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and the question of sanitation becomes more instant and pressing. Democracy in its best sense is merely the letting in of light and air. Lord Sherbrooke, with his usual epigrammatic terseness, bids you educate your future rulers. But would this alone be a sufficient safeguard? To educate the intelligence is to enlarge the horizon of its desires and wants. And it is well that this should be so. But the enterprise must go deeper and prepare the way for satisfying those desires and wants in so far as they are legitimate. What is really ominous of danger to the existing order of things is not democracy (which, properly understood, is a conservative force), but the Socialism which may find a fulcrum in it. If we cannot equalize conditions and fortunes any more than we can equalize the brains of men— and a very sagacious person has said that “where two men ride of a horse one must ride behind"—we can yet, perhaps, do something to correct those methods and influences that lead to enormous inequalities, and to prevent their growing more enormous. It is all very well to pooh-pooh Mr. George and to prove him mistaken in his political economy. But he is right in his impelling motive; right, also, I am convinced, in insisting that humanity makes a part, by far the most important part, of political economy; and in thinking man to be of more concern and more convincing than the longest columns of figures in the world. For unless you include human nature in your addition, your total is sure to be wrong and your deductions from it fallacious. Communism means barbarism, but Socialism means, or wishes to mean, coöperation and community of interests, sympathy, the giving to the hands not so large a share as to the brains, but a larger share than hitherto in the wealth they must combine to produce—means, in short, the practical application of Christianity to life, and has in it the secret of an orderly and benign reconstruction. I do not believe in violent changes, nor do I expect them. Things in possession have a very firm grip. One of the strongest cements of society is the conviction of mankind that the state of things into which they are born is a part of the order of the universe, as natural, let us say, as that the sun should go round the earth. It is a
conviction that they will not surrender except on compulsion, and a wise society should look to it that this compulsion be not put upon them. For the individual man there is no radical cure, outside of human nature itself. The rule will always hold good that you must
Be your own palace or the world's your gaol.
But for artificial evils, for evils that spring from want of thought, thought must find a remedy somewhere. There has been no period of time in which wealth has been more sensible of its duties than now. It builds hospitals, it establishes missions among the poor, it endows schools. It is one of the advantages of accumulated wealth, and of the leisure it renders possible, that people have time to think of the wants and sorrows of their fellows. But all these remedies are partial and palliative merely. It is as if we should apply plasters to a single pustule of the smallpox with a view of driving out the disease. The true way is to discover and to extirpate the germs. As society is now constituted these are in the air it breathes, in the water it drinks, in things that seem, and which it has always believed, to be the most innocent and healthful. The evil elements it neglects corrupt these in their springs and pollute them in their courses. Let us be of good cheer, however, remembering that the misfortunes hardest to bear are those which never come. The world has outlived much, and will outlive a great deal more, and men have contrived to be happy in it. It has shown the strength of its constitution in nothing more than in surviving the quack medicines it has tried. In the scales of the destinies brawn will never weigh so much as brain. Our healing is not in the storm or in the whirlwind, it is not in monarchies, or aristocracies, or democracies, but will be revealed by the still small voice that speaks to the conscience and the heart, prompting us to a wider and wiser humanity.
SIR JOHN LUBBOCK
[Address of Sir John Lubbock, M. P. for London University since 1880, banker, writer on scientific subjects (born in London April 30,
1834; ), delivered at the opening of a free library at Rotherhithe, England, in 1890.]
No one now denies the advantage of free libraries. The only objection ever raised to them now is on the score of expense. But we do not grudge the cost of schools, and the free library is the school for the grown-up. Moreover, I doubt whether either the one or the other is really an expense.
A great part, at any rate, of what we spend in books we save in prisons and police. Only a fraction of the crime of the country rises from deliberate wickedness or irresistible temptation; the great sources of crime are drink and ignorance. There is a general impression that our schools are very expensive, and that the cost is increasing; I think, however, it may be shown that ignorance, in reality, costs more than knowledge. What are the facts? The annual cost of elementary schools in England and Wales amounts in round numbers to £8,500,OOO, but out of this sum parents provided £1,860,000 and subscriptions amounted to £746,000, leaving something under £6,000,000 as contributed from rates and taxes. To this must be added: Science and Art Department, £500,000; Museums, etc., £250,000, and Public Libraries, £150,000—say altogether £7,000,000.
Now let us look at pauperism. The nominal poor-rate includes several other matters, but the part devoted to the maintenance of the poor is not less than £8,500,000. The cost of police, prisons, and criminals amounts to over £4,000,000. The police, of course, perform various useful functions besides protecting us against criminals. On the other hand, the cost of the criminal population is not to be measured by the mere cost of police and prisons, and the real expense to the country far exceeds that sum. Now let us consider what our expenditure in these directions might have been if it had not been for our expenditure on education. First, let me take the criminal statistics. Up to 1877 the number of prisoners showed a tendency to increase. In that year the average number was 20,800. Since then it has steadily decreased, and now is only 14,700. It has, therefore, diminished in round numbers by one-third. But we must remember that the population has been steadily increasing. Since 1870 it has increased by one-third. If our criminals had increased in the same proportion, they would have been 28,000 instead of 14,000, or just double. In that case, then, our expenditure on police and prisons would have been at least £8,000,000. In juvenile crime the decrease is even more satisfactory. In 1856 the number of young persons committed for indictable offences was 14,000; in 1866 it had fallen to Io,000; in 1876 to 7,000; in 1881 to 6,000, and the last figures I have seen put the number at 5, IOO! Turning to the poor-rate statistics, we find that in 1870 the number of paupers to every thousand of the population was over 47. It had been as high as 52. Since then it has steadily fallen to 22 as an average, and in a parenthesis I may say I am proud to find that in the metropolis we are substantially below the average. The proportion, therefore, is less than half of what it used to be. Supposing it had remained as it was our expenditure would have been £16,000,000 instead of £8,000,000, or £8,000,000 more than the present amount. Of course I am aware that various allowances would have to be made, and that these figures cannot claim any scientific accuracy, but I believe that the additions would be larger than the deductions, and I am convinced that the £7,000,000 of public funds spent annually on education save us a much larger sum in other ways.
I have dwelt on this because the question of expense is the one argument generally used against public libraries. But I need hardly assert that I should be one of the last to look on this as a mere matter of pounds, shillings, and pence. I doubt very much, therefore, whether free libraries really cost the ratepayers anything; whether they do not save more than the penny rate. But how small a part is this of the benefit they confer! I have put it first as an answer to the objection of expense, but it is not of course the real argument to my mind in favor of establishing free libraries. It is because public libraries add so greatly to the happiness of the poor that I rejoice at their establishment. There is but little amusement in the lives of the very poor. I have been good-humoredly laughed at more than once for having expressed the opinion that in the next generation the great readers would be our artisans and mechanics. But is not the continued increase in free libraries an argument in support of my contention? Before a free library can be started a free popular vote must be taken, and we know that the clergy and lawyers, the doctors and the mercantile men form but a small fraction of the voters. The free libraries are called into being by the artisan and the small shopkeeper, and it is by them that they are mainly used. Books are peculiarly necessary to a workingman in our towns. Their life is one of much monotony. The savage has a far more varied existence. He must watch the habits of the game which he hunts, their migrations and feeding-grounds; he must know where and how to fish; every month brings him some change of occupation and of food. He must prepare his weapons and build his own house. Even the lighting of a fire, so easy now, is to him a matter of labor and knack. The agricultural laborer turns his hand to many things. He plows and sows, mows, and reaps. He plants at one season, and uses the bill-hook and the ax at another. He looks after the sheep, and pigs, and cows. To hold the plow, to lay a fence or tie up a sheaf is by no means so easy as it looks. It is said of Wordsworth that a stranger having on one occasion asked to see his study, the maid said: “This is master's room, but he studies in the fields.” The agricultural laborer learns a great deal in the fields. He