EDWARD L. YOUMANS, the projector of this magazine, and its editor from the opening number, died at his home in this city on the morning of Tuesday, January 18th, in the sixty-sixth year of his age. For nearly forty years he has been before the public as a teacher of science, either through his published works, on the lecture-platform, or in an editorial capacity; and though it may almost be said that he was cut off in the prime of his intellectual powers, it has been the fortune of few men of his generation to accomplish a larger amount of useful work. Leaving it to others who, less drawn by ties of kindred, and less dominated by the influence of long association, will be more competent to measure the impress he has made upon American ideas, it will be proper here to refer to the purposes and hopes which animated Professor Youmans in the establishment and conduct of "The Popular Science Monthly."
For years before the plan of the publication took definite form, he was frequently heard to deplore the inhospitable attitude of the periodical press, particularly in this country, toward the growing influence of science in the world of modern thought, and it was in order to open a way by which this influence might the more readily find access to the educated classes that the publication of the "Monthly" was first resolved upon. One of the earliest obstacles encountered, even before the magazine was fairly under way, was the active hostility of more than one of the leading periodicals of that time. The conductors of several of these journals, literary as well as religious, were intolerant of the views to which it was, among other things, the purpose of the "Monthly" to offer a channel of expression. Indeed, not only did they refrain from printing the writings of the leading scientific thinkers, but they seemed ever ready to condemn any means that might be employed to bring those writings before the public where they could be judged upon their merits. This was so much the case fifteen years ago, when the "Monthly" was started, that not one of the prominent magazines in the country would publish Mr. Spencer's papers on the "Study of Sociology"; yet so great was the change in public sentiment on these subjects, wrought by the "Monthly" under the guidance of Professor Youmans, that two of these very journals were among the earliest and most liberal applicants for Mr. Spencer's philosophical favors when he visited America ten years later.
Professor Youmans's conduct of this magazine has been marked by a sincere devotion to the search for truth and the diffusion of the most enlarged knowledge; by a careful exclusion of the merely sensational; by a vigilant solicitude to avoid misleading its readers through putting forth as science the unaccredited theories which so persistently seek public expression—with a quick readiness to correct errors into which he may have been inadvertently betrayed; and by a watchful care to keep abreast of the progress of science, particularly in its bearing on philosophy, education, ethics, social economy, etc.; and, above all, by constant adherence to the principle that "the highest value of science is derived from its power of advancing the public good."
Loyalty to the spirit and principles thus outlined was indicated in the opening announcement of the "Editor's Table" of the first number of the "Monthly," where it was declared that