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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/791

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EXPLOSIONS AND EXPLOSIVES.

ciples, and of which only the closing portion sets forth ethical conclusions as corollaries from all the conclusions that have preceded.

There remains only to answer the question, How could Mr. Mozley have been led to imagine a resemblance between things so different? He has himself gone far toward furnishing an explanation. In his introduction (page 1) he admits, or rather asserts, that "reminiscences are very suspicious matter"; and that "the mental picture of events long passed by, and seen through an increasing breadth of many-tinted haze, is liable to be warped and colored by more recent remembrances, and by impressions received from other quarters." He adds sundry illustrations of the extreme untrustworthiness of memory concerning the remote past; and in chapter lxxxiii he characterizes Denison's "Reminiscences of Oriole College" as a "jumble of inaccuracies, absurdities, and apparent forgets." Moreover, he indicates (page 4) a special cause of distortion, saying of those "whose memory is subordinate to imagination and passion" that "they remember too easily, too quickly, and too much as they please." Now, as is implied by his religious ideas and ecclesiastical leanings, and as is also shown by a passage in which he refers to the scientific school with manifest aversion, Mr. Mozley is biased toward an interpretation which tends to discredit this school, or a part of it; and, obviously, to fancy a resemblance between scientific views now current and those which he describes as a "dream" of his youth, which disappeared with his manhood, is not unsatisfactory. On looking through the "many-tinted haze" of sixty years at what he admits to be "a vague idea" of his early philosophy, he has unconsciously "warped and colored" it, and imagined in it a resemblance which, as I have shown, it could not possibly have had.

I will add only that serious injustice is apt to be done by publication of reminiscences which concern others than the writer of them. Widely diffused as is Mr. Mozley's interesting work, his statement will be read and accepted by thousands who will never see this rectification.—Athenæum.

 

EXPLOSIONS AND EXPLOSIVES.
By ALLAN D. BROWN.

COMMANDER, UNITED STATES NAVY.

THE chief explosive mixture used in the arts of war and peace will probably for a long time continue to be that which we know by the name of gunpowder. It has been used so long that its origin (like that of the mariner's compass) is entirely lost in the misty atmosphere of the middle ages, if indeed it was not known before the Christian era. The ingredients spoken of by Roger Bacon in 1237, in his for-