LADIES : It is my happy privilege to congratulate you on the completion of your three years of preliminary study, and on your merited reward in receiving the degree of Doctor of Medicine from the oldest and largest medical college for women in the world.
THE certainty and rapidity with which our domesticated animals and plants may be modified in any desired direction by selective breeding must be regarded as a reason for believing that, if it were possible to pursue the same course with man, the human race also might be rapidly improved in the same way.
THE last sheet-anchor of the contagionists is always the linen of cholera-patients. But this view rests on such debatable ground that in the end it may prove to be fallacious. If cholera is really spread through human intercourse, then it is clear that the unknown specific something must accompany other vehicles, which may be man himself ; and if this something can cause illness in man, then it must reside in the system of the patient, and ought to be found there.
ANATION is sometimes so bitterly taught by sad experience in financial errors—as was the case with France in John Law’s time, and again in the issue of paper assignats during the Revolution —that, on the principle of the “burned child,” it ever afterward finds that it unconsciously keeps to the right and avoids the wrong path.
NO one can find a “message from the sea,” telling of the fate of some long-missing vessel, without a feeling of emotion ; but the stray waifs that throw light on the history of lost colonies are of a deeper interest, for they supply missing chapters in the annals of colonization and early maritime enterprise.
NO purpose in the study of history is more instructive than that by which we trace the progress of freedom against authority, of inquiry as opposed to dogmatic assertion, of reason and right against arbitrary power. As I shall have frequent need to speak of authority, it may be well to discriminate between its various species, and state with what specific meaning the term is to be used in this discourse.
IT is well known that our stock of coal is not an infinite quantity, and can not last an infinite period of time. Different authorities, and those who have investigated the subject, including a royal commission, have assigned different lengths of time during which our supply is likely to last ; and, according to the most reliable authorities, it can not be much less than one hundred nor much more than two hundred and fifty years.
MY former paper gave an outline account of the structure of the cerebro-spinal nervous system. The functions of this system were examined as far as to the cerebral hemispheres. It was said that we lacked evidence for the appearance of consciousness in connection with the activities of the spinal cord, the medulla oblongata, the pons Varolii, and the cerebellum. It was also affirmed that, if consciousness be associated with the activities of any organs below the cerebrum, this consciousness is of a general and vague kind, not the intelligence of clear perception.
THE severe sufferings of the last Arctic expeditions, and the losses of life and property they occasioned, have depressed the public mind in regard to Arctic explorations. Great hopes have given way to the conviction of the impossibility of penetrating the ice-bound seas and accomplishing the task which formerly seemed easy.
IN my introductory paper I said, “ The fact that we use the digestive and nutrient apparatus of sheep, oxen, etc., for the preparation of our food is merely a transitory barbarism, to be ultimately superseded when my present subject is sufficiently understood and applied to enable us to prepare the constituents of the vegetable kingdom to be as easily assimilated as the prepared grass which we call beef and mutton.
THE weightiest events of life sometimes turn upon small hinges ; and we now come to the incident which caused M. Pasteur to quit a line of research the abandonment of which he still regrets. A German manufacturer of chemicals had noticed that the impure commercial tartrate of lime, sullied with organic matters of various kinds, fermented on being dissolved in water and exposed to summer heat.
THE importance of education in the duties of life is recognized in a greater or less degree by all. People differ widely as to absolute standards of right and wrong, and as to the foundation or source of such standards, but all concede by daily acts, as well as by avowed opinions, the necessity of some kind of moral training.
THE work of art which lies before me is old, unquestionably old ; a good deal older, in fact, than Archbishop Usher (who invented all out of his own archiepiscopal head the date commonly assigned for the creation of the world) would by any means have been ready to admit.
UNTIL a few years ago, investigation in organic chemistry was pursued almost wholly by the road of analysis. As Gerhardt wrote in his treatise : “The chemist did everything in opposition to living Nature. He burned, destroyed, and worked by taking apart, while the vital force operated by synthesis or putting together, to reconstruct the edifice which chemical forces would destroy.
DEAR SIRS : Some time ago I wrote to my son, Grant Allen, to say that, in that special portion of bis article (“ Queer Flowers”) which referred to the fructification of the fig, there must, I thought, be some mistake, for I had seen a fig-tree bear a large crop of fruit, and was sure that no such pains had been taken with it as that referred to in the article in question.
A GREAT deal of attention has lately been drawn to this subject, and in certain quarters an attempt has been made to “ boom ” it in a manner that can hardly be pronounced entirely disinterested. In certain educational journals, for example, teachers are urged to petition the national Legislature for the passing of the “Blair Bill,” on the ground that it will improve their own remuneration.
AMERICAN POLITICAL IDEAS : Viewed from the Stand-point of Universal History. Three Lectures delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, in May, 1880. By JOHN FISKE. New York: Harper & Brothers. Pp. 158. Price, $1.00. As many will be gratified to learn, Mr. Fiske has at length published the brief course of lectures upon “ American Political Ideas ” which attracted so much attention at the time of their delivery in England, and subsequently in this country.
Fifty Years of the Essex Institute.— Professor E. S. Morse has published a review of the condition of zoölogy fifty years ago and to-day, in connection with the growth of the Essex Institute, which has just completed its first half-century. The institute has always kept true to its name.
THIRTY years ago pines were planted in the Sologne, a tract of waste land near Blois, France. Fifteen years afterward, as the pines were cut away, oaks sprang up spontaneously to take their places, thus tending to restore what history tells was the ancient vegetation of the country.
GENERAL HELMERSEN, a Russian officer of considerable distinction as a geologist and explorer, is dead. THE death is announced of Hofrath Schmid, Professor of Mineralogy at Jena. MR. JOHN FRANCIS CAMPBELL, who recently died in England, was the inventor of a “ sunshine recorder,” a curious instrument in which the sun burned out its path for every hour of the day when visible, and indicated by the amount of charring the evervarying intensity of the influence of its rays.