vincial, there is nothing of the kind. Then, in a larger way, the trait is seen in this damaging of private property by your elevated railways without making compensation; and it is again seen in the doings of railway governments, not only when overriding the rights of shareholders, but in dominating over courts of justice and State governments. The fact is, that free institutions can be properly worked only by men each of whom is jealous of his own rights, and also sympathetically jealous of the rights of others—will neither himself aggress on his neighbors, in small things or great, nor tolerate aggression on them by others. The republican form of government is the highest form of government; but because of this it requires the highest type of human nature—a type nowhere at present existing. We have not grown up to it, nor have you.
But we thought, Mr. Spencer, you were in favor of free government in the sense of relaxed restraints, and letting men and things very much alone—or what is called laissez faire?
That is a persistent misunderstanding of my opponents. Everywhere, along with the reprobation of government-intrusion into various spheres where private activities should be left to themselves, I have contended that in its special sphere, the maintenance of equitable relations among citizens, governmental action should be extended and elaborated.
To return to your various criticisms, must I then understand that you think unfavorably of our future?No one can form anything more than vague and general conclusions respecting your future. The factors are too numerous, too vast, too far beyond measure in their quantities and intensities. The world has never before seen social phenomena at all comparable with those presented in the United States. A society spreading over enormous tracts while still preserving its political continuity, is a new thing. This progressive incorporation of vast bodies of immigrants of various bloods has never occurred on such a scale before. Large empires composed of different peoples, have, in previous cases, been formed by conquest and annexation. Then your immense plexus of railways and telegraphs tends to consolidate this vast aggregate of States in a way that no such aggregate has ever before been consolidated. And there are many minor co-operating causes unlike those hitherto known. No one can say how it is all going to work out. That there will come hereafter troubles-of various kinds, and very grave ones, seems highly probable; but all nations have had, and will have, their troubles. Already you have triumphed over one great trouble, and may reasonably hope to triumph over others. It may, I think, be reasonably held that both because of its size and the heterogeneity of its components, the American nation will be a long time in evolving its ultimate form; but that its ultimate form will be high. One great result is, I think, tolerably clear. From biological truths it is to be inferred that the eventual mixture of the allied varieties of the Aryan race forming the population, will produce a more powerful type of man than has hitherto existed, and a type of man more plastic, more adaptable, more capable of undergoing the modifications needful for complete social life. I think that whatever difficulties they may have to surmount, and whatever tribulations they may have to pass through, the Americans may reasonably look forward to a time when they will have produced a civilization grander than any the world has known.
No part of the foregoing deliverance is more true than that which refers to American tolerance of interference and dictation in the lesser affairs of life. What people do, habitually illustrates character, and American character in this important respect is undoubtedly of a low type. The forms of free institutions have not engendered the sentiment of personal independence which resents encroachments and insists upon justice. The institutions are nominally free, but the citizens who grow up under them are not free in the sense of exemption from impertinent meddlings and petty tyranny.