Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 6.djvu/122
THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
the established order of things, and vital effects can no more be dissociated from the properties and powers of matter than can chemical or physical effects. How far it is possible to unravel the mysteries of life is not the question; how erroneous may be existing theories upon the subject is not now the question. Hypothetical views in relation to it may be false, and the problem itself may be insoluble; but, whether this be so or not, or how far the solution is possible, it is for science alone to determine. Certainly it is not for those who have ever disdained the study of matter to tell us what it can do and what it cannot do, and how far science is to be permitted to go in exploring it. Those who revile matter, and invent insulting epithets to be applied to those who study it, and who consign to execration one of its devoted students for expressing a more exalted sense of its wonderful offices, are evidently not well prepared to instruct us upon the subject. The theologians are now freely using the harmonies and adaptations of Nature as proofs of wisdom and design on the part of the Creator. But to whom are they indebted for a knowledge of this evidence? To the scientists who have disclosed this order, harmony, and adaptation, by the study of matter. The domain which theology of old allotted to the devil, science has rescued to the service of religion by the revelation of its marvelous powers and capacities; why, then, condemn the scientist if, pushing on his investigation yet further, he claims to discern yet higher potencies and possibilities in this divine material of which the universe is constituted?
In accordance with the wishes of many mineral-collectors, who regard the practice in vogue among mineralogists, of exchanging the minerals of their own for those of other localities by a system of barter, as in many respects unsatisfactory and unproductive, Prof. Leeds, of the Stevens Institute, has proposed in a printed circular, a copy of which has been placed in our hands, to discontinue this time-honored custom, and to inaugurate a system of purchase. In accordance with a plan stated in an article entitled "State Geological Surveys," in The Popular Science Monthly of June, 1873, he has collected the minerals occurring within the province in which the institution with which he is connected is located. Quarrymen have been kept constantly employed in blasting for a number of months past, and several thousand specimens have been obtained, all of which have been paid for at the prices usual for this description of labor. It is evident that finely-crystallized minerals collected in this way can be exchanged in the ordinary fashion of barter, only at pecuniary loss in most cases, and nearly always with some measure of dissatisfaction to one or the other party in the transaction. Those who have been most generous and fair in their exchanges have been those who have suffered most. Instead of bartering, the circular announces that prices sufficient to cover the expenses of collecting have been placed upon the specimens, and they are to be sold. The money received from their sale will be devoted to the purchase of specimens for the institute collection, and minerals sent as exchanges must be priced by the senders, and paid for on the same principles as regulate the purchase of chemicals, apparatus, or any other commercial article. For explanatory circulars, catalogues, etc., address Prof. A. R. Leeds, Stevens Institute, Hoboken, New Jersey.
Goldwin Smith's article upon this subject, which was reproduced in the August Monthly, has been replied to in Macmillan's Magazine, where it first