Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 42.djvu/502

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been augmented; and we are seeking, with certainty of success, yet more considerable increase in the production of wheat. No less progress is reached in the production of fruits and vegetables, and of cattle, to the daily amelioration of the general condition of the human race.

This advance has been promoted, partly by close acquaintance with the general laws of living Nature, as revealed by disinterested science—laws which are the essential foundation of every application; and equally, and in a way no less worthy of admiration, by the efforts of inventors, those men of practical ingenuity who labor at the same time for the increase of their own fortunes and for the good and profit of mankind.

But,besides discovering important scientific truths and devising profitable applications of them, the inventor needs to have a popular support; and it is, above all, important that the application of his inventions shall be made seriously by educated and intelligent populations, ready to receive and to propagate all useful ideas. To this end the sphere of public instruction has been enlarged; and, besides the elementary knowledge hitherto required, and the moral and civic precepts fitted to make intelligent voters, our educational schemes of the present time include fundamental scientific principles, the knowledge of which is indispensable for hygiene, industry, and agriculture. All civilized peoples have recognized the importance of such teaching, and democracies, more than any other governments, have thus expanded the courses of popular instruction.

The good old times of ignorance raised to a principle have passed away. Science can not be reserved for a narrow oligarchy; all should be associated in it to the greatest possible extent, because knowledge of that kind is necessary for the advancement of the applications, an advancement which is hindered by ignorance. It is so because it is important that all the citizens of a free country shall share in the highest ideal. No ideal is superior to that of agriculture. Country life is the normal type of human life. In it only can manhood be developed in its plenitude. Country life favors at once material health of the body and moral soundness of mind. The robust, industrious, and intelligent countryman has always constituted the strength of nations, and of France in particular; through him we have survived many trials and catastrophes; and through the countryman, active, intelligent, and instructive, we shall maintain the prosperity and greatness of our country.—Translated for The Popular Science Monthly from the Revue Scientifique.