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Formerly Fellow of University College, Oxford











r I S HE Essays and Addresses contained in this volume are
-L arranged with reference to their subject-matter, and not
in the order in which they were written or delivered.

I have to thank the publishers of Time for permission to
reprint the paper on " Social and Individual Reform," and the
publishers of Mind for permission to reprint the paper on
"The Philosophical Importance of a true Theory of Identity."
The essay " On the true Conception of another World " formed
the introduction to my translation of a portion of Hegel's
" ^Esthetic," and is now reproduced as throwing some light
on the subjects of which the present volume treats. The
occasions on which the several addresses were delivered are
indicated in footnotes to each of them.

It may be of interest to some readers to know that l.'ie
Ethical Society, on behalf of which four of the addresses were
given, is a small association in London, modelled on the
more powerful Ethical Societies of the United States, which
have for their object to contribute by precept and in practice
to spreading moral ideas and strengthening moral influences
on a non-dogmatic basis.


I am well aware that I may incur a charge of presumption
by enunciating definite views on certain social problems,
without possessing an appreciable fraction of the practical
experience which gives weight to the words of such author-
ities as Mr. and Mrs. Barnett, of Whitechapel. I can only
plead that to me, as to others, there comes in various ways a
definite though not extensive acquaintance with social facts,
while those better instructed than myself are always willing
to supply the deficiencies of my limited knowledge. I cannot
think that any man with open and attentive eyes, and with
confidence in his own impartiality, as based upon a rational
view of life, does wrong in uttering the best reflections he can
make on the way in which things are going, or the way in
which he thinks they should go.

I should feel less diffidence in repelling any similar charge
that might be brought on the score of the paper, " How to
read the New Testament."

It is true that I have not a wide acquaintance with apologetic
literature ; but the demand for such an acquaintance as the
condition of competence in dealing with these subjects may
rest perhaps on a petitio principii^ depending as it does on an
isolation of phenomena which belong primafacit to the general
province of philosophy and critical history. And the thought
will not be entirely banished, that if those who are set down
as mere dabblers in apologetic literature were to retort in kind
and on their side to erect tests of competence, the tables
might conceivably be turned. Moreover, in dealing with a
positive question, we have nothing to do with sects and parties.
I am not bound to know whether, in reading Reuss or Keim,


I am reading apologists or assailants; these labels have no
positive import, and are relative to the ideas of the partizans
who assign them. As a matter of fact, so far as the dates
and discrepancies of writers are concerned, I could accept
without any sacrifice of principle, statements which are to be
found in the " Speaker's Commentary."

The three more strictly philosophical papers, V., VIII., and
IX., offer some considerations respecting the true nature of the
" Idealist" revival in Germany and in England. As a return
to the human and the concrete, finding its supra-sensuous
world in the mind and activities of man, this intellectual
impulse has been active amongst other vital forces in the
nineteenth century movement. But like every great origination
Christianity is a case in point it has developed a wealth of
conceptions and formulas which have tended to become hostile
to the spirit which generated them, and has thus made foes of
friends, and friends of foes. Like Christianity, also, it has
produced its effect in spite of misconceptions, and has every-
where carried with it the organic ideas of an enlarged and
purified Hellenism.

I will take the freedom to insist a little upon this aspect
of the so-called German Idealism, because, owing in a large
measure to the abundance and energy of its achievements,
which needed for their expression an elaborate philosophical
terminology, the enlightened public is hardly, perhaps, aware
to how great an extent, as a mere matter of fact, it originated
in a human enthusiasm wholly antagonistic to remote Ontology.
It is quite true that the form taken by the revolutionary effort
was that of transferring ontology and orthodoxy into a sphere



and medium in which they should have real significance, rather
than that of making a clean sweep of them altogether. It is
impossible to estimate the positive and negative aspects of such
a transformation in a few sentences ; but I wish to express my
conviction, in contrast with the views which underlie certain
recent criticisms of Hegel, that the human and vital import of
his philosophy is its element of permanent value; and that
the recognition of the human spirit as the highest essence of
things, which is a stumbling-block to those whose hearts are
with the orthodoxy which Hegel revolutionized, is the true and
enduring result of the great epoch currently symbolized by his
name. I will quote two passages from letters written by Hegel
at the age of twenty-five ; not that such letters, displaying as
they do hesitation on essential matters, can be in any way
decisive of controverted points in the philosopher's matured
system of thought, but because they are startling illustrations
of what, on reviewing the whole matter, I firmly believe to
have been his dominant temper and purpose.


"January, 1795.

"... What you tell me of the theological and Kantian
march of philosophy at Tubingen causes me no surprise.
Orthodoxy cannot be shaken as long as its profession is inter-
woven with worldly advantage, and bound up with the structure
of the State. An interest like this is too strong to be readily
surrendered, and has an effect as a whole of which people are

1 Rosenkranz's "Life of Hegel," p. 66 ff; and Hegel's "Briefe, Heraus-
gegeben von Karl Hegel," p. 1 1 ff.


hardly aware. While this is so, it has on its side the whole troop
ever the most numerous of clamorous devotees, void of
thought and of higher interests. If a mob like this reads
something opposed to their convictions (if one is to do their
pedantic jargon the honour of calling it by that name), the
truth of which they cannot deny, they will say, c Yes, I suppose
it is true,' and then go to bed, and next morning drink their
coffee as if nothing had happened. Besides, they will lay hold
of anything that presents itself, which will maintain them in
their old routine. But I think it would be interesting to
molest, in their ant-like industry, the theologians who are
fetching up critical [Kantian] materials to prop their Gothic
temple, to whip them out of all their refuges, till they could
find no more, and should have to reveal their nakedness before
the sun. Still, among the timbers which they drag off the
Kantian bonfire in trying to arrest the conflagration of their
fabric of dogmas, they will carry home with them some burning
embers ; they are bringing the terminology into general cir-
culation, and are facilitating the general dispersion of philo-
sophical ideas. I shall do all I can ; I am convinced that
nothing but perpetual shaking and shocking on all sides gives
a chance of any ultimate effect of importance ; something will
always stick, and every contribution, even if it contains nothing
new, has its value as encouraging and reinforcing intercom-
munication and sympathetic labour. Let us often repeat your
appeal, 'We do not mean to be behind.' . . . Our watch-
word shall be Reason and Freedom, and our rallying-point
the invisible Church."



April, 1795.

" . . . Frorn the Kantian system and its final completion
I expect a revolution in Germany, starting from principles
which are already present, and which only need to be system-
atised and applied to existing knowledge as a whole. No
doubt there will always be an esoteric philosophy, and the idea
of God as the absolute Ego will belong to it. In my most
recent study of the " Postulates of Practical Reason " [Kant] I
had had forebodings of what you plainly expounded to me in
your last letter, and what Fichte's "Grundlage der Wissen-
schaftslehre " will completely open up to me. The conse-
quences which will issue from these ideas will astonish a good
many people. They will be dazzled at this supreme elevation
by which man is so greatly exalted ; yet why have people
been so slow to form a higher estimate of man's dignity, and
to recognise his capacity of freedom, which places him on a
par with any spiritual beings ? I think that there is no better
sign of the times than this, that humanity is represented as so
estimable in itself; it is a proof that the halo round the heads
of the oppressors and gods of this world is disappearing. The
philosophers will prove man's dignity, the people wi 1 ! learn to
feel it, and will not demand, but simply appropriate their
trampled rights.* Religion and politics have played each
other's game ; religion has taught what despotism desired, con-
tempt for the human race, its incapacity for all good, its
powerlessness to be anything in its own strength. But with

* Almost the same expressions occur in the fifth of Schiller's letters on
/Esthetic Education, which are expressly referred to as a masterpiece in
this same letter of Hegel. Hegel continued to consider these letters of
Schiller as marking an epoch in the history of philosophy.


the spread of ideas as to how all should be, the nonchalance
of respectable people in accepting all as it is, will vanish.
. . . I constantly exhort myself out of [Hippel's] ' Lebens-
laiife,' 'Strive upwards to the sun, my friends, that the
welfare of humanity may ripen soon. What matter for the
hindering leaves and branches ! Struggle through to the sun,
and if you are weary, never mind ! You will sleep all the

Now I am convinced that the feeling which blazes out in
these letters persisted through Hegel's life as the fusing heat
of his system. It is improbable that he was in all respects
consistent ; and no sensible man, above all, no Hegelian,
could suppose that the main work of philosophy, after the
lapse of half a century, is to repeat the formulae in which his
views were cast. But I believe that in the papers on philo-
sophical questions which are printed in this volume I have
rather understated than overstated the elements by which
recent idealism is bound up with the humanising movement
of this century, and will consequently affect the future of
English philosophy.
















THIS lecture is not exactly about a great man, or great
men.f The men of whom I am going to speak are two
very respectable tradesmen. Very likely there have been people
counted as heroes, who were much less noble and much less
useful than either of them. But what I should like would be
not so much to make heroes of them as to try and understand
their lives, not only their successes but their failures, and see
why and how they were useful, and what teaching we ought
to get from the way in which they were useful. The two
philanthropists whom we are to talk about are the Englishman,
George Moore, and the Frenchman, Jean Leclaire. I came
to think of taking them for a subject in this way. Just a day
or two before I was asked to lecture here, I had the good luck
to listen to a lecture from a friend who was speaking about the
religion of people who try to do good to others, about their
real notions and beliefs as to their duties, and as to what sort
of men they ought to be. And he said what a sad thing it

* A lecture given at a workman's club in London.
f The lecture was one of a series on great men.

* B


was to see a man full of strength, energy, courage, and
religious feeling, after he had made a large fortune and begun
to give up his life to good works, just lose his way in a fog.
The man he was speaking about was the merchant, George
Moore, who spent the best part of half a century, an immense
quantity of money, and enormous labour in trying to do all the
good he could think of to all who needed help and teaching.
So I thought I would read his life carefully, and see how it
came out when one looked close at it. And then I thought I
might put alongside it the life of another tradesman, who also
made a big fortune (not so big as Moore's), and who also
spent the best part of half a century, a great deal of money,
and untiring energy in trying to help those who live by their

This man was a Frenchman, and his name was Leclaire.
He was born in 1801, five years before Moore, and died in
1872, four years before him. Each of them lived just about
seventy years, and very nearly the same seventy years. They
might have met after the siege of Paris, when Moore was in
Paris, relieving the starving French (he took seventy tons of
food there) ; but we do not hear that they did meet. Very
likely they never knew each other's names.

These two men lived through a time of greater change,
perhaps, than there has ever been before. In different ways
they played their parts in this change ; and the interest we
have in them is to see how their work looks now, as time is
making clearer what direction the changes have really been
taking. It seems pretty plain now that all through Europe
the great business of this century has been to arrange society
m a more human way than before. I mean by arranging it
in a human way, arranging it so that every man should be
treated as a human being, capable of doing a man's work and


of exercising a man's will. The old arrangements, which some
people say were better in their time than there have been
since, the small workshop, and the personal loyalty to the
master, were broken down, both by new ideas of human rights
and duties, and also by new facts such as the growth of the
industrial class, so that some changes had to come.

Carlyle says the French Revolution was really a revolution
in men's minds, every one getting new thoughts as to what he
ought to put up with, and what he might expect to do ; and so
every change in society is really a change in men's minds and
characters ; and the object in making social arrangements is, I
suppose, just to give people the rights and duties which belong
to their characters, and which will therefore preserve and
strengthen the whole foundation of society. For the whole
foundation of society is character. That is what we have to
rely upon in employers and employed, in our fellow-citizens
and in our children. If we cannot rely on a person's character,
we do not know where to have him, and we cannot make a
contract with him, or depend upon him in any way. So when
there are a new set of ideas and new circumstances, when you
have enormous masses of people, and these people have quite
new claims and ideas in -jtheir minds, then there must be a
time of great change, until their minds are suited to new
arrangements, and new arrangements suited to their minds.
This was what so many good men, who used to be called
philanthropists, only learnt very slowly and in part Their
idea was rather to patch up the old machinery and not to
think of what men's characters demanded ; or rather, it was like
as if you had a machine beginning to break down, and instead
of renewing it out and out, you set another machine to help it.
These philanthropists make one think of the captain of a ship
who should come to one and say, " Look at my splendid pumps


pouring out thousands of gallons in the hour." " Yes," we
should say; " but what a leak you must have in the ship. Can't
you stop the leak?" And the illustration falls short, for our
social pumps make the leak worse. I mean in this way. Sup-
pose there is a trade which is very much underpaid or very
irregular, so that every year a great many people in it are left
without anything, or die, or leave widows and children without
anything. What I call patching, or tinkering, or setting up
pumps, is to establish a big charity to look after these people,
to provide for the children, and to help the men who fall out
of work. What you really want is to get the trade better
arranged, so that the men in the trade shall have the right and
the duty of providing for themselves and their families, and
shall be able to carry it out. That is stopping the leak.
We have all heard that prevention is better than cure ; but
the truth is, that in these great social matters there is no cure
except prevention. London is all full of great machines for
doing good, great societies for relieving people in distress ; but
their work does not come to an end. It goes on, and they are
rather proud that it goes on. George Moore was one of these
philanthropists, and had to do with starting numbers of these
great machines.

His life is shortly told in outline ; it is one of those lives of
which in England we are rightly proud the life of the self-made
man. Generally, 1 think, these lives are more interesting for
the first half than for the second, more interesting before he
marries his master's daughter they always marry their master's
daughter than after ; but with George Moore the interest is
kept up. He was not a commonplace man. He was born in
1806, in Cumberland, son of a small landowner who farmed
his own land, what they call in Cumberland a " statesman.''
He was a bold, strong boy, and soon became a tremendous


wrestler, which was the fashion in Cumberland. At thirteen
he was apprenticed to a provincial draper, but he was deter-
mined to get to London, and at nineteen he got up to London,
having learnt all he could in Cumberland about the draper's
business. He was a week without finding work, but he did
pretty well in a public wrestling match, and I should say he
was pretty near becoming a professional wrestler. Then at
last a Cumberland man, who knew about his father, gave him
a place in his big shop. Moore at once put himself to the
evening school, for he was terribly ignorant Education was
scandalous in Cumberland, as Moore remembered when he
became a rich man. But he did not like the retail work in the
draper's, and in a year's time he got a place in a big wholesale
lace house (1826).

Then it came out what he really was fit for. He was the
most tremendous commercial traveller that ever was seen.
They soon began to call him the Napoleon of travellers, the
great general of salesmen, who could conquer and capture
any customer. He was a little more like Napoleon than one
can quite approve. " George * once met Groucock at a town
in the North of England. Groucock invited him to sup with
a friend after the day's work was over. The invitation was
accepted. In the course of the evening their plans were
discussed. George openly mentioned the town to which he
was next due, and at what hour he would start. He after-
wards found that Groucock had started the day before him,
reached Belfast, and taken up all the orders for lace in the
place. This caused some bitterness of feeling between the
two travellers. But George, not to be outdone, immediately
left Ireland for Liverpool. He worked the place thoroughly,

Smiles' " Life of George Moore," page 79.


then started for Manchester, and travelled through the great
northern towns, working night and day, until he had gone
over the whole of the ground, and returned to London full
of orders. This in its turn greatly chagrined Groucock, who
had intended to take Lancashire on his way home." " Many *
are the stories still told by commercial travellers about George
Moore's determination to get orders. He would not be
denied. If refused at first, he resorted to all sorts of ex-
pedients until he succeeded. On one occasion he sold the
clothes off his back to get an order. A tenacious draper
in a Lancashire town refused to deal with him. The draper
was quite satisfied with the firm that supplied him, and he
would make no change. This became known amongst the
commercial travellers at the hotel, and one of them made
a bet of ^5 with George Moore that he would not obtain
an order. George set out again. The draper saw him
entering the shop, and cried out, ' All full ! all full, Mr.
Moore ! I told you so before !' ' Never mind,' said George ;
'you won't object to a crack.' 'Oh, no!' said the draper.
They cracked about many things, and then George Moore,
calling the draper's attention to a new coat which he wore,
asked, 'What he thought of it?' 'It's a capital coat,' said
the draper. 'Yes, first-rate; made in the first style by a
first-rate London tailor.' The draper looked at it again,
and again admired it. ' Why,' said George, ' you are exactly
my size ; it's quite new. ' I'll sell it you.' ' What's the
price?' 'Twenty-five shillings.' 'What! that's very cheap.'
' Yes, it's a great bargain.' ' Then I'll buy it,' said the
draper. George went back to his hotel, donned another
suit, and sent the ' great bargain ' to the draper. George

* Smiles' " Life of George Moore," pages 86, 87.


calling again, the draper offered to pay him. ' No, no,'
said George, ' I'll book it ; you've opened an account.' Mr.
Moore had sold the coat at a loss, but he was recouped by
the $ bet which he won, and he obtained an order besides."
The draper afterwards became one of his best customers.
He fairly beat every one else off the road. I'll say a word
later on about this part of his life. However, the result was
that Groucock offered him a high salary to leave the house
he was travelling for, and travel for them. Moore stood out
for a partnership, and got it. This was in 1830, and this
was the beginning of the great house in Bow Churchyard,
Groucock, Moore & Copestake.

Then began Moore's hardest struggle ; for eleven years he
did not take a day's rest, and hardly a decent night's rest,
travelling for the house all the time. And by about 1840
the house was thoroughly established, had three town travellers
and ten country travellers. In 1841 he married his former
master's daughter; in 1845 they set up a lace factory in
Nottingham ; in 1854 he took a big private house in Ken-
sington Palace Gardens ; in 1858 he bought an estate in
Cumberland, including the place where he was born. Now
we have seen him safe through ; and if he had been a
common man, he would have become an M.P. and a baronet,
and perhaps we should have lost our interest in him. He
was not a common man. He was asked to go into Parliament
for Nottingham, and later on even for the city of London,
and he refused. He thought he was not educated enough ;
and, besides, his time was quite full.

He had been a philanthropist as soon as he had any money
at all, by subscribing to the Cumberland Society, a society
for helping Cumberland men who fell into poverty in London.
After 1841, when he lived more in London, and did not travel


so hard, he became what one might call a professional
philanthropist. He had a sort of rage for collecting money
for charitable and religious institutions ; he collected for
them just as he used to canvass customers for his firm. He
said he wore out a pair of boots in collecting for one charity.
He gave very large sums of money himself, and forced his
friends to give large sums. In 1858 he was connected with
thirteen institutions ; and he worked hard, as a rule, for
all institutions he was connected with. Now I want you

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Online LibraryBernard BosanquetEssays and addresses → online text (page 1 of 17)