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Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 4.djvu/626

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solute perfection of the enduring forms. Natural selection this hope has been called, because the hand of Nature bestows the warrant of nobility. But man is himself only a part of that great, that bountiful, that all-generous Nature, and it is wrong to speak of the selections he has made among the flowers which embower his dwelling, and the half-mute companions of his home, as artificial. In making these he is but executing the commands of Nature, as the most skilled workman in her earthly palace of labor, and the approximations to perfection which she initiates by the intellectual and moral lever of his mind distance all others known to us.

The chemistry of to-day is, in part a science searching for forms of truth; in part an art pursuing the objects of the useful. The scientific chemist seeks and discovers realities of fact; the technical chemist produces realities of matter; neither of them endeavors to give existence to material ideals. But though man may thus unconsciously serve the inscrutable power through which all is that is, and all is what it is, yet of nobler mood is he who, feeling his heart swell in sympathy with her purpose—the creation of ultimate universal perfection—persists in constant faith to work her ends. Of such noble mood, and of such conscious purpose, must be the future alchemist. His work—the reformation of the crude earth, and air, and waters, that surround us, in the image of his chemical ideals, the production of untold varieties of the philosopher's stone—is not to be accomplished in a lifetime, or a century, but demands the continued labor of infinite generations. We shall never behold it, but—

"On the day when, drawn on paths of duty,

The last worlds eternity-begun
Rest, embraced in ever-glorious beauty,
On the heart of the All-Central Sun"—

shall most surely be witnessed its completion!




LOUIS JEAN RODOLPHE AGASSIZ, whose death occurred the 14th of last December, was born May 28, 1807, in Mottier, Switzerland. From his earliest childhood he evinced a remarkable fondness for the study of natural science, and before he had left school began to collect and study into the habits of fishes. Having finished his course at the Gymnasium of Bienne, he chose for his profession that of medicine, and commenced to study at the Academy of Zurich. Thence he went to Heidelberg, where he made a special study of