Obrázky stránek
PDF
ePub

inents, since it enables Uncle Sam to sulted in the intervention of Canada. retire from a doubtful bargain. The The British Minister proposed to Mr. two-thirds majority of Senators present Blaine that a general discussion of all required to ratify, he confesses, enables outstanding questions with the Doa faction to deal with foreign policy in minion should take place. Canada a narrow, sectional, electioneering suggested as a basis for negotiation spirit.* Mr. Brown succeeded in get the terms of the Elgin Treaty of 1854, ting a treaty drawn up, but the Senate with such modifications and extensions would not consider it. He went about as might be mutually acceptable. The the work with his customary vigour conference, after several delays, finally and decision. Many persons in Con came off in February, 1892. The Cagress who were dubious or antagonis- nadian delegates were Sir John Thomptic he won over by his enthusiasm and

son,

Sir Mackenzie Bowell and Hon. the logical force of his arguments. He George E. Foster. Mr. Blaine declared paid a visit to New York and enlisted the policy of the United States to be, the sympathy of powerful journals like first, that reciprocity should embrace the Herald and the Times, knowing manufactured goods as well as natural from his experience as a journalist the products, and, secondly, that any aid which could be rendered by the treaty must be in the nature of a prepress. Mr. Brown's experience with ferential bargain between the two Mr. Secretary Fish, whom he found countries, and that “other countries timorous and uncertain, constantly which were not parties to it should not making new demands, and, in the end, enjoy gratuitously the favours which the afraid to let the Executive father the two neighbouring countries might remeasure, make diverting reading. To- ciprocally concede to each other for ward the end of June the draft instru valuable considerations, and at a large ment was sent to the Senate, but that sacrifice of their respective revenues. body adjourned without taking action. This practically broke off the negotiaIn December Mr. Brown again went tions for reciprocity. down after Congress had assembled, It seems, therefore, that at least five but Mr. Fish was more doubtful than distinct missions to Washington for ever, and the Senate returned the draft the purpose of obtaining a reciprocity treaty to the President, stating that its treaty have been taken, not to mention adoption was inexpedient. The fol the other offers made in connection lowing year, when the Canadian states with the fishery discussion. Except man gave his explanations of this in the case of Lord Elgin's effort all mission, he expressed the hope that the these resulted in nothing, and the negotiations would ultimately succeed. United States authorities have naturalBut the tariff legislation of both coun ly imbibed the notion that we are extries put off all attempts for over fifteen tremely anxious to obtain trade conyears.

cessions. The remarks of the Prime The negotiations of 1892 are too re Minister at Montreal a few days ago do cent to require more than the briefest not indicate that the present Governmention. All the circumstances which ment differs vitally from all previous led up to them are subjects of the Canadian Governments in the nature of keenest political controversy, and it the price to be paid. An agreement covwould be well-nigh impossible to frame ering the fisheries and the canals would a statement of the facts without rous appear, therefore, to be the most probing the ire of the party politicians. The able outcome, if any, of the negotiaoutcome of the visit of Hon. Robert tions that will take place after PresiBond, Colonial Secretary in the New dent McKinley assumes office this foundland Government, to Washington month. in October, 1890, and his conferences

*Executive Documents U.S., No. 114, 52nd Congress, with Mr. Blaine, Secretary of State, re* The American Commonwealth, by James Bryce, 1894

A. H. U. Colquhoun

ist Session.

HABIT, ITS NATURE AND SUBSTANCE.

“How use doth breed a habit in a man."-Shakespere, T. G. of V., 5: 4.


O define habit scientifically would be and it is for the habit that the price is

difficult, nor is it essential to the charged. The lock on a lady's bracediscussion of our subject, since the let turns with less friction, and the general meaning of the term, which is mighty engines of the ocean liner beat to all intents and purposes correct, is more smoothly with use, and what is easy of understanding and is universally this use but the habit of the thing. known. To say that “habit is a new Again, who does not find it easier to pathway of discharge formed in the consult books which he has handled brain, by which certain incoming cur many times before than those that are rents ever after tend to escape,” (1) will strange to him? Is any shoe so comnot greatly aid the comprehension of fortable as an old shoe? These are but one who is unfamiliar with this subject. instances of habit in inanimate objects, So that perhaps it will be simpler to and truly it is a mighty master that discuss habit without attempting by trains lifeless matter to yield, making definition to alter the ordinary mean it react under similar impulses each time ing of the word.

with less resistance. Having done a certain thing once the Habit, we have seen, controls both second attempt is easier and the third animate and inanimate things. This requires still less effort, and soon we no one can deny, since it is the teachcome to perform the operation almost ing of everyone's experience. It is mechanically. That is, the habit of reasonable, then, to expect that some doing the thing has been acquired, and physical and tangible change will be all that is necessary is that the motor wrought by so powerful an agent. And centres be given the first impulse, when that this is actually the fact a very they will automatically complete the brief consideration of the question will task. For example, first attempts at

be sufficient to show. And the same writing are, to say the least, labourious, thought will teach us that animate the fingers clutch the pen and react bodies are affected by habit in a different

ith twice the necessary force, and the manner from things of wood and stone. direction of their movement is uncer The habituation of the lock or the tain. Practice makes perfect and soon steam-engine to action is purely negathe habit of writing overcomes the tive, that is, it consists in the lessening natural clumsiness of the hand, the of friction through the destruction and writing becomes almost self-controlling removal of substance. On the other and is assured, a given letter being hand, the results of habit in living beregularly of the same form. It is habit, ings are positive. In these, use does setting aside the question of mere not merely reduce friction; it does association, which gives such great more, it builds up tissue where that value to the violins of famous players. tissue will be of most service. Do we The constant playing of a master, with regard the wings or the legs of the his assured yet delicate touch, habitu wild duck as the more delicate morates the molecules composing the instru sels?. It is the use or habit of long ment to vibrate in the best way. The flights that has strengthened and inanimate particles have acquired habits toughened the muscles of the wings which will influence all the music which so that they are tireless, and incidentthey may subsequently give forth. The ally provoke the carver's wrath. And, master's hand has made the habit good, conversely, the seldom-tried wings

of the tame fowl are tender, where(1.) James' Psychology, Briefer Course, p. 134.

as the use of their legs has made that can be said is that habit in some those members sturdy. The bones, too, way brings it about that repetition is show the influence of habit. Careful easier than original action, and that it measurements prove that the wing- wisely prepares for this by strengthenbones of the wild duck average larger ing the muscles at the same time, makthan do those of the tame bird. And, ing them more sensitive. But the claim on the other hand, similar measure that habit actually produces in the ments tell us that the leg-bones of the brain certain routes of mental reaction, tame duck are heavier than those of which can be examined microscopically its free cousin. It is on the immense or otherwise, must be thrown out for number of facts similar to those just lack of proof, or left as an open quescited that the theory of evolution is tion. based. The scent of wild beasts, al We are told that, psychologically ways on the alert for danger, is far speaking, habit means, “loss of overmore keen than that of domesticated sight, diffusion of attention, subsiding animals, and habit prodded by neces

consciousness." () In other words, sity has pricked up the ears of the self that habit is reaction of one kind or dependent animal.

another freed from the controlling Habit, in like manner, leaves its supervision of the brain. The readiest traces more or less intelligible on man

simile is found in electricity, by saying also. It requires no instruction to dis that habit short circuits the battery betinguish from the artisan the man low the galvanometer. The electric whose regular tool is the pen. That fluid of reaction is still circulating, but the varying habits of the different the galvanometer, the brain, is no trades and professions dog-ear the longer affected. But does this tell us book of each man's mental and bodily anything more than that unconscious life, each in its own way, is self-evident. habit is action of which the brain is But does a given habit leave any tan unconscious ? gible mark on the brain ? Mental act Having thus mentioned on the one ivity of any kind draws blood to the hand the purely physical idea of habit, brain, as may be ascertained by Mosso's and on the other the psychological balancing table (?). Does that blood statement, it remains for us to consider plow out special furrows for each act, or what habit does for the world at large. do its repeated journeys for the same act Is it advantageous or is it harmful? follow the same furrow, and if so, do Our theorem will be that it is in the main they leave any physical impress on the beneficial. The reader may deny this brain ? It makes a simple working hy statement and cite in evidence the pothesis very easy of comprehension habitual drunkard, and those whom to assert that habit cuts fixed and tan the necessities of use have made exgible paths through the brain substance, cessive Smokers, even to their delike the threads on a screw, and that struction. And the same critic of my each reaction perforce traverses and statement would open any daily paper deepens the threads cut by a similar and point to the victims of the morreaction at some previous time. But phine and opium habits. can such an assertion be confirmed ? however, individual cases, unfortunate No one would dare to say,

« All these in themselves, but in relation to the men have such and such a habit, and I population of the world few in number find by trepanning that the reaction and insignificant in the harm they do. for the habit starts here and runs How then does habit work to the adthrough this particular groove, which vantage of the world? By acting for is reserved for this habit, and would not society the same part that is taken for exist except for the babit. The most the engine by its fly-wheel. The mo

mentum of the wheel, which might be (2) This is a delicately-balanced table, on which the subject lies. It is, in fact, a very sensitive scale whose

called its force of habit, carries it on equilibrum is disturbed by the rush of blood to the head when any mental action takes place.

(3) Baldwin, Elements of Psychology, p. 51.

These are,

round past the centres and practically pation. It is this same habit of yieldintegrates the broken motion of the ing that keeps the horse hitched to the piston. It allows the engine to run plow, and it is the same power that smoothly, and takes off strain. Habit saves the rich from a gigantic uprisserves man in the same way. One ing of the poor. The horse is stronger who has certain tasks to regularly per- than the plowman, and the vast hordes form which, being disagreeable, he of poor are mightier than the few and does only from necessity at first, soon scattered rich. But habit controls all finds the burden of them lightened, so these, holding each to his post. The that eventually the labour may even be fly-wheel of the engine is the exponent entirely unnoticed, and for this respite of mechanical, and habit of mental, inhe must thank habit. It is habit, the ertia. That is to say, habit is the force habit of respecting meum et tuum, that which opposes change. saves many and keeps the number of To sum up, no one word seems to absconding clerks limited. What is it define habit so clearly as the one we that holds a labourer chained fast to a have just been using, inertia. And the trade which galls his soul, and at which power of this inertia or force of habit he can scarce earn his bread; or which is so overwhelming as to have caused he knows is ruining his health? Neces- the Duke of Wellington to say: “Habit sity frequently, but almost as frequent- is a second nature! Habit is ten times ly habit.

He has got into a rut, and nature!”. And few will think that the in that rut he sticks fast, unable even great soldier was extravagant in his to make an effort to change his occu- statement.

[merged small][graphic][merged small][merged small]

Fight, or you fall. For care's legions dissolve
If opposed. Smite with strength; then disband them.
On to the battle ! Forth to the fight !

Nil Desperandum !

Brother, be strong Stand firm. Stem the tide.
Be not whirled with the waters at random.
On then to battle ! Forth to the fight!
Nil desperandum !

Samuel Maber.

CANADIAN POETRY—A WORD IN VINDICATION,

BY PROFESSOR DE MILLE, KING'S COLLEGE, WINDSOR, N.S.

never

THERE is no doubt that Canadian

Century, or Scribner's, or Harper's, must

possess a certain amount of literary much ill-advised praise, but it is a poor merit as well as a certain number of remedy to disparage the work of those lines ; and the editors of these periodiwho labour wisely and well. An arti- cals are not without knowledge as to cle appeared in the December number what constitutes literary worth. A of the Canadian Magasine which sins sentence such as the last quoted is in this respect--and sins against good distinctly unfair. It serves no purpose taste as well as against good criticism. whatever, except as the expression of The critic has a right to his own views personal dissatisfaction, which is not and predilections and a right to express and

will be

criticism. them freely, but unfair statements can Moreover, it is peculiarly ungracious never be excused. In the article in for a Canadian to gird at Canadian question, Prof. Roberts' “Songs of the poets. They receive little financial enCommon Day” is said to contain couragement in Canada, yet there is no “ about forty sonnets, and a similar doubt that their work, in its patriotism number of what he terms poems.” Of (which Mr. Waldron affirms) and its the fine “ Tantramar Revisited” it is poetic quality (which Mr. Waldron said : “Tantramar opens and closes denies), has done service to their counwith reflections of no mean interest, try. At least let Canadians bid them but the intermediate lines run on at God-speed. great length in an utterly ineffective But let us turn to the more criticaltwaddle of description.” Carman pos or less uncritical - portions of Mr. sesses a “ weird and grotesque vague

Waldron's article. We shall quote his ness.” And more thereto.

theory as well and as truly as we can, But the men who are thus dealt with and then test its value as a measure of have won fame in a wider than Cana poetic worth. It is as follows :d'an field, and deserve juster treat “ It may be safely said that no poetry ment. Their critic himself remarks : of lasting merit is possible which does

They are not without merits, and it not base its claim to our attention may fairly be said that they are all men on action or reflection concerning acof great talent.” To grant a writer tion.” “ Language is not adequate to talent, and then to run amuck through the detailed description of scenery ; the work which displays that talent is, aside altogether from its limited interto put it mildly, inconsistent. Nor is est, and its meagre power to appeal to it pleasant, reading of men whom all human feeling, it cannot be representCanadians respect for their literary ed in detail by the poet as vividly as ability, to meet with a statement such action.” (One is inclined to ask if Mr. as the following: “It is not enough Waldron has read Tennyson's “ Day that they find a ready market for their Dream.") “The poet attempting dewritings to fill up the vacant page tailed description, and not merely sugspaces of magazines, or even that gestion, produces on the mind of the their art is the affectation or the fad of a reader only a confused and distracted literary coterie.” For there are consid effect." Description must not call up erations, besides the burning question the “particular image in a poet's mind, of “filling up the vacant page-spaces,” but general images in the mind of the which influence editors in their choice reader.

This the poet does of material. Poems accepted by The by suggestion.

by suggestion." True poetry, then,

« PředchozíPokračovat »