« AnteriorContinuar »
quiry reveals that Physical Science, and the Mechanical Invention to which we owe so much of our prodigious advancement in civilisation, have been quite as busily preparing the Revolt of Labour in concert with the rest of our advantages. They work with each other in a hundred ways, and so harmoniously that they might have been intended from the beginning to serve this one end ; but if the railway, the steamship, the telegraph, the printing-press, did no more for the revolt than facilitate the intercommunication of sympathy and the massing of design, they would have helped it enormously. Without the facilities so supplied, Unionism would have been a weak and scattered force, and "the International” would never have been heard of.
Enough has been said by way of illustration, which we need not seek to exhaust To think of the matter for a little while is to find much to the same effect and nothing to the contrary; wherefore, it seems, we must come to the conclusion that the Radical Socialist movement is not a temporary one.
A product of all the most powersul and benignant forces of the time, combined with some others which we call natural without being in the least degree proud of them, it is not likely to flag as long as these forces continue and increase; and we see that they are increasing year by year. Still the creation of want goes on; still the craving for a fuller enjoyment of the luxuries of life must extend ; and still the means of striving for them by combined and organised endeavour will enlarge. Therefore it appears that the question which both the great parties in the State would prefer to answer negatively cannot be answered so. The heavings of popular discontent which we see about us in every direction are likely to continue. The importunity of which they are a sign will not only increase, but be heard almost alone before long. The workmen have no need to fight any longer for political power—this they have got. The only question for them is how to turn that power to account, and they seem to have decided it in a way that might have been anticipated. The use of their political power as a class is to improve their advantages as a class; and when they come to this conclusion we must not expect that they will readily abandon it.
But if so, what is the position of the party leaders on either side? Of course they see how matters stand. They must know what the future promises, and not a very distant future. What, then, do they take to be their rightful course? No considerable politician is ignorant that the discontent we have been discussing can never be satisfied by legislative means. Appeased for the moment, perhaps, the supposed remedy would soon supply matter for fresh exasperation—as an Eight Hours Act would, for example. Can either party, then, take up with the Radical Socialist movement ? Is it possible that either of them will consent to do so for the sake of --what? A place of power and pay which can only be retained by repeated treachery to conscience, and that would be lost by any hesitation to continue the practice. It is easy to make half promises to the New Radicalism by trifling with Eight Hour projects and the like; but it is not as half promises that they are accepted. They pass as I.O.U.'s, to be dishonoured at peril ; and yet the better men of both parties know that to redeem them would loosen the foundations that must needs underlie every "social fabric," and do so without any lasting profit to those who clamour for such experiments. What, then, should the more influential politicians on both sides do ?
It seems to me that they are bound by every consideration of honour, wisdom, humanity-I would add “patriotism” if the word had not become ridiculous—to unite in telling the truth to Popular Discontent: the truth that the wrong way to satisfaction is to seek it by State interference with Liberty and Property. That wealth should bear the burden of State support-good; that one set of men should be forced by State machinery to divide their means with another set-wrong, and stupid wrong; that individual liberty to work and buy and sell should be controlled by State officialsfatuity to begin with, certain loss and confusion to end with. To its own knowledge, this is what the statesmanship of both parties should tell to Radical Socialism when it crowds to election meetings and asks for pledges. There should be enough agreement between them for a purpose which neither doubt to be essential to the good of the whole community; while, as for personal interests, let them agree openly in this matter, as they do upon the question of
VOL. IV.NO. 20.
Free Trade, and the only loss to either would be a dishonourable and perilous advantage. Authority still goes for something in this country, and nothing is more roundly applauded than a sturdy, outspoken honesty in matters of opinion. If the men whom both political parties are accustomed to listen to would tell them from opposite platforms how dangerous to freedom and prosperity it is to extend the functions of State control beyond certain limits, more than a great immediate purpose would be served. So delivered, the lesson would be taken to heart; no one can doubt it who is aware of the strong fund of common-sense there is to appeal to in addressing the artisan classes of Great Britain ; and at the same time a broader view would be opened to platform controversialists, and something would be done to list English politics from the degradation into which they are sinking on every side.
But, it may be asked, Do you forget that, according to your own judgment, there is no likelihood of arresting the Revolt of Labour without arresting modern Progress itself? I do not forget ; but what then? It still remains the duty of statesmanship to declare its own limitations for any good or useful end. The revolters would be too long in finding out for themselves, perhaps, that there is a vast deal in the evolution of society which Governments cannot meddle with profitably and ought never to be allowed to touch. The more nearly their business is confined to securing a common liberty of action, within those rules of law which no man is ignorant of, for all the varying elements of society, the more surely a beneficent and orderly social development may be hoped for ; or, if a crash must come, the less violent will it be and the easier reconstruction. Who at this moment fails to see that if Poverty has become more restless and aggressive, Wealth has become more restless too, but not in self-defence? We talk of the Revolt of Labour as if the only movement observable amongst those who have and those who hav not is that which the Socialist leaders celebrate with the snorting of war-horses; snuffing the battle afar off. There is another quite as great, quite as deep, and as swiftly spreading. It is not a movement hostile to the revolt, but comes forward to meet it with a generous understanding of what poverty is, a good heart to
help it, and acknowledgment that kindness is no virtue but a common duty. I believe that for five hundred years before, there was no such advance in human kindness as there has been in England within the last two generations. Never has there been so sympathetic a desire to redress the miseries of the poor, or any such readiness to think of them as wrongs, as there is to-day; and unless all the signs of the times deceive us, it is a well-rooted and fast-growing sentiment. If so, then all the more safely may we leave the social question to work itself out within its own natural limits and through its own evolutionary processes.
A CENSUS OF HALLUCINATIONS.
T an International Congress of Experimental Psychologists
held at Paris last year it was determined to undertake a statistical inquiry into the nature and frequency of such phenomena as apparitions, voices heard when no one has spoken, and touches felt when no one is near. Of course, all these experiences occur in some cases of illness, but they also occur occasionally to persons who show no sign of mental or physical disorder—unless the experience itself is arbitrarily assumed to be such a sign. It is with these latter phenomena, which may be described as “casual hallucinations of the senses occurring to sane persons ” that the present inquiry is concerned. In England the conduct of the inquiry was. undertaken by me, and in America by Professor William James, of Harvard University. It is carried on by papers, at the head of which stands the question: "Have you ever, when believing yourself to be completely awake, had a vivid impression of seeing or being touched by a living being or inanimate object, or of hearing a voice ; which impression, so far as you could discover, was not due to any external physical cause ? ”
The last sentence is intended to exclude, as far as possible, a class of experiences which are liable to be confounded with hallucinations ; I mean illusions of the senses, in which the real perception of an external object is, by the unconscious action of the imagination, misinterpreted and metamorphosed into the apparent perception of something quite different. Thus, in a case that has been communicated to us, a real perception of a “small polished mahogany stand, with a vase on the top, a piece of paper hanging from the partly open door, and the white curtain of a window" was. transformed in a dim light into an illusory perception of a " little old lady sitting with folded hands, holding a white pocket-handker