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in the exceptional circumstances of the war, an absolute necessity, they have, in the opinion of many competent judges, justified their continuance, in some form or other, under peace conditions. It is scarcely possible to believe that they will ever again be abandoned.
If the general position of the ordinary adult labourer to-day is compared with that which he held in 1814–36, it has improved beyond comparison or recognition. Even as compared with 1872 or 1907 the improvement is striking. To-day the agricultural worker-and, it may be added, his wife-enjoy full rights of citizenship; they can make their influence felt in the government of their parish, the administration of their county, the direction of the affairs of the Empire. He is no longer isolated from his fellow-workers in remote country districts; he is, or can become, a member of an efficient organisation which extends to every county in England and Wales. He has himself received a free education, and his children are being educated free of cost to himself. His outlook has widened. He can read, and take an intelligent interest in the affairs of the world. Largely at the expense of the nation and his employer, he is insured against sickness, and can count on a pension in his old age. His industry is no longer overcrowded; it is, on the contrary, undermanned. His necessary hours of labour have been shortened by at least 15 hours a week. If he chooses, and his employer desires, he can work overtime beyond the 50 hours of summer and 48 hours of winter, at the rate of 1s. 2d. an hour. He has a half-holiday every week. As compared with 1815, his minimum wages—and his actual wages are often higher-have increased six times; as compared with 1872, or with 1907, they have been, in what were the low-paid counties, approximately trebled. Necessity no longer drives his wife and children to labour in the fields. Though the decline in the purchasing power of
has largely discounted the reality of the nominal advance in wages, there is a greater margin in his favour after providing the necessities of life. He is better housed than at any previous period in his history. That there is a shortage of cottages is true. But it is in urban and semi-urban areas, and not in agricultural
districts that the shortage of accommodation is mos serious and the over-crowding most intense. The pro portion of insanitary and defective cottages has bee greatly reduced. At the same time, his tenure of h home has been strengthened, both in respect of th length of notice to quit, and, in certain circumstance of compensation for disturbance. In a great majorit of cases, he has a garden or an allotment on which hi greater leisure may be profitably bestowed. If h chooses to apply, and can satisfy the moderate require ments of the local authority, he has a chance of a sma holding. Finally, the health conditions in which h lives are superior to those of urban populations. Th Returns of the Registrar General for 1911 and 191 prove that this superiority is maintained at all ages o childhood up to the age of 15, and at all subsequent age up to 70—with one exception. That exception is phthisi between the ages of 20 and 25, and the Registrar Genera explains it by the number of young unmarried person who return to their rural homes having contracted th disease under urban conditions.
Yet contentment has not been attained. Rumour are rife, on the one hand, that increases of wages wil be demanded in the spring, and, on the other, tha unemployment is growing and that many small farmer are on the verge of ruin. Can the industry stand further advance, or even the continuance of presen rates? The decision rests with the Wages Board, whos members are possessed of such facts and figures as ar available. If all farmers kept strict accounts, and wer able to produce evidence of the state of their business much mistrust and suspicion among workers would b removed. Even then, however, there would remain the question whether, with
efficient methods 0 management, the land might not sometimes be made to yield larger profits. A farmer has no keener or more capable critics than the men whom he employs. On the other hand, the analogy between agriculture and other industries cannot be pressed too far. There are important differences. A farm has no tally or check-weigher, no roof, no clock, no artificial light, no nerve-racking conditions of employment. On the farm there exist no means of measuring the output of labour. The land is unprotected against rain and frost; its cultivation depends on weather conditions, and for weeks together in the winter months there is not work enough to keep the staff fully employed. On a farm the men cannot be marked in and out at the beginning and end of the day, as they can be, and are, at the gate of a factory, though agricultural time-sheets might well be introduced. In a
a factory, hours of labour can be made uniform by artificial light; on the land they must, of necessity, vary. factory the working hours are a time of concentrated strain, often spent under nerve-exhausting conditions; on the land if, at certain seasons, the hours are inevitably longer, they are less exhausting, both physically and nervously. Between agricultural and industrial problems there are essential differences which are necessarily reflected in rates of wages.
The future of the industry depends on the good sense and moderation of the organised bodies of employers and employed.
Art. 4.-BENEDETTO CROCE AS LITERARY CRITIC.
1. Estetica, come scienza dell'espressione e linguistica generale. Teoria e Storia (4ta Ediz., riveduta), da B.
Croce. Bari: Laterza, 1912. 2. La Critica. Rivista di Letteratura, Storia e Filosofia
diretta da B. Croce (1903–1920). Bari': Laterza (pub
lished bi-monthly). 3. La Critica Letteraria, questioni teoriche, da B. Croce.
Roma: Loescher, 1896. 4. Letteratura e Critica della Letteratura contemporanea
in Italia-Due Saggi, da B. Croce. Bari : Laterza, 1908. ALTHOUGH the name of Benedetto Croce is probably by this time familiar to all English students of philosophy as that of one of the most vigorous and original of living thinkers, there is perhaps one aspect of his genius which has been as yet scarcely sufficiently appreciated in this country. We refer to his activities as a literary critic. Croce is an example of one of those rarest of all raræ aves, a theoriser possessing at once the ability, the courage, and, we may add, the leisure to apply his own theories in practice; and, by the success with which he has for years been accomplishing this feat in the pages of his own monthly periodical · La Critica,' it may safely be said that he greatly increases the claim of the principles he there adopts to be accepted as true. For we are all pragmatists enough amid the chaos of 'isms, among which it is at present our fate to live, to prefer a theory which experience has shown will work to one that is either too exaltedly ideal to endure being put to practical proof, or else breaks down at once when thus tested.
No one who has had frequent occasion to study the theories of philosophers upon Art and the productions of the so-called art-critics, can have failed to observe the mutual contempt in which these two classes of writers generally hold one another. Nor is this surprising. The philosopher's world is the abstract; the world of art is the concrete. The philosophers, even if they would, have not often the time to appreciate works of art at first hand, much less the ability themselves to create them; whereas the artist and the virtuoso in artcriticism rarely find the energy, even if they possess
which is unusual—the intellectual equipment, required to grapple seriously with abstract ideas. Coleridge is perhaps the only English critic on record–for Shelley was too much the poet-who united the highest speculative with the highest artistic abilities; yet, as is well known, he lacked the systematising spirit required to co-ordinate logically the fruits of his philosophic reflexion -a defect which also characterised the mind of Plato. It is one of the main principles of the Crocean Æsthetic that 'the judicial activity which criticises and recognises the beautiful is identical with the artistic activity which produces it. In other words, Taste and Imagination are one. If this be so—and let it for the moment be admitted -then in Benedetto Croce we undoubtedly find united, as it were, two personalities, the artist and the philosopher.
It is interesting to note that, biographically speaking, the artist in Croce came first in time, just as in his philosophy we are taught that the artist must come first logically. In 1896, when he was thirty years old, long before he had formulated his own system of philosophy, he published an
essay under the title · La Critica Letteraria,' in which the reader already perceives the mature critic and man of letters. In the former capacity Croce apparently looked upon himself at that time as little more than a pupil of de Sanctis, whom he regarded with an affectionate enthusiasm ; and what he seems at first to have contemplated was simply a reduction to systematic form of the dicta on art and the pregnant æsthetic judgments scattered in profusion through the works of that famous critic and historian of literature. The same essay, however, records its author's admiration of the 18th-century Italian philosopher Giambattista Vico, whose reputation as one of the most original thinkers known to history Croce has subsequently done so much to vindicate. It was from Vico that he derived the most characteristic feature of his own philosophy, just as it was de Sanctis who laid down for him the main lines of his critical theory. Croce concluded this early essay by demanding that a book should be written advocating, on the one hand, the banishment from art-criticism of a whole series of irrelevant concepts, the retainment of which merely creates confusion ; on the other, the liberation of the two notions, Art and the Beautiful, from the