Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 39.djvu/562

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546
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

encouraged. They yield to the investigator results more solid than brilliant; they do not give quick returns of fame; and so other researches, more showy or more profitable, are in greater favor. With most men of science, unfortunately, research is a matter secondary to other duties; the professor must teach, the commercial chemist must analyze; and only the time left over, the occasional leisure hour, is available for higher studies. Many an able man, willing and enthusiastic, who might otherwise benefit mankind by investigation, is crowded out of the field by sheer necessity. He is loaded with labors which leave no time for research, and his capacities are exhausted in mere routine. For such men opportunities should not be altogether wanting.

Sometimes the kind of work here indicated has been carried on at public expense; for example, the classical researches of Regnault upon gases and vapors were maintained by the French Government; but all such assistance has been sporadic, while the investigations needed should be continuous and systematic. In a laboratory endowed, equipped, and manned for research only, a rich harvest of results would be sure, far exceeding in value the cost of the undertaking. No such laboratory, I believe, now exists in the civilized world; and the United States might well have the glory of being the first organizer. In its Patent Office it has led all other nations, and in the science which underlies invention it might lead also. To the manufacturers and inventors of America I offer these suggestions, in the hope that they may be speedily realized.


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GINSENG IN COMMERCE.

By J. JONES BELL, M. A.

IT is curious that, after the lapse of over a century and a half, the old Canadian industry of gathering, drying, and exporting ginseng should be revived. This root was one of the first articles exported from Canada after the Treaty of Utrecht, and for a time was considered hardly less important in commerce than fur. The revival of the industry is due to the demand for ginseng among Chinese, who have become a no inconsiderable element in the the population of the United States, whither the most, if not all, of what is now exported finds its way.

The ginseng of commerce is the fleshy root of a perennial herb, formerly called Panax quinquefolium, but now placed among the dicotyledonous Araliaceæ. The Chinese ginseng is probably derived from another species of the same genus. It is a native of the Middle and Northern States and Canada, but is found far south on the mountains. It grows in rich soil, in shaded situa-