Page:Science and Citizenship.djvu/15
This page has been validated.
Science and Citizenship
Nevis Observatory; and as they were in this largely successful, it may be that what has been lost to the British Empire by this calamitous misadventure is to be preserved for science. A measure of the relative weight exercised in the councils of the nation by the scientific and militarist parties is seen in the annual grant made by the Central Government to the collective university chests of Great Britain and Ireland. This grant is about £100,000 per annum. That is about the sum expended in keeping in commission for a year a single first-class battleship. And if we add to this an allowance for depreciation and certain necessary incidental expenses, the annual cost of a first*class battleship would probably reach to three times the university grant, for a first-class battleship costs about a million sterling to build, and is not effective for much more than a decade; and the addition of each one to the fleet necessitates for its full efficiency an increase of dockyard and harbour accommodation, the cost of which, if it were known, would probably be found to run into hundreds of thousands of pounds. A final illustration. An eminent astronomer who had spent a long life alternately in the observatory and as professor in the university class-rooms, recently retired. That his salary had been little more than the earnings of a successful artisan need be no ground of reproach to the good scientist; but the rigid application of official regulations, framed for a somewhat dissimilar purpose, resulted in the allocation of a pension which was entirely insufficient to