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and hence, he says, the profound truth of Cullen's paradox, that there are more false facts than false theories current. “People talk of facts' as if facts were to produce irresistible convictions ; whereas facts are susceptible of very various explanations, and, in the history of science, we find the facts constant, but the theories changing." "The "facts” of cranioscopy, as insisted upon by phrenologists, are acceptable enough when presented purely as empirical facts ; but they are to be treated “ we treat all other empirical facts, namely, hold them as mere sign-posts, until they be proved universal, and until they be bound together by some ascertained law."* Until then, they are not science, be they yet the stubbornest of stubborn things.

It is said to be one of the pretensions of the Cuvier school to restrict science to “ facts”-des faits positifs—as if relations were not facts in the true sense, as if laws were not the materials of science.f Those who conceive Science to consist in a simple accumulation of observed Facts, have only, observes Auguste Comte, to consider Astronomy with some attention to feel how narrow and superficial is their notion.

“ In it the facts are so simple and of so little interest, that one cannot possibly fail to observe that only the connexion of them, and the exact knowledge of their laws, constitute the science."Though almost a truism, how farcomplains one of Comte's expositors—is it from an accepted truth, that Science is Science not in virtue of facts, but in virtue of ideas giving to facts their signification.g

For there are minds, “not necessarily, however, of the Gradgrind order, whose constant endeavour is to rest in fact, who believe that facts are the pearls, theory the string which holds them together without having any value of its own.”|| And yet in many minds the aggregated facts are lumped, not fused, together much as in Fontenelle's description of Malebranche and his early studies in ecclesiastical history : “ Mais les faits ne se liaient point dans sa tête les uns aux autres ; ils ne faisaient que s'effacer mutuellement.”T Animadverting on the contempt for the lessons of the past, so ostentatiously affected by certain exclusives of the present, Michelet oracularly observes, that whoever neglects, forgets, and despises, will be punished by the spirit of confusion; that far from descrying the future, he will be blind as regards the present, in which he will only see a fact, without a causer. A fact, and nothing to make that fact! What more calculated to confound the senses? .... The fact will appear to him without reason, or law of existence."** When M. Guizot commenced his lectures on Civilisation in Europe, he remarked that for some time past there had been much talk of the necessity of limiting history to the narration of facts. Nothing could be more just, he said ; but he would have it remembered that there are far more facts to narrate, and that the facts themselves are far more various in their nature, than people are at first disposed to believe : there are

See the library edition (1857) of Lewes's Biographical History of Philosophy; Preface, p. xx., and pp. 219, 634 sq.

† Life and Doctrine of Geoffroy St. Hilaire, Westm. Rev., N. S., ix. 171. I Comte's Philosophy of the Sciences, p. 81.

Westminster Review, N. S., vol. v. p. 177. || Ibid., vol. vi. p. 575.

Quoted and applied by Ste. Beuve in his essay on Froissart, pt. ii. 1853. ** Michelet, Histoire de France, l. vii. ch i


material, visible facts, such as wars, battles, the official acts of governments; there are moral facts, none the less real that they do not appear on the surface ; there are individual facts which have denominations of their own; and there are general facts, without any particular designation, which it is impossible to bring within strict limits, but which are yet no less facts than the rest, historical facts, facts which we cannot exclude from history without mutilating history.* Moral facts, he elsewhere observes, are not less real than others : man has not invented them: they are, on the one hand, more extended and more exact, and, on the other, more profoundly concealed, than physical facts ; being at once more complex in their development, and more simple in their origin. “When we go back to the cradle of societies, we everywhere encounter moral facts, which, under the cloak of religion or of poetry, attracted the attention and excited the thought of men.”+ M. Guizot would readily “ endorse,” in his fine Roman hand, the avowal of M. de Sacy :

“ Encore n'ai-je pas grand goût pour les hommes pratiques qui méprisent le côté philosophique et idéal des choses. Mais l'écrivain, mais l'observateur, mais le philosophe qui se contente de me dire sèchement: Voilà le fait! me refroidit et m'attriste." I Applicable to this subject is what Mr. de Quincey says on the distinction between what he calls the literature of knowledge and the literature of power. Men have so little reflected, he says, on the higher functions of literature, as to find it a paradox if one should describe it as a mean or subordinate purpose of books to give information,—though a paradox, this is only in the sense which makes it honourable to be paradoxical. “What do you learn from Paradise Lost? Nothing at all. What do you learn from a cookery-book? Something new, something that you did not know before, in every paragraph. But would you therefore put the wretched cookery-book on a higher level of estimation than the divine poem?" Leigh Hunt contends that if the poet, as such, may be allowed to pique himself on any one thing more than another, compared with those who undervalue him, and who think themselves called upon to vindicate the superiority of “ useful knowledge,” it is on that power of undervaluing nobody, and no attainments different from his own, which is given him by the very faculty of imagination they despise. “No man recognises the worth of utility more than the poet : he only desires that the meaning of the term may not come short of its greatness, and exclude the noblest necessities of his fellow-creatures." || Professor Kingsley remonstrates with “men of business" on their disposition to sneer at imagination, and to ask what is the use of it. He tells them that in practice, in action, in business, imagination is a most useful faculty, and is so much mental capital, whensoever it is properly trained. And he bids them consider but this one thing, that without imagination no one can possibly invent even the pettiest object; that it is the one particular faculty which

* Guizot, History of Civilisation in Europe, i. 4.

Civilisation in France, lect. iv.
Variétés Littéraires, Morales et Historiques, par M. S. de Sacy, t. ii. p. 113.

De Quincey's critical essay on Pope, contributed to the North British Review, vol. ix. p. 302.

|| See Leigh Hunt's treatise on Imagination and Fancy, pp. 68 sq.

essentially raises man above the brutes, by enabling him to create for himself ; that the first savage who ever made a hatchet must have imagined the hatchet to himself ere he began to make it ; and, in short, that every new article of commerce, every new opening for trade, must be arrived at by acts of imagination.*

Emphatic is the Alas! uttered by Coleridge over those who have never known how great a thing the possession of any one simple truth is, and how mean a thing a mere fact is, except as seen in the light of some comprehensive truth.

“Oh, don't tell me of facts,” exclaimed Sydney Smith, “I never believe facts: you know, Canning said nothing was so fallacious as facts, except figures."! As to facts being stubborn things—que voulez-vous ? Tant pis pour les faits.

It was because Charles Lamb, we are told, knew how many false conclusions and pretensions are made by men who profess to be guided by facts only, as if facts could not be misconceived, or figments taken for them, that, one day, when somebody was speaking of a person who valued himself on being a matter-of-fact man, “ Now,” said he, “ I value myself on being a matter-of-lie man.

an.”'S Moore, on the other hand, had a fancy for being taken for a matter-of-fact man. When Deville, the phrenologist, first examined his head, without the least idea who the examinee was, he professed to have found in it a great love of fact, which Rogers laughed at, saying, “He has discovered Moore to be a matter-of-fact man !” Moore insists, however, in his Diary, that Deville was quite right in his guess : “I never was a reader of fiction; and my own chief work of fiction|| is founded on a long and laborious collection of facts. ... Hence arises that matter-of-fact adherence to Orientalism for which Sir Gore Ouseley, Colonel Wilks, Carne, and others, have given me credit."

The quaint author of the Letters to Eusebius avows to that imaginary correspondent that he has no patience to hear the perpetual cant of educationists, that knowledge is everything —"this perpetual cramming fact upon fact, and nothing but fact, into the brain of man, woman, and child --fact good and fact bad, without discrimination, so that it be fact, and too often surmises and fallacies mistaken for fact.” So, again, Hartley Coleridge complained that everything now-a-days must be done by the press, or the steam-engine, and all by wholesale ; and feared that ere long the cradle would be banished from the fireside, like the spinning-wheel ; and the rising generation be consigned from their birth to national establishments. Piteously and pungently withal he protested against the “ unquiet innovations of your all-in-all educationists, who would make your little ones read before they can well speak, spoiling their dear lisp with abominable words ; which, poor things, they pronounce so well, it


* Kingsley on the Study of Natural History.
† The Friend, Essays by S. T. Coleridge, vol. ii. p. 228.

Memoir of the Rev. Sydney Smith, i. 374.
Autobiography of Leigh Hunt, ch. xvi.
Lalla Rookh.

Diary of Thomas Moore, April 7, 1859.
** Essays by the Rev. John Eagles, p. 415.

is heart-breaking to hear them ; cramming them with the theory of animal mechanics, when they should be feeling their life in every limb,"'* &c. &c.

The house of Smallweed, in one of Mr. Dickens's later fictions, is depicted as one that in its slow growth, " always early to go out and late to marry," had for generations been strengthening itself in its practical character, discarding all amusements, discountenancing all story books, fairy tales, fictions, and fables, and banishing all levities whatsoever. “ Hence the gratifying fact that it has had no child born to it, and that the complete little men and women whom it has produced have been observed to bear a likeness to old monkeys with something depressing on their minds.”'t

Elia had his fling—and he kicked out with a will—at the modern schoolmaster and his superficial omniscience ; but especially at his being expected to seize every occasion-even a passing cloud, a rainbow, a waggon of hay—to inculcate something useful. “ He can receive no pleasure from a casual glimpse of Nature, but must catch at it as an object of instruction. He cannot relish a beggar-man, or a gipsy, for thinking of the suitable improvement. Nothing comes to him, not spoiled by the sophisticating medium of moral uses.”I A living American essayist, who comes the nearest of his countrymen to Elia in subtle insight and genial humour, omits no legitimate occasion for girding at your men of facts. In conversation, for instance, the men of facts, he says, wait their turn in grim silence, with that slight tension about the nostrils which the consciousness of carrying a “settler” in the form of a fact or a revolver gives to the authority thus rmed

“ Facts always yield the place of honour, in conversation, to thoughts about facts; but if a false note is uttered, down comes the finger on the key, and the man of facts asserts his true dignity. I have known three of these men of facts, at least, who were formidable—and one of them was tyrannical.”'s Absolute peremptory facts, the same author says in another page, are bullies, and those who keep

company with them are apt to get a bullying habit of mind. Again: “If I had not force enough to project a principle full in the face of the half-dozep most obvious facts which seem to contradict it, I would think only in single file from this day forward."|| All generous minds, according to Dr. Holmes, have a horror of what are commonly called "facts." These he styles the brute beasts of the intellectual domain. Who, he asks, does not know fellows that always have an ill-conditioned fact or two which they lead after them into decent company like so many bull-dogs, ready to let them slip at every ingenious suggestion, or convenient generalisation, or pleasant fancy?' “I allow no • facts’ at this table,” is the peremptory ukase, or veto, of the Autocrat of the Breakfast-table.

* Hartley Coleridge, A Nursery Lecture by an Old Bachelor. † Bleak House, ch. xxi. İ Essays of Elia: The Old and the New Schoolmaster. Ś Dr. Oliver Wendell Holmes: The Autocrat of the Breakfast-table, p. 164. Id. ibid., pp. 62, 63.

| Id. ibid., p. 5.




Take Time by the forelock, the fellow

To some is relentless and sour, But yet is sufficiently mellow,

To those who are true to the hour.
Indeed, there is nothing can vex him

So much as a hint at delay,
So do not attempt to perplex him,

By retarding a minute or day.
Take Time by the forelock, if ever

You wish to improve your condition,
To be witty, or wealthy, or clever,

And rise to an envied position !
He will help you, if, ruled by the dial,

You are prompt and exact in your notions, And save you from many a trial

The careless obtain for their potions ! Take Time by the forelock, and knowing

Each turn of the glass for the best, Let the sands as they fall be bestowing

An unction that gives the heart rest: Some deed that is worthy the action,

Some thought that ennobles the deed, Some virtue that gives satisfaction,

That Time will not change nor impede. Take Time by the forelock, and measure

Your words and your actions precise ; Give to those who may want of your treasure,

And count not the total or price. For Time, though on swift wings careering,

Spares neither the young nor the old, Yet lingers with presence endearing

With those who are precious as gold.
Take Time by the forelock, and study

To profit by days yet in store;
Never meddle with waves that are muddy,

That break on a Sybarite shore!
But calmly on conscience reclining,

Though clouds on your pathway be cast, When the sun of your life is declining,

Old Time will be suceet to the last!

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