11 OCTOBER 1873, Page 23


THE Contemporary for October has some valuable, though no very brilliant papers. Mr. Herbert Spencer concludes his papers on the " Study of Sociology" with one in which he half apologises for having said so much directly on the science of Sociology, while only professedly discussing the mode of studying it. We suspect that the majority of his readers will be more disposed to take an opposite objection,—that while ex- plaining the many difficulties and disadvantages under which the science must be studied, he has left them very doubtful indeed whether there really be as yet any such science to study,—whether, at most, anything more than a few generalisations of an empirical kind as to the modes of social growth,—within the scope of which there is room for indefinite and almost infinite variety of the most irreducible kind,—can be laid down. Above all, Mr. Spencer, in rightly suggesting that the scientific study of the human mind itself is one of the most necessary preparations for the study of such laws of social growth as we may be able to attain, will hardly have con- vinced his readers that the human mind does not contain an element which is above Jaw,—which element, again, if it be there, must be reproduced in all human society, and so introduce an unknown and unknowable quantity into the problem of determining its evolu- tion. Mr. Spencer does not find it difficult to show that the modern notion of evolution is still quite foreign to the leading practical minds of our own day, and criticises with some skill certain words of Mr. Gladstone's, which prove that the Prime Minister regards the troth of the theory of evolution as inconsistent with religions faith. But we doubt whether it is not precisely that conception of evolution which Mr. Spencer himself has popularised,—in which the perpetual fact of Creation is supposed to be dispensed with by the discovery of the infinite number of infinitesimal accessions of force and life through which Nature passes to her highest organisations,—that has misled Mr. Gladstone. Evolution, properly understood, describes an order of growth, but does not find the root of much in little, of little in less, and of less in nothing ; but leaves us just as much need of a Creator, after tracing such laws as there are of cosmical growth, as there was when no such laws were dreamt of. Mr. George H. Darwin has a paper which might, we think, be more graphic and lucid, on the economical doc- trine, as expounded by Mr. J. S. Mill, that " the demand for com- modities is not a demand for labour," in which he shows very clearly that the consideration of the length of time required for the work of production is of the first importance in determining the effect of that production on the Labour Market,—a consideration of which Mr. Mill never lost sight. But he does not seem to us to hold fast the economical difference of effect between merely replacing in a manufacturer's hands the wages which he had pre- viously advanced to his labourers, and competing with him for labourers by offering the same wages-fund for new work. The former process quickens the cycle, no doubt, of the special pro- duction, enables the manufacturer to turn over his capital wore rapidly, and so gives new opportunity for savings and reproduc- tive use of the savings, but does not involve necessarily any in- • crease in the amount of capital devoted to the support of labour at all. The manufacturer, except by the gain of time, does not get any increase to his wages-paying power ; and the purchaser of commodities does not, qua purchaser, employ what he buys in competing for labour at all. Even if he does not himself consume the commodities which he buys,—even if they be commodities of the kind which would support labour, namely, clothing or food for labourers,—yet if they are given away to labourers, they do not increase the competition for labour, and therefore do not tend to increase the proportion of the produce of labour which the labourer obtains. Mr. Darwin seems to us to be intent only on the question whether the labourer ulti- mately gets, or does not get, the wealth appropriated by the buyer in his demand for commodities. But even if the labourer gets it, but does not get it as the price of his labour, but by way of gratuitous boon, though it will increase what the labourer consumes, it will not put him in a better position in relation to the wages he can demand. No doubt the labourers who get the boon without working for it, are for the time so much the better off, but those who do not get it are no better off. Now, if the same wealth be offered as an equivalent for new work demanded, the effect will be to raise the rate of wages of all the other labourers from amongst whom you might expect to look for recruits. We do not think Mr. Darwin does full justice to the chapter of Mr. Mill which he criticises, and from one point of view acutely criticises. Mr. Capes puts very powerfully the necessity which Protestants are beginning to feel, we think, more and more every day, for recognising the future life as morally progressive no less than the present life,—in short; for in- troducing the purgatorial idea, but in a larger and more extended form than any in which the Catholic Church recog- nises it, into the conception of the immortal future. Mr. Markham has a very able and convincing paper on the various scientific motives for sending out next year a new Arctic expedition, con- ducted by a proper naval officer, with all the advantages afforded by the strict discipline of the Navy at his disposal ; and Mr. O'Connor Morris has a remarkable paper on M. le Play, an eminent French economist, and M. le Play's ideas of social reform.

The Fortnightly is full of good papers, including the furious bit of mistaken eloquence in which Mr. Morley describes the Editors of the Spectator as "clerical Tadpoles," because they object to the intolerable "religious captiousness " of the day, and argues that the intrusion of the Church into politics will break up the Liberals, only to compel them to form anew into a party one object of whose new life will be the suppression of the Establishment. That is all fair, being mere political prediction spiced with no undue flavour of personalities, but it is rather beneath Mr. Morley to write about " tricks to raise up the ghost of a Laudian Church." Has he any distinct conception of the way a ghost would crop his ears, or does he honestly believe that there is a Churchman who would do it ? We have heard of Churchmen recommending horse-ponds for the friends of labourers, but even Bishops now smite Dissenters only with the Rule of Three. The paper, however, which has this month keenly interested ourselves is Mr. Freeman's, on the "Growth of Commonwealths," a remark- able study of politics, which we would recommend most heartily to all Conservatives. It would give them arguments of which they are in the sorest need. Mr. Freeman is, of course, in theory a Republican ; but limits his theory in every possible direction, and specially by the principal, and as we hold with him the truest, of all Conservative thoughts,—that the best go- vernment for any country, setting aside pure tyranny or anarchy, is that which the circumstances of its history have given it. He holds that radical change, involving a breach in the continuity of institutions, is in itself an evil, and believes that the absence of this idea has been the main source of the evils of France, which would now do best to keep its accidental government, which was not devised at all but grew to meet its ends. He then, employing the wealth of his historic knowledge as his means, shows that throughout credible history Monarchies have been changed into Republics and Republics ir.to Monarchies without those violent solutions of continuity which seem in our day so to appal modern thinkers. For instance, in Rome the Monarchy was changed into an aristocratic Republic, and the aristocratic Republic into a Republic democratic as well as aristocratic, and then into a Monarchy again, without any of those clean-sweeping Revolutions people now-a-days so dread. It was never, for instance, proposed to abolish the Senate, though its powers were altered, and the right to enter it expanded ; nor were the great magistracies ever abolished, though they were thrown open, and most of them at last concentrated in a single hand. So gradual and realistic, indeed, was revolution in Rome, that a few great offices never were thrown open, but were confined to patricians to the last. In Athens, "It was only step by step that the old kingship changed into a board of nine magistrates chosen by lot, magistrates first in rank, but least in power, among the great officers of the commonwealth. It was only step by step that the exclusive dominion of the old patricians changed into the uni- versal sovereignty of an assembly in which every citizen had an equal vote. Therefore the Athenian democracy was more stable,

more lasting, than that of any other Grecian city. Its existence was interrupted by fewer revolutions, and those of a less violent kind, than any other Greek democracy. Once only, and that in her very earliest times, had Athens to bow to a tyranny, and that was the tyranny of one who scrupulously respected the outward forms of law. She had twice to bow to an oligarchy, but the oligarchy of the Thirty, under which her democratic institu-. tions were for a moment utterly swept away, was simply forced upon her by a foreign power, and was overthrown the first moment that her citizens had strength to overthrow it." In modern history the regular form of change has been for a dis contented country to break away from an Empire and make such institutions as it pleased,—as, for example, the Italian cities broke away from the Empire, and Switzerland broke away from the Haps- burgs, and the Netherlands from Spain ; but Venice changed her Constitution from a regality to an oligarchy, and England hers from a tempered Monarchy to a tempered Republic, without a clean sweep of anything. The Seven Provinces formed a strict Republic, and only by degrees allowed one powerful family to assume the hereditary headship of the Executive. Our William III. when he came over was no King, but a President, with the title of Stadtholder, and a legal, though unlikely liability to dismissal. When America broke off from Britain, she simply changed her hereditary Executive officer into an officer elected for a._ term, and gave him powers which, though much less thati our; Kings Kings enjoy on paper, are in substance much greater. No clean sweep was made of institutions, or laws, or anything to which people were accustomed, while full scope was left for aggrandiser ment. Mr. Freeman evidently thinks that Republics, especially. if they admit the Federal principle, do not tend to become small, but to grow, as Federal America has done, and as Federal Switzer- land undoubtedly would do, if the right of provinces to change their allegiance were not resisted by force. The paper needs, of course, to be read in its entirety, but the conclusion at which the learned Republican arrives is one which will content almost every politician in the kingdom : —" I respect the kingly Office as some- thing ordained by law, and I see no need to alter the law which ordains it. But I can go no further. I cannot take on myself to condemn other nations, nor can I hasten to draw general in- ferences from single instances. But I do hold that the witness of history teaches us that, in changing a long-established form executive government, whether it be the change of a kingdom into a commonwealth or of a commonwealth into a kingdom, the more gently and warily the work is done, the more likely it is to be lasting."

Fraser is not very interesting, though there is a thoroughly studious paper on Apuleius as a philosopher, as a thinker striving to grope his way through the problems of life, by Its-r: -Cr. G. Prowett, a thoughtful student too little known, which' wiliattract many; a review of Mr. Bage hot's " Lombard Street" by Mr. Bonamy Price, which, in spite of its absurdly scornful tone, hits one or two blots in that popular and thoughtful book, more especially the mastery a Permanent Deputy-Chairman of the Bank might obtain ; but we cannot read everlasting lectures either, on the Indian Services or Gravelotte. Even the history of "Orange- ism, its Past and Future," is a little heavy, though we heartily sympathise with the writer's desire that the Orangemen shall at last sympathise with the English Liberals who, now that religious inequality has been destroyed, are their natural allies. We believe that will happen whenever the land question comes to the front, but meanwhile the old religious conflict has left traces which the new policy of Rome tends as yet to deepen nearly as much as the old Protestantism of Mr. Froude, who declares, in an editorial note, that " I publish this article in the form in which it has been furnished by our contributor, from a general sympathy with the historical views expressed by him. I must at the same time declare my entire dissent from the writer's concluding advice to the Orangemen. So long as the alliance continues between the English Liberal party and the Ultramontane Irish, let them stick to their old colours, or they will find themselves gradually elbowed out of their country." Why their own country ? We thought Ireland belonged either to the Irish, or to the subjects of Queen Victoria. EL 7I