« EelmineJätka »
NECESSITY OF METHOD.
EVEN the comparison of the same facts in different localities does not give us all the necessary materials from which to draw our clusions; for we require, as much as anything else, the collection of observations of the same classes of facts in the same localities and under the same conditions, but at different times. It is only the elements of time, in the last instance, which enable us to test progress or regressthat is to say, life. Thus the physician, by feeling the pulse of the greatest number of persons coming under his observation, old and young, male and female, and at all seasons, arrives at the average number of the pulsations of the heart in man's normal condition ; by feeling the pulse of the same person under the most varied circumstances and conditions, he arrives at a conclusion on this person s pulse; again, by feeling the pulse Necessity of Method.
of the greatest variety of persons suffering from the same disease, he ascertains the general condition of the pulse under the influence of that disease; it is now only that, feeling a particular patient's pulse, he will be able to judge whether this person is afflicted by this peculiar disease, as far as that can be ascertained by its influence on the pulse.
But all these comparisons of the different classes of facts under different local conditions, and at different times, of which I have been speaking, depend not only as to their usefulness and as to the ease with which they can be undertaken, but even as to the possibility of undertaking them at all, on the similarity, nay congruity, of the method employed, and the expressions, figures, and conditions selected, under which the observations have been taken. Does not, then, the world at large owe the deepest obligations to a congress such as the one I am addressing, which has made it its especial task to produce this assimilation, and to place at the command of man the accumulated experience upon his own condition, scientifically elaborated and reduced in a manner to enable the meanest intellect to draw safe conclusions?
AN OLD CITY COMPANY.
ANYBODY may indeed feel proud to be enrolled a member of a Company which can boast of uninterrupted usefulness and beneficence during four centuries,* and holds to this day the same honourable position in the estimation of the country, which it did in the time of its first formation, although the progress of civilization and wealth has so vastly raised the community around it, exemplifying the possibility, in this happy country, of combining the general progress of mankind with a due reverence for the institutions, and even forms, which have been bequeathed to us by the piety and wisdom of our forefathers.
* The Merchant Taylors' Company, to which this refers, was first incorporated in 1466.
THE PHILOSOPHER AND THE CHILD.
THE labours of the man of science are at once the most humble and the loftiest which man can undertake. He only does what every little child does from its first awakening into life, and must do every moment of its existence; and yet he aims at the gradual approximation to divine truth itself. If, then, there exists no difference between the work of the man of Science and that of the merest child, what constitutes the distinction ? Merely the conscious self-determination. The child observes what accident brings before it, and unconsciously forms its notion of it; the so-called practical man observes what his special work forces upon him, and he forms his notions upon it with reference to this particular work. The man of Science observes what he intends to observe, and knows why he intends it. The value which the peculiar object has in his eyes is not determined by accident, nor by an external cause, such as the mere connexion with work to be performed. but by the place which he knows this object to hold in the general universe of knowledge, by the relation which it bears to other parts of that general knowledge.
THE ROYAL ACADEMY.
HERE young artists are educated and taught the mysteries of their profession ; those who have distinguished themselves and given proof of their talent and power receive a badge of acknowledgment from their professional brethren by being elected Associates of the Academy, and are at last, after long toil and continued exertion, received into a select aristocracy of a limited number, and shielded in any further struggle by their well-established reputation, of which the letters R. A. attached to their names give a pledge to the public.
If this body is often assailed from without, it shares only the fate of every aristocracy; if more