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logical work no longer consists in labeling plants and animals, but in the wider and more extended problems of the present day, the attempts to determine real relationships which are expressed in classifications, individual development must be taken into account as well as adult features. The systematic work of the present period, influenced first by Gray and Agassiz, and later further expanded when the work of Darwin furnished new problems, is being more limited and at the same time more extensive. We find special groups of plants and animals becoming the subjects of elaborate monographs, and we see workers beginning to devote attention to more limited fields.

Among the important events of the memorable year 1846, was the es tablishment of the Smithsonian Institution and the beginning of the National Museum. The Smithsonian Institution was established from a fund left by an Englishman, James Smithson, with which “ to found at Washington an institution which should bear his own name, and have for its objects the increase and diffusion of knowledge among men."" Among the important services which it has rendered to biological advancement, is the publication of twenty-six quarto volumes of “ Contributions to Knowledge,” which include many biological papers, as well as the annual reports of the secretary, containing valuable accounts of current work for the year.

The National Museum dates back to the same year (1846). At first it consisted merely of a collection of various curiosities which were stored in the Patent Office. In 1857 this collection, which had by this time grown considerably, was passed over to the control of the Smithsonian Institution. Professor Henry, who was secretary up to 1878, had little sympathy with the idea that a museum in itself possessed any special value, and he would willingly have given away all of the zoological material after the investigations upon them had been completed. In 1850 Prof. Spencer F. Baird was appointed his assistant, and owing entirely to his exertions the zoological collections began to increase rapidly in size. These were at first mainly gifts from private individuals. Later the Fish Commission and the Geological Survey became important sources of new material. The appointment of Professor Baird as secretary in 1878, and the transfer of the general oversight of the museum to Dr. G. Brown Goode in 1879, were most important factors in making the zoological collections what they now are, and in bringing about the present systems of arrangement and labeling, which made the Museum a much larger factor in public education than it had ever previously been, as well as making it more accessible and valuable to the investigator.


The National Government has been and is still supporting several scientific movements which have a more or less direct bearing upon biological research. The beginning of this may be put at 1854, when


Townend Glover was appointed entomologist, and in the succeeding year botanical work was also undertaken. The value of this work, done necessarily on a limited scale and with special reference to economic questions, was so apparent that the organization of the Department of Agriculture followed in 1862. In certain directions, especially the study of the life histories of insects and fungi, this has exerted a great influence upon purely scientific research. In the same year, and intimately related to the Department of Agriculture, occurred the most important educational movement ever undertaken by the Government, viz, the appropriation of public lands to each of the States for the support of the so-called "agricultural colleges.” As a result of this act we now find that forty-six States and Territories are maintaining institutions entirely or in part from this appropriation, and while it is by no means true that these are agricultural colleges in a narrow sense, it is true of most of them that the bearings of biology upon agriculture are fully appreciated, and their teaching conducted accordingly.*

In this connection may be mentioned the act of Congress in 1887 which provided for the establishment of experiment stations in connection with the above colleges. The objects of these stations are, among other things, "to conduct original researches or verify experiments on the physiology of plants and animals; the diseases to which they are severally subject, with the remedies for the same.”

The experiment stations have not yet been long enough organized to bring forth fruit in great abundance. In many States they are scarcely yet fully under way. In certain cases the character of work done is on a much lower plane than in others, and yet time will probably remedy the present defect, and the scientific results that may be accomplished it is difficult to overestimate.

The most valuable aid to biological research given by the Government was the establishment of the Fish Commission in 1871. Organized for the purpose of studying the life histories, modes of propagation, and enemies of food-fishes, it has now come to be a most important aid to the students of marine animal life generally. Its relations to the National Museum are most intimate and it really serves as the most important means of acquiring new zoological specimens. To the credit of the Government be it said that the appropriations to the Fish Commission have always been liberal, and that the work done has not by any means been confined to work of a purely economic value. The laboratory at Woods Holl, constructed in 1884, is open under certain restric

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* The original endowment of the agricultural colleges was derived from the sale of public lands, 30,000 acres being appropriated for each Senator and Representative in Congress. The total amount of land given by the General Government to the States is 1,995,920 acres. The extent and usefulness of these institutions has so increased that the endowment has been felt to be inadequate. Congress, therefore, in 1890, passed’an act donating $15,000 to each State, the sum to be increased by $1,000 yearly until the appropriation reaches $25,000, which shall be a permanent income,

tions to investigators who avail themselves of the facilities for collect. ing and the appliances which the laboratory affords. In addition to this the study of invertebrates is regularly provided for, being placed under the general charge of Prof. A. E. Verrill, of Yale University, while the various groups are intrusted to those making a specialty of their study. The Fish Commission and National Museum have together done a valuable service in contributing duplicate material arranged and labeled to the museums connected with educational insti. tutions.

Mention has already been made of the most prominent scientific associations which exerted an influence upon biological research prior to the advent of Agassiz. We may now refer briefly to some that have since been organized.

In 1863 the National Academy of Sciences was established by Congress. It had an unlocalized membership, and was designed “to guide public action in reference to scientific matters.” In its proceedings numerous biological papers are to be found.

The most important organization for influencing the character of biological teaching in this country is the American Society of Naturalists of the eastern United States. This was founded in 1881, not for the presentation and discussion of researches, so much as for the consideration of educational and other matters of general interest to working naturalists. Its membership is unlocalized, but limited to investigators.

Following this, in 1887, the American Physiological Society was organized. Its membership is likewise unlocalized, but limited to investigators, while its object is “to promote the advance of physiology and to facilitate personal intercourse between American physiologists.”


We have now advanced to a stage where we can no longer expect much biological research to be done by private individuals, and we must look largely to the colleges for work of a purely scientific character. We need have but little fear that economic investigation will suffer. Government specialists stand ready to undertake any biological work having a direct bearing upon the welfare of the country; but even in the purely scientific work of the Department we observe that men connected with colleges are frequently employed.

The reason for this is evident when we consider the character of the problems now awaiting solution and the conditions under which research can be brought to a successful issue. Many problems are peculiar to this country, arising out of the character of its flora and fauna, while, on the other hand, certain kinds of work find in this country more favorable conditions than elsewhere prevail.

Considering purely descriptive work, both in botany and zoology, we find that there is still much to be done. There are yet many regions to

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be explored before we will know the entire flora and fauna of the United States, and our knowledge of the life histories, especially of the lower vegetable forms, is in a peculiarly unsatisfactory condition.* Certain it is that at present systematic work can not be done away from large collections such as only large institutions are apt to possess, and it is certain that the progress of biology is hindered rather than helped by attempts to describe new plants and animals on the part of those who have not access to sufficiently large museums and herbaria to make their work conclusive. Professor Farlow has strongly urged that systematic work be left entirely to those having every facility for it, and has pointed out that histology and embryology furnish the problems best fitted for those not so well situated.

We have up to this time emphasized only the functions of the university in advancing knowledge, but it must be remembered that the universities are expected, in addition, to furnish teachers for the institutions of the country. Higher instruction must, therefore, be provided as well as facilities for investigation. In biology this is peculiarly necessary, for it is perhaps easier here for an investigator to become absorbed in his own specialty and lose sight of other divisions of the subject than in other branches of science. Coöperation among investigators is peculiarly necessary if the best results to the individual are to be reached, while specialization of research is equally imperative for the best interests of science. At present, in this country, these two points are not equally guarded, for we do not find sufficient efforts made to resist the narrowing tendency of specialization. Under the head of university instruction we would include all special lecture courses, consisting of presentations of standard researches, expositions of important theories, and all studies of current literature. Work of this kind might, of course, be done by any one student for himself but for the fact that the amount of ground which it is desirable to go over is too great and a division of labor is essential for the best all-around results. Prof. C. O. Whitmant has in forcible terms pointed out the necessity for organization among investigators, and as a result of his efforts there is a much more widespread appreciation of this necessity than ever before. At the Johns Hopkins University there have been advanced lecture courses and coöperative studies in current literature ever since its foundation. In but few other institutions do the catalogues contain any accounts of such work, and in most of these the influence of Johns Hopkins is directly seen. But the present indications are hopeful. The necessity for such work is coming to be generally felt, and the means to do it will assuredly follow.

The question may well be raised whether as much original investigation in biology is being made in America as should be expected, but in attempting to answer it we meet with difficulties. We can perhaps

* See “The Task of American Botanists,” by W. G. Farlow, Popular Science Monthly, July, 1887.

† Biological Lectures, 1891.

best arrive at definite results by comparing our own country with others and taking into account all the points that can be determined which bear upon it.

The character, number, and acknowledged importance of the scientific periodicals published in any country constitute the best index of the amount and quality of research that is accomplished. Judged by this standard we find that Germany at least is far in advance of this country. On looking into the character of work done in Germany we find that many subdivisions of biology are about equally well provided for, while we find several journals of a high order devoted to systematic zoology and embryology; we find almost as many devoted to physiology, and structural as well as systematic and physiological botany are well provided for. Many of these journals are more or less intimately connected with the universities and were originally established for the publication of their own researches.

If we contrast this with the state of things in our own country, we find that few strictly scientific biological periodicals exist, and many of these are subject to restrictions with regard to contributors. While we have such journals as the Botanical Gazette and the American Naturalist, yet it may truly be said that until the establishment of the Journal of Morphology in 1887 we had no journal open to all the workers of the country that was on a sufficiently firm financial basis to undertake the publication of extensive researches involving numerous plates. The “Studies from the Biological Laboratory" of Johns Hopkins University, and the bulletins of the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Cambridge have been of great value in furnishing publication for many important investigations in zoology and physiology, but these journals are unfortunately open only to workers at the institutions from which they are published.

Valuable service has been rendered by various societies in giving publication to biological articles. The Boston Society of Natural History has been especially active, and the Smithsonian Contributions to Knowledge also contain many valuable biological papers. The General Government has also given publication to many researches which otherwise might never have been made public.

If we consider the contents of these journals it is evident that botany receives much less attention than zoölogy, while the amount of work done in animal, but especially vegetable, physiology, is exceedingly small. The total number of institutions claiming to do university work is in striking contrast with the amount of work produced. After making due allowance for the amount of research conducted under Govern. ment aid, and the various academies of sciences, it is seen that the colleges are doing very little to advance the sum of human knowledge in this direction at least. But the reason of this is not far to seek. Looking over chapter II with special reference to the universities, we find that very few of them are equipped for research in any department.

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