To study grand generalizations about government, before attending to such of its features as come most directly before us, is to run the risk of achieving a result like that attained by the New Hampshire school-boy, who had studied geology in a text-book, but was not aware that he had ever set eyes upon an igneous rock.
It sounds too rude a generalization to say that Simla is a wilderness; I hasten to add that it is a waste as highly cultivated as you like, producing many things more admirable than Ingersoll Armour.
Darwin saw certain generalizations as solvents, and behold!
Restate in concrete terms such generalizations as the following: Experience is the best teacher.
There is no need of multiplying instances to reach this generalization; every person and thing we look upon puts its special mark upon us.
But to consider the rules of morality as improvable, is one thing; to pass over the intermediate generalizations entirely, and endeavour to test each individual action directly by the first principle, is another.
So befuddled and chaotic were their minds that the utterance of a single word could negative the generalizations of a lifetime of serious research and thought.
Negative instances abound to modify this sweeping generalization; but there is a kind of genius, closely associated with intense irritability, which it is difficult to subject to the most reasonable yoke; and of this sort was Byron's.
A man sees a great many things when he looks at the world for himself, and he sees them from many sides; but this method of learning is not nearly so short or so quick as the method which employs abstract ideas and makes hasty generalizations about everything.
All knowledge is limited to the relative, and consists in increasing generalization: the apex of this pyramid is formed by philosophy.
He classifies the toys exhibited, and in so doing gives us delightful and valuable generalizations, some of which I will quote:-- "Chinese and Japanese toys innumerable, as was to have been expected.
But, whereas Luccia will talk gaily of revolution and even anarchy for the fun of it, and in the next breath talk hats with real seriousness, Irene still remains the purposeful revolutionary student she was as a girl; while Luccia contents herself with flashing generalizations, Irene seriously studies the latest developments of thought and society, reads all the new books, sees all the new plays and pictures, and has all the new movements of whatever kind--art, philosophy, and sociology--at her finger ends; and I may add that her favourite writer is Anatole France.
T.F. CONTENTS CHAPTER I MANTUA DIVES AVIS II SCHOOL AND WAR III THE CULEX IV THE CIRIS V A STUDENT OF PHILOSOPHY VI EPIGRAM AND EPIC VII EPICUREAN POLITICS VIII LAST DAYS AT THE GARDEN IX MATERIALISM IN THE SERVICE OF POETRY X RECUBANS SUB TEGMINE FAGI XI THE EVICTIONS XII POLLIO XIII THE CIRCLE OF MAECENAS XIV THE GEORGICS XV THE AENEID VERGIL I MANTUA DIVES AVIS Among biographical commonplaces one frequently finds the generalization that it is the provincial who acquires the perspective requisite for a true estimate of a nation, and that it is the country-boy reared in lonely communion with himself who attains the deepest knowledge of human nature.
Achille Loria has repeatedly expressed the generalization that slaves have been systematically overvalued wherever the institution has prevailed, and he has attempted to explain the phenomenon by reference to an economic law of his own formulation that capitalists always and everywhere exploit labor by devices peculiarly adapted to each regime in turn.
Science professes to have found everywhere as far as its experience has extended--in astronomy, geology, physiology, biology, psychology, ethics, sociology--a uniform process of change from the simple to the complex, from the indefinite and unstable to the stable and definite; and with this statement, so far as it can be verified, the positivist should rest content, seeking no theory, and drawing no generalization.
Common knowledge is un-unified knowledge; science is partially unified knowledge; philosophy, which combines the highest generalizations of the sciences into a supreme one, is completely unified knowledge.
But they all do tend to bring out the generalization expressed by Mr. Wallace in the formula, that "every species has come into existence coincident both in time and space with preexisting closely allied species."
It is but fair to apply an equally large generalization to tobacco.
In like manner, when the grand seigneurs and noble dames of that aristocratic age wept over the sorrows of the "New Heloise," or craved that imaginary state of untutored innocence which Rousseau so morbidly described, or admired those brilliant generalizations of laws which Montesquieu had penned, or laughed at the envenomed ironies of Voltaire, or quoted the atheistic doctrines of D'Alembert and Diderot, or enthusiastically discussed the economical theories of Dr. Quesnay and old Marquis Mirabeau,--that stern father of him who, both in his intellectual power and moral deformity, was alike the exponent and the product of the French Revolution,--when the blinded court extolled and diffused the writings of these new apostles of human rights, they little dreamed that they would be still more admired among the people, and bring forth the Brissots, the Condoreets, the Marats, the Dantons, the Robespierres, of the next generation.