Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/24

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ment has brought back the most primitive type of sculpture for monumental purposes; as may be seen in Canterbury Cathedral, where, in two new monuments to ecclesiastics, one being Archbishop Sumner, the robed figures recline on their backs, with hands joined, after the manner of the mailed knights on early tombs—presenting complete symmetry of attitude, which is a distinctive trait of barbaric art, as every child's drawing of a man and every idol carved by a savage shows us.

A conscious as well as an unconscious adhesion to the old in usage and doctrine is shown. Not only among Roman Catholics, but among many Protestants, to ascertain what the Fathers said, is to ascertain what should be believed. In the pending controversy respecting the Athanasian Creed, we see how much authority attaches to an antique document. The antagonism between Convocation and the lay members of the Church—the one as a body wishing to retain the cursing clauses and the other to exclude them—further shows that official Protestantism adheres to antiquity much more than non-official Protestantism: a contrast equally displayed not long since between the opinions of the lay part and the clerical part of the Protestant Irish Church.

Throughout political organizations the like tendency, though less dominant, is very strong. The gradual establishment of law, by the consolidation of custom, is the formation of something fixed in the midst of things that are changing; and, regarded under its most general aspect as the agency which maintains a permanent order, it is in the very nature of a State-organization to be relatively rigid. The way in which primitive principles and practices, no longer fully in force among individuals ruled, survive in the actions of ruling agents, is curiously illustrated by the long retention between nobles of a right of feud after it had been disallowed between citizens. Chief vassals, too, retained this power to secure justice for themselves after smaller vassals lost it: not only was a right of war with one another recognized, but also a right of defence against the king. And we see that even now, in the relations between Governments, there persists that use of force to remedy injuries, which originally existed between all individuals. As bearing in the same direction, it is significant that the right of trial by battle, which was a regulated form of the aboriginal system under which men administered justice in their own cases, survived among the ruling classes when no longer legal among inferior classes. Even on behalf of religious communities judicial duels were fought. Here the thing it concerns us to note is, that the system of fighting in person and fighting by deputy, when no longer otherwise lawful, remained in force, actually or formally, in various parts of the regulative organization. Up to the reign of George III., trial by battle could be claimed as an alternative of trial by jury. Duels continued till quite recently between members of the ruling classes, and