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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/521

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LITERARY NOTICES.

a "bias," let us see what others say about it. The British Quarterly Review observes: "No words are needed to indicate the immense labor here bestowed, or the great sociological benefit which such a mass of tabulated matter, done under such competent direction, will confer. The work will constitute an epoch in the science of comparative sociology."

The able London correspondent of the Tribune says of the work: "The arrangement of the whole is so clear that the least scientific student in search of a fact will have no difficulty in putting his finger on what he wants.... The work is a gigantic one; its value, when complete, will be immeasurable; and its actual influence on the study of sociology, and help to that study, greater perhaps than any book yet published. It is a cyclopædia of Social Science, but a cyclopædia edited by the greatest of sociologists."

Mr. E. B. Tylor, author of "Primitive Culture," and one of the highest English authorities upon the study of the early development of society, writes, in Nature of October 30th: "So much information encumbered with so little rubbish, has never before been brought to bear on the development of English institutions. There is hardly a living student but will gain something by looking through the compilation which relates to his own special subject, whether this be law or morals, education or theology, the division of labor, or the rise of modern scientific ideas."

We can give no better general account of Spencer's work than to quote more fully from this review of it by Mr. Tylor:

"This first section is a methodical summary of the development of England, intellectual and moral, from the beginning of its history in Cæsar's time, to about a. d. 1850. At the first glance, it suggests a question which may disconcert not a few of the lecturers and tutors engaged in training students in history at our universities. This question is, whether the ethnological record of national life ought any longer to be treated as subordinate to the political record of the succession of rulers and the struggles for supremacy of ruling families, or whether the condition of society at its successive periods is for the future to be considered as the main subject, only marked out chronologically by reigns, battles, and treaties. This question has, it is true, been already raised. It is, in fact, the issue between historical chronicle and the philosophy of history as rival subjects of study. But Mr. Spencer's work brings it more clearly and practically into view than any previous one, as will be seen from the following outline of his scheme. It consists of two parts.

"The first part is a series of tables, arranged in thirty to thirty-five columns, each with a heading of some department of social life or history, which again are combined into groups. Thus the group of columns relating to the structure of society takes in political, ecclesiastical, and ceremonial departments, under which again we find separately given the laws of marriage and inheritance, the regulation of tribes and castes, the military and ecclesiastical organization, and the ceremonies and customs of daily life. Next, the group of columns devoted to the functions of society, regulative and operative, contains particulars of the morals, religion, and knowledge of each age, the state of language, and the details of industry, commerce, habitations, food, clothing, and artistic products. Three special columns at the beginning, middle, and end of this long colonnade, contain the skeleton of ordinary history: namely, the principal dates, names of rulers, and political events. Thus, by glancing across any one of the huge double pages, we see the whole condition of England at any selected period. Thus, in the century after the Norman Conquest, the influence of the invaders is observed in the growth of architecture, painting, music, poetry, the introduction of new food and more luxurious living, the importation of canonical law and of mathematics from the East, and so on through all the manifold elements which made up the life of noble and villain in our land. If the page be turned to the sixteenth century, the picture of English life is not less distinct. The scholastic philosophy is dying out, men's minds are newly set to work by the classical revival, by voyages into new regions, the growth of mercantile adventure and political speculation; chivalry ceases, archery declines; judicial torture is introduced, the 'Italian' crime of poisoning becomes fre-