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kindred actions by other individuals, who have similarly to receive such normal results good and bad. And vaguely, if not definitely, this is seen to constitute what is called justice.
We saw that among inferior gregarious creatures, justice in its universal simple form, besides being qualified by the self-subordination which parenthood implies, and in some measure by the self-restraint necessitated by association, is in a few cases further qualified in a small degree by the partial or complete sacrifice of individuals made in defense of the species. And now in the highest gregarious creature we see that this further qualification of primitive justice assumes large proportions.
No longer as among inferior beings demanded only by the need for defense against enemies of other kinds, this further selfsubordination is, among human beings, also demanded by the need for defense against enemies of the same kind. Having become the predominant inhabitants of the Earth, and having spread wherever there is food, men have come to be everywhere in one another's way; and the mutual enmities hence resulting, have made the sacrifices entailed by wars between groups, far greater than the sacrifices made in defense of the groups against inferior animals. It is doubtless true with the human race, as with lower races, that destruction of the group or the variety does not imply destruction of the species; and it therefore follows that such obligation as exists for self-subordination in the interests of the group or the variety, is an obligation of lower degree than is that of sustentation of offspring, without fulfillment of which the species must disappear, and of lower degree than the obligation to restrain actions within the limits imposed by social obligation to restrain actions conditions, without fulfillment of which the group will dissolve. Still, it must be regarded as an obligation to the extent to which the maintenance of the species is subserved by the maintenance of each of its groups.
But the self-subordination thus justified, and in a sense rendered obligatory, is limited to that which is required for defensive war. Only because the preservation of the group as a whole conduces to preservation of its members' lives and their ability to pursue the objects of life, is there a reason for the sacrifice of some of its members; and this reason no longer exists when war is offensive instead of defensive.
It may, indeed, be contended that since offensive wars initiate those struggles between groups which end in the destruction of the weaker, offensive wars, furthering the peopling of the Earth by the stronger, subserve the interests of the race. But even supposing that the conquered groups always consisted of men having smaller mental or bodily fitness for war (which they do not; for
of which limits im egree th
it is in part a question of numbers, and the smaller groups may consist of the more capable warriors), there would still be an adequate answer. It is only during the earlier stages of human progress that the development of strength, courage, and cunning, are of chief importance. After societies of considerable size have been formed and the subordination needed for organizing them produced, other and higher faculties become those of chief importance; and the struggle for existence carried on by force, does not always further the survival of the fittest. The fact that but for a mere accident Persia would have conquered Greece, and the fact that the Tartar hordes very nearly overwhelmed European civilization, show that offensive war can be trusted to subserve the interests of the race only when the capacity for a high social life does not exist, and that in proportion as this capacity develops, offensive war tends more and more to hinder, rather than to further, human welfare. In brief we may say that the arrival at a stage in which ethical considerations come to be entertained, is the arrival at a stage in which offensive war, by no means certain to further predominance of races fitted for a high social life, and certain to cause injurious moral reactions on the conquering as well as on the conquered, ceases to be justifiable; and only defensive war retains a quasi-ethical justification.
And here it is to be remarked that the self-subordination which defensive war involves, and the need for such qualification of the abstract principle of justice as it implies, belong to that transitional state necessitated by the physical-force-conflict of races; and that they must disappear when there is reached a peaceful state. That is to say, all questions concerning the extent of such qualifications pertain to what we distinguished as relative ethics; and are not recognized by that absolute ethics which is concerned with the principles of right conduct in a society formed of human beings fully adapted to social life.
This distinction I emphasize here because throughout succeeding chapters we shall find that recognition of it helps us to disentangle the involved problems of political ethics.—Nineteenth Century.
The constantly receding character of the unexplained was illustrated by Dr. Burdon Sanderson, in his address at the British Association, by reference to the discovery of the cell, which seemed to be a very closo approach to the mechanism of life; “but now we are striving to get even closer, with the same result. Our measurements are more exact, our methods finer; but these very methods bring us to close quarters with phenomena which, altlıough within reach of exact investigation, are, as regards their essence, involved in a myetery which is the more profound the more it is brought into contact with the exact knowledge we possess of surrounding conditions."
SUMPTUARY LAWS AND THEIR SOCIAL INFLUENCE.*
BY WILLIAM A. HAMMOND, M. D. THERE are many persons who have what they conceive to be
I the good of their fellow-creatures so greatly at heart that, when they can not succeed in making them conform to a standard of right and wrong that they have set up for themselves, endeavor to accomplish their object by legal enactments. It is true they are very apt to do this under the fiction of insuring the public welfare; but it is none the less a fact, even if we admit the force of their alleged motive, that such laws as those to which I refer interfere with the personal liberty of those against whom they are aimed, and this to an extent incompatible with that degree of freedom of will and of action which is inseparable from the individual in all communities founded upon what we call liberty. Moreover, they are inquisitorial in their nature, and, what is perhaps a point of even still greater importance, they fail to accomplish the object in view; and being continually evaded on one pretext or another, tend to diminish that respect for the majesty of law which all well-ordered citizens should entertain.
The history of sumptuary laws, or laws tending to limit luxury and expense, shows how truly the remarks just made are founded on fact; and yet in all ages of the world such laws have been passed, to be disobeyed, held in contempt, remaining on the statutebook unenforced, and finally either passing into oblivion or being formally repealed. As we are apparently passing through a stage of our national existence in which sumptuary laws are making their appearance, it seemed to me that the Society for Medical Jurisprudence and State Medicine might very properly have its attention directed to the subject.
Among the first within our knowledge to provide by law for the regulation of the appetite, the taste, the affections, the dress, and the most minute details in the life of a citizen was Sparta. Sparta was a small country and its people were few; they were surrounded by powerful neighbors. The first principle instilled into the mind of every individual was, that the state had a claim upon him superior to that of parents or of any relational or social bond. He was from the very cradle trained for war; luxury, being regarded as incompatible with true manliness, was to be suppressed at all hazards. Foreigners, being liable to become a disturbing factor in the system of discipline enforced, were not allowed to enter Sparta; even the feeble children, as being unfit
* Read before the New York Society for Medical Jurisprudence and State Medicine, June 3, 1889.
for war and liable to become burdens on the community, were put to death. Gold and silver were excluded, and the coinage was of iron. As far as possible the whole nation was fed alike. That the system was effectual in accomplishing the object that Lycurgus had in view, is probably true. It succeeded just as persecution succeeds when it is thorough and implacable. A half-hearted system of persecution not only fails in its object, but invariably advances the cause against which it is directed. If, for instance, we could kill all those who oppose us in our efforts to make matters accord with our own way of thinking, we should undoubtedly be triumphantly successful; but if we only killed a few of them, it would not be long before the number of the remainder would be so augmented that they would kill us.
Nowhere has the inefficacy of sumptuary laws been more thoroughly demonstrated than in Rome. There the dress, the food, the furniture of the houses, were attempted to be regulated by law after law, which were either openly or secretly disobeyed, and which eventually disappeared from the statute-books. The cost of entertainments was limited; the number of guests a person might have at his house was restricted. No woman was allowed to have more than half an ounce of gold, or to wear a dress of more than one color, or to ride in a carriage. In France, during the Celtic period, a law was passed that women should drink water only. In 1188 or thereabout no person was allowed to wear garments of vair, gray, zibeline, or scarlet color. No laced or slashed garments were allowed, and no one could have more than two courses at meals. In 1328 scarlet was only permitted to be worn by princes, knights, and women of high rank. The use of silver plate was prohibited except to certain high dignitaries; and women were frequently sent to prison in forties, fifties, and sixties at a time for wearing clothes above their rank. Even as late as the seventeenth century gold, as an ornament on carriages, buildings, and gloves, was prohibited.
In England, during the reign of Edward IV, cloth of gold or silk of a purple color was prohibited to all but members of the royal family. Lords were allowed to wear velvet, knights satin, and esquires and gentlemen camelet. None but noblemen were allowed to wear woolen clothes made out of England, or fur of sables, and no laborer, servant, or artificer might wear any cloth which cost more than two shillings a yard. In the year 1336 an act of Parliament was passed which I quote in full, as showing to what extremes law can go in the way of interfering with the interior life of the citizens :
“ Whereas heretofore, through the excessive and over-many sorts of costly meats which the people of this Realm have used more than elsewhere, many mischiefs have happened to the people of this Realm: for the great men by these excesses have been sore grieved, and the lesser people who only endeavor to imitate the great ones in such sorts of meats are much impoverished, whereby they are not able to aid themselves nor their liege lord in time of need as they ought, and many other evils have happened as well to their souls as to their bodies, our Lord the King, desiring the common profit as well of the great men as of the common people of his Realm, and considering the evils, grievances, and mischiefs aforesaid, by the common assent of the prelates, earls, barons, and other nobles of his said Realm and of the commons of the said Realm, hath ordained and established that no man, of what state or condition soever he be, shall cause himself to be served in his house or elsewhere, at dinner-meal or supper, or at any other time, with more than two courses and each mess of two sorts of victuals at the utmost, be it of flesh or fish, with the common sort of pottages without sauce or any other sort of victuals. And if any man choose to have sauce for his mess he may, provided it be not made at great cost; and if flesh or fish be to be mixed therein it shall be of two sorts only at the utmost, either flesh or fish, and shall stand instead of a mess except only on the principal feasts of the year, on which days every man may be served with three courses at the utmost, after the manner aforesaid.”
But laws and proclamations were of no avail, though they continued to be issued and passed down to the reign of Queen Elizabeth; and in the reign of James I all sumptuary laws were repealed. Since then the people of England have been allowed to wear, to eat, and to drink what they pleased.
In our own country the experiment has been tried with as much thoroughness and with practically as little result as has attended the attempt by other nations. As early as the year 1639 we have the prototype of that curious law enacted a few years ago in the State of Iowa, which prohibits one person from inviting another to take a drink, or treating, as it is called.
In the records of the colony of Massachusetts for the year mentioned we find as follows:
“Forasmuch as it is evident unto this Court that the common custom of drinking one to another is a mere useless ceremony, and draweth on that abominable practice of drinking healths, and is also an occasion of much waste to the good creatures and of many other sins," such things are declared to be a reproach to a Christian commonwealth and are not to be tolerated. However, invectives of the council appear to have been of little effect, notwithstanding the severity of the punishments which were meted out to those who infringed the laws. Drunkenness, which is at most only a vice, was made a crime; and in 1636 one Peter