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But the true solution seems to be found in table 1, which shows the unreasonable and short-sighted policy pursued by so many boards of college trustees throughout the country. Out of one hundred and eleven colleges there are but forty-one in which the biological departments are in the hands of men who have no other teaching. In twenty cases geology is added, while thirty professors of natural science are found. If to this we add the fact that in sixty-nine cases the instructor in charge has no assistant, it is evident that to expect any research to be made under these circumstances would be unreasonable in the highest degree.
It must be admitted that for this state of things, teachers are themselves, in large measure, responsible. They have so long and so earnestly insisted upon the value of biology as a means of discipline, and so greatly developed the methods of instruction, that their claims have at last met with something like adequate recognition, but the result is that every teacher is now oppressed with a great burden of elementary teaching for which the modern methods are much more laborious than those formerly employed.
But this would, in all probability, apply with nearly equal force to work in all branches of biology, and we have not yet explained the great predominance of work in zoology over that in other subjects. Professor Farlow* regards the small amount of work in botany as due to radical defects in the methods of teaching in vogue some years ago, and still not out of use, for he maintains that the effect of these methods was to drive away students, who, if properly trained, would have done botanical work of good quality. Professor Martint has expressed the opinion that America has not contributed her fair share toward the advancement of animal physiology, and we shall later see that there are, at the present time, but few colleges provided with an adequate equipment for investigation of this kind. Most of the physiological work done in this country at the present time is done by the medical schools, and physiology only rarely comes within the jurisdiction of the faculty of philosophy,” as in other countries.
In this connection we should remember that this country is especially a favorable place for physiological work, as compared at least with England, where all work has virtually been stopped by antivivisection laws, In spite of repeated fanatical attempts to prevent vivisection in various cities in this country, many of which have been directly due to the efforts of the “Victoria Street Society for the Prevention of Vivisection;" in spite of attempts to convince the public that physiologists are engaged in torturing animals, not at all in the interests of science, but simply to gratify their own cruel passions, vivisection may still be
* Op. cit.
† Modern Physiological Laboratories; what they are and why they are. Johns Hopkins University Circular, 1882.
practiced in this country, and in spite of an increasing amount done, there are no indications of any restrictions being imposed.
There is yet a vast work to be done, and America is slowly awakening to the share which she may have in it. It makes but little difference whether this work be monopolized by medical schools or not. Whether the intimate relations existing between physiology and pathology shall take precedence over the idea that physiology is mainly physics and chemistry applied to living things, is a matter of little or no consequence. With regard to the bearing of physiological investigation upon the general work of a university, President Gilman, of Johns Hopkins University, speaks as follows:
A university should discover and teach all that can be known of the human body. If you ask me why this is so important, I reply, in order that everyone may be able to lead a healthier, stronger, and more rational life than is now possible for the want of more knowledge. Hospitals are essential to alleviate sufferings which have been encountered, physical training is of great value, but still more important to humanity is the laboratoy in which are studied the laws of life. A celebrated physiologist declares that “a hundred years of life is what Providence intended for man,” and others tell us that most of our minor ailments may easily be avoided, and the number of efficient days may be largely increased. Science has proved that many diseases which used to scourge the civilized world may be prevented, and it has recently brought us within sight of new discoveries which will still farther interrupt the progress of pestilence. The discoveries of anæsthetics have marvelously alleviated the sufferings of humanity. The causes and remedies of cerebral excitement and degeneration have never been understood as now, and the possibilities have never been so great for the restoration to their normal activity of the powers which have been alienated. In view of these great results and of these anticipations it is clearly the duty of a university to study all the forms and functions of life which are manifested in organisms lower than man, all the laws which govern animal and vegetable growth, all that can possibly throw light on human physiology.
Those who are devoted to research of this kind, revealing with their microscopes the structure and the life histories of the minutest organisms, are constantly and in the most unexpected ways coming upon new illustrations of the plan of creation, which have an important bearing upon the welfare of man. They are the interpreters of nature and the benefactors of humanity, and I do not hesitate to add that if there is any branch of learning which at the present time deserves the most generous support it is surely biology, because of its obvious relations to the health and happiness of every human being. I can not but think that those who oppose its study will be ranked in future years among the obscurantists of the nineteenth century. *
* A short time prior to the delivery of this address a strong but unsuccessful attempt was made to suppress vivisection at the Johns Hopkins University. It was due in part to English influences, but was rendered ineffectual by the prompt action of the university authorities.
LABORATORIES AND MUSEUMS.
With a unanimity that is surprising when we consider the importance of the subject involved, the institutions of the country report that they are conducting their biological work in rooms that were originally planned for some other purpose, and that are more or less ill-suited to the needs of a biological laboratory. Indeed, it is true of a goodly number that they have only their class rooms in which to conduct laboratory work. In several cases is the report made that new buildings have been erected for chemistry or physics, and that biology has taken what they leave. A diligent search through a large number of catalogues has failed to reveal more than five institutions in the entire country which possess separate buildings devoted to biology alone, erected for that purpose, and equipped in such a manner as to enable work to be done readily and conveniently. The facts indicate very strongly that there is a much more general appreciation of the validity of the claims of chemistry and perhaps physics to laboratory space and equipment than of biology,
While it is one of the striking advantages which biology possesses over other sciences that much can be done with a small outlay for apparatus, there is yet a point beyond which this does not hold true. While a laboratory may be rude and poorly equipped and yet be a “place where good, honest work can be done,” this assumes that there is on the part of students a disposition to work faithfully in spite of disadvantages, an assumption which is by no means justified by the facts.
The equipment of a biological laboratory presents questions which are the same for no two institutions in the country. Prof. William A. Locy, of Lake Forest University, says upon this subject:
As a matter of course the needs vary greatly with the scope and importance of the work, but every college laboratory should contain enough microscopes for the individual use of students, water, work tables, a microtome of late pattern for cutting serial sections, means of imbedding in paraffine and celloidin, some of the current reference books, a Zeiss camera, or an embryograph of some kind, alcohol, reagents, and dyes. These are the staple articles of furnishing. Other accessories will correspond to the quality of the work the teacher is expected to conduct.
Perhaps the most defective point in the equipment of the college laboratories through the country, is that too small a number of duplicates is provided. The number of microscopes, for example, which every laboratory should possess depends upon the number of students and
assistants, but this general statement may be made that each laboratory should contain a number of microscopes equal to the largest number of students that can be properly supervised in the laboratory at one time. If there be a smaller number than this, teachers are caused to lose much valuable time in repeating work with different sections of the classes. Scarcely a letter was received by the writer which did not contain expressions of dissatisfaction over the poor equipment provided. One teacher, just moved to a new college, writes that the college possesses but two microscopes, neither of which is in order.” Another, connected with a prominent college, writes: "The professor is willing that the report should particularize College as being behind the age in these respects, but desires that the responsibility for this neglect should be placed upon the trustees, where it belongs.”
But while the colleges generally are meagerly enough equipped for furnishing the necessary facilities for the mere observation of plant and animal forms, the situation is infinitely worse with regard to experimental work. Of course the difficulty of getting accurate accounts of laboratory equipments must be borne in mind, but so far as the writer has been able to learn, there are not more than five or six institutions in the country that furnish students with the means for performing even the simplest experiment in either animal or vegetable physiology. If we contrast this with the number of courses in physiology that are given in the country, we are convinced that whatever may be the object for which these courses are given, training in scientific methods is not one of them.
There are, to be sure, difficulties in the way of general laboratory work in physiology that do not exist in regard to other subdivisions of biology. A laboratory equipped with microscopes and the usual appli. ances, and also with needed arrangements for dissecting, is more expensive, perhaps, than a chemical laboratory equipped to the same degree of efficiency; but here the greatest expense is in the original equipment. A well-equipped physical laboratory may perhaps cost more than either, but the running expenses are certainly least of all. But if a biological laboratory is equipped with the means for performing physiological work and provided with a sufficient number of duplicates to enable the work to go on systematically and without inconvenience, the expense is carried up to a point which only a few institutions can stand. And yet the fact remains that much more might be done than is done, both because of the fact that many important experiments do not require expensive apparatus, and the fact that much may be demonstrated in a laboratory which does not furnish students with facilities for doing many pieces of work for themselves. “When the conditions are such,” says Professor Martin, “that the students can not make experiments themselves, we insist that they shall at the least have shown to them the most important facts; that the lecture and the text-book shall have as their accompaniment, I might perhaps say as their basis, actual demon
strations, supplemented if possible by personal experimentation by the learner himself. We ridicule the notion of any real teaching of physiology to a student who has never seen a beating heart, a blood-pressure experiment, or a demonstration of the action of saliva on starch.”
The requirements which must be met in arranging laboratories for research are scarcely greater than for the work of teaching. Certainly this is true of work in either animal or vegetable morphology, for if an institution possesses rooms suitably lighted, provided with microscopes of sufficient range of powers, staining and mounting fluids, and the. necessary apparatus for iimbedding and for section cutting, and if in addition it possesses arrangements for procuring specimens in abundance, the morphologist finds most of his wants satisfied. So far as material equipment is concerned, while there are but few places where it is all that might be desired, there is a considerable number, as the preceding statements show, at which something might be done in morphological research.
With regard to animal and vegetable physiology the case is very different. While in the former much has been done with simple and inexpensive apparatus, the improvements are so great that for any extended research a considerable outlay is needed. With reference to animal physiology a glance over the literature will show how great a share the development of improved apparatus has had in eliminating errors and correcting erroneous ideas in regard to many of the fundamental processes in the body. Any adequate equipment for research in animal physiology must include many pieces of apparatus that are expensive, much elaborate recording apparatus, and many pieces of somewhat limited application and yet liable to be wanted at any time. A large stock of general apparatus is also desirable— pieces that can be readily utilized and from which special designs can be constructed. As a further desideratum is the ability to have apparatus readily constructed to meet special needs.
On looking through the list to determine the character of the various institutions with reference to their facilities for research in animal and vegetable physiology, we find that there is little to be said. Not more than three or four institutions are provided with the means for research in vegetable physiology, and only a slightly larger number are equipped for work in animal physiology. In regard to the latter it will be noticed that in nearly every case where provision is made for animal physiology the institution is in intimate relation with a medical school. Whatever be the character of the research actually performed, it becomes evident that physiology does not stand on the same plane as other sciences, but that research is directly influenced to a greater or less extent by its possible applications.
The number of institutions that have separate buildings devoted to biology is surprisingly small. So far as is known to the writer the Johns Hopkins laboratory was the first building of any considerable