The Unity of Civilization eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 343 pages of information about The Unity of Civilization.
nestling on the shores of the Atlantic.  Politically they have always refused to acquiesce in the establishment of any common authority over them, whether it comes from outside or even from among themselves, and so also they always repudiate the ascendancy of any single or partial intellectual doctrine.  Each party and each nation adds its own contribution; all have a common origin, and all spring from the same root.  Since the bonds have been relaxed and the dominion of the Universal Church overthrown, we see nothing from the rivalry of political systems and passing schemes of thought; they chase each other like the storms which arise from the Atlantic and pass in quick succession over our shores.  It is this change and succession which is to us the breath of our life:  we know nothing of the steady static weather of the great continents, where rain and drought have each their measured and settled space:  and we know nothing, and will know nothing, of the formal and authoritative rule combining all Europe into one realm, whether political or intellectual.  For we know that unity and permanence does not belong to this life, and our nearest approach to truth is to be found not in a settled system but in the thousandfold interactions of half-truths and partial systems.

    Life like a dome of many-coloured glass
    Stains the white radiance of eternity
    Until death shatters it to fragments.

A unity there is, but it is the unity of the countless and varied flowers that carpet the meadows in spring, the unity of the common spirit of life which animates them all.


Leach, The Schools of Medieval England.  Methuen.

Mullinger, J. Bass, The Schools of Charles the Great.

Paulsen, Geschichte des gelehrten Unterrichts.

Rashdall, Universities in the Middle Ages.  Clarendon Press.

Foster Watson, Grammar Schools.  Cambridge University Press

Woodward, Erasmus.  Cambridge University Press.



Commerce and finance are departments of life in which mankind approaches nearer to unity than in any other.  They are practical expressions of the instinct of self-preservation which is the first law of nature.  They spring straight from the acquisitiveness which is a universal characteristic of human nature and indeed of animal and vegetable nature.  Every living thing wants to acquire food.  Adam Smith indeed restricts the trading instinct to mankind.  ‘The propensity’, he says, ’to truck, barter, or exchange one thing for another ... is common to all men and to be found in no other race of animals, which seem to know neither this nor any other species of contracts.  Two greyhounds in running down the same hare have sometimes the appearance of acting in some sort of concert.  Each turns her towards his companion or endeavours to intercept her when his companion turns her towards himself.  This, however, is not the effect of any contract, but of the accidental concurrence of their passions in the same object at that particular time.  Nobody ever saw a dog make a fair and deliberate exchange of one bone for another with another dog.’[24]

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The Unity of Civilization from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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