Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 18.djvu/171

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cession by inheritance is thus the principle of social rigidity; while succession by efficiency is the principle of social plasticity.

Though to make coöperation possible, and therefore to facilitate social growth, there must be organization, yet the organization formed impedes further growth; since further growth implies reorganization, which the existing organization resists.

So that while, at each stage, better immediate results may be achieved by completing organization, they must be at the expense of better ultimate results. These are to be achieved by carrying organization at each stage no further than is needful for the orderly carrying on of social actions.

By Professor T. H. HUXLEY, F. R. S.

SIX years ago, as some of my present hearers may remember, I had the privilege of addressing a large assemblage of the inhabitants of this city, who had gathered together to do honor to the memory of their famous townsman, Joseph Priestley; and, if any satisfaction attaches to posthumous glory, we may hope that the manes of the burned-out philosopher were then finally appeased. No man, however, who is endowed with a fair share of common sense and not more than a fair share of vanity, will identify either contemporary or posthumous fame with the highest good; and Priestley's life leaves no doubt that he, at any rate, set a much higher value upon the advancement of knowledge and the promotion of that freedom of thought which is at once the cause and the consequence of intellectual progress.

Hence I am disposed to think that, if Priestley could be among us to-day, the occasion of our meeting would afford him even greater pleasure than the proceedings which celebrated the centenary of his chief discovery. The kindly heart would be moved, the high sense of social duty would be satisfied, by the spectacle of well-earned wealth, neither squandered in tawdry luxury and vainglorious show, nor scattered with the careless charity which blesses neither him that gives nor him that takes, but expended in the execution of a well-considered plan for the aid of present and future generations of those who are willing to help themselves.

We shall all be of one mind thus far. But it is needful to share Priestley's keen interest in physical science; to have learned, as he had learned, the value of scientific training in fields of inquiry apparently far remote from physical science; to appreciate, as he would

  1. An address delivered on the occasion of the opening of Sir Josiah Mason's Science College, at Birmingham, England, on October 1, 1880.