Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 60.djvu/292

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It contains no platitudes worded in questionable English; it is a vigorous expression of a straightforward and hopeful policy that is American rather than partisan. Such a message should do something towards making obsolete that form of party government which leads one half the people to prevent the other half from doing anything. Even in directions such as the maintenance of the present tariff and the enlargement of the navy, where the president's policy is opposed by a strong minority, it seems that he expresses the general sense of the nation, and in any case the division is not along the inherited party lines.

Apart from the emphasis on efficiency and expertness in all departments of the government which gives the whole message a certain scientific coloring, there are several recommendations that are directly concerned with science and its applications. Three great engineering works are urged—the Isthmian Canal, the Pacific Cable and Irrigation. These enterprises are directly dependent on applied science, and their accomplishment, under the direction of American engineers, will give new opportunities for scientific progress. It appears that we may need to go to Great Britain for the cable, but this ought not to be necessary five years hence. In the case of forestry and irrigation, which are said to be perhaps the most vital internal questions of the United States and are discussed at greater length than any others, the president fully realizes the need of expert and scientific direction. It is recommended that the scientific bureaus concerned with these subjects bp united and put under the Department of Agriculture. Concerning this department the president says:

"The Department of Agriculture during the past fifteen years has steadily broadened its work on economic lines, and has accomplished results of real value in upbuilding domestic and foreign trade. It has gone into new fields until it is now in touch with all sections of our country and with two of the island groups that have lately come under our jurisdiction, whose people must look to agriculture as a livelihood. It is searching the world for grains, grasses, fruits and vegetables especially fitted for introduction into localities in the several states and territories where they may add materially to our resources. By scientific attention to soil survey and possible new crops, to breeding of new varieties of plants, to experimental shipments, to animal industry and applied chemistry, very practical aid has been given our farming and stock-growing interests. The products of the farm have taken an unprecedented place in our export trade during the year that has just closed."

The president recommends the creation of a cabinet officer, to be known as secretary of commerce and industries. He calls attention to the important work of the Smithsonian Institution and the needs of the National Museum. He emphasizes the value of the 'National Library,' and advocates a permanent census bureau 'for the sake of good administration, sound economy and the advancement of science.'


The President does not refer in his message to the U. S. Naval Observatory, but he doubtless approves the recommendations in the report of Secretary Long, which, if carried into effect by the Congress, will remove the difficulties which have so long interfered with the scientific work of our national observatory. Secretary Long says:

"Attention is called to the first and very important report of the board of visitors to the Naval Observatory. I earnestly commend its recommendations to careful consideration. This board was created by act of Congress in March last. I believe its visitations will be found valuable in making the