7 MARCH 1885, Page 17

LIMITS TO INDIVIDUAL LIBERTY.* Tins is a very able and

extremely well-written book, with much originality of thought. Mr. Montague accepts the doctrine of Evolution ;—in less ambitions words, he recognises the truth that, in order to explain anything adequately, we must adopt the historical method, and trace the process by which it has come to be what it is. Acting on this method,he begins by tracing the history of our modern and specially British ideas of liberty, and their most complete development in that theory of society which was formulated in the writings of the English school of political economy—a theory which, as he truly remarks, has had enormous effects on political practice. The chapter in which he traces the history of these ideas is the most original, and to us the most interesting, in the book. He traces the origin of modern, as distinguished from classical, ideas of liberty, to the Primitive and then the Catholic Church, and to the Reformation ; he traces their descent through Locke, Bentham, and the political economists, until their most extreme development was attained in the doctrine of laissezfaire,—the doctrine that the duties of a State are nothing more than to secure a fair field and no favour to every one ; and, beyond this, neither to help nor to hinder. Finally, he studies these ideas of individual liberty and laissez faire in the social and historical theories of Herbert Spencer, which theories -he regards as the appropriate philosophical basis of these ideas. This he does with a controversial purpose, as the chief object of his book is to show that the theories of Bentham and the political economists are inadequate, and that laissez-faire is not the last word of a true political philosophy.

As we agree with Mr. Montague, and differ from Herbert spencer, on this question, we must turn aside for a moment to make some remarks on Mr. Spencer's treatment of this subject. His philosophy, so far as it is purely scientific or speculative, consists in applying the doctrine of evolution to the facts -of human society ; treating human history, so far as possible, as a branch of natural history ; and applying, in its explanation, Darwiti's most luminous principle of organic progress by the natural selection of the best varieties through the survival of the fittest in the struggle for existence. (Mr. Montague is quite mistaken in thinking that Comte anticipated these views. Comte's work was finished before "natural selection " was heard of ; and he regarded man's speculative faculty as the motive-power of historical progress, thus commencing history where the author of the Book of Genesis commenced it,—at the awakening of man's self-consciousness. Herbert Spencer, on the contrary, treats historical progress as a process which began, and is continued very far, in un-consciousness.) On this peculiarity of Spencer's philosophy, Mr. Montague remarks :—" All spiritual influences tend to subdue and regulate the fierce instincts of self-preservation and self-assertion. Why should we wish to subdue the only forces which make for progress ?" (For according to Herbert Spencer, human progress, as well as organic progress, is mainly due to the struggle for existence ; this, in human society, is called competition.) "If the only possible progress is by natural evolution " (through competition and the survival of the fittest), 4‘ the only possible policy is complete laissez-faire. Mr. Herbert Spencer, in this instance, deserves the praise of a rigorous consistency. His maxims are the normal product of his philosophy. if his speculative premisses are sound, his practical conclusions are certainly true."

We do not altogether agree with Mr. Montague, because we do not think he has sounded the depth of Herbert Spencer's fallacy. Mr. Spencer, though by a totally different scientific method, arrives at the same practical conclusion with the early political economists—namely, the principle Which is called laissez-faire—that the State should allow every one the utmost freedom which is consistent with the rights of others. Consistent with the rights of others ! Where did Herbert Spencer find this limitation of the natural law of free competition? Locke found such a limitation in his imaginary social compact ; Bentham found it in his principle of utility ; and these answers were perfectly good, from their points of view. But where did Herbert Spencer find it ? How, on his principles, was it possible that the ideas of justice, right, and law, and the institution of police and courts of justice, should be evolved out of the struggle of savages with each other for food, wives, and other objects of desire ? To use Mr. Montague's antithesis, how can the merely natural state of struggle and competition evolve a moral state of order and respect for right ? Probably Herbert Spencer can trace the successive stages of the evolution, and show what a long and circuitous process it was. But this is not an explanation of the cause of the evolution of law and legal institutions ; just as the cause of an insect's metamorphosis is in no degree explained by tracing, however minutely, the successive stages of the metamorphosis. And we must ask not only how be accounts for the origin of law, but how he justifies it? The function of law is to prevent violent conflict and to protect the weak. But if conflict and competition are the only agencies of progress, and if it is desirable for the general interest that the weak should be crashed so as to permit of the " natural selection " of the strong, how can the conclusion be avoided that the action of law is injurious ?

This is a much stronger plea in favour of primitive barbarism than any which Rousseau ever thought of. And why should the State effect that enormous interference with mere Nature which is implied in all law and government, and then refuse to interfere further ?

The facts remain, though from their familiarity they hive been forgotten, that law and settled orderly government are not part of Nature, but are a painfully-achieved conquest over Nature; and that the industrial and commercial life of free competition needs and postulates an apparatus of law and government which competition did not and could not create. Now, when the conscious and moral element in human society has done this great work which the unconscious and non-moral element could not have done, and has pledged collective society, or the State, to use its entire strength in securing the rights of the weakest of its members, how is it in any way unreasonable to ask that it should do yet more ? In other words, when the moral element in society has intervened, acting through the State, first to regulate and ultimately to suppress the competition of club-law and fisticuffs, is it unreasonable to demand that it should intervene yet further to mitigate the evils of industrial competition, and to confer benefits on society which competition and the voluntary action of individuals fail to confer P It seems to us that the obvious common-sense of the matter is in accordance with historical example, and that both condemn all such theoretical limitation of the functions of the State. Let us take an instance of the highest speculative interest, and the greatest practical importance. Ought the union of the Church with the State to be maintained ? Certainly not, according to the rule which Herbert Spencer has adopted from the Benthamites, and seeks to justify by his historical philosophy ; those who wish for a Church ought to be left to form one for themselves ; and those who do not wish for it have presumably no need for it. But let us appeal from Herbert Spencer, the politician, to Herbert Spencer, the philosophical historian. He knows as well as we do, and has verified the assertion far more completely, that the religious character of the State is older than Christianity and older than civilisation. In all primitive societies, including that of which we have the record in the Old Testament, the State and the Church were one. "The congregation of the children of Israel" was at once the State and the Church ; —the words " Church " and " State" have no equivalents in the language of the Old Testament. A Church distinct from the State came into existence with Christianity ; but whenever a nation was -converted to Christianity, the State became Christian, and the Church became what is now called an Establishment, not by any formal enactment, but as a matter of course and almost unconsciously. This proves nothing as to the wisdom or the practicability of preserving their union under modern conditions ; but it proves that the argument from history is not in favour of its dissolution ; and this is equally true, whatever relative importance may belong to the merely natural and the consciously moral agencies in human society and historical progress.

On the respective functions of the State and the Church, Mr. Montague has the following admirable remarks :—

" The distinction between Church and State, we take it, is not that the one operates by spiritual, the other by corporeal means; nor that the one secures our happiness in this, the other in a future life; nor that the one aims at chimerical, the other at rational objects; but simply this, that the Church is an association for the advancement of the ideal life" [we think he rather means the raising of the ideal of life]; " the State an association for transforming the practical into the likeness of the ideal life. Both work into each other. Both are indispensable. Men must always strive to carry out their ideal ; and for this struggle they must organise themselves in a Commonwealth. But men are always doomed to fail in their attempt, and therefore

they need a Church For beings purely spiritual, both Church and Commonwealth might be absorbed in the Communion of Saints. But we need a State to realise as far as possible that to which we aspire ; and a Church to keep living those aspirations which can never be realised in full."

Religion and the Church belong to a higher life than that of competition. But there is a lower life than that of competition ; not, indeed, too low to be crushed by it, but too low to be benefited by it. Mr. Montague has the following remarks respecting the effect, on such a life, of competition, and of that which most nearly corresponds to competition in the world of intellect, namely, discussion and debate

"The philosophers who hold that in our day all grown-up men and women can attain their normal development., without any other assistance than is afforded by unlimited competition and unrestrained discussion, must have either a very narrow experience or a very weak imagination. Free competition may brace the nerves of the strong ; the weak it leaves in hopeless impotence."

Respecting the degraded classes, he continues :— "As for discussion, of what avail is the most lively discussion to those who have neither intelligence to follow its course nor means to

verify its results ? Of what idea, save the idea of a little immediate gratification, can minds like theirs be susceptible ? Can they estimate their future sufferings ? Can they estimate their

duties to men far away and to generations yet unborn ? But take such people in hand without too nicely sparing their precious individuality. Drill them without remorse in the routine of element. ary schools ; provide them at moderate rents with houses fit for men and women ; give them a chance of growing up healthy and intelligent. Then competition may do them some good. They are armed for the struggle. It is no longer a butchery, but a fair fight. They have come within the range of discussion. They are able to draw an inference and to act upon it. They have the beginnings of hope, of ambition, of public spirit, of curiosity, and of taste."

The concluding chapter of the book is entitled Bureaucracy and Communism," and consists of replies to objections; first, to the objection to a large State outlay and vigorous State intervention for the attainment of various public purposes, especially those of education, based on the fear that such action may make the public service through which it is effected more numerous and more powerful than is consistent with the safety of our freedom. He replies, with great force, that the Continental bureaucracies differ in their spirit from any official bodies which are likely to be formed among us, because they differ in their origin:—

" The administrative system of the nations of the Continent was created not by the people, but by the dynasties. It was directed to secure, firstly, the power of the Government, and, secondly, the welfare of the subject Having grown up in this manner, the bureaucracy shared the sanctity of the Sovereign. It was not at all subject to popular control, and hardly at all exposed to popular criticism. It was centralised to the last degree. For it had grown up with the growing absorption of all inferior and intermediate powers by the monarchy. In the despotic States of modern Europe, the central authority tended to become the only authority. And the bureaucracy of such States as France or Austria grew up under a martial despotism. In their struggle with feudalism, sovereigns bad developed standing armies side by side with bureaucracies. -Undo the Bourbons, the Hapsburgs, the Hohenzollerns, and the Romanoffs, the military was the most honourable of all professions, and military ideas had penetrated into every department of the administration The civil took the complexion of the military service, and borrowed thence the principle of a blind, unquestioning obedience to one distant and irresponsible authority whose approval implied power and wealth, while its censure carried disgrace and ruin. But if we create an administrative machine, we shall create it to supply wants of our own, wants which we clearly understand. It will not resemble the administrative machine created by a dynasty in order to fortify and enlarge its own power. And we shall take care to keep in our own hands such checking and controlling powers as no despot on the Continent can retain. A bureaucracy accountable only to the Sovereign or to a Minister differs altogether from a public service controlled at every turn by the Imperial Parliament, by the Courts of Justice, and by the public Press."

On the subject of Communism, Mr. Montague has little to say that is original. The following, however, is worth quoting :— " It may be alleged that all taxation is really confiscation, that they differ only in degree, and that they can be separated by no impassable line. I answer that differences of degree, although they may be of no account in mathematical, are of the utmost importance in moral science ; that the line which divides taxation from confiscation, however imperceptible to the metaphysic eye, is palpable enough to common-sense." Confiscation is here mentioned in a context which makes it nearly a synonym for communism.

We could say much more, but we have exhausted our space. Although, in a needlessly modest preface, the author disclaims for his work any scientific value, we think that with more care in working-out his subjects, and with more concentration on their important points, he might have produced, and may yet produce, a work of the same kind of value as Mill's work on liberty, though on a different side of the question, and with a truer practical result.

MR. CHINNOCK'S TRANSLATION OF " ARRIAN."* THE present Rector of Dumfries Academy is not qualified to

the world with noble scholarship ; but his translation of Arrian's history of Alexander's Expedition will serve the purpose of those who, with no Greek at command, may wish to.

read the best account that has reached us from antiquity of antiquity's champion hero and conquerer. Widely as modern

historians differ in their views about Alexander's career and• genius, they unite in giving Arrian the preference over all his rivals. We believe, however, that Grote's estimate of this writer is more correct than Mr. Freeman seems willing toadmit, and that the silence of Arriau by no means affords strong a. priori grounds of historical presumption, against which the

statements of other writers must be weighed at what they are worth. Arrian may, indeed, be justly thought a better historical critic than Diodorus, or Plutarch, or Justin, or Quintus Curtius ; but he clearly does not merit the eulogy bestowed upon him by Dr. Leonhard Schmitz, and quoted approvingly by Mr. Chinnock. Distinguished as he was no doubt among the writers of his time, Arrian's claims to be considered a first-rate historian or historical critic are as unsubstantial as his claims to be reckoned a great captain. As a literary man and as a military man, be won the praise which is ungrudgingly given by the world to

successful mediocrity; and his amusing self-appreciation does not belie this estimate of his preteusions. After lamenting, rightly enough no doubt, that Alexander had not yet found a votes saver, and after asserting, with wild exaggeration, that his hero's deeds were far less known than the meanest achievements of antiquity, he calls himself as a witness to his own capacity for recording those deeds :— " For whoever I may be [he was writing anonymously, or under the pseudonym of Xenophon '1, this I know about myself, that there is no need for me to assert my name, for it is not unknown to men ; nor is it needful for me to say what my native land and family are, or if I have held any public office in my own country. But this I doassert, that this historical work is, and has been from my youth up, in place of native land, family, and public offices to me; end for this. reasonI do not deem myself unworthy to rank among the first authors in the Greek language, if Alexander is indeed among the first in


We have quoted Mr. Chiunock's rendering of this passage, and any one who cares to compare it with the original will see that he is by no means faithful here to the excellent theory of a translator's duty which he inculcates in his Preface. The words in italics do interfere with his author's " way of stating his. case," and do not '• improve his diction." For Arrian, using a figure of speech identical with Slender's when he boasted that " Sackerson was meat and drink to him," says both more and less than Mr. Chinnock makes him say. In fact, Mr. Chinnock, sailing in very plain waters,—for Arriau's Greek is of the easiest,—often runs on rocks which a worse scholar than himself would probably have avoided. lie might have written a translation which would have satisfied Dr. Arnold's energetically expressed wish for an "honest schoolboy version" of some classic ; he has really written one which is only better than the common run of " cribs," because Arrian is so much less difficult than the authors who are commonly read " in schools and colleges." A good illustration of the carelessness which spoils his work may be seen in his renderings—both wrong, and one very much so—of the extremely simple phrases with which Arrian opens his descriptions of the battles of Issue and Arbela

" Oita; Con ;iv is 01-pa7E1:114:470," he says in the first instance; 1-CG Grpar017i-61Z. ,yin-0" in the second. These phrases are plainly identical in meaning ; but Mr. Chinnock translates the second by, " When the armies drew near each other;" and the first by, " When the armies at length met in conflict !" We shall give only one specimen of his critical acumen. In describing the slaughter of the Persian cavalry at Issue, Arrian says, "01; fAilOY %) 4; Te;uv polio; iv rp g)tori riot.

these clubbed and disorganised horsemen suffered as much as if they had been infantry." By adopting Martin's conjecture of 7LY 7:471V, Mr. Chinnock makes Arrian say that Darius lost as many horsemen in the rout as he did infantry, a statement not easily reconcilable with his subsequent estimate of the King's losses at 100,000 men, of which 10,000 only were cavalry.

To return to Arrian. Mr. Chinnock, as a translator, may be

forgiven for saying that his author "exhibits great literary acuteness in the choice of his authorities, and in sifting evidence." But who will be witness for the truth of such a statement? This is going much too far beyond Mr. Freeman's judicious opinion that Arrian, of all Alexander's ancient biographers, "alone seems to have had the will and power to exercise a discreet judgment upon the statements of those who went before him." It is in comparison with historians who have no claim to be called critical at all that Arrian's sagacity can be commended. As to the choice of his authorities, that of course was right. A soldier and magistrate of his experience and capacity could not conceivably have followed mere romancers like Onesicritus and Clitarchus, in preference to writers like Ptolemy and Aristobulus. What we are by no means so clear about is the exact amount of credit due to the King of Egypt and his brother officer. We are not so much impressed as Arrian was by the fact that both of these companions of Alexander wrote after his death, and so had nothing to hope or fear from him. We are only amused by the naïf inference which he draws from his belief that falsification of facts would have been more disgraceful to Ptolemy as a monarch than to any other man. In short, and in view of a question of far more interest than Arrian's own place as an historian, we are unable to shake-off the feeling that the writer who by common consent is to be regarded as the best ancient biographer of Alexander, based his biography upon authorities who were not likely to scan the blots in Alexander's career and character too closely. It is for this reason, among others, that we are inclined to accept Grote's estimate of the great Macedonian as, on the whole, more trustworthy than Thirlwall's. Yet we do so with fear and trembling, so to speak. We can bring ourselves to discount with some equanimity the support which Mr. Freeman's weighty voice lends to the Bishop, because we feel that Mr. Freeman, from the force of early associations, writes as much under the spell of Thirlwall's genius, as Arnold wrote under that of Niebuhr's. We cannot, however, so comfortably get quit of Mommsen. For that great historian does not hesitate to compare Alexander's work in the East with his favourite Caesar's work in the West, and that, too, while painting the latter in the most brilliant colours. He elsewhere, and more than once, insists upon Alexander's greatness as a statesman and civiliser. But Mommsen is obliged, of course, to admit that Alexander's work perished irretrievably in what he calls the stormfloods of the Middle-Ages, and he gives too much credit, we think, to the part which Alexander played in Hellenising the East, and, like Thirlwall and Mr. Freeman, is more in love with that process, such as it was while it lasted, than we can bring ourselves to be. To say nothing of the various influences of his " Successors," at once greater and more various than that of Clive's successors in British India, we see in Alexander a brother rather of Cortez and Napoleon, than of Cmsar. Be this as it may, Arrian throws but little light upon the points of difference between Thirlwall and Mr. Freeman on the one side, and Grote and Niebuhr on the other. His history, written four centuries or so after the events which it records, is valuable chiefly because it is based upon the writings of men who were contemporary with those events. It would be delightful reading if we could rank Arrian's faith in omens and prodigies with that of Herodotus. But we cannot do so. The old historian's simple faith, tempered as it was with some glimpses of natural scepticism, is something quite apart from the official piety of Arrian and, we may add, of Arrian's hero. It would be inhuman to smile, rather than sigh, over the daily sacrifices which Alexander rose to perform from his dying conch ; but what a light those sacrifices throw upon the teaching which Aristotle was permitted to give to his royal pupil ! And here, since we cannot in the space at our disposal give, without an appearance of presumptuous dogmatism, more than a general assent to Grote's view of Alexander as compared with Thirlwall's, we shall close this notice of a translation which is well worth reading once, with a few remarks upon Alexander's premature death. Lithe, who was himself no mean adept in the healing art, has written a full diagnosis of the great Conqueror's disease in his essays on Afedeeins et Mideeine. But Littri, following the example of Plutarch and Arrian, relies far more than we do on what we may call the daily bulletins which were published in the Court gazette of the Macedonian King. We believe that Alexander's death was accelerated, like his friend Hepha3stion's, by immoderate drinking; though we may acquit him, indeed, of shortening his days by any such tremendous " williewaught " as that by which Hephmstion shortened his. For the latter, if we may trust Plutarch, when counselled to diet himself, called incontinently for and swallowed a boiled capon and a "psycter " of wine,—like the dashing young soldier that be was (yloc ze i crrpareroa;)." And a "psycter," if we may trust Liddell and Scott, held at least eighteen gallons ! In any case, we see no reason for thinking that Alexander, whose fever began after a severe drinking bout, was likely to prove a much more tractable patient than that very thirsty soul his friend. Certainly Aristobalus, who is quoted by Arrian as his authority for saying that Alexander drank deep from no love of wine, but out of pure good-fellowship, is quoted also by Plutarch, as saying that Alexander very literally died drank. Against this statement must be weighed, of course, the Court bulletins,—nor does it, we confess, matter much which way one chooses to decide this question. One thing is clear—clear even from Arrian's (as we believe), far from impartial narrative—and that is, that Alexander's character was ruined by success as much or more than Napoleon's was. And when we say more, we mean thereby to pay a compliment to the Macedonian at the Corsican's expense. For it is evident from the stories—which we can see no reason for doubting—told by Arrian, of noble and generous actions done by Alexander in the earlier years of his Asiatic campaigns, that his nature was far finer originally, and more humane, than Napoleon's was. Nevertheless, and in spite of Mr. Freeman's admiration for Alexander and his detestation of Napoleon, the latter far more than Caesar strikes us as the nearest historical parallel to Alexander; and if Napoleon's expedition to Moscow proved more fatal than Alexander's expedition to the Punjaub, that was because the soldiers and officers of Alexander were wiser and more independent than the soldiers and officers of Napoleon.