Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 22.djvu/561

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SKETCH OF HENRI MILNE-EDWARDS.

will not apply. No educated person doubts that the earth is a sphere; but few of these can prove that it is so by means of facts with which they are acquainted, though a simple law of geometry is able to prove the fact.

The average occupations of young men require nothing more than stored minds and powers of observation; consequently, our competitive examinations serve to some extent to bring to the front such qualifications. But it is not among such that we obtain our discoverers, inventors, great statesmen, or good generals. The mere routine man will almost invariably bring about a disaster when he has novel conditions to deal with; and as a rule the routine youth comes out best at an examination.

At the present time we have apparently no accurate test by which to measure the relative brain-power of individuals. Competitive examinations can not do so, for the reasons that we have stated. Success in life is, again, dependent on so many influences quite outside of the individual that this success is no test. The accumulation of money—that is "getting rich"—is too often but the results of selfishness and cruel bargains, and can not be invariably accepted as a proof of brain-power.

Considering these facts, therefore, it appears that just as intellect is invisible, so the relative power of intellect is immeasurable; and instead of forming hasty conclusions as to the relative powers of two men, from the results of examinations, we may perceive that by such means we may be selecting those only who, under certain conditions, have succeeded in storing their minds with the facts required for that examination.—Chambers's Journal.

 

SKETCH OF HENRI MILNE-EDWARDS.

ON the 3d of April, 1881, a medal, bought with the subscriptions of the scientific men and friends of science of various nations, was presented to M. Henri Milne-Edwards by a committee of representative French men of science, in honor of the completion of his great work on "Comparative Physiology and Anatomy." This magnificent treatise—of which M. Blanchard, in making one of the presentation speeches, said: "Many authors have, with more or less of success, published treatises for those who were studying; M. Milne-Edwards alone has made one for masters"—was the fitting consummation to which nearly sixty years of scientific labor had consistently led.

M. Milne-Edwards was born on the 23d of October, 1800, at Bruges, Belgium, of English parentage, his family having come from