Review of Reviews,  8 (1893), 351–60.

The Progress of the World



Regular Feature, Editorial, News-Commentary


Positivism, Politics, Experiment, Disease, Sanitation, War, Science Communication, Psychical Research

    Reports that Brazil was recently made 'the scene of a crucial experiment' in which a 'little knot of Positivist professors' founded 'a republic, in which the whole political system of Auguste Comte was applied en bloc, and in detail'. This experiment, which is rather like seeing 'Mr. Frederic Harrison by a sudden fluke installed as a virtual dictator at Westminster', has plunged the country into civil war. (351) Notes that, after the outbreak of cholera in the East, some 'sanitarians in Western Europe are discussing whether or not it would be justifiable for civilisation to compel the Sultan, even at canon's mouth, to carry out radical sanitary reforms in Mecca' (359), and observes that a 'main drainage scheme for Mecca is an object which, to say the least, is as much worth while going to war about as most of the objects for which sovereigns and nations fight. But the hygienists have not yet the ironclads of the world at their disposal' (359–60). Complains that the meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science at Nottingham featured 'a diet of papers containing very little of sensational interest', as well as 'a rather long and dreary discourse by Dr. Burdon-Sanderson'. The Psychical Congress at Chicago was also 'somewhat disappointing', although 'the respect with which its deliberations were received by the Press indicates a growing sense of the value and importance of studies which a short time ago were regarded as the favourite jest of the man in the street'. (360)

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