Science and Citizenship
chimney stacks. The ideal citizens, pictured in the carbonaceous logic of his occupation, are stokers and chimney-sweeps. It requires little observation and less historic insight to verify the affirmation, that urban expansion in the nineteenth century was largely determined by the unavowed but real ideals of a coal civilisation.
The archæologists who are so industriously deciphering the buried histories of cities, have found the accumulated survivals of seventeen different cities in Rome. And so for other historic cities, the successive phases of city formations are marked by layers of superimposed debris like geological strata, with which indeed they are in direct continuity. Each successive civic formation is characterised by the impressions and the marks of its contemporary inhabitants, which survive in material structures like so many sociological fossils. Looked at from this point of view, the coal-laden trucks and the factory chimney stack with all their associated structures, economic and aesthetic, are actual or incipient sociological fossils of the coal cities of the nineteenth century;
To the dwellers in these coal towns—for cities in the proper sense they most of them are not—science presents itself as a kind of inverted philosopher's stone. The accumulated applications of science in the coal civilisations did not end with the production of gold, but rather began with it, more particularly that in Australia and California about mid-century. Given a possession or control of sufficient quantity of the precious metal, the