Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/829

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been validated.

is at bottom just, and in connecting it by experience and observation so as to determine its real limits and to prevent man from seeing homicidal forces in every unexplained phenomenon of Nature. This idea was also fraught with importance in regard to forms of social life—an importance so fundamental that a great part of the work of primitive society was nothing but the practical development of this idea. The first form of social progress which we find in the advance of human society is progress in the manufacture of instruments of destruction—spears, daggers, knives, arrows, bows—for among almost all primitive peoples it is in their weapons that we first notice a wide differentiation and variety of shape. There have been many races that had only one form of house, very few articles of clothing or ornament, a single kind of food, or nearly so—none with but one kind of destructive weapon, a single form of knife, spear, bow. The capacity for committing conscious murder upon other beings, of its own or another species, has marked so fundamentally the superiority of the human race over all other species of animals that in the suggestions of this idea there have developed through long time all the mental activities of the human race. This fundamental idea was perhaps the first discovery of man, and ranks with that of fire as among the fundamental discoveries of the history of mankind; and if human cruelty has been only too capable of assuming forms infinitely richer and more varied than the simple cruelty of animals, it is to this discovery that the fact is due.


IT is ten years since public dissatisfaction with methods of railway administration found legislative expression in the passage of the Interstate Commerce Law, which was practically the first attempt made by Congress to exercise, in relation to railway transportation, its constitutional power to regulate commerce between the several States. Whatever minor causes may have contributed to this dissatisfaction, there can be no doubt that the only subject of disagreement between the railways and the general public which constituted an at all adequate cause was the charges exacted for the movement of passengers and property. While it must be conceded that much of the complaint was unjust to the railways and arose through the fact that, particularly in the more exclusively agrarian sections of the country, much industry was conducted at a loss that might have been shifted to railway corporations could low enough charges for the movement of agri-