Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/512

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into the work, were alike unparalleled; while the course he pursued has turned out as wise for his own fame as it has proved favorable to the interests of advancing knowledge.

It is well known that Prof. Agassiz was a man of strong personality. He had great enthusiasm and impulsiveness, and the whole fervor and intensity of his nature was spent in the single-minded pursuit of science. Not content with what he could himself know, and do, and enjoy, he was powerfully impelled to make others the sharers of his knowledge, his activity, and his pleasures. He not only won them to him by his geniality, and his cordial and unaffected manners, but he inspired them with his own purposes, and moved them to his own ends. Sympathetic with all who were interested in science, he especially fascinated young men, and the ranks of our naturalists are full of those who were recruited to the work by his agency, among whom may be mentioned Verrill, Stimson, Clark, Hyatt, Putnam, Packard, Scudder, Hartt, Tenney, Morse, Niles, and Bickmore. One of his students writes of him as follows:

"Agassiz's enthusiasm did not consist merely in scientific investigation and in earnest words, but also in earnest deeds in relation to others, and especially in relation to young men. Wherever he saw a student who would study Nature, he opened the way for him, took him into his laboratory, spread his treasures before him and directed his studies, and this too without any expectation or thought of a pecuniary reward as a return. Indeed, I do not know of a single student who ever paid him a dollar as tuition for his instruction in natural history studies. Young men came and staid and studied as long as they would, and, as far as tuition was concerned, without money and without price. To the present writer he said, twenty years ago: 'Whenever you get ready to study natural history, come to Cambridge, and remember it will not cost you a cent of money.'"

But Prof. Agassiz's influence was far from being confined to a small class of congenial students; it was very powerful upon the general public. A republican by nativity, and a republican by adoption, he was also a republican in sympathy and in principle, by association and habit. Although coming to this country as a great man from Europe, he had no factitious dignity to sustain, and no scruples to overcome, in plunging at once into the work of popular teaching. Entering early and fully into the spirit of our institutions, he went among the people at large, gave courses of lectures upon zoology in all the chief towns of the country, and was indefatigable in the diffusion of knowledge, and in awakening a higher appreciation of science among the people. In this he was wise and sagacious to the specific ends he had in view, for he well understood that in this country the prosperity of science is ultimately bound up with its public appreciation. In this field of effort too he was preeminently successful. As Mr. Beecher remarks, in the Christian Union:

"Agassiz stepped upon the lecture platform in Boston, and day after day fascinated a great audience with the fairy tales of science and the long result of time. That appreciation might have been predicted of Boston culture, perhaps. But when the master took his black-board and his problems to the smaller cities, drawing his queer diagrams, and unfolding their vast meaning before lyceum associations, normal schools, colleges, high-schools, those benches, too, were crowded with eager and intelligent listeners. It was Agassiz who made straight the path of Tyndall last winter, created the demand for Huxley's lectures, and made The Popular Science Monthly as much a necessity as Harper or the Atlantic. It was Agassiz whose large intent laid the cornerstone of our institutes of techology, and scientific schools in colleges."

But no estimate of Prof. Agassiz's real work among the American people will be just that stops here. True, he gave his best powers to the instruction of teachers, farmers, mechanics, and artisans, but it was not merely as a