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Title: Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 12 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Scientists
Author: Hubbard, Elbert, 1856-1915
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Little Journeys to the Homes of the Great - Volume 12 - Little Journeys to the Homes of Great Scientists" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

  To the Homes of Great Scientists

  Elbert Hubbard

  Memorial Edition

  Printed and made into a Book by
  The Roycrofters, who are in East
  Aurora, Erie County, New York

  Wm. H. Wise & Co.
  New York

  Copyright, 1916,
  By The Roycrofters


  SIR ISAAC NEWTON                                                     9

  GALILEO                                                             45

  COPERNICUS                                                          85

  HUMBOLDT                                                           121

  WILLIAM HERSCHEL                                                   163

  CHARLES DARWIN                                                     197

  HAECKEL                                                            235

  LINNÆUS                                                            263

  THOMAS H. HUXLEY                                                   303

  JOHN TYNDALL                                                       333

  ALFRED RUSSEL WALLACE                                              365

  JOHN FISKE                                                         395

[Illustration: SIR ISAAC NEWTON]


     When you come into any fresh company, observe their humours. Suit
     your own carriage thereto, by which insinuation you will make their
     converse more free and open. Let your discourse be more in querys
     and doubtings than peremptory assertions or disputings, it being
     the designe of travelers to learne, not to teach. Besides, it will
     persuade your acquaintance that you have the greater esteem of
     them, and soe make them more ready to communicate what they know to
     you; whereas nothing sooner occasions disrespect and quarrels than
     peremptorinesse. You will find little or no advantage in seeming
     wiser, or much more ignorant than your company. Seldom discommend
     anything though never so bad, or doe it but moderately, lest you
     bee unexpectedly forced to an unhansom retraction. It is safer to
     commend any thing more than is due, than to discommend a thing soe
     much as it deserves; for commendations meet not soe often with
     oppositions, or, at least, are not usually soe ill resented by men
     that think otherwise, as discommendations; and you will insinuate
     into men's favour by nothing sooner than seeming to approve and
     commend what they like; but beware of doing it by a comparison.

     --_Sir Isaac Newton to one of his pupils_


An honest farmer, neither rich nor poor, was Isaac Newton. He was
married to Harriet Ayscough in February, Sixteen Hundred Forty-two.

Both were strong, intelligent and full of hope. Neither had any
education to speak of; they belonged to England's middle class--that
oft-despised and much ridiculed middle class which is the hope of the
world. Accounts still in existence show that their income was thirty
pounds a year. It was for them to toil all the week, go to church on
Sunday, and twice or thrice in a year attend the village fairs or
indulge in a holiday where hard cider played an important part.

Isaac had served his two years in the army, taken a turn at sea, and got
his discharge-papers. Now he had married the lass of his choice, and
settled down in the little house on an estate in Lincolnshire where his
father was born and died.

Spring came and the roses clambered over the stone walls; the bobolinks
played hide-and-seek in the waving grass of the meadows; the skylarks
sang and poised and soared; the hedgerows grew white with
hawthorn-blossoms and musical with the chirp of sparrows; the cattle
ranged through the fragrant clover "knee-deep in June."

Oftentimes the young wife worked with her husband in the fields, or went
with him to market. Great plans were laid as to what they would do next
year, and the year after, and how they would provide for coming age and
grow old together, here among the oaks and the peace and plenty of

In such a country, with such a climate, it seems as if one could almost
make repair equal waste, and thus keep death indefinitely at bay. But
all men, even the strongest, are living under a death sentence, with but
an indefinite reprieve. And even yet, with all of our science and
health, we can not fully account for those diseases which seemingly pick
the very best flower of sinew and strength.

Isaac Newton, the strong and rugged farmer, sickened and died in a week.
"The result of a cold caught when sweaty and standing in a draft," the
surgeon explained. "The act of God to warn us all of the vanity of
life." Acute pneumonia, perhaps, is what we would call it--a fever that
burned out the bellows in a week.

In such cases the very strength of the man seems to supply fuel for the
flames. And so just as the Autumn came with changing leaves, the young
wife was left to fight the battle of life alone--alone, save for the
old, old miracle that her life supported another. A wife, a widow, a
mother--all within a year!

On Christmas-Day the babe was born--born where most men die: in
obscurity. He was so weak and frail that none but the mother believed he
would live.

The doctor quoted a line from "Richard the Third," "Sent before my time
into this breathing world scarce half made up," and gave the infant into
the keeping of an old nurse with an ominous shake of the head, and went
his way, absolved. His time was too valuable to waste on such a useless
human mite.

The persistent words of the mother that the child should not, must not
die, possibly had something to do with keeping the breath of life in the
puny man-child. The fond mother had given him the name of his father,
even before birth! He was to live to do the work that the man now dead
had hoped to do; that is, live a long and honest life, and leave the
fair acres more valuable than he found them.

Such was the inauspicious beginning of what Herbert Spencer declared was
the greatest life since Aristotle studied the starry universe.

       *       *       *       *       *

Outside of India the lot of widows is not especially to be pitied. A
widow has beautiful dreams, while the married woman copes with the stern

Then, no phase of life is really difficult when you accept it; and the
memory of a great love lost is always a blessing and a benediction to
the one who endures the first cruel shock.

The young widow looked after her little estate, and with perhaps some
small assistance from her parents, lived comfortably and as happily as
one has a right to in this vale of tears. Her baby boy had grown strong
and well: by the time he was two years old he was quite the equal of
most babies--and his mother thought, beyond them.

It is quite often stoutly declared by callow folks that mother-love is
the strongest and most enduring love in the world, but the wise waste no
words on such an idle proposition. Mother-love retires into the shadow
when the other kind appears.

When the Reverend Barnabas Smith began, unconsciously, to make eyes at
the Widow Newton over his prayer-book, the good old dames whose business
it is to look after these things, and perform them vicariously, made
prophecies on the way home from church as to how soon the wedding would

People go to church to watch and pray, but a man I know says that women
go to church to watch. Young clergymen fall an easy prey to designing
widows, he avers. I can discover no proof, however, that the Widow
Newton made any original designs; she was below the young clergyman in
social standing, and when the good man began to pay special attentions
to her baby boy she never imagined that the sundry pats and caresses
were meant for her.

Little Isaac Newton was just three years old when the wedding occurred,
and was not troubled about it. The bride went to live with her husband
at the rectory, a mile away, and the little boy in dresses, with long
yellow curls, was taken to the home of his grandmother. The Reverend
Barnabas Smith didn't like babies as well as he had at first thought.
Grandparents are inclined to be lax in their discipline. And anyway it
is no particular difference if they are: a scarcity of discipline is
better than too much. More boys have been ruined by the rod than saved
by it--love is a good substitute for a cat-'o-nine-tails.

There were several children born to the Reverend Barnabas Smith and his
wife, and all were disciplined for their own good. Isaac, a few miles
away, snuggled in the arms of his old grandmother when he was bad and
went scot-free.

Many years after, Sir Isaac Newton, in an address on education at
Cambridge, playfully referred to the fact that in his boyhood he did not
have to prevaricate to escape punishment, his grandmother being always
willing to lie for him. His grandmother was his first teacher and his
best friend as long as she lived.

When he was twelve years old he was sent to the village school at
Grantham, eight miles away. There he boarded with a family by the name
of Clark, and at odd times helped in the apothecary-shop of Mr. Clark,
cleaning bottles and making pills. He himself has told us that the
working with mortar and pestle, cutting the pills in exact cubes, and
then rolling one in each hand between thumb and finger, did him a lot of
good, whether the patients were benefited or not.

The genial apothecary also explained that pills were for those who made
and sold them, and that if they did no harm to those who swallowed them,
the whole transaction was then one of benefit. All of which proves to us
that men had the essence of wisdom two hundred years ago, quite as much
as now.

The master of the school at Grantham was one Mr. Stokes, a man of
genuine insight and tact--two things rather rare in the pedagogic
equipment at that time. The Newton boy was small and stood low in his
class, perhaps because book-learning had not been the bent of his
grandmother. The fact that Isaac was neither strong nor smart, nor even
smartly dressed, caused him to serve in the capacity of a butt for the

One big boy in particular made it his business to punch, kick and cuff
him on all occasions, in class or out. This continued for a month, when
one day the little boy invited the big one out into the churchyard and
there fell upon him tooth and claw. The big boy had strength, but the
little one had right on his side.

The schoolmaster looked over the wall and shouted, "Thrice armed is he
who knows his cause is just!" In two minutes the bully was beaten, but
the schoolmaster's son, who stood by as master of ceremonies, suggested
that the big boy have his nose rubbed against the wall of the church for
luck. This was accordingly done, not o'er-gently, and when Isaac
returned to the schoolroom, the master, who was supposed to know nothing
officially of the fighting, prophesied, "Young Mr. Newton will yet beat
any boy in this school in his studies."

It has been suggested that this prophecy was made after its fulfilment,
but even so, we know that Mr. Stokes lived long enough to take great
pride in the Newton boy, and to grow reminiscent concerning his great

Our hearts surely go out to the late Mr. Stokes, schoolmaster at

       *       *       *       *       *

There is surely something in that old idea of Indians that when they
killed an enemy the strength of the fallen adversary entered into

This encounter of little Isaac with the school bully was a pivotal point
in his career. He had vanquished the rogue physically, and he now set to
work to do as much mentally for the whole school. He had it in him--it
was just a matter of application.

Once, in after-life, in speaking of those who had benefited him most, he
placed this unnamed chucklehead first, and added with a smile, "Our
enemies are quite as necessary to us as our friends."

In a few months Isaac stood at the head of the class. In mathematics he
especially excelled, and the Master, who prided himself on being able to
give problems no one could solve but himself, found that he was put to
the strait of giving a problem nobody could solve. He was somewhat taken
aback when little Isaac declined to work on it, and coolly pointed out
the fallacy involved. The only thing for the teacher to do was to say he
had purposely given the proposition to see if any one would detect the
fallacy. This he gracefully did, and again made a prophecy to the effect
that Isaac Newton would some day take his own place and be master of
Grantham School.

In the year Sixteen Hundred Fifty-six the schooldays of Isaac Newton
were cut short by the death of his stepfather.

His mother, twice a widow, moved back to "Woolsthorpe," a big name for a
very small estate. Isaac was made the man of the house. The ambition of
his mother was that he should become a farmer and stock-raiser.

It seems that the boy entered upon his farm duties with an alacrity that
was not to last. His heart was not in the work, but the desire to please
his mother spurred him forward.

On one occasion, being sent with a load of produce to Grantham, he
stopped to visit his old school, and during his call struck a bargain
with one of the boys for a copy of Descartes' Geometry. The purchase
exhausted his finances, so that he was unable to buy the articles his
mother had sent him for, but when he got home he explained that one
might get along without such luxuries as clothing, but a good Geometry
was a family necessity. About this time he made a water-clock, and also
that sundial which can be seen today, carved into the stone on the
corner of the house. He still continued his making of kites which had
been begun at Grantham; and gave the superstitious neighbors a thrill by
flying kites at night with lighted lanterns made from paper, attached to
the tails. He made water-wheels and windmills, and once constructed a
miniature mill that he ran by placing a mouse in a treadmill inside.

In the meantime the cows got into the corn, and the weeds in the garden
improved each shining hour. The fond mother was now sorely disappointed
in her boy, and made remarks to the effect that if she had looked after
his bringing up instead of entrusting him to an indulgent grandmother,
affairs at this time would not be in their present state. Parents are
apt to be fussy: they can not wait.

Matters reached a climax when the sheep that Isaac had been sent to
watch, overran the garden and demolished everything but the purslane and
ragweed, while all the time the young man was under the hedge working
out mathematical problems from his Descartes.

At this stage the mother called in her brother, the Reverend Mr.
Ayscough, and he advised that a boy who was so bound to study should be
allowed to study.

And the good man offered to pay the wages of a man to take Isaac's place
on the farm.

So, greatly to the surprise and pleasure of Mr. Stokes of Grantham,
Isaac one fine day returned with his books, just as if he had only been
gone a day instead of a year.

At the home of the apothecary the lad was thrice welcome. He had
endeared himself to the women of the household especially. He did not
play with other boys--their games and sports were absolutely outside of
his orbit. He was silent and so self-contained that he won from his
schoolfellows the sobriquet of "Old Coldfeet." Nothing surprised him; he
never lost his temper; he laughed so seldom that the incident was noted
and told to the neighbors; his attitude was one of abstraction, and when
he spoke it was like a judge charging a jury with soda-water.

All his spare time was given up to whittling, pounding, sawing, and
making mathematical calculations.

Not all of his inventions were toys, for among other things he
constructed a horseless carriage which was run by a crank and pumping
device, by the occupants.

The idea of the horseless carriage is a matter that has long been in the
minds of inventors.

Several men, supremely great, have tried their hands and head at it.
Leibnitz worked at it; Swedenborg prophesied the automobile, and made a
carriage, placing the horse inside, and did not give up the scheme until
the horse ran away with himself and demolished a year's work. The
government here interfered and placed an injunction against "the making
of any more such diabolical contrivances for the disturbance of the
public peace." All of which makes us believe that if either Edison or
Marconi had lived two hundred years ago, the bailiffs would have looked
after them with the butt end of the law for the regulation of wizards
and witches--wizards at Menlo Park being as bad as witches at Salem.

Newton's horseless carriage later came to grief in a similar way to
Swedenborg's invention--it worked so well and so fast that it turned a
complete somersault into a ditch, and its manipulation was declared to
be a pastime more dangerous than football.

Not all the things produced by Isaac about this time were failures. For
instance, among other things he made a table, a chair and a cupboard for
a young woman who was a fellow-boarder at the apothecary's. The
excellence of young Newton's handiwork was shown in that the articles
just mentioned outlasted both owner and maker.

       *       *       *       *       *

Much of the reminiscence concerning the Grantham days of Sir Isaac
Newton comes from the fortunate owner of that historic old table, chair
and cupboard. This was Mary Story, who was later Mrs. Vincent.

Miss Story was the same age as Isaac. She was just eighteen when the
furniture was made roycroftie--she was a young lady, grown, and wore a
dress with a train; moreover, she had been to London and had been
courted by a widower, while Isaac Newton was only a lad in roundabouts.

Age counts for little--it is experience and temperament that weigh in
the scale. Isaac was only a little boy, and Mary Story treated him like
one. And here seems a good place to quote what Doctor Charcot said, "In
arranging the formula for a great man, make sure you delay adolescence:
rareripes rot early."

Isaac and Mary became very good chums, and used to ramble the woods
together hand in hand, in a way that must have frightened them both had
they been on the same psychic plane. Isaac had about the same regard for
her that he might have had for a dear maiden aunt who would mend his old
socks and listen patiently, pretending to be interested when he talked
of parallelograms and prismatic spectra. But evidently Mary Story
thought of him with a thrill, for she stoutly resented the boys calling
him "Coldfeet."

In due time Isaac gravitated to Cambridge. Mary mooed a wee, but soon
consoled herself with a sure-enough lover, and was married to Mr.
Vincent, a worthy man and true, but one who had not sufficient
soul-caloric to make her forget her Isaac.

This friendship with Mary Story is often spoken of as the one
love-affair in the life of Sir Isaac Newton. It was all prosily Platonic
on his part, but as Mary lived out her life at Grantham, and Sir Isaac
Newton used to go there occasionally, and when he did, always called
upon her, the relationship was certainly noteworthy.

The only break in that lifelong friendship occurred when each was past

Sir Isaac Newton was paying his little yearly call at Grantham; and was
seated in a rustic arbor by the side of Mrs. Vincent, now grown gray,
and the mother of a goodly brood, well grown up. As they thus sat
talking of days agone, his thoughts wandered off upon quadratic
equations, and to aid his mind in following the thread, he
absent-mindedly lighted his pipe, and smoked in silence. As the tobacco
died low, he gazed about for a convenient utensil to use in pushing the
ashes down in the bowl of his pipe. Looking down he saw the lady's hand
resting upon his knee, and he straightway utilized the forefinger of his
vis-a-vis. A suppressed feminine screech followed, but the fires of
friendship were not quenched by so slight an incident, which Mrs.
Vincent knew grew out of temperament, and not from wrong intent.

She lived to be eighty-five, and to the day of her death caressed the
scar--the cicatrice of a love-wound. All of which seems to prove that
old women can be quite as absurd as young ones--goodness me!

       *       *       *       *       *

When Isaac was eighteen, Master Stokes was so well impressed with his
star scholar that he called in the young lad's uncle, the Reverend Mr.
Ayscough, and insisted that the boy be sent to Cambridge. The uncle
being a Cambridge man himself thought this the proper thing to do.

On June Fifth, Sixteen Hundred Sixty-one, Isaac presented his
credentials from his uncle and Mr. Stokes, and was duly entered in
Trinity College as a subsizar, which means that he was admitted on
suspicion. A part of the duties of a subsizar was to clean boots, scrub
floors and perform various other delightful tasks which everybody else

To be at Trinity College in any capacity was paradise for this boy. He
thirsted for knowledge: to know, to do, to perform--these things were
his desire. He had been brought up to work, anyway, and to a country boy
toil is no punishment. "I knew that if worse came to worst I could get
work in the town making furniture and earn a man's wage," he said.

In a month he had passed his first examinations and was made a sizar.
Before this he had been fag to everybody, but now he was fag to the
Seniors only. He not only made their beds and cleaned their rooms, but
also worked their examples in mathematics, and thus commanded their

Once, being called upon in class to recite from Euclid, he declined and
shocked the professor by saying, "It is a trifling book--I have
mastered it and thrown it aside." And it was no idle boast--he knew the
book as the professor did not. When he arrived at Cambridge, he carried
in his box a copy of Sanderson's Logic presented to him by his
uncle--the uncle having no use for it. It happened to be one of the
textbooks in use at Trinity. When Isaac heard lectures on Sanderson he
found he knew the book a deal better than the tutor, a thing the tutor
shortly acknowledged before the class. This caused young Mr. Newton to
stand out as a prodigy. Usually students have to rap for admittance to
the higher classes, but now the teachers came and sought him out. One
professor told him he was about to take up Kepler's Optics with some
post-graduate students--would young Mr. Newton come in? Isaac begged to
be excused until he could examine the book. The volume was loaned to
him. He tore the vitals out of it and digested them. When the lectures
began, he declined to go because he had mastered the subject as far as
Kepler carried it.

Genius seems to consist in the ability to concentrate your rays and
focus them on one point. Isaac Newton could do it. "On a Winter day I
took a small glass and so centered the sun's rays that I burned a hole
in my coat," he wrote in his subsizar journal.

The youth possessed an imperturbable coolness: he talked little, but
when he spoke it was very frankly and honestly. From any other his words
would have had a presumptuous and boastful sound. As it was he was
respected and beloved. At Cambridge his face and features commended him:
he looked like another Cambridge man, one Milton--John Milton--only his
face was a little more stern in its expression than that of the author
of "Paradise Lost."

In two years' time Isaac Newton was a scholar of whom all Cambridge
knew. He had prepared able essays on the squaring of curved and crooked
lines, on errors in grinding lenses and the methods of rectifying them,
and in the extraction of roots where the cubes were imperfect: he had
done things never before attempted by his teachers. When they called
upon him to recite, it was only for the purpose of explaining truths
which they had not mastered.

In Sixteen Hundred Sixty-four, being in his twenty-second year, Isaac
Newton was voted a free scholarship, which provided for board, books and
tuition. On this occasion he was examined in Euclid by Doctor Barrow,
the Head Master of Trinity.

Newton could solve every problem, but could not explain why or how. His
methods were empirical--those of his own.

Many men with a modicum of mathematical genius work in this way, and in
practical life the plan may serve all right. But now it was shown to
Newton that a schoolman must not only know how to work out great
problems, but also why he goes at it in a certain way; otherwise,
colleges are vain--we must be able to pass our knowledge along. The
really great man is one who knows the rules and then forgets them, just
as the painter of supreme merit must be a realist before he evolves into
an impressionist.

Newton now acknowledged his mistake in reference to Euclid, and set to
work to master the rules. This graciousness in accepting advice, and the
willingness to admit his lapse, if he had been hasty, won for him not
only the scholarship, but also the love of his superiors. Milton was a
radical who made enemies, but Newton was a radical who made friends. He
avoided iconoclasm, left all matters of theology to the specialists, and
accepted the Church as a necessary part of society. His care not to
offend fixed his place in Cambridge for life.

It was Cambridge that fostered and encouraged his first budding
experiments; it was there he was sustained in his mightiest hazards; and
it was within her walls that the ripe fruit of his genius was garnered
and gathered. When his fame had become national and he was called to
higher offices than Cambridge supplied, Cambridge watched his career
with the loving interest of a mother, and the debt of love he fully
paid, for it was very largely through his name and fame that Cambridge
first took her place as one of the great schools of the world.

       *       *       *       *       *

Newton took his degree of Bachelor of Arts at Cambridge, in January, in
the year Sixteen Hundred Sixty-five. The faculty of Trinity would not
even consider his leaving the college: he was as valuable to them as he
would be now if he were a famous football-player. Besides the
scholarship, there were ways provided so he could earn money by private
tutoring and giving lectures in the absence of the professors.

He had written his essay on fluxions, described their application to
fluents and tangents, and devised a plan for finding the radius of
curvity in crooked lines. In August of the same year that Newton was
given his degree, the college was dismissed on account of an epidemic,
and Newton went home to Woolsthorpe to kill time. In September, Sixteen
Hundred Sixty-five, he then being twenty-three, while seated in his
mother's garden, Newton saw that storied apple fall. What pulled it
down? Some force tugging at it, surely!

Galileo had experimented with falling bodies, and had proved that the
weight and size of a falling body had nothing to do with its velocity,
save as its size and shape might be affected by the friction of the
atmosphere. The first person to put into print the story of the falling
apple was Voltaire, whose sketch of Newton is a little classic which the
world could ill afford to lose. Adam, William Tell and Isaac Newton each
had his little affair with an apple, but with different results.

The falling apple suggested to Newton that there was some power in the
ground that was constantly pulling things toward the center of the

This power extended straight down into the earth--he knew it--he had
dropped a stone into a mine, and had also dropped things from steeples.
He dropped apples from kites by an ingenious device of two strings, and
he concluded that an apple taken a hundred miles up in the air would
return to earth.

He then began to speculate as to just what a body would do a thousand or
ten thousand miles from the earth. So high as we could go, or as deep as
we could dig, this drawing power was always present. The Law of

If a cannon-ball was fired in a straight line at a distant target, the
gunner had to elevate the aim if he would hit the target, for the ball
described a curve and would keep dropping to the earth until it struck
the ground. Something was pulling it down: what was it? The Law of

The moon was attracted toward us and would surely fall into us, but for
the fact that there were other attractions drawing her toward them. The
movements of the planets were owing to the fact that they were obeying
attractions. They were moving in curves, just like cannon-balls in
motion. They had two movements, also, like the cannon-ball.

Newton had noticed that the stars within a certain territory all moved
in similar directions, and so must be acted upon by the same influences.
The Law of Gravitation!

It is held by many people in East Aurora and elsewhere that Newton's
invention is a devilish device originated for the benefit of surgeons
and crockery-dealers. But this is not wholly true.

Without this Law of Gravitation the Earth could not retain her spherical
shape: only through this constant drawing in toward the center could she

The other planets, too, must be round or they could not exist, and so
they also had this same quality of gravity in common with the Earth--a
drawing in of everything toward the center. Here was clearly a positive
discovery--this similarity of the heavenly bodies!

Every one of the heavenly bodies was exerting a constant attraction
toward all other heavenly bodies, and this attractive power must be in
proportion to the distance they were from the object acted upon. Thus
were their movements and orbits accounted for.

At this time Newton was perfectly familiar with Kepler's Law, that the
squares of the periodic times of a planet were as the cubes of its
distance from the sun. And from this, he inferred that the attraction
varied as the square of the planet's distance from the sun.

Here he was working on territory that had never been surveyed. At
first, in his exuberance, he thought to figure out the size and weight
of each planet quickly by measuring its attractive power. He did not
realize that he had cut out for himself work that would require many men
and several centuries to cover, but surely he was on the right scent--a
finite man keen upon the secrets of the Infinite!

He was still at his mother's old home in the country, without scientific
apparatus or the stimulus of colleagues, when we find by a record in his
journal that antique groan because there were only twenty-four hours in
a day, and that eight were required for sleep and eight more for

A subject a little nearer home than planetary attraction had now
switched him off from measuring and weighing the stars. He was hard at
work in his mother's little sitting-room, with the windows darkened,
much to that good woman's perplexity.

By shutting out all light from the windows and allowing the sun's rays
to enter by a little, circular aperture, he had gotten the sunlight
captured and tamed where he could study it. This ray of light he
examined with a small hand-glass he himself had made. In looking at the
ray, quite accidentally, he found it could be deflected and sent off at
will in various directions. When thrown on the wall, instead of being
simply white light it had seven distinct colors beginning with violet
and running down to red. So white light was not a single element: it
was made up of various rays which had to be united in order to give us

Eureka! He had found the secret of the rainbow--the sun's rays broken up
and separated by the refracting agency of clouds!

Well does Darwin declare that the separation of sunlight into its
component parts, and the invention of the spectrum, have marked an
advance in man's achievement such as the world had not seen since the
time of wonder-working Archimedes.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Cambridge University was closed until October, year of Sixteen
Hundred Sixty-seven. Most of the intervening time Newton spent at the
home of his mother, but from accounts of his we can see that the College
people kept their eagle-eye upon him, for they sent remittances to him
regularly for "commons."

When he returned to Cambridge he was assigned to the "spiritual
chamber," which was a room next to the chapel, that had formerly been
reserved as a guest-room for visiting dignitaries.

In March, Sixteen Hundred Sixty-eight, he was given the degree of Master
of Arts. His studies now were of a very varied kind. He was required to
give one lecture a week on any subject of his own choosing. Needless to
say his themes were all mathematical or scientific. Just what they were
can best be inferred by consulting his cashbook, since the lectures
themselves were not written out and all memoranda concerning them have
disappeared. This account-book shows that his expenditures were for a
Gunter's Book (he who invented the Gunter's Chain), a magnet and a
compass, glue, bulbs, putty, antimony, vinegar, white lead, salts of
tartar, and lenses.

And in addition there are a few interesting items such as one sees in
the Diary of George Washington: "Lost at cards, five shillings."
"Treating at tavern, ten shillings." "Binding my Bible, three
shillings." "Spent on my cousin, one pound, two." "Expenses for wetting
my degree, sixteen shillings."

The last item shows that times have changed but little: this scientist
and philosopher par excellence had to moisten his diploma at the tavern
for the benefit of good fellows who little guessed with whom they drank.

He also had "poor relations" come to visit him; and it is significant
that while there are various items showing where he lost money at cards,
there are no references to any money won at the same business, from
which we infer that while there was no one at Cambridge who could follow
him in his studies, there yet were those who could deal themselves
better hands when it came to the pasteboards.

Evidently he got discouraged at playing cards, for after the year
Sixteen Hundred Sixty-eight, there are no more items of "treating at the
tavern" or "lost at cards." The boys had tried to educate him, but had
not succeeded. In card exploitations he fell a victim of arrested

I suppose it will not cause any one a shock to be told that "the
greatest thinker of all time" was not exactly a perfect man.

So let the truth be known that throughout his life Newton had a
well-defined strain of superstitious belief running through his
character. He never quite relinquished the idea of transmutation of
metals, and at times astrology was quite as interesting to him as

In writing to a friend who was about to pay a long visit to the mines of
Hungary, he says, "Examine most carefully and ascertain just how and
under what conditions Nature transforms iron into copper and copper into
silver and gold."

In his laboratory he had specimens of iron ore that contained copper,
and also samples of copper ore that contained gold, and from this he
argued that these metals were transmutable, and really in the act of
transmutation when the process was interfered with by the miner's pick.

He had transformed a liquid into a mass of solid crystals instantly, and
all of the changes possible in light, which he had discovered, had
enlarged his faith to a point where he declared, "Nothing is

It is somewhat curious that Isaac Newton, who had no soft sex-sentiment
in his nature, quite unlike Galileo, still believed in alchemy and
astrology, while Galileo's cold intellect at once perceived the fallacy
of these things.

Galileo also saw at once that for the sun to stand still at Joshua's
command would really mean that the Earth must cease her motion, since
the object desired was to prolong the day. Sir Isaac Newton, who
discovered the Law of Gravitation, yet believed that at the command of a
barbaric chieftain, this Law was arrested, and that all planetary
attraction was made to cease while he fought the Philistines for the
possession of pasture-land to which he had no title.

Galileo did not know as much as Newton about planetary attraction, but
very early in his career he perceived that the Bible was not a book that
could be relied upon technically.

With Newton the Bible presented no difficulties. He regularly attended
church and took part in the ritual. Religion was one thing and his daily
work another. He kept his religion as completely separate from his life
as did Gladstone, who believed the Mosaic account of Creation was
literally true, and yet had a clear, cool, calculating head for facts.

The greatest financial exploiter in America today is an Orthodox
Christian, taking an active part in missionary work and the spread of
the Gospel.

In his family he is gentle, kind and tender; he is a good neighbor, a
punctilious churchgoer, a leader in Sunday-School, and a considerate
teacher of little children.

In business relations he is as conscienceless as Tamerlane, who built a
mountain of skulls as a monument to himself. He is cold, calculating,
and if opposed, vindictive. On occasion he is absolutely without heart:
compassion, mercy or generosity are not then in his make-up.

The best lawyers procurable are paid princely sums to study for him the
penal code, and legislatures have even revised it for his benefit.
Eviction, destruction, suicide and insanity have even trod in his train.
A picture of him makes you think of that dark and gloomy canvas where
Cæsar, Alexander and Napoleon ride slowly side by side through a sea of
stiffened corpses. Bribery, coercion, violence and even murder have been
this man's weapons. He is the richest man in America. And yet, as I said
in the beginning, all this represents only one side of his nature: he
reads his chapter in the Bible each evening by his family fireside, and
tenderly kisses his grandchildren good-night.

The individual who imagines that embezzlers are all riotous in nature,
and by habit are spendthrifts, does not know humanity. The embezzler is
one man; the model citizen another, and yet both souls reside in the one

Nero had a passion for pet pigeons, and the birds used to come at his
call, perch on his shoulder and take dainty crumbs from his lips.

The natures of some men are divided up into water-tight compartments.
Sir Isaac Newton kept his religion in one compartment, and his science
in another--they never got together.

Voltaire has said, "When Sir Isaac Newton discovered the Law of
Gravitation he excited the envy of the learned men of the world; but
they more than got even with him when he wrote a book on the prophecies
of the Bible."

       *       *       *       *       *

When Newton was only twenty-seven years old he was elected the Lucasian
Professor of Mathematics at Trinity, an office that carried with it a
goodly salary and also very much honor. Never before had so young a man
held this chair.

Newton was a pioneer in announcing the physical properties of light.

Every village photographer now fully understands this, but when Newton
first proclaimed it he created a whirlwind of disapproval.

When a man at that time put forth an unusual thought, it was regarded as
a challenge. Teachers and professors all over Great Britain, and also in
Germany and France, at once set about to show the fallacy of Newton's

Newton had issued a pamphlet with diagrams showing how to study light,
and the apparatus was so simple and cheap that the "Newton experiments"
were tried everywhere in schoolrooms.

People always combat a new idea when first presented, and so Newton
found himself overwhelmed with correspondence.

Cheap arguments were fired into Cambridge in volleys. These were backed
up by quibbling men--Pro Bono Publico, Veritas and Old Subscriber--men
incapable of following Newton's scientific mind. In his great
good-nature and patience Newton replied to his opponents at length.

His explanations were construed into proof that he was not sure of his
ground. One man challenged him to debate the matter publicly, and we
hear of his going up to London, king that he was, to argue with a

Such terms as "falsifier," "upstart," "pretender," were freely used, and
poor Newton for a time was almost in despair.

He had thought that the world was anxious for truth! Some of his
fellow-professors now touched their foreheads and shook their heads
ominously as he passed. He had gone so far beyond them that the cries of
"whoa!" were unnoticed.

It is here worth noting that the universal fame of Sir Isaac Newton was
brought about by his rancorous enemies, and not by his loving friends.
Gentle, honest, simple and direct as was his nature, he experienced
notoriety before he knew fame.

To the world at large he was a "wizard" and a "juggler" before he was
acknowledged a teacher of truth--a man of science.

When the dust of conflict concerning Newton's announcement of the
qualities of light had somewhat subsided, he turned to his former
discovery, the Law of Gravitation, and bent his mighty mind upon it. The
influence of the moon upon the Earth, the tilt of the Earth, the
flattening of the poles, the recurring tides, the size, weight and
distance of the planets, now occupied Newton's attention. And to study
these phenomena properly, he had to construct special and peculiar

In Sixteen Hundred Eighty-seven the results of his discoveries were
brought together in one great book, the "Principia." Newton was
forty-five years old then.

He was still the Cambridge professor, but was well known in political
circles in London on account of having been sent there at various times
to represent the University in a legal way.

His diplomatic success led to his being elected a member of Parliament.
Among other great men whom he met in London was Samuel Pepys, who kept a
diary and therein recorded various important nothings about "Mr. Isaac
Newton of Cambridge--a schoolteacher of degree, with a great dignity of
manner and pleasing Countenance." It seems Newton thought so well of
Pepys that he wrote him several letters, from which Samuel gives us
quotations. Pepys really claimed the honor of introducing Newton into
good society.

Among others with whom Newton made friends in Parliament was Mr.
Montague, who shortly afterward became Secretary of the Exchequer.
Montague made his friend Newton a Warden of the Mint, with pay about
double that which he had received while at Cambridge.

In this public work Newton brought such talent and diligence to bear
that in Sixteen Hundred Ninety-seven he was made Master of the Mint, at
a salary of fifteen hundred pounds a year--a princely sum in those days.

There is no doubt that the fact that Newton was a devout Churchman and
an upholder of the Established Order was a great, although perhaps
unconscious, diplomatic move.

His delightful personality--gracious, suave, dignified and silent--won
for him admiration wherever he would go. In argument his fine reserve
and excellent temper were most convincing. Had he turned his attention
to the law he would have become Chief Justice of England.

In Seventeen Hundred Three he was elected President of the Royal
Society, an office he held continuously for twenty-five years, and which
tenure was only terminated by his death.

In Seventeen Hundred Five the Queen visited Cambridge, and there with
much pageantry bestowed the honor of Knighthood which changed Professor
Newton into Sir Isaac Newton.

But the man himself was still the simple, modest gentleman. The title
did not spoil him--he was a noble man from boyhood.

His duties as Master of the Mint did not interfere with his studies and
scientific investigations. He revised and rewrote his "Principia," and
in Seventeen Hundred Thirteen the new edition was issued. One copy was
most sumptuously bound, and Sir Isaac, who was a special favorite at
Court, presented it in person to the Queen. Those who are interested in
such things may, by applying to the Curator of the British Museum, see
and turn the leaves of this book, reading the gracious inscription of
the author, while a solemn man in brass buttons stands behind.

Newton died March Twentieth, Seventeen Hundred Twenty-seven, at the age
of eighty-five, and was buried in Westminster Abbey.

The verdict of humanity concerning Sir Isaac Newton has been summed up
for us thus by Laplace: "His work was pre-eminent above all other
products of the human intellect."

[Illustration: GALILEO]


     I am inclined to believe that the intention of the Sacred
     Scriptures is to give to mankind the information necessary for
     their salvation.

     But I do not hold it necessary to believe that the same God who has
     endowed us with senses, with speech, with intellect, intended that
     we should neglect the use of these, and seek by other means for
     knowledge which these are sufficient to procure for us; especially
     in a science like astronomy, of which so little notice is taken by
     the Scriptures that none of the planets, except the sun and moon
     and once or twice only Venus, by the name of Lucifer, are so much
     as named at all.

     This therefore being granted, methinks that in the discussion of
     natural problems we ought not to begin at the authority of texts of
     Scriptures but at sensible experiments and necessary



With the history of Galileo and Copernicus, there is connected a
man of such stern and withal striking individuality that the story of
the rise and evolution of astronomy can not be told and this man's name
left out. Giordano Bruno was born in Fifteen Hundred Forty-eight. His
parents were obscure people, and his childhood and early education are
enveloped in mystery. Occasional passages in his writings refer to his
sympathy for outcast children, and he quotes the saying of Jesus,
"Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of
such is the Kingdom of Heaven." He then refers to himself as having been
a waif and robbed of the love that was his due, "the lawful, legal
heritage of every child, sent without its consent into a world of
struggle and strife, where only love makes existence possible."

Evidently, the early life of Bruno was a symbol and shadow of what Fate
held in store for him.

The first authentic knowledge we have of Bruno was when he was
twenty-two years old. He was then a Dominican monk, and he is brought to
our attention because he distinguished himself by incurring the
displeasure of his superiors. His particular offense was that he had
declared, "The infallibility of the Pope is only in matters spiritual,
and does not apply to the science of material things."

Strangely enough, these words of Bruno are almost identical with words
recently expressed by Cardinal Satolli.

The difference in their reception is owing to a mere matter of a few
hundred years. Truth is a question of time and place. Bruno was banished
for his temerity, and Satolli wears the red hat. Verily, yesterday's
heresy is today's orthodoxy.

       *       *       *       *       *

The attitude of the Church toward the teachings of Copernicus, after the
death of the man, was one of patronizing pity.

Instead of putting his great book, "Revolutions of the Heavenly Bodies,"
on the "Index," the wiser plan was adopted of paying no attention to it.
Occasionally, however, the subject was broached by some incautious
novitiate, and then the custom was to treat the Copernican Theory as a
mere hypothesis, and its author as a mental defective.

Bruno would not have it so. To him it was a very important matter
whether the sun revolved around the earth as the priests taught, or the
earth revolved around the sun as set forth in the work of Copernicus. He
came to the conclusion that Copernicus was right, and said so.

It was ordered that he should cease lecturing on the subject of
astronomy and apply himself to spiritual matters. He argued that he
should be allowed to think and speak what he pleased about the stars,
since the whole matter was one of opinion, and even the Pope did not
know, positively, the final facts of astronomy, and if the Copernican
Theory was a hypothesis, so also was the Ptolemaic Theory held by the

It will be seen that Copernicus and Bruno were very different in
temperament: one was gentle, diplomatic, cautious; the other was
headstrong, firm and full of argument.

Bruno was given his choice: to cease the study of astronomy or to lay
aside the Dominican frock. The hardihood of the young man was seen in
that he unfrocked himself, thinking that once outside of the order he
was not responsible to a superior and could teach what he pleased, so
long as it was not "heresy."

Heresy is treason to the Church, but Bruno could not see how spiritual
dogma could cover the facts of Physical Science, since new facts were
constantly being discovered, and the material universe could only be
understood by being studied. He was too innocent to comprehend that a
vast majority of the people believed that popes, cardinals and priests
knew everything, and that when any branch of knowledge was questioned it
placed the priests in doubt. Certainly the Church has not opposed
Science--she has only opposed heresy. But the curious fact is that
advancing Science has usually been to the Church heretical. When Bruno
opposed anything that the priests taught, he opposed the Church. He was
warned to leave Rome--his life was in danger. He fled to Geneva, the
home of Calvin.

Here he thought, surely, he could speak and write as he chose. But alas!
Protestantism cared even less about Science than did the monks, and
"heresy" to John Calvin was quite as serious a matter as it was to
Calvin's competitor, the Pope of Rome.

The Protestants of Geneva gave Bruno scant attention; they had never
heard of Copernicus, and the movements of the stars were as nothing to
them, since the world was soon to come to an end.

The learned men were even then making mathematical calculations, based
on the prophecies of the Old Testament, as to how soon the general
destruction would take place.

Bruno sought to argue them out of their childishness, with the result
that he got himself marked as an infidel and a dangerous man.

From Geneva he went to Lyons, then to Paris, where his personality made
itself felt, and he was given a hearing at the University. Here he
remained for several years, when he went to England, arriving there in
Fifteen Hundred Eighty-four, the same year that a rustic by the name of
William Shakespeare, from Stratford, reached London. Whether they ever
met is doubtful.

Bruno spoke five languages, and his polite accomplishments afforded him
an immediate entry into the best circles of society. He was entertained
at the home of Sir Philip Sidney, and afterward carried on an extensive
correspondence with this prince of gentlemen. Greville presented Bruno
to Queen Elizabeth, who invited him to lecture at the Court on his
favorite theme.

This he did, and it is quite probable that the noble lords and ladies
left "calls" so they could be awakened when the lecture was over and
congratulate the speaker of the evening on his effort.

At Oxford there were disputations where Bruno's faultless Latin
impressed the pedants much more than did his argument, so they offered
him a position as Professor of Languages, but this he smilingly
declined, excusing himself on the grounds that he had important business
on the Continent: and he had. Already they were collecting fagots for
his benefit.

He returned to Paris and began his lecturing on Science. His arguments
had convinced one person at least, and that was himself, that as the
Church knew nothing of Physical Science, why, possibly it stood in a
like position regarding spiritual truth. That is to say, the so-called
"sacred truths" were mere assumptions piled up to satisfy the people,
and the ignorance and superstition of the many marked high water for the
teaching of the priests. The business of the Church was to satisfy the
people, and not enlighten them, for if the people became enlightened
enough they would see that they did not need the Church, and then where
were the honors and the riches and the red hats!

Bruno cleared his mind of its cobwebs by expression, just as we all
do--that is what expression is for.

The people really dictate to the priests what they shall teach;
moreover, the people absolutely refuse to listen to anything in which
they do not believe, and decline to pay for preaching that is not done
to their own dictation. The business, then, of the Church is to study
carefully the ignorance of the people and conform to it. On this one
thing does its stability depend. Therefore it must, as a matter of
self-preservation, suppress any chance intellect that is ahead of its
time, lest this man honeycomb the whole structure of churchly dogma.

Bruno said that, just as the world seemed to stand still and the stars
move around us, so did the Church seem to most people a fixed fact. But
exactly the opposite was true; the Church moves as the people move, and
unless men outside of the Church educate the people, or the people
educate themselves, they will forever remain in darkness.

Bruno offered to debate the question publicly with the Bishop of Paris.
That worthy was no match for Bruno in point of oratory, but when we can
not answer a man's reasons, all is not lost, for we can at least call
him vile names, and this is often quite as effectual as logic.

The Bishop launched a fusillade of theological lyddite at Bruno,
declaring that any Churchman who would so much as hold converse with
such a wretch was disgraced forever, and that the propositions Bruno
wished to argue were unthinkable to a self-respecting man. He declared
that it was only the mercy of God that kept the lightning from striking
Bruno dead as he wrote his heresies.

Matters were getting strained, and the authorities, fearing
insurrection, acted upon the advice of the good Bishop and expelled
Bruno from France. He went to Wittenberg, in his innocence, intending to
tack on the church-door there his theses. But Wittenberg had no use for
Bruno--he believed too much, or too little, Luther could not tell which.

The University of Zurich now offered to let the exile come there and
teach what he wished. Thither he journeyed and there his restless mind
seemed for the first time to find a home. His writings were slowly
making head, and around him there clustered a goodly group of students
who believed in him and loved him.

In the midst of this oasis in a troubled life, word came from some of
the old-time friends he had known in Rome. They were now in Venice, and
wished to have him come there and lecture. Bruno thought that his little
leaven was leavening the whole lump--he was not without ambition--he was
flattered by the invitation. He accepted it and went to Venice.

It was simply a ruse to get the man within striking distance. Very soon
after his arrival in Venice he was arrested by agents of the Inquisition
and secretly taken to Rome. He was lodged in a dungeon of the Castle
Saint Angelo. Just what his experience was there we can not say--the
horrors of it all are not ours, for no friend of Bruno's was allowed to
approach, and what he there wrote was destroyed.

We do know, however, that he was asked to recant, and we know he
refused. We also know that he repeated his heresies and hurled back
into the teeth of his accusers the invective they heaped upon him.

Bribery, persuasion, threat and torture were tried in turn, but all in
vain, for Bruno would not swerve. Unlike Savonarola his quivering flesh
could not wring from his heart an apology.

He scorned the rack and thumbscrew, declaring they could not reach his
soul. He knew that death would be the end; he prayed for it, and even
thought to hasten it by an aggravating manner and harshness of speech
toward his captors, seemingly quite unnecessary.

For seven long years he was in prison. He was burned alive on the
Seventh of February, Sixteen Hundred, aged fifty-two.

When bound to the stake he turned his face from the crucifix that was
held before him, and sought to kiss the fagots. His ashes were thrown to
the four winds. Thus perished Bruno.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the year Fifteen Hundred Sixty-four, Galileo Galilei was born;
consequently, he was thirty-six years old when Bruno was executed. He
had known Bruno, had attended many of his lectures, and had followed his
career with interest; and while he agreed with him concerning the
Copernican theory of the earth's revolution, he took exceptions to
Bruno's arbitrary ways of presenting the matter, and also to his
scathing criticisms of theology. At this time Galileo could not see that
the extravagant words of Bruno were largely forced from him by the
violence of the opposition he had encountered. Galileo fully believed
that Bruno had been put to death for treason to the Church, and not on
account of his astronomical teachings.

These men had come up from totally different stations in life. Bruno was
a man of the people--a self-made man--who bore upon his person the marks
of the hammer. Galileo was of noble blood, and traced an ancestry to a
Gonfalonier of Florence. From early infancy he had enjoyed association
with polite persons, and had sat on the knees of greatness.

When eighteen he was graduated from the University of Pisa; and at that
early age his family and friends were comparing him, not without reason,
to a Genius who had come out of Tuscany some years before, Leonardo da

Parents either exaggerate the talents of their children or else
belittle them. The woman who bore George Gordon called him "that lame
brat"; but we call him "The Poet Byron."

Benjamin Franklin ran away from home, and his family thought themselves
disgraced by his printed utterances. George Washington's mother, after
being told that her son had been made Commander-in-Chief, laughed
knowingly and said, "They don't know him as well as I do!" Voltaire's
father posted his son as irresponsible, tied up a legacy so "the
scapegrace could not waste it," invested good money in daily prayers to
be said for the scapegrace's salvation, and then died of a broken heart,
just as play-actors do on the stage, only this man died sure enough.
Alfred Tennyson at thirteen wrote a poem addressed to his grandfather;
the old gentleman gave him a guinea for it, and then wrote these words:
"This is the first and last penny you will ever receive for writing
poetry." The father of Shelley misquoted Job, and said, "Oh, to be
brought down to the grave in grief through the follies of an ungrateful
child!" And Labouchere says that one of the four brothers of Shakespeare
used to explain that he wasn't the play-actor who wrote "Hamlet" and
"Othello," lest, mayhap, his name should be smirched.

Galileo's mother had that beautiful dream which I believe all good
mothers have: that her son might be the savior of the world. As he grew
to manhood, her faith in him did not relax.

In childhood Galileo showed great skill in invention. He made curious
toys with cogs and wheels and eccentrics; whittled out violins, and
transformed simple reeds into lutes, upon which he played music of his
own composition. In fact, so great was his skill in music that at twenty
they wished to make him official organist and choirmaster of the
Cathedral. His personal taste, however, ran more to painting; for some
months he worked at his canvases with an ardor too great to last long.
If ever a man was touched by the Spirit of the Renaissance, it was
surely young Galileo. The Archbishop of Pisa said, "Upon him has fallen
the mantle of Michelangelo."

He gave lectures on Art, and taught Painting by actual example. One of
his pupils, and a great artist, Lodovico Cigoli, always maintained that
it was to the inspiration and counsel of Galileo that he owed his

There are really only two things to see at Pisa: one is the Leaning
Tower, from which Galileo with his line and plummet made some of his
most interesting experiments; and the other is the Cathedral where the
visitor beholds the great bronze lamp that is suspended from the vaulted
ceiling. When he was about twenty-one, sitting in the silence of this
church (which the passing years have only made more beautiful), he
noticed that there was a slight swinging motion to this lamp--it was
never still. Galileo set to work timing and measuring these
oscillations, and he found that they were always done in exact measure
and in perfect rhythm. This led, some years later, to perfecting an
astronomical clock for measuring movements of the stars. And from this
was originated the pendulum-clock, where before we had depended on

The endeavor of Galileo's parents had been to keep him ignorant of
mathematics and practical life, that he might blossom forth as a saint
who would sing and play and make pictures like those of Leonardo, and
carve statues like Michelangelo, only better.

But parents plan, and Fate disposes.

In Fifteen Hundred Eighty-three, Ostilio Ricci, the famous
mathematician, chanced to be in Pisa, on his way from Rome to Milan, and
gave a lecture at the Court, on Geometry.

Galileo was not interested in the theme, but he was in the speaker, and
so he attended the lecture.

This action proved one of the pivotal points in his life.

"Whether other people really teach us anything, is a question," says
Stanley Hall; "but they do sometimes give us impulses, and make us find
out for ourselves."

Ricci made Galileo find out for himself.

He turned to Archimedes from Plato. Geometry became a passion, and a
very wise man has told us that we never accomplish anything, either good
or bad, without passion. Passion means one hundred pounds of steam on
the boiler, with love sitting on the safety-valve, when the blow-off is
set for fifty.

It surely is risky business, I will admit; accidents will occur
occasionally and explosions sometimes happen, but everything is risky,
even life, since few get out of it alive.

And so, to drop back to the original proposition, nothing great and
sublime is ever done without passion.

Galileo had his mechanical whooping-cough, musical mumps, artistic
measles, and now the hectic flush of mathematics burned on his cheeks.
He talked and dreamed mathematics.

Euclid was in the saddle.

Ricci became interested in the talented young scholar and remained
longer at Pisa than he had intended, that they might sit up all night
and surprise the rising sun, discussing beauties of dimensions and the
wonders of dynamics.

Together they went to Florence, where Ricci introduced his pupil as a
pedagogic sample of the goods, just as Booker Washington usually takes
with him on his travels a few ebony homo bricks as his specimens from

The beauty and the grace of Galileo's speech and presence put the
abstract Ricci in the shadow. The right man can make anything
interesting, just as Dean Swift could write an entrancing essay with the
broomstick as a central theme. The man's the thing, Hamlet to the
contrary, notwithstanding.

Galileo knew the Florentine heart, and so he gave lectures on a
Florentine: one Dante, who loved a girl named Beatrice.

The young Pisan drew diagrams of Dante's Inferno--and surely it was
nobody's else. He gave its size, height, weight, and told how to reach

He gave lectures on the Hydrostatic Balance and the Centers of Gravity,
and then published them as serials.

The Florentines crowned him with bay and enthusiastically proclaimed
him, "The Modern Archimedes."

       *       *       *       *       *

Pisa now put forth efforts to have her gifted son come home. There was
always rivalry between Pisa and Florence. Pisa could not afford to
supply Florence her men of genius--let her depend upon production from
home, or go without.

Galileo became Professor of Mathematics at the University of Pisa, a
life position, or at least one he could hold during good behavior.

One of the time-honored dictums of the day was that falling bodies fell
with a velocity proportioned to their weight. The question was first
thrashed out in the classroom; and after Galileo had slyly gotten all of
these scientific wiseacres to commit themselves, he invited them, with
their students, to the Leaning Tower.

Then he proved by ocular demonstrations that they were positively wrong.

It is very beautiful to teach Truth, but error should not be corrected
with too much eclat. If the love of Truth, alone, was the guiding
impulse of Galileo, he might have secretly explained his theory to one
of the wiseacres, and this wiseacre could have casually demonstrated it,
so all the rest could have said, "That is what we always knew and

Instead of this, Galileo compelled the entire faculty to back water and
dine on fricasseed crow.

They got even by calling him "a scientific bastardino," and at his next
lecture he was roundly hissed. Soon after he was bluntly informed that
his office was to teach the young, and not to undo the old.

And that is the way the troubles of Galileo began.

He might then have apologized, and slipped back into peace and obscurity
and later been tucked in by kind oblivion. But he had tasted blood, and
the rabies of setting straight the scientific world, for its own good,
was upon him.

That he was wrong in the correction of his elders, he would not for a
moment admit; and he was even guilty of saying, "Antiquity can not
sanctify that which is wrong in reason and false in principle." Soon
after he committed another forepaugh by showing that a wonderful boat
invented by Giovanni de Medici for the purpose of fighting hostile
ships, would not work, since there were no men on board to guide it, and
its automatic steering apparatus would as likely run its nose into land,
as into the hull of the enemy.

He also decorated his argument with a few subtle touches as to the
beauty of fighting battles without going to war and risking life and

Men who are not kind to the faults of royalty can hope for small favor
in a monarchy, though the monarchy be a republic. Galileo was cut off
the Standard Oil payroll, and forced to apply to a teachers' agency,
that he might find employment.

He did not wait long; the rival University of Padua tendered him a
position on a silver platter; and the Paduans made much dole about how
unfortunate it was that men could not teach Truth in Italy, save at
Padua--alas! The Governing Board of Padua made a great stroke in
securing Galileo, and Pisa fell back on her Leaning Tower as her chief

From a position of mediocrity, the University of Padua gradually rose to
one of worldwide celebrity. Galileo remained at Padua from Fifteen
Hundred Ninety-two to Sixteen Hundred Ten, which years are famous not
alone through the wonderful inventions of Galileo, but because in that
same interval of time, at least thirty of Shakespeare's thirty-seven
plays were written. Surely, God was smiling on the planet Earth!

Galileo's salary was raised every year, starting at two hundred florins,
until it reached over one thousand florins, not to mention the numerous
gifts from grateful pupils, old and young. Students came to Padua from
all over the world to hear Galileo's lectures.

Starting with only a common classroom, the audience increased so fast
that a special auditorium was required that would seat two thousand
persons. It was during this time that Galileo invented the proportional
compasses, an instrument now in use everywhere, without the slightest
change having been made in it.

He also invented the thermometer; but greatest, best and most wonderful
of all, he produced an instrument through which he could view the stars,
and see them much magnified. With this instrument, he saw heavenly
bodies that had never been seen before; he beheld that Jupiter had
satellites which moved in orbits, and that Venus revolved, showing
different sides at different times, thus proving that which Copernicus
declared was true, but which, for lack of apparatus, he could not prove.

Galileo Galilei was getting to be more than a professor of
mathematics--he was becoming a power in the world.

The lever of his mighty mind was indeed finding a fulcrum.

       *       *       *       *       *

The year Sixteen Hundred Nine is forever fixed in history, through the
fact that in that year Galileo invented the telescope.

Every good thing is an evolution. "Specilla," or helps to read, had been
made, and sold privately and mysteriously, as early as the year Fourteen
Hundred. These first magnifying-glasses were associated with magic, or
wonder-working; the words "magnify" and "magic" having a common source
and a similar meaning. Magicians wore big square glasses, and by their
aid, some of them claimed to see things at a great distance; and also to
perceive things stolen, hidden or lost. Occasionally, the magician would
persuade his customer to try on the glasses, and then even common men
could see for themselves that there was something in the
scheme--goodness me! The use of spectacles was at first confined
entirely to these wonder-workers--or men who magnified things forever.
During the Fifteenth Century, public readers and occasionally priests
wore spectacles. To read was a miracle to most people, and a book was a
mysterious and sacred thing--or else a diabolical thing. The populace
would watch the man put on his "specillum," and the idea was everywhere
abroad that the magic glasses gave an ability to read; and that anybody
who was inspired by angels, or devils, who could get hold of spectacles,
could at once read from a book.

We hear of one magician who, about the year Fifteen Hundred, made a box
with a glass cover that magnified the contents. This great man would
catch a flea and show it to the people. Then he would place the flea in
the box and show it to them, and they would see that it had grown
enormously in an instant. The man could make it big or little, by just
taking off and putting on the cover of the box!

This individual worked wonders for a consideration, but Fate overtook
him and he was smothered under a feather bed for having too much wizard
in his cosmos. A wizard, be it known, is a male witch, and the Bible
says, "Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live," although it does not say
anything about wizards.

But please note this: the wizard who had that magic box and flea had
really the first microscope.

Galileo bought a pair of "magic glasses," or spectacles, about the year
Sixteen Hundred Seven; and his action, in so doing, was freely

On a visit to Venice, where glass had been manufactured since long
before the Flood, Galileo was looking through one of the
glass-factories, just as visitors do now, and one of the workmen showed
him a peculiar piece of glass which magnified the hairs on the back of
his hand many times.

In a very few days after this, Galileo heard that a Dutch
spectacle-maker had placed certain queer-shaped pieces of glass in a
tube, and offered to sell this tube to the Government, so by its use,
soldiers could see the movements of an enemy many miles away.

That night Galileo did not close his eyes in sleep. He thought out a
plan by which he could place pieces of glass in a tube, and bring the
stars close to the earth. By daylight the whole plan was clear in his
mind, and he hastened to the shop of the glassmakers.

There, two lenses were made, one plano-convex, and the other
plano-concave, and these were placed in a tube made of sheet copper. It
was tested on distant objects; and behold! they were magnified by three.
Would this tube show the stars magnified? Galileo knew of no reason why
it should not, but he paced his room in hot impatience, waiting for the
night to come with its twinkling wonders, that he might verify his
convictions. When the first yellow star appeared in the West, Galileo
turned his tube upon it, and behold! instead of twinkling points of
light, he saw a round mass--a world--moving through space, and not a
scintillating object with five points. The twinkling spikes, or points,
were merely an optical illusion of the unaided senses.

Galileo made no secret of his invention. It was called "Galileo's Tube,"
but some of the priests called it Galileo's "Magic Tube."

Yet it marked an era in the scientific world. Galileo endeavored
constantly to improve his instrument; and from a threefold magnifying
power, he finally made one that magnified thirty-two times.

Galileo made hundreds of telescopes, and sold them at moderate prices to
any one who would buy. He explained minutely the construction of the
instrument, showing clearly how it was made in accordance with the
natural laws of optics. His desire was to dissipate the superstition
that there was something diabolical or supernatural about the "Magic
Tube"--that, in fact, it was not magic, and the operator had no peculiar
powers; you had simply to comply with the laws of Nature, and any one
could see for himself.

It is hard for us, at this day, to understand the opposition that sprang
up against the telescope. We must remember that at this time belief in
witchcraft, fairies, sprites, ghosts, hobgoblins, magic and supernatural
powers was common. Men who believe in miracles make rather poor

There were books about "Magic," written by so-called scientific men,
whose standing in the world was quite as high as that of Galileo.

In Sixteen Hundred Ten, Galileo published his book entitled, "Sidera
Medicea," wherein he described the wonders that could be seen in the
heavens by the aid of the telescope. Among other things, he said the
Milky Way was not a great streak of light, but was composed of a
multitude of stars; and he made a map of the stars that could be seen
only with the aid of the telescope.

There resided in Venice at this time a scientific man by the name of
Porta, who was much more popular than Galileo. He was a priest, whose
piety and learning was unimpeached.

The year after Galileo issued his book, Porta put out a work much more
pretentious, called "Natural Magic." In this book Porta does not claim
that magicians all have supernatural powers; but he goes on to prove how
they deceive the world by the use of their peculiar apparatus, and
intimates that they sometimes sell their souls to the Devil, and then
are positively dangerous. He dives deep into science, history and his
own imagination to prove things.

The man was no fool--he constructed a kaleidoscope that showed an
absolute, geometrical symmetry, where in fact there was only confusion.
He showed how, by the use of mirrors, things could be made big, small,
tall, short, wide, crooked or distorted. He told of how magicians, by
the use of Galileo's Tube, could show seven stars where there was only
one; and he even made such a tube of his own and called the priests
together to look through it. He painted stars on the glass, and had men
look at the heavens. He even stuck a louse on the lens and located the
beast in the heavens, for the benefit of a doubting Cardinal. It was all
a joke, but at the time no sober, sincere man of Science could argue him
down. He owned "bum" telescopes that proved all kinds of things, to the
great amusement of the enemies of Galileo. The intent of Porta was to
expose the frauds and fallacies of Galileo. Porta also claimed that he
had seen telescopes by which you could look over a hill and around a
corner, but he did not recommend them, since by their use things are
often perceived that were not there. And so we see why the priests
positively refused to look through Galileo's Tube, or to believe
anything he said. Porta, and a few others like him, showed a deal more
than Galileo could and offered to locate stars anywhere on order.
Galileo had much offended these priests by his statements that the Bible
did not contain the final facts of Science, and now they were getting
even with a vengeance. It was all very much like the theological guffaw
that swept over Christendom when Darwin issued his "Origin of Species,"
and Talmage and Spurgeon set their congregations in a roar by gently
sarcastic references to monkey ancestry.

       *       *       *       *       *

Amid the general popping of theological small-arms, Galileo moved
steadily forward. If he had many enemies he surely had a few friends. As
he once had proved more than Pisa could digest, so now he was bringing
to the surface of things more truth than Padua could assimilate.

Venice too was getting uncomfortable. Even the Doge said, in reply to an
enthusiastic admirer of Galileo, "Your master is not famous: he is
merely notorious."

It was discovered that Galileo had been living with a woman by the name
of Marina Gamba, at Venice, even while he held the professorship at
Padua, and that they had a son, Vincenzo Gamba, and two daughters. One
of the enemy drew a map of the heavens, showing Galileo as the sun,
Marina Gamba as the moon, and around them circulated numerous little
satellites, which were supposed to be their children. The picture had so
great a vogue that the Doge issued an order that all copies of it be

Of Marina Gamba we know very little; but the fact that she made entries
in Galileo's journal and kept his accounts proves that she was a person
of considerable intelligence; and this, too, was at a time when
semi-oriental ideas prevailed and education was supposedly beyond the
feminine grasp.

Galileo did not marry, for the reason that he was practically a priest,
a teacher in a religious school, living with and looking after the
pupils; and the custom then was that whoever was engaged in such an
occupation should not wed.

The stormy opposition to Galileo was not without its advantages. We are
advertised no less by our rabid enemies than by our loving friends.
Cosimo the Second, Grand Duke of Tuscany, had intimated that Florence
would give the great astronomer a welcome. Galileo moved to Florence
under the protection of Cosimo, intending to devote all his time to

In giving up schoolteaching and popular lecturing, Galileo really made a
virtue of necessity. No orthodox lyceum course would tolerate him; he
was neither an impersonator nor an entertainer; the stereopticon and the
melodramatic were out of his line, and his passion for truth made him
impossible to the many.

He was treading the path of Bruno: the accusations, the taunts and
jeers, the denials and denunciations, were urging him on to an unseemly

Father Clavius said that Galileo never saw the satellites of Jupiter
until he had made an instrument that would create them; and if God had
intended that men should see strange things in the heavens, He would
have supplied them sufficient eyesight. The telescope was really a
devil's instrument.

Still another man declared that if the earth moved, acorns falling from
a high tree would all fall behind the tree and not directly under it.

Father Brini said that if the earth revolved, we would all fall off of
it into the air when it was upside down; moreover, its whirling through
space would create a wind that would sweep it bald.

Father Caccini preached a sermon from the text, "Ye men of Galilee, why
stand ye gazing up into heaven?" Only he changed the word "Galilee" to
"Galileo," claiming it was the same thing, only different, and as reward
for his wit he was made a bishop.

Cardinal Bellarmine, a man of great energy, earnest, zealous, sincere,
learned--the Doctor Buckley of his day--showed how that: "if the
Copernican Theory should prevail, it would be the absolute undoing of
the Bible, and the destruction of the Church, rendering the death of
Christ futile. If the earth is only one of many planets, and not the
center of the universe, and the other planets are inhabited, the whole
plan of salvation fails, since the inhabitants of the other spheres are
without the Bible, and Christ did not die for them." This was the
argument of Father Lecazre, and many others who took their cue from him.

Galileo was denounced as "atheist" and "infidel"--epithets that do not
frighten us much now, since they have been applied to most of the really
great and good men who have ever lived. But then such words set fire to
masses of inflammable prejudices, and there were conflagrations of wrath
and hate against which it was vain to argue.

The Archbishop of Pisa especially felt it incumbent upon him "to bring
Galileo to justice."

Galileo was born at Pisa, educated there, taught in the University; and
now he had disgraced the place and brought it into disrepute.

Galileo was still in communication with teachers at Pisa, and the
Archbishop made it his business to have letters written to Galileo
asking certain specific questions. One man, Castelli, declined to be
used for the purpose of entrapping Galileo, but others there were who
loaned themselves to the plan.

In Sixteen Hundred Sixteen, Galileo received a formal summons from Pope
Paul the Fifth to come to Rome and purge himself of heresies that he had
expressed in letters which were then in the hands of the Inquisition.

Galileo appealed to his friends at Florence, but they were powerless.
When the Pope issued an order, it could not be waived. The greatest
thinker of his time journeyed to Rome and faced the greatest theologian
of his day, Cardinal Bellarmine.

The Cardinal firmly and clearly showed Galileo the error of his way.
Galileo offered to prove for the Cardinal by astronomical observations
that the Copernican Theory was true. Cardinal Bellarmine said that there
was only one truth and that was spiritual truth. That the Bible was
true, or it was not. If not, then was religion a fallacy and our hope of
Heaven a delusion.

Galileo contended that the death of Christ had nothing to do with the
truth, so Science and these things should not be shuffled and confused.

This attitude of mind greatly shocked the Inquisitors, and they made
haste to inform the Pope, who at once issued an order that the
astronomer should be placed in a dungeon until he saw fit to disavow
that the sun was the center of the universe, and the earth moves.

A sort of compromise, it seems, was here effected by Galileo's promise
not to further teach that the earth revolves.

He was kept at Rome under strict surveillance for some months, but was
finally allowed to return to Florence, and cautioned that he must cease
all public teaching, speaking and writing on the subject of astronomy.
On March Fifth, Sixteen Hundred Sixteen, the consulting theologians of
the Holy Office reiterated that the propositions of Galileo, that the
sun is the center of the universe, and that the earth has a rotary
motion, were "absurd in philosophy, heretical, and also contrary to

The works of Copernicus were then placed upon the "Index," and Pope Paul
issued a special decree, warning all Churchmen to "abjure, shun and
forever abstain from giving encouragement, support, succor or friendship
to any one who believed or taught that the earth revolves."

The name of Copernicus was not removed from the "Index" until the year
Eighteen Hundred Eighteen.

       *       *       *       *       *

Galileo made his way back to Florence, defeated and disappointed. He had
not been tortured, except mentally, but he had heard the dungeon-key
turned in the big lock and felt the humiliation of being made a captive.
The instruments of torture had been shown to him, and he had heard the
cries of the condemned.

The cell that Bruno had occupied was his, and he was also taken to the
spot where Bruno was burned: the place was there, but where was Bruno!

He realized how utterly impossible it was to teach truth to those who
did not desire truth, and the vanity of replying to men for whom a pun
answered the purposes of fact.

As he could neither teach nor lecture at Florence, his services to the
Court were valueless. He was a disgraced and silenced man.

He retired to a village a few miles from the city, and in secret
continued his studies and observations. The Grand Duke supplied him a
small pension and suggested that it would be increased if Galileo would
give lectures on Poetry and Rhetoric, which were not forbidden themes,
and try to make himself either commonplace or amusing.

We can imagine the reply--Galileo had but one theme, the wonders of the
heavens above.

       *       *       *       *       *

So the years went by, and Galileo, sixty-seven years old, was
impoverished and forgotten, yet in his proud heart burned the embers of
ambition. He believed in himself; he believed in the sacredness of his
one mission. Pope Paul had gone on his long journey, for even infallible
popes die. Cardinal Barberini had become Pope Urban the Eighth. Years
before, Galileo and Barberini had taught together at Padua, and when
Galileo was silenced, a long letter of sympathy had come from his old
colleague, and occasionally since they had exchanged friendly letters.
Galileo thought that Urban was his friend, and he knew that Urban, in
his heart, believed in the theory of Copernicus.

Galileo then emerged from his seclusion and began teaching and speaking
in Florence. He also fitted up an observatory and invited the scholars
to make use of his telescope.

Father Melchior hereupon put forth a general denunciation, aimed
especially at Galileo, without mentioning his name, to this effect: "The
opinion of the earth's motion is, of all heresies, the most abominable,
the most pernicious, the most scandalous: the immovability of the earth
is thrice sacred.

"An argument against the existence of God and the immortality of the
soul would be sooner tolerated than the idea that the earth moves."

In reply to this fusillade, in Sixteen Hundred Thirty-two Galileo put
forth his book entitled, "The Dialogue," which was intended to place the
ideas of Copernicus in popular form.

Galileo had endeavored to communicate with Urban, but the Pope had
chosen to ignore him--to consider him as one dead. Galileo misconstrued
the silence, thinking it meant that he could do and say what he wished
and that there would be no interference.

A copy of Galileo's book reaching the Pope, his silence was at once
broken. The book was condemned and all copies found were ordered to be
burned by the hangman in the public streets. But the book had met with a
wide sale and many copies had been carried to Germany, England and
France, and in these countries the work was reprinted and sent back to

Urban ordered Galileo to present himself at Rome forthwith. A score of
years had passed since Galileo's former visit--he had not forgotten it.

He wrote to the Pope and apologized for having broken the silence
imposed upon him by Pope Paul; he offered to go into retirement again;
stated that he was old, infirm, without funds, and excused himself from
obeying the order to go to Rome.

But excuses and apologies were unavailing.

A preventory order was issued and sent to the Papal Nuncio at Florence.

This was equivalent to an arrest. Galileo must go to Rome and answer for
having broken the promises he had made to the Inquisition. If he would
not go willingly, he should go in chains.

Arriving at Rome, he had several audiences with the Pope, who said
nothing would answer but a specific recantation.

What Barberini had once believed was one thing, and what the Pope must
do was another. Galileo should recant in order to keep the people from
thinking Pope Urban would allow what his predecessors would not.

The matter had become a public scandal.

Galileo tried to argue the question and asked for time to consider it.

An order was issued that he should be imprisoned. It was done.

Galileo asked for pens and paper that he might prepare his defense.
These were refused, and an order of torture was issued. It was not a
trial, defense was useless. Again he was asked to recant--the matter was
all written out--he had but to sign his name. He refused. He was brought
to the torture-chamber.

Legend and fact separate here.

There are denials from Churchmen that Galileo was so much as imprisoned.
One writer has even tried to show that Galileo was a guest of the Pope
and dined daily at his table. The other side has told us that Galileo
was thrust into a dungeon, his eyes put out, and his old broken-down
form tortured on the wheel.

Recent careful researches reveal that neither side told the truth. We
have official record of the case written out at the time for the
Vatican archives. Galileo was imprisoned and the order of torture
issued, but it was never enforced. Perhaps it was not the intention to
enforce it: it may have been only a "war measure."

Galileo was alternately taken from dungeon to palace that he might
realize which course was best for him to pursue--oppose the Church or
uphold it.

Thus we see that there was some truth in the statement that "he dined
daily with the Pope."

That the man was subjected to much indignity, all the world now knows.
The official records are in the Vatican, and the attempt to conceal them
longer is out of the question. Wise Churchmen no longer deny the
blunders of the past, but they say with Cardinal Satolli, "The enemies
of the Church have ever been o'er-zealous Churchmen."

On bended knees, Galileo, a man of threescore and ten, broken in health,
with spirit crushed, repeated after a priest these words: "I, Galileo
Galilei, being in my seventieth year, a prisoner, on my knees before
your Eminences, the Cardinals of the Holy See, having before mine eyes
the Holy Bible, which I touch with my hands and kiss with my lips, do
abjure, curse and detest the error and heresy of the movement of the

He also was made to sign the recantation. On arising from his knees,
legend declares that he said, "Yet the earth does move!"

It is hardly probable that the words reached his lips, although they may
have been in his mind. But we must remember the man's heart was broken,
and he was in a mental condition where nothing really mattered. To
complete his dishonor, all of his writings were placed on the "Index,"
and he was made to swear that he would inform the Inquisition of any man
whom he should hear or discover supporting the heresy of the motion of
the earth. The old man was then released, a prisoner on parole, and
allowed to make his way home to Florence, which he did by easy stages,
helped along the way by friendly monks who discussed with him all
questions but those of astronomy.

Galileo's eldest daughter, a nun, whose home was near his, was so
affected by the humiliation of her father that she fell into a nervous
decline and died very soon after he reached home.

Between these two there had been a close bond of love and tender
sympathy, and her death seemed almost the crowning calamity.

But once back in his village home at Arcetri, Galileo again went to work
with his telescope, mapping the heavens.

A goodly degree of health and animation came back to him, but his
eyesight, so long misused, now failed him and he became blind. Thus John
Milton found him in Sixteen Hundred Thirty-eight.

Castelli, his lifelong friend, wrote to another, "The noblest eye that
God ever made is darkened: the eye so privileged that it may in truth be
said to have seen more wonderful things and made others to see more
wonderful things, than were ever seen before." But blindness could not
subdue him any more than it could John Milton. He had others look
through the telescope and tell him what they saw and then he would
foretell what they would see next.

The policy of the Pope was that Galileo should not be disturbed so long
as he kept to his village home and taught merely the few scholars or
"servants," as they called themselves, who often came to him; but these
were to be taught mathematics, not astronomy. That he was even at the
last under suspicion is shown that concealed in the mattress of the bed
upon which he died were records of his latest discoveries concerning the
revolution of the planets. Legal opposition was made as to his right to
make a will, the claim being that he was a prisoner of the Inquisition
at his death. For the same reason his body was not allowed to be buried
in consecrated ground. The Pope overruled the objection and he was
buried in an obscure corner of the little cemetery of Saint Croce, the
grave unmarked.

So the last few years of Galileo's life were years of comparative peace
and quiet. He needed but little, and this little his few faithful,
loving friends supplied. His death came painlessly, and his last moments
were sustained by the faith that he would soon be free from the
trammels of the flesh--free to visit some of the worlds that his
telescope had brought so near to him.

Galileo was born the day that Michelangelo died; the year of his death
was the year that Sir Isaac Newton, the discoverer of the law of
gravitation, was born.

[Illustration: COPERNICUS]


     To know the mighty works of God; to comprehend His wisdom and
     majesty and power; to appreciate, in degree, the wonderful working
     of His laws, surely all this must be a pleasing and acceptable mode
     of worship to the Most High, to whom ignorance can not be more
     grateful than knowledge.



When a prominent member of Congress, of slightly convivial turn,
went to sleep on the floor of the House of Representatives and suddenly
awakening, convulsed the assemblage by demanding in a loud voice, "Where
am I at?" he propounded an inquiry that is indisputably a classic.

With the very first glimmering of intelligence, and as far back as
history goes, man has always asked that question, also three others:

Where am I?

Who am I?

What am I here for?

Where am I going?

A question implies an answer and so, coeval with the questioner, we find
a class of Volunteers springing into being, who have taken upon
themselves the business of answering the interrogations.

And as partial payment for answering these questions, the man who
answered has exacted a living from the man who asked, also titles,
honors, gauds, jewels and obsequies.

Further than this, the Volunteer who answered has declared himself
exempt from all useful labor. This Volunteer is our theologian.

Walt Whitman has said:

  I think I could turn and live with animals, they are so placid
    and self-contained,
  I stand and look at them long and long.
  They do not sweat and whine about their condition,
  They do not lie awake in the dark and weep for their sins,
  They do not make me sick discussing their duty to God,
  Not one is dissatisfied, not one is demented with the mania of
    owning things,
  Not one kneels to another, nor to his kind that lived thousands
    of years ago,
  Not one is respectable or unhappy over the whole earth.

But we should note this fact: Whitman merely wanted to live with
animals--he did not desire to become one. He wasn't willing to forfeit
knowledge; and a part of that knowledge was that man has some things yet
to learn from the patient brute. Much of man's misery has come from his
persistent questioning.

The book of Genesis is certainly right when it tells us that man's
troubles came from a desire to know. The fruit of the tree of knowledge
is bitter, and man's digestive apparatus is ill-conditioned to digest
it. But still we are grateful, and good men never forget that it was
woman who gave the fruit to man--men learn nothing alone. In the Garden
of Eden, with everything supplied, man was an animal, but when he was
turned out and had to work, strive, struggle and suffer, he began to

The Volunteers of the Far East have told us that man's deliverance from
the evils of life must come through killing desire; we will reach
Nirvana--rest--through nothingness. But within a decade it has been
borne in upon a vast number of the thinking men of the world that
deliverance from sorrow and discontent was to be had not through ceasing
to ask questions, but by asking one question more. The question is this,
"What can I do?"

When man went to work, action removed the doubt that theory could not

The rushing winds purify the air; only running water is pure; and the
holy man, if there be such, is the one who loses himself in persistent,
useful effort. By working for all, we secure the best results for self,
and when we truly work for self, we work for all.

In that thoughtful essay by Brooks Adams, "The Law of Civilization and
Decay," the author says, "Thought is one of the manifestations of human
energy, and among the earlier and simpler phases of thought, two stand
conspicuous--Fear and Greed: Fear, which, by stimulating the
imagination, creates a belief in an invisible world, and ultimately
develops a priesthood."

The priestly class evolves naturally into being everywhere as man
awakens and asks questions. "Only the Unknown is terrible," says Victor
Hugo. We can cope with the known, and at the worst we can overcome the
unknown by accepting it. Verestchagin, the great painter who knew the
psychology of war as few have known, and went down to his death
gloriously, as he should, on a sinking battleship, once said, "In modern
warfare, when man does not see his enemy, the poetry of the battle is
gone, and man is rendered by the Unknown into a quaking coward."

But when enveloped in the fog of ignorance every phenomenon of Nature
causes man to quake and tremble--he wants to know! Fear prompts him to
ask, and Greed--greed for power, place and pelf--answers.

To succeed beyond the average is to realize a weakness in humanity and
then bank on it. The priest who pacifies is as natural as the fear he
seeks to assuage--as natural as man himself.

So first, man is in bondage to his fear, and this bondage he exchanges
for bondage to a priest. First, he fears the unknown; second, he fears
the priest who has power with the unknown.

Soon the priest becomes a slave to the answers he has conjured forth. He
grows to believe what he at first pretended to know. The punishment of
every liar is that he eventually believes his lies. The mind of man
becomes tinted and subdued to what he works in, like the dyer's hand.

So we have the formula: Man in bondage to fear. Man in bondage to a
priest. The priest in bondage to a creed.

Then the priest and his institution become an integral part and parcel
of the State, mixed in all its affairs. The success of the State seems
to lie in holding belief intact and stilling all further questions of
the people, transferring all doubts to this Volunteer Class which
answers for a consideration.

Naturally, the man who does not accept the answers is regarded as an
enemy of the State--that is, the enemy of mankind.

To keep this questioner down has been the problem of every religion. And
the great problem of progress has been to smuggle the newly-discovered
truth past Cerberus, the priest, by preparing a sop that was to him

From every branch of Science the priest has been routed, save in
Sociology alone. Here he has stubbornly made his last stand, and is
saving himself alive by slowly accepting the situation and transforming
himself into the Promoter of a Social Club.

       *       *       *       *       *

The attempt to ascertain the truths of physical science outside of
theology was, in the early ages, very seldom ventured. When men wanted
to know anything about anything, they asked the priest.

Questions that the priest could not answer he declared were forbidden of
man to know; and when men attempted to find out for themselves they were
looked upon as heretics.

The early church regarded the earth as a flat surface with four corners.
And in proof of their position they quoted Saint Paul, who wanted the
gospel carried to the ends of the earth.

In fact, the universe was a house. The upper story was Heaven, the lower
story was the Earth, and the cellar was Hell. God, the angels and the
"saved" lived in Heaven, man lived on Earth, and the devils and the
damned had Hell to themselves.

"And there shall be no night there," and this was proven by the stars,
which were regarded as peepholes through which mortals could catch
glimpses of the wondrous light of Heaven beyond. Hell was below, as was
clearly shown by volcanoes, when the fierce fires occasionally forced
themselves up through. Darkness to children is always terrible, and the
night is regarded by them as the time of evil.

Later, Churchmen came to believe that the stars were jewels hung in the
sky every night by angels whose business it was to look after them.

The word "firmament" means a solid dome or roof. This firmament, the
sky, was supposed to be the floor of Heaven. The firmament had four
corners and rested on the mountains, as the eye could plainly see. When
God's car was rolled across the floor we heard thunder, and his
movements were always accompanied by lightnings, winds, black clouds and
rain--all this so He could not be too plainly seen.

Heaven was only a little way off--a few miles at the most. So there were
attempts made at times by bad men to reach it. The Greeks had a story
about the Aloidæ who piled mountain upon mountain; the Bible story of
the Tower of Babel is the same, where the masons called, "More mort,"
and those below sent up bricks. There is also an ancient Mexican legend
of giants who built the Pyramid of Cholula, and they would have been
successful in their attempts if fire had not been thrown down upon them
from Heaven. In all "Holy Writ" we find accounts of "ascensions,"
"translations," "annunciations," and mortals caught up into the clouds.
Many people had actually seen angels ascending and descending.

"Messengers from on high" and God's secretaries were constantly coming
down on delicate errands. Everything that man did was noted and written
down. We were watched all the time by unseen beings. The Bible tells of
how the Earth was eventually to be destroyed, and then there would be
only Heaven and Hell. God, His Son and the angels were going to come
down, and for ages men watched the heavens to see them appear.

All sensitive children, born of orthodox Christian parents, who heard
the Bible read aloud, looked fearfully into the sky for "signs and
wonders." The Bible tells in several places of devils breaking out of
Hell and roaming over the earth. Dante fully believed in this
three-story-house idea, and pictures with awful exactness the details,
which he gained from the preaching of the priests. Dante was never
honored by having his books placed on the "Index." On the contrary, he
got his vogue largely through the recommendation of the priests. To them
he was a true scientist, for he corroborated their statements.

The Christian Fathers ridiculed the idea of the earth being round,
because, if this were so, how could the people on the other side see the
Son of Man when He came in the sky? Besides that, if the earth were
round and turned on its axis, we would all fall off into space.

The idea that there was an ocean above the earth, in the heavens, was
brought forward to show the goodness and wisdom of God. Without this
there would be no rain and hence no vegetation, and man would soon
perish. In Genesis we read that God said, "Let there be a firmament in
the midst of the waters, and let it divide the waters from the waters,"
And in Psalms, "Praise Him, ye heavens of heavens and ye waters that be
above the heavens." Then we hear, "The windows of Heaven were opened."
So this thought of the waters above the earth was fully proved, accepted
and fixed, and to pray for rain was quite a natural thing.

The English Prayer-Book contained such prayers up to within a very few
years ago, and in Eighteen Hundred Eighty-three the Governor of Kansas
set apart a day upon which the people were to pray that God would open
the windows of Heaven and send them rain. They also prayed to be
delivered from grasshoppers, just as in Queen Elizabeth's time the
Prayer-Book had this, "From the Turk and the Comet, good Lord deliver

In the Sixth Century, Cosmos, one of the Saints, wrote a complete
explanation of the phenomena of the heavens. To account for the movement
of the sun, he said God had His angels push it across the firmament and
put it behind a mountain each night, and the next morning it was brought
out on the other side. He met every objection by citations from Job,
Genesis, Ezekiel, Ecclesiastes and the New Testament, and wound up with
an anathema upon any or all who doubted or questioned in this matter of

The whole Christian idea of the Universe was simple, plain and
plausible. The child-mind could easily accept it, and when backed up by
the Holy Book, written at God's dictation, word for word, infallible
and absolutely true in every part, one does not wonder that progress was
practically blocked for fourteen hundred years, but the real miracle is
that it was not blocked forever.

       *       *       *       *       *

Thousands of years before Christ, the Chinese had mapped the heavens and
knew the movements of the planets so well that they correctly prophesied
the positions of the various constellations many years in advance.
Twenty-five hundred years before our Christian era a Chinese Governor
put to death the astronomers Hi and Ho because they had failed to
foretell an eclipse, quite according to the excellent Celestial plan of
killing the doctor when the patient dies.

Sir William Hamilton points out the fact that the Chinese, five thousand
years ago, knew astronomy as well as we do, and that Christian astrology
grew out of Chinese astronomy, in an effort to foretell the fortunes of

Fear wants to know the future, and astrology and priesthood are
synonymous terms, since the business of the priest has always been to
prophesy, a profession he has not yet discarded. Their prophecies are at
present innocuous and lightly heeded. They preach that perfect faith
will move a mountain, but energetic railroad-builders of today find it
quicker and cheaper to tunnel.

       *       *       *       *       *

A certain type of man accepts a certain theory.

The Christian view of creation was practically the conception of the
Greeks before Thales. This wise man, in the Sixth Century before Christ,
taught that the earth was round, and that certain stars were also
worlds. He showed that the earth was round and proved it by the
disappearance of the ship as it sailed away. He located the earth, moon
and sun so perfectly that he prophesied an eclipse, and when it took
place it so terrified the Medes and the Lydians, who were in battle with
each other, that they threw down their arms and made peace. Thales had
explained that Atlas carried the world on his shoulder, but he didn't
explain what Atlas stood upon.

Pythagoras, one of the pupils of Thales, following the idea still
further, showed that the moon derived its light from the sun; that the
earth was a globe and turned daily on its axis.

He held that the sun was the center of the universe and that the planets
revolved around it. Anaxagoras followed a few years later than
Pythagoras, and became convinced that the sun was merely a ball of fire
and therefore should not be worshiped; that it follows a natural law,
that nothing ever happens by chance, and that to pray for rain is

For his honesty in expressing what he thought was truth, the priests of
Athens had Anaxagoras and his family exiled to perpetual banishment
from Athens and all of his books were burned.

Plato touched on Astronomy, for he touches on everything, and fully
believed that the earth was round.

His pupil, Aristotle, taught all that Anaxagoras taught, and if he also
had not been exiled, but had been free to study, investigate and express
himself, he would have come very close to the truth.

Hipparchus, a hundred years after Aristotle, calculated the length of
the year to within six minutes, discovered the precession of equinoxes
and counted all the stars he could see, making a map of them.

Seventy years after Christ, Ptolemy, a Greco-Egyptian, but not of the
royal line of Ptolemies, published his great book, "The Almagest." For
over fourteen centuries it was the textbook for the best astronomers.

It taught that the earth was the center of the universe, and that the
sun and the planets revolve around it. There were many absurdities,
however, that had to be explained, and the priests practically rejected
the whole book as "pagan" and taught an astronomy of their own, founded
entirely upon the Bible. They wanted an explanation that would be
accepted by the common people.

This astronomy was not designed to be very scientific, exact or
truthful--all they asked was, "Is it plausible?" Expediency, to
theology, has always been much more important than truth.

"Besides," said Saint Basil, "what boots it concerning all this
conjecture about the stars, since the earth is soon to come to an end,
as is shown by our Holy Scriptures, and man's business is to prepare his
soul for eternity?"

This was the general attitude of the Church--exact truth was a matter of
indifference. And if Science tended to unseat men's faith in the Bible,
and in God's most holy religion, then so much the worse for Science.

It will thus plainly be seen why the Church felt compelled to fight
Science--the very life of the Church was at stake.

The Church was the vital thing--not truth. If truth could be taught
without unseating faith, why, all right, but anything that made men
doubt must be rooted out at any cost. And that is why priests have
opposed Science, not that they hate Science less, but that they love the
Church more.

From the time of Ptolemy to that of Copernicus--fourteen hundred
years--theology practically dictated the learning of the world. And to
Copernicus must be given the credit of having really awakened the
science of astronomy from her long and peaceful sleep.

       *       *       *       *       *

The little land that we know as Poland has produced some of the finest
and most acute intellects the world has ever known.

Tragic and blood-stained is her history, and this tragedy, perhaps, has
been a prime factor in the evolution of her men of worth. Poland has
been stamped upon and pushed apart; and a persecuted people produce a
pride of race that has its outcrop in occasional genius.

Recently we heard of the great Paderewski playing before the Czar, and
His Majesty, in a speech meant to be very complimentary, congratulated
the company that so great a genius as he was a citizen of Russia.

"Your Majesty, I am not a Russian--I am a Pole!" was the proud reply.

The Czar replied, smiling, "There is no such country as Poland--now
there is only Russia!"

And Paderewski replied, "Pardon my hasty remark--you speak but truth."
And then he played Chopin's "Funeral March," a dirge not only to the
great men of Poland gone, but to Poland herself.

Nicholas Copernicus was born at the quaint old town of Thorn, in Poland,
February Nineteen, Fourteen Hundred Seventy-three. The family name was
Koppernigk, but Nicholas latinized it when he became of age, and
seemingly separated from his immediate kinsmen forever.

His father was a merchant, fairly prosperous, and only in the line of
money-making was he ambitious. In the Koppernigks ran a goodly strain of
Jewish blood, but a generation before, pressure and expediency seemed to
combine, so that the family, as we first see them, were Christians. No
soil can grow genius, no seed can produce it--it springs into being in
spite of all laws and rules and regulations. "No hovel is safe from it,"
says Whistler.

The portraits of Copernicus reveal a man of most marked personality:
proud, handsome, self-contained, intellectual. The head is massive, eyes
full, luminous, wide apart, his nose large and bold, chin strong, the
mouth alone revealing a trace of the feminine, as though the man were
the child of his mother. This mother had a brother who was a bishop, and
the mother's ambition for her boy was that he should eventually follow
in the footsteps of this illustrious brother who was known for a hundred
miles as a preacher of marked ability.

So we hear of the young man being sent to the University of Cracow, as
the preliminary to a great career.

The father bitterly opposed the idea of taking his son out of the
practical world of business, and this evidently led to the breach that
caused young Nicholas to discard the family name.

That Nicholas did not fully enter into his mother's plans is shown that
while at Cracow he devoted himself mostly to medicine. He was so
proficient in this that he secured a physician's degree; and having been
given leave to practise he revealed his humanity by declining to do so,
turning to mathematics with a fine frenzy.

This disposition to drop on a thing, turn loose on it, concentrate, and
reduce it to a chaos, is the true distinguishing mark of genius. The
difference in men does not lie in the size of their heads, nor in the
perfection of their bodies, but in this one sublime ability of
concentration--to throw the weight with the blow, live an eternity in an
hour--"This one thing I do!"

Copernicus at twenty-one was teaching mathematics at Cracow, and by his
extraordinary ability in this one direction had attracted the attention
of various learned men. In fact the authorities of the college had grown
a bit boastful of their star student, and when visiting dignitaries
arrived, young Copernicus was given chalk and blackboard and put through
his paces. Problems involving a dozen figures and many fractions were
worked out by him with a directness and precision that made him the
wonder of that particular part of the world.

The science of trigonometry was invented by Copernicus, and we see that
early in his twenties he was well on the heels of it, for he had then
arranged a quadrant to measure the height of standing trees, steeples,
buildings or mountains. For rest and recreation he painted pictures.

A college professor from Bologna traveling through Cracow met
Copernicus, and greatly impressed with his powers, invited him to
return with him to Bologna and there give a course of lectures on

Copernicus accepted, and at Bologna met the astronomer, Novarra. This
meeting was the turning-point of his life. Copernicus was then
twenty-three years of age, but in intellect he was a man. He had vowed a
year before that he would indulge in no trivial conversation about
persons or things--only the great and noble themes should interest him
and occupy his attention.

With commonplace or ignorant people he held no converse. He had
remarkable beauty of person and great dignity, and his presence at
Bologna won immediate respect for him.

Men accept other men at the estimate they place upon themselves.

In listening to lectures by Novarra, he perceived at once how
mathematics could be made valuable in calculating the movement of stars.

Novarra taught the Ptolemaic theory of astronomy for the esoteric few.
The Church is made up of men, and while priests for the most part are
quite content to believe what the Church teaches, yet it has ever been
recognized that there was one doctrine for the Few, and another for the
Many--the esoteric and the exoteric. The esoteric is an edged tool, and
only a very few are fit to handle it. The charge of heresy is only for
those who are so foolish as to give out these edged tools to the
people. You may talk about anything you want, provided you do not do it;
and you may do anything you want, provided you do not talk about it.

The proposition that the earth was flat, had four corners, and the stars
were jewels hung in the sky as "signs," and were moved about by angels,
was all right for the many, but now and then there were priests who were
not content with these child-stories--they wanted truth--and these
usually accepted the theories of Ptolemy.

Novarra believed that the earth was a globe; that this globe was the
center of the universe, and that around the earth the sun, moon and
certain stars revolved. The fixed stars he still regarded as being hung
against the firmament, and that this firmament was turned in some
mysterious way, en masse.

Copernicus listened silently, but his heart beat fast. He had found
something upon which he could exercise his mathematics. He and Novarra
sat up all night in the belfry of the cathedral and watched the stars.

They saw that they moved steadily, surely and without caprice. It was
all natural, and could be reduced, Copernicus thought, to a mathematical

Astrology and astronomy were not then divorced. It was astrology that
gave us astronomy. The angel that watched over a star looked after all
persons who were born under that star's influence, or else appointed
some other angel for the purpose. Every person had a guardian angel to
protect him from the evil spirits that occasionally broke out of Hell
and came up to earth to tempt men.

Mathematics knows nothing of angels--it only knows what it can prove.
Copernicus believed that, if certain stars did move, they moved by some
unalterable law of their own. In riding on a boat he observed that the
shores seemed to be moving past, and he concluded that a part, at least,
of the seeming movements of planets might possibly be caused by the
moving of the earth.

In talking with astrologers he perceived that very seldom did they know
anything of mathematics. And this ignorance on their part caused him to
doubt them entirely.

His faith was in mathematics--the thing that could be proved--and he
came to the conclusion that astronomy and mathematics were one thing,
and astrology and child-stories another.

He remained at Bologna just long enough to turn the astrologers out of
the society of astronomers.

Novarra's lectures on astronomy were given in Latin, and in truth all
learning was locked up in this tongue. But astrology and the theological
fairy-tales of the people floated free. They were a part of the vagrant
hagiology of the roadside preachers, who with lurid imaginations said
the things they thought would help carry conviction home and make

From Bologna Copernicus then moved on to Padua, where he remained two
years, teaching and giving lectures. Here he devoted considerable time
to chemistry, and on leaving he was honored by being given a degree by
the University. Next we find him at Rome, a professor in mathematics and
also giving lectures on chemistry. His lectures were not for the
populace--they were for the learned few. But they attracted the
attention of the best, and were commented upon and quoted by the various
other teachers, preachers and lecturers. A daring thinker who expresses
himself without reservation states the things that various others know
and would like to state if they dared. It is often very convenient when
you want a thing said to enclose the matter in quotation-marks. It
relieves one from the responsibility of standing sponsor for it, if the
hypothesis does not prove popular.

Copernicus was only nineteen years old when Columbus discovered America,
but it seems he did not hear of Columbus until he reached Bologna in
Fourteen Hundred Ninety-five. At Rome he made various references to
Columbus in his lectures; dwelt upon the truth that the earth was a
globe; mentioned the obvious fact that in sailing westward Columbus did
not sail his ship over the edge of the earth into Hell, as had been
prophesied he would.

He also explained that the red sky at sunset was not caused by the
reflections from Hell, nor was the sun moved behind a mountain by giant
angels at night. Copernicus was a Catholic, as all teachers were, but he
had been deceived by the esoteric and the exoteric, and had really
thought that the priests and so-called educated men actually desired,
for themselves, to know the truth.

At Padua he had learned to read Greek, and had become more or less
familiar with Pythagoras, Hipparchus, Aristotle and Plato. He quoted
these authors and showed how in some ways they were beyond the present.
This was all done in the exuberance of youth, with never a doubt as to
the value and the beauty of the Church. But he was thinking more of
truth than of the Church, and when a cardinal from the Vatican came to
him, and in all kindness cautioned him, and in love explained it was all
right for a man to believe what he wished, but to teach others things
that were not authorized was a mistake.

Copernicus was abashed and depressed.

He saw then that his lectures had really been for himself--he was
endeavoring to make things plain to Copernicus, and the welfare of the
Church had been forgotten.

He ceased lecturing for a time, but private pupils came to him, and
among them astrologers in disguise, and these went away and told
broadcast that Copernicus was teaching that the movements of the stars
were not caused by angels, and that "God was being dethroned by a
tape-measure and a yardstick." Alchemy had a strong hold upon the
popular mind, and these alchemists and astrologers were fortune-tellers
and derived a goodly income from the people.

They had their stands in front of all churches and turned in a goodly
tithe "for the benefit of the poor."

When the astrologers attacked Copernicus he tried to explain that the
heavens were under the reign of natural law, and that so far as he knew
there was no direct relationship between the stars and the men upon
earth. The answer was, "You yourself foretell the eclipse, and assume to
know when a star will be in a certain place a hundred years in advance;
now, if you can prophesy about stars, why can't we foretell a man's

Copernicus proudly declined to answer such ignorance, but went on to say
that alchemy was a violence to chemistry as much as astrology was to
astronomy. In chemistry there were exact results that could be computed
by mathematics and foretold; it was likewise so in astronomy.

Copernicus was philosopher enough to know that astrology led to
astronomy, and alchemy led to chemistry, but he said all he wished to do
was to eliminate error and find the truth, and when we have ascertained
the laws of God in reference to these things, we should discard the use
of black cats, goggles, peaked hats, red fire and incantations--these
things were sacrilege. And the enemy declared that Copernicus was guilty
of heresy in saying they were guilty of sacrilege. Moreover, black cats
were not as bad as blackboards.

The Pope certainly had no idea of treating Copernicus harshly; in fact,
he greatly admired him--but peace was the thing desired. Copernicus was
creating a schism, and there was danger that the revenues would be
affected. The Pope sent for Copernicus, received him with great honor,
blessed him, and suggested that he return at once to his native town of
Thorn and there await good news that would come to him soon.

Copernicus was overwhelmed with gratitude--he was in difficulties.

Certain priests had publicly denounced him; others had urged him on to
unseemliness in debate; he had stated things he could not prove, even
though he knew they were true--but the Pope was his friend! He loved the
Church; he felt how necessary it was to the people, and at the last, the
desire of his heart was to bless and benefit the world.

He fell on his knees and attempted to kiss the Pope's foot, but the Holy
Father offered him his hand instead, smiled on him, stroked his head,
and an attendant was ordered to place about his neck a chain of gold
with a crucifix that would protect him from all harm. A purse was placed
in his hand, and he was sent upon his way relieved, happy--wondering,

       *       *       *       *       *

When Copernicus reached his native town of Thorn, the local clergy
turned out in a procession to greet him, and a solemn service of
thanksgiving was held for his safe return home.

Copernicus was only twenty-seven years of age, and what he had done was
not quite clear to his uncle, the bishop, and the other dignitaries, but
word had come from the secretary of the Pope that he should be honored,
and it was all so done, in faith, love and enthusiasm.

Very shortly after this Copernicus was made Canon of the Cathedral at
Frauenburg. The town of Frauenburg has now only about twenty-five
hundred people, and it certainly was no larger then. The place is slow,
sleepy, and quite off the beaten track of travel.

When Canon Copernicus preached now, it was to a dear, stupid lot of old
marketwomen and overworked men and mischievous children. Oratory is a
collaboration--let him wax eloquent about the precession of the
equinoxes, and prate of Plato and Pythagoras if he wished--no one could
understand him! Rome is wise--the crystallized experience of centuries
is hers. Responsibility tames a man--marriage, political office,
churchly preferment--read history and note how these things have dulled
the bright blade of revolution and turned the radical into a
Presbyterian professor at Princeton, a staunch upholder of the
Established Order!

Plato said that Solar Energy found one of its forms of expression in
man. Some men are much more highly charged with it than others; your
genius is a man who does things. Do not think to dam up the red current
of his life--he may die.

Copernicus set to work practising medicine, and gave his services gratis
to the poor, who came for many miles to consult him.

He went from house to house and ordered his people to clean up their
back yards, to ventilate their houses, to bathe and be decent and
orderly. He devised a system of sewerage, and utilized the belfry of his
church as a water-tower so as to get a water pressure from the little
stream that ran near the town. The remains of this invention are to be
seen there in the church-steeple even unto this day.

King Sigismund of Poland had heard of the attacks made by Copernicus
upon the alchemists, and sent for him that he might profit by his
advice, for it seems that the King, too, had been having experience with
alchemists. In their seeking after a way to make gold out of the baser
metals they had actually succeeded. At least they said so, and had made
the King believe it.

They had shown the King how he could cheapen his coinage one-half, and
"it was just as good!" The King could not tell the difference when the
coins were new, but alas! when they went beyond the borders of Poland
they could only be passed at one-half their face-value; travelers
refused to accept them; and even the merchants at home were getting

Copernicus analyzed some of this money made for the King by his
alchemist friends and found a large alloy of tin, copper and zinc. He
explained to the King that by mixing the metals they did not change
their nature nor value. Gold was gold, and copper was copper--God had
made these things and hid them in the earth and men might deceive some
men--a part of the time--but there was always a retribution. Debase your
currency, and soon it will cease to pass current. No law can long uphold
a fictitious value.

The King urged Copernicus to write a book on the subject of coinage.

The permission of the Pope was secured, and the book written. The work
is valuable yet, and reveals a deep insight into the heart of things.
The man knew political economy, and foretold that a people who debased
their currency debased themselves.

"Money is character," he said, "and if you pretend it is one thing, and
it turns out to be another, you lose your reputation and your own
self-respect. No government can afford to deceive the governed. If the
people lose confidence in their rulers, a new government will spring
into being, built upon the ruins of the old. Government and commerce are
built on confidence."

Then he went on to show that German gold was valuable everywhere,
because it was pure; but Polish gold and Russian gold were below par,
because the money had been tampered with, and as no secrets could be
kept long, the result was the matter exactly equalized itself, save that
Russians and Polanders had in a large degree lost their characters
through belief in miracles. Copernicus advocated a universal coinage, to
be adopted by all civilized nations, and the amount of alloy should be
known and plainly stated, and this alloy should simply be the
seigniorage, or what was taken out to cover the cost of mintage.

King Sigismund circulated this valuable book by Copernicus among all the
courts of Europe, and it need not be stated that the suggestions made by
Copernicus have been adopted by civilized nations everywhere.

       *       *       *       *       *

The humdrum duties of a country clergyman did not still the intense
longing of Copernicus to know and understand the truth. He visited the
sick, closed the eyes of the dying, kept his parish register, but his
heart was in mathematics, and so there is shown at Thorn an old church
register kept by Copernicus, where, in the back, are great rows of
figures put down by the Master as he worked at some astronomical
problem. In the upper floor of the barn, back of the old dilapidated
farmhouse where he lived for forty years, he cut holes in the roof, and
also apertures in the sides of the building, through which he watched
the movements of the stars. He lived in practical isolation and exile,
for the Church had forbidden him to speak in public except upon themes
that the Holy Fathers in their wisdom had authorized. None was to invite
him to speak, read his writings or hold converse with him, except on
strictly church matters.

Copernicus knew the situation--he was a watched man. For him there was
no preferment: he knew too much! As long as he kept near home and did
his priestly work, all was well; but a trace of ambition or heresy, and
he would be dealt with. The Universities and all prominent Churchmen
were secretly ordered to leave Copernicus and his vagaries severely
alone. But the stars were his companions--they came out for him nightly
and moved in majesty across the sky. "They do me great honor," he said;
"I am forbidden to converse with great men, but God has ordered for me a
procession." When the whole town slept, Copernicus watched the heavens,
and made minute records of his observations. He had brought with him
from Rome copies made by himself from the works of the prominent Greek
astronomers, and the "Almagest" of Ptolemy he knew by heart.

He digested all that had been written on the subject of astronomy;
slowly and patiently he tested every hypothesis with his rude and
improvised instruments. "Surely God will not damn me for wanting to know
the truth about His glorious works," he used to say.

Emerson once wrote this: "If the stars came out but once in a thousand
years, how men would adore!" But before he had written this, Copernicus
had said: "To look up at the sky, and behold the wondrous works of God,
must make a man bow his head and heart in silence. I have thought and
studied, and worked for years, and I know so little--all I can do is to
adore when I behold this unfailing regularity, this miraculous balance
and perfect adaptation. The majesty of it all humbles me to the dust."

It was ostracism and exile that gave Copernicus the leisure to pursue
his studies in quiet, undiverted, undisturbed. He was relieved from
financial pinch, having all he needed for his simple, homely wants. The
mental distance that separated him from his parishioners made him free,
and the order that he should not travel and that none should visit him
made him master of his time. There were no interruptions--"God has set
me apart," he wrote, "that I may study and make plain His works." But
still, that he could not make his discoveries known was a constant,
bitter disappointment to him.

In astronomy he found a means of using his mighty mathematical genius
for his own pleasure and amusement. The Pope had, in seeking to subdue
him, merely supplied the exact conditions he required to do his
work--yet neither knew it. So mighty is Destiny: we work for one thing
and fail to get it, but in our efforts we find something better.

The simple, hard-working gardeners with whom Copernicus lived, had a
reverent awe for the great man; they guessed his worth, but still had
suspicions of his sanity. His nightly vigils they took for a sort of
religious ecstasy, and a wholesome fear made them quite willing not to
do anything that might disturb him.

So passed the days away, and from a light-hearted, ambitious man,
Copernicus had grown old and bowed, and nearly blind from constant
watching of the stars and writing at night.

But his book, "The Revolution of the Heavenly Bodies," was at last
complete. For forty years he had worked at it, and for twenty-seven
years, he himself says, not a day or a night had passed without his
having added something to it.

He felt that he had in this book told the truth. If men wanted to know
the facts about the heavens they would find them here. He had approached
the subject with no preconceived ideas; he had ever been willing to
renounce a theory when he found it wrong. He knew what all other great
astronomers had taught, and out of them all he had built a Science of
Astronomy that he knew would stand secure.

But what should he do with all this mass of truth he had discovered? It
was in his own brain, and it was in the three thousand pages of this
book, which had been rewritten five times. In a few years at most, his
brain would be stilled in death; and in five minutes, ignorance and
malice might reduce the book to ashes, and the forty years' labor of
Copernicus--working, dreaming, calculating, weeping, praying--would all
go for naught and be but a tale that is told. Others might have lived
such lives and known as much as he, and all was lost!

To send the book frankly to Rome and ask the Censor for the privilege to
publish it, was out of the question entirely--the request would be
refused, the manuscript destroyed, and his own life might be in danger.

To publish it at home without the consent of his Bishop would be equally
dangerous. There would be a bonfire of every copy in the public square;
for in this volume, all that the priests taught of astronomy had been
contradicted and refuted.

And then it occurred to him to send the manuscript to the free city of
Nuremberg, the home of science, art and free speech, where men could
print what they thought was truth--Nuremberg, the home of Albrecht
Durer. With the book he sent a bag of gold, his savings of a lifetime,
to pay the expense of printing the volume and putting it before the

To better protect himself, Copernicus wrote a preface, dedicating the
book to the Pope Paul, thus throwing himself upon the mercy of His
Holiness. He would not put the work out anonymously, as his friends in
Nuremberg, for his own safety, had advised. And neither would he flee to
Nuremberg for protection; he would stay at home--he was too old to
travel now--besides, he had forgotten how to talk and act with men of

How would Rome receive the book? He could only guess--he could only

The months went by, and fear, anxiety and suspense had their sway. He
was stricken with fever. In his delirium he called aloud, "The
book--tell me--they surely have not burned it--you know I wrote no word
but truth--oh, how could they burn my book!"

But on May Twenty-third, Fifteen Hundred Forty-three, a messenger came
from Nuremberg.

He carried a copy of the printed book--he was admitted to the sick-room,
and placed in the hands of the stricken man the volume. A gleam of
sanity came to Copernicus. He smiled, and taking the book gazed upon it,
stroked its cover as though caressing it, opened it and turned the
leaves. Then closing the book and holding it to his heart, he closed his
eyes, and sank to sleep, to awake no more.

His body was buried with simple village honors, and laid to rest beneath
the floor of the Cathedral where he had so long ministered, side by side
with a long line of priests. On the little slab that marked his
resting-place no mention was made of the mighty work he had done for
truth. There were fears that when the character of his book was known,
the grave of Copernicus would not remain undisturbed, and so the
inscription on the headstone was simply this: "I ask not the grace
accorded to Paul; not that given to Peter; give me only the favor which
Thou didst show to the thief on the cross."

[Illustration: HUMBOLDT]


     The actual miracle of the Universe is the invariableness of Law.
     Under like conditions a like result must follow, and upon this rock
     is the faith of the Scientists built.

     --_The Cosmos_


The Baron and Baroness von Hollwede were not happily married.

The Baroness had intellect, spirit, aspiration, with an appreciation of
all that was best in art, music and the world of thought. As to the
Baron, he had drunk life's wine to the lees and pronounced the draft
bitter. He was a heavy dragoon with a soul for foxhounds. Later, when
gout got to twinging him, he contented himself with cards and cronies.

And then Destiny, like a novelist who does not know what to do with a
character, sent him on an excursion across the River Styx.

This was a good move all round, and the only accommodating action in
which the Baron ever had a part. He left a large estate, not being able
to take it along.

There are two kinds of widows, the bereaved and the relieved. In India
no widow is allowed to remarry. The canons of the Episcopal Church
forbid any widow or widower to remarry whose former partner is living. A
member of the Catholic Church who makes a marital mistake is not allowed
to rectify it. Yet Nature, sometimes, as if to prove the foolishness of
fearsome little man, justifies that of which man hotly disapproves.

To be a widow of thirty-six, fair of face and comely in form, to own a
beautiful home and have an income greater than you can spend, and still
not enough to burden you--what nobler ambition!

The Baroness had a little encumbrance--a son aged ten. I would like to
tell of his career, but alas, of him history is silent, save that he was
heir to some of his father's proclivities, grew up, became an army
officer and passed into obscurity in middle life, dishonored and unsung.

Such a widow as the Baroness von Hollwede is not apt to mourn for long.
She was courted by many, but it was Major Humboldt who found favor in
her heart. I assume that all of my gentle readers have in them some of
the saltness of time, so that details may safely be omitted--let
imagination bridge the interesting gap.

The Major was a few years younger than the lady, but like the gallant
gentleman that he was, he swore i' faith before the notary that they
were of the same age, just as Robert Browning did when officially
interrogated as to the age of Elizabeth Barrett. Thomas Brackett Reed
avowed that no gentleman ever weighed over two hundred pounds, and I
also maintain no gentleman ever married a woman older than himself.

The marriage of Major Humboldt and the Baroness von Hollwede was a most
happy mating that fully justified the venture. The Major had done his
work bravely in the Seven Years' War, and was now an attache of the
King's Court--a man of means, of intellect, and of many strong and
beautiful virtues. After the marriage he became known as Baron von
Humboldt, and as to just how he succeeded to the noble title let us not
be curious--his wife undoubtedly bestowed it on him, good and generous
woman that she was.

They lived in the romantic Castle Tegel, near Berlin, and separated from
the city by a park, where the dark pines still tower aloft and murmur
their secrets to the night breeze.

Tegel is a most beautiful place; it was first a hunting-lodge occupied
by Frederick the Great. It is shut out from the world by its high stone
walls; and in its dim, dense woods, one might easily imagine he was far
indeed from the madding crowd.

Here there were two sons born to the Baron and Baroness--two years
apart. One of these sons sleeps now beneath the turret where he first
saw the light, and from which he made others see the light as long as he

In Goethe's "Faust" is an allusion to a mysterious legend that had its
rise in storied Tegel. On May Eighteenth, in the year Seventeen Hundred
Seventy-eight. Goethe came here, walking over from Berlin, dined, and
walked on to Potsdam. But before he left he saw two beautiful boys, aged
eight and ten, playing beneath the spreading Tegel trees. The boys
remembered the event and wrote of it in their journal, mentioning the
kindly pats on their heads and the prophecy that they would grow up and
be great men.

Goethe was always patting boys on the head and saying graceful things,
and it is doubtful whether his prophecy was more than a mere
commonplace. But Goethe always claimed it was divine prophecy. These
boys were William and Alexander von Humboldt.

History does not supply another instance of two brothers attaining the
intellectual height reached by Alexander and William von Humboldt. This
being so, it seems meet that we should tarry a little to inspect the
method adopted in the education of these boys--something that the
educated world for the most part has not done.

       *       *       *       *       *

This world of ours, round like an orange and slightly flattened at the
poles, has produced only five men who were educated. Of course all
education is comparative; but these five are so beyond the rest of
mankind that they form a class by themselves.

An educated man means a developed man--a man rounded on every side of
his nature. We are aware of no limit to which the mind of man may
evolve; other men may appear who will surpass the Immortal Five, but
this fact remains: none that we know have. Great men, so-called, are
usually specialists: clever actors, individuals with a knack, talented
comedians--who preach, carve, paint, orate, fight, manipulate, manage,
teach, write, perform, coerce, bribe, hypnotize, accomplish, and get
results. There are great financiers, sea-captains, mathematicians,
football players, engineers, bishops, wrestlers, runners, boxers, and
players on zithern-strings. But these are not necessarily very great
men, any more than poets, painters and pianists, with wonderful hirsute
effects and strange haberdashery are great men.

For it is intellect and emotion expanded in every direction that give
the true title to greatness. Judged in this way, how rare is the
educated man--five in six thousand years! And yet one of these five
educated men had a brother nearly as great as he.

Alexander von Humboldt was past fifty before the world of thinking men
realized that he had outstripped his brother William--and Alexander
would never admit he had.

These two men, handsome in face, form and feature: strong in body and
poised in mind, with souls athirst to realize and to know--happy men,
living long lives of useful effort--surely should be classed as educated

And in passing, let us note that all education is preparatory--it is
life that gives the finals, not the college. The education of the von
Humboldt boys was the Natural Method--the method advocated by
Rousseau--the education by play and work so combined that study never
becomes irksome nor work repulsive. Rousseau said, "Make a task
repugnant and the worker will forever quit it as soon as the pressure
that holds him to it is removed."

The parents of Alexander and William von Humboldt carefully studied the
new plan of education that was at that time being advocated by some of
the best professors at Berlin. "A child must have a teacher," said Jean
Jacques, "but a professional teacher is apt to become the slave of his
profession, and when this occurs he has separated himself from life, and
therefore to that degree is unfitted to teach."

A school should not be a preparation for life: a school should be life.
The Kindergarten Idea, among other things, suggests that a child should
never know he is in school.

The discipline is kept out of sight, and the youngster finds himself a
part of the busy life. He blends in with the others, and works, plays
and sings under the wise and loving care of his "other mother," the
teacher. He is living, not simply preparing to live. All life should be
joyous, spontaneous, natural. The Rousseau Idea, which was modified and
refined by Froebel, is the utilization of the propensity to play.

Major von Humboldt found a man who was saturated with the true Froebel
spirit, although this was before Froebel was born.

The man's name was Heinrich Campe. Heinrich was hired to superintend the
education of the Humboldt boys. That is to say, he was to become
comrade, friend, counselor, fellow-scholar, playmate and teacher.

Play needs direction as well as work. Campe played with the boys. They
lived with Nature--made lists of all the trees at Tegel, drew sketches
of the leaves and fruit, calculated the height of trees, measured them
at the base, and cut them down occasionally, first sitting in judgment
on the case, and deciding why a certain tree should be removed, thus
getting a lesson in scientific forestry.

They became acquainted with the bugs, beetles, birds and squirrels. They
cared for the horses, cattle and fowls, and best of all they learned to
wait on themselves.

Campe told them tales of history--of Achilles, Pericles and Cæsar. Then
they studied Greek, that they might read of Athens in the language of
the men who made Athens great. They translated "Robinson Crusoe" into
the German language, and Campe's translation of "Robinson Crusoe" is
today a German classic. It was all natural--interesting, easy. The day
was filled with work and play, and joyous tales of what had been said by
others in days agone.

"Teach only what you know, and never that which you merely believe,"
said Rousseau.

There is still a cry that religion should be taught in the public
schools. If we ask, "What religion?" the answer is, "Ours, of course!"

Religious dogma, being a matter of belief, was taught to the Humboldts
as a part of history.

So these boys very early became acquainted with the dogmas of
Confucianism, Mohammedanism, Christianity. They separated, compared and
analyzed, and saw for themselves that dogmatic religions were all much
alike. To know all religions is to escape slavery to any. In studying
the development of races these boys saw that a certain type of religion
fits a certain man in a certain stage of his evolution, and so perhaps
to that degree religion is necessary. An ethnologist is never a Corner
Grocery Infidel. The C.G.I. is very apt to be converted at the first
revival, outrivaling all other "seekers," and when warm weather comes,
falling from grace and dropping easily into scofferdom.

The Humboldts, like Thoreau, never had any quarrel with God, and they
were never tempted to go forward to the Mourners' Bench.

Origin and destiny did not trouble them; predestination and
justification by faith were not even in their curriculum; foreordination
and baptism were to them problems not to be taken seriously.

By studying religions in groups and incidentally, they learned to
distinguish the fetish in each. They read Greek mythology side by side
with Judean mythology and noted similarities. The intent of Tutor Campe
was to give these boys a scientific education. Science is only
classified commonsense. To be truly scientific is to know
differences--to distinguish between this and that. Every successful
farmer has traveled a long way into science, for science deals with the
maintenance of life. To know soils, animals and vegetation is to be

But when the average farmer learns to transmute compost into grass and
grain, and these into beef, he usually stops, content. To be a scientist
in the true sense, one must love knowledge for its own sake, and not
merely for what it will bring on market-day, and so the Humboldts were
led on through the stage of wanting to make money, to the stage of
wanting to know the why and wherefore. It will be seen that the
education of the Humboldts was what the Boylston Professor of English at
Harvard calls "faddism, or the successful effort at flabbiness." Our
Harvard friend thinks that education should be a discipline--that it
should be difficult and vexatious, and that happiness, spontaneity and
exuberance are the antitheses and the foes of learning. To him grim
earnestness, silence, sweat and lamp-smoke are preferable to sunshine
and joyous, useful work so wisely directed that the pupil thinks it
play. He believes that to be sincere we must be serious. In these
latter-day objections there is nothing new. Socrates met them all;
Rousseau heard the cry of "fad"; Heyne, Pestalozzi, Campe, Knuth and
Froebel met the carpist and answered him reason for reason, just as
Copernicus, Bruno and Galileo told the reason the earth revolved. The
professional teacher who can do nothing but teach--the college professor
who is a college professor and nothing else--hates the Natural Method
man about as ardently as the person who wears a paste diamond hates the

       *       *       *       *       *

Heinrich Campe was the tutor of the Humboldts for two years, when he
entered the employ of the King as Commissioner of Education.

After this, however, he continued to spend one day a week at Tegel for
some time. He loved the boys as his own, and his hope for their future
never relaxed. Possibly his interest was not wholly disinterested--with
the help of these lads he was working out and proving his pedagogic

When Campe resigned his immediate tutorship he was allowed to select his
successor, and he chose a young man by the name of Christian Knuth.

The mother was a member of this little university of four persons;
Knuth, of course, was a member, for he always considered himself more of
a student than a teacher.

When Campe resigned in favor of Knuth his action was in degree prompted
by his love and consideration for the boys. Knuth was only a little past
twenty, and was able to enter into the out-of-door sports and work of
the youngsters better than the older man. Knuth was their hero--together
they rode horseback, climbed mountains, excavated tunnels, mined for
ore, built miniature houses. "Knuth made every good thing in Berlin
available to us," wrote William years afterward; "we visited stores,
factories, barracks and schools, and became familiar with a thousand
commonplace things never taught in schools and colleges."

When Alexander was twelve years old, the father died. This would have
been a severe blow to the boys were it not for Knuth, who seemed to
stand to them more as the real parent than did Major von Humboldt.

Knuth was a businessman of no mean ability. The Baroness now trusted him
with all her financial affairs. He called on the boys to help him in the
details of business, so the keeping of accounts and the economical
handling of money were lessons they learned early in life.

When Alexander was seventeen and William nineteen, the mother and Knuth
decided that the boys should have the advantages of university life.
Accordingly they were duly entered at the University of Frankfort as
"special students."

Knuth also entered as a student in the class with them. Special
students, let it be known, are usually those who have failed to pass the
required examinations. In this instance, Alexander and William were
beyond many of their classmates in some things, but in others they were
deficient. Especially had their education in the dead languages been
"neglected," so it is quite likely they could not have passed the
examinations had they attempted it.

It should also be explained that special students are not eligible to
diplomas or degrees.

But Campe and Knuth did not believe the nerve-racking plan of
examinations wise, any more than it is wisdom to pull up a plant and
examine the roots to see how it prospers. Neither did they prize a
college degree.

They knew full well that a college degree is no proof of excellence of
character; to them a degree was too cheap a thing to deviate in one's
orbit to secure. They were after bigger game.

At Frankfort, Knuth and his charges lived in the family of Professor
Loffler, "so as to rub off a little knowledge from this learned man."
They studied history, philosophy, law, political economy and natural
history. We would say their method was desultory, were it not for the
fact that they were always thorough in all that they undertook. They
were simply three boys together, intent on getting their money's worth.

William was a little better student than Alexander, and was the leader;
he was larger in stature and seemed to have more vitality.

Two years were spent at the University of Frankfort, and then our trio
moved on to the University of Gottingen, where there were distinguished
lecturers on Natural History and Archeology. Antiquity especially
interested the boys, and the evolution and history of races were
followed with animation.

William took especially to philosophy as expressed in the writings of
Kant, while Alexander developed a love for botany and what he called
"the science of out-of-doors."

Two years at Gottingen, following the bent of their minds and listening
only to those lectures they liked, and they moved on to Jena.

Here they were in the Goethe country. Soon there were overtures from
Berlin that they enter the service of the Government. These overtures
were set in motion by Campe, who, however, kept out of sight in the
matter, and when accused, stoutly declared that it was every man's duty
to help himself, and that he personally had never helped any one get a
position and never would.

William was twenty-three and Alexander twenty-one. William was gracious
and graceful in manner and made himself at home in the best society;
Alexander was studious, reserved and inclined to be shy.

An invitation came that they should visit Weimar and spend some weeks in
that little world of art and letters created by Goethe and Schiller. To
William this was very tempting; but Alexander saw at Weimar scant
opportunity to study botany and geology.

Besides that, he felt that sooner or later he would drift into the
employ of the Government, following in his father's footsteps. His
ambition was practical mining, with a taste for finance.

The brothers kissed each other good-by, and one went to Weimar to assist
Schiller in editing a magazine that did not pay expenses, to bask in the
sunshine of the great Goethe, and incidentally to secure a wife.

The other started on a geological excursion, and this excursion was to
continue through life, and make of the man the greatest naturalist that
the world had seen since Aristotle lived, two thousand years before.

       *       *       *       *       *

Humboldt's first book was on the geological formation of the Rhine,
published when he was twenty-six years old. The work was so complete and
painstaking that it led to his being appointed to the position of
"Assessor of Mines" at Berlin. This was the same office that Swedenborg
once held in Scandinavia.

For the benefit of our social-science friends, it is rather interesting
to note that at this time in Europe nearly all mines belonged to the

An individual might own the surface, and up to the sky, but his claim
did not go to the center of the earth. Iron, coal, copper, silver and
gold were largely mined, and the Government operated the mines direct,
or else leased them on a percentage.

I am told that in America all mining is done by individuals or private
companies, and that four-fifths of all mining companies have no mines at
all--merely samples of ores, blueprints, photographs and prospects. The
genus promoter is a very modern production, and is a creation Humboldt
never knew; the "salting" of mines was out of his province, and mining
operations carried on exclusively in sky-scrapers was a combination he
never guessed.

Whether society will ever take a turn backward, and the whole people own
and control the treasures deposited by Nature in the earth, is a
question I will leave to my Marxian colleagues to determine.

As a mine-manager Humboldt was hardly a success. He knew the value of
ores, utilized various by-products that had formerly been thrown away,
made plans for the betterment of his workers, and once sent a protest to
the King against allowing women and children to be employed underground.

But the price per ton of his product was out of proportion to the
expenses. While other men mined the ore he wrote a book on "Subterranean
Vegetation." The details of business were not to his liking. His own
private financial affairs were now turned over to Knuth, his modest
fortune resolved into cash and invested in bonds that brought a low rate
of interest. Freedom was his passion--to come and go at will was his
desire. The thirst for travel was upon him--travel, not for adventure,
but for knowledge.

He resigned his office and tramped with knapsack on back across the
Alps. The habit of his mind was that of the naturalist-investigator.
Geology, botany and zoology were his properties by divine right.

These sciences really form one--geognosy, or the science of the
formation of the earth. The plants dissolve and disintegrate the rocks;
the animal feeds upon the plants; and animal life makes new forms of
vegetation possible. So the mineral, vegetable and animal kingdoms
evolve together, constantly tending toward a greater degree of
refinement and complexity.

The very highest form of animal life is man; and the highest type of
man is evolved where there is a proper balance between the animal and
the vegetable kingdoms.

Humboldt discovered very early in his career that the finest flowers
grow where there are the finest birds, and man separated from birds,
beasts and flowers could not possibly survive.

Just about this time, Humboldt, taking the cue from Goethe, said: "Man
is a product of soil and climate, and is brother to the rocks, trees and
animals. He is dependent on these, and all things seem to point to the
truth that he has evolved from them. The accounts of special creation
are interesting as archeology, but biology is distinctly the business of
modern scientists. The scientist tells what he knows, and the theologist
what he believes." And again we find Humboldt writing from Switzerland
in Seventeen Hundred Ninety-six, making observations that have been
recently unconsciously paraphrased by the United States Secretary of
Agriculture, who said in a printed report: "Western farmers who raise
and sell hogs and cattle, feeding them grain instead of selling it, are
sure to acquire a competence. The farmers who sell grain are the ones
who do not pay off their mortgages."

Says Humboldt:

"Here on the sides of these towering and forbidding mountains we find
the most fertile and beautiful miniature farms, nestling in little
valleys or on plateaus.

"Indeed, I heard today of a man falling out of his farm and being
seriously injured. He ventured too near the edge.

"These Swiss gardens with their prosperous and intelligent owners are
only possible through the fact that the owners keep all the cows and
poultry that can comfortably exist on the acres. The peasants sell
butter, cheese and eggs, instead of grain and vegetables exclusively.

"They give back to the earth all that they take from it, so in the
course of a hundred years a fine soil evolves that supports valuable
animals, including valuable men; choice fruit, flowers and birds appear,
and we have what we are pleased to call Christian civilization. It is
not for me to quibble about terms, but civilization is not necessarily
Christian, since it is more a matter of economics and natural science
than religion."

Where the climate is fairly propitious, but not so much so but that it
compels watchfulness, economy and effort, man will work, and to aid him
in his work he utilizes domestic animals. And the very act of
domesticating the animal domesticates the man. As man improves the
animal, he improves himself. One reason why the American Indian did not
progress was because he had neither horses, camels, oxen, swine nor
poultry. He had his dog, and the dog is a wolf, and always remains one,
in that his intent is on prey. This fitted the mood of the Indian, and
he continued to live his predaceous career without a particle of
evolution. To stand still is to retreat, and there is evidence that long
before the year Fourteen Hundred Ninety-two, there was a North American
Indian that was a better Indian than the Indians who watched the
approach of Columbus and exclaimed, "Alas! we are discovered!"

In crossing the Alps, Humboldt was impressed with the truth that man was
a necessary factor in working out "creation," just as much as the
earthworm. When men stir the soil so as to make it produce grain that
the family may be fed, and utilize animals in this work, civilization is
surely at hand.

Nations with a controlling desire to absorb, annex and exploit are still
to that degree savages. Creation is still going on, and this earth is
becoming better and more beautiful as men work in line with reason and
allow science to become the handmaid of instinct.

Humboldt, above all men, prepared the way for Darwin, Spencer and
Tyndall--all of these built on him, all quote him. His books form a mine
in which they constantly delved.

Humboldt in boyhood formed the habit of close and accurate observation,
and he traveled that he might gratify this controlling impulse of his
life--the habit of seeing and knowing. His genius for classification was
superb; he approached every subject with an open mind, willing to change
his conclusions if it were shown that he was wrong; he had imagination
to see the thing first with his inward eye; he had the strength to
endure physical discomfort, and finally he had money enough so he was
free to follow his bent.

These qualifications made him the prince of scientific travelers--the
pioneer of close, accurate and reliable explorers.

       *       *       *       *       *

Before Humboldt's time travelers had been mostly of the type of Marco
Polo and Sir John Mandeville, who discovered strange and wondrous
things, such as horses with five legs, dogs that could talk, and
anthropophagi with heads that grew beneath their shoulders. The
temptation to be interesting at the expense of truth has always been
strong upon the sailorman. Read even the history of Christopher Columbus
and you will hear of islands off the coast of America inhabited
exclusively by women who had only one calling-day in a year when their
gentlemen friends from a neighboring island came to see them.

The world needed accurate, scientific knowledge concerning those parts
of the world seldom visited by man. Travel a hundred years ago was
accompanied by great expense and more or less peril. Nations held
themselves aloof from one another, and travelers were looked upon as
renegades or spies.

Alexander von Humboldt had explored deep mines, climbed high mountains,
visited that strange people, the Basques of Spain, got little glimpses
into Africa where the jungle was waiting for a Livingstone and a Stanley
before giving up its secrets. The Corsican had thrown Europe into a
fever of fear, and war was on in every direction, when in Seventeen
Hundred Ninety-nine Humboldt ran the blockade and sailed out of the
harbor of Coruna, Spain, on the little corvette "Pizarro," bound for
the Spanish possessions in the New World. Spain had discovered America
in the gross two hundred years before, but what this country really
contained in way of possibilities, Spain had most certainly never

Humboldt's mind had conceived the idea of a Scientific Survey, and in
this he was the maker of an epoch. In this undertaking he secured the
assistance of the Prime Minister, who secretly issued passports and
letters of recommendation to Humboldt, first cautioning him that if the
Court of Madrid should know anything about this proposed voyage of
discovery it could never be made, so jealous and ignorant were the

Only one thing did Spain have in abundance, and that was religion.

At that time the Spanish Colonies included Louisiana, Florida, Texas,
California, Mexico, Cuba, Central America, most of the West Indies, and
most of South America, not to mention the Philippines. These colonies
covered a territory stretching over five thousand miles from North to
South. Twice a year Spain sent out her trading-ships, convoyed by armed
cruisers. Trade then was monopoly and extortion. The goods sent out were
as cheap and tawdry as could be palmed off; all that were brought back
were bartered for at the lowest possible prices.

Cheating in count, weight and quality was then considered perfectly
proper, and as the Government officials at home got a goodly grab into
all transactions in way of perquisites, all went swimmingly--or fairly

For a Spaniard to trade with any other nation was treason, and if
caught, his property was confiscated and probably his head forfeited.

No foreigners were allowed in the colonies, and exclusion was the rule.
To hold her dependencies Spain thought she must keep them under close
subjection; and she seemed beautifully innocent of the fact that she was
the dependent, not they. She did not believe in Free Trade.

The Government was absolutely under military rule. Of the botany,
zoology, geology, not to mention the topography, of her American
possessions, the officials of Spain knew nothing save from the tales of

Such were the Spanish conditions when Humboldt got himself smuggled on
board the "Pizarro," and sailed away, June Fourth, Seventeen Hundred
Ninety-nine. With Humboldt was one companion, Bonpland, a Swiss by
birth, and a rare soul.

Humboldt was a naturalist and a philosopher; by nature he was a
traveler. But he lacked that intrepid quality possessed by, say, Lewis
and Clarke.

He had too much brain--too fine a nerve-quality to face the forest
alone. Bonpland made good all that he lacked. He used to call Bonpland
his "Treasure." And surely such a friend is a treasure, indeed.
Bonpland was a linguist, as most of the Swiss are. He was a
mountain-climber, and had been a soldier and a sailor, and he knew
enough of literature and science, so he was an interesting companion.

He was small in stature, lithe, immensely strong, absolutely fearless,
and had left behind him neither family nor friends to mourn his loss. To
Humboldt he was guide, teacher, protector and friend. Bonpland was the
soul of unselfishness.

Perhaps a certain quality of man attracts a certain quality of friend--I
really am not sure. But this I know, that while Alexander von Humboldt
had few personal friends, he always had just those which his nature
required--his friends were hands, feet, eyes and ears for him, to quote
his own words. This voyage on the "Pizarro" occupied five years. The
travelers visited Teneriffe, Cuba, Mexico, and skirted the coast of
South America, making many little journeys inland.

They climbed mountains that had never been scaled before; they ascended
rivers where no white man had ever been, and pushed their way through
jungle and forest to visit savage tribes who fled before them in terror
thinking they were gods. On the return trip they visited the United
States; spent some weeks in Washington, where they were the guests of
the President, Thomas Jefferson. A firm friendship sprang up between
Humboldt and Jefferson: they were both freethinkers, and when Humboldt
recorded in his journal that Jefferson was by far the greatest man
living in America, he not only recorded his personal conviction, but he
spoke the truth.

And as if not to be outdone, although he did not then know what Humboldt
had said of him, Jefferson declared that Alexander von Humboldt was the
greatest man he ever saw.

Most of the vast number of rare specimens and natural-history
curiosities gathered by Humboldt and Bonpland were placed on a
homeward-bound ship that sailed from South America. This ship was lost
and all the precious and priceless cargo went for naught. Had Humboldt
and his companion sailed on this ship, as they had at first intended,
instead of returning by way of the United States, the world would not
have known the name of Alexander von Humboldt.

But Fate for once was kind--the world had great need of him.

       *       *       *       *       *

When Humboldt landed at Bordeaux in August, in Eighteen Hundred Four,
after his five-year journey, he immediately set out to visit his
brother, who was then German Ambassador at Rome. We can imagine that it
was a most joyous meeting.

Of it William said: "I could not recognize him for my tears--but beside
this he seemed to have grown in stature and was as brown as a Malay. Was
he really my brother? Ah, the hand was the hand of Esau, but when he
spoke, it was the same kind, gentle, loving voice--the voice of my

A few weeks at Rome and Alexander grew restless for work. He had made
great plans about publishing the record of his travels. This work was to
outstrip anything in bookmaking the world had ever seen, dealing with
similar subjects. The writing was done on shipboard, by campfires, and
in forest and jungle, but now it had all to be gone over and revised and
much of it translated into French, for the original notes were sometimes
in English and sometimes in German. Only in Paris could the work of
bookmaking be done that would fill Humboldt's ideals. In Paris were
printers, engravers, artists, binders--Paris was then the artistic
center of the world, as it is today.

The results of this first great scientific voyage of discovery were
written out in a work of seventeen volumes.

It was entitled, "The Travels of Humboldt and Bonpland in the Interior
of America." Humboldt wrote the book, but wanted his friend to have half
the credit. This superb set of books, containing many engravings, was
issued under Humboldt's supervision and almost entirely at his own
expense. It was divided into five general parts: Zoology and Comparative
Anatomy; Geography and the Distribution of Plants; Political Essays and
Description of Peoples and Institutions in the Kingdom of New Spain;
Astronomy and Magnetism; Equinoctial Vegetation. It took two years to
issue the first volume, but the others then came along more rapidly, yet
it was ten years before the last book of the set was published. The
total expense of issuing this set of books was more than a million
francs, or, to be exact, two hundred twenty-six thousand dollars.

The cost of a set of these books to subscribers was two thousand five
hundred fifty dollars, although there were a few sets containing
hand-colored plates and original drawings that were valued at twenty
thousand dollars. One such set can now be seen at the British Museum. In
all, only three hundred sets of these books were issued.

One set at least came to North America, for it was presented to Thomas
Jefferson, and, if I am not mistaken, is now in the Congressional
Library at Washington.

This American Expedition forever fixed Alexander von Humboldt's place in
history, but after it was completed and the record written out, he had
still more than half a century to live.

       *       *       *       *       *

At a time when few men could afford the luxury, Alexander von Humboldt
was an atheist. Fortunately he had sufficient fortune to place him
beyond reach of the bread-and-butter problem, and all of his books were
written in the language of the esoteric. He did not serve as an
iconoclast for the common people--his name was never on the tongue of
rumor--very few, indeed, knew of his existence. His books were issued in
deluxe, limited editions, and were for public libraries, the shelves of
nobility or rich collectors.

Humboldt was judicial in all of his statements, approaching every
question as if nothing were known about it. He built strong, and was
preparing the way, such as throwing up ramparts and storing ammunition
for the first decisive battle that was to take place between Theology
and Science.

In his day Theology was supreme, the practical dictator of human
liberties. But a World's Congress of Freethinkers has recently been held
in Rome.

There were present more than three thousand delegates, representing
every civilized country on the globe. The deliberations of the Congress
were held in a hall supplied by the Italian Government, and all
courtesies and privileges were tendered the delegates. The only protest
came from the Pope, who turned Protestant and in all the Catholic
churches in Rome ordered special services, to partially mitigate the
blot upon the fair record of the "Holy City." Forty years ago armed men
would have routed this Congress by force, and a hundred years ago the
bare thought of such a meeting would have placed a person who might have
suggested it in imminent peril.

Humboldt prophesied that the world would not forever be ruled by
religious superstition--that science must surely win. But he did not
expect that the change would come as quickly as it has; neither did he
anticipate the fact that the orthodox religion would admit all the facts
of science and still flourish. The number of Church communicants now is
larger than it was in the time of Humboldt. The Church is a
department-store that puts in the particular goods that the people ask

Freethinkers do not leave the Church; the Church is built on a Goodyear
patent, and its lines expand when Freethinkers get numerous, so as to
include them.

The Church would rather countenance vice, as it has in the past, than
disband. In New York City we now have the spectacle of the Church
operating a saloon and selling strong drink. In all country towns,
religion, failing in being attractive, has, to keep churches alive,
resorted to raffles, lotteries, concerts, chicken-pie socials, and
lectures and exhortations by strange men in curious and unique garb, and
singers of reputation.

The Church, being a part of society, evolves as society evolves.
Christianity is a totally different thing now from what it was in
Humboldt's time; it was a different thing in Humboldt's time from what
it was a hundred years before.

Behold the spectacle of a thousand highly educated and gentle men, from
all over the world, decorating with garlands the statue of Bruno in
Rome, on the site where Churchmen piled high the fagots and burned his
living body! I foretell that when the next World's Congress of
Freethinkers occurs in Rome, the Pope will welcome the delegates, and
their deliberations will occur by invitation in the wide basilica of
Saint Peter's. The world moves, and the Pope and all the rest of us move
with it.

When a meeting was recently called in Jersey City to welcome Turner, the
so-called anarchist, the Mayor forbade the meeting and then placed a
cordon of policemen around the intended meeting-place. But, lo, in their
extremity the "anarchists" were invited by a clergyman to come and use
his church and he led the way to the sacred edifice, warning the police
to neither follow nor enter. As we become better we meet better

Humboldt could see no rift through the clouds outside of the death of
the Church and the disbanding of her so-called sacred institutions. We
now perceive that very rarely are religious opinions consciously
abandoned; they change, are modified and later evolve into something
else. Churches are now largely social clubs. In America this is true
both of Catholic and of Protestant. Most all denominations are
interested in social betterment, because the trend of human thought is
in that direction.

The Church is being swept along upon the tide of time. In a few
instances churches have already evolved practical industrial
betterments, which are conducted directly under the supervision of the
church and in its edifice. There are hundreds of Kindergartens now being
carried on in church buildings that a few years ago were idle and vacant
all the week. Others have sewing-circles and boys' clubs, and these have
metamorphosed in some instances into Manual-Training Schools where girls
are taught Domestic Science and boys are given instruction in the
Handicrafts. I know a church that derives its support from the sale of
useful things that are made by its members and workers under the
supervision of its pastor, who is a master in handicraft. So this pretty
nearly points the ideal--a church that has evolved into an ethical and
industrial college, where the pastor is not paid for preaching, but for

Charles Bradlaugh once said:

"A paid priesthood blocks evolution. These men are really educated to
uphold and defend the institution. They can do nothing else. Most of
them have families dependent upon them--do you wonder that it is a fight
to the death? It is not truth that the clergy struggles for--they may
think it is--but the grim fact remains, it is a fight for material

We all confuse our interests with the eternal verities--the thing that
pays us we consider righteous, or at least justifiable. This is the most
natural thing in the world. An artist who painted very bad pictures once
took one of his canvases to Whistler for criticism.

Jimmy shrugged his shoulders and made a grimace that spoke volumes. "But
a man must live some way!" pleaded the poor fellow in his extremity.

"I do not see the necessity," was the weary reply.

Preachers must live; their education and environment have unfitted them
for useful effort; but they are a part of the great, seething struggle
for existence. And so we have their piteous and plaintive plea for the
obsolete and the outworn. Disraeli once in an incautious moment
exclaimed: "If we do away with the Established Church, what is to become
of the fourteen million prepared and pickled sermons? Think for a moment
of the infinite labor of writing new sermons, all based upon a different
point of view--let us then be reasonable and not subject a profession
that is overworked to the humiliation of destroying the bulk of its

Science deals directly with the maintenance of human life and the
bettering of every condition of existence through a wider, wiser and
saner use of the world. Civilization is the working out and
comprehending and proving how to live in the best way. Theology
prepares men to die; science fits them to live.

Science deals with your welfare in this world; theology in another.
Theology has not yet proved that there is another world--its claims are
not even based upon hearsay. It is a matter of belief and assumption.

Science, too, assumes, and its assumption is this: The best preparation
for a life to come is to live here and now as if there were no life to

Your belief will not fix your place in another world--what you are, may.
The individual who gets most out of this life is fitting himself to get
most out of another if there is one.

And this brings us up to that paragraph in the "Cosmos" where Humboldt
says: "I perceive a period when the true priesthood will not be paid to
defend a fixed system of so-called crystallized truth. But I believe the
time will come when that man will be most revered who bestows most
benefits here and now. The clergy of Christendom have stood as leaders
of thought, but to hold this proud position they must abandon the
intangible and devote themselves to this world and the people who are

       *       *       *       *       *

Most of Humboldt's time during his middle life was spent at Paris, where
he was busily engaged in the herculean task of issuing his splendid
books. He varied his work, however, so that several hours daily were
devoted to study and scientific research; and from time to time he made
journeys over Europe and Asia.

In Eighteen Hundred Twenty-seven a personal request came from the King
of Prussia that Humboldt should thereafter make Berlin his home. He was
too big a man for Germany to lose.

He acceded to the King's request, moved to Berlin and was spoken of as
"The First Citizen," although he would not consent to hold office, nor
would he accept a title.

In vexed questions of diplomacy he was often consulted by the King and
his Cabinet, and in a great many ways he furthered the interests of
education and civilization by his judicial and timely advice.

He was always a student, always an investigator, always a tireless
worker. He lived simply and quietly--keeping out of society and away
from crowds, except on the rare occasions when necessity seemed to
demand it.

The quality of the man was well mirrored in those magnificent books--all
that he did was on the scale of grandeur.

His books were too high in price for the average reader, but on request
of the King he consented to give a course of five, free, popular
lectures for the people.

No one foresaw the result of these addresses. The course was so
successful that it extended itself into sixty-one lectures, and covered
a period of more than ten years' time. No admittance was charged, free
tickets being given out to applicants. Very soon after the first
lecture, a traffic sprang up in these free tickets, carried on by our
Semitic friends, and the tickets soared to as high as three dollars
each. Then the strong hand of the Government stepped in: the tickets
were canceled, and the public was admitted to the lectures without
ceremony. Boxes, however, were set apart for royalty and foreign
visitors, some of whom came from England, Belgium, Switzerland and
France. The size of these audiences was limited simply by the capacity
of the auditorium, the attendance at first being about a thousand;
later, a larger hall was secured and the attendance ran as high as four
thousand persons at each address.

The subjects were as follows: three lectures on the History of Science;
two on reasons why we should study Science; four on the Crust of the
Earth, and the nature of Volcanoes and Earthquakes; two on the form of
Earth's Surface and the elevation of the Continents; five on Physical
Geography; five on the nature of Heat and Magnetism; sixteen on
Astronomy; two on Mountains and how they are formed; three on the Nature
of the Sea; three on the Distribution of Matter; ten on the Atmosphere
as an Elastic Fluid; three on the Geography of Animals; three on Races
of Men.

Every good thing begins as something else, and what was intended for the
common people became scientific lectures for educated people. "The man
who was most benefited by these lectures was myself," said Humboldt.

Men grow by doing things. Lectures are for the lecturer.

Humboldt found out more things in giving these lectures than he knew
before--he discovered himself. And long before they were completed he
knew that his best work was embodied right here--in doing for others he
had done for himself.

In attempting to reveal the Universe or "Cosmos," he revealed most of
his own comprehensive intelligence. That many of his conclusions have
since been abandoned by the scientific world does not prove such ideas
valueless--they helped and are helping men to find the truth.

These sixty-one "popular" and free lectures make up that stupendous work
now known to us as "Humboldt's Cosmos."

       *       *       *       *       *

Says Robert Ingersoll in his tribute to Alexander von Humboldt:

"His life was pure, his aims were lofty, his learning varied and
profound, and his achievements vast.

"We honor him because he has ennobled our race, because he has
contributed as much as any man, living or dead, to the real prosperity
of the world. We honor him because he has honored us--because he has
labored for others--because he was the most learned man of the most
learned nation of his time--because he left a legacy of glory to every
human being. For these reasons he is honored throughout the world.

"Millions are doing homage to his genius at this moment, and millions
are pronouncing his name with reverence and recounting what he

"We associate the name of Humboldt with oceans, continents, mountains,
volcanoes--with towering palms--the snow-lipped craters of the
Andes--the wide deserts--with primeval forests and European
capitals--with wilderness and universities--with savages and
savants--with the lonely rivers of unpeopled wastes--with peaks, pampas,
steppes, cliffs and crags--with the progress of the world--with every
science known to man and with every star glittering in the immensity of
space. Humboldt adopted none of the soul-shrinking creeds of his day; he
wasted none of his time in the inanities, stupidities and contradictions
of theological metaphysics; he did not endeavor to harmonize the
astronomy and geology of a barbarous people with the science of the
Nineteenth Century.

"Never, for one moment, did he abandon the sublime standard of truth: he
investigated, he studied, he thought, he separated the gold from the
dross in the crucible of his brain. He was never found on his knees
before the altar of superstition. He stood erect by the tranquil column
of Reason. He was an admirer, a lover, an adorer of Nature, and at the
age of ninety, bowed by the weight of nearly a century, covered with the
insignia of honor, loved by a nation, respected by a world, with kings
for his servants, he laid his weary head upon her bosom--upon the bosom
of the Universal Mother--and with her loving arms about him, sank into
that slumber which we call Death.

"History added another name to the starry scroll of the immortals.

"The world is his monument; upon the eternal granite of her hills he
inscribed his name, and there, upon everlasting stone, his genius wrote
this, the sublimest of truths: The universe is governed by law."

[Illustration: WILLIAM HERSCHEL]


     The great number of alterations of stars that we are certain have
     happened within the last two centuries, and the much greater number
     that we have reason to suspect to have taken place, are curious
     features in the history of the heavens, as curious as the slow
     wearing away of the landmarks of our earth on mountains, on river
     banks, on ocean shores. If we consider how little attention has
     formerly been paid this subject, and that most of the observations
     we have are of a very late date, it would perhaps not appear
     extraordinary were we to admit the number of alterations that have
     probably happened to different stars, within our own time, to be a

     --_William Herschel_


William Herschell, born Seventeen Hundred Thirty-eight, in the city
of Hanover, was the fourth child in a family of ten. Big families, I am
told, usually live in little houses, while little families live in big
houses. The Herschels were no exception to the rule.

Isaac Herschel, known to the world as being the father of his son, was a
poor man, depending for support upon his meager salary as bandmaster to
a regiment of the Hanoverian Guards.

At the garrison school, taught by a retired captain, William was the
star scholar. In mathematics he propounded problems that made the worthy
captain pooh-pooh and change the subject.

At fourteen, he was playing a hautboy in his father's band and
practising on the violin at spare times.

For music he had a veritable passion, and to have a passion for a thing
means that you excel in it--excellence is a matter of intensity. One of
the players in the band was a Frenchman, and William made an arrangement
to give the "parlez vous" lessons on the violin as payment for lessons
in French.

This whole brood of Herschel children was musical, and very early in
life the young Herschels became self-supporting as singers and players.
"It is the only thing they can do," their father said. But his loins
were wiser than his head.

In Seventeen Hundred Fifty-five William accompanied his father's band to
England, where they went to take part in a demonstration in honor of a
Hanoverian, one George the Third, who later was to play a necessary part
in a symphony that was to edify the American Colonies. America owes much
to George the Third.

Young Herschel had already learned to speak English, just as he had
learned French. In England he spent all the money he had for three
volumes of "Locke on the Human Understanding."

These books were to remain his lifelong possession and to be passed on,
well-thumbed, to his son more than half a century later.

At the time of the breaking out of the Seven Years' War, William
Herschel was nineteen. His regiment had been ordered to march in a week.
Here was a pivotal point--should he go and fight for the glory of

Not he--by the connivance of his mother and sisters, he was secreted on
a trading-sloop bound for England. This is what is called desertion; and
just how the young man evaded the penalties, since the King of England
was also Elector of Hanover, I do not know, but the House of Hanover
made no effort toward punishment of the culprit, even when the facts
were known.

Musicians of quality were, perhaps, needed in England; and as
sheep-stealing is looked upon lightly by priests who love mutton, so do
kings forgive infractions if they need the man.

When William Herschel landed at Dover he had in his pocket a single
crownpiece, and his luggage consisted of the clothes he wore, and a
violin. The violin secured him board and lodgings along the road as he
walked to London, just as Oliver Goldsmith paid his way with a similar
legal tender.

In London, Herschel's musical skill quickly got him an engagement at one
of the theaters. In a few months we hear of his playing solos at
Brabandt's aristocratic concerts. Little journeys into "the provinces"
were taken by the orchestra to which Herschel belonged. Among other
places visited was Bath, and here the troupe was booked for a two-weeks'
engagement. At this time Bath was run wide open.

Bath was a rendezvous for the gouty dignitaries of Church and State who
had grown swag through sloth and much travel by the gorge route. There
were ministers of state, soldiers, admirals-of-the-sea, promoters,
preachers, philosophers, players, poets, polite gamblers and buffoons.

They idled, fiddled, danced, gabbled, gadded and gossiped. The "School
for Scandal" was written on the spot, with models drawn from life. It
wasn't a play--it was a cross-section of Bath Society.

Bath was a clearing-house for the wit, learning and folly of all
England--the combined Hot Springs, Coney Island, Saratoga and Old Point
Comfort of the Kingdom. The most costly church of its size in America is
at Saint Augustine, Florida. The repentant ones patronize it in Lent;
the rest of the year it is closed.

At Bath there was the Octagon Chapel, which had the best pipe-organ in
England. Herschel played the organ: where he learned how nobody seemed
to know--he himself did not know. But playing musical instruments is a
little like learning a new language.

A man who speaks three languages can take a day off and learn a fourth
almost any time. Somebody has said that there is really only one
language, and most of us have only a dialect. Acquire three languages
and you perceive that there is a universal basis upon which the various
tongues are built.

Herschel could play the hautboy, the violin and the harpsichord. The
organ came easy. When he played the organ in the Chapel at Bath, fair
ladies forgot the Pump-Room, and the gallants followed them--naturally.
Herschel became the rage. He was a handsome fellow, with a pride so
supreme that it completed the circle, and people called it humility. He
talked but little, and made himself scarce--a point every genius should
ponder well.

The disarming of the populace--confiscating canes, umbrellas and
parasols--before allowing people to enter an art-gallery is necessary;
although it is a peculiar comment on humanity to think people have a
tendency to smite, punch, prod and poke beautiful things. The same
propensity manifests itself in wishing to fumble a genius. Get your
coarse hands on Richard Mansfield if you can! Corral Maude
Adams--hardly. To do big things, to create, breaks down tissue awfully,
and to mix it with society and still do big things for society is

At Bath, Herschel was never seen in the Pump-Room, nor on the North
Parade. People who saw him paid for the privilege. "In England about
this time look out for a shower of genius," the almanackers might have

To Bath came two Irishmen, Edmund Burke and Richard Brinsley Sheridan.
Burke rented rooms of Doctor Nugent, and married the doctor's daughter,
and never regretted it. Sheridan also married a Bath girl, but added the
right touch of romance by keeping the matter secret, with the intent
that if either party wished to back out of the agreement it would be
allowed. This was quite Irish-like, since according to English Law a
marriage is a marriage until Limbus congeals and is used for a

With the true spirit of chivalry, Sheridan left the questions of
publicity or secrecy to his wife: she could have her freedom if she
wished. He was a fledgling barrister, with his future in front of him,
the child of "strolling players"; she, the beautiful Miss Linlay, was a
singer of note. Her father was the leader of the Bath Orchestra, and had
a School of Oratory where young people agitated the atmosphere in
orotund and tremolo and made the ether vibrate in glee. Doctor Linlay's
daughter was his finest pupil, and with her were elucidated all his
theories concerning the Sixteen Perspective Laws of Art. She also proved
a few points in stirpiculture. She was a most beautiful girl of
seventeen when Richard Brinsley Sheridan led her to the altar, or I
should say to a Dissenting Pastor's back door by night. She could sing,
recite, act, and impersonate in pantomime and Greek gown, the passions
of Fear, Hate, Supplication, Horror, Revenge, Jealousy, Rage and Faith.

Romney moved down to Bath just so as to have Miss Linlay and Lady
Hamilton for models. He posed Miss Linlay as the Madonna, Beulah, Rena,
Ruth, Miriam and Cecilia; and Lady Hamilton for Susannah at the Bath,
Alicia and Andromache, and also had her illustrate the Virtues, Graces,
Fates and Passions.

When the beautiful Miss Linlay, the pride and pet of Bath, got ready to
announce her marriage, she did it by simply changing the inscription
beneath a Romney portrait that hung in the anteroom of the artist's
studio, marking out the words "Miss Linlay," and writing over it, "Mrs.
Richard Brinsley Sheridan."

The Bath porchers who looked after other people's business, having none
of their own, burbled and chortled like siphons of soda, and the marvel
to all was that such a brilliant girl should thus throw herself away on
a sprig of the law. "He acts, too, I believe," said Goldsmith to Doctor

And Doctor Johnson said, "Sir, he does nothing else," thus anticipating
James McNeil Whistler by more than a hundred years.

But alas for the luckless Linlay, the Delsarte of his day, poor man! he
used words not to be found in Johnson's Dictionary, and outdid Cassius
in the quarrel-scene to the Brutus of Richard Brinsley.

But very soon things settled down--they always do when mixed with
time--and all were happy, or reasonably so, forever after.

Herschel resigned from Brabandt's Orchestra and remained in Bath. He
taught music, played the organ, became first violinist for Professor
Linlay and later led the orchestra when Linlay was on the road starring
the one-night stands and his beautiful daughter.

Things seemed to prosper with the kindly and talented German. He was
reserved, intellectual, and was respected by the best. He was making
money--not as London brokers might count money, but prosperous for a
mere music-teacher.

And so there came a day when he bought out the school of Professor
Linlay, and became proprietor and leader of the famous Bath Orchestra.

But the talented Mrs. Richard Brinsley Sheridan was sorely missed--a
woman soloist of worth was needed.

Herschel thought and pondered. He tried candidates from London and a few
from Paris. Some had voices, but no intellect. A very few had intellect,
but were without voice. Some thought they had a voice when what they had
was a disease. Other voices he tried and found guilty.

Those who had voice and spirit had tempers like a tornado.

Herschel decided to educate a soloist and assistant. To marry a woman
for the sake of educating her was risky business--he knew of men who had
tried it--for men have tried it since the time of the Cavemen.

A bright thought came to him! He would go back to Deutschland and get
one of his sisters, and bring her over to England to help him do his
work--just the very thing!

       *       *       *       *       *

It was a most fortunate stroke for Herschel when he went back home to
get one of his sisters to come over into Macedonia and help him. No man
ever did a great work unless he was backed up by a good woman. There
were five of these Herschel girls--three were married, so they were out
of the question, and another was engaged. This left Caroline as first,
last and only choice. Caroline was twenty-two and could sing a little.

She had appeared in concerts for her father when a child. But when the
father died, the girl was set to work in a dressmaking and millinery
shop, to help support the big family. The mother didn't believe that
women should be educated--it unfitted them for domesticity, and to speak
of a woman as educated was to suggest that she was a poor housekeeper.

In Greece of old, educated women were spoken of as "companions"--and
this meant that they were not what you would call respectable. They were
the intellectual companions of men. The Greek term of disrespect carried
with it a trifle of a suggestion not intended, that is, that women who
were not educated--not intellectual--were really not companionable--but
let that pass. It is curious how this idea that a woman is only a
scullion and a drudge has permeated society until even the women
themselves partake of the prejudice against themselves.

Mother Herschel didn't want her daughters to become educated, nor study
the science of music nor the science of anything. A goodly grocer of the
Dutch School had been picked out as a husband for Caroline, and now if
she went away her prospects were ruined--Ach, Mein Gott! or words to
that effect. And it was only on William's promise to pay the mother a
weekly sum equal to the wages that Caroline received in the
dressmaking-shop that she gave consent to her daughter's going. Caroline
arrived in England, wearing wooden shoon and hoops that were exceeding
Dutch, but without a word of English. In order to be of positive use to
her brother, she must acquire English and be able to sing--not only sing
well, but remarkably well. In less than a year she was singing solo
parts at her brother's concerts, to the great delight of the aristocrats
of Bath.

They heard her sing, but they did not take her captive and submerge her
in their fashionable follies as they would have liked to do.

The sister and the brother kept close to their own rooms. Caroline was
the housekeeper, and took a pride in being able to dispense with all
outside help. She was small in figure, petite, face plain but full of
animation. All of her spare time she devoted to her music. After the
concerts she and her brother would leave the theater, change their
clothes and then walk off into the country, getting back as late as one
or two o'clock in the morning. On these midnight walks they used to
study the stars and talk of the wonderful work of Kepler and Copernicus.
There were various requests that Caroline should go to London and sing,
but she steadfastly refused to appear on a stage except where her
brother led the orchestra. About this time Caroline wrote a letter home,
which missive, by the way, is still in existence, in which she says:
"William goes to bed early when there are no concerts or rehearsals. He
has a bowl of milk on the stand beside him, and he reads Smith's
'Harmonics' and Ferguson's 'Astronomy.' I sit sewing in the next room,
and occasionally he will call to me to listen while he reads some
passage that most pleases him. So he goes to sleep buried beneath his
favorite authors, and his first thought in the morning is how to obtain
instruments so we can study the harmonics of the sky." And a way was to
open: they were to make their own telescopes--what larks! Brother and
sister set to work studying the laws of optics. In a secondhand store
they found a small Gregorian reflector which had an aperture of about
two inches.

This gave them a little peep into the heavens, but was really only a

They set to work making a telescope-tube out of pasteboard. It was about
eighteen feet long, and the "board" was made in the genuine pasteboard
way--by pasting sheet after sheet of paper together until the substance
was as thick and solid as a board.

So this brother and sister worked at all odd hours pasting sheet after
sheet of paper--old letters, old books--with occasional strips of cloth
to give extra strength. Lenses were bought in London, and at last our
precious musical pair, with astronomy for their fad, had the
satisfaction of getting a view of Saturn that showed the rings.

It need not be explained that astronomical observations must be made out
of doors. Further, the whole telescope must be out of doors so as to get
an even temperature. This is a fact that the excellent astronomers of
the Mikado of Japan did not know until very recently. It seems they
constructed a costly telescope and housed it in a costly
observatory-house, with an aperture barely large enough for the big
telescope to be pointed out at the heavens. Inside, the astronomer had a
comfortable fire, for the season was then Winter and the weather cold.
But the wise man could see nothing and the belief was getting abroad
that the machine was bewitched, or that their Yankee brothers had
lawsonized the buyers, when our own David P. Todd, of Amherst, happened
along and informed them that the heat-waves which arose from their warm
room caused a perturbation in the atmosphere which made star-gazing
impossible. At once they made their house over, with openings so as to
insure an even temperature, and Prince Fusiyama Noguchi wrote to
Professor Todd, making him a Knight of the Golden Dragon on special
order of the heaven-born Mikado.

The Herschels knew enough of the laws of heat and refraction to realize
they must have an even temperature, but they forgot that pasteboard was

One night they left their telescope out of doors, and a sudden shower
transformed the straight tube into the arc of a circle. All attempts to
straighten it were vain, so they took out the lenses and went to work
making a tube of copper. In this, brother, sister and genius--which is
concentration and perseverance--united to overcome the innate meanness
of animate and inanimate things. A failure was not a failure to them--it
was an opportunity to meet a difficulty and overcome it.

The partial success of the new telescope aroused the brother and the
sister to fresh exertions. The work had been begun as a mere
recreation--a rest from the exactions of the public which they diverted
and amused with their warblings, concussions and vibrations.

They were still amateur astronomers, and the thought that they
would ever be anything else had not come to them. But they wanted
to get a better view of the heavens--a view through a Newtonian
reflecting-telescope. So they counted up their savings and decided that
if they could get some instrument-maker in London to make them a
reflecting-telescope six feet long, they would be perfectly willing to
pay him fifty pounds for it. This study of the skies was their only form
of dissipation, and even if it was a little expensive it enabled them to
escape the Pump-Room rabble and flee boredom and introspection. A hunt
was taken through London, but no one could be found who would make such
an instrument as they wanted for the price they could afford to pay.
They found, however, an amateur lens-polisher who offered to sell his
tools, materials and instruments for a small sum. After consultation,
the brother and sister bought him out. So at the price they expected to
pay for a telescope they had a machine-shop on their hands.

The work of grinding and polishing lenses is a most delicate business.
Only a person of infinite patience and persistency can succeed at it.

In Allegheny, Pennsylvania, lives John Brashear, who, by his own
efforts, assisted by a noble wife, graduated from a rolling-mill and
became a maker of telescopes.

Brashear is practically the one telescope lens-maker of America since
Alvan Clark resigned. There is no competition in this line--the
difficulties are too appalling for the average man. The slightest
accident or an unseen flaw, and the work of months or years goes into
the dustbin of time, and all must be gone over again.

So when we think of this brother and sister sailing away upon an unknown
ocean--working day after day, night after night, week after week, and
month after month, discarding scores of specula which they had worked
upon many weary hours in order to get the glass that would serve their
purpose--we must remove our hats in reverence.

       *       *       *       *       *

God sends great men in groups. From Seventeen Hundred Forty for the next
thirty-five years the intellectual sky seemed full of shooting-stars.
Watt had watched to a purpose his mother's teakettle; Boston Harbor was
transformed into another kind of Hyson dish; Franklin had been busy with
kite and key; Gibbon was writing his "Decline and Fall"; Fate was
pitting the Pitts against Fox; Hume was challenging worshipers of a
Fetish and supplying arguments still bright with use; Voltaire and
Rousseau were preparing the way for Madame Guillotine; Horace Walpole
was printing marvelous books at his private press at Strawberry Hill;
Sheridan was writing autobiographical comedies; David Garrick was
mimicking his way to immortality; Gainsborough was working the
apotheosis of a hat; Reynolds, Lawrence, Romney, and West, the American,
were forming an English School of Art; George Washington and George the
Third were linking their names preparatory to sending them down the
ages; Boswell was penning undying gossip; Blackstone was writing his
"Commentaries" for legal lights unborn; Thomas Paine was getting his
name on the blacklist of orthodoxy; Burke, the Irishman, was polishing
his brogue so that he might be known as England's greatest orator; the
little Corsican was dreaming dreams of conquest; Wellesley was having
presentiments of coming difficulties; Goldsmith was giving dinners with
bailiffs for servants; Hastings was defending a suit where the chief
participants were to die before a verdict was rendered; Captain Cook was
giving to this world new lands; while William Herschel and his sister
were showing the world still other worlds, till then unknown.

       *       *       *       *       *

When the brother and sister had followed the subject of astronomy as far
as Ferguson had followed it, and knew all that he knew, they thought
they surely would be content.

Progress depends upon continually being dissatisfied. Now Ferguson
aggravated them by his limitations.

In their music they amused, animated and inspired the fashionable

William gave lessons to his private pupils, led his orchestra, played
the organ and harpsichord, and managed to make ends meet, and would have
gotten reasonably rich had he not invested his spare cash in lenses,
brass tubes, eyepieces, specula and other such trifles, and stood most
of the night out on the lawn peering at the sky.

He had been studying stars for seven years before the Bath that he
amused awoke to the fact that there was a genius among them. And this
genius was not the idolized Beau Nash whose statue adorned the
Pump-Room! No, it was the man whose back they saw at the concerts.

During all these years Herschel had worked alone, and he had scarcely
ever mentioned the subject of astronomy with any one save his sister.

One night, however, he had moved his telescope into the middle of the
street to get away from the shadows of the houses. A doctor who had been
out to answer a midnight call stopped at the unusual sight and asked if
he might look through the instrument.

Permission was courteously granted. The next day the doctor called on
the astronomer to thank him for the privilege of looking through a
better telescope than his own. The doctor was Sir William Watson, an
amateur astronomer and all-round scientist, and member of the Royal
Society of London.

Herschel had held himself high--he had not gossiped of his work with the
populace, cheapening his thought by diluting it for cheap people. Watson
saw that Herschel, working alone, isolated, had surpassed the schools.

There is a nugget of wisdom in Ibsen's remark, "The strongest man is he
who stands alone," and Kipling's paraphrase, "He travels the fastest who
travels alone."

The chance acquaintance of Herschel and Watson soon ripened into a very
warm friendship.

Herschel amused the neurotics, Watson dosed and blistered them--both for
a consideration. Each had a beautiful contempt for the society they
served. Watson's father was of the purple, while Herschel's was of the
people, but both men belonged to the aristocracy of intellect. Watson
introduced Herschel into the select scientific circle of London, where
his fine reserve and dignity made their due impress. Herschel's first
paper to the Royal Society, presented by Doctor Watson, was on the
periodical star in Collo Ceti. The members of the Society, always very
jealous and suspicious of outsiders, saw they had a thinker to deal

Some one carried the news to Bath--a great astronomer was now among
them! About this time Horace Walpole said, "Mr. Herschel will content me
if, instead of a million worlds, he can discover me thirteen colonies
well inhabited by men and women, and can annex them to the Crown of
Great Britain in lieu of those it has lost beyond the Atlantic."

Bath society now took up astronomy as a fad, and fashionable ladies
named the planets both backward and forward from a blackboard list set
up in the Pump-House by Fanny Burney, the clever one.

Herschel was invited to give popular lectures on the music of the
spheres. Herschel's music-parlors were besieged by good people who
wanted to make engagements with him to look through his telescope.

One good woman gave the year, month, day, hour and minute of her birth
and wanted her fortune told. Poor Herschel declined, saying he knew
nothing of astronomy, but could give her lessons in music if desired.

In answer to the law of supply and demand, thus proving the efficacy of
prayer, an itinerant astronomer came down from London and set up a
five-foot telescope on the Parade and solicited the curious ones at a
tuppence a peep. This itinerant interested the populace by telling them
a few stories about the stars that were not recorded in Ferguson, and
passed out his cards showing where he could be consulted as a
fortune-teller during the day. Herschel was once passing by this street
astronomer, who was crying his wares, and a sudden impulse coming over
him to see how bad the man's lens might be, he stopped to take a peep at
Earth's satellite. He handed out the usual tuppence, but the owner of
the telescope loftily passed it back saying, "I takes no fee from a

This story went the rounds, and when it reached London it had been
amended thus: Charles Fox was taking a ramble at Bath, ran across
William Herschel at work, and mistaking him for an itinerant, the great
statesman stopped, peeped through the aperture, and then passing out a
tuppence moved along blissfully unaware of his error, for Herschel being
a perfect gentleman would not embarrass the great man by refusing his

When Herschel was asked if the story was true he denied the whole
fabric, which the knowing ones said was further proof of his gentlemanly
instincts--for a true gentleman will always lie under two conditions:
first, to save a woman's honor; and second, to save a friend from
embarrassment. As a profession, astrology has proved a better investment
than astronomy. Astronomy has nothing to offer but abstract truth, and
those who love astronomy must do so for truth's sake.

Astronomical discoveries can not be covered by copyright or patent, nor
can any new worlds be claimed as private property and financed by stock
companies, frenzied or otherwise. Astrology, on the other hand, relates
to love-affairs, vital statistics, goldmines, misplaced jewels and lost

Yet, in this year of grace, Nineteen Hundred Five, Boston newspapers
carry a column devoted to announcements of astrologers, while the
Cambridge Astronomical Observatory never gets so much as a mention from
one year's end to the other. Besides that, astronomers have to be
supported by endowment--mendicancy--while astrologers are paid for their
prophecies by the people whose destinies they invent. This shows us how
far as a nation we have traveled on the stony road of Science.

Science, forsooth? Oh, yes, of course--science--bang! bang! bang!

       *       *       *       *       *

In the month of March, in Seventeen Hundred Ninety-one, Herschel, by the
discovery of Uranus, found his place as a fixed star among the world's
great astronomers. Years before this, William and Caroline had figured
it out that there must be another planet in our system in order to
account plausibly for the peculiar ellipses of the others. That is to
say, they felt the influence of this seventh planet; its attractive
force was realized, but where it was they could not tell. Its discovery
by Herschel was quite accidental. He was sweeping the heavens for comets
when this star came within his vision. Others had seen it, too, but had
classified it as "a vagrant fixed star."

It was the work of Herschel to discover that it was not a fixed star,
but had a defined and distinct orbit that could be calculated. To look
up at the heavens and pick out a star that could only be seen with a
telescope--pick it out of millions and ascertain its movement--seems
like finding the proverbial needle in a haystack.

The present method of finding asteroids and comets by means of
photography is simple and easy. The plate is exposed in a frame that
moves by clockwork with the earth, so as to keep the same field of stars
steady on the glass. After two, three or four hours' exposure, the
photograph will show the fixed stars, but the planets, asteroids and
comets will reveal themselves as a white streak of light, showing
plainly where the sitters moved.

Herschel had to watch each particular star in person, whereas the
photographic lens will watch a thousand.

How close and persistent an observer a man must be who, watching one
star at a time, discovers the one in a million that moves, is apparent.
Chance, surely, must also come to his aid and rescue if he succeeds.

Herschel found his moving star, and at first mistook it for a comet.
Later, he and Caroline were agreed that it was in very truth their
long-looked-for planet. There are no proprietary rights in newly
discovered worlds--the reward is in the honor of the discovery, just as
the best recompense for a good deed lies in having done it.

The Royal Society was the recording station, as Kiel, Greenwich and
Harvard are now. Herschel made haste to get his new world on record
through his kind neighbor, Doctor Watson.

The Royal Society gave out the information, and soon various other
telescopes corroborated the discovery made by the Bath musician.
Herschel christened his new discovery "Georgium Sidus," in honor of the
King; but the star belonged as much to Germany and France as to England,
and astronomers abroad scouted the idea of peppering the heavens with
the names of nobodies.

Several astronomers suggested the name "Herschel," if the discoverer
would consent, but this he would not do. Doctor Bode then named the new
star "Uranus," and Uranus it is, although perhaps with any other name
't would shine as bright.

Herschel was forty-three years old when he discovered Uranus. He was
still a professional musician, and an amateur astronomer.

But it did not require much arguing on the part of Doctor Watson when he
presented Herschel's name for membership in the Royal Society for that
most respectable body of scholars to at once pass favorably on the
nomination. As one member in seconding the motion put it, "Herschel
honors us in accepting this membership, quite as much as we do him in
granting it."

And so the next paper presented by Herschel to the Royal Society appears
on the record signed "William Herschel, F.R.S."

Some time afterwards, it was to appear, "William Herschel, F.R.S., LL.D.
(Edinburgh)"; and then "Sir William Herschel, F.R.S., LL.D., D.C.L.

       *       *       *       *       *

George the Third, in about the year Seventeen Hundred Eighty-two, had
invited his distinguished Hanoverian countryman to become an attache of
the Court with the title of "Astronomer to the King." The
Astronomer-Royal, in charge of the Greenwich Observatory, was one Doctor
Maskelyne, a man of much learning, a stickler for the fact, but with a
mustard-seed imagination. Being asked his opinion of Herschel he assured
the company thus: "Herschel is a great musician--a great musician!"
Afterwards Maskelyne explained that the reason Herschel saw more than
other astronomers was because he had made himself a better telescope.

One real secret of Herschel's influence seems to have been his fine
enthusiasm. He worked with such vim, such animation, that he radiated
light on every side. He set others to work, and his love for astronomy
as a science created a demand for telescopes, which he himself had to
supply. It does not seem that he cared especially for money--all he made
he spent for new apparatus. He had a force of about a dozen men making
telescopes. He worked with them in blouse and overalls, and not one of
his workmen excelled him as a machinist. The King bought several of his
telescopes for from one hundred to three hundred pounds each, and
presented them to universities and learned societies throughout the
world. One fine telescope was presented to the University of Gottingen,
and Herschel was sent in person to present it. He was received with the
greatest honors, and scientists and musicians vied with one another to
do him homage.

In Seventeen Hundred Eighty-two Herschel and his sister gave up their
musical work and moved from Bath to quarters provided for them near
Windsor Castle. Herschel's salary was then the modest sum of two hundred
pounds a year.

Caroline was honored with the title "Assistant to the King's Astronomer"
with the stipend of fifty pounds a year. It will thus be seen that the
kingly idea of astronomy had not traveled far from what it was when
every really respectable court had a retinue of singers, musicians,
clowns, dancers, palmists and scientists to amuse the people somewhat
ironically called "nobility." King George the Third paid his Cook,
Master of the Kennels, Chaplain and Astronomer the same amount. The
father of Richard Brinsley Sheridan was "Elocutionist to the King," and
was paid a like sum.

When Doctor Watson heard that Herschel was about to leave Bath he wrote,
"Never bought King honor so cheap."

It was nominated in the bond that Herschel should act as "Guide to the
heavens for the diversification of visitors whenever His Majesty wills

But it was also provided that the astronomer should be allowed to carry
on the business of making and selling his telescopes.

Herschel's enthusiasm for his beloved science never abated. But often
his imagination outran his facts.

Great minds divine the thing first--they see it with their inward eye.
Yet there may be danger in this, for in one's anxiety to prove what he
first only imagined, small proof suffices. Thus Herschel was for many
years sure that the moon had an atmosphere and was inhabited; he thought
that he had seen clear through the Milky Way and discovered empty space
beyond; he calculated distances, and announced how far Castor was from
Pollux; he even made a guess as to how long it took for a gaseous nebula
to resolve itself into a planetary system; he believed the sun was a
molten mass of fire--a thing that many believed until they saw the
incandescent electric lamp--and in various other ways made daring
prophecies which science has not only failed to corroborate, but which
we now know to be errors.

But the intensity of his nature was both his virtue and his weakness.
Men who do nothing and say nothing are never ridiculous. Those who hope
much, believe much, and love much, make mistakes.

Constant effort and frequent mistakes are the stepping-stones of genius.

In all, Herschel contributed sixty-seven important papers to the
proceedings of the Royal Society, and in one of these, which was written
in his eightieth year, he says, "My enthusiasm has occasionally led me
astray, and I wish now to correct a statement which I made to you
twenty-eight years ago." He then enumerates some particular statement
about the height of mountains in the moon, and corrects it. Truth was
more to Herschel than consistency. Indeed, the earnestness, purity of
purpose, and simplicity of his mind stamp him as one of the world's
great men.

At Windsor he built a two-story observatory. In the wintertime every
night when the stars could be seen, was sacred. No matter how cold the
weather, he stood and watched; while down below, the faithful Caroline
sat and recorded the observations that he called down to her.

Caroline was his confidante, adviser, secretary, servant, friend. She
had a telescope of her own, and when her brother did not need her
services she swept the heavens on her own account for maverick comets.
In her work she was eminently successful, and five comets at least are
placed to her credit on the honor-roll by right of priority. Her
discoveries were duly forwarded by her brother to the Royal Society for

Later, the King of Prussia was to honor her with a gold medal, and
several learned societies elected her an honorary member. When Herschel
reached the discreet age of fifty he married the worthy Mrs. John Pitt,
former wife of a London merchant. It is believed that the marriage was
arranged by the King in person, out of his great love for both parties.
At any rate Miss Burney thought so. Miss Burney was Keeper of the Royal
Wardrobe at the same salary that Herschel had been receiving--two
hundred pounds a year. She also took charge of the Court Gossip, with
various volunteer assistants. "Gold, as well as stars, glitters for
astronomers," said little Miss Burney. "Mrs. Pitt is very rich, meek,
quiet, rather pretty and quite unobjectionable." But poor Caroline!

It nearly broke her heart. William was her idol--she lived but for
him--now she seemed to be replaced. She moved away into a modest cottage
of her own, resolved that she would not be an encumbrance to any one.
She thought she was going into a decline, and would not live long
anyway--she was so pale and slight that Miss Burney said it took two of
her to make a shadow.

But we get a glimpse of Caroline's energy when we find her writing home
explaining how she had just painted her house, inside and out, with her
own hands.

Things are never so bad as they seem. It was not very long before
William was sending for Caroline to come and help him out with his
mathematical calculations. Later, when a fine boy baby arrived in the
Herschel solar system, Caroline forgave all and came to take care of
what she called "the Herschel planetoid." She loved this baby as her
own, and all the pent-up motherhood in her nature went out to the little
"Sir John Herschel," the knighthood having been conferred on him by
Caroline before he was a month old.

Mrs. Herschel was beautiful and amiable, and she and Caroline became
genuine sisters in spirit. Each had her own work to do; they were not in
competition save in their love for the baby. As the boy grew, Caroline
took upon herself the task of teaching him astronomy, quite to the
amusement of the father and mother. Fanny Burney now comes with a little
flung-off nebula to the effect that "Herschel is quite the happiest man
in the kingdom." There is a most charming little biography of Caroline
Herschel, written by the good wife of Sir John Herschel, wherein some
very gentle foibles are laid bare, and where at the same time tribute is
paid to a great and beautiful spirit. The idea that Caroline was not
going to live long after the marriage of her brother was "greatly
exaggerated"--she lived to be ninety-eight, a century lacking two years!
Her mind was bright to the last--when ninety she sang at a concert given
for the benefit of an old ladies' home. At ninety-six she danced a
minuet with the King of Prussia, and requested that worthy not to
introduce her as "the woman astronomer, because, you know, I was only
the assistant of my brother!" William Herschel died in his eighty-fourth
year, with his fame at full, honored, respected, beloved.

Sir John Herschel, his son, was worthy to be called the son of his
father. He was an active worker in the field of science--a strong, yet
gentle man, with no jealousy nor whim in his nature. "His life was full
of the docility of a sage and the innocence of a child."

John Herschel died at Collingwood, May Eleventh, Eighteen Hundred
Seventy-one, and his dust is now resting in Westminster Abbey, close by
the grave of England's famous scholar, Sir Isaac Newton.

[Illustration: CHARLES DARWIN]


     I feel most deeply that this whole question of Creation is too
     profound for human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the
     mind of Newton! Let each man hope and believe what he can.

     --_Charles Darwin to Asa Gray_

     None have fought better, and none have been more fortunate, than
     Charles Darwin. He found a great truth trodden underfoot, reviled
     by bigots, and ridiculed by all the world; he lived long enough to
     see it, chiefly by his own efforts, irrefragably established in
     science, inseparably incorporated into the common thoughts of men.
     What shall a man desire more than this?

     --_Thomas Huxley, Address, April Twenty-seventh, Eighteen Hundred


Evolution is at work everywhere, even in the matter of jokes. Once
in the House of Commons, Benjamin Disraeli, who prided himself on his
fine scholarship as well as on his Hyperion curl, interrupted a speaker
and corrected him on a matter of history.

"I would rather be a gentleman than a scholar!" the man replied. "My
friend is seldom either," came the quick response.

When Thomas Brackett Reed was Speaker of the House of Representatives, a
member once took exception to a ruling of the "Czar," and having in mind
Reed's supposed Presidential aspirations closed his protests with the
thrust, "I would rather be right than President." "The gentleman will
never be either," came the instant retort.

But some years before the reign of the American Czar, Gladstone, Premier
of England, said, "I would rather be right and believe in the Bible,
than excite a body of curious, infidelic, so-called scientists to
unbecoming wonder by tracing their ancestry to a troglodyte." And Huxley
replied, "I, too, would rather be right--I would rather be right than

Charles Darwin was a Gentle Man. He was the greatest naturalist of his
time, and a more perfect gentleman never lived. His son Francis said: "I
can not remember ever hearing my father utter an unkind or hasty word.
If in his presence some one was being harshly criticized, he always
thought of something to say in way of palliation and excuse."

One of his companions on the "Beagle," who saw him daily for five years
on that memorable trip, wrote: "A protracted sea-voyage is a most severe
test of friendship, and Darwin was the only man on our ship, or that I
ever heard of, who stood the ordeal. He never lost his temper or made an
unkind remark."

Captain Fitz-Roy of the "Beagle" was a disciplinarian, and absolute in
his authority, as a sea-captain must be. The ship had just left one of
the South American ports where the captain had gone ashore and been
entertained by a coffee-planter. On this plantation all the work was
done by slaves, who, no doubt, were very well treated.

The captain thought that negroes well cared for were very much better
off than if free. And further, he related how the owner had called up
various slaves and had the Captain ask them if they wished their
freedom, and the answer was always, "No."

Darwin interposed by asking the Captain what he thought the answer of a
slave was worth when being interrogated in the presence of his owner.

Here Fitz-Roy flew into a passion, berating the volunteer naturalist,
and suggested a taste of the rope's end in lieu of logic. Young Darwin
made no reply, and seemingly did not hear the uncalled-for chidings.

In a few hours a sailor handed him a note from Captain Fitz-Roy, full of
abject apology for having so forgotten himself. Darwin was then but
twenty-two years old, but the poise and patience of the young man won
the respect and then the admiration and finally the affection of every
man on board that ship. This attitude of kindness, patience and
good-will formed the strongest attribute of Darwin's nature, and to
these godlike qualities he was heir from a royal line of ancestry. No
man was ever more blest--more richly endowed by his parents with love
and intellect--than Darwin. And no man ever repaid the debt of love more
fully--all that he had received he gave again.

Darwin is the Saint of Science. He proves the possible; and when mankind
shall have evolved to a point where such men will be the rule, not the
exception--as one in a million--then, and not until then, can we say we
are a civilized people.

Charles Darwin was not only the greatest thinker of his time (with
possibly one exception), but in his simplicity and earnestness, in his
limpid love for truth--his perfect willingness to abandon his opinion if
he were found to be wrong--in all these things he proved himself the
greatest man of his time.

Yet it is absurd to try to separate the scientist from the father,
neighbor and friend. Darwin's love for truth as a scientist was what
lifted him out of the fog of whim and prejudice and set him apart as a

He had no time to hate. He had no time to indulge in foolish debates and
struggle for rhetorical mastery--he had his work to do.

That statesmen like Gladstone misquoted him, and churchmen like
Wilberforce reviled him--these things were as naught to Darwin--his face
was toward the sunrising. To be able to know the truth, and to state it,
were vital issues: whether the truth was accepted by this man or that
was quite immaterial, except possibly to the man himself. There was no
resentment in Darwin's nature.

Only love is immortal--hate is a negative condition. It is love that
animates, beautifies, benefits, refines, creates. So firmly was this
truth fixed in the heart of Darwin that throughout his long life the
only things he feared and shunned were hate and prejudice. "They hinder
and blind a man to truth," he said--"a scientist must only love."

       *       *       *       *       *

Emerson has been called the culminating flower of seven generations of
New England culture. Charles Darwin seems a similar culminating product.

Surely he showed rare judgment in the selection of his grandparents. His
grandfather on his father's side was Doctor Erasmus Darwin, a poet, a
naturalist, and a physician so discerning that he once wrote: "The
science of medicine will some time resolve itself into a science of
prevention rather than a matter of cure. Man was made to be well, and
the best medicine I know of is an active and intelligent interest in the
world of Nature."

Erasmus Darwin had the felicity to have his biography written in German,
and he also has his place in the "Encyclopedia Britannica" quite
independent of that of his gifted grandson.

Charles Darwin's grandfather on his mother's side was Josiah Wedgwood,
one of the most versatile of men. He was as fine in spirit as those
exquisite designs by Flaxman that you will see today on the Wedgwood
pottery. Josiah Wedgwood was a businessman--an organizer, and he was
beyond this, an artist, a naturalist, a sociologist and a lover of his
race. His portrait by Sir Joshua Reynolds reveals a man of rare
intelligence, and his biography is as interesting as a novel by Kipling.
His space in the "Encyclopedia Britannica" is even more important than
that occupied by his dear friend and neighbor, Doctor Erasmus Darwin.
The hand of the Potter did not shake when Josiah Wedgwood was made.
Josiah Wedgwood and Doctor Darwin had mutually promised their children
in marriage. Wedgwood became rich and he made numerous other men rich,
and he enriched the heart and the intellect of England by setting before
it beautiful things, and by living an earnest, active and beautiful

Josiah Wedgwood coined the word "queensware." He married his cousin,
Sarah Wedgwood. Their daughter, Susannah Wedgwood, married Doctor Robert
Darwin, and Charles Darwin, their son, married Emma Wedgwood, a daughter
of Josiah Wedgwood the Second. Caroline Darwin, a sister of Charles
Darwin, married Josiah Wedgwood the Third. Let those who have the time
work out this origin of species in detail and show us the relationship
of the Darwins and Wedgwoods. And I hope we'll hear no more about the
folly of cousins marrying, when Charles Darwin is before us as an
example of natural selection.

From his mother Darwin inherited those traits of gentleness, insight,
purity of purpose, patience and persistency that set him apart as a
marked man.

The father of Charles Darwin, Doctor Robert Darwin, was a most
successful physician of Shrewsbury.

His marriage to Susannah Wedgwood filled his heart, and also placed him
on a firm financial footing, and he seemed to take his choice of
patients. Doctor Darwin was a man devoted to his family, respected by
his neighbors, and he lived long enough to see his son recognized,
greatly to his surprise, as one of England's foremost scientists.

Charles Darwin in youth was rather slow in intellect, and in form and
feature far from handsome. Physically he was never strong. In
disposition he was gentle and most lovable. His mother died when he was
eight years of age, and his three older sisters then mothered him.
Between them all existed a tie of affection, very gentle, and very firm.

The girls knew that Charles would become an eminent man--just how they
could not guess--but he would be a leader of men: they felt it in their
hearts. It was all the beautiful dream that the mother has for her babe
as she sings to the man-child a lullaby as the sun goes down.

In his autobiographical sketch, written when he was past sixty, Darwin
mentions this faith and love of his sisters, and says, "Personally, I
never had much ambition, but when at college I felt that I must work, if
for no other reason, so as not to disappoint my sisters."

At school Charles was considerable of a grubber: he worked hard because
he felt that it was his duty. English boarding-schools have always
taught things out of season, and very often have succeeded in making
learning wholly repugnant. Perhaps that is the reason why nine men out
of ten who go to college cease all study as soon as they stand on "the
threshold," looking at life ere they seize it by the tail and snap its
head off. To them education is one thing and life another.

But with many headaches and many heartaches Charles got through
Cambridge and then was sent to attend lectures at the University of
Edinburgh. Of one lecturer in Scotland he says, "The good man was really
more dull than his books, and how I escaped without all science being
utterly distasteful to me I hardly know." To Cambridge, Darwin owed
nothing but the association with other minds, yet this was much, and
almost justifies the college. "Send your sons to college and the boys
will educate them," said Emerson.

The most beneficent influence for Darwin at Cambridge was the friendship
between himself and Professor Henslow. Darwin became known as "the man
who walks with Henslow." The professor taught botany, and took his
classes on tramps a-field and on barge rides down the river, giving
out-of-door lectures on the way. This commonsense way of teaching
appealed to Darwin greatly, and although he did not at Cambridge take up
botany as a study, yet when Henslow had an out-of-door class he usually
managed to go along.

In his autobiography Darwin gives great credit to this very gentle and
simple soul, who, although not being great as a thinker, yet could
animate and arouse a pleasurable interest.

Henslow was once admonished by the faculty for his lack of discipline,
and young Darwin came near getting himself into difficulty by declaring,
"Professor Henslow teaches his pupils in love; the others think they
know a better way!"

The hope of his father and sisters was that Charles Darwin would become
a clergyman. For the army he had no taste whatsoever, and at twenty-one
the only thing seemed to be the Church. Not that the young man was
filled with religious zeal--far from that--but one must, you know, do
something. Up to this time he had studied in a desultory way; he had
also dreamed and tramped the fields. He had done considerable
grouse-shooting and had developed a little too much skill in that
particular line.

To paraphrase Herbert Spencer, to shoot fairly well is a manly
accomplishment, but to shoot too well is evidence of an ill-spent youth.
Doctor Darwin was having fears that his son was going to be an idle
sportsman, and he was urging the divinity-school.

The real fact was that sportsmanship was already becoming distasteful to
young Darwin, and his hunting expeditions were now largely carried on
with a botanist's drum and a geologist's hammer.

But to the practical Doctor these things were no better than the gun--it
was idling, anyway. Natural History as a pastime was excellent, and
sportsmanship for exercise and recreation had its place, but the
business of life must not be neglected--Charles should get himself to a
divinity-school, and quickly, too.

Things urged become repellent; and Charles was groping around for an
excuse when a letter came from Professor Henslow, saying, among other
things, that the Government was about to send a ship around the world on
a scientific surveying tour, especially to map the coast of Patagonia
and other parts of South America and Australia. A volunteer naturalist
was wanted--board and passage free, but the volunteer was to supply his
own clothes and instruments.

The proposition gave Charles a great thrill: he gave a gulp and a gasp
and went in search of his father. The father saw nothing in the plan
beyond the fact that the Government was going to get several years' work
out of some foolish young man, for nothing--gadzooks!

Charles insisted--he wanted to go! He urged that on this trip he would
be to but very little expense. "You say I have cost you much, but the
fellow who can spend money on board ship must be very clever." "But you
are a very clever young man, they say," the father replied. That night
Charles again insisted on discussing the matter. The father was
exasperated and exclaimed, "Go and find me one sane man who will endorse
your wild-goose chase and I will give my consent."

Charles said no more--he would find that "sane man." But he knew
perfectly well that if any average person endorsed the plan his father
would declare the man was insane, and the proof of it lay in the fact
that he endorsed the wild-goose chase.

In the morning Charles started of his own accord to see Henslow. Henslow
would endorse the trip, but both parties knew that Doctor Darwin would
not accept a mere college professor as sane. Charles went home and
tramped thirty miles across the country to the home of his uncle, Josiah
Wedgwood the Second. There he knew he had an advocate for anything he
might wish, in the person of his fair cousin, Emma. These two laid their
heads together, made a plan and stalked their prey.

They cornered Josiah the Second after dinner and showed him how it was
the chance of a lifetime--this trip on H.M.S. the "Beagle"! Charles
wasn't adapted for a clergyman, anyway; he wanted to be a ship-captain,
a traveler, a discoverer, a scientist, an author like Sir John
Mandeville, or something else. Josiah the Second had but to speak the
word and Doctor Darwin would be silenced, and the recommendation of so
great a man as Josiah Wedgwood would secure the place.

Josiah the Second laughed--then he looked sober. He agreed with the
proposition--it was the chance of a lifetime. He would go back home with
Charles and put the Doctor straight. And he did.

And on the personal endorsement of Josiah Wedgwood and Professor
Henslow, Charles Robert Darwin was duly booked as Volunteer Naturalist
in Her Majesty's service.

       *       *       *       *       *

Captain Fitz-Roy of the "Beagle" liked Charles Darwin until he began to
look him over with a very professional eye. Then he declared his nose
was too large and was not rightly shaped; besides, he was too tall for
his weight: outside of these points the Volunteer would answer. On
talking with young Darwin further, the Captain liked him better, and he
waived all imperfections, although no promise was made that they would
be remedied. In fact, Captain Fitz-Roy liked Charles so well that he
invited him to share his own cabin and mess with him. The sailors, on
seeing this, touched respectful forefingers to their caps and began
addressing the Volunteer as "Sir."

The "Beagle" sailed on December Twenty-seven, Eighteen Hundred
Thirty-one, and it was fully four years and ten months before Charles
Darwin saw England again. The trip decided the business of Darwin for
the rest of his life, and thereby an epoch was worked in the upward and
onward march of the race.

Captain Fitz-Roy of the British Navy was but twenty-three years old. He
was a draftsman, a geographer, a mathematician and a navigator. He had
sailed around the world as a plain tar, and taken his kicks and cuffs
with good grace. At the Portsmouth Naval School he had won a gold medal
for proficiency in study, and another medal had been given him for
heroism in leaping from a sailing-ship into the sea to save a drowning

Let us be fair--the tight little island has produced men. To evolve
these few good men she may have produced many millions of the spawn of
earth, but let the fact stand--England has produced men. Here was a
beardless youth, slight in form, silent by habit, but so well thought of
by his Government that he was given charge of a ship, five officers, two
surgeons and forty-one picked men to go around the world and make
measurements of certain coral-reefs, and map the dangerous coasts of
Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.

The ship was provisioned for two years, but the orders were, "Do the
work, no matter how long it may take, and your drafts on the Government
will be honored."

Captain Fitz-Roy was a man of decision: he knew just where he wanted to
go, and what there was to do. He was to measure and map dreary wastes of
tossing tide, and to do the task so accurately that it would never have
to be done again: his maps were to remain forever a solace, a safety and
a security to the men who go down to the sea in ships.

England has certainly produced men--and Fitz-Roy was one of them.
Fitz-Roy is now known to us, not for his maps which have passed into the
mutual wealth of the world, but because he took on this trip, merely as
an afterthought, a volunteer naturalist.

Before the "Beagle" sailed, Captain Fitz-Roy and young Mr. Darwin went
down to Portsmouth, and the Captain showed him the ship. The Captain
took pains to explain the worst. It was to be at least two years of
close, unremitting toil. It was no pleasure-excursion--there were no
amusements provided, no cards, no wine on the table; the fare was to be
simple in the extreme. This way of putting the matter was most
attractive to Darwin--Fitz-Roy became a hero in his eyes at once. The
Captain's manner inspired much confidence--he was a man who did not have
to be amused or cajoled. "You will be left alone to do your work," said
Fitz-Roy to Darwin, "and I must have the cabin to myself when I ask for
it." And that settled it. Life aboard ship is like life in jail. It
means freedom, freedom from interruption--you have your evenings to
yourself, and the days as well. Darwin admired every man on board the
ship, and most of all, the man who selected them, and so wrote home to
his sisters. He admired the men because each was intent on doing his
work, and each one seemed to assume that his own particular work was
really the most important.

Second Officer Wickham was entrusted to see that the ship was in good
order, and so thorough was he that he once said to Darwin, who was
constantly casting his net for specimens, "If I were the skipper, I'd
soon have you and your beastly belittlement out of this ship with all
your devilish, damned mess." And Darwin, much amused, wrote this down in
his journal, and added, "Wickham is a most capital fellow." The
discipline and system of ship-life, the necessity of working in a small
space, and of improving the calm weather, and seizing every moment when
on shore, all tended to work in Darwin's nature exactly the habit that
was needed to make him the greatest naturalist of his age.

Every sort of life that lived in the sea was new and wonderful to him.
Very early on this trip Darwin began to work on the "Cirripedia"
(barnacles), and we hear of Captain Fitz-Roy obligingly hailing
homeward-bound ships, and putting out a small boat, rowing alongside,
asking politely, to the astonishment of the party hailed, "Would you
oblige us with a few barnacles off the bottom of your ship?" All this
that the Volunteer, who was dubbed the "Flycatcher," might have
something upon which to work.

When on shore a sailor was detailed by Captain Fitz-Roy just to attend
the "Flycatcher," with a bag to carry the specimens, geological,
botanical and zoological, and a cabin-boy was set apart to write notes.
This boy, who afterward became Governor of Queens and a K.C.B., used
in after years to boast a bit, and rightfully, of his share in producing
"The Origin of Species." When urged to smoke, Darwin replied, "I am not
making any new necessities for myself."

When the weather was rough the "Flycatcher" was sick, much to the
delight of Wickham; but if the ship was becalmed, Darwin came out and
gloried in the sunshine, and in his work of dissecting, labeling, and
writing memoranda and data. The sailors might curse the weather--he did
not. Thus passed the days. At each stop many specimens were secured, and
these were to be sorted and sifted out at leisure.

On shore the Captain had his work to do, and it was only after a year
that Darwin accidentally discovered that the sailor who was sent to
carry his specimens was always armed with knife and revolver, and his
orders were not so much to carry what Wickham called, "the damned
plunder," as to see that no harm befell the "Flycatcher."

Fitz-Roy's interest in the scientific work was only general: longitude
and latitude, his twenty-four chronometers, his maps and constant
soundings, with minute records, kept his time occupied.

For Darwin and his specimens, however, he had a constantly growing
respect, and when the long five-year trip was ended, Darwin realized
that the gruff and grim Captain was indeed his friend. Captain Fitz-Roy
had trouble with everybody on board in turn, thus proving his
impartiality; but when parting was nigh, tears came to his eyes as he
embraced Darwin, and said, with prophetic yet broken words, "The
'Beagle's' voyage may be remembered more through you than me--I hope it
will be so!" And Darwin, too moved for speech, said nothing except
through the pressure of his hand.

       *       *       *       *       *

The idea of evolution took a firm hold upon the mind of Darwin, in an
instant, one day while on board the "Beagle." From that very hour the
thought of the mutability of species was the one controlling impulse of
his life.

On his return from the trip around the world he found himself in
possession of an immense mass of specimens and much data bearing
directly upon the point that creation is still going on.

That he could ever sort, sift and formulate his evidence on his own
account, he never at this time imagined. Indeed, about all he thought he
could do was to present his notes and specimens to some scientific
society, in the hope that some of its members would go ahead and use the

With this thought in mind he began to open correspondence with several
of the universities and with various professors of science, and to his
dismay found that no one was willing even to read his notes, much less
house, prepare for preservation, and index his thousands of specimens.

He read papers before different scientific societies, however, from time
to time, and gradually in London it dawned upon the few thinkers that
this modest and low-voiced young man was doing a little thinking on his
own account. One man to whom he had offered the specimens bluntly
explained to Darwin that his specimens and ideas were valuable to no one
but himself, and it was folly to try to give such things away. Ideas
are like children and should be cared for by their parents, and
specimens are for the collector.

Seeing the depression of the young man, this friend offered to present
the matter to the Secretary of the Exchequer. Everything can be done
when the right man takes hold of it: the sum of one thousand pounds was
appropriated by the Treasury for Charles Darwin's use in bringing out a
Government report of the voyage of the "Beagle." And Darwin set to work,
refreshed, rejoiced and encouraged. He was living in London in modest
quarters, solitary and alone. He was not handsome, and he lacked the
dash and flash that make a success in society. On a trip to his old
home, he walked across the country to see his uncle, Josiah Wedgwood the

When he left it was arranged that he should return in a month and marry
his cousin, Emma Wedgwood. And it was all so done.

One commentator said he married his cousin because he didn't know any
other woman that would have him. But none was so unkind as to say that
he married her in order to get rid of her, yet Henslow wondered how he
ceased wooing science long enough to woo the lady.

Doubtless the parents of both parties had a little to do with the
arrangement, and in this instance it was beautiful and well. Darwin was
married to his work, and no such fallacy as marrying a woman in order
to educate her filled his mind.

His wife was his mental mate, his devoted helper and friend.

It is no small matter for a wife to be her husband's friend.

Mrs. Darwin had no small aspirations of her own. She flew the futile
Four-o'Clock and made no flannel nightgowns for Fijis. Twenty years
after his marriage, Darwin wrote thus: "It is probably as you say--I
have done an enormous amount of work. And this was only possible through
the devotion of my wife, who, ignoring every idea of pleasure and
comfort for herself, arranged in a thousand ways to give me joy and
rest, peace and most valuable inspiration and assistance. If I
occasionally lost faith in myself, she most certainly never did. Only
two hours a day could I work, and these to her were sacred. She guarded
me as a mother guards her babe, and I look back now and see how
hopelessly undone I should have been without her."

In Eighteen Hundred Forty-two, Darwin and his wife moved to the village
of Down, County of Kent. The place where they lived was a rambling old
stone house with ample garden. The country was rough and unbroken, and
one might have imagined he was a thousand miles from London, instead of

There were no aristocratic neighbors, no society to speak of. With the
plain farmers and simple folk of the village Darwin was on good terms.
He became treasurer of the local improvement society, and thereby was
serenaded once a year by a brass band. We hear of the good old village
rector once saying, "Mr. Darwin knows botany better than anybody this
side of Kew; and although I am sorry to say that he seldom goes to
church, yet he is a good neighbor and almost a model citizen." Together
the clergyman and his neighbor discussed the merits of climbing roses,
morning-glories and sweet-peas. Darwin met all and every one on terms of
absolute equality, and never forced his scientific hypotheses upon any
one. In fact, no one in the village imagined this quiet country
gentleman in the dusty gray clothes that matched his full iron-gray
beard was destined for a place in Westminster Abbey--no, not even

Darwin's father, seeing that the Government had recognized him, and that
all the scientific societies of London were quite willing to do as much,
settled on him an allowance that was ample for his simple wants.

On the death of Doctor Darwin, Charles became possessed of an
inheritance that brought him a yearly income of a little over five
hundred pounds. Children came to bless this happy household--seven in
all. With these Darwin was both comrade and teacher. Two hours a day
were sacred to science, but outside of this time the children made the
study their own, and littered the place with their collections gathered
on heath and dale.

The recognition of the "holy time" was strong in the minds of the
children, so no prohibitions were needed. One daughter has written in
familiar way of once wanting to go into her father's study for a
forgotten pair of scissors. It was the "holy time," and she thought she
could not wait, so she took off her shoes and entered in stocking feet,
hoping to be unobserved. Her father was working at his microscope: he
saw her, reached out one arm as she passed, drew her to him and kissed
her forehead. The little girl never again trespassed--how could she,
with the father that gave her only love! That there was no sternness in
this recognition of the value of the working hours is further indicated
in that little Francis, aged six, once put his head in the door and
offered the father a sixpence if he would come out and play in the

For several years Darwin was village magistrate. Most of the cases
brought before him were either for poaching or drunkenness. "He always
seemed to be trying to find an excuse for the prisoner, and usually
succeeded," says his son.

One time, when a prosecuting attorney complained because he had
discharged a prisoner, Darwin, who might have fined the impudent
attorney for contempt of court, merely said: "Why, he's as good as we
are. If tempted in the same way I am sure that I would have done as he
has done. We can't blame a man for doing what he has to do!" This was
poor reasoning from a legal point of view. Darwin afterward admitted
that he didn't hear much of the evidence, as his mind was full of
orchids, but the fellow looked sorry, and he really couldn't punish
anybody who had simply made a mistake. The local legal lights gradually
lost faith in Magistrate Darwin's peculiar brand of justice; he hadn't
much respect for law, and once when a lawyer cited him the criminal code
he said, "Tut, tut, that was made a hundred years ago!" Then he fined
the man five shillings, and paid the fine himself, when he should have
sent him to the workhouse for six months.

       *       *       *       *       *

The men who have most benefited the world have, almost without
exception, been looked down upon by the priestly class. That is to say,
the men upon whose tombs society now carves the word Savior were
outcasts and criminals in their day.

In a society where the priest is regarded as the mouthpiece of divinity,
and therefore the highest type of man, the artist, the inventor, the
discoverer, the genius, the man of truth, has always been regarded as a
criminal. Society advances as it doubts the priest, distrusts his
oracles, and loses faith in his institution.

In the priest, at first, was deposited all human knowledge, and what he
did not know he pretended to know. He was the guardian of mind and
morals, and the cure of souls. To question him was to die here and be
damned for eternity.

The problem of civilization has been to get the truth past the preacher
to the people: he has forever barred and blocked the way, and until he
was shorn of his temporal power there was no hope. The prisons were
first made for those who doubted the priest; behind and beneath every
episcopal residence were dungeons; the ferocious and delicate tortures
that reached every physical and mental nerve were his. His anathemas and
curses were always quickly turned upon the strong men of mountain or sea
who dared live natural lives, said what they thought was truth, or did
what they deemed was right. Science is a search for truth, but theology
is a clutch for power.

Nothing is so distasteful to a priest as freedom: a happy, exuberant,
fearless, self-sufficient and radiant man he both feared and abhorred. A
free soul was regarded by the Church as one to be dealt with. The priest
has ever put a premium on pretense and hypocrisy. Nothing recommended a
man more than humility and the acknowledgment that he was a worm of the
dust. The ability to do and dare was in itself considered a proof of

The education of the young has been monopolized by priests in order to
perpetuate the fallacies of theology, and all endeavor to put education
on a footing of usefulness and utility has been fought inch by inch.

Andrew D. White, in his book, "The Warfare of Science and Religion," has
calmly and without heat sketched the war that Science has had to make to
reach the light. Slowly, stubbornly, insolently, theology has fought
Truth step by step--but always retreating, taking refuge first behind
one subterfuge, then another. When an alleged fact was found to be a
fallacy, we were told it was not a literal fact, simply a spiritual one.
All of theology's weapons have been taken from her and placed in the
Museum of Horrors--all save one, namely, social ostracism. And this
consists in a refusal to invite Science to indulge in cream-puffs.

We smile, knowing that the man who now successfully defies theology is
the only one she really, yet secretly, admires. If he does not run after
her, she holds true the poetic unities by running after him. Mankind is
emancipated (or partially so).

Darwin's fame rests, for the most part, on two books, "The Origin of
Species" and "The Descent of Man."

Yet before these were published he had issued "A Journal of Research
into Geology and Natural History," "The Zoology of the Voyage of the
'Beagle,'" "A Treatise on Coral Reefs, Volcanic Islands, Geological
Observations," and "A Monograph of the Cirripedia." Had Darwin died
before "The Origin of Species" was published, he would have been famous
among scientific men, although it was the abuse of theologians on the
publication of "The Origin of Species" that really made him

Alfred Russel Wallace, Darwin's chief competitor said that "A Monograph
on the Cirripedia" is enough upon which to found a deathless reputation.
Darwin was equally eminent in Geology, Botany and Zoology.

On November Twenty-fourth, Eighteen Hundred Fifty-nine, was published
"The Origin of Species." Murray had hesitated about accepting the work,
but on the earnest solicitation of Sir Charles Lyell, who gave his
personal guarantee to the publisher against loss, quite unknown to
Darwin, twelve hundred copies of the book were printed. The edition was
sold in one day, and who was surprised most, the author or the
publisher, it is difficult to say.

Up to this time theology had stood solidly on the biblical assertion
that mankind had sprung from one man and one woman, and that in the
beginning every species was fixed and immutable. Aristotle, three
hundred years before Christ, had suggested that, by cross-fertilization
and change of environment, new species had been and were being evoked.
But the Church had declared Aristotle a heathen, and in every school and
college of Christendom it was taught that the world and everything in it
was created in six days of twenty-four hours each, and that this
occurred four thousand and four years before Christ, on May Tenth.

Those who doubted or disputed this statement had no standing in society,
and in truth, until the beginning of the Nineteenth Century, were in
actual danger of death--heresy and treason being usually regarded as the
same thing.

Erasmus Darwin had taught that species were not immutable, but his words
were so veiled in the language of poesy that they naturally went
unchallenged. But now the grandson of Doctor Erasmus Darwin came forward
with the net result of thirty years' continuous work. "The Origin of
Species" did not attack any one's religious belief--in fact, in it the
biblical account of Creation is not once referred to. It was a calm,
judicial record of close study and observation, that seemed to prove
that life began in very lowly forms, and that it has constantly
ascended and differentiated, new forms and new species being continually
created, and that the work of creation still goes on.

In the preface to "The Origin of Species" Darwin gives Alfred Russel
Wallace credit for coming to the same conclusion as himself, and states
that both had been at work on the same idea for more than a score of
years, but each working separately, unknown to the other.

Andrew D. White says that the publication of Charles Darwin's book was
like plowing into an ant-hill. The theologians, rudely awakened from
comfort and repose, swarmed out angry, wrathful and confused. The air
was charged with challenges; and soggy sermons, books, pamphlets,
brochures and reviews, all were flying at the head of poor Darwin. The
questions that he had anticipated and answered at great length were
flung off by men who had neither read his book nor expected an answer.
The idea that man had evolved from a lower form of animal especially was
considered immensely funny, and jokes about "monkey ancestry" came from
almost every pulpit, convulsing the pews with laughter.

In passing, it may be well to note that Darwin nowhere says that man
descended from a monkey. He does, however, affirm his belief that they
had a common ancestor. One branch of the family took to the plains, and
evolved into men, and the other branch remained in the woods and are
monkeys still. The expression, "the missing link," is nowhere used by
Darwin--that was a creation of one of his critics.

Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, summed up the argument against Darwinism
in the "Quarterly Review," by declaring that "Darwin was guilty of an
attempt to limit the power of God"; that his book "contradicts the
Bible"; that "it dishonors Nature." And in a speech before the British
Association for the Advancement of Science, where Darwin was not
present, the Bishop repeated his assertions, and turning to Huxley,
asked if he were really descended from a monkey, and if so, was it on
his father's or his mother's side!

Huxley sat silent, refusing to reply, but the audience began to clamor,
and Huxley slowly arose, and calmly but forcibly said: "I assert, and I
repeat, that a man has no reason to be ashamed of having an ape for his
grandfather. If there were an ancestor whom I should feel shame in
recalling, it would be a man, a man of restless and versatile intellect,
who, not content with success in his own sphere of activity, plunges
into scientific questions with which he has no real acquaintance, only
to obscure them by an aimless rhetoric, and distract the attention of
his hearers from the real point at issue by eloquent digression and a
skilful appeal to religious prejudices." Captain Fitz-Roy, who was
present at this meeting, was also called for.

He was now Admiral Fitz-Roy, and felt compelled to uphold his employer,
the State, so he upheld the State Religion and backed up the Bishop of
Oxford in his emptiness. "I often had occasion on board the 'Beagle' to
reprove Mr. Darwin for his disbelief in the First Chapter of Genesis,"
solemnly said the Admiral. And Francis Darwin writes it down without
comment, probably to show how much the Volunteer Naturalist was helped,
aided and inspired by the Captain of the Expedition.

But the reply of Huxley was a shot heard round the world, and for the
most part the echo was passed along by the enemy.

Huxley had insulted the Church, they said, and the adherents of the
Mosaic account took the attitude of outraged and injured innocence.

As for himself, Darwin said nothing. He ceased to attend the meetings of
the scientific societies, for fear that he would be drawn into debate,
and while he felt a sincere gratitude for Huxley's friendship, he
deprecated the stern rebuke to the Bishop of Oxford. "It will arouse the
opposition to greater unreason," he said. And this was exactly what

Even the English Catholics took sides with Wilberforce, the Protestant,
and Cardinal Manning organized a society "to fight this new, so-called
science that declares there is no God and that Adam was an ape."

Even the Non-Conformists and Jews came in, and there was the very
peculiar spectacle witnessed of the Church of England, the
Non-Conformists, the Catholics and the Jews aroused and standing as one
man, against one quiet villager who remained at home and said, "If my
book can not stand the bombardment, why then it deserves to go down and
to be forgotten."

Spurgeon declared that Darwinism was more dangerous than open and avowed
infidelity, since "the one motive of the whole book is to dethrone God."

Rabbi Hirschberg wrote, "Darwin's volume is plausible to the unthinking
person; but a deeper insight shows a mephitic desire to overthrow the
Mosaic books and to bury Judaism under a mass of fanciful rubbish."

In America Darwin had no more persistent critic than the Reverend DeWitt
Talmage. For ten years Doctor Talmage scarcely preached a sermon without
making reference to "monkey ancestry" and "baboon unbelievers."

The New York "Christian Advocate" declared, "Darwin is endeavoring to
becloud and befog the whole question of truth, and his book will be of
short life."

An eminent Catholic physician and writer, Doctor Constantine James,
wrote a book of three hundred pages called "Darwinism, or the Man-Ape."
A copy of Doctor James' book being sent to Pope Pius the Ninth, the Pope
acknowledged it in a personal letter, thanking the author for his
"masterly refutations of the vagaries of this man Darwin, wherein the
Creator is left out of all things and man proclaims himself independent,
his own king, his own priest, his own God--then degrading man to the
level of the brute by declaring he had the same origin, and this origin
was lifeless matter. Could folly and pride go further than to degrade
Science into a vehicle for throwing contumely and disrespect on our holy

This makes rather interesting reading now for those who believe in the
infallibility of popes. So well did Doctor James' book sell, coupled
with the approbation of the Pope, that as late as Eighteen Hundred
Eighty-two a new and enlarged edition made its appearance, and the
author was made a member of the Papal Order of Saint Sylvester. It is
quite needless to add that those who read Doctor James' book refuting
Darwin had never read Darwin, since "The Origin of Species" was placed
on the "Index Expurgatorius" in Eighteen Hundred Sixty. Some years
after, when it was discovered that Darwin had written other books, these
were likewise honored.

The book on barnacles being called to the attention of the Censor, that
worthy exclaimed, "Some new heresy, I dare say--put it on the 'Index!'"
And it was so done.

The success of Doctor James' book reveals the popularity of the form of
reasoning that digests the refutation first, and the original
proposition not at all.

In Eighteen Hundred Seventy-five, Gladstone in an address at Liverpool
said, "Upon the ground of what is called evolution, God is relieved from
the labor of creation and of governing the universe."

Herbert Spencer called Gladstone's attention to the fact that Sir Isaac
Newton, with his law of gravitation and the physical science of
astronomy, was open to the same charge.

Gladstone then took refuge in the "Contemporary Review," and retreated
in a cloud of words that had nothing to do with the subject.

Thomas Carlyle, who has facetiously been called a liberal thinker, had
not the patience to discuss Darwin's book seriously, but grew red in the
face and hissed in falsetto when it was even mentioned. He wrote of
Darwin as "the apostle of dirt," and said, "He thinks his grandfather
was a chimpanzee, and I suppose he is right--leastwise, I am not the one
to deprive him of the honor."

Scathing criticisms were uttered on Darwin's ideas, both on the platform
and in print, by Doctor Noah Porter of Yale, Doctor Hodge of Princeton,
and Doctor Tayler Lewis of Union College. Agassiz, the man who was
regarded as the foremost scientist in America, thought he had to choose
between orthodoxy and Darwinism, and he chose orthodoxy. His gifted son
tried to rescue his father from the grip of prejudice, and later
endeavored to free his name from the charge that he could not change
his mind, but alas! Louis Agassiz's words were expressed in print, and
widely circulated.

There were two men in America whose names stand out like beacon-lights
because they had the courage to speak up loud and clear for Charles
Darwin while the pack was baying the loudest. These men were Doctor Asa
Gray, who influenced the Appletons to publish an American edition of
"The Origin of Species," and Professor Edward L. Youmans, who gave up
his own brilliant lecture work in order that he might stand by Darwin,
Spencer, Huxley and Wallace.

For the man who was known as "a Darwinian" there was no place in the
American Lyceum. Shut out from addressing the public by word of mouth,
Youmans founded a magazine that he might express himself, and he fired a
monthly broadside from his "Popular Science Monthly." And it is good to
remember that the faith of Youmans was not without its reward. He lived
to see his periodical grow from a confessed failure--a bill of expense
that took his monthly salary to maintain--to a paying property that made
its owner passing rich.

Gray, too, outlived the charge of infidelity, and was not forced to
resign his position as Professor at Harvard, as was freely prophesied he

As for Darwin himself, he stood the storm of misunderstanding and abuse
without scorn or resentment.

"Truth must fight its way," he said; "and this gauntlet of criticism is
all for the best. What is true in my book will survive, and that which
is error will be blown away as chaff." He was neither exalted by praise
nor cast down by censure. For Huxley, Lyell, Hooker, Spencer, Wallace
and Asa Gray he had a great and profound love--what they said affected
him deeply, and their steadfast kindness at times touched him to tears.
For the great, seething, outside world that had not thought along
abstruse scientific lines, and could not, he cared little.

"How can we expect them to see as we do," he wrote to Gray; "it has
taken me thirty years of toil and research to come to these conclusions.
To have the unthinking masses accept all that I say would be calamity:
this opposition is a winnowing process, and all a part of the Law of
Evolution that works for good."

       *       *       *       *       *

For forty years Darwin lived in the same house at Down, in the same
quiet, simple way. Here he lived and worked, and the world gradually
came to him, figuratively and literally. Gradually it dawned upon the
theologians that a God who could set in motion natural laws that worked
with beneficent and absolute regularity was just as great as if He had
made everything at once and then stopped.

The miracle of evolution is just as sublime as the miracle of Adam's
deep sleep and the making of a woman out of a man's rib. The faith of
the scientist who sees order, regularity and unfailing law is quite as
great as that of a preacher who believes everything he reads in a book.
The scientist is a man with faith, plus.

When Darwin died, in Eighteen Hundred Eighty-two, Darwinism and
infidelity were words no longer synonymous.

The discrepancies and inconsistencies of the theories of Darwin were
seen by him as by his critics, and he was ever willing to admit the
doubt. None of his disciples was as ready to modify his opinions as he.
"We must beware of making science dogmatic," he once said to Haeckel.

And at another time he said, "I would feel I had gone too far were it
not for Wallace, who came to the same conclusions, quite independently
of me." Darwin's mind was simple and childlike. He was a student,
always learning, and no one was too mean or too poor for him to learn
from. The patience, persistency and untiring industry of the man,
combined with the daring imagination that saw the thing clearly long
before he could prove it, and the gentle forbearance in the presence of
unkindness and misunderstanding, won the love of a nation.

He wished to be buried in the churchyard at Down, but at his death, by
universal acclaim, the gates of Westminster swung wide to receive the
dust of the man whom bishops, clergy and laymen alike had reviled.
Darwin had won, not alone because he was right, but because his was a
truly great and loving soul--a soul without the least resentment.

Archdeacon Farrar, quoting Huxley, said, "I would rather be Darwin and
be right than be Premier of England--we have had and will have many
Premiers, but the world will never have another Darwin."

[Illustration: ERNST HAECKEL]


     Nothing seems to me better adapted than this monistic perspective
     to give us the proper standard and the broad outlook which we need
     in the solution of the vast enigmas that surround us. It not only
     clearly indicates the true place of a man in Nature, but it
     dissipates the prevalent illusion of man's supreme importance and
     arrogance with which he sets himself apart from the illimitable
     universe, and exalts himself to the position of its most valuable
     element. This boundless presumption of conceited man has misled him
     into making himself "the image of God," claiming an "eternal life"
     for his ephemeral personality, and imagining that he possesses
     unlimited "freedom of will." The ridiculous imperial folly of
     Caligula is but a special form of man's arrogant assumption of
     divinity. Only when we have abandoned this untenable illusion, and
     taken up the correct cosmological perspective, can we hope to reach
     the solution of the Riddle of the Universe.



There was a man, once upon a day, who lived in East Aurora and kept
a store. He sold everything from cough-syrup to blue ribbon; and some of
the things he sold on time to philosophers who sat on nail-kegs every
evening, and settled the coal strike.

And in due course of time the storekeeper compromised with his
creditors, at twenty-nine cents on the dollar.

Some say the man went busted a-purpose to quit business and get out of
East Aurora. And he himself generally allowed the opinion to gain ground
in later years that he had planned his life throughout, from start to
finish, thus proving the supremacy of the will. Yet others there be, and
men of worth and social standing in the village--known for miles up the
creek as persons of probity--who claim that it was too much confidence
in the Genus Smart-Setter, and trotting horses at the County Fairs, that
made it possible for our friend to avail himself of the Bankruptcy Act.
Still others, too inert to follow the winding ways of a strange career
and give reasons, dispose of the matter by simply saying,
"Providence!"--rolling their eyes upward, then walking out, leaving the
wordy contestants humiliated and undone.

It will be seen that I am interested in this chapter of Ancient History:
and in truth, I myself occasionally ornament the nail-kegs. I claim it
was neither Providence nor astute planning that mapped this man's
course, but Providence, Planning and Luck; and I silence the adversary,
for the time, by citing these facts:

Very shortly after Providence and the Sheriff of Erie County--whose
name, by the way, was Grover Cleveland--had disposed of the East Aurora
grocery, our friend met a man in Buffalo who had a sweeping scar on his
chin, a wonderful secret, and nothing else worth mentioning.

This man secured his assets in Germany; he got them while attending the
University of Jena. The secret was gotten by an understanding with a
professor; the scar was received through a misunderstanding with a
student. The secret was a plan by which you could make glucose from
corn. In Germany it was only a laboratory experiment, because there was
no corn in Europe to speak of.

Here we had corn to burn, since in that very year the farmers of Iowa
were using corn for their fuel. Glucose is the active saccharine
principle in maize, but it does not become active until the corn is
treated chemically in a certain way, just as honey is not honey until a
bee puts it through his Maeterlinck laboratory.

Glucose is a food; it can be used for all purposes where sugar is
used--in degree, at least.

And every living person on earth uses sugar as food every day! Our
ex-grocer knew all about Hambletonian Ten and Dexter; but dextrine,
dextrose and glucose were out of his class. Yet he realized that if
sugar could be made from corn, there was a fortune in it for somebody.
Opportunity, we are told, knocks once at each man's door. Our David
Harum was forty, past, and he had often thought Opportunity was tapping,
but when he opened wide the door, darkness there, and nothing more!
Opportunity had knocked, but was too timid to stay. This time, he heard
the knock, and when he opened up the door, Opportunity made a rush for
him, grabbed him by the collar--catch-as-catch-can--in a grip he could
not shake off.

Mr. Harum examined as best he could the glucose the German student had
made, and then he watched the whole experiment worked out over again.
What the particular ingredients were, was still a secret. The man would
not sell out; he wanted to organize a manufactory and take a certain per
cent of the profits. David had saved a thousand dollars out of the wreck
at East Aurora; but he knew if he could show certain men that the scheme
was genuine, he would be able to raise more.

Five thousand dollars was secured. But the men who advanced the four
thousand dollars demanded an insurance-policy on the life of the German
chemist. This appealed to our David Harum as an excellent plan: if the
man who held the secret should die, all would be lost save honor. They
insured the life of the chemist for twenty thousand dollars. In a month
after, he was killed in a railroad wreck on a Sunday School excursion.
And the moral is--but never mind that now.

The twenty thousand dollars' insurance was paid to David Harum. He
repaid his friends immediately their four thousand dollars, and reserved
for himself, very properly, the sixteen thousand dollars to cover
expenses. He then started for Jena.

Arriving there, he found that the making of glucose was no special
secret, and to manufacture it on a large scale was simply a matter of
evolving the right kind of system and a plant. He hired a young German
chemist, who had just graduated, for a matter of, say, a thousand
dollars a year and expenses, and the two started back for America.

From this arose the Glucose Industry in the United States. In ten years'
time twelve million dollars was invested in the business; and in
Nineteen Hundred Three more than a hundred million dollars was invested.
Our East Aurora hero sold out his interests, in Eighteen Hundred Ninety,
for some such bagatelle as thirteen million dollars.

The young German student is now back at the Jena university, taking a
post-graduate course in chemistry--the first one is still dead.

       *       *       *       *       *

I am told that there be folks who pooh-pooh college training and sneeze
on mention of a University degree. Usually these good people have no
University degrees, but have been greatly helped by those who have.

Our David Harums are not college-bred--a statement which I trust will go

The true type of German student is made in Germany, and when taken out
of his native environment, often evolves into something less beautiful.

His lack of worldly ambition is his chief claim to immortality. His
wants are few; he rises early and works late; he is most practical in
his own particular specialty, but often most impractical outside of it;
he is plodding, patient, painstaking, and will follow a microbe you can
not see, as Thompson-Seton's hunter followed the famous Kootenay ram.

This simple reverence for the truth--this passion for an idea--this
desire to know--these things have given to the world some of its richest
treasures. We are aware of what the Rockfellers have done, but we seldom
stop to think of the unknown laboratory students, who made possible such
vast and far-reaching institutions as the Standard Oil Company, the
Carborundum Company, the Amalgamated Copper Company, and the various
beet-sugar factories, that give work to thousands, and lift whole
counties, and even some States, from penury to plenty.

Germany honors her scholars; and one of the strongest instincts of her
national life is her search for genius. Initiative is originality in
motion. Originality is too rare to flout and scout. Not all originality
is good, but all good things, so far as humanity is concerned, were once
original. That is to say, they were the work of Genius.

Germany's sympathy for the best in thought has occasionally been broken
in upon by pigmy rulers, who, for the moment, had a giant's power, so it
seems hardly possible that a government which encouraged Goethe should
have banished Wagner. The greatness of Kant was largely owing to the
fact that he was set apart by Frederick and made free to do his work;
and at this time, not another monarchy in the world would have had the
insight to keep its coarse hands off this little man with the big head
and the brain of a prophet.

And as Kant was the greatest and most original thinker of his time, so
today does a German University house the world's greatest living
scientist. Ernst Haeckel has been Professor of Natural History at Jena
for forty-two years. All the efforts of various other Universities to
lure him away have failed. He even declined to listen to the siren song
of Major Pond, and only smiled at the big baits dangled on long poles
from Cook County, Illinois.

"I have everything I want, everything I can use is right here; why
should I think of uprooting my life?" he asked. And yet, Jena, there in
the shadow of the Thuringian Mountains, is only a little town of less
than ten thousand inhabitants.

In Nineteen Hundred Three, there were five hundred pupils registered at
Jena, as against four thousand at Harvard, five thousand at Ann Arbor,
and nearly the same at Lincoln, Nebraska.

It will not do to assume that those who graduate at big colleges are big
men, any more than to imagine that folks who reside in big towns are
bigger than those who live in little villages. Perhaps the greatest men
have come from the small colleges: I believe the small colleges admit

And surely there is plenty of good argument handy, in way of proof; for
while Harvard has her Barrett Wendell, with his caveat on clearness,
force and elegance; and Ann Arbor has Cicero Trueblood, Professor of
Oratory, whose official duty it is to formulate the College Yell; yet
Amherst, with her scant five hundred pupils, has Professor David P.
Todd, the greatest astronomer of the New World. I really wonder
sometimes what a University that stands in fear of Triggsology would do
with Professor Ernst Haeckel, whose disregard for tradition is very
decidedly Ingersollian! The actual fact is, Ernst Haeckel, the world's
greatest thinker, belongs in the little town of Jena, in Germany. At the
village of Coniston, you see the little hall where Ruskin read the best
things he ever wrote, to a dozen or two people.

At Hammersmith, the limit of a William Morris audience was about a
hundred. At Jena, Ernst Haeckel sits secure in his little lecture-hall,
and speaks or reads to fifty or sixty students, but the printed word
goes to millions, so his thoughts here expressed in Jena are shots heard
round the world.

American pedagogic institutions are mendicant--they depend upon private
charity and are endowed by pious pirates and beneficent buccaneers. The
individuals who made these institutions possible very naturally have a
controlling voice in their management. The colleges in America that are
not supported by direct mendicancy depend upon the dole of the
legislator, and woe betide the pedagogic principal who offends the
orthodox vote. His supplies are cut short, and purse-strings pucker
until his voice moderates to a monotone and he dilutes his views to a
dull neutral tint. I do not know a University in the United States that
would not place Ernst Haeckel on half-rations, and make him fight for
his life, or else he would be discharged and be reduced to the sad
necessity of tilting windmills in popular lecture courses for the
edification of agrarians. The German Government seeks to make men free.
It even gives them the privilege of being absurd; for pioneers sometimes
take the wrong track. We do not scout Columbus because his domestic
voyages were failures; nor because he sought one thing and found
another, and died without knowing the difference.

Haeckel's wants are all supplied; what he needs in the way of apparatus
or material is his for the asking; he travels at will the round world
over; visions of old age and yawning almshouses are not for him. He owns
himself--he does what he wishes, he says what he thinks, and neither
priest nor politician dare cry, hist! So we get the paradox: the only
perfect freedom is to be found in a monarchy. "A Republic," says
Schopenhauer, "is a land that is ruled by the many--that is to say, by
the incompetent." But Schopenhauer, of course, knew nothing of the
American primary, devised by altruistic Hibernians for the purpose of
thwarting the incompetent many.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ernst Haeckel was born in Eighteen Hundred Thirty-four, hence he is just
seventy-seven years old at this writing. His parents were plain people,
neither rich nor poor--and of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. The
greatest error one can make in life is not to be well born; failing in
this, a man struggles through life under an awful handicap.

Haeckel formed the habit of steady, systematic work in youth, and
untiring effort has been the rule of his life. Man was made to be well,
and he was made to work. It is only work--which is the constant effort
to retain equilibrium--that makes life endurable. So we find Haeckel
now, at near fourscore years, a model of manly vigor, with all the
eager, curious, receptive qualities of youth--a happy man, but one who
knows that happiness lies on the way to Heaven, and not in arriving
there and sitting down to enjoy it.

Ernst Haeckel gathers his manna fresh every day. I believe Haeckel
enjoys his pipe and mug after the day's work is done; but for stimulants
in a general sense, he has no use. In his book on Ceylon, he attributes
his escape from the jungle fever, from which most of his party suffered,
to the fact that he never used strong drink, and ate sparingly.

He is jealous of the sunshine--a great walker--works daily with hoe and
spade in his garden; and breathes deeply, pounding on his chest, when
going from his house to the college, in a way that causes considerable
amusement among the fledglings. Tall, spare rather than stout, bronzed,
active, wearing shoes with thick soles, plain gray clothes, often
accompanied by a half-dozen young men, he is a common figure on the
roads that wind out of Jena, and lose themselves amid the mountains.

The distinguishing feature of the man is his animation. He is full of
good cheer, and acts as if he were expecting to discover something
wonderful very soon.

To find the balance between play and work has been the aim of his life;
and surely, he has pretty nearly discovered it.

Once when a caller asked him what he considered the greatest achievement
of his life, he took out of his pocket a leather case containing a
bronze medal, and proudly passed it around.

This medal was presented to him in the year Eighteen Hundred Fifty-nine,
in token of a running high jump--the world's record at the time, or not,
as the case may be. Haeckel is essentially an out-of-door man, as
opposed to the philosopher who works in a stuffy room, and grows
round-shouldered over his microscope. "I may entrust laboratory analyses
to others, but there is one thing I will never let another do for me,
and that is take my daily walk a-field," he once said.

While lecturing he sits at a table and simply talks in a very informal
way; often purposely arousing a discussion, or awakening a sleepy
student with a question. Yet on occasion he can speak to a multitude,
and, like Huxley, rise to the occasion. Oratory, however, he considers
rather dangerous, as the speaker is usually influenced by the opinions
of the audience, and is apt to grow more emphatic than exact--to
generate more heat than light.

The comparison of Haeckel with Huxley is not out of place. He has been
called the Huxley of Germany, just as Huxley was called the Haeckel of
England. In temperament, they were much alike; although Haeckel perhaps
does not use quite so much aqua fortis in his ink. Yet I can well
imagine that if he were at a convention where the Bishop of Oxford would
level at him a few theological spitballs, he would answer, unerringly,
with a sling and a few smooth pebbles from the brook. And possibly,
knowing himself, this is why he keeps out of society, and avoids all
public gatherings where pseudo-science is exploited.

There is a superstition that really great men are quite oblivious of
their greatness, and that the pride of achievement is not among their
assets. Nothing could be wider of the mark. When Ernst Haeckel was
asked, "Who is your favorite author?" he very promptly answered, "Ernst

His study is a big square room on the top floor of one of the college
buildings; and in this room is a bookcase extending from ceiling to
floor, given up to his own works.

Copies of every edition and of all translations are here.

And in a special case are the original manuscripts, solidly bound in
boards, as carefully preserved as were the "literary remains" of William
Morris, guarded with the instincts of a bibliophile.

Of the size of this Haeckel collection one can make a guess when it is
stated that the man has written and published over fifty different
books. These vary in size from simple lectures to volumes of a thousand
pages. His work entitled, "The Natural History of Creation," has been
translated into twelve languages, and has gone through fifteen editions
in Germany, and about half as many in England.

The last book issued by Professor Haeckel was that intensely interesting
essay, "The Riddle of the Universe," which was written in Eighteen
Hundred Ninety-nine, in two months' time, during his summer vacation. He
gave it out that he had gone to Italy, denied himself to all visitors
who knew that he had not, and answered no letters. He reached his study
every morning at six o'clock and locked himself in, and there he
remained until eight o'clock at night. At noon one of his children
brought him his lunch.

Unlike Herbert Spencer, whose later writings were all dictated--and very
slowly and painstakingly at that--Haeckel writes with his own hand, and
when the fit is on, he turns off manuscript at the rate of from two to
four thousand words a day. In writing "The Riddle of the Universe," he
took no exercise save to go up on the roof, breathing deeply and
pounding his chest, varying the pounding by reaching his arms above his
head and stretching. However, after a few weeks the villagers and
visitors got to looking for him with opera-glasses; and he ceased going
on the roof, taking his calisthenics at the open window.

This exercise of reaching and stretching until you lift yourself on
tiptoe, he goes out of his way to recommend in his book on
"Development," wherein he says, "There is a tendency as the years pass
for the internal organs to drop, but the individual who will daily go
through the motion of reaching for fruit on limbs of trees that are
above his head, standing on tiptoe and slowly stretching up and up,
occasionally throwing his head back and looking straight up, will of
necessity breathe deeply, exercise the diaphragm, and I believe in most
cases will ward off diseases and keep old age awaiting for long."

Here is a little commonsense advice given by a physician who is also a
great scientist. To try it will cost you nothing--no apparatus is
required--just throw open the window and reach up and up and up, first
with one arm, then the other, and then both arms. "The person who does
this daily for five minutes as a habit will probably have no need of a
physician," adds Haeckel, and with this sage remark he dismisses the
subject, branching off into an earnest talk on radiolaria.

       *       *       *       *       *

Haeckel was educated for a physician and began his career by practising
medicine. But his heart was not really in the work; he soon arrived at
the very sane conclusion that constant dwelling on the pathological was
not worth while. "Hereafter I'll devote my time to the normal, not the
abnormal and distempered. The sick should learn to keep well," he wrote
a friend.

And again, "If an individual is so lacking in will that he can not
provide for himself, then his dissolution is no calamity to either
himself, the State or the race." This was written in his twenties, and
seems to sound rather sophomorish, but the idea of the boy is still with
the old man, for in "The Riddle of the Universe" he says, "The final
effect upon the race by the preservation of the unfit, through increased
skill in surgery and medicine, is not yet known." In another place he
throws in a side remark, thus: "Our almshouses, homes for imbeciles, and
asylums where the hopelessly insane often outlive their keepers, may be
a mistake, save as these things minister to the spirit of altruism which
prompts their support. Let a wiser generation answer!"

Doubtless Haeckel could make a good argument in favor of the doctors if
he wished, but probably if asked to do so his answer would paraphrase
Robert Ingersoll, when that gentleman was taken to task for unfairness
towards Moses, "Young man, you seem to forget that I am not the attorney
of Moses--don't worry, there are more than ten millions of men looking
after his case." Ernst Haeckel is not the attorney for either the
doctors or the clergy.

It was Darwin and "The Origin of Species" that tipped the beam for
Haeckel in favor of science. Very shortly after Darwin's great book was
issued, in the year Eighteen Hundred Fifty-nine, a chance copy of the
work fell into the hands of our young physician. He read and spoke
English, and in a general way was interested in biology.

As he read of Darwin's observations and experiments the heavens seemed
to open before him.

Things he had vaguely felt, Darwin stated, and thoughts that had been
his, Darwin expressed. "I might have written much of this book, myself,"
he said.

The love of Nature had been upon the young man almost from his babyhood.
All children love flowers and mix easily with the wonderful things that
are found in woods and fields. At twelve years of age Ernst had formed a
goodly herbarium, and was making a collection of bugs, and not knowing
their names or even that they had names, he began naming them himself.
Later it came to him with a shock of surprise and disappointment that
the bugs and beetles had already had the attention of scholars. But he
got even by declaring that he would hunt out some of the tiny things the
scholars had overlooked and classify them. Every man imagines himself
the first man, and to think that he is Adam and that he has to go
forth, get acquainted with things and name them, reveals the true bent
of the scientist.

Doctor Haeckel was ripe for Darwin's book. He was looking for it, and it
took only a slight jolt to dislodge him from the medical profession and
allow the Law of Affinity to do the rest.

Wallace had written Darwin's book under another name, and if these men
had not written it, Haeckel surely would, for it was all packed away in
his heart and head. As Darwin had studied and classified the Cirripedia,
so would he write an essay on Rhizopods. Luck was with him--luck is
always with the man of purpose. He had an opportunity to travel through
Italy as medical caretaker to a rich invalid. Sickness surely has its
uses; and rich invalids are not wholly a mistake on the part of Setebos.
Haeckel secured the leisure and the opportunity to round up his

He presented the work to the University of Jena, because this was the
University that Goethe attended, and the gods of Haeckel were
three--Goethe, Darwin and Johannes Muller.

Muller was instructor in Zoology at Berlin, a man quite of the Agassiz
type who made himself beloved by the boys because he was what he was--a
boy in heart, with a man's head and the soul of a saint. Some one said
of Muller, "To him every look into a microscope was a service to God."
In his reverent attitude he was like Linnæus, who fell on his knees on
first beholding the English gorse in full flower, and thanked Heaven
that such a moment of divine joy was his.

Muller was a Jena man, too, and he gave Haeckel letters to the bigwigs.
The wise men of Jena discovered that there was merit in Haeckel's

Original investigators are rare--most of us write about the men who have
done things, or else we tell about what they have done, and so we reach
greatness by hitching our wagon to a star. For the essay on Rhizopods,
Haeckel was made Professor Extraordinary of the University of Jena. This
was in Eighteen Hundred Sixty-two; Haeckel was then twenty-eight years
old; there he is today, after a service of forty-nine years.

       *       *       *       *       *

Haeckel is married, with a big brood of children and grandchildren about
him. Some of his own children and the grandchildren are about the same
age, for Haeckel has two broods, having had two wives, both of whom
sympathized with the Teddine philosophy.

With the whole household, including servants, the great scientist is on
terms of absolute good camaraderie. The youngsters ride on his back; the
older girls decorate him with garlands; the boys work with him in the
garden, or together they tramp the fields and climb the hills.

But when it comes to study he goes to his own room in the Zoology
Building, enters in and locks the door. When he travels he travels
alone, without companion or secretary. Travel to him means intense work;
and intense work means to him intense pleasure. Solitude seems necessary
to close, consecutive thinking; and in the solitude of travel, through
jungle, forest, crowded city, or across wide oceans, Haeckel finds his
true and best self. Then it is that he puts his soul in touch with the
Universal and realizes most fully Goethe's oft-repeated dictum, "All is
one." And, indeed, to Goethe must be given the credit of preparing the
mind of Haeckel for Darwinism.

In his book, "The Freedom and Science of Teaching," Haeckel applies the
poetic monistic ideas of Goethe to biology and then to sociology. "All
is one." And this oneness that everywhere exists is simply a
differentiation of the original single cell.

The evolution of the cell mirrors the evolution of the species: the
evolution of the individual mirrors the evolution of the race.

This law, expressed by Goethe, is the controlling shibboleth in all
Haeckel's philosophy.

In embryology he has proved it to the satisfaction of the scientific
world. When he applies it to sociology our Bellamys are looking backward
to Sir Thomas More, and expect a sudden transformation to a Utopia, not
unlike the change which the good old preachers used to tell us we would
experience "in the twinkling of an eye."

Haeckel builds on Darwin and shows that as the Cirripedia which makes
the bottom of the ocean, the coral "insect" which rears dangerous reefs
and even mountain-ranges, and Rhizopods that make the chalk cliffs
possible, did not change the earth's crust in the twinkling of an eye,
so neither can the efforts of man instantly change the social condition.
Souls do not make lightning changes. Karl Marx thought society would
change in the twinkling of a ballot, but he was not a Monist, and
therefore did not realize that humanity is a solidarity of souls,
evolved from very lowly forms and still slowly ascending.

And the beauty of it is that the Marxians are helping the race to
ascend, by supplying it an Ideal, even if they fail utterly to work
their lightning change. In the end there is no defeat for any man or any
thing. When men deserve the Ideal they will get it. So long as they
prefer beer, tobacco, brawls and slums, these things will be supplied.
When they get enough of these, something better will be evolved. The
stupidity of George the Third was a necessary factor in the evolution of
freedom for America. All is one; all is Good; and all is God.

The Marxians will eventually win, but by Fabian methods, and Socialism
will come under another name. As opposed to Herbert Spencer, Haeckel
does not admit the Unknowable, although, of course, he realizes the
unknown. No man ever had a fuller faith, and if there is any such thing
as a glorious deathbed it must come to men of this type who believe not
only that all is well for themselves, but for every one else. How a
deathbed could be "glorious" for a man who had perfect faith in his own
salvation and an equally perfect faith in the damnation of most
everybody else, is difficult to understand.

A true Monist would rather be in Hell asking for water than in Heaven
denying it.

He loves humanity because he is Humanity, and he loves God because he is
God. As a single drop of water mirrors the globe, so does a single man
mirror the race. And the evolution, biological and sociological, of the
man mirrors the evolution of the species.

When one once grasps the beauty and splendor of the monistic idea, how
mean and small become all those little, fearsome "schemes of salvation,"
whereby men were to be separated and impassable gulfs fixed between
them. Those who fix gulfs here and now are hotly intent on showing that
God will fix gulfs hereafter; thus we see how man is continually
creating God in his own image.

His idea of God's justice is always built on his own; and as usually our
deities are more or less inherited, heirlooms of the past, we see that
it is not at all strange that men should be better than their religion.
They drag their dead creeds behind them like a stagecoach, with
preachers and priests on top; kings and nobles inside; and coffins full
of past sins in the boot. A man is always better than his creed--unless
he makes his creed new every day. These hand-me-down religions seldom
fit, and professional theology, it seems to me, is mostly a dealing in
ol' clo'.

       *       *       *       *       *

In the month of September, Nineteen Hundred Four, Haeckel was a delegate
to the Freethinkers' Congress at Rome. To hold such a convention in the
Eternal City, right under the eaves of the Vatican, was surely a trifle
"indelicate," to use the words of the Pope. And it was no wonder that at
the close of the Congress the Pope at once ordered a sacred
housecleaning, a divine fumigation.

Forty years ago he would have acted before the Congress convened, and
not afterward. Special mass was held in every one of the Catholic
Churches in Rome, "partially to atone for the insult done to Almighty

Over three thousand delegates were present at the Congress, every
civilized country being represented.

A committee was named to decorate the statue of Bruno that stands on the
spot where he was burned for declaring that the earth revolved, and that
the stars were not God's jewels hung in the sky each night by angels.

On this occasion, Haeckel said:

"This Congress is historic. It marks a white milepost in the onward and
upward march of Freedom.

"We have met in Rome not accidentally or yet incidentally, but
purposely. We have met here to show the world that times have changed,
that the earth revolves, and to prove to ourselves in an impressive and
undeniable way that the power of superstition is crippled, and at last
Science and Free Speech need no longer cringe and crawl. We respect the
Church for what she is, but our manhood must now realize that it is no
longer the slave and tool of entrenched force and power that abrogates
to itself the name of religion."

The Haeckel attitude of mind is essentially one of faith--Haeckel's hope
for the race is sublime. There are several things we do not know, but we
may know some time, just as men know things that children do not.

And yet we are only children in the kindergarten of God. And this garden
where we work and play is our own. The boy of ten, or even the man of
sixty, may never know, but there will come men greater than these and
they will understand. The Monist, the man who believes in the One--the
All--is essentially religious.

Haeckel has chosen this word Monism, as opposed to theism, deism,
materialism, spiritism.

Doctor Paul Carus is today the ablest American exponent of Monism, and
to him it is a positive religion. If Monism could make men of the superb
mental type of Paul Carus, well might we place the subject on a
compulsory basis and introduce it into our public schools. But Haeckel
and Carus believe quite as much in freedom as in Monism. All violence of
direction is contrary to growth, and delays evolution just that much.

The One of which we are part and particle--single cells, if you
please--is constantly working for its own good. We advance individually
as we lie low in the Lord's hand and allow ourselves to be receivers and
conveyors of the Divine Will.

And we ourselves are the Divine Will. The contemplation of this divinity
excites the religious emotions of awe, veneration, wonder and of
worship. It is a world of correlation. The All is right here. There is
no outside force or energy; no god or supreme being that looks on,
interferes, dictates and decides. To admit that there is an outside
power, something uncorrelated, is to invite fear, apprehension,
uncertainty and terror. This undissolved residuum is the nest-egg of
superstition. The man who believes that God is the Whole, and that every
man is a necessary part of the Whole, has no need to placate or please
an intangible Something. All he has to do is to be true to his own
nature, to live his own life, to understand himself. This takes us back
to the Socratic maxim, "Know Thyself." No man ever expressed one phase
of Monism so well and beautifully as Emerson has in his "Essay on
Compensation." This intelligence in which we are bathed rights every
wrong, equalizes every injustice, balances every perversion, punishes
the wrong and rewards the right. The Universe is self-lubricating and
automatic. The Greeks clearly beheld the sublime truths of Compensation
when they pictured Nemesis. It is absurd to punish--leave it to
Nemesis--she never forgets--nothing can escape her.

Our duties lie in service to ourselves, and we best serve self by
serving humanity. This is the only religion that pays compound interest
to both borrower and lender. Worship Humanity and you honor yourself.

And the world has ever dimly perceived this, for history honors no men
save those who have given their lives that others might live. The
saviors of the world are only those who loved Humanity more than all
else. All men who live honest lives are saviors--they live that others
may live.

He that saveth his life shall lose it.

We grow through radiation, not by absorption or annexation. To him that
hath shall be given. We keep things by giving them to others. The dead
carry in their clenched hands only that which they have given away; and
the living carry only the love in their hearts which they have bestowed
on others.

"I and my Father are one"--the thought is old, but to prove it from the
so-called material world through the study of biology has been the
life-work of Ernst Haeckel.

Undaunted we press ever on.

[Illustration: CARL VON LINNÆUS]


     When a man of genius is in full swing, never contradict him, set
     him straight or try to reason with him. Give him a free field. A
     listener is sure to get a greater quantity of good, no matter how
     mixed, than if the man is thwarted. Let Pegasus bolt--he will bring
     you up in a place you know nothing about!



Out of the mist and fog of time, the name of Aristotle looms up
large. It was more than twenty-three hundred years ago that Aristotle
lived. He might have lived yesterday, so distinctively modern was he in
his method and manner of thought. Aristotle was the world's first
scientist. He sought to sift the false from the true--to arrange,
classify and systematize.

Aristotle instituted the first zoological garden that history mentions,
barring that of Noah. He formed the first herbarium, and made a
geological collection that prophesied for Hugh Miller the testimony of
the rocks. Very much of our scientific terminology goes back to

Aristotle was born in the mountains of Macedonia. His father was a
doctor and belonged to the retinue of King Amyntas. The King had a son
named Philip, who was about the same age as Aristotle.

Some years later, Philip had a son named Alexander, who was somewhat
unruly, and Philip sent a Macedonian cry over to Aristotle, and
Aristotle harkened to the call for help and went over and took charge of
the education of Alexander.

The science of medicine in Aristotle's boyhood was the science of
simples. In surgery the world has progressed, but in medicine, doctors
have progressed most, by consigning to the grave, that tells no tales,
the deadly materia medica.

In Aristotle's childhood, when his father was both guide and physician
to the king, on hunting trips through the mountains, the doctor taught
the boys to recognize sarsaparilla, stramonium, hemlock, hellebore,
sassafras and mandrake. Then Aristotle made a list of all the plants he
knew and wrote down the supposed properties of each.

Before Aristotle was half-grown, both his father and mother died, and he
was cared for by a Mr. and Mrs. Proxenus. This worthy couple would never
have been known to the world were it not for the fact that they
ministered to this orphan boy. Long years afterward he wrote a poem to
their memory, and paid them such a tender, human compliment that their
names have been woven into the very fabric of letters. "They loved each
other, and still had love enough left for me," he says. And we can only
guess whether this man and his wife with hearts illumined by divine
passion, the only thing that yet gladdens the world, ever imagined that
they were supplying an atmosphere in which would bud and blossom one of
the greatest intellects the world has ever known.

It was through the help of Proxenus that Aristotle was enabled to go to
Athens and attend the School of Oratory, of which Plato was dean.

The fine, receptive spirit of this slender youth evidently brought out
from Plato's heart the best that was packed away there.

Aristotle was soon the star scholar. To get much out of school you have
to take much with you when you go there. In one particular, especially,
Aristotle, the country boy from Macedonia, brought much to Plato--and
this was the scientific spirit. Plato's bent was philosophy, poetry,
rhetoric--he was an artist in expression.

"Know thyself," said Socrates, the teacher of Plato.

"Be thyself," said Plato. "Know the world of Nature, of which you are a
part," said Aristotle; "and you will be yourself and know yourself
without thought or effort. The things you see, you are."

Twenty-three years Aristotle and Plato were together, and when they
separated it was on the relative value of science and poetry. "Science
is vital," said Aristotle; "but poetry and rhetoric are incidental." It
was a little like the classic argument still carried on in all
publishing-houses, as to which is the greater: the man who writes the
text or the man who illustrates it.

One is almost tempted to think that Plato's finest product was
Aristotle, just as Sir Humphry Davy's greatest discovery was Michael
Faraday. One fine, earnest, receptive pupil is about all any teacher
should expect in a lifetime, but Plato had at least two, Aristotle and
Theophrastus. And Theophrastus dated his birth from the day he met

Theo-Phrastus means God's speech, or one who speaks divinely. The boy's
real name was Ferguson. But the name given by Aristotle, who always had
a passion for naming things, stuck, and the world knows this superbly
great man as Theophrastus.

Botany dates from Theophrastus. And Theophrastus it was who wrote that
greatest of acknowledgments, when, in dedicating one of his books, he
expressed his indebtedness in these words: "To Aristotle, the inspirer
of all I am or hope to be."

       *       *       *       *       *

After Theophrastus' death the science of botany slept for three hundred
years. During this interval was played in Palestine that immortal drama
which so profoundly influenced the world. Twenty-three years after the
birth of Christ, Pliny, the Naturalist, was born.

He was the uncle of his nephew, and it is probable that the younger man
would have been swallowed in oblivion, just as the body of the older one
was covered by the eager ashes of Vesuvius, were it not for the fact
that Pliny the Elder had made the name deathless.

Pliny the Younger was about such a man as Richard Le Gallienne; Pliny
the Elder was like Thomas A. Edison.

At twenty-two, Pliny the Elder was a Captain in the Roman Army doing
service in Germany. Here he made memoranda of the trees, shrubs and
flowers he saw, and compared them with similar objects he knew at home.
"Animal and vegetable life change as you go North and South; from this I
assume that life is largely a matter of temperature and moisture." Thus
wrote this barbaric Roman soldier, who thereby proved he was not so much
of a barbarian after all. When he was twenty-five, his command was
transferred to Africa, and here, in the moments stolen from sleep, he
wrote a work in three volumes on education, entitled, "Studiosus."

In writing the book he got an education--to find out about a thing,
write a book on it. Pliny returned to Rome and began the practise of
law, and developed into a special pleader of marked power. He still held
his commission in the army, and was sent on various diplomatic errands
to Spain, Africa, Germany, Gaul and Greece. If you want things done,
call on a busy man: the man of leisure has no spare time.

Pliny's jottings on natural history very soon resolved themselves into
the most ambitious plan, which up to that time had not been attempted by
man--he would write out and sum up all human knowledge.

The next man to try the same thing was Alexander von Humboldt. We now
have Pliny's "Natural History" in thirty-seven volumes. His other forty
volumes are lost. The first volume of the "Natural History," which was
written last, gives a list of the authors consulted. Aristotle and
Theophrastus take the places of honor, and then follow a score of names
of men whose works have perished and whom we know mostly through what
Pliny says about them. So not only does Pliny write science as he saw
it, but introduces us into a select circle of authors whom otherwise we
would not know. We have the world of Nature, but we would not have this
world of thinkers, were it not for Pliny.

Pliny even quotes Sappho, who loved and sung, and whose poems reached us
only through scattered quotations, as if Emerson's works should perish
and we would revive him through a file of "The Philistine" magazine.
Pliny and Paul were contemporaries. Pliny lived at Rome when Paul lived
there in his own hired house, but Pliny never mentioned him, and
probably never heard of him.

One man was interested in this world, the other in the next.

Pliny begins his great work with a plagiarism on Lyman Abbott, "There is
but one God." The idea that there were many arose out of the thought
that because there were many things, there must be special gods to look
after them: gods of the harvest, gods of the household, gods of the
rain, etc.

There is but one God, says Pliny, and this God manifests Himself in
Nature. Nature and Nature's work are one. This world and all other
worlds we see or can think of are parts of Nature. If there are other
Universes, they are natural; that is to say, a part of Nature. God rules
them all according to laws which He Himself can not violate. It is vain
to supplicate Him, and absurd to worship Him, for to do these things is
to degrade Him with the thought that He is like us. The assumption that
God is very much like us is not complimentary to God.

God can not do an unnatural or a supernatural thing. He can not kill
Himself. He can not make the greater less than the less. He can not make
twice ten anything else than twenty.

He can not make a stick that has but one end. He can not make the past,
future. He can not make one who has lived never to have lived. He can
not make the mortal, immortal; nor the immortal, mortal. He can change
the form of things, but He can not abolish a thing. Pliny preaches the
Unity of the Universe and his religion is the religion of Humanity.

Pliny says:

"We can not injure God, but we can injure man. And as man is part of
Nature or God, the only way to serve God is to benefit man. If we love
God, the way to reveal that love is in our conduct toward our fellows."

Pliny was close upon the Law of the Correlation of Forces, and he almost
got a glimpse of the Law of Attraction or Gravitation. He sensed these
things, but could not prove them. Pliny touched life at an immense
number of points. What he saw, he knew, but when he took things on the
word of Marco Polo and Sir John Mandeville (for these gentlemen
adventurers have always lived), he fell into curious errors. For
instance, he tells of horses in Africa that have wings, and when hard
pressed, fly like birds; of ostriches that give milk, and of elephants
that live on land or sea equally well; of mines where gold is found in
solid masses and the natives dig into it for diamonds.

But outside of these little lapses, Pliny writes sanely and well. Book
Two treats of the crust of the earth, of earthquakes, meteors, volcanoes
(these had a strange fascination for him), islands and upheavals.

Books Three and Four relate of geography and give amusing information
about the shape of the continents and the form of the earth. Then comes
a book on man, his evolution and physical qualities, with a history of
the races.

Next is a book on Zoology, with a resume of all that was written by
Aristotle, and with many corroborations of Thompson-Seton and Rudyard
Kipling. Facts from the "Jungle Book" are here recited at length. Book
Nine is on marine life--sponges, shells and coral insects. Book Ten
treats of birds, and carries the subject further than it had ever been
taken before, even if it does at times contradict John Burroughs. Book
Eleven is on insects, bugs and beetles, and tells, among other things,
of bats that make fires in caves to keep themselves warm. Book Twelve is
on trees, their varieties, height, age, growth, qualities and
distribution. Book Thirteen treats of fruits, juices, gums, wax, saps
and perfumes. Book Fourteen is on grapes and the making of wine, with a
description of the process and the various kinds of wine, their effects
on the human system, with a goodly temperance lesson backed up by
incidents and examples.

Book Fifteen treats of pomegranates, apples, plums, peaches, figs and
various other luscious fruits, and shows much intimate and valuable
knowledge. And so the list runs down through, treating at great length
of bees, fishes, woods, iron, lead, copper, gold, marble, fluids, gases,
rivers, swamps, seas, and a thousand and one things that were familiar
to this marvelous man. But of all subjects, Pliny shows a much greater
love for botany than for anything else. Plants, flowers, vines, trees
and mosses interest him always, and he breaks off other subjects to tell
of some flower that he has just discovered.

Pliny had command of the Roman fleet that was anchored in the bay off
Pompeii, when that city was destroyed in the year Seventy-nine.
Bulwer-Lytton tells the story, with probably a close regard for the
facts. The sailors, obeying Pliny's orders, did their utmost to save
human life, and rescued hundreds. Pliny himself made various trips in a
small boat from the ship to the beach. He was safely on board the
flag-ship, and orders had been given to weigh anchor, when the commander
decided to make one more visit to the perishing city to see if he could
not rescue a few more, and also to get a closer view of Nature in a

He rowed away into the fog. The sailors waited for their beloved
commander, but waited in vain. He had ventured too close to the flowing
lava, and was suffocated by the fumes, a victim to his love for humanity
and his desire for knowledge. So died Pliny the Elder, aged but
fifty-six years.

       *       *       *       *       *

All children are zoologists, but a botanist appears upon the earth only
at rare intervals.

A Botanist is born--not made. From the time of Pliny, botany performed
the Rip Van Winkle act until John Ray, the son of a blacksmith, appeared
upon the scene in England. In the meantime, Leonardo had classified the
rocks, recorded the birds, counted the animals and written a book of
three thousand pages on the horse. Leonardo dissected many plants, but
later fell back upon the rose for decorative purposes.

John Ray was born in Sixteen Hundred Twenty-eight near Braintree in
Essex. Now, as to genius--no blacksmith-shop is safe from it. We know
where to find ginseng, but genius is the secret of God.

A blacksmith's helper by day, this aproned lad with sooty face dreamed
dreams. Evenings he studied Greek with the village parson. They read
Aristotle and Theophrastus.

Have a care there, you Macedonian miscreant, dead two thousand years,
you are turning this boy's head!

John Ray would be a botanist as great as Aristotle, and he would speak
divinely, just as did Theophrastus. It is all a matter of desire! Young
Ray became a Minor Fellow of Trinity College, Cambridge; then a Major
Fellow; then he took the Master's degree; next he became lecturer on
Greek; and insisted that Aristotle was the greatest man the world had
ever seen, except none, and the Dean raised an eyebrow.

The professor of mathematics resigned and Ray took his place; next he
became Junior Dean, and then College Steward; and according to the
custom of the times he used to preach in the chapel. One of his sermons
was from the text, "Consider the lilies of the field." Another sermon
that brought him more notoriety than fame was on the subject, "God in
Creation," wherein he argued that to find God we should look for Him
more in the world of Nature and not so much in books.

Matters were getting strained. Ray was asked to subscribe to the Act of
Uniformity, which was a promise that he would never preach anything that
was not prescribed by the Church. Ray demurred, and begged that he be
allowed to go free and preach anything he thought was truth--new truth
might come to him! This shows the absurdity of Ray. He was asked to
reconsider or resign. He resigned--resigned the year that Sir Isaac
Newton entered.

Fortunately, one particular pupil followed him, not that he
loved college less, but that he loved Ray more. This pupil was
Francis Willughby. Through the bounty of this pupil we get the
scientist--otherwise, Ray would surely have been starved into
subjection. Willughby took Ray to the home of his parents, who were rich

Ray undertook the education of young Willughby, very much as Aristotle
took charge of Alexander. Willughby and Ray traveled, studied, observed
and wrote. They went to Spain, took trips to France, Italy and
Switzerland, and journeyed to Scotland. Willughby devoted his life to
Ornithology and Ichthyology and won a deathless place in science.

Ray specialized on botany, and did a work in classification never done
before. He made a catalog of the flora of England that wrung even from
Cambridge a compliment--they offered him the degree of LL.D. Ray quietly
declined it, saying he was only a simple countryman, and honors or
titles would be a disadvantage, tending to separate him from the plain
people with whom he worked. However, the Royal Society elected him a
member, and he accepted the honor, that he might put the results of his
work on record. His paper on the circulation of sap in trees was read
before the Royal Society, on the request of Newton. Due credit was given
Harvey for his discovery of the circulation of the blood; but Ray made
the fine point that man was brother to the tree, and his life was
derived from the same Source.

When Willughby died, in Sixteen Hundred Seventy-two, he left Ray a
yearly income of three hundred dollars. Doctor Johnson told Boswell that
Ray had a collection of twenty thousand English bugs. Our botanical
terminology comes more from John Ray than from any other man. Ray
adopted wherever possible the names given by Aristotle, so loyal, loving
and true was he to the Master. Ray died in Seventeen Hundred Five, aged

       *       *       *       *       *

Two years after the death of John Ray, in Seventeen Hundred Seven, was
born a baby who was destined to find biology a chaos, and leave it a

Linnæus did for botany what Galileo had done for astronomy. John Ray was
only a John the Baptist.

Carl von Linne, or Carolus Linnæus as he preferred to be called, was
born in an obscure village in the Province of Smaland, Sweden. His
father was a clergyman, passing rich on forty pounds a year. His mother
was only eighteen years old when she bore him, and his father had just
turned twenty-one. It was a poor parish, and one of the deacons
explained that they could not afford a real preacher; so they hired a

Carl tells in his journal, of remembering how, when he was but four
years old, his father would lead his congregation out through the woods
and, all seated on the grass, the father would tell the people about the
plants and herbs and how to distinguish them.

Back of the parsonage there was a goodly garden, where the young pastor
and his wife worked many happy hours. When Carl was eight years of age,
a corner of this garden was set apart for his very own.

He pressed into his service several children of the neighborhood, and
they carried flat stones from the near-by brook to wall in this
miniature farm--this botanical garden.

The child that hasn't a flowerbed or a garden of its ownest own is
being cheated out of its birthright.

The evolution of the child mirrors the evolution of the race. And as the
race has passed through the savage, pastoral and agricultural stages, so
should the child. As a people we are now in the commercial or
competitive stage, but we are slowly emerging out of this into the age
of co-operation or enlightened self-interest.

It is only a very great man--one with a prophetic vision--who can see
beyond the stage in which he is.

The stage we are in seems the best and the final one--otherwise, we
would not be in it. But to skip any of these stages in the education or
evolution of the individual seems a sore mistake. Children hedged and
protected from digging in the dirt develop into "third rounders," as our
theosophic friends would say, that is, educated non-comps--vast top-head
and small cerebellum--people who can explain the unknowable, but who do
not pay cash. Third rounders all--fit only for the melting-pot!

A tramp is one who has fallen a victim of arrested development and never
emerged from the nomadic stage; an artistic dilettante is one who has
jumped the round where boys dig in the dirt and has evolved into a

Young Carl Linnæus skipped no round in his evolution. He began as a
savage, robbing birds' nests, chasing butterflies, capturing bees, bugs
and beetles. He trained goats to drive, hitched up a calf, fenced his
little farm, and planted it with strange and curious crops.

Clergymen once were the only schoolteachers, and in Sweden, when Linnæus
was a boy, there was a plan of farming children out among preachers that
they might be educated. Possibly this plan of having some one besides
the parents teach the lessons is good--I can not say. But young Carl did
not succeed--save in disturbing the peace among the households of the
half-dozen clergymen who in turn had him.

The boy evidently was a handsome fellow, a typical Swede, with hair as
fair as the sunshine, blue eyes, and a pink face that set off the fair
hair and made him look like a Circassian.

He had energy plus, and the way he cluttered up the parsonages where he
lodged was a distraction to good housewives: birds' nests, feathers,
skins, claws, fungi, leaves, flowers, roots, stalks, rocks, sticks and
stones--and when one meddled with his treasures, there was trouble. And
there was always trouble; for the boy possessed a temper, and usually
had it right with him.

The intent of the parents was that Carl should become a clergyman, but
his distaste for theology did not go unexpressed. So perverse and
persistent were his inclinations that they preyed on the mind of his
father, who quoted King Lear and said, "How sharper than a serpent's
tooth it is to have a thankless child!"

His troubles weighed so upon the good clergyman that his nerves became
affected and he went to the neighboring town of Wexio to consult Doctor
Rothman, a famed medical expert.

The good clergyman, in the course of his conversation with the doctor,
told of his mortification on account of the dulness and perversity of
his son.

Doctor Rothman listened in patience and came to the conclusion that
young Mr. Linnæus was a good boy who did the wrong thing. All energy is
God's, but it may be misdirected. A boy not good enough for a preacher
might make a good doctor--an excess of virtue is not required in the
recipe for a physician.

"I'll cure you, by taking charge of your boy," said Rothman; "you want
to make a clergyman of the youth: I'll let him be just what he wants to
be, a naturalist and a physician." And it was so.

       *       *       *       *       *

The year spent by Linnæus under the roof of Doctor Rothman was a pivotal
point in his life. He was eighteen years old. The contempt of Rothman
for the refinements of education appealed to the young man. Rothman was
blunt, direct, and to the point: he had a theory that people grew by
doing what they wanted to do, not by resisting their impulses.

He was both friend and comrade to the boy. They rode together, dissected
animals and plants, and the young man assisted in operations. Linnæus
had the run of the Doctor's library, and without knowing it, was
mastering physiology.

"I would adopt him as my son," said Rothman; "but I love him so much
that I am going to separate him from me. My roots have struck deep in
the soil: I am like the human trees told of by Dante; but the boy can go

And so Rothman sent him along to the University of Lund, with letters to
another doctor still more cranky than himself. This man was Doctor
Kilian Stobæus, a medical professor, physician to the king, and a
naturalist of note. Stobæus had a mixed-up museum of minerals, birds,
fishes and plants.

Everybody for a hundred miles who had a curious thing in the way of
natural history sent it to Stobæus. Into this medley of strange and
curious things Linnæus was plunged with orders to "straighten it up."
There was a German student also living with the doctor, working for his
board. Linnæus took the lead and soon had the young German helping him
catalog the curios.

The spirit of Ray had gotten abroad in Germany, and Ray's books had been
translated and were being used in many of the German schools. Linnæus
made a bargain with the German student that they should speak only
German--he wanted to find what was locked up in those German books on

Stobæus was lame and had but one eye, so he used to call on the boys to
help him, not only to hitch up his horse, but to write his
prescriptions. Linnæus wrote very badly, and was chided because he did
not improve his penmanship, for it seems that in the olden times
physicians wrote legibly. Linnæus resented the rebuke, and was shown the
door. He was gone a week, when Stobæus sent for him, much to his relief.
This little comedy was played several times during the year, through
what Linnæus afterward acknowledged as his fault. One would hardly think
that the man who on first seeing the English gorse in full bloom fell on
his knees, burst into tears of joy, and thanked God that he had lived to
see this day, would have had a fiery temper. Then further, the gentle,
spiritual qualities that Linnæus in his later life developed give one
the idea that he was always of a gentle nature.

In indexing the museum of Doctor Stobæus, Linnæus found his bent. "I
will never be a doctor," he said; "but I can beat the world on making a

And thus it was: his genius lay in classification. "He indexed and
catalogued the world," a great writer has said.

After a year at the University of Lund, with more learned by working for
his board than at school, there was a visit from Doctor Rothman, who had
just dropped in to see his old friend Stobæus. The fact was, Rothman
cared a deal more for Linnæus than he did for Stobæus. "Weeds develop
into flowers by transplanting only," said Rothman to Linnæus. "You need
a different soil--get out of here before you get pot-bound."

"But about Cyclops?" asked Linnæus.

"Let Cyclops go to the devil!" It was no use to ask permission of
Stobæus. Linnæus was so valuable that Stobæus would not spare him.

So Linnæus packed up and departed between the dawn and the day, leaving
a letter stating he had gone to Upsala because it seemed best and
begging forgiveness for such seeming ingratitude.

When Linnæus got to Upsala he found a letter from Doctor Cyclops,
written in wrath, requesting him never again to show his face in Lund.
Rothman also lost the friendship of Stobæus for his share in the

       *       *       *       *       *

When Linnæus arrived at Upsala he had one marked distinction, according
to his own account--he was the poorest student that had ever knocked at
the gates of the University for admittance. Perhaps this is a mistake,
for even though the young man had patched his shoes with birch bark, he
was not in debt.

And the youth of twenty-one who has health, hope, ambition and animation
is not to be pitied. Poverty is only for the people who think poverty.

It is five hundred English miles from Lund to Upsala. After his long,
weary tramp, Linnæus sat on the edge of the hill and looked down at the
scattered town of Upsala in the valley below. A stranger passing by
pointed out the college buildings, where a thousand young men were being
drilled and disciplined in the mysteries of learning. "Where is the
Botanical Garden?" asked the newcomer.

It was pointed out to him. He gazed on the site, carefully studied the
surrounding landscape, and mentally calculated where he would move the
Botanical Garden as soon as he had control of it. Let us anticipate here
just long enough to explain that the Upsala Botanical Garden now is
where Linnæus said it should be. It is a most beautiful place, lined off
with close-growing shrubbery. After traversing the winding paths, one
reaches the lecture-hall, built after the Greek, with porches, peristyle
and gently ascending marble steps. On entering the building, the first
object that attracts the visitor is the life-size statue of Linnæus.

To the left, a half-mile away, is the old cathedral--a place that never
much interested Linnæus. But there now rests his dust, and in windows
and also in storied bronze his face, form and fame endure. In the
meantime, we have left the young man sitting on a boulder looking down
at the town ere he goes forward to possess it.

He adjusts his shoes with their gaping wounds, shakes the dust from his
cap, and then takes from his pack a faded neckscarf, puts it on and he
is ready.

Descending the hill he forgets his lameness, waives the stone-bruises,
and walks confidently to the Botanical Garden, which he views with a
critical eye. Next, he inquires for the General Superintendent who lives
near. The young man presents his credentials from Rothman, who describes
the youth as one who knows and loves the flowers, and who can be useful
in office or garden and is not above spade and hoe. The Superintendent
looks at the pink face, touched with bronze from days in the open air,
notes the long yellow hair, beholds the out-of-door look of fortitude
that comes from hard and plain fare, and inwardly compares these things
with the lack of them in some of his students. "But this Doctor--Doctor
Rothman who wrote this letter--I do not have the honor of knowing him,"
says the Superintendent.

"Ah, you are unfortunate," replies the youth; "he is a very great man,
and I myself will vouch for him in every way."

Oh! this glowing confidence of youth--before there comes a surplus of
lime in the bones, or the touch of winter in the heart! The
Superintendent smiled. Knock in faith and the door shall be
opened--there are those whom no one can turn away. A stray bed was found
in the garret for the stranger, and the next morning he was earnestly at
work cataloguing the dried plants in the herbarium, a task long delayed
because there was no one to do it.

       *       *       *       *       *

The study of Natural History in the University of Upsala was, at this
time, at a low ebb. It was like the Art Department in many of the
American colleges: its existence largely confined to the school catalog.
There were many weeks of biting poverty and neglect for Linnæus, but he
worked away in obscurity and silence and endured, saying all the time,
"The sun will come out, the sun will come out!" Doctor Olaf Rudbeck had
charge of the chair of Botany, but seldom sat in it. His business was
medicine. He gave no lectures, but the report was that he made his
students toil at cultivating in his garden--this to open up their
intellectual pores. In the course of his work, Linnæus devised a sex
plan of classification, instead of the so-called natural method. He
wrote out his ideas and submitted them to Rudbeck.

The learned Doctor first pooh-poohed the plan, then tolerated it, and in
a month claimed he had himself devised it. On the scheme being explained
to others there was opposition, and Rudbeck requested Linnæus to amplify
his notes into a thesis, and read it as a lecture. This was done, and so
pleased was the old man that he appointed Linnæus his adjunctus. In the
Spring of Seventeen Hundred Thirty, Linnæus began to give weekly
lectures on some topic of Natural History.

Linnæus was now fairly launched. His animation, clear thinking, handsome
face and graceful ways made his lectures very popular. Science in his
hands was no longer the dull and turgid thing it had before been in the
University. He would give a lecture in the hall, and then invite the
audience to walk with him in the woods. He seemed to know everything:
birds, beetles, bugs, beasts, trees, weeds, flowers, rocks and stones
were to him familiar.

He showed his pupils things they had walked on all their lives and never

The old Botanical Garden that had degenerated into a kitchen-garden for
the Commons was rearranged and furnished with many specimens gathered
round about.

A system of exchange was carried on with other schools, and Natural
History at Upsala was fast becoming a feature. Old Doctor Rudbeck
hobbled around with the classes, and when Linnæus lectured sat in a
front seat, applauding by rapping his cane on the floor and ejaculating
words of encouragement.

Linnæus was now receiving invitations to lecture at other schools in the
vicinity. He made excursions and reports on the Natural History of the
country around. The Academy of Science of Upsala now selected him to go
to Lapland and explore the resources of that country, which was then
little known.

The journey was to be a long and dangerous one. It meant four thousand
miles of travel on foot, by sledge and on horseback, over a country that
was for the most part mountainous, without roads, and peopled with

There were two reasons why Linnæus should make the trip:

One was he had the hardihood and the fortitude to do it.

And second, he was not wanted at Upsala. He was becoming too popular.
One rival professor had gone so far as to prefer formal charges of
scientific heresy; he also made the telling point that Linnæus was not a
college graduate. The rule of the University was that no lecturer,
teacher or professor should be employed who did not have a degree from
some foreign University.

Inquiry was made and it was found that Linnæus had left the University
of Lund under a cloud. Linnæus was confronted with the charge, and
declined to answer it, thus practically pleading guilty. So, to get him
out of Upsala seemed a desirable thing, both to friends and to foes. His
friends secured the commission for the Lapland exploration, and his
enemies made no objections, merely whispering, "Good riddance!" To be
twenty-four, in good health, with hair like that of General Custer, a
heart to appreciate Nature, a good horse under you, and a commission
from the State to do an important work, in your left-hand
breast-pocket--what Heaven more complete!

A reception was tendered the young naturalist in the great hall, and he
addressed the students on the necessity of doing your work as well as
you can, and being kind. Before beginning his arduous and dangerous
journey, Linnæus went to Lund to visit his old patron, Doctor Stobæus.
Time, the great healer, had cured the Doctor of his hate, and he now
spoke of Linnæus as his best pupil. He had left hastily by the wan light
of the moon, without leaving orders where his mail was to be forwarded;
but now he was received as an honored guest. All the little
misunderstandings they had were laughed over as jokes.

From Lund, Linnæus went to his home in Smaland to visit his parents.

It is needless to say that they were very proud of him, and the
villagers turned out in great numbers to do him honor, perhaps, in their
simplicity, not knowing why.

       *       *       *       *       *

The account of the Lapland trip by Linnæus is to be found in his book,
"Lachesis Lapponica."

The journey covered over four thousand miles and took from May to
November, Seventeen Hundred Thirty-one. The volume is in the form of a
daily journal, and is as interesting as "Robinson Crusoe." There is no
night there in Summer; but for all this, Lapland is not a paradise.

It is a great stretch of desert, vast steppes and lofty mountains, with
here and there fertile valleys. To be out in the wide open, with no
companions but a horse and a dog, filled Linnæus' heart with a wild joy.
As he went on, the road grew so rough that he had to part with the
horse, which he did with a pang, but the dog kept him company.

To be educated is to liberate the mind from its trammels and fears--to
set it free, new-chiseled from the rock. Linnæus reveled in the vast
loneliness of the steppes and took a hearty satisfaction in the hard
fare. His gun and fishing-rod stood him in good stead; there were
berries at times, and edible barks and watercress, and when these failed
he had a little bag of meal and dried reindeer-tongues to fall back

The simplicity of his living is shown best in the fact that the expenses
for the entire journey, occupying seven months, were only twenty-five
pounds, or less than one hundred twenty-five dollars. The Academy had
set aside sixty pounds, and their surprise at having most of the money
returned to them, instead of a demand being made for more, won them,
hand and heart. He had hit the sturdy old burghers in a sensitive
spot--the pocketbook--and they passed resolutions declaring him the
world's greatest naturalist, and voted him a medal, to be cast at his
own expense. Fame is delightful, but as collateral it does not rank

Linnæus was without funds and without occupation. He gave a course of
lectures at the University on his explorations, where every seat was
taken, and even the stage and windows were filled. The sprightliness,
grace and intellect Linnæus brought to bear illumined his theme.

When Linnæus lectured, all classes were dismissed: none could rival him.
His very excellence was his disadvantage. Jealousy was hot on his trail,
for he was disturbing the balance of stupidity. A movement grew to force
him from the college. Formal charges were made, and when the case came
to a trial the even tenor of justice was disturbed by Linnæus making an
attack on Professor Rosen, his principal enemy, with intent to kill him.
Dueling has been forbidden in all the universities of Sweden since the
year Sixteen Hundred Eighty-two, and the diversion replaced by quartet
singing. So when Linnæus challenged his enemy to fight, and warned him
he would kill him if he didn't fight, and also if he did, things were in
a bad way for Linnæus.

The former charges were dropped to take up the more serious--just as
when a man is believed to be guilty of murder, no mention is made of his
crime of larceny.

Poor Linnæus was under the ban. The enemy had won: Linnæus must leave.
But where should he go--what could he do? No college would receive him
after his being compelled to leave Upsala for riot. He decided that if
disgrace were to be his on account of revenge, he would accept the
disgrace. He would kill Rosen on sight and then either commit suicide or
accept the consequences: it was all one! And so, laying plans to waylay
his victim, he fell asleep and dreamed he had done the deed.

He awoke in a sweat of horror!

He heard the officers at the door! He staggered to his feet, and was
making wild plans to fight the pursuers, when it occurred to him that he
had only dreamed. He sat down, faint, but mightily relieved.

Then he laughed, and it came to him that opposition was a part of the
great game of life. To do a thing was to jostle others, and to jostle
and be jostled was the fate of every man of power. "He that endureth
unto the end shall be saved."

The world was before him--the flowers still bloomed, and plants nodded
their heads in the meadows; the summer winds blew across the fields of
wheat, the branches waved. He was strong--he could plant and plow, or
dig ditches, or hew lumber!

Some one was hammering on the door; they had been knocking for fully
five minutes--ah! There had been no murder, so surely it was not the

He arose slowly and opened the door, murmuring apologies. A letter for
Carolus Linnæus! The letter was from Baron Reuterholm of Dalecarlia. It
contained a draft for twenty-five pounds, "as a token of good faith,"
and begged that Linnæus would accept charge of an expedition to survey
the natural resources of Dalecarlia in the same way that he had Lapland,
only with greater minuteness. Linnæus read the letter again. The draft
fluttered from his fingers to the floor.

"Pick that up!" he peremptorily ordered of the messenger. He wanted to
see if the other man saw it too.

The other man did pick it up! Linnæus was not dreaming, then, after

       *       *       *       *       *

This second expedition had two objects: one was the better education of
Baron Reuterholm's two sons, and the other the survey. One of these sons
was at the University of Upsala, and he had conceived such an admiration
for Linnæus that he had written home about him. No man knows what he is
doing: we succeed by the right oblique. Little did Linnæus guess that he
was preparing the way for great good fortune. The second excursion was
one of luxury. It lacked all the hardships of the first, and involved
the management of a party. Reuterholm was a rich Jewish banker, and a
man in close touch with all Swedish affairs of State. This time Linnæus
was provided with ample funds.

Linnæus had a genius for system--a head for business. He classified men,
and systematized his work like a general in the field. There were seven
young naturalists in the party, and to each Linnæus assigned a special
work, with orders to hand in a written report of progress each evening.
That the "Economist" or steward of the party was an American lends an
especial note of interest for us. After Dalecarlia it was to be America!

In money matters he was punctilious and accurate, the result of his
early training in making both ends meet. The habits of thrift, industry,
energy and absolute honesty had made him a marked man--there is not so
much competition along these lines.

The maps, measurements, drawings, and the exact, short, sharp, military
reports turned in at regular intervals to the Baron won that worthy

Linnæus was a businessman as well as a naturalist. It would require a
book to tell of the glorious half-gypsy life of these eight young men,
moving slowly through woods, across plains, over mountains and meadows,
studying soil, rocks, birds, trees and flowers, collecting and making

Camping at night by flowing streams, awakening with the dawn and cooking
breakfast by the campfire in a silence that took up their shouts of
laughter in surprise, and echoed them back from the neighboring hills!
At last the journey was ended. Linnæus had proved his ability to
teach--his animation, good-cheer and friendly qualities brought his
pupils very close to him. Reuterholm insisted that he should attach
himself to the rising little college at Fahlun. There he met Doctor
Moræus, a man of much worth in a scientific way. At his house Linnæus
made his home. There was a daughter in the household, Sara Elizabeth,
tall, slender, appreciative and studious. One of the Reuterholms had
courted her, but in vain.

There were the usual results, and when Carolus and Sara Elizabeth came
to Doctor Moræus hand in hand for his blessing, he granted it as good
men always do. Then the Doctor gave Linnæus some good advice--go to
Holland or somewhere and get a doctor's degree. The enemies at Upsala
called Linnæus "the gypsy scientist." Silence them--Linnæus was now a
great man, and the world would yet acknowledge it. Sara Elizabeth agreed
in all of the propositions.

Love, they say, is blind, but sometimes love is a regular telescope.
This time love saw things that the learned men of Upsala failed to
discover--their diagnosis was wrong. Linnæus had prepared a thesis on
intermittent fever, and he was assured that if he presented this thesis
at the medical school at Harderwijk, Holland, with letters from Baron
Reuterholm and Doctor Moræus, it would secure him the much desired M.D.

A few months, at most, would suffice. He could then return to Fahlun and
take his place as a practising physician and a professor in the college,
marry the lady of his choice and live happy ever afterward.

So he started away southward. In due time, he arrived at Harderwijk and
read his thesis to the faculty. Instead of the callow youth, such as
they usually dealt with, they found a practised speaker who defended his
points with grace and confidence. The degree was at once voted, and a
"cum laude" thrown in for good measure. Linnæus was asked to remain
there and give a course of lectures on natural history. This he did.
Before going home he thought he would take a little look in on Leyden,
at that time the bookmaking and literary center of the world. At Leyden
he met Gronovius, the naturalist, who asked him to remain and give
lectures at the University. He did so, and incidentally showed
Gronovius the manuscript of his book on the new system of botanic

Gronovius was so delighted that he insisted on having the book printed
by the Plantins at his own expense. Here was a piece of good fortune
Linnæus had not anticipated.

Linnæus now settled down to read the proofs and help the work through
the presses. But he never idled an hour.

He studied, wrote and lectured, and made little excursions with his
friends through the fields. The book finished, he hastened to send
copies back to Fahlun to Sara Elizabeth, saying he must see Amsterdam
and then go to Antwerp to visit his new-found printer-friends there, and
then go home!

At Amsterdam he remained a whole year, living at the house of Burman,
the naturalist.

The wealthy banker, Cliffort, first among amateur botanists of his day,
invited Linnæus to visit him at his country-house at Hartecamp. Here he
saw the finest garden he had ever looked upon. Cliffort had copies of
Linnæus' book and he now insisted that the author should remain, catalog
his collection and issue the book with the help of the Plantins, all
without regard to cost. It took a year to get the work out, but it yet
remains one of the finest things ever attempted in a bookmaking way on
the subject of botany.

About the same time, with the help of Cliffort, Linnæus published
another big book of his own called, "Fundamenta Botanica." This book
was taken up at Oxford and used as a textbook, in preference to Ray.

Linnæus received invitations from England and was persuaded to take a
trip across to that country. He visited Oxford and London, and was
received by scientific men as a conquering hero. He saw Garrick act and
heard George Frederick Handel, where the crowd was so great that a
notice was posted requesting gentlemen to come without swords and ladies
without hoops. Handel composed an aria in his honor.

Returning to Leyden, Linnæus was urged by the municipality to remain and
rearrange the public flower-gardens and catalog the rare plants at the
University. This took a year, in which three more books were issued
under his skilful care.

He now started for home in earnest, by way of Paris, with what a
contemporary calls "a trunkful of medals."

Paris, too, had honors and employment for the great botanist, but he
escaped and at last reached Fahlun. He had been gone nearly four years,
and during the interval had established his place in the scientific
world as the first botanist of the time.

"It was love that sent me out of Sweden, and but for love I would never
have returned," he wrote.

Linnæus and Sara Elizabeth were married June Twenty-six, Seventeen
Hundred Thirty-nine.

Now the unexpected happened: Upsala petitioned Linnæus to return, and
the man who headed the petition was the one who had driven him away and
who came near being killed for his pains. Linnæus and his wife went to
Upsala, rich, honored, beloved.

Linnæus shifted the scientific center of gravity of all Europe to a
town, practically to them obscure, a thing they themselves scarcely

Henceforth, the life of Linnæus flowed forward like a great and mighty
river--everything made way for him. He was invited by the King of Spain
to come to that country and found a School of Science, and so lavish
were the promises that they surely would have turned the head of a
lesser man. Universities in many civilized countries honored themselves
by giving him degrees.

In Seventeen Hundred Sixty-one, the King of Sweden issued a patent of
nobility in his honor, and thereafter he was Carl von Linne. In England
he was known as Sir Charles Linn.

Sainte-Beuve, the eminent French critic, says that the world has
produced only about half a dozen men who deserve to be placed in the
first class. The elements that make up this super-superior man are high
intellect, which abandons itself to the purpose in hand, careless of
form and precedent; indifference to obstacles and opposition; and a
joyous, sympathetic, loving spirit that runs over and inundates
everything it touches, all with no special thought of personal pleasure,
gratification or gain.

Linnæus seems in every way to fill the formula.

[Illustration: THOMAS H. HUXLEY]


     That man, I think, has a liberal education whose body has been so
     trained in youth that it is the ready servant of his will, and does
     with ease and pleasure all that, as a mechanism, it is capable of;
     whose intellect is a clear, cold, logic engine, with all its parts
     of equal strength and in smooth running order, ready, like a
     steam-engine, to be turned to any kind of work and to spin the
     gossamers as well as forge the anchors of the mind; whose mind is
     stored with the knowledge of the great fundamental truths of Nature
     and the laws of her operations; one who, no stunted ascetic, is
     full of life and fire, but whose passions have been trained to come
     to heel by a vigorous will, the servant of a tender conscience; one
     who has learned to love all beauty, whether of Nature or of art, to
     hate all vileness, and to esteem others as himself.

     --_Thomas Henry Huxley_


That was a great group of thinkers to which Huxley belonged.

The Mutual Admiration Society forms the sunshine in which souls
grow--great men come in groups. Sir Francis Galton says there were
fourteen men in Greece in the time of Pericles who made Athens possible.
A man alone is only a part of a man.

Praxiteles by himself could have done nothing. Ictinus might have drawn
the plans for the Parthenon, but without Pericles the noble building
would have remained forever the stuff which dreams are made of. And they
do say that without Aspasia Pericles would have been a mere dreamer of
dreams, and Walter Savage Landor overheard enough of their conversation
to prove it.

William Morris and seven men working with him formed the Preraphaelite
Brotherhood and gave the workers and doers of the world an impetus they
yet feel.

Cambridge and Concord had seven men who induced the Muses to come to
America and take out papers.

These men of the Barbizon School tinted the entire art world: Millet,
Rousseau, Daubigny, Corot, Diaz. And the people who worked a complete
revolution in the theological thought of Christendom were these:
Darwin, Spencer, Mill, Tyndall, Wallace, Huxley and, yes, George Eliot,
who bolstered the brain of Herbert Spencer when he was learning to think
for himself.

When the victory had become a rout, there were many others who joined
forces with the evolutionists; but at first the thinkers named above
stood together and received the rather unsavory gibes and jeers of those
who get their episcopopagy and science from the same source.

Darwin was the only man in the group who was a university graduate, and
he once said that he owed nothing to his Alma Mater, save the stimulus
derived from her disapproval.

For the work these men had to do there was no precedent: no one had gone
before and blazed a trail.

Learning, like capital, is timid; but ignorance coupled with a desire to
know, is bold. Do I then make a plea for ignorance? Yes, most assuredly.
It is just as well not to know so much, as to be a theologian and know
so many things that are not true.

Learning and institutions of learning subdue men into conformity; only
the man who belongs to nothing is free; and ignorance, as well as a
certain indifference to what the world has said and done, is a necessary
factor in the character of him who would do a great work. It was the
combined ignorance and boldness of Columbus that made it possible for
him to give the world a continent.

Yet the man who has not had a college training often feels he has
somehow missed something valuable: there is timidity and hesitation when
he is in the presence of those who have had "advantages." And Huxley
felt this loss, more or less, up to his thirty-fifth year, when Fate had
him cross swords with college men, and then the truth became his that if
he had had the regular university training, it was quite probable that
he would have accepted the doctrines the universities taught, and would
then have been in the camp of the "enemy," instead of with what he
called the "blessed minority."

Isolation is a great aid to the thinker. Some of the best books the
world has ever known were written behind prison-bars; exile has done
much for literature, and a protracted sea-voyage has allowed many a good
man to roam the universe in imagination. Some of Macaulay's best essays
were written on board slow-going sailing-ships that were blown by
vagrant winds from England to India. Darwin, Hooker and Huxley, all got
their scientific baptism on board of surveying-ships, where time was
plentiful and anything but fleeting, and most everything else was

Huxley was only assistant surgeon on the "Rattlesnake," and above him
was a naturalist who much of his time lay in his bunk and read treatises
on this and also on that.

Huxley was the seventh child of a plodding schoolteacher, born on the
seventh day of the week on a seventh-floor back, he used to say. His
genius for work came from his mother, a tireless, ambitious woman, who
got things done while others were discussing them. "Had she been a man,
she would have been leader of the Opposition in the House of Commons,"
her son used to say.

College education was not for that goodly brood--a living was the first
thing, so after a good drilling in the three R's, Thomas Huxley was
apprenticed to a pharmacist who paid him six shillings a week, a sum
that the boy conscientiously gave to his mother.

Oh, if in our schoolteaching we could only teach this one thing: a great
thirst for knowledge! But this desire we can not impart: it is trial,
difficulty, obstacle, deprivation and persecution that make souls hunger
and thirst after knowledge. Young Huxley wanted to know. His
thoroughness in the drugstore won the admiration of the doctors whose
prescriptions he compounded, and several of them loaned him books and
took him to clinics; and at seventeen we find him with a Free
Scholarship in Charing Cross Hospital, serving as nurse and assistant
surgeon. Then came the appointment as assistant surgeon in the Navy, and
the appointment to "H.M.S. Rattlesnake," bound on a four-year trip to
the Antipodes, all quite as a matter of course.

Life is a sequence: this happened today because you did that yesterday.
Tomorrow will be the result of today.

The general idea of evolution was strong in the mind of young Huxley. He
realized that Nature was moving, growing, changing all things. He had
studied embryology, and had seen how the body of a man begins as a
single minute mass of protoplasm, without organs or dimensions.

Behind the ship was his dragnet, and he worked almost constantly
recording the different specimens of animal and vegetable life that he
thus secured. The jellyfish attracted him most.

To the ship's naturalist, jellyfish were jellyfish, but Huxley saw that
there were many kinds, distinct, separate, peculiar. He began to dissect
them and thus began his book on jellyfish, just as Darwin wrote his work
on barnacles.

Huxley vowed to himself that before the "Rattlesnake" got back to
England he would know more about jellyfish than any other living man.
That his ambition was realized no one now disputes.

Among his first discoveries, it came to him with a thrill that a certain
species of jellyfish bears a very close resemblance to the human embryo
at a certain stage.

And he remembered the dictum of Goethe, that the growth of the
individual mirrors the growth of the race. And he paraphrased it thus:
"The growth of the individual mirrors the growth of the species." So
filled was he with the thought that he could not sleep, so he got up and
paced the deck and tried to explain his great thought to the second
mate. He was getting ready for "The Origin of Species," which he once
said to Darwin he would himself have written, if Darwin had been a
little more of a gentleman and had held off for a few years.

It was on board the "Rattlesnake" that Huxley wrote this great truth:
"Nature has no designs or intentions. All that live exist only because
they have adapted themselves to the hard lines that Nature has laid
down. We progress as we comply."

       *       *       *       *       *

In Australia, while waiting for his ship to locate and map a dangerous
reef, Huxley went ashore, and as he playfully expressed it, "ran upon

The name of the most excellent young woman who was to become his wife
was Henrietta Heathorn; and Julian Hawthorne has discovered that she
belongs to the same good stock from whence came our Nathaniel of Salem.

It did not take the young naturalist and this stranded waif, seven
thousand miles from home, long to see that they had much in common. Both
were eager for truth, both had the ability to cut the introduction and
reach live issues directly. "I saw you were a woman with whom only
honesty would answer," he wrote her thirty years after. He was still in
love with her.

Yet she was a proud soul, and no assistant surgeon on an insignificant
sloop would answer her--when he got his surgeon's commission she would
marry him. And it was seven years before she journeyed to England alone
with that delightful object in view. He had to serve for her as Jacob
did for Rachel, with this difference: Jacob loved several, but Thomas
Huxley loved but one.

Huxley's wife was his companion, confidante, comrade, friend. I can not
recall another so blest, in all the annals of thinking men, save John
Stuart Mill. "I tell her everything I know, or guess, or imagine, so as
to get it straight in my own mind," he said to John Fiske.

In that most interesting work, "Life and Lessons of Huxley," compiled by
his son Leonard, are constant references and allusions to this most
ideal mating. In reply to the question, Is marriage a failure? I would
say, "No, provided the man marries a woman like Huxley's wife, and the
woman marries a man like Huxley."

       *       *       *       *       *

There is a classic aphorism which runs about this way, "Knock and the
world knocks with you; boost and you boost alone." Like most popular
sayings this is truth turned wrong side out.

John Fiske once called Thomas Huxley an "appreciative iconoclast." That
is to say, Huxley was a persistent protester (which is different from a
protestant), and at the same time, he was a friend who never faltered
and grew faint in time of trouble. Huxley always sniffed the battle from
afar and said, Ha! Ha!

There be those who do declare that the success of Huxley was owing to
his taking the tide at the flood, and riding into high favor on the
Darwinian wave. To say that there would have been no Huxley had there
been no Darwin would be one of those unkind cuts the cruelty of which
lies in its truth.

It is equally true that if there had been no Lincoln there would have
been no Grant; but Grant was a very great man just the same--so why
raise the issue!

Darwin summed up and made nebulæ of the truths which Huxley had, up to
that time, held only in gaseous form.

Darwin was born in the immortal year Eighteen Hundred Nine. Huxley was
born in Eighteen Hundred Twenty-five. When "The Origin of Species" was
published in Eighteen Hundred Fifty-nine, Thomas Huxley was thirty-four
years old. He had made his four years' trip around the world on the
surveying-ship "Rattlesnake," just as Darwin had made his eventful
voyage on the "Beagle."

These men in many ways had paralleled each other; but Darwin had sixteen
years the start, and during these years he had steadily and silently
worked to prove the great truth that he had sensed intuitively years
before in the South Seas.

"The Origin of Species" sheds light in ten thousand ways on the fact
that all life has evolved from very lowly forms and is still ascending:
that species were not created by fiat, but that every species was the
sure and necessary result of certain conditions.

Until "The Origin of Species" was published, and for some years
afterward, the Immutability of Species was taught in all colleges, and
everywhere accepted by the so-called learned men.

Goethe had somewhat dimly prophesied the discovery of the Law of
Evolution, but his ideas on natural science were regarded by the schools
as quite on a par with those of Dante: neither was taken seriously.

Darwin proved his hypothesis. Doubtless, very many schoolmen would have
accepted the theory, but to admit that man was not created outright,
complete, and in his present form, or superior to it, seemed to evolve a
contradiction of the Mosaic account of Creation, and the breaking up of
Christianity. And these things done, many thought, would entail moral
chaos, destruction of private interests and moral confusion being one
and the same thing to those whose interests are involved. And so for
conscience' sake, Darwin was bitterly assailed and opposed.

Opportunity, which knocks many times at each man's door, rapped hard at
Huxley's door in Eighteen Hundred Sixty. It was at Oxford, at a meeting
of the British Association for the Advancement of Science: "A big
society with a slightly ironical name," once said Huxley. The audience
was large and fashionable, delegates being present from all parts of the
British Empire.

"The Origin of Species" had been published the year before, and tongues
were wagging. Darwin was not present; but Huxley, who was known to be a
personal friend of Darwin, was in his seat. The intent of the chairman
was to keep Darwin and his pestiferous book out of all the discussions:
Darwin was a good man to smother with silence.

But Samuel Wilberforce, Bishop of Oxford, in the course of a speech on
another subject began to run short of material, and so switched off upon
a theme which he had already exploited from the pulpit with marked
effect. All public speakers carry this boiler-plate matter for use in
time of stress.

The Bishop began to denounce "those enemies of the Church and Society
who make covert attacks upon the Bible in the name of Science." He
warmed to his theme, and by a specious series of misstatements and
various appeals to the prejudices of his audience worked the assemblage
up to a high pitch of hilarity and enthusiasm. Toward the close of his
speech he happened to spy Huxley seated near, and pointing a pudgy
finger at him, "begged to be informed if the learned gentleman was
really willing to be regarded as a descendant of a monkey?"

As the Bishop sat down, there was a wild burst of applause and much
laughter, but amid the din were calls, "Huxley! Huxley!" These shouts
increased as it came over the people that while the Bishop had made a
great speech, he had gone a trifle too far in ridiculing a member who up
to this time had been silent. The good English spirit of fair play was
at work. Still Huxley sat silent. Then the enemy, thinking he was
completely vanquished, took up the cry with intent to add to his
discomfiture: "Huxley! Huxley!"

Slowly Huxley arose. He stood still until the last buzzing whisper had
died away. When he spoke it was in so low a tone that people leaned
forward to catch his words.

Huxley knew his business: his slowness to speak created an atmosphere.
There was no jest in his voice or manner. The air grew tense.

His quiet reserve played itself off against the florid exuberance of the
Bishop. The Bishop was not a man given to exact statements: his
knowledge of science was general, not specific.

Huxley demolished his card house point by point, correcting the gross
misstatements, and ending by saying that since a question of personal
preferences had been brought into the discussion of a great scientific
theme, he would confess that if the alternatives were a descent on the
one hand from a respectable monkey, or on the other from a Bishop of the
Church of England who could stoop to misrepresentation and sophistry and
who had attempted in that presence to throw discredit upon a man who had
given his life to the cause of science, then if forced to decide he
would declare in favor of the monkey.

When Huxley took his seat, there was a silence that could be felt.
Several ladies fainted. There were fears that the Bishop would reply,
and to keep down such a possible unpleasant move the audience now
applauded Huxley roundly, and amid the din the chairman declared the
meeting adjourned.

From that time forward Huxley was famous throughout England as a man to
let alone in public debate.

       *       *       *       *       *

It is a fine thing to be a great scientist, but it is a yet finer thing
to be a great man. The one element in Huxley's life that makes his
character stand out clear, sharp and well defined was his steadfast
devotion to truth. The only thing he feared was self-deception. When he
uttered his classic cry in defense of Darwin, there was no ulterior
motive in it; no thought that he was attaching himself to a popular
success; no idea that he was linking his name with greatness.

What he felt was true, he uttered; and the strongest desire of his soul
was that he might never compromise with the error for the sake of mental
ease, or accept a belief simply because it was pleasant.

Huxley once wrote this terse sentence of Gladstone: "It is to me a
serious thing that the destinies of this great country should at present
be to a great extent in the hands of a man who, whatever he may be in
the affairs of which I am no judge, is nothing but a copious shuffler in
those that I do understand." Gladstone crossed swords with Huxley,
Spencer and Robert Ingersoll, and in each case his blundering intellect
looked like a raft of logs compared with a steamboat that responds to
the helm. Gladstone was a man of action, and silence to such is most

He had a belief, that was enough; he should have hugged it close, and
never stood up to explain it. Let us vary a simile just used: Lincoln
once referred to an opponent as being "like a certain steamboat that
ran on the Sangamon. This boat had so big a whistle that when she blew
it, there wasn't steam enough to make her run, and when she ran she
couldn't whistle."

Huxley, Spencer and Robert Ingersoll, all made Gladstone cut for the
woods and cover his retreat in a cloud of words. Ingersoll once said
that in replying to Gladstone he felt like a man who had been guilty of
cruelty to children.

If one wants to see how pitifully weak Gladstone could be in an
argument, let him refer to the "North American Review" for Eighteen
Hundred Eighty-two.

Yet Ingersoll was surely lacking in the passion for truth that
characterized Huxley. Ingersoll was always a prosecutor or a defender:
the lawyer habit was strong upon him. Just a little more bias in his
clay and he would have made a model bishop.

His stock of science was almost as meager as was that of Samuel
Wilberforce, and he seldom hesitated to turn the laugh on an adversary,
even at the expense of truth. When brought to book for his indictment of
Moses without giving that great man any credit for the sublime things he
did do, or making allowances for the barbaric horde with which he had to
deal, Bob evaded the proposition by saying, "I am not the attorney of
Moses: he has more than three million men looking after his case."

Again, in that most charming lecture on Shakespeare, Ingersoll proves
that Bacon did not write the plays, by picking out various detached
passages of Bacon, which no one for a moment ever claimed revealed the
genius of the man.

With equal plausibility we could prove that the author of Hamlet was a
weakling, by selecting all the obscure and stupid passages, and parading
these with the unexplained fact that the play opens with the spirit of a
dead man coming back to earth, and a little later in the same play
Shakespeare has the man who interviewed the ghost tell of "that bourne
from whence no traveler returns." Even Shakespeare was not a genius all
the time. And Ingersoll, the searcher for truth, borrowed from his
friends, the priests, the cheerful habit of secreting the particular
thing that would not help the cause in hand. But one of the best things
in Ingersoll's character was that he realized his lapses and in private
acknowledged them.

On reading the smooth, florid and plausible sophistry of Wilberforce,
Ingersoll once said: "Be easy on Soapy Sam! A few years ago, a little
shifting of base on the part of my ancestors, and I would probably have
had Soapy Sam's job."

This resemblance of opposites makes a person think of that remark
applied to Voltaire. "He was the father of all those who wear

       *       *       *       *       *

When Thomas Huxley and his wife arrived in New York in Eighteen Hundred
Seventy-six, on a visit to the Centennial Exhibition, this interesting
item was flashed over the country, "Huxley and his titled bride have
arrived in New York on their wedding-journey."

This item caused Mr. and Mrs. Huxley--both of them royal democrats--more
joy than did the most complimentary interview. At home they had left a
charming little brood of seven children, three of them nearly grown-ups.

Huxley sent Tyndall, who a few months before had married a daughter of
Lord Hamilton, the clipping and this note: "You see how that once I am
in a democratic country I am pulling all the honors I can in my own
direction." The next letter the Huxleys received from Tyndall was
addressed, "Sir Thomas and Lady Huxley." Huxley never stood in much awe
of the nobility; he evidently felt that there was another kind of which
he himself in degree was heir. Huxley never had a better friend than Sir
Joseph Hooker, and we see in his letters such postscripts as this:

"Dear Sir Joseph: Do come and dine with us; it is a month since we have
seen your homely old phiz." And Sir Joseph replies that he will be on
hand the next Sunday evening and offers this mild suggestion,
"Scientific gents as has countenances as curdles milk should not cast
aspersions on men made in image of Maker."

       *       *       *       *       *

The wordy duel between Huxley and Gladstone prompted Toole, the great
comedian, to send a box of grease-paints to Huxley with a note saying,
"These are for you and Gladstone to use when you make up." It was a joke
so subtle and choice that the Huxleys, always dear friends of Toole,
laughed for a week.

Poor Gladstone required a diagram when he heard of the procedure; and
then, not being trepanned for the pleasantry, remarked that if Toole and
Huxley collaborated on the stage, it would be eminently the proper
thing, and in his mind there was little choice between them, both being
fine actors.

Later, we hear of Huxley saying he thought of sending the box of
grease-paints to Gladstone, so the Premier could use them in making up
with God; as for himself, he was like Thoreau and had never quarreled
with Him.

Huxley had many friendships with people seemingly outside of his own
particular line of work. Henry Irving, the Reverend Doctor Parker, John
Fiske and Hall Caine once met at one of Huxley's "Tall Teas," and Doctor
Parker explained that he personally had no objection to visiting with

For Parker, Huxley had a great admiration and often attended the
Thursday noon meeting at the Temple, "to see and hear the greatest actor
in England," a compliment which Parker much appreciated, otherwise he
would not have repeated it. "If I ever take to the stage, I will play
the part of Jacques or Touchstone," said Huxley.

John Fiske in his delightful essay on Huxley said that in the Huxley
home there was more jest, joke and banter than in any other place in
London. The air was surcharged with mirth, and puns, often very bad
ones, were tossed back and forth with great recklessness.

At one time John Fiske was at the Huxleys and the dual or multiple
nature of man came up for discussion. Huxley spoke of how very often men
who were gentle and charming in their homes were capable of great
crimes, and of how, on the other hand, a man might pass in the world as
a philanthropist, and yet in his household be a veritable autocrat and

Fiske then incidentally mentioned the case of Doctors Parker and Webster
of Harvard--men of intellect and worth. These men brooded over a
misunderstanding that grew into a grudge and eventually hatched murder.
One worthy professor killed the other, cut up the body, and tried to
burn it in a chemist's retort. Only the great difficulty of reducing the
human body to ashes caused the murder to out, and brought about the
hanging of a scientist of note.

"Yes, I have thought of the difficulty of disposing of a dead body,"
said Huxley, solemnly; "and often when on the point of committing murder
this was the only thing that made me hesitate!"

"Oh, Pater, we are ashamed of you," said his three lovely daughters in
concert. Huxley's ability to joke and his appreciation of the ludicrous
marked him, in the mind of John Fiske, as the greatest thinker of his
time. The humorist knows values, and that is why he laughs. Sensibility
is, in fact, the basic element of wit.

       *       *       *       *       *

Huxley's duties on the "Rattlesnake" were not in the line of science.
His rank was assistant surgeon; but as sure-enough surgeons were only
sent out on bigger craft, he was this ship's doctor.

With the captain's help the men were kept busy, but not too busy, and
the food and regulations were such that about all Huxley had to do was
to look upon his work and pronounce it good.

As a physician, Huxley practised throughout his life the science of

"With a prophetic vision, quite unconscious, my parents named me after
that particular apostle I was to admire most," once said Huxley. He was
a doubter by instinct, and approached the world of Nature as if nothing
were known about it.

His work on the Medusa won him the recognition of the British Society,
and this secured him the coveted surgeon's commission. Two tragedies
confront man on his journey through life--one when he wants a thing and
can not get it; the other when he gets the thing and finds he does not
want it.

Having secured his surgeon's commission, Huxley felt a strong repulsion
toward devoting his life to the abnormal.

"I am a scientist by nature, and my business is to teach," he wrote to
his affianced wife. These were wise words which he had learned from her,
but which he repeated, seemingly quite innocent of their source. We
take our own wherever we find it.

Miss Heathorn admired a surgeon, but loved a scientist, and Huxley being
a man was making a heroic struggle to be what the young woman most
wished. Love supplies an ideal--and that is the very best thing love
does, with possibly an exception or two. So behold a ship's surgeon in
London, full-fledged, refusing offers of position, and even declining to
take a choice of ships, for such is the perversity of things animate and
inanimate that, when we do not want things, Fate brings them to us on
silver platters and begs us to accept. We win by indifference as much as
by desire.

"I have declined to ship on board the 'Cormorant' as head surgeon, and
have applied to the University of Toronto for a position as Professor of
Natural History."

And so America had Huxley flung at her head. Toronto considered, and the
Canadians sat on the case, and after considerable correspondence, the
vacant chair was given to Professor Baldini of the Whitby Ladies
College. It was a close call for Canada! Huxley had imagined that the
New World offered special advantages to a rising young person of
scientific bent, but now he secured a marriage-license and settled down
as lecturer at the School of Mines. A little later he began to teach at
the Royal College of Surgeons, with which institution he was to be
connected the rest of his life, and fill almost any chair that happened
to be vacant.

From the time he was twenty-seven Huxley never had to look for work. He
was known as a writer of worth, and as a lecturer his services were in

He became President of the Geological and Ethnological Society; was
appointed Royal Commissioner for the Advancement of Science; was a
member of the London School Board; Secretary of the Royal Society; Lord
Rector of the University of Aberdeen; President of the Royal Society;
and refused an offer to become Custodian of the British Museum, a life
position, and where he had once applied for a clerkship.

In letters to Darwin he occasionally signed his name with all titles
added, thus, "Thomas Henry Huxley, M.B., M.D., Ph.D., LL.D., F.R.S. of
Her Majesty's Navy."

Huxley was a forceful and epigrammatic writer, and had a command of
English second to no scientist that England has ever produced. He was
the only one of his group who had a distinct literary style. As a
speaker he was quiet, deliberate, decisive, sure; and he carried enough
reserve caloric so that he made his presence felt in any assemblage
before he said a word. In oratory it is personality that gives ballast.

Of his forty or so published books, "Man's Place in Nature," "Elementary
Physiology" and "Classification of Animals" have been translated into
many languages, and now serve as textbooks in various schools and

Huxley is the founder of the so-called Agnostic School, which has the
peculiarity of not being a school. The word "agnostic" was given its
vogue by Huxley. To superficial people it was quite often used
synonymously with "infidel" and "freethinker," both words of reproach.
To Huxley it meant simply one who did not know, but wished to learn.

The controlling impulse of Huxley's life was his absolute honesty. To
pretend to believe a thing against which one's reason revolts, in order
to better one's place in society, was to him the sum of all that was
intellectually base.

He regarded man as an undeveloped creature, and for this creature to lay
the flattering unction to his soul that he was in special communication
with the Infinite, and in possession of the secrets of the Creator, was
something that in itself proved that man was as yet in the barbaric

Said Huxley: "As to the final truths of Creation and Destiny, I am an
agnostic. I do not know, hence I neither affirm nor deny."

       *       *       *       *       *

Humor and commonsense usually go together. Huxley had a goodly stock of
both. When George Eliot died, there was a very earnest but ill-directed
effort made to have her body buried in Westminster Abbey. Huxley, being
close to the Dean, serving with him on several municipal boards, was
importuned by Spencer to use his influence toward the desired end.
Huxley saw the incongruity of the situation, and in a letter that
reveals the logical mind and the direct, literary, Huxley quality, he
placed his gentle veto on the proposition and thus saved the "enemy" the
mortification of having to do so.

Darwin is buried in Westminster Abbey, but this was not to be the final
resting-place of the dust of Mill, Tyndall, Spencer, George Eliot or
Huxley. These had all stood in the fore of the fight against
superstition and had both given and received blows.

The Pantheon of such battle-scarred heroes was to be the hearts of those
who prize above all that earth can bestow the benison of the God within.
"Above all else, let me preserve my integrity of intellect," said
Huxley. Here is Huxley's letter to Spencer:

     4 Marlborough Place, Dec. 27, 1880

     My Dear Spencer: Your telegram which reached me on Friday evening
     caused me great perplexity, inasmuch as I had just been talking to
     Morley, and agreeing with him that the proposal for a funeral in
     Westminster Abbey had a very questionable look to us, who desired
     nothing so much as that peace and honor should attend George Eliot
     to her grave.

     It can hardly be doubted that the proposal will be bitterly
     opposed, possibly (as happened in Mill's case with less
     provocation) with the raking up of past histories, about which the
     opinion even of those who have least the desire or the right to be
     pharisaical is strongly divided, and which had better be forgotten.

     With respect to putting pressure on the Dean of Westminster, I have
     to consider that he has some confidence in me, and before asking
     him to do something for which he is pretty sure to be violently
     assailed, I have to ask myself whether I really think it a right
     thing for a man in his position to do.

     Now I can not say I do. However much I may lament the circumstance,
     Westminster Abbey is a Christian Church and not a Pantheon, and the
     Dean thereof is officially a Christian priest, and we ask him to
     bestow exceptional Christian honors by this burial in the Abbey.
     George Eliot is known not only as a great writer, but as a person
     whose life and opinions were in notorious antagonism to Christian
     practise in regard to marriage, and Christian theory in regard to
     dogma. How am I to tell the Dean that I think he ought to read over
     the body of a person who did not repent of what the Church
     considers mortal sin, a service not one solitary proposition of
     which she would have accepted for truth while she was alive? How am
     I to urge him to do that which, if I were in his place, I should
     most emphatically refuse to do? You tell me that Mrs. Cross wished
     for the funeral in the Abbey. While I desire to entertain the
     greatest respect for her wishes, I am very sorry to hear it. I do
     not understand the feeling which could create such a desire on any
     personal grounds, save those of affection, and the natural yearning
     to be near, even in death, those whom we have loved. And on public
     grounds the wish is still less intelligible to me. One can not eat
     one's cake and have it too. Those who elect to be free in thought
     and deed must not hanker after the rewards, if they are to be so
     called, which the world offers to those who put up with its

     Thus, however I look at the proposal, it seems to me to be a
     profound mistake, and I can have nothing to do with it. I shall be
     deeply grieved if this resolution is ascribed to any other motives
     than those which I have set forth at greater length than I
                             Ever yours very faithfully,
                                                 T. H. HUXLEY

[Illustration: JOHN TYNDALL]


     In my little book on Faraday, published in Eighteen Hundred
     Sixty-eight, I have stated that he had but to will it to raise his
     income, in Eighteen Hundred Thirty-two, to five thousand pounds a
     year. In Eighteen Hundred Thirty-six, the sum might have been
     doubled. Yet this son of a blacksmith, this journeyman book-binder,
     with his proud, sensitive soul, rejecting the splendid
     opportunities open to him--refusing even to think them splendid in
     presence of higher aims--cheerfully accepted from the Trinity House
     a pittance of two hundred pounds a year.

     --_John Tyndall_


Tyndall was of high descent and lowly birth. His father was a
member of the Irish Constabulary, and there were intervals when the
boy's mother took in washing. But back of this the constable swore i'
faith, when the ale was right, that he was descended from an Irish King,
and probably this is true, for most Irishmen are, and acknowledge it

The father of our Tyndall spelled his name Tyndale, and traced a direct
relationship to William Tyndale, who declared he would place a copy of
the English Bible in the hands of every plowboy in the British Isles,
and pretty nearly made good his vow. William Tyndale paid for his
privileges, however. He was arrested, given an opportunity to run away,
but wouldn't; then he was exiled. Finally he was incarcerated in a
dungeon of the Castle Vilvoorden.

His cell was beneath the level of the ground, so was cold and damp and
dark. He petitioned the governor of the prison for a coat to keep him
warm and a candle by which he could read. "We'll give you both light and
heat, pretty soon," was the reply.

And they did. They led Tyndale out under the blue sky and tied him to a
stake set in the ground. Around his feet they piled brush, and also all
of his books and papers that they could find.

A chain was put around his neck and hooked tight to the post. Then the
fagots were piled high, and the fire was lighted.

"He was not burned to death," argued one of the priests who was present;
"he was not burned to death. He just drew up his feet and hanged himself
in the chain, and so was choked: he was that stubborn!" The father of
John Tyndall was an Orangeman and had in a glass case a bit of the flag
carried at the Battle of the Boyne.

It is believed, with reason, that the original flag had in it about ten
thousand square yards of material. Tyndale the Orangeman was of so
uncompromising a type that he occasionally arrested Catholics on general
principles, like the Irishman who beat the Jew under the mistaken idea
that he had something to do with crucifying "Our Savior." "But that was
two thousand years ago," protested the Jew. "Niver moind; I just heard
av it--take that and that!"

Zeal not wisely directed is a true Irish trait. It will not do to say
that the Irish have a monopoly on stupidity, yet there have been times
when I thought they nearly cornered the market. I once had charge of a
gang of green Irishmen at a lumber-camp.

I started a night-school for their benefit, as their schooling had
stopped at subtraction. One evening they got it into their heads that I
was an atheist. Things began to come my way. I concluded discretion was
the better part of valor, and so took to the woods, literally. They
followed me for a mile, and then gave up the chase. On the way home they
met a man who spoke ill of me, and they fell upon him and nearly pounded
his life out.

I never had to lick any of my gang: they looked after this themselves.
On pay-nights they all got drunk and fell upon each other--broken noses
and black eyes were quite popular. Father Driscoll used to come around
nearly every month and have them all sign the pledge.

That story about the Irishman who ate the rind of the watermelon "and
threw the inside away," is true. That is just what the Irish do. Very
often they are not able to distinguish good from bad, kindness from
wrong, love from hate. Ireland has all the freedom she can use or
deserves, just as we all have. What would Ireland do with freedom if she
had it? Hate for England keeps peace at home. Home rule would mean home
rough-house--and a most beautiful argument it would be, enforced with
shillalah logic. The spirit of Donnybrook Fair is there today as much as
ever, and wherever you see a head, hit it, would be home rule.
Donnybrook is a condition of mind.

If England really had a grudge against Ireland and wanted to get even,
she could not do better than to set her adrift.

But then the Irish impulsiveness sometimes leads to good, else how could
we account for such men as O'Connor, Parnell, John Tyndall, Burke,
Goldsmith, Sheridan, Arthur Wellesley and all the other Irish poets,
orators and thinkers who have made us vibrate with our kind?

Transplanted weeds produce our finest flowers.

The parents of Tyndall were intent on giving their boy an education. And
to them, the act of committing things to memory was education. William
Tyndale gave the Bible to the people; John Tyndall would force it upon
them. The "Book of Martyrs," the sermons of Jeremy Taylor, and the
Bible, little John came to know by heart. And he grew to have a fine
distaste for all. Once, when nearly a man grown, he had the temerity to
argue with his father that the Bible might be better appreciated, if a
penalty were not placed upon disbelief in its divine origin. A cuff on
the ear was the answer, and John was given until sundown to apologize.
He did not apologize.

And young Tyndale then vowed he would change his name to Tyndall and
forever separate himself from a person whose religion was so largely
mixed with brutality. But yet John Tyndale was not a bad man. He had
intellect far above the average of his neighbors. He had the courage of
his convictions. His son had the courage of his lack of convictions.

And the early drilling in the Bible was a good thing for young Tyndall.
Bible legend and allusion color the English language, and any man who
does not know his Bible well, can never hope to speak or write English
with grace and fluency. Tyndall always knew and acknowledged his
indebtedness to his parents, and he also knew that his salvation
depended upon getting away from and beyond the narrow confines of their
beliefs and habits. Because a thing helps you in a certain period of
your education is no reason why you should feed upon it forevermore.

This way lies arrested development.

Life, like heat, is a mode of motion, and progress consists in
discarding a good thing as soon as you have found a better.

       *       *       *       *       *

Occasionally Herbert Spencer used to spend a Sunday afternoon with the
Carlyles at their modest home in Chelsea. At such times Jeannie Welsh
would usually manage to pilot the conversational craft along smooth
waters; but if she were not present, hot arguments would follow, and
finally a point would be reached where Carlyle and Spencer would simply
sit and glare at each other.

"After such scenes I always thought less of two persons, Carlyle and
myself," said Spencer; "and so for many years I very cautiously avoided
Cheyne Row." Then there was another man Spencer avoided, although for a
different reason; this individual was John Tyndall.

On the death of Tyndall, Spencer wrote:

"There has just died the greatest teacher of modern times: a man who
stimulated thought in old and young, every one he met, as no one else I
ever knew did. Once we went together for a much-needed rest to the Lake
District. Gossip, which has its advantages in that it can be carried on
with no tax on one's intellectual powers, had no part in our
conversation. The discussion of great themes began at once wherever
Tyndall was.

"The atmosphere of the man was intensely stimulating: everybody seemed
to become great and wise and good in his presence.

"We walked on the shores of Windermere, climbed Rydal Mount, rowed
across Lake Grasmere (leaving our names on the visitors' list), and all
the time we dwelt upon high Olympus and talked.

"But, alas! Tyndall's vivacity undid me: two days of his company, with
two sleepless nights, and I fled him as I would a pestilence."

But Carlyle growled out one thing in Spencer's presence which Spencer
often quoted. "If I had my own way," said Carlyle, "I would send the
sons of poor men to college, and the sons of rich men I would set to

Manual labor in right proportion means mental development. Too much hoe
may slant the brow, but hoe in proper proportion develops the

In the past we have had one set of men do all the work, and another set
had all the culture: one hoes and another thirsts. There are whole areas
of brain-cells which are evolved only through the efforts of hand and
eye, for it is the mind at last that directs all our energies. The
development of brain and body go together--manual work is brain-work.
Too much brain-work is just as bad as too much toil; the misuse of the
pen carries just as severe a penalty as the misuse of the hoe. And it is
a great satisfaction to realize that the thinking world has reached a
point where these propositions do not have to be proven.

There was a time when Spencer regretted that he had not been sent to
college, instead of being set to work. But later he came to regard his
experience as a practical engineer and surveyor as a very precious and
necessary part of his education.

John Tyndall and Alfred Russel Wallace had an experience almost
identical. In childhood John attended the village school for six months
of the year, and the rest of the time helped his parents, as children of
poor people do. When nineteen he went to work carrying a chain in a
surveying corps. Steady attention to the business in hand brought its
sure reward, and in a few years he had charge of the squad, and was
given the duty of making maps and working out complex calculations in

In mathematics he especially excelled. Five years in the employ of the
Irish Ordnance Survey and three years in practical railroad-building,
and Tyndall got the Socialistic bee in his bonnet. He resigned a good
position to take part in bringing about the millennium.

That he helped the old world along toward the ideal there is no doubt;
but Tyndall is dead and Jerusalem is not yet. When the rule of the
barons was broken, and the stage of individualism or competition was
ushered in, men said, "Lo! The time is at hand and now is." But it was
not. Socialism is coming, by slow degrees, imperceptibly almost as the
growing of Spring flowers that push their way from the damp, dark earth
into the sunlight. And after Socialism, what? Perhaps the millennium
will still be a long way off.

In Eighteen Hundred Forty-seven, when Tyndall was twenty-seven years
old, Robert Owen, one of the greatest practical men the world has ever
seen, cried aloud, "The time is at hand!"

Owen was an enthusiast: all great men are. He had risen from the ranks
by the absolute force of his great untiring, restless and loving spirit.
From a day laborer in a cotton-mill he had become principal owner of a
plant that supported five thousand people.

Owen saw the difference between joyless labor and joyful work. His mills
were cleanly, orderly, sanitary, and surrounded with lawns, trees and
shrubbery. He was the first man in England to establish kindergartens,
and this he did at his own expense for the benefit of his helpers. He
established libraries, clubs, swimming-pools, night-schools,
lecture-courses. And all this time his business prospered.

To the average man it is a miracle how any one individual could bear the
heaviest business burdens and still do what Robert Owen did.

Robert Owen had vitality plus: he was a gourmet for work. William Morris
was just such a man, only with a bias for art; but both Owen and Morris
had the intensity and impetus which get the thing done while common
folks are thinking about it.

Owen was familiar with every detail of his vast business, and he was an
expert in finance. Like Napoleon he said: "The finances? I will arrange

Robert Owen erected schoolhouses, laid out gardens, built mills,
constructed tenements, traveled, lectured, and wrote books. His
enthusiasm was contagious. He was never sick--he could not spare the
time--and a doctor once said, "If Robert Owen ever dies, it will be
through too much Robert Owen."

Owen went over to Dublin on one of his tours, and lectured on the ideal
life, which to him was Socialism, "each for all and all for each."

Fourier, the dreamer, supplied a good deal of the argument, but Robert
Owen did the thing. Socialism always catches these two classes, doers
and dreamers, workers and drones, honest men and rogues, those with a
desire to give and those with a lust to get.

Among others who heard Owen speak at Dublin was the young Irish
engineer, John Tyndall. Tyndall was the type of man that must be common
before we can have Socialism. There was not a lazy hair in his head;
aye, nor a selfish one, either. He had a tender heart, a receptive brain
and the spirit of obedience, the spirit that gives all without counting
the cost, the spirit that harkens to the God within. And need I say that
the person who gives all, gets all! The economics of God are very
simple: We receive only that which we give. The only love we keep is the
love we give away.

These are very old truths--I did not discover nor invent them--they are
not covered by copyright: "Cast thy bread upon the waters."

John Tyndall was melted by Owen's passionate appeal of each for all and
all for each. To live for humanity seemed the one desirable thing. His
loving Irish heart was melted. He sought Owen out at his hotel, and they
talked, talked till three o'clock in the morning.

Owen was a judge of men; his success depended upon this one thing, as
that of every successful business must. He saw that Tyndall was a rare
soul and nearly fulfilled his definition of a gentleman. Tyndall had
hope, faith and splendid courage; but best of all, he had that hunger
for truth which classes him forever among the sacred few.

During his work out of doors on surveying trips he had studied the
strata; gotten on good terms with birds, bugs and bees; he knew the
flowers and weeds, and loved all the animate things of Nature, so that
he recognized their kinship to himself, and he hesitated to kill or

Education is a matter of desire, and a man like Tyndall is getting an
education wherever he is. All is grist that comes to his mill.

Robert Owen had but recently started "Queenswood College" in Hampshire,
and nothing would do but Tyndall should go there as a teacher of

"Is he a skilled and educated teacher?" some one asked Owen. "Better
than that," replied Owen; "he is a regular firebrand of enthusiasm."

And so Tyndall resigned his position with the railroad and moved over to
England, taking up his home at "Harmony Hall."

Harmony Hall was a beautiful brick building with the letters C. M.
carved on the cornerstone in recognition of the Commencement of the
Millennium. The pupils were mostly workers in the Owen mills who had
shown some special aptitude for education. The pupils and teachers all
worked at manual labor a certain number of hours daily. There was a
delightful feeling of comradeship about the institution. Tyndall was
happy in his work.

He gave lectures on everything, and taught the things that no one else
could teach, and of course he got more out of the lessons than any of
the scholars.

But after a few months' experience with the ideal life, Tyndall had
commonsense enough to see that Harmony Hall, instead of being the
spontaneous expression of the people who shared its blessings, was
really a charity maintained by one Robert Owen. It was a beneficent
autocracy, a sample of one-man power, beautifully expressed.

Robert Owen planned it, built it, directed it and made good any
financial deficit. Instead of Socialism it was a kindly despotism. A few
of the scholars did their level best to help themselves and help the
place, but the rest didn't think and didn't care. They were passengers
who enjoyed the cushioned seats. A few, while partaking of the
privileges of the place, denounced it.

"You can not educate people who do not want to be educated," said
Tyndall. The value of an education lies in the struggle to get it. Do
too much for people, and they will do nothing for themselves.

Many of the students at Harmony Hall had been sent there by Owen,
because he, in the greatness of his heart and the blindness of his zeal,
thought they needed education. They may have needed it; but they did not
want it: ease was their aim.

The indifference and ingratitude Robert Owen met with did not discourage
him: it only gave him an occasional pause. He thought that the bad
example of English society was too close to his experiments: it vitiated
the atmosphere.

So he came over to America and founded the town of New Harmony, Indiana.
The fine solid buildings he erected in Posey County, then a wilderness,
are still there.

As for the most romantic and interesting history of New Harmony, Robert
Owen and his socialistic experiments, I must refer the gentle reader to
the Encyclopedia Britannica, a work I have found very useful in the
course of making my original researches.

After a year at Harmony Hall, Tyndall saw that he would have to get out
or else become a victim of arrested development, through too much
acceptance of a strong man's bounty. "You can not afford to accept
anything for nothing," he said. Life at Harmony Hall to him was very
much like life in a monastery, to which stricken men flee when the old
world seems too much for them. "When all the people live the ideal life,
I'll live it; but until then I'm only one of the great many strugglers."
Besides, he felt that in missing university training he had dropped
something out of his life. Now he would go to Germany and see for
himself what he had missed.

While railroading he had saved up nearly four hundred pounds. This money
he had offered at one time to invest in shares in the Owen mills. But
Robert Owen said, "Wait two years and then see how you feel!"

Robert Owen was not a financial exploiter. Tyndall may have differed
with him in a philosophic way; but they never ceased to honor and
respect each other.

And so John Tyndall bade the ideal life good-by, and went out into the
stress, strife and struggle, resolved to spend his two thousand dollars
in bettering his education, and then to start life anew.

       *       *       *       *       *

Robert Owen had been over to America and had met Emerson, and very
naturally caught it. When he returned home he gave young Tyndall a copy
of Emerson's first book, the "Essay on Nature," published anonymously.

Tyndall read and re-read the book, and read it aloud to others and spoke
of it as a "message from the gods."

He also read every word that Carlyle put in print. It was Carlyle who
introduced him to German philosophy and German literature, and fired him
with a desire to see for himself what Germany was doing.

Germany had still another mystic tie that drew him thitherward. It was
at Marburg, Germany, that his illustrious namesake had published his
translation of the Bible.

At Marburg there was a University, small, 't was true, but its
simplicity and the cheapness of living there were recommendations. So to
Marburg he went. Tyndall found lodgings in a little street called
"Heretics' Row." Possibly there be people who think that Tyndall's
taking a room in such a street was chance, too. Chance is natural law
not understood.

Marburg is a very lovely little town that clings amid a forest of trees
to the rocky hillside overlooking the River Lahn. Tyndall was very happy
at Marburg, and at times very miserable. The beauty of the place
appealed to him. He was a climber by nature, and the hills were a
continual temptation.

But the language was new; and before this his work had all been of a
practical kind. College seems small and trivial after you have been in
the actual world of affairs. But Tyndall did not give up. He rose every
morning at six, took his cold bath, dressed and ran up the hill half a
mile and back. He breakfasted with the family, that he might talk
German. Then he dived into differential calculus and philosophical
abstrusities. He was not sent to college: he went. And he made college
give up all it had. On the wall of his room, as a sort of ornamental
frieze in charcoal, he wrote this from Emerson: "High knowledge and
great strength are within the reach of every man who unflinchingly
enacts his best."

Down in the town was a bronze bust of a man who wrote for it the
following inscription: "This is the face of a man who has struggled

One might almost imagine that Hawthorne had received from Tyndall the
hint which evolved itself into that fine story, "The Great Stone Face."

The bust just mentioned, attracted John Tyndall for another reason:
Carlyle had written of the man it symboled: "Reader, to thee, thyself,
even now, he has one counsel to give, the secret of his whole poetic
alchemy. Think of living! Thy life, wert thou the pitifullest of all the
sons of earth, is no idle dream, but a solemn reality. It is thine own;
it is all thou hast with which to front eternity. Work, then, even as he
has done--like a star, unhasting and unresting."

       *       *       *       *       *

At Marburg, Tyndall was on good terms with the great Bunsen, and used to
act as his assistant in making practical chemical experiments before his

These amazing things done by chemists in public are seldom of much value
beyond giving a thrill to visitors who would otherwise drowse; it is
like humor in an oration: it opens up the mental pores.

Alexander Humboldt once attended a Bunsen lecture at Marburg and
complimented Tyndall by saying, "When I take up sleight-of-hand work,
consider yourself engaged as my first helper." Tyndall's way of standing
with his back to the audience, shutting off the view of Bunsen's hands
while he was getting ready to make an artificial peal of thunder, made
Humboldt laugh heartily.

Humboldt thought so well of the young man who spoke German with an Irish
accent, that he presented him with an inscribed copy of one of his
books. The volume was a most valuable one, for Humboldt published only
in deluxe, limited editions, and Tyndall was so overcome that all he
could say was, "I'll do as much for you some day." Not long after this,
through loaning money to a fellow student, Tyndall found himself sadly
in need of funds, and borrowed two pounds on the book from an 'Ebrew

That night, he dreamed that Humboldt found the volume in a secondhand
store. In the morning, Tyndall was waiting for the pawnbroker to open
his shop to get the book back ere the offense was discovered.

Heinrich Heine once inscribed a volume of his poems to a friend, and
afterward discovered the volume on the counter of a secondhand dealer.
He thereupon haggled with the bookman, bought the book and beneath his
first inscription wrote, "With the renewed regards of H. Heine." He then
sent the volume for the second time to his friend. 'T is possible that
Tyndall had heard of this.

In Eighteen Hundred Fifty, when Tyndall was thirty years of age, he
visited London, and of course went to the British Institution. There he
met Faraday for the first time and was welcomed by him.

The British Institution consists of a laboratory, a museum and a
lecture-hall, and its object is scientific research. It began in a very
simple way in one room and now occupies several buildings.

It was founded by Benjamin Thompson, an American, and so it was but
proper that its sister concern, the Smithsonian Institution, should have
been founded by an Englishman.

Sir Humphry Davy on being asked, "What is your greatest discovery?"
replied, "Michael Faraday." But this was a mere pleasantry, the truth
being that it was Michael Faraday who discovered Sir Humphry Davy.
Faraday was a bookbinder's apprentice, a fact that should interest all
good Roycrofters.

Evenings, when Sir Humphry Davy lectured at the British Institution,
the young bookbinder was there. After the lecture he would go home and
write out what he had heard, with a few ideas of his own added. For be
it known, taking notes at a lecture is a bad habit--good reporters carry
no notebooks.

After a year Faraday sent a bundle of his impressions and criticisms to
Sir Humphry Davy anonymously. Great men seldom read manuscript that is
sent to them unless it refers to themselves. At the next lecture, Sir
Humphry began by reading from Faraday's notes, and begged that if the
writer were present, he would make himself known at the close of the

From this was to ripen a love like that of father and son. Every man who
builds up such a work as did Sir Humphry Davy is appalled, when he finds
Time furrowing his face and whitening his hair, to think how few indeed
there are who can step in and carry his work on after he is gone.

The love of Davy for the young bookbinder was almost feverish: he
clutched at this bright, impressionable and intent young man who entered
so into the heart and soul of science; nothing would do but he must
become his assistant. "Give up all and follow me!" And Faraday did.

Something of the same feeling must have swept over Faraday after his
work of twenty-five years as director of the British Institution, when
John Tyndall appeared, tall, thin, bronzed, animated, quoting Bunsen
and Humboldt with an Irish accent.

And so in time Tyndall became assistant to Faraday, then lecturer in
natural history; and when Faraday died, Tyndall, by popular acclaim, was
made Fullerian Lecturer and took Faraday's place. This was to be his
life-work, and it so placed him before the world that all he said or did
had a wide significance and an extended influence.

       *       *       *       *       *

Tyndall was always a most intrepid mountain-climber. The Alps lured him
like the song of the Lorelei, and the wonder was that his body was not
left in some mountain crevasse, "the most beautiful and poetic of all
burials," he once said.

But for him this was not to be, for Fate is fond of irony. The only man
who ever braved the full dangers of the Grand Canyon of the Colorado was
killed by a suburban train in Chicago while on his wedding-tour. Most
bad men die in bed, tenderly cared for by trained nurses in white caps
and big aprons.

Tyndall climbed to the summit of the Matterhorn, ascended the so-called
inaccessible peak of the Weisshorn, scaled Mont Blanc three times, and
once was caught in an avalanche, riding toward death at the rate of a
mile a minute. Yet he passed away from an overdose, or a wrong dose, of
medicine given him through mistake, by the hands of the woman he loved

At one time Tyndall attempted to swim a mountain-torrent; the stream, as
if angry at his Irish assurance, tossed him against the rocks, brought
him back in fierce eddies, and again and again threw him against a solid
face of stone. When he was rescued he was a mass of bruises, but
fortunately no bones were broken. It was some days before he could get
out, and in his sorry plight, bandaged so his face was scarcely visible,
Spencer found him. "Herbert, do you believe in the actuality of
matter?" was John's first question.

Both Tyndall and Huxley made application to the University of Toronto
for positions as teachers of science; but Toronto looked askance, as all
pioneer people do, at men whose college careers have been mostly
confined to giving college absent treatment.

Herbert Spencer avowed again and again that Tyndall was the greatest
teacher he ever knew or heard of, inspiring the pupil to discover for
himself, to do, to become, rather than imparting prosy facts of doubtful
pith and moment. But Herbert Spencer, not being eligible to join a
university club himself, was possibly not competent to judge.

Anyway, England was not so finical as Canada, and so she gained what
Canada lost.

       *       *       *       *       *

Tyndall paid a visit to the United States in the year Eighteen Hundred
Seventy-two, and lectured in most of the principal cities, and at all
the great colleges. He was a most fascinating speaker, fluent, direct,
easy, and his whole discourse was well seasoned with humor.

Whenever he spoke, the auditorium was taxed to its utmost, and his
reception was very cordial, even in colleges that were considered
exceedingly orthodox.

Possibly, some good people who invited him to speak did not know it was
loaded; and so his earnest words in praise of Darwin and the doctrine of
evolution, occasionally came like unto a rumble of his own artificial
thunder. "I speak what I think is truth; but of course, when I express
ungracious facts I try to do so in what will be regarded as not a nasty
manner," said Tyndall, thus using that pet English word in a rather
pleasing way.

In his statement that the prayer of persistent effort is the only prayer
that is ever answered, he met with a direct challenge at Oberlin. This
gave rise to what, at the time, created quite a dust in the theological
road, and evolved "The Tyndall Prayer Test."

Tyndall proposed that one hundred clergymen be delegated to pray for the
patients in any certain ward of Bellevue Hospital. If, after a year's
trial, there was a marked decrease in mortality in that ward, as
compared with previous records, we might then conclude that prayer was
efficacious, otherwise not.

One good clergyman in Pittsburgh offered publicly to debate "Darwinism"
with Tyndall, but beyond a little scattered shrapnel of this sort, the
lecture-tour was a great success. It netted just thirteen thousand
dollars, the whole amount of which Tyndall generously donated as a fund
to be used for the advancement of natural science in America.

In Eighteen Hundred Eighty-five, this fund had increased to thirty-two
thousand dollars, and was divided into three equal parts and presented
to Columbia, Harvard and the University of Pennsylvania. The fund was
still further increased by others who followed Professor Tyndall's
example, and Columbia, from her share of the Tyndall fund, I am told now
supports two foreign scholarships for the benefit of students who show a
special aptitude in scientific research. Professor James of Harvard once
said: "The impetus to popular scientific study caused by Professor
Tyndall's lectures in the United States was most helpful and fortunate.
Speaking but for myself, I know I am a different man and a better man,
for having heard and known John Tyndall."

       *       *       *       *       *

When John Tyndall died, in the year Eighteen Hundred Ninety-three,
Spencer wrote:

"It never occurred to Tyndall to ask what it was politic to say, but
simply to ask what was true. The like has of late years been shown in
his utterances concerning political matters--shown, it may be, with too
great frankness. This extreme frankness was displayed also in private,
and sometimes, perhaps, too much displayed; but every one must have the
defects of his qualities. Where absolute sincerity exists, it is certain
now and then to cause an expression of a feeling or opinion not
adequately restrained.

"But the contrast in genuineness between him and the average citizen was
very conspicuous. In a community of Tyndalls (to make a rather wild
supposition), there would be none of that flabbiness characterizing
current thought and action--no throwing overboard of principles
elaborated by painful experience in the past, and adoption of a
hand-to-mouth policy unguided by any principle. He was not the kind of
man who would have voted for a bill or a clause which he secretly
believed would be injurious, out of what is euphemistically called
'party loyalty,' or would have endeavored to bribe each section of the
electorate by 'ad captandum' measures, or would have hesitated to
protect life and property for fear of losing votes. What he saw right to
do he would have done, regardless of proximate consequences.

"The ordinary tests of generosity are very defective. As rightly
measured, generosity is great in proportion to the amount of self-denial
entailed; and where ample means are possessed, large gifts often entail
no self-denial. Far more self-denial may be involved in the performance,
on another's behalf, of some act that requires time and labor. In
addition to generosity under its ordinary form, which Professor Tyndall
displayed in unusual degree, he displayed it under a less common form.

"He was ready to take much trouble to help friends. I have had personal
experience of this. Though he had always in hand some investigation of
great interest to him, and though, as I have heard him say, when he bent
his mind to the subject he could not with any facility break off and
resume it again, yet, when I have sought scientific aid, information or
critical opinion, I never found the slightest reluctance to give me his
undivided attention. Much more markedly, however, was this kind of
generosity shown in another direction. Many men, while they are eager
for appreciation, manifest little or no appreciation of others, and
still less go out of their way to express it.

"With Tyndall it was not thus; he was eager to recognize achievement.
Notably in the case of Michael Faraday, and less notably, though still
conspicuously in many cases, he has bestowed much labor and sacrificed
many weeks in setting forth the merits of others. It was evidently a
pleasure to him to dilate on the claims of fellow workers.

"But there was a derivative form of this generosity calling for still
greater eulogy. He was not content with expressing appreciation of those
whose merits were recognized, but he used energy unsparingly in drawing
the attention of the public to those whose merits were unrecognized;
time after time in championing the cause of such, he was regardless of
the antagonism he aroused and the evil he brought upon himself. This
chivalrous defense of the neglected and ill-used has been, I think by
few, if any, so often repeated. I have myself more than once benefited
by his determination, quite spontaneously shown, that justice should be
done in the apportionment of credit; and I have with admiration watched
like actions of his in other cases: cases in which no consideration of
nationality or of creed interfered in the least with his insistence on
equitable distribution of honors.

"In this undertaking to fight for those who were unfairly dealt with, he
displayed in another direction that very conspicuous trait which, as
displayed in his Alpine feats, has made him to many persons chiefly
known: I mean courage, passing very often into daring. And here let me,
in closing this little sketch, indicate certain mischiefs which this
trait brought upon him. Courage grows by success. The demonstrated
ability to deal with dangers produces readiness to meet more dangers,
and is self-justifying where the muscular power and the nerve habitually
prove adequate. But the resulting habit of mind is apt to influence
conduct in other spheres, where muscular power and nerve are of no
avail--is apt to cause the daring of dangers which are not to be met by
strength of limb or by skill. Nature as externally presented by
precipice ice-slopes and crevasses may be dared by one who is adequately
endowed; but Nature, as internally represented in the form of physical
constitution, may not be thus dared with impunity. Prompted by high
motives, John Tyndall tended too much to disregard the protests of his

"Over-application in Germany caused absolute sleeplessness, at one time,
I think he told me, for more than a week; and this, with kindred
transgressions, brought on that insomnia by which his after-life was
troubled, and by which his power for work was diminished; for, as I have
heard him say, a sound night's sleep was followed by a marked exaltation
of faculty.

"And then, in later life, came the daring which, by its results, brought
his active career to a close. He conscientiously desired to fulfil an
engagement to lecture at the British Institution, and was not deterred
by fear of consequences.

"He gave the lecture, notwithstanding the protest which for days before
his system had been making. The result was a serious illness,
threatening, as he thought at one time, a fatal result; and
notwithstanding a year's furlough for the recovery of health, he was
eventually obliged to resign his position. But for this defiance of
Nature, there might have been many more years of scientific exploration,
pleasurable to himself and beneficial to others; and he might have
escaped that invalid life which for a long time he had to bear.
In his case, however, the penalties of invalid life had great
mitigations--mitigations such as fall to the lot of few.

"It is conceivable that the physical discomforts and mental weariness
which ill-health brings may be almost, if not quite, compensated by the
pleasurable emotions caused by unflagging attentions and sympathetic
companionship. If this ever happens, it happened in his case. All who
have known the household during these years of nursing are aware of the
unmeasured kindness he has received without ceasing. I happen to have
had special evidence of this devotion on the one side and gratitude on
the other, which I do not think I am called upon to keep to myself, but
rather to do the contrary. In a letter I received from him some
half-dozen years ago, referring, among other things, to Mrs. Tyndall's
self-sacrificing care of him, occurred this sentence: 'She has raised my
ideal of the possibilities of human nature.'"



     "Amok" is an innovation which I do not recommend. It consists in
     letting go when things get too bad, and doing damage with tongue,
     hands and feet. It is the tantrum carried to its logical
     conclusion. I saw one instance where a henpecked husband "ran amok"
     and killed or wounded seventeen people before he himself was
     killed. It is the national and therefore the honorable mode of
     committing suicide among the natives of Celebes, and is the
     fashionable way of escaping from their difficulties. A man can not
     pay, he is taken for a slave, or has gambled away his wife or child
     into slavery, he sees no way of recovering what he has lost, and
     becomes desperate. He will not put up with such cruel wrongs, but
     will be revenged on mankind and die like a hero. He grasps his
     knife, and the next moment draws out the weapon and stabs a man to
     the heart. He runs on with bloody kris in his hand, stabbing every
     one he meets. "Amok! Amok!" then resounds through the streets.
     Spears, krises, knives, guns and clubs are brought out against him.
     He rushes madly forward, kills all he can--men, women and
     children--and dies, overwhelmed by numbers, amid all the excitement
     of a battle.

     --_Alfred Russel Wallace, in "The Malay Archipelago"_


The question of how this world and all the things in it were made,
has, so far as we know, always been asked. And volunteers have at no
time been slow about coming forward and answering. For this service the
volunteer has usually asked for honors and also exemption from toil more
or less unpleasant.

He has also demanded the joy of riding in a coach, being carried in a
palanquin, and sitting on a throne clothed in purple vestments, trimmed
with gold lace or costly furs. Very often the volunteer has also
insisted on living in a house larger than he needed, having more food
than his system required, and drinking decoctions that are costly, spicy
and peculiar.

All of which luxury has been paid for by the people, who are told that
which they wish to hear.

The success of the volunteer lies in keeping one large ear close to the

Religious teachers have ever given to their people a cosmogony that was
adapted to their understanding.

Who made it? God made it all. In how long a time? Six days. And then
followed explanations of what God did each day.

Over against the volunteers with a taste for power and a fine corkscrew
discrimination, there have been at rare intervals men with a desire to
know for the sake of knowing. They were not content to accept any man's
explanation. The only thing that was satisfying to them was the
consciousness that they were inwardly right. Loyalty to the God within
was the guiding impulse of their lives.

In the past, such men have been regarded as eccentric, unreliable and
dangerous, and the volunteers have ever warned their congregations
against them.

Indeed, until a very few years ago they were not allowed to express
themselves openly. Laws have been passed to suppress them, and dire
penalties have been devised for their benefit. Laws against sacrilege,
heresy and blasphemy still ornament our statute-books; but these
invented crimes that were once punishable by death are now obsolete, or
exist in rudimentary forms only, and manifest themselves in a refusal to
invite the guilty party to our Four-o'Clock. This hot intent to support
and uphold the volunteers in their explanations of how the world was
made, is a universal manifestation of the barbaric state, and is based
upon the assumption that God is an infinite George the Fourth.

Six hundred years before Christ, Anaximander, the Greek, taught that
animal life was engendered from the earth through the influence of
moisture and heat, and that life thus generated gradually evolved into
higher and different forms: all animals once lived in the water, but
some of them becoming stranded on land put forth organs of locomotion
and defense, through their supreme resolve to live. Anaximander also
taught that man was only a highly developed animal, and his source of
life was the same as that of all other animals; man's present high
degree of development having gradually come about through growth from
very lowly forms.

Anaxagoras, the schoolmaster of Pericles, also made similar statements,
and then we find him boldly putting forth the very startling idea that
between the highest type of Greek and the lowest type of savage there
was a greater difference than between the savage and the ape. He also
taught that the earth was the universal mother of all living things,
animal and vegetable, and that the fecundation of the earth took place
from minute, unseen germs that floated in the air.

According to modern science, Anaxagoras was very close upon the trail of
truth. But there were only a very few who could follow him, and it took
the combined eloquence and tact of Pericles to keep his splendid head in
the place where Nature put it, and Pericles himself was compromised by
his leaning toward "Darwinism."

Every man who speaks, expresses himself for others. We succeed only as
our thought is echoed back to us by others who think the same. If you
like what I say it is only because it is already yours. Moreover,
thought is a collaboration, and is born of parents. If a teacher does
not get a sympathetic hearing, one of two things happens: he loses the
thread of his thought and grows apathetic, or he arouses an opposition
that snuffs out his life.

And the dead they soon grow cold.

The recipe for popularity is to hunt out a weakness of humanity and then
bank on it. No one knows this better than your theological volunteer.
Aristotle, the father of natural history, who early in life had a
Pegasus killed under him, taught that the diversity in animal life was
caused by a diversity of conditions and environment, and he declared he
could change the nature of animals by changing their surroundings. This
being true he argued that all animals were once different from what they
are now, and that if we could live long enough, we would see that
species are exceedingly variable.

To explain to child-minds that a Supreme Being made things outright just
as they are, is easy; but to study and in degree know how things
evolved, requires infinite patience and great labor. It also means small
sympathy from the indifferent whom the earth has spawned in swarms, and
the hatred of the volunteers who ride in coaches, and tell the many what
they wish to hear.

The volunteers drove Aristotle into exile, and from his time they had
their way for two thousand years, when John Ray, Linnæus and Buffon

In Seventeen Hundred Fifty-five, Immanuel Kant, the little man who
stayed near home and watched the stars tumble into his net, put forth
his theory that every animal organism in the world was developed from a
common original germ.

In Seventeen Hundred Ninety-four, Erasmus Darwin, the grandfather of
Charles Darwin, inspired by Kant and Goethe, put forth his book,
"Zoonomia," wherein he maintained the gradual growth and evolution of
all organisms from minute, unseen germs. These views were put forth more
as a poetic hypothesis than as a well-grounded scientific fact, so
little attention was paid to Erasmus Darwin's books. The fanciful
accounts of Creation put forth by Moses three thousand years before were
firmly maintained by the entrenched volunteers and their millions of
devotees and followers.

But Kant, Goethe, Karl von Baer and August de Sainte-Hilaire were now
planting their outposts throughout the civilized world, honeycombing
Christendom with doubt.

In the year Eighteen Hundred Fifty-two, Herbert Spencer had argued in
public and in pamphlets that species have undergone changes and
modifications through change of surroundings, and that the account of
Noah and his ark, with pairs of everything that flew, crept or ran, was
fanciful and absurd, so far as we cared to distinguish fact from

Early in the year Eighteen Hundred Fifty-eight, Charles Darwin received
from his friend, Alfred Russel Wallace, a paper entitled, "On the
Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely From the Original Type." At
this time Darwin had in the hands of the secretary of the Linnæus
Society a paper entitled, "On the Tendency of Species to Form Varieties,
or the Perpetuation of Species and Varieties by Means of Natural

The similarity in title, as well as the similarity in treatment of the
Wallace theme, startled Darwin. He had been working on the idea for
twenty years, and had an immense mass of data bearing on the subject,
which he some day intended to issue in book form.

His paper for the Linnæus Society simply summed up his convictions. And
now here was a man with whom he had never discussed this particular
subject, writing an almost identical paper and sending it to him--of all

Well did he pinch his leg, and call in his wife, asking her if he were
alive or dead. Straightway he went to see Sir Charles Lyell and Sir
Joseph Hooker, both more eminent than he in the scientific world, and
laid the matter before them. After a long conference it was decided that
both papers should be read the same evening before the Linnæus Society,
and this was done on the evening of July First, Eighteen Hundred

Darwin then decided to publish his "Origin of Species," which in his
preface he modestly calls an "Abstract." The publication was hastened by
the fact that Wallace was compiling a similar work. After giving Wallace
full credit in his most interesting "Introduction," and reviewing all
that others had said in coming to similar conclusions, Darwin fired his
shot heard round the world. And no man was more delighted and pleased
with the echoing reverberations than Alfred Russel Wallace, as he read
the book in far-off Australia.

The honor of discovering the Law of Evolution, and lifting it out of the
hazy realms of hypothesis and poetry into the sunlight of science, will
ever be shared between Charles Robert Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace,
who were indeed brothers in spirit and lovers to the end of their days.

       *       *       *       *       *

In an insignificant village of England, now famous alone because he
began from there his explorations of the world, Alfred Russel Wallace
was born, in the year Eighteen Hundred Twenty-two. He was one of a large
family of the middle class, where work is as natural as life, and the
indispensable virtues are followed as a means of self-preservation. It
is most unfortunate to attain such a degree of success that you think
you can waive the decalogue and give Nemesis the slip.

About the year Eighteen Hundred Forty, the railroad renaissance was on
in England, and young Wallace, alive, alert, active, did his turn as
apprentice to a surveyor.

Chance is a better schoolmaster than design. All boys have a taste for
tent life, and healthy youngsters not quite grown, with ostrich
digestions, passing through the nomadic stage, revel in hardships and
count it a joy to sleep on the ground where they can look up at the
stars, and eat out of a skillet.

A little later we find Alfred working for his elder brother in an
architect's office, gazing abstractedly out of the window betimes, and
wishing he were a ground-squirrel, fancy free on the heath and amid the
heather, digging holes, thus avoiding introspection. "Houses are
prisons," he said, and sang softly to himself the song of the open road.

I think I know exactly how Alfred Russel Wallace then felt, from the
touchstone of my own experience; and I think I know how he looked, too,
all confirmed by an East Aurora incident.

Some years ago, one fine day in May, I was helping excavate for the
foundation of a new barn. All at once I felt that some one was standing
behind me looking at me. I turned around and there was a tall, lithe,
slender youth in a faded college cap, blue flannel shirt, ragged
trousers and top-boots. My first impression of him was that he was a
fellow who slept in his clothes, a plain "Weary," but when he spoke
there was a note of self-reliance in his low, well-modulated voice that
told me he was no mendicant. Voice is the true index of character.

"My name is Wallace, and I have a note to you from my father," and he
began diving into pockets, and finally produced a ragged letter that was
nearly worn out through long contact with a perspiring human form
divine--or partially so. I seldom make haste about reading letters of
introduction, and so I greeted the young man with a word of welcome, and
gave him a chance to say something for himself.

He was English, that was very sure--and Oxford English at that. "You
see," he began, "I am working just now over on the Hamburg and Buffalo
Electric Line, stringing wires. I get three dollars a day because I'm a
fairly good climber. I wanted to learn the business, so I just hired out
as a laborer, and they gave me the hardest job, thinking to scare me
out, but that was what I wanted," and he smiled modestly and showed a
set of incisors as fine and strong as a dog's teeth. "I want to remain
with you for a week and pay for my board in work," he cautiously

"But about your father, Mr. Wallace--do I know him?"

"I think so; he has written you several letters--Alfred Russel Wallace!"

You could have knocked me down with a lady's-slipper. I opened the
letter and unmistakably it was from the great scientist, "introducing my
baby boy."

I never met Alfred Russel Wallace, but I know if I should, I would find
him very gentle, kindly and simple in all his ways--as really great men
ever are. He would not talk to me in Latin nor throw off technical
phrases about great nothings, and I would feel just as much at home with
him as I did with Ol' John Burroughs the last time I saw him, leaning up
against a country railroad-station in shirt-sleeves, chewing a straw,
exchanging salutes with the engineer on a West Shore jerkwater. "S'
long, John!" called the going one as he leaned out of the cab-window.
"S' long, Bill, and good luck to you," was the cheery answer.

But still, all of us have moments when we think of the world's most
famous ones as being surely eight feet tall, and having voices like

"I can do most any kind of hard work, you know"--I was aroused from my
little mental excursion, and noticed that my visitor had hair of a
light yellow like a Swede from Hennepin County, Minnesota, and that his
hair was three shades lighter than his bronzed face. "I can do any kind
of work, you know, and if you will just loan me that pick"--and I handed
him the pickax.

Young Wallace remained with us for a week, asking for nothing, doing
everything, even to helping the girls wash dishes. That he was the son
of a great man, no one would have ever learned from his own lips. In
fact, I am not sure that he was impressed with his father's excellence,
but I saw there was a tender bond between them, for he haunted the
post-office, morning, noon and night, looking for a letter from his
father. When it came he was as happy as a woodchuck. He showed me the
letter: it was nine finely written pages.

But to my disappointment not a word about marsupials, siamangs or
Syndactylæ: just news about John, William, Mary and Benjamin; with
references to chickens and cows, and a new greenhouse, with a little
good advice about keeping right hours and not overeating.

The young man had spent three years at Oxford, and was an electrical
engineer. He was intent on finding out just as much about the secrets of
American railroad construction as he possibly could. As for intellect, I
did not discover any vast amount; perhaps, for that matter, he didn't
either. But we all greatly enjoyed his visit, and when he went away I
presented him with a clean, secondhand flannel shirt and my blessing.

       *       *       *       *       *

From the appearance of the young man I imagine that Alfred Russel
Wallace at twenty-one was very much such a man as his son, who did such
good work at the Roycroft with pick and shovel. Alfred was earnest,
intent, strong, and had a deal of quiet courage that he was as
unconscious of as he was of his digestion.

He taught school, and to interest his scholars he would take them on
botanical excursions. Then he himself grew interested, and began to
collect plants, bugs, beetles and birds on his own account.

By Eighteen Hundred Forty-eight, the confining walls of the school had
become intolerable to Wallace, and he started away on a wild-goose chase
to Brazil, with a chum by the name of Henry Walter Bates, an ardent
entomologist. Alfred had no money either, but Bates had influence, and
he cashed it in by arranging with the Curator of the British Museum,
that any natural-history specimens of value which they might gather and
send to him would be paid for. And so something like a hundred pounds
was collected from several scientific men, and handed over as advance
payment for the wonderful things that the young men were to send back.

They embarked on a sailing-vessel that was captained by a kind kinsman
of Bates, so the fare was nil, in consideration of services rendered

Arriving in Brazil the young men began their collecting of specimens.
They got together a very creditable collection of birds' eggs and sent
them back by the captain of the ship they came out on, this as an
earnest of what was to come.

Bates and Wallace were together for a year. Bates insisted on remaining
near the white settlements; but Wallace wanted to go where white men had
never been. So alone he went into the forests, and for two years lived
with the natives and dared the dangers of jungle-fever, snakes,
crocodiles and savages. For a space of ten months he did not see a
single white person.

He collected nearly ten thousand specimens of birds, which he skinned
and carefully prepared so they could be mounted when he returned to
England; there was also a nearly complete Brazilian herbarium, and a
finer collection of birds' eggs than any museum of England could boast.

This collection represented over three years' continuous toil. All the
curious things were packed with great care and placed on board ship.

And so the young naturalist sailed away for England, proud and happy,
with his great collection of entomological, botanical and ornithological

But on the way the ship took fire, and the collection was either burned
or ruined by soaking salt water.

That the crew and their sole passenger escaped alive was a wonder.
Wallace on reaching England was in a sorry plight, being destitute of
clothes and funds.

And there were unkind ones who did not hesitate to hint that he had only
been over to Ireland working in a peat-bog, and that his knowledge of
Brazil was gotten out of Humboldt's books.

In one way, Wallace surely paralleled Humboldt: both lost a most
valuable collection of natural-history specimens by shipwreck.

Several of the good men who had advanced money now asked that it be
paid. Wallace set to work writing out his recollections, the only asset
that he possessed.

His book, "Travel on the Amazon and Rio Negro," had enough romance in it
so that it floated. Royalties paid over in crisp Bank of England notes
made things look brighter. Another book was issued, called, "Palm-Trees
and Their Uses," and proved that the author was able to view a subject
from every side, and say all that was to be said about it. "Wallace on
the Palm" is still a textbook.

The debts were paid, and Alfred Russel Wallace at thirty was square with
the world, the possessor of much valuable experience. He also had five
hundred pounds in cash, with a reputation as a writer and traveler that
no longer caused bookworms to sneeze.

Having paid off his obligations, he felt free again to leave England, a
thing he had vowed he would not do, so long as his reputation was under
a cloud. This time he selected for a natural-history survey a section of
the world really less known than South America.

       *       *       *       *       *

Early in the year Eighteen Hundred Fifty-four, Alfred Russel Wallace
reached Asia. He had decided that he would make the first and the best
collection of the flora and fauna of the Malay Archipelago that it was
possible to make.

White men had skirted the coast of many of the islands, but information
as to what there was inland was mostly conjecture and guesswork.

Just how long it would take Wallace to make his Malaysian
natural-history survey he did not know, but in a letter to Darwin he
stated that he expected to be absent from England at least two years. He
was gone eight years, and during this time, walked, paddled or rode
horseback fifteen thousand miles, and visited many islands never before
trod by the foot of a white man.

The city of Singapore served him as a base or headquarters, because from
there he could catch trading-ships that plied among the islands of the
Archipelago; and to Singapore he could also ship and there store his
specimens. From Singapore he made sixty separate voyages of discovery.
In all he sent home over one hundred twenty-five thousand
natural-history specimens, including about ten thousand birds, which,
later on, were all stuffed and mounted under his skilful direction.

On returning to England, Wallace took six years in preparation of his
book, "The Malay Archipelago," a most stupendous literary undertaking,
which covers the subjects of botany, geology, ornithology, entomology,
zoology and anthropology, in a way that serves as a regular mine of
information and suggestion for natural-history workers.

The book in its original form, I believe, sold for ten pounds (fifty
dollars), and was issued to subscribers in parts. It was bought, not
only by students, but by a great number of general readers, there being
enough adventure mixed up in the science to spice what otherwise might
be rather dry reading. For instance, there is a chapter about killing
orang-utans that must have served my old friend, Paul du Chaillu, as
excellent raw stock in compiling his own recollections.

Wallace states that the only foe for which the orang really has a hatred
is the crocodile. It seems to share with man a shuddering fear of
snakes, although orangs have no part in making Kentucky famous. But the
crocodile is his natural and hereditary enemy. And as if to get even
with this ancient foe, who occasionally snaps off a young orang in his
prime, the orangs will often locate a big crocodile, and jumping on his
back beat him with clubs; and when he opens his gigantic mouth, the
female orangs will fill the cavity with sticks and stones, and keep up
the fight until the crocodile succumbs and quits this vale of crocodile

The orang is distinct and different from the chimpanzee and gorilla,
which are found only in Western Africa.

In Borneo, the "man-ape" is quite numerous. This is the animal that has
given rise to all those tales about "the wild man of Borneo," which that
good man, P. T. Barnum, kept alive by exhibiting a fine specimen.
Barnum's original "wild man" lived at Waltham, Massachusetts, and
belonged to the Baptist Church. He recently died worth a hundred
thousand dollars, which money he left to found a school for young

The orang, or mias, hides in the swampy jungles, and very rarely comes
to the ground. The natives regard them as a sort of sacred object, and
have a great horror of killing them. Indeed, a person who kills a
man-ape, they regard as a murderer; and so when Wallace announced to his
attendants that he wanted to secure several specimens of these "wild men
of the woods," they cried, "Alas! he is making a collection: it will be
our turn next!" And they fled in terror.

Wallace then hired another set of servants and resolved to make no
confidants, but just go ahead and find his game.

He had hunted for weeks through forest and jungle, but never a glimpse
or sight of the man-ape! He had almost given up the search, and
concluded with several English scientists that this orang-utan was a
part of that great fabric of pseudo-science invented by imaginative
sailormen, who took most of their inland little journeys around the
capstan. And so musing, seated in the doorway of his bamboo house, he
looked out upon the forest, and there only a few yards away, swinging
from tree to tree, was a man-ape. It seemed to him to be about five
times as large as a man.

He seized his gun and approached; the beast stopped, glared, and railed
at him in a voice of wrath. It broke off branches and threw sticks at

Wallace thought of the offer made him by the South Kensington Museum:
"One hundred pounds in gold for an adult male, skin and skeleton to be
properly preserved and mounted; seventy-five pounds for a female."

The huge animal showed its teeth, cast one glance of scornful contempt
on the puny explorer, and started on, swinging thirty feet at a stretch
and catching hold of the limbs with its two pairs of hands.

Wallace grasped his gun and followed, lured by the demoniac shape. A
little of the superstition of the natives had gotten into his veins: he
dare not kill the thing unless it came toward him, and he had to shoot
it in self-defense.

It traveled in the trees about as fast as he could on the ground.
Occasionally it would stop and chatter at him, throwing sticks in a most
human way, as if to order him back.

Finally, the instincts of the naturalist got the better of the man, and
he shot the animal. It came tumbling to the ground with a terrific
crash, grasping at the vines and leaves as it fell.

It was quite dead, but Wallace approached it with great caution. It
proved to be a female, of moderate size, in height about three and a
half feet, six feet across from finger to finger. Needless to say that
Wallace had to do the skinning and the mounting of the skeleton alone.
His servants had chills of fear if asked to approach it. The skeleton of
this particular orang can now be seen in the Derby Museum.

In a few hours after killing his first orang, Wallace heard a peculiar
crying in the forest, and on search found a young one, evidently the
baby of the one he had killed. The baby did not show any fear at all,
evidently thinking it was with one of its kind, for it clung to him
piteously, with an almost human tenderness.

Says Wallace:

"When handled or nursed it was very quiet and contented, but when laid
down by itself would invariably cry; and for the first few nights was
very restless and noisy. I soon found it necessary to wash the little
mias as well. After I had done so a few times it came to like the
operation, and after rolling in the mud would begin crying, and continue
until I took it out and carried it to the spout, when it immediately
became quiet, although it would wince a little at the first rush of the
cold water, and make ridiculously wry faces while the stream was running
over its head. It enjoyed the wiping and rubbing dry amazingly, and when
I brushed its hair seemed to be perfectly happy, lying quite still with
its arms and legs stretched out. It was a never-failing amusement to
observe the curious changes of countenance by which it would express its
approval or dislike of what was given to it. The poor little thing would
lick its lips, draw in its cheeks, and turn up its eyes with an
expression of the most supreme satisfaction, when it had a mouthful
particularly to its taste. On the other hand, when its food was not
sufficiently sweet or palatable, it would turn the mouthful about with
its tongue for a moment, as if trying to extract what flavor there was,
and then push it all out between its lips. If the same food was
continued, it would proceed to scream and kick about violently, exactly
like a baby in a passion.

"When I had had it about a month it began to exhibit some signs of
learning to run alone. When laid upon the floor it would push itself
along by its legs, or roll itself over, and thus make an unwieldy
progression. When lying in the box it would lift itself up to the edge
in an almost erect position, and once or twice succeeded in tumbling
out. When left dirty or hungry, or otherwise neglected, it would scream
violently till attended to, varied by a kind of coughing noise, very
similar to that which is made by the adult animal.

"If no one was in the house, or its cries were not attended to, it would
be quiet after a little while; but the moment it heard a footstep would
begin again, harder than ever. It was very human."

       *       *       *       *       *

The most lasting result of the wanderings of Alfred Russel Wallace
consists in his having established what is known to us as "The Wallace
Line." This line is a boundary that divides in a geographical way that
portion of Malaysia which belongs to the continent of Asia from that
which belongs to the continent of Australia.

The Wallace Line covers a distance of more than four thousand miles, and
in this expanse there are three islands in which Great Britain could be
set down without anywhere touching the sea.

Even yet the knowledge of the average American or European is very hazy
about the size and extent of the Malay Archipelago, although through our
misunderstanding with Spain, which loaded us up with possessions we have
no use for, we have recently gotten the geography down and dusted it off
a bit.

There is a book by Mrs. Rose Innes, wife of an English official in the
Far East, who, among other entertaining things, tells of a head-hunter
chief who taught her to speak Malay, and she, wishing to reciprocate,
offered to teach him English; but the great man begged to be excused,
saying, "Malay is spoken everywhere you go, east, west, north or south,
but in all the world there are only twelve people who speak English,"
and he proceeded to name them.

Our assumptions are not quite so broad as this, but few of us realize
that the Protestant Christian Religion stands fifth in the number of
communicants, as compared with the other great religions, and that
against our hundred millions of people in America, the Malay Archipelago
has over two hundred millions.

Wallace found marked geological, botanical and zoological differences to
denote his line. And from these things he proved that there had been
great changes, through subsidence and elevation of the land. At no very
remote geologic period, Asia extended clear to Borneo, and also included
the Philippine Islands. This is shown by the fact that animal and
vegetable life in all of these islands is almost identical with life on
the mainland: the same trees, the same flowers, the same birds, the same

As you go westward, however, you come to islands which have a very
different flora and fauna, totally unlike that found in Asia, but very
similar to that found in Australia.

Australia, be it known, is totally different in all its animal and
vegetable phenomena from Asia.

In Australia, until the white man very recently carried them across,
there were no monkeys, apes, cats, bears, tigers, wolves, elephants,
horses, squirrels or rabbits. Instead there were found animals that are
found nowhere else, and which seem to belong to a different and
so-called extinct geologic age, such as the kangaroo, wombats, the
platypus--which the sailors used to tell us was neither bird not beast,
and yet was both. In birds, Australia has also very strange specimens,
such as the ostrich which can not fly, but can outrun a horse and kills
its prey by kicking forward like a man. Australia also has immense
mound-making turkeys, honeysuckers and cockatoos, but no woodpeckers,
quail or pheasants.

Wallace was the first to discover that there are various islands, some
of them several hundred miles from Australia, where the animal life is
identical with that of Australia. And then there are islands, only a
comparatively few miles away, which have all the varieties of birds and
beasts found in Asia.

But this line that once separated continents is in places but fifteen
miles wide, and is always marked by a deep-water channel, but the seas
that separate Borneo and Sumatra from Asia, although wide, are so
shallow that ships can find anchorage anywhere.

The Wallace Line, proving the subsidence of the sea and upheaval of the
land, has never been seriously disputed, and is to many students the one
great discovery by which Wallace will be remembered.

Wallace's book on "The Geographical Distribution of Animals" sets forth
in a most interesting manner, the details of how he came to discover the

It was in Eighteen Hundred Fifty-five that Wallace, alone in the wilds
of the Malay Archipelago, became convinced of the scientific truth that
species were an evolution from a common source, and he began making
notes of his observations along this particular line of thought. Some
months afterward he wrote out his belief in the form of an essay, but
then he had no definite intention of what he would do with the paper,
beyond keeping it for future reference when he returned to England. In
the Fall of Eighteen Hundred Fifty-seven, however, he decided to send it
to Darwin to be read before some scientific society, if Darwin
considered it worthy. And this paper was read on the evening of July
First, before the Linnæus Society, with one by Darwin on the same
subject, written before Wallace's paper arrived, wherein the identical
views are set forth. Darwin and Wallace expressed what many other
investigators had guessed or but dimly perceived.

       *       *       *       *       *

Of the six immortal modern scientists, three began life working as
surveyors and civil engineers--Wallace, Tyndall, Spencer. From the
number of eminent men, not forgetting Henry Thoreau, Leonardo da Vinci,
Lincoln, Ulysses S. Grant, Washington--aye! nor old John Brown, who
carried a Gunter's chain and manipulated the transit--we come to the
conclusion that there must be something in the business of surveying
that conduces to clear thinking and strong, independent action.

If I had a boy who by nature and habit was given to futilities, I would
apprentice him to a civil engineer.

When two gangs of men begin a tunnel, working toward each other from
different sides of a mountain, dreams, poetry, hypothesis and guesswork
had better be omitted from the equation. Here is a case where
metaphysics has no bearing. It is a condition that confronts them, not a

Theological explanations are assumptions built upon hypotheses, and your
theologian always insists that you shall be dead before you can know.

If a bridge breaks down or a fireproof building burns to ashes, no
explanation on the part of the architect can explain away the
miscalculation; but your theologian always evolves his own fog, into
which he can withdraw at will, thus making escape easy. Darwin, Huxley,
Spencer, Tyndall and Wallace all had the mathematical mind. Nothing but
the truth would satisfy them. In school, you remember how we sometimes
used to work on a mathematical problem for hours or days. Many would
give it up. A few of the class would take the answer from the book, and
in an extremity force the figures to give the proper result. Such
students, it is needless to say, never gained the respect of either
class or teacher--or themselves. They had the true theological instinct.
But a few kept on until the problem was solved, or the fallacy of it had
been discovered. In life's school such were the men just named, and the
distinguishing feature of their lives was that they were students and
learners to the last.

Of this group of scientific workers, Alfred Russel Wallace alone
survives, aged eighty-nine at this writing, still studying, earnestly
intent upon one of Nature's secrets that four of his great colleagues
years ago labeled "Unknown," and the other two marked "Unknowable."

To some it is an anomaly and contradiction that a lover of science,
exact, cautious, intent on certitude, should accept a belief in personal
immortality. Still, to others this is regarded as positive proof of his
superior insight.

All thinking men agree that we are surrounded by phenomena that to a
great extent are unanalyzed; but Herbert Spencer, for one, thought it a
lapse in judgment to attribute to spirit intervention, mysteries which
could not be accounted for on any other grounds. It was equal to that
sin against science which Darwin committed, and which he atoned for in
contrite public confession, when he said: "It surely must be this,
otherwise what is it? Hence we assume," and so on. Some recent writers
have sought to demolish Wallace's argument concerning Spiritism by
saying he is an old man and in his dotage. Wallace once wrote a booklet
entitled, "Vaccination a Fallacy," which created a big dust in Doctors'
Row, and was cited as corroborative proof, along with his faith in
Spiritism, that the man was mentally incompetent.

But this is a deal worse excuse for argument than anything Wallace ever
put forth. The real fact is that Wallace issued a book on Spiritism in
Eighteen Hundred Seventy-four, and in Eighteen Hundred Ninety-six
reissued it with numerous amendments, confirming his first conclusions.
So he has held his peculiar views on immortality for over thirty years,
and moreover his mental vigor is still unimpaired.

Whether the proof he has received as to the existence of disembodied
spirits is sufficient for others is very uncertain; but if it suffices
for himself, it is not for us to quibble. Wallace agrees to allow us to
have our opinions if we will let him have his.

His views are in no sense those of Christianity; rather, they might be
called those of Theosophy, as the personal God and the dogma of
salvation and atonement are entirely omitted.

The Doctrine of Evolution he carries into the realm of spirit. His
belief is that souls reincarnate themselves many times for the ultimate
object of experience, growth and development. He holds that this life is
the gateway to another, but that we should live each day as though it
were our last.

To this effect we find, in a recent article, Wallace quotes a little
story from Tolstoy: A priest, seeing a peasant in a field plowing,
approached him and asked, "How would you spend the rest of this day if
you knew you were to die tonight?"

The priest expected the man, who was a bit irregular in his churchgoing,
to say, "I would spend my last hours in confession and prayer." But the
peasant replied, "How would I spend the rest of the day if I were to die
tonight?--why, I'd plow!"

Hence, Wallace holds that it is better to plow than to pray, and that in
fact, when rightly understood, good plowing is prayer.

All useful effort is sacred, and nothing else is or ever can be. Wallace
believes that the only fit preparation for the future lies in improving
the present. Please pass the dotage!

[Illustration: JOHN FISKE]


     In a sinless and painless world the moral element would be lacking;
     the goodness would have no more significance in our conscious life
     than that load of atmosphere which we are always carrying about
     with us.

     We are thus brought to a striking conclusion, the essential
     soundness of which can not be gainsaid. In a happy world there must
     be pain and sorrow, and in a moral world the knowledge of evil is
     indispensable. The stern necessity for this has been proved to
     inhere in the innermost constitution of the human soul. It is part
     and parcel of the universe.

     We do not find that evil has been interpolated into the universe
     from without; we find that, on the contrary, it is an indispensable
     part of the dramatic whole. God is the creator of evil, and from
     the eternal scheme of things diabolism is forever excluded.

     From our present standpoint we may fairly ask, what would have been
     the worth of that primitive innocence portrayed in the myth of the
     Garden of Eden, had it ever been realized in the life of men? What
     would have been the moral value or significance of a race of human
     beings ignorant of sin, and doing beneficent acts with no more
     consciousness or volition than the deftly contrived machine that
     picks up raw material at one end, and turns out some finished
     product at the other? Clearly, for strong and resolute men and
     women, an Eden would be but a fool's paradise.

     "_Through Nature to God_"


Early in life John Fiske aimed high and thought himself capable of
great things. He also believed that the world accepted a man at the
estimate he placed upon himself.

Fiske was born at Hartford in Eighteen Hundred Forty-two. His mother's
maiden name was Fiske and his father's name was Green, and until
well-nigh manhood, John Fiske was called Edmund Green.

His father died while Edmund was a baby, and the wee youngster was taken
charge of by his grandmother Fiske of Middletown, Connecticut.

When his mother married again, Edmund did not approve of the match.
Parents often try to live their children's lives for them, and to hold
the balance true, children occasionally attempt to dictate to parents in
affairs of the heart. A young man by the name of Hamlet will be recalled
who, having no special business of his own, became much distressed and
had theories concerning the conduct of his mother. As a general
proposition the person who looks after the territory directly under his
own hat will find his time fairly well employed.

They say Edmund Green made threats when his mother changed her name, but
all he did was to follow her example and change his. Thereafter he was
plain John Fiske. "I must have a name easy to take hold of: one that
people can remember," he said. And they do say that John Fiske's
reverence for John Ruskin had something to do with his choice of name.

Just here some curious one of the curious sex, which by the way holds no
monopoly on curiosity, may ask if the second venture of Mrs. Green was
fruitful and fortunate. So I will say, yes, eminently so; and in one way
it seemed to serve, for John Fiske's stepfather waived John's
displeasure with his stepfather's wife, and did something toward sending
the young man to Harvard University, and also supplied the funds to send
him on a tour around the world.

However, the second brood revealed no genius, at sight of which the
defunct Mr. Green from his seat in Elysium must have chortled in glee,
assuming, of course, that disembodied spirits are cognizant of the
doings of their late partners, as John Fiske seemed to think they were.

If Alexander Humboldt's mother had not married again, we would have had
no Alexander Humboldt. Second marriages are like first ones in this:
Sometimes they are happy and sometimes not. In any event, I occasionally
think that mother-love has often been much exaggerated. Love is a most
beautiful thing, and it does not seem to make very much difference who
supplies it. Stepmother-love, Lincoln used to say, was the most precious
thing that had ever come his way. I know a man who loves his
mother-in-law, because she pitied him. Our Oneida friends had
"Community Mothers," who took care of everybody's babies, just as if
they were their own, and with marked success, for the genus hoodlum
never evolved at Oneida. Grandmother-love served all purposes for little
Isaac Newton, just as it did for John Fiske.

John Fiske's grandmother was his first teacher, and she started out with
the assumption that genius always skips one generation. She believed
that she was dealing with a record-breaker, and she was. What she did
not know about the classics was known by others whom she delegated to
teach her grandchild.

When her baby genius was just out of linsey-woolsey dresses and wore
trousers buttoned to a calico waist, she began preparing him for
college. The old lady had loved a college man in her youth, and she
judged Harvard by the Harvard man she knew best. And the Harvard man she
saw in her waking dreams, she created in her own image. Harvard requires
perspective, and viewed over the years through a mist of melancholy it
is very beautiful. At close range we often get a Jarrett Bumball flavor
of cigarettes and a sight of the foam that made Milwaukee famous. To a
great degree, Gran'ma Fiske created her Harvard out of the stuff that
dreams are made of. When her little charge was six years old, she began
preparing him for Harvard by teaching him to say, "amo, amas, amat."

At seven years of age he was reading Cæsar's "Commentaries" and making
wise comments over his bowl of bread-and-milk about the Tenth Legion;
and he also had his opinions concerning the relationship of Cæsar with
Cleopatra. At this time he read Josephus for rest, and discovered for
himself that the famous passage about Jesus of Nazareth was an

When he was eight, he was familiar with Plato, had read all of
Shakespeare's plays, and propounded a few hypotheses concerning the
authorship of the "Sonnets."

At nine he spoke Greek with an Attic accent. When ten he had read
Prescott, Gibbon and Macaulay; and about this time, as a memory test he
wrote a history of the world from the time of Moses down to the date of
his own birth, giving a list of the greatest men who had ever lived,
with a brief mention of what they had done, with the date of their birth
and death.

This book is still in existence and so far as I know has never been
equaled by the performance of any infant prodigy, save possibly John
Stuart Mill.

When twelve years of age he had read Vergil, Sallust, Tacitus, Ovid,
Juvenal and Catullus. He had also mastered trigonometry, surveying,
navigation, geometry and differential calculus.

Before his grandmother had him discard knee-breeches, he kept his diary
in Spanish, spoke German at the table, and read German philosophy in the
original. The year he was sixteen he wrote poems after Dante in Italian
and translated Cervantes into English.

At seventeen he read the Hebrew scriptures like a Rabbi, and was
familiar with Sanskrit.

Now, let no carpist imagine I have dealt in hyperbole, or hand-illumined
the facts: I have merely stated some simple truths about the early
career of John Fiske.

One might imagine that with all his wonderful achievements this youth
would be top-heavy and a most insufferable prig. The fact was, he was a
fine, rollicking, healthy young man much given to pranks, and withal
generous and lovable.

He was admitted to Harvard without examination, for his fame had
preceded him. Students and professors alike looked at him in wonder.

At Cambridge, as if to keep good his record, he studied thirteen hours a
day, for twelve months in the year. He ranged through every subject in
the catalog, and all recorded knowledge was to him familiar.

Prophecies were freely made that he would eclipse Sir Isaac Newton and
Humboldt. But there were others who had a clearer vision.

John Fiske made a decided success in life and left his personality
distinctly impressed upon his time, but it is no disparagement to say of
him that Autumn did not fulfil the promise of Spring. And Fiske himself
in his single original contribution to the evolution crusade explains
the reason why.

Professor Santayanna of Harvard once said that John Fiske made three
great scientific discoveries, as follows:

1. As you lengthen a pigeon's bill, you increase the size of its feet.

2. White tomcats with blue eyes are always deaf.

3. The extent of mental development in any animal is in proportion to
its infancy or the length of time involved in its reaching physical

Waiving Numbers One and Two as of doubtful value, Number Three is
Fiske's sole original discovery, according to his confession. Further,
Huxley quotes Fiske on this theme, and adds, "The delay of adolescence
and the prolonging of the period of infancy form a subject, as expressed
by Mr. Fiske, which is worthy of our most careful consideration."

Rareripes fall early. John Fiske's name was coupled, as we have seen,
with those of Newton and Humboldt. Newton died at eighty-six, Humboldt
at ninety. These men developed slowly: the hothouse methods were not for
them. Fiske at twenty knew more than any of them did at forty. Fiske at
twenty-five was a better man mentally and physically than he was at
thirty-five. At forty he was refused life-insurance because his
measurement east and west was out of proportion to his measurement north
and south.

He used often to sit at his desk for fifteen hours a day, writing and
studying. The sedentary habit grew upon him; the vital organs got
clogged with adipose tissue. The doctor told him that "his diaphragm was
too close to his lungs"--a cheerful proposition, well worthy of a
small, mouse-colored medicus who dare not run the risk of displeasing a
big patient by telling him the truth, that is, that deep breathing and
active exercise in the open air can never be replaced through the use of
something poured out of a bottle.

People who eat too much, drink too much, smoke too much, and do not
exercise enough, have to pay for their privileges, even though they are
able to work differential calculus with one hand and recite Xenophon's
"Anabasis" backward. They all have the liver and lungs too close to the
diaphragm, because that damnable invention of Sir Isaac Newton's
slumbers not nor sleeps, and all the vital organs droop and drop when we
neglect deep breathing. Inertia is a vice. The gods cultivate
levitation, which is a different thing from levity, meaning skyey
gravitation, uplift, aspiration expressed in bodily attitude. When
levitation lets go, gravity doubles its grip.

The Yogi of the East know vastly more about this theme than we do, and
have made of deep breathing an art. Carry the crown of your head high,
hold your chin in, and fill the top of your lungs by cultivating
levitation. We are gods in the biscuit!

       *       *       *       *       *

After four years at Harvard and the regulation two years at the Harvard
Law School, John Fiske opened an office in Boston and gave his shingle
to the breeze. No clients came, and this was well--for the clients.
Also, for John. The law is a business proposition: its essence is the
adjustment of differences between men, the lubrication of exchange,
getting things on! Learned men very seldom make good lawyers. Law is a
very practical matter, and as for "Law Latin," it can be learned in a
week and then should be mostly forgotten. The lawyer who asks his client
about the "causa sine qua non," or harangues the jury concerning the
"ipse dixit" of "de facto" and "de jure," will probably be mulcted for
costs on general principles.

"I always rule hard against the lawyer who quotes Latin," said a
Brooklyn judge to me the other day. Happily, Law Latin is now not used
to any extent, except in Missouri.

No more clients came to John Fiske than did to Wendell Phillips, who
once had a law-office on the same street. So John sent letters to the
newspapers, wrote book-reviews, and contributed essays to the "Atlantic
Monthly." Occasionally, he would lecture for scientific clubs or

While still in the Law School he had discounted the future and married a
charming young woman, who believed in him to an extent that would have
made the average man pause.

Marriages do not always keep pace exactly with the price of corn.

Receipts in the Fiske law-office were not active. John Fiske was
twenty-six; his grandmother was dead, and family cares were coming along
apace, all according to the Law of Malthus.

He accepted an offer to give substitute lectures at Harvard on history,
for a professor who had gone abroad for his health. This he continued,
speaking for any absentee on any subject, and tutoring rich laggards for
a consideration. Good boys, low on phosphorus, used to get him to start
their daily themes, and those overtaken in the throes of trigonometry he
often rescued from disgrace.

Darwinism was in the saddle. Asa Gray was mildly defending it. Agassiz
stood aloof, clinging to his early Swiss parsonage teachings, and the
Theological Department marched in solid phalanx and scoffed and scorned.
Yale, always having more theology than Harvard, threw out challenges.
Fiske had saturated himself with the ideas of Darwin and Wallace, and
his intellect was great enough to perceive the vast and magnificent
scope of "The Origin of Species." He prepared and read a lecture on the
subject, all couched in gentle and judicial phrase, but with a finale
that gave forth no uncertain sound.

The Overseers decided to ask Fiske to amplify the subject and give a
course of lectures on the Law of Evolution.

The subject grew under his hands and the course extended itself into
thirty-five lectures, covering the whole field of natural history, with
many short excursions into the realms of biology, embryology, botany,
geology and cosmogony.

Fiske was made assistant librarian at a salary of one thousand dollars a
year. It was not much money, but it gave him a fixed position, with time
to help the erring freshman and the mentally recalcitrant sophomore
handicapped by rich parents. For seven years Fiske held this position of
assistant librarian, and hardly a student at Harvard during those years
but acknowledged the personal help he received at the hands of John
Fiske. Knowledge consists in having an assistant librarian who knows
where to find the thing.

Fiske's thirty-five lectures had evolved into that excellent book,
"Outlines of Cosmic Philosophy." The public were buying it.

Evolution was fast taking its place as a fixed fact. And John Fiske was
moving into public favor on the flood-tide. There were demands for his
lectures from various schools, colleges and lyceums, throughout the
United States.

He resigned his position so as to give all his time to writing and
speaking. And Harvard, proud of her gifted son, elected him an Overseer
of the University, which position he held until his death. John Fiske
died in Nineteen Hundred One, suddenly, aged fifty-nine.

       *       *       *       *       *

"Next to the originator of a great thought is the man who quotes it,"
says Ralph Waldo Emerson. Next to the discoverer of a great scientific
truth is the man who recognizes and upholds it. The service done science
by Fiske is beyond calculation. Fiske was not a Columbus upon the sea of
science: he followed the course laid out by others, and was really never
out of sight of a buoy. He comes as near being a great scientist,
perhaps, as any man that America has ever produced.

America has had but four men of unmistakable originality. These are:
Franklin, Emerson, Whitman and Edison. Each worked in a field
particularly his own, and the genius of each was recognized in Europe
before we were willing to acknowledge it here. But the word "scientist"
can hardly be properly applied to any of these men. For want of a better
name we call John Fiske our greatest scientist. He was the most learned
man of his day. In the realm of Physical Geography no American could
approach him. The combined knowledge of everybody else was his: he had a
passion for facts, a memory like a daybook, and his systematic mind was
disciplined until it was a regular Dewey card-index.

Louis Agassiz was born in Europe, but he was ours by adoption, and he
might dispute with Fiske the title to first place in the American
Pantheon of Science, were it not for the fact that the Law of Evolution
was beyond his ken, being obscured by a marked, myopic, theological,
stigmatic squint.

Agassiz died in his sins, unconvinced unrepentant, refusing the rite of
extreme unction that Asa Gray offered him, his sensitive spirit writhing
at mention of the word "Darwin." On his tomb, Clio with moving finger
has carved one of his own sentences, nor all your tears shall blot a
line of it. And these are the words of Agassiz: "Darwinism seeks to
dethrone God, and replace Him by a blind force called the Law of
Evolution." So passed away the great soul of Louis Agassiz.

Fiske has been called the Huxley of America; but Fiske was like Agassiz
in this, he never had the felicity to achieve the ill-will of the many.
Fiske has also been called the Drummond of America, but Fiske was really
a Henry Drummond and a Louis Agassiz rolled into one, the mass well
seasoned with essence of Huxley. John Fiske made the science of Darwin
and Wallace palatable to orthodox theology, and it is to the earnest and
eloquent words of Fiske that we owe it that Evolution is taught
everywhere in the public schools and even in the sectarian colleges of
America today.

The almost universal opposition to Darwin's book arose from the idea
that its acceptance would destroy the Christian religion. This was the
plaintive plea put forth when Newton advanced his discovery of the Law
of Gravitation, and also when Copernicus proclaimed the movements of the
earth: these things were contrary to the Bible! Copernicus was a loyal
Catholic; Sir Isaac Newton was a staunch Churchman; but both kept their
religion in water-tight compartments, so that it never got mixed with
their science. Gladstone never allowed his religion to tint his
statesmanship, and we all know businessmen who follow the double-entry

That famous French toast, "Here's to our wives and sweethearts--may they
never meet!" would suit most lawyers just as well if expressed this way.
"Here's to our religion and our business--God knows they never meet."

To Sir Isaac Newton, religion was something to be believed, not
understood. He left religion to the specialists, recognizing its value
as a sort of police protection for the State, and as his share in the
matter he paid tithes, and attended prayers as a matter of patriotic
duty and habit.

Voltaire recognized the greatness of Newton's intellect, but he could
not restrain his aqua fortis, and so he said this: "All the scientists
were jealous of Newton when he discovered the Law of Gravitation, but
they got even with him when he wrote his book on the Hebrew Prophecies!"
Newton wrote that book in his water-tight compartment.

But Newton was no hypocrite. The attitude of the Primrose Sphinx who
bowed his head in the Church of England Chapel--the Jew who rose to the
highest office Christian England had to offer--and repeated Ben Ezra's
prayer, was not the attitude of Newton. Darwin waived religion, and if
he ever heard of the Bible no one knew it from his writings.

Huxley danced on it. Tyndall and Spencer regarded the Bible as a
valuable and more or less interesting collection of myths, fables and
folklore tales. Wallace sees in it a strain of prophetic truth and
regards it as gold-bearing quartz of a low grade.

Fiske regarded it as the word of God, Holy Writ, expressed often
vaguely, mystically, and in the language of poetry and symbol, but true
when rightly understood.

And so John Fiske throughout his life spoke in orthodox pulpits to the
great delight of Christian people, and at the same time wrote books on
science and dedicated them to Thomas Huxley, Bishop of all Agnostics.

To the scientist the word "supernatural" is a contradiction. Everything
that is in the Universe is natural; the supernatural is the natural not
yet understood. And that which is called the supernatural is often the
figment of a disordered, undisciplined or undeveloped imagination.

Simple people think of imagination as that quality of mind which revels
in tales of fairies and hobgoblins, but imagination of this character is
undisciplined and undeveloped. The scientist who deals with the sternest
of facts must be highly imaginative, or his work is vain. The engineer
sees his structure complete, ere he draws his plans. So the scientist
divines the thing first and then looks for it until he finds it. Were
this not so, he would not be able to recognize things hitherto unknown,
when he saw them; nor could he fit fact to fact, like bones in a
skeleton, and build a complete structure, if it all did not first exist
as a thought.

To reprove and punish children for flights of imagination, John Fiske
argued, was one of the things done only by a barbaric people.

Children first play at the thing, which later they are to do well. Play
is preparation. The man of imagination is the man of sympathy, and only
such are those who benefit and bless mankind and help us on our way.

John Fiske had imagination enough to follow closely and hold fellowship
with the greatest minds the world has ever known. John Fiske believed
that we live in a natural universe, and that God works through Nature,
and that, in fact, Nature is the spirit of God at work.

Doubts never disturbed John Fiske. Things that were not true technically
and literally were true to him if taken in a spiritual or poetic way.
God, to him, was a personal being, creating through the Law of Evolution
because He chose to. The six days of Creation were six eons or
geological periods.

No man has ever been more in sympathy with the discoverers in Natural
History than John Fiske. No man ever knew so much about his work as John
Fiske. His knowledge was colossal, his memory prodigious. And in all of
the realm of science and philosophy, from microscopy and the germ
theory to advanced astronomy and the birth of worlds, his glowing
imagination saw the work of a beneficent Creator who stood above and
beyond and outside of Natural Law, and with Infinite Wisdom and Power
did His own Divine Will.

Little theologians who feared Science, on account of danger to pet
texts, received from him kindly pats on the head, as he showed them how
both Science and Scripture were true.

He didn't do away with texts, he merely changed their interpretation.
And often he discovered that the text which seemed to contradict science
was really prophetic of it. John Fiske did not take anything away from
anybody, unless he gave them something better in return.

"A man's belief is a part of the man," he said. "Take it away by force
and he will bleed to death; but if the time comes when he no longer
needs it, he will either slough it or convert it into something more

Every good thing begins as something else. Evolution is at work on the
creeds as well as in matter. A monkey-man will have a monkey belief.

He evolves the thing he needs, and the belief that fits one man will not
fit another. Religious opinions are never thrown away: they evolve into
something else, and we use the old symbols and imagery to express new

John Fiske, unlike John Morley, considered "Compromise" a great thing.
"Truth is a point of view: let us get together," he used to say. And so
he worked to keep the old, as a foundation for the new.

I once heard him interrupted in a lecture by a questioner who asked,
"Why would you keep the Church intact?" The question stung him into
impassioned speech which was better than anything in his manuscript. I
can not attempt to reproduce his exact language; but the intent was that
as the Church was the chief instrument in preserving for us the learning
of Greece and Rome, so has she been the mother of art, the inspirer of
music and the protector of the outcast. Colleges, hospitals, libraries,
art-galleries and asylums, all come to us through the medium of

The convent was first a place of protection for oppressed womanhood.

To discard religion would be like repudiating our parents because we did
not like their manners and clothes. The religious impulse is the art
impulse, and both are manifestations of love, and love is the basis of
our sense of sublimity.

We surely will abandon certain phases of religion. We will purify,
refine and beautify our religion, just as we have our table etiquette
and our housekeeping. The millennium will come only through the
scientific acceptance of piety. When Church and State separated it was
well, but when Science and Religion joined hands it was better. Science
stands for the head; Religion for the heart. All things are dual, and
through the marriage of these two principles, one the masculine and the
other the feminine, will come a renaissance of advancement such as this
tired old world on her zigzag journeys has never seen. Sociology is the
religious application of economics. Demonology has been replaced by
psychology, and the betterment of man's condition on earth is now fast
becoming the chief solicitude of the Church.

It will thus be seen that John Fiske's hope for the future was bright
and strong. The man was an optimist by nature, and his patience and
good-nature were always in evidence. He made friends, and he held them.
Huxley, who of all men hated piety that was flavored with hypocrisy,
loved John Fiske and once wrote this: "There was a man sent from God by
the name of John Fiske. Now John holds in his great and generous heart
the best of all the Church has to offer; hence I no longer go to
prayers, but instead, I invite John Fiske to come and dine with us every
Sunday, so are we made better--Amen."


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