obscurantism; and another will say in his bitterness
that the new world is the abode of two other evil
spirits—nationalism and commercialism.
One thing is perhaps certain. We cannot, as far
as human sight can discern, ever hope to reconstruct
unity on the old basis of the Christian commonwealth
of the Middle Ages. Yet need is upon us still—need
urgent and importunate—to find some unity
of the spirit in which we can all dwell together in
peace. Some have hoped for unity in the sphere
of economics, and have thought that international
finance and commerce would build the foundations of
an international polity. Their hopes have had
to sleep, and a year of war has shown that ‘a
synchronized bank-rate and reacting bourses’
imply no further unity. Some again may hope for
unity in the field of science, and may trust that
the collaboration of the nations in the building of
the common house of knowledge will lead to co-operation
in the building of a greater mansion for the common
society of civilized mankind. But nationalism
can pervert even knowledge to its own ends, turning
anthropology to politics, and chemistry to war.
There remains a last hope—the hope of a
common ethical unity, which, as moral convictions
slowly settle into law, may gradually grow concrete
in a common public law of the world. Even this
hope can only be modest, but it is perhaps the wisest
and the surest of all our hopes. Idem scire
is a good thing; but men of all nations may know the
same thing, and yet remain strangers one to another.
Idem velle idem nolle in re publica, ea demum firma
. The nations will at last attain
firm friendship one with another in the day when a
common moral will controls the scope of public things.
And when they have attained this friendship, then on
a far higher level of economic development and with
an improvement by each nation of its talent which
is almost entirely new—they will have found
again, if in a different medium, something of the unity
of mediaeval civilization.
W.J. Ashley, An Introduction to English Economic
History, vol. i, pt. 2, ch. 3; vol. i, pt. 2,
ch. 6. Longmans.
Lord Bryce, The Holy Roman Empire. Macmillan.
A.J. and R.W. Carlyle, Mediaeval Political
Theory in the West. W.
H.W.C. Davis, Mediaeval Europe (Home University
Library). Williams &
Encyclopaedia Britannica (11th edition), articles
on ‘Crusades’ and ‘Empire’.
J.N. Figgis, Churches in the Modern State,
Appendix I. Longmans.
Bede Jarrett; Socialist Theories in the Middle
Ages. T.C. and E.C.
E. Jenks, Law and Politics in the Middle Ages.
F.W. Maitland, Political Theories of the Middle
Ages, translated from
Gierke’s Das Deutsche Genossenschaftsrecht.