Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 24.djvu/172

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many points where the natural and mental sciences march upon each other, and together formed, in the measure of the enlarged condition of knowledge, a universitas liiteraria, as Leibnitz called it in his time. The statues of the two brothers, in whom, by the rarest coincidence, the various faculties of the human mind diverged and were again drawn together, as in a German university, are therefore the most significant ornament of our edifice, and lend it at once, by a speaking symbolism, the character of a palace of science. The situation of this building, opposite the palace of the ruling house, was a significant mark of the capital of the Hohenzollerns. The Humboldt statues confirm and perfect its significance. As fences and troops guard against marauders by night, so do the spirits of these brothers keep watch against the tricks of blockheads. Where William and Alexander von Humboldt are sentries, there will always be the seat of the noblest manly effort, of free investigation and free teaching.

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IN the introduction to his little volume, Professor Sumner remarks: "During the last ten years I have read a great many books and articles, especially by German writers, in which an attempt has been made to set up 'the state' as an entity, having conscience, power, and will sublimated above human limitations, and as constituting a tutelary genius over us all. I have never been able to find in history or experience anything to fit this concept. I once lived in Germany for two years, but I certainly saw nothing of it there then. Whether the state which Bismarck is molding will fit the notion is at best a matter of faith and hope. My notion of the state has dwindled with growing experience of life. As an abstraction, the state is to me only All-of-us. In practice—that is, when it exercises will or adopts a line of action—it is only a little group of men chosen in a very hap-hazard way by the majority of us to perform certain services for all of us. The majority do not go about their selection very rationally, and they are almost always disappointed by the results of their own operation. Hence 'the state,' instead of offering resources of wisdom, right reason, and pure moral sense, beyond what the average of us possess, generally offers much less of all these things. Furthermore, it often turns out in practice that 'the state' is not even the known and accredited servants of the state, but, as has been well said, is only some obscure clerk hidden in the recesses of a government bureau into whose power the chance has fallen for the moment to pull one of the stops