Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 14.djvu/49

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that departments which are now widely separated were once united, and sprang from a common source. He would find that there had been a time when all history and all theology were poetical, and all poetry historical or theological; that all romance was originally more or less historical, and that all history or science was at first more or less imaginary.

By the study of the less frequent and familiar forms of literature, and by the history of its growth, he would, like the naturalist, learn that his distinctions and classifications are only relative; of great value, indeed, but by no means absolute; but he would not therefore conclude that his groups are not real. He would not conclude that, because some novels are historical, there is no such thing as a history and no such thing as a novel, although he would perceive that they are connected by intermediate forms, and have originated from a common source.

The fact that there is no arbitrary line between the groups of natural objects, between animals and plants for instance, or between two related species of animals, does not prove that the groups themselves have not a real existence. The differences between plants and animals are real, and each group may be defined, but no definition can embrace all the forms of one group, and exclude all of the other, any more than a definition of fiction or of poetry can exclude all historical works.

The things, like the words, are real; but the definiteness of words is very different from the indefiniteness and complexity of Nature.


QUESTION (Chairman). I believe you have published not only in England, but in the United States?

Answer. I have published about a dozen volumes in England, and most, if not the whole of them, have been reproduced in the United States.

Q. With your sanction?

A. With my sanction. I make an arrangement with my publishers, the Messrs. Appleton, in New York, and they every year send me an account of their sales, and allow me a certain percentage on the retail price of my books.

Q. Now you have heard, I think, since you have been in this room, the scheme which has been submitted to the consideration of this com-

  1. Tuesday, April 17, 1877: Lord John Manners, M.P., in the chair. Members of the commission present: Sir H. D. Wolff, Sir Julius Benedict, Sir James Stephen, Dr. William Smith.