Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 79.djvu/48

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The whole point is to try to live up to this record of honor, if possible to surpass it. That means to recognize capable men, to keep them by freeing their time as much as possible for their researches, and to call in capable outsiders. This is the principle of President Gilman, of Johns Hopkins University, "to discover and develop such men as have unusual ability." Each particular collection should be considered the basis of work for a particular gifted man, and not be its tender. Young naturalists starting out should be helped with fellowships and advice, substantially encouraged, not treated as preparators. Museums, you surely must agree, should make places for able men, just as universities are doing, recognizing it to be a part of their duty to help the subject by helping the men. It will be costly to do this, but not if a portion of the great funds given to getting collections be given to getting men. When this is done museums in general will be great teaching institutions, and cease to be cold storage centers. It may be questioned whether it is wise policy to say one must get buildings and collections first, then we can think of men. Would it not be wiser to attempt to add men and equipment simultaneously so that the new equipment may be used to best advantage? The cart must not be put before the horse, nor the fire before the food.

For the very reason that the American spirit is so eminently utilitarian and commercial, so highly uncivilized, the learned institutions should do all in their power to help those who are working for science. If they do not offer this help, who will? All institutions should combine in this endeavor to make it possible for inquiry after knowledge to increase. They should combine in every possible way to aid the man of original ideas, for he alone is the one who advances knowledge; he is the yeast in the bread. One of the most pitiful chances we can experience is to see a man full of hunger for a scientific career, driven to an uncongenial commercial calling for the lack of opportunity and timely aid; a naturalist shudders at the thought. Such cases are frequent, and human progress is by so much the loser. Is it not a duty of society to see that men do the work for which they are naturally fitted? Yet when we examine the matter seriously, we may well doubt whether our learned institutions fully recognize this need, and whether they are doing much to realize it. It is, nevertheless, probably the greatest good that they can carry out.