SPEAKING broadly, we may say that the world is always wrong, more or less, in its judgments of men --errs by excess or defect. Judgments are determined less by intellectual processes than by feelings; and feelings are swayed this way or that way largely by mere personal likes and dislikes, or by the desire to express authorized opinions--to be in the fashion. Hence a way of discounting opinions is desirable. Some guidance may be had by observing their oscillations, and noting the stages in their oscillations which at the time being they have reached.
Let me re-estate this thesis by setting out with the truth that all movement is rhythmical--that of opinion included. After going to one extreme a reaction in course of time carries it to the other extreme, and then comes eventually a re-action. This is clearly observable in the case of reputations. Time was when the authority of Aristotle was supreme and unquestioned. Then came Bacon and the reform in philosophy which he initiated: the result being that the reputation of Aristotle waned and the reputation of Bacon became great. In recent days the over-esti-