Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 25.djvu/94

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brotherhood beside the simple and the lowly; to submit to learn from them, as we all learn from our children in the nursery; and to feel ourselves, in spite of our divergent views and notions, in the attitude of common adoration before the Great Unknown? Better this, surely, by far than to cover with philosophic scorn ministrants whose days are given to soothing every form of human distress, amid whose simplest teaching can always be detected in undertone the deep thoughts of Hebrew prophets and apostles, and to despise whom is to crown once more, with paper or with thorns, the meek head of Christ.Nineteenth Century.


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THE BEGINNINGS OF METALLURGY.

By Dr. E. REYER, of Vienna.

FROM recognized cosmical conditions, we conclude that the earth, like the other bodies in the universe, was originally a mass of vapor, which has undergone gradual cooling, condensation, and solidification. The heavier parts collected into a core, which, very likely resembling meteoric iron, was in the primeval epoch covered with glowing liquid masses of silicates, and the whole was surrounded by dense vapors. As the solidification proceeded, the ocean was deposited from the vaporous envelope, while the rarer atmosphere remained above. Both these elements are still mobile, and afford media for organic life.

The stratification of the rocks follows the existence of the ocean. The water dissolves matter out of the silicate crust and deposits it again. Thus have been and are still formed shales, sandstones, and limestones. The depositions have not, however, gone on without interruption; but the sedimentary beds have in all periods down to our own day been at times broken through by eruptions of the underlying silicates. Hence we meet so frequently in the various formations alternate masses of sedimentary and eruptive rocks. Both kinds have been used by men from the earliest times in tools and as building materials. On the one hand, stones have been employed in slabs and blocks in the construction of houses and walls, to mark graves, and for altars; on the other hand, smaller stones and flakes have been fashioned into instruments for beating and slinging; tough stones having weight have served as hammers, sharp chips of flint and obsidian for cutting and boring and piercing instruments. By the contrivance of these instruments man put himself in a condition to perform numerous operations. The ancient Egyptians, the Central-American races, and other civilized peoples certainly executed a large part of their works in stone with stone tools. Even the smoothing and polishing and the boring