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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 35.djvu/572

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

invited to accompany him in a tour in the interest of that work to Lorraine and Alsace. Among the fruits of this journey was an extended memoir on the analyses of mineral waters, which was not, however, published during Lavoisier's life. The work of publishing the atlas on the original plan proving to be a larger one than the government was ready to sustain, Guettard retired from it, and Monnet, who was no friend of Lavoisier's, took his place. He used Guettard's and Lavoisier's material, added something of his own, and ignored Lavoisier, while recognizing Guettard, in his credits.

Other results of Lavoisier's earlier work were papers "On the Pretended Conversion of Water into Silica" (in which a prevailing error was refuted), "On a Species of Steatite," "On a Coal Mine" (in conjunction with Guettard), "The Analysis of the Gypsums of the Environs of Paris," "Thunder," the "Aurora Borealis," "The Conversion of Water into the Condition of Ice," and "The Strata of Mountains" (general observations on the modern horizontal strata which have been deposited by the sea, and on the conclusions that can be drawn from their disposition relative to the antiquity of the terrestrial globe). The last was not published till 1789, when it appeared in the "Memoirs of the Academy."

Lavoisier was nominated in 1768 to succeed Baron in the Academy of Sciences, by Lalande, who proposed him on the ground that he had knowledge, talent, and activity, and possessed a fortune, which, relieving him from the necessity of embracing another profession, would enable him to be very useful to science. His principal competitor was Jars, an eminent metallurgist. Lavoisier was chosen, but the final decision rested with the king, and his minister decided that Jars should have the seat. Out of deference to the views of the Academy, a new position of adjunct chemist was provisionally created for Lavoisier, with the understanding that on the occurrence of the next vacancy in chemistry he should go in without a new election. The vacancy occurred through the death of Jars in the next year.

Desiring, as the biographers pleasantly express it, to place himself on a financial footing in which he could pursue, independently, investigations involving costly expenditures, Lavoisier sought and obtained in 1768 a position as one of the farmers-general (of the revenue). He conscientiously performed the duties of his office; instituted reforms in taxation by removing useless duties, and earned the gratitude of the Jews of Metz by freeing them from an odious impost. M. Grimaux represents him as performing the duty of making regular tours of inspection, with which he associated the study of the features of scientific interest which the places he visited might afford. The work of this office brought