social state, which it largely determines—the form and actions of government; the character of the laws; the relations of classes.
Such, stated as briefly as consists with clearness, are the leading divisions and subdivisions under which the Comparative Psychology of Man may be arranged. In going rapidly over so wide a field, I have doubtless overlooked much that should be included. Doubtless, too, various of the inquiries named will branch out into subordinate inquiries well worth pursuing. Even as it is, however, the programme is extensive enough to occupy numerous investigators who may with advantage take separate divisions.
Though, after occupying themselves with primitive arts and products, anthropologists have devoted their attention mainly to the physical characters of the human races, it must, I think, be admitted that the study of these yields in importance to the study of their psychical characters. The general conclusions to which the first set of inquiries may lead cannot so much affect our views respecting the highest classes of phenomena as can the general conclusions to which the second set may lead. A true theory of the human mind vitally concerns us; and systematic comparisons of human minds, differing in their kinds and grades, will help us in forming a true theory. Knowledge of the reciprocal relations between the characters of men and the characters of the societies they form must influence profoundly our ideas of political arrangements. When the interdependence of individual nature and social structure is understood, our conceptions of the changes now taking place, and hereafter to take place, will be rectified. A comprehension of mental development as a process of adaptation to social conditions, which are continually remoulding the mind, and are again remoulded by it, will conduce to a salutary consciousness of the remoter effects produced by institutions upon character, and will check the grave mischiefs which ignorant legislation now causes. Lastly, a right theory of mental evolution as exhibited by humanity at large, giving a key, as it does, to the evolution of the individual mind, must help to rationalize our perverse methods of education, and so to raise intellectual power and moral nature.
|THE HORSESHOE NEBULA IN SAGITTARIUS.|
PROFESSOR IN THE UNITED STATES NAVAL OBSERVATORY, WASHINGTON.
IN the number of The Popular Science Monthly for July, 1874, I gave a brief account of the successive observations of the great nebula of Orion, from 1656 to 1874, and I pointed out how instructive such an historical review was in its bearing upon the improvement of