“FOR so far reaching is this curse of commercial war that no country is safe from its ravages; the traditions of a thousand years fall before it in a month; it overruns a weak or semi-barbarous country, and whatsoever romance or pleasure or art existed there is trodden down in the mire of sordidness and ugliness; the Indian or Japanese craftsman may no longer ply his craft leisurely, working a few hours a day, in producing a maze of strange beauty on a piece of cloth; a steam-engine is set a-going at Manchester, and that victory over nature and a thousand stubborn difficulties is used for the base work of producing a sort of plaster of China clay and shoddy, and the Asiatic worker, if he is not starved to death outright, as plentifully happens, is driven himself into a factory to lower the wages of his Manchester brother worker, and nothing of character is left him except, most like, an accumulation of fear and hatred of that to him unaccountable evil, his English master. The South Sea Islander must leave his canoe-carving, his sweet rest, and his graceful dances, and become a slave of a slave: trousers, shoddy, rum, missionary and fatal disease—he must swallow all this civilisation in a lump, and neither himself nor we can help him now till social order displaces the hideous tyranny of gambling that has ruined him.”1

  • 1. William Morris, “Signs of Change” p. 10.