Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 44.djvu/26

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To sum up, I think I have proved that State interference is necessary for the protection of the natural oyster beds on the Atlantic coast; that the artificial propagation of spat would materially assist in providing an abundant supply of food oysters; that private ownerships in certain plots of marginal waters should be induced by protective State legislation, thus encouraging oyster planters and cultivators to invest their time and money in the industry; and that, unless speedy measures are taken in these directions and for a more general "planting" of seed oysters, something akin to an oyster famine is not measurably far away.




Soleo enim et in aliena castra transire, non tanquam transfuga, sed tanquam explorator. (L. Annæi Senecæ Epist. II, 4.) [For you must know I sometimes make an excursion into the enemy's camp, not by way of deserter, but as a spy.]

THERE is a delightful child's story, known by the title of Jack and the Bean-stalk, with which my contemporaries who are present will be familiar. But so many of our grave and reverend juniors have been brought up on severer intellectual diet, and perhaps have become acquainted with fairyland only through primers of comparative mythology, that it may be needful to give an outline of the tale. It is a legend of a bean-plant, which grows and grows until it reaches the high heavens, and there spreads out into a vast canopy of foliage. The hero, being moved to climb the stalk, discovers that the leafy expanse supports a world, composed of the same elements as that below, but yet strangely new; and his adventures there, on which I may not dwell, must have completely changed his views of the nature of things, though the story, not having been composed by or for philosophers, has nothing to say about views.

My present enterprise has a certain analogy to that of the daring adventurer. I beg you to accompany me in an attempt to reach a world which, to many, is probably strange, by the help of a bean. It is, as you know, a simple, inert-looking thing. Yet, if planted under proper conditions, of which sufficient warmth is one of the most important, it manifests active powers of a very remarkable kind. A small green seedling emerges, rises to the

  1. The Romanes Lecture, delivered in the Sheldonian Theatre, Oxford, May 18, 1893. Reprinted by the kind permission of Macmillan & Co.