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the fundamental evil is the kind of sanctity we attach to property, however accumulated and however spent. Hence no real reform is ever suggested ; and those who go to the root of the matter and see that the evil is in the very fact of inheritance itself, are scouted as socialists or something worse. The inability of ordinary political and social writers to follow out a principle is well shown in this matter. It is only a few years since Mr. Benjamin Kidd attracted much attention to the principle of "equality of opportunity” as the true basis of social reform, and many of the more advanced political writers at once accepted it as a sound principle and one that should be a guide for our future progress. Herbert Spencer, too, in his volume on “Justice,” lays down the same principle, stating, as "the law of social justice " that "each individual ought to receive the benefits and evils of his own nature and consequent conduct; neither being prevented from having whatever good his actions normally bring him, nor allowed to shoulder off on to other persons whatever ill is brought to him by his actions." This, too, has, so far as I am aware, never been criticized or objected to as unsound, and, in fact, the arguments by which it is supported are unanswerable. Yet no one among our politicians or ethical writers has openly adopted these principles as a guide for conduct in legislation, or has even seen to what they inevitably lead. Stranger still, neither Mr. Kidd nor Herbert Spencer followed out their own principle to its logical conclusion, which is, the absolute condemnation of unequal inheritance. Herbert Spencer even declares himself in favour of inheritance as a necessary corollary of the right of property rightfully acquired; and he devotes a chapter to “The Rights of Gift and Bequest." But he apparently did not see, and did not discuss the effect of this in neutralizing his “law of social justice," which it does absolutely. I have myself fully shown this in a chapter on “True Individualism : the Essential Preliminary of a Real Social Advance" in my “Studies Scientific and Social.”
It is in consequence of not going to the root of the matter, and not following an admitted principle to its logical
conclusion, that the idea prevails that it is only the misuse of wealth that produces evil results. But a little consideration will show us that it is the inheritance of wealth that is wrong in itself, and that it necessarily produces evil. For if it is right, it implies that inequality of opportunity is right, and that "the law of social justice" as laid down by Herbert Spencer is not a just law. It implies that it is right for one set of individuals, thousands or millions in number, to be able to pass their whole lives without contributing anything to the well-being of the community of which they form a part, but on the contrary keeping hundreds, or perhaps thousands, of their fellow men and women wholly engaged in ministering to their wants, their luxuries, and their amusements. Taken as a whole, the people who thus live are no better in their nature-physical, moral, or intellectual—than other thousands who, having received no such inheritance of accumulated wealth, spend their whole lives in labour, often under exhausting, unhealthy, and life-shortening conditions, to produce the luxuries and enjoyments of others, but of which they themselves rarely or more often never partake. Even leaving out of consideration the absolute vices due to wealth on the one hand and to poverty on the other, and supposing both classes to pass fairly moral lives, who can doubt that hoth are injured morally, and that both are actually, though often unconsciously, the causes of ever-widening spheres of demoralization around them? If there is one set of people who are tempted by their necessities to prey upon the rich, there is a perhaps more extensive class who are in the same way driven to prey upon the poor. And it is the very system that produces and encourages these terrible inequalities that has also led to the almost incredible result, that the ever-increasing power of man over the forces of nature, especially during the last hundred years, while rendering easily possible the production of all the necessaries, comforts, enjoyments, and wholesome luxuries of life for every individual, have yet, as John Stuart Mill declared, “not diminished the toil of any worker," but even, as there is ample evidence to prove, has greatly increased the total mass
of human misery and want in every civilized country in the world.
And yet our rulers and our teachers—the legislature, the press, and the pulpit alike-shut their eyes to all this terrible demoralization in our midst, while devoting all their energies to increasing our already superfluous and injurious wealthaccumulations, and in compelling other peoples, against their will, to submit to our ignorant and often disastrous rule. As the great Russian teacher has well said, “ They will do anything rather than get off the people's backs.” And we, who adopt the principles of those great thinkers whom all delight to honour-Ruskin and Spencer—and urge the adoption of
equality of opportunity"-of equal education, equal nurture, an equal start in life-for all implying the abolition of all inequality of inheritance) as the one Great Reform which will alone render all other reforms—all general social advance -possible, are either quietly ignored as idle dreamers, or openly declared to be “enemies of society."
These few remarks and ideas have been suggested to me by the life and death of Jack Mytton, and I trust that some of my readers may follow them up for the good of humanity.
It was late in the autumn of 1841 that we finally bade adieu to Kington and the wild but not very picturesque Radnorshire mountains for the more varied and interesting county of Glamorgan. I have no distinct recollection of our journey, but I believe it was by coach through Hay and Brecon to Merthyr Tydvil, and thence by chaise to Neath. One solitary example of the rhyming letters I used to write has been preserved, giving my younger brother Herbert an account of our journey, of the country, and of our work, of which, though very poor doggerel, a sample may be given. After a few references to family matters, I proceed to description.
“ From Kington to this place we came
But now of small renown,
Had tinged with mellow brown;
We reached fair Brecon town ;
A river clear and bright,
Unto my lingering sight."
We had to go to Glamorganshire to partially survey and make a corrected map of the parish of Cadoxton-juxtaNeath, which occupies the whole northern side of the Neath valley from opposite the town of Neath to the boundary of
the county at Pont-Nedd-Fychan, a distance of nearly fifteen miles, with a width varying from two to three miles, the boundary running for the most part along the crest of the mountains that bound the valley on the north-west. We lodged and boarded at a farmhouse called Bryn-coch (Red Hill), situated on a rising ground about two miles north of the town. The farmer, David Rees, a rather rough, stout Welshman, was also bailiff of the Duffryn estate. His wife could not speak a word of English, but his two daughters spoke it very well, with the pretty rather formal style of those who have first learnt it at school. Here we stayed more than a year, living plainly but very well, and enjoying the luxuries of home-made bread, fresh butter and eggs, unlimited milk and cream, with cheese made from a mixture of cow's and sheep's milk, having a special flavour, which I soon got very fond of. In this part of Wales it is the custom to milk the ewes chiefly for the purpose of making this cheese, which is very much esteemed. Another delicacy we first became acquainted with here was the true Welsh flummery, called here “sucan blawd” (steeped meal), in other places “Llumruwd” (sour sediment), whence our English word "Aummery.” It is formed of the husks of the oatmeal roughly sifted out, soaked in water till it becomes sour, then strained and boiled, when it forms a pale brown sub-gelatinous mass, usually eaten with abundance of new milk. It is a very delicious and very nourishing food, and frequently forms the supper in farmhouses. Most people get very fond of it, and there is no dish known to English cookery that is at all like it; but I believe the Scotch "sowens" is a similar or identical preparation. This dish, with thin oatmeal cakes, home-made cheese, bacon, and sometimes hung beef, with potatoes and greens, and abundance of good milk, form the usual diet of the Welsh peasantry, and is certainly a very wholesome and nourishing combination. We, however, had also two other kinds of bread, both excellent, especially when made from new wheat. One was the ordinary huge loaves of farmhouse bread, the other what was called backstone bread-large flat cakes about a foot in diameter and an inch