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JULY, 1924

LAW AND MANNERS

BY THE RIGHT HONORABLE LORD MOULTON

(A word of explanation seems desirable

Human Action. First comes the do

record, by an accurate reporter, of an upon us which must be obeyed. Next impromptu speech made by Lord comes the domain of Free Choice, Moulton at the Authors' Club in which includes all those actions as to London some years before his death. which we claim and enjoy complete Because of its pertinent interest for freedom. But between these two there present-day Americans, we count our is a third large and important domain selves fortunate to be able to print it in which there rules neither Positive in the Atlantic at this time.

Law nor Absolute Freedom. In that John Fletcher Moulton, first Baron, domain there is no law which inexoraMinister of Munitions for Great Britain bly determines our course of action, at the outbreak of the war, a noted and yet we feel that we are not free to Judge, a great Parliamentarian and choose as we would. The degree of this administrator, may be fittingly intro- sense of a lack of complete freedom in duced to Atlantic readers in the words this domain varies in every case. It of the Lord Chancellor before the grades from a consciousness of a Duty House of Lords at the time of Lord nearly as strong as Positive Law, to Moulton's death in 1921:—

a feeling that the matter is all but 'I choose my words carefully when I a question of personal choice. Some say that I greatly doubt whether it might wish to parcel out this domain would have been possible for the war into separate countries, calling one, for to have been brought to a successful instance, the domain of Duty, another conclusion when it was, but for the the domain of Public Spirit, another part Lord Moulton took in it. I hope the domain of Good Form; but I prefer the country will not soon forget the to look at it as all one domain, for it extraordinary work of this most has one and the same characteristic remarkable man, whose memory his throughout - it is the domain of colleagues will long cherish.')

Obedience to the Unenforceable. The

obedience is the obedience of a man to In order to explain this extraordinary that which he cannot be forced to obey. title I must ask you to follow me in He is the enforcer of the law upon examining the three great domains of himself. FOL. 154-NO. 1

One of the reasons why I have chosen of a country start there. It covers a this as the subject on which to speak is precious land where the actions of men that I have spent my life as a com- are not only such as they choose, but missioner for delimiting the frontier have a right to claim freedom even line which divides this domain from the from criticism. Men must keep safely realm of Positive Law. I have had to guarded this right to follow the bent of decide so frequently whether Law their nature in proper cases and act as could say, 'You must,' or regretfully to they would without anyone having the say, 'I must leave it to you. This is right to utter a word of dictation or the land in which all those whom the command. This country forms the Law cannot reach take refuge. It other frontier of the domain of Manners might be thought from such a descrip- and delimits it on the side farthest tion that I wished to annex that coun- away from that of Positive Law. try and bring it under the rule of Posi- The dangers that threaten the maintive Law. That is not the case. The tenance of this domain of Manners infinite variety of circumstances sur- arise from its situation between the rounding the individual and rightly region of Absolute Choice and the influencing his action make it impossi- region of Positive Law. There are ble to subject him in all things to rules countless supporters of the movements rigidly prescribed and duly enforced. to enlarge the sphere of Positive Law. Thus there was wisely left the interme- In many countries — especially in the diate domain which, so far as Positive younger nations — there is a tendency Law is concerned, is a land of freedom to make laws to regulate everything. of action, but in which the individual On the other hand, there is a growing should feel that he was not wholly free. tendency to treat matters that are not This country which lies between Law regulated by Positive Law as being and Free Choice I always think of matters of Absolute Choice. Both as the domain of Manners. To me, these movements are encroachments on Manners in this broad sense signifies the middle land, and to my mind the the doing that which you should do real greatness of a nation, its true although you are not obliged to do it. civilization, is measured by the extent I do not wish to call it Duty, for that of this land of Obedience to the Unis too narrow to describe it, nor would enforceable. It measures the extent to I call it Morals for the same reason. which the nation trusts its citizens, and It might include both, but it extends its existence and area testify to the way beyond them. It covers all cases of they behave in response to that trust. right doing where there is no one to Mere obedience to Law does not make you do it but yourself.

measure the greatness of a Nation. It All these three domains are essential can easily be obtained by a strong to the properly organized life of the executive, and most easily of all from a individual, and one must be on one's timorous people. Nor is the licence of guard against thinking that any of behavior which so often accompanies them can safely be encroached upon. the absence of Law, and which is misThat Law must exist needs no argu- called Liberty, a proof of greatness. ment. But, on the other hand, the do- The true test is the extent to which the main of Free Choice should be dear to individuals composing the nation can all. This is where spontaneity, original. be trusted to obey self-imposed law. ity, and energy are born. The great In the changes that are taking place movements which make the history in the world around us, one of those

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which is fraught with grave peril is the those things which are of a kind fit to discredit into which this idea of the be regulated by Government. We do middle land is falling. I will give two not admit, for instance, the right of the examples. First, I will take freedom of majority to decide whom we should debate in the houses of legislature such marry or what should be our religion. as our own House of Commons. For These are but types of a vast number centuries the members had unrestricted of matters of great interest in life which freedom of debate, and no inconven- we hold to be outside the decision of a ience was felt. But in recent times some majority, and which are for the individmembers of this House have said to ual alone to decide. But in form the themselves: “We have unrestricted power of a Government has no restricfreedom of debate. We will use it so as tions. It has the power to do everyto destroy debate. The absence of im- thing, and too often it forgets that this posed restriction enables us to do it.' limitless power does not leave the scope This obstruction was developed, and it of its legislation a matter of absolute has destroyed freedom of debate, and, choice on its part, but a choice fettered indeed, all useful debate in practically by a duty to act according to the trust every legislature. The freedom due to reposed in it, and to abstain from absence of positive restriction has been legislating in matters where legislation treated by the individual members as is not truly within its province. And leaving their use of debate a matter of what is true as to the scope of legislaAbsolute Choice, fettered with no duty tion is also true to a great extent as to that they were bound to regard. They the nature of that legislation. But shut their eyes to the fact that the there is a widespread tendency to refreedom was given to them in trust to gard the fact that they can do a thing help forward debate, and that it was as meaning that they may do it. There

and even mischievous regulations have necessarily been introduced which fetter debate but prevent its being absolutely stifled. The old freedom cannot now be entrusted to the members, because when they possessed it they did not respond to it by the exercise of that moral sense which would have led them to treat it as a trust, and not as an absolute possession, unburdened by obligations which they should compel themselves to regard.

It is not only the conduct of individual members of the legislature that furnishes an illustration. The conduct of the legislatures themselves furnishes an equally striking one. It is the fundamental principle of democracies to bow to the decision of the majority. But in accepting this we do not surrender ourselves to the rule of the majority in all things, but only in

Between ‘can do' and 'may do' ought to exist the whole realm which recognizes the sway of duty, fairness, sympathy, taste, and all the other things that make life beautiful and society possible. It is this confusion between 'can do' and 'may do' which makes me fear at times lest in the future the worst tyranny will be found in democracies. Interests which are not strongly represented in parliament may be treated as though they had no rights by Governments who think that the power and the will to legislate amount to a justification of that legislation. Such a principle would be death to liberty. No part of our life would be secure from interference from without. If I were asked to define tyranny, I would say it was yielding to the lust of governing. It is only when Governments feel it an honorable duty not to

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step beyond that which was in reality, to its knees. It is a proof of the extent and not only in form, put into their to which the sense of Duty ran in the hands that the world will know what nation, even at a time of such excitetrue Freedom is.

ment, that this cry was not heeded, and The tendency of modern legislation that we came out of the crisis with little is to extend the area ruled by Positive harm beyond some labor legislation Law, and to diminish the area of action which will probably have to be modified which is determined by the decision of many, many times before it comes into the individual himself. But there is one working order — a very light price to great example in the opposite direction. pay for the experience. In one instance the People have delib- I am not afraid to trust people — my erately chosen to carve a domain out of fear is that people will not see that trust that previously covered by Positive is being reposed in them. Hence I have Law and to throw it into the domain no wish that Positive Law should annex where the individual can determine for this intermediate country. On the himself his course of action. Take the contrary, I dread it. Instead of the iron legislation relating to Trades-Unions rule of law being thrown over it I and Trade Disputes. Limitations on would rather see it well policed by the the power of combination have been inhabitants. I am too well acquainted swept away, and to a great extent that with the inadequacy of the formal which was previously marked out language of statutes to prefer them to by Law is now in the hands of the the living action of public and private individuals themselves.

sense of Duty. I am far from suggesting that this The great principle of Obedience to was a retrograde step, but to my mind the Unenforceable is no mere ideal, but the question whether it is dangerous, in some form or other it is strong in the and whether it may and will become hearts of all except the most depraved. disastrous, depends on whether the If you wish to know how strong, remasters of workmen who gained this member the account of the Titanic freedom of action, not allowed them by disaster. The men were gentlemen to the Common Law, look upon the the edge of death. 'Ladies first.' Why change as justifying their treating the was that? Law did not require it. matters to which it relates as belonging Force could not have compelled it in to the realm of Absolute Choice, or the face of almost certain death. It was whether as belonging to the realm merely a piece of good Manners in the where, though not restrained by Posi- sense in which I have used the phrase. tive Law, they yet recognize the duty of The feeling of obedience to the Unenobedience to the Unenforceable. Do forceable was so strong that at that terthey recognize that the increase of their rible moment all behaved as, if they freedom of action brings with it not could look back, they would wish to unfettered choice but the corresponding have behaved. I have no fear of its responsibility of using that freedom? strength, whatever be the class apThat many have failed to realize that pealed to. Even if one takes the least this is the true effect of the change has educated, — the so-called lower classes, already been made too clear. At the of whom so many are afraid, - one time of the general coal-strike many would find the same loyal obedience to voices were heard which in a tone unenforceable obligation in the relahitherto unknown to us cried: 'We can tionships with which these classes are by a universal strike bring the nation familiar. The danger lies in that by the growth of the democratic spirit duty. It is wiser to exercise patience they have newly come into much larger and let them alone till increase of expowers, and they have not yet learned perience in life teaches them to apthat power has its duties as well as its preciate better their true position, and rights. When they have become famil- to feel that it is still needful for them iar with these powers, and when inter- to see for themselves that they behave course with those who have a wider as worthy men should do. outlook has taught them that the do- Now I can tell you why I chose the main of obligation includes them in title 'Law and Manners.' It must be their use of them, I am satisfied that evident to you that Manners must inthose who have been loyal to duty in clude all things which a man should imthe smaller lives that they have led will pose upon himself, from duty to good be loyal in the wider fields in which taste. I have borne in mind the great they are now able to exercise their motto of William of Wykeham - Manpower. It is this faith that makes me ners makyth Man. It is in this sense -dread lest we should hurriedly let loyalty to the rule of Obedience to the Positive Law come in and check the Unenforceable, throughout the whole growth of self-reliance, check the realm of personal action — that we growth of the sense of personal duty, should use the word ‘Manners' if we and lead people to feel that, if they would truly say that ‘Manners makyth obey the Law, they have done all their Man.'

A COAL MINER'S JOURNAL

BY EDWARD A. WIECK

The recorder of this journal has worked in the coal mines for twenty-one years, particularly in the Illinois and Washington fields. He has tramped through the entire central bituminous field,' Montana, the anthracite, and West Virginia, and for the past decade has attended the contentions of the miners' organizations, thus acquiring an intimate acquaintanceship with

Oct. 22, 1923. – I was elected on the men. He said he would give the men Pit Committee along with Gumme and what the contract called for. We told 'Bad-Eye.' The old committee had him if he did that, there would be no been deposed by the Joint Board for trouble between us, and went on into having shut the mine down contrary to the mine to work. I don't think anythe contract.

body was fooled by this exchange of Went to C- (the mine manager) courtesies. this morning and told him of our elec- Oct. 24. — Check 140 claimed he was tion. We further told him that we did being discriminated against by the not want him to make any cases, and driver in the matter of the turn in his expected him to settle disputes with the entry. The full committee heard his

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