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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 57.djvu/572

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POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

Bradford meeting as pleasant memories as did our colleagues of the corresponding Association Française, when, in friendly collaboration at Dover last year, they testified to the common citizenship of the Universal Republic of Science. As befits a leading center of industry in the great county of York, the applications of science to the industrial arts and to agriculture will form subjects of discussion in the papers to be read at the meeting.

Since the association was at Dover a year ago, two of its former presidents have joined the majority. The Duke of Argyll presided at the meeting in Glasgow so far back as 1855. Throughout his long and energetic life, he proved himself to be an eloquent and earnest speaker, one who gave to the consideration of public affairs a mind of singular independence, and a thinker and writer in a wide range of human knowledge. Sir J. Wm. Dawson was president at the meeting in Birmingham in 1886. Born in Nova Scotia in 1820, he devoted himself to the study of the Geology of Canada, and became the leading authority on the subject. He took also an active and influential part in promoting the spread of scientific education in the Dominion, and for a number of years he was Principal and Vice-Chancellor of the McGill University, Montreal.

 

SCIENTIFIC METHOD.

Edward Gibbon has told us that diligence and accuracy are the only merits which an historical writer can ascribe to himself. Without doubt they are fundamental qualities necessary for historical research, but in order to bear fruit they require to be exercised by one whose mental qualities are such as to enable him to analyze the data brought together by his diligence, to discriminate between the false and the true, to possess an insight into the complex motives that determine human action, to be able to recognize those facts and incidents which had exercised either a primary or only a secondary influence on the affairs of nations, or on the thoughts and doings of the person whose character he is depicting.

In scientific research, also, diligence and accuracy are fundamental qualities. By their application new facts are discovered and tabulated, their order of succession is ascertained and a wider and more intimate knowledge of the processes of nature is acquired. But to decide on their true significance a well-balanced mind and the exercise of prolonged thought and reflection are needed. William Harvey, the father of exact research in physiology, in his memorable work, 'De Motu Cordis et Sanguinis,' published more than two centuries ago, tells us of the great and daily diligence which he exercised in the course of his investigations, and the numerous observations and experiments which he collated. At the same time he refers repeatedly to his cogitations and