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ical information to the more direct objects of their journeys. It was thought that nearly all would do so if they were made sensible of the value of such work, and if the means of acquiring the necessary training were within their reach. The Council determined to provide this preliminary training for all who desired to receive it.
Mr. Coles, the Curator of the Society's Maps, was appointed to give instruction in practical astronomy, route surveying, and mapping; and at the same time a small observatory was constructed on the roof of the Society's house. In 1879 Mr. Coles began to impart this instruction, and he has given 532 lessons to 42 students, down to the end of 1881. The subjects taught embrace nearly all the problems in practical astronomy and surveying, the use of the theodolite, sextant, and artificial horizon, manner of plotting a traverse survey by means of the prismatic compass, and map construction. The students have included civil engineers, sailors, soldiers, surgeons, magistrates, botanists, missionaries, and one bishop. Half the small fee is paid by the student and half by the Society. The measure has answered perfectly, and is likely to be still more successful in the future.
When we reflect that upwards of 40,000,000 tons of British shipping are annually cleared and entered at our seaports, it will readily be admitted that the training of our sailors is at least as important a matter as the instruction of our travellers and explorers by land.
But the instruction offered by the Geographical Society can only be taken advantage of by a small fraction of those whose occupations take them to distant and little known regions, and who, if they had the needful training, might do good service to their country. It is desirable that all such travellers and settlers, and all young sailors, should have had similar advantages. This end can be secured by furnishing
the means of acquiring the necessary knowledge to boys and young men before they enter upon their professions and callings. If it was a general practice to teach applied mathematics and practical astronomy, with surveying and mapping, in schools, such knowledge would be instructive and useful to all boys, while a certain number would find it to be a great advantage, and would, through the training thus received, do good service to geographical science in after life.
It is also most important that lads intended for a sea life should all receive a thorough grounding in plane and spherical trigonometry, and go through a course of navigation and nautical astronomy before or soon after entering; and that this system should be substituted for the existing baneful cramming for the superficial Board of Trade Examinations. Surely the great seaports of this wealthy and powerful country should establish navigation schools on at least as broad and comprehensive a basis as has been done in every other maritime nation of the civilised world.
The two things needful are to increase the means of instruction, and to substitute a firm foundation of knowledge for the parrot teaching by rule of thumb. Former generations believed such thorough training to be necessary for the safety of their ships and the prosperity of their commerce. All civilised maritime countries, except England, have shown their full concurrence in the belief of their ancestors by establishing adequate navigation schools and efficient teaching. Many of the instructed and thoughtful seamen of our own land are conscious of the evil consequence of the present absence of any system here. It is because the case for improvement is so strong, because all former experience points to the expediency of making suitable provision for that improvement, and because I have personally been in positions to see and feel the urgency of what I have represented as needful, that I have ventured to address the Institute on this
subject. I would submit in conclusion that if the point for which I contend is held to be established, the consideration of measures for securing the end in view may safely be left to others who, both here and elsewhere, possess that administrative knowledge and educational experience to which I can lay no claim. If the want is admitted and felt, there will, I am confident, be no difficulty in finding the remedy.
SOME POPULAR MISCONCEPTIONS OF
BY REV. S. FLETCHER WILLIAMS.
Or the words spoken during the last quarter of a century none has produced more violent agitation, none has been more bitterly opposed, none has been subjected to more silly abuse, none has gone more rapidly towards conquest, none has produced a wider change in human thinking, than the word "Darwinism." It is only twenty-two years since the Origin of Species was published, and already the philosophy of that book has conquered the great intellectual centres in the old world and the new. Its author has kept the honours of the discussion; and why? Because behind the power of the book is the power of the man. Mr. Darwin is now everywhere recognised as an earnest man of transcendent scientific knowledge, with a love of truth for the truth's sake that is as fascinating as the breadth and thoroughness of his learning, with a temper the balance of which is one of the sources of his strength. He is no mere iconoclast, a vandal, a speculative adventurer; but a self-poised apostle of science, distinguished for a patient industry that rebukes the haste with which we rush to conclusions, and for a dignity of candour that puts all dogmatism to shame. His veracity, his fairness, his cautiousness of method are so evident, his willingness to re-consider his positions is so marked, his modesty is so sincere, as to disarm all but the most determined prepossession. Nevertheless, the philosophy so attractively presented, and so widely accepted by students and interpreters of the laws of life, is still hotly opposed in many quarters, and the opposition is often based upon misconceptions of what Darwin and his fellow-teachers claim.
It is worth while, then, to examine some of these misconceptions, and to show wherein I think they are misconceptions.
What is Darwinism? The earth is covered by numberless clusters of organised beings-men, birds, beasts, fishes, and plants. Very loosely speaking, we may say that each cluster of which the individuals reproduce other individuals having the common characteristics of the cluster is called a species. The question is how these streams of life, which, though in some cases intimately connected, seem now permanently severed one from the other, first came into existence.
Previously to the appearance of the Origin of Species the majority of naturalists and religious persons had-to put the statement guardedly-maintained that no evidence had been adduced to prove that species in the animal world had descended from other species by ordinary generation; since the publication of the Origin of Species a continually increasing majority of naturalists and a number of the most formative minds in theology have believed that evidence has been brought forward, sufficient in nature and in amount, to prove that proposition. In other words, the old theory was that each species was created separately-that, for example, each species of thrush, of finch, of shark, of tiger, of grass, of reed, of fungus was called into existence by a distinct creative fiat. The new theory is that every existent form of life has been evolved from some other, that all the thrushes had a common ancestor, all the families of birds one still more remote, all the vertebrate animals one removed still further into the dark backward and abysm of time. I am not, at present, expressing an opinion as to which of these theories is the correct one. My object is to state distinctly what the Darwinian theory is, and what the revolution in scientific opinion which Mr. Darwin has effected amounts to. How many comprehend this? Mr. Ruskin, for example,