Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 19.djvu/794

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ments. And these traits of individual nature, needful concomitants as we see of the militant type, are those which we observe in the members of actual militant societies.



By the President, Sir JAMES PAGET.

AS I look around this hall my admiration is moved not only by the number and total power of the minds which are here, but by their diversity, a diversity in which I believe they fairly represent the whole of those who are engaged in the cultivation of our science. For here are minds representing the distinctive characters of all the most gifted and most educated nations: characters still distinctly national, in spite of the constantly increasing intercourse of the nations. And from many of these nations we have both elder and younger men; thoughtful men and practical; men of fact and men of imagination; some confident, some skeptic; various, also, in education, in purpose and mode of study, in disposition, and in power. And scarcely less various are the places and all the circumstances in which those who are here have collected and have been using their knowledge. For I think that our calling is preëminent in its range of opportunities for scientific study. It is not only that the pure science of human life may match with the largest of the natural sciences in the complexity of its subject-matter; not only that the living human body is, in both its material and its indwelling forces, the most complex thing yet known, but that in our practical duties this most complex thing is presented to us in an almost infinite multiformity. For in practice we are occupied, not with a type and pattern of the human nature, but with all its varieties in all classes of men, of every age and every occupation, and all climates and all social states; we have to study men singly and in multitudes, in poverty and in wealth, in wise and unwise living, in health and all the varieties of disease; and we have to learn, or at least try to learn, the results of all these conditions of life, while in successive generations and in the mingling of families they are heaped together, confused, and always changing. In every one of all these conditions, man, in mind and body, must be studied by us; and every one of them offers some different problems for inquiry and solution. Wherever our duty or our scientific curiosity, or, in happy combination, both, may lead us, there are the materials and there the opportunities for separate original research.

Now, from these various opportunities of study, men are here in