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University Chronicle 

VOL. I SEPTEMBER, 1898 No. 4 



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. 


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, 


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 
our eyes. 

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 


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 


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 
be active. 

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. 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 
immediately acquires. 

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 


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. 


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 


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, 


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 


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 


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 


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, 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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 


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. 




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 
ever before. 

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. 


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 
nervous disorders. 

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 


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 


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 


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 


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 
other anomalies. 

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. 


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 


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 
its aspect. 

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. 


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. 


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 


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 
a monstrosity. 

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 
previous ancestor. 

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. 


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 


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 


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. 


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 


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, 


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. 



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. 

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. 


His, W. : Unsere Korperform und das physiologische Problem 

ihrer Entstehung. Leipzig, 1874. 
Delage, Y. : L Heredite", 468. 
Wilson, E. B.: The Cell, 297. 


Nageli, C. : Mechanisch- physiologische Theorie der Abstammungs- 

Nageli s Theory of Organic Evolution: Summary. Open Court 

Publishing Co. 

Delage, Y. : L HereditS, 592-643. 
Wilson, E. B. : The Cell, 300. 
Wiesner, J. : Die Elementarstructur und das Wachsthum der 

lebenden Substanz. 



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. 


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. 


Haacke, W. : Gestaltung und Vererbung. 

Grundriss der Entwicklungsmechanik. 


Hertwig, O.: The Biological Problem of To-day. 
Delage, Y. : L HSredite, 663. 
Wilson, E. B.: The Cell, 312-317. 




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. 


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 
the recruits. 

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 


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 


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 


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 
this paper. 


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, 


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. 


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 
great goal. 

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 


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 


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. 


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 


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. 


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 


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 
the total. 

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 
hereditary genius. 

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 


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 


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 


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 
nourished individual. 

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. 


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. 



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 
of work." 

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. 



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, 
moulder, steam-fitter." 

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 
and iron." 

2. Should other than practical instruction be given? 

H. J. SMALL: "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 
to efficiency." 


3. If "Yes," please state the character and limit of 
such instruction. 

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 


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 
the market? 

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." 


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 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." 


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." 


ASA R. WELLS: "Yes; for teaching is an art as well 
as a qualification." 

GEO. W. DICKIE: (See answer to No. 1.) 

4. Should he write and speak English correctly! 
Replies from all "Yes." 

5. Should he understand the higher branches of 
mathematics ! 

Replies from all "Yes." "With some qualifications" 
(J. F. Merrill). 

6. Should he understand the theory of applied 
mechanics ! 

Replies from all "Yes." 

7. Should he be a good draughtsman! 

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 
keeping ! 

"Not necessary." 


10. Are there any reasons why the Principal should 
have resided in San Francisco or California for any length 
of time ! 


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 
Rocky Mountains." 

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." 


1. What class of boys should have the preference in 
admission ? 

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 
chanical training." 

2. At what age should they be admitted? 
H. J. SMALL: "15 to 17 years." 


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 
years old." 

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 
clude him." 

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. 


(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 ? 

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 
and principal." 

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." 


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 


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. 


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 
do so. 

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 


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 
resolution : 

"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 


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, 


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, 
and artificers. 

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, 
constructors, etc. 

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 


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 
entirely satisfactory. 

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 


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. 


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. 


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 
day classes. 

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 
city buildings. 

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 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 
months . 

Five evenings per week are required, two of which are 
occupied in actual work, and three in theoretical and 
scientific instruction. 

" It is conducted on the principle of teaching thoroughly 
how work should be done, and leaving the quickness that 


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. 


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 
and lodged. 

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 


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 


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 
by them. 

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 


education of 175 pupils, $17,601.78, about $100 per capita. 
Total expenses, per pupil, is $333.97 per annum. 


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 
is out. 

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 
to fill. 

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 


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 
a Christian. 

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. 


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, 


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 


time should be graduated to the character of the work to 
be taught. 

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. 

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. 


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 



August 1, 1898. 




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 

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 


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 
remains untouched. 

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 


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 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 

Admitted : 
1. Freshmen (Regular) 
2. Freshmen (Limited) 
3. Special Students 

Total Admitted 








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 
colleges : 

COLLEGE. 1897. 1898. GAIN. 

Letters 56 61 5 

Social Sciences 162 150 *12 

Natural Sciences 23 36 13 

Agriculture Oil 

Mechanics 36 42 6 

Mining 41 47 6 

Civil Engineering 9 13 4 

Chemistry 20 24 4 

Commerce 033 

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. 



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 


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 : 


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, 

14, 15&. 
Alameda University Academy, 1, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, I2a l , 12a 2 , 

126, 14. 

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, 

13, 14. 

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, 

13, 14. 

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, 

13, 15. 

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. 


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 


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. 


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. 


Do not 


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from this 


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Under Pat. "Ref. Index File." 
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