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If all our young
be hoped that the state of things in that country will shortly allow of a local militia system there likewise.
Although the cry for security from invasion is now more loud and general than on any previous occasion, yet for so novel and comprehensive a system of national defence, as the foregoing suggestions involve, the country is not, I fear, prepared. The Swiss, we have seen, in calling upon the young men from twenty to thirty years of age to serve in their Auszug (those who would have first to bear the brunt of war), compute this call to amount to three per cent. of the entire population. men in the same period of life were to be enrolled and trained, it would provide us with a more powerful home force than weconsidering our first line of defence, the sea-should ever be likely to require. If we therefore deduct all who are physically and morally unfit to bear arms, the young men serving in the army, navy, volunteer corps, and active militia, and also those preparing for certain professions, and estimate the local militiamen at one per cent. of the population only, it would give for the United Kingdom (exclusive of Ireland) 240,000 young men for home defence. But on an emergency the men of thirty years of age and upwards, who had been well trained, could be again enrolled to act as a local militia reserve. All thoughtful military men, beginning with Scharnhorst, the creator of the Prussian system, have attached the greatest importance to numbers in modern warfare. The invasion of France by the Prussian and other German hosts has made this fact now patent to all. A certain spirit evoked, and a minimum of efficiency attained, quantity is more valuable than quality. But enthusiasm for the noblest and justest cause can accomplish little without training and organization. The days for tinkering and patchwork are past. We want a new and complete mechanism for home defence, and to free us from the degrading panics which, for the last quarter of a century, have periodically agitated the country.
Our upper classes may view my suggestions with distrust on account of their democratic colouring; whilst the working classes may consider them opposed to their freedom of action. Professor Beesly, in his late address to the workmen of London, has urged them not to consent to compulsory military service. But the dangers he eloquently paints apply only to a conscription for a standing army, or to a system of compulsory service, such as that of Prussia. There are no people on the continent of Europe who prize liberty so highly as do the republican Swiss. Their militia is never employed in aid of the civil force; and our legislature, in adopting a local militia system, could render such an employment of the force illegal. I have been present at a time of popular excitement in
Switzerland at public meetings, and have known militiamen to take part in them, and fearlessly oppose their government.
Having resided more than twenty-five years in Germany, I have observed the growth of an ambitious and aggressive spirit in that country. It has been fostered, mainly for dynastic and antiliberal purposes, by successive rulers in Prussia. Count Bismarck, more than any statesman, has well understood how to stimulate the pride and lower faculties in the mind of the German nation. We build upon a reaction, and hope for the progress of Liberalism when Germany shall have become thoroughly united. But the day for this reaction appears to those who best know the country to be far distant. History plainly shows that great military successes under monarchical leadership have invariably been followed by a period of military despotism for the triumphant nations. Besides, further projects of aggrandizement and enterprizes may prevent the German people from becoming sober, and check the influence of the calmer and nobler minds. German Liberals are too much imbued with a dialectical philosophy inimical to practical exertion. “Die Geschichte eilt nicht” (history is in no hurry), and “ Alles was ist, ist vernünftig” (Whatever is, is rational), are favourite axioms borrowed respectively from a great historian and one of their much-valued philosophers. As for the working classes, however sound at heart and little disposed to sympathise in the “Franzosen-fresserei ” mania (the crave to exterminate Frenchmen), which nownoxious opinions occasionally do in all countries—has spread like an epidemic in Germany, they have but little power for organization and the expression of their sentiments. The press of Germany is almost entirely in the power of the governments; well-organized and stern officialisin everywhere prevails. The mot d'ordre appears lately to have been given to stimulate to contempt and hostility towards England. From private sources I know that the military aristocratic caste in Prussia—the Junker—already assert “ the turn of England will come next."
Whatever changes Europe may ere long be destined to experience, as a people loving liberty and independence, and valuing the standpoint already reached, which enables. us to carry out schemes of social
progress, it behoves us to be prepared for the bare possibility of foreign aggression. Moreover, the predominance of Germany on the continent of Europe, based as it now is on physical force, is fraught with danger to the small and still-independent States, to those individualities, so valuable as regards variety and culture. Unless we should soon become an armed nation, like the Swiss, there will be no possibility of our aiding the oppressed and upholding public law, our moral influence will still further decline, and the day may possibly come when our cherished liberty will be in question.
R. R. NOEL.
problems of existence, it seems to me that a subject more suitable for an introductory lecture for the present Session cannot be found than that now announced. Very general interest attaches to the marvellous advance of the physical sciences. Without doubt, this interest has been considerably quickened by curiosity as to the ultimate bearing of those sciences upon other departments of observation and thought, which have long held an honoured place in the circle of human knowledge. Such questions as these must often arise. What influence will the new have upon the old ? Will they simply conquer new territory, over which our race may levy additional contributions, as the overflowing population of the Old World has spread itself over a western hemisphere, and redeemed from the forest new fields of production ? Or will the new sciences encroach on the territory of the old, and by the strong hand of conquest take from them some part of their ancient possessions, or even enter into occupancy of the whole region ? Such questions as these have often risen to the minds of those who are observant of the progress of science.
It must be confessed that a considerable degree of uncertainty has hung as a cloud over the movements which were ultimately to
* An Introductory Lecture to Students of Moral Philosophy in the University of Ediuburgh.
determine the new boundaries. To many it seemed doubtful whether the old could hold their ground. In the midst of this haze of uncertainty an interest sprung up not altogether scientific in its character, but more akin to that which is felt in witnessing a gladiatorial combat.
That Mental Philosophy was in danger of losing its historic place, there were many voices to proclaim, and these voices have not always been sorrowful in their tone. Those who were never able to understand “ Metaphysics,” have had an admirable opportunity for expressing their dislike of the very name. To them Mental Philosophy was a region of sand, which the rising tide was gradually carrying away. To its admiring adherents, the truth seemed exactly the reverse. With them, Mental Philosophy was a rock in the midst of the shifting waters. Very properly in such cases as that now described, the testimony of neither party receives immediate accept
Both are held to be interested witnesses, and it is thought not improbable that both may be found over confident. Events must interpret themselves. Let us wait, and the end will declare.
Such waiting, however, seems for the time to throw a shade of doubt over the science whose place may be vitally affected by current investigations. For the time, it may be open to doubt whether the so-called science is what it has long professed to be, and whether its teachers are deserving of any better fate than the reprobation which ultimately came upon the Sophists. Such a season of doubt will be quietly and patiently passed through by those who have confidence in the scientific validity of their position, and who feel that they have nothing to fear from protracted scrutiny, and no reason to grudge the task of defending their own boundaries.
As to the apparent position of Mental Philosophy in view of the general advance of physical science, it must be allowed that it has not always been regarded as promising for its friends. The progress of Biology and Physiology has seemed adverse to the high claims of mind. The theory which makes all life spring originally from single germs; the theory of development of species; the minuter investigations into the functions of nerve and brain ; all these seemed to point towards results which might throw discredit on all our old readings of consciousness. No doubt, all this was only a peradventure, favoured by the doubtful appearance of half-finished work. Still it proved enough to awaken confidence as to the future of science, and greatly to encourage ardent spirits, having a gift of prophecy, and eager for the downfall of “Metaphysics.” Philosophy had passed the zenith, and was appointed to an early setting. Not only was the event held to be certain, but the explanation even of the sad decline was accurately ascertained. This was the insufficiency
and delusiveness of the old method, in contrast with the new method which Physiology had provided. Thus it happened that an ardent admirer of the new method, criticising the exceedingly able lecture of Dr. Hutcheson Stirling on Protoplasm, thought it well to give solemn warning to all Transcendentalists that the time was at hand when they must set their house in order. Dr. H. Charlton Bastian* having first given explicit assurance of his own firm belief that it would soon be the accepted dictum of science that all vital action can be explained by the forces of protoplasm, proceeds to write the following warning to all who were old-fashioned enough to believe in the existence of mind, as distinct from matter. Let them learn in the meantime how they may best readjust their doctrines, so that when the time comes in which such change shall be absolutely necessary—if their views are to be in accordance with the established truths of science—there may be no sudden bewilderment, no feeling as if the very ground were being swept from underneath their feet.”
To these things I briefly refer at the outset, with the view of affording some definite conception of the antagonism between Science and Philosophy, generally supposed to be imminent. And this I desire you to have that you may more clearly apprehend how changed is the appearance now, giving promise that in the end there will be close and friendly relations. The change seems so marked, that I am not aware of any prominent feature of scientific inquiry at present more deserving of study from those who are devoted to Mental Philosophy. Let me endeavour, as far as possible within the brief time at my command, to set before you some of the evidence on which my assertion is based.
Scientific investigation as to organised existence encounters two great perplexities: the one is Life; the other, Consciousness. At the lower limits of organized being, the outstanding mystery is this, What is Life ? At the other end of the scale, when we reach the highest form of life known to us, the crowning mystery is this, What is Consciousness ? What is muscle?-or nerve ?-or brain ? These are simple questions beside this, What is Consciousness? If then these two, Life and Consciousness, are the grand perplexities of Science, they meet in our own nature. Man is to himself the greatest perplexity. The whole dispute as to matter and mind may be restricted to the limits of our own being. Avoiding thus any attempt to embrace the whole area of existence, the two grand perplexities of science are brought together in a single problem, To account for Life, so as to explain Consciousness. In dealing with this problem, Science has been struggling after unity. It has directed all its effort on the search for some single force, which would afford adequate
* “Nature, vol. i. p. 426.