Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/604
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
that certain important researches, then under way, might be completed; but the appeals in his behalf were met by a brutal reply: "The republic has no need of savants." Such was the spirit of ignorance in politics, as opposed to the spirit of science; and yet the event was so recent in history that another distinguished French chemist, Chevreul, who is still living and at work, was then eight years old. Contemporary with Lavoisier, Franklin and Rumford were eminent alike in science and in statesmanship to a degree equaled in either department by very few; and to-day Lyon Playfair, John Lubbock, and Professor Virchow are conspicuous both as investigators and in political life. In Italy, Quintino Sella has been illustrious as geologist, crystallographer, and statesman; and in our own country several men of science have shown their fitness for public affairs, and their capacity for usefulness as legislators. The "scholar in politics" may be out of place from the partisan's point of view, but not from the true statesman's. A closet scholar, who lives only in books, a visionary theorist, or a mere popular lecturer, who reflects the thoughts of others, may lack the qualities which fit a man for dealing with practical measures; but, for the careful scientific investigator who studies things for what they are, with neither fear nor prejudice, a place is surely open. Every one must admit the need of real knowledge, intelligence, and thoughtfulness in parliaments and congresses; and among the statesmen of the future, side by side with the jurist, the diplomat, and the financier, the man of science will stand as a coadjutor and equal. The dictum of the French judge is already reversed: the republic has need of savants.
By GEORGE J. ROMANES, F.R.S.
"GAVEST thou the goodly wings unto the peacocks? or wings and feathers unto the ostrich? which leaveth her eggs in the earth, and warmeth them in dust, and forgetteth that the foot may crush them, or that the wild beast may break them. . . . Because God hath deprived her of wisdom, neither hath he imparted to her understanding."
This is the oldest theory of instinct. The writer of that sublime monument of literary power in which it occurs observed a failure of instinct on the part of the ostrich, and forthwith attributed the fact to neglect on the part of the Deity; the implication plainly being that in all cases where instinct is perfect, or completely suited to the
- Address delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Friday evening, February 8, 1884.