25 JANUARY 1896, Page 12

Buckle and his Critics : a Study in Sociology. By

John Mac- kinnon Robertson. (Swan Sonnenschein and Co.)—We seem to enter into a hopeless maze in attempting to criticise Mr. Mac- kinnon Robertson's criticism of Buckle's critics. We venture to doubt whether any useful purpose is served by the publication of this monumental compilation, in which alt that has been said about Buckle and his work is rescued from the peaceful oblivion into which criticism naturally retires, only to be torn to pieces in trenchant style, and often in questionable taste, by his ardent admirer and disciple. In so far as Mr. Robertson has given us a genuine study in Sociology, he has dealt lucidly and interestingly with a subject which is attractive enough, though we do not believe that it is yet capable of scientific handling. But it would task the patience of the ordinary reader far too severely to seek for these more profitable passages of his work through the enormous mass of merely superficial ratiocination in which he devotes himself to exposing verbal inaccuracies and incon- sistencies in the sayings of those who have called Buckle's doctrines in question. Mr. Robertson's contempt for academic learning causes him to forget that courtesy and moderation are parts of good criticism. A professor or a divine is sure of unmeasured abuse at his hands, but perhaps if he had received some few scraps of the culture which he despises we might have been spared many solecisms (e.g., "subsumed") which blot his pages. It is interesting and amusing to find this apostle of the Science of History speaking of an " accidental crisis." Altogether he has wasted a great deal of energy and time in unsatisfactory carping at his master's critics, when he might have done good

service by giving us, in a book of less pretentious dimensions, an appreciation of Buckle, who, if his principles were wrong and his data sometimes untrustworthy, at least made a bold and interest- ing essay in a new direction.