Charles Sanders Peirce: Contributions to "The Nation" - Vol. 3

By Kenneth Laine Ketner; James Edward Cook | Go to book overview

1902

74 (23 January 1902) 78-79

History of Intellectual Development on the Lines of Modern Evolution.

By John Beattie Crozier. Vol. III. Longmans, Green & Co. 1901.

CSP, identification: Haskell, Index to The Nation. See also: Burks, Bibliography; List of
Articles
; MSS L 159.181-182.

When we bade a hopeful revoir to Mr. Crozier's History at the end of its first volume, Christianity was just thoroughly established; but, the second-projected volume having been skipped, we are now surprised with a third, devoted, half to the nineteenth century and half to the twentieth. We are very sorry that failing eyesight was the cause of this change of plan as we suppose it also was of there being no history, but only disquisition, in the third volume. But we are heartily glad to meet Mr. Crozier again on any terms, for he always has something to say which were well worth reading, even if it were not set forth in a style which would make almost any matter pleasurable—a style which this iron age is not all accustomed to. What he now gives is the application of what we should have learned in the second volume to the politics of England, France, and America of to-day. He lays down four "rules of practical statesmanship" as the lessons which we should have learned from the unwritten volume, and then proceeds to apply them modestly, as mere exemplifications of their meanings, to the condition of the three countries named. The rules are as follows: First, consider the genius of your nation. Don't try to make a lap-dog of a horse; but limit yourself to such excellences as your stock can vitally assimilate. Second, make for the ideal in a steady march; but do not leap to it. Third, break down any barriers which may prevent one caste from being recruited from another. Fourth, restrict your aim to improving the material and social condition of your country; and do not attempt to change the character of your people.

When he comes to deal with the United States, Mr. Crozier finds the government so perfect that no room is left for other than minor suggestions:

"For," says he, "if we consider it, there is no one of the great objects for which government exists that has not for the last hundred years been abundantly provided for and safeguarded by the Federal Constitution—life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness, security of person and property, freedom of religious opinion and worship, and, above all, an open arena, with equal rights, equal opportunities, and equal access to positions of honor and trust for all—and that, too, in a degree unknown elsewhere in the world, with the exception, perhaps, of certain colonies still attached to the British crown."

Of course, it is our duty to be amused at every remark that a foreigner may make upon our politics; and we are a little amused at Mr. Crozier's imagining that the Federal Senate is much freer from evil influences than the House. The best of his hints is, that a great part of the business of House committees, being of the nature of inquiry into facts, ought to be conducted somewhat according

-60-

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