is shown to a Mahonietan, may he urge that his “needs and aspirations” cannot be otherwise satisfied, and that, therefore, his faith must be true?' It is surely most evident that he ‘may urge' this, and loudly affirm such to be the case, unless there is something else unimaginably better for him in their place. Very different symbols may be required to bring home the same hidden truth, with practical effect, to very different minds, under widely different circumstances; and the symbol of a 'Heaven of houris' may beneficially attract some men, as that of a Hell of Hallelujah Lasses' would be a valuable deterrent to others.

But Mr. Spencer's notion that ideas are more valuable according as they are replete with sensuous images---can be more fully visualised by the mind-has some curious results in the domain of theology. He sets before us a brief sketch of the rise of more and more abstract conceptions of God, till we come to that of Christian philosophy. But the fact that they thus become less and less concrete, instead of giving them an increase of dignity in his eyes, causes him (quite consistently with his whole system) to regard them as more and more empty and valueless. He declares that such a change has been one · from the distinct, through the more and more vague, to the imperceptible.' According to this view, the highest deity must be not Zeus nor Athene, nor even Aphrodite, but Priapus.

As to modern religion, he affirms 40 that, in our days, “theophany is nonsense.' This, at any rate, is not the view of another eminent supporter of naturalism-Professor Haeckel. Like a Neo-Platonist of Alexandria, he has attained, while yet living, to a direct and immediate vision of the Deity, manifested, however, in a somewhat peculiar shrine, namely, under the bell-glass of an air-pump! The light therein visible, he declares,41 is the vibrating ether,' which ether is nothing less than 'God the creator always in motion.'

Of course Mr. Spencer deals out some sneers at Christianity and at the imperfections of Christian conduct. No one is more sensible than we are how very much worse a man may be than his creed; but the creed in question Mr. Spencer, as we before observed, has never taken the trouble to understand, and it would seem, from what he has last written, that he knows nothing of the distinction between 'counsels' and 'precepts. Yet there are, after all, not a few Christians who do fulfil the counsels, but we have not met with many such amongst the devotees of naturalism. We should be grateful to Mr. Spencer if he would point out to us amongst the members of his own ' persuasion ’ those who emulate St. Francis of Assisi in love for the poor and suffering, or St. Vincent of Paul in personal devotion to helpless infancy, or St. Francis Xavier in laborious zeal for the propagation of truth,' or Father Damien in a life's self-sacrifice for lepers. It is one thing to talk of altruism, to grimace and posture, and quite another to follow the example of men like those who have been just mentioned. Some ‘oral continence' as to the faults of Christians would not sit ungracefully on men who, whatever their repute as professors, are not much known as performers of heroic acts of self-denial.

39 P. 872-73.

4P. 872.

41 See his Monism, p. 24.

Rational practice is founded on rational belief, and intellect can never be the outcome of a cause which is entirely devoid thereof. Mr. Balfour has asserted 42 that reason compels us to believe that the world has been created and is sustained by God, though the mode of His operation is unimaginable to us, as is the constitution of matter and the emergence of sensation from nervous change.

But Mr. Spencer entirely objects to this ignorance of processes, and declares that on such terms we ought also to be ignorant of the most fundamental facts.

If we are obliged to assume,' he declares,43

the cause [of the universe] to be'a rational Author,' since otherwise our knowledge of the ordered system of phenomena is inexplicable,' why must we not assume a certain mode of action by which · He creates' and sustains' the ordered system of phenomena,' since otherwise the creation and sustentation of it are inexplicable ? To me [Mr. Spencer) it seems an indefensible belief that while for one part of the mystery of things we must assign an explanation, all other parts may be left without explanation. If the constitution of matter defies all attempts to understand it, if it is impossible to understand in what way feeling is connected with nervous change, if, whenever we analyse our knowledge to the bottom, we come to unanalysable components which elude our grasp, what ground is there for the belief that of one part of the mystery, and that the deepest part, we must, and can, reach an explanation ?

Here Mr. Spencer seems entirely to forget the old adage : · Ignorantia modi non tollit certitudinem facti. It does not follow that we cannot know that a thing is done because we know not how it is done.

Exalted as are the matters about which Mr. Spencer discourses in the above-quoted passage, his mistake as to principles is so glaring that it is perhaps best illustrated by the very simplest facts.

That our morning's milk and hot rolls have their due place on our breakfast-table, and that they owe their origin respectively to a baker and a dairy, are facts the certainty of which are in no way impaired by ignorance of the mode in which they came the route they followed in transitu.

Mr. Balfour has said “4 much that is instructive about bonnets. Let us, in turn, consider the ancient crinoline' or the more modern dress-improver.' Does ignorance as to the constitution of its matter,' or the fact that its fabric may “elude our grasp,'

or com

* P.:02.

43 P. $65.

41 Pr. 50, 51.

in the least even tend to make it impossible for us to reach an explanation of one part of the mystery, and that the deepest ’?

Mr. Spencer seeks to shake himself free of the charge of being opposed to religion because he affirms 45 that out of the depths of unfathomable mystery there may ...

emerge the certitudes of religion. But those familiar, as we are, with Mr. Spencer's system will understand what tható may’is worth. We are reminded by it of the proverb which declares there may be such things as volant, nonruminating artiodactyles, but at the same time declares them to be very unlikely birds.

He also draws a contrast between the claims of science and religion, declaring 46 that when reason · has to choose between them it pelled to accept the authority of science rather than that of religion.'

But here we would enter a caveat. We are not likely to be accused of lukewarmness in the cause of science, and we have in the pages of this Review asserted its claims in no faltering terms. But physical science is one thing, and Mr. Spencer's science—the cause of naturalism-is quite another. The truths which underlie all physical science (and which Mr. Spencer rejects) also underlie all religion. Between, then, “religion’thus accompanied and science'in the guise of naturalism, there cannot be a moment's hesitation for anyone who understands the alternatives. The scientific progress he has depicted 47 has been all along guided by such a groundwork, without which it could never have advanced a single step, and thus it is unquestionable that all scientific progress is due to the prolegomena of religion.

Most true is the assertion 48 of Mr. Balfour that 'science preceded naturalism, and will survive it'-survive the downfall of .so poor a creed.' Its asserted connection with science is a delusion, though that delusion may for some time continue to be a fashion of the day, men being so truly like les moutons de Panurge. Naturalism derives a deceptive glamour from our acceptance of scientific truths, which it has the presumption to countersign,49 claiming credit ' for labours it has not endured and victories it has not won.' But, as we have already said, the case is much stronger still, for were the doctrines of Mr. Spencer really accepted and believed, they must sap the foundations of physical science, which they make logically impossible, while they directly tend to banish from existence all that gives value to effort or dignity to human life.


47 P. 367.

45 P. 870.
48 P. 131.

46 P. 869.
49 Balfour, p. 135.


The report of the Committee on Prisons may be considered from two points of view: as to the facts which have been brought out by its investigations, or as to the recommendations it makes for changes in what exists or additions to our system and practice. One may dissent from any of the recommendations, or find that they are impracticable or not supported by the facts, but the latter must at any rate be of value in any discussion of the subject, providing always that they are in accordance with reliable evidence.

The instrument appointing the Committee is somewhat remarkable when considered in connection with the actual report. It was to ' enquire concerning' six subjects connected with prisons and prisoners, to which two were subsequently added. These were:

(a) The accommodation provided for prisoners, with special reference in the case of local prisons to the working of section 17, subsection (1), and Schedule I., Regulation 26, of the Prison Act, 1865.

(6) Juvenile and first offenders; and to what extent they should be treated as classes apart.

(c) Prison labour and occupation; with special reference to the moral and physical condition of the prisoners.

(d) The regulations governing visits to and communications with prisoners.

(e) The regulations governing prison offences.

(f) The arrangements by which the appointment of a deputy governor is limited to prisons with more than 700 prisoners; and a warder in charge acts as governor in prisons with not more than 100 prisoners.

To the above heads were subsequently added :
(9) The prison treatment of habitual criminals.
(h) The classification of prisoners generally.

In only two, viz. the second and third, was any suggestion made of the object of the enquiries or the necessity for them, and on what points the opinion of the Committee was required.

The Committee, however, supplemented their reference by widening the subjects of enquiry so as to make it a court to try what they term a'sweeping indictment' against the principles of prison treatment prescribed by the Prison Acts, and the whole of the prison administration,' though the Home Secretary, on announcing the Committee in the House of Commons, particularly pointed out that the administration was not included as a subject of enquiry. And, indeed, the Committee at the outset quite justify this attitude on the part of the Secretary of State, for they expressly attribute to the administration 'a large measure of success,' 'credit for great and progressive improvement’in point of organisation, discipline, order, and economy, “a striking administrative success,' and that · much attention has been given to organisation, finance, order, and health of prisoners.' In another part of the report they refer to the success of the Commissioners in reducing prison punishments.

The Committee looked on as judge and jury to try the indictment, and the Prison Acts and the administration, considered as the subjects of the indictment, were at a great disadvantage. The Committee, starting without any knowledge of the subject, had to pick up their information in a miscellaneous sort of way, with no help to correct erroneous impressions, no knowledge of the importance to be attached to each witness's evidence, or any part of it, and no knowledge by which to test the evidence by cross-examination. The result would have been more satisfactory if the Acts and the administration, considered as on their trial, had been represented during the enquiry by some person who could put their case as against the indictment, crossexamine the witnesses, and bring out facts which might not otherwise, and in fact have not, come before the Committee, or which might materially modify their opinion of part of the evidence. My impression is that if the Committee had had such assistance they would have been saved from making some recommendations which must turn out impracticable.

With a view to a full and proper consideration of the subject it is necessary to supplement the report by giving some general idea of the prisons which have to be dealt with, as regards their position and distribution, their size and population, and the functions they fulfil, so as to give a full view of the circumstances to which the recommendations have to be adapted. There are fifty-seven local prisons in all, and as a broad general statement it may be said that there is one prison to each county, and that they are from twenty to thirty miles apart. Exceptions to this are to be found where the population is so dense as to require more than one, as in London and Lancashire; where the counties are divided, and the former prison authority had provided one for each division, as in Yorkshire, Kent, Glamorgan, &c.; or where the county is so small or its population so thin that its prisoners can be accommodated in some adjoining county, as in Rutland, Huntingdon, and several Welsh counties.

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