To civilize meant at one time to wean a savage people from their rudeness. Dr. Johnson would not admit the word “civilization” into his dictionary, though Boswell “with great deference” thought it “better in the sense opposed to ‘barbarity’ than ‘civility.'” Two days earlier, after a discussion on Lord Monboddo’s opinions on the superiority of the savage life, the word “civilities” is used repeatedly by Boswell in the sense of “courtesies.” lf civility were indeed all, there has been but little civilizing among us since Johnson’s time. At one end of the social scale, the respectful salute of the laboring peasant is the exception and not the rule, probably for the logical reason that his respect for “the quality” has diminished. At the other end, what civilities have not vanished? Deportment as a fine art dropped out with the use of the snuff-box and of the subjunctive mood. But the word “civility” was defined by Johnson as freedom from barbarity; and he was justified in refusing “civilization” because it is not to be found in the works which he cited. Johnson’s conservatism and Boswell’s liberalism justified each in his own opinion. The need for the expression “civilization” was in the balance on March 23, 1772. and Boswell was probably right in judging that the time had come for adopting it. Differentiation between civility and civilization was needed when people realized that they could have material progress without an associated intellectual advance; something accomplished, something done, without any corresponding development of mind, morals or manners. The battue, the rubber-cored golf-ball, the halfpenny newspaper and a University degree in Engineering serve as samples of civilization in this sense.
(Alexander Pelham Trotter, “The Tide of Civilization,” The Living Age, Vol. CCXXXVIII, 1903, pp. 379–380).