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THE RESEARCH TRADITION
pursued in the universities it can hardly be pursued anywhere. A mathematician, even a purely mathematical physicist, is under no such restriction, for he does not need a laboratory, and even in books his requirements are relatively modest. He is no more necessarily attached to a university than a poet, painter, preacher or musical composer. But an experimental physicist, chemist or biologist can hardly carry on research outside a university, for a laboratory is essential. It thus has come about, largely through the exigencies of the work, that experimental science, practically alone of the great creative activities, is necessarily almost wholly bound up with universities, and has thereby enlarged their whole raison d'être. There are many advocates for retaining and strengthening the connection, even at great sacrifice to the interests of research itself, because only can the teaching in science be living and up-to-date if research is being pursued.
But in Scotland and England alike the bond is weakening. Unintelligent "pseudo-democratic " administration, increasing numbers of students and the never-ending expansion and multiplication of curricula and examinations, and the lack of any clear financial distinction between the dual functions of the university have brought serious research, in many institutions, practically to the point of extinction. On the other hand there is an evergrowing technical demand for research workers of the highest quality. Some of the finest research in pure physical science that is being produced in America to-day emanates from the General Electric Company's Research Laboratories at Schenectady, New York. In this country the Government scheme of scientific and industrial research has resulted in the formation of numerous research associations, each in connection with a group of trades or industries, totally outside the universities, and taking from them some of their best brains. The Carnegie Trust is in real danger of being absorbed into this great central scheme. Badly as the governing bodies of our universities have exploited the passion for research and the necessities of those who wish to be able to prosecute it, in Germany under State control matters have probably been much worse. So there is every reason to fear that in future the exploitation of research workers will be taken in hand directly and unblushingly by the State.
It is not too much to claim that the universities owe entirely to modern science the conception that they are something more than professional and technical training schools, and the permanent homes of the learning and culture which has survived in the world—the conception that their highest function is creative rather than imitative or didactic.
It is the conception of all best worthy of preservation as the basis upon which to build, and I have merely followed here its necessary logical development in attempting to extend it beyond science to the innate aspirations of mankind after beauty and virtue. But little is it yet valued. A motley horde of interests, like the money-changers of old, invade the temple of learning, and each year seems to make the creative element therein more of an intruder, and the seeker after knowledge for its own sake out of place. The creative element in science will never lack a home. Industry and commerce will house it in a noble and spacious prison with bars of solid gold, even if the universities reject it.
But there could be no finer memorial to the great dead than to accept frankly and without reservation the fact, of which they themselves are the most con
" BEAUTY AND TRUTH AND DUTY"
vincing witnesses, that the years 1914-1918 form the climax in the annals of the human race, and the implications that follow therefrom in our outlook on the world. We shall look for greatness not in the past but in the present, and for the sources of greatness not to our ancestors but to the creative element and the spirit of science in ourselves. The scientific spirit of honest and unprejudiced inquiry for the pure love of truth is not to be confined to concrete things. It is as essential to the proper understanding of the laws of God and man as it is to those of Nature, for they also are the continuously growing and developing expressions of the conceptions which are practically summed up, so far as they are living, by the word Duty. But when we leave the past behind, as children leave their youth, and press forward to the discovery and apprehension of the new, we create and join forces with the other great creative agency of Art. After a chequered career of successive patronage by kings and courts, priests and patricians, municipalities and millionaires, creative Art still wanders in the world, a vagabond without a home. Its rightful place is in the university alongside of science. And for the inscription of our ideal university, upon which the actual universities of the future will be founded, we might do worse than to alter, if it is permissible, the words of Keats in accord with the spirit of modern science and modern heroism
“Beauty and Truth and Duty—that is all
Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know."
In taking leave of the Scientific Association I have now inflicted upon you, I suppose for the last time, what I notice have come to be referred to in the press as my well-known views, and it only remains for me to bid you farewell. I hope and expect that you will continue to grow in numbers and usefulness. I have tried to show that as a Scientific Association you stand for the ideals upon which the universities of the future will be built, and which need not fear comparison with the noblest that have been paramount in the great periods of onrush of human thought. They are safe in your hands. For the love of truth and the passion for its advancement are the ideals of youth and hope, and so long as the tide of youth annually rejuvenates our universities there at least they cannot wholly die.
It is the birth-right of youth to start anew. Once to burst out from the coffin of the past and survey the world with clear and open eyes. The vision may fade. The cloud-capped towers and gorgeous palaces may dissolve and leave not a rack behind. But not for you!
You come here, ostensibly to "get on"-how I loathe the words—to win for yourself position, power and importance in the world that calls itself great, to train for this or that profession or calling, to enable you to hew your way and distance your competitors in the race of life. But what have these tawdry ideals of bygone far-off unhappy days to do with your Alma Mater or with you? Leave them, at least, until you are out in the world that calls itself great, and, while you are here, live in the world that is great, in the realm of expanding ideas and the rapidly widening horizons of truth!
Were all the powers of darkness in dominion over her, yet is the university a holy place, where year by year congregate pilgrims in the greatness and generosity of youth, “to learn what none may teach, to seek what none may reach,” to perpetuate the vision of youth after youth itself is sped. When this ceases to be true, then and then only will the ancient universities have grown old.
A CRITICISM OF THE FINANCIAL OPERATIONS OF
THE CARNEGIE TRUST FOR THE UNIVERSITIES
MR ANDREW CARNEGIE, on 7th July 1901, signed a trust deed bequeathing £2,000,000 to the Scottish Universities, which was recorded in the Books of Council of Session on 9th July 1901. The Trust Deed opens as follows:
“I, Andrew Carnegie, of New York, and of Skibo, in the County of Sutherland, having retired from active business, and deeming it to be my duty and one of my highest privileges to administer the wealth which has come to me as a trustee on behalf of others, and entertaining the confident belief that one of the best means of my discharging that trust is by providing funds for improving and extending the opportunities for scientific study and research in the Universities of Scotland, my native land, and by rendering attendance at these Universities and the enjoyment of their advantages more available to the deserving and qualified youth of that country to whom the payment of fees might act as a barrier to the enjoyment of these advantages; and having full confidenc in the Noblemen and Gentlemen afternamed,...
A list of Trustees follows, to whom the donor undertakes to entrust “Bonds of the United States Steel Corporation of the aggregate value of Ten Million Dollars, bearing interest at 5 per cent. per annum, and having a currency of fifty years." It is only with the first of these objects, the improve
1 Published in Science Progress, January 1917.