Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/135

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page needs to be proofread.
125
EDITOR'S TABLE.

pointed at previous meetings." This is at least partly accounted for by the fact that the British Association makes grants of money to its committees to remunerate for services, no less than $7,500 being thus allowed at the Mont- real meeting, while our own Association makes no such allowances.

Upon bringing English and Ameri- can scientific work into the closer com- parison which this new experience al- lows, the superiority, it must be con- fessed, belongs to the older and larger body. A writer in " Science," after contrasting various features of the two organizations, justly remarks : " On the whole, it will be admitted that the Brit- ish Association does its work upon a higher plane than that occupied by the American. Its sectional work shows more that is really new and of last- ing value, and less that is trifling; although there has been a steady and healthful improvement in the charac- ter of the American Association during several years past. It may be well to remark here that there are at least a few of the ablest and best men in American science who have continued to exhibit no interest in the American Association ; and that, if the Associa- tion is not precisely what they believe it ought to be, the fault lies at their own doors. No others should or could be so influential in shaping its course and molding its character."

��HARRISON; COMTE, AND SPENCER.

Upward of twenty years ago, when Mr. Herbert Spencer first began to pub- lish the system of thought upon which ho has since been occupied, he was charged with bemg a disciple of Oomte, and indebted to him for his cardinal ideas. The reply made by Mr. Spen- cer at the time was generally held to be so eftectual that but little more was heard of the matter. But some of the more ardent followers of Comte re- fused to be convinced, and among them

��is Mr. Frederic Ilarrison, who has now revived the accusation, and stoutly maintains that, if not directly, then in- directly, Spencer owes his main and most characteristic conceptions to Comte.

It has been well understood that Mr. Frederic Harrison is the leading Eng- lish representative of the Positive phi- losophy, though, like Mill, he has been credited with a good deal of independ- ence and reservation in the acceptance of the Positivist system. But his ad- dress on September 5th before the mem- bers of the Positivist Society at Newton Hall, in London, where he preaches, shows a servihty of discipleship for which we were quite unprepared. The subject of the discourse was "The Memory of Auguste Comte and his True "Work," the occasion being the anniver- sary of the death of that philosopher. It was, of course, to be expected that Mr. Harrison would not let such an op- portunity pass without speaking in high terms of the genius of Comte and the importance of his labors ; but the per- formance is quite startling from its lurid eulogy and the wild extravagance of its claims in regard to Comte's character and mission. He credits him substan- tially with all the greatest steps of ad- vance in science, philosophy, and re- ligion that have been made in the pres- ent century. Comte's classification of the sciences is pronounced to be final. Though a phrenologist, and openly re- pudiating modern psychology, Mr. Har- rison insists that Comte has made the most important step of the century in psychology. The idea that law rules in the moral and social as well as in the physical sphere belongs to Comte. He instituted the science of sociology, and constituted it in all its material parts. And, among his other accom- plishments, this wonderful Frenchman challenges the admiration and gratitude of the world as the founder of a new religion.

These undiscriminating and inordi-

�� �