In 1867 Mr. Ticknor, as one of the Trustees of the Zoological Museum, made some extemporaneous remarks before a committee of the Legislature of Massachusetts, and after returning home he wrote down a part of what he remembered saying. One passage so connects itself with the contents of the preceding letter, that it seems well it should be added here. He evidently felt that, during the eight years that had intervened, his expectations had been realized in some degree.
I know almost nothing of the science he [Professor Agassiz] has illustrated, by labors and sacrifices, which I cannot find elsewhere among us. But this we all know. The different branches of human knowledge are closely connected, and each contributes its part to make up the grand sum of a state's culture and civilization. Nor do we find that, in any well-organized institution for education, any one of these branches gets easily much in advance of all the others. It is very difficult, very rarely known in Europe, where so much depends on protection and privilege. In our own country, where everything is so free, where competition is of the very essence of our institutions, and where there are everywhere such ambitious longings for progress, it seems absolutely impossible. The great difficulty is at the beginning, to awake the first interest, to persuade us that we are really deficient. It is the first step that costs. Get one department to move, and the rest will follow. Get mathematics to move, or natural science, and the languages, history, and literature will follow. Active, earnest men, who are interested in any one branch, will not suffer it to linger far behind the others. Nobody will, I suppose, deny that natural science. has been doing this work in Harvard College of late. But it has done more. It has tended to open that institution; to make it a free university, accessible to all, whether they desire to receive instruction in one branch or in many. And for these great services, tending to make our chief college like a university on the Continent of Europe, and not like a close corporation,—such as the English universities are,—the cause of natural science has, of late years, been much favored by liberal and intelligent men in Massachusetts, as well as by the Legislature.