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accept only what satisfies trained reason. We must put off Sentimentality, which means the wholesome feeling for humanity gone rancid and turbid and unwholesome, and is an expensive and dangerous folly. We must take deliberate and calm judgments, and we must look ahead.
The record of progress in this little book is largely the record of the success of men who with honest material objects worked in many ways wisely and prosperously, and made England the richest place on earth; but this is not all, it is the record also of a great. sacrifice, a sacrifice of health and happiness and vitality-a needless sacrifice offered up to Mammon. The English people, never by any plague, or famine, or war, suffered such a deadly blow at its vitality as by the establishment of the factory system without the proper safeguards. Napoleon's wars crippled France (though not as badly as his legislation), but the factory system threatened to sap the very existence of our people, because those who could have helped it (both employers and employed) at that time were too greedy, too ignorant, and too callous to understand t full evil they were doing, and the governing c. sses above them too foolish to see that the remedy must be swiftly applied.
Ignorance and the blindness caused by greed are deadly enemies that we can only meet by knowledge and by honesty. And it must be remembered, though it is often forgotten, that the acquisition of knowledge does not mean book-learning, which is only a very little part of it. It is no good reading a book without understanding it, and no good understanding It unless ono profits by It, and makcy the principle or the picce of wisdom or fact a part of our mental stora, ready for use when the proper times comes. A man may be book-learned and very ignorant.
Mr. Beard's book should make his readers think, that is what he wants them to do. The good teacher does not
teach things, he tries to make his pupils teach them. selves by honest thinking. No one really knows a thing that he has not mastercd for himself. Here in this little volume is matter for thought, for further inquiry, for bringing a man into touch with big and important branches of knowledge. Such primers are useful; they help one through the hard beginnings of the subjects; they show one how to go on and master the thing by one's se!f. They give one admitted results, and show one the consequences suspected or ascertained. They work the mind.
There is a time, perhaps, when ignorance may be tolerated, but this is emphatically not the time. We have to set our house in order, as cveryone knows who has a grain of sense lest, but it cannot be done unless we choose the right men to do our political and economic work, trust them wisely, back them wisely, and resolve not only that the nation, but every town, every village, every workshop, and every house be made healthier, be better managed, and the causes that : check progress and security be done away with. We cannot afford to sit down and rub our bcllies and think how fat we are. Disease and crime can be tackled, and would be if we were in earnest. It requires probably less effort to keep ourselves and our children healthy and out of the dock than to save money and leave it to fools, or buy an annuity, and it is a great deal more necessary to the nation. It is not a sin to break some old Hebrew tabu that has no utility left in it, but it is a sin to be diseased when you can be healthy, to be ignorant when you can, at a little trouble, learn the truth of a matter, to be dishonest when you can, at the cost of a little effort, speak and act truly. Adulteration, again, is criminal and vile in all its aspects and results, and honest men will have nothing to do with it. It is one of the worst symptoms in the body social when adulterations and shams are tolerated. Adulteration
is simply a low and vile form of larceny practised treacherously by persons who pretend to be respectable (like the bakers and brewers who poison their customers by the careless use of adulterants) upon persons who are often unable to detect or avoid the deceit and injury
The reading of good books without thinking things out is a mere debauching amusement, and reading for pastime is not a respectable thing, when it is pushed to extremes, at all, any more than over-eating or overdrinking. The "habit of reading" is no better than the "habit of snuffing," unless the reading which the habitué does is good reading-reading that gives noblepleasure or that helps directly to progress, mental or physical, or trains one to practical ends. Waste of time is not only folly, but it is anti-progressive and means degeneration, just as waste of money over bad or foolish things, or waste of work over ugly shams or false ornaments or dishonest productions of any kind.
One of the most useful things a teacher can do is to help beginners to the right books. There is no use, but much weary, useless toil, in the reading of the wrong books. Every scholar knows the fearful count of hours spent in looking through foolish books in the hope of finding something pertinent. All books about books, and the miserable compilations made at second-hand by second-rate men, should be avoided. Read Adam Smith himself; it will take a little time. Don't be persuaded to an“ analysis "epitome" of Adam Smith instead, it is only waste of time; it will not do instead of Adam Smith himself. And if you come to fancy it will, you are in the wrong groove. Never be afraid of big books by big men. One can remember and assimilate them far better and easier than any analysis.
This little book seems to me to have in its plain pages and its straightforward substance a good deal of food for thought, a good deal that is worth remem
bering, a good deal that is of the nature of guidance and warning. For instance, we learn from it how the civilised world has been changed, and our duties, morals, habits, habitations, and connections all altered by the discoveries of a few dozen able men.
The world is full of a number of things," as R. L. Stevenson says, and we have only Icarnt to makc use of a few of these. There seem almost endless possibilities open, but they are only open to those who mean to take advantage of them, who mean to make themselves and do make themselves able to see the things that the ignorant and the lazy miss and always will miss. Our trade rivals have learnt all they knew till a few years ago from us, we can surely afford to take a lesson from our own ancestors; but we must be prepared to strip off prejudice and renounce hollow formula. Even if such a sacred institution as a trades-union stands in the way of real progress, it must change or go.
Good work, not sham work ; good art, not bad nor even mediocre art; good food, not the bad bread (one of the worst disgraces of this country) and the bad beer, but good bread and good beer ; plain, good clothes, not“ fashionably cut "shoddy; good news, not party lies and foolish flattery and idle or malicious gossip; real information (which need not be cheap, and cannot be easy, for knowledge is not an easy thing to get, but a hard thing both to win and hold), not chopped-up rubbish and dirty garbage; as much fresh air, and clean water, and out-o?-door exercise as we can do with. These are things within our grasp, and we have not got them yet, though we have thousands of things we do not want, or really enjoy at all, but which we are fooled, or fool ourselves, into paying for through the nose. The end of work is to produce useful things, beautiful things, necessary things; but the cnd of life is not merely work, nor what people look for in exchange for work-riches. Riches without health or security, or the
knowledge of how to use them, are merely a danger, and a daily reproach to an individual
. They are also a danger and a daily reproach when unused, ill-used, or wasted to a nation. “Health and wisdom are not incompatible with wealth, but worn-out vitality and blind ignorance quite certainly are. Only the strong man armed and healthy of brain can keep his house.
Healthy people look to the future, sick people are content to linger through the day, or ready to sink into oblivion; the mark of a healthy nation is that it looks forward, prepares for the future, learns from the past, gets rid of its parasites, shakes off its social diseases, and walks resolutely in the service of her whoin Defoe celebrated as that "Most Serene, Most Invincible, Most Illustrious Princess, REASON," and whom, long before him, Solomon, and the son of Sirach, lauded as tie Chief of Things, the very emanation and breath of their God Himself.