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with increasing refrangibility shown; the distribution of light, heat, and chemical activity in the solar spectrum ascertained, and some of the fundamental facts in spectrum analysis developed, long before general attention was given to that subject in Europe? Here the first photograph of the moon was taken; here the first of the diffraction spectrums was prodnced; here the first portraits of the human face were made, - an experiment that has given rise to an important industrial art.
"Of our own special science, - chemistry, -it may truly be affirmed, that nowhere are its most advanced ideas, its new conceptions, better understood, or more eagerly received. But how useless would it be for me to attempt a description in these few moments of what Prof. Silliman, in the work to which I have already referred, found that he could not include on more than a hundred closely-printed pages, though he proposed merely to give the names of American chemists and the titles of their works! It would be equally useless, and, indeed, an invidious task, to offer a selection; but this may be said, that, among the more prominent memoirs, there are many not inferior to the foremost that the chemical literature of Europe can present. How unsatisfactory, then, is this brief statement I have made of what might be justly claimed for American science! Had it been ten times as long, and far more forcibly offered, it would still have fallen short of completeness. I still should have been open to the accusation of not having done justice to the subject.”
To this enumeration must be added the repeated efforts of the United-States Government to open a ship-canal between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the explorations and surveys crowned at last by the treaty with Nicaragua, securing a feasible route, and pledging this impartially to the commerce of the world. A new Arctic expedition is also in contemplation, notwithstanding the declaration of the latest English explorers that “the north pole is impractica
In the department of physics alone the United States has contributed no mean share to the science of the century. It is enough to mention in acoustics Henry, Leconte, Mayer, Rogers; in heat, Draper, Hare, Rumford, Wells; in optics, Draper, Gibbs, Gould, Rood, Rutherford; in electricity and magnetism, Bache, Gray, Henry, Morse, Page, Rowland.
The widespread zeal for science in America was gracefully recognized by Agassiz in the preface to his great work, “ The Natural History of the United States :" “ So general is the desire for knowledge, that I expect to see my book read by operatives, by fishermen, by farmers, quite as extensively as by the students in our colleges, or by the learned professions.” A fine comment upon this tribute was given in the subscriptions to the Agassiz Memorial Fund, which embraced several hundred names of men, women, and youths, from all classes and occupations of life, and ranged from twenty-five thousand dollars down to fifty cents. The total sum thus given to complete the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge was $260,674, to which the State added a grant of $50,000. Here, too, is an illustration of the American method of endowing science, which Prof. Huxley, in his speech at the meeting of the American Association of Science at Buffalo, complimented in these words : —
“The English universities are the product of the government; yours, of private munificence. That among us is almost unknown. The general notion of an Englishman, when he gets rich, is to found an estate, and
benefit his family: the general notion of an American, when fortunate, is to do something for the good of the people, and from which benefits shall continue to flow. The latter is the nobler ambition.
“It is popularly said abroad that you have no antiquities in America. If you talk about the trumpery of three or four thousand years of history, it is true. But in the large sense, as referring to times before man made his momentary appearance, America is the place to study the antiquities of the globe. The reality of the enormous amount of material here has far surpassed my anticipation. I have studied the collection gathered by Prof. Marsh at New Haven. There is none like it in Europe, not only in extent of time covered, but by reason of its bearing on the problem of evolution.”
What we need in America to continue to deserve such praise is, first of all, concentration, the building-up of a few great universities (half a dozen would be enough for the whole country) as centres of learning; and, next, the endowment of research, as is contemplated, for instance, in the fellowships of the Johns Hopkins University at Baltimore.
One branch of American culture too often overlooked is that linguistic training by virtue of which American missionaries have won such renown as translators of the Bible into foreign tongues, and, in repeated instances, as the creators of a written language and literature for barbarous tribes. Not even the famous Indian service of the British Government can compare with the mission service of the leading American societies in linguistic and scientific attainments.
A striking indication of the place of the fine arts in American culture was lately given in the sale of a private picture-gallery in New York. This gallery contained works of the most famous artists of England, France, and Germany; and, in “hard times,” there were buyers enough to pay over three hundred thousand dollars for its treasures. In the chief cities of the United States such galleries may now be counted by the score.
But enough. I should be sorry if this note should be perverted by any of my countrymen to a boastful use. In all reason, in the matter of culture, we have yet enough to learn and acquire. But neither self-depreciation nor foreign imitation is the lesson that we need. Our calling is to perfect that culture which is distinctively American, - the culture which springs from and tends to that which is spiritual in man, and which diffuses its refining influence over the whole body of the people.
THE PERILS, DUTIES, AND HOPES OF THE OPENING
TN what I said of culture as the perfecting of society in
I the noble, the beautiful, the true, the good, through the training of each citizen to the highest exercise of knowledge and virtue, I was placing before you the ideal of a perfect State. If, now, from this platform you challenge me to forecast the actual of American society in the opening century, I can but repeat the answer of Socrates to Glaucon: “ You must not insist on my proving that the actual State will in every respect agree with the description of the ideal. ... But is our theory a worse theory because we are unable to prove the possibility of a city being ordered in the manner described ? ... Until philosophers are kings, or the kings and princes of this world have the spirit and power of philosophy, and political greatness and wisdom meet in one, and those commoner natures who follow either to the exclusion of the other are compelled to stand aside, cities will never cease from ill; no, nor the human race, as I believe; and then only will this our State have a possibility of life, and behold the light of day. This was what I wanted but was afraid to say, my dear Glaucon ; for to see that there is no other way either of private or public happiness is indeed a hard thing." ]
Could any thing be more sad than this lament of a great soul over the impracticability of its own ideal of private and public happiness? It is like the mysterious warning that haunted Mozart, — that the noblest, sweetest harmonies that ever issued from his soul were for the requiem of
1 Plato, Republic, B. V., Jowett's translation.
his own genius and art. Yet as, in the requiem, there are strains of hope rising out of the very wail of sadness, so may we gather courage and patience from the wisdom of Socrates, when he further says, that having discovered the absolute justice, and set this up as the standard, — as the artist minutely paints an ideal of a perfectly beautiful man, though unable to show that any such man could ever have existed, — so in the State “ we may be satisfied with an approximation to the absolute, and the attainment of a higher degree of justice than is to be found in other men.”
It is worth remembering that this ideal of a State ordered by intelligence and virtue, ruled by greatness and wisdom joined in one, which Plato put into the mouth of Socrates, is essentially a republic in its constitution, — “ a voluntary rule over voluntary subjects,” I though vested in the aristocracy of intellect, — a community of equals ruled willingly by the wisest and the best. But the resurrection of democracy in modern times has called out a class of critics who argue that the sovereignty of the people, in its very nature, makes impossible a just, wise, and virtuous State. The latest of this school, Mons. Claudio Jannet, in contrasting the United States of to-day with the United States of Washington's time, ascribes the corruption and decay of the republic to “the false principle of the sovereignty of the people.” 2 But his criticism both of the corruption and its cause should be viewed in the light of the remedy that he proposes, — the supremacy of the Roman-Catholic Church, which should repress the quarrelsome sects, do away with the fatal (funeste) system of public schools, and put down the impious and revolutionary notions of recent times, —such as the original perfection of humanity, the sovereignty of the people, the native equality of men, and progress indefinite and necessary.
A more friendly and philosophical critic, De Tocqueville, says, “ Corruption is the special vice of democracies.” But has the Swiss Republic been marked by corruption? Or is Turkey a democracy, the stench of whose corruption now fills all Europe with disgust? Is Austria a democracy,
1 Jowett, Introduction to the Republic. 2 Les États Unis Contemporains, par Claudio Jannet, chap. ii. 3 Ibid., chap. XXV.
whose tribunals have unveiled some of the grossest frauds of modern times? Are Italy and Spain democracies ?1 Or was France a democracy under Napoleon III.? Is Russia a democracy? But, if Mr. Schuyler's revelations were undiplomatic or indiscreet, have they ever been disproved ? And who will question the testimony of Koscheleff, late Russian minister of finance?—“ Employees formerly purloined and perhaps robbed by the copeck: now-a-days they are too highly civilized to confine themselves to such bagatelles, but feast upon thousands and tens of thousands of roubles, joint-stock company shares, regular salaries from banking-offices, railway companies, &c.” Even in Germany, once proverbially honest, has not Gründer become a by-word for swindler ? 2 And do not Germans contribute
1 In this very year (1876) an Austrian lieutenant of noble birth has been stripped of his title, and condemned to ten years' penal servitude, for having sold military papers of the Vienna war-office to Col. Molostroff, military attaché of the Russian embassy at Vienna
In Italy, a nobleman who pretended to the confidence of the king has been convicted of forging his Majesty's name to the amount of several hundred thousand francs.
There have been no worse scandals than these in the United States, The London Spectator of Oct. 28, 1876, in vindicating Disraeli from the , charge of venality in luis Eastern policy, said,
"The Emperor Napoleon no more regulated his policy with a view to his profits than Lord Beaconsfield does; but very great men who knew what his policy would be made very great profits out of their early knowledge. Great officials in Austria did not sell contracts; but great officials in Austria were not ashamed to make money out of their early knowledge of the way in which profitable contracts would be distributed. Great Russians are not paid for their political intluence; but great Russians' dependants make, or have made, fortunes out of their knowledge of the way in which influence, often secret and personal, would ultimately be exerted. The public, always shrewd, more especially under a despotism, when society'acquires much of the power of observation as well as of the suppleness of a slave, perceives these facts, and, after the manner of gossips, makes every story a little worse, and therefore a little more piquant, than the reality. Because contracts for regimentals are sold, therefore defeat may be purchased from generals in command. Because early information is utilized to procure money, therefore events are arranged in order to yield gain. Because money is made out of statesmen's vacillations, therefore statesmen can be made to vacillate by promises of money."
2 The name Gründers is applied to the originators of a company, who deposit the necessary pledges of money or other securities, and thus procure the legal authorization under which they organize the working corporation. Of late, many such parties have been found guilty of falsifying securities, and of repaying themselves roundly from the treasury of the company for imaginary services of organization. Since the French war, swindles and bubbles have been as abundant in Germany as in the worst times of inflation in the United States. Besides this, the most worthless American “securities” are palmed off by German speculators upon their innocent countrymen. Thirty years ago, the late King Frederic William IV. of Prussia felt constrained to issue an order forbidding in his army a form of bogus speculation which some would have us believe is a special vice of democracy :
“It has come to my knowledge that even officials lately have taken part in the present all-ruling railway speculations, and by signing bonds, and buying certiticates