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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/415

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SKETCH OF ELISHA MITCHELL.

and Greek, so many to history, so many to the Spanish language and to botany; and the resolution appears that, till such an hour, "I will not touch one book of belles-lettres." He thus visited the plants and rocks of the State in their own homes, and became one of the best authorities in the country respecting them. The expeditions which he conducted into all parts of North Carolina, examining the flora and rocks and strata, made him the best physical geographer the State had ever had. The information he gathered in this way was used profusely in the instruction of his classes, and they always reaped greater benefits from his acquisitions, than any other part of the community. While he wrote occasionally for the scientific papers, "he read more than he observed, and observed more than he wrote." Among the articles contributed by him to Silliman's Journal are named, in a memoir published in the local paper at the time of his death, those on the low country of North Carolina, 1828; on the Geology of the Gold Regions of North Carolina, 1829; on Welther's tube of safety, with notices of other subjects, 1830; on the causes of winds and storms, 1831; Analysis of the Protog├Ža of Leibnitz, 1831; and notices of the high mountains in North Carolina, 1839. Such articles were contributed at intervals till the time of his death. He also prepared for use in his classes, a Manual of Chemistry, the second edition of which was passing through the press when he died; a Manual of Geology, illustrated by a geological map of North Carolina; and Facts and Dates respecting the History, Geography, etc., of Palestine.

Prof. Mitchell was an industrious reader, particularly on all subjects that were directly or indirectly connected with his professorship, and had a knowledge of geography that was regarded as wonderful. At a time when students were more isolated from one another than they are now, and facilities for exchange of news were not so abundant, he was at great pains to keep up with the advance on every side. With all this he was of conservative tendency, and not disposed to accept the new too hastily. As a teacher, Prof. Phillips says, "he took great pains in inculcating the first principles of science. These he set forth distinctly in the very beginning of his instructions, and he never let his pupils lose sight of them. When brilliant and complicated phenomena were presented for their contemplation, he sought not to excite their wonder or magnify himself in their eyes as a man of surprising acquirements, or as a most dexterous manipulator, but to exhibit such instances as most clearly set forth fundamental laws, and demanded the exercise of a skillful analysis. Naturally of a cautious disposition, such had been his own experience, and so large was his aquaintance with the experience of others, that he was not easily excited when others announced