Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/36

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26
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

His work in 1843, after the publication of the "Logic," was his "Michelet" article, written in autumn. In September he writes: "I am now vigorously at work reviewing Michelet's 'History of France' for the 'Edinburgh.' I hope to do Napier, and get him to insert it before he finds out what a fatal thing he is doing." On November 3d he says: "My review of Michelet is in Napier's hands. If he prints it, he will make some of his readers stare." The article appeared in January, and had none of the serious consequences predicted. We have a difficulty, reading it now, to see anything very dreadful in its views. But a philosophic vindication of the Papacy and the celibacy of the clergy, as essential preservatives against barbarism, was not then familiar to the English mind. Mill had worked himself into sympathy with everything French, and echoed the importance of France from the French historians. He always dealt gently with her faults and liberally with her virtues.

While writing this article, he was projecting in his mind his next book, which was to be on the new science, first sketched in the "Logic," to be called "Ethology." With parental fondness, he cherished this subject for a considerable time; regarding it as the foundation and corner-stone of Sociology. "There is no chance," he says, "for social statics, at least until the laws of human character are better treated." A few months later he wrote: "I do not know when I shall be ripe for beginning 'Ethology.' The scheme has not assumed any definite shape with me yet." In fact, it never came to anything; and he seems shortly to have dropped thinking of it. I do not believe there was anything to be got in the direction that he was looking. He was all his life possessed of the idea that differences of character, individual and national, were due to accidents and circumstances that might possibly be, in part, controlled; on this doctrine rested his chief hope in the future. He would not allow that human beings at birth are so very different as they afterward turn out.

His failure with "Ethology" fatally interfered with the larger project, which I have no doubt he entertained, of executing a work on Sociology as a whole. The opinion was long afloat in London that he had such a work in view; but I do not think he ever said so; it was not his way to give out what he was engaged upon, at least before making himself sure of going through with it. That he despaired, for the present at least, of making anything out of "Ethology," at the time I refer to, is proved by his betaking himself soon after to the composition of his "Political Economy."

I have now disposed of all my memoranda relating to 1842 and 1843. The beginning of 1844 saw the publication of the article on Michelet to which I have adverted. In a letter dated 8th of January, I find this upon Beneke: "I am reading a German professor's book on Logic—Beneke is his name—which he has sent to me after reading mine, and which had previously been recommended to me by Austin