A SOCIAL ANTICIPATION
DR. THEODOR HERTZKA
TRANSLATED BY ARTHUR RANSOM
This book contains a translation of Freiland; ein sociales Zukunftsbild, by Dr. THEODOR HERTZKA, a Viennese economist. The first German edition appeared early in 1890, and was rapidly followed by three editions in an abridged form. This translation is made from the unabridged edition, with a few emendations from the subsequent editions.
The author has long been known as an eminent representative of those Austrian Economists who belong to what is known on the Continent as the Manchester School as distinguished from the Historical School. In 1872 he became economic editor of the Neue Freie Presse; and in 1874 he with others founded the Society of Austrian National Economists. In 1880 he published Die Gesetze der Handels-und Sozialpolitik; and in 1886 Die Gesetze der Sozialentwickelung. At various times he has published works which have made him an authority upon currency questions. In 1889 he founded, and he still edits, the weekly Zeitschrift fuer Staats-und Volkswirthschaft.
How the author was led to modify some of his earlier views will be found detailed in the introduction of the present work.
The publication of Freiland immediately called forth in Austria and Germany a desire to put the author's views in practice. In many of the larger towns and cities a number of persons belonging to all classes of society organised local societies for this purpose, and these local societies have now been united into an International Freeland Society. At the first plenary meeting of the Vienna Freilandverein in March last, it was announced that a suitable tract of land in British East Africa, between Mount Kenia and the coast, had already been placed at the disposal of the Society; and a hope was expressed that the actual formation of a Freeland Colony would not be long delayed. It is anticipated that the English edition of Freiland will bring a considerable number of English-speaking members into the Society; and it is intended soon to make an application to the British authorities for a guarantee of non-interference by the Government with the development of Freeland institutions.
Any of the readers of this book who wish for further information concerning the Freeland movement, may apply either to Dr. HERTZKA in Vienna, or to the Translator.
ST. LOYES, BEDFORD: June, 1891.
The economic and social order of the modern world exhibits a strange enigma, which only a prosperous thoughtlessness can regard with indifference or, indeed, without a shudder. We have made such splendid advances in art and science that the unlimited forces of nature have been brought into subjection, and only await our command to perform for us all our disagreeable and onerous tasks, and to wring from the soil and prepare for use whatever man, the master of the world, may need. As a consequence, a moderate amount of labour ought to produce inexhaustible abundance for everyone born of woman; and yet all these glorious achievements have not—as Stuart Mill forcibly says—been able to mitigate one human woe. And, what is more, the ever-increasing facility of producing an abundance has proved a curse to multitudes who lack necessaries because there exists no demand for the many good and useful things which they are able to produce. The industrial activity of the present day is a ceaseless confused struggle with the various symptoms of the dreadful evil known as 'over-production.' Protective duties, cartels and trusts, guild agitations, strikes—all these are but the desperate resistance offered by the classes engaged in production to the inexorable consequences of the apparently so absurd, but none the less real, phenomenon that increasing facility in the production of wealth brings ruin and misery in its train.
That science stands helpless and perplexed before this enigma, that no beam of light has yet penetrated and dispelled the gloom of this—the social—problem, though that problem has exercised the minds of the noblest and best of to-day, is in part due to the fact that the solution has been sought in a wrong direction.
Let us see, for example, what Stuart Mill says upon this subject: 'I looked forward ... to a future' ... whose views (and institutions) ... shall be 'so firmly grounded in reason and in the true exigencies of life that they shall not, like all former and present creeds, religious, ethical, and political, require to be periodically thrown off and replaced by others.' [Footnote: Autobiography, p. 166.]
Yet more plainly does Laveleye express himself in the same sense at the close of his book 'De la Propriete': 'There is an order of human affairs which is the best ... God knows it and wills it. Man must discover and introduce it.'
It is therefore an absolutely best, eternal order which both are waiting for; although, when we look more closely, we find that both ought to know they are striving after the impossible. For Mill, a few lines before the above remarkable passage, points out that all human things are in a state of constant flux; and upon this he bases his conviction that existing institutions can be only transitory. Therefore, upon calm reflection, he would be compelled to admit that the same would hold in the future, and that consequently unchangeable human institutions will never exist. And just so must we suppose that Laveleye, with his 'God knows it and wills it,' would have to admit that it could not be man's task either to discover or to introduce the absolutely best order known only to God. He is quite correct in saying that if there be really an absolutely best order, God alone knows it; but since it cannot be the office of science to wait upon Divine revelation, and since such an absolutely best order could be introduced by God alone and not by men, and therefore the revelation of the Divine will would not help us in the least, so it must logically follow, from the admission that the knowing and the willing of the absolutely good appertain to God, that man has not to strive after this absolutely good, but after the relatively best, which alone is intelligible to and attainable by him.
And thus it is in fact. The solution of the social problem is not to be sought in the discovery of an absolutely good order of society, but in that of the relatively best—that is, of such an order of human institutions as best corresponds to the contemporary conditions of human existence. The existing arrangements of society call for improvement, not because they are out of harmony with our longing for an absolutely good state of things, but because it can be shown to be possible to replace them by others more in accordance with the contemporary conditions of human existence. Darwin's law of evolution in nature teaches us that when the actual social arrangements have ceased to be the relatively best—that is, those which best correspond to the contemporary conditions of human existence—their abandonment is not only possible but simply inevitable. For in the struggle for existence that which is out of date not only may but must give place to that which is more in harmony with the actual conditions. And this law also teaches us that all the characters of any organic being whatever are the results of that being's struggle for existence in the conditions in which it finds itself. If, now, we bring together these various hints offered us by the doctrine of evolution, we see the following to be the only path along which the investigation of the social problem can be pursued so as to reach the goal:
First, we must inquire and establish under what particular conditions of existence the actual social arrangements were evolved.
Next we must find out whether these same conditions of existence still subsist, or whether others have taken their place.
If others have taken their place, it must be clearly shown whether the new conditions of existence are compatible with the old arrangements; and, if not, what alterations of the latter are required.
The new arrangements thus discovered must and will contain that which we are justified in looking for as the 'solution of the social problem.'
When I applied this strictly scientific method of investigation to the social problem, I arrived four years ago at the following conclusions, to the exposition of which I devoted my book on 'The Laws of Social Evolution,' [Footnote: Die Gesetze der Sozialentwickelung Leipzig, 1886.] published at that time:
The actual social arrangements are the necessary result of the human struggle for existence when the productiveness of labour was such that a single worker could produce, by the labour of his own hands, more than was indispensable to the sustenance of his animal nature, but not enough to enable him to satisfy his higher needs. With only this moderate degree of productiveness of labour, the exploitage of man by man was the only way by which it was possible to ensure to individuals wealth and leisure, those fundamental essentials to higher culture. But as soon as the productiveness of labour reaches the point at which it is sufficient to satisfy also the highest requirements of every worker, the exploitage of man by man not only ceases to be a necessity of civilisation, but becomes an obstacle to further progress by hindering men from making full use of the industrial capacity to which they have attained.
For, as under the domination of exploitage the masses have no right to more of what they produce than is necessary for their bare subsistence, demand is cramped by limitations which are quite independent of the possible amount of production. Things for which there is no demand are valueless, and therefore will not be produced; consequently, under the exploiting system, society does not produce that amount of wealth which the progress of science and technical art has made possible, but only that infinitely smaller amount which suffices for the bare subsistence of the masses and the luxury of the few. Society wishes to employ the whole of the surplus of the productive power in the creation of instruments of labour—that is, it wishes to convert it into capital; but this is impossible, since the quantity of utilisable capital is strictly dependent upon the quantity of commodities to be produced by the aid of this capital. The utilisation of all the proceeds of such highly productive labour is therefore dependent upon the creation of a new social order which shall guarantee to every worker the enjoyment of the full proceeds of his own work. And since impartial investigation further shows that this new order is not merely indispensable to further progress in civilisation, but is also thoroughly in harmony with the natural and acquired characteristics of human society, and consequently is met by no inherent and permanent obstacle, it is evident that in the natural process of human evolution this new order must necessarily come into being.
When I placed this conclusion before the public four years ago, I assumed, as something self-evident, that I was announcing a doctrine which was not by any means an isolated novelty; and I distinctly said so in the preface to the 'Laws of Social Evolution.' I fully understood that there must be some connecting bridge between the so-called classical economics and the newly discovered truths; and I was convinced that in a not distant future either others or myself would discover this bridge. But in expounding the consequences springing from the above-mentioned general principles, I at first allowed an error to escape my notice. That ground-rent and undertaker's profit—that is, the payment which the landowner demands for the use of his land, and the claim of the so-called work-giver to the produce of the worker's labour—are incompatible with the claim of the worker to the produce of his own labour, and that consequently in the course of social evolution ground-rent and undertaker's profit must become obsolete and must be given up—this I perceived; but with respect to the interest of capital I adhered to the classical-orthodox view that this was a postulate of progress which would survive all the phases of evolution.
As palliation of my error I may mention that it was the opponents of capital themselves—and Marx in particular—who confirmed me in it, or, more correctly, who prevented me from distinctly perceiving the basis upon which interest essentially rests. To tear oneself away from long-cherished views is in itself extremely difficult; and when, moreover, the men who attack the old views base their attack point after point upon error, it becomes only too easy to mistake the weakness of the attack for impregnability in the thing attacked. Thus it happened with me. Because I saw that what had been hitherto advanced against capital and interest was altogether untenable, I felt myself absolved from the task of again and independently inquiring whether there were no better, no really valid, arguments against the absolute and permanent necessity of interest. Thus, though interest is, in reality, as little compatible with associated labour carried on upon the principle of perfect economic justice as are ground-rent and the undertaker's profit, I was prevented by this fundamental error from arriving at satisfactory views concerning the constitution and character of the future forms of organisation based upon the principle of free organisation. That and wherefore economic freedom and justice must eventually be practically realised, I had shown; on the other hand, how this phase of evolution was to be brought about I was not able to make fully clear. Yet I did not ascribe this inability to any error of mine in thinking the subject out, but believed it to reside in the nature of the subject itself. I reasoned that institutions the practical shaping of which belongs to the future could not be known in detail before they were evolved. Just as those former generations, which knew nothing of the modern joint-stock company, could not possibly form an exact and perfect idea of the nature and working of this institution even if they had conceived the principle upon which it is based, so I held it to be impossible to-day to possess a clear and connected idea of those future economic forms which cannot be evolved until the principle of the free association of labour has found its practical realisation.
I was slow in discovering the above-mentioned connection of my doctrine of social evolution with the orthodox system of economy. The most clear-sighted minds of three centuries have been at work upon that system; and if a new doctrine is to win acceptance, it is absolutely necessary that its propounder should not merely refute the old doctrine and expose its errors, but should trace back and lay open to its remotest source the particular process of thought which led these heroes of our science into their errors. It is not enough to show that and wherefore their theses were false; it must also be made clear how and wherefore those thinkers arrived at their false theses, what it was that forced them—despite all their sagacity—to hold such theses as correct though they are simply absurd when viewed in the light of truth. I pondered in vain over this enigma, until suddenly, like a ray of sunlight, there shot into the darkness of my doubt the discovery that in its essence my work was nothing but the necessary outcome of what others had achieved—that my theory was in no way out of harmony with the numerous theories of my predecessors, but that rather, when thoroughly understood, it was the very truth after which all the other economists had been searching, and upon the track of which—and this I held to be decisive—I had been thrown, not by my own sagacity, but solely by the mental labours of my great predecessors. In other words, the solution of the social problem offered by me is the very solution of the economic problem which the science of political economy has been incessantly seeking from its first rise down to the present day.
But, I hear it asked, does political economy possess such a problem—one whose solution it has merely attempted but not arrived at? For it is remarkable that in our science the widest diversity of opinions co-exists with the most dogmatic orthodoxy. Very few draw from the existence of the numberless antagonistic opinions the self-evident conclusion that those opinions are erroneous, or at least unproved; and none are willing to admit that—like their opponents—they are merely seeking the truth, and are not in possession of it. So prevalent is this tenacity of opinion which puts faith in the place of knowledge that the fact that every science owes its origin to a problem is altogether forgotten. This problem may afterwards find its solution, and therewith the science will have achieved its purpose; but without a problem there is no investigation—consequently, though there may be knowledge, there will be no science. Clear and simple cognisances do not stimulate the human mind to that painstaking, comprehensive effort which is the necessary antecedent of science; in brief, a science can arise only when things are under consideration which are not intelligible directly and without profound reflection—things, therefore, which contain a problem.
Thus, political economy must have had its problem, its enigma, out of the attempts to solve which it had its rise. This problem is nothing else but the question 'Why do we not become richer in proportion to our increasing capacity of producing wealth?' To this question a satisfactory answer can no more be given to-day than could be given three centuries ago—at the time, that is, when the problem first arose in view, not of a previously existing phenomenon to which the human mind had then had its attention drawn for the first time, but of a phenomenon which was then making its first appearance.
With unimportant and transient exceptions (which, it may be incidentally remarked, are easily explicable from what follows) antiquity and the Middle Ages had no political economy. This was not because the men of those times were not sharp-sighted enough to discover the sources of wealth, but because to them there was nothing enigmatical about those sources of wealth. The nations became richer the more progress they made in the art of producing; and this was so self-evident and clear that, very rightly, no one thought it necessary to waste words about it. It was not until the end of the sixteenth and the beginning of the seventeenth centuries of our era, therefore scarcely three hundred years ago, that political economy as a distinct science arose.
It is impossible for the unprejudiced eye to escape seeing what the first political economists sought for—what the problem was with which they busied themselves. They stood face to face with the enigmatical fact that increasing capacity of production is not necessarily accompanied or followed by an increase of wealth; and they sought to explain this fact. Why this remarkable fact then first made its appearance will be clearly seen from what follows; it is unquestionable that it then appeared, for the whole system of these first political economists, the so-called Mercantilists, had no other aim than to demonstrate that the increase of wealth depends not, as everybody had until then very naturally believed, upon increasing productiveness of labour, but upon something else, that something else being, in the opinion of the Mercantilists, money. Notwithstanding what may be called the tangible absurdity of this doctrine, it remained unquestioned for generations; nay, to be candid, most men still cling to it—a fact which would be inconceivable did not the doctrine offer a very simple and plausible explanation of the enigmatical phenomenon that increasing capacity of production does not necessarily bring with it a corresponding increase of wealth.
But it is equally impossible for the inquiring human mind to remain permanently blind to the fact that money and wealth are two very different things, and that therefore some other solution must be looked for of the problem, the existence of which is not to be denied. The Physiocrats found this second explanation in the assertion that the soil was the source and origin of all wealth, whilst human labour, however highly developed it might be, could add nothing to what was drawn from the soil, because labour itself consumed what it produced. This may look like the first application of the subsequently discovered natural law of the conservation of force; and—notwithstanding its obvious absurdity—it was seriously believed in because it professed to explain what seemed otherwise inexplicable. Between the labourer's means of subsistence, the amount of labour employed, and the product, there is by no means that quantitative relation which is to be found in the conversion of one physical force into another. Human labour produces more or less in proportion as it is better or worse applied; for production does not consist in converting labour into things that have a value, but in using labour to produce such things out of natural objects. A child can understand this, yet the acutest thinkers of the eighteenth century denied it with the approval of the best of their contemporaries and of not the worst of their epigones, because they could not otherwise explain the strange problem of human economics.
Then arose that giant of our science, one of the greatest minds of which humanity can boast—Adam Smith. He restored the ancient wisdom of our ancestors, and also clearly and irrefutably demonstrated what they had only instinctively recognised—namely, that the increase of wealth depends upon the productiveness of human labour. But while he threw round this truth the enduring ramparts of his logic and of his sound understanding, he altogether failed to see that the actual facts directly contradicted his doctrine. He saw that wealth did not increase step by step with the increased productiveness of labour; but he believed he had discovered the cause of this in the mercantilistic and physiocratic sins of the past. In his day the historical sense was not sufficiently developed to save him from the error of confounding the—erroneous—explanations of an existing evil with its causes. Hence he believed that the course of economic events would necessarily correspond fully with the restored laws of a sound understanding—that is, that wealth would necessarily increase step by step with the capacity of producing it, if only production were freed from the legislative restraints and fiscal fetters which cramped it.
But even this delusion could not long prevail. Ricardo was the first of the moderns who perceived that wealth did not increase in proportion to industrial capacity, even when production and trade were, as Smith demanded, freed from State interference and injury. He hit upon the expedient of finding the cause of this incongruity in the nature of labour itself. Since labour is the only source of value, he said, it cannot increase value. A thing is worth as much as the quantity of labour put into it; consequently, when with increasing productiveness of labour the amount of labour necessary to the production of a thing is diminished, then the value of that thing diminishes also. Hence no increase in the productiveness of labour can increase the total sum of values. This, however, is a fundamental mistake, for what depends upon the amount of labour is merely the relative value of things—the exchange relation in which they stand to other things. This is so self-evident that Ricardo himself cannot avoid expressly stating that he is speaking of merely the 'relative' value of things; nevertheless, this relative value—which, strictly speaking, is nothing but a value relation, the relation of values—is treated by him as if it were absolute value.
And yet Ricardo's error is a not less important step in the evolution of doctrine than those of his previously mentioned predecessors. It signifies the revival of the original problem of political economy, which had been lost sight of since Adam Smith; and Ricardo's follower, Marx, is in a certain sense right when, with bitter scorn, he denounces as 'vulgar economists' those who, persistently clinging to Smith's optimism, see in the productiveness of labour the measure of the increase of actual wealth. For all that was brought against Ricardo by his opponents was known by him as well as or better than by them; only he knew what had escaped their notice, or what they saw no obligation to take note of in their theory—namely, that the actual facts directly contradicted the doctrine. It by no means escaped Ricardo that his attempted reconciliation of the theory with the great problem of economics was absurd; and Marx has most clearly shown the absurdity of it. The latter speaks of the alleged dependence of value, not upon the productiveness of labour, but upon the effort put forth by the labourer, as the 'fetishism' of industry; this relation, being unnatural, contrary to the nature of things, ought therefore—and this, again, is Marx's contribution to the progress of the science—to be referred back to an unnatural ultimate cause residing, not in the nature of things, but in human arrangements. And in looking for this ultimate cause, he, like his great predecessors, comes extremely near to the truth, but, after all, glides past without seeing it.
On this road, which leads to truth past so many errors, the last stage is the hypothesis set up by the so-called Historical School of political economy—the hypothesis, namely, that there exists in the nature of things a gulf between economic theory and practice, which makes it quite conceivable that the principles that are correct in thesi do not coincide with the real course of industrial life. The existence of the problem is thereby more fully established than ever, but its solution is placed outside of the domain of theoretical cognisance. For the Historical School is perfectly correct in maintaining that the abstractions of the current economic doctrine are practically useless, and that this is true not only of some of them, but of all. The real human economy does not obey those laws which the theorists have abstractedly deduced from economic phenomena. Hence it is only possible either that the human economy is by its very nature unfitted to become the object of scientific abstraction and cognisance, or that the abstractions hitherto made have been erroneous—erroneous, that is, not in the sense of being actually out of harmony with phenomena from which they are correctly and logically deduced, but in the sense of being theoretically erroneous, deduced according to wrong principles, and therefore useless both in abstracto and in concreto.
Of these alternatives only the second can, in reality, be correct. There is absolutely no reasonable ground for supposing that the laws which regulate the economic activity of men should be beyond human cognisance; and still less ground is there for assuming that such laws do not exist at all. We must therefore suppose that the science which seeks to discover these laws has hitherto failed to attain its object simply because it has been upon the wrong road—that is, that the principles of political economy are erroneous because, in deducing them from the economic phenomena, some fact has been overlooked, some mistake in reasoning has been committed. There must be a correct solution of the problem of political economy; and the solution of the social problem derived from the theory of social evolution offers at once the key to the other.
The correct answer to the question, 'Why are we not richer in proportion to the increase in our productive capacity?' is this: Because wealth does not consist in what can be produced, but in what is actually produced; the actual production, however, depends not merely upon the amount of productive power, but also upon the extent of what is required, not merely upon the possible supply, but also upon the possible demand: the current social arrangements, however, prevent the demand from increasing to the same extent as the productive capacity. In other words: We do not produce that wealth which our present capacity makes it possible for us to produce, but only so much as we have use for; and this use depends, not upon our capacity of producing, but upon our capacity of consuming.
It is now plain why the economic problem of the disparity between the possible and the actual increase of wealth is of so comparatively recent a date. Antiquity and the middle ages knew nothing of this problem, because human labour was not then productive enough to do more than provide and maintain the means of production after covering the consumption of the masses and the possessors of property. There was in those ages a demand for all the things which labour was then able to produce; full employment could be made of any increase of capacity to create wealth; no one could for a moment be in doubt as to the purpose which the increased power of producing had served; there was no economic problem to call into existence a special science of political economy. Then came the Renaissance; the human mind awoke out of its thousand years of hibernation; the great inventions and discoveries rapidly followed one upon another; division of labour and the mobilisation of capital gave a powerful impulse to production; and now, for the first time, the productiveness of labour became so great, and the impossibility of using as much as labour could produce became so evident, that men were compelled to face the perplexing fact which finds expression in the economic problem.
That three centuries should have had to elapse before the solution could be found, is in perfect harmony with the other fact that it was reserved for these last generations to give us complete control over the forces of nature, and to render it possible for us to make use of the knowledge we have acquired. For so long as human production was in the main dependent upon the capacity and strength of human muscles, aided by the muscles of a few domestic animals, more might certainly be produced than would be consumed by the luxury of a few after the bare subsistence of the masses had been provided for; but to afford to all men an abundance without excessive labour needed the results of the substitution of the inexhaustible forces of nature for muscular energy. Until this substitution had become possible, it would have availed mankind little to have attained to a knowledge of the ultimate ground of the hindrance to the full utilisation of the then existing powers of production.
For in order that the exploitage of man by man might be put an end to, it was necessary that the amount of producible wealth should not merely exceed the consumption of the few wealthy persons, but should be sufficient to satisfy the higher human needs of all. Economic equity, if it is not to bring about a stagnation in civilisation, assumes that the man who has to depend upon the earnings of his own labour is in a position to enjoy a considerable amount of wealth at the cost of moderate effort. This has become possible only during the last few generations; and herein is to be sought the reason why the great economists of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries were not able to rise to an unprejudiced critical examination of the true nature and the necessary consequences of the exploiting system of industry. They were compelled to regard exploitage as a cruel but eternally unavoidable condition of the progress of civilisation; for when they lived it was and it always had been a necessity of civilisation, and they could not justly be expected to anticipate such a fundamental revolution in the conditions of human existence as must necessarily precede the passage from exploitage to economic equity.
So long as the exploitage of man by man was considered a necessary and eternal institution, there existed no motive to prompt men to subject it to a closer critical investigation; and in the absence of such an investigation its influence upon the nature and extent of demand could not be discovered. The old economists were therefore compelled to believe it chimerical to think of demand as falling short of production; for they said, quite correctly, that man produces only to consume. Here, with them, the question of demand was done with, and every possibility of the discovery of the true connection cut off. Their successors, on the other hand, who have all been witnesses of the undreamt-of increase of the productiveness of labour, have hitherto been prevented, by their otherwise well-justified respect for the authority of the founders of our science, from adequately estimating the economic importance of this revolution in the conditions of labour. The classical system of economics is based upon a conception of the world which takes in all the affairs of life, is self-consistent, and is supported by all the past teachings of the great forms of civilisation; and if we would estimate the enormous force with which this doctrine holds us bound, we must remember that even those who were the first to recognise its incongruity with existing facts were unable to free themselves from its power. They persisted in believing in it, though they perceived its incompatibility with the facts, and knew therefore that it was false.
This glance at the historical evolution of economic doctrine opens the way to the rectification of all the errors of which the different schools of political economy have—even in their quest after truth—been guilty. It is seen that the great inquirers and thinkers of past centuries, in their vast work of investigation and analysis of economic facts, approached so very near to the full and complete cognisance of the true connection of all phenomena, that it needed but a little more labour in order to construct a thoroughly harmonious definitive economic theory based upon the solution, at last discovered, of the long vexed problem.
I zealously threw myself into this task, and had proceeded with it a considerable way—to the close of a thick first volume, containing a new treatment of the theory of value; but when at work on the classical theory of capital, I made a discovery which at once threw a ray of light into the obscurity that had until then made the practical realisation of the forms of social organisation impossible. I perceived that capitalism stops the growth of wealth, not—as Marx has it—by stimulating 'production for the market,' but by preventing the consumption of the surplus produce; and that interest, though not unjust, will nevertheless in a condition of economic justice become superfluous and objectless. These two fundamental truths will be found treated in detail in chapters xxiv. and xviii.; but I cannot refrain here from doing justice to the manes of Marx, by acknowledging unreservedly his service in having been the first to proclaim—though he misunderstood it and argued illogically—the connection between the problem of value and modern capitalism.
I consider the theoretical and practical importance of these new truths to be incalculable. Not merely do they at once give to the theory of social evolution the unity and harmony of a definitive whole, but, what is more, they show the way to an immediate practical realisation of the principles formulated by this theory. If it is possible for the community to provide the capital for production with out thereby doing injury to either the principle of perfect individual freedom or to that of justice, if interest can be dispensed with without introducing communistic control in its stead, then there no longer stands any positive obstacle in the way of the establishment of the free social order.
My intense delight at making this discovery robbed me of the calm necessary to the prosecution of the abstract investigations upon which I was engaged. Before my mind's eye arose scenes which the reader will find in the following pages—tangible, living pictures of a commonwealth based upon the most perfect freedom and equity, and which needs nothing to convert it into a reality but the will of a number of resolute men. It happened to me as it may have happened to Bacon of Verulam when his studies for the 'Novum Organon' were interrupted by the vision of his 'Nova Atlantis'—with this difference, however, that his prophetic glance saw the land of social freedom and justice when centuries of bondage still separated him from it, whilst I see it when mankind is already actually equipped ready to step over its threshold. Like him, I felt an irresistible impulse vividly to depict what agitated my mind. Thus, putting aside for awhile the abstract and systematic treatise which I had begun, I wrote this book, which can justly be called 'a political romance,' though it differs from all its predecessors of that category in introducing no unknown and mysterious human powers and characteristics, but throughout keeps to the firm ground of the soberest reality. The scene of the occurrences described by me is no imaginary fairy-land, but a part of our planet well-known to modern geography, which I describe exactly as its discoverers and explorers have done. The men who appear in my narrative are endowed with no supernatural properties and virtues, but are spirit of our spirit, flesh of our flesh; and the motive prompting their economic activity is neither public spirit nor universal philanthropy, but an ordinary and commonplace self-interest. Everything in my 'Freeland' is severely real, only one fiction underlies the whole narrative, namely, that a sufficient number of men possessing a modicum of capacity and strength have actually been found ready to take the step that shall deliver them from the bondage of the exploiting system of economics, and conduct them into the enjoyment of a system of social equity and freedom. Let this one assumption be but realised—and that it will be, sooner or later, I have no doubt, though perhaps not exactly as I have represented—then will 'Freeland' have become a reality, and the deliverance of mankind will have been accomplished. For the age of bondage is past; that control over the forces of nature which the founder of modern natural science, in his 'Nova Atlantis,' predicted as the end of human misery has now been actually acquired. We are prevented from enjoying the fruits of this acquisition, from making full use of the discoveries and inventions of the great intellects of our race, by nothing but the phlegmatic faculty of persistence in old habits which still keeps laws and institutions in force when the conditions that gave rise to them have long since disappeared.
As this book professes to offer, in narrative form, a picture of the actual social life of the future, it follows as a matter of course that it will be exposed, in all its essential features, to the severest professional criticism. To this criticism I submit it, with this observation, that, if my work is to be regarded as a failure, or as the offspring of frivolous fancy, it must be demonstrated that men gifted with a normal average understanding would in any material point arrive at results other than those described by me if they were organised according to the principles which I have expounded; or that those principles contain anything which a sound understanding would not accept as a self-evident postulate of justice as well as of an enlightened self-interest.
I do not imagine that the establishment of the future social order must necessarily be effected exactly in the way described in the following pages. But I certainly think that this would be the best and the simplest way, because it would most speedily and easily lead to the desired result. If economic freedom and justice are to obtain in human society, they must be seriously determined upon; and it seems easier to unite a few thousands in such a determination than numberless millions, most of whom are not accustomed to accept the new—let it be ever so clear and self-evident—until it has been embodied in fact.
Nor would I be understood to mean that, supposing there could be found a sufficient number of resolute men to carry out the work of social emancipation, Equatorial Africa must be chosen as the scene of the undertaking. I was led, by reasons stated in the book, to fix upon the remarkable hill country of Central Africa; but similar results could be achieved in many other parts of our planet. I must ask the reader to believe that, in making choice of the scene, I was not influenced by a desire to give the reins to my fancy; on the contrary, the descriptions of the little-known mountains and lakes of Central Africa adhere in all points to sober reality. Any one who doubts this may compare my narrative with the accounts given by Speke, Grant, Livingstone, Baker, Stanley, Emin Pacha, Thomson, Johnston, Fischer—in short, by all who have visited these paradisiacal regions.
Just a few words in conclusion, in justification of the romantic accessories introduced into the exposition of so serious a subject. I might appeal to the example of my illustrious predecessors, of whom I have already mentioned Bacon, the clearest, the acutest, the soberest thinker of all times. But I feel bound to confess that I had a double purpose. In the first place, I hoped by means of vivid and striking pictures to make the difficult questions which form the essential theme of the book acceptable to a wider circle of readers than I could have expected to reach by a dry systematic treatment. In the second place, I wished, by means of the concrete form thus given to a part of my abstractions, to refute by anticipation the criticism that those abstractions, though correct in thesi, were nevertheless inapplicable in praxi. Whether I have succeeded in these two objects remains to be proved.
VIENNA: October 1889.
A SOCIAL ANTICIPATION
In July 18 ... the following appeared in the leading journals of Europe and America:
'INTERNATIONAL FREE SOCIETY'
'A number of men from all parts of the civilised world have united for the purpose of making a practical attempt to solve the social problem.
'They seek this solution in the establishment of a community on the basis of perfect liberty and economic justice—that is, of a community which, while it preserves the unqualified right of every individual to control his own actions, secures to every worker the full and uncurtailed enjoyment of the fruits of his labour.
'For the site of such a community a large tract of land shall be procured in a territory at present unappropriated, but fertile and well adapted for colonisation.
'The Free Society shall recognise no exclusive right of property in the land occupied by them, either on the part of an individual or of the collective community.
'For the cultivation of the land, as well as for productive purposes generally, self-governing associations shall be formed, each of which shall share its profits among its members in proportion to their several contributions to the common labour of the association. Anyone shall have the right to belong to any association and to leave it when he pleases.
'The capital for production shall be furnished to the producers without interest out of the revenue of the community, but it must be re-imbursed by the producers.
'All persons who are incapable of labour, and women, shall have a right to a competent allowance for maintenance out of the revenue of the community.
'The public revenue necessary for the above purposes, as well as for other public expenses, shall be provided by a tax levied upon the net income of the total production.
'The International Free Society already possesses a number of members and an amount of capital sufficient for the commencement of its work upon a moderate scale. As, however, it is thought, on the one hand, that the Society's success will necessarily be in proportion to the amount of means at its disposal, and, on the other hand, that opportunity should be given to others who may sympathise with the movement to join in the undertaking, the Society hereby announces that inquiries or communications of any kind may be addressed to the office of the Society at the Hague. The International Free Society will hold a public meeting at the Hague, on the 20th of October next, at which the definitive resolutions prior to the beginning of the work will be passed.
'For the Executive Committee of the International Free Society,
'THE HAGUE, July 18 ...'
This announcement produced no little sensation throughout the world. Any suspicion of mystification or of fraud was averted by the name of the acting representative of the Executive Committee. Dr. Strahl was not merely a man of good social position, but was widely known as one of the first political economists of Germany. The strange project, therefore, could not but be seriously received, and the journals of the most diverse party tendencies at once gave it their fullest attention.
Long before the 20th of October there was not a journal on either side of the Atlantic which had not assumed a definite attitude towards the question whether the realisation of the plans of the Free Society belonged to the domain of the possible or to that of the Utopian. The Society itself, however, kept aloof from the battle of the journals. It was evidently not the intention of the Society to win over its opponents by theoretical evidence; it would attract to itself voluntary sympathisers and then proceed to action.
As the 20th of October drew near, it became evident that the largest public hall in the Hague would not accommodate the number of members, guests, and persons moved by curiosity who wished to attend. Hence it was found necessary to limit the number of at least the last category of the audience; and this was done by admitting gratis the guests who came from a distance, while those who belonged to the place were charged twenty Dutch guldens. (The proceeds of these tickets were given to the local hospital.) Nevertheless, on the morning of the 20th of October the place of assembly—capable of seating two thousand persons—was filled to the last corner.
Amid the breathless attention of the audience, the President—Dr. Strahl—rose to open the meeting. The unexpectedly large number of fresh members and the large amount of contributions which had been received showed that, even before facts had had time to speak, the importance of the projected undertaking of the International Free Society was fully recognised by thousands in all parts of the habitable globe without distinction of sex or of condition. 'The conviction that the community to the establishment of which we are about to proceed'—thus began the speaker—'is destined to attack poverty and misery at the root, and together with these to annihilate all that wretchedness and all those vices which are to be regarded as the evil results of misery—this conviction finds expression not simply in the words, but also in the actions, of the greater part of our members, in the lofty self-denying enthusiasm with which they—each one according to his power—have contributed towards the realisation of the common aim. When we sent out our appeal we numbered but eighty-four, the funds at our disposal amounted to only 11,400L; to-day the Society consists of 5,650 members, and its funds amount to 205,620L.' (Here the speaker was interrupted by applause that lasted several minutes.) 'Of course, such a sum could not have been collected from only those most wretched of the wretched whom we are accustomed to think of as exclusively interested in the solution of the social problem. This will be still more evident when the list of our members is examined in detail. That list shows, with irresistible force, that disgust and horror at the social condition of the people have by degrees taken possession of even those who apparently derive benefit from the privations of their disinherited fellow-men. For—and I would lay special emphasis upon this—those well-to-do and rich persons, some of whose names appear as contributors of thousands of pounds to our funds, have with few exceptions joined us not merely as helpers, but also as seekers of help; they wish to found the new community not merely for their suffering brethren, but also for themselves. And from this, more than from anything else, do we derive our firm conviction of the success of our work.'
Long-continued and enthusiastic applause again interrupted the President. When quiet was once more restored, Dr. Strahl thus concluded his short address:
'In carrying out our programme, a hitherto unappropriated large tract of land will have to be acquired for the founding of an independent community. The question now is, what part of the earth shall we choose for such a purpose? For obvious reasons we cannot look for territory to any part of Europe; and everywhere in Asia, at least in those parts in which Caucasian races could flourish, we should be continually coming into collision with ancient forms of law and society. We might expect that the several governments in America and Australia would readily grant us land and freedom of action; but even there our young community would scarcely be able to enjoy that undisturbed quiet and security against antagonistic interference which would be at first a necessary condition of rapid and uninterrupted success. Thus there remains only Africa, the oldest yet the last-explored part of the world. The equatorial portion of its interior is virtually unappropriated; we find there not merely the practically unlimited extent and absence of disturbing influences necessary for our development, but—if the selection be wisely made—the most favourable conditions of climate and soil imaginable. Vast highlands, which unite in themselves the advantages of the tropics and of our Alpine regions, there await settlement. Communication with these hilly districts situated far in the interior of the Dark Continent is certainly difficult; but that is a condition necessary to us at first. We therefore propose to you that we should fix our new home in the interior of Equatorial Africa. And we are thinking particularly of the mountain district of Kenia, the territory to the east of the Victoria Nyanza, between latitude 1 deg. S. and 1 deg. N., and longitude 34 deg.-88 deg. E. It is there that we expect to find the most suitable district for our purpose. Does the meeting approve of this choice?'
Unanimous assent was expressed, and loud cries were enthusiastically uttered of 'Forwards! To-day rather than to-morrow!' It was unmistakably evident that the majority wished to make a beginning at once. The President then resumed:
'Such haste is not practicable, my friends. The new home must first be found and acquired; and that is a difficult and dangerous undertaking. The way leads through deserts and inhospitable forests; conflicts with inimical wild races will probably be inevitable; and all this demands strong men—not women, children, and old men. The provisioning and protection of an emigrant train of many thousand persons through such regions must be organised. In short, it is absolutely necessary that a number of selected pioneers should precede the general company. When the pioneers have accomplished their task, the rest can follow.
'To make all requisite provision with the greatest possible vigour, foresight, and speed, the directorate must be harmonious and fully informed as to our aims. Hitherto the business of the Society has been in the hands of a committee of ten; but as the membership has so largely increased, and will increase still more largely, it might appear desirable to elect a fresh executive, or at least to add to the numbers of the present one from the new members. Yet we cannot recommend you to adopt such a course, for the reason that the new members do not know each other, and could not become sufficiently well acquainted with each other soon enough to prevent the election from being anything but a game of chance. We rather ask from you a confirmation of our authority, with the power of increasing our numbers by co-option from among you as our judgment may suggest. And we ask for this authorisation—which can be at any time withdrawn by your resolution in a full meeting—for the period of two years. At the expiration of this period we shall—we are fully convinced—not only have fixed upon a new home, but have lived in it long enough to have learnt a great deal about it.'
This proposition was unanimously adopted.
The President announced that all the communications of the executive committee to the members would be published both in the newspapers and by means of circulars. He then closed the meeting, which broke up in the highest spirits.
The first act of the executive committee was to appoint two persons with full powers to organise and take command of the pioneer expedition to Central Africa. These two leaders of the expedition were so to divide their duties that one of them was to organise and command the expedition until a suitable territory was selected and occupied, and the other was to take in hand the organisation of the colony. The one was to be, as it were, the conductor, and the other the statesman of the expeditionary corps. For the former duty the committee chose the well-known African traveller Thomas Johnston, who had repeatedly traversed the region between Kilimanjaro and Kenia, the so-called Masailand. Johnston was a junior member of the Society, and was co-opted upon the committee upon his nomination as leader of the pioneer expedition. To take charge of the expedition after its arrival at the locality chosen, the committee nominated a young engineer, Henry Ney, who, as the most intimate friend of the founder and intellectual leader of the Society—Dr. Strahl—was held to be the most fitting person to represent him during the first period of the founding of the community.
Dr. Strahl himself originally intended to accompany the pioneers and personally to direct the first work of organisation in the new home, but the other members of the committee urged strong objections. They could not permit the man upon whose further labours the prosperous development of the Society so largely depended to expose himself to dangers from which he was the more likely to suffer harm because his health was delicate. And, after mature reflection, he himself admitted that for the next few months his presence would be more needed in Europe than in Central Africa. In a word, Dr. Strahl consented to wait and to follow the pioneers with the main body of members; and Henry Ney went with the expedition as his substitute.
The account—contained in this and the next five chapters—of the preparations for and the successful completion of the African expedition, as well as of the initial work of settling and cultivating the highlands of Kenia, is taken from the journal of Dr. Strahl's friend:
My appointment as provisional substitute for our revered leader at first filled me with alarm. The reflection that upon me depended in no small degree the successful commencement of a work which we all had come to regard as the most important and far-reaching in its consequences of any in the history of human development, produced in me a sensation of giddiness. But my despondency did not last long. I had no right to refuse a responsibility which my colleagues had declared me to be the most fitted to bear; and when my fatherly friend Strahl asked me whether I thought failure possible on the supposition that those who were committed to my leadership were fired with the same zeal as myself, and whether I had any reason to question this supposition, then my courage revived, and in place of my previous timidity I felt an unshakable conviction of the success of the work, a conviction which I never lost for a moment.
The preparatory measures for the organisation of the pioneer expedition were discussed and decided upon by the whole committee of the International Free Society. The first thing to determine was the number of the expedition. The expedition must not be too small, since the race among whom we proposed to settle—the nomadic Masai, between the Kilima and the Kenia mountains—was the most warlike in Equatorial Africa, and could be kept in check only by presenting a strong and imposing appearance. On the other hand, if the expedition were too numerous it would be exposed to the risk of being hampered by the difficulty of obtaining supplies. It was unanimously agreed to fix the number of pioneers at two hundred of the sturdiest members of the Society, the best able to endure fatigue and privation and to face danger, and every one of whom gave evidence of possessing that degree of general intelligence which would qualify him to assume, in case of need, the whole responsibility of the mission.
In pursuance of this resolve, the committee applied to the branch associations—which had been formed wherever members of the Society lived—for lists of those persons willing to join the expedition, to whose health, vigorous constitution, and intelligence the respective branch associations could certify. At the same time a full statement was to be sent of the special knowledge, experience, and capabilities of the several candidates. In the course of a few weeks offers were received from 870 strongly recommended members. Of these a hundred, whose qualifications appeared to the committee to be in all points eminently satisfactory, were at once chosen. This select hundred included four naturalists (two of whom were geologists), three physicians, eight engineers, four representatives of other branches of technical knowledge, and six scientifically trained agriculturists and foresters; further, thirty artisans such as would make the expedition able to meet all emergencies; and, finally, forty-five men who were exceptionally good marksmen or remarkable for physical strength. The selection of the other hundred pioneers was entrusted to the branch associations, which were to choose one pioneer out of every seven or eight of those whose names they had sent. The chosen men were asked to meet as speedily as possible in Alexandria, which was fixed upon as the provisional rendezvous of the expedition; money for their travelling expenses was voted—which, it may be noted in passing, was declined with thanks by about half of the pioneers.
Thus passed the month of November. In the meantime the committee had not been idle. The equipment of the expedition was fully and exhaustively discussed, the details decided upon, and all requisites carefully provided. Each of the two hundred members was furnished with six complete sets of underclothing of light elastic woollen material—the so-called Jaeger clothing; a lighter and a heavier woollen outer suit; two pair of waterproof and two pair of lighter boots; two cork helmets, and one waterproof overcoat. In weapons every member received a repeating-rifle of the best construction for twelve shots, a pocket revolver, and an American bowie-knife. In addition, there were provided a hundred sporting guns of different calibres, from the elephant-guns, which shot two-ounce explosive bullets, to the lightest fowling-pieces; and of course the necessary ammunition was not forgotten.
At this point the weightiest questions for discussion were whether the expedition should be a mounted one, and whether the baggage should be transported from the Zanzibar coast by porters, called pagazis, or by beasts of burden. Johnston's first intention was to purchase only eighty horses and asses for the conveyance of the heavier baggage, and for the use of any who might be sick or fatigued; and to hire 800 pagazis in Zanzibar and Mombasa as porters of the remainder of the baggage, which he estimated at about 400 cwt. But he gave up this plan at once when he discovered what my requirements were. He had made provision merely for six months' maintenance of the expedition, and for articles of barter with the natives. I required, above all, that the expedition should take with it implements, machinery (in parts), and such other things as would place us in a position, when we had arrived at our goal, as speedily as possible to begin a rational system of agriculture and to engage in the production of what would be necessary for the use of the many thousand colonists who would follow us. We needed a number of agricultural implements, or, at least, of those parts of them which could not be manufactured without complicated and tedious preparation; similar materials for a field-forge and smithy, as well as for a flour-mill and a saw-mill; further, seeds of all kinds and saplings in large quantities, as well as many materials which we could not reckon upon being able to produce at once in the interior of Africa. Finally, I pointed out that, in order to make the way safe for the caravans that would follow us, it would be advisable to form friendly alliances, particularly with the warlike Masai, for which purpose larger and more valuable stores of presents would be required than had been provided.
Johnston made no objection to all this. He estimated that the necessary amount of baggage would thus be doubled, perhaps trebled, and that the 1,600 or 2,400 pagazis that would be required would make the expedition too cumbrous. Dr. Strahl proposed that transportation by pagazis should be relinquished altogether, and that beasts of burden should be used exclusively. He knew well that in the low lands of Equatorial Africa the tsetse-fly and the bad water were particularly fatal to horses; but these difficulties were not to be anticipated on our route, which would soon take us to the high land where the animals would be safe. And the difficulty due to the peculiar character of the roads in Central Africa could be easily overcome. These roads possess—as he had learnt from Johnston's descriptions, among others—where they pass through thickets or bush, a breadth of scarcely two feet, and are too narrow for pack-horses, which have often to be unloaded at such places, and the transportation of the luggage has to be effected by porters. This last expedient would either be impossible or would involve an incalculable loss of time in the case of a caravan possessing only beasts of burden with a proportionately small number of drivers and attendants. But he thought that the roads could everywhere be made passable for even beasts of burden by means of an adequate number of well-equipped eclaireurs, or advance-guard. Johnston was of the same opinion: if he were furnished with a hundred natives—whom he would get from the population on the coast—supplied with axes and fascine-knives, he would undertake to lead a caravan of beasts of burden to the Kenia without any delay worth mentioning.
When this question was settled, Dr. Strahl again brought forward the idea of mounting the 200 pioneers themselves. He had a double end in view. In the first place—and it was this in part that had led him to make the previous proposition—it would be necessary to provide for the introduction and acclimatisation of beasts of burden and draught in the future home, where there were already cattle, sheep, and goats, but neither horses, asses, nor camels; and he held that it would be best for the expedition to take with them at once as large a number as possible of these useful animals. Moreover, he thought that we could travel much faster if we were mounted. In the next place, he attached great importance to the careful selection of animals—whether beasts of burden or for the saddle—suitable for breeding purposes particularly in the case of the horses, since the character of the future stock would depend entirely upon that of those first introduced. This also was agreed to; only Johnston feared that the expenses of the expedition would be too heavily increased. According to his original plan, the expenses would not exceed 12,000L; but the alterations would about quadruple the cost. This was not questioned; and Johnston's estimate was subsequently found to be correct, for the expedition actually consumed 52,500L. But it was unanimously urged that the funds which had been placed so copiously at their disposal, and which were still rapidly pouring in, could not be more usefully applied than in expediting the journey as much as possible, and in establishing the new community upon as sound a foundation as the means allowed.
The detailed consideration of the requisite material was then proceeded with. When everything had been reckoned, and the total weight estimated, it was found that we should have to transport a total burden of about 1,200 cwt., as follows:
150 cwt. of various kinds of meat and drink; 120 " " travelling materials (including fifty waterproof tents for four men each); 160 " " various kinds of seed and other agricultural materials; 220 " " implements, machinery, and tools; 400 " " articles of barter and presents; 120 " " ammunition and explosives.
At Johnston's special request, in addition to the above, four light steel mortars for shell were ordered of Krupp, in Essen. His object was not to use these murderous weapons seriously against any foe; but he reckoned that, should occasion occur, peace could be more easily preserved by means of the terror which they would excite. At the last moment there came to hand 300 Werndl rifles, together with the needful cartridges—very good breechloaders which we bought cheaply of the Austrian Government, to use partly as a reserve and partly to arm some of the negroes who were to be hired at Zanzibar.
The baggage was to be borne by 100 sumpter-horses, 200 asses and mules, and 80 camels. Since we also needed 200 saddle-horses, with a small reserve for accidents, it was resolved to buy in all 320 horses, 210 asses, and 85 camels, the horses to be bought, some in Egypt and some in Arabia, the camels in Egypt, and the asses in Zanzibar.
All the necessary purchases were at once made. Our authorised agents procured everything at the first source; buyers were sent to Yemen in Arabia and to Zanzibar for horses and asses. When all this was done or arranged, Johnston and I—we had meantime contracted a close friendship—started for Alexandria.
But, before I describe our action there, I must mention an incident which occurred in the committee. A young American lady had determined to join the expedition. She was rich, beautiful, and eccentric, an enthusiastic admirer of our principles, and evidently not accustomed to consider it possible that her wishes should be seriously opposed. She had contributed very largely to the funds of the Society, and had made up her mind to be one of the first to set foot in the new African home. I must confess that I was sorry for the noble girl, who was devoured by an eager longing for adventure and painfully felt as a slight the anxious solicitude exhibited by the committee on account of her sex. But nothing could be clone; we had refused several women wishful to accompany their husbands who had been chosen as pioneers, and we could make no exceptions. When the young lady found that her appeals failed to move us men of the committee, she turned to our female relatives, whom she speedily discovered; but she met with little success among them. She was cordially and affectionately received by the ladies, for she was very charming in her enthusiasm; but that was only another reason, in the eyes of the women, for concluding that the men had been right in refusing to allow such a delicate creature to share in the dangers and privations of the journey of exploration. She was petted and treated like a spoilt child that longed for the impossible, until Miss Ellen Fox was fairly beside herself.
She suddenly calmed down; and this occurred in a striking manner immediately after she became acquainted with another lady who also, though for other reasons, wished to join our expedition. This other lady was my sister Clara. While the former was prompted to go to Africa by her zeal for our principles, the latter was fired with the same desire by detestation and dread of those same principles. My sister (twelve years my senior, and still unmarried, because she had not been able to find a man who satisfied her ideal of personal distinction and lofty character) was one of the best—in her inmost heart one of the noblest—of women, but full of immovable prejudices with which I had been continually coming into contact for the twenty-six years of my life. She was not cold-hearted—her hand was always open to those who needed help; but she had an invincible contempt for everything that did not belong to the so-called higher, cultured classes. When for the first time the social question was explained to her by me, she was seized with horror at the idea that reasonable men should believe that she and her kitchen maid were endowed with equal rights by nature. Finding that all efforts to convert her were in vain, I long refrained from telling her anything of my relations with Dr. Strahl, or of the, founding of the Free Society and the role which I played in it. I wished to spare her as long as possible the sorrow of knowing of my going astray; for I love this sister dearly, and am idolised by her in return. For many long years the one passion of her life was her anxious solicitude about me. We lived together, and she always treated me as a small boy whose bringing up was her business. That I could exist more than at most two or three days away from her protection, without becoming the victim of my childish inexperience and of the wickedness of evil men, always seemed to her an utter impossibility. Imagine, then, the unutterable terror of my protectress when I was eventually compelled to disclose to her not only that I was a member of a socialistic society, had not only devoted the whole of my modest fortune to the objects of that society, but had actually been selected as leader of 200 Socialists into the interior of Africa! It was some days before she could grasp and believe the monstrous fact; then followed entreaties, tears, desperate reproaches, and expostulations. I might let the fellows have my money—over which, however, she felt that she should have kept better guard—but, for heaven's sake, could I not stay like an honest man at home? She consulted our family physician as to my responsibility for my actions; but she came back worse than she went, for he was one of our Society—indeed, a member of the expedition. At last, when all else had failed, she announced that, if I persisted in rushing to my ruin, she would accompany me. When I explained to her that this could not be, as there were to be no women in the expedition, she brought her heaviest artillery to bear upon me; she reminded me of our deceased mother, who, on her deathbed, had commissioned my sister never to leave me—a testamentary injunction to which I ought religiously to submit. As I still remained obdurate, daring for the first time in my life to remark that our good mother had plainly committed me to my sister's care only during the period of my childhood, she fell into hopeless despondency, out of which nothing could rouse her. In vain did I use endearing terms; in vain did I assure her that among our 200 pioneers there would certainly be some excellent fellows between whom and myself there would exist kindly human relations; in vain did I promise her that she should follow me in about six months' time: it was all of no avail. She looked upon me as lost; and as the day of my departure drew near I became exceedingly anxious to find some means of allaying my sister's touching but foolish sorrow.
Just then Miss Ellen visited my sister. I was called away by business, and had to leave them together alone; when I returned I found Clara wonderfully comforted. She no longer wailed and moaned, and was even able to speak of the dreadful subject without tears. It was plain that Miss Ellen's exaltation of feeling had wrought soothingly upon her childish anguish; and I inwardly blessed the charming American for it, the more so that from that moment the latter no longer troubled us with her importunities. She had gone away suddenly, and I most heartily congratulated myself on having thus got rid of a double difficulty.
On the 3rd of December Johnston and I reached Alexandria, where we found most of our fellow-pioneers awaiting us. Twenty-three wore still missing, some of whom were coming from great distances, and others had been hindered by unforeseen contingencies. Johnston set to work at once with the equipment, exercising, end organisation of the troop. For these purposes we left the city, and encamped about six miles off, on the shore of Lake Mareotis. The provisioning was undertaken by a commissariat of six members under my superintendence; each man received full rations and—unless it was expressly declined—2L per month in cash. The same amount was paid during the whole of the time occupied by the expedition—of course not in the form of cash, which would have been useless in Equatorial Africa, but in goods at cost price for use or barter. After such articles as clothing and arms had been unpacked, the exercises began. Eight hours a day were spent in manoeuvring, marching, swimming, riding, fencing, and target-practice. Later on Johnston organised longer marches, extending over several days, as far as Ghizeh and past the Pyramids to Cairo. In the meantime we got to know each other. Johnston appointed his inferior officers, to whom, as to him, military obedience was to be rendered—a necessity which was readily recognised by all without exception. This may appear strange to some, in view of the fact that we were going forth to found a community in which absolute social equality and unlimited individual liberty were to prevail. But we all understood that the ultimate object of our undertaking, and the expedition which was to lead to that object, were two different things. During the whole journey there did not occur one case of insubordination; while, on the other hand, on the side of the officers not one instance of unnecessary or rude assumption of authority was noticed.
When the time to go on to Zanzibar came, we were a completely trained picked body of men. In manoeuvring we could compete with any corps of Guards—naturally only in those exercises which give dexterity and agility in face of a foe, and not in the parade march and the military salutes. In these last respects we were and remained as ignorant as Hottentots. But we could, without serious inconvenience, march or sit in the saddle, with only brief halts, for twenty-four hours at a stretch; our quick firing yielded a very respectable number of hits at a distance of eleven hundred yards; and our grenade firing was not to be despised. We were quite as skilful with a small battery of Congreve rockets which Johnston had had sent after us from Trieste, on the advice of an Egyptian officer who had served in the Soudan—a native of Austria, and a frequent witness of our practising at Alexandria. The language of command, as well as that of our general intercourse, was English. As many as 35 per cent. of us were English and American, whilst the next numerous nationality—the German—was represented by only about 23 per cent. Moreover, all but about forty-five of us understood and spoke English more or less perfectly, and these forty-five learnt to speak it tolerably well during our stay in Alexandria.
On the 30th of March we embarked on the 'Aurora,' a fine screw steamer of 3,000 tons, which the committee had chartered of the English P. and O. Company, and which, after it had, at Liverpool, Marseilles, and Genoa, taken on board the wares ordered for us, reached Alexandria on the 22nd of March. The embarkation and providing accommodation for 200 horses and 60 camels, which had been bought in Egypt, occupied several days; but we were in no hurry, as, on account of the rainy season, the journey into the interior of Africa could not be begun before May. We reckoned that the passage from Alexandria to Zanzibar—the halt in Aden, for taking on board more horses and camels, included—would not exceed twenty days. We had therefore fully two weeks left for Zanzibar and for the passage across to Mombasa, whence we intended to take the road to the Kilimanjaro and the Kenia, and where, on account of the danger from the fever which was alleged to prevail on the coast, we did not purpose remaining a day longer than was necessary.
Our programme was successfully carried out. At Aden we met our agents with 120 superb Yemen horses, and 25 camels of equally excellent breed. Here also were embarked 115 asses, which—like the camels—had been procured in Arabia instead of Zanzibar or Egypt. On the 16th of April the 'Aurora' dropped anchor in the harbour of Zanzibar.
Half the population of the island came out to greet us. Our fame had gone before us, and, as it seemed, no ill fame; for the European colonists—who during the last few years had increased to nearly 200—and the Arabians, Hindoos, and negroes, vied with each other in friendliness and welcome. Naturally, the first person to receive us was our Zanzibar representative, who hastened to give us the agreeable assurance that he had exactly performed his commission, and that, in view of the prevailing public sentiment respecting us, there would be no difficulty whatever in engaging the number of natives we required. The English, French, German, Italian, and American consuls welcomed us most cordially; as did also the representatives of the great European and American houses of business, who were all most zealous in pressing their hospitality upon us. Finally appeared the prime minister of the Sultan, who claimed the whole 200 of us as his guests. In order to avoid giving offence in any quarter, we left ourselves at the disposal of the consuls, who distributed us among the friendly competitors in a way most agreeable to everyone. Johnston and sixteen officers—myself being one of the company—were allotted to the Sultan, who placed his whole palace, except that part devoted to his harem, at our disposal, and entertained us in a truly princely manner. Yet, ungrateful as it may seem, I must say that we seventeen elect had every reason to envy those of our colleagues who were entertained less splendidly, but very comfortably, in the bosom of European families. Our host did only too much for us: the ten days of our residence in Zanzibar were crowded with an endless series of banquets, serenades, Bayadere dances, and the like; and this was the less agreeable as we really found more to be done than we had expected. A great quantity of articles for barter had to be bought and packed; and we had to engage no fewer than 280 Swahili men—coast dwellers—as attendants, drivers, and other workmen, besides the requisite number of guides and interpreters. In all this both the consuls and the Sultan's officials rendered us excellent service; and as the negroes had a very favourable opinion of our expedition, in which they anticipated neither excessive labour nor great danger, since we had a great number of beasts and were well armed, we had a choice of the best men that Zanzibar could afford for our purpose. But all this had to be attended to, and during the whole of the ten days Johnston was sorely puzzled how to execute his commission and yet do justice to the attentions of the Sultan.
At last, in spite of everything, the work was accomplished, and, as the issue showed, well accomplished—certainly not so much through any special care and skill on our part as through the good will shown to us on all sides. The merchants, European and Indian, supplied us with the best goods at the lowest prices, without giving us much trouble in selection; and the Swahili exercised among themselves a kind of ostracism by whipping out of the market any disreputable or useless colleagues. In this last respect, so fortunate were we in our selection that, during the whole course of the expedition, we were spared all those struggles with the laziness or obstinacy of the natives which are generally the lot of such caravans; in fact we had not a single case of desertion—an unheard-of circumstance in the history of African expeditions.
On the 26th of April we left Zanzibar in the 'Aurora,' and reached Mombasa safely the next morning. We had sent on, in charge of ten of our men, the whole of our beasts and the greater part of our baggage in the 'Aurora' a week before, together with a number of the attendants who had been engaged in Zanzibar. We found all these in good condition, and for the most part recovered from the ill-effects of the sea voyage. In order to muster the people we had engaged, and at the same time to allot to each his duty, we pitched a camp outside of Mombasa in a little palm-grove that commanded a beautiful view of the sea. To every two led horses or camels, and to every four asses, a driver and an attendant were allotted. This gave employment to 145 of the 280 Swahili; 85 more were selected to carry the lighter and more fragile articles, or such things as must be always readily accessible; and the remaining 100—including, of course, the guides and two interpreters—served as eclaireurs. By the 2nd of May everything was ready, the burdens distributed, and every man had his place assigned; the journey into the interior could be at once begun.
As, however, we could not start until we had received the European mails, due in Zanzibar on the 3rd or 4th, by which we were to receive the last news of our friends and any further instructions the committee wished to give us, we had several days of leisure, which we were able to employ in viewing the country around Mombasa.
The place itself is situated upon a small island at the mouth of a river, which here spreads out into a considerable bay, with several dense mangrove-swamps upon its banks. Hence residence on the coast and in Mombasa itself is not conducive to health, and by no means desirable for a length of time. But a few miles inland there are gently undulating hills, clothed with fine clumps of cocoa-palms growing on ground covered with an emerald-green sward. Among the trees are scattered the garden-encircled huts of the Wa-Nyika, who inhabit this coast. These hills afford a healthy residence during the rainy season; but it would be dangerous for a European to live here the year through, as the prevailing temperature in the hot months—from October to January—would in time be injurious to him. In May, however, when the heavy rains that fall from February to April have thoroughly cooled the soil and the air, the heat is by no means disagreeable.
The French packet-ship was a day behind, and did not arrive at Zanzibar until late in the night of the 4th; but, thanks to the courtesy of the captain, we received our letters a day earlier than we had expected them. The captain, learning at Aden that we were awaiting our letters at Mombasa, when off that place hailed an Arabian dhow and sent us by that our packages, which we consequently received on the same morning; we should otherwise have had to wait for them until the evening of the next day. Of the news thus brought us only two items need be mentioned: first, the intimation that the committee had instructed our agent in Zanzibar to keep up constant communication with Mombasa during the whole period of our journey, and for that purpose to have in readiness several despatch-boats and a swift-sailing cutter; and, secondly, the information that on the 18th of April, the day of despatching the mails, the membership of the Society had reached 8,460, with funds amounting to nearly 400,000L.
Together with our letters there came another little surprise for us from home. The dhow brought us a pack of not less than thirty-two dogs, in charge of two keepers, who were the bearers of greetings to us from their master, Lord Clinton. His lordship, a warm espouser of our principles and a great lover of dogs, had sent us this present from York, believing that it would be very useful to us both on our journey and after we had arrived at our destination. The dogs were splendid creatures—a dozen mastiffs and twenty sheep-dogs of that long-legged and long-haired breed which looks like a cross between the greyhound and the St. Bernard. The smallest of the mastiffs was above twenty-seven inches high at the loins; the sheep-dogs not much smaller; and they all proved themselves to be well-trained and well-mannered creatures. They met with a cordial welcome from us all. The two keepers told us that they were perfectly indifferent to our plans and principles, for they 'knew nothing at all about such matters;' but, if we would allow them, they would gladly accompany us along with their four-footed friends. As they looked like strong, healthy, and, in spite of their simplicity, very decent fellows, and as they professed to be tolerably expert in riding and shooting and experienced in the training and treatment of different kinds of animals, we were pleased to take them with us. A cordial letter of thanks was returned to Lord Clinton; and when our mails had been sent off to Zanzibar, and all arrangements for the morrow completed, we retired to rest for the last time previous to our departure for the dark interior of the African world.
On the 5th of May we were woke by the horns and drums of the Kirangozis (leaders of the caravan) at three o'clock, according to arrangement. The large camp-fires, which had been prepared overnight, were lighted, and breakfast—tea or coffee, with eggs and cold meat for us whites, a soup of meat and vegetables for the Swahili—was cooked; and by the light of the same fires preparations were made for starting. The advance-guard, consisting of the hundred eclaireurs and twenty lightly laden packhorses, accompanied by thirty mounted pioneers, started an hour after we awoke. The duty of the advance-guard was, with axe, billhook, and pick, so to clear the way where it led through jungle and thicket as to make it passable for our sumpter beasts with the larger baggage; to bridge, as well as they were able, over watercourses; and to prepare the next camping-place for the main body. In order to do this, the advance-guard had to precede us several hours, or even several days, according to the character of the country. We learnt from our guides that no great difficulties were to be anticipated at the outset, so at first our advance-guard had no need to be more than a few hours ahead.
It was eight o'clock when the main body was in order. In the front were 150 of us whites, headed by Johnston and myself; then followed in a long line first the led horses, then the asses, and finally the camels; twenty whites brought up the rear. Thus, at last, we left our camp with the sun already shining hotly upon us; and, throwing back a last glance at Mombasa lying picturesquely behind us, we bade farewell to the sea foaming below, whose dull roar could be distinctly heard despite a distance of four or five miles. To the sound of horns and drums we scaled the steep though not very high hills that separated us from the so-called desert which lay between us and the interior. The region, which we soon reached, evidently deserves the name of desert only in the hot season; now, when the three months' rainy season was scarcely over, we found the landscape park-like. Rich, though not very high, grass alternated with groves of mimosa and dwarf palm and with clumps of acacia. When, after a march of two hours, we had left the last of the coast hills behind us, the grass became more luxuriant and the trees more numerous, and taller; antelopes showed themselves in the distance, but they were very shy and were soon scared away by the dogs, which were not yet broken of the habit of useless hunting. About eleven o'clock we halted for rest and refreshment in the shade of a palm-grove which a dense mass of climbing plants had converted into a stately giant canopy. All—men and beasts—were exhausted, though we had been scarcely three hours on the march; the previous running and racing about in camp for four hours had been the reverse of refreshing to us, and after ten o'clock the heat had become most oppressive. Johnston comforted us by saying that it would be better in future. In the first place, we should henceforth be less time in getting ready to march, and should therefore start earlier—if it depended upon him, soon after four—doing the greatest part of the way in the cool of the morning, and halting at nine, or at the latest at ten. Moreover, the district we were now going through was the hottest, if not the most difficult, we should have to travel over; when we had once got into the higher regions we should be troubled by excessive heat only exceptionally.
Reinvigorated by this encouragement, and more still by a generous meal—the bulk of which consisted of two fat oxen bought on the way—and by the rest in the shade of the dense liana-canopy, we started again at four o'clock, and, after a trying march of nearly five hours, reached the camping-place prepared by our advance-guard in the neighbourhood of a Wa-Kamba village between Mkwale and Mkinga. We did not come up with the advance-guard at all; they had rested here about noon, but had gone on several hours before we arrived, in order to keep ahead of us. However, they had left our supper in charge of one of their number—eleven antelopes of different kinds, which their huntsmen had shot by the way. The Swahili who had been left with this welcome gift, and who mounted his Arab horse to overtake his companions as soon as he had delivered his message, told us that they had unexpectedly come upon a large herd of these charming beasts, among which the white huntsmen had committed great havoc. Five antelopes had furnished his company with their midday meal, as many had been taken away for their evening meal, and the rest—among which, as he remarked, not without a little envy, were the fattest animals—had been left for us. This attention on the part of our companions who were ahead of us was received by us all the more gratefully as, in the Wa-Kamba villages which we had passed through since our midday halt, we had found no beasts for sale, except a few lean goats, which we had refused in hopes of getting something better; and we had been less fortunate in the chase than our advance-guard. Nothing but a few insignificant birds had come within reach of our sportsmen, and so we had already given up any hope of having fresh meat when the unexpected present furnished us with a dainty meal, the value of which only those can rightly estimate who have left an exhausting march behind them, and have the prospect of nothing but vegetables and preserved meats before them.
On the morning of the next day, mindful of the inconvenience experienced by us the day before, we began our march as early as half-past four. At first the country was quite open; but in a couple of hours we reached the Duruma country, where our advance-guard had had hot work. For more than half a mile the path lay through thorny hush of the most horrible kind, which would have been absolutely impassable by our sumpter beasts but for the hatchets and billhooks of our brave eclaireurs. Thanks, however, to the ample clearance they had made, we were quickly through. Towards eight o'clock the way got better again; and this alternation was repeated until, on the evening of the third day, we left Durumaland behind us and entered upon the great desert that stretches thence almost without a break as far as Teita. We once got very near to our advance-guard; I gave my steed the spur, in order to see the men at their work, but they made it their ambition to prevent us from getting quite close to them. With eager haste they plied knife and hatchet in the thick thorny bush, until a passage was made for us; and they then at once hurried forward without waiting for the main column, the head of which was within a mile and a quarter of them.
Nothing noteworthy occurred during these days. We left our camp about half-past four each morning, made our first halt about nine, resumed our march again before five in the afternoon, and camped between eight and nine in the evening. The provisioning in Durumaland was difficult; but we succeeded in procuring from the pastoral and agricultural inhabitants sufficient vegetables and flesh food, and of the latter a supply large enough to last us until we had passed through the Duruma desert. The soil seems to possess a great natural fertility, but its best portions are uncultivated and neglected, since the inhabitants seldom venture out of their jungle-thickets on account of the incessant inroads of the Masai. We heard everywhere of the evil deeds of these marauders, who had only a few weeks before fallen upon a tribe, slain the men, and driven off the women, children, and cattle, and were said to be again on the war-path in search of new booty. Our assurance that we would shortly free their district, as well as the districts of all the tribes with whom we had contracted or expected to contract alliance, from this scourge, was received by the Wa-Duruma with great incredulity; for the Sultan of Zanzibar himself had failed to prevent the Masai from extending their raids and levying contributions even as far as Mombasa and Pangani. Nevertheless, our promise spread rapidly far and near.
On the morning of the fourth day of our journey, just as we were preparing to enter upon the desert, we learnt from some natives, who hurried by breathless with alarm and anxiety, that a strong body of Masai had in the night made a large capture of slaves and cattle, and were now on their way to attack us. Thereupon we altered our arrangements. As the position we occupied was a good one, we left our baggage and the drivers in camp, and got ourselves ready for action. The guns were mounted and horsed, and the rockets prepared; the former were placed in the middle, and the latter in the two wings of the long line into which we formed ourselves. This was the work of scarcely ten minutes, and in less than another quarter of an hour we saw about six hundred Masai approaching at a rapid pace. We let them come on unmolested until they were about 1,100 yards off. Then the trumpets brayed, and our whole line galloped briskly to meet them. The Masai stopped short when they saw the strange sight of a line of cavalry bearing down upon them. We slackened our pace and went on slowly until we were a little over a hundred yards from them. Then we halted, and Johnston, who is tolerably fluent in the Masai dialect, rode a few steps farther and asked them in a loud voice what they wanted. There was a short consultation among the Masai, and then one of them came forward and asked whether we would pay tribute or fight. 'Is this your country,' was the rejoinder, 'that you demand tribute? We pay tribute to no one; we have gifts for our friends, and deadly weapons for our foes. Whether the Masai will be our friends we shall see when we visit their country. But we have already formed an alliance with the Wa-Duruma, and therefore we allow no one to rob them. Give back the prisoners and the booty and go home to your kraals, else we shall be obliged to use against you our weapons and our medicines (magic)—which we should be sorry to do, for we wish to contract alliance with you also.'
This last statement was evidently taken to be a sign of weakness, for the Masai, who at first seemed to be a little alarmed, shook their spears threateningly, and with loud shouts set themselves again in motion towards us. Our trumpets brayed again, and while we horsemen sprang forwards the guns and rockets opened fire—not upon the foe, among whose close masses they would have wrought execution as terrible as it would have been unnecessary—but away over their heads. The Masai stayed for only one volley. When the guns thundered, the rockets, hissing and crackling, swept over their heads, and, above all, the strange creatures with four feet and two heads rushed upon them, they turned in an instant and fled away howling. Our artillery sent another volley after them, to increase their panic, if possible; while the horsemen busied themselves taking prisoners and getting possession of the slaves and children, who were now visible in the distance.