« PreviousContinue »
tory stage of theorizing. And, moreover, not theories only, but simple statements of fact believed and dis believed, that is, finally accepted or finally rejected, exhibit the like numerical disproportion, and betray a general carelessness or laziness of observers; at all events, their manifest lack of appreciation of the value and necessity of the dead-work part of observation, which imperatively must precede any clear mental perception of the simplest phenomenon, before the attempt is made to establish its natural relationships, and present it for acceptance as a part of science.
A geologist travels far to collect fossils at a particularly good locality, stops there a day or two, fills his valise, and returns to publish a paper on it. What is his paper worth? Were he first to spend a week in making himself acquainted with the whole vicinity, a second week in making measured sections of all the cognate outcrops in the neighborhood, a third week in carefully differentiating the specific horizons, and a fourth week in verifying their reliability, and in correcting his first mistakes, then, surely, whatever labor he should afterwards expend upon his collection of life-forms would have its full value; and any paper he might write would be an important contribution to his branch of science.
I have known men settle to their own satisfaction some of the greatest problems in geology by a flying reconnoissance; triumphantly overturning a mass of accumulated science slowly brought to demonstration by many years of conscientions dead-work, which they did not seem to think it worth their while to verify. I have known men reclassify the elements of a geological system by a few sections, not a single one of which was properly measured by them, or could be properly put on paper in a graphic form for precise comparison. I have known men make what they called a geological map, without having run a single instrumental line themselves; with every outcrop inaccurately placed; with only here and there an accidental note of strike and dip, and even this not oriented with a close approximation to precision; covering a region requiring the study of many months, with a few weeks of what they fondly called field-work; and basing on such a map generalizations of the first rank, for which they expected the world of science to give them credit; which in the long run it certainly will, but not the kind of credit they anticipate.
Now, the experience of a long and active life of science has trained me to regard all such work as careless work, lazy work. Not that such workers are lazy men in the common meaning of the word; on the contrary, they are busy, bustling, active, energetic, indefatigable men; in fact, too much so. In science, there is a laziness of quite another definition; namely, a chronic dislike, a deep-seated disability, for the dead-work which first disciplines to accuracy, then makes patient and cautious, and finally bestows the clearest intelligence and largest comprehension of phenomena. And this fatal laziness is fostered by a strange misunderstanding, a fancy, sometimes a downright conviction, that the dead
work of science can be done for us by some one else, so as to save our time and strength for speculation, for thought, for fine writing; can be done by menials, employees, assistants, colleagues, special experts, by any one rather than by ourselves. Can we not in fact often find it already done for us, and even better done than we could do it? Then, why not let inferior minds occupy themselves with this laborious and time-consuming address of special skill? Can we not, for instance, hire transit-men to lay out and measure our sections, and artists to draw them? Why should a paleontologist take the pencil between his own fingers in studying species, when he has trained photographers and lithographers at his command? Why waste precious weeks and months in tramping and climbing, in measuring and plotting, while glory calls us, and the scientific world is impatiently waiting for our conclusions? Thus possessed by the demon of scientific haste, we continually spoil our own performances, and disappoint the expectant, but not at all impatient world. Could our vanity permit us to know the fact, the impatience is entirely our own, and, if indulged, is sure to be roundly punished.
No; dead-work cannot be delegated. The man who cannot himself survey and map his field, measure and draw his sections properly, and perfectly represent with his own pencil the characteristic variations of his fossil forms, has no just right to call himself an expert geologist. These are the badges of initiation; and the only guaranties which one can offer to the world of science that one is a competent observer, and a trustworthy generalizer. Nor has one become a true man of science until he has already done a vast amount of this dead-work; nor does one continue in his prime, as a man of science, after he has ceased to bring to this test of his own ability to see, to judge, and to theorize, the working and thinking of other men. But enough of this.
My second proposition was, that no teacher of science can be successful who does not himself encounter some of the dead-work of the explorer and discoverer; who does not discipline his own faculties of perception, reflection, and generalization, by fieldwork and office-work, independently of all text-book assistance; who does not himself make at least some of the diagrams, tables, and pictures for his classroom, in as original a spirit, and with as much precision of detail, as if none such had ever been made before, and these were to remain sole monuments of the genius of investigation. What the true teacher has to do first and foremost, is to wake up in youthful minds this spirit of investigation ab initio. The crusade against scholastic cramming promises to be successful; but the crusade against pedagogic cramming has hardly yet been organized. How is the scholar to be made an artist if the teacher cannot draw? The instinct of imitation in man is irresistible. Slovenly drawing on the blackboard-sufficient evidence of the teacher's imperfect information and inaccurate conception of facts, the nature of which he only thinks he understands -can do little more than raise a cold fog of suspicion in the class-room, by which the tender sprouts of learning must be
either dwarfed or killed. But even slovenly diagrams are preferable to purchased ones; for whatever diminishes the dead-work of a teacher, enervates his investigating, and thereby his demonstrating, powers, and lowers him toward the level of his scholars.
Were I dictator, I should drive all teachers of science out into the great field of dead-work; force them to go through all the gymnastics of original research and its description; and not permit them to return to their libraries until their note-books were full of their own measurements and calculations, sketchmaps and form-drawings, severely accurate and logically classified, to be then compared with those recorded in the books. What teachers fail to keep in mind is this: that learning is not knowledge; but as Lessing says: Learning is only our knowledge of the experience of others; knowledge is our own. No man really comprehends what he himself has not created. Therefore we know nothing of the universe until we take it to pieces for inspection, and rebuild it for our understanding. Nor can one man do this for another; each must do it for himself; and all that one can do to help another is to show him how he himself has morsellated and recomposed his small particular share of concrete nature, and inspire him with those vague but hopeful suggestions of ideas which we call learning, but which are not science.
My third proposition was, that an expert in practical science can command the respect and confidence of his professional fellows, and, through their free suffrages, build up his own reputation in the learned and business worlds, only in exact proportion to the amount of good dead-work to which he voluntarily subjects himself. For, although the most of it is necessarily done in secrecy and silence, enough of it leaks out to testify to his honest and diligent self-cultivation; and enough of it must show in the shape of scientific wisdom, to make self-evident the fact that he is neither a tyro nor a charlatan. More than once I have heard the merry jest of the Australasian judge quoted with sinister application to experts in science. When a young colleague, just arrived from England, asked him for advice, he answered: Pronounce your decisions, but beware of stating your reasons for them. Many an ephemeral reputation for science has been begot by this shrewd policy; but the best policy to wear well is honesty; and honesty in trade means selling what is genuine, well-made, and durable; and honesty in science means, first, facts well proved, and then, conclusions slowly and painfully deduced from facts well proved, in sufficient number and order of arrangement to exhaust alike the subject and the observer. Reap your field so thoroughly that gleaners must despair. Fortify your position, that your most experienced rival can find no point of attack. Lay your plans with such a superfluity of patient carefulness that fate itself can invent no serious emergency. Demonstrate your theory so utterly and evidently that it shall require no defender but itself. Die for your work, that your work may live forever. Forget yourself, and your work will make you famous. Enslave yourself to it, and it will plant
your feet upon the necks of kings, and your mere Yes or No will become a law to multitudes. This is what the dead-work of science, when well done, does for the expert in science.
My fourth proposition that only the habitual performance of dead-work can preserve the scientific intellect in pristine vigor, and prevent it from becoming stiffened with prejudices, inapt to receive fresh truth, and forgetful of knowledge already wonhardly needs discussion. Human muscles become atrophied by disuse. Men's fortunes shrink and evaporate by mere investment. I pray you to imagine what I wish to say; for it all amounts to thisthat the grass will surely grow over a deserted footpath. Let me hurry to the close of this address, which I have found too serious a duty for my liking, and perhaps you also have found it too personal a preachment for yours. One more suggestion, then, and I have done.
My fifth proposition was, that the wearied and exhausted intellect will wisely seek refreshment in dead-work.
The physiology of the brain is now sufficiently well understood to permit physicians to prescribe with some assurance for its many ills, and to regulate its restoration to a normal state of health. Its tissues reproduce themselves throughout life if no extraordinary overbalance of decay takes place, if there be no excessive and too long continued waste. For the majority of mankind, nature provides for the adjustment between consumption and reproduction of brainmatter, by the alternations of day and night, noise and silence, society and solitude; and also by the substitution of the play of fancy in dreams, for the work of the judgment and the will in waking hours. We follow the lead of nature when we seek amusement as a remedy for care. We bring into activity a rested portion of the brain, to permit the wearied parts of it to restore themselves unhindered.
This is the rationale of the pathological treatment of the brain. Tell an over-worked president of a railway company, who falls asleep at the director's meeting, that he must rest, or die of softening of the brain, and he will smile a sad reply, that he cannot rest. He is right, thus far: he cannot rest his whole brain; but he can rest the cerebellum, - the seat of the will power, — by bringing into higher activity, and more frequent exercise, the upper and frontal lobes. Let him stop thinking of leasing rival lines, and read novels, and play billiards. Let him ride some youthful hobby, revive his practise on the violin, cultivate flowers, keep a stud and kennel, bury himself in Greek and Latin literature, collect pictures, minerals, do any thing which will really interest him, and keep him out of the way of railroad men and railroading; and do it with his might, with enthusiasm, even to fatigue; and do it for at least four years, and by that time his cerebellum will be all right again.
Now what the unintermitting responsibilities of the railroad official do for the destruction of the constitution of his cerebellum, just that the overstrained exercise of the creative imagination does
for the demoralization of the brain of the man of science, especially if it be, as it commonly is, accompanied by business anxiety. And his only way of escape from a predestined break-down is through the monotonous, but interesting occupation of his perceptive faculties in the field, and at his office table. In both he will enjoy that solitude which resembles sleep, in being a medicine for the weary brain. But it is a solitude peopled with unexceptionable friends; in which care sleeps, and pleasure wakes; a solitude in which the soul multiplies itself by alliance with all the possibilities of number, and all the actualities of form; a solitude from which a man returns to the society of his fellow-men, sainted by the blessing of nature, and equal to the duty of existence.
In conclusion, I must express the wish that this meeting of our association may be as delightful and as useful as any that it has ever held. Those who remember how hard we used to work at them, what a harvest of mutual confidences we used to gather at them, and what a glow of fresh enthusiasm we carried away with us from them, will know what such a wish implies. Those who come fresh to this meeting will find themselves made at home in half a dozen worlds of science at once. That is the particular character and special charm of this association, wherein it differs from all local societies, and from all conventions of workers in special branches of science and art. And, as each meeting furnishes a panoramic view of the present state of human knowledge as a whole, so, at each meeting, the old and the young in science are mingled in such friendly and confidential intercourse, that the prospect extends both backwards to the beginnings of inquiry, and forwards to its possible achievements. All good tradition is precious; and so is well-trained current inquiry, and so is sound prophetic calculation. At such a meeting as this, we enjoy the rare privilege of assisting at all three; and, when we scatter to our homes, we can hardly fail to take with us something effectual for lightening and sweetening another year of work.
FOUR hundred years ago, a Portuguese navigator, sailing along the western shores of Africa, discovered the mouth of a mighty river, which, for many years, was known as the Rio Padrão, or Pillar River, flowing through the kingdom of Kongo. In 1578, however, Lopez described it as the Zaire a corruption of the native word for river. The Portuguese still call it the Zaire; but English map-makers, since the early part of the seventeenth century, have used the word Kongo as a designation of either the whole or a part of its lower course. There is no good reason for this: but, of all things, geographical names are the
The Congo, and the founding of its free state. By HENRY M. STANLEY, with illustrations and maps. 2 vols. New York, Harper, 1885. Pp. 28+528, and 10+483. Illus., maps. 8°.
least susceptible to reason; and Kongo seems destined to drive out all other appellations, and to spread over the whole course of the river and surrounding country.
The early voyagers confined their explorations to the mouth of the river; and the first attempt, of which we have reliable information, to penetrate inland along its banks, was made by an Englishman, Capt. Tuckey, in 1816. Thirty white men started on this ill-fated expedition: eighteen died almost immediately; and the remainder returned to England, after having been on the river three months, and having explored it for the comparatively short distance of one hundred and seventy-two miles, the greater part of which was by water. This terrible loss of life deterred others from penetrating the unknown regions by the Kongo route. In 1867, however, David Livingstone, travelling westwards from Lake Nyassa, found the Chambezi River, which he afterwards traced to Lake Bangweolo, or Bemba. Thence, under the name of Luapula, it flowed into Lake Mweru, and was met with again at Nyangwe as the Lualaba. Thus much Livingstone had discovered before he died on the shores of Lake Bangweolo. His remains were lovingly escorted to the ocean by his negro servants, and were interred in Westminster Abbey with befitting ceremony. Stanley-then known as the correspondent of the Herald, who had penetrated to Lake Tanganika in a successful attempt to find Livingstone was one of the pall-bearers. Not long afterwards, he strolled into the office of the London Daily telegraph. While talking with some of the staff, the editor, Edwin Arnold, entered. The conversation turned upon Livingstone and his work. Suddenly Mr. Arnold, who had been fascinated by the explorer's eye, asked him if he could and would complete the task. As a result of this interview, Stanley reached Nyangwe in October, 1876. He followed the Lualaba to the sea, and proved that the Zaire of the Portuguese, the Kongo of Tuckey and the English mapmakers, and the Lualaba, Luapula, and Chambezi of Livingstone, were one and the same river. He then returned to Europe, and soon found himself at the head of an expedition to open the heart of the Dark Continent to the trade of the civilized world via the Kongo. These two volumes contain the history of that work.
The estimated length of the Kongo1- from its mouth in the Atlantic, to its source in the Chibale Hills, a little to the east of the southern end of Lake Tanganika - is 3,034 miles,
1 The total estimated length of the Amazon is 4,000 miles; of the Mississippi, 3,160; and of the Missouri-Mississippi, 4,265. -cf. Imperial Gazetteer, 1876.
as follows: From the ocean to Vivi, at the head of navigation from the sea, is 110 miles. Thence to Isangila at the upper end of the lower Livingstone Falls is 50 miles. Between Isangila and Manyanga, 88 miles away, the river is tolerably navigable.' From Manyanga to Leopoldville, for 85 miles, it pours over the upper Livingstone Falls. Leopoldville once attained, the river can be navigated for 1,068 miles to the foot of the Stanley Falls. Thence to Nyangwe is 385 miles. From Nyangwe to its source cluding the lakes-is 1,248 miles. It must be understood, however, that much of this last section of the river has never been explored, and that therefore it may turn out to be longer.
Stanley's first and most difficult work was to open a road around the Livingstone Falls, and to launch two small steamers in Stanley Pool. His force of a little over a hundred men was singularly inadequate to the task; and a whole year elapsed before the first section of the road from Vivi to Isangila, a distance of fifty-two miles-was constructed, and three steamers dragged over the hills, and put into the river. So great were the difficulties of this undertaking, that it is almost impossible to applaud too highly the resolution and energy of the chief of the expedition. None the less, however, is it to be regretted, that he was compelled to purchase the co-operation of the natives by gifts of ardent spirits. 'It was the custom,' he says, and could not be resisted. Between Isangila and Manyanga, a ferry was established, one of the steamers being employed on that service. With the other two, he pushed on overland again; and the end of the next year found him established at Leopoldville, above the falls. The road-making was over, and Stanley was at liberty to explore the great river and its tributaries as far as Stanley Falls. He discovered Lake Leopold II., and ascended many streams.
Stanley Falls, including tributaries, at 5,249 miles; but much of this estimate is pure guesswork. As an example of this, take the following: "Sixty miles above the Lukanga, we arrive at the fine river Mohindu. We only explored it for about eighty miles; but, considering its magnitude and the native reports, we may estimate its navigability to be about 650 miles!" Are not native reports and magnitude rather insecure data upon which to found such an estimate, especially when the Lubiranzi and the Chofu are impassable twenty-five miles from their confluences with the Kongo? A similar flavor of exaggeration characterizes the whole chapter on the commercial value of the river.
It is perfectly easy to see that the future growth of the Free State depends upon connecting some station on Stanley Pool-probably Kinshassa, as Leopoldville is very unhealthy with the portion of the river below open to sea-going vessels. Mr. Stanley, therefore, has endeavored to show that such a road could be built, and operated with profit: "As a mere speculation, there is nothing in the whole world offering so remunerative an investment of capital as this small railway." The cost of construction, he argues, at £4,000 per mile, surely a low estimate, · would amount to only £940,000, with an assured gross revenue of £300.000 per annum. Supposing his estimate of cost and gross revenue to be correct, what would be the net revenue? How could the road be built? By Europeans? They could not stand the climate. By Africans? Where could they be obtained, and how paid? Then, again, could the government of the Kongo State grant a right of way, or would that have to be purchased of the natives at considerable expense? Could that government protect the line against native aggression? Finally, if profitable, would not a rival line be built by the French to Brazzaville, their station on the northen shore of Stanley Pool? - a station, by the way, which is not to be found on Stanley's map. These questions do not seem to have been considered by our author, as they certainly should have been.
An obstacle to the development of the Kongo State, beside which this transportation problem dwindles into insignificance, is to be found in the climate. Take Stanley himself as an example. Assuredly no one will dispute his experience in African travel, nor his energy and resolution. Yet, after one year on the Kongo banks, he gave himself up for lost, summoned his men about him, and prepared to