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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 65.djvu/183

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THE PRUSSIAN ACADEMY OF SCIENCE.

constant guest at his table, through whom he kept himself informed as to the progress of science in Europe and the special needs of the academy. He favored the new learning and the new methods of study, but he did not favor radical measures in politics nor changes in the creeds or in the methods of governing the church. Yet he brought the Grimms, Haupt and Mommsen to Berlin, radical as he knew them to be in their political opinions, and secured their election to the academy. From him came the money for the publication of the Latin inscriptions and for the beautiful and complete edition in thirty volumes of the works of Frederick the Great, Vol. I. appearing in 1846 and Vol. XXX. in 1856. He interested German scholars in Egyptian research and made it possible, by private gifts, for Lepsius to spend the years from 1842 to 1845 in the study of its monuments and its curious learning. He helped Agassiz to come to America, Rosen to go to the Caucasus, Petermann to Syria, Palestine and Arabia Petrea, and Peters to South Africa. He aided Graff on his Old High Dutch collection and Schwartze in his Coptic studies. He provided means with which Dove pursued his meteorological researches and for the establishment of institutes in connection with the universities for the training of teachers. In 1842 he founded the order pour le mérite and the Verdun prize to be given once in five years for the best German book issued during that period. It is interesting for Americans to know that this prize was awarded to the late Professor von Hoist for his 'Constitutional History of the United States.' And yet the relation of the academy to the government was not quite so pleasant as it had been during the ministry of Altenstein. The new ministers were not all so profoundly convinced of the usefulness of the academy as was the king, but they did not fail to aid it or cease to advise the king to sustain it. At his death the great work on German inscriptions, to which he had given much thought, was approaching completion. In passing, it may be observed that the first written word ever sent the academy by Mommsen was in a letter of thanks, dated April 2, 1843, for a grant of a little less than $120 for aid in his studies of Latin inscriptions in and about Naples. One of his last reports was read in the academy in 1903. Not only was the academy with great difficulty persuaded to undertake the publication of the Latin inscriptions, it was with still greater reluctance that it entrusted the gathering and arranging of them to so young a man as Mommsen. He was backed by men like Savigny and Lachmann, and the first installment of his work proved even to those who had doubted it his fitness for the undertaking. Yet it was not till seven years had passed, called by Gerhard his 'seven years' war.' that Mommsen was finally given entire control of the work, with power to choose his own assistants and proceed in his own way. Meanwhile he had sent the academy 450 inscriptions, most of them copied with his own hand, 100 of which