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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/418

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

nately, greatly superior to appearances. Though we may differ a whole sky's breadth from each of the writers, we can but acknowledge the ability displayed by both. Reclus writes in a style so pure, so limpid, so exquisite, that we find ourselves reading on and on for the mere pleasure of reading, almost without pausing to analyze the meaning of what we read. Prince Kropotkine's way of writing, on the contrary, is bold, almost rough, sharp, and incisive, extremely well calculated to impress his meaning on the memory of his readers. Both works are the very reverse of reassuring in their tendency. Reclus's fundamental idea is that "evolution and revolution are by no means contradictory terms; in fact, that the first includes the second as a greater includes the less." "Evolution," he says, "the symbol of gradual and continued development in custom and ideas, is ever represented as if it were the contrary of that terrible thing revolution, which implies change of a more or less brusque description. Men discuss the history of evolution, the history of the gradual development of feeling and intelligence in the depths of cerebral cells, with apparent and perhaps even sincere enthusiasm. But woe if some one mention to them the abominable theme of revolution, which issues out from the depths of thought into the street, accompanied by the roar of crowds and the crash of arms! But evolution implies revolution, because those classes of society which possess the advantages which revolution is calculated to destroy oppose themselves to the peaceful march of evolution, and thus are the cause of those same violent movements which they deplore." In melodious tropes Reclus describes these phenomena. Both evolution and revolution, he says, have two faces, one benignant and one harmful. Religions, which from his point of view are most undesirable plagues, invented to keep the human mind in bondage, are but springs ever welling up afresh from the relics of the past. Thus, Christianity uprose from the relics of paganism. The American and French Revolutions were the moments in history when at last the rights of man were proclaimed, but their utterance proved barren, for a new privileged class established itself on the ruins of the old. "It may be said that until now no revolution has been absolutely spontaneous, and therefore none has been completely successful. All the great movements that have occurred up to the present, without exception, have been more or less directed, and have in consequence only been successful for the man or class directing; hence each has had its morrow of reaction. Now, however, the effects of social science are recognized by all, and the study of social movements must lead to the logical and instructive progress of the human race." How a revolution undirected is to succeed does not appear. "We can only arrive at social peace," says Reclus, "by