Зображення сторінки
PDF
ePub

stitutions of the nineteenth century. provided for. We might previousThere have been written and publish- Iy have feared too free an influx ed such works as The Physiology of of briefless barristers eager for talk; Evening Parties The History of we might at first sight have dreadSnobs, by One of Themselves; and a ed the havoc easily effected by cerwitty contemporary is accustomed to tain constitution-mongers under the give to its readers, in digest, The guise of law - reformers — men of Essence of Parliament. Can no one, that ready facility which, at a mowe would ask, attempt “ The Phy- ment's notice, could aptly frame a siology of the Dublin Congress of Magna Charta for any nation upon Social Science," or extract the “ Es- earth. We might have imagined a sence of the Manchester British busy brood of small active men of Association ?"

isolated detail to patch and tinker These remarks have been suggest- at law and legislation-men, too, ed by the meeting of the “National rough and ready to kill or cureAssociation for the Promotion of men, moreover, of a certain science, to Social Science,” recently held in apply the rule of thumb, and square Dublin. The general objects of this down the picturesque ruggedness of society, as of others kindred in de- time-hallowed precedent into prim sign, are at any rate praiseworthy. precision—or, lastly, in the capital The following statement, issued on of Ireland especially, we might have authority, though not in the best of dreaded the onslaught of reformers English, will in few words indicate more fiery in mettle, like O'Connell the scope and direction of the Dub- of old, who drove his coach and four lin proceedings :—“The Association through all the clauses of an Act of is established to aid the develop- Parliament. We soon, however, disment of Social Science, and to guide covered that we had taken the whole the public mind to the best practical affair much too seriously. At the means of promoting the amendment opening meeting in Dublin, the of the Law, the Advancement of general secretary rose and addressed Education, the Prevention and Re- fifteen hundred professors and dispression of Crime, the Reformation ciples of Social Science as follows: of Criminals, the adoption of Sani “ Ladies and Gentlemen, the first tory Regulations, and the diffusion proceeding on these occasions is of sound principles on all questions always to announce the number of of Social Economy. The Association tickets that have been sold, and I aims to bring together the various am happy to be able to say that on societies and individuals who are this occasion 285 members and 1386 engaged or interested in furthering associates, being a total of 1671 perthese objects; and, without trench sons, have already taken tickets,— ing upon independent exertions, (applause).” One thousand six seeks to elicit by discussion the real hundred and seventy-one persons elements of truth, to clear up doubts, come expressly, in the words of the to harmonise discordant opinions, programme,“ to aid the development and to afford a common ground for of Social Science"! This surely, the interchange of trustworthy in- in itself, we said, must be deemed, formation on the great social pro- at all events, a great, a gigantic fact. blems of the day."

Upwards of fifteen hundred people On reading this promising pro- seeking “to elicit by discussion the gramme, which was found in Dublin real elements of truth”! This, assupractically to embrace all conceiv- redly, was of itself a phenomenon able topics from Scotch marriages in social and intellectual science, to Irish salmon - fisheries, from which far transcended our most sanpatents to small - pox and paper- guine expectations. Again we turned hangings—we felt at once persuad- to the programme for further infored that the progress of the human mation. Two hundred and eightyrace was henceforward adequately five members. What, we asked, are

[ocr errors]

the mental or social qualifications a romance, render dry law a posifor membership?

Any person,

tive luxury, and sport with the say the rules, “becomes a Member drudgery of legislation as if a mere of the Association by subscribing pleasing pastime? Who can so One Guinea annually.” One thou- well load a learned disquisition sand three hundred and eighty-six with encyclopædic lore? Who associates. What, we inquired, is can better paint with epithet-coneedful to graduate as an associate? loured eloquence? Who can string "Any person becomes an Associate together precedents in more formidfor a year by a payment of Ten able array, or bring to debated toShillings. Every Associate is entitled pics the hard-won experience of a to attend all the meetings.” Very longer life? What man, in short, good—this is clear enough. Ladies save Brougham, throughout this and gentlemen, let us proceed to wide world, can fulfil to utmost perbusiness. The Dublin meeting for fection all the expectations and de“the development of Social Science” mands of “social science”-a science being thus happily constituted on so grandiloquent in promise—a science social and equal a basis, let its 285 which with vagrant steps overruns members and 1386 associates forth- the illimitable regions of universal with, in the emphatic words of the knowledge, still craving for new programme, set themselves “to elicit worlds to conquer and possess—a by discussion the real elements of science so expressly social, so little truth, to clear up doubts, to har- given to slow induction, that hencemonise discordant opinions, and to forth the solution for every difficulty afford a common ground for the will be sought, not in the solitary interchange of trustworthy informa- study secluded to meditation, but tion on the great social problems of in the crowded arena for the conflict the day”! The progress of the hu- of profuse public talk. man race, we repeat, is henceforth It must be admitted that the adequately provided for.

opening address of the noble and Lord Brougham, of genius dis- learned President, two hours and cursive, and eloquence alluring, more in duration, ranging from achieved in his inaugural address John o' Groat's to the Equator, ema feat often before attempted, but bracing nationalities cognate and generally attended with less success diverse, peoples oppressed and enthan in his facile hands :—the com franchised, rights recognised or still promise between the profound, the denied, was enough to satisfy appopular, the superficial ; the inter- petites the most omniverous, and weaving of past history with future to tax digestions the most vigorous. prophecy; the blending of reason Of the genius of Brougham may we with imagination, of fact with fiction. truly say, age cannot wither it, The capital of Ireland—the land of nor custom stale its infinite variBurke, Grattan, and Plunkett ety ;” ever borne on the wing of might well receive with enthusiasm high invention, does it “ find out the illustrious President — orator new heaven, new earth.” It is not and statesman-himself the living strange that crowds should still type of the pretended science of flock to hear him. Dashing bold

sociology" - in profession and ness, mental enterprise running pursuits the signal representative riot, eloquent denunciation, are of the sciolist and the doctrinaire. qualities in an orator which reWho, even in that island of pre- concile audiences even more criscriptive injuries, can denounce a tical than social science students national grievance in words more to possible inaccuracies of fact and withering, or bring to its relief fallacies in argument. greater ingenuity or resource? Who When a man like Brougham rises can make a dreary Act of Parlia- to speak, crowned by the victories ment sparkle with the brilliancy of won in many a hard-fought battle

66

La statesman, a man of letters, a most part, would have been welphilanthropist, whose life is now come in a column devoted to “tableportion of the history of our country talk,” or “ weekly gossip.” Take, -statements otherwise trivial, and for example, the following important references often remote, grow into fact in social science: “The decease adventitious importance. “Grattan, of the Sultan,” said Lord Brougham, Plunkett, Wellington, Wellesley," " has brought upon the Ottoman said Brougham, on rising to address throne a prince who begins his the meeting, “all of these I have reign as a reformer, both in his own been doomed to outlive, and to the practice and in the scheme of his dispensations of Providence it is fit administration—nay, even in the we should be resigned.” Thus a system which he is resolved to inthousand associations rushed on the troduce—the dismissal of his prememory of orator and hearer, as decessor's harem of scores of wives Brougham glanced at the labours of and hundreds of mistresses.” Did Bentham and Denman, the associ- the noble President expect that the ates of his youth-as he spoke of new Sultan should adopt as his own the discoveries of Black, Priestley, the worn-out wives and mistresses Lavoisier, and Davy, whose bio- of his predecessor? The question graphies he has written-as he is of such delicacy that we beg to traced the foundations of political refer its further consideration to a economy, himself no mean autho- select committee.

The next point rity, from Hume and Smith, across in the address, paper, penny-a-linthe Channel to their French prede- ing, and woodcuts, may claim the cessors—as he gave a line to the attention of the literary profession. "calculus,” and a sentence to “gra. During the past year social science vitation, in honour of papers writ- has had to mourn over a few failten for the French Academy, and in ures, but, on the other hand, it remembrance of his late oration behoves, it would appear, all lovers delivered at the foot of Newton's of the intellectual progress of manstatue. To the living Brougham kind to rejoice over some signal also paid fitting tribute : “to his successes. On the authority of Lord learned colleague, that great philan- Brougham, the greatest boon which thropist, Mr Recorder Hill;" to has yet been secured to the world Captain Crofton, of Irish prisons by his darling Association is cheap and reformatories; and to other paper. “The effect,” he says, “of this labourers, some seated around him, most salutary repeal of the paperhonoured for their generous efforts duty, has been immediate, and it has to ameliorate the condition of the been great."' * “One daily paper," people. All this, coming from Lord he continues, " has a circulation of Brougham, was listened to without 80,000, and a halfpenny weekly jourimpatience, by nearly two thousand nal, with excellent cuts, has been espeople, for a space of time exceed- tablished, and already issues above ing two hours. The discourse was 180,000.” We, of course, congratuput together with the skill by no late our contemporaries, both daily means uncommon to a newspaper and weekly, on so speedy and so article, and the materials, for the prodigious a commercial success.

* We do know something about paper, and have discussed the repeal of the duty with very many paper makers and paper consumers.

We have not found among these one man, in whose judgment and honesty we had confidence, who did not think the repeal, in the circumstances of the country, an act of national folly. It may seem ingratitude in us to speak thus, as few will reap a more certain, if modest, accession of income if the repeal has the anticipated effect of lowering the price of paper,

We accept “the great boon,” but are not at all disposed to thank its popularityhunting donors.-ED. B. M.

And we equally felicitate the cause our pursuits, in our whole existence, of social science in begetting and an instinctive sense attends us that maintaining, at so cheap a cost, off- we are unsatisfied. The want of spring which, we feel assured, will something permanent ever haunts ever redound to the honour of liter- us. Whatever exertions we have ature and art. Yet we were unwil- made, whatever success had, whatling to suppose that the intellectual ever gratification received, only dignity and value of the congress makes us feel how hollow it all is held in the capital of Ireland was how much we desire that which to be measured by these results. It endures. The scenes of early days is assuredly rather too much to re- which we revisit, now become dim quire that the world should receive from time, peopled with the forms as the axioms of science some of the of those whose memory they sadly most recent, and, it may be, the recall, make us long for the bright most doubtful, results of contempo- scenes that can never fade, and for raneous legislation.

rejoining friends, to part no more. That crowds of men and hun- The present doubt, and the struggle, dreds of ladies should come to ap- and the darkness, is for the hour; plaud fortwo hours an address of this the prospect is cheering, and it is quality, is nothing more than might for ever; and so it is with our have been anticipated; but that they National Association, which comshould go home with the flattering mands our allegiance and justifies unction that they had graduated in the hopes it inspires. Undaunted science or philosophy, would be, to by resistance, undisturbed by facadopt oft-repeated words, “a mock- tion, undismayed by real coldness ery, a delusion, and a snare.” Lord or affected contempt, we persevere Brougbam still holds the stage with in our course of social labour; but the pertinacity of a public favourite, we lift our views higher, to scenes eager to catch the

dying echo of far above the darkness of ignorance popular applause. For a great man, that shrouds one region, the mists in the absence of more onerous of doubt that obscure, the storms of duties, to amuse himself and his passion that vext another, and behearers with anecdote and talk, is hold the lofty summit shining in at least harmless, and in some de- the faith and adoration of God, gree praiseworthy. But scientific glowing with universal benevolence inquiry and philosophic research are to man. 'As some tall cliff'processes too severe for mere pleas- (I gladly,” said Brougham, "proing pastime and showy rhetoric. nounce these noble lines in the The name of Brougham, however, land which gave them birth)"notwithstanding certain weaknesses, “As some tall cliff, that lifts its awful must live, and among words and

form, deeds which cannot be forgotten Swells from the vale and midway leaves will be ranked the following pero

the storm; ration, solemn in thought, and terse

Though round its breast the rolling

clouds are spread, in expression :

Eternal sunshine settles on its head.'" “The past,” said Brougham, with voice gathering again its strength for We are happy to know that a a climax — “ the past lends en- sweet foretaste of this "eternal couragement to the future. Let us sunshine” was already granted to then persevere to the end; but let the Dublin congress in the winning us not forget that all our efforts to smiles of true Irish beauty. For improve the condition of our fellow- we need scarcely say that the sociacreatures, and make them worthy bility of science would at its very of their destiny, are as nothing best have been but dreary and compared with the progress in desolate, had not woman come to higher things. These are the great charm the labours of the day. Let aim and end of our being. In all it not be supposed that we are

about to descend into mere common- from a joint co-operation. Thus place compliment, which the fair we are sure our readers will rejoice cultivators of science, glorying in to hear that the great congress in the philosophic mind, would spurn Dublin witnessed the cheering specas an insult to advanced intellect. tacle of women rising from their We believe we are called upon to seats, reading papers, and addressdiscuss not “ privileges, but ing public and mixed audiences. "rights;” for “social science,” we We live, let us all delight to rememunderstand, takes as one of its bases ber, in enlightened days. Even the equal rights of woman side by England's greatest men in literaside with man. This startling at ture and science were, we regret to titude on the part of ladies, analo- think, scarcely prepared for these gous, we presume, to the uprising glorious developments of the female of certain oppressed nationalities on intellect. Addison in the Spectathe continent of Europe, has at tor, in writing, as he was wont to do, length, we are informed, assumed on ladies' topics, upon “the hoop the definite form of a positive or- petticoat," a coquette's heart, ganisation. Women there are, we and “the exercise of the fan,” inare told, hitherto doomed to blush dulged, it is sad to think, in mere and die in inglorious obscurity, elegant trifling; and Dr Johnson, who aspire to a vocation, desire as might be apprehended, became, to become illustrious, it may be no when he descended to such themes, torious, content with nothing short positively insulting. On one occaof equality, not to say identity, sion the stern moralist, if we rewith men.

Women there are, it member rightly, was asked for his seems, though not, unfortunately, in opinion on the subject of woman's the quiet unambitious sphere of our preaching. “Sir," said he, with a acquaintance, who commence and growl, “ it reminds one of a dog close every day of their existence dancing on his hind legs : the with fervent thanks to God that wonder is, not that he does it so they are not like others of their badly, but that he can do it at all.”

It is evident that we are Yet we regret to know that in Dubentering on a new epoch in the lin there were found cynics still world's history, and it will

, we are surviving, who in form, it may be, sure, be to the lasting glory of the more refined, and in terms less ex“National Association,” that in the press, were tacitly of the Doctor's great temple of social science niches opinion. The spectacle, however, have been provided for the ladies. of a woman's speaking, told with In modern times, we fear, it has astounding effect; crowds came as been too much the habit to look to if to witness a phenomenon tranwoman merely in the character of scending the limits of ordinary naVenus, forgetting that in ancient ture. Nor was curiosity doomed to days there were likewise Minervas, be wholly disappointed. A lady and even Amazons. It was, if we rises to address the meeting ; she is recollect rightly, reserved for Mr asked. by the President her name, Buckle to discover that, on the and by parenthesis adds in a low whole, the influence of woman had voice, “ I believe I am not wholly proved favourable to the progress unknown.”. Another lady, ex catheof civilisation. And we think it dra, holds forth in this strain : “Is had been previously determined, on there not among those who hear authority equally incontestable, that me," &c. “I beseech, I entreat men were likewise of value in the you." “ I speak as the represeneconomy of nature. But, as we tative of two societies in the city of have said, it remained for the Na- Dublin,” &c. Here followed, we tional Association to prove what believe, a touching appeal to drunvast benefits, social, intellectual, ken husbands, than which nothing and even political, might yet accrue so thrilling has been witnessed since

sex.

« НазадПродовжити »