sterilized. Animal infusions, which under ordinary circumstances are rendered infallibly barren by five minutes' boiling, behave like the vegetable infusions in an infective atmosphere. On the 30th of March, for example, five flasks were charged with a clear infusion of beef and boiled for 60 minutes, 120 minutes, 180 minutes, 240 minutes, and 300 minutes respectively. Every one of them became subsequently crowded with organisms, and the same happened to a perfectly pellucid mutton-infusion prepared at the same time. The cases are to be numbered by hundreds in which similar powers of resistance were manifested by infusions of the most diverse kinds.
In the presence of such facts I would ask my eminent colleague whether it is necessary to dwell for a single instant on the one-sidedness of the evidence which led to the conclusion that all living matter has its life destroyed by "the briefest exposure to the influence of boiling water." An infusion proved to be barren by six months' exposure to moteless air kept at a temperature of 90° Fahr., when inoculated with full-grown, active bacteria, fills itself in two days with organisms so sensitive as to be killed by a few minutes' exposure to a temperature much below that of boiling water. But the extension of this result to the desiccated germinal matter of the air is without warrant or justification. This is obvious without going beyond the argument itself. But we have gone far beyond the argument and proved by multiplied experiment the alleged destruction of all living matter by the briefest exposure to the influence of boiling water to be a delusion. The whole logical edifice raised upon this basis falls, therefore, to the ground; and the argument that bacteria and their germs being destroyed at 140° must, if they appear after exposure to 212°, be spontaneously generated, is, I trust, silenced forever.
Through the precautions, variations, and repetitions observed and executed with the view of rendering its results secure, the separate vessels employed in this inquiry have mounted up in two years to nearly 10,000. Here, however, and with good reason, the editor cries, "Halt!" I had hoped, when I began, to carry the argument further. Besides the philosophic interest attaching to the problem of life's origin, which will be always immense, there are the practical interests involved in the application of the doctrines here discussed to surgery and medicine. The antiseptic system, at which I have already glanced, illustrates the manner in which beneficent results of the gravest moment follow in the wake of clear theoretic insight. Surgery was once a noble art; it is now, as well, a noble science. Prior to the introduction of the antiseptic system, the thoughtful surgeon could not have failed to learn empirically that there is something in the air which often defeated the most consummate operative skill. That something the antiseptic treatment destroys or renders innocuous. At King's College Mr. Lister operates and dresses while a fine shower of mixed carbolic acid and water, produced in the simplest manner,