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men should be equal in wealth-or in anything else. What is wanted, what alone is desirable, is not a more equal distribution or equality in the ownership of wealth, but that great wealth should be rightly and wisely used. ThatProperty has its duties as well as its rights' was first said in regard to Land; yet Landed wealth is of all others the most permanently under public criticism and under the pressure of public opinion. Land, also, as held by our nobles, has social obligations in expenditure which do not attach to other kinds of wealth. It is the large fortunes, now so numerous, made directly from the employment of labour, which owe most to the industrial classes, while being exempt from the obligations of the nobility, and which fortunes, being in money, do not bulk before the public eye, except in the personal expenditure of the owners. Vast wealth is a care and heavy responsibility to all but fools and spendthrifts; and, if unaccompanied by the sense of doing good, to all but misers it must be as much a weariness and burden as a pleasure. a pleasure. The hero of M. Daudet's powerful novel, the Nabab,' expresses something more than his own feelings when he exclaims

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Ah! I have known what it is to fight with misery hand to hand, and it is a dire struggle. But to contend with a superfluity of riches, to defend one's happiness, honours, and peace of mind behind a crumbling mass of gold, that crushes you as it falls, is a far more repugnant and disheartening struggle. Never, in the darkest hour of poverty, have I suffered the weariness, the agony, the sleepless anxieties, which Wealth has brought upon me-Wealth, that dreaded, hated, choking burden!

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The greatest luxury of superfluous wealth is in giving it away. A man cannot be happy if surrounded by unhappiness. As a mere matter of enlightened selfishness,' the greatest pleasure a man can have is in mitigating the misfortunes or adding to the pleasure of those of his circle. And, beyond that comparatively narrow sphere, lies, in widening circles, the Nation itself. There, in his native town-the village where he was born, or the city wherein he has worked and prospered-should he not like to benefit those places and be remembered as their benefactor? It is in these and suchlike forms of expenditure that, under the growing social spirit, our large industrial fortunes will more and more be expended. Landed wealth, we repeat, has an ample scope for its beneficial expenditure upon the land itself; it is the fortunes of our commercial millionaires which will chiefly and specially go in benefits to the toiling millions, and in services to the public. Athens of old was certainly not a very wealthy city;

but the spirit of citizenship-we would say of Communism, but for the frightful misuse of that word and distortion of that principle recently witnessed in France-was highly developed: so that if a grand drama was to be put upon the stage, some noble edifice to be erected, or the State to be aided in a great crisis, it was the wealthy citizens who voluntarily, and also as a recognized duty, came forward to defray the expense.

Should any one think that, in thus writing, I hold up too high an ideal, I would ask him to look around, and he will see that what I preach is already being practised. And what is now appearing as a new usage is only what prevailed on a grand scale in this country, and in some others, in the olden time. It was private wealth that built the grand halls and towers of Oxford, and that supplied endowments for these and countless other seats of learning. It was private wealth that raised nearly all of our finest abbeys and grandest cathedrals. Greenwich Hospital, with its noble architecture and beneficent purpose, was a splendid outcome of private generosity for a national and patriotic object. Historians, in recording the origin of that magnificent building, and philanthropists, in lamenting the decay of patriotic spirit and individual sacrifice or self-denial, have frequently asked, 'Who can hope to see a Greenwich Hospital erected in these latter times?' Our country has been passing through a transition-state-a very long one, it is true. Social duty, in its old forms, died out; feudalism, trade guilds, &c., disappeared; and under the modern spirit of individual freedom, Society had to start upon a new course, in which, naturally, the individual predominated. Individual energy and individual rights repelled State action in the national ongoings, while the nation, the social community, sank greatly into disregard. The well-being of the community was believed to be best promoted by each man or class pushing their own fortunes at the expense of the others. The conception of the Nation, in fact, became not that of an organic whole, but of an infinity of parts; not a commonwealth, but so many millions of units each striving for himself, on the watch to profit at the cost of his neighbours, and owing no duty to those who could not hold their own in the scramble and mêlée of unlimited competition.

It was a healthy training, but it would be a most unsatisfactory goal. The régime was Spartan-like in its severity; but in Sparta the object was all for the State, as here for the individual. And now, having completed the combative stage of youth, during which class has fought against class, and individualism has been supreme, the modern system is

approaching maturity; the yearning for social concord is promoted by the very vastness and fierceness of the classantagonism; and once more the Nation, the social community, begins to rise before men's thoughts like a grand temple to be completed and perfected, and to which each individual owes a distinct duty. We are a long way off from the time when the nation will be so ameliorated and harmonized in all its parts that men may regard it, like the world-famous Cathedral of Cologne, as an edifice upon which they need bestow their gifts of wealth or service only in that most joyous and luxurious form, of adorning and beautifying. There is still much hard and thankless work to be done: even the outer buttresses have to be built; and instead of embellishing the dome, as with the glowing frescoes of Michael Angelo, we have still to look after the pillars and arches lest the roof itself fall in upon us.

The irony of events,' as exhibited alike in imperial history and in social progress,-the 'Fate,' which hangs so gloomily over the grand Greek Dramas, and whose operation furnishes the climax in so many of George Eliot's works of fiction, in no shape appears to me so striking and appalling as in these two things :-Firstly, that both States and individuals are so often overwhelmed or wholly destroyed in the very hour when they have fairly entered upon a new and better career; and, secondly, that the best improvements and social triumphs remain unattainable when they are most wanted, and only arrive when we could pretty well do without them!

How often has it happened that a Government or an individual, tardily become wise, regenerate, and entering joyously on a fine career, has abruptly been overwhelmed by the faults of the Past suddenly surging up from behind,-like some strong swimmer who, escaping from the toils of the sea, and with foot planted on the firm sand, suddenly hears the roar of a rushing wave from the angry ocean behind him, which rises high over his head and sweeps him back helplessly into the abyss. A Poland becomes politically wise; the cry of unpatriotic factions is dying away; when suddenly the foe from without rushes in-and Finis Polonice! France, in 1789, gave as noble a display of self-reformation as the world ever beheld: the King became simply the head of the nation; the nobles, the governing classes enthusiastically abjured their privileges, and the purest philanthropy became popular and supreme. But suddenly the untrained masses broke into ferocity; the fountains of the great deep were opened;' and the happy land became a hell upon earth. In truth, the very

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greatness of the happy change so suddenly accomplished in 1789 helped to destroy it. The light of the new philanthropy suddenly revealed the hideousness of the past thraldom and sufferings; and the untutored masses, instead of gratitude, thought only of savage revenge. Society, despite the accomplishment of brilliant triumphs-and those of France in 1789 were the most brilliant in history-is only safe when the work of improvement has never been abjured, and when, although progress may be small, social concord has always been kept in view as a recognized goal.

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This condition of social security cannot be said to prevail in some of the Continental countries, least of all in Russia; and any social revolution in that most colossal of empires would have an effect upon Europe which can hardly be overestimated. The present century, although nearing its close, may witness an uprising of the proletariat' on the Continent, at the very prospect of which humanity shudders. We are happy to believe that no such danger awaits our own country. The labouring classes know that the improvement of their condition engages the thoughts of the State and the community at large. We scruple to say that Legislation has done nearly all that it can or will do. It has done so, no doubt, so far as regards the prevailing ideas and theories of administration; but these may change, as they have changed in the past. And I feel confident that the direct action of the State, in works of national usefulness, will ere long be carried far beyond what the influence of established doctrines' would at present permit. But the Social Question,' which is so formidable an embarrassment on the Continent, is already solved in principle here. In fact, as seems to me, the progress has advanced much further than is generally observed. example, the main incentive to social discontent and revolt is the sight of ill-spent surplus wealth; and no form of wealth is so exempt from social responsibilities, or may elude public criticism so much, as the fortunes of the nouveaux riches-of private individuals who have amassed vast wealth in their own lifetime in trade. And to this class belong absolutely the whole of the new fortunes which are so rapidly multiplying in our midst. But now, owing to the commingled influence of various causes, these colossal fortunes, instead of

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On the question of State-action with a view to develop the natural resources of the Country and the productive powers of the People,' I expressed my views a dozen years ago in the concluding chapter of The Science of Finance,' and more fully in a treatise on The State, the Poor, and the Country,' published in 1870.

being designed to found hereditarily wealthy families, are being dispersed by their makers in works of public and social beneficence. It seems but as yesterday when the princely gift of Peabody roused the whole country in marvelling admiration; but already such a use of surplus wealth is becoming a duty widely recognized. Large and beautiful parks for the people, stately town-halls, museums, public libraries, and well-endowed colleges, where the working classes have the highest as well as all the useful fields of knowledge opened to them-such are the uses to which surplus wealth is now being devoted-nobly as regards their object, and with infinitely more enjoyment to its owners than if it remained unspent, to figure in a will.

It were foolish to pry curiously into the motives which produce these splendid gifts. Granted that personal interests play their part-that civic renown, perhaps the honours of the State, may be hoped for in return-and that what the French call la manie de la perpetuité, the desire to be remembered after death, has its share in inspiring those gifts to the nation are not all these considerations natural and honourable in themselves, and such as form the ordinary supports and motives to virtuous conduct in all shapes? And even upon the lowest grounds, is it not evident that the National sentiment must be rising into prominence when acts in accord with that sentiment are seen to be the most certain means of obtaining the applause and approbation of society?

The Social spirit, we repeat, is growing rapidly, and a great and beneficent change is much further advanced than is generally observed. The magnitude of the organizations of labour against capital, the growing severity of strikes, and the vast losses thereby inflicted upon the commercial fortunes of the kingdom, tend to hide from view the growth of a spirit which already robs class-antagonism of its worst features, and which will ere long prove a solvent under which the present trade-organizations will become associative and cease to be combative. The goal is still distant, no doubt, but it is in sight. Great changes often steal over us unawares, and, like passengers in a smooth-gliding ship, we may be entering a new harbour while still thinking we lie at anchor in the old one. So, in an August morning among the Scottish hills, I have seemed to be still in night, when the sun was already in the heavens; and, unthinking, we sometimes fail to perceive the dawn merely owing to the mists which are ushering in an unusually golden day.


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