Herbert Spencer is dead. The last and greatest of the giants of the Victorian age has passed away; and, in the tumult and clamour of evanescent political strife, the country of his birth is strangely indifferent to the portentous loss that it has suffered. From the uttermost parts of the earth—from the length and breadth of the great continent of America; from France, Germany, and Italy; even from far-off Japan—come messages of condolence and appreciation of the mighty dead; but here his loss is scarcely noticed. Truly, a prophet is not without honour, save in his own country and among his own people. Queen Victoria was a great queen, and worthily ruled a great nation; but to distant generations the name of Queen Victoria will mean as little as the name of Semiramis means to us, while the name of Herbert Spencer will loom as large as to us does that of Aristotle. In a future which may be distant, or may be nearer than we expect, when England, after occupying for a time the position of Holland, has become a sort of Isle of Wight for honeymooning Americans, Golders Hill will share with Stratford-on-Avon the honours of a place of pilgrimage for those who desire to honour the greatest of their race. What Sir Isaac Newton achieved in co-ordinating phenomena in space, Herbert Spencer achieved in co-ordinating phenomena in time. His task was almost superhuman, yet through ridicule and neglect at first, and at last in spite of the affectation of prigs, who feigned that his teaching was obsolete, he kept steadily to his task; devoting his life with wonderful purity of purpose to the completion of his great system of philosophy. He began in spite of scorn and ridicule; he lived to see his philosophy well-nigh universally accepted; and he lived to see it sneered at as antiquated by writers with less than a tithe of his knowledge, and with not a twentieth part the tithe of his intellect. He heaved Germany out of the slough of Hegelianism, only to see his own countrymen plunge and wallow in the same mire—to see them, as they struggled against asphyxiation, affect a sublime superiority over those who stood dry upon the bank, with limbs unhampered and breathing unobstructed.
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