It is stated also to have been felt at a point twelve miles south of here. This place is eighteen miles south of Rutland, and we call it about two hundred and fifteen miles north of New York by rail, and the rail-road route is quite direct—certainly near two hundred.
|L. D. Mears.|
|Danby, Rutland County, Vermont,|
|August 13, 1884.|
Messrs. Editors: I have just read "Scientific Philanthropy," in the August number of "The Popular Science Monthly." While I agree with the general tenor of the article, yet I wish to make objection to some of the statements.
Sociology is getting to be an exact science; and those who wish to write upon it will have to be much more careful as to what they assert than they have been in the past. All positions are criticised, and nothing will pass but what is true at all times, under all conditions, and in all circumstances.
Mr. Vance says, page 482, "With successive differentiations of individual functions and pursuits, there comes an increasing specialization of each differentiated member of society, and hence industrial virtues and vices, which the parent fixes for the child by heredity, lead to the existence of two very different classes in community—the rich and the poor, the strong and the weak, the rulers and the ruled."
Now, so far as certain industrial virtues or vices fixed by heredity being the source of the two classes, the rich and poor, the rulers and the ruled, I for one entirely deny.
Those classes, as we know them now, are maintained by certain social institutions that give special advantages to those in possession, and prevent others, however possessed of all necessary virtues, from reaching the place for which they were fitted. Of that there are so many proofs that there is only the difficulty of choice.
In England, advancement in the army is only possible to a certain class. In France, where class distinction was abolished, the best officers of the Revolution rose from the ranks.
In the United States, where chances are more equal, it is the common observation that men who come here with money lose it, those who come poor become rich. Does any one suppose that Vanderbilt would be the rich man he is, or Bennett own the "New York Herald," if they had depended upon their inherited virtues for their possession?
But that which can be easily proved is that when a man has reached the upper class, either of riches or rulers, he next strives to pass to his children, not the virtues that brought him there, but the results of his labors; and not only to pass them, but to so arrange matters that the benefits may not be squandered through any follies of theirs.
And when not one man, nor one thousand, but untold generations strive in one special direction, the result is not difficult to perceive.
This result is a class of rich and of rulers that not only hold possession, but who have so intrenched themselves that it is almost impossible to dislodge them, and the battle that is coming on is simply one to equalize the chances, so that the parents will have to transmit the virtues as well as the possession.
There is an undercurrent, deep and strong, that will make itself felt some day before long. Mr. Ward's book, "Dynamic Sociology," is a precursor of it. Those who would check it must be more accurate than the general run of writers on "sociology."
Mr. Vance says, furthermore, page 493; "The sentimentalist employs in sociology the empiric method; in ethics, he builds upon intuition; in political economy, he favors the principle of cooperation."
It may be true of the sentimentalist, but the natural inference that those who favor cooperation are sentimentalists is a great mistake. The principle that works in favor of cooperation is to avoid the immense waste of competition.
|Adair Creek, Tenn., August 16, 1884.|
THE progress of popular education is gradually bringing into prominence a class of questions of fundamental importance, the existence of which was hardly recognized in its earlier stages. It seemed at first a very simple affair to organize a common-school system, and nobody anticipated that any very serious difficulties could arise in carrying it out. Children were to be taught the rudiments of knowledge—chiefly reading, writing, and ciphering. There was but little trouble