Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 37.djvu/23

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EDWARD LIVINGSTON YOUMANS.

to publish, it, which, was, of course, a grave mistake from the business point of view. Mr. Youmans, however, was not sorry for this, for it gave him the opportunity to place Mr. Spencer's books where he could do most to forward their success.

Some years before, during his blindness, his sister had led him one day into the store of Messrs. D. Appleton & Co. in quest of a book, and Mr. William H. Appleton had become warmly interested in him. I believe the firm now look back to this chance visit as one of the most auspicious events in their annals. He became by degrees a kind of adviser as regarded matters of publication, and it was largely through his far-sighted advice that the Appletons entered upon the publication of such books as those of Buckle, Darwin, Huxley, Tyndall, Haeckel, and others of like character, always paying a royalty to the authors, the same as to American authors, in spite of the absence of an international copyright law. As publishers of books of this sort the Appletons have come to be pre-eminent. It is obvious enough nowadays that such books are profitable from a business point of view. But thirty years and more ago this was by no means obvious. We were very provincial. Reprints of English books, translations from French and German, were sadly behind the times. In the Connecticut town where I lived people would begin to wake up to the existence of some great European book or system of thought after it had been before the world anywhere from a dozen to fifty years. In those days, therefore, it required some boldness to undertake the reprinting of new scientific books, and none have recognized more freely than the Appletons the importance of the part played by Mr. Youmans in this matter. His work as adviser to a great publishing house and his work as lecturer re-enforced each other, and thus his capacity for usefulness was much increased.

When Mr. Spencer's book on Education failed to find favor in Boston, the Appletons took it, and thus presently secured the management of the philosophical series. This brought Mr. Youmans into permanent relations with Mr. Spencer and his work. In 1861 Mr. Youmans was married, and in the course of the following year made a journey in Europe with his wife. It was now that he became personally acquainted with Mr. Spencer, and found him quite as interesting and admirable as his books. Friendships were also begun with Huxley and other foremost men of science. From more than one of these men I have heard the warmest expressions of personal affection for Mr. Youmans, and of keen appreciation of the aid that they have obtained in innumerable ways from his intelligent and enthusiastic sympathy. But no one else got so large a measure of this support as Mr. Spencer. As fast as his books were republished, Mr. Youmans