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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 54.djvu/713

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SKETCH OF CLEMENCE ROYER.

notice. The first lecture was published under the title of an Introduction to Philosophy, and brought most flattering praise to the author from contemporary students. In an animated style the disciple of Jean Jacques Rousseau, the apostle of bold and ingenious ideas, was already beginning to declare herself. In the meantime she collaborated on the journal The New Economist, which the historian and sociologist Pascal Duprat had just founded.[1]

At the close of 1860, the Canton of Vaud having opened a competition on the Principles of Taxation, "the little lady with a straw hat," as her neighbors familiarly called her, handled the subject so thoroughly that her memoir, entitled Théorie de l'Impôt et Dime sociale (Theory of the Impost and Social Tithe, 1862), won her the honor of dividing the prize with Proudhon. While not all the ideas set forth in this work were new, she took care at least to co-ordinate the systems of her predecessors, to select from the one and the other of them what was good in them, and to condense into a homogeneous whole works which were scattered hither and thither. But we will pass over these books of her youth to dwell more at large on that part of her work which will assure Madame Royer an honorable place among the most zealous promoters and ablest defenders of the Darwinian theories.

Her first effort in this line was to translate into French, in 1862, the Origin of Species of the great English naturalist, preceding the work with a preface which in itself alone constituted an excellent summary of the doctrine of evolution. She pointed out the results which logically follow from the transformist theory. She did not conceal from herself that in doing thus she would be the object of attacks from the immobilist and ecclesiastical parties still so numerous thirty years ago in all civilized countries; but she flattered herself, too, and with just reason, that she would furnish the liberals and progressives of France with a powerful weapon. In this introductory chapter she characterized the original and strong personality of Darwin in appropriate terms, saying: "While he has not the brilliant qualities of a Cuvier as a writer or a professor, he is at least a worthy heir of the profoundly philosophical science of the two Geoffroys Saint-Hilaire. . . one of those workmen who cut their stone with an


  1. Pascal Duprat, born at Hagetman (Department of the Landes), March 24, 1816, was professor of history at Algiers and at Paris. He took the direction of the Revue independante in 1847; founded with Lamennais the journal Le Peuple constituant, and was an ardent promoter of the Revolution of 1848. Having became a member of the National Assembly, he opposed the coup d'état of Louis Napoleon Bonaparte. Being obliged in consequence of this act to exile himself, he retired to Belgium and afterward to Lausanne. He did not return to France till after the war of 1870, and died in August, 1885. The most interesting of his works is the Historical Essay on the Races of Africa (Essai historique sur les Races de l'Afrique, 1845).