it has worked well, and that its indirect no less than its direct benefits have been immense. But, as might be expected, it exhibits the defects of all our educational systems–fashioned as they were to [220] meet the wants of a bygone condition of society. There is a widespread and, I think, well-justified complaint that it has too much to do with books and too little to do with things. I am as little disposed as any one can well be to narrow early education and to make the primary school a mere annexe of the shop. And it is not so much in the interests of industry, as in that of breadth of culture, that I echo the common complaint against the bookish and theoretical character of our primary instruction.

If there were no such things as industrial pursuits, a system of education which does nothing for the faculties of observation, which trains neither the eye nor the hand, and is compatible with utter ignorance of the commonest natural truths, might still be reasonably regarded as strangely imperfect. And when we consider that the instruction and training which are lacking are exactly; those which are of most importance for the great mass of our population, the fault becomes almost a crime, the more that there is no practical difficulty in making good these defects. There really is no reason why drawing should not be universally taught, and it is an admirable training for both eye and hand. Artists are born, not made; but everybody may be taught to draw elevations, plans, and sections; and pots and pans are as good, indeed better, models for this purpose than the Apollo Belvedere. [221] The plant is not expensive; and there is this excellent quality about drawing of the kind indicated, that it can be tested almost as easily and severely as arithmetic. Such drawings are either right or wrong, and if they are wrong the pupil can be made to see that they are wrong. From the industrial point of view, drawing has the further merit that there is hardly any trade in which the power of drawing is not of daily and hourly utility. In the next place, no good reason, except the want of capable teachers, can be assigned why elementary notions of science should not be an element in general instruction. In this case, again, no expensive or elaborate apparatus is necessary. The commonest thing–a candle, a boy's squirt, a piece of chalk–in the hands of a teacher who knows his business, may be made the starting-point whence children may be led into the regions of science as far as their capacity permits, with efficient exercise of their observational and reasoning faculties on the road. If object lessons often prove trivial failures, it is not the fault of object lessons, but that of the teacher, who has not found out how much the power of teaching a little depends on knowing a great deal, and that thoroughly; and that he has not made that discovery is not the fault of the teachers, but of the detestable system of training them which is widely prevalent.5

[222] As I have said, I do not regard the proposal to add these to the present subjects of universal instruction as made merely in the interests of industry. Elementary science and drawing are just as needful at Eton (where I am happy to say both are now parts of the regular course) as in the lowest primary school. But their importance in the education of the artisan is enhanced, not merely by the fact that the knowledge and skill thus gained–little as they may amount to–will still be of practical utility to him; but, further, because they constitute an introduction to that special training which is commonly called "technical education."

I conceive that our wants in this last direction may be grouped under three heads: (1) Instruction in the principles of those branches of science and of art which are peculiarly applicable to industrial pursuits, which may be called preliminary scientific education. (2) Instruction in the special branches of such applied science and art, as technical education proper. (3) Instruction of teachers in both these branches. (I) Capacity-catching machinery.

A great deal has already been done in each of these directions, but much remains to be done.[223] If elementary education is amended in the way that has been suggested, I think that the schoolboards will have quite as much on their hands as they are capable of doing well. The influences under which the members of these bodies are elected do not tend to secure fitness for dealing with scientific or technical education; and it is the less necessary to burden them with an uncongenial task as there are other organizations, not only much better fitted to do the work, but already actually doing it.

In the matter of preliminary scientific education, the chief of these is the Science and Art Department, which has done more during the last quarter of a century for the teaching of elementary science among the masses of the people than any organization which exists either in this or in any other country. It has become veritably a people's university, so far as physical science is concerned. At the foundation of our old universities they were freely open to the poorest, but the poorest must come to them. In the last quarter of a century, the Science and Art Department, by means of its classes spread all over the country and open to all, has conveyed instruction to the poorest. The University Extension movement shows that our older learned corporations have discovered the propriety of following suit.

Technical education, in the strict sense, has become a necessity for two reasons. The old [224] apprenticeship system has broken down, partly by reason of the changed conditions of industrial life, and partly because trades have ceased to be "crafts," the traditional secrets whereof the master handed down to his apprentices. Invention is constantly changing the face of our industries, so that "use and wont," "rule of thumb," and the like, are gradually losing their importance, while that knowledge of principles which alone can deal successfully with changed conditions is becoming more and more valuable. Socially, the "master" of four or five apprentices is disappearing in favour of the "employer" of forty, or four hundred, or four thousand, "hands," and the odds and ends of technical knowledge, formerly picked up in a shop, are not, and cannot be, supplied in the factory. The instruction formerly given by the master must therefore be more than replaced by the systematic teaching of the technical school.

Institutions of this kind on varying scales of magnitude and completeness, from tile splendid edifice set up by the City and Guilds Institute to the smallest local technical school, to say nothing of classes, such as those in technology instituted by the Society of Arts (subsequently taken over by the City Guilds), have been established in various parts of the country, and the movement in favour of their increase and multiplication is rapidly growing in breadth and intensity. But [225] there is much difference of opinion as to the best way in which the technical instruction, so generally desired, should be given. Two courses appear to be practicable: the one is the establishment of special technical schools with a systematic and lengthened course of instruction demanding the employment of the whole time of the pupils. The other is the setting afoot of technical classes, especially evening classes, comprising a short series of lessons on some special topic, which may be attended by persons already earning wages in some branch of trade or commerce.

There is no doubt that technical schools, on the plan indicated under the first head, are extremely costly; and, so far as the teaching of artisans is concerned, it is very commonly objected to them that, as the learners do not work under trade conditions, they are apt to fall into amateurish habits, which prove of more hindrance than service in the actual business of life. When such schools are attached to factories under the direction of an employer who desires to train up a supply of intelligent workmen, of course this objection does not apply; nor can the usefulness of such schools for the training of future employers and for the higher grade of the employed be doubtful; but they are clearly out of the reach of the great mass of the people, who have to earn their bread as soon as possible. We must therefore look to the classes, and especially to [226] evening classes, as the great instrument for the technical education of the artisan. The utility of such classes has now been placed beyond all doubt; the only question which remains is to find the ways and means of extending them.

We are here, as in all other questions of social organization, met by two diametrically opposed views. On the one hand, the methods pursued in foreign countries are held up as our example. The State is exhorted to take the matter in hand. and establish a great system of technical education. On the other hand, many economists of the individualist school exhaust the resources of language in condemning and repudiating, not merely the interference of the general government in such matters, but the application of a farthing of the funds raised by local taxation to these purposes. I entertain a strong conviction that, in this country, at any rate, the State had much better leave purely technical and trade instruction alone. But, although my personal leanings are decidedly towards the individualists, I have arrived at that conclusion on merely practical grounds. In fact, my individualism is rather of a sentimental sort, and I sometimes think I should be stronger in the faith if it were less vehemently advocated.6 I am unable to see that civil society [227] is anything but a corporation established for a moral object only–namely, the good of its members–and therefore that it may take such measures as seem fitting for the attainment of that which the general voice decides to be the general good. That the suffrage of the majority is by no means a scientific test of social good and evil is unfortunately too true; but, in practice, it is the only test we can apply, and the refusal to abide by it means anarchy. The purest despotism that ever existed is as much based upon that will of the majority (which is usually submission to the will of a small minority) as the freest republic. Law is the expression of the opinion of the majority; and it is law, and not mere opinion, because the many are strong enough to enforce it.

I am as strongly convinced as the most pronounced individualist can be, that it is desirable that every man should be free to act in every way which does not limit the corresponding freedom of his fellow-man. But I fail to connect that great induction of political science with the practical corollary which is frequently drawn from it: that the State–that is, the people in their corporate capacity–has no business to meddle with anything but the administration of justice and external defence. It appears to me that the [228] amount of freedom which incorporate society may fitly leave to its members is not a fixed quantity, to be determined a priori by deduction from the fiction called "natural rights"; but that it must be determined by, and vary with, circumstances. I conceive it to be demonstrable that the higher and the more complex the organization of the social body, the more closely is the life of each member bound up with that of the whole; and the larger becomes the category of acts which cease to be merely self-regarding, and which interfere with the freedom of others more or less seriously.

If a squatter, living ten miles away from any neighbour, chooses to burn his house down to get rid of vermin, there may be no necessity (in the absence of insurance offices) that the law should interfere with his freedom of action; his act can hurt nobody but himself. But, if the dweller in a street chooses to do the same thing, the State very properly makes such a proceeding a crime, and punishes it as such. He does meddle with his neighbour's freedom, and that seriously. So it might, perhaps, be a tenable doctrine, that it would be needless, and even tyrannous, to make education compulsory in a sparse agricultural population, living in abundance on the produce of its own soil; but, in a densely populated manufacturing country, struggling for existence with competitors, every ignorant person tends to [229] become a burden upon, and, so far, an infringer of the liberty of, his fellows, and an obstacle to their success. Under such circumstances an education rate is, in fact, a war tax, levied for purposes of defence.

That State action always has been more or less misdirected, and always will be so, is, I believe, perfectly true. But I am not aware that it is more true of the action of men in their corporate capacity than it is of the doings of individuals. The wisest and most dispassionate man in existence, merely wishing to go from one stile in a field to the opposite, will not walk quite straight–he is always going a little wrong, and always correcting himself; and I can only congratulate the individualist who is able to say that his general course of life has been of a less undulatory character. To abolish State action, because its direction is never more than approximately correct, appears to me to be much the same thing as abolishing the man at the wheel altogether, because, do what he will, the ship yaws more or less. "Why should I be robbed of my property to pay for teaching another man's children?" is an individualist question, which is not unfrequently put as if it settled the whole business. Perhaps it does, but I find difficulties in seeing why it should. The parish in which I live makes me pay my share for the paving and lighting of a great many streets that I never pass through; [230] and I might plead that I am robbed to smooth the way and lighten the darkness of other people. But I am afraid the parochial authorities would not let me off on this plea; and I must confess I do not see why they should.

I cannot speak of my own knowledge, but I have every reason to believe that I came into this world a small reddish person, certainly without a gold spoon in my mouth, and in fact with no discernible abstract or concrete "rights" or property of any description. If a foot was not set upon me, at once, as a squalling nuisance, it was either the natural affection of those about me, which I certainly had done nothing to deserve, or the fear of the law which, ages before my birth, was painfully built up by the society into which I intruded, that prevented that catastrophe. If I was nourished, cared for, taught, saved from the vagabondage of a wastrel, I certainly am not aware that I did anything to deserve those advantages. And, if I possess anything now, it strikes me that, though I may have fairly earned my day's wages for my day's work, and may justly call them my property–yet, without that organization of society, created out of the toil and blood of long generations before my time, I should probably have had nothing but a flint axe and an indifferent hut to call my own; and even those would be mine only so long as no stronger savage came my way.

So that if society, having, quite gratuitously, [231] done all these things for me, asks me in turn to do something towards its preservation–even if that something is to contribute to the teaching of other men's children–I really in spite of all my individualist leanings, feel rather ashamed to say no. And if I were not ashamed, I cannot say that I think that society would be dealing unjustly with me in converting the moral obligation into a legal one. There is a manifest unfairness in letting all the burden be borne by the willing horse.

It does not appear to me, then, that there is any valid objection to taxation for purposes of education; but, in the case of technical schools and classes, I think it is practically expedient that such a taxation should be local. Our industrial population accumulates in particular towns and districts; these districts are those which immediately profit by technical education; and it is only in them that we can find the men practically engaged in industries, among whom some may reasonably be expected to be competent judges of that which is wanted, and of the best means of meeting the want.

In my belief, all methods of technical training are at present tentative, and, to be successful, each must be adapted to the special peculiarities of its locality. This is a case in which we want twenty years, not of strong government," but of cheerful and hopeful blundering; and we may be [232] thankful if we act things straight in that time.

The principle of the Bill introduced, but dropped, by the Government last session, appears to me to be wise, and some of the objections to it I think are due to a misunderstanding. The bill proposed in substance to allow localities to tax themselves for purposes of technical education–on the condition that any scheme for such purpose should be submitted to the Science and Art Department, and declared by that department to be in accordance with the intention of the Legislature.

A cry was raised that the Bill proposed to throw technical education into the hands of the Science and Art Department. But, in reality, no power of initiation, nor even of meddling with details, was given to that Department–the sole function of which was to decide whether any plan proposed did or did not come within the limits of "technical education." The necessity for such control, somewhere, is obvious.:No legislature, certainly not ours, is likely to grant the power of self-taxation without setting limits to that power in some way; and it would neither have been practicable to devise a legal definition of technical education, nor commendable to leave the question to the Auditor-General, to be fought out in the law-courts. The only alternative was to leave the decision to an appropriate State authority. If it is asked what is the need of such control if the people of [233] the localities are the best judges, the obvious reply is that there are localities and localities, and that while Manchester, or Liverpool, or Birmingham, or Glasgow might, perhaps, be safely left to do as they thought fit, smaller towns, in which there is less certainty of full discussion by competent people of different ways of thinking, might easily fall a prey to crocheteers.

Supposing our intermediate science teaching and our technical schools and classes are established, there is yet a third need to be supplied, and that is the want of good teachers. And it is necessary not only to get them, but to keep them when you have got them.

It is impossible to insist too strongly upon the fact that the efficient teachers of science and of technology are not to be made by the processes in vogue at ordinary training colleges. The memory loaded with mere bookwork is not the thing wanted–is, in fact, rather worse than useless–in the teacher of scientific subjects. It is absolutely essential that his mind should be full of knowledge and not of mere learning, and that what he knows should have been learned in the laboratory rather than in the library. There are happily already, both in London and in the provinces, various places in which such training is to be had, and the main thing at present is to make it in the first place accessible, and in the next indispensable, to those who undertake the business of teaching. [234] But when the well-trained men are supplied, it must be recollected that the profession of teacher is not a very lucrative or otherwise tempting one, and that it may be advisable to offer special inducements to good men to remain in it. These, however, are questions of detail into which it is unnecessary to enter further.

Last, but not least, comes the question of providing the machinery for enabling those who are by nature specially qualified to undertake the higher branches of industrial work, to reach the position in which they may render that service to the community. If all our educational expenditure did nothing but pick one man of scientific or inventive genius, each year, from amidst the hewers of wood and drawers of water, and give him the chance of making the best of his inborn faculties, it would be a very good investment. If there is one such child among the hundreds of thousands of our annual increase, it would be worth any money to drag him either from the slough of misery, or from the hotbed of wealth, and teach him to devote himself to the service of his people. Here, again, we have made a beginning with our scholarships and the like, and need only follow in the tracks already worn.

The programme of industrial development briefly set forth in the preceding pages is not what Kant calls a "Hirngespinnst," a cobweb spun in the brain of a Utopian philosopher. More [235] or less of it has taken bodily shape in many parts of the country, and there are towns of no great size or wealth in the manufacturing districts (Keighley, for example) in which almost the whole of it has, for some time, been carried out, so far as the means at the disposal of the energetic and public-spirited men who have taken the matter in hand permitted. The thing can be done; I have endeavoured to show good grounds for the belief that it must be done, and that speedily, if we wish to hold our own in the war of industry. I doubt not that it will be done, whenever its absolute necessity becomes as apparent to all those who are absorbed in the actual business of industrial life as it is to some of the lookers on.

Perhaps it is necessary for me to add that technical education is not here proposed as a panacea for social diseases, but simply as a medicament which will help the patient to pass through an imminent crisis.

An ophthalmic surgeon may recommend an operation for cataract in a man who is going blind, without being supposed to undertake that it will cure him of gout. And I may pursue the metaphor so far as to remark, that the surgeon is justified in pointing out that a diet of pork-chops and burgundy will probably kill his patient, though he may be quite able to suggest a mode [236] of living which will free him from his constitutional disorder.

Mr. Booth asks me, Why do you not propose some plan of your own? Really, that is no answer to my argument that his treatment will make the patient very much worse. [Note added in Social Diseases and Worse Remedies, January, 1891.]

1 [The reader will observe that this is the argument of the Romanes Lecture, in brief–1894.]

2 The late Sir W. Gull.

3 These numbers are only approximately accurate. In 1881, our population amounted to 35,241,482, exceeding the number in 1871 by 3,396,103. The average annual increase in the decennial period 1871-1881 is therefore 339,610. The number of minutes in a calendar year is 525,600.

4 [It is hard to say whether the increase of the unemployed poor, or that of the unemployed rich, is the greater social evil.–1894.]

5 Training in the use of simple tools is no doubt very desirable, on all grounds. From the point of view of "culture," the man whose "fingers are all thumbs" is but a stunted creature. But the practical difficulties in the way of introducing handiwork of this kind into elementary schools appear to me to be considerable.

6 In what follows I am only repeating and emphasizing opinions which I expressed seventeen years ago, in an Address to the members of the Midland Institute (republished in Critiques and Addresses in 1873, and in Vol. I. of these Essays). I have seen no reason to modify them, notwithstanding high authority on the other side.

Preface and Table of Contents to Volume IX, Evolution & Ethics and Other Essays, of Huxley's Collected Essays.

Next part of this article, Social Diseases and Worse Remidies: Letters to the Times, pages 237-311.

Previous part of this article: Preface, pages 188-194.


1. THH Publications
2. Victorian Commentary
3. 20th Century Commentary

1. Letter Index
2. Illustration Index

Gratitude and Permissions

C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University

§ 1. THH: His Mark
§ 2. Voyage of the Rattlesnake
§ 3. A Sort of Firm
§ 4. Darwin's Bulldog
§ 5. Hidden Bond: Evolution
§ 6. Frankensteinosaurus
§ 7. Bobbing Angels: Human Evolution
§ 8. Matter of Life: Protoplasm
§ 9. Medusa
§ 10. Liberal Education
§ 11. Scientific Education
§ 12. Unity in Diversity
§ 13. Agnosticism
§ 14. New Reformation
§ 15. Verbal Delusions: The Bible
§ 16. Miltonic Hypothesis: Genesis
§ 17. Extremely Wonderful Events: Resurrection and Demons
§ 18. Emancipation: Gender and Race
§ 19. Aryans et al.: Ethnology
§ 20. The Good of Mankind
§ 21. Jungle Versus Garden