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HISTORY AND GEOGRAPHY

■6. THE FRENCH REVOLUTION. By Hilaire Belloc, M.A. (With

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33. THE HISTORY OF ENGLAND. By Prof. A. F. Pollard, M.A. (With

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34. CANADA. By A. G. Bradley.

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K.C.S.I.
42. ROME. By W. Warde Fowler, M.A.
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35. LANDMARKS IN FRENCH LITERATURE. By G. L. Stkachey.

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DR JOHNSON AND HIS CIRCLE. By John Bailkv, M.A.

THE LITERATURE OF GERMANY. By Prof. J. G. Robertson,

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99. AN OUTLINE OF RUSSIAN LITERATURE. By Hon. Maurice

Baring.
103. MILTON. By John Bailey, M.A.

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9. THE EVOLUTION OF PLANTS. By Dr D. H. .Scott, M.A,, F.R.S.

(Illustrated.)
17. HEALTH AND DISEASE. By W. Leslie Mackenzie, M.D.



18. INTRODUCTION TO MATHEMATICS. By A. N. Whitehead,

Sc.D., F.R.S. (With Diagrams.)

19. THE ANIMAL WORLD. By Prof. F. W. Gamble, F.R.S. With Intro-

duction by Sir Oliver Lodge. (Many Illustrations.)

20. EVOLUTION. By Prof. J. Arthur Tho.mson, M.A., and Prof. Patrick

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McDougall, F.R.S., M.B.

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in which chemical science has developed, and the stage it has reached.
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78. THE OCEAN. A General Account of the Science of the Sea. By Sir

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79. NERVES. By Prof. D. Eraser Harris, M.D., D.Sc. (Illustrated.) A

description, in non-technical language, of the nervous system, its intricate
mechanism, and the strange phenomena of energy and fatigue, with some
practical reflections.

86. SEX. By Prof. Patrick Geddes and Prof. J. Arthur Thomson, LL.D.

88. THE GROWTH OF EUROPE. By Prof. Grenville Cole. (Illus-
trated.)

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40. THE PROBLEMS OF PHILOSOPHY. By the Hon. Bertrand
Russell, F.R.S.

47. BUDDHISM. By Mrs Rhys Davids, M.A.

50. NONCONFORMITY: ITS ORIGIN AND PROGRESS. By Principal

W. B. Selbie, M.A.

54. ETHICS. By G. E. Moore, M.A, '

56. THE MAKING OF THE NEW TESTAMENT. By Prof. B. W.
Bacon, LL.D., D.D.

60. MISSIONS : THEIR RISE AND DEVELOPMENT. By Mrs
Creighton.

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90. THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND. By Canon E. W. Watson.

94. RELIGIOUS DEVELOPMENT BETWEEN THE OLD AND NEW

TESTAMENTS. By Canon R. H. Charles, D.D., D.Litt.
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SOCIAL SCIENCE

1. PARLIAMENT. Its History, Constitution, and Practice. By Sir
CouRTENAY P. Ilbert, G.C.B., K.C.S.I.

5. THE STOCK EXCHANGE. By F. W. Hirst, Editor of The Economist.

6. IRISH NATIONALITY. By Mrs J. R. Green.

10. THE SOCIALIST MOVEMENT. By J. Ramsay MacDonald, M.P.

11. CONSERVATISM. By Lord Hugh Cecil, M.A., M.P.
16. THE SCIENCE OF WEALTH. By J. A. Hobson, M.A.
21. LIBERALISM. By L. T. Hobhouse, M.A. ,

24. THE EVOLUTION OF INDUSTRY. By D. H. Macgregor, M.A.
26. AGRICULTURE.- By Prof. W. Somerville, F.L.S.
30. ELEMENTS OF ENGLISH LAW. By W. M. Geldart, M.A., B.C.L.
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EDUCATION. By J. J. Findlay, M.A., Ph.D.
59. ELEMENTS OF POLITICAL ECONOMY. By S.J. Chapman, M.A.
69. THE NEWSPAPER. By G. Binney Dibblee, M.A. (Illustrated.)

The best account extant of the organisation of the newspaper piess, at

home and abroad.

77. SHELLEY, GODWIN, AND THEIR CIRCLE. By H. N.Brailsforu,
M.A.

?0. CO-PARTNERSHIP AND PROFIT-SHARING. By Aneurin
Williams, M.A.

PROBLEMS OF VILLAGE LIFE. By E. N. Bennett, M.A.

COMMON-SENSE IN LAW. By Prof. P. Vinogradoff, D.C.L.

UNEMPLOYMENT. By Prof. A. C. Pigou, M.A.

POLITICAL THOUGHT IN ENGLAND: FROM BACON TO
HALIFAX. By G. P. Gooch, M.A.

i. POLITICAL THOUGHT IN ENGLAND : FROM SPENCER TO
THE PRESENT DAY. By Ernest Barker, M.A.
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FROM BENTHAM TO J. S. MILL. By W. L. Davidson,
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HOME UNIVERSITY LIBRARY
OF MODERN KNOWLEDGE



LIBERALISM

By L. T. HOBHOUSE, M.A-



London
WILLIAMS & NORGATE



HENRY HOLT & Co., New York
Canada : WM. BRTGGS, Toronto
India : R. 8c T. Washbourne, Ltd.




HOME

UNIVERSITY

LIBRARY

OF

MODERN KNOWLEDGE

Editon •
HERBERT FISHEa, M.A., F.B.A , LL.D.

Prof, GILBERT MURRAY, D.LlT-f.,
LL.D., F.B.A.

Prof. J. ARTHUR THOMSON, M.A.,

LL.D.
Prof. WILLIAM T. BREWSTER, M.,\.

(Columbia University, U.S.A.)



NEW YORK

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' I



UCSB LIBRAE



4f^^<^^0





IJ



LIBERALISM



L. T. HOBHOUSE, M.A.

PROFESSOR OF SOCIOLOGY, LONDON

UNIVERSITY, AUTHOR OF " DEMOCRACY

AUD REACTION," ETC.





Wi


r-





LONDON

WILLIAMS AND NORGATE



BY THE SAME AUTHOR,



DEMOCRACY AND REACTION

(2nd edition, 1909.) Unwin. Is.

MORALS IN EVOLUTION

(2nd edition, 1908.) Chapman & HalL 21s.

MIND IN EVOLUTION

(Macmillan.) 10s.

THE THEORY OF KNOWLEDGE

(Methvien.) 10s. 6i.



Fir it printed, May 1911
Reprinted, May 1919



CONTENTS



CHAP. PAGE

I BEFORE LIBERALISM .... 7

U THE ELEMENTS OF LIBERALISM

1. Civil Liberty. 2. Fiscal Liberty. 3. Per-
sonal Liberty. 4. Social Liberty. 5. Eco-
nomic Liberty. 6. Domestic Liberty. 7.
Local, Racial, and National Liberty. 8.
International Liberty, 9. Political Liberty
and Popular Sovereignty . . .21

III THE MOVEMENT OF THEORY ... 50

IV 'laissez-faire' . . , . ,78

V GLADSTONE AND MILL ... 102

VI THE HEART OF LIBERALISM . - .116

VII THE STATE AND THE INDIVIDUAL . . 138

VIII ECONOMIC LIBERALISM .... 167

IX THE FUTURE OF LIBERALISM . , .214

BIBLIOGRAPHY . , . , . 252

INDEX 253



The following volumes of kindred interest have already
been published in the Home University Library :

1. Parliament. By Sir C. P. Ilbert, G.C.B.

4. History of War and Peace. By G. H. Perria.

6. Irish Nationality. By Mrs. J. R. Green.

10. The Socialist Movement. By J. R. MacDonald, M.P.

11. Conservatism. By Lord Hugh Cecil, M.P.

23. History of Our Time (1885-1911). By G. P. Gooch.

24. The Evolution of Industry. By Prof. D. H. Mac-

gregor, M.A.

33. The History of England. By Prof. A. F. Pollard.

77. Shelley, Godwin, and their Circle. By H. N. Brailsford.



LIBEEALISM



CHAPTER I

BEFORE LIBERALISM

The modern State is the distinctive product
of a unique civilization. But it is a product
which is still in the making, and a part of the
process is a struggle between new and old
principles of social order. To understand the
new, which is our main purpose, we must
first cast a glance at the old. We must under-
stand what the social structure was, which —
mainly, as I shall show, under the inspira-
tion of Liberal ideas — is slowly but surely
giving place to the new fabric of the civic
State. The older structure itself was by no
means primitive. What is truly primitive is
very hard to say. But one thing is pretty
clear. At all times men have lived in societies,
and ties of kinship and of simple neighbour-
hood underlie every form of social organiza-

7



8 LIBERALISM

tion. In the simplest societies it seems
probable that these ties — reinforced and ex-
tended, perhaps, by religious or other beliefs —
are the only ones that seriously count. It is
certain that of the warp of descent and the
woof of intermarriage there is woven a tissue
out of which small and rude but close and
compact communities are formed. But the
ties of kinship and neighbourhood are effec-
tive only within narrow limits. While the
local group, the clan, or the village community
are often the centres of vigorous life, the
larger aggregate of the Tribe seldom attains
true social and political unity unless it rests
upon a military organization. But military
organization may serve not only to hold
one tribe together but also to hold other
tribes in subjection, and thereby, at the
cost of much that is most valuable in
primitive life, to establish a larger and at
the same time a more orderly society. Such
an order once established does not, indeed,
rest on naked force. The rulers become
invested with a sacrosanct authority. It may
be that they are gods or descendants of gods.
It may be that they are blessed and upheld
by an independent priesthood. In either case



BEFORE LIBERALISM 9

the powers that be extend their sway not
merely over the bodies but over the minds of
men. They are ordained of God because they
arrange the ordination. Such a government is
not necessarily abhorrent to the people nor in-
different to them. But it is essentially govern-
ment from above. So far as it affects the life
of the people at all, it does so by imposing on
them duties, as of military service, tribute,
ordinances, and even new laws, in such wise
and on such principles as seem good to itself.
It is not true, as a certain school of juris-
prudence held, that law is, as such, a command
imposed by a superior upon an inferior, and
backed by the sanctions of punishment.
But though this is not true of law in general
it is a roughly true description of law in that
particular stage of society which we may
conveniently describe as the Authoritarian.

Now, in the greater part of the world and
throughout the greater part of history the
two forms of social organization that have
been distinguished are the only forms to be
found. Of course, they themselves admit of
every possible variation of detail, but looking
below these variations we find the two re-
current types. On the one hand, there are

A 2



10 LIBERALISM

the small kinship groups, often vigorous
enough in themselves, but feeble for purposes
of united action. On the other hand, there
are larger societies varying in extent and in
degree of civilization from a petty negro
kingdom to the Chinese Empire, resting on a
certain union of military force and religious
or quasi-religious belief which, to select a
neutral name, we have called the principle of
Authority. In the lower stages of civiliza-
tion there appears, as a rule, to be only one
method of suppressing the strife of hostile
clans, maintaining the frontier against a
common enemy, or establishing the elements
of outward order. The alternative to author-
itarian rule is relapse into the comparative
anarchy of savage life.

But another method made its appearance
in classical antiquity. The city state of
ancient Greece and Italy was a new type of
social organization. It differed from the clan
and the commune in several ways. In the
first place it contained many clans and villages,
and perhaps owed its origin to the coming
together of separate clans on the basis not of
conquest but of comparatively bqual alliance.
Though very small as compared with an



BEFORE LIBERALISM 11

ancient empire or a modern state it was
much larger than a primitive kindred.
Its life was more varied and complex. It
allowed more free play to the individual,
and, indeed, as it developed, it suppressed
the old clan organization and substituted new
divisions, geographical or other. It was based,
in fact, not on kinship as such, but on civic
right, and this it was which distinguished it not
only from the commune, but from the Oriental
monarchy. The law which it recognized and
by which it lived was not a command imposed
by a superior government on a subject mass.
On the contrary, government was itself subject
to law, and law was the life of the state,
willingly supported by the entire body of free
citizens. In this sense the city state was a com-
munity of free men. Considered collectively
its citizens owned no master. They governed
themselves, subject only to principles and rules
of life descending from antiqiiity and owing
their force to the spontaneous allegiance of suc-
cessive generations. In such a community
some of the problems that vex us most presented
themselves in a very simple form. In particular
the relation of the individual to the com-
munity was close, direct, and natural. Their



12 LIBERALISM

interests were obviously bound up together.
Unless each man did his duty the State might
easily be destroyed and the population en-
slaved. Unless the State took thought for
its citizens it might easily decay. What was
still more important, there was no opposition
of church and state, no fissure between
political and religious life, between the claims
of the secular and the spiritual, to distract
the allegiance of the citizens, and to set the
authority of conscience against the duties of
patriotism. It was no feat of the philosophical
imagination, but a quite simple and natural
expression of the facts to describe such a
community as an association of men for the
purpose of living well. Ideals to which we
win our way back with difficulty and doubt
arose naturally out of the conditions of life in
ancient Greece.

On the other hand, this simple harmony
had very serious limitations, which in the end
involved the downfall of the city system. The
responsibilities and privileges of the associated
life were based not on the rights of human per-
sonality but on the rights of citizenship, and
citizenship was never co-extensive with the
community. The population included slaves



BEFORE LIBERALISM 13

or serfs, and in many cities there were large
classes descended from the original conquered
population, personally free but excluded from
the governing circle. Notwithstanding the
relative simplicity of social conditions the
city was constantly torn by the disputes of
faction — in part probably a legacy from the
old clan organization, in part a consequence of
the growth of wealth and the newer distinction
of classes. The evil of faction was aggravated
by the ill-success of the city organization in
dealing with the problem of inter-state rela-
tions. The Greek city clung to its autonomy,
and though the principle of federalism which
might have solved the problem was ultimately
brought into play, it came too late in Greek
history to save the nation.

The constructive genius of Rome devised a
different method of dealing with the political
problems involved in expanding relations.
Roman citizenship was extended till it in-
cluded all Italy and, later on, till it comprised
the whole free population of the Mediterranean
basin. But this extension was even more fatal
to the free self-government of a city state.
The population of Italy could not meet in the
Forum of Rome or the Plain of Mars to elect



14 LIBERALISM

consuls and pass laws, and the more widely it
was extended the less valuable for any politi-
cal purpose did citizenship become. The
history of Rome, in fact, might be taken as a
vast illustration of the difficulty of building up
an extended empire on any basis but that of
personal despotism resting on military force
and maintaining peace and order through
the efficiency of the bureaucratic machine.
In this vast mechanism it was the army
that was the seat of power, or rather it was
each army at its post on some distant frontier
that was a potential seat of power. The
" secret of the empire " that was early
divulged was that an emperor could be made
elsewhere than at Rome, and though a certain
sanctity remained to the person of the
emperor, and legists cherished a dim remem-
brance of the theory that he embodied the
popular will, the fact was that he was the
choice of a powerful army, ratified by the God
of Battles, and maintaining his power as long
as he could suppress any rival pretender.
The break-up of the Empire through the
continual repetition of military strife was
accelerated, not caused, by the presence of
barbarism both within and without the



BEFORE LIBERALISM 15

frontiers. To restore the elements of order
a compromise between central and local juris-
dictions was necessary, and the vassal became
a local prince owning an allegiance, more or
less real as the case might be, to a distant
sovereign. Meanwhile, with the prevailing
disorder the mass of the population in Western
Europe lost its freedom, partly through
conquest, partly through the necessity of
finding a protector in troublous times. The
social structure of the Middle Ages accordingly
assumed the hierarchical form which we speak
of as the Feudal system. In this thorough-
going application of the principle of authority
every man, in theory, had his master. The
serf held of his lord, who held of a great
seigneur, who held of the king. The king in
the completer theory held of the emperor,
who was crowned by the Pope, who held of
St. Peter. The chain of descent was complete
from the Ruler of the universe to the humblest
of the serfs.^ But within this order the growth

^ This is, of course, only one side of mediaeval theory,
but it is the side which lay nearest to the facts. The
reverse view, which derives the authority of government
from the governed, made its appearance in the Middle
Ages partly under the influence of classical tradition. But
its main interest and importance is that it served as a



16 LIBERALISM

of industry and commerce raised up new
centres of freedom. The towns in which men
were learning anew the lessons of association
for united defence and the regulation of
common interests, obtained charters of rights
from seigneur or king, and on the Continent
even succeeded in establishing complete inde-
pendence. Even in England, where from
the Conquest the central power was at its
strongest, the corporate towns became for
many purposes self-governing communities.
The city state was born again, and with it
came an outburst of activity, the revival
of literature and the arts, the rediscovery
of ancient learning, the rebirth of philosophy
and science.

The mediaeval city state was superior to
the ancient in that slavery was no essential
element in its existence. On the contrary,
by welcoming the fugitive serf and vindi-
cating his freedom it contributed power-
fully to the decline of the milder form of
servitude. But like the ancient state it



starting-point for the thought of a later time. On the
whole subject the reader may consult Gierke, Political
Theories of the Middle Age, translated by Maitland (Cam-
bridge University Press).



BEFORE LIBERALISM 17

was seriously and permanently weakened by
internal faction, and like the ancient state it
rested the privileges of its members not on
the rights of human personality, but on the
responsibilities of citizenship. It knew not so
much liberty as " liberties," rights of corpor-
ations secured by charter, its own rights as
a whole secured against king or feudatory and
the rest of the world, rights of gilds and
crafts within it, and to men or women only as
they were members of such bodies. But
the real weakness of the city state was
once more its isolation. It was but an islet
of relative freedom on, or actually within,
the borders of a feudal society which grew
more powerful with the generations. With
the improvement of communications and of
the arts of life, the central power, particularly
in France and England, began to gain upon
its vassals. Feudal disobedience and disorder
were suppressed, and by the end of the
fifteenth century great unified states, the
foundation of modern nations, were already
in being. Their emergence involved the
widening and in some respects the improve-
ment of the social order; and in its earlier
stages it favoured civic autonomy by sup-



18 LIBERALISM

pressing local anarchy and feudal privilege.
But the growth of centralization was in the
end incompatible with the genius of civic
independence, and perilous to such elements
of political right as had been gained for the
population in general as the result of earlier
conflicts between the crown and its vassals.

We enter on the modern period, accordingly,
with society constituted on a thoroughly
authoritarian basis, the kingly power supreme
and tending towards arbitrary despotism, and
below the king the social hierarchy extending
from the great territorial lord to the day-
labourer. There is one point gained as com-
pared to earlier forms of society. The base
of the pyramid is a class which at least enjoys
personal freedom. Serfdom has virtually dis-
appeared in England, and in the greater part
of France has either vanished or become
attenuated to certain obnoxious incidents
of the tenure of land. On the other hand, the
divorce of the English peasant from the soil
has begun, and has laid the foundation of the
future social problem as it is to appear in
this country.

The modern State accordingly starts from
the basis of an authoritarian order, and the



BEFORE LIBERALISM 19

protest against that order, a protest religious,
political, economic, social, and ethical, is the
historic beginning of Liberalism. Thus Liber-
alism appears at first as a criticism, some-


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