Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 59.djvu/191

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A PLEA FOR PURE SCIENCE. i8r

where truth is inculcated, and where men are taught to take a low seat at the table in order that they may be honored by being called up higher, and not dishonored by being thrust down lower, yet these insti- tutions have thrust themselves into the highest seats, and cannot prob- ably be dislodged.

But would it not be possible to so change public opinion that no college could be founded with a less endowment than say $1,000,000, or no university with less than three or four times that amount? From the report of the Commissioner of Education I learn that such a change is taking place; that the tendency towards large institutions is increas- ing, and that it is principally in the West and Southwest that the multiplication of small institutions with big names is to be feared most, and that the East is almost ready for the great coming university.

The total wealth of the four hundred colleges and universities in 1880 was about $40,000,000 in buildings and $43,000,000 in produc- tive funds. This would be sufficient for one great university of $10,- 000,000, four of $5,000,000, and twenty-six colleges of $2,000,000 each. But such an idea can of course never be carried out. Government appropriations are out of the question, because no political trickery must be allowed around the ideal institution.

In the year 1880 the private bequests to all schools and colleges amounted to about $5,500,000; and, although there was one bequest of $1,250,000, yet the amount does not appear to be phenomenal. It would thus seem that the total amount was about five million dollars in one year, of which more than half is given to so-called colleges and universities. It would be very difficult to regulate these bequests so that they might be concentrated sufficiently to produce an immediate result. But the figures show that generosity is a prominent feature of the American people, and that the needs of the country only have to be appreciated to have the funds forthcoming. We must make the need of research and of pure science felt in the country. We must live such lives of pure devotion to our science, that all shall see that we ask for money, not that we may live in indolent ease at the expense of charity, but that we may work for that which has advanced and will advance the world more than any other subject, both intellectually and physically. We must live such lives as to neutralize the influence of those who in high places have degraded their profession, or have given themselves over to ease, and do nothing for the science which they represent. Let us do what we can with the present means at our disposal. There is not one of us who is situated in the position best adapted to bring out all his powers, and to allow him to do most for his science. All have their difficulties, and I do not think that circumstances will ever radically change a man. If a man has the instinct of research in him, it will always show itself in some form.

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