Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/481

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will indorse the opinion that American biology would profit immensely more on the basis I have suggested than it could through any plan that would divide forces and build up weak college dependencies. Moreover, the individual interests of every institution in the country that maintains a biological department would be most economically and efficiently provided for in the same way. The interests of biologists, biological schools, and the science at large, all coincide in this matter, and each emphasizes and re-enforces the same verdict. Here we stand on principles that are too obvious, as it seems to me, to fail of commanding general assent.

This point dismissed, the task of finding a plan acceptable to all remains. Does any one of the marine laboratories now in existence afford a suitable vantage-ground for united action? This is a delicate matter to handle while rival schemes are afloat. But the question may at once be stripped of most of its difficulties by simply ruling out all schemes proposed in the interest of any particular institution and based on local organization. No disapprobation is intended for any one of these; they may all be useful and worthy of encouragement; but if they declare themselves organized under the auspices of some university or college, as most of them do, they certainly can make no just pretension to being national in aim and scope, and hence do not appeal to our highest need. And so, while wishing them all every possible success, we invite them to co-operate in a broader undertaking which will in no way encroach upon their private ground, but which, on the contrary, may extend and supplement their work, while sustaining facilities that are beyond their reach. Some of these laboratories, perhaps all of them, have offered their privileges to investigators from the outside, and it is to be hoped that they will continue to do so, for this forms an important part of the co-operation which a general observatory would invite and profit by.

The proposal recently made for the establishment of a biological observatory at Jamaica under the auspices of the British Government, aided by private subscription, is one to be strongly commended. Such an observatory would bring many important advantages to American as well as English biologists, and it might well be an international establishment. A national observatory on our coast, such as we have looked forward to, would find in a station at Jamaica an invaluable adjunct to its facilities, and might be expected not only to avail itself of its advantages, but also to lend it such support as its means might permit. The plan is in no way a rival or a substitute for the one already under way at Woods Holl. It would make no provision for instruction either for students or for beginners in investigation; its work would be