VOL. I SEPTEMBER, 1898 No. 4
PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTIONS AND
By WILLIAM JAMES.
An occasion like the present would seem to call for an
absolutely untechnical discourse. I ought to speak of
something connected with life rather than with logic. I
ought to give a message with a practical outcome and an
emotional musical accompaniment, so to speak, fitted to
interest men as men, and yet also not altogether to disap
point philosophers since philosophers, let them be as
queer as they will, still are men in the secret recesses of
their hearts, even here at Berkeley. I ought, I say, to
produce something simple enough to catch and inspire the
rest of you, and yet with just enough of ingenuity and
oddity about it to keep the members of the Philosophical
Union from yawning and letting their attention wander
I confess that I have something of this kind in my
mind, a perfectly ideal discourse for the present occasion.
Were I to set it down on paper, I verily believe it would be
regarded by everyone as the final word of philosophy. It
would bring theory down to a single point, at which every
human being s practical life would begin. It would solve
* An address delivered before the Philosophical Union, at Berkeley, August 26, 1898,
by William James, M.D., LL.D., Professor of Psychology in Harvard University.
288 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
all the antinomies and contradictions, it would let loose all
the right impulses and emotions; and everyone, on hearing
it, would say, "Why, that is the truth! that is what I have
been believing, that is what I have really been living on all
this time, but I never could find the words for it before.
All that eludes, all that flickers and twinkles, all that
invites and vanishes even whilst inviting, is here made
a solidity and a possession. Here is the end of unsatis-
factoriness, here the beginning of unimpeded clearness,
joy, and power." Yes, my friends, I have such a dis
course within me! But, do not judge me harshly, I cannot
produce it on the present occasion. I humbly apologize;
I have come across the continent to this wondrous Pacific
Coast to this Eden, not of the mythical antiquity, but of
the solid future of mankind I ought to give you something
worthy of your hospitality, and not altogether unworthy of
your great destiny, to help cement our rugged East and
your wondrous West together in a spiritual bond, and
yet, and yet, and yet, I simply cannot. I have tried to
articulate it, but it will not come. Philosophers are after
all like poets. They are path-finders. What everyone
can feel, what everyone can know in the bone and marrow
of him, they sometimes can find words for and express.
The words and thoughts of the philosophers are not
exactly the words and thoughts of the poets worse luck.
But both alike have the same function. They are, if I
may use a simile, so many spots, or blazes, blazes made by
the axe of the human intellect on the trees of the otherwise
trackless forest of human experience. They give you
somewhere to go from. They give you a direction and a
place to reach. They do not give you the integral forest
with all its sunlit glories and its moonlit witcheries and
wonders. Ferny dells, and mossy waterfalls, and secret
magic nooks escape you, owned only by the wild things to
whom the region is a home. Happy they without the need
of blazes! But to us the blazes give a sort of ownership.
We can now use the forest, wend across it with companions,
PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTIONS, Etc. 289
and enjoy its quality. It is no longer a place merely to
get lost in and never return. The poet s words and the
philosopher s phrases thus are helps of the most genuine
sort, giving to all of us hereafter the freedom of the trails
they made. Though they create nothing, yet for this
marking and fixing function of theirs we bless their names
and keep them on our lips, even whilst the thin and spotty
and half -casual character of their operations is evident to
No one like the path- finder himself feels the immensity
of the forest, or knows the accidentality of his own trails.
Columbus, dreaming of the ancient East, is stopped by
poor pristine simple America, and gets no farther on that
day; and the poets and philosophers themselves know as
no one else knows that what their formulas express leaves
unexpressed almost everything that they organically divine
and feel. So I feel that there is a center in truth s forest
where I have never been: to track it out and get there is
the secret spring of all my poor life s philosophic efforts;
at moments I almost strike into the final valley, there is a
gleam of the end, a sense of certainty, but always there
comes still another ridge, so my blazes merely circle towards
the true direction; and although now, if ever, would be
the fit occasion, yet I cannot take you to the wondrous
hidden spot to-day. To-morrow it must be, or to-morrow,
or to-morrow, and pretty surely death will overtake me ere
the promise is fulfilled.
Of such postponed achievements do the lives of all
philosophers consist. Truth s fullness is elusive; ever not
quite, not quite! So we fall back on the preliminary
blazes a few formulas, a few technical conceptions, a few
verbal pointers which at least define the initial direction of
the trail. And that to my sorrow, is all that I can do here
at Berkeley to-day. Inconclusive I must be, and merely
suggestive, though I will try to be as little technical as I can.
I will seek to define with you merely what seems to be
the most likely direction in which to start upon the trail of
290 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
truth. Years ago this direction was given to me by an
American philosopher whose home is in the East, and
whose published works, few as they are and scattered in
periodicals, are no fit expression of his powers. I refer to
Mr. Charles S. Peirce, with whose very existence as a
philosopher I dare say many of you are unacquainted. He
is one of the most original of contemporary thinkers; and
the principle of practicalism or pragmatism, as he called
it, when I first heard him enunciate it at Cambridge in the
early 70 s is the clue or compass by following which I
find myself more and more confirmed in believing we may
keep our feet upon the proper trail.
Peirce s principle, as we may call it, may be expressed
in a variety of ways, all of them very simple. In the
Popular Science Monthly for January, 1878, he introduces
it as follows: The soul and meaning of thought, he says,
can never be made to direct itself towards anything but the
production of belief, belief being the demicadence which
closes a musical phrase in the symphony of our intellectual
life. Thought in movement has thus for its only possible
motive the attainment of thought at rest. But when our
thought about an object has found its rest in belief, then
our action on the subject can firmly and safely begin.
Beliefs, in short, are really rules for action; and the whole
function of thinking is but one step in the production of
habits of action. If there were any part of a thought that
made no difference in the thought s practical consequences,
then that part would be no proper element of the thought s
significance. Thus the same thought may be clad in
different words; but if the different words suggest no
different conduct, they are mere outer accretions, and have
no part in the thought s meaning. If, however, they
determine conduct differently, they are essential elements
of the significance. "Please open the door," and, " Veuillez
ouvrir la porte," in French, mean just the same thing;
but "D n you, open the door," although in English, means
something very different. Thus to develop a thought s
PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTIONS, Etc. 291
meaning we need only determine what conduct it is fitted
to produce ; that conduct is for us its sole significance. And
the tangible fact at the root of all our thought- distinctions,
however subtle, is that there is no one of them so fine as
to consist in anything but a possible difference of practice.
To attain perfect clearness in our thoughts of an object,
then, we need only consider what effects of a conceivably
practical kind the object may involve what sensations we
are to expect from it, and what reactions we must prepare.
Our conception of these effects, then, is for us the whole of
our conception of the object, so far as that conception has
positive significance at all.
This is the principle of Peirce, the principle of pragma
tism. I think myself that it should be expressed more broadly \
than Mr. Peirce expresses it. The ultimate test for us of \
what a truth means is indeed the conduct it dictates or !
inspires. But it inspires that conduct because it first fore- j
tells some particular turn to our experience which shall call 1
for just that conduct from us. And I should prefer for ;
our purposes this evening to express Peirce ; s principle
by saying that the effective meaning of any philosophic
proposition can always be brought down to some particular
consequence, in our future practical experience, whether
active or passive; the point lying rather in the fact that the
experience must be particular, than in the fact that it must
To take in the importance of this principle, one must
get accustomed to applying it to concrete cases. Such use
as I am able to make of it convinces me that to be mindful
of it in philosophical disputations tends wonderfully to
smooth out misunderstandings and to bring in peace. If it
did nothing else, then, it would yield a sovereignly valuable
rule of method for discussion. So I shall devote the rest of
this precious hour with you to its elucidation, because I
sincerely think that if you once grasp it, it will shut your
steps out from many an old false opening, and head you in
the true direction for the trail.
292 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
One of its first consequences is this. Suppose there are
two different philosophical definitions, or propositions, or
maxims, or what not, which seem to contradict each other,
and about which men dispute. If, by supposing the truth
of the one, you can foresee no conceivable practical conse
quence to anybody at any time or place, which is different
from what you would foresee if you supposed the truth of
the other, why then the difference between the two proposi
tions is no difference, it is only a specious and verbal
difference, unworthy of further contention. Both formulas
mean radically the same thing, although they may say it in
such different words. It is astonishing to see how many
philosophical disputes collapse into insignificance the
moment you subject them to this simple test. There can be
no difference which doesn t make a difference no difference
in abstract truth which does not express itself in a differ
ence of concrete fact, and of conduct consequent upon the
fact, imposed on somebody, somehow, somewhere, and
somewhen. It is true that a certain shrinkage of values
often seems to occur in our general formulas when we
measure their meaning in this prosaic and practical way.
They diminish. But the vastness that is merely based on
vagueness is a false appearance of importance, and not a
vastness worth retaining. The # s, y s, and z s always do
shrivel, as I have heard a learned friend say, whenever at
the end of your algebraic computation they change into so
many plain a s, & s, and c s; but the whole function of
algebra is, after all, to get them into that more definite
shape ; and the whole function of philosophy ought to be to
find out what definite difference it will make to you and me,
at definite instants of our life, if this world-formula or that
world-formula be the one which is true.
If we start off with an impossible case, we shall perhaps
all the more clearly see the use and scope of our principle.
Let us, therefore, put ourselves, in imagination, in a posi
tion from which no forecasts of consequence, no dictates of
conduct, can possibly be made, so that the principle of
PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTIONS, Etc. 293
pragmatism finds no field of application. Let us, I mean,
assume that the present moment is the absolutely last
moment of the world, with bare nonentity beyond it, and no
hereafter for either experience or conduct.
Now I say that in that case there would be no sense
whatever in some of our most urgent and envenomed philo
sophical and religious debates. The question, "Is matter
the producer of all things, or is a God there too?" would,
for example, offer a perfectly idle and insignificant alterna
tive if the world were finished and no more of it to come.
Many of us, most of us, I think, now feel as if a terrible
coldness and deadness would come over the world were we
forced to believe that no informing spirit or purpose had to
do with it, but it merely accidentally had come. The actu
ally experienced details of fact might be the same on either
hypothesis, some sad, some joyous; some rational, some
odd and grotesque ; but without a God behind them, we think
they would have something ghastly, they would tell no
genuine story, there would be no speculation in those eyes
that they do glare with. With the God, on the other hand,
they would grow solid, warm, and altogether full of real
But I say that such an alternation of feelings, reason
able enough in a consciousness that is prospective, as ours
now is, and whose world is partly yet to come, would be
absolutely senseless and irrational in a purely retrospective
consciousness summing up a world already past. For such
a consciousness, no emotional interest could attach to the
alternative. The problem would be purely intellectual;
and if unaided matter could, with any scientific plausibility,
be shown to cipher out the actual facts, then not the faintest
shadow ought to cloud the mind, of regret for the God that
by the same ciphering would prove needless and disappear
from our belief.
For just consider the case sincerely, and say what would
be the worth of such a God if he were there, with his work
accomplished and his world run down. He would be worth
294 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
no more than just that world was worth. To that amount
of result, with its mixed merits and defects, his creative
power could attain, but go no farther. And since there is
to be no future; since the whole value and meaning of the
world has been already paid in and actualized in the feelings
that went with it in the passing, and now go with it in the
ending ; since it draws no supplemental significance ( such as
our real world draws) from its function of preparing some
thing yet to come; why then, by it we take God s measure,
as it were. He is the Being who could once for all do
that; and for that much we are thankful to him, but for
nothing more. But now, on the contrary hypothesis, namely,
that the bits of matter following their "laws" could make
that world and do no less, should we not be just as thankful
to them? Wherein should we suffer loss, then, if we dropped
God as an hypothesis and made the matter alone respons
ible? Where would the special deadness, "crassness," and
ghastliness come in? And how, experience being what it
is once for all, would God s presence in it make it any more
"living," any richer in our sight?
Candidly, it is impossible to give any answer to this
question. The actually experienced world is supposed to be
the same in its details on either hypothesis, "the same, for
our praise or blame," as Browning says. It stands there
indef easibly ; a gift which can t be taken back. Calling
matter the cause of it retracts no single one of the items
that have made it up, nor does calling God the cause aug
ment them. They are the God or the atoms, respectively, of
just that and no other world. The God, if there, has been
doing just what atoms could do appearing in the character
of atoms, so to speak and earning such gratitude as is due
to atoms, and no more. If his presence lends no different
turn or issue to the performance, it surely can lend it no
increase of dignity. Nor would indignity come to it were
he absent, and did the atoms remain the only actors on the
stage. When a play is once over, and the curtain down,
you really make it no better by claiming an illustrious
PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTIONS, Etc. 295
genius for its author, just as you make it no worse by
calling him a common hack.
Thus if no future detail of experience or conduct is to be
deduced from our hypothesis, the debate between materialism
and theism becomes quite idle and insignificant. Matter
and God in that event mean exactly the same thing the
power, namely, neither more nor less, that can make just
this mixed, imperfect, yet completed world and the wise
man is he who in such a case would turn his back on such
a supererogatory discussion. Accordingly most men in
stinctively and a large class of men, the so-called positivists
or scientists, deliberately do turn their backs on philoso
phical disputes from which nothing in the line of definite
future consequences can be seen to follow. The verbal and
empty character of our studies is surely a reproach with
which you of the Philosophical Union are but too sadly
familiar. An escaped Berkeley student said to me at Har
vard the other day he had never been in the philosophical
department here "Words, words, words, are all that you
philosophers care for." We philosophers think it all un
just; and yet, if the principle of pragmatism be true, it is
a perfectly sound reproach unless the metaphysical alterna
tives under investigation can be shown to have alternative
practical outcomes, however delicate and distant these may
be. The common man and the scientist can discover no
such outcomes. And if the metaphysician can discern none
either, the common man and scientist certainly are in the
right of it, as against him. His science is then but
pompous trifling; and the endowment of a professorship
for such a being would be something really absurd.
Accordingly, in every genuine metaphysical debate <
some practical issue, however remote, is really involved. !
To realize this, revert with me to the question of material
ism or theism; and place yourselves this time in the real
world we live in, the world that has a future, that is yet
uncompleted whilst we speak. In this unfinished world"*
the alternative of "materialism or theism?" is intensely
296 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
practical; and it is worth while for us to spend some
minutes of our hour in seeing how truly this is the case.
How, indeed, does the programme differ for us, accord
ing as we consider that the facts of experience up to date
are purposeless configurations of atoms moving according
to eternal elementary laws, or that on the other hand they
are due to the providence of God? As far as the past facts
go, indeed there is no difference. These facts are in,
are bagged, are captured; and the good that s in them
is gained, be the atoms or be the God their cause.
There are accordingly many materialists about us to-day
who, ignoring altogether the future and practical aspects
of the question, seek to eliminate the odium attaching to
the word materialism, and even to eliminate the word itself,
by showing that, if matter could give birth to all these
gains, why then matter, functionally considered, is just as
divine an entity as God, in fact coalesces with God, is what
you mean by God. Cease, these persons advise us, to use
either of these terms, with their outgrow r n opposition.
Use terms free of the clerical connotations on the one
hand; of the suggestion of grossness, coarseness, ignobility,
on the other. Talk of the primal mystery, of the unknow
able energy, of the one and only power, instead of saying
either God or matter. This is the course to which Mr.
Spencer urges us at the end of the first volume of his
Psychology. In some well- written pages he there shows
us that a "matter" so infinitely subtile, and performing
motions as inconceivably quick and fine as modern science
postulates in her explanations, has no trace of grossness
^ left. He shows that the conception of spirit, as we mortals
hitherto have framed it, is itself too gross to cover the
exquisite complexity of Nature s facts. Both terms, he
says, are but symbols, pointing to that one unknowable
^reality in which their oppositions cease.
Throughout these remarks of Mr. Spencer, eloquent, and
even noble in a certain sense, as they -are, he seems to
think that the dislike of the ordinary man to materialism
PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTIONS, Etc. 297
comes from a purely aesthetic disdain of matter, as some
thing gross in itself, and vile and despicable. Undoubt
edly such an aesthetic disdain of matter has played a part
in philosophic history. But it forms no part whatever
of an intelligent modern man s dislikes. Give him a matter
bound forever by its laws to lead our world nearer and
nearer to perfection, and any rational man will worship
that matter as readily as Mr. Spencer worships his own
so-called unknowable power. It not only has made for
righteousness up to date, but it will make for righteous
ness forever; and that is all we need. Doing practically
all that a God can do, it is equivalent to God, its function
is a God s function, and in a world in which a God would
be superfluous; from such a world a God could never law
fully be missed.
But is the matter by which Mr. Spencer s process of
cosmic evolution is carried on any such principle of never-
ending perfection as this? Indeed it is not, for the future
end of every cosmically evolved thing or system of things
is tragedy; and Mr. Spencer, in confining himself to the
aesthetic and ignoring the practical side of the controversy,
has really contributed nothing serious to its relief. But
apply now our principle of practical results, and see what a
vital significance the question of materialism or theism
Theism and materialism, so indifferent when takeiP
retrospectively, point when we take them prospectively to
wholly different practical consequences, to opposite out
looks of experience. For, according to the theory of-^
mechanical evolution, the laws of redistribution of matter
and motion, though they are certainly to thank for all the
good hours which our organisms have ever yielded us and
for all the ideals which our minds now frame, are yet
fatally certain to_ undo their work., again, and to redissolve
everything that they have once evolved. You all know
the picture of the last foreseeable state of the dead uni
verse, as evolutionary science gives it forth. I cannot
298 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
state it better than in Mr. Balfour s words: "The energies
of our system will decay, the glory of the sun will be
dimmed, and the earth, tideless and inert, will no longer
tolerate the race which has for a moment disturbed its
solitude. Man will go down into the pit, and all his
thoughts will perish. The uneasy consciousness which in
this obscure corner has for a brief space broken the con
tented silence of the universe, will be at rest. Matter will
know itself no longer. * Imperishable monuments and
* immortal deeds, 7 death itself, and love stronger than
death, will be as if they had not been. Nor will anything
that is, be better or worse for all that the labor, genius,
devotion, and suffering of man have striven through
countless ages to effect."*
That is the sting of it, that in the vast drif tings of the
cosmic weather, though many a jewelled shore appears,
and many an enchanted cloud-bank floats away, long
lingering ere it be dissolved even as our world now
lingers, for our joy yet when these transient products are
gone, nothing, absolutely nothing remains, to represent
those particular qualities, those elements of preciousness
which they may have enshrined. Dead and gone are they,
gone utterly from the very sphere and room of being.
Without an echo; without a memory; without an influ
ence on aught that may come after, to make it care for
similar ideals. This utter final wreck and tragedy is of the
essence of scientific materialism as at present understood.
The lower and not the higher forces are the eternal forces,
or the last surviving forces within the only cycle of evolu
tion which we can definitely see. Mr. Spencer believes
j~this as much as anyone; so why should he argue with us
as if we were making silly esthetic objections to the
"grossness" of "matter and motion," the principles of his
philosophy, when what really dismays us in it is the
1 disconsolateness of its ulterior practical results?
No, the true objection to materialism is not positive but
*The Foundations of Belief, p. 30.
PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTIONS, Etc. 299
negative. It would be farcical at this day to make com
plaint of it for what it is, for "grossness." Grossness is
what grossness does we now know that. We make com^
plaint of it, on the contrary, for what it is not not a
permanent warrant for our more ideal interests, not a ful-
filler of our remotest hopes.
The notion of God, on the other hand, however inferior
it may be in clearness to those mathematical notions so
current in mechanical philosophy, has at least this practi
cal superiority over them, that it guarantees an ideal order
that shall be permanently preserved. A world with a God
in it to say the last word, may indeed burn up or freeze,
but we then think of Him as still mindful of the old ideals
and sure to bring them elsewhere to fruition; so that,
where He is, tragedy is only provisional and partial, and
shipwreck and dissolution not the absolutely final things.
This need of an eternal moral order is one of the deepest V
needs of our breast. And those poets, like Dante and
Wordsworth, who live on the conviction of such an order,
owe to that fact the extraordinary tonic and consoling
power of their verse. Here then, in these different emo
tional and practical appeals, in these adjustments of our
concrete attitudes of hope and expectation, and all the
delicate consequences which their differences entail, lie the
real meanings of materialism and theism not in hair
splitting abstractions about matter s inner essence, or
about the metaphysical attributes of God. Materialism ~*
means simply the denial that the moral order is eternal,
and the cutting off of ultimate hopes; theism means the
affirmation of an eternal moral order and the letting loose _j
of hope. Surely here is an issue genuine enough, for any
one who feels it; and, as long as men are men, it will
yield matter for serious philosophic debate. Concerning
this question, at any rate, the positivists and pooh-pooh-ers
of metaphysics are in the wrong.
But possibly some of you may still rally to their defense.
Even whilst admitting that theism and materialism make
300 UNIVERSITY CHKONICLE.
different prophecies of the world s future, you may your
selves pooh-pooh the difference as something so infinitely
remote as to mean nothing for a sane mind. The essence
f of a sane mind, you may say, is to take shorter views, and
to feel no concern about such chimgeras as the latter end of
ijthe world. Well, I can only say that if you say this, you
do injustice to human nature. Religious melancholy is not
disposed of by a simple nourish of the word insanity. The
absolute things, the last things, the overlapping things, are
] the truly philosophic concern; all superior minds feel
seriously about them, and the mind with the shortest views
^ is simply the mind of the more shallow man.
However, I am willing to pass over these very distant
outlooks on the ultimate, if any of you so insist. The
theistic controversy can still serve to illustrate the principle
of pragmatism for us well enough, without driving us so far
Cafield. If there be a God, it is not likely that he is confined
solely to making differences in the world s latter end; he
improbably makes differences all along its course. Now the
principle of practicalism says that the very meaning of the
conception of God lies in those differences which must be
made in our experience if the conception be true. God s
famous inventory of perfections, as elaborated by dogmatic
theology, either means nothing, says our principle, or it
implies certain definite things that we can feel and do at
particular moments of our lives, things which we could not
feel and should not do were no God present and were the
business of the universe carried on by material atoms
instead. So far as our conceptions of the Deity involve no
such experiences, so far they are meaningless and verbal,
scholastic entities and abstractions, as the positivists say,
and fit objects for their scorn. But so far as they do
involve such definite experiences, God means something for
us, and may be real.
Now if we look at the definitions of God made by
dogmatic theology, we see immediately that some stand and
some fall when treated by this test. God, for example,
PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTIONS, Etc. . 301
as any orthodox text-book will tell us, is a being existing
not only per se, or by himself, as created beings exist, but
a se, or from himself; and out of this "aseity" flow most of
his perfections. He is, for example, necessary; absolute;
infinite in all respects; and single. He is simple, not com
pounded of essence and existence, substance and accident,
actuality and potentiality, or subject and attributes, as are
other things. He belongs to no genus; he is inwardly and
outwardly unalterable; he knows and wills all things, and
first of all his own infinite self, in one indivisible eternal
act. And he is absolutely self -sufficing, and infinitely
happy. Now in which one of us practical Americans here
assembled does this conglomeration of attributes awaken any
sense of reality? And if in no one, then why not? Surely
because such attributes awaken no responsive active feelings i
and call for no particular conduct of our own. How does <
God s "aseity" come home to you? What specific thing
can I do to adapt myself to his "simplicity"? Or how
determine our behavior henceforward if his "felicity" is
anyhow absolutely complete? In the ? 50 s and 60 s Cap
tain Mayne Reid was the great writer of boys books of
out-of-door adventure. He was forever extolling the
hunters and field- observers of living animals habits, and
keeping up a fire of invective against the "closet-natural
ists," as he called them, the collectors and classifiers, and
handlers of skeletons and skins. When I was a boy I used
to think that a closet-naturalist must be the vilest type of
wretch under the sun. But surely the systematic theolo-"?
gians are the closet-naturalists of the Deity, even in Captain
Mayne Reid s sense. Their orthodox deduction of God s
attributes is nothing but a shuffling and matching of
pedantic dictionary- adjectives, aloof from morals, aloof
from human needs, something that might be worked out
from the mere word " God" by a logical machine of wood and
brass as well as by a man of flesh and blood. The attributes ^
which I have quoted have absolutely nothing to do with
religion, for religion is a living practical affair. Other
302 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
parts, indeed, of God s traditional description do have prac
tical connection with life, and have owed all their historic
^importance to that fact. His omniscience, for example,
^and his justice. With the one he sees us in the dark,
with the other he rewards and punishes what he sees. So do
his ubiquity and eternity and unalterability appeal to our
confidence, and his goodness banish our fears. Even
attributes of less meaning to this present audience have in
past times so appealed. One of the chief attributes of God,
according to the orthodox theology, is his infinite love of
himself, proved by asking the question, "By what but an
infinite object can an infinite affection be appeased!" An
immediate consequence of this primary self-love of God is
the orthodox dogma that the manifestation of his own glory
is God s primal purpose in creation; and that dogma has
certainly made very efficient practical connection with life.
It is true that we ourselves are tending to outgrow this old
monarchical conception of a Deity with his "court" and
pomp "his state is kingly, thousands at his bidding
speed," etc. but there is no denying the enormous influence
it has had over ecclesiastical history, nor, by repercussion,
over the history of European states. And yet even these
more real and significant attributes have the trail of the
serpent over them as the books on theology have actually
worked them out. One feels that, in the theologians
hands, they are only a set of dictionary- adjectives, mechan
ically deduced; logic has stepped into the place of vision,
professionalism into that of life. Instead of bread we get a
stone; instead of a fish, a serpent. Did such a conglomer
ation of abstract general terms give really the gist of our
knowledge of the Deity, divinity- schools might indeed con
tinue to flourish, but religion, vital religion, would have
taken its flight from this world. What keeps religion going
is something else than abstract definitions and systems of
logically concatenated adjectives, and something different
from faculties of theology and their professors. All these
things are after-effects, secondary accretions upon a mass of
PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTIONS, Etc. 303
concrete religious experiences, connecting themselves with
feeling and conduct that renew themselves in scecula
sceculorum in the lives of humble private men. If you ask
what these experiences are, they are conversations with the
unseen, voices and visions, responses to prayer, changes of
heart, deliverances from fear, inflowings of help, assurances
of support, whenever certain persons set their own internal
attitude in certain appropriate ways. The power comes and
goes and is lost, and can be found only in a certain definite
direction, just as if it were a concrete material thing. These
direct experiences of a wider spiritual life, with which our
superficial consciousness is continuous, and with which it
keeps up an intense commerce, form the primary mass of
direct religious experience on which all hearsay religion
rests, and which furnishes that notion of an ever-present
God, out of which systematic theology thereupon proceeds
to make capital in its own unreal pedantic way. What the
word " God" means is just those passive and active experi
ences of your life. Now, my friends, it is quite immaterial
to my purpose whether yourselves enjoy and venerate
these experiences, or whether you stand aloof and, viewing
them in others, suspect them of being illusory and vain.
Like all other human experiences, they too certainly share in
the general liability to illusion and mistake. They need
not be infallible. But they are certainly the originals of
the God- idea, and theology is the translation; and you
remember that I am now using the God- idea merely as an
example, not to discuss as to its truth or error, but only
to show how well the principle of pragmatism works. That
the God of systematic theology should exist or not exist is"^
a matter of small practical moment. At most it means that
you may continue uttering certain abstract words and that
you must stop using others. But if the God of these
particular experiences be false, it is an awful thing for
you, if you are one of those whose lives are stayed on such
experiences. The theistic controversy, trivial enough if_J
we take it merely academically and theologically, is of
304 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
tremendous significance if we test it by its results for actual
I can best continue to recommend the principle of prac-
ticalism to you by keeping in the neighborhood of this
theological idea. I reminded you a few minutes ago that
the old monarchical notion of the Deity as a sort of Louis the
Fourteenth of the Heavens is losing nowadays much of its
(ancient prestige. Religious philosophy, like all philosophy,
is growing more and more idealistic. And in the philosophy
of the Absolute, so called, that post- Kantian form of idealism
which is carrying so many of our higher minds before it, we
have the triumph of what in old times was summarily dis
posed of as the pantheistic heresy, I mean the conception
of God, not as the extraneous creator, but as the indwelling
(_j$pirit and substance of the world. I know not where one
can find a more candid, more clear, or, on the whole, more
persuasive statement of this theology of Absolute Idealism
than in the addresses made before this very Union three
years ago by your own great Calif ornian philosopher (whose
colleague at Harvard I am proud to be), Josiah Royce^
His contributions to the resulting volume, The Conception
of God, form a very masterpiece of popularization. Now
you will remember, many of you, that in the discussion that
followed Professor Royce s first address, the debate turned
largely on the ideas of unity and plurality, and on the
question whether, if God be One in All and All in All, "One
with the unity of a single instant," as Royce calls it,
"forming in His wholeness one luminously transparent
moment," any room is left for real morality or freedom.
Professor Howison, in particular, was earnest in urging
that morality and freedom are relations between a manifold
of selves, and that under the regime of Royce s monistic
Absolute Thought "no true manifold of selves is or can be
provided for." I will not go into any of the details of that
particular discussion, but just ask you to consider for a
moment whether, in general, any discussion about monism
or pluralism, any argument over the unity of the universe,
PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTIONS, Etc. 305
would not necessarily be brought into a shape where it tends
to straighten itself out, by bringing our principle of
practical results to bear.
The question whether the world is at bottom One or
Many is a typical metaphysical question. Long has it
raged! In its crudest form it is an exquisite example of
the loggerheads of metaphysics. "I say it is one great ^
fact," Parmenides and Spinoza exclaim. "I say it is many
little facts," reply the atomists and associationists. "I
say it is both one and many, many in one," say the Hege
lians; and in the ordinary popular discussions we rarely
get beyond this barren reiteration by the disputants of
their pet adjectives of number. But is it not first of all_j
clear that when we take such an adjective as "One" abso
lutely and abstractly, its meaning is so vague and empty
that it makes no difference whether we affirm or deny it?
Certainly this universe is not the mere number One; and
yet you can number it "one," if you like, in talking
about it as contrasted with other possible worlds numbered
"two" and "three" for the occasion. What exact thing do
you practically mean by "One," when you call the universe
One, is the first question you must ask. In what ways does |
the oneness come home to your own personal life? By]
what difference does it express itself in your experience?/
How can you act differently towards a universe which is 1
one? Inquired into in this way, the unity might grow
clear and be affirmed in some ways and denied in others,
and so cleared up, even though a certain vague and
worshipful portentousness might disappear from the notion i
of it in the process.
For instance, one practical result that follows when we
have one thing to handle, is that we can pass from one
part of it to another without letting go of the thing. In
this sense oneness must be partly denied and partly affirmed
of our universe. Physically we can pass continuously in
various manners from one part of it to another part. But
logically and psychically the passage seems less easy, for
306 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
there is no obvious transition from one mind to another,
or from minds to physical things. You have to step off
and get on again; so that in these ways the world is not
one, as measured by that practical test.
Another practical meaning of oneness is susceptibility
of collection. A collection is one, though the things that
compose it be many. Now, can we practically " collect"
the universe? Physically, of course we cannot. And
mentally we cannot, if we take it concretely in its details.
But if we take it summarily and abstractly, then we
collect it mentally whenever we refer to it, even as I do
now when I fling the term "universe" at it, and so seem
to leave a mental ring around it. It is plain, however,
that such abstract noetic unity (as one might call it) is
practically an extremely insignificant thing.
Again, oneness may mean generic sameness, so that
you can treat all parts of the collection by one rule and get
the same results. It is evident that in this sense the one
ness of our world is incomplete, for in spite of much
generic sameness in its elements and items, they still
remain of many irreducible kinds. You can t pass by
mere logic all over the field of it.
[~ Its elements have, however, an affinity or commensur-
ability with each other, are not wholly irrelevant, but can
be compared, and fit together after certain fashions. This
again might practically mean that they were one in origin,
and thafpfracing them backwards, we should find them
arising in a single primal causal fact. Such unity of origin
would have definite practical consequences, would have them
| for our scientific life at least.
I can give only these hasty superficial indications of
what I mean when I say that it tends to clear up the
quarrel between monism and pluralism to subject the
notion of unity to such practical tests. On the other hand,
it does but perpetuate strife and misunderstanding to con
tinue talking of it in an absolute and mystical way. I
have little doubt myself that this old quarrel might be
PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTIONS, Etc. 307
completely smoothed out to the satisfaction of all claimants,
if only the maxim of Peircewere methodically followed here.
The current monism on the whole still keeps talking in
too abstract a way. It says the world must be either pure
disconnectedness, no universe at all, or absolute unity.
It insists that there is no stopping-place half way. Any
connection whatever, says this monism, is only possible if
there be still more connection, until at last we are driven
to admit the absolutely total connection required. But
this absolutely total connection either means nothing, is
the mere word "one" spelt long; or else it means the sum
of all the partial connections that can possibly be con
ceived. I believe that when we thus attack the question,
and set ourselves to search for these possible connections,
and conceive each in a definite practical way, the dispute
is already in a fair way to be settled beyond the chance of
misunderstanding, by a compromise in which the Many
and the One both get their lawful rights.
But I am in danger of becoming technical; so I must
stop right here, and let you go.
I am happy to say that it is the English-speaking
philosophers who first introduced the custom of interpret
ing the meaning of conceptions by asking what difference
they make for life. Mr. Peirce has only expressed in the
form of an explicit maxim what their sense for reality led
them all instinctively to do. The great English way of
investigating a conception is to ask yourself right off,
"What is it known as? In what facts does it result?
What is its cash-value, in terms of particular experience!
and what special difference would come into the world
according as it were true or false?" Thus does Locke
treat the conception of personal identity. What you mean
by it is just your chain of memories, says he. That is the
only concretely verifiable part of its significance. All
further ideas about it, such as the oneness or manyness of
the spiritual substance on which it is based, are therefore
308 UNIVERSITY CHEONICLE.
void of intelligible meaning; and propositions touching
such ideas may be indifferently affirmed or denied. So
Berkeley with his "matter." The cash- value of matter is
our physical sensations. That is what it is known as, all
that we concretely verify of its conception. That there
fore is the whole meaning of the word "matter" any other
pretended meaning is mere wind of words. Hume does
the same thing with causation. It is known as habitual
antecedence, and tendency on our part to look for some
thing definite to come. Apart from this practical mean
ing it has no significance whatever, and books about it
may be committed to the flames, says Hume. Stewart and
Brown, James Mill, John Mill, and Bain, have followed
more or less consistently the same method; and Shadworth
Hodgson has used it almost as explicitly as Mr. Peirce.
These writers have many of them no doubt been too sweep
ing in their negations; Hume, in particular, and James
Mill, and Bain. But when all is said and done, it was
they, not Kant, who introduced "the critical method" into
philosophy, the one method fitted to make philosophy a
\ study worthy of serious men. For what seriousness can
1 possibly remain in debating philosophic propositions that
I will never make an appreciable difference to us in action?
And what matters it, when all propositions are practically
meaningless, which of them be called true or false!
P" The shortcomings and the negations and baldnesses of
the English philosophers in question come, not from their
eye to merely practical results, but solely from their failure
to track the practical results completely enough to see how
Lfar they extend. Hume can be corrected and built out,
and his beliefs enriched, by using Humian principles
exclusively, and without making any use of the circuitous
and ponderous artificialities of Kant. It is indeed a some
what pathetic matter, as it seems to me, that this is not
the course which the actual history of philosophy has fol
lowed. Hume had no English successors of adequate
ability to complete him and correct his negations; so it
PHILOSOPHICAL CONCEPTIONS, Etc. 309
happened, as a matter of fact, that the building out of
critical philosophy has mainly been left to thinkers who
were under the influence of Kant. Even in England and
this country it is with Kantian catch-words and categories
that the fuller view of life is pursued, and in our universi
ties it is the courses in transcendentalism that kindle the
enthusiasm of the more ardent students, whilst the courses
in English philosophy are committed to a secondary place.
I cannot think that this is exactly as it should be. And I say
this not out of national jingoism, for jingoism has no place
in philosophy; or out of excitement over the great Anglo-
American alliance against the world, of which we nowa
days hear so much though heaven knows that to that
alliance I wish a God-speed. I say it because I sincerely
believe that the English spirit in philosophy is intellectu
ally, as well as practically and morally, on the saner,
sounder, and truer path. Kant s mind is the rarest and
most intricate of all possible antique bric-a-brac museums,
and connoisseurs and dilettanti will always wish to visit it
and see the wondrous and racy contents. The temper of
the dear old man about his work is perfectly delectable.
And yet he is really although I shrink with some terror
from saying such a thing before some of you here present
at bottom a mere curio, a " specimen." I mean by this a
perfectly definite thing: I believe that Kant bequeathes t<T\
us not one single conception which is both indispensable to
philosophy and which philosophy either did not possess
before him, or was not destined inevitably to acquire after
him through the growth of men s reflection upon the
hypothesis by which science interprets nature. The true_\
line of philosophic progress lies, in short, it seems to me,
not so much through Kant as round him to the point where
now we stand. Philosophy can perfectly well outflank
him, and build herself up into adequate fulness by pro
longing more directly the older English lines.
May I hope, as I now conclude, and release your atten
tion from the strain to which you have so kindly put it on
310 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
my behalf, that on this wonderful Pacific Coast, of which
our race is taking possession, the principle of practicalism,
in which I have tried so hard to interest you, and with it
the whole English tradition in philosophy, will come to its
rights, and in your hands help the rest of us in our struggle
towards the light.
PROBLEMS OF HEREDITY. 311
PKOBLEMS OF HEREDITY.*
By W. J. V. OSTERHOUT.
Like produces like. In this, the primary law of heredity,
apparently so simple and natural, are involved problems
the most profound and difficult with which science has to
deal. The brilliant discoveries of the last two decades have
thrown a flood of light on these problems and revealed to
us how much more complicated they are than we had sup
posed. To-day their solution seems farther away than it did
half a century ago. Nevertheless, there are here such
fruitful and fascinating opportunities for research that
these problems attract increased attention with every passing
year and to-day are attacked with far greater vigor than
The central problem of heredity resolves itself naturally
into two: first, what causes the offspring to resemble the
parent? second, what causes it to differ from it? Why are
some characters transmitted and others not? What char
acters are capable of transmission?
Certain characters are invariably transmitted. These
are the race characters, i.e.. characters common to an entire
race or some other large group of individuals. Such char
acters have orginated in the remote past, persisted through
a long series of generations and become indelibly fixed.
The older a character is, the more certain it is of transmis
sion and the larger the number of individuals which share it.
* Read before the Botanical Seminary, September 14, 1898.
312 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
After eliminating the race characters there remain the
individual characters, which may be of two kinds, innate
and acquired. An innate character is one which is already
in the fertilized egg and can commonly be traced to the
parent or some more remote ancestor. Innate characters
are transmissible. They include anatomical characters such
as height, color; physiological characters, such as longevity,
lef t-handedness ; psychological characters, such as mental
aptitudes and traits of character; teratological characters,
such as supernumerary fingers and toes; and finally patho
logical characters, such as tuberculosis, syphilis, and many
In contrast to all these characters which are already
present before the egg divides, are others which are acquired
in the subsequent history of the individual. Such are
diseases, mutilations, development of special muscles or
other organs by exercise, skill due to practice and all
changes due to food, climate, or other external causes. All
these are included under the head of acquired characters.
Can such characters be transmitted? The question involved
is of fundamental importance. A giraffe in its efforts to
browse on overhanging foliage may lengthen its neck
appreciably during its life-time. Will its offspring inherit
this acquired character and have longer necks than they
would have possessed otherwise? If so, we can easily see
how the long neck of the present race of giraffes came about.
It was in this way that Lamarck and Darwin explained the
If we deny this possibility, we must accept the other
alternative and suppose that the organ in question was
variable in length and that those individuals with longer
necks were able to get more food than the others and so
survive them in the struggle for existence. The operation
of natural selection would thus tend to produce individuals
with necks longer in each successive generation until the
present race of giraffes would result. This is the position
held by Weismann and his school. He denies absolutely
PROBLEMS OF HEREDITY. 313
that a parent can transmit an acquired character to the
The principle is of broad application and of great
importance in social as well as biological problems. Can
an accomplished pianist transmit any portion of the
acquired dexterity of his fingers to his children? Can the
scholar who spends his life in intellectual pursuits hope
to see his son surpass him in mental power? Can a man
of criminal instincts who by severe effort succeeds in living
an honest life hope to see the trail of the serpent less
visible in his children?
Over these and kindred questions the battle still rages
hotly without any prospect of an immediate issue. It is
doubtful whether it can ever be definitely decided, for the
reason that acquired characters, even if transmitted, would
not be readily recognizable as such in the offspring, since it
would be difficult, if not impossible, to distinguish them from
variations due to other causes. If, for instance, a cat with
an amputated tail should transmit to her kittens a tendency
to have short tails, it is probable that no one could detect
it, since the shortening would be so slight as to fall within
the ordinary limits of variability. If the mutilation were
continued through a sufficient number of generations, the
effect should become unmistakably manifest, and if it did
not, the case could be considered proved in the negative.
But how many generations would be required? It may be
that thousands would be necessary. When we consider
how slowly the course of evolution moves this seems not
improbable. We are not justified in concluding, as so
many seem to, that because in a few generations no marked
effect is produced, the inheritance of acquired characters is
disproved. Furthermore, to render these experiments
conclusive, control experiments would have to be instituted
on so large a scale that the undertaking could not be con
tinued more than a few generations at most. To disprove
the inheritance of acquired characters by experiment is
practically impossible and, on the other hand, to bring
314 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
affirmative proof is, in most cases, exceedingly difficult.
Such being the case, we must content ourselves for the
present with a suspension of judgment.
Another side of the problem awaits our attention. We
know that certain characters are transmissible, but when we
observe closely we shall find that they are never transmitted
unchanged. The change may be slight, almost unnoticeable,
but it is never lacking. Variation is the one rule to which
there are no exceptions. The origin of variations is very
obscure. The utmost we can do at present is to formulate
certain general laws regarding their occurrence and in some
cases indicate their probable causes. They conform to
rigid mathematical laws which are expressible in curves
whose form varies with the individual race or species, but
shows a general agreement of the most striking nature. In
a body of 10,000 troops, drawn from the same country,
it suffices to know that the average height is five feet, four
inches, to be able to tell with tolerable precision how
many men in the army are five feet, one inch high, etc.
More than half the men in the army will be about five
feet, four inches in height, and there will be just as many
above this height as there are below it. The number of
men of any given height depends on the relation of that
height to the average. The nearer it approximates to the
average the greater the number of men possessing it. The
curve expressing these relations is identical with the bino
mial curve of Newton the curve which is used to express
the law of the calculation of chances. Although in some
cases the curves of variation diverge considerably from this,
they all conform to it in a general way.
Where organs of the same kind are numerous, they are
more apt to vary in number and form than when few in
number. It has also been observed that a character which
is variable in one species is also variable in related species.
Other general laws of variation have been formulated
by various observers but are not yet settled beyond
PROBLEMS OF HEREDITY. 315
The sources of variation are so numerous and complicated
that our knowledge of them is as yet neither definite nor
satisfactory. They may be internal or external. Internal
causes are more difficult to analyse and investigate, yet many
variations may be referred with certainty to them. The
characters of the two parents are never precisely alike, and.
as they mingle and blend in the offspring, they modify each
other to a greater or less degree, and so cause variation.
The more dissimilar the parental characters are, the easier
it is to trace their reciprocal influence. This is strikingly
the case when a variety is crossed with a different variety
or one species with another. It will then be seen that in
some cases the parental characters blend as in the orange-
flowered Ocwma-hybrid resulting from crossing a red-flowered
Canna with a yellow-flowered one: while in other cases, they
mix, producing in the hybrid just mentioned, flowers whose
petals are gayly mottled with red and yellow spots side by
side. Cases are not uncommon where both mixing and
blending of parental characters may be seen together in the
same petal or leaf.
Occasionally, the parental characters seem neither to mix
nor blend, but produce something so strikingly new as to
be apparently inexplicable, as, for example, when two
white-flowered species of Datura are crossed and a blue-
flowered hybrid results . When a new character of this sort
appears in either ordinary or hybrid offspring we are
naturally led to examine its previous history and to search
back along the line of its ancestry to see whether the char
acter has not occurred somewhere in its pedigree. When
this is found to be the case the simplest explanation is that
the character has descended from the ancestor in which it
last appeared, having been transmitted in a latent condition
through several generations and called again into activity
when suitable conditions occured. In this case the off
spring in which the character occurs is said to revert to the
remoter ancestor. A child, for instance, may revert to its
grand-father, resembling him far more than its own father
316 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
or mother; a rose may produce green leaves instead of
petals, in which case it is said to revert to a primitive ancestor
which existed before colored petals had begun to be evolved
from ordinary green leaves.
As the result of this reciprocal influence of the charac
ters of parents and remoter ancestors the greatest variety
of characters is produced. This is especially the case
when different varieties or species are crossed, a fact of
which the skillful gardener takes advantage to produce new
races and varieties. The amount of time and patience
necessary for this work are enormous but its results fully
justify the outlay. The climate of California is peculiarly
suited to such operations, as is evidenced by the fact that
one of the largest establishments in the world devoted to
creating new varieties of fruits and flowers flourishes at
Santa Rosa. Here one may see endless new varieties and
races in the making, acres of curious hybrids, including a
cross between the strawberry and the raspberry, and many
While internal causes are wonderfully potent in produc
ing variation, external causes are not less so. Changes of
food and climate or other external conditions are prolific
sources of variation and of these the skillful gardener avails
himself just as he does of crossing. He obtains bush-peas
from ordinary kinds by planting them further apart and
giving them more light; he induces variations by an abun
dant supply of nourishment; he obtains late-flowering
varieties by importing seed from northern latitudes or, if
necessary, by sending seed to such points to be grown until
the late-flowering habit has been acquired. Indeed, he is
constantly bringing seed from distant lands in order to
profit by the variations which the change of climate is sure
to produce. The climate of California seems to be especially
productive of variation in introduced as well as native plants.
Of the latter we have a striking example in the common
California poppy. Monstrosities and reversions seem to be
especially abundant among plants in California.
PROBLEMS OF HEREDITY. 317
The great majority of variations are referable to none
of the sources already mentioned. These our ignorance
compels us to designate as spontaneous variations. When
a single branch of a beech-tree suddenly develops deeply
cut leaves while the other branches of the same tree bear
leaves of normal shape, we are obliged, because we do not
know its specific cause, to designate it as a spontaneous
variation. As the study of variation progresses and the
influence of the environment is better understood, the num
ber of variations classed as spontaneous will, of course,
diminish. Suffice it to say that at present the majority of
cases of variation come under this head, which includes the
most striking abrupt variations known to us.
Inextricably bound up with the subject of heredity is
that of regeneration; every problem of the former finds its
counterpart in the latter. The power of regeneration varies
in a progressive scale. Beginning with organisms which
regenerate only a few parts and these of lesser importance,
such as skin, nails, and hair, it extends to those which
replace lost limbs, others which regenerate a missing head
or tail as well, and finally to organisms which, if chopped
into small bits, produce from every piece a perfect individual.
In general, the pow T er of regeneration increases as we
descend in the scale of evolution. The most simply
organized forms exhibit it in the highest degree.
Most worthy of note is the fact that the regenerated
member is usually developed in much the same way as the
original member, whose place it is to take, but sometimes
the course of development turns out to be totally different.
In spite of this aberrant mode of development, the regener
ated member may resemble the original one in every respect.
On the other hand, a regenerated member developing in the
same manner as the original one may differ from it decidedly
when its development is completed. What controls the
course of development in these cases! What power limits
regeneration within such sharply defined boundaries,
denying it to one segment of a worm when the next
318 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
segment, precisely similar in appearance, possesses it!
These and similar questions are beginning to attract
increased attention in proportion as their importance is
more fully realized.
Such, in brief outline, are the main problems of heredity
which demand solution. To formulate a theory capable of
explaining all these diverse problems from a single point of
view is no easy task. Nevertheless, the attempt has been
frequently made and has engaged the best abilites of
thoughtful students in all ages. Antiquity, beginning with
Aristotle, furnishes its quota of theories, of which some
show marvelous insight while others are fantastic and absurd
in the highest degree. The eighteenth century saw a great
revival of interest in the subject and witnessed a hotly con
tested battle between two opposing schools. The Preform -
ationists (generally known as the Evolutionists) contended
that in the egg the completely formed adult existed, perfect
in every part, its miniature bones, muscles, glands, etc.,
being completely transparent and therefore invisible. As
the egg develops these simply enlarge and become visible,
much as the miniature leaves of a bud unfold and produce
a branch. The Epigenesists, led by Caspar Friedrich
Wollf , maintained that we have no right to assume that
anything is in the egg that cannot actually be seen; they
contended that an egg is simple and homogeneous, without
any such structures as the Preformationists assumed:
these develop gradually in orderly succession until finally
the adult is perfected. The controversy begun in the
seventeenth century is still waged with unabated vigor,
though the progress of investigation has greatly altered
The theories of Darwin, Nageli, His, and Weismann are
essentially preformational. On the other hand, epigenetic
theories have not been wanting, notably those of Hertwig,
Haacke, Driesch, and others, which assume that the course
of development is not fixed from the beginning, but changed
and modified at every step by outside influences.
PROBLEMS OF HEREDITY. 319
Darwin s celebrated pangenesis theory, which was fore
shadowed by several previous writers, was put forth with
great modesty as a temporary working hypothesis. It was
very simple in conception. Each cell of the body gives off
little bodies capable of reproducing that cell under suitable
conditions, much as a yeast-cell gives off buds. These
bodies, too minute to be visible, are called gemmules. The
gemmules collect in the sex- cells until every cell of the body
is represented by at least one gemmule ; consequently when
the egg begins to develop, the gemmules have merely to
reproduce the cells from which they sprang and each cell of
the adult will find its counterpart in the offspring. Darwin
did not explain how the cells of the offspring take on the
proper arrangement and in other important respects his
theory is entirely inadequate. He was, however, the first
to see and admit defects in his theory and join in hoping
for a better one.
The theory of the celebrated botanist, Nageli, was an
important step in advance, inasmuch as it introduced a new
conception destined to prove of great value. Not the entire
egg, said he, is a vehicle for the transmission of hereditary
qualities, but only a small portion of it, the idioplasm. The
remainder of it is nutrient plasm, i.e. , living substance which
nourishes the idioplasm but is not directly concerned with
heredity. Nageli did not identify the idioplasm with any
definite structure in the cell but later the zoologist, Hertwig,
and the botanist, Strasburger, showed that Nageli s idio
plasm was contained in the nucleus. Another botanist,
de Vries, added a fruitful conception in his suggestion that
the idioplasm of the nucleus is made up of numerous
smaller units, each of which is the bearer of a distinct
hereditary quality. As long as they remain in the nucleus
they are latent, but when they migrate out of the nucleus
into the cell they become active and give their characters to
that cell. Hence we can see how two cells lying side by side
and possessing the same idioplasm may develop, the one
into a bone-cell, the other into a muscle-cell.
320 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
Following up this clue, Weismann, with the aid of several
brilliant suggestions from Roux, has devised an elaborate
system of theories by means of which all the facts of hered
ity may be explained. It is the most complete theory ever
put forth and, if all its numerous assumptions be admitted,
the most logical. As such, it has attracted more attention
than any other and caused endless controversy. Its most
important features are the structure of the idioplasm and
the struggle for existence of its elementary units. The
idioplasm, which Weismann terms the germ- plasm, is com
posed of elementary units, the biophores, each of which bears
a special character or quality which it confers upon the cell
containing it. Each cell contains at least as many biophores
as it has qualities. A biophore is capable of duplicating
itself by division into two precisely similar biophores ; these
may divide again repeatedly and so multiply indefinitely.
They are capable of growth and self -nutrition. All the
different biophores of a cell taken together constitute a group
called a determinant. There are, of course, as many different
sorts of determinants as of cells. If all the determinants
of any individual are collected in a group they form an id.
An id, therefore, contains determinants enough to furnish
all the cells of a perfect individual. According to Weismann
ids are large enough to be visible with the microscope and
are identical with the chromatin granules of the nucleus.
Now the germ-plasm, of an egg for instance, contains a
large number of ids. Only one of these becomes active;
the others remain in a passive or latent condition. When
the egg divides into two daughter-cells, one-half the active
id goes to each of them. When the two daughter- cells
divide in turn, each of the four resulting cells receives one-
fourth the active id. As this process continues the active
id is broken up into smaller and smaller pieces and finally
disintegrates into separate determinants, of which each cell
receives one. The determinants now break up and the
biophores which compose them migrate out of the idioplasm
into the cell and there becoming active, give to the cell their
PROBLEMS OF HEREDITY. 321
peculiar characters. The origin of all the cells of the body
each with its own special characteristics is thus accounted
for. But what determines how the cells are to arrange
themselves properly to form bones, muscles, etc.? This
orderly arrangement of the cells is due to the arrangement
of the determinants in the id; they are packed into the id
in such a way that when it is broken up into successively
smaller pieces the determinants are inevitably set free in the
proper order. The architecture of the id thus becomes a
factor of prime importance, since on the arrangement of its
parts depends the arrangement of cells in the individual.
Any slight disturbance of this arrangment might result in
Having now explained how the offspring may resemble
the parent, cell for cell, it remains to see how it may vary
from it. In the first place much depends on the selection
of the active id. In the germ -plasm of the egg are hun
dreds of ids, accumulations of the past, each exactly like
the active id of some previous ancestor. Clearly it depends
on which id is called upon to become active whether the
child is to resemble his parent, his grand- parent, or some
The most active source of variation is, however, changes
which are continually taking place in the germ-plasm
itself, due to the struggle for existence which the biophores
carry on among themselves. This happy suggestion,
adopted from Roux, carries the principle of natural selec
tion and the survival of the fittest down to the smallest
hypothetical units of living substance. Just as man
struggles with man, plant with plant, tissue with tissue,
cell with cell, so biophore struggles with biophore, and
the fittest survive. And just as the struggle for exist
ence results in continual change in human society or in
plant communities, so the struggle between biophores
results in constant change in the community of biophores,
that is, in the germ- plasm.
322 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
We have thus a simple and beautiful explanation of
spontaneous variation but none as yet of variations due to
outside influences such as changes of food, climate, etc.
In truth, this class of variations cannot be satisfactorily
explained by Weismann s theory, and his efforts to do so
are foredoomed to failure. The course of development is
predetermined in every detail by the structure of the active
id and cannot be modified by external influences. The
organism is built, like the Temple, of pieces hewn and
shaped beforehand according to the plan of the builder,
which makes no allowance for change or modification
during the erection of the edifice. Weismann s attempts
to strengthen this weak point in his theory have not thus
far been very successful. Variations due to the reciprocal
influence of the characters of the two parents on each
other are explained by supposing that the respective
portions of the germ-plasm bearing these characters fuse in
the egg and so cause them to mix or blend.
The matter of regeneration remains to be considered.
Weismann considers this a character brought about by
natural selection, not a primitive character. It is due to
certain latent ids or parts of ids which are especially
allotted to certain parts of the body for regenerative
The remainder of the latent ids are conserved in certain
special cells in order to supply germ-plasm for the future
offspring. These cells give rise to the sex-cells which in
turn give rise to new individuals. Hence there is an
unbroken continuity of germ-plasm from generation to
generation. Individuals spring from it and presently die
but the germ-plasm lives on forever, producing new indi
viduals in endless succession, as a tree sheds its dying
leaves in autumn but reclothes itself in fresh verdure with
each returning spring.
Since each individual uses up in its development one of
the ids of the germ-plasm, the stock of ids would not hold
out were not the ids capable of duplicating themselves as
PROBLEMS OF HEREDITY. 323
often as necessary by division into two. The supply of
ids is maintained solely in this way: it receives no acces
sions from the individual in which it is contained: the
individual merely conserves the germ-plasm and passes it
on to the next generation without modifying it or influ
encing it in any way. Hence outside influences, such as
changes of climate or food, which modify the individual,
cannot affect the germ-plasm nor can it be changed in any
way by the exertions of the individual. Hence the transmis
sion of acquired characters is impossible. This part of the
theory, which Weismann developed some years ago, and in
which he asserts the unchanging character of the germ-
plasm, contradicts his latest assumption that the germ-
plasm is constantly changing as the result of the struggle
for existence among the biophores. In making the latter
assumption Weismann does not intend to admit the
possibility of transmitting acquired characters, but he
nevertheless unwittingly opens the door to such an admis
sion. The struggle of the biophores in the germ -plasm is
a struggle for food : that food comes from the individual :
any influence which affects the individual affects the food
which it supplies to the germ-plasm and the kind of
food furnished to the germ-plasm may determine which
particular set of biophores shall triumph in the struggle
for existence. Thus is opened a way in which an acquired
character may be transmitted to the germ-plasm and
through it to succeeding generations.
The elaborate care and logical completeness with which
it is wrought out render Weismann s theory fascinating to
a degree, but its completeness is due to a system of
complicated hypotheses which nowhere rest upon a firm
basis of fact. The quasi-metaphysical nature of the theory
eludes the ordinary criteria of observation and experiment.
If we consider heredity from the standpoint of epigene-
sis, we are able to dispense with this cumbrous and compli
cated system of assumptions and refer all the facts to a
single principle, thoroughly tested by every day observation
324 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
and experiment and at every point in touch with fact.
The Epigenesists have wisely refrained from trying to
formulate a theory as complete and comprehensive as that
of Weismann. Indeed in the present state of our knowl
edge, it is highly inadvisable to attempt it. For them,
development is merely a manifestation of the fundamental
property of protoplasm, irritability. By irritability we
mean the property which protoplasm has of responding in
different ways to different external stimuli. Without this
property life is inconceivable, since life depends on a
delicate adjustment of living substance to its surroundings.
The egg- cell, like every other cell, has its own peculiar
way of reacting to each external stimulus. It is not
restricted in its development to a single narrow groove,
but may develop in different ways according to the condi
tions which surround it. It has been shown beyond
possibility of doubt that the external environment may
profoundly modify the form, size, and internal structure of
cells and multicellular organizations : that it may determine
whether one or several embryos shall arise from an egg,
that it may excite or inhibit cell- division and may control
its rate: that it may call forth structures which are new
in the history of the organism: that it may determine
whether a mutilated organism shall regenerate a head or
a tail at a given point; that it may, in some cases at least,
determine sex. In view of these facts we must acknowl
edge that environment profoundly modifies and alters the
course of development at every step and is a factor of far
more importance than Weismann would admit. It writes
its name large on the developing organism and its record
remains indelible. This would be impossible did not the
egg- cell and every other cell receive from it constantly
stimuli which determine the course of their development.
Not only so but each cell constantly receives stimuli from
all the other cells: its position with reference to them
determines whether it shall develop into a bone- cell or a
muscle- cell. Its destiny is fixed by its cell- environment.
PROBLEMS OF HEREDITY. 325
There is, moreover, no such profound difference
between the egg-cell and other cells as Weismann postu
lates. Not only the egg-cell but everj^ cell of the body
may, and in many cases certainly does, contain germ-plasm
sufficient to reproduce the individual under proper con
ditions. Regeneration and vegetative reproduction is
thus explained in a simple and natural way. When the
whole course of development is conceived of as a series of
reactions to external stimuli and when we consider what an
astonishing variety of such stimuli act upon every cell,
the reason becomes plain why variation is the invariable
law of heredity and development. When we consider how
slight a cause may alter development, the introduction of
a minute quantity of substance from an insect s sting
causing a plant to produce a gall whose structure is totally
different from anything prescribed by the hereditary his
tory of the plant, we may well wonder that species and
races are as constant as they are. Only the general uni
formity of conditions can account for it.
Of the two factors of heredity, inherited tendencies and
environment, the Preformationist lays weight on the
former, the Epigenesist on the latter. The one empha
sizes internal, the other external forces. Evidently there
is truth in both sides. The epigenetic theory, however,
appeals to the investigator as a more direct and natural
explanation of the facts, affording a sound basis for
experiment, elastic enough to cover all cases, and in touch
everywhere with observed fact.
Moreover, the progress of investigation points with
growing emphasis to the environment as a determining
factor in development. It is true that the manner in
which the egg reacts depends on its inherited structure.
It is not necessary, however, to assume with Weismann
that this structure depends on a fixed and wonderfully
complicated arrangement of granules. Such a conception
is irreconcilable with the facts of metabolism. It is far
more probable that its chemical composition is the significant
326 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
thing. Indeed the whole question is rapidly approach
ing a physico-chemical basis. It is clearly seen that the
study of heredity will in future be an investigation of the
physical and chemical reactions of the cell with its environ
ment and that here the whole explanation lies hidden.
The great problems of heredity are, therefore, cell-
problems and these in turn are problems of physics and
chemistry. For their solution the physicist and chemist
must prepare the way: the biologist may then hope to
approach by experimental methods a step nearer to the
ultimate causes of inheritance and development.
* * * * *
In view of the wide- spread popular interest in the
subject and its fundamental importance in many fields a
guide to the most important literature is greatly needed.
The following list was prepared for the Botanical Seminary
which devoted the past year to the study of heredity and
will continue the work during the present one. This list
includes only a few of the most important accessible publi
cations bearing on the topics mentioned.
A card catalogue of the most important literature of
heredity has been prepared for the use of the Seminary and
is at the service of all who may wish to consult it.
Wilson, E. B.: The Cell, 296-330.
Haacke, W. : Grundriss der Entwickelungsmechanik, 172-185. .
Thompson, J. A. : The History and Theory of Heredity. Pro
ceedings of the Royal Society of Edinburgh, 1889.
Brooks, W. K. : Heredity, 16-80.
Hertwig, O. : Aeltereund neuereEntwickelungs-theorien. Berlin,
ARE ACQUIRED CHARACTERS INHERITED?
Romanes, G. J. : Darwin and after Darwin, II. 39-158.
Weismann, A.: The Germ-plasm, 352-391.
Delage, Y. : L HerSdite", 186-216, 235-241.
Darwin, Ch. : Animals and Plants under Domestication, II. 9-41,
81-108, and 302-428.
Osborn, H. F.: American Naturalist, 1892, 537-567.
PROBLEMS OF HEREDII T. 327
NON- RESEMBLANCE OF PARENT AND OFFSPRING.
Delage, Y.: L H<redit6, 222-233, 242-259.
Darwin, Ch. : Animals and Plants under Domestication, II.
Chap. XIII -XIX.
Darwin, Ch. : Origin of Species, Chap. IX.
Bailey, L. H. : Plant Breeding.
Bateson, W. : Materials for the Study of Variation.
Nageli, C.: Die Bastardbildung iin Pflanzenreich. Sitzungsbe-
richte der koniglichen bayerischen Akademie der Wissen-
schaften in Miinchen. December 15th, 1865. Also Botan-
ische Mittheilungen, II. 187.
THEORIES OF DARWIN AND HIS PREDECESSORS.
Darwin s Predecessors.
Delage, Y. : L Her<dit6, 354-358.
Whitman, C. O. : Wood s Holl Biological Lectures. 1894.
Brooks, W. K. : Heredity, 20-27.
Osborn, H. F. : From the Greeks to Darwin.
Wolff, Caspar Friedrich: Theoria generationis ; Uebersetzt und
herausgegeben von Dr. Paul Samassa. Leipzig, 1896.
Darwin s Theory.
Darwin, Ch.: Animals and Plants under Domestication, II.
Brooks, W. K. : Heredity, especially Chap. II and III.
Delage, Y.: L H<redit<, 534-550, et seq.
THE THEORY OF W. His.
His, W. : Unsere Korperform und das physiologische Problem
ihrer Entstehung. Leipzig, 1874.
Delage, Y. : L Heredite", 468.
Wilson, E. B.: The Cell, 297.
THE THEORY OF C. NAEGELI.
Nageli, C. : Mechanisch- physiologische Theorie der Abstammungs-
Nageli s Theory of Organic Evolution: Summary. Open Court
Delage, Y. : L HereditS, 592-643.
Wilson, E. B. : The Cell, 300.
Wiesner, J. : Die Elementarstructur und das Wachsthum der
328 UNIVEESITY CHRONICLE.
THE THEORY OF H. DE VRIES.
de Vries, H. : Intracellulare Pangenesis.
Delage, Y. : L H6r<dit<, 645.
Wilson, E. B.: The Cell, 303.
Haacke, W. : Gestaltung und Vererbung.
Weismann, A.: The Germ-plasm, 12-20 et passim.
THE THEORY OP A. WEISMANN.
Weismann, A. : The Germ -plasm.
Hertwig, O. : The Biological Problem of To-day.
Wilson, E. B. : The Cell, 303.
Delage, Y. : L H<r6dit6, 512, 667, 724.
Eomanes, G. J. : An Examination of Weismannism.
Roux, W.: Gesammelte Abhandlungen, Vol. I. 135-422; Vol,
II. 125-143, 871-881.
THE THEORY OF W. HAACKE.
Haacke, W. : Gestaltung und Vererbung.
Grundriss der Entwicklungsmechanik.
THE THEORY OF O. HERTWIG.
Hertwig, O.: The Biological Problem of To-day.
Delage, Y. : L HSredite, 663.
Wilson, E. B.: The Cell, 312-317.
UNITY IN VARIABILITY. 329
UNITY IN VARIABILITY.
By HUGO DE VRIES.*
Alle Gestalten sind ahnlich
Doch keine gleichet der andren
Und so deutet das Chor
Auf ein geheimes Gesetz.
The idea which underlies these words of Goethe had
been expressed long before by Cats in these lines :
Als van twee gepaarde Schelpen
G eene breekt of wel verliest,
Niemand zal a kunnen helpen,
Hoe ge zoekt of hoe ge kiest;t
and afterwards by Darwin in his well known assertion
that no two individuals of the same kind are alike.
We may therefore consider it as a generally acknowl
edged and fundamental principle of heredity, that indi
vidual differences are everywhere present, affecting every
character of the organism.
But the general acknowledgment of this fact does not
disclose to us the law by which it is governed. The
"geheimes Gesetz," the existence of which was already
* An inaugural address delivered by Hugo de Vries, Professor of Botany at the
University of Amsterdam, in his capacity of Rector Magnificus on the last dies
natalis of that University, January 8, 1898. It appeared originally in the "Album
der Natuur," No. 3, 1898, publisher H. V. Tjeenk Willink, Haarlem, Holland. Trans
lated from the Dutch by H. T. A. Hus, and revised by the author. This translation
was made for the use of the Botanical Seminary, and was read September 28, 1898.
t If of a pair of shells, one is lost or broken, it will be impossible to find one
which will exactly replace it.
330 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
suspected by Goethe, remained a suspicion, or rather a
scientific conviction, founded on the fundamental principle
of the general validity of the laws of nature.
It was reserved for the Belgian anthropologist, Quetelet,
to discover this law, for he felt that only a scientific
treatment could lead to a solution of this problem. And a
scientific treatment requires first of all that the study of
individual differences should not be made in a general
way, but should be restricted to a single character in its
different phases of development in different individuals.
For this is the scientific "divide et impera," the motto to
which Natural Science owes its greatest triumphs.
Quetelet chose a single quality, which can be deter
mined conveniently for a large number of persons, and
which is actually measured at the time of registration for
military service. He chose the height of the body at the
age of conscription.
The law which he discovered as a result of his investi
gations was as surprising as simple. Imagine several
thousand recruits, from a certain part of the country, and
without further selection ranged in line according to
height. Imagine a curve drawn over their heads. This
curve will then represent the variability of the height of
It now becomes apparent that most of them, far more
than half the number, are of about the same height. The
line over the heads of these individuals has but little
inclination, is in fact nearly horizontal. But towards both
ends of the curve the differences increase; towards the one
end the line rises quicker and quicker, towards the other
end it descends in the same manner. Exceedingly tall and
exceedingly short men are very rare; more than half do
not deviate essentially from the average height.
This would be evident to anyone to whom such a curve
were shown with this intention. But to Quetelet it meant
more than this. He recognised in this curve a formula
well known in science, a formula already carefully studied
UNITY IN VARIABILITY. 331
by Newton, and the qualities of which are thoroughly
known. It is the curve, the direction of which is fixed by
the binomial theorem of Newton, the curve which forms
the basis of the calculations of probability, the curve which,
because of its application to life insurance and pension
laws, is of such great importance in practical life.
In short the discovery is this: the variation of the
height of the human body follows the laws of the calcula
tions of chance.
And if such an exceedingly simple law is true for the
height of the human body, it is impossible that its validity
is limited to this single case. If our convictions in regard
to the laws of nature are right, reasoned Quetelet, then the
same law must govern the whole field of variability. It
must hold true for all qualities of man, physical as well as
intellectual and moral qualities, it must hold true for the
plant kingdom as well as for the animal kingdom; in
short, it must include the whole living world.
It is now nearly thirty years ago that the famous work
of the great Belgian scientist, Anthropometrie, made its
appearance. It opened a new field of investigation.
With the eyes of a seer he viewed the vast territory which
promised to bear such rich fruit to science. "Know thy
self," became for him: know all thy qualities, know their
measure and number, and know them in comparison with
those of others.
To reach this goal is not the work of one mind, how
ever privileged it may be. The labor, study, and lifelong
devotion of many are necessary to gather the materials by
the aid of which the solution of the great problem may be
found. Here we may notice two distinct lines of investi
The validity of Quetelet s law for the whole animal and
plant kingdom, prophesied by this great thinker, requires
for its proof numerous investigations. For every charac
ter many hundreds of individuals of the same kind must
be measured and compared. Wallace, in his work on
332 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
Darwinism, was one of the first to undertake this task in
Zoology. The peculiar drawings, entirely composed of
black dots, which illustrate this part of his work, show us
at a glance the great difficulties with which he had to
contend. But the results clearly bear out Quetelet s
hypothesis. He was followed by Weldon, with ample and
very careful measurements of shrimps, Lloyd Morgan with
his studies on bats, Bateson with studies on earwigs and
other insects, and numerous others. In every instance the
general law was confirmed.
Among botanists the first determinations were made
by Fritz Muller who at once made use of his investiga
tions to confirm Darwin s theory of descent. He studied
especially ears of corn. Here the seeds are arranged in
double rows, the number of which is variable, and this
variability follows in every respect Quetelet s law. He
was followed by others, among whom Ludwig is prominent.
The latter counted the number of rayflowers on the
capitula of the Composite, the number of pedicels in
the umbels of UinbelliferaB and the number of leaves of
many kinds of branches of limited growth. He found
that in this field also, which formerly seemed so purely
morphological, all phenomena are governed by Quetelet s
Sugar beets yield quite a different kind of illustration.
In the improvement of the races of this highly important
plant, the sugar percentage is of course the most impor
tant factor. Only those beets, the roots of which are rich
in sugar, are suitable for propagation. They are carefully
selected and planted for seed, which in the following year
produces the new generation. The methods used in the
investigation of the sugar percentage, surpass in brilliant
results those of most other subdivisions of applied science.
In the factory of Messrs. Kuhn & Co., near Naarden,
Holland, every year in the short space of six weeks, during
which the beets are available for analysis, the sugar per
centage of no less than 300,000 beets is determined. This
UNITY IN VARIABILITY. 333
analysis gives a number to each beet, which indicates its
richness in sugar.
So much material could probably never be accumulated
for a purely scientific purpose and vies in importance with
the annual measurement of recruits. It may be of as great
import as these measurements, while at the same time it
may serve as an instance of a quite different field of
investigation, since it represents the chemical properties of
plants and enables us to extend the investigation of the
validity of Quetelet s law to these also.
The work of the last few years furnishes a brilliant
confirmation of this law, fully verifying its prediction. A
mere arrangement of a fifth or a sixth part of the numbers
found in one year is sufficient to remove all doubt. If
every number is represented by a line, expressing by its
length in centimeters the size of the number, and if these lines
are arranged in the same manner as the recruits, while
their tops are joined by a curve, we will find that this
curve is the same as that of Quetelet, only on a different
scale. More than one-half of the beets agree quite closely
with the average of the race. Towards the side of the
highest sugar percentage the curve rises at first slowly,
then faster and faster, till towards the end it reaches but a
few highly privileged individuals. Towards the other end
the curve descends, descending rapidly along the lines of
the poorest beets. Thus we have a simple, regular figure,
symmetrical in both halves.
It would be unnecessary to cite more instances. They
all confirm the hypothesis that the variability of the species
and the individual differences are subject to as fixed laws
as all other phenomena of nature; that the same law
governs the variability over the whole field of living
With perfect confidence one can express the hypothesis
in this form : In living nature nothing is more fixed than
variability. "Unity in variability" is therefore the title of
334 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
The second direction of study in this field is more
directly concerned with man, and especially with those
qualities which stand in closest relation to his happiness in
life. The foremost worker in this field is Francis Galton.
He has endeavored to show that the mental and social
qualities of man are also subject to the general laws.
There are two standards by which the mental gifts of
men may be judged on so large a scale, so as to be avail
able for Galton s investigations. They are on the one hand
examinations, on the other, social success, what is commonly
called "making one s way in the world."
Both have been studied by Galton. He laid the foun
dation in his famous work, Hereditary Genius, which
appeared at about the same time as Quetelet s Anthro-
pometrie (1869) . Here he pleads for the heredity of genius.
It is true that genius is not a single quality, but is com
posed of at least three others: talent, ambition, and energy.
They are according to Galton the essential components.
Only where these three are found together does one succeed
in nearly every case in surmounting all social difficulties,
and succeed in reaching the highest level in intellectual
endeavor and in the estimation of his fellow-men. The
estimation of his fellow-men is according to Galton a
measure of genius.
A vast number of instances have been collected in this
book. One admires the talent with which these seemingly
vague facts, apparently so little adapted to numerical
treatment, have been forced to take tabular form. And
when this has been done, the table shows at a single glance
how the laws of heredity and variability, which govern the
physical qualities of man, can also be applied to the high
est social qualities. What can be more dissimilar than
height and genius, and yet both obey the same laws.
Galton also made examinations a subject of study. At
Cambridge (Eng.), the results of examinations are usually
expressed in numbers. Galton collected these data for
the examinations in mathematics for a number of years,
UNITY IN VARIABILITY. 335
calculated them, and found that they closely followed
Quetelet s law. Very good and very poor numbers are as
rare as very tall and very short people; more than half
hardly differ from the average.
In connection with this investigation he also considered
the question, what part have education and training in the
ability of a man. Doubtless this part is not small, but still
it is usualty highly overestimated. Talent determines in
general the place of the individual upon the line of Quetelet.
Education and training are indispensable to anyone who
intends to take the place which is his due, but they will not
lead to considerable advancement on that line. No training
can take the place of talent. For instance, it has long been
a well-known fact that every year the most experienced
mountaineers are surpassed by quite inexperienced persons.
Education and instruction ought above all to lead each
student to know which of his talents is most fitted for
further development, so as to enable him to form a suitable
choice of his future sphere of activity. Our school system
improperly tends to a uniform development of the students.
The university privilege of educating each student accord
ing to his particular talent, ought to be extended to all
instruction. But however enticing the subject may be I
may not enter deeper into a criticism of the nature and
aim of examinations. For the studies of Galton lead us
to draw a quite different conclusion, which promises to
exercise a preponderating influence on future investigation.
The study of mental characters leads us to consider these
also as congenital characters and as a result the question
arises by what causes they are determined.
It is clear that natural talent depends on ancestral
influences. But these characters must also be governed
by general laws, laws which must again be the same for
mental gifts as for physical characters, the same for men,
animals, and plants.
Shall we ever succeed in discovering these laws? It is
in reality an ideal which to many seems unattainable.
336 UNIVEESITY CHEONICLE.
But investigation has already advanced so far, that we
may believe in the possibility of its attainment. We
may even consider what fruit the knowledge of these laws
will one day bear to society. Will man, by knowledge and
regulation of these influences, ever be capable of exercising
an arbitrary control on natural talent! And will this
control lead to an increase of human happiness?
But we can not go too far in the way of speculation.
For an answer to the question, What are the natural causes
of mental gifts ? may from the very nature of the case, be
expected only after a prolonged investigation. That this
investigation will be exceedingly difficult, long, and exten
sive, will be conceded by every one. We must proceed step
by step, and we may consider ourselves fortunate, if we
find the right road which shall one day lead us to the
It has been known for a long time that the causes
which here come into play belong to two great groups,
heredity and variability. The resemblances in certain
characters between children and their parents depend, it is
said, on heredity; the differences on variability. Both
names only indicate the phenomena; about the causes
they give no information.
The search for these causes is something quite different
from the study of the phenomena themselves. The
phenomena of heredity in man have been studied very
extensively by Galton. He compared the characters of the
children with those of the parents and grandparents, and
even with those of their relations outside the direct line.
He investigated the physical qualities as well as the mental
gifts. The difficulties with which he had to contend were
very great. The ordinary statistical data proved almost
useless. They acquainted him with the characters of the
individual as separate facts, but did not give them in rela
tion to those of the parents. But precisely this was the
important point. New comparative observations had there
fore to be made for every question, and very soon the
UNITY IN VARIABILITY. 337
exceeding difficulty of gathering these in sufficient numbers
became apparent. Every step increased the difficulties, and
very soon they became insurmountable. And besides,
where research not only aims at the knowledge of the
phenomena, but also at a study of their causes, the purely
statistical direction is only too often found to be of no
avail. Experimental investigations must here take the
place of the collection, arrangement, and calculation of
But man does not lend himself to experiments of this
nature. These can only be made with animals or plants.
Besides, the developmental tendency of physical characters
is much more easily determined than in the case of mental
gifts. The goal must therefore be reached not directly but
And when, in plants for instance, the laws governing
developmental tendencies have been discovered, we will
certainly have taken an important step towards the great
goal the causes of the mental gifts of mankind. For the
basis of all investigation is the conviction that the laws of
nature hold true in all cases. What is true for plants in
general must be true for the animal kingdom and for man;
what is true for the physical characters must also be true
for mental gifts.
We must be able to apply the laws which will be dis
covered for the variability of plants to society and its
exceedingly intricate workings of cause and effect. And
how much easier it is to apply an hypothesis to a new case,
however intricate, than to formulate it originally.
It is a beautiful ideal. To contribute to the advance
ment of human happiness is the great aim of all science.
What a satisfaction for the quiet investigator, working in
retirement, to be able to picture to himself the way in which
the fruits of his study will at some time be used for this object.
Experimental investigation of the causes which govern
developmental tendencies is impossible with man. With
animals it is exceedingly difficult and expensive ; with plants
338 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
it comes within the reach of the ordinary physiological
But the difficulties even here are very great. Every
experiment lasts at least a generation, most of them last
two or three, many a still larger number of generations.
This excludes man and the higher animals from investiga
tion, since the experiments would take too much time. For
the same reason nobody would think of choosing trees for
the study of heredity. Animals, and biennials and peren
nials that flower and produce fruit during the first or
second year of their existence are the proper material for
the study of heredity.
If every generation takes one year, and if an experiment
requires, as is frequently the case, eight or ten generations,
then the investigation will proceed slowly enough.
Some species of animals produce in one year several
generations, for instance rats and mice, moths and other
insects. For this reason they have been used repeatedly for
experiments on heredity. But in performing the experi
ments, so many difficulties have been encountered, that
plants must be preferred in nearly every instance.
The principal theoretical advantage of experiments with
plants lies in the possibility of bringing up the number of
individuals to a height, which cannot possibly be attained
with animals even at great pecuniary sacrifice. One can,
for instance, without any great trouble, grow yearly 600
to 800 specimens of Chrysanthemum segetum, choose at
the time of flowering 10 to 12 of the best, and reject the
rest. How exceedingly troublesome would an experiment
with animals become, were one to make as small a selection
from as large a number of individuals. For the rigidity
of the selection depends in the first place on the relation
between these two numbers. Indeed, the whole result,
the degree of accuracy which can be obtained depends
principally on the number of plants and animals in each
generation. No amount of care in the work can ever make
good any neglect in this regard.
UNITY IN VARIABILITY. 339
In this direction we can go much farther with plants.
I mean, in cases where the character studied can be deter
mined already in the seedling. To determine an average
number for the hereditary power of the mother plant in
300 to 400 seedlings, is a work which does not take many
hours, and which, in every generation is easily performed
for about 30 to 40 seed-bearing plants. One thus judges
and counts yearly fully 10,000 individuals for a single
experiment, and selects from among this number the 30 or
40 best ones for the next year.
The law of the calculation of chances has been called by
Poisson "The law of the large numbers." It depends then
chiefly on the large numbers; to avoid diverging from this
precept, especially when it is a matter of exceedingly
accurate experiments, is possible with plajits only.
Plants offer a second great advantage in the structure
of their flowers, in which in the majority of cases stamens
and pistils are present together. One single individual of
selected characters may be chosen for ancestor, while in the
case of animals two are always necessary. The choice is
therefore more rigid and safer and one does not need to
consider an average between the parents in the calculations.
Finally plants may be grown under far more natural
conditions than is possible for animals in similar experi
ments. Eats and mice, living in relatively small cages and
isolated as much as possible for the purpose of a careful
choice, do not lead a natural or agreeable life during the
experiments. The same is true for the moths grown by
Merrifield, which for the sake of the coupling of the best,
had to be measured, one at a time, under the microscope.
As soon as it becomes necessary to perform experiments
to determine the influence of food, beneficial or otherwise,
upon the developmental tendencies of the descendants,
the first requirement is, of course, to make all other
conditions of life as favorable as possible. This is very
easily performed for plants, but with great difficulty for
340 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
If we consider these arguments together, we can safely
prophesy, that scientific experiments on heredity and varia
bility form a task especially reserved for the botanist.
There is a large choice of species, many individuals find
room in a limited space, judgment and selection of the best
is practicable for a large number, isolation during the
flowering period, if necessary, aided by artificial fertilization,
forms no objection, and nutrition may be regulated closely
in accordance with the needs of the experiment.
About half a century ago, Schleiden, uniting the results
of the work of numerous investigators during the first
period of microscopic investigation, formulated the hypoth
esis, that all plants are built up of cells. Schwann applied
this hypothesis to the animal kingdom and to man. It is
now acknowledged by everyone, that the cell- doctrine forms
the basis of the whole of our knowledge of the more minute
structure of organs and tissues, the components in which
the source proper of life is situated. We, therefore, hope
(and we feel satisfied that it will be so) that when we have
discovered the nature and causes of individual differences
for plants, we will be able to apply them to man in the
same manner; to his physical characters as well as to his
mental ones, since the latter are our final goal.
After enlarging upon the ideal which must guide the
investigator we come to the practical part of the investigation.
This has up to now concerned itself chiefly with two
causes, which govern variability. The one is heredity in a
narrower sense, the other nutrition. Let us follow these up
We may speak of heredity in a wider, and in a narrower
sense. The individual inherits first of all, the general
character of the species to which it belongs. This is
heredity in the wider sense of the word. But besides this,
the individual bears, as a rule, a greater resemblance to its
parents than to the average type of the species. It inherits,
therefore, also, or at least in part, the individual characters
of the parents. This we call heredity in the narrower sense.
UNITY IN VARIABILITY . 341
Heredity in the wider sense is the basis of the common
descent of species. Exceptions, or rather deviations from
the rule are not general, but sudden, each time originating
a rarity. A union (accumulation) of a certain number of
varietal characters forms a new species. Heredity in the
narrower sense stands in no relation to the origin of species ;
it remains within the limits of the species ; it gives existence
to races, but not to varieties. If we take account of the
degree of variability peculiar to each character of a species,*
the "Formkreis," as Hanstein so happily called it, appears
larger than is suitable for an ordinary diagnosis. It is
possible that because of this the limits of related species
become more difficult to fix, but it does not make them less
firm and immovable.
It is not my intention to discuss in this place heredity
in the wider sense of the word. According to Ranke and
Virchow, it seems that for man heredity has become per
fectly fixed since the neolithic period. Therefore, nearly all
differences which we notice between our fellow-men belong
to the field of heredity and variability in the narrow sense.
Let us, therefore, return to this field.
Every character is variable within certain limits. The
blue of Centaurea cyanus or the red tint of the blossom of
Erica may seem always the same to us, yet a careful com
parison shows the existence of innumerable gradations
between light and dark blue, between pink and the darkest
red; gradations which ever follow the law of Quetelet.
But if we select for sowing, a seed of the darkest and of
the palest cornflowers separately, what will be the color of
the new generations? Experience teaches us that the two
groups of plants will be dissimilar, the deep blue parents
having deep blue descendants, the light colored ones a light
colored progeny. In each group the color is variable,
unequally so in the different plants. In each group the
* Continuous variability, in opposition to discontinuous or sudden variability,
which comprises the deviations from the rules of heredity in the wider sense of the
342 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
deviations follow the general law. But the average is
different for the two.
One would be led to expect, that this average of charac
ters of the children would agree exactly with the color of
the parents. But this is not the case. The average of the
children deviates from the type of the species much less than
did the parents. There is a return to the original type, a
regression, to use a term introduced by Galton. "Les
variations nouvelles rayonnent autour d un point, place sur
la ligne qui separe la type de la premiere deviation obtenue,"
wrote Louis Vilinorin, the first one to study heredity and
variability in cultivated plants. (Notices sur P Ameliora
tion des plantes, 2d Ed. 1884, p. 34.)
This regression, formerly sometimes called atavism, is
considerable; it amounts to about one-half of the deviation,
and according to Galton, in certain cases to two- thirds of
In other words, highly developed parents have average
children, which are better than the type of the species, but
deviate from it less than the parents themselves. This is a
rule which has been confirmed on a large scale for plants
and animals by the experience of more than half a century
and which also holds true for man, for his height as well as
for his mental qualities. The best known instance is the
grenadiers of the guard of Frederick the Great. Selected
because of their height from the entire population, the
results of heredity became apparent in the next generation ;
the children of the grenadiers furnished the greatest con
tingent of grenadiers ; succession in the above guard became
a natural nepotism. And that the same thing is true for
mental gifts has been amply shown in Galton 7 s book on
We will take another step. If from the seedlings of the
dark blue Centaurea we again select the darkest flowers for
the gathering of the seed, and if this process is repeated for
some generations, what will be the result? This method is
called selection, and gives rise to a race. Because the
UNITY IN VARIABILITY. 343
average was better than the type of the species, the best
ones will, after selection and with the same degree of vari
ability, be better than those originated without selection.
From each generation one can, therefore, select better
plants than from the preceding. Regression does, of
course, take place in each generation, but in consequence
of the repeated and improved selection, the average of the
race improves gradually.
Shall we be able to proceed in this manner without limit,
and finally succeed in producing a race which surpasses the
original species in any degree we may wish! Certainly not.
On the contrary, the farthest limit is reached comparatively
soon. After four or five generations of careful selection,
there remains but little chance of farther improvement, at
least as long as the method of selection remains the same.
This fact is best known on a large scale for the sugar-beets
already mentioned where an improvement is now possible
only by continued improvement of the method of selec
tion, and by applying this selection not only to the sugar
percentage but to other qualities also, for instance, to the
weight of the beets.
Hence, as a rule, we obtain as a result of selection, a
constant race. But and this is the great objection, the
point in which a race is so far inferior to a species or vari
ety though the race is constant, it is not independent.
Originated with selection, it is only with the continual aid
of selection that it can persist. If selection ceases, the
descendants of even the most noble race will return in a few
generations to the type of the species.
A hard, a difficult, I should be inclined to say, a sad law.
What is obtained with much trouble and care can be pre
served only by as great care and trouble. And history is
witness that this law is also true for mankind. Everywhere
and always progress but followed by regression as soon as
the effort ceases.
There remains but a single point for discussion . Selection
of the best, is the motto resulting from the contemplation
344 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
of heredity. The other topic, which up to now has been
the subject of observation, is the inquiry into the part
played by the food.
This last point is also the most difficult, and because of
this has been studied least of all. What influence has food
on developmental tendencies! Can one, by improving the
food, produce more highly gifted individuals?
That there exists a close relationship between food and
variability is generally known. Darwin has accumulated a
large number of facts to prove this. In nature, where food
is less plentiful, the inequality is generally less than in
culture. Considerable deviations in wild plants are usually
met with on either very poor or very rich soil. Dwarf
specimens of all species are frequently found on the sand
dunes of our shores. On the other hand, the term "luxuri
ant" indicates how general is the opinion that on rich soil
specimens of various plants are found, which deviate favor
ably from the type.
Artificial nutrition, rich manuring, increases variability.
Manure heavily to improve your races, but be economical
with manure if you want them to remain constant, is a rule
known to all seed- growers.
But these are merely general considerations. It only
becomes, a science, when one commences to investigate the
variability of a single quality in its relation to nutrition,
especially in regard to decided improvements in nutrition.
In other words, when one considers the influence of nutri
tion on the direction of the curve of Quetelet. If we do this
we observe that nutrition acts in the same, or at least in a
similar manner, as selection. By increasing the food, the
average and also the extremes move in the direction of the
privileged individuals; by decreasing the food supply they
move in that of the inferior ones.
But this point, however important it may be, has, as I
have said before, been only imperfectly investigated.*
*In an exceedingly interesting book, entitled M Darwinism and Race Progress,"
J. B. Haycraft recently called attention to the desirability of a rational selection for
UNITY IN VARIABILITY. 345
Experience teaches us, that improvement in the food does
not influence all qualities at the same time and to the same
degree. But why one quality is more influenced by food
than another, we do not know; perhaps the date of develop
ment of a character plays here an important part, and it is
possible that better nutrition, begun at a later date, may
still alter some qualities, while others have become almost
It is also clear that nutrition cannot at once attain its
full power, but only after some generations. For the seed
matures in the mother plant, in the seed the young individ
ual is developed, and passes through the first and most
easily influenced stage of its life. Therefore, if we manure
only at the time of sowing, we allow a very important
part of plant life to pass uninfluenced. Only well nourished
plants produce good seed, and the individual character of a
plant certainly depends more on the nutrition in the pre
ceding generation, or even the two or three preceding
generations, than on the food given to the individual at the
time of sowing.
One can probably go still further, and maintain that
selection and nutrition are but the same factor, since the
closer the relation becomes between nutrition and variability,
the more will selection simply become the choice of the best
But I may not trespass on the field of investigation,
neither do I dare to discuss the question, what influence
nutrition has or might have, in the case of man, on the
man. He shows how the commonwealth nowadays pays far more attention than
formerly to the existence of the less gifted ones, to physical characters (for instance,
to susceptibility to disease), as well as to intellectual Qualities. On the other hand,
there exist numerous reasons why the higher classes contribute in a lesser degree to
the multiplication of the race. This would, in course of time, lead to a general
From this Haycraft deduces that only a careful selection will enable us to prevent
this regression. Though this may be true, the present condition of our scientific
knowledge is such, that we may justly look to the advancement of Science for other,
less vigorous means, to obtain the same results.
But it requires considerable more study to be able to express ourselves with
confidence on this subject.
346 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
developmental tendencies of the individual. For at this
time, our only concern is with the ideal, the ideal of the
relation, which I endeavored to sketch, between experi
mental botanical studies and the great aim of science.
For it is the aim of all scientific investigation to contri
bute to the happiness of mankind. The greatest investiga
tors have repeatedly expressed this. "Love for our work,
love for our neighbor," exclaimed Berthelot, in his opening
speech at the chemical congress held two years ago at Paris.
And Pasteur s "fitudes sur la biere," undertaken immedi
ately after the Franco- Prussian war, begins with: "L idee
de ces recherches m a ete inspiree par nos malheurs."
And the study of the phenomena of heredity can without
doubt cooperate considerably to the attainment of this goal.
THE WILMERDING SCHOOL. 347
THE WILMERDING SCHOOL.
To the Honorable Board of Regents
of the University of California:
On October 12, 1897, the following resolution
was passed by the Board:
"Resolved: That for the purpose of getting the best
possible information obtainable concerning the establish
ment and equipment of the Wilmerding School, Eegent
A. S. HALLIDIE be, and he is, hereby authorized and
directed to visit Eastern cities and schools at his earliest
possible convenience and that he report in writing to this
Board the result of such visit, together with such recom
mendations as to him seem most wise concerning the
proposed Wilmerding School."
In accordance therewith, and immediately after the
completion of the Annual Budget of the University, on
the third day of June, 1898, I left San Francisco, and
visited schools kindred in character to the proposed Wil
merding, in many Eastern cities, and consulted a number
of persons interested in such a school as Mr. Wilmerding
desired to establish "to teach boys trades fitting them to
make a living with their hands, with little study and plenty
Before leaving San Francisco, I submitted to several
gentlemen identified with industrial pursuits in this State,
the following questions, which I submit as a part of this
report, with their replies.
348 UNIVERSITY CHEONICLE.
QUERIES AS TO THE SCHOOL.
1. What trades should be taught? Please name in
order of your preference.
H. J. SMALL, Superintendent Motive Power, Southern
Pacific Railroad Company, Sacramento City: "Machinist,
pattern-maker, boiler-maker, copper-smith, cabinet-maker,
JOHN F. MERRILL, Holbrook, Merrill & Stetson, San
Francisco: "All prominent and useful trades."
JAMES SPIERS, Fulton Engineering and Ship Building
Works: "General mechanics, including pattern- making,
machine-shop, foundry, blacksmith- shop and foundry, if
possible, electrical machinery, carpenter trade, cabinet
work, farming work." (See notes A and B, pages 355-356. )
ASA R. WELLS, Wells, Russell & Company, Planing
Mills, etc.: "Iron- work, electricians, architects, naval con
struction and engineering."
GEO. W. DICKIE, Union Iron Works: "Trades being
commercially practiced within a reasonable distance of the
school. Working in iron and wood, cabinet-making, all
kinds of brass- work, molding and casting, w r ork in leather."
IRVING M. SCOTT: "All trades possible, especially wood
2. Should other than practical instruction be given?
H. J. SMALL: "Yes."
JOHN F. MERRILL: "No."
JAMES SPIERS: "Yes."
ASA R. WELLS: "Yes."
GEO. W. DICKIE: "Practical instruction should be
illustrative. Scientific instruction needed also."
IRVING M. SCOTT: "All instruction possible will add
TEE WILMEBDING SCHOOL. 349
3. If "Yes," please state the character and limit of
H. J. SMALL: "Pupils should be fully instructed in the
theory of the trade he selects; also in the mathematics
necessary for such trade."
JAMES SPIERS: "Scientific branches of education re
lating to the trade or industry should be given."
ASA R. WELLS: "Technical studies and general in
formation in the practical things of life."
GEO. W. DICKIE: "Instruction in the different kinds
of scientific knowledge that have a direct and practical
bearing on industrial production."
IRVING M. SCOTT: "Theory and principles, customs
and state of the art."
4 and 5. To what extent should the pupils be taught
the use of hand tools; of machines f
Replies from all "Say to fullest extent; of machines,
limited by funds available."
6. Should instruction be free?
H. J. SMALL: "Think it would be more appreciated if
a charge was made."
JOHN F. MERRILL: "No; if the pupil is able to pay
even a small fee."
JAMES SPIERS: "By charging a small fee, I think
better attention is secured; but provision should be made
for those unable to pay."
ASA R. WELLS: "No, not entirely so, except in special
GEO. W. DICKIE: "Depends on class of pupils to be
reached. If children of poor parents, instruction should
be free. I am afraid that the class of pupils most desirable
to reach cannot be reached even by free instruction. Such
350 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
a school could only reach those that most need its help by
paying the pupils to attend."
IRVING M. SCOTT: "By no means. Teach the value of
labor and earnings."
7. Should the product of the pupils 7 work be put on
H. J. SMALL: "Think possibly it would be an advantage
to place product on market, and solict custom work. It
would have the effect to necessitate closer work and famili
arize pupils with the commercial features of the trades."
JOHN F. MERRILL: "Think it would have to be. Trades
unions might object."
JAMES SPIERS: "Yes."
ASA R. WELLS: "Yes; in the spirit of emulation."
GEO. W. DICKIE: "I should say certainly, if it can
compete. The market itself would settle that question."
IRVING M. SCOTT: "Work should consist of making
articles now imported." (See "Remarks," pages 356-357.)
8. When practicable should custom work be sought?
H. J. SMALL: (See answer to No. 7.)
JOHN F. MERRILL: "I think not. That would make a
direct competition with all factories and shops, and defeat
the object for which the school is to be established."
JAMES SPIERS: "Yes. When an article forming a good
subject for education is in the market. * * * * The
proceeds from sales extends the school s usefulness."
ASA R. WELLS: "No; for the reason that trades
unions would protest."
GEO. W. DICKIE: "Yes, if practicable; which I doubt."
IRVING M. SCOTT: "Yes. All work should be made
with a view of being used to replace articles imported.
With no interest, wear and tear, salaries or wages to pay,
THE WILMEEDING SCHOOL. 351
the school should be able to shut out the foreign article
and build up a home product, by which some of your stu
dents will finally establish themselves in good paying enter
prises, greatly to the benefit of the State. Kindergarten
and show articles fill the community with sham artificers,
and do not teach the mercantile value of cost of products."
QUERIES AS TO THE PRINCIPAL.
1. Should the Principal be a practical mechanic?
Replies from all "Yes" except GEO. W. DICKIE, who
says: "In selecting a Principal, an effort should be made
to get a man of wide experience in that kind of education,
by securing the services of some one who has made a repu
tation in a similar institution. Where he comes from,
where he has been taught, and what his age is, should not
form factors; but simply what the man is, and what he
has done in the line of work he is sought for."
2. In what branch?
H. J. SMALL: "Machinist preferred."
JOHN F. MERRILL: "Master mechanic, possessing gen
eral knowledge of different trades."
JAMES SPIERS: "Mechanics, or general engineering."
ASA R. WELLS: "At the bench, or head of skilled
GEO. W. DICKIE: (See answer to No. 1.)
IRVING M. SCOTT: "Many as possible."
3. Should he have had experience in teaching?
H. J. SMALL: "It would be an advantage."
JOHN F. MERRILL: "Should be a practical man; well
qualified to teach and explain intelligently."
JAMES SPIERS: "If possible; but not necessary."
352 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
ASA R. WELLS: "Yes; for teaching is an art as well
as a qualification."
GEO. W. DICKIE: (See answer to No. 1.)
IRVING M. SCOTT: "Yes."
4. Should he write and speak English correctly!
Replies from all "Yes."
5. Should he understand the higher branches of
Replies from all "Yes." "With some qualifications"
(J. F. Merrill).
6. Should he understand the theory of applied
Replies from all "Yes."
7. Should he be a good draughtsman!
H. J. SMALL, JOHN F. MERRILL, GEO. W. DICKIE, and
IRVING M. SCOTT reply "Yes."
JAMES SPIERS and ASA R. WELLS: "Not necessary;
but should understand drawing."
8. Should he be a good executive officer and adminis
trator of affairs!
Replies from all "Yes."
9. Should he have a practical knowledge of book
H. J. SMALL, ASA R. WELLS, and IRVING M. SCOTT:
JOHN F. MERRILL and JAMES SPIERS: "Yes."
10. Are there any reasons why the Principal should
have resided in San Francisco or California for any length
of time !
THE WILMEEDING SCHOOL. 353
Replies from all "No" except IRVING M. SCOTT, who
says : " Only that he may be familiar with western methods.
High interest and wages, no iron, coal, or hardwood, are
the problems in profits that must be worked out here on
an entirely different basis than those used east of the
11. What should be his age?
JOHN F. MERRILL: "From 30 to 40 years."
JAMES SPIERS: "From 35 to 45 years."
ASA R. WELLS: "Not over 65 years."
IRVING M. SCOTT: "Immaterial, so long as he is full of
vigor mentally and physically."
QUERIES AS TO THE PUPIL.
1. What class of boys should have the preference in
H. J. SMALL: "There should be no restriction."
JOHN F. MERRILL: "Boys of limited means who are
compelled to earn their living by manual labor and are
anxious to learn a trade."
JAMES SPIERS: "Those who by their condition will be
dependent on the use of their hands for a living."
ASA R. WELLS: "Boys of good common school educa
tion, whose parents, if they have any, are citizens of the
United States and live in California."
GEO. W. DICKIE: "The class of boys should be from
the families of working people, as those most likely to derive
benefit from such a course of instruction."
IRVING M. SCOTT: "Those with an aptitude for me
2. At what age should they be admitted?
H. J. SMALL: "15 to 17 years."
354 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
JOHN F. MERRILL: "15 to 17 years."
JAMES SPIERS: "16 to 18 years; with exceptions."
ASA R. WELLS: "15 to 17 years."
GEO. W. DICKIE: "12 to 15 years. After three or four
years in such a school, the boys would still have to serve
an apprenticeship to any trade they might choose, and for
that reason they should leave the school at from 17 to 18
IRVING M. SCOTT: "14 years; although much depends
upon the boy s intelligence."
3. On what qualifications? (a), as to character; fbj,
education; (cj, physique.
H. J. SMALL: "(a), good; (I), grammar school gradu
JOHN F. MERRILL: "fa,J, good moral character; (~b),
grammar school education; fcj, good robust physique."
JAMES SPIERS: "(a), good; CbJ, fair primary educa
tion; (c), good healthy body."
ASA R. WELLS: "faj, good moral character and apti
tude for mechanics. Should be excluded if addicted to
intoxicants or cigarette smoking, (bj, rudimentary; (cj,
unless crippled or deformed, his physique should not ex
GEO. W. DICKIE: "faj, read English language fluently,
write clearly, and perform quickly the ordinary computa
tions required in the trade he proposes to learn. The
school should be responsible for his character, as he is too
young to have formed any distinct character, ("bj, in
cluded in fa}-, (cj, rules should be broad enough to em
brace any physical condition."
IRVING M. SCOTT: "faj, honest and industrious; fbj t
immaterial, aptness for trade selected more important.
THE WILMEEDING SCHOOL. 355
(See "Remarks," pages 356-357.) (c), free from hereditary
or acquired disease."
4. Should rudimentary instruction be given as a
grounding before giving instruction in any special trade ?
H. J. SMALL, JOHN F. MERRILL, JAMES SPIERS, and
GEO. W. DICKIE reply "Yes."
ASA R. WELLS: "Would be well to a limited extent;
but most of boys, 15 to 17 years, know the bent of their
IRVING M. SCOTT: "No; but should accompany instruc
tion in trade."
5. Should the Principal or the Pupil select the trade?
H. J. SMALL: "Inclination of pupil should be con
JOHN F. MERRILL: "The pupil, with advice of parents
JAMES SPIERS: "The pupil; but the principal may
ASA R. WELLS: "The principal s judgment should
have great weight; but the pupil should be reconciled, if
GEO. W. DICKIE: "If principal and pupil do not agree,
pupil would not derive much benefit from remaining in
IRVING M. SCOTT: "Pupil."
JAMES SPIERS NOTES.
A. The words "little study and plenty of work" were
evidently used by Mr. Wilmerding to express his desire
that some "study" of a scientific character should be given;
but that chief prominence should be given to the education
356 UNIVEESITY CHRONICLE.
of the hands to "work," so as to enable the scholar to earn
a living for himself and his family by the intelligent use
of his physical powers, to do which intelligently a certain
amount of study (scientific) is necessary; which Mr.
Wilmerding desired the scholar should have.
B. There are many industries requiring the work of
the hand that it seems to me cannot come within the reach of
a trade school; also that a trade school, with limited means,
must confine itself to but few trades, in order to be efficient,
so that the choice of trades or industry to be taught will
be mostly a matter of expediency.
IRVING M. SCOTT S EEMARKS.
Kef erring to some of these queries, for instance those in
regard to Principal, from Nos. 1 to 8 inclusive: it would
be difficult to find all these qualities in the possession of
one individual, although it would be of great advantage to
In case of inability to find such a Principal, I should
lay more stress upon No. 8 than any of the others, as a
good executive officer and administrator of affairs will
reinforce all the weak points, supply all necessary require
ments, and make a complete and successful solution of the
whole question, while he will fail in everything if he has
not high executive qualities.
In reference to the query as to the age of the pupil:
there should be no rigid rule as to age, which should be
governed by the applicant, as some boys are better suited
at twelve years than others are at fifteen, while others are
not suited at all, and there are cases where boys should be
admitted even as old as nineteen. But I am of the opinion,
judging from the observation of a large number of boys for
a great many years, that the character of the boy is formed
between the age of thirteen and seventeen years; therefore,
I am firmly convinced that the boy who is taught habits of
industry during those years becomes a useful member of the
THE WILMEBDING SCHOOL. 357
community, and if he is not rigidly held to some occupation
or calling, he is apt to become careless and one of the
hoodlum class; consequently, I think it is of the utmost
importance to teach boys habits of industry and learning
from thirteen to seventeen years.
As to the education of a boy learning a trade : education
is not absolutely necessary to make what is called a good
workman; but it is absolutely indispensable in making
what is called a leading or master workman, or a workman
with executive ability. However, a good, honest boy with
intelligence will learn as rapidly while learning his trade as
at any other time, and will pick out the more solid and
substantial facts that bear on the trade he is following, and
therefore a lack of education, if the boy has natural ability,
should not prevent him from being admitted.
As to your queries in regard to the school, Nos. 7 and 8:
there is a very large amount of what is known as heavy
hardware, which is made in the different prison factories,
and under conditions which do not exist on this Coast, yet
the conditions under which these articles are manufactured
make the price; for instance, such articles as blacksmith s
tongs, sledges, sash weights, barn-door hinges, lawn
mowers, all of which could be easily manufactured in a
technical school. They should be sold, not retailed, to
wholesale dealers, and an effort made to quietly supply
their trade and diminish their importations. This will
injure no one on this Coast, and will get people in the
habit of buying home products, which in the end will be of
great benefit to the entire Coast.
February 25, 1898.
The Board, on November 17, 1896, passed the following
"Resolved: That in the matter of the Wilmerding
School, the Board of Regents will, in accordance with the
purpose of Mr. Wilmerding, establish a school wherein
358 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
boys shall, as far as possible, be taught trades by practical
The resolution denned, as far as practicable, the char
acter of the school to be founded and maintained under the
Wilmerding bequest, hence, in my examinations, I confined
myself to the class of schools coming nearest to the inten
tions of the above resolution.
Many of the manual training schools teach trades; but
more incidentally than objectively. Many of them fit
their pupils for the practical industries in a very thorough
and complete manner, and from them are drawn the fore
men, superintendents, engineers, architects, and mechanical
experts, who are employed in great industrial enterprises, in
charge of departments, or as consulting engineers, designers,
Many of these I had already visited, but on this occa
sion I examined some of the more modern ones, such as
the Armour Institute, the Lewis Institute, and the Chicago
Manual Training School, of Chicago; the Cambridge
Manual Training School, of Cambridge; the Manual
Training School in Waltham, Massachusetts; the Hebrew
Technical Institute, of New York; the Worcester Poly
technic Institute; and others.
Of trade schools, I visited the New York Trade School,
founded in 1881, by Colonel Richard T. Auchmuty; the
Baron de Hirsch Trade School, in New York, established
1894; the Master Builders Mechanical Trade School, estab
lished 1895, in Philadelphia; and the Williamson Free
School of Mechanical Trades, founded by Isaiah V.
Williamson, of Philadelphia, 1888.
I have also taken the opportunity of talking with men
closely connected with manual training, technical, and
trade schools; with many manufacturers and mechanics,
and with others engaged in the higher education.
My mission was to obtain information concerning the
establishment and equipment of the Wilmerding School,
THE WILMEBDING SCHOOL. 359
so as to enable the Board to meet the wishes of Mr. Wil-
merding, as understood by it; and, in carrying out the
object of my visit, I found but three schools worthy of the
name of trade schools, and whose functions are to teach
boys trades fitting them to make a living with their hands,
and which omit the higher branches demanded by tech
nical and manual training schools.
While there seems to be a renewed interest in trade
schools, and a general recognition of their value, there
is by no means a unanimity of opinion as to how they
should be conducted, in order to obtain the best and most
economical results. The desired results, however, must be
definitely determined in advance of the method of con
ducting the school.
All manual training schools are pretty much of the
same type. Boys are taken at about twelve years of age.
The mind and hands are trained together. The mind and
intellect are carried educationally too far to make a con
tented and useful artisan and mechanic, and thus they differ
from what we understand as a trade school, where the
purpose is to turn out journeyman mechanics, artisans,
Many of the manual training schools, such as the
Armour Institute, in Chicago, and the Pratt Institute, in
Brooklyn, teach special trades or vocations; but their main
purposes are of a much higher educational order.
Numerous as are the manual training and technical
schools in this country, they do not yet supply the demand
for the class of educated men and women they graduate;
which fact attests the excellence of their work and the great
value of these schools, corroborated by the advanced posi
tion accorded by the civilized world to American engineers,
But while the manual training school is more than its
name implies, it is also more than we expect from a trade
school. But to neglect the intellect in any school is utterly
impossible, however much we may desire to confine
360 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
ourselves to training the hands so as to make them useful in
earning a living for their owner and his family in after life.
Machines have become more useful than hands unintelli-
gently directed, and more reliable, and the difference
between some machines and some men is simply the intelli
gence of the man; and even then, in some cases, the
difference does not appear to be very great.
The trade school, as we desire it, is to take the place of
apprenticeship, as we understand it; and, in the substitu
tion, to abolish the drudgery and waste of the latter, in
the earnest and economical instruction of the former.
The need of such schools has long been admitted, and
earnest workers have for years been trying to find a substi
tute for the old apprenticeship system, with results not
I am not aware of a first-class shop in the country to
day that will take, except on probation, the graduates of a
manual training or trade school. They have, in fact, to
serve a sort of apprenticeship, when they enter the shop to
work at the vise, lathe, or forge; but that long period of
degradation and drudgery, which as a rule the old inden
tured apprentice had to serve, is abolished by means of
these schools, never to be reinstated.
The secrets of the trade, so long and carefully guarded
by the guilds of the middle ages with so much mystery,
have been published to the world through these schools,
remanded back to the common sense of careful manipula
tion, and found to be no secrets at all. A gentleman now
at the head of the Williamson Trade School, who served his
time as painter with his uncle, declared that in that trade
there were no secrets; that careful instruction for six
months in the manipulation of the brush, gave the art the
mixing of colors being by rule and observation.
While in his judgment six months are long enough to
teach the essential rudiments of that trade, he is of opinion
also that two years is not too long to teach the essential
rudiments of such a trade as that of machinist, and that
THE WILMEEDING SCHOOL. 361
in both cases, the after experience in the shop, in contact
with finished mechanics and the experience of varied work,
is necessary to round out and complete the education of the
mechanic. This is also the opinion of all the foremen and
superintendents of shops with whom I have conversed on
this subject. And the question of the day, in this connec
tion is, can this condition be mitigated or remedied ?
A study of the distinct methods employed by two trade
schools, the New York and the Williamson, may throw
some light on the question.
NEW YORK TRADE SCHOOL.
The purpose of the New York Trade School "is to give
instruction to young men in certain trades, and to enable
young men already in those trades to improve themselves."
The system of instruction here was originated by
Colonel Richard Tylden Auchmuty, under which "both the
practical and theoretical branches of the trade are taught,
so that not only is skill quickly acquired, but the scientific
principles which underlie the work are also studied."
Under this system young men have been enabled to
learn the science and practice of certain trades "expedi-
tiously and economically, leaving speed of execution and
experience to be acquired at real work after leaving school."
Each student is under the direct care and investigation
of a skilled and experienced mechanic, and careful expla
nation is made of every step in the course. The student is
shown how to hold his tools and how each piece of work
should be done.
An opportunity is given the young man to determine if
he has an aptitude for a certain trade, so that he may
discover his unfitness promptly, and thus avoid the serious
defect in the old apprenticeship system, where a boy was
bound for years to a trade, fit or unfit, like or dislike.
Instruction is given day and evening, both or either, as
the case may demand.
362 UNIVERSITY CHEONICLE.
The day class, as a rule, begins at 8:00 a.m. and closes
at 4:00 p.m.; the evening class, 7:00 to 9:30.
Instruction is intensive and the term short, four to five
and one-half months. Some few take a second term.
The age for admission is from 17 to 24, and it is the
opinion of those best able to judge, that none should be
admitted younger than 16, and that they should possess a
good physique, in order to withstand the physical strain
due to the labor, even under careful supervision.
Fees sufficient only to cover the cost of material are
made, and vary from $6.00 to $16.00 per term for the
evening classes, and from $25.00 to $40.00 per term for the
There is a students 7 dormitory, where rooms are rented
for $2.00 per week.
In this school nothing is made to be sold. No academic
work is done; neither reading, writing, or arithmetic is
taught, except what is incidentally brought out during
the lectures or explanation as the work progresses; no
machines are used, except a bender in the sheet-iron
The school has been designated by the City of New York
as the Civil Service Examining Board for Candidates in
Mechanical Work, and I saw about twenty men, all ages,
cutting stone, who were candidates, as masons, for work on
The attendance of young men has averaged over 500
annually during the past five years, and since the school was
founded 6,230 young men have attended the school. Appli
cations are in excess of the capacity of the school, which
is located on First Avenue, between 67th and 68th Streets,
New York. The buildings are partly one story and partly
three stories. The ground space occupied by the buildings
is 58,040 square feet. Some of these buildings were con
structed by the students, and in the vicinity are four- story
brick buildings also constructed by them.
THE WILMEEDING SCHOOL. 363
The trades taught in this school include bricklaying,
plastering, plumbing, electrical work, carpentering, house
painting, stone-cutting, fresco painting, blacksmithing,
printing, sign painting, sheet-metal cornice work, steam
and hot water fitting, and drawing.
The trades unions accept the graduates as juniors, but
require that they shall serve two years with a master
mechanic, and shall be at least 21 years old before they
rank as journeymen and get full wages.
There are trade school committees, consisting of master
mechanics, who inspect the work done by the students.
The New York Trade School used to grant diplomas,
but now grants certificates. The New York State law,
recently passed, prohibits the granting of diplomas, except
to those who have received a full collegiate course.
Horse-shoeing was formerly taught, in connection with
veterinary science, in the school; but the State passed a
law, at the instigation of the horse-shoers, requiring every
young man to serve an apprenticeship before practicing his
The New York Trade School had the benefit of Colonel
Auchmuty s experience and personal direction during his
life, and he lived to see his plan a success, when failure
had been predicted.
The master builders of Philadelphia, through a com
mittee, examined the New York Trade School, and have
started in Philadelphia the Master Builders Mechanical
Trade School. It is so far only an evening school, and
was started in 1890, on the plan of the New York school.
The age for admission is between 16 and 21 years.
The charge for the term is $27.00, and the term is nine
Five evenings per week are required, two of which are
occupied in actual work, and three in theoretical and
" It is conducted on the principle of teaching thoroughly
how work should be done, and leaving the quickness that
364 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
is required of a first-class mechanic to be acquired at real
work after quitting the school. 17
Trades taught here are carpentry, bricklaying, plaster
ing, stone- cutting, blacksmithing, painting, and plumbing.
WILLIAMSON FEEE SCHOOL OF MECHANICAL TRADES.
The Williamson Free School of Mechanical Trades
occupies a different place from the New York Trade School.
It was founded by Isaiah V. Williamson, of Philadelphia,
under a deed of trust, dated December first, 1888, and was
opened October 20, 1891; it has consequently been in
operation over six years.
It is located about sixteen miles from Philadelphia, on
a very pretty tract of 200 acres, and includes twenty
The deed of trust is very specific in its instructions,
and among other things, it provides that all scholars ad
mitted to the school shall be bound as indentured appren
tices to the trustees for such periods as the trustees may
provide; but no indenture shall be for less than three
years, nor extend beyond the minority of the scholar.
Scholars shall be fed with good wholesome food, plainly,
neatly, and carefully clad, and decently and fitly housed
If not properly educated, they shall be educated a
specification of which is given, but all with the end of
being useful to them in the trade they are to learn, bearing
in mind "the fact that the main object I have in view is
to train young men to mechanical trades, so that they may
earn their own living." * * * * "Any higher or
advanced knowledge which might render them dissatisfied
with or unfit for their employments is unnecessary and
may be disadvantageous. I expressly direct that each and
every scholar shall be compelled to learn and be thoroughly
instructed in one good mechanical trade, so that when they
leave the school, on the completion of their indentures,
they may be able to support themselves by the labor of
THE WILMEEDING SCHOOL. 365
their own hands." And then the trades to be taught are
enumerated. Proselytism and favoritism are prohibited,
and it is expressly directed that each scholar shall be taught
to speak the truth at all times. Mr. Williamson says: "I
desire to have impressed on every scholar and inmate of
the school, that in this country every able-bodied healthy
young man, who has learned a good mechanical trade, and
is truthful, honest, frugal, temperate, and industrious, is
certain to succeed in life and to become an useful and
respected member of society."
I have quoted thus from the deed of trust, as the
language will convey more of the spirit of the founder,
and better than I could express.
The amount of the endowment exceeded $2,000,000.
The amount in the fund after purchasing the site, erecting
and equipping building, etc., is $1,500,000. Scholars are
admitted after a scholastic examination covering reading,
writing, spelling, arithmetic, including fractions and weights
and measures, geography, United States history, composi
tion and language. They must be not younger than 16, or
older than 18, and must be natives of the United States.
"And no one is accepted who is not able-bodied, intelligent,
healthy, and possessed of a natural aptitude and liking for
mechanical pursuits," and of good moral character. He
must be provided with proper clothing when he enters the
school, after which he is taken care of.
Each scholar is given a preparatory course in wood
working and mechanical drawing, with studies in the school
room extending six months. At the end of this period
he is placed at one of the five following trades, the selection
of which is made by the trustees: carpentry, pattern or
cabinet-making, bricklaying, including range-furnace and
boiler setting, machine trade, in all its branches, steam and
electrical engineering, steam-fitting, etc.
The school and shops are in session eight hours daily,
on five days in the week, and four hours on Saturday;
about four hours class-room and four hours shop during
366 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
the first year; the time in the shops gradually increasing
towards the end of the apprenticeship.
The school term continues the whole year.
There is ample provision for recreation.
The discipline is quite strict. Scholars rise at 5:45,
bathe, dress, and place their rooms in order. The school
is divided into "families" of twenty-four, over which pre
sides a mother, or matron, who is responsible for the boys
I never saw a better looking set of boys. They were
at dinner part of the time I was there. I dined in the same
room with them, and they passed in review before me as
they filed out of the dining-room.
I found most excellent work, executed by the pupils,
and some of the buildings on the grounds had been erected
The shops are well equipped with modern tools and
The young men who graduate from this school are
probably better prepared to commence work as journey
men than the graduates from any similar school; but the
shops and the trades unions require that they shall have
two years actual experience in the shop, among experienced
mechanics, before being admitted as journeymen and
receiving their wages. They are, however, able to earn
from $6.00 to $9.00 per week at the outset.
In talking with the President, Mr. John H. Shrigley,
he expressed the opinion that the usefulness of the school
would be very much enlarged if the "maternal" character
of the school was removed, and if the school was nearer
Philadelphia or in the city. He doubted the wisdom of
making everything absolutely free.
In examining the financial report for 1897, of the total
expenditures, $58,444.36, there were spent for board,
lodging, and clothing pupils, and for house expenses,
$33,619.82; for common school education, $4,349.62; for
care, etc., of lands, $2,873.14 leaving for the mechanical
THE WILMERDING SCHOOL. 367
education of 175 pupils, $17,601.78, about $100 per capita.
Total expenses, per pupil, is $333.97 per annum.
BAEON DE HIESCH TEADE SCHOOL.
The Baron de Hirsch Trade School was founded by
Baron de Hirsch, to aid the sons of poor Russian and
Roumanian Jews. It is located in the heart of New York,
on 9th Street, not far from the Cooper Institute, and occu
pies at present a building leased from the Hebrew Technical
Institute. The work of this school is based upon the New
York Trade School, and under the management of the
present superintendent, Mr. J. E. G. Yalden, is eminently
There is no special condition for entrance, except age,
healthy body, intelligence, and aptitude, and two or three
weeks proves the boy s value. There are no fees or
charges of any kind, and during the term each boy makes
a kit of tools, which he is allowed to take with him.
There is a disposition to look for a job before their time
The aim of the school is:
1. To teach a boy as quickly as possible the funda
mental principles of a trade, with such a knowledge of
figuring and mechanical drawing as will be indispensable
to him in his chosen line of work.
2. To teach him to do well just what is required of the
class of help whose place he is fitted by age and condition
3. To teach a boy unquestioning obedience.
The boys are received not younger than 16. Many of
them cannot speak a word of English, and have received
little or no training from their parents, and much of their
instruction is in pantomime.
The term is five and one-half months. The superin
tendent says that this length of course is sufficient to
accomplish the aims set forth, and thinks that additional
368 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
time would be wasted, and had better be spent in the shops
where they are to do actual work and where they will be
brought in contact with other workmen.
Six classes have graduated in all 208, of which 31 were
carpenters, 11 wood- turners, 1 house painter, 49 sign
painters, 63 plumbers, 53 machinists. Average wages
earned at commencement of employment, on leaving school,
per week, $4.66. This is, of course, increased as they get
experience, until they earn from $9.00 to $16.00 per week.
Last year it cost $169.60 to graduate a pupil.
Formerly there used to be a good deal of trouble with
the scholars; but since discipline has been enforced, every
thing moves smoothly. Mr. Yalden is an educated man
The report of the work done in the school during the
past two years has been so satisfactory to the Baroness
de Hirsch de Gercuth, that she sent on $150,000 to erect a
new building, which is now nearly completed on 64th Street,
between 2nd and 3rd Avenues. And, at the suggestion of
the trustees, the benefits of the school is to be extended to
Jewish youths of all nations.
PHILADELPHIA TEXTILE SCHOOL.
The Philadelphia Textile School, which I also visited, is
devoted to spinning and weaving cotton, wool, and silk.
It is fully equipped with all the modern machinery, and
treats the material in all details, from the raw material to
the finished article.
The School of Applied Arts is in the same building, and
teaches drawing, painting, modelling, designing, etc. The
building occupies a space 200 by 396 about the size of the
block selected for the Wilmerding School.
In my judgment, the existing examples to be studied
are the New York Trade School, the Baron de Hirsch
School, and the Master Builders Mechanical Trade School,
THE WILMERDING SCHOOL. 369
as one type ; and the Williamson Free School of Mechanical
Trades, as the other. And whoever is selected to take
charge of the Wilmerding School should be given time, say
two or three months, to carefully examine into and study
the workings and results of these schools, to note the
details of construction of the buildings and their equipment.
He should then make a careful study of the conditions on
the Pacific Coast generally, and of California and San
Francisco particularly, and prepare his scheme of instruc
tion, the plan of building, and their equipment.
If the Wilmerding School is planned somewhat after the
Auchmuty system, no expensive machinery will be required;
if after the Williamson plan, a large investment in machines
and apparatus will be necessary.
The man to take charge of the Wilmerding School
should be an educated mechanic, with ability to teach. He
should have had experience in some such institution as the
proposed Wilmerding School, and have administrative
I do not think we would care to carry out the William
son plan; and the Auchmuty system probably should be
modified to suit the conditions which exist here, and the
character of the trades to be taught.
It must be borne in mind that no school has yet suc
ceeded in turning out a mechanic ready to take up the work
of a shop. This is acquired, however, in a short time after
leaving the school.
It has, however, been proved to the satisfaction of those
interested, that a young man, by steady and assiduous work,
by careful, concentrated, and intelligent attention to in
struction given in an earnest, clear, and simple manner, by
teachers who know more than they teach, and who are able
to impart instruction from experience based on broad lines,
can be taught the intricacies of manipulation in many
trades in five and one-half months. There are trades,
however, that will take three such terms, and the length of
370 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
time should be graduated to the character of the work to
While in the school the pupils are more than anxious to
learn, and consequently things are kept under somewhat
high pressure by general consent. The age of the youths,
16 up, and the good bodily health necessary for the physical
labor required in such a school, enable them to endure
eight hours work for these short terms without mental and
physical fatigue; the fatigue, in fact, is with the teachers.
I have conferred very freely with men in and out of
these schools in relation to the question SHALL ARTICLES
BE MADE IN THE SCHOOL TO BE SOLD ? and the verdict is
generally in the negative.
The Worcester Polytechnic Institute supports the com
mercial view, and makes it part of the shop system. Quite
a staff thirty, I believe of skilled workmen is employed
throughout the year. Contracts are taken and executed,
and the young men get their training in the shop, working
at stated hours with and under the direction of these
skilled mechanics. It is doubtful if the best results are
attained in this way, for if the young men without experience
have a chance at the work, the work must suffer, and the
commercial value of the same reduced.
If the commercial aspect has to be considered at all, it
must be subordinate to the educational. Whichever plan
is carried on, the other will suffer. With the commercial,
the temptation is to keep a youth at work on that which he
does best and quickest, and thus to limit the field of his
experience; per contra, if a thing is made and put on the
market, its commercial value is fixed, and perhaps the
ambition of the youth is aroused.
SHALL THE WILMERDING SCHOOL BE FREE? The opinion
of the three schools I have referred to at considerable length,
is against free instruction, and this is the opinion of the
gentlemen in California whose views are given on pages 348
to 357, and of nearly all those connected with the management
of manual training schools with whom I have conferred.
THE WILMERDING SCHOOL. 371
In trade schools there is a great deal of material
destroyed and wasted, and the New York Trade School
charges are to cover the cost of the same, and no more.
A great deal depends on the management of the school,
but as much also on the convenience and healthfulness of
location, adaptability of buildings, and cheerfulness of
The proper sanitary condition of the neighborhood
must be assured; of this there must be no doubt.
The immediate surroundings of the different work
shops should be in accord with the trade being taught.
Everything should be done to impress the student with
that one idea concentration of mind is essential to
A due regard to existing schools similar in purpose,
would suggest that the course of study in the Wilmerding
School should not duplicate that of the Lick or Cogswell,
but that there should be cooperation between them. San
Francisco is not a large city, and the active work of three
such schools, and possibly four (the Lux), can be made of
immense benefit to the people, if wisely and economically
administered under one directing influence.
I submit, herewith, printed pamphlets, catalogues, and
other papers in connection with various trade and similar
A. S. HALLIDIE.
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA,
August 1, 1898.
372 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
The Philosophical Union met twice during the month of
August to hear Professor James of Harvard University.
The first meeting was held in the Harmon Gymnasium,
Friday evening, August 26. The building was packed, a
conservative estimate placing the number present at 1000.
The address is now published as the leading article of this
issue of THE UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
On Tuesday, August 30, the Union met again, this
time in special session in the Philosophy Building. Pro
fessor James reviewed the papers read before the Union
during the past year. These papers had been, in the
main, critical examinations of Professor James philosophi
cal opinions as expressed in his recent book, "The Will to
Believe and Other Essays in Popular Philosophy." This
volume, as the author says in the preface, expresses "a
tolerably definite philosophical attitude in a very untechni-
cal way," an attitude which he calls "that of radical em
piricism." It is an empiricism because "it is contented to
regard its most assured conclusions concerning matters of
fact as hypotheses liable to modification;" and it is radical
"because it treats the doctrine of monism itself as an
hypothesis, and, unlike so much of the half-way empiri
cism that is current under the name of positivism or
agnosticism or scientific naturalism, it does not dogmati
cally affirm monism as something with which all experience
has got to square." "Absolute unity, in spite of brilliant
dashes in its direction, still remains undiscovered." " Some
thingcall it fate, chance, freedom, spontaneity, the devil,
what you like is still wrong, and other and outside and
unincluded," "and there may be in the whole universe no
SCIENTIFIC SOCIETIES. 373
one point of view extant from which this would not be
found to be the case."
The papers read during the year had been for the most
part an attack upon this position, although some of them
were directed to the pointing out of incompleteness in
statement rather than of inadequacy in fundamental con
ception. Those of the former class Professor James
treated very sympathetically, acknowledging the lack of
thoroughness in the presentation of his views on many
points. He admitted that in his essay, "Reflex Action
and Theism," he should not have maintained that theism
brings into play all the activities of man, but only all the
nobler, higher forms of human activity, and that thus a
preference for theism presupposes a scale of values.
Against the papers attacking his fundamental position
he maintained that he had been misunderstood and mis
represented when it was claimed by his critics that he
believed in things-in-themselves apart from consciousness.
His sensationalism is idealistic, even though this idealism
is merely a working hypothesis. He also contended that,
in his essay, "Is Life Worth Living!" he had not attempted
to prove that life in general is worth living, but merely to
show how it can be made worth living in any individual
case. Against a criticism of his essay "On Some Hegel-
isms," he said that even though in a sense it could be
asserted that there is an identity underlying all differences
present in any single consciousness, still the absolute
difference of the contents lying in different consciousnesses
These two meetings were significant as being the first
in which a prominent empirical philosopher has spoken
before the Union. Heretofore anti- empiricists have had
things much their own way. Although the empiristic
school has always had its defenders in the Union, the large
majority of the members who take part in the meetings are
apriorists, and before Professor James came philosophers
who have been brought to Berkeley by the Union to
374 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
address it have been idealists of the Hegelian type. The
presentation of empiricism by Professor James, therefore,
led to a lively discussion.
Professor John Dewey, of the University of Chicago, has
been invited to address the Union next May, and the year
will be devoted to the study of his works, especially of his
syllabus, "The Study of Ethics."
THE GREEK CLUB.
The University of California Greek Club is an organiza
tion of instructors and graduate students, for the purpose
of mutual study and criticism. In its general plan it is
similar to the famous New York Greek Club, which has
been for more than twenty years an important factor in
the scholarly life of the metropolis, having included in its
membership such well-known men as Edmund Clarence
Stedman, Howard Crosby, Henry Drisler, Charlton Lewis,
and many others of scarcely less note. The essential
features of the New York Club are translation and free
criticism, and these have been adopted as the basis of work
m the Club here. The Club meets every Saturday evening
at eight o clock and adjourns at ten. One of the members
reads a carefully prepared translation of a passage (perhaps
eight or ten pages) from the work which has been selected
for the year s study. The other members then offer their
criticisms, and join in a general discussion of any questions
which happen to be raised. There are no officers, but the
reader of the evening acts as temporary chairman.
The Greek Club was organized in August 1897, and held
thirty-four meetings during the last academic year, reading
and discussing six plays of Aristophanes. This year the
study of Plutarch s Lives has been taken up. The charac
ter of the work (and of the place of meeting) makes it
necessary to limit the membership to a small number. Of
the present members five are University officers (in three
different departments), one is a High School teacher, and
three are graduate students.
At a meeting of the Council, held August 26th, the
Recorder presented the following table showing the growth
of the undergraduate department of the University during
the last eight years :
Applications to date
Withdrawn or rejected
1. Freshmen (Regular)
2. Freshmen (Limited)
3. Special Students
Since then there has been a number of new applica
tions and admissions, so that the incoming class will
undoubtedly be the largest in the history of the University.
The following table, which takes account of Regular and
Limited Students only, shows the growth of the different
COLLEGE. 1897. 1898. GAIN.
Letters 56 61 5
Social Sciences 162 150 *12
Natural Sciences 23 36 13
Mechanics 36 42 6
Mining 41 47 6
Civil Engineering 9 13 4
Chemistry 20 24 4
Total 347 377 30
Thus far there is indicated a slight falling off in the
number of Graduate students, 60 having been admitted as
against 55 in 1896 and 71 in 1897.
376 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
The number entering from the accredited High Schools
is as follows: Alameda, twelve; Alameda Union No. 2
( Centreville) , six ; Alameda Union No . 3 ( Haywards ) , four ;
Alameda University Academy, four; Arcata, one; Armijo
(Suisun), two; Belmont, seven; Berkeley, fifty; Boone s
(Berkeley), eleven; California School of Mechanical Arts
(San Francisco), four; Chico State Normal, three; Colusa,
one; Dixon, three; Esparto, one; Fresno, five; Hanford,
three; Miss Head s (Berkeley), three; Healdsburg, five;
Hoitt s (Burlingame), one; Los Angeles, eight; Los
Angeles State Normal, seven; Lowell (San Francisco),
thirty-two; Marysville, one; Mendocino, three; Merced,
two ; Mills College ( Preparatory Department) , one ; Modesto,
two; Monrovia, one; Mt. Tamalpais Military Academy
(San Rafael), one; Nevada City, one; Oakdale, one; Oak
land, twenty- eight; Pasadena, four: Petaluma, two;
Polytechnic (San Francisco), two; Pomona, two; Red-
lands, five; Riverside, six; Sacramento, fifteen; San
Bernardino, three; San Diego, six; San Francisco Girls 7 ,
fourteen; San Jose State Normal, two; San Luis Obispo,
seven; San Rafael, two; Santa Ana, one; Santa Barbara
City High, seven; Santa Barbara Collegiate School, one;
Santa Cruz, three; Santa Maria, one; Santa Rosa, six;
Southwest Institute (San Diego), two; St. Matthew s (San
Mateo), three; Stockton, three; Trinity (San Francisco),
one; Ukiah, four; Vacaville, three; Vallejo, two; Ventura,
two; Visalia, seven: Miss West s (San Francisco), two;
and Woodland, four.
The following table shows the enrollment in the Summer
School Courses in Chemistry and Physics since the beginning
of Summer School work:
1891 1892 1893 1894 1895 1896 1897 1898
Chemistry.... 6 25 16 19 37 56 59 53
Physics 15 20 30 51 53 50
CURRENT NOTES. 377
At a meeting of the Academic Council held August 26th,
the Committee on the Examination of Schools recommended
the accrediting of the following schools for the year 1897-8 :
SCHOOL. SUBJECTS IN WHICH ACCREDITED.
Alameda Co. Union High School No. 2, Centreville, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
9, 10, 11, 12a , 12d 2 , 12a 3 , 126, 12c, I2d, 13, 14.
Alameda Co. Union High School No. 3, Haywards, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8,
9, 10, 11, 12a, 13.
Alameda High School, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, I2a l , 12a 2 , 126, 13,
Alameda University Academy, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, I2a l , 12a 2 ,
Arcata Union High School, la, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11, I2a l , 12a 2 , 126, 13, 14.
Armijo Union High School, Suisun, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, la, 10, 11, 12a\ 126,
12c, 13, 14.
Belmoiit School, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12a l , 12a 2 , 12a 3 , 126, 13,
14, 15a, 156.
Berkeley High School, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6a, 66, la, 8, 9, 10, 11, I2a l , 12a 2 ,
126, 13, 14, 15.
Boone s University School, Berkeley, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 11, I2a l , 126, 14.
California School of Mechanical Arts, San Francisco, 1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 11,
I2a l , 12a 2 , 126, 13, 14.
Citrus Union High School, Azusa, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 10, I2a l , 12a 2 , 126,
Colusa High School, la, 3, 4, 5, 6, la 1 , Id 1 , 10, 11, 126, 13, 14.
Coronado Union High School, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, 126, 13, 14.
Dixon Union High School, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, la, 10, 11, 12ft 1 , 12a 2 , 13, 14.
Escondido High School, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 11, 10, 126, 12c, I2d, 13, 14.
Esparto Union High School, la, 3, 4, 5, 6, la, 10, 11, 12ft 1 , 12a 3 , 126,
Fresno High School, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 10, 11, I2a l , 12a 2 , 126, 13, 14.
Fullerton Union High School, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, I2a l , I2a 3 , 126, 13.
Hanford Union High School, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, la, 10, 11, I2a l , 12a 2 , 126,
12c, 13, 14.
Miss Head s Preparatory School, Berkeley, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, la 1 , 7a 2 , 7a 3 ,
8, 9, 10, 11, I2a l , 13, 14, 15.
Healdsburg High School, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6a, 66, 10, 11, 126, 13, 14.
Hoitt s School, Burlingame, la, 3, 4, 5, Qa, 66, 7a l , 10, I2a l , 12a 2 , 126,
Miss Horton s School, Oakland, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 13, 14, 15.
Irving Institute, San Francisco, 1, 3, 4, 5, 10, 126, 13, 14, 15a.
Kern Co. High School, Bakersfield, la, 3, 4, 5, 6, 10, 11, 12aS 12a 2
126, 13, 14.
380 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
The matriculation subjects are as follows: la. English,
elementary; 16. English Composition ; 3. Algebra, through
Quadratics; 4. Plane Geometry; 5. Government of the
United States; 6a. Caesar s Gallic War; 66. Cicero s Ora
tions; 6c. Latin Composition, elementary; 7 a 1 . Cicero s
Orations; Id 1 . Virgil s ^Bneid; 7a 3 . Latin at sight;
7a 4 . Prosody; 76. Latin Composition, advanced; 8. Greek
Grammar and Xenophon; 9& 1 . Xenophon s Anabasis; 9a 2 .
Greek at sight; 9a 8 . Greek Composition; 9&. Homer s
Iliad; 10a. Greek History; 106. Koman History; 11.
Physics; 12a* . Solid Geometry ; 12a 2 . Plane Trigonometry;
12a 8 . Advanced Algebra, Part I; 12a*. Advanced Algebra,
Part II; 126. Chemistry; 12c. Botany; 12d. Zoology;
13. Mediaaval and Modern History ; 14. English, advanced;
15a. French; 15&. German; 16. Free-hand Drawing.
The teaching force of the Colleges at Berkeley has been
augmented this term by the following additions: George
Davidson, Ph.D., Sc.D. (Univ. Pa.), Professor of Geog
raphy; S. D. Townley, Sc.D. (Michigan), Instructor in
Practical Astronomy; R. S. Norris, Ph.D., Instructor in
Chemistry; J. T. Allen, Ph.D. (Yale), Instructor in Greek
and Classical Archaeology; T. W. Page, Ph.D. (Leipzig),
Instructor in History and Economics; H. M. Hopkins,
Ph.D. (Harvard), Instructor in Latin; and E. J. Wilczyn-
ski, Ph . D . ( Berlin ) , Instructor in Mathematics . Professors
Gayley and Lawson and Instructor Drew have also resumed
work after prolonged absences.
At a meeting of the Regents held April 12, 1898, Curtis
H. Lindley, who was a student of this University in the
class of 74, author of "A Treatise on the American
Law relating to Mines and Mineral Lands," was appointed
Honorary Professor of the Law of Mines and Water. On
September 7th Professor Lindley began a course of
lectures on The Public Lands, Mines, and Water. Being
prevented by mining business from lecturing on September
CURRENT NOTES. 381
21st, he sent as a substitute Dr. Rossiter W. Raymond,
of New York City, United States Commissioner of Mining
Statistics from 1868 to 1876 and Secretary of the Ameri
can Institute of Mining Engineers since 1884, who lectured
on the origin of the United States Mining Law.
Arrangements having been made by the President of
the University to have the course in Modern Astronomy
given jointly by the Lick Astronomical Department and
the Department of Astronomy at Berkeley, Director Keeler
has announced the following lectures at Berkeley during
the second term of 1898-9 by members of the staff of the
Lick Observatory: Director James E. Keeler, The Methods
of Astrophysical Research, The Classification of the Stars;
Astronomer W. W. Campbell, Spectographic Determina
tions of Stellar Motions, Some Observations bearing on
the Question of Sidereal Evolution; Astronomer R. H.
Tucker, Astronomy of Precision: Aims, Astronomy of
Precision: Methods; Astronomer W. J. Hussey, The Sur
face Features of Mars, A Review of the Methods and
Results of Double Star Astronomy.
During the first term of 1898-99, the following Uni
versity Extension courses, free to the public, will be given
in the Mark Hopkins Institute of Art, San Francisco:
Six LECTURES ON CHINA, by Professor John Fryer: The Govern
ment and Laws of China, Education in China, The Productions and
Commerce of China, Home and Social Life in China, The War between
China and Japan, and The Outlook for China.
MATHEMATICS : six lectures by Associate Professor Haskell on The
Theory of Equations, based on the Theory of Substitutions.
GREEK: six readings, with translation and comment, from the first
half of the Odyssey of Homer, by Associate Professor Flagg.
Six LECTURES ON INTERNATIONAL LAW, by Assistant Professor
Hengstler: The United States as a Member of the Family of Nations.
Its Traditional Attitude, The United States as a Member of the
Nations. Recent Indications of a Change of Attitude, The United
States as a Member of the Family of Nations. What should be its
Future Attitude?, The Principle of Intervention, Recent and Proposed
Changes in the Laws of War, and International Domicil and Citizenship.
382 UNIVERSITY CHRONICLE.
The striking list of men editing the Psychological
Review, or co-operating with the editors, furnishes an
interesting indication of the union of the larger universities
in their higher work. This list is as follows: J. McKeen
Cattell, Columbia University; J. Mark Baldwin, Princeton
University; Alfred Binet, ficole des Hautes-fitudes, Paris;
John Dewey, H. H. Donaldson, University of Chicago;
G. S. Fullerton, University of Pennsylvania; G. H. Howi-
son, University of California; Joseph Jastrow, University
of Wisconsin; G. T. Ladd, Yale University; Hugo
Miinsterberg, Harvard University; M. Allen Starr, Col
lege of Physicians and Surgeons, New York; Carl Stumpf,
University, Berlin; James Sully, University College, London.
Professor George Bruce Halstead, Professor of Mathe
matics in the University of Texas, visited the University
on his way home from the Orient, and delivered two
lectures; one on Japan, on Thursday evening, September
8th, before the Science Association; and one on Non-
Euclidean Mathematics, on Saturday morning, September
llth, before the class in Absolute Geometry.
On September 23, Professor Carl Schroeter, Professor
of Botany in the Technical University of Zurich, visited
the University on his way around the world and inspected
the work of the Department of Agriculture.
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