Wednesday, 11 March 2015


The Fortnightly Review certainly cannot be called dull. Indeed, it is a somewhat startling number. Mrs. Mona Caird, who recently attacked the institution of marriage in the Daily Telegraph, returns to the charge. She argues that woman ought not to be dependent on man, but in all the relations of life have as much liberty as he has. From this it would follow, according to the writer, that marriage, "as we now understand it," must cease to exist. All this is forcibly put, but when the writer comes to her remedy she breaks down utterly. She suggests that men and women should make their own contracts of alliance and separate when they will. When they separate the quasi-wife is to have the "final right," in the absence of agreement to the contrary, to the children. A complete answer to such proposition is that men would never agree to it. Mr. Spearman, in an able article, conclusively proves the advantage of scientific anthropometry, as practised in France, over our own loose methods of identifying criminals. " The Legend of Madame Krasinska" is a weird story by the lady who writes under the nom de plume of "Vernon Lee." Mr. William Day, the well-known ex-trainer, contributes a rather striking paper on " The Evil of Betting and its Cure." He wants to see ready-money betting with bookmakers abolished in England, and the parimutuel sanctioned instead. "King Plagiarism and His Court " is an attack by Mr. James Runciman on Mr. Rider Haggard. Those who read it will have little doubt that in "Mr. Meaion's Will " the novelist simply re-wrote a descriptive article by Mr. Runciman which had appeared in the Pall Mall Gazette. Mr. Bradlaugh's paper on "Regulation by Statute of the Hours of Adult Labour" is an elaborate and carefully-balanced argument against the eight-hours movement. The main gist of his contention is that when workmen are well organised no statute is needed, and that when they are not they do not deserve legislative help.

In the Contemporary Review M. Emile de Lavaleye has a fine paper on "Communism." His argument—a very noteworthy one—is that the Communists have never studied the problems of property by the historic, i.e., the only scientific method.
Communism is a protest against the existing order rather than a system of organisation in itself. As we have seen, it owes its birth to an erroneous inference from the principle of fraternity or from that of equality, but in neither case does it offer any hope of a new social order. Real study of man's instincts is entirely lacking in its doctrines and precepts. It disdains to study because it only recognises in our present state of society spoliation and injustice, and the order of things it dreams of is the exact reverse of what it sees. It troubles itself nought with the laws of production and distribution ; they are unessential, and are to be entirely set aside. There is no transition between the forests primeval and paradise, between the wandering savages and angels united in bonds of ineffable love. It does not understand the onward march of civilisation, and fails to perceive the slow and arduous, but none the less sure and glorious, progress of reason.

But though no Communist, M. Laveleye believes that the laws of property will be altered in the near future, and that property will become a personal rather than a hereditary right.
Property is becoming more accessible. It is, therefore, probable that a time will come when all will share in it, as it is essential to a real state of freedom, and the true development of individuality, that all should accomplish. It is also becoming more and more a reward of labour. We may, therefore, reasonably believe that by-and-by that maxim, which is at once both the absolute negation of Communism and the most sacred justice, will receive due legislative recognition — to each the produce, and nothing but the produce, of his labour.


No comments: