Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/176

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perhaps in nothing more clearly than in its willingness to reject inoculation as a protection against the ravages of the smallpox. In 1764 it was on the point of condemning it altogether, but was prevented from doing so by Petit, who was more reasonable than some of his associates. A few years later Jenner was made an associate member of the academy. Bailly's report, which appears in the Mémoires for 1784, carried the day for inoculation. Inoculation was favored by at least two of the king's ministers, Turgot and Malesherbes. About this time Mesmer was in Paris and by his lectures and experiments created much excitement. The academy appointed a committee of which Dr. Franklin, then a resident of Paris as a representative of the United States, was a member, to visit Mesmer, but Mesmer refused to impart his secrets to him or to any one outside his chosen circle. Although de Jussieu was favorably inclined toward Mesmer and his methods, Lavoissier, Bailly and Franklin reported against him. In spite of the opposition of the academy, Mesmer prospered, though his theories were not widely propagated during the Revolution. Subsequently mesmerism was opposed as a species of somnambulism. The academy was called upon to find a remedy against the bite of mad dogs but was unable to do so. The sufferings of the people during the later years of Louis XVI. drew the attention of the academy away from the study of science to the consideration of means for helping the people. The price of bread had risen to such a height that the academy was asked to consider its cause and to see what could be done to bring it back to the former fignres. A wise report, showing that the price depended always upon the price of cereals, made by Leroy, Desmourets, and Tillet did something to calm public feeling. In 1782 the aid of the academy was asked by the States Assembly to help in determining the proper values of land. Through the impulse given by the Montyon prizes, offered as early as 1779, some successful efforts were made to protect the lives of men whose work exposed them to unhealthy conditions. In 1784-5 a work on metals by Henri Albert Josse, of Geneva, received the approval of the academy. The academy, though careful not to express itself on any political question, did not escape suspicion during the terrible days of the Revolution. Some of its members, Bailly and Lavoisier, perished on the scaffold. Condorcet committed suicide. The lives of others, Malherbes, Bochardt and Saron were undoubtedly shortened by the strain of the period. Yet the new government strove for a time to make use of the knowledge of its members. They were asked to draw up and present to the Assembly a system of weights and measures, as well as of money, which would meet the demands of the new era. The first committee was composed of men like Lavoisier, Lagrange, Borda, Condorcet and Tillet. The request was repeated in 1792 and was referred to a committee composed of Lagrange, Berthollet, and Antoine Manges, of the Academy of Inscriptions. This committee reported in favor of