The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3 eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 263 pages of information about The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3.
be regarded as one of the great objects of universities, is altogether right; that it should be spoken of as their only object, which is the ruling fashion, is most deplorable.  The object of a university, said Mill, is to keep philosophy alive; yet it would go hard with the present generation to point to any one more truly and profoundly devoted to the service, the uplifting, of the masses of mankind than was John Stuart Mill.  Were he living he would recognize, as thoroughly as the best efficiency man of them all, that the universities of today have opportunities and duties which were undreamed of half a century ago.  But he would know, too, that in those activities which are directed to the promotion of practical efficiency, the university is but one of many agencies, and that if it were not doing the work some other means would be found for supplying the demand.  Its paramount value he would find now, as he did then, in the service it renders not to the ordinary needs of the community but to the higher intellectual interests and strivings of mankind.  That so few of us have the courage clearly to assert a position even distantly approaching this—­such a position as was mere matter of course among university men in the last generation—­is perhaps the most significant of all the indications of our drift toward Flatland.



It is Hawthorne, I think, who tells us that when he was a boy he used once in a while to go down to the wharves in Salem, and lay his hand on the rail of some great East India merchantman, redolent of spices, and thus bring himself in actual touch with the mysterious orient.  But there is nothing strange in this:  almost anything that we can feel or see may start the flight of fancy, and open to us prophetic visions.  This is even true of such dry symbols as figures, for our journalists would never publish statistics as they do, unless they knew that their readers liked to see them.  Travellers from other parts of the world have often laughed at our fondness for revelling in the marvellous accounts of our material dimensions, but they should remember that people who do not have a taste for poetry may yet have a taste for romance, and that big figures do appeal to the imagination.

It is true that there may be something portentous in bigness.  “Tom” Reed, as he was affectionately called, said many wise things in a jesting way.  At a certain crisis in our history he exclaimed:  “I don’t want Cuba and Hawaii; I’ve got more country now than I can love.”  A foreigner might suppose that our politicians had similarly become terror-stricken at the extent of our wealth and the rate at which it was growing.  They may well give the impression that there has been created in the “money power,” a Frankenstein monster, the control of whose murderous propensities has put them at their wit’s end.

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The Unpopular Review, Volume II Number 3 from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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