This section is from the book "The Gardener's Monthly And Horticulturist V24", by Thomas Meehan. See also: Four-Season Harvest: Organic Vegetables from Your Home Garden All Year Long.
The American Naturalist for August has its annual chapter on this institution. Those who do not quite agree with Professor Cope are styled "and scientifics," and the estimable President, Dr. Joseph Leidy, is a "reputable figurehead" The "residuary legatees of re-action" have recently elected as curators two men of "no scientific reputation or position." A scientific man was elected to fill the Vice-Presidency, but in the eyes of Professor Cope "it is unfortunate that the gentleman so honored should be an active opponent of modern scientific thought on the question of evolution".
Strangers who read Prof. Cope's paper, may suppose the academy governed by a few men whose mere whims are absolute law. Several hundred members constitute the academy, and these all have the privilege of voting for every officer. Nominations are open to every member. Regulations prevent any instantaneous filling of vacancies. Several meetings elapse before a vacant position can be filled. It will be, therefore, but fair for those who read Prof. Cope's tirade, to believe that the academy selects the best officers in its power. It is also but fair to remember that the offices in the academy are not solely offices of honor. They imply a great amount of personal attention. There are many admirable scientific men in Philadelphia members of the academy, but who are so engrossed with their pursuits that they rarely attend the meetings, and could not give that personal attention to the affairs of the academy which the " honors" demand. It must be within Prof. Cope's recollection that the offices have been so filled.
If the academy has to choose between one who, in Prof. Cope's eyes, is " unscientific," but who can perform the duties of the office to the entire satisfaction of those who elect him, and between one who "holds some position," but can do nothing, it may be the academy's misfortune if it choose the former, but scarcely its fault.
And it seems still more to the credit of the academy that in electing the Reverend Dr. Henry McCook, a Presbyterian clergyman, as one of its two Vice-Presidents, it did not see in him either the clergyman or an anti-evolutionist, but simply an earnest devotee of science, and one who, at the same time, is willing to give a good share of very valuable time to the practical management of the institution. And further, if there should be any to wonder why Prof. Cope does not try to urge on the members the necessity of "reforming things," as he understands reform, instead of whispering his grievances through the Naturalist, in the ears of people all over the world who cannot help him ; it may be also fair to remember that Prof. Cope has been a candidate for office on several occasions, expressly as the representative of these supposed reforms; and that the vote - not by a few "resid uary legatees," but by a very full attendance of the members of the academy has always been heavily against him.
It is of little importance to distant people how a local institution chooses to govern itself; but when they are compelled to listen to one side of the story it becomes the part of justice that they should hear the other.