Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 15.djvu/139

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search
This page has been validated.
129
LITERARY NOTICES.

niture. He lived, sick and feeble and old, from hand to mouth, often unable to go abroad for food, and as badly off for helping himself indoors. It were bad to have any human being so utterly abandoned, and so suffering. Here and there, at wide intervals, there was a man or woman who would have done much to modify this misery, but it ought never to have been left to those who could scarcely afford to curtail their own allowance of plain clothes and victuals for another.

His arduous literary labors were performed without any compensation whatever. (It may be said in this connection that he has recently been paid to his satisfaction for several essays over his name in "The Popular Science Monthly." A most pathetic incident of the last one is that, the very day before his death, he sat upon his bed and corrected the proofs, which ought to have been done for him, but which he would never ask any one to do, and which, if it did not cost him his life, without doubt shortened his few remaining hours.)

Mr. Corry indignantly adds: "There can be no doubt that the city has incurred a deep and lasting reproach by permitting such a treasure to be destroyed prematurely by disease and actual want, and that she should be told of it, and should suffer the consequences."

There is, however, this palliation for the conduct of the Cincinnatians. Professor Vaughan was modest, shrinking, and unobtrusive, and kept his miseries to himself. "He would not give his address to his friends, nor permit them to ferret him out and ascertain with their own eyes his actual condition. Nor would he make any explanation, much less ask or accept any pecuniary assistance." That is, he did not choose to submit to the mortification of becoming an object of charity. No doubt there were plenty of people who would have given alms, if it had been solicited, but the man's self-respect would not permit the degradation. It is said he neglected himself, and his townsmen merely imitated his example; but this is rather a cold-blooded apology for leaving a man of genius to penury, rags, and starvation. Read over the list of subjects upon which he thought and wrote, and read the first paper in this "Monthly," which shows the quality of his work, and then say how much vigor a man would have left to fight his Cincinnati neighbors in the competitions of money-making. He was incompetent to make money by his very vocation, and this must have been perfectly well known. Why was not a proper place made for Professor Vaughan, in which he could have given his services to the public, and been so fairly paid for it that he could have lived in a way to favor his best work? The answer is, that there was not sufficient appreciation of science among the people; and very likely, if by special exertion he had been put into a comfortable place, some miserable mountebank who knew better how to manage the public would have got the position away from him.

 

 

LITERARY NOTICES.

Cooley's Cyclopædia of Practical Receipts and Collateral Information in the Arts, Manufactures, Professions, and Trades, including Medicine, Pharmacy, and Domestic Economy: Designed as a Comprehensive Supplement to the Pharmacopoeia and General Book of Reference for the Manufacturer, Trades-man, Amateur, and Heads of Families. Sixth edition, revised and partly rewritten by Richard V. Tuson, F.C.S., Professor of Chemistry and Toxicology in the Royal Veterinary College. Vol. I. New York: D. Appleton & Co. Pp. 896. Price, $4.50.

The rapid development of the practical arts in all directions in recent years has made it lively for the book-makers, because no sooner is a formidable treatise finished on these subjects, no matter with what painstaking care to bring it up to date, than it quickly falls behind, and the author has to set himself to work to prepare for the inevitable new edition. Time is but the register of change; change brings improvements, and improvements antiquate cyclopædias. And so it begins to be understood that no literature is so perishable as that which deals with facts and solid reali-