lines, and one of the most skillful advocates, whether of a good or of a mistaken cause, that I have ever met. Herbert Spencer I esteem, I may almost say reverence, as the teacher of the soundest system of philosophy the world has yet, in my judgment, known. That a man whose researches reach so widely should at times fall into error in matters of detail may be readily admitted. Only a few weeks ago I pointed out in the pages of my weekly journal, "Knowledge," what I hold to be an entirely erroneous view of Herbert Spencer's respecting the probable origin of the system of asteroids. Yet even in matters of detail belonging to the work of specialists he has been singularly clear-sighted. He first pointed out the fallacies underlying the longaccepted teaching respecting the stellar system, star-clusters, nebulas, etc., which men like Arago and Humboldt had dealt with without detecting error. In every department of science, in fact, though a specialist in none, Herbert Spencer has left his mark.
The attack in the "Edinburgh Review" leaves Spencer's fame untouched. It is evident in every line of this sour production that the enmity which Sir Edmund Beckett has always felt and expressed toward the teachings of the school of which Spencer has been the Bacon, the Darwin, and the Newton, has made it impossible for him to read with even average attention the work which he pretends to criticise. He has not caught the veriest glimmer of a notion of Mr. Spencer's real meaning. From the only passage which he claims to quote entire he has allowed several important words to drop—by accident doubtless, but yet not by mere accident in transcribing what he had already carefully read and understood; for the reasoning which follows falls to the ground so soon as the omitted words are restored.
Let one example suffice to show how utterly Sir Edmund Beckett either has missed or misrepresents the meaning of the famous contemporary whom he assaults. Herbert Spencer, speaking of the Great First Cause, transcending all laws, Absolute, Unconditional, says that we only perceive It, can only recognize It, by the persistence of force which, as it were, symbolizes It. Sir Edmund regards this as equivalent to saying that the Great First Cause is nothing else but persistent Force. Beckett rebukes Spencer for speaking of the "laws of motion" as the results of experience, saying that Newton regarded them as self-evident. He must have forgotten Newton's "Principia," where these laws are presented by Newton as now spoken by Spencer.
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