Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/650

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ous tribal groups of primitive men, those will prevail in the struggle for existence in which the lawless tendencies of individuals are most thoroughly subordinated by the yoke of tyrannical custom—the only yoke which uncivilized men can be made to wear. These communities will grow at the expense of less law-abiding tribes, until the result is a strong nation ruled by immovable custom, as in the case of Egypt, or China, or India. The problem now is how to get beyond this stage, and to relax the despotism of custom without entailing a retrogression toward primeval lawlessness. This problem has never been successfully solved except where a race, rendered organically law-abiding through some discipline of the foregoing kind, has been thrown into emulative conflict with other races similarly disciplined. And this condition has been completely fulfilled only in the case of the migrating Aryans who settled Europe.

"This is but one of Mr. Bagehot's many bright thoughts. We have barely room to hint at another. It was formerly assumed that, instead of mankind having arisen out of primeval savagery, modern savages have fallen from a primeval civilization, having lost the arts, the morals, and the intelligence which they originally possessed; and in our time some such thesis as this has been overtly maintained by the Duke of Argyll. Mr. Bagehot shows that in every way such a falling off is incompatible with the principle of natural selection. Take, for example, the ability to anticipate future contingencies—to abstain to-day that we may enjoy to-morrow. This is the most fundamental of the differences between civilization and savagery. Now, obviously, the ability to postpone present to future enjoyment is, in a mere material, economic, or military aspect, such an important acquisition to any race or group of men, that when once acquired it could never be lost. The race possessing this capacity could by no possibility yield ground to the races lacking it. Or take the ready belief in omens by which the life of the savage is so terribly hampered. Could a single tribe in old Australia have surmounted the necessity of searching for omens before undertaking any serious business, it would inevitably have subjugated all the other tribes on the continent. So, because the men who possess the attributes of civilization must necessarily prevail over the men who lack these attributes (and this is always true in the long-run, though now and then a great multitude of barbarians may temporarily overthrow a handful of civilized men), because this is so, it follows that there cannot have been, in prehistoric times, a general loss of the attributes of civilization.

"To do justice to Mr. Bagehot's fertile book would require a long article. With the best of intentions, we are conscious of having given but a sorry account of it in these brief paragraphs. But we hope we have said enough to recommend it to the attention of the thoughtful reader. We are glad to see that the young science of sociology has received such an early and satisfactory treatment in Dr. Youmans's series of popular books.


The Ten Laws of Health. By J. R. Black, M. D. Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1872.

The American Chemist. A Monthly Journal of Theoretical, Analytical, and Technical Chemistry. Edited by Charles F. Chandler, Ph. D., F. C. S. Vols. I. and II.

Annals of the Dudley Observatory. Albany, 1871.

The Le Boulengé Chronograph. By Brevet-Captain O. E. Michaelis. New York: Van Nostrand, 1872.

Theoretical Navigation and Nautical Astronomy. By Lewis Clark, Lieutenant-Commander U. S. N. New York: Van Nostrand, 1872.

Primeval Man. An Examination of some Recent Speculations. By the Duke of Argyll. New York: De Witt C. Lent & Co., 1872.

A Century of Medicine and Chemistry. A Lecture Introductory to the Course of Lectures to the Medical Class at Yale College. By Prof. B. Silliman, M. D. New Haven, 1871.

A School sui generis. An Essay read before the New York State Teachers' Association at Syracuse. By C. H. Anthony, A.M. Albany: Weed, Parsons & Co., 1872.

The Commonwealth Reconstructed. By C. C. P. Clark. Oswego, 1872.

Introductory Lecture to the Course on Pathological Anatomy at the University of