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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/545

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541
THE ETHNOLOGICAL WORK OF LANE FOX.

unity of the human species, as exemplified by the tendency of human intelligence to evolve independently identical ideas where the conditions are themselves identical. Polygenesis in his inventions may probably be regarded as testimony in favor of the monogenesis of man.

I have endeavored in this address to dwell upon some of the main principles laid down by Colonel Lane Fox as a result of his special researches in the field of ethnology, and my object has been twofold. First, to bear witness to the very great importance of his contribution to the scientific study of the arts of mankind and the development of culture in general, and to remind students of anthropology of the debt which we owe to him, not only for the results of his very able investigations, but also for the stimulus which he imparted to research in some of the branches of this comprehensive science. Secondly, my object has been to reply to some criticisms offered in regard to points in the system of classification adopted in arranging his ethnographical collection. And, since such criticisms as have reached me have appeared to me to be founded mainly upon misinterpretation of this system, I have thought that I could meet them best by some sort of restatement of the principles involved.

It would be unreasonable to expect that his work should hold good in all details. The early illustrations of his theories were to be regarded as tentative rather than dogmatic, and in later life he recognized that many modifications in matters of detail were rendered necessary by new facts which had since come to light. The crystallization of solid facts out of a matrix which is necessarily partially volatile is a process requiring time. These minor errors and the fact of our not agreeing with all his details in no way invalidate the general principles which he urged, and we need but cast a cursory glance over recent ethnological literature to see how widely accepted these general principles are, and how they have formed the basis of, and furnished the inspiration for, a vast mass of research by ethnologists of all nations.

It appears more than probable that Cambridge will be much involved in the future advancement of anthropological studies in Great Britain, if we may judge from the evident signs of a growing interest in the science, not the least of which is the recent establishment of a board of anthropological studies, an important development upon which we may well congratulate the university. Within my own experience there have been many proofs of the existence in Cambridge of a keen sympathy with the principles of ethnological inquiry developed by Colonel Lane Fox, and I feel that, as regards my choice of a theme for the main topic of my address, no apology is needed. For my handling of this theme, on the other hand, I fear it must be otherwise. I would gladly have done fuller justice to the work of Colonel Lane Fox, but, while I claim to be among the keenest of his disciples, I must confess to being but an indifferent apostle.