THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.
had really no intention of bringing about their own death. Some have been led, like the two gentlemen mentioned by Morgagni, to try the experiment out of curiosity. Others may have done it out of pique. It is not impossible, nor perhaps improbable, that high-spirited boys or girls, after a degrading punishment, should rush off, as we read of their doing, and hang themselves. The child puts a cord around his neck, and steps off from a chair, expecting to be followed, found choking, and released, by the anxious parents. If he is not followed and his absence not noticed, nothing can be easier for him than to step up on the chair again, loosen the rope, and no one will ever know of his folly. In the first case he would obtain his childish revenge for the wrong he had received, and in the second case he would lose nothing, for he is his only accomplice. But the laws of Nature are too stern. He experiences the fate of poor Scott, above related. Utterly ignorant of his danger, and intending only a prank of childish folly, he steps from his chair into eternity. Such a possibility should make us charitable, and in cases of suicide by hanging lead us to remember that, although the case may be evidently one of suicide, and the hanging plainly intentional, nevertheless the death may have been undesired and unlooked for.
|THE RADICAL FALLACY OF MATERIALISM.|
By R. G. ECCLES, Esq.
NOT many years ago the manifestations of energy were looked upon as mere conditions of matter. When a moving body came to rest, it was thought that the motion was obliterated from the universe, and, when a body at rest was put in motion, it was supposed to be a creation. The motion was looked upon as a mere state that had arisen and ceased. To-day, in the light of the new doctrine of the correlation and conservation of forces, the old notions are inconceivable, because of the rise of a new element of thought, namely, that force is caused by energy. Motion to us is the effect of a real though immaterial existence, called force or energy, acting upon matter. This energy persists in spite of every effort to destroy it. It is seen to leap from matter to matter as motion, when passing through a row of elastic collision-balls, as each successively gives up its energy to the next. Energy being seen to travel from matter to matter, persisting in one piece after eliminating the other, we are compelled to look upon it as having a real existence of its own. It may change its form many times, but through all the mutations there remains the identical energy. After repeatedly following it through such changes, we conclude that the universe contains a fixed quantity, never had more, and never