Decline of Science in England HTML version

friends to convey his opinions to posterity, and that the
writings of the philosopher may enable his contemporaries to
forget some of the deeds of the President of the Royal Society.
Whatever may be the fate of that highly interesting document, we
may infer his opinions upon this subject from a sentiment
expressed in his last work:--
"--But we may in vain search the aristocracy now for
philosophers."----"There are very few persons who pursue science
with true dignity; it is followed more as connected with objects
of profit than those of fame."--SIR H. DAVY'S CONSOLATIONS IN
The last authority which I shall adduce is more valuable, from
the varied acquirements of its author, and from the greater
detail into which he enters. "We have drawn largely, both in the
present Essay, and in our article on LIGHT, from the ANNALES DE
CHEMIE, and we take this ONLY opportunity distinctly to
acknowledge our obligations to that most admirably conducted
work. Unlike the crude and undigested scientific matter which
suffices, (we are ashamed to say it) for the monthly and
quarterly amusement of our own countrymen, whatever is admitted
into ITS pages, has at least been taken pains with, and, with few
exceptions, has sterling merit. Indeed, among the original
communications which abound in it, there are few which would
misbecome the first academical collections; and if any thing
could diminish our regret at the long suppression of those noble
memoirs, which are destined to adorn future volumes of that of
the Institute, it would be the masterly abstracts of them which
from time to time appear in the ANNALES, either from the hands of
the authors, or from the reports rendered by the committees
appointed to examine them; which latter, indeed, are universally
models of their kind, and have contributed, perhaps more than any
thing, to the high scientific tone of the French SAVANS. What
author, indeed, but will write his best, when he knows that his
work, if it have merit, will immediately be reported on by a
committee, who will enter into all its meaning; understand it,
however profound: and, not content with MERELY understanding it,
pursue the trains of thought to which it leads; place its
discoveries and principles in new and unexpected lights; and
bring the whole of their knowledge of collateral subjects to bear
upon it. Nor ought we to omit our acknowledgement to the very
valuable Journals of Poggendorff and Schweigger. Less
exclusively national than their Gallic compeer, they present a
picture of the actual progress of physical science throughout