Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 29.djvu/242

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the resumption of a work suspended when the workmen of antiquity were interrupted by the shadow of the great eclipse—the millennium of ascetic insanity.

The true significance of the anti-cosmic principle was first revealed by the analytical studies of Arthur Schopenhauer, whose conclusions were strikingly confirmed by the historical researches of Wassiljew, Barthélemy Saint-Hilaire, Beal, Rhys Davis, Hue, Burnouf, Kern, Lassen, and Oldenberg. Like the doctrine of evolution, his theory met at first with obstinate opposition, but, like the doctrine of evolution, it will prevail by solving many riddles.



IF there be a place in the kingdom in which a lecture on the subject selected for to-night could appropriately be given, surely it is the theatre in which we are assembled. Some of my hearers may be aware of the mutual fitness of subject and place. Many, perhaps, are not aware, as, indeed, was the case with myself three months ago, that the principles of fireplace construction which will be laid before you to-night, and which I have been working out and teaching for the last three or four years, were urged, written about, and acted upon at the end of the last century by your founder, Count Rumford, and that a great portion of his time, his writings, and his work was devoted to this very question.

Hardly any subject would be more in harmony with the aims which he set before him in founding this society, as we may learn from the following quotation from the "Prospectus of the Royal Institution," published at the end of the fifth volume of Rumford's works: "But if it should be proved, as in fact it may, that in the applications of fire, in the management of heat, and in the production of light, we do not derive half the advantage from combustion which might be obtained, it will readily be admitted that these subjects must constitute a very important part of the useful information to be conveyed in the public lectures of the Royal Institution."

And why should it be necessary, at the end of this nineteenth century, to give a lecture on "The principles of fireplace construction"? Why should such a title draw together an audience? Clearly from the fact that correct principles have been habitually, and, until the last few years, almost universally violated, and because the rules so ably worked out, so earnestly and forcibly advocated by Rumford,

  1. A lecture delivered at the Royal Institution of Great Britain, February 5, 1886.