POLITICAL FORMS AND FORCES
In its primitive form political power is the feeling of the community acting through an agency which it has either informally or formally established; and this public feeling, while it is to some extent the feeling spontaneously formed by those concerned, it is to a much larger extent the accumulated and organised sentiment of the past. Everywhere we are shown that the ruler's function as regulator is mainly that of enforcing the inherited rules of conduct which embody ancestral sentiments and ideas.
CHIEFS AND KINGS
At the outset the principle of efficiency was the sole principle of organisation, but evidently supremacy which depends exclusively on personal attributes is but transitory. Only when the chief's place is forthwith filled by one whose claim is admitted does there begin a differentiation which survives through successive generations. The custom of reckoning descent through females, it may be noted, is less favourable to the establishment of permanent political headship than is the system of kinship through males, which conduces to a more coherent family, to a greater culture of subordination and to a more probable union of inherited position and inherited capacity. In sundry semi-civilised societies distinguished by permanent political headships, inheritance through males has been established in the ruling house while inheritance through females survives in the society at large. Descent through males also fosters ancestor-worship, and the consequent reinforcing of natural authority by supernatural authority—a very powerful factor. Development of the ghost theory, leading as it does to special fear of the ghosts of powerful men, until, where many tribes have been welded together by a conqueror, his ghost acquires in tradition the pre-eminence of a god, produces two effects. In the first place his descendant is supposed to partake of his divine nature; and in the second place, by propitiatory sacrifices to him is supposed to obtain his aid.
From the evolution-standpoint we are enabled to discern the relative beneficence of institutions which, considered absolutely, are not beneficent; and we are taught to approve as temporary that which as permanent we abhor. The evidence shows that subjection to despots has been largely instrumental in advancing civilised life.
COMPOUND POLITICAL HEADS
An examination of fact shows that where groups of the patriarchal type fall into regions permitting considerable growths of population, but having physical structures which impede the centralisation of power, compound political heads will arise and for a time sustain themselves through co-operation of the two factors, independence of local groups, and need for union in war. Thus, as Mommsen says, primitive Rome was rather an aggregate of urban settlements than a single city. Not only do conditions determine the various forms which compound heads assume, but conditions determine the various changes they undergo. They may be narrowed by militancy, or they may be widened by industrialism.
The council of war is the germ out of which the consultative body arises. Within the warrior class, which was of necessity the land-owning class, war produces increasing differences of wealth, as well as increasing differences of status; so that military leaders come to be distinguished as large landowners and local rulers. Hence members of a consultative body become contrasted with the freemen at large—not only as leading warriors are contrasted with their followers, but still more as men of wealth and authority. If the king attains or acquires the reputation of supernatural descent or authority, and the law of hereditary succession is so settled as to exclude election, those who might otherwise have formed a consultative body having co-ordinate power become simply appointed advisers. But if the king has not the prestige of supposed sacred origin or commission the consultative body retains power; and if the king continues to be elected it is liable to become an oligarchy.
How is the governmental influence of the people acquired? The primary purpose for which chief men and representatives are assembled is that of voting money. The revenues of rulers are derived at first wholly and afterwards partly from presents. This primary obligation to render money and service to the head of the State, often reluctantly complied with, is resisted when the exactions are great, and resistance causes conciliatory measures. From ability to prescribe conditions under which money will be voted grows the ability, and finally the right, to join in legislation.
Law is mainly an embodiment of ancestral injunctions. The living ruler able to legislate only in respect of matters unprovided for, is bound by the transmitted command of the unknown and the known who have passed away. Hence the trait common to societies in early stages that the prescribed rules of conduct, of whatever kind, have a religious sanction.
In societies that become large and complex, there arise forms of activity and intercourse not provided for in the sacred code; and in respect of these the ruler is free to make regulations. Thus there comes into existence a body of laws of known human origin, which has not the sacredness of the god-descended body of laws: human law differentiates from divine law. And in proportion as the principle of voluntary co-operation more and more characterises the social type, fulfilment of contracts and implied assertion of equality in men's rights become the fundamental requirements, and the consensus of individual interests the chief source of law; such authority as law otherwise derived continues to have being recognised as secondary, and insisted upon only because maintenance of law for its own sake indirectly furthers the general welfare.
The theories at present current adapted to the existing compromise between militancy and industrialism are steps towards the ultimate theory in conformity with which law will have no other justification than that gained by it as maintainer of the conditions to complete life in the associated state.
The desire to appropriate lies deep in animal nature, being, indeed, a condition to survival. The consciousness that conflict and consequent injury may probably result from the endeavour to take that which is held by another tends to establish the custom of leaving each in possession of whatever he has obtained by labour. With the passage from a nomadic to a settled state, ownership of land by the community becomes qualified by individual ownership; but only to the extent that those who clear and cultivate portions of the surface have undisturbed enjoyment of its produce. Habitually the public claim survives, qualified by various forms of private ownership mostly temporary; but war undermines communal proprietorship of land, and partly or wholly substitutes for it either the unqualified proprietorship of an absolute conqueror, or proprietorship by a conqueror, qualified by the claims of vassals holding it under certain conditions, while their claims are in turn qualified by those of dependents attached to the soil. The individualisation of ownership extended and made more definite by trading transactions under contract, eventually affects the ownership of land. Bought and sold by measure and for money, land is assimilated in this respect to the personal property produced by labour, but there is reason to suspect that while possession of such things will grow more sacred, the inhabited area which cannot be produced by labour will eventually be distinguished as something which may not be privately possessed.
THE INDUSTRIAL TYPE OF SOCIETY
The traits of the industrial type of society are so hidden by those of the still dominant militant type that its nature is nowhere more than very partially exemplified. The industrial type is distinguished from the militant type as being not both positively regulated and negatively regulated, but as being negatively regulated only. To the member of the industrial community authority says "Thou shalt not," and not "Thou shalt." On turning to the civilised to observe the form of individual character which accompanies the industrial form of society, we encounter the difficulty that the personal traits proper to industrialism are, like the social traits, mingled with those proper to militancy. Nevertheless, on contrasting the characters of our ancestors during more warlike periods with our own characters, we see that, with an increasing ratio of industrialism to militancy, have come a growing independence, a less marked loyalty, a smaller faith in governments, and a more qualified patriotism; and while there has been shown a strengthening assertion of individuality there has accompanied it a growing respect for the individualities of others, as is implied by the diminution of aggressions upon them, and the multiplication of efforts for their welfare. It seems needful to explain that it is not so much that a social life passed in peaceful occupations is positively moralising, as that a social life passed in war is positively demoralising. The sacrifice of others to self is in the one incidental only; while in the other it is necessary.
It appears to be an unavoidable inference that the ultimate executive agency must become in some way or other elective. From such evidence as existing society will afford us, it is to be inferred that the highest State-office in whatever way filled will continue to decline in importance. No speculations concerning ultimate political forms can, however, be regarded as anything but tentative. There will probably be considerable variety in the special forms of the political institutions of industrial society; all of them bearing traces of past institutions which have been brought into congruity with the representative principle.
To turn to political functions, when corporate action is no longer needed for preserving a society as a whole from destruction or injury by other societies, the end which remains for it is that of preserving the component members of society from injury by one another. With this limitation of the state function it is probable that there will be simultaneously carried further that trait which already characterises the most industrially-organised society—the performance of increasingly-numerous and increasingly-important functions by other organisations than those which form departments of the government. Already private enterprise, working through incorporated bodies of citizens, achieves ends undreamed of as so achievable in primitive societies; and in the future other ends undreamed of now as so achievable will be achieved.
The conclusion of profoundest moment to which lines of argument converge is that the possibility of a high social state political as well as general, fundamentally depends on the cessation of war. Persistent militancy, maintaining adapted institutions, must inevitably prevent, or else neutralise, changes in the direction of more equitable institutions and laws; while permanent peace will of necessity be followed by social ameliorations of every kind.
Rightly to trace the evolution of ecclesiastical institutions, we must know whence came the ideas and sentiments implied by them. Are these innate or are they derived? They are derived. And here it may be remarked that where among African savages there existed no belief in a double which goes away during sleep, there was found to exist no belief in a double which survived after death.
From the ordinary absence of the other self in sleep, and its extraordinary absences in swoons, apoplexy, and so forth, the transition is to its unlimited absence at death; when after an interval of waiting the expectation of immediate return is given up. Commonly the spirit is supposed to linger near the body or to revisit it. Hence the universality of ministrations to the double of the deceased habitually made at funerals. The habitat of the other self is variously conceived; though everywhere there is an approach to parallelism between the life here and the imagined life hereafter. Along with the development of grave-heaps into altars, grave-sheds into religious edifices, and food for the ghost into sacrifices, there goes on the development of praise and prayer. Turning to certain more indirect results of the ghost theory, we find that, distinguishing but confusedly between semblance and reality, the savage thinks that the representation of a thing partakes of the properties of a thing. Hence the effigy of a dead man becomes a habitation for his ghost; and idols, because of the indwelling doubles of the dead, are propitiated. Identification of the doubles of the dead with animals—now with those which frequent houses or places which the doubles are supposed to haunt and now with those which are like certain of the dead in their malicious or benevolent natures—is in other cases traceable to misinterpretation of names; this latter leading to the identification of stars with persons and hence to star and sun worship. In their normal forms, as in their abnormal forms, all gods arise by apotheosis. Originally the god is the superior living man whose power is conceived as superhuman. As in primitive thought divinity is synonymous with superiority, and as at first a god may be either a powerful living person or a dead person who has acquired supernatural power as a ghost, there come two origins for semi-divine beings—the one by unions between a conquering god race and the conquered race distinguished as men, and the other by supposed intercourse between living persons and spirits. Where the evidence is examined comparative sociology discloses a common origin for each leading element of religious belief.
MEDICINE MEN AND PRIESTS
In the primitive belief that the doubles of the dead may be induced to yield benefits or desist from inflicting evil by bribing or cajoling or else by threatening or coercing, we see that the modes of dealing with ghosts broadly contrasted as antagonistic and sympathetic, initiate the distinction between medicine man and priest.
Prompted as offerings on graves originally are by affection for the deceased, it naturally happens that such propitiations are made more by relatives than others. The family cult next acquires a more definite form by the devolution of its functions on one member of the family. Hence in ancient Egypt "it was most important that a man should have a son established in his seat after him who should perform the due rites" of sacrifice to his ka or double. Facts also show that the devolution of the sacrificial office accompanies devolution of property, for this has to bear the costs of the sacrifices; and by a natural corollary the head of the village-community combines the characters of priest and ruler. With the increase of a chief's territory there comes an accumulation of business which necessitates the employment of assistants, and among the functions deputed is that of priest, at first perhaps temporarily assumed by a brother. Such is the usual origin of priesthood.
Many facts make it clear that, not only the genesis of polytheism but the long survival of it are sequences of primitive ancestor-worship. Eventually there result under favouring conditions a gravitation towards monotheism; and with this an advance towards unification of priesthood. The official proprietors of the deity who has come to be regarded as the most powerful or as the possessor of all power becomes established everywhere.
Likeness between ecclesiastical and political organisations when they have diverged is largely due to their community of origin. There results a hierarchy of sacerdotal functionaries analogous to the graduated system of political functionaries; then the agencies for carrying on celestial rule and terrestrial rule eventually begin to compete for supremacy; and there are reasons for thinking that the change from an original predominance of a spiritual power over the temporal power to ultimate subjugation of it is mainly due to the development of industrialism with the moral and intellectual changes involved.
What may we infer will be the evolution of religious ideas and sentiments throughout the future? The development of those higher sentiments which no longer tolerate the ascription of inferior sentiments to a divinity, and the intellectual development which causes dissatisfaction with the crude interpretations previously accepted, must force men hereafter to drop the higher anthropomorphic characters given to the First Cause as they have long since dropped the lower.
Those, however, who think that science is dissipating religious beliefs and sentiments seem unaware that whatever of mystery is taken from the old interpretation is added to the new. Or rather we may say that transference from one to the other is accompanied by increase; since for an explanation which has a seeming feasibility, science substitutes an explanation which, carrying us back only a certain distance, then leaves us in the presence of the avowedly inexplicable. The truth must grow ever clearer—the truth that there is an inscrutable existence everywhere manifested to which the man of science can neither find nor conceive either beginning or end. Amid the mysteries which become the more mysterious the more they are thought about, there will remain the one absolute certainty, that he is ever in the presence of AN INFINITE AND ETERNAL ENERGY, from which all things proceed.
BENEDICT DE SPINOZA
Baruch (Lat. Benedict) Spinoza, or de Spinoza, as he afterwards signed himself, son of a wealthy Portuguese Jew, was born at Amsterdam, November 24, 1632, and died at the early age of forty-four, on February 21, 1677. He was educated to the highest pitch of attainment in Hebrew and Talmudist learning, and through delicacy of physical constitution devoted himself entirely to study, cultivating assiduously philosophy as well as theology, while not neglecting the physical sciences. Imbibing unorthodox views he was formally excommunicated from the synagogue, and philosophy henceforth became the sole pursuit of his mind. He was able, however, through his great scientific accomplishments and mechanical skill, to gain a sufficiency for his subsistence by polishing lenses. This accomplished man was also no mean artist, especially in designing. He was one of the finest Latinists of his time. He was filled with the spirit of religion, and lived the simplest life, on a few pence a day, in a period of voluptuous epicureanism. The philosophical system of Spinoza was evolved from that of Descartes, who had sought to inaugurate a new era in thought. But he sought more clearly to demonstrate the existence of God than did his great French master. No philosopher has been more maligned on the one hand, or more adulated on the other, than this great Jewish genius. Spinoza has been by some nicknamed Pantheist or Atheist; while Schleiermacher and other theologians have not hesitated to describe him as "pious, virtuous, God-intoxicated."
By God I understand absolutely infinite Being, that is, substance consisting of infinite attributes, each expressing eternal and definite essence. If this be denied, conceive, if it be possible, that God does not exist. Then it follows that His essence does not involve existence, which is absurd. Therefore God necessarily exists.
God is absolutely the first cause. He acts from the laws of His own nature only, and is compelled by no one. For outside of Himself there can be nothing by which He may be determined to act. Therefore He acts solely from the laws of His own nature. And therefore also God alone is a free cause.
The omnipotence of God has been actual from eternity and will be actual from eternity. The Divine intellect is the cause of things, both of their essence and of their existence. Thus it is the cause both of the essence and of the existence of the human intellect, but it differs from our intellect both in essence and in existence. The same may be said of the Divine will and the human will.
The will cannot be called a free cause, but can only be termed necessary. The will is only a certain mode of thought, like the intellect. It requires a cause to determine it to action, and therefore cannot be called a free cause, but only a necessary cause. Hence it follows that God does not act from freedom of the will. For the will, like all other things, needs a cause to determine it to act in a certain manner. Things could have been produced by God in no other manner or order than that in which they have been. Things have been created by God in absolute perfection, because they have necessarily followed from His absolutely perfect nature.
The Divine Power and Decree
Since in eternity there is no when, nor before, nor after, God cannot decree nor could He have ever decreed anything other than He has decreed in the perfection of His nature. For if He had decreed something else about creation, He would necessarily have had an intellect and a will different from those He now has. Could such a supposition be allowed, why cannot He now change His decree about creation yet remain perfect?
All things depend on the Divine power; but God's will, because of his perfection, cannot be other than it is, and therefore things cannot be differently constituted. For to suppose otherwise is to subject God to fate, an absurdity which is not worth waste of time to refute.
The sum of the matter is that God necessarily exists; that He is one God; that He acts from the necessity of His nature; that He is the free cause of all things; that all things depend on Him; and that all things have been predestined by Him.
I pass on to those things which must necessarily follow from the essence of the eternal and infinite God.
Thought is the attribute of God. Individual thoughts are modes expressing the nature of God in a certain and determinate manner. The order and connection of these ideas coincides with the order and connection of things, therefore God's power of thinking is equal to His power of acting. The circle existing in nature and the idea of an existing circle which is also in God, are one and the same thing, exhibited through different attributes. God is truly the cause of things as they are in themselves, in so far as He consists of infinite attributes.
The first thing which forms the actual Being of the human mind is nothing else than the idea of an individual actually existing. The essence of man is formed by certain modes of the Divine attributes, that is to say, modes of thought. The idea is the first thing which forms the Being of the human mind. It must be an idea of an individual thing actually existing. Hence the human mind is part of the infinite intellect of God.
The knowledge of everything which happens necessarily exists in God, in so far as He forms the nature of the human mind. Man thinks. Modes of thought, such as love, desire, or affections of the mind under whatever designation, do not exist, unless in the same individual exists an idea of a thing loved, desired, etc. But the idea may exist though no other mode of thinking exists. Therefore the essence of man does not necessarily involve existence.
We perceive that a body is affected in certain ways. No individual things are felt or perceived by us except bodies and modes of thought.
The object of the idea constituting the human mind is a body, or a certain mode of actually existing extension, and nothing else. For if the body were not the object of the human mind, the ideas of the affections of the body would not be in God, in so far as He has created our mind, but would be in Him in so far as He has formed the mind of another thing.
But we have ideas of the affections of the body; therefore the object of the idea constituting the human mind is the body actually existing. It follows that man consists of mind and body, and that the human body exists as we perceive it.
Mind and Body
Hence we perceive not only that the human mind is united to the body, but also what is to be understood by the union of mind and body. But no one can adequately comprehend it without previously possessing adequate knowledge of the body. In proportion as one body is better adapted than another to act or suffer, the mind will at the same time be better adapted for perception. And the more independent a body may be of other bodies, the stronger will be the understanding of the mind. Thus we can determine the superiority of one mind over another.
All bodies are either moving or resting. Every body moves sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly. Bodies are distinguished from each other by degrees of motion and quiescence, not with regard to substance. All bodies agree in some aspects. Bodies affect each other in motion and rest. Each individual thing must necessarily be determined as to motion or rest by some other thing.
The human body needs for its preservation many other bodies by which it is, as it were, regenerated. The human mind increases its aptitude in proportion to the number of ways in which the body can be disposed. The idea constituting a formal being of the human mind is not simple, but is highly complex. An idea of each component part of the body must necessarily exist in God.
The human mind does not know the human body itself, nor does it know that the human body exists, except through the ideas and affections by which the body is affected. Indeed, the human mind is the very idea or knowledge of the human body. These ideas are in God. Thought is an attribute of God, and so the thought of the mind originates of necessity in Him. All the ideas which are in God always agree with those things of which they are ideas, and therefore they are all true.
Falsity consists in privation of knowledge, involved in confusion and mutilation of ideas. For instance, because they think themselves to be free, and the sole reason for this opinion is that they are conscious of their own actions, and ignorant of the causes determining those actions. Nobody knows what the will is and how it moves to-day. Those who pretend otherwise and invent locations of the soul, usually excite derision and disgust.
When we look at the sun and imagine it to be immensely nearer to us than it really is, the error arises from the manner in which the essence of the sun affects the body, not merely from the exercise of the imagination.
The more things the body possesses in common with other bodies, the more things will the mind be adapted to perceive. The human mind possesses an adequate knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God. But the reason why men have not a knowledge of God as clear as that which they have of common notions is that they cannot imagine God as they can imagine bodies, and because they have attached the name of God to the images of things they are accustomed to see. This they can hardly avoid, because they are constantly affected by external bodies. And, indeed most errors arise from our application to the wrong names of things.
For if some one says that the lines drawn from the centre to the circumference of a circle are unequal, it is because he understands by a circle something different from what we understand by the mathematicians. I did not reckon a man to be in error whom I recently heard complaining that his court has flown into one of his neighbour's fowls for I understand what he meant.
In the mind there is no absolutely free will. The mind is determined to this or that volition by a cause, which is determined by another cause, and so on ad infinitum. The will and intellect are one and the same. We are partakers of the divine nature in proportion as we more and more understand God and conform our actions to his will. Our highest happiness consists in this conformity, by which alone the soul finds repose. Those greatly err from the true estimate of virtue who expect to be rewarded for it, as though virtue and the service of God were our felicity itself and the highest liberty.
III.—Concerning Mental Affections
The actions of the mind arise from adequate ideas alone; but the passions depend on those alone which are inadequate. The essence of the mind is composed of adequate and inadequate ideas. Joy is a passion by which the mind passes to a greater degree of perfection; sorrow is a passion by which it passes to a lesser degree.
Accidentally anything may be the cause of joy, sorrow, or desire. We love or hate certain things not from any known cause, but merely from sympathy or antipathy. If we hate a thing, we seek to affirm concerning it everything that we think can affect it with sorrow, while we deny everything that we think can affect it with joy. From this we see how easily a man may think too much of himself, and of the object which he loves, and on the other hand, may think too little of what he hates.
When a man thinks too much of himself this imagination is termed pride, and is a species of delirium, because he dreams with his eyes open, that he can do all those things to which he attains in imagination alone, regarding them thus as realities, and rejoicing in them so long as he cannot imagine anything to exclude their existence and limit his power of action.
If we imagine that a person loves, desires, or hates a thing which we love, desire, or hate, we shall on that account love, desire, or hate the thing more intensely. If, on the other hand, we imagine that he is averse to the thing we love, or loves the thing to which we are averse, then we shall suffer vacillation of mind. Hence every one strives to the utmost to induce others to love what he loves and to hate what he hates. This effort is called ambition, which prompts each person to desire that others should live according to his way of thinking. But if all thus act, then all hinder each other. And if all wish to be praised or loved by all, then all hate one another.
Joy is a man's passage from a less to a greater perfection; sorrow is a man's passage from a greater to a less perfection. I say passage, for joy is not perfection itself. If a man were born with the perfection to which he passes, he would possess it without the affection of joy—a truth the more vividly apparent from the affection of sorrow which is the contrary of joy.
For, that sorrow consists in the passage to a less perfection, but not in the less perfection itself, no one can deny, since in so far as a man partakes of any perfection, he cannot be sad.
Nor can we say that sorrow consists in the passage to a less perfection, for privation is nothing. But the affection of sorrow is actual, and so can be nothing else than the passage to a lesser perfection, that is, the reality by which the power of acting is limited or diminished. As for the definitions of cheerfulness, pleasurable excitement, melancholy, or grief, I omit these, because they are related rather to the body than to the mind, and are merely different species of joy and sorrow.
Love is joy with the accompanying idea of an external cause. Hatred is sorrow with the accompanying idea of an external cause. Devotion is love towards an object which we admire and wonder at. Derision is joy arising from the imagination that something we despise is present in the object we hate. Hope is a joy not constant, arising from the idea of something future or past, about the issue of which we are doubtful. Fear is sorrow not constant, arising in like manner.
Confidence is joy arising from the idea of a past or future object from which the cause for doubting has been removed. Despair is sorrow arising from a like cause. Confidence springs from hope, despair from fear. Pride is thinking too highly of ourselves from self-love. Despondency is thinking too little of ourselves through sorrow.
IV.—Concerning Human Bondage and Human Liberty
Good is that which is useful to us; evil, that which impedes the possession of good. But the terms good and evil are not positive, but are only modes of thought, by which we compare one thing with another. Thus, music is good to a melancholy mind, bad to a mourning mind, but neither bad nor good to a deaf man. We suffer because we form a part of nature. The power by which we preserve our being is the power of God, that is part of His essence. But man is subject to passions because he follows the order of nature.
An affection can only be overcome by a stronger affection. That which tends to conserve our existence we denominate good. That which hinders this conservation we style evil. Desire springing from the knowledge of good and evil can be restrained by desires originating in the affections by which we are agitated. Thus the effect of external causes on the mind may be far greater than that of the knowledge of good and evil. The desire springing from a knowledge of good and evil may be easily restrained by the desire of present objects. Opinion exercises a more potent influence than reason. Hence the saying of the poet, "I approve the better, but follow the worse." And hence also the preacher says "He that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow." We ought to know both the strength and the weakness of our nature, that we may judge what reason can and cannot do in controlling our affections.
Desire springing from joy preponderates over that springing from sorrow. Man is useful to man because two individuals of the same nature when in sympathy are stronger than one. Nothing could be so good for men as that all should so agree in everything as to form as it were a single body and mind, all seeking the good of all. Hence, men acting in accord with the dictates of reason desire nothing for themselves but what they desire for all. This renders them just, faithful, and honourable.
The knowledge of God is the supreme mental good, and to know God is the supreme mental virtue. For God is the supreme subject of the understanding, and therefore to know or understand God is the supreme virtue of the mind. But to us nothing can be either good or evil unless it has something in common with us. An object whose nature is absolutely foreign to our own cannot be either good or evil to us, for this reason, that we only call a thing good or evil when it is the cause of joy or sorrow, this is to say, when it increases or diminishes our power to act.
Nothing can be reckoned good except that which is in harmony with our nature, and nothing can be reckoned evil expect what is contrary to our nature, but men cannot be said to agree in nature when they are subject to passion. We only act in harmony with the dictates of reason when we agree in nature with others. Men are most useful to each other who are mutually ruled by the laws of reason. But rarely do men live thus in harmony with reason, and thus it comes to pass that they are commonly envious of each other.
Yet men are seldom disposed to solitude, but answer generally to the familiar description of man as a social animal, for they know that the advantages preponderate over the advantages of social life. They find by experience that by mutual aid and co-operation they can, on the one hand the more easily secure what they need, and on the other hand the better defend themselves from danger.
A man who seeks after virtue will desire others to do so, and this desire will increase in proportion to this increase of his knowledge of God. The good that a man seeks by the quest of virtue he will wish others to obtain also. This is in accordance with reason, which is the operation of the mind according to the essence of the mind, that essence of the mind being knowledge, which involves the knowledge of God. The greater the knowledge of God involved in the essence of the mind, the greater will be the desire that others may seek after the same virtue which the man seeks for himself.
Edward Bellamy, American social reformer, who sprang into fame in the last decade of the nineteenth century by his book, "Looking Backward," was born in Massachusetts, on March 25, 1850. Trained for the Bar, he became a journalist, and devoted his pen to the propaganda of socialism. After the unprecedented success of his socialist novel, in which he describes a suppositious twentieth century revolution from the standpoint of a hypnotised sleeper awakened in 2000 A.D., his modest home at Chicopee Falls became a recognised centre of the socialist movement in the United States. "Looking Backward" was published in 1888, and was followed by "Equality," in which he expounded his political doctrines in dialogue form, the story being treated merely as a sequel to the earlier book, and entirely subordinated to the more serious aim. We have here preferred to classify "Looking Backward" as a work of philosophy, and not as fiction. Bellamy's championship of the rights of the disinherited, and his enlightened ideas, conveyed in a by no means unimaginative style, gained him many friends and sympathisers. Bellamy died on May 22, 1898.
I.—The Great Change
I first saw the light in the city of Boston, in the year 1857. "What!" you say, "eighteen-fifty-seven? That is an odd slip. He means nineteen-fifty-seven, of course." I beg pardon, but there is no mistake. It was about four in the afternoon of December 26, one day after Christmas, in the year 1857, not 1957, that I, Julian West, first breathed the east wind of Boston, which, I assure the reader, was at that remote period marked by the same penetrating quality characterising it in the present year of grace, 2000.
Living in luxury, and occupied only with the pursuit of the pleasures and refinements of life, I derived the means of my support from the labour of others, rendering no sort of service in return. Why, you ask, should the world have supported in utter idleness one who was able to render service? The answer is, that my great-grandfather had accumulated a sum of money, on the yield of which his descendants had ever since lived. "Interest on investments" was a species of tax on industry which a person possessing or inheriting money was then able to levy, in spite of all the efforts to put down usury.
I cannot do better than compare society as it then was to a prodigious coach to which the masses were harnessed and dragged toilsomely along a very hilly and sandy road, with Hunger for driver. The passengers comfortably seated on the top would call down encouragingly to the toilers at the rope, exhorting them to patience; but always expected to be drawn and not to pull, because, as they thought, they were not like their brothers who pulled at the rope, but of finer clay, in some way belonging to a higher order of beings.
In 1887, I was engaged to wed Edith Bartlett. She, like myself, rode on the top of the coach. Our marriage only awaited the completion of a house, which, however, was delayed by a series of strikes. I remember Mr. Bartlett saying: "The working classes all over the world seem to be going crazy at once. In Europe it is far worse even than here."
The family mansion, in which I lived alone with a faithful coloured servant by the name of Sawyer, was not a house to which I could think of bringing a bride, much less so dainty a one as Edith Bartlett. Being a sufferer from insomnia, I had caused a secret sleeping chamber to be built of stone beneath the foundation, and when even the silence of this retreat failed to bring slumber, I sometimes called in a professional mesmeriser to put me into a hypnotic sleep, from which Sawyer knew how to arouse me at a given time.
On the night of May 30, 1887, I was put to sleep as usual. That night the house was wholly destroyed by fire; and it was not until a hundred and thirteen years later, in September 2000 A.D., that the subterranean chamber was discovered, and myself, the sleeper, aroused by Dr. Leete, a physician of Boston on the retired list. My companion, Dr. Leete, led the way to a belvedere on the house-top. "Be pleased to look around you," he said, "and tell me whether this is the Boston of the nineteenth century."
At my feet lay a great city. Miles of broad streets, shaded by trees, and lined with fine buildings, for the most part not in continuous blocks, but set in larger or smaller enclosures, stretched in every direction. Every quarter contained large open squares filled with trees, among which statues glistened and fountains flashed in the late afternoon sun. Public buildings of a colossal size and an architectural grandeur unparalleled in my day raised their stately piles on every side. Surely, I had never before seen this city, nor one comparable to it. Raising my eyes at last towards the horizon, I looked westward. That blue ribbon winding away to the sunset, was it not the sinuous Charles? I looked east: Boston harbour stretched before me with its headlands, not one of its green islets missing.
"If you had told me," I said, profoundly awed, "that a thousand years instead of a hundred had elapsed since I last looked on this city, I should now believe you."
"Only a century has passed," he answered; "but many a millennium in the world's history has seen changes less extraordinary."
II.—How the Great Change Came About
After Dr. Leete had responded to numerous questions on my part, he asked in what point the contrast between the new and the old city struck me most forcibly.
"To speak of small things before great," I replied, "I really think that the complete absence of chimneys and their smoke is the detail that first impressed me."
"Ah!" ejaculated my companion. "I had forgotten the chimneys, it is so long since they went out of use. It is nearly a century since the crude method of combustion, on which you depended for heat, became obsolete."
"In general," I said, "what impresses me most about the city is the material prosperity on the part of the people which its magnificence implies."
"I would give a great deal for just one glimpse of the Boston of your day," replied Dr. Leete. "No doubt the cities of that period were rather shabby affairs. If you had the taste to make them splendid, which I would not be so rude as to question, the general poverty resulting from your extraordinary industrial system would not have given you the means. Moreover, the excessive individualism was inconsistent with much public spirit. Nowadays, there is no destination of the surplus wealth so popular as the adornment of the city, which all enjoy in equal degree. It is growing dark," he added. "Let us descend into the house; I want to introduce my wife and daughter to you."
The apartment in which we found the ladies, as well as the entire interior of the house, was filled with a mellow light, which I knew must be artificial, although I could not discover the source from which it was diffused. Mrs. Leete was an exceptionally fine-looking and well-preserved woman, while her daughter, in the first blush of womanhood, was the most beautiful girl I had ever seen. In this lovely creature feminine softness and delicacy were deliciously combined with an appearance of health and abounding physical vitality too often lacking in the maidens with whom alone I could compare her. The evening which followed was certainly unique in the history of social intercourse.
When the ladies retired, Dr. Leete sounded me as to my disposition for sleep, but gladly bore me company when I confessed I was afraid of it. I was curious, too, as to the changes.
"To make a beginning somewhere," said I, "what solution, if any, have you found for the labour question? It was the Sphinx's riddle of the nineteenth century, and when I dropped out the Sphinx was threatening to devour society because the answer was not forthcoming."
"The riddle may be said to have solved itself," replied Dr. Leete. "The solution came as the result of a process of industrial evolution which could not have terminated otherwise. The movement toward the conduct of business by larger and larger aggregations of capital—the tendency toward monopolies, which had been desperately and vainly resisted—was recognised at last as a process to a golden future.
"Early in the last century the evolution was completed by the final consolidation of the entire capital of the nation. The industry and commerce of the country, ceasing to be conducted by a set of irresponsible corporations and syndicates of private persons at their caprice and for their profit, were entrusted to a single syndicate representing the people, to be conducted for the common profit. That is to say, the nation organised itself as one great business corporation in which all other corporations were absorbed. It became the one capitalist, the sole employer, the final monopoly, in the profits and economies of which all citizens shared. The epoch of trusts ended in the Great Trust. In a word, the people of the United States concluded to assume the conduct of their own business, just as a hundred odd years earlier they had assumed the conduct of their own government. Strangely late in the world's history, the obvious fact was perceived that no business is so essentially the public business as the industry and commerce on which the people's livelihood depends, and that to entrust it to private persons to be managed for private profit is a folly similar in kind, though vastly greater in magnitude, to that of surrendering the functions of political government to kings and nobles to be conducted for their personal glorification."
"So stupendous a change," said I, "did not, of course, take place without bloodshed and terrible convulsions?"
"On the contrary, there was absolutely no violence. The great corporations had taught an entirely new set of ideas. The people had seen syndicates handling revenues; greater than those of states, and directing the labours of hundreds of thousands of men with an efficiency unattainable in smaller operations. It had come to be recognised as an axiom that the larger the business the simpler the principles that can be applied to it; that, as the machine is truer than the hand, so the system, which in a great concern does the work of the master's eye, in a small business turns out more accurate results. Thus, thanks to the corporations themselves, when it was proposed that the nation should assume their functions, the suggestion implied nothing that seemed impracticable."
"In my day," said I, "it was considered that the proper functions of government, strictly speaking, were limited to keeping the peace and defending the people against the public enemy."
"And, in heaven's name, who are the public enemies?" exclaimed Dr. Leete. "Are they France, England, Germany? or Hunger, Cold, Nakedness? In your day governments were accustomed, on the slightest international misunderstanding, to seize upon the bodies of citizens and deliver them over by hundreds of thousands to death and mutilation, wasting their treasures the while like water; and all this oftenest for no imaginable profit to the victims. We have no wars now, and our governments no war powers; but in order to protect every citizen against hunger, cold, and nakedness, and provide for all his physical and mental needs, the function is assumed of directing his industry for a term of years. Not even for the best ends would men now allow their governments such powers as were then used for the most maleficent."
"Leaving comparisons aside," I said, "the demagoguery and corruption of our public men would have been considered, in my day, insuperable objections to government assuming charge of the national industries."
"No doubt you were right," rejoined Dr. Leete; "but all that is changed. We have no parties or politicians."
"Human nature itself must have changed very much."
"Not at all; but the conditions of human life have changed, and with them the motives of human action. The organisation of society with you was such that officials were under a constant temptation to misuse their power for the private profit of themselves or others. Now society is so constituted that there is absolutely no way in which an official could possibly make any profit for himself or anyone else by a misuse of his power."
III.—Labour's New Regime
"But you have not yet told me how you have settled the labour problem."
"When the nation became the sole employer," said Dr. Leete, "all the citizens became employees, to be distributed according to the needs of industry."
"That is, you have simply applied the principle of universal military service, as understood in our day, to the labour question."
"Yes. Nevertheless, to speak of service being compulsory would be a weak way to state its absolute inevitableness. If it were conceivable that a man could escape it, he would be left with no possible way to provide for his existence. The period of industrial service is twenty-four years, beginning at the close of the course of education at twenty-one, and terminating at forty-five. After forty-five, the citizen is liable to special calls for labour emergencies till fifty-five."
"But what administrative talent can be equal to determining wisely what trade or business every individual in a great nation shall pursue?"
"The administration has nothing to do with determining that point. Every man determines it for himself in accordance with his natural aptitude, the utmost pains being taken to enable him to find out what his natural aptitude really is. Usually, long before he is mustered into service, a young man has found out the pursuit he wants to follow, has acquired a great deal of knowledge about it, and is awaiting impatiently the time when he can enlist in its ranks."
"Surely, it can hardly be that the number of volunteers for any trade is exactly the number needed?"
"The supply is always expected to equal fully the demand. The rate of volunteering is closely watched. It is the business of the administration to equalise the attractions of the trades, so that the lightest trades have the longest hours, while an arduous trade, such as mining, has very short hours."
"How is the class of common labourers recruited?"
"It is the grade to which all new recruits belong for the first three years. If a man were so stupid as to have no choice as to occupation, he would simply remain a common labourer."
"Having once elected and entered on a trade or occupation, I suppose he has to stick to it the rest of his life?"
"Not necessarily," replied Dr. Leete; "while frequent and merely capricious changes of occupation are net permitted, every worker is allowed, of course under regulations and in accordance with the exigencies of the service, to volunteer for another industry which he thinks would suit him better than his first choice. It is only the poorer sort of workmen who desire to change. Of course, transfers or discharges are always given when health demands them."
"How are the brain-workers selected? That must require a very delicate sort of sifting process?"
"So it does, the most delicate possible test; so we leave the question whether a man shall be a brain or handworker entirely to him to settle. At the end of the three years of common labour, if a man feels he can do better work with his brain than his muscles, the schools of technology, medicine, art, music, histrionics, and higher liberal learning are open to him without condition. But anyone without the special aptitude would find it easier to do double hours at his trade than try to keep up with the classes. This opportunity for a professional training remains open to every man till the age of thirty."
IV.—The New Plan
Dr. and Mrs. Leete were startled to learn I had been all over the city alone. "You must have seen a good many new things," said Mrs. Leete, as we sat down to table.
"I think what surprised me as much as anything was not to find any stores in Washington Street, or any banks of State. What have you done with the merchants and bankers?"
"Their functions are obsolete in the modern world. There is neither selling nor buying, and we have no money. As soon as the nation became the producer of all sorts of commodities, there was no need of exchanges between individuals. Everything was procurable from one source, and that only. A system of direct distribution from the national storehouses took the place of trade, and for this money was unnecessary."
"How is this distribution managed?"
"A credit, corresponding to his share of the annual product of the nation, is given to every citizen on the public books at the beginning of each year, and a credit-card issued him, with which he procures at the public stores, found in every community, whatever he desires, whenever he desires it.
"You observe," he pursued, as I was curiously examining the piece of pasteboard he gave me, "that this credit-card is issued for a certain number of dollars. We keep the old term dollars as an algebraical symbol for comparing the values of products with one another. All are priced in dollars and cents, just as in your day. The value of what I procure on this card is checked off by the clerk, who pricks out of these tiers of squares the price of what I order."
"If you wanted to buy something of your neighbour, could you transfer part of your credit to him?"
"Our neighbours have nothing to sell us; but, in any event, one's credit would not be transferable, being strictly personal. Before the nation could even think of honouring any such transfer, it would be bound to inquire into its equity. It would have been reason enough, had there been no other, for abolishing money, that its possession was no indication of rightful title to it. In the hands of the man who had stolen it, it was as good as if earned by industry.
"People nowadays interchange gifts, but buying and selling is considered absolutely inconsistent with the mutual benevolence and disinterestedness which should prevail between citizens. According to our ideas, the practice of buying and selling is essentially anti-social in all its tendencies. It is an education in self-seeking at the expense of others, and no society whose citizens are trained in such a school can possibly rise above a very low grade of civilisation."
"What if you have to spend more than your card allows in any one year?"
"If extraordinary expenses should exhaust it we can obtain a limited advance on next year's credit at a heavy discount. If a man showed himself a reckless spendthrift he would receive his allowance monthly or weekly instead of yearly, or, if necessary, not be permitted to handle it at all."
"If you don't spend your allowance, I suppose it accumulates?"
"That is also permitted to a certain extent when a special outlay is anticipated. But unless notice is given, it is presumed that the citizen who does not fully expend his credit did not have occasion to do so, and the balance is turned into the general surplus."
"Such a system does not encourage saving habits."
"It is not intended to. No man has care for the morrow, either for himself or his children, for the nation guarantees the nurture, education, and maintenance of every citizen from the cradle to the grave."
"But what inducement can a man have to put forth his best endeavours when, however much or little he accomplishes, his income remains the same?"
"Does it then really seem to you that human nature is insensible to any motives save fear of want and love of luxury, that you expect security and equality of livelihood to leave men without incentives to effort? Your contemporaries did not really think so. When it was a question of the grandest class of efforts, the most absolute self-devotion, they depended on quite other motives. Not higher wages, but honour and the hope of men's gratitude, patriotism, and the inspiration of duty were the motives they set before their soldiers. Now that industry of whatever sort is no longer self-service, but service of the nation, patriotism—passion for humanity—impels the worker as in your day it did the soldier."
During the next few days I investigated many other of the social and domestic arrangements of Bostonians of the twenty-first century, and from what I saw myself and heard from my hosts, I gained some tolerably clear ideas of modern organisation, and the system of distribution. But it seemed to me that the system of production and the direction of the industrial army must be wonderfully complex and difficult.
"I assure you that it is nothing of the kind," said Dr. Leete. "The entire field of production and constructive industry is divided into ten great departments, each representing a group of allied industries, each industry being in turn represented by a subordinate bureau, which has a complete record of the plant and force under its control, of the present output, and means of increasing it. The estimates of the distributive department, after adoption by the administration, are sent as mandates to the ten great departments, which allot them to the subordinate bureaus representing the particular industries, and these set the men at work. Each bureau is responsible for the task given it. Even if in the hands of the consumer an article turns out unfit, the system enables the fault to be traced back to the original workman. After the necessary contingents of labour have been detailed for the various industries, the amount of labour left for other employment is expended in creating fixed capital, such as buildings, machinery, engineering works, and so forth."
That evening and the next following I sat up late talking with Dr. Leete of the changes of the last hundred and thirteen years; but on the Sunday, my first in the twenty-first century, I fell into a state of profound depression, accentuated by consideration of the vast moral gap between the century to which I belonged and that in which I found myself. There was no place anywhere for me. I was neither dead nor properly alive. Now I realised the mingled pity, curiosity, and aversion which I, as a representative of an abhorred epoch, must excite in all around me; but that Edith Leete must share their feelings was more than I could bear.
Towards nightfall I entered the subterranean chamber and sat down there, feeling utterly alone. Presently Edith stood in the door.
"Has it never occurred to you," I said, "that my position is more utterly alone than any human being's ever was before?"
"Oh, you must not talk in that way. You don't know how it makes me feel to see you so forlorn," she exclaimed.
I caught her hands in my own. "Are you so blind as not to see why such kindness as you have all shown me is not enough to make me happy?"
"Are you sure it is not you who are blind?" she said.
That was all; but it was enough, for it told me that this radiant daughter of a golden age had bestowed upon me not alone her pity, but her love. And now I first knew what was perhaps the strangest feature of my strange experience: Edith was the great grand-daughter of no other than my lost love Edith Bartlett.
Principles of Morals and Legislation
Jeremy Bentham, the son and grandson of attorneys, was born in London on February 15, 1748. He was called to the Bar, but did not practise. His fame rests on his work in the fields of jurisprudence, political science, and ethics. He is accounted the founder of the "utilitarian" school of philosophy, of which the theory is that the production of the "greatest happiness of the greatest number" is the criterion of morals and the aim of politics. Dying on June 6, 1832, his body, in accordance with his own wishes, was dissected, and his skeleton dressed in his customary garb and preserved in the University College, London. Bentham's failure at the Bar caused him no small disappointment, and it was not until the publication of a "Fragment on Government" in 1776 that he felt himself redeemed with public opinion. The "Principles of Morals and Legislation" was first published in 1789, but was actually in print nine years earlier. It was primarily intended as the introductory volume of a complete work designed to cover the whole field of the principles of legislation—principles which, as we have seen, were based on that doctrine of utility which the author regarded as equally the basis of ethics.
I.—Calculation of Pleasures and Pains
Mankind is governed by pain and pleasure. Utility is that property in anything which tends to produce happiness in the party concerned, whether an individual or a community. The principle of utility makes utility the criterion for approval or disapproval of every kind of action. An act which conforms to this principle is one which ought to be done, or is not one which ought not to be done; is right, or, at least, not wrong. There is no other criterion possible which cannot ultimately be reduced to the personal sentiment of the individual.
The sources or sanctions of pleasure and pain are four—the physical, in the ordinary course of nature; political, officially imposed; moral or popular, imposed by public opinion; and religion. Pains under the first head are calamities; under the other three are punishments. Under the first three heads, they concern the present life only. The second, third, and the fourth, as concerns this life, operate through the first; but the first operates independently of the others.
Pleasures and pains, then, are the instruments with which the legislator has to work; he must, therefore, be able to gauge their relative values. These depend primarily and simply on four things—intensity, duration, certainty or uncertainty, propinquity or remoteness. Secondarily, on fecundity, the consequent probable multiplication of the like sensations; and purity, the improbability of consequent contrary sensations. Finally, on extent—the number of persons pleasurably or painfully affected. All these being weighed together, if the pleasurable tendency predominates, the act is good; if the painful, bad.
Pleasures and pains are either simple or complex—i.e., resolvable into several simple pleasures, and may be enumerated; as those of the senses, of wealth, of piety, of benevolence, of malevolence, of association, of imagination. Different persons are sensible to the same pleasure in different degrees, and the sensibility of the individual varies under different circumstances. Circumstances affecting sensibility are various—such as health, strength, sex, age, education; they may be circumstances of the body, of the mind, of the inclinations. Their influence can be reckoned approximately, but should be taken into consideration so far as is practicable.
The legislator and the judge are concerned with the existing causes of pleasure and pain, but of pain rather than pleasure—the mischiefs which it is desired to prevent, and the punishments by which it is sought to prevent them—and for the due apportionment of the latter they should have before them the complete list of punishments and of circumstances affecting sensibility. By taking the two together—with one list or the other for basis, preferably the punishment list—a classification of appropriate penalties is attainable.
An analytical summary of the circumstances affecting sensibility will distinguish as secondary—i.e., as acting not immediately but mediately through the primary—sex, age, station in life, education, climate, religion. The others, all primary, are connate—viz., radical frame of mind and body—or adventitious. The adventitious are personal or exterior. The personal concern a man's disposition of body or mind, or his actions; the exterior the things or the persons he is concerned with.
II.—Human Actions Analysed
The business of government is to promote the happiness of society by rewarding and punishing, especially by punishing acts tending to diminish happiness. An act demands punishment in proportion to its tendency to diminish happiness—i.e., as the sum of its consequences does so. Only such consequences are referred to as influence the production of pain or pleasure. The intention, as involving other consequences, must also be taken into consideration. And the intention depends on the state both of the will and of the understanding as to the circumstances—consciousness, unconsciousness, or false consciousness regarding them. Hence with regard to each action we have to consider (1) the act itself, (2) the circumstances, (3) the intentionality, (4) the attendant consciousness, and also (5) the motive, and (6) the general disposition indicated.
Acts are positive and negative—i.e., of commission and omission, or forbearance; external or corporal, and internal or mental; transitive, affecting some body other than the agent's, or intransitive; transient or continued (mere repetition is not the same as habit). Circumstances are material when visibly related to the consequences in point of casuality, directly or indirectly. They may be criminative, or exculpative, or aggravative, or evidential.
The intention may regard the act itself only, or its consequences also—for instance, you may touch a man intentionally, and by doing so cause his death unintentionally. But you cannot intend the consequences—though you may have desired them—without intending the action. The consequences may be intended directly or indirectly, and may or may not be the only thing intended. The intention is good or bad as the consequences intended are good or bad.
But these actually depend on the circumstances which are independent of the intention; here the important point is the man's consciousness of the circumstances, which are objects not of the will, but of the understanding. If he is conscious of the circumstances and of their materiality, the act is advised; if not, unadvised. Unadvisedness may be due either to heedlessness or to misapprehension. And here we may remark that we may speak of a bad intention, though the motive was good, if the consequences intended were bad, and vice versa. In this sense also, the intention may be innocent—that is, not bad, without being positively good.
Of motives, we are concerned with practical motives only, not those which are purely speculative. These are either internal or external; either events in esse, or events in prospect. The immediate motive is an internal motive in esse—an awakened pleasure or pain at the prospect of pleasure or pain. All others are comparatively remote.
Now, since the motive is always primarily to produce some pleasure or prevent some pain, and since pleasure is identical with good, and pain with evil, it follows that no motive is in itself bad. The motive is good if it tends to produce a balance of pleasure; bad, if a balance of pain. Thus any and every motive may produce actions good, indifferent, or bad. Hence, in cataloguing motives, we must employ only neutral terms, i.e., not such as are associated with goodness as—piety, honour—or with badness—as lust, avarice.
The motives, of course, correspond to the various pleasures as previously enumerated. They may be classified as good, bad, or indifferent, according as their consequences are more commonly good, bad, or indifferent; but the dangers of such classification are obvious. In fact, we cannot affirm goodness, badness, or indifference of motive, except in the particular instance. A better classification is into the social—including goodwill, love of reputation, desire of amity, religion; dissocial—displeasure; self-regarding—physical desire, pecuniary interest, love of power, self-preservation.
Of all these, the dictates of goodwill are the surest of coinciding with utility, since utility corresponds precisely to the widest and best-advised goodwill. Even here, however, there may be failure, since benevolence towards one group may clash with benevolence towards another. Next stands love of reputation, which is less secure, since it may lead to asceticism and hypocrisy. Third comes the desire of amity, valuable as the sphere in which amity is sought is extended, but also liable to breed insincerity. Religion would stand first of all if we all had a correct perception of the divine goodness; but not when we conceive of God as malevolent or capricious; and, as a matter of fact, our conception of the Deity is controlled by our personal biases.
The self-regarding motives are, ex hypothesi, not so closely related to utility as the social motives, and the dissocial motives manifestly stand at the bottom of the scale. In respect to any particular action there may be a conflict of motives, some impelling towards it, others restraining from it; and any motive may come in conflict with any other motive. It will be found hereafter that in the case of some offences the motive is material in the highest degree, and in others wholly immaterial; in some cases easy, and in others impossible to gauge.
III.—The Principles of Punishment
Goodness or badness, then, cannot be predicated of the motive. What is good or bad in the man when actuated by one motive or another is his disposition, or permanent attitude of mind, which is good or bad as tending to produce effects beneficial to the community. It is to be considered in regard to its influence on (1) his own happiness; (2) other people's. The legislator is concerned with it so far as it is mischievous to others. A man is held to be of a mischievous disposition when it is presumed—for it is a mere presumption—that he inclines to acts which appear to him mischievous. Here it is that "intentionality" and "consciousness" come in.
Where the tendency of the act is good, and the motive is a social one, a good disposition is indicated; where the tendency is bad, and the motive is self-regarding, a bad disposition is indicated. Otherwise, the indication of good or bad disposition may be very dubious or non-existent; as may easily be seen by constructing examples. Now, our problem is to measure the depravity of a man's disposition, which may be defined as the sum of his intentions. The causes of intentions are motives. The social motives may be called tutelary, as tending to restrain from mischievous intentions; but any motive may become tutelary on occasion. Love of ease, and desire of self-preservation, in the form of fear of punishment, are apt to be tutelary motives.
Now we can see that the strength of a temptation equals the sum of the impelling motives, minus the sum of the tutelary motives. Hence, the more susceptible a man is to the standing tutelary motives, the less likely is he to yield to temptation; in other words, the less depraved is his disposition. Hence, given the strength of the temptation, the mischievousness of the disposition is as the apparent mischievousness of the act. Given the apparent mischievousness of the act, the less the temptation yielded to, the greater the depravity of disposition; but the stronger the temptation, the less conclusive is the evidence of depravity. It follows that the penalty should be increased—i.e., the fear of punishment should be artificially intensified, in proportion as, apart from that fear, the temptation is stronger.
We now come to consequences. The mischief of the act is the sum of its mischievous consequences, primary and secondary. The primary mischief subdivides into original, i.e., to the sufferer in the first instance; and derivative, to the definite persons who suffer as a direct consequence, whether through their interest, or merely through sympathy.
The secondary mischiefs, affecting not specific persons but the community, are actual danger, or alarm—the apprehension of pain. For the occurrence of the act points to the possibility of its repetition; weakening the influence both of the political and of the moral sanction. An act of which the primary consequences are mischievous may have secondary beneficial consequences, which altogether outweigh the primary mischief—e.g., the legal punishment of crime. The circumstances influencing the secondary mischiefs of alarm and danger are the intentionality, the consciousness, the motive, and the disposition; danger depending on the real, and alarm on the apparent, state of mind, though the real and the apparent coincide more commonly than not.
Between the completely intentional and completely unintentional act there are various stages, depending on the degree of consciousness, as explained above. The excellence of the motive does not obliterate the mischievousness of the act; nor vice versa; but the mischief may be aggravated by a bad motive, as pointing to greater likelihood of repetition. This is less the case, however, when the motive is dissocial, such motives being generally less constant, as having reference to a particular, not a general, object; the religious motive, as being more constant, is more pernicious when it has a mischievous issue.
Punishment, being primarily mischievous, is out of place when groundless, inefficacious, unprofitable, or needless. Punishment is inefficious when it is ex post facto, or extra-legal, or secret; or in the case of irresponsible (including intoxicated) persons; and also so far as the intention of the act was incomplete, or where the act was actually or practically under compulsion. It is unprofitable when under ordinary circumstances the evils of the punishment outweigh those of the offence; this subject, however, will be more fully dealt with later. It is needless when the end in view can be as well or better attained otherwise.
Now, the aim of the legislator is (1) to prevent mischief altogether; (2) to minimise the inclination to do mischief; (3) to make the prevention cheap. Hence, (1) the punishment must outweigh the profit of the offence to the doer; (2) the greater the mischief, the greater the expense worth incurring to prevent it; (3) alternative offences which are not equally mischievous, as robbery and robbery with murder, must not be equally punished; (4) the punishment must not be excessive, and therefore should take into account the circumstances influencing sensibility; (5) so also must the weakness of the punishment due to its remoteness, and the impelling force of habit.
The properties of punishment necessary to its adjustment to a particular offence are these: (1) variability in point of quantity, so that it shall be neither excessive nor deficient; (2) equality, so that when applied in equal degree, it shall cause equal pain—e.g., banishment may mean much to one man, little to another; (3) commensurability with other punishments; (4) characteristicalness, or appropriateness; (5) exemplarity—it must not seem less than it is in fact; (6) frugality—none of the pain it causes is to be wasted. Minor desirable qualities are (7) subserviency to reformation of character; (8) efficiency in disabling from mischief; (9) subserviency to compensation; (10) popularity, i.e., accordant to common approbation; (11) remissibility.
IV.—Division of Offences
An offence—a punishable act—is constituted such by the community; though it ought not to be an offense unless contrary to utility, it may be so. It is assumed to be a detrimental act; detrimental therefore to some person or persons, whether the offender himself or other assignable persons, or to persons not assignable.
Offences against assignable persons other than the offender form the first class; offences against individuals, or private offences, or private extra-regarding offences. The second class is formed by semi-public offences, i.e., not against assignable individuals, nor the community at large, but a separable group in the community, e.g., a class or a locality. The third class are those which are simply self-regarding; the fourth, against the community at large; the fifth, multiform or heterogeneous, comprising falsehood and breaches of trust.
The first class may be subdivided into offences against (1) the person, (2) reputation, (3) property, (4) condition—i.e., the serviceableness to the individual of other persons, (5) person and property together, (6) person and reputation together.
The second, "semi-public," class, being acts which endanger a portion of the community, are those operating through calamity, or of mere delinquency. The latter are subdivided on the same lines as private offences. So with the third or self-regarding class.
In class four, public offences fall under eleven divisions: (1) offences against external security—i.e., from foreign foes; (2) against justice—i.e., the execution of justice; (3) against the preventive branch of police; (4) against the public force—i.e., military control; (5) against increase of national felicity; (6) against public wealth—i.e., the exchequer; (7) against population; (8) against national wealth—i.e., enrichment of the population; (9) against sovereignty; (10) against religion; (11) against national interests in general.
In class five, falsehood comprises simple falsehoods, forgery, personation, and perjury; again distributable like the private offences. In the case of trusts, there are two parties—the trustee and the beneficiary. Offences under this head cannot, for various reasons, be conveniently referred to offences against property or condition, which also must be kept separate from each other. As regards the existence of a trust: as against the trustee, offences are (1) wrongful non-investment of trust, and wrongful interception of trust, where the trusteeship is to his benefit; or (2) where it is troublesome, wrongful imposition of trust. Both may similarly be offences against the beneficiary. As regards the exercise of the trust, we have negative breach of trust, positive breach of trust, abuse of trust, disturbance of trust, and bribery.
We may now distribute class one—offences against the individual—into genera; to do so with the other classes would be superfluous. Simple offences against the person are actions referring to his actual person, body or mind, or external objects affecting his happiness. These must take effect either through his will, or not. In the former case, either by constraint, or restraint, confinement, or banishment.
In any case the effect will be mortal or not mortal; if not mortal, reparable or irreparable injury when corporal, actual, or apprehended, sufferance when mental. So the list stands—simple and irreparable corporal injuries, simple injurious restraint or constraint, wrongful confinement or banishment, homicide or menacement, actual or apprehended mental injuries. Against reputation the genera of offences are (i) defamation, (2) vilification. Of offences against property, simple in their effects, whether by breach of trust or otherwise, the genera are: wrongful non-investment, interception, divestment, usurpation, investment, of property; wrongful withholding of services, destruction, occupation, or detainment, embezzlement, theft, defraudment, extortion.
Of complex offences against person and reputation together: corporal insults, insulting menacement, seduction, and forcible seduction, simple lascivious injuries. Against person and property together: forcible interception, divestment, usurpation, investment, or destruction of property, forcible occupation or detainment of movables, forcible entry, forcible detainment of immovables, robbery.
As to offences against condition: conditions are either domestic or civil; domestic relations are either purely natural, purely instituted, or mixed. Of the first, we are concerned only with the marital, parental, and filial relations. Under the second head are the relations of master and servant, guardian and ward. In the case of master and servants, the headings of offences are much like those against property. Guardianship is required in the cases of infancy and insanity; again the list of offences is similar. The parental and filial relations, so far as they are affected by institutions, comprise those both of master and servant, and of guardian and ward; so that the offences are correspondent.
The relation of husband and wife also comprises those of master and guardian to servant and ward. But there are further certain reciprocal services which are the subject of the marital contract, by which polygamy and adultery are constituted offences in Christian countries, and also the refusal of conjugal rights.
From domestic conditions we pass to civil. Eliminating all those which can be brought under the categories of trusts and domestic conditions, there remain conditions, constituted by beneficial powers over things, beneficial rights to things, rights to services, and by corresponding duties; and between these and property there is no clear line of demarcation, yet we can hit upon some such conditions as separable. Such are rank and profession which entail specific obligations and rights—these are not property but conditions; as distinguished from other exclusive rights bestowed by the law, concerned with saleable articles (e.g., copyright), which convey not conditions, but property. So, naturalisation conveys the conditions of a natural born subject.
Public offences are to be catalogued in a manner similar to private offences.
My object has been to combine intelligibility with precision; technical terms lack the former quality, popular terms the latter. Hence the plan of the foregoing analysis has been to take the logical whole constituted by the sum of possible offences, dissect it in as many directions as were necessary, and carry the process down to the point where each idea could be expressed in current phraseology. Thus it becomes equally applicable to the legal concerns of all countries or systems.
The advantages of this method are: it is convenient for the memory, gives room for general propositions, points out the reason of the law, and is applicable to the laws of all nations. Hence we are able to characterise the five classes of offences. Thus, of private offences, we note that they are primarily against assignable individuals, admit of compensation and retaliation, and so on; of semi-public offences, that they are not against assignable individuals, and, with self-regarding offences, admit of neither compensation nor retaliation; to which a series of generalisations respecting each class can be added.
The relation between penal jurisprudence and private ethics must be clarified. Both are concerned with the production of happiness. A man's private ethics are concerned with his duty to himself and to his neighbour; prudence, probity, and beneficence. Those cases described as unmeet for punishment are all within the ethical, but outside the legislative, sphere, except the "groundless" cases, which are outside both. The special field of private ethics is among the cases where punishment is "unprofitable" or "inefficacious," notably those which are the concern of prudence. So with the rules of beneficence; but beneficence might well be made compulsory in a greater degree than it is. The special sphere of legislation, however, lies in the field of probity.