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fortable support of nature, great sums may be saved for the
advancement erf religious purposes, &c. Were this abstemi-
ousness universally practised, as it ought to be if the rule be
good, we fancy that the sources of superfluous revenue would
be proportiontdly dimmished ; and were the rule applied to



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196 . HitchcocVs Lectures on Diet, fyc. [Morcb,

all other expenses, as consistency would seem to require, the
world, if persuiaded uniformly to adopt them, would be in
much the same plight as the inhabitants of the perfect world
seen by Asem the man*hater, in Goldsmith's apologue,
which Professor Hitchcock may possibly find worth a re-
perusal.

The Second great division of the subject is Regimen, to
which two lectures are devoted. The first of these treats of
exercise ; the second, of air, cleanliness, clothing, sleep, man-
ners, and influence of the imagination and passions upon
health. The remarks upon these subjects are for the most
part very correct and deserving of great attention, particularly
those in the lecture on exercise. This is a thing of great
importance, and greatly neglected in our literary seminaries
and among persons of sedentary pursuits, and we are fully
persuaded from our own observation, that ;this neglect is the
cause of more mischief than any other. The author's rules
for sleep are also good, though we are inclined to think that,
in many situations, the notion of the advantage of very early
rising is often a mistaken one. Where any deleterious miasm
prevails, exposure to the damp air of the mornings before it
has been warmed by the rays of the sun, is quite as likely to
be productive of ill consequences, as exposure to the air of
eveoing at the same distance from the time of the sun's
setting ; if there be any difference, we should think the even-
ing air the safer of the two. In any place we doubt whether
the first be better than the last, except merely firom the
energy of the system being recruited by sleep, and therefore
more able to oppose the mischiefs.

In speaking of manners, the influence of passion, be, we
observe that the Professor renders a due tribute to the ad-
vantages to be derived from intercourse with virtuous and
polished female society, while yet he very fervently depre-
cates the influence of love. Now we know of no way in which
this, as he describes it, most pernicious mental disease is
more apt to be contracted, than by the very intercourse that
he recommends ; with young men, many cases of it must be
the almost necessary result of such intercourse. Here we
think the Professor is rather too hard upon the subjects of his
advice, and we doubt, not a little, the correctness of his doc-
trine as a general rule. Although it is in some respects de-
sirable that a young man, whose prospects in life are yet



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1832.] HitchcocVs Lectures on Diet, fyc. 197

matters of uncertainty, should be exempt from ties that may
shackle his freedom of pursuit, and clog his energy, yet we
have known very many instances, where a virtuous and re-
ciprocated affection has proved both a strong barrier against
temptations, and a powerful incentive to industry and achieve-
ment.

Next to Regimen comes Employment, likewise the sub-
ject of a single lecture, containing some observations on the
effects of different occupations upon health, upon the best
mode of study, and the advantages of different kinds of recre-
ation, and the like. Many of these observations and the gen-
eral tenor of the whole are good ; though, still, parts of the
lecture betray the same inclination for severe and ascetic dis-
cipline which we have before noticed, occasionally at vari-
ance with sound knowledge and true philosophy. Thus, he
strongly insists upon the utility and necessity of studying
for the most part in the posture of standing erect ; at the
same time speaking of the advantages of grace and ease in
bodily appearance. Now a habit of constantly standing is
favorable neither to health nor to grace. Its consequences
are stiffening of the ligaments and muscles, with retarded cir-
culation of the fluids of the lower extremities ; the former
rendering the motions awkward and ungraceful, and the latter
disposing the limbs to swelling, varicose enlargement of the
veins, &;c., productive of troublesome and difficultly healed
ulcerations from slight injuries of the skin, as medical men
have abundant reason to know. The true philosophy of pos-
ture in study is, to vary the position so as to produce the
greatest bodily ease and comfort, alternately employing and
relaxing different sets of muscles, and giving all possible free-
dom of play to the vessels that carry on the circulation.
Thus, with proper exercise and attention to erectness of gait
in walking, all the different moving fibres and articulations of
the frame will be preserved in due suppleness and power of
tension and flexure, producing ease and grace of movement
and deportment.

The author also goes through the usual form of decrying nov-
els. Indiscriminate and profuse novel-reading is undoubtedly
J)emicious ; but to one who has to live by mingling with his
ellow-men, and to whom a knowledge of human nature in all
its varieties of character is of course useful if not absolutely
necessary, we are inclined to think as much advantage may l>e

VOL. I. NO. III. 26



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198 Hitchcock^ s Lectures on Diety fyc, [March^

derived from perusing the pages of Scott, Edgeworth, and sev-
eral others, as from poring over ascetic school-men, or bitter-
tongued theologians, besides being infinitely better suited for
the recreation of the mind. The concluding Lecture, making
the Fourth Part, is devoted to Dyspepsy, treating principally
of its effects upon the mind and the nervous sensibilities,
and inculcating temperance in all things as the best means of
preventing and remedying it. For the prevention it is good,
and of great importance in the remedial treatment, though
often requiring the aid of medicine to assist it by rectifying
various disordered conditions of dilSferent organs.

We perceive by various allusions and remarks through the
work, that Professor Hitchcock is a " laudator temporis
acti," one of those, who, according to the boy's illustration,
will have it, that the apples of Adam's time were wonderfully
large. He keeps constantly referring to the achievements
of former days, as if men two or three centuries back were
vastly more temperate in- eating and drinking than at present,
and much more healthy. Now authentic accounts of the
habits of those times fully show, that, among those who were
able to suit their palate, much more gross and stimulating
living, much more sinning against such rules of temperance
as many of those given by him, prevailed, than at present,
though with much less nicety and attention to real comfort ;
and unless our recollection of medical statistics sorely fails
us, the prevalence and mortality of severe diseases have on
the whole greatly diminished from those days to the present,
partly in consequence of this very increase of nicety and
attention to comfort. The more intellectual and refined
slate of society at present may indeed have substituted for
some of those diseases less fatal, but yet harassing complaints ;
but on the whole we have little doubt that the balance is
in favor of modern days, both as to health and to intellectual
power and acquirements.

After so particular an examination of its contents and
their value, we shall leave our readers to. form for them-
selves a conclusion as to the general merits of the work be-
fore us ; merely observing, that to us it seems to contain, in
regard to its materials, much that is good, little or nothing
that is injurious, but some things that are unnecessary. We
fear that the author is a little intemperate in his zeal and
strictness.



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1832.] Siaiman's ChemUiry. 199

Art. IV. — Elementa of ChemUtry in the Order of the Lec-
tures given in Yale College. By Benjamin Silliman,
Professor of Chemistry, Pharmacy, Mineralogy, and Ge«
ology. New Haven. Hezekiah Howe. 1830, 1831.
2 vols. 8vo. pp. 518 and 696.

We have long known the author of the work before us, as
a zealous editor of a journal, devoted to science and arts. Our
earliest recollections of him are associated with the journal
of the late Dr. Bruce. We have never seen Mr. Silliman,
though we have always looked forward to an introduction, as
one of the pleasant things which time has still in his wallet
for us. We are glad it is so. We can speak of his book
uninfluenced by that delightful fascination, which, we are told,
entwines itself around the hearts of those who remember his
personal acquaintance. We have never troubled the world
with our thoughts on any chemical subject. We are glad of it.
We have thus, probably, escaped enumeration among the
thousand and one, whose '' golden opinions " Mr. Silliman
has unintentionally bought, by kindly mentioning their names
in his preface, text, or notes. We go therefore to the task
of noticing this work free, unbiassed, unshackled, untram-
meled, fettered by nothing, except that besetting sin of hon-
est reviewers, a merciful spirit.

Our booksellers' shelves are already bending under their
load of elementary works on chemistry, and we are very
sorry to see that Mr. Silliman has added two ponderous
octavos to the weight. We are sorry to see this; 1. On
account of his own reputation. It will not be a gainer.
2. We are sorry to see this on account of the publisher. He
will be a loser. 3. We are sorry to see this on account of
the public. The public does not want it. Besides several
foreign treatises on chemistry, of matchless merit, which
have been republished here, we can count some dozen of
native growth, good, bad, and indifferent. We have been
actually flooded with Elements, Introductions, Outlines, and
First Lines, Grammars, and Rudiments, and Compendiums of
chemistry, and borne down to earth by some of higher pre-
tensions. There is no famine in the land. We need not " go
down to Egypt to buy com." Indeed our author himself
seems to have been fully of our opinion. He tells us that
for more than twenty years Henry's " Elements" was his text-



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900 SiUiman^s Chemistry, [March,

book ; and that be ceased to use it, because its increased
size rendered it no longer cheap enough to be here reprinted.
It is quite unfortunate, that, while Mr. Silliman was thus
stating his reasons for abandoning Henry, the Philadelphia
publisher should come out with his eleventh edition, neither
larger nor dearer than the work of Professor Silliman. How-
ever, if Henry had not been again republished among us,
there is no reason for the appearance of this new work.
After Henry, Mr. Silliman recommended Dr. Webster's
"Manual on Brande's basis." "Few works,", he says,
"contain so much important information ;" an opinion, hon-
estly and sincerely expressed, and in which we fully concur.
We are, therefore, at a loss to divine what cause could have
moved the author to publish these Elements. It is to be found,
perhaps, in the fact, that it has been a favorite project ; for
Mr. Silliman says, "that the materials for the work have
been gradually accumulating since 1802;" though he in-
forms us, in an extraordinary explanatory notice of bis work,
published in his Journal, on the eve of the appearance of the
second volume, " that his attention was first called to the
subject, by a vote of bis classes in 1815." "Opus triginti
annorum ! " as an old compiler of a Hebrew Lexicon print-
ed on his title-page. We always look with admiration and
reverence upon this devotion to one thing, and we bestow
both on the volumes before us, "because they bear evidence
of having been begun, at least, in 1802. During the period
which has elapsed since that date, Mr. Silliman has read, heard,
and seen more of chemistry than falls to the lot of most men.
The list of works, therefore, to which he refers, is sufficiently
extensive to convince us of his industry, while it leaves no
very favorable impressions of his discrimination. Besides
the great stock orators of chemistry, for the last fifty years,
the author quotes Parkes and Gray, particularly where the
arts are concerned. No man at all conversant with practical
chemistry would think of referrmg to Parkes, excepting Fred-
eric Accum, the most arrant of all chemical book-makers,
whom England ever produced. We know that many of his
practical details are mere creatures of his own creation. He
is abundantly shallow in all things ; though he does include
among the half-page of his titles " Master of Arts in Yale
College, Connecticut." Gray hurried his work into the
world after the appearance of a few volumes of the " Die-



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lesa.] SUlman's Chemistry. 301

tionnaire Technologique/' a new spring, which he opened to
give freshness to his crudities. We merely mention the
thing to express our surprise, that Mr. Silliman did not him*
self draw from that immense store-house, the '' Technological
dictionary " now publishing in France. Neither this, nor
that still more valuable work of Dumas, ^^ Chimie appliquee
aux Arts," — the two first volumes of which have long since
reached our shores, — nor Chevreul, " Le9ons de Chimie,
appliquee a la Teinture," is noticed. These pure and gush-
ing fountains of chemical information are unopened and un-
heeded, whilst the spurious works of Gay-Lussac are referred
to with confidence. To be sure, the author tells us, a year
afterwards, that he did not know that he was so doing ; but this
is no apology for a man, certainly the focus of chemical infor*
mation at home, and who is more known abroad, than any other
American chemical writer. The editor of a scientific journal
ought to be so far conversant with the chemical literature of
France, as to know whether Gay-Lussac had ever authorized
the publication of the work, pretending to be his '' Cours."
We are greatly surprised that no reference is made to some
of the latest and best works on chemistry, not only of France
but of Germany, not the least amone nations which have laid
deep and for ever the foundations of modem analysis.

'Our business is however with the work as it is, and not as
it should be. What are the peculiar claims of Mr. Silliman's
" Elements " ? This is the question which interests the pub-
lic. '^ Its peculiarities," as stated by the author, ^' are in its
arrangement." He has thought proper to deviate from some
others ; though without any good reason, from one of his idols,
Dr. Murray, whose arrangement he thinks '^ perhaps the
best that can be devised." Every teacher must be his own
judge of the arrangement fittest for conveying his knowledge
to others. It is of little consequence to an instructer, whether
the text-book of another is arranged in that order which he
thinks best for public instruction. He may always select
such portions as are suited to his purpose ; and we have ex*
amples of some chemical dictionaries, with instructioos for
converting the alphabetical into a systematic order of study.
If a man will pMish his lectures, he is bound to follow that
order, which presents the science in the most improved, sys-
tematic, and severely logical form. The only " peculiarities
in" Mr. Silliman's '^arrangement are, that the alkalies and



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902 Sittiman's Chemistry. [March,

earths are presented before the metals; and galvanism, al-
though sketched in the beginning, is finished at the close of
the work." We expected from the repeated allusions to
^^ galvanism in the beginning," that we should find a tolerable
account of that power ; at least enough of it to render intel-
ligible common operations connected with it, and to guide us
in applications of this branch of science to some of the daily
operations of practical chemistry. The " sketch " however
occupies about a page only. It is the most meagre and bald
relation of certain facts, which we have ever met with in the
whole course of our reading. We protest against this oflT-
hand treatment of galvanism and electricity ; sciences so
important in their chemical relations, and so intimately con-
nected with many practical processes and details in the sub-
sequent parts of the work, and in the daily operations of art.
The subject has been entirely swept out from some American
editions of foreign works, an act which should have received
its just castigation from our author's hands. But with this
renewed sanction of his own example, we fear that he at-
taches much less importance to the general principles of
science than a learned Professor should. He has said enough,
however, to have rendered an arrangement of his work,
founded on the polar relations of bodies, perfectly intelligi-
ble ; and we are the more surprised therefore, that he did
not adopt it. We do not advocate the introduction of the
" ignitions, and deflagrations, and muscular shocks " in any
part of a strictly chemical course. The presentation of such
galvanic effects at the end of this work, serves only to increase
its bulk. Their introduction at the end of a course of lectures,
serves no other purpose except ^^ terminatmg a long course
of demonstrations and reasoning, with the most brilliant finish
that can be desired."

As for the other " peculiarities " of arrangement, he en-
joys them in common with a host of writers and makers of
books who lived before the brighter days of modern chem-
istry. There can be certainly no reason why one who
remembers the chemistry of 1802, should '^ break up the
class of alkalies," or notice chlorine, iodine, and bromine,
till after the other simple non-metallic substances and in-
flammables are mentioned. The arrangement of Mr. Silli-
man, though very unphilosophical, may be very well suited
ed for the purpose oi instruction. Indeed we never knew



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183S.] Sittiman's Chemistry.

one decidedly bad in chemistry ; because there is no diffi*
culty, with a tolerable apparatus, in " finding our way into
the mind of the pupil, and fixing there the knowledge we
wish to impart," provided the " brilliancy " of the experi-
ment is not so <^ striking " as to obscure the facts to be illus-
trated. If the arrangement^ of the simple substances by Mr.
Silliman is unphilosophical, the order in which he states the
facts, relating to the individual substances themselves, is fre-
quently confused, and often decidedly bad. But we trust we
have said enough to convince our readers, that Mr. Silliman's
Elements have no particular claims on our attention, by rea-
son of the " peculiar arrangement." We trust, too, that
they are equally satisfied, that the public did fiot want this
new ofiering which Mr. Silliman has laid at the foot of that
edifice, which he has contributed to erect. We are sorry to
see this work, on account of the fame of the author. We
shall not go minutely into its details, but, glancing our eye
over the work, select a few of such portions as indicate an
imperfect knowledge of the subject. We would repeat at the
outset an observation of his, which he applied to a competi-
tor in the race of book-making, and to a citizen of his own
state. '^ In chemistry, the audivi may give a man a good
many good ideas, useful to himself ; the vidi will still more
enlarge his knowledge ; but it is only the feci which qualifier
him to instruct others."

Our remarks will be chiefly confined to the ^^feci,^' be-
cause here it is that the peculiar qualifications of a chemical
instructer ought to break forth and illuminate the path of
his pupils. Light y the first section of the work before us, is
abundantly extended for an elementary work on chemistry.
Heat occupies the next section. The law of expansion by
heat, and contraction by cold, is quite hastily passed over.
The facts are generally understood. But in statine the ex-
ceptions to the rule, instead of taking water for his first illus-
trations, Mr. Silliman alludes to some of the metals of which
the student probably never heard. Without some explana-
tion more than we find in the book, beginners will not read-
ily understand the expansion of metals by cooling. We
understand perfectly what the author means; but he has
stated the fact broadly, as all writers have, except the prac-
tical Aikins. Many a graduate, both of Yale College and
Harvard College, has been laughed at by the iron*founder



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S04 SiUiman^s Chemistry. [Maicb,

and pattern-maker, for statins, what in fact he had been
taught, as in the volumes belore us, that iron expands in
cooling. They smile when they are told so, because they
know that unless their pattern is made lai^er than the thing
wanted, the casting will be too small. The truth is, that the
exceptions of water and some metals to the law of contrac-
tion by cooling, are really no exceptions. All metals have
their melting point, which, like the freezing point of water,
is fixed and invariable ; the only point at which the ther-
mometer constantly, and under all circumstances, shows the
same temperature. Whenever water or metals arrive at this
fixed point they expand, not because they are exceptions to
the common «rule, but because at this point, their particles
enter into new arrangements by which they occupy greater
space ; they crystallize, as Mr. Silliman says of water. Wa-
ter, it is well known, may be cooled below its freezing point,
and yet be fluid. So likewise many (we are inclined to be-
lieve all) metals may be cooled below their melting point
and yet be fluid. Bismuth may be cooled thus eight degrees
below, and tin, four degrees below, their melting points. So
of antimony ; so of iron. Yet the moment these fluid metals
set or harden, their temperature rises, and for an instant they
expand, simply because their particles have entered into new
arrangements. The expansion and rise of temperature are
but momentary ; the ore immediately falls, and the dimen-
sions contract. Now it is this momentary expansion of iron,
this instantaneous and temporary enlargement, which gives
the sharp and delicate impressions to its castings. But we
find nothing in Mr. Silliman which would lead us to suppose
any thing else, but a permanent expansion of some metals
by cooling ; a paradox not easily believed, that it should
expand at all by this process. There is a permanent expan-
sion of some metals, on which Mr. Silliman is unaccountably
silent. We refer to the permanent extension of zinc and
lead by expansion. These metals, and probably others,
never regain their original dimensions by contraction. These
are important facts, when we consider the frequent use of
leaden pipes for conveying steam. Neither is any allusion
made by Mr. Silliman to the thermometer of Breguet, one of
the most delicate of all instruments for illustrating the doc-
trines of expansion.

There is a question relating to this subject, inserted in a



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1^S.;( Smman'i Chtmistry. 205

taie. It hHf^ys ^uch a wafnt of afcquahittoci^ With tb^ whole
bw^ as applied to warter, that we believe it must be attributed
to one of those representatives of the " Prince of the powef
of the ait," commonly buzzing about the press. The igno-
ritnce is therefore very pardonable ; and his curiosity fefepect-'
ing a fact, which the temperature of his own regioni? coti^ld
probably never permit him to witness, is altogether very
praiseworthy.

" Anchor' ice — is it formed on the bottom of running streams,
on accotmt of the conducting power of the stones ? " We
again repeat, that Mr. Silliman cannot have inserted thisf
question. He has trarelled for and wide, both at home anif
abroad ; and his curiosity is ever alive on such siibjects^. If
anchor ice is owing to such a cause as the question stiggests,
we ought always to find it, whereas it ts ol rare occurrence.
Besides, if the stones differ in temperature from the water, it
is probably rather on the ascending side of the scale ; they are
rather warmer than colder than the water. We allow, howevei*,
that they may be colder. What then ? Why, if we have
learnt any thing about this afiair from Mr. Silliman, it is, that
the moment the water becomes colder than forty degrees, its
density alters, it becomes lighter ; and consequently, if the
stones cool it, the particles cut their cables, slip their an«
chors at the bottom, and float at the top of the stream.-
The effect of this cooling power of the stones would be, in
the formatiof! of anchor ice, Very like a good fire under thcj



Online LibraryJoseph Lyon MillerAmerican monthly review → online text (page 22 of 54)