Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 8.djvu/566

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

with Brother A——, whose notions were always of the most unpractical kind. He wanted us to employ specialists; men who understood thoroughly the branches they professed to teach, and who would be independent of text-books. According to his extravagant ideas, every department of knowledge is in rapid growth, and only a man who devotes himself assiduously to one study is able to teach that study in accordance with the requirements of modern times. Such nonsense as this we repudiated. Anybody of ordinary education and intelligence ought to be able to teach any subject by simply taking a textbook and keeping a lesson or two ahead of the class. As for "advanced knowledge," the "requirements of modern times," and all that sort of thing, we distrusted it totally; under such disguises, specious and pleasing, dangerous ideas would be sure to creep in and sap the foundations of our university. We must have nothing rash nor novel in our institution; only well-tried and approved knowledge should be taught by the professors. These must be, first, men of trained moral character and good denominational standing; mere familiarity with this, that, or the other study, should be a purely secondary matter.

At last, after much ill-feeling all round, our professors were appointed. Four of them were esteemed clergymen of our denomination, who, having failed at preaching, were glad to find some occupation. Thus, in divers ways, does a great university benefit the human race. Another member of the Faculty was a recent graduate of our leading theological seminary, who accepted a chair until he could find a pulpit; two others were lay brethren. We had our greatest difficulty in selecting a professor of chemistry. Several gentlemen applied, were discussed, and rejected, before we made our final choice. One, the special protégé of Brother A——, had just returned from Germany, where for three years he had been studying at Heidelberg under a certain Prof. Bunsen, who was reputed to be a very great man, but of whom we had never before heard. This young man brought strong recommendations, but appeared to be dangerous; so, as he was not a member of our sect, we rejected him. Another we were about to elect, when we discovered that he was a Darwinian and a reader of Tyndall; so he could not by any means be chosen. At last we found an apparently harmless young gentleman who had just graduated from an Eastern scientific school, and him we made our professor. Now a notable event happened. Brother A—— made a suggestion which was actually followed; namely, that we should buy some apparatus and chemicals. We at once voted to spend three hundred dollars (recently begged) for fitting up a laboratory, and appointed a committee to look after the matter. At the next meeting of the board they reported the purchase of an air-pump, an electrical machine, some acids, a little phosphorus, a large gas-bag, and several retorts. These being the appliances most frequently mentioned