Address to Salters' Company

Nature (November 1883)

[63] Prof. Huxley and Sir Joseph Hooker having been elected members of the Salters' Company, were present at a dinner given by the Company on Tuesday evening, and both took praiseworthy advantage of the opportunity to remind our "City men" of some wholesome truths. Prof. Huxley said he had no doubt that an immense field of usefulness lay open for the Guilds and the Corporation of London. Happily it was a field which was not altogether unploughed, and one in which the road had been practically shown towards doing an immense amount of good. He wished to express an opinion which he had formed with great care, and which he uttered with a full sense of responsibility, that the work which had been undertaken in the name of the City and Guilds of London, and which had at present resulted in the foundation of an institute for technical education, was one of the greatest works, if properly comprehended, which had ever been taken in hand, whether they viewed it with reference to the commercial prosperity of the country, to its social organisation, or to the preservation of the condition of political equilibrium; for at the present time the wealth and prosperity of the country were a cloud generated out of the application of physical science, and taking that science away the cloud would vanish like any other baseless fabric of a vision. The future predominance of the commercial power of England depended upon whether its merchants had the wisdom to appreciate the gifts which science gave them. If, however, these elements were disregarded, London would perish as surely as Carthage. The social state and the preservation of the condition of political equilibrium depended, he argued, upon a proper knowledge of science. The institution to which he had referred provided for all those requirements, and it was one of the greatest privileges of the office which he at present held that he should be associated with those engaged in the organisation of this system, and who, he trusted, would carry on the enterprise to a successful conclusion.


C. Blinderman & D. Joyce
Clark University