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nature and the outer world as proceeding from this Everlasting Spirit and being conditioned by it. Instruction and the school shall guide mankind to this threefold knowledge, at unity with itself and in complete harmony with life and action. Through this threefold unity of knowledge, education and the school shall lead manhood in boyhood from inclination to purpose, from purpose to determination; and thus, steadfastly advancing to the attainment of its destiny and its calling, to the realization of its earthly perfection.
JAMES ANTHONY FROUDE
AMES ANTHONY FROUDE, one of the most prolific essayists and
critics of the nineteenth century, was born in Devonshire, Engwe land, April 23d, 1818. At Oriel College, Oxford, where he went when the “Tractarian movement” was in progress, he came under the influence of John Henry Newman and his party. As a result he took deacon's orders in the Church, and though after a change of views he conscientiously resigned both his orders and a fellowship, he retained through life an inclination to theological controversy which connects many of his essays so closely with ephemeral disputes that they can hardly survive them. He wrote much, however, that will continue to be read by all students of the literature of his time. Among his more important works are “Luther; a Short Biography”; “Nemesis of Faith"; «History of England from the Fall of Wolsey to the Death of Elizabeth »; «The English in Ireland in the Eighteenth Century”; “ Cæsar; a Sketch,” and “Short Studies of Great Subjects,” – the latter a collection of his essays. He died in London, October 20th, 1894.
THE SCIENCE OF HISTORY
I That is History,” said Napoleon, “but a fiction agreed VV upon ?” “My friend,” said Faust to the student, who
was growing enthusiastic about the spirit of past ages, -"my friend, the times which are gone are a book with seven seals; and what you call the spirit of past ages is but the spirit of this or that worthy gentleman in whose mind those ages are reflected.”
One lesson, and only one, history may be said to repeat with distinctness; that the world is built somehow on moral foundations; that, in the long run, it is well with the good; in the long run it is ill with the wicked. But this is no science; it is no more than the old doctrine taught long ago by the Hebrew prophets. The theories of M. Comte and his disciples advance
us, after all, not a step beyond the trodden and familiar ground. If men are not entirely animals, they are at least half animals, and are subject in this aspect of them to the conditions of animals. So far as those parts of man's doings are concerned, which neither have, nor need have, anything moral about them, so far the laws of him are calculable. There are laws for his digestion, and laws of the means by which his digestive organs are supplied with matter. But pass beyond them, and where are we? In a world where it would be as easy to calculate men's actions by laws like those of positive philosophy as to measure the orbit of Neptune with a foot rule, or weigh Sirius in a grocer's scale.
And it is not difficult to see why this should be. The first principle, on which the theory of a science of history can be plausibly argued, is that all actions whatsoever arise from selfinterest. It may be enlightened self-interest, it may be unenlightened; but it is assumed as an axiom that every man, in whatever he does, is aiming at something which he considers will promote his happiness. His conduct is not determined by his will; it is determined by the object of his desire. Adam Smith, in laying the foundations of political economy, expressly eliminates every other motive. He does not say that men never act on other motives; still less, that they never ought to act on other motives. He asserts merely that, as far as the arts of production are concerned, and of buying and selling, the action of self-interest may be counted upon as uniform. What Adam Smith says of political economy, Mr. Buckle would extend over the whole circle of human activity
Now, that which especially distinguishes a high order of man from a low order of man — that which constitutes human goodness, human greatness, human nobleness — is surely not the degree of enlightenment with which men pursue their own advantage; but it is self-forgetfulness; it is self-sacrifice; it is the disregard of personal pleasure, personal indulgence, personal advantages remote or present, because some other line of conduct is more right.
We are sometimes told that this is but another way of expressing the same thing; that, when a man prefers doing what is right, it is only because to do right gives him a higher satisfaction. It appears to me, on the contrary, to be a difference in the very heart and nature of things. The martyr goes to the stake,
the patriot to the scaffold, not with a view to any future reward to themselves, but because it is a glory to fling away their lives for truth and freedom. And so through all phases of existence, to the smallest details of common life, the beautiful character ist the unselfish character. Those whom we most love and admire are those to whom the thought of self seems never to occur; who do simply and with no ulterior aim — with no thought whether it will be pleasant to themselves or unpleasant — that which is good and right and generous.
Is this still selfishness, only more enlightened ? I do not think Bay so. The essence of true nobility is neglect of self. Let the thought of self pass in, and the beauty of a great action is gone, like the bloom from a soiled flower. Surely it is a paradox to speak of the self-interest of a martyr who dies for a cause, the triumph of which he will never enjoy; and the greatest of that great company in all ages would have done what they did, had their personal prospects closed with the grave. Nay, there have been those so zealous for some glorious principle as to wish themselves blotted out of the book of Heaven if the cause of Heaven could succeed.
And out of this mysterious quality, whatever it be, arise the higher relations of human life, the higher modes of human obligation. Kant, the philosopher, used to say that there were two things which overwhelmed him with awe as he thought of them. One was the star-sown deep of space, without limit and without end; the other was, right and wrong. Right, the sacrifice of self to good; wrong, the sacrifice of good to self, - not graduated objects of desire, to which we are determined by the degrees of our knowledge, but wide asunder as pole and pole, as light and darkness; one, the object of infinite love; the other, the object of infinite detestation and scorn. It is in this marvelous power in men to do wrong (it is an old story, but none the less true for that), - it is in this power to do wrong - wrong or right, as it lies somehow with ourselves to choose — that the impossibility stands of forming scientific calculations of what men will do before the fact, or scientific explanations of what they have done after the fact. If men were consistently selfish, you might analyze their motives; if they were consistently noble, they would express in their conduct the laws of the highest perfection. But so long as two natures are mixed together, and the strange creature which results from the combinations is now under one influ
ence and now under another, so long you will make nothing of him except from the old-fashioned moral — or, if you please, imaginative — point of view.
Even the laws of political economy itself cease to guide us when they touch moral government. So long as labor is a chattel to be bought and sold, so long, like other commodities, it follows the condition of supply and demand. But if, for his misfortune, an employer considers that he stands in human relations to his workmen; if he believes rightly or wrongly, that he is responsible for them; that in return for their labor he is bound to see that their children are decently taught, and they and their families decently fed and clothed and lodged; that he ought to care for them in sickness and in old age, – then political economy will no longer direct him, and the relations between himself and his dependents will have to be arranged on quite other principles.
So long as he considers only his own material profit, so long supply and demand will settle every difficulty; but the introduction of a new factor spoils the equation.
And it is precisely in this debatable ground of low motives and noble emotions; in the struggle, ever failing yet ever renewed, to carry truth and justice into the administration of human society; in the establishment of states and in the overthrow of tyrannies; in the rise and fall of ereeds; in the world of ideas; in the character and deeds of the great actors in the drama of life, where good and evil fight out their everlasting battle, now ranged in opposite camps, now and more often in the heart, both of them, of each living man,- that the true human interest of history resides The progress of industries, the growth of material and mechanical civilization, are interesting; but they are not the most interesting. They have their reward in the increase of material comforts; but, unless we are mistaken about our nature, they do not highly concern us after all.
Once more; not only is there in men this baffling duality of principle, but there is something else in us which still more defies scientific analysis.
Mr. Buckle would deliver himself from the eccentricities of this and that individual by a doctrine of averages. Though he cannot tell whether A, B, or C will cut his throat, he may assure himself that one man in every fifty thousand, or thereabout (I forget the exact proportion), will cut his throat, and with this he consoles himself. No doubt it a comforting discovery. Unfortu.