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carry mankind rapidly forward.' Indeed, taking verifiable progress in the sense which has just been given to it, we may say that nature gives a prize to every single step in it. Everyone that makes an invention that benefits himself or those around him, is likely to be more comfortable himself and to be more respected by those around him. To produce new things 'serviceable to man's life and conducive to man's estate,' is, we should say, likely to bring increased happiness to the producer. It often brings immense reward certainly now; a new form of good steel pen, a way of making some kind of clothes a little better or a little cheaper, have brought men great fortunes. And there is the same kind of prize for industrial improvement in the earliest times as in the latest; though the benefits 80 obtainable in early society are poor indeed in comparison with those of advanced society. Nature is like a schoolmaster, at least in this, she gives her finest prizes to her high and most instructed classes. Still, even in the earliest society, nature helps those who can help themselves, and helps them very much.
All this should have made the progress of mankindprogress at least in this limited sense_exceedingly common; but, in fact, any progress is extremely rare. As a rule (and as has been insisted on before) a stationary state is by far the most frequent condition of man, as far as history describes that condition; the progressive state is only a rare and an occasional exception.
Before history began there must have been in the nation which writes it much progress; else there could have been no history. It is a great advance in civilisation to be able to describe the common facts of life, and perhaps, if we were to examine it, we should find that it was at least an equal advance to wish to describe them. But very few races have made this step of progress; very few have been capable even of the meanest sort of history; and as for writing such a history as that of Thucydides, most nations could as soon have constructed a planet. When history begins to record, she finds most of the races incapable of history, arrested, unprogressive, and pretty much where they are now.
Why, then, have not the obvious and natural causes of progress (as we should call them) produced those obvious and natural effects? Why have the real fortunes of mankind been so different from the fortunes which we should expect? This is the problem which in various forms I have taken up in these papers, and this is the outline of the solution which I have attempted to propose.
The progress of man requires the co-operation of men for its development. That which any one man or any one family could invent for themselves is obviously exceedingly limited. And even if this were not true, isolated progress could never be traced. The rudest sort of cooperative society, the lowest tribe and the feeblest government, is so much stronger than isolated man, that isolated
man (if he ever existed in any shape which could be called man), might very easily have ceased to exist. The first principle of the subject is that man can only make progress in ‘co-operative groups; ' I might say tribes and nations, but I use the less common word because few people would at once see that tribes and nations are co-operative groups, and that it is their being so which makes their value; that unless you can make a strong co-operative bond, your society will be conquered and killed out by some other society which has such a bond; and the second principle is that the members of such a group should be similar enough to one another to co-operate easily and readily together.
The cooperation in all such cases depends on a felt union of heart and spirit; and this is only felt when there is a great degree of real likeness in mind and feeling, how. ever that likeness may have been attained.
This needful co-operation and this requisite likeness I believe to have been produced by one of the strongest yokes (as we should think if it were to be reimposed now) and the most terrible tyrannies ever known among men -the authority of customary law. In its earlier stage this is no pleasant power—no 'rose-water' authority, as Carlyle would have called it—but a stern, incessant, implacable rule. And the rule is often of most childish origin, beginning in a casual superstition or local accident. "These people,' says Captain Palmer of the Fiji, are very conservative. A chief was one day going over a mountain-path followed by a long string of his people, when he happened to stumble and fall; all the rest of the people immediately did the same except one man, who was set upon by the rest to know whether he considered himself better than the chief.' What can be worse than a life regulated by that sort of obedience, and that sort of imitation? This is, of course, a bad specimen, but the nature of customary law as we everywhere find it in its earliest stages is that of coarse casual comprehensive usage, beginning, we cannot tell how, deciding, we cannot tell why, but ruling everyone in almost every action with an inflexible grasp.
The necessity of thus forming co-operative groups by rixed customs explains the necessity of ishlation in early society. As a matter of fact all great nations have heen prepared in privacy and in secret. They have been composed far away from all distraction. Greece, Rome, Judæa, were framed each by itself, and the antipathy of each to men of different race and different specch is one of their most marked peculiarities, and quite their strongest common property. And the instinct of early ages is a right guide for the needs of early ages. Intercourse with foreigners then broke down in states the fixed rules which were forming their characters, so as to be a cause of weak fibre of mind, of desul'ory and unsettled action; the living spectacle of an admitted unbelief destroys the binding authority of religious custom and snaps the, social cord.
Thus we see the use of a sort of preliminary’age in societies, when trade is bad because it prevents the separation of nations, because it infuses distracting ideas among occupied communities, because it “brings alien minds to alien shores. And as the trade which we now think of as an incalculable good, is in that age a formidable evil and destructive calamity; so war and conquest, which we commonly and justly see to be now evils, are in that age often singular benefits and great advantages. It is only by the competition of customs that bad customs can be eliminated and good customs multiplied. Conquest is the premium given by nature to those national characters which their national customs have made most fit to win in war, and in many most material respects those winning characters are really the best characters. The characters which do win in war are the characters which we should wish to win in war.
Similarly, the best institutions have a natural military advantage over bad institutions. The first great victory of civilisation was the conquest of nations with ill-defined families having legal descent through the mother only, by nations of definite families tracing descent through the father as well as the mother, or through the father only. Such compact families are a much better basis for military discipline than the ill-bound families which indeed seem hardly to be families at all, where 'pateruity' is, for tribal purposes, an unrecognised idea, and here only the physical fact of maternity' is thought