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ART. III.-A MODERN UTOPIA.
1. The Republic of Plato. Translated into English by JOHN LLEWELYN DAVIES and DAVID JAMES VAUGHAN. Cambridge: Macmillan. 1852.
2. Utopia. By SIR THOMAS MORE. Louvain, 1516. Translated into English by Ralph Robinson. London: Vele. 1551: and reprinted by Edward Arber, F.S.A. London: Southgate. 1859.
3. New Atlantis. By FRANCIS BACON, Viscount St. Albans. London, 1627. Reprinted by J. A. Saint John. London. 1836.
4. Civitas Solis.
By TOMMASO CAMPANELLA.
Frankfort, 1623. Translated into English by Thomas W. Halliday. London: Routledge. 1885.
5. Oceana. By JAMES HARRINGTON. London. 1656. 6. Voyage en Icarie. By ETIENNE CABET. Paris. 1840. 7. Looking Backward. By EDWARD BELLAMY. Boston (Mass.) 1888. London: Reeves. 1889.
8. News from Nowhere. By WILLIAM MORRIS. Boston (Mass.) 1890. London: Reeves. 1891 .
9. A Traveller from Altruria. By WILLIAM DEAN HOWells. Edinburgh: Douglas. 1894.
10. Anticipations. By H. G. WELLS. London: Chapman & Hall. 1902 .
11. The Discovery of the Future. By H. G. WELLS. London: Unwin. 1902.
12. Mankind in the Making. By H. G. WELLS.
Chapman & Hall. 1903.
13. A Modern Utopia. By H. G. WELLS. London: Chapman & Hall.
IT was said by a wit no longer among us, that our maps of the world are of little use, for they all omit the country of Utopia, where Humanity is for ever landing. Certainly that voyage has been often made, and crowds have listened eagerly to every tale of it; but there are always many of the contrary opinion. In Utopia there is generally too much poetry for the practical man, and too much prose for the poetically minded. Women are apt to find there much that is tedious, and some notions that are
intolerably masculine. In a woman's ideal city there will never be anyone to propose a community of nurseries; the town clerk may, perhaps, order the universal dinner, the medical officer may conceivably design the statutory dress but any attempt by the local authority to take over all children from the month will certainly be resisted at the barricades.
Alone then, as a rule, the male traveller embarks for these islands; and though he too finds difficulties and disappointments in plenty, yet he is more than compensated by the hopefulness he learns there, and by the intimacy of those who conduct him with so much courage and so endearing a simplicity. For all the great explorers of Utopia have had the charm of earnestness; they write in many styles, not always of the best; they are sometimes prolix, sometimes unduly brief; one is dull and another witty; but they are all alike self-forgetful and intent upon the matter in hand. It is a great matter too; their faith is involved, and in the service of the cause, as they conceive it, they have acquired something of the highmindedness of the Utopians, something of the manners of the future.
It is greatly to be hoped that this may be as true in coming times as in the past; for however thoroughly we may have explored the world as it is, there can never be an end of voyaging in the world as it is to be. In every new generation, that is, in every generation of thought, man will need a fresh Utopia. In our own time no less than three notable ones have been discovered; two of them almost simultaneously, by Edward Bellamy and William Morris. The last of the three was described by Mr. W. D. Howells, more than ten years ago, and we have the Wanderlust' upon us again. But in these ten years we have grown a good deal, and it is no narrow island, no hurried visit, that will satisfy us now. Happily Mr. Wells, who offers to conduct us, is aware of this; he promises nothing less than a new world, and he is prepared to spend more time and trouble upon the journey than any guide since Plato.
Let us say at once that we are glad to have fallen into such good hands. Mr. Wells has all the necessary qualifications for his task, though he cannot be said to have them all in the same degree; he falls short of one of his predecessors in this excellence, and of another in that, yet in some respects he is undoubtedly first, and in none does he fail so completely as each of them has somewhere failed. In the logical completeness of his survey he easily surpasses
them all, including the Athenian father of the rest. In other respects he is as good a Platonist as need be; he could not be more severe with Aristotle if he had been a Balliol scholar and kept his diary in Greek. It is clear that by some, at any rate, the most pellucid air' of antiquity may be effectively breathed in a translation, and we hope Mr. Wells's example will be widely followed. From Plato he has borrowed some notable ideas, including the institution of a ruling class of Guardians;' but it must be added that even in this borrowing he has shown marked originality, and that he rather resembles than follows his greatest master in the width and clearness of his view and the fervour of his intellectual temperament. As a writer of English he lacks the certain touch of More or of Morris, and he is not studious to charm the ear; he has nothing like the memorable quaintness of Bacon or the ordered eloquence of Harrington. But he is superior to the rest, and as his style is the true child of himself and his subject, and is still of an age to learn, he may yet rival those whom he will certainly never imitate. He does not attempt, like Cabet and Bellamy, to carve an elaborate frame of narrative for his theories; but he surpasses all his predecessors except Plato in the ingenuity with which he contrives to throw upon his work the changing light of different personalities. If he knows little of the artistic passion which gave us News from Nowhere,' he has another quality in which Morris was deficient, a sly humour worthy at times of the author of Utopia' himself; a' wittie subtiltie' for those who think with him, and here and there in a footnote 'a privie 'nippe for them that do otherwise.' It is a pity that he has not More's freedom from professional bias or class prejudice, but he has much of Bacon's fervent belief in science and its effect on human life, with some of Mr. Howells's deeper enthusiasm for experiment in service and self-sacrifice.
Above all-and this is a point of much interest to us, though possibly of very little to himself-Mr. Wells is a pure-brained Anglo-Saxon, an Englishman from the bottom of his soul to the tip of his pen. Even when he is rebuking us for our shortcomings he is often himself exemplifying one or another of our most evident foibles. Artistic feeling is only too likely to be classed by him with undesirable weaknesses; and while he proclaims somewhat positively that the formulæ and organisation' of Protestantism' wax 'old like a garment' he himself reproduces all that moral austerity that touch of contempt for the unsubstantial
æsthetic' by which it has 'played a noble part in the history ' of the world;' so that rulers must be forbidden 'the religion of dramatically lit altars, organ music, and incense,' as indulgences too dangerous even in a social order which allows 'group-marriages' and all kinds of terminable unions. Other inborn prejudices there are which Mr. Wells has creditably subdued, though they were confessedly part of his inheritance; he has but lately schooled himself to bear the idea of equal fellowship with the black and yellow races in the world of the future; he is still intolerant nearer home, and would take a short way with the whole of the idle, drunken and criminal classes. He has, in fact, all our national Puritanism; his noble rulers are to be as athletic as the Alpine Club and more ascetic than John Milton, for they will do their annual climbing without guides, and as for the delights of wine and other small pleasures' they must spare to interpose them altogether. War Mr. Wells intends mankind to do without; but it is only three years ago that he took a very healthy and intelligent interest in it, and there remains in his fine conception of the 'Samurai or Governing Order a striking survival of the chivalrous spirit of our ancestors. We have said enough to show that a typical combination of stern common sense and glowing idealism, of an exacting love of truth and a profound religious instinct, gives at least a fair prospect to those who are willing to embark with him; from Sir Thomas More downward, men of English blood have excelled all others as Utopists, and they have done so in virtue of the character and traditions which Mr. Wells possesses in common with them.
In one respect, however, he stands entirely apart. He is not only of our race but of our generation, the age of science, patient, tentative, and universal. It was by no sudden and confident descent that he reached Utopia, but only at the fourth attempt. We should lose much if we took no account of his preliminary voyages. These began in 1902 with the publication of his volume of Anticipations,' an original and very interesting forecast of probable developements during the coming century. He begins by dissociating himself, upon the first page, from those whose object or method has been to declaim against tendencies rather than to observe them. He avoids the form of fiction and resists 'provocation of the satirical opportunity '-except on one occasion, when he relapses so far as to caricature Mr. Gladstone and another present-day statesman. On the whole, however, he is true to his resolution and to his character
of Utopist-in-the-making; for satires are not ideals, and even Butler's Erewhon,' even the matchless Travels of 'Gulliver,' cannot claim a place among Utopias. The 'Anticipations' begin characteristically with a chapter on Locomotion in the Twentieth Century. Railways, improved railways, elevated railways, railways without rails, motor cars and more motor cars, motor cars for the million, motor cars on specialised high-speed roads' with guide-rails-a discourse on these, with a footnote on the coming invention ' of flying,' could not fail to captivate an English audience at the outset. These things are, however, as the author says, only the background and the fittings-the scene before the play. The play itself begins when we come to trace the results of all this more rapid and easy locomotion. The 'general distribution of population in a country must always 'be directly dependent on transport facilities. And again, 'the determining factor in the appearance of great cities in the past, and indeed up to the present day, has been 'the meeting of two or more transit lines, the confluence of "two or more streams of trade, and easy communication.' These are facts, and old facts, but when Mr. Wells touches them they become premisses, causes, fertile seeds of change. The centripetal influences which have made every great town into a kind of irresistible whirlpool are now about to lose their power; the tendency is towards centrifugal movement and the segregation of groups, drawn together by similarity of beliefs and tastes, and by antipathy, it might be added, to other groups with other beliefs and tastes. So there will be in an England which Mr. Wells draws with some picturesqueness, cottage suburbs, villa suburbs, manorial suburbs, smart, smug, gardening, golfing, racing and rowing suburbs, specialised beyond our present experience and dotted all over the country between the cathedral towns and other old centres. Little is said of segregation on the deeper grounds; but we gather that the Protestant will no longer sit down with the priest, nor the young Radical play tennis with the Primrose Dame; only birds of the same feather will be found roosting in the same tree. Certain 'Social Reactions' will result. One of the new classes which are fast superseding the old order of 'gentle and simple' is the shareholding class,' a body of irresponsible independent and wealthy people, who feel the urgency of no exertion the pressure of no specific positive duties. It is a class by nature unfitted for co-operative defensive action, but in default of some modifying social force it is certain, Mr. Wells