Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/747

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.
727
THE STUDY OF SOCIOLOGY.

that for this reason he limits himself to an account of English speculation in this department.[1]

And then, if, instead of Psychology and Ethics, Philosophy at large comes in question, there is independent testimony of kindred nature to be cited. Thus, in the first number of La Critique Philosophique, published under the direction of M. Renouvier, the acting editor, M. Pillon writes:

"In England a great amount of work is done in the field of thought. . . . Not alone does England surpass France in ardor and in work (for that is not saying much), and in the interest attaching to the researches and discussions of her thinkers: she even surpasses Germany itself in this last point."

And still more recently M. Martis, in the leading French periodical, has been referring to—

"The new ideas which have sprung up in free England, and which are destined one day to metamorphose the natural sciences."[2]

So that, while Mr. Arnold is lamenting the want of ideas in England, it is discovered abroad that the genesis of ideas here is extremely active. While he thinks our ideas are commonplace, our neighbors find them new, to the extent of being revolutionary. Oddly enough, at the very time when he is reproaching his countrymen with lack of geist, Frenchmen are asserting that there is more geist here than elsewhere! Nor is there wanting other testimony of kindred nature. In the lecture above cited, Dr. Cohn, while claiming for Germany a superiority in the number of her earnest workers, says that "England especially has always been, and is particularly now, rich in men whose scientific works are remarkable for their astonishing laboriousness, clearness, profundity, and independence of thought"—a further recognition of the truth that the English, instead of drudging along the old ruts of thought, are distinguished by their ability in striking out new tracks of thought.

In his essay on the "Functions of Criticism at the Present Time," Mr. Arnold insists that the thing most needful for us now, in all branches of knowledge, is "to see the object as in itself it really is;" and in "Friendship's Garland," his alter ego, Arminius exhorts our Philistinism "to search and not rest till it sees things more as they really are." Above, I have done that which Mr. Arnold urges; not by picking up stray facts, but by a systematic examination. Feeling sure that Mr. Arnold has himself taken the course he advises, and is, therefore, familiar with all this evidence, as well as with the large quantity which might be added, I am somewhat puzzled on finding him draw from it a conclusion so different from that which presents itself to me. Were any one, proceeding on the foregoing data, to assert that, since the beginning of this century, more has been done in Eng-

  1. His reasons for this valuation are more fully given at p. 143.
  2. Revue des Deux Mondes, 1 Fevrier, 1873, p. 731.