Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/315

This page has been validated.
299
NEW CHAPTERS IN THE WARFARE OF SCIENCE.

of such, teachings has been to weaken the legitimate hold of religion upon men.

In Catholic countries the effort has been of late years mainly confined to excluding science or diluting it in university teachings. Early in the present century a great effort was made by Ferdinand VII of Spain. He simply dismissed the scientific professors from the University of Salamanca, and until a recent period there has been general exclusion from Spanish universities of professors holding to the Newtonian physics. So, too, the contemporary Emperor of Austria attempted indirectly something of the same sort; and at a still later period Popes Gregory XVI and Pius IX discouraged, if they did not forbid, the meetings of scientific associations in Italy. In France, war between theology and science, which had long been smoldering, came in the years 1867 and 1868 to an outbreak. Toward the end of the last century, after the Church had held possession of advanced instruction for more than a thousand years, and had, so far as it was able, kept experimental science in servitude—after it had humiliated Buffon in natural science, thrown its weight against Newton in the physical sciences, and wrecked Turgot's noble plans for a system of public instruction—the French nation decreed the establishment of the most thorough and complete system of higher instruction in science ever known. It was kept under lay control, and became one of the glories of France; but, emboldened by the restoration of the Bourbons in 1815, the Church began to undermine this hated system, and in 1868 had made such progress that all was ready for the final assault.

Foremost among the leaders of the besieging party was the Bishop of Orleans, Dupanloup, a man of many winning characteristics and of great oratorical power. In various ways, and especially in an open letter, he had fought the "materialism" of science at Paris, and especially were his attacks leveled at Profs. Vulpian and Sée, and the Minister of Public Instruction, Duruy, a man of great merit, whose only crime was devotion to the improvement of education, and to the promotion of the highest research in science.[1]

The main attack was made rather upon biological science than upon physics and chemistry, yet it was clear that all were involved together.

The first onslaught was made in the French Senate, and the storming party in that body was led by a venerable and conscientious prelate, Cardinal de Bonnechose, Archbishop of Rouen. It was charged by him and his party that the tendencies of the higher scientific teaching at Paris were fatal to religion and mo-


  1. For Dupanloup, Lettre à un Cardinal, see the Revue de Thérapeutique of 1868, p. 221.