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Page:Littell's Living Age - Volume 130.djvu/264

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starving, and we ourselves in cold and nakedness? Mere creature comforts will do more for ourselves and for them than any bare words or a holding-up of exemplary lives. Among the women, too, more particularly, a brave burial and a worthy funeral is apparently more a matter of concern than even the loss they have sustained. All the comforting assurances with which kind neighbors ply them fail to create half as much personal satisfaction as the fact of their dead having “a decent” interment. Of all the physical conditions most conducive to a rough but ready estimate of the character of any new acquaintance, or to give you an appreciable understanding of the neighbor beside whom you chance to take your seat, and which is as quick a process of discovering the “inner man” as any I know, is most certainly a dinner. A good dinner is a very safe criterion by which to form an opinion of another, and, let me add, a bad one will do equally as well. Whatever there is of good in a man — wit or humor, consideration or want of consideration, his pet foibles, or his peculiar ambitions, will all manifest themselves, and creep out bit by bit here and them, and proclaim the man despite himself, though to be sure you may be excluded from a certain share of unequable temper, and such minor failings as are more especially reserved for home use, or rather home abuse.

From Nature.


Our readers will easily understand what sort of a foster-mother a government like that of Spain will prove to education generally, and to scientific education and inquiry in particular. Any educational institution connected with such a State must necessarily be hampered and hindered in many ways, and the only chance of obtaining perfect liberty in scientific education and instruction is in being rid of all State interference. This has been so strongly felt in Spain by some of the foremost Spanish men of science and letters that they have formed an association to found an institution for free education. A prospectus of the institution has been forwarded us, and the difficulties which beset a liberal education in Spain may be learned from the fact that it is signed by ten ex-professors of the highest standing, all of whom have been removed from their chairs by government on account of their liberal opinions. Among these are the names of Augusto G. de Linares, ex-professor of natural history at the University of Santiago, and Laureano Calderon, ex-professor of organic chemistry at the same university. The object of the association, as stated in the prospectus, is to found at Madrid a free institution dedicated to the culture and propagation of science in its various branches, specially by means of education. A sort of joint-stock company will be constituted by shares of two hundred and fifty francs, payable in four instalments between July next and April 1877. A preliminary meeting was to be held on the 1st inst. to constitute the society, and we earnestly hope that a successful start has been made. The association will be directed by a council representing all parties interested. The institution itself will, of course, be perfectly free from all religious, philosophical, or political restrictions, its only principles being the “inviolability of science” and the perfect liberty of teaching. There will be established, according to the circumstances and means of the society (1) studies for general, secondary, and professional education with the academic advantages accorded by the laws of the State (2) superior scientific studies (3) lectures and brief courses, both scientific and popular (4) competitions, prizes, publication of books and reviews, etc. The greatest precautions will be taken to obtain as professors men of undoubted probity and earnestness and of the highest competence.

We need say nothing to our readers in recommendation of the above scheme. All who sincerely desire the welfare of Spain and the spread of scientific knowledge must sympathize with its promoters, who, we have every reason to believe, are men of the highest character and competency. We hope that not a few of our readers will show their sympathy with the object of the association by sending the moderate subscription which constitutes a shareholder to M. Laureano Figuerola, Calle de Alcalá, 72, Madrid.