And the Brehon laws forbade men to wear brooches so long as to project and be dangerous to those passing near. In Scotland, a statute enacted that women should not come to Kirk or market with their faces covered, and that they should dress according to their estate. In the City of London, in the thirteenth century, women were not allowed to wear, in the highway or the market, a hood furred with other than lamb-skin or rabbit-skin. In the Middle Ages, it was not infrequent to compel prostitutes to wear a particular dress, so that they might not be mistaken for other women.
And this [ 32 ] was the law in the City of London, as appears from records of and The views and objects of English legislators as to the general subject of dress, however preposterous in our eyes, were grave and serious enough. They were so confident of their ground that it was recited that "wearing inordinate and excessive apparel was a displeasure to God, was an impoverishing of the realm and enriching other strange realms and countries, to the final destruction of the husbandry of the realm, and leading to robberies.
The Statute of Diet and Apparel in , and the later statutes, minutely fixed the proper dress for all classes according to their estate, and the price they were to pay; handicraftsmen were not to wear clothes above forty shillings, and their families were not to wear silk or velvet. And so with gentlemen and esquires, merchants, knights and clergy, according to graduations. Ploughmen were to wear a blanket and a linen girdle.
No female belonging to the family of a servant in husbandry was to wear a girdle garnished with silver. Every person beneath a lord was to wear a jacket reaching to his knees, and none but a lord was to wear pikes to his shoes exceeding two inches.
Nobody but a member of the royal family was to wear cloth of gold or purple silk, and none under a knight to wear velvet, damask or satin, or foreign wool, or fur of sable. It is true, notwithstanding all these restrictions, that a license of the king enabled the licensee to wear anything. For one whose income was under twenty pounds, to wear silk in his night-cap was to incur three months' imprisonment or a fine of ten pounds a day. And all above the age of six, except ladies and gentlemen, were bound to wear on the Sabbath day a cap of knitted wool.
These statutes of apparel were not repealed till the reign of James I. Sometimes, though rarely, a legislature has gone the length of suddenly compelling an entire change of dress among a people, for reasons at the time thought urgent. In China a law was passed to compel the Tartars to wear Chinese clothes, and to compel the Chinese to cut their hair, with a view to unite the two races. And it was said there were many who preferred martyrdom to obedience. So late as , a statute was passed to punish with six months' imprisonment, and on a second offense with seven years' transportation, the Scottish Highlanders, men or boys, who wore their national costume or a tartan plaid, it being conceived to be closely associated with a rebellious disposition.
After thirty-six years the statute was repealed. While the act was in force it was evaded by people carrying their clothes in a bag over their shoulders.
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The prohibition was hateful to all, as impeding their agility in scaling the craggy steeps of their native fastnesses. In the punishment assigned by the act of was changed into compulsory service in the army. Plato says it is one of the unwritten laws of nature that a man shall not go naked into the market-place or wear woman's clothes. The Mosaic law forbade men to wear women's clothes, which was thought to be a mode of discountenancing the Assyrian rites of Venus.
The early Christians, following a passage of St. Paul 1 Cor. There was formerly rigorous punishment of persons poaching game with blackened faces. Those who hunted in forests with faces disguised were declared to be felons. And as disguises led to crime, and mummers often were pretenders, all who assumed disguise or visors as mummers, and attempted to enter houses or committed assaults in highways, were liable to be arrested and committed to prison for three months, without bail.
The Mosaic law prohibited the practice of using alhenna, or putting an indelible color on the skin, as was done on occasions of mourning, or in resemblance of the dead, or in honor of some idol. And two fashions of wearing the beard and hair were prohibited, as has been supposed, on account of idolatrous association. Even Bacon said he wondered there was no penal law against painting the face.
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The Socialists have abundantly shown that if only the wastes of production and distribution were saved, two or three hours' labor per day would produce all that we produce now. If, in addition to this saving, the land, including all the resources of nature, were opened to labor, so that all workers would use the best parts of the earth to the best advantage, wealth would be so abundant that interest would disappear.
Even now, with increased production, and notwithstanding the restrictions on the issue of money and our crazy banking system, interest is decreasing so that we find it hard to get 4 per cent. Suppose to-day the mortgages and railroad bonds, which are forms of ownership of land, were taken out of the market, what interest could we get?
Certainly not one per cent. Were the restrictions on production of the tariff, taxes on products of labor, patent monopolies, hindrances to the making of money through franchise privileges done away with, and above all were private appropriation of rent abolished, wealth would not be so abundant and so easy to obtain that it would not be worth anyone's while to keep account of what he had "lent" to another. With the disappearance, at once, of interest and of the fear of poverty the motive for accumulations of more than would be sufficient to provide against disability or old age will disappear, while such small but universal accumulations made available by a system of mutual banking will provide ample capital for all needed enterprises.
Co-operation will spring up as a labor-saving device, and the great abilities of the trust managers will be turned to public service instead of public plunder.
Henry George is wrong in thinking that the increased demand for capital due to free opportunities for labor would increase interest. If it did, it would perpetuate a form of slavery. He omits to notice that the very use of the capital would reproduce wealth and capital so much more abundantly that it would destroy the motive for accumulation. The time will come—it is even now at hand—when dollars and meals and goods will be given to those who ask these as freely as candies or water or cigars are offered to visitors.
If I am wrong in this, then I am wasting my efforts, as far as sincere efforts can be wasted. If Socialism or Anarchism is needed to insure voluntary communism of goods, then it is for Socialism or Anarchism that we should work; and for me, if I could see, I would turn from single tax to either of them as readily as I would turn down hill if I found that up hill was the wrong road. At present, hardly any one favors these views—of course, not plutocrats, because the doctrine is dangerous; not Socialists, because they think that its words turn Socialists into land reformers; nor Anarchists, because they regard compulsory payment of a fair price for the land one uses as a form of tax; not even single taxers, as yet, because they are wedded to the theory of Henry George.
My only fear, if there be room for fear, is that the new liberty and leisure will come too soon for the sordid people to make a wise use of it. Yet such a fear is like that of a man who should fear that his jaw would grind so hard as to destroy his teeth. The world is moved by one Spirit, which everlastingly adjusts action against reaction, so that all is and always must be well.
It shows that the empire consists of an approximate area of 11,, square miles, or more than one-fifth of the entire land area of the world. The population is roughly distributed as follows: In Asia, ,,; Africa, 43,,; Europe, 42,,; America, 7,,, and Australasia, 5,, The highest proportion of married persons is in India, Natal, Cyprus and Canada. The lowest is in the West Indies. Depression in the birth rate is general almost everywhere, but is most remarkable in Australasia. The proportion of insane persons in the colonies is much below that in the United Kingdom.
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Insanity is markedly decreasing in India, despite consanguineous marriages. Indeed, the theory that such marriages produce mental unsoundness is little supported by these statistics. To those who read without preconceived notions, the figures given above show how history repeats itself. The British Empire is decaying at the centre, and the census just taken proves it conclusively.
The proportion of insane in the colonies, even in poor famine-stricken India, is "much below" that in the United Kingdom.
Striking as these figures on insanity are, they convey but a part of the truth as to the real condition of the people of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, as all reference to their material well-being if we were Christians we would add and spiritual, for over one million people in these countries never heard of God is carefully omitted. Charles Booth, author of that truly great work, "Life and Labor in London," seventeen volumes, estimates that 30 per cent.
Rowntree also states that an average of one person in five, or 20 per cent.
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These statements are depressing enough as they are, but they become worse when we learn that the standard of living upon which they are based are those enjoyed—we use the word advisedly—by poor-house inmates. Think of this, ye Pharisees, Christian and otherwise, 30 per cent. These are not the idle statements of long-haired reformers or yellow journalists, but of two very estimable Christian gentlemen, both of them manufacturers and successful business men. They are different from the ordinary exploiter only in the sense of being honest and humane [ 37 ] enough to recognize that something is radically wrong with modern civilization and make an earnest attempt to remedy it.
In this connection it is worthy of note that when the proprietors of the London "Daily News" had a systematic canvas and investigation made into the housing conditions in London, some six or seven years ago, it was found that , people, one-fifth of the population, were living in violation of the law.
This was the case notwithstanding that the law says cubic feet of air space for each adult and cubic feet for each child must be provided, whereas Professor Huxley, who at one time was a physician in the East End of London, said at least cubic feet for an adult and cubic feet for a child was absolutely necessary to keep the air in a fair state of purity.