Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 9.djvu/632

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are in almost perfect accord—co-laborers in the same great field—endeavoring to compass it only by different methods.

While Mr. Spencer is tugging at the vast problems of social science from the standpoint of the universal scientist, the author in question is viewing them more directly from the standpoint of the specialist in sociology—and more particularly in the department of statesmanship—seeking and deriving valuable instruction from the vast generalizations of his more able and far more learned co-laborer.

Can it be supposed, however, that the two laborers will not differ, somewhat, in some of their practical applications of the very same general principles which they hold in common? Or need it be wondered at that, while Mr. Spencer would abolish the state school and state provision for the poor, the author in question would rather re-model and enlarge the scope of both, while admitting and appreciating the great abuses and mischiefs that may result from either?

Does not the very loftiness of Mr. Spencer's standpoint, the grandeur of his views, and the vast and far-reaching comprehensiveness of his observations, make it impossible, despite his great and indisputable sagacity, to avoid some mistakes in respect to the great practical problems of social life, and to escape altogether the error, so common with our modern reformers, of seeking to abolish institutions that need only amendment and reform?

In conclusion, let the hope be expressed that "the antiquated character" of this reply will find excuse in the fact that, although the privilege of making it was solicited early in June, 1874, it was not accorded until late in October following, when the author, in despair of obtaining justice, or a fair hearing, at least in this country, had abandoned all idea of replying. Weeks and even months then elapsed before the purpose of doing so revived in his mind, under the conviction that such a course was due, not only to himself, but to the momentous theme, which he has made the theme of his life, and on which he feels a strong assurance that he has some suggestions to offer, some great universal truths, great fundamental laws of social life, to announce, that are calculated to exert an important influence on the cause of knowledge and human advancement.

Cincinnati, February 22, 1875.


THE President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, who presides at its meeting this year in Buffalo, belongs to a family which has attained eminent distinction in the field of American science. He was born in Philadelphia, in December, 1805, and is the second of four sons—James Blythe, William Bar-