A NOTE: Concerning the Life and Letters of T.H. Huxley.
[Where to place the following two letters has been a question not easily answered, for no place seems quite appropriate. After much consideration I have decided that they should be inserted here rather than elsewhere.]
5 Percival Terrace,
Nov. 21, 1900.
Dear Mr. Huxley,
On further reading your very interesting Life of your father, I find some statements of personal concern which will cause much misapprehension.
Through inadvertence, passages on pages 333 of vol. I. and 266 and 68 of vol. II. convey the impression that the criticism of my proofs by your father extended to my writings at large; and a phrase of yours on page 133 of vol. II. implies that you have yourself derived this impression. It is an erroneous one. Beyond First Principles your father read in proof The Principles of Biology, a biological essay, and some chapters concerning the nervous system. There was peremptory need for expert criticisms on these, and he very kindly gave me his; but I did not ask his critical aid when writing the seven volumes dealing with Sociology, Psychology, and Ethics, or the six volumes of my miscellaneous works, save the 15 pages of “diabolical dialectics” (ii. 185), and a chapter entitled “Religious Retrospect and Prospect.” This is in a measure implied by my letter accompanying the proofs of the essay on “The Factors of Organic Evolution”—a letter in which I spoke of habitually submitting “my biological writing to your [his] castigation” (ii. 127); for had the practice been general I evidently should not have limited the statement to biological writing.
A word concerning the unpublished Autobiography. Reading of proofs by friends (your father being one) was to be a check on errors of taste. The parts your father saw amounted to about a third.
When saying, à propos of his rôle of “devil’s advocate,” that “there is no telling how many brilliant speculations I have been the means of choking in an embryonic state,” your father was venting one of his facetious exaggerations. A comparison between the original MSS. and the printed books, made by my secretary to whom I dictate this letter, shows that in the three volumes above named there are four passages of a speculative kind in the MS. which have disappeared from the printed text. [Let me add that of the two omitted from The Principles of Biology one concerned the derivation of the vertebrate type from the ascidian type—a speculation which not long after received support from the discoveries of Kowalewsky. I afterwards gave it a place in Appendix D of vol. II.]
As shown by a letter you have partly quoted, I have expressed my grateful sense of your father’s “invaluable critical aid,” but naturally I do not wish this to be understood as having been far greater than it was.
Whatever changes you may make in future editions for the purpose of preventing misapprehensions, cannot of course be known to readers of the current edition. Yet I am not content that they should remain in error. What should be done?
In response to this appeal Mr. Huxley published the following letter in The Athenæum for December 8, 1900.
November 28, 1900.
It has been suggested to me by Mr. Herbert Spencer that a phrase of mine in the Life and Letters of T. H. Huxley (vol. II. p. 133) might give rise to a false impression touching the extent to which my father used to criticize the proofs of Mr. Spencer’s published writings. The words “from whom [viz., Mr. Spencer] he had, according to custom, received some proofs to read,” refer, of course, to the “biological writings” mentioned in Mr. Spencer’s letter quoted on p. 127. Besides such biological writings, my father read in proof only First Principles and two small fragments amounting to thirty-two pages. I do not suppose that those who have any knowledge of the subject will imagine that he criticized the proofs of Mr. Spencer’s writings at large; but I should be sorry to think that I had possibly suggested a false notion to others.
Your readers will hardly need telling that epistolary humour is not always to be taken literally, and that the phrase about his being “devil’s advocate” to Mr. Spencer (i. 333)—“There is no telling how many brilliant speculations I have been the means of choking in an embryonic state”—is meant rather as a consolation for a young worker in biological science, to whom my father proposed to act in the same useful, if ungrateful capacity, than as a definite statement as to Mr. Spencer’s biological writings, in which, I understand, a comparison of the MSS. with the printed volumes shows the removal of but four such speculative passages during the proof stage.
But the period assigned to this “devil’s advocacy,” going back “thirty odd years” from 1884 to the beginning of my father’s acquaintance with Mr. Spencer, indicates that the playful allusion must be as much to the informal dialectics of conversation as to serious written work, for the reading of proofs referred to above only began with the Synthetic Philosophy in 1860.
It is manifestly needful that I should give a permanent place to these letters. Were they to disappear, the one privately and the other in an ephemeral publication, the first edition of Professor Huxley’s Life and Letters would establish everywhere the belief that my writings at large had had the benefit of his criticisms, and that had it not been for his restraints I should have set forth numerous ill-based speculations in the thirteen volumes treating of Psychology, Sociology, Ethics, and miscellaneous subjects.
Programme of the Synthetic Philosophy
[The following programme of the Synthetic Philosophy, issued in the spring of 1860, though quoted in the preface to “First Principles,” is given here as being a biographical document. A further reason for re-quoting it is that opportunity is afforded for appending the names of the first subscribers, which are not without interest.]
A SYSTEM OF PHILOSOPHY.
Mr. Herbert Spencer proposes to issue in periodical parts, a connected series of works which he has for several years been preparing. Some conception of the general aim and scope of this series may be gathered from the following Programme.
Part I. The Unknowable.—Carrying a step further the doctrine put into shape by Hamilton and Mansel; pointing out the various directions in which Science leads to the same conclusions; and showing that in this united belief in an Absolute that transcends not only human knowledge but human conception, lies the only possible reconciliation of Science and Religion.
II. Laws of the Knowable.—A statement of the ultimate principles discernible throughout all manifestations of the Absolute—those highest generalizations now being disclosed by Science, which are severally true not of one class of phenomena but of all classes of phenomena; and which are thus the keys to all classes of phenomena.
[In logical order should here come the application of these First Principles to Inorganic Nature. But this great division it is proposed to pass over: partly because, even without it, the scheme is too extensive; and partly because the interpretation of Organic Nature after the proposed method is of more immediate importance. The second work of the series will therefore be—]
THE PRINCIPLES OF BIOLOGY.
Part I.The Data of Biology.—Including those general truths of Physics and Chemistry with which rational Biology must set out.
II.The Inductions of Biology.—A statement of the leading generalizations which Naturalists, Physiologists, and Comparative Anatomists, have established.
III.The Evolution of Life.—Concerning the speculation commonly known as “The Development Hypothesis”—its a priori and a posteriori evidences.
IV.Morphological Development.—Pointing out the relations that are everywhere traceable between organic forms and the average of the various forces to which they are subject; and seeking in the cumulative effects of such forces a theory of the forms.
V.Physiological Development.—The progressive differentiation of functions similarly traced; and similarly interpreted as consequent upon the exposure of different parts of organisms to different sets of conditions.
VI.The Laws of Multiplication.—Generalizations respecting the rates of reproduction of the various classes of plants and animals; followed by an attempt to show the dependence of these variations upon certain necessary causes.
THE PRINCIPLES OF PSYCHOLOGY.
Part I. The Data of Psychology.—Treating of the general connexions of Mind and Life, and their relations to other modes of the Unknowable.
II. The Inductions of Psychology.—A digest of such generalizations respecting mental phenomena as have already been empirically established. [This proved to be a very inadequate description.]
III. General Synthesis.—A republication, with additional chapters, of the same part in the already-published Principles of Psychology.
IV. Special Synthesis.—A republication, with extensive revisions and additions, of the same part, &c. &c.
V. Physical Synthesis.—An attempt to show the manner in which the succession of states of consciousness conforms to a certain fundamental law of nervous action that follows from the First Principles laid down at the outset.
VI. Special Analysis.—As at present published, but further elaborated by some additional chapters.
VII. General Analysis.—As at present published, with several explanations and additions.
VIII. Corollaries.—Consisting in part of a number of derivative principles which form a necessary introduction to Sociology.
THE PRINCIPLES OF SOCIOLOGY.
Part I. The Data of Sociology.—A statement of the several sets of factors entering into social phenomena—human ideas and feelings considered in their necessary order of evolution; surrounding natural conditions; and those ever-complicating conditions to which Society itself gives origin.
II. The Inductions of Sociology.—General facts, structural and functional, as gathered from a survey of Societies and their changes: in other words, the empirical generalizations that are arrived at by comparing different societies, and successive phases of the same society.
III. Political Organization.—The evolution of governments, general and local, as determined by natural causes; their several types and metamorphoses; their increasing complexity and specialization; and the progressive limitation of their functions.
IV. Ecclesiastical Organization.—Tracing the differentiation of religious government from secular; its successive complications and the multiplication of sects; the growth and continued modification of religious ideas, as caused by advancing knowledge and changing moral character; and the gradual reconciliation of these ideas with the truths of abstract science.
V. Ceremonial Organization.—The natural history of that third kind of government which, having a common root with the others, and slowly becoming separate from and supplementary to them, serves to regulate the minor actions of life.
VI. Industrial Organization.—The development of productive and distributive agencies, considered, like the foregoing, in its necessary causes: comprehending not only the progressive division of labour, and the increasing complexity of each industrial agency, but also the successive forms of industrial government as passing through like phases with political government.
VII. Lingual Progress.—The evolution of Languages regarded as a psychological process determined by social conditions.
VIII. Intellectual Progress.—Treated from the same point of view: including the growth of classifications; the evolution of science out of common knowledge; the advance from qualitative to quantitative prevision, from the indefinite to the definite, and from the concrete to the abstract.
IX. Æsthetic Progress.—The Fine Arts similarly dealt with: tracing their gradual differentiation from primitive institutions and from each other; their increasing varieties of development; and their advance in reality of expression and superiority of aim.
X. Moral Progress.—Exhibiting the genesis of the slow emotional modifications which human nature undergoes in its adaptation to the social state.
XI. The Consensus.—Treating of the necessary interdependence of structures and of functions in each type of society, and in the successive phases of social development.
THE PRINCIPLES OF MORALITY.
Part I. The Data of Morality.—Generalizations furnished by Biology, Psychology and Sociology, which underlie a true theory of right living: in other words, the elements of that equilibrium between constitution and conditions of existence, which is at once the moral ideal and the limit towards which we are progressing.
II. The Inductions of Morality.—Those empirically-established rules of human action which are registered as essential laws by all civilized nations: that is to say—the generalizations of expediency.
III. Personal Morals.—The principles of private conduct—physical, intellectual, moral and religious—that follow from the conditions of complete individual life: or, what is the same thing—those modes of private action which must result from the eventual equilibration of internal desires and external needs.
IV. Justice.—The mutual limitations of men’s actions necessitated by their co-existence as units of a society—limitations, the perfect observance of which constitutes that state of equilibrium forming the goal of political progress.
V. Negative Beneficence.—Those secondary limitations, similarly necessitated, which, though less important and not cognizable by law, are yet requisite to prevent mutual destruction of happiness in various indirect ways; in other words—those minor self-restraints dictated by what may be called passive sympathy.
VI. Positive Beneficence.—Comprehending all modes of conduct, dictated by active sympathy, which imply pleasure in giving pleasure—modes of conduct that social adaptation has induced and must render ever more general; and which, in becoming universal, must fill to the full the possible measure of human happiness.
In anticipation of the obvious criticism that the scheme here sketched out is too extensive, it may be remarked that an exhaustive treatment of each topic is not intended; but simply the establishment of principles, with such illustrations as are needed to make their bearings fully understood. It may also be pointed out that, besides minor fragments, one large division (The Principles of Psychology) is already, in great part, executed. And a further reply is, that impossible though it may prove to execute the whole, yet nothing can be said against an attempt to set forth the First Principles and to carry their applications as far as circumstances permit.
It is proposed to publish in parts of from five to six sheets octavo (80 to 96 pages). These parts to be issued quarterly; or as nearly so as is found possible. The price per part to be half-a-crown; that is to say, the four parts yearly issued to be severally delivered, post free, to all annual subscribers of Ten Shillings.
Should an adequate sale be insured (on which contingency however the execution of the projected works wholly depends) the first part will appear in July next.
London, March 27, 1860.
Those who wish to take in the proposed serial are requested to fill up, cut off, and forward (without delay) the following form to Mr. Manwaring, 8, King William Street, Strand, London, W. C. This form commits the subscriber to the first volume only, of the series. Lest the guaranteed circulation should prove insufficient, no subscription should be paid until the issue of the first part shows that the design will be carried out. Copies of this Circular, for distribution, may be had of Mr. Manwaring.
Please put down my name for one copy of the first of Mr. Herbert Spencer’s projected series of works; and let the successive parts be directed to me as below.
Mr. Manwaring, &c., &c.
List of names sent in up to the date at which this circular is issued:—
JOHN STUART MILL, ESQ.
GEORGE GROTE, ESQ., F.R.S.
RIGHT HON. LORD STANLEY, M.P.
CHARLES DARWIN, ESQ., F.R.S., F.L.S., F.G.S.
PROF. HUXLEY, F.R.S., F.L.S., Sec. G.S.
NEIL ARNOTT, ESQ., M.D., F.R.S.
ERASMUS DARWIN, ESQ.
W. B. CARPENTER, ESQ., M.D., F.R.S., F.L.S., F.G.S.
GEORGE ELIOT, ESQ.
R. MONCKTON MILNES, ESQ., M.P.
OCTAVIUS H. SMITH, ESQ.
PROF. SHARPEY, M.D., Sec. R.S., F.R.S.E.
PROF. DE MORGAN
E. JOHNSON, ESQ., M.D.
E. S. DALLAS, ESQ.
J. LOCKHART CLARKE, ESQ., F.R.S.
CHARLES BABBAGE, ESQ., F.R.S., F.R.A.S., &c.
W. H. RANSOM, ESQ., M.D.
PROF. GOLDWIN SMITH.
O. DE BEAUVOIR PRIAULX, ESQ.
W. H. WALSHE, ESQ., M.D.
HEPWORTH DIXON, ESQ.
DR. FRANKLAND, F.R.S.
T. SPENCER BAYNES, ESQ., LL.B.
J. CHAPMAN, ESQ., M.D.
PROF. GRAHAM, F.R.S., F.G.S., D.C.L., &c.
T. L. HUNT, ESQ.
H. FALCONER, ESQ., M.D., F.R.S., F.L.S., F.G.S.
REV. CHARLES KINGSLEY, F.L.S., F.S.A., &c.
SIR CHARLES LYELL, F.R.S., F.L.S., F.G.S., &c.
R. G. LATHAM, ESQ., M.D., F.R.S.
J. D. HOOKER, ESQ., M.D., F.R.S., F.L.S., F.G.S.
PROF. TYNDALL, F.R.S.
SIR JOHN TRELAWNEY, BART., M.P.
PROF. BUSK, F.R.S., F.G.S., F.L.S.
HENRY T. BUCKLE, ESQ.
PROF. F. W. NEWMAN, M.A.
G. H. LEWES, ESQ.
H. BENCE JONES, ESQ., M.D., F.R.S.
H. DUNNING MACLEOD, ESQ.
PROF. MASSON, M.A.
H. G. ATKINSON, ESQ., F.G.S.
J. D. MORELL, ESQ.
E. H. SIEVEKING, ESQ., M.D.
COL. SIR PROBY T. CAUTLEY, K.C.B., F.R.S.
R. W. MACKAY, ESQ.
PROF. H. D. ROGERS, F.R.S., F.G.S., F.R.S.E., &c.
REV. W. G. CLARK.
GEORGE LOWE, ESQ., C.E., F.R.S., F.G.S., &c.
ALEXANDER BAIN, ESQ.
G. DRYSDALE, ESQ., M.D.
PROF. LAYCOCK, F.R.S.E.
E. S. PIGOTT, ESQ.
SIR JAMES CLARK, BART., M.D., F.R.S.
J. A. FROUDE, ESQ.
SIR HENRY HOLLAND, BART., M.D., F.R.S., F.G.S., &c.
SIR JOHN HERSCHEL, BART., F.R.S., F.R.A.S., F.G.S., &c.
M. CHARLES DE RÉMUSAT, de l’Académie Française, Ancien Ministre, &c., &c.
M. JULES SIMON, Ancien Professeur de Philosophie au Collége de France, Ancien Conseiller d’Etat, &c.
M. EMILE D. FORGUES.
M. AMEDÉE PICHOT, D.M., Directeur de la Revue Britannique.
Letter to Mr. G. H. Lewes
[The following is the letter to Mr. G. H. Lewes, referred to at the close of chapter xxxvi, as having resulted from the publication of the “Reasons for dissenting from the Philosophy of M. Comte”.]
29 Bloomsbury Sq. W.C.
March 21st, 1864.
My dear Lewes,
Thanks for your criticisms, some of which are important as saving me from an over-statement that would have been mischievous. With respect to the others I will briefly reply to the most important; and after troubling you to read these replies and my comments on the propositions contained in your two notes, I will say no more on the matter.
I was wrong in the assertion that Comte repudiated the science of mind: I should have said the subjective analysis of mind. That he does this I take on your own evidence; since you quote John Mill against him on this point.
The proposition which I oppose to Comte’s proposition of the three successive states, theological, metaphysical, and positive, you say is “by no means a counter-proposition”. When Comte says that the three methods are “different and even radically opposed,” while I say that the method is one that continues essentially the same; and when he says that there are three possible terminal conceptions while I say there is but one possible terminal conception; it seems to me that the term counter-proposition is well warranted.
I have not read Littré. Harrison named the fact that he had replied to me, and I have as yet only skimmed the chapter in which he does this and sought elsewhere for my name to see whether he anywhere regards me as a partial adherent. As he does not do so I conceive that the note is justified. But I have put a note recognizing your criticism respecting ideas and emotions; and meeting it.
You say I have not recognized Comte’s “conception of sociology as a science” among his distinctive doctrines. I do not see that it is distinctive of him. The conception that there is a social science was surely, as Masson shows, entertained by Vico and Kant—vaguely if you like. That which is distinctive of Comte is his elaboration of the conception. Surely, too, you will not deny that there have been other conceptions of social science among the German thinkers, however wild and untenable. Unless you can show that before Comte no one believed that social phenomena conform to law, you cannot say that the conception of social science is distinctive of Comte.
You ask, too, why I do not put down, as among his distinctive doctrines, the idea of a philosophy constructed out of the sciences. I do not admit this to be distinctive any more than the other. I refer you to your own History of Philosophy (p. 348), in proof that Bacon had an idea of such a philosophy; and, as far as it goes, a very true one. I hold that his assertion that “unless natural philosophy be drawn out to particular sciences; and again, unless these particular sciences be brought back again to natural philosophy,” involves a more correct conception of the relations of the sciences to each other than Comte’s elaborated hierarchy of the sciences. Bacon’s conception is vague and true: Comte’s conception is definite and untrue. I really cannot see that the notion of an organization of the sciences into one whole can be claimed for Comte.
You protest against my representing Comte as excluding the recognition of cause from the positive philosophy. If he does not do so what becomes of his alleged distinction between the perfection of the metaphysical system and the perfection of the positive system.
In your first note you say “when Comte insists on the relativity of knowledge he thereby postulates an Absolute, as you do.” I do not see how you can say this if you mean that he consciously or avowedly does so. Have I not myself joined issue with Hamilton and Mansel on this very point; and endeavored to show that the existence of an Absolute is necessarily postulated though they have not recognized this necessity? And if Hamilton and Mansel assert the relativity of knowledge and do not recognize the implied consciousness of existence transcending knowledge, is it not legitimate to say that Comte does the same when there are his own words to show it?
One of the implications of your first note, and of our conversations, is that I ought to recognize myself “indebted to Comte as one independent thinker may be indebted to a predecessor.” I do not admit that I am reluctant to recognize indebtedness to predecessors: it is a question of the predecessor. If anyone says that had von Baer never written I should not be doing that which I now am, I have nothing to say to the contrary—I should reply it is highly probable. But because I am deeply indebted to one predecessor, I do not see that I am called upon to admit indebtedness to another when I am unconscious of it.
You say that you may have thought that my antagonistic attitude towards Comte has tended to suppress the growth of any consciousness of indebtedness to Comte. Possibly. But allow me to point out, on the other hand, that the attitude of Comte’s disciples, and your own attitude in particular as expositor, is one which inevitably tends to generate an exaggerated estimate of Comte’s influence, and inevitably tends to make you assume indebtedness on insufficient grounds.
You say that Comte’s ideas have reached hundreds who never saw his works. This is perfectly true. If you mean to imply that any such diffused influence affected me before I wrote Social Statics, I say it is out of the question; for my reading up to that time had been wholly confined to the special sciences, and to party-politics, joined with miscellaneous light reading and an occasional glance into the elder writers on philosophy. The only book, which, so far as I know, was a means of diffusing any of Comte’s ideas was Mill’s Logic; and this I did not read until at least two years after Social Statics was written—a fact of which you will I believe find evidence without going far. [Referring to George Eliot, who had presented me with a copy of Mill’s Logic.]
I fancy that you and other partial adherents of Comte mistake as an atmosphere of Comtean thought, what is nothing else than the atmosphere of scientific thought. Those whose education has been mainly literary, are unable to realize the mental attitude of those whose education has been mainly scientific—especially where the scientific education has been joined to scientific tendencies, and a life of practical science continually illustrating theoretic science, as in my own case. How little influence Comte’s teachings have had on scientific thinking in England, will be shown by the accompanying paragraph; which I suppressed from my appendix from the desire to avoid seeming needlessly hostile.
And now let me deal with your two most specific points, taking first the question of the Sociology. You say—“Was not Comte the one who attempted to construct a Sociology on the positive method—and is not that your aim also?” If you say that here is a resemblance, you say truly. If you say that here is priority on the part of Comte, you say truly. If you say that here is indebtedness on my part, I do not admit it. If you believe that I was acquainted with Comte’s ideas before Social Statics was written, you may suppose that I derived the notion of a social organism (which is the only point of community between us) from him: but if you do not suppose this, I do not see what grounds you have for the assumption that I am here in any way indebted to Comte. The conception of Social Science which I have now, differs in nothing except further development from the conception set forth in Social Statics. With the exception of quite minor ethical propositions, I hold to all that is in Social Statics; and in the various political essays which I have since written, have shown its further development by the addition of conceptions which I have proved, by the analysis I sent you, to be neither allied to those of Comte nor suggested by them. I contend that, starting with Social Statics, passing through these several steps to the wider generalization of social phenomena given in the essay on Progress, and from thence by other steps to the views which I now hold, there is a development on lines of organization that cannot be traced to him; but are manifestly traceable to the extension of von Baer’s principle, and to the rationalization of it which I have since attempted. [This statement, along with some preceding and succeeding ones, and along with a passage in the “Reasons for dissenting from the Philosophy of M. Comte,” make it clear that I had, in 1864, forgotten some of the ideas reached in 1850; for on pp. 451-53 of Social Statics, where individual organisms and social organisms are shown to be similar in the respect that progress from low types to high types is progress from uniformity of structure to multiformity of structure, there is, in so far, and in other words, a recognition of the law which von Baer formulated in respect of the development of each organism, as a progress from homogeneity to heterogeneity.]
The other important point is that raised in your question—“Was not Comte the man who first constructed a Philosophy out of the separate sciences—and is not that your aim also”? Here, it seems to me, is the chief source of difference between us. I venture to think that you are assimilating two wholly different things—endeavouring to establish a lineal descent between systems which are not only generically distinct or ordinally distinct, but which belong to distinct classes. What is Comte’s professed aim? To give a coherent account of the progress of human conceptions. What is my aim? To give a coherent account of the progress of the external world. Comte proposes to describe the necessary, and the actual, filiation of ideas. I propose to describe the necessary, and the actual, filiation of things. Comte professes to interpret the genesis of our knowledge of nature. My aim is to interpret, as far as it is possible, the genesis of the phenomena which constitute nature. The one end is subjective. The other is objective. How then can the one be the originator of the other? If I had taken the views briefly set down in The Genesis of Science, and developed them into an elaborate system showing the development and coordination of human knowledge in pursuance of a theory at variance with that of Comte; then you might rightly have said that the one was suggested by the other. Then you might rightly have asked—“Was not Comte the man who first constructed a Philosophy out of the separate sciences—and is not that your aim also?” A philosophy of the sciences has a purely abstract subject-matter. A philosophy of nature has a purely concrete subject-matter, and how the one can beget the other I do not see. A concrete may beget an abstract; but how an abstract begets a concrete is not manifest. Comte’s system is avowedly an Organon of the Sciences. The scheme at which I am working has been called by Martineau a Cosmogony. Surely in the generation of thought, an Organon should give origin to an Organon and a Cosmogony to a Cosmogony. If you look for my predecessors, and if you point to the Cosmogonies of Hegel and Oken as being conceptions which may have influenced me, I do not say nay: I knew the general natures of Hegel’s and Oken’s Cosmogonies, and widely different as their conceptions are from my own, they are conceptions of the same class, and may very possibly have had some suggestive influence. But why, in seeking the parentage of the Cosmogony at which I am working, you should pass over antecedent Cosmogonies, and fix on an Organon of the Sciences for its parent, is more than I understand.
And now, having pointed out what I conceive to be the fundamental difference between the natures and aims of Comte’s scheme and my own (which your question assumes to be the same in nature and aim) let me take a further step. Looking at it from this new point of view, glance through the essay on Progress. Having done this, ask yourself, in the first place, whether you see any Comtean inspiration in that—whether you see in it anything more than the extension of von Baer’s principle and the endeavour to interpret that principle deductively? You must I think answer—No. In the second place, ask yourself whether there are not in that essay the rudiments of the scheme which is developed in First Principles. You cannot but answer—Yes. And then, in the third place, ask, is it so foreign to my nature to go on further developing ideas, that you cannot believe that the last of these has grown out of the first? In the essay on Progress there is a rudimentary Cosmogony. In First Principles there is a more elaborated Cosmogony. Is it unnatural that the one should in the course of some years have evolved the other?
Even while I write I am reminded of evidence on this point, which, however inconclusive it may be to others, is perfectly conclusive to myself; and makes me more than ever certain of the truth of my denial. You may remember that at the end of 1858 or beginning of 1859, I made an effort to obtain some appointment, which should give me sufficient means and leisure to do that which I am now doing. I have a distinct recollection of then explaining to Mr. Grote, who took some interest in the matter, that my purpose was to elaborate the ideas contained in the essay on Progress, which had then taken a larger development. And if Mr. J. S. Mill keeps his letters, I am greatly mistaken if it cannot be shown by the correspondence I then had with him, that I gave him the same explanation of my aims.
Whether you do or do not continue to think as you did on this matter, you will at any rate see that the amount and kind of evidence which (to myself) warrants my continual denial, is abundant and definite. And unless there is virtue in saying that you are indebted when you are not conscious of being indebted, I think I am not only warranted in making the denial but bound to make it.
In brief, then, my position is this:—Until it is shown that the views of social science I now hold, differ from those contained in Social Statics, by something more than difference of development—until it is shown that a Cosmogony is not to be rightly affiliated on preceding Cosmogonies but is to be rightly affiliated on an Organon of the Sciences—until it is shown that the essay on Progress does not contain the rudiments out of which First Principles has naturally developed—until it is shown that I have adopted some general view of Comte’s, or been led by his teaching to abandon some view I previously held; I shall continue to assert that I am uninfluenced by Comte, save in those minor views of his which I avowedly accept, and by the influence of antagonism. And until some such specific evidence is assigned, I shall continue to think the opposite assertion unwarranted.
Documents Concerning the Cessation of the Issue of the Philosophy
[Documents concerning the intended cessation of the issue of the Synthetic Philosophy, and concerning the measures taken to prevent it.]
London, April 8th, 1866.
The subscribers to Mr. Herbert Spencer’s System of Philosophy have been informed through a circular from the Publisher, that owing to the present insufficiency of Subscriptions its publication must be discontinued.
Mr. Spencer having declined several offers of direct contributions towards the expenses of publishing his great work, the only alternative remaining would appear to be, that those to whom its discontinuance would be a matter of deep regret, should subscribe for a sufficient number of copies to secure the author from loss.
It is estimated that 250 additional Subscriptions would suffice for this purpose.
Should you be disposed to join the undersigned in taking additional copies, you are requested to fill up the enclosed form and send it to Messrs. Williams & Norgate.
J. S. Mill,
T. H. Huxley.
To Messrs. Williams & Norgate,
14 Henrietta Street, Covent Garden, London, W.C.
Enter my name as a Subscriber to the 4th and following volumes of Mr. Herbert Spencer’s System of Philosophy;
Number of Subscriptions ______________________________
Messrs. Williams & Norgate are ready to take charge of, and keep for the subscribers the copies they may subscribe for for the present purpose, if directed to do so.
The second of the two circulars named in Chapter XXXVIII here follows:—
The Royal School of Mines, Jermyn Street,
May 18th, 1866.
My dear Sir,
I think it is desirable that a copy of the accompanying letter addressed to me by Mr. Spencer, should be sent to all those who have expressed a wish to co-operate with Mr. Busk, Sir John Lubbock, Mr. Mill, Prof. Tyndall, and myself, in carrying out the plan suggested in our circular of April 8th last.
Mr. Spencer’s letter appears to me to preclude us from any corporate action in promoting the pecuniary success of his works; but so stout a champion of personal liberty, can, I am sure, make no objection to efforts on the part of individuals, who reflect that his time and his labours are still bestowed without remuneration, to extend the list of subscribers.
I am, yours very faithfully,
T. H. HUXLEY.
Sydney Williams, Esq.
17 Wilmot Street, Derby,
13th May, 1866.
My dear Huxley,
You are aware of the sad event which brought me down here some three weeks ago. This event has consequences respecting which it seems proper that I should write to you without further delay.
When, along with the last number of the Biology, I issued a notice of cessation, to take place on the completion of the volume now in progress, I did so because I felt that I was not justified in continuing to sink what little property I possess, as I have been doing year by year since I began publishing. My position is now so far changed, that it will be possible for me to persevere, without making any other sacrifice than that of my time.
As you know, I reluctantly assented to the measures that had, unknown to me, been taken by friends interested in the continuance of my work, only because otherwise the alternatives were, discontinuance of it or prospective ruin. Now that these are no longer the alternatives, my reason for assenting disappears. I shall feel much more at my case in going on with my serial as heretofore, than I should feel with the help of that additional circulation of it proposed to be secured—in however delicate a way.
Will you, therefore, be kind enough to see that the arrangements lately entered into are cancelled—not, however, without expressing my acknowledgments to those who have entered into them. While I regret that you, and others who have co-operated, should have spent so much time and trouble in devising a plan now to be abandoned, the conclusive proofs of sympathy with my aims that have been thus given, will ever be a gratifying remembrance to me.
Very sincerely yours,
A New Invalid-Bed
[An account of the invalid-bed, as given by the “British Medical Journal” for July 27, 1867.]
A NEW INVALID-BED.
There is now on view at the establishment of Mr. Ward, the invalid chair-maker, Leicester Square, a new invalid-bed, admitting of a much greater variety of movements than any of those at present in use. The upper framework has adjustments similar to those of an ordinary fracture-bed; permitting the body to be raised to various inclinations, and the knees to be bent to various angles. But the peculiarity is, that this frame-work is supported, under its centre, on a large ball-and-socket joint, which allows the whole frame-work, with its variously adjustable parts, to be moved about bodily in all directions; so as to be inclined longitudinally, laterally, or both, and to be moved round so as to face all points of the compass. By means of a simple locking apparatus, the framework is firmly fixed in any attitude that may be desired: a few turns of the handle sufficing again to release it, and any other attitude to be assumed. Among the advantages obtained are these:—
The patient may be taken out of bed, and put into bed again, without the effort ordinarily required. The ball being unlocked, and the bed being gently tipped forwards, so that its lower end reaches the floor, the patient comes upon his feet; and after the sheets have been changed, or some needful act performed, he is placed with his back against the inclined surface of the bed, which, being then made to revolve backwards, he lies as at first.
By a lateral, instead of a longitudinal inclination of the bed, the patient may be turned over from the back on to the side, or contrariwise; saving the labour and pain often entailed by this change.
The longitudinal inclination of the bed being changeable at pleasure, the patient may lie, or may sleep, at any angle that he may prefer, or that is prescribed; either with the head higher than the feet, or, as it is sometimes desirable, with the feet somewhat higher than the head: the inclination being of course adjustable to a nicety, and changeable at will.
The moveable framework which supports the trunk, being raised, so that the trunk and legs form an angle (which may be varied to any extent up to a right angle) the whole bed may then be moved longitudinally round its centre of support, so that the body in this bent position may have the head and feet placed at all varieties of relative elevation. For example, while the trunk is horizontal the legs may be greatly inclined upwards, an attitude that is desirable where injury of the foot or knee renders it proper to diminish the pressure of blood.
The framework that bends the knees being raised, as well as that which inclines the trunk, the same longitudinal rotation of the framework gives a great variety of partly-reclining, partly-sitting postures. The patient may be placed, without any effort to him, in all attitudes between that of lying horizontally, and that of sitting upright in an easy chair.
These movements may, of course, be all of them joined with any such degree of lateral inclination of the bed as is desired; so that, supposing the framework has been adjusted somewhat into the form of an easy chair, and tilted forwards or backwards so as to bring a wounded arm or foot to the right height, the bed may be at the same time tilted sideways, so as to bring this wounded arm or foot on the uppermost side, into the most convenient position for dressing the wound.
At the same time the movement of horizontal rotation being brought into play, the whole bed may be moved round until the injured part is turned towards the light: this same horizontal rotation being, at other times, available for giving the patient change of view, enabling him to look out of the window when raised in the sitting posture, or to have his face turned away from the light if it is distressing.
To the side of the framework is fixed a moveable arm, carrying a small table, to support a plate or basin, and this table, by a slight change of position, also becomes a reading-easel.
One of the advantages of the bed not originally foreseen, but which has come out in practice, is that of being able to make certain changes in a patient’s position quite suddenly. When the ball-and-socket joint is but partially locked, so that a moderate force applied to the head or foot of the bed will change its position, the patient, previously lying back, may be instantly raised into the sitting posture if a coughing fit come on.
One further use that may be named is, that when the ball-and-socket joint is completely unlocked, so as to permit perfect freedom of movement, two attendants, seizing the handles on the opposite sides of the bed, may give the patient a little exercise, by rocking the bed from side to side in the manner of a cradle.
Beyond the special advantages above described, there are some general advantages. The ability to change the posture of the patient in such a variety of ways and degrees, without any effort to him, must tend to diminish that pain, weariness, and irritability, caused by long continuance of the same attitude, or by small choice of attitudes, and must so conduce to convalescence. A further result to be anticipated, is, that bed sores may be avoided, the points of chief pressure being changeable at will, and as often as is desired.
This bed, devised by Mr. Herbert Spencer, the distinguished biologist and philosophical writer, for a member of his own family, has been in use between four and five months, and has so far answered his expectations that he has had a second made, with sundry improvements, hoping that it may be of service to others. Mr. Spencer has refrained from patenting it: not wishing to place any obstacle in the way of its general use.
English Feeling about the American Civil War
[A letter concerning the feeling in England at the time when there began the American War between North and South—a letter written for publication in the “New York Tribune,” and which, though withheld at the time, was published in that Journal some years later.]
My Dear Youmans: When you were here I told you that the Americans wholly misconceive the feeling with which England at first regarded the quarrel between North and South. To others of your countrymen I have, from time to time, made the same statement; and I have urged more than one of them to examine for himself the evidence furnished by our press, and to publish the results of his examination. Nothing has come of my suggestions, however. Whether those I spoke to thought it impossible that the truth could be so entirely at variance with their belief as I represented, or whether they preferred cherishing a belief which seemed to justify their indignation, I cannot say: probably both causes conspired with their dislike to the required trouble.
The importance of disabusing the American mind on this matter is increasingly manifest. That hostile feeling toward us which has for years been displayed by your journals and your orators, has been largely if not mainly caused by the impression that gratuitous ill-will was felt by us from the outset; and I cannot but think that were this erroneous impression removed, there would be less difficulty in coming to an understanding on disputed questions. Failing to find any one else to do what it seems to me should be done, I have myself had collected the requisite materials, with the view of affording to Americans the means of judging how far they are warranted in cherishing that animosity which has lately been exhibited more violently than ever.
In the first place let me show you the public opinion that existed in England at the time that secession was impending, as that opinion was expressed in the columns of the press.
“In South Carolina, and Alabama, and Georgia, an appeal is to be made to the last powers vested in the State Constitution, with a view to disunion, on no ground whatever, that can be discovered, except that they do not like Mr. Lincoln. * * * To all our political notions there is no more reason for the violences reported from the Southern States than there would be for the electors of Southwark refusing to pay assessed taxes because Lord Palmerston had declared against the ballot. * * * The Southern States certainly would not mend matters by a separation. * * * Anything is better than dividing State against State, house against house, and servant against master in the most rising nation in the world.”
[Times, Dec. 5, 1860.
“Without sharing the opinions, much less using the language, of the Abolitionists with respect to Slavery, which bad though it be, must remain for many years an institution of the United States, we look upon the conduct of South Carolina in this matter as disgraceful in the last degree. To gratify their pique against those of opposite politics, and to advance their local interests, the Slave-owners would destroy a Constitution under which their country has enjoyed singular prosperity.”
[Times, Dec. 11, 1860.
“The Americans may confidently assure themselves that there is no party in this kingdom which desires anything but the maintenance and prosperity of the Union. * * * We cannot disguise from ourselves that, apart from all political complications, there is a right and a wrong in this question, and that the right belongs, with all its advantages, to the States of the North.”
[Times, Jan. 4, 1861.
“The proposal of secession is so wild, so absurd, that it could not be put forth by men sensible enough to conduct public affairs unless they were so dishonest as to be unworthy of the trust. The threat is either an outbreak of mad passion, or a device to obtain concessions from the fears and affections of the North.”
[Daily News, Jan. 2, 1861.
“Granted that the United States of America are beset with peculiar difficulties in treating this question [Slavery]—when are these difficulties to vanish, when are they to be lessened under the domination of the South? Have not the Southern states gone on from iniquity to iniquity? * * * *
“We must not forget that slave-owners are necessarily aggressive in every sense, and that in the United States they have been as a minority not only dominant and aggressive, but turbulent, insolent, and overbearing even towards the majority of their own race and nation.”
[Morning Herald, Dec. 27, 1860.
“If the Southern States were the advocates of a cause less pernicious and detestable than the extension of slavery, we should still think their proceedings foolish and suicidal; but, under existing circumstances, they can have neither the sympathy nor good wishes of any man, either in America or in England, who has the slightest regard for the progress of civilization and the interests of humanity.”
[Morning Post, Dec. 5, 1860.
“We must persist in the opinion that this Southern agitation is false in its pretences, and will be proved a blunder by its results; but, if now, or at any future time, the slave states should break away from the Union, we might await with confidence the day when the Northern confederacy, stronger in its liberty, in its moral power, and in its physical manhood, would rise and overwhelm its sullen rival, and crush the system of slavery for ever.”
[Daily Telegraph, Dec. 3, 1860.
“We see also how intolerant slavery makes its votaries. They have enjoyed a long lease of power; they have had the advantage of a large number of pro-slavery Presidents, as well as of supple majorities in Congress; and from the admission of Texas into the Union, as a Slave State, down to the repeal of the Missouri compromise, their demands, monstrous and unjust as they have been, met with a too ready compliance. But now, because they have received a check, and their opponents, whose rights they have so often violated, have succeeded in climbing into power, they have the effrontery to put on an air of injured innocence, and to pretend that the legitimate triumph of the North is an act of aggression against them.”
[Morning Star, Nov. 27, 1860.
“They [Slave States] dare not go out of the Union with their slaves, for they have nowhere to go to. They are a great deal safer in the friendship and alliance of the North.”
[Express, Nov. 20, 1860.
“The election of Abraham Lincoln will be hailed everywhere as a declaration that the great Republic is not a slave Republic. * * * England will now approve of the general course of the United States policy; and with the dominancy of the Slave power half the causes of irritation between the two countries will cease. England must ever be an anti-slavery country, and its Government of any party an anti-slavery Government.”
[Sun, Nov. 19, 1860.
“But will the South really carry out their threat, and secede from the Union? We believe that all their loud talk is but bluster, and that they will do nothing so utterly mad as this. * * * We are persuaded that the North have little to lose by the change, the South everything. * * * With the feeling of the whole world against them; standing alone in their assertion of a principle which Christianity and civilization have condemned, the Southern states of America—abundant in land, bankrupt in everything else—would sink rapidly to a lower and lower level, till they had become as degraded as Mexico.”
[Standard, Nov. 24, 1860.
“If we augur rightly, the Southern rebellion will splutter a great deal and then subside. It rests upon grounds not tenable in an Anglo-Saxon community; for it does not rest upon any violation of the Constitution, the common law or the statute book. It rests upon arrogance and ill-temper, too weak a foundation for a Southern confederacy.”
[Spectator, Dec. 1, 1860.
The English “nation may be trusted to consent to almost any sacrifice rather than that the Slave-trade should exceed its present inevitable limits.”
[Saturday Review, Dec. 29, 1860.
This universal condemnation of the South and sympathy with the North, uttered through the English journals before the news of Secession reached us, was uttered afterwards in even stronger language. Here are the proofs:
“For our own part, whatever opinions Americans may have of English policy, we beg to assure them that in this country there is only one wish—that the Union may survive this terrible trial. Should Providence decree it otherwise, we earnestly pray that the separation may be an amicable one. Civil war in a flourishing country and among a kindred people can never be contemplated without horror by a nation like ours, and we trust that neither the violence of the people nor the weakness of their leaders will bring this calamity on the American Union.”
[Times, Jan. 18, 1861.
“Without law, without justice, without delay, she [South Carolina] is treading in the path that leads to the downfall of nations and the misery of families. The hollowness of her cause is seen beneath all the pomp of her labored denunciation, and surely to her, if to any community of modern days, may be applied the words of the Hebrew Prophet—‘A wonderful and horrible thing is committed in the land. The Prophets prophesy falsely, and my people love to have it so.’ ”
[Times, Jan. 19, 1861.
“We should be thankful to see reason to hope that the South could throw off her madness, and agree now to terms which she must accept at last.” “If the seceders do not make the most of that time [i.e. the remaining six weeks of President Buchanan’s term of office] to negotiate a return, there seems to be no other prospect than that of coercion—unwilling as the North sincerely is to resort to it.”
[Daily News, Jan. 21, 1861.
If the Southern States succeed in establishing a separate Union, they will form a State “insignificantly small and hated among mankind, for lack of those moral attributes without which in this age no Power can claim or receive the respect of civilized and free communities.”
[Morning Post, Jan. 9, 1861.
“No one desires to witness the dismemberment of a great, friendly, and cognate nation; but if this object should be accomplished the blame will rest with the people of the South, whose treason and rebellion have been aided and abetted by the temporizing and cowardly policy of Mr. President Buchanan.”
[Morning Post, Jan. 12, 1861.
If war should arise “we must once more rely on the natural laws of justice, and predict that the slave Secessionists will be humbled, if not trampled under foot.”
[Daily Telegraph, Jan. 19, 1861.
“Every man who deserves the name throughout the civilized world gives his hearty sympathy to the North.”
[Daily Telegraph, Jan. 15, 1861.
“The free States are purging themselves from the contempt of the civilized world for past submission to the slave oligarchs; and whatever may be the intentions of Mr. Lincoln in reference to the issues agitating the thirty-three states of the Union, there is ample evidence in the tone of the Northern press that the doom of Slavery is sealed.”
[Morning Herald, Jan. 28, 1861.
“We deplore the infatuation which impels the Cotton States to a course so unjustifiable and dangerous. * * * We sympathize with our brethren of the North in the trial of principle and temper to which they are subjected.”
[Morning Star, Jan. 15, 1861.
“We may well suppose that the Southern men make themselves believe their cause a good one—but the men of the North know theirs to be so. It requires no tampering with conscience to enjoy the faith that extension of slavery ought to be repressed; and that is the present creed of the North. It demands the subversion of all Christian instincts to believe in the right of property in man, and to think slavery an institution of Heaven; and that is the creed of the South. No artifice can make this professed creed a faith. Think of dying for slavery!”
[Sun, Jan. 19, 1861.
“The spectacle presented in the United States * * * of successful rebellion in the South, with timidity and almost daily change of men and measures in the Government of Washington, is one which all Englishmen must regard with pain.”
[Globe, Jan. 14, 1861.
“In our estimation the South has all to lose and nothing to gain by disunion; and unhappily the rest of the world may lose, too, by conduct which seems to spring from no source but political pride and passion.”
[Globe, Jan. 18, 1861.
“There remains no course open to the friends of the Union but an appeal to the sword. * * * We hold it to be perfectly clear that the act of secession is rebellion, and that the Government which neglects by every means in its power to prevent so dire a calamity is guilty of treason to the Federal constitution. But, in the present instance the enormity of the crime of the state of South Carolina is magnified by the absence of any reasonable ground for their withdrawal from the Union.”
[Standard, Jan. 19, 1861.
“On the South rests the whole guilt of this fratricidal strife; and on the South will fall the worst consequences of the conflict it has provoked.”
[Standard, May 2, 1861.
“We can only say that the South is mad—mad in the way that is caused by passion acting on ignorance and a morbid self-will.”
[Express, Jan. 24, 1861.
“The Southerners * * * are fighting, not to be let alone, but for the preservation and maintenance of the Slave System, to which everything must be subordinated.”
[Spectator, Jan. 5, 1861.
“It is the dread of being inclosed in a ring fence, a vital article in the Republican programme, which fills the Southerns with dismay, and urges them on in their mad progress towards anarchy.”
[Spectator, Jan. 26, 1861.
“There is little danger that Englishmen will look on the dissolution of the United States with languid curiosity or malicious satisfaction. We have plenty of selfish reasons, if we had no others, for regarding it with something like dismay. In fact, the event which South Carolina has recklessly precipitated may be said to have involved this country in the very same embarrassments with which the Northern United States have so long struggled.”
[Saturday Review, Jan. 12, 1861.
“The Northern States are fully justified in arming for the support of the Constitution.”
[Saturday Review, Feb. 2, 1861.
Such was the display of English feeling in the daily and weekly papers of all political parties. The journals of extreme Toryism joined those of extreme Liberalism in this unqualified reprobation of the South. Not a single expression of sympathy with the South has been discovered in the course of the examination. One expression of the kind was, I am told, published in a monthly magazine, and protested against as being in absolute opposition to the current of public opinion. Just that cordial approval which the anti-Slavery party of the North expected to have from England, and which they afterwards so loudly complained that they did not get, was at first shown to them in the clearest manner, even by those least friendly to American institutions.
How came all this to be changed? When once a sentiment has been established throughout the whole nation, it is a difficult thing to alter it; and the transformation of it into an opposite sentiment in the course of a few months, implies some very unusual and very strong influence. After the English people had unanimously condemned the South and wished success to the North, it is impossible that a large part of them should have turned round without a cause. What was that cause? I know of none but your behaviour to us. At the very outset, even before Secession had taken place, there was a predisposition to put an unfavourable construction on all we said and did. The loud utterances of a fellow-feeling with you, of which I have given examples that might be indefinitely multiplied, seem either to have passed unnoticed by your papers, or to have produced no effect on you; while, on the other hand, ready credence seems to have been given to “stories of the joy expressed by Englishmen travelling in the United States at the prospect of the Constitution collapsing,” which appeared in your papers as early as December, 1860, and which I find protested against in our papers as incredible. Men who are biassed, very generally can see only the facts which they expect to see; and I suppose that the traditional bitterness against England, encouraged, if I am rightly informed, even by the lessons in your school-books, made you ready to believe and remember all allegations of unfriendly feeling on our part, while you were unready to believe, and very soon forgot, the clear proofs of our friendly feeling. Thus only is it possible to account for the fact that, out of the enormous mass of evidence to the contrary, you extracted materials for the conviction that we bore you ill-will. Thus only is it possible to account for the fact that, in response to our manifestations of sympathy, there came insinuations respecting our intentions and our motives; false statements of what we were doing or were about to do; assertions that our interests were on the side of the South, and that therefore we were sure to go with the South; charges of mean selfishness based on the assumed truth of these assertions; ending in invectives that became daily more violent. Friends who are treated as enemies are not likely to remain friends; and your persistent misrepresentations, by alienating some and producing resentment in others, eventually aroused among us the hostile sentiment with which we were wrongly charged. I leave you to judge of the truth of this inference after telling you how I was myself affected. It has been said of me by some of your writers that I am in feeling more an American than an Englishman; and the statement is in a considerable degree true. Moreover, at the time in question (though in a still greater degree afterward), my relations with individual Americans and with the American public were such as to heighten my preëxisting sympathies. Nevertheless, I confess that your behaviour toward us wrought in me a change similar in kind to that which I saw wrought in those around me, though not so great in degree. Irritated day after day by seeing ascribed to Englishmen ignoble motives which certainly were not prevalent, if they existed at all, the strength of my fellow-feeling with the North gradually diminished. Nothing could have made me sympathize with the South; but I can well understand how those whose detestation of Southern institutions and Southern conduct was less intense than mine, were at length so much incensed by your undeserved reproaches that they changed sides. I do not defend this. I do not think any were justified in wishing well to your antagonists because they felt themselves calumniated by you; and perhaps I ought myself to have kept uncooled my originally warm interest in your success. But it is not in ordinary human nature to respond to hard words by unflagging good wishes.
Was there not a reason for our hard words, you will say? Did not the premature proclamation of neutrality justify our interpretations? I cannot enter at length into this vexed question. I will only say that, had such a proclamation been made by a people who were displaying unfriendly sentiments to you, you might have had some reason to regard it as an act of hostility; but coming as it did along with the reprobation—I might almost say execration—of your antagonists, it could not reasonably be interpreted otherwise than as a step taken in pursuance of our established foreign policy. That the step was taken sooner than was necessary for the avoidance of entanglements, may or may not be true; but even if true, it is surely strange that an error of judgment on the part of a Minister should have made you forget the manifestations of good feeling from an entire nation.
No doubt there existed here some who willingly found provocation in your treatment of us. Their social position, their class-interests, their traditional opinions, have always predisposed our “upper ten thousand” to look coldly on a society like yours. And irritated as they frequently were by having the success of American institutions held up to them as a reproach, it is not surprising that they were ready to say and do unfriendly things whenever the opportunity offered. Hence it became the policy of their journals to reproduce here everything you said against us; and when the Trent affair and your adverse tariff gave occasion, the comments of their journals were, of course, such as to increase, as much as possible, the growing alienation. Affording, as the language of your Press continued to do, abundant materials for generating it, this hostile sentiment, which was at first limited to a small minority, spread until it became the prevailing sentiment among the influential classes, though not among the mass of the people. And this it was which led to the angry speeches made by certain members of our Legislature; this it was which at length produced openly-avowed partisanship with the South; this it was which made possible the unfortunate Alabama business.
I have laid before you little else than indisputable facts; and from these facts such inferences as I have drawn are, I think, irresistible. It is a fact which any one may verify by referring to the files of our papers in New York, that for months after the commencement of your troubles, the unanimous sympathies of the English with the North were expressed in the most unqualified manner. It is a fact that my own originally warm interest in the success of the North was gradually cooled by the groundless suspicions and undeserved reproaches with which you responded to our good wishes; and if it be an inference that what changed me from an ardent sympathizer into a lukewarm sympathizer, changed others from friends into enemies, the inference is one which scarcely admits of question. The conclusion is, I think, inevitable, that but for the revolution of feeling brought about by your behaviour to us, there would never have been prompted any of those private acts of aid to the Confederates of which you complain, nor would there have happened that gross official negligence which allowed that aid to be given. I am, very sincerely yours,
No. 37 Queen’s Gardens, Bayswater, May 22, 1869.
A New Fishing-Rod Joint
[From “The Field” newspaper for January 14, 1871.]
During the late salmon-fishing season, I had the opportunity of trying a rod with a new kind of joint, which I had made for me in the spring. The results having been satisfactory, a description of it may be of interest to fishermen who care about improved appliances.
This new form of joint may be generally described as a combination of the splice and the socket; possessing, as I think, the advantages of both without their inconveniences.
In the figure, A B represents a splice made with a shoulder at C—the effect of the shoulder being that, so long as the halves of the splice are held together laterally, they cannot be drawn apart longitudinally. The halves of the splice are held together laterally by a sliding socket or collar, D E, of such length and diameter that when it is drawn down till the bottom of it, E, comes to the point B, or rather to the dotted line just below B, the splice is tightly inclosed by the collar throughout its whole length: the tightness, of course, resulting from the slight taper of the rod and the corresponding taper of the collar. The advantages of this arrangement are these:—
1. Decrease of weight. Instead of the usual metal socket and the metal bracket fitting into it, which have to bear all the strain, and therefore must be of considerable thickness, there is only a single collar, which may be made comparatively thin; since the strain it has to bear is no greater than that which is borne by the wrapping of silk ordinarily covering a splice.
2. Quickness of adjustment. When the rod is being put together, no time is required to adjust the line of the runners. The fixing of the splice itself fixes the line of the runners, which cannot afterwards go awry. A further and greater economy of time and trouble, results from dispensing with the usual link of wire or string, needful to prevent the loosening of the joints by continual casting.
3. Avoidance of entanglements. The existing form of socket joint, needing its tying of wire or string to prevent loosening, causes inconvenience and irritation by often catching the line or the flies. This collar-splice joint, as it may fitly be called, offers nothing against which the line or the flies can catch.
4. It is quickly taken to pieces: requiring no untying, and not being liable to bind.
This last assertion may perhaps be received with scepticism, since it seems obvious that as, in rainy weather, water will get into this joint as into the ordinary one, the liability to swelling of the wood and consequent binding will be as great, if not greater. But, anticipating this difficulty, I had especial care taken that the wood should be made waterproof. Soaking it in hot boiled oil and subsequent varnishing, rendered it impermeable; so that though, during my fishing of last season, exposure to rain for many hours repeatedly occurred, I never had any inconvenience from binding. I may add that, as an additional precaution, I rubbed the surface of the splice, outer and inner, with tallow. [This was a mistake. I forgot that “verdigris” would result from contact of tallow with brass. I afterwards used oil. Perhaps vaseline would answer.]
It may be well to meet a further doubt which some will feel—whether the sliding collar will not be loosened by continual casting, as the ordinary socket is. Recognizing this possibility before the rod was made, I concluded that there would be little danger of such an evil. The common rod is apt to get loose at the joints, because at each cast the momentum given to the upper parts of the rod tends to pull them out of their sockets; but in the joint I have described, the shoulder of the splice effectually prevents this momentum of the upper parts from producing any effect, so long as the collar keeps its place; and there is no tendency to loosening of the collar, save that resulting from its own momentum, which is not sufficient to overcome the friction. Experience verified this anticipation: when the collar was thrust into its place with moderate tightness, it never stirred.
Being much simpler than the ordinary joint, it ought, I should think, to be considerably cheaper; though I cannot say that the advantage of cheapness was realized in my experience. But of course anything made for the first time is much more costly than when it is habitually made. Mr. Alfred Carter, of St. John’s Street Road, Islington, was the maker; and, on the whole, he carried out my plans satisfactorily.
37, Queen’s Gardens,
Bayswater, Jan. 3.
Obituary Notice of J. S. Mill
[From the “Examiner” newspaper for May 17, 1873.]
To dilate upon Mr. Mill’s achievements, and to insist upon the wideness of his influence over the thought of his time, and consequently over the actions of his time, seems to me scarcely needful. The facts are sufficiently obvious, and are recognized by all who know anything about the progress of opinion during the last half-century. My own estimate of him, intellectually considered, has been emphatically, though briefly, given on an occasion of controversy between us, by expressing my regret at “having to contend against the doctrine of one whose agreement I should value more than that of any other thinker.”
While, however, it is almost superfluous to assert of him that intellectual height so generally admitted, there is more occasion for drawing attention to a moral elevation which is less recognized; partly because his activities in many directions afforded no occasion for exhibiting it, and partly because some of its most remarkable manifestations in conduct, are known only to those whose personal relations with him have called them forth. I feel especially prompted to say something on this point, because, where better things might have been expected, there has been, not only a grudging recognition of intellectual rank, but a marked blindness to those fine traits of character which, in the valuation of men, must go for more than superiority of intelligence.
It might, indeed, have been supposed that even those who never enjoyed the pleasure of personal acquaintance with Mr. Mill, would have been impressed with the nobility of his nature as indicated in his opinions and deeds. How entirely his public career has been determined by a pure and strong sympathy for his fellow-men—how entirely this sympathy has subordinated all desires for personal advantage—how little even the fear of being injured in reputation or position has deterred him from taking the course which he thought equitable or generous; ought to be manifest to every antagonist, however bitter. A generosity that might almost be called romantic was obviously the feeling prompting sundry of those courses of action which have been commented upon as errors. And nothing like a true conception of him can be formed unless, along with dissent from them, there goes recognition of the fact that they resulted from the eagerness of a noble nature, impatient to rectify injustice and to further human welfare.
It may, perhaps, be that my own perception of this pervading warmth of feeling has been sharpened by seeing it exemplified, not in the form of expressed opinions only, but in the form of private actions. For Mr. Mill was not one of those who, to sympathy with their fellow-men in the abstract, join indifference to them in the concrete. There came from him generous acts that corresponded with his generous sentiments. I say this not from second-hand knowledge, but having in mind a remarkable example known only to myself and a few friends. I have hesitated whether to give this example; seeing that it has personal implications. But it affords so clear an insight into Mr. Mill’s character, and shows so much more vividly than any description could do how fine were the motives swaying his conduct, that I think the occasion justifies disclosure of it.
Some seven years ago, after bearing as long as was possible the continued losses entailed on me by the publication of the System of Philosophy, I notified to the subscribers that I should be obliged to cease at the close of the volume then in progress. Shortly after the issue of this announcement I received from Mr. Mill a letter, in which, after expressions of regret, and after naming a plan which he wished to prosecute for reimbursing me, he went on to say:—“In the next place . . . what I propose is, that you should write the next of your treatises, and that I should guarantee the publisher against loss, i.e. should engage, after such length of time as may be agreed on, to make good any deficiency that may occur, not exceeding a given sum, that sum being such as the publisher may think sufficient to secure him.” Now though these arrangements were of kinds that I could not bring myself to yield to, they none the less profoundly impressed me with Mr. Mill’s nobility of feeling, and his anxiety to further what he regarded as a beneficial end. Such proposals would have been remarkable even had there been entire agreement of opinion. But they were the more remarkable as being made by him under the consciousness that there existed between us certain fundamental differences, openly avowed. I had, both directly and by implication, combated that form of the experiential theory of human knowledge which characterizes Mr. Mill’s philosophy; in upholding Realism, I had opposed in decided ways, those metaphysical systems to which his own Idealism was closely allied; and we had long carried on a controversy respecting the test of truth, in which I had similarly attacked Mr. Mill’s positions in an outspoken manner. That under such circumstances he should have volunteered his aid, and urged it upon me, as he did, on the ground that it would not imply any personal obligation, proved in him a very exceptional generosity.
Quite recently I have seen afresh illustrated this fine trait—this ability to bear with unruffled temper, and without any diminution of kindly feeling, the publicly-expressed antagonism of a friend. The last evening I spent at his house was in the company of another invited guest, who, originally agreeing with him entirely on certain disputed questions, had some fortnight previously displayed his change of view—nay, had publicly criticized some of Mr. Mill’s positions in a very undisguised manner. Evidently, along with his own unswerving allegiance to truth, there was in Mr. Mill an unusual power of appreciating in others a like conscientiousness; and so of suppressing any feeling of irritation produced by difference—suppressing it not in appearance only, but in reality; and that, too, under the most trying circumstances.
I should say, indeed, that Mr. Mill’s general characteristic, emotionally considered, was an unusual predominance of the higher sentiments—a predominance which tended, perhaps, both in theory and practice, to subordinate the lower nature unduly. That rapid advance of age which has been conspicuous for some years past, and which doubtless prepared the way for his somewhat premature death, may, I think, be regarded as the outcome of a theory of life which made learning and working the occupations too exclusively considered. But when we ask to what ends he acted out this theory, and in so doing too little regarded his bodily welfare, we see that even here the excess, if such we call it, was a noble one. Extreme desire to further human welfare was that to which he sacrificed himself.
HERBERT SPENCER AND HIS AMERICAN FRIENDS.
[Letter published by Prof. Youmans to correct erroneous impressions current in America.]
To the Editor of The Tribune.
I ask a portion of your space to correct certain misstatements which have appeared in the newspapers in reference to the assistance given to Mr. Herbert Spencer from this country in publishing his works. Repeated contradictions of these erroneous statements have already appeared in your columns, but they seem to have failed of their purpose, as the following extract from a recent evening paper will show. The writer said: “The considerable sums that have been transmitted to Mr. Spencer from his American publishers have been the means, as he himself has borne witness, of enabling him to apply himself in singleness of purpose to the one great life-work. If Mr. Spencer should be spared to us only long enough to complete this work (the philosophical system) it is significant to consider it will be to his American revenue that the saving from frittering bread-and-butter work, which would otherwise have been a necessity, of fruitful years sufficient to its completion will be due.”
It is no doubt a creditable thing that a few persons in this country, seeing the great public importance of Mr. Spencer’s labors, and learning that they were in peril of interruption for lack of support, contributed liberally to prevent a result which they believed would be a public calamity; but if the matter is to be talked about and boasted of as a national honor, it becomes important to know exactly how the case stands. A glance at the facts will show that the writer above quoted claims altogether too much. The circumstances were these.
During the early part of his career as a philosophical writer, Mr. Spencer was habitually a loser by his labors; not simply in devoting time without return, but in having to spend in publication sums which were only in part repaid by sales, and he was consequently forced to make repeated inroads upon his property. His projected philosophical system was a formidable undertaking which he expected to occupy twenty years of time, and which would involve heavy expenditure, which no publisher would undertake. To meet this he chose the form of subscription as the only plan holding out any inducement of enabling him to prosecute the work. Accepting the assurances he received that it would be sustained, he commenced publication in 1860, with about 450 English subscribers and about 250 from this country. But owing to causes which need not be named the enterprise was not sustained. In two or three years the English subscription fell off to about 300 and the American ceased entirely. His American publishers paid him a copyright on his books, but that, with the proceeds from the English subscriptions, was insufficient to protect him from loss. Early in 1866 he found, upon examining into his affairs, that spite of every effort to economize he had, in the course of his literary career, frittered away nearly $6,000, and that if he went on much longer in the same way nothing would be left; and so, with much reluctance, he announced the discontinuance of the serial.
But English thinkers were by no means indifferent to the fate of the undertaking. Mr. Mill made a noble proposal, offering to assume the entire pecuniary responsibility of going on with the work, but Mr. Spencer declined it. A movement was afterward made by certain leading scientific men to secure an artificial increase in the circulation of his serial. This Mr. Spencer at first resisted, but was afterwards induced to consent to the arrangement in a qualified form. While the matter was pending, however, the sudden death of Mr. Spencer’s father occurred, and altered the aspect of the case; so that he at once canceled the arrangement, and resolved to continue the work at his own expense.
Meantime, moved by the announcement that Mr. Spencer’s series was to stop for lack of support, and knowing that he had been a heavy loser by the publication of works of great value to the public, some of his American friends contributed a sum to repay his losses, and help the project on; and in July, 1866, when going to England, I was commissioned to hand over to Mr. Spencer the documents showing that $7,000 had been invested in his name in American securities. The funds were not sent to him as a largess, or because he was personally in want of them, but they were sent to aid in carrying on an extensive and very important work which was threatened with arrest because of non-support. Mr. Spencer was not consulted, and the thing was so done that he had no choice but to acquiesce in the arrangement. The spirit in which he did it is shown in the following letter:
My Dear Sir: Though my friend Dr. Youmans, by expressions in his letters, had led me to suppose that something was likely to be done in the United States with the view of preventing the suspension of my work, yet I was wholly unprepared for anything so generous as that which I learned from your letter of June 25. In ignorance of the steps that were being taken, I had thought that possibly a revival and extension of the American list of subscribers would be attempted; and my thought having taken this direction, the unexpected munificence of my American friends quite astonished me, as it has astonished all to whom I have named it. Not simply the act itself, but also the manner in which the act has been done, is extremely gratifying to me. Possibly you are aware that while on the one hand I had decided that I ought not to continue sacrificing what little property I possess, I had, on the other hand, resolved not to place myself in any questionable position; and, in pursuance of this resolve, I had negatived sundry proposals made here in furtherance of my undertaking. But the course adopted by my American friends is one which appears to give me no alternative save that of yielding. Already in the case of the profits accruing from republished works, which I declined to receive unless the cost of the stereotype plates had been repaid to those who furnished the funds, they defeated me by saying that if I did not draw the proceeds they would remain in Messrs. Appleton’s hands; and I foresee that were I now to be restive under their kindness, they would probably take an analogous step. I therefore submit, and I feel less hesitation in doing this because the strong sympathy with my aims which has from the beginning been manifested in the United States, makes me feel that impersonal rather than personal considerations move those who have acted in the matter, and should also guide me. Will you, therefore, be so good as to say to all who have joined in raising this magnificent gift, which more than replaces what I have lost during the last 16 years, that I accept it as a trust to be used to public ends, and that, at the same time, feelings of another kind compel me to express my gratitude as well as my admiration. Let me add that while the material results of their act will be that of greatly facilitating my labors, the approval conveyed by it in so unparalleled a way from readers of another nation, cannot fail to be a moral stimulus and support of great value to me. Believe me, my dear Sir, very sincerely yours,
Robert B. Minturn,Esq., New-York.
Mr. Spencer’s statement that the action of his American friends would have the effect of greatly facilitating his labors, soon proved true, and in a way that he himself hardly anticipated. Instead of continuing to employ a youth as an amanuensis, he was able to engage a gentleman of university education to give him assistance of a higher kind. Not, indeed, that he wanted this assistance to carry on his regular philosophical series; but he foresaw that in dealing with the “Principles of Sociology” (the great work of his system in three volumes), he would require the collection and classification of a very large amount of materials. This was begun in 1867, simply with a view of facilitating his own work, but it quickly proved to be so important that Mr. Spencer decided to have it carried out for general use. Though subsidiary to his main enterprise this was an immense undertaking, and one which is destined to prove of great public moment. Mr. Spencer wanted the most comprehensive and accurate knowledge concerning all the diversified phases of human society, as a basis of inquiry into the laws of its development. Devising a method by which the different orders of sociological facts could be tabulated, and readily compared, he divided the races of mankind into three great groups—the existing savage races, the existing civilized races, and the extinct civilized races—with the view of working out the whole subject in the most exhaustive manner. He has engaged three gentlemen of the requisite qualifications to take each a division of the work and devote to it five years of research. The work is already considerably advanced, and portions of the “Descriptive Sociology,” as it will be called, have been slowly passing through the press for the last two years, and Mr. Spencer hopes to be able to issue the first numbers in the course of the Autumn.
These statements will make manifest the nature of the misapprehension that has arisen. When, a few months ago, in a letter to Mr. Appleton, part of which appeared in The Evening Post, Mr. Spencer said that his chief reason for gratification at the increase of returns from this country, was that he would be able to push forward more rapidly the sociological tables, the allusion was to this supplementary undertaking. Of course the outlay implied by it, including the cost of printing only, to be returned after a considerable time, is great; and the rate of progress is determined by his ability to meet this cost. The reference of the above-quoted writer to Mr. Spencer, as having himself borne witness to the importance of his American receipts, must therefore be interpreted by these facts. Although he has received probably more sympathetic encouragement from this country than from his own, and although more of his books have been sold here than there, yet it is neither true that he has received more money from his American than from his English sales, nor that his American income could have alone sustained him, nor that the continuance of his “System of Philosophy” was dependent upon assistance from the United States. Mr. Spencer is very far from underrating the great benefits he has derived from American appreciation and American generosity; but if claims are to be made as to who shall have credit in the matter, he has a right to ask that no injustice be done to his English friends, who were equally appreciative of his work, and equally generous in their proposals to sustain it.
New York, June 5, 1872.
E. L. Youmans.
[Not quite correct. There were two in First Principles and two in the Biology.]
One of these generalizations is that currently known as “the conservation of force;” a second may be gathered from a published essay on “Progress: its Law and Cause;” a third is indicated in a paper on “Transcendental Physiology;” and there are several others.
The ideas to be developed in the second volume of the Principles of Biology the writer has already briefly expressed in sundry Review Articles. Part IV. will work out a doctrine suggested in a paper on “The Laws of Organic Form,” published in the Medico-Chirurgical Review for January 1859. The germ of Part V. is contained in an essay on “Transcendental Physiology:” See Essays, pp. 280-90. And in Part VI. will be unfolded certain views crudely expressed in a “Theory of Population,” published in the Westminster Review for April 1852.
Respecting the several additions to be made to the Principles of Psychology, it seems needful only to say that Part V. is the unwritten division named in the preface to that work—a division of which the germ is contained in a note on page 544, and of which the scope has since been more definitely stated in a paper in the Medico-Chirurgical Review for Jan. 1859.
Of this treatise of Sociology a few small fragments may be found in already-published essays. Some of the ideas to be developed in Part II. are indicated in an article on “The Social Organism,” contained in the last number of the Westminster Review; those which Part V. will work out, may be gathered from the first half of a paper written some years since on “Manners and Fashion;” of Part VIII. the germs are contained in an article on the “Genesis of Science;” two papers on “The Origin and Function of Music” and “The Philosophy of Style.” contain some ideas to be embodied in Part IX.; and from a criticism of Mr. Bain’s work on “The Emotions and the Will,” in the last number of the Medico-Chirurgical Review, the central idea to be developed in Part X. may be inferred.
Part IV. of the Principles of Morality will be co-extensive (though not identical) with the first half of the writer’s Social Statics.
Sixteen years after this letter was written, the analogy between the Synthetic Philosophy and the system of Hegel, in so far as the subject matter is concerned, was alleged by Mons. Carrau. In an article published in the Revue des Deux Mondes on 1st April, 1880, he said:—“C’est l’Encyclopédie de Hegel refaite au point de vue de la méthode expérimentale.”
[Fortunately he had kept my letter. He returned it to me and I have quoted it in Chapter XXX.]
The subscription for each copy being 10 shillings per annum (or rather for each issue of four parts) £5— ,, — ,, — would represent Ten Subscriptions £10— ,, — ,, — Twenty Subscriptions, &c.