Lord Rosebery, in the address to a Chamber of Commerce from which I have already quoted, expressed his opinion that such bodies do not exercise so much influence as might be expected of them. But if commercial men do not use all the power their organization provides, do they not by having built up such an organization put us students of science to shame, who are still the most disorganized members of the community?
Here, in my opinion, we have the real reason why the scientific needs of the nation fail to command the attention either of the public or of successive governments. At present, appeals on this or on that behalf are the appeals of individuals; science has no collective voice on the larger national questions; there is no organized body which formulates her demands.
During many years it has been part of my duty to consider such matters, and I have been driven to the conclusion that our great crying need is to bring about an organization of men of science and all interested in science, similar to those which prove so effective in other branches of human activity. For the last few years I have dreamt of a Chamber, Guild, League, call it what you will, with a wide and large membership, which should give us what, in my opinion, is so urgently needed. Quite recently I sketched out such an organization, but what was my astonishment to find that I had been forestalled, and by the founders of the British Association!
At the commencement of this address I pointed out that one of the objects of the Association, as stated by its founders, was 'to obtain a more general attention to the objects of science and a removal of any disadvantages of a public kind which impede its progress.'
Every one connected with the British Association from its beginning may be congratulated upon the magnificent way in which the other objects of the Association have been carried out, but as one familiar with the Association for the last forty years, I can not but think that the object to which I have specially referred has been too much overshadowed by the work done in connection with the others.
A careful study of the early history of the association leads me to the belief that the function I am now dwelling on was strongly in the minds of the founders; but be this as it may, let me point out how admirably the organization is framed to enable men of science to influence public opinion and so to bring pressure to bear upon governments which follow public opinion. (1) Unlike all the other chief metropolitan societies, its outlook is not limited to any branch or branches of science. (2) We have a wide and numerous fellowship, including both the leaders and the lovers of science, in which all branches of science are and always have been included with the utmost catholicity—a condition which renders strong committees possible on