Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 36.djvu/37

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27
THE DECADENCE OF FARMING.

senses, the surprising transformations of which had not been shown us by their evolution, could not possibly have informed us of the true significance of those beings.

I know very well that the quality of an experimental science which I claim for zoölogy is not accorded to us by all students. Those who withhold this recognition are specialists who judge of our science by what they learned of it when they were pursuing their general studies, and when it consisted chiefly of learning names and registering characteristics. They still think it a science of words and memorizing. But we are happily able to reflect that while they have followed and pushed on the science in which they have become masters, they have concerned themselves but little with the advance of the other branches which they have not cultivated; and their present judgment is based on the condition of the science a half-century ago. I think it can be established without contradiction that there is not a zoölogist of the present day, unless he be over-rash or ambitious to enjoy the discovery of a new species, who will venture to affirm that he is acquainted with any being before he has followed its evolution. To follow the evolution, experiments must be instituted, and that constitutes experimental zoölogy. Because our science is now in a critical condition, it is most positively affirmed by the partisans of the transformist theories that it should modify its methods of investigation, and besides registering species should submit unreservedly to experimental control. Such is the conclusion which we logically reach, and which imposes itself upon us to-day. — Translated and abridged for the Popular Science Monthly from the Revue Scientifique.


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THE DECADENCE OF FARMING.

By JOEL BENTON.

SOME years ago the editor of a prominent journal sent me a slip containing a column and a half of advertisements of farms for sale, cut from a Boston daily paper. The farms offered were located in New England, where the supposed benign effect of the national Government's attempt to "diversify industry," so that farming need not be overdone, has had its supreme chance. These farms were not poor or worn out. They were in the midst of our best social culture, as developed by our most intelligent rural communities. Upon them were improvements and, in the main, good buildings. Railroads ran over or near every one of them; large factories and populous towns were near, to buy their products; schools and churches were visible, almost from their door-steps and gateways; beauty was in the landscape, and health