Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 87.djvu/104

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100
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY

THE PROGRESS OF SCIENCE

THE REPUBLIC OF LETTERS AND OF SCIENCE

The importance of maintaining good will between the scientific men and the men of letters of the different nations is so great that we are glad to have the opportunity of printing here the remarks made by Professor Heinrich Morf at the opening of his winter course at the University of Berlin. As translated for us by Miss Agatha Schurz, Professor Morf said:

"On the morning of the first day of August I closed these lectures on the history of French literature. All hope of preserving peace had not yet vanished at that hour, and I belonged to the optimists. My optimism, however, was put in the wrong by the course of events, and we are now living in a state Of war.

"The terrible conflict of arms is also a, conflict of minds. Who could pride himself—if, indeed, it were a matter of pride—on having preserved his perfect composure! Even those who are not directly involved in the strife of arms, the neutrals, take sides spiritually and morally. The whole world is divided and torn into two great hostile camps. The greater part of the Latin world is our enemy. The intellectual bridges which connect nations seem to have been shattered, and across the yawning abyss ugly and agitated words are flying back and forth. The worst civil war is raging in the Republica litterarum, in the domains of science and art, which at other times unite all mankind and make of them world-citizens of a Civitas Dei.

"But of that civil war of the world let us not speak here. We have met for a labor of peace. The appeal which we teachers of German universities sent out into a world torn by war begins with the words 'We professors at Germany's universities serve science and devote ourselves to a labor of peace. As soon as your teacher has ascended this platform and has closed the door of this lecture-room to the outer world, we shall and must turn away our thoughts for an hour from that which day and night oppresses our hearts, and we must compel our minds to concentrate on scientific work. The passions of the day must not enter here: we will leave them behind us. Science demands of us this act of self-discipline and of self-control. Whoever does not feel capable of it will not be able to serve science or to enter into any close relation to her; he will remain unsatisfied even in this lecture-hall devoted to her service.

"I should like to speak to you here of the French culture of the past, just as I have always done since I first took upon myself, thirty-five years ago, this task in Bern, on the borderland of the French and German languages. At that time I referred to Goethe, as I do to-day; for he has taught us that, with sympathetic interest for the culture of the Latin peoples, may be combined a deep love for the Teutonic, for our own. For all these years I have spoken to German youth of these Latin subjects with a feeling born of respectful regard for what is foreign to us, and of love for what is our own. That they appreciate what I have done they have kindly proved to me, even in these dreadful days, when friendly notes from writers personally unknown to me have reached me from the western front, expressing grateful remembrance of the hours when they had here studied French culture with me.

"The purely scientific character of these lectures, therefore, will not be changed. I should like, as heretofore, to train your minds to a scientific mode