RECORD: [Duff, Ursula Grant ed.] 1924. The life-work of Lord Avebury (Sir John Lubbock) 1834-1913. London: Watts & Co. [Darwin recollections only]
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LATER YEARS By the Editor
John Lubbock's real education began when he left school. He went into the family Bank in 1849, at the age of fifteen. Soon afterwards his father's two partners died. He and his father carried on the business, and could never both b,e away together. At first he felt very much at sea, and found the City very lonely; but this early initiation doubtless developed in him a sort of instinct for business. During these early years he had a good many holidays, in the course of which he continued his own education and learned mathematics with his father. This subject, like all other branches of science, he found interesting, though he had no special aptitude for it. His father's mathematical genius was, in some respects, a disadvantage, as he was unable to see the difficulties which its problems presented to others. He would often say, in despair: "Well, if Newton does not make it clear to you, I am afraid I cannot! We must go on."
In other directions John made good progress, reading seven or eight hours a day, and devouring all sorts of books, but especially those on biology and geology. He made himself a time-table for the days on which he did not go to the City, mapping out most of the day from 6.30 a.m. to 12 p.m. I The subjects on the time-table include mathematics (which he prepared and took to bis father before breakfast), natural history (reading and
work with the microscope), poetry, political economy, history, sermons (these he found he could not read later than 10 p.m. without falling asleep!), and, finally, German, which kept him awake till midnight.
He thus early cultivated his naturally great powers of concentration. Not only was he able to turn promptly from one subject to another—a change which he found both helpful and necessary, in order to give the different parts of his brain exercise or rest—but he could also suffer interruption with perfect equanimity, and, after answering a question or dealing with the urgent problem thrust upon him, he could go smoothly onwards again with his work. No one ever heard him complain that the current of his thoughts had been broken.
It seems absurd nowadays to think of a boy of fourteen and a half years being regarded as grown up, but it is a fact that he began early to lead a man's life, being in all respects exceptionally mature. He continued, of course, to develop, and his interests became wider and deeper. This growth was continuous up to the very end of his life; but he unfolded according to the first intimations of type, and his outlook and point of view showed remarkable consistency. In religion, for instance, being one of the first of Darwin's followers, he had to abandon orthodoxy and dogma to a great extent, but the reverent attitude of his mind—his gratitude for " the great gift of life "—remained the same. All his life, with the exception of one short interval of insistent scepticism, he went to church. Every day he read a chapter of the Bible, and said his prayers night and morning, thus paying tribute to the Great Mystery, and keeping his mind in tune with its harmony. He said that no church service could be framed to suit everybody, but that each one of us could choose the parts we found most helpful, and leave the rest. Towards the end of his life he wrote, in "Peace and Happiness " :—
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, Must it not be a satisfaction to meet one's fellow-countrymen in reverent recognition of that mystery and in gratitude for the great gift of life, without allowing ourselves to be separated by metaphysical differences ? If we differ, let us remember, as Milton said, "Error is but truth in the making." . . . I hope and believe with Ruskin that " the charities of more and more widely extended peace are preparing the way for a Church which shall depend neither on ignorance for its continuance, nor on controversy for its progress, but shall reign at once in light and love."
But, pending the institution of this ideal, he attended the parish church at Down, where, on one occasion, he and Darwin being present, the Vicar preached a violent sermon against " the infidel and the naturalist in our midst." There being no doubt as to the identity of the one, young Lubbock proudly hoped that he might share the partnership by representing the other.
It was very largely from Darwin that Lubbock learned love and respect for science and truth, and an admirable patience and genuine modesty—the personal modesty of the true man of science who, with Newton, contemplates the vast unexplored ocean of knowledge.
In 1850, at the age of sixteen, he gave his first lecture. It was given at Down, on the Wireworm, and was well attended by the villagers. He now began to realise how right his father had been in saying that Darwin's coming to live at Down was an immense advantage to him. It was Darwin who induced his father to give John a microscope, and the latter keenly enjoyed his walks and talks with the famous naturalist. At the Darwin-Wallace Celebration, in 1908, he remarked of Darwin:—
I first heard his name in 1842, when I was just eight years old. My father returned one evening from the City, and said he had a great piece of good
news for me. He excited my hopes and curiosity, and at last announced that Mr. Darwin was coming to live at Down. I confess I was disappointed. I thought at least he was going to give me a pony! But my father was right. I little realised what it meant to me, nor how it would alter my whole life.
Lubbock's first scientific work was on some of Darwin's collections, and appeared in the Natural History Magazine for January, 1853. He did all the plates for these papers himself, and also many of the illustrations for Darwin's great work on barnacles.
In 1849 he had been elected a member of the Eoyal Institution, and in 1853 attended his first meeting of the British Association. Eorty-eight years later the fiftieth meeting of the Association was held at York, under Sir John Lubbock's presidency. In 1854 he was introduced to Sir Charles Lyell and Sir Joseph Hooker, and in 1855 to Kingsley, Prestwich, and Sir John Evans, and joined the Geological Society. In 1856 he met George Busk, Huxley, and Tyndall, and in the following year was elected a member of the Eoyal Society. He writes : " It would be impossible for me to express how much of my real education I owe to the advice, the sympathy, and the example of these kind friends." The encouragement which they so unstintingly gave their young colleague was one of the pleasantest features of this friendship. For instance, Darwin wrote to him in 1857 :—
Dear Lubbock,—At the Philosophical Club last Thursday I overheard Dr. Sbarpey speakingto Huxley in such high and warm praise of your paper, and Huxley answering in the same tone, that it did me good to hear it.
They seldom failed to write and congratulate him when he found a fossil, or discovered a hitherto unknown insect or plant. The many letters that he received show the
-T^cP LATER YEARS 17
reputation he had so early acquired, not only for careful and industrious work, but for much that was entirely original. It is wonderful how soon the younger man grew, from being a pupil or disciple, into the position, at least in Darwin's eyes, of an equal. From the moment that "The Origin of Species" appeared Lubbock was not only a staunch supporter, but one who contributed his own weight of evidence to the subject. Early in 1860 Darwin wrote to him:—
If ever you arrive at any definite conclusion, either wholly or partially for, or against, Pangenesis, I should, very much like to hear; for I settled some time ago that I should think more of Huxley's and your opinion, from the course of your studies and the clearness of your mind, than that of any other man in England.
At the British Association meeting of that year, when " The Origin of Species," which had been published at the end of 1859, was fully discussed by all parties, and violently attacked by the Church, the laity, and even most men of science, Lubbock read an important paper on the embryological evidence for evolution.1
At an earlier age Lubbock had joined the Kent Artillery Militia, and performed all the duties with characteristic thoroughness. He played cricket, hunted with the beagles, went to dances and parties, and, in fact, " enjoyed life" in many ways. Whatever he did he took pains to do as well as possible. For example, when, later on, he was asked to play cricket for the House of Commons, " in order to prepare himself, he used to get Wells, the Bromley professional, to bowl to him for some weeks regularly in the early morning before he went up to
1 The theory of evolution had so few adherents that Huxley wrote : " I do not call to mind among the biologists more than Asa Gray, who fought the battle so splendidly in the United States, Hooker, who was no less vigorous here, Sir John Lubbock, and myself. Wallace was far away in the Malay Archipelago."
18 LATER YEARS
London on business, the result being that he scored well against Harrow and I Zingari."1
When, in 1865, he first stood for Parliament (West Kent), and was handsomely defeated, it is said that he lost many votes owing to the publication of "Prehistoric Times.'' He had been urged to postpone the issue of the book until after the election; but this device he, of course, regarded as dishonourable. Previously he had been asked to stand for the City, where he would have had a very good chance of success, but his father had refused his permission. It never seems to have occurred to the son to question his father's decisions, or even to enquire into their reasons, although he was over thirty years of age when his father died.2 He then at once assumed towards his younger brothers an almost fatherly attitude, which they accepted quite naturally from one who understood so well the duties, rather than the privileges, of the head of the family.
At the time of the election just referred to Darwin wrote to congratulate him on the publication of " Prehistoric Times." Part of this letter is quoted by Sir Arthur Keith on pp. 81-2. It closes with these words:—
It has quite delighted me, for now the public will see what kind of man you are, which I am proud to think I discovered a dozen years ago. I do sincerely wish you all success in your election and in politics ; but, after reading this last chapter, you must let me say: " Oh dear! Oh dear ! Oh dear! " Yours affectionately,
1 " Annals of the West Kent Cricket Club,"by Philip Norman, who adda a note that " Joseph Wells, who kept the china shop and was professional to the West Kent Cricket Club, was father of H. G. Wells."
2 There is a rather delightful description by an eye-witness of how Sir J. W. Lubbock used to drive with his sons to the City every morning with four horses and two postilions. The Bon whose turn it was to sit by his father's side invariably behaved with the utmost decorum, but the others in the brake behind, invisible to the eye of authority, performed every kind of silent antic, to the great entertainment of those they passed on the way.
We can scarcely believe, therefore, that Darwin was really very sorry that his young friend had to wait another five years before entering Parliament. It must not, however, be thought that Darwin felt anything but respect for the statesmen who direct our destinies. Indeed, there is a charming story of how, on one occasion, Sir John took Mr. Gladstone to see him. When Gladstone, who had never ceased talking, went away, Darwin, who had never got a word in edgeways, shaded his eyes with his hand, and, gazing after the retreating figure of Gladstone, murmured: " To think of such a great man coming to see me!" Gladstone, on the other hand, expressed himself as disappointed with Darwin's conversational powers.
In the following chapters will be found an account of John Lubbock's work, his books, and many of his various activities. Here it is only intended to record a few of the incidents and traits which afford an insight into his character, and give some sort of picture of his personality. I think that one of the things that struck people most about him was his unfailing courtesy to old and young, great and small. This quality sprang spontaneously from his inborn gentleness and kindliness of heart, just as the main reason why he was so patient with wrongdoers was that he generally felt sorry for them. The only weapon that he ever used was a certain coldness of manner, which, however, was so very effective that it never had to be employed for long. He was often chosen by his friends or colleagues to deal with a recalcitrant member, or one whose manners had caused offence, and he was usually successful, for he would say: "You are always so nice to me that, if only you would treat so-and-so in the same way, I am quite sure that all would go well." And afterwards it very often did.
Although he quite outgrew the delicacy of his boyhood, and attained remarkable vigour (frequently, for instance, after an all-night sitting in the House of Commons, not
26 LATER YEARS
in great excitement to Sir John: "Your Excellency,— Hurrah the Skaengate, which consists of two separate gates . . . hurrah the copper bolts with which they were shut I Hurrah the house of Priamos," etc., etc.
Sir John was President of the British Association in 1881 (its Jubilee year), and his address, afterwards published under the title of " Eifty Years of Science," was much admired, especially by his friend Darwin, who wrote: " This address must have cost you much labour, and I congratulate you on its virtual completion. How on earth you find time is a mystery to me." Punch expressed much the same idea of his amazing capacity for work in a cartoon representing Sir John as a bumble bee, with the legend beneath :—
How doth the Banking Busy Bee Improve the shining hours ? By studying on Bank Holidays Strange insects and wild flowers.
When, in 1882, Charles Darwin died, Lubbock lost his oldest and best friend, one who had been a continual inspiration to him for thirty years, and of whom he said: " A talk with him was as good as sea air." And in 1908, in the course of an address at the Darwin-Wallace celebration, Lubbock declared: " I am one of the thousands whom Darwin has inspired by his writings, and of the few still living who have had the inestimable privilege of his friendship. Often and often, when feeling overworked or discouraged, an hour with him has proved a wonderful cordial and brushed away the cobwebs of the imagination like a breath of sea air."
Lubbock's ardent wish to alleviate suffering and to make people happy was shown not only in his political efforts and in his books, but by the schemes he put forth, or aided, in cases of special suffering. For example, in 1871 he, Cardinal Manning, Huxley, and Knowles (of the Nineteenth
LATER YEARS 27
Century) formed themselves into a committee for sending supplies over to Paris the moment the siege was raised. And again, towards the end of his life, when he was feeling weak and easily tired, he went to see the Lord Mayor of London daily to try to devise a scheme for providing the very poor with cheap coal in case of a big strike. In between these instances there were countless " nameless unremembered acts of kindness and of love," both public and private, and many were the labour disputes in which he was called upon to arbitrate.1
One of the most astonishing of his characteristics was the habit of answering every letter; and, although calls for money were far too numerous to be satisfied, he never omitted, when unable to comply, to send a short note of regret. Once an eccentric individual wrote and asked for an old pen nib. He thought the request so modest that he sent a copy of " The Pleasures of Life " instead. The correspondent expressed much disappointment, and reaffirmed that, though glad to have " The Pleasures of Life," what he wanted was an old pen nib for his collection. Thereupon Sir John picked an old nib out of the waste-paper basket and handing it to his secretary with an amused twinkle in his eye, said: "I suppose he may as well have what he wants, poor fellow : at any rate, there is no harm in it."
His was an extraordinarily simple and unself-conscious nature. He enjoyed, as any unsophisticated human being enjoys, all tributes to the value of his work and all expressions of affection for himself, and his honesty would have scorned to pretend that he was not gratified.
1 As Mr. H. G. Hutchinson says in his " Life of Lord Avebury," Vol. I, p. 311 : " By virtue of Sir John's efforts in composing the Dock Strike, the Coal and Gas Companies' difficulties, and other troubles between Labour and Capital, his good influences as a pacificator, in these conditions, became widely recognised and were much sought,"— as for instance by the omnibus proprietors and their employes. He was invited " as a prominent citizen possessing the confidence of the community."
By Dr. A. C. Seward, F.R.S., Master of Downing College, Cambridge.
As stated in the Preface, the aim of this book is to give a general impression of Lord Avebury's life-work, his character, and personality. The object is not merely to direct attention to the extraordinary variety of the problems in which he was interested, but to demonstrate from his writings the nature of the guiding principles and motives which they reveal. His botanical work, whether published in scientific journals or presented in a more popular form, admirably illustrates Lord Avebury's attitude towards Nature: his passionate desire to know, his determination that others shall share with him the good things which are available to all who make plants their friends, and a conviction that even the most insignificant structural features serve some definite purpose.
It is interesting to recall that in April 1865 Sir Joseph Hooker wrote to Charles Darwin : " I gnash my teeth when I think of Lubbock going into Parliament " ; and in another letter : " I grudge so good a man from science, and have a presentiment that it will inaugurate a very trying life for him." In a similar strain, and in the same year, Darwin wrote to Hooker : "I am heartily glad you like Lubbock's book so much ["Prehistoric Times "]. It made me grieve his taking to polities, and though I grieve that he has lost his election, yet I suppose, now that he is once bitten, he will never give up politics, and science is done for. Many men can make fair M.P.s; and how few can work in science like him." Before the events
had happened which produced these gloomy forebodings, and so splendid a testimonial from his two friends, Lubbock had shown his ability as an original investigator in Entomology and in other branches of Natural Science, but he had not published anything on Botany. It was inevitable that a strenuous political life very seriously interfered with continuous original research ; but his scientific output was remarkable and his influence on the spread of natural knowledge, both through his own observations and the skill with which he made accessible and stimulating to others—especially lovers of Nature who were not trained biologists—the results of botanical research, was far greater than either Darwin or Hooker conceived possible. It is only just to point out that in his books Lord Avebury acknowledges substantial help from Dr. Eendle, the present Keeper of the Botanical Department of the British Museum, and many other botanists, as well as from his own assistants, but it was his genius which devised experiments and directed the observations of others as well as his own; it was he who gave the lectures and addresses, and wrote the articles and books for which both professional botanists and thousands of amateurs have either expressed or felt sincere gratitude.
"It seems Nature's temper," as Mr. Fuller Maitland has aptly said, " to grudge no trouble in the setting up of sign-posts, and, having set them up, to blindfold the travellers who pass by ways so furnished with guides to knowledge." Lord Avebury more than most men read Nature's sign-posts, and, whether he read correctly or incorrectly, he travelled with wide-open eyes; advancing age did not materially diminish his enthusiasm or his capacity to react to the spiritual influence of living things. He was throughout life imbued with the student's determination to discover a reason for all that he saw, whether it was something exceptional or something so familiar and obvious that to most men it would make no appeal.
"Nature fills the heart," he wrote, "not only with joy and wonder—but with gratitude." He lived tip to the maxim of the late Bishop Creighton—" The one real object of education is to leave a man in the condition of continually asking questions." His writings are free from positive assertion unsupported by proof. "Every fresh discovery reveals new sources of wonder, every problem that is solved opens others": his solutions of problems are tentatively advanced with the knowledge that further work may lead to a change of view. " Apart from moral causes," he wrote, " success or failure in life depends as much on observation and on the power of weighing evidence as upon any other quality." His object was to bring prominently before readers " how rich a field for observation and experiment is still open to us." Lapse of time has not rendered Seneca's words inapplicable to the present—" we imagine that we are initiated into the mysteries of Nature; but we are still hanging about her outer courts."
As President at the Jubilee meeting of the British Association at York in 1881, a position which bears striking testimony to the appreciation of his scientific contemporaries of his devotion to Natural Science, he said: "When we were young we knew that the leopard had spots, the tiger was striped, and the lion tawny; but why this was it did not occur to us to ask; and if we had asked no one could have answered." In these words we have a concise expression of the dominating factor in his work. He saw, admired, and wondered, and then exercised his ingenuity and his highly developed powers of observation in seeking an explanation of things which to most of us are what they are because they are. The encouragement of the spirit of enquiry is in itself a solid contribution to the scientific education of a nation : if the desire to wrest from Nature her secrets becomes a dominating influence an important step has been taken
towards success in original investigation. Lord Avebury's contributions to Botany include much that is new and of permanent value; the facts are presented with a conciseness and a clarity that are not invariably noticeable in the writings of professional men of science. His keenness as an observer, his ingenuity in devising experiments and suggesting explanations, and his ability to deal with technical subjects in a language that is both intelligible and attractive to the layman, are qualities which enabled him to exert a wide influence as an investigator and an exponent. Darwin in 1862 asked Lubbock to assist him by watching hive-bees sucking clover flowers : " Though I know how busy you are," he wrote, " I cannot think of any other naturalist who would be as careful." On this particular occasion, Darwin found that he was on the wrong track, and next day he wrote: " It is all an illusion. ... I hate myself, I hate clover, and I hate bees."
Though he did not take a very prominent part in the controversies which followed the publication in 1859 of " The Origin of Species," Lord Avebury's botanical work was greatly influenced and inspired by the views of his friend and neighbour at Down. He was in close touch with Darwin; he freely discussed problems with him, and saw experiments in progress. In a letter to Mr. William Darwin dated the day before Charles Darwin was buried in Westminster Abbey he wrote : "I esteem it a great privilege to be allowed to accompany my dear Master to the grave."
To many temperaments the beauties of Nature make only an aesthetic appeal; the true image of the blue of heaven reflected in the petals of the Speedwell stirs emotions of intense pleasure, the shape of a leaf excites admiration by the curve of its lines; but more to know does "never meddle with" their thoughts. To a keen appreciation of beauty in Nature he added an over-
mastering desire to understand the purpose underlying form and structure. To him plants were not only living organisms ; they were almost human. " I really think," he said, "that my first feeling would be one of delight and interest rather than of surprise if some day when I am alone in a wood one of the trees were to speak to me."
On another occasion he said: " The life of a tree is often compared with that of a man—not always to the advantage of the latter "—
Your sense is sealed, or you should hear them tell
The tale of their dim life, with all
Its compost of experience: how the sun
Spreads them their daily feast,
Sumptuous, of light, filling them as with wine.
He never tired of questioning the trees and herbs, and felt for them an affection and a companionship which made him almost forget the barrier between himself and them.
Flowers and Insects.
At the meeting of the British Association at Belfast in 1874 Sir John Lubbock gave an address on " Common Wild Flowers considered in Eelation to Insects,'' and in the following year was published the first edition of his widely read book " On British Wild Mowers considered in Belation to Insects." He wrote in the Preface: "It is not without much diffidence that I venture on the present publication. For, though as an entomologist I have necessarily been long familiar with our common wild plants, I had made no serious study of Botany until recent researches brought prominently before us the intimate relations which exist between flowers and insects. My observations and notes on this subject were originally prepared with the view of encouraging in my children that love of Natural History from which I myself have derived so much
happiness, but it was suggested to me that a little book such as the present might perhaps be of use to others also." With his customary caution and in the spirit of the scientific enquirer who realises the importance of proof, he added: " Many of the observations have not yet stood that ordeal of repetition which they will no doubt experience." One of the recent publications to which allusion was made was no doubt Darwin's paper on the two forms of flowers in Primula, a contribution of exceptional interest and importance of which Darwin himself said: " I do not think anything in my scientific life has given me so much satisfaction as making out the meaning of the structure of these plants." In this branch of Natural History Lord Avebury was especially interested both as i entomologist and botanist, and his own researches, particularly those on the colour sense of insects, played an important part in laying the foundations of an accurate knowledge of the Biology of Flowers. His book is valuable not only because it contains original observations and many facts culled from sources not readily accessible to the ordinary reader, presented in a form that is intelligible to laymen ignorant of botanical terminology, but because of the stimulus which it gave to lovers of Nature to widen their horizon, to think of flowers not simply as specimens to be collected and named, but as delicately adjusted mechanisms exhibiting a marvellous range in their adaptation to insect visitors.
The study of flowers in relation to insects was no new science : but since the earliest observations were recorded, the subject had been almost completely neglected for nearly a century until Darwin's researches demonstrated its importance and gave to it a new significance. As long ago as 1761 Joseph Gottlieb Kolreuter had pointed out that the visits of insects are necessary to many flowers; he was amazed that " Nature had left so important a
matter as reproduction to a mere chance, to a fortunate accident." His amazement was gradually converted to admiration of the means employed by flowers to attract insects. Occasionally, he wrote, one may observe " how a few of the insects roll about in the pollen, how they cover the whole of their body with it, and how in their golden costume they carry the fertilising material in bulk to the female flower." A few years later Conrad Sprengel raised the Biology of Mowers to a very high level. Unfortunately, for himself at least, this naturalist became so enthralled by his observations that he neglected his duties and was compelled to relinquish his post as Bector of Spandau. Like many other good men, Sprengel was unable to preserve a strict sense of proportion between the discharge of duties and the attractions of a hobby. It is easy and comforting to make time-tables by which to regulate one's activities : adherence to them is quite another matter. Few men have the strength of mind, the self-control, and the habit of usefully employing odd moments which enabled Lord Avebury to accomplish what he did.
Sprengel was convinced that " the wise Creator of Nature has brought forth not even a single hair without some particular design." This intense belief in teleology —the conviction that there is some purpose underlying every form and every structural detail—was in some degree shared by Lord Avebury. In his Presidential Address at the British Association meeting at York he said: " New glimpses of the truth are gradually revealing themselves; we perceive that there is a reason—and in many cases we know what that reason is—for every difference in form, in size, and in colour; for every bone and every feather, almost for every hair." Sprengel believed that each flower was created in the form in which he saw it: a view, as Lord Avebury said, which prevented him from perceiving the real significance of the
facts that he had discovered, " while the true explanation could hardly have escaped him if he had possessed the higher view of creation which we owe to Mr. Darwin.
Though a firm believer in the scientific -views of his friend Darwin, Lord Avebury shared with Sprengel the conviction that some useful purpose is served by structures that seem to be meaningless. The view which assigns a distinct role for each floral form, each shade of colour, and sees in the darker lines and spots of colour on the lighter ground of a petal guides to insects in search of honey, has less support now than at the time of the publication of Lord Avebury's book. The earlier work of which he gives an admirable summary, and the experimental investigations on the relation of insects to flowers with which the name of Lubbock is associated, paved the way for the more searching experimental methods which are now being employed. In illustration of the more intensive, modern method of studying the relations between flowers and insects reference may be made to the work of Professor Fritz Knoll which is in course of publication by the Zoological-Botanical Society of Vienna. As science advances and brings us nearer to a knowledge of the causes which determine organisation and form, we are apt to belittle the achievements of the pioneers who were influenced by the prevailing opinions of the day. The older faith in teleology has lost much of its force; it is no longer an axiom that every detail, if we only knew it, has a meaning that is purposeful. The enthusiastic naturalist seeking for explanations of the possible utility to an organism of even the most insignificant features was often led to conclusions that are now discarded. While it is important to recognise this, it is equally important to emulate the spirit of devotion shown by the earlier investigators. We may no longer hold the faith they held, but we share with them the desire to discover Nature's laws.
The researches of Darwin and those of many other workers in the same field received full acknowledgment from Lord Avebury. A short glossary of technical terms, wisely placed at the beginning of the book, enables the non-botanical reader to follow with ease the admirably lucid descriptions. In the Introduction the author deals generally with the relations between insects and flowers, and by brief descriptions the student's interest is awakened and he is prepared for the more detailed systematic treatment of the families of Flowering Plants represented in the British Flora. The method adopted is thoroughly sound from an educational point of view. In order to appreciate the meaning of a natural system of classification it is more important to be familiar with the characters of several members of a single family than to acquire a superficial acquaintance with many families. An examination of a series of flowers of plants included in the Buttercup family shows that there is a wide range in colour, in the shape and structure of the flower, and in the degrees in which the floral mechanism exhibits adaptation to different kinds of insects; whether, for example, the honey is accessible to many kinds of visitors or is attainable only by a certain type of insect. There is a striking diversity of plan. combined with constantly recurring features of organisation which are believed to be indicative of descent from a common ancestor. The nectar secreted at the base of the petals of a Buttercup is freely exposed, and may be reached by small and large insects, while in the Larkspur it is produced in long and narrow prolongations of two petals concealed within the spur of a sepal. In Clematis the flowers have no honey and are visited for the sake of the pollen. Moreover, comparison of the many familiar flowers of the Buttercup family shows that the same end is achieved in a great variety of ways: the attractive colour may be in the petals, the sepals, or the stamens;
the position of honey-secreting glands varies considerably ; in some plants the stamens and pistil are mature at the same time and self-pollination is easy, while in others means are adopted for securing cross-fertilisation. The method of presentation followed by Lord Avebury brings out very clearly these and other facts, and encourages readers to make observations for themselves. Much stress is laid on the importance to the plant of cross-pollination, that is, the fertilisation of its female cell through the agency of pollen from other flowers of the same species. Darwin's experiments had led him to express the opinion that Nature abhors perpetual self-fertilisation, and this conclusion was generally accepted. Observations and experiments that have since been made have demonstrated that > in a large number of flowers self-pollination is the rule. As knowledge increases the point of view changes: each generation provides a starting-point for the next. Lord Avebury's main object was to create a wide interest in a fascinating subject, and to encourage naturalists to study flowers in the field as living organisms presenting innumerable problems for solution, and in this he was eminently successful. His descriptions are concise and easy to follow, and, whether or not subsequent research has modified his conclusions, the existence of an intimate relation between insects and flowers which he emphasised is an undoubted fact.
In endeavouring to form a just estimate of the value of the book under consideration we must take into account the part it played nearly half a century ago in providing thousands of readers with a new interest in life and, incidentally, in spreading a sympathetic appreciation of the value of scientific research. " It is not, I think, going too far to say that the true test of civilisation of a nation must now be measured by its progress in science." This opinion, expressed by Lord Avebury, is perhaps more widely accepted now than it was in his day.
National progress in Science is due not only to the sustained efforts of a comparatively small band of investigators; it also depends very largely upon the sympathetic attitude towards scientific methods and aims on the part of the public. One of the greatest services Lord Avebury rendered by his publications was to make plain to the layman the aims and conclusions of specialists, and to show that it is within the capacity of us all to do something to advance natural knowledge.
A paper entitled " Notes on Pollen " read to the Eoyal Microscopical Society in 1912, the last of Lord Avebury's botanical contributions, may be appropriately mentioned in relation to the subject of flowers and insects. The author began by giving a brief account of the development of pollen from the mother-cells within the anther, their subsequent germination on the stigma, and the production of the minute tube which grows—in some flowers it may be a distance of several inches—before reaching its destination and eventually transfers the male sperms to the cells within the ovule and thus effects fertilisation. The author's main object was to give the results of a comparative examination of a large number of plants and to discover whether any conclusions could be drawn with reference to a correlation between the size of the pollen grain and the length of the pistil. For many of the measurements acknowledgment is made to his " excellent assistant," Mr. Eraser. This paper, which has not received the attention it deserves, is one of the few sources available to botanists who desire data on the form and size of pollen.
Fruits and Seeds.
"We all know that seeds and fruits differ greatly in different species. . . . We may be sure that there are good reasons for these differences."
The study of flowers and the methods of pollination naturally led to the consideration of the structures which are the end of reproduction. Avoiding technical terms as far as possible, Lord Avebury explained the series of changes involved in the production of fruits and seeds; he showed how plants provide for their offspring by a legacy of food and by the protection of the germ within the seed. He illustrated, by selected examples, the diverse methods by which fruits and seeds are disseminated, always endeavouring to explain peculiarities of form and structure by reference to the needs and circumstances of the plant. By a comparative treatment of different categories it is shown that the same end is attained by a great variety of means—the brightly coloured hip of the^ Bose, the conspicuous, fleshy, and sharply contrasted fruits of the Mulberry and Plum are familiar examples of edible fruits which owe their dispersal to animal agency and adopt different methods of rendering themselves attractive. In the hip the edible portion is the enlarged urn-shaped axis of the flower; in the Mulberry the small sepals become fleshy and sweet; in the Plum it is the enlarged wall of the carpel. " If seeds and fruits cannot vie with flowers in the brilliance and colour with which they decorate our gardens and our fields, they rival them in the almost infinite variety of the problems they present to us, in the ingenuity, the interest, and the charm of the beautiful contrivances which they offer for our study and admiration."
In the book on "Flowers, Fruits, and Leaves" the last section is devoted to a consideration of the structure and especially the forms of the common every-day leaves of our woods and fields. The intention is to emphasise the marvellous variety in the shapes and sizes of foliage leaves, and to discuss possible explanations. Most people
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By Sib Michael E. Sadlek, K.C.S.I., Master of University College, Oxford.
In his writings on education John Lubbock is of the lineage of John Locke, Joseph Priestley, and Richard Lovell Edgeworth. Like them, he was observant, unsystematic, serene; a diligent teacher of diligence; naturalist and lover of letters; learned but quick to unlearn ; never looking at life through smoked glass. Like theirs, his service to English education was many-sided, stimulating, and fruitful, because his view of the subject was wide, practical, humane. Put together what he wrote about education, trace the threads of his influence, and you find, perhaps a little to your surprise, that on self-culture and on early preparation for the self-culture of later years no English writer of his time is more typical of the progressive and cultivated thought of the Victorian age.
The most characteristic English writing on educational subjects has concerned itself mainly with the aims and methods of self-education and with the choice of the subjects which should be taught to children, especially in early years at home, with a view to what Locke called the conduct of the understanding amid the discipline and the distractions of life. In Montaigne and in Goethe most Englishmen whose thoughts turn to education find something more congenial than in Rollin or Herbart.
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Lord Avebury takes his place in the English tradition. That tradition is attractively unpretentious, racy, idiomatic : but unsystematised, and full of gaps. It has the weakness as well as the safety of being unphilosophical, even deliberately unpbilosophical. And yet, underlying its cheerful stoicism and sturdy distaste for the abstract, there is after all something like a philosophy, toughly rooted in concealed presuppositions. This is true, I think, of the working of Lord Avebury's mind on educational questions. He wrote no systematic treatise on the fundamental principles of education. To an American or Continental compiler of the list of authors who should be included in a Cyclopedia of Education his name might not occur on first thought. Yet he is not only entitled to a place in such a work, but is a representative writer among the Englishmen of his time. His books are full of shrewd and enheartening maxims on educational subjects. The topic was constantly in his mind. He was equipped with special knowledge of many parts of it. What he wrote implied a philosophy, and was coloured by presuppositions lying deep in his mind. The advice which he gave to Everyman came fresh from his own experience. He had felt what he said before he said it. Throughout his life he was busy educating himself. And what had helped him he was happy in asking others to share. For all of us life leaves many fragments of time. Lord Avebury had found that we can gather up the fragments in baskets-full.
In his Parliamentary and other public labours he gave unfatigued attention to educational problems. He seized opportunities, especially on Boyal Commissions, of acquainting himself with what was going forward in elementary and secondary schools and in Universities. He realised, not least from the happy memories of his childhood, how momentous are the issues at stake in the earlier stages of education. Consistently he pleaded the
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claims of physical science to a place in the programme of what is taught. Not less consistently did he lay stress on the importance of training children to observe Nature, to love good books, and to use their mother-tongue with skill and care. He saw the problem of education as a whole, mainly from the standpoint of parents and of those pupils who show energy in self-education. But he did not forget the importance of adjusting the mechanism of school studies to the intellectual and social needs of the rising generation, nor did he overlook the part which the teacher must take in showing us what there is to learn and in keeping before us a high standard of accuracy and thoroughness. It was not, however, on the tightly knotted questions of school-curricula that his attention was fixed. His tastes and experience led him to take a more general view. He preferred to write about education with the freedom of a man of letters and of affairs. He saw the whole wood, not only the thick screen of near trees. But there is a difficult side of school-craft about which he said little.
Lord Avebury addressed his main effort to the task of inculcating a generous doctrine of self-culture and to securing conditions of commercial employment which would give to men and women leisure for study and observation. To him education was not a specialised subject, but one of the chief threads in the web of life. Having overcome a proneness to depression, he had a happy mind and wished others who might suffer from discouragement to learn the secret of serenity. With unflagging industry he had practised self-culture. His opportunities had been of a kind which few men are so fortunate as to enjoy. But he believed that all men and women may find opportunities for self-education if they have eyes to see and the will to use them. Even poverty and ill health, he was glad to think, are no bar to wisdom and serenity of mind. Scant schooling has
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never shut out intelligent and painstaking people from the good things which self-education can give. He liked Gibbon's remark that every one receives two educations : the education which he gets from other people and the education which he gives to himself; and that of the two the second is the more important.
Charles Darwin once wrote to him: " How on earth you find time for all you do is a mystery to me." From boyhood, Lord Avebury had the business man's instinct for not wasting time. The Victorians learnt the value of minutes from knowing the cost of labour in large offices and in factories. The business-like side of Lord Avebury's mind showed itself in thrifty use of moments of leisure, in the power of turning quickly from one subject to another, in guarding himself against waste of nervous energy through impatience at inevitable interruption, in the habit of diligently taking notes as aids to memory, and in trying to get a clear idea of what he was aiming at when he made an effort of the mind. This last habit, which is the habit of a man of business, helped him to define educational aims with a precision not always found in writings on that subject. His other business-like qualities enabled him to accomplish an amount of work which is surprising in its volume and impressive by its variety. But, as happens with many other men of business, his liking for definiteness of aim exposed him to the danger of pigeon-holing some conclusions which, if they had been allowed to float in his mind and even to decompose, might have become a ferment of new thought, coalescing with other ideas in new and suggestive combinations. His mind was acquisitive rather than creative. Quotation from his note-books choked the flow of his own thoughts. As a writer he is at his best when he is least studded with extracts from other men's
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writings. It was in fact his modesty of mind that led him to employ quotation to excess. But also a feeling of gratitude. Great books set fire to his feelings, and he wanted others to warm themselves at the same flame. St. Paul's injunction, "Owe no man anything," made him a little over-punctilious in acknowledging literary obligations. If he had been less business-like in making extracts from what he read, he would have written better books; if he had shut up his extract books, like his old ledgers, he would have given us more of himself.
The tradition of painstaking and of punctuality has made business life the strongest educational influence in the training of many Englishmen. From his youth onwards Lord Avebury was exposed to it, and owed to it much that makes his work impressive and characteristic. But in his nature there was another and very different vein. He had not only system but sensibility. This sensitive, self-questioning, delicately unselfish side of his temperament was the source, not perhaps of his success, but of his power of winning the affection of friends and of gaining what was not far from the affection of countless unknown readers. We feel in his books the spirit of sympathy. It shows itself in his disposition to give encouragement to the discouraged and consolation to the sad. There were two aspects of Lord Avebury's mind; one he had acquired through the discipline of business, but the other drew its beauty from inner goodness and from self-abnegation.
Perhaps we may go so far as to say that in Lord Avebury two temperaments were conjoined, and that what is most characteristic in him came from the blending of two different sets of qualities in one nature. There was tenderness in him, but also a certain hardness. At first sight it might appear that the harder elements were dominant in his temperament. But the most lasting impression which he made, both by his writings and in
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personal intercourse, was due to shy tenderness of heart and mind. Charm is fragrant in what he wrote. The tender side of his inheritance had a more permanent power of imprint than the more masterful side of his nature, which at times seemed to force the other into recession. It may sound like a paradox, but in Lord Avebury, whose most obvious characteristics of mind and habit were markedly masculine, there was a feminine strain of much rarer and more exquisite quality, and it was this which gave the finer values to his feelings and thought. In his writings about education and self-culture there,is something which women, and not men only, feel to be addressed to them and to spring from an experience like their own.
In the first chapter of this book Mrs. Grant Duff describes the background of her father's early life. That background gave colour to his after-thoughts on education. The Edgeworths themselves could not have bettered the training which he received from his mother and father, especially from his mother, during those early years at home. He and his sister grew up like Harry and Lucy in the Edgeworths' tale. John, though allowed to follow his bent, was never for an hour neglected. Freedom and stimulus were combined with observant discipline. He was not five years old before he showed the beginnings of his life-long delight in insects. But he had also to put his mind to mathematics, for which he had no such aptitude, under the direction of his father, who did not possess the mother's skill and tact as a teacher and, though beloved, was the formidable element in that happy and affluent Victorian home. The children were fortunate. Their parents never spoilt them, but could give them the best opportunities for growing up healthy and self-disciplined, versatile, unconceited, and alert. It was one of'those English homes, in the country, but with part of the year
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in London, where the child-study, which we owe to the Edgeworths and ultimately to Pestalozzi and Rousseau, was blended with devout and dutiful Evangelicalism. Of this the nursery handbook was Mrs. Sherwood's "Fairchild Family." A grave but sunny religious atmosphere pervaded the boy's home life. "John is exceedingly fond of flowers, and I expect he will be a botanist," his mother wrote in her diary when the boy was four. She might have added, " I think he may grow up to be a clergyman." Harry Eairchild, if he had had a taste for poetry, might have written John's early verses. They show how fond he was of trees and flowers, but reflect the natural piety which he saw at home. His first effort at composition was a sermon. And when his childish mind raised, as a child's mind will, some of the questions which are the beginnings of metaphysics and philosophy, he found a foothold in his mother's quiet thoughts about the first and last things. Easy circumstances do not breed self-indulgence when those who live in them have in their minds the wide horizon of a great belief.
What Lord Avebury did afterwards for education was influenced, more perhaps than he knew, by these early years of home-training. He was .a born teacher, naturally kind to creatures weaker and younger than himself; affectionate, sensitive, and, though not priggish, disposed to be didactic. He had diligence and a clear mind. His eyes twinkled with merriment and good-humour. But he knew what it means to be lonely and dejected. As a grown man he remembered what a sensitive child feels, and that a whole day may be darkened by an angry word. To the end of his life he was happy with children and took pains to make things interesting and memorable to them, just as his parents had put themselves to trouble for him and had taken him when a tiny boy to see the procession when Queen
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Victoria was crowned. When he in turn became father of a family he was the friend as well as the mentor of his children. It was characteristic of him that he liked what he wrote to be clear enough for them to understand.
In early education, at its best, many large and difficult subjects are held, as it were, in a solution. They are not yet divided, as divided they must be in the school programmes which are designed for pupils of higher age, but must be blended together by the parents' or the teacher's skill. Their influence on mind and character is heightened by the intellectual and moral atmosphere of the home. Partly conscious, but largely environmental, this early education leaves a lasting mark upon thoughts and ideals. Love, with some fear, is the chief ingredient of it; Nature is the second; great books, and the thoughts which are engendered by good books, are third. It is not only the affluent who can enjoy the good things which home-education can give. Narrow means do not necessarily entail narrow minds. Early to learn the beginnings of things, under strict home discipline, but without drudgery and in an atmosphere of family affection, is a privilege which even in angustis rebus a child may enjoy. It was this good early training, this initiation, enriched so far as the pecuniary circumstances of the home allow, but never without a certain measure of austerity, that John Lubbock wanted all children to receive. Par indeed are most of them from receiving it in our day, as they were far in his. But he made it one of the chief labours of his life to smooth the way to their getting it. He thought always of education as first and foremost a parents' question, as something which the parent has to share in giving and to take pains in learning how to give. Thus Lubbock went to the heart of the present-day problem of national education. Perhaps it was his preoccupation with questions of home-training
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and of self-training that caused him, like almost all his contemporaries, to underestimate the magnitude of the problem which the inevitable cost of what we call "national education" has raised for the modern State. That a banker, closely interested in public revenue, should have slurred over in his thoughts the financial aspect of his most cherished reform is singular. His perspective was foreshortened. He was looking further into the future than he knew. His eyes were fixed on a national culture, not on the machinery for education which we hope, however doubtfully, may in the end produce a new national culture. That, if ever it comes, will be a work of art. The art of much of our preliminary educational organisation is at best the art of scaffolding.
No naturalist could have had a better preparation than Lubbock had for the scientific interests of later life. Charles Darwin came to Down when the boy was eight, and was his father's friend. Private school away from home from nine years of age to eleven roughened the lad a little, but gave him his first skill in games and could not extinguish the interests which continued to be fostered during holidays at home. At eleven and a half, Eton, It was, I suppose, the theory of the Eton authorities in those days that, apart from the culture which one may get from Latin and Greek, a boy could learn as much as he needed of arithmetic and foreign languages from private lessons out of regular school-time. In Chapter I, Mrs. Grant Duff has recorded the efforts made by Lubbock's father to get science into the Eton curriculum. His son never forgot his father's concern at this disregard of natural science in public-school education,1 and I remember that, whenever I met Lord Avebury during my
1 Editor's note.—In hia will he left £1,000 to the University of London for an annual prize in Mathematics or Astronomy in memory of his father.
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years of service at "Whitehall, he urged me to do all I could to get some science taught to every boy in the public schools. But Eton days for Lubbock were short. He learnt much there that fitted him to play a man's part among men. But at fifteen years of age he was hard at work in the family Bank.
And now began the years of discipline and hard experience which tempered the steel in his character. The work which he achieved in later years for English education could never have been done as he did it but for the stern lessons of this apprenticeship to life. Enough is known of his inner trials, during years which to outward seeming must have looked gay and even debonair, for us to complete the picture of his training. As a youth, on the days when he had not to drive up to London to duties in the Bank, he worked hard, almost incredibly hard, at self-culture. There has been preserved a timetable of his plan of private studies, a mosaic of diligent and diversified application, which would have won praise from Dr. Smiles. He rose early and read hard before breakfast; gave his morning to natural science; his early afternoon to exercise; came back for political economy, followed by the relief of more science; and during an apparently dinnerless evening, broken by a game of whist, found time for patches of history, for mathematics, and, when his eyes were heavy with sleep, for German—which kept him awake. Thrifty use of his time Lubbock learnt at the Bank. Unlike almost every youth of his age, he set himself a standard of improbus labor during years when he might easily have become satisfied with doing what was required of him in his father's business. He had grown out of early delicacy, and had the physique for unremitting mental labour at a time of life when habits of industry or of slack-mindedness are chiefly formed.
What strikes one in this time-table of Lubbock's adolescent studies is the place given to religious reading.
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The home atmosphere had taught him piety. But a new and penetrating influence had come into Down. This was the influence of Charles Darwin. Darwin liked the lad; discerned, as well he might, his great abilities; and made him a friend. Lubbock's love of Natural History was a bond between them and a firm foundation for friendship. Intimacy with Darwin was the crown of the young man's education. Darwin taught him method. What had been amateurish in Lubbock's standards changed into something much greater under the influence of Darwin's talk and example. He came under the spell of Darwin's mind. Imperceptibly but inevitably he saw things in a new light. Some of the formulas in which his religious intuitions had found expression, some of the doctrines of his strong religious faith, evidently began to seem too narrow for the facts. The sheath was falling away : his inner spiritual life burst the bonds of its first protective envelope: and Lubbock felt bare and lonely. There seems to have been no sudden crisis. Pascal's experience was not Lubbock's. Nor are there signs of the anguish which Arthur Clough suffered when he, like Lubbock, found the old formulas fading away from the unfading wish to believe. But quietly and irresistibly the change came in Lubbock's mind, and he was lonely.
He had the happiness, however, of knowing not Darwin only, but Darwin's friends. Their cordiality and courage saved him from depression and drew him into a circle full of eager life and fired with intellectual adventure. Lubbock found himself one of the bodyguard of Darwinism. Staunch with the staunchness of Huxley, he stood up against all who attacked what he knew to be true. The soldier-like instinct, the courage in defending unpopular conviction, which had been one of the marks of the Evangelical leaders, showed itself in his loyalty to Darwinism in the days of its unpopularity. Thus one of the deepest needs of his religious nature
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was satisfied by a cause which seemed to most of his contemporaries to be in conflict with revealed religion.
One of the most useful things which Lord Avebury did in his writings on education was to state what in his judgment we should aim at in each of its successive stages and as its final outcome.
"What qualities," he asks, "are essential for the perfecting of a human being ? A cool head, a warm heart, a sound judgment, and a healthy body. Without a cool bead we are apt to form hasty conclusions; without a warm heart we are sure to be selfish; without a sound body we can do but little; while even the best intentions without sound judgment may do more harm than good." 1
A platitude, you say. Well, what else than a platitude was Locke's definition of the aim of education as Mens sana in corpore sano ? It had been said before, but Locke's saying it again, with a mass of shrewd argument in support of it, fixed a new ideal on English education. Truisms, when timely, are to the point.
On what should be achieved by the education of a boy or girl up to fourteen years of age, he accepts as reasonable the description given by his great friend, Sir M. E. Grant Duff. The pupil should be able " to read aloud clearly and agreeably, and to write a large distinct round hand, and should know the ordinary rules of arithmetic, especially compound addition; should be able to speak French with ease and correctness, and should have some slight acquaintance with French literature; should be able to translate ad aperturam libri from an ordinary French and German book; should have a thoroughly good elementary knowledge of geography; under which are comprehended some notions of astronomy; should have a knowledge of the very broadest facts of geology 1 " The Use of Life," p. 53.
SIR JOHN LUBBOCK From a Drawing by George Richmond, B.A., 1HG7
THE LIFE-WORK OF LORD AVEBURY
(SIR JOHN LUBBOCK)
COMPRISING ESSAYS BY
Sir BERNARD MALLET, K.C.B.
Sir ARTHUR KEITH, F.R.S.
Dr. A. SMITH WOODWARD, LL.D., F.R.S.
Professor J. ARTHUR THOMSON, LL.D.
H. ST. J. K. DONISTHORPE, F.E.S., F.Z.S.
Dr. A. C. SEWARD, F.R.S.
Sir MICHAEL BfSADLER, K.C.S.I.
EDITED BY HIS DAUGHTER
The Hon. Mrs. ADRIAN GRANT DUFF
London: WATTS & CO.,
JOHNSON'S COURT, FLEET STREET, E.O. 1924
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