Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 16.djvu/124

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114
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

those who read the criticism can themselves be in a position to estimate the full extent of its impudence; and for this reason I have taken the trouble to show how, as a criticism, it is beneath contempt—useful only as a warning to those whom it concerns to abstain from meddling with any subject which, neither by mental constitution, thought, nor training, are they in the lowest degree competent to treat.—Fortnightly Review.

 
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THE INAUGURATION OF ARAGO'S STATUE.

THE statue to Arago recently unveiled at Perpignan is not the first erected to that great astronomer and greater physicist. In 1867 M. Isaac Pereire, then representative of the native place of Arago in the Imperial Chamber of Deputies, erected one at his own expense at Estagel. The inauguration was accompanied by speeches delivered by the generous donor, M. Bertrand, the Perpetual Secretary of the Academy of Sciences, and others. It was stated then that Arago had supported against his own party the construction of the railways by public companies, and had been grossly abused by some of his political friends. Although a political leader, it must be said, to the glory of Arago, that he never was influenced by party considerations. He was always writing, and speaking, and voting according to the dictamina of his own judgment. These facts should be remembered, as efforts have been made, in the recent Arago celebration, to degrade him into a mere politician, which never was the case. Arago was made a member of the Provisional Government of France in February, 1848; it was owing to his personal exertion that the abolition decree was proclaimed before the convocation of the National Assembly. It is true that he was appointed in the beginning of May one of the quinquemvirs of the Executive Commission. But this Government was overthrown by the popular rising of the end of June, and from that time he abstained from taking any prominent part in politics.

Arago was not rich, his works having been mostly published in the "Annuaire du Bureau des Longitudes" without any copyright, and sold for the benefit of the Bureau, of which he was the most influential member. His paying works were all of them posthumous, and edited by M. Barras, the Perpetual Secretary of the Agricultural Society of France. The sale was not so large as anticipated, and the publisher who purchased the copyright from the inheritors failed. The sale of the "Annuaire" was so large during Arago's lifetime that the Bureau had a profit by it. Since his death it has become necessary to provide special funds for the publication of that useful work.

Arago had no salary at all as director of the Observatory. He was