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Title: Aphorisms and Reflections from the Works of T. H. Huxley
Author: Huxley, T. H.
Language: English
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APHORISMS AND REFLECTIONS

FROM THE WORKS OF T. H. HUXLEY


Selected By Henrietta A. Huxley


1908



PREFACE

Although a man by his works and personality shall have made his mark
upon the age he lives in, yet when he has passed away and his influence
with him, the next generation, and still more the succeeding one, will
know little of this work, of his ideals and of the goal he strove to
win, although for the student his scientific work may always live.

Thomas Henry Huxley may come to be remembered by the public merely as
the man who held that we were descended from the ape, or as the apostle
of Darwinism, or as the man who worsted Bishop Wilberforce at Oxford.

To prevent such limitation, and to afford more intimate and valuable
reasons for remembrance of this man of science and lover of his
fellow-men, I have gathered together passages, on widely differing
themes, from the nine volumes of his "Essays," from his "Scientific
Memoirs" and his "Letters," to be published in a small volume, complete
in itself and of a size that can be carried in the pocket.

Some of the passages were picked out for their philosophy, some for
their moral guidances, some for their scientific exposition of natural
facts, or for their insight into social questions; others for their
charms of imagination or genial humour, and many--not the least--for
their pure beauty of lucid English writing.

In so much wealth of material it was difficult to restrict the
gathering.

My great wish is that this small book, by the easy method of its
contents, may attract the attention of those persons who are yet
unacquainted with my husband's writings; of the men and women of
leisure, who, although they may have heard of the "Essays," do not care
to work their way through the nine volumes; of others who would like to
read them, but who have either no time to do so or coin wherewith to buy
them. More especially do I hope that these selections may attract
the attention of the working man, whose cause my husband so ardently
espoused, and to whom he was the first to reveal, by his free lectures,
the loveliness of Nature, the many rainbow-coloured rays of science, and
to show forth to his listeners how all these glorious rays unite in the
one pure white light of holy truth.

I am most grateful to our son Leonard Huxley for weeding out the
overgrowth of my extracts, for indexing the text of the book and seeing
it through the press for me.

Hodeslea, Eastbourne, June 29th, 1907.



APHORISMS and REFLECTIONS


I

There is no alleviation for the sufferings of mankind except veracity
of thought and of action, and the resolute facing of the world as it is
when the garment of make-believe by which pious hands have hidden its
uglier features is stripped off.


II

Natural knowledge, seeking to satisfy natural wants, has found the ideas
which can alone still spiritual cravings. I say that natural knowledge,
in desiring to ascertain the laws of comfort, has been driven to
discover those of conduct, and to lay the foundations of a new morality.


III

The improver of natural knowledge absolutely refuses to acknowledge
authority, as such. For him, scepticism is the highest of duties; blind
faith the one unpardonable sin.


IV

The man of science has learned to believe in justification, not by
faith, but by verification.


V

No delusion is greater than the notion that method and industry can make
up for lack of mother-wit, either in science or in practical life.


VI

Nothing great in science has ever been done by men, whatever their
powers, in whom the divine afflatus of the truth-seeker was wanting.


VII

In science, as in art, and, as I believe, in every other sphere of human
activity, there may be wisdom in a multitude of counsellors, but it is
only in one or two of them.


VIII

Nothing can be more incorrect than the assumption one sometimes meets
with, that physics has one method, chemistry another, and biology a
third.


IX

Anyone who is practically acquainted with scientific work is aware
that those who refuse to go beyond fact, rarely get as far as fact; and
anyone who has studied the history of science knows that almost every
great step therein has been made by the "anticipation of Nature."


X

There are three great products of our time.... One of these is that
doctrine concerning the constitution of matter which, for want of a
better name, I will call "molecular"; the second is the doctrine of the
conservation of energy; the third is the doctrine of evolution.


XI

M. Comte's philosophy, in practice, might be compendiously described as
Catholicism _minus_ Christianity.


XII

Fact I know; and Law I know; but what is this Necessity, save an empty
shadow of my own mind's throwing?


XIII

We live in a world which is full of misery and ignorance, and the plain
duty of each and all of us is to try to make the little corner he can
influence somewhat less miserable and somewhat less ignorant than it was
before he entered it.


XIV

The man of science, who, forgetting the limits of philosophical inquiry,
slides from these formulæ and symbols into what is commonly understood
by materialism, seems to me to place himself on a level with the
mathematician, who should mistake the x's and y's with which he works
his problems for real entities--and with this further disadvantage, as
compared with the mathematician, that the blunders of the latter are of
no practical consequence, while the errors of systematic materialism may
paralyse the energies and destroy the beauty of a life.


XV

There are some men who are counted great because they represent the
actuality of their own age, and mirror it as it is. Such an one
was Voltaire, of whom it was epigrammatically said, "he expressed
everybody's thoughts better than anybody." But there are other men who
attain greatness because they embody the potentiality of their own day
and magically reflect the future. They express the thoughts which
will be everybody's two or three centuries after them. Such an one was
Descartes.


XVI

"Learn what is true, in order to do what is right." is the summing up
of the whole duty of man, for all who are unable to satisfy their mental
hunger with the east wind of authority.


XVII

When I say that Descartes consecrated doubt, you must remember that it
was that sort of doubt which Goethe has called "the active scepticism,
whose whole aim is to conquer itself"; and not that other sort which
is born of flippancy and ignorance, and whose aim is only to perpetuate
itself, as an excuse for idleness and indifference.


XVIII

What, then, is certain?.... Why, the fact that the thought, the present
consciousness, exists. Our thoughts may be delusive, but they cannot be
fictitious. As thoughts, they are real and existent, and the cleverest
deceiver cannot make them otherwise.


XIX

Thought is existence. More than that, so far as we are concerned,
existence is thought, all our conceptions of existence being some kind
or other of thought.


XX

It is enough for all the practical purposes of human existence if we
find that our trust in the representations of consciousness is
verified by results; and that, by their help, we are enabled "to walk
sure-footedly in this life."


XXI

It is because the body is a machine that education is possible.
Education is the formation of habits, a superinducing of an artificial
organisation upon the natural organisation of the body; so that
acts, which at first required a conscious effort, eventually became
unconscious and mechanical.


XXII

I protest that if some great Power would agree to make me always think
what is true and do what is right, on condition of being turned into
a sort of clock and wound up every morning before I got out of bed, I
should instantly close with the offer.


XXIII

The only freedom I care about is the freedom to do right; the freedom
to do wrong I am ready to part with on the cheapest terms to anyone who
will take it of me.


XXIV

Whatever evil voices may rage, Science, secure among the powers that are
eternal, will do her work and be blessed.


XXV

There is assuredly no more effectual method of clearing up one's own
mind on any subject than by talking it over, so to speak, with men of
real power and grasp, who have considered it from a totally different
point of view.


XXVI

The parallax of time helps us to the true position of a conception, as
the parallax of space helps us to that of a star.


XXVII

[If animals are conscious automata with souls] the soul stands related
to the body as the bell of a clock to the works, and consciousness
answers to the sound which the bell gives out when it is struck.


XXVIII

Logical consequences are the scarecrows of fools and the beacons of wise
men.


XXIX

The only question which any wise man can ask himself, and which any
honest man will ask himself, is whether a doctrine is true or false.


XXX

Of all the senseless babble I have ever had occasion to read, the
demonstrations of these philosophers who undertake to tell us all about
the nature of God would be the worst, if they were not surpassed by
the still greater absurdities of the philosophers who try to prove that
there is no God.


XXXI

That which is to be lamented, I fancy, is not that society should do its
utmost to help capacity to ascend from the lower strata to the higher,
but that it has no machinery by which to facilitate the descent of
incapacity from the higher strata to the lower.


XXXII

Time, whose tooth gnaws away everything else, is powerless against
truth.


XXXIII

Misery is a match that never goes out.


XXXIV

Genius as an explosive power beats gunpowder hollow; and if knowledge,
which should give that power guidance, is wanting, the chances are not
small that the rocket will simply run amuck among friends and foes.


XXXV

Thoughtfulness for others, generosity, modesty, and self-respect, are
the qualities which make a real gentleman, or lady, as distinguished
from the veneered article which commonly goes by that name.


XXXVI

The higher the state of civilisation, the more completely do the actions
of one member of the social body influence all the rest, and the less
possible is it for any one man to do a wrong thing without interfering,
more or less, with the freedom of all his fellow-citizens.


XXXVII

I take it that the good of mankind means the attainment, by every
man, of all the happiness which he can enjoy without diminishing the
happiness of his fellow men.


XXXVIII

Education promotes peace by teaching men the realities of life and the
obligations which are involved in the very existence of society; it
promotes intellectual development, not only by training the individual
intellect, but by sifting out from the masses of ordinary or inferior
capacities, those who are competent to increase the general welfare
by occupying higher positions; and, lastly, it promotes morality and
refinement, by teaching men to discipline themselves, and by leading
them to see that the highest, as it is the only permanent, content is
to be attained, not by grovelling in the rank and steaming valleys
of sense, but by continual striving towards those high peaks, where,
resting in eternal calm, reason discerns the undefined but bright ideal
of the highest Good--"a cloud by day, a pillar of fire by night."


XXXIX

Missionaries, whether of philosophy or of religion, rarely make rapid
way, unless their preachings fall in with the prepossessions of
the multitude of shallow thinkers, or can be made to serve as a
stalking-horse for the promotion of the practical aims of the still
larger multitude, who do not profess to think much, but are quite
certain they want a great deal.


XL

Proclaim human equality as loudly as you like, Witless will serve his
brother.


XLI

There is no sea more dangerous than the ocean of practical
politics--none in which there is more need of good pilotage and of a
single, unfaltering purpose when the waves rise high.


XLII

The doctrine that all men are, in any sense, or have been, at any time,
free and equal, is an utterly baseless fiction.


XLIII

For the welfare of society, as for that of individual men, it is surely
essential that there should be a statute of limitations in respect of
the consequences of wrong-doing.


XLIV

"Musst immer thun wie neu geboren" is the best of all maxims for the
guidance of the life of States, no less than of individuals.


XLV

The population question is the real riddle of the sphinx, to which no
political OEdipus has as yet found the answer. In view of the ravages of
the terrible monster, over-multiplication, all other riddles sink into
insignificance.


XLVI

The "Law of Nature" is not a command to do, or to refrain from doing,
anything. It contains, in reality, nothing but a statement of that which
a given being tends to do under the circumstances of its existence; and
which, in the case of a living and sensitive being, it is necessitated
to do if it is to escape certain kinds of disability, pain, and ultimate
dissolution.


XLVII

Probably none of the political delusions which have sprung from the
"natural rights" doctrine has been more mischievous than the assertion
that all men have a natural right to freedom, and that those who
willingly submit to any restriction of this freedom, beyond the point
determined by the deductions of _a priori_ philosophers, deserve the
title of slave. But to my mind, this delusion is incomprehensible except
as the result of the error of confounding natural with moral rights.


XLVIII

The very existence of society depends on the fact that every member of
it tacitly admits that he is not the exclusive possessor of himself, and
that he admits the claim of the polity of which he forms a part, to act,
to some extent, as his master.


XLIX

Surely there is a time to submit to guidance and a time to take one's
own way at all hazards.


L

Individualism, pushed to anarchy, in the family is as ill-founded
theoretically and as mischievous practically as it is in the State;
while extreme regimentation is a certain means of either destroying
self-reliance or of maddening to rebellion.


LI

A man in his development runs for a little while parallel with, though
never passing through, the form of the meanest worm, then travels for a
space beside the fish, then journeys along with the bird and the reptile
for his fellow travellers; and only at last, after a brief companionship
with the highest of the four-footed and four-handed world, rises into
the dignity of pure manhood.


LII

Not only does every animal live at the expense of some other animal or
plant, but the very plants are at war.... The individuals of a species
are like the crew of a foundered ship, and none but good swimmers have a
chance of reaching the land.


LIII

When we know that living things are formed of the same elements as the
inorganic world, that they act and react upon it, bound by a thousand
ties of natural piety, is it probable, nay is it possible, that they,
and they alone, should have no order in their seeming disorder, no
unity in their seeming multiplicity, should suffer no explanation by the
discovery of some central and sublime law of mutual connection?


LIV

The student of Nature wonders the more and is astonished the less, the
more conversant he becomes with her operations; but of all the perennial
miracles she offers to his inspection, perhaps the most worthy of
admiration is the development of a plant or of an animal from its
embryo.


LV

Matter and force are the two names of the one artist who fashions the
living as well as the lifeless.


LVI

There is not throughout Nature a law of wider application than this,
that a body impelled by two forces takes the direction of their
resultant.


LVII

Orthodoxy is the Bourbon of the world of thought. It learns not, neither
can it forget.


LVIII

Who shall number the patient and earnest seekers after truth, from the
days of Galileo until now, whose lives have been embittered and their
good name blasted by the mistaken zeal of Bibliolaters? Who shall count
the host of weaker men whose sense of truth has been destroyed in the
effort to harmonise impossibilities--whose life has been wasted in the
attempt to force the generous new wine of Science into the old bottles
of Judaism, compelled by the outcry of the same strong party?


LIX

When Astronomy was young "the morning stars sang together for joy," and
the planets were guided in their courses by celestial hands. Now, the
harmony of the stars has resolved itself into gravitation according to
the inverse squares of the distances, and the orbits of the planets are
deducible from the laws of the forces which allow a schoolboy's stone to
break a window.


LX

The lightning was the angel of the Lord; but it has pleased Providence,
in these modern times, that science should make it the humble messenger
of man, and we know that every flash that shimmers about the horizon on
a summer's evening is determined by ascertainable conditions, and that
its direction and brightness might, if our knowledge of these were great
enough, have been calculated.


LXI

Why should the souls [of philosophers] be deeply vexed? The majesty of
Fact is on their side, and the elemental forces of Nature are working
for them. Not a star comes to the meridian at its calculated time but
testifies to the justice of their methods--their beliefs are "one
with the falling rain and with the growing corn." By doubt they are
established, and open inquiry is their bosom friend.


LXII

Harmonious order governing eternally continuous progress--the web and
woof of matter and force interweaving by slow decrees, without a broken
thread, that veil which lies between us and the Infinite--that universe
which alone we know or can know; such is the picture which science draws
of the world, and in proportion as any part of that picture is in unison
with the rest, so may we feel sure that it is rightly painted.


LXIII

Mix salt and sand, and it shall puzzle the wisest of men, with his mere
natural appliances, to separate all the grains of sand from all the
grains of salt; but a shower of rain will effect the same object in ten
minutes.


LXIV

Elijah's great question, "Will you serve God or Baal? Choose ye," is
uttered audibly enough in the ears of every one of us as we come to
manhood. Let every man who tries to answer it seriously ask himself
whether he can be satisfied with the Baal of authority, and with all the
good things his worshippers are promised in this world and the next.
If he can, let him, if he be so inclined, amuse himself with such
scientific implements as authority tells him are safe and will not cut
his fingers; but let him not imagine he is, or can be, both a true son
of the Church and a loyal soldier of science.


LXV

Ecclesiasticism in science is only unfaithfulness to truth.


LXVI

If the blind acceptance of authority appears to him in its true colours,
as mere private judgment _in excelsis_ and if he have the courage to
stand alone, face to face with the abyss of the eternal and unknowable,
let him be content, once for all, not only to renounce the good things
promised by "Infallibility," but even to bear the bad things which it
prophesies; content to follow reason and fact in singleness and honesty
of purpose, wherever they may lead, in the sure faith that a hell of
honest men will, to him, be more endurable than a paradise full of
angelic shams.


LXVII

History warns us that it is the customary fate of new truths to begin as
heresies and to end as superstitions.


LXVIII

The struggle for existence holds as much in the intellectual as in the
physical world. A theory is a species of thinking, and its right to
exist is coextensive with its power of resisting extinction by its
rivals.


LXIX

The scientific spirit is of more value than its products, and
irrationally held truths may be more harmful than reasoned errors.


LXX

Every belief is the product of two factors: the first is the state of
the mind to which the evidence in favour of that belief is presented;
and the second is the logical cogency of the evidence itself.


LXXI

Science commits suicide when it adopts a creed.


LXXII

The method of scientific investigation is nothing but the expression of
the necessary mode of working of the human mind. It is simply the mode
in which all phenomena are reasoned about, rendered precise and exact.


LXXIII

There are men (and I think Priestley was one of them) to whom the
satisfaction of throwing down a triumphant fallacy is as great as that
which attends the discovery of a new truth; who feel better satisfied
with the government of the world, when they have been helping Providence
by knocking an imposture on the head; and who care even more for freedom
of thought than for mere advance of knowledge. These men are the Carnots
who organise victory for truth, and they are, at least, as important as
the generals who visibly fight her battles in the field.


LXXIV

Material advancement has its share in moral and intellectual progress.
Becky Sharp's acute remark that it is not difficult to be virtuous on
ten thousand a year, has its application to nations; and it is futile
to expect a hungry and squalid population to be anything but violent and
gross.


LXXV

If the twentieth century is to be better than the nineteenth, it will
be because there are among us men who walk in Priestley's footsteps. But
whether Priestley's lot be theirs, and a future generation, in justice
and in gratitude, set up their statues; or whether their names and fame
are blotted out from remembrance, their work will live as long as time
endures. To all eternity, the sum of truth and right will have been
increased by their means; to all eternity, falsehood and injustice will
be the weaker because they have lived.


LXXVI

Science is, I believe, nothing but _trained and organised common sense_,
differing from the latter only as a veteran may differ from a raw
recruit: and its methods differ from those of common sense only so
far as the guardsman's cut and thrust differ from the manner in which a
savage wields his club.


LXXVII

The vast results obtained by Science are won by no mystical faculties,
by no mental processes, other than those which are practised by every
one of us, in the humblest and meanest affairs of life. A detective
policeman discovers a burglar from the marks made by his shoe, by a
mental process identical with that by which Cuvier restored the extinct
animals of Montmartre from fragments of their bones.


LXXVIII

There is no side of the human mind which physiological study leaves
uncultivated. Connected by innumerable ties with abstract science,
Physiology is yet in the most intimate relation with humanity; and by
teaching us that law and order, and a definite scheme of development,
regulate even the strangest and wildest manifestations of individual
life, she prepares the student to look for a coal even amidst the
erratic wanderings of mankind, and to believe that history offers
something more than an entertaining chaos--a journal of a toilsome,
tragi-comic march nowhither.


LXXIX

I cannot but think that he who finds a certain proportion of pain and
evil inseparably woven up in the life of the very worms, will bear his
own share with more courage and submission; and will, at any rate, view
with suspicion those weakly amiable theories of the Divine government,
which would have us believe pain to be an oversight and a mistake,--to
be corrected by and by. On the other hand, the predominance of happiness
among living things--their lavish beauty--the secret and wonderful
harmony which pervades them all, from the highest to the lowest, are
equally striking refutations of that modern Manichean doctrine, which
exhibits the world as a slave-mill, worked with many tears, for mere
utilitarian ends.


LXXX

To a person uninstructed in natural history, his country or sea-side
stroll is a walk through a gallery filled with wonderful works of art,
nine-tenths of which have their faces turned to the wall. Teach him
something of natural history, and you place in his hands a catalogue of
those which are worth turning round. Surely our innocent pleasures are
not so abundant in this life that we can afford to despise this or any
other source of them. We should fear being banished for our neglect to
that limbo where the great Florentine tells us are those who, during
this life, "wept when they might be joyful."


LXXXI

No slavery can be abolished without a double emancipation, and the
master will benefit by freedom more than the freed-man.


LXXXII

Compare the average artisan and the average country squire, and it may
be doubted if you will find a pin to choose between the two in point of
ignorance, class feeling, or prejudice. It is true that the ignorance is
of a different sort--that the class feeling is in favour of a different
class--and that the prejudice has a distinct savour of wrong-headedness
in each case--but it is questionable if the one is either a bit better,
or a bit worse, than the other. The old protectionist theory is the
doctrine of trades unions as applied by the squires, and the modern
trades unionism is the doctrine of the squires applied by the artisans.
Why should we be worse off under one _régime_ than under the other?


LXXXIII

The life, the fortune, and the happiness of every one of us, and, more
or less, of those who are connected with us, do depend upon our
knowing something of the rules of a game infinitely more difficult and
complicated than chess. It is a game which has been played for untold
ages, every man and woman of us being one of the two players in a game
of his or her own. The chessboard is the world, the pieces are the
phenomena of the universe, the rules of the game are what we call the
laws of Nature. The player on the other side is hidden from us. We know
that his play is always fair, just and patient. But also we know, to our
cost, that he never overlooks a mistake, or makes the smallest allowance
for ignorance. To the man who plays well, the highest stakes are paid,
with that sort of overflowing generosity with which the strong shows
delight in strength. And one who plays ill is checkmated--without haste,
but without remorse.


LXXXIV

Education is the instruction of the intellect in the laws of Nature,
under which name I include not merely things and their forces, but men
and then-ways; and the fashioning of the affections and of the will into
an earnest and loving desire to move in harmony with those laws.


LXXXV

To every one of us the world was once as fresh and new as to Adam. And
then, long before we were susceptible of any other mode of instruction,
Nature took us in hand, and every minute of waking life brought its
educational influence, shaping our actions into rough accordance with
Nature's laws, so that we might not be ended untimely by too gross
disobedience. Nor should I speak of this process of education as past
for any one, be he as old as he may. For every man the world is as fresh
as it was at the first day, and as full of untold novelties for him who
has the eyes to see them. And Nature is still continuing her patient
education of us in that great university, the universe, of which we are
all members--Nature having no Test-Acts.


LXXXVI

Those who take honours in Nature's university, who learn the laws which
govern men and things and obey them, are the really great and successful
men in this world. The great mass of mankind are the "Poll," who pick up
just enough to get through without much discredit Those who won't learn
at all are plucked; and then you can't come up again. Nature's pluck
means extermination.


LXXXVII

Ignorance is visited as sharply as wilful disobedience--incapacity meets
with the same punishment as crime. Nature's discipline is not even a
word and a blow, and the blow first; but the blow without the word. It
is left to you to find out why your ears are boxed.


LXXXVIII

All artificial education ought to be an anticipation of natural
education.


LXXXIX

That man, I think, has had a liberal education who has been so trained
in youth that his body is the ready servant of his will, and does with
ease and pleasure all the work that, as a mechanism, it is capable of;
whose intellect is a clear, cold, logic engine, with all its parts of
equal strength and in smooth working order; ready, like a steam engine,
to be turned to any kind of work, and spin the gossamers as well as
force the anchors of the mind; whose mind is stored with a knowledge
of the great and fundamental truths of Nature and of the laws of her
operations; one who, no stunted ascetic, is full of life and fire,
but whose passions are trained to come to heel by a vigorous will, the
servant of a tender conscience; who has learned to love all beauty,
whether of Nature or of art, to hate all vileness, and to respect others
as himself.


XC

The only medicine for suffering, crime, and all the other woes of
mankind, is wisdom.


XCI

Next to being right in this world, the best of all things is to be
clearly and definitely wrong, because you will come out somewhere. If
you go buzzing about between right and wrong, vibrating and fluctuating,
you come out nowhere; but if you are absolutely and thoroughly and
persistently wrong, you must, some of these days, have the extreme good
fortune of knocking your head against a fact, and that sets you all
straight again.


XCII

No man ever understands Shakespeare until he is old, though the youngest
may admire him, the reason being that he satisfies the artistic instinct
of the youngest and harmonises with the ripest and richest experience of
the oldest.


XCIII

It is not a question whether one order of study or another should
predominate. It is a question of what topics of education you shall
select which will combine all the needful elements in such due
proportion as to give the greatest amount of food, support, and
encouragement to those faculties which enable us to appreciate truth,
and to profit by those sources of innocent happiness which are open to
us, and, at the same time, to avoid that which is bad, and coarse, and
ugly, and keep clear of the multitude of pitfalls and dangers which
beset those who break through the natural or moral laws.


XCIV

Writing is a form of drawing; therefore if you five the same attention
and trouble to drawing as you do to writing, depend upon it, there is
nobody who cannot be made to draw, more or less well.... I do not say
for one moment you would make an artistic draughtsman. Artists are not
made; they grow..... You can teach simple drawing, and you will find it
an implement of learning of extreme value. I do not think its value can
be exaggerated, because it gives you the means of training the young in
attention and accuracy, which are the two things in which all mankind
are more deficient than in any other mental quality whatever.


XCV

If a man cannot get literary culture of the highest kind out of his
Bible, and Chaucer, and Shakespeare, and Milton, and Hobbes, and Bishop
Berkeley, to mention only a few of our illustrious writers--I say, if
he cannot get it out of those writers, he cannot get it out of anything;
and I would assuredly devote a very large portion of the time of every
English child to the careful study of the models of English writing of
such varied and wonderful kind as we possess, and, what is still more
important and still more neglected, the habit of using that language
with precision, with force, and with art.


XCVI

I fancy we are almost the only nation in the world who seem to think
that composition comes by nature. The French attend to their own
language, the Germans study theirs; but Englishmen do not seem to think
it is worth their while.


XCVII

Many of the faults and mistakes of the ancient philosophers are
traceable to the fact that they knew no language but their own, and were
often led into confusing the symbol with the thought which it embodied.


XCVIII

If the time given to education permits, add Latin and German. Latin,
because it is the key to nearly one-half of English and to all the
Romance languages; and German, because it is the key to almost all the
remainder of English, and helps you to understand a race from whom
most of us have sprung, and who have a character and a literature of
a fateful force in the history of the world, such as probably has been
allotted to those of no other people, except the Jews, the Greeks, and
ourselves.


XCIX

In an ideal University,.... the force of living example should fire the
student with a noble ambition to emulate the learning of learned
men, and to follow in the footsteps of the explorers of new fields of
knowledge. And the very air he breathes should be charged with that
enthusiasm for truth, that fanaticism of veracity, which is a greater
possession than much learning; a nobler gift than the power of
increasing knowledge; by go much greater and nobler than these, as the
moral nature of man is greater than the intellectual; for veracity is
the heart of morality. Do what you can to do what you ought, and leave
hoping and fearing alone.


CI

On the face of the matter, it is absurd to ask whether it is more
important to know the limits of one's powers; or the ends for which they
ought to be exerted; or the conditions under which they must be exerted.
One may as well inquire which of the terms of a Rule of Three sum one
ought to know in order to get a trustworthy result. Practical life
is such a sum, in which your duty multiplied into your capacity,
and divided by your circumstances, gives you the fourth term in the
proportion, which is your deserts, with great accuracy.


CII

Books are the money of Literature, but only the counters of Science.


CIII

Medicine was the foster-mother of Chemistry, because it has to do
with the preparation of drugs and the detection of poisons; of Botany,
because it enabled the physician to recognise medicinal herbs; of
Comparative Anatomy and Physiology, because the man who studied Human
Anatomy and Physiology for purely medical purposes was led to extend his
studies to the rest of the animal world.


CIV

A thorough study of Human Physiology is, in itself, an education broader
and more comprehensive than much that passes under that name. There is
no side of the intellect which it does not call into play, no region
of human knowledge into which either its roots, or its branches, do not
extend; like the Atlantic between the Old and the New Worlds, its waves
wash the shores of the two worlds of matter and of mind; its tributary
streams flow from both; through its waters, as yet unfurrowed by the
keel of any Columbus, lies the road, if such there be, from the one to
the other; far away from that North-west Passage of mere speculation, in
which so many brave souls have been hopelessly frozen up.


CV

You know that among the Bees, it depends on the kind of cell in which
the egg is deposited, and the quantity and quality of food which is
supplied to the grub, whether it shall turn out a busy little worker
or a big idle queen. And, in the human hive, the cells of the endowed
larvae are always tending to enlarge, and their food to improve, until
we get queens, beautiful to behold, but which gather no honey and build
no comb.


CVI

Examination, like fire, is a good servant, but a bad master; and there
seems to me to be some danger of its becoming our master. I by no means
stand alone in this opinion. Experienced friends of mine do not hesitate
to say that students whose career they watch appear to them to become
deteriorated by the constant effort to pass this or that examination,
just as we hear of mens brains becoming affected by the daily necessity
of catching a train. They work to pass, not to know; and outraged
Science takes Her revenge. They do pass, and they don't know.


CVII

A man's worst difficulties begin when he is able to do as he likes.


CVIII

There is but one right, and the possibilities of wrong are infinite.


CIX

It is given to few to add to the store of knowledge, to strike new
springs of thought, or to shape new forms of beauty. But so sure as
it is that men live not by bread, but by ideas, so sure is it that the
future of the world lies in the hands of those who are able to carry the
interpretation of nature a step further than their predecessors.


CX

Size is not grandeur, and territory does not make a nation.


CXI

Whatever practical people may say, this world is, after all, absolutely
governed by ideas, and very often by the wildest and most hypothetical
ideas. It is a matter of the very greatest importance that our theories
of things, and even of things that seem a long way apart from our daily
lives, should be as far as possible true, and as far as possible removed
from error.


CXII

All truth, in the long run, is only common sense clarified.


CXIII

You may read any quantity of books, and you may be almost as ignorant as
you were at starting, if you don't have, at the back of your minds, the
change for words in definite images which can only be acquired through
the operation of your observing faculties on the phenomena of nature.


CXIV

The saying that a little knowledge is a dangerous thing is to my mind, a
very dangerous adage. If knowledge is real and genuine, I do not believe
that it is other than a very valuable possession, however infinitesimal
its quantity may be. Indeed, if a little knowledge is dangerous, where
is the man who has so much as to be out of danger?


CXV

Patience and tenacity of purpose are worth more than twice their weight
of cleverness.


CXVI

The body is a machine of the nature of an army..... Of this army each
cell is a soldier, an organ a brigade, the central nervous system
headquarters and field telegraph, the alimentary and circulatory system
the commissariat Losses are made good by recruits born in camp, and
the life of the individual is a campaign, conducted successfully for a
number of years, but with certain defeat in the long run.


CXVII

So far as the laws of conduct are determined by the intellect, I
apprehend that they belong to science, and to that part of science which
is called morality. But the engagement of the affections in favour of
that particular kind of conduct which we call good, seems to me to be
something quite beyond mere science. And I cannot but think that it,
together with the awe and reverence, which have no kinship with base
fear, but arise whenever one tries to pierce below the surface of
things, whether they be material or spiritual, constitutes all that has
any unchangeable reality in religion.


CXVIII

Just as I think it would be a mistake to confound the science,
morality, with the affection, religion; so do I conceive it to be a
most lamentable and mischievous error, that the science, theology, is so
confounded in the minds of many--indeed, I might say, of the majority of
men.


CXIX

My belief is, that no human being, and no society composed of human
beings, ever did, or ever will, come to much, unless their conduct was
governed and guided by the love of some ethical ideal.


CXX

Perhaps the most valuable result of all education is the ability to make
yourself do the thing you have to do, when it ought to be done, whether
you like it or not; it is the first lesson that ought to be learned;
and, however early a man's training begins, it is probably the last
lesson that he learns thoroughly.


CXXI

The great end of life is not knowledge, but action. What men need is,
as much knowledge as they can assimilate and organise into a basis for
action; give them more and it may become injurious. One knows people
who are as heavy and stupid from undigested learning as others are from
over-fulness of meat and drink.


CXXII

There is no mode of exercising the faculty of observation and the
faculty of accurate reproduction of that which is observed, no
discipline which so readily tests error in these matters, as drawing
properly taught And by that I do not mean artistic drawing; I mean
figuring natural objects. I do not wish to exaggerate, but I declare
to you that, in my judgment, the child who has been taught to make an
accurate elevation, plan and section of a pint pot has had an admirable
training in accuracy of eye and hand.


CXXIII

Accuracy is the foundation of everything else.


CXXIV

Anybody who knows his business in science can make anything subservient
to that purpose. You know it was said of Dean Swift that he could
write an admirable poem upon a broomstick, and the man who has a
real knowledge of science can make the commonest object in the world
subservient to an introduction to the principles and greater truths of
natural knowledge.


CXXV

My experience of the world is that things left to themselves don't get
right.


CXXVI

I remember somewhere reading of an interview between the poet Southey
and a good Quaker. Southey was a man of marvellous powers of work. He
had a habit of dividing his time into little parts each of which was
filled up, and he told the Quaker what he did in this hour and that, and
so on through the day until far into the night The Quaker listened, and
at the close said, "Well, but, friend Southey, when dost thee think?"


CXXVII

The knowledge which is absolutely requisite in dealing with young
children is the knowledge you possess, as you would know your own
business, and which you can just turn about as if you were explaining to
a boy a matter of everyday life.


CXXVIII

You may develop the intellectual side of people as far as you like, and
you may confer upon them all the skill that training and instruction
can give; but, if there is not, underneath all that outside form and
superficial polish, the firm fibre of healthy manhood and earnest desire
to do well, your labour is absolutely in vain.


CXXIX

Our sole chance of succeeding in a competition, which must constantly
become more and more severe, is that our people shall not only have the
knowledge and the skill which are required, but that they shall have the
will and the energy and the honesty, without which neither knowledge nor
skill can be of any permanent avail.


CXXX

It is a great many years since, at the outset of my career, I had to
think seriously what life had to offer that was worth having. I came to
the conclusion that the chief good, for me, was freedom to learn, think,
and say what I pleased, when I pleased. I have acted on that conviction,
and have availed myself of the "rara temporum félicitas ubi sentire quæ
velis, et quae sentias dicere licet," which is now enjoyable, to the
best of my ability; and though strongly, and perhaps wisely, warned
that I should probably come to grief, I am entirely satisfied with the
results of the line of action I have adopted.


CXXXI

The scientific imagination always restrains itself within the limits of
probability.


CXXXII

It is a "law of nature," verifiable by everyday experience, that our
already formed convictions, our strong desires, our intent occupation
with particular ideas, modify our mental operations to a most marvellous
extent, and produce enduring changes in the direction and in the
intensity of our intellectual and moral activities.


CXXXIII

Men can intoxicate themselves with ideas as effectually as with
alcohol or with bang, and produce, by dint of intense thinking, mental
conditions hardly distinguishable from monomania.


CXXXIV

Demoniac possession is mythical; but the faculty of being possessed,
more or less completely, by an idea is probably the fundamental
condition of what is called genius, whether it show itself in the saint,
the artist, or the man of science. One calls it faith, another calls it
inspiration, a third calls it insight; but the "intending of the mind,"
to borrow Newton's well-known phrase, the concentration of all the rays
of intellectual energy on some one point, until it glows and colours the
whole cast of thought with its peculiar light, is common to all.


CXXXV

Whatever happens, science may bide her time in patience and in
confidence.


CXXXVI

The only people, scientific or other, who never make mistakes are those
who do nothing.


CXXXVII

The most considerable difference I note among men is not in their
readiness to fall into error, but in their readiness to acknowledge
these inevitable lapses.


CXXXVIII

Quite apart from deliberate and conscious fraud (which is a rarer thing
than is often supposed), people whose mythopæic faculty is once stirred
are capable of saving the thing that is not, and of acting as they
should not, to an extent which is hardly imaginable by persons who are
not so easily affected by the contagion of blind faith. There is no
falsify so gross that honest men and, still more, virtuous women,
anxious to promote a good cause, will not lend themselves to it without
any clear consciousness of the moral bearings of what they are doing.


CXXXIX

This modern reproduction of the ancient prophet, with his "Thus saith
the Lord," "This is the work of the Lord," steeped in supernaturalism
and glorying in blind faith, is the mental antipodes of the philosopher,
founded in naturalism and a fanatic for evidence, to whom these
affirmations inevitably suggest the previous question: "How do you know
that the Lord saith it?" "How do you know that the Lord doeth it?" and
who is compelled to demand that rational ground for belief, without
which, to the man of science, assent is merely an immoral pretence.

And it is this rational ground of belief which the writers of the
Gospels, no less than Paul, and Eginhard, and Fox, so little dream
of offering that they would regard the demand for it as a kind of
blasphemy.


CXL

To quarrel with the uncertainty that besets us in intellectual affairs
would be about as reasonable as to object to live one's life, with due
thought for the morrow, because no man can be sure he will be alive an
hour hence.


CXLI

I verily believe that the great good which has been effected in the
world by Christianity has been largely counteracted by the pestilent
doctrine on which all the Churches have insisted, that honest disbelief
in their more or less astonishing creeds is a moral offence, indeed
a sin of the deepest dye, deserving and involving the same future
retribution as murder and robbery. If we could only see in one view,
the torrents of hypocrisy and cruelty, the lies, the slaughter, the
violations of every obligation of humanity, which have flowed from this
source along the course of the history of Christian nations, our worst
imaginations of Hell would pale beside the vision.


CXLII

Agnostioism, in fact, is not a creed, but a method, the essence of which
lies in the rigorous application of a single principle. That principle
is of great antiquity; it is as old as Socrates; as old as the writer
who said, "Try all things, hold fast by that which is good"; it is the
foundation of the Reformation, which simply illustrated the axiom that
every man should be able to give a reason for the faith that is in him;
it is the great principle of Descartes; it is the fundamental axiom of
modern science. Positively the principle may be expressed: In matters
of the intellect, follow your reason as far as it will take you, without
regard to any other consideration. And negatively: In matters of the
intellect do not pretend that conclusions are certain which are not
demonstrated or demonstrable. That I take to be the agnostic faith,
which if a man keep whole and undefiled, he shall not be ashamed to look
the universe in the face, whatever the future may have in store for him.


CXLIII

The best men of the best epochs are simply those who make the fewest
blunders and commit the fewest sins.


CXLIV

That one should rejoice in the good man, forgive the bad man, and pity
and help all men to the best of one's ability, is surely indisputable.
It is the glory of Judaism and of Christianity to have proclaimed this
truth, through all their aberrations. But the worship of a God who needs
forgiveness and help, and deserves pity every hour of his existence,
is no better than that of any other voluntarily selected fetish. The
Emperor Julian's project was hopeful in comparison with the prospects of
the Comtist Anthropolatry.


CXLV

The Cleric asserts that it is morally wrong not to believe certain
propositions, whatever the results of a strict scientific investigation
of the evidence of these propositions. He tells us "that religious error
is, in itself, of an immoral nature." He declares that he has prejudged
certain conclusions, and looks upon those who show cause for arrest of
judgment as emissaries of Satan. It necessarily follows that, for him,
the attainment of faith, not the ascertainment of truth, is the highest
aim of mental life. And, on careful analysis of the nature of this
faith, it will too often be found to be, not the mystic process of unity
with the Divine, understood by the religious enthusiast; but that
which the candid simplicity of a Sunday scholar once defined it to be.
"Faith," said this unconscious plagiarist of Tertullian, "is the power
of saying you believe things which are incredible."


CXLVI

The science, the art, the jurisprudence, the chief political and social
theories, of the modern world have grown out of those of Greece and
Rome--not by favour of, but in the teeth of, the fundamental teachings
of early Christianity, to which science, art, and any serious occupation
with the things of this world, were alike despicable.


CXLVII

All that is best in the ethics of the modern world, in so far as it
has not Grown out of Greek thought, or Barbarian manhood, is the
direct development of the ethics of old Israel. There is no code of
legislation, ancient or modern, at once so just and so merciful, so
tender to the weak and poor, as the Jewish law; and, if the Gospels are
to be trusted, Jesus of Nazareth himself declared that he taught nothing
but that which lay implicitly, or explicitly, in the religious and
ethical system of his people.


CXLVIII

The first-recorded judicial murder of a scientific thinker was compassed
and effected, not by a despot, nor by priests, but was brought about by
eloquent demagogues, to whom, of all men, thorough search-ings of the
intellect are most dangerous and therefore most hateful.


CXLIX

Platonic philosophy is probably the grandest example of the unscientific
use of the imagination extant; and it would be hard to estimate the
amount of detriment to clear thinking effected, directly and indirectly,
by the theory of ideas, on the one hand, and by the unfortunate doctrine
of the baseness of matter, on the other.


CL

The development of exact natural knowledge in all its vast range, from
physics to history and criticism, is the consequence of the working out,
in this province, of the resolution to "take nothing for truth without
clear knowledge that it is such"; to consider all beliefs open to
criticism; to regard the value of authority as neither greater nor less
than as much as it can prove itself to be worth. The modern spirit is
not the spirit "which always denies," delighting only in destruction;
still less is it that which builds castles in the air rather than not
construct; it is that spirit which works and will work "without haste
and without rest," gathering harvest after harvest of truth into its
barns and devouring error with unquenchable fire.


CLI

In truth, the laboratory is the fore-court of the temple of philosophy;
and whoso has not offered sacrifices and undergone purification there
has little chance of admission into the sanctuary.


CLII

The memorable service rendered to the cause of sound thinking by
Descartes consisted in this: that he laid the foundation of modern
philosophical criticism by his inquiry into the nature of certainty.


CLIII

There is no question in the mind of anyone acquainted with the facts
that, so far as observation and experiment can take us, the structure
and the functions of the nervous system are fundamentally the same in an
ape, or in a dog, and in a man. And the suggestion that we must stop at
the exact point at which direct proof fails us, and refuse to believe
that the similarity which extends so far stretches yet further, is no
better than a quibble. Robinson Crusoe did not feel bound to conclude,
from the single human footprint which he saw in the sand, that the maker
of the impression had only one leg.


CLIV

Descartes, as we have seen, illustrates what he means by an innate
idea, by the analogy of hereditary diseases or hereditary mental
peculiarities, such as generosity. On the other hand, hereditary mental
tendencies may justly be termed instincts; and still more appropriately
might those special proclivities, which constitute what we call genus,
come into the same category.


CLV

The child who is impelled to draw as soon as it can hold a pencil; the
Mozart who breaks out into music as early; the boy Bidder who worked out
the most complicated sums without learning arithmetic; the boy Pascal
who evolved Euclid out of his own consciousness: all these may be said
to have been impelled by instinct, as much as are the beaver and
the bee. And the man of genius is distinct in kind from the man of
cleverness, by reason of the working within him of strong innate
tendencies--which cultivation may improve, but which it can no more
create than horticulture can make thistles bear figs. The analogy
between a musical instrument and the mind holds good here also. Art and
industry may get much music, of a sort, out of a penny whistle; but,
when all is done, it has no chance against an organ. The innate musical
potentialities of the two are infinitely different.


CLVI

It is notorious that, to the unthinking mass of mankind, nine-tenths of
the facts of fife do not suggest the relation of cause and effect; and
they practically deny the existence of any such relation by attributing
them to chance. Few gamblers but would stare if they were told that
the falling of a die on a particular face is as much the effect of a
definite cause as the fact of its falling; it is a proverb that "the
wind bloweth where it listeth"; and even thoughtful men usually receive
with surprise the suggestion, that the form of the crest of every wave
that breaks, wind-driven, on the sea-shore, and the direction of every
particle of foam that flies before the gale, are the exact effects of
definite causes; and, as such, must be capable of being determined,
deductively, from the laws of motion and the properties of air and
water. So again, there are large numbers of highly intelligent persons
who rather pride themselves on their fixed belief that our volitions
have no cause; or that the will causes itself, which is either the same
thing, or a contradiction in terms.


CLVII

To say that an idea is necessary is simply to affirm that we cannot
conceive the contrary; and the fact that we cannot conceive the contrary
of any belief may be a presumption, but is certainly no proof, of its
truth.


CLVIII

It is remarkable that Hume does not refer to the sentimental arguments
for the immortality of the soul which are so much in vogue at the
present day; and which are based upon our desire for a longer conscious
existence than that which nature appears to have allotted to us. Perhaps
he did not think them worth notice. For indeed it is not a little
strange, that our strong desire that a certain occurrence should happen
should be put forward as evidence that it will happen. If my intense
desire to see the friend, from whom I have parted, does not bring him
from the other side of the world, or take me thither; if the mother's
agonised prayer that her child should live has not prevented him from
dying; experience certainly affords no presumption that the strong
desire to be alive after death, which we call the aspiration after
immortality, is any more likely to be gratified. As Hume truly says,
"All doctrines are to be suspected which are favoured by our passions";
and the doctrine, that we are immortal because we should extremely like
to be so, contains the quintessence of suspiciousness.


CLIX

If every man possessed everything he wanted, and no one had the power
to interfere with such possession; or if no man desired that which
could damage his fellow-man, justice would have no part to play in the
universe.


CLX

To fail in justice, or in benevolence, is to be displeased with one's
self. But happiness is impossible without inward self-approval; and,
hence, every man who has any regard to his own happiness and welfare,
will find his best reward in the practice of every moral duty.


CLXI

Virtue is undoubtedly beneficent; but the man is to be envied to whom
her ways seem in anywise playful. And though she may not talk much about
suffering and self-denial, her silence on that topic may be accounted
for on the principle _ça va sans dire_.


CLXII

If mankind cannot be engaged in practices "full of austerity and
rigour?" by the love of righteousness and the fear of evil, without
seeking for other compensation than that which flows from the
gratification of such love and the consciousness of escape from
debasement, they are in a bad case. For they will assuredly find that
virtue presents no very close likeness to the sportive leader of the
Joyous hours in Hume's rosy picture; but that she is an awful Goddess,
whose ministers are the Furies, and whose highest reward is peace.


CLXIII

Under its theological aspect, morality is obedience to the will of God;
and the ground for such obedience is two-fold: either we ought to obey
God because He will punish us if we disobey Him, which is an argument
based on the utility of obedience; or our obedience ought to flow from
our love towards God, which is an argument based on pure feeling and for
which no reason can be given. For, if any man should say that he takes
no pleasure in the contemplation of the ideal of perfect holiness, or,
in other words, that he does not love God, the attempt to argue him
into acquiring that pleasure would be as hopeless as the endeavour to
persuade Peter Bell of the "witchery of the soft blue sky."


CLXIV

In whichever way we look at the matter, morality is based on feeling,
not on reason; though reason alone is competent to trace out the effects
of our actions and thereby dictate conduct. Justice is founded on the
love of one's neighbour; and goodness is a kind of beauty. The moral
law, like the laws of physical nature, rests in the long run upon
instinctive intuitions, and is neither more nor less "innate" and
"necessary" than they are. Some people cannot by any means be got to
understand the first book of Euclid; but the truths of mathematics are
no less necessary and binding on the great mass of mankind. Some there
are who cannot feel the difference between the "Sonata Appassionata" and
"Cherry Ripe"; or between a grave-stone-cutter's cherub and the Apollo
Belvidere; but the canons of art are none the less acknowledged. While
some there may be, who, devoid of sympathy, are incapable of a sense
of duty; but neither does their existence affect the foundations of
morality. Such pathological deviations from true manhood are merely the
halt, the lame, and the blind of the world of consciousness; and the
anatomist of the mind leaves them aside, as the anatomist of the body
would ignore abnormal specimens.

And as there are Pascals and Mozarts, Newtons and Raffaelles, in whom
the innate faculty for science or art seems to need but a touch to
spring into full vigour, and through whom the human race obtains new
possibilities of knowledge and new conceptions of beauty: so there have
been men of moral genius, to whom we owe ideals of duty and visions
of moral perfection, which ordinary mankind could never have attained:
though, happily for them, they can feel the beauty of a vision, which
lay beyond the reach of their dull imaginations, and count life well
spent in shaping some faint image of it in the actual world.


CLXV

The horror of "Materialism" which weighs upon the minds of so many
excellent people appears to depend, in part, upon the purely accidental
connexion of some forms of materialistic philosophy with ethical
and religious tenets by which they are repelled; and, partly, on the
survival of a very ancient superstition concerning the nature of matter.

This superstition, for the tenacious vitality of which the idealistic
philosophers who are, more or less, disciples of Plato and the
theologians who have been influenced by them, are responsible,
assumes that matter is something, not merely inert and perishable, but
essentially base and evil-natured, if not actively antagonistic to, at
least a negative deadweight upon, the good.


CLXVI

Judging by contemporary literature, there are numbers of highly
cultivated and indeed superior persons to whom the material world is
altogether contemptible; who can see nothing in a handful of garden
soil, or a rusty nail, but types of the passive and the corruptible.

To modern science, these assumptions are as much out of date as the
equally venerable errors, that the sun goes round the earth every
four-and-twenty hours, or that water is an elementary body. The handful
of soil is a factory thronged with swarms of busy workers; the
rusty nail is an aggregation of millions of particles, moving with
inconceivable velocity in a dance of infinite complexity yet perfect
measure; harmonic with like performances throughout the solar system.
If there is good ground for any conclusion, there is such for the belief
that the substance of these particles has existed and will exist, that
the energy which stirs them has persisted and will persist, without
assignable limit, either in the past or the future. Surely, as
Heracleitus said of his kitchen with its pots and pans, "Here also
are the gods." Little as we have, even yet, learned of the material
universe, that little makes for the belief that it is a system of
unbroken order and perfect symmetry, of which the form incessantly
changes, while the substance and the energy are imperishable.


CLXVII

Of all the dangerous mental habits, that which schoolboys call
"cocksureness" is probably the most perilous; and the inestimable
value of metaphysical discipline is that it furnishes an effectual
counterpoise to this evil proclivity. Whoso has mastered the elements
of philosophy knows that the attribute of unquestionable certainty
appertains only to the existence of a state of consciousness so long as
it exists; all other beliefs are mere probabilities of a higher or lower
order. Sound metaphysic is an amulet which renders its possessor proof
alike against the poison of superstition and the counter-poison of
shallow negation; by showing that the affirmations of the former and the
denials of the latter alike deal with matters about which, for lack of
evidence, nothing can be either affirmed or denied.


CLXVIII

If the question is asked, What then do we know about matter and motion?
there is but one reply possible. All that we know about motion is
that it is a name for certain changes in the relations of our visual,
tactile, and muscular sensations; and all that we know about matter
is that it is the hypothetical substance of physical phenomena, the
assumption of the existence of which is as pure a piece of metaphysical
speculation as is that of the existence of the substance of mind.

Our sensations, our pleasures, our pains, and the relations of these,
make up the sum total of the elements of positive, unquestionable
knowledge. We call a large section of these sensations and
then-relations matter and motion; the rest we term mind and thinking;
and experience shows that there is a certain constant order of
succession between some of the former and some of the latter.

This is all that just metaphysical criticism leaves of the idols set
up by the spurious metaphysics of vulgar common sense. It is consistent
either with pure Materialism, or with pure Idealism, but it is neither.
For the Idealist, not content with declaring the truth that our
knowledge is limited to facts of consciousness, affirms the wholly
unprovable proposition that nothing exists beyond these and the
substance of mind. And, on the other hand, the Materialist, holding
by the truth that, for anything that appears to the contrary, material
phenomena are the causes of mental phenomena, asserts his unprovable
dogma, that material phenomena and the substance of matter are the sole
primary existences. Strike out the propositions about which neither
controversialist does or can know anything, and there is nothing left
for them to quarrel about. Make a desert of the Unknowable, and the
divine Astraea of philosophic peace will commence her blessed reign.


CLXIX

"Magna est Veritas et prævalebit!" Truth is great, certainly, but,
considering her greatness, it is curious what a long time she is apt to
take about prevailing.


CLXX

To my observation, human nature has not sensibly changed through the
last thirty years. I doubt not that there are truths as plainly obvious
and as generally denied, as those contained in "Man's Place in Nature,"
now awaiting enunciation. If there is a young man of the present
generation, who has taken as much trouble as I did to assure himself
that they are truths, let him come out with them, without troubling
his head about the barking of the dogs of St. Ernulphus, "Veritas
prævalebit"--some day; and, even if she does not prevail in his time,
he himself will be all the better and the wiser for having tried to help
her. And let him recollect that such great reward is full payment for
all his labour and pains.


CLXXI

Ancient traditions, when tested by the severe processes of modern
investigations, commonly enough fade away into mere dreams: but it is
singular how often the dream turns out to have been a half-waking one?
presaging a reality. Ovid foreshadowed the discoveries of the geologist:
the Atlantis was an imagination, but Columbus found a western world: and
though the quaint forms of Centaurs and Satyrs have an existence only
in the realms of art, creatures approaching man more nearly than they
in essential structure, and yet as thoroughly brutal as the goat's
or horse's half of the mythical compound, are now not only known, but
notorious.


CLXXII

It is a truth of very wide, if not of universal, application, that every
living creature commences its existence under a form different from, and
simpler than, that which it eventually attains.

The oak is a more complex thing than the little rudimentary plant
contained in the acorn; the caterpillar is more complex than the egg;
the butterfly than the caterpillar; and each of these beings, in passing
from its rudimentary to its perfect condition, runs through a series
of changes, the sum of which is called its development In the higher
animals these changes are extremely complicated; but, within the last
half century, the labours of such men as Von Baer, Rathke, Reichert,
Bischoff, and Remak, have almost completely unravelled them, so that
the successive stages of development which are exhibited by a dog, for
example, are now as well known to the embryologist as are the steps of
the metamorphosis of the silk-worm moth to the schoolboy. It will be
useful to consider with attention the nature and the order of the
stages of canine development, as an example of the process in the higher
animals generally.


CLXXIII

Exactly in those respects in which the developing Man differs from the
Dog, he resembles the ape, which, like man, has a spheroidal yolk-sac
and a discoidal, sometimes partially lobed, placenta. So that it is
only quite in the later stages of development that the young human being
presents marked differences from the young ape, while the latter departs
as much from the dog in its development, as the man does.

Startling as the last assertion may appear to be, it is demonstrably
true, and it alone appears to me sufficient to place beyond all doubt
the structural unity of man with the rest of the animal world, and more
particularly and closely with the apes.

Thus, identical in the physical processes by which he
originates--identical in the early stages of his formation--identical in
the mode of his nutrition before and after birth, with the animals which
lie immediately below him in the scale--Man, if his adult and perfect
structure be compared with theirs, exhibits, as might be expected, a
marvellous likeness of organisation. He resembles them as they resemble
one another--he differs from them as they differ from one another.


CLXXIV

If a man cannot see a church, it is preposterous to take his opinion
about its altar-piece or painted window.


CLXXV

Perhaps no order of mammals presents us with so extraordinary a series
of gradations as this*--leading us insensibly from the crown and summit
of the animal creation down to creatures, from which there is but a
step, as it seems, to the lowest, smallest, and least intelligent of
the placental Mammalia. It is as if nature herself had foreseen
the arrogance of man, and with Roman severity had provided that his
intellect, by its very triumphs, should call into prominence the slaves,
admonishing the conqueror that he is but dust.


CLXXVI

If Man be separated by no greater structural barrier from the brutes
than they are from one another--then it seems to follow that if any
process of physical causation can be discovered by which the genera
and families of ordinary animals have been produced, that process of
causation is amply sufficient to account for the origin of Man.

     * This alludes to a foregoing enumeration of the seven
     families of Primates headed by the Anthropini containing man
     alone.


CLXXVII

The whole analogy of natural operations furnishes so complete and
crushing an argument against the intervention of any but what are
termed secondary causes, in the production of all the phenomena of the
universe; that, in view of the intimate relations between Man and the
rest of the living world, and between the forces exerted by the latter
and all other forces, I can see no excuse for doubting that all are
co-ordinated terms of Nature's great progression, from the formless
to the formed--from tne inorganic to the organic--from blind force to
conscious intellect and will.


CLXXVIII

Science has fulfilled her function when she has ascertained and
enunciated truth.


CLXXIX

Thoughtful men, once escaped from the blinding influences of traditional
prejudice, will find in the lowly stock whence Man has sprung the best
evidence of the splendour of his capacities; and will discern in his
long progress through the Past a reasonable ground of faith in his
attainment of a nobler Future...

And after passion and prejudice have died away, the same result will
attend the teachings of the naturalist respecting that great Alps
and Andes of the living world--Man. Our reverence for the nobility of
manhood will not be lessened by the knowledge that Man is, in substance
and in structure, one with the brutes; for he alone possesses the
marvellous endowment of intelligible and rational speech, whereby,
in the secular period of his existence, he has slowly accumulated and
organised the experience which is almost wholly lost with the cessation
of every individual life in other animals; so that, now, he stands
raised upon it as on a mountain top, far above the level of nis humble
fellows, and transfigured from his grosser nature by reflecting, here
and there, a ray from the infinite source of truth.


CLXXX

Ethnology, as thus defined, is a branch of Anthropology, the great
science which unravels the complexities of human structure; traces out
the relations of man to other animals; studies all that is especially
human in the mode in which man's complex functions are performed; and
searches after the conditions whicn have determined his presence IN
the world. And Anthropology is a section of Zoology, which again is the
animal half of Biology--the science of life and living things.

Such is the position of ethnology, such are the objects of the
ethnologist. The paths or methods, by following which he may hope to
reach his goal, are diverse. He may work at man from the point of view
of the pure zoologist, and investigate the anatomical and physiological
peculiarities of Negroes, Australians, or Mongolians, just as he would
inquire into those of pointers, terriers, and turnspits,--"persistent
modifications" of man's almost universal companion. Or he may seek aid
from researches into the most human manifestation of humanity-Language;
and assuming that what is true of speech is true of the speaker--a
hypothesis as questionable in science as it is in ordinary life--he
may apply to mankind themselves the conclusions drawn from a searching
analysis of their words and grammatical forms.

Or, the ethnologist may turn to the study of the practical life of men;
and relying upon the inherent conservatism and small inventiveness of
untutored mankind, he may hope to discover in manners and customs, or
in weapons, dwellings, and other handiwork, a clue to the origin of the
resemblances and differences of nations. Or, he may resort to that kind
of evidence which is yielded by History proper, and consists of the
beliefs of men concerning past events, embodied in traditional, or in
written, testimony. Or, when that thread breaks, Archaeology, which is
the interpretation of the unrecorded remains of man's works, belonging
to the epoch since the world has reached its present condition, may
still guide him. And, when even the dim light of archaeology fades,
there yet remains Palaeontology which, in these latter years, has
brought to daylight once more the exuvia of ancient populations, whose
world was not our world, who have been buried in river beds immemorially
dry, or carried by the rush of waters into caves, inaccessible to
inundation since the dawn of tradition.


CLXXXI

The rapid increase of natural knowledge, which is the chief
characteristic of our age, is effected in various ways. The main army of
science moves to the conquest of new worlds slowly and surely, nor ever
cedes an inch of the territory gained. But the advance is covered and
facilitated by the ceaseless activity of clouds of light troops provided
with a weapon--always efficient, if not always an arm of precision--the
scientific imagination. It is the business of these _enfants perdus_ of
science to make raids into the realm of ignorance wherever they see, or
think they see, a chance; and cheerfully to accept defeat, or it may be
annihilation, as the reward of error. Unfortunately the public, which
watches the progress of the campaign, too often mistakes a dashing
incursion of the Uhlans for a forward movement of the main body; fondly
imagining that the strategic movement to the rear, which occasionally
follows, indicates a battle lost by science. And it must be
confessed that the error is too often justified by the effects of the
irrepressible tendency which men of science share with all other sorts
of men known to me, to be impatient of that most wholesome state of
mind--suspended judgment; to assume the objective truth of speculations
which, from the nature of the evidence in their favour, can have no
claim to be more than working hypotheses.

The history of the "Aryan question" affords a striking illustration of
these general remarks.


CLXXXII

Language is rooted half in the bodily and half in the mental nature of
man. The vocal sounds which form the raw materials of language could not
be produced without a peculiar conformation of the organs of speech; the
enunciation of duly accented syllables would be impossible without
the nicest coordination of the action of the muscles which move these
organs; and such co-ordination depends on the mechanism of certain
portions of the nervous system. It is therefore conceivable that the
structure of this highly complex speaking apparatus should determine a
man's linguistic potentiality; that is to say, should enable him to use
a language of one class and not of another. It is further conceivable
that a particular linguistic potentiality should be inherited and become
as good a race mark as any other. As a matter of fact, it is not proven
that the linguistic potentialities of all men are the same.


CLXXXIII

Community of language is no proof of unity of race, is not even
presumptive evidence of racial identity. All that it does prove is that,
at some time or other, free and prolonged intercourse has taken place
between the speakers of the same language.


CLXXXIV

The capacity of the population of Europe for independent progress while
in the copper and early bronze stage--the "palaeo-metallic" stage, as it
might be called--appears to me to be demonstrated in a remarkable manner
by the remains of their architecture. From the crannog to the
elaborate pile-dwelling, and from the rudest enclosure to the complex
fortification of the terramare, there is an advance which is obviously
a native product. So with the sepulchral constructions; the stone
cist, with or without a preservative or memorial cairn, grows into the
chambered graves lodged in tumuli; into such megalithic edifices as the
dromic vaults of Maes How and New Grange; to culminate in the finished
masonry of the tombs of Mycenae, constructed on exactly the same plan.
Can anyone look at the varied series of forms which lie between the
primitive five or six flat stones fitted together into a mere box, and
such a building as Maes How, and yet imagine that the latter is the
result of foreign tuition? But the men who built Maes How, without metal
tools, could certainly have built the so-called "treasure-house" of
Mycenae, with them.


CLXXXV

Reckoned by centuries, the remoteness of the quaternary, or pleistocene,
age from our own is immense, and it is difficult to form an adequate
notion of its duration. Undoubtedly there is an abysmal difference
between the Neanderthaloid race and the comely living specimens of
the blond long-heads with whom we are familiar. But the abyss of time
between the period at which North Europe was first covered with ice,
when savages pursued mammoths and scratched their portraits with sharp
stones in central France, and the present day, ever widens as we learn
more about the events which bridge it. And, if the differences between
the Neanderthaloid men and ourselves could be divided into as many parts
as that time contains centuries, the progress from part to part would
probably be almost imperceptible.


CLXXXVI

I have not been one of those fortunate persons who are able to regard
a popular lecture as a mere _hors d'oeuvre_, unworthy of being ranked
among the serious efforts of a philosopher; and who keep their fame as
scientific hierophants unsullied by attempts--at least of the successful
sort--to be understanded of the people.

On the contrary, I found that the task of putting the truths learned in
the field, the laboratory and the museum, into language which, without
bating a jot of scientific accuracy shall be generally intelligible,
taxed such scientific and literary faculty as I possessed to the
uttermost; indeed my experience has furnished me with no better
corrective of the tendency to scholastic pedantry which besets all those
who are absorbed in pursuits remote from the common ways of men, and
become habituated to think and speak in the technical dialect of their
own little world, as if there were no other.

If the popular lecture thus, as I believe, finds one moiety of its
justification in the self-discipline of the lecturer, it surely finds
the other half in its effect on the auditory. For though various sadly
comical experiences of the results of my own efforts have led me to
entertain a very moderate estimate of the purely intellectual value of
lectures; though I venture to doubt if more than one in ten of an average
audience carries away an accurate notion of what the speaker has been
driving at; yet is that not equally true of the oratory of the hustings,
of the House of Commons, and even of the pulpit?

Yet the children of this world are wise in their generation; and both
the politician and the priest are justified by results. The living
voice has an influence over human action altogether independent of the
intellectual worth of that which it utters. Many years ago, I was a
guest at a great City dinner. A famous orator, endowed with a voice
of rare flexibility and power; a born actor, ranging with ease through
every part, from refined comedy to tragic unction, was called upon
to reply to a toast. The orator was a very busy man, a charming
conversationalist and by no means despised a good dinner; and, I
imagine, rose without having given a thought to what he was going to
say. The rhythmic roll of sound was admirable, the gestures perfect,
the earnestness impressive; nothing was lacking save sense and,
occasionally, grammar. When the speaker sat down the applause was
terrific and one of my neighbours was especially enthusiastic. So when
he had quieted down, I asked him what the orator had said. And he could
not tell me.

That sagacious person John Wesley is reported to have replied to some
one who questioned the propriety of his adaptation of sacred words to
extremely secular airs, that he did not see why the Devil should be left
in possession of all the best tunes. And I do not see why science should
not turn to account the peculiarities of human nature thus exploited
by other agencies: all the more because science, by the nature of its
being, cannot desire to stir the passions, or profit by the weaknesses,
of human nature. The most zealous of popular lecturers can aim at
nothing more than the awakening of a sympathy for abstract truth, in
those who do not really follow his arguments; and of a desire to know
more and better in the few who do.

At the same time it must be admitted that the popularisation of
science, whether by lecture or essay, has its drawbacks. Success in this
department has its perils for those who succeed. The "people who fail"
take their revenge, as we have recently had occasion to observe, by
ignoring all the rest of a man's work and glibly labelling him a mere
populariser. If the falsehood were not too glaring, they would say the
same of Faraday and Helmholtz and Kelvin.


CLXXXVII

Of the affliction caused by persons who think that what they have picked
up from popular exposition qualifies them for discussing the great
problems of science, it may be said, as the Radical toast said of
the power of the Crown in bygone days, that it "has increased, is
increasing, and ought to be diminished." The oddities of "English as she
is spoke" might be abundantly paralleled by those of "Science as she is
misunderstood" in the sermon, the novel, and the leading article; and a
collection of the grotesque travesties of scientific conceptions, in the
shape of essays on such trifles as "the Nature of Life" and the "Origin
of All Things," which reach me, from time to time, might well be bound
up with them.


CLXXXVIII

The essay on Geological Reform unfortunately brought me, I will not say
into collision, but into a position of critical remonstrance with regard
to some charges of physical heterodoxy, brought by my distinguished
friend Lord Kelvin, against British Geology. As President of the
Geological Society of London at that time (1869), I thought I might
venture to plead that we were not such heretics as we seemed to be;
and that, even if we were, recantation would not affect the question of
evolution.

I am glad to see that Lord Kelvin has just reprinted his reply to my
plea, and I refer the reader to it. I shall not presume to question
anything, that on such ripe consideration, Lord Kelvin has to say upon
the physical problems involved. But I may remark that no one can have
asserted more strongly than I have done, the necessity of looking to
physics and mathematics, for help in regard to the earliest history of
the globe.

And I take the opportunity of repeating the opinion that, whether what
we call geological time has the lower limit assigned to it by Lord
Kelvin, or the higher assumed by other philosophers; whether the germs
of all living things have originated in the globe itself, or whether
they have been imported on, or in, meteorites from without, the problem
of the origin of those successive Faunae and Florae of the earth, the
existence of which is fully demonstrated by palaeontology, remains
exactly where it was.

For I think it will be admitted, that the germs brought to us by
meteorites, if any, were not ova of elephants, nor of crocodiles; not
cocoa-nuts nor acorns; not even eggs of shell-fish and corals; but only
those of the lowest forms of animal and vegetable life. Therefore, since
it is proved that, from a very remote epoch of geological time, the
earth has been peopled by a continual succession of the higher forms of
animals and plants, these either must have been created, or they have
arisen by evolution. And in respect of certain groups of animals, the
well-established facts of palaeontology leave no rational doubt that
they arose by the latter method.

In the second place, there are no data whatever, which justify the
biologist in assigning any, even approximately definite, period of time,
either long or short, to the evolution of one species from another
by the process of variation and selection. In the essay on Geological
Contemporaneity and Persistent Types of Life I have taken pains to
prove that the change of animals has gone on at very different rates in
different groups of living beings; that some types have persisted with
little change from the palaeozoic epoch till now, while others have
changed rapidly within the limits of an epoch. In 1862 (see Coll. Ess
viii pp. 303,304) in 1863 (vol ii., p 461) and again in 1864 (ibid.,
pp. 89-91) I argued, not as a matter of speculation, but from
palaeontological facts, the bearing of which I believe, up to that
time, had not been shown, that any adequate hypothesis of the causes
of evolution must be consistent with progression, stationariness and
retrogression, of the same type at different epochs; of different
types in the same epoch; and that Darwin's hypothesis fulfilled these
conditions.

According to that hypothesis, two factors are at work, variation and
selection. Next to nothing is known of the causes of the former process;
nothing whatever of the time required for the production of a certain
amount of deviation from the existing type. And, as respects selection,
which operates by extinguishing all but a small minority of variations,
we have not the slightest means of estimating the rapidity with which it
does its work. All that we are justified in saying is that the rate
at which it takes place may vary almost indefinitely. If the famous
paint-root of Florida, which kills white pigs but not black ones, were
abundant and certain in its action, black pigs might be substituted for
white in the course of two or three years. If, on the other hand, it
was rare and uncertain in action, the white pigs might linger on for
centuries.


CLXXXIX

A great chapter of the history of the world is written in the chalk. Few
passages in the history of man can be supported by such an overwhelming
mass of direct and indirect evidence as that which testifies to the
truth of the fragment of the history of the globe, which I hope to
enable you to read, with your own eyes, to-night. Let me add, that
few chapters of human history have a more profound significance for
ourselves. I weigh my words well when I assert, that the man who should
know the true history of the bit of chalk which every carpenter carries
about in his breeches-pocket, though ignorant of all other history, is
likely, if he will think his knowledge out to its ultimate results,
to have a truer, and therefore a better, conception of this wonderful
universe, and of man's relation to it, than the most learned student who
is deep-read in the records of humanity and ignorant of those of Nature.


CXC

The examination of a transparent slice gives a good notion of the manner
in which the components of the chalk are arranged, and of their relative
proportions. But, by rubbing up some chalk with a brush in water and
then pouring off the milky fluid, so as to obtain sediments of different
degrees of fineness, the granules and the minute rounded bodies may be
pretty well separated from one another, and submitted to microscopic
examination, either as opaque or as transparent objects. By combining
the views obtained in these various methods, each of the rounded bodies
may be proved to be a beautifully-constructed calcareous fabric, made
up of a number of chambers, communicating freely with one another. The
chambered bodies are of various forms. One of the commonest is something
like a badly-grown raspberry, being formed of a number of nearly
globular chambers of different sizes congregated together. It is called
_Globigerina_, and some specimens of chalk consist of little else
than _Globigerinæ_ and granules. Let us fix our attention upon the
_Globigerina_. It is the spoor of the game we are tracking. If we can
learn what it is and what are the conditions of its existence, we shall
see our way to the origin and past history of the chalk.


CXCI

It so happens that calcareous skeletons, exactly similar to the
_Globigerinæ_ of the chalk, are being formed, at the present moment, by
minute living creatures, which flourish in multitudes, literally more
numerous than the sands of the sea-shore, over a large extent of that
part of the earth's surface which is covered by the ocean.

The history of the discovery of these living _Globigerinæ_ and of the
part which they play in rock building, is singular enough. It is a
discovery which, like others of no less scientific importance, has
arisen, incidentally, out of work devoted to very different and
exceedingly practical interests. When men first took to the sea, they
speedily learned to look out for shoals and rocks; and the more the
burthen of their ships increased, the more imperatively necessary it
became for sailors to ascertain with precision the depth of the waters
they traversed. Out of this necessity grew the use of the lead and
sounding line; and, ultimately, marine-surveying, which is the recording
of the form of coasts and of the depth of the sea, as ascertained by the
sounding-lead, upon charts.


CXCII

Lieut Brooke, of the American Navy, some years ago invented a most
ingenious machine, by which a considerable portion of the superficial
layer of the sea-bottom can be scooped out and brought up from any depth
to which the lead descends. In 1853, Lieut. Brooke obtained mud from the
bottom of the North Atlantic, between Newfoundland and the Azores, at
a depth of more than 10,000 feet, or two miles, by the help of this
sounding apparatus. The specimens were sent for examination to Ehrenberg
of Berlin, and to Bailey of West Point, and those able microscopists
found that this deep-sea mud was almost entirety composed of the
skeletons of living organisms--the greater proportion of these being
just like the _Globigerinæ_ already known to occur in the chalk.

Thus far, the work had been carried on simply in the interests
of science, but Lieut Brooke's method of sounding acquired a high
commercial value, when the enterprise of laying down the telegraph-cable
between this country and the United States was undertaken. For it became
a matter of immense importance to know, not only the depth of the sea
over the whole line along which the cable was to be laid, but the exact
nature of the bottom, so as to guard against chances of cutting or
fraying the strands of that costly rope. The Admiralty consequently
ordered Captain Dayman, an old friend and shipmate of mine, to ascertain
the depth over the whole line of the cable, and to bring back specimens
of the bottom. In former days, such a command as this might have sounded
very much like one of the impossible things which the young Prince in
the Fairy Tales is ordered to do before he can obtain the hand of the
Princess. However, in the months of June and July, 1857, my friend
performed the task assigned to nim with great expedition and precision,
without, so far as I know, having met with any reward of that kind.
The specimens of Atlantic mud which he procured were sent to me to be
examined and reported upon.


CXCIII

The result of all these operations is, that we know the contours and the
nature of the surface-soil covered by the North Atlantic for a distance
of 1,700 miles from east to west, as well as we know that of any part of
the dry land. It is a prodigious plain-one of the widest and most even
plains in the world. If the sea were drained off, you might drive a
waggon all the way from Valentia, on the west coast of Ireland, to
Trinity Bay in Newfoundland. And, except upon one sharp incline about
200 miles from Valentia, I am not quite sure that it would even be
necessary to put the skid on, so gentle are the ascents and descents
upon that long route. From Valentia the road would lie down-hill for
about 200 miles to the point at which the bottom is now covered by 1,700
fathoms of sea-water. Then would come the central plain, more than a
thousand miles wide, the inequalities of the surface of which would be
hardly perceptible, though the depth of water upon it now varies from
10,000 to 15,000 feet; and there are places in which Mont Blanc might
be sunk without showing its peak above water. Beyond this, the ascent on
the American side commences, and gradually leads, for about 300 miles,
to the Newfoundland shore.


CXCIV

When we consider that the remains of more than three thousand distinct
species of aquatic animals have been discovered among the fossils of the
chalk, that the great majority of them are of such forms as are now met
with only in the sea, and that there is no reason to believe that any
one of them inhabited fresh water--the collateral evidence that the
chalk represents an ancient sea-bottom acquires as great force as the
proof derived from the nature of the chalk itself. I think you will now
allow that I did not overstate my case when I asserted that we have
as strong grounds for believing that all the vast area of dry land, at
present occupied by the chalk, was once at the bottom of the sea, as we
have for any matter of history whatever; while there is no justification
for any other belief.

No less certain it is that the time during which the countries we now
call south-east England, France, Germany, Poland, Russia, Egypt, Arabia,
Syria, were more or less completely covered by a deep sea, was of
considerable duration. We have already seen that the chalk is, in
places, more than a thousand feet thick. I think you will agree with me
that it must have taken some time for the skeletons of animalcules of a
hundredth of an inch in diameter to heap up such a mass as that.


CXCV

If the decay of the soft parts of the sea-urchin; the attachment, growth
to maturity, and decay of the _Crania_; and the subsequent attachment
and growth of the coralline, took a year (which is a low-estimate
enough), the accumulation of the inch of chalk must have taken more than
a year: and the deposit of a thousand feet of chalk must, consequently,
have taken more than twelve thousand years.


CXCVI

There is a writing upon the wall of cliffs at Cromer, and whoso runs may
read it. It tells us, with an authority which cannot be impeached, that
the ancient sea-bed of the chalk sea was raised up, and remained dry
land, until it was covered with forest, stocked with the great game the
spoils of which have rejoiced your geologists. How long it remained in
that condition cannot be said; but "the whirligig of time brought its
revenges" in those days as in these. That dry land, with the bones and
teeth of generations of long-lived elephants, hidden away among the
gnarled roots and dry leaves of its ancient trees, sank gradually to the
bottom of the icy sea, which covered it with huge masses of drift and
boulder clay. Sea-beasts, such as the walrus, now restricted to the
extreme north, paddled about where birds had twittered among the topmost
twigs of the fir-trees. How long this state of things endured we know
not, but at length it came to an end. The upheaved glacial mud hardened
into the soil of modern Norfolk. Forests grew once more, the wolf and
the beaver replaced the reindeer and the elephant; and at length what we
call the history of England dawned.


CXCVII

Direct proof may be given that some parts of the land of the northern
hemisphere are at this moment insensibly rising and others insensibly
sinking; and there is indirect, but perfectly satisfactory, proof, that
an enormous area now covered by the Pacific has been deepened thousands
of feet, since the present inhabitants of that sea came into existence.
Thus there is not a shadow of a reason for believing that the physical
changes of the globe, in past times, have been effected by other than
natural causes.


CXCVIII

A small beginning has led us to a great ending. If I were to put the bit
of chalk with which we started into the hot but obscure flame of burning
hydrogen, it would presently shine like the sun. It seems to me that
this physical metamorphosis is no false image of what has been
the result of our subjecting it to a jet of fervent, though nowise
brilliant, thought to-night. It has become luminous, and its clear rays,
penetrating the abyss of the remote past, have brought within our ken
some stages of the evolution of the earth. And in the shifting "without
haste, but without rest" of the land and sea, as in the endless
variation of the forms assumed by living beings, we have observed
nothing but the natural product of the forces originally possessed by
the substance of the universe.


CXCIX

In certain parts of the sea bottom in the immediate vicinity of the
British Islands, as in the Clyde district, among the Hebrides, in the
Moray Firth, and in the German Ocean, there are depressed areæ, forming
a kind of submarine valleys, the centres of which are from 80 to 100
fathoms, or more, deep. These depressions are inhabited by assemblages
of marine animals, which differ from those found over the adjacent and
shallower region, and resemble those which are met with much farther
north, on the Norwegian coast. Forbes called these Scandinavian
detachments "Northern outliers."

How did these isolated patches of a northern population get into these
deep places? To explain the mystery, Forbes called to mind the fact
that, in the epoch which immediately preceded the present, the climate
was much colder (whence the name of "glacial epoch" applied to it); and
that the shells which are found fossil, or sub-fossil, in deposits
of that age are precisely such as are now to be met with only in the
Scandinavian, or still more Arctic, regions. Undoubtedly, during the
glacial epoch, the general population of our seas had, universally, the
northern aspect which is now presented only by the "northern outliers";
just as the vegetation of the land, down to the sea-level, had the
northern character which is, at present, exhibited only by the plants
which live on the tops of our mountains. But, as the glacial epoch
passed away, and the present climatal conditions were developed, the
northern plants were able to maintain themselves only on the bleak
heights, on which southern forms could not compete with them. And,
in like manner, Forbes suggested that, after the glacial epoch, the
northern animals then inhabiting the sea became restricted to the deeps
in which they could hold their own against invaders from the south,
better fitted than they to flourish in the warmer waters of the
shallows. Thus depth in the sea corresponded in its effect upon
distribution to height on the land.


CC

Among the scientific instructions for the voyage* drawn up by a
committee of the Royal Society, there is a remarkable letter from Von
Humboldt to Lord Minto, then First Lord of the Admiralty, in which,
among other things, he dwells upon the significance of the researches
into the microscopic composition of rocks, and the discovery of the
great share which microscopic organisms take in the formation of the
crust of the earth at the present day, made by Ehrenberg in the years
1836-39. Ehrenberg, in fact, had shown that the extensive beds of
"rotten-stone" or "Tripoli" which occur in various parts of the world,
and notably at Bilin in Bohemia, consisted of accumulations of the
silicious cases and skeletons of _Diatomaceæ_ sponges, and _Radiolaria_;
he had proved that similar deposits were being formed by Diatomaceæ, in
the pools of the Thiergarten in Berlin and elsewhere, and had pointed
out that, if it were commercially worth while, rotten-stone might be
manufactured by a process of diatom-culture. Observations conducted at
Cuxhaven, in 1839, had revealed the existence, at the surface of the
waters of the Baltic, of living Diatoms and _Radiolaria_ of the same
species as those which, in a fossil state, constitute extensive rocks
of tertiary age at Caltanisetta, Zante, and Oran, on the shores of the
Mediterranean.

     * Of the Challenger.

Moreover, in the fresh-water rotten-stone beds of Bilin, Ehrenberg
had traced out the metamorphosis, effected apparently by the action
of percolating water, of the primitively loose and friable deposit
of organized particles, in which the silex exists in the hydrated
or soluble condition. The silex, in fact undergoes solution and slow
redeposition, until, in ultimate result, the excessively finegrained
sand, each particle of which is a skeleton, becomes converted into
a dense opaline stone, with only here and there an indication of an
organism.

From the consideration of these facts, Ehrenberg, as early as the year
1839, had arrived at the conclusion that rocks, altogether similar to
those which constitute a large part of the crust of the earth, must be
forming, at the present day, at the bottom of the sea; and he threw out
the suggestion that even where no trace of organic structure is to be
found in the older rocks, it may have been lost by metamorphosis.


CCI

It is highly creditable to the ingenuity of our ancestors that the
peculiar property of fermented liquids, in virtue of which they "make
glad the heart of man," seems to have been known in the remotest periods
of which we have any record. All savages take to alcoholic fluids as
if they were to the manner born. Our Vedic forefathers intoxicated
themselves with the juice of the "soma"; Noah, by a not unnatural
reaction against a superfluity of water, appears to have taken the
earliest practicable opportunity of qualifying that which he was obliged
to drink; and the ghosts of the ancient Egyptians were solaced by
pictures of banquets in which the wine-cup passes round, graven on
the walls of their tombs. A knowledge of the process of fermentation,
therefore, was in all probability possessed by the prehistoric
populations of the globe; and it must have become a matter of great
interest even to primaeval wine-bibbers to study the methods by which
fermented liquids could be surely manufactured. No doubt it was soon
discovered that the most certain, as well as the most expeditious, way
of making a sweet juice ferment was to add to it a little of the scum,
or lees, of another fermenting juice. And it can hardly be questioned
that this singular excitation of fermentation in one fluid, by a sort
of infection, or inoculation, of a little ferment taken from some other
fluid, together with the strange swelling, foaming, and hissing of the
fermented substance, must have always attracted attention from the more
thoughtful. Nevertheless, the commencement of the scientific analysis of
the Sphenomena dates from a period not earlier than the first half of the
seventeenth century. At this time, Van Helmont made a first step, by
pointing out that the peculiar hissing and bubbling of a fermented
liquid is due, not to the evolution of common air (which he, as the
inventor of the term "gas," calls "gas ventosum"), but to that of a
peculiar kind of air such as is occasionally met with in caves, mines,
and wells, and which he calls "gas sylvestre."

But a century elapsed before the nature of this "gas sylvestre," or as
it was afterwards called, "fixed air," was clearly determined, and it
was found to be identical with that deadly "choke-damp" by which the
lives of those who descend into old wells, or mines, or brewers' vats,
are sometimes suddenly ended; and with the poisonous aeriform fluid
which is produced by the combustion of charcoal, and now goes by the
name of carbonic acid gas.

During the same time it gradually became evident that the presence of
sugar was essential to the production of alcohol and the evolution of
carbonic acid gas, which are the two great and conspicuous
products of fermentation. And finally, in 1787, the Italian chemist,
Fabroni, made the capital discovery that the yeast ferment, the
presence of which is necessary to fermentation, is what he termed a
"vegeto-animal" substance; that is, a body which gives off ammoniacal
salts when it is burned, and is, in other ways, similar to the gluten of
plants and the albumen and casein of animals.


CCII

The living club-mosses are, for the most part, insignificant and
creeping herbs, which, superficially, very closely resemble true mosses,
and none of them reach more than two or three feet in height. But,
in their essential structure, they very closely resemble the earliest
Lepidodendroid trees of the coal: their stems and leaves are similar;
so are their cones; and no less like are the sporangia and spores; while
even in their size, the spores of the _Lepidodendron_ and those of the
existing _Lycopodium_, or club-moss, very closely approach one another.

Thus, the singular conclusion is forced upon us, that the greater and
the smaller sacs of the "Better-Bed" and other coals, in which the
primitive structure is well preserved, are simply the sporangia and
spores of certain plants, many of whicn were closely allied to the
existing club-mosses. And if, as I believe, it can be demonstrated
that ordinary coal Is nothing but "saccular" coal which has undergone a
certain amount of that alteration which, if continued, would convert it
into anthracite; then, the conclusion is obvious, that the great mass
of the coal we burn is the result of the accumulation of the spores
and spore-cases of plants, other parts of which have furnished
the carbonized stems and the mineral charcoal, or have left their
impressions on the surfaces of the layer.


CCIII

The position of the beds which constitute the coal-measures is
infinitely diverse. Sometimes they are tilted up vertically, sometimes
they are horizontal, sometimes curved into great basins; sometimes they
come to the surface, sometimes they are covered up by thousands of feet
of rock. But, whatever then-present position, there is abundant and
conclusive evidence that every under-clay was once a surface soil. Not
only do carbonized root-fibres frequently abound in these under-clays;
but the stools of trees, the trunks of which are broken off and
confounded with the bed of coal, have been repeatedly found passing into
radiating roots, still embedded in the under-clay. On many parts of the
coast of England, what are commonly known as "submarine forests" are to
be seen at low water. They consist, for the most part, of short stools
of oak, beech, and fir-trees, still fixed by their long roots in the bed
of blue clay in which they originally grew. If one of these submarine
forest beds should be gradually depressed and covered up by new
deposits, it would present just the same characters as an under-clay of
the coal, if the _Sigillaria_ and _Lepidodendron_ of the ancient world
were substituted for the oak, or the beech, of our own times.

In a tropical forest, at the present day, the trunks of fallen trees,
and the stools of such trees as may have been broken by the violence of
storms, remain entire for but a short time. Contrary to what might
be expected, the dense wood of the tree decays, and suffers from the
ravages of insects, more swiftly than the bark. And the traveller,
setting his foot on a prostrate trunk, finds that it is a mere shell,
which breaks under his weight, and lands his foot amidst the insects, or
the reptiles, which have sought food or refuge within.


CCIV

The coal accumulated upon the area covered by one of the great forests
of the carboniferous epoch would, in course of time, have been wasted
away by the small, but constant, wear and tear of rain and streams,
had the land which supported it remained at the same level, or been
gradually raised to a greater elevation. And, no doubt, as much coal as
now exists has been destroyed, after its formation, in this way.


CCV

Once more, an invariably-recurring lesson of geological history, at
whatever point its study is taken up: the lesson of the almost infinite
slowness of the modification of living forms. The lines of the pedigrees
of living things break off almost before they begin to converge.


CCVI

Yet another curious consideration. Let us suppose that one of the
stupid, salamander-like Labyrinthodonts, which pottered, with much belly
and little leg, like Falstaff in his old age, among the coal-forests,
could have had thinking power enough in his small brain to reflect upon
the showers of spores which kept on falling through years and centuries,
while perhaps not one in ten million fulfilled its apparent purpose, and
reproduced the organism which gave it birth: surely he might have been
excused for moralizing upon the thoughtless and wanton extravagance
which Nature displayed in her operations.

But we have the advantage over our shovel-headed predecessor--or
possibly ancestor--and can perceive that a certain vein of thrift runs
through this apparent prodigality. Nature is never in a hurry, and seems
to have had always before her eyes the adage, "Keep a thing long enough,
and you will find a use for it." She has kept her beds of coal many
millions of years without being able to find much use for them; she has
sent them down beneath the sea, and the sea-beasts could make nothing
of them; she has raised them up into dry land, and laid the black veins
bare, and still, for ages and ages, there was no living thing on the
face of the earth that could see any sort of value in them; and it was
only the other day, so to speak, that she turned a new creature out of
her workshop, who by degrees acquired sufficient wits to make a fire,
and then to discover that the black rock would burn.

I suppose that nineteen hundred years ago, when Julius Cæsar was good
enough to deal with Britain as we have dealt with New Zealand, the
primæval Briton, blue with cold and woad, may have known that the
strange black stone, of which he found lumps here and there in his
wanderings, would burn, and so help to warm his body and cook his food.
Saxon, Dane, and Norman swarmed into the land. The English people grew
into a powerful nation, and Nature still waited for a full return of
the capital she had invested in the ancient club-mosses. The eighteenth
century arrived, and with it James Watt. The brain of that man was the
spore out of which was developed the modern steam-engine, and all the
prodigious trees and branches of modern industry which have grown out
of this. But coal is as much an essential condition of this growth and
development as carbonic acid is for that of a club-moss. Wanting coal,
we could not have smelted the iron needed to make our engines, nor have
worked our engines when we had got them. But take away the engines,
and the great towns of Yorkshire and Lancashire vanish like a dream.
Manufactures give place to agriculture and pasture, and not ten men can
live where now ten thousand are amply supported.

Thus, all this abundant wealth of money and of vivid life is Nature's
interest upon her investment in club-mosses, and the like, so long ago.
But what becomes of the coal which is burnt in yielding this interest?
Heat comes out of it, light comes out of it; and if we could gather
together all that goes up the chimney, and all that remains in the grate
of a thoroughly-burnt coal-fire, we should find ourselves in possession
of a quantity of carbonic acid, water, ammonia, and mineral matters,
exactly equal in weight to the coal. But these are the very matters with
which Nature supplied the club-mosses which made the coal. She is
paid back principal and interest at the same time; and she straightway
invests the carbonic acid, the water, and the ammonia in new forms of
life, feeding with them the plants that now live. Thrifty Nature! Surely
no prodigal, but most notable of housekeepers!


CCVII

Here, then, is a capital fact. The movements of the lobster are due to
muscular contractility. But why does a muscle contract at one time and
not at another? Why does one whole group of muscles contract when the
lobster wishes to extend his tail and another group when he desires to
bend it? What is it originates, directs, and controls the motive power?

Experiment, the great instrument for the ascertainment of truth in
physical science, answers this question for us. In the head of the
lobster there lies a small mass of that peculiar tissue which is known
as nervous substance. Cords of similar matter connect this brain of
the lobster, directly or indirectly, with the muscles. Now, if these
communicating cords are cut, the brain remaining entire, the power of
exerting what we call voluntary motion m the parts below the section is
destroyed; and, on the other hand, if, the cords remaining entire, the
brain mass be destroyed, the same voluntary mobility is equally lost,
whence the inevitable conclusion is, that the power of originating these
motions resides in the brain and is propagated along the nervous cords.

In the higher animals the phenomena which attend this transmission have
been investigated, and the exertion of the peculiar energy which resides
in the nerves has been found to be accompanied by a disturbance of the
electrical state of their molecules.

If we could exactly estimate the signification of this disturbance;
if we could obtain the value of a given exertion of nerve force by
determining the quantity of electricity, or of heat, of which it is the
equivalent; if we could ascertain upon what arrangement, or other
condition of the molecules of matter, the manifestation of the nervous
and muscular energies depends (and doubtless science will some day or
other ascertain these points), physiologists would have attained their
ultimate goal in this direction; they would have determined the relation
of the motive force of animals to the other forms of force found in
nature; and if the same process had been successfully performed for all
the operations which are carried on in, and by, the animal frame,
physiology would be perfect, and the facts of morphology and
distribution would be deducible from the laws which physiologists had
established, combined with those determining the condition of the
surrounding universe.


CCVIII

The object of lectures is, in the first place, to awaken the attention
and excite the enthusiasm of the student; and this, I am sure, may
be effected to a far greater extent by the oral discourse and by
the personal influence of a respected teacher than in any other way.
Secondly, lectures have the double use of guiding the student to the
salient points of a subject, and at the same time forcing him to attend
to the whole of it, and not merely to that part which takes his fancy.
And lastly, lectures afford the student the opportunity of seeking
explanations of those difficulties which will, and indeed ought to,
arise in the course of his studies.


CCIX

What books shall I read? is a question constantly put by the student to
the teacher. My reply usually is, "None: write your notes out carefully
and fully; strive to understand them thoroughly; come to me for the
explanation of anything you cannot understand; and I would rather you
did not distract your mind by reading." A properly composed course
of lectures ought to contain fully as much matter as a student can
assimilate in the time occupied by its delivery; and the teacher should
always recollect that his business is to feed and not to cram the
intellect. Indeed, I believe that a student who gains from a course
of lectures the simple habit of concentrating his attention upon a
definitely limited series of facts, until they are thoroughly mastered,
has made a step of immeasurable importance.


CCX

However good lectures may be, and however extensive the course of
reading-by which they are followed up, they are but accessories to the
great instrument of scientific teaching--demonstration. If I insist
unweariedly, nay fanatically, upon the importance of physical science as
an educational agent, it is because the study of any branch of science,
if properly conducted, appears to me to fill up a void left by all other
means of education. I have the greatest respect and love for literature;
nothing would grieve me more than to see literary training other than
a very prominent branch of education: indeed, I wish that real literary
discipline were far more attended to than it is; but I cannot shut my
eyes to the fact that there is a vast difference between men who have
had a purely literary, and those who have had a sound scientific,
training.


CCXI

In the world of letters, learning and knowledge are one, and books
are the source of both; whereas in science, as in life, learning and
knowledge are distinct, and the study of things, and not of books, is
the source of the latter.


CCXII

All that literature has to bestow may be obtained by reading and by
practical exercise in writing and in speaking; but I do not exaggerate
when I say that none of the best gifts of science are to be won by these
means. On the contrary, the great benefit which a scientific education
bestows, whether as training or as knowledge, is dependent upon the
extent to which the mind of the student is brought into immediate
contact with facts--upon the degree to which he learns the habit of
appealing directly to Nature, and of acquiring through his senses
concrete images of those properties of things, which are, and always
will be, but approximatively expressed in human language. Our way of
looking at Nature, and of speaking about her, varies from year to
year; but a fact once seen, a relation of cause and effect, once
demonstratively apprehended, are possessions which neither change nor
pass away, but, on the contrary, form fixed centres, about which other
truths aggregate by natural affinity.

Therefore, the great business of the scientific teacher is, to imprint
the fundamental, irrefragable facts of his science, not only by words
upon the mind, but by sensible impressions upon tne eye, and ear, and
touch of the student, in so complete a manner, that every term used, or
law enunciated, should afterwards call up vivid images of the particular
structural, or other, facts which furnished the demonstration of the
law, or the illustration of the term.


CCXIII

What is the purpose of primary intellectual education? I apprehend
that its first object is to train the young in the use of those tools
wherewith men extract knowledge from the ever-shifting; succession of
phenomena which pass before their eyes; and that its second object is to
inform them of the fundamental laws which have been found by experience
to govern the course of things, so that they may not be turned out
into the world naked, defenceless, and a prey to the events they might
control.

A boy is taught to read his own and other languages, in order that he
may have access to infinitely wider stores of knowledge than could ever
be opened to him by oral intercourse with his fellow men; he learns to
write, that his means of communication with the rest of mankind may be
indefinitely enlarged, and that he may record and store up the knowledge
he acquires. He is taught elementary mathematics, that he may understand
all those relations of number and form, upon which the transactions of
men, associated in complicated societies, are built, and that he may
have some practice in deductive reasoning.

All these operations of reading, writing, and ciphering are intellectual
tools, whose use should, before all things, be learned, and learned
thoroughly; so that the youth may be enabled to make his life that which
it ought to be, a continual progress in learning and in wisdom.


CCXIV

In addition, primary education endeavours to fit a boy out with a
certain equipment of positive knowledge. He is taught the great laws
of morality; the religion of his sect; so much history and geography as
will tell him where the great countries of the world are, what they are,
and now they have become what they are.

But if I regard it closely, a curious reflection arises. I suppose that,
fifteen hundred years ago, the child of any well-to-do Roman citizen
was taught just these same things; reading and writing in his own,
and, perhaps, the Greek tongue; the elements of mathematics; and
the religion, morality, history, and geography current in his time.
Furthermore, I do not think I err in affirming that, if such a Christian
Roman boy, who had finished his education, could be transplanted into
one of our public schools, and pass through its course of instruction,
he would not meet with a single unfamiliar line of thought; amidst all
the new facts he would have to learn, not one would suggest a different
mode of regarding the universe from that current in his own time.

And yet surely there is some great difference between the civilisation
of the fourth century and that of the nineteenth, and still more between
the intellectual habits and tone of thought of that day and this?

And what has made this difference? I answer fearlessly--The prodigious
development of physical science within the last two centuries.


CCXV

Modern civilisation rests upon physical science; take away her gifts to
our own country, and our position among the leading nations of the
world is gone to-morrow; for it is physical science only that makes
intelligence and moral energy stronger than brute force.


CCXVI

The whole of modern thought is steeped in science; it has made its way
into the works of our best poets, and even the mere man of letters, who
affects to ignore and despise science, is unconsciously impregnated with
her spirit, and indebted for his best products to her methods. I believe
that the greatest intellectual revolution mankind has yet seen is now
slowly taking place by her agency. She is teaching the world that
the ultimate court of appeal is observation and experiment, and not
authority; she is teaching it to estimate the value of evidence; she is
creating a firm and living faith in the existence of immutable moral and
physical laws, perfect obedience to which is the highest possible aim of
an intelligent being.

But of all this your old stereotyped system of education takes no note.
Physical science, its methods, its problems, and its difficulties, will
meet the poorest boy at every turn, and yet we educate him in such a
manner that he shall enter the world as ignorant of the existence of the
methods and facts of science as the day he was born. The modern world
is full of artillery; and we turn out our children to do battle in it,
equipped with the shield and sword of an ancient gladiator.


CCXVII

Posterity will cry shame on us if we do not remedy this deplorable state
of things. Nay, if we live twenty years longer, our own consciences will
cry shame on us.

It is my firm conviction that the only way to remedy it is to make the
elements of physical science an integral part of primary education. I
have endeavoured to show you how that may be done for that branch of
science which it is my business to pursue; and I can but add, that I
should look upon the day when every schoolmaster throughout this land
was a centre of genuine, however rudimentary, scientific knowledge as an
epoch in the history of the country.

But let me entreat you to remember my last words. Addressing myself to
you, as teachers, I would say, mere book learning in physical science is
a sham and a delusion--what you teach, unless you wish to be impostors,
that you must first know; and real knowledge in science means personal
acquaintance with the facts, be they few or many.


CCXVIII

The first distinct enunciation of the hypothesis that all living matter
has sprung from pre-existing living matter came from a contemporary,
though a junior, of Harvey, a native of that country, fertile in men
great in all departments of human activity, which was to intellectual
Europe, in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, what Germany is in
the nineteenth. It was in Italy, and from Italian teachers, that Harvey
received the most important part of his scientific education. And it
was a student trained in the same schools, Francesco Redi--a man of the
widest knowledge and most versatile abilities, distinguished alike as
scholar, poet, physician and, naturalist--who, just two hundred and
two years ago,* published his "Esperienze intorno alia Generazione
degl'Insetti," and gave to the world the idea, the growth of which it
is my purpose to trace. Redi's book went through five editions in twenty
years; and the extreme simplicity of his experiments, and the clearness
of his arguments, gained for his views and for their consequences,
almost universal acceptance.

Redi did not trouble himself much with speculative considerations,
but attacked particular cases of what was supposed to be "spontaneous
generation" experimentally. Here are dead animals, or pieces of meat,
says he; I expose them to the air in hot weather, and in a few days they
swarm with maggots. You tell me that these are generated in the dead
flesh; but if I put similar bodies, while quite fresh, into a jar, and
tie some fine gauze over the top of the jar, not a maggot makes its
appearance, while the dead substances, nevertheless, putrefy just in the
same way as before. It is obvious, therefore, that the maggots are not
generated by the corruption of the meat; and that the cause of their
formation must be a something which is kept away by gauze. But gauze
will not keep away aeriform bodies, or fluids. This something must
therefore, exist in the form of solid particles too big to get through
the gauze. Nor is one long left in doubt what these solid particles are;
for the blow-flies, attracted by the odour of the meat, swarm round the
vessel, and, urged by a powerful but in this case misleading instinct,
lay eggs out of which maggots are immediately hatched, upon the gauze.
The conclusion, therefore, is unavoidable; the maggots are not generated
by the meat, but the eggs which give rise to them are brought through
the air by the flies.

     * These words were written in 1870.

These experiments seem almost childishly simple, and one wonders how
it was that no one ever thought of them before. Simple as they are,
however, they are worthy of the most careful study, for every piece of
experimental work since done, in regard to this subject, has been shaped
upon the model furnished by the Italian philosopher. As the results
of his experiments were the same, however varied the nature of the
materials he used, it is not wonderful that there arose in Redi's mind
a presumption that, in all such cases of the seeming production of life
from dead matter, the real explanation was the introduction of living
germs from without into that dead matter. And thus the hypothesis that
living matter always arises by the agency of pre-existing living matter,
took definite shape; and had, henceforward, a right to be considered and
a claim to be refuted, in each particular case, before the production of
living matter in any other way could be admitted by careful reasoners.
It will be necessary for me to refer to this hypothesis so frequently,
that, to save circumlocution, I shall call it the hypothesis of
_Biogenesis_; and I shall term the contrary doctrine--that living matter
may be produced by not living matter--the hypothesis of _Abiogenesis_.

In the seventeenth century, as I have said, the latter was the dominant
view, sanctioned alike by antiquity and by authority; and it is
interesting to observe that Redi did not escape the customary tax upon
a discoverer of having to defend himself against the charge of impugning
the authority of the Scriptures; for his adversaries declared that the
generation of bees from the carcase of a dead lion is affirmed, in the
Book of Judges, to have been the origin of the famous riddle with which
Samson perplexed the Philistines:--

     "Out of the cater came forth meat,
     And out of the strong came forth sweetness"


CCXIX

The great tragedy of Science--the slaying of a beautiful hypothesis by
an ugly fact.


CCXX

It remains yet in the order of logic, though not of history, to show
that among these solid destructible particles there really do exist
germs capable of giving rise to the development of living forms in
suitable menstrua. This piece of work was done by M. Pasteur in those
beautiful researches which will ever render his name famous; and which,
in spite of all attacks upon them, appear to me now, as they did
seven years ago, to be models of accurate experimentation and logical
reasoning. He strained air through cotton-wool, and found, as Schroeder
and Dusch had done, that it contained nothing competent to give rise to
the development of life in fluids highly fitted for that purpose. But
the important further links in the chain of evidence added by Pasteur
are three. In the first place he subjected to microscopic examination
the cottonwool which had served as strainer, and found that sundry
bodies clearly recognisable as germs were among the solid particles
strained off. Secondly, he proved that these germs were competent to
give rise to living forms by simply sowing them in a solution fitted for
their development. And, thirdly, he showed that the incapacity of air
strained through cotton-wool to give rise to life was not due to any
occult change effected in the constituents of the air by the wool, by
proving that the cotton-wool might be dispensed with altogether, and
perfectly free access left between the exterior air and that in the
experimental flask. If the neck of the flask is drawn out into a tube
and bent downwards; and if, after the contained fluid has been carefully
boiled, the tube is heated sufficiently to destroy any germs which may
be present in the air which enters as the fluid cools, the apparatus may
be left to itself for any time and no life will appear in the fluid.
The reason is plain. Although there is free communication between the
atmosphere laden with germs and the germless air in the flask, contact
between the two takes place only in the tube; and as the germs cannot
fall upwards, and there are no currents, they never reach the interior
of the flask. But if the tube be broken short off where it proceeds from
the flask, and free access be thus given to germs falling vertically out
of the air, the fluid, which has remained clear and desert for months,
becomes, in a few days, turbid and full of life.


CCXXI

In autumn it is not uncommon to see flies motionless upon a window-pane,
with a sort of magic circle, in white, drawn round them. On microscopic
examination, the magic circle is found to consist of innumerable spores,
which have been thrown off in all directions by a minute fungus called
_Empusa museæ_ the spore-forming filaments of which stand out like a
pile of velvet from the body of the fly. These spore-forming filaments
are connected with others which fill the interior of the fly's body
like so much fine wool, having eaten away and destroyed the creature's
viscera. This is the full-grown condition of the _Empusa_. If traced
back to its earliest stages, in flies which are still active, and to
all appearance healthy, it is found to exist in the form of minute
corpuscles which float in the blood of the fly. These multiply and
lengthen into filaments, at the expense of the fly's substance; and when
they have at last killed the patient, they grow out of its body and give
off spores. Healthy flies shut up with diseased ones catch this mortal
disease, and perish like the others. A most competent observer, M. Cohn,
who studied the development of the _Empusa_ very carefully, was utterly
unable to discover in what manner the smallest germs of the _Empusa_ got
into the fly. The spores could not be made to give rise to such germs by
cultivation; nor were such germs discoverable in the air, or in the food
of the fly. It looked exceedingly like a case of Abiogenesis, or, at any
rate, of Xenogenesis; and it is only quite recently that the real course
of events has been made out. It has been ascertained that when one of
the spores falls upon the body of a fly, it begins to germinate, and
sends out a process which bores its way through the fly's skin; this,
having reached the interior cavities of its body, gives off the minute
floating corpuscles which are the earliest stage of the _Empusa_. The
disease is "contagious", because a healthy fly coming in contact with a
diseased one, from which the spore-bearing filaments protrude, is pretty
sure to carry off a spore or two. It is "infectious" because the spores
become scattered about all sorts of matter m the neighbourhood of the
slain flies. Silkworms are liable to many diseases; and, even before
1853, a peculiar epizootic, frequently accompanied by the appearance
of dark spots upon the skin (whence the name of "Pébrine" which it has
received), had been noted for its mortality. But in the years following
1853 this malady broke out with such extreme violence, that, in 1858,
the silk-crop was reduced to a third of the amount which it had reached
in 1853; and, up till within the last year or two, it has never attained
half the yield of 1853. This means not only that the great number of
people engaged in silk growing are some thirty millions sterling poorer
than they might have been; it means not only that high prices have had
to be paid for imported silkworm eggs, and that, after investing his
money in them, in paying for mulberry-leaves and for attendance, the
cultivator has constantly seen his silkworms perish and himself plunged
in ruin; but it means that the looms of Lyons have lacked employment,
and that, for years, enforced idleness and misery have been the
portion of a vast population which, in former days, was industrious and
well-to-do.

In reading the Report made by M. de Quatrefages in 1859, it is
exceedingly interesting to observe that his elaborate study of the
Pébrine forced the conviction upon his mind that, in its mode of
occurrence and propagation, the disease of the silkworm is, in every
respect, comparable to the cholera among mankind. But it differs
from the cholera, and so far is a more formidable malady, in being
hereditary, and in being, under some circumstances, contagious as well
as infectious.

The Italian naturalist, Filippi, discovered in the blood of the
silkworms affected by this strange disorder a multitude of cylindrical
corpuscles, each about 1/6000th of an inch long. These have been
carefully studied by Lebert, and named by him _Panhistophyton_; for the
reason that in subjects in which the disease is strongly developed, the
corpuscles swarm in every tissue and organ of the body, and even pass
into the undeveloped eggs of the female moth. But are these corpuscles
causes, or mere concomitants, of the disease? Some naturalists took
one view and some another; and it was not until the French Government,
alarmed by the continued ravages of the malady, and the inefficiency of
the remedies which had been suggested, despatched M. Pasteur to
study it, that the question received its final settlement; at a great
sacrifice, not only of the time and peace of mind of that eminent
philosopher, but, I regret to have to add, of his health.

But the sacrifice has not been in vain. It is now certain that this
devastating, cholera-like Pébrine is the effect of the growth and
multiplication of the _Panhistophyton_ in the silkworm. It is contagious
and infectious, because the corpuscles of the _Panhistophyton_ pass away
from the bodies of the diseased caterpillars, directly or indirectly, to
the alimentary canal of healthy silkworms in their neighbourhood; it
is hereditary because the corpuscles enter into the eggs while they are
being formed, and consequently are carried within them when they
are laid; and for this reason, also? it presents the very singular
peculiarity of being inherited only on the mother's side. There is not a
single one of all the apparently capricious and unaccountable phenomena
presented by the Pébrine, but has received its explanation from the
fact that the disease is the result of the presence of the microscopic
organism, _Panhistophyton_.


CCXXII

I commenced this Address by asking you to follow me in an attempt to
trace the path which has been followed by a scientific idea, in its long
and slow progress from the position of a probable hypothesis to that
of an established law of nature. Our survey has not taken us into very
attractive regions; it has lain, chiefly, in a land flowing with the
abominable, and peopled with mere grubs and mouldiness. And it may
be imagined with what smiles and shrugs, practical and serious
contemporaries of Redi and of Spallanzani may have commented on the
waste of their high abilities in toiling at the solution of problems
which, though curious enough in themselves, could be of no conceivable
utility to mankind.

Nevertheless, you will have observed that before we had travelled very
far upon our road, there appeared, on the right hand and on the left,
fields laden with a harvest of golden grain, immediately convertible
into those things which the most solidly practical men will admit to
have value--viz., money and life.

The direct loss to France caused by the Pébrine in seventeen years
cannot be estimated at less than fifty millions sterling; and if we
add to this what Redi's idea, in Pasteur's hands, has done for the
wine-grower and for the vinegar-maker; and try to capitalise its value,
we shall find that it will go a long way towards repairing; the money
losses caused by the frightful and calamitous war of this autumn
(1870). And as to the equivalent of Redi's thought in life, how can we
overestimate the value of that knowledge of the nature of epidemic
and epizootic diseases, and consequently of the means of checking, or
eradicating them, the dawn of which has assuredly commenced?

Looking back no further than ten years, it is possible to select
three (1863, 1864, and 1869) in which the total number of deaths from
scarlet-fever alone amounted to ninety thousand. That is the return of
killed, the maimed and disabled being left out of sight Why, it is to be
hoped that the list of killed in the present bloodiest of all wars will
not amount to more than this! But the facts which I have placed before
you must leave the least sanguine without a doubt that the nature and
the causes of this scourge will, one day, be as well understood as
those of the Pébrine are now; and that the long-suffered massacre of our
innocents will come to an end.

And thus mankind will have one more admonition that "the people perish
for lack of knowledge"; and that the alleviation of the miseries, and
the promotion of the welfare, of men must be sought, by those who will
not lose their pains, in that diligent, patient, loving study of all the
multitudinous aspects of Nature, the results of which constitute exact
knowledge, or Science.


CCXXIII

I find three, more or less contradictory, systems of geological thought,
each of which might fairly enough claim these appellations, standing
side by side in Britain. I shall call one of them Catastrophisim another
Uniformitarianism, the third Evolutionism; and I shall try briefly
to sketch the characters of each, that you may say whether the
classification is, or is not, exhaustive.

By Catastrophism I mean any form of geological speculation which, in
order to account for the phenomena of geology supposes the operation of
forces different in their nature, or immeasurably different in power,
from those which we at present see in action in the universe.

The Mosaic cosmogony is, in this sense, catastrophic, because it assumes
the operation of extra-natural power. The doctrine of violent upheavals,
_débâcles_ and cataclysms in general, is catastrophic, so far as it
assumes that these were brought about by causes which have now no
parallel. There was a time when catastrophism might, pre-eminently, have
claimed the title of "British popular geology"; and assuredly it has
yet many adherents, and reckons among its supporters some of the most
honoured members of this Society.

By Uniformitarianism I mean especially the teaching of Hutton and of
Lyell.

That great though incomplete work, "The Theory of the Earth", seems to
me to be one of the most remarkable contributions to geology which is
recorded in the annals of the science. So far as the not-living world
is concerned, uniformitarianism lies there, not only in germ, but in
blossom and fruit.

If one asks how it is that Hutton was led to entertain views so far
in advance of those prevalent in his time, in some respects; while, in
others, they seem almost curiously limited, the answer appears to me to
be plain.

Hutton was in advance of the geological speculation of his time,
because, in the first place, he had amassed a vast store of knowledge
of the facts of geology, gathered by personal observation in travels of
considerable extent; and because, in the second place, he was thoroughly
trained in the physical and chemical science of his day, and thus
possessed, as much as any one in his time could possess it, the
knowledge which is requisite for the just interpretation of geological
phenomena, and the habit of thought which fits a man for scientific
inquiry.

It is to this thorough scientific training that I ascribe Hutton's
steady and persistent refusal to look to other causes than those now in
operation for the explanation of geological phenomena.

The internal heat of the earth, the elevation and depression of
its crust, its belchings forth of vapours, ashes, and lava, are its
activities, in as strict a sense as are warmth and the movements and
products of respiration the activities of an animal. The phenomena of
the seasons, of the trade winds, of the Gulf-stream, are as much the
results of the reaction between these inner activities and outward
forces as are the budding of the leaves in spring and their falling
in autumn the effects of the interaction between the organisation of a
plant and the solar light and heat. And, as the study of the activities
of the living being is called its physiology, so are these phenomena
the subject-matter of an analogous telluric physiology, to which we
sometimes give the name of meteorology, sometimes that of physical
geography, sometimes that of geology. Again, the earth has a place in
space and in time, and relations to other bodies in both these respects,
which constitute its distribution. This subject is usually left to the
astronomer; but a knowledge of its broad outlines seems to me to be an
essential constituent of the stock of geological ideas.


CCXXIV

All that can be ascertained concerning the structure succession of
conditions, actions, and position m space of the earth, is the matter
of fact of its natural history. But? as in biology, there remains the
matter of reasoning from these facts to their causes, which is just
as much science as the other, and indeed more; and this constitutes
geological aetiology.


CCXXV

I suppose that it would be very easy to pick holes in the details of
Kant's speculations, whether cosmo-logical, or specially telluric, in
their application. But for all that, he seems to me to have been the
first person to frame a complete system of geological speculation by
founding the doctrine of evolution.

I have said that the three schools of geological speculation which I
have termed Catastrophism, Uniformitarianism, and Evolutionism, are
commonly supposed to be antagonistic to one another; and I presume it
will have become obvious that in my belief, the last is destined to
swallow up the other two. But it is proper to remark that each of the
latter has kept alive the tradition of precious truths.

To my mind there appears to be no sort of necessary theoretical
antagonism between Catastrophism and Uniformitarianism. On the contrary,
it is very conceivable that catastrophes may be part and parcel of
uniformity. Let me illustrate my case by analogy. The working of a clock
is a model of uniform action; good time-keeping means uniformity of
action. But the striking of the clock is essentially a catastrophe;
the hammer might be made to blow up a barrel of gunpowder, or turn on
a deluge of water; and, by proper arrangement, the clock, instead of
marking the hours, might strike at all sorts of irregular periods,
never twice alike, in the intervals, force, or number of its blows.
Nevertheless, all these irregular, and apparently lawless, catastrophes
would be the result of an absolutely uniformitarian action; and we might
have two schools of clock-theorists, one studying the hammer and the
other the pendulum.


CCXXVI

Mathematics may be compared to a mill of exquisite workmanship, which
grinds your stuff of any degree of fineness; but, nevertheless, what you
get out depends upon what you put in; and as the grandest mill in tne
world will not extract wheat-flour from peascods, so pages of formulæ
will not get a definite result out of loose data.


CCXXVII

The motive of the drama of human life is the necessity, laid upon
every man who comes into the world, of discovering the mean between
self-assertion and self-restraint suited to his character and his
circumstances. And the eternally tragic aspect of the drama lies in
this: that the problem set before us is one the elements of which can
be but imperfectly known, and of which even an approximately right
solution rarely presents itself, until that stern critic, aged
experience, has been furnished with ample justification for venting his
sarcastic humour upon the irreparable blunders we have already made.


CCXXVIII

That which endures is not one or another association of living forms,
but the process of which the cosmos is the product, and of which these
are among the transitory expressions. And in the living world, one of
the most characteristic features of this cosmic process is the struggle
for existence, the competition of each with all, the result of which is
the selection, that is to say, the survival of those forms which, on the
whole, are best adapted to the conditions which at any period obtain;
and which are therefore, in that respect, and only in that respect, the
fittest. The acme reached by the cosmic process in the vegetation of
the downs is seen in the turf, with its weed and gorse. Under the
conditions, they have come out of the struggle victorious; and, by
surviving, have proved that they are the fittest to survive.


CCXXIX

As a natural process, of the same character as the development of a tree
from its seed; or of a fowl from its egg, evolution excludes creation
and all other kinds of supernatural intervention. As the expression of
a fixed order, every stage of which is the effect of causes operating
according to definite rules, the conception of evolution no less
excludes that of chance. It is very desirable to remember that evolution
is not an explanation of the cosmic process, but merely a generalized
statement of the method and results of that process. And, further, that,
if there is proof that the cosmic process was set going by any agent,
then that agent will be the creator of it and of all its products,
although, supernatural intervention may remain strictly excluded from
its further course.


CCXXX

All plants and animals exhibit the tendency to vary, the causes of which
have yet to be ascertained; it is the tendency of the conditions of
life, at any given time, while favouring the existence of the variations
best adapted to them, to oppose that of the rest and thus to exercise
selection; and all living things tend to multiply without limit, while
the means of support are limited; the obvious cause of which is the
production of offspring more numerous than their progenitors, but with
actual expectation of life in the actuarial sense. Without tne first
tendency there could be no evolution. Without the second, there would be
no good reason why one variation should disappear and another take its
place; that is to say, there would be no selection. Without the third,
the struggle for existence, the agent of the selective process in the
state of nature, would vanish.


CCXXXI

The faith which is born of knowledge finds its object in an eternal
order, bringing forth ceaseless chance, through endless time, in endless
space; the manifestations of the cosmic energy alternating between
phases of potentiality and phases of explication.


CCXXXII

With all their enormous differences in natural endowment, men agree in
one thing, and that is their innate desire to enjoy the pleasures and
escape the pains of life; and, in short, to do nothing but that which
it pleases them to do, without the least reference to the welfare of the
society into which they are born. That is their inheritance (the reality
at the bottom of the doctrine of original sin) from the long series of
ancestors, human and semi-human and brutal, in whom the strength of this
innate tendency to self-assertion was the condition of victory in the
struggle for existence. That is the reason of the _aviditas vitæ_--the
insatiable hunger for enjoyment--of all mankind, which is one of the
essential conditions of success in the war with the state of nature
outside; and yet the sure agent of the destruction of society if allowed
free play within.


CCXXXIII

The check upon this free play of self-assertion, or natural liberty,
which is the necessary condition for the origin of human society, is the
product of organic necessities of a different land from those upon
which the constitution of the hive depends. One of these is the mutual
affection of parent and offspring, intensified by the long infancy of
the human species. But the most important is the tendency, so strongly
developed in man, to reproduce in himself actions and feelings similar
to, or correlated with, those of other men. Man is the most consummate
of all mimics in the animal world; none but himself can draw or model;
none comes near him in the scope, variety, and exactness of vocal
imitation; none is such a master of gesture; while he seems to be
impelled thus to imitate for the pure pleasure of it. And there is no
such another emotional chameleon. By a purely reflex operation of the
mind, we take the hue of passion of those who are about us, or, it may
be, the complementary colour. It is not by any conscious "putting one's
self in the place" of a joyful or a suffering person that the state of
mind we call sympathy usually arises; indeed, it is often contrary to
one's sense of right, and in spite of one's will, that "fellow-feeling
makes us wondrous kind," or the reverse. However complete may be the
indifference to public opinion, in a cool, intellectual view, of the
traditional sage, it has not yet been my fortune to meet with any actual
sage who took its hostile manifestations with entire equanimity. Indeed,
I doubt if the philosopher lives, or ever has lived, who could know
himself to be heartily despised by a street boy without some irritation.
And, though one cannot justify Haman for wishing to hang Mordecai on
such a very high gibbet, yet, really, the consciousness of the Vizier of
Ahasuerus, as he went in and out of the gate, that this obscure Jew had
no respect for him, must have been very annoying.

It is needful only to look around us, to see that the greatest restrainer
of the anti-social tendencies of men is fear, not of the law, but of the
opinion of their fellows. The conventions of honour bad men who
break legal, moral, and religious bonds; and, while people endure the
extremity of physical pain rather than part with life, shame drives the
weakest to suicide.

Every forward step of social progress brings men into closer relations
with their fellows, and increases the importance of the pleasures and
pains derived from sympathy. We judge the acts of others by our own
sympathies, and we judge our own acts by the sympathies of others, every
day and all day long, from childhood upwards, until associations, as
indissoluble as those of language, are formed between certain acts and
the feelings of approbation or disapprobation. It becomes impossible to
imagine some acts without disapprobation, or others without approbation
of the actor, whether he be one's self or anyone else. We come to think
in the acquired dialect of morals. An artificial personality, the "man
within," as Adam Smith calls conscience, is built up beside the natural
personality. He is the watchman of society, charged to restrain the
antisocial tendencies of the natural man within the limits required by
social welfare.


CCXXXIV

I have termed this evolution of the feelings out of which the primitive
bonds of human society are so largely forged, into the organized and
personified sympathy we call conscience, the ethical process. So far as
it tends to make any human society more efficient in the struggle for
existence with the state of nature, or with other societies, it works
in harmonious contrast with the cosmic process. But it is none the less
true that, since law and morals are restraints upon the struggle for
existence between men in society, the ethical process is in opposition
to the principle of the cosmic process, and tends to the suppression of
the qualities best fitted for success in that struggle.


CCXXXV

Moralists of all ages and of all faiths, attending only to the relations
of men towards one another in an ideal society, have agreed upon
the "golden rule," "Do as you would be done by." In other words, let
sympathy be your guide; put yourself in the place of the man towards
whom your action is directed; and do to him what you would like to have
done to yourself under the circumstances. However much one may admire
the generosity of such a rule of conduct; however confident one may be
that average men may be thoroughly depended upon not to carry it out to
its full logical consequences; it is nevertheless desirable to recognise
the fact that these consequences are incompatible with the existence
of a civil state, under any circumstances of this world which have
obtained, or, so far as one can see, are likely to come to pass.

For I imagine there can be no doubt that the great desire of every
wrongdoer is to escape from the painful consequences of his actions. If
I put myself in the place of the man who has robbed me, I find that I
am possessed by an exceeding desire not to be fined or imprisoned; if
in that of the man who has smitten me on one cheek, I contemplate with
satisfaction the absence of any worse result than the turning of the
other cheek for like treatment. Strictly observed, the "golden rule"
involves the negation of law by the refusal to put it in motion against
law-breakers; and, as regards the external relations of a polity, it is
the refusal to continue the struggle for existence. It can be obeyed,
even partially, only under the protection of a society which repudiates
it without such shelter the followers of the "golden rule" may indulge
in hopes of heaven, but they must reckon with the certainty that other
people will be masters of the earth.

What would become of the garden if the gardener treated all the weeds
and slugs and birds and trespassers as he would like to be treated if he
were in their place?


CCXXXVI

In a large proportion of cases, crime and pauperism have nothing to do
with heredity; but are the consequence, partly, of circumstances
and, partly, of the possession of qualities, which, under different
conditions of life, might have excited esteem and even admiration.
It was a shrewd man of the world who, in discussing sewage problems,
remarked that dirt is riches in the wrong; place; and that sound
aphorism has moral applications. The benevolence and open-handed
generosity which adorn a rich man may make a pauper of a poor one; the
energy and courage to which the successful soldier owes his rise, the
cool and daring subtlety to which the great financier owes his fortune,
may very easily, under unfavourable conditions, lead their possessors to
the gallows, or to the hulks. Moreover, it is fairly probable that the
children of a "failure" will receive from their other parent just that
little modification of character which makes all the difference. I
sometimes wonder whether people, who talk so freely about extirpating
the unfit, ever dispassionately consider their own history. Surely, one
must be very "fit" indeed not to know of an occasion, or perhaps two, in
one's life, when it would have been only too easy to qualify for a place
among the "unfit."


CCXXXVII

In the struggle for the means of enjoyment, the qualities which ensure
success are energy, industry, intellectual capacity, tenacity of
purpose, and, at least as much sympathy as is necessary to make a
man understand the feelings of his fellows. Were there none of those
artificial arrangements by which fools and knaves are kept at the top
of society instead of sinking to their natural place at the bottom, the
struggle for the means of enjoyment would ensure a constant circulation
of the human units of the social compound, from the bottom to the top
and from the top to the bottom. The survivors of the contest, those
who continued to form the great bulk of the polity, would not be those
"fittest" who got to the very top, but the great body of the moderately
"fit," whose numbers and superior propagative power enable them always
to swamp the exceptionally endowed minority.

I think it must be obvious to every one that, whether we consider the
internal or the external interests of society, it is desirable they
should be in the hands of those who are endowed with the largest
share of energy, of industry, of intellectual capacity, of tenacity of
purpose, while they are not devoid of sympathetic humanity; and, in so
far as the struggle for the means of enjoyment tends to place such men
in possession of wealth and influence, it is a process which tends
to the good of society. But the process, as we have seen, has no real
resemblance to that which adapts living beings to current conditions
in the state of nature; nor any to the artificial selection of the
horticulturist.


CCXXXVIII

Even should the whole human race be absorbed in one vast polity, within
which "absolute political justice" reigns, the struggle for existence
with the state of nature outside it, and the tendency to the return of
the struggle within, in consequence of over-multiplication, will remain;
and, unless men's inheritance from the ancestors who fought a good fight
in the state of nature, their dose of original sin, is rooted out
by some method at present unrevealed, at any rate to disbelievers in
supernaturalism, every child born into the world will still bring with
him the instinct of unlimited self-assertion. He will have to learn
the lesson of self-restraint and renunciation. But the practice of
self-restraint and renunciation is not happiness, though it may be
something much better.

That man, as a "political animal," is susceptible of a vast amount of
improvement, by education, by instruction, and by the application of his
intelligence to the adaptation of tne conditions of life to his higher
needs, I entertain not the slightest doubt. But, so long as he remains
liable to error, intellectual or moral; so long as he is compelled to be
perpetually on guard against the cosmic forces, whose ends are not
his ends, without and within himself; so long as he is haunted
by inexpugnable memories and hopeless aspirations; so long as the
recognition of his intellectual limitations forces him to acknowledge
his incapacity to penetrate the mystery of existence; the prospect of
attaining untroubled happiness, or of a state which can, even remotely,
deserve the title of perfection, appears to me to be as misleading an
illusion as ever was dangled before the eyes of poor humanity. And there
have been many of them.

That which lies before the human race is a constant struggle to maintain
and improve, in opposition to the State of Nature, the State of Art of
an organized polity; in which, and by which, man may develop a worthy
civilization, capable of maintaining and constantly improving itself,
until the evolution of our globe shall have entered so far upon its
downward course that the cosmic process resumes its sway; and, once
more, the State of Nature prevails over the surface of our planet.


CCXXXIX

From very low forms up to the highest--in the animal no less than in the
vegetable kingdom--the process of life presents the same appearance of
cyclical evolution. Nay, we have but to cast our eyes over the rest of
the world and cyclical change presents itself on all sides. It meets us
in the water that flows to the sea and returns to the springs; in the
heavenly bodies that wax and wane, go and return to their places; in the
inexorable sequence of the ages of man's life; in that successive rise,
apogee, and fall of dynasties and of states which is the most prominent
topic of civil history.


CCXL

As no man fording a swift stream can dip his foot twice into the same
water, so no man can, with exactness, affirm of anything in the sensible
world that it is. As he utters the words, nay, as he thinks them, the
predicate ceases to be applicable; the present has become the past; the
"is" should be "was." And the more we learn of the nature of things, the
more evident is it that what we call rest is only unperceived activity;
that seeming peace is silent but strenuous battle. In every part, at
every moment, the state of the cosmos is the expression of a transitory
adjustment of contending forces; a scene of strife, in which all the
combatants fall in turn. What is true of each part is true of the whole.
Natural knowledge tends more and more to the conclusion that "all the
choir of heaven and furniture of the earth" are the transitory forms of
parcels of cosmic substance wending along the road of evolution, from
nebulous potentiality, through endless growths of sun and planet and
satellite; through all varieties of matter; through infinite diversities
of life and thought; possibly, through modes of being of which we
neither have a conception, nor are competent to form any, back to
the indefinable latency from which they arose. Thus the most obvious
attribute of the cosmos is its impermanence. It assumes the aspect not
so much of a permanent entity as of a changeful process, in which naught
endures save the flow of energy and the rational order which pervades
it.


CCLXI

Man, the animal, in fact, has worked his way to the headship of the
sentient world, and has become the superb animal which he is in virtue
of his success in the struggle for existence. The conditions having
been of a certain order, man's organization has adjusted itself to them
better than mat of his competitors in the cosmic strife. In the case of
mankind, the self-assertion, the unscrupulous seizing upon all that
can be grasped, the tenacious holding of all that can be kept, which
constitute the essence of the struggle for existence, have answered.
For his successful progress, throughout the savage state, man has been
largely indebted to those qualities which he shares with the ape and
the tiger; his exceptional physical organization; his cunning, his
sociability, his curiosity, and his imitativeness; his ruthless and
ferocious destructiveness when his anger is roused by opposition.

But, in proportion as men have passed from anarchy to social
organization, and in proportion as civilization has grown in worth,
these deeply ingrained serviceable qualities have become defects. After
the manner of successful persons, civilized man would gladly kick down
the ladder by which he has climbed. He would be only too pleased to see
"the ape and tiger die." But they decline to suit his convenience; and
the unwelcome intrusion of these boon companions of his hot youth into
the ranged existence of civil life adds pains and griefs, innumerable
and immeasurably great, to those which the cosmic process necessarily
brings on the mere animal. In fact, civilized man brands all these ape
and tiger promptings with the name of sins; he punishes many of the acts
which flow from them as crimes; and, in extreme cases, he does his best
to put an end to the survival of the fittest of former days by axe and
rope.


CCXLII

In Hindustan, as in Ionia, a period of relatively high and tolerably
stable civilization had succeeded long ages of semi-barbarism and
struggle. Out of wealth and security had come leisure and refinement,
and, close at their heels, had followed the malady of thought. To
the struggle for bare existence, which never ends, though it may be
alleviated and partially disguised for a fortunate few, succeeded the
struggle to make existence intelligible and to bring the order of things
into harmony with the moral sense of man, which also never ends, but,
for the thinking few, becomes keener with every increase of knowledge
and with every step towards the realization of a worthy ideal of life.

Two thousand five hundred years ago the value of civilization was as
apparent as it is now; then, as now, it was obvious that only in the
garden of an orderly polity can the finest fruits humanity is capable of
bearing be produced. But it had also become evident that the blessings
of culture were not unmixed. The garden was apt to turn into a hothouse.
The stimulation of the senses, the pampering of the emotions, endlessly
multiplied the sources of pleasure. The constant widening of the
intellectual field indefinitely extended the range of that especially
human faculty of looking before and after, which adds to the fleeting
present those old and new worlds of the past and the future, wherein men
dwell the more the higher their culture. But that very sharpening of the
sense and that subtle refinement of emotion, which brought such a wealth
of pleasures, were fatally attended by a proportional enlargement of the
capacity for suffering; and the divine faculty of imagination, while it
created new heavens and new earths, provided them with the corresponding
hells of futile regret for the past and morbid anxiety for the future.


CCXLIII

One of the oldest and most important elements in such systems is the
conception of justice. Society is impossible unless those who are
associated agree to observe certain rules of conduct towards one
another; its stability depends on the steadiness with which they abide
by that agreement; and, so far as they waver, that mutual trust which is
the bond of society is weakened or destroyed. Wolves could not hunt in
packs except for the real, though unexpressed, understanding that they
should not attack one another during the chase. The most rudimentary
polity is a pack of men living under the like tacit, or expressed,
understanding; and having made the very important advance upon wolf
society, that they agree to use the force of the whole body against
individuals who violate it and in favour of those who observe it. This
observance of a common understanding, with the consequent distribution
of punishments and rewards according to accepted rules, received the
name of justice, while the contrary was called injustice. Early ethics
did not take much note of the animus of the violator of the rules.
But civilization could not advance far without the establishment of a
capital distinction between the case of involuntary and that of wilful
misdeed; between a merely wrong action and a guilty one.

And, with increasing refinement of moral appreciation, the problem of
desert, which arises out of this distinction, acquired more and more
theoretical and practical importance. If life must be given for life,
yet it was recognized that the unintentional slayer did not altogether
deserve death; and, by a sort of compromise between the public and the
private conception of justice, a sanctuary was provided in which he
might take refuge from the avenger of blood.

The idea of justice thus underwent a gradual sublimation from punishment
and reward according to acts, to punishment and reward according to
desert; or, in other words, according to motive. Righteousness, that is,
action from right motive, not only became synonymous with justice, but
the positive constituent of innocence and the very heart of goodness.


CCXLIV

Everyday experience familiarizes us with the facts which are grouped
under the name of heredity. Every one of us bears upon him obvious marks
of his parentage, perhaps of remoter relationships. More particularly,
the sum of tendencies to act in a certain, way, which we call
"character," is often to be traced through a long series of progenitors
and collaterals. So we may justly say that this "character"--this moral
and intellectual essence of a man--does veritably pass over from
one fleshy tabernacle to another, ana does really transmigrate from
generation to generation. In the new-born infant the character of
the stock lies latent, and the Ego is little more than a bundle
of potentialities. But, very early, these become actualities; from
childhood to age they manifest themselves in dulness or brightness,
weakness or strength, viciousness or uprightness; and with each feature
modified by confluence with another character, if by nothing else, the
character passes on to its incarnation in new bodies.


CCXLV

Only one rule of conduct could be based upon the remarkable theory of
which I have endeavoured to give a reasoned outline. It was folly
to continue to exist when an overplus of pain was certain; and the
probabilities in favour of the increase of misery with the prolongation
of existence, were so overwhelming. Slaying the body only made matters
worse; there was nothing for it but to slay the soul by the voluntary
arrest of all its activities. Property, social ties, family affections,
common companionship, must be abandoned; the most natural appetites,
even that for food, must be suppressed, or at least minimized; until all
that remained of a man was the impassive, extenuated, mendicant monk,
self-hypnotised into cataleptic trances, which the deluded mystic took
for foretastes of the final union with Brahma.


CCXLVI

If the cosmos is the effect of an immanent, omnipotent, and infinitely
beneficent cause, the existence in it of real evil, still less of
necessarily inherent evil, is plainly inadmissible. Yet the universal
experience of mankind testified then, as now, that, whether we look
within us or without us, evil stares us in the face on all sides; that
if anything is real, pain and sorrow and wrong are realities.

It would be a new thing in history if _a priori_ philosophers were
daunted by the factious opposition of experience; and the Stoics were
the last men to allow themselves to be beaten by mere facts. "Give me a
doctrine and I will find the reasons for it," said Chrysippus. So they
perfected, if they did not invent, that ingenious and plausible form of
pleading, the Theodicy; for the purpose of showing firstly, that
there is no such thing as evil; secondly, that if there is, it is the
necessary correlate of good; and, moreover, that it is either due to our
own fault, or inflicted for our benefit.


CCXLVII

Unfortunately, it is much easier to shut one's eyes to good than to
evil. Pain and sorrow knock at our doors more loudly than pleasure
and happiness; and the prints of their heavy footsteps are less easily
effaced.


CCXLVIII

In the language of the Stoa, "Nature" was a word of many meanings. There
was the "Nature" of the cosmos, and the "Nature" of man. In the latter,
the animal "nature," which man shares with a moiety of the living part
of the cosmos, was distinguished from a higher "nature." Even in
this higher nature there were grades of rank. The logical faculty is an
instrument which may be turned to account for any purpose. The passions
and the emotions are so closely tied to tne lower nature that they may
be considered to be pathological, rather than normal, phenomena. The one
supreme, hegemonic, faculty, which constitutes the essential "nature"
of man, is most nearly represented by that which, in the language of a
later philosophy, has been called the pure reason. It is this "nature"
which holds up the ideal of the supreme good and demands absolute
submission of the will to its behests. It is this which commands all men
to love one another, to return good for evil, to regard one another as
fellow-citizens of one great state. Indeed, seeing that the progress
towards perfection of a civilised state, or polity, depends on the
obedience of its members to these commands, the Stoics sometimes termed
the pure reason the "political" nature. Unfortunately, the sense of the
adjective has undergone so much modification that the application of it
to that which commands the sacrifice of self to the common good would
now sound almost grotesque.


CCXLIX

The majority of us, I apprehend, profess neither pessimism nor optimism.
We hold that the world is neither so good, nor so bad, as it conceivably
might be; and, as most of us have reason, now and again, to discover
that it can be. Those who have failed to experience the joys that make
life worth living are, probably, in as small a minority as those who
have never known the griefs that rob existence of its savour and turn
its richest fruits into mere dust and ashes.


CCL

There is another fallacy which appears to me to pervade the so-called
"ethics of evolution." It is the notion that because, on the whole,
animals and plants have advanced in perfection of organization by
means of the struggle for existence and the consequent "survival of the
fittest"; therefore men in society, men as ethical beings, must look to
the same process to help them towards perfection. I suspect that this
fallacy has arisen out of the unfortunate ambiguity of the phrase
"survival of the fittest." "Fittest" has a connotation of "best"; and
about "best" there hangs a moral flavour. In cosmic nature, however,
what is "fittest" depends upon the conditions. Long since, I ventured to
point out that if our hemisphere were to cool again, the survival of
the fittest might bring about, in the vegetable kingdom, a population
of more and more stunted and humbler and humbler organisms, until the
"fittest" that survived might be nothing but lichens, diatoms, and such
microscopic organisms as those which give red snow its colour; while, if
it became hotter, the pleasant valleys of the Thames and Isis might
be uninhabitable by any animated beings save those that flourish in a
tropical jungle. They, as the fittest, the best adapted to the changed
conditions, would survive.


CCLI

The practice of that which is ethically best--what we call goodness or
virtue--involves a course of conduct which, in all respects, is opposed
to that which leads to success in the cosmic struggle for existence. In
place of ruthless self-assertion it demands self-restraint; in place of
thrusting aside, or treading down, all competitors, it requires that
the individual shall not merely respect, but shall help his fellows; its
influence is directed, not so much to the survival of the fittest, as
to the fitting of as many as possible to survive. It repudiates the
gladiatorial theory of existence. It demands that each man who enters
into the enjoyment of the advantages of a polity shall be mindful of his
debt to those who have laboriously constructed it: and shall take heed
that no act of his weakens the fabric in which he has been permitted
to live. Laws and moral precepts are directed to the end of curbing
the cosmic process and reminding the individual of his duty to the
community, to the protection and influence of which he owes, if not
existence itself, at least the life of something better than a brutal
savage.


CCLII

The theory of evolution encourages no millennial anticipations. If, for
millions of years, our globe has taken the upward road, yet, some time,
the summit will be reached and the downward route will be commenced. The
most daring imagination will hardly venture upon the suggestion that the
power and the intelligence of man can ever arrest the procession of the
great year.

Moreover, the cosmic nature born with us and, to a large extent,
necessary for our maintenance, is the outcome of millions of years of
severe training, and it would be folly to imagine that a few centuries
will suffice to subdue its masterfulness to purely ethical ends. Ethical
nature may count upon having to reckon with a tenacious and powerful
enemy as long as the world lasts. But, on the other hand, I see no limit
to the extent to which intelligence and will, guided by sound principles
of investigation, and organized in common effort, may modify the
conditions of existence, for a period longer than that now covered by
history. And much may be done to change the nature of man himself.
The intelligence which has converted the brother of the wolf into the
faithful guardian of the flock ought to be able to do something towards
curbing the instincts of savagery in civilized men.

But if we may permit ourselves a larger hope of abatement of the
essential evil of the world than was possible to those who, in the
infancy of exact knowledge, faced the problem of existence more than
a score of centuries ago, I deem it an essential condition of the
realization of that hope that we should cast aside the notion that the
escape from pain and sorrow is the proper object of life.


CCLIII

We have long since emerged from the heroic childhood of our race, when
good and evil could be met with the same "frolic welcome"; the attempts
to escape from evil, whether Indian or Greek, have ended in flight
from the battle-field; it remains to us to throw aside the youthful
over-confidence and the no less youthful discouragement of nonage. We
are grown men, and must play the man

                           strong in will
     To strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield,

cherishing the good that falls in our way, and bearing the evil, in and
around us, with stout hearts set on diminishing it. So far, we all may
strive in one faith towards one hope:

     It may be that the gulfs will wash us down,
     It may be we shall touch the Happy Isles,

 .... but something ere the end,
     Some work of noble note may yet be done.


CCLIV

I do not suppose that I am exceptionally endowed because I have all my
life enjoyed a keen perception of the beauty offered us by nature and
by art Now physical science may and probably will, some day, enable our
posterity to set forth the exact physical concomitants and conditions of
the strange rapture of beauty. But if ever that day arrives, the rapture
will remain, just as it is now, outside and beyond the physical world;
and, even in the mental world, something superadded to mere sensation.
I do not wish to crow unduly over my humble cousin the orang, but in
the aesthetic province, as in that of tine intellect, I am afraid he
is nowhere. I doubt not he would detect a fruit amidst a wilderness of
leaves where I could see nothing; but I am tolerably confident that he
has never been awestruck, as I have been, by the dim religious gloom, as
of a temple devoted to the earthgods, of the tropical forests which
he inhabits. Yet I doubt not that our poor long-armed and short-legged
friend, as he sits meditatively munching his durian fruit, has something
behind that sad Socratic face of his which is utterly "beyond the bounds
of physical science." Physical science may know all about his clutching
the fruit and munching it and digesting it, and how the physical
titillation of his palate is transmitted to some microscopic cells
of the gray matter of his brain. But the feelings of sweetness and of
satisfaction which, for a moment, hang out their signal lights in his
melancholy eyes, are as utterly outside the bounds of physics as is the
"fine frenzy" of a human rhapsodist.


CCIV

When I was a mere boy, with a perverse tendency to think when I ought
to have been playing, my mind was greatly exercised by this formidable
problem, What would become of things if they lost their qualities?
As the qualities had no objective existence, and the thing without
qualities was nothing, the solid world seemed whittled away--to my
great horror. As I grew older, and learned to use the terms "matter"
and "force," the boyish problem was revived, _mutato nomine_. On the
one hand, the notion of matter without force seemed to resolve the world
into a set of geometrical ghosts, too dead even to jabber. On the other
hand, Boscovich's hypothesis, by which matter was resolved into centres
of force, was very attractive. But when one tried to think it out,
what in the world became of force considered as an objective entity?
Force, even the most materialistic of philosophers will agree with the
most idealistic, is nothing but a name for the cause of motion. And if,
with Boscovich, I resolved things into centres of force, then matter
vanished altogether and left immaterial entities in its place. One might
as well frankly accept Idealism and have done with it.


CCLVI

Tolerably early in life I discovered that one of the unpardonable
sins, in the eyes of most people, is for a man to presume to go about
unlabeled. The world regards such a person as the police do an unmuzzled
dog, not under proper control. I could find no label that would suit
me, so, in my desire to range myself and be respectable, I invented one;
and, as the chief thing I was sure of was that I did not know a great
many things that the -ists and the -ites about me professed to be
familiar with, I called myself an Agnostic. Surely no denomination could
be more modest or more appropriate; and I cannot imagine why I should be
every now and then haled out of my refuge and declared sometimes to be
a Materialist, sometimes an Atheist, sometimes a Positivist, and
sometimes, alas and alack, a cowardly or reactionary Obscurantist.


CCLVII

Lastly, with respect to the old riddle of the freedom of the will. In
the only sense in which the word freedom is intelligible to me--that is
to say, the absence of any restraint upon doing what one likes within
certain limits--physical science certainly gives no more ground for
doubting it than the common sense of mankind does. And if physical
science, in strengthening our belief in the universality of causation
and abolishing chance as an absurdity, leads to the conclusion of
determinism, it does no more than follow the track of consistent and
logical thinkers in philosophy and in theology, before it existed or was
thought of. Whoever accepts the universality of the law of causation as
a dogma of philosophy, denies the existence of uncaused phenomena. And
the essence of that which is improperly called the freewill doctrine is
that occasionally, at any rate, human volition is self-caused, that is
to say, not caused at all; for to cause oneself one must have anteceded
oneself--which is, to say the least of it, difficult to imagine.


CCLVIII

If the diseases of society consist in the weakness of its faith in
the existence of the God of the theologians, in a future state, and in
uncaused volitions, the indication, as the doctors say, is to suppress
Theology and Philosophy, whose bickerings about things of which they
know nothing have been the prime cause and continual sustenance of that
evil scepticism which is the Nemesis of meddling with the unknowable.

Cinderella is modestly conscious of her ignorance of these high matters.
She lights the fire, sweeps the house, and provides the dinner; and is
rewarded by being told that she is a base creature, devoted to low and
material interests. But in her garret she has fairy visions out of the
ken of the pair of shrews who are quarrelling downstairs. She sees the
order which pervades the seeming disorder of the world; the great drama
of evolution, with its full share of pity and terror, but also with
abundant goodness and beauty, unrolls itself before her eyes; and she
learns, in her heart of hearts, the lesson, that the foundation of
morality is to have done, once and for all, with lying; to give up
pretending to believe that for which there is no evidence, and repeating
unintelligible propositions about things beyond the possibilities of
knowledge.

She knows that the safety of morality lies neither in the adoption of
this or that philosophical speculation, or this or that theological
creed, but in a real and living belief in that fixed order of nature
which sends social disorganisation upon the track of immorality, as
surely as it sends physical disease after physical trespasses. And of
that firm and lively faith it is her high mission to be the priestess.


CCLIX

The first act of a new-born child is to draw a deep breath. In fact, it
will never draw a deeper, inasmuch as the passages and chambers of the
lungs, once distended with air, do not empty themselves again; it is
only a fraction of their contents which passes in and out with the flow
and the ebb of the respiratory tide. Mechanically, this act of drawing
breath, or inspiration, is of the same nature as that by which the
handles of a bellows are separated, in order to fill the bellows with
air; and, in like manner, it involves that expenditure of energy which
we call exertion, or work, or labour. It is, therefore, no mere metaphor
to say that man is destined to a life of toil: the work of respiration
which began with his first breath ends only with his last; nor does one
born in the purple get off with a lighter task than the child who first
sees light under a hedge.

How is it that the new-born infant is enabled to perform this first
instalment of the sentence of lifelong labour which no man may escape?
Whatever else a child may be, in respect of this particular question, it
is a complicated piece of mechanism, built up out of materials supplied
by its mother; and in the course of such building-up, provided with a
set of motors--the muscles. Each of these muscles contains a stock of
substance capable of yielding energy under certain conditions, one of
which is a change of state in the nerve-fibres connected with it The
powder in a loaded gun is such another stock of substance capable of
yielding energy in consequence of a change of state in the mechanism of
the lock, which intervenes between the finger of the man who pulls
the trigger and the cartridge. If that change is brought about, the
potential energy of the powder passes suddenly into actual energy, and
does the work of propelling the bullet The powder, therefore, may be
appropriately called work-stuff not only because it is stuff which is
easily made to yield work in the physical sense, but because a good
deal of work in the economical sense has contributed to its production.
Labour was necessary to collect, transport, and purify the raw sulphur
and saltpetre; to cut wood and convert it into powdered charcoal; to
mix these ingredients in the right proportions; to give the mixture the
proper grain, and so on. The powder once formed part of the stock, or
capital, of a powder-maker: and it is not only certain natural bodies
which are collected and stored in the gunpowder, but the labour bestowed
on the operations mentioned may be figuratively said to be incorporated
in it.


CCLX

In principle, the work-stuff stored in the muscles of the new-born child
is comparable to that stored in the gun-barrel. The infant is launched
into altogether new surroundings; and these operate through the
mechanism of the nervous machinery, with the result that the potential
energy of some of the work-stuff in the muscles which bring about
inspiration is suddenly converted into actual energy; and this,
operating through the mechanism of the respiratory apparatus, gives rise
to an act of inspiration. As the bullet is propelled by the "going off"
of the powder, as it might be said that the ribs are raised and the
midriff depressed by the "going off" of certain portions of muscular
work-stuff. This work-stuff is part of a stock or capital of that
commodity stored up in the child s organism before birth, at the expense
of the mother; and the mother has made good her expenditure by drawing
upon the capital of food-stuffs which furnished her daily maintenance.

Under these circumstances, it does not appear to me to be open to doubt
that the primary act of outward labour in the series which necessarily
accompany the life of man is dependent upon the pre-existence of a stock
of material which is not only of use to him, but which is disposed in
such a manner as to be utilisable with facility. And I further imagine
that the propriety of the application of the term "capital" to this
stock of useful substance cannot be justly called in question; inasmuch
as it is easy to prove that the essential constituents of the work-stuff
accumulated in the child's muscles have merely been transferred from the
store of food-stuffs, which everybody admits to be capital, by means
of the maternal organism to that of the child, in which they are again
deposited to await use. Every subsequent act of labour, in like
manner, involves an equivalent consumption of the child's store of
work-stuff--its vital capital; and one of the main objects of the
process of breathing is to get rid of some of the effects of that
consumption. It follows, then, that, even if no other than the
respiratory work were going on in the organism, the capital of
work-stuff, which the child brought with it into the world, must sooner
or later be used up, and the movements of breathing must come to an end;
just as the see-saw of the piston of a steam-engine stops when the coal
in the fireplace has burnt away. Milk, however, is a stock of materials
which essentially consists of savings from the food-stuffs supplied
to the mother. And these savings are in such a physical and chemical
condition that the organism of the child can easily convert them into
work-stuff. That is to say, by borrowing directly from the vital
capital of the mother, indirectly from the store in the natural bodies
accessible to her; it can make good the loss of its own. The operation
of borrowing, however, involves further work; that is, the labour of
sucking, which is a mechanical operation of much the same nature as
breathing. The child thus pays for the capital it borrows m labour; but
as the value in work-stuff of the milk obtained is very far greater than
the value of that labour, estimated by the consumption of work-stuff
it involves, the operation yields a large profit to the infant. The
overplus of food-stuff suffices to increase the child's capital of
work-stuff; and to supply not only the materials for the enlargement of
the "buildings and machinery" which is expressed by the child's growth,
but also the energy required to put all these materials together, and
to carry them to their proper places. Thus, throughout the years of
infancy, and so long thereafter as the youth or man is not thrown upon
his own resources, he lives by consuming the vital capital provided by
others.


CCLXI

Let us now suppose the child come to man's estate in the condition of
a wandering savage, dependent for his food upon what he can pick up or
catch, after the fashion of the Australian aborigines. It is plain that
the place of mother, as the supplier of vital capital, is now taken
by the fruits, seeds, and roots of plants and by various kinds of
animals....

The savage, like the child, borrows the capital he needs, and, at any
rate, intentionally, does nothing towards repayment; it would plainly be
an improper use of the word "produce" to say that his labour in hunting
for the roots, or the fruits, or the eggs, or the grubs and snakes,
which he finds and eats, "produces" or contributes to "produce" them.
The same thing is true of more advanced tribes, who are still merely
hunters, such as the Esquimaux. They may expend more labour and skill;
but it is spent in destruction.


CCLXII

When we find set forth as an "absolute" truth the statement that
the essential factors in economic production are land, capital and
labour--when this is offered as an axiom whence all sorts of other
important truths may be deduced--it is needful to remember that the
assertion is true only with a qualification. Undoubtedly "vital capital"
is essential; for, as we have seen, no human work can be done unless it
exists, not even that internal work of the body which is necessary to
passive life. But, with respect to labour (that is, human labour) I hope
to have left no doubt on the reader's mind that, m regard to production,
the importance of human labour may be so small as to be almost a
vanishing quantity.


CCLXIII

The one thing needful for economic production is the green plant, as the
sole producer of vital capital from natural inorganic bodies. Men might
exist without labour (in the ordinary sense) and without land; without
plants they must inevitably perish.


CCLXIV

Since no amount of labour can produce an ounce of food-stuff beyond
the maximum producible by a limited number of plants, under the most
favourable circumstances in regard to those conditions which are not
affected by labour, it follows that, if the number of men to be fed
increases indefinitely, a time must come when some will have to starve.
That is the essence of the so-called Malthusian doctrine; and it is a
truth which, to my mind, is as plain as the general proposition that a
quantity which constantly increases will, some time or other, exceed any
greater quantity the amount of which is fixed.


CCLXV

"Virtually" is apt to cover more intellectual sins than "charity" does
moral delicts.


CCLXVI

The notion that the value of a thing bears any necessary relation to the
amount of labour (average or otherwise) bestowed upon it, is a fallacy
which needs no further refutation than it has already received. The
average amount of labour bestowed upon warming-pans confers no value
upon them in the eyes of a Gold-Coast negro; nor would an Esquimaux give
a slice of blubber for the most elaborate of ice-machines.


CCLXVII

Who has ever imagined that wealth which, in the hands of an employer,
is capital, ceases to be capital if it is in the hands of a labourer?
Suppose a workman to be paid thirty shillings on Saturday evening for
six days' labour, that thirty shillings comes out of the employer's
capital, and receives the name of "wages" simply because it is exchanged
for labour. In the workman's pocket, as he goes home, it is a part of
his capital, in exactly the same sense as, half an hour before, it was
part of the employer's capital; he is a capitalist just as much as if he
were a Rothschild.


CCLXVIII

I think it may be not too much to say that, of all the political
delusions which are current in this queer world, the very stupidest are
those which assume that labour and capital are necessarily antagonistic;
that all capital is produced by labour and therefore, by natural right,
is the property of the labourer; that the possessor of capital is a
robber who preys on the workman and appropriates to himself that which
he has had no share in producing.

On the contrary, capital and labour are necessarily, close allies;
capital is never a product of human labour alone; it exists apart from
human labour; it is the necessary antecedent of labour; and it furnishes
the materials on which labour is employed. The only indispensable form
of capital--vital capital--cannot be produced by human labour. All that
man can do is to favour its formation by the real producers. There is no
intrinsic relation between the amount of labour bestowed on an article
and its value in exchange. The claim of labour to the total result of
operations which are rendered possible only by capital is simply an _a
priori_ iniquity.


CCLXIX

The vast and varied procession of events, which we call Nature, affords
a sublime spectacle and an inexhaustible wealth of attractive problems
to the speculative observer. If we confine our attention to that aspect
which engages the attention of the intellect, nature appears a beautiful
and harmonious whole, the incarnation of a faultless logical process,
from certain premisses in the past to an inevitable conclusion in the
future. But if it be regarded from a less elevated, though more human,
point of view; if our moral sympathies are allowed to influence our
judgment, and we permit ourselves to criticize our great mother as we
criticize one another; then our verdict, at least so far as sentient
nature is concerned, can hardly be so favourable.

In sober truth, to those who have made a study of the phenomena of
life as they are exhibited by the higher forms of the animal world, the
optimistic dogma, that this is the best of all possible worlds, will
seem little better than a libel upon possibility. It is really only
another instance to be added to the many extant, of the audacity of _a
priori_ speculators who, having created God in their own image, find no
difficulty in assuming that the Almighty must have been actuated by
the same motives as themselves. They are quite sure that, had any other
course been practicable, He would no more have made infinite suffering
a necessary ingredient of His handiwork than a respectable philosopher
would have done the like.

But even the modified optimism of the time-honoured thesis of
physico-theology, that the sentient world is, on the whole, regulated
by principles of benevolence, does but ill stand the test of impartial
confrontation with the facts of the case. No doubt it is quite true
that sentient nature affords hosts of examples of subtle contrivances
directed towards the production of pleasure or the avoidance of pain;
and it may be proper to say that these are evidences of benevolence.
But if so, why is it not equally proper to say of the equally numerous
arrangements, the no less necessary result of which is the production of
pain, that they are evidences of malevolence?

If a vast amount of that which, in a piece of human workmanship, we
should call skill, is visible in those parts of the organization of a
deer to which it owes its ability to escape from beasts of prey, there
is at least equal skill displayed in that bodily mechanism of the wolf
which enables him to track, and sooner or later to bring down, the
deer. Viewed under the dry light of science, deer and wolf are alike
admirable; and, if both were non-sentient automata, there would be
nothing to qualify our admiration of the action of the one on the other.
But the fact that the deer suffers, while the wolf inflicts suffering,
engages our moral sympathies. We should call men like the deer innocent
and good, men such as the wolf malignant and bad; we should call those
who defended the deer and aided him to escape brave and compassionate,
and those who helped the wolf in his bloody work base and cruel. Surely,
if we transfer these judgments to nature outside the world of man at
all, we must do so impartially. In that case, the goodness of the right
hand which helps the deer, and wickedness of the left hand which eggs
on the wolf, will neutralize one another: and the course of nature will
appear to be neither moral nor immoral, but non-moral.

This conclusion is thrust upon us by analogous facts in every part of
the sentient world; yet, mas-much as it not only jars upon prevalent
prejudices, but arouses the natural dislike to that which is painful,
much ingenuity has been exercised in devising an escape from it.


CCLXX

From the point of view of the moralist the animal world is on about the
same level as a gladiator's show. The creatures are fairly well
treated, and set to fight--whereby the strongest, the swiftest, and the
cunningest live to fight another day. The spectator has no need to turn
his thumbs down, as no quarter is given. He must admit that the skill
and training displayed are wonderful. But he must shut his eyes if he
would not see that more or less enduring suffering is the meed of both
vanquished and victor. And since the great game is going on in every
corner of the world, thousands of times a minute; since, were our ears
sharp enough, we need not descend to the gates of hell to hear--

       ....sospiri, pianti, ed alti guai.
     Voci alte e fioche, e suon di man con elle

--it seems to follow that, if this world is governed by benevolence, it
must be a different sort of benevolence from that of John Howard.


CCLXXI

This may not be the best of all possible worlds, but to say that it
is the worst is mere petulant nonsense. A worn-out voluptuary may find
nothing good under the sun, or a vain and inexperienced youth, who
cannot get the moon he cries for, may vent his irritation in pessimistic
moanings; but there can be no doubt in the mind of any reasonable
person that mankind could, would, and in fact do, get on fairly well
with vastly less happiness and far more misery than find their way into
the lives of nine people out of ten. If each and all of us had been
visited by an attack of neuralgia, or of extreme mental depression,
for one hour in every twenty-four--a supposition which many tolerably
vigorous people know, to their cost, is not extravagant--the burden
of life would have been immensely increased without much practical
hindrance to its general course. Men with any manhood in them find life
quite worth living under worse conditions than these.


CCLXXII

There is another sufficiently obvious fact, which renders the hypothesis
that the course of sentient nature is dictated by malevolence quite
untenable. A vast multitude of pleasures, and these among the purest and
the best, are superfluities, bits of good which are to all appearance
unnecessary as inducements to live, and are, so to speak, thrown into
the bargain of life. To those who experience them, few delights can be
more entrancing than such as are afforded by natural beauty, or by the
arts, and especially by music; but they are products of, rather than
factors in, evolution, and it is probable that they are known, in any
considerable degree, to but a very small proportion of mankind.


CCLXXIII

The conclusion of the whole matter seems to be that, if Ormuzd has not
had his way in this world, neither has Ahriman. Pessimism is as little
consonant with the facts of sentient existence as optimism. If we desire
to represent the course of nature in terms of human thought, and assume
that it was intended to be that which it is, we must say that its
governing principle is intellectual and not moral; that it is a
materialized logical process, accompanied by pleasures and pains, the
incidence of which, in the majority of cases, has not the slightest
reference to moral desert That the rain falls alike upon the just and
the unjust, and that those upon whom the Tower of Siloam fell were no
worse than their neighbours, seem to be Oriental modes of expressing the
same conclusion.


CCLXXIV

In the strict sense of the word "nature," it denotes the sum of the
phenomenal world, of that which has been, and is, and will be; and
society, like art, is therefore a part of nature. But it is convenient
to distinguish those parts of nature in which man plays the part of
immediate cause, as something apart; and therefore, society, like art,
is usefully to be considered as distinct from nature. It is the more
desirable, and even necessary, to make this distinction, since society
differs from nature in having a definite moral object; whence it comes
about that the course shaped by the ethical man--the member of society
or citizen--necessarily runs counter to that which tne non-ethical
man--the primitive savage, or man as a mere member of the animal
kingdom--tends to adopt. The latter fights out the struggle for
existence to the bitter end, like any other animal; the former devotes
his best energies to the object of setting limits to the struggle.


CCLXXV

The first men who substituted the state of mutual peace for that of
mutual war, whatever the motive which impelled them to take that step,
created society. But, in establishing peace, they obviously put a limit
upon the struggle for existence. Between the members of that society,
at any rate, it was not to be pursued _à outrance_. And of all the
successive shapes which society has taken, that most nearly approaches
perfection in which the war of individual against individual is most
strictly limited. The primitive savage, tutored by Istar, appropriated
whatever took his fancy, and killed whosoever opposed him, if he could.
On the contrary, the ideal of the ethical man is to limit his freedom
of action to a sphere in which he does not interfere with the freedom of
others; he seeks the common weal as much as his own; and, indeed, as an
essential part of his own welfare. Peace is both end and means with him;
and he founds his life on a more or less complete self-restraint, which
is the negation of the unlimited struggle for existence. He tries
to escape from his place in the animal kingdom, founded on the free
development of the principle of non-moral evolution, and to establish
a kingdom of Man, governed upon the principle of moral evolution. For
society not only has a moral end, but in its perfection, social life, is
embodied morality.


CCLXXVI

I was once talking with a very eminent physician* about the vis
medicatrix naturæ. "Stuff!" said he; "nine times out of ten nature does
not want to cure the man: she wants to put him in his coffin."

     * The late Sir W. Gull.


CCLXXVII

Let us look at home. For seventy years peace and industry have had their
way among us with less interruption and under more favourable conditions
than in any other country on the face of the earth. The wealth
of Croesus was nothing to that which we have accumulated, and our
prosperity has filled the world with envy. But Nemesis did not forget
Croesus: has she forgotten us?


CCLXXVIII

Judged by an ethical standard, nothing can be less satisfactory than
the position in which we find ourselves. In a real, though incomplete,
degree we have attained the condition of peace which is the main object
of social organization; and, for argument's sake, it may be assumed
that we desire nothing but that which is in itself innocent and
praiseworthy--namely, the enjoyment of the fruits of honest industry.
And lo! in spite of ourselves, we are in reality engaged in an
internecine struggle for existence with our presumably no less peaceful
and well-meaning neighbours. We seek peace and we do not ensue it. The
moral nature in us asks for no more than is compatible with the general
good; the non-moral nature proclaims and acts upon that fine old
Scottish family motto, "Thou shalt starve ere I want." Let us be under
no illusions, then. So long as unlimited multiplication goes on, no
social organization which has ever been devised, or is likely to be
devised, no fiddle-faddling with the distribution of wealth, will
deliver society from the tendency to be destroyed by the reproduction
within itself, in its intensest form, of that struggle for existence the
limitation of which is the object of society. And however shocking
to the moral sense this eternal competition of man against man and of
nation against nation may be; however revolting may be the accumulation
of misery at the negative pole of society, in contrast with that of
monstrous wealth at the positive pole; this state of things must abide,
and grow continually worse, so long as Istar holds her way unchecked. It
is the true riddle of the Sphinx; and every nation which does not solve
it will sooner or later be devoured by the monster itself has generated.


CCLXXIX

It would be folly to entertain any ill-feeling towards those neighbours
and rivals who, like ourselves, are slaves of Istar; but if somebody
is to be starved, the modern world has no Oracle of Delphi to which the
nations can appeal for an indication of the victim. It is open to us
to try our fortune; and, if we avoid impending fate, there will be a
certain ground for believing: that we are the right people to escape.
_Securus judical orbis_.

To this end, it is well to look into the necessary conditions of our
salvation by works. They are two, one plain to all the world and hardly
needing insistence; the other seemingly not so plain, since too often
it has been theoretically and practically left out of sight The obvious
condition is that our produce snail be better than that of others. There
is only one reason why our goods should be referred to those of our
rivals--our customers must find them better at the price. That means
that we must use more knowledge, skill, and industry in producing them,
without a proportionate increase in the cost of production; and, as the
price of labour constitutes a large element in that cost, the rate of
wages must be restricted within certain limits. It is perfectly true
that cheap production and cheap labour are by no means synonymous; but
it is also true that wages cannot increase beyond a certain proportion
without destroying cheapness. Cheapness, then, with, as part and parcel
of cheapness, a moderate price of labour, is essential to our success as
competitors in the markets of the world.

The second condition is really quite as plainly indispensable as the
first, if one thinks seriously about the matter. It is social stability.
Society-is stable when the wants of its members obtain as much
satisfaction as, life being what it is, common sense and experience show
may be reasonably expected. Mankind, in general, care very little for
forms of government or ideal considerations of any sort; and nothing
really stirs the great multitude to break with custom and incur the
manifest perils of revolt except the belief that misery in this world,
or damnation in the next, or both, are threatened by the continuance of
the state of things in which they have been brought up. But when they
do attain that conviction, society becomes as unstable as a package of
dynamite, and a very small matter will produce the explosion which sends
it back to the chaos of savagery.


CCLXXX

Intelligence, knowledge, and skill are undoubtedly conditions of
success; but of what avail are they likely to be unless they are
backed up by honesty, energy, goodwill, and all the physical and
moral faculties that go to the making of manhood, and unless they are
stimulated by hope of such reward as men may fairly look to? And what
dweller in the slough of want, dwarfed in body and soul, demoralized,
hopeless, can reasonably be expected to possess these qualities?


CCLXXXI

I am as strongly convinced as the most pronounced individualist can be,
that it is desirable that every man should be free to act in every way
which does not limit the corresponding freedom of his fellow-man. But
I fail to connect that great induction of political science with
the practical corollary which is frequently drawn from it: that the
State--that is, the people in their corporate capacity--has no business
to meddle with anything but the administration of justice and external
defence. It appears to me that the amount of freedom which incorporate
society may fitly leave to its members is not a fixed quantity, to be
determined _a priori_ by deduction from the fiction called
"natural rights"; but that it must be determined by, and vary with,
circumstances. I conceive it to be demonstrable that the higher and the
more complex the organization of the social body, the more closely is
the life of each member bound up with that of the whole; and the larger
becomes the category of acts which cease to be merely self-regarding, and
which interfere with the freedom of others more or less seriously.

If a squatter, living ten miles away from any neighbour, chooses to burn
his house down to get rid of vermin, there may be no necessity (in the
absence of insurance offices) that the law should interfere with his
freedom of action; his act can hurt nobody but himself. But if the
dweller in a street chooses to do the same thing, the State very
properly makes such a proceeding a crime, and punishes it as such. He
does meddle with his neighbour's freedom, and that seriously. So it
might, perhaps, be a tenable doctrine, that it would be needless, and
even tyrannous, to make education compulsory in a sparse agricultural
population, living in abundance on the produce of its own soil; but, in
a densely populated manufacturing country, struggling for existence with
competitors, every ignorant person tends to become a burden upon, and,
so far, an infringer of the liberty of, his fellows, and an obstacle to
their success. Under such circumstances an education rate is, in fact, a
war tax, levied for purposes of defence.


CCLXXXII

That State action always has been more or less misdirected, and always
will be so, is, I believe, perfectly true. But I am not aware that it is
more true of the action of men in their corporate capacity than it is
of the doings of individuals. The wisest and most dispassionate man
in existence, merely wishing to go from one stile in a field to the
opposite, will not walk quite straight--he is always going a little
wrong, and always correcting himself; and I can only congratulate the
individualist who is able to say that his general course of life has
been of a less undulatory character. To abolish State action, because
its direction is never more than approximately correct, appears to me
to be much the same thing as abolishing the man at the wheel altogether,
because, do what he will, the ship yaws more or less. "Why should I be
robbed of my property to pay for teaching another man's children?" is an
individualist question, which is not unfrequently put as if it settles
the whole business. Perhaps it does, but I find difficulties in seeing
why it should. The parish in which I live makes me pay my share for the
paving and lighting of a great many streets that I never pass through;
and I might plead that I am robbed to smooth the way and lighten the
darkness of other people. But I am afraid the parochial authorities
would not let me off on this plea; and I must confess I do not see why
they should.


CCLXXXIII

I cannot speak of my own knowledge, but I have every reason to believe
that I came into this world a small reddish person, certainly without
a gold spoon in my mouth, and in fact with no discernible abstract or
concrete "rights" or property of any description. If a foot was not
set upon me at once, as a squalling nuisance, it was either the natural
affection of those about me, which I certainly had done nothing to
deserve, or the fear of the law which, ages before my birth, was
painfully built up by the society into which I intruded, that prevented
that catastrophe. If I was nourished, cared for, taught, saved from the
vagabondage of a wastrel, I certainly am not aware that I did anything
to deserve those advantages. And, if I possess anything now, it strikes
me that, though I may have fairly earned my day's wages for my
day's work, and may justly call them my property--yet, without that
organization of society, created out of the toil and blood of long
generations before my time, I should probably have had nothing but a
flint axe and an indifferent hut to call my own; and even those would be
mine only so long as no stranger savage came my way.

So that if society, having, quite gratuitously, done all these things
for me, asks me in turn to do something towards its preservation--even
if that something is to contribute to the teaching of other men's
children--I really, in spite of all my individualist learnings, feel
rather ashamed to say no. And, if I were not ashamed, I cannot say that
I think that society would be dealing unjustly with me in converting
the moral obligation into a legal one. There is a manifest unfairness in
letting all the burden be borne by the willing horse.


CCLXXXIV

It is impossible to insist too strongly upon the fact that efficient
teachers of science and of technology are not to be made by the
processes in vogue at ordinary training colleges. The memory loaded with
mere bookwork is not the thing wanted--is, in fact, rather worse
than useless--in the teacher of scientific subjects. It is absolutely
essential that his mind should be full of knowledge and not of mere
learning, and that what he knows should have been learned in the
laboratory rather than in the library.


CCLXXXV

The attempt to form a just conception of the value of work done in any
department of human knowledge, and of its significance as an indication
of the intellectual and moral qualities of which it was the product,
is an undertaking which must always be beset with difficulties, and may
easily end in making the limitations of the appraiser more obvious
than the true worth of that which he appraises. For the judgment of a
contemporary is liable to be obscured by intellectual incompatibilities
and warped by personal antagonisms; while the critic of a later
generation, though he may escape the influence of these sources of
error, is often ignorant, or forgetful, of the conditions under which
the labours of his predecessors have been carried on. He is prone to
lose sight of the fact that without their clearing of the ground and
rough-hewing of the foundation-stones, the stately edifice of later
builders could not have been erected.


CCLXXXVI

The vulgar antithesis of fact and theory is founded on a misconception
of the nature of scientific theory, which is, or ought to be, no more
than the expression of fact in a general form. Whatever goes beyond such
expression is hypothesis; and hypotheses are not ends, but means. They
should be regarded as instruments by which new lines of inquiry
are indicated; or by the aid of which a provisional coherency and
intelligibility may be given to seemingly disconnected groups of
phenomena. The most useful of servants to the man of science, they
are the worst of masters. And when the establishment of the hypothesis
becomes the end, and fact is alluded to only so far as it suits the
"Idee," science has no longer anything to do with the business.


CCLXXXVII

Scientific observation tell us that living birds form a group or class
of animals, through which a certain form of skeleton runs; and that this
kind of skeleton differs in certain well-defined characters from that of
mammals. On the other hand, if anyone utterly ignorant of osteology, but
endowed with the artistic sense of form, were set before a bird skeleton
and a mammalian skeleton, he would at once see that the two were
similar and yet different. Very likely he would be unable to give
clear expression to his just sense of the differences and resemblances;
perhaps he would make great mistakes in detail if he tried.
Nevertheless, he would be able to draw from memory a couple of sketches,
in which all the salient points of likeness and unlikeness would be
reproduced with sufficient accuracy. The mere osteologist, however
accurately he might put the resemblances and differences into words,
if he lacked the artistic visualising faculty, might be hopelessly
incompetent to perform any such feat; lost in details, it might not even
occur to him that it was possible; or, still more probably, the habit of
looking for differences might impair the perception of resemblances.

Under these circumstances, the artist might be led to higher and broader
views, and thus be more useful to the progress of science than the
osteological expert. Not that the former attains the higher truth by a
different method; for the way of reaching truth is one and indivisible.
Whether he knows it or not, the artist has made a generalization
from two sets of facts, which is perfectly scientific in form;
and trustworthy so far as it rests upon the direct perception of
similarities and dissimilarities. The only peculiarity of the artistic
application of scientific method lies in the artist's power of
visualizing the result of his mental processes, of embodying the facts
of resemblance in a visible "type," and of showing the manner in which
the differences may be represented as modifications of that type;
he does, in fact, instinctively, what an architect, who desires to
demonstrate the community of plan in certain ancient temples, does by
the methodical construction of plans, sections, and elevations; the
comparison of which will furnish him with the "type" of such temples.

Thus, what I may term the artistic fashion of dealing with anatomy is
not only perfectly legitimate, but has been of great utility. The harm
of it does not begin until tine attempt is made to get more out of this
visual projection of thought than it contains; until the origin of the
notion of "type" is forgotten and the speculative philosopher deludes
himself with the supposition that the generalization suggested by fact
is an "Idea" of the Pure Reason, with which fact must, somehow or other,
be made to agree.


CCLXXXVIII

Flowers are the primers of the morphologist; those who run may read in
them uniformity of type amidst endless diversity, singleness of plan
with complex multiplicity of detail. As a musician might say, every
natural group of flowering plants is a sort of visible fugue, wandering
about a central theme which is never forsaken, however it may,
momentarily, cease to be apparent.


CCLXXXIX

Like all the really great men of literature, Goethe added some of the
qualities of the man of science to those of the artist, especially the
habit of careful and patient observation of Nature. The great poet
was no mere book-learned speculator. His acquaintance with mineralogy,
geology, botany and osteology, the fruit of long and wide studies, would
have sufficed to satisfy the requirements of a professoriate in those
days, if only he could have pleaded ignorance of everything else.
Unfortunately for Goethe's credit with his scientific contemporaries,
and, consequently, for the attention attracted by his work, he did not
come forward as a man of science until the public had ranged him among
the men of literature. And when the little men have thus classified a
big man, they consider that the last word has been said about him; it
appears to the thought hardly decent on his part if he venture to stray
beyond the speciality they have assigned to him. It does not seem to
occur to them that a clear intellect is an engine capable of supplying
power to all sorts of mental factories; nor to admit that, as Goethe
somewhere pathetically remarks, a man may have a right to live for
himself as well as for the public; to follow the line of work that
happens to interest him, rather than that which interests them.

On the face of the matter it is not obvious that the brilliant poet had
less chance of doing good service in natural science than the dullest of
dissectors and nomenclators. Indeed, as I have endeavoured to indicate,
there was considerable reason, a hundred years ago, for thinking that an
infusion of the artistic way of looking at things might tend to revivify
the somewhat mummified body of technical zoology and botany. Great ideas
were floating about; the artistic apprehension was needed to give
these airy nothings a local habitation and a name; to convert vague
suppositions into definite hypotheses. And I apprehend that it was
just this service which Goethe rendered by writing his essays on the
intermaxillary bone, on osteology generally, and on the metamorphoses of
plants.


CCXC

All this is mere justice to Goethe; but, as it is the unpleasant duty of
the historian to do justice upon, as well as to, great men, it behoves
me to add that the germs of the worst faults of later ioeculative
morphologists are no less visible in his writings than their great
merits. In the artist-philosopher there was, at best, a good deal more
artist than philosopher; and when Goethe ventured into the regions which
belong to pure science, this excess of a virtue had all the consequences
of a vice. "Trennen und zahlen lag nicht in meiner Natur," says he; but
the mental operations of which "analysis and numeration" are partial
expressions are indispensable for every step of progress beyond happy
glimpses, even in morphology; while, in physiology and in physics,
failure in the most exact performance of these operations involves
sheer disaster, as indeed Goethe was afforded abundant opportunity of
learning. Yet he never understood the sharp lessons he received, and
put down to malice, or prejudice, the ill-reception of his unfortunate
attempts to deal with purely physical problems.


CCXCI

There was never any lack of the scientific imagination about the great
anatomist; and the charge of indifference to general ideas, sometimes
brought against him, is stupidly unjust. But Cuvier was one of those
happily endowed persons in whom genius never parts company with
common-sense; and whose perception of the importance of sound method is
so great that they look at even a truth, hit upon by those who pursue
an essentially vicious method, with the sort of feeling with which an
honest trader regards the winnings of a gambler. They hold it better
to remain poor than obtain riches by the road that, as a rule, leads to
ruin.


CCXCII

The irony of history is nowhere more apparent than in science. Here we
see the men, over whose minds the coming events of the world of biology
cast their shadows, doing their best to spoil their case in stating it;
while the man who represented sound scientific method is doing his best
to stay the inevitable progress of thought and bolster up antiquated
traditions. The progress of knowledge during the last seventy years
enables us to see that neither Geoffroy, nor Cuvier, was altogether
right nor altogether wrong; and that they were meant to hunt m couples
instead of pulling against one another. Science has need of servants of
very different qualifications; of artistic constructors no less than of
men of business; of people to design her palaces and of others to see
that the materials are sound and well-fitted together; of some to spur
investigators, and of others to keep their heads cool. The only would-be
servants, who are entirely unprofitable, are those who do not take the
trouble to interrogate Nature, but imagine vain things about her; and
spin, from their inner consciousness, webs, as exquisitely symmetrical
as those of the most geometrical of spiders, but alas! as easily torn to
pieces by some inconsidered bluebottle of a fact.


CCXCIII

There is always a Cape Horn in one's life that one either weathers or
wrecks one's self on.


CCXCIV

A Local Museum should be exactly what its name implies, viz.,
"Local"--illustrating local Geology, local Botany, local Zoology, and
local Archaeology.

Such a museum, if residents who are interested in these sciences take
proper pains, may be brought to a great degree of perfection and be
unique of its kind. It will tell both natives and strangers exactly what
they want to know, and possess great scientific interest and importance.
Whereas the ordinary lumber-room of clubs from New Zealand, Hindoo
idols, sharks' teeth, mangy monkeys, scorpions, and conch shells--who
shall describe the weary inutility of it? It is really worse than
nothing, because it leads the unwary to look for the objects of science
elsewhere than under their noses. What they want to know is that their
"America is here," as Wilhelm Meister has it.


CCXCV

A man who speaks out honestly and fearlessly that which he knows,
and that which he believes, will always enlist the good-will and the
respect, however much he may fail in winning the assent, of his fellow
men.


CCXCVI

Science and literature are not two things, but two sides of one thing.


CCXCVII

I neither deny nor affirm the immortality of man. I see no reason for
believing in it, but, on the other hand, I have no means of disproving
it.

I have no _a priori_ objections to the doctrine. No man who has to
deal daily and hourly with nature can trouble himself about _a priori_
difficulties. Give me such evidence as would justify me in believing
anything else, and I will believe that Why should I not? It is not half
so wonderful as the conservation of force, or the indestructibility of
matter. <

Whoso clearly appreciates all that is implied in the falling of a stone
can have no difficulty about any doctrine simply on account of its
marvellousness. But the longer I live, the more obvious it is to me that
the most sacred act of a man's life is to say and to feel, "I believe
such and such to be true." All the greatest rewards and all the heaviest
penalties of existence cling about that act The universe is one and the
same throughout; and if the condition of my success in unravelling some
little difficulty of anatomy or physiology is that I shall rigorously
refuse to put faith in that which does not rest on sufficient evidence,
I cannot believe that the great mysteries of existence will be laid open
to me on other terms.


CCXCVIII

I cannot conceive of my personality as a thing apart from the phenomena
of my life. When I try to form such a conception I discover that, as
Coleridge would have said, I only hypostatize a word, and it alters
nothing if, with Fichte, I suppose the universe to be nothing but a
manifestation of my personality. I am neither more nor less eternal than
I was before.


CCXCIX

I do not know whether the animals persist after they disappear or not. I
do not even know whether the infinite difference between us and them
may not be compensated by _their_ persistence and _my_ cessation after
apparent death, just as the humble bulb of an annual fives, whilst the
glorious flowers it has put forth die away.


CCC

My business is to teach my aspirations to confirm themselves to fact,
not to try and make facts harmonize with my aspirations.


CCCI

Science seems to me to teach in the highest and strongest manner the
great truth which is embodied in the Christian conception of entire
surrender to the will of God. Sit down before fact as a little child,
be prepared to give up every preconceived notion, follow numbly wherever
and to whatever abysses nature leads, or you shall learn nothing. I have
only begun to learn content and peace of mind since I have resolved at
all risks to do this.


CCCII

There are, however, other arguments commonly brought forward in favour
of the immortality of man, which are to my mind not only delusive but
mischievous. The one is the notion that the moral government of the
world is imperfect without a system of future rewards and punishments.
The other is: that such a system is indispensable to practical morality.
I believe that both these dogmas are very mischievous lies.

With respect to the first, I am no optimist, but I have the firmest
belief that the Divine Government (if we may use such a phrase to
express the sum of the "customs of matter") is wholly just The more I
know intimately of the lives of other men (to say nothing of my own),
the more obvious it is to me that the wicked does _not_ flourish nor is
the righteous punished. But for this to be clear we must bear in mind
what almost all forget, that the rewards of life are contingent upon
obedience to the _whole_ Law--physical as well as moral--and that moral
obedience will not atone for physical sin, or _vice versa_.


CCCIII

The ledger of the Almighty is strictly kept, and every one of us has the
balance of his operations paid over to him at the end of every minute of
his existence.

Life cannot exist without a certain conformity to the surrounding
universe--that conformity involves a certain amount of happiness in
excess of pain. In short, as we live we are paid for living.


CCCIV

It is to be recollected in view of the apparent discrepancy between
men's acts and their rewards that Nature is juster than we. She takes
into account what a man brings with him into the world, which human
justice cannot do. If I, born a bloodthirsty and savage brute,
inheriting these qualities from others, kill you, my fellow-men will
very justly hang me, but I shall not be visited with the horrible
remorse which would be my real punishment if, my nature being higher, I
had done the same thing.


CCCV

The absolute justice of the system of things is as clear to me as any
scientific fact The gravitation of sin to sorrow is as certain as that
of the earth to the sun, and more so--for experimental proof of the fact
is within reach of us all--nay, is before us all in our own lives, if we
had but the eyes to see it.


CCCVI

Not only do I disbelieve in the need for compensation, but I believe
that the seeking for rewards and punishments out of this life leads men
to a ruinous ignorance of the fact that their inevitable rewards and
punishments are here.


CCCVII

If the expectation of hell hereafter can keep me from evil-doing, surely
_a fortiori_ the certainty of hell now will do so? If a man could be
firmly impressed with the belief that stealing damaged him as much as
swallowing arsenic would do (and it does), would not the dissuasive
force of that belief be greater than that of any based on mere future
expectations?


CCCVIII

As I stood behind the coffin of my little son the other day, with my
mind bent on anything but disputation, the officiating minister read, as
a part of his duty, the words, "If the dead rise not again, let us eat
and drink, for to-morrow we die." I cannot tell you how inexpressibly
they shocked me. Paul had neither wife nor child, or he must have known
that his alternative involved a blasphemy against all that was best and
noblest in human nature. I could have laughed with scorn. What! because
I am face to face with irreparable loss, because I have given back to
the source from whence it came, the cause of a great happiness, still
retaining through all my life the blessings which have sprung and will
spring from that cause, I am to renounce my manhood, and, howling,
grovel in bestiality? Why, the very apes know better, and if you
shoot their young the poor brutes grieve their grief out and do not
immediately seek distraction in a gorge.


CCCIX

He had intellect to comprehend his highest duty distinctly, and force
of character to do it; which of us dare ask for a higher summary of his
life than that? For such a man there can be no fear in facing the
great unknown, his life has been one long experience of the substantial
justice of the laws by which this world is governed, and he will calmly
trust to them still as he lays his head down for his long sleep.


CCCX

Whether astronomy and geology can or cannot be made to agree with the
statements as to the matters of fact laid down in Genesis--whether the
Gospels are historically true or not--are matters of comparatively small
moment in the face of the impassable gulf between the anthropomorphism
(however refined) of theology and the passionless impersonality of the
unknown and unknowable which science shows everywhere underlying the
thin veil of phenomena.


CCCXI

I am too much a believer in Butler and in the great principle of the
"Analogy" that "there is no absurdity in theology so great that you
cannot parallel it by a greater absurdity of Nature" (it is not commonly
stated in this way), to have any difficulties about miracles. I have
never had the least sympathy with the _a priori_ reasons against
orthodoxy, and I have by nature and disposition the greatest possible
antipathy to all the atheistic and infidel school.


CCCXII

This universe is, I conceive, like to a great game being played out, and
we poor mortals are allowed to take a hand. By great good fortune the
wiser among us have made out some few of the rules of the game, as at
present played. We call them "Laws of Nature," and honour them because
we find that if we obey them we win something for our pains. The
cards are our theories and hypotheses, the tricks our experimental
verifications. But what sane man would endeavour to solve this problem:
given the rules of a game and the winnings, to find whether the
cards are made of pasteboard or gold-leaf? Yet the problem of the
metaphysicians is to my mind no saner.


CCCXIII

I have not the smallest sentimental sympathy with the negro; don't
believe in him at all, in short. But it is clear to me that slavery
means, for the white man, bad political economy; bad social morality;
bad internal political organisation, and a bad influence upon free
labour and freedom all over the world.


CCCXIV

At the present time the important question for England is not the
duration of her coal, but the due comprehension of the truths of
science, and the labours of her scientific men.


CCCXV

It is better for a man to go wrong in freedom than to go right in
chains.


CCCXVI

A good book is comparable to a piece of meat, and fools are as flies
who swarm to it, each for the purpose of depositing and hatching his own
particular maggot of an idea.


CCCXVII

Children work a greater metamorphosis in men than any other condition
of life. They ripen one wonderfully and make life ten times better worth
having than it was.


CCCXVIII

Teach a child what is wise, that is _morality_, Teach him what is wise
and beautiful, that is _religion!_


CCCXIX

People may talk about intellectual teaching, but what we principally
want is the moral teaching.


CCCXX

We are in the midst of a gigantic movement greater than that which
preceded and produced the Reformation, and really only the continuation
of that movement But there is nothing new in the ideas which lie at the
bottom of the movement, nor is any reconcilement possible between free
thought and traditional authority. One or other will have to succumb
after a struggle of unknown duration, which will have as side issues
vast political and social troubles. I have no more doubt that free
thought will win in the long run than I have that I sit here writing
to you, or that this free thought will organize itself into a coherent
system, embracing human life and the world as one harmonious whole. But
this organization will be the work of generations of men, and those who
further it most will be those who teach men to rest in no lie, and to
rest in no verbal delusions.


CCCXXI

Make up your mind to act decidedly and take the consequences. No good is
ever done in this world by hesitation.


CCCXXII

The world is neither wise nor just, but it makes up for all its folly
and injustice by being damnably sentimental.


CCCXXIII

Without seeing any reason to believe that women are, on the average, so
strong physically, intellectually, or morally, as men, I cannot shut my
eyes to the fact that many women are much better endowed in all these
respects than many men, and I am at a loss to understand on what grounds
of justice or public policy a career which is open to the weakest and
most foolish of the male sex should be forcibly closed to women of
vigour and capacity.


CCCXXIV

We have heard a great deal lately about the physical disabilities of
women. Some of these alleged impediments, no doubt, are realty inherent
in their organization, but nine-tenths of them are artificial--the
products of their modes of life. I believe that nothing would tend so
effectually to get rid of these creations of idleness, weariness, and
that "over stimulation of the emotions" which, in plainer-spoken
days, used to be called wantonness, than a fair share of healthy work,
directed towards a definite object, combined with an equally fair share
of healthy play, during the years of adolescence; and those who are best
acquainted with the acquirements of an average medical practitioner will
find it hardest to believe that the attempt to reach that standard is
like to prove exhausting to an ordinarily intelligent and well-educated
young woman.


CCCXXV

The only good that I can see in the demonstration of the truth of
"Spiritualism" is to furnish an additional argument against suicide.
Better live a crossing-sweeper than die and be made to talk twaddle by a
"medium" hired at a guinea a séance.


CCCXXVI

I ask myself--suppose you knew that by inflicting prolonged pain on
100 rabbits you could discover a way to the extirpation of leprosy, or
consumption, or locomotor ataxy, or of suicidal melancholia among human
beings, dare you refuse to inflict that pain? Now I am quite unable
to say that I dare. That sort of daring would seem to me to be extreme
moral cowardice, to involve gross inconsistency.

For the advantage and protection of society, we all agree to inflict
pain upon man--pain of the most prolonged and acute character--in our
prisons, and on our battlefields. If England were invaded, we should
have no hesitation about inflicting the maximum of suffering upon our
invaders for no other object than our own good.

But if the good of society and of a nation is a sufficient plea for
inflicting pain on men, I think it may suffice us for experimenting on
rabbits or dogs.

At the same time, I think that a heavy moral responsibility rests on
those who perform experiments of the second kind.

The wanton infliction of pain on man or beast is a crime; pity is that
so many of those who (as I think rightly) hold this view, seem to
forget that the criminality lies in the wantonness and not in the act of
inflicting pain _per se_.


CCCXXVII

The one condition of success, your sole safeguard, is the moral worth
and intellectual clearness of the individual citizen. Education cannot
give these, but it can cherish them and bring them to the front in
whatever station of society they are to be found, and the universities
ought to be and may be, the fortresses of the higher life of the nation.


CCCXXVIII

As a matter of fact, men sin, and the consequences of their sins affect
endless generations of their progeny. Men are tempted, men are punished
for the sins of others without merit or demerit of their own; and they
are tormented for their evil deeds as long as their consciousness lasts.


CCCXXIX

I find that as a matter of experience, erroneous beliefs are punished,
and right beliefs are rewarded--though very often the erroneous belief
is based on a more conscientious study of the facts than right belief.


CCCXXX

If we are to assume that anybody has designedly set this wonderful
universe going, it is perfectly clear to me that he is no more entirely
benevolent and just in any intelligible sense of the words, than that
he is malevolent and unjust. Infinite benevolence need not have invented
pain and sorrow at all--infinite malevolence would very easily have
deprived us of the large measure of content and happiness that falls
to our lot After all, Butler's "Analogy" is unassailable, and there is
nothing in theological dogmas more contradictory to our moral sense,
than is to be found in the facts of nature. From which, however, the
Bishop's conclusion that the dogmas are true doesn't follow.


CCCXXXI

It appears to me that if every person who is engaged in an industry
had access to instruction in the scientific principles on which that
industry is based; in the mode of applying these principles to practice;
in the actual use of the means and appliances employed; in the language
of the people who know as much about the matter as we do ourselves; and
lastly, in the art of keeping accounts, Technical Education would have
done all that can be required of it.


CCCXXXII

Though under-instruction is a bad thing, it is not impossible that
over-instruction may be worse.


CCCXXXIII

There are two things I really care about--one is the progress of
scientific thought, and the other is the bettering of the condition
of the masses of the people by bettering them in the way of lifting
themselves out of the misery which has hitherto been the lot of the
majority of them. Posthumous fame is not particularly attractive to me,
but, if I am to be remembered at all, I would rather it should be as "a
man who did his best to help the people" than by other title.


CCCXXXIV

I am of opinion that our Indian Empire is a curse to us. But so long
as we make up our minds to hold it, we must also make up our minds to
do those things which are needful to hold it effectually, and in
the long-run it will be found that so doing is real justice both for
ourselves, our subject population, and the Afghans themselves.


CCCXXXV

The great thing in the world is not so much to seek happiness as to earn
peace and self-respect.


CCCXXXVI

The more rapidly truth is spread among mankind the better it will be for
them. Only let us be sure that it is truth.


CCCXXXVII

Your astonishment at the tenacity of life of fallacies, permit me to
say, is shockingly unphysiological. They, like other low organisms,
are independent of brains, and only wriggle the more, the more they are
smitten on the place where the brains ought to be.


CCCXXXVIII

I don't know what you think about anniversaries. I like them, being
always minded to drink my cup of life to the bottom, and take my chance
of the sweets and bitters.


CCCXXXIX

Of the few innocent pleasures left to men past middle life--the jamming
common-sense down the throats of fools is perhaps the keenest.


CCCXL

Life is like walking along a crowded street--there always seem to be
fewer obstacles to getting along on the opposite pavement--and yet, if
one crosses over, matters are rarely mended.


CCCXLI

The great thing one has to wish for as time goes on is vigour as long as
one lives, and death as soon as vigour flags.


CCCXLII

Whether motion disintegrates or integrates is, I apprehend, a question
of conditions. A whirlpool in a stream may remain in the same spot for
any imaginable time. Yet it is the effect of the motion of the particles
of the water in that spot which continually integrate themselves into
the whirlpool and disintegrate themselves from it The whirlpool is
permanent while the conditions last, though its constituents incessantly
change. Living bodies are just such whirlpools. Matter sets into them
in the shape of food,--sets out of them in the shape of waste products.
Their individuality lies in the constant maintenance of a characteristic
form, not in the preservation of material identity.


CCCXLIII

Most of us are idolators, and ascribe divine powers to the abstractions
"Force," "Gravity," "Vitality," which our own brains have created. I do
not know anything about "inert" things in nature. If we reduce the world
to matter and motion, the matter is not "inert," inasmuch as the same
amount of motion affects different kinds of matter in different ways.
To go back to my own illustration. The fabric of the watch is not inert,
every particle of it is in violent and rapid motion, and the winding-up
simply perturbs the whole infinitely complicated system in a particular
fashion. Equilibrium means death, because life is a succession of
changes, while a changing equilibrium is a contradiction m terms. I am
not at all clear that a living being is comparable to a machine running
down. On this side of the question the whirlpool affords a better
parallel than the watch. If you dam the stream above or below; the
whirlpool dies; just as the living being does if you cut off its food,
or choke it with its own waste products. And if you alter the sides or
bottom of the stream you may kill the whirlpool, just as you kill the
animal by interfering with its structure. Heat and oxidation as a source
of heat appear to supply energy to the living machine, the molecular
structure of the germ furnishing the "sides and bottom of the stream,"
that is, determining the results which the energy supplied shall
produce.


CCCXLIV

I believe that history might be, and ought to be, taught in a
new fashion so as to make the meaning of it as a process of
evolution--intelligible to the young.


CCCXLV

Government by average opinion is merely a circuitous method of going to
the devil; those who profess to lead but in fact slavishly follow this
average opinion are simply the fastest runners and the loudest squeakers
of the herd which is rushing blindly down to its destruction.


CCCXLVI

It's very sad to lose your child just when he was beginning to bind
himself to you, and I don't know that it is much consolation to reflect
that the longer he had wound himself up in your heart-strings the worse
the tear would have been, which seems to have been inevitable sooner or
later. One does not weigh and measure these things while grief is fresh,
and in my experience a deep plunge into the waters of sorrow is the
hopefullest way of getting through them on to one's daily road of life
again. No one can help another very much in these crises of life; but
love and sympathy count for something.


CCCXLVII

There is amazingly little evidence of "reverential care for unoffending
creation" in the arrangements of nature, that I can discover. If our
ears were sharp enough to hear all the cries of pain that are uttered
in the earth by men and beasts, we should be deafened by one continuous
scream!

And yet the wealth of superfluous loveliness in the world condemns
pessimism. It is a hopeless riddle.


CCCXLVIII

A man who has only half as much food as he needs is indubitably starved,
even though his short rations consist of ortolans and are served upon
gold plate.


CCCXLIX

Economy does not lie in sparing money, but in spending it wisely.


CCCL

We men of science, at any rate, hold ourselves morally bound to "try
all things and hold fast to that which is good"; and among public
benefactors, we reckon him who explodes old error, as next in rank to
him who discovers new truth.


CCCLI

Whatever Linnæus may say, man is not a rational animal--especially in
his parental capacity.


CCCLII

The inquiry into the truth or falsehood of a matter of history is just
as much a question of pure science as the inquiry into the truth or
falsehood of a matter of geology, and the value of evidence in the
two cases must be tested in the same way. If anyone tells me that the
evidence of the existence of man in the miocene epoch is as good as that
upon which I frequently act every day of my life, I reply that this
is quite true, but that it is no sort of reason for believing in the
existence of miocene man.

Surely no one but a born fool can fail to be aware that we constantly,
and in very grave conjunctions, are obliged to act upon extremely
bad evidence, and that very often we suffer all sorts of penalties in
consequence. And surely one must be something worse than a born fool
to pretend that such decision under the pressure of the enigmas of life
ought to have the smallest influence in those judgments which are made
with due and sufficient deliberation.


CCCLIII

1. The Church founded by Jesus has _not_ made its way; has _not_
permeated the world--but _did_ become extinct in the country of its
birth--as Nazarenism and Ebionism.

2. The Church that did make its way and coalesced with the State in
the 4th century had no more to do with the Church founded by Jesus
than Ultra-montanism has with Quakerism. It is Alexandrian Judaism and
Neoplatonistic mystagogy, and as much of the old idolatry and demonology
as could be got in under new or old names.

3. Paul has said that the Law was schoolmaster to Christ with more truth
than he knew. Throughout the Empire the synagogues had their cloud of
Gentile hangers-on--those who "feared God"--and who were fully prepared
to accept a Christianity, which was merely an expurgated Judaism and the
belief in Jesus as the Messiah.

4. The Christian "Sodalitia" were not merely religious bodies, but
friendly societies, burial societies, and guilds. They hung together for
all purposes--the mob hated them as it now hates the Jews in Eastern
Europe, because they were more frugal, more industrious, and lived
better lives than their neighbours, while they stuck together like
Scotchmen.

If these things are so--and I appeal to your knowledge of history that
they are so--what has the success of Christianity to do with the truth
or falsehood of the story of Jesus?


CCCLIV

It is Baur's great merit to have seen that the key to the problem of
Christianity lies in the Epistle to the Galatians. No doubt he and his
followers rather overdid the thing, but that is always the way with
those who take up a new idea.


CCCLV

If a man cannot do brain work without stimulants of any kind, he had
better turn to hand work--it is an indication on Nature's part that she
did not mean him to be a head worker.


CCCLVI

It is not to be forgotten that what we call rational grounds for
our beliefs are often extremely irrational attempts to justify our
instincts.


CCCLVII

Even the best of modern civilisations appears to me to exhibit a
condition of mankind which neither embodies any worthy ideal nor even
possesses the merit of stability. I do not hesitate to express my
opinion that, if there is no hope of a large improvement of the
condition of the greater part of the human family; if it is true that
the increase of knowledge, the winning of a greater dominion over
Nature which is its consequence, and the wealth which follows upon that
dominion, are to make no difference in the extent and the intensity of
Want, with its concomitant physical and moral degradation, among the
masses of the people, I should hail the advent of some kindly comet,
which would sweep the whole affair away, as a desirable consummation.

What profits it to the human Prometheus that he has stolen the fire of
heaven to be his servant, and that the spirits of the earth and of the
air obey him, if the vulture of pauperism is eternally to tear his very
vitals and keep him on the brink of destruction?


CCCLVIII

No induction, however broad its basis, can confer certainty--in the
strict sense of the word. The experience of the whole human race through
innumerable years has shown that stones unsupported fall to the ground,
but that does not make it certain that any day next week unsupported
stones will not move the other way. All that it does justify is the very
strong expectation, which hitherto has been invariably verified, that
they will do just the contrary.

Only one absolute certainty is possible to man--namely, that at any
given moment the feeling which he has exists.

All other so-called certainties are beliefs of greater or less
intensity.


CCCLIX

Of moral purpose I see no trace in Nature. That is an article of
exclusively human manufacture--and very much to our credit.


CCCLX

There is nothing of permanent value (putting aside a few human
affections), nothing that satisfies quiet reflection--except the sense
of having worked according to one's capacity and light, to make things
clear and get rid of cant and shams of all sorts. That was the lesson
I learned from Carlyle's books when I was a boy, and it has stuck by me
all my life.

You may make more of failing to get money, and of succeeding in getting
abuse--until such time in your life (if you are teachable) you have
ceased to care much about either.


CCCLXI

The doctrine of the conservation of energy tells neither one way nor the
other [on the doctrine of immortality]. Energy is the cause of movement
of body, i.e. things having mass. States of consciousness have no mass,
even if they can be conceded to be movable. Therefore even if they are
caused by molecular movements, they would not in any way affect the
store of energy.

Physical causation need not be the only kind of causation, and when
Cabanis said that thought was a function of the brain, in the same
way as bile secretion is a _function_ of the liver, he blundered
philosophically. Bile is a product of the transformation of material
energy. But in the mathematical sense of the word "function" thought
may be a function of the brain. That is to say, it may arise only when
certain physical particles take on a certain order.

By way of a coarse analogy, consider a parallel-sided piece of glass
through which light passes. It forms no picture. Shape it so as to be a
bi-convex, and a picture appears in its focus.

Is not the formation of the picture a "function" of the piece of glass
thus shaped?

So, from your own point of view, suppose a mind-stuff--[--Greek--]--a
noumenal cosmic light such as is shadowed in the fourth gospel. The
brain of a dog will convert it into one set of phenomenal pictures, and
the brain of a man into another. But in both cases the result is the
consequence of the way in which the respective brains perform their
"function."


CCCLXII

The actions we call sinful are as much the consequence of the order
of nature as those we call virtuous. They are part and parcel of the
struggle for existence through which all living things have passed, and
they have become sins because man alone seeks a higher life in voluntary
association.

Therefore the instrument has never been marred; on the contrary, we are
trying to get music out of harps, sacbuts, and psalteries, which never
were in tune and seemingly never will be.


CCCLXIII

I have always been, am, and propose to remain a mere scholar. All that
I have ever proposed to myself is to say, this and this I have learned;
thus and thus have I learned it: go thou and learn better; but do not
thrust on my shoulders the responsibility for your own laziness if you
elect to take, on my authority, conclusions, the value of which you
ought to have tested for yourself.


CCCLXIV

There is endless backwoodsman's work yet to be done. If "those also
serve who only stand and wait," still more do those who sweep and
cleanse; and if any man elect to give his strength to the weeder's and
scavenger's occupation, I remain of the opinion that his service should
be counted acceptable, and that no one has a right to ask more of him
than faithful performance of the duties he has undertaken. I venture to
count it an improbable suggestion that any such person--a man, let us
say, who has well-nigh reached his threescore years and ten, and has
graduated in all the faculties of human relationships; who has taken his
share in all the deep joys and deeper anxieties which cling about them;
who has felt the burden of young; lives entrusted to his care, and has
stood alone with his dead before the abyss of the eternal--has never had
a thought beyond negative criticism. It seems to me incredible that such
an one can have done his day's work, always with a light heart, with
no sense of responsibility, no terror of that which may appear when the
factitious veil of Isis--the thick web of fiction man has woven round
nature--is stripped off.


CCCLXV

If the doctrine of a Providence is to be taken as the expression, in a
way "to be understanded of the people," of the total exclusion of chance
from a place even in the most insignificant corner of Nature, if it
means the strong conviction that the cosmic process is rational, and the
faith that, throughout all duration, unbroken order has reigned in the
universe, I not only accept it, but I am disposed to think it the most
important of all truths. As it is of more consequence for a citizen to
know the law than to be personally acquainted with the features of those
who will surely carry it into effect, so this very positive doctrine of
Providence, in the sense defined, seems to me far more important than
all the theorems of speculative theology. If, further, the doctrine is
held to imply that, in some indefinitely remote past aeon, the cosmic
process was set going by some entity possessed of intelligence and
foresight, similar to our own in kind, however superior in degree, if,
consequently, it is held that every event, not merely in our planetary
speck, but in untold millions of other worlds, was foreknown before
these worlds were, scientific thought, so far as I know anything
about it, has nothing to say about that hypothesis. It is, in fact, an
anthropomorphic rendering of the doctrine of evolution.

It may be so, but the evidence accessible to us is, to my mind, wholly
insufficient to warrant either a positive or a negative conclusion.


CCCLXVI

It may be well to remember that the highest level of moral aspiration
recorded in history was reached by a few ancient Jews--Micah, Isaiah,
and the rest--who took no count whatever of what might or what might not
happen to them after death. It is not obvious to me why the same point
should not by and by be reached by the Gentiles.


CCCLXVII

Belief in majorities is not rooted in my breast, and if all the world
were against me the fact might warn me to revise and criticise my
opinions, but would not in itself supply a ghost of a reason for
forsaking them. For myself I say deliberately, it is better to have a
millstone tied round the neck and be thrown into the sea than to share
the enterprises of those to whom the world has turned, and will turn,
because they minister to its weaknesses and cover up the awful realities
which it shudders to look at.


CCCLXVIII

Moral duty consists in the observance of those rules of conduct which
contribute to the welfare of society, and by implication, of the
individuals who compose it.

The end of society is peace and mutual protection, so that the
individual may reach the fullest and highest life attainable by man.
The rules of conduct by which this end is to be attained are
discoverable--like the other so-called laws of Nature--by observation
and experiment, and only in that way.

Some thousands of years of such experience have led to the
generalisations, that stealing and murder, for example, are inconsistent
with the ends of society. There is no more doubt that they are so than
that unsupported stones tend to fall. The man who steals or murders,
breaks his implied contract with society, and forfeits all protection.
He becomes an outlaw, to be dealt with as any other feral creature.
Criminal law indicates the ways which have proved most convenient for
dealing with him.

All this would be true if men had no "moral sense" at all, just as
there are rules of perspective which must be strictly observed by a
draughtsman, and are quite independent of his having any artistic sense.


CCCLXIX

The moral sense is a very complex affair--dependent in part upon
associations of pleasure and pain, approbation and disapprobation formed
by education in early youth, but in part also on an innate sense of
moral beauty and ugliness (how originated need not be discussed), which
is possessed by some people in great strength, while some are totally
devoid of it--just as some children draw, or are enchanted by music
while mere infants, while others do not know "Cherry Ripe" from "Rule
Britannia," nor can represent the form of the simplest thing to the end
of their lives.

Now for this last sort of people there is no reason why they should
discharge any moral duty, except from fear of punishment in all its
grades, from mere disapprobation to hanging, and the duty of society
is to see that they live under wholesome fear of such punishment short,
sharp, and decisive.

For the people with a keen innate sense of moral beauty there is no need
of any other motive. What they want is knowledge of the things they may
do and must leave undone, if the welfare of society is to be attained.
Good people so often forget this that some of them occasionally require
hanging almost as much as the bad.

If you ask why the moral inner sense is to be (under due limitations)
obeyed; why the few who are steered by it move the mass in whom it is
weak? I can only reply by putting another question--Why do the few in
whom the sense of beauty is strong--Shakespeare, Raffaele, Beethoven,
carry the less endowed multitude away? But they do, and always will.
People who overlook that fact attend neither to history nor to what goes
on about them.

Benjamin Franklin was a shrewd, excellent, kindly man. I have great
respect for him. The force of genial common-sense respectability could
no further go. George Fox was the very antipodes of all this, and yet
one understands how he came to move the world of his day, and Franklin
did not.


CCCLXX

As to whether we can fulfil the moral law, I should say hardly any
of us. Some of us are utterly incapable of fulfilling its plainest
dictates. As there are men born physically cripples, and intellectually
idiots, so there are some who are moral cripples and idiots, and can be
kept straight not even by punishment. For these people there is nothing
but shutting up, or extirpation.


CCCLXXI

The cardinal fact in the University questions appears to me to be this:
that the student to whose wants the mediæval University was adjusted,
looked to the past and sought book-learning, while the modern looks to
the future and seeks the knowledge of things.

The mediæval view was that all knowledge worth having was explicitly or
implicitly contained in various ancient writings; in the Scriptures, in
the writings of the greater Greeks, and those of the Christian Fathers.
Whatever apparent novelty they put forward, was professedly obtained by
deduction from ancient data.

The modern knows that the only source of real knowledge lies in the
application of scientific methods of enquiry to the ascertainment of the
facts of existence; that the ascertainable is infinitely greater than
the ascertained, and that the chief business of the teacher is not so
much to make scholars as to train pioneers.

From this point of view, the University occupies a position altogether
independent of that of the coping-stone of schools for general
education, combined with technical schools of Theology, Law, and
Medicine. It is not primarily an institution for testing the work of
schoolmasters, or for ascertaining the fitness of young men to be
curates, lawyers, or doctors.

It is an institution in which a man who claims to devote himself to
Science or Art, should be able to find some one who can teach him what
is already known, and train him in the methods of knowing more.


CCCLXXII

The besetting sin of able men is impatience of contradiction and of
criticism. Even those who do their best to resist the temptation,
yield to it almost unconsciously and become the tools of toadies and
flatterers. "Authorities," "disciples." and "schools" are the curse of
science; and do more to interfere with the work of the scientific spirit
than all its enemies.


CCCLXXIII

People never will recollect, that mere learning and mere cleverness are
of next to no value in life, while energy and intellectual grip, the
things that are inborn and cannot be taught, are everything.


CCCLXXIV

In my opinion a man's first duty is to find a way of supporting himself,
thereby relieving other people of the necessity of supporting him.
Moreover, the learning to do work of practical value in the world, in an
exact and careful manner, is of itself a very-important education, the
effects of which make themselves felt in all other pursuits. The habit
of doing that which you do not care about when you would much rather be
doing something else, is invaluable.


CCCLXXV

Success in any scientific career requires an unusual equipment of
capacity, industry and energy. If you possess that equipment you will
find leisure enough after your daily commercial work is over, to make
an opening in the scientific ranks for yourself. If you do not, you had
better stick to commerce.

Nothing is less to be desired than the fate of a young man, who, as
the Scotch proverb says, in 'trying to make a spoon spoils a horn' and
becomes a mere hanger-on in literature or in science, when he might have
been a useful and a valuable member of Society in other occupations.


CCCLXXVI

Playing Providence is a game at which one is very apt to burn one's
fingers.


CCCLXXVII

I conceive that the leading characteristic of the nineteenth century
has been the rapid growth of the scientific spirit, the consequent
application of scientifc methods of investigation to all the problems
with which the human mind is occupied, and the correlative rejection of
traditional beliefs which have proved their incompetence to bear such
investigation.


CCCLXXVIII

Science reckons many prophets, but there is not even a promise of a
Messiah.


CCCLXXIX

I have not the slightest doubt about the magnitude of the evils which
accrue from the steady increase of European armaments; but I think that
this regrettable fact is merely the superficial expression of social
forces, the operation of which cannot be sensibly affected by agreements
between Governments.

In my opinion it is a delusion to attribute the growth of armaments
to the "exactions of militarism." The "exactions of industrialism,"
generated by international commercial competition, may, I believe, claim
a much larger share in prompting that growth. Add to this the French
thirst for revenge, the most just determination of the German and
Italian peoples to assert their national unity; the Russian Panslavonic
fanaticism and desire for free access to the western seas; the Papacy
steadily fishing in the troubled waters for the means of recovering its
lost (I hope for ever lost) temporal possessions and spiritual
supremacy; the "sick man," kept alive only because each of his doctors
is afraid of the other becoming his heir.

When I think of the intensity of the perturbing agencies which arise out
of these and other conditions of modern European society, I confess
that the attempt to counteract them by asking Governments to agree to a
maximum military expenditure, does not appear to me to be worth making;
indeed I think it might do harm by leading people to suppose that the
desires of Governments are the chief agents in determining whether peace
or war shall obtain in Europe.


CCCLXXX

I am not afraid of the priests in the long-run. Scientific method is the
white ant which will slowly but surely destroy their fortifications.
And the importance of scientific method in modern practical life--always
growing and increasing--is the guarantee for the gradual emancipation of
the ignorant upper and lower classes, the former of whom especially are
the strength of the priests.


CCCLXXXI

There is such a thing as a science of social life, for which, if the
term had not been so helplessly degraded, Politics is the proper name.

Men are beings of a certain constitution, who, under certain conditions,
will as surely tend to act in certain ways as stones will tend to
fall if you leave them, unsupported. The laws of their nature are
as invariable as the laws of gravitation, only the applications to
particular cases offer worse problems than the case of the three bodies.

The Political Economists have gone the right way to work--the way that
the physical philosopher follows in all complex affairs--by tracing out
the effects of one great cause of human action, the desire of wealth,
supposing it to be unchecked.

If they, or other people, have forgotten that there are other potent
causes of action which may interfere with this, it is no fault of
scientific method but only their own stupidity.

Hydrostatics is not a "dismal science," because water does not always
seek the lowest level--e.g. from a bottle turned upside down, if there is
a cork in the neck!

There is much need that somebody should do for what is vaguely called
"Ethics" just what the Political Economists have done. Settle the
question of what will be done under the unchecked action of certain
motives, and leave the problem of "ought" for subsequent consideration.

For, whatever they ought to do, it is quite certain the majority of men
will act as if the attainment of certain positive and negative pleasures
were the end of action.

We want a science of "Eubiotics" to tell us exactly what will happen if
human beings are exclusively actuated by the desire of well-being in the
ordinary sense. Of course the utilitarians have laid the foundations of
such a science, with the result that the nicknamer of genius called this
branch of science "pig philosophy," making just the same blunder as when
ne called political economy "dismal science."

"Moderate well-being" may be no more the worthiest end of life than
wealth. But if it is the best to be had in this queer world--it may be
worth trying for.


CCCLXXXII

Those who wish to attain to some clear and definite solution of the
great problems which Mr. Darwin was the first person to set before us in
later times must base themselves upon the facts which are stated in his
great work, and, still more, must pursue their inquiries by the methods
of which he was so brilliant an exemplar throughout the whole of
his life. You must have his sagacity, his untiring search after the
knowledge of fact, his readiness always to give up a preconceived
opinion to that which was demonstrably true, before you can hope to
carry his doctrines to their ultimate issue; and whether the particular
form in which he has put them before us may be such as is finally
destined to survive or not is more, I venture to think, than anybody
is capable at this present moment of saying. But this one thing is
perfectly certain--that it is only by pursuing his methods, by that
wonderful single-mindedness, devotion to truth, readiness to sacrifice
all things for the advance of definite knowledge, that we can hope to
come any nearer than we are at present to the truths which he struggled
to attain.


CCCLXXXIII

Dean Stanley told me he thought being made a bishop destroyed a man's
moral courage. I am inclined to think that the practice of the methods
of political leaders destroys their intellect for all serious purposes.


CCCLXXXIV

It is one of the most saddening things in life that, try as we may,
we can never be certain of making people happy, whereas we can almost
always be certain of making them unhappy.


CCCLXXXV

Men, my dear, are very queer animals, a mixture of horse-nervousness,
ass-stubbornness and camel-malice---with an angel bobbing about
unexpectedly like the apple in the posset, and when they can do exactly
as they please, they are very hard to drive.





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