Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 51.djvu/568

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gentlemen in Albany, Jersey City, and Philadelphia, and in which Prof. Mather, Mr. Briggs, and myself shared. These lands were known to be underlaid by coal and to be within the limit of the productive iron belt of that part of the country, being subsequently the great resource in the establishment of the city of Ironton. Subsequently, and after the suspension of the Ohio survey. Prof. Mather did purchase a tract of land upon which he established a furnace. In this venture Prof. Mitchell, the astronomer, of Cincinnati, was associated with Prof. Mather. I never had any interest in the project in any way, and when selling my lands to Mr. Campbell, of the association which founded Ironton, I refused to have any connection whatever with the business enterprise, preferring to part with my property for a moderate price rather than to be connected with any business operation.

Very truly yours, James Hall.

Editor's Table.


IT seems as if every age must have its fad, and perhaps we should not disquiet ourselves too much about it. Long ago the question was asked why the heathen raged and the people imagined a vain thing. The question, especially the latter part of it, is equally pertinent to-day; and the answer we venture to suggest is, because they like it. It is very sweet to the unregenerate mind to be able, or seem to be able, to fly in the face of facts. Just as there are persons so constituted morally that they are unable to conceive of liberty except as defiance of law, and who, therefore, when they want to feel particularly free, resort to disorderly conduct of one kind or another, so there are those—in much greater number—to whom natural law seems an intellectual tyranny from which any escape is welcome. This we take to be the philosophy of so-called "Christian science," a delusion which to-day is playing havoc with the intellects of thousands of presumably sane and well-meaning persons.

The great beauty and merit of Christian science in the eyes of its devotees is that it affirms the thing that is not and denies the thing that is. It has to make grudging concessions to the law of gravitation and a few other primary conditions of existence. In a kind of a way it admits that certain injuries to the bodily frame may impair activity and even destroy life. That a man can not walk without legs or do much useful thinking without his head are propositions which it has not yet seen its way to combat; but it takes its revenge on the system of visible things by comprehensive denials in a host of matters only a little less indisputable. It scornfully refuses to recognize pain or functional irregularities of any kind. Fevers, indigestions, inflammations, and the whole tribe of maladies which challenge the physician's art have no foundation in reality, and only need to be suitably ignored in order to be put to flight. If Job of old could only have planted himself at the Christian-science point of view, he could have got rid of his boils in short order, and perhaps saved himself from the interminable and not over-cheerful discourses of his friends. The great remedy, as recommended to-day in Christian science circles, is not to think about these things at all, and in case you can not think hard enough, to send for a Christian-science adept to help you. The adept will then, with