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EDITOR'S TABLE.

ganization of knowledge, must be the next great step in the progress of modern ideas. The import of the new view could hardly be exaggerated. Hitherto the unity of nature had been a speculative conception favored by the tendencies of science, but not resulting in any valid unification of knowledge. An epoch was now reached by the recognition of a demonstrable, all-unifying, objective law, capable of bringing the great divisions of science into closer co-ordination, and a more intimate mutual dependence. This made possible a philosophy of nature based upon the sciences, and to the working out of such a scheme of thought Mr. Spencer devoted all the powers of his mind. His qualifications for the task were eminent. His encyclopedic acquisitions, his remarkable power of analysis, his capacity of organization and generalization, declared by the "Saturday Review" to have been unequaled in England since Newton, prepared him to engage upon a great intellectual undertaking which lie was himself the first to conceive and to project, and he resolved to work out a philosophical system of thought constructive and synthetic in its predominant character, and embodying the principle of evolution as its central and controlling conception.

Mr. Spencer entered upon this extensive project in 1858 by drawing up a scheme designed to occupy seven volumes and to contain a fundamental exposition of the proofs and principles of the theory of evolution, a broad application of it to the laws of life, of mind, and of human society, and finally to ethical science by showing the bearing of evolutionary doctrine upon the regulation of human conduct—the whole to constitute a systematic philosophy of evolution. His method was then mature, but upon further consideration the scheme was amplified in 1859 to ten volumes, and embodied in a prospectus for publication, which presented the course of the elucidation in detailed order of logical dependence under thirty-three consecutive divisions, and which referred to various extended tracts of the general investigation already written and published. This prospectus was printed in March, 1860, and has been adhered to, with no essential deviation, in the subsequent carrying out of the undertaking.

Now, in any critical estimate of Mr. Spencer's original contributions to the progress of knowledge, it is of the first importance to bear distinctly in mind the time at which they were matured. For this purpose we are closely concerned with his status as a thinker in 1858, as recognized by men of the highest ability while yet the general public knew nothing of him. There is evidence upon this point that must not be overlooked. When Mr. Spencer had elaborated the first programme, and resolved to execute it, he had at once to meet the primary difficulties of self-support and of publication. Thinking there might be some Government place of light duty and small emolument which he could consistently fill, and still have leisure for his labors, a few friends were consulted, and they gave him letters designed to be published and to favor his application. But Mr. Spencer gave up the plan and never printed them, and the use now made of them is by no consent of his. These letters were from John Tyndall, J. S. Mill, George Grote, T. H. Huxley, R. G. Latham, J. D. Hooker, and A. O. Fraser. Their joint import was that Mr. Spencer was a man of remarkable endowments, eminently qualified to do a great intellectual work, which would be an honor to the nation and a lasting service to mankind a work like that of Bacon, although more arduous and difficult, owing to the vast accumulation of knowledge in modern times. One of the most distinguished of the writers said:

"I am glad to have an opportunity