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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 2.djvu/763

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SKETCH OF PROFESSOR HENRY.

Prof. Tyndall's books are now so widely read that the name is almost a household word where our common language is spoken. We cannot hope that it will be so a hundred years hence; with the advance of scientific knowledge, the new generations will read new books, and ours be buried or partially hidden in the great ocean of scientific literature. But I look forward in imagination, and see that the man will not be forgotten; he will be remembered as one who loved and advanced science. This peak will perhaps still more keep his memory green, and the coming generations of school-children conning their lessons in geography, and philosophers studying the grander features of our globe, will learn to pronounce the name of one who loved mountains even as he loved science.

 

SKETCH OF PROFESSOR HENRY.

PROF. JOSEPH HENRY, who is widely known throughout the scientific world for his various original investigations, and as the organizer and Permanent Secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, is of Scotch descent, and was born in Albany, in the State of New York. Having lost his father in early childhood, he was sent at the age of seven years to live with his grandmother, and to attend school at Galway, in Saratoga County, where he remained until he was fourteen. Having accidentally and secretly obtained access to the village library, he became fascinated with books of fiction, and devoted much of his time to reading. Returning to Albany, he was apprenticed to the trade of a jeweller, with which he was occupied two years. He afterward developed a passion for serious study, and became teacher of a country district school. He studied for a time in the Albany Academy, and, through the recommendation of its principal, Dr. T. Romeyn Beck, was appointed private tutor in the family of General Stephen Van Rensselaer, the patroon of Rensselaerwyck. There his duties occupied him three hours a day, and the rest of his time was spent as an assistant to Dr. Beck, in his chemical investigations; but he also studied anatomy and physiology, with a view to graduating in medicine. He, however, obtained a position as an engineer to survey a route for a State road from the Hudson River to Lake Erie, through the southern tier of counties. Having finished this arduous and responsible labor, he was elected to fill the vacant chair of Mathematics in the Albany Academy. As the duties did not begin immediately, he spent several months exploring the geology of New York State with Prof. Eaton, of the Rensselaer Institute of Troy. He entered upon his work at the academy in 1826, and then commenced a course of