maintenance of the prisoners, and thus render the management much less subject to public criticism.
This article is already as long as seems desirable, and I must close without describing the California reform schools, which are comparatively new, but have attracted much attention. At some future time I may have an opportunity to take up that subject.
|THE SCIENTIFIC EXPERT AND THE BERING SEA CONTROVERSY.|
IN the November number of the Popular Science Monthly for 1897, Dr. Thomas C. Mendenhall reviews at some length the workings of the Bering Sea Commission of 1892. Dr. Mendenhall was himself a member of this commission, and his account of its inside history is interesting and instructive as throwing light upon the after-work of the Paris Tribunal of Arbitration for which it was to prepare the natural-history data.
Dr. Mendenhall naturally finds little to commend in the work of his colleagues, the British experts, but he does not stop there, and proceeds to generalize in an uncomplimentary way regarding scientific experts as a class. For example, he lays down the following just and admirable rule for scientific investigation: “It should be commenced with no preconceived notions of how it is to come out, and judgment should wait upon facts,” and then continues to say: “Justice to the man of science obliges the admission that, take him in his laboratory or library, with no end in view except that of getting at the truth, and he generally lives fairly up to this high standard; but transform him by the magic of a handsome retainer, or any other incentive, into a scientific expert, and he is a horse of another color.”
It is not the purpose of this article to argue the cause of the man of science, or to say whether or not this arraignment is just. It is the intention merely to bring into contrast with the notable example of failure which Dr. Mendenhall cites, an equally notable example of success on the part of the scientific expert. If I mistake not, this simple comparison will be all the vindication the man of science needs.
To understand the full force of Dr. Mendenhall's article, it must be remembered that it appeared on the very eve of the meeting of a second Bering Sea Commission called to consider the selfsame issues which occupied the attention of the commission of 1892. The article therefore stands as a prediction of failure for the new commission.