Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/377

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363
EDITOR'S TABLE.

one who reads the marvelous revelations of the works of God which this learned naturalist has published can for a moment doubt the existence of the divine wisdom which pervades the realms of Nature.

R. M. K. Ormsby.
Chester Hill, N. T., November 27, 1876.
 

 

To the Editor of the Popular Science Monthly.

Dear Sir: In a letter addressed to you, and published in your columns, from the pen of Thomas Meehan, Esq., in which he is "getting right on the record," I am disturbed by the following expression in reference to my Buffalo address: "Prof. Morse could only help me with the audience by remarking, 'We all know that Mr. Meehan is a Darwinian, and an evolutionist, but must say he has an odd way of putting it.' That my good friend does not regard me as much of either is, however, clear, from his making no reference to any of my labors in his 'History of Evolution.'"

The reader of this might think that I had either overlooked the interesting contributions of Mr. Meehan in the "Proceedings" of the Philadelphia Academy, and his own journal, or else had done him a manifest injustice. That I am not guilty, either of oversight or injustice in this matter, the following lines from my Buffalo address will prove:" A review of the work accomplished by American students, bearing upon the doctrine of descent, must of necessity be brief. Even a review of a moiety of the work is beyond the limits of an address of this nature. And for obvious reasons I must needs here restrict it to one branch of biology, namely, zoölogy. The obvious reason is that I am not a botanist, therefore no reference is made to the works of Dr. Gray, Mr. Meehan, Prof. Beal, and others, who have made valuable contributions to the subject. In the solitary case where I alluded to the fertilization of yucca, it was to show the curious moth Pronuba, so admirably described by Prof. Riley, as an insect showing peculiar adaptations for the work in hand.

Edward S. Morse.
Salem, Massachusetts, November 4, 1876.
 


EDITOR'S TABLE.

PHILANTHROPIC FANATICISM AGAINST SCIENCE.

REFERENCE has been repeatedly made in our pages to an English Parliamentary Commission, appointed to inquire into the practice of vivisection, or experiments upon living animals, made for scientific purposes by the physiologists of that country. The inquiry was the consequence of a prolonged and intense public agitation, in which the sympathies of the people were excited, and their indignation aroused, by frightful stories of cruelty deliberately and wantonly perpetrated upon innocent animals under the pretext of advancing scientific knowledge. The movement was systematically and skillfully engineered by those who make philanthropy a business. Money was plentifully contributed by the rich to carry it on, and with plenty of money there is never any difficulty in engaging the press in a good work. Appealing to the sensibilities by exaggerated accounts of the way poor animals were tortured, the subject naturally took a deep hold of the sympathies of women, and its measures were promoted and sustained by many ladies of wealth and high social position, and were understood to be warmly encouraged by the queen herself. But the humane feelings of both sexes were profoundly stirred by the tales of atrocity that were circulated, so that the scientific physiologists of the country began to be looked upon as fiends, reveling in the infliction of agony upon helpless animals. The stories, of course, were unscrupulous exaggerations, or arrant lies, but the public is a great believer and fond of pungent sensations, while fervid philanthropy is not apt to trouble itself much about cool matters of evidence. The Parliamentary Commission, con-