Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/861

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THE Montreal Congress of British Scientists, which was at first thought to be a very dubious experiment, turned out a success. Some nine or ten hundred members of the British Association crossed the sea, and, with the accessions from Canada, and a strong representation from the United States, the meeting became very large, and a great deal of excellent work was done. The address of the president-elect, and the inaugural addresses of the presidents of the several sections—of Sir William Thomson in Physics, of Sir Henry Roscoe in Chemistry, of Professor Blanford in Geology, of Professor Moseley in Biology, of Sir J. H. Lefroy in Geography, of Sir Richard Temple in Economics and Statistics, of Sir F. J. Bramwell in Mechanics, and of Mr. E. B. Tylor in Anthropology—were all productions of high, if not exceptional, ability. Many important papers were contributed to the several sections, while the attendance upon their meetings was large and the interest well sustained. Of course, the Canadians were delighted, as they had a right to be. They were proud of the compliment paid to the Dominion by the coming of so dignified and distinguished a body of scientific men to hold one of its customary meetings in Montreal; and were especially pleased that the Queen should have graciously conferred the honor of knighthood upon their leading man of science, Principal Dawson. Of course, there were inconveniences accompanying so large a gathering in a city not provided with accommodations on the largest scale. The reception at the Redpath Museum, given by McGill University, was a painful crush, productive of far more discomfort than pleasure, but the accommodations for the practical work of the sections iq the university were more satisfactory. Every hospitality was extended to the strangers by the citizens of Montreal, and the press of that city manifested a creditable enterprise in reporting the proceedings and publishing important papers. The Governor-General, in his address of welcome, as was natural for a politician, used the occasion to magnify Canada as an important constituent of the British Empire, and appreciated the immense advertising that would come from this visit of the home scientists. Altogether, it was a memorable occasion; everybody was gratified, and its influence will, beyond doubt, be most favorable to the cause of science.




The inaugural address of Professor Lord Rayleigh at Montreal, which we push in full, is an able discussion. As a review of the recent progress of physics it is very instructive, full of practical suggestions, and fair to the workers of aU countries. But there is one feature of it which we think deserves especial commendation, and that is the independent and common-sense way in which it refers to the issue between the dead languages and scientific education. He might easily have evaded the subject, and, being a Cambridge man, it was rather to be expected that he would lean toward the side of tradition. But he did not shrink from his duty to recognize the importance of the question on this conspicuous occasion, and to represent decisively its scientific side. The position which he took was moderate but firm, and he indorses with emphasis the main propositions advocated by the friends of scientific education. He