Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 80.djvu/173

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on those in ordinary use. Yet his methods were soon supplanted by those of the Jussieus.

There was a widespread feeling that the studies of the academy ought to be made of practical value to the people at large. For this reason Duhamel du Monceau, though abstract and severe in his methods of study, sought to use his knowledge for the benefit of agriculture and other industries. He improved the cereals of France, improved, if he did not introduce, the cultivation of the potato, discovered and taught the use of fertilizers, made forestry a science and published a treatise upon it which became a classic. Absence in England prevented his appointment as director of the Eoyal' Gardens. This position was given to du Fay. Before the century was ended BufEon had grasped and proclaimed the unity of all branches of science. There was a growing interest during the last half of the century in zoology. Réaumur gave a great deal of attention to measures for increasing the collections in the museums, and studied the nature and habits of insects so thoroughly that he began, though he did not live to complete it, a six-volume work entitled "Mémoires pour servir à l'histoire des insectes." Of this work Buffon and many others made constant use. Buffon confessed his indebtedness also to the "History of Birds" written by Brisson, a physician and member of the academy. As representing the knowledge of ornithology at the date of its publication, about 1750, this work may be profitably consulted even now. In this branch of knowledge France was behind Sweden, Germany and England. Du Fay and Maupertuis were interested in the study of animals, especially salamanders and scorpions, yet this study was regarded by them only as a byplay. There was at the middle of the century only a single conchologist in France, Dezallier d'Argenville, and he was not in the academy. His book is still consulted. Laurent Jablot is said to have been the first man to study polyps and infusoria. As early as 1718 he anticipated not a few of the discoveries published to the world in 1740 by de Trembly of Geneva. Prior to the time of Réaumur polyps had been classed with vegetables. Anatomy and physiology were studied chiefly with reference to the science of healing. In the previous century men had been interested in these branches of study, some of them for their own sake independent of their relation to medicine. At the beginning of the eighteenth century Jean Méry, Joseph Guichard and Alexis Littré represented these subjects in the academy. Méry entered the academy about the time that Harvey made his discovery of the circulation of the blood, a theory the academy was slow to accept. Mery believed that in the embryo the blood circulates through the lungs. This theory was denied by J. G. Duverney, who gave special attention to the study of the glands and their relation to the urine and the brain. His papers were the subject of long and earnest debate. The problem