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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 74.djvu/319

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THE

POPULAR SCIENCE

MONTHLY

 

APRIL, 1909




LIFE AND WORKS OF DARWIN[1]
By Dr. HENRY FAIRFIELD OSBORN

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY AND THE AMERICAN MUSEUM OF NATURAL HISTORY

I

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY is celebrating the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Darwin, the fiftieth anniversary of the publication of the "Origin of Species." In the year 1809 many illustrious men[2] were born, among them Darwin and Lincoln, one hundred years ago to-day, February 12. So widely different in their lives, Darwin and Lincoln were jet alike in simplicity of character and of language, in love of truth, in abhorrence of slavery, and especially in unconsciousness of their power. Both were at a loss to understand their influence over other men. "I am nothing and truth is everything," once wrote Lincoln. In concluding his autobiography Darwin wrote:

With such moderate abilities as I possess, it is truly surprising that I should have influenced to a considerable extent the belief of scientific men on some important points. My success as a man of science has been determined as far as I can judge, by complex and diversified mental qualities and conditions. Of these, the most important have been, the love of science, unbounded patience in long reflecting over any subject, industry in observing and collecting facts, a fair share of invention as well as of common sense.

Lincoln's greatest single act was his death blow to slavery. Man had been fighting for centuries for his freedom, in labor, in government, in religion, and in mind. It is certainly notable that the final victory for bodily liberty was won during the "very years which wit-

  1. Address delivered at Columbia University on the one hundredth anniversary of Darwin's birth, as the first of a series of nine lectures on "Charles Darwin and His Influence on Science."
  2. Alfred Tennyson, Edgar Allen Poe, Felix Mendelssohn, Oliver Wendell Holmes, William Ewart Gladstone.