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The Parents' Review

A Monthly Magazine of Home-Training and Culture

Edited by Charlotte Mason.

"Education is an atmosphere, a discipline, a life."
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The Rise and Aims of Modern Botany, Part 1

by Professor Patrick Geddes
Volume 4, 1893/94, pgs. 738-743


"It is not only the right, but also the duty, of any one who lectures to place in the foreground his own mode of viewing the matter. The audience wish to know, and should know, how the science, as a whole, shapes itself in the mind of the lecturer; and it is comparatively unimportant whether others think the same or otherwise."--Sachs

IN these words of one of our foremost modern teachers of Botany we have the keynote to which such an introductory paper as the present may appropriately be set. As Sachs so clearly puts it, the questions, are, broadly, two;--What is our general view of the science? How do we propose teaching it? This practical question is the one of most direct importance; but the general view clearly underlies it. Nothing, however, is nowadays so characteristic of the modern student in all things as that he answers almost every question we can put him about what a thing is, by offering instead to tell us how it arose and developed. This modern way of looking at things is, of course, peculiarly associated with the natural history sciences, which, in the study of origin and development, of evolution in general, have taken so distinct a lead. Hitherto indeed, this interest in origins has been mainly occupied with the innumerable special phenomena of Biology, and has hardly had time to extend to the science itself; but on the naturalist's own showing that state of affairs cannot be expected or desired to continue. Granting, then, that it may be useful to know how the ideas of men have grown about the plant world since those old days when Father Adam invented botanical nomenclature, or King Solomon delivered his general course of lectures on the vegetable kingdom, we have to trace the science from old classic times, through the middle ages, and more especially the steps of its widening and deepening in our own day. But it is clear that a mere catalogue of botanists, and of their books and dates, although quite the sort of thing which used to stand for history, would have little interest in itself, much less throw any light upon the present state or future aims of science. We must try, therefore, to understand our botanists as we go along.

Like Zoology, Botany dates from Aristotle; for, though none of his botanical writings survive, his pupil Theophrastos not only gives us a list of 500 plants, but touches on the problems of their life in a way which recalls something of his master's philosophical spirit and shows us that Botany was conceived as an integral part of that general account of things towards which Aristotle laboured. From this time, however, men of general interests kept to problems more obviously near the human ones, and the scientific study of plants was deserted. In the first century we have indeed Dioscorides and Pliny, but the first writes merely a Materia Medica for his brother herbalists, and the second is but a thoughtless and gossipy compiler of agricultural and miscellaneous information. For fifteen centuries however, these two books were the only accredited sources; even the rare attempts at new ones being simple commentaries upon the old. Looking at the plants for oneself seems the most obvious bit of commonsense to us, but a medieval university man never dreamed of such a thing--he would have thought us almost impious, certainly foolish, to propose it: for how could any mere modern hope or dare to surpass the writings of the Ancients?

Only after fifteen centuries of this scientific stupor have we a fresh start: and this, as indeed commonly happens, outside the universities altogether--in that famous old city of Strasburg, from which the world received so much before it fell into the alternate clutch of modern strategists. Brunfels' "Book of Herbs" was published in 1537, four years after his death; and we shall see that this new awakening of the science in Germany in that generation was no accident of time and place, but a clear outcome of that awakening of the modern spirit of inquiry into all things--that desire to prove all things and hold fast the good, to get below tradition to fact, and below commentaries to originals--in a word, that new mood of mind which made the Renaissance, which discovered America, which was making the Reformation. Brunfels was a man of that generation, as a boy he had gazed with wonder at the first printing press, and must have had much of its marvelous development brought before day by day. The fresh thought of the world was pouring from it, and for the first time accessible to all. Hence would come to Strasburg students and thinkers of all types and lands; here the fugitive scholars from lost Constantinople would find new pupils eager for the new learning, our own ever-wandering countrymen among them; here the explorers of the New World mingled with the burning controversialists of the Reformation, and all alike found market and discussion for their books. Thus, as we saw the science date its earliest rise from the Ancient Greek movement unified by Aristotle, so we see its new birth to be but a single consequence of that new great movement which was set up so largely from the same old source. The revival of botanical learning is, in short, nothing but a streamlet in a vaster river, that of the general Renaissance.

Eyes once fairly lifted, or rather lowered, from the book of Dioscorides to that of nature, progress was ensured. In less than a century Brunfels' 240 descriptions were replaced by Bauhin's 6000. The new worlds discovered by so many daring adventurers had still to be explored; commerce, medicine, and science had here an obvious community of interest, and in intrepid race of botanical travelers soon arose. Botanic gardens were next needed, if much of their labour was not to be lost, the thoughtful merchant-statesmen of Venice especially leading the way, and reclaiming from the sea an extension of their peculiarly scanty esplanade for that very purpose. Next came the invention of the microscope; the great Italian anatomist, Malpighi, his eyes thus armed, turned, like Aristotle, once more his studies from man to plant, and thus a new possibility of exploration, still far from exhausted, opened before the botanist in his apparently well-known flora; nay, without rising form his chair. Below thses familiar plants, too, there came into view a tiny undergrowth of cryptogamic vegetation, of which the very existence had hardly been suspected. And from that day to this any patient seeker may be a botanical traveler without leaving his garden; or, like one of our own townsmen here, fetch new marvels from the wayside pond.

But in the larger world the inpouring of new ideas was beginning to give place to the labour of systematizing them, and the discoverers of the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries were ceding their intellectual leadership to the philosophers of the seventeenth and eighteenth. So it was in Botany: reflection had to succeed discovery. System and order were now needed above all things, and he became the best botanist who should not simply describe more new plants, but bring some order among the old. Here our countrymen Morison and Ray were of historic service; yet the modern period, all botanists are agreed, essentially dates from Linnaeus, whose mind possessed the needed qualifications in an unparalleled degree. It is not as a discoverer of new forms or facts, still less as an originator of new ideas, that we commemorate him as the father of modern Botany. It is as the genius of order, who, finding the vast confused accumulations of botanical and zoological facts on the one hand, and the empty academic mills of logic, grinding out mere rules of grammar, or useless controversies, on the other, saw clearly what was needed--to bring these fairly together, and set anew to work. Here was a use for these classificatory devices of genus and species, for that accuracy of descriptive language, that critical and analytic skill, which had been mainly running to waste in mental gymnastics ever since Universities were founded. Here were not only concrete problems for trained wits, but a vast ever-growing system of nature to be made and carried on. The Systema Naturae thus revolutionized the science, and founded the most important and enduring of all botanical schools--that concerned with describing and cataloguing the forms of nature. New botanical chairs and gardens were founded; no science had ever been so popular before or perhaps ever since; the pupils of Linnaeus traveled everywhere to new harvestings, and were led forth in succeeding generations by Humboldt and by Hooker; even to this day the Systema Naturea is being continued, and no patient seeker returns without his sheaf. It is not long since a member of our own Naturalists' Society detected a new plant even in Scotland. The Systema Naturea is this in progress, and whosoever will may add his leaf to it.

Yet it is a less favourable aspect of the history of Botany which must next engage us; for as of all sciences Botany had suddenly risen, through Linnaeus, highest in scientific eminence and popular esteem, so it soon fell in both respects lower than any. Nor has it yet wholly recovered. It was much to have done with commenting on Dioscorides, yet little if even Linnaeus was to replace him as a fetish, as only too soon he did. The academic influences were too strong for the botanists; they soon absorbed all the intellectual vices of the old world pedants around them. First, the simple descriptive language of Linnaeus was overlaid by an elaborate terminology which he would have been the first to shatter; next, it was thought necessary to devise rules for the employment of the terms; and these the unhappy student was set to learn before coming to the actual plants at all! We shall readily see how this strangely unscientific state of things came about; it was simply the logical outcome of the established system of education, in which living literature had been gradually replaced by dead rules of grammar, until at last these had come to exclude any real studies for the majority of learners altogether, as for that matter they largely do still. The Revival of Learning had in fact died out, and Botany died with it. The study of nature thus became a mere Latin clerkship, and the enthusiasm of living nature was replaced by a race for priority, complicated by the merest commercial passion of acquisition and exchange.

Nor did these vices wholly end with the victory of the natural system of classification; they are, indeed--as we shall see more fully in subsequent lectures--inseparable from all exclusive study of the plant from the purely morphological point of view, that is, from looking at it simply as a form to be described, compared and analysed, named and classified, and thereafter done with. It is a convenient abstraction, of course, and indispensable in its way; but we must not mistake, as botanists were wont to do, or, indeed, so many still do, this necessary artifice of the morphological department of the science for its whole method. For even when we have learned all we can from Linnaeus, applied to this the comparative anatomy of Jussieu and Cuvier, and re-read the whole by the light of the yet deeper and more poetic conception of morphological unity which is associated with the name of Goethe; nay even when with the embryologist we watch the phantasmagoria of development change, we are as yet only  the crystallographers of organic nature, and not yet, properly speaking, biologists at all. For the distinctive character and problem of our science lies in the study, not of form, but of life. Yet even now compare how familiar and how scientific it seems to think and speak of the plant as a form; how unfamiliar, apparently merely poetic, if not childish, to speak of it as a life! Yet as physiology grows we see that this mode of speech is the scientific one. Following, however, the dictates and example of the human anatomists of medical schools (in, or at any rate by, pupils of which Botany has long mainly been studied, the progress of Botany followed that of Zoology on lines of deepening anatomical analysis. General form was decomposed into its organs, these into their component tissues, these into their cells, and finally the fundamental and all-important protoplasm is reached.

Pt 2 Volume 4 p. 827-832(continued from page 743)

Physiology was meanwhile traveling more slowly upon the same road, descending through similar stages. For plants this took place with exceeding slowness and difficulty, owing to the prevailing systematic and anatomical bias. This may be well evidenced by the fact that even now we have only a single English treatise, and that a recent one; without going into such a melancholy story as how long Hales' classical researches on the circulation of the sap were left undeveloped, or Sprengel's "Discovered secret of Nature" totally ignored. The full and final establishment of the physiological standpoint, instead of the merely anatomical one, has, however, been effected by Darwin. We must, therefore, think of him, for the present at any rate, not so much in connection with the famous conception of natural selection (itself an application of current philosophy) of which he made such comprehensive use; nor even in connection with the establishment of the doctrine of descent, in which he played such a leading part; but primarily as concerned with the reconcentration of all these various planes of specialism into a general view of organic (that is to say, living) nature. The science no longer centres round the dried herbarium specimen of it, as had been the case since Linnaeus' day: it has become again a living being--moving, breathing, digestive, sensitive. In a word, the Dryad of old poetry has been recalled to life by modern science--our second, and let us hope more enduring Renaissance.

This, then, brings us up to our own day and its progress. We shall soon find that each week's botanical newspaper (from Strasburg still, it is worth noting) introduces us to new masses of botanical literature, which threaten to smother us.

Hence the use of this simple record of the stages of our deepening analysis, which may now be viewed as a bookcase, or rather a couple of bookcases, respectively devoted to the literature of morphology and physiology. On each shelf we have the literature of a particular stage of our deepening study; and it will be seen that the morphological and physiological stages are parallel, although their shelves for the most part have been filled up quite independently by writers approaching from quite different sides and points of view; indeed, far too often in the dark as to the general plan and aspects of the science. At the beginning of each shelf we have the fundamental work from which a whole department of modern literature arises, and of which it may be considered as essentially a continuation (the minor predecessors leading up to each great work being also indicated). In this way all floras and enumerations of species generally, are continuations of Linnaeus' Systema Naturea; all histological study of the cell a continuation of Schleiden and Schwann; and so on. In physiology and in morphology we have thus as it were a kind of pentateuch, to which all our subsequent literature must be referred--and this for the most part as of the nature of appendices, or at most of revised editions.

Hence the use of this simple historic classification. It enables us to dive into the literature of any branch of the subject at will. Guidance to each department of literature is also provided by the industry of bibliographers. Happily, too, good sectional manuals are forthcoming, but a good general text-book is still wanting--i.e., one which shall set out with the conception of physiology and evolution, instead of at best concluding with a dogmatic treatment of these, after the whole anatomical analysis has been empirically gone through. The student should be taught to handle these principles from the outset, and to interpret the facts of form by their aid: this, however, is the problem of a course of lectures such as the present. For a special field of the subject treated in this way, perhaps no book is more conveniently typical than Darwin's "Insectivorous Plants." Kerner's new "Pflanzenleben" (Leipzig 1887), deserves of all general books the greatest praise, for making clear, from the very outset, the idea that the plant is really and thoroughly alive, and for maintaining that view throughout.

I had hoped to trace this history in fuller detail, and interpret it more completely in the light of that general historic evolution of which it has formed a part. We might, for instance, take special instances, like that of the famous naturalist, Abbe Bonnet, a century ago, and look at him classifying all living beings into a regular unbroken scale or hierarchy (echelle des itres), which no one any longer supposes to correspond to the facts of nature. How, then, is it to be explained? Essentially as the naïve projection upon nature of that regular gradation from sexton to pope in which his mind was formed, and from the "bas peuple" up to the "Grand Monargue." Nor is it otherwise in our own day, with Schwendener applying (albeit more profitably) his personal acquaintance with engineering to explain the problems of vegetable mechanics; for the scientific process is always and everywhere the same. Consciously or unconsciously , "the eye only sees what it brings with it the power of seeing." Hence each contribution to science, even Darwin's own, is no completed truth, but at best such portion of the truth of nature as our general mode and theory of life (of course together with our particular stage of personal evolution) enable us to see. The whole matter is well summed by the poet and thinker whom this very day we are specially mourning--summed up for the history of our science as for the whole River of Time:--

"As is the world on its banks,
So is the mind of the man,
only the thoughts
Raised by the objects he passes are his.

We pluck new flowers on the banks as we float, and look at those through eyes which are only childishly and slowly opening towards full intelligence. At the great drama of evolution the naturalist is but the awakening spectator.

"I observe" said a wise pope long ago, "that every generation of men is characterized by a different habit of thinking." Hence, so long as we do not finally anchor ourselves at the spot whence Dioscorides, or Linnaeus, or even Darwin last looked, but sail on with the general stream of human culture and progress, there will await us not only new discoveries, but ever-freshening points of view.

We have been a long time in getting the literature of the science into this scheme of progressively deepening analysis; but you see it is at the same time a set of pigeon-holes for present work. The study of the development of science does help us to deal with its present state. In our historic bookcase Linnaeus marshals all the Linnaeans; Jussieu and his direct pupil Cuvier, the anatomists; and so on, similarly too, with the schools of physiologists.

The aims of our science also are becoming obvious. The simplest and commonest way for a young investigator to go to work, especially in Germany--where nowadays investigators are manufactured wholesale--is to enlist in some one school or other, which may happen to be his teacher's, or his teacher's teacher's again in turn, and work there all one's life as in a mill, often half-unconscious, or three-parts indifferent, to all the work going on around--a scientific millworker, in short. This has, of course, its useful side; but larger possibilities are becoming obvious. In the first place, we have that of being a more skilled worker, ready to turn oneself to different lines and levels; and a good monograph, like one of those of the Challenger expedition, does this more or less completely. Again, we may seek to sum up and generalize any one plane of research, as most simply that of species, into a classification, a genealogical tree; or similarly sum up knowledge of the function or structure of organs and tissues, of cell and protoplasm. These are, in fact, so many questions which you have to ask--but which will need separate lectures to answer. Thirdly, we can see higher possibilities beyond these. Our studies and generalizations have been so far descriptive and empirical. Can we not see a possibility of a return wave which should combine and unify all these separate generalisations, and so rationalize them; thus reaching the goal of all our separate studies, a proximate conception of the entire phenomena of life? We have now to put together our cells into tissues, these into organs, and thus rebuild the organism. Thus, then, our mental image of the plant is no longer the mere corpse of the anatomical side of things, but has become a working thought- model in short. Our Biology would thus have passed from the mere separate analysis of all things dead, to the synthetic view of all things living. The naturalist is thus again like Adam in his Paradise garden--nay, happier--for he now tastes the fruits of both life and knowledge.

The deepening anatomical analysis showed us the parts of the engine, but it is for this rising physiological synthesis to put them together, to make them work. Or to use another metaphor, which also is more than a metaphor, the anatomist give us the architectural details of the house of life; but with the physiologist we see these all put together, and in the service of the inhabitant.

You see the advantage of this library arrangement. The student can find anything, once he has this type-library in his head, and no longer needs to cram his memory to weariness, since he knows how to turn anything up in these shelves of dictionaries as it happens to be wanted. Teaching by help of a type library of this kind puts a man from the first into a rational position; it is like a small scale map beside a pile of fragmentary detailed ones--all the main things are in the first, and you can go to the others all the more easily and intelligently when you need them.

Shall we, then, collect these books and get them up? Certainly we must. That will be part of our detailed business. These books, or their modern representatives, are at once the working tools and dictionaries of the science; and familiarity with them comes far more easily than you would suppose when you take them in this rational way.

But science is not in books. No, certainly, as little as is music, for both give but the notation of a high mental state. From these bookshelves we have to gather the results of the science, and apply them practically in the actual garden; to see our flowers in all their fullness of living detail--functions and structures united into one single imaginative picture, the working thought-model aforesaid.

No sooner, then, have we collected our library and mastered its principle, than we begin to see how to escape its overmastering weight, its wholly unreadable mass. If we try to master even a single plane--the whole Linnaean, the whole Cuvierian one--the task is hopeless, and we only fall back into our narrow places as specialists once more. What is to be done?

Leave for a moment each shelf of books, close every appalling dictionary of information, and ask, What is Linnaeus' secret, what Cuvier's, Goethe's, Von Baer's? Their results are infinite, are endless; but their method simple. Each opened a treasure-house of new ideas too vast for any man to carry; but this with the very simplest key, which is henceforth at the service of each and all. In all Linnaeus, what it the secret--the logical principle--the key? Only this--isolate your organism, observe its outward form, describe and name it, catalogue and index it; as far as possible also preserve and draw. But practice upon our common flora is all we need to do this, right through the world.

Would we next descend to Cuvier's plane? What have we? First, the Linnaean secret over again applied to the parts of the organism instead of the whole--isolate, observe, describe, and record as before, but now with the addition, compare as well. This, too, can be soon adequately learned in practice, and we are henceforth comparative anatomists in a special group or field.

Next, we have to widen our conception of resemblances in structure, and unify with Goethe the parts of the flower with the leaf, or the strangely modified jaws of an insect with its walking limbs. Thus we have built up the whole intellectual key with which Owen, for instance, has unlocked so many secrets; while, when we add to this the embryological conception of Von Baer, we are modern comparative anatomists complete.

Part 3 (Continued from page 832.)

It is now becoming easy to make the same abstraction in learning to study tissues and cells: first isolating, we observe and classify, we compare and unify, and finally verify by watching the facts of development. Each new plane of study is then easier, the principle being in all cases the same-our grasp of it becomes increasingly distinct and habitual; nay, the very acquirement of facts and details become easier, for each deepening category throws light upon all the rest. We never so fully, for instance, see the unity of our classification of all organic species, which is the result of our first plane of study, until we have seen each developing from the simple unit of mass protoplasm, to which we come on the deeper plane of cell below.

Here, then, is the whole logical secret of all this varied literature, which becomes henceforth a convenience, not an incubus; not a crushing and unintelligible burden of cram, the Juggernaut which is at present probably ruining more minds than did ever human misarrangement in this world before-but a bunch of magic keys to a glorious museum of nature, through which we may roam for ever, yet enriching our intellectual life at every step. At this stage of study you no longer need your books, save for reference; you are your own books: you write them as you need them. Linnaeus, with his classification, is not one dead incubus of cram; or Jussieu with comparative anatomy, his natural orders only a new mystery added; or Schleiden with his cell another; or Darwin on his way to become a fourth; but the characteristic thought of each has entered into you, has become part of yourself-of your powers, your possibilities; each principle is a new stop added to your complex organ-a fresh possibility for that intellectual music which is what we call scientific thought. The plain principle, then, is that Linnaeus is not dead, nor Jussieu, nor Darwin, but that each student is henceforth his own Linnaeus when he observes and describes his flower; his own Jussieu when he works out its place in the natural system; his own Darwin when he can decipher the story of its life and evolution. All these and more. Contrariwise, a parrot only, if he has got up these things from books and lecture notes, without understanding their principle.

Here, then, is the goal of our biological education, not memory knowledge, but power; intellectual muscle, not fat, in Professor Huxley's famous phrase. I might go on to point out how those who, with patient stupidity, are content to cram the facts of one subject without really understanding them, are simply all the more sickened and stupefied by doing the same for another; whereas he who has learned one subject with real intelligence is thereby helped often half-way through the next. This is peculiarly true of Botany and Zoology; and it is, I think, one of the most hopeful features of our new school here, that my zoological colleague and I are of like mind, realising the essential unity of our two subjects, and are thus hopeful of bringing their teaching more fully into harmony than has yet been the case. But it is time to leave this part of the subject, if you grasp clearly that there are not only two but three results-

(1)That when you can handle the literature of Biology intelligently you are in a position rapidly to master its main results, botanical and zoological, at will;
(2) when you can apply the same principles upon which your authors worked to the actual phenomena they worked upon, you are henceforth practically independent of their books altogether, save for reference; while
(3) you have become so far a scientific man, and may apply this scientific power (of systematised analysis and synthesis) in such fresh ways as you will. Not only Botany, but many cognate fields are open to you-you are so far educated; and henceforth you may carve out fresh kingdoms with the same intellectual sword. We hear much in these days of sorely-needed academic reform, of abandoning our old curriculums of education based on the idea of general knowledge, and settling down to specialisms. And so far well: our old culture has broken down, is totally inadequate, and through this phase of keen and detailed specialism we must pass; we must not only know something about everything, but also everything about something. But what I have been trying to show is that while henceforth every man should pass through the training of a specialist, no man need shrivel into a specialist pure and simple-a mere slave of the intellectual division of labour: and we see that Botany gives us a vivid instance of how we may hope to specialise within a science, and yet come out of it suppled as logicians, steeped in the humanities, trained for the wider work of life-medicine, education, what you will. But for this we need to see that we not only enter the storehouses of fact, but seek and keep the keys; we need, indeed, access to the fullest information, but still more power of using it; we have not to learn dogmas, but to seize the clues and share the experience of past thinkers-to remember, in fact (what I take to be the secret of education), that the gift of Prometheus was not a dead weight of coals, but fire. Permit me, in conclusion, a final word as to the plan of teaching of the present course.

The popular idea of the botanist is too much that of a mild, yet somewhat mischievous, creature, who finds his chief amusement in picking flowers to pieces, as the sparrow is doing with the crocuses just now, and with no visible result but a mess. His remaining occupation is supposed to be that of gentle exercise on Saturday afternoons; and his skill is measured by the number of times on which he stops at every fresh plant in a joyfully excited manner, exactly like a new breed of pointer, loudly ejaculating, in the most unmistakeably canine Latin as he scratches it up, what people henceforth learnedly call its name.

His academic existence is mainly supposed to depend upon his historic connection with medicine through Materia Medica, which has endured through the conservatism of the medical guilds. His use, if any, is thought largely recreative; he is apt to be considered a kind of academic nursemaid, who takes the hard-worked students out for an airing; at best, he teaches observation perhaps (I have really been told all these things). But the idea that he is an intellectual combatant, like the representatives of the old cultures, the mathematician and the scholar, seems absurd. I have tried to show that this is by no means true, that there is no reason why the student of Botany should not become an intellectual athlete with the one, and a humanist with the other. And as our work continues, we shall find that the largest intellectual impulse and battle of the age comes from, or at least centers round, the towering figure of Darwin, whom we reckon far more as botanist than zoologist; and we shall see what really first-rate work has been and is being done by botanists both on the Continent and at home. Now the secret of successful learning and teaching is to endeavour to take individual and some collective part in that.

But how shall we do this? We have seen how science arise from, and is continually stimulated by, contact with actual life; and in continuing this contact lies the secret of its progress. The success, nay the very existence, of an industrial city lies in its people making what is wanted in actual life-not whatever happens to come into their head, which would, indeed, probably be nothing at all. It is the very same with science; it too must think out what is wanted in actual life-by which, however, I do not in the least mean that it is its business to grind corn for the Philistines. What I do mean is, that a man must enter a science as he enters an occupation; must look at himself with a new pride as so far henceforth sharing in that actual movement of the world-industrial or scientific. The soldier feels this fully, and that is what makes him not only physically, but morally, so much of a man; the industrialist is feeling it more and more; but it is the perpetual ruin of universities and colleges, of fellowships and learning-indeed, of the student class generally-that they continually seek to cram their pockets with knowledge-scraps for themselves, in old times for private enjoyment, but now-a-days that they may seem doubly fatter for prize-winning in the coarse scales of the examination room. Whereas the true student, as he existed at any rate in old times, will again, nay, does now, albeit in sad minority (of seven thousand, let us hope) seeks not prizes for crushing himself under an overload of facts on an examination day, but discipline for his whole life. And this not simply to get on, as he is always being advised, to have his mind whetted into a "knife to hack at the world with," to survive against his unwiser fellows, who docilely take up their bushel of facts and neglect the pinch of understanding. The only true discipline is as a recruit with others in a service higher than that of War or even Industry-that of Education, which, alike in its old scholarly and new naturalist sense, means the Service and Ascent of Man.

Our struggling scientific movement, then, has need of you, and work for you in it. Students are only too docile about taking notes of all their teachers say; but they go home and try to drill alone; and, considering such an education, it is no doubt a wonderful proof of human vitality how much they still make of it. I propose framing for your reference, however, a few examples from my pathological collection of examination papers, by way of showing what a man thus tends to come to.

The old orthodox lecture system, by which a man inaccurately scribbles down stereotyped notes to dictation, learns them by rote, and sees and thinks nothing, we will not even stop to critcise. As an historic survival it is, of course, of interest-a course or college of this kind being simply and accurately a survival of the days before printing, absolutely in the same way as the Royal Company of Archers is of the days before gunpowder, and of similar efficiency compared with modern appliances. Hence, largely, the low state of our Scottish Universities.

A traditional phase is now becoming more common: good old-fashioned dictation first; then a few of you may see something afterwards in the laboratory, if you happen to have time and means for this.

The scientific plan of education I take to be-see all you can, and as much as possible first, and try to think it clear. At first you need to follow in the track of an expert-that is, a logician familiarised by long handling with the particular order of phenomena and kind of detail, and who is therefore able to fill up the deficiencies of your own experience embodied in the literature of the science; next, try to keep pace with him; next to do so for yourself, but all the time be in mental activity. To form ideas you must express them-must have to communicate them to others. I look forward to teaching you best, therefore, by asking you as much as possible to teach others; to work in pairs or parties, preparing the demonstrations of special details for all the other members of the class, and having your work thus tested constantly by the true pass or pluck standard-that of usefulness, or none.

I defined the student of Biology a few moments ago as an awakening spectator at the great drama of evolution, and it is not only my task but also yours to help to awaken our fellows to consciousness, interest, intelligence. The floral pageant is once more commencing for us its circle of the year; and our work is thus regulated by no small artificial syllabus, but with particular directness, like the astronomer's, but the very clock and calendar of nature. This well begun, you will feel year by year more fully that fascination which Botany had for Linnaeus or for Gilbert White, for Thoreau or Richard Jefferies.

You will help me, I hope also, to make a botanic garden, and the plans for this need no little study and contrivance; then, too, I would fain enlist you in the task of making smaller type botanic gardens for schools, in which each may sow his seed or plant his tree-so that the fresh Renaissance of Botany, which is so happily in progress, may be not only deepened, but assured and spread; until at length its marvelous, but almost overworked educational possibilities are no less fully developed than generally applied. It is worth considering in many ways this fact-that the botanist from whom Darwin received the scientific impulse of his life was also, so far as I am aware, the sole man of science of his day who thought it worth his while to teach his subject in his village school. I take this correspondence between Henslow's supreme service to science and his other apparently small service to popular education to be not only individually rational, but socially profound; and so leave it as a final instance of that interpretation of botanical history in terms of general progress which I have been attempting to elucidate.

Every scientific teacher knows how he learns by teaching, and how he teaches his best pupils best by setting them to work, some as demonstrators, to help and teach fresh beginners, others in making preparations for the museum type collection, and the like. And instead of each scribbling hasty manuscript notes of my lectures, I shall ask you collectively to help me towards making a single series of elaborate yet lucid summaries, dealing with all the essential matters we have time to treat of; this central mass of notes to remain the property of the School for common reference, yet perhaps largely copied thereafter by some of the methods now so convenient. Instead of note-taking, we have, as it were, to attempt map-making for the science; nay, picture-making, thought-model-building, as we saw before.

And though we cannot in one season, nor for that matter in many, fully cover the ground of the science, we may thus take our part in what are two of the greatest movements of this age--Botany and Education; perhaps also the most closely cognate, although few discern it, for the one is the science of life, and the other the art of its development. We shall, in short, learn together something more of how to bring alike science into our life, and life into our science.