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[473] to erect all the buildings and provide all the scientific service, attendance, and materials necessary to protect and maintain in good condition such masses of specimens, and make them intelligible and useful. The mill will be stopped from the floods that will be poured upon the machinery through which alone it can be made to move. . . . .

On the other point I speak wholly from the authority of scientific experts in whom you have confidence. It relates to yourself only, and to your great and noble purposes and objects in life. I do not feel that anybody has a right to object to your devoting yourself exclusively to the highest investigations in natural science, postponing to them all labors relating to the mere collection and preservation of the materials for doing so. It is your clear right. You have done an immense deal of work of this humbler sort. The Museum exists by your generous sacrifices. You are emeritus, and it may be your duty, as well as your right, to change in this respect the present course of your life. But I do not suppose that such devotion to the very highest purposes of science would be any injury to the Museum, which, on the contrary, you would illustrate and render every year more important and useful by your labors.

But your collections, as I am assured, are already larger, much larger, than you can submit to such investigations as you intend to make, even if you should live as long as those most attached to you can hope or ask that you should. Indeed, those who best know assure me, that the time you are now giving to the accumulation of specimens—which may, after all, perish from want of the means needful to protect them—might, in their judgment, be better employed for your own fame, and for the advancement of such scientific investigations as you can make better than any man alive, and without which these same vast collections might as well remain in their blind kegs, in the dark cellar where they are now hidden away, and so your vast personal labors and disinterested sacrifices, in bringing them together, be mainly lost.

It is, I fear, not unlikely, that, surrounded and solicited as you are now by such extraordinary means of readily accumulating what you value more than all gold, and to collecting which you have devoted so much of your life and your great powers, you will feel that I am writing ungraciously. But I am sure that I ought to write to you thus freely and frankly, not only from our personal relations and from your most open and kind nature, but because I know that I only send you the earnest convictions of those who most value you, and whom you most value . . . . .

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