Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/741

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Cologne, Frankfort, Vienna, nay, that even the headquarters of geist, Berlin itself, had to wait for light until this Company supplied it, must we not say that more faith in ideas was shown by English than by Germans? Germans have plenty of energy, are not without desire to make money, and knew that gas was used in England; and, if neither they nor their Governments undertook the work, we must infer that the benefits and means were inadequately conceived. English enterprises have often been led by ideas that looked wholly unpractical; as when the first English steamer astonished the people of Bonn by making its appearance there, so initiating the Rhine steam-navigation; or as when the first English steamer started across the Atlantic. Instead of our practice being unideal, the ideas which guide it sometimes verge on the romantic. Fishing-up a cable from the bottom of an ocean three miles deep, was an idea seemingly more fitted for the "The Arabian Nights" than for actual life; yet success proved how truly those who conducted the operation had put together their ideas in correspondence with the facts—the true test of vivid imagination.

To show the groundlessness of the notion that new ideas are not evolved and appreciated as much in England as elsewhere, I am tempted here to enumerate our modern inventions of all orders; from those directly aiming at material results, such as Trevethick's first locomotive, up to the calculating-machines of Babbage and the logic-machine of Jevons, quite remote from practice in their objects. But, merely asserting that those who go through the list will find that neither in number nor in importance do they yield to those of any nation during the same period, I refrain from details. Partly I do this because the space required for specifying them would be too great; and partly because inventions, mostly having immediate bearings on practice, would perhaps not be thought by Mr. Arnold to prove fertility of idea: though, considering that each machine is a theory before it becomes a concrete fact, this would be a position difficult to defend. To avoid all possible objection, I will limit myself to scientific discovery, from which the element of practice is excluded; and, to meet the impression that scientific discovery in recent days has not maintained its former pace, I will name only our achievements since 1800.

Taking first the Abstract Sciences, let us ask what has been done in Logic. We have the brief but pregnant statement of inductive methods by Sir John Herschel, leading to the definite systematization of them by Mr. Mill; and we have, in the work of Prof. Bain, elaborately-illustrated applications of logical methods to science and to the business of life. Deductive Logic, too, has been developed by a further conception. The doctrine of the quantification of the predicate, set forth in 1827 by Mr. George Bentham, and again set forth under a numerical form by Prof. De Morgan, is a doctrine supplementary to that of Aristotle; and the recognition of it has made it easier than