Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 72.djvu/261

From Wikisource
Jump to navigation Jump to search
This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.

have cheapened products everywhere, while increasing the rewards of labor; the beef of our southwest and. the wheat of the northwest can be sold in London at profit to the producer, and famine in any part of the civilized world is almost impossible; the coal of southwestern Virginia has been sold in Boston at profit for less than the freight to tidewater, thirty years ago, when the transporting companies were losing money; improved methods of refining petroleum have reduced the cost of illuminating oil to a small part of the price of thirty-five years ago, have carried light literally into the dark places of earth, have lengthened man's day by three hours and have given to agricultural communities a social and intellectual life previously impossible; mechanical and sanitary engineers have made possible the compulsory introduction into tenements of comforts and conveniences which, half a century ago, were considered luxuries even in the homes of the wealthy. These and a multitude of other changes for the better, due to men trained in applied science, for the most part in schools of applied science, have in very truth brought the ends of the world together and given us a better sense of the brotherhood of man. One may look forward confidently to the time when bricklaying will be as dependent on scientific principles as brickmaking now is, when the laborer will be a skilled workman and the mechanic a graduate of the schools; when in all our literary institutions training in every department will be supplemented by drill in the scientific mode of thought, that men may be taught how to make inductions safely.

That no young man was found anxious or even desirous of spending his life as teacher of engineering at meager salary amid undesirable surroundings, practically without any reward except that of a good conscience, is not surprising. There would have been ground for surprise if one had been found. No doubt similar success would have attended a hunt among law schools. It is probable that not more than a few score of persons had ever heard that teaching of engineering is a part of missionary work, and it is equally probable that no one, aside from the few score, had ever thought of it as a possibility any more than that of teaching American law. It might have been equally difficult, prior to the establishment of medical missions, to find volunteers in a medical school.

Men, desirous of spending their life in work merely for the good they may do or who are willing to devote themselves to their work for the work's sake, without reference to their own future or to that of their families, be they geologists, ethnologists or missionaries, are very few—and one may say, that, all in all, it is well for the race that the number of such self-sacrificing men and women is small. Persons of that type choose some course which will lead to the attainment of their object. Those desiring to be missionaries take either medical or theo-