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first redeemed our country from the humiliating attitude in which she stood in the eyes of men of science abroad, at the time when the article which we have copied from the Edinburgh Review was penned ; and also of having raised up and prepared the men who, in 1840, laid the foundation of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

The object of this institution, is strictly the advancement of science. She receives with little favor, and hardly tolerates communications, however meritorious in themselves, which have no tendency to enrich the cabinet of science with new truths, although she allows her specimens to be gathered from any and all of the kingdoms of nature, or from the world of art, or even from the profoundest depths of abstraction. Her only condition is, that the contribution must enlarge the sphere of known truths --be something new among the productions of nature, or in the laws of nature, or in the phenomena of nature; some explanation of what was before not understood; some solution of a problem, that had either divided the opinions of the learned, or baffled their skill. With this simple object in view, the members of the association are bringing to its annual meetings their varied offerings,-some from the animal, the vegetable, or the mineral kingdom; some from the depths of the earth, the ocean, or the air ; and some from the starry heavens. One develops a new law of nature, and another reveals its hidden cause. Some bring their telescopes of wondrous power and finish, and some their microscopes that rival the best specimens of European art. Some guage the ocean, and some measure the mountain heights. Mathematics, astronomy, meteorology, chemistry, physiology, natural history, geology and geography, mechanics and physics, the practical and the ornamental arts; these are each and all represented by able and ardent devotees. Although, happily, each thinks his own peculiar department, either in nature or art, the most important and interesting of all, like the patriot, “ whose own best country ever is at home,” yet, all at length become animated with the love of truth, which gradually diffuses its leaven over the entire mass; so that all communications made with a certain degree of zeal, and apparent earnestness for the truth, and of marked ability, are listened to with interest by the whole fraternity; and so contagious is this spirit, that it pervades not only the entire body of savans, but even the crowded ranks of " outsiders," of both sexes, that frequently enliven these meetings with their presence.

The progress of the association since it was first organized, in 1845, has been in the highest degree encouraging. In 1855, it numbered nearly a thousand numbers, and numerous additions were made to it

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at the late meeting at Albany. Its annual meeting is to American science what the meeting of the American Board of Foreign Missions is to the church; a great yearly gathering, to which all our men of science look forward with earnest expectation; and a large proportion of them have more or less regard to it in their studies and researches during the whole preceding year. Thus, like a self-feeding machine, the institution supplies its own aliment, prompting, as it does, those very researches which constitute its true sustenance.

The advantages conferred by the American Association, are by no means few or small upon the cause of science at large. Indeed, after examining the published transactions of the similar institutions of Europe, and comparing them with those of our Association, we feel some share of national pride in the consciousness, that the comparison is well sustained on our part, both in point of originality and of intrinsic value. To the promotion of science in our own country, its advantages are inestimable. We think ourselves fully justified in the assertion, that there never before existed on the earth a nation which made such rapid progress in the arts and sciences, as the people of the United States have done within the last fifty years. At the close of the last century, the idea extensively prevailed, both here and elsewhere, that the field of knowledge was exhausted, and that there was nothing left for the scholars of our day, but to glean a few scattered straws, which the great reapers of the two preceding centuries had left. Newton and Laplace, Euler and Lagrange, had completed the structure of the universe; Scheele, Priestley and Lavoisier, had revealed all the secrets of chemistry; while Linnæus, Buffon and their followers, had made known the entire history of terrestrial nature. But we need only name the new sciences, or the new applications of science, that have sprung up since, in order to convince every reflecting man, that this supposed exhausted field has made more ample returns during the present century, than for the same period at any other

age of the world. For let us call to mind the great discoveries in optics, magnetism, and electro-magnetism ; in geology, chemistry, and astronomy ; let us reflect on the applications of science to the purposes of man in the steamboat, in the railroad, in the electrictelegraph, in gas-illumination ; in telescopes and microscopes ; in the power-press; in the arts of daguerreotyping, photographic engraving, and electrotậpe plating and gilding; in the elegance and variety of our manufactures as displayed at the Crystal Palace, or as exhibited at our annual fairs. None but those advanced in years, who can look at the state of the arts and sciences as they existed in our country at the beginning of the century, and can compare them

with what they are now, can have any adequate ideas of the progress of our conntry during this interval. The aged men of some periods of the world, have looked back upon mighty revolutions and bloody wars, that had marked their times, and rendered them famous in history: to the aged of the present period it is given, not only to recal among the great events of their opening spring, the most important convulsions in society that ever marked the annals of time, but also, in their serene autumn, to witness changes in the progress of society, produced by the applications of science to the arts of peace, more numerous and wonderful than those of all preceding ages. In fact, our existing race of aged men, have probably witnessed changes in society, especially those produced by the steamboat, the rail-car, and the telegraph, greater than can ever happen, in a single life, to the aged of future times, since there remain, unemployed, no such powers of nature as steam, electricity, magnetism, and light, which have, for the most part, been first brought into the service of man, as mechanical agents, during this eventful period. An American scholar of seventy, might write the “ History of his own Times,” and exhibit in his peculiar sphere of life, a period as fruitful in great events, as was that of Burnet in the political sphere in which he moved.

Until recently, however, it was rather in the useful arts than in the field of science, that the originality of our countrymen developed itself. The American Association is designed to promote the advancement of both, but more especially to cultivate the domain of truth itself, to unfold new truths in abstract science, new geometrical laws, and new results in the higher mathematics, chiefly, however, in their relations to the most recondite phenomena of nature; to bring to light new productions, new combinations of elements, and new laws in Astronomy, Chemistry, and Physiology; and, finally, in every possible way, to hasten on the period when man shall have first learned, and then appropriated to his use, all the productions, and subdued to his dominion all the


of nature. In another important respect, the American Association will exert a most auspicious influence upon the country. It is in the personal acquaintance, and friendly intercourse, formed between men of science from all parts of the Union. The studies of nature, as well as those of pure geometry, inspire a love of truth; and the contests which sometimes arise among men of science, are seldom acrimonious or protracted ; differing in this respect from political and ecclesiastical quarrels. Theirs is a sphere of competition where no local jealousies or sectional interests, or political rivalry, can array them against each other, or embitter their feelings. Such a harmonious fellowship, often



ripening into durable friendship, between men of high standing and prevailing influence, in every section of our country, cannot but have a happy effect upon the peace and stability of the American Union itself.

The younger members of the Association have immense advantages over the older, and that not merely because they have a longer time to enjoy its privileges; they start from a higher level; they have far more incentives for cultivating the spirit of research ; and they have before them higher models of excellence, than their elder brethren had at the same period of life. Their seniors regard them with no feelings of jealousy, but having in many instances, been their teachers, they rather exult in the prospects of eminence which their pupils promise to attain, as what will constitute no small part of their own reward and future honor, in having contributed to develop the intellectual powers, and having given the earliest impulse and direction to the genius of those who have grown“ wiser than their teachers are.” It may now reasonably be expected that our youthful aspirants after scientific reputation, will cultivate their powers of invention and research, and become adepts in science, in a higher degree than their fathers and teachers have done; and though the models before them among the older members, may still be comparatively few, yet there are not wanting in the ranks of the American Association, some who may for the present worthily satisfy their ambition, although their motto may be, and ought to be, Excelsior.

We have seen that the object of the American Association is a very simple one,—the advancement of science. No one, therefore, ought to trespass on its time, during its sessions, with either historical details, or the rehearsal of things long known. Indeed, we think, the closer the Association adheres to its own simple object, the better; that no vote ought to be taken either of censure or praise upon any paper read; and least of all, that a spirit of laudation of one member toward another should be indulged in, neither self-glorification, nor the glorification of each other, being compatible with the avowed object of the institution.

With these exalted views of what the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has done, and is doing for the cause of science, and for the promotion of our scientific standing among the nations of the earth, we think there are a few temptations growing out of it, against which such of its members as have charge of the education of the youth of our country, ought sedulously to guard. Such an institution has some tendency to sink the relative standing of the educator in comparison with the investigator, attaching as it does so

much more importance to the discovery and promulgation of new truths, than to the dissemination of what is old; whereas the truths which an instructor of youth is bound to teach, are mostly such as have long been known, to which those recently discovered commonly bear but a small proportion, either in number or importance. Moreover, the teacher who gives himself to researches after what is new, is in danger of losing his interest in his appropriate duties,--the exciting nature of discovery itself, and the love of fame usually associated with it, creating a distaste for the “beggerly elements,” and a fastidiousness in reiterating from year to year the same beaten path. The reputation which, in such a body, attaches to the discovery of new truths, has some tendency no doubt, to throw the most eminent instructors of youth into the shade, and to place higher on the rolls of fame the naturalist, who has added a new plant or insect to the catalogue, than the teacher who has trained for his country's service, a thousand of her youth. No friend, however, of science or of his country, would desire the zeal and progress of the American Association to be less than it is. If it were necessary to provide a safe-guard against the danger of sinking the relative standing of the educator, in comparison with the investigator, we trust it is already found in the American Association for the Advancement of Education, an institution more recent in its origin than the other, but destined, we hope, to exert a like happy influence on the public mind and public virtue. If the zeal for investigating new truths, and the love of imparting knowledge, seldom meet in the same individual, yet we do not consider these attributes as incongruous in their nature. The case only implies a happy union of originality with benevolence. The one inspires the teacher with the love of knowledge, and a longing to search out more of what he so highly values ; the other, an ardent desire that his pupils should share with him a boon which he himself so dearly prizes.

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