Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/291

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THE STUDY OF SOCIOLOGY.

has been saved from oblivion. Their distribution of monumental honors was, indeed, in all respects remarkable. To a physician named Jenner, who, by a mode of mitigating the ravages of a horrible disease, was said to have rescued many thousands from death, they erected a memorial statue in one of their chief public places. After some years, however, repenting them of giving to this statue so conspicuous a position, they banished it to a far corner of one of their suburban gardens, frequented chiefly by children and nursemaids; and, in its place, they erected a statue to a great leader of their fighters—one Napier, who had helped them to conquer and keep down certain weaker races. The reporter does not tell us whether this last had been instrumental in destroying as many lives as the first had saved; but he remarks: 'I could not but wonder at this strange substitution among a people who professed a religion of peace.' Not, however, that this was an exceptional act, out of harmony with their usual acts: quite the contrary. The records show that, to keep up the remembrance of a great victory gained over a neighboring nation, they held for many years an annual banquet, much in the spirit of the commemorative scalp-dances of still more barbarous peoples; and there was never wanting a priest to ask on the banquet a blessing from one they named the God of love. In some respects, indeed, their code of conduct seemed not to have advanced beyond, but to have gone back from, the code of a still more ancient people from whom their creed was derived. One of the laws of this ancient people was, 'an eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth;' but sundry laws of the English, especially those concerning acts that interfered with some so-called sports of their ruling classes, inflicted penalties which imply that their principle had become 'a leg for an eye, and an arm for a tooth.' The relations of their creed to the creed of this ancient people are indeed difficult to understand. They had at one time cruelly persecuted this ancient people—Jews they were called—because that particular modification of the Jewish religion, which they, the English, nominally adopted, was one which the Jews would not adopt. And yet, marvellous to relate, while they tortured the Jews for not agreeing with them, they substantially agreed with the Jews. Not only, as above instanced, in the law of retaliation did they outdo the Jews, instead of obeying the quite opposite principle of the teacher they worshipped as divine, but they obeyed the Jewish law, and disobeyed this divine teacher in other ways—as in the rigid observance of every seventh day, which he had deliberately discountenanced. Though they were angry with those who did not nominally believe in Christianity (which was the name of their religion), yet they ridiculed those who really believed in it; for some few people among them, nicknamed Quakers, who aimed to carry out Christian precepts instead of Jewish precepts, they made butts for their jokes. Nay, more; their substantial adhesion to the creed they professedly repudiated was clearly demonstrated by this, that in each of their tem-