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correctness of the position, taken in the _Principles of Sociology_,
that delight in war has a tendency to stifle love of liberty. Sparta,
Russia, and the new German Empire show that where the ideal of a nation
is military glory, "The individual is owned by the State." The citizens
are so graded, that "All are masters of those below and subjects of
those above." The workers must live for the benefit of the fighters,
and both be controlled closely by the government. Armies flourish on the
decay of individual rights. How difficult it was to avoid this, during
some bloody years, even in America, has been shown in Chapter IV. A
nation of shopkeepers is better fitted than a nation of soldiers to
develop free institutions.

One of Spencer's objections to Socialism is that it would "end in
military despotism." Nothing else could replace competition so far as
to keep a nation industrious. Spencer is right in saying, "Benefit and
worth must vary together," which means that wages and salaries should
correspond to value of work. Otherwise, "The society decays from
increase of its least worthy members and decrease of its most worthy
members."

These facts are so generally known already, that there is less danger
than is thought by Spencer, of either the national establishment of
Socialism or of a ruinous extension of governmental interference.
The average American is altogether too willing to have his wealthy
neighbours taxed for his own benefit; but he knows that he can make
himself and his family more comfortable by his own exertions than his
poor neighbours are; and he is not going to let any government forbid
his doing so. He does not object to public libraries, and perhaps
would not to free theatres; but he would vote down any plan which would
prevent his using his money and time to his own greatest advantage. He
is sometimes misled by plausible excuses for wasting public money,
and arresting innocent people; but he insists on at least some better
pretext than was made for the old-fashioned meddling with food,
clothing, business, and religion. He may not call himself an
individualist; but he will never practise Socialism.

This sort of man is already predominant in Great Britain, as well as in
America; and multiplication of the type elsewhere is fostered by mighty
tendencies. The duty of treating every form of religion according to
ethical and not theological standards is rapidly becoming the practice
of all civilised governments; and persecution is peculiar to Turkey
and Russia. These two despotisms form, with Germany, the principal
exceptions to the rule that political liberty is on the increase
throughout Europe, especially in the form of local self-government. The
nineteenth century has made even the poorest people more secure than
ever before from oppression and lawless violence, as well as from
pestilence and famine. Destitution is relieved more amply and wisely,
while industry and intelligence are encouraged by opportunity to enjoy
comforts and luxuries once almost or altogether out of the reach of
monarchs. The fetters formerly laid on trade of cities with their own
suburbs have been broken; and the examples of Great Britain and New
South Wales are proving that nations profit more by helping than
hindering one another in the broad paths of commerce. Industrial
efficiency has certainly been much promoted by the tendency, not only of
scientific education but of manual training, to substitute knowledge of
realities for quarrels about abstractions. All these changes favour the
extension of free institutions and also of individual liberty, wherever
peace can be maintained. Industrial nations gain more than warlike ones
by encouraging intellectual independence; but the general advantage is
great enough to ensure the final triumph of liberty.




APPENDIX: SUNDAY RECREATION

THIS is much more common in New England and Great Britain than it was in
the eighteenth century. The dinner has become the best, instead of the
worst in the week. Scarcely anyone rises early; and nobody is shocked
at reading novels. There is an enormous circulation in both English and
American cities of Sunday papers whose aim is simply amusement. There
is plenty of lively music in the parlours, as well as of merry talk in
which clergymen are ready to lead. People who have comfortable homes can
easily make Sunday the pleasant-est day of the week.

For people who cannot get much recreation at home, there are increasing
opportunities to go to concerts, picture-galleries, and museums. Among
the reading-rooms thrown open on Sunday in America about 1870 was that
of the Boston Public Library; and no difference is now made in this
great institution among the seven days, except that more children's
books and magazines are accessible on Sunday. What important museums are
now open in London, Boston, and New York have been already mentioned
in Chapter VI. These opportunities are still limited; but there is no
obstacle, except that of bad weather, to excursions on foot or bicycle,
behind horse or locomotive, in electric car or steamboat, to beaches,
ponds, and other places of amusement. The public parks are crowded all
day long in summer; and people who go to church in the morning have no
scruple about walking or riding for pleasure in the afternoon. These
practices were expressly sanctioned by Massachusetts in 1887, and by New
Jersey in 1893; and the old law against Sunday visiting has been
repealed since 1880 in Vermont.

The newer States have taken care not to pass such absurd statutes. I
believe that the majority of our people were willing, as for instance
was that prominent Episcopalian, Bishop Potter, to have the Chicago
Exposition open on Sundays. Theatres and baseball grounds attract crowds
of visitors in our cities, especially those west of the Alleghanies.
Whatever changes are made in the East will probably be in the
direction of greater liberty. The only question is how fast the present
opportunities of recreation ought to be increased.

No one would now agree with Dr. Chalmers in calling the Sabbath "an
expedient for pacifying the jealousies of a God of vengeance." Good
people have ceased to think, as the Puritans did, that "Pleasures are
most carefully to be avoided" on every day of the week, or that "Amity
to ourselves is enmity against God." Preachers no longer recommend
"abstaining not only from unlawful pleasures, but also from lawful
delights." Popular clergymen now say with Dr. Bellows: "Amusement is not
only a privilege but a duty, indispensable to health of body and mind,
and essential even to the best development of religion itself." "I put
amusement among the necessaries and not the luxuries of life." "It is
as good a friend to the church as to the theatre, to sound morals and
unsuperstitious piety as to health and happiness,... an interest of
society which the religious class instead of regarding with hostility
and jealousy, ought to encourage and direct." "There is hardly a more
baleful error in the world than that which has produced the feud between
morality and amusement, piety and pleasure."

The fact is that pleasure means health. As I have said in a newspaper
entitled _The Index_: "It is a violation of the laws of health for
anyone, not absolutely bed-ridden or crushed by fatigue, to spend
thirty-six hours without some active exercise in the open air. Trying
to take enough on Saturday to last until Monday, is dangerous, and most
people have little chance for healthy exercise except on Sunday. The
poor, ignorant girl who has had no fresh air for six days ought to be
encouraged to take it freely on the seventh. And we all need our daily
exercise just as much as our regular food and sleep. The two thousand
delegates who asked, in behalf of ninety thousand working men, in 1853,
to have the Crystal Palace open on Sundays, were right in declaring
that 'Physical recreation is as necessary to the working man as food and
drink on the Sabbath.' The fact is that pleasure is naturally healthy
even when not involving active exercise. Dark thoughts breed disease
like dark rooms. The man who never laughs has something wrong about
his digestion or his conscience. Herbert Spencer has proved that our
pleasant actions are beneficial, while painful ones are injurious both
to ourselves and to our race. (_Principles of Psychology_, vol. i., pp.
278-286; Am. Ed.). Thus Sunday amusements are needed for the general
health.

"They are also necessary for the preservation of morality. This consists
in performing the actions which benefit ourselves and our neighbours, in
other words, pleasant ones, and abstaining from whatever is painful and
injurious. It is only in exceptional cases that we can make others
happy by suffering pain ourselves. Now and then the paths of virtue and
pleasure diverge; but they always come together again. As a rule, they
traverse precisely the same ground and in exactly the same direction.
This is very fortunate; for if pleasure were always vicious, virtue
would be hateful and impossible. The most blessed of all peacemakers is
he who keeps virtue and pleasure from falling out. There is no
better text than that which the little girl said she had learned at
Sunday-school: 'Chain up a child and away she will go!' Even so strict a
man as Dr. Johnson said: 'I am a great friend to public amusements, for
they keep people from vice.' Is there no need of them on the day when
there is more drinking, gambling, and other gross vice than on any
other? Need I say what day keeps our policemen and criminal courts most
busy, or crowds our hospitals with sufferers from riotous brawls?
Has not the experience of two hundred and fifty years justified those
English statesmen who showed themselves much wiser than their Puritan
contemporaries in recommending archery, dancing, and other diversions
on Sunday, because forbidding them 'sets up filthy tippling and
drunkenness?' To keep a man who does not care to go to church from
getting any amusement, is to push him towards the saloon. And not only
the laws against liquor selling, but others even more necessary for
our safety, would be much better enforced if we did not encourage
lawlessness by keeping up statutes which our best men and women violate
without scruple and with impunity, or which actually prevent good people
from taking such recreation as they know they ought to have. Outgrown
ordinances should not be suffered to drag just and necessary laws down
into contempt. "Nobody wants to revive those old laws of Massachusetts
Bay which forbade people to wear lace, or buy foreign fruit, or charge
more than a fixed price for a day's work. No more Quakers will ever
swing from a Boston gallows merely for preaching. But our laws against
Sunday amusements are in the same spirit as that which hung Mary Dyer.
In old times, government kept continually telling people what to do, and
took especial pains to make them go to church on Sunday. If they stayed
away, they were fined; if they did not become members, they were not
allowed to vote; if they got up rival services, they were hung; if they
took any amusement on Sunday, they were whipped. All four classes of
laws for the same unjust end have passed away, except that against
Sunday recreation. This still survives in a modified form. But even in
this shape it is utterly irreconcilable with the fundamental principles
of our government. All American legislation, from the Declaration of
Independence, rests on the great truth that our government is founded in
order to secure us in our unalienable rights to life, liberty, and the
pursuit of happiness. Our State is a limited partnership for mutual
protection. We carry it on in order to make our freedom more complete;
and we tolerate no restrictions on ourselves except such as are
necessary conditions of the greatest possible liberty. These principles
are already fully acknowledged on six days of the week, but only partly
on the seventh. Still, there is a growing recognition of the likeness
between laws against Sunday amusements and such prohibitions of eating
meat in Lent as once caused people to be burned alive."

A weekly day of rest is a blessing; but David Swing is right in saying
that "Absolute rest, perfectly satisfactory to horse and dog, is not
adequate to the high nature of man." Complete torpor of mind and body is
more characteristic of a Hindoo fakir than of a Christian saint. Should
those who wish to rest as much as possible on Sunday sleep in church?
There is nothing irreligious in fresh air. The tendency of outdoor
exercise to purify and elevate our thoughts is so strong that Kingsley
actually defended playing cricket on Sunday as "a carrying out of the
divineness of the Sabbath." If there is no hostility between religion
and amusement on six days of the week, there cannot be much on the
seventh.

No Protestants are more religious than the Swedes and Norwegians.
Everybody goes to church; there is theological teaching in the
public-schools; and advocacy of liberal religious views was punished in
1888 with imprisonment. No Scandinavian objects, so far as I know, to
indoor games, croquet, dancing, or going to the theatre on Sunday; and
these amusements are acknowledged to be perfectly proper throughout
continental Europe. No one who allows himself any exercise or recreation
on Sunday has a right to say that his neighbours do not need more than
he does. Lyman Beecher could not preach his best on any day when he did
not work hard at sawing wood or shovelling sand in his cellar. There
would be less dyspepsia on Monday if there were more exercise on Sunday.
Herbert Spencer tells us that "Happiness is the most powerful of
tonics. By accelerating the circulation of the blood, it facilitates
the performance of every function; and so tends alike to increase health
where it exists, and to restore it when it has been lost. Hence the
essential superiority of play to gymnastics."

A Bible Dancing Class is said to have been organised, in deference to
such facts, in New Jersey by an Episcopalian pastor, who perhaps wishes
to accomplish Jeremiah's prediction of the Messianic kingdom, "Then
shall the virgin rejoice in the dance." Among other liberal clergymen is
Brooke Herford, who says: "We want Sunday to be the happiest day in all
the week. Keep it free from labour, but free for all quiet, innocent
recreations." Rev. Charles Voysey wrote me in 1887, lamenting the
immorality arising "from the curse of having nothing to do or nowhere to
go on Sunday afternoons and evenings." "Young persons especially," he
said, "would be better, and morally more safe, for greater opportunities
of innocent pleasure and games at the hours of enforced idleness on the
Sunday."

The spirit of the legislators is changing like that of the clergy. The
first laws against Sunday amusement were passed by men who thought all
pleasure vicious on every day of the week. Our present statutes are kept
in force by people who like amusement, and get all they want of it; but
who make it almost impossible for their poor neighbours, in order
to conciliate ecclesiastical prejudice. "They bind heavy burdens
and grievous to be borne and lay them on men's shoulders"; but they
themselves do not feel the weight.

Whatever may be the advantage of keeping Sunday, it cannot be kept
religiously when it is kept compulsorily. Rest from unnecessary labour
and business on one day every week may be for the public welfare; but
this rest is not made more secure by indiscriminate prohibitions of
amusement. The idlest man is the most easily tempted to disturb his
neighbours. No man's property is more safe or his personal liberty more
secure because his neighbours are liable to be fined for playing golf.
Laws against Sunday recreation do not protect but violate individual
liberty. A free government has no business to interfere with the right
of the citizens to take healthy exercise and innocent amusement whenever
they choose.

These considerations would justify a protest, not only against the
Sunday laws made by Congress for the District of Columbia, but also
against the statutes of every State in the Union, except Arizona,
California, Idaho, Louisiana, and Wyoming. "Whoever is present at any
sport, game, play, or public diversion, except a concert of sacred
music, or an entertainment given by a religious or charitable society,
the proceeds of which, if any, are to be devoted exclusively to a
religious or charitable purpose," on what is called "the Lord's day"
in Massachusetts is liable to a fine of five dollars; the penalty for
taking part may be fifty dollars; and the proprietor or manager may be
fined as much as five hundred dollars. New Jersey still keeps her
old law against "singing, fiddling, or other music for the sake of
merriment"; and express prohibitions of "any sport" are still maintained
by Connecticut, Maine, and Rhode Island. Prominent among other States
which forbid amusements acknowledged innocent on six days of the week,
are New Hampshire, New York, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. Many of
our States show particular hostility to card-playing, dancing, and
theatre-going. The fact that fishing was practised by some of the
Apostles on Sunday has not saved this quiet recreation from being
prohibited by more than twenty commonwealths.

If every Sunday law were a dead letter, it ought to be repealed, because
it tends to bring needed laws into contempt; but among recent results of
Sunday legislation are the following. In 1876 some children were fined
for playing ball in Rhode Island; so, about this time, in Massachusetts,
were a boy for skating, a young man for playing lawn-tennis, and a
merchant for fishing with his little son. In 1894 two men were fined
$10 each for playing golf on a lonely hill, in the commonwealth just
mentioned; five boys under fifteen arrested for playing marbles in New
York City; and every member of a baseball club in Pennsylvania fined. In
1895 a man and a boy of fifteen were fined $20 each for fishing in New
York; and the attempt of some clergymen, aided by police, to break up
a show in Missouri, caused a tumult in which men's heads were broken by
clubs, while women and children were trampled underfoot. On the first
Sunday that the London galleries and museums were thrown open to their
owners, May 24, 1896, two men were shot dead in Attleboro, Mass., by a
policeman who had been ordered to break up a clambake. In that same year
and State, a manager was fined $70 for allowing _Yankee Doodle_ to be
performed in the Boston Theatre; three men were arrested for bowling;
half a dozen Jews who had been playing cards in a private house were
fined $10 or $20 each, and those who could not pay were sent to jail.
Among the Sabbath-breakers arrested in 1897 were a number of newsboys
at the national capital, nine golfers in Massachusetts, a young man for
holding one end of a rope over which some little girls were skipping in
New York City, and also the manager of a show in New Jersey, who
spent ten days in jail. Fines were levied in 1898 for playing golf in
Connecticut, and twenty-five fishermen were arrested on one Sunday in
Buffalo, N. Y. Such are the risks which still accompany innocent and
healthy amusements in the Eastern States. Many such arrests are made in
order to collect fees, or gratify malice; and neither motive ought to be
encouraged by the friends of religion.

Some magistrates in Long Island, N. Y., are believed, while still
holding that baseball breaks the Sabbath, to have discovered that golf
does not. It is further said that on July 9, 1899, some baseball men who
had been playing a Sunday game to a large crowd saved themselves from
arrest by using their bats and balls to imitate golfing as soon as a
policeman appeared in their grounds.

None of the Sunday laws is so mischievous as the decree of Mrs. Grundy
against all forms of recreation not practised by the wealthy and
fashionable. These people have so much time on six days of the week for
active outdoor sport and indoor public entertainments, that they make
little attempt to indulge in such recreations on Sunday. People who
have only this one chance of playing ball, or dancing, or going to
stereopticon lectures, concerts, and operas, suffer in health by having
these recreations made unpopular as well as illegal. The climate of
New England and New York, as well as of Great Britain and Canada, has
unfortunately been so arranged that there are a great many cold and
rainy Sundays, when much time cannot be spent pleasantly in walking or
riding. This matters little to people who get all the amusement they
want in their parlours. But what becomes of people who have no parlours?
For instance, of servant-girls who have no place where they can sing or
even laugh? Shop-girls and factory-girls find their little rooms, Sunday
after Sunday, too much like prisons. Young men are perhaps even more
unfortunate; for they go to the saloon, though this is often closed
without any better place of amusement being opened. Why should every
week in a democratic country begin with an aristocratic Sunday, a day
whose pleasures are mainly for the rich?

Libraries and museums are blessed places of refuge; but "What are
they among so many?" The residents of the District of Columbia are
particularly unfortunate, as the Smithsonian Museum, National Library,
and other buildings, which are open during six days, are kept shut on
Sunday. Congress seems to be of the opinion that working people need
no knowledge of natural history, except what they can get from sermons
about Jonah's whale and Noah's ark. Washington is not the only
city whose rich men ought to remember the warning of Heber Newton:
"Everything that tends to foster among our working people the notion of
class privilege is making against the truest morality in our midst.
As they look upon the case, it is the wealthy people, whose homes are
private libraries and galleries of art, who protest against the opening
of our libraries and museums to those who can afford no libraries
and buy no pictures. Sabbatarianism is building very dangerous fires
to-day."

We should all be glad to have more intellectual culture given on
Sunday. One way of giving it would be for the churches to open public
reading-rooms in the afternoon. This would be decidedly for their own
interest; and so would be delivery of evening lectures on history,
biography, and literature. The Sunday-schools in England found it
necessary, even as late as 1850, to give much time to teaching reading
and writing as well as the higher branches. Sunday-school rooms in
America, which now are left useless after Sunday noon, might be employed
in teaching English to German, Italian, and Scandinavian immigrants
during the afternoon and evening. Classes might also be formed in vocal
music, light gymnastics, American and English history and literature,
physiology, sociology, and political economy. Such changes would make
our churches all the more worthy of the founder, who "went about doing
good."

The observance of Sunday as a day of rest from labour and business will
be all the more popular as it is made precious to irreligious people.
They are numerous enough to have a right to ask that the public
school-houses be opened for free classes in French, German, drawing,
and modelling; botany, chemistry, and bird-lore; cooking, sewing, and
wood-work. If teachers of these branches were employed on Sunday by our
cities, less money would be needed for police. Our industrial interests
would certainly gain by having this system carried out as far,
for instance, as is done by Lyons and Milan, which have special
Sunday-schools for teaching weaving. Goldsmiths are instructed by
similar schools in Austria, and blacksmiths in Saxony. The full
advantage of Sunday classes of the various kinds here suggested might
not perhaps be seen until a taste for them could be made general, but
doing this would go far to diminish the taste for saloons.

The first step, however, which ought to be taken by our legislatures
is the repeal of all laws hindering the sale of tickets on Sunday to
exhibitions of pictures or curiosities, concerts, stereopticon lectures,
or other instructive entertainments which are acknowledged inoffensive
during the rest of the week. How far dramatic performances and other
very attractive forms of public amusement should be permitted to take
place on Sunday is a question which ought to be settled by municipal
authorities, with due reference to each special case. The people whose
feelings ought to be considered are not those who wish to stay away from
such places. They can easily do that without help from the police. The


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Online LibraryFrederic May HollandLiberty in the nineteenth century → online text (page 15 of 16)