able trifles? How odd, from the Archimedean perspective, appear the fevered imaginings of mankind about higher beings inhabiting somewhere above our heads the icy, ether-filled cosmical space, vibrating with force-radiations, and pervaded by meteor-streams! How utterly absurd is the idea of an assembly of the gravest, most learned, and most profound men of their times sitting to decide whether Father and Son are of the same or of like substance! How ridiculous, were it not so tragical, was the scene of Galilei's abjuration, when we think of him and his judges being carried along together "in the ever-rapid course of the spheres!" But oh, how doubly hideous appear the massacre of St. Bartholomew and those autos da fé, whose atrocities reach their culmination in the burnings of Giordano and Servetus! For the objects of veneration to whom these hetacombs were immolated there is no place in infinite space from the Archimedean standpoint, and they will have to be collocated in the fourth dimension.
In truth, in this so-called "universal history," there is but one light to guide us, which, however, has not often been employed hitherto: that is the doctrine of epidemic mental disease. As in mental diseases occurring in individuals, so here, it is hard to draw the lines of distinction between insanity and depravity. But the few who contemplate, as it were, from the lofty summit of an intellectual crag, in an Archimedean way, the doings of mankind here below, cannot be very far wrong in holding that to be the true history of the human race which, through all its ups and downs of fortune, its crimes and its errors, traces for us its gradual rise out of a state of semi-brutishness, its progress in arts and sciences, its growing dominion over Nature, its daily increasing well-being, its liberation from the bonds of superstition, and its steady approximation to those ends which make man what he is. In polity and war, whose unprofitable and monotonous oscillations are the subject-matter of political history, man had predecessors among invertebrate animals even; but the human race alone offers a history of civilization. Hegel calls the horse and iron the "absolute organs for establishing civilized power." With greater justice we say that natural science is the absolute organ of civilization, and hence that the history of natural science is the proper history of the human race.
The punier man seems to be, as viewed from the Archimedean standpoint, the grander appear his achievements in the face of Nature, the nobler his efforts to subdue her, the more attractive the history of his intellectual conquests. As this history has memorable days and places different from those of political history, so, too, of course its kings and heroes differ from the kings and heroes to whom the thoughtless world is wont to pay homage. Who is it that in this history rivets our attention at the beginning of the eighteenth century? Not that king, surrounded by his confessors, his mistresses, and his incendiary marshals, against whom, as Ranke said to Thiers, we still bore arms after Sedan; but that greatest of men, Sir Isaac Newton, deeply pondering on a prob-