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A life in whose course intellectual interests have so greatly predominated as Mr. Spencer's is best to be judged, we may see at a glance, by its intellectual output. The man appears among us as a teacher and thinker; we have to ask ourselves, therefore, what are the main results of his gift of thinking? What additions has he made to the aggregate sum of human knowledge and of human concepts ?

In answering these questions we must remember, first of all, that when Herbert Spencer began to write, the very name of evolution had not been heard among us, while now, in his later days, evolutionism is so triumphant that most people overlook the work of the master in the infinite detail of the work of his disciples. Let me seek to epitomize, in the briefest possible way, the chief products of Mr. Spencer's teaching.

The foundations of his doctrine are naturally contained in the wonderful introductory volume to the "System of Synthetic Philosophy," which bears the title of "First Principles." This volume appeared in its original form in 1862, but was reissued in an altered and largely remodeled shape, with great improvements in the argument and exposition, in 1867. It contains the framework of Mr. Spencer's central philosophical tenets, and supplies the ground for all the rest of the synthetic philosophy.

The First Part, entitled "The Unknowable," deals briefly with the cosmos as it is in itself, and shows, on lines already in part laid down by Hamilton and Mansel, that all phenomena are but manifestations of an unknown power, the Absolute, which transcends not only human knowledge, but human conception. In this recognition of the existence of an unknown and forever unknowable reality underlying phenomena, Mr. Spencer sees the one possible reconciliation of religion and science. If one wishes to accept the Spencerian Absolute in place of a deity, he must be content to strip off from his concept of the Godhead every positive attribute of whatever sort-justice, mercy, omniscience-and to accept in their place the bare idea of unconditioned Being, divorced from every knowable or thinkable property. To most religious minds, this is not a God, but a philosophic substratum for mind and matter.

The second and far more interesting part of "First Principles "consists of that portion of the work which deals with the Knowable, and lays down the widest and most universal laws which govern the synthesis of concrete beings. Mr. Spencer begins by defining philosophy as "unified knowledge," and then goes on to seek for such knowledge in our ideas of space, time, matter, motion, and force. After dealing with such generally recognized scientific principles as the indestructibility of matter, the continuity of motion and the persistence of force, he proceeds to show by an acute piece of reasoning that all these are merely analytical truths; and no analyt

ical truths, no combination of analytical truths, can ever make up that synthesis of thought which alone must be the interpretation of the synthesis of things. In other words, if we are to unify knowledge, we must know not only the separate laws which govern phenomena, but also the way in which those laws work together in practice in order to produce the concrete histories of actual aggregates-the birth and growth of suns and worlds and plants and animals and minds and societies.

To arrive at these laws of synthesis, Mr. Spencer begins by showing that every aggregate passes, in the course of its history, through two distinct and opposite phases-a phase of evolution and a phase of dissolution. In the first phase, it proceeds from the diffuse or the imperceptible into the compact and the perceptible; in the second phase, it proceeds from the compact and the perceptible into the diffuse and the imperceptible. These two opposite processes constitute the history of every existence under its simplest form. The one consists in an integration of matter and a concomitant dissipation of motion; the other consists in an absorption of motion and a concomitant dissipation of matter.

Starting from this point, our teacher builds up slowly step by step his famous definition of Evolution, which he was the first to formulate in general terms as a cosmical process. Adding one element after another to his growing concept, and wisely confining the reader's attention to a stage at a time, he at last arrives at the generalized statement that "Evolution is an integration of matter and concomitant dissipation of motion; during which the matter passes from an indefinite incoherent homogeneity to a definite coherent heterogeneity and during which the retained motion undergoes a parallel transformation." This celebrated law, the final flower and highest achievement of Mr. Spencer's unique generalizing faculty, can only be fully understood by following out in the original the various steps by which the mind of the master slowly attains it. Still less is it possible to understand the application of so abstract a formula to concrete nature without the copious illustrations given by Mr. Spencer of all its embodiments in inorganic, organic and superorganic products.

From the law itself, considered as an empiricallyfound principle, Mr. Spencer proceeds to the interpretation of the law by its affiliation on certain other underlying facts and principles of nature. The chief of these are his two great generalizations of the Instability of the Homogeneous and the Multiplication of Effects-discoveries which rank second only to the Law of Evolution itself as aids to the synthetic re construction of the comprehensive cosmos. These two laws, with the further consideration of the Spencerian principles of Segregation and Equilibration. conclude the treatment of evolution as a whole. chapter on Dissolution completes the work. Such is a brief outline of the drift of "First Principles," a great but difficult book whose full meaning can never be grasped save by philosophical students, and any


attempt to expound the chief tenets of which in popular language could only result in a forgone conclusion of failure.

What even the most casual reader can understand in the work, however, is its astonishing width and depth of cosmical outlook. We feel at once in approaching it that we stand in the presence of a profound and deeply learned encyclopedic philosopher, whose mind is alert to all the manifold aspects of every problem, metaphysical, physical, biological, psychological, sociological, and ethical. There is no point or field which the treatise does not include in its purview, from the starry heavens to the mind of man, from the unknown and unknowable to the Egyptian hieroglyphics and the Babylonian basreliefs, the wings of insects and the leaves of plants. It gives us what it professes to give-a skeleton synthesis of the universe; it sums up in one vast and all-embracing law all the actions of all entities, from atoms to systems, from suns and comets, nebulæ and planets, to the nests of ants and the ecclesiastical organization of human communities.

The next two volumes of the "Philosophy" series were devoted to the "Principles of Biology." To the outsider, this is perhaps the most fascinating and charming of Mr. Spencer's books, giving as it does in a most masterly manner a reconstruction of the course of plant and animal evolution. It rebuilds life for us. But like everything else that Mr. Spencer does, it is eminently orderly and philosophical in its arrangement. The author begins by inquiring wherein living organisms differ essentially from the mass of inorganic aggregates around them; and he finds the answer in their peculiar power of altering their shape or inner arrangement in various ways, in accordance with alterations in surrounding nature. Hence he gives his celebrated definition of life as 'correspondence with the environment," or more formally as the continuous adjustment of internal relations to external relations."



An important part of the " Biology" deals with the various functions of life in the abstract, such as growth, development, adaptation, individuality, genesis, heredity, and variation. His treatment of the problem of reproduction, in particular, is a rare masterpiece of scientific insight. Taking this which seems to most people so profound and inexplicable a mystery, he shows how it is essentially similar in principle to growth, and especially to the reproduction of lost parts in the lower animals; and by a curious mastery over detail he makes one feel at last that nothing more remarkable occurs in the her editary transmission of characters or the likeness of father to son than is involved in the fact that two parts of one and the same whole remain alike when divided, or that one and the same rose-tree puts forth similar leaves and blossoms in successive seasons. In fact, he abolishes for us the mystery of reproduction, and shows us in its place the mystery of growth, the tendency of a particular kind of organic matter to replace its own parts afresh in the same order always, just as a crystal plunged in the mother liquid tends

to replace its own broken or abraded portions. We feel as we read that we have hitherto wholly misunderstood the problem. It is life itself, not reproduction, that is the real marvel.

Hardly less interesting is the subsequent part of the work, in which Mr. Spencer deals with the evolution of life in the concrete. Here he trenchantly contrasts the hypothesis of evolution with the hypothesis of special creation, and shows ground for holding that the latter is unthinkable and impossible, while the former is supported by a vast mass of evidence, classificatory, embryological, morphological, and geographical. He then goes on to consider the factors of evolution, and to show how the development of life as we know it is a necessary result of the action of external circumstances upon the peculiar and very impressionable chemical compounds which go to make up organic matter. A succeeding part is devoted to tracing the growth and develop. ment of the various component members of plants and animals--the origin and differentiation of leaves, branches, and flowers, the rise of the diverse animal forms in their concrete variety. This is perhaps the most popularly comprehensible portion of the whole great series; it is full of vivid side-lights on the origin and meaning of innumerable plant and animal peculiarities.

From shapes and limbs Mr. Spencer proceeds with his accustomed orderliness to actions and functions; his sketch of morphological development is followed, in other words, by a sketch of physiological development in the two great divisions of organic nature. In this portion of his synthesis he shows how division of labor began between the various parts of plant and animal bodies-how definite organs arose for eating and digesting, or assimilating food, for the conveyance of material, in sap or blood, from place to place, for the subordination of each limb, or gland, or bone, to the general needs and welfare of the organism. Therce he proceeds to the laws of multiplication in men, animals and plants, and gives the only wide and comprehensive treatment of the population question ever yet attempted on a philosophical basis. His conclusions in this matter are that there exists a natural and necessary antagonism between growth and genesis, as well as between development in the individual and genesis, and likewise between physiological expenditure and genesis; while, on the other hand, there exists a natural and necessary coincidence between high nutrition and the reproductive activity. In short, genesis depends upon the surplus of nutrition above the amount required for growth and for physiological expenditure. This philosophic treatment of so abstruse a subject is wholly peculiar to our great cosmical thinker. Indeed, what marks him off everywhere from the ordinary biologist or the ordinary economist is this peculiar power of envisaging his subject in its widest, its deepest and its most abstract aspect.

From physical life the teacher proceeds next to mental life, and in the two volumes of the "Principles of Psychology" subjects the abstruse and elu

sive science of mind to the same thorough going evo lutionary treatment as he had already extended to the science of form and structure. Here he builds up the human and animal intelligence by slow degrees from the simplest and vaguest elements of consciousness, showing how its development goes step by step with that of its correlated physical organ, the nervous system. His first volume is taken up by this direct evolutionary reconstruction of mental manifestations and their mode of origin. The second consists of a searching analysis of mental operations viewed in themselves, which is perhaps the most profoundly original work Mr. Spencer has performed, and the stiffest to follow for the general reader. It contains, among other things, the celebrated theory of Transfigured Realism, by whose aid our teacher endeavors to prove, against the pure idealists, the objective reality of an external world -a world of matter outside the percipient mind—and to render more precise the conception of the relations that exist between this world and the mind that perceives it. In short, he here tackles and endeavors to settle the old philosophical crux of subject and object. Mr. Spencer, I may add, is by no means a materialist. Though his attitude may best perhaps, be described as one of ultimate Monism, he is, on the whole, rather more spiritual and ideal than material.

The concluding chapters of the "Psychology" lay the foundation, as it were, for the next great work, the "Principles of Sociology," which has appeared slowly of late years, in scattered fascicles, as the task of producing it was continually interrupted by ill health, or laid aside for a while to make room for the early part of the "Principles of Ethics." The "Sociology" attempts, for the first time, to lay down the framework of a science of man, in all spheres of his social activity-to deal with his religions, his governmental agencies, his language, his arts, his industry, his organization, on scientific principles. For this purpose it was needful to have wide collections of facts and evidence; to procure these, Mr. Spencer instituted his great compilation of sociological tables, on which several competent scholars were engaged in extracting and classifying facts for several years. Some of their results have been published in tabular form by Mr. Spencer, but the expense involved (to which I have before alluded) was too great to enable him to continue the publication of the tables in their entirety. On the basis thus supplied, from investigations into the habits and organization of the most diverse races, ancient and modern, in all parts of the world, the philosopher has slowly raised the magnificent superstructure of the "Principles of Sociology," a part of his work in which, more than anywhere else, he has had no predecessor, and very few fellow-workers.


The most interesting portion of this division to the general reader is undoubtedly the section which treats of the origin of religion. Mr. Spencer traces

the belief in gods and other supernatural beings, in the last resort, to what he regards as the erroneous psychology of primitive man, which led him to imagine the existence within himself of a soul or spirit, distinct from the body, and capable of a separate and immaterial existence. Hence came by slow degrees the belief in ghosts, or surviving doubles; the faith in an under world of spirits, and in another life to follow this one. Propitiation of ancestral ghosts with food and drink led gradually to the ideas of sacrifice, and to the altar and temple, which last was originally the tomb or home of the dead chieftain. By degrees certain royal ghosts came to be thought of as more important and powerful than others; these were invested in imagination with supernatural prerogatives; in Mr. Spencer's opinion, such are the earliest gods. Idols spring from mummies and mummy-cases, or from other representations of the dead ancestor; perhaps in some cases from tombstones and wooden images rudely carved at grave-heads. So by gradual stages Mr. Spencer traces the development of religion, with its departmental gods, its nature gods, its stone-worship its tree-worship, and its final evanescence in pure monotheism, to the primitive propitiation of ancestral ghosts by the fiercest savage. This "ghost theory " of the origin of religion, as it is ordinarily called, has roused, of course, the bitterest opposition in many quarters; but it still remains almost the only theory in possession of the field which explains the genesis of religious ideas without recourse to the existence of the supernatural. Its sole rival in this respect is Dr. Tylor's closely similar theory of primitive animism.

Other important parts of the "Sociology" deal with political institutions and with the rise and progress and varieties of the family. This last subject is of the utmost value at the present day, and has nowhere else been treated with so wide a knowledge of facts and on so unprejudiced a survey.

The "Principles of Ethics" round off this great life-work, and give the evolutionary basis of moral action.


But why have I not told you in detail more of Mr. Spencer's actual conclusions? Why have I not led you at one leap into the very keep of the stronghold? Why have I not given you in a sentence the gist of ten volumes? That is a question which I am often asked. People say, "Can't you sum up for us in a word or two the keynote of his system?" I can only answer, Mr. Spencer's aim is to unify knowledge; and to knowledge, we all know, there is no royal road." Auguste Comte once wished that Hegel would publish a little book explaining his system "succinctly, and in French." Monsieur," re sponded Hegel, "my system can be explained ni succinctement, ni en Français." It is much the same with Herbert Spencer. He writes for those who wish only to get through it comfortably. His natural audience consists of the chosen few with whom the desire to know is a profound passion. For them,


he has epitomized the course of evolution into a relatively brief exposition of nine or ten stout and closely packed volumes; how can one epitomize this epitome still further for the general run of men who think the history of the universe in all places and ages might be boiled down for their use into a few short sentences? It is not for such, believe me, that philosophers were created.

There exists, it is true, an admirable epitome of the "Sythetic Philosophy" by Mr. Howard Collins -an epitome approved by Mr. Spencer himself, and which I can confidently recommend as a refresher or index to all earnest and conscientious Spencerian students. It is intended, however, not as a substitute for the original, but as an aid in reading it. If you wish to get any real good from this great life with which humanity has endowed us, you must read the "Synthetic Philosophy " through, not once or twice, but "tearfully and prayerfully" many times over. You must study it hard; you must seek to assimilate its inner meaning. "But I am a busy man," you say, "who can only find time at odd moments for a little occasional reading." Oh, if you think the universe into whose midst you are cast can be adequately relegated to a few minutes of leisure in the intervals of money making-well Herbert Spencer's message will not do you much good. He writes for those to whom questions like these the questions, 'What am I?" "Whence come I?" "What is the world around me ?"-are matters of vital importance far before anything else that life can offer one. He writes for those to whom the construction of a philosophy is the first religious duty of man. And they will not grudge him the time he occupies. Rather will they be grateful to him with all their hearts for light cast on the dim abyss that surrounds the narrow limits of our little consciousness.



Nor must you expect, if you make up your mind to tackle Mr. Spencer's great work, to find any particular tenderness displayed for your creed or your class, your own pet prejudices, social, religious, political, or moral. In all probability you will discover, to your dismay, that everything you hold most sacred in life is rudely called in question. The existence of a God, the reality of creation, the truth of the Bible narrative, the immortality of the soul, the foundations of morality, the origin and meaning of marriage and the family, the inherent right of majorities to coerce minorities, the absolute wisdom of governmental agencies, and a thousand other points on which you have hitherto held dogmatic opinions, you will see subjected to most searching and unspar

ing analysis and criticism. If there is anything that you believe, and if you don't want to be disturbed in your belief, my advice to you is-avoid Herbert Spencer. You will find your whole social, moral, religious, and political world turned topsey-turvey before your very eyes, and you will be compelled to think, whether you like it or lump it.

I do not mean to imply, however, that in every one of these points I am at one with Mr. Spencer. He has no more tenderness for my particular beliefs than for yours or anybody else's. All I mean to say is that, right or wrong, he is well worth listening to. You must reckon with him about all of them. You may agree with him or you may differ from him, but if you are a serious thinker you cannot afford to ignore him.


There are a few works of Mr. Spencer's outside the "Synthetic Philosophy" which are specially directed at the general reader. One of these is the interesting little red book in the International Scientific Series, "The Study of Sociology ❞—not to be confounded with the "Principles of Sociology" which forms a portion of the great synthetic series. This little book is a most wise and able introduction to the study of politics-the study, I say advisedly, as opposed to the mere ordinary empiric dabbling in political nostrums. Another, still more generally valuable, is the admirable treatise on Education, which ought to be in the hands of every father and every mother in England. Mr. Spencer's main idea in this work is that it might be really possible to educate our children instead of merely cramming them with a few facts about language, to fit them for life by training their faculties, and to supply them with such knowledge as is really most useful. He shows in detail how this might be done, and sketches out a scheme of real education worth more than many millions to any nation which should have the courage and the wit to adopt it unreservedly.

Yet when all is said and done it is in the "System of Synthetic Philosophy" that we must look in the end for the real Herbert Spencer. His value to our age and to all subsequent ages is actually this: that he has taught us to see life and the cosmos as one and whole throughout; has unified and systematized the vast mass of phenomena; has given us a standpoint whence to view the universe. Those, indeed, to whom the universe is nothing will not thank him for that gift; but those to whom the comprehension of their own inner meaning-the realization of the relation in which they stand to things about them -is the most important matter in life, will always owe him a homage and a gratitude which no one age can ever adequately acknowledge.




N the Rosary appears an article on Venezuela by the Rev. Bertrand Cothonay, whose acquaintance with his subject comes not alone through books, but from a recent visit to that republic. The article contains many facts which our readers may wish to know regarding the South American republic holding out against the demands of Great Britain.

The whole extent of Venezuela lies within the torrid zone. Its area, including a portion of territory which is claimed by the British, is 1,110,059 square kilometers--that is, twice the size of the entire area of France; it is about equally divided into pasturage, tillage and forest land. According to the last census, made in 1891, the republic contains 2,323,527 inhabitants. Among these are a large number of Indians, descendants of the aborigines. Many of the families that are of European descent have preserved the integrity of their race; but the greater part of the Venezuelan population is a mixed progeny of Indian, African and European blood in various proportions.

The Republic of Venezuela, ruled over by a president elected for two years, consists of nine states, one federal district, four territories, and two colonies, a plan of division similar to that adopted by the United States of North America.


Caracas is the capital of the federal district as well as of the entire republic, and is a city of nearly 72,000 inhabitants. It contains fifteen churches and eight parishes. This metropolis represents the highest civilization of Venezuela. The town is built at the foot of the mountain of Avila, and is only a few kilometers distant from the port of La Guayra. Caracas is so called from the name of an Indian tribe inhabiting the valley which it occupies, and was founded in 1567 by Diego de Losada.


Bolivar, of course, is the great man of the republic. Says the Rev. Mr. Cothonay: "He is the Liberator or 'Libertador,' the Father of his native land, the founder of five republics, as Venezuelans are wont to say. They omit to say, however, that this great man was exiled by his own countrymen, and that he died in exile, regretting the whole work of independence which he had brought about. Some time before his death, Simon Bolivar is said to have exclaimed: 'I have driven a plow across the ocean' He arado en el mar.' Venezuelan patriots have repaired all injuries, as far as may be, in bringing back to the bosom of the republic the ashes of its hero. They have been placed in a magnificent marble tomb, which may be seen in the National Pantheon.

"For the Venezuelan of to-day, Bolivar is not only a great man, but also a demi-god. One can hardly understand the nature of the veneration paid to bis memory. Everything in his regard has been exaggerated; his qualities, his deeds, the importance of his political influence. A stranger would create an unfavorable impression by holding a contrary opinion concerning this hero. No doubt he possessed real military and administrative ability, and gave evident proof of uncommon tenacity and perseverance in all his enterprises; nevertheless, he brought dishonor on his reputation by such acts as historical impartiality does not fail to stigmatize as disreputable. He was accompanied for years by an Englishman's wife, to whom posterity has attached the name of Libertadora del Libertador,' because, as they say, she saved his life. Bolivar displayed considerable exertion to bring about the separation of Venezuela from Spain. This is what is called inde pendence; but apart from the lawfulness and morality of this act of rebellion, has Bolivar exercised the influence attributed to him? History seems to deny it. General Miranda made greater efforts than he to prepare and to carry out the revolution; Bolivar did no more than to appear at the critical moment, when, taking advantage of Miranda's achievement, he became conspicuous, and won the title of 'Libertador.' It is likewise an historical fact that Bolivar was less successful in the war than many of his generals whose glory has all been attributed to himself."

Bolivar died poor. He seems to have looked with scorn upon riches as well as upon all dangerous renown. The last days of his life were passed in a state bordering on misery. It is said that after his death his physician gave one of his own shirts to bury him in, for he said within himself: "I would not that history impute to us the fault of burying the Liberator of South America in such a wretched state."

An Englishman's View of the Venezuelan Question.

In the Nineteenth Century Mr. H. Somers Somerset, the author of "The Land of the Muskeg," contributes a very timely but somewhat hurried survey of the Venezuelan question, based also upon a recent visit to that republic.


In his paper Mr. Somerset sets forth the English case. He says that while the territory between the Essequibo and the Orinoco was unexplored and unsettled, the Dutch, who then owned what is now British Guiana "obtained an unwilling concession to a part of the Cuyuni River, and a general exten

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