« AnteriorContinuar »
DARWINISM AND EMPIRE.
UR readers will remember how Mr. Rhodes evolved the idea of imperialism from what he believed was the fundamental principle of Darwinism. Mr. Ramsden Balmforth, in the Westminster Review, writes on the subject of "Darwinism and Empire," without referring, however, to Mr. Rhodes. He maintains that Darwinism and the evolutionists have been father to the doctrine which they would have been the first to repudiate. The average man is apt to think that fittest means best, whereas it really means that which is best adapted to the conditions of its environment. The idea that fitness and selection can be determined by strength, military power, cunning, or even intelligence is inadequate, for the environment of man, the moral or spiritual shell in which our lives are cast, demands morality, an ever-ascending type of morality, from us, or we perish. As Darwin himself says, a tribe rich in moral qualities would spread and be victorious over other tribes, and its social and moral qualities would tend slowly to advance and be diffused throughout the world. According to evolutionary ethics, it is with nations as with individuals: nor strength nor cunning, nor intelligence alone, but character determines fitness.
What kind of character is it, then, asks Mr. Balmforth, which determines fitness? Not, he answers, the pushful, cunning, trading character, or the self-righteous, proselytizing character, but rather the restrained, self-contained character, which is content with a modest competence, which seeks righteousness rather than gain, which keeps its word even to its own temporary hurt, and which is the friend and defender of weak and struggling nationalities. Mr. Balmforth does not think that England's policy either in South Africa or in China has been such as to promote the survival of the highest types of character. In both countries England was the original aggressor. And to attempt to persist in securing success is to promote the survival of a low filibustering type of character. It is no use for Englishmen to say that they have gone so far they cannot turn back. Nature will allow no excuses of that sort. The farther we go in a wrong direction the greater will be the distance over which we shall have to retrace our steps. England's war policy has not the test of fitness, which natural selection itself imposes-a test of character. Without it England would ultimately have triumphed more completely than with it, and the policy has been a decided set-back to the moral development of the race.
In China things have been even worse. Hence he thinks that true statesmanship on Darwinian
principles should aim at bringing the will, intelligence, and moral ideals into quickened activity and emulation, rather than the lower powers and activities which seem to bring out the latent instincts of the ape and tiger. The wisest statesmen are those who set their faces like a flint
against the policy of war, and who, by conciliation, by conference, by arbitration, by respect for national rights, by international deputations and congresses, bring the best thought of each civilization into sympathetic contact with that of the other, and seek to resolve the conflicting elements of each in the harmony of the higher unity, and to promote the peace of the world and permanent welfare of mankind.
THE PYGMIES OF CENTRAL AFRICA.
N the Atlantic Monthly for August, Mr. Samuel Phillips Verner has an unusually readable article on The African Pygmies," whom he has visited and studied in their native town in Central Africa, on the Kasai River, a tributary of the Congo. These are the true pygmies of Herodotus, the fabled dwarfs of Ethiopia. The little folk lived in a city called Ndombe, ruled over by a king of the same name. There are about 5,000 in the city, and 300 more around it. They dwell in little huts shaped like a beehive, with an opening on the side at the bottom, barely large enough to admit their bodies crawling. Although a fullgrown negro could not even lie down at full length in such a house, one of them suffices for a pygmy and his whole family, sometimes consisting of a wife and half a dozen children.
The pygmies are occupied almost solely in hunting and fishing, their chief weapon being a bow and poisoned arrows. These arrows have no heads except the mere sharpened point of bamboo, but they are dipped into a vegetable decoction which is one of the most fatal poisons known, and which produces insanity or death almost immediately, even if the arrow makes not much more than a scratch.
The pygmy community is ruled by a giant king, Ndombe, who stands six feet six inches in stature, with broad, square shoulders, Herculean limbs, and massive statuesque features of a distinctively Egyptian cast. Mr. Verner says he has never seen the man's physical superior. He has thirty-one wives and over forty children, and his family connections are so extensive that they occupy a whole town. occupy a whole town. The pygmies themselves, however, do not usually have more than one wife. The clothing of the little negroes was the most primitive imaginable. The children and some of the women went nude, and the most elaborate costume amounted to nothing more than a yard
The head of the pygmy is of the brachycephalic order. The mean cranial index of the skulls of eight adult males was eighty-one degrees. The nose was small, but more aquiline than that of the real negro. The mouth was large, and the chin usually receding. The hair was of a lighter color,—almost a shade of brown, and was kinky and woolly. Their hands and feet were small and well shaped, the hands in particular being delicately formed. In proportion to their size, their strength far exceeded that of all the other Africans. Their powers of endurance on the march or in the chase were phenomenal. Fifty miles a day was an ordinary march for them, and they were almost as much at home in the trees as the monkeys themselves. The senses of the pygmies were unusually acute. At quite a distance, they could distinguish the chameleon from the foliage in which it was hidden, notwithstanding the fact that the color of the little animal coincided with that of its hiding-place. Much of their quarry was discovered through the powers of the nose, and it is no exaggeration to say that the pygmies' sense of smell was as keen as that of their dogs. They were such shots with the bow that I have seen one send an arrow through a rat at twenty yards, while it was running across the village. The Bantu would spear fish as they leaped from the water, or darted among the rocks in the streams.
Mr. Verner cites the scientific fact that no traces have been found of any human beings prior to the pygmies. It is certain that the little people have apparently preserved and enjoyed a physical entity for five thousand years. He does not attempt to decide between the various hypotheses as to the origin of the pygmy race, some holding that the ancestors of the pygmies were larger men, and that the present dwarfs are a degenerate race, and others that the pygmies have been unchanged from their creation. It is interesting to know that the Kasai valley has recently been opened to steam navigation, a steamboat for the river having been built at Rich
mond, Va., and that the ethnologists will have a good opportunity of making a thorough study of the peculiar race of men.
AN ENGLISHMAN'S PLEA FOR A NATIONAL THEATER.
MR. WILLIAM ARCHER contributes to the ΜΕ Monthly Review for July an earnestly written statement of the case for national theaters. By this he means that theaters should be created in every center of population, which would not be conducted simply for the benefit of individuals, but should be held in trust for the public at large by some representative body, which, directly or indirectly, should control them. As libraries, museums, and picture galleries are public institutions, so the theater, ought to be one of the intellectual glories of the English-speaking race, must also be a public institution. The drama flourishes best in countries like Germany and France, which treat it as a public concern.
THE COST OF THE MODERN THEATER.
Mr. Archer points out that for any play to succeed it must attract at least 50,000 spectators in the course of three months. Plays that do this succeed, plays that do not fail. What chance, asks Mr. Archer, would there be of Mr. Meredith or Mr. Hardy being able to place a new novel before the world if they had to find fully 50,000 purchasers in the course of three months, incurring an initial outlay of from £1,000 to £3,000, and to publish a fresh edition every day at a cost of £100? The consequence of the theater being run solely as a money-making institution is deplorable. Mr. Archer says:
"Can it be doubted, for instance, that 'musical comedy,' English and American, does more than ten thousand pulpits can undo to glorify and enforce the sporting, gambling, barhaunting, champagne-drinking, flashy, and dissolute ideal of life which dominates that class of production? Do we not see whole regiments of young men modeling themselves in dress, manners, vocabulary, and, as far as possible, in morals, upon this or that popular comedian whose leering inanities they regard as the last word of human wit?"
MR. ARCHER'S SUGGESTION.
This, indeed, is a canker of the commonwealth. In London musical extravaganza has almost completely swamped the higher forms of drama. It is a political force, and draws the whole Englishspeaking world together in the bonds of racial
ELEVATION OF THE GERMAN DRAMA.
N the first quarterly issue of the Forum, Mr. John Corbin contributes an account of the present condition and prospects of the drama in the United States. By way of contrast he pic. tures theatrical conditions in Germany:
The theatrical situation in Germany is geographically the same as in America, that is to say, there are many widely separated cities, each one the seat of a vigorous civic spirit. The commercial basis of the German theater, however, is the direct opposite of that in America. The origin of the theater was not in the great mass of the public, but in the more intelligent portion of it associated with the royal courts of Germany. In Munich, Stuttgart, Vienna, Berlin, and many other capitals there are theaters which, like the Théâtre Français, are supported in part by the national treasury. These theaters are what we should call local stock companies of the highest character; and for more than a century they have given frequent productions of the best dramas in the literature of the world, ancient and modern. Modeled upon these, in the lead
ing commercial cities, stock company theaters have been founded which depend for support on the municipality, and even on private subscription.
HEALTHFUL VARIETY FOR ACTORS AND PUBLIC.
"No sooner has a play proved successful in one German city than it is rehearsed and put on the boards in all, thus becoming a part of the repertory of twenty or thirty different companies at once. This does away at a stroke with such organization of booking as is at the root of the commercial evil of the American theater. It also does away with the long run, which is the root of our artistic evil, for the rules of the theaters generally require that even the most successful pieces shall not be played more than four times a week, in order that the rest of the time may be taken up with revivals of the classics and with productions of new plays. The actors are thus Denefited by constant variety. In spite of this, however, a play is in the end given as often as there is a public to witness it, runs of one and two hundred performances being perhaps as frequent as in America. It is true that in any par ticular city the returns to the authors and the managers come in more slowly, but this is more than balanced by the fact that the play runs simultaneously in all the leading cities. In many other ways this system is superior to ours. The author has a score of managers to whom to offer a new play. The actor, when his abilities warrant, travels as a guest from this theater to that, availing himself of the local company and of its stock scenery. The public is constantly able to see the best old plays, and at the same time every novelty of the season. Even the mercan tile classes share in the general profit, for a large floating public of well-to-do people is attracted by the great educational advantages which a repertory theater offers.
GERMAN ACTORS IN THE UNITED STATES.
"As for America, or at least English-speaking America, no one who knows the conservative power of established organization, even of the worst, will look for any early duplication of this system. As far as the German-speaking public is concerned, the system is to be seen in full operation there are vigorous and successful repertory theaters in New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Milwaukee, and every season great German actors, such as Possart, Sorma, Odilon, Bonn, and Sonnenthal, make the tour of all these theaters as guests. But it will be many years, it is to be feared, before this admirable example is imitated by the English-speaking public."
EDUCATION BY NEWSPAPER.
NOVEL plan for a system of popular education has been proposed in India. The proposal is contained in a paper by Mr. S. S. Thorburn, read before the East India Association, and published in the July number of the Asiatic Quarterly. Mr. Thorburn's proposal is, briefly, to publish in each center, and in all the vernaculars, a government newspaper which would educate the people. At present education in India is bad, and journalism worse. Only about one in four hundred of the number of boys in India is being seriously educated, and only 10 per cent. are undergoing any education at all. At present the great bulk of educated candidates for government employment must struggle for positions worth less than $100 a year. Education higher than elementary is almost confined to town-dwellers; the educated product is cast upon the world at an age when instruction is only beginning to expand the mind into a thinking machine; and the educated class, unfit for other pursuits, seeks clerical employment, in which the openings are few.
The reading of this new class is restricted to the cheapest of the vernacular papers, of which there are nearly six hundred. These papers pay badly, and have small circulations, while the fear of being prosecuted for seditious writing is ever before them.
Mr. Thorburn, in view of these facts, proposes that the government of each department should start and maintain a first-class daily paper in the town vernacular, which would be sold at a rate which would compare with the cheapest journals now circulating. He thinks that even if a loss of a lac of rupees in each case resulted, the outlay would be productive. The editors should be persons worthy of respect, either English or native, and such men, says Mr. Thorburn, would be cheap at 3,000 rupees a month. Mr. Thorburn thinks that after a time the loss would be inconsiderable.
WHAT ANGLO-INDIANS THINK.
Mr. Thorburn calls this education by news. paper, but it is obvious that the effect would be political as well. After his paper was read the project was discussed by several members, none of whom approved of it. Sir Lepel Griffin said he did not think that the starting of a few newspapers would be enough to tackle the grave difficulty which the higher education of the natives was every day making more important. Mr. Digby was even less favorable. He does not
think that British newspapers make good citizens. He points out certain practical difficulties. Would the editor, he asks, have a free hand? If so, he would have to circulate damaging criticisms on the Indian Government, such as those of Mr. Caine in the House of Commons. The government would be a resounding board, through which the voice of criticism would echo through the land. The editor would be compelled to take sides, and would thus incur the enmity of one party. A large number of papers. would be needed, there being eighty languages in India, twenty of which are spoken by not less than a million persons. If the papers were good, they would supersede the present English and native papers, destroying the occupation of the present journalists. Mr. Digby does not think that the men could be found to work the project. If the Indians are to become loyal citizens of a prosperous empire, they must be regarded as equals. The British cannot for all time stand in loco parentis to 230,000,000 people.
Mr. Thorburn, in his reply, argues that if the government newspapers were to kill all the lowerclass newspapers circulating in India, so much. the better. He maintains also that the newspapers would not need to be published in so many different languages, as no daily is now published except in the recognized official vernacular of a province and one spoken by all educated Indians.
The project, as will be seen, did not meet with favor. It is an interesting one, nevertheless. But surely a simpler plan, both in India and Russia, would be for the rulers to test for a tin.e the effect of granting real liberty to the press, the most effective of all enemies of sedition.
TOLSTOY ON EDUCATION AND INSTRUCTION.
N La Revue for June 15, M. Jean Finot pub.
lishes an unrevised fragment from Count Tolstoy's pen on education and instruction. For the ideas therein he disclaims all responsibility.
RELIGIOUS DOCTRINE THE BASIS OF EVERYTHING.
As the basis of everything should be a religious doctrine suited to the degree of instruction of men, this doctrine cannot be Catholicism, Protestantism, Buddhism, nor any creed based on trust in certain prophets.
"This doctrine must be justified by the reason, aspirations, and experience of each man. And this doctrine is Christian doctrine in its most simple and reasonable expression. . . . Everything we teach children intentionally . . is conscious inspiration; everything which children imitate . . . is unconscious suggestion.
MARY'S HOUSE AT EPHESUS.
"Conscious suggestion is what is called instruction; unconscious suggestion is what we
call, in the narrow sense, education, and what I IN the Nouvelle Revue, M. B. D'Agen gives a
curious account of the ancient building at
shall call enlightenment. . . . In our society in-
"A good life" he defines as one that aspires toward perfection, toward love.
Not quite a hundred years ago there lived in Westphalia a village woman, Katherine Emme. rich, who enjoyed a great local reputation for sanctity, and who lived the life of an anchorite. She had a Boswell in the person of a humble priest named Brentano, to whom she recounted at great length her marvelous visions, which all concerned, and, as it were, reconstituted, the life of Christ and of the Virgin Mary on earth. He kept a careful record of all she told him, and after her death several volumes dealing with her "revelations" were published; these included a "Life of the Virgin Mary, "in which are to be found many extraordinary and most elaborate details, which the believers in Katherine Emmerich's exceptional sanctity regard as a valuable supplement to the Gospel narrative. It should, however, be added that this volume, as indeed all the "revelations" in question, never received the imprimata of Rome, and no effort seems to have been made to discover whether any of the statements contained in the volumes could be verified by journeys to the Holy Land, or to the other places mentioned therein.
As for instruction, or science, it is merely the transmission of the best thoughts of the best men on divers subjects. Such thoughts of good, intel. ligent men are always about (1) religious philosophy of life and its importance; (2) experimental and natural sciences; (3) logic and mathematics.
"All these are true sciences. . . . You know or you do not know. All sciences not corresponding to these requirements, such as theological, legal, and historical studies, are mischievous, and should be excluded."
Count Tolstoy also strongly insists on the importance of teaching some manual labor, be it carpentry, sewing, or other useful employment.
A DIVISION OF TIME.
This is how I represent things to myself: the teachers fix hours themselves, but the pupils are free to come or not. . . . Entire freedom for the pupil to study when he wants to is the condition sine quâ non of all useful teaching, is just as in eating the condition sine quâ non now that the eater desires to eat. The only difference is that in material things the mischief of restriction of liberty is shown at once, -by sickness and derangement of the stomach,-and that in spiritual matter the results are shown less quickly, perhaps years later."
Eight hours for sleep, eight for "education in the narrow sense-enlightenment," also housecleaning, manual work, with intervals for rest or play (dependable on age); eight hours for study, the subject to be entirely the choice of the pupils.
ON LANGUAGE TEACHING.
"As for the teaching of languages-the more one knows the better--I think it absolutely necessary to learn French and German, English, and, if possible, Esperanto (a universal language). Languages must be taught by making the pupil read a book he knows and trying to make him understand the general sense, then drawing attention to the essential words and their roots in the grammatical forms."
Twelve years ago the superior of a monastery at Smyrna happened to come across the Life of the Virgin," and reading it with a certain incredulous interest, came upon a passage where the visionary described, with the most minute care, the house in which it had been revealed to her that the Virgin Mary dwelt, near Ephesus, during the last few months of her life. Struck by the accuracy of some of the details concerning the country, he made up his mind to seek for this spot, "some three leagues or three and a half leagues from Ephesus, situated on a mountain reached by a tortuous and narrow way, and from the top of which can be seen Ephesus on the one side, and the sea on the other." The priest and a friend started off on July 27, 1891. After a short journey they arrived at the foot of Bulbul Dag, the mountain clearly indicated by the visionary, and there, after a stiff climb, they found the building in question. The news was sent off to Rome, where, however, it was received with skepticism, greatly owing to the undoubted fact that St. Polycarp, who was Bishop of Ephesus about the year 200, made no mention in his letters to the then pope of the house in question. In Asia Minor the spot has become a great place of pilgrimage, and the writer of this interesting little paper evidently believes firmly