III.] ORIGIN OF TASTE FOR SCIENCE. 227
medical man has now to waste the most vigorous years of his life in miserable routine work simply to obtain bread, until he has been able to establish his reputation. He has no breathing-time allowed him ; the cares of mature life press too closely upon his student days to give him the opportunities of prolonged study that
are necessary to accomplish him for his future profession.
The influences we have been considering, are those which urge men to pursue science rather than literature, politics, or other careers ; but we must not forget that there are deep and obscure movements of national life, which may quicken or depress the effective ability of the nation as a whole. I have not considered the reasons why one period is more productive of great men than another, my inquiry being limited, for the reasons stated in the first pages of this book, to one period and nation. But it may be remarked, that the national condition most favourable to general efficiency is one of self-confidence and eager belief in the existence of great works capable of accomplishment. The