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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 38.djvu/714

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

which he was entitled, and have been made to appear as one of the most vigorous leaders of early American science.

The scientific items in Dr. Mitchill's record are continued with mention of the introductory lecture to the College of Physicians, etc., on the life and writings of their late president, Samuel Bard, 1821; a philosophical discourse in St. Stephen's Chapel, Bowery, to the class formed in that congregation for cultivating the natural and physical sciences, 1822; a discourse on the Life and Writings of Linnæus, at Prince's Botanical Gardens, Flushing, on the anniversary of the Swede's birthday in 1823; and the publication of a catalogue of the geological articles and organic remains which he presented to the museum of the Lyceum. In 1823 he appears as performing, after the Venetian example, on an invitation from Albany and a mission from New York, the ceremony of marrying the Lakes to the Ocean, at Albany, "on the day of the unprecedented gathering of the people to witness the scene of connecting the Western and Northern Canals with the Hudson"; and again, two years afterward, as a member of a committee for celebrating the completion of the Western Canal, when, in the vicinity of Sandy Hook, he pronounced an address "on the introduction of the Lady of the Lake to the estate of her spouse the Lord of the Ocean." This, according to Dr. Francis, was the proudest day of his life. He also acted on a committee, in 1824, to receive funds in aid of the efforts of the Greeks to achieve thenindependence.

Dr. Francis says, summing up his work, and quoting at least a part of the estimate from the book, Old New York, that "the universal praise which Dr. Mitchill enjoyed in almost every part of the globe where science is cultivated, during a long life, is demonstrative that his merits were of a high order. . . . His knowledge was diversified and extensive, if not profound. His first scientific paper was an essay on Evaporation. His mineralogical survey of New York, in 1797, gave Volney many hints; his analysis of the Saratoga waters enhanced the importance of those mineral springs. ... His ingenious theory of the doctrine of septon and septic acid gave origin to many papers and impulse to Sir Humphry Davy's vast discoveries; his doctrines on pestilence awakened inquiry from every class of observers throughout the Union; his expositions of a theory of the earth and solar system captivated minds of the highest qualities. His speculations on the phosphorescence of the waters of the ocean, on the fecundity of fish, on the decortication of fruit trees, on the anatomy and physiology of the shark, swelled the mystery of his diversified knowledge. . . . His researches on the ethnological characteristics of the red men of America betrayed the benevolence of his nature and his generous spirit. . . . He increased our knowledge of the vegetable materia medica of