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From Fraser's Magazine.


harvests. Professors may here and there get imprisoned or shot, but though some ripe crop of observation may thus be trampled out, it is but a temporary and partial fallow in a soil teeming with fruitful powers, which a little loving labor will cause to burst forth plenteously once more.

been trampled out by the soldier's heel. The processes of Nature are not stopped—the laws through IN February, 1848, we were speeding towards which God rules his universe preserve their resistParis by the first train which entered that city on less sway; yet Nature yields herself to those who the Havre railway line after the revolution-our know how, ministering, to subdue-yet she sings anxieties far outstripping the tardy powers of steam. to those who have ears to hear her ever-murmuring And we well remember how strange, and yet sooth-voice. In the realm of Physical Science-that ing, was the sight, on the morrow of that great other agriculture-the husbandmen are still delving overthrow-somewhere between Havre and Rouen, and ploughing, still reaping and bringing in their we could not afford to mark where-of a peasant ploughing the soil for the spring crops, and stopping his horse awhile to gaze at the train. It seemed to tell of a something abiding and steadfast amidst the crash of thrones-of that great ocean of domestic life, to whose still depths the storm reaches not, however it may rage at the surface-of that great duty of replenishing the earth and subduing it, which precedes and survives the "right" of insurrection alike and of repression-of that great promise, as true and as living now as when first breathed over the ground scarce rescued from the flood, "While the earth remaineth, seed-time and harvest, and cold and heat, and summer and winter, and day and night, shall not cease.”


Here is a man-although he does not tell us of it capable of watching, month after month, for, we believe, upwards of a year, the distillation of coaltar in a retort. By thus making himself, as it were, the servant of Nature in her processes-by patiently waiting upon the successive phases of disintegration of one of the common products of our coalfields, he becomes in turn able thoroughly to subdue the subject of his experiments, and make it Feelings somewhat of this nature come again fruitful of all sorts of wonderful births. First he upon us, as we turn aside for a moment from the draws from coal-tar the ordinary products of the contemplation of that great revolutionary drama, to imperfect commercial distillation of this substance-which the "days of February" served as it were a distillation which, as he tells us in his Researches, but for a prologue, to a work of pure science like is a regular branch of trade, and is usually carried the one before us. France may be busily occupied on in large iron retorts capable of holding many with the parody of the last half-century of her his- hundred gallons. These products (after getting tory-her mock republic seemingly about to give rid of some permanent gases and ammoniacal comway to a mock empire, (complete already save in pounds) are three in number-naphtha, or light name,) and that in turn no doubt to a mock restora- oil," which floats; "dead oil," which sinks in tion, and that again perhaps to a mock July monwater; pitch, which solidifies by cooling, and "is archy; South Germany may be quivering with the applied to the purposes of making asphalte, &c., last shocks of the late outbreak of atheistic radical- or, when dissolved in a part of the fluid oily distilism; in Hungary a few brave spirits may be still late, to the production of a black varnish, much carrying on the struggle, now hopeless, of a noble used for iron-work." Then he breaks up each people, not only for themselves, but for all Europe, product again, and shows us that it is but a bundle against the swelling flood of Russian barbarism; of other substances still more distinct and various. Rome may be delivered over to the perplexed and From the black pitch there comes a yellow powder grotesque perfidy of French intervention; Venice (chrysene); a wax-like substance (paranaphthamay have fallen, silent and unhelped; Switzerland line); an extremely hard, cellular coke, difficult and Turkey may be already threatened in their of combustion, and approaching to pure carbon. existence by the tide of so-called conservative reäc- From the "dead oil," which " is used chiefly for tion. We ask, with awe, where will the overthrow burning into lamp-black, for coarse lamps or torches, cease? Congresses may spout and maunder about and for the preservation of timber by impregnating peace, but war is smoking or smouldering on all it with the oil," come other substances, including sides. And yet the very tempest is but superficial. another wax-like solid (naphthaline). Of this we Grace will soon "smile forth again from ruin," are told, (Researches, p. 4, note,) that it " be according to the expression of one of the first, procured in enormous quantities at many of the tar though least-noticed, of sonneteers, Wilhelm von works, where it is deposited, mixed with paranaphHumboldt. A year or two more, and the corn- thaline, by the oils distilled from the tar, in granucrops will wave again luxuriant in the plains of lar crystalline masses, called 'salts' by the workHungary over the bones of Cossack and Magyar It is there thrown away as useless, or, at alike, thicker even than if the parent ears had never best, burned for lamp-black; and yet it is honored in our chemical catalogues with a price of four or five shillings per ounce." What a slur upon our chemical science, to have remained till now thus ignorant of the proceedings of our industrial chemist! The naphtha again brings forth an abundant progeny-solid "carbolic acid," (or, in its impure state, creosote,) so caustic as to destroy the skin of

1. Benzole; its Nature and Utility. By Charles Blachford Mansfield, M. A. Cantab. London: John W.


2. "Researches on Coal-tar," by Charles Blachford Mansfield, B. A., in the Quarterly Journal of the Chemical Society of London, vol. i., p. 244. Baillière.

Und Anmuth lacht aus dem Ruine wieder.-Die Nymphe.





the hand if touched; poisonous oils, such as " ani- | acts upon the benzole by making it crystallize in a line," of which a few grains are enough to kill a beautiful snow-like mass, at the freezing-point of rabbit, (whilst its property of giving a blue color water; whilst its congeners remain unaffected, the to hypochloride of lime makes it a valuable reagent,) law of chrystallization at definite temperatures or such as the peculiarly foul-smelling "picoline;" being as steadfast as that of volatilization. And harmless oils, such as "cymole," cumole," this completes the education of our substance. "toluole," our "benzole"-all of which, as their How to use it is next the question.* It is easily names import, occur elsewhere in nature; the cy-inflammable; will it serve as a source of artificial mole and cumole being derived from cumin seed, light? At first sight one would say not. "It is the toluole from tolu balsam, the benzole from ben- found by experiment, that the proper proportions zoic acid-yet all differing in properties amongst of carbon and hydrogen for a light-fuel to be burned themselves; the cumole, for instance, extinguish- in the open air, are those of an equal number of ing flame; the benzole taking fire before the match equivalents of these elements." Now benzole reaches its surface. And, lo! amidst all this con- contains twice as much carbon as hydrogen; and, fusion appears the great ternary law of Nature. All accordingly, a wick soaked in it and set fire to, these substances are either neutral, acid, or basic; evolves volumes of dense smoke, indicating the the neutral abundant in quantity, many in number, excess of carbon. Some special contrivance is ("like the workers in a bee-hive," our author tells therefore needed; and its purpose must be, that of us-a suggestive and beautiful comparison,) of in- mixing" with the vapor of benzole some other nocuous properties, and, until combined with sul-vapor or gas containing less carbon, without inphur, generally of fragrant smell; the basic and the acid, few, fetid, and poisonous-the former, to use our author's luminous expression, governed by affinity," and affording " a symbol of family life" by their tendency "to dissolve or be dissolved in each other, without any change in their nature or the formation of a new substance;" the latter governed by a sort "of bipolar attachment," which invests them with a peculiar tendency to unite with each other and form new compounds, "intolerant of plurality," making them thus" the very type of connubial life."



creasing the actual quantity of material passing
out for combustion in a given time." Alcohol will
serve for this purpose, or wood-spirit, or carbonic
oxide, or hydrogen itself, or, last and cheapest,
atmospheric air. It is this latter mixture which
constitutes Mr. Mansfield's light, the principle of
which is simply the use of common air, charged
with benzole vapor, as a substitute for coal-gas-
benzole evaporating at a very low temperature,
viz. 176° Fahrenheit. Of the brilliancy of the
flame thus obtained, none who have witnessed it
can entertain a doubt. But the evaporation of the
oil producing cold, the quantity of vapor produced
would be always diminishing, and thereby impair-
ing the light, which finally would disappear, if
some process of regulation were not adopted so as
to keep the temperature of the benzole reservoir
constant. This is effected by means of an ingen-
ious apparatus termed a thermostat,"
"the object
of which is, to direct a small jet of flame upon the
evaporating vessel from the moment that its tem-
perature begins to fall. The cost of the benzole
light, as was stated in a paper by Mr. Mansfield,
"On a new system of Artificial Illumination,"
read at the Institution of Civil Engineers, (see The
Pharmaceutical Journal for May, 1849,) will prob-
ably not exceed four shillings per gallon of ben-
zole, equivalent to one thousand cubic feet of coal-
gas. One ounce of benzole is calculated to give
a light equal to four wax candles, of four to the
pound, for one hour."

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Very curious is it, although it could hardly be explained without the use of plates and tables, to note the peculiar processes, the shifts and contrivances, (all of his own devising, though again he will not say so,) by which our chemist seeks to get rid of this "family relationship" of the liquid hydrocarbons of coal-tar, which will adhere together, both in the liquid and aëriform state; the volatile benzole, at first kept liquid, notwithstanding the application of heat, by its heavier brethren toluole, &c., and when it does pass into vapor, carrying away a portion of toluole with it. yet these shifts and contrivances are in themselves not arbitrary, but are the mere applications of some general law, through which alone nature consents to obey the will of man. First, distillation by heat is resorted to, the principle of which is that every liquid volatile without decomposition has a boiling-point as fixed as that of water; so that "nothing can be more striking than to observe We need not dwell here upon the other uses of all these substances, at all times and places, punc-benzole, manifold though Mr. Mansfield shows tually obeying the law impressed upon them at them to be; whether as a source of heat in the their formation, and (as soon as the temperature blow-pipe; as a solvent of all true oils insaturable and pressure on their surface reach the coördinate in water, and, under certain circumstances, even points which have been assigned to each of them) of the most intractable resins; as a cheap substiassiduously commencing to boil off into vapor.' tute for ether, which it nearly resembles in its Then we need a reagent to get rid of impurities-nature and properties, and may replace as sulphuric acid, for instance, which refuses to unite anæsthetic. Mixed with concentrated nitric acid, with benzole, whilst it combines at once with most it produces a new substance, called Nitrobenzole, of the other substances which are likely to be found joined to it. Lastly, cold must be employed, combined with pressure-the application of which

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*Of the abundance of the product there is no doubt. "It may be procured to any extent," Mr. Mansfield tells us in his Researches, "from coal-tar, or from the light naphtha."

of a most fragrant smell, similar to that of oil of ❘ thus taken of chemical composition. The process bitter almonds, though without its poisonous qualities, and which, therefore, may be most usefully employed as a perfume or flavor. The nitrobenzole thus obtained, like the, benzole, which forms one of its constituents, is still neutral, has no special"attachment" or craving for acid or alkali. But the "nitrogen which we have inserted becomes a new centre of vitality, the germ of new tendencies." Mix nitrobenzole with hydrochloric acid, no mutual action takes place; add zinc filings to the mixture, and by the decomposition of the acid hydrogen is given off, which "in its so called nascent state, at the first moment of separation, has powers which, when collected and kept, it can exert but feebly or not at all." It decomposes in turn the benzole, and produces that poisonous alkaloid aniline, which, as we have seen, has the property of turning hypochloride of lime of a violet blue color.

This aniline, Mr. Mansfield tells us, is an "ammonia," and " may be taken as a type of the volatile organic alkaloids." And he explains to us how the term " ammonia," once restricted to the well-known compound of one atom of nitrogen to four of hydrogen, then supposed to be the only volatile basic compound, has now to become generic in order to embrace a large number of similar substances, "characterized like ammonia by containing nitrogen and hydrogen," but differing from it by their archetype containing no carbon, which all the others do. And these substances, these ammonias, though ready to form compounds with acids, are not true alkalis, like the common metallic earths, as being electro-negative instead of electropositive. Upon aniline, we are told, that Dr. Hofmann has succeeded in building up a series of extremely complex alkaloids, by which some hope is afforded of artificially putting together those mighty elements in Nature's own pharmacy quinine, the vegetable alkaloid of Peruvian bark; strychnine, of the nux vomica; morphine, of opium-all compounded of nitrogen, hydrogen, carbon, and oxygen; a result which, it seems, has been" as great an object with many modern chemists... as it was with a few of the old alchemists to accomplish the manufacture of gold."

seems one exactly analogous to that by which mere spelling rises into etymology. The child knows only how to resolve the word into the mere sound, the chemical atoms, as it were, of which it is made up. For him the word "complete," spells c, o, m, com, p, 1, e, t, e, plete, and nothing more. But the etymologist sees in either syllable a substantive word, capable of entering into dozens of other compound forms, conceives the meaning of the whole from the combination of its parts, discerns the law of that combination; and can trace back the latter syllable, plete, to the hypothetical radical pleo, mentioned only in Festus, without being anywhere found in use, but which is clearly proved to be real by its compounds compleo, impleo, suppleo, repleo, &c., by its derivative plenus, and so forth. Is not this the history of our chemist's "phenyle," and "amidogen?"

We will not apologize, utterly unscientific though we may be, for these few pages on a chemical essay. Benzole itself is not more remarkable than many other substances, although it is exhibited before us with peculiar wholeness and effect in Mr. Mansfield's lecture-than which a more complete specimen of a chemical monograph could not probably be found. But we need to be reminded now and then-careless readers, and seers, and hearers that we are-how marvellous is every product of our gas-works and laboratories; how steadfast are the laws which govern the changes of every substance from any one of the three great conditions of material existence (solid, liquid, gaseous) to another; and yet how manifold, how almost human, are the attractions, the instincts, of every individual substance, which react upon those laws, and, becoming laws in turn, regulate the conditions of all combination and of all dissolution, according to a new threefold division (acid, basic, and neutral); not to speak of that, perhaps, greatest marvel of all, the law of chemical equivalents, by which the relative proportions in which different bodies replace one another in composition are so exactly regulated; so that there is not a substance in nature, simple or compound, which has not its own peculiar invariable character and individuality.

Another matter remains to be told. Benzole, Here resides the true poetry of chemical science; carbolic acid, aniline, nitrobenzole, and other sub- a poetry, no doubt, often deeply felt by those who stances derived from benzole, are considered by our are least aware of its nature, and as utterly over chemists, not as compounded immediately from looked by many who affect poetical taste. There the elements into which they are ultimately re- are men, for instance, who cannot understand the solvable, but rather as springing up from a com- abstract importance assigned by chemists to experipound radical" phenyle," till now hypothetical; ments in composition, and the interest taken by whilst ammonia itself is in like manner looked upon, them in new compounds, of no discoverable utility not as at first, as a compound of one atom of nitro- for the time being. And there are chemists and gen with four of hydrogen, but as one of two atoms men of science in general, true poets in their way of hydrogen with another compound radical, "ami- who shrug their shoulders or wax indignant over dogen," composed itself of one atom of nitrogen to imaginary characters and their artificial woes. two of hydrogen. And this view is confirmed, in But any true substance, however artificially formed, either case, by the regular series of bodies which is as real, as living as it were and individual, as can be built up upon the hypothetical radicals. the most ordinary products of Nature's laboratory; There appears, to an unlearned reader like ourself, as the water which we drink, as the metals which something deeply interesting in the new views we handle; just as Hamlet and Cordelia, as Don

Quixote, and Monkbarns, and Becky Sharp, are as abstinence from any of those details of individual real, as living, as individual, as if they had ever experience, which tend more than anything else trod the earth, flesh and blood like ourselves. The to invest scientific researches with a real human chemist who draws forth aniline or benzole from interest. Pierre Leroux somewhere beautifully the matter in a retort, is as true a poet (finder, says, (we have not the passage at command,) that the middle ages beautifully called it-trouvère, with the advance of science every plant, every troubadour,) whether on a lower or higher scale mineral, every chemical product, becomes, as it we will not pretend to decide, as the writer who were, the revelation, the spiritual image of the draws a true ideal character from the feelings and botanist, the traveller, the experimentalist who experiences distilled, as it were, by his own brain. first discovered or applied it, and unfolds a living Each of them finds-or, as God has allowed us volume of human joy and woe. Now, from the to say, makes a new creature; only the one in oral delivery of Mr. Mansfield's lecture on benzole, God's material, the other in His intellectual world. at the Royal Institution, we imagine all who were And that new creature once made has its own not previously aware of the lecturer's position laws of action and development, its own attractions must have gone away impressed with the absolute and repulsions, which you cannot violate; else want of something to connect the speaker with the were it a mere sham and lie, the man's head upon subject. There needed some one to say, This is the horse's neck. Your benzole never could quench the man who first disentangled the hydrocarbons fire like cumole, or assume the garlic smell of of coal-tar from one another, first investigated the picoline. Could you transform your Don Quixote properties of most of them, first evolved their variinto that "mailed Bacchus" of a Mark Antony? ous uses; so long he worked, such and so many or make your Hamlet dream of betraying a sister's were his failures; every product that you see on honor to his own cowardly lust of life, like that the table is the result of his own labor; every still vilest of all Shakspeare's characters, Claudio? almost and apparatus by which those products were extracted or made available, even to yonder shifting pasteboard diagram of atomic changes, was first applied or invented by him. And we are not afraid to tell one so thoroughly convinced as Mr. Mansfield, that all truth is of God, that when He chooses to make us His instruments for unveiling any portion of that truth, we have no right to conceal, and, as it were, be ashamed of the part He bids us play; certain as we must be that whatever light may thus be cast upon us is His, and not our own, desirous as we should be to lie hidden and drowned in the full splendor of His glory.

But, indeed, the little essay on benzole before us has peculiar claims to general attention. It appears to us the first attempt, not yet wholly successful, to humanize chemistry, to bring a study which seems to many one of the most arid and abstruse, the most foreign to the common sympathies of man's nature, into harmony with those sympathies, and, as it were, into the same plane with them. And this, not so much by the use of so-called "popular" language, as by bringing out the deep-set meanings with which we believe God to have planted the whole universe, the spiritual | bonds and analogies by which its various realms are interwoven together, and inwoven into one sphere of everlasting truth, order, and beauty. Thus the entirely novel distinction between chemical "attachment" and "affinity," although seemingly involving a mere change in nomenclature, appears to us to cast a vivid light through the very depths of the science. And yet the attempt, we said, is not yet wholly successful; the work is very likely to be called too popular by the men of science, too learned by the many, whilst but very few will be able to enter into that peculiar point of view which we just now adverted to, and which, once seized, shows each part of the work in its true meaning and proportion. The work is, indeed, too full of matter, and likely to repel the careless reader by the extreme philosophic precision at which it aims, and which it seeks to attain by the use of Latin vocables; an error, as we conceive, which our greatest scientific writers, such as Pro-been-an accumulation of vegetal organisms. We fessor Owen, are too apt to fall into.

Another (as it seems to us) asthetical defect in the work is, as it were, a certain want of personality, in the almost morbid and yet most lovable * Or, rather, by the talkers about science. "The chem istry of it is really very good!" was the remark of a worthy and eminent London professor, much astonished with the


And yet all should be grateful to the young chemical democrat, if we may venture the term, who, by taking up a product in daily and vulgar use, such as coal-tar, was able to evolve from it so many wonders. This is the true glory of science-to teach us the meaning, the beauty, the richness of commonest things; and if we might suggest to him a field for his future labors, we would recommend one which he has himself suggested the chemical etymology (let the expression be forgiven us) of coal. We will lay the passage before our readers, as a sample of Mr. Mansfield's style:

It is very remarkable that, though chemists have assiduously analyzed and defined the various compounds which make up the great bulk of nearly all the material bodies within their reach, animal, vegetal, and mineral, we have been left quite in the dark as to what coal is. We know what it has

know that limestone is carbonate of lime, that muscle and sinew are made up chiefly of fibrine and woody fibre is a definite chemical compound, that gelatine, whose composition we know exactly; but we have no information as to what substances constitute the vast coal-beds with which our country has been blessed. We are aware that their mass is composed of ths elements oxygen, hydrogen, nitrogen, and carbon; but of the compounds into

which these elements are grouped in coal we have| A termination almost so unhoped for, has filled not even an hypothesis.

Now, although it is the ultimate analyses which are of practical utility in assigning their value as fuel to different sorts of coal, it is a knowledge of the proximate constitution of these materials which would be of interest to the chemist, which would enable him to assist the geologist in speculating on the circumstances under which vegetal fibre has been stratified into mineral masses, and which would give a double usefulness to the knowledge which we may obtain of the new substances which we procure by the decomposition of the coal itself. At present we can only look upon these latter products with an isolated interest, that which their own intrinsic worth may attach to them. The coke, the tar, the gas-the solid, liquid, and fluid products in which the coal lives again after its dissolution in the retorts-cannot be connected with the former bodies

in which they existed in the coal, by any intelligible scheme of metamorphosis. All we know is, that the transmigration has occurred. The thread of consciousness, as it were, is broken; and we must rest content with what we can find out of the products we can actually see and handle, till we have attained by experiment to introvision into the retorts, or to intuition into the essence of coal.

From the London Times.


men's hearts with gratitude. They recognize, in the mercy that has arrested the hand of the destroying angel, the salvation of this country from all the moral and material ills, which have ever followed in the train of great pestilences. Had the disease remained among us for any time without abatement, experience tells us it could hardly have remained without increase. The mortality, which had risen from the usual weekly average of 900 to 3000, would not have remained many weeks as low as 3000.

Had it gone on in the same ratio of increase, it is hardly too much to say that whole districts in the metropolis and its suburbs would have been laid bare and desolate. True, this would have happened among the abodes of the very poor.

But would the consequences of the affliction have been restricted to these spots? Could whole families have been plunged into destitution, and whole parishes have been desolated by panic, in the offskirts of a huge city, without infecting the other and healthier elements of society? Impossible. Of the plague which has already, we trust, spent its worst malignity, the These are surely the words of one to whom deaths which it caused were not the sole nor the God has given eyes to see His works, and a heart most terrible result. The great historian of Greece to understand the meaning of them, and a mouth has depicted, in indelible colors, the moral which to speak that meaning to his fellow-men. Mr. goes hand in hand with the physical pest. We, Mansfield has yet much more to see, and much as a nation, indeed, may not be in the same state more to say. as that refined and volatile people which erected altars to "The Unknown God." But can any one, who knows anything of our great cities, and especially of our greatest, say that, were a pest It would be as impossible to exaggerate the let loose with unmitigated violence on them or in sentiment of gratitude which is felt throughout the it, the mere destruction of human life would measmetropolis at the abatement of the pest from which ure the havoc and the calamity endured? Would we are beginning to escape, as it would be to the poorer masses of our population go untainted by exaggerate the misery which its further contin- that same utter recklessness of all save present uance would have inflicted. The plague is gain and present enjoyment—the same indifference stayed. Death strikes with a feeble and fitful to death or life-honor or dishonor-good or evil hand where he so lately smote with so fearful a—which poisoned the minds of the Athenians more force. Terror and despondence, the satellites and companions of death, are flying before the Power which has destroyed the gaunt destroyer. The streets, which still bear the aspect of mourning and sadness, no longer witness the daily insignia of mortality. One meets, indeed, in every place, the memorials of irreparable losses, and the tokens of lasting grief. In the throng of the Exchange, in the great thoroughfares, in the crowded streets, we jostle against those who have, within a few days, lost their nearest kin. One man, a week ago the happy husband or proud father, has since followed wife and children to the grave. The prattle of infancy, and the soft accents of affection, have been suddenly hushed in a thousand homes. all England. A havoc has been wrought in innumerable families which a long life will fail to repair. But the plague is already stayed; and, great as the calamity may have been, it is slight compared with what old traditions and modern experience taught us to expect.

London has escaped with half the loss sustained in Paris, and a tithe of the destruction which ravaged Moscow, Petersburgh, or Delhi.

than the plague destroyed their bodies? The historian of the great plague of London bears testimony to the frightful immorality, hardness of heart, and savage recklessness which disputed with piety, contrition, and repentance, the dominion over men's minds. In our age, the vast increase of population, the more than proportionate increase of luxury and wealth-the great contrasts of conditions and fortunes, have all raised up elements of discord, contention, and bitter strife, which were unknown in De Foe's time, but which, in a wide-spread pestilence, might now ferment into anarchy and ruin. The metropolis could not have suffered alone. It would have infected

We have escaped these evils. We have escaped panic. We have escaped anarchy. We have escaped national convulsion. There have, doubtless, been great suffering, privation, destitution, and despair inflicted on us. There have, likewise, been much hardness, selfishness, and cruelty elicited by it. But, still, how little have these been, compared with the probable and almost inevitable consequences of a heavier and

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