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were begun at the same date scientific treatisés, but were of national as those of Richard Owen. At inter- importance. He was one of the Comvals he has paid visits to the old country, mission on the Health of Towns, and a and we welcomed him in our office only second Commission on the Health of a few years since. He was one of the Metropolis. Many results followed Owen's oldest friends.
the reports of these commissions, as Born on July 20, 1804, Richard Owen well as that on the meat supply of in early life entered the navy ; but London, which led to the removal of when peace came, in 1814, the hopes old Smithfield Market, and the new of advancement for the youthful middy centres of supply, with other public were clouded. He returned to school, and sanitary movements. He worked and in due time studied medicine under in this cause along with the late Sir a'surgeon at Lancaster, his native town. Edwin Chadwick, and Sir Lyon (now Thence he went to Edinburgh, where Lord) Playfair. He was one of the be studied for two years; and going to commissioners for the Great ExhibiLondon lie was a pupil of the famous tion of 1851. But his greatest public Dr. Abernethy, who quickly recognized service most would consider to be the the genius and noted the industry of establishment of the Natural History the young anatomist. After spending Museum at Cromwell Road, South Kensome time at Paris, studying compara- sington. tive anatomy under Cuvier, then at the In 1881 Professor Owen attended the zenith of his fame, he returned to jubilee meeting of the British AssociaLondon, and was recommended by lion at York. He had been president Abernethy to assist Mr. William Clift, of the association at the Leeds meeting F.R.S., then engaged in sorting and in 1858. · The only survivors of the cataloguing the collections of John illustrious presidents of the first twentyHunter, which had been purchased by five meetings, at the York jubilee, were government and transferred to the Mu- Airy, at Ipswich in 1851, and the Duke seum of the Royal College of Surgeons. of Argyll, at Glasgow in 1855. Almost In 1853 he married Miss Clift, the all the early members had passed away, daughter of his predecessor as con- and it was pleasant to see Owen at servator of the Museum, and she shared York, one of the last veterans of the for many a year the delights of the “Old Guard.” We saw him during lovely home which he soon after re- the days of the meeting, and on the ceived by royal kindness in Richmond Sunday, in the grand cathedral, he was Park. The use of this house, Sheen among the crowded audience who lisLodge, is, we understand, continued to tened to the admirable sermon preached Sir Richard's daughter-in-law during by Dr. Fraser, the Bishop of Manchesher life.
ter. During all the period of his duties as
In the business of the meeting he conservator of the Museum, and subse- presided Section D (zoology), quently when appointed Hunterian pro- selecting as the topic of his opening fessor at the College of Surgeons, address, “ The Genesis of the Natural Fullerian lecturer at the Royal Institu- History Museum at South Kensington,' tion, professor of paleontology at the a subject which has occupied his attenRoyal School of Mines, and finally tion for a quarter of a century, with superintendent of the natural history very beneficial results to the nation collections in the British Museum, an and to science. office expressly created for him by the The transference of the national biourgent wish of Prince Albert, and his logical collections from Great Russell influence with the trustees, scarcely a Street to South Kensington was one of jear passed without the appearance of the chief public services of his life. It original works on a great variety of was a long and arduous task to accomsubjects.
plish this, which now seems so natural Some of these were more than mere' and necessary a movement.
moval of these collections from the pressing her delight and sense of wonover-crowded galleries of the old British der. Madam,” the professor replied, Museum had been often urged by the speaking with reverence and emotion, trustees, and resisted by the government " it is a temple where everything on economical grounds. After many speaks of the glory of the Lord.” adverse votes, year after year, Sir Rich- He had proclaimed the same sentiard Owen at length succeeded in getting ments forty years ago, iu a popular the assent of the House of Commons lecture delivered before the Young to the purchase of the land, and the Men's Christian Association, at Exeter erection of the Museum, at South Hall, giving a lucid exposition of some Kensington. He had been appointed natural history facts, yet also animated superintendent of the natural history throughout by the reverent spirit of department in the old Museum as long the religious philosopher. An anecdote ago as 1856. Not till 1871 was the first was told in the Times by a clergyman grant towards the building of the new who said he had met the professor at Museum voted by Parliament. Owen dinner thirty years before, and was imlived to see the completion of the new pressed with the kind trouble taken by house, and he soon after retired, and the learned man to give information, resigned his appointment in 1883. and to reply to inquiries made by him,
In his last official year, while occupy- then only a young curate, on the sciening the position of superintendent of tific question in which he was internatural history in the old Museum, he ested. On rising to leave the table, le was indefatigable in every variety of added as a last remark, “But after all, useful service. Men of science of all what is the greatest of these discovclasses sought his aid and his counsel, eries compared with the simplest truth and many a traveller was urged by him which you are teaching your poor peoto send objects of interest, and taught ple from day to day ?” It was the how to collect and preserve them. He thought and word of a true Christian gave lectures to scientific students, and philosopher. on Saturday afternoons to working men. In Richard Owen there passed away We can see him, big bone in hand, his one of the line of the truly great men tall frame and broad shoulders domi- of science who have maintained the nating the crowd, and his kindly face harmony of the works of nature and the beaming with intellect, as he sketched words of revelation. Sir Isaac Newton the structure and habits of the extinct was the leader of this band, wisest inanimal of which it once formed a part, terpreter of God's works, and reverent and carrying the eager and interested student of God's word. Herschel and circle of listeners with him as he told Dalton, Brewster and Faraday, Sedgthe story of the earth's inhabitants be- wick and Forbes, were among the many fore man lived on its surface. He was who kept up the “philosophical succesby nature a raconteur, and he knew sion,” in days before the “ eclipse of how to bring his marvellous store of faith,” in our age of agnosticism, unscientific experience to the level of a belief, and materialism. Nevertheless, popular audience.
to see and to adore God in nature is He delighted in arranging and dis- still the position of the highest men in playing the
treasures of biological science. Owen, the pupil of Cuvier, science for which he had at length ob- held the same views, and never stooped tained a new and worthy home. Once to depreciate the “argument from dewhen he had shown a party of distin- sign” as taught by Paley, and by the guished visitors through the Museum, authors of the Bridgwater Treatises, introducing them to the different gal- such as Whewell, Chalmers, and Sir leries, and pointing out their contents Charles Bell. Lord Kelvin and Sir and intended purposes, an American George Stokes need alone be named lady exclaimed, "Why, it is just like a among the living representatives of cathedral,” thus characteristically excl. the old school,” of which Sir Richard
Owen was a noble example. He re- i when we consider that these stonemained to the last ever a humble, mod- masses would have to slide down into est, and devout searcher after truth in their position. With a greater inclinaevery department, while so many were. tion it would have been difficult to mistaking theories about material things guide the blocks in their descent, and for true wisdom and philosophy. Here with a less it would have been difficult is the concluding paragraph of his work to move them. The great masses are on the “Homologies of the Vertebrate accurately hewn just to fill and to fit Skeleton." “In every species ends into the mouth of the passage, so as to are obtained, and the interests of the bar unauthorized access to the royal animal promoted, in a way that indi- tomb." “ His must be a cold nature, cates superior design, intelligence, and says the professor, “who can view unforethought, in which the judgment and moved all these constructions and conreflection of the animal never were con- trivances, majestic in their seeming cerned, and which, therefore, we must simplicity." ascribe to the “Sovereign? of the uni- “The beginning of that civilization, verse, in whom we live and move and he goes on to say, " which bad culmihave our being.”
nated in a creed, a ritual, a priesthood, So much has been said about his re- in convictions of a future life and judgsearches in anatomy and natural history, ment, of the resurrection of the body, that we prefer to mention here papers with the resulting instinct of its preser
“ The Antiquity of Egyptian Civil- vation an instinct in which kings ization,” written for the Leisure Hour, alone could indulge to the height of a one object of which was to correct Pyramid, these are not the signs of an the received opinion that the building incipient civilization.” of the Great Pyramids marked the In a letter to the editor of the Leisure beginning of Egyptian civilization. Pro- Hour, dated May 10, 1876, he says : fessor Owen showed from their construction that evidences existed of
| There are about one hundred pyramids skilled systematic quarrying operations, orientated, and in the main built on the
more or less recognizably preserved - all displaying, as Sir John Hawkshaw, the intention of resisting time and conserving celebrated engineer, president of the the carcase within other intention can British Association, said, “a degree of now be logically inferred from the whole perfection in all the different branches premisses. Cheops' happens to be the of the art of construction." The lime- largest, the next to it, Cephrenes', is the stone, of finer texture than the rude, best preserved. If a man were to moon nummulitic limestone of which the about the relations of present measures to Sphinx was formed, was brought from old cubits, etc., he might work out an inthe Arabian bank of the Nile, and con- tention differing from that he would sink
into from the like work on Cheops' Pyraveyed skilfully to the opposite or Libyan
mid. shore. The red granite, or Syenite,
The Hebrews were not a nation when was brought from Syene or Assouan, Cheops reigned, any more than the Assyrand shaped by art such as has never ians, but were wandering, fighting, and since been seen in Egypt, under Roman groping their way thereto, the which was or Mohammedan rule. The highest taught them by the wholesome discipline order of scientific skill, both in engi- they received, when made slave-hunting neering and architecture, are apparent. grounds by Thotmes and others, who capThe director-general of the Ordnance tured gangs and brought them to Egypt, Survey, Major - General Sir
Sir Henry whence returned slaves introduced some of James, in his notes on the Great Pyra- the light they got from their task-masters. mid in 1869, as quoted by Owen, re- Solomon, contemporary of Sheshouk, shows
the development of the Hebrews as a Nation. marks of the passages or galleries in the
- Yours sincerely,
RD. Owen. interior of the Pyramid, that their inclination, which is just the angle The allusions are to discussions about of rest,' is particularly well chosen, the antiquity of Egyptian civilization,
which was far anterior to the time of and truthful pictures of Egypt in the beauthe Hebrews as a nation. Whether tiful book you have so kindly sent, I said I this early knowledge of art and science, think I can manage my egg this morning,
and she was comforted. and the possession of knowledge of a
Very truly yours, higher sort- 16 all the knowledge of the
RD. OWEN. Egyptians," such as Moses is said to have possessed — whether this was the
Sir Richard had an only son,
who relic of primitive truths conveyed to predeceased him ; but his declining Egypt by those who migrated from the
years, after this sad amiction, were earlier settlements of divinely taught comforted by the devoted care of his men"; or whether it arose by a develop- daughter-in-law, Mrs. William Owen, ment,, necessarily slow, and requiring and the bright presence of his grandcountless ages to achieve, – these are
children. discussions requiring larger light and
We had almost forgotten to mention more perfect exploration. Owen was that Sir Richard Owen possessed nearly ever prepared to seek truth, free from
every honor and distinction which it every prepossession. Accepted inter
was possible for a man of eminence in pretations of Scripture may have to be science to have. The Royal and the modified, when read in the light of nat- Copley medals of the Royal Society, ural science and inquiry ; but a true the Wollaston medal of the Linnean; philosopher, as Owen was, never can the honorary fellowship or membership lose hold of the revelations of divine of almost every English or foreign truth on matters above and beyond the learned society; the highest degrees domain of physical research.
of the Universities of Oxford, CamIn a note written March 12, 1878, bridge, Edinburgh ; Orders of Merit and referring to a brief memoir of Robert Crosses of Honor from all the chief Were Fox, F.R.S., which had appeared courts and nations in the civilized world. in the Leisure Hour, he says : “This The C.B. conferred in 1872, followed notice of a most esteemed and very old by the K.C.B., most gratified his loyal Cornish friend, Robert Were Fox, I and patriotic spirit. keep as a cherished memorial of a true
Since this was written, the meeting Christian mau." Those who knew
at the rooms of the Royal Society, Robert Fox of Falmouth-his noble Burlington House, proposing a suitable character and beneficent deeds — will memorial to Sir Richard Owen has understand how Owen loved him and taken place. H.R.H., the Prince of lamented his loss.
Wales presided, and was supported by After the death of his wife, an aged a noble array of all the men best known sister came to the Lodge, and was the in science. The speech of the prince devoted companion and comforter of
was as admirable in statement as it was the widower. How attached they were genial in spirit. Lord Kelvin, Promay be seen in the following character- fessor Huxley, the Duke of Teck, Sir istic note, dated Sheen Lodge, Rich-W. Flower, Mr. Sclater, Lord Playfair, mond Park, March 29, 1876.
and all the speakers, vied in doing Dear Dr. Macaulay, Whatever short- honor to the memory of one whom coming your too good appreciation of my they regarded as worthy of perpetual MS. may have made me feel, was more than
remembrance. It is arranged that a made up by the unexpectedness of the re- statue is to be placed in the hall of the turn I had the agreeable surprise to receive South Kensington Museum ; and we this morning.
hope that this memorial which is to It greatly added, collaterally, to the com
adorn the Natural History Museum fort of my old sister, who had been grumbling for two or three mornings because I will, to use the concluding words of didn't eat my egg. I have been a little off the Prince of Wales, “ be worthy of a my feed lately, but when I opened the great sculptor, and of the great man packet and showed her the really excellent that it represents.”
Fiftb Series, Volume LXXXI.
No. 2550.- May 13, 1893.
Fortnightly Review, .
Classical Poems. By Herbert Paul, Nineteenth Century,
Cornhill Magazine, •
Blackwood's Magazine, .
All The Year Round,
435 440 445
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