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Frederick); and William II. wrote him an autograph letter of congratulation on his seventieth birthday. This anniversary gave the signal for a demonstration with few parallels in professorial annals. Learned societies showered distinctions upon him ; diplomas arrived by the dozen; addresses were voted, panegyrics recited. A Helmholtz medal was struck, and awarded to him as the leader and exemplar of future recipients. Oratory and a banquet emphasised the celebration, and his bust by Hildebrand was unveiled amid enthusiastic plaudits. It was a national festival. Yet the Hochs ! of the Fatherland only led a chorus of applause that re-echoed 'from Tomsk to Melbourne.' Foreign potentates sent insignia
; appreciations were published in foreign languages; Berlin was crowded with foreign emissaries, the representatives of kings, academies, and universities.
The hero was worthy of the ovation: not only for what he had done, but for the way in which he had done it. His name is connected with no acerbities of controversy ; he did his best in serene superiority to questions of priority, or the possibility of national emulations. His acquaintance was an education. Many, in coming to know him, inust have sub-consciously experienced the truth of what he said, recalling the effect of his own introduction, in early youth, to Johannes Müller : “ Contact with a man of the first order • alters for life the entire scale of intellectual conception.' Entirely without pretension, he was impressive through innate nobility and strength. None could take him for less than he was.
. Rather above the middle stature,' Dr. M‘Kendrick writes,* 'he bad a firm, erect frame. His splendid head was well thrown back, so that his posture was always sure to command attention. The shape of the head was perfect, broad between the eyes, but not out of proportion. The eyes were full of intelligence, not so brilliant as deep and reflective. They often had that far-away look so conspicuous in thinkers, as if the soul were away on its own quest. His manner was dignified, almost to coldness, but it was at the same time courteous. It is said that he had occasionally a peculiar look that caused a shallow man to stop asking questions, and to feel his own unworthiness. With those who were truly in earnest he would take infinite pains to explain, listen to suggestions, and remove difficulties. Reserve was his habitual attitude. To his favourite students, and in the circle of his own friends, there was always the charm of a great personality.
* H. F. L. von Helmholtz, p. 283.
At Leipzig in 1872, during a performance of Mendelssohn's music to A Midsummer Night's Dream,' Dr. MʻKendrick first caught sight of him. He noticed near the orchestra a head of splendid proportions, with a rapt expression in the eyes as the fairy strains floated through the Gewandhaus. That must be Helmholtz!' he thought. And it was. A few days later, he was received by him in his laboratory,
Helmholtz attended the Edinburgh meeting of the British Association in 1892, and presided over the International Electrical Congress at Chicago in 1893. This was his last excursion. On the homeward voyage he was seized with giddiness, and fell down the cabin-stairs. Concussion of the brain resulted, from which he never thoroughly recovered. The work that had been his delight became a weariness ; apoplexy supervened, and he died September 8, 1894, aged seventy-three. His head, examined by Professor Hausemann, proved to be 59 centimetres in circumference. That is to say, it was smaller than Wagner's, considerably larger than Darwin's, and about the size of Bismarck's. The brain weighed 1,700 grammes, or 100 grammes more than the average.
Helmholtz was indefatigable in self-criticism and selfcorrection. Some parts of his memoirs were re-written five or six times before he could be content to let them leave his hands. Nor were his discoveries easily attained. He took his turn in the treadmill of patient toil, waiting for illuminations often long delayed. But who,' he asked,* can count
or measure such mental flashes ? Who can follow the 'hidden tracts by which conceptions are connected ?' Nevertheless, he was characteristically attentive to the mode of their arrival.
Lucky ideas,' he said, often steal into the line of thought without their importance being at first understood ; then afterwards some accidental circumstance shows how and under what conditions they originated; they are present, otherwise, without our knowing whence they came. In other cases they occur suddenly, without exertion, like an inspiration. As far as my experience goes, they never come at the desk, or to a tired brain, but often on waking in the morning, or when ascending woody hills in sunny weather. The smallest quantity of alcoholic drink,' he added, seemed to frighten them away.'
His vigour was not of the intellect alone. In the moral
Autobiographical Sketch,' Popular Lectures on Scientific Subjects, series ii. p. 283.
order, too, he recognised the supreme necessity for struggle and self-conquest. He pursued, of set purpose, ideal aims. He was noble, not by casual impulse, but because he deliberately chose to sacrifice petty instincts to an ever"lastingly sacred' highest good.
Three representative figures stand out as the chief agents in the revolutionary progress of physical science during the second half of the nineteenth century. They are those of Clerk Maxwell, Helmholtz, and Lord Kelvin. All bore the stamp of universality distinctive of greatness. They had the largest qualifications, but they could not be specialists. In each, experimental sagacity was allied to great mathematical power; and hence their continuation of what Faraday had begun had a sureness and authority to which the results obtained by Faraday's own initiatory efforts could lay no claim. The
The upshot was to change essentially the prevalent conception of nature and of natural forces. A more plastic idea of the universe came to be entertained. Let us explain. Attention is now less concentrated on matter as such than formerly. Its relations to the medium occupy the foreground of thought. That medium-the ·luminiferous ether' looked askance at until the other dayat present fascinates and defies investigators. It links the world together; it is the common vehicle of energy. It is conspicuous to the mind, while elusive to the senses. Its negative properties are no less enigmatical than its positive attributes. The possibility, however, is dawning upon many minds that it may be the very bed-rock of creation. Let “there be Light!' implied an antecedent ‘Let there be ether!' visible things bodying themselves forth, at the word, from the invisible. Hence the significance of the vortex-atom' hypothesis, the author of which, we are happy to think, is still at hand to help on its future developement. That it symbolises a verity, rather than states a fact, must be our present verdict upon it; yet it is more than a beautiful concept of the scientific imagination. It is symptomatic of the modern tendency to establish unity, to detect continuity, to educe one order of things from another. Thus the principle of the transformation of energy has acted like a leaven on the whole mass of knowledge, levelling barriers, widening prospects, and preparing the way for more radical changes and more extensive generalisations. And each premonition of a higher unity in the world of phenomena cannot but serve as an approximation to that Supreme Unity which is hidden behind phenomena as the abiding Truth.
ART. VI.-1. Report from the Joint Select Committee of
the House of Lords and the House of Commons on Municipal
Trading. London: 1900. 2. Journal of the Society of Arts. Vol. xlvii. London:
George Bell & Sons, 1899. 3. Municipal Finance and Municipal Enterprise. The
annual address of the Right Hon. Sir HENRY HARTLEY
FOWLER, President of the Royal Statistical Society. 4. Municipal Government in Continental Europe. By ALFRED
SHAW. New York: The Century Company, 1897. IT T is to be regretted that the Parliamentary Committee
on Municipal Trading were unable to conclude their la bours before the end of the last Session of Parliament, and were only in a position to report the minutes of evidence taken before them and recommend their reappointment next year. The Committee was a joint Committee of both Houses of the Legislature, a body which has been growing, and rightly growing, in favour in recent years, and has become recognised as a weighty tribunal capable of expressing a mature and well-balanced opinion of the Legislature upon any question submitted to it. The Committee in this instance was a strong one.
Lord Crewe presided ; and no one who reads the evidence carefully can fail to appreciate the care and the intelligence which he bestowed on the examination of the important witnesses who came before him. The other members of the House of Lords were Lords Hampden, Peel, Windsor, and Rothschild, all of whom have proved business capacity in varying spheres of useful public work. The members appointed by the House of Commons were Sir Leonard Lyall (for whom was later substituted Sir William Dunn), Sir Walter Foster, Mr. Grant Lawson, Mr. Lewis Fry, and Mr. Hobhouse, men of experience and mark, forming with their colleagues a tribunal well able to take a broad and philosophic as well as a practical view of a question involving considerations of principle as well as detail, and of usefully influencing Parliamentary procedure in a matter of much interest both to our great municipalities and to the public at large.
The appointment of the Committee was at one time opposed, and in many quarters bas been condemned, as pointing to a disposition on the part of the Legislature to mistrust and check municipal enterprise. We do not think this view well founded. Neither House has shown, nor is
there to be found in the evidence of the departmental officers examined before the Committee, any desire to hinder the legitimate growth of the work of great local corporations. On the contrary, more than one opinion was expressed by witnesses, competent to form a judgement, of the ability with which affairs properly entrusted to municipal councils are conducted. The appointment of the Committee was more probably due to a feeling that Parliament required some guidance from within as regards a somewhat rapid extension of the matters with which corporations and some councils seek to deal within their own area, and as regards the conditions under which these bodies should be allowed and encouraged to operate without their own area.
The truth is that Parliament and the country are proud of our system of local government, and have confidence in those who conduct it. But both also appreciate the immense debt which is owed to individual enterprise and the importance of doing nothing to impair its opportunities. Great as have been the services of State bodies, whether central or local, our civilisation and our national well-being have been largely helped by the energy and resource of private persons, and it would be an evil policy to discourage the investment of British capital in local concerns.
The extreme advocates of Socialism may indeed say, and probably really think, that the State can do everything better than the individual, and base their policy chiefly on the argument that the State has no private interests to serve, no shareholders to consider. But, on the other hand, Socialism has all the disadvantages inherent in monopolies, and there is ample room for the work of both elective bodies and of individuals acting alone or in partnership. The problem to be solved is how best each can be made to help the other. And to this solution the joint Committee may be relied on, when it finally reports, to afford a valuable contribution. Meanwhile we propose to consider how far any distinguishing line can be drawn between those matters which can best be entrusted to municipalities and those which may safely be left to private enterprise, and whether there are any conditions which may properly be imposed on either in the general interests of the community.
The raison d'étre of municipal authority is the need of good management of provincial areas in matters outside the province of the central government. Thus the administration of local justice, including police; the care of the public health of the district; the provision and management of