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selected by its adaptability to the use-attracts a swarm that settles upon it in pursuit of the new industry. Lessen the toil of life, and a new mass of life appears precisely as and where the opportunities of lessened toil are offered. When we surveyed the map of the United States 6-itself containing a continent—and noted the variations of the modes, the intensity, and the mass of existence marked upon its surface in successive years, we saw the industrial hordes swarming into being along the tracks that invited their onward march ; and it is our own feebleness of imagination if we do not see within our own isles streams of movement analogous and complementary to those we traced across the Atlantic. Everywhere with an increase in the opportunities of life is life waiting and crowding upon the increase. And which moves more urgently forward ? Does life press upon the means of life, or are the means multiplied in advance, inviting the reduplication of the multitude ? Life cannot be lastingly increased without an increase in the opportunities of sustenance; but it can painfully tread upon the heels of opportunities so that nothing but their discovery saves it from degradation and death. And the alternative is clearly possible. The opportunities of life may be multiplied more rapidly than the volunie of life, so that an ampler and easier existence is obtained. It seems to have been sometimes thought that the nature of things required that one or other of these alternatives must always prevail, and men have only disputed which ruled their race. I cannot acquiesce in this opinion. It is not forced upon us by reason, and it is contradicted by experience. There have been times when the facility of life has grown more rapidly than the mass of life, and the conditions of life have improved ; and there have been times when the facts were painfully otherwise, when means have dwindled while men have multiplied; but if man differs at all from the brutes it must be in the possible education of such an individual and social sense as shall enable the opportunities of improvement to be realised and maintained by the race against all temptation to sink back again to the level whence it has arisen. It must have occurred to many readers that the spectacle we have been pursuing is but a study with reference to man of that constant struggle for existence to which the great philosopher of our time has traced diversities of the forms of life; but the quantity of any species of brute life is maintained at any moment up to its fullest capacity of existence; it is kept down by famine, by pestilence, by death at the beaks, claws, and talons of its enemies. Everything that can be is born ; let it live or die as it chances. Can it be pretended that the cup of human existence must always be thus brimming over? We count the individual man at least master of himself. His sense of responsibility can be awakened ; his conscience vivified and
* See ante, p. 346.
strengthened; and the over-conscience of the multitude is born of the consciences of separate men.
The well-being of mankind depends upon the relation between numbers and the means of life; and it depends upon the individual, it depends upon the community, whether each new generation shall sink back to the level from which its predecessors started. If we can keep what we have won we may contemplate all change with an overplus of satisfaction. What matter that the multitudes increase? It is because the means of life have increased and are increasing. What matter that the new generations are streaming away to new haunts? They are quitting a pinched and narrow life for an ampler existence. What matter though the concourse be thinned on this narrow strip or that other be depopulated ? The resting-place may be shifted, but the volume of life is not diminished, and its quality is heightened. I refuse to join in any lament, not even when I recognise the pain attendant upon change, for I know it is overborne by a far more exceeding weight of gain for man. But all this jubilation ceases; it passes into gloom for the present, and anxiety for the future, if the standpoint attained to-day must be lost by relapse to-morrow. In that case every flight of man is a scramble to escape the fell pursuer; the multiplication of the human family in any land is a preparation for a trial, perhaps for a catastrophe, of corresponding dimensions. What then is the historic fact ? Does the margin of life-freedom rise, or is it always at the same level ? It ought to be possible to obtain an answer to this question free from doubt or passion ; but if I venture a reply it is with hesitation, and with no desire that it be immediately accepted or rejected; but that it should be taken and examined for what it is worth. I should say that during the greater part of this century, the opportunities of existence have for English-speaking people been multiplied more rapidly than their numbers; but that these opportunities have been multiplied by the few, while the question whether they were multiplied or not has been completely disregarded by too large a proportion of the many. Things have improved, but small thanks to the multitude-by which I mean the multitude of all classes, not the lowest alone—whether they have improved or no. They did not produce the improvement; they have taken little care, individually or socially, that it should be maintained. There is practised and even avowed a blind confidence in the future, justified and dignified by the name of faith, which does not lead to destruction as long as the opportunities of existence are multiplied, but must pave the way to a position most perilous if this multiplication be retarded or arrested. Is it an imaginary danger that the multiplication of the means of life may, locally at least, be arrested whilst the multiplication of men continues? During the last ten or a dozen years there has been some slackness, to say the least, in our movement.
There is a complaint, however well or ill founded, that the men are too numerous for the work; though it is generally put that the work is not enough for the men. My friend Mr. Giffen, who is looked upon as one of the most optimist of men, mainly, it would seem, because he has a stubborn affection for facts, admits this lessening of our speed. This phenomenon is universally confessed. Its explanation has been infinitely disputed. Every week gives us a new theory. For myself I would suggest that our rate of progression depends now mainly on two factors: first, the development of new opportunities of existence elsewhere; and next, our power to make use of this development through our command of the springs of manufacturing pre-eminence. The added demand which makes the difference between smart and slack times comes from spurts of prosperity without. The internal trade is enormous, and it is relatively steady. It is the variation, and, comparatively the small variation, in foreign and colonial demands that makes dull business brisk. Every new field newly opened gives us an impulse, especially while we engross the most potent springs of force. It is, however, admitted that of new fields or new opportunities there have been of late few or none; it is not so generally admitted, but it is true, that the conditions of our relative superiority are passing away. may look for a recovery of the first factor of growth, but we cannot be equally sanguine about the permanence of the second. More than twenty years ago Mr. Jevons told us that the increase of our coal production, and all that depended upon it, could not be permanently maintained. He was bold enough to describe how this increase would diminish and disappear. There would be no convulsion, but a creeping sluggishness and torpidity. What he prophesied has to all appearance come to pass. The quantity of coal raised in the United Kingdom reached a maximum in 1883. It was less in 1884, less again in 1885, still less in 1886, and it is believed that the total of 1887 (not yet published) will indicate a very slight recovery. Moreover, what is equally important, the average price of a ton of coal at the pit's mouth has not materially differed in these last years in the United Kingdom and the United States. This practical equality in the cost of production of coal and arrest of the quantity of production deserve attention; and it is in this connection that I recall the fancy, the hint of an islanded Cornwall. It will be remembered how its population increased when Cornwall stood alone as a searching place for certain metals, and diminished when it was distanced by rivals. The condition of the maintenance of its population passed away, and the population poured forth to new lands. A prime condition, if not the prime condition, of the maintenance of the population of Britain is passing away, but its population continues to be heaped up in spite of a great outpouring. I do not wish to press the parallel too hard, to be immediate and peremptory
in the application of its deductions. We seem to be now emerging from the continued depression of many years, and a burst of growth is probably before us. Whether this promise be realised or not, there can be no doubt that turns of prosperity will come and go, revisiting us, though perhaps with diminished energy. But it may be suggested that we have had a warning, a first warning, a kind of runaway knock to arrest attention. It is manifestly not impossible that the population of the United Kingdom should be constrained to decline as it has increased. If it is even possible, the prospect may make us grave. Should it ever come to pass in this island of ours that, instead of a growing power to maintain a constantly in.creasing population, we should be confronted with dwindling resources inducing a necessity of diminished numbers, the trial will be severe. It is ill arguing with a man that he ought not to be in existence; and he may not take it kindly if you tell him that he is living matter in a wrong place. These severe truths are rarely acceptable to the sufferer. Quacks will be ready with remedies. There are always pedlars offering to sell pills which are good against earthquakes, nor will they soon want purchasers; but serious and sincere men know that there is no cure for the evils we contemplate save in the forethought and promptitude of the masses of the people. If it becomes part of the universal conscience to look before and after; if the general training of men be directed towards making them more alert to seize upon new occasions of industry, and to recognise the changes of condition which require the abandonment of decaying occupations; if, instead of vain repinings and impotent struggles against change, there is a frank acceptance of the inevitable which is also beneficial ; above all, if the relation of numbers to the means of existence is confessed, and men are taught to recognise practically and habitually their responsibility for their children's start in life; we may face the future without anxiety if not without concern.
It will have its cares and its labours, but our successors will pass through and overcome them. But I cannot honestly say that I believe these conditions of successful conduct in the future are at present realised. I must confess, not for the first time, to a suspicion that they are less generally apprehended than they were in a preceding generation. Our immediate predecessors seem to me to have been more loyal in admitting the rigour of the conditions of life, more courageous in rejecting indolent sentimentalities; they knew the severities of the rule of the universe, and the penalties of neglecting to conform to it. Many causes have conspired to corrupt this sound morality ; but the circumstances of to-day seem to require that a strenuous effort should be made to restore and spread its authority before the remorseJess
pressure of fact comes to re-establish its sanction.
IS JAPANESE ART EXTINCT ?
THE · Land of Great Peace ’has evidently not been quite happy or contented of late on the subject of the condition of her arts. She has received during the last quarter of a century such unstinted praise concerning them from every nation whose criticism is of value that it would not have been surprising had she been hard of hearing when
breath of hostile criticism was wafted to her shores. She deserves, then, nothing but credit for having determined to send a Commission to inquire into the art of the rest of the world, and to ascertain whether
lessons can be learnt from it. Now a tour du monde under the conditions of having all expenses paid, letters of introduction to the notabilities of each country to be visited, and a handsome douceur (one can hardly term it a salary) to cap the whole, is one which few persons would be indisposed to undertake. It is not, therefore, to be wondered at that some of the places on the Commission were secured by Government officials, whom the Times is hardly correct in describing as 'Artists and Students of Japanese Art.'
The Commission as a fact consisted of Mr. F. E. Fenollosa (an American Professor at the Tokio University) and two officials. Mr. Fenollosa is an enthusiastic admirer of Japanese paintings, and a connoisseur to the extent that he has devoted many years to the investigation of the works of the old masters of Japan and the accumulation of a collection of their pictures which is probably the largest and best ever brought together. He has a great reputation as an expert upon Japanese Art, but of the technique of European art he has, I believe, no practical knowledge; it is therefore no discourtesy to the Commission to say that it was not competent to give an opinion of any value as to the subjects upon which it was sent to pronounce, even had it had the time wherein to form one.
The Commissioners have encircled the globe and have returned home. They scampered—for it can hardly be called anything else--through America, France, Germany, Italy, and England. In this latter country they had the exceptional advantage of seeing the Exhibition at Manchester, and they also visited the National Gallery,