Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/383

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369
EDITOR’S TABLE.

have been established in connection with various of the old European universities; and although we, in this country, have had chairs, and schools, and museums of natural history, connected with our colleges, or apart from them, yet the provision made for biological study in the organization of the Johns Hopkins University at Baltimore marks a decisive step forward in the educational treatment of this important subject.

We give our readers the able inaugural address of Prof. Martin in entering upon his work at Baltimore, and they will be repaid by a careful perusal of it. The statement of principles, purposes, and plans, is excellent; and if they are carried out intelligently and perseveringly, as there is no reason to doubt they will be. the results cannot fail to be in a high degree advantageous. The proposed mode of combining original work with practical teaching is full of promise. Prof. Martin dispels the erroneous and injurious notion, too current, that original work means great discoveries. He points out how students of but ordinary capacity may yet do something to extend the boundaries of knowledge, while at the same time the important ends will be secured of mastering the true methods of inquiry, of making solid acquisitions, and of being able to teach from an actual understanding of the subject. What he says of the influence of scientific study, when conducted by proper methods, and in its genuine spirit, in cultivating the love of strict truth, and the mental habit of seeking it as the supreme thing, deserves the most serious attention. How to include a thorough discipline in truth-seeking, in our systems of education, is the problem of problems yet to be solved. No one who goes to church, or drops into the court-room, or visits our halls of legislation, or reads the newspapers, can fail to see that, with all their learning and volubility, our cultivated men are still very much in Pilate's state of mind in regard to truth. It may not be possible for all educated people to get the benefits of biological training as a part of culture, but the most salutary results will come from making scientific training an integral and established part of higher education. When thorough scientific culture once gets a fair foothold in our colleges and universities, so that its results can be compared with the purely literary training that now prevails, its influence will soon be felt, and we may safely leave the rival methods to the operation of natural selection. Meantime, our teachers will do well to consider carefully Prof. Martin's suggestions, and set themselves to the inquiry, how far it may be in their power to make application of them, in modified ways, in their own sphere of activity.

 

 

PROFESSOR HUXLEY ON THE HORSE.

We publish this month the third lecture of Prof. Huxley, as corrected by himself for The Popular Science Monthly, and accurately illustrated under the supervision of Prof. Marsh, of New Haven. The lecture deals mainly with the genealogy of the horse as traced far back into geological antiquity, by the discovery of successive fossil forms in successive strata or deposits. These forms are so closely related, and exhibit so graduated a series of modifications, as to establish the fact of a genetic and derivative relation from the lowest to the highest. The fossil terms of this series were already so far made out in Europe as to satisfy paleontologists there that the pedigree of the horse is established; but, by recent discoveries on this continent, the ancestral chain has been traced still farther back, so as greatly to strengthen the conclusion reached by foreign investigators. To the three ancestral forms found in Europe, which go back to what the geologists call the Miocene, Prof. Marsh had added two others, car-