Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 26.djvu/469

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453
THE LARGER IMPORT OF SCIENTIFIC EDUCATION.

Scientific education is catholic; it embraces the whole field of human learning. No student can master all knowledge in the short years of his academic life, but a young man of ability and industry may reasonably hope to master the outlines of science, obtain a deep insight into the methods of scientific research, and at the same time secure an initiation into some one of the departments of science, in such a manner that he may fully appreciate the multitude of facts upon which scientific conclusions rest, and be prepared to enter the field of scientific research himself and make additions to the sum of human knowledge. Honest investigation is but the application of common sense to the solution of the unknown. Science does not wait on Genius, but is the companion of Industry. Under the régime of the elder education, the larger number of those who prepared themselves to be scholars, by acquiring the languages in which scholarship was embodied, never passed beyond the portal to knowledge, but speedily fell back into the ranks of the unlearned. Only the few went on to explore the fields open before them; many were called, but few were chosen. Scientific education takes men at once into the very midst of the new philosophy.

There is no calling in life to which a cultured man may properly aspire in which a scientific training is not essential to success. This can not here be fully set forth, but some illustration may be given. If the scholar would devote himself to law—law itself is now a science, and, in the application of the principles of law to facts as they exist in modern civilization, a general knowledge of the facts which constitute the body of science is essential. In the East some of the greatest lawyers of the land are to-day engaged in gigantic litigation relating to the invention of the telephone, and in the far West other great lawyers are engaged in litigation relating to mines, which involve the facts and principles of geology. On every hand are kindred illustrations.

But there is a line of facts in the history of law which peculiarly illustrates this proposition. In savagery and in barbarism despotism is not highly developed. The greatest despotisms of the world were established in early civilization. In the main these despotisms were established on four fundamental ideas: first, there was property in man; second, tenure to land was feudal; third, the king was the fountain of justice; fourth, facts were established by compurgation. The last is of interest here.

In early civilization there were no proper legal methods by which to determine the facts involved in legal controversy, and, when courts were convened and juries organized, the facts were to be obtained from the averments of the interested parties, and no system of assembling evidence by witnesses, as now known in our courts, then existed. The parties to litigation, civil or criminal, made their statements and substantiated them by compurgators. Every man in an ancient commu-