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American fellow-labourers in science, whom the distance of our present place of meeting has not daunted in their desire to cooperate with us. This prosperous career of the Association, I believe, is, in some measure, due to the element of common sense which mingles with our purely scientific aims. The Founders and Executive of the Association have sought to harmonize its general course of action with the spirit of the social feelings and arrangements and constitution of Great Britain. Accordingly, it has been the custom of the British Association for the Promotion of Science to select, in connexion with its highest office, the names, alternately, of those who are habitually occupied in scientific labours, and of those who combine such pursuits, or an active interest in science, with high social rank and its attendant influence and duties. With pleasure we recall to mind, in the latter category of Presidents, the Earl of Harrowby, the Marquis of Northampton, the Duke of Argyll; and now, our election of this day is ratified by the presence of the highest personage nearest tbe Sovereign of these realms. We derive from the consent of H.R. H. the Prince Consort to charge himself with the duties of the office the best assurance that the constitution and Acts of our Association have met with the Royal approbation. I need not before this assembly, representing as it does those classes who have always best appreciated it, dwell on the benign influence His Royal Highness's cooperative labours, addresses and example on every movement and organization tending to advance the moral and intellectual condition of the people of Great Britain. Gentlemen, I thank you most respectfully and sincerely for the confidence you have reposed in me during the past year, and, with a grateful sense of the many advantages which I have derived therefrom, permit me to say, that not among the least do I regard my present honourable relation in having, as my final duty, to resign my office and present chair to H. R. H. the Prince Consort. The Royal President then rose and said :
The President's Address. Gentlemen of the British Association,—Your kind invitation to me to undertake the office of your President for the ensuing year could not but startle me on its first announcement. The high position which science occupies, the vast number of distinguished men who labour in her sacred cause, and whose achievements, while spreading innumerable benefits, justly attract the admiration of mankind, contrasted strongly in my mind with the consciousness of my own insignificance in this respect. I, a simple admirer and would-be student of science, to take the place of the chief and spokesman of the scientific men of the day, assembled in furtherance of their important objects !-the thing appeared to me impossible. Yet, on reflection, I came to the conclusion that, if not as a contributor to, or director of your labours, I might still be useful to you, useful to Science, by accepting your offer. Remembering that this Association is a popular Association, not a secret confraternity of men jealously guarding the mysteries of their profession, but inviting the uninitiated, the public at large, to join them, having as one of its objects to break down those imaginary and hurtful barriers which exist between men of science and socalled men of praetice-I felt that I could, from the peculiar position Providence has placed me in this country, appear as the representative of that large public, which profits by and admires your exertions, but is unable actively to join in them; that my election was an act of humility on your part, which to reject would have looked like false humility, that is, like pride, on mine. But I reflected further, and saw in mine acceptance the means, of which necessarily so few are offered to Her Majesty, of testifying to you, through the instrumentality of her husband, that your labours are not unappreciated by your Sovereign, and that she wishes her people to know this as well as yourselves. Guided by these reflections, my choice was speedily made, for the path of duty lay straight before me.
If these, however, are the motives which have induced me to accept your flattering offer of the Presidency, a request on my part is hardly necessary that you will receive my efforts to fulfil its duties with kind indulgence.
If it were possible for anything to make me still more aware how much I stand in need of this indulgence, it is the recollection of the person whom I have succeeded as your President—a man of whom this country is justly proud, and whose name stands among the foremost of the Naturalists in Europe for his patience in investigation, conscientiousness in observation, boldness of imagination, and acuteness in reasoning. You have, no doubt, listened with pleasure to his parting address, and I beg to thank him for the flattering manner in which he bas alluded to me in it.
LOCAL FEATURES. The Association meets for the first time to-day in these regions and in this ancient and interesting city. The Poet, in his works of fiction, has to choose, and anxiously to weigh, where to lay his scene, knowing that, like the Painter, he is thus laying in the background of his picturc, which will give tone and colour to the whole. The stern and dry reality of life is governed by the same laws, and we are here living, feeling, and thinking under the infuence of the local impressions of this northern seaport. The choice appears to be a good one. The travelling philosophers have had to come far, but in approaching the Highlands of Scotland they meet Nature in its wild and primitive form, and Nature is the object of their studies. The geologist will not find many novelties in yonder mountains, because he will stand there on the bare backbone of the globe, but the primary rocks, which stand out in their nakedness, exhibit the grandeur and beauty of their peculiar form, and in the splendid quarries of this neighbourhood are seen to peculiar advantage the closeness and bardness of their mass, and their inexhaustible supply for the use of man, made available by the application of new mechanical powers. On this primitve soil the botanist and zoologist will be attracted only by a limited range of plants and animals, but they are the very species which the extension of agriculture and increase of population are gradually driving out of many parts of the country. On those blue hills the red deer, in vast herds, holds undisturbed dominion over the wide heathery forest, until the sportsman, fatigued and unstrung by the busy life of the bustling town, invades the moor, to regain health and vigor by measuring his strength with that of the antlered monarch of the hill. But, notwithstanding all his efforts to overcome an antagonist possessed of such superiority of power, swiftness, caution, and keenness of all the senses, the sportsman would find himself baffled, had not Science supplied him with the telescope and those terrible weapons which seem daily to progress in the precision with which they carry the deadly bullet, mocking distance, to the mark.
In return for the help which Science has afforded him, the -sportsman can supply the naturalist with many facts which he alone has opportunity of observing, and which may assist the solution of some interesting problems suggested by the life of the deer. Man, also, the highest object of our study, is found in vigorous, healthy development, presenting a happy mixture of the Celt, Goth, Saxon, and Dane, acquiring his strength on the hills and the sea. The Aberdeen whaler braves the icy regions of the Polar Sea, to seek and to battle with the great monster of the
deep; he has materially assisted in opening these ice-bound regions to the researches of Science; he fearlessly aided in the search after Sir John Franklin and his galant companions, whom their country sent forth on this mission; but to whom Providence, alas ! has denied the reward of their labours, the return to their homes, to the affectionate embrace of their families and friends, and the acknowledgment of a grateful nation. The city of Aberdeen itself is rich in interest for the philosopher. Its two latelyunited Universities make it a seat of learning and Science. The collection of antiquities, formed for the present occasion, enables him to dive into olden times, and by contact with the remains of the handiwork of the ancient inhabitants of Scotland, to enter into the spirit of that peculiar and interesting people, which has always attracted the attention and touched the hearts of men accessible to the influence of heroic poetry. The Spalding Club, founded. in this city, for the preservation of the historical and literary remains of the north-eastern counties of Scotland, is honourably known by its important publications.
ORIGIN AND OBJECTS OF THE ASSOCIATION. Gentlemen, this is the twenty-ninth anniversary of the foundation of this Association; and well may we look back with satisfaction to its operations and achievements throughout the time of its existence. When, on the 27th of September, 1831, the Meeting of the Yorkshire Philosophical Society took place at York, in the theatre of the Yorkshire Museum, under the presidency of the late Earl of Fitzwilliam, then Viscount Milton, and the Rev. W. Vernon Harcourt eloquently set forth the plan for the formation of a British Association for the Promotion of Science, which he showed to have become a want for his country, the most ardent supporter of this resolution could not have anticipated that it would start into life full grown, as it were; enter at once upon its career of usefulness, and pursue it without deviation from the original design, triumphing over the oppositions which it had to encounter, in common with everything that is new and claims to be useful. Gentlemen, this proved that the want was a real, and not an imaginary one, an ! that the mode in which it was inten led to supply that want was based upon a just appreciation of unalterable truths. Mr. Vernon Harcourt summed up the desiderata in graphic words, which have almost identically been retained as the exposition of the objects of the Society, printed at the head of the annually-appearing volume of its Transactions :-“To give e
stronger impulse and more systematic direction to scientific enquiry,—to promote the intercourse of those who cultivate Science in different parts of the empire, with one another and with foreign philosophers, and to obtain a more general attention to the objects of Science, and a removal of any disadvantages of a pnblic kind which impede its progress.”
ORJECT AND DUTY OF SCIENCE. To arrange and classify that universe of knowledge becomes therefore the first, and perhaps the most important, object and duty of Science. It is only when brought into a system, by separating the incongruous and combining those elements in which we have been enabled to discover the internal connexion which the Almighty has implanted in them, that we can hope to grapple with the boundlessness of His creation, and with the laws which govern both mind and matter.
The operation of Science then has been, systematicaly to divide human knowledge, and raise, as it were, the separate groups of subjects for scientific consideration, into different and distinct sciences. The tendency to create new sciences is peculiarly apparent in our present age, and is perhaps inseperable from so rapid a progress as we have seen in our days; for the acquaintance with and mastering of distinct branches of knowledge enables the eye, from the newly gained points of sight, to see the new ramifications into which they divide themselves in strict consecutiveness. and with logical necessity. But in thus gaining new centres of light, from which to direct our researches, and new and powerful means of adding to its ever-increasing treasures, Science approaches no nearer to the limits of its range, although travelling further and further from its original point of departure. For God's world is infinite; and the boundlessness of the universe, whose confines appear ever to retreat before our finite minds, strikes us no less with awe when, prying into the starry crowd of heaven, we find new worlds revealed to us by every increase in the power of the telescope, than when the microscope discloses to us in a drop of water or an atom of dust, new worlds of life and animation, or the remains of such as have passed away.
From amongst the political sciences it has been attempted in modern times to detach one which admits of being severed from individual political opinions, and of being reduced to abstract laws derived from well authenticated facts. I mean Political Economy,