Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/169

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individual wills; and laws the disregard of which must be fraught with disaster.

And then, in the third place, there is that mass of guiding information yielded by the records of law-making in our own country and in other countries, which still more obviously demands attention. Here and elsewhere attempts of multitudinous kinds, made by kings and statesmen, have failed to do the good intended and have worked unexpected evils. Century after century new measures like the old ones, and other measures akin in principle, have again disappointed hopes and again brought disaster. And yet it is thought neither by electors nor by those they elect that there is any need for systematic study of that legislation which in by-gone ages went on working the ill-being of the people when it tried to achieve their well-being. Surely there can be no fitness for legislative functions without wide knowledge of those legislative experiences which the past has bequeathed.

Reverting, then, to the analogy drawn at the outset, we must say that the legislator is morally blameless or morally blameworthy according as he has or has not acquainted himself with these several classes of facts. A physician who, after years of study, has gained a competent knowledge of physiology, pathology and therapeutics, is not held criminally responsible if a man dies under his treatment; he has prepared himself as well as he can, and has acted to the best of his judgment. Similarly the legislator whose measures produce evil instead of good, notwithstanding the extensive and methodic inquiries which helped him to decide, can not be held to have committed more than an error of reasoning. Contrariwise, the legislator who is wholly or in great measure uninformed concerning these masses of facts which he must examine before his opinion on a proposed law can be of any value, and who nevertheless helps to pass that law, can no more be absolved if misery and mortality result, than the journeyman druggist can be absolved when death is caused by the medicine he ignorantly prescribes.



THE sexual generation of a plant is that stage in its life-history which bears the male and female organs, while the asexual generations are those having no sexuality manifest. The two kinds of generations frequently follow each other in alternate order, when there is what is known as an alternation of generations.

Growing plants continue to increase in size in a well-defined manner for a time, and then a single cell, or a small group of cells, begins on a new line of development. This new growth finally becomes de-