Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 17.djvu/576

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

machinations and behests. In this growth of Protestantism against the immoral tyranny of the old political church is our hope. Mr. George rightly appeals to the spirit and method of science, applied to political and social affairs, as the great agency of national redemption, and time will show that the appeal is well taken. The great love of intellectual advancement is bound in time to give us a science of politics grounded in principles of truth, instead of the quackish arts of partisanship, just as certainly as it has given us a science of navigation, agriculture, and chemical manufactures.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.
 
SPENCER'S "EDUCATION." CHEAP EDITION.

Education: Intellectual, Moral, and Physical. By Herbert Spencer. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 283. Price, 50 cents, paper covers.

This little work has now been twenty years before the public, and during that time has gradually made its way to all parts of the civilized world. It has been rendered into the principal languages of Europe, and is well known by complete or partial reproduction in India, China, and Japan. The eminent directors of public education in different countries have taken the initiative in procuring its translation.[1] The principles it develops have been avowedly followed in numerous instances in shaping the policy of public instruction, and in organizing educational institutions; and it has exerted a strong influence upon the mental and moral culture of families, and upon the intellectual life of individuals. Desirous of still further extending an influence so well approved, Mr. Spencer a year or two ago issued a cheap edition of the book in England, and the American publishers have now wisely imitated his example.

We do not propose here to notice the book in the usual manner, as most of our readers are no doubt quite familiar with its contents. But this is a suitable occasion to recall the circumstances of its origin; and the more so as thereby some explanation will be afforded of its remarkable influence and success.

The four parts which compose the volume were originally contributed by Mr. Spencer to several English periodicals from 1854 to 1859. The period in which they were written, 1850 to 1860—from his thirtieth to his fortieth year}}was the most fruitful in his intellectual career, and may be characterized as preëminently the creative and constructive decade of his life. It was the time of the rapid development and organization of his great ideas. It was then that he arrived at the conception of evolution as a universal law and the basis of a new philosophy; and that he drew up a detailed plan of the reorganization of knowledge from the new point of view. The period referred to was one of transition, or rather of maturing, for from early years the subject of progress and development in nature and society had taken a strong hold of Mr. Spencer's mind. All his publications during these ten years are colored and pervaded by the dominant conception of evolution. His work took a wide range, chiefly in the form of elaborate articles printed in leading periodicals. Between 1850 and 1860 he published no less than twenty-five of these essays on a great variety of subjects elucidating the principles of evolution, and illustrating their biological, social, intellectual, moral, and political applications.

Among the subjects then dealt with, Mr. Spencer's thoughts were especially and powerfully attracted to the working of evolutionary law in the sphere of mind. This was a new point of view in mental science. While metaphysicians were confining their studies mainly to mind as an abstraction

  1. A noteworthy illustration of this has come to hand since the present article was put in type. The first part of Spencer's "Education"—"What Knowledge is of Most Worth?"—has just been translated into modern Greek by the late Minister of Education in Greece. It is significant that, while the New World colleges are neglecting and resisting modern knowledge, that the traditional ascendancy of ancient classics may be maintained, the Greek authorities, on the old, sacred, classical ground, are modernizing their education upon the principle that, in the hierarchy of knowledges, science is supreme.