Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 3.djvu/648

This page has been validated.

was restored to some extent, notwithstanding the entire ablation of the chief organ which gave it articulate utterance."

"The singular fact," remarks Jussieu, "of a mouth which could speak though it contained no tongue, ought to convince us that the presence of a tongue is not absolutely essential to speech, since there are other organs in the mouth which contribute to produce articulate sounds, and which can supply the lack of it. The uvula, the nares, the palate, the teeth, and the lips, are all so much concerned in speech, that whole nations are distinguished by the manner in which they make more or less use of one or other of these parts."


WHEN we proposed to present the portrait of Prof. Torrey in our gallery of eminent scientists, we little thought we should be called to speak of him, in our sketch of his labors, as of the past. For several years his health had been so delicate as to cause anxiety to his family and friends, and he each succeeding winter seemed to be more susceptible to atmospheric changes. Late last winter he had a severe attack of pneumonia, which left him so weak that he was unable to rally, and his death, which was in a measure sudden, occurred on March 10th.

Dr. John Torrey was born in 1796, and was consequently, at the time of his death, in his seventy-seventh year. He was a native of the city of New York, having been born, if we mistake not, in John Street. We recollect hearing him say that, when a boy of some twelve years of age, he was sent of an errand as far as Canal Street, and that he considered it a great hardship to be obliged to go so far into the country after dark. He had in youth a strong liking for machinery, and at one time had the intention of becoming a machinist, but chemistry offered still greater attractions, and he finally concluded to study medicine. His mechanical talent was in after-years of great service to Dr. Torrey, as it enabled him to devise and construct various ingenious forms of apparatus for the illustration of his lectures. While quite a young man he entered the office of Dr. Post, then one of the leading physicians of the city. At that day physicians dispensed their own medicines, and it was the duty of the office-students to prepare the various powders, tinctures, etc., and put up the prescriptions for the patients. The writer has frequently heard Prof. Torrey refer to the great value this experience was to him in after-life, as it gave him an early training in chemical manipulation such as the medical students of the present day rarely acquire.

Dr. Torrey took his degree at the College of Physicians and Sur-