Next Chapter

Typos — p. 90: similiar [= similar]

- p. 77 -
Chapter III
The English Aristocrat as a Failure in the Tutorship of Ruling

"The true image of a free people governed by a Patriot King is that of a patriarchal family, where the head and all the members are united by one common interest, and animated by one common spirit." — Bolingbroke, The Idea of a Patriot King, pp. 140–141.

What purpose can I serve by enumerating any more of the sins of omission that can be laid at the door of our governing classes, not to mention that of the Established Church? To any one who is familiar with the history of the English people during the last three hundred years, the little handful of facts that I have collected for my indictment of the governing classes of this country will seem meagre and perhaps somewhat inadequate evidence with which to prove my case. I am, however, not an historian. I wish to refer to these things only in order to acquire sufficient warrant to proceed with my general discussion. What concern is it of mine that the kind of fact I have adduced in support of my contention might be multiplied a hundredfold? I simply wish to urge the point that further facts could but substantiate my claims the more.
        In replying to my seven questions, I think I have shown satisfactorily that the rulers of this country have failed time and again in the "craft" of their calling; but in making this point I have also had occasion to refer to their neglect of the "tutorship" of governing. Now, however, in my reply to my next question, I shall be concerned chiefly with this "tutorship" of governing, and

- p. 78 -
with the almost total neglect of this pre-eminently important element in the art of ruling.
        If, then, to use the phraseology of that brilliant Chinaman Ku Hung-Ming, I ask what the governing classes of England have done to guide the taste of the people, and to direct their industry so that it might not be wasted and disheartened in a purely futile accumulation of wealth for mere Hedonists to squander; if I ask what the governing classes of England have done to "set the tone" in their nation, so that the wholly material industry of the masses might be given a higher purpose and aim, what is the only honest reply that can be given?
        I have not expatiated at any length upon the simple fact that these governors have failed hopelessly in the plain "craft" of their calling — that they have failed in their duty of protecting and, with their superior wisdom, of controlling for everybody's good the burden bearers of the country. I have taken this point as proved in the main by the few facts I have adduced — facts which, as I say, can be multiplied to any extent. When, however, we come to the question of "tutorship" in governing, the charge against them seems to me to be even more severe than the previous one.
        Speaking of the aristocrats of Great Britain, Mr. Arthur Ponsonby says, "They have never been superior, they have ceased to be governing; is there any reason that they should continue to be noble?" 1
        There is bitterness in this manner of putting the case, but it is not without some foundation. There can be no doubt that for centuries, almost, the Lords have neglected, or completely forgotten, the principle of flourishing life which reads, "Respect the burden"; and in the rebuff which they received in the summer of 1911, they felt the revenge of Life herself upon those who scorn her fundamental principles. I would go further and would say definitely that since the middle of the eighteenth century, but for a few brilliant exceptions, such as the seventh Earl

        1 The Decline of Aristocracy, p. 128.

- p. 79 -
of Shaftesbury, the voice of flourishing life has been entirely silent in England; and all the confusion and doubt which we now see about us, all the ugliness, vulgarity, misery and uncontrolled Hedonism which now prevail, are nothing but the inevitable outcome of the fact that the voice of impoverished life, of inferior life, has been practically the only guiding voice in our island for one hundred and fifty years.
        There is a misery prevalent to-day which is blacker and more hopeless than any misery that has ever existed on earth before. It is not only the misery of ignoble work, disease and poverty, for that infests all orders of society; but, in the lower orders, it is the misery of countless masses who do menial, characterless and distasteful labour without anything to justify it, or to shed a ray of gold upon it from a height up towards which that work might be looked upon as but a necessary step. And, in the superior orders, it is the misery of those who have lost all sense of a higher aim, all consciousness of a purpose, a goal, or a grand scheme of life, and who are beginning to feel literally uncomfortable and mystified in their position of merely material superiority; because no noble or worthy unravelment seems to be promised them for the tangled knot of exploitation, privilege, wretchedness, luxury, pleasure, squalor, comfort, starvation and plenty, which now characterises modern life, and in which they happen to be simply fortunate accidents.
        The terrible cynicism of modern times leads many of these materially superior people to say or think, "Après nous le déluge!" But the more thoughtful and more sensitive among them are torn in two by doubt and misgivings, and are beginning to wonder what is the purpose of it all — of their privileges and of their less fortunate fellows' thraldom.
        Beginning with the former kind of misery, and starting out from first principles, let it be thoroughly understood that nobody — no man, woman or child from any rank of society — would instinctively recoil before the performance

- p. 80 -
of any office, however mean, if the value, power and human fascination alone, of him who demanded it, seemed to justify or glorify that office. Nor does the loving and reverent menial recoil even before pain, if a higher life or a nobler life gives this pain at least some lofty meaning or some lofty purpose. This is the experience of all those patriarchal spirits who have the art of inspiring devotion in their subordinates, and who know it to be one of the duties of ruling to take a tender care of the hearts of their inferiors and to make minions of menials. The burden that is borne in these circumstances by the man below seems to become light through its very significance, through its very human beauty. His labour is glorified by being a fraction of popular endeavour and endurance, helping forward a grand general movement or supporting a grand life, the virtues and achievements of which are sufficiently beyond his power to command his admiration without provoking his envy. This is human. This is positive. This the meanest understand at once. It is part of the most magnificent traditions of mankind. A certain good taste, a certain understanding of the springs of human action, ought even to incline all those for whom menial offices are performed actually to cultivate and preserve that modicum of genuine superiority which alone can permit them to look on without offending their servants while the menial office is being performed.
        But what do we see to-day? Endless toil, endless misery, black squalor, disease and disgust, without anything or any one great enough to justify them or shed a ray of glory upon them, even if they were inevitable. Not only is there nothing — no grand purpose or grand caste — to give present burden bearers the feeling that they have something worth living and toiling for; but the very people for whom the meanest and most characterless tasks are performed nowadays are never even seen by the wretched underlings who perform these tasks for them. In this way the menial office is robbed of all its human sanction, beauty and depth, and it becomes merely what

- p. 81 -
it actually is in scientific fact, without emotional glorification — a dirty job which no money, no pecuniary rewards can cleanse.
        For, even supposing that. like foolish and idealistic Utopians, we could fancy a state of affairs from which hard toil and misery were entirely absent, and in which nothing in the shape of squalor or sordidness necessarily formed part of the lives of the lowest strata of society nevertheless we could not conceive of a community in which no menial office would have to be performed for some one or something, were it only the cleaning of a machine. Where, then, could we seek that person or persons who would make us perform even that menial office cheerfully, with love and without rankling indignation? Where could you or I, to-day, hope to find the man for whom we would willingly perform the meanest office?
        A commercial and industrial age, by founding everything upon a money basis, forgot that there was humanity and not machinery behind the exchange of coin for care; and that all the money in the world cannot build up hearty conscience, desire, love, good cheer and contentedness, in the way that a healthy, inspiring and inspiriting human relationship can.
        That is why our domestic servants, that is to say all those servants who come into the closest contact with their superiors, will be the last to revolt, especially against those of us who have still preserved enough of the patriarchal spirit to make them feel that they get more than their money for their work. The action of domestic servants in regard to Mr. Lloyd George's Insurance Act was significant in this respect. That clause in the Insurance Act which referred to them was a legislative attempt to make the breach which already separates them from the patriarchal care of their employers even wider than previous legislation had already made it; and behind all the economic arguments that were raised against this new negative measure, there was a great deal of conscious and

- p. 82 -
unconscious opposition to the anti-patriarchal spirit which animated it, as many of the letters addressed by servants to the Press actually proved.
        Still, what an infinitesimal portion of labour is accounted for by domestic servants alone! And what a vast army of people who work for us lie without our gates, where neither our eye nor our voice can reach them, where not even a knowledge either of our purpose, of our aspirations, or of the justification of it all, can ever cheer them; simply because at present there is no such purpose, aspiration or justification. Even the religious meaning of their lives is rapidly departing from them; though this is certainly of less value as a cohering and uniting force than that other meaning which is given them by having glory shed on their lives by the loftiness, the equilibrium, the wisdom and the beauty of those whom they serve.
        That is why the misery of to-day is blacker than any misery that has ever been seen on earth before; that is why the hopelessness and hate of to-day are more real and more profound than all the hopelessness and hate that have ever existed in human life until now; and that is why all forces which at present are tending to make the breach between man and servant greater; all forces, whether demagogic, religious, social or educational, which incline to further and greater separation and personal strangeness between the leisured and the working classes, are the most infernal and most devilish forces of the age. "For," as Bolingbroke said, "to divide can never be an expedient for good purposes, any more than to corrupt; since the peace and prosperity of a nation will always depend upon uniting, as far as possible, the heads, hearts and hands of the whole people, and on improving, not debauching morals." 1
        Thus the minister who rules by dividing, who acquires power by separative and disturbing means, ought by that

        1 A Dissertation upon Parties (Davies, 1775), p. xxiii of Dedication. See also Disraeli in Coningsby (Langdon Davis Edition), p. 289, where the author ascribes the decline of public virtues to the fact that the various classes of the country are arrayed against each other.

- p. 83 -
one act alone to earn the odium and contempt of all parties. To divide is the incompetence of rule, to separate is the cowardice of the desperate legislator.
        And now to speak of the second kind of misery. The material superiors of the present age, the top-dogs — "the upper ten thousand," as they are called — are fully aware of the horrors and terrors at the base of the social edifice; they are also fully conscious of the fact that neither their lives, nor their functions, nor the direction and nature of modern life in general, justify these horrors and terrors; and in consequence of this knowledge they are profoundly ill at ease and their consciences feel intolerably heavy.
        Nobody knows better than the sensitive unit of this upper ten thousand that for many generations now the heart of the people has been spurned and neglected, and its character mutilated.
        The old conscience-stiller, the scientific "Mother Siegel's Soothing Syrup" which Darwin and his school flung to these conscience-stricken "upper ten," by telling them that all this aching misery and cruel struggle at the base led inevitably to the "survival of the fittest," has ceased at last from soothing them, because it is no longer believed. As Thorold Rogers says, "It was inexpressibly soothing to those who had brought about the situation, for it seemed to show that nature, not man, was the cause of it, that it was the result of an inexorable law, and in no sense the result of positive and partial legislation." 1 But it was soon discovered that misery, as Adam Smith had foreseen, was not even the check on population that it was supposed to be; for with Rogers we have discovered that "oppressed people become reckless." Thus the terrible fact gradually came to light that the fittest to survive in this stew of plunder against plunder, exploitation against exploitation, and greed against greed, which is called "unrestricted competition" and "laissez-faire" (literally: let

        1 The Industrial and Commercial History of England, p. 57. For a very interesting refutation of the belief that the paupers' struggle with one another leads to anything, see pp. 56–61 of Rogers' book.

- p. 84 -
the capitalistic trader have his way, unguided and unlimited) was neither a very desirable nor a very admirable specimen, and the comforting thought that things can be left to themselves — which, by-the-bye, seems to have animated all Victorian thinkers up to the time of Herbert Spencer — is now, thank Heaven! in its death agony.
        With the general decline of this belief, it was only natural that charity, which hitherto had been either sporadic or traditionally virtuous, should become feverish, systematic, methodical, eager and astoundingly munificent. For if charity be a flower, then its most powerful forcing manure is most certainly neither the altruism of spotless innocence nor of guileless simplicity, but the excrementa of an uneasy conscience, or of a vain and purse-proud heart.
        Munificent charity and boundless benevolence are, however, no cure for evils in the social organism. They do not even skim the surface of the fundamental causes of these evils. They do accomplish one thing though; they help to abate the awful self-accusations which tend to rack the hearts of any class or caste which has ceased to be aware of any genuine justification for its peculiar privileges, or of any grand scheme of life or politics which might, at a pinch, help it to consider the burden borne by those below it as useful, as necessary, or as sanctified.
        When social evils are prevalent and potent, charity and benevolence are not the counter-agents chosen by rulers or deep thinkers. They are essentially the counter-agents which occur to the shallowest and least thoughtful minds. Given the necessary means, any man can be a philanthropist in the ordinary "charitable" sense, any man can endow hospitals or homes for incurables, or refuges for waifs and strays, or asylums for the blind, the crippled and the sick. These are "cures" that any vain fool with a banking account can dispense as long as his money lasts. But to attack these evils as enemies, to revise the scheme that has brought them about, to uproot the first principles from which they spring, and to institute such reforms (not

- p. 85 -
patchwork readjustments) as will render their continuance impossible or their justification a thing recognised by all — even the sufferers themselves — requires something more than money can purchase. It requires ruler qualities of the highest order, knowledge covering the widest range, and thought of the deepest kind, correlated with all the leisure that would render these possessions fruitful and operative.
        The fact that the ignorant plutocratic solution of social evils neither impresses the masses nor anybody else, is proved by the irrefutable truth that it is precisely in this very age when, according to all accounts, philanthropic and charitable undertakings absorb greater sums of money than they have ever absorbed before, that Socialism, class-hatred and ingratitude are most rampant and most bitter.
        These ignorant or "subject" methods of redressing wrongs do not therefore command respect; for there is nothing so sensitive to the touch of the experienced hand as the subordinate, whether he be a horse or an inferior unit in a great nation.
        It is important not to overlook this, more particularly when we feel inclined to explain such difficult and recondite matters as the action of the people in regard to the Parliament Act of 1911, by referring in a leisurely and easy manner to artificially stirred-up hatred.
        The quantity of subject movements, alone, which are on toot at present is literally bewildering — announcements or them come with every post, and they show how conscious even the unimaginative and unthinking men in the street, even the dull-witted spinsters with their small modicum of learning and leisure, are becoming of the disorder, the misrule and the incompetence in higher spheres to-day. For if you look into these movements started and supported by the subject mind, whether of an old maid or of an old colonel, you will find that they are chiefly corrective in their nature — that is to say, calculated to patch up certain flaws in the existing social edifice.

- p. 86 -
The Eugenic 1 and the Ethical movements are cases in point, as are also all the societies and institutions for the prevention or promotion of this or that; as are also all charitable and benevolent bodies. Any individual subject who happens to recognise what he, from his back parlour, conceives to be an evil, is at liberty to gather a few of his neighbours around him and to set to work to put it right.
        And since the uninitiated subject is, in the majority of cases, neither a deep student of human nature nor a deep thinker in legislative and sociological science, and as there is no general plan or direction prescribed to him from above, he is generally satisfied with effecting certain minor changes which he would call "improvements in the welfare of the submerged, by increasing their material comfort."
        No superior purpose or general idea governs all these subject movements, so that their combined efforts may help to consummate a perfectly definite and preconceived plan. No superior power exists which, with profound knowledge to support it, can lay down its hand and say emphatically "No!" to any organisation or institution which seems in its purpose to diverge too materially from the general scheme laid down for the nation's collective weal and glory — and for the simple reason that there is no such general scheme!
        But we should not expect the mind of the subject to do any more than it is doing. We should not expect the mind of the subject to behave like the mind of the ruler. How could a subject mind create a co-ordinating and regenerating scheme? How could it do more than patch and plaster when things go wrong? A nation ought to be only too glad when each of its subject members is so conscious of the specialised knowledge and capabilities required for his own particular business as positively to repudiate any concern with matters beyond, or merely outside, his sphere of power. But what we may and do

        1 For a criticism of the aims and methods of this movement see Chapter VII.

- p. 87 -
expect is that some one in the position of a ruler, with the knowledge, the traditions, and the leisure of a ruler, should apply his mind to questions of State, and exert it with all the earnestness that the solemnity of the matter would seem to inspire. I am not forgetting the many blots which such ordinary people as Howard, Wilberforce, Romilly, Miss Carpenter, Sheriff Watson and others removed from our legal system; I merely maintain that such work is patchwork, and has no creative value at all.
        Unfortunately, it is precisely when the subject mind, with all its other multifarious and often purely self-preservative preoccupations, is left to concern itself with these questions that things get into such a hopeless muddle; and only correctives or antidotes are prescribed, when a fundamental general scheme or plan alone, which would sweep away the necessity for any correctives and antidotes, is the crying need.
        England, with her long Protestant tradition, is admittedly the land of Amateurism par excellence. What does a false note or a false value in politics matter, when we are brought up amid false notes and false values, perpetrated daily in our immediate circle by a legion of amateur singers, pianists, painters and writers? I say, "England with her long Protestant tradition," because the influence of this last factor in promoting the spirit of Amateurism should not be forgotten. When an Englishman says, "Every man has a right to his own opinion," he little knows how truly Protestant or anarchical this remark is. Apart from its being merely an impudent and foolish platitude, however, it is dangerously untrue. And any one who requires this contention of mine to be supported had better stop reading this book here and turn his mind to more compatible matter. In any case I shall not waste time in supporting it. To those people who really concern me, my attitude on this point will be quite plain. Suffice it, therefore, to say, that the heart of Protestantism and Protestant tradition is this presumptuous and swollen-headed notion that every man has a right to have his say

- p. 88 -
in all things. 1 The very foundation of Luther's attitude of revolt against a higher authority on Church doctrine, which was the belief that the profoundest things can be made questions for the "individual conscience" to decide, received its highest sanction from that great apostle of anarchy and revolt — St. Paul.
        "Do ye not know," said St. Paul to the Corinthians, "that the saints shall judge the world? and if the world shall be judged by you, are ye unworthy to judge the smallest matters?" (1 Cor. vi. 2). No Protestant who was allowed by his Church to become acquainted with this inflammatory doctrine ever doubted that he could judge the smallest matters. And St. Paul proceeds, "Know ye not that ye shall judge angels? How much more things that pertain to this life?" There is no limit to such impudence, and once it becomes thoroughly absorbed by a nation, there is no limit to Amateurism. Who would dare to set the affairs of earthly government, the affairs of sociology, politics and general state craft above the judging of angels? Consequently, if later on we are going to judge angels, sociology, politics and state-craft must surely be child's play now! This is the logic at the root of political Amateurism or Democracy. And Matthew Arnold might have inveighed against this logic until Doomsday, he would never have succeeded in refuting it

        1 This spirit reaches its zenith in Puritanism and its first cousin Scotch Presbyterianism. James I saw this perfectly well, and when he was asked whether he would tolerate a diversity of religious ceremonies — a toleration favourable to the Presbyterians, he said: "A Scottish presbytery agreeth as well with a monarchy as God and the devil. Then Jack and Tom and Will and Dick shall meet, and at their pleasure censure me and my councils and all our proceedings. . . . Stay, I pray you, for one seven years, before you demand that from me, and if then you find me pursy and fat, and my windpipes stuffed, I will perhaps hearken to you; for let that government be once set up, I am sure I shall be kept in breath; then shall we all of us have work enough . . ." — meaning, of course, that anarchy would be rife. — S. R. Gardiner, The First Two Stuarts and the Puritan Revolution (1905), pp. 14–15.

- p. 89 -
had he not first overcome its procreator — the Pauline impudence of the New Testament.
        But although England has gone very far indeed in the realisation of this fatal doctrine, although her evil example is now being followed, just as it was in industry and commerce, by the whole of the civilised world — since she was the first to prepare the machinery for the evil — why should she not be the first to put her foot down and declare an end to it? For, despite the fact that the modern democratic state counts — nay, insists upon — an amateur in politics (the average voter) raising his voice as high as that of the serious and deeply thoughtful student of the question; in England, at least, we have been able to preserve a class of men who are placed in an exceptionally ideal position for the task of ruling and, therefore, of guiding with paternal solicitude the voices (the suffrages) of these amateur politicians and legislators whom the State condemns to incompetent meddling. In the landed aristocracy we had the good fortune to possess a body of men who had all the opportunity, the leisure and the self-preservative impulses for becoming deeply human and deeply wise rulers. We, therefore, possessed at least the machinery for that desirable counter-check to the evils that were bound to arise from proletarian politics, in the form of a caste which, by its example, its wise counsel and forethought, its careful scrutiny and censorship of the mental food of the people, its fatherly protection and superior knowledge, and its presbyopic altruism, might ultimately have convinced us of its indispensability, value and power.
        Is it to be supposed, despite the germ of separative anarchy that is thought by some to lie in all Englishmen's hearts, that such a caste, with all the privileges of leisure and wealth it enjoyed — privileges which must be granted if deep study and profound thought are to be made possible — is it to be supposed, I say, that such a caste would have been overthrown if it had shown its fitness for the lofty task tradition had bequeathed to it?

- p. 90 -
        It is impossible to conceive of such a revolution when a caste so placed fulfils all that its inferiors have a right to expect from it. In the simple act of giving to the rest of their fellows a direction, a general purpose or aspiration, alone, such a body of men would have found the means of making themselves both loved and respected. For, as Disraeli observed, "Man is only truly great when he acts from the passions; never irresistible but when he appeals to the imagination." 1
        But, far from giving them a general purpose, direction or aspiration, they did not even see to it that the people should cultivate or even preserve the character that is required in order to be able to profit from such things when they were given. It is no idle statement to say that such a vast organisation as the Salvation Army (whatever its actual merits or demerits may be) would have been a superfluous and preposterous piece of subject meddlesomeness if the governing classes of England had "with fear and trembling taken care of the heart of the people." And how many other subject movements are there whose aims are similiar to those of the Salvation Army!
        When factories arose, when the age and youth of the nation began to be herded into the slums and lower middle-class streets of large cities, how many were there among the ruling classes who attempted to organise their social life in such a manner that the deleterious influence of their occupations upon their mind and body might be either neutralised or at least mitigated? Simultaneously with the employment of women and children in factories and mines, how many of our rulers saw to it that the precious links in the traditional culture of the home which join grandmother, mother and daughter together in healthy and normal families, should not be cruelly sun-

        l Coningsby (Langdon Davies), p. 292. Even that dry-as-dust economist, John Stuart Mill, made a most unexpected admission on this point. He said, "It is very shallow, even in pure economics, to take no account of the influence of imagination." — Political Economy, Book II, Chapter X, p. 202.

- p. 91 -
dered? How many .fought to preserve the arts of the needle, of the saucepan, and of the besom and wash-tub, when capitalistic sweating threatened to poison all such arts, and all desire for such arts, in the characters of the working masses? Whereas a stupid subject movement under the banner of Temperance was of course made to suppress the drink evil, how many rulers thought of keeping the working man at home by preserving the workman's womenfolk from deterioration? Naturally, stupid subject movements arose for improving the homes of the working classes; but how many of these understood or militated against the root of the evil? How many of the ruling classes sought to shelter the labouring proletariat not only from the cruel and unfair competition, 1 but also from the frequently vitiating moral and political influence of all the ruck and scum of Europe, who were allowed to settle down among our fellow-countrymen in the poorer districts of our urban centres? Who foresaw that thrift would gradually be hunted from the character of the so-called submerged, if for generations they were disheartened, demoralised and rendered reckless by a heartlessness and a hopelessness which they could neither understand nor oppose?
        How many of the ostensible protectors of the people took care to ascertain that even the literature which reached the masses should not be in bad taste or demoralising? I do not mean "demoralising" in the Puritan sense, for, according to the Puritan, you can perpetrate any piece of literary or intellectual vulgarity in your books, so long as you do not refer, save with horror, to the joy and beauty of sex. I mean "demoralising" in the sense of destroying right and proper ideas concerning humanity, human aims, human prestige and human relationship.
        Who saw to it, then, that if the people had any mental

        1 As this cruel competition was tolerated as a source of profit by the capitalists, the latter must be held directly responsible for all the grave incidental evils that have resulted from the enormous alien population in our midst.

- p. 92 -
culture at all, it should be of a healthy character- and nerve-strengthening kind? In asking all these questions I am not forgetting the many charitable attempts that were made to meet and mitigate the evils consequent upon the last hundred and fifty years of "Progress"; because, as I have pointed out, these were all subject efforts and were not only absurdly inadequate, but constantly very stupid and superficial. What I mean is that as fast as the evils, or threats of evils, arose, which gave the impetus to charitable subject efforts, no ruler mind appeared who questioned the whole system at the root of these evils, or who dared to slam the door in the face of an innovation which, logged out in the infernally deceptive garb of "Progress," yet unscrupulously preyed upon the spirit and character of a great nation's social foundation — the working classes.
        To take the question of education alone, let us see what light it can throw upon this stage in the examination of the principle of aristocracy. Before I proceed, however, I should like the reader thoroughly to understand two things: (1) That I do not approve of the present system of education. (2) That I only select it for scrutiny because it is one of the chief departments of state administration which is concerned with caring for the hearts of the people, and, therefore, despite its misguidedness, as far as method is concerned, presents a measure according to which we can gauge the earnestness of the governing classes in entering upon the task of caring for the hearts of the people.
        To begin with, then, the whole system of National Education in England before the Act of 1870 was a matter merely of state-aided voluntary effort; and in order that the precise extent of this state aid may be realised, the following figures, though few, may be sufficient to support my indictment of those who, during the first seventy years of the last century, were in charge of the nation's character and mind. I should like to caution the reader against believing that I approve of a cash or quantity test in matters of this sort; but, since it is the only available test

- p. 93 -
we have, it must be used simply as a means of measuring the warmth, not necessarily the efficiency or profundity of statesmen's dealings with this matter; while we must also bear in mind that this cash test is so far reliable seeing that it reveals all that the statesmen concerned with it undertook to do in the matter of caring for the character and mind of the people.
        Previous to 1833, Parliament appears to have made no grant whatsoever, save in Ireland, 1 to the independent voluntary bodies who, in a subject manner, were trying to solve the problem of national education to the best of their limited ability. And even the subject attempts at grappling with the problem were shown by Henry Brougham's Commission, started in 1816, to be greatly hampered and rendered inoperative by the landlords and clergy of the different parishes. For it was discovered that the charity schools throughout the country were not only monopolised by these gentlemen, but also that the latter were actually embezzling the ample revenues provided for the upkeep of these institutions! In 1833, "after a long controversy as to whether the Government had any right at all to interfere with education" (!), 2 with a population of about 14,000,000 in England and Wales alone, the first grant of £20,000 was made to the subject voluntary schools. In 1839, with a population of about 15,000,000, this grant was increased to £30,000; in 1846, with a population of about 16,000,000, it grew to £100,000; in 1851, with a population of 17,927,609 it was £150,000; in 1853, with a population of about 18,000,000, it became £396,000; in 1858, with a population of about 19,000,000, it stood at £663,400; in 1861, with a population of 20,066,224, it was £813,400; in 1865, with a population of about 21,500,000, it was only £636,800; in 1870, with a population of about 22,500,000, it rose again to £894,000; in 1876, with a population of about 23,200,000, it was

        1 And this was due to anti-Catholic feeling and bitterness.
        2 A Text-Book in the History of Education, by Paul Monroe, Ph.D., p. 733.

- p. 94 -
£1,600,000; and in 1878, with a population of 24,000,000, it was £2,200,000.
        Taking this system as we find it without further criticism, the absurd inadequacy of these grants may be realised by comparing them with the present expenses of the Educational Department of State in relation to the population. But the most preposterous feature in this question, from a ruler standpoint, was the manner in which the supposed rulers of the nation slothfully and incompetently preferred to avail themselves of individual subject effort and initiative, rather than to face the difficulty and devise, establish and run an educational organisation of their own. But the action of the English governing classes in regard to this question must not be considered as exceptional. It is characteristic of their whole attitude towards internal politics for the last two hundred and thirty years; and when Sir Joshua Fitch speaks of the provision for the education of the people of England as being practically the product of a haphazard happy-go-lucky system of muddling through somehow, without either mastery or profound understanding, 1 he simply provides the formula for a criticism of almost everything that has been done in this country for the last hundred years in the matter of solving social problems.
        In a nation where so little was done for the hearts of the people, it ought to surprise no one to find that next to nothing was done for the care of their bodies. If trade and capitalistic exploitation of the labourer had been allowed to deteriorate the mind and character of the masses, it could not be. hoped that in a Christian country, which places spirit above body, anything would be done to preserve their bodies from similiar evils. No one

        1 His actual words are: "The public provision for the education of the people of England is not the product of any theory or plan formulated beforehand by statesmen or philosophers; it has come into existence through a long course of experiments, compromises, traditions, successes, failures and religious controversies." See Encycl. Britannica (10th Edition), Article: "Education."

- p. 95 -
moved a finger to prevent the deterioration of the bodies of the lower classes through the gradual deterioration of the mothers of these classes. It was soon found that among urban factory girls, for instance, confinements were frequently attended not only with great difficulty but also with great danger. This evil alone ought to have suggested not merely a patchwork remedy, but a questioning of the whole system which gave rise to it. Nothing fundamental was done! With romantic levity it was fondly imagined that a great nation might be maintained on sickly bodies. Even to this day, the problem of the body and its pre-eminent importance has not yet been faced fairly and squarely. Meanwhile, however, we have the impudence to continue sending missionaries to China — the country in whose Book of Rites even the essential qualities of a wet-nurse (for cases in which such a domestic auxiliary cannot be dispensed with) are carefully prescribed for the community, and have been so prescribed for centuries by the presbyopic legislators of the nation. This is true education. All education that does not begin with the suckling's body and its requirements is little more than romantic fooling — dangerous romantic fooling. And when this dangerous romantic fooling is more or less rendered sacrosanct by Puritanical contempt for the body; when it is condoned by the highest sanction of all — the sanction of the State religion, which argues that the salvation of the soul can be impeded or prevented neither by physical disability nor any sickness of the body, however bungled, however botched, inodorous or gangrenous that body may be; but rather that sickness, botchedness, or crippledom are often a passport to Heaven, because they are a trial and a chastisement sent by a loving Providence — then an undue importance is attached to the so-called "soul," beside which the body sinks into perilous insignificance. Sooner or later when such doctrines prevail their consequence must be brought home to those professing them in a manner which is as ugly as it is inevitable. In modern Europe we are rapidly approaching a

- p. 96 -
point at which it will be too late, too hopeless, too appalling to do anything to arrest the decadent torrent Is there a panic at this thought? Are our leaders already solemn with dread at the prospect? Nothing of the kind! The majority are too used to sickness to see that there is anything abnormal in its prevalence. The minority are too near to sickness, too much compromised by its contact and its culture, any longer to feel that instinctive abhorrence which was undermined once for all when healthy mankind were taught that a pure soul could sanctify anything — even foul breath. And, meanwhile, everything is a owed to drift and drift, while rulers studiously ignore all dangers, all grievances and all morbid tendencies which are not pressed upon their attention by a subject agitation.
        What can possibly be expected from such a manner of dealing with vital questions? We can expect only what we see — a nation seething with discontent, a nation packed to overflowing with characterless, spiritless, ugly and degenerate people, and a host of amateur political surgeons and physicians at work day and night, plastering and patching up the tottering though luxurious social organism, while it learns to forget that numbers and wealth are no measure of a great nation, but only a deceptive feature, if its heart, character and body are degraded.
        All this time, however, we have had a caste — a superior, leisured, educated and wealthy class — who enjoyed the privileges of rulers, and who ought to have felt it their duty not to enjoy those privileges for nothing. Every consideration that ever influenced the minds of rulers ought to have conduced to make them face these problems one by one as fast as they appeared, and to meditate upon them until, to use Mr. Edward Spencer's words, they would have "foreseen and provided against" evils which were bound to result from the untested and untried innovations pouring in anarchically from all sides. Remembering that they were a privileged caste in an ostensibly democratic community, their instinct of self-preservation

- p. 97 -
alone, much more therefore their instinct of perfection, beauty and order, ought to have told them that by neglecting to dwell thoughtfully upon the character and spirit of the people, and by neglecting to preserve that character and spirit from deterioration, they were simply condemning the coming true democracy itself, as well as themselves, to utter ruin. There was no excuse for this neglect; for had not Disraeli, their greatest teacher, told them early in the nineteenth century, "that there is something to be considered beyond forms of government national character"; whereupon he proceeds, "and herein should we repose our hopes. If a nation be led to aim at the good and great, depend upon it, whatever be its form, the government will respond to its convictions and its sentiments." 1
        The fact that this has not been done in all these years, the fact that these problems are not even regarded as problems yet, cannot possibly recoil half so heavily upon the subject's as upon the ruler's head. With but few exceptions, the Lords, in their heart of hearts, have all been democrats and plebeians throughout. A small handful of rare ones apart, among whom it is a joy and a solace to think of the seventh Earl of Shaftesbury, they have said like the greedy underman who is a constitutional pauper, "I want everything for nothing!" But they ought to have known that their life of pleasure could be no justification for the burdens the lower orders bore. Only a life spent in ruling with a deep concern for the welfare, character and safety of the burden-bearer, only a lifetime spent in the promotion of the glory and good taste of their nation, could be a justification of the burdens of those beneath them.
        It never occurred to them, however, to give something in return (not in kind, but in thought, forethought, meditation and wise ruling), for the priceless privileges they enjoyed; and thus they not merely lost the confidence of the community and all confidence in themselves, but also

        1 Coningsby, p. 427.

- p. 98 -
brought the great order to which they belonged into disrepute — an act for which all those who, like myself, fervently believe in aristocratic rule, will have some difficulty in forgiving them.
        For this tutorship of ruling, of which I have spoken in the present chapter, involves among the other duties mentioned, one tremendous responsibility. It involves the responsibility of building up a healthy culture, a culture alluring and powerful enough to knit a whole people together, a culture sufficiently imposing in its grandeur to render its spread over the face of the earth a boon and not a bane to other subject peoples, and one so self-evidently superior as to be able to achieve its victories almost without contest, just as the culture of the ancient Incas conquered and spread.
        It is a great culture that makes a people, or that creates a people out of a hotch-potch of peoples, 1 and leads them to regard themselves as one huge organism to be defended and upheld against barbarians. And it is the superior men alone of a nation who can undertake, and who have always undertaken, this task of creating that miraculous leaven and tonic, a great Culture. And what is the sort of culture we at present have to hand on to a people whom we draw or force into our sphere of power? It is at most the culture of the commercial city and of an exploded superstition; it is at most a culture in which we ourselves are rapidly losing all faith, and which spreads ill health and misery wherever it goes.
        It is so devoid of all true and self-evident superiority that for over a century now a whole nation like the inhabitants of the East Indies have held aloof from it and are

        1 See J. K. Bluntschli, The Theory of the State (3rd Edition of Authorised Translation), p. 87. "A mere arbitrary combination or collection of men has never given rise to a People. Even the voluntary agreement and social contract of a number of persons cannot create one. To form a People, the experiences and fortunes of several generations must co-operate, and its permanence is never secured until a succession of families handing down its accumulated culture from generation to generation has made its characteristics hereditary."

- p. 99 -
growing to despise it ever more and more. It is so lacking in convincing value that we ourselves have not the heart to impose it on any one. It is so anarchical and feeble that it has lost all power of persuasion even over ourselves. The Christian portion of it has been assailed again and again; and having been found not only wanting in healthy values but also untenable in more than one particular, is gradually tottering to its fall and is rapidly losing its power as a moral force. If such a thing as a culture of doubt and indifference be possible in any sense whatever, this is the culture we now possess; and the only definite principles it contains are principles drawn from the struggle for material success, material comfort and the mechanical complication and acceleration of life. Nothing has been done or even attempted by the actual governing classes to create another culture on the moribund body of the expiring one. And when we look in their direction for help in this respect, it is rather with despair than with hope that we ultimately turn away.
        The first principle of every sound and healthy morality ought to be this: "Thou shalt not sacrifice the greater to the less; but, if need be, the less to the greater."
        In these three first chapters it may appear to the superficial Nietzschean that in laying all the stress upon the duties of the governing classes to the working people, I am subverting this first principle of a sound and healthy morality. This, however, is not the case. At a time when the leisured classes simply live in ease upon the labour of their inferiors without undertaking any of those arduous and profound duties which, as I have tried to show in these three chapters, can be performed only by them (the privileged class), they cease from being the greater portion of a people. And if we are to speak of sacrifice, then it is they who should be the victims In the eyes of a philosopher, the sacrifice of inferiors, when the ostensible superiors are simply parasites, or very nearly so, is an intolerable evil. It is only when the superiors are leading a grand march, the benefits of which

- p. 100 -
must inevitably conduce to a greater degree of healthy, flourishing and beautiful life — it is only then that the sacrifice of inferiors can for an instant be tolerated or condoned. It is only then that the weak and those devoid of power, if the necessity should arise, may with the clean conscience of the community, be left to perish by the wayside, or be exploited for the profit of life, the intensity and excellence of life.
        When, therefore, the governing or proprietary classes become mere hedonists, spending their lives in a round of pleasure and neglecting those material and spiritual duties which all power should suggest to the healthy mind; when this happens, you are sacrificing the greater to the less, if one single individual of the labouring inferiors dies through any hardship or sickness which can be ascribed to the system under which he is yoked, and which cannot be traced to his own independent choice or crime.
        Let historical pedants and Greek scholars say what they may, the rule of our landed aristocracy in England had every one of the essentials for being the rule of the best. They were the best in so far as material and spiritual circumstances went, and they were the best in respect of opportunity. In order to make themselves intrinsically the best spiritually and physically in the nation, all they required to do was to discipline and refresh or augment their stock with more discrimination and to avail themselves of their exceptional chances to acquire that deep intellectual 1 and bodily culture which is denied to the parvenu. At one time their prestige alone lent weight to their wildest utterances, and the dignity of their position was in itself a sufficient guarantee of their worthiness. What a history of neglect and wilful squandering of golden chances their "progress" must have been, for it to be possible for a recent writer with some plausibility to say

        1 See Ku Hung-Ming, op. cit., p. 58. "Without deep intellectual culture, you cannot have true ideas; you cannot distinguish false from true ideas. Again, without ideas you cannot interpret facts."

- p. 101 -
of them: "They seldom rise above the level of mediocrity. Physically, morally and intellectually they are a species in a steady decline, and there is reason to believe that they are conscious of it." 1
        If they had been a healthy thinking nobility, an intellectual inquiring and conscientious nobility; if instead of falling in with the general commercial and industrial stampede for riches and plunder, they had halted to think of the consequences of it all to the national character and capacity, and if only they had paused to give an example of prudence and of ruling wisdom to the less favoured and less cultured among their fellows, how incalculable would their rewards have been to-day!
        You may reply that, had they done so, they would only have perished like martyrs, after the fashion of their predecessors the Cavaliers, slain by the overwhelming hordes of the vulgar and tasteless upstarts who ushered in all the extremely questionable innovations of the late eighteenth and the early nineteenth centuries. I do not believe that there is a single cogent argument to support this view; for in the nineteenth, unlike the seventeenth century they would have had the people on their side. It was not known, at least to the well-to do people in the seventeenth century, that in fighting on the side of Cromwell and so-called "Liberty," they were opening their arms to a race of capitalistic and unscrupulous oppressors. But in the nineteenth many more people than in the seventeenth century would have realised that any portion of the nation that insisted upon respect for the burden, any part of the community who tested, weighed and judged every innovation as it arose, must be on their side. Or, if they did not know that, they would soon have learnt it. The Liberals of the nineteenth century, then as now, like the Parliamentary party of Cromwell's time, may be regarded entirely as people who are "on the make"; their legislation in itself, capitalistic as it always has been, is entirely against the people, however much, on the surface, it may

        1 See Arthur Ponsonby, M.P., The Decline of Aristocracy, p. 141.

- p. 102 -
seem in their favour. 1 Thus during the nineteenth century and after, the Tories have had the chance of their lives. Behind them they had the fact, the knowledge of which Charles I's Cavaliers did not possess — the fact that "as the power of the Crown has diminished, the privileges of the people have disappeared; till at length the Sceptre has become a pageant, and its subject has degenerated again into a serf." 2 They could have taken the place of the Crown in England as the patriarchal rulers of the community, and they could have proved that other contention of Disraeli's that "power has only one duty: to secure the social welfare of the People." 3
        But they missed their opportunity. Probably they did not even see it. For there are some of them even to-day who will be found to declare that such statements as 1 have just quoted from Disraeli are Radical, and not susceptible of adoption by Tories in any way whatsoever! Thus they allowed things to go their own way, and obeyed the stupid indolent behest "laissez faire"; and though I say it without bitterness or resentment — for I am myself an ardent supporter of an hereditary noble caste — the fate with which the Lords met in the autumn of 1911 was not unmerited. They even deserved to appear as cowards before the eyes of the whole world. And their best friends, rather than conceal the real truth from them, ought to prefer to prove their friendship by telling them the whole of it and showing them how, even at this late hour, their lost reputation may be retrieved.

        1 This point has been so ably explained by Mr. J. M. Kennedy in his Tory Democracy that I need scarcely burden my pages with a repeated explanation.
        2 Disraeli's Sybil, p. 488 (Longmans, Green and Co., 1899).
        3 Ibid., p. 312.



Next Chapter