Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 48.djvu/122

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112
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

acts of insubordination. Where candor is permitted he is apt to prove himself an exceedingly acute critic of the system which is imposed on him.

All this, moreover, seems to show that a child objects not only to the particular administration under which he happens to live, but to all law, as implying restraints on free activity. Thus, from the child's point of view, so far as we have yet examined it, punishment as such is a thing which ought not to be.

So strong and deep-reaching is this antagonism to law and its restraints apt to be that the childish longing to be "big" is, I believe, grounded on the expectation of liberty. To be big means to the child more than anything else to be rid of all this imposition of commands, to be able to do what one likes without interference from others. This longing may grow intense in the breast of a quite small child. "Do you know," asked a little fellow of four years, "what I shall do when I'm a big man? I'll go to a shop and buy a bun and pick out all the currants." This funny story is characteristic of the movements of young desire. The small prohibition not to pick out the currants is one that may chafe to soreness a child's sensibility.


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SKETCH OF ALEXANDER DALLAS BACHE.

THE life which is to be sketched in the following pages contributes support to the doctrine that what a man is to be, or, rather, what he is capable of being, is mainly determined by what his parents and ancestors have been. According to the doctrine of heredity, it is not surprising that Bache, descended from illustrious progenitors on both sides of his family, should himself achieve intellectual eminence. As he received an education that was very appropriate for the work he was to perform, his career does not give any help in answering the question whether heredity is or is not stronger than training.

His most important work is instructive in another way. It shows how effective efforts for the advancement of knowledge made by the power and resources of a great government can be when the right man is secured to direct them, just as other instances have made plain how wasteful and demoralizing such efforts may become when unwisely managed.

Alexander Dallas Bache was born in Philadelphia, July 19, 1806. His father, Richard Bache, was a grandson of Benjamin Franklin, being one of the eight children of Richard Bache, Postmaster-General from 1776 to 1782, and Franklin's only daughter, Sarah. His mother, Sophia Burret (Dallas), was a daughter of