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nation of the West and the spiritual por of the several European peoples are to be associated together and placed under a common direction or “ souveraineté spirituelle.”
A system of “ Catholicism minus Christianity” was therefore completely organized in Comte's mind, four years before the first volume of the “ Philosophie Positive” was written; and, naturally, the papal spirit shows itself in that work, not only in the ways I have already mentioned, but, notably, in the attack on liberty of conscience which breaks out in the fourth volume :
“Il n'y a point de liberté de conscience en astronomie, en physique, en chimie, en physiologie même, en ce sens que chacun trouverait absurde de ne pas croire de confiance aux principes établis dans les sciences par les hommes compétents.”
“Nothing in ultramontane Catholicism” can, in my judgment, be more completely sacerdotal, more entirely anti-scientific, than this dictum. All the great steps in the advancement of science have been made by just those men who have not hesitated to doubt the “principles established in the sciences by competent persons ; and the great teaching of science—the great use of it as an instrument of mental discipline—is its constant inculcation of the maxim, that the sole ground on which any statement has a right to be believed is the impossibility of refuting it.
Thus, without travelling beyond the limits of the “Philosophie Positive,” we find its author contemplating the establishment of a system of society, in which an organized spiritual power shall over-ride and direct the temporal power, as completely as the Innocents and Gregorys tried to govern Europe in the middle ages ; and repudiating the exercise of liberty of conscience against the “hommes compétents," of whom, by the assumption, the new priesthood would be composed.
Was Mr. Congreve as forgetful of this, as he seems to have been of some other parts of the “ Philosophie Positive,” when he wrote, that “in any limited, careful use of the term, no candid man could say that the Positive Philosophy contained a great deal as thoroughly antagonistic to [the very essence of'] science as Catholicism”?
M. Comte, it will have been observed, desires to retain the whole of Catholic organization; and the logical practical result of this part of his doctrine would be the establishment of something corresponding with that eminently Catholic, but admittedly anti-scientific, institution—the Holy Office.
I hope I have said enough to show that I wrote the few lines I devoted to M. Comte and his philosophy, neither unguardedly, nor ignorantly, still less maliciously. I shall be sorry if what I have now added, in my own justification, should lead any to suppose that I think M. Comte's works worthless ; or that I do not heartily respect, and sympathise with, those who have been impelled by him to think deeply upon social problems, and to strive nobly for social regeneration. It is the virtue of that impulse, I believe, which will save the name and fame of Auguste Comte from oblivion. As for his philosophy, I part with it by quoting his own words, reported to me by a quondam Comtist,
1 Mr. Congreve leaves out these important words, which show that I refer to the spirit, and not to the details of science.
now an eminent member of the Institute of France, M. Charles Robin :
“La Philosophie est une tentative incessante de l'esprit humain pour arriver au repos : mais elle se trouve incessamment aussi dérangée par les progrès continus de la science. De là vient pour le philosophe l'obligation de refaire chaque soir la synthèse de ses conceptions ; et un jour viendra où l'homme raisonnable ne fera plus d'autre prière du soir."
ON A PIECE OF CHALK.
A LECTURE TO WORKING MEN.
If a well were to be sunk at our feet in the midst of the city of Norwich, the diggers would very soon find themselves at work in that white substance almost too soft to be called rock, with which we are all familiar as “chalk.”
Not only here, but over the whole county of Norfolk, the well-sinker might carry his shaft down many
hundred feet without coming to the end of the chalk; and, on the sea-coast, where the waves have pared away the face of the land which breasts them, the scarped faces of the high cliffs are often wholly formed of the same material. Northward, the chalk may be followed as far as Yorkshire ; on the south coast it appears abruptly in the picturesque western bays of Dorset, and breaks into the Needles of the Isle of Wight; while on the shores of Kent it supplies that long line of white cliffs to which England owes her name of Albion.
Were the thin soil which covers it all washed away, a curved band of white chalk, here broader, and there narrower, might be followed diagonally across England from Lulworth in Dorset, to Flamborough Head, in Yorkshire-a distance of over 280 miles as the crow flies.
From this band to the North Sea, on the east, and the Channel, on the south, the chalk is largely hidden by other deposits ; but, except in the Weald of Kent and Sussex, it enters into the very foundation of all the south-eastern counties.
Attaining, as it does in some places, a thickness of more than a thousand feet, the English chalk must be admitted to be a mass of considerable magnitude. Nevertheless, it covers but an insignificant portion of the whole area occupied by the chalk formation of the globe, which has precisely the same general characters as ours, and is found in detached patches, some less, and others more extensive, than the English.
Chalk occurs in north-west Ireland ; it stretches over a large part of France,—the chalk which underlies Paris being, in fact, a continuation of that of the London basin ; it runs through Denmark and Central Europe, and extends southward to North Africa ; while, eastward, it appears in the Crimea and in Syria, and
be traced as far as the shores of the Sea of Aral, in Central Asia.
If all the points at which true chalk occurs were circumscribed, they would lie within an irregular oval about 3,000 miles in long diameter—the area of which would be as great as that of Europe, and would many times exceed that of the largest existing inland seathe Mediterranean.
Thus the chalk is no unimportant element in the masonry of the earth’s crust, and it impresses a peculiar