THE biologist, like other organisms, has been evolved. The mutations of the Greek and Roman period never established themselves as permanent stocks. They were crushed out by that rank growth of political and theological weeds that finally destroyed itself by its own vegetative excesses. The prototype of the biologist of to-day is essentially a modern product and came into existence with the Renaissance. He is the man who lighted our torch of learning and handed it on to us. But this naturalist of the early days bears almost no resemblance to his modern descendant. Like all reformers, he was an eccentric oblivious alike to popular praise and ridicule. I picture him now with his collecting net under his arm, his hat bristling with the pinned trophies of the hunt, and the pockets of his great coat distended with bottles and phials, which, be it said to his honor, came home fuller in contents than they went out. He widened our horizon by discovering a charm in the reptile and the worm and, with his hand-lens as an instrument of war, he conquered the unknown inhabitants of slimy pools and green puddles. He was indeed in all respects the veritable "bug hunter." I might here quote with perfect appropriateness as descriptive of his sympathy with nature, a certain well-known passage about books in brooks and sermons in stones but I have been instructed to avoid anything that resembled a Phi Beta Kappa oration and so I desist.
Lest you think I have overdrawn my picture of our ancient progenitor, let me read to you a sentence or two from the pen of one who well represented his class and whose book, a "Syonymic Catalogue of the Macrolepidoptera of North America," was a delight to my boyish heart. I quote a few sentences of advice as to costume.
- An address delivered at the annual banquet of the Brown University chapter of Sigma Xi, May 28, 1913.