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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/116

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

given to the Royal Institution in the spring of 1868, and were afterward greatly enlarged and published in a work, "The Origin of Civilization and the Primitive Condition of Man," which has passed through five editions, and, like his former work on prehistoric man, has been translated into the French, German, Italian, Danish, Russian, Hungarian, Dutch, Swedish, and other languages. It has also gone through two American editions, and has given rise to considerable controversy which has been called forth by the antagonism of some of its views to the prepossessions of a large proportion of its readers. It must have cost the author an enormous amount of labor, and is, aside from the theories it enunciates, a most serviceable work of reference, offering a nearly exhaustive array of facts which it would be impossible for any student to obtain for himself, drawn from a mass of authorities the mere list of which would fill a considerable space. In this work the Darwinian doctrine is applied in tracing the development of the social and mental condition of savages, their arts, their system of marriage and of relationship, their religions, languages, moral character, and laws. It sustains the belief that "the law of humanity is not degeneracy, but progression; not the falling away from a primitive state of perfection, but the gradual amelioration and advance toward a higher and better condition." To be more particular, the author maintains the conclusions that "existing savages are not the descendants of civilized ancestors; that the primitive condition of man was one of utter barbarism; and that from this condition several races have independently raised themselves." This work was one of the first attempts to treat the origin of civilization on a rational and philosophic basis, and has been pronounced "the completest summary of barbaric life that we possess."

These books form, however, but a small part of Sir John Lubbock's scientific writings, which include besides numerous papers in the transactions of learned societies, and in the scientific and antiquarian journals, the list of which is constantly growing, and the editing from the original manuscript of the treatise of the nonagenarian Svend Nilsson on "The Stone Acre of Sweden."

The labors of Sir John Lubbock in behalf of the preservation of the ancient monuments of Great Britain and Ireland may be considered in connection with his scientific work, although they have been carried on chiefly in Parliament, and under the form of appeals to the public. They have found shape in the well-known Ancient Monuments Bill, which passed a second reading three times, but was finally lost in the House of Lords. This bill was based upon the principle "that, if the owner of one of these ancient monuments wishes to destroy it, he should be required, before doing so, to give the nation the option of purchase at a fair price." For this purpose, it proposed to create a body of commissioners especially charged with the protection of the ancient monuments, and so commended itself to all persons in-