Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 11.djvu/471

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IMAGINATION.


civilized peoples with others that are less militant; we see it on comparing the early militant states of existing nations with their later more industrial states; we see it on comparing nations that are now relatively militant with those that are now relatively industrial. And we are especially shown it by the fact that in primitive uncultured societies which are exceptionally peaceful the status of children is exceptionally high.

Most conclusively, however, is this connection shown on grouping the facts antithetically thus: On the one hand, savage tribes in general, chronically militant, have, in common with the predominantly militant great nations of antiquity, the trait that a father has life and death power over his children. On the other hand, the few uncivilized tribes which are peaceful and industrial have, in common with the most advanced civilized nations, the trait that children's lives are sacred, and that large measures of freedom are accorded to both boys and girls.

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IMAGINATION.[1]
By Dr. ELLIOTT COUES, U.S.A.

LADIES AND GENTLEMEN: Amid the asperities of the great political crisis which has convulsed a nation, it is pleasant to find the elegant repose of a salon where culture and refinement stand like sleepless sentinels on guard against dissension; and in the Lenten season—when the fugitive madrigal of society is hushed in the measured cadence of the penitential psalm, and the brilliant poppies of fashion grow pale in the shadow of the palm—it is meet that thought should turn from outward things to the contemplation of those within.

The few moments during which an unworthy member of the Society is indulged to-night will be devoted to the consideration of Imagination as one of the intellectual faculties which, if common in some degree to all, is nevertheless, in its highest development, the rarest, most precious, and most splendid, of human endowments. I need not—I shall not—be coldly critical now, nor seek to bend your judgment to my will; for I must speak my aspirations, not my personal experiences, and move you from the heart, or not at all. The subject bids defiance to the trammels of custom or precedent, and will be bound by no conventionality.

For facts, as simply such, I dare say I have a great and growing contempt, perhaps less due to any familiarity I may have acquired, than to my habitual contemplation of structures without reference to

  1. Read before the Literary Society of Washington, D.C., March 17, 1877.