Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/26

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been done. It was so skillfully managed that he could not refuse the tribute without seeming churlish. He therefore accepted it, and applied it to extending his researches in descriptive sociology.

Of the many visits which Mr. Youmans made to England, now and then extending them to the Continent, one of the most important was in 1871, for the purpose of establishing the International Scientific Series. This was a favorite scheme of Mr. Youmans. He realized that popular scientific books, adapted to the general reader, are apt to be written by third-rate men who do not well understand their subject; they are apt to be dry or superficial or both. No one can write so good a popular book as the master of a subject, if he only has a fair gift of expressing himself and keeps in mind the public for which he is writing. The master knows what to tell and what to omit, and can thus tell much in a short compass and still make it interesting; moreover, he avoids the inaccuracies which are sure to occur in second-hand work. Masters of subjects are apt, however, to be too much occupied with original research to write popular books. It was Mr. Youmans's plan to induce the leading men of science in Europe and America to contribute small volumes on their special subjects to a series to be published simultaneously in several countries and languages. Furthermore, by special contract with publishing houses of high reputation, the author was to receive the ordinary royalty on every copy of his book sold in every one of the countries in question, thus anticipating international copyright upon a very wide scale, and giving the author a much more adequate compensation for his labor. To put this scheme into operation was a task of great difficulty, so many conflicting interests had to be considered. Mr. Youmans's brilliant success is attested by that noble series of more than fifty volumes, on all sorts of scientific subjects, written by men of real eminence, and published in England, France, Italy, Germany, and Russia, as well as in the United States.

A word is all that can be spared for other parts of our friend's work, which deserve many words and those carefully considered. His book on Household Science is not the usual collection of scrappy comment, recipe, and apothegm, but a valuable scientific treatise on heat, light, air, and food in their relations to everyday life. In his Correlation of Physical Forces he brings together the epoch-making essays of the men who have successively established that doctrine, introducing them with an essay of his own in which its history and its philosophical implications are set forth in a masterly manner. In his book on the Culture demanded by Modern Life we have a similar collection of essays with a similar excellent original discussion, showing the need for wider and later training in science, and protesting against the excess of time