Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/352

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the-way village in Kent. There, partly compelled by ill-health, he dwelt as a recluse for forty years, serenely contemplating nature and diligently gathering information, but seldom emerging into the world from which his richly-stored and phenomenally creative intellect had little to gain, but to which it never ceased to give, during the remainder of his life. Bare knowledge he welcomed from any source, but opinions and deductions he invariably produced for himself. What he wrote to H. W. Bates, who complained of a want of advice, is true of Darwin himself: "Part of your great originality of views," he said, "may be due to the necessity of self-exertion of thought." What has been said by his son Francis is equally true of Mr. Darwin—one of his most striking characteristics was "that supreme power of seeing and thinking what the rest of the world had overlooked."

Mr. Darwin was what we are accustomed to call a genius, but I know of no good definition of a genius but a man of insight. The person who by his unaided mental vision is able to see into and through problems which to other men are baffling or insoluble, has the highest right to be considered inspired. Darwin's wonderful endowment in this respect constituted him, by divine right, a leader of men. The world has always justly honored its standard bearers and we are here to pay homage to the name of one of the most attractive and commanding of them all. In other parts of this city and of this land, our fellow-citizens are gathering to-day to pay grateful tribute to the estimable character, and to recall the memorable deeds of a great emancipator. We likewise are celebrating the beneficent acts of a man, simple and modest as that other, who, at a critical period, spoke courageous words which conferred freedom on millions of his fellow creatures. It is altogether fitting that the birthdays of these two benefactors should be the same.

We now dedicate this monument in this approprite place not only to the honor and memory of Charles Darwin the great thinker, whose life and personality we admire, but also to the encouragement and guidance of all who may hereafter frequent these halls—as a testimony to the power of self-reliance and independence of mind which Charles Darwin preeminently exemplified and illustrated. May this portrait of a noble truth-seeker which we now unveil, signify, for all time to come, to him who would advance the boundaries of scientific knowledge that nature will yield up her secrets only when appealed to directly and in humility and purity of spirit.