Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 10.djvu/712

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larger, broader, grander, and we must worship with a truer adoration, and a feeling of more perfect reverence.

If we turn again to chemistry, we shall see that while its importance is almost universally recognized; while the number of those who devote themselves to its study is increasing every year; while immense sums of money are yearly spent for the building and support of palatial laboratories; while the press, recognizing the popular appreciation of the science, furnishes, in its own peculiar way, brief records of its advance—still we can point to very little connected with chemistry which, for its elevating influence upon mankind, can be compared with the great physical truths above referred to. That which is caught at and served up for the public is taken from the lower portions of the science, while the higher portions pass on, scarcely if ever coming in contact with the populace. The public knows when a new dye is discovered; it knows when the poison has been found in some strange stomach; it knows when a new milk for babes has been concocted; it knows when precious metals have been detected in the depths of the earth; it knows all these things because it is promptly informed in regard to them; and it is right and good that the information should be given, and that these things should be known. It is plain, however, that a thousand dyes might be discovered; that a thousand murderers might be brought to justice through the aid of the chemist; that varieties innumerable of milk for babes might be concocted; or that mines upon mines of gold might be unearthed without the slightest ennobling or elevating influence being exerted upon the mass of mankind. All of these things would be valuable—undoubtedly—but their value would be of a very material kind. It is certain that this material value is that which is most easily recognized, which appeals most directly to the public; and hence plainly, in the public mind, the. importance of chemistry is measured by the standards of this value. The reputations of chemists, too, depend upon the greater or less extent to which they devote themselves to practical questions. He who is frequently on the stand to testify in regard to cases of poisoning; he who succeeds in presenting to the world some new compound which can be used practically; he who detects impurities in our food or tells us of poisons where their presence must be of importance to us—this man is, to the public, the chemist. Ask ninety-nine men out of a hundred what a chemist is, and they will give a definition of one who practises the art of chemistry, rather than of one who is devoted to the science of chemistry.

This statement is true, whether we speak of the mass of mankind, or of educated and even professional men. The reputation of the science, at the present time, is such that few men conceive of the true science independently of the art of chemistry. This is true, further, not alone in this country, but in Germany, which may rightly be called the seat of chemistry—with this difference, however: In Germany