Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 32.djvu/722

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

If this is something to be ashamed of, where is that which we should admire? The proper answer to give to those who love to point out the fallibility of scientific theories (as if elsewhere there were theories that were infallible!) is that it is better to follow any theory that, so far as our knowledge extends, affords an explanation of facts, than to make erode assertions: reposing on no theory whatever. At the same time let us take home to ourselves the lesson that science is progressive; that the thought of to-day can not assume to bind the thought of to-morrow; and while we still prefer any rational theory to an irrational lack of all theory, let us not by any undue dogmatism give occasion to the enemies of progress to blaspheme. Science, with all the confessions it has to make of past errors, and all its ad-missions of probable present errors, is going bravely on. Its very errors have been relative truths, and its service has at all times been the service of truth. Can those who delight and exult in the errors of science say as much for the service, whatever it may be, in which they are engaged?

We noticed, not very long ago, an extract from the article on "Brain-forcing in Childhood," contributed by Dr. Hammond to the pages of this magazine, doing duty apparently as an original article in the columns of the "Public School Journal" of Mount Washington, Ohio. In the January number of the "Canada Educational Monthly," published at Toronto, Ontario, there appeared two of our own editorial articles, one entitled "Culture and Character," the second "Encroachments of the State." The first is duly acknowledged, the second is not. It is quite possible that neither of the journals mentioned borrowed the unacknowledged matter directly from our columns, but it is evident that the journal which first borrows without acknowledgment does a very dishonest thing, destroying as it does the lawfully acquired property of another journal in the original matter published by it. We rejoice at every sign of public notice which the "Monthly" receives, and make our contemporaries welcome within reasonable limits to whatever in our columns they may desire to reproduce; only, we should like them always to do us the justice of acknowledging what they take.

 


LITERARY NOTICES.

Origins of the English People and of the English Language. Compiled from the Best and Latest Authorities. By Jean Roemer. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 658. Price, $3.50.

In this book political and literary history are combined, each being treated with a nearly equal degree of minuteness, in such a manner that a fair view of the subject is presented from both sides, and the mutual influence and reactions of the ethnic and linguistic development of the English people are plainly exhibited. The author's vindication of this course—if he needed any vindication for doing his work as completely as he could—may be found in the opening sentences of his preface: "The history of a language is, in a great measure, the history of the people who speak it, and of those who have spoken it. It is the history of the many populations, different in origin, manners, and in speech, who have at various epochs occupied the soil conjointly, sometimes in friendly but more often in hostile relations, until people of another race, more powerful than any, have crushed them all, and, taking possession of the land, have divided it among themselves, exterminating all who resisted them, and allowing the rest to live only on condition of their being quiet and doing all the work." The English people and language are a conspicuous example of the product of such a series of revolutions as is here described. The course to be followed in tracing the English language to its sources involves, therefore, a critical inquiry into the origin, character, and distribution of the various races of men—Celts, Romans, Saxons, Danes, and