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It does appears to us, therefore, that the Professors to whom we have been alluding, are, in almost every particular, on a level with the clergy of New England, and that in some they have the advantage of them. If then, as we believe is the case, a salary of a thousand dollars is the highest, with very few exceptions, received by any clergyman out of the metropolis, certainly it would appear that seventeen hundred ought to be regarded as too great for a Professor.
On the other hand, we are ready to admit, that great difficulties present themselves in the way of any alteration of these salaries. "One false step," says the proverb, “costs many;" and some false steps were taken a good while since, the consequences of which it may be found difficult to repair. In the first place, with regard to the present incumbents. These gentlemen have enjoyed their incomes for a considerable period. They have learned to consider them necessary. They have, in fact, become necessary to their comfort. There is no doubt that they would have discharged their duties as well, have been as rich, and as happy with smaller salaries, as they have been with the present ones; but there is a great difference between always conforming to a small income and being reduced to it after enjoying a larger. It was not their fault, that they have at times desired an increase of salary, Such desires are incident alike to the drudge and the philosopher. It is not their fault that they have received it. They have no control over the funds. If our principle be correct, that the salaries are too large, it was an error of the superior boards of the College to make them so.
There is another and we think a weighty reason against any diminution of the salaries of actual incumbents. We spoke above of the permanent character of these salaries. And this character ought to belong to them. Devotion to literature is of all things most apt to render a man helpless in regard to the cares and competition of society. Fluctuations of incomes, therefore, are likely to be highly injurious to them, and any principle, which recognises the propriety of fluctuations, ought to be discountenanced. And though it may seem at first sight paradoxical, it is obvious, upon reflection, that one of the strongest reasons for considering the present salaries too high, is equally strong against diminishing them in the case of actual incumbents.
But the College lives forever, it may be said, and the evil may be repaired in the case of future incumbents. But
another false step has thrown impediments in the way of this measure. From the notion of the necessity of a certain amount of salary, the capital in some of the professorships has been allowed to accumulate till the income amounts nearly to the present full salary of a Professor. This salary, therefore, can never be diminished, but, on the contrary, must increase with every vacancy. Further,-it has long bcen recognised as a general principle, that all the salaries should be equal, and this principle appears plausible, since there seems an injustice in bringing together gentlemen of equal or nearly equal standing in society, with labours not excessively different in amount, compelling them to a similar style of living, which follows almost necessarily from their situation, and furnishing them with incomes so utterly different as those of the several foundations. But if you go out of the limits marked by these incomes, it is clearly a matter of great difficulty to draw any line which will be just and satisfactory.
The principle, however, of equal salaries, although plausible, we think, on the whole, erroneous, and that this will appear by carrying it out to its consequences. Suppose, for instance, that by frequent vacancies or other delays, in process of time the income of a foundation should become an extravagant one, and that to a great degree,-it is surely a possible case,would it be expedient to raise the others to the same amount? We think not; and that the principle, therefore, is not well founded. Again,—the fair question respecting the amount of salary is not what may be thought just and sufficient for any present incumbent accustomed to a situation, and unwilling to break old habits and associations, and relinquish a place which time and circumstances have endeared. The fair amount is that, which will induce gentlemen well qualified for the place, and fully apprised of its advantages and disadvantages, to accept it. A man may have other sources of income; he may perceive that the situation will enable him to obtain additions to his regular salary. A Professorship that does not offer much value, may offer much time, and this may, in his views, be an equivalent. Or he may have few wants, or be an habitual economist; in short, many reasons may induce some to accept a lower salary, with a full view and complete knowledge of the duties which it will require. There would be no injustice nor hardship, therefore, in confining him to this salary, provided no remarkable and unforeseen changes in the circumstances of the country or the College should render it
so. It is obvious that reasoning in many respects similar will apply to the Presidential salary.
To return to the amount of the several salaries of the Resident Professors. No considerable saving in this particular appears easy by a reduction of individual incomes, except a small one, of the sum paid for the duties of Registrar and Inspector of public buildings. These duties, from the Report, do not seem to be considerable, and might be imposed upon some of the officers without any increase of their income. It further appears, that the amount of duty is not the same in every Professorship. If $1700, therefore, be sufficient for those who perform the greatest amount of duty, it is clearly unequal to give the same to those who perform less; and though objections would arise, as we have already stated, to diminishing their income, there can be none to giving them additional duties, especially when they are not great. On the other hand, those who are deprived of the small addition of salary, are in some degree recompensed by the addition to their leisure. This, however, is not very important in fact, as the whole income of both offices is but $300. Another change is much more important, while it affects the income of none. One Professorship is now and another will be vacant in a few months. These are both well endowed, though neither of them is adequate to the support of a Professor without the additional appropriation of large sums from those monies which are at the free disposal of the Corporation. moting, therefore, if we may use the word without offence, two College Professors * in the same branches to these vacant Professorships, there will be a clear saving to the College of a very large proportion of the salaries now enjoyed by these gentlemen, which amount together to $3400; and a consequent diminution of the yearly amount assessed upon the scholars.
[To be continued.]
* By a "College Professor," we mean one who is supported exclusively by appropriations from the income of those donations, which have been made to the coljege, without conditions restricting the discretion of the Corporation as to their expenditure.
Lectures on Geology, being Outlines of the Science, delivered in
the New York Atheneum, in the year 1825. By JER. VAN RENSSELAER, M. D. &c. New York. 1825. i vol. 8vo.
Popular lectures, as they have been styled, have been viewed as well calculated to excite a taste in the community for scientific acquirements, and as one of the best means of imparting instruction to those, whose professional, commercial, or other occupations leave them but few and limited portions of time to devote to such pursuits. But we have often thought that the beneficial effects of most lectures of this kind have been overrated—that they have had in some instances an opposite effect, arising from the manner in which they have been got up, or in which they have been conducted and attended.
A large proportion of those who attend a course of instructions of this kind, cannot apply themselves to close investigations, or follow up the various subjects at their leisure. The impressions, with which they leave the lecture room, are in general the strongest, and sometimes the only ones they receive. Under these circumstances it becomes doubly incumbent on the governors or founders of institutions for the promotion of literature and science, to be influenced in their selection of teachers, by a spirit of impartiality, and a full conviction of the capability of those who are to make these first and strongest impressions. A spirit of candour and sincerity,--a deep love of his subject,-an ardour and zeal that shall never tire,-a thorough acquaintance with all that has been done by others,-a facility in selecting and compressing all that constitutes the foundations of his science,-a sound and impartial judgment of what is to be rejected or deemed irrelevant or uncertain,--a simple, intelligible, familiar, yet accurate method of conveying his knowledge to others ;-all will acknowledge these to have a greater influence than the most perfect facility of copying from others,-of quoting from the poets,—or of talking about the glorious orb of day.” Far be from us to decide which of the qualifications we have hinted at influenced the choice of the author of this book, as lecturer on an important branch of science in the New York Atheneum.
Although some of the objections, which have been made to “popular lectures,” are well founded, we are not disposed
to concede that the imperfect views, which they give, and the superficial knowledge which they often impart, are obstacles to the progress of science and general improvement. If the larger proportion of an audience repair to the lecture room, some to pass away an hour which would otherwise hang heavy on their hands; some for the mere gratification of curiosity, by the sight of brilliant experiments, beautiful minerals, or ingenious models of machinery ;-while a few, perhaps, are led thither in compliance with the reigning fashion ; still we believe that much real benefit may result to society at large from the patronage and countenance of even this class of auditors. It may happen that by some happy illustration the slumbering spark of genius is unexpectedly kindled; some future Watt, or Arkwright, or Davy starts in his career; and who can estimate the new sources of power, the great mechanical improvements, or the unknown means of individual and national wealth, which may result.
But it is unnecessary to enlarge on these points ; it is sufficiently obvious, that the value and usefulness of popular lectures must depend on the ability and zeal of the teacher. When these are directed by the wisdom and sustained by the eountenance and patronage of a great public institution, their results come to us with superior claims to attention and respect. It was, therefore, with high expectations that we took up the Lectures on Geology delivered at the New York Atheneum.
It has been fashionable to speak of geology as a new ścience; and every writer has endeavoured to convince his readers that he has contributed something to its development and progress, though not always with success. Professor Cleaveland has given, at the end of his most excellent treatise on Mineralogy, an epitome of Geology, a science the object of which he there informs us, is “to ascertain the arrangement and mutual actions of the solid, fluid, and aeriform materials of the carth.” The first edition of this work was published in the year 1816. It was immediately introduced into very general use ; and from it, probably, most of our now numerous geologists derived their first notions of the science. Prior to this time, however, we find in Europe many treatises on Geology, and the third volume of Professor Jameson's Mineralogy, published in 1808, is wholly devoted to this subject. But this, as well as the various French treatises upon the subject which had been published, were before almost unknown among us.
Within a few years, however, they have