Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/570

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good, and compares well with the lands of southern and western Buenos Ayres, having in its favor, for agricultural purposes, a far better climate; and is adapted to the growth of cotton, tobacco, the castor-oil plant, the olive, barley, sorghum, Indian corn, rice, the manioc, and many other products of temperate and intertropical climates. Cattle thrive in all the Chacos, attaining an extraordinary development in size, especially among the Indian herds, where they depend exclusively upon the grasses and wild fruits such as the palm and locust. The grasses are varied and abundant, and include many of the species highly thought of in Buenos Ayres, which is the pre-eminent cattle-growing section just now of the Argentina.—Abridged for the Popular Science Monthly from the Journal of the Royal Geographical Society.


ANTOINE LAURENT LAVOISIER was born on the 26th[1] of August, 1743, and suffered death by the guillotine on the 8th of May, 1794. His family, descended from a postilion in the royal stables in the previous century, had gradually risen in estate. His father, styled in the standard biographies a "wealthy tradesman," is described by M. Grimaux, in the "Revue des Deux Mondes," as a graduate of the law school, and advocate and attorney in the Parliament of Paris. The family had also considerable wealth on the mother's side. Lavoisier's father was thus able to provide his son with good instruction, and interested himself in doing so. The youth was sent to the Collége Mazarin, where he was remarked as a brilliant pupil and a diligent student. Science at once became the prominent object of his studies. After leaving the college he took a course in law, and was admitted as an advocate in 1761. At the same time he began those studies by which he became eminent in many branches of science. He pursued mathematics and astronomy with the Abbé La Caille; botany with Bernard de Jussieu; mineralogy and geology with Guettard; and chemistry with Rouelle. At twenty years of age, while he seemed to give the principal share of his attention to mathematics, he became interested in meteorology, and began a series of barometric observations, which were continued through his whole life.

So interested did Lavoisier become in his studies that he was ready, in his twentieth year, to give up general society and confine

  1. So it is given in the "Biographic Générale" on the authority of J. Lalando, and by M. Edouard Grimaux, who writes on the authority of original manuscripts and correspondence in the "Revue des Deux Mondes" for December 15, 1887. Other biographers give the 16th of August.