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EDITED BY ALLEN THORNDIKE RICE.
Tros Tyriusque mihi nullo discrimine agetur.
NORTH AMERICAN REVIEW.
DYNAMITE AS A FACTOR IN CIVILIZATION.
ATTEMPTS to subvert existing institutions by violence have been sufficiently frequent in the past to afford some basis for judging as to their course and issue; and the use in our time of the new and mighty enginery of destruction which modern science has furnished is not new in its spirit, or aim, or probable results. The sources of the danger which now threatens are not new, and are not in the dynamite itself. It is not in the weapon, but in the hands which use it; and not in these, but in the hearts which direct them that the real peril is to be found. The choices of men are the root of the whole trouble ; and its future bearings will only be seen in the motives hereafter most likely to prevail in human purposes.
It is quite clear at the outset-human nature remaining as it is that political problems are not likely to be solved by force and fear alone. This can be said without any loss of the potency which these agencies undoubtedly exercise. There is a sphere of human life in which force reigns as manifestly as in any de. partment of nature. A man feels pain and fears it—a feeling and a fear not lessened, but rather increased, by increasing intelligence. The superior intelligence which gives a man more skill to shun danger makes him also more keenly sensitive to VOL. CXXXVII.NO. 320.
its presence. A man takes precautions against perils which give an animal no' concern. A civilized man apprehends dangers which the savage never sees. Hence the application of force and the apprehension of danger are not likely to lose their influence on human conduct in the coming civilization.
When, however, force is employed there is resistance. Force meets force. Its use by a government to put down opposition, or by an opposition to overthrow a government, meets a counteracting force in an issue which can only be decided by the greater. But when the greater force has triumphed, it is not thereby dominant. “Force and right,” says Joubert, "rule all things in the world; force before right arrives”; but right has already arrived when men have come. It is ever present, and with an authority which does not come from fear. It springs from a source altogether different from hope, or fear, or pleasure, or pain. Its original place, from which no force can drive it, is a throne. It directs human conduct by authoritative precept and not by a craving-a distinction as broad as exists between the heavens and the earth. Whatever individual men may say or do, however often and darkly wrong may take the place of right in the conduct of men, mankind is wiser than any man; and in all human speech, in institutions and laws, in the procedure of courts and of governments, and even in the instincts of what Homer* calls the homelessness and lawlessness of savage life, there is never wanting the witness of this supreme presence, which rules in all states, and claims ascendancy in all souls, and which, in some way, does contrive to get the mastery over force and fear.
We may, therefore, safely anticipate that what has been in this respect will continue to be. The future does not threaten the race with a continued reign of violence and terror. That principle of authority in every soul, which is, says Richard Hooker, t “laid up in the bosom of God," which commands, says Cicero, f "what ought to be done,” which declares, says Demosthenes, |"what is just and honorable," and whose utterances, says Sophocles, $ " are not of to-day, nor of yesterday, and no man can tell when they came," is able to secure the supremacy it claims. It may make force and fear its ministers,
but will never take them as its masters. These, therefore, can exercise no permanent constraint or terror as instruments of evil. It is only when the right rules them that they are able to rule, in which case their rule need not be dreaded. When force and fear are used unrighteously, be it by an unrighteous government or an unrighteous opposition to government, their agents are sure to incur the doom of their victims.
Again, we may confidently anticipate that, whatever governments may be overthrown in the future, government itself will not cease. Neither universal anarchy, nor universal license for the individual is a future probability. Individuals may destroy themselves, but society will not commit suicide. Men are connected together in the organic interdependence of the state, not because they need each other's protection, or desire the pleasure of one another's presence, or have chosen the obligation of mutual agreement and fellowship, but because they are men only as they are members of society; they are born into the state as they are born into their manhood, and they can no more dissever themselves from those obligations to one another of which civil government is only the embodiment and the expression, than they can break away from human nature itself.
Advancing civilization neither weakens the power nor diminishes the necessity of civil government. It rather increases these. The civilized man has more government than the savage. Indeed, it is the lawlessness of the savage which makes him a savage, and civilization is truly, as the word implies literally, the reign of the state. Government is needed not merely because men are unwilling to be governed. The need is quite as much in the ignorance of men. In the most highly enlightened community, human actions become so complex, human relations are interwoven in such unnumbered combinations, that confusion becomes inextricable without government. Let one note the infinite complications which arise, and the adjustments which become necessary from the introduction of any one of the great inventions or institutions which our modern life employs,—e.g., the steam-engine, telegraphy, banking,—if he would see the constant need of governmental guidance to secure justice and preserve order and peace. The attempted application of anarchical theories, therefore, to the civilized world will find itself hindered quite as much by a popular instinct as by governmental resistance.