Open main menu

Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 1.djvu/618

This page has been validated.
602
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
rise of the manufacturing cities in modern times‥‥It does not appear to be the case, on the whole, that men of distinction spring from the lowest classes, as some assert. It may be that such a man is the son of a poor man, or of one in an inferior trade, but the greater men are ascertained to spring from gentlemanly families or from families formerly in easy circumstances. The popular belief is the other way, because we have books giving the names of those who have risen from the lowest pursuits.

From a table given, it appears that out of the 2,000 English writers of celebrity, only 58 exercised a mechanical trade, and only 40 were sons of such, thus giving a total of only 3 per cent. connected with such occupations.

The conclusion to be drawn is, that intellectual exertion is not manifested in the lower classes, or in the children of such, to the same extent as in those where the means of instruction are more available.

This seems corroborated by a glance at the relative proportion of distinguished men in the several districts of England. The south and south midland districts contributed 60 per cent., the north and north midland 17, Wales 1, Scotland 12, and Ireland 4 per cent. The low figures for Wales and Ireland are accounted for by the Celtic language prevailing, the influence of this being further shown by the fact that Cornwall produced 21, and Devon 97 instances, though the two counties join.

London has produced, not only in number, but also in value, a larger portion of the celebrities of the country—Milton, Spenser, Pope, Byron, Chaucer, Cowley, Gray, Surrey, Herrick, Keats, Johnson, Fletcher, Gibbon, Mitford, C. Mill, Camden, Bacon, Canning, Fox, Blackstone, De Foe, Arnold, etc‥‥The facts appear to show that literary attainments are in relation to literary culture, or the culture of the educated classes, and not of the uneducated classes‥‥The development of intellectual improvement cannot be effected by sole exertion of the nervous system, but by the proper application of all the faculties dependent on the physical condition of men. It is, in fact, a creation of selection on the best principles.—Journal of Mental Science.
 

CIVILIZATION AS ACCUMULATED FORCE.
By L. DUMONT.[1]

THE word civilization is of somewhat indefinite meaning. It were easy to say which of the two is the more civilized, a European or a New-Caledonian savage. But, when we have to assign their respective ranks to two civilized nations, the case is more difficult. Each philosopher has his own definition of civilization. One will say that

  1. Translated from the Revue Scientifique, by J. Fitzgerald, A. M.