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their colour. Regarding the above method, in comparison with that by Dr. Parnell and others, my friend, W. Thompson, Esq. of Belfast, our most celebrated Irish zoologist, writes to me the following: “For a private collection, portability, occupying little room, and the rapidity with which specimens can be prepared according to it, I like Dr. P.'s method very much; but for a public collection, your plan of preserving the fishes according to their natural form is, I conceive in every point of view, incomparably superior;" and a similar opinion has been expressed to me by Mr. Yarrell.
It is much to be regretted that, although Ireland possesses facilities for making an icthiological collection, such as few other countries possess, (with the exception of those specimens prepared by pasting the flattened skin of one side of the animal upon pasteboard, in the collection of my friend, Mr. Ball) --we have not even an attempt at a collection in any of our museums.
ON TRAVEL, THE EDUCATION SUITABLE FOR TRAVELLERS,
AND THE ADVANTAGES THAT WOULD ARISE TO SCIENCE FROM TRAVELLING FELLOWSHIPS IN THE UNIVERSITY OF DUBLIN.
THERE are two descriptions of modern English travellers ; those who travel for instruction, and those who travel for amusement. The latter and more numerous class are generally persons of large fortunes, who, whatever may be their observation and their knowledge, seldom give them to the world.* The former are the fewest in number, and seldom possessed of those pecuniary means so necessary to engage in scientific research. To remedy this latter defect, some effort should be made by the different literary and scientific institutions of our country.
* To this, however, we have one honourable exception of late years, in the work of Lord Lindsay.
In almost every
land that I have visited, I have met collectors of natural history, antiquaries, botanists, and other men of similar attainments located, who had been sent out, some by the governments, and others by the different colleges, universities, and learned societies of Europe, particularly of France and Germany; but never was it my lot to meet with a single individual sent on such a mission from Ireland.
Aware of the value that such persons, properly educated and supplied with requisite means, would be to science, the society of the Dilettanti was formed in London, in the year 1734. One of the resolutions of this society was, “that persons properly qualified, should be sent, with sufficient appointments, to some parts of the east, in order to collect information, and make observations relative to the ancient state of those countries, and to such monuments of antiquity as were then remaining.' In 1764, James, Earl of Charlemont, the first president of the Royal Irish Academy, and a name ever dear to Irishmen, as connected with the science, literature, and best interests of this country, particularly patronized the society of the Dilettanti, and was placed at the head of its committee of superintendence. It was under the auspices, and by the assistance of this society, that the celebrated Doctor Chandler travelled, and with the assistance of Messrs. Revett and Wood, presented the Ionian Antiquities, and other eminent works, to the world.* In later times, the university of Cambridge established travelling fellowships, for a like laudable purpose; of these, I believe Dr. E. D. Clarke filled one of the first; and the Rev. Mr. Low in Madeira, and Mr. Smith in Teneriffe, now occupy two of these with so much credit to themselves, and so many advantages to the interests of science and literature. The value of such men has been duly appreciated by our continental neighbours, and much of their labour is to be seen in the collection of the Jardin des Plantes, and in the libraries and museums of the different German colleges. Without such persons the life-time of a dozen Cuviers would not have sufficed to collect and arrange the Regne Animal.
Although much has been done toward the cultivation of natural science, &c. by the universities and institutions of
* See also the valuable papers of this Society, published in London, 1769. VOL. 1.
England, both at home and abroad, much still remains to be done ; but I regret to add, that I may almost say, we have yet to commence in the university of Dublin.
This being an age of travel, it requires little to be said for the advantages that all derive from such an occupation of time, and the pen of an Addison has already opened up, though not exhausted, the valuable mine of information that may be drawn from it, and the lasting benefits that it gives to the scholar and the gentleman. But it is to be regretted that the youth of this country do not in general receive an education that fits them to become observant or scientific travellers. And from this cause much valuable and interesting information has been lost to science and literature, by travellers not being able to appreciate what they saw, or observe with effect the wonders amidst which they happened to be located; and this is a position in which I have often felt myself placed, and had frequent occasion to regret.
I know of no learned profession in this country that gives a proper preliminary education to its students. This is a truth that I think few will deny; and it is one felt by all who enter these professions, at some one period of their course through life.* I may
be asked, does not the divinity student receive a proper education? Surely not while he is ignorant of that language in which the volume is written from which he is to give and receive instruction—while the first ten years of his academic life are spent in acquiring a knowledge of tongues, in which he only reads the fabulous accounts of Greek and Latin authors; or in learning the immorality and false doctrines of heathen philosophers. Not that I would in any way depreciate a knowledge of the classic authors, or detract from the value of such ; but I do think that they are overstudied, while Hebrew and other languages of more enduring account are, with some few exceptions, either comparatively or completely neglected. Surely that education cannot be complete while the student is in total ignorance of those wonders of the animal and vegetable creation to which in after life he daily calls his hearers to look as evidences of design, or as displaying the
* So much was this deficiency felt by the legal profession, that a school of law has been established in this city within the last few months.
It was much wanting. It promises well, and I wish it every success.
power and magnificence of their Maker. “On this subject,” says Mr. Swainson, in his “ Preliminary Discourse on the Study of Natural History," “it cannot be concealed, however, that this exclusion of zoology as a part and parcel’ of our academic studies, is a national stigma; that it has repeatedly been adverted to, in terms of regret and of censure, by our own writers; and that it calls forth the astonishment and reproach of every enlightened foreigner. A stranger, ignorant of our national peculiarities, would almost imagine, from the rigour with which their study is enforced, that the writings of the heathen poets were peculiarly adapted to purify the heart, and curb the licentiousness of the youthful imagination; or that they formed, in some inexplicable way, a string of commentaries upon our religious creed. And he might be further led to suppose that those wonders of the visible creation, which, when considered, will bring home conviction to the philosophic sceptic, were unworthy of study or regard, as if they were things of mere chance-produced by a congregation of fortuitous atoms, alike incapable of demonstrating the being of a God, or the care He bestows upon his creatures.'
But it is not to the clerical profession alone that this applies, the preliminary education of which has been so much improved in our university of late years; it is not to the ill-recompensed, hard-working clergy, alone, that this refers ; in the medical profession affairs are still worse.
In it, there is no preliminary education; I know it from experience, and state it with regret. Such, it is true, may be, and is by some possessed; but so long as it is not required by our Licensing Institutions, it will never be possessed by the generality of students. Here, on the other hand, the classic authors are comparatively unknown, and modern languages are never thought of. Of mathematics, mechanics, and natural philosophy, our medical student knows little or nothing—nothing of zoology, or comparative anatomy, and little of either botany or chemistry. How long is this to continue ? Not only would the professional man, but the country gentleman, or the statesman, derive profit from this early cultivation of the natural sciences; not only would they, and all who interest themselves in such pursuits, have an entertaining and useful store of knowledge laid up for after years, but all
would be better fitted to form observant travellers in their own or other countries.
The government of this country is not, and never has been, a patron of science. There is little or no emolument to be attained by those who spend their lives in the pursuit of scientific subjects. It is, therefore, the “bounden duty" of our chartered bodies, and particularly of our University, to assist the cause of science, and to further its advance by following the bright examples of the English Colleges, in creating Travelling Fellowships. It would be presumptuous in me to point out the best method of carrying this into effect; but of the value of such Fellowships, and of the researches and discoveries that men educated like those who grace our College would make, little doubt can be entertained, and the works that would then issue from our press would soon wipe off the long, too long-continued motto of the “SILENT SISTER.” Another defect in our national education is the want of instruction in eastern languages, particularly Arabic, Turkish, and Persian. In a diplomatic point of view the study of these tongues is particularly requisite. It is a well-known fact that in the countries in which these languages are spoken, all diplomatic conferences must be carried on through the medium of an interpreter. This should if possible be avoided; for many of the necessary secrets of an embassy are thus entrusted to natives of the country in which it is placed. It is a curious, but I believe an undeniable fact, that at Constantinople the chief Dragomen to the English, French, and Russian ministers, were brothers !! In concluding this hint upon the education suitable to travellers, and the advantages of Travelling Fellowships, I trust that the University will overlook the insignificance of the proposer, in the importance of the proposition.
C.- PAGE 139.
There are few of the extinct races of man that have elicited more inquiry, or of whom there is less known than the Guanches.