Excerpt from The Princeton Review: January-June, 1880
The dictionary will not answer it, for each man's idiosyncrasy puts a gloss on the definition. With some the chief matter will be morals, with others machinery. Some will agree with the Eng' lish historian who calls the sixteenth century a rude age others will find in the household of Sir Thomas More a higher type of civilization than is seen to-day in London homes. Now we may lean this way or that, but it will not do to narrow the question in the interest of any partial theory. Indeed, no special interest can be served by narrowing the scope of the term. One may hold with Macaulay that civilization lies in the change wrought by commerce and the useful arts from cramp ing meagreness to comfort and plenty; but such an one should remember the sentence of Hume, Macaulay's acknowledged master: It is unreasonable to expect that a piece Of woollen cloth shall be wrought to perfection in a country where ethics are neglected and astronomy unknown. Again, another may believe with Ruskin that civilization lies only in the measure of men's devotion to the beautiful and good; but, before he joins in a tirade against modern luxury and artificial requirements, let him compare the English society of to-day with that of the last century as it is painted for us in Tom Jones, and consider whether morals and manners have not advanced in the wake of material progress, and whether civilization, in his own View of it, has not travelled by the railway.
It is best, then, to take the term civilization in its widest scope as equivalent to human progress, or that historic process in which man is realizing the capacities of his nature. Viewed71-15 princeton RE vie W.
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