SOME years ago, in discussing the relations of scientific instruction to our industries, Huxley pointed out that we were in presence of a new 'struggle for existence,' a struggle which, once commenced must go on until only the fittest survives.
It is a struggle between organized species — nations — not between individuals or any class of individuals. It is, moreover, a struggle in which science and brains take the place of swords and sinews, on which depended the result of those conflicts which, up to the present, have determined the history and fate of nations. The school, the university, the laboratory and the workshop are the battlefields of this new warfare.
But it is evident that if this, or anything like it, be true, our industries can not be involved alone; the scientific spirit, brain-power, must not be limited to the workshop if other nations utilize it in all branches of their administration and executive.
It is a question of an important change of front. It is a question of finding a new basis of stability for the Empire in face of new conditions. I am certain that those familiar with the present states of things will acknowledge that the Prince of Wales's call, 'Wake up,' applies quite as much to the members of the government as it does to the leaders of industry.
What is wanted is a complete organization of the resources of the nation, so as to enable it best to face all the new problems which the progress of science, combined with the ebb and flow of population and other factors in international competition, are ever bringing before us. Every minister, every public department, is involved, and this being so, it is the duty of the whole nation — king, lords and commons — to do what is necessary to place our scientific institutions on a proper footing in order to enable us to 'face the music' whatever the future may bring. The idea that science is useful only to our industries comes from want of thought. If any one is under the impression that Britain is only suffering at present from the want of the scientific spirit among our industrial classes, and that those employed in the state service possess adequate brain-power and grip of the conditions
- From the address of the president of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, Southport, 1903.