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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 21.djvu/818

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

of the college, and gave a powerful impetus to science throughout the country. It was not only studied by the pupils of the college, but it was visited by travelers from all parts of the United States.

In 1825 the collection had for fifteen years been exhibited without any advantage to the owner, other than the satisfaction of observing the great amount of good which was effected by the knowledge it disseminated and the enthusiasm with which it inspired students. Colonel Gibbs then offered the whole for sale, giving the college the preference as purchaser. Fortunately, and mainly through the influence of Professor Silliman, the institution succeeded in raising the funds ($20,000) necessary for its purchase, and the ownership of this collection has exercised a most important influence in the development of natural science at New Haven.

Colonel Gibbs, however, did not confine himself to the collection of minerals in Europe. On his return to this country he made extensive journeys and opened up new mineral localities, giving his time and specimens freely to aid others who were interested in this special study. At Yale, as an incentive to students, he for many years offered prizes for superiority of attainments in mineralogical knowledge and for services rendered to the science by useful discoveries and observations.

He published valuable papers both in the "American Mineralogical Journal" and the "American Journal of Science," and did much by his counsel and co-operation to support these publications. Indeed, it was from Colonel Gibbs that Professor Silliman first received the suggestion that he should institute a new journal of science, in order that the advantages already gained by the short-lived "Mineralogical Journal" might be secured, and further progress for science might be made. . . .

Much as had been accomplished by the free exhibition of cabinets and the explorations and investigations of enthusiastic workers in mineralogy during the years from 1805 to 1815, a great drawback was now felt to the progress of the science from the want of text-books. Most of the literature of the subject was in German and French, but the works of the French and German authors had not then been translated, and consequently were accessible only to the few who were acquainted with these languages.

In English there were not many treatises on the subject. That by Richard Kir wan, the eminent Irish mineralogist of the last century, was a renowned work in its day, but, as the last edition of it had been published in 1794, it was already too old to be of much service to the student. Jameson's treatise was somewhat more recent (1804), but its great fullness and exclusive devotion to the Wernerian system made it an undesirable book for beginners, aside from the fact that its price was such that few students in those days could afford to buy it. So much progress had been made at home and abroad, that a work