Sociology and Hero-Worship: An Evolutionist's Reply to Dr. James

IN his interesting article entitled Great Men, Great Thoughts, and the Environment, published in The Atlantic Monthly for October last, Dr. William James calls attention to the striking analogy between “ geniuses ” and what are known to modern zoölogists as “ spontaneous variations.” Nothing could be more satisfactory than the manner in which (on pages 444-447) Dr. James expounds the nature of this analogy, and emphasizes the truly philosophic character of Mr. Darwin’s method of dealing with so-called spontaneous variations. The analogy between those variations, on the one hand, of which the zoölogist takes cognizance, and on the other hand those “ sociological variations ” known as geniuses or “ great men,” consists essentially in the similarity of causal relations in the two cases. Both kinds of variations may be described as deviations from an average which are severally unaccountable. Every species of animals or plants consists of a great number of individuals, which are nearly but not exactly alike. Each individual varies slightly in one characteristic or another from a certain type which expresses the average among all the individuals of the species. Thus, if one inch be the average length of the proboscis of a certain species of moth, it may well be that of the million individuals which make up the species the great majority have the proboscis a little shorter or a little longer than an inch: in most instances the deviation may not exceed a hundredth or a thousandth part of an inch ; but there may be half a dozen individuals in the species which have the proboscis as long as two inches or as short as half an inch. So, the average height of men in the United States may be about five feet and eight inches, very few men being shorter than five feet and four inches, or taller than six feet; yet in the side-tents which accompany that “ great moral exhibition,” the circus, one may, for a quarter of a dollar, see giants eight feet in height, or dwarfs like General Tom Thumb. It is just the same with men’s intellectual capacities as with their physical dimensions, though the one cannot exactly, like the other, be measured with a foot-rule. In every community of men and women there is a certain average standard of mental capacity; which, in the case of a progressive race like ours, may be roughly described as that degree of ability to meet the complicated exigencies of civilized life which will leave the next generation somewhat better equipped than their parents for meeting these exigencies. Those men whom we regard as conspicuously successful in life — using the term “ successful” in no narrow and mercantile, but in the broadest possible sense—are the men, more or less numerous, whose mental capacity rises somewhat above this average standard. A like number of men, through various kiuds and degrees of ill-success, reveal a mental capacity that is more or less below the average. And along with these numerous moderate variations from the common level we meet in every age with a few extreme variations, — men of giant intelligence, such as Darwin or Helmholtz, who rise as far above the average of the race as idiots and cretins sink below it.

Now the moth with his proboscis twice as long as the average, or the man eight feet in height, is what we call a spontaneous variation, and the Darwin or the Helmholtz is what we call a “ genius ; ” and the analogy between the two kinds of deviation is obvious enough. But obviously, too, the individual which we single out as a spontaneous variation is in no wise essentially different from his fellow-individuals. If five feet and eight inches be the normal height of a race of men, the man who measures six feet is a variation as much as he who measures eight, — only the one instance does not attract our attention, and the other does. In any species whatever, the greater number of individuals are no doubt variations, either in one respect or in another. Throughout nature, where a great number of mutually-balancing forces coöperate to produce a set of results, we are likely to find the results distributed about a certain average, very much like the shots at a target. A little way from the centre there is a spot where the shots are thickly gathered; some few have hit the bull’s-eye ; some have been caught away out on the rim ; some have perhaps flown by without hitting at all. It is just the same with the distribution of sizes, strengths, forms, or any attributes, physical or mental, in a species of animals, or in a race of men. These things all differ, according to the general laws of deviation from an average ; and the forces concerned in the result are so hopelessly complicated — it is so utterly beyond our power to unravel them — that this is all we know about the matter. We cannot tell why a given moth has a proboscis exactly an inch and a quarter in length any more than we can tell why Shakespeare was a great dramatist.

I agree, therefore, with Dr. James, that “ the causes of production of great men lie in a sphere wholly inaccessible to the social philosopher. He must simply accept geniuses as data, just as Darwin accepts his spontaneous variations.” The problem of the social philosopher, undoubtedly, so far as he speculates about the influence of great men, is to take them for granted, and inquire how far they affect the environment, and how far or in what ways the environment affects them. Dr. James goes on to assert, with entire justice, that the relation of the environment to the genius in sociology is strictly analogous to the relation of the environment to the variation in biology: “ it chiefly adopts or rejects, preserves or destroys, in short selects him.” If environing circumstances are such as to render an extra quarter of an inch of proboscis advantageous to our species of moths, then the tendency will be for the variations in excess of length of proboscis to survive and leave offspring, while the variations in the opposite direction are starved out; so that by and by the average in the length of proboscis will have been shifted by a quarter of an inch. It may be truly said, in a certain sense, that these moths which have varied in the right direction have, by being preserved, changed the character of the moth society to which they belong. Similarly with the preservation of the great man, save that, in the immensely greater complexity of the social problem, the effects are immeasurably more multifarious. For the great man, says Dr. James, acts as a powerful ferment, unlocking vast reservoirs of force in various directions, and thus alters the whole character of his environment, very much as the introduction of a new species may alter the characters and relations of the fauna and flora throughout a whole neighborhood. Dr. James concludes, then, that “ the mutations of societies from generation to generation are in the main due directly or indirectly to the acts or the example of individuals whose genius was so adapted to the receptivities of the moment, or whose accidental position of authority was so critical, that they became ferments, initiators of movement, setters of precedent or fashion, centres of corruption, or destroyers of other persons, whose gifts, had they had free play, would have led society in another direction.”

I am careful to emphasize these conclusions of Dr. James, because, as far as they go, they are my own, and, I believe, are in general the views of that " Spencerian or evolutionist school ” toward which Dr. James seems to cherish such an intense antipathy. Perhaps I may not be quite clear as to what the Spencerian “ school ” may be. One characteristic of thinkers of such calibre as Mr. Spencer is that they do not so much found schools as bring about a shifting of the intellectual stand-point and an enlarging of the intellectual horizon for the whole contemporary world. The ideas of which Mr. Spencer is the greatest living exponent are to-day running like the weft through all the warp of modern thought, and out from their abundant suggestiveness have come the opinions of many who do not profess any especial “ allegiance ” to Mr. Spencer, — of many, even, who are inclined to scoff at the teacher, while all unconscious of the debt they owe him. But while I cannot undertake to make confident assertions as to the views of a Spencerian school, I think I may venture to speak with some confidence as to the attitude of Mr. Spencer himself toward the present question.

So far is Dr. James from realizing how closely he has been following in Mr. Spencer’s own line of thought that he begins his paper by seeking to use a certain alleged opinion of Mr. Spencer as a “ foil ” whereby to set off and illustrate the truth of his own statements. The problem before us is, “ What are the causes that make communities change from generation to generation, — that make the England of Queen Anne so different from the England of Elizabeth, the Harvard College of today so different from that of thirty years ago ? ” Dr. James replies, “ The difference is due to the accumulated influences of individuals, of their examples, their initiatives, their decisions.” Very good. When taken with the proper qualification — which I shall presently specify — there is nothing in this reply to which Mr. Spencer need offer an objection. But according to Dr. James the Spencerian school holds that “ the changes go on irrespective of persons, and are independent of individual control. They are due to the environment, to the circumstances, the physical geography, the ancestral conditions, the increasing experience of outer relations ; to everything, in fact, except the Grants and the Bismarcks, the Joneses and the Smiths.”

Now if “ Mr. Herbert Spencer and his disciples ” really maintain any such astonishing proposition as this, it must be difficult to acquit them of the charge of over-hasty theorizing, to say the least; if they do not hold any such view, it will he difficult to avoid the conclusion that somebody has been guilty of over-hasty assertion. To ascertain Mr. Spencer’s own opinion, one cannot do better than to read carefully the third chapter of the little book on the Study of Sociology. The subject of this chapter is the Nature of the Social Science, and the first general conclusion arrived at is that this science “ has in every case for its subject matter the growth, development, structure, and functions of the social aggregate, as brought about by the mutual actions of individuals, whose natures are partly like those of all men, partly like those of kindred races, partly distinctive.” After this lucid statement, which in its triple specification seems comprehensive enough to include the Grants and Bismarcks, as well as the Joneses and Smiths, Mr. Spencer goes on to say, “ These phenomena of social evolution have of course to be explained with due reference to the conditions each society is exposed to, — the conditions furnished by its locality, and by its relations to neighboring societies. Noting this merely to prevent possiblemisapprehensions, the fact which here concerns us is that . . . given men having certain properties, and an aggregate of such men must have certain derivative properties which form the subject matter of a science.”

A deliberate and methodical statement like this, forming the burden of half the chapter in which Mr. Spencer lays out the ground for his work, must of course be received as an authoritative expression of his opinion. It will be observed that Mr. Spencer takes precisely the same position as that which is taken by Dr. James when he says that the changes which go on in society are “ due to the accumulated influences of individuals, of their examples, their initiatives, their decisions.” So decidedly does Mr. Spencer put himself in this position that it occurs to him that he may possibly be misinterpreted as ignoring the influence of environing conditions, and he therefore adds the qualification that in interpreting social changes we must make “ due reference ” to the outward conditions to which society is exposed. Not even Mr. Spencer’s wide experience of the infinite possibilities of misconception could have, led him to suspect that in this instance he might be charged with ignoring the individual Smiths and Joneses of whom society is composed !

This due reference to surrounding conditions is the qualification to which I alluded a moment ago as necessary to give completeness to Dr. James’s statement. When we say that the difference between the England of Queen Anne and the England of Queen Elizabeth is due to the accumulated influence of the initiatives and decisions of individuals, to what initiatives and decisions do we refer ? Certainly not to the abortive ones; not to those initiatives and decisions that had been promptly crushed out or held in check, but to those that had been allowed to develop and fructify in the great events which make up the English history of the seventeenth century. In other words, we refer to those individual initiatives and decisions which had been selected for preservation by the aggregate of the conditions in which English society at that time was placed. So that, even in stating the case as Dr. James states it, we find ourselves unable to get along without tacit reference to the environment.

It is true that in regarding the changes of society from age to age as due to the cumulative effect of individual actions in relation to environing conditions, one may nevertheless deal with the subject practically in more than one way. One writer may turn his attention chiefly to the consideration of those individual variations in opinion and conduct which, in our ignorance concerning their complex modes of genesis, we call spontaneous variations. Another writer may be more deeply interested in pointing out such circumstances as those of geographical position, of commercial intercourse, of political cohesiveness, by which the broad outlines of history have been more or less determined. The two points of view seem to me complementary rather than opposed to each other, though it is a common fault among speculative writers to ignore the existence of all the doors that cannot be unlocked with their own particular little key. Mr. Bagehot — in that “ golden little book ” which I admire as much as Dr. James does—deals more especially with the interior or psychical aspects of the causes of changes in society. Mr. Grant Allen, on the other hand, is deeply impressed with the manifold and remarkable ways in which the histories of nations have been affected by their geographical position ; though by “ geographical position ” he means something far more considerable than that household drudge of superficial writers, the climate: he means the entire situation of a nation, strategic, industrial, commercial, and literary, in relation to other nations. Mr. Allen attaches so much value to considerations of this kind that he is led to stigmatize Mr. Bagehot’s method as unscientific and unfruitful in good result. Mr. Bagehot, as a thinker of more catholic mind, would hardly, I believe, have been equally ready to undervalue Mr. Allen’s work. As explanations after the fact — which are pretty much the only kind of explanations we can expect to have where the concrete events of history are concerned — speculations like those of Mr. Allen are extremely interesting and suggestive. I agree in the main, however, with Dr. James in his views as to the inadequacy of Mr. Allen’s method. It is no doubt true that “ no geographical environment can produce a given type of mind ; it can only foster and further certain types, . . . and thwart and frustrate others.” No doubt, too, Mr. Allen makes a very extravagant statement when he says that “ if the people who went to Hamburg had gone to Timbuctoo they would now be indistinguishable from the semibarbarian negroes who inhabit that central African metropolis ; and if the people who went to Timbuctoo had gone to Hamburg they would now have been white-skinned merchants driving a roaring trade in imitation sherry and indigestible port.” In reading such a statement as this, one seems, indeed, to have fallen upon pre-Darwinian days; nay, more, one wonders whether Mr. Allen has ever studied as carefully as he ought to have done the biological teachings of Mr. Spencer, whose opinions Dr. James quotes him as representing !

Mr. Allen has brilliantly illustrated several points in connection with the doctrine of evolution, more especially in the department of psychology; but there is no good reason why he should be selected for quotation as the representative of all Spencerian evolutionists, or why all Spencerian evolutionists should be held responsible for Mr. Allen’s peculiar opinions. The only connected outline of Spencerian sociology as yet in existence (save what has been published by Mr. Spencer himself) is that which is contained in the second volume of my Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy. That the opinions therein expressed harmonize in the main with Mr. Spencer’s I have the strongest possible reasons for asserting. Yet the line of thought followed in this part of my work, and especially in the chapter on Conditions of Progress, is far more closely parallel with Mr. Bagehot’s line of thought than with Mr. Allen’s. Separate passages might be cited to the same effect; as, for example, where it is said (vol. ii. p. 199) that the ecclesiastical reforms of Gregory VII. have — in their remote results, of course — had more influence upon American history than the direction of the Rocky Mountains or the position of the Great Lakes. On the next page, alluding to Mr. Buckle’s theory that the difference in Arabian civilization before and after the time of Mohammed was due to the difference between the soil of Arabia and that of Spain, Persia, and India, I say, “ To exhibit the utter superficiality of this explanation, we have only to ask two questions : First, if the Arabs became civilized only because they exchanged their native deserts for Spain, Persia, and India, why did not the same hold true of the Turks when they exchanged their barren steppes for the rich empire of Constantinople ? Though they have held for four centuries what is perhaps the finest geographical position on the earth’s surface, the Turks have never directly aided the progress of civilization. Secondly, how was it that the Arabs ever came to leave their native deserts, and to conquer the region between the Pyrenees and the Ganges ? Was it because of a geologic convulsion ? Was it because the soil, the climate, the food, or the general aspect of nature had undergone any sudden change ? One need not be a profound student of history to see the absurdity of such a suggestion. It was because their minds had been greatly wrought upon by new ideas ; because their conceptions of life, its duties, its aims, its possibilities, had been revolutionized by the genius of Mohammed, The whole phenomenon requires a psychological, not a physical, explanation.” And again (vol. ii. p. 237), in speaking of Comte, — a writer whose views of history were often profound, though his philosophic position was diametrically opposite to that of Mr. Spencer and the evolutionists, — I say, “ He did not fall into the error that individual genius and exertion are of little or no account in modifying the course of history. He did not forget that history is made by individual men, as much as a coral reef is made by individual polyps. Each contributes his infinitesimal share of effort; nor is the share of effort always so trifling. Considering the course of history merely as the resultant of the play of moral forces, is there not in a Julius Cæsar or a Themistokles as large a manifestation of the forces which go to make history as in thousands of common men ? ”

These views of mine, as being the opinions of a “disciple” of Mr. Spencer, may perhaps be set off against those which Dr. James quotes from Mr. Allen. They seem to me to be quite in harmony with the whole spirit of Mr. Spencer’s philosophy, but it would be very difficult to find, anywhere in Mr. Spencer’s writings, anything that would serve as a justification for Mr. Allen’s extraordinary statement about the Timbuctoo negroes and the merchants of Hamburg.

Dr. James, however, does quote from Mr. Spencer one passage which seems to him to ignore or to underrate the importance of individual initiative as an agent in the production of social changes. But when carefully considered in connection with its context, this passage does not appear to be responsible for the direful corollaries which Dr. James has deduced from it. Commenting on the “ great-man theory ” of history, especially as held by Carlyle, Mr. Spencer reiterates in his peculiar language the familiar criticism that after all the great man is a “ product of the age.”

“ The genesis of the great man,” says he, “ depends on the long series of complex influences which has produced the race in which he appears, and the social state into which that race has slowly grown. . . . All those changes of which he is the proximate initiator have their chief causes in the generations he descended from.” In saying this, Mr. Spencer does not imply that the individual initiative of the great man is of no account; nor does he imply that in order to interpret the social phenomena of a given epoch it is needful to seek for the causes of the production of its great men in that physiological sphere “ which is wholly inaccessible to the social philosopher ; ” nor does he imply that it was owing to any “ convergence of sociological pressures ” in the England of 1564 that a “ W. Shakespeare, with all his mental peculiarities,” happened to be born at Stratford-on-Avon, in that year. In some of those omitted sentences of the passage cited which Dr. James represents by dots, Mr. Spencer indicates very clearly what he means. He reminds us that by no possibility could a Newton be born of Hottentot parents, or an Aristotle “ come from a father and mother with facial angles of fifty degrees ; ” and further that, even supposing it possible for a Watt to be born in a tribe unacquainted with the use of iron, his inventive genius would be likely to effect but little. Dr. James himself alleges parallel truths: as that after a Voltaire you cannot have a Peter the Hermit, or that under the social conditions of the tenth century a John Stuart Mill would have been impossible.

Now the bearing of these considerations upon the question which Mr. Spencer is discussing is obvious. If it be true that a genius of a given kind can appear under certain social conditions, and not under others, as a Newton among civilized Englishmen, but not among Hottentots; or if it be true that a given genius can work out its results under certain social conditions, and not under others, as a Mill in the nineteenth century, but not in the tenth, then it follows that in order to understand the course of history from age to age the mere study of the personal characteristics and achievements of great men is not sufficient. Carlyle’s method of dealing with history, making it a mere series of prose epics, has many merits, but it is nevertheless, from a scientific point of view, inadequate ; it does not explain the course of events. History is something more than biography. Without the least disrespect to the memories of the great statesmen of Greece and Rome, it may safely be said that one might learn all of Plutarch’s Lives by heart, and still have made very little progress toward comprehending the reasons why the Greek states were never able to form a coherent political aggregate, or why the establishment of despotism at Rome was involved in the conquest of the Mediterranean world. The true way to approach such historical problems as these is not to speculate about the personal characteristics of Lysander or C. Gracchus, but to consider the popular assemblies of the Greeks and Romans in their points of likeness and unlikeness to the folkmotes and parliaments of England and the town-meetings of Massachusetts. Since the middle of the nineteenth century the revolution which has taken place in the study of history is as great and as thorough as the similar revolution which, under Mr. Darwin’s guidance, has been effected in the study of biology. The interval in knowledge which separates a Freeman in 1880 from a Macaulay in 1850 is as great as the interval which separated Dalton and Davy from the believers in phlogiston. Yet in the principal works by which this immense change has been brought about — such as the works of Maine and Stubbs, Coulanges and Maurer — biography plays either an utterly subordinate part or no part at all.

Now the passage on the great-man theory, which Dr. James quotes from Mr. Spencer, is a protest against the alleged adequacy of the method of Carlyle. Important as the “ great man ” may be, it is not his individual thoughts and actions which primarily concern the sociologist. The truths with which sociology primarily concerns itself are general truths relating to the structure of society and the functions of its various parts; and they are obtained from a comparative and analytical survey of the actions of great masses of men, considered on a scale where all matters of individual idiosyncrasy are averaged, and for the purposes of the inquiry eliminated. Such questions as relate to the structure of the family in different stages of civilization, to the relations of the various classes of society to the governing body, to the circumstances which hinder or favor the aggregation of tribes into nations, — it is such problems as these that mainly concern the student of sociology ; and into such problems biographical considerations do not enter, any more than they enter into the study of political economy. Political economy deals with the actions of men in great masses in so far solely as the production and distribution of wealth are concerned, and its conclusions remain equally true, no matter whether a genius or a dunce presides over the national finances. That a protective tariff is an indirect tax levied upon an entire community, for the personal benefit of a few members of the community, is an economical truth that is quite independent of the particular financial schemes or legislative acts of particular great men. So — to take one from that class of facts in political history with which the student of sociology is especially concerned — it is very clear that if a primary assembly, like the New England town-meeting, is confined within narrow geographical limits, so that people can easily attend to it, it will be likely to remain a folkmote, or primary assembly ; but if it is spread over a wide area, so that people cannot conveniently come to the meetings, it will tend either to shrink into a witanagemote, or assembly of notables, or to develop into a representative assembly. This is a proposition derived from our general experience of the way in which people behave under given conditions, and confirmed by a wide historical induction. Yet the implications of this simple proposition, when once fully unfolded, will go farther toward explaining the differences between Greek and Roman political history, on the one hand, and English political history, on the other, than would the exhaustive biography of all the Greek and Roman and English statesmen that have ever lived, from Lykurgos and Servius Tullius to Gladstone. The study of sociology, in short, is primarily concerned with institutions rather than with individuals. The sociologist does not need to undervalue in any way the efficiency of individual initiative in determining the concrete course of history ; but the kind of propositions which he seeks to establish are general propositions, relating to the way in which masses of men act under given conditions.

Here, in conclusion, we may call attention to a broad distinction between the study of sociology and the study of history, which, when duly considered, will throw much light upon the points in Mr. Spencer’s doctrine by which Dr. James seems to have been puzzled. The distinction to which I allude is one which may be most fitly illustrated by a reference to the study of geology. The philosophical geologist assumes as data the various physical and chemical properties of the substances of which the earth’s surface is composed, and by reasoning from these data, with the aid of all the concrete facts which observation can gather, he constructs his theory of the actual changes which the earth’s surface has undergone, or will undergo, under given conditions. In so far as his knowledge of the physical and chemical properties of matter is exhaustive, and in so far as his judgment is sound, his conclusions with regard to the general course of geological events will be correct. He can even foretell, in outline, what kind of effects will be likely to be produced by a given set of geological causes. But when it comes to predicting, with minute and exhaustive accuracy, the geological future of any particular spot on the earth’s surface, he is foiled, through inability to compass all the conditions of the concrete case. And likewise, if he is asked to give the precise physical history of any particular spot on the earth, his conclusions, though sound in principle, may be inadequate, because he may not have gained control of all the special facts required for this individual case. So, although geology is unquestionably a legitimate science, it is nevertheless a science which must deal chiefly with explanations after the fact; it can seldom or never be possible for the geologist to lay down general principles which will be sure to fit every case that may arise.

Just so with sociology. The philosophical student of sociology assumes as data the general and undisputed facts of human nature, and with the aid of all such concrete facts as he can get from history lie constructs his theory of the general course of social evolution, — of the changes which societies have undergone, or will undergo, under given conditions. If his work has been properly done, he can go so far as to foretell what kind of result is likely to be produced by a given course of political action. But when it comes to predicting the future of any particular society for the next ten years, he is sure to be foiled, through inability to take in the infinitely complex conditions of the concrete case. And in like manner, when he is called upon to interpret the past history of society, he cannot expect to do more than to render explanations after the fact. In order to gain control, moreover, of all the special facts required for the interpretation of each particular case, he must take into account the personal idiosyncrasies of the great men by whom the concrete course of history has been determined. For example, given the political constitution of Rome in the third century before Christ, and the transformation of that constitution into an imperial despotism can be shown to have been an inevitable consequence of the conquest of a large number of surrounding nations by a society so constituted. It was a consequence which not even the practical genius of Cæsar— the greatest, no doubt, that has ever been seen on the earth — could have possibly averted, had all its unrivaled power been thrown in that direction. But granting that this general course of development was inevitable, the future course of European history was certainly very different, as initiated by Cæsar, from what it would have been if initiated by Sulla or Pompeius. When once this distinction between the stand-point of the sociologist and the stand-point of the historian is thoroughly grasped, one can find no difficulty in comprehending Mr. Spencer’s attitude toward the great-man theory. If the purpose of the sociologist were to construct concrete history from an a priori point of view, then he would undoubtedly need to inquire into the mode of genesis of each individual genius, and to take every one of its peculiarities into the account. No such science as this is possible to-day, and it is not likely that any such science will ever be possible; nothing short of omniscience could compass its problems. As it is, the task of the sociologist is confined to the ascertainment of truths relating to the actions of men in aggregates. It is for the historian to make use of such general truths in interpreting the actions of particular men ; and it is the greater extent to which recent historians have been able to employ sociological generalization that is making the historical writing of to-day so much more satisfactory and profound than the historical writing of a generation ago. This increased use of sociology, this more frequent and conscious reference to the “ conditions,” the “ environment,” and all that sort of thing, does not make the modern historian less mindful of the reverence due to great men. On the contrary, it enhances his appreciation of them through his more profound knowledge of the conditions under which they have worked. As an example I may refer to the way in which the life of Cæsar has been treated respectively by Fronde and by Mommsen. To both these writers Cæsar is the greatest hero that has ever lived, and both do their best to illustrate his career. Both, too, have done their work well. But Mr. Froude has profited very little by the modern scientific study of social phenomena, and his method is in the main the method of Carlyle. Mommsen, on the other hand, is saturated in every fibre with “science,” with “ sociology,” with the “ comparative method,” with the “ study of institutions.” As a result of this difference, we find that Mr. Froude quite fails to do justice to the very greatest part of all Cæsar’s work, namely, the reconstructive measures of the last years of his life, which Mommsen has so admirably characterized iu his profound chapter on the Old Republic and the New Monarchy. Or, if still more striking proof be needed that the scientific study of the evolution of society is not incompatible with the highest possible estimate of the value of individual initiative, I may cite the illustrious example of Mr. Freeman. Of all the historians now living, Mr. Freeman is the most thoroughly filled with the scientific spirit, and he has done more than any other to raise the study of history on to a higher level than it has ever before occupied. His writings in great part read like an elaborate commentary on the doctrine of evolution, — a commentary the more valuable, in one sense, in that Mr. Freeman owns no especial allegiance to Mr. Spencer or to any general evolutionary philosophy. Yet this great historian, whose opinions are determined everywhere by the sociological study of institutions, turns out to be at the same time as ardent a heroworshiper as Carlyle himself, — and vastly more intelligent.

John Fiske.