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got that the United States are without the better. The envy with which its what certainly fixes and accentuates the holder is regarded diminishes, society is division between rich and poor the dis-safer. I think whatever may be said of the tinction of classes. Not only have they worship of the almighty dollar in America, not the distinction between noble and it is indubitable that rich men are regarded bourgeois, between aristocracy and middle there with less envy and hatred than rich class; they have not even the distinction men are in Europe. Why is this? Bebetween bourgeois and peasant or artisan, cause their condition is less fixed, because between middle and lower class. They government and legislation do not take have nothing to create it and compel their them more seriously than other people, recognition of it. Their domestic service make grandees of them, aid them to found is done for them by Irish, Germans, families and endure. With us, the chief Swedes, negroes. Outside domestic ser- holders of property are grandees already, vice, within the range of conditions which and every rich man aspires to become an American may in fact be called upon a grandee if possible. And therefore an to traverse, he passes easily from one sort English country gentleman regards himof occupation to another, from poverty to self as part of the system of nature; gov. riches, and from riches to poverty. No ernment and legislation have invited him one of his possible occupations appears so to do. If the price of wheat falls so degrading to him or makes him lose caste; low that his means of expenditure are and poverty itself appears to him as in greatly reduced, he tells you that if this convenient and disagreeable rather than lasts he cannot possibly go on as a counas humiliating. When the immigrant try gentleman; and every well-bred perfrom Europe strikes root in his new home, son amongst us looks sympathizing and he becomes as the American. shocked. An American would say: "Why It may be said that the Americans, when should he?" The Conservative newspathey attained their independence, had not pers are fond of giving us, as an argument the elements for a division into classes, for the game-laws, the plea that without and that they deserve no praise for not them a country gentleman could not be having invented one. But I am not now induced to live on his estate. An Americontending that they deserve praise for can would say: "What does it matter?" their institutions, I am saying how well Perhaps to an English ear this will sound their institutions work. Considering, in- brutal; but the point is that the American deed, how rife are distinctions of rank and does not take his rich man so seriously as class in the world, how prone men in we do ours, does not make him into a general are to adopt them, how much the grandee; the thing, if proposed to him, Americans themselves, beyond doubt, are would strike him as an absurdity. I suscapable of feeling their attraction, it shows, pect that Mr. Winans himself, the AmeriI think, at least strong good sense in the can millionaire who adds deer-forest to Americans to have forborne from all at-deer-forest, and will not suffer a cottier to tempt to invent them at the outset, and to have escaped or resisted any fancy for inventing them since. But evidently the United States constituted themselves, not amid the circumstances of a feudal age, but in a modern age; not under the conditions of an epoch favorable to subordination, but under those of an epoch of expansion. Their institutions did but comply with the form and pressure of the circumstances and conditions then present. A feudal age, an epoch of war, defence, and concentration, needs centres of power and property, and it reinforces property by joining distinctions of rank and class with it. Property becomes more honorable, more solid. And in feudal ages this is well, for its changing hands easily would be a source of weakness. But in ages of expansion, where men are bent that every one shall have his chance, the more readily property changes hands
keep a pet lamb, regards his own performance as a colossal stroke of American humor, illustrating the absurdities of the British system of property and privilege. Ask Mr. Winans if he would promote the introduction of the British game-laws into the United States, and he would tell you with a merry laugh that the idea is ridiculous, and that these British follies are for home consumption.
The example of France must not mislead us. There the institutions, an objector may say, are republican, and yet the division and hatred between rich and poor is intense. True; but in France, though the institutions may be republican, the ideas and morals are not republican. In America not only are the institutions republican, but the ideas and morals prevailingly republican also. They are those of a plain, decent middle class. The ideal of those who are the public instruc
tors of the people is the ideal of such a class. In France the ideal of the mass of popular journalists and popular writers of fiction, who are now practically the public instructors there, is, if you could see their hearts, a Pompadour or Du Barry régime, with themselves for the part of Faublas. With this ideal prevailing, this vision of the objects for which wealth is desirable, the possessors of wealth become hateful to the multitude which toils and endures, and society is undermined. This is one of the many inconveniences which the French have to suffer from that worship of the great goddess Lubricity to which they are at present vowed. Wealth excites the most savage enmity there, because it is conceived as a means for gratifying appetites of the most selfish and vile kind. But in America Faublas is no more the ideal than Coriolanus. Wealth is no more conceived as the minister to the pleasures of a class of rakes, than as the minister to the magnificence of a class of nobles. It is conceived as a thing which almost any American may attain, and which almost every American will use respectably. Its possession, therefore, does not inspire hatred, and so I return to the thesis with which I started America is not in danger of revolution. The division between rich and poor is alleged to us as a cause of revolution which presently, if not now, must operate there, as elsewhere; and yet we see that this cause has not there, in truth, the characters to which we are elsewhere accustomed.
Maine and M. Scherer tell us that democracy is "merely a form of government," we may observe to them that it is in the United States a form of govern. ment in which the community feels itself in a natural condition and at ease; in which, consequently, it sees things straight and sees them clear.
More than half one's interest in watching the English people of the United States comes, of course, from the bearing of what one finds there upon things at home, amongst us English people ourselves in these islands. I have frankly recorded what struck me and came as most new to me in the condition of the English race in the United States. I had said beforehand, indeed, that I supposed the American Philistine was a livelier sort of Philistine than ours, because he had not that pressure of the barbarians to stunt and distort him which befalls his English brother here. But I did not foresee how far his superior liveliness and naturalness of condition, in the absence of that pressure, would carry the Ameri can Philistine. I still use my old name Philistine, because it does in fact seem to me as yet to suit the bulk of the community over there, as it suits the strong central body of the community here. But in my mouth the name is hardly a reproach, so clearly do I see the Philistine's necessity, so willingly I own his merits, so much I find of him in myself. The American Philistine, however, is certainly far more different from his English brother than I had beforehand supposed. And on that difference we English of the old country may with great profit turn our regards for a while, and I am now going. to speak of it.
A people homogeneous, a people which had to constitute itself in a modern age, an epoch of expansion, and which has given to itself institutions entirely fitted for such an age and epoch, and which suit Surely if there is one thing more than it perfectly a people not in danger of another which all the world is saying of war from without, not in danger of revolu- our community at present, and of which tion from within-such is the people of the truth cannot well be disputed, it is the United States. The political and so- this: that we act like people who do not cial problem, then, we must surely allow think straight and see clear. I know that that they solve successfully. There re- the Liberal newspapers used to be fond. mains, I know, the human problem also; of saying that what characterized our the solution of that too has to be consid- middle class was its "clear, manly intelliered; but I shall come to that hereafter. gence, penetrating through sophisms, My point at present is, that politically ignoring commonplaces, and giving to and socially the United States are a com- conventional illusions their true value." munity living in a natural condition, and Many years ago I took alarm at seeing the conscious of living in a natural condition. Daily News and the Morning Star, like And being in this healthy case, and having Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah, thus this healthy consciousness, the commu- making horns of iron for the middle class nity there uses its understanding with the and bidding it "Go up and prosper!" and soundness of health; it in general sees its my first efforts as a writer on public mat. political and social concerns straight, and ters were prompted by a desire to utter, sees them clear. So that when Sir Henry | like Micaiah the son of Imlah, my pro
test against these misleading assurances of the false prophets. And though often and often smitten on the cheek, just as Micaiah was, still I persevered; and at the Royal Institution I said how we seemed to flounder and to beat the air, and at Liverpool I singled out as our chief want the want of lucidity. But now every body is really saying of us the same thing that we fumble because we cannot make up our mind, and that we cannot make up our mind because we do not know what to be after. If our foreign policy is not that of "the British Philistine, with his likes and dislikes, his effusion and confusion, his hot and cold fits, his want of dignity and of the steadfastness which comes from dignity, his want of ideas and of the steadfastness which comes from ideas," then all the world at the present time is, it must be owned, very much mistaken.
Well, then, our greatest institution, the House of Commons, we cannot say is at present working, like the American institutions, easily and successfully. Suppose we now pass to Ireland. I will not ask if our institutions work easily and successfully in Ireland; to ask such a question would be too bitter, too cruel a mockery. Those hateful cases which have been tried in the Dublin courts this last year suggest the dark and ill-omened word which applies to the whole state of Ireland — anti-natural. Anti-natural, anti-nature — that is the word which rises irresistibly in my mind as I survey Ireland. Everything is unnatural there the proceedings of the English who rule, the proceedings of the Irish who resist. But it is with the working of our English institutions there that I am now concerned. It is unnatural that Ireland should be governed by Lord Spencer and Mr. Campbell Bannerman as unnatural as for Scotland to be gov erned by Lord Cranbrook and Mr. Healy. It is unnatural that Ireland should be governed under a Crimes Act. But there is necessity, replies the government. Well, then, if there is such evil necessity, it is unnatural that the Irish newspapers should be free to write as they write and the Irish members to speak as they speak -free to inflame and further exasperate a seditious people's minds, and to promote the continuance of the evil necessity. A necessity for the Crimes Act is a necessity for absolute government. By our patchwork proceedings we set up, indeed, a make-believe of Ireland's being constitutionally governed. But it is not constitutionally governed; nobody supposes it to be constitutionally governed, except, perhaps, that born swallower of all claptrap, the British Philistine. The Irish themselves, the all-important personages in this case, are not taken in; our make. believe does not produce in them the very least gratitude, the very least softening. At the same time it adds an hundred fold to the difficulties of an absolute government.
Let us not, therefore, speak of foreign affairs; it is needless, because the thing I wish to show is so manifest there to everybody. But we will consider matters at home. Let us take the present state of the House of Commons. Can anything be more confused, more unnatural? That assembly has got into a condition utterly embarrassed, and seems impotent to bring itself right. The members of the House themselves may find entertainment in the personal incidents which such a state of confusion is sure to bring forth abundantly, and excitement in the opportunities thus often offorded for the display of Mr. Gladstone's wonderful powers. But to any judicious Englishman outside the House the spectacle is simply an afflicting and humiliating one; the sense aroused by it is not a sense of delight at Mr. Gladstone's tireless powers, it is rather a sense of disgust at their having to be so exercised. Every day the House of Commons does not sit judicious people feel relief, every day that it sits they are oppressed with apprehension. Instead of being an edifying influence, as such an assembly ought to be, the House of Commons is at present an influence which does harm; it The working of our institutions being sets an example which rebukes and cor- thus awry, is the working of our thoughts rects none of the nation's faults, but rather upon them more smooth and natural? I encourages them. The best thing to be imagine to myself an American, his own done at present, perhaps, is to avert one's institutions and his habits of thought be eyes from the House of Commons as much ing such as we have seen, listening to us as possible; if one keeps on constantly as we talk politics and discuss the strained watching it welter in its baneful confusion, state of things over here. "Certainly one is likely to fall into the fulminating these men have considerable difficulties," style of the wrathful Hebrew prophets, he would say; "but they never look at and to call it "an astonishment, a hissing, them straight, they do not think straight." and a curse." Who does not admire the fine qualities of
and corporate character of the State, how perverse to seize this occasion for promulgating the extremest doctrine of individualism; and not only to drag this dead horse along the public road himself, but to induce Mr. Auberon Herbert to devote his days to flogging it!
Lord Spencer? and I, for my part, am | Harrison's intellectual power, not, perquite ready to admit that he may require haps, to have in the exuberance of youthfor a given period not only the present ful energy weighted himself for the race of Crimes Act, but even yet more stringent life by taking up a grotesque old French powers of repression. For a given period, pedant upon his shoulders, but to have yes! but afterwards? Has Lord Spen- insisted, in middle age, in taking up the cer any clear vision of the great, the pro- Protestant Dissenters too; and now, when found changes still to be wrought before he is becoming elderly, it seems as if notha stable and prosperous society can arise ing would serve him but he must add the in Ireland? Has he even any ideal for Peace Society to his load! How perthe future there, beyond that of a time verse, yet again, in Mr. Herbert Spencer, when he can go to visit Lord Kenmare, at the very moment when past neglects or any other great landlord who is his and present needs are driving men to friend, and find all the tenants punctually co-operation, to making the community paying their rents, prosperous and defer- act for the public good in its collective ential, and society in Ireland settling quietly down again upon the old basis? And he might as well hope to see Strongbow come to life again! Which of us does not esteem and like Mr. Trevelyan, and rejoice in the high promise of his career? And how all his friends applauded when he turned upon the exasper. ating and insulting Irish members, and told them that he was "an English gentleman"! Yet, if one thinks of it, Mr. Trevelyan was thus telling the Irish members simply that he was just that which Ireland does not want, and which can do her no good. England, to be sure, has given Ireland plenty of her worst, but she has also given her not scantily of her best. Ireland has had no insufficient supply of the English gentleman, with his honesty, personal courage, high bearing, good intentions, and limited vision; what she wants is statesmen with just the qualities which the typical English gentleman has not flexibility, openness of mind, a free and large view of things.
We think thus unaccountably because we are living in an unnatural and strained state. We are like people whose vision is deranged by their looking through a turbid and distorting atmosphere, or whose movements are warped by the cramping of some unnatural constraint. Let us just ask ourselves, looking at the thing as people simply desirous of finding the truth, how men who saw and thought straight would proceed, how an American, for ininstance whose seeing and thinking has, I have said, if not in all matters, yet commonly in political and social concerns, this quality of straightness-how an American would proceed in the three confusions which I have given as instances of the many confusions now embarrassing us: the confusion of our foreign affairs, the confusion of the House of Commons, the confusion of Ireland. And then, when we have discovered the kind of proceeding natural in these cases, let us ask ourselves, with the same sincerity, what is the cause of that warp of mind hindering most of us from seeing straight in them, and also where is our remedy.
Everywhere we shall find in our think ing a sort of warp inclining it aside of the real mark, and thus depriving it of value. The common run of peers who write to the Times about reform of the House of Lords one would not much expect, perhaps, to "understand the signs of this time." But even the Duke of Argyll, delivering his mind about the land question in Scotland, is like one seeing, thinking, The Angra Pequeña business has lately and speaking in some other planet than called forth from all sides many and harsh ours. A man of even Mr. John Morley's animadversions upon Lord Granville, who gifts is provoked with the House of is charged with the direction of our forLords, and straightway he declares him- eign affairs. I shall not swell the chorus self against the existence of a second of complainers. Nothing has happened chamber at all; although if there be but what was to be expected. Long ago such a thing as demonstration in politics I remarked that it is not Lord Granville the working of the American Senate de- himself who determines our foreign policy monstrates a well-composed second cham- and shapes the declarations of government ber to be the very need and safeguard of concerning it, but a power behind Lord a modern democracy. What a singular Granville. He and his colleagues would twist, again, in a man of Mr. Frederic | call it the power of public opinion. It is
really the opinion of that great ruling class amongst us on which Liberal governments have hitherto had to depend for support the Philistines or middle class. It is not, I repeat, with Lord Granville in his natural state and force that a foreign government has to deal; it is with Lord Granville waiting in devout expectation to see how the cat will jump-and that cat the British Philistine. When Prince Bismarck deals with Lord Granville, he finds that he is not dealing mind to mind with an intelligent equal, but that he is dealing with a tumult of likes and dislikes, hopes and fears, stock-jobbing intrigues, missionary interests, quidnuncs, newspapers -dealing, in short, with ignorance behind his intelligent equal. Yet ignorant as our Philistine middle class may be, its volitions on foreign affairs would have more intelligibility and consistency if uttered through a spokesman of their own class. Coming through a nobleman like Lord Granville, who has neither the thoughts, habits, nor ideals of the middle class, and yet wishes to act as proctor for it, they have every disadvantage. He cannot even do justice to the Philistine mind, such as it is, for which he is spokesman; he apprehends it uncertainly and expounds it ineffectively. And so with the house and lineage of Murdstone thundering at him (and these, again, through Lord Derby as their interpreter) from the Cape, and the inexorable Prince Bismarck thundering at him from Berlin, the thing naturally ends by Lord Granville at last wringing his adroit hands and ejaculating disconsolately: "It is a misunderstanding alto gether!" Even yet more to be pitied, perhaps, was the hard case of Lord Kimberley after the Majuba Hill disaster. Who can ever forget him, poor man, studying the faces of the representatives of the Dissenting interest and exclaiming: "A sudden thought strikes me! May we not be incurring the sin of blood-guiltiness?" To this has come the tradition of Lord Somers, the Whig oligarchy of 1688, and all Lord Macaulay's Pantheon.
I said that a source of strength to America, in political and social concerns, was the homogeneous character of American society. An American statesman speaks with more effect the mind of his fellowcitizens from his being in sympathy with it, understanding and sharing it. Certainly one must admit that if, in our country of classes, the Philistine middle class is really the inspirer of our foreign policy, that policy would at least be expounded more forcibly if it had a Philistine for its
spokesman. Yet I think the true moral to be drawn is rather, perhaps, this: that our foreign policy would be improved if our whole society were homogeneous.
As to the confusion in the House of Commons, what, apart from defective rules of procedure, are its causes? First and foremost, no doubt, the temper and action of the Irish members. But putting this cause of confusion out of view for a moment, every one can see that the House of Commons is far too large, and that it undertakes a quantity of business which belongs more properly to local assemblies. The confusion from these causes is one which is constantly increasing, because, as the country becomes fuller and more awakened, business multiplies, and more and more members of the House are inclined to take part in it. Is not the cure for this found in a course like that fol lowed in America, in having a much less numerous House of Commons, and in making over a large part of its business to local assemblies, elected, as the House of Commons itself will henceforth be elected, by household suffrage? I have often said that we seem to me to need at present, in England, three things in especial: more equality, education for the middle classes, and a thorough municipal system. A system of local assemblies is but the natural complement of a thorough municipal system. Wholes neither too large nor too small, not necessarily of equal population by any means, but with characters rendering them in themselves fairly homogeneous and coherent, are the fit units for choosing these local assem blies. Such units occur immediately to one's mind in the provinces of Ireland, the Highlands and Lowlands of Scotland, Wales north and south, groups of English counties such as present themselves in the circuits of the judges or under the names of East Anglia or the Midlands. No one will suppose me guilty of the pedantry of here laying out definitive districts; I do but indicate such units as may enable the reader to conceive the kind of basis required for the local assemblies of which I am speaking. The business of these districts would be more advantageously done in assemblies of the kind; they would form a useful school for the increasing number of aspirants to public life, and the House of Commons would be relieved.
The strain in Ireland would be relieved too, and by natural and safe means. Irishmen are to be found, who, in desperation at the present state of their country, cry out for making Ireland independent and