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Title: Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects - Everyman's Library
Author: Spencer, Herbert, 1820-1903
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Essays on Education and Kindred Subjects - Everyman's Library" ***

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_EVERYMAN, I will go with thee,
and be thy guide,
In thy most need to go by thy side_


Born at Derby in 1820, the son of a teacher,
from whom he received most of his education.
Obtained employment on the London and
Birmingham Railway. After the strike of 1846
he devoted himself to journalism, and in
1848 was sub-editor of _The Economist_.

He died in 1903.


Essays on Education



_Made in Great Britain
at the
Aldine Press · Letchworth · Herts
Aldine House · Bedford Street · London
First published in Everyman's Library 1911
Last reprinted 1963_

NO. _504_


The four essays on education which Herbert Spencer published in a single
volume in 1861 were all written and separately published between 1854
and 1859. Their tone was aggressive and their proposals revolutionary;
although all the doctrines--with one important exception--had already
been vigorously preached by earlier writers on education, as Spencer
himself was at pains to point out. The doctrine which was comparatively
new ran through all four essays; but was most amply stated in the essay
first published in 1859 under the title "What Knowledge is of Most
Worth?" In this essay Spencer divided the leading kinds of human
activity into those which minister to self-preservation, those which
secure the necessaries of life, those whose end is the care of
offspring, those which make good citizens, and those which prepare
adults to enjoy nature, literature, and the fine arts; and he then
maintained that in each of these several classes, knowledge of science
was worth more than any other knowledge. He argued that everywhere
throughout creation faculties are developed through the performance of
the appropriate functions; so that it would be contrary to the whole
harmony of nature "if one kind of culture were needed for the gaining of
information, and another kind were needed as a mental gymnastic." He
then maintained that the sciences are superior in all respects to
languages as educational material; they train the memory better, and a
superior kind of memory; they cultivate the judgment, and they impart an
admirable moral and religious discipline. He concluded that "for
discipline, as well as for guidance, science is of chiefest value. In
all its effects, learning the meaning of things is better than learning
the meaning of words." He answered the question "what knowledge is of
most worth?" with the one word--science.

This doctrine was extremely repulsive to the established profession of
education in England, where Latin, Greek, and mathematics had been the
staples of education for many generations, and were believed to afford
the only suitable preparation for the learned professions, public life,
and cultivated society. In proclaiming this doctrine with ample
illustration, ingenious argument, and forcible reiteration, Spencer was
a true educational pioneer, although some of his scientific
contemporaries were really preaching similar doctrines, each in his own

The profession of teaching has long been characterised by certain
habitual convictions, which Spencer undertook to shake rudely, and even
to deride. The first of these convictions is that all education,
physical, intellectual, and moral, must be authoritative, and need take
no account of the natural wishes, tendencies, and motives of the
ignorant and undeveloped child. The second dominating conviction is that
to teach means to tell, or show, children what they ought to see,
believe, and utter. Expositions by the teacher and books are therefore
the true means of education. The third and supreme conviction is that
the method of education which produced the teacher himself and the
contemporary or earlier scholars, authors, and publicists, must be the
righteous and sufficient method. Its fruits demonstrate its soundness,
and make it sacred. Herbert Spencer, in the essays included in the
present volume, assaulted all three of these firm convictions.
Accordingly, the ideas on education which he put forth more than fifty
years ago have penetrated educational practice very slowly--particularly
in England; but they are now coming to prevail in most civilised
countries, and they will prevail more and more. Through him, the
thoughts on education of Comenius, Montaigne, Locke, Milton, Rousseau,
Pestalozzi, and other noted writers on this neglected subject are at
last winning their way into practice, with the modifications or
adaptations which the immense gains of the human race in knowledge and
power since the nineteenth century opened have shown to be wise.

For teachers and educational administrators it is interesting to observe
the steps by which Spencer's doctrines--and especially his doctrine of
the supreme value of science--have advanced towards acceptance in
practice. In general, the advance has been brought about through the
indirect effects of the enormous industrial, social, and political
changes of the last fifty years. The first practical step was the
introduction of laboratory teaching of one or more of the sciences into
the secondary schools and colleges. Chemistry and physics were the
commonest subjects selected. These two subjects had been taught from
books even earlier; but memorising science out of books is far less
useful as training than memorising grammars and vocabularies. The
characteristic discipline of science can be imparted only through the
laboratory method. The schoolmasters and college faculties who took this
step by no means admitted Spencer's contention that science should be
the universal staple at all stages of child development. On the
contrary, they believed, as most people do to-day, that the mind of the
young child cannot grasp the processes and generalisations of science,
and that science is no more universally fitted to develop mental power
than the classics or mathematics. Indeed, experience during the past
fifty years seems to have proved that fewer minds are naturally inclined
to scientific study than to linguistic or historical study; so that if
some science is to be learnt by everybody, the amount of such study
should be limited to acquiring in one or two sciences knowledge of the
scientific method in general. So much scientific training is indeed
universally desirable; because good training of the senses to observe
accurately is universally desirable, and the collecting, comparing, and
grouping of many facts teach orderliness in thinking, and lead up to
something which Spencer valued highly in education--"a rational
explanation of phenomena."

Science having obtained a foothold in secondary schools and colleges, an
adequate development of science-teaching resulted from the introduction
of options or elections for the pupils among numerous different courses,
in place of a curriculum prescribed for all. The elaborate teaching of
many sciences was thus introduced. The pupil or student saw and recorded
for himself; used books only as helps and guides in seeing, recording,
and generalising; proceeded from the known to the unknown; and in short,
made numerous applications of the doctrines which pervade all Spencer's
writings on education. In the United States these methods were
introduced earlier and have been carried farther than in England; but
within the last few years the changes made in education have been more
extensive and rapid in England than in any other country;--witness the
announcements of the new high schools and the re-organised grammar
schools, of such colleges as South Kensington, Armstrong, King's, the
University College (London), and Goldsmiths', and of the new municipal
universities such as Victoria, Bristol, Sheffield, Birmingham,
Liverpool, and Leeds. The new technical schools also illustrate the
advent of instruction in applied science as an important element in
advanced education. Such institutions as the Seafield Park Engineering
College, the City Guilds of London Institute, the City of London
College, and the Battersea Polytechnic are instances of the same
development. Some endowed institutions for girls illustrate the same
tendencies, as, for example, the Bedford College for Women and the Royal
Holloway College. All these institutions teach sciences in considerable
variety, and in the way that Spencer advocated,--not so much because
they have distinctly accepted his views, as because modern industrial
and social conditions compel the preparation in science of young people
destined for various occupations and services indispensable to modern
society. The method of the preparation is essentially that which he

Spencer's propositions to the effect that the study of science was
desirable for artisans, artists, and, in general, for people who were to
get their livings through various skills of hand and eye, were received
with great incredulity, not to say derision--particularly when he
maintained that some knowledge of the theory which underlies an art was
desirable for manual practitioners of the art; but the changes of the
last fifty years in the practice of the arts and trades may be said to
have demonstrated that his views were thoroughly sound. The applications
of science in the arts and trades have been so numerous and productive,
that widespread training in science has become indispensable to any
nation which means to excel in the manufacturing industries, whether of
large scale or small scale. The extraordinary popularity of evening
schools and correspondence schools in the United States rests on the
need which young people employed in the various industries of the
country feel of obtaining more theoretical knowledge about the physical
or chemical processes through which they are earning a livelihood. The
Young Men's Christian Associations in the American cities have become
great centres of evening instruction for just such young persons. The
correspondence schools are teaching hundreds of thousands of young
people at work in machine-shops, mills, mines, and factories, who
believe that they can advance themselves in their several occupations by
supplementing their elementary education with correspondence courses,
taken while they are at work earning a livelihood in industries that
rest ultimately on applications of science.

Spencer's objection to the constant exercise of authority and compulsion
in schools, families, and the State is felt to-day much more widely than
it was in 1858, when he wrote his essay on moral education. His proposal
that children should be allowed to suffer the natural consequences of
their foolish or wrong acts does not seem to the present generation--any
more than it did to him--to be applicable to very young children, who
need protection from the undue severity of many natural penalties; but
the soundness of his general doctrine that it is the true function of
parents and teachers to see that children habitually experience the
normal consequences of their conduct, without putting artificial
consequences in place of them, now commands the assent of most persons
whose minds have been freed from the theological dogmas of original sin
and total depravity. Spencer did not expect the immediate adoption of
this principle; because society as a whole was not yet humane enough. He
admitted that the uncontrollable child of ill-controlled adults might
sometimes have to be scolded or beaten, and that these barbarous methods
might be "perhaps the best preparation such children can have for the
barbarous society in which they are presently to play a part." He hoped,
however, that the civilised members of society would by and by
spontaneously use milder measures; and this hope has been realised in
good degree, with the result that happiness in childhood is much
commoner and more constant than it used to be. Parents and teachers are
beginning to realise that self-control is a prime object in moral
education, and that this self-control cannot be practised under a regime
of constant supervision, unexplained commands, and painful punishments,
but must be gained in freedom. Some large-scale experience with American
secondary schools which prepare boys for admission to college has been
edifying in this respect. The American colleges, as a rule, do not
undertake to exercise much supervision over their students, but leave
them free to regulate their own lives in regard to both work and play.
Now it is the boys who come from the secondary schools where the
closest supervision is maintained that are in most danger of falling
into evil ways when they first go to college.

Spencer put very forcibly a valuable doctrine for which many earlier
writers on the theory of education had failed to get a hearing--the
doctrine, namely, that all instruction should be pleasurable and
interesting. Fifty years ago almost all teachers believed that it was
impossible to make school-work interesting, or life-work either; so that
the child must be forced to grind without pleasure, in preparation for
life's grind; and the forcing was to be done by experience of the
teacher's displeasure and the infliction of pain. Through the slow
effects of Spencer's teaching and of the experience of practical
teachers who have demonstrated that instruction can be made pleasurable,
and that the very hardest work is done by interested pupils because they
are interested, it has gradually come to pass that his heresy has become
the prevailing judgment among sensible and humane teachers. The
experience of many adults, hard at work in the modern industrial,
commercial, and financial world, has taught them that human beings can
make their intensest application only to problems in which they are
personally interested for one reason or another, and that freemen work
much harder than slaves, because they feel within themselves strong
motives for exertion which slaves cannot possibly feel. So, many
intelligent adults, including many parents and teachers, have come to
believe it possible that children will learn to do hard work, both in
school and in after life, through the free play of interior motives
which appeal to them, and prompt them to persistent exertion.

The justice of Spencer's views about training through pleasurable
sensation and achievement in freedom rather than through uninterested
work and pain inflicted by despotic government, is well illustrated by
the recent improvements in the discipline of reformatories for boys and
girls and young men and women. It has been demonstrated that the only
useful reformatories are those which diminish the criminal's liberty of
action as little as possible, require him to perform productive labour,
educate him for a trade or other useful occupation, and offer him the
reward of an abridgment of sentence in return for industry and
self-control. Repression and compulsion under penalties however severe
fail to reform, and often make bad moral conditions worse. Instruction,
as much freedom as is consistent with the safety of society, and an
appeal to the ordinary motives of emulation, satisfaction in
achievement, and the desire to win credit, can, and do, reform.

Many schools, both public and private, have now adopted--in most cases
unconsciously--many of Spencer's more detailed suggestions. The
laboratory method of instruction, for example, now common for scientific
subjects in good schools, is an application of his doctrines of concrete
illustration, training in the accurate use of the senses, and
subordination of book-work. Many schools realise, too, that learning by
heart and, in general, memorising from books are not the only means of
storing the mind of a child. They should make parts of a sound
education, but should not be used to the exclusion of learning through
eye, ear, and hand. Spencer pointed out with much elaboration that
children acquire in their early years a vast amount of information
exclusively through the incessant use of their senses. To-day teachers
know this fact, and realise much better than the teachers of fifty years
ago did, that all through the school and college period the pupils
should be getting a large part of their new knowledge through the
careful application of their own powers of observation, aided, indeed,
by books and pictures which record the observations, old and new, of
other people. The young human being, unlike the puppy or the kitten, is
not confined to the use of his own senses as sources of information and
discovery; but can enjoy the fruits of a prodigious width and depth of
observation acquired by preceding generations and adult members of his
own generation. A recent illustration of this extension of the method of
observation in teaching to observations made by other people is the new
method of giving moral instruction to school children through
photographs of actual scenes which illustrate both good morals and bad,
the exhibition of the photographs being accompanied by a running oral
comment from the teacher. In this kind of moral instruction it seems to
be possible to interest all kinds of children, both civilised and
barbarous, both ill-bred and well-bred. The teaching comes through the
eye, for the children themselves observe intently the pictures which the
lantern throws on the screen; but the striking scenes thus put before
them probably lie in most instances quite outside the region of their
own experiences.

The essay on "What Knowledge is of Most Worth?" contains a hot
denunciation of that kind of information which in most schools used to
usurp the name of history. It is enough to say of this part of Spencer's
educational doctrine that all the best historical writers since the
middle of the nineteenth century seem to have adopted the principles
which he declared should govern the writing of history. As a result, the
teaching of history in schools and colleges has undergone a profound
change. It now deals with the nature and action of government, central,
local, and ecclesiastical, with social observances, industrial systems,
and the customs which regulate popular life, out-of-doors and indoors.
It depicts also the intellectual condition of the nation and the
progress it has made in applied science, the fine arts, and legislation,
and includes descriptions of the peoples' food, shelters, and
amusements. To this result many authors and teachers have contributed;
but Spencer's violent denunciation of history as it was taught in his
time has greatly promoted this important reform.

Many twentieth-century teachers are sure to put in practice Spencer's
exhortation to teach children to draw with pen and pencil, and to use
paints and brush. He maintained that the common omission of drawing as
an important element in the training of children was in contempt of some
of the most obvious of nature's suggestions with regard to the natural
development of human faculties; and the better recent practice in some
English and American schools verifies his statement; nevertheless some
of the best secondary schools in both countries still fail to recognise
drawing and painting as important elements in liberal education.

Modern society as yet hardly approaches the putting into effective
practice of the sound views which Spencer set forth with great detail in
his essay on "Physical Education." The instruction given in schools and
colleges on the care of the body and the laws of health is still very
meagre; and in certain subjects of the utmost importance no instruction
whatever is given, as, for example, in the normal methods of
reproduction in plants and animals, in eugenics, and in the ruinous
consequences of disregarding sexual purity and honour. In one respect
his fundamental doctrine of freedom, carried into the domain of physical
exercise, has been extensively adopted in England, on the Continent,
and in America. He taught that although gymnastics, military drill, and
formal exercises of the limbs are better than nothing, they can never
serve in place of the plays prompted by nature. He maintained that "for
girls as well as boys the sportive activities to which the instincts
impel are essential to bodily welfare." This principle is now being
carried into practice not only for school-children, but for operatives
in factories, clerks, and other young persons whose occupations are
sedentary and monotonous. For all such persons, free plays are vastly
better than formal exercises of any sort.

The wide adoption of Spencer's educational ideas has had to await the
advent of the new educational administration and the new public interest
therein. It awaited the coming of the state university in the United
States and of the city university in England, the establishment of
numerous technical schools, the profound modifications made in grammar
schools and academies, and the multiplication in both countries of the
secondary schools called high schools. In other words, his ideas
gradually gained admission to a vast number of new institutions of
education, which were created and maintained because both the
governments and the nations felt a new sense of responsibility for the
training of the future generations. These new agencies have been created
in great variety, and the introduction of Spencer's ideas has been much
facilitated by this variety. These institutions were national, state, or
municipal. They were tax-supported or endowed. They charged tuition
fees, or were open to competent children or adults without fee. They
undertook to meet alike the needs of the individual and the needs of the
community; and this undertaking involved the introduction of many new
subjects of instruction and many new methods. Through their variety they
could be sympathetic with both individualism and collectivism. The
variety of instruction offered is best illustrated in the strongest
American universities, some of which are tax-supported and some endowed.
These universities maintain a great variety of courses of instruction in
subjects none of which was taught with the faintest approach to adequacy
in American universities sixty years ago; but in making these extensions
the universities have not found it necessary to reduce the instruction
offered in the classics and mathematics. The traditional cultural
studies are still provided; but they represent only one programme among
many, and no one is compelled to follow it. The domination of the
classics is at an end; but any student who prefers the traditional path
to culture, or whose parents choose that path for him, will find in
several American universities much richer provisions of classical
instruction than any university in the country offered sixty years ago.
The present proposals to widen the influence of Oxford University do not
mean, therefore, that the classics, history, and philosophy are to be
taught less there, but only that other subjects are to be taught more,
and that a greater number and variety of young men will be prepared
there for the service of the nation.

The new public interest in education as a necessary of modern industrial
and political life has gradually brought about a great increase in the
proportional number of young men and women whose education is prolonged
beyond the period of primary or elementary instruction; and this
multitude of young people is preparing for a great variety of callings,
many of which are new within sixty years, having been brought into being
by the extraordinary advances of applied science. The advent of these
new callings has favoured the spread of Spencer's educational ideas. The
recent agitation in favour of what is called vocational training is a
vivid illustration of the wide acceptance of his arguments. Even the
farmers, their farm-hands, and their children must nowadays be offered
free instruction in agriculture; because the public, and especially the
urban public, believes that by disseminating better methods of tillage,
better seed, and appropriate manures, the yield of the farms can be
improved in quality and multiplied in quantity. In regard to all
material interests, the free peoples are acting on the principle that
science is the knowledge of most worth. Spencer's doctrine of natural
consequences in place of artificial penalties, his view that all young
people should be taught how to be wise parents and good citizens, and
his advocacy of instruction in public and private hygiene, lie at the
roots of many of the philanthropic and reformatory movements of the day.

On the whole, Herbert Spencer has been fortunate among educational
philosophers. He has not had to wait so long for the acceptance of his
teachings as Comenius, Montaigne, or Rousseau waited. His ideas have
been floated on a prodigious tide of industrial and social change, which
necessarily involved wide-spread and profound educational reform.

This introduction deals with Spencer's four essays on education; but in
the present volume are included three other famous essays written by him
during the same period (1854-59) which produced the essays on education.
All three are germane to the educational essays, because they deal with
the general law of human progress, with the genesis of that science
which Spencer thought to be the knowledge of most worth, and with the
origin and function of music, a subject which he maintained should play
an important part in any scheme of education.

                                                       CHARLES W. ELIOT.


WORKS. _The Proper Sphere of Government_, 1843; _Social Statics_, 1850;
_Theory of Population_ (_Westminster Review_), April 1852; _The
Development of Hypothesis_ (_The Leader_), 20th March 1852; _The
Ultimate Laws of Physiology_ (_National Review_), April 1857; _Essays,
Scientific, Political and Speculative_, 2 vols., 1858-63; _Education_,
1861; _A System of Synthetic Philosophy_ (12 vols., 1862-96), made up as
follows: _First Principles_, 1862; _Principles of Biology_, 2 vols.,
1864-7; _Principles of Psychology_, 2 vols., 1870-2; _Principles of
Sociology_, 3 vols., 1876-96; _Ceremonial Institutions_, 1879;
_Principles of Morality_, 2 vols., 1879-93 (vol. i, part I published as
_Data of Ethics_, 1879; part 4 as _Justice_, 1891); _Political
Institutions_, 1882. Meanwhile the following works were also published:
_The Classification of the Sciences_, 1864; _The Study of Sociology_,
1872; _Descriptive Sociology_, 1873; _The Man versus the State_, 1884;
_The Factors of Organic Evolution_, 1887; _The Inadequacy of Natural
Selection_, 1893. Spencer's _Autobiography_ appeared posthumously, 2
vols., 1904.

COLLECTED EDITION. Nineteen volumes, 1861-1902.

BIOGRAPHY AND CRITICISM. T. Funk-Brentano, _Les Sophistes grecs et les
Sophistes contemporains_ (Mill and Spencer), 1879; F.H. Collins, _An
Epitome of the Synthetic Philosophy_, 1889; H. Sidgwick, _Lectures on
the Ethics of Green, Spencer and Martineau_, 1902; 'The Philosophy of
Herbert Spencer' (in _The Philosophy of Kant and Other Lectures_, 1905);
D. Duncan, _An Introduction to the Philosophy of Spencer_, 1904; _Life
and Letters of Herbert Spencer_, 1908; J. Royce, _Herbert Spencer. An
Estimate and a Review_, 1904; J.A. Thomson, _Herbert Spencer_, 1906;
W.H. Hudson, _Herbert Spencer_, 1916; J. Rumney, _Herbert Spencer's
Sociology_, 1934; R.C.K. Ensor, _Some Reflections on Herbert Spencer's
Doctrine_, 1946.


_Introduction_ by Charles W. Eliot                                   vii



WHAT KNOWLEDGE IS OF MOST WORTH?                                       1

INTELLECTUAL EDUCATION                                                45

MORAL EDUCATION                                                       84

PHYSICAL EDUCATION                                                   116



PROGRESS: ITS LAW AND CAUSE                                          153

ON MANNERS AND FASHION                                               198

ON THE GENESIS OF SCIENCE                                            239

ON THE PHYSIOLOGY OF LAUGHTER                                        298

ON THE ORIGIN AND FUNCTION OF MUSIC                                  310




The four chapters of which this work consists, originally appeared as
four Review-articles: the first in the _Westminster Review_ for July
1859; the second in the _North British Review_ for May 1854; and the
remaining two in the _British Quarterly Review_ for April 1858 and for
April 1859. Severally treating different divisions of the subject, but
together forming a tolerably complete whole, I originally wrote them
with a view to their republication in a united form; and they would some
time since have thus been issued, had not a legal difficulty stood in
the way. This difficulty being now removed, I hasten to fulfil the
intention with which they were written.

That in their first shape these chapters were severally independent, is
the reason to be assigned for some slight repetitions which occur in
them: one leading idea, more especially, reappearing twice. As, however,
this idea is on each occasion presented under a new form, and as it can
scarcely be too much enforced, I have not thought well to omit any of
the passages embodying it.

Some additions of importance will be found in the chapter on
Intellectual Education; and in the one on Physical Education there are a
few minor alterations. But the chief changes which have been made, are
changes of expression: all of the essays having undergone a careful
verbal revision.

LONDON, _May 1861_




It has been truly remarked that, in order of time, decoration precedes
dress. Among people who submit to great physical suffering that they may
have themselves handsomely tattooed, extremes of temperature are borne
with but little attempt at mitigation. Humboldt tells us that an Orinoco
Indian, though quite regardless of bodily comfort, will yet labour for a
fortnight to purchase pigment wherewith to make himself admired; and
that the same woman who would not hesitate to leave her hut without a
fragment of clothing on, would not dare to commit such a breach of
decorum as to go out unpainted. Voyagers find that coloured beads and
trinkets are much more prized by wild tribes than are calicoes or
broadcloths. And the anecdotes we have of the ways in which, when shirts
and coats are given, savages turn them to some ludicrous display, show
how completely the idea of ornament predominates over that of use. Nay,
there are still more extreme illustrations: witness the fact narrated by
Capt. Speke of his African attendants, who strutted about in their
goat-skin mantles when the weather was fine, but when it was wet, took
them off, folded them up, and went about naked, shivering in the rain!
Indeed, the facts of aboriginal life seem to indicate that dress is
developed out of decorations. And when we remember that even among
ourselves most think more about the fineness of the fabric than its
warmth, and more about the cut than the convenience--when we see that
the function is still in great measure subordinated to the
appearance--we have further reason for inferring such an origin.

It is curious that the like relations hold with the mind. Among mental
as among bodily acquisitions, the ornamental comes before the useful.
Not only in times past, but almost as much in our own era, that
knowledge which conduces to personal well-being has been postponed to
that which brings applause. In the Greek schools, music, poetry,
rhetoric, and a philosophy which, until Socrates taught, had but little
bearing upon action, were the dominant subjects; while knowledge aiding
the arts of life had a very subordinate place. And in our own
universities and schools at the present moment, the like antithesis
holds. We are guilty of something like a platitude when we say that
throughout his after-career, a boy, in nine cases out of ten, applies
his Latin and Greek to no practical purposes. The remark is trite that
in his shop, or his office, in managing his estate or his family, in
playing his part as director of a bank or a railway, he is very little
aided by this knowledge he took so many years to acquire--so little,
that generally the greater part of it drops out of his memory; and if he
occasionally vents a Latin quotation, or alludes to some Greek myth, it
is less to throw light on the topic in hand than for the sake of effect.
If we inquire what is the real motive for giving boys a classical
education, we find it to be simply conformity to public opinion. Men
dress their children's minds as they do their bodies, in the prevailing
fashion. As the Orinoco Indian puts on paint before leaving his hut, not
with a view to any direct benefit, but because he would be ashamed to be
seen without it; so, a boy's drilling in Latin and Greek is insisted on,
not because of their intrinsic value, but that he may not be disgraced
by being found ignorant of them--that he may have "the education of a
gentleman"--the badge marking a certain social position, and bringing a
consequent respect.

This parallel is still more clearly displayed in the case of the other
sex. In the treatment of both mind and body, the decorative element has
continued to predominate in a greater degree among women than among men.
Originally, personal adornment occupied the attention of both sexes
equally. In these latter days of civilisation, however, we see that in
the dress of men the regard for appearance has in a considerable degree
yielded to the regard for comfort; while in their education the useful
has of late been trenching on the ornamental. In neither direction has
this change gone so far with women. The wearing of earrings,
finger-rings, bracelets; the elaborate dressings of the hair; the still
occasional use of paint; the immense labour bestowed in making
habiliments sufficiently attractive; and the great discomfort that will
be submitted to for the sake of conformity; show how greatly, in the
attiring of women, the desire of approbation overrides the desire for
warmth and convenience. And similarly in their education, the immense
preponderance of "accomplishments" proves how here, too, use is
subordinated to display. Dancing, deportment, the piano, singing,
drawing--what a large space do these occupy! If you ask why Italian and
German are learnt, you will find that, under all the sham reasons given,
the real reason is, that a knowledge of those tongues is thought
ladylike. It is not that the books written in them may be utilised,
which they scarcely ever are; but that Italian and German songs may be
sung, and that the extent of attainment may bring whispered admiration.
The births, deaths, and marriages of kings, and other like historic
trivialities, are committed to memory, not because of any direct
benefits that can possibly result from knowing them: but because society
considers them parts of a good education--because the absence of such
knowledge may bring the contempt of others. When we have named reading,
writing, spelling, grammar, arithmetic, and sewing, we have named about
all the things a girl is taught with a view to their actual uses in
life; and even some of these have more reference to the good opinion of
others than to immediate personal welfare.

Thoroughly to realise the truth that with the mind as with the body the
ornamental precedes the useful, it is requisite to glance at its
rationale. This lies in the fact that, from the far past down even to
the present, social needs have subordinated individual needs, and that
the chief social need has been the control of individuals. It is not, as
we commonly suppose, that there are no governments but those of
monarchs, and parliaments, and constituted authorities. These
acknowledged governments are supplemented by other unacknowledged ones,
that grow up in all circles, in which every man or woman strives to be
king or queen or lesser dignitary. To get above some and be reverenced
by them, and to propitiate those who are above us, is the universal
struggle in which the chief energies of life are expended. By the
accumulation of wealth, by style of living, by beauty of dress, by
display of knowledge or intellect, each tries to subjugate others; and
so aids in weaving that ramified network of restraints by which society
is kept in order. It is not the savage chief only, who, in formidable
war-paint, with scalps at his belt, aims to strike awe into his
inferiors; it is not only the belle who, by elaborate toilet, polished
manners, and numerous accomplishments, strives to "make conquests;" but
the scholar, the historian, the philosopher, use their acquirements to
the same end. We are none of us content with quietly unfolding our own
individualities to the full in all directions; but have a restless
craving to impress our individualities upon others, and in some way
subordinate them. And this it is which determines the character of our
education. Not what knowledge is of most real worth, is the
consideration; but what will bring most applause, honour, respect--what
will most conduce to social position and influence--what will be most
imposing. As, throughout life, not what we are, but what we shall be
thought, is the question; so in education, the question is, not the
intrinsic value of knowledge, so much as its extrinsic effects on
others. And this being our dominant idea, direct utility is scarcely
more regarded than by the barbarian when filing his teeth and staining
his nails.

       *       *       *       *       *

If there requires further evidence of the rude, undeveloped character of
our education, we have it in the fact that the comparative worths of
different kinds of knowledge have been as yet scarcely even
discussed--much less discussed in a methodic way with definite results.
Not only is it that no standard of relative values has yet been agreed
upon; but the existence of any such standard has not been conceived in a
clear manner. And not only is it that the existence of such a standard
has not been clearly conceived; but the need for it seems to have been
scarcely even felt. Men read books on this topic, and attend lectures on
that; decide that their children shall be instructed in these branches
of knowledge, and shall not be instructed in those; and all under the
guidance of mere custom, or liking, or prejudice; without ever
considering the enormous importance of determining in some rational way
what things are really most worth learning. It is true that in all
circles we hear occasional remarks on the importance of this or the
other order of information. But whether the degree of its importance
justifies the expenditure of the time needed to acquire it; and whether
there are not things of more importance to which such time might be
better devoted; are queries which, if raised at all, are disposed of
quite summarily, according to personal predilections. It is true also,
that now and then, we hear revived the standing controversy respecting
the comparative merits of classics and mathematics. This controversy,
however, is carried on in an empirical manner, with no reference to an
ascertained criterion; and the question at issue is insignificant when
compared with the general question of which it is part. To suppose that
deciding whether a mathematical or a classical education is the best is
deciding what is the proper _curriculum_, is much the same thing as to
suppose that the whole of dietetics lies in ascertaining whether or not
bread is more nutritive than potatoes!

The question which we contend is of such transcendent moment, is, not
whether such or such knowledge is of worth but what is its _relative_
worth? When they have named certain advantages which a given course of
study has secured them, persons are apt to assume that they have
justified themselves; quite forgetting that the adequateness of the
advantages is the point to be judged. There is, perhaps, not a subject
to which men devote attention that has not _some_ value. A year
diligently spent in getting up heraldry, would very possibly give a
little further insight into ancient manners and morals. Any one who
should learn the distances between all the towns in England, might, in
the course of his life, find one or two of the thousand facts he had
acquired of some slight service when arranging a journey. Gathering
together all the small gossip of a county, profitless occupation as it
would be, might yet occasionally help to establish some useful
fact--say, a good example of hereditary transmission. But in these
cases, every one would admit that there was no proportion between the
required labour and the probable benefit. No one would tolerate the
proposal to devote some years of a boy's time to getting such
information, at the cost of much more valuable information which he
might else have got. And if here the test of relative value is appealed
to and held conclusive, then should it be appealed to and held
conclusive throughout. Had we time to master all subjects we need not be
particular. To quote the old song:--

  Could a man be secure
  That his day would endure
  As of old, for a thousand long years,
  What things might he know!
  What deeds might he do!
  And all without hurry or care.

"But we that have but span-long lives" must ever bear in mind our
limited time for acquisition. And remembering how narrowly this time is
limited, not only by the shortness of life, but also still more by the
business of life, we ought to be especially solicitous to employ what
time we have to the greatest advantage. Before devoting years to some
subject which fashion or fancy suggests, it is surely wise to weigh
with great care the worth of the results, as compared with the worth of
various alternative results which the same years might bring if
otherwise applied.

In education, then, this is the question of questions, which it is high
time we discussed in some methodic way. The first in importance, though
the last to be considered, is the problem--how to decide among the
conflicting claims of various subjects on our attention. Before there
can be a rational _curriculum_, we must settle which things it most
concerns us to know; or, to use a word of Bacon's, now unfortunately
obsolete--we must determine the relative values of knowledges.

       *       *       *       *       *

To this end, a measure of value is the first requisite. And happily,
respecting the true measure of value, as expressed in general terms,
there can be no dispute. Every one in contending for the worth of any
particular order of information, does so by showing its bearing upon
some part of life. In reply to the question--"Of what use is it?" the
mathematician, linguist, naturalist, or philosopher, explains the way in
which his learning beneficially influences action--saves from evil or
secures good--conduces to happiness. When the teacher of writing has
pointed out how great an aid writing is to success in business--that is,
to the obtainment of sustenance--that is, to satisfactory living; he is
held to have proved his case. And when the collector of dead facts (say
a numismatist) fails to make clear any appreciable effects which these
facts can produce on human welfare, he is obliged to admit that they are
comparatively valueless. All then, either directly or by implication,
appeal to this as the ultimate test.

How to live?--that is the essential question for us. Not how to live in
the mere material sense only, but in the widest sense. The general
problem which comprehends every special problem is--the right ruling of
conduct in all directions under all circumstances. In what way to treat
the body; in what way to treat the mind; in what way to manage our
affairs; in what way to bring up a family; in what way to behave as a
citizen; in what way to utilise those sources of happiness which nature
supplies--how to use all our faculties to the greatest advantage of
ourselves and others--how to live completely? And this being the great
thing needful for us to learn, is, by consequence, the great thing which
education has to teach. To prepare us for complete living is the
function which education has to discharge; and the only rational mode
of judging of an educational course is, to judge in what degree it
discharges such function.

This test, never used in its entirety, but rarely even partially used,
and used then in a vague, half conscious way, has to be applied
consciously, methodically, and throughout all cases. It behoves us to
set before ourselves, and ever to keep clearly in view, complete living
as the end to be achieved; so that in bringing up our children we may
choose subjects and methods of instruction, with deliberate reference to
this end. Not only ought we to cease from the mere unthinking adoption
of the current fashion in education, which has no better warrant than
any other fashion; but we must also rise above that rude, empirical
style of judging displayed by those more intelligent people who do
bestow some care in overseeing the cultivation of their children's
minds. It must not suffice simply to _think_ that such or such
information will be useful in after life, or that this kind of knowledge
is of more practical value than that; but we must seek out some process
of estimating their respective values, so that as far as possible we may
positively _know_ which are most deserving of attention.

Doubtless the task is difficult--perhaps never to be more than
approximately achieved. But, considering the vastness of the interests
at stake, its difficulty is no reason for pusillanimously passing it by;
but rather for devoting every energy to its mastery. And if we only
proceed systematically, we may very soon get at results of no small

Our first step must obviously be to classify, in the order of their
importance, the leading kinds of activity which constitute human life.
They may be naturally arranged into:--1. those activities which directly
minister to self-preservation; 2. those activities which, by securing
the necessaries of life, indirectly minister to self-preservation; 3.
those activities which have for their end the rearing and discipline of
offspring; 4. those activities which are involved in the maintenance of
proper social and political relations; 5. those miscellaneous activities
which fill up the leisure part of life, devoted to the gratification of
the tastes and feelings.

That these stand in something like their true order of subordination, it
needs no long consideration to show. The actions and precautions by
which, from moment to moment, we secure personal safety, must clearly
take precedence of all others. Could there be a man, ignorant as an
infant of surrounding objects and movements, or how to guide himself
among them, he would pretty certainly lose his life the first time he
went into the street; notwithstanding any amount of learning he might
have on other matters. And as entire ignorance in all other directions
would be less promptly fatal than entire ignorance in this direction, it
must be admitted that knowledge immediately conducive to
self-preservation is of primary importance.

That next after direct self-preservation comes the indirect
self-preservation which consists in acquiring the means of living, none
will question. That a man's industrial functions must be considered
before his parental ones, is manifest from the fact that, speaking
generally, the discharge of the parental functions is made possible only
by the previous discharge of the industrial ones. The power of
self-maintenance necessarily preceding the power of maintaining
offspring, it follows that knowledge needful for self-maintenance has
stronger claims than knowledge needful for family welfare--is second in
value to none save knowledge needful for immediate self-preservation.

As the family comes before the State in order of time--as the bringing
up of children is possible before the State exists, or when it has
ceased to be, whereas the State is rendered possible only by the
bringing up of children; it follows that the duties of the parent demand
closer attention than those of the citizen. Or, to use a further
argument--since the goodness of a society ultimately depends on the
nature of its citizens; and since the nature of its citizens is more
modifiable by early training than by anything else; we must conclude
that the welfare of the family underlies the welfare of society. And
hence knowledge directly conducing to the first, must take precedence of
knowledge directly conducing to the last.

Those various forms of pleasurable occupation which fill up the leisure
left by graver occupations--the enjoyments of music, poetry, painting,
etc.--manifestly imply a pre-existing society. Not only is a
considerable development of them impossible without a long-established
social union; but their very subject-matter consists in great part of
social sentiments and sympathies. Not only does society supply the
conditions to their growth; but also the ideas and sentiments they
express. And, consequently, that part of human conduct which constitutes
good citizenship, is of more moment than that which goes out in
accomplishments or exercise of the tastes; and, in education,
preparation for the one must rank before preparation for the other.

Such then, we repeat, is something like the rational order of
subordination:--That education which prepares for direct
self-preservation; that which prepares for indirect self-preservation;
that which prepares for parenthood; that which prepares for citizenship;
that which prepares for the miscellaneous refinements of life. We do not
mean to say that these divisions are definitely separable. We do not
deny that they are intricately entangled with each other, in such way
that there can be no training for any that is not in some measure a
training for all. Nor do we question that of each division there are
portions more important than certain portions of the preceding
divisions: that, for instance, a man of much skill in business but
little other faculty, may fall further below the standard of complete
living than one of but moderate ability in money-getting but great
judgment as a parent; or that exhaustive information bearing on right
social action, joined with entire want of general culture in literature
and the fine arts, is less desirable than a more moderate share of the
one joined with some of the other. But, after making due qualifications,
there still remain these broadly-marked divisions; and it still
continues substantially true that these divisions subordinate one
another in the foregoing order, because the corresponding divisions of
life make one another _possible_ in that order.

Of course the ideal of education is--complete preparation in all these
divisions. But failing this ideal, as in our phase of civilisation every
one must do more or less, the aim should be to maintain _a due
proportion_ between the degrees of preparation in each. Not exhaustive
cultivation in any one, supremely important though it may be--not even
an exclusive attention to the two, three, or four divisions of greatest
importance; but an attention to all:--greatest where the value is
greatest; less where the value is less; least where the value is least.
For the average man (not to forget the cases in which peculiar aptitude
for some one department of knowledge, rightly makes pursuit of that one
the bread-winning occupation)--for the average man, we say, the
desideratum is, a training that approaches nearest to perfection in the
things which most subserve complete living, and falls more and more
below perfection in the things that have more and more remote bearings
on complete living.

In regulating education by this standard, there are some general
considerations that should be ever present to us. The worth of any kind
of culture, as aiding complete living, may be either necessary or more
or less contingent. There is knowledge of intrinsic value; knowledge of
quasi-intrinsic value; and knowledge of conventional value. Such facts
as that sensations of numbness and tingling commonly precede paralysis,
that the resistance of water to a body moving through it varies as the
square of the velocity, that chlorine is a disinfectant,--these, and the
truths of Science in general, are of intrinsic value: they will bear on
human conduct ten thousand years hence as they do now. The extra
knowledge of our own language, which is given by an acquaintance with
Latin and Greek, may be considered to have a value that is
quasi-intrinsic: it must exist for us and for other races whose
languages owe much to these sources; but will last only as long as our
languages last. While that kind of information which, in our schools,
usurps the name History--the mere tissue of names and dates and dead
unmeaning events--has a conventional value only: it has not the remotest
bearing on any of our actions; and is of use only for the avoidance of
those unpleasant criticisms which current opinion passes upon its
absence. Of course, as those facts which concern all mankind throughout
all time must be held of greater moment than those which concern only a
portion of them during a limited era, and of far greater moment than
those which concern only a portion of them during the continuance of a
fashion; it follows that in a rational estimate, knowledge of intrinsic
worth must, other things equal, take precedence of knowledge that is of
quasi-intrinsic or conventional worth.

One further preliminary. Acquirement of every kind has two values--value
as _knowledge_ and value as _discipline_. Besides its use for guiding
conduct, the acquisition of each order of facts has also its use as
mental exercise; and its effects as a preparative for complete living
have to be considered under both these heads.

These, then, are the general ideas with which we must set out in
discussing a _curriculum_:--Life as divided into several kinds of
activity of successively decreasing importance; the worth of each order
of facts as regulating these several kinds of activity, intrinsically,
quasi-intrinsically, and conventionally; and their regulative influences
estimated both as knowledge and discipline.

       *       *       *       *       *

Happily, that all-important part of education which goes to secure
direct self-preservation, is in great part already provided for. Too
momentous to be left to our blundering, Nature takes it into her own
hands. While yet in its nurse's arms, the infant, by hiding its face
and crying at the sight of a stranger, shows the dawning instinct to
attain safety by flying from that which is unknown and may be dangerous;
and when it can walk, the terror it manifests if an unfamiliar dog comes
near, or the screams with which it runs to its mother after any
startling sight or sound, shows this instinct further developed.
Moreover, knowledge subserving direct self-preservation is that which it
is chiefly busied in acquiring from hour to hour. How to balance its
body; how to control its movements so as to avoid collisions; what
objects are hard, and will hurt if struck; what objects are heavy, and
injure if they fall on the limbs; which things will bear the weight of
the body, and which not; the pains inflicted by fire, by missiles, by
sharp instruments--these, and various other pieces of information
needful for the avoidance of death or accident, it is ever learning. And
when, a few years later, the energies go out in running, climbing, and
jumping, in games of strength and games of skill, we see in all these
actions by which the muscles are developed, the perceptions sharpened,
and the judgment quickened, a preparation for the safe conduct of the
body among surrounding objects and movements; and for meeting those
greater dangers that occasionally occur in the lives of all. Being thus,
as we say, so well cared for by Nature, this fundamental education needs
comparatively little care from us. What we are chiefly called upon to
see, is, that there shall be free scope for gaining this experience and
receiving this discipline--that there shall be no such thwarting of
Nature as that by which stupid schoolmistresses commonly prevent the
girls in their charge from the spontaneous physical activities they
would indulge in; and so render them comparatively incapable of taking
care of themselves in circumstances of peril.

This, however, is by no means all that is comprehended in the education
that prepares for direct self-preservation. Besides guarding the body
against mechanical damage or destruction, it has to be guarded against
injury from other causes--against the disease and death that follow
breaches of physiologic law. For complete living it is necessary, not
only that sudden annihilations of life shall be warded off; but also
that there shall be escaped the incapacities and the slow annihilation
which unwise habits entail. As, without health and energy, the
industrial, the parental, the social, and all other activities become
more or less impossible; it is clear that this secondary kind of direct
self-preservation is only less important than the primary kind; and
that knowledge tending to secure it should rank very high.

It is true that here, too, guidance is in some measure ready supplied.
By our various physical sensations and desires, Nature has insured a
tolerable conformity to the chief requirements. Fortunately for us, want
of food, great heat, extreme cold, produce promptings too peremptory to
be disregarded. And would men habitually obey these and all like
promptings when less strong, comparatively few evils would arise. If
fatigue of body or brain were in every case followed by desistance; if
the oppression produced by a close atmosphere always led to ventilation;
if there were no eating without hunger, or drinking without thirst; then
would the system be but seldom out of working order. But so profound an
ignorance is there of the laws of life, that men do not even know that
their sensations are their natural guides, and (when not rendered morbid
by long--continued disobedience) their trustworthy guides. So that
though, to speak teleologically, Nature has provided efficient
safeguards to health, lack of knowledge makes them in a great measure

If any one doubts the importance of an acquaintance with the principles
of physiology, as a means to complete living, let him look around and
see how many men and women he can find in middle or later life who are
thoroughly well. Only occasionally do we meet with an example of
vigorous health continued to old age; hourly do we meet with examples of
acute disorder, chronic ailment, general debility, premature
decrepitude. Scarcely is there one to whom you put the question, who has
not, in the course of his life, brought upon himself illnesses which a
little information would have saved him from. Here is a case of
heart-disease consequent on a rheumatic fever that followed reckless
exposure. There is a case of eyes spoiled for life by over-study.
Yesterday the account was of one whose long-enduring lameness was
brought on by continuing, spite of the pain, to use a knee after it had
been slightly injured. And to-day we are told of another who has had to
lie by for years, because he did not know that the palpitation he
suffered under resulted from overtaxed brain. Now we hear of an
irremediable injury which followed some silly feat of strength; and,
again, of a constitution that has never recovered from the effects of
excessive work needlessly undertaken. While on every side we see the
perpetual minor ailments which accompany feebleness. Not to dwell on the
pain, the weariness, the gloom, the waste of time and money thus
entailed, only consider how greatly ill-health hinders the discharge of
all duties--makes business often impossible, and always more difficult;
produces an irritability fatal to the right management of children; puts
the functions of citizenship out of the question; and makes amusement a
bore. Is it not clear that the physical sins--partly our forefathers'
and partly our own--which produce this ill-health, deduct more from
complete living than anything else? and to a great extent make life a
failure and a burden instead of a benefaction and a pleasure?

Nor is this all. Life, besides being thus immensely deteriorated, is
also cut short. It is not true, as we commonly suppose, that after a
disorder or disease from which we have recovered, we are as before. No
disturbance of the normal course of the functions can pass away and
leave things exactly as they were. A permanent damage is done--not
immediately appreciable, it may be, but still there; and along with
other such items which Nature in her strict account-keeping never drops,
it will tell against us to the inevitable shortening of our days.
Through the accumulation of small injuries it is that constitutions are
commonly undermined, and break down, long before their time. And if we
call to mind how far the average duration of life falls below the
possible duration, we see how immense is the loss. When, to the numerous
partial deductions which bad health entails, we add this great final
deduction, it results that ordinarily one-half of life is thrown away.

Hence, knowledge which subserves direct self-preservation by preventing
this loss of health, is of primary importance. We do not contend that
possession of such knowledge would by any means wholly remedy the evil.
It is clear that in our present phase of civilisation, men's necessities
often compel them to transgress. And it is further clear that, even in
the absence of such compulsion, their inclinations would frequently lead
them, spite of their convictions, to sacrifice future good to present
gratification. But we _do_ contend that the right knowledge impressed in
the right way would effect much; and we further contend that as the laws
of health must be recognised before they can be fully conformed to, the
imparting of such knowledge must precede a more rational living--come
when that may. We infer that as vigorous health and its accompanying
high spirits are larger elements of happiness than any other things
whatever, the teaching how to maintain them is a teaching that yields in
moment to no other whatever. And therefore we assert that such a course
of physiology as is needful for the comprehension of its general truths,
and their bearings on daily conduct, is an all-essential part of a
rational education.

Strange that the assertion should need making! Stranger still that it
should need defending! Yet are there not a few by whom such a
proposition will be received with something approaching to derision. Men
who would blush if caught saying Iphigénia instead of Iphigenía, or
would resent as an insult any imputation of ignorance respecting the
fabled labours of a fabled demi-god, show not the slightest shame in
confessing that they do not know where the Eustachian tubes are, what
are the actions of the spinal cord, what is the normal rate of
pulsation, or how the lungs are inflated. While anxious that their sons
should be well up in the superstitions of two thousand years ago, they
care not that they should be taught anything about the structure and
functions of their own bodies--nay, even wish them not to be so taught.
So overwhelming is the influence of established routine! So terribly in
our education does the ornamental over-ride the useful!

       *       *       *       *       *

We need not insist on the value of that knowledge which aids indirect
self-preservation by facilitating the gaining of a livelihood. This is
admitted by all; and, indeed, by the mass is perhaps too exclusively
regarded as the end of education. But while every one is ready to
endorse the abstract proposition that instruction fitting youths for the
business of life is of high importance, or even to consider it of
supreme importance; yet scarcely any inquire what instruction will so
fit them. It is true that reading, writing, and arithmetic are taught
with an intelligent appreciation of their uses. But when we have said
this we have said nearly all. While the great bulk of what else is
acquired has no bearing on the industrial activities, an immensity of
information that has a direct bearing on the industrial activities is
entirely passed over.

For, leaving out only some very small classes, what are all men employed
in? They are employed in the production, preparation, and distribution
of commodities. And on what does efficiency in the production,
preparation, and distribution of commodities depend? It depends on the
use of methods fitted to the respective natures of these commodities; it
depends on an adequate acquaintance with their physical, chemical, or
vital properties, as the case may be; that is, it depends on Science.
This order of knowledge which is in great part ignored in our
school-courses, is the order of knowledge underlying the right
performance of those processes by which civilised life is made possible.
Undeniable as is this truth, there seems to be no living consciousness
of it: its very familiarity makes it unregarded. To give due weight to
our argument, we must, therefore, realise this truth to the reader by a
rapid review of the facts.

Passing over the most abstract science, Logic, on the due guidance by
which, however, the large producer or distributor depends, knowingly or
unknowingly, for success in his business-forecasts, we come first to
Mathematics. Of this, the most general division, dealing with number,
guides all industrial activities; be they those by which processes are
adjusted, or estimates framed, or commodities bought and sold, or
accounts kept. No one needs to have the value of this division of
abstract science insisted upon.

For the higher arts of construction, some acquaintance with the more
special division of Mathematics is indispensable. The village carpenter,
who lays out his work by empirical rules, equally with the builder of a
Britannia Bridge, makes hourly reference to the laws of space-relations.
The surveyor who measures the land purchased; the architect in designing
a mansion to be built on it; the builder when laying out the
foundations; the masons in cutting the stones; and the various artizans
who put up the fittings; are all guided by geometrical truths.
Railway-making is regulated from beginning to end by geometry: alike in
the preparation of plans and sections; in staking out the line; in the
mensuration of cuttings and embankments; in the designing and building
of bridges, culverts, viaducts, tunnels, stations. Similarly with the
harbours, docks, piers, and various engineering and architectural works
that fringe the coasts and overspread the country, as well as the mines
that run underneath it. And now-a-days, even the farmer, for the correct
laying-out of his drains, has recourse to the level--that is, to
geometrical principles.

Turn next to the Abstract-Concrete sciences. On the application of the
simplest of these, Mechanics, depends the success of modern
manufactures. The properties of the lever, the wheel-and-axle, etc., are
recognised in every machine, and to machinery in these times we owe all
production. Trace the history of the breakfast-roll. The soil out of
which it came was drained with machine-made tiles; the surface was
turned over by a machine; the wheat was reaped, thrashed, and winnowed
by machines; by machinery it was ground and bolted; and had the flour
been sent to Gosport, it might have been made into biscuits by a
machine. Look round the room in which you sit. If modern, probably the
bricks in its walls were machine-made; and by machinery the flooring was
sawn and planed, the mantel-shelf sawn and polished, the paper-hangings
made and printed. The veneer on the table, the turned legs of the
chairs, the carpet, the curtains, are all products of machinery. Your
clothing--plain, figured, or printed--is it not wholly woven, nay,
perhaps even sewed, by machinery? And the volume you are reading--are
not its leaves fabricated by one machine and covered with these words by
another? Add to which that for the means of distribution over both land
and sea, we are similarly indebted. And then observe that according as
knowledge of mechanics is well or ill applied to these ends, comes
success or failure. The engineer who miscalculates the strength of
materials, builds a bridge that breaks down. The manufacturer who uses a
bad machine cannot compete with another whose machine wastes less in
friction and inertia. The ship-builder adhering to the old model is
out-sailed by one who builds on the mechanically-justified wave-line
principle. And as the ability of a nation to hold its own against other
nations, depends on the skilled activity of its units, we see that on
mechanical knowledge may turn the national fate.

On ascending from the divisions of Abstract-Concrete science dealing
with molar forces, to those divisions of it which deal with molecular
forces, we come to another vast series of applications. To this group of
sciences joined with the preceding groups we owe the steam-engine, which
does the work of millions of labourers. That section of physics which
formulates the laws of heat, has taught us how to economise fuel in
various industries; how to increase the produce of smelting furnaces by
substituting the hot for the cold blast; how to ventilate mines; how to
prevent explosions by using the safety-lamp; and, through the
thermometer, how to regulate innumerable processes. That section which
has the phenomena of light for its subject, gives eyes to the old and
the myopic; aids through the microscope in detecting diseases and
adulterations; and, by improved lighthouses, prevents shipwrecks.
Researches in electricity and magnetism have saved innumerable lives and
incalculable property through the compass; have subserved many arts by
the electrotype; and now, in the telegraph, have supplied us with an
agency by which for the future, mercantile transactions will be
regulated and political intercourse carried on. While in the details of
in-door life, from the improved kitchen-range up to the stereoscope on
the drawing-room table, the applications of advanced physics underlie
our comforts and gratifications.

Still more numerous are the applications of Chemistry. The bleacher, the
dyer, the calico-printer, are severally occupied in processes that are
well or ill done according as they do or do not conform to chemical
laws. Smelting of copper, tin, zinc, lead, silver, iron, must be guided
by chemistry. Sugar-refining, gas-making, soap-boiling,
gunpowder-manufacture, are operations all partly chemical; as are
likewise those which produce glass and porcelain. Whether the
distiller's wort stops at the alcoholic fermentation or passes into the
acetous, is a chemical question on which hangs his profit or loss; and
the brewer, if his business is extensive, finds it pay to keep a chemist
on his premises. Indeed, there is now scarcely any manufacture over some
part of which chemistry does not preside. Nay, in these times even
agriculture, to be profitably carried on, must have like guidance. The
analysis of manures and soils; the disclosure of their respective
adaptations; the use of gypsum or other substance for fixing ammonia;
the utilisation of coprolites; the production of artificial manures--all
these are boons of chemistry which it behoves the farmer to acquaint
himself with. Be it in the lucifer match, or in disinfected sewage, or
in photographs--in bread made without fermentation, or perfumes
extracted from refuse, we may perceive that chemistry affects all our
industries; and that, therefore, knowledge of it concerns every one who
is directly or indirectly connected with our industries.

Of the Concrete sciences, we come first to Astronomy. Out of this has
grown that art of navigation which has made possible the enormous
foreign commerce that supports a large part of our population, while
supplying us with many necessaries and most of our luxuries.

Geology, again, is a science knowledge of which greatly aids industrial
success. Now that iron ores are so large a source of wealth; now that
the duration of our coal-supply has become a question of great interest;
now that we have a College of Mines and a Geological Survey; it is
scarcely needful to enlarge on the truth that the study of the Earth's
crust is important to our material welfare.

And then the science of life--Biology: does not this, too, bear
fundamentally on these processes of indirect self-preservation? With
what we ordinarily call manufactures, it has, indeed, little connection;
but with the all-essential manufacture--that of food--it is inseparably
connected. As agriculture must conform its methods to the phenomena of
vegetal and animal life, it follows that the science of these phenomena
is the rational basis of agriculture. Various biological truths have
indeed been empirically established and acted upon by farmers, while yet
there has been no conception of them as science; such as that particular
manures are suited to particular plants; that crops of certain kinds
unfit the soil for other crops; that horses cannot do good work on poor
food; that such and such diseases of cattle and sheep are caused by such
and such conditions. These, and the every-day knowledge which the
agriculturist gains by experience respecting the management of plants
and animals, constitute his stock of biological facts; on the largeness
of which greatly depends his success. And as these biological facts,
scanty, indefinite, rudimentary, though they are, aid him so
essentially; judge what must be the value to him of such facts when they
become positive, definite, and exhaustive. Indeed, even now we may see
the benefits that rational biology is conferring on him. The truth that
the production of animal heat implies waste of substance, and that,
therefore, preventing loss of heat prevents the need for extra food--a
purely theoretical conclusion--now guides the fattening of cattle: it is
found that by keeping cattle warm, fodder is saved. Similarly with
respect to variety of food. The experiments of physiologists have shown
that not only is change of diet beneficial, but that digestion is
facilitated by a mixture of ingredients in each meal. The discovery that
a disorder known as "the staggers," of which many thousands of sheep
have died annually, is caused by an entozoon which presses on the brain,
and that if the creature is extracted through the softened place in the
skull which marks its position, the sheep usually recovers, is another
debt which agriculture owes to biology.

Yet one more science have we to note as bearing directly on industrial
success--the Science of Society. Men who daily look at the state of the
money-market glance over prices current; discuss the probable crops of
corn, cotton, sugar, wool, silk; weigh the chances of war; and from
these data decide on their mercantile operations; are students of social
science: empirical and blundering students it may be; but still,
students who gain the prizes or are plucked of their profits, according
as they do or do not reach the right conclusion. Not only the
manufacturer and the merchant must guide their transactions by
calculations of supply and demand, based on numerous facts, and tacitly
recognising sundry general principles of social action; but even the
retailer must do the like: his prosperity very greatly depending upon
the correctness of his judgments respecting the future wholesale prices
and the future rates of consumption. Manifestly, whoever takes part in
the entangled commercial activities of a community, is vitally
interested in understanding the laws according to which those activities

Thus, to all such as are occupied in the production, exchange, or
distribution of commodities, acquaintance with Science in some of its
departments, is of fundamental importance. Each man who is immediately
or remotely implicated in any form of industry (and few are not) has in
some way to deal with the mathematical, physical, and chemical
properties of things; perhaps, also, has a direct interest in biology;
and certainly has in sociology. Whether he does or does not succeed well
in that indirect self-preservation which we call getting a good
livelihood, depends in a great degree on his knowledge of one or more of
these sciences: not, it may be, a rational knowledge; but still a
knowledge, though empirical. For what we call learning a business,
really implies learning the science involved in it; though not perhaps
under the name of science. And hence a grounding in science is of great
importance, both because it prepares for all this, and because rational
knowledge has an immense superiority over empirical knowledge. Moreover,
not only is scientific culture requisite for each, that he may
understand the _how_ and the _why_ of the things and processes with
which he is concerned as maker or distributor; but it is often of much
moment that he should understand the _how_ and the _why_ of various
other things and processes. In this age of joint-stock undertakings,
nearly every man above the labourer is interested as capitalist in some
other occupation than his own; and, as thus interested, his profit or
loss often depends on his knowledge of the sciences bearing on this
other occupation. Here is a mine, in the sinking of which many
shareholders ruined themselves, from not knowing that a certain fossil
belonged to the old red sandstone, below which no coal is found.
Numerous attempts have been made to construct electromagnetic engines,
in the hope of superseding steam; but had those who supplied the money
understood the general law of the correlation and equivalence of
forces, they might have had better balances at their bankers. Daily are
men induced to aid in carrying out inventions which a mere tyro in
science could show to be futile. Scarcely a locality but has its history
of fortunes thrown away over some impossible project.

And if already the loss from want of science is so frequent and so
great, still greater and more frequent will it be to those who hereafter
lack science. Just as fast as productive processes become more
scientific, which competition will inevitably make them do; and just as
fast as joint-stock undertakings spread, which they certainly will; so
fast must scientific knowledge grow necessary to every one.

That which our school-courses leave almost entirely out, we thus find to
be that which most nearly concerns the business of life. Our industries
would cease, were it not for the information which men begin to acquire,
as they best may, after their education is said to be finished. And were
it not for this information, from age to age accumulated and spread by
unofficial means, these industries would never have existed. Had there
been no teaching but such as goes on in our public schools, England
would now be what it was in feudal times. That increasing acquaintance
with the laws of phenomena, which has through successive ages enabled us
to subjugate Nature to our needs, and in these days gives the common
labourer comforts which a few centuries ago kings could not purchase, is
scarcely in any degree owed to the appointed means of instructing our
youth. The vital knowledge--that by which we have grown as a nation to
what we are, and which now underlies our whole existence, is a knowledge
that has got itself taught in nooks and corners; while the ordained
agencies for teaching have been mumbling little else but dead formulas.

       *       *       *       *       *

We come now to the third great division of human activities--a division
for which no preparation whatever is made. If by some strange chance not
a vestige of us descended to the remote future save a pile of our
school-books or some college examination papers, we may imagine how
puzzled an antiquary of the period would be on finding in them no sign
that the learners were ever likely to be parents. "This must have been
the _curriculum_ for their celibates," we may fancy him concluding. "I
perceive here an elaborate preparation for many things; especially for
reading the books of extinct nations and of co-existing nations (from
which indeed it seems clear that these people had very little worth
reading in their own tongue); but I find no reference whatever to the
bringing up of children. They could not have been so absurd as to omit
all training for this gravest of responsibilities. Evidently then, this
was the school-course of one of their monastic orders."

Seriously, is it not an astonishing fact, that though on the treatment
of offspring depend their lives or deaths, and their moral welfare or
ruin; yet not one word of instruction on the treatment of offspring is
ever given to those who will by and by be parents? Is it not monstrous
that the fate of a new generation should be left to the chances of
unreasoning custom, impulse, fancy--joined with the suggestions of
ignorant nurses and the prejudiced counsel of grandmothers? If a
merchant commenced business without any knowledge of arithmetic and
book-keeping, we should exclaim at his folly, and look for disastrous
consequences. Or if, before studying anatomy, a man set up as a surgical
operator, we should wonder at his audacity and pity his patients. But
that parents should begin the difficult task of rearing children,
without ever having given a thought to the principles--physical, moral,
or intellectual--which ought to guide them, excites neither surprise at
the actors nor pity for their victims.

To tens of thousands that are killed, add hundreds of thousand that
survive with feeble constitutions, and millions that grow up with
constitutions not so strong as they should be; and you will have some
idea of the curse inflicted on their offspring by parents ignorant of
the laws of life. Do but consider for a moment that the regimen to which
children are subject, is hourly telling upon them to their life-long
injury or benefit; and that there are twenty ways of going wrong to one
way of going right; and you will get some idea of the enormous mischief
that is almost everywhere inflicted by the thoughtless, haphazard system
in common use. Is it decided that a boy shall be clothed in some flimsy
short dress, and be allowed to go playing about with limbs reddened by
cold? The decision will tell on his whole future existence--either in
illnesses; or in stunted growth; or in deficient energy; or in a
maturity less vigorous than it ought to have been, and in consequent
hindrances to success and happiness. Are children doomed to a monotonous
dietary, or a dietary that is deficient in nutritiveness? Their ultimate
physical power, and their efficiency as men and women, will inevitably
be more or less diminished by it. Are they forbidden vociferous play, or
(being too ill-clothed to bear exposure) are they kept indoors in cold
weather? They are certain to fall below that measure of health and
strength to which they would else have attained. When sons and daughters
grow up sickly and feeble, parents commonly regard the event as a
misfortune--as a visitation of Providence. Thinking after the prevalent
chaotic fashion, they assume that these evils come without causes; or
that the causes are supernatural. Nothing of the kind. In some cases the
causes are doubtless inherited; but in most cases foolish regulations
are the causes. Very generally, parents themselves are responsible for
all this pain, this debility, this depression, this misery. They have
undertaken to control the lives of their offspring from hour to hour;
with cruel carelessness they have neglected to learn anything about
these vital processes which they are unceasingly affecting by their
commands and prohibitions; in utter ignorance of the simplest
physiologic laws, they have been year by year undermining the
constitutions of their children; and have so inflicted disease and
premature death, not only on them but on their descendants.

Equally great are the ignorance and the consequent injury, when we turn
from physical training to moral training. Consider the young mother and
her nursery-legislation. But a few years ago she was at school, where
her memory was crammed with words, and names, and dates, and her
reflective faculties scarcely in the slightest degree exercised--where
not one idea was given her respecting the methods of dealing with the
opening mind of childhood; and where her discipline did not in the least
fit her for thinking out methods of her own. The intervening years have
been passed in practising music, in fancy-work, in novel-reading, and in
party-going: no thought having yet been given to the grave
responsibilities of maternity; and scarcely any of that solid
intellectual culture obtained which would be some preparation for such
responsibilities. And now see her with an unfolding human character
committed to her charge--see her profoundly ignorant of the phenomena
with which she has to deal, undertaking to do that which can be done but
imperfectly even with the aid of the profoundest knowledge. She knows
nothing about the nature of the emotions, their order of evolution,
their functions, or where use ends and abuse begins. She is under the
impression that some of the feelings are wholly bad, which is not true
of any one of them; and that others are good however far they may be
carried, which is also not true of any one of them. And then, ignorant
as she is of the structure she has to deal with, she is equally
ignorant of the effects produced on it by this or that treatment. What
can be more inevitable than the disastrous results we see hourly
arising? Lacking knowledge of mental phenomena, with their cause and
consequences, her interference is frequently more mischievous than
absolute passivity would have been. This and that kind of action, which
are quite normal and beneficial, she perpetually thwarts; and so
diminishes the child's happiness and profit, injures its temper and her
own, and produces estrangement. Deeds which she thinks it desirable to
encourage, she gets performed by threats and bribes, or by exciting a
desire for applause: considering little what the inward motive may be,
so long as the outward conduct conforms; and thus cultivating hypocrisy,
and fear, and selfishness, in place of good feeling. While insisting on
truthfulness, she constantly sets an example of untruth by threatening
penalties which she does not inflict. While inculcating self-control,
she hourly visits on her little ones angry scoldings for acts
undeserving of them. She has not the remotest idea that in the nursery,
as in the world, that alone is the truly salutary discipline which
visits on all conduct, good and bad, the natural consequences--the
consequences, pleasurable or painful, which in the nature of things such
conduct tends to bring. Being thus without theoretic guidance, and quite
incapable of guiding herself by tracing the mental processes going on in
her children, her rule is impulsive, inconsistent, mischievous; and
would indeed be generally ruinous were it not that the overwhelming
tendency of the growing mind to assume the moral type of the race
usually subordinates all minor influences.

And then the culture of the intellect--is not this, too, mismanaged in a
similar manner? Grant that the phenomena of intelligence conform to
laws; grant that the evolution of intelligence in a child also conforms
to laws; and it follows inevitably that education cannot be rightly
guided without a knowledge of these laws. To suppose that you can
properly regulate this process of forming and accumulating ideas,
without understanding the nature of the process, is absurd. How widely,
then, must teaching as it is differ from teaching as it should be; when
hardly any parents, and but few tutors, know anything about psychology.
As might be expected, the established system is grievously at fault,
alike in matter and in manner. While the right class of facts is
withheld, the wrong class is forcibly administered in the wrong way and
in the wrong order. Under that common limited idea of education which
confines it to knowledge gained from books, parents thrust primers into
the hands of their little ones years too soon, to their great injury.
Not recognising the truth that the function of books is
supplementary--that they form an indirect means to knowledge when direct
means fail--a means of seeing through other men what you cannot see for
yourself; teachers are eager to give second-hand facts in place of
first-hand facts. Not perceiving the enormous value of that spontaneous
education which goes on in early years--not perceiving that a child's
restless observation, instead of being ignored or checked, should be
diligently ministered to, and made as accurate and complete as possible;
they insist on occupying its eyes and thoughts with things that are, for
the time being, incomprehensible and repugnant. Possessed by a
superstition which worships the symbols of knowledge instead of the
knowledge itself, they do not see that only when his acquaintance with
the objects and processes of the household, the streets, and the fields,
is becoming tolerably exhaustive--only then should a child be introduced
to the new sources of information which books supply: and this, not only
because immediate cognition is of far greater value than mediate
cognition; but also, because the words contained in books can be rightly
interpreted into ideas, only in proportion to the antecedent experience
of things. Observe next, that this formal instruction, far too soon
commenced, is carried on with but little reference to the laws of mental
development. Intellectual progress is of necessity from the concrete to
the abstract. But regardless of this, highly abstract studies, such as
grammar, which should come quite late, are begun quite early. Political
geography, dead and uninteresting to a child, and which should be an
appendage of sociological studies, is commenced betimes; while physical
geography, comprehensible and comparatively attractive to a child, is in
great part passed over. Nearly every subject dealt with is arranged in
abnormal order: definitions and rules and principles being put first,
instead of being disclosed, as they are in the order of nature, through
the study of cases. And then, pervading the whole, is the vicious system
of rote learning--a system of sacrificing the spirit to the letter. See
the results. What with perceptions unnaturally dulled by early
thwarting, and a coerced attention to books--what with the mental
confusion produced by teaching subjects before they can be understood,
and in each of them giving generalisations before the facts of which
they are the generalisations--what with making the pupil a mere passive
recipient of other's ideas, and not in the least leading him to be an
active inquirer or self-instructor--and what with taxing the faculties
to excess; there are very few minds that become as efficient as they
might be. Examinations being once passed, books are laid aside; the
greater part of what has been acquired, being unorganised, soon drops
out of recollection; what remains is mostly inert--the art of applying
knowledge not having been cultivated; and there is but little power
either of accurate observation or independent thinking. To all which
add, that while much of the information gained is of relatively small
value, an immense mass of information of transcendent value is entirely
passed over.

Thus we find the facts to be such as might have been inferred _à
priori_. The training of children--physical, moral, and intellectual--is
dreadfully defective. And in great measure it is so because parents are
devoid of that knowledge by which this training can alone be rightly
guided. What is to be expected when one of the most intricate of
problems is undertaken by those who have given scarcely a thought to the
principles on which its solution depends? For shoe-making or
house-building, for the management of a ship or a locomotive engine, a
long apprenticeship is needful. Is it, then, that the unfolding of a
human being in body and mind is so comparatively simple a process that
any one may superintend and regulate it with no preparation whatever? If
not--if the process is, with one exception, more complex than any in
Nature, and the task of ministering to it one of surpassing difficulty;
is it not madness to make no provision for such a task? Better sacrifice
accomplishments than omit this all-essential instruction. When a father,
acting on false dogmas adopted without examination, has alienated his
sons, driven them into rebellion by his harsh treatment, ruined them,
and made himself miserable; he might reflect that the study of Ethology
would have been worth pursuing, even at the cost of knowing nothing
about Æschylus. When a mother is mourning over a first-born that has
sunk under the sequelæ of scarlet-fever--when perhaps a candid medical
man has confirmed her suspicion that her child would have recovered had
not its system been enfeebled by over-study--when she is prostrate under
the pangs of combined grief and remorse; it is but a small consolation
that she can read Dante in the original.

Thus we see that for regulating the third great division of human
activities, a knowledge of the laws of life is the one thing needful.
Some acquaintance with the first principles of physiology and the
elementary truths of psychology, is indispensable for the right bringing
up of children. We doubt not that many will read this assertion with a
smile. That parents in general should be expected to acquire a knowledge
of subjects so abstruse will seem to them an absurdity. And if we
proposed that an exhaustive knowledge of these subjects should be
obtained by all fathers and mothers, the absurdity would indeed be
glaring enough. But we do not. General principles only, accompanied by
such illustrations as may be needed to make them understood, would
suffice. And these might be readily taught--if not rationally, then
dogmatically. Be this as it may, however, here are the indisputable
facts:--that the development of children in mind and body follows
certain laws; that unless these laws are in some degree conformed to by
parents, death is inevitable; that unless they are in a great degree
conformed to, there must result serious physical and mental defects; and
that only when they are completely conformed to, can a perfect maturity
be reached. Judge, then, whether all who may one day be parents, should
not strive with some anxiety to learn what these laws are.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the parental functions let us pass now to the functions of the
citizen. We have here to inquire what knowledge fits a man for the
discharge of these functions. It cannot be alleged that the need for
knowledge fitting him for these functions is wholly overlooked; for our
school-courses contain certain studies, which, nominally at least, bear
upon political and social duties. Of these the only one that occupies a
prominent place is History.

But, as already hinted, the information commonly given under this head,
is almost valueless for purposes of guidance. Scarcely any of the facts
set down in our school-histories, and very few of those contained in the
more elaborate works written for adults, illustrate the right principles
of political action. The biographies of monarchs (and our children learn
little else) throw scarcely any light upon the science of society.
Familiarity with court intrigues, plots, usurpations, or the like, and
with all the personalities accompanying them, aids very little in
elucidating the causes of national progress. We read of some squabble
for power, that it led to a pitched battle; that such and such were the
names of the generals and their leading subordinates; that they had each
so many thousand infantry and cavalry, and so many cannon; that they
arranged their forces in this and that order; that they manoeuvred,
attacked, and fell back in certain ways; that at this part of the day
such disasters were sustained, and at that such advantages gained; that
in one particular movement some leading officer fell, while in another a
certain regiment was decimated; that after all the changing fortunes of
the fight, the victory was gained by this or that army; and that so many
were killed and wounded on each side, and so many captured by the
conquerors. And now, out of the accumulated details making up the
narrative, say which it is that helps you in deciding on your conduct as
a citizen. Supposing even that you had diligently read, not only _The
Fifteen Decisive Battles of the World_, but accounts of all other
battles that history mentions; how much more judicious would your vote
be at the next election? "But these are facts--interesting facts," you
say. Without doubt they are facts (such, at least, as are not wholly or
partially fictions); and to many they may be interesting facts. But this
by no means implies that they are valuable. Factitious or morbid opinion
often gives seeming value to things that have scarcely any. A
tulipomaniac will not part with a choice bulb for its weight in gold. To
another man an ugly piece of cracked old china seems his most desirable
possession. And there are those who give high prices for the relics of
celebrated murderers. Will it be contended that these tastes are any
measures of value in the things that gratify them? If not, then it must
be admitted that the liking felt for certain classes of historical facts
is no proof of their worth; and that we must test their worth, as we
test the worth of other facts, by asking to what uses they are
applicable. Were some one to tell you that your neighbour's cat kittened
yesterday, you would say the information was valueless. Fact though it
might be, you would call it an utterly useless fact--a fact that could
in no way influence your actions in life--a fact that would not help you
in learning how to live completely. Well, apply the same test to the
great mass of historical facts, and you will get the same result. They
are facts from which no conclusions can be drawn--_unorganisable_ facts;
and therefore facts of no service in establishing principles of conduct,
which is the chief use of facts. Read them, if you like, for amusement;
but do not flatter your self they are instructive.

That which constitutes History, properly so called, is in great part
omitted from works on the subject. Only of late years have historians
commenced giving us, in any considerable quantity, the truly valuable
information. As in past ages the king was everything and the people
nothing; so, in past histories the doings of the king fill the entire
picture, to which the national life forms but an obscure background.
While only now, when the welfare of nations rather than of rulers is
becoming the dominant idea, are historians beginning to occupy
themselves with the phenomena of social progress. The thing it really
concerns us to know is the natural history of society. We want all facts
which help us to understand how a nation has grown and organised itself.
Among these, let us of course have an account of its government; with as
little as may be of gossip about the men who officered it, and as much
as possible about the structure, principles, methods, prejudices,
corruptions, etc., which it exhibited: and let this account include not
only the nature and actions of the central government, but also those of
local governments, down to their minutest ramifications. Let us of
course also have a parallel description of the ecclesiastical
government--its organisation, its conduct, its power, its relations to
the State; and accompanying this, the ceremonial, creed, and religious
ideas--not only those nominally believed, but those really believed and
acted upon. Let us at the same time be informed of the control exercised
by class over class, as displayed in social observances--in titles,
salutations, and forms of address. Let us know, too, what were all the
other customs which regulated the popular life out of doors and
in-doors: including those concerning the relations of the sexes, and the
relations of parents to children. The superstitions, also, from the more
important myths down to the charms in common use, should be indicated.
Next should come a delineation of the industrial system: showing to what
extent the division of labour was carried; how trades were regulated,
whether by caste, guilds, or otherwise; what was the connection between
employers and employed; what were the agencies for distributing
commodities; what were the means of communication; what was the
circulating medium. Accompanying all which should be given an account of
the industrial arts technically considered: stating the processes in
use, and the quality of the products. Further, the intellectual
condition of the nation in its various grades should be depicted; not
only with respect to the kind and amount of education, but with respect
to the progress made in science, and the prevailing manner of thinking.
The degree of æsthetic culture, as displayed in architecture, sculpture,
painting, dress, music, poetry, and fiction, should be described. Nor
should there be omitted a sketch of the daily lives of the
people--their food, their homes, and their amusements. And lastly, to
connect the whole, should be exhibited the morals, theoretical and
practical, of all classes: as indicated in their laws, habits, proverbs,
deeds. These facts, given with as much brevity as consists with
clearness and accuracy, should be so grouped and arranged that they may
be comprehended in their _ensemble_, and contemplated as
mutually-dependent parts of one great whole. The aim should be so to
present them that men may readily trace the _consensus_ subsisting among
them; with the view of learning what social phenomena co-exist with what
other. And then the corresponding delineations of succeeding ages should
be so managed as to show how each belief, institution, custom, and
arrangement was modified; and how the _consensus_ of preceding
structures and functions was developed into the _consensus_ of
succeeding ones. Such alone is the kind of information respecting past
times which can be of service to the citizen for the regulation of his
conduct. The only history that is of practical value is what may be
called Descriptive Sociology. And the highest office which the historian
can discharge, is that of so narrating the lives of nations, as to
furnish materials for a Comparative Sociology; and for the subsequent
determination of the ultimate laws to which social phenomena conform.

But now mark, that even supposing an adequate stock of this truly
valuable historical knowledge has been acquired, it is of comparatively
little use without the key. And the key is to be found only in Science.
In the absence of the generalisations of biology and psychology,
rational interpretation of social phenomena is impossible. Only in
proportion as men draw certain rude, empirical inferences respecting
human nature, are they enabled to understand even the simplest facts of
social life: as, for instance, the relation between supply and demand.
And if the most elementary truths of sociology cannot be reached until
some knowledge is obtained of how men generally think, feel, and act
under given circumstances; then it is manifest that there can be nothing
like a wide comprehension of sociology, unless through a competent
acquaintance with man in all his faculties, bodily, and mental. Consider
the matter in the abstract, and this conclusion is self-evident.
Thus:--Society is made up of individuals; all that is done in society is
done by the combined actions of individuals; and therefore, in
individual actions only can be found the solutions of social phenomena.
But the actions of individuals depend on the laws of their natures; and
their actions cannot be understood until these laws are understood.
These laws, however, when reduced to their simplest expressions, prove
to be corollaries from the laws of body and mind in general. Hence it
follows, that biology and psychology are indispensable as interpreters
of sociology. Or, to state the conclusions still more simply:--all
social phenomena are phenomena of life--are the most complex
manifestations of life--must conform to the laws of life--and can be
understood only when the laws of life are understood. Thus, then, for
the regulation of this fourth division of human activities, we are, as
before, dependent on Science. Of the knowledge commonly imparted in
educational courses, very little is of service for guiding a man in his
conduct as a citizen. Only a small part of the history he reads is of
practical value; and of this small part he is not prepared to make
proper use. He lacks not only the materials for, but the very conception
of, descriptive sociology; and he also lacks those generalisations of
the organic sciences, without which even descriptive sociology can give
him but small aid.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now we come to that remaining division of human life which includes
the relaxations and amusements filling leisure hours. After considering
what training best fits for self-preservation, for the obtainment of
sustenance, for the discharge of parental duties, and for the regulation
of social and political conduct; we have now to consider what training
best fits for the miscellaneous ends not included in these--for the
enjoyment of Nature, of Literature, and of the Fine Arts, in all their
forms. Postponing them as we do to things that bear more vitally upon
human welfare; and bringing everything, as we have, to the test of
actual value; it will perhaps be inferred that we are inclined to slight
these less essential things. No greater mistake could be made, however.
We yield to none in the value we attach to aesthetic culture and its
pleasures. Without painting, sculpture, music, poetry, and the emotions
produced by natural beauty of every kind, life would lose half its
charm. So far from regarding the training and gratification of the
tastes as unimportant, we believe that in time to come they will occupy
a much larger share of human life than now. When the forces of Nature
have been fully conquered to man's use--when the means of production
have been brought to perfection--when labour has been economised to the
highest degree--when education has been so systematised that a
preparation for the more essential activities may be made with
comparative rapidity--and when, consequently, there is a great increase
of spare time; then will the beautiful, both in Art and Nature, rightly
fill a large space in the minds of all.

But it is one thing to approve of æsthetic culture as largely conducive
to human happiness; and another thing to admit that it is a fundamental
requisite to human happiness. However important it may be, it must yield
precedence to those kinds of culture which bear directly upon daily
duties. As before hinted, literature and the fine arts are made possible
by those activities which make individual and social life possible; and
manifestly, that which is made possible, must be postponed to that which
makes it possible. A florist cultivates a plant for the sake of its
flower; and regards the roots and leaves as of value, chiefly because
they are instrumental in producing the flower. But while, as an ultimate
product, the flower is the thing to which everything else is
subordinate, the florist has learnt that the root and leaves are
intrinsically of greater importance; because on them the evolution of
the flower depends. He bestows every care in rearing a healthy plant;
and knows it would be folly if, in his anxiety to obtain the flower, he
were to neglect the plant. Similarly in the case before us.
Architecture, sculpture, painting, music, and poetry, may truly be
called the efflorescence of civilised life. But even supposing they are
of such transcendent worth as to subordinate the civilised life out of
which they grow (which can hardly be asserted), it will still be
admitted that the production of a healthy civilised life must be the
first consideration; and that culture subserving this must occupy the
highest place.

And here we see most distinctly the vice of our educational system. It
neglects the plant for the sake of the flower. In anxiety for elegance,
it forgets substance. While it gives no knowledge conducive to
self-preservation--while of knowledge that facilitates gaining a
livelihood it gives but the rudiments, and leaves the greater part to be
picked up any how in after life--while for the discharge of parental
functions it makes not the slightest provision--and while for the duties
of citizenship it prepares by imparting a mass of facts, most of which
are irrelevant, and the rest without a key; it is diligent in teaching
whatever adds to refinement, polish, éclat. Fully as we may admit that
extensive acquaintance with modern languages is a valuable
accomplishment, which, through reading, conversation, and travel, aids
in giving a certain finish; it by no means follows that this result is
rightly purchased at the cost of the vitally important knowledge
sacrificed to it. Supposing it true that classical education conduces
to elegance and correctness of style; it cannot be said that elegance
and correctness of style are comparable in importance to a familiarity
with the principles that should guide the rearing of children. Grant
that the taste may be improved by reading the poetry written in extinct
languages; yet it is not to be inferred that such improvement of taste
is equivalent in value to an acquaintance with the laws of health.
Accomplishments, the fine arts, _belles-lettres_, and all those things
which, as we say, constitute the efflorescence of civilisation, should
be wholly subordinate to that instruction and discipline in which
civilisation rests. _As they occupy the leisure part of life, so should
they occupy the leisure part of education._

Recognising thus the true position of aesthetics, and holding that while
the cultivation of them should form a part of education from its
commencement, such cultivation should be subsidiary; we have now to
inquire what knowledge is of most use to this end--what knowledge best
fits for this remaining sphere of activity? To this question the answer
is still the same as heretofore. Unexpected though the assertion may be,
it is nevertheless true, that the highest Art of every kind is based on
Science--that without Science there can be neither perfect production
nor full appreciation. Science, in that limited acceptation current in
society, may not have been possessed by various artists of high repute;
but acute observers as such artists have been, they have always
possessed a stock of those empirical generalisations which constitute
science in its lowest phase; and they have habitually fallen far below
perfection, partly because their generalisations were comparatively few
and inaccurate. That science necessarily underlies the fine arts,
becomes manifest, _à priori_, when we remember that art-products are all
more or less representative of objective or subjective phenomena; that
they can be good only in proportion as they conform to the laws of these
phenomena; and that before they can thus conform, the artist must know
what these laws are. That this _à priori_ conclusion tallies with
experience, we shall soon see.

Youths preparing for the practice of sculpture have to acquaint
themselves with the bones and muscles of the human frame in their
distribution, attachments, and movements. This is a portion of science;
and it has been found needful to impart it for the prevention of those
many errors which sculptors who do not possess it commit. A knowledge of
mechanical principles is also requisite; and such knowledge not being
usually possessed, grave mechanical mistakes are frequently made. Take
an instance. For the stability of a figure it is needful that the
perpendicular from the centre of gravity--"the line of direction," as it
is called--should fall within the base of support; and hence it happens,
that when a man assumes the attitude known as "standing at ease," in
which one leg is straightened and the other relaxed, the line of
direction falls within the foot of the straightened leg. But sculptors
unfamiliar with the theory of equilibrium, not uncommonly so represent
this attitude, that the line of direction falls midway between the feet.
Ignorance of the law of momentum leads to analogous blunders: as witness
the admired Discobolus, which, as it is posed, must inevitably fall
forward the moment the quoit is delivered.

In painting, the necessity for scientific information, empirical if not
rational, is still more conspicuous. What gives the grotesqueness of
Chinese pictures, unless their utter disregard of the laws of
appearances--their absurd linear perspective, and their want of aerial
perspective? In what are the drawings of a child so faulty, if not in a
similar absence of truth--an absence arising, in great part, from
ignorance of the way in which the aspects of things vary with the
conditions? Do but remember the books and lectures by which students are
instructed; or consider the criticisms of Ruskin; or look at the doings
of the Pre-Raffaelites; and you will see that progress in painting
implies increasing knowledge of how effects in Nature are produced. The
most diligent observation, if unaided by science, fails to preserve from
error. Every painter will endorse the assertion that unless it is known
what appearances must exist under given circumstances, they often will
not be perceived; and to know what appearances must exist, is, in so
far, to understand the science of appearances. From want of science Mr.
J. Lewis, careful painter as he is, casts the shadow of a lattice-window
in sharply-defined lines upon an opposite wall; which he would not have
done, had he been familiar with the phenomena of penumbræ. From want of
science, Mr. Rosetti, catching sight of a peculiar iridescence displayed
by certain hairy surfaces under particular lights (an iridescence caused
by the diffraction of light in passing the hairs), commits the error of
showing this iridescence on surfaces and in positions where it could not

To say that music, too, has need of scientific aid will cause still more
surprise. Yet it may be shown that music is but an idealisation of the
natural language of emotion; and that consequently, music must be good
or bad according as it conforms to the laws of this natural language.
The various inflections of voice which accompany feelings of different
kinds and intensities, are the germs out of which music is developed. It
is demonstrable that these inflections and cadences are not accidental
or arbitrary; but that they are determined by certain general principles
of vital action; and that their expressiveness depends on this. Whence
it follows that musical phrases and the melodies built of them, can be
effective only when they are in harmony with these general principles.
It is difficult here properly to illustrate this position. But perhaps
it will suffice to instance the swarms of worthless ballads that infest
drawing-rooms, as compositions which science would forbid. They sin
against science by setting to music ideas that are not emotional enough
to prompt musical expression; and they also sin against science by using
musical phrases that have no natural relations to the ideas expressed:
even where these are emotional. They are bad because they are untrue.
And to say they are untrue, is to say they are unscientific.

Even in poetry the same thing holds. Like music, poetry has its root in
those natural modes of expression which accompany deep feeling. Its
rhythm, its strong and numerous metaphors, its hyperboles, its violent
inversions, are simply exaggerations of the traits of excited speech. To
be good, therefore, poetry must pay attention to those laws of nervous
action which excited speech obeys. In intensifying and combining the
traits of excited speech, it must have due regard to proportion--must
not use its appliances without restriction; but, where the ideas are
least emotional, must use the forms of poetical expression sparingly;
must use them more freely as the emotion rises; and must carry them to
their greatest extent, only where the emotion reaches a climax. The
entire contravention of these principles results in bombast or doggerel.
The insufficient respect for them is seen in didactic poetry. And it is
because they are rarely fully obeyed, that so much poetry is inartistic.

Not only is it that the artist, of whatever kind, cannot produce a
truthful work without he understands the laws of the phenomena he
represents; but it is that he must also understand how the minds of
spectators or listeners will be affected by the several peculiarities of
his work--a question in psychology. What impression any art-product
generates, manifestly depends upon the mental natures of those to whom
it is presented; and as all mental natures have certain characteristics
in common, there must result certain corresponding general principles on
which alone art-products can be successfully framed. These general
principles cannot be fully understood and applied, unless the artist
sees how they follow from the laws of mind. To ask whether the
composition of a picture is good is really to ask how the perceptions
and feelings of observers will be affected by it. To ask whether a drama
is well constructed, is to ask whether its situations are so arranged as
duly to consult the power of attention of an audience, and duly to avoid
overtaxing any one class of feelings. Equally in arranging the leading
divisions of a poem or fiction, and in combining the words of a single
sentence, the goodness of the effect depends upon the skill with which
the mental energies and susceptibilities of the reader are economised.
Every artist, in the course of his education and after-life, accumulates
a stock of maxims by which his practice is regulated. Trace such maxims
to their roots, and they inevitably lead you down to psychological
principles. And only when the artist understands these psychological
principles and their various corollaries can he work in harmony with

We do not for a moment believe that science will make an artist. While
we contend that the leading laws both of objective and subjective
phenomena must be understood by him, we by no means contend that
knowledge of such laws will serve in place of natural perception. Not
the poet only, but the artist of every type, is born, not made. What we
assert is, that innate faculty cannot dispense with the aid of organised
knowledge. Intuition will do much, but it will not do all. Only when
Genius is married to Science can the highest results be produced.

As we have above asserted, Science is necessary not only for the most
successful production, but also for the full appreciation, of the fine
arts. In what consists the greater ability of a man than of a child to
perceive the beauties of a picture; unless it is in his more extended
knowledge of those truths in nature or life which the picture renders?
How happens the cultivated gentleman to enjoy a fine poem so much more
than a boor does; if it is not because his wider acquaintance with
objects and actions enables him to see in the poem much that the boor
cannot see? And if, as is here so obvious, there must be some
familiarity with the things represented, before the representation can
be appreciated, then, the representation can be completely appreciated
only when the things represented are completely understood. The fact is,
that every additional truth which a word of art expresses, gives an
additional pleasure to the percipient mind--a pleasure that is missed by
those ignorant of this truth. The more realities an artist indicates in
any given amount of work, the more faculties does he appeal to; the more
numerous ideas does he suggest; the more gratification does he afford.
But to receive this gratification the spectator, listener, or reader,
must know the realities which the artist has indicated; and to know
these realities is to have that much science.

And now let us not overlook the further great fact, that not only does
science underlie sculpture, painting, music, poetry, but that science is
itself poetic. The current opinion that science and poetry are opposed,
is a delusion. It is doubtless true that as states of consciousness,
cognition and emotion tend to exclude each other. And it is doubtless
also true that an extreme activity of the reflective powers tends to
deaden the feelings; while an extreme activity of the feelings tends to
deaden the reflective powers: in which sense, indeed, all orders of
activity are antagonistic to each other. But it is not true that the
facts of science are unpoetical; or that the cultivation of science is
necessarily unfriendly to the exercise of imagination and the love of
the beautiful. On the contrary, science opens up realms of poetry where
to the unscientific all is a blank. Those engaged in scientific
researches constantly show us that they realise not less vividly, but
more vividly, than others, the poetry of their subjects. Whoso will dip
into Hugh Miller's works of geology, or read Mr. Lewes's _Sea-side
Studies_, will perceive that science excites poetry rather than
extinguishes it. And he who contemplates the life of Goethe, must see
that the poet and the man of science can co-exist in equal activity. Is
it not, indeed, an absurd and almost a sacrilegious belief, that the
more a man studies Nature the less he reveres it? Think you that a drop
of water, which to the vulgar eye is but a drop of water, loses anything
in the eye of the physicist who knows that its elements are held
together by a force which, if suddenly liberated, would produce a flash
of lightning? Think you that what is carelessly looked upon by the
uninitiated as a mere snow-flake, does not suggest higher associations
to one who had seen through a microscope the wondrously-varied and
elegant forms of snow-crystals? Think you that the rounded rock marked
with parallel scratches, calls up as much poetry in an ignorant mind as
in the mind of a geologist, who knows that over this rock a glacier slid
a million years ago? The truth is, that those who have never entered
upon scientific pursuits are blind to most of the poetry by which they
are surrounded. Whoever has not in youth collected plants and insects,
knows not half the halo of interest which lanes and hedge-rows can
assume. Whoever has not sought for fossils, has little idea of the
poetical associations that surround the places where imbedded treasures
were found. Whoever at the sea-side has not had a microscope and
aquarium, has yet to learn what the highest pleasures of the sea-side
are. Sad, indeed, is it to see how men occupy themselves with
trivialities, and are indifferent to the grandest phenomena--care not to
understand the architecture of the Heavens, but are deeply interested in
some contemptible controversy about the intrigues of Mary Queen of
Scots!--are learnedly critical over a Greek ode, and pass by without a
glance that grand epic written by the finger of God upon the strata of
the Earth!

We find, then, that even for this remaining division of human
activities, scientific culture is the proper preparation. We find that
aesthetics in general are necessarily based upon scientific principles;
and can be pursued with complete success only through an acquaintance
with these principles. We find that for the criticism and due
appreciation of works of art, a knowledge of the constitution of things,
or in other words, a knowledge of science, is requisite. And we not only
find that science is the handmaid to all forms of art and poetry, but
that, rightly regarded, science is itself poetic.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus far our question has been, the worth of knowledge of this or that
kind for purposes of guidance. We have now to judge the relative value
of different kinds of knowledge for purposes of discipline. This
division of our subject we are obliged to treat with comparative
brevity; and happily, no very lengthened treatment of it is needed.
Having found what is best for the one end, we have by implication found
what is best for the other. We may be quite sure that the acquirement of
those classes of facts which are most useful for regulating conduct,
involves a mental exercise best fitted for strengthening the faculties.
It would be utterly contrary to the beautiful economy of Nature, if one
kind of culture were needed for the gaining of information and another
kind were needed as a mental gymnastic. Everywhere throughout creation
we find faculties developed through the performance of those functions
which it is their office to perform; not through the performance of
artificial exercises devised to fit them for those functions. The Red
Indian acquires the swiftness and agility which make him a successful
hunter, by the actual pursuit of animals; and through the miscellaneous
activities of his life, he gains a better balance of physical powers
than gymnastics ever give. That skill in tracking enemies and prey which
he had reached after long practice, implies a subtlety of perception far
exceeding anything produced by artificial training. And similarly in all
cases. From the Bushman whose eye, habitually employed in identifying
distant objects that are to be pursued or fled from, has acquired a
telescopic range, to the accountant whose daily practice enables him to
add up several columns of figures simultaneously; we find that the
highest power of a faculty results from the discharge of those duties
which the conditions of life require it to discharge. And we may be
certain, _à priori_, that the same law holds throughout education. The
education of most value for guidance, must at the same time be the
education of most value for discipline. Let us consider the evidence.

One advantage claimed for that devotion to language-learning which forms
so prominent a feature in the ordinary _curriculum_, is, that the memory
is thereby strengthened. This is assumed to be an advantage peculiar to
the study of words. But the truth is, that the sciences afford far wider
fields for the exercise of memory. It is no slight task to remember
everything about our solar system; much more to remember all that is
known concerning the structure of our galaxy. The number of compound
substances, to which chemistry daily adds, is so great that few, save
professors, can enumerate them; and to recollect the atomic
constitutions and affinities of all these compounds, is scarcely
possible without making chemistry the occupation of life. In the
enormous mass of phenomena presented by the Earth's crust, and in the
still more enormous mass of phenomena presented by the fossils it
contains, there is matter which it takes the geological student years of
application to master. Each leading division of physics--sound, heat,
light, electricity--includes facts numerous enough to alarm any one
proposing to learn them all. And when we pass to the organic sciences,
the effort of memory required becomes still greater. In human anatomy
alone, the quantity of detail is so great, that the young surgeon has
commonly to get it up half-a-dozen times before he can permanently
retain it. The number of species of plants which botanists distinguish,
amounts to some 320,000; while the varied forms of animal life with
which the zoologist deals, are estimated at some 2,000,000. So vast is
the accumulation of facts which men of science have before them, that
only by dividing and subdividing their labours can they deal with it. To
a detailed knowledge of his own division, each adds but a general
knowledge of the allied ones; joined perhaps to a rudimentary
acquaintance with some others. Surely, then, science, cultivated even to
a very moderate extent, affords adequate exercise for memory. To say the
very least, it involves quite as good a discipline for this faculty as
language does.

But now mark that while, for the training of mere memory, science is as
good as, if not better than, language; it has an immense superiority in
the kind of memory it trains. In the acquirement of a language, the
connections of ideas to be established in the mind correspond to facts
that are in great measure accidental; whereas, in the acquirement of
science, the connections of ideas to be established in the mind
correspond to facts that are mostly necessary. It is true that the
relations of words to their meanings are in one sense natural; that the
genesis of these relations may be traced back a certain distance, though
rarely to the beginning; and that the laws of this genesis form a branch
of mental science--the science of philology. But since it will not be
contended that in the acquisition of languages, as ordinarily carried
on, these natural relations between words and their meanings are
habitually traced, and their laws explained; it must be admitted that
they are commonly learned as fortuitous relations. On the other hand,
the relations which science presents are causal relations; and, when
properly taught, are understood as such. While language familiarises
with non-rational relations, science familiarises with rational
relations. While the one exercises memory only, the other exercises both
memory and understanding.

Observe next, that a great superiority of science over language as a
means of discipline, is, that it cultivates the judgment. As, in a
lecture on mental education delivered at the Royal Institution,
Professor Faraday well remarks, the most common intellectual fault is
deficiency of judgment. "Society, speaking generally," he says, "is not
only ignorant as respects education of the judgment, but it is also
ignorant of its ignorance." And the cause to which he ascribes this
state, is want of scientific culture. The truth of his conclusion is
obvious. Correct judgment with regard to surrounding objects, events,
and consequences, becomes possible only through knowledge of the way in
which surrounding phenomena depend on each other. No extent of
acquaintance with the meanings of words, will guarantee correct
inferences respecting causes and effects. The habit of drawing
conclusions from data, and then of verifying those conclusions by
observation and experiment, can alone give the power of judging
correctly. And that it necessitates this habit is one of the immense
advantages of science.

Not only, however, for intellectual discipline is science the best; but
also for _moral_ discipline. The learning of languages tends, if
anything, further to increase the already undue respect for authority.
Such and such are the meanings of these words, says the teacher of the
dictionary. So and so is the rule in this case, says the grammar. By the
pupil these dicta are received as unquestionable. His constant attitude
of mind is that of submission to dogmatic teaching. And a necessary
result is a tendency to accept without inquiry whatever is established.
Quite opposite is the mental tone generated by the cultivation of
science. Science makes constant appeal to individual reason. Its truths
are not accepted on authority alone; but all are at liberty to test
them--nay, in many cases, the pupil is required to think out his own
conclusions. Every step in a scientific investigation is submitted to
his judgment. He is not asked to admit it without seeing it to be true.
And the trust in his own powers thus produced is further increased by
the uniformity with which Nature justifies his inferences when they are
correctly drawn. From all which there flows that independence which is a
most valuable element in character. Nor is this the only moral benefit
bequeathed by scientific culture. When carried on, as it should always
be, as much as possible under the form of original research, it
exercises perseverance and sincerity. As says Professor Tyndall of
inductive inquiry, "It requires patient industry, and an humble and
conscientious acceptance of what Nature reveals. The first condition of
success is an honest receptivity and a willingness to abandon all
preconceived notions, however cherished, if they be found to contradict
the truth. Believe me, a self-renunciation which has something noble in
it, and of which the world never hears, is often enacted in the private
experience of the true votary of science."

Lastly we have to assert--and the assertion will, we doubt not, cause
extreme surprise--that the discipline of science is superior to that of
our ordinary education, because of the _religious_ culture that it
gives. Of course we do not here use the words scientific and religious
in their ordinary limited acceptations; but in their widest and highest
acceptations. Doubtless, to the superstitions that pass under the name
of religion, science is antagonistic; but not to the essential religion
which these superstitions merely hide. Doubtless, too, in much of the
science that is current, there is a pervading spirit of irreligion; but
not in that true science which had passed beyond the superficial into
the profound.

     "True science and true religion," says Professor Huxley at the
     close of a recent course of lectures, "are twin-sisters, and the
     separation of either from the other is sure to prove the death of
     both. Science prospers exactly in proportion as it is religious;
     and religion flourishes in exact proportion to the scientific depth
     and firmness of its basis. The great deeds of philosophers have
     been less the fruit of their intellect than of the direction of
     that intellect by an eminently religious tone of mind. Truth has
     yielded herself rather to their patience, their love, their
     single-heartedness, and their self-denial, than to their logical

So far from science being irreligious, as many think, it is the neglect
of science that is irreligious--it is the refusal to study the
surrounding creation that is irreligious. Take a humble simile. Suppose
a writer were daily saluted with praises couched in superlative
language. Suppose the wisdom, the grandeur, the beauty of his works,
were the constant topics of the eulogies addressed to him. Suppose those
who unceasingly uttered these eulogies on his works were content with
looking at the outsides of them; and had never opened them, much less
tried to understand them. What value should we put upon their praises?
What should we think of their sincerity? Yet, comparing small things to
great, such is the conduct of mankind in general, in reference to the
Universe and its Cause. Nay, it is worse. Not only do they pass by
without study, these things which they daily proclaim to be so
wonderful; but very frequently they condemn as mere triflers those who
give time to the observation of Nature--they actually scorn those who
show any active interest in these marvels. We repeat, then, that not
science, but the neglect of science, is irreligious. Devotion to
science, is a tacit worship--a tacit recognition of worth in the things
studied; and by implication in their Cause. It is not a mere lip-homage,
but a homage expressed in actions--not a mere professed respect, but a
respect proved by the sacrifice of time, thought, and labour.

Nor is it thus only that true science is essentially religious. It is
religious, too, inasmuch as it generates a profound respect for, and an
implicit faith in, those uniformities of action which all things
disclose. By accumulated experiences the man of science acquires a
thorough belief in the unchanging relations of phenomena--in the
invariable connection of cause and consequence--in the necessity of good
or evil results. Instead of the rewards and punishments of traditional
belief, which people vaguely hope they may gain, or escape, spite of
their disobedience; he finds that there are rewards and punishments in
the ordained constitution of things; and that the evil results of
disobedience are inevitable. He sees that the laws to which we must
submit are both inexorable and beneficent. He sees that in conforming to
them, the process of things is ever towards a greater perfection and a
higher happiness. Hence he is led constantly to insist on them, and is
indignant when they are disregarded. And thus does he, by asserting the
eternal principles of things and the necessity of obeying them, prove
himself intrinsically religious.

Add lastly the further religious aspect of science, that it alone can
give us true conceptions of ourselves and our relation to the mysteries
of existence. At the same time that it shows us all which can be known,
it shows us the limits beyond which we can know nothing. Not by dogmatic
assertion, does it teach the impossibility of comprehending the Ultimate
Cause of things; but it leads us clearly to recognise this impossibility
by bringing us in every direction to boundaries we cannot cross. It
realises to us in a way which nothing else can, the littleness of human
intelligence in the face of that which transcends human intelligence.
While towards the traditions and authorities of men its attitude may be
proud, before the impenetrable veil which hides the Absolute its
attitude is humble--a true pride and a true humility. Only the sincere
man of science (and by this title we do not mean the mere calculator of
distances, or analyser of compounds, or labeller of species; but him who
through lower truths seeks higher, and eventually the highest)--only the
genuine man of science, we say, can truly know how utterly beyond, not
only human knowledge but human conception, is the Universal Power of
which Nature, and Life, and Thought are manifestations.

We conclude, then, that for discipline, as well as for guidance, science
is of chiefest value. In all its effects, learning the meanings of
things, is better than learning the meanings of words. Whether for
intellectual, moral, or religious training, the study of surrounding
phenomena is immensely superior to the study of grammars and lexicons.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus to the question we set out with--What knowledge is of most
worth?--the uniform reply is--Science. This is the verdict on all the
counts. For direct self-preservation, or the maintenance of life and
health, the all-important knowledge is--Science. For that indirect
self-preservation which we call gaining a livelihood, the knowledge of
greatest value is--Science. For the due discharge of parental functions,
the proper guidance is to be found only in--Science. For that
interpretation of national life, past and present, without which the
citizen cannot rightly regulate his conduct, the indispensable key
is--Science. Alike for the most perfect production and highest enjoyment
of art in all its forms, the needful preparation is still--Science. And
for purposes of discipline--intellectual, moral, religious--the most
efficient study is, once more--Science. The question which at first
seemed so perplexed, has become, in the course of our inquiry,
comparatively simple. We have not to estimate the degrees of importance
of different orders of human activity, and different studies as
severally fitting us for them; since we find that the study of Science,
in its most comprehensive meaning, is the best preparation for all these
orders of activity. We have not to decide between the claims of
knowledge of great though conventional value, and knowledge of less
though intrinsic value; seeing that the knowledge which proves to be of
most value in all other respects, is intrinsically most valuable: its
worth is not dependent upon opinion, but is as fixed as is the relation
of man to the surrounding world. Necessary and eternal as are its
truths, all Science concerns all mankind for all time. Equally at
present and in the remotest future, must it be of incalculable
importance for the regulation of their conduct, that men should
understand the science of life, physical, mental, and social; and that
they should understand all other science as a key to the science of

And yet this study, immensely transcending all other in importance, is
that which, in an age of boasted education, receives the least
attention. While what we call civilisation could never have arisen had
it not been for science, science forms scarcely an appreciable element
in our so-called civilised training. Though to the progress of science
we owe it, that millions find support where once there was food only for
thousands; yet of these millions but a few thousands pay any respect to
that which has made their existence possible. Though increasing
knowledge of the properties and relations of things has not only enabled
wandering tribes to grow into populous nations, but has given to the
countless members of these populous nations, comforts and pleasures
which their few naked ancestors never even conceived, or could have
believed, yet is this kind of knowledge only now receiving a grudging
recognition in our highest educational institutions. To the slowly
growing acquaintance with the uniform co-existences and sequences of
phenomena--to the establishment of invariable laws, we owe our
emancipation from the grossest superstitions. But for science we should
be still worshipping fetishes; or, with hecatombs of victims,
propitiating diabolical deities. And yet this science, which, in place
of the most degrading conceptions of things, has given us some insight
into the grandeurs of creation, is written against in our theologies and
frowned upon from our pulpits.

Paraphrasing an Eastern fable, we may say that in the family of
knowledges, Science is the household drudge, who, in obscurity, hides
unrecognised perfections. To her has been committed all the works; by
her skill, intelligence, and devotion, have all conveniences and
gratifications been obtained; and while ceaselessly ministering to the
rest, she has been kept in the background, that her haughty sisters
might flaunt their fripperies in the eyes of the world. The parallel
holds yet further. For we are fast coming to the _dénouement_, when the
positions will be changed; and while these haughty sisters sink into
merited neglect, Science, proclaimed as highest alike in worth and
beauty, will reign supreme.


There cannot fail to be a relationship between the successive systems of
education, and the successive social states with which they have
co-existed. Having a common origin in the national mind, the
institutions of each epoch, whatever be their special functions, must
have a family likeness. When men received their creed and its
interpretations from an infallible authority deigning no explanations,
it was natural that the teaching of children should be purely dogmatic.
While "believe and ask no questions" was the maxim of the Church, it was
fitly the maxim of the school. Conversely, now that Protestantism has
gained for adults a right of private judgment and established the
practice of appealing to reason, there is harmony in the change that has
made juvenile instruction a process of exposition addressed to the
understanding. Along with political despotism, stern in its commands,
ruling by force of terror, visiting trifling crimes with death, and
implacable in its vengeance on the disloyal, there necessarily grew up
an academic discipline similarly harsh--a discipline of multiplied
injunctions and blows for every breach of them--a discipline of
unlimited autocracy upheld by rods, and ferules, and the black-hole. On
the other hand, the increase of political liberty, the abolition of laws
restricting individual action, and the amelioration of the criminal
code, have been accompanied by a kindred progress towards non-coercive
education: the pupil is hampered by fewer restraints, and other means
than punishments are used to govern him. In those ascetic days when men,
acting on the greatest-misery principle, held that the more
gratifications they denied themselves the more virtuous they were, they,
as a matter of course, considered that the best education which most
thwarted the wishes of their children, and cut short all spontaneous
activity with--"You mustn't do so." While, on the contrary, now that
happiness is coming to be regarded as a legitimate aim--now that hours
of labour are being shortened and popular recreations provided--parents
and teachers are beginning to see that most childish desires may rightly
be gratified, that childish sports should be encouraged, and that the
tendencies of the growing mind are not altogether so diabolical as was
supposed. The age in which all believed that trades must be established
by bounties and prohibitions; that manufacturers needed their materials
and qualities and prices to be prescribed; and that the value of money
could be determined by law; was an age which unavoidably cherished the
notions that a child's mind could be made to order; that its powers were
to be imparted by the schoolmaster; that it was a receptacle into which
knowledge was to be put, and there built up after the teacher's ideal.
In this free-trade era, however, when we are learning that there is much
more self-regulation in things than was supposed; that labour, and
commerce, and agriculture, and navigation, can do better without
management than with it; that political governments, to be efficient,
must grow up from within and not be imposed from without; we are also
being taught that there is a natural process of mental evolution which
is not to be disturbed without injury; that we may not force on the
unfolding mind our artificial forms; but that psychology, also,
discloses to us a law of supply and demand to which, if we would not do
harm, we must conform. Thus, alike in its oracular dogmatism, in its
harsh discipline, in its multiplied restrictions, in its professed
asceticism, and in its faith in the devices of men, the old educational
regime was akin to the social systems with which it was contemporaneous;
and similarly, in the reverse of these characteristics, our modern modes
of culture correspond to our more liberal religious and political

But there remain further parallelisms to which we have not yet adverted:
that, namely, between the processes by which these respective changes
have been wrought out; and that between the several states of
heterogeneous opinion to which they have led. Some centuries ago there
was uniformity of belief--religious, political, and educational. All men
were Romanists, all were Monarchists, all were disciples of Aristotle;
and no one thought of calling in question that grammar-school routine
under which all were brought up. The same agency has in each case
replaced this uniformity by a constantly-increasing diversity. That
tendency towards assertion of the individuality, which, after
contributing to produce the great Protestant movement, has since gone on
to produce an ever-increasing number of sects--that tendency which
initiated political parties, and out of the two primary ones has, in
these modern days, evolved a multiplicity to which every year adds--that
tendency which led to the Baconian rebellion against the schools, and
has since originated here and abroad, sundry new systems of thought--is
a tendency which, in education also, has caused divisions and the
accumulation of methods. As external consequences of the same internal
change, these processes have necessarily been more or less simultaneous.
The decline of authority, whether papal, philosophic, kingly, or
tutorial, is essentially one phenomenon; in each of its aspects a
leaning towards free action is seen alike in the working out of the
change itself, and in the new forms of theory and practice to which the
change has given birth.

While many will regret this multiplication of schemes of juvenile
culture, the catholic observer will discern in it a means of ensuring
the final establishment of a rational system. Whatever may be thought of
theological dissent, it is clear that dissent in education results in
facilitating inquiry by the division in labour. Were we in possession of
the true method, divergence from it would, of course, be prejudicial;
but the true method having to be found, the efforts of numerous
independent seekers carrying out their researches in different
directions, constitute a better agency for finding it than any that
could be devised. Each of them struck by some new thought which probably
contains more or less of basis in facts--each of them zealous on behalf
of his plan, fertile in expedients to test its correctness, and untiring
in his efforts to make known its success--each of them merciless in his
criticism on the rest; there cannot fail, by composition of forces, to
be a gradual approximation of all towards the right course. Whatever
portion of the normal method any one has discovered, must, by the
constant exhibition of its results, force itself into adoption; whatever
wrong practices he has joined with it must, by repeated experiment and
failure, be exploded. And by this aggregation of truths and elimination
of errors, there must eventually be developed a correct and complete
body of doctrine. Of the three phases through which human opinion
passes--the unanimity of the ignorant, the disagreement of the
inquiring, and the unanimity of the wise--it is manifest that the second
is the parent of the third. They are not sequences in time only, they
are sequences in causation. However impatiently, therefore, we may
witness the present conflict of educational systems, and however much we
may regret its accompanying evils, we must recognise it as a transition
stage needful to be passed through, and beneficent in its ultimate

Meanwhile, may we not advantageously take stock of our progress? After
fifty years of discussion, experiment, and comparison of results, may
we not expect a few steps towards the goal to be already made good? Some
old methods must by this time have fallen out of use; some new ones must
have become established; and many others must be in process of general
abandonment or adoption. Probably we may see in these various changes,
when put side by side, similar characteristics--may find in them a
common tendency; and so, by inference, may get a clue to the direction
in which experience is leading us, and gather hints how we may achieve
yet further improvements. Let us then, as a preliminary to a deeper
consideration of the matter, glance at the leading contrasts between the
education of the past and that of the present.

       *       *       *       *       *

The suppression of every error is commonly followed by a temporary
ascendency of the contrary one; and so it happened, that after the ages
when physical development alone was aimed at, there came an age when
culture of the mind was the sole solicitude--when children had
lesson-books put before them at between two and three years old, and the
getting of knowledge was thought the one thing needful. As, further, it
usually happens that after one of these reactions the next advance is
achieved by co-ordinating the antagonist errors, and perceiving that
they are opposite sides of one truth; so, we are now coming to the
conviction that body and mind must both be cared for, and the whole
thing being unfolded. The forcing-system has been, by many, given up;
and precocity is discouraged. People are beginning to see that the first
requisite to success in life, is to be a good animal. The best brain is
found of little service, if there be not enough vital energy to work it;
and hence to obtain the one by sacrificing the source of the other, is
now considered a folly--a folly which the eventual failure of juvenile
prodigies constantly illustrates. Thus we are discovering the wisdom of
the saying, that one secret in education is "to know how wisely to lose

The once universal practice of learning by rote, is daily falling more
into discredit. All modern authorities condemn the old mechanical way of
teaching the alphabet. The multiplication table is now frequently taught
experimentally. In the acquirement of languages, the grammar-school plan
is being superseded by plans based on the spontaneous process followed
by the child in gaining its mother tongue. Describing the methods there
used, the "Reports on the Training School at Battersea" say:--"The
instruction in the whole preparatory course is chiefly oral, and is
illustrated as much as possible by appeals to nature." And so
throughout. The rote-system, like ether systems of its age, made more of
the forms and symbols than of the things symbolised. To repeat the words
correctly was everything; to understand their meaning nothing; and thus
the spirit was sacrificed to the letter. It is at length perceived that,
in this case as in others, such a result is not accidental but
necessary--that in proportion as there is attention to the signs, there
must be inattention to the things signified; or that, as Montaigne long
ago said--_Sçavoir par coeur n'est pas sçavoir_.

Along with rote-teaching, is declining also the nearly-allied teaching
by rules. The particulars first, and then the generalisation, is the new
method--a method, as the Battersea School Reports remarks, which, though
"the reverse of the method usually followed, which consists in giving
the pupil the rule first," is yet proved by experience to be the right
one. Rule-teaching is now condemned as imparting a merely empirical
knowledge--as producing an appearance of understanding without the
reality. To give the net product of inquiry, without the inquiry that
leads to it, is found to be both enervating and inefficient. General
truths to be of due and permanent use, must be earned. "Easy come easy
go," is a saying as applicable to knowledge as to wealth. While rules,
lying isolated in the mind--not joined to its other contents as
out-growths from them--are continually forgotten; the principles which
those rules express piecemeal, become, when once reached by the
understanding, enduring possessions. While the rule-taught youth is at
sea when beyond his rules, the youth instructed in principles solves a
new case as readily as an old one. Between a mind of rules and a mind of
principles, there exists a difference such as that between a confused
heap of materials, and the same materials organised into a complete
whole, with all its parts bound together. Of which types this last has
not only the advantage that its constituent parts are better retained,
but the much greater advantage that it forms an efficient agent for
inquiry, for independent thought, for discovery--ends for which the
first is useless. Nor let it be supposed that this is a simile only: it
is the literal truth. The union of facts into generalisations _is_ the
organisation of knowledge, whether considered as an objective phenomenon
or a subjective one; and the mental grasp may be measured by the extent
to which this organisation is carried.

From the substitution of principles for rules, and the necessarily
co-ordinate practice of leaving abstractions untaught till the mind has
been familiarised with the facts from which they are abstracted, has
resulted the postponement of some once early studies to a late period.
This is exemplified in the abandonment of that intensely stupid custom,
the teaching of grammar to children. As M. Marcel says:--"It may without
hesitation be affirmed that grammar is not the stepping-stone, but the
finishing instrument." As Mr. Wyse argues:--"Grammar and Syntax are a
collection of laws and rules. Rules are gathered from practice; they are
the results of induction to which we come by long observation and
comparison of facts. It is, in fine, the science, the philosophy of
language. In following the process of nature, neither individuals nor
nations ever arrive at the science _first_. A language is spoken, and
poetry written, many years before either a grammar or prosody is even
thought of. Men did not wait till Aristotle had constructed his logic,
to reason." In short, as grammar was made after language, so ought it to
be taught after language: an inference which all who recognise the
relationship between the evolution of the race and that of the
individual, will see to be unavoidable.

Of new practices that have grown up during the decline of these old
ones, the most important is the systematic culture of the powers of
observation. After long ages of blindness, men are at last seeing that
the spontaneous activity of the observing faculties in children has a
meaning and a use. What was once thought mere purposeless action, or
play, or mischief, as the case might be, is now recognised as the
process of acquiring a knowledge on which all after-knowledge is based.
Hence the well-conceived but ill-conducted system of _object-lessons_.
The saying of Bacon, that physics is the mother of the sciences, has
come to have a meaning in education. Without an accurate acquaintance
with the visible and tangible properties of things, our conceptions must
be erroneous, our inferences fallacious, and our operations
unsuccessful. "The education of the senses neglected, all after
education partakes of a drowsiness, a haziness, an insufficiency, which
it is impossible to cure." Indeed, if we consider it, we shall find that
exhaustive observation is an element in all great success. It is not to
artists, naturalists, and men of science only, that it is needful; it is
not only that the physician depends on it for the correctness of his
diagnosis, and that to the engineer it is so important that some years
in the workshop are prescribed for him; but we may see that the
philosopher, also, is fundamentally one who _observes_ relationships of
things which others had overlooked, and that the poet, too, is one who
_sees_ the fine facts in nature which all recognise when pointed out,
but did not before remark. Nothing requires more to be insisted on than
that vivid and complete impressions are all-essential. No sound fabric
of wisdom can be woven out of a rotten raw-material.

While the old method of presenting truths in the abstract has been
falling out of use, there has been a corresponding adoption of the new
method of presenting them in the concrete. The rudimentary facts of
exact science are now being learnt by direct intuition, as textures, and
tastes, and colours are learnt. Employing the ball-frame for first
lessons in arithmetic exemplifies this. It is well illustrated, too, in
Professor De Morgan's mode of explaining the decimal notation. M.
Marcel, rightly repudiating the old system of tables, teaches weights
and measures by referring to the actual yard and foot, pound and ounce,
gallon and quart; and lets the discovery of their relationships be
experimental. The use of geographical models and models of the regular
bodies, etc., as introductory to geography and geometry respectively,
are facts of the same class. Manifestly, a common trait of these methods
is, that they carry each child's mind through a process like that which
the mind of humanity at large has gone through. The truths of number, of
form, of relationship in position, were all originally drawn from
objects; and to present these truths to the child in the concrete is to
let him learn them as the race learnt them. By and by, perhaps, it will
be seen that he cannot possibly learn them in any other way; for that if
he is made to repeat them as abstractions, the abstractions can have no
meaning for him, until he finds that they are simply statements of what
he intuitively discerns.

But of all the changes taking place, the most significant is the growing
desire to make the acquirement of knowledge pleasurable rather than
painful--a desire based on the more or less distinct perception, that at
each age the intellectual action which a child likes is a healthful one
for it; and conversely. There is a spreading opinion that the rise of an
appetite for any kind of information implies that the unfolding mind has
become fit to assimilate it, and needs it for purposes of growth; and
that, on the other hand, the disgust felt towards such information is a
sign either that it is prematurely presented, or that it is presented in
an indigestible form. Hence the efforts to make early education amusing,
and all education interesting. Hence the lectures on the value of play.
Hence the defence of nursery rhymes and fairy tales. Daily we more and
more conform our plans to juvenile opinion. Does the child like this or
that kind of teaching?--does he take to it? we constantly ask. "His
natural desire of variety should be indulged," says M. Marcel; "and the
gratification of his curiosity should be combined with his improvement."
"Lessons," he again remarks, "should cease before the child evinces
symptoms of weariness." And so with later education. Short breaks during
school-hours, excursions into the country, amusing lectures, choral
songs--in these and many like traits the change may be discerned.
Asceticism is disappearing out of education as out of life; and the
usual test of political legislation--its tendency to promote
happiness--is beginning to be, in a great degree, the test of
legislation for the school and the nursery.

What now is the common characteristic of these several changes? Is it
not an increasing conformity to the methods of Nature? The
relinquishment of early forcing, against which Nature rebels, and the
leaving of the first years for exercise of the limbs and senses, show
this. The superseding of rote-learnt lessons by lessons orally and
experimentally given, like those of the field and play-ground, shows
this. The disuse of rule-teaching, and the adoption of teaching by
principles--that is, the leaving of generalisations until there are
particulars to base them on--show this. The system of object-lessons
shows this. The teaching of the rudiments of science in the concrete
instead of the abstract, shows this. And above all, this tendency is
shown in the variously-directed efforts to present knowledge in
attractive forms, and so to make the acquirement of it pleasurable. For,
as it is the order of Nature in all creatures that the gratification
accompanying the fulfilment of needful functions serves as a stimulus to
their fulfilment--as, during the self-education of the young child, the
delight taken in the biting of corals and the pulling to pieces of toys,
becomes the prompter to actions which teach it the properties of matter;
it follows that, in choosing the succession of subjects and the modes of
instruction which most interest the pupil, we are fulfilling Nature's
behests, and adjusting our proceedings to the laws of life.

Thus, then, we are on the highway towards the doctrine long ago
enunciated by Pestalozzi, that alike in its order and its methods,
education must conform to the natural process of mental evolution--that
there is a certain sequence in which the faculties spontaneously
develop, and a certain kind of knowledge which each requires during its
development; and that it is for us to ascertain this sequence, and
supply this knowledge. All the improvements above alluded to are partial
applications of this general principle. A nebulous perception of it now
prevails among teachers; and it is daily more insisted on in educational
works. "The method of nature is the archetype of all methods," says M.
Marcel. "The vital principle in the pursuit is to enable the pupil
rightly to instruct himself," writes Mr. Wyse. The more science
familiarises us with the constitution of things, the more do we see in
them an inherent self-sufficingness. A higher knowledge tends
continually to limit our interference with the processes of life. As in
medicine the old "heroic treatment" has given place to mild treatment,
and often no treatment save a normal regimen--as we have found that it
is not needful to mould the bodies of babes by bandaging them in
papoose-fashion or otherwise--as in gaols it is being discovered that no
cunningly-devised discipline of ours is so efficient in producing
reformation as the natural discipline of self-maintenance by productive
labour; so in education, we are finding that success is to be achieved
only by making our measures subservient to that spontaneous unfolding
which all minds go through in their progress to maturity.

Of course, this fundamental principle of tuition, that the arrangement
of matter and method must correspond with the order of evolution and
mode of activity of the faculties--a principle so obviously true, that
once stated it seems almost self-evident--has never been wholly
disregarded. Teachers have unavoidably made their school-courses
coincide with it in some degree, for the simple reason that education is
possible only on that condition. Boys were never taught the
rule-of-three until after they had learnt addition. They were not set to
write exercises before they had got into their copybooks. Conic sections
have always been preceded by Euclid. But the error of the old methods
consists in this, that they do not recognise in detail what they are
obliged to recognise in general. Yet the principle applies throughout.
If from the time when a child is able to conceive two things as related
in position, years must elapse before it can form a true concept of the
Earth, as a sphere made up of land and sea, covered with mountains,
forests, rivers, and cities, revolving on its axis, and sweeping round
the Sun--if it gets from the one concept to the other by degrees--if the
intermediate concepts which it forms are consecutively larger and more
complicated; is it not manifest that there is a general succession
through which alone it can pass; that each larger concept is made by the
combination of smaller ones, and presupposes them; and that to present
any of these compound concepts before the child is in possession of its
constituent ones, is only less absurd than to present the final concept
of the series before the initial one? In the mastering of every subject
some course of increasingly complex ideas has to be gone through. The
evolution of the corresponding faculties consists in the assimilation of
these; which, in any true sense, is impossible without they are put into
the mind in the normal order. And when this order is not followed, the
result is, that they are received with apathy or disgust; and that
unless the pupil is intelligent enough eventually to fill up the gaps
himself, they lie in his memory as dead facts, capable of being turned
to little or no use.

"But why trouble ourselves about any _curriculum_ at all?" it may be
asked. "If it be true that the mind like the body has a predetermined
course of evolution--if it unfolds spontaneously--if its successive
desires for this or that kind of information arise when these are
severally required for its nutrition--if there thus exists in itself a
prompter to the right species of activity at the right time; why
interfere in any way? Why not leave children _wholly_ to the discipline
of nature?--why not remain quite passive and let them get knowledge as
they best can?--why not be consistent throughout?" This is an
awkward-looking question. Plausibly implying as it does, that a system
of complete _laissez-faire_ is the logical outcome of the doctrines set
forth, it seems to furnish a disproof of them by _reductio ad absurdum_.
In truth, however, they do not, when rightly understood, commit us to
any such untenable position. A glance at the physical analogies will
clearly show this. It is a general law of life that the more complex the
organism to be produced, the longer the period during which it is
dependent on a parent organism for food and protection. The difference
between the minute, rapidly-formed, and self-moving spore of a conferva,
and the slowly-developed seed of a tree, with its multiplied envelopes
and large stock of nutriment laid by to nourish the germ during its
first stages of growth, illustrates this law in its application to the
vegetal world. Among animals we may trace it in a series of contrasts
from the monad whose spontaneously-divided halves are as self-sufficing
the moment after their separation as was the original whole; up to man,
whose offspring not only passes through a protracted gestation, and
subsequently long depends on the breast for sustenance; but after that
must have its food artificially administered; must, when it has learned
to feed itself, continue to have bread, clothing, and shelter provided;
and does not acquire the power of complete self-support until a time
varying from fifteen to twenty years after its birth. Now this law
applies to the mind as to the body. For mental pabulum also, every
higher creature, and especially man, is at first dependent on adult aid.
Lacking the ability to move about, the babe is almost as powerless to
get materials on which to exercise its perceptions as it is to get
supplies for its stomach. Unable to prepare its own food, it is in like
manner unable to reduce many kinds of knowledge to a fit form for
assimilation. The language through which all higher truths are to be
gained, it wholly derives from those surrounding it. And we see in such
an example as the Wild Boy of Aveyron, the arrest of development that
results when no help is received from parents and nurses. Thus, in
providing from day to day the right kind of facts, prepared in the right
manner, and giving them in due abundance at appropriate intervals, there
is as much scope for active ministration to a child's mind as to its
body. In either case, it is the chief function of parents to see that
the _conditions_ requisite to growth are maintained. And as, in
supplying aliment, and clothing, and shelter, they may fulfil this
function without at all interfering with the spontaneous development of
the limbs and viscera, either in their order or mode; so, they may
supply sounds for imitation, objects for examination, books for reading,
problems for solution, and, if they use neither direct nor indirect
coercion, may do this without in any way disturbing the normal process
of mental evolution; or rather, may greatly facilitate that process.
Hence the admission of the doctrines enunciated does not, as some might
argue, involve the abandonment of teaching; but leaves ample room for an
active and elaborate course of culture.

       *       *       *       *       *

Passing from generalities to special considerations, it is to be
remarked that in practice the Pestalozzian system seems scarcely to have
fulfilled the promise of its theory. We hear of children not at all
interested in its lessons,--disgusted with them rather; and, so far as
we can gather, the Pestalozzian school have not turned out any unusual
proportion of distinguished men: if even they have reached the average.
We are not surprised at this. The success of every appliance depends
mainly upon the intelligence with which it is used. It is a trite
remark that, having the choicest tools, an unskilful artisan will botch
his work; and bad teachers will fail even with the best methods. Indeed,
the goodness of the method becomes in such case a cause of failure; as,
to continue the simile, the perfection of the tool becomes in
undisciplined hands a source of imperfection in results. A simple,
unchanging, almost mechanical routine of tuition, may be carried out by
the commonest intellects, with such small beneficial effect as it is
capable of producing; but a complete system--a system as heterogeneous
in its appliances as the mind in its faculties--a system proposing a
special means for each special end, demands for its right employment
powers such as few teachers possess. The mistress of a dame-school can
hear spelling-lessons; and any hedge-schoolmaster can drill boys in the
multiplication-table. But to teach spelling rightly by using the powers
of the letters instead of their names, or to instruct in numerical
combinations by experimental synthesis, a modicum of understanding is
needful; and to pursue a like rational course throughout the entire
range of studies, asks an amount of judgment, of invention, of
intellectual sympathy, of analytical faculty, which we shall never see
applied to it while the tutorial official is held in such small esteem.
True education is practicable only by a true philosopher. Judge, then,
what prospect a philosophical method now has of being acted out! Knowing
so little as we yet do of psychology, and ignorant as our teachers are
of that little, what chance has a system which requires psychology for
its basis?

Further hindrance and discouragement has arisen from confounding the
Pestalozzian principle with the forms in which it has been embodied.
Because particular plans have not answered expectation, discredit has
been cast upon the doctrine associated with them: no inquiry being made
whether these plans truly conform to the doctrine. Judging as usual by
the concrete rather than the abstract, men have blamed the theory for
the bunglings of the practice. It is as though the first futile attempt
to construct a steam-engine had been held to prove that steam could not
be used as a motive power. Let it be constantly borne in mind that while
right in his fundamental ideas, Pestalozzi was not therefore right in
all his applications of them. As described even by his admirers,
Pestalozzi was a man of partial intuitions--a man who had occasional
flashes of insight rather than a man of systematic thought. His first
great success at Stantz was achieved when he had no books or appliances
of ordinary teaching, and when "the only object of his attention was to
find out at each moment what instruction his children stood peculiarly
in need of, and what was the best manner of connecting it with the
knowledge they already possessed." Much of his power was due, not to
calmly reasoned-out plans of culture, but to his profound sympathy,
which gave him a quick perception of childish needs and difficulties. He
lacked the ability logically to co-ordinate and develop the truths which
he thus from time to time laid hold of; and had in great measure to
leave this to his assistants, Kruesi, Tobler, Buss, Niederer, and
Schmid. The result is, that in their details his own plans, and those
vicariously devised, contain numerous crudities and inconsistencies. His
nursery-method, described in _The Mother's Manual_, beginning as it does
with a nomenclature of the different parts of the body, and proceeding
next to specify their relative positions, and next their connections,
may be proved not at all in accordance with the initial stages of mental
evolution. His process of teaching the mother-tongue by formal exercises
in the meanings of words and in the construction of sentences, is quite
needless, and must entail on the pupil loss of time, labour, and
happiness. His proposed lessons in geography are utterly unpestalozzian.
And often where his plans are essentially sound, they are either
incomplete or vitiated by some remnant of the old regime. While,
therefore, we would defend in its entire extent the general doctrine
which Pestalozzi inaugurated, we think great evil likely to result from
an uncritical reception of his specific methods. That tendency,
constantly exhibited by mankind, to canonise the forms and practices
along with which any great truth has been bequeathed to them--their
liability to prostrate their intellects before the prophet, and swear by
his every word--their proneness to mistake the clothing of the idea for
the idea itself; renders it needful to insist strongly upon the
distinction between the fundamental principle of the Pestalozzian
system, and the set of expedients devised for its practice; and to
suggest that while the one may be considered as established, the other
is probably nothing but an adumbration of the normal course. Indeed, on
looking at the state of our knowledge, we may be quite sure that is the
case. Before educational methods can be made to harmonise in character
and arrangement with the faculties in their mode and order of unfolding,
it is first needful that we ascertain with some completeness how the
faculties _do_ unfold. At present we have acquired, on this point, only
a few general notions. These general notions must be developed in
detail--must be transformed into a multitude of specific propositions,
before we can be said to possess that _science_ on which the _art_ of
education must be based. And then, when we have definitely made out in
what succession and in what combinations the mental powers become
active, it remains to choose out of the many possible ways of exercising
each of them, that which best conforms to its natural mode of action.
Evidently, therefore, it is not to be supposed that even our most
advanced modes of teaching are the right ones, or nearly the right ones.

Bearing in mind then this distinction between the principle and the
practice of Pestalozzi, and inferring from the grounds assigned that the
last must necessarily be very defective, the reader will rate at its
true worth the dissatisfaction with the system which some have
expressed; and will see that the realisation of the Pestalozzian idea
remains to be achieved. Should he argue, however, from what has just
been said, that no such realisation is at present practicable, and that
all effort ought to be devoted to the preliminary inquiry; we reply,
that though it is not possible for a scheme of culture to be perfected
either in matter or form until a rational psychology has been
established, it is possible, with the aid of certain guiding principles,
to make empirical approximations towards a perfect scheme. To prepare
the way for further research we will now specify these principles. Some
of them have been more or less distinctly implied in the foregoing
pages; but it will be well here to state them all in logical order.

1. That in education we should proceed from the simple to the complex,
is a truth which has always been to some extent acted upon: not
professedly, indeed, nor by any means consistently. The mind develops.
Like all things that develop it progresses from the homogeneous to the
heterogeneous; and a normal training system, being an objective
counterpart of this subjective process, must exhibit a like progression.
Moreover, thus interpreting it, we may see that this formula has much
wider application than at first appears. For its _rationale_ involves,
not only that we should proceed from the single to the combined in the
teaching of each branch of knowledge; but that we should do the like
with knowledge as a whole. As the mind, consisting at first of but few
active faculties, has its later-completed faculties successively brought
into play, and ultimately comes to have all its faculties in
simultaneous action; it follows that our teaching should begin with but
few subjects at once, and successively adding to these, should finally
carry on all subjects abreast. Not only in its details should education
proceed from the simple to the complex, but in its _ensemble_ also.

2. The development of the mind, as all other development, is an advance
from the indefinite to the definite. In common with the rest of the
organism, the brain reaches its finished structure only at maturity; and
in proportion as its structure is unfinished, its actions are wanting in
precision. Hence like the first movements and the first attempts at
speech, the first perceptions and thoughts are extremely vague. As from
a rudimentary eye, discerning only the difference between light and
darkness, the progress is to an eye that distinguishes kinds and
gradations of colour, and details of form, with the greatest exactness;
so, the intellect as a whole and in each faculty, beginning with the
rudest discriminations among objects and actions, advances towards
discriminations of increasing nicety and distinctness. To this general
law our educational course and methods must conform. It is not
practicable, nor would it be desirable if practicable, to put precise
ideas into the undeveloped mind. We may indeed at an early age
communicate the verbal forms in which such ideas are wrapped up; and
teachers, who habitually do this, suppose that when the verbal forms
have been correctly learnt, the ideas which should fill them have been
acquired. But a brief cross-examination of the pupil proves the
contrary. It turns out either that the words have been committed to
memory with little or no thought about their meaning, or else that the
perception of their meaning which has been gained is a very cloudy one.
Only as the multiplication of experiences gives materials for definite
conceptions--only as observation year by year discloses the less
conspicuous attributes which distinguish things and processes previously
confounded together--only as each class of co-existences and sequences
becomes familiar through the recurrence of cases coming under it--only
as the various classes of relations get accurately marked off from each
other by mutual limitation, can the exact definitions of advanced
knowledge become truly comprehensible. Thus in education we must be
content to set out with crude notions. These we must aim to make
gradually clearer by facilitating the acquisition of experiences such as
will correct, first their greatest errors, and afterwards their
successively less marked errors. And the scientific formulæ must be
given only as fast as the conceptions are perfected.

3. To say that our lessons ought to start from the concrete and end in
the abstract, may be considered as in part a repetition of the first of
the foregoing principles. Nevertheless it is a maxim that must be
stated: if with no other view, then with the view of showing in certain
cases what are truly the simple and the complex. For unfortunately there
has been much misunderstanding on this point. General formulas which men
have devised to express groups of details, and which have severally
simplified their conceptions by uniting many facts into one fact, they
have supposed must simplify the conceptions of a child also. They have
forgotten that a generalisation is simple only in comparison with the
whole mass of particular truths it comprehends--that it is more complex
than any one of these truths taken singly--that only after many of these
single truths have been acquired does the generalisation ease the memory
and help the reason--and that to a mind not possessing these single
truths it is necessarily a mystery. Thus confounding two kinds of
simplification, teachers have constantly erred by setting out with
"first principles": a proceeding essentially, though not apparently, at
variance with the primary rule; which implies that the mind should be
introduced to principles through the medium of examples, and so should
be led from the particular to the general--from the concrete to the

4. The education of the child must accord both in mode and arrangement
with the education of mankind, considered historically. In other words,
the genesis of knowledge in the individual must follow the same course
as the genesis of knowledge in the race. In strictness, this principle
may be considered as already expressed by implication; since both, being
processes of evolution, must conform to those same general laws of
evolution above insisted on, and must therefore agree with each other.
Nevertheless this particular parallelism is of value for the specific
guidance it affords. To M. Comte we believe society owes the enunciation
of it; and we may accept this item of his philosophy without at all
committing ourselves to the rest. This doctrine may be upheld by two
reasons, quite independent of any abstract theory; and either of them
sufficient to establish it. One is deducible from the law of hereditary
transmission as considered in its wider consequences. For if it be true
that men exhibit likeness to ancestry, both in aspect and character--if
it be true that certain mental manifestations, as insanity, occur in
successive members of the same family at the same age--if, passing from
individual cases in which the traits of many dead ancestors mixing with
those of a few living ones greatly obscure the law, we turn to national
types, and remark how the contrasts between them are persistent from age
to age--if we remember that these respective types came from a common
stock, and that hence the present marked differences between them must
have arisen from the action of modifying circumstances upon successive
generations who severally transmitted the accumulated effects to their
descendants--if we find the differences to be now organic, so that a
French child grows into a French man even when brought up among
strangers--and if the general fact thus illustrated is true of the whole
nature, intellect inclusive; then it follows that if there be an order
in which the human race has mastered its various kinds of knowledge,
there will arise in every child an aptitude to acquire these kinds of
knowledge in the same order. So that even were the order intrinsically
indifferent, it would facilitate education to lead the individual mind
through the steps traversed by the general mind. But the order is _not_
intrinsically indifferent; and hence the fundamental reason why
education should be a repetition of civilisation in little. It is
provable both that the historical sequence was, in its main outlines, a
necessary one; and that the causes which determined it apply to the
child as to the race. Not to specify these causes in detail, it will
suffice here to point out that as the mind of humanity placed in the
midst of phenomena and striving to comprehend them, has, after endless
comparisons, speculations, experiments, and theories, reached its
present knowledge of each subject by a specific route; it may rationally
be inferred that the relationship between mind and phenomena is such as
to prevent this knowledge from being reached by any other route; and
that as each child's mind stands in this same relationship to phenomena,
they can be accessible to it only through the same route. Hence in
deciding upon the right method of education, an inquiry into the method
of civilisation will help to guide us.

5. One of the conclusions to which such an inquiry leads, is, that in
each branch of instruction we should proceed from the empirical to the
rational. During human progress, every science is evolved out of its
corresponding art. It results from the necessity we are under, both
individually and as a race, of reaching the abstract by way of the
concrete, that there must be practice and an accruing experience with
its empirical generalisation, before there can be science. Science is
organised knowledge; and before knowledge can be organised, some of it
must be possessed. Every study, therefore, should have a purely
experimental introduction; and only after an ample fund of observations
has been accumulated, should reasoning begin. As illustrative
applications of this rule, we may instance the modern course of placing
grammar, not before language, but after it; or the ordinary custom of
prefacing perspective by practical drawing. By and by further
applications of it will be indicated.

6. A second corollary from the foregoing general principle, and one
which cannot be too strenuously insisted on, is, that in education the
process of self-development should be encouraged to the uttermost.
Children should be led to make their own investigations, and to draw
their own inferences. They should be _told_ as little as possible, and
induced to _discover_ as much as possible. Humanity has progressed
solely by self-instruction; and that to achieve the best results, each
mind must progress somewhat after the same fashion, is continually
proved by the marked success of self-made men. Those who have been
brought up under the ordinary school-drill, and have carried away with
them the idea that education is practicable only in that style, will
think it hopeless to make children their own teachers. If, however, they
will consider that the all-important knowledge of surrounding objects
which a child gets in its early years is got without help--if they will
remember that the child is self-taught in the use of its mother
tongue--if they will estimate the amount of that experience of life,
that out-of-school wisdom, which every boy gathers for himself--if they
will mark the unusual intelligence of the uncared-for London _gamin_, as
shown in whatever directions his faculties have been tasked--if,
further, they will think how many minds have struggled up unaided, not
only through the mysteries of our irrationally-planned _curriculum_, but
through hosts of other obstacles besides; they will find it a not
unreasonable conclusion that if the subjects be put before him in right
order and right form, any pupil of ordinary capacity will surmount his
successive difficulties with but little assistance. Who indeed can watch
the ceaseless observation, and inquiry, and inference going on in a
child's mind, or listen to its acute remarks on matters within the range
of its faculties, without perceiving that these powers it manifests, if
brought to bear systematically upon studies _within the same range_,
would readily master them without help? This need for perpetual telling
results from our stupidity, not from the child's. We drag it away from
the facts in which it is interested, and which it is actively
assimilating of itself. We put before it facts far too complex for it to
understand; and therefore distasteful to it. Finding that it will not
voluntarily acquire these facts, we thrust them into its mind by force
of threats and punishment. By thus denying the knowledge it craves, and
cramming it with knowledge it cannot digest, we produce a morbid state
of its faculties; and a consequent disgust for knowledge in general. And
when, as a result partly of the stolid indolence we have brought on, and
partly of still-continued unfitness in its studies, the child can
understand nothing without explanation, and becomes a mere passive
recipient of our instruction, we infer that education must necessarily
be carried on thus. Having by our method induced helplessness, we make
the helplessness a reason for our method. Clearly then, the experience
of pedagogues cannot rationally be quoted against the system we are
advocating. And whoever sees this, will see that we may safely follow
the discipline of Nature throughout--may, by a skilful ministration,
make the mind as self-developing in its later stages as it is in its
earlier ones; and that only by doing this can we produce the highest
power and activity.

7. As a final test by which to judge any plan of culture, should come
the question,--Does it create a pleasurable excitement in the pupils?
When in doubt whether a particular mode or arrangement is or is not more
in harmony with the foregoing principles than some other, we may safely
abide by this criterion. Even when, as considered theoretically, the
proposed course seems the best, yet if it produces no interest, or less
interest than some other course, we should relinquish it; for a child's
intellectual instincts are more trustworthy than our reasonings. In
respect to the knowing-faculties, we may confidently trust in the
general law, that under normal conditions, healthful action is
pleasurable, while action which gives pain is not healthful. Though at
present very incompletely conformed to by the emotional nature, yet by
the intellectual nature, or at least by those parts of it which the
child exhibits, this law is almost wholly conformed to. The repugnances
to this and that study which vex the ordinary teacher, are not innate,
but result from his unwise system. Fellenberg says, "Experience has
taught me that _indolence_ in young persons is so directly opposite to
their natural disposition to activity, that unless it is the consequence
of bad education, it is almost invariably connected with some
constitutional defect." And the spontaneous activity to which children
are thus prone, is simply the pursuit of those pleasures which the
healthful exercise of the faculties gives. It is true that some of the
higher mental powers, as yet but little developed in the race, and
congenitally possessed in any considerable degree only by the most
advanced, are indisposed to the amount of exertion required of them. But
these, in virtue of their very complexity, will, in a normal course of
culture, come last into exercise; and will therefore have no demands
made on them until the pupil has arrived at an age when ulterior motives
can be brought into play, and an indirect pleasure made to
counterbalance a direct displeasure. With all faculties lower than
these, however, the immediate gratification consequent on activity, is
the normal stimulus; and under good management the only needful
stimulus. When we have to fall back on some other, we must take the fact
as evidence that we are on the wrong track. Experience is daily showing
with greater clearness, that there is always a method to be found
productive of interest--even of delight; and it ever turns out that this
is the method proved by all other tests to be the right one.

With most, these guiding principles will weigh but little if left in
this abstract form. Partly, therefore, to exemplify their application,
and partly with a view of making sundry specific suggestions, we propose
now to pass from the theory of education to the practice of it.

       *       *       *       *       *

It was the opinion of Pestalozzi, and one which has ever since his day
been gaining ground, that education of some kind should begin from the
cradle. Whoever has watched, with any discernment, the wide-eyed gaze of
the infant at surrounding objects knows very well that education _does_
begin thus early, whether we intend it or not; and that these fingerings
and suckings of everything it can lay hold of, these open-mouthed
listenings to every sound, are first steps in the series which ends in
the discovery of unseen planets, the invention of calculating engines,
the production of great paintings, or the composition of symphonies and
operas. This activity of the faculties from the very first, being
spontaneous and inevitable, the question is whether we shall supply in
due variety the materials on which they may exercise themselves; and to
the question so put, none but an affirmative answer can be given. As
before said, however, agreement with Pestalozzi's theory does not
involve agreement with his practice; and here occurs a case in point.
Treating of instruction in spelling he says:--

     "The spelling-book ought, therefore, to contain all the sounds of
     the language, and these ought to be taught in every family from the
     earliest infancy. The child who learns his spelling book ought to
     repeat them to the infant in the cradle, before it is able to
     pronounce even one of them, so that they may be deeply impressed
     upon its mind by frequent repetition."

Joining this with the suggestions for "a nursery method," set down in
his _Mother's Manual_, in which he makes the names, positions,
connections, numbers, properties, and uses of the limbs and body his
first lessons, it becomes clear that Pestalozzi's notions on early
mental development were too crude to enable him to devise judicious
plans. Let us consider the course which Psychology dictates.

The earliest impressions which the mind can assimilate are the
undecomposable sensations produced by resistance, light, sound, etc.
Manifestly, decomposable states of consciousness cannot exist before the
states of consciousness out of which they are composed. There can be no
idea of form until some familiarity with light in its gradations and
qualities, or resistance in its different intensities, has been
acquired; for, as has been long known, we recognise visible form by
means of varieties of light, and tangible form by means of varieties of
resistance. Similarly, no articulate sound is cognisable until the
inarticulate sounds which go to make it up have been learned. And thus
must it be in every other case. Following, therefore, the necessary law
of progression from the simple to the complex, we should provide for the
infant a sufficiency of objects presenting different degrees and kinds
of resistance, a sufficiency of objects reflecting different amounts and
qualities of light, and a sufficiency of sounds contrasted in their
loudness, their pitch and their _timbre_. How fully this _à priori_
conclusion is confirmed by infantile instincts, all will see on being
reminded of the delight which every young child has in biting its toys,
in feeling its brother's bright jacket-buttons, and pulling papa's
whiskers--how absorbed it becomes in gazing at any gaudily-painted
object, to which it applies the word "pretty," when it can pronounce it,
wholly because of the bright colours--and how its face broadens into a
laugh at the tattlings of its nurse, the snapping of a visitor's
fingers, or any sound which it has not before heard. Fortunately, the
ordinary practices of the nursery fulfil these early requirements of
education to a considerable degree. Much, however, remains to be done;
and it is of more importance that it should be done than at first
appears. Every faculty during that spontaneous activity which
accompanies its evolution is capable of receiving more vivid impressions
than at any other period. Moreover, as these simplest elements have to
be mastered, and as the mastery of them whenever achieved must take
time, it becomes an economy of time to occupy this first stage of
childhood, during which no other intellectual action is possible, in
gaining a complete familiarity with them in all their modifications. Nor
let us omit the fact, that both temper and health will be improved by
the continual gratification resulting from a due supply of these
impressions which every child so greedily assimilates. Space, could it
be spared, might here be well filled by some suggestions towards a more
systematic ministration to these simplest of the perceptions. But it
must suffice to point out that any such ministration, recognising the
general law of evolution from the indefinite to the definite, should
proceed upon the corollary that in the development of every faculty,
markedly contrasted impressions are the first to be distinguished; that
hence sounds greatly differing in loudness and pitch, colours very
remote from each other, and substances widely unlike in hardness or
texture, should be the first supplied; and that in each case the
progression must be by slow degrees to impressions more nearly allied.

Passing on to object-lessons, which manifestly form a natural
continuation of this primary culture of the senses, it is to be
remarked, that the system commonly pursued is wholly at variance with
the method of Nature, as exhibited alike in infancy, in adult life, and
in the course of civilisation. "The child," says M. Marcel, "must be
_shown_ how all the parts of an object are connected, etc.;" and the
various manuals of these object-lessons severally contain lists of the
facts which the child is to be _told_ respecting each of the things put
before it. Now it needs but a glance at the daily life of the infant to
see that all the knowledge of things which is gained before the
acquirement of speech, is self-gained--that the qualities of hardness
and weight associated with certain appearances, the possession of
particular forms and colours by particular persons, the production of
special sounds by animals of special aspects, are phenomena which it
observes for itself. In manhood too, when there are no longer teachers
at hand, the observations and inferences hourly required for guidance
must be made unhelped; and success in life depends upon the accuracy and
completeness with which they are made. Is it probable, then, that while
the process displayed in the evolution of humanity at large is repeated
alike by the infant and the man, a reverse process must be followed
during the period between infancy and manhood? and that too, even in so
simple a thing as learning the properties of objects? Is it not obvious,
on the contrary, that one method must be pursued throughout? And is not
Nature perpetually thrusting this method upon us, if we had but the wit
to see it, and the humility to adopt it? What can be more manifest than
the desire of children for intellectual sympathy? Mark how the infant
sitting on your knee thrusts into your face the toy it holds, that you
too may look at it. See when it makes a creak with its wet finger on the
table, how it turns and looks at you; does it again, and again looks at
you; thus saying as clearly as it can--"Hear this new sound." Watch the
elder children coming into the room exclaiming--"Mamma, see what a
curious thing," "Mamma, look at this," "Mamma, look at that:" a habit
which they would continue, did not the silly mamma tell them not to
tease her. Observe that, when out with the nurse-maid, each little one
runs up to her with the new flower it has gathered, to show her how
pretty it is, and to get her also to say it is pretty. Listen to the
eager volubility with which every urchin describes any novelty he has
been to see, if only he can find some one who will attend with any
interest. Does not the induction lie on the surface? Is it not clear
that we must conform our course to these intellectual instincts--that we
must just systematise the natural process--that we must listen to all
the child has to tell us about each object; must induce it to say
everything it can think of about such object; must occasionally draw its
attention to facts it has not yet observed, with the view of leading it
to notice them itself whenever they recur; and must go on by and by to
indicate or supply new series of things for a like exhaustive
examination? Note the way in which, on this method, the intelligent
mother conducts her lessons. Step by step she familiarises her little
boy with the names of the simpler attributes, hardness, softness,
colour, taste, size: in doing which she finds him eagerly help by
bringing this to show her that it is red, and the other to make her feel
that it is hard, as fast as she gives him words for these properties.
Each additional property, as she draws his attention to it in some fresh
thing which he brings her, she takes care to mention in connection with
those he already knows; so that by the natural tendency to imitate, he
may get into the habit of repeating them one after another. Gradually as
there occur cases in which he omits to name one or more of the
properties he has become acquainted with, she introduces the practice
of asking him whether there is not something more that he can tell her
about the thing he has got. Probably he does not understand. After
letting him puzzle awhile she tells him; perhaps laughing at him a
little for his failure. A few recurrences of this and he perceives what
is to be done. When next she says she knows something more about the
object than he has told her, his pride is roused; he looks at it
intently; he thinks over all that he has heard; and the problem being
easy, presently finds it out. He is full of glee at his success, and she
sympathises with him. In common with every child, he delights in the
discovery of his powers. He wishes for more victories, and goes in quest
of more things about which to tell her. As his faculties unfold she adds
quality after quality to his list: progressing from hardness and
softness to roughness and smoothness, from colour to polish, from simple
bodies to composite ones--thus constantly complicating the problem as he
gains competence, constantly taxing his attention and memory to a
greater extent, constantly maintaining his interest by supplying him
with new impressions such as his mind can assimilate, and constantly
gratifying him by conquests over such small difficulties as he can
master. In doing this she is manifestly but following out that
spontaneous process which was going on during a still earlier
period--simply aiding self-evolution; and is aiding it in the mode
suggested by the boy's instinctive behaviour to her. Manifestly, too,
the course she is adopting is the one best calculated to establish a
habit of exhaustive observation; which is the professed aim of these
lessons. To _tell_ a child this and to _show_ it the other, is not to
teach it how to observe, but to make it a mere recipient of another's
observations: a proceeding which weakens rather than strengthens its
powers of self-instruction--which deprives it of the pleasures resulting
from successful activity--which presents this all-attractive knowledge
under the aspect of formal tuition--and which thus generates that
indifference and even disgust not unfrequently felt towards these
object-lessons. On the other hand, to pursue the course above described
is simply to guide the intellect to its appropriate food; to join with
the intellectual appetites their natural adjuncts--_amour propre_ and
the desire for sympathy; to induce by the union of all these an
intensity of attention which insures perceptions both vivid and
complete; and to habituate the mind from the beginning to that practice
of self-help which it must ultimately follow.

Object-lessons should not only be carried on after quite a different
fashion from that commonly pursued, but should be extended to a range of
things far wider, and continued to a period far later, than now. They
should not be limited to the contents of the house; but should include
those of the fields and the hedges, the quarry and the sea-shore. They
should not cease with early childhood; but should be so kept up during
youth, as insensibly to merge into the investigations of the naturalist
and the man of science. Here again we have but to follow Nature's
leadings. Where can be seen an intenser delight than that of children
picking up new flowers and watching new insects; or hoarding pebbles and
shells? And who is there but perceives that by sympathising with them
they may be led on to any extent of inquiry into the qualities and
structures of these things? Every botanist who has had children with him
in the woods and lanes must have noticed how eagerly they joined in his
pursuits, how keenly they searched out plants for him, how intently they
watched while he examined them, how they overwhelmed him with questions.
The consistent follower of Bacon--the "servant and interpreter of
nature," will see that we ought modestly to adopt the course of culture
thus indicated. Having become familiar with the simpler properties of
inorganic objects, the child should by the same process be led on to an
exhaustive examination of the things it picks up in its daily walks--the
less complex facts they present being alone noticed at first: in plants,
the colours, numbers, and forms of the petals, and shapes of the stalks
and leaves; in insects, the numbers of the wings, legs, and antennæ, and
their colours. As these become fully appreciated and invariably
observed, further facts may be successively introduced: in the one case,
the numbers of stamens and pistils, the forms of the flowers, whether
radial or bilateral in symmetry, the arrangement and character of the
leaves, whether opposite or alternate, stalked or sessile, smooth or
hairy, serrated, toothed, or crenate; in the other, the divisions of the
body, the segments of the abdomen, the markings of the wings, the number
of joints in the legs, and the forms of the smaller organs--the system
pursued throughout being that of making it the child's ambition to say
respecting everything it finds all that can be said. Then when a fit age
has been reached, the means of preserving these plants, which have
become so interesting in virtue of the knowledge obtained of them, may
as a great favour be supplied; and eventually, as a still greater
favour, may also be supplied the apparatus needful for keeping the larvæ
of our common butterflies and moths through their transformations--a
practice which, as we can personally testify, yields the highest
gratification; is continued with ardour for years; when joined with the
formation of an entomological collection, adds immense interest to
Saturday-afternoon rambles; and forms an admirable introduction to the
study of physiology.

We are quite prepared to hear from many that all this is throwing away
time and energy; and that children would be much better occupied in
writing their copies or learning their pence-tables, and so fitting
themselves for the business of life. We regret that such crude ideas of
what constitutes education, and such a narrow conception of utility,
should still be prevalent. Saying nothing on the need for a systematic
culture of the perceptions and the value of the practices above
inculcated as subserving that need, we are prepared to defend them even
on the score of the knowledge gained. If men are to be mere cits, mere
porers over ledgers, with no ideas beyond their trades--if it is well
that they should be as the cockney whose conception of rural pleasures
extends no further than sitting in a tea-garden smoking pipes and
drinking porter; or as the squire who thinks of woods as places for
shooting in, of uncultivated plants as nothing but weeds, and who
classifies animals into game, vermin, and stock--then indeed it is
needless to learn anything that does not directly help to replenish the
till and fill the larder. But if there is a more worthy aim for us than
to be drudges--if there are other uses in the things around than their
power to bring money--if there are higher faculties to be exercised than
acquisitive and sensual ones--if the pleasures which poetry and art and
science and philosophy can bring are of any moment; then is it desirable
that the instinctive inclination which every child shows to observe
natural beauties and investigate natural phenomena, should be
encouraged. But this gross utilitarianism which is content to come into
the world and quit it again without knowing what kind of a world it is
or what it contains, may be met on its own ground. It will by and by be
found that a knowledge of the laws of life is more important than any
other knowledge whatever--that the laws of life underlie not only all
bodily and mental processes, but by implication all the transactions of
the house and the street, all commerce, all politics, all morals--and
that therefore without a comprehension of them, neither personal nor
social conduct can be rightly regulated. It will eventually be seen too,
that the laws of life are essentially the same throughout the whole
organic creation; and further, that they cannot be properly understood
in their complex manifestations until they have been studied in their
simpler ones. And when this is seen, it will be also seen that in aiding
the child to acquire the out-of-door information for which it shows so
great an avidity, and in encouraging the acquisition of such information
throughout youth, we are simply inducing it to store up the raw material
for future organisation--the facts that will one day bring home to it
with due force, those great generalisations of science by which actions
may be rightly guided.

The spreading recognition of drawing as an element of education is one
among many signs of the more rational views on mental culture now
beginning to prevail. Once more it may be remarked that teachers are at
length adopting the course which Nature has perpetually been pressing on
their notice. The spontaneous attempts made by children to represent the
men, houses, trees, and animals around them--on a slate if they can get
nothing better, or with lead-pencil on paper if they can beg them--are
familiar to all. To be shown through a picture-book is one of their
highest gratifications; and as usual, their strong imitative tendency
presently generates in them the ambition to make pictures themselves
also. This effort to depict the striking things they see is a further
instinctive exercise of the perceptions--a means whereby still greater
accuracy and completeness of observation are induced. And alike by
trying to interest us in their discoveries of the sensible properties of
things, and by their endeavours to draw, they solicit from us just that
kind of culture which they most need.

Had teachers been guided by Nature's hints, not only in making drawing a
part of education but in choosing modes of teaching it, they would have
done still better than they have done. What is that the child first
tries to represent? Things that are large, things that are attractive in
colour, things round which its pleasurable associations most
cluster--human beings from whom it has received so many emotions; cows
and dogs which interest by the many phenomena they present; houses that
are hourly visible and strike by their size and contrast of parts. And
which of the processes of representation gives it most delight?
Colouring. Paper and pencil are good in default of something better; but
a box of paints and a brush--these are the treasures. The drawing of
outlines immediately becomes secondary to colouring--is gone through
mainly with a view to the colouring; and if leave can be got to colour a
book of prints, how great is the favour! Now, ridiculous as such a
position will seem to drawing-masters who postpone colouring and who
teach form by a dreary discipline of copying lines, we believe that the
course of culture thus indicated is the right one. The priority of
colour to form, which, as already pointed out, has a psychological
basis, should be recognised from the beginning; and from the beginning
also, the things imitated should be real. That greater delight in colour
which is not only conspicuous in children but persists in most persons
throughout life, should be continuously employed as the natural stimulus
to the mastery of the comparatively difficult and unattractive form: the
pleasure of the subsequent tinting should be the prospective reward for
the labour of delineation. And these efforts to represent interesting
actualities should be encouraged; in the conviction that as, by a
widening experience, simpler and more practicable objects become
interesting, they too will be attempted; and that so a gradual
approximation will be made towards imitations having some resemblance to
the realities. The extreme indefiniteness which, in conformity with the
law of evolution, these first attempts exhibit, is anything but a reason
for ignoring them. No matter how grotesque the shapes produced; no
matter how daubed and glaring the colours. The question is not whether
the child is producing good drawings. The question is, whether it is
developing its faculties. It has first to gain some command over its
fingers, some crude notions of likeness; and this practice is better
than any other for these ends, since it is the spontaneous and
interesting one. During early childhood no formal drawing-lessons are
possible. Shall we therefore repress, or neglect to aid, these efforts
at self-culture? or shall we encourage and guide them as normal
exercises of the perceptions and the powers of manipulation? If by
furnishing cheap woodcuts to be painted, and simple contour-maps to have
their boundary lines tinted, we can not only pleasurably draw out the
faculty of colour, but can incidentally produce some familiarity with
the outlines of things and countries, and some ability to move the brush
steadily; and if by the supply of tempting objects we can keep up the
instinctive practice of making representations, however rough; it must
happen that when the age for lessons in drawing is reached, there will
exist a facility that would else have been absent. Time will have been
gained; and trouble, both to teacher and pupil, saved.

From what has been said, it may be readily inferred that we condemn the
practice of drawing from copies; and still more so that formal
discipline in making straight lines and curved lines and compound lines,
with which it is the fashion of some teachers to begin. We regret that
the Society of Arts has recently, in its series of manuals on
"Rudimentary Art Instruction," given its countenance to an elementary
drawing-book, which is the most vicious in principle that we have seen.
We refer to the _Outline from Outline, or from the Flat_, by John Bell,
sculptor. As explained in the prefatory note, this publication proposes
"to place before the student a simple, yet logical mode of instruction;"
and to this end sets out with a number of definitions thus:--

     "A simple line in drawing is a thin mark drawn from one point to

     "Lines may be divided, as to their nature in drawing, into two

     "1. _Straight_, which are marks that go the shortest road between
     two points, as A B.

     "2. Or _Curved_, which are marks which do not go the shortest road
     between two points, as C D."

And so the introduction progresses to horizontal lines, perpendicular
lines, oblique lines, angles of the several kinds, and the various
figures which lines and angles make up. The work is, in short, a grammar
of form, with exercises. And thus the system of commencing with a dry
analysis of elements, which, in the teaching of language, has been
exploded, is to be re-instituted in the teaching of drawing. We are to
set out with the definite, instead of with the indefinite. The abstract
is to be preliminary to the concrete. Scientific conceptions are to
precede empirical experiences. That this is an inversion of the normal
order, we need scarcely repeat. It has been well said concerning the
custom of prefacing the art of speaking any tongue by a drilling in the
parts of speech and their functions, that it is about as reasonable as
prefacing the art of walking by a course of lessons on the bones,
muscles, and nerves of the legs; and much the same thing may be said of
the proposal to preface the art of representing objects, by a
nomenclature and definitions of the lines which they yield on analysis.
These technicalities are alike repulsive and needless. They render the
study distasteful at the very outset; and all with the view of teaching
that which, in the course of practice, will be learnt unconsciously.
Just as the child incidentally gathers the meanings of ordinary words
from the conversations going on around it, without the help of
dictionaries; so, from the remarks on objects, pictures, and its own
drawings, will it presently acquire, not only without effort but even
pleasurably, those same scientific terms which, when taught at first,
are a mystery and a weariness.

If any dependence is to be placed on the general principles of education
that have been laid down, the process of learning to draw should be
throughout continuous with those efforts of early childhood, described
above as so worthy of encouragement. By the time that the voluntary
practice thus initiated has given some steadiness of hand, and some
tolerable ideas of proportion, there will have arisen a vague notion of
body as presenting its three dimensions in perspective. And when, after
sundry abortive, Chinese-like attempts to render this appearance on
paper, there has grown up a pretty clear perception of the thing to be
done, and a desire to do it, a first lesson in empirical perspective may
be given by means of the apparatus occasionally used in explaining
perspective as a science. This sounds alarming; but the experiment is
both comprehensible and interesting to any boy or girl of ordinary
intelligence. A plate of glass so framed as to stand vertically on the
table, being placed before the pupil, and a book or like simple object
laid on the other side of it, he is requested, while keeping the eye in
one position, to make ink-dots on the glass so that they may coincide
with, or hide, the corners of this object. He is next told to join these
dots by lines; on doing which he perceives that the lines he makes hide,
or coincide with, the outlines of the object. And then by putting a
sheet of paper on the other side of the glass, it is made manifest to
him that the lines he has thus drawn represent the object as he saw it.
They not only look like it, but he perceives that they must be like it,
because he made them agree with its outlines; and by removing the paper
he can convince himself that they do agree with its outlines. The fact
is new and striking; and serves him as an experimental demonstration,
that lines of certain lengths, placed in certain directions on a plane,
can represent lines of other lengths, and having other directions, in
space. By gradually changing the position of the object, he may be led
to observe how some lines shorten and disappear, while others come into
sight and lengthen. The convergence of parallel lines, and, indeed, all
the leading facts of perspective, may, from time to time, be similarly
illustrated to him. If he has been duly accustomed to self-help, he will
gladly, when it is suggested, attempt to draw one of these outlines on
paper, by the eye only; and it may soon be made an exciting aim to
produce, unassisted, a representation as like as he can to one
subsequently sketched on the glass. Thus, without the unintelligent,
mechanical practice of copying other drawings, but by a method at once
simple and attractive--rational, yet not abstract--a familiarity with
the linear appearances of things, and a faculty of rendering them, may
be step by step acquired. To which advantages add these:--that even thus
early the pupil learns, almost unconsciously, the true theory of a
picture (namely, that it is a delineation of objects as they appear when
projected on a plane placed between them and the eye); and that when he
reaches a fit age for commencing scientific perspective, he is already
thoroughly acquainted with the facts which form its logical basis.

As exhibiting a rational mode of conveying primary conceptions in
geometry, we cannot do better than quote the following passage from Mr.

     "A child has been in the habit of using cubes for arithmetic; let
     him use them also for the elements of geometry. I would begin with
     solids, the reverse of the usual plan. It saves all the difficulty
     of absurd definitions, and bad explanations on points, lines, and
     surfaces, which are nothing but abstractions.... A cube presents
     many of the principal elements of geometry; it at once exhibits
     points, straight lines, parallel lines, angles, parallelograms,
     etc., etc. These cubes are divisible into various parts. The pupil
     has already been familiarised with such divisions in numeration,
     and he now proceeds to a comparison of their several parts, and of
     the relation of these parts to each other.... From thence he
     advances to globes, which furnish him with elementary notions of
     the circle, of curves generally, etc., etc.

     "Being tolerably familiar with solids, he may now substitute
     planes. The transition may be made very easy. Let the cube, for
     instance, be cut into thin divisions, and placed on paper; he will
     then see as many plane rectangles as he has divisions; so with all
     the others. Globes may be treated in the same manner; he will thus
     see how surfaces really are generated, and be enabled to abstract
     them with facility in every solid.

     "He has thus acquired the alphabet and reading of geometry. He now
     proceeds to write it.

     "The simplest operation, and therefore the first, is merely to
     place these planes on a piece of paper, and pass the pencil round
     them. When this has been frequently done, the plane may be put at a
     little distance, and the child required to copy it, and so on."

A stock of geometrical conceptions having been obtained, in some such
manner as this recommended by Mr. Wyse, a further step may be taken, by
introducing the practice of testing the correctness of figures drawn by
eye: thus both exciting an ambition to make them exact, and continually
illustrating the difficulty of fulfilling that ambition. There can be
little doubt that geometry had its origin (as, indeed, the word implies)
in the methods discovered by artizans and others, of making accurate
measurements for the foundations of buildings, areas of inclosures, and
the like; and that its truths came to be treasured up, merely with a
view to their immediate utility. They would be introduced to the pupil
under analogous relationships. In cutting out pieces for his
card-houses, in drawing ornamental diagrams for colouring, and in those
various instructive occupations which an inventive teacher will lead him
into, he may for a length of time be advantageously left, like the
primitive builder, to tentative processes; and so will learn through
experience the difficulty of achieving his aims by the unaided senses.
When, having meanwhile undergone a valuable discipline of the
perceptions, he has reached a fit age for using a pair of compasses, he
will, while duly appreciating these as enabling him to verify his ocular
guesses, be still hindered by the imperfections of the approximative
method. In this stage he may be left for a further period: partly as
being yet too young for anything higher; partly because it is desirable
that he should be made to feel still more strongly the want of
systematic contrivances. If the acquisition of knowledge is to be made
continuously interesting; and if, in the early civilisation of the
child, as in the early civilisation of the race, science is valued only
as ministering to art; it is manifest that the proper preliminary to
geometry, is a long practice in those constructive processes which
geometry will facilitate. Observe that here, too, Nature points the way.
Children show a strong propensity to cut out things in paper, to make,
to build--a propensity which, if encouraged and directed, will not only
prepare the way for scientific conceptions, but will develop those
powers of manipulation in which most people are so deficient.

When the observing and inventive faculties have attained the requisite
power, the pupil may be introduced to empirical geometry; that
is--geometry dealing with methodical solutions, but not with the
demonstrations of them. Like all other transitions in education, this
should be made not formally but incidentally; and the relationship to
constructive art should still be maintained. To make, out of cardboard,
a tetrahedron like one given to him, is a problem which will interest
the pupil and serve as a convenient starting-point. In attempting this,
he finds it needful to draw four equilateral triangles arranged in
special positions. Being unable in the absence of an exact method to do
this accurately, he discovers on putting the triangles into their
respective positions, that he cannot make their sides fit; and that
their angles do not meet at the apex. He may now be shown how, by
describing a couple of circles, each of these triangles may be drawn
with perfect correctness and without guessing; and after his failure he
will value the information. Having thus helped him to the solution of
his first problem, with the view of illustrating the nature of
geometrical methods, he is in future to be left to solve the questions
put to him as best he can. To bisect a line, to erect a perpendicular,
to describe a square, to bisect an angle, to draw a line parallel to a
given line, to describe a hexagon, are problems which a little patience
will enable him to find out. And from these he may be led on step by
step to more complex questions: all of which, under judicious
management, he will puzzle through unhelped. Doubtless, many of those
brought up under the old regime, will look upon this assertion
sceptically. We speak from facts, however; and those neither few nor
special. We have seen a class of boys become so interested in making out
solutions to such problems, as to look forward to their geometry-lesson
as a chief event of the week. Within the last month, we have heard of
one girl's school, in which some of the young ladies voluntarily occupy
themselves with geometrical questions out of school-hours; and of
another, where they not only do this, but where one of them is begging
for problems to find out during the holidays: both which facts we state
on the authority of the teacher. Strong proofs, these, of the
practicability and the immense advantage of self-development! A branch
of knowledge which, as commonly taught, is dry and even repulsive, is
thus, by following the method of Nature, made extremely interesting and
profoundly beneficial. We say profoundly beneficial, because the effects
are not confined to the gaining of geometrical facts, but often
revolutionise the whole state of mind. It has repeatedly occurred that
those who have been stupefied by the ordinary school-drill--by its
abstract formulas, its wearisome tasks, its cramming--have suddenly had
their intellects roused by thus ceasing to make them passive recipients,
and inducing them to become active discoverers. The discouragement
caused by bad teaching having been diminished by a little sympathy, and
sufficient perseverance excited to achieve a first success, there arises
a revulsion of feeling affecting the whole nature. They no longer find
themselves incompetent; they, too, can do something. And gradually as
success follows success, the incubus of despair disappears, and they
attack the difficulties of their other studies with a courage insuring

A few weeks after the foregoing remarks were originally published,
Professor Tyndall in a lecture at the Royal Institution "On the
Importance of the Study of Physics as a Branch of Education," gave some
conclusive evidence to the same effect. His testimony, based on personal
observation, is of such great value that we cannot refrain from quoting
it. Here it is.

     "One of the duties which fell to my share, during the period to
     which I have referred, was the instruction of a class in
     mathematics, and I usually found that Euclid and the ancient
     geometry generally, when addressed to the understanding, formed a
     very attractive study for youth. But it was my habitual practice to
     withdraw the boys from the routine of the book, and to appeal to
     their self-power in the treatment of questions not comprehended in
     that routine. At first, the change from the beaten track usually
     excited a little aversion: the youth felt like a child amid
     strangers; but in no single instance have I found this aversion to
     continue. When utterly disheartened, I have encouraged the boy by
     that anecdote of Newton, where he attributes the difference between
     him and other men, mainly to his own patience; or of Mirabeau, when
     he ordered his servant, who had stated something to be impossible,
     never to use that stupid word again. Thus cheered, he has returned
     to his task with a smile, which perhaps had something of doubt in
     it, but which, nevertheless, evinced a resolution to try again. I
     have seen the boy's eye brighten, and at length, with a pleasure of
     which the ecstasy of Archimedes was but a simple expansion, heard
     him exclaim, 'I have it, sir.' The consciousness of self-power,
     thus awakened, was of immense value; and animated by it, the
     progress of the class was truly astonishing. It was often my custom
     to give the boys their choice of pursuing their propositions in the
     book, or of trying their strength at others not to be found there.
     Never in a single instance have I known the book to be chosen. I
     was ever ready to assist when I deemed help needful, but my offers
     of assistance were habitually declined. The boys had tasted the
     sweets of intellectual conquest and demanded victories of their
     own. I have seen their diagrams scratched on the walls, cut into
     the beams upon the play ground, and numberless other illustrations
     of the living interest they took in the subject. For my own part,
     as far as experience in teaching goes, I was a mere fledgling: I
     knew nothing of the rules of pedagogics, as the Germans name it;
     but I adhered to the spirit indicated at the commencement of this
     discourse, and endeavoured to make geometry a _means_ and not a
     _branch_ of education. The experiment was successful, and some of
     the most delightful hours of my existence have been spent in
     marking the vigorous and cheerful expansion of mental power, when
     appealed to in the manner I have described."

This empirical geometry which presents an endless series of problems,
should be continued along with other studies for years; and may
throughout be advantageously accompanied by those concrete applications
of its principles which serve as its preliminary. After the cube, the
octahedron, and the various forms of pyramid and prism have been
mastered, may come the more complex regular bodies--the dodecahedron and
icosahedron--to construct which out of single pieces of cardboard,
requires considerable ingenuity. From these, the transition may
naturally be made to such modified forms of the regular bodies as are
met with in crystals--the truncated cube, the cube with its dihedral as
well as its solid angles truncated, the octahedron and the various
prisms as similarly modified: in imitating which numerous forms assumed
by different metals and salts, an acquaintance with the leading facts of
mineralogy will be incidentally gained.[1]

After long continuance in exercises of this kind, rational geometry, as
may be supposed, presents no obstacles. Habituated to contemplate
relationships of form and quantity, and vaguely perceiving from time to
time the necessity of certain results as reached by certain means, the
pupil comes to regard the demonstrations of Euclid as the missing
supplements to his familiar problems. His well-disciplined faculties
enable him easily to master its successive propositions, and to
appreciate their value; and he has the occasional gratification of
finding some of his own methods proved to be true. Thus he enjoys what
is to the unprepared a dreary task. It only remains to add, that his
mind will presently arrive at a fit condition for that most valuable of
all exercises for the reflective faculties--the making of original
demonstrations. Such theorems as those appended to the successive books
of the Messrs. Chambers's Euclid, will soon become practicable to him;
and in proving them, the process of self-development will be not
intellectual only, but moral.

To continue these suggestions much further, would be to write a detailed
treatise on education, which we do not purpose. The foregoing outlines
of plans for exercising the perceptions in early childhood, for
conducting object-lessons, for teaching drawing and geometry, must be
considered simply as illustrations of the method dictated by the general
principles previously specified. We believe that on examination they
will be found not only to progress from the simple to the complex, from
the indefinite to the definite, from the concrete to the abstract, from
the empirical to the rational; but to satisfy the further requirements,
that education shall be a repetition of civilisation in little, that it
shall be as much as possible a process of self-evolution, and that it
shall be pleasurable. The fulfilment of all these conditions by one type
of method, tends alike to verify the conditions, and to prove that type
of the method the right one. Mark too, that this method is the logical
outcome of the tendency characterising all modern improvements in
tuition--that it is but an adoption in full of the natural system which
they adopt partially--that it displays this complete adoption of the
natural system, both by conforming to the above principles, and by
following the suggestions which the unfolding mind itself gives:
facilitating its spontaneous activities, and so aiding the developments
which Nature is busy with. Thus there seems abundant reason to conclude,
that the mode of procedure above exemplified, closely approximates to
the true one.

       *       *       *       *       *

A few paragraphs must be added in further inculcation of the two general
principles, that are alike the most important and the least attended to;
namely, the principle that throughout youth, as in early childhood and
in maturity, the process shall be one of self-instruction; and the
obverse principle, that the mental action induced shall be throughout
intrinsically grateful. If progression from simple to complex, from
indefinite to definite, and from concrete to abstract, be considered the
essential requirements as dictated by abstract psychology; then do the
requirements that knowledge shall be self-mastered, and pleasurably
mastered, become tests by which we may judge whether the dictates of
abstract psychology are being obeyed. If the first embody the leading
generalisations of the _science_ of mental growth, the last are the
chief canons of the _art_ of fostering mental growth. For manifestly, if
the steps in our _curriculum_ are so arranged that they can be
successively ascended by the pupil himself with little or no help, they
must correspond with the stages of evolution in his faculties; and
manifestly, if the successive achievements of these steps are
intrinsically gratifying to him, it follows that they require no more
than a normal exercise of his powers.

But making education a process of self-evolution, has other advantages
than this of keeping our lessons in the right order. In the first place,
it guarantees a vividness and permanency of impression which the usual
methods can never produce. Any piece of knowledge which the pupil has
himself acquired--any problem which he has himself solved, becomes, by
virtue of the conquest, much more thoroughly his than it could else be.
The preliminary activity of mind which his success implies, the
concentration of thought necessary to it, and the excitement consequent
on his triumph, conspire to register the facts in his memory in a way
that no mere information heard from a teacher, or read in a school-book,
can be registered. Even if he fails, the tension to which his faculties
have been wound up, insures his remembrance of the solution when given
to him, better than half-a-dozen repetitions would. Observe, again, that
this discipline necessitates a continuous organisation of the knowledge
he acquires. It is in the very nature of facts and inferences
assimilated in this normal manner, that they successively become the
premises of further conclusions--the means of solving further questions.
The solution of yesterday's problem helps the pupil in mastering
to-day's. Thus the knowledge is turned into faculty as soon as it is
taken in, and forthwith aids in the general function of thinking--does
not lie merely written on the pages of an internal library, as when
rote-learnt. Mark further, the moral culture which this constant
self-help involves. Courage in attacking difficulties, patient
concentration of the attention, perseverance through failures--these are
characteristics which after-life specially requires; and these are
characteristics which this system of making the mind work for its food
specially produces. That it is thoroughly practicable to carry out
instruction after this fashion, we can ourselves testify; having been in
youth thus led to solve the comparatively complex problems of
perspective. And that leading teachers have been tending in this
direction, is indicated alike in the saying of Fellenberg, that "the
individual, independent activity of the pupil is of much greater
importance than the ordinary busy officiousness of many who assume the
office of educators;" in the opinion of Horace Mann, that "unfortunately
education amongst us at present consists too much in _telling_, not in
_training_;" and in the remark of M. Marcel, that "what the learner
discovers by mental exertion is better known than what is told to him."

Similarly with the correlative requirement, that the method of culture
pursued shall be one productive of an intrinsically happy activity,--an
activity not happy because of extrinsic rewards to be obtained, but
because of its own healthfulness. Conformity to this requirement,
besides preventing us from thwarting the normal process of evolution,
incidentally secures positive benefits of importance. Unless we are to
return to an ascetic morality (or rather _im_-morality) the maintenance
of youthful happiness must be considered as in itself a worthy aim. Not
to dwell upon this, however, we go on to remark that a pleasurable state
of feeling is far more favourable to intellectual action than a state of
indifference or disgust. Every one knows that things read, heard, or
seen with interest, are better remembered than things read, heard, or
seen with apathy. In the one case the faculties appealed to are actively
occupied with the subject presented; in the other they are inactively
occupied with it, and the attention is continually drawn away by more
attractive thoughts. Hence the impressions are respectively strong and
weak. Moreover, to the intellectual listlessness which a pupil's lack of
interest in any study involves, must be added the paralysing fear of
consequences. This, by distracting his attention, increases the
difficulty he finds in bringing his faculties to bear upon facts that
are repugnant to them. Clearly, therefore, the efficiency of tuition
will, other things equal, be proportionate to the gratification with
which tasks are performed.

It should be considered also, that grave moral consequences depend upon
the habitual pleasure or pain which daily lessons produce. No one can
compare the faces and manners of two boys--the one made happy by
mastering interesting subjects, and the other made miserable by disgust
with his studies, by consequent inability, by cold looks, by threats, by
punishment--without seeing that the disposition of the one is being
benefited and that of the other injured. Whoever has marked the effects
of success and failure upon the mind, and the power of the mind over the
body, will see that in the one case both temper and health are
favourably affected, while in the other there is danger of permanent
moroseness, or permanent timidity, and even of permanent constitutional
depression. There remains yet another indirect result of no small
moment. The relationship between teachers and their pupils is, other
things equal, rendered friendly and influential, or antagonistic and
powerless, according as the system of culture produces happiness or
misery. Human beings are at the mercy of their associated ideas. A daily
minister of pain cannot fail to be regarded with secret dislike; and if
he causes no emotions but painful ones, will inevitably be hated.
Conversely, he who constantly aids children to their ends, hourly
provides them with the satisfactions of conquest, hourly encourages them
through their difficulties and sympathises in their successes, will be
liked; nay, if his behaviour is consistent throughout, must be loved.
And when we remember how efficient and benign is the control of a master
who is felt to be a friend, when compared with the control of one who is
looked upon with aversion, or at best indifference, we may infer that
the indirect advantages of conducting education on the happiness
principle do not fall far short of the direct ones. To all who question
the possibility of acting out the system here advocated, we reply as
before, that not only does theory point to it, but experience commends
it. To the many verdicts of distinguished teachers who since
Pestalozzi's time have testified this, may be here added that of
Professor Pillans, who asserts that "where young people are taught as
they ought to be, they are quite as happy in school as at play, seldom
less delighted, nay, often more, with the well-directed exercise of
their mental energies than with that of their muscular powers."

As suggesting a final reason for making education a process of
self-instruction, and by consequence a process of pleasurable
instruction, we may advert to the fact that, in proportion as it is made
so, is there a probability that it will not cease when schooldays end.
As long as the acquisition of knowledge is rendered habitually
repugnant, so long will there be a prevailing tendency to discontinue it
when free from the coercion of parents and masters. And when the
acquisition of knowledge has been rendered habitually gratifying, then
will there be as prevailing a tendency to continue, without
superintendence, that self-culture previously carried on under
superintendence. These results are inevitable. While the laws of mental
association remain true--while men dislike the things and places that
suggest painful recollections, and delight in those which call to mind
by-gone pleasures--painful lessons will make knowledge repulsive, and
pleasurable lessons will make it attractive. The men to whom in boyhood
information came in dreary tasks along with threats of punishment, and
who were never led into habits of independent inquiry, are unlikely to
be students in after years; while those to whom it came in the natural
forms, at the proper times, and who remember its facts as not only
interesting in themselves, but as the occasions of a long series of
gratifying successes, are likely to continue through life that
self-instruction commenced in youth.

[1] Those who seek aid in carrying out the system of culture above
described, will find it in a little work entitled _Inventional
Geometry_; published by J. and C. Mozley, Paternoster Row, London.


The greatest defect in our programmes of education is entirely
overlooked. While much is being done in the detailed improvement of our
systems in respect both of matter and manner, the most pressing
desideratum has not yet been even recognised as a desideratum. To
prepare the young for the duties of life is tacitly admitted to be the
end which parents and schoolmasters should have in view; and happily,
the value of the things taught, and the goodness of the methods followed
in teaching them, are now ostensibly judged by their fitness to this
end. The propriety of substituting for an exclusively classical
training, a training in which the modern languages shall have a share,
is argued on this ground. The necessity of increasing the amount of
science is urged for like reasons. But though some care is taken to fit
youth of both sexes for society and citizenship, no care whatever is
taken to fit them for the position of parents. While it is seen that for
the purpose of gaining a livelihood, an elaborate preparation is needed,
it appears to be thought that for the bringing up of children, no
preparation whatever is needed. While many years are spent by a boy in
gaining knowledge of which the chief value is that it constitutes "the
education of a gentleman;" and while many years are spent by a girl in
those decorative acquirements which fit her for evening parties; not an
hour is spent by either in preparation for that gravest of all
responsibilities--the management of a family. Is it that this
responsibility is but a remote contingency? On the contrary, it is sure
to devolve on nine out of ten. Is it that the discharge of it is easy?
Certainly not: of all functions which the adult has to fulfil, this is
the most difficult. Is it that each may be trusted by self-instruction
to fit himself, or herself, for the office of parent? No: not only is
the need for such self-instruction unrecognised, but the complexity of
the subject renders it the one of all others in which self-instruction
is least likely to succeed. No rational plea can be put forward for
leaving the Art of Education out of our _curriculum_. Whether as bearing
on the happiness of parents themselves, or whether as affecting the
characters and lives of their children and remote descendants, we must
admit that a knowledge of the right methods of juvenile culture,
physical, intellectual, and moral, is a knowledge of extreme importance.
This topic should be the final one in the course of instruction passed
through by each man and woman. As physical maturity is marked by the
ability to produce offspring, so mental maturity is marked by the
ability to train those offspring. _The subject which involves all other
subjects, and therefore the subject in which education should culminate,
is the Theory and Practice of Education._

In the absence of this preparation, the management of children, and more
especially the moral management, is lamentably bad. Parents either never
think about the matter at all, or else their conclusions are crude and
inconsistent. In most cases, and especially on the part of mothers, the
treatment adopted on every occasion is that which the impulse of the
moment prompts: it springs not from any reasoned-out conviction as to
what will most benefit the child, but merely expresses the dominant
parental feelings, whether good or ill; and varies from hour to hour as
these feelings vary. Or if the dictates of passion are supplemented by
any definite doctrines and methods, they are those handed down from the
past, or those suggested by the remembrances of childhood, or those
adopted from nurses and servants--methods devised not by the
enlightenment, but by the ignorance, of the time. Commenting on the
chaotic state of opinion and practice relative to family government,
Richter writes:--

     "If the secret variances of a large class of ordinary fathers were
     brought to light, and laid down as a plan of studies and reading,
     catalogued for a moral education, they would run somewhat after
     this fashion:--In the first hour 'pure morality must be read to the
     child, either by myself or the tutor;' in the second, 'mixed
     morality, or that which may be applied to one's own advantage;' in
     the third, 'do you not see that your father does so and so?' in the
     fourth, 'you are little, and this is only fit for grown-up people;'
     in the fifth, 'the chief matter is that you should succeed in the
     world, and become something in the state;' in the sixth, 'not the
     temporary, but the eternal, determines the worth of a man;' in the
     seventh, 'therefore rather suffer injustice, and be kind;' in the
     eighth, 'but defend yourself bravely if any one attack you;' in the
     ninth, 'do not make a noise, dear child;' in the tenth, 'a boy must
     not sit so quiet;' in the eleventh, 'you must obey your parents
     better;' in the twelfth, 'and educate yourself.' So by the hourly
     change of his principles, the father conceals their untenableness
     and onesidedness. As for his wife, she is neither like him, nor yet
     like that harlequin who came on to the stage with a bundle of
     papers under each arm, and answered to the inquiry, what he had
     under his right arm, 'orders,' and to what he had under his left
     arm, 'counter-orders.' But the mother might be much better compared
     to a giant Briareus, who had a hundred arms, and a bundle of papers
     under each."

This state of things is not to be readily changed. Generations must
pass before a great amelioration of it can be expected. Like political
constitutions, educational systems are not made, but grow; and within
brief periods growth is insensible. Slow, however, as must be any
improvement, even that improvement implies the use of means; and among
the means is discussion.

       *       *       *       *       *

We are not among those who believe in Lord Palmerston's dogma, that "all
children are born good." On the whole, the opposite dogma, untenable as
it is, seems to us less wide of the truth. Nor do we agree with those
who think that, by skilful discipline, children may be made altogether
what they should be. Contrariwise, we are satisfied that though
imperfections of nature may be diminished by wise management, they
cannot be removed by it. The notion that an ideal humanity might be
forthwith produced by a perfect system of education, is near akin to
that implied in the poems of Shelley, that would mankind give up their
old institutions and prejudices, all the evils in the world would at
once disappear: neither notion being acceptable to such as have
dispassionately studied human affairs.

Nevertheless, we may fitly sympathise with those who entertain these too
sanguine hopes. Enthusiasm, pushed even to fanaticism, is a useful
motive-power--perhaps an indispensable one. It is clear that the ardent
politician would never undergo the labours and make the sacrifices he
does, did he not believe that the reform he fights for is the one thing
needful. But for his conviction that drunkenness is the root of all
social evils, the teetotaler would agitate far less energetically. In
philanthropy, as in other things, great advantage results from division
of labour; and that there may be division of labour, each class of
philanthropists must be more or less subordinated to its function--must
have an exaggerated faith in its work. Hence, of those who regard
education, intellectual or moral, as the panacea, we may say that their
undue expectations are not without use; and that perhaps it is part of
the beneficent order of things that their confidence cannot be shaken.

Even were it true, however, that by some possible system of moral
control, children could be moulded into the desired form; and even could
every parent be indoctrinated with this system, we should still be far
from achieving the object in view. It is forgotten that the carrying out
of any such system presupposes, on the part of adults, a degree of
intelligence, of goodness, of self-control, possessed by no one. The
error made by those who discuss questions of domestic discipline, lies
in ascribing all the faults and difficulties to the children, and none
to the parents. The current assumption respecting family government, as
respecting national government, is, that the virtues are with the rulers
and the vices with the ruled. Judging by educational theories, men and
women are entirely transfigured in their relations to offspring. The
citizens we do business with, the people we meet in the world, we know
to be very imperfect creatures. In the daily scandals, in the quarrels
of friends, in bankruptcy disclosures, in lawsuits, in police reports,
we have constantly thrust before us the pervading selfishness,
dishonesty, brutality. Yet when we criticise nursery-management and
canvass the misbehaviour of juveniles, we habitually take for granted
that these culpable persons are free from moral delinquency in the
treatment of their boys and girls! So far is this from the truth, that
we do not hesitate to blame parental misconduct for a great part of the
domestic disorder commonly ascribed to the perversity of children. We do
not assert this of the more sympathetic and self-restrained, among whom
we hope most of our readers may be classed; but we assert it of the
mass. What kind of moral culture is to be expected from a mother who,
time after time, angrily shakes her infant because it will not suck;
which we once saw a mother do? How much sense of justice is likely to be
instilled by a father who, on having his attention drawn by a scream to
the fact that his child's finger is jammed between the window-sash and
sill, begins to beat the child instead of releasing it? Yet that there
are such fathers is testified to us by an eye-witness. Or, to take a
still stronger case, also vouched for by direct testimony--what are the
educational prospects of the boy who, on being taken home with a
dislocated thigh, is saluted with a castigation? It is true that these
are extreme instances--instances exhibiting in human beings that blind
instinct which impels brutes to destroy the weakly and injured of their
own race. But extreme though they are, they typify feelings and conduct
daily observable in many families. Who has not repeatedly seen a child
slapped by nurse or parent for a fretfulness probably resulting from
bodily derangement? Who, when watching a mother snatch up a fallen
little one, has not often traced, both in the rough manner and in the
sharply-uttered exclamation--"You stupid little thing!"--an irascibility
foretelling endless future squabbles? Is there not in the harsh tones in
which a father bids his children be quiet, evidence of a deficient
fellow-feeling with them? Are not the constant, and often quite
needless, thwartings that the young experience--the injunctions to sit
still, which an active child cannot obey without suffering great nervous
irritation, the commands not to look out of the window when travelling
by railway, which on a child of any intelligence entails serious
deprivation--are not these thwartings, we ask, signs of a terrible lack
of sympathy? The truth is, that the difficulties of moral education are
necessarily of dual origin--necessarily result from the combined faults
of parents and children. If hereditary transmission is a law of nature,
as every naturalist knows it to be, and as our daily remarks and current
proverbs admit it to be; then, on the average of cases, the defects of
children mirror the defects of their parents;--on the average of cases,
we say, because, complicated as the results are by the transmitted
traits of remoter ancestors, the correspondence is not special but only
general. And if, on the average of cases, this inheritance of defects
exists, then the evil passions which parents have to check in their
children, imply like evil passions in themselves: hidden, it may be,
from the public eye, or perhaps obscured by other feelings, but still
there. Evidently, therefore, the general practice of any ideal system of
discipline is hopeless: parents are not good enough.

Moreover, even were there methods by which the desired end could be at
once effected; and even had fathers and mothers sufficient insight,
sympathy, and self-command to employ these methods consistently; it
might still be contended that it would be of no use to reform
family-government faster than other things are reformed. What is it that
we aim to do? Is it not that education of whatever kind has for its
proximate end to prepare a child for the business of life--to produce a
citizen who, while he is well conducted, is also able to make his way in
the world? And does not making his way in the world (by which we mean,
not the acquirement of wealth, but of the funds requisite for bringing
up a family)--does not this imply a certain fitness for the world as it
now is? And if by any system of culture an ideal human being could be
produced, is it not doubtful whether he would be fit for the world as it
now is? May we not, on the contrary, suspect that his too keen sense of
rectitude, and too elevated standard of conduct, would make life
intolerable or even impossible? And however admirable the result might
be, considered individually, would it not be self-defeating in so far as
society and posterity are concerned? There is much reason for thinking
that as in a nation so in a family, the kind of government is, on the
whole, about as good as the general state of human nature permits it to
be. We may argue that in the one case, as in the other, the average
character of the people determines the quality of the control exercised.
In both cases it may be inferred that amelioration of the average
character leads to an amelioration of system; and further, that were it
possible to ameliorate the system without the average character being
first ameliorated, evil rather than good would follow. Such degree of
harshness as children now experience from their parents and teachers,
may be regarded as but a preparation for that greater harshness which
they will meet on entering the world. And it may be urged that were it
possible for parents and teachers to treat them with perfect equity and
entire sympathy, it would but intensify the sufferings which the
selfishness of men must, in after life, inflict on them.[1]

"But does not this prove too much?" some one will ask. "If no system of
moral training can forthwith make children what they should be; if, even
were there a system that would do this, existing parents are too
imperfect to carry it out; and if even could such a system be
successfully carried out, its results would be disastrously incongruous
with the present state of society; does it not follow that to reform the
system now in use is neither practicable nor desirable?" No. It merely
follows that reform in domestic government must go on, _pari passu_,
with other reforms. It merely follows that methods of discipline neither
can be nor should be ameliorated, except by instalments. It merely
follows that the dictates of abstract rectitude will, in practice,
inevitably be subordinated by the present state of human nature--by the
imperfections alike of children, of parents, and of society; and can
only be better fulfilled as the general character becomes better.

"At any rate, then," may rejoin our critic, "it is clearly useless to
set up any ideal standard of family discipline. There can be no
advantage in elaborating and recommending methods that are in advance of
the time." Again we contend for the contrary. Just as in the case of
political government, though pure rectitude may be at present
impracticable, it is requisite to know where the right lies, in order
that the changes we make may be _towards_ the right instead of _away_
from it; so, in the case of domestic government, an ideal must be
upheld, that there may be gradual approximations to it. We need fear no
evil consequences from the maintenance of such an ideal. On the average
the constitutional conservatism of mankind is strong enough to prevent
too rapid a change. Things are so organised that until men have grown up
to the level of a higher belief, they cannot receive it: nominally, they
may hold it, but not virtually. And even when the truth gets recognised,
the obstacles to conformity with it are so persistent as to outlive the
patience of philanthropists and even of philosophers. We may be sure,
therefore, that the difficulties in the way of a normal government of
children, will always put an adequate check upon the efforts to realise

With these preliminary explanations, let us go on to consider the true
aims and methods of moral education. After a few pages devoted to the
settlement of general principles, during the perusal of which we bespeak
the reader's patience, we shall aim by illustrations to make clear the
right methods of parental behaviour in the hourly occurring difficulties
of family government.

       *       *       *       *       *

When a child falls, or runs its head against the table, it suffers a
pain, the remembrance of which tends to make it more careful; and by
repetition of such experiences, it is eventually disciplined into proper
guidance of its movements. If it lays hold of the fire-bars, thrusts its
hand into a candle-flame, or spills boiling water on any part of its
skin, the resulting burn or scald is a lesson not easily forgotten. So
deep an impression is produced by one or two events of this kind, that
no persuasion will afterwards induce it thus to disregard the laws of
its constitution.

Now in these cases, Nature illustrates to us in the simplest way, the
true theory and practice of moral discipline--a theory and practice
which, however much they may seem to the superficial like those commonly
received, we shall find on examination to differ from them very widely.

Observe, first, that in bodily injuries and their penalties we have
misconduct and its consequences reduced to their simplest forms. Though,
according to their popular acceptations, _right_ and _wrong_ are words
scarcely applicable to actions that have none but direct bodily effects;
yet whoever considers the matter will see that such actions must be as
much classifiable under these heads as any other actions. From whatever
assumption they start, all theories of morality agree that conduct whose
total results, immediate and remote, are beneficial, is good conduct;
while conduct whose total results, immediate and remote, are injurious,
is bad conduct. The _ultimate_ standards by which all men judge of
behaviour, are the resulting happiness or misery. We consider
drunkenness wrong because of the physical degeneracy and accompanying
moral evils entailed on the drunkard and his dependents. Did theft give
pleasure both to taker and loser, we should not find it in our catalogue
of sins. Were it conceivable that kind actions multiplied human
sufferings, we should condemn them--should not consider them kind. It
needs but to read the first newspaper-leader, or listen to any
conversation on social affairs, to see that acts of parliament,
political movements, philanthropic agitations, in common with the doings
of individuals are judged by their anticipated results in augmenting the
pleasures or pains of men. And if on analysing all secondary
superinduced ideas, we find these to be our final tests of right and
wrong, we cannot refuse to class bodily conduct as right or wrong
according to the beneficial or detrimental results produced.

Note, in the second place, the character of the punishments by which
these physical transgressions are prevented. Punishments, we call them,
in the absence of a better word; for they are not punishments in the
literal sense. They are not artificial and unnecessary inflictions of
pain; but are simply the beneficent checks to actions that are
essentially at variance with bodily welfare--checks in the absence of
which life would be quickly destroyed by bodily injuries. It is the
peculiarity of these penalties, if we must so call them, that they are
simply the _unavoidable consequences_ of the deeds which they follow:
they are nothing more than the _inevitable reactions_ entailed by the
child's actions.

Let it be further borne in mind that these painful reactions are
proportionate to the transgressions. A slight accident brings a slight
pain; a more serious one, a severer pain. It is not ordained that an
urchin who tumbles over the doorstep, shall suffer in excess of the
amount necessary; with the view of making it still more cautious than
the necessary suffering will make it. But from its daily experience it
is left to learn the greater or less penalties of greater or less
errors; and to behave accordingly.

And then mark, lastly, that these natural reactions which follow the
child's wrong actions, are constant, direct, unhesitating, and not to be
escaped. No threats; but a silent, rigorous performance. If a child runs
a pin into its finger, pain follows. If it does it again, there is again
the same result: and so on perpetually. In all its dealing with
inorganic Nature it finds this unswerving persistence, which listens to
no excuse, and from which there is no appeal; and very soon recognising
this stern though beneficent discipline, it becomes extremely careful
not to transgress.

Still more significant will these general truths appear, when we
remember that they hold throughout adult life as well as throughout
infantine life. It is by an experimentally-gained knowledge of the
natural consequences, that men and women are checked when they go wrong.
After home-education has ceased, and when there are no longer parents
and teachers to forbid this or that kind of conduct, there comes into
play a discipline like that by which the young child is trained to
self-guidance. If the youth entering on the business of life idles away
his time and fulfils slowly or unskilfully the duties entrusted to him,
there by and by follows the natural penalty: he is discharged, and left
to suffer for awhile the evils of a relative poverty. On the unpunctual
man, ever missing his appointments of business and pleasure, there
continually fall the consequent inconveniences, losses, and
deprivations. The tradesmen who charges too high a rate of profit, loses
his customers, and so is checked in his greediness. Diminishing practice
teaches the inattentive doctor to bestow more trouble on his patients.
The too credulous creditor and the over-sanguine speculator, alike learn
by the difficulties which rashness entails on them, the necessity of
being more cautious in their engagements. And so throughout the life of
every citizen. In the quotation so often made _apropos_ of such
cases--"The burnt child dreads the fire"--we see not only that the
analogy between this social discipline and Nature's early discipline of
infants is universally recognised; but we also see an implied conviction
that this discipline is of the most efficient kind. Nay indeed, this
conviction is more than implied; it is distinctly stated. Every one has
heard others confess that only by "dearly bought experience" had they
been induced to give up some bad or foolish course of conduct formerly
pursued. Every one has heard, in the criticism passed on the doings of
this spendthrift or the other schemer, the remark that advice was
useless, and that nothing but "bitter experience" would produce any
effect: nothing, that is, but suffering the unavoidable consequences.
And if further proof be needed that the natural reaction is not only the
most efficient penalty, but that no humanly-devised penalty can replace
it, we have such further proof in the notorious ill-success of our
various penal systems. Out of the many methods of criminal discipline
that have been proposed and legally enforced, none have answered the
expectations of their advocates. Artificial punishments have failed to
produce reformation; and have in many cases increased the criminality.
The only successful reformatories are those privately-established ones
which approximate their regime to the method of Nature--which do little
more than administer the natural consequences of criminal conduct:
diminishing the criminal's liberty of action as much as is needful for
the safety of society, and requiring him to maintain himself while
living under this restraint. Thus we see, both that the discipline by
which the young child is taught to regulate its movements is the
discipline by which the great mass of adults are kept in order, and more
or less improved; and that the discipline humanly-devised for the worst
adults, fails when it diverges from this divinely-ordained discipline,
and begins to succeed on approximating to it.

       *       *       *       *       *

Have we not here, then, the guiding principle of moral education? Must
we not infer that the system so beneficent in its effects during infancy
and maturity, will be equally beneficent throughout youth? Can any one
believe that the method which answers so well in the first and the last
divisions of life, will not answer in the intermediate division? Is it
not manifest that as "ministers and interpreters of Nature" it is the
function of parents to see that their children habitually experience the
true consequences of their conduct--the natural reactions: neither
warding them off, nor intensifying them, nor putting artificial
consequences in place of them? No unprejudiced reader will hesitate in
his assent.

Probably, however, not a few will contend that already most parents do
this--that the punishments they inflict are, in the majority of cases,
the true consequences of ill-conduct--that parental anger, venting
itself in harsh words and deeds, is the result of a child's
transgression--and that, in the suffering, physical or moral, which the
child is subject to, it experiences the natural reaction of its
misbehaviour. Along with much error this assertion contains some truth.
It is unquestionable that the displeasure of fathers and mothers is a
true consequence of juvenile delinquency; and that the manifestation of
it is a normal check upon such delinquency. The scoldings, and threats,
and blows, which a passionate parent visits on offending little ones,
are doubtless effects actually drawn from such a parent by their
offences; and so are, in some sort, to be considered as among the
natural reactions of their wrong actions. Nor are we prepared to say
that these modes of treatment are not relatively right--right, that is,
in relation to the uncontrollable children of ill-controlled adults; and
right in relation to a state of society in which such ill-controlled
adults make up the mass of the people. As already suggested, educational
systems, like political and other institutions, are generally as good as
the state of human nature permits. The barbarous children of barbarous
parents are probably only to be restrained by the barbarous methods
which such parents spontaneously employ; while submission to these
barbarous methods is perhaps the best preparation such children can have
for the barbarous society in which they are presently to play a part.
Conversely, the civilised members of a civilised society will
spontaneously manifest their displeasure in less violent ways--will
spontaneously use milder measures--measures strong enough for their
better-natured children. Thus it is true that, in so far as the
expression of parental feeling is concerned, the principle of the
natural reaction is always more or less followed. The system of domestic
government ever gravitates towards its right form.

But now observe two important facts. The first fact is that, in states
of rapid transition like ours, which witness a continuous battle between
old and new theories and old and new practices, the educational methods
in use are apt to be considerably out of harmony with the times. In
deference to dogmas fit only for the ages that uttered them, many
parents inflict punishments that do violence to their own feelings, and
so visit on their children _un_natural reactions; while other parents,
enthusiastic in their hopes of immediate perfection, rush to the
opposite extreme. The second fact is, that the discipline of chief value
is not the experience of parental approbation or disapprobation; but it
is the experience of those results which would ultimately flow from the
conduct in the absence of parental opinion or interference. The truly
instructive and salutary consequences are not those inflicted by
parents when they take upon themselves to be Nature's proxies; but they
are those inflicted by Nature herself. We will endeavour to make this
distinction clear by a few illustrations, which, while they show what we
mean by natural reactions as contrasted with artificial ones, will
afford some practical suggestions.

In every family where there are young children there daily occur cases
of what mothers and servants call "making a litter." A child has had out
its box of toys, and leaves them scattered about the floor. Or a handful
of flowers, brought in from a morning walk, is presently seen dispersed
over tables and chairs. Or a little girl, making doll's-clothes,
disfigures the room with shreds. In most cases the trouble of rectifying
this disorder falls anywhere but where it should. Occurring in the
nursery, the nurse herself, with many grumblings about "tiresome little
things," undertakes the task; if below-stairs, the task usually devolves
either on one of the elder children or on the housemaid: the
transgressor being visited with nothing more than a scolding. In this
very simple case, however, there are many parents wise enough to follow
out, more or less consistently, the normal course--that of making the
child itself collect the toys or shreds. The labour of putting things in
order is the true consequence of having put them in disorder. Every
trader in his office, every wife in her household, has daily experience
of this fact. And if education be a preparation for the business of
life, then every child should also, from the beginning, have daily
experience of this fact. If the natural penalty be met by refractory
behaviour (which it may perhaps be where the system of moral discipline
previously pursued has been bad), then the proper course is to let the
child feel the ulterior reaction caused by its disobedience. Having
refused or neglected to pick up and put away the things it has scattered
about, and having thereby entailed the trouble of doing this on some one
else, the child should, on subsequent occasions, be denied the means of
giving this trouble. When next it petitions for its toy-box, the reply
of its mamma should be--"The last time you had your toys you left them
lying on the floor, and Jane had to pick them up. Jane is too busy to
pick up every day the things you leave about; and I cannot do it myself.
So that, as you will not put away your toys when you have done with
them, I cannot let you have them." This is obviously a natural
consequence, neither increased nor lessened; and must be so recognised
by a child. The penalty comes, too, at the moment when it is most keenly
felt. A new-born desire is balked at the moment of anticipated
gratification; and the strong impression so produced can scarcely fail
to have an effect on the future conduct: an effect which, by consistent
repetition, will do whatever can be done in curing the fault. Add to
which, that, by this method, a child is early taught the lesson which
cannot be learnt too soon, that in this world of ours pleasures are
rightly to be obtained only by labour.

Take another case. Not long since we had frequently to hear the
reprimands visited on a little girl who was scarcely ever ready in time
for the daily walk. Of eager disposition, and apt to become absorbed in
the occupation of the moment, Constance never thought of putting on her
things till the rest were ready. The governess and the other children
had almost invariably to wait; and from the mamma there almost
invariably came the same scolding. Utterly as this system failed, it
never occurred to the mamma to let Constance experience the natural
penalty. Nor, indeed, would she try it when it was suggested to her. In
the world, unreadiness entails the loss of some advantage that would
else have been gained: the train is gone; or the steam-boat is just
leaving its moorings; or the best things in the market are sold; or all
the good seats in the concert-room are filled. And every one, in cases
perpetually occurring, may see that it is the prospective deprivations
which prevent people from being too late. Is not the inference obvious?
Should not the prospective deprivations control a child's conduct also?
If Constance is not ready at the appointed time, the natural result is
that of being left behind, and losing her walk. And after having once or
twice remained at home while the rest were enjoying themselves in the
fields--after having felt that this loss of a much-prized gratification
was solely due to want of promptitude; amendment would in all
probability take place. At any rate, the measure would be more effective
than that perpetual scolding which ends only in producing callousness.

Again, when children, with more than usual carelessness, break or lose
the things given to them, the natural penalty--the penalty which makes
grown-up persons more careful--is the consequent inconvenience. The lack
of the lost or damaged article, and the cost of replacing it, are the
experiences by which men and women are disciplined in these matters; and
the experiences of children should be as much as possible assimilated to
theirs. We do not refer to that early period at which toys are pulled to
pieces in the process of learning their physical properties, and at
which the results of carelessness cannot be understood; but to a later
period, when the meaning and advantages of property are perceived. When
a boy, old enough to possess a penknife, uses it so roughly as to snap
the blade, or leaves it in the grass by some hedge-side where he was
cutting a stick, a thoughtless parent, or some indulgent relative, will
commonly forthwith buy him another, not seeing that, by doing this, a
valuable lesson is prevented. In such a case, a father may properly
explain that penknives cost money, and that to get money requires
labour; that he cannot afford to purchase new penknives for one who
loses or breaks them; and that until he sees evidence of greater
carefulness he must decline to make good the loss. A parallel discipline
will serve to check extravagance.

These few familiar instances, here chosen because of the simplicity with
which they illustrate our point, will make clear to every one the
distinction between those natural penalties which we contend are the
truly efficient ones, and those artificial penalties commonly
substituted for them. Before going on to exhibit the higher and subtler
applications of the principle exemplified, let us note its many and
great superiorities over the principle, or rather the empirical
practice, which prevails in most families.

One superiority is that the pursuance of it generates right conceptions
of cause and effect; which by frequent and consistent experience are
eventually rendered definite and complete. Proper conduct in life is
much better guaranteed when the good and evil consequences of actions
are understood, than when they are merely believed on authority. A child
who finds that disorderliness entails the trouble of putting things in
order, or who misses a gratification from dilatoriness, or whose
carelessness is followed by the want of some much-prized possession, not
only suffers a keenly-felt consequence, but gains a knowledge of
causation: both the one and the other being just like those which adult
life will bring. Whereas a child who in such cases receives a reprimand,
or some factitious penalty, not only experiences a consequence for which
it often cares very little, but misses that instruction respecting the
essential natures of good and evil conduct, which it would else have
gathered. It is a vice of the common system of artificial rewards and
punishments, long since noticed by the clear-sighted, that by
substituting for the natural results of misbehaviour certain tasks or
castigations, it produces a radically wrong moral standard. Having
throughout infancy and boyhood always regarded parental or tutorial
displeasure as the chief result of a forbidden action, the youth has
gained an established association of ideas between such action and such
displeasure, as cause and effect. Hence when parents and tutors have
abdicated, and their displeasure is not to be feared, the restraints on
forbidden actions are in great measure removed: the true restraints, the
natural reactions, having yet to be learnt by sad experience. As writes
one who has had personal knowledge of this short-sighted system:--"Young
men let loose from school, particularly those whose parents have
neglected to exert their influence, plunge into every description of
extravagance; they know no rule of action--they are ignorant of the
reasons for moral conduct--they have no foundation to rest upon--and
until they have been severely disciplined by the world are extremely
dangerous members of society."

Another great advantage of this natural discipline is, that it is a
discipline of pure justice; and will be recognised as such by every
child. Whoso suffers nothing more than the evil which in the order of
nature results from his own misbehaviour, is much less likely to think
himself wrongly treated than if he suffers an artificially inflicted
evil; and this will hold of children as of men. Take the case of a boy
who is habitually reckless of his clothes--scrambles through hedges
without caution, or is utterly regardless of mud. If he is beaten, or
sent to bed, he is apt to consider himself ill-used; and is more likely
to brood over his injuries than to repent of his transgressions. But
suppose he is required to rectify as far as possible the harm he has
done--to clean off the mud with which he has covered himself, or to mend
the tear as well as he can. Will he not feel that the evil is one of his
own producing? Will he not while paying this penalty be continuously
conscious of the connection between it and its cause? And will he not,
spite his irritation, recognise more or less clearly the justice of the
arrangement? If several lessons of this kind fail to produce
amendment--if suits of clothes are prematurely spoiled--if the father,
pursuing this same system of discipline, declines to spend money for new
ones until the ordinary time has elapsed--and if meanwhile, there occur
occasions on which, having no decent clothes to go in, the boy is
debarred from joining the rest of the family on holiday excursions and
_fête_ days, it is manifest that while he will keenly feel the
punishment, he can scarcely fail to trace the chain of causation, and to
perceive that his own carelessness is the origin of it. And seeing this,
he will not have any such sense of injustice as if there were no obvious
connection between the transgression and its penalty.

Again, the tempers both of parents and children are much less liable to
be ruffled under this system than under the ordinary system. When
instead of letting children experience the painful results which
naturally follow from wrong conduct, parents themselves inflict certain
other painful results, they produce double mischief. Making, as they do,
multiplied family laws; and identifying their own supremacy and dignity
with the maintenance of these laws; every transgression is regarded as
an offence against themselves, and a cause of anger on their part. And
then come the further vexations which result from taking upon
themselves, in the shape of extra labour or cost, those evil
consequences which should have been allowed to fall on the wrong-doers.
Similarly with the children. Penalties which the necessary reaction of
things brings round upon them--penalties which are inflicted by
impersonal agency, produce an irritation that is comparatively slight
and transient; whereas, penalties voluntarily inflicted by a parent, and
afterwards thought of as caused by him or her, produce an irritation
both greater and more continued. Just consider how disastrous would be
the result if this empirical method were pursued from the beginning.
Suppose it were possible for parents to take upon themselves the
physical sufferings entailed on their children by ignorance and
awkwardness; and that while bearing these evil consequences they visited
on their children certain other evil consequences, with the view of
teaching them the impropriety of their conduct. Suppose that when a
child, who had been forbidden to meddle with the kettle, spilt boiling
water on its foot, the mother vicariously assumed the scald and gave a
blow in place of it; and similarly in all other cases. Would not the
daily mishaps be sources of far more anger than now? Would there not be
chronic ill-temper on both sides? Yet an exactly parallel policy is
pursued in after-years. A father who beats his boy for carelessly or
wilfully breaking a sister's toy, and then himself pays for a new toy,
does substantially this same thing--inflicts an artificial penalty on
the transgressor, and takes the natural penalty on himself: his own
feelings and those of the transgressor being alike needlessly irritated.
Did he simply require restitution to be made, he would produce far less
heart-burning. If he told the boy that a new toy must be bought at his,
the boy's, cost; and that his supply of pocket-money must be withheld to
the needful extent; there would be much less disturbance of temper on
either side: while in the deprivation afterwards felt, the boy would
experience the equitable and salutary consequence. In brief, the system
of discipline by natural reactions is less injurious to temper, both
because it is perceived to be nothing more than pure justice, and
because it in great part substitutes the impersonal agency of Nature for
the personal agency of parents.

Whence also follows the manifest corollary, that under this system the
parental and filial relation, being a more friendly, will be a more
influential one. Whether in parent or child, anger, however caused, and
to whomsoever directed, is detrimental. But anger in a parent towards a
child, and in a child towards a parent, is especially detrimental;
because it weakens that bond of sympathy which is essential to
beneficent control. From the law of association of ideas, it inevitably
results, both in young and old, that dislike is contracted towards
things which in experience are habitually connected with disagreeable
feelings. Or where attachment originally existed, it is diminished, or
turned into repugnance, according to the quantity of painful impressions
received. Parental wrath, venting itself in reprimands and castigations,
cannot fail, if often repeated, to produce filial alienation; while the
resentment and sulkiness of children cannot fail to weaken the affection
felt for them, and may even end in destroying it. Hence the numerous
cases in which parents (and especially fathers, who are commonly deputed
to inflict the punishment) are regarded with indifference, if not with
aversion; and hence the equally numerous cases in which children are
looked upon as inflictions. Seeing then, as all must do, that
estrangement of this kind is fatal to a salutary moral culture, it
follows that parents cannot be too solicitous in avoiding occasions of
direct antagonism with their children. And therefore they cannot too
anxiously avail themselves of this discipline of natural consequences;
which, by relieving them from penal functions, prevents mutual
exasperations and estrangements.

The method of moral culture by experience of the normal reactions, which
is the divinely-ordained method alike for infancy and for adult life, we
thus find to be equally applicable during the intermediate childhood and
youth. Among the advantages of this method we see:--First: that it gives
that rational knowledge of right and wrong conduct which results from
personal experience of their good and bad consequences. Second: that the
child, suffering nothing more than the painful effects of its own wrong
actions, must recognise more or less clearly the justice of the
penalties. Third: that recognising the justice of the penalties, and
receiving them through the working of things rather than at the hands
of an individual, its temper is less disturbed; while the parent
fulfilling the comparatively passive duty of letting the natural
penalties be felt, preserves a comparative equanimity. Fourth: that
mutual exasperations being thus prevented, a much happier, and a more
influential relation, will exist between parent and child.

       *       *       *       *       *

"But what is to be done in cases of more serious misconduct?" some will
ask. "How is this plan to be carried out when a petty theft has been
committed? or when a lie has been told? or when some younger brother or
sister has been ill-used?"

Before replying to these questions, let us consider the bearings of a
few illustrative facts.

Living in the family of his brother-in-law, a friend of ours had
undertaken the education of his little nephew and niece. This he had
conducted, more perhaps from natural sympathy than from reasoned-out
conclusions, in the spirit of the method above set forth. The two
children were in doors his pupils and out of doors his companions. They
daily joined him in walks and botanising excursions, eagerly sought
plants for him, looked on while he examined and identified them, and in
this and other ways were ever gaining pleasure and instruction in his
society. In short, morally considered, he stood to them much more in the
position of parent than either their father or mother did. Describing to
us the results of this policy, he gave, among other instances, the
following. One evening, having need for some article lying in another
part of the house, he asked his nephew to fetch it. Interested as the
boy was in some amusement of the moment, he, contrary to his wont,
either exhibited great reluctance or refused, we forget which. His
uncle, disapproving of a coercive course, went himself for that which he
wanted: merely exhibiting by his manner the annoyance this ill-behaviour
gave him. And when, later in the evening, the boy made overtures for the
usual play, they were gravely repelled--the uncle manifested just that
coldness naturally produced in him; and so let the boy feel the
necessary consequences of his conduct. Next morning at the usual time
for rising, our friend heard a new voice outside the door, and in walked
his little nephew with the hot water. Peering about the room to see what
else could be done, the boy then exclaimed, "Oh! you want your boots;"
and forthwith rushed downstairs to fetch them. In this and other ways he
showed a true penitence for his misconduct. He endeavoured by unusual
services to make up for the service he had refused. His better feelings
had made a real conquest over his lower ones; and acquired strength by
the victory. And having felt what it was to be without it, he valued
more than before the friendship he thus regained.

This gentleman is now himself a father; acts on the same system; and
finds it answer completely. He makes himself thoroughly his children's
friend. The evening is longed for by them because he will be at home;
and they especially enjoy Sunday because he is with them all day. Thus
possessing their perfect confidence and affection, he finds that the
simple display of his approbation or disapprobation gives him abundant
power of control. If, on his return home, he hears that one of his boys
has been naughty, he behaves towards him with that coolness which the
consciousness of the boy's misconduct naturally produces; and he finds
this a most efficient punishment. The mere withholding of the usual
caresses, is a source of much distress--produces a more prolonged fit of
crying than a beating would do. And the dread of this purely moral
penalty is, he says, ever present during his absence: so much so, that
frequently during the day his children ask their mamma how they have
behaved, and whether the report will be good. Recently, the eldest, an
active urchin of five, in one of those bursts of animal spirits common
in healthy children, committed sundry extravagances during his mamma's
absence--cut off part of his brother's hair and wounded himself with a
razor taken from his father's dressing-case. Hearing of these
occurrences on his return, the father did not speak to the boy either
that night or next morning. Besides the immediate tribulation the effect
was, that when, a few days after, the mamma was about to go out, she was
entreated by the boy not to do so; and on inquiry, it appeared his fear
was that he might again transgress in her absence.

We have introduced these facts before replying to the question--"What is
to be done with the graver offences?" for the purpose of first
exhibiting the relation that may and ought to be established between
parents and children; for on the existence of this relation depends the
successful treatment of these graver offences. And as a further
preliminary, we must now point out that the establishment of this
relation will result from adopting the system here advocated. Already we
have shown that by simply letting a child experience the painful
reactions of its own wrong actions, a parent avoids antagonism and
escapes being regarded as an enemy; but it remains to be shown that
where this course has been consistently pursued from the beginning, a
feeling of active friendship will be generated.

At present, mothers and fathers are mostly considered by their offspring
as friend enemies. Determined as the impressions of children inevitably
are by the treatment they receive; and oscillating as that treatment
does between bribery and thwarting, between petting and scolding,
between gentleness and castigation; they necessarily acquire conflicting
beliefs respecting the parental character. A mother commonly thinks it
sufficient to tell her little boy that she is his best friend; and
assuming that he ought to believe her, concludes that he will do so. "It
is all for your good;" "I know what is proper for you better than you do
yourself;" "You are not old enough to understand it now, but when you
grow up you will thank me for doing what I do;"--these, and like
assertions, are daily reiterated. Meanwhile the boy is daily suffering
positive penalties; and is hourly forbidden to do this, that, and the
other, which he wishes to do. By words he hears that his happiness is
the end in view; but from the accompanying deeds he habitually receives
more or less pain. Incompetent as he is to understand that future which
his mother has in view, or how this treatment conduces to the happiness
of that future, he judges by the results he feels; and finding such
results anything but pleasurable, he becomes sceptical respecting her
professions of friendship. And is it not folly to expect any other
issue? Must not the child reason from the evidence he has got? and does
not this evidence seem to warrant his conclusion? The mother would
reason in just the same way if similarly placed. If, among her
acquaintance, she found some one who was constantly thwarting her
wishes, uttering sharp reprimands, and occasionally inflicting actual
penalties on her, she would pay small attention to any professions of
anxiety for her welfare which accompanied these acts. Why, then, does
she suppose that her boy will do otherwise?

But now observe how different will be the results if the system we
contend for be consistently pursued--if the mother not only avoids
becoming the instrument of punishment, but plays the part of a friend,
by warning her boy of the punishments which Nature will inflict. Take a
case; and that it may illustrate the mode in which this policy is to be
early initiated, let it be one of the simplest cases. Suppose that,
prompted by the experimental spirit so conspicuous in children, whose
proceedings instinctively conform to the inductive method of
inquiry--suppose that so prompted, the boy is amusing himself by
lighting pieces of paper in the candle and watching them burn. A mother
of the ordinary unreflective stamp, will either, on the plea of keeping
him "out of mischief," or from fear that he will burn himself, command
him to desist; and in case of non-compliance will snatch the paper from
him. But, should he be fortunate enough to have a mother of some
rationality, who knows that this interest with which he is watching the
paper burn, results from a healthy inquisitiveness, and who has also the
wisdom to consider the results of interference, she will reason
thus:--"If I put a stop to this I shall prevent the acquirement of a
certain amount of knowledge. It is true that I may save the child from a
burn; but what then? He is sure to burn himself sometime; and it is
quite essential to his safety in life that he should learn by experience
the properties of flame. If I forbid him from running this present risk,
he will certainly hereafter run the same or a greater risk when no one
is present to prevent him; whereas, should he have an accident now that
I am by, I can save him from any great injury. Moreover, were I to make
him desist, I should thwart him in the pursuit of what is in itself a
purely harmless, and indeed, instructive gratification; and he would
regard me with more or less ill-feeling. Ignorant as he is of the pain
from which I would save him, and feeling only the pain of a balked
desire, he could not fail to look on me as the cause of that pain. To
save him from a hurt which he cannot conceive, and which has therefore
no existence for him, I hurt him in a way which he feels keenly enough;
and so become, from his point of view, a minister of evil. My best
course then, is simply to warn him of the danger, and to be ready to
prevent any serious damage." And following out this conclusion, she says
to the child--"I fear you will hurt yourself if you do that." Suppose,
now, that the boy, persevering as he will probably do, ends by burning
his hand. What are the results? In the first place he has gained an
experience which he must gain eventually, and which, for his own safety,
he cannot gain too soon. And in the second place, he has found that his
mother's disapproval or warning was meant for his welfare: he has a
further positive experience of her benevolence--a further reason for
placing confidence in her judgment and kindness--a further reason for
loving her.

Of course, in those occasional hazards where there is a risk of broken
limbs or other serious injury, forcible prevention is called for. But
leaving out extreme cases, the system pursued should be, not that of
guarding a child from the small risks which it daily runs, but that of
advising and warning it against them. And by pursuing this course, a
much stronger filial affection will be generated than commonly exists.
If here, as elsewhere, the discipline of the natural reactions is
allowed to come into play--if in those out-door scramblings and in-door
experiments, by which children are liable to injure themselves, they are
allowed to persist, subject only to dissuasion more or less earnest
according to the danger, there cannot fail to arise an ever-increasing
faith in the parental friendship and guidance. Not only, as before
shown, does the adoption of this course enable fathers and mothers to
avoid the odium which attaches to the infliction of positive punishment;
but, as we here see, it enables them to avoid the odium which attaches
to constant thwartings; and even to turn those incidents that commonly
cause squabbles, into a means of strengthening the mutual good feeling.
Instead of being told in words, which deeds seem to contradict, that
their parents are their best friends, children will learn this truth by
a consistent daily experience; and so learning it, will acquire a degree
of trust and attachment which nothing else can give.

And now, having indicated the more sympathetic relation which must
result from the habitual use of this method, let us return to the
question above put--How is this method to be applied to the graver

Note, in the first place, that these graver offences are likely to be
both less frequent and less grave under the régime we have described
than under the ordinary régime. The ill-behaviour of many children is
itself a consequence of that chronic irritation in which they are kept
by bad management. The state of isolation and antagonism produced by
frequent punishment, necessarily deadens the sympathies; necessarily,
therefore, opens the way to those transgressions which the sympathies
check. That harsh treatment which children of the same family inflict on
each other, is often, in great measure, a reflex of the harsh treatment
they receive from adults--partly suggested by direct example, and partly
generated by the ill-temper and the tendency to vicarious retaliation,
which follow chastisements and scoldings. It cannot be questioned that
the greater activity of the affections and happier state of feeling,
maintained in children by the discipline we have described, must prevent
them from sinning against each other so gravely and so frequently. The
still more reprehensible offences, as lies and petty thefts, will, by
the same causes, be diminished. Domestic estrangement is a fruitful
source of such transgressions. It is a law of human nature, visible
enough to all who observe, that those who are debarred the higher
gratifications fall back upon the lower; those who have no sympathetic
pleasures seek selfish ones; and hence, conversely, the maintenance of
happier relations between parents and children is calculated to diminish
the number of those offences of which selfishness is the origin.

When, however, such offences are committed, as they will occasionally be
even under the best system, the discipline of consequences may still be
resorted to; and if there exists that bond of confidence and affection
above described, this discipline will be efficient. For what are the
natural consequences, say, of a theft? They are of two kinds--direct and
indirect. The direct consequence, as dictated by pure equity, is that of
making restitution. A just ruler (and every parent should aim to be one)
will demand that, when possible, a wrong act shall be undone by a right
one; and in the case of theft this implies either the restoration of the
thing stolen, or, if it is consumed, the giving of an equivalent: which,
in the case of a child, may be effected out of its pocket-money. The
indirect and more serious consequence is the grave displeasure of
parents--a consequence which inevitably follows among all peoples
civilised enough to regard theft as a crime. "But," it will be said,
"the manifestation of parental displeasure, either in words or blows, is
the ordinary course in these cases: the method leads here to nothing
new." Very true. Already we have admitted that, in some directions, this
method is spontaneously pursued. Already we have shown that there is a
tendency for educational systems to gravitate towards the true system.
And here we may remark, as before, that the intensity of this natural
reaction will, in the beneficent order of things, adjust itself to the
requirements--that this parental displeasure will vent itself in violent
measures during comparatively barbarous times, when children are also
comparatively barbarous; and will express itself less cruelly in those
more advanced social states in which, by implication, the children are
amenable to milder treatment. But what it chiefly concerns us here to
observe is, that the manifestation of strong parental displeasure,
produced by one of these graver offences, will be potent for good, just
in proportion to the warmth of the attachment existing between parent
and child. Just in proportion as the discipline of natural consequences
has been consistently pursued in other cases, will it be efficient in
this case. Proof is within the experience of all, if they will look for

For does not every one know that when he has offended another, the
amount of regret he feels (of course, leaving worldly considerations out
of the question) varies with the degree of sympathy he has for that
other? Is he not conscious that when the person offended is an enemy,
the having given him annoyance is apt to be a source rather of secret
satisfaction than of sorrow? Does he not remember that where umbrage has
been taken by some total stranger, he has felt much less concern than he
would have done had such umbrage been taken by one with whom he was
intimate? While, conversely, has not the anger of an admired and
cherished friend been regarded by him as a serious misfortune, long and
keenly regretted? Well, the effects of parental displeasure on children
must similarly vary with the pre-existing relationship. Where there is
an established alienation, the feeling of a child who has transgressed
is a purely selfish fear of the impending physical penalties or
deprivations; and after these have been inflicted, the injurious
antagonism and dislike which result, add to the alienation. On the
contrary, where there exists a warm filial affection produced by a
consistent parental friendship, the state of mind caused by parental
displeasure is not only a salutary check to future misconduct of like
kind, but is intrinsically salutary. The moral pain consequent on
having, for the time being, lost so loved a friend, stands in place of
the physical pain usually inflicted; and proves equally, if not more,
efficient. While instead of the fear and vindictiveness excited by the
one course, there are excited by the other a sympathy with parental
sorrow, a genuine regret for having caused it, and a desire, by some
atonement, to reestablish the friendly relationship. Instead of bringing
into play those egotistic feelings whose predominance is the cause of
criminal acts, there are brought into play those altruistic feelings
which check criminal acts. Thus the discipline of natural consequences
is applicable to grave as well as trivial faults; and the practice of it
conduces not simply to the repression, but to the eradication of such

In brief, the truth is that savageness begets savageness, and gentleness
begets gentleness. Children who are unsympathetically treated become
unsympathetic; whereas treating them with due fellow-feeling is a means
of cultivating their fellow-feeling. With family governments as with
political ones, a harsh despotism itself generates a great part of the
crimes it has to repress; while on the other hand a mild and liberal
rule both avoids many causes of dissension, and so ameliorates the tone
of feeling as to diminish the tendency to transgression. As John Locke
long since remarked, "Great severity of punishment does but very little
good, nay, great harm, in education; and I believe it will be found
that, _cæteris paribus_, those children who have been most chastised
seldom make the best men." In confirmation of which opinion we may cite
the fact not long since made public by Mr. Rogers, Chaplain of the
Pentonville Prison, that those juvenile criminals who have been whipped
are those who most frequently return to prison. Conversely, the
beneficial effects of a kinder treatment are well illustrated in a fact
stated to us by a French lady, in whose house we recently stayed in
Paris. Apologising for the disturbance daily caused by a little boy who
was unmanageable both at home and at school, she expressed her fear that
there was no remedy save that which had succeeded in the case of an
elder brother; namely, sending him to an English school. She explained
that at various schools in Paris this elder brother had proved utterly
untractable; that in despair they had followed the advice to send him to
England; and that on his return home he was as good as he had before
been bad. This remarkable change she ascribed entirely to the
comparative mildness of the English discipline.

       *       *       *       *       *

After the foregoing exposition of principles, our remaining space may
best be occupied by a few of the chief maxims and rules deducible from
them; and with a view to brevity we will put these in a hortatory form.

Do not expect from a child any great amount of moral goodness. During
early years every civilised man passes through that phase of character
exhibited by the barbarous race from which he is descended. As the
child's features--flat nose, forward-opening nostrils, large lips,
wide-apart eyes, absent frontal sinus, etc.--resemble for a time those
of the savage, so, too, do his instincts. Hence the tendencies to
cruelty, to thieving, to lying, so general among children--tendencies
which, even without the aid of discipline, will become more or less
modified just as the features do. The popular idea that children are
"innocent," while it is true with respect to evil _knowledge_, is
totally false with respect to evil _impulses_; as half an hour's
observation in the nursery will prove to any one. Boys when left to
themselves, as at public schools, treat each other more brutally than
men do; and were they left to themselves at an earlier age their
brutality would be still more conspicuous.

Not only is it unwise to set up a high standard of good conduct for
children, but it is even unwise to use very urgent incitements to good
conduct. Already most people recognise the detrimental results of
intellectual precocity; but there remains to be recognised the fact that
_moral precocity_ also has detrimental results. Our higher moral
faculties, like our higher intellectual ones, are comparatively complex.
By consequence, both are comparatively late in their evolution. And with
the one as with the other, an early activity produced by stimulation
will be at the expense of the future character. Hence the not uncommon
anomaly that those who during childhood were models of juvenile
goodness, by and by undergo a seemingly inexplicable change for the
worse, and end by being not above but below par; while relatively
exemplary men are often the issue of a childhood by no means promising.

Be content, therefore, with moderate measures and moderate results. Bear
in mind that a higher morality, like a higher intelligence, must be
reached by slow growth; and you will then have patience with those
imperfections which your child hourly displays. You will be less prone
to that constant scolding, and threatening, and forbidding, by which
many parents induce a chronic domestic irritation, in the foolish hope
that they will thus make their children what they should be.

This liberal form of domestic government, which does not seek
despotically to regulate all the details of a child's conduct,
necessarily results from the system we advocate. Satisfy yourself with
seeing that your child always suffers the natural consequences of his
actions, and you will avoid that excess of control in which so many
parents err. Leave him wherever you can to the discipline of experience,
and you will save him from that hot-house virtue which over-regulation
produces in yielding natures, or that demoralising antagonism which it
produces in independent ones.

By aiming in all cases to insure the natural reactions to your child's
actions, you will put an advantageous check on your own temper. The
method of moral education pursued by many, we fear by most, parents, is
little else than that of venting their anger in the way that first
suggests itself. The slaps, and rough shakings and sharp words, with
which a mother commonly visits her offspring's small offences (many of
them not offences considered intrinsically), are generally but the
manifestations of her ill-controlled feelings--result much more from the
promptings of those feelings than from a wish to benefit the offenders.
But by pausing in each case of transgression to consider what is the
normal consequence, and how it may best be brought home to the
transgressor, some little time is obtained for the mastery of yourself;
the mere blind anger first aroused settles down into a less vehement
feeling, and one not so likely to mislead you.

Do not, however, seek to behave as a passionless instrument. Remember
that besides the natural reactions to your child's actions which the
working of things tends to bring round on him, your own approbation or
disapprobation is also a natural reaction, and one of the ordained
agencies for guiding him. The error we have been combating is that of
_substituting_ parental displeasure and its artificial penalties, for
the penalties which Nature has established. But while it should not be
_substituted_ for these natural penalties, we by no means argue that it
should not, in some form, _accompany_ them. Though the _secondary_ kind
of punishment should not usurp the place of the _primary_ kind; it may,
in moderation, rightly supplement the primary kind. Such amount of
sorrow or indignation as you feel, should be expressed in words or
manner; subject, of course, to the approval of your judgment. The kind
and degree of feeling produced in you will necessarily depend on your
own character; and it is therefore useless to say it should be this or
that. Nevertheless, you may endeavour to modify the feeling into that
which you believe ought to be entertained. Beware, however, of the two
extremes; not only in respect of the intensity, but in respect of the
duration, of your displeasure. On the one hand, avoid that weak
impulsiveness, so general among mothers, which scolds and forgives
almost in the same breath. On the other hand, do not unduly continue to
show estrangement of feeling, lest you accustom your child to do without
your friendship, and so lose your influence over him. The moral
reactions called forth from you by your child's actions, you should as
much as possible assimilate to those which you conceive would be called
forth from a parent of perfect nature.

Be sparing of commands. Command only when other means are inapplicable,
or have failed. "In frequent orders the parents' advantage is more
considered than the child's," says Richter. As in primitive societies a
breach of law is punished, not so much because it is intrinsically wrong
as because it is a disregard of the king's authority--a rebellion
against him; so in many families, the penalty visited on a transgressor
is prompted less by reprobation of the offence than by anger at the
disobedience. Listen to the ordinary speeches--"How _dare_ you disobey
me?" "I tell you I'll _make_ you do it, sir." "I'll soon teach you who
is _master_"--and then consider what the words, the tone, and the manner
imply. A determination to subjugate is far more conspicuous in them,
than anxiety for the child's welfare. For the time being the attitude of
mind differs but little from that of a despot bent on punishing a
recalcitrant subject. The right-feeling parent, however, like the
philanthropic legislator, will rejoice not in coercion, but in
dispensing with coercion. He will do without law wherever other modes of
regulating conduct can be successfully employed; and he will regret the
having recourse to law when law is necessary. As Richter remarks--"The
best rule in politics is said to be '_pas trop gouverner_:' it is also
true in education." And in spontaneous conformity with this maxim,
parents whose lust of dominion is restrained by a true sense of duty,
will aim to make their children control themselves as much as possible,
and will fall back upon absolutism only as a last resort.

But whenever you _do_ command, command with decision and consistency. If
the case is one which really cannot be otherwise dealt with, then issue
your fiat, and having issued it, never afterwards swerve from it.
Consider well what you are going to do; weigh all the consequences;
think whether you have adequate firmness of purpose; and then, if you
finally make the law, enforce obedience at whatever cost. Let your
penalties be like the penalties inflicted by inanimate
Nature--inevitable. The hot cinder burns a child the first time he
seizes it; it burns him the second time; it burns him the third time; it
burns him every time; and he very soon learns not to touch the hot
cinder. If you are equally consistent--if the consequences which you
tell your child will follow specified acts, follow with like uniformity,
he will soon come to respect your laws as he does those of Nature. And
this respect once established, will prevent endless domestic evils. Of
errors in education one of the worst is inconsistency. As in a
community, crimes multiply when there is no certain administration of
justice; so in a family, an immense increase of transgressions results
from a hesitating or irregular infliction of punishments. A weak mother,
who perpetually threatens and rarely performs--who makes rules in haste
and repents of them at leisure--who treats the same offence now with
severity and now with leniency, as the passing humour dictates, is
laying up miseries for herself and her children. She is making herself
contemptible in their eyes; she is setting them an example of
uncontrolled feelings; she is encouraging them to transgress by the
prospect of probable impunity: she is entailing endless squabbles and
accompanying damage to her own temper and the tempers of her little
ones; she is reducing their minds to a moral chaos, which after years of
bitter experience will with difficulty bring into order. Better even a
barbarous form of domestic government carried out consistently, than a
humane one inconsistently carried out. Again we say, avoid coercive
measures whenever it is possible to do so; but when you find despotism
really necessary, be despotic in good earnest.

Remember that the aim of your discipline should be to produce a
_self-governing_ being; not to produce a being to be _governed by
others_. Were your children fated to pass their lives as slaves, you
could not too much accustom them to slavery during their childhood; but
as they are by and by to be free men, with no one to control their daily
conduct, you cannot too much accustom them to self-control while they
are still under your eye. This it is which makes the system of
discipline by natural consequences so especially appropriate to the
social state which we in England have now reached. In feudal times, when
one of the chief evils the citizen had to fear was the anger of his
superiors, it was well that during childhood, parental vengeance should
be a chief means of government. But now that the citizen has little to
fear from any one--now that the good or evil which he experiences is
mainly that which in the order of things results from his own conduct,
he should from his first years begin to learn, experimentally, the good
or evil consequences which naturally follow this or that conduct. Aim,
therefore, to diminish the parental government, as fast as you can
substitute for it in your child's mind that self-government arising from
a foresight of results. During infancy a considerable amount of
absolutism is necessary. A three-year old urchin playing with an open
razor, cannot be allowed to learn by this discipline of consequences;
for the consequences may be too serious. But as intelligence increases,
the number of peremptory interferences may be, and should be,
diminished, with the view of gradually ending them as maturity is
approached. All transitions are dangerous; and the most dangerous is the
transition from the restraint of the family circle to the non-restraint
of the world. Hence the importance of pursuing the policy we advocate;
which, by cultivating a boy's faculty of self-restraint, by continually
increasing the degree in which he is left to his self-restraint, and by
so bringing him, step by step, to a state of unaided self-restraint,
obliterates the ordinary sudden and hazardous change from
externally-governed youth to internally-governed maturity. Let the
history of your domestic rule typify, in little, the history of our
political rule: at the outset, autocratic control, where control is
really needful; by and by an incipient constitutionalism, in which the
liberty of the subject gains some express recognition; successive
extensions of this liberty of the subject; gradually ending in parental

Do not regret the display of considerable self-will on the part of your
children. It is the correlative of that diminished coerciveness so
conspicuous in modern education. The greater tendency to assert freedom
of action on the one side, corresponds to the smaller tendency to
tyrannise on the other. They both indicate an approach to the system of
discipline we contend for, under which children will be more and more
led to rule themselves by the experience of natural consequences; and
they are both accompaniments of our more advanced social state. The
independent English boy is the father of the independent English man;
and you cannot have the last without the first. German teachers say that
they had rather manage a dozen German boys than one English one. Shall
we, therefore, wish that our boys had the manageableness of German ones,
and with it the submissiveness and political serfdom of adult Germans?
Or shall we not rather tolerate in our boys those feelings which make
them free men, and modify our methods accordingly?

Lastly, always recollect that to educate rightly is not a simple and
easy thing, but a complex and extremely difficult thing, the hardest
task which devolves on adult life. The rough-and-ready style of domestic
government is indeed practicable by the meanest and most uncultivated
intellects. Slaps and sharp words are penalties that suggest themselves
alike to the least reclaimed barbarian and the stolidest peasant. Even
brutes can use this method of discipline; as you may see in the growl
and half-bite with which a bitch will check a too-exigeant puppy. But if
you would carry out with success a rational and civilised system, you
must be prepared for considerable mental exertion--for some study, some
ingenuity, some patience, some self-control. You will have habitually to
consider what are the results which in adult life follow certain kinds
of acts; and you must then devise methods by which parallel results
shall be entailed on the parallel acts of your children. It will daily
be needful to analyse the motives of juvenile conduct--to distinguish
between acts that are really good and those which, though simulating
them, proceed from inferior impulses; while you will have to be ever on
your guard against the cruel mistake not unfrequently made, of
translating neutral acts into transgressions, or ascribing worse
feelings than were entertained. You must more or less modify your method
to suit the disposition of each child; and must be prepared to make
further modifications as each child's disposition enters on a new phase.
Your faith will often be taxed to maintain the requisite perseverance in
a course which seems to produce little or no effect. Especially if you
are dealing with children who have been wrongly treated, you must be
prepared for a lengthened trial of patience before succeeding with
better methods; since that which is not easy even where a right state of
feeling has been established from the beginning, becomes doubly
difficult when a wrong state of feeling has to be set right. Not only
will you have constantly to analyse the motives of your children, but
you will have to analyse your own motives--to discriminate between those
internal suggestions springing from a true parental solicitude and those
which spring from your own selfishness, your love of ease, your lust of
dominion. And then, more trying still, you will have not only to detect,
but to curb these baser impulses. In brief, you will have to carry on
your own higher education at the same time that you are educating your
children. Intellectually you must cultivate to good purpose that most
complex of subjects--human nature and its laws, as exhibited in your
children, in yourself, and in the world. Morally, you must keep in
constant exercise your higher feelings, and restrain your lower. It is a
truth yet remaining to be recognised, that the last stage in the mental
development of each man and woman is to be reached only through a proper
discharge of the parental duties. And when this truth is recognised, it
will be seen how admirable is the arrangement through which human beings
are led by their strongest affections to subject themselves to a
discipline that they would else elude.

While some will regard this conception of education as it should be with
doubt and discouragement, others will, we think, perceive in the exalted
ideal which it involves, evidence of its truth. That it cannot be
realised by the impulsive, the unsympathetic, and the short-sighted,
but demands the higher attributes of human nature, they will see to be
evidence of its fitness for the more advanced states of humanity. Though
it calls for much labour and self-sacrifice, they will see that it
promises an abundant return of happiness, immediate and remote. They
will see that while in its injurious effects on both parent and child a
bad system is twice cursed, a good system is twice blessed--it blesses
him that trains and him that's trained.

[1] Of this nature is the plea put in by some for the rough treatment
experienced by boys at our public schools; where, as it is said, they
are introduced to a miniature world whose hardships prepare them for
those of the real world. It must be admitted that the plea has some
force; but it is a very insufficient plea. For whereas domestic and
school discipline, though they should not be much better than the
discipline of adult life, should be somewhat better; the discipline
which boys meet with at Eton, Winchester, Harrow, etc., is worse than
that of adult life--more unjust and cruel. Instead of being an aid to
human progress, which all culture should be, the culture of our public
schools, by accustoming boys to a despotic form of government and an
intercourse regulated by brute force, tends to fit them for a lower
state of society than that which exists. And chiefly recruited as our
legislature is from among those who are brought up at such schools, this
barbarising influence becomes a hindrance to national progress.


Equally at the squire's table after the withdrawal of the ladies, at the
farmers' market-ordinary, and at the village ale-house, the topic which,
after the political question of the day, excites the most general
interest, is the management of animals. Riding home from hunting, the
conversation usually gravitates towards horse-breeding, and pedigrees,
and comments on this or that "good point;" while a day on the moors is
very unlikely to end without something being said on the treatment of
dogs. When crossing the fields together from church, the tenants of
adjacent farms are apt to pass from criticisms on the sermon to
criticisms on the weather, the crops, and the stock; and thence to slide
into discussions on the various kinds of fodder and their feeding
qualities. Hodge and Giles, after comparing notes over their respective
pig-styes, show by their remarks that they have been observant of their
masters' beasts and sheep; and of the effects produced on them by this
or that kind of treatment. Nor is it only among the rural population
that the regulations of the kennel, the stable, the cow-shed, and the
sheep-pen, are favourite subjects. In towns, too, the numerous artisans
who keep dogs, the young men who are rich enough to now and then indulge
their sporting tendencies, and their more staid seniors who talk over
agricultural progress or read Mr. Mechi's annual reports and Mr. Caird's
letters to the _Times_, form, when added together, a large portion of
the inhabitants. Take the adult males throughout the kingdom, and a
great majority will be found to show some interest in the breeding,
rearing, or training of animals, of one kind or other.

But, during after-dinner conversations, or at other times of like
intercourse, who hears anything said about the rearing of children? When
the country gentleman has paid his daily visit to the stable, and
personally inspected the condition and treatment of his horses; when he
has glanced at his minor live stock, and given directions about them;
how often does he go up to the nursery and examine into its dietary, its
hours, its ventilation? On his library-shelves may be found White's
_Farriery_, Stephens's _Book of the Farm_, Nimrod _on the Condition of
Hunters_; and with the contents of these he is more or less familiar;
but how many books has he read on the management of infancy and
childhood? The fattening properties of oil-cake, the relative values of
hay and chopped straw, the dangers of unlimited clover, are points on
which every landlord, farmer, and peasant has some knowledge; but what
percentage of them inquire whether the food they give their children is
adapted to the constitutional needs of growing boys and girls? Perhaps
the business-interests of these classes will be assigned as accounting
for this anomaly. The explanation is inadequate, however; seeing that
the same contrast holds among other classes. Of a score of townspeople,
few, if any, would prove ignorant of the fact that it is undesirable to
work a horse soon after it has eaten; and yet, of this same score,
supposing them all to be fathers, probably not one would be found who
had considered whether the time elapsing between his children's dinner
and their resumption of lessons was sufficient. Indeed, on
cross-examination, nearly every man would disclose the latent opinion
that the regimen of the nursery was no concern of his. "Oh, I leave all
those things to the women," would probably be the reply. And in most
cases the tone of this reply would convey the implication, that such
cares are not consistent with masculine dignity.

Regarded from any but a conventional point of view, the fact seems
strange that while the raising of first-rate bullocks is an occupation
on which educated men willingly bestow much time and thought, the
bringing up of fine human beings is an occupation tacitly voted unworthy
of their attention. Mammas who have been taught little but languages,
music, and accomplishments, aided by nurses full of antiquated
prejudices, are held competent regulators of the food, clothing, and
exercise of children. Meanwhile the fathers read books and periodicals,
attend agricultural meetings, try experiments, and engage in
discussions, all with the view of discovering how to fatten prize pigs!
We see infinite pains taken to produce a racer that shall win the Derby:
none to produce a modern athlete. Had Gulliver narrated of the Laputans
that the men vied with each other in learning how best to rear the
offspring of other creatures, and were careless of learning how best to
rear their own offspring, he would have paralleled any of the other
absurdities he ascribes to them.

The matter is a serious one, however. Ludicrous as is the antithesis,
the fact it expresses is not less disastrous. As remarks a suggestive
writer, the first requisite to success in life is "to be a good animal;"
and to be a nation of good animals is the first condition to national
prosperity. Not only is it that the event of a war often turns on the
strength and hardiness of soldiers; but it is that the contests of
commerce are in part determined by the bodily endurance of producers.
Thus far we have found no reason to fear trials of strength with other
races in either of these fields. But there are not wanting signs that
our powers will presently be taxed to the uttermost. The competition of
modern life is so keen, that few can bear the required application
without injury. Already thousands break down under the high pressure
they are subject to. If this pressure continues to increase, as it seems
likely to do, it will try severely even the soundest constitutions.
Hence it is becoming of especial importance that the training of
children should be so carried on, as not only to fit them mentally for
the struggle before them, but also to make them physically fit to bear
its excessive wear and tear.

Happily the matter is beginning to attract attention. The writings of
Mr. Kingsley indicate a reaction against over-culture; carried perhaps,
as reactions usually are, somewhat too far. Occasional letters and
leaders in the newspapers have shown an awakening interest in physical
training. And the formation of a school, significantly nicknamed that of
"muscular Christianity," implies a growing opinion that our present
methods of bringing up children do not sufficiently regard the welfare
of the body. The topic is evidently ripe for discussion.

To conform the regimen of the nursery and the school to the established
truths of modern science--this is the desideratum. It is time that the
benefits which our sheep and oxen are deriving from the investigations
of the laboratory, should be participated in by our children. Without
calling in question the great importance of horse-training and
pig-feeding, we would suggest that, as the rearing of well-grown men and
women is also of some moment, these conclusions which theory indicates
and practice indorses, ought to be acted on in the last case as in the
first. Probably not a few will be startled--perhaps offended--by this
collocation of ideas. But it is a fact not to be disputed, and to which
we must reconcile ourselves, that man is subject to the same organic
laws as inferior creatures. No anatomist, no physiologist, no chemist,
will for a moment hesitate to assert, that the general principles which
are true of the vital processes in animals are equally true of the vital
processes in man. And a candid admission of this fact is not without its
reward: namely, that the generalisations established by observation and
experiment on brutes, become available for human guidance. Rudimentary
as is the Science of Life, it has already attained to certain
fundamental principles underlying the development of all organisms, the
human included. That which has now to be done, and that which we shall
endeavour in some measure to do, is to trace the bearings of these
fundamental principles on the physical training of childhood and youth.

       *       *       *       *       *

The rhythmical tendency which is traceable in all departments of social
life--which is illustrated in the access of despotism after revolution,
or, among ourselves, in the alternation of reforming epochs and
conservative epochs--which, after a dissolute age, brings an age of
asceticism, and conversely,--which, in commerce, produces the recurring
inflations and panics--which carries the devotees of fashion from one
absurd extreme to the opposite one;--this rhythmical tendency affects
also our table-habits, and by implication, the dietary of the young.
After a period distinguished by hard drinking and hard eating, has come
a period of comparative sobriety, which, in teetotalism and
vegetarianism, exhibits extreme forms of protest against the riotous
living of the past. And along with this change in the regimen of adults,
has come a parallel change in the regimen for boys and girls. In past
generations the belief was, that the more a child could be induced to
eat, the better; and even now, among farmers and in remote districts,
where traditional ideas most linger, parents may be found who tempt
their children into repletion. But among the educated classes, who
chiefly display this reaction towards abstemiousness, there may be seen
a decided leaning to the under-feeding, rather than the over-feeding, of
children. Indeed their disgust for by-gone animalism, is more clearly
shown in the treatment of their offspring than in the treatment of
themselves; for while their disguised asceticism is, in so far as their
personal conduct is concerned, kept in check by their appetites, it has
full play in legislating for juveniles.

That over-feeding and under-feeding are both bad, is a truism. Of the
two, however, the last is the worst. As writes a high authority, "the
effects of casual repletion are less prejudicial, and more easily
corrected, than those of inanition."[1] Besides, where there has been no
injudicious interference, repletion seldom occurs. "Excess is the vice
rather of adults than of the young, who are rarely either gourmands or
epicures, unless through the fault of those who rear them."[2] This
system of restriction which many parents think so necessary, is based
upon inadequate observation, and erroneous reasoning. There is an
over-legislation in the nursery, as well as an over-legislation in the
State; and one of the most injurious forms of it is this limitation in
the quantity of food.

"But are children to be allowed to surfeit themselves? Shall they be
suffered to take their fill of dainties and make themselves ill, as they
certainly will do?" As thus put, the question admits of but one reply.
But as thus put, it assumes the point at issue. We contend that, as
appetite is a good guide to all the lower creation--as it is a good
guide to the infant--as it is a good guide to the invalid--as it is a
good guide to the differently-placed races of men--and as it is a good
guide for every adult who leads a healthful life; it may safely be
inferred that it is a good guide for childhood. It would be strange
indeed were it here alone untrustworthy.

Perhaps some will read this reply with impatience; being able, as they
think, to cite facts totally at variance with it. It may appear absurd
if we deny the relevancy of these facts. And yet the paradox is quite
defensible. The truth is, that the instances of excess which such
persons have in mind, are usually the _consequences_ of the restrictive
system they seem to justify. They are the sensual reactions caused by an
ascetic regimen. They illustrate on a small scale that commonly-remarked
truth, that those who during youth have been subject to the most
rigorous discipline, are apt afterwards to rush into the wildest
extravagances. They are analogous to those frightful phenomena, once not
uncommon in convents, where nuns suddenly lapsed from the extremest
austerities into an almost demoniac wickedness. They simply exhibit the
uncontrollable vehemence of long-denied desires. Consider the ordinary
tastes and the ordinary treatment of children. The love of sweets is
conspicuous and almost universal among them. Probably ninety-nine people
in a hundred presume that there is nothing more in this than
gratification of the palate; and that, in common with other sensual
desires, it should be discouraged. The physiologist, however, whose
discoveries lead him to an ever-increasing reverence for the
arrangements of things, suspects something more in this love of sweets
than is currently supposed; and inquiry confirms the suspicion. He finds
that sugar plays an important part in the vital processes. Both
saccharine and fatty matters are eventually oxidised in the body; and
there is an accompanying evolution of heat. Sugar is the form to which
sundry other compounds have to be reduced before they are available as
heat-making food; and this _formation_ of sugar is carried on in the
body. Not only is starch changed into sugar in the course of digestion,
but it has been proved by M. Claude Bernard that the liver is a factory
in which other constituents of food are transformed into sugar: the need
for sugar being so imperative that it is even thus produced from
nitrogenous substances when no others are given. Now, when to the fact
that children have a marked desire for this valuable heat-food, we join
the fact that they have usually a marked dislike to that food which
gives out the greatest amount of heat during oxidation (namely, fat), we
have reason for thinking that excess of the one compensates for defect
of the other--that the organism demands more sugar because it cannot
deal with much fat. Again, children are fond of vegetable acids. Fruits
of all kinds are their delight; and, in the absence of anything better,
they will devour unripe gooseberries and the sourest of crabs. Now not
only are vegetable acids, in common with mineral ones, very good tonics,
and beneficial as such when taken in moderation; but they have, when
administered in their natural forms, other advantages. "Ripe fruit,"
says Dr. Andrew Combe, "is more freely given on the Continent than in
this country; and, particularly when the bowels act imperfectly, it is
often very useful." See, then, the discord between the instinctive wants
of children and their habitual treatment. Here are two dominant desires,
which in all probability express certain needs of the child's
constitution; and not only are they ignored in the nursery-regimen, but
there is a general tendency to forbid the gratification of them.
Bread-and-milk in the morning, tea and bread-and-butter at night, or
some dietary equally insipid, is rigidly adhered to; and any
ministration to the palate is thought needless, or rather, wrong. What
is the consequence? When, on fête-days, there is unlimited access to
good things--when a gift of pocket-money brings the contents of the
confectioner's window within reach, or when by some accident the free
run of a fruit-garden is obtained; then the long-denied, and therefore
intense, desires lead to great excesses. There is an impromptu carnival,
due partly to release from past restraints, and partly to the
consciousness that a long Lent will begin on the morrow. And then, when
the evils of repletion display themselves, it is argued that children
must not be left to the guidance of their appetites! These disastrous
results of artificial restrictions, are themselves cited as proving the
need for further restrictions! We contend, therefore, that the reasoning
used to justify this system of interference is vicious. We contend that,
were children allowed daily to partake of these more sapid edibles, for
which there is a physiological requirement, they would rarely exceed, as
they now mostly do when they have the opportunity: were fruit, as Dr.
Combe recommends, "to constitute a part of the regular food" (given, as
he advises, not between meals, but along with them), there would be none
of that craving which prompts the devouring of crabs and sloes. And
similarly in other cases.

Not only is it that the _à priori_ reasons for trusting the appetites of
children are strong; and that the reasons assigned for distrusting them
are invalid; but it is that no other guidance is worthy of confidence.
What is the value of this parental judgment, set up as an alternative
regulator? When to "Oliver asking for more," the mamma or governess says
"No," on what data does she proceed? She _thinks_ he has had enough. But
where are her grounds for so thinking? Has she some secret understanding
with the boy's stomach--some _clairvoyant_ power enabling her to discern
the needs of his body? If not, how can she safely decide? Does she not
know that the demand of the system for food is determined by numerous
and involved causes--varies with the temperature, with the hygrometric
state of the air, with the electric state of the air--varies also
according to the exercise taken, according to the kind and quantity of
food eaten at the last meal, and according to the rapidity with which
the last meal was digested? How can she calculate the result of such a
combination of causes? As we heard said by the father of a
five-years-old boy, who stands a head taller than most of his age, and
is proportionately robust, rosy, and active:--"I can see no artificial
standard by which to mete out his food. If I say, 'this much is enough,'
it is a mere guess; and the guess is as likely to be wrong as right.
Consequently, having no faith in guesses, I let him eat his fill." And
certainly, any one judging of his policy by its effects, would be
constrained to admit its wisdom. In truth, this confidence, with which
most parents legislate for the stomachs of their children, proves their
unacquaintance with physiology: if they knew more, they would be more
modest. "The pride of science is humble when compared with the pride of
ignorance." If any one would learn how little faith is to be placed in
human judgments, and how much in the pre-established arrangements of
things, let him compare the rashness of the inexperienced physician with
the caution of the most advanced; or let him dip into Sir John Forbes's
work, _On Nature and Art in the Cure of Disease_; and he will see that,
in proportion as men gain knowledge of the laws of life, they come to
have less confidence in themselves, and more in Nature.

Turning from the question of _quantity_ of food to that of _quality_, we
may discern the same ascetic tendency. Not simply a restricted diet, but
a comparatively low diet, is thought proper for children. The current
opinion is, that they should have but little animal food. Among the less
wealthy classes, economy seems to have dictated this opinion--the wish
has been father to the thought. Parents not affording to buy much meat,
answer the petitions of juveniles with--"Meat is not good for little
boys and girls;" and this, at first probably nothing but a convenient
excuse, has by repetition grown into an article of faith. While the
classes with whom cost is no consideration, have been swayed partly by
the example of the majority, partly by the influence of nurses drawn
from the lower classes, and in some measure by the reaction against past

If, however, we inquire for the basis of this opinion, we find little or
none. It is a dogma repeated and received without proof, like that
which, for thousands of years, insisted on swaddling-clothes. Very
probably for the infant's stomach, not yet endowed with much muscular
power, meat, which requires considerable trituration before it can be
made into chyme, is an unfit aliment. But this objection does not tell
against animal food from which the fibrous part has been extracted; nor
does it apply when, after the lapse of two or three years, considerable
muscular vigour has been acquired. And while the evidence in support of
this dogma, partially valid in the case of very young children, is not
valid in the case of older children, who are, nevertheless, ordinarily
treated in conformity with it, the adverse evidence is abundant and
conclusive. The verdict of science is exactly opposite to the popular
opinion. We have put the question to two of our leading physicians, and
to several of the most distinguished physiologists, and they uniformly
agree in the conclusion, that children should have a diet not _less_
nutritive, but, if anything, _more_ nutritive than that of adults.

The grounds for this conclusion are obvious, and the reasoning simple.
It needs but to compare the vital processes of a man with those of a
boy, to see that the demand for sustenance is relatively greater in the
boy than in the man. What are the ends for which a man requires food?
Each day his body undergoes more or less wear--wear through muscular
exertion, wear of the nervous system through mental actions, wear of the
viscera in carrying on the functions of life; and the tissue thus wasted
has to be renewed. Each day, too, by radiation, his body loses a large
amount of heat; and as, for the continuance of the vital actions, the
temperature of the body must be maintained, this loss has to be
compensated by a constant production of heat: to which end certain
constituents of the body are ever undergoing oxidation. To make up for
the day's waste, and to supply fuel for the day's expenditure of heat,
are, then, the sole purposes for which the adult requires food. Consider
now the case of the boy. He, too, wastes the substance of his body by
action; and it needs but to note his restless activity to see that, in
proportion to his bulk, he probably wastes as much as a man. He, too,
loses heat by radiation; and, as his body exposes a greater surface in
proportion to its mass than does that of a man, and therefore loses heat
more rapidly, the quantity of heat-food he requires is, bulk for bulk,
greater than that required by a man. So that even had the boy no other
vital processes to carry on than the man has, he would need, relatively
to his size, a somewhat larger supply of nutriment. But, besides
repairing his body and maintaining its heat, the boy has to make new
tissue--to grow. After waste and thermal loss have been provided for,
such surplus of nutriment as remains goes to the further building up of
the frame; and only in virtue of this surplus is normal growth possible;
the growth that sometimes takes place in the absence of it, causing a
manifest prostration consequent upon defective repair. It is true that
because of a certain mechanical law which cannot be here explained, a
small organism has an advantage over a large one in the ratio between
the sustaining and destroying forces--an advantage, indeed, to which the
very possibility of growth is owing. But this admission only makes it
the more obvious that though much adverse treatment may be borne without
this excess of vitality being quite out-balanced; yet any adverse
treatment, by diminishing it, must diminish the size or structural
perfection reached. How peremptory is the demand of the unfolding
organism for materials, is seen alike in that "schoolboy hunger," which
after-life rarely parallels in intensity, and in the comparatively quick
return of appetite. And if there needs further evidence of this extra
necessity for nutriment, we have it in the fact that, during the famines
following shipwrecks and other disasters, the children are the first to

This relatively greater need for nutriment being admitted, as it must
be, the question that remains is--shall we meet it by giving an
excessive quantity of what may be called dilute food, or a more moderate
quantity of concentrated food? The nutriment obtainable from a given
weight of meat is obtainable only from a larger weight of bread, or from
a still larger weight of potatoes, and so on. To fulfil the requirement,
the quantity must be increased as the nutritiveness is diminished.
Shall, we, then, respond to the extra wants of the growing child by
giving an adequate quantity of food as good as that of adults? Or,
regardless of the fact that its stomach has to dispose of a relatively
larger quantity even of this good food, shall we further tax it by
giving an inferior food in still greater quantity?

The answer is tolerably obvious. The more the labour of digestion is
economised, the more energy is left for the purposes of growth and
action. The functions of the stomach and intestines cannot be performed
without a large supply of blood and nervous power; and in the
comparative lassitude that follows a hearty meal, every adult has proof
that this supply of blood and nervous power is at the expense of the
system at large. If the requisite nutriment is obtained from a great
quantity of innutritious food, more work is entailed on the viscera than
when it is obtained from a moderate quantity of nutritious food. This
extra work is so much loss--a loss which in children shows itself either
in diminished energy, or in smaller growth, or in both. The inference
is, then, that they should have a diet which combines, as much as
possible, nutritiveness and digestibility.

It is doubtless true that boys and girls may be reared upon an
exclusively, or almost exclusively, vegetable diet. Among the upper
classes are to be found children to whom comparatively little meat is
given; and who, nevertheless, grow and appear in good health. Animal
food is scarcely tasted by the offspring of labouring people; and yet
they reach a healthy maturity. But these seemingly adverse facts have by
no means the weight commonly supposed. In the first place, it does not
follow that those who in early years flourish on bread and potatoes,
will eventually reach a fine development; and a comparison between the
agricultural labourers and the gentry, in England, or between the middle
and lower classes in France is by no means in favour of vegetable
feeders. In the second place, the question is not simply a question of
_bulk_, but also a question of _quality_. A soft, flabby flesh makes as
good a show as a firm one; but though to the careless eye, a child of
full, flaccid tissue may appear the equal of one whose fibres are well
toned, a trial of strength will prove the difference. Obesity in adults
is often a sign of feebleness. Men lose weight in training. Hence the
appearance of these low-fed children is far from conclusive. In the
third place, besides _size_, we have to consider _energy_. Between
children of the meat-eating classes and those of the
bread-and-potato-eating classes, there is a marked contrast in this
respect. Both in mental and physical vivacity the peasant-boy is greatly
inferior to the son of a gentleman.

If we compare different kinds of animals, or different races of men, or
the same animals or men when differently fed, we find still more
distinct proof that _the degree of energy essentially depends on the
nutritiveness of the food_.

In a cow, subsisting on so innutritive a food as grass, we see that the
immense quantity required necessitates an enormous digestive system;
that the limbs, small in comparison with the body, are burdened by its
weight; that in carrying about this heavy body and digesting this
excessive quantity of food, much force is expended; and that, having but
little remaining, the creature is sluggish. Compare with the cow a
horse--an animal of nearly allied structure, but habituated to a more
concentrated diet. Here the body, and more especially its abdominal
region, bears a smaller ratio to the limbs; the powers are not taxed by
the support of such massive viscera, nor the digestion of so bulky a
food; and, as a consequence, there is greater locomotive energy and
considerable vivacity. If, again, we contrast the stolid inactivity of
the graminivorous sheep with the liveliness of the dog, subsisting on
flesh or farinaceous matters, or a mixture of the two, we see a
difference similar in kind, but still greater in degree. And after
walking through the Zoological Gardens, and noting the restlessness with
which the carnivorous animals pace up and down their cages, it needs but
to remember that none of the herbivorous animals habitually display this
superfluous energy, to see how clear is the relation between
concentration of food and degree of activity.

That these differences are not directly consequent on differences of
constitution, as some may argue; but are directly consequent on
differences in the food which the creatures are constituted to subsist
on; is proved by the fact, that they are observable between different
divisions of the same species. The varieties of the horse furnish an
illustration. Compare the big-bellied, inactive, spiritless cart-horse
with a racer or hunter, small in the flanks and full of energy; and then
call to mind how much less nutritive is the diet of the one than that of
the other. Or take the case of mankind. Australians, Bushmen, and others
of the lowest savages who live on roots and berries, varied by larvae of
insects and the like meagre fare, are comparatively puny in stature,
have large abdomens, soft and undeveloped muscles, and are quite unable
to cope with Europeans, either in a struggle or in prolonged exertion.
Count up the wild races who are well grown, strong and active, as the
Kaffirs, North-American Indians, and Patagonians, and you find them
large consumers of flesh. The ill-fed Hindoo goes down before the
Englishman fed on more nutritive food; to whom he is as inferior in
mental as in physical energy. And generally, we think, the history of
the world shows that the well-fed races have been the energetic and
dominant races.

Still stronger, however, becomes the argument, when we find that the
same individual animal is capable of more or less exertion according as
its food is more or less nutritious. This has been demonstrated in the
case of the horse. Though flesh may be gained by a grazing horse,
strength is lost; as putting him to hard work proves. "The consequence
of turning horses out to grass is relaxation of the muscular system."
"Grass is a very good preparation for a bullock for Smithfield market,
but a very bad one for a hunter." It was well known of old that, after
passing the summer in the fields, hunters required some months of
stable-feeding before becoming able to follow the hounds; and that they
did not get into good condition till the beginning of the next spring.
And the modern practice is that insisted on by Mr. Apperley--"Never to
give a hunter what is called 'a summer's run at grass,' and, except
under particular and very favourable circumstances, never to turn him
out at all." That is to say, never give him poor food: great energy and
endurance are to be obtained only by the continued use of nutritive
food. So true is this that, as proved by Mr. Apperley, prolonged
high-feeding enables a middling horse to equal, in his performances, a
first-rate horse fed in the ordinary way. To which various evidences add
the familiar fact that, when a horse is required to do double duty, it
is the practice to give him beans--a food containing a larger proportion
of nitrogenous, or flesh-making material, than his habitual oats.

Once more, in the case of individual men the truth has been illustrated
with equal, or still greater, clearness. We do not refer to men in
training for feats of strength, whose regimen, however, thoroughly
conforms to the doctrine. We refer to the experience of
railway-contractors and their labourers. It has been for years a
well-established fact that an English navvy, eating largely of flesh, is
far more efficient than a Continental navvy living on farinaceous food:
so much more efficient, that English contractors for Continental
railways found it pay to take their labourers with them. That difference
of diet and not difference of race caused this superiority, has been of
late distinctly shown. For it has turned out, that when the Continental
navvies live in the same style as their English competitors, they
presently rise, more or less nearly, to a par with them in efficiency.
And to this fact let us here add the converse one, to which we can give
personal testimony based upon six months' experience of vegetarianism,
that abstinence from meat entails diminished energy of both body and

Do not these various evidences endorse our argument respecting the
feeding of children? Do they not imply that, even supposing the same
stature and bulk to be attained on an innutritive as on a nutritive
diet, the quality of tissue is greatly inferior? Do they not establish
the position that, where energy as well as growth has to be maintained,
it can only be done by high feeding? Do they not confirm the _à priori_
conclusion that, though a child of whom little is expected in the way of
bodily or mental activity, may thrive tolerably well on farinaceous
substances, a child who is daily required, not only to form the due
amount of new tissue, but to supply the waste consequent on great
muscular action, and the further waste consequent on hard exercise of
brain, must live on substances containing a larger ratio of nutritive
matter? And is it not an obvious corollary, that denial of this better
food will be at the expense either of growth, or of bodily activity, or
of mental activity; as constitution and circumstances determine? We
believe no logical intellect will question it. To think otherwise is to
entertain in a disguised form the old fallacy of the perpetual-motion
schemers--that it is possible to get power out of nothing.

Before leaving the question of food, a few words must be said on another
requisite--_variety_. In this respect the dietary of the young is very
faulty. If not, like our soldiers, condemned to "twenty years of boiled
beef," our children have mostly to bear a monotony which, though less
extreme and less lasting, is quite as clearly at variance with the laws
of health. At dinner, it is true, they usually have food that is more or
less mixed, and that is changed day by day. But week after week, month
after month, year after year, comes the same breakfast of
bread-and-milk, or, it may be, oatmeal-porridge. And with like
persistence the day is closed, perhaps with a second edition of the
bread-and-milk, perhaps with tea and bread-and-butter.

This practice is opposed to the dictates of physiology. The satiety
produced by an often-repeated dish, and the gratification caused by one
long a stranger to the palate, are _not_ meaningless, as people
carelessly assume; but they are the incentives to a wholesome diversity
of diet. It is a fact, established by numerous experiments, that there
is scarcely any one food, however good, which supplies in due
proportions or right forms all the elements required for carrying on the
vital processes in a normal manner: whence it follows that frequent
change of food is desirable to balance the supplies of all the elements.
It is a further fact, known to physiologists, that the enjoyment given
by a much-liked food is a nervous stimulus, which, by increasing the
action of the heart and so propelling the blood with increased vigour,
aids in the subsequent digestion. And these truths are in harmony with
the maxims of modern cattle-feeding, which dictate a rotation of diet.

Not only, however, is periodic change of food very desirable; but, for
the same reasons, it is very desirable that a mixture of food should be
taken at each meal. The better balance of ingredients, and the greater
nervous stimulation, are advantages which hold here as before. If facts
are asked for, we may name as one, the comparative ease with which the
stomach disposes of a French dinner, enormous in quantity but extremely
varied in materials. Few will contend that an equal weight of one kind
of food, however well cooked, could be digested with as much facility.
If any desire further facts, they may find them in every modern book on
the management of animals. Animals thrive best when each meal is made up
of several things. The experiments of Goss and Stark "afford the most
decisive proof of the advantage, or rather the necessity, of a mixture
of substances, in order to produce the compound which is the best
adapted for the action of the stomach."[3]

Should any object, as probably many will, that a rotating dietary for
children, and one which also requires a mixture of food at each meal,
would entail too much trouble; we reply, that no trouble is thought too
great which conduces to the mental development of children, and that for
their future welfare, good bodily development is of still higher
importance. Moreover, it seems alike sad and strange that a trouble
which is cheerfully taken in the fattening of pigs, should be thought
too great in the rearing of children.

One more paragraph, with the view of warning those who may propose to
adopt the regimen indicated. The change must not be made suddenly; for
continued low-feeding so enfeebles the system, as to disable it from at
once dealing with a high diet. Deficient nutrition is itself a cause of
dyspepsia. This is true even of animals. "When calves are fed with
skimmed milk, or whey, or other poor food, they are liable to
indigestion."[4] Hence, therefore, where the energies are low, the
transition to a generous diet must be gradual: each increment of
strength gained, justifying a fresh addition of nutriment. Further, it
should be borne in mind that the concentration of nutriment may be
carried too far. A bulk sufficient to fill the stomach is one requisite
of a proper meal; and this requisite negatives a diet deficient in those
matters which give adequate mass. Though the size of the digestive
organs is less in the well-fed civilised races than in the ill-fed
savage ones, and though their size may eventually diminish still
further, yet, for the time being, the bulk of the ingesta must be
determined by the existing capacity. But, paying due regard to these two
qualifications, our conclusions are--that the food of children should be
highly nutritive; that it should be varied at each meal and at
successive meals; and that it should be abundant.

       *       *       *       *       *

With clothing as with food, the usual tendency is towards an improper
scantiness. Here, too, asceticism peeps out. There is a current theory,
vaguely entertained if not put into a definite formula, that the
sensations are to be disregarded. They do not exist for our guidance,
but to mislead us, seems to be the prevalent belief reduced to its naked
form. It is a grave error: we are much more beneficently constituted. It
is not obedience to the sensations, but disobedience to them, which is
the habitual cause of bodily evils. It is not the eating when hungry,
but the eating in the absence of hunger, which is bad. It is not
drinking when thirsty, but continuing to drink when thirst has ceased,
that is the vice. Harm does not result from breathing that fresh air
which every healthy person enjoys; but from breathing foul air, spite of
the protest of the lungs. Harm does not result from taking that active
exercise which, as every child shows us, Nature strongly prompts; but
from a persistent disregard of Nature's promptings. Not that mental
activity which is spontaneous and enjoyable does the mischief; but that
which is persevered in after a hot or aching head commands desistance.
Not that bodily exertion which is pleasant or indifferent, does injury;
but that which is continued when exhaustion forbids. It is true that, in
those who have long led unhealthy lives, the sensations are not
trustworthy guides. People who have for years been almost constantly
in-doors, who have exercised their brains very much and their bodies
scarcely at all, who in eating have obeyed their clocks without
consulting their stomachs, may very likely be misled by their vitiated
feelings. But their abnormal state is itself the result of transgressing
their feelings. Had they from childhood never disobeyed what we may term
the physical conscience, it would not have been seared, but would have
remained a faithful monitor.

Among the sensations serving for our guidance are those of heat and
cold; and a clothing for children which does not carefully consult these
sensations, is to be condemned. The common notion about "hardening" is a
grievous delusion. Not a few children are "hardened" out of the world;
and those who survive, permanently suffer either in growth or
constitution. "Their delicate appearance furnishes ample indication of
the mischief thus produced, and their frequent attacks of illness might
prove a warning even to unreflecting parents," says Dr. Combe. The
reasoning on which this hardening-theory rests is extremely superficial.
Wealthy parents, seeing little peasant boys and girls playing about in
the open air only half-clothed, and joining with this fact the general
healthiness of labouring people, draw the unwarrantable conclusion that
the healthiness is the result of the exposure, and resolve to keep their
own offspring scantily covered! It is forgotten that these urchins who
gambol upon village-greens are in many respects favourably
circumstanced--that their lives are spent in almost perpetual play; that
they are all day breathing fresh air; and that their systems are not
disturbed by over-taxed brains. For aught that appears to the contrary,
their good health may be maintained, not in consequence of, but in spite
of, their deficient clothing. This alternative conclusion we believe to
be the true one; and that an inevitable detriment results from the loss
of animal heat to which they are subject.

For when, the constitution being sound enough to bear it, exposure does
produce hardness, it does so at the expense of growth. This truth is
displayed alike in animals and in man. Shetland ponies bear greater
inclemencies than the horses of the south, but are dwarfed. Highland
sheep and cattle, living in a colder climate, are stunted in comparison
with English breeds. In both the arctic and antarctic regions the human
race falls much below its ordinary height: the Laplander and Esquimaux
are very short; and the Terra del Fuegians, who go naked in a wintry
land, are described by Darwin as so stunted and hideous, that "one can
hardly make one's-self believe they are fellow-creatures."

Science explains this dwarfishness produced by great abstraction of
heat; showing that, food and other things being equal, it unavoidably
results. For, as before pointed out, to make up for that cooling by
radiation which the body is ever undergoing, there must be a constant
oxidation of certain matters forming part of the food. And in proportion
as the thermal loss is great, must the quantity of these matters
required for oxidation be great. But the power of the digestive organs
is limited. Consequently, when they have to prepare a large quantity of
this material needful for maintaining the temperature, they can prepare
but a small quantity of the material which goes to build up the frame.
Excessive expenditure for fuel entails diminished means for other
purposes. Wherefore there necessarily results a body small in size, or
inferior in texture, or both.

Hence the great importance of clothing. As Liebig says:--"Our clothing
is, in reference to the temperature of the body, merely an equivalent
for a certain amount of food." By diminishing the loss of heat, it
diminishes the amount of fuel needful for maintaining the heat; and when
the stomach has less to do in preparing fuel, it can do more in
preparing other materials. This deduction is confirmed by the experience
of those who manage animals. Cold can be borne by animals only at an
expense of fat, or muscle, or growth, as the case may be. "If fattening
cattle are exposed to a low temperature, either their progress must be
retarded, or a great additional expenditure of food incurred."[5] Mr.
Apperley insists strongly that, to bring hunters into good condition, it
is necessary that the stable should be kept warm. And among those who
rear racers, it is an established doctrine that exposure is to be

The scientific truth thus illustrated by ethnology, and recognised by
agriculturists and sportsmen, applies with double force to children. In
proportion to their smallness and the rapidity of their growth is the
injury from cold great. In France, new-born infants often die in winter
from being carried to the office of the _maire_ for registration. "M.
Quetelet has pointed out, that in Belgium two infants die in January for
one that dies in July." And in Russia the infant mortality is something
enormous. Even when near maturity, the undeveloped frame is
comparatively unable to bear exposure: as witness the quickness with
which young soldiers succumb in a trying campaign. The _rationale_ is
obvious. We have already adverted to the fact that, in consequence of
the varying relation between surface and bulk, a child loses a
relatively larger amount of heat than an adult; and here we must point
out that the disadvantage under which the child thus labours is very
great. Lehmann says:--"If the carbonic acid excreted by children or
young animals is calculated for an equal bodily weight, it results that
children produce nearly twice as much acid as adults." Now the quantity
of carbonic acid given off varies with tolerable accuracy as the
quantity of heat produced. And thus we see that in children the system,
even when not placed at a disadvantage, is called upon to provide nearly
double the proportion of material for generating heat.

See, then, the extreme folly of clothing the young scantily. What
father, full-grown though he is, losing heat less rapidly as he does,
and having no physiological necessity but to supply the waste of each
day--what father, we ask, would think it salutary to go about with bare
legs, bare arms, and bare neck? Yet this tax on the system, from which
he would shrink, he inflicts on his little ones, who are so much less
able to bear it! or, if he does not inflict it, sees it inflicted
without protest. Let him remember that every ounce of nutriment
needlessly expended for the maintenance of temperature, is so much
deducted from the nutriment going to build up the frame; and that even
when colds, congestions, or other consequent disorders are escaped,
diminished growth or less perfect structure is inevitable.

"The rule is, therefore, not to dress in an invariable way in all cases,
but to put on clothing in kind and quantity _sufficient in the
individual case to protect the body effectually from an abiding
sensation of cold, however slight_." This rule, the importance of which
Dr. Combe indicates by the italics, is one in which men of science and
practitioners agree. We have met with none competent to form a judgment
on the matter, who do not strongly condemn the exposure of children's
limbs. If there is one point above others in which "pestilent custom"
should be ignored, it is this.

Lamentable, indeed, is it to see mothers seriously damaging the
constitutions of their children out of compliance with an irrational
fashion. It is bad enough that they should themselves conform to every
folly which our Gallic neighbours please to initiate; but that they
should clothe their children in any mountebank dress which _Le petit
Courrier des Dames_ indicates, regardless of its insufficiency and
unfitness, is monstrous. Discomfort, more or less great, is inflicted;
frequent disorders are entailed; growth is checked or stamina
undermined; premature death not uncommonly caused; and all because it is
thought needful to make frocks of a size and material dictated by French
caprice. Not only is it that for the sake of conformity, mothers thus
punish and injure their little ones by scantiness of covering; but it is
that from an allied motive they impose a style of dress which forbids
healthful activity. To please the eye, colours and fabrics are chosen
totally unfit to bear that rough usage which unrestrained play involves;
and then to prevent damage the unrestrained play is interdicted. "Get up
this moment: you will soil your clean frock," is the mandate issued to
some urchin creeping about on the floor. "Come back: you will dirty your
stockings," calls out the governess to one of her charges, who has left
the footpath to scramble up a bank. Thus is the evil doubled. That they
may come up to their mamma's standard of prettiness, and be admired by
her visitors, children must have habiliments deficient in quantity and
unfit in texture; and that these easily-damaged habiliments may be kept
clean and uninjured, the restless activity so natural and needful for
the young is restrained. The exercise which becomes doubly requisite
when the clothing is insufficient, is cut short, lest it should deface
the clothing. Would that the terrible cruelty of this system could be
seen by those who maintain it! We do not hesitate to say that, through
enfeebled health, defective energies, and consequent non-success in
life, thousands are annually doomed to unhappiness by this unscrupulous
regard for appearances: even when they are not, by early death,
literally sacrificed to the Moloch of maternal vanity. We are reluctant
to counsel strong measures, but really the evils are so great as to
justify, or even to demand, a peremptory interference on the part of

Our conclusions are, then--that, while the clothing of children should
never be in such excess as to create oppressive warmth, it should always
be sufficient to prevent any general feeling of cold;[6] that, instead
of the flimsy cotton, linen, or mixed fabrics commonly used, it should
be made of some good non-conductor, such as coarse woollen cloth; that
it should be so strong as to receive little damage from the hard wear
and tear which childish sports will give it; and that its colours should
be such as will not soon suffer from use and exposure.

       *       *       *       *       *

To the importance of bodily exercise most people are in some degree
awake. Perhaps less needs saying on this requisite of physical education
than on most others: at any rate, in so far as boys are concerned.
Public schools and private schools alike furnish tolerably adequate
play-grounds; and there is usually a fair share of time for out-door
games, and a recognition of them as needful. In this, if in no other
direction, it seems admitted that the promptings of boyish instinct may
advantageously be followed; and, indeed, in the modern practice of
breaking the prolonged morning's and afternoon's lessons by a few
minutes' open-air recreation, we see an increasing tendency to conform
school-regulations to the bodily sensations of the pupils. Here, then,
little needs be said in the way of expostulation or suggestion.

But we have been obliged to qualify this admission by inserting the
clause "in so far as boys are concerned." Unfortunately the fact is
quite otherwise with girls. It chances, somewhat strangely, that we have
daily opportunity of drawing a comparison. We have both a boys' school
and a girls' school within view; and the contrast between them is
remarkable. In the one case, nearly the whole of a large garden is
turned into an open, gravelled space, affording ample scope for games,
and supplied with poles and horizontal bars for gymnastic exercises.
Every day before breakfast, again towards eleven o'clock, again at
mid-day, again in the afternoon, and once more after school is over, the
neighbourhood is awakened by a chorus of shouts and laughter as the boys
rush out to play; and for as long as they remain, both eyes and ears
give proof that they are absorbed in that enjoyable activity which makes
the pulse bound and ensures the healthful activity of every organ. How
unlike is the picture offered by the "Establishment for Young Ladies!"
Until the fact was pointed out, we actually did not know that we had a
girl's school as close to us as the school for boys. The garden, equally
large with the other, affords no sign whatever of any provision for
juvenile recreation; but is entirely laid out with prim grass-plots,
gravel-walks, shrubs, and flowers, after the usual suburban style.
During five months we have not once had our attention drawn to the
premises by a shout or a laugh. Occasionally girls may be observed
sauntering along the paths with lesson-books in their hands, or else
walking arm-in-arm. Once indeed, we saw one chase another round the
garden; but, with this exception, nothing like vigorous exertion has
been visible.

Why this astounding difference? Is it that the constitution of a girl
differs so entirely from that of a boy as not to need these active
exercises? Is it that a girl has none of the promptings to vociferous
play by which boys are impelled? Or is it that, while in boys these
promptings are to be regarded as stimuli to a bodily activity without
which there cannot be adequate development, to their sisters, Nature has
given them for no purpose whatever--unless it be for the vexation of
school-mistresses? Perhaps, however, we mistake the aim of those who
train the gentler sex. We have a vague suspicion that to produce a
robust _physique_ is thought undesirable; that rude health and abundant
vigour are considered somewhat plebeian; that a certain delicacy, a
strength not competent to more than a mile or two's walk, an appetite
fastidious and easily satisfied, joined with that timidity which
commonly accompanies feebleness, are held more lady-like. We do not
expect that any would distinctly avow this; but we fancy the
governess-mind is haunted by an ideal young lady bearing not a little
resemblance to this type. If so, it must be admitted that the
established system is admirably calculated to realise this ideal. But to
suppose that such is the ideal of the opposite sex is a profound
mistake. That men are not commonly drawn towards masculine women, is
doubtless true. That such relative weakness as asks the protection of
superior strength, is an element of attraction, we quite admit. But the
difference thus responded to by the feelings of men, is the natural,
pre-established difference, which will assert itself without artificial
appliances. And when, by artificial appliances, the degree of this
difference is increased, it becomes an element of repulsion rather than
of attraction.

"Then girls should be allowed to run wild--to become as rude as boys,
and grow up into romps and hoydens!" exclaims some defender of the
proprieties. This, we presume, is the ever-present dread of
school-mistresses. It appears, on inquiry, that at "Establishments for
Young Ladies" noisy play like that daily indulged in by boys, is a
punishable offence; and we infer that it is forbidden, lest unlady-like
habits should be formed. The fear is quite groundless, however. For if
the sportive activity allowed to boys does not prevent them from growing
up into gentlemen; why should a like sportive activity prevent girls
from growing up into ladies? Rough as may have been their play-ground
frolics, youths who have left school do not indulge in leap-frog in the
street, or marbles in the drawing-room. Abandoning their jackets, they
abandon at the same time boyish games; and display an anxiety--often a
ludicrous anxiety--to avoid whatever is not manly. If now, on arriving
at the due age, this feeling of masculine dignity puts so efficient a
restraint on the sports of boyhood, will not the feeling of feminine
modesty, gradually strengthening as maturity is approached, put an
efficient restraint on the like sports of girlhood? Have not women even
a greater regard for appearances than men? and will there not
consequently arise in them even a stronger check to whatever is rough or
boisterous? How absurd is the supposition that the womanly instincts
would not assert themselves but for the rigorous discipline of

In this, as in other cases, to remedy the evils of one artificiality,
another artificiality has been introduced. The natural, spontaneous
exercise having been forbidden, and the bad consequences of no exercise
having become conspicuous, there has been adopted a system of factitious
exercise--gymnastics. That this is better than nothing we admit; but
that it is an adequate substitute for play we deny. The defects are both
positive and negative. In the first place, these formal, muscular
motions, necessarily less varied than those accompanying juvenile
sports, do not secure so equable a distribution of action to all parts
of the body; whence it results that the exertion, falling on special
parts, produces fatigue sooner than it would else have done: to which,
in passing, let us add, that, if constantly repeated, this exertion of
special parts leads to a disproportionate development. Again, the
quantity of exercise thus taken will be deficient, not only in
consequence of uneven distribution; but there will be a further
deficiency in consequence of lack of interest. Even when not made
repulsive, as they sometimes are by assuming the shape of appointed
lessons, these monotonous movements are sure to become wearisome from
the absence of amusement. Competition, it is true, serves as a stimulus;
but it is not a lasting stimulus, like that enjoyment which accompanies
varied play. The weightiest objection, however, still remains. Besides
being inferior in respect of the _quantity_ of muscular exertion which
they secure, gymnastics are still more inferior in respect of the
_quality_. This comparative want of enjoyment which we have named as a
cause of early desistance from artificial exercises, is also a cause of
inferiority in the effects they produce on the system. The common
assumption that, so long as the amount of bodily action is the same, it
matters not whether it be pleasurable or otherwise, is a grave mistake.
An agreeable mental excitement has a highly invigorating influence. See
the effect produced upon an invalid by good news, or by the visit of an
old friend. Mark how careful medical men are to recommend lively society
to debilitated patients. Remember how beneficial to health is the
gratification produced by change of scene. The truth is that happiness
is the most powerful of tonics. By accelerating the circulation of the
blood, it facilitates the performance of every function; and so tends
alike to increase health when it exists, and to restore it when it has
been lost. Hence the intrinsic superiority of play to gymnastics. The
extreme interest felt by children in their games, and the riotous glee
with which they carry on their rougher frolics, are of as much
importance as the accompanying exertion. And as not supplying these
mental stimuli, gymnastics must be radically defective.

Granting then, as we do, that formal exercises of the limbs are better
than nothing--granting, further, that they may be used with advantage as
supplementary aids; we yet contend that they can never serve in place of
the exercises prompted by Nature. For girls, as well as boys, the
sportive activities to which the instincts impel, are essential to
bodily welfare. Whoever forbids them, forbids the divinely-appointed
means to physical development.

       *       *       *       *       *

A topic still remains--one perhaps more urgently demanding consideration
than any of the foregoing. It is asserted by not a few, that among the
educated classes the younger adults and those who are verging on
maturity, are neither so well grown nor so strong as their seniors. On
first hearing this assertion, we were inclined to class it as one of
the many manifestations of the old tendency to exalt the past at the
expense of the present. Calling to mind the facts that, as measured by
ancient armour, modern men are proved to be larger than ancient men; and
that the tables of mortality show no diminution, but rather an increase,
in the duration of life, we paid little attention to what seemed a
groundless belief. Detailed observation, however, has shaken our
opinion. Omitting from the comparison the labouring classes, we have
noticed a majority of cases in which the children do not reach the
stature of their parents; and, in massiveness, making due allowance for
difference of age, there seems a like inferiority. Medical men say that
now-a-days people cannot bear nearly so much depletion as in times gone
by. Premature baldness is far more common than it used to be. And an
early decay of teeth occurs in the rising generation with startling
frequency. In general vigour the contrast appears equally striking. Men
of past generations, living riotously as they did, could bear more than
men of the present generation, who live soberly, can bear. Though they
drank hard, kept irregular hours, were regardless of fresh air, and
thought little of cleanliness, our recent ancestors were capable of
prolonged application without injury, even to a ripe old age: witness
the annals of the bench and the bar. Yet we who think much about our
bodily welfare; who eat with moderation, and do not drink to excess; who
attend to ventilation, and use frequent ablutions; who make annual
excursions, and have the benefit of greater medical knowledge;--we are
continually breaking down under our work. Paying considerable attention
to the laws of health, we seem to be weaker than our grandfathers who,
in many respects, defied the laws of health. And, judging from the
appearance and frequent ailments of the rising generation, they are
likely to be even less robust than ourselves.

What is the meaning of this? Is it that past over-feeding, alike of
adults and children, was less injurious than the under-feeding to which
we have adverted as now so general? Is it that the deficient clothing
which this delusive hardening-theory has encouraged, is to blame? Is it
that the greater or less discouragement of juvenile sports, in deference
to a false refinement is the cause? From our reasonings it may be
inferred that each of these has probably had a share in producing the
evil.[7] But there has been yet another detrimental influence at work,
perhaps more potent than any of the others: we mean--excess of mental

On old and young, the pressure of modern life puts a still-increasing
strain. In all businesses and professions, intenser competition taxes
the energies and abilities of every adult; and, to fit the young to hold
their places under this intenser competition, they are subject to
severer discipline than heretofore. The damage is thus doubled. Fathers,
who find themselves run hard by their multiplying competitors, and,
while labouring under this disadvantage, have to maintain a more
expensive style of living, are all the year round obliged to work early
and late, taking little exercise and getting but short holidays. The
constitutions shaken by this continued over-application, they bequeath
to their children. And then these comparatively feeble children,
predisposed to break down even under ordinary strains on their energies,
are required to go through a _curriculum_ much more extended than that
prescribed for the unenfeebled children of past generations.

The disastrous consequences that might be anticipated, are everywhere
visible. Go where you will, and before long there come under your notice
cases of children or youths, of either sex, more or less injured by
undue study. Here, to recover from a state of debility thus produced, a
year's rustication has been found necessary. There you find a chronic
congestion of the brain, that has already lasted many months, and
threatens to last much longer. Now you hear of a fever that resulted
from the over-excitement in some way brought on at school. And again,
the instance is that of a youth who has already had once to desist from
his studies, and who, since his return to them, is frequently taken out
of his class in a fainting fit. We state facts--facts not sought for,
but which have been thrust on our observation during the last two years;
and that, too, within a very limited range. Nor have we by any means
exhausted the list. Quite recently we had the opportunity of marking how
the evil becomes hereditary: the case being that of a lady of robust
parentage, whose system was so injured by the _régime_ of a Scotch
boarding-school, where she was under-fed and over-worked, that she
invariably suffers from vertigo on rising in the morning; and whose
children, inheriting this enfeebled brain, are several of them unable to
bear even a moderate amount of study without headache or giddiness. At
the present time we have daily under our eyes, a young lady whose system
has been damaged for life by the college-course through which she has
passed. Taxed as she was to such an extent that she had no energy left
for exercise, she is, now that she has finished her education, a
constant complainant. Appetite small and very capricious, mostly
refusing meat; extremities perpetually cold, even when the weather is
warm; a feebleness which forbids anything but the slowest walking, and
that only for a short time; palpitation on going upstairs; greatly
impaired vision--these, joined with checked growth and lax tissue, are
among the results entailed. And to her case we may add that of her
friend and fellow-student; who is similarly weak; who is liable to faint
even under the excitement of a quiet party of friends; and who has at
length been obliged by her medical attendant to desist from study

If injuries so conspicuous are thus frequent, how very general must be
the smaller, and inconspicuous injuries! To one case where positive
illness is traceable to over-application, there are probably at least
half-a-dozen cases where the evil is unobtrusive and slowly
accumulating--cases where there is frequent derangement of the
functions, attributed to this or that special cause, or to
constitutional delicacy; cases where there is retardation and premature
arrest of bodily growth; cases where a latent tendency to consumption is
brought out and established; cases where a predisposition is given to
that now common cerebral disorder brought on by the labour of adult
life. How commonly health is thus undermined, will be clear to all who,
after noting the frequent ailments of hard-worked professional and
mercantile men, will reflect on the much worse effects which undue
application must produce on the undeveloped systems of children. The
young can bear neither so much hardship, nor so much physical exertion,
nor so much mental exertion, as the full grown. Judge, then, if the full
grown manifestly suffer from the excessive mental exertion required of
them, how great must be the damage which a mental exertion, often
equally excessive, inflicts on the young!

Indeed, when we examine the merciless school drill frequently enforced,
the wonder is, not that it does extreme injury, but that it can be
borne at all. Take the instance given by Sir John Forbes, from personal
knowledge; and which he asserts, after much inquiry, to be an average
sample of the middle-class girls'-school system throughout England.
Omitting detailed divisions of time, we quote the summary of the
twenty-four hours.

In bed                                          9 hours (the younger 10)
In school, at their studies and tasks           9   "
In school, or in the house, the elder at
    optional studies or work, the younger at
    play                                       3½   "   (the younger 2½)
At meals                                       1½   "
Exercise in the open air, in the shape of a
    formal walk, often with lesson-books in
    hand, and even this only when the weather
    is fine at the appointed time.             1    "

And what are the results of this "astounding regimen," as Sir John
Forbes terms it? Of course feebleness, pallor, want of spirits, general
ill-health. But he describes something more. This utter disregard of
physical welfare, out of extreme anxiety to cultivate the mind--this
prolonged exercise of brain and deficient exercise of limbs,--he found
to be habitually followed, not only by disordered functions but by
malformation. He says:--"We lately visited, in a large town, a
boarding-school containing forty girls; and we learnt, on close and
accurate inquiry, that there was _not one_ of the girl who had been at
the school two years (and the majority had been as long) that was not
more or less _crooked_!"[8]

It may be that since 1833, when this was written, some improvement has
taken place. We hope it has. But that the system is still common--nay,
that it is in some cases carried to a greater extreme than ever; we can
personally testify. We recently went over a training-college for young
men: one of those instituted of late years for the purpose of supplying
schools with well-disciplined teachers. Here, under official
supervision, where something better than the judgment of private
school-mistresses might have been looked for, we found the daily routine
to be as follows:--

At 6 o'clock the students are called,
 " 7 to 8 studies,
 " 8 to 9 scripture-reading, prayers, and breakfast,
 " 9 to 12 studies,
 " 12 to 1¼ leisure, nominally devoted to walking or other exercise, but
     often spent in study,
 " 1¼ to 2 dinner, the meal commonly occupying twenty minutes,
 " 2 to 5 studies,
 " 5 to 6 tea and relaxation,
 " 6 to 8½ studies,
 " 8½ to 9½ private studies in preparing lessons for the next day,
 " 10 to bed.

Thus, out of the twenty-four hours, eight are devoted to sleep; four and
a quarter are occupied in dressing, prayers, meals, and the brief
periods of rest accompanying them; ten and a half are given to study;
and one and a quarter to exercise, which is optional and often avoided.
Not only, however, are the ten-and-a-half hours of recognised study
frequently increased to eleven-and-a-half by devoting to books the time
set apart for exercise; but some of the students get up at four o'clock
in the morning to prepare their lessons; and are actually encouraged by
their teachers to do this! The course to be passed through in a given
time is so extensive, and the teachers, whose credit is at stake in
getting their pupils well through the examinations, are so urgent, that
pupils are not uncommonly induced to spend twelve and thirteen hours a
day in mental labour!

It needs no prophet to see that the bodily injury inflicted must be
great. As we were told by one of the inmates, those who arrive with
fresh complexions quickly become blanched. Illness is frequent: there
are always some on the sick-list. Failure of appetite and indigestion
are very common. Diarrhoea is a prevalent disorder: not uncommonly a
third of the whole number of students suffering under it at the same
time. Headache is generally complained of; and by some is borne almost
daily for months. While a certain percentage break down entirely and go

That this should be the regimen of what is in some sort a model
institution, established and superintended by the embodied enlightenment
of the age, is a startling fact. That the severe examinations, joined
with the short period assigned for preparation, should compel recourse
to a system which inevitably undermines the health of all who pass
through it, is proof, if not of cruelty, then of woeful ignorance.

The case is no doubt in a great degree exceptional--perhaps to be
paralleled only in other institutions of the same class. But that cases
so extreme should exist at all, goes far to show that the minds of the
rising generation are greatly over-tasked. Expressing as they do the
ideas of the educated community, the requirements of these training
colleges, even in the absence of other evidence, would imply a
prevailing tendency to an unduly urgent system of culture.

It seems strange that there should be so little consciousness of the
dangers of over-education during youth, when there is so general a
consciousness of the dangers of over-education during childhood. Most
parents are partially aware of the evil consequences that follow
infant-precocity. In every society may be heard reprobation of those who
too early stimulate the minds of their little ones. And the dread of
this early stimulation is great in proportion as there is adequate
knowledge of the effects: witness the implied opinion of one of our most
distinguished professors of physiology, who told us that he did not
intend his little boy to learn any lessons until he was eight years old.
But while to all it is a familiar truth that a forced development of
intelligence in childhood, entails either physical feebleness, or
ultimate stupidity, or early death; it appears not to be perceived that
throughout youth the same truth holds. Yet it unquestionably does so.
There is a given order in which, and a given rate at which, the
faculties unfold. If the course of education conforms itself to that
order and rate, well. If not--if the higher faculties are early taxed by
presenting an order of knowledge more complex and abstract than can be
readily assimilated; or if, by excess of culture, the intellect in
general is developed to a degree beyond that which is natural to its
age; the abnormal advantage gained will inevitably be accompanied by
some equivalent, or more than equivalent, evil.

For Nature is a strict accountant; and if you demand of her in one
direction more than she is prepared to lay out, she balances the account
by making a deduction elsewhere. If you will let her follow her own
course, taking care to supply, in right quantities and kinds, the raw
materials of bodily and mental growth required at each age, she will
eventually produce an individual more or less evenly developed. If,
however, you insist on premature or undue growth of any one part, she
will, with more or less protest, concede the point; but that she may do
your extra work, she must leave some of her more important work undone.
Let it never be forgotten that the amount of vital energy which the body
at any moment possesses, is limited; and that, being limited, it is
impossible to get from it more than a fixed quantity of results. In a
child or youth the demands upon this vital energy are various and
urgent. As before pointed out, the waste consequent on the day's bodily
exercise has to be met; the wear of brain entailed by the day's study
has to be made good; a certain additional growth of body has to be
provided for; and also a certain additional growth of brain: to which
must be added the amount of energy absorbed in digesting the large
quantity of food required for meeting these many demands. Now, that to
divert an excess of energy into any one of these channels is to abstract
it from the others, is both manifest _à priori_, and proved _à
posteriori_, by the experience of every one. Every one knows, for
instance, that the digestion of a heavy meal makes such a demand on the
system as to produce lassitude of mind and body, frequently ending in
sleep. Every one knows, too, that excess of bodily exercise diminishes
the power of thought--that the temporary prostration following any
sudden exertion, or the fatigue produced by a thirty miles' walk, is
accompanied by a disinclination to mental effort; that, after a month's
pedestrian tour, the mental inertia is such that some days are required
to overcome it; and that in peasants who spend their lives in muscular
labour the activity of mind is very small. Again, it is a familiar truth
that during those fits of rapid growth which sometimes occur in
childhood, the great abstraction of energy is shown in an attendant
prostration, bodily and mental. Once more, the facts that violent
muscular exertion after eating, will stop digestion; and that children
who are early put to hard labour become stunted; similarly exhibit the
antagonism--similarly imply that excess of activity in one direction
involves deficiency of it in other directions. Now, the law which is
thus manifest in extreme cases, holds in all cases. These injurious
abstractions of energy as certainly take place when the undue demands
are slight and constant, as when they are great and sudden. Hence, if
during youth the expenditure in mental labour exceeds that which Nature
has provided for; the expenditure for other purposes falls below what it
should have been; and evils of one kind or other are inevitably
entailed. Let us briefly consider these evils.

Supposing the over-activity of brain to exceed the normal activity only
in a moderate degree, there will be nothing more than some slight
reaction on the development of the body: the stature falling a little
below that which it would else have reached; or the bulk being less than
it would have been; or the quality of tissue not being so good. One or
more of these effects must necessarily occur. The extra quantity of
blood supplied to the brain during mental exertion, and during the
subsequent period in which the waste of cerebral substance is being made
good, is blood that would else have been circulating through the limbs
and viscera; and the growth or repair for which that blood would have
supplied materials, is lost. The physical reaction being certain, the
question is, whether the gain resulting from the extra culture is
equivalent to the loss?--whether defect of bodily growth, or the want of
that structural perfection which gives vigour and endurance, is
compensated by the additional knowledge acquired?

When the excess of mental exertion is greater, there follow results far
more serious; telling not only against bodily perfection, but against
the perfection of the brain itself. It is a physiological law, first
pointed out by M. Isidore St. Hilaire, and to which attention has been
drawn by Mr. Lewes in his essay on "Dwarfs and Giants," that there is an
antagonism between _growth_ and _development_. By growth, as used in
this antithetical sense, is to be understood _increase of size_; by
development, _increase of structure_. And the law is, that great
activity in either of these processes involves retardation or arrest of
the other. A familiar example is furnished by the cases of the
caterpillar and the chrysalis. In the caterpillar there is extremely
rapid augmentation of bulk; but the structure is scarcely at all more
complex when the caterpillar is full-grown than when it is small. In the
chrysalis the bulk does not increase; on the contrary, weight is lost
during this stage of the creature's life; but the elaboration of a more
complex structure goes on with great activity. The antagonism, here so
clear, is less traceable in higher creatures, because the two processes
are carried on together. But we see it pretty well illustrated among
ourselves when we contrast the sexes. A girl develops in body and mind
rapidly, and ceases to grow comparatively early. A boy's bodily and
mental development is slower, and his growth greater. At the age when
the one is mature, finished, and having all faculties in full play, the
other, whose vital energies have been more directed towards increase of
size, is relatively incomplete in structure; and shows it in a
comparative awkwardness, bodily and mental. Now this law is true of each
separate part of the organism, as well as of the whole. The abnormally
rapid advance of any organ in respect of structure, involves premature
arrest of its growth; and this happens with the organ of the mind as
certainly as with any other organ. The brain, which during early years
is relatively large in mass but imperfect in structure, will, if
required to perform its functions with undue activity, undergo a
structural advance greater than is appropriate to its age; but the
ultimate effect will be a falling short of the size and power that would
else have been attained. And this is a part-cause--probably the chief
cause--why precocious children, and youths who up to a certain time were
carrying all before them, so often stop short and disappoint the high
hopes of their parents.

But these results of over-education, disastrous as they are, are perhaps
less disastrous than the effects produced on the health--the undermined
constitution, the enfeebled energies, the morbid feelings. Recent
discoveries in physiology have shown how immense is the influence of the
brain over the functions of the body. Digestion, circulation, and
through these all other organic processes, are profoundly affected by
cerebral excitement. Whoever has seen repeated, as we have, the
experiment first performed by Weber, showing the consequence of
irritating the _vagus_ nerve, which connects the brain with the
viscera--whoever has seen the action of the heart suddenly arrested by
irritating this nerve; slowly recommencing when the irritation is
suspended; and again arrested the moment it is renewed; will have a
vivid conception of the depressing influence which an over-wrought brain
exercises on the body. The effects thus physiologically explained, are
indeed exemplified in ordinary experience. There is no one but has felt
the palpitation accompanying hope, fear, anger, joy--no one but has
observed how laboured becomes the action of the heart when these
feelings are violent. And though there are many who have never suffered
that extreme emotional excitement which is followed by arrest of the
heart's action and fainting; yet every one knows these to be cause and
effect. It is a familiar fact, too, that disturbance of the stomach
results from mental excitement exceeding a certain intensity. Loss of
appetite is a common consequence alike of very pleasurable and very
painful states of mind. When the event producing a pleasurable or
painful state of mind occurs shortly after a meal, it not unfrequently
happens either that the stomach rejects what has been eaten, or digests
it with great difficulty and under protest. And as every one who taxes
his brain much can testify, even purely intellectual action will, when
excessive, produce analogous effects. Now the relation between brain and
body which is so manifest in these extreme cases, holds equally in
ordinary, less-marked cases. Just as these violent but temporary
cerebral excitements produce violent but temporary disturbances of the
viscera; so do the less violent but chronic cerebral excitements produce
less violent but chronic visceral disturbances. This is not simply an
inference:--it is a truth to which every medical man can bear witness;
and it is one to which a long and sad experience enables us to give
personal testimony. Various degrees and forms of bodily derangement,
often taking years of enforced idleness to set partially right, result
from this prolonged over-exertion of mind. Sometimes the heart is
chiefly affected: habitual palpitations; a pulse much enfeebled; and
very generally a diminution in the number of beats from seventy-two to
sixty, or even fewer. Sometimes the conspicuous disorder is of the
stomach: a dyspepsia which makes life a burden, and is amenable to no
remedy but time. In many cases both heart and stomach are implicated.
Mostly the sleep is short and broken. And very generally there is more
or less mental depression.

Consider, then, how great must be the damage inflicted by undue mental
excitement on children and youths. More or less of this constitutional
disturbance will inevitably follow an exertion of brain beyond the
normal amount; and when not so excessive as to produce absolute illness,
is sure to entail a slowly accumulating degeneracy of _physique_. With a
small and fastidious appetite, an imperfect digestion, and an enfeebled
circulation, how can the developing body flourish? The due performance
of every vital process depends on an adequate supply of good blood.
Without enough good blood, no gland can secrete properly, no viscus can
fully discharge its office. Without enough good blood, no nerve, muscle,
membrane, or other tissue can be efficiently repaired. Without enough
good blood, growth will neither be sound nor sufficient. Judge, then,
how bad must be the consequences when to a growing body the weakened
stomach supplies blood that is deficient in quantity and poor in
quality; while the debilitated heart propels this poor and scanty blood
with unnatural slowness.

And if, as all who investigate the matter must admit, physical
degeneracy is a consequence of excessive study, how grave is the
condemnation to be passed on this cramming-system above exemplified. It
is a terrible mistake, from whatever point of view regarded. It is a
mistake in so far as the mere acquirement of knowledge is concerned. For
the mind, like the body, cannot assimilate beyond a certain rate; and if
you ply it with facts faster than it can assimilate them, they are soon
rejected again: instead of being built into the intellectual fabric,
they fall out of recollection after the passing of the examination for
which they were got up. It is a mistake, too, because it tends to make
study distasteful. Either through the painful associations produced by
ceaseless mental toil, or through the abnormal state of brain it leaves
behind, it often generates an aversion to books; and, instead of that
subsequent self-culture induced by rational education, there comes
continued retrogression. It is a mistake, also, inasmuch as it assumes
that the acquisition of knowledge is everything; and forgets that a much
more important thing is the organisation of knowledge, for which time
and spontaneous thinking are requisite. As Humboldt remarks respecting
the progress of intelligence in general, that "the interpretation of
Nature is obscured when the description languishes under too great an
accumulation of insulated facts;" so, it may be remarked respecting the
progress of individual intelligence, that the mind is over-burdened and
hampered by an excess of ill-digested information. It is not the
knowledge stored up as intellectual fat which is of value; but that
which is turned into intellectual muscle. The mistake goes still deeper
however. Even were the system good as producing intellectual efficiency,
which it is not, it would still be bad, because, as we have shown, it is
fatal to that vigour of _physique_ needful to make intellectual training
available in the struggle of life. Those who, in eagerness to cultivate
their pupils' minds, are reckless of their bodies, do not remember that
success in the world depends more on energy than on information; and
that a policy which in cramming with information undermines energy, is
self-defeating. The strong will and untiring activity due to abundant
animal vigour, go far to compensate even great defects of education; and
when joined with that quite adequate education which may be obtained
without sacrificing health, they ensure an easy victory over competitors
enfeebled by excessive study: prodigies of learning though they may be.
A comparatively small and ill-made engine, worked at high pressure, will
do more than a large and well-finished one worked at low-pressure. What
folly is it, then, while finishing the engine, so to damage the boiler
that it will not generate steam! Once more, the system is a mistake, as
involving a false estimate of welfare in life. Even supposing it were a
means to worldly success, instead of a means to worldly failure, yet, in
the entailed ill-health, it would inflict a more than equivalent curse.
What boots it to have attained wealth, if the wealth is accompanied by
ceaseless ailments? What is the worth of distinction, if it has brought
hypochondria with it? Surely no one needs telling that a good digestion,
a bounding pulse, and high spirits, are elements of happiness which no
external advantages can out-balance. Chronic bodily disorder casts a
gloom over the brightest prospects; while the vivacity of strong health
gilds even misfortune. We contend, then, that this over-education is
vicious in every way--vicious, as giving knowledge that will soon be
forgotten; vicious, as producing a disgust for knowledge; vicious, as
neglecting that organisation of knowledge which is more important than
its acquisition; vicious, as weakening or destroying that energy without
which a trained intellect is useless; vicious, as entailing that
ill-health for which even success would not compensate, and which makes
failure doubly bitter. On women the effects of this forcing system are,
if possible, even more injurious than on men. Being in great measure
debarred from those vigorous and enjoyable exercises of body by which
boys mitigate the evils of excessive study, girls feel these evils in
their full intensity. Hence, the much smaller proportion of them who
grow up well-made and healthy. In the pale, angular, flat-chested young
ladies, so abundant in London drawing-rooms, we see the effect of
merciless application, unrelieved by youthful sports; and this physical
degeneracy hinders their welfare far more than their many
accomplishments aid it. Mammas anxious to make their daughters
attractive, could scarcely choose a course more fatal than this, which
sacrifices the body to the mind. Either they disregard the tastes of the
opposite sex, or else their conception of those tastes is erroneous. Men
care little for erudition in women; but very much for physical beauty,
good nature, and sound sense. How many conquests does the blue-stocking
make through her extensive knowledge of history? What man ever fell in
love with a woman because she understood Italian? Where is the Edwin who
was brought to Angelina's feet by her German? But rosy cheeks and
laughing eyes are great attractions. A finely rounded figure draws
admiring glances. The liveliness and good humour that overflowing health
produces, go a great way towards establishing attachments. Every one
knows cases where bodily perfections, in the absence of all other
recommendations, have incited a passion that carried all before it; but
scarcely any one can point to a case where intellectual acquirements,
apart from moral or physical attributes, have aroused such a feeling.
The truth is that, out of the many elements uniting in various
proportions to produce in a man's breast the complex emotion we call
love, the strongest are those produced by physical attractions; the next
in order of strength are those produced by moral attractions; the
weakest are those produced by intellectual attractions; and even these
are dependent less on acquired knowledge than on natural
faculty--quickness, wit, insight. If any think the assertion a
derogatory one, and inveigh against the masculine character for being
thus swayed; we reply that they little know what they say when they thus
call in question the Divine ordinations. Even were there no obvious
meaning in the arrangement, we might be sure that some important end was
subserved. But the meaning is quite obvious to those who examine. When
we remember that one of Nature's ends, or rather her supreme end, is the
welfare of posterity; further that, in so far as posterity are
concerned, a cultivated intelligence based on a bad _physique_ is of
little worth, since its descendants will die out in a generation or two;
and conversely that a good _physique_, however poor the accompanying
mental endowments, is worth preserving, because, throughout future
generations, the mental endowments may be indefinitely developed; we
perceive how important is the balance of instincts above described. But,
advantage apart, the instincts being thus balanced, it is folly to
persist in a system which undermines a girl's constitution that it may
overload her memory. Educate as highly as possible--the higher the
better--providing no bodily injury is entailed (and we may remark, in
passing, that a sufficiently high standard might be reached were the
parrot-faculty cultivated less, and the human faculty more, and were the
discipline extended over that now wasted period between leaving school
and being married). But to educate in such manner, or to such extent, as
to produce physical degeneracy, is to defeat the chief end for which the
toil and cost and anxiety are submitted to. By subjecting their
daughters to this high-pressure system, parents frequently ruin their
prospects in life. Besides inflicting on them enfeebled health, with all
its pains and disabilities and gloom; they not unfrequently doom them to

       *       *       *       *       *

The physical education of children is thus, in various ways, seriously
faulty. It errs in deficient feeding; in deficient clothing; in
deficient exercise (among girls at least); and in excessive mental
application. Considering the regime as a whole, its tendency is too
exacting: it asks too much and gives too little. In the extent to which
it taxes the vital energies, it makes the juvenile life far more like
the adult life than it should be. It overlooks the truth that, as in the
foetus the entire vitality is expended in growth--as in the infant,
the expenditure of vitality in growth is so great as to leave extremely
little for either physical or mental action; so throughout childhood and
youth, growth is the dominant requirement to which all others must be
subordinated: a requirement which dictates the giving of much and the
taking away of little--a requirement which, therefore, restricts the
exertion of body and mind in proportion to the rapidity of growth--a
requirement which permits the mental and physical activities to increase
only as fast as the rate of growth diminishes.

The _rationale_ of this high-pressure education is that it results from
our passing phase of civilisation. In primitive times, when aggression
and defence were the leading social activities, bodily vigour with its
accompanying courage were the desiderata; and then education was almost
wholly physical: mental cultivation was little cared for, and indeed, as
in feudal ages, was often treated with contempt. But now that our state
is relatively peaceful--now that muscular power is of use for little
else than manual labour, while social success of nearly every kind
depends very much on mental power; our education has become almost
exclusively mental. Instead of respecting the body and ignoring the
mind, we now respect the mind and ignore the body. Both these attitudes
are wrong. We do not yet realise the truth that as, in this life of
ours, the physical underlies the mental, the mental must not be
developed at the expense of the physical. The ancient and modern
conceptions must be combined.

Perhaps nothing will so much hasten the time when body and mind will
both be adequately cared for, as a diffusion of the belief that the
preservation of health is a _duty_. Few seem conscious that there is
such a thing as physical morality. Men's habitual words and acts imply
the idea that they are at liberty to treat their bodies as they please.
Disorders entailed by disobedience to Nature's dictates, they regard
simply as grievances: not as the effects of a conduct more or less
flagitious. Though the evil consequences inflicted on their dependents,
and on future generations, are often as great as those caused by crime;
yet they do not think themselves in any degree criminal. It is true
that, in the case of drunkenness, the viciousness of a bodily
transgression is recognised; but none appear to infer that, if this
bodily transgression is vicious, so too is every bodily transgression.
The fact is, that all breaches of the laws of health are _physical
sins_. When this is generally seen, then, and perhaps not till then,
will the physical training of the young receive the attention it

[1] _Cyclopædia of Practical Medicine._

[2] _Cyclopædia of Practical Medicine._

[3] _Cyclopædia of Anatomy and Physiology._

[4] Morton's _Cyclopædia of Agriculture_.

[5] Morton's _Cyclopædia of Agriculture_.

[6] It is needful to remark that children whose legs and arms have been
from the beginning habitually without covering, cease to be conscious
that the exposed surfaces are cold; just as by use we have all ceased to
be conscious that our faces are cold, even when out of doors. But though
in such children the sensations no longer protest, it does not follow
that the system escapes injury, any more than it follows that the
Fuegian is undamaged by exposure, because he bears with indifference the
melting of the falling snow on his naked body.

[7] We are not certain that the propagation of subdued forms of
constitutional disease through the agency of vaccination is not a part
cause. Sundry facts in pathology suggest the inference, that when the
system of a vaccinated child is excreting the vaccine virus by means of
pustules, it will tend also to excrete through such pustules other
morbific matters; especially if these morbific matters are of a kind
ordinarily got rid of by the skin, as are some of the worst of them.
Hence it is very possible--probable even--that a child with a
constitutional taint, too slight to show itself in visible disease, may,
through the medium of vitiated vaccine lymph taken from it, convey a
like constitutional taint to other children, and these to others.

[8] _Cyclopædia of Practical Medicine_, vol. i. pp. 697, 698.



The current conception of Progress is somewhat shifting and indefinite.
Sometimes it comprehends little more than simple growth--as of a nation
in the number of its members and the extent of territory over which it
has spread. Sometimes it has reference to quantity of material
products--as when the advance of agriculture and manufactures is the
topic. Sometimes the superior quality of these products is contemplated:
and sometimes the new or improved appliances by which they are produced.
When, again, we speak of moral or intellectual progress, we refer to the
state of the individual or people exhibiting it; while, when the
progress of Knowledge, of Science, of Art, is commented upon, we have in
view certain abstract results of human thought and action. Not only,
however, is the current conception of Progress more or less vague, but
it is in great measure erroneous. It takes in not so much the reality of
Progress as its accompaniments--not so much the substance as the shadow.
That progress in intelligence seen during the growth of the child into
the man, or the savage into the philosopher, is commonly regarded as
consisting in the greater number of facts known and laws understood:
whereas the actual progress consists in those internal modifications of
which this increased knowledge is the expression. Social progress is
supposed to consist in the produce of a greater quantity and variety of
the articles required for satisfying men's wants; in the increasing
security of person and property; in widening freedom of action: whereas,
rightly understood, social progress consists in those changes of
structure in the social organism which have entailed these consequences.
The current conception is a teleological one. The phenomena are
contemplated solely as bearing on human happiness. Only those changes
are held to constitute progress which directly or indirectly tend to
heighten human happiness. And they are thought to constitute progress
simply _because_ they tend to heighten human happiness. But rightly to
understand progress, we must inquire what is the nature of these
changes, considered apart from our interests. Ceasing, for example, to
regard the successive geological modifications that have taken place in
the Earth, as modifications that have gradually fitted it for the
habitation of Man, and as _therefore_ a geological progress, we must
seek to determine the character common to the modifications--the law to
which they all conform. And similarly in every other case. Leaving out
of sight concomitants and beneficial consequences, let us ask what
Progress is in itself.

In respect to that progress which individual organisms display in the
course of their evolution, this question has been answered by the
Germans. The investigations of Wolff, Goethe, and Von Baer, have
established the truth that the series of changes gone through during the
development of a seed into a tree, or an ovum into an animal, constitute
an advance from homogeneity of structure to heterogeneity of structure.
In its primary stage, every germ consists of a substance that is uniform
throughout, both in texture and chemical composition. The first step is
the appearance of a difference between two parts of this substance; or,
as the phenomenon is called in physiological language, a
differentiation. Each of these differentiated divisions presently begins
itself to exhibit some contrast of parts; and by and by these secondary
differentiations become as definite as the original one. This process is
continuously repeated--is simultaneously going on in all parts of the
growing embryo; and by endless such differentiations there is finally
produced that complex combination of tissues and organs constituting the
adult animal or plant. This is the history of all organisms whatever. It
is settled beyond dispute that organic progress consists in a change
from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous.

Now, we propose in the first place to show, that this law of organic
progress is the law of all progress. Whether it be in the development of
the Earth, in the development of Life upon its surface, in the
development of Society, of Government, of Manufactures, of Commerce, of
Language, Literature, Science, Art, this same evolution of the simple
into the complex, through successive differentiations, holds throughout.
From the earliest traceable cosmical changes down to the latest results
of civilisation, we shall find that the transformation of the
homogeneous into the heterogeneous, is that in which Progress
essentially consists.

With the view of showing that _if_ the Nebular Hypothesis be true, the
genesis of the solar system supplies one illustration of this law, let
us assume that the matter of which the sun and planets consist was once
in a diffused form; and that from the gravitation of its atoms there
resulted a gradual concentration. By the hypothesis, the solar system in
its nascent state existed as an indefinitely extended and nearly
homogeneous medium--a medium almost homogeneous in density, in
temperature, and in other physical attributes. The first advance towards
consolidation resulted in a differentiation between the occupied space
which the nebulous mass still filled, and the unoccupied space which it
previously filled. There simultaneously resulted a contrast in density
and a contrast in temperature, between the interior and the exterior of
this mass. And at the same time there arose throughout it rotatory
movements, whose velocities varied according to their distances from its
centre. These differentiations increased in number and degree until
there was the organised group of sun, planets, and satellites, which we
now know--a group which represents numerous contrasts of structure and
action among its members. There are the immense contrasts between the
sun and planets, in bulk and in weight; as well as the subordinate
contrasts between one planet and another, and between the planets and
their satellites. There is the similarly marked contrast between the sun
as almost stationary, and the planets as moving round him with great
velocity; while there are the secondary contrasts between the velocities
and periods of the several planets, and between their simple revolutions
and the double ones of their satellites, which have to move round their
primaries while moving round the sun. There is the yet further strong
contrast between the sun and the planets in respect of temperature; and
there is reason to suppose that the planets and satellites differ from
each other in their proper heat, as well as in the heat they receive
from the sun.

When we bear in mind that, in addition to these various contrasts, the
planets and satellites also differ in respect to their distances from
each other and their primary; in respect to the inclinations of their
orbits, the inclinations of their axes, their times of rotation on their
axes, their specific gravities, and their physical constitutions; we see
what a high degree of heterogeneity the solar system exhibits, when
compared with the almost complete homogeneity of the nebulous mass out
of which it is supposed to have originated.

Passing from this hypothetical illustration, which must be taken for
what it is worth, without prejudice to the general argument, let us
descend to a more certain order of evidence. It is now generally agreed
among geologists that the Earth was at first a mass of molten matter;
and that it is still fluid and incandescent at the distance of a few
miles beneath its surface. Originally, then, it was homogeneous in
consistence, and, in virtue of the circulation that takes place in
heated fluids, must have been comparatively homogeneous in temperature;
and it must have been surrounded by an atmosphere consisting partly of
the elements of air and water, and partly of those various other
elements which assume a gaseous form at high temperatures. That slow
cooling by radiation which is still going on at an inappreciable rate,
and which, though originally far more rapid than now, necessarily
required an immense time to produce any decided change, must ultimately
have resulted in the solidification of the portion most able to part
with its heat--namely, the surface. In the thin crust thus formed we
have the first marked differentiation. A still further cooling, a
consequent thickening of this crust, and an accompanying deposition of
all solidifiable elements contained in the atmosphere, must finally have
been followed by the condensation of the water previously existing as
vapour. A second marked differentiation must thus have arisen: and as
the condensation must have taken place on the coolest parts of the
surface--namely, about the poles--there must thus have resulted the
first geographical distinction of parts. To these illustrations of
growing heterogeneity, which, though deduced from the known laws of
matter, may be regarded as more or less hypothetical, Geology adds an
extensive series that have been inductively established. Its
investigations show that the Earth has been continually becoming more
heterogeneous in virtue of the multiplication of the strata which form
its crust; further, that it has been becoming more heterogeneous in
respect of the composition of these strata, the latter of which, being
made from the detritus of the older ones, are many of them rendered
highly complex by the mixture of materials they contain; and that this
heterogeneity has been vastly increased by the action of the Earth's
still molten nucleus upon its envelope, whence have resulted not only a
great variety of igneous rocks, but the tilting up of sedimentary strata
at all angles, the formation of faults and metallic veins, the
production of endless dislocations and irregularities. Yet again,
geologists teach us that the Earth's surface has been growing more
varied in elevation--that the most ancient mountain systems are the
smallest, and the Andes and Himalayas the most modern; while in all
probability there have been corresponding changes in the bed of the
ocean. As a consequence of these ceaseless differentiations, we now find
that no considerable portion of the Earth's exposed surface is like any
other portion, either in contour, in geologic structure, or in chemical
composition; and that in most parts it changes from mile to mile in all
these characteristics.

Moreover, it must not be forgotten that there has been simultaneously
going on a gradual differentiation of climates. As fast as the Earth
cooled and its crust solidified, there arose appreciable differences in
temperature between those parts of its surface most exposed to the sun
and those less exposed. Gradually, as the cooling progressed, these
differences became more pronounced; until there finally resulted those
marked contrasts between regions of perpetual ice and snow, regions
where winter and summer alternately reign for periods varying according
to the latitude, and regions where summer follows summer with scarcely
an appreciable variation. At the same time the successive elevations and
subsidences of different portions of the Earth's crust, tending as they
have done to the present irregular distribution of land and sea, have
entailed various modifications of climate beyond those dependent on
latitude; while a yet further series of such modifications have been
produced by increasing differences of elevation in the land, which have
in sundry places brought arctic, temperate, and tropical climates to
within a few miles of each other. And the general result of these
changes is, that not only has every extensive region its own
meteorologic conditions, but that every locality in each region differs
more or less from others in those conditions, as in its structure, its
contour, its soil. Thus, between our existing Earth, the phenomena of
whose varied crust neither geographers, geologists, mineralogists, nor
meteorologists have yet enumerated, and the molten globe out of which it
was evolved, the contrast in heterogeneity is sufficiently striking.

When from the Earth itself we turn to the plants and animals that have
lived, or still live, upon its surface, we find ourselves in some
difficulty from lack of facts. That every existing organism has been
developed out of the simple into the complex, is indeed the first
established truth of all; and that every organism that has existed was
similarly developed, is an inference which no physiologist will hesitate
to draw. But when we pass from individual forms of life to Life in
general, and inquire whether the same law is seen in the _ensemble_ of
its manifestations,--whether modern plants and animals are of more
heterogeneous structure than ancient ones, and whether the earth's
present Flora and Fauna are more heterogeneous than the Flora and Fauna
of the past,--we find the evidence so fragmentary, that every conclusion
is open to dispute. Two-thirds of the Earth's surface being covered by
water; a great part of the exposed land being inaccessible to, or
untravelled by, the geologist; the greater part of the remainder having
been scarcely more than glanced at; and even the most familiar portions,
as England, having been so imperfectly explored that a new series of
strata has been added within these four years,--it is manifestly
impossible for us to say with any certainty what creatures have, and
what have not, existed at any particular period. Considering the
perishable nature of many of the lower organic forms, the metamorphosis
of many sedimentary strata, and the gaps that occur among the rest, we
shall see further reason for distrusting our deductions. On the one
hand, the repeated discovery of vertebrate remains in strata previously
supposed to contain none,--of reptiles where only fish were thought to
exist,--of mammals where it was believed there were no creatures higher
than reptiles,--renders it daily more manifest how small is the value of
negative evidence.

On the other hand, the worthlessness of the assumption that we have
discovered the earliest, or anything like the earliest, organic remains,
is becoming equally clear. That the oldest known sedimentary rocks have
been greatly changed by igneous action, and that still older ones have
been totally transformed by it, is becoming undeniable. And the fact
that sedimentary strata earlier than any we know, have been melted up,
being admitted, it must also be admitted that we cannot say how far back
in time this destruction of sedimentary strata has been going on. Thus
it is manifest that the title, _Palæozoic_, as applied to the earliest
known fossiliferous strata, involves a _petitio principii_; and that,
for aught we know to the contrary, only the last few chapters of the
Earth's biological history may have come down to us. On neither side,
therefore, is the evidence conclusive. Nevertheless we cannot but think
that, scanty as they are, the facts, taken altogether, tend to show both
that the more heterogeneous organisms have been evolved in the later
geologic periods, and that Life in general has been more heterogeneously
manifested as time has advanced. Let us cite, in illustration, the one
case of the _vertebrata_. The earliest known vertebrate remains are
those of Fishes; and Fishes are the most homogeneous of the vertebrata.
Later and more heterogeneous are Reptiles. Later still, and more
heterogeneous still, are Mammals and Birds. If it be said, as it may
fairly be said, that the Palæozoic deposits, not being estuary deposits,
are not likely to contain the remains of terrestrial vertebrata, which
may nevertheless have existed at that era, we reply that we are merely
pointing to the leading facts, _such as they are_.

But to avoid any such criticism, let us take the mammalian subdivision
only. The earliest known remains of mammals are those of small
marsupials, which are the lowest of the mammalian type; while,
conversely, the highest of the mammalian type--Man--is the most recent.
The evidence that the vertebrate fauna, as a whole, has become more
heterogeneous, is considerably stronger. To the argument that the
vertebrate fauna of the Palæozoic period, consisting, so far as we know,
entirely of Fishes, was less heterogeneous than the modern vertebrate
fauna, which includes Reptiles, Birds, and Mammals, of multitudinous
genera, it may be replied, as before, that estuary deposits of the
Palæozoic period, could we find them, might contain other orders of
vertebrata. But no such reply can be made to the argument that whereas
the marine vertebrata of the Palæozoic period consisted entirely of
cartilaginous fishes, the marine vertebrata of later periods include
numerous genera of osseous fishes; and that, therefore, the later marine
vertebrate faunas are more heterogeneous than the oldest known one. Nor,
again, can any such reply be made to the fact that there are far more
numerous orders and genera of mammalian remains in the tertiary
formations than in the secondary formations. Did we wish merely to make
out the best case, we might dwell upon the opinion of Dr. Carpenter, who
says that "the general facts of Palæontology appear to sanction the
belief, that _the same plan_ may be traced out in what may be called
_the general life of the globe_, as in _the individual life_ of every
one of the forms of organised being which now people it." Or we might
quote, as decisive, the judgment of Professor Owen, who holds that the
earlier examples of each group of creatures severally departed less
widely from archetypal generality than the later ones--were severally
less unlike the fundamental form common to the group as a whole; that is
to say--constituted a less heterogeneous group of creatures; and who
further upholds the doctrine of a biological progression. But in
deference to an authority for whom we have the highest respect, who
considers that the evidence at present obtained does not justify a
verdict either way, we are content to leave the question open.

Whether an advance from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous is or is
not displayed in the biological history of the globe, it is clearly
enough displayed in the progress of the latest and most heterogeneous
creature--Man. It is alike true that, during the period in which the
Earth has been peopled, the human organism has grown more heterogeneous
among the civilised divisions of the species; and that the species, as a
whole, has been growing more heterogeneous in virtue of the
multiplication of races and the differentiation of these races from each

In proof of the first of these positions, we may cite the fact that, in
the relative development of the limbs, the civilised man departs more
widely from the general type of the placental mammalia than do the lower
human races. While often possessing well-developed body and arms, the
Papuan has extremely small legs: thus reminding us of the quadrumana, in
which there is no great contrast in size between the hind and fore
limbs. But in the European, the greater length and massiveness of the
legs has become very marked--the fore and hind limbs are relatively more
heterogeneous. Again, the greater ratio which the cranial bones bear to
the facial bones illustrates the same truth. Among the vertebrata in
general, progress is marked by an increasing heterogeneity in the
vertebral column, and more especially in the vertebræ constituting the
skull: the higher forms being distinguished by the relatively larger
size of the bones which cover the brain, and the relatively smaller size
of those which form the jaw, etc. Now, this characteristic, which is
stronger in Man than in any other creature, is stronger in the European
than in the savage. Moreover, judging from the greater extent and
variety of faculty he exhibits, we may infer that the civilised man has
also a more complex or heterogeneous nervous system than the uncivilised
man: and indeed the fact is in part visible in the increased ratio which
his cerebrum bears to the subjacent ganglia.

If further elucidation be needed, we may find it in every nursery. The
infant European has sundry marked points of resemblance to the lower
human races; as in the flatness of the alæ of the nose, the depression
of its bridge, the divergence and forward opening of the nostrils, the
form of the lips, the absence of a frontal sinus, the width between the
eyes, the smallness of the legs. Now, as the development process by
which these traits are turned into those of the adult European, is a
continuation of that change from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous
displayed during the previous evolution of the embryo, which every
physiologist will admit; it follows that the parallel developmental
process by which the like traits of the barbarous races have been turned
into those of the civilised races, has also been a continuation of the
change from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous. The truth of the
second position--that Mankind, as a whole, have become more
heterogeneous--is so obvious as scarcely to need illustration. Every
work on Ethnology, by its divisions and subdivisions of races, bears
testimony to it. Even were we to admit the hypothesis that Mankind
originated from several separate stocks, it would still remain true,
that as, from each of these stocks, there have sprung many now widely
different tribes, which are proved by philological evidence to have had
a common origin, the race as a whole is far less homogeneous than it
once was. Add to which, that we have, in the Anglo-Americans, an example
of a new variety arising within these few generations; and that, if we
may trust to the description of observers, we are likely soon to have
another such example in Australia.

On passing from Humanity under its individual form, to Humanity as
socially embodied, we find the general law still more variously
exemplified. The change from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous is
displayed equally in the progress of civilisation as a whole, and in the
progress of every tribe or nation; and is still going on with increasing
rapidity. As we see in existing barbarous tribes, society in its first
and lowest form is a homogeneous aggregation of individuals having like
powers and like functions: the only marked difference of function being
that which accompanies difference of sex. Every man is warrior, hunter,
fisherman, tool-maker, builder; every woman performs the same
drudgeries; every family is self-sufficing, and save for purposes of
aggression and defence, might as well live apart from the rest. Very
early, however, in the process of social evolution, we find an incipient
differentiation between the governing and the governed. Some kind of
chieftainship seems coeval with the first advance from the state of
separate wandering families to that of a nomadic tribe. The authority of
the strongest makes itself felt among a body of savages as in a herd of
animals, or a posse of schoolboys. At first, however, it is indefinite,
uncertain; is shared by others of scarcely inferior power; and is
unaccompanied by any difference in occupation or style of living: the
first ruler kills his own game, makes his own weapons, builds his own
hut, and economically considered, does not differ from others of his
tribe. Gradually, as the tribe progresses, the contrast between the
governing and the governed grows more decided. Supreme power becomes
hereditary in one family; the head of that family, ceasing to provide
for his own wants, is served by others; and he begins to assume the sole
office of ruling.

At the same time there has been arising a co-ordinate species of
government--that of Religion. As all ancient records and traditions
prove, the earliest rulers are regarded as divine personages. The maxims
and commands they uttered during their lives are held sacred after their
deaths, and are enforced by their divinely-descended successors; who in
their turns are promoted to the pantheon of the race, there to be
worshipped and propitiated along with their predecessors: the most
ancient of whom is the supreme god, and the rest subordinate gods. For a
long time these connate forms of government--civil and
religious--continue closely associated. For many generations the king
continues to be the chief priest, and the priesthood to be members of
the royal race. For many ages religious law continues to contain more or
less of civil regulation, and civil law to possess more or less of
religious sanction; and even among the most advanced nations these two
controlling agencies are by no means completely differentiated from each

Having a common root with these, and gradually diverging from them, we
find yet another controlling agency--that of Manners or ceremonial
usages. All titles of honour are originally the names of the god-king;
afterwards of God and the king; still later of persons of high rank; and
finally come, some of them, to be used between man and man. All forms of
complimentary address were at first the expressions of submission from
prisoners to their conqueror, or from subjects to their ruler, either
human or divine--expressions that were afterwards used to propitiate
subordinate authorities, and slowly descended into ordinary intercourse.
All modes of salutation were once obeisances made before the monarch and
used in worship of him after his death. Presently others of the
god-descended race were similarly saluted; and by degrees some of the
salutations have become the due of all.[2] Thus, no sooner does the
originally homogeneous social mass differentiate into the governed and
the governing parts, than this last exhibits an incipient
differentiation into religious and secular--Church and State; while at
the same time there begins to be differentiated from both, that less
definite species of government which rules our daily intercourse--a
species of government which, as we may see in heralds' colleges, in
books of the peerage, in masters of ceremonies, is not without a certain
embodiment of its own. Each of these is itself subject to successive
differentiations. In the course of ages, there arises, as among
ourselves, a highly complex political organisation of monarch,
ministers, lords and commons, with their subordinate administrative
departments, courts of justice, revenue offices, etc., supplemented in
the provinces by municipal governments, county governments, parish or
union governments--all of them more or less elaborated. By its side
there grows up a highly complex religious organisation, with its various
grades of officials, from archbishops down to sextons, its colleges,
convocations, ecclesiastical courts, etc.; to all which must be added
the ever multiplying independent sects, each with its general and local
authorities. And at the same time there is developed a highly complex
aggregation of customs, manners, and temporary fashions, enforced by
society at large, and serving to control those minor transactions
between man and man which are not regulated by civil and religious law.
Moreover it is to be observed that this ever increasing heterogeneity in
the governmental appliances of each nation, has been accompanied by an
increasing heterogeneity in the governmental appliances of different
nations; all of which are more or less unlike in their political systems
and legislation, in their creeds and religious institutions, in their
customs and ceremonial usages.

Simultaneously there has been going on a second differentiation of a
more familiar kind; that, namely, by which the mass of the community has
been segregated into distinct classes and orders of workers. While the
governing part has undergone the complex development above detailed, the
governed part has undergone an equally complex development, which has
resulted in that minute division of labour characterising advanced
nations. It is needless to trace out this progress from its first
stages, up through the caste divisions of the East and the incorporated
guilds of Europe, to the elaborate producing and distributing
organisation existing among ourselves. Political economists have long
since described the evolution which, beginning with a tribe whose
members severally perform the same actions each for himself, ends with a
civilised community whose members severally perform different actions
for each other; and they have further pointed out the changes through
which the solitary producer of any one commodity is transformed into a
combination of producers who, united under a master, take separate parts
in the manufacture of such commodity. But there are yet other and higher
phases of this advance from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous in the
industrial organisation of society.

Long after considerable progress has been made in the division of labour
among different classes of workers, there is still little or no division
of labour among the widely separated parts of the community; the nation
continues comparatively homogeneous in the respect that in each district
the same occupations are pursued. But when roads and other means of
transit become numerous and good, the different districts begin to
assume different functions, and to become mutually dependent. The calico
manufacture locates itself in this county, the woollen-cloth manufacture
in that; silks are produced here, lace there; stockings in one place,
shoes in another; pottery, hardware, cutlery, come to have their special
towns; and ultimately every locality becomes more or less distinguished
from the rest by the leading occupation carried on in it. Nay, more,
this subdivision of functions shows itself not only among the different
parts of the same nation, but among different nations. That exchange of
commodities which free-trade promises so greatly to increase, will
ultimately have the effect of specialising, in a greater or less degree,
the industry of each people. So that beginning with a barbarous tribe,
almost if not quite homogeneous in the functions of its members, the
progress has been, and still is, towards an economic aggregation of the
whole human race; growing ever more heterogeneous in respect of the
separate functions assumed by separate nations, the separate functions
assumed by the local sections of each nation, the separate functions
assumed by the many kinds of makers and traders in each town, and the
separate functions assumed by the workers united in producing each

Not only is the law thus clearly exemplified in the evolution of the
social organism, but it is exemplified with equal clearness in the
evolution of all products of human thought and action, whether concrete
or abstract, real or ideal. Let us take Language as our first

The lowest form of language is the exclamation, by which an entire idea
is vaguely conveyed through a single sound; as among the lower animals.
That human language ever consisted solely of exclamations, and so was
strictly homogeneous in respect of its parts of speech, we have no
evidence. But that language can be traced down to a form in which nouns
and verbs are its only elements, is an established fact. In the gradual
multiplication of parts of speech out of these primary ones--in the
differentiation of verbs into active and passive, of nouns into abstract
and concrete--in the rise of distinctions of mood, tense, person, of
number and case--in the formation of auxiliary verbs, of adjectives,
adverbs, pronouns, prepositions, articles--in the divergence of those
orders, genera, species, and varieties of parts of speech by which
civilised races express minute modifications of meaning--we see a change
from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous. And it may be remarked, in
passing, that it is more especially in virtue of having carried this
subdivision of function to a greater extent and completeness, that the
English language is superior to all others.

Another aspect under which we may trace the development of language is
the differentiation of words of allied meanings. Philology early
disclosed the truth that in all languages words may be grouped into
families having a common ancestry. An aboriginal name applied
indiscriminately to each of an extensive and ill-defined class of things
or actions, presently undergoes modifications by which the chief
divisions of the class are expressed. These several names springing from
the primitive root, themselves become the parents of other names still
further modified. And by the aid of those systematic modes which
presently arise, of making derivations and forming compound terms
expressing still smaller distinctions, there is finally developed a
tribe of words so heterogeneous in sound and meaning, that to the
uninitiated it seems incredible that they should have had a common
origin. Meanwhile from other roots there are being evolved other such
tribes, until there results a language of some sixty thousand or more
unlike words, signifying as many unlike objects, qualities, acts.

Yet another way in which language in general advances from the
homogeneous to the heterogeneous, is in the multiplication of languages.
Whether as Max Müller and Bunsen think, all languages have grown from
one stock, or whether, as some philologists say, they have grown from
two or more stocks, it is clear that since large families of languages,
as the Indo-European, are of one parentage, they have become distinct
through a process of continuous divergence. The same diffusion over the
Earth's surface which has led to the differentiation of the race, has
simultaneously led to a differentiation of their speech: a truth which
we see further illustrated in each nation by the peculiarities of
dialect found in several districts. Thus the progress of Language
conforms to the general law, alike in the evolution of languages, in the
evolution of families of words, and in the evolution of parts of speech.

On passing from spoken to written language, we come upon several classes
of facts, all having similar implications. Written language is connate
with Painting and Sculpture; and at first all three are appendages of
Architecture, and have a direct connection with the primary form of all
Government--the theocratic. Merely noting by the way the fact that
sundry wild races, as for example the Australians and the tribes of
South Africa, are given to depicting personages and events upon the
walls of caves, which are probably regarded as sacred places, let us
pass to the case of the Egyptians. Among them, as also among the
Assyrians, we find mural paintings used to decorate the temple of the
god and the palace of the king (which were, indeed, originally
identical); and as such they were governmental appliances in the same
sense that state-pageants and religious feasts were. Further, they were
governmental appliances in virtue of representing the worship of the
god, the triumphs of the god-king, the submission of his subjects, and
the punishment of the rebellious. And yet again they were governmental,
as being the products of an art reverenced by the people as a sacred
mystery. From the habitual use of this pictorial representations there
naturally grew up the but slightly-modified practice of
picture-writing--a practice which was found still extant among the
Mexicans at the time they were discovered. By abbreviations analogous to
those still going on in our own written and spoken language, the most
familiar of these pictured figures were successively simplified; and
ultimately there grew up a system of symbols, most of which had but a
distant resemblance to the things for which they stood. The inference
that the hieroglyphics of the Egyptians were thus produced, is confirmed
by the fact that the picture-writing of the Mexicans was found to have
given birth to a like family of ideographic forms; and among them, as
among the Egyptians, these had been partially differentiated into the
_kuriological_ or imitative, and the _tropical_ or symbolic: which were,
however, used together in the same record. In Egypt, written language
underwent a further differentiation: whence resulted the _hieratic_ and
the _epistolographic_ or _enchorial_: both of which are derived from the
original hieroglyphic. At the same time we find that for the expression
of proper names which could not be otherwise conveyed, phonetic symbols
were employed; and though it is alleged that the Egyptians never
actually achieved complete alphabetic writing, yet it can scarcely be
doubted that these phonetic symbols occasionally used in aid of their
ideographic ones, were the germs out of which alphabetic writing grew.
Once having become separate from hieroglyphics, alphabetic writing
itself underwent numerous differentiations--multiplied alphabets were
produced; between most of which, however, more or less connection can
still be traced. And in each civilised nation there has now grown up,
for the representation of one set of sounds, several sets of written
signs used for distinct purposes. Finally, through a yet more important
differentiation came printing; which, uniform in kind as it was at
first, has since become multiform.

While written language was passing through its earlier stages of
development, the mural decoration which formed its root was being
differentiated into Painting and Sculpture. The gods, kings, men, and
animals represented, were originally marked by indented outlines and
coloured. In most cases these outlines were of such depth, and the
object they circumscribed so far rounded and marked out in its leading
parts, as to form a species of work intermediate between intaglio and
bas-relief. In other cases we see an advance upon this: the raised
spaces between the figures being chiselled off, and the figures
themselves appropriately tinted, a painted bas-relief was produced. The
restored Assyrian architecture at Sydenham exhibits this style of art
carried to greater perfection--the persons and things represented,
though still barbarously coloured, are carved out with more truth and in
greater detail: and in the winged lions and bulls used for the angles of
gateways, we may see a considerable advance towards a completely
sculptured figure; which, nevertheless, is still coloured, and still
forms part of the building. But while in Assyria the production of a
statue proper seems to have been little, if at all, attempted, we may
trace in Egyptian art the gradual separation of the sculptured figure
from the wall. A walk through the collection in the British Museum will
clearly show this; while it will at the same time afford an opportunity
of observing the evident traces which the independent statues bear of
their derivation from bas-relief: seeing that nearly all of them not
only display that union of the limbs with the body which is the
characteristic of bas-relief, but have the back of the statue united
from head to foot with a block which stands in place of the original
wall. Greece repeated the leading stages of this progress. As in Egypt
and Assyria, these twin arts were at first united with each other and
with their parent, Architecture, and were the aids of Religion and
Government. On the friezes of Greek temples, we see coloured bas-reliefs
representing sacrifices, battles, processions, games--all in some sort
religious. On the pediments we see painted sculptures more or less
united with the tympanum, and having for subjects the triumphs of gods
or heroes. Even when we come to statues that are definitely separated
from the buildings to which they pertain, we still find them coloured;
and only in the later periods of Greek civilisation does the
differentiation of sculpture from painting appear to have become

In Christian art we may clearly trace a parallel re-genesis. All early
paintings and sculptures throughout Europe were religious in
subject--represented Christs, crucifixions, virgins, holy families,
apostles, saints. They formed integral parts of church architecture, and
were among the means of exciting worship; as in Roman Catholic countries
they still are. Moreover, the early sculptures of Christ on the cross,
of virgins, of saints, were coloured: and it needs but to call to mind
the painted madonnas and crucifixes still abundant in continental
churches and highways, to perceive the significant fact that painting
and sculpture continue in closest connection with each other where they
continue in closest connection with their parent. Even when Christian
sculpture was pretty clearly differentiated from painting, it was still
religious and governmental in its subjects--was used for tombs in
churches and statues of kings: while, at the same time, painting, where
not purely ecclesiastical, was applied to the decoration of palaces, and
besides representing royal personages, was almost wholly devoted to
sacred legends. Only in quite recent times have painting and sculpture
become entirely secular arts. Only within these few centuries has
painting been divided into historical, landscape, marine, architectural,
genre, animal, still-life, etc., and sculpture grown heterogeneous in
respect of the variety of real and ideal subjects with which it occupies

Strange as it seems then, we find it no less true, that all forms of
written language, of painting, and of sculpture, have a common root in
the politico-religious decorations of ancient temples and palaces.
Little resemblance as they now have, the bust that stands on the
console, the landscape that hangs against the wall, and the copy of the
_Times_ lying upon the table, are remotely akin; not only in nature, but
by extraction. The brazen face of the knocker which the postman has just
lifted, is related not only to the woodcuts of the _Illustrated London
News_ which he is delivering, but to the characters of the _billet-doux_
which accompanies it. Between the painted window, the prayer-book on
which its light falls, and the adjacent monument, there is
consanguinity. The effigies on our coins, the signs over shops, the
figures that fill every ledger, the coats of arms outside the carriage
panel, and the placards inside the omnibus, are, in common with dolls,
blue-books, paper-hangings, lineally descended from the rude
sculpture-paintings in which the Egyptians represented the triumphs and
worship of their god-kings. Perhaps no example can be given which more
vividly illustrates the multiplicity and heterogeneity of the products
that in course of time may arise by successive differentiations from a
common stock.

Before passing to other classes of facts, it should be observed that the
evolution of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous is displayed not
only in the separation of Painting and Sculpture from Architecture and
from each other, and in the greater variety of subjects they embody, but
it is further shown in the structure of each work. A modern picture or
statue is of far more heterogeneous nature than an ancient one. An
Egyptian sculpture-fresco represents all its figures as on one
plane--that is, at the same distance from the eye; and so is less
heterogeneous than a painting that represents them as at various
distances from the eye. It exhibits all objects as exposed to the same
degree of light; and so is less heterogeneous than a painting which
exhibits different objects and different parts of each object as in
different degrees of light. It uses scarcely any but the primary
colours, and these in their full intensity; and so is less heterogeneous
than a painting which, introducing the primary colours but sparingly,
employs an endless variety of intermediate tints, each of heterogeneous
composition, and differing from the rest not only in quality but in
intensity. Moreover, we see in these earliest works a great uniformity
of conception. The same arrangement of figures is perpetually
reproduced--the same actions, attitudes, faces, dresses. In Egypt the
modes of representation were so fixed that it was sacrilege to introduce
a novelty; and indeed it could have been only in consequence of a fixed
mode of representation that a system of hieroglyphics became possible.
The Assyrian bas-reliefs display parallel characters. Deities, kings,
attendants, winged figures and animals, are severally depicted in like
positions, holding like implements, doing like things, and with like
expression or non-expression of face. If a palm-grove is introduced, all
the trees are of the same height, have the same number of leaves, and
are equidistant. When water is imitated, each wave is a counterpart of
the rest; and the fish, almost always of one kind, are evenly
distributed over the surface. The beards of the kings, the gods, and the
winged figures, are every where similar: as are the names of the lions,
and equally so those of the horses. Hair is represented throughout by
one form of curl. The king's beard is quite architecturally built up of
compound tiers of uniform curls, alternating with twisted tiers placed
in a transverse direction, and arranged with perfect regularity; and the
terminal tufts of the bulls' tails are represented in exactly the same
manner. Without tracing out analogous facts in early Christian art, in
which, though less striking, they are still visible, the advance in
heterogeneity will be sufficiently manifest on remembering that in the
pictures of our own day the composition is endlessly varied; the
attitudes, faces, expressions, unlike; the subordinate objects different
in size, form, position, texture; and more or less of contrast even in
the smallest details. Or, if we compare an Egyptian statue, seated bolt
upright on a block with hands on knees, fingers outspread and parallel,
eyes looking straight forward, and the two sides perfectly symmetrical
in every particular, with a statue of the advanced Greek or the modern
school, which is asymmetrical in respect of the position of the head,
the body, the limbs, the arrangement of the hair, dress, appendages, and
in its relations to neighbouring objects, we shall see the change from
the homogeneous to the heterogeneous clearly manifested.

In the co-ordinate origin and gradual differentiation of Poetry, Music
and Dancing, we have another series of illustrations. Rhythm in speech,
rhythm in sound, and rhythm in motion, were in the beginning parts of
the same thing, and have only in process of time become separate things.
Among various existing barbarous tribes we find them still united. The
dances of savages are accompanied by some kind of monotonous chant, the
clapping of hands, the striking of rude instruments: there are measured
movements, measured words, and measured tones; and the whole ceremony,
usually having reference to war or sacrifice, is of governmental
character. In the early records of the historic races we similarly find
these three forms of metrical action united in religious festivals. In
the Hebrew writings we read that the triumphal ode composed by Moses on
the defeat of the Egyptians, was sung to an accompaniment of dancing and
timbrels. The Israelites danced and sung "at the inauguration of the
golden calf. And as it is generally agreed that this representation of
the Deity was borrowed from the mysteries of Apis, it is probable that
the dancing was copied from that of the Egyptians on those occasions."
There was an annual dance in Shiloh on the sacred festival; and David
danced before the ark. Again, in Greece the like relation is everywhere
seen; the original type being there, as probably in other cases, a
simultaneous chanting and mimetic representation of the life and
adventures of the god. The Spartan dances were accompanied by hymns and
songs; and in general the Greeks had "no festivals or religious
assemblies but what were accompanied with songs and dances"--both of
them being forms of worship used before altars. Among the Romans, too,
there were sacred dances: the Salian and Lupercalian being named as of
that kind. And even in Christian countries, as at Limoges, in
comparatively recent times, the people have danced in the choir in
honour of a saint. The incipient separation of these once united arts
from each other and from religion, was early visible in Greece. Probably
diverging from dances partly religious, partly warlike, as the
Corybantian, came the war dances proper, of which there were various
kinds; and from these resulted secular dances. Meanwhile Music and
Poetry, though still united, came to have an existence separate from
dancing. The aboriginal Greek poems, religious in subject, were not
recited, but chanted; and though at first the chant of the poet was
accompanied by the dance of the chorus, it ultimately grew into
independence. Later still, when the poem had been differentiated into
epic and lyric--when it became the custom to sing the lyric and recite
the epic--poetry proper was born. As during the same period musical
instruments were being multiplied, we may presume that music came to
have an existence apart from words. And both of them were beginning to
assume other forms besides the religious. Facts having like implications
might be cited from the histories of later times and people: as the
practices of our own early minstrels, who sang to the harp heroic
narratives versified by themselves to music of their own composition:
thus uniting the now separate offices of poet, composer, vocalist, and
instrumentalist. But, without further illustration, the common origin
and gradual differentiation of Dancing, Poetry, and Music will be
sufficiently manifest.

The advance from the homogeneous to the heterogeneous is displayed not
only in the separation of these arts from each other and from religion,
but also in the multiplied differentiations which each of them
afterwards undergoes. Not to dwell upon the numberless kinds of dancing
that have, in course of time, come into use; and not to occupy space in
detaining the progress of poetry, as seen in the development of the
various forms of metre, of rhyme, and of general organisation; let us
confine our attention to music as a type of the group. As argued by Dr.
Burney, and as implied by the customs of still extant barbarous races,
the first musical instruments were, without doubt, percussive--sticks,
calabashes, tom-toms--and were used simply to mark the time of the
dance; and in this constant repetition of the same sound, we see music
in its most homogeneous form.

The Egyptians had a lyre with three strings. The early lyre of the
Greeks had four, constituting their tetrachord. In course of some
centuries lyres of seven and eight strings were employed. And, by the
expiration of a thousand years, they had advanced to their "great
system" of the double octave. Through all which changes there of course
arose a greater heterogeneity of melody. Simultaneously there came into
use the different modes--Dorian, Ionian, Phrygian, Æolian, and
Lydian--answering to our keys; and of these there were ultimately
fifteen. As yet, however, there was but little heterogeneity in the time
of their music.

Instrumental music during this period being merely the accompaniment of
vocal music, and vocal music being completely subordinated to words, the
singer being also the poet, chanting his own compositions and making the
lengths of his notes agree with the feet of his verses,--there
unavoidably arose a tiresome uniformity of measure, which, as Dr. Burney
says, "no resources of melody could disguise." Lacking the complex
rhythm obtained by our equal bars and unequal notes the only rhythm was
that produced by the quantity of the syllables and was of necessity
comparatively monotonous. And further, it may be observed that the chant
thus resulting, being like recitative, was much less clearly
differentiated from ordinary speech than is our modern song.

Nevertheless, in virtue of the extended range of notes in use, the
variety of modes, the occasional variations of time consequent on
changes of metre, and the multiplication of instruments, music had,
towards the close of Greek civilisation, attained to considerable
heterogeneity--not indeed as compared with our music, but as compared
with that which preceded it. As yet, however, there existed nothing but
melody: harmony was unknown. It was not until Christian church-music had
reached some development, that music in parts was evolved; and then it
came into existence through a very unobtrusive differentiation.
Difficult as it may be to conceive _à priori_ how the advance from
melody to harmony could take place without a sudden leap, it is none the
less true that it did so. The circumstance which prepared the way for it
was the employment of two choirs singing alternately the same air.
Afterwards it became the practice--very possibly first suggested by a
mistake--for the second choir to commence before the first had ceased;
thus producing a fugue.

With the simple airs then in use, a partially harmonious fugue might not
improbably thus result: and a very partially harmonious fugue satisfied
the ears of that age, as we know from still preserved examples. The idea
having once been given, the composing of airs productive of fugal
harmony would naturally grow up; as in some way it _did_ grow up out of
this alternate choir-singing. And from the fugue to concerted music of
two, three, four, and more parts, the transition was easy. Without
pointing out in detail the increasing complexity that resulted from
introducing notes of various lengths, from the multiplication of keys,
from the use of accidentals, from varieties of time, and so forth, it
needs but to contrast music as it is, with music as it was, to see how
immense is the increase of heterogeneity. We see this if, looking at
music in its _ensemble_, we enumerate its many different genera and
species--if we consider the divisions into vocal, instrumental, and
mixed; and their subdivisions into music for different voices and
different instruments--if we observe the many forms of sacred music,
from the simple hymn, the chant, the canon, motet, anthem, etc., up to
the oratorio; and the still more numerous forms of secular music, from
the ballad up to the serenata, from the instrumental solo up to the

Again, the same truth is seen on comparing any one sample of aboriginal
music with a sample of modern music--even an ordinary song for the
piano; which we find to be relatively highly heterogeneous, not only in
respect of the varieties in the pitch and in the length of the notes,
the number of different notes sounding at the same instant in company
with the voice, and the variations of strength with which they are
sounded and sung, but in respect of the changes of key, the changes of
time, the changes of _timbre_ of the voice, and the many other
modifications of expression. While between the old monotonous
dance-chant and a grand opera of our own day, with its endless
orchestral complexities and vocal combinations, the contrast in
heterogeneity is so extreme that it seems scarcely credible that the one
should have been the ancestor of the other.

Were they needed, many further illustrations might be cited. Going back
to the early time when the deeds of the god-king, chanted and
mimetically represented in dances round his altar, were further narrated
in picture-writings on the walls of temples and palaces, and so
constituted a rude literature, we might trace the development of
Literature through phases in which, as in the Hebrew Scriptures, it
presents in one work theology, cosmogony, history, biography, civil law,
ethics, poetry; through other phases in which, as in the Iliad, the
religious, martial, historical, the epic, dramatic, and lyric elements
are similarly commingled; down to its present heterogeneous development,
in which its divisions and subdivisions are so numerous and varied as to
defy complete classification. Or we might trace out the evolution of
Science; beginning with the era in which it was not yet differentiated
from Art, and was, in union with Art, the handmaid of Religion; passing
through the era in which the sciences were so few and rudimentary, as to
be simultaneously cultivated by the same philosophers; and ending with
the era in which the genera and species are so numerous that few can
enumerate them, and no one can adequately grasp even one genus. Or we
might do the like with Architecture, with the Drama, with Dress.

But doubtless the reader is already weary of illustrations; and our
promise has been amply fulfilled. We believe we have shown beyond
question, that that which the German physiologists have found to be the
law of organic development, is the law of all development. The advance
from the simple to the complex, through a process of successive
differentiations, is seen alike in the earliest changes of the Universe
to which we can reason our way back; and in the earliest changes which
we can inductively establish; it is seen in the geologic and climatic
evolution of the Earth, and of every single organism on its surface; it
is seen in the evolution of Humanity, whether contemplated in the
civilised individual, or in the aggregation of races; it is seen in the
evolution of Society in respect alike of its political, its religious,
and its economical organisation; and it is seen in the evolution of all
those endless concrete and abstract products of human activity which
constitute the environment of our daily life. From the remotest past
which Science can fathom, up to the novelties of yesterday, that in
which Progress essentially consists, is the transformation of the
homogeneous into the heterogeneous.

       *       *       *       *       *

And now, from this uniformity of procedure, may we not infer some
fundamental necessity whence it results? May we not rationally seek for
some all-pervading principle which determines this all-pervading process
of things? Does not the universality of the _law_ imply a universal

That we can fathom such cause, noumenally considered, is not to be
supposed. To do this would be to solve that ultimate mystery which must
ever transcend human intelligence. But it still may be possible for us
to reduce the law of all Progress, above established, from the condition
of an empirical generalisation, to the condition of a rational
generalisation. Just as it was possible to interpret Kepler's laws as
necessary consequences of the law of gravitation; so it may be possible
to interpret this law of Progress, in its multiform manifestations, as
the necessary consequence of some similarly universal principle. As
gravitation was assignable as the _cause_ of each of the groups of
phenomena which Kepler formulated; so may some equally simple attribute
of things be assignable as the cause of each of the groups of phenomena
formulated in the foregoing pages. We may be able to affiliate all these
varied and complex evolutions of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous,
upon certain simple facts of immediate experience, which, in virtue of
endless repetition, we regard as necessary.

The probability of a common cause, and the possibility of formulating
it, being granted, it will be well, before going further, to consider
what must be the general characteristics of such cause, and in what
direction we ought to look for it. We can with certainty predict that it
has a high degree of generality; seeing that it is common to such
infinitely varied phenomena: just in proportion to the universality of
its application must be the abstractness of its character. We need not
expect to see in it an obvious solution of this or that form of
Progress; because it equally refers to forms of Progress bearing little
apparent resemblance to them: its association with multiform orders of
facts, involves its dissociation from any particular order of facts.
Being that which determines Progress of every kind--astronomic,
geologic, organic, ethnologic, social, economic, artistic, etc.--it must
be concerned with some fundamental attribute possessed in common by
these; and must be expressible in terms of this fundamental attribute.
The only obvious respect in which all kinds of Progress are alike, is,
that they are modes of _change_; and hence, in some characteristic of
changes in general, the desired solution will probably be found. We may
suspect _à priori_ that in some law of change lies the explanation of
this universal transformation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous.

Thus much premised, we pass at once to the statement of the law, which
is this:--_Every active force produces more than one change_--_every
cause produces more than one effect_.

Before this law can be duly comprehended, a few examples must be looked
at. When one body is struck against another, that which we usually
regard as the effect, is a change of position or motion in one or both
bodies. But a moment's thought shows us that this is a careless and very
incomplete view of the matter. Besides the visible mechanical result,
sound is produced; or, to speak accurately, a vibration in one or both
bodies, and in the surrounding air: and under some circumstances we call
this the effect. Moreover, the air has not only been made to vibrate,
but has had sundry currents caused in it by the transit of the bodies.
Further, there is a disarrangement of the particles of the two bodies in
the neighbourhood of their point of collision; amounting in some cases
to a visible condensation. Yet more, this condensation is accompanied by
the disengagement of heat. In some cases a spark--that is,
light--results, from the incandescence of a portion struck off; and
sometimes this incandescence is associated with chemical combination.

Thus, by the original mechanical force expended in the collision, at
least five, and often more, different kinds of changes have been
produced. Take, again, the lighting of a candle. Primarily this is a
chemical change consequent on a rise of temperature. The process of
combination having once been set going by extraneous heat, there is a
continued formation of carbonic acid, water, etc.--in itself a result
more complex than the extraneous heat that first caused it. But
accompanying this process of combination there is a production of heat;
there is a production of light; there is an ascending column of hot
gases generated; there are currents established in the surrounding air.
Moreover the decomposition of one force into many forces does not end
here: each of the several changes produced becomes the parent of further
changes. The carbonic acid given off will by and by combine with some
base; or under the influence of sunshine give up its carbon to the leaf
of a plant. The water will modify the hygrometric state of the air
around; or, if the current of hot gases containing it come against a
cold body, will be condensed: altering the temperature, and perhaps the
chemical state, of the surface it covers. The heat given out melts the
subjacent tallow, and expands whatever it warms. The light, falling on
various substances, calls forth from them reactions by which it is
modified; and so divers colours are produced. Similarly even with these
secondary actions, which may be traced out into ever-multiplying
ramifications, until they become too minute to be appreciated. And thus
it is with all changes whatever. No case can be named in which an active
force does not evolve forces of several kinds, and each of these, other
groups of forces. Universally the effect is more complex than the cause.

Doubtless the reader already foresees the course of our argument. This
multiplication of results, which is displayed in every event of to-day,
has been going on from the beginning; and is true of the grandest
phenomena of the universe as of the most insignificant. From the law
that every active force produces more than one change, it is an
inevitable corollary that through all time there has been an
ever-growing complication of things. Starting with the ultimate fact
that every cause produces more than one effect, we may readily see that
throughout creation there must have gone on, and must still go on, a
never-ceasing transformation of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous.
But let us trace out this truth in detail.

Without committing ourselves to it as more than a speculation, though a
highly probable one, let us again commence with the evolution of the
solar system out of a nebulous medium.[3] From the mutual attraction of
the atoms of a diffused mass whose form is unsymmetrical, there results
not only condensation but rotation: gravitation simultaneously generates
both the centripetal and the centrifugal forces. While the condensation
and the rate of rotation are progressively increasing, the approach of
the atoms necessarily generates a progressively increasing temperature.
As this temperature rises, light begins to be evolved; and ultimately
there results a revolving sphere of fluid matter radiating intense heat
and light--a sun.

There are good reasons for believing that, in consequence of the high
tangential velocity, and consequent centrifugal force, acquired by the
outer parts of the condensing nebulous mass, there must be a periodical
detachment of rotating rings; and that, from the breaking up of these
nebulous rings, there must arise masses which in the course of their
condensation repeat the actions of the parent mass, and so produce
planets and their satellites--an inference strongly supported by the
still extant rings of Saturn.

Should it hereafter be satisfactorily shown that planets and satellites
were thus generated, a striking illustration will be afforded of the
highly heterogeneous effects produced by the primary homogeneous cause;
but it will serve our present purpose to point to the fact that from the
mutual attraction of the particles of an irregular nebulous mass there
result condensation, rotation, heat, and light.

It follows as a corollary from the Nebular Hypothesis, that the Earth
must at first have been incandescent; and whether the Nebular Hypothesis
be true or not, this original incandescence of the Earth is now
inductively established--or, if not established, at least rendered so
highly probable that it is a generally admitted geological doctrine. Let
us look first at the astronomical attributes of this once molten globe.
From its rotation there result the oblateness of its form, the
alternations of day and night, and (under the influence of the moon) the
tides, aqueous and atmospheric. From the inclination of its axis, there
result the precession of the equinoxes and the many differences of the
seasons, both simultaneous and successive, that pervade its surface.
Thus the multiplication of effects is obvious. Several of the
differentiations due to the gradual cooling of the Earth have been
already noticed--as the formation of a crust, the solidification of
sublimed elements, the precipitation of water, etc.,--and we here again
refer to them merely to point out that they are simultaneous effects of
the one cause, diminishing heat.

Let us now, however, observe the multiplied changes afterwards arising
from the continuance of this one cause. The cooling of the Earth
involves its contraction. Hence the solid crust first formed is
presently too large for the shrinking nucleus; and as it cannot support
itself, inevitably follows the nucleus. But a spheroidal envelope cannot
sink down into contact with a smaller internal spheroid, without
disruption; it must run into wrinkles as the rind of an apple does when
the bulk of its interior decreases from evaporation. As the cooling
progresses and the envelope thickens, the ridges consequent on these
contractions must become greater, rising ultimately into hills and
mountains; and the later systems of mountains thus produced must not
only be higher, as we find them to be, but they must be longer, as we
also find them to be. Thus, leaving out of view other modifying forces,
we see what immense heterogeneity of surface has arisen from the one
cause, loss of heat--a heterogeneity which the telescope shows us to be
paralleled on the face of the moon, where aqueous and atmospheric
agencies have been absent.

But we have yet to notice another kind of heterogeneity of surface
similarly and simultaneously caused. While the Earth's crust was still
thin, the ridges produced by its contraction must not only have been
small, but the spaces between these ridges must have rested with great
evenness upon the subjacent liquid spheroid; and the water in those
arctic and antarctic regions in which it first condensed, must have been
evenly distributed. But as fast as the crust grew thicker and gained
corresponding strength, the lines of fracture from time to time caused
in it, must have occurred at greater distances apart; the intermediate
surfaces must have followed the contracting nucleus with less
uniformity; and there must have resulted larger areas of land and water.
If any one, after wrapping up an orange in wet tissue paper, and
observing not only how small are the wrinkles, but how evenly the
intervening spaces lie upon the surface of the orange, will then wrap it
up in thick cartridge-paper, and note both the greater height of the
ridges and the much larger spaces throughout which the paper does not
touch the orange, he will realise the fact, that as the Earth's solid
envelope grew thicker, the areas of elevation and depression must have
become greater. In place of islands more or less homogeneously scattered
over an all-embracing sea, there must have gradually arisen
heterogeneous arrangements of continent and ocean, such as we now know.

Once more, this double change in the extent and in the elevation of the
lands, involved yet another species of heterogeneity, that of
coast-line. A tolerably even surface raised out of the ocean, must have
a simple, regular sea-margin; but a surface varied by table-lands and
intersected by mountain-chains must, when raised out of the ocean, have
an outline extremely irregular both in its leading features and in its
details. Thus endless is the accumulation of geological and geographical
results slowly brought about by this one cause--the contraction of the

When we pass from the agency which geologists term igneous, to aqueous
and atmospheric agencies, we see the like ever growing complications of
effects. The denuding actions of air and water have, from the beginning,
been modifying every exposed surface; everywhere causing many different
changes. Oxidation, heat, wind, frost, rain, glaciers, rivers, tides,
waves, have been unceasingly producing disintegration; varying in kind
and amount according to local circumstances. Acting upon a tract of
granite, they here work scarcely an appreciable effect; there cause
exfoliations of the surface, and a resulting heap of _débris_ and
boulders; and elsewhere, after decomposing the feldspar into a white
clay, carry away this and the accompanying quartz and mica, and deposit
them in separate beds, fluviatile and marine. When the exposed land
consists of several unlike formations, sedimentary and igneous, the
denudation produces changes proportionably more heterogeneous. The
formations being disintegrable in different degrees, there follows an
increased irregularity of surface. The areas drained by different rivers
being differently constituted, these rivers carry down to the sea
different combinations of ingredients; and so sundry new strata of
distinct composition are formed.

And here indeed we may see very simply illustrated, the truth, which we
shall presently have to trace out in more involved cases, that in
proportion to the heterogeneity of the object or objects on which any
force expends itself, is the heterogeneity of the results. A continent
of complex structure, exposing many strata irregularly distributed,
raised to various levels, tilted up at all angles, must, under the same
denuding agencies, give origin to immensely multiplied results; each
district must be differently modified; each river must carry down a
different kind of detritus; each deposit must be differently distributed
by the entangled currents, tidal and other, which wash the contorted
shores; and this multiplication of results must manifestly be greatest
where the complexity of the surface is greatest.

It is out of the question here to trace in detail the genesis of those
endless complications described by Geology and Physical Geography: else
we might show how the general truth, that every active force produces
more than one change, is exemplified in the highly involved flow of the
tides, in the ocean currents, in the winds, in the distribution of rain,
in the distribution of heat, and so forth. But not to dwell upon these,
let us, for the fuller elucidation of this truth in relation to the
inorganic world, consider what would be the consequences of some
extensive cosmical revolution--say the subsidence of Central America.

The immediate results of the disturbance would themselves be
sufficiently complex. Besides the numberless dislocations of strata, the
ejections of igneous matter, the propagation of earthquake vibrations
thousands of miles around, the loud explosions, and the escape of gases;
there would be the rush of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans to supply the
vacant space, the subsequent recoil of enormous waves, which would
traverse both these oceans and produce myriads of changes along their
shores, the corresponding atmospheric waves complicated by the currents
surrounding each volcanic vent, and the electrical discharges with which
such disturbances are accompanied. But these temporary effects would be
insignificant compared with the permanent ones. The complex currents of
the Atlantic and Pacific would be altered in direction and amount. The
distribution of heat achieved by these ocean currents would be different
from what it is. The arrangement of the isothermal lines, not even on
the neighbouring continents, but even throughout Europe, would be
changed. The tides would flow differently from what they do now. There
would be more or less modification of the winds in their periods,
strengths, directions, qualities. Rain would fall scarcely anywhere at
the same times and in the same quantities as at present. In short, the
meteorological conditions thousands of miles off, on all sides, would be
more or less revolutionised.

Thus, without taking into account the infinitude of modifications which
these changes of climate would produce upon the flora and fauna, both of
land and sea, the reader will see the immense heterogeneity of the
results wrought out by one force, when that force expends itself upon a
previously complicated area; and he will readily draw the corollary that
from the beginning the complication has advanced at an increasing rate.

Before going on to show how organic progress also depends upon the
universal law that every force produces more than one change, we have
to notice the manifestation of this law in yet another species of
inorganic progress--namely, chemical. The same general causes that have
wrought out the heterogeneity of the Earth, physically considered, have
simultaneously wrought out its chemical heterogeneity. Without dwelling
upon the general fact that the forces which have been increasing the
variety and complexity of geological formations, have, at the same time,
been bringing into contact elements not previously exposed to each other
under conditions favourable to union, and so have been adding to the
number of chemical compounds, let us pass to the more important
complications that have resulted from the cooling of the Earth.

There is every reason to believe that at an extreme heat the elements
cannot combine. Even under such heat as can be artificially produced,
some very strong affinities yield, as for instance, that of oxygen for
hydrogen; and the great majority of chemical compounds are decomposed at
much lower temperatures. But without insisting upon the highly probable
inference, that when the Earth was in its first state of incandescence
there were no chemical combinations at all, it will suffice our purpose
to point to the unquestionable fact that the compounds that can exist at
the highest temperatures, and which must, therefore, have been the first
that were formed as the Earth cooled, are those of the simplest
constitutions. The protoxides--including under that head the alkalies,
earths, etc.--are, as a class, the most stable compounds we know: most
of them resisting decomposition by any heat we can generate. These,
consisting severally of one atom of each component element, are
combinations of the simplest order--are but one degree less homogeneous
than the elements themselves. More heterogeneous than these, less
stable, and therefore later in the Earth's history, are the deutoxides,
tritoxides, peroxides, etc.; in which two, three, four, or more atoms of
oxygen are united with one atom of metal or other element. Higher than
these in heterogeneity are the hydrates; in which an oxide of hydrogen,
united with an oxide of some other element, forms a substance whose
atoms severally contain at least four ultimate atoms of three different
kinds. Yet more heterogeneous and less stable still are the salts; which
present us with compound atoms each made up of five, six, seven, eight,
ten, twelve, or more atoms, of three, if not more, kinds. Then there are
the hydrated salts, of a yet greater heterogeneity, which undergo
partial decomposition at much lower temperatures. After them come the
further-complicated supersalts and double salts, having a stability
again decreased; and so throughout. Without entering into qualifications
for which we lack space, we believe no chemist will deny it to be a
general law of these inorganic combinations that, _other things equal_,
the stability decreases as the complexity increases.

And then when we pass to the compounds of organic chemistry, we find
this general law still further exemplified: we find much greater
complexity and much less stability. An atom of albumen, for instance,
consists of 482 ultimate atoms of five different kinds. Fibrine, still
more intricate in constitution, contains in each atom, 298 atoms of
carbon, 40 of nitrogen, 2 of sulphur, 228 of hydrogen, and 92 of
oxygen--in all, 660 atoms; or, more strictly speaking--equivalents. And
these two substances are so unstable as to decompose at quite ordinary
temperatures; as that to which the outside of a joint of roast meat is
exposed. Thus it is manifest that the present chemical heterogeneity of
the Earth's surface has arisen by degrees, as the decrease of heat has
permitted; and that it has shown itself in three forms--first, in the
multiplication of chemical compounds; second, in the greater number of
different elements contained in the more modern of these compounds: and
third, in the higher and more varied multiples in which these more
numerous elements combine.

To say that this advance in chemical heterogeneity is due to the one
cause, diminution of the Earth's temperature, would be to say too much;
for it is clear that aqueous and atmospheric agencies have been
concerned; and, further, that the affinities of the elements themselves
are implied. The cause has all along been a composite one: the cooling
of the Earth having been simply the most general of the concurrent
causes, or assemblage of conditions. And here, indeed, it may be
remarked that in the several classes of facts already dealt with
(excepting, perhaps, the first), and still more in those with which we
shall presently deal, the causes are more or less compound; as indeed
are nearly all causes with which we are acquainted. Scarcely any change
can with logical accuracy be wholly ascribed to one agency, to the
neglect of the permanent or temporary conditions under which only this
agency produces the change. But as it does not materially affect our
argument, we prefer, for simplicity's sake, to use throughout the
popular mode of expression.

Perhaps it will be further objected, that to assign loss of heat as the
cause of any changes, is to attribute these changes not to a force, but
to the absence of a force. And this is true. Strictly speaking, the
changes should be attributed to those forces which come into action when
the antagonist force is withdrawn. But though there is an inaccuracy in
saying that the freezing of water is due to the loss of its heat, no
practical error arises from it; nor will a parallel laxity of expression
vitiate our statements respecting the multiplication of effects. Indeed,
the objection serves but to draw attention to the fact, that not only
does the exertion of a force produce more than one change, but the
withdrawal of a force produces more than one change. And this suggests
that perhaps the most correct statement of our general principle would
be its most abstract statement--every change is followed by more than
one other change.

Returning to the thread of our exposition, we have next to trace out, in
organic progress, this same all-pervading principle. And here, where the
evolution of the homogeneous into the heterogeneous was first observed,
the production of many changes by one cause is least easy to
demonstrate. The development of a seed into a plant, or an ovum into an
animal, is so gradual, while the forces which determine it are so
involved, and at the same time so unobtrusive, that it is difficult to
detect the multiplication of effects which is elsewhere so obvious.
Nevertheless, guided by indirect evidence, we may pretty safely reach
the conclusion that here too the law holds.

Observe, first, how numerous are the effects which any marked change
works upon an adult organism--a human being, for instance. An alarming
sound or sigh, besides the impressions on the organs of sense and the
nerves, may produce a start, a scream, a distortion of the face, a
trembling consequent upon a general muscular relaxation, a burst of
perspiration, an excited action of the heart, a rush of blood to the
brain, followed possibly by arrest of the heart's action and by syncope:
and if the system be feeble, an indisposition with its long train of
complicated symptoms may set in. Similarly in cases of disease. A minute
portion of the small-pox virus introduced into the system, will, in a
severe case, cause, during the first stage, rigors, heat of skin,
accelerated pulse, furred tongue, loss of appetite, thirst, epigastric
uneasiness, vomiting, headache, pains in the back and limbs, muscular
weakness, convulsions, delirium, etc.; in the second stage, cutaneous
eruption, itching, tingling, sore throat, swelled fauces, salivation,
cough, hoarseness, dyspnoea, etc.; and in the third stage,
oedematous inflammations, pneumonia, pleurisy, diarrhoea,
inflammation of the brain, ophthalmia, erysipelas, etc.; each of which
enumerated symptoms is itself more or less complex. Medicines, special
foods, better air, might in like manner be instanced as producing
multiplied results.

Now it needs only to consider that the many changes thus wrought by one
force upon an adult organism, will be in part paralleled in an embryo
organism, to understand how here also, the evolution of the homogeneous
into the heterogeneous may be due to the production of many effects by
one cause. The external heat and other agencies which determine the
first complications of the germ, may, by acting upon these, superinduce
further complications; upon these still higher and more numerous ones;
and so on continually: each organ as it is developed serving, by its
actions and reactions upon the rest, to initiate new complexities. The
first pulsations of the foetal heart must simultaneously aid the
unfolding of every part. The growth of each tissue, by taking from the
blood special proportions of elements, must modify the constitution of
the blood; and so must modify the nutrition of all the other tissues.
The heart's action, implying as it does a certain waste, necessitates an
addition to the blood of effete matters, which must influence the rest
of the system, and perhaps, as some think, cause the formation of
excretory organs. The nervous connections established among the viscera
must further multiply their mutual influences: and so continually.

Still stronger becomes the probability of this view when we call to mind
the fact, that the same germ may be evolved into different forms
according to circumstances. Thus, during its earlier stages, every
embryo is sexless--becomes either male or female as the balance of
forces acting upon it determines. Again, it is a well-established fact
that the larva of a working-bee will develop into a queen-bee, if,
before it is too late, its food be changed to that on which the larvæ of
queen-bees are fed. Even more remarkable is the case of certain entozoa.
The ovum of a tape-worm, getting into its natural habitat, the
intestine, unfolds into the well-known form of its parent; but if
carried, as it frequently is, into other parts of the system, it becomes
a sac-like creature, called by naturalists the _Echinococcus_--a
creature so extremely different from the tape-worm in aspect and
structure, that only after careful investigations has it been proved to
have the same origin. All which instances imply that each advance in
embryonic complication results from the action of incident forces upon
the complication previously existing.

Indeed, we may find _à priori_ reason to think that the evolution
proceeds after this manner. For since it is now known that no germ,
animal or vegetable, contains the slightest rudiment, trace, or
indication of the future organism--now that the microscope has shown us
that the first process set up in every fertilised germ, is a process of
repeated spontaneous fissions ending in the production of a mass of
cells, not one of which exhibits any special character: there seems no
alternative but to suppose that the partial organisation at any moment
subsisting in a growing embryo, is transformed by the agencies acting
upon it into the succeeding phase of organisation, and this into the
next, until, through ever-increasing complexities, the ultimate form is
reached. Thus, though the subtilty of the forces and the slowness of the
results, prevent us from _directly_ showing that the stages of
increasing heterogeneity through which every embryo passes, severally
arise from the production of many changes by one force, yet,
_indirectly_, we have strong evidence that they do so.

We have marked how multitudinous are the effects which one cause may
generate in an adult organism; that a like multiplication of effects
must happen in the unfolding organism, we have observed in sundry
illustrative cases; further, it has been pointed out that the ability
which like germs have to originate unlike forms, implies that the
successive transformations result from the new changes superinduced on
previous changes; and we have seen that structureless as every germ
originally is, the development of an organism out of it is otherwise
incomprehensible. Not indeed that we can thus really explain the
production of any plant or animal. We are still in the dark respecting
those mysterious properties in virtue of which the germ, when subject to
fit influences, undergoes the special changes that begin the series of
transformations. All we aim to show, is, that given a germ possessing
these mysterious properties, the evolution of an organism from it,
probably depends upon that multiplication of effects which we have seen
to be the cause of progress in general, so far as we have yet traced it.

When, leaving the development of single plants and animals, we pass to
that of the Earth's flora and fauna, the course of our argument again
becomes clear and simple. Though, as was admitted in the first part of
this article, the fragmentary facts Palæontology has accumulated, do not
clearly warrant us in saying that, in the lapse of geologic time, there
have been evolved more heterogeneous organisms, and more heterogeneous
assemblages of organisms, yet we shall now see that there _must_ ever
have been a tendency towards these results. We shall find that the
production of many effects by one cause, which, as already shown, has
been all along increasing the physical heterogeneity of the Earth, has
further involved an increasing heterogeneity in its flora and fauna,
individually and collectively. An illustration will make this clear.

Suppose that by a series of upheavals, occurring, as they are now known
to do, at long intervals, the East Indian Archipelago were to be, step
by step, raised into a continent, and a chain of mountains formed along
the axis of elevation. By the first of these upheavals, the plants and
animals inhabiting Borneo, Sumatra, New Guinea, and the rest, would be
subjected to slightly modified sets of conditions. The climate in
general would be altered in temperature, in humidity, and in its
periodical variations; while the local differences would be multiplied.
These modifications would affect, perhaps inappreciably, the entire
flora and fauna of the region. The change of level would produce
additional modifications: varying in different species, and also in
different members of the same species, according to their distance from
the axis of elevation. Plants, growing only on the sea-shore in special
localities, might become extinct. Others, living only in swamps of a
certain humidity, would, if they survived at all, probably undergo
visible changes of appearance. While still greater alterations would
occur in the plants gradually spreading over the lands newly raised
above the sea. The animals and insects living on these modified plants,
would themselves be in some degree modified by change of food, as well
as by change of climate; and the modification would be more marked
where, from the dwindling or disappearance of one kind of plant, an
allied kind was eaten. In the lapse of the many generations arising
before the next upheaval, the sensible or insensible alterations thus
produced in each species would become organised--there would be a more
or less complete adaptation to the new conditions. The next upheaval
would superinduce further organic changes, implying wider divergences
from the primary forms; and so repeatedly.

But now let it be observed that the revolution thus resulting would not
be a substitution of a thousand more or less modified species for the
thousand original species; but in place of the thousand original species
there would arise several thousand species, or varieties, or changed
forms. Each species being distributed over an area of some extent, and
tending continually to colonise the new area exposed, its different
members would be subject to different sets of changes. Plants and
animals spreading towards the equator would not be affected in the same
way with others spreading from it. Those spreading towards the new
shores would undergo changes unlike the changes undergone by those
spreading into the mountains. Thus, each original race of organisms,
would become the root from which diverged several races differing more
or less from it and from each other; and while some of these might
subsequently disappear, probably more than one would survive in the next
geologic period: the very dispersion itself increasing the chances of
survival. Not only would there be certain modifications thus caused by
change of physical conditions and food, but also in some cases other
modifications caused by change of habit. The fauna of each island,
peopling, step by step, the newly-raised tracts, would eventually come
in contact with the faunas of other islands; and some members of these
other faunas would be unlike any creatures before seen. Herbivores
meeting with new beasts of prey, would, in some cases, be led into modes
of defence or escape differing from those previously used; and
simultaneously the beasts of prey would modify their modes of pursuit
and attack. We know that when circumstances demand it, such changes of
habit _do_ take place in animals; and we know that if the new habits
become the dominant ones, they must eventually in some degree alter the

Observe, now, however, a further consequence. There must arise not
simply a tendency towards the differentiation of each race of organisms
into several races; but also a tendency to the occasional production of
a somewhat higher organism. Taken in the mass, these divergent varieties
which have been caused by fresh physical conditions and habits of life,
will exhibit changes quite indefinite in kind and degree; and changes
that do not necessarily constitute an advance. Probably in most cases
the modified type will be neither more nor less heterogeneous than the
original one. In some cases the habits of life adopted being simpler
than before, a less heterogeneous structure will result: there will be a
retrogradation. But it _must_ now and then occur, that some division of
a species, falling into circumstances which give it rather more complex
experiences, and demand actions somewhat more involved, will have
certain of its organs further differentiated in proportionately small
degrees,--will become slightly more heterogeneous.

Thus, in the natural course of things, there will from time to time
arise an increased heterogeneity both of the Earth's flora and fauna,
and of individual races included in them. Omitting detailed
explanations, and allowing for the qualifications which cannot here be
specified, we think it is clear that geological mutations have all along
tended to complicate the forms of life, whether regarded separately or
collectively. The same causes which have led to the evolution of the
Earth's crust from the simple into the complex, have simultaneously led
to a parallel evolution of the Life upon its surface. In this case, as
in previous ones, we see that the transformation of the homogeneous into
the heterogeneous is consequent upon the universal principle, that every
active force produces more than one change.

The deduction here drawn from the established truths of geology and the
general laws of life, gains immensely in weight on finding it to be in
harmony with an induction drawn from direct experience. Just that
divergence of many races from one race, which we inferred must have been
continually occurring during geologic time, we know to have occurred
during the pre-historic and historic periods, in man and domestic
animals. And just that multiplication of effects which we concluded must
have produced the first, we see has produced the last. Single causes, as
famine, pressure of population, war, have periodically led to further
dispersions of mankind and of dependent creatures: each such dispersion
initiating new modifications, new varieties of type. Whether all the
human races be or be not derived from one stock, philology makes it
clear that whole groups of races now easily distinguishable from each
other, were originally one race,--that the diffusion of one race into
different climates and conditions of existence, has produced many
modified forms of it.

Similarly with domestic animals. Though in some cases--as that of
dogs--community of origin will perhaps be disputed, yet in other
cases--as that of the sheep or the cattle of our own country--it will
not be questioned that local differences of climate, food, and
treatment, have transformed one original breed into numerous breeds now
become so far distinct as to produce unstable hybrids. Moreover, through
the complications of effects flowing from single causes, we here find,
what we before inferred, not only an increase of general heterogeneity,
but also of special heterogeneity. While of the divergent divisions and
subdivisions of the human race, many have undergone changes not
constituting an advance; while in some the type may have degraded; in
others it has become decidedly more heterogeneous. The civilised
European departs more widely from the vertebrate archetype than does the
savage. Thus, both the law and the cause of progress, which, from lack
of evidence, can be but hypothetically substantiated in respect of the
earlier forms of life on our globe, can be actually substantiated in
respect of the latest forms.

If the advance of Man towards greater heterogeneity is traceable to the
production of many effects by one cause, still more clearly may the
advance of Society towards greater heterogeneity be so explained.
Consider the growth of an industrial organisation. When, as must
occasionally happen, some individual of a tribe displays unusual
aptitude for making an article of general use--a weapon, for
instance--which was before made by each man for himself, there arises a
tendency towards the differentiation of that individual into a maker of
such weapon. His companions--warriors and hunters all of
them,--severally feel the importance of having the best weapons that can
be made; and are therefore certain to offer strong inducements to this
skilled individual to make weapons for them. He, on the other hand,
having not only an unusual faculty, but an unusual liking, for making
such weapons (the talent and the desire for any occupation being
commonly associated), is predisposed to fulfil these commissions on the
offer of an adequate reward: especially as his love of distinction is
also gratified. This first specialisation of function, once commenced,
tends ever to become more decided. On the side of the weapon-maker
continued practice gives increased skill--increased superiority to his
products: on the side of his clients, cessation of practice entails
decreased skill. Thus the influences that determine this division of
labour grow stronger in both ways; and the incipient heterogeneity is,
on the average of cases, likely to become permanent for that generation,
if no longer.

Observe now, however, that this process not only differentiates the
social mass into two parts, the one monopolising, or almost
monopolising, the performance of a certain function, and the other
having lost the habit, and in some measure the power, of performing that
function; but it tends to imitate other differentiations. The advance we
have described implies the introduction of barter,--the maker of weapons
has, on each occasion, to be paid in such other articles as he agrees to
take in exchange. But he will not habitually take in exchange one kind
of article, but many kinds. He does not want mats only, or skins, or
fishing gear, but he wants all these; and on each occasion will bargain
for the particular things he most needs. What follows? If among the
members of the tribe there exist any slight differences of skill in the
manufacture of these various things, as there are almost sure to do, the
weapon-maker will take from each one the thing which that one excels in
making: he will exchange for mats with him whose mats are superior, and
will bargain for the fishing gear of whoever has the best. But he who
has bartered away his mats or his fishing gear, must make other mats or
fishing gear for himself; and in so doing must, in some degree, further
develop his aptitude. Thus it results that the small specialities of
faculty possessed by various members of the tribe, will tend to grow
more decided. If such transactions are from time to time repeated, these
specialisations may become appreciable. And whether or not there ensue
distinct differentiations of other individuals into makers of particular
articles, it is clear that incipient differentiations take place
throughout the tribe: the one original cause produces not only the first
dual effect, but a number of secondary dual effects, like in kind, but
minor in degree. This process, of which traces may be seen among groups
of schoolboys, cannot well produce any lasting effects in an unsettled
tribe; but where there grows up a fixed and multiplying community, these
differentiations become permanent, and increase with each generation. A
larger population, involving a greater demand for every commodity,
intensifies the functional activity of each specialised person or class;
and this renders the specialisation more definite where it already
exists, and establishes it where it is nascent. By increasing the
pressure on the means of subsistence, a larger population again augments
these results; seeing that each person is forced more and more to
confine himself to that which he can do best, and by which he can gain
most. This industrial progress, by aiding future production, opens the
way for a further growth of population, which reacts as before: in all
which the multiplication of effects is manifest. Presently, under these
same stimuli, new occupations arise. Competing workers, ever aiming to
produce improved articles, occasionally discover better processes or raw
materials. In weapons and cutting tools, the substitution of bronze for
stone entails upon him who first makes it a great increase of demand--so
great an increase that he presently finds all his time occupied in
making the bronze for the articles he sells, and is obliged to depute
the fashioning of these to others: and, eventually, the making of
bronze, thus gradually differentiated from a pre-existing occupation,
becomes an occupation by itself.

But now mark the ramified changes which follow this change. Bronze soon
replaces stone, not only in the articles it was first used for, but in
many others--in arms, tools, and utensils of various kinds; and so
affects the manufacture of these things. Further, it affects the
processes which these utensils subserve, and the resulting
products--modifies buildings, carvings, dress, personal decorations. Yet
again, it sets going sundry manufactures which were before impossible,
from lack of a material fit for the requisite tools. And all these
changes react on the people--increase their manipulative skill, their
intelligence, their comfort,--refine their habits and tastes. Thus the
evolution of a homogeneous society into a heterogeneous one, is clearly
consequent on the general principle, that many effects are produced by
one cause.

Our limits will not allow us to follow out this process in its higher
complications: else might we show how the localisation of special
industries in special parts of a kingdom, as well as the minute
subdivision of labour in the making of each commodity, are similarly
determined. Or, turning to a somewhat different order of illustrations,
we might dwell on the multitudinous changes--material, intellectual,
moral--caused by printing; or the further extensive series of changes
wrought by gunpowder. But leaving the intermediate phases of social
development, let us take a few illustrations from its most recent and
its passing phases. To trace the effects of steam-power, in its manifold
applications to mining, navigation, and manufactures of all kinds, would
carry us into unmanageable detail. Let us confine ourselves to the
latest embodiment of steam-power--the locomotive engine.

This, as the proximate cause of our railway system, has changed the face
of the country, the course of trade, and the habits of the people.
Consider, first, the complicated sets of changes that precede the making
of every railway--the provisional arrangements, the meetings, the
registration, the trial section, the parliamentary survey, the
lithographed plans, the books of reference, the local deposits and
notices, the application to Parliament, the passing Standing-Orders
Committee, the first, second, and third readings: each of which brief
heads indicates a multiplicity of transactions, and the development of
sundry occupations--as those of engineers, surveyors, lithographers,
parliamentary agents, share-brokers; and the creation of sundry
others--as those of traffic-takers, reference-takers. Consider, next,
the yet more marked changes implied in railway construction--the
cuttings, embankings, tunnellings, diversions of roads; the building of
bridges, and stations; the laying down of ballast, sleepers, and rails;
the making of engines, tenders, carriages, and waggons: which processes,
acting upon numerous trades, increase the importation of timber, the
quarrying of stone, the manufacture of iron, the mining of coal, the
burning of bricks: institute a variety of special manufactures weekly
advertised in the _Railway Times_; and, finally, open the way to sundry
new occupations, as those of drivers, stokers, cleaners, plate-layers,
etc., etc. And then consider the changes, more numerous and involved
still, which railways in action produce on the community at large. The
organisation of every business is more or less modified: ease of
communication makes it better to do directly what was before done by
proxy; agencies are established where previously they would not have
paid; goods are obtained from remote wholesale houses instead of near
retail ones; and commodities are used which distance once rendered
inaccessible. Again, the rapidity and small cost of carriage tend to
specialise more than ever the industries of different districts--to
confine each manufacture to the parts in which, from local advantages,
it can be best carried on. Further, the diminished cost of carriage,
facilitating distribution, equalises prices, and also, on the average,
lowers prices: thus bringing divers articles within the means of those
before unable to buy them, and so increasing their comforts and
improving their habits. At the same time the practice of travelling is
immensely extended. Classes who never before thought of it, take annual
trips to the sea; visit their distant relations; make tours; and so we
are benefited in body, feelings, and intellect. Moreover, the more
prompt transmission of letters and of news produces further
changes--makes the pulse of the nation faster. Yet more, there arises a
wide dissemination of cheap literature through railway book-stalls, and
of advertisements in railway carriages: both of them aiding ulterior

And all the innumerable changes here briefly indicated are consequent on
the invention of the locomotive engine. The social organism has been
rendered more heterogeneous in virtue of the many new occupations
introduced, and the many old ones further specialised; prices in every
place have been altered; each trader has, more or less, modified his way
of doing business; and almost every person has been affected in his
actions, thoughts, emotions.

Illustrations to the same effect might be indefinitely accumulated. That
every influence brought to bear upon society works multiplied effects;
and that increase of heterogeneity is due to this multiplication of
effects; may be seen in the history of every trade, every custom, every
belief. But it is needless to give additional evidence of this. The only
further fact demanding notice, is, that we here see still more clearly
than ever, the truth before pointed out, that in proportion as the area
on which any force expends itself becomes heterogeneous, the results are
in a yet higher degree multiplied in number and kind. While among the
primitive tribes to whom it was first known, caoutchouc caused but a few
changes, among ourselves the changes have been so many and varied that
the history of them occupies a volume.[4] Upon the small, homogeneous
community inhabiting one of the Hebrides, the electric telegraph would
produce, were it used, scarcely any results; but in England the results
it produces are multitudinous. The comparatively simple organisation
under which our ancestors lived five centuries ago, could have undergone
but few modifications from an event like the recent one at Canton; but
now the legislative decision respecting it sets up many hundreds of
complex modifications, each of which will be the parent of numerous
future ones.

Space permitting, we could willingly have pursued the argument in
relation to all the subtler results of civilisation. As before, we
showed that the law of Progress to which the organic and inorganic
worlds conform, is also conformed to by Language, Sculpture, Music,
etc.; so might we here show that the cause which we have hitherto found
to determine Progress holds in these cases also. We might demonstrate in
detail how, in Science, an advance of one division presently advances
other divisions--how Astronomy has been immensely forwarded by
discoveries in Optics, while other optical discoveries have initiated
Microscopic Anatomy, and greatly aided the growth of Physiology--how
Chemistry has indirectly increased our knowledge of Electricity,
Magnetism, Biology, Geology--how Electricity has reacted on Chemistry
and Magnetism, developed our views of Light and Heat, and disclosed
sundry laws of nervous action.

In Literature the same truth might be exhibited in the manifold effects
of the primitive mystery-play, not only as originating the modern drama,
but as affecting through it other kinds of poetry and fiction; or in the
still multiplying forms of periodical literature that have descended
from the first newspaper, and which have severally acted and reacted on
other forms of literature and on each other. The influence which a new
school of Painting--as that of the pre-Raffaelites--exercises upon other
schools; the hints which all kinds of pictorial art are deriving from
Photography; the complex results of new critical doctrines, as those of
Mr. Ruskin, might severally be dwelt upon as displaying the like
multiplication of effects. But it would needlessly tax the reader's
patience to pursue, in their many ramifications, these various changes:
here become so involved and subtle as to be followed with some

Without further evidence, we venture to think our case is made out. The
imperfections of statement which brevity has necessitated, do not, we
believe, militate against the propositions laid down. The qualifications
here and there demanded would not, if made, affect the inferences.
Though in one instance, where sufficient evidence is not attainable, we
have been unable to show that the law of Progress applies; yet there is
high probability that the same generalisation holds which holds
throughout the rest of creation. Though, in tracing the genesis of
Progress, we have frequently spoken of complex causes as if they were
simple ones; it still remains true that such causes are far less complex
than their results. Detailed criticisms cannot affect our main position.
Endless facts go to show that every kind of progress is from the
homogeneous to the heterogeneous; and that it is so because each change
is followed by many changes. And it is significant that where the facts
are most accessible and abundant, there are these truths most manifest.

However, to avoid committing ourselves to more than is yet proved, we
must be content with saying that such are the law and the cause of all
progress that is known to us. Should the Nebular Hypothesis ever be
established, then it will become manifest that the Universe at large,
like every organism, was once homogeneous; that as a whole, and in every
detail, it has unceasingly advanced towards greater heterogeneity; and
that its heterogeneity is still increasing. It will be seen that as in
each event of to-day, so from the beginning, the decomposition of every
expended force into several forces has been perpetually producing a
higher complication; that the increase of heterogeneity so brought about
is still going on, and must continue to go on; and that thus Progress is
not an accident, not a thing within human control, but a beneficent

A few words must be added on the ontological bearings of our argument.
Probably not a few will conclude that here is an attempted solution of
the great questions with which Philosophy in all ages has perplexed
itself. Let none thus deceive themselves. Only such as know not the
scope and the limits of Science can fall into so grave an error. The
foregoing generalisations apply, not to the genesis of things in
themselves, but to their genesis as manifested to the human
consciousness. After all that has been said, the ultimate mystery
remains just as it was. The explanation of that which is explicable,
does but bring out into greater clearness the inexplicableness of that
which remains behind. However we may succeed in reducing the equation to
its lowest terms, we are not thereby enabled to determine the unknown
quantity: on the contrary, it only becomes more manifest that the
unknown quantity can never be found.

Little as it seems to do so, fearless inquiry tends continually to give
a firmer basis to all true Religion. The timid sectarian, alarmed at the
progress of knowledge, obliged to abandon one by one the superstitions
of his ancestors, and daily finding his cherished beliefs more and more
shaken, secretly fears that all things may some day be explained; and
has a corresponding dread of Science: thus evincing the profoundest of
all infidelity--the fear lest the truth be bad. On the other hand, the
sincere man of science, content to follow wherever the evidence leads
him, becomes by each new inquiry more profoundly convinced that the
Universe is an insoluble problem. Alike in the external and the internal
worlds, he sees himself in the midst of perpetual changes, of which he
can discover neither the beginning nor the end. If, tracing back the
evolution of things, he allows himself to entertain the hypothesis that
all matter once existed in a diffused form, he finds it utterly
impossible to conceive how this came to be so; and equally, if he
speculates on the future, he can assign no limit to the grand succession
of phenomena ever unfolding themselves before him. On the other hand, if
he looks inward, he perceives that both terminations of the thread of
consciousness are beyond his grasp: he cannot remember when or how
consciousness commenced, and he cannot examine the consciousness that at
any moment exists; for only a state of consciousness that is already
past can become the object of thought, and never one which is passing.

When, again, he turns from the succession of phenomena, external or
internal, to their essential nature, he is equally at fault. Though he
may succeed in resolving all properties of objects into manifestations
of force, he is not thereby enabled to realise what force is; but finds,
on the contrary, that the more he thinks about it, the more he is
baffled. Similarly, though analysis of mental actions may finally bring
him down to sensations as the original materials out of which all
thought is woven, he is none the forwarder; for he cannot in the least
comprehend sensation--cannot even conceive how sensation is possible.
Inward and outward things he thus discovers to be alike inscrutable in
their ultimate genesis and nature. He sees that the Materialist and
Spiritualist controversy is a mere war of words; the disputants being
equally absurd--each believing he understands that which it is
impossible for any man to understand. In all directions his
investigations eventually bring him face to face with the unknowable;
and he ever more clearly perceives it to be the unknowable. He learns at
once the greatness and the littleness of human intellect--its power in
dealing with all that comes within the range of experience; its
impotence in dealing with all that transcends experience. He feels, with
a vividness which no others can, the utter incomprehensibleness of the
simplest fact, considered in itself. He alone truly _sees_ that absolute
knowledge is impossible. He alone _knows_ that under all things there
lies an impenetrable mystery.

[1] _Westminster Review_, April 1857.

[2] For detailed proof of these assertions see essay on "Manners and

[3] The idea that the Nebular Hypothesis has been disproved because what
were thought to be existing nebulæ have been resolved into clusters of
stars is almost beneath notice. _A priori_ it was highly improbable, if
not impossible, that nebulous masses should still remain uncondensed,
while others have been condensed millions of years ago.

[4] _Personal Narrative of the Origin of the Caoutchouc, or India-Rubber
Manufacture in England._ By Thomas Hancock.


Whoever has studied the physiognomy of political meetings, cannot fail
to have remarked a connection between democratic opinions and
peculiarities of costume. At a Chartist demonstration, a lecture on
Socialism, or a _soirée_ of the Friends of Italy, there will be seen
many among the audience, and a still larger ratio among the speakers,
who get themselves up in a style more or less unusual. One gentleman on
the platform divides his hair down the centre, instead of on one side;
another brushes it back off the forehead, in the fashion known as
"bringing out the intellect;" a third has so long forsworn the scissors,
that his locks sweep his shoulders. A considerable sprinkling of
moustaches may be observed; here and there an imperial; and occasionally
some courageous breaker of conventions exhibits a full-grown beard.[2]
This nonconformity in hair is countenanced by various nonconformities in
dress, shown by others of the assemblage. Bare necks, shirt-collars _à
la_ Byron, waistcoats cut Quaker fashion, wonderfully shaggy great
coats, numerous oddities in form and colour, destroy the monotony usual
in crowds. Even those exhibiting no conspicuous peculiarity, frequently
indicate by something in the pattern or make-up of their clothes, that
they pay small regard to what their tailors tell them about the
prevailing taste. And when the gathering breaks up, the varieties of
head-gear displayed--the number of caps, and the abundance of felt
hats--suffice to prove that were the world at large like-minded, the
black cylinders which tyrannise over us would soon be deposed.

The foreign correspondence of our daily press shows that this
relationship between political discontent and the disregard of customs
exists on the Continent also. Red republicanism has always been
distinguished by its hirsuteness. The authorities of Prussia, Austria,
and Italy, alike recognise certain forms of hat as indicative of
disaffection, and fulminate against them accordingly. In some places the
wearer of a blouse runs a risk of being classed among the _suspects_;
and in others, he who would avoid the bureau of police, must beware how
he goes out in any but the ordinary colours. Thus, democracy abroad, as
at home, tends towards personal singularity.

Nor is this association of characteristics peculiar to modern times, or
to reformers of the State. It has always existed; and it has been
manifested as much in religious agitations as in political ones. Along
with dissent from the chief established opinions and arrangements, there
has ever been some dissent from the customary social practices. The
Puritans, disapproving of the long curls of the Cavaliers, as of their
principles, cut their own hair short, and so gained the name of
"Roundheads." The marked religious nonconformity of the Quakers was
accompanied by an equally-marked nonconformity of manners--in attire, in
speech, in salutation. The early Moravians not only believed
differently, but at the same time dressed differently, and lived
differently, from their fellow Christians.

That the association between political independence and independence of
personal conduct, is not a phenomenon of to-day only, we may see alike
in the appearance of Franklin at the French court in plain clothes, and
in the white hats worn by the last generation of radicals. Originality
of nature is sure to show itself in more ways than one. The mention of
George Fox's suit of leather, or Pestalozzi's school name, "Harry
Oddity," will at once suggest the remembrance that men who have in great
things diverged from the beaten track, have frequently done so in small
things likewise. Minor illustrations of this truth may be gathered in
almost every circle. We believe that whoever will number up his
reforming and rationalist acquaintances, will find among them more than
the usual proportion of those who in dress or behaviour exhibit some
degree of what the world calls eccentricity.

If it be a fact that men of revolutionary aims in politics or religion,
are commonly revolutionists in custom also, it is not less a fact that
those whose office it is to uphold established arrangements in State and
Church, are also those who most adhere to the social forms and
observances bequeathed to us by past generations. Practices elsewhere
extinct still linger about the headquarters of government. The monarch
still gives assent to Acts of Parliament in the old French of the
Normans; and Norman French terms are still used in law. Wigs, such as
those we see depicted in old portraits, may yet be found on the heads of
judges and barristers. The Beefeaters at the Tower wear the costume of
Henry VIIth's bodyguard. The University dress of the present year varies
but little from that worn soon after the Reformation. The
claret-coloured coat, knee-breeches, lace shirt frills, ruffles, white
silk stockings, and buckled shoes, which once formed the usual attire of
a gentleman, still survive as the court-dress. And it need scarcely be
said that at _levées_ and drawing-rooms, the ceremonies are prescribed
with an exactness, and enforced with a rigour, not elsewhere to be

Can we consider these two series of coincidences as accidental and
unmeaning? Must we not rather conclude that some necessary relationship
obtains between them? Are there not such things as a constitutional
conservatism, and a constitutional tendency to change? Is there not a
class which clings to the old in all things; and another class so in
love with progress as often to mistake novelty for improvement? Do we
not find some men ready to bow to established authority of whatever
kind; while others demand of every such authority its reason, and reject
it if it fails to justify itself? And must not the minds thus contrasted
tend to become respectively conformist and nonconformist, not only in
politics and religion, but in other things? Submission, whether to a
government, to the dogmas of ecclesiastics, or to that code of behaviour
which society at large has set up, is essentially of the same nature;
and the sentiment which induces resistance to the despotism of rulers,
civil or spiritual, likewise induces resistance to the despotism of the
world's opinion. Look at them fundamentally, and all enactments, alike
of the legislature, the consistory, and the saloon--all regulations,
formal or virtual, have a common character: they are all limitations of
men's freedom. "Do this--Refrain from that," are the blank formulas into
which they may all be written: and in each case the understanding is
that obedience will bring approbation here and paradise hereafter; while
disobedience will entail imprisonment, or sending to Coventry, or
eternal torments, as the case may be. And if restraints, however named,
and through whatever apparatus of means exercised, are one in their
action upon men, it must happen that those who are patient under one
kind of restraint, are likely to be patient under another; and
conversely, that those impatient of restraint in general, will, on the
average, tend to show their impatience in all directions.

That Law, Religion, and Manners are thus related--that their respective
kinds of operation come under one generalisation--that they have in
certain contrasted characteristics of men a common support and a common
danger--will, however, be most clearly seen on discovering that they
have a common origin. Little as from present appearances we should
suppose it, we shall yet find that at first, the control of religion,
the control of laws and the control of manners, were all one control.
However incredible it may now seem, we believe it to be demonstrable
that the rules of etiquette, the provisions of the statute-book, and the
commands of the decalogue, have grown from the same root. If we go far
enough back into the ages of primeval Fetishism, it becomes manifest
that originally Deity, Chief, and Master of the ceremonies were
identical. To make good these positions, and to show their bearing on
what is to follow, it will be necessary here to traverse ground that is
in part somewhat beaten, and at first sight irrelevant to our topic. We
will pass over it as quickly as consists with the exigencies of the

       *       *       *       *       *

That the earliest social aggregations were ruled solely by the will of
the strong man, few dispute. That from the strong man proceeded not only
Monarchy, but the conception of a God, few admit: much as Carlyle and
others have said in evidence of it. If, however, those who are unable to
believe this, will lay aside the ideas of God and man in which they have
been educated, and study the aboriginal ideas of them, they will at
least see some probability in the hypothesis. Let them remember that
before experience had yet taught men to distinguish between the possible
and the impossible; and while they were ready on the slightest
suggestion to ascribe unknown powers to any object and make a fetish of
it; their conceptions of humanity and its capacities were necessarily
vague, and without specific limits. The man who by unusual strength, or
cunning, achieved something that others had failed to achieve, or
something which they did not understand, was considered by them as
differing from themselves; and, as we see in the belief of some
Polynesians that only their chiefs have souls, or in that of the ancient
Peruvians that their nobles were divine by birth, the ascribed
difference was apt to be not one of degree only, but one of kind.

Let them remember next, how gross were the notions of God, or rather of
gods, prevalent during the same era and afterwards--how concretely gods
were conceived as men of specific aspects dressed in specific ways--how
their names were literally "the strong," "the destroyer," "the powerful
one,"--how, according to the Scandinavian mythology, the "sacred duty of
blood-revenge" was acted on by the gods themselves,--and how they were
not only human in their vindictiveness, their cruelty, and their
quarrels with each other, but were supposed to have amours on earth, and
to consume the viands placed on their altars. Add to which, that in
various mythologies, Greek, Scandinavian, and others, the oldest beings
are giants; that according to a traditional genealogy the gods,
demi-gods, and in some cases men, are descended from these after the
human fashion; and that while in the East we hear of sons of God who saw
the daughters of men that they were fair, the Teutonic myths tell of
unions between the sons of men and the daughters of the gods.

Let them remember, too, that at first the idea of death differed widely
from that which we have; that there are still tribes who, on the decease
of one of their number, attempt to make the corpse stand, and put food
into his mouth; that the Peruvians had feasts at which the mummies of
their dead Incas presided, when, as Prescott says, they paid attention
"to these insensible remains as if they were instinct with life;" that
among the Fejees it is believed that every enemy has to be killed twice;
that the Eastern Pagans give extension and figure to the soul, and
attribute to it all the same substances, both solid and liquid, of which
our bodies are composed; and that it is the custom among most barbarous
races to bury food, weapons, and trinkets along with the dead body,
under the manifest belief that it will presently need them.

Lastly, let them remember that the other world, as originally conceived,
is simply some distant part of this world--some Elysian fields, some
happy hunting-ground, accessible even to the living, and to which, after
death, men travel in anticipation of a life analogous in general
character to that which they led before. Then, co-ordinating these
general facts--the ascription of unknown powers to chiefs and medicine
men; the belief in deities having human forms, passions, and behaviour;
the imperfect comprehension of death as distinguished from life; and the
proximity of the future abode to the present, both in position and
character--let them reflect whether they do not almost unavoidably
suggest the conclusion that the aboriginal god is the dead chief; the
chief not dead in our sense, but gone away carrying with him food and
weapons to some rumoured region of plenty, some promised land, whither
he had long intended to lead his followers, and whence he will presently
return to fetch them.

This hypothesis once entertained, is seen to harmonise with all
primitive ideas and practices. The sons of the deified chief reigning
after him, it necessarily happens that all early kings are held
descendants of the gods; and the fact that alike in Assyria, Egypt,
among the Jews, Phoenicians, and ancient Britons, kings' names were
formed out of the names of the gods, is fully explained. The genesis of
Polytheism out of Fetishism, by the successive migrations of the race of
god-kings to the other world--a genesis illustrated in the Greek
mythology, alike by the precise genealogy of the deities, and by the
specifically asserted apotheosis of the later ones--tends further to
bear it out. It explains the fact that in the old creeds, as in the
still extant creed of the Otaheitans, every family has its guardian
spirit, who is supposed to be one of their departed relatives; and that
they sacrifice to these as minor gods--a practice still pursued by the
Chinese and even by the Russians. It is perfectly congruous with the
Grecian myths concerning the wars of the Gods with the Titans and their
final usurpation; and it similarly agrees with the fact that among the
Teutonic gods proper was one Freir who came among them by adoption, "but
was born among the _Vanes_, a somewhat mysterious _other_ dynasty of
gods, who had been conquered and superseded by the stronger and more
warlike Odin dynasty." It harmonises, too, with the belief that there
are different gods to different territories and nations, as there were
different chiefs; that these gods contend for supremacy as chiefs do;
and it gives meaning to the boast of neighbouring tribes--"Our god is
greater than your god." It is confirmed by the notion universally
current in early times, that the gods come from this other abode, in
which they commonly live, and appear among men--speak to them, help
them, punish them. And remembering this, it becomes manifest that the
prayers put up by primitive peoples to their gods for aid in battle, are
meant literally--that their gods are expected to come back from the
other kingdom they are reigning over, and once more fight the old
enemies they had before warred against so implacably; and it needs but
to name the Iliad, to remind every one how thoroughly they believed the
expectation fulfilled.

All government, then, being originally that of the strong man who has
become a fetish by some manifestation of superiority, there arises, at
his death--his supposed departure on a long projected expedition, in
which he is accompanied by his slaves and concubines sacrificed at his
tomb--their arises, then, the incipient division of religious from
political control, of civil rule from spiritual. His son becomes deputed
chief during his absence; his authority is cited as that by which his
son acts; his vengeance is invoked on all who disobey his son; and his
commands, as previously known or as asserted by his son, become the germ
of a moral code; a fact we shall the more clearly perceive if we
remember, that early moral codes inculcate mainly the virtues of the
warrior, and the duty of exterminating some neighbouring tribe whose
existence is an offence to the deity.

From this point onwards, these two kinds of authority, at first
complicated together as those of principal and agent, become slowly more
and more distinct. As experience accumulates, and ideas of causation
grow more precise, kings lose their supernatural attributes; and,
instead of God-king, become God-descended king, God-appointed king, the
Lord's anointed, the vicegerent of heaven, ruler reigning by Divine
right. The old theory, however, long clings to men in feeling, after it
has disappeared in name; and "such divinity doth hedge a king," that
even now, many, on first seeing one, feel a secret surprise at finding
him an ordinary sample of humanity. The sacredness attaching to royalty
attaches afterwards to its appended institutions--to legislatures, to
laws. Legal and illegal are synonymous with right and wrong; the
authority of Parliament is held unlimited; and a lingering faith in
governmental power continually generates unfounded hopes from its
enactments. Political scepticism, however, having destroyed the divine
_prestige_ of royalty, goes on ever increasing, and promises ultimately
to reduce the State to a purely secular institution, whose regulations
are limited in their sphere, and have no other authority than the
general will. Meanwhile, the religious control has been little by little
separating itself from the civil, both in its essence and in its forms.
While from the God-king of the savage have arisen in one direction,
secular rulers who, age by age, have been losing the sacred attributes
men ascribed to them; there has arisen in another direction, the
conception of a deity, who, at first human in all things, has been
gradually losing human materiality, human form, human passions, human
modes of action: until now, anthropomorphism has become a reproach.

Along with this wide divergence in men's ideas of the divine and civil
ruler has been taking place a corresponding divergence in the codes of
conduct respectively proceeding from them. While the king was a
deputy-god--a governor such as the Jews looked for in the Messiah--a
governor considered, as the Czar still is, "our God upon Earth,"--it, of
course, followed that his commands were the supreme rules. But as men
ceased to believe in his supernatural origin and nature, his commands
ceased to be the highest; and there arose a distinction between the
regulations made by him, and the regulations handed down from the old
god-kings, who were rendered ever more sacred by time and the
accumulation of myths. Hence came respectively, Law and Morality: the
one growing ever more concrete, the other more abstract; the authority
of the one ever on the decrease, that of the other ever on the increase;
originally the same, but now placed daily in more marked antagonism.

Simultaneously there has been going on a separation of the institutions
administering these two codes of conduct. While they were yet one, of
course Church and State were one: the king was arch-priest, not
nominally, but really--alike the giver of new commands and the chief
interpreter of the old commands; and the deputy-priests coming out of
his family were thus simply expounders of the dictates of their
ancestry: at first as recollected, and afterwards as ascertained by
professed interviews with them. This union--which still existed
practically during the middle ages, when the authority of kings was
mixed up with the authority of the pope, when there were bishop-rulers
having all the powers of feudal lords, and when priests punished by
penances--has been, step by step, becoming less close. Though monarchs
are still "defenders of the faith," and ecclesiastical chiefs, they are
but nominally such. Though bishops still have civil power, it is not
what they once had. Protestantism shook loose the bonds of union;
Dissent has long been busy in organising a mechanism for the exercise of
religious control, wholly independent of law; in America, a separate
organisation for that purpose already exists; and if anything is to be
hoped from the Anti-State-Church Association--or, as it has been newly
named, "The Society for the Liberation of Religion from State Patronage
and Control"--we shall presently have a separate organisation here also.

Thus alike in authority, in essence, and in form, political and
spiritual rule have been ever more widely diverging from the same root.
That increasing division of labour which marks the progress of society
in other things, marks it also in this separation of government into
civil and religious; and if we observe how the morality which forms the
substance of religions in general, is beginning to be purified from the
associated creeds, we may anticipate that this division will be
ultimately carried much further.

Passing now to the third species of control--that of Manners--we shall
find that this, too, while it had a common genesis with the others, has
gradually come to have a distinct sphere and a special embodiment. Among
early aggregations of men before yet social observances existed, the
sole forms of courtesy known were the signs of submission to the strong
man; as the sole law was his will, and the sole religion the awe of his
supposed supernaturalness. Originally, ceremonies were modes of
behaviour to the god-king. Our commonest titles have been derived from
his names. And all salutations were primarily worship paid to him. Let
us trace out these truths in detail, beginning with titles.

The fact already noticed, that the names of early kings among divers
races are formed by the addition of certain syllables to the names of
their gods--which certain syllables, like our _Mac_ and _Fitz_, probably
mean "son of," or "descended from"--at once gives meaning to the term
_Father_ as a divine title. And when we read, in Selden, that "the
composition out of these names of Deities was not only proper to Kings:
their Grandes and more honourable Subjects" (no doubt members of the
royal race) "had sometimes the like;" we see how the term _Father_,
properly used by these also, and by their multiplying descendants, came
to be a title used by the people in general. And it is significant as
bearing on this point, that among the most barbarous nation in Europe,
where belief in the divine nature of the ruler still lingers, _Father_
in this higher sense is still a regal distinction. When, again, we
remember how the divinity at first ascribed to kings was not a
complimentary fiction but a supposed fact; and how, further, under the
Fetish philosophy the celestial bodies are believed to be personages who
once lived among men; we see that the appellations of oriental rulers,
"Brother to the Sun," etc., were probably once expressive of a genuine
belief; and have simply, like many other things, continued in use after
all meaning has gone out of them. We way infer, too, that the titles,
God, Lord, Divinity, were given to primitive rulers literally--that the
_nostra divinitas_ applied to the Roman emperors, and the various sacred
designations that have been borne by monarchs, down to the still extant
phrase, "Our Lord the King," are the dead and dying forms of what were
once living facts. From these names, God, Father, Lord, Divinity,
originally belonging to the God-king, and afterwards to God and the
king, the derivation of our commonest titles of respect is clearly

There is reason to think that these titles were originally proper names.
Not only do we see among the Egyptians, where Pharaoh was synonymous
with king, and among the Romans, where to be Cæsar meant to be Emperor,
that the proper names of the greatest men were transferred to their
successors, and so became class names; but in the Scandinavian mythology
we may trace a human title of honour up to the proper name of a divine
personage. In Anglo-Saxon _bealdor_, or _baldor_, means _Lord_; and
Balder is the name of the favourite of Odin's sons--the gods who with
him constitute the Teutonic Pantheon. How these names of honour became
general is easily understood. The relatives of the primitive kings--the
grandees described by Selden as having names formed on those of the
gods, and shown by this to be members of the divine race--necessarily
shared in the epithets, such as _Lord_, descriptive of superhuman
relationships and nature. Their ever-multiplying offspring inheriting
these, gradually rendered them comparatively common. And then they came
to be applied to every man of power: partly from the fact that, in these
early days when men conceived divinity simply as a stronger kind of
humanity, great persons could be called by divine epithets with but
little exaggeration; partly from the fact that the unusually potent were
apt to be considered as unrecognised or illegitimate descendants of "the
strong, the destroyer, the powerful one;" and partly, also, from
compliment and the desire to propitiate.

Progressively as superstition diminished, this last became the sole
cause. And if we remember that it is the nature of compliment, as we
daily hear it, to attribute more than is due--that in the constantly
widening application of "esquire," in the perpetual repetition of "your
honour" by the fawning Irishman, and in the use of the name "gentleman"
to any coalheaver or dustman by the lower classes of London, we have
current examples of the depreciation of titles consequent on
compliment--and that in barbarous times, when the wish to propitiate was
stronger than now, this effect must have been greater; we shall see that
there naturally arose an extensive misuse of all early distinctions.
Hence the facts, that the Jews called Herod a god; that _Father_, in its
higher sense, was a term used among them by servants to masters; that
_Lord_ was applicable to any person of worth and power. Hence, too, the
fact that, in the later periods of the Roman Empire, every man saluted
his neighbour as _Dominus_ and _Rex_.

But it is in the titles of the middle ages, and in the growth of our
modern ones out of them, that the process is most clearly seen. _Herr_,
_Don_, _Signior_, _Seigneur_, _Sennor_, were all originally names of
rulers--of feudal lords. By the complimentary use of these names to all
who could, on any pretence, be supposed to merit them, and by successive
degradations of them from each step in the descent to a still lower one,
they have come to be common forms of address. At first the phrase in
which a serf accosted his despotic chief, _mein herr_ is now familiarly
applied in Germany to ordinary people. The Spanish title _Don_, once
proper to noblemen and gentlemen only, is now accorded to all classes.
So, too, is it with _Signior_ in Italy. _Seigneur_ and _Monseigneur_, by
contraction in _Sieur_ and _Monsieur_, have produced the term of respect
claimed by every Frenchman. And whether _Sire_ be or be not a like
contraction of _Signior_, it is clear that, as it was borne by sundry of
the ancient feudal lords of France, who, as Selden says, "affected
rather to bee stiled by the name of _Sire_ than Baron, as _Le Sire de
Montmorencie_, _Le Sire de Beauieu_, and the like," and as it has been
commonly used to monarchs, our word _Sir_, which is derived from it,
originally meant lord or king. Thus, too, is it with feminine titles.
_Lady_, which, according to Horne Tooke, means _exalted_, and was at
first given only to the few, is now given to all women of education.
_Dame_, once an honourable name to which, in old books, we find the
epithets of "high-born" and "stately" affixed, has now, by repeated
widenings of its application, become relatively a term of contempt. And
if we trace the compound of this, _ma Dame_, through its
contractions--_Madam_, _ma'am_, _mam_, _mum_, we find that the "Yes'm"
of Sally to her mistress is originally equivalent to "Yes, my exalted,"
or "Yes, your highness." Throughout, therefore, the genesis of words of
honour has been the same. Just as with the Jews and with the Romans, has
it been with the modern Europeans. Tracing these everyday names to their
primitive significations of _lord_ and _king_, and remembering that in
aboriginal societies these were applied only to the gods and their
descendants, we arrive at the conclusion that our familiar _Sir_ and
_Monsieur_ are, in their primary and expanded meanings, terms of

Further to illustrate this gradual depreciation of titles and to confirm
the inference drawn, it may be well to notice in passing, that the
oldest of them have, as might be expected, been depreciated to the
greatest extent. Thus, _Master_--a word proved by its derivation and by
the similarity of the connate words in other languages (Fr., _maître_
for _master_; Russ., _master_: Dan., _meester_; Ger., _meister_) to have
been one of the earliest in use for expressing lordship--has now become
applicable to children only, and under the modification of "Mister," to
persons next above the labourer. Again, knighthood, the oldest kind of
dignity, is also the lowest; and Knight Bachelor, which is the lowest
order of knighthood, is more ancient than any other of the orders.
Similarly, too, with the peerage, Baron is alike the earliest and least
elevated of its divisions. This continual degradation of all names of
honour has, from time to time, made it requisite to introduce new ones
having that distinguishing effect which the originals had lost by
generality of use; just as our habit of misapplying superlatives has, by
gradually destroying their force, entailed the need for fresh ones. And
if, within the last thousand years, this process has produced effects
thus marked, we may readily conceive how, during previous thousands, the
titles of gods and demi-gods came to be used to all persons exercising
power; as they have since come to be used to persons of respectability.

If from names of honour we turn to phrases of honour, we find similar
facts. The Oriental styles of address, applied to ordinary people--"I am
your slave," "All I have is yours," "I am your sacrifice"--attribute to
the individual spoken to the same greatness that _Monsieur_ and _My
Lord_ do: they ascribe to him the character of an all-powerful ruler, so
immeasurably superior to the speaker as to be his owner. So, likewise,
with the Polish expressions of respect--"I throw myself under your
feet," "I kiss your feet." In our now meaningless subscription to a
formal letter--"Your most obedient servant,"--the same thing is visible.
Nay, even in the familiar signature "Yours faithfully," the "yours," if
interpreted as originally meant, is the expression of a slave to his

All these dead forms were once living embodiments of fact--were
primarily the genuine indications of that submission to authority which
they verbally assert; were afterwards naturally used by the weak and
cowardly to propitiate those above them; gradually grew to be considered
the due of such; and, by a continually wider misuse, have lost their
meanings, as _Sir_ and _Master_ have done. That, like titles, they were
in the beginning used only to the God-king, is indicated by the fact
that, like titles, they were subsequently used in common to God and the
king. Religious worship has ever largely consisted of professions of
obedience, of being God's servants, of belonging to him to do what he
will with. Like titles, therefore, these common phrases of honour had a
devotional origin.

Perhaps, however, it is in the use of the word _you_ as a singular
pronoun that the popularising of what were once supreme distinctions is
most markedly illustrated. This speaking of a single individual in the
plural was originally an honour given only to the highest--was the
reciprocal of the imperial "we" assumed by such. Yet now, by being
applied to successively lower and lower classes, it has become all but
universal. Only by one sect of Christians, and in a few secluded
districts, is the primitive _thou_ still used. And the _you_, in
becoming common to all ranks, has simultaneously lost every vestige of
the honour once attaching to it.

But the genesis of Manners out of forms of allegiance and worship is
above all shown in men's modes of salutation. Note first the
significance of the word. Among the Romans, the _salutatio_ was a daily
homage paid by clients and inferiors to superiors. This was alike the
case with civilians and in the army. The very derivation of our word,
therefore, is suggestive of submission. Passing to particular forms of
obeisance (mark the word again), let us begin with the Eastern one of
baring the feet. This was, primarily, a mark of reverence, alike to a
god and a king. The act of Moses before the burning bush, and the
practice of Mahometans, who are sworn on the Koran with their shoes off,
exemplify the one employment of it; the custom of the Persians, who
remove their shoes on entering the presence of their monarch,
exemplifies the other. As usual, however, this homage, paid next to
inferior rulers, has descended from grade to grade. In India, it is a
common mark of respect; a polite man in Turkey always leaves his shoes
at the door, while the lower orders of Turks never enter the presence of
their superiors but in their stockings; and in Japan, this baring of the
feet is an ordinary salutation of man to man.

Take another case. Selden, describing the ceremonies of the Romans,
says:--"For whereas it was usual either to kiss the Images of their
Gods, or adoring them, to stand somewhat off before them, solemnly
moving the right hand to the lips, and then, casting it as if they had
cast kisses, to turne the body on the same hand (which was the right
forme of Adoration), it grew also by custom, first that the emperors,
being next to Deities, and by some accounted as Deities, had the like
done to them in acknowledgment of their Greatness." If, now, we call to
mind the awkward salute of a village school-boy, made by putting his
open hand up to his face and describing a semicircle with his forearm;
and if we remember that the salute thus used as a form of reverence in
country districts, is most likely a remnant of the feudal times; we
shall see reason for thinking that our common wave of the hand to a
friend across the street, represents what was primarily a devotional

Similarly have originated all forms of respect depending upon
inclinations of the body. Entire prostration is the aboriginal sign of
submission. The passage of Scripture, "Thou hast put all under his
feet," and that other one, so suggestive in its anthropomorphism, "The
Lord said unto my Lord, sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine
enemies thy footstool," imply, what the Assyrian sculptures fully bear
out, that it was the practice of the ancient god-kings of the East to
trample upon the conquered. And when we bear in mind that there are
existing savages who signify submission by placing the neck under the
foot of the person submitted to, it becomes obvious that all
prostration, especially when accompanied by kissing the foot, expressed
a willingness to be trodden upon--was an attempt to mitigate wrath by
saying, in signs, "Tread on me if you will." Remembering, further, that
kissing the foot, as of the Pope and of a saint's statue, still
continues in Europe to be a mark of extreme reverence; that prostration
to feudal lords was once general; and that its disappearance must have
taken place, not abruptly, but by gradual modification into something
else; we have ground for deriving from these deepest of humiliations all
inclinations of respect; especially as the transition is traceable. The
reverence of a Russian serf, who bends his head to the ground, and the
salaam of the Hindoo, are abridged prostrations; a bow is a short
salaam; a nod is a short bow.

Should any hesitate to admit this conclusion, then perhaps, on being
reminded that the lowest of these obeisances are common where the
submission is most abject; that among ourselves the profundity of the
bow marks the amount of respect; and lastly, that the bow is even now
used devotionally in our churches--by Catholics to their altars, and by
Protestants at the name of Christ--they will see sufficient evidence for
thinking that this salutation also was originally worship.

The same may be said, too, of the curtsy, or courtesy, as it is
otherwise written. Its derivation from _courtoisie_, courteousness, that
is, behaviour like that at court, at once shows that it was primarily
the reverence paid to a monarch. And if we call to mind that falling
upon the knees, or upon one knee, has been a common obeisance of
subjects to rulers; that in ancient manuscripts and tapestries, servants
are depicted as assuming this attitude while offering the dishes to
their masters at table; and that this same attitude is assumed towards
our own queen at every presentation; we may infer, what the character of
the curtsy itself suggests, that it is an abridged act of kneeling. As
the word has been contracted from _courtoisie_ into curtsy, so the
motion has been contracted from a placing of the knee on the floor, to a
lowering of the knee towards the floor. Moreover, when we compare the
curtsy of a lady with the awkward one a peasant girl makes, which, if
continued, would bring her down on both knees, we may see in this last a
remnant of that greater reverence required of serfs. And when, from
considering that simple kneeling of the West, still represented by the
curtsy, we pass Eastward, and note the attitude of the Mahometan
worshipper, who not only kneels but bows his head to the ground, we may
infer that the curtsy also is an evanescent form of the aboriginal

In further evidence of this it may be remarked, that there has but
recently disappeared from the salutations of men, an action having the
same proximate derivation with the curtsy. That backward sweep of the
foot with which the conventional stage-sailor accompanies his bow--a
movement which prevailed generally in past generations, when "a bow and
a scrape" went together, and which, within the memory of living persons,
was made by boys to their schoolmaster with the effect of wearing a hole
in the floor--is pretty clearly a preliminary to going on one knee. A
motion so ungainly could never have been intentionally introduced; even
if the artificial introduction of obeisances were possible. Hence we
must regard it as the remnant of something antecedent: and that this
something antecedent was humiliating may be inferred from the phrase,
"scraping an acquaintance;" which, being used to denote the gaining of
favour by obsequiousness, implies that the scrape was considered a mark
of servility--that is, of _serf_-ility.

Consider, again, the uncovering of the head. Almost everywhere this has
been a sign of reverence, alike in temples and before potentates; and it
yet preserves among us some of its original meaning. Whether it rains,
hails, or shines, you must keep your head bare while speaking to the
monarch; and on no plea may you remain covered in a place of worship. As
usual, however, this ceremony, at first a submission to gods and kings,
has become in process of time a common civility. Once an acknowledgment
of another's unlimited supremacy, the removal of the hat is now a salute
accorded to very ordinary persons, and that uncovering, originally
reserved for entrance into "the house of God," good manners now
dictates on entrance into the house of a common labourer.

Standing, too, as a mark of respect, has undergone like extensions in
its application. Shown, by the practice in our churches, to be
intermediate between the humiliation signified by kneeling and the
self-respect which sitting implies, and used at courts as a form of
homage when more active demonstrations of it have been made, this
posture is now employed in daily life to show consideration; as seen
alike in the attitude of a servant before a master, and in that rising
which politeness prescribes on the entrance of a visitor.

Many other threads of evidence might have been woven into our argument.
As, for example, the significant fact, that if we trace back our still
existing law of primogeniture--if we consider it as displayed by
Scottish clans, in which not only ownership but government devolved from
the beginning on the eldest son of the eldest--if we look further back,
and observe that the old titles of lordship, _Signor_, _Seigneur_,
_Sennor_, _Sire_, _Sieur_, all originally mean, senior, or elder--if we
go Eastward, and find that _Sheick_ has a like derivation, and that the
Oriental names for priests, as _Pir_, for instance, are literally
interpreted _old man_--if we note in Hebrew records how primeval is the
ascribed superiority of the first-born, how great the authority of
elders, and how sacred the memory of patriarchs--and if, then, we
remember that among divine titles are "Ancient of Days," and "Father of
Gods and men;"--we see how completely these facts harmonise with the
hypothesis, that the aboriginal god is the first man sufficiently great
to become a tradition, the earliest whose power and deeds made him
remembered; that hence antiquity unavoidably became associated with
superiority, and age with nearness in blood to "the powerful one;" that
so there naturally arose that domination of the eldest which
characterises all history, and that theory of human degeneracy which
even yet survives.

We might further dwell on the facts, that _Lord_ signifies high-born,
or, as the same root gives a word meaning heaven, possibly heaven-born;
that, before it became common, _Sir_ or _Sire_, as well as _Father_, was
the distinction of a priest; that _worship_, originally worth-ship--a
term of respect that has been used commonly, as well as to
magistrates--is also our term for the act of attributing greatness or
worth to the Deity; so that to ascribe worth-ship to a man is to worship
him. We might make much of the evidence that all early governments are
more or less distinctly theocratic; and that among ancient Eastern
nations even the commonest forms and customs appear to have been
influenced by religion. We might enforce our argument respecting the
derivation of ceremonies, by tracing out the aboriginal obeisance made
by putting dust on the head, which probably symbolises putting the head
in the dust: by affiliating the practice prevailing among certain
tribes, of doing another honour by presenting him with a portion of hair
torn from the head--an act which seems tantamount to saying, "I am your
slave;" by investigating the Oriental custom of giving to a visitor any
object he speaks of admiringly, which is pretty clearly a carrying out
of the compliment, "All I have is yours."

Without enlarging, however, on these and many minor facts, we venture to
think that the evidence already assigned is sufficient to justify our
position. Had the proofs been few or of one kind, little faith could
have been placed in the inference. But numerous as they are, alike in
the case of titles, in that of complimentary phrases, and in that of
salutes--similar and simultaneous, too, as the process of depreciation
has been in all of these; the evidences become strong by mutual
confirmation. And when we recollect, also, that not only have the
results of this process been visible in various nations and in all
times, but that they are occurring among ourselves at the present
moment, and that the causes assigned for previous depreciations may be
seen daily working out other ones--when we recollect this, it becomes
scarcely possible to doubt that the process has been as alleged; and
that our ordinary words, acts, and phrases of civility were originally
acknowledgments of submission to another's omnipotence.

Thus the general doctrine, that all kinds of government exercised over
men were at first one government--that the political, the religious, and
the ceremonial forms of control are divergent branches of a general and
once indivisible control--begins to look tenable. When, with the above
facts fresh in mind, we read primitive records, and find that "there
were giants in those days"--when we remember that in Eastern traditions
Nimrod, among others, figures in all the characters of giant king, and
divinity--when we turn to the sculptures exhumed by Mr. Layard, and
contemplating in them the effigies of kings driving over enemies,
trampling on prisoners, and adored by prostrate slaves, then observe how
their actions correspond to the primitive names for the divinity, "the
strong," "the destroyer," "the powerful one"--when we find that the
earliest temples were also the residences of the kings--and when,
lastly, we discover that among races of men still living there are
current superstitions analogous to those which old records and old
buildings indicate; we begin to realise the probability of the
hypothesis that has been set forth.

Going back, in imagination, to the remote era when men's theories of
things were yet unformed; and conceiving to ourselves the conquering
chief as dimly figured in ancient myths, and poems, and ruins; we may
see that all rules of conduct whatever spring from his will. Alike
legislator and judge, all quarrels among his subjects are decided by
him; and his words become the Law. Awe of him is the incipient Religion;
and his maxims furnish its first precepts. Submission is made to him in
the forms he prescribes; and these give birth to Manners. From the
first, time develops political allegiance and the administration of
justice; from the second, the worship of a being whose personality
becomes ever more vague, and the inculcation of precepts ever more
abstract; from the third, forms of honour and the rules of etiquette.

In conformity with the law of evolution of all organised bodies, that
general functions are gradually separated into the special functions
constituting them, there have grown up in the social organism for the
better performance of the governmental office, an apparatus of
law-courts, judges, and barristers; a national church, with its bishops
and priests; and a system of caste, titles, and ceremonies, administered
by society at large. By the first, overt aggressions are cognised and
punished; by the second, the disposition to commit such aggressions is
in some degree checked; by the third, those minor breaches of good
conduct, which the others do not notice, are denounced and chastised.
Law and Religion control behaviour in its essentials: Manners control it
in its details. For regulating those daily actions which are too
numerous and too unimportant to be officially directed, there comes into
play this subtler set of restraints. And when we consider what these
restraints are--when we analyse the words, and phrases, and salutes
employed, we see that in origin as in effect, the system is a setting up
of temporary governments between all men who come in contact, for the
purpose of better managing the intercourse between them.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the proposition, that these several kinds of government are
essentially one, both in genesis and function, may be deduced several
important corollaries, directly bearing on our special topic.

Let us first notice, that there is not only a common origin and office
for all forms of rule, but a common necessity for them. The aboriginal
man, coming fresh from the killing of bears and from lying in ambush for
his enemy, has, by the necessities of his condition, a nature requiring
to be curbed in its every impulse. Alike in war and in the chase, his
daily discipline has been that of sacrificing other creatures to his own
needs and passions. His character, bequeathed to him by ancestors who
led similar lives, is moulded by this discipline--is fitted to this
existence. The unlimited selfishness, the love of inflicting pain, the
blood-thirstiness, thus kept active, he brings with him into the social
state. These dispositions put him in constant danger of conflict with
his equally savage neighbour. In small things as in great, in words as
in deeds, he is aggressive; and is hourly liable to the aggressions of
others like natured. Only, therefore, by the most rigorous control
exercised over all actions, can the primitive unions of men be
maintained. There must be a ruler strong, remorseless, and of
indomitable will; there must be a creed terrible in its threats to the
disobedient; and there must be the most servile submission of all
inferiors to superiors. The law must be cruel; the religion must be
stern; the ceremonies must be strict.

The co-ordinate necessity for these several kinds of restraint might be
largely illustrated from history were there space. Suffice it to point
out, that where the civil power has been weak, the multiplication of
thieves, assassins, and banditti, has indicated the approach of social
dissolution; that when, from the corruptness of its ministry, religion
has lost its influence, as it did just before the Flagellants appeared,
the State has been endangered; and that the disregard of established
social observances has ever been an accompaniment of political
revolutions. Whoever doubts the necessity for a government of manners
proportionate in strength to the co-existing political and religious
governments, will be convinced on calling to mind that until recently
even elaborate codes of behaviour failed to keep gentlemen from
quarrelling in the streets and fighting duels in taverns; and on
remembering further, that even now people exhibit at the doors of a
theatre, where there is no ceremonial law to rule them, a degree of
aggressiveness which would produce confusion if carried into social

As might be expected, we find that, having a common origin and like
general functions, these several controlling agencies act during each
era with similar degrees of vigour. Under the Chinese despotism,
stringent and multitudinous in its edicts and harsh in the enforcement
of them, and associated with which there is an equally stern domestic
despotism exercised by the eldest surviving male of the family, there
exists a system of observances alike complicated and rigid. There is a
tribunal of ceremonies. Previous to presentation at court, ambassadors
pass many days in practising the required forms. Social intercourse is
cumbered by endless compliments and obeisances. Class distinctions are
strongly marked by badges. The chief regret on losing an only son is,
that there will be no one to perform the sepulchral rites. And if there
wants a definite measure of the respect paid to social ordinances, we
have it in the torture to which ladies submit in having their feet
crushed. In India, and indeed throughout the East, there exists a like
connection between the pitiless tyranny of rulers, the dread terrors of
immemorial creeds, and the rigid restraint of unchangeable customs: the
caste regulations continue still unalterable; the fashions of clothes
and furniture have remained the same for ages; suttees are so ancient as
to be mentioned by Strabo and Diodorus Siculus; justice is still
administered at the palace-gates as of old; in short, "every usage is a
precept of religion and a maxim of jurisprudence."

A similar relationship of phenomena was exhibited in Europe during the
Middle Ages. While all its governments were autocratic, while feudalism
held sway, while the Church was unshorn of its power, while the criminal
code was full of horrors and the hell of the popular creed full of
terrors, the rules of behaviour were both more numerous and more
carefully conformed to than now. Differences of dress marked divisions
of rank. Men were limited by law to a certain width of shoe-toes; and no
one below a specified degree might wear a cloak less than so many inches
long. The symbols on banners and shields were carefully attended to.
Heraldry was an important branch of knowledge. Precedence was strictly
insisted on. And those various salutes of which we now use the
abridgments were gone through in full. Even during our own last century,
with its corrupt House of Commons and little-curbed monarchs, we may
mark a correspondence of social formalities. Gentlemen were still
distinguished from lower classes by dress; people sacrificed themselves
to inconvenient requirements--as powder, hooped petticoats, and towering
head-dresses; and children addressed their parents as _Sir_ and

A further corollary naturally following this last, and almost, indeed,
forming part of it, is, that these several kinds of government decrease
in stringency at the same rate. Simultaneously with the decline in the
influence of priesthoods, and in the fear of eternal
torments--simultaneously with the mitigation of political tyranny, the
growth of popular power, and the amelioration of criminal codes; has
taken place that diminution of formalities and that fading of
distinctive marks, now so observable. Looking at home, we may note that
there is less attention to precedence than there used to be. No one in
our day ends an interview with the phrase "your humble servant." The
employment of the word _Sir_, once general in social intercourse, is at
present considered bad breeding; and on the occasions calling for them,
it is held vulgar to use the words "Your Majesty," or "Your Royal
Highness," more than once in a conversation. People no longer formally
drink each other's healths; and even the taking wine with each other at
dinner has ceased to be fashionable. The taking-off of hats between
gentlemen has been gradually falling into disuse. Even when the hat is
removed, it is no longer swept out at arm's length, but is simply
lifted. Hence the remark made upon us by foreigners, that we take off
our hats less than any other nation in Europe--a remark that should be
coupled with the other, that we are the freest nation in Europe.

As already implied, this association of facts is not accidental. These
titles of address and modes of salutation, bearing about them, as they
all do, something of that servility which marks their origin, become
distasteful in proportion as men become more independent themselves, and
sympathise more with the independence of others. The feeling which makes
the modern gentleman tell the labourer standing bareheaded before him to
put on his hat--the feeling which gives us a dislike to those who cringe
and fawn--the feeling which makes us alike assert our own dignity and
respect that of others--the feeling which thus leads us more and more to
discountenance all forms and names which confess inferiority and
submission; is the same feeling which resists despotic power and
inaugurates popular government, denies the authority of the Church and
establishes the right of private judgment.

A fourth fact, akin to the foregoing, is, that these several kinds of
government not only decline together, but corrupt together. By the same
process that a Court of Chancery becomes a place not for the
administration of justice, but for the withholding of it--by the same
process that a national church, from being an agency for moral control,
comes to be merely a thing of formulas and tithes and bishoprics--by
this same process do titles and ceremonies that once had a meaning and a
power become empty forms.

Coats of arms which served to distinguish men in battle, now figure on
the carriage panels of retired grocers. Once a badge of high military
rank, the shoulder-knot has become, on the modern footman, a mark of
servitude. The name Banneret, which once marked a partially-created
Baron--a Baron who had passed his military "little go"--is now, under
the modification of Baronet, applicable to any one favoured by wealth or
interest or party feeling. Knighthood has so far ceased to be an honour,
that men now honour themselves by declining it. The military dignity
_Escuyer_ has, in the modern Esquire, become a wholly unmilitary affix.
Not only do titles, and phrases, and salutes cease to fulfil their
original functions, but the whole apparatus of social forms tends to
become useless for its original purpose--the facilitation of social
intercourse. Those most learned in ceremonies, and most precise in the
observance of them, are not always the best behaved; as those deepest
read in creeds and scriptures are not therefore the most religious; nor
those who have the clearest notions of legality and illegality, the most
honest. Just as lawyers are of all men the least noted for probity; as
cathedral towns have a lower moral character than most others; so, if
Swift is to be believed, courtiers are "the most insignificant race of
people that the island can afford, and with the smallest tincture of
good manners."

But perhaps it is in that class of social observances comprehended under
the term Fashion, which we must here discuss parenthetically, that this
process of corruption is seen with the greatest distinctness. As
contrasted with Manners, which dictate our minor acts in relation to
other persons, Fashion dictates our minor acts in relation to ourselves.
While the one prescribes that part of our deportment which directly
affects our neighbours; the other prescribes that part of our deportment
which is primarily personal, and in which our neighbours are concerned
only as spectators. Thus distinguished as they are, however, the two
have a common source. For while, as we have shown, Manners originate by
imitation of the behaviour pursued _towards_ the great; Fashion
originates by imitation _of_ the behaviour of the great. While the one
has its derivation in the titles, phrases, and salutes used _to_ those
in power; the other is derived from the habits and appearances exhibited
_by_ those in power.

The Carrib mother who squeezes her child's head into a shape like that
of the chief; the young savage who makes marks on himself similar to the
scars carried by the warriors of his tribe (which is probably the origin
of tattooing); the Highlander who adopts the plaid worn by the head of
his clan; the courtiers who affect greyness, or limp, or cover their
necks, in imitation of their king; and the people who ape the courtiers;
are alike acting under a kind of government connate with that of
Manners, and, like it too, primarily beneficial. For notwithstanding the
numberless absurdities into which this copyism has led the people, from
nose-rings to ear-rings, from painted faces to beauty-spots, from shaven
heads to powdered wigs, from filed teeth and stained nails to
bell-girdles, peaked shoes, and breeches stuffed with bran,--it must yet
be concluded, that as the strong men, the successful men, the men of
will, intelligence, and originality, who have got to the top, are, on
the average, more likely to show judgment in their habits and tastes
than the mass, the imitation of such is advantageous.

By and by, however, Fashion, corrupting like these other forms of rule,
almost wholly ceases to be an imitation of the best, and becomes an
imitation of quite other than the best. As those who take orders are not
those having a special fitness for the priestly office, but those who
see their way to a living by it; as legislators and public functionaries
do not become such by virtue of their political insight and power to
rule, but by virtue of birth, acreage, and class influence; so, the
self-elected clique who set the fashion, gain this prerogative, not by
their force of nature, their intellect, their higher worth or better
taste, but gain it solely by their unchecked assumption. Among the
initiated are to be found neither the noblest in rank, the chief in
power, the best cultured, the most refined, nor those of greatest
genius, wit, or beauty; and their reunions, so far from being superior
to others, are noted for their inanity. Yet, by the example of these
sham great, and not by that of the truly great, does society at large
now regulate its goings and comings, its hours, its dress, its small
usages. As a natural consequence, these have generally little or none of
that suitableness which the theory of fashion implies they should have.
But instead of a continual progress towards greater elegance and
convenience, which might be expected to occur did people copy the ways
of the really best, or follow their own ideas of propriety, we have a
reign of mere whim, of unreason, of change for the sake of change, of
wanton oscillations from either extreme to the other--a reign of usages
without meaning, times without fitness, dress without taste. And thus
life _à la mode_, instead of being life conducted in the most rational
manner, is life regulated by spendthrifts and idlers, milliners and
tailors, dandies and silly women.

To these several corollaries--that the various orders of control
exercised over men have a common origin and a common function, are
called out by co-ordinate necessities and co-exist in like stringency,
decline together and corrupt together--it now only remains to add that
they become needless together. Consequent as all kinds of government are
upon the unfitness of the aboriginal man for social life; and
diminishing in coerciveness as they all do in proportion as this
unfitness diminishes; they must one and all come to an end as humanity
acquires complete adaptation to its new conditions. That discipline of
circumstances which has already wrought out such great changes in us,
must go on eventually to work out yet greater ones. That daily curbing
of the lower nature and culture of the higher, which out of cannibals
and devil worshippers has evolved philanthropists, lovers of peace, and
haters of superstition, cannot fail to evolve out of these, men as much
superior to them as they are to their progenitors. The causes that have
produced past modifications are still in action; must continue in action
as long as there exists any incongruity between man's desires and the
requirements of the social state; and must eventually make him
organically fit for the social state. As it is now needless to forbid
man-eating and Fetishism, so will it ultimately become needless to
forbid murder, theft, and the minor offences of our criminal code. When
human nature has grown into conformity with the moral law, there will
need no judges and statute-books; when it spontaneously takes the right
course in all things, as in some things it does already, prospects of
future reward or punishment will not be wanted as incentives; and when
fit behaviour has become instinctive, there will need no code of
ceremonies to say how behaviour shall be regulated.

Thus, then, may be recognised the meaning, the naturalness, the
necessity of those various eccentricities of reformers which we set out
by describing. They are not accidental; they are not mere personal
caprices, as people are apt to suppose. On the contrary, they are
inevitable results of the law of relationship above illustrated. That
community of genesis, function, and decay which all forms of restraint
exhibit, is simply the obverse of the fact at first pointed out, that
they have in two sentiments of human nature a common preserver and a
common destroyer. Awe of power originates and cherishes them all: love
of freedom undermines and periodically weakens them all. The one defends
despotism and asserts the supremacy of laws, adheres to old creeds and
supports ecclesiastical authority, pays respect to titles and conserves
forms; the other, putting rectitude above legality, achieves periodical
instalments of political liberty, inaugurates Protestantism and works
out its consequences, ignores the senseless dictates of Fashion and
emancipates men from dead customs.

To the true reformer no institution is sacred, no belief above
criticism. Everything shall conform itself to equity and reason; nothing
shall be saved by its prestige. Conceding to each man liberty to pursue
his own ends and satisfy his own tastes, he demands for himself like
liberty; and consents to no restrictions on this, save those which other
men's equal claims involve. No matter whether it be an ordinance of one
man, or an ordinance of all men, if it trenches on his legitimate sphere
of action, he denies its validity. The tyranny that would impose on him
a particular style of dress and a set mode of behaviour, he resists
equally with the tyranny that would limit his buyings and sellings, or
dictate his creed. Whether the regulation be formally made by a
legislature, or informally made by society at large--whether the penalty
for disobedience be imprisonment, or frowns and social ostracism, he
sees to be a question of no moment. He will utter his belief
notwithstanding the threatened punishment; he will break conventions
spite of the petty persecutions that will be visited on him. Show him
that his actions are inimical to his fellow-men, and he will pause.
Prove that he is disregarding their legitimate claims--that he is doing
what in the nature of things must produce unhappiness; and he will alter
his course. But until you do this--until you demonstrate that his
proceedings are essentially inconvenient or inelegant, essentially
irrational, unjust, or ungenerous, he will persevere.

Some, indeed, argue that his conduct _is_ unjust and ungenerous. They
say that he has no right to annoy other people by his whims; that the
gentleman to whom his letter comes with no "Esq." appended to the
address, and the lady whose evening party he enters with gloveless
hands, are vexed at what they consider his want of respect, or want of
breeding; that thus his eccentricities cannot be indulged save at the
expense of his neighbours' feelings; and that hence his nonconformity is
in plain terms selfishness.

He answers that this position, if logically developed, would deprive men
of all liberty whatever. Each must conform all his acts to the public
taste, and not his own. The public taste on every point having been once
ascertained, men's habits must thenceforth remain for ever fixed; seeing
that no man can adopt other habits without sinning against the public
taste, and giving people disagreeable feelings. Consequently, be it an
era of pig-tails or high-heeled shoes, of starched ruffs or trunk-hose,
all must continue to wear pig-tails, high-heeled shoes, starched ruffs,
or trunk-hose to the crack of doom.

If it be still urged that he is not justified in breaking through
others' forms that he may establish his own, and so sacrificing the
wishes of many to the wishes of one, he replies that all religious and
political changes might be negatived on like grounds. He asks whether
Luther's sayings and doings were not extremely offensive to the mass of
his contemporaries; whether the resistance of Hampden was not disgusting
to the time-servers around him; whether every reformer has not shocked
men's prejudices, and given immense displeasure by the opinions he
uttered. The affirmative answer he follows up by demanding what right
the reformer has, then, to utter these opinions; whether he is not
sacrificing the feelings of many to the feelings of one; and so proves
that, to be consistent, his antagonists must condemn not only all
nonconformity in actions, but all nonconformity in thoughts.

His antagonists rejoin that _his_ position, too, may be pushed to an
absurdity. They argue that if a man may offend by the disregard of some
forms, he may as legitimately do so by the disregard of all; and they
inquire--Why should he not go out to dinner in a dirty shirt, and with
an unshorn chin? Why should he not spit on the drawing-room carpet, and
stretch his heels up to the mantle-shelf?

The convention-breaker answers, that to ask this, implies a confounding
of two widely-different classes of actions--the actions that are
_essentially_ displeasurable to those around, with the actions that are
but _incidentally_ displeasurable to them. He whose skin is so unclean
as to offend the nostrils of his neighbours, or he who talks so loudly
as to disturb a whole room, may be justly complained of, and rightly
excluded by society from its assemblies. But he who presents himself in
a surtout in place of a dress-coat, or in brown trousers instead of
black, gives offence not to men's senses, or their innate tastes, but
merely to their prejudices, their bigotry of convention. It cannot be
said that his costume is less elegant or less intrinsically appropriate
than the one prescribed; seeing that a few hours earlier in the day it
is admired. It is the implied rebellion, therefore, that annoys. How
little the cause of quarrel has to do with the dress itself, is seen in
the fact that a century ago black clothes would have been thought
preposterous for hours of recreation, and that a few years hence some
now forbidden style may be nearer the requirements of Fashion than the
present one. Thus the reformer explains that it is not against the
natural restraints, but against the artificial ones, that he protests;
and that manifestly the fire of sneers and angry glances which he has to
bear, is poured upon him because he will not bow down to the idol which
society has set up.

Should he be asked how we are to distinguish between conduct that is
_absolutely_ disagreeable to others, and conduct that is _relatively_
so, he answers, that they will distinguish themselves if men will let
them. Actions intrinsically repugnant will ever be frowned upon, and
must ever remain as exceptional as now. Actions not intrinsically
repugnant will establish themselves as proper. No relaxation of customs
will introduce the practice of going to a party in muddy boots, and with
unwashed hands; for the dislike of dirt would continue were Fashion
abolished to-morrow. That love of approbation which now makes people so
solicitous to be _en règle_ would still exist--would still make them
careful of their personal appearance--would still induce them to seek
admiration by making themselves ornamental--would still cause them to
respect the natural laws of good behaviour, as they now do the
artificial ones. The change would simply be from a repulsive monotony to
a picturesque variety. And if there be any regulations respecting which
it is uncertain whether they are based on reality or on convention,
experiment will soon decide, if due scope be allowed.

When at length the controversy comes round, as controversies often do,
to the point whence it started, and the "party of order" repeat their
charge against the rebel, that he is sacrificing the feelings of others
to the gratification of his own wilfulness, he replies once for all that
they cheat themselves by misstatements. He accuses them of being so
despotic, that, not content with being masters over their own ways and
habits, they would be masters over his also; and grumble because he
will not let them. He merely asks the same freedom which they exercise;
they, however, propose to regulate his course as well as their own--to
cut and clip his mode of life into agreement with their approved
pattern; and then charge him with wilfulness and selfishness, because he
does not quietly submit! He warns them that he shall resist,
nevertheless; and that he shall do so, not only for the assertion of his
own independence, but for their good. He tells them that they are
slaves, and know it not; that they are shackled, and kiss their chains;
that they have lived all their days in prison, and complain at the walls
being broken down. He says he must persevere, however, with a view to
his own release; and in spite of their present expostulations, he
prophesies that when they have recovered from the fright which the
prospect of freedom produces, they will thank him for aiding in their

Unamiable as seems this find-fault mood, offensive as is this defiant
attitude, we must beware of overlooking the truths enunciated, in
dislike of the advocacy. It is an unfortunate hindrance to all
innovation, that in virtue of their very function, the innovators stand
in a position of antagonism; and the disagreeable manners, and sayings,
and doings, which this antagonism generates, are commonly associated
with the doctrines promulgated. Quite forgetting that whether the thing
attacked be good or bad, the combative spirit is necessarily repulsive;
and quite forgetting that the toleration of abuses seems amiable merely
from its passivity; the mass of men contract a bias against advanced
views, and in favour of stationary ones, from intercourse with their
respective adherents. "Conservatism," as Emerson says, "is debonnair and
social; reform is individual and imperious." And this remains true,
however vicious the system conserved, however righteous the reform to be
effected. Nay, the indignation of the purists is usually extreme in
proportion as the evils to be got rid of are great. The more urgent the
required change, the more intemperate is the vehemence of its promoters.
Let no one, then, confound with the principles of this social
nonconformity the acerbity and the disagreeable self-assertion of those
who first display it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The most plausible objection raised against resistance to conventions,
is grounded on its impolicy, considered even from the progressist's
point of view. It is urged by many of the more liberal and
intelligent--usually those who have themselves shown some independence
of behaviour in earlier days--that to rebel in these small matters is to
destroy your own power of helping on reform in greater matters. "If you
show yourself eccentric in manners or dress, the world," they say, "will
not listen to you. You will be considered as crotchety, and
impracticable. The opinions you express on important subjects, which
might have been treated with respect had you conformed on minor points,
will now inevitably be put down among your singularities; and thus, by
dissenting in trifles, you disable yourself from spreading dissent in

Only noting, as we pass, that this is one of those anticipations which
bring about their own fulfilment--that it is because most who disapprove
these conventions do not show their disapproval, that the few who do
show it look eccentric--and that did all act out their convictions, no
such inference as the above would be drawn, and no such evil would
result;--noting this as we pass, we go on to reply that these social
restraints, and forms, and requirements, are not small evils, but among
the greatest. Estimate their sum total, and we doubt whether they would
not exceed most others. Could we add up the trouble, the cost, the
jealousies, vexations, misunderstandings, the loss of time and the loss
of pleasure, which these conventions entail--could we clearly realise
the extent to which we are all daily hampered by them, daily enslaved by
them; we should perhaps come to the conclusion that the tyranny of Mrs.
Grundy is worse than any other tyranny we suffer under. Let us look at a
few of its hurtful results; beginning with those of minor importance.

It produces extravagance. The desire to be _comme il faut_, which
underlies all conformities, whether of manners, dress, or styles of
entertainment, is the desire which makes many a spendthrift and many a
bankrupt. To "keep up appearances," to have a house in an approved
quarter furnished in the latest taste, to give expensive dinners and
crowded _soirées_, is an ambition forming the natural outcome of the
conformist spirit. It is needless to enlarge on these follies: they have
been satirised by hosts of writers, and in every drawing-room. All that
here concerns us, is to point out that the respect for social
observances, which men think so praiseworthy, has the same root with
this effort to be fashionable in mode of living; and that, other things
equal, the last cannot be diminished without the first being diminished
also. If, now, we consider all that this extravagance entails--if we
count up the robbed tradesmen, the stinted governesses, the
ill-educated children, the fleeced relatives, who have to suffer from
it--if we mark the anxiety and the many moral delinquencies which its
perpetrators involve themselves in; we shall see that this regard for
conventions is not quite so innocent as it looks.

Again, it decreases the amount of social intercourse. Passing over the
reckless, and those who make a great display on speculation with the
occasional result of getting on in the world to the exclusion of much
better men, we come to the far larger class who, being prudent and
honest enough not to exceed their means, and yet having a strong wish to
be "respectable," are obliged to limit their entertainments to the
smallest possible number; and that each of these may be turned to the
greatest advantage in meeting the claims upon their hospitality, are
induced to issue their invitations with little or no regard to the
comfort or mutual fitness of their guests. A few inconveniently-large
assemblies, made up of people mostly strange to each other or but
distantly acquainted, and having scarcely any tastes in common, are made
to serve in place of many small parties of friends intimate enough to
have some bond of thought and sympathy. Thus the quantity of intercourse
is diminished, and the quality deteriorated. Because it is the custom to
make costly preparations and provide costly refreshments; and because it
entails both less expense and less trouble to do this for many persons
on a few occasions than for few persons on many occasions; the reunions
of our less wealthy classes are rendered alike infrequent and tedious.

Let it be further observed, that the existing formalities of social
intercourse drive away many who most need its refining influence: and
drive them into injurious habits and associations. Not a few men, and
not the least sensible men either, give up in disgust this going out to
stately dinners, and stiff evening-parties; and instead, seek society in
clubs, and cigar-divans, and taverns. "I'm sick of this standing about
in drawing-rooms, talking nonsense, and trying to look happy," will
answer one of them when taxed with his desertion. "Why should I any
longer waste time and money, and temper? Once I was ready enough to rush
home from the office to dress; I sported embroidered shirts, submitted
to tight boots, and cared nothing for tailors' and haberdashers' bills.
I know better now. My patience lasted a good while; for though I found
each night pass stupidly, I always hoped the next would make amends. But
I'm undeceived. Cab-hire and kid gloves cost more than any evening
party pays for; or rather--it is worth the cost of them to avoid the
party. No, no; I'll no more of it. Why should I pay five shillings a
time for the privilege of being bored?"

If, now, we consider that this very common mood tends towards
billiard-rooms, towards long sittings over cigars and brandy-and-water,
towards Evans's and the Coal Hole, towards every place where amusement
may be had; it becomes a question whether these precise observances
which hamper our set meetings, have not to answer for much of the
prevalent dissoluteness. Men must have excitements of some kind or
other; and if debarred from higher ones will fall back upon lower. It is
not that those who thus take to irregular habits are essentially those
of low tastes. Often it is quite the reverse. Among half a dozen
intimate friends, abandoning formalities and sitting at ease round the
fire, none will enter with greater enjoyment into the highest kind of
social intercourse--the genuine communion of thought and feeling; and if
the circle includes women of intelligence and refinement, so much the
greater is their pleasure. It is because they will no longer be choked
with the mere dry husks of conversation which society offers them, that
they fly its assemblies, and seek those with whom they may have
discourse that is at least real, though unpolished. The men who thus
long for substantial mental sympathy, and will go where they can get it,
are often, indeed, much better at the core than the men who are content
with the inanities of gloved and scented party-goers--men who feel no
need to come morally nearer to their fellow creatures than they can come
while standing, tea-cup in hand, answering trifles with trifles; and
who, by feeling no such need, prove themselves shallow-thoughted and

It is true, that some who shun drawing-rooms do so from inability to
bear the restraints prescribed by a genuine refinement, and that they
would be greatly improved by being kept under these restraints. But it
is not less true that, by adding to the legitimate restraints, which are
based on convenience and a regard for others, a host of factitious
restraints based only on convention, the refining discipline, which
would else have been borne with benefit, is rendered unbearable, and so
misses its end. Excess of government invariably defeats itself by
driving away those to be governed. And if over all who desert its
entertainments in disgust either at their emptiness or their formality,
society thus loses its salutary influence--if such not only fail to
receive that moral culture which the company of ladies, when rationally
regulated, would give them, but, in default of other relaxation, are
driven into habits and companionships which often end in gambling and
drunkenness; must we not say that here, too, is an evil not to be passed
over as insignificant?

Then consider what a blighting effect these multitudinous preparations
and ceremonies have upon the pleasures they profess to subserve. Who, on
calling to mind the occasions of his highest social enjoyments, does not
find them to have been wholly informal, perhaps impromptu? How
delightful a picnic of friends, who forget all observances save those
dictated by good nature! How pleasant the little unpretended gatherings
of book-societies, and the like; or those purely accidental meetings of
a few people well known to each other! Then, indeed, we may see that "a
man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend." Cheeks flush, and eyes
sparkle. The witty grow brilliant, and even the dull are excited into
saying good things. There is an overflow of topics; and the right
thought, and the right words to put it in, spring up unsought. Grave
alternates with gay: now serious converse, and now jokes, anecdotes, and
playful raillery. Every one's best nature is shown, every one's best
feelings are in pleasurable activity; and, for the time, life seems well
worth having.

Go now and dress for some half-past eight dinner, or some ten o'clock
"at home;" and present yourself in spotless attire, with every hair
arranged to perfection. How great the difference! The enjoyment seems in
the inverse ratio of the preparation. These figures, got up with such
finish and precision, appear but half alive. They have frozen each other
by their primness; and your faculties feel the numbing effects of the
atmosphere the moment you enter it. All those thoughts, so nimble and so
apt awhile since, have disappeared--have suddenly acquired a
preternatural power of eluding you. If you venture a remark to your
neighbour, there comes a trite rejoinder, and there it ends. No subject
you can hit upon outlives half a dozen sentences. Nothing that is said
excites any real interest in you; and you feel that all you say is
listened to with apathy. By some strange magic, things that usually give
pleasure seem to have lost all charm.

You have a taste for art. Weary of frivolous talk, you turn to the
table, and find that the book of engravings and the portfolio of
photographs are as flat as the conversation. You are fond of music. Yet
the singing, good as it is, you hear with utter indifference; and say
"Thank you" with a sense of being a profound hypocrite. Wholly at ease
though you could be, for your own part, you find that your sympathies
will not let you. You see young gentlemen feeling whether their ties are
properly adjusted, looking vacantly round, and considering what they
shall do next. You see ladies sitting disconsolately, waiting for some
one to speak to them, and wishing they had the wherewith to occupy their
fingers. You see the hostess standing about the doorway, keeping a
factitious smile on her face, and racking her brain to find the
requisite nothings with which to greet her guests as they enter. You see
numberless traits of weariness and embarrassment; and, if you have any
fellow-feeling, these cannot fail to produce a feeling of discomfort.
The disorder is catching; and do what you will you cannot resist the
general infection. You struggle against it; you make spasmodic efforts
to be lively; but none of your sallies or your good stories do more than
raise a simper or a forced laugh: intellect and feeling are alike
asphyxiated. And when, at length, yielding to your disgust, you rush
away, how great is the relief when you get into the fresh air, and see
the stars! How you "Thank God, that's over!" and half resolve to avoid
all such boredom for the future!

What, now, is the secret of this perpetual miscarriage and
disappointment? Does not the fault lie with all these needless
adjuncts--these elaborate dressings, these set forms, these expensive
preparations, these many devices and arrangements that imply trouble and
raise expectation? Who that has lived thirty years in the world has not
discovered that Pleasure is coy; and must not be too directly pursued,
but must be caught unawares? An air from a street-piano, heard while at
work, will often gratify more than the choicest music played at a
concert by the most accomplished musicians. A single good picture seen
in a dealer's window, may give keener enjoyment than a whole exhibition
gone through with catalogue and pencil. By the time we have got ready
our elaborate apparatus by which to secure happiness, the happiness is
gone. It is too subtle to be contained in these receivers, garnished
with compliments, and fenced round with etiquette. The more we multiply
and complicate appliances, the more certain are we to drive it away.

The reason is patent enough. These higher emotions to which social
intercourse ministers, are of extremely complex nature; they
consequently depend for their production upon very numerous conditions;
the more numerous the conditions, the greater the liability that one or
other of them will be disturbed, and the emotions consequently
prevented. It takes a considerable misfortune to destroy appetite; but
cordial sympathy with those around may be extinguished by a look or a
word. Hence it follows, that the more multiplied the _unnecessary_
requirements with which social intercourse is surrounded, the less
likely are its pleasures to be achieved. It is difficult enough to
fulfil continuously all the _essentials_ to a pleasurable communion with
others: how much more difficult, then, must it be continuously to fulfil
a host of _non-essentials_ also! It is, indeed, impossible. The attempt
inevitably ends in the sacrifice of the first to the last--the
essentials to the non-essentials. What chance is there of getting any
genuine response from the lady who is thinking of your stupidity in
taking her in to dinner on the wrong arm? How are you likely to have
agreeable converse with the gentleman who is fuming internally because
he is not placed next to the hostess? Formalities, familiar as they may
become, necessarily occupy attention--necessarily multiply the occasions
for mistake, misunderstanding, and jealousy, on the part of one or
other--necessarily distract all minds from the thoughts and feelings
that should occupy them--necessarily, therefore, subvert those
conditions under which only any sterling intercourse is to be had.

And this indeed is the fatal mischief which these conventions entail--a
mischief to which every other is secondary. They destroy those highest
of our pleasures which they profess to subserve. All institutions are
alike in this, that however useful, and needful even, they originally
were, they not only in the end cease to be so, but become detrimental.
While humanity is growing, they continue fixed; daily get more
mechanical and unvital; and by and by tend to strangle what they before
preserved. It is not simply that they become corrupt and fail to act:
they become obstructions. Old forms of government finally grow so
oppressive, that they must be thrown off even at the risk of reigns of
terror. Old creeds end in being dead formulas, which no longer aid but
distort and arrest the general mind; while the State-churches
administering them, come to be instruments for subsidising conservatism
and repressing progress. Old schemes of education, incarnated in public
schools and colleges, continue filling the heads of new generations with
what has become relatively useless knowledge, and, by consequence,
excluding knowledge which is useful. Not an organisation of any
kind--political, religious, literary, philanthropic--but what, by its
ever-multiplying regulations, its accumulating wealth, its yearly
addition of officers, and the creeping into it of patronage and party
feeling, eventually loses its original spirit, and sinks into a mere
lifeless mechanism, worked with a view to private ends--a mechanism
which not merely fails of its first purpose, but is a positive hindrance
to it.

Thus is it, too, with social usages. We read of the Chinese that they
have "ponderous ceremonies transmitted from time immemorial," which make
social intercourse a burden. The court forms prescribed by monarchs for
their own exaltation, have, in all times and places, ended in consuming
the comfort of their lives. And so the artificial observances of the
dining-room and saloon, in proportion as they are many and strict,
extinguish that agreeable communion which they were originally intended
to secure. The dislike with which people commonly speak of society that
is "formal," and "stiff," and "ceremonious," implies the general
recognition of this fact; and this recognition, logically developed,
involves that all usages of behaviour which are not based on natural
requirements, are injurious. That these conventions defeat their own
ends is no new assertion. Swift, criticising the manners of his day,
says--"Wise men are often more uneasy at the over-civility of these
refiners than they could possibly be in the conversation of peasants and

But it is not only in these details that the self-defeating action of
our arrangements is traceable: it is traceable in the very substance and
nature of them. Our social intercourse, as commonly managed, is a mere
semblance of the reality sought. What is it that we want? Some
sympathetic converse with our fellow-creatures: some converse that shall
not be mere dead words, but the vehicle of living thoughts and
feelings--converse in which the eyes and the face shall speak, and the
tones of the voice be full of meaning--converse which shall make us feel
no longer alone, but shall draw us closer to another, and double our own
emotions by adding another's to them. Who is there that has not, from
time to time, felt how cold and flat is all this talk about politics and
science, and the new books and the new men, and how a genuine utterance
of fellow-feeling outweighs the whole of it? Mark the words of
Bacon:--"For a crowd is not a company, and faces are but a gallery of
pictures, and talk but a tinkling cymbal, where there is no love."

If this be true, then it is only after acquaintance has grown into
intimacy, and intimacy has ripened into friendship, that the real
communion which men need becomes possible. A rationally-formed circle
must consist almost wholly of those on terms of familiarity and regard,
with but one or two strangers. What folly, then, underlies the whole
system of our grand dinners, our "at homes," our evening
parties--assemblages made up of many who never met before, many others
who just bow to each other, many others who though familiar feel mutual
indifference, with just a few real friends lost in the general mass! You
need but look round at the artificial expressions of face, to see at
once how it is. All have their disguises on; and how can there be
sympathy between masks? No wonder that in private every one exclaims
against the stupidity of these gatherings. No wonder that hostesses get
them up rather because they must than because they wish. No wonder that
the invited go less from the expectation of pleasure than from fear of
giving offence. The whole thing is a gigantic mistake--an organised

And then note, lastly, that in this case, as in all others, when an
organisation has become effete and inoperative for its legitimate
purpose, it is employed for quite other ones--quite opposite ones. What
is the usual plea put in for giving and attending these tedious
assemblies? "I admit that they are stupid and frivolous enough," replies
every man to your criticisms; "but then, you know, one must keep up
one's connections." And could you get from his wife a sincere answer, it
would be--"Like you, I am sick of these frivolities; but then, we must
get our daughters married." The one knows that there is a profession to
push, a practice to gain, a business to extend: or parliamentary
influence, or county patronage, or votes, or office, to be got:
position, berths, favours, profit. The other's thoughts run upon
husbands and settlements, wives and dowries. Worthless for their
ostensible purpose of daily bringing human beings into pleasurable
relations with each other, these cumbrous appliances of our social
intercourse are now perseveringly kept in action with a view to the
pecuniary and matrimonial results which they indirectly produce.

Who then shall say that the reform of our system of observances is
unimportant? When we see how this system induces fashionable
extravagance, with its entailed bankruptcy and ruin--when we mark how
greatly it limits the amount of social intercourse among the less
wealthy classes--when we find that many who most need to be disciplined
by mixing with the refined are driven away by it, and led into
dangerous and often fatal courses--when we count up the many minor evils
it inflicts, the extra work which its costliness entails on all
professional and mercantile men, the damage to public taste in dress and
decoration by the setting up of its absurdities as standards for
imitation, the injury to health indicated in the faces of its devotees
at the close of the London season, the mortality of milliners and the
like, which its sudden exigencies yearly involve;--and when to all these
we add its fatal sin, that it blights, withers up, and kills, that high
enjoyment it professedly ministers to--that enjoyment which is a chief
end of our hard struggling in life to obtain--shall we not conclude that
to reform our system of etiquette and fashion, is an aim yielding to few
in urgency?

       *       *       *       *       *

There needs, then, a protestantism in social usages. Forms that have
ceased to facilitate and have become obstructive--whether political,
religious, or other--have ever to be swept away; and eventually are so
swept away in all cases. Signs are not wanting that some change is at
hand. A host of satirists, led on by Thackeray, have been for years
engaged in bringing our sham-festivities, and our fashionable follies,
into contempt; and in their candid moods, most men laugh at the
frivolities with which they and the world in general are deluded.
Ridicule has always been a revolutionary agent. That which is habitually
assailed with sneers and sarcasms cannot long survive. Institutions that
have lost their roots in men's respect and faith are doomed; and the day
of their dissolution is not far off. The time is approaching, then, when
our system of social observances must pass through some crisis, out of
which it will come purified and comparatively simple.

How this crisis will be brought about, no one can with any certainty
say. Whether by the continuance and increase of individual protests, or
whether by the union of many persons for the practice and propagation of
some better system, the future alone can decide. The influence of
dissentients acting without co-operation, seems, under the present state
of things, inadequate. Standing severally alone, and having no
well-defined views; frowned on by conformists, and expostulated with
even by those who secretly sympathise with them; subject to petty
persecutions, and unable to trace any benefit produced by their example;
they are apt, one by one, to give up their attempts as hopeless. The
young convention-breaker eventually finds that he pays too heavily for
his nonconformity. Hating, for example, everything that bears about it
any remnant of servility, he determines, in the ardour of his
independence, that he will uncover to no one. But what he means simply
as a general protest, he finds that ladies interpret into a personal
disrespect. Though he sees that, from the days of chivalry downwards,
these marks of supreme consideration paid to the other sex have been but
a hypocritical counterpart to the actual subjection in which men have
held them--a pretended submission to compensate for a real domination;
and though he sees that when the true dignity of women is recognised,
the mock dignities given to them will be abolished; yet he does not like
to be thus misunderstood, and so hesitates in his practice.

In other cases, again, his courage fails him. Such of his
unconventionalities as can be attributed only to eccentricity, he has no
qualms about: for, on the whole, he feels rather complimented than
otherwise in being considered a disregarder of public opinion. But when
they are liable to be put down to ignorance, to ill-breeding, or to
poverty, he becomes a coward. However clearly the recent innovation of
eating some kinds of fish with knife and fork proves the fork-and-bread
practice to have had little but caprice for its basis, yet he dares not
wholly ignore that practice while fashion partially maintains it. Though
he thinks that a silk handkerchief is quite as appropriate for
drawing-room use as a white cambric one, he is not altogether at ease in
acting out his opinion. Then, too, he begins to perceive that his
resistance to prescription brings round disadvantageous results which he
had not calculated upon. He had expected that it would save him from a
great deal of social intercourse of a frivolous kind--that it would
offend the fools, but not the sensible people; and so would serve as a
self-acting test by which those worth knowing would be separated from
those not worth knowing. But the fools prove to be so greatly in the
majority that, by offending them, he closes against himself nearly all
the avenues though which the sensible people are to be reached. Thus he
finds, that his nonconformity is frequently misinterpreted; that there
are but few directions in which he dares to carry it consistently out;
that the annoyances and disadvantages which it brings upon him are
greater than he anticipated; and that the chances of his doing any good
are very remote. Hence he gradually loses resolution, and lapses, step
by step, into the ordinary routine of observances.

Abortive as individual protests thus generally turn out, it may possibly
be that nothing effectual will be done until there arises some organised
resistance to this invisible despotism, by which our modes and habits
are dictated. It may happen, that the government of Manners and Fashion
will be rendered less tyrannical, as the political and religious
governments have been, by some antagonistic union. Alike in Church and
State, men's first emancipations from excess of restriction were
achieved by numbers, bound together by a common creed or a common
political faith. What remained undone while there were but individual
schismatics or rebels, was effected when there came to be many acting in
concert. It is tolerably clear that these earliest instalments of
freedom could not have been obtained in any other way; for so long as
the feeling of personal independence was weak and the rule strong, there
could never have been a sufficient number of separate dissentients to
produce the desired results. Only in these later times, during which the
secular and spiritual controls have been growing less coercive, and the
tendency towards individual liberty greater, has it become possible for
smaller and smaller sects and parties to fight against established
creeds and laws; until now men may safely stand even alone in their

The failure of individual nonconformity to customs, as above
illustrated, suggests that an analogous series of changes may have to be
gone through in this case also. It is true that the _lex non scripta_
differs from the _lex scripta_ in this, that, being unwritten, it is
more readily altered; and that it has, from time to time, been quietly
ameliorated. Nevertheless, we shall find that the analogy holds
substantially good. For in this case, as in the others, the essential
revolution is not the substituting of any one set of restraints for any
other, but the limiting or abolishing the authority which prescribes
restraints. Just as the fundamental change inaugurated by the
Reformation was not a superseding of one creed by another, but an
ignoring of the arbiter who before dictated creeds--just as the
fundamental change which Democracy long ago commenced, was not from this
particular law to that, but from the despotism of one to the freedom of
all; so, the parallel change yet to be wrought out in this supplementary
government of which we are treating, is not the replacing of absurd
usages by sensible ones, but the dethronement of that secret,
irresponsible power which now imposes our usages, and the assertion of
the right of all individuals to choose their own usages. In rules of
living, a West-end clique is our Pope; and we are all papists, with but
a mere sprinkling of heretics. On all who decisively rebel, comes down
the penalty of excommunication, with its long catalogue of disagreeable
and, indeed, serious consequences.

The liberty of the subject asserted in our constitution, and ever on the
increase, has yet to be wrested from this subtler tyranny. The right of
private judgment, which our ancestors wrung from the church, remains to
be claimed from this dictator of our habits. Or, as before said, to free
us from these idolatries and superstitious conformities, there has still
to come a protestanism in social usages. Parallel, therefore, as is the
change to be wrought out, it seems not improbable that it may be wrought
out in an analogous way. That influence which solitary dissentients fail
to gain, and that perseverance which they lack, may come into existence
when they unite. That persecution which the world now visits upon them
from mistaking their nonconformity for ignorance or disrespect, may
diminish when it is seen to result from principle. The penalty which
exclusion now entails may disappear when they become numerous enough to
form visiting circles of their own. And when a successful stand has been
made, and the brunt of the opposition has passed, that large amount of
secret dislike to our observances which now pervades society, may
manifest itself with sufficient power to effect the desired

Whether such will be the process, time alone can decide. That community
of origin, growth, supremacy, and decadence, which we have found among
all kinds of government, suggests a community in modes of change also.
On the other hand, Nature often performs substantially similar
operations, in ways apparently different. Hence these details can never
be foretold.

       *       *       *       *       *

Meanwhile, let us glance at the conclusions that have been reached. On
the one side, government, originally one, and afterwards subdivided for
the better fulfilment of its function, must be considered as having ever
been, in all its branches--political, religious, and
ceremonial--beneficial; and, indeed, absolutely necessary. On the other
side, government, under all its forms, must be regarded as subserving a
temporary office, made needful by the unfitness of aboriginal humanity
for social life; and the successive diminutions of its coerciveness in
State, in Church, and in Custom, must be looked upon as steps towards
its final disappearance. To complete the conception, there requires to
be borne in mind the third fact, that the genesis, the maintenance, and
the decline of all governments, however named, are alike brought about
by the humanity to be controlled: from which may be drawn the inference
that, on the average, restrictions of every kind cannot last much longer
than they are wanted, and cannot be destroyed much faster than they
ought to be.

Society, in all its developments, undergoes the process of exuviation.
These old forms which it successively throws off, have all been once
vitally united with it--have severally served as the protective
envelopes within which a higher humanity was being evolved. They are
cast aside only when they become hindrances--only when some inner and
better envelope has been formed; and they bequeath to us all that there
was in them good. The periodical abolitions of tyrannical laws have left
the administration of justice not only uninjured, but purified. Dead and
buried creeds have not carried with them the essential morality they
contained, which still exists, uncontaminated by the sloughs of
superstition. And all that there is of justice and kindness and beauty,
embodied in our cumbrous forms of etiquette, will live perennially when
the forms themselves have been forgotten.

[1] _Westminster Review_, April 1854.

[2] This was written before moustaches and beards had become common.


There has ever prevailed among men a vague notion that scientific
knowledge differs in nature from ordinary knowledge. By the Greeks, with
whom Mathematics--literally _things learnt_--was alone considered as
knowledge proper, the distinction must have been strongly felt; and it
has ever since maintained itself in the general mind. Though,
considering the contrast between the achievements of science and those
of daily unmethodic thinking, it is not surprising that such a
distinction has been assumed; yet it needs but to rise a little above
the common point of view, to see that no such distinction can really
exist: or that at best, it is but a superficial distinction. The same
faculties are employed in both cases; and in both cases their mode of
operation is fundamentally the same.

If we say that science is organised knowledge, we are met by the truth
that all knowledge is organised in a greater or less degree--that the
commonest actions of the household and the field presuppose facts
colligated, inferences drawn, results expected; and that the general
success of these actions proves the data by which they were guided to
have been correctly put together. If, again, we say that science is
prevision--is a seeing beforehand--is a knowing in what times, places,
combinations, or sequences, specified phenomena will be found; we are
yet obliged to confess that the definition includes much that is utterly
foreign to science in its ordinary acceptation. For example, a child's
knowledge of an apple. This, as far as it goes, consists in previsions.
When a child sees a certain form and colours, it knows that if it puts
out its hand it will have certain impressions of resistance, and
roundness, and smoothness; and if it bites, a certain taste. And
manifestly its general acquaintance with surrounding objects is of like
nature--is made up of facts concerning them, so grouped as that any part
of a group being perceived, the existence of the other facts included in
it is foreseen.

If, once more, we say that science is _exact_ prevision, we still fail
to establish the supposed difference. Not only do we find that much of
what we call science is not exact, and that some of it, as physiology,
can never become exact; but we find further, that many of the previsions
constituting the common stock alike of wise and ignorant, _are_ exact.
That an unsupported body will fall; that a lighted candle will go out
when immersed in water; that ice will melt when thrown on the
fire--these, and many like predictions relating to the familiar
properties of things have as high a degree of accuracy as predictions
are capable of. It is true that the results predicated are of a very
general character; but it is none the less true that they are rigorously
correct as far as they go: and this is all that is requisite to fulfil
the definition. There is perfect accordance between the anticipated
phenomena and the actual ones; and no more than this can be said of the
highest achievements of the sciences specially characterised as exact.

Seeing thus that the assumed distinction between scientific knowledge
and common knowledge is not logically justifiable; and yet feeling, as
we must, that however impossible it may be to draw a line between them,
the two are not practically identical; there arises the question--What
is the relationship that exists between them? A partial answer to this
question may be drawn from the illustrations just given. On
reconsidering them, it will be observed that those portions of ordinary
knowledge which are identical in character with scientific knowledge,
comprehend only such combinations of phenomena as are directly
cognisable by the senses, and are of simple, invariable nature. That the
smoke from a fire which she is lighting will ascend, and that the fire
will presently boil water, are previsions which the servant-girl makes
equally well with the most learned physicist; they are equally certain,
equally exact with his; but they are previsions concerning phenomena in
constant and direct relation--phenomena that follow visibly and
immediately after their antecedents--phenomena of which the causation is
neither remote nor obscure--phenomena which may be predicted by the
simplest possible act of reasoning.

If, now, we pass to the previsions constituting what is commonly known
as science--that an eclipse of the moon will happen at a specified time;
and when a barometer is taken to the top of a mountain of known height,
the mercurial column will descend a stated number of inches; that the
poles of a galvanic battery immersed in water will give off, the one an
inflammable and the other an inflaming gas, in definite ratio--we
perceive that the relations involved are not of a kind habitually
presented to our senses; that they depend, some of them, upon special
combinations of causes; and that in some of them the connection between
antecedents and consequents is established only by an elaborate series
of inferences. The broad distinction, therefore, between the two orders
of knowledge, is not in their nature, but in their remoteness from

If we regard the cases in their most general aspect, we see that the
labourer, who, on hearing certain notes in the adjacent hedge, can
describe the particular form and colours of the bird making them; and
the astronomer, who, having calculated a transit of Venus, can delineate
the black spot entering on the sun's disc, as it will appear through the
telescope, at a specified hour; do essentially the same thing. Each
knows that on fulfilling the requisite conditions, he shall have a
preconceived impression--that after a definite series of actions will
come a group of sensations of a foreknown kind. The difference, then, is
not in the fundamental character of the mental acts; or in the
correctness of the previsions accomplished by them; but in the
complexity of the processes required to achieve the previsions. Much of
our commonest knowledge is, as far as it goes, rigorously precise.
Science does not increase this precision; cannot transcend it. What then
does it do? It reduces other knowledge to the same degree of precision.
That certainty which direct perception gives us respecting coexistences
and sequences of the simplest and most accessible kind, science gives us
respecting coexistences and sequences, complex in their dependencies or
inaccessible to immediate observation. In brief, regarded from this
point of view, science may be called _an extension of the perceptions by
means of reasoning_.

On further considering the matter, however, it will perhaps be felt that
this definition does not express the whole fact--that inseparable as
science may be from common knowledge, and completely as we may fill up
the gap between the simplest previsions of the child and the most
recondite ones of the natural philosopher, by interposing a series of
previsions in which the complexity of reasoning involved is greater and
greater, there is yet a difference between the two beyond that which is
here described. And this is true. But the difference is still not such
as enables us to draw the assumed line of demarcation. It is a
difference not between common knowledge and scientific knowledge; but
between the successive phases of science itself, or knowledge
itself--whichever we choose to call it. In its earlier phases science
attains only to _certainty_ of foreknowledge; in its later phases it
further attains to _completeness_. We begin by discovering _a_
relation: we end by discovering _the_ relation. Our first achievement is
to foretell the _kind_ of phenomenon which will occur under specific
conditions: our last achievement is to foretell not only the kind but
the _amount_. Or, to reduce the proposition to its most definite
form--undeveloped science is _qualitative_ prevision: developed science
is _quantitative_ prevision.

This will at once be perceived to express the remaining distinction
between the lower and the higher stages of positive knowledge. The
prediction that a piece of lead will take more force to lift it than a
piece of wood of equal size, exhibits certainty, but not completeness,
of foresight. The kind of effect in which the one body will exceed the
other is foreseen; but not the amount by which it will exceed. There is
qualitative prevision only. On the other hand, the prediction that at a
stated time two particular planets will be in conjunction; that by means
of a lever having arms in a given ratio, a known force will raise just
so many pounds; that to decompose a specified quantity of sulphate of
iron by carbonate of soda will require so many grains--these predictions
exhibit foreknowledge, not only of the nature of the effects to be
produced, but of the magnitude, either of the effects themselves, of the
agencies producing them, or of the distance in time or space at which
they will be produced. There is not only qualitative but quantitative

And this is the unexpressed difference which leads us to consider
certain orders of knowledge as especially scientific when contrasted
with knowledge in general. Are the phenomena _measurable_? is the test
which we unconsciously employ. Space is measurable: hence Geometry.
Force and space are measureable: hence Statics. Time, force, and space
are measureable: hence Dynamics. The invention of the barometer enabled
men to extend the principles of mechanics to the atmosphere; and
Aerostatics existed. When a thermometer was devised there arose a
science of heat, which was before impossible. Such of our sensations as
we have not yet found modes of measuring do not originate sciences. We
have no science of smells; nor have we one of tastes. We have a science
of the relations of sounds differing in pitch, because we have
discovered a way to measure them; but we have no science of sounds in
respect to their loudness or their _timbre_, because we have got no
measures of loudness and _timbre_.

Obviously it is this reduction of the sensible phenomena it represents,
to relations of magnitude, which gives to any division of knowledge its
especially scientific character. Originally men's knowledge of weights
and forces was in the same condition as their knowledge of smells and
tastes is now--a knowledge not extending beyond that given by the
unaided sensations; and it remained so until weighing instruments and
dynamometers were invented. Before there were hour-glasses and
clepsydras, most phenomena could be estimated as to their durations and
intervals, with no greater precision than degrees of hardness can be
estimated by the fingers. Until a thermometric scale was contrived,
men's judgments respecting relative amounts of heat stood on the same
footing with their present judgments respecting relative amounts of
sound. And as in these initial stages, with no aids to observation, only
the roughest comparisons of cases could be made, and only the most
marked differences perceived; it is obvious that only the most simple
laws of dependence could be ascertained--only those laws which, being
uncomplicated with others, and not disturbed in their manifestations,
required no niceties of observation to disentangle them. Whence it
appears not only that in proportion as knowledge becomes quantitative do
its previsions become complete as well as certain, but that until its
assumption of a quantitative character it is necessarily confined to the
most elementary relations.

Moreover it is to be remarked that while, on the one hand, we can
discover the laws of the greater proportion of phenomena only by
investigating them quantitatively; on the other hand we can extend the
range of our quantitative previsions only as fast as we detect the laws
of the results we predict. For clearly the ability to specify the
magnitude of a result inaccessible to direct measurement, implies
knowledge of its mode of dependence on something which can be
measured--implies that we know the particular fact dealt with to be an
instance of some more general fact. Thus the extent to which our
quantitative previsions have been carried in any direction, indicates
the depth to which our knowledge reaches in that direction. And here, as
another aspect of the same fact, we may further observe that as we pass
from qualitative to quantitative prevision, we pass from inductive
science to deductive science. Science while purely inductive is purely
qualitative: when inaccurately quantitative it usually consists of part
induction, part deduction: and it becomes accurately quantitative only
when wholly deductive. We do not mean that the deductive and the
quantitative are coextensive; for there is manifestly much deduction
that is qualitative only. We mean that all quantitative prevision is
reached deductively; and that induction can achieve only qualitative

Still, however, it must not be supposed that these distinctions enable
us to separate ordinary knowledge from science, much as they seem to do
so. While they show in what consists the broad contrast between the
extreme forms of the two, they yet lead us to recognise their essential
identity; and once more prove the difference to be one of degree only.
For, on the one hand, the commonest positive knowledge is to some extent
quantitative; seeing that the amount of the foreseen result is known
within certain wide limits. And, on the other hand, the highest
quantitative prevision does not reach the exact truth, but only a very
near approximation to it. Without clocks the savage knows that the day
is longer in the summer than in the winter; without scales he knows that
stone is heavier than flesh: that is, he can foresee respecting certain
results that their amounts will exceed these, and be less than those--he
knows _about_ what they will be. And, with his most delicate instruments
and most elaborate calculations, all that the man of science can do, is
to reduce the difference between the foreseen and the actual results to
an unimportant quantity.

Moreover, it must be borne in mind not only that all the sciences are
qualitative in their first stages,--not only that some of them, as
Chemistry, have but recently reached the quantitative stage--but that
the most advanced sciences have attained to their present power of
determining quantities not present to the senses, or not directly
measurable, by a slow process of improvement extending through thousands
of years. So that science and the knowledge of the uncultured are alike
in the nature of their previsions, widely as they differ in range; they
possess a common imperfection, though this is immensely greater in the
last than in the first; and the transition from the one to the other has
been through a series of steps by which the imperfection has been
rendered continually less, and the range continually wider.

These facts, that science and the positive knowledge of the uncultured
cannot be separated in nature, and that the one is but a perfected and
extended form of the other, must necessarily underlie the whole theory
of science, its progress, and the relations of its parts to each other.
There must be serious incompleteness in any history of the sciences,
which, leaving out of view the first steps of their genesis, commences
with them only when they assume definite forms. There must be grave
defects, if not a general untruth, in a philosophy of the sciences
considered in their interdependence and development, which neglects the
inquiry how they came to be distinct sciences, and how they were
severally evolved out of the chaos of primitive ideas.

Not only a direct consideration of the matter, but all analogy, goes to
show that in the earlier and simpler stages must be sought the key to
all subsequent intricacies. The time was when the anatomy and physiology
of the human being were studied by themselves--when the adult man was
analysed and the relations of parts and of functions investigated,
without reference either to the relations exhibited in the embryo or to
the homologous relations existing in other creatures. Now, however, it
has become manifest that no true conceptions, no true generalisations,
are possible under such conditions. Anatomists and physiologists now
find that the real natures of organs and tissues can be ascertained only
by tracing their early evolution; and that the affinities between
existing genera can be satisfactorily made out only by examining the
fossil genera to which they are allied. Well, is it not clear that the
like must be true concerning all things that undergo development? Is not
science a growth? Has not science, too, its embryology? And must not the
neglect of its embryology lead to a misunderstanding of the principles
of its evolution and of its existing organisation?

There are _à priori_ reasons, therefore, for doubting the truth of all
philosophies of the sciences which tacitly proceed upon the common
notion that scientific knowledge and ordinary knowledge are separate;
instead of commencing, as they should, by affiliating the one upon the
other, and showing how it gradually came to be distinguishable from the
other. We may expect to find their generalisations essentially
artificial; and we shall not be deceived. Some illustrations of this may
here be fitly introduced, by way of preliminary to a brief sketch of the
genesis of science from the point of view indicated. And we cannot more
readily find such illustrations than by glancing at a few of the various
_classifications_ of the sciences that have from time to time been
proposed. To consider all of them would take too much space: we must
content ourselves with some of the latest.

       *       *       *       *       *

Commencing with those which may be soonest disposed of, let us notice
first the arrangement propounded by Oken. An abstract of it runs

     Part I.   MATHESIS.--_Pneumatogeny_: Primary Art, Primary
               Consciousness, God, Primary Rest, Time, Polarity, Motion,
               Man, Space, Point. Line, Surface, Globe,
               Rotation.--_Hylogeny_: Gravity, Matter, Ether, Heavenly
               Bodies, Light, Heat, Fire.

        (He explains that MATHESIS is the doctrine of the whole;
        _Pneumatogeny_ being the doctrine of immaterial totalities, and
        _Hylogeny_ that of material totalities.)

     Part II.  ONTOLOGY.--_Cosmogeny_: Rest, Centre, Motion, Line,
               Planets, Form, Planetary System, Comets.--_Stöchiogeny_:
               Condensation, Simple Matter, Elements, Air, Water,
               Earth--_Stöchiology_: Functions of the Elements, etc.,
               etc.--_Kingdoms of Nature_: Individuals.

        (He says in explanation that "ONTOLOGY teaches us the phenomena
        of matter. The first of these are the heavenly bodies
        comprehended by _Cosmogeny_. These divide into
        elements--_Stöchiogeny_. The earth element divides into
        minerals--_Mineralogy_. These unite into one collective
        body--_Geogeny_. The whole in singulars is the living, or
        _Organic_, which again divides into plants and animals.
        _Biology_, therefore, divides into _Organogeny_, _Phytosophy_,

               FIRST KINGDOM.--MINERALS. _Mineralogy_, _Geology_.

     Part III. BIOLOGY.--_Organosophy_, _Phytogeny_, _Phyto-physiology_,
               _Phytology_, _Zoogeny_, _Physiology_, _Zoology_,

A glance over this confused scheme shows that it is an attempt to
classify knowledge, not after the order in which it has been, or may be,
built up in the human consciousness; but after an assumed order of
creation. It is a pseudo-scientific cosmogony, akin to those which men
have enunciated from the earliest times downwards; and only a little
more respectable. As such it will not be thought worthy of much
consideration by those who, like ourselves, hold that experience is the
sole origin of knowledge. Otherwise, it might have been needful to dwell
on the incongruities of the arrangements--to ask how motion can be
treated of before space? how there can be rotation without matter to
rotate? how polarity can be dealt with without involving points and
lines? But it will serve our present purpose just to point out a few of
the extreme absurdities resulting from the doctrine which Oken seems to
hold in common with Hegel, that "to philosophise on Nature is to
re-think the great thought of Creation." Here is a sample:--

"Mathematics is the universal science; so also is Physio-philosophy,
although it is only a part, or rather but a condition of the universe;
both are one, or mutually congruent.

"Mathematics is, however, a science of mere forms without substance.
Physio-philosophy is, therefore, _mathematics endowed with substance_."

From the English point of view it is sufficiently amusing to find such a
dogma not only gravely stated, but stated as an unquestionable truth.
Here we see the experiences of quantitative relations which men have
gathered from surrounding bodies and generalised (experiences which had
been scarcely at all generalised at the beginning of the historic
period)--we find these generalised experiences, these intellectual
abstractions, elevated into concrete actualities, projected back into
Nature, and considered as the internal framework of things--the skeleton
by which matter is sustained. But this new form of the old realism is by
no means the most startling of the physio-philosophic principles. We
presently read that,

"The highest mathematical idea, or the fundamental principle of all
mathematics is the zero = 0."....

"Zero is in itself nothing. Mathematics is based upon nothing, and,
_consequently_, arises out of nothing.

"Out of nothing, _therefore_, it is possible for something to arise; for
mathematics, consisting of propositions, is something, in relation to

By such "consequentlys" and "therefores" it is, that men philosophise
when they "re-think the great thought of Creation." By dogmas that
pretend to be reasons, nothing is made to generate mathematics; and by
clothing mathematics with matter, we have the universe! If now we deny,
as we _do_ deny, that the highest mathematical idea is the zero;--if, on
the other hand, we assert, as we _do_ assert, that the fundamental idea
underlying all mathematics, is that of equality; the whole of Oken's
cosmogony disappears. And here, indeed, we may see illustrated, the
distinctive peculiarity of the German method of procedure in these
matters--the bastard _à priori_ method, as it may be termed. The
legitimate _à priori_ method sets out with propositions of which the
negation is inconceivable; the _à priori_ method as illegitimately
applied, sets out either with propositions of which the negation is
_not_ inconceivable, or with propositions like Oken's, of which the
_affirmation_ is inconceivable.

It is needless to proceed further with the analysis; else might we
detail the steps by which Oken arrives at the conclusions that "the
planets are coagulated colours, for they are coagulated light; that the
sphere is the expanded nothing;" that gravity is "a weighty nothing, a
heavy essence, striving towards a centre;" that "the earth is the
identical, water the indifferent, air the different; or the first the
centre, the second the radius, the last the periphery of the general
globe or of fire." To comment on them would be nearly as absurd as are
the propositions themselves. Let us pass on to another of the German
systems of knowledge--that of Hegel.

The simple fact that Hegel puts Jacob Boehme on a par with Bacon,
suffices alone to show that his standpoint is far remote from the one
usually regarded as scientific: so far remote, indeed, that it is not
easy to find any common basis on which to found a criticism. Those who
hold that the mind is moulded into conformity with surrounding things by
the agency of surrounding things, are necessarily at a loss how to deal
with those, who, like Schelling and Hegel, assert that surrounding
things are solidified mind--that Nature is "petrified intelligence."
However, let us briefly glance at Hegel's classification. He divides
philosophy into three parts:--

1. _Logic_, or the science of the idea in itself, the pure idea.

2. _The Philosophy of Nature_, or the science of the idea considered
under its other form--of the idea as Nature.

3. _The Philosophy of the Mind_, or the science of the idea in its
return to itself.

Of these, the second is divided into the natural sciences, commonly so
called; so that in its more detailed form the series runs thus:--Logic,
Mechanics, Physics, Organic Physics, Psychology.

Now, if we believe with Hegel, first, that thought is the true essence
of man; second, that thought is the essence of the world; and that,
therefore, there is nothing but thought; his classification, beginning
with the science of pure thought, may be acceptable. But otherwise, it
is an obvious objection to his arrangement, that thought implies things
thought of--that there can be no logical forms without the substance of
experience--that the science of ideas and the science of things must
have a simultaneous origin. Hegel, however, anticipates this objection,
and, in his obstinate idealism, replies, that the contrary is true; that
all contained in the forms, to become something, requires to be thought:
and that logical forms are the foundations of all things.

It is not surprising that, starting from such premises, and reasoning
after this fashion, Hegel finds his way to strange conclusions. Out of
_space_ and _time_ he proceeds to build up _motion_, _matter_,
_repulsion_, _attraction_, _weight_, and _inertia_. He then goes on to
logically evolve the solar system. In doing this he widely diverges
from the Newtonian theory; reaches by syllogism the conviction that the
planets are the most perfect celestial bodies; and, not being able to
bring the stars within his theory, says that they are mere formal
existences and not living matter, and that as compared with the solar
system they are as little admirable as a cutaneous eruption or a swarm
of flies.[2]

Results so outrageous might be left as self-disproved, were it not that
speculators of this class are not alarmed by any amount of incongruity
with established beliefs. The only efficient mode of treating systems
like this of Hegel, is to show that they are self-destructive--that by
their first steps they ignore that authority on which all their
subsequent steps depend. If Hegel professes, as he manifestly does, to
develop his scheme by reasoning--if he presents successive inferences as
_necessarily following_ from certain premises; he implies the postulate
that a belief which necessarily follows after certain antecedents is a
true belief: and, did an opponent reply to one of his inferences, that,
though it was impossible to think the opposite, yet the opposite was
true, he would consider the reply irrational. The procedure, however,
which he would thus condemn as destructive of all thinking whatever, is
just the procedure exhibited in the enunciation of his own first

Mankind find themselves unable to conceive that there can be thought
without things thought of. Hegel, however, asserts that there _can_ be
thought without things thought of. That ultimate test of a true
proposition--the inability of the human mind to conceive the negation of
it--which in all other cases he considers valid, he considers invalid
where it suits his convenience to do so; and yet at the same time denies
the right of an opponent to follow his example. If it is competent for
him to posit dogmas, which are the direct negations of what human
consciousness recognises; then is it also competent for his antagonists
to stop him at every step in his argument by saying, that though the
particular inference he is drawing seems to his mind, and to all minds,
necessarily to follow from the premises, yet it is not true, but the
contrary inference is true. Or, to state the dilemma in another
form:--If he sets out with inconceivable propositions, then may he with
equal propriety make all his succeeding propositions inconceivable
ones--may at every step throughout his reasoning draw exactly the
opposite conclusion to that which seems involved.

Hegel's mode of procedure being thus essentially suicidal, the Hegelian
classification which depends upon it falls to the ground. Let us
consider next that of M. Comte.

As all his readers must admit, M. Comte presents us with a scheme of the
sciences which, unlike the foregoing ones, demands respectful
consideration. Widely as we differ from him, we cheerfully bear witness
to the largeness of his views, the clearness of his reasoning, and the
value of his speculations as contributing to intellectual progress. Did
we believe a serial arrangement of the sciences to be possible, that of
M. Comte would certainly be the one we should adopt. His fundamental
propositions are thoroughly intelligible; and if not true, have a great
semblance of truth. His successive steps are logically co-ordinated; and
he supports his conclusions by a considerable amount of
evidence--evidence which, so long as it is not critically examined, or
not met by counter evidence, seems to substantiate his positions. But it
only needs to assume that antagonistic attitude which _ought_ to be
assumed towards new doctrines, in the belief that, if true, they will
prosper by conquering objectors--it needs but to test his leading
doctrines either by other facts than those he cites, or by his own facts
differently applied, to at once show that they will not stand. We will
proceed thus to deal with the general principle on which he bases his
hierarchy of the sciences.

In the second chapter of his _Cours de Philosophic Positive_, M. Comte
says:--"Our problem is, then, to find the one _rational_ order, amongst
a host of possible systems." ... "This order is determined by the degree
of simplicity, or, what comes to the same thing, of generality of their
phenomena." And the arrangement he deduces runs thus: _Mathematics_,
_Astronomy_, _Physics_, _Chemistry_, _Physiology_, _Social Physics_.
This he asserts to be "the true _filiation_ of the sciences." He asserts
further, that the principle of progression from a greater to a less
degree of generality, "which gives this order to the whole body of
science, arranges the parts of each science." And, finally, he asserts
that the gradations thus established _à priori_ among the sciences, and
the parts of each science, "is in essential conformity with the order
which has spontaneously taken place among the branches of natural
philosophy;" or, in other words--corresponds with the order of historic

Let us compare these assertions with the facts. That there may be
perfect fairness, let us make no choice, but take as the field for our
comparison, the succeeding section treating of the first
science--Mathematics; and let us use none but M. Comte's own facts, and
his own admissions. Confining ourselves to this one science, of course
our comparisons must be between its several parts. M. Comte says, that
the parts of each science must be arranged in the order of their
decreasing generality; and that this order of decreasing generality
agrees with the order of historical development. Our inquiry must be,
then, whether the history of mathematics confirms this statement.

Carrying out his principle, M. Comte divides Mathematics into "Abstract
Mathematics, or the Calculus (taking the word in its most extended
sense) and Concrete Mathematics, which is composed of General Geometry
and of Rational Mechanics." The subject-matter of the first of these is
_number_; the subject-matter of the second includes _space_, _time_,
_motion_, _force_. The one possesses the highest possible degree of
generality; for all things whatever admit of enumeration. The others are
less general; seeing that there are endless phenomena that are not
cognisable either by general geometry or rational mechanics. In
conformity with the alleged law, therefore, the evolution of the
calculus must throughout have preceded the evolution of the concrete
sub-sciences. Now somewhat awkwardly for him, the first remark M. Comte
makes bearing upon this point is, that "from an historical point of
view, mathematical analysis _appears to have risen out of_ the
contemplation of geometrical and mechanical facts." True, he goes on to
say that, "it is not the less independent of these sciences logically
speaking;" for that "analytical ideas are, above all others, universal,
abstract, and simple; and geometrical conceptions are necessarily
founded on them."

We will not take advantage of this last passage to charge M. Comte with
teaching, after the fashion of Hegel, that there can be thought without
things thought of. We are content simply to compare the two assertions,
that analysis arose out of the contemplation of geometrical and
mechanical facts, and that geometrical conceptions are founded upon
analytical ones. Literally interpreted they exactly cancel each other.
Interpreted, however, in a liberal sense, they imply, what we believe to
be demonstrable, that the two had _a simultaneous origin_. The passage
is either nonsense, or it is an admission that abstract and concrete
mathematics are coeval. Thus, at the very first step, the alleged
congruity between the order of generality and the order of evolution
does not hold good.

But may it not be that though abstract and concrete mathematics took
their rise at the same time, the one afterwards developed more rapidly
than the other; and has ever since remained in advance of it? No: and
again we call M. Comte himself as witness. Fortunately for his argument
he has said nothing respecting the early stages of the concrete and
abstract divisions after their divergence from a common root; otherwise
the advent of Algebra long after the Greek geometry had reached a high
development, would have been an inconvenient fact for him to deal with.
But passing over this, and limiting ourselves to his own statements, we
find, at the opening of the next chapter, the admission, that "the
historical development of the abstract portion of mathematical science
has, since the time of Descartes, been for the most part _determined_ by
that of the concrete." Further on we read respecting algebraic functions
that "most functions were concrete in their origin--even those which are
at present the most purely abstract; and the ancients discovered only
through geometrical definitions elementary algebraic properties of
functions to which a numerical value was not attached till long
afterwards, rendering abstract to us what was concrete to the old
geometers." How do these statements tally with his doctrine? Again,
having divided the calculus into algebraic and arithmetical, M. Comte
admits, as perforce he must, that the algebraic is more general than the
arithmetical; yet he will not say that algebra preceded arithmetic in
point of time. And again, having divided the calculus of functions into
the calculus of direct functions (common algebra) and the calculus of
indirect functions (transcendental analysis), he is obliged to speak of
this last as possessing a higher generality than the first; yet it is
far more modern. Indeed, by implication, M. Comte himself confesses this
incongruity; for he says:--"It might seem that the transcendental
analysis ought to be studied before the ordinary, as it provides the
equations which the other has to resolve; but though the transcendental
_is logically independent of the ordinary_, it is best to follow the
usual method of study, taking the ordinary first." In all these cases,
then, as well as at the close of the section where he predicts that
mathematicians will in time "create procedures of _a wider generality_",
M. Comte makes admissions that are diametrically opposed to the alleged

In the succeeding chapters treating of the concrete department of
mathematics, we find similar contradictions M. Comte himself names the
geometry of the ancients _special_ geometry, and that of moderns the
_general_ geometry. He admits that while "the ancients studied geometry
with reference to the bodies under notice, or specially; the moderns
study it with reference to the _phenomena_ to be considered, or
generally." He admits that while "the ancients extracted all they could
out of one line or surface before passing to another," "the moderns,
since Descartes, employ themselves on questions which relate to any
figure whatever." These facts are the reverse of what, according to his
theory, they should be. So, too, in mechanics. Before dividing it into
statics and dynamics, M. Comte treats of the three laws of _motion_, and
is obliged to do so; for statics, the more _general_ of the two
divisions, though it does not involve motion, is impossible as a science
until the laws of motion are ascertained. Yet the laws of motion pertain
to dynamics, the more _special_ of the divisions. Further on he points
out that after Archimedes, who discovered the law of equilibrium of the
lever, statics made no progress until the establishment of dynamics
enabled us to seek "the conditions of equilibrium through the laws of
the composition of forces." And he adds--"At this day _this is the
method universally employed_. At the first glance it does not appear the
most rational--dynamics being more complicated than statics, and
precedence being natural to the simpler. It would, in fact, be more
philosophical to refer dynamics to statics, as has since been done."
Sundry discoveries are afterwards detailed, showing how completely the
development of statics has been achieved by considering its problems
dynamically; and before the close of the section M. Comte remarks that
"before hydrostatics could be comprehended under statics, it was
necessary that the abstract theory of equilibrium should be made so
general as to apply directly to fluids as well as solids. This was
accomplished when Lagrange supplied, as the basis of the whole of
rational mechanics, the single principle of virtual velocities." In
which statement we have two facts directly at variance: with M. Comte's
doctrine; first, that the simpler science, statics, reached its present
development only by the aid of the principle of virtual velocities,
which belongs to the more complex science, dynamics; and that this
"single principle" underlying all rational mechanics--this _most
general form_ which includes alike the relations of statical,
hydro-statical, and dynamical forces--was reached so late as the time of

Thus it is _not_ true that the historical succession of the divisions of
mathematics has corresponded with the order of decreasing generality. It
is _not_ true that abstract mathematics was evolved antecedently to,
and independently of concrete mathematics. It is _not_ true that of the
subdivisions of abstract mathematics, the more general came before the
more special. And it is _not_ true that concrete mathematics, in either
of its two sections, began with the most abstract and advanced to the
less abstract truths.

It may be well to mention, parenthetically, that in defending his
alleged law of progression from the general to the special, M. Comte
somewhere comments upon the two meanings of the word _general_, and the
resulting liability to confusion. Without now discussing whether the
asserted distinction can be maintained in other cases, it is manifest
that it does not exist here. In sundry of the instances above quoted,
the endeavours made by M. Comte himself to disguise, or to explain away,
the precedence of the special over the general, clearly indicate that
the generality spoken of is of the kind meant by his formula. And it
needs but a brief consideration of the matter to show that, even did he
attempt it, he could not distinguish this generality, which, as above
proved, frequently comes last, from the generality which he says always
comes first. For what is the nature of that mental process by which
objects, dimensions, weights, times, and the rest, are found capable of
having their relations expressed numerically? It is the formation of
certain abstract conceptions of unity, duality and multiplicity, which
are applicable to all things alike. It is the invention of general
symbols serving to express the numerical relations of entities, whatever
be their special characters. And what is the nature of the mental
process by which numbers are found capable of having their relations
expressed algebraically? It is just the same. It is the formation of
certain abstract conceptions of numerical functions which are the same
whatever be the magnitudes of the numbers. It is the invention of
general symbols serving to express the relations between numbers, as
numbers express the relations between things. And transcendental
analysis stands to algebra in the same position that algebra stands in
to arithmetic.

To briefly illustrate their respective powers--arithmetic can express in
one formula the value of a _particular_ tangent to a _particular_ curve;
algebra can express in one formula the values of _all_ tangents to a
_particular_ curve; transcendental analysis can express in one formula
the values of _all_ tangents to _all_ curves. Just as arithmetic deals
with the common properties of lines, areas, bulks, forces, periods; so
does algebra deal with the common properties of the numbers which
arithmetic presents; so does transcendental analysis deal with the
common properties of the equations exhibited by algebra. Thus, the
generality of the higher branches of the calculus, when compared with
the lower, is the same kind of generality as that of the lower branches
when compared with geometry or mechanics. And on examination it will be
found that the like relation exists in the various other cases above

Having shown that M. Comte's alleged law of progression does not hold
among the several parts of the same science, let us see how it agrees
with the facts when applied to separate sciences. "Astronomy," says M.
Comte, at the opening of Book III., "was a positive science, in its
geometrical aspect, from the earliest days of the school of Alexandria;
but Physics, which we are now to consider, had no positive character at
all till Galileo made his great discoveries on the fall of heavy
bodies." On this, our comment is simply that it is a misrepresentation
based upon an arbitrary misuse of words--a mere verbal artifice. By
choosing to exclude from terrestrial physics those laws of magnitude,
motion, and position, which he includes in celestial physics, M. Comte
makes it appear that the one owes nothing to the other. Not only is this
altogether unwarrantable, but it is radically inconsistent with his own
scheme of divisions. At the outset he says--and as the point is
important we quote from the original--"Pour la _physique inorganique_
nous voyons d'abord, en nous conformant toujours a l'ordre de généralité
et de dépendance des phénomènes, qu'elle doit être partagée en deux
sections distinctes, suivant qu'elle considère les phénomènes généraux
de l'univers, ou, en particulier, ceux que présentent les corps
terrestres. D'où la physique céleste, ou l'astronomie, soit géométrique,
soit mechanique; et la physique terrestre."

Here then we have _inorganic physics_ clearly divided into _celestial
physics_ and _terrestrial physics_--the phenomena presented by the
universe, and the phenomena presented by earthly bodies. If now
celestial bodies and terrestrial bodies exhibit sundry leading phenomena
in common, as they do, how can the generalisation of these common
phenomena be considered as pertaining to the one class rather than to
the other? If inorganic physics includes geometry (which M. Comte has
made it do by comprehending _geometrical_ astronomy in its
sub-section--celestial physics); and if its sub-section--terrestrial
physics, treats of things having geometrical properties; how can the
laws of geometrical relations be excluded from terrestrial physics?
Clearly if celestial physics includes the geometry of objects in the
heavens, terrestrial physics includes the geometry of objects on the
earth. And if terrestrial physics includes terrestrial geometry, while
celestial physics includes celestial geometry, then the geometrical part
of terrestrial physics precedes the geometrical part of celestial
physics; seeing that geometry gained its first ideas from surrounding
objects. Until men had learnt geometrical relations from bodies on the
earth, it was impossible for them to understand the geometrical
relations of bodies in the heavens.

So, too, with celestial mechanics, which had terrestrial mechanics for
its parent. The very conception of _force_, which underlies the whole of
mechanical astronomy, is borrowed from our earthly experiences; and the
leading laws of mechanical action as exhibited in scales, levers,
projectiles, etc., had to be ascertained before the dynamics of the
solar system could be entered upon. What were the laws made use of by
Newton in working out his grand discovery? The law of falling bodies
disclosed by Galileo; that of the composition of forces also disclosed
by Galileo; and that of centrifugal force found out by Huyghens--all of
them generalisations of terrestrial physics. Yet, with facts like these
before him, M. Comte places astronomy before physics in order of
evolution! He does not compare the geometrical parts of the two
together, and the mechanical parts of the two together; for this would
by no means suit his hypothesis. But he compares the geometrical part of
the one with the mechanical part of the other, and so gives a semblance
of truth to his position. He is led away by a verbal delusion. Had he
confined his attention to the things and disregarded the words, he would
have seen that before mankind scientifically co-ordinated _any one class
of phenomena_ displayed in the heavens, they had previously co-ordinated
_a parallel class of phenomena_ displayed upon the surface of the earth.

Were it needful we could fill a score pages with the incongruities of M.
Comte's scheme. But the foregoing samples will suffice. So far is his
law of evolution of the sciences from being tenable, that, by following
his example, and arbitrarily ignoring one class of facts, it would be
possible to present, with great plausibility, just the opposite
generalisation to that which he enunciates. While he asserts that the
rational order of the sciences, like the order of their historic
development, "is determined by the degree of simplicity, or, what comes
to the same thing, of generality of their phenomena;" it might
contrariwise be asserted, that, commencing with the complex and the
special, mankind have progressed step by step to a knowledge of greater
simplicity and wider generality. So much evidence is there of this as to
have drawn from Whewell, in his _History of the Inductive Sciences_, the
general remark that "the reader has already seen repeatedly in the
course of this history, complex and derivative principles presenting
themselves to men's minds before simple and elementary ones."

Even from M. Comte's own work, numerous facts, admissions, and
arguments, might be picked out, tending to show this. We have already
quoted his words in proof that both abstract and concrete mathematics
have progressed towards a higher degree of generality, and that he looks
forward to a higher generality still. Just to strengthen this adverse
hypothesis, let us take a further instance. From the _particular_ case
of the scales, the law of equilibrium of which was familiar to the
earliest nations known, Archimedes advanced to the more _general_ case
of the unequal lever with unequal weights; the law of equilibrium of
which _includes_ that of the scales. By the help of Galileo's discovery
concerning the composition of forces, D'Alembert "established, for the
first time, the equations of equilibrium of _any_ system of forces
applied to the different points of a solid body"--equations which
include all cases of levers and an infinity of cases besides. Clearly
this is progress towards a higher generality--towards a knowledge more
independent of special circumstances--towards a study of phenomena "the
most disengaged from the incidents of particular cases;" which is M.
Comte's definition of "the most simple phenomena." Does it not indeed
follow from the familiarly admitted fact, that mental advance is from
the concrete to the abstract, from the particular to the general, that
the universal and therefore most simple truths are the last to be
discovered? Is not the government of the solar system by a force varying
inversely as the square of the distance, a simpler conception than any
that preceded it? Should we ever succeed in reducing all orders of
phenomena to some single law--say of atomic action, as M. Comte
suggests--must not that law answer to his test of being _independent_ of
all others, and therefore most simple? And would not such a law
generalise the phenomena of gravity, cohesion, atomic affinity, and
electric repulsion, just as the laws of number generalise the
quantitative phenomena of space, time, and force?

The possibility of saying so much in support of an hypothesis the very
reverse of M. Comte's, at once proves that his generalisation is only a
half-truth. The fact is, that neither proposition is correct by itself;
and the actuality is expressed only by putting the two together. The
progress of science is duplex: it is at once from the special to the
general, and from the general to the special: it is analytical and
synthetical at the same time.

M. Comte himself observes that the evolution of science has been
accomplished by the division of labour; but he quite misstates the mode
in which this division of labour has operated. As he describes it, it
has simply been an arrangement of phenomena into classes, and the study
of each class by itself. He does not recognise the constant effect of
progress in each class upon _all_ other classes; but only on the class
succeeding it in his hierarchical scale. Or if he occasionally admits
collateral influences and intercommunications, he does it so grudgingly,
and so quickly puts the admissions out of sight and forgets them, as to
leave the impression that, with but trifling exceptions, the sciences
aid each other only in the order of their alleged succession. The fact
is, however, that the division of labour in science, like the division
of labour in society, and like the "physiological division of labour" in
individual organisms, has been not only a specialisation of functions,
but a continuous helping of each division by all the others, and of all
by each. Every particular class of inquirers has, as it were, secreted
its own particular order of truths from the general mass of material
which observation accumulates; and all other classes of inquirers have
made use of these truths as fast as they were elaborated, with the
effect of enabling them the better to elaborate each its own order of

It was thus in sundry of the cases we have quoted as at variance with M.
Comte's doctrine. It was thus with the application of Huyghens's optical
discovery to astronomical observation by Galileo. It was thus with the
application of the isochronism of the pendulum to the making of
instruments for measuring intervals, astronomical and other. It was thus
when the discovery that the refraction and dispersion of light did not
follow the same law of variation, affected both astronomy and physiology
by giving us achromatic telescopes and microscopes. It was thus when
Bradley's discovery of the aberration of light enabled him to make the
first step towards ascertaining the motions of the stars. It was thus
when Cavendish's torsion-balance experiment determined the specific
gravity of the earth, and so gave a datum for calculating the specific
gravities of the sun and planets. It was thus when tables of
atmospheric refraction enabled observers to write down the real places
of the heavenly bodies instead of their apparent places. It was thus
when the discovery of the different expansibilities of metals by heat,
gave us the means of correcting our chronometrical measurements of
astronomical periods. It was thus when the lines of the prismatic
spectrum were used to distinguish the heavenly bodies that are of like
nature with the sun from those which are not. It was thus when, as
recently, an electro-telegraphic instrument was invented for the more
accurate registration of meridional transits. It was thus when the
difference in the rates of a clock at the equator, and nearer the poles,
gave data for calculating the oblateness of the earth, and accounting
for the precession of the equinoxes. It was thus--but it is needless to

Here, within our own limited knowledge of its history, we have named ten
additional cases in which the single science of astronomy has owed its
advance to sciences coming _after_ it in M. Comte's series. Not only its
secondary steps, but its greatest revolutions have been thus determined.
Kepler could not have discovered his celebrated laws had it not been for
Tycho Brahe's accurate observations; and it was only after some progress
in physical and chemical science that the improved instruments with
which those observations were made, became possible. The heliocentric
theory of the solar system had to wait until the invention of the
telescope before it could be finally established. Nay, even the grand
discovery of all--the law of gravitation--depended for its proof upon an
operation of physical science, the measurement of a degree on the
Earth's surface. So completely indeed did it thus depend, that Newton
_had actually abandoned his hypothesis_ because the length of a degree,
as then stated, brought out wrong results; and it was only after
Picart's more exact measurement was published, that he returned to his
calculations and proved his great generalisation. Now this constant
intercommunion, which, for brevity's sake, we have illustrated in the
case of one science only, has been taking place with all the sciences.
Throughout the whole course of their evolution there has been a
continuous _consensus_ of the sciences--a _consensus_ exhibiting a
general correspondence with the _consensus_ of faculties in each phase
of mental development; the one being an objective registry of the
subjective state of the other.

From our present point of view, then, it becomes obvious that the
conception of a _serial_ arrangement of the sciences is a vicious one.
It is not simply that the schemes we have examined are untenable; but it
is that the sciences cannot be rightly placed in any linear order
whatever. It is not simply that, as M. Comte admits, a classification
"will always involve something, if not arbitrary, at least artificial;"
it is not, as he would have us believe, that, neglecting minor
imperfections a classification may be substantially true; but it is that
any grouping of the sciences in a succession gives a radically erroneous
idea of their genesis and their dependencies. There is no "one
_rational_ order among a host of possible systems." There is no "true
_filiation_ of the sciences." The whole hypothesis is fundamentally
false. Indeed, it needs but a glance at its origin to see at once how
baseless it is. Why a _series_? What reason have we to suppose that the
sciences admit of a _linear_ arrangement? Where is our warrant for
assuming that there is some _succession_ in which they can be placed?
There is no reason; no warrant. Whence then has arisen the supposition?
To use M. Comte's own phraseology, we should say, it is a metaphysical
conception. It adds another to the cases constantly occurring, of the
human mind being made the measure of Nature. We are obliged to think in
sequence; it is the law of our minds that we must consider subjects
separately, one after another: _therefore_ Nature must be
serial--_therefore_ the sciences must be classifiable in a succession.
See here the birth of the notion, and the sole evidence of its truth.
Men have been obliged when arranging in books their schemes of education
and systems of knowledge, to choose _some_ order or other. And from
inquiring what is the best order, have naturally fallen into the belief
that there is an order which truly represents the facts--have persevered
in seeking such an order; quite overlooking the previous question
whether it is likely that Nature has consulted the convenience of

For German philosophers, who hold that Nature is "petrified
intelligence," and that logical forms are the foundations of all things,
it is a consistent hypothesis that as thought is serial, Nature is
serial; but that M. Comte, who is so bitter an opponent of all
anthropomorphism, even in its most evanescent shapes, should have
committed the mistake of imposing upon the external world an arrangement
which so obviously springs from a limitation of the human consciousness,
is somewhat strange. And it is the more strange when we call to mind
how, at the outset, M. Comte remarks that in the beginning "_toutes les
sciences sont cultivées simultanément par les mêmes esprits_;" that
this is "_inevitable et même indispensable_;" and how he further remarks
that the different sciences are "_comme les diverses branches d'un tronc
unique_." Were it not accounted for by the distorting influence of a
cherished hypothesis, it would be scarcely possible to understand how,
after recognising truths like these, M. Comte should have persisted in
attempting to construct "_une échelle encyclopédique_."

The metaphor which M. Comte has here so inconsistently used to express
the relations of the sciences--branches of one trunk--is an
approximation to the truth, though not the truth itself. It suggests the
facts that the sciences had a common origin; that they have been
developing simultaneously; and that they have been from time to time
dividing and subdividing. But it does not suggest the yet more important
fact, that the divisions and subdivisions thus arising do not remain
separate, but now and again reunite in direct and indirect ways. They
inosculate; they severally send off and receive connecting growths; and
the intercommunion has been ever becoming more frequent, more intricate,
more widely ramified. There has all along been higher specialisation,
that there might be a larger generalisation; and a deeper analysis, that
there might be a better synthesis. Each larger generalisation has lifted
sundry specialisations still higher; and each better synthesis has
prepared the way for still deeper analysis.

And here we may fitly enter upon the task awhile since indicated--a
sketch of the Genesis of Science, regarded as a gradual outgrowth from
common knowledge--an extension of the perceptions by the aid of the
reason. We propose to treat it as a psychological process historically
displayed; tracing at the same time the advance from qualitative to
quantitative prevision; the progress from concrete facts to abstract
facts, and the application of such abstract facts to the analysis of new
orders of concrete facts; the simultaneous advance in generalisation and
specialisation; the continually increasing subdivision and reunion of
the sciences; and their constantly improving _consensus_.

To trace out scientific evolution from its deepest roots would, of
course, involve a complete analysis of the mind. For as science is a
development of that common knowledge acquired by the unaided senses and
uncultured reason, so is that common knowledge itself gradually built up
out of the simplest perceptions. We must, therefore, begin somewhere
abruptly; and the most appropriate stage to take for our point of
departure will be the adult mind of the savage.

Commencing thus, without a proper preliminary analysis, we are naturally
somewhat at a loss how to present, in a satisfactory manner, those
fundamental processes of thought out of which science ultimately
originates. Perhaps our argument may be best initiated by the
proposition, that all intelligent action whatever depends upon the
discerning of distinctions among surrounding things. The condition under
which only it is possible for any creature to obtain food and avoid
danger is, that it shall be differently affected by different
objects--that it shall be led to act in one way by one object, and in
another way by another. In the lower orders of creatures this condition
is fulfilled by means of an apparatus which acts automatically. In the
higher orders the actions are partly automatic, partly conscious. And in
man they are almost wholly conscious.

Throughout, however, there must necessarily exist a certain
classification of things according to their properties--a classification
which is either organically registered in the system, as in the inferior
creation, or is formed by experience, as in ourselves. And it may be
further remarked, that the extent to which this classification is
carried, roughly indicates the height of intelligence--that while the
lowest organisms are able to do little more than discriminate organic
from inorganic matter; while the generality of animals carry their
classifications no further than to a limited number of plants or
creatures serving for food, a limited number of beasts of prey, and a
limited number of places and materials; the most degraded of the human
race possess a knowledge of the distinctive natures of a great variety
of substances, plants, animals, tools, persons, etc., not only as
classes but as individuals.

What now is the mental process by which classification is effected?
Manifestly it is a recognition of the _likeness_ or _unlikeness_ of
things, either in respect of their sizes, colours, forms, weights,
textures, tastes, etc., or in respect of their modes of action. By some
special mark, sound, or motion, the savage identifies a certain
four-legged creature he sees, as one that is good for food, and to be
caught in a particular way; or as one that is dangerous; and acts
accordingly. He has classed together all the creatures that are _alike_
in this particular. And manifestly in choosing the wood out of which to
form his bow, the plant with which to poison his arrows, the bone from
which to make his fish-hooks, he identifies them through their chief
sensible properties as belonging to the general classes, wood, plant,
and bone, but distinguishes them as belonging to sub-classes by virtue
of certain properties in which they are _unlike_ the rest of the general
classes they belong to; and so forms genera and species.

And here it becomes manifest that not only is classification carried on
by grouping together in the mind things that are _like_; but that
classes and sub-classes are formed and arranged according to the
_degrees of unlikeness_. Things widely contrasted are alone
distinguished in the lower stages of mental evolution; as may be any day
observed in an infant. And gradually as the powers of discrimination
increase, the widely contrasted classes at first distinguished, come to
be each divided into sub-classes, differing from each other less than
the classes differ; and these sub-classes are again divided after the
same manner. By the continuance of which process, things are gradually
arranged into groups, the members of which are less and less _unlike_;
ending, finally, in groups whose members differ only as individuals, and
not specifically. And thus there tends ultimately to arise the notion of
_complete likeness_. For, manifestly, it is impossible that groups
should continue to be subdivided in virtue of smaller and smaller
differences, without there being a simultaneous approximation to the
notion of _no difference_.

Let us next notice that the recognition of likeness and unlikeness,
which underlies classification, and out of which continued
classification evolves the idea of complete likeness--let us next notice
that it also underlies the process of _naming_, and by consequence
_language_. For all language consists, at the beginning, of symbols
which are as _like_ to the things symbolised as it is practicable to
make them. The language of signs is a means of conveying ideas by
mimicking the actions or peculiarities of the things referred to. Verbal
language is also, at the beginning, a mode of suggesting objects or acts
by imitating the sounds which the objects make, or with which the acts
are accompanied. Originally these two languages were used
simultaneously. It needs but to watch the gesticulations with which the
savage accompanies his speech--to see a Bushman or a Kaffir dramatising
before an audience his mode of catching game--or to note the extreme
paucity of words in all primitive vocabularies; to infer that at first,
attitudes, gestures, and sounds, were all combined to produce as good a
_likeness_ as possible, of the things, animals, persons, or events
described; and that as the sounds came to be understood by themselves
the gestures fell into disuse: leaving traces, however, in the manners
of the more excitable civilised races. But be this as it may, it
suffices simply to observe, how many of the words current among
barbarous peoples are like the sounds appertaining to the things
signified; how many of our own oldest and simplest words have the same
peculiarity; how children tend to invent imitative words; and how the
sign-language spontaneously formed by deaf mutes is invariably based
upon imitative actions--to at once see that the nation of _likeness_ is
that from which the nomenclature of objects takes its rise.

Were there space we might go on to point out how this law of life is
traceable, not only in the origin but in the development of language;
how in primitive tongues the plural is made by a duplication of the
singular, which is a multiplication of the word to make it _like_ the
multiplicity of the things; how the use of metaphor--that prolific
source of new words--is a suggesting of ideas that are _like_ the ideas
to be conveyed in some respect or other; and how, in the copious use of
simile, fable, and allegory among uncivilised races, we see that complex
conceptions, which there is yet no direct language for, are rendered, by
presenting known conceptions more or less _like_ them.

This view is further confirmed, and the predominance of this notion of
likeness in primitive times further illustrated, by the fact that our
system of presenting ideas to the eye originated after the same fashion.
Writing and printing have descended from picture-language. The earliest
mode of permanently registering a fact was by depicting it on a wall;
that is--by exhibiting something as _like_ to the thing to be remembered
as it could be made. Gradually as the practice grew habitual and
extensive, the most frequently repeated forms became fixed, and
presently abbreviated; and, passing through the hieroglyphic and
ideographic phases, the symbols lost all apparent relations to the
things signified: just as the majority of our spoken words have done.

Observe again, that the same thing is true respecting the genesis of
reasoning. The _likeness_ that is perceived to exist between cases, is
the essence of all early reasoning and of much of our present reasoning.
The savage, having by experience discovered a relation between a certain
object and a certain act, infers that the _like_ relation will be found
in future cases. And the expressions we constantly use in our
arguments--"_analogy_ implies," "the cases are not _parallel_," "by
_parity_ of reasoning," "there is no _similarity_,"--show how constantly
the idea of likeness underlies our ratiocinative processes.

Still more clearly will this be seen on recognising the fact that there
is a certain parallelism between reasoning and classification; that the
two have a common root; and that neither can go on without the other.
For on the one hand, it is a familiar truth that the attributing to a
body in consequence of some of its properties, all those other
properties in virtue of which it is referred to a particular class, is
an act of inference. And, on the other hand, the forming of a
generalisation is the putting together in one class all those cases
which present like relations; while the drawing a deduction is
essentially the perception that a particular case belongs to a certain
class of cases previously generalised. So that as classification is a
grouping together of _like things_; reasoning is a grouping together of
_like relations_ among things. Add to which, that while the perfection
gradually achieved in classification consists in the formation of groups
of _objects_ which are _completely alike_; the perfection gradually
achieved in reasoning consists in the formation of groups of _cases_
which are _completely alike_.

Once more we may contemplate this dominant idea of likeness as exhibited
in art. All art, civilised as well as savage, consists almost wholly in
the making of objects _like_ other objects; either as found in Nature,
or as produced by previous art. If we trace back the varied art-products
now existing, we find that at each stage the divergence from previous
patterns is but small when compared with the agreement; and in the
earliest art the persistency of imitation is yet more conspicuous. The
old forms and ornaments and symbols were held sacred, and perpetually
copied. Indeed, the strong imitative tendency notoriously displayed by
the lowest human races, ensures among them a constant reproducing of
likeness of things, forms, signs, sounds, actions, and whatever else is
imitable; and we may even suspect that this aboriginal peculiarity is in
some way connected with the culture and development of this general
conception, which we have found so deep and widespread in its

And now let us go on to consider how, by a further unfolding of this
same fundamental notion, there is a gradual formation of the first germs
of science. This idea of likeness which underlies classification,
nomenclature, language spoken and written, reasoning, and art; and which
plays so important a part because all acts of intelligence are made
possible only by distinguishing among surrounding things, or grouping
them into like and unlike;--this idea we shall find to be the one of
which science is the especial product. Already during the stage we have
been describing, there has existed _qualitative_ prevision in respect to
the commoner phenomena with which savage life is familiar; and we have
now to inquire how the elements of _quantitative_ prevision are evolved.
We shall find that they originate by the perfecting of this same idea of
likeness; that they have their rise in that conception of _complete
likeness_ which, as we have seen, necessarily results from the continued
process of classification.

For when the process of classification has been carried as far as it is
possible for the uncivilised to carry it--when the animal kingdom has
been grouped not merely into quadrupeds, birds, fishes, and insects, but
each of these divided into kinds--when there come to be sub-classes, in
each of which the members differ only as individuals, and not
specifically; it is clear that there must occur a frequent observation
of objects which differ so little as to be indistinguishable. Among
several creatures which the savage has killed and carried home, it must
often happen that some one, which he wished to identify, is so exactly
like another that he cannot tell which is which. Thus, then, there
originates the notion of _equality_. The things which among ourselves
are called _equal_--whether lines, angles, weights, temperatures, sounds
or colours--are things which produce in us sensations that cannot be
distinguished from each other. It is true we now apply the word _equal_
chiefly to the separate phenomena which objects exhibit, and not to
groups of phenomena; but this limitation of the idea has evidently
arisen by subsequent analysis. And that the notion of equality did thus
originate, will, we think, become obvious on remembering that as there
were no artificial objects from which it could have been abstracted, it
must have been abstracted from natural objects; and that the various
families of the animal kingdom chiefly furnish those natural objects
which display the requisite exactitude of likeness.

The same order of experiences out of which this general idea of equality
is evolved, gives birth at the same time to a more complex idea of
equality; or, rather, the process just described generates an idea of
equality which further experience separates into two ideas--_equality of
things_ and _equality of relations_. While organic, and more especially
animal forms, occasionally exhibit this perfection of likeness out of
which the notion of simple equality arises, they more frequently
exhibit only that kind of likeness which we call _similarity_; and which
is really compound equality. For the similarity of two creatures of the
same species but of different sizes, is of the same nature as the
similarity of two geometrical figures. In either case, any two parts of
the one bear the same ratio to one another as the homologous parts of
the other. Given in any species, the proportions found to exist among
the bones, and we may, and zoologists do, predict from any one, the
dimensions of the rest; just as, when knowing the proportions subsisting
among the parts of a geometrical figure, we may, from the length of one,
calculate the others. And if, in the case of similar geometrical
figures, the similarity can be established only by proving exactness of
proportion among the homologous parts; if we express this relation
between two parts in the one, and the corresponding parts in the other,
by the formula A is to B as _a_ is to _b_; if we otherwise write this, A
to B = _a_ to _b_; if, consequently, the fact we prove is that the
relation of A to B _equals_ the relation of _a_ to _b_; then it is
manifest that the fundamental conception of similarity is _equality of

With this explanation we shall be understood when we say that the notion
of equality of relations is the basis of all exact reasoning. Already it
has been shown that reasoning in general is a recognition of _likeness_
of relations; and here we further find that while the notion of likeness
of things ultimately evolves the idea of simple equality, the notion of
likeness of relations evolves the idea of equality of relations: of
which the one is the concrete germ of exact science, while the other is
its abstract germ.

Those who cannot understand how the recognition of similarity in
creatures of the same kind can have any alliance with reasoning, will
get over the difficulty on remembering that the phenomena among which
equality of relations is thus perceived, are phenomena of the same order
and are present to the senses at the same time; while those among which
developed reason perceives relations, are generally neither of the same
order, nor simultaneously present. And if further, they will call to
mind how Cuvier and Owen, from a single part of a creature, as a tooth,
construct the rest by a process of reasoning based on this equality of
relations, they will see that the two things are intimately connected,
remote as they at first seem. But we anticipate. What it concerns us
here to observe is, that from familiarity with organic forms there
simultaneously arose the ideas of _simple equality_, and _equality of

At the same time, too, and out of the same mental processes, came the
first distinct ideas of _number_. In the earliest stages, the
presentation of several like objects produced merely an indefinite
conception of multiplicity; as it still does among Australians, and
Bushmen, and Damaras, when the number presented exceeds three or four.
With such a fact before us we may safely infer that the first clear
numerical conception was that of duality as contrasted with unity. And
this notion of duality must necessarily have grown up side by side with
those of likeness and equality; seeing that it is impossible to
recognise the likeness of two things without also perceiving that there
are two. From the very beginning the conception of number must have been
as it is still, associated with the likeness or equality of the things
numbered. If we analyse it, we find that simple enumeration is a
registration of repeated impressions of any kind. That these may be
capable of enumeration it is needful that they be more or less alike;
and before any _absolutely true_ numerical results can be reached, it is
requisite that the units be _absolutely equal_. The only way in which we
can establish a numerical relationship between things that do not yield
us like impressions, is to divide them into parts that _do_ yield us
like impressions. Two unlike magnitudes of extension, force, time,
weight, or what not, can have their relative amounts estimated only by
means of some small unit that is contained many times in both; and even
if we finally write down the greater one as a unit and the other as a
fraction of it, we state, in the denominator of the fraction, the number
of parts into which the unit must be divided to be comparable with the

It is, indeed, true, that by an evidently modern process of abstraction,
we occasionally apply numbers to unequal units, as the furniture at a
sale or the various animals on a farm, simply as so many separate
entities; but no true result can be brought out by calculation with
units of this order. And, indeed, it is the distinctive peculiarity of
the calculus in general, that it proceeds on the hypothesis of that
absolute equality of its abstract units, which no real units possess;
and that the exactness of its results holds only in virtue of this
hypothesis. The first ideas of number must necessarily then have been
derived from like or equal magnitudes as seen chiefly in organic
objects; and as the like magnitudes most frequently observed magnitudes
of extension, it follows that geometry and arithmetic had a
simultaneous origin.

Not only are the first distinct ideas of number co-ordinate with ideas
of likeness and equality, but the first efforts at numeration displayed
the same relationship. On reading the accounts of various savage tribes,
we find that the method of counting by the fingers, still followed by
many children, is the aboriginal method. Neglecting the several cases in
which the ability to enumerate does not reach even to the number of
fingers on one hand, there are many cases in which it does not extend
beyond ten--the limit of the simple finger notation. The fact that in so
many instances, remote, and seemingly unrelated nations, have adopted
_ten_ as their basic number; together with the fact that in the
remaining instances the basic number is either _five_ (the fingers of
one hand) or _twenty_ (the fingers and toes); almost of themselves show
that the fingers were the original units of numeration. The still
surviving use of the word _digit_, as the general name for a figure in
arithmetic, is significant; and it is even said that our word _ten_
(Sax. _tyn_; Dutch, _tien_; German, _zehn_) means in its primitive
expanded form _two hands_. So that originally, to say there were ten
things, was to say there were two hands of them.

From all which evidence it is tolerably clear that the earliest mode of
conveying the idea of any number of things, was by holding up as many
fingers as there were things; that is--using a symbol which was _equal_,
in respect of multiplicity, to the group symbolised. For which inference
there is, indeed, strong confirmation in the recent statement that our
own soldiers are even now spontaneously adopting this device in their
dealings with the Turks. And here it should be remarked that in this
recombination of the notion of equality with that of multiplicity, by
which the first steps in numeration are effected, we may see one of the
earliest of those inosculations between the diverging branches of
science, which are afterwards of perpetual occurrence.

Indeed, as this observation suggests, it will be well, before tracing
the mode in which exact science finally emerges from the merely
approximate judgments of the senses, and showing the non-serial
evolution of its divisions, to note the non-serial character of those
preliminary processes of which all after development is a continuation.
On reconsidering them it will be seen that not only are they divergent
growths from a common root, not only are they simultaneous in their
progress; but that they are mutual aids; and that none can advance
without the rest. That completeness of classification for which the
unfolding of the perceptions paves the way, is impossible without a
corresponding progress in language, by which greater varieties of
objects are thinkable and expressible. On the one hand it is impossible
to carry classification far without names by which to designate the
classes; and on the other hand it is impossible to make language faster
than things are classified.

Again, the multiplication of classes and the consequent narrowing of
each class, itself involves a greater likeness among the things classed
together; and the consequent approach towards the notion of complete
likeness itself allows classification to be carried higher. Moreover,
classification necessarily advances _pari passu_ with rationality--the
classification of _things_ with the classification of _relations_. For
things that belong to the same class are, by implication, things of
which the properties and modes of behaviour--the co-existences and
sequences--are more or less the same; and the recognition of this
sameness of co-existences and sequences is reasoning. Whence it follows
that the advance of classification is necessarily proportionate to the
advance of generalisations. Yet further, the notion of _likeness_, both
in things and relations, simultaneously evolves by one process of
culture the ideas of _equality_ of things and _equality_ of relations;
which are the respective bases of exact concrete reasoning and exact
abstract reasoning--Mathematics and Logic. And once more, this idea of
equality, in the very process of being formed, necessarily gives origin
to two series of relations--those of magnitude and those of number: from
which arise geometry and the calculus. Thus the process throughout is
one of perpetual subdivision and perpetual intercommunication of the
divisions. From the very first there has been that _consensus_ of
different kinds of knowledge, answering to the _consensus_ of the
intellectual faculties, which, as already said, must exist among the

Let us now go on to observe how, out of the notions of _equality_ and
_number_, as arrived at in the manner described, there gradually arose
the elements of quantitative prevision.

Equality, once having come to be definitely conceived, was readily
applicable to other phenomena than those of magnitude. Being predicable
of all things producing indistinguishable impressions, there naturally
grew up ideas of equality in weights, sounds, colours, etc.; and indeed
it can scarcely be doubted that the occasional experience of equal
weights, sounds, and colours, had a share in developing the abstract
conception of equality--that the ideas of equality in size, relations,
forces, resistances, and sensible properties in general, were evolved
during the same period. But however this may be, it is clear that as
fast as the notion of equality gained definiteness, so fast did that
lowest kind of quantitative prevision which is achieved without any
instrumental aid, become possible.

The ability to estimate, however roughly, the amount of a foreseen
result, implies the conception that it will be _equal to_ a certain
imagined quantity; and the correctness of the estimate will manifestly
depend upon the accuracy at which the perceptions of sensible equality
have arrived. A savage with a piece of stone in his hand, and another
piece lying before him of greater bulk of the same kind (a fact which he
infers from the _equality_ of the two in colour and texture) knows about
what effort he must put forth to raise this other piece; and he judges
accurately in proportion to the accuracy with which he perceives that
the one is twice, three times, four times, etc., as large as the other;
that is--in proportion to the precision of his ideas of equality and
number. And here let us not omit to notice that even in these vaguest of
quantitative previsions, the conception of _equality of relations_ is
also involved. For it is only in virtue of an undefined perception that
the relation between bulk and weight in the one stone is _equal_ to the
relation between bulk and weight in the other, that even the roughest
approximation can be made.

But how came the transition from those uncertain perceptions of equality
which the unaided senses give, to the certain ones with which science
deals? It came by placing the things compared in juxtaposition. Equality
being predicated of things which give us indistinguishable impressions,
and no accurate comparison of impressions being possible unless they
occur in immediate succession, it results that exactness of equality is
ascertainable in proportion to the closeness of the compared things.
Hence the fact that when we wish to judge of two shades of colour
whether they are alike or not, we place them side by side; hence the
fact that we cannot, with any precision, say which of two allied sounds
is the louder, or the higher in pitch, unless we hear the one
immediately after the other; hence the fact that to estimate the ratio
of weights, we take one in each hand, that we may compare their
pressures by rapidly alternating in thought from the one to the other;
hence the fact, that in a piece of music we can continue to make equal
beats when the first beat has been given, but cannot ensure commencing
with the same length of beat on a future occasion; and hence, lastly,
the fact, that of all magnitudes, those of _linear extension_ are those
of which the equality is most accurately ascertainable, and those to
which by consequence all others have to be reduced. For it is the
peculiarity of linear extension that it alone allows its magnitudes to
be placed in _absolute_ juxtaposition, or, rather, in coincident
position; it alone can test the equality of two magnitudes by observing
whether they will coalesce, as two equal mathematical lines do, when
placed between the same points; it alone can test _equality_ by trying
whether it will become _identity_. Hence, then, the fact, that all exact
science is reducible, by an ultimate analysis, to results measured in
equal units of linear extension.

Still it remains to be noticed in what manner this determination of
equality by comparison of linear magnitudes originated. Once more may we
perceive that surrounding natural objects supplied the needful lessons.
From the beginning there must have been a constant experience of like
things placed side by side--men standing and walking together; animals
from the same herd; fish from the same shoal. And the ceaseless
repetition of these experiences could not fail to suggest the
observation, that the nearer together any objects were, the more visible
became any inequality between them. Hence the obvious device of putting
in apposition things of which it was desired to ascertain the relative
magnitudes. Hence the idea of _measure_. And here we suddenly come upon
a group of facts which afford a solid basis to the remainder of our
argument; while they also furnish strong evidence in support of the
foregoing speculations. Those who look sceptically on this attempted
rehabilitation of the earliest epochs of mental development, and who
more especially think that the derivation of so many primary notions
from organic forms is somewhat strained, will perhaps see more
probability in the several hypotheses that have been ventured, on
discovering that all measures of _extension_ and _force_ originated from
the lengths and weights of organic bodies; and all measures of _time_
from the periodic phenomena of either organic or inorganic bodies.

Thus, among linear measures, the cubit of the Hebrews was the _length of
the forearm_ from the elbow to the end of the middle finger; and the
smaller scriptural dimensions are expressed in _hand-breadths_ and
_spans_. The Egyptian cubit, which was similarly derived, was divided
into digits, which were _finger-breadths_; and each finger-breadth was
more definitely expressed as being equal to four _grains of barley_
placed breadthwise. Other ancient measures were the orgyia or _stretch
of the arms_, the _pace_, and the _palm_. So persistent has been the use
of these natural units of length in the East, that even now some of the
Arabs mete out cloth by the forearm. So, too, is it with European
measures. The _foot_ prevails as a dimension throughout Europe, and has
done since the time of the Romans, by whom, also, it was used: its
lengths in different places varying not much more than men's feet vary.
The heights of horses are still expressed in _hands_. The inch is the
length of the terminal joint of _the thumb_; as is clearly shown in
France, where _pouce_ means both thumb and inch. Then we have the inch
divided into three _barley-corns_.

So completely, indeed, have these organic dimensions served as the
substrata of all mensuration, that it is only by means of them that we
can form any estimate of some of the ancient distances. For example, the
length of a degree on the Earth's surface, as determined by the Arabian
astronomers shortly after the death of Haroun-al-Raschid, was fifty-six
of their miles. We know nothing of their mile further than that it was
4000 cubits; and whether these were sacred cubits or common cubits,
would remain doubtful, but that the length of the cubit is given as
twenty-seven inches, and each inch defined as the thickness of six
barley-grains. Thus one of the earliest measurements of a degree comes
down to us in barley-grains. Not only did organic lengths furnish those
approximate measures which satisfied men's needs in ruder ages, but they
furnished also the standard measures required in later times. One
instance occurs in our own history. To remedy the irregularities then
prevailing, Henry I. commanded that the ulna, or ancient ell, which
answers to the modern yard, should be made of the exact length of _his
own arm_.

Measures of weight again had a like derivation. Seeds seem commonly to
have supplied the unit. The original of the carat used for weighing in
India is _a small bean_. Our own systems, both troy and avoirdupois, are
derived primarily from wheat-corns. Our smallest weight, the grain, is
_a grain of wheat_. This is not a speculation; it is an historically
registered fact. Henry III. enacted that an ounce should be the weight
of 640 dry grains of wheat from the middle of the ear. And as all the
other weights are multiples or sub-multiples of this, it follows that
the grain of wheat is the basis of our scale. So natural is it to use
organic bodies as weights, before artificial weights have been
established, or where they are not to be had, that in some of the
remoter parts of Ireland the people are said to be in the habit, even
now, of putting a man into the scales to serve as a measure for heavy

Similarly with time. Astronomical periodicity, and the periodicity of
animal and vegetable life, are simultaneously used in the first stages
of progress for estimating epochs. The simplest unit of time, the day,
nature supplies ready made. The next simplest period, the mooneth or
month, is also thrust upon men's notice by the conspicuous changes
constituting a lunation. For larger divisions than these, the phenomena
of the seasons, and the chief events from time to time occurring, have
been used by early and uncivilised races. Among the Egyptians the rising
of the Nile served as a mark. The New Zealanders were found to begin
their year from the reappearance of the Pleiades above the sea. One of
the uses ascribed to birds, by the Greeks, was to indicate the seasons
by their migrations. Barrow describes the aboriginal Hottentot as
denoting periods by the number of moons before or after the ripening of
one of his chief articles of food. He further states that the Kaffir
chronology is kept by the moon, and is registered by notches on
sticks--the death of a favourite chief, or the gaining of a victory,
serving for a new era. By which last fact, we are at once reminded that
in early history, events are commonly recorded as occurring in certain
reigns, and in certain years of certain reigns: a proceeding which
practically made a king's reign a measure of duration.

And, as further illustrating the tendency to divide time by natural
phenomena and natural events, it may be noticed that even by our own
peasantry the definite divisions of months and years are but little
used; and that they habitually refer to occurrences as "before
sheep-shearing," or "after harvest," or "about the time when the squire
died." It is manifest, therefore, that the more or less equal periods
perceived in Nature gave the first units of measure for time; as did
Nature's more or less equal lengths and weights give the first units of
measure for space and force.

It remains only to observe, as further illustrating the evolution of
quantitative ideas after this manner, that measures of value were
similarly derived. Barter, in one form or other, is found among all but
the very lowest human races. It is obviously based upon the notion of
_equality of worth_. And as it gradually merges into trade by the
introduction of some kind of currency, we find that the _measures of
worth_, constituting this currency, are organic bodies; in some cases
_cowries_, in others _cocoa-nuts_, in others _cattle_, in others _pigs_;
among the American Indians peltry or _skins_, and in Iceland _dried

Notions of exact equality and of measure having been reached, there came
to be definite ideas of relative magnitudes as being multiples one of
another; whence the practice of measurement by direct apposition of a
measure. The determination of linear extensions by this process can
scarcely be called science, though it is a step towards it; but the
determination of lengths of time by an analogous process may be
considered as one of the earliest samples of quantitative prevision. For
when it is first ascertained that the moon completes the cycle of her
changes in about thirty days--a fact known to most uncivilised tribes
that can count beyond the number of their fingers--it is manifest that
it becomes possible to say in what number of days any specified phase of
the moon will recur; and it is also manifest that this prevision is
effected by an opposition of two times, after the same manner that
linear space is measured by the opposition of two lines. For to express
the moon's period in days, is to say how many of these units of measure
are contained in the period to be measured--is to ascertain the distance
between two points in time by means of a _scale of days_, just as we
ascertain the distance between two points in space by a scale of feet or
inches: and in each case the scale coincides with the thing
measured--mentally in the one; visibly in the other. So that in this
simplest, and perhaps earliest case of quantitative prevision, the
phenomena are not only thrust daily upon men's notice, but Nature is, as
it were, perpetually repeating that process of measurement by observing
which the prevision is effected. And thus there may be significance in
the remark which some have made, that alike in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin,
there is an affinity between the word meaning moon, and that meaning

This fact, that in very early stages of social progress it is known that
the moon goes through her changes in about thirty days, and that in
about twelve moons the seasons return--this fact that chronological
astronomy assumes a certain scientific character even before geometry
does; while it is partly due to the circumstance that the astronomical
divisions, day, month, and year, are ready made for us, is partly due to
the further circumstances that agricultural and other operations were at
first regulated astronomically, and that from the supposed divine
nature of the heavenly bodies their motions determined the periodical
religious festivals. As instances of the one we have the observation of
the Egyptians, that the rising of the Nile corresponded with the
heliacal rising of Sirius; the directions given by Hesiod for reaping
and ploughing, according to the positions of the Pleiades; and his maxim
that "fifty days after the turning of the sun is a seasonable time for
beginning a voyage." As instances of the other, we have the naming of
the days after the sun, moon, and planets; the early attempts among
Eastern nations to regulate the calendar so that the gods might not be
offended by the displacement of their sacrifices; and the fixing of the
great annual festival of the Peruvians by the position of the sun. In
all which facts we see that, at first, science was simply an appliance
of religion and industry.

After the discoveries that a lunation occupies nearly thirty days, and
that some twelve lunations occupy a year--discoveries of which there is
no historical account, but which may be inferred as the earliest, from
the fact that existing uncivilised races have made them--we come to the
first known astronomical records, which are those of eclipses. The
Chaldeans were able to predict these. "This they did, probably," says
Dr. Whewell in his useful history, from which most of the materials we
are about to use will be drawn, "by means of their cycle of 223 months,
or about eighteen years; for at the end of this time, the eclipses of
the moon begin to return, at the same intervals and in the same order as
at the beginning." Now this method of calculating eclipses by means of a
recurring cycle,--the _Saros_ as they called it--is a more complex case
of prevision by means of coincidence of measures. For by what
observations must the Chaldeans have discovered this cycle? Obviously,
as Delambre infers, by inspecting their registers; by comparing the
successive intervals; by finding that some of the intervals were alike;
by seeing that these equal intervals were eighteen years apart; by
discovering that _all_ the intervals that were eighteen years apart were
equal; by ascertaining that the intervals formed a series which repeated
itself, so that if one of the cycles of intervals were superposed on
another the divisions would fit. This once perceived, and it manifestly
became possible to use the cycle as a scale of time by which to measure
out future periods. Seeing thus that the process of so predicting
eclipses is in essence the same as that of predicting the moon's monthly
changes, by observing the number of days after which they repeat--seeing
that the two differ only in the extent and irregularity of the
intervals, it is not difficult to understand how such an amount of
knowledge should so early have been reached. And we shall be less
surprised, on remembering that the only things involved in these
previsions were _time_ and _number_; and that the time was in a manner

Still, the ability to predict events recurring only after so long a
period as eighteen years, implies a considerable advance in
civilisation--a considerable development of general knowledge; and we
have now to inquire what progress in other sciences accompanied, and was
necessary to, these astronomical previsions. In the first place, there
must clearly have been a tolerably efficient system of calculation. Mere
finger-counting, mere head-reckoning, even with the aid of a regular
decimal notation, could not have sufficed for numbering the days in a
year; much less the years, months, and days between eclipses.
Consequently there must have been a mode of registering numbers;
probably even a system of numerals. The earliest numerical records, if
we may judge by the practices of the less civilised races now existing,
were probably kept by notches cut on sticks, or strokes marked on walls;
much as public-house scores are kept now. And there seems reason to
believe that the first numerals used were simply groups of straight
strokes, as some of the still-extant Roman ones are; leading us to
suspect that these groups of strokes were used to represent groups of
fingers, as the groups of fingers had been used to represent groups of
objects--a supposition quite in conformity with the aboriginal system of
picture writing and its subsequent modifications. Be this so or not,
however, it is manifest that before the Chaldeans discovered their
_Saros_, there must have been both a set of written symbols serving for
an extensive numeration, and a familiarity with the simpler rules of

Not only must abstract mathematics have made some progress, but concrete
mathematics also. It is scarcely possible that the buildings belonging
to this era should have been laid out and erected without any knowledge
of geometry. At any rate, there must have existed that elementary
geometry which deals with direct measurement--with the apposition of
lines; and it seems that only after the discovery of those simple
proceedings, by which right angles are drawn, and relative positions
fixed, could so regular an architecture be executed. In the case of the
other division of concrete mathematics--mechanics, we have definite
evidence of progress. We know that the lever and the inclined plane were
employed during this period: implying that there was a qualitative
prevision of their effects, though not a quantitative one. But we know
more. We read of weights in the earliest records; and we find weights in
ruins of the highest antiquity. Weights imply scales, of which we have
also mention; and scales involve the primary theorem of mechanics in its
least complicated form--involve not a qualitative but a quantitative
prevision of mechanical effects. And here we may notice how mechanics,
in common with the other exact sciences, took its rise from the simplest
application of the idea of _equality_. For the mechanical proposition
which the scales involve, is, that if a lever with _equal_ arms, have
_equal_ weights suspended from them, the weights will remain at _equal_
altitudes. And we may further notice how, in this first step of rational
mechanics, we see illustrated that truth awhile since referred to, that
as magnitudes of linear extension are the only ones of which the
equality is exactly ascertainable, the equalities of other magnitudes
have at the outset to be determined by means of them. For the equality
of the weights which balance each other in scales, wholly depends upon
the equality of the arms: we can know that the weights are equal only by
proving that the arms are equal. And when by this means we have obtained
a system of weights,--a set of equal units of force, then does a science
of mechanics become possible. Whence, indeed, it follows, that rational
mechanics could not possibly have any other starting-point than the

Let us further remember, that during this same period there was a
limited knowledge of chemistry. The many arts which we know to have been
carried on must have been impossible without a generalised experience of
the modes in which certain bodies affect each other under special
conditions. In metallurgy, which was extensively practised, this is
abundantly illustrated. And we even have evidence that in some cases the
knowledge possessed was, in a sense, quantitative. For, as we find by
analysis that the hard alloy of which the Egyptians made their cutting
tools, was composed of copper and tin in fixed proportions, there must
have been an established prevision that such an alloy was to be obtained
only by mixing them in these proportions. It is true, this was but a
simple empirical generalisation; but so was the generalisation
respecting the recurrence of eclipses; so are the first generalisations
of every science.

Respecting the simultaneous advance of the sciences during this early
epoch, it only remains to remark that even the most complex of them
must have made some progress--perhaps even a greater relative progress
than any of the rest. For under what conditions only were the foregoing
developments possible? There first required an established and organised
social system. A long continued registry of eclipses; the building of
palaces; the use of scales; the practice of metallurgy--alike imply a
fixed and populous nation. The existence of such a nation not only
presupposes laws, and some administration of justice, which we know
existed, but it presupposes successful laws--laws conforming in some
degree to the conditions of social stability--laws enacted because it
was seen that the actions forbidden by them were dangerous to the State.
We do not by any means say that all, or even the greater part, of the
laws were of this nature; but we do say, that the fundamental ones were.
It cannot be denied that the laws affecting life and property were such.
It cannot be denied that, however little these were enforced between
class and class, they were to a considerable extent enforced between
members of the same class. It can scarcely be questioned, that the
administration of them between members of the same class was seen by
rulers to be necessary for keeping their subjects together. And knowing,
as we do, that, other things equal, nations prosper in proportion to the
justness of their arrangements, we may fairly infer that the very cause
of the advance of these earliest nations out of aboriginal barbarism was
the greater recognition among them of the claims to life and property.

But supposition aside, it is clear that the habitual recognition of
these claims in their laws implied some prevision of social phenomena.
Even thus early there was a certain amount of social science. Nay, it
may even be shown that there was a vague recognition of that fundamental
principle on which all the true social science is based--the equal
rights of all to the free exercise of their faculties. That same idea of
_equality_ which, as we have seen, underlies all other science,
underlies also morals and sociology. The conception of justice, which is
the primary one in morals; and the administration of justice, which is
the vital condition of social existence; are impossible without the
recognition of a certain likeness in men's claims in virtue of their
common humanity. _Equity_ literally means _equalness_; and if it be
admitted that there were even the vaguest ideas of equity in these
primitive eras, it must be admitted that there was some appreciation of
the equalness of men's liberties to pursue the objects of life--some
appreciation, therefore, of the essential principle of national

Thus in this initial stage of the positive sciences, before geometry had
yet done more than evolve a few empirical rules--before mechanics had
passed beyond its first theorem--before astronomy had advanced from its
merely chronological phase into the geometrical; the most involved of
the sciences had reached a certain degree of development--a development
without which no progress in other sciences was possible.

Only noting as we pass, how, thus early, we may see that the progress of
exact science was not only towards an increasing number of previsions,
but towards previsions more accurately quantitative--how, in astronomy,
the recurring period of the moon's motions was by and by more correctly
ascertained to be nineteen years, or two hundred and thirty-five
lunations; how Callipus further corrected this Metonic cycle, by leaving
out a day at the end of every seventy-six years; and how these
successive advances implied a longer continued registry of observations,
and the co-ordination of a greater number of facts--let us go on to
inquire how geometrical astronomy took its rise.

The first astronomical instrument was the gnomon. This was not only
early in use in the East, but it was found also among the Mexicans; the
sole astronomical observations of the Peruvians were made by it; and we
read that 1100 B.C., the Chinese found that, at a certain place, the
length of the sun's shadow, at the summer solstice, was to the height of
the gnomon as one and a half to eight. Here again it is observable, not
only that the instrument is found ready made, but that Nature is
perpetually performing the process of measurement. Any fixed, erect
object--a column, a dead palm, a pole, the angle of a building--serves
for a gnomon; and it needs but to notice the changing position of the
shadow it daily throws to make the first step in geometrical astronomy.
How small this first step was, may be seen in the fact that the only
things ascertained at the outset were the periods of the summer and
winter solstices, which corresponded with the least and greatest lengths
of the mid-shadow; and to fix which, it was needful merely to mark the
point to which each day's shadow reached.

And now let it not be overlooked that in the observing at what time
during the next year this extreme limit of the shadow was again reached,
and in the inference that the sun had then arrived at the same turning
point in his annual course, we have one of the simplest instances of
that combined use of _equal magnitudes_ and _equal relations_, by which
all exact science, all quantitative prevision, is reached. For the
relation observed was between the length of the sun's shadow and his
position in the heavens; and the inference drawn was that when, next
year, the extremity of his shadow came to the same point, he occupied
the same place. That is, the ideas involved were, the equality of the
shadows, and the equality of the relations between shadow and sun in
successive years. As in the case of the scales, the equality of
relations here recognised is of the simplest order. It is not as those
habitually dealt with in the higher kinds of scientific reasoning, which
answer to the general type--the relation between two and three equals
the relation between six and nine; but it follows the type--the relation
between two and three, equals the relation between two and three; it is
a case of not simply _equal_ relations, but _coinciding_ relations. And
here, indeed, we may see beautifully illustrated how the idea of equal
relations takes its rise after the same manner that that of equal
magnitude does. As already shown, the idea of equal magnitudes arose
from the observed coincidence of two lengths placed together; and in
this case we have not only two coincident lengths of shadows, but two
coincident relations between sun and shadows.

From the use of the gnomon there naturally grew up the conception of
angular measurements; and with the advance of geometrical conceptions
there came the hemisphere of Berosus, the equinoctial armil, the
solstitial armil, and the quadrant of Ptolemy--all of them employing
shadows as indices of the sun's position, but in combination with
angular divisions. It is obviously out of the question for us here to
trace these details of progress. It must suffice to remark that in all
of them we may see that notion of equality of relations of a more
complex kind, which is best illustrated in the astrolabe, an instrument
which consisted "of circular rims, movable one within the other, or
about poles, and contained circles which were to be brought into the
position of the ecliptic, and of a plane passing through the sun and the
poles of the ecliptic"--an instrument, therefore, which represented, as
by a model, the relative positions of certain imaginary lines and planes
in the heavens; which was adjusted by putting these representative lines
and planes into parallelism and coincidence with the celestial ones; and
which depended for its use upon the perception that the relations
between these representative lines and planes were _equal_ to the
relations between those represented.

Were there space, we might go on to point out how the conception of the
heavens as a revolving hollow sphere, the discovery of the globular form
of the earth, the explanation of the moon's phases, and indeed all the
successive steps taken, involved this same mental process. But we must
content ourselves with referring to the theory of eccentrics and
epicycles, as a further marked illustration of it. As first suggested,
and as proved by Hipparchus to afford an explanation of the leading
irregularities in the celestial motions, this theory involved the
perception that the progressions, retrogressions, and variations of
velocity seen in the heavenly bodies, might be reconciled with their
assumed uniform movement in circles, by supposing that the earth was not
in the centre of their orbits; or by supposing that they revolved in
circles whose centres revolved round the earth; or by both. The
discovery that this would account for the appearances, was the discovery
that in certain geometrical diagrams the relations were such, that the
uniform motion of a point would, when looked at from a particular
position, present analogous irregularities; and the calculations of
Hipparchus involved the belief that the relations subsisting among these
geometrical curves were _equal_ to the relations subsisting among the
celestial orbits.

Leaving here these details of astronomical progress, and the philosophy
of it, let us observe how the relatively concrete science of geometrical
astronomy, having been thus far helped forward by the development of
geometry in general, reacted upon geometry, caused it also to advance,
and was again assisted by it. Hipparchus, before making his solar and
lunar tables, had to discover rules for calculating the relations
between the sides and angles of triangles--_trigonometry_ a subdivision
of pure mathematics. Further, the reduction of the doctrine of the
sphere to the quantitative form needed for astronomical purposes,
required the formation of a _spherical trigonometry_, which was also
achieved by Hipparchus. Thus both plane and spherical trigonometry,
which are parts of the highly abstract and simple science of extension,
remained undeveloped until the less abstract and more complex science of
the celestial motions had need of them. The fact admitted by M. Comte,
that since Descartes the progress of the abstract division of
mathematics has been determined by that of the concrete division, is
paralleled by the still more significant fact that even thus early the
progress of mathematics was determined by that of astronomy.

And here, indeed, we may see exemplified the truth, which the subsequent
history of science frequently illustrates, that before any more
abstract division makes a further advance, some more concrete division
must suggest the necessity for that advance--must present the new order
of questions to be solved. Before astronomy presented Hipparchus with
the problem of solar tables, there was nothing to raise the question of
the relations between lines and angles; the subject-matter of
trigonometry had not been conceived. And as there must be subject-matter
before there can be investigation, it follows that the progress of the
concrete divisions is as necessary to that of the abstract, as the
progress of the abstract to that of the concrete.

Just incidentally noticing the circumstance that the epoch we are
describing witnessed the evolution of algebra, a comparatively abstract
division of mathematics, by the union of its less abstract divisions,
geometry and arithmetic--a fact proved by the earliest extant samples of
algebra, which are half algebraic, half geometric--we go on to observe
that during the era in which mathematics and astronomy were thus
advancing, rational mechanics made its second step; and something was
done towards giving a quantitative form to hydrostatics, optics, and
harmonics. In each case we shall see, as before, how the idea of
equality underlies all quantitative prevision; and in what simple forms
this idea is first applied.

As already shown, the first theorem established in mechanics was, that
equal weights suspended from a lever with equal arms would remain in
equilibrium. Archimedes discovered that a lever with unequal arms was in
equilibrium when one weight was to its arm as the other arm to its
weight; that is--when the numerical relation between one weight and its
arm was _equal_ to the numerical relation between the other arm and its

The first advance made in hydrostatics, which we also owe to Archimedes,
was the discovery that fluids press _equally_ in all directions; and
from this followed the solution of the problem of floating bodies:
namely, that they are in equilibrium when the upward and downward
pressures are _equal_.

In optics, again, the Greeks found that the angle of incidence is
_equal_ to the angle of reflection; and their knowledge reached no
further than to such simple deductions from this as their geometry
sufficed for. In harmonics they ascertained the fact that three strings
of _equal_ lengths would yield the octave, fifth and fourth, when
strained by weights having certain definite ratios; and they did not
progress much beyond this. In the one of which cases we see geometry
used in elucidation of the laws of light; and in the other, geometry and
arithmetic made to measure the phenomena of sound.

Did space permit, it would be desirable here to describe the state of
the less advanced sciences--to point out how, while a few had thus
reached the first stages of quantitative prevision, the rest were
progressing in qualitative prevision--how some small generalisations
were made respecting evaporation, and heat, and electricity, and
magnetism, which, empirical as they were, did not in that respect differ
from the first generalisations of every science--how the Greek
physicians had made advances in physiology and pathology, which,
considering the great imperfection of our present knowledge, are by no
means to be despised--how zoology had been so far systematised by
Aristotle, as, to some extent, enabled him from the presence of certain
organs to predict the presence of others--how in Aristotle's _Politics_
there is some progress towards a scientific conception of social
phenomena, and sundry previsions respecting them--and how in the state
of the Greek societies, as well as in the writings of Greek
philosophers, we may recognise not only an increasing clearness in that
conception of equity on which the social science is based, but also some
appreciation of the fact that social stability depends upon the
maintenance of equitable regulations. We might dwell at length upon the
causes which retarded the development of some of the sciences, as, for
example, chemistry; showing that relative complexity had nothing to do
with it--that the oxidation of a piece of iron is a simpler phenomenon
than the recurrence of eclipses, and the discovery of carbonic acid less
difficult than that of the precession of the equinoxes--but that the
relatively slow advance of chemical knowledge was due, partly to the
fact that its phenomena were not daily thrust on men's notice as those
of astronomy were; partly to the fact that Nature does not habitually
supply the means, and suggest the modes of investigation, as in the
sciences dealing with time, extension, and force; and partly to the fact
that the great majority of the materials with which chemistry deals,
instead of being ready to hand, are made known only by the arts in their
slow growth; and partly to the fact that even when known, their chemical
properties are not self-exhibited, but have to be sought out by

Merely indicating all these considerations, however, let us go on to
contemplate the progress and mutual influence of the sciences in modern
days; only parenthetically noticing how, on the revival of the
scientific spirit, the successive stages achieved exhibit the dominance
of the same law hitherto traced--how the primary idea in dynamics, a
uniform force, was defined by Galileo to be a force which generates
_equal_ velocities in _equal_ successive times--how the uniform action
of gravity was first experimentally determined by showing that the time
elapsing before a body thrown up, stopped, was _equal_ to the time it
took to fall--how the first fact in compound motion which Galileo
ascertained was, that a body projected horizontally will have a uniform
motion onwards and a uniformly accelerated motion downwards; that is,
will describe _equal_ horizontal spaces in _equal_ times, compounded
with _equal_ vertical increments in _equal_ times--how his discovery
respecting the pendulum was, that its oscillations occupy _equal_
intervals of time whatever their length--how the principle of virtual
velocities which he established is, that in any machine the weights that
balance each other are reciprocally as their virtual velocities; that
is, the relation of one set of weights to their velocities _equals_ the
relation of the other set of velocities to their weights; and how thus
his achievements consisted in showing the equalities of certain
magnitudes and relations, whose equalities had not been previously

When mechanics had reached the point to which Galileo brought it--when
the simple laws of force had been disentangled from the friction and
atmospheric resistance by which all their earthly manifestations are
disguised--when progressing knowledge of _physics_ had given a due
insight into these disturbing causes--when, by an effort of abstraction,
it was perceived that all motion would be uniform and rectilinear unless
interfered with by external forces--and when the various consequences of
this perception had been worked out; then it became possible, by the
union of geometry and mechanics, to initiate physical astronomy.
Geometry and mechanics having diverged from a common root in men's
sensible experiences; having, with occasional inosculations, been
separately developed, the one partly in connection with astronomy, the
other solely by analysing terrestrial movements; now join in the
investigations of Newton to create a true theory of the celestial
motions. And here, also, we have to notice the important fact that, in
the very process of being brought jointly to bear upon astronomical
problems, they are themselves raised to a higher phase of development.
For it was in dealing with the questions raised by celestial dynamics
that the then incipient infinitesimal calculus was unfolded by Newton
and his continental successors; and it was from inquiries into the
mechanics of the solar system that the general theorems of mechanics
contained in the _Principia_,--many of them of purely terrestrial
application--took their rise. Thus, as in the case of Hipparchus, the
presentation of a new order of concrete facts to be analysed, led to the
discovery of new abstract facts; and these abstract facts having been
laid hold of, gave means of access to endless groups of concrete facts
before incapable of quantitative treatment.

Meanwhile, physics had been carrying further that progress without
which, as just shown, rational mechanics could not be disentangled. In
hydrostatics, Stevinus had extended and applied the discovery of
Archimedes. Torricelli had proved atmospheric pressure, "by showing that
this pressure sustained different liquids at heights inversely
proportional to their densities;" and Pascal "established the necessary
diminution of this pressure at increasing heights in the atmosphere:"
discoveries which in part reduced this branch of science to a
quantitative form. Something had been done by Daniel Bernouilli towards
the dynamics of fluids. The thermometer had been invented; and a number
of small generalisations reached by it. Huyghens and Newton had made
considerable progress in optics; Newton had approximately calculated the
rate of transmission of sound; and the continental mathematicians had
succeeded in determining some of the laws of sonorous vibrations.
Magnetism and electricity had been considerably advanced by Gilbert.
Chemistry had got as far as the mutual neutralisation of acids and
alkalies. And Leonardo da Vinci had advanced in geology to the
conception of the deposition of marine strata as the origin of fossils.
Our present purpose does not require that we should give particulars.
All that it here concerns us to do is to illustrate the _consensus_
subsisting in this stage of growth, and afterwards. Let us look at a few

The theoretic law of the velocity of sound enunciated by Newton on
purely mechanical considerations, was found wrong by one-sixth. The
error remained unaccounted for until the time of Laplace, who,
suspecting that the heat disengaged by the compression of the undulating
strata of the air, gave additional elasticity, and so produced the
difference, made the needful calculations and found he was right. Thus
acoustics was arrested until thermology overtook and aided it. When
Boyle and Marriot had discovered the relation between the density of
gases and the pressures they are subject to; and when it thus became
possible to calculate the rate of decreasing density in the upper parts
of the atmosphere, it also became possible to make approximate tables of
the atmospheric refraction of light. Thus optics, and with it astronomy,
advanced with barology. After the discovery of atmospheric pressure had
led to the invention of the air-pump by Otto Guericke; and after it had
become known that evaporation increases in rapidity as atmospheric
pressure decreases; it became possible for Leslie, by evaporation in a
vacuum, to produce the greatest cold known; and so to extend our
knowledge of thermology by showing that there is no zero within reach of
our researches. When Fourier had determined the laws of conduction of
heat, and when the Earth's temperature had been found to increase below
the surface one degree in every forty yards, there were data for
inferring the past condition of our globe; the vast period it has taken
to cool down to its present state; and the immense age of the solar
system--a purely astronomical consideration.

Chemistry having advanced sufficiently to supply the needful materials,
and a physiological experiment having furnished the requisite hint,
there came the discovery of galvanic electricity. Galvanism reacting on
chemistry disclosed the metallic bases of the alkalies, and inaugurated
the electro-chemical theory; in the hands of Oersted and Ampère it led
to the laws of magnetic action; and by its aid Faraday has detected
significant facts relative to the constitution of light. Brewster's
discoveries respecting double refraction and dipolarisation proved the
essential truth of the classification of crystalline forms according to
the number of axes, by showing that the molecular constitution depends
upon the axes. In these and in numerous other cases, the mutual
influence of the sciences has been quite independent of any supposed
hierarchical order. Often, too, their inter-actions are more complex
than as thus instanced--involve more sciences than two. One illustration
of this must suffice. We quote it in full from the _History of the
Inductive Sciences_. In book xi., chap, ii., on "The Progress of the
Electrical Theory," Dr. Whewell writes:--

     "Thus at that period, mathematics was behind experiment, and a
     problem was proposed, in which theoretical results were wanted for
     comparison with observation, but could not be accurately obtained;
     as was the case in astronomy also, till the time of the approximate
     solution of the problem of three bodies, and the consequent
     formation of the tables of the moon and planets, on the theory of
     universal gravitation. After some time, electrical theory was
     relieved from this reproach, mainly in consequence of the progress
     which astronomy had occasioned in pure mathematics. About 1801
     there appeared in the _Bulletin des Sciences_, an exact solution of
     the problem of the distribution of electric fluid on a spheroid,
     obtained by Biot, by the application of the peculiar methods which
     Laplace had invented for the problem of the figure of the planets.
     And, in 1811, M. Poisson applied Laplace's artifices to the case of
     two spheres acting upon one another in contact, a case to which
     many of Coulomb's experiments were referrible; and the agreement of
     the results of theory and observation, thus extricated from
     Coulomb's numbers obtained above forty years previously, was very
     striking and convincing."

Not only do the sciences affect each other after this direct manner, but
they affect each other indirectly. Where there is no dependence, there
is yet analogy--_equality of relations_; and the discovery of the
relations subsisting among one set of phenomena, constantly suggests a
search for the same relations among another set. Thus the established
fact that the force of gravitation varies inversely as the square of the
distance, being recognised as a necessary characteristic of all
influences proceeding from a centre, raised the suspicion that heat and
light follow the same law; which proved to be the case--a suspicion and
a confirmation which were repeated in respect to the electric and
magnetic forces. Thus again the discovery of the polarisation of light
led to experiments which ended in the discovery of the polarisation of
heat--a discovery that could never have been made without the antecedent
one. Thus, too, the known refrangibility of light and heat lately
produced the inquiry whether sound also is not refrangible; which on
trial it turns out to be.

In some cases, indeed, it is only by the aid of conceptions derived from
one class of phenomena that hypotheses respecting other classes can be
formed. The theory, at one time favoured, that evaporation is a solution
of water in air, was an assumption that the relation between water and
air is _like_ the relation between salt and water; and could never have
been conceived if the relation between salt and water had not been
previously known. Similarly the received theory of evaporation--that it
is a diffusion of the particles of the evaporating fluid in virtue of
their atomic repulsion--could not have been entertained without a
foregoing experience of magnetic and electric repulsions. So complete in
recent days has become this _consensus_ among the sciences, caused
either by the natural entanglement of their phenomena, or by analogies
in the relations of their phenomena, that scarcely any considerable
discovery concerning one order of facts now takes place, without very
shortly leading to discoveries concerning other orders.

To produce a tolerably complete conception of this process of
scientific evolution, it would be needful to go back to the beginning,
and trace in detail the growth of classifications and nomenclatures; and
to show how, as subsidiary to science, they have acted upon it, and it
has reacted upon them. We can only now remark that, on the one hand,
classifications and nomenclatures have aided science by continually
subdividing the subject-matter of research, and giving fixity and
diffusion to the truths disclosed; and that on the other hand, they have
caught from it that increasing quantitativeness, and that progress from
considerations touching single phenomena to considerations touching the
relations among many phenomena, which we have been describing.

Of this last influence a few illustrations must be given. In chemistry
it is seen in the facts, that the dividing of matter into the four
elements was ostensibly based upon the single property of weight; that
the first truly chemical division into acid and alkaline bodies, grouped
together bodies which had not simply one property in common, but in
which one property was constantly related to many others; and that the
classification now current, places together in groups _supporters of
combustion_, _metallic and non-metallic bases_, _acids_, _salts_, etc.,
bodies which are often quite unlike in sensible qualities, but which are
like in the majority of their _relations_ to other bodies. In mineralogy
again, the first classifications were based upon differences in aspect,
texture, and other physical attributes. Berzelius made two attempts at a
classification based solely on chemical constitution. That now current,
recognises as far as possible the _relations_ between physical and
chemical characters. In botany the earliest classes formed were _trees_,
_shrubs_, and _herbs_: magnitude being the basis of distinction.
Dioscorides divided vegetables into _aromatic_, _alimentary_,
_medicinal_, and _vinous_: a division of chemical character. Cæsalpinus
classified them by the seeds, and seed-vessels, which he preferred
because of the _relations_ found to subsist between the character of the
fructification and the general character of the other parts.

While the "natural system" since developed, carrying out the doctrine of
Linnæus, that "natural orders must be formed by attention not to one or
two, but to _all_ the parts of plants," bases its divisions on like
peculiarities which are found to be _constantly related_ to the greatest
number of other like peculiarities. And similarly in zoology, the
successive classifications, from having been originally determined by
external and often subordinate characters not indicative of the
essential nature, have been gradually more and more determined by those
internal and fundamental differences, which have uniform _relations_ to
the greatest number of other differences. Nor shall we be surprised at
this analogy between the modes of progress of positive science and
classification, when we bear in mind that both proceed by making
generalisations; that both enable us to make previsions differing only
in their precision; and that while the one deals with equal properties
and relations, the other deals with properties and relations that
approximate towards equality in variable degrees.

Without further argument, it will, we think, be sufficiently clear that
the sciences are none of them separately evolved--are none of them
independent either logically or historically; but that all of them have,
in a greater or less degree, required aid and reciprocated it. Indeed,
it needs but to throw aside these, and contemplate the mixed character
of surrounding phenomena, to at once see that these notions of division
and succession in the kinds of knowledge are none of them actually true,
but are simple scientific fictions: good, if regarded merely as aids to
study; bad, if regarded as representing realities in Nature. Consider
them critically, and no facts whatever are presented to our senses
uncombined with other facts--no facts whatever but are in some degree
disguised by accompanying facts: disguised in such a manner that all
must be partially understood before any one can be understood. If it be
said, as by M. Comte, that gravitating force should be treated of before
other forces, seeing that all things are subject to it, it may on like
grounds be said that heat should be first dealt with; seeing that
thermal forces are everywhere in action; that the ability of any portion
of matter to manifest visible gravitative phenomena depends on its state
of aggregation, which is determined by heat; that only by the aid of
thermology can we explain those apparent exceptions to the gravitating
tendency which are presented by steam and smoke, and so establish its
universality, and that, indeed, the very existence of the solar system
in a solid form is just as much a question of heat as it is one of

Take other cases:--All phenomena recognised by the eyes, through which
only are the data of exact science ascertainable, are complicated with
optical phenomena; and cannot be exhaustively known until optical
principles are known. The burning of a candle cannot be explained
without involving chemistry, mechanics, thermology. Every wind that
blows is determined by influences partly solar, partly lunar, partly
hygrometric; and implies considerations of fluid equilibrium and
physical geography. The direction, dip, and variations of the magnetic
needle, are facts half terrestrial, half celestial--are caused by
earthly forces which have cycles of change corresponding with
astronomical periods. The flowing of the gulf-stream and the annual
migration of icebergs towards the equator, depending as they do on the
balancing of the centripetal and centrifugal forces acting on the ocean,
involve in their explanation the Earth's rotation and spheroidal form,
the laws of hydrostatics, the relative densities of cold and warm water,
and the doctrines of evaporation. It is no doubt true, as M. Comte says,
that "our position in the solar system, and the motions, form, size,
equilibrium of the mass of our world among the planets, must be known
before we can understand the phenomena going on at its surface." But,
fatally for his hypothesis, it is also true that we must understand a
great part of the phenomena going on at its surface before we can know
its position, etc., in the solar system. It is not simply that, as we
have already shown, those geometrical and mechanical principles by which
celestial appearances are explained, were first generalised from
terrestrial experiences; but it is that the very obtainment of correct
data, on which to base astronomical generalisations, implies advanced
terrestrial physics.

Until after optics had made considerable advance, the Copernican system
remained but a speculation. A single modern observation on a star has to
undergo a careful analysis by the combined aid of various sciences--has
to _be digested by the organism of the sciences_; which have severally
to assimilate their respective parts of the observation, before the
essential fact it contains is available for the further development of
astronomy. It has to be corrected not only for nutation of the earth's
axis and for precession of the equinoxes, but for aberration and for
refraction; and the formation of the tables by which refraction is
calculated, presupposes knowledge of the law of decreasing density in
the upper atmospheric strata; of the law of decreasing temperature, and
the influence of this on the density; and of hygrometric laws as also
affecting density. So that, to get materials for further advance,
astronomy requires not only the indirect aid of the sciences which have
presided over the making of its improved instruments, but the direct aid
of an advanced optics, of barology, of thermology, of hygrometry; and if
we remember that these delicate observations are in some cases
registered electrically, and that they are further corrected for the
"personal equation"--the time elapsing between seeing and registering,
which varies with different observers--we may even add electricity and
psychology. If, then, so apparently simple a thing as ascertaining the
position of a star is complicated with so many phenomena, it is clear
that this notion of the independence of the sciences, or certain of
them, will not hold.

Whether objectively independent or not, they cannot be subjectively
so--they cannot have independence as presented to our consciousness; and
this is the only kind of independence with which we are concerned. And
here, before leaving these illustrations, and especially this last one,
let us not omit to notice how clearly they exhibit that increasingly
active _consensus_ of the sciences which characterises their advancing
development. Besides finding that in these later times a discovery in
one science commonly causes progress in others; besides finding that a
great part of the questions with which modern science deals are so mixed
as to require the co-operation of many sciences for their solution; we
find in this last case that, to make a single good observation in the
purest of the natural sciences, requires the combined assistance of half
a dozen other sciences.

Perhaps the clearest comprehension of the interconnected growth of the
sciences may be obtained by contemplating that of the arts, to which it
is strictly analogous, and with which it is inseparably bound up. Most
intelligent persons must have been, at one time or other, struck with
the vast array of antecedents pre-supposed by one of our processes of
manufacture. Let him trace the production of a printed cotton, and
consider all that is implied by it. There are the many successive
improvements through which the power-looms reached their present
perfection; there is the steam-engine that drives them, having its long
history from Papin downwards; there are the lathes in which its cylinder
was bored, and the string of ancestral lathes from which those lathes
proceeded; there is the steam-hammer under which its crank shaft was
welded; there are the puddling-furnaces, the blast-furnaces, the
coal-mines and the iron-mines needful for producing the raw material;
there are the slowly improved appliances by which the factory was built,
and lighted, and ventilated; there are the printing engine, and the die
house, and the colour laboratory with its stock of materials from all
parts of the world, implying cochineal-culture, logwood-cutting,
indigo-growing; there are the implements used by the producers of
cotton, the gins by which it is cleaned, the elaborate machines by which
it is spun: there are the vessels in which cotton is imported, with the
building-slips, the rope-yards, the sail-cloth factories, the
anchor-forges, needful for making them; and besides all these directly
necessary antecedents, each of them involving many others, there are the
institutions which have developed the requisite intelligence, the
printing and publishing arrangements which have spread the necessary
information, the social organisation which has rendered possible such a
complex co-operation of agencies.

Further analysis would show that the many arts thus concerned in the
economical production of a child's frock, have each of them been brought
to its present efficiency by slow steps which the other arts have aided;
and that from the beginning this reciprocity has been ever on the
increase. It needs but on the one hand to consider how utterly
impossible it is for the savage, even with ore and coal ready, to
produce so simple a thing as an iron hatchet; and then to consider, on
the other hand, that it would have been impracticable among ourselves,
even a century ago, to raise the tubes of the Britannia bridge from lack
of the hydraulic press; to at once see how mutually dependent are the
arts, and how all must advance that each may advance. Well, the sciences
are involved with each other in just the same manner. They are, in fact,
inextricably woven into the same complex web of the arts; and are only
conventionally independent of it. Originally the two were one. How to
fix the religious festivals; when to sow: how to weigh commodities; and
in what manner to measure ground; were the purely practical questions
out of which arose astronomy, mechanics, geometry. Since then there has
been a perpetual inosculation of the sciences and the arts. Science has
been supplying art with truer generalisations and more completely
quantitative previsions. Art has been supplying science with better
materials and more perfect instruments. And all along the
interdependence has been growing closer, not only between art and
science, but among the arts themselves, and among the sciences

How completely the analogy holds throughout, becomes yet clearer when we
recognise the fact that _the sciences are arts to each other_. If, as
occurs in almost every case, the fact to be analysed by any science, has
first to be prepared--to be disentangled from disturbing facts by the
afore discovered methods of other sciences; the other sciences so used,
stand in the position of arts. If, in solving a dynamical problem, a
parallelogram is drawn, of which the sides and diagonal represent
forces, and by putting magnitudes of extension for magnitudes of force a
measurable relation is established between quantities not else to be
dealt with; it may be fairly said that geometry plays towards mechanics
much the same part that the fire of the founder plays towards the metal
he is going to cast. If, in analysing the phenomena of the coloured
rings surrounding the point of contact between two lenses, a Newton
ascertains by calculation the amount of certain interposed spaces, far
too minute for actual measurement; he employs the science of number for
essentially the same purpose as that for which the watchmaker employs
tools. If, before writing down his observation on a star, the astronomer
has to separate from it all the errors resulting from atmospheric and
optical laws, it is manifest that the refraction-tables, and
logarithm-books, and formulæ, which he successively uses, serve him much
as retorts, and filters, and cupels serve the assayer who wishes to
separate the pure gold from all accompanying ingredients.

So close, indeed, is the relationship, that it is impossible to say
where science begins and art ends. All the instruments of the natural
philosopher are the products of art; the adjusting one of them for use
is an art; there is art in making an observation with one of them; it
requires art properly to treat the facts ascertained; nay, even the
employing established generalisations to open the way to new
generalisations, may be considered as art. In each of these cases
previously organised knowledge becomes the implement by which new
knowledge is got at: and whether that previously organised knowledge is
embodied in a tangible apparatus or in a formula, matters not in so far
as its essential relation to the new knowledge is concerned. If, as no
one will deny, art is applied knowledge, then such portion of a
scientific investigation as consists of applied knowledge is art. So
that we may even say that as soon as any prevision in science passes out
of its originally passive state, and is employed for reaching other
previsions, it passes from theory into practice--becomes science in
action--becomes art. And when we thus see how purely conventional is the
ordinary distinction, how impossible it is to make any real
separation--when we see not only that science and art were originally
one; that the arts have perpetually assisted each other; that there has
been a constant reciprocation of aid between the sciences and arts; but
that the sciences act as arts to each other, and that the established
part of each science becomes an art to the growing part--when we
recognise the closeness of these associations, we shall the more clearly
perceive that as the connection of the arts with each other has been
ever becoming more intimate; as the help given by sciences to arts and
by arts to sciences, has been age by age increasing; so the
interdependence of the sciences themselves has been ever growing
greater, their mutual relations more involved, their _consensus_ more

       *       *       *       *       *

In here ending our sketch of the Genesis of Science, we are conscious of
having done the subject but scant justice. Two difficulties have stood
in our way: one, the having to touch on so many points in such small
space; the other, the necessity of treating in serial arrangement a
process which is not serial--a difficulty which must ever attend all
attempts to delineate processes of development, whatever their special
nature. Add to which, that to present in anything like completeness and
proportion, even the outlines of so vast and complex a history, demands
years of study. Nevertheless, we believe that the evidence which has
been assigned suffices to substantiate the leading propositions with
which we set out. Inquiry into the first stages of science confirms the
conclusion which we drew from the analysis of science as now existing,
that it is not distinct from common knowledge, but an outgrowth from
it--an extension of the perception by means of the reason.

That which we further found by analysis to form the more specific
characteristic of scientific previsions, as contrasted with the
previsions of uncultured intelligence--their quantitativeness--we also
see to have been the characteristic alike in the initial steps in
science, and of all the steps succeeding them. The facts and admissions
cited in disproof of the assertion that the sciences follow one another,
both logically and historically, in the order of their decreasing
generality, have been enforced by the sundry instances we have met with,
in which the more general or abstract sciences have been advanced only
at the instigation of the more special or concrete--instances serving to
show that a more general science as much owes its progress to the
presentation of new problems by a more special science, as the more
special science owes its progress to the solutions which the more
general science is thus led to attempt--instances therefore illustrating
the position that scientific advance is as much from the special to the
general as from the general to the special.

Quite in harmony with this position we find to be the admissions that
the sciences are as branches of one trunk, and that they were at first
cultivated simultaneously; and this harmony becomes the more marked on
finding, as we have done, not only that the sciences have a common root,
but that science in general has a common root with language,
classification, reasoning, art; that throughout civilisation these have
advanced together, acting and reacting upon each other just as the
separate sciences have done; and that thus the development of
intelligence in all its divisions and subdivisions has conformed to this
same law which we have shown that the sciences conform to. From all
which we may perceive that the sciences can with no greater propriety be
arranged in a succession, than language, classification, reasoning, art,
and science, can be arranged in a succession; that, however needful a
succession may be for the convenience of books and catalogues, it must
be recognised merely as a convention; and that so far from its being the
function of a philosophy of the sciences to establish a hierarchy, it is
its function to show that the linear arrangements required for literary
purposes, have none of them any basis either in Nature or History.

There is one further remark we must not omit--a remark touching the
importance of the question that has been discussed. Unfortunately it
commonly happens that topics of this abstract nature are slighted as of
no practical moment; and, we doubt not, that many will think it of very
little consequence what theory respecting the genesis of science may be
entertained. But the value of truths is often great, in proportion as
their generality is wide. Remote as they seem from practical
application, the highest generalisations are not unfrequently the most
potent in their effects, in virtue of their influence on all those
subordinate generalisations which regulate practice. And it must be so
here. Whenever established, a correct theory of the historical
development of the sciences must have an immense effect upon education;
and, through education, upon civilisation. Greatly as we differ from him
in other respects, we agree with M. Comte in the belief that, rightly
conducted, the education of the individual must have a certain
correspondence with the evolution of the race.

No one can contemplate the facts we have cited in illustration of the
early stages of science, without recognising the _necessity_ of the
processes through which those stages were reached--a necessity which, in
respect to the leading truths, may likewise be traced in all after
stages. This necessity, originating in the very nature of the phenomena
to be analysed and the faculties to be employed, more or less fully
applies to the mind of the child as to that of the savage. We say more
or less fully, because the correspondence is not special but general
only. Were the _environment_ the same in both cases, the correspondence
would be complete. But though the surrounding material out of which
science is to be organised, is, in many cases, the same to the juvenile
mind and the aboriginal mind, it is not so throughout; as, for instance,
in the case of chemistry, the phenomena of which are accessible to the
one, but were inaccessible to the other. Hence, in proportion as the
environment differs, the course of evolution must differ. After
admitting sundry exceptions, however, there remains a substantial
parallelism; and, if so, it becomes of great moment to ascertain what
really has been the process of scientific evolution. The establishment
of an erroneous theory must be disastrous in its educational results;
while the establishments of a true one must eventually be fertile in
school-reforms and consequent social benefits.

[1] _British Quarterly Review_, July 1854.

[2] It is somewhat curious that the author of _The Plurality of Worlds_,
with quite other aims, should have persuaded himself into similar


Why do we smile when a child puts on a man's hat? or what induces us to
laugh on reading that the corpulent Gibbon was unable to rise from his
knees after making a tender declaration? The usual reply to such
questions is, that laughter results from a perception of incongruity.
Even were there not on this reply the obvious criticism that laughter
often occurs from extreme pleasure or from mere vivacity, there would
still remain the real problem--How comes a sense of the incongruous to
be followed by these peculiar bodily actions? Some have alleged that
laughter is due to the pleasure of a relative self-elevation, which we
feel on seeing the humiliation of others. But this theory, whatever
portion of truth it may contain, is, in the first place, open to the
fatal objection, that there are various humiliations to others which
produce in us anything but laughter; and, in the second place, it does
not apply to the many instances in which no one's dignity is implicated:
as when we laugh at a good pun. Moreover, like the other, it is merely a
generalisation of certain conditions to laughter; and not an explanation
of the odd movements which occur under these conditions. Why, when
greatly delighted, or impressed with certain unexpected contrasts of
ideas, should there be a contraction of particular facial muscles, and
particular muscles of the chest and abdomen? Such answer to this
question as may be possible can be rendered only by physiology.

       *       *       *       *       *

Every child has made the attempt to hold the foot still while it is
tickled, and has failed; and probably there is scarcely any one who has
not vainly tried to avoid winking, when a hand has been suddenly passed
before the eyes. These examples of muscular movements which occur
independently of the will, or in spite of it, illustrate what
physiologists call reflex-action; as likewise do sneezing and coughing.
To this class of cases, in which involuntary motions are accompanied by
sensations, has to be added another class of cases, in which involuntary
motions are unaccompanied by sensations:--instance the pulsations of the
heart; the contractions of the stomach during digestion. Further, the
great mass of seemingly-voluntary acts in such creatures as insects,
worms, molluscs, are considered by physiologists to be as purely
automatic as is the dilatation or closure of the iris under variations
in quantity of light; and similarly exemplify the law, that an
impression on the end of an afferent nerve is conveyed to some
ganglionic centre, and is thence usually reflected along an efferent
nerve to one or more muscles which it causes to contract.

In a modified form this principle holds with voluntary acts. Nervous
excitation always _tends_ to beget muscular motion; and when it rises to
a certain intensity, always does beget it. Not only in reflex actions,
whether with or without sensation, do we see that special nerves, when
raised to a state of tension, discharge themselves on special muscles
with which they are indirectly connected; but those external actions
through which we read the feelings of others, show us that under any
considerable tension, the nervous system in general discharges itself on
the muscular system in general: either with or without the guidance of
the will. The shivering produced by cold, implies irregular muscular
contractions, which, though at first only partly involuntary, become,
when the cold is extreme, almost wholly involuntary. When you have
severely burnt your finger, it is very difficult to preserve a dignified
composure: contortion of face, or movement of limb, is pretty sure to
follow. If a man receives good news with neither change of feature nor
bodily motion, it is inferred that he is not much pleased, or that he
has extraordinary self-control--either inference implying that joy
almost universally produces contraction of the muscles; and so, alters
the expression, or attitude, or both. And when we hear of the feats of
strength which men have performed when their lives were at stake--when
we read how, in the energy of despair, even paralytic patients have
regained for a time the use of their limbs, we see still more clearly
the relations between nervous and muscular excitements. It becomes
manifest both that emotions and sensations tend to generate bodily
movements and that the movements are vehement in proportion as the
emotions or sensations are intense.[2]

This, however, is not the sole direction in which nervous excitement
expends itself. Viscera as well as muscles may receive the discharge.
That the heart and blood-vessels (which, indeed, being all contractile,
may in a restricted sense be classed with the muscular system) are
quickly affected by pleasures and pains, we have daily proved to us.
Every sensation of any acuteness accelerates the pulse; and how
sensitive the heart is to emotions, is testified by the familiar
expressions which use heart and feeling as convertible terms. Similarly
with the digestive organs. Without detailing the various ways in which
these may be influenced by our mental states, it suffices to mention the
marked benefits derived by dyspeptics, as well as other invalids, from
cheerful society, welcome news, change of scene, to show how pleasurable
feeling stimulates the viscera in general into greater activity.

There is still another direction in which any excited portion of the
nervous system may discharge itself; and a direction in which it usually
does discharge itself when the excitement is not strong. It may pass on
the stimulus to some other portion of the nervous system. This is what
occurs in quiet thinking and feeling. The successive states which
constitute consciousness, result from this. Sensations excite ideas and
emotions; these in their turns arouse other ideas and emotions; and so,
continuously. That is to say, the tension existing in particular nerves,
or groups of nerves, when they yield us certain sensations, ideas, or
emotions, generates an equivalent tension in some other nerves, or
groups of nerves, with which there is a connection: the flow of energy
passing on, the one idea or feeling dies in producing the next.

Thus, then, while we are totally unable to comprehend how the excitement
of certain nerves should generate feeling--while, in the production of
consciousness by physical agents acting on physical structure, we come
to an absolute mystery never to be solved; it is yet quite possible for
us to know by observation what are the successive forms which this
absolute mystery may take. We see that there are three channels along
which nerves in a state of tension may discharge themselves; or rather,
I should say, three classes of channels. They may pass on the excitement
to other nerves that have no direct connections with the bodily members,
and may so cause other feelings and ideas; or they may pass on the
excitement to one or more motor nerves, and so cause muscular
contractions; or they may pass on the excitement to nerves which supply
the viscera, and may so stimulate one or more of these.

For simplicity's sake, I have described these as alternative routes, one
or other of which any current of nerve-force must take; thereby, as it
may be thought, implying that such current will be exclusively confined
to some one of them. But this is by no means the case. Rarely, if ever,
does it happen that a state of nervous tension, present to consciousness
as a feeling, expends itself in one direction only. Very generally it
may be observed to expend itself in two; and it is probable that the
discharge is never absolutely absent from any one of the three. There
is, however, variety in the _proportions_ in which the discharge is
divided among these different channels under different circumstances. In
a man whose fear impels him to run, the mental tension generated is only
in part transformed into a muscular stimulus: there is a surplus which
causes a rapid current of ideas. An agreeable state of feeling produced,
say by praise, is not wholly used up in arousing the succeeding phase of
the feeling, and the new ideas appropriate to it; but a certain portion
overflows into the visceral nervous system, increasing the action of the
heart, and probably facilitating digestion. And here we come upon a
class of considerations and facts which open the way to a solution of
our special problem.

For starting with the unquestionable truth, that at any moment the
existing quantity of liberated nerve-force, which in an inscrutable way
produces in us the state we call feeling, _must_ expend itself in some
direction--_must_ generate an equivalent manifestation of force
somewhere--it clearly follows that, if of the several channels it may
take, one is wholly or partially closed, more must be taken by the
others; or that if two are closed, the discharge along the remaining one
must be more intense; and that, conversely, should anything determine an
unusual efflux in one direction, there will be a diminished efflux in
other directions.

Daily experience illustrates these conclusions. It is commonly remarked,
that the suppression of external signs of feeling, makes feeling more
intense. The deepest grief is silent grief. Why? Because the nervous
excitement not discharged in muscular action, discharges itself in other
nervous excitements--arouses more numerous and more remote associations
of melancholy ideas, and so increases the mass of feelings. People who
conceal their anger are habitually found to be more revengeful than
those who explode in loud speech and vehement action. Why? Because, as
before, the emotion is reflected back, accumulates, and intensifies.
Similarly, men who, as proved by their powers of representation, have
the keenest appreciation of the comic, are usually able to do and say
the most ludicrous things with perfect gravity.

On the other hand, all are familiar with the truth that bodily activity
deadens emotion. Under great irritation we get relief by walking about
rapidly. Extreme effort in the bootless attempt to achieve a desired
end greatly diminishes the intensity of the desire. Those who are forced
to exert themselves after misfortunes, do not suffer nearly so much as
those who remain quiescent. If any one wishes to check intellectual
excitement, he cannot choose a more efficient method than running till
he is exhausted. Moreover, these cases, in which the production of
feeling and thought is hindered by determining the nervous energy
towards bodily movements, have their counterparts in the cases in which
bodily movements are hindered by extra absorption of nervous energy in
sudden thoughts and feelings. If, when walking along, there flashes on
you an idea that creates great surprise, hope, or alarm, you stop; or if
sitting cross-legged, swinging your pendent foot, the movement is at
once arrested. From the viscera, too, intense mental action abstracts
energy. Joy, disappointment, anxiety, or any moral perturbation rising
to a great height, will destroy appetite; or if food has been taken,
will arrest digestion; and even a purely intellectual activity, when
extreme, will do the like.

Facts, then, fully bear out these _à priori_ inferences, that the
nervous excitement at any moment present to consciousness as feeling,
must expend itself in some way or other; that of the three classes of
channels open to it, it must take one, two, or more, according to
circumstances; that the closure or obstruction of one, must increase the
discharge through the others; and conversely, that if to answer some
demand, the efflux of nervous energy in one direction is unusually
great, there must be a corresponding decrease of the efflux in other
directions. Setting out from these premises, let us now see what
interpretation is to be put on the phenomena of laughter.

       *       *       *       *       *

That laughter is a display of muscular excitement, and so illustrates
the general law that feeling passing a certain pitch habitually vents
itself in bodily action, scarcely needs pointing out. It perhaps needs
pointing out, however, that strong feeling of almost any kind produces
this result. It is not a sense of the ludicrous, only, which does it;
nor are the various forms of joyous emotion the sole additional causes.
We have, besides, the sardonic laughter and the hysterical laughter,
which result from mental distress; to which must be added certain
sensations, as tickling, and, according to Mr. Bain, cold, and some
kinds of acute pain.

Strong feeling, mental or physical, being, then, the general cause of
laughter, we have to note that the muscular actions constituting it are
distinguished from most others by this, that they are purposeless. In
general, bodily motions that are prompted by feelings are directed to
special ends; as when we try to escape a danger, or struggle to secure a
gratification. But the movements of chest and limbs which we make when
laughing have no object. And now remark that these quasi-convulsive
contractions of the muscles, having no object, but being results of an
uncontrolled discharge of energy, we may see whence arise their special
characters--how it happens that certain classes of muscles are affected
first, and then certain other classes. For an overflow of nerve-force,
undirected by any motive, will manifestly take first the most habitual
routes; and if these do not suffice, will next overflow into the less
habitual ones. Well, it is through the organs of speech that feeling
passes into movement with the greatest frequency. The jaws, tongue, and
lips are used not only to express strong irritation or gratification;
but that very moderate flow of mental energy which accompanies ordinary
conversation, finds its chief vent through this channel. Hence it
happens that certain muscles round the mouth, small and easy to move,
are the first to contract under pleasurable emotion. The class of
muscles which, next after those of articulation, are most constantly set
in action (or extra action, we should say) by feelings of all kinds, are
those of respiration. Under pleasurable or painful sensations we breathe
more rapidly: possibly as a consequence of the increased demand for
oxygenated blood. The sensations that accompany exertion also bring on
hard-breathing; which here more evidently responds to the physiological
needs. And emotions, too, agreeable and disagreeable, both, at first,
excite respiration; though the last subsequently depress it. That is to
say, of the bodily muscles, the respiratory are more constantly
implicated than any others in those various acts which our feelings
impel us to; and, hence, when there occurs an undirected discharge of
nervous energy into the muscular system, it happens that, if the
quantity be considerable, it convulses not only certain of the
articulatory and vocal muscles, but also those which expel air from the

Should the feeling to be expended be still greater in amount--too great
to find vent in these classes of muscles--another class comes into play.
The upper limbs are set in motion. Children frequently clap their hands
in glee; by some adults the hands are rubbed together; and others, under
still greater intensity of delight, slap their knees and sway their
bodies backwards and forwards. Last of all, when the other channels for
the escape of the surplus nerve-force have been filled to overflowing, a
yet further and less-used group of muscles is spasmodically affected:
the head is thrown back and the spine bent inwards--there is a slight
degree of what medical men call opisthotonos. Thus, then, without
contending that the phenomena of laughter in all their details are to be
so accounted for, we see that in their _ensemble_ they conform to these
general principles:--that feeling excites to muscular action; that when
the muscular action is unguided by a purpose, the muscles first affected
are those which feeling most habitually stimulates; and that as the
feeling to be expended increases in quantity, it excites an increasing
number of muscles, in a succession determined by the relative frequency
with which they respond to the regulated dictates of feeling.

There still, however, remains the question with which we set out. The
explanation here given applies only to the laughter produced by acute
pleasure or pain: it does not apply to the laughter that follows certain
perceptions of incongruity. It is an insufficient explanation that, in
these cases, laughter is a result of the pleasure we take in escaping
from the restraint of grave feelings. That this is a part-cause is true.
Doubtless very often, as Mr. Bain says, "it is the coerced form of
seriousness and solemnity without the reality that gives us that stiff
position from which a contact with triviality or vulgarity relieves us,
to our uproarious delight." And in so far as mirth is caused by the gush
of agreeable feeling that follows the cessation of mental strain, it
further illustrates the general principle above set forth. But no
explanation is thus afforded of the mirth which ensues when the short
silence between the _andante_ and _allegro_ in one of Beethoven's
symphonies, is broken by a loud sneeze. In this, and hosts of like
cases, the mental tension is not coerced but spontaneous--not
disagreeable but agreeable; and the coming impressions to which the
attention is directed, promise a gratification that few, if any, desire
to escape. Hence, when the unlucky sneeze occurs, it cannot be that the
laughter of the audience is due simply to the release from an irksome
attitude of mind: some other cause must be sought.

This cause we shall arrive at by carrying our analysis a step further.
We have but to consider the quantity of feeling that exists under such
circumstances, and then to ask what are the conditions that determine
the direction of its discharge, to at once reach a solution. Take a
case. You are sitting in a theatre, absorbed in the progress of an
interesting drama. Some climax has been reached which has aroused your
sympathies--say, a reconciliation between the hero and heroine, after
long and painful misunderstanding. The feelings excited by this scene
are not of a kind from which you seek relief; but are, on the contrary,
a grateful relief from the painful feelings with which you have
witnessed the previous estrangement. Moreover, the sentiments these
fictitious personages have for the moment inspired you with, are not
such as would lead you to rejoice in any indignity offered to them; but
rather, such as would make you resent the indignity. And now, while you
are contemplating the reconciliation with a pleasurable sympathy, there
appears from behind the scenes a tame kid, which, having stared round at
the audience, walks up to the lovers and sniffs at them. You cannot help
joining in the roar which greets this _contretemps_. Inexplicable as is
this irresistible burst on the hypothesis of a pleasure in escaping from
mental restraint; or on the hypothesis of a pleasure from relative
increase of self-importance, when witnessing the humiliation of others;
it is readily explicable if we consider what, in such a case, must
become of the feeling that existed at the moment the incongruity arose.
A large mass of emotion had been produced; or, to speak in physiological
language, a large portion of the nervous system was in a state of
tension. There was also great expectation with respect to the further
evolution of the scene--a quantity of vague, nascent thought and
emotion, into which the existing quantity of thought and emotion was
about to pass.

Had there been no interruption, the body of new ideas and feelings next
excited would have sufficed to absorb the whole of the liberated nervous
energy. But now, this large amount of nervous energy, instead of being
allowed to expend itself in producing an equivalent amount of the new
thoughts and emotions which were nascent, is suddenly checked in its
flow. The channels along which the discharge was about to take place are
closed. The new channel opened--that afforded by the appearance and
proceedings of the kid--is a small one; the ideas and feelings suggested
are not numerous and massive enough to carry off the nervous energy to
be expended. The excess must therefore discharge itself in some other
direction; and in the way already explained, there results an efflux
through the motor nerves to various classes of the muscles, producing
the half-convulsive actions we term laughter.

This explanation is in harmony with the fact, that when, among several
persons who witness the same ludicrous occurrence, there are some who do
not laugh; it is because there has arisen in them an emotion not
participated in by the rest, and which is sufficiently massive to absorb
all the nascent excitement. Among the spectators of an awkward tumble,
those who preserve their gravity are those in whom there is excited a
degree of sympathy with the sufferer, sufficiently great to serve as an
outlet for the feeling which the occurrence had turned out of its
previous course. Sometimes anger carries off the arrested current; and
so prevents laughter. An instance of this was lately furnished me by a
friend who had been witnessing the feats at Franconi's. A tremendous
leap had just been made by an acrobat over a number of horses. The
clown, seemingly envious of this success, made ostentatious preparations
for doing the like; and then, taking the preliminary run with immense
energy, stopped short on reaching the first horse, and pretended to wipe
some dust from its haunches. In the majority of the spectators,
merriment was excited; but in my friend, wound up by the expectation of
the coming leap to a state of great nervous tension, the effect of the
baulk was to produce indignation. Experience thus proves what the theory
implies: namely, that the discharge of arrested feelings into the
muscular system, takes place only in the absence of other adequate
channels--does not take place if there arise other feelings equal in
amount to those arrested.

Evidence still more conclusive is at hand. If we contrast the
incongruities which produce laughter with those which do not, we at once
see that in the non-ludicrous ones the unexpected state of feeling
aroused, though wholly different in kind, is not less in quantity or
intensity. Among incongruities that may excite anything but a laugh, Mr.
Bain instances--"A decrepit man under a heavy burden, five loaves and
two fishes among a multitude, and all unfitness and gross disproportion;
an instrument out of tune, a fly in ointment, snow in May, Archimedes
studying geometry in a siege, and all discordant things; a wolf in
sheep's clothing, a breach of bargain, and falsehood in general; the
multitude taking the law in their own hands, and everything of the
nature of disorder; a corpse at a feast, parental cruelty, filial
ingratitude, and whatever is unnatural; the entire catalogue of the
vanities given by Solomon, are all incongruous, but they cause feelings
of pain, anger, sadness, loathing, rather than mirth." Now in these
cases, where the totally unlike state of consciousness suddenly produced
is not inferior in mass to the preceding one, the conditions to laughter
are not fulfilled. As above shown, laughter naturally results only when
consciousness is unawares transferred from great things to small--only
when there is what we call a _descending_ incongruity.

And now observe, finally, the fact, alike inferable _à priori_ and
illustrated in experience, that an _ascending_ incongruity not only
fails to cause laughter, but works on the muscular system an effect of
exactly the reverse kind. When after something very insignificant there
arises without anticipation something very great, the emotion we call
wonder results; and this emotion is accompanied not by an excitement of
the muscles, but by a relaxation of them. In children and country
people, that falling of the jaw which occurs on witnessing something
that is imposing and unexpected exemplifies this effect. Persons who
have been wonder-struck at the production of very striking results by a
seemingly inadequate cause, are frequently described as unconsciously
dropping the things they held in their hands. Such are just the effects
to be anticipated. After an average state of consciousness, absorbing
but a small quantity of nervous energy, is aroused without the slightest
notice, a strong emotion of awe, terror, or admiration, joined with the
astonishment due to an apparent want of adequate causation. This new
state of consciousness demands far more nervous energy than that which
it has suddenly replaced; and this increased absorption of nervous
energy in mental changes involves a temporary diminution of the outflow
in other directions: whence the pendent jaw and the relaxing grasp.

One further observation is worth making. Among the several sets of
channels into which surplus feeling might be discharged, was named the
nervous system of the viscera. The sudden overflow of an arrested mental
excitement, which, as we have seen, results from a descending
incongruity, must doubtless stimulate not only the muscular system, as
we see it does, but also the internal organs; the heart and stomach must
come in for a share of the discharge. And thus there seems to be a good
physiological basis for the popular notion that mirth-creating
excitement facilitates digestion.

       *       *       *       *       *

Though in doing so I go beyond the boundaries of the immediate topic, I
may fitly point out that the method of inquiry here followed, is one
which enables us to understand various phenomena besides those of
laughter. To show the importance of pursuing it, I will indicate the
explanation it furnishes of another familiar class of facts.

All know how generally a large amount of emotion disturbs the action of
the intellect, and interferes with the power of expression. A speech
delivered with great facility to tables and chairs, is by no means so
easily delivered to an audience. Every schoolboy can testify that his
trepidation, when standing before a master, has often disabled him from
repeating a lesson which he had duly learnt. In explanation of this we
commonly say that the attention is distracted--that the proper train of
ideas is broken by the intrusion of ideas that are irrelevant. But the
question is, in what manner does unusual emotion produce this effect;
and we are here supplied with a tolerably obvious answer. The repetition
of a lesson, or set speech previously thought out, implies the flow of a
very moderate amount of nervous excitement through a comparatively
narrow channel. The thing to be done is simply to call up in succession
certain previously-arranged ideas--a process in which no great amount of
mental energy is expended. Hence, when there is a large quantity of
emotion, which must be discharged in some direction or other; and when,
as usually happens, the restricted series of intellectual actions to be
gone through, does not suffice to carry it off; there result discharges
along other channels besides the one prescribed: there are aroused
various ideas foreign to the train of thought to be pursued; and these
tend to exclude from consciousness those which should occupy it.

And now observe the meaning of those bodily actions spontaneously set up
under these circumstances. The school-boy saying his lesson commonly has
his fingers actively engaged--perhaps in twisting about a broken pen, or
perhaps squeezing the angle of his jacket; and if told to keep his hands
still, he soon again falls into the same or a similar trick. Many
anecdotes are current of public speakers having incurable automatic
actions of this class: barristers who perpetually wound and unwound
pieces of tape; members of parliament ever putting on and taking off
their spectacles. So long as such movements are unconscious, they
facilitate the mental actions. At least this seems a fair inference from
the fact that confusion frequently results from putting a stop to them:
witness the case narrated by Sir Walter Scott of his school-fellow, who
became unable to say his lesson after the removal of the
waistcoat-button that he habitually fingered while in class. But why do
they facilitate the mental actions? Clearly because they draw off a
portion of the surplus nervous excitement. If, as above explained, the
quantity of mental energy generated is greater than can find vent along
the narrow channel of thought that is open to it; and if, in
consequence, it is apt to produce confusion by rushing into other
channels of thought; then by allowing it an exit through the motor
nerves into the muscular system, the pressure is diminished, and
irrelevant ideas are less likely to intrude on consciousness.

This further illustration will, I think, justify the position that
something may be achieved by pursuing in other cases this method of
psychological inquiry. A complete explanation of the phenomena, requires
us to trace out _all_ the consequences of any given state of
consciousness; and we cannot do this without studying the effects,
bodily and mental, as varying in quantity at each other's expense. We
should probably learn much if we in every case asked--Where is all the
nervous energy gone?

[1] _Macmillan's Magazine_, March 1860.

[2] For numerous illustrations see essay on "The Origin and Function of


When Carlo, standing, chained to his kennel, sees his master in the
distance, a slight motion of the tail indicates his but faint hope that
he is about to be let out. A much more decided wagging of the tail,
passing by and by into lateral undulations of the body, follows his
master's nearer approach. When hands are laid on his collar, and he
knows that he is really to have an outing, his jumping and wriggling are
such that it is by no means easy to loose his fastenings. And when he
finds himself actually free, his joy expends itself in bounds, in
pirouettes, and in scourings hither and thither at the top of his speed.
Puss, too, by erecting her tail, and by every time raising her back to
meet the caressing hand of her mistress, similarly expresses her
gratification by certain muscular actions; as likewise do the parrot by
awkward dancing on his perch, and the canary by hopping and fluttering
about his cage with unwonted rapidity. Under emotions of an opposite
kind, animals equally display muscular excitement. The enraged lion
lashes his sides with his tail, knits his brows, protrudes his claws.
The cat sets up her back; the dog retracts his upper lip; the horse
throws back his ears. And in the struggles of creatures in pain, we see
that the like relation holds between excitement of the muscles and
excitement of the nerves of sensation.

In ourselves, distinguished from lower creatures as we are by feelings
alike more powerful and more varied, parallel facts are at once more
conspicuous and more numerous. We may conveniently look at them in
groups. We shall find that pleasurable sensations and painful
sensations, pleasurable emotions and painful emotions, all tend to
produce active demonstrations in proportion to their intensity.

In children, and even in adults who are not restrained by regard for
appearances, a highly agreeable taste is followed by a smacking of the
lips. An infant will laugh and bound in its nurse's arms at the sight of
a brilliant colour or the hearing of a new sound. People are apt to beat
time with head or feet to music which particularly pleases them. In a
sensitive person an agreeable perfume will produce a smile; and smiles
will be seen on the faces of a crowd gazing at some splendid burst of
fireworks Even the pleasant sensation of warmth felt on getting to the
fireside out of a winter's storm, will similarly express itself in the

Painful sensations, being mostly far more intense than pleasurable ones,
cause muscular actions of a much more decided kind. A sudden twinge
produces a convulsive start of the whole body. A pain less violent, but
continuous, is accompanied by a knitting of the brows, a setting of the
teeth or biting of the lip, and a contraction of the features generally.
Under a persistent pain of a severer kind, other muscular actions are
added: the body is swayed to and fro; the hands clench anything they can
lay hold of; and should the agony rise still higher, the sufferer rolls
about on the floor almost convulsed.

Though more varied, the natural language of the pleasurable emotions
comes within the same generalisation. A smile, which is the commonest
expression of gratified feeling, is a contraction of certain facial
muscles; and when the smile broadens into a laugh, we see a more violent
and more general muscular excitement produced by an intenser
gratification. Rubbing together of the hands, and that other motion
which Dickens somewhere describes as "washing with impalpable soap in
invisible water," have like implications. Children may often be seen to
"jump for joy." Even in adults of excitable temperament, an action
approaching to it is sometimes witnessed. And dancing has all the world
through been regarded as natural to an elevated state of mind. Many of
the special emotions show themselves in special muscular actions. The
gratification resulting from success, raises the head and gives firmness
to the gait. A hearty grasp of the hand is currently taken as indicative
of friendship. Under a gush of affection the mother clasps her child to
her breast, feeling as though she could squeeze it to death. And so in
sundry other cases. Even in that brightening of the eye with which good
news is received we may trace the same truth; for this appearance of
greater brilliancy is due to an extra contraction of the muscle which
raises the eyelid, and so allows more light to fall upon, and be
reflected from, the wet surface of the eyeball.

The bodily indications of painful emotions are equally numerous, and
still more vehement. Discontent is shown by raised eyebrows and wrinkled
forehead; disgust by a curl of the lip; offence by a pout. The impatient
man beats a tattoo with his fingers on the table, swings his pendent leg
with increasing rapidity, gives needless pokings to the fire, and
presently paces with hasty strides about the room. In great grief there
is wringing of the hands, and even tearing of the hair. An angry child
stamps, or rolls on its back and kicks its heels in the air; and in
manhood, anger, first showing itself in frowns, in distended nostrils,
in compressed lips, goes on to produce grinding of the teeth, clenching
of the fingers, blows of the fist on the table, and perhaps ends in a
violent attack on the offending person, or in throwing about and
breaking the furniture. From that pursing of the mouth indicative of
slight displeasure, up to the frantic struggles of the maniac, we shall
find that mental irritation tends to vent itself in bodily activity.

All feelings, then--sensations or emotions, pleasurable or painful--have
this common characteristic, that they are muscular stimuli. Not
forgetting the few apparently exceptional cases in which emotions
exceeding a certain intensity produce prostration, we may set it down as
a general law that, alike in man and animals, there is a direct
connection between feeling and motion; the last growing more vehement as
the first grows more intense. Were it allowable here to treat the matter
scientifically, we might trace this general law down to the principle
known among physiologists as that of _reflex action_.[2] Without doing
this, however, the above numerous instances justify the generalisation,
that mental excitement of all kinds ends in excitement of the muscles;
and that the two preserve a more or less constant ratio to each other.

       *       *       *       *       *

"But what has all this to do with _The Origin and Function of Music_?"
asks the reader. Very much, as we shall presently see. All music is
originally vocal. All vocal sounds are produced by the agency of certain
muscles. These muscles, in common with those of the body at large, are
excited to contraction by pleasurable and painful feelings. And
therefore it is that feelings demonstrate themselves in sounds as well
as in movements. Therefore it is that Carlo barks as well as leaps when
he is let out--that puss purrs as well as erects her tail--that the
canary chirps as well as flutters. Therefore it is that the angry lion
roars while he lashes his sides, and the dog growls while he retracts
his lip. Therefore it is that the maimed animal not only struggles, but
howls. And it is from this cause that in human beings bodily suffering
expresses itself not only in contortions, but in shrieks and
groans--that in anger, and fear, and grief, the gesticulations are
accompanied by shouts and screams--that delightful sensations are
followed by exclamations--and that we hear screams of joy and shouts of

We have here, then, a principle underlying all vocal phenomena;
including those of vocal music, and by consequence those of music in
general. The muscles that move the chest, larynx, and vocal chords,
contracting like other muscles in proportion to the intensity of the
feelings; every different contraction of these muscles involving, as it
does, a different adjustment of the vocal organs; every different
adjustment of the vocal organs causing a change in the sound
emitted;--it follows that variations of voice are the physiological
results of variations of feeling; it follows that each inflection or
modulation is the natural outcome of some passing emotion or sensation;
and it follows that the explanation of all kinds of vocal expression
must be sought in this general relation between mental and muscular
excitements. Let us, then, see whether we cannot thus account for the
chief peculiarities in the utterance of the feelings: grouping these
peculiarities under the heads of _loudness_, _quality_, _or_ _timbre_,
_pitch_, _intervals_, and _rate of variation_.

       *       *       *       *       *

Between the lungs and the organs of voice there is much the same
relation as between the bellows of an organ and its pipes. And as the
loudness of the sound given out by an organ-pipe increases with the
strength of the blast from the bellows; so, other things equal, the
loudness of a vocal sound increases with the strength of the blast from
the lungs. But the expulsion of air from the lungs is effected by
certain muscles of the chest and abdomen. The force with which these
muscles contract, is proportionate to the intensity of the feeling
experienced. Hence, _à priori_, loud sounds will be the habitual results
of strong feelings. That they are so we have daily proof. The pain
which, if moderate, can be borne silently, causes outcries if it becomes
extreme. While a slight vexation makes a child whimper, a fit of passion
calls forth a howl that disturbs the neighbourhood. When the voices in
an adjacent room become unusually audible, we infer anger, or surprise,
or joy. Loudness of applause is significant of great approbation; and
with uproarious mirth we associate the idea of high enjoyment.
Commencing with the silence of apathy, we find that the utterances grow
louder as the sensations or emotions, whether pleasurable or painful,
grow stronger.

That different _qualities_ of voice accompany different mental states,
and that under states of excitement the tones are more sonorous than
usual, is another general fact admitting of a parallel explanation. The
sounds of common conversation have but little resonance; those of strong
feeling have much more. Under rising ill temper the voice acquires a
metallic ring. In accordance with her constant mood, the ordinary speech
of a virago has a piercing quality quite opposite to that softness
indicative of placidity. A ringing laugh marks an especially joyous
temperament. Grief unburdening itself uses tones approaching in _timbre_
to those of chanting: and in his most pathetic passages an eloquent
speaker similarly falls into tones more vibratory than those common to
him. Now any one may readily convince himself that resonant vocal sounds
can be produced only by a certain muscular effort additional to that
ordinarily needed. If after uttering a word in his speaking voice, the
reader, without changing the pitch or the loudness, will _sing_ this
word, he will perceive that before he can sing it, he has to alter the
adjustment of the vocal organs; to do which a certain force must be
used; and by putting his fingers on that external prominence marking the
top of the larynx, he will have further evidence that to produce a
sonorous tone the organs must be drawn out of their usual position.
Thus, then, the fact that the tones of excited feeling are more
vibratory than those of common conversation is another instance of the
connection between mental excitement and muscular excitement. The
speaking voice, the recitative voice, and the singing voice, severally
exemplify one general principle.

That the _pitch_ of the voice varies according to the action of the
vocal muscles scarcely needs saying. All know that the middle notes, in
which they converse, are made without any appreciable effort; and all
know that to make either very high or very low notes requires a
considerable effort. In either ascending or descending from the pitch of
ordinary speech, we are conscious of an increasing muscular strain,
which, at both extremes of the register, becomes positively painful.
Hence it follows from our general principle, that while indifference or
calmness will use the medium tones, the tones used during excitement
will be either above or below them; and will rise higher and higher, or
fall lower and lower, as the feelings grow stronger. This physiological
deduction we also find to be in harmony with familiar facts. The
habitual sufferer utters his complaints in a voice raised considerably
above the natural key; and agonising pain vents itself in either shrieks
or groans--in very high or very low notes. Beginning at his talking
pitch, the cry of the disappointed urchin grows more shrill as it grows
louder. The "Oh!" of astonishment or delight, begins several notes below
the middle voice, and descends still lower. Anger expresses itself in
high tones, or else in "curses not loud but _deep_." Deep tones, too,
are always used in uttering strong reproaches. Such an exclamation as
"Beware!" if made dramatically--that is, if made with a show of
feeling--must be many notes lower than ordinary. Further, we have groans
of disapprobation, groans of horror, groans of remorse. And extreme joy
and fear are alike accompanied by shrill outcries.

Nearly allied to the subject of pitch, is that of _intervals_; and the
explanation of them carries our argument a step further. While calm
speech is comparatively monotonous, emotion makes use of fifths,
octaves, and even wider intervals. Listen to any one narrating or
repeating something in which he has no interest, and his voice will not
wander more than two or three notes above or below his medium note, and
that by small steps; but when he comes to some exciting event he will be
heard not only to use the higher and lower notes of his register, but to
go from one to the other by larger leaps. Being unable in print to
imitate these traits of feeling, we feel some difficulty in fully
realising them to the reader. But we may suggest a few remembrances
which will perhaps call to mind a sufficiency of others. If two men
living in the same place, and frequently seeing one another, meet, say
at a public assembly, any phrase with which one may be heard to accost
the other--as "Hallo, are you here?"--will have an ordinary intonation.
But if one of them, after long absence, has unexpectedly returned, the
expression of surprise with which his friend may greet him--"Hallo! how
came you here?"--will be uttered in much more strongly contrasted tones.
The two syllables of the word "Hallo" will be, the one much higher and
the other much lower than before; and the rest of the sentence will
similarly ascend and descend by longer steps.

Again, if, supposing her to be in an adjoining room, the mistress of the
house calls "Mary," the two syllables of the name will be spoken in an
ascending interval of a third. If Mary does not reply, the call will be
repeated probably in a descending fifth; implying the slightest shade of
annoyance at Mary's inattention. Should Mary still make no answer, the
increasing annoyance will show itself by the use of a descending octave
on the next repetition of the call. And supposing the silence to
continue, the lady, if not of a very even temper, will show her
irritation at Mary's seemingly intentional negligence by finally calling
her in tones still more widely contrasted--the first syllable being
higher and the last lower than before.

Now, these and analogous facts, which the reader will readily
accumulate, clearly conform to the law laid down. For to make large
intervals requires more muscular action than to make small ones. But not
only is the _extent_ of vocal intervals thus explicable as due to the
relation between nervous and muscular excitement, but also in some
degree their _direction_, as ascending or descending. The middle notes
being those which demand no appreciable effort of muscular adjustment;
and the effort becoming greater as we either ascend or descend; it
follows that a departure from the middle notes in either direction will
mark increasing emotion; while a return towards the middle notes will
mark decreasing emotion. Hence it happens that an enthusiastic person
uttering such a sentence as--"It was the most splendid sight I ever
saw!" will ascend to the first syllable of the word "splendid," and
thence will descend: the word "splendid" marking the climax of the
feeling produced by the recollection. Hence, again, it happens that,
under some extreme vexation produced by another's stupidity, an
irascible man, exclaiming--"What a confounded fool the fellow is!" will
begin somewhat below his middle voice, and descending to the word
"fool," which he will utter in one of his deepest notes, will then
ascend again. And it may be remarked, that the word "fool" will not only
be deeper and louder than the rest, but will also have more emphasis of
articulation--another mode in which muscular excitement is shown.

There is some danger, however, in giving instances like this; seeing
that as the mode of rendering will vary according to the intensity of
the feeling which the reader feigns to himself, the right cadence may
not be hit upon. With single words there is less difficulty. Thus the
"Indeed!" with which a surprising fact is received, mostly begins on the
middle note of the voice, and rises with the second syllable; or, if
disapprobation as well as astonishment is felt, the first syllable will
be below the middle note, and the second lower still. Conversely, the
word "Alas!" which marks not the rise of a paroxysm of grief, but its
decline, is uttered in a cadence descending towards the middle note; or,
if the first syllable is in the lower part of the register, the second
ascends towards the middle note. In the "Heigh-ho!" expressive of mental
and muscular prostration, we may see the same truth; and if the cadence
appropriate to it be inverted, the absurdity of the effect clearly shows
how the meaning of intervals is dependent on the principle we have been

The remaining characteristic of emotional speech which we have to notice
is that of _variability of pitch_. It is scarcely possible here to
convey adequate ideas of this more complex manifestation. We must be
content with simply indicating some occasions on which it may be
observed. On a meeting of friends, for instance--as when there arrives a
party of much-wished-for-visitors--the voices of all will be heard to
undergo changes of pitch not only greater but much more numerous than
usual. If a speaker at a public meeting is interrupted by some squabble
among those he is addressing, his comparatively level tones will be in
marked contrast with the rapidly changing one of the disputants. And
among children, whose feelings are less under control than those of
adults, this peculiarity is still more decided. During a scene of
complaint and recrimination between two excitable little girls, the
voices may be heard to run up and down the gamut several times in each
sentence. In such cases we once more recognise the same law: for
muscular excitement is shown not only in strength of contraction but
also in the rapidity with which different muscular adjustments succeed
each other.

Thus we find all the leading vocal phenomena to have a physiological
basis. They are so many manifestations of the general law that feeling
is a stimulus to muscular action--a law conformed to throughout the
whole economy, not of man only, but of every sensitive creature--a law,
therefore, which lies deep in the nature of animal organisation. The
expressiveness of these various modifications of voice is therefore
innate. Each of us, from babyhood upwards, has been spontaneously making
them, when under the various sensations and emotions by which they are
produced. Having been conscious of each feeling at the same time that we
heard ourselves make the consequent sound, we have acquired an
established association of ideas between such sound and the feeling
which caused it. When the like sound is made by another, we ascribe the
like feeling to him; and by a further consequence we not only ascribe to
him that feeling, but have a certain degree of it aroused in ourselves:
for to become conscious of the feeling which another is experiencing, is
to have that feeling awakened in our own consciousness, which is the
same thing as experiencing the feeling. Thus these various modifications
of voice become not only a language through which we understand the
emotions of others, but also the means of exciting our sympathy with
such emotions.

Have we not here, then, adequate data for a theory of music? These vocal
peculiarities which indicate excited feeling _are those which especially
distinguish song from ordinary speech_. Every one of the alterations of
voice which we have found to be a physiological result of pain or
pleasure, _is carried to its greatest extreme in vocal music_. For
instance, we saw that, in virtue of the general relation between mental
and muscular excitement, one characteristic of passionate utterance is
_loudness_. Well, its comparative loudness is one of the distinctive
marks of song as contrasted with the speech of daily life; and further,
the _forte_ passages of an air are those intended to represent the
climax of its emotion. We next saw that the tones in which emotion
expresses itself are, in conformity with this same law, of a more
sonorous _timbre_ than those of calm conversation. Here, too, song
displays a still higher degree of the peculiarity; for the singing tone
is the most resonant we can make. Again, it was shown that, from a like
cause, mental excitement vents itself in the higher and lower notes of
the register; using the middle notes but seldom. And it scarcely needs
saying that vocal music is still more distinguished by its comparative
neglect of the notes in which we talk, and its habitual use of those
above or below them and, moreover, that its most passionate effects are
commonly produced at the two extremities of its scale, but especially
the upper one.

A yet further trait of strong feeling, similarly accounted for, was the
employment of larger intervals than are employed in common converse.
This trait, also, every ballad and _aria_ carries to an extent beyond
that heard in the spontaneous utterances of emotion: add to which, that
the direction of these intervals, which, as diverging from or converging
towards the medium tones, we found to be physiologically expressive of
increasing or decreasing emotion, may be observed to have in music like
meanings. Once more, it was pointed out that not only extreme but also
rapid variations of pitch are characteristic of mental excitement; and
once more we see in the quick changes of every melody, that song carries
the characteristic as far, if not farther. Thus, in respect alike of
_loudness_, _timbre_, _pitch_, _intervals_, and _rate of variation_,
song employs and exaggerates the natural language of the emotions;--it
arises from a systematic combination of those vocal peculiarities which
are the physiological effects of acute pleasure and pain.

Besides these chief characteristics of song as distinguished from common
speech, there are sundry minor ones similarly explicable as due to the
relation between mental and muscular excitement; and before proceeding
further these should be briefly noticed. Thus, certain passions, and
perhaps all passions when pushed to an extreme, produce (probably
through their influence over the action of the heart) an effect the
reverse of that which has been described: they cause a physical
prostration, one symptom of which is a general relaxation of the
muscles, and a consequent trembling. We have the trembling of anger, of
fear, of hope, of joy; and the vocal muscles being implicated with the
rest, the voice too becomes tremulous. Now, in singing, this
tremulousness of voice is very effectively used by some vocalists in
highly pathetic passages; sometimes, indeed, because of its
effectiveness, too much used by them--as by Tamberlik, for instance.

Again, there is a mode of musical execution known as the _staccato_,
appropriate to energetic passages--to passages expressive of
exhilaration, of resolution, of confidence. The action of the vocal
muscles which produces this staccato style is analogous to the muscular
action which produces the sharp decisive, energetic movements of body
indicating these states of mind; and therefore it is that the staccato
style has the meaning we ascribe to it. Conversely, slurred intervals
are expressive of gentler and less active feelings; and are so because
they imply the smaller muscular vivacity due to a lower mental energy.
The difference of effect resulting from difference of _time_ in music is
also attributable to the same law. Already it has been pointed out that
the more frequent changes of pitch which ordinarily result from passion
are imitated and developed in song; and here we have to add, that the
various rates of such changes, appropriate to the different styles of
music, are further traits having the same derivation. The slowest
movements, _largo_ and _adagio_, are used where such depressing emotions
as grief, or such unexciting emotions as reverence, are to be portrayed;
while the more rapid movements, _andante_, _allegro_, _presto_,
represent successively increasing degrees of mental vivacity; and do
this because they imply that muscular activity which flows from this
mental vivacity. Even the _rhythm_, which forms a remaining distinction
between song and speech, may not improbably have a kindred cause. Why
the actions excited by strong feeling should tend to become rhythmical
is not very obvious; but that they do so there are divers evidences.
There is the swaying of the body to and fro under pain or grief, of the
leg under impatience or agitation. Dancing, too, is a rhythmical action
natural to elevated emotion. That under excitement speech acquires a
certain rhythm, we may occasionally perceive in the highest efforts of
an orator. In poetry, which is a form of speech used for the better
expression of emotional ideas, we have this rhythmical tendency
developed. And when we bear in mind that dancing, poetry, and music are
connate--are originally constituent parts of the same thing, it becomes
clear that the measured movement common to them all implies a rhythmical
action of the whole system, the vocal apparatus included; and that so
the rhythm of music is a more subtle and complex result of this relation
between mental and muscular excitement.

But it is time to end this analysis, which possibly we have already
carried too far. It is not to be supposed that the more special
peculiarities of musical expression are to be definitely explained.
Though probably they may all in some way conform to the principle that
has been worked out, it is obviously impracticable to trace that
principle in its more ramified applications. Nor is it needful to our
argument that it should be so traced. The foregoing facts sufficiently
prove that what we regard as the distinctive traits of song, are simply
the traits of emotional speech intensified and systematised. In respect
of its general characteristics, we think it has been made clear that
vocal music, and by consequence all music, is an idealisation of the
natural language of passion.

       *       *       *       *       *

As far as it goes, the scanty evidence furnished by history confirms
this conclusion. Note first the fact (not properly an historical one,
but fitly grouped with such) that the dance-chants of savage tribes are
very monotonous; and in virtue of their monotony are much more nearly
allied to ordinary speech than are the songs of civilised races. Joining
with this the fact that there are still extant among boatmen and others
in the East, ancient chants of a like monotonous character, we may infer
that vocal music originally diverged from emotional speech in a gradual,
unobtrusive manner; and this is the inference to which our argument
points. Further evidence to the same effect is supplied by Greek
history. The early poems of the Greeks--which, be it remembered, were
sacred legends embodied in that rhythmical, metaphorical language which
strong feeling excites--were not recited, but chanted: the tones and
the cadences were made musical by the same influences which made the
speech poetical.

By those who have investigated the matter, this chanting is believed to
have been not what we call singing, but nearly allied to our recitative
(far simpler indeed, if we may judge from the fact that the early Greek
lyre, which had but _four_ strings, was played in _unison_ with the
voice, which was therefore confined to four notes), and as such, much
less remote from common speech than our own singing is. For recitative,
or musical recitation, is in all respects intermediate between speech
and song. Its average effects are not so _loud_ as those of song. Its
tones are less sonorous in _timbre_ than those of song. Commonly it
diverges to a smaller extent from the middle notes--uses notes neither
so high nor so low in _pitch_. The _intervals_ habitual to it are
neither so wide nor so varied. Its _rate of variation_ is not so rapid.
And at the same time that its primary _rhythm_ is less decided, it has
none of that secondary rhythm produced by recurrence of the same or
parallel musical phrases, which is one of the marked characteristics of
song. Thus, then, we may not only infer, from the evidence furnished by
existing barbarous tribes, that the vocal music of pre-historic times
was emotional speech very slightly exalted; but we see that the earliest
vocal music of which we have any account differed much less from
emotional speech than does the vocal music of our days.

That recitative--beyond which, by the way, the Chinese and Hindoos seem
never to have advanced--grew naturally out of the modulations and
cadences of strong feeling, we have indeed still current evidence. There
are even now to be met with occasions on which strong feeling vents
itself in this form. Whoever has been present when a meeting of Quakers
was addressed by one of their preachers (whose practice it is to speak
only under the influence of religious emotion), must have been struck by
the quite unusual tones, like those of a subdued chant, in which the
address was made. It is clear, too, that the intoning used in some
churches is representative of this same mental state; and has been
adopted on account of the instinctively felt congruity between it and
the contrition, supplication, or reverence verbally expressed.

And if, as we have good reason to believe, recitative arose by degrees
out of emotional speech, it becomes manifest that by a continuance of
the same process song has arisen out of recitative. Just as, from the
orations and legends of savages, expressed in the metaphorical,
allegorical style natural to them, there sprung epic poetry, out of
which lyric poetry was afterwards developed; so, from the exalted tones
and cadences in which such orations and legends were delivered, came the
chant or recitative music, from whence lyrical music has since grown up.
And there has not only thus been a simultaneous and parallel genesis,
but there is also a parallelism of results. For lyrical poetry differs
from epic poetry, just as lyrical music differs from recitative: each
still further intensifies the natural language of the emotions. Lyrical
poetry is more metaphorical, more hyperbolic, more elliptical, and adds
the rhythm of lines to the rhythm of feet; just as lyrical music is
louder, more sonorous, more extreme in its intervals, and adds the
rhythm of phrases to the rhythm of bars. And the known fact that out of
epic poetry the stronger passions developed lyrical poetry as their
appropriate vehicle, strengthens the inference that they similarly
developed lyrical music out of recitative.

Nor indeed are we without evidences of the transition. It needs but to
listen to an opera to hear the leading gradations. Between the
comparatively level recitative of ordinary dialogue, the more varied
recitative with wider intervals and higher tones used in exciting
scenes, the still more musical recitative which preludes an air, and the
air itself, the successive steps are but small; and the fact that among
airs themselves gradations of like nature may be traced, further
confirms the conclusion that the highest form of vocal music was arrived
at by degrees.

Moreover, we have some clue to the influences which have induced this
development; and may roughly conceive the process of it. As the tones,
intervals, and cadences of strong emotion were the elements out of which
song was elaborated, so we may expect to find that still stronger
emotion produced the elaboration: and we have evidence implying this.
Instances in abundance may be cited, showing that musical composers are
men of extremely acute sensibilities. The Life of Mozart depicts him as
one of intensely active affections and highly impressionable
temperament. Various anecdotes represent Beethoven as very susceptible
and very passionate. Mendelssohn is described by those who knew him to
have been full of fine feeling. And the almost incredible sensitiveness
of Chopin has been illustrated in the memoirs of George Sand. An
unusually emotional nature being thus the general characteristic of
musical composers, we have in it just the agency required for the
development of recitative and song. Intenser feeling producing intenser
manifestations, any cause of excitement will call forth from such a
nature tones and changes of voice more marked than those called forth
from an ordinary nature--will generate just those exaggerations which we
have found to distinguish the lower vocal music from emotional speech,
and the higher vocal music from the lower. Thus it becomes credible that
the four-toned recitative of the early Greek poets (like all poets,
nearly allied to composers in the comparative intensity of their
feelings), was really nothing more than the slightly exaggerated
emotional speech natural to them, which grew by frequent use into an
organised form. And it is readily conceivable that the accumulated
agency of subsequent poet-musicians, inheriting and adding to the
products of those who went before them, sufficed, in the course of the
ten centuries which we know it took, to develop this four-toned
recitative into a vocal music having a range of two octaves.

Not only may we so understand how more sonorous tones, greater extremes
of pitch, and wider intervals, were gradually introduced; but also how
there arose a greater variety and complexity of musical expression. For
this same passionate, enthusiastic temperament, which naturally leads
the musical composer to express the feelings possessed by others as well
as himself, in extremer intervals and more marked cadences than they
would use, also leads him to give musical utterance to feelings which
they either do not experience, or experience in but slight degrees. In
virtue of this general susceptibility which distinguishes him, he
regards with emotion, events, scenes, conduct, character, which produce
upon most men no appreciable effect. The emotions so generated,
compounded as they are of the simpler emotions, are not expressible by
intervals and cadences natural to these, but by combinations of such
intervals and cadences: whence arise more involved musical phrases,
conveying more complex, subtle, and unusual feelings. And thus we may in
some measure understand how it happens that music not only so strongly
excites our more familiar feelings, but also produces feelings we never
had before--arouses dormant sentiments of which we had not conceived the
possibility and do not know the meaning; or, as Richter says--tells us
of things we have not seen and shall not see.

       *       *       *       *       *

Indirect evidences of several kinds remain to be briefly pointed out.
One of them is the difficulty, not to say impossibility, of otherwise
accounting for the expressiveness of music. Whence comes it that
special combinations of notes should have special effects upon our
emotions?--that one should give us a feeling of exhilaration, another of
melancholy, another of affection, another of reverence? Is it that these
special combinations have intrinsic meanings apart from the human
constitution?--that a certain number of aerial waves per second,
followed by a certain other number, in the nature of things signify
grief, while in the reverse order they signify joy; and similarly with
all other intervals, phrases, and cadences? Few will be so irrational as
to think this. Is it, then, that the meanings of these special
combinations are conventional only?--that we learn their implications,
as we do those of words, by observing how others understand them? This
is an hypothesis not only devoid of evidence, but directly opposed to
the experience of every one. How, then, are musical effects to be
explained? If the theory above set forth be accepted, the difficulty
disappears. If music, taking for its raw material the various
modifications of voice which are the physiological results of excited
feelings, intensifies, combines, and complicates them--if it exaggerates
the loudness, the resonance, the pitch, the intervals, and the
variability, which, in virtue of an organic law, are the characteristics
of passionate speech--if, by carrying out these further, more
consistently, more unitedly, and more sustainedly, it produces an
idealised language of emotion; then its power over us becomes
comprehensible. But in the absence of this theory, the expressiveness of
music appears to be inexplicable.

Again, the preference we feel for certain qualities of sound presents a
like difficulty, admitting only of a like solution. It is generally
agreed that the tones of the human voice are more pleasing than any
others. Grant that music takes its rise from the modulations of the
human voice under emotion, and it becomes a natural consequence that the
tones of that voice should appeal to our feelings more than any others;
and so should be considered more beautiful than any others. But deny
that music has this origin, and the only alternative is the untenable
position that the vibrations proceeding from a vocalist's throat are,
objectively considered, of a higher order than those from a horn or a
violin. Similarly with harsh and soft sounds. If the conclusiveness of
the foregoing reasonings be not admitted, it must be supposed that the
vibrations causing the last are intrinsically better than those causing
the first; and that, in virtue of some pre-established harmony, the
higher feelings and natures produce the one, and the lower the other.
But if the foregoing reasonings be valid, it follows, as a matter of
course, that we shall like the sounds that habitually accompany
agreeable feelings, and dislike those that habitually accompany
disagreeable feelings.

Once more, the question--How is the expressiveness of music to be
otherwise accounted for? may be supplemented by the question--How is the
genesis of music to be otherwise accounted for? That music is a product
of civilisation is manifest; for though savages have their dance-chants,
these are of a kind scarcely to be dignified by the title musical: at
most, they supply but the vaguest rudiment of music, properly so called.
And if music has been by slow steps developed in the course of
civilisation, it must have been developed out of something. If, then,
its origin is not that above alleged, what is its origin?

Thus we find that the negative evidence confirms the positive, and that,
taken together, they furnish strong proof. We have seen that there is a
physiological relation, common to man and all animals, between feeling
and muscular action; that as vocal sounds are produced by muscular
action, there is a consequent physiological relation between feeling and
vocal sounds; that all the modifications of voice expressive of feeling
are the direct results of this physiological relation; that music,
adopting all these modifications, intensifies them more and more as it
ascends to its higher and higher forms, and becomes music simply in
virtue of thus intensifying them; that, from the ancient epic poet
chanting his verses, down to the modern musical composer, men of
unusually strong feelings prone to express them in extreme forms, have
been naturally the agents of these successive intensifications; and that
so there has little by little arisen a wide divergence between this
idealised language of emotion and its natural language: to which direct
evidence we have just added the indirect--that on no other tenable
hypothesis can either the expressiveness or the genesis of music be

       *       *       *       *       *

And now, what is the _function_ of music? Has music any effect beyond
the immediate pleasure it produces? Analogy suggests that it has. The
enjoyments of a good dinner do not end with themselves, but minister to
bodily well-being. Though people do not marry with a view to maintain
the race, yet the passions which impel them to marry secure its
maintenance. Parental affection is a feeling which, while it conduces to
parental happiness, ensures the nurture of offspring. Men love to
accumulate property, often without thought of the benefits it produces;
but in pursuing the pleasure of acquisition they indirectly open the way
to other pleasures. The wish for public approval impels all of us to do
many things which we should otherwise not do,--to undertake great
labours, face great dangers, and habitually rule ourselves in a way that
smooths social intercourse: that is, in gratifying our love of
approbation we subserve divers ulterior purposes. And, generally, our
nature is such that in fulfilling each desire, we in some way facilitate
the fulfilment of the rest. But the love of music seems to exist for its
own sake. The delights of melody and harmony do not obviously minister
to the welfare either of the individual or of society. May we not
suspect, however, that this exception is apparent only? Is it not a
rational inquiry--What are the indirect benefits which accrue from
music, in addition to the direct pleasure it gives?

But that it would take us too far out of our track, we should prelude
this inquiry by illustrating at some length a certain general law of
progress;--the law that alike in occupations, sciences, arts, the
divisions that had a common root, but by continual divergence have
become distinct, and are now being separately developed, are not truly
independent, but severally act and react on each other to their mutual
advancement. Merely hinting thus much, however, by way of showing that
there are many analogies to justify us, we go on to express the opinion
that there exists a relationship of this kind between music and speech.

All speech is compounded of two elements, the words and the tones in
which they are uttered--the signs of ideas and the signs of feelings.
While certain articulations express the thought, certain vocal sounds
express the more or less of pain or pleasure which the thought gives.
Using the word _cadence_ in an unusually extended sense, as
comprehending all modifications of voice, we may say that _cadence is
the commentary of the emotions upon the propositions of the intellect_.
The duality of spoken language, though not formally recognised, is
recognised in practice by every one; and every one knows that very often
more weight attaches to the tones than to the words. Daily experience
supplies cases in which the same sentence of disapproval will be
understood as meaning little or meaning much, according to the
inflections of voice which accompany it; and daily experience supplies
still more striking cases in which words and tones are in direct
contradiction--the first expressing consent, while the last express
reluctance; and the last being believed rather than the first.

These two distinct but interwoven elements of speech have been
undergoing a simultaneous development. We know that in the course of
civilisation words have been multiplied, new parts of speech have been
introduced, sentences have grown more varied and complex; and we may
fairly infer that during the same time new modifications of voice have
come into use, fresh intervals have been adopted, and cadences have
become more elaborate. For while, on the one hand, it is absurd to
suppose that, along with the undeveloped verbal forms of barbarism,
there existed a developed system of vocal inflections; it is, on the
other hand, necessary to suppose that, along with the higher and more
numerous verbal forms needed to convey the multiplied and complicated
ideas of civilised life, there have grown up those more involved changes
of voice which express the feelings proper to such ideas. If
intellectual language is a growth, so also, without doubt, is emotional
language a growth.

Now, the hypothesis which we have hinted above, is, that beyond the
direct pleasure which it gives, music has the indirect effect of
developing this language of the emotions. Having its root, as we have
endeavoured to show, in those tones, intervals, and cadences of speech
which express feeling--arising by the combination and intensifying of
these, and coming finally to have an embodiment of its own--music has
all along been reacting upon speech, and increasing its power of
rendering emotion. The use in recitative and song of inflections more
expressive than ordinary ones, must from the beginning have tended to
develop the ordinary ones. Familiarity with the more varied combinations
of tones that occur in vocal music can scarcely have failed to give
greater variety of combination to the tones in which we utter our
impressions and desires. The complex musical phrases by which composers
have conveyed complex emotions, may rationally be supposed to have
influenced us in making those involved cadences of conversation by which
we convey our subtler thoughts and feelings.

That the cultivation of music has no effect on the mind, few will be
absurd enough to contend. And if it has an effect, what more natural
effect is there than this of developing our perception of the meanings
of inflections, qualities, and modulations of voice; and giving us a
correspondingly increased power of using them? Just as mathematics,
taking its start from the phenomena of physics and astronomy, and
presently coming to be a separate science, has since reacted on physics
and astronomy to their immense advancement--just as chemistry, first
arising out of the processes of metallurgy and the industrial arts, and
gradually growing into an independent study, has now become an aid to
all kinds of production--just as physiology, originating out of medicine
and once subordinate to it, but latterly pursued for its own sake, is in
our day coming to be the science on which the progress of medicine
depends;--so, music, having its root in emotional language, and
gradually evolved from it, has ever been reacting upon and further
advancing it. Whoever will examine the facts will find this hypothesis
to be in harmony with the method of civilisation everywhere displayed.

It will scarcely be expected that much direct evidence in support of
this conclusion can be given. The facts are of a kind which it is
difficult to measure, and of which we have no records. Some suggestive
traits, however, may be noted. May we not say, for instance, that the
Italians, among whom modern music was earliest cultivated, and who have
more especially practised and excelled in melody (the division of music
with which our argument is chiefly concerned)--may we not say that these
Italians speak in more varied and expressive inflections and cadences
than any other nation? On the other hand, may we not say that, confined
almost exclusively as they have hitherto been to their national airs,
which have a marked family likeness, and therefore accustomed to but a
limited range of musical expression, the Scotch are unusually monotonous
in the intervals and modulations of their speech? And again, do we not
find among different classes of the same nation, differences that have
like implications? The gentleman and the clown stand in a very decided
contrast with respect to variety of intonation. Listen to the
conversation of a servant-girl, and then to that of a refined,
accomplished lady, and the more delicate and complex changes of voice
used by the latter will be conspicuous. Now, without going so far as to
say that out of all the differences of culture to which the upper and
lower classes are subjected, difference of musical culture is that to
which alone this difference of speech is ascribable, yet we may fairly
say that there seems a much more obvious connection of cause and effect
between these than between any others. Thus, while the inductive
evidence to which we can appeal is but scanty and vague, yet what there
is favours our position.

       *       *       *       *       *

Probably most will think that the function here assigned to music is one
of very little moment. But further reflection may lead them to a
contrary conviction. In its bearings upon human happiness, we believe
that this emotional language which musical culture develops and refines
is only second in importance to the language of the intellect; perhaps
not even second to it. For these modifications of voice produced by
feelings are the means of exciting like feelings in others. Joined with
gestures and expressions of face, they give life to the otherwise dead
words in which the intellect utters its ideas; and so enable the hearer
not only to _understand_ the state of mind they accompany, but to
_partake_ of that state. In short, they are the chief media of
_sympathy_. And if we consider how much both our general welfare and our
immediate pleasures depend upon sympathy, we shall recognise the
importance of whatever makes this sympathy greater. If we bear in mind
that by their fellow-feeling men are led to behave justly, kindly, and
considerately to each other--that the difference between the cruelty of
the barbarous and the humanity of the civilised, results from the
increase of fellow-feeling; if we bear in mind that this faculty which
makes us sharers in the joys and sorrows of others, is the basis of all
the higher affections--that in friendship, love, and all domestic
pleasures, it is an essential element; if we bear in mind how much our
direct gratifications are intensified by sympathy,--how, at the theatre,
the concert, the picture gallery, we lose half our enjoyment if we have
no one to enjoy with us; if, in short, we bear in mind that for all
happiness beyond what the unfriended recluse can have, we are indebted
to this same sympathy;--we shall see that the agencies which communicate
it can scarcely be overrated in value.

The tendency of civilisation is more and more to repress the
antagonistic elements of our characters and to develop the social
ones--to curb our purely selfish desires and exercise our unselfish
ones--to replace private gratifications by gratifications resulting
from, or involving, the happiness of others. And while, by this
adaptation to the social state, the sympathetic side of our nature is
being unfolded, there is simultaneously growing up a language of
sympathetic intercourse--a language through which we communicate to
others the happiness we feel, and are made sharers in their happiness.

This double process, of which the effects are already sufficiently
appreciable, must go on to an extent of which we can as yet have no
adequate conception. The habitual concealment of our feelings
diminishing, as it must, in proportion as our feelings become such as do
not demand concealment, we may conclude that the exhibition of them will
become much more vivid than we now dare allow it to be; and this implies
a more expressive emotional language. At the same time, feelings of a
higher and more complex kind, as yet experienced only by the cultivated
few, will become general; and there will be a corresponding development
of the emotional language into more involved forms. Just as there has
silently grown up a language of ideas, which, rude as it at first was,
now enables us to convey with precision the most subtle and complicated
thoughts; so, there is still silently growing up a language of feelings,
which, notwithstanding its present imperfection, we may expect will
ultimately enable men vividly and completely to impress on each other
all the emotions which they experience from moment to moment.

Thus if, as we have endeavoured to show, it is the function of music to
facilitate the development of this emotional language, we may regard
music as an aid to the achievement of that higher happiness which it
indistinctly shadows forth. Those vague feelings of unexperienced
felicity which music arouses--those indefinite impressions of an unknown
ideal life which it calls up, may be considered as a prophecy, to the
fulfilment of which music is itself partly instrumental. The strange
capacity which we have for being so affected by melody and harmony may
be taken to imply both that it is within the possibilities of our nature
to realise those intenser delights they dimly suggest, and that they are
in some way concerned in the realisation of them. On this supposition
the power and the meaning of music become comprehensible; but otherwise
they are a mystery.

We will only add, that if the probability of these corollaries be
admitted, then music must take rank as he highest of the fine arts--as
the one which, more than any other, ministers to human welfare. And
thus, even leaving out of view the immediate gratifications it is hourly
giving, we cannot too much applaud that progress of musical culture
which is becoming one of the characteristics of our age.

[1] _Fraser's Magazine_, October 1857.

[2] Those who seek information on this point may find it in an
interesting tract by Mr. Alexander Bain, on _Animal Instinct and

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