||Science and the making of Victoria
Table of Contents
Inaugural and Anniversary Addresses of the Royal Society
Inaugural Address, delivered by Mr. Justice Barry, President of the Institute, at the Opening Converzazione, 22nd Sept., 1854
Inaugural Address of the President, Captain Clarke, R. E., Surveyor-General, &c., &c.
Anniversary Address of the President, the Honourable Andrew Clarke, Captain R. E., M.P., Surveyor-General of Victoria, &c., &c., &c.
Anniversary Address of the President, His Honor Sir William Foster Stawell, Knight, Chief Justice of Victoria, &c., &c. [Delivered to the Members of the Institute, 12th April, 1858]
Anniversary Address of the President, Ferdinand Mueller, Esq., Ph.D., M.D. F.R.G. and L.S., &c., &c. [Delivered to the Members of the Institute, 28th March, 1859]
Address of the President, Ferdinand Mueller, M.D., Ph.D., F.R.G. & L.S., &c., &c. [Delivered to the Members of the Institute at the Inauguration of the Hall, January 23rd, 1860.]
Inaugural Address of the President, His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly, K.C.B., &c., &c. [Delivered to the Members of the Royal Society, at the Anniversary Meeting held on the 10th April, 1860.]
Inaugural Address of the President, His Excellency Sir Henry Barkly, K.C.B., &c., &c.
[Delivered to the Members of the Royal Society, at the Anniversary Meeting held on the 10th April, 1860.] (continued)
These, gentlemen, are the special questions on which I am chiefly desirous that your immediate attention should be bestowed.
You will not, I feel sure, suffer them to interfere with the zealous discharge of your ordinary duties as members of the Royal Society, but will, on the contrary, devote yourselves with redoubled ardor to the task of rendering our monthly meetings profitable and agreeable. A noble field lies before us. There is ample room for all!
Let every one set earnestly to work in his own sphere for the advancement of science; he who never did so before taking up some branch in which more accurate knowlede is still desirable. Let those who find aught worthy of being communicated favor us with papers, to be discussed with moderation of language, and in entire oblivion of bygone bickerings. Let this be done, and we shall hardly fail to achieve results of importance; for, in the words of an eloquent writer on natural history in the Cornhill Magazine, "from the illumination of many minds on many points, truth must finally emerge." Association for scientific research is, in fact, no longer matter of choice, but of necessity. The collection and classification of facts is the essential element of modern progress, and it cannot be attained without division of labor and widespread publicity. In earlier stages of the world's history the brain of a single man, of an Aristotle or a Pliny, sufficed to comprehend all that was yet discovered regarding Nature, but such knowledge is now too vast to be grasped in sufficient clearness of detail by any individual intellect. Even the giant mind of Humboldt quailed before the task of giving a physical description of the universe, and confessed the completion of his "Cosmos," according to his original conceptions, to be impracticable.
True genius is indeed ever humble. The great Newton described himself towards the end of his career as having only gathered a few pebbles on the shores of a boundless ocean. Who in our day shall venture to boast of doing more than shift some grains of sand which brims that ocean's shores? May we united pursue the path of scientific inquiry, in a spirit of humility, and with an eye to truth alone.
"Let knowledge grow from more to more,
May we, like them, whilst fearlessly scrutinising Nature's laws, cease not for a moment to respect the teachings of inspiration, nor forget to look from Nature up to Nature's God.
Long as I have already trespassed on your time, I cannot adequately give utterance to the feelings which I entertain on this head without, in conclusion, adopting, in its integrity, the impressive language of one of the greatest orators and divines of the New World has yet produced, Dr. Channing:
"I look with admiration on the intellectual force which combines the masters scattered facts, and by analysis and comparison ascends to the general laws of the material universe. But the philosopher who does not see in the force within him something nobler than the outward nature which he analyseswho in tracing mechanical and chemical agencies, is unconcious of a higher action in his own soulwho is not led by all finite powers to the Omnipotent, and who does not catch, in the order and beauty of the universe, some glimpses of spiritual perfectionstops at the very threshold of the temple of truth."
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