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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/422

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

These views, while commending themselves to naturalists like Humboldt, Donders, Van Deen, Emil Rossmässler, Otto Ule, and Hermann Burmeister, and scholars like Strauss and Renan, gave great offense not only to the orthodox clergy but also to conservatives of every sort, to whom the cremation of the human body seemed as sacrilegious as its dissection did to the contemporaries of Vesalius three centuries before. As the result of a solemn conclave held by the senate of the Heidelberg University, the rector of that institution warned Moleschott that, unless he ceased to corrupt youth by his "immoral" and "frivolous" teachings, the venia docendi, or right to lecture, would be revoked. The sole fitting answer to such an ill-advised and impertinent admonition was given at once by Moleschott, who wrote to the Baden ministry severing his connection with a university in which liberty of instruction existed only in name. This decisive step was evidently an unpleasant surprise to those who had provoked it, and thereby raised a storm of indignation in scientific circles and in the press which they were wholly unprepared to meet. The young men who had just attended Moleschott's courses of lectures on anthropology and organology published with their several signatures an address to the ministry, in which they vigorously repelled these accusations and vindicated Moleschott's character as a man and teacher. In their daily intercourse with him they declared that they had never detected the slightest justification of the charges brought against him. In the communication of the results of his scientific researches there was not the faintest trace of the spirit of proselytism, but every one was left free to form an independent judgment in accordance with the facts.

Although no longer an academical teacher, Moleschott continued to reside in Heidelberg, working in his private laboratory, to which he also freely admitted all who wished to make experiments under his direction, and keeping his head financially above water by literary labor. Thanks to his calumniators, public attention was called to his books, and the sale of them greatly increased. He also founded a scientific journal entitled ''Untersuchungen zur Naturlehre des Menschen und der Thiere, which began to appear in 1855 at irregular intervals, and numbered among its contributors some of the most distinguished European men of science. Moleschott edited the first fifteen volumes of this periodical, or yearbook, as it might more properly be called; since 1892 it has been continued by G. Colasanti and S. Fesbini (Giessen: Emil Roth). He also published an exceedingly interesting monograph, Georg Forster,der Naturforscher des Volkes, issued November 20, 185-4, on the hundredth anniversary of the birth of this most remarkable man.

In the spring of 1856 Moleschott was appointed to the chair of Physiology in the University of Zurich as the successor of Karl