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The writers of the Statistical Accounts generally give their parishioners a good character for sobriety, hospitality, and industry, and write in terms of which the Minister of Aberdour may furnish an example: ‘The people, notwithstanding the pressure of the times, are contented and happy, of a social and obliging disposition, shrewd and intelligent, regular in their attendance upon public worship and the ordinances of religion, as well as in the performance of the duties of life. Strangers to that fanaticism which acts as a nurse to sedition, and that pharisaical hypocrisy which serves as a cloak to the most heinous sins, their maxim is to “fear God, honour the king, and not meddle with those that are given to change.”’ Whatever application these estimates may have to the men of the latter days of the nineteenth century, much kindness of heart, warmth of friendly feeling, and sterling worth exist under a manner which sometimes reflects ‘the asperity of the climate of Buchan.’ At no time, it is said, have the inhabitants been much addicted to a military life; though the district has produced some famous generals. First and foremost stands FieldMarshal Keith, the exiled hero of Hoch-kirchen, but he is supported by many others; while the famous Dutch Admiral, Tromp, is said to have been the son of a Peterhead man. The local Muse, though not prolific, has made her own contributions to Scottish song. The most characteristic lyric, “O Logie o' Buchan,' is said originally to have commenced with the words—
and to have reflected in a parable founded on fact the Jacobite aspirations of its author, George Halket, the schoolmaster of Crimond, upon whose head a price was set by the Duke of Cumberland for writing “Awa, Whigs, awa.’ And where save in Ayrshire is there a local poet more dear to his district than John Skinner, “old Tullochgorum, whose house of Linshart still stands near where he ministered at Longside? If this northern region can claim little share in the more dramatic and famous episodes of Scottish history, its records nevertheless show that there is no part of Scottish soil that does not richly repay the labours of the student of the past. As closer knowledge reveals a charm even in its scenery, so its obscure annals present vivid pictures of vanished power, contribute pages of peculiar interest to the story of the conquests of the Cross, and yield bright illustrations of high-principled devotion to an unfortunate Royal house and a lost cause.
ART. VI.-1. Labour and the Popular Welfare. By W. H. Mallock. London, 1893. 2. Method and Results. By T. H. Huxley. London, 1893.
HERE are signs that politics, which have long been a strise - of one class of social instincts with another, are becoming subjects of scientific reflection. The mere partisan, it may be said, has disappeared in the wake of the hustings. With the approximate completion of Reform, in the institution of democracy, it was generally taken for granted that the party which claimed to be the Party of the People was entering upon a permanent lease of approval and authority. Those who shared that assumption are in process of a rude awakening. Once and again the Party of Progress has been in office, and each time it has disappointed expectations. It matters little that the hopes were such as could not possibly be realised. The relevant fact is that Liberalism is no longer in vogue. Its great end, the enfranchisement of the people, achieved, the people are discovering that ‘government of the people by the eople' does not mean arrangements to ‘benefit the people.' That in itself is cause for review of party professions. So far as the people and their comfort are concerned, a political party, it is clear, is not composed of all who vote one way at a General Election, or intend to do so when the occasion comes. It is composed of the men who represent them in the House of Commons. The men who at present sit on the Government side of the House are, for all practical purposes, the Liberal Party. The electors who voted them into their places are in reality as little within the Party as they were before they had votes at all. It was only by an arbitrary tampering with property that the Liberal Party could possibly redeem certain promises by which it persuaded the people to believe it to be the Party of Progress; and on that enterprise the politicians now on the Ministerial benches cannot enter to any satisfactory extent. Even as we find a Tartar when we scratch a Russian, we come upon a capitalist when we penetrate beneath the public guise of any Liberal in the House of Commons. The Liberal Members have stakes in the country, interests in land or in merchandise, just as the men of the Opposition have; and, so far as self-interest is concerned, they are, in principle at least, as much handicapped in the aspiration towards Progress, as Progress is understood by the poor and by the comfortable who would like to be made more so by artificial means, as any quorum of the Liberty and Property Defence League. Realising, then, that Liberalism l
is not a royal road to the domestic millennium, by forecasts of which the Liberal Party achieved the reputation on which it has thriven, the proletarians who once trusted it trust it no longer in the old manner, and are thinking for themselves. As the rise of the Independent Labour Party shows, it is plain that the enfranchisement of the masses, and the institution of democracy, have wrought no such miracle as the people were led to expect. Not only is the new ‘government of the people’ in no degree more obviously for ‘the benefit of the people’ than the old was: as the people are not in Parliament, it is not in any sense government “by the people' at all. “A democracy, as Hobbes said, “is no more than an aristocracy of orators, interrupted sometimes with the temporary monarchy of one orator.' Rightly viewed, then, the change in the constitution of the realm has been superficial and slight. An aristocratic oligarchy has been supplanted by a democratic oligarchy. That is all. It is not much. The only difference between the two is that the new oligarchy is based upon a widened acquiescence. Its self-interests are essentially the same as those of the old ; and are just as much a restraint upon it against all temptation to retain or to gain popularity by sacrificing the rights which it feels its own. Thus, as regards the artificially reared fruits which the poor were to pluck in the golden age of democracy, Liberalism is a creed, or a frame of mind, or a system of professions, which the proletariat have abandoned. That is what has happened to the Liberal Party in its relations to the poor and their desire for increased comfort. What has happened to it in another relationship is equally striking. Liberalism has abandoned itself. It used to be a safeguard against encroachments upon the liberty of the subject. Recently, having been refused a hearing by the Liberal leaders, deputations from ‘the masses,’ one of them representing 100,000 men, asked Lord Salisbury, and through him the Tory peers, to resist a measure, promoted in the House of Commons, which would deprive every working man in the kingdom of liberty to make terms with his employer. It is not surprising that, amid circumstances such as those upon the salient points of which we have touched, the eager Populace are ceasing to have much respect for Party traditions, and are inclined to cleave their own way into the land of promise towards which the Liberal Party cannot lead them. The crisis which we have reached was inevitable. The Liberal Party was a group of men animated by a twofold purpose. It had certain principles the embodiment of which in our national polity it believed to be necessary for the welfare
of the realm; also, like the other Party, it was naturally
liberties which are possible to the inhabitants of a civilised.
State, the people, so far as the Liberal Party has been permitted to deal with their affairs, have been made subject to new bondages. They were no more under control of the lords of the soil in feudal times than they are under control of the State in these. They have only exchanged one condition of dependence and regulation for another. They did so not un
willingly, it is true; but that, apparently, was because they did not realise the nature of the results. They expected that the State as master would be more benevolent than individual private men as masters; and, inasmuch as the whole body of the people has a passion of pity for the poor in the abstract, there was some cause for the expectation. What was not realised was the lesson of other democracies, that pity for the weak and the poor is not a sentiment which a Socialistic State can indulge in action. Although it already affects every class in the community as regards liberty, the experiment in State Socialism is not yet wide-spread as regards property; it is practically confined to the soil of Ireland and the Highlands; but, even so, there are already many signs that the State as the administrator of property is necessarily more exacting than any ordinary private person in that position, and that the classes, for whose benefit the transfer of authority was made, are far from satisfied with the arrangement. Thus, we are constantly being told by the proletariat, or by those who speak and write in their behalf, that the welfare to which the people are entitled will be an unrealised condition until a complete change in our polity has been effected. Land must be nationalised, and all the great industries must be treated similarly. Neither of the two great parties, nor both together, can, as the business of politics is at present conducted, yield to that demand. Therefore, the broad problem which we have now to face lies not in any difference between Liberalism and Conservatism, but in a theory of property which is believed to be spreading among men who have ceased to have any respect for either, and are opposed to both. Few things are more ridiculous than the spectacle which is presented, in Hyde Park or in Trafalgar Square, by the orators of the agitation; and it would be easy to treat the whole subject gaily. If we are wise, we shall refrain from scorn, and from the optimism in which the scorner sits. The falsity of an idea is no guarantee against its becoming widely popular; and the suddenness with which a sense of wrong, however baseless it Inay be, is apt to bring society down about our ears has been demonstrated in almost every democracy which grew old enough to give a fair chance to the dangerous fallacies that arise in all civilisations. Besides, it is not unnatural, it is not even deplorable, that the poor should wish to become less poor. “A sense of our country's greatness, as Mr. Mallock says, “enlarges and elevates the mind as nothing else can. To be proud of our *ntry, and proud of ourselves as belonging to it, is a privilege which it is easier to underrate than exaggerate.' That sense, Vol. 179.-No. 358. 2 E which