Humanly Speaking by Samuel McChord Crothers


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Page 1

CONTENTS


HUMANLY SPEAKING

IN THE HANDS OF A RECEIVER

THE CONTEMPORANEOUSNESS OF ROME

THE AMERICAN TEMPERAMENT

THE UNACCUSTOMED EARS OF EUROPE

THE TORYISM OF TRAVELERS

THE OBVIOUSNESS OF DICKENS

THE SPOILED CHILDREN OF CIVILIZATION

ON REALISM AS AN INVESTMENT

TO A CITIZEN OF THE OLD SCHOOL



The author wishes to express his thanks to the Editors of the _Atlantic
Monthly_ and the _Century Magazine_ for their courtesy in permitting the
publication in this volume of certain essays which have appeared in
their magazines.




HUMANLY SPEAKING


"Humanly speaking, it is impossible." So the old theologian would say
when denying any escape from his own argument. His logical machine was
going at full speed, and the grim engineer had no notion of putting on
the brakes. His was a non-stop train and there was to be no slowing-down
till he reached the terminus.

But in the middle of the track was an indubitable fact. By all the rules
of argumentation it had no business to be there, trespassing on the
right of way. But there it was! We trembled to think of the impending
collision.

But the collision between the argument and the fact never happened. The
"humanly speaking" was the switch that turned the argument safely on a
parallel track, where it went whizzing by the fact without the least
injury to either. Many things which are humanly speaking impossible are
of the most common occurrence and the theologian knew it.

It is only by the use of this saving clause that one may safely moralize
or generalize or indulge in the mildest form of prediction. Strictly
speaking, no one has a right to express any opinion about such complex
and incomprehensible aggregations of humanity as the United States of
America or the British Empire. Humanly speaking, they both are
impossible. Antecedently to experience the Constitution of Utopia as
expounded by Sir Thomas More would be much more probable. It has a
certain rational coherence. If it existed at all it would hang together,
being made out of whole cloth. But how does the British Empire hold
together? It seems to be made of shreds and patches. It is full of
anomalies and temporary makeshifts. Why millions of people, who do not
know each other, should be willing to die rather than to be separated
from each other, is something not easily explained. Nevertheless the
British Empire exists, and, through all the changes which threaten it,
grows in strength.

The perils that threaten the United States of America are so obvious
that anybody can see them. So far as one can see, the Republic ought to
have been destroyed long ago by political corruption, race prejudice,
unrestricted immigration and the growth of monopolies. The only way to
account for its present existence is that there is something about it
that is not so easily seen. Disease is often more easily diagnosed than
health. But we should remember that the Republic is not out of danger.
It is a very salutary thing to bring its perils to the attention of the
too easy-going citizens. It is well to have a Jeremiah, now and then, to
speak unwelcome truths.

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Books | Photos | Paul Mutton | Tue 17th Oct 2017, 18:47