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to whatever honor may rise from so uncertain a position upon oath. How bare and ignorant is the distinction.
entry of his burial :Williams the collector, and, better still, the 1731, April 26, Mr. Dubow, Cripplegate.” preserver of books for his own and for others’ use, But sextons and clerks are proverbially illiterate was followed to the cemetery by a seller and a The willy Farquhar is described as Mr. George writer of books of some notoriety in his day. This Falkwere, in the burial-register of St. Martin's in was old John Dunton, the bookseller, whose Life the Fields. Sextons would have made a sad hand and Errors is still a work of authority on the lives with the name of Shakspeare, had the poet died of our old stationers and divines. His other writ- remote from his native Stratford. But Shakspeare ings are of very little value, but this one work is returned to die among the scenes of his boyhood : full of whim, information and amusement.
the Avon was dearer to him than the Thames or Dunton was followed to a grave in the burial- the Tiber. ground of Bunhill Fields by George Whitehead, De Foe was followed to the grave, in 1742, by whose autobiography, called The Christian Pro- Mrs. Susannah Wesley, the wife of the Rev. gress of George Whitehead, had been of real service Samuel Wesley, and ihe mother of John and to literature in preserving the true story of John Charles Wesley. John was the founder of the Bunyan's release from gaol. All the early writings people called Methodists, and Charles was the first of the Quakers will well repay perusal. Fox's person who was called a Methodist. There is a Journal, Ellwood's Life, Barclay's Apology, and head-stone to her memory; and in the Wesleyan Whitehead's Christian Progress ; nor should chapel, over against the entry to Buphill Fields Sewell's History of the Quakers be omitted from burying-ground, a tablet to each of her two eminent this list : it is a curious account of a sect of some sons. John Wesley died in 1791, and his remains historical importance from the Restoration to the repose in the dirty little burying-ground behind the death of Anne.
chapel which bears his name. The Wesleyans The two most popular books in the English should really see to the disgraceful state of this language, from childhood to old age, are, the burying-ground. Men who differ from them in Pilgrim's Progress and Robinson Crusoe, Robinson their tenets, still respect John Wesley; and when Crusoe and the Pilgrim's Progress, for we hardly they look reverentially on his grave, should not know which to place first. “ Was there ever yet have occasion to be offended with the dirt and anything written by mere man,” said Dr. Johnson, neglect which they see about them. "That was wished longer by its readers, excepting The best-kept tomb in Bunhill Fields covers the Don Quirole, Robinson Crusoe, and the Pilgrim's remains of Dr. Isaac Watts, a man eminently Progress?" We have nothing to do with Don pious and eminently a benefactor to his species. Quixote, on this occasion, but here are two out of Johnson has a high and characteristic criticism three books which belong to England. The praise upon him; but his devotional poetry he thought, is high, perhaps excessive ; but canvass England like that of others, unsatisfactory : through, and you will find five ages, out of the "The paucity of its topics enforces perpetual seven ages of man, that will back the doctor in repetition, and ihe sanctity of the matter rejects this judgment. Sir Walter Scott calls the Pil- the ornaments of figurative diction. It is sufficient grim's Progress a matchless parable, and so it is. for Watts to have done better than others, what He awards high praise, moreover, to Robinson no man has done well.” Crusoe; but Mr. Hallam tells us to be careful how Cowper quarrels with Johnson on this point. we break down the landmarks of Fame by placing But Cowper, in defending Watts, was fighting the John Bunyans and the Daniel De Foes among the battle of his own Olney Hymns. No true the dii majores of our worship. We take his hint. poet (though the poet of the Task was a true one) Thank you, Mr. Hallam ; but we are still of Dr. will differ from Johnson in this judgment. Dr. Johnson's way of thinking.
Watts died 25th Nov., 1748, in his seventy-fifth We feel, or pretend to feel, a particular kind of year. There is a monument to his memory, where island pride when we stand by the tomb of Shaks- he well deserves to have one, in Westminster peare at Stratford-upon-Avon, or the grave of Abbey. Bacon, in the little church of St. Michael ; or the Eighty years elapsed before another name of grave of Milton, in St. Giles', Cripplegate ; and eminence could be added to the list of illustrious our bosoms throb with feelings of national emotion dead interred in the plain and unpretending burialwhen, within St. Paul's, we survey the sarco- ground at Bunhill Fields. This was William phagas of Nelson, or, in the Abbey, ihe graves of Blake, the painter. If old John Bunyan was a Chaucer, Newton, and men whose names are not glorious dreamer in words, William Blake, the confined to the limits of the sound of stupendous painter, was a gentle visionary in shapes, and Bow, but are heard ringing from side to side of the fancies, and airy somethings upon paper. Blake, four quarters of the world. We have felt this who died on the 12th August, 1828, should have feeling, too, at Dryburgh by the grave of Scott, been buried by the side of John Bunyan. There and at Dumfries by the grave of Burns. We have is no stone to mark the place of his interment; but felt it, too, in Bunhill Fields, by the grave of the late Mr. J. T. Smith, a curious inquirer in Bunyan ; and, at a short distance from his grave, matters of this kind, has marked the spot exactly by the side of some rough, rude heap of mould, in his Memoir of the painter. Blake, he tells us, which, we fancied to ourselves, lay lightly on the lies buried at the distance of about twenty-five feet mouldering bones of Daniel De Foe.
from the north wall, in the grave numbered 80. Here De Foe lies buried! He was born in We wish some curious inquirer of the time had 1661, in the parish of St. Giles’, Cripplegate, and done as much for old De Foe. Memoranda of this was buried in the great pit of Finsbury, which he description gratify thousands who take an interest has described in his Plague Year with such terrific in everything connected with a name eminently reality, and that one word contains the whole great: they are easily made at the time, and, if secret of his strength. He lies like truth; his omitted, no after ingenuity of research can supply very fictions have all the air and sincerity of a de- their want.
Blake, who always saw in fancy every form and her children,” and “ Christian with the he drew, believed that angels descended to painters Pilgrim.” The great work of De Foe was freof old, and sat for their portraits. When he quently before him, and one of his most impressive himself sat to Phillips for that fine portrait, so designs was from this favorite author—" Robinson beautifully engraved by Schiavonetti, the painter, Crusoe on his lonesome isle, scared with the print in order to obtain the most unaffected attitude and of a man's foot upon the sand." It is long since the most poetic expression, engaged his sitter in a we have seen it, but its image is still unmistakconversation concerning the sublime in art : ably before us. There is no thinking of this
“We hear much,” said Phillips, “ of the gran- incident in De Foe in any other shape than the deur of Michael Angelo : from the engravings, I way in which it is drawn by Stothard. He loved should say, he has been overrated; he could not De Foe for the truth and reality of his descriptions, paint an angel so well as Raphael."
and De Foe had loved him in return for the un“ He has not been overrated, sir,” said Blake, affected beauty of his designs. It is right they " and he could paint an angel better than Raph- should lie together. ael."
“ Well, but," said the other, “you never saw any of the paintings of Michael Angelo; and,
THE SONG OF SEVENTY. perhaps, speak from the opinions of others; your friends may have deceived you."
I am not old—I cannot be old, “I never saw any of the paintings of Michael Though threescore years and ten Angelo," replied Blake, “but I speak from the Have wasted away, like a tale that is told, opinion of a friend who could not be mistaken." The lives of other men.
“A valuable friend, truly,” said Phillips; I am not old : though friends and foes - and who may he be, I pray?".
Alike have gone to their graves, “The archangel Gabriel, sir,” answered Blake. And left me alone to my joys or my woes, “A good authority, surely; but you know evil
As a rock in the midst of the waves. spirits love to assume the looks of good ones, and this may have been done to mislead you.”
I am not old-I cannot be old, “Well now, sir,” said Blake, "this is really Though tottering, wrinkled and gray ; singular! such were my own suspicions, but they Though my eyes are dim, and my marrow is cold, were soon reinoved. I will tell you how. I was Call me not old to-day. one day reading Young's Night Thoughts, and For early memories round me throng, when I came to that passage which asks Who can paint an angel? I closed the book and cried, 'Ah, As I look behind on my journey so long
Old times, and manners, and men; who can paint an angel?' A voice in the room
Of threescore miles and ten : answered, Michael Angelo could !' And how do you know?' I said, looking round me, but I saw I look behind, and am once more young, nothing save a greater light than usual. •I know,' Buoyant, and brave, and bold; said the voice, for I sat to him. I am the arch- And my heart can sing, as of yore it sung, angel Gabriel !''Oho!' I answered, you are, Before they called me old. are you? I must have better assurance than that
I do not see her-the old wife thereof a wandering voice. You may be an evil spirit :
Shrivelled, and haggard, and there are such in the land.' You shall have
gray ; good assurance,' said the voice. • Can an evil
But I look on her blooming, and soft, and fair, spirit do this? I looked whence the voice came,
As she was on her wedding-day. and was then aware of a shining shape, with bright I do not see you daughters and sons, wings, who diffused much light. As I looked, the In the likeness of women and men ; shape dilated more and more; he waved his hands, But I kiss you now as I kissed you once, the roof of my study opened, he ascended into My fond little children then. heaven, he stood in the sun, and, beckoning to
o me, moved the universe. An angel of evil could not And as my own grandson rides on my knee, have done that—it was the archangel Gabriel !"
Or plays with his hoop or kite, Near the rails to that part of the ground which I can well recollect I was merry as hefaces the City Road rest the remains of Thomas
The bright-eyed little wight! Hardy, secretary to, and one of the three who 'Tis not long since—it cannot be longcommenced the London Corresponding Society, My years so soon were spent, but best known by his trial for treason in company Since I was a boy, both straight and strong, with John Horne Tooke. Mr. Hardy was tried Yet now am I feeble and bent. and acquitted in the year 1794, and died in the year 1832. He was a mild and inoffensive man ; A dream, a dream—it is all a dream! we speak of his later years, when the visionary
A strange, sad dream, good sooth; schemes of his youth were subdued down to plans For old as I am, and old as I seem, of a more practicable nature. He loved to talk of My heart is full of youth. his trial, and of the ferment of those yeasty times. Eye hath not seen, tongue hath not told,
Thomas Stothard, the last name upon our list, And ear hath not heard it sung, died the 27th of April, 1834, and was buried in How buoyant and bold, though it seem to grow old, Bunhill Fields. He is best known by his “Can Is the heart, forever young; terbury Pilgrimage," and his illustrations to the “ Italy" and smaller poems of Rogers; but his Forever young—though life's old age best works, to our thinking, are his illustrations Hath every nerve unstrung ; of “ The Pilgrim's Progress” and “Robinson The heart, the heart is a heritage Crusoe.” He was fond of drawing “Christiana That keeps the old man young.
From the British Quarterly Review. engaged in learning and teaching mathematics and 1. Meteorological Observations and Essays. By the physical sciences. During his residence in
John Dalton, D.C.L., F.R.S. First Edition, that town, he attracted the attention of Mr. Gough, 1793. Second Edition, 1834.
a blind gentleman, who, in spite of his misfortune, 2. A New System of Chemical Philosophy. By
was devoted to the study of physics and natural John Dalton. Part I., 1808. Part 11., 1810. history. Mr. Gough had an excellent library and Vol. II., 1827.
some apparatus, which he placed freely at the dis3. Memoirs of the Literary and Philosophical So- posal of Dalton, who soon became his assistant and ciely of Manchester from 1793 to 1836.
companion. The service required was of a light
and pleasant description, and the blind philosopher, The recent decease of Dalton, the greatest of who was possessed of excellent natural abilities, English chemists, and one of the most distin- and had obtained a liberal education, appears to guished cultivators of general physics, has natu- have acted the kindest part towards Dalton, who, rally awakened a desire, on the part of many, to in return, was never weary of expressing his sense know something concerning his scientific dis- of obligation to his benefactor. When Dalion coveries and personal history. No satisfactory published his Meteorological Essays, in 1793, he account has been hitherto published either of the said, in reference to Mr. Gough—“ If there be former or the latter. We trust that the following anything new, and of importance to science, emsketch will go some way towards supplying this braced in this work, it is owing, in great part, to deficiency.
my having had the advantage of his instructions John Dalton was born at Eaglesfield, near and example in philosophical examination.” And Cockermouth, in Cumberland, on the 5th of Sep- although we may believe that Dalton's modesty tember, 1766. His father, Joseph Dalton, was led him somewhat to over-estimate his obligation originally a person of no properiy, but after the to Mr. Gough, there can be no doubt that a person death of an elder brother, he became possessed of whose early education had been comparatively so a small copyhold estate, which he farmed with the neglected, must have derived the greatest benefit assistance of his sons. He had six children, of from intercourse with such a person as the latter whom only three survived to maturity.-Jonathan, is described to have been. After his death, and John, the subject of this article, and Mary. The so late as 1834, Dalton spoke of him as a prodigy first-named of these obtained the estate on the in scientific attainments, considering the disadvandecease of his father, and retained it till his own tages under which he labored, and addeddeath, in or near the year 1835, when it became " There are few branches of science in which he the property of John Dalton
did not either excel, or of which he had not a comJoseph, the father, though straitened in circum- petent knowledge. Astronomy, optics, pneumatics, stances, strove to give his family the best educa- chemistry, natural history in general, and botany tion within his means, and John attended a school in particular, may be mentioned. conducted by a member of the Society of Friends, " For about eight years," continues Dalton, named John Fletcher, until he had attained his “ during my residence in Kendal, we were intitwelfth year. We have no means of knowing mately acquainted. Mr. Gough was as much anything concerning the nature or amount of the gratified in imparting his stores of science as I was instructions which he received at this school, (the in receiving them ; my use to him was chiefly in only one he ever attended; but he is said " to reading, writing, and making calculations and diahave made very considerable progress in knowl- grams, and in participating with him in the pleaedge," and he always spoke with respect of his sure resulting from successful investigations; but early preceptor. That did make such pro- as Mr. Gough was above receiving any pecuniary gress, and that he gave early proof of rare energy recompense, the balance of advantage was greatly and natural capability, we may gather from the in my favor, and I am glad of having this opporfact, that at the age of twelve or thirteen, he com- tunity of acknowledging it.”. menced a school in his native village, and perse From the year 1784 to 1794, we find Dalton vered in teaching during two winters.
contributing largely to two works, of some So modest, unassuming, and conscientious a celebrity in their day, but now little remembered, man, as Dalton proved himself in after-life to be, entitled, “ The Gentleman's and the Lady's must have been conscious, even at that early age, Diary. In 1788, he commenced his meteoroof the possession, both of knowledge, and of the logical observations, which led, directly or indipower to impart it, or he would not have com- rectly, to all his great discoveries, and were coninilted himseli to so difficult a task. How he pros- tinued till the day before his death. In 1793, he pered in it we are not told, but probably not published his first work—"Meteorological Obsergreatly, for we learn that his vacant time was vations and Essays,” to which more particular occupied in assisting his father upon his farm ; reference will be made hereafter. and he is said to have taken part in the labor of Some time previous to the appearance of that altering the farm house. He manifested a strong publication, Dalton had thought of qualifying himtendency towards mathematical pursuits when very self to practise either as a physician or a lawyer, young, and had some assistance in the prosecution and corresponded with a friend in London on the of his taste in that respect from a gentleman named subject. But his views were changed in conseRobinson, who, along with his wife, an accom- quence of the receipt of a letter, by his friend Mr. plished woman, directed the studies of the young Gough, from Dr. Barnes, making inquiry for a philosopher.
gentleman to fill the situation of Professor of In 1781, at the age of fifteen, Dalton removed Mathematics and Natural Philosophy, in the new to Kendal, where his cousin, named George college, Mosley-street, Manchester. Dalton's offer Bewley, then resided, as the teacher of a boarding to undertake ihe duties was accepted, and he reschool, with whom the brother of Dalton had lived moved, in 1793, to Manchester, where he spent as an assistant. Dalton succeeded his brother in the remainder of his days. this office, and resided in Kendal till 1792, actively The year after selling in that town, Dalton
joined a society, which had been established for and yet to vary in their constituent ingredients. some time, under the title of the “ Manchester But Mitscherlich's discovery of Isomorphism not Literary and Philosophical Society.” To the only solved the difficulty attending the consideratransactions of this body-the most celebrated of tion of these, but in the end supplied new conall our provincial scientific associations-he confirmation of the law which at first it seemed to tributed a series of papers, containing the results contradict. This, then, premised, we may enter of original researches of the highest value. These, at once on the consideration of the following along with a few others on kindred subjects, have laws :conferred on the society's periodical publications, The first of these is generally named the law best known as the "Manchester Memoirs," a of Definite proportion, but should rather be called celebrity which has extended beyond the nations the law of Constant proportion. It teaches, that of Europe. Dalton resided for about six years the elements which form a chemical compound within the Mosley-street institution, and continued are always united in it in the same proportion by to officiate there till the college was removed to weight. Water not only consists invariably of York, in 1799, when he began to teach mathe- oxygen and hydrogen, but the weight of oxygen matics and natural philosophy privately, at the present is always eight times greater than that of charge, it is said, of eighteen-pence an hour. hydrogen. Whether we obtain it from lake, or
In this humble occupation he was engaged, river, or sea, or glacier, or iceberg; from rain, or when, in 1804, he unfolded the laws which he had snow, or hail, or dew; from the structures of discovered to regulate the proportions in which plants or the bodies of animals; whether it has substances combine chemically with each other, been formed ages ago by the hand of nature, or is along with the hypothesis, by means of which he produced on the instant by mingling together its accounted for their existence and expounded elements in the most random way, the ratio of them. The laws and the hypothesis are gen- its components is immutably the same: eighterally, though erroneously, taken together, and ninths of its weight are always oxygen, and the included under the single title of his “ Atomic remaining ninth, hydrogen. It is the same with Theory.”
every compound. Common salt always contains Here, then, we may, for awhile, arrest the 35 parts of chlorine to 22 of sodium ; marble, 22 course of purely biographical detail, and leaving of carbonic acid to 28 of lime ; vermilion, 16 of Dalton teaching his mathematics at eighteen-pence sulphur to 101 of mercury. In virtue of this law, an hour, turn to the consideration of his scientific a number can be found for every body, simple or discoveries.
compound, expressing the ratio in which (or in a We need scarcely say that it will not be possible multiple or submultiple of which) it combines to offer more than the briefest sketch of these ; with every other. Any series of numbers may and that even this will be out of our power, unless be taken to represent these combining ratios, prowe confine ourselves to the chief points in relation vided the due proportion is maintained among to them. We shall select, therefore, his “ Atomic them, so that the number for oxygen shall be
Theory” as the main subject of illustration, and eight times greater than that for hydrogen, that consider his other discoveries as they stand related for nitrogen fourteen times greater, that for sulto it. Great unity, and the impress of intellectual phur sixteen tiines, that for iron twenty-seven consistency, are stamped on all Dalton's labors. times, and so on, according to the relations which With few exceptions, they bear closely and directly analysis brings out. Different scales of combinupon each other, and on the atomic hypothesis of ing numbers are in use among chemists; but the combining proportion, to which they ultimately only one we need consider is that which makes led, and round which they naturally group them- hydrogen 1, and counts from it upwards. The selves. The method which we shall follow, will numbers in this scale are all small, and do not, in serve, accordingly, both to bring out the nature the majority of cases, go beyond two integers. and value of his discoveries in science, and to indi It must not be forgotten ihat such tables reprecate the train of speculation and inquiry by which sent relative, not absolute weights. Of the smallhe was conducted to them.
est possible quantity of oxygen which can combine As the first step, towards this, we have to con- with the smallest possible quantity of hydrogen, sider the laws of proportional combination which we know nothing ; all that we are certain of is, are universally received as true by chemists. They that it is eight times greater than that of hydroare four in number, and refer to combination by gen, whatever that be. None of the numbers weight; the laws of combination by volume being taken singly has any absolute value: the 16, for excluded from our present inquiry. Three of example, which, in tables of the kind we are disthem were discovered by Dalton; all of them were cussing, stands against sulphur, does not represent brought into new prominence by his labors ; and 16 grains, 16 millionths of a grain, or any other his atornic theory, or rather hypothesis, as it absolute quantity : its value appears only when it should be called, is an endeavor to explain them, is taken in connexion with the number attached to by assuming a peculiar ultimate constitution of hydrogen, to which the quite arbitrary value of 1 matter, which absolutely necessitates their exist- has been given. We may give any value we
These laws are based upon one, deeper please to any one of the elementary bodies we and more fundamental than themselves, which is choose to fix upon for a commencement, and call assumed in their enunciation, and is to the following effect :- The same compound consists invariably ists, in illustraving the laws of combining proportion, we
* In conformity with the universal practice of chemof the same components. Water, for example, have here, and elsewhere throughout this paper, emalways consists of oxygen and hydrogen ; common ployed round numbers, cutting off the decimal fractions, salt, of chlorine and sodium ; vermilion, of sulphur by which the exact combining proportions exceed or fall and mercury. Exceptions to this law were ai one short of these. The equivalent of oxygen, for example, time thought to exist, in the case of certain min- is pot 8, but 8.01; that of nitrogen, not 14, but 14.06 erals and native gems, such as garnet, which of the elementary bodies are round numbers : carbon is
and so on with niany others. The equivalents of a few seemed to exhibit constant physical characters, 6; calcium, 20: the greater number are not.
it 1, 10, 100, b, d, or any other integer or frac-| analysis of a substance must have blindly or intion; but here our liberty ceases. The relation telligently taken for granted that it would prove between the numbers is absolute, though their in- definite in composition; and most of them, we dividual value is not; and from the settled figure may readily believe, connected with this a more we must count upwards or downwards, or both or less clearly discerned expectation that it would ways, so as to maintain in violate the relative prove constant in composition also. This length, values throughout the series.
certainly, Bergman the Swede, our own Cavendish, The law we are discussing, as we have already Lavoisier, and many others, had reached, in their stated, is generally called that of definite propor- observations and speculations on the combinations tion, but, as we think, erroneously ; for it asserts of bodies; but it was made the subject of special something more than that the proportion in which demonstration by two German chemists, Wenzel the elements of a compound unite is definite; it and Richter, and by a French cliemist, Proust, affirms, also, that it is constant, or always the who published their respective works between the same. The elements of a compound must be years 1777 and 1792. The views of the German united in definite proportion. A definite weight chemists will come better under our notice when of water, for example, must consist of a definite discussing the third law of combining proportion ; weight of hydrogen and of oxygen ; but the pro- those of Proust deserve more particular mention portion of these elements might be quite variable, here, as they were published in consequence of a so that one specimen of water should be found to discussion carried on between him and the celecontain 1 hydrogen to 8 oxygen; another, 8 hy. brated French chemist, Berthollet, as to the existdrogen to 1 oxygen; a third, a moiety of either ence of such a law as the one we are considering. ingredient; and so on, ad infinitum.
Berthollet asserted that the number of compounds The native garnet, to which reference has which any two elements can form with each other already been made, is always, a definite com- is quite unlimited, and that constancy of physical pound; but the proportion of its ingredients varies characters, such as specific gravity, color, iaste, within wide limits, so that while one specimen &c., is no sign of constancy in chemical composicontains 27 per cent. of a certain constituent alu-tion. Proust affirmed, on the other hand, that mina, another does not contain 1 per cent. The the number of compounds formed by two elements, alun of the dyer may in the same way contain a such as iron and oxygen, is always limited, and proportion of peroxide of iron, varying in different often very small; and that so long as the physical specimens from 1 to 90 per cent.; and differences characters remain unchanged, the chemical comin the ratio of ingredients as great as these occur position is equally invariable. The evidence adin all the combinations of what are called isomor- duced by him was so ample and incontrovertible, phous bodies. These garnets and alums, how that the discussion ended in satisfying every chemever, are in reality mixtures in variable propor- ist of the truth of his views. tions of quite constant compounds, and offer no The second law of combining proportion is reexception to the law we are discussing : but they lated to the circumstance, that the same elements, illustrate what is manifestly quite possible, that in almost every case, combine in more than one constancy in physical character, and constancy in proportion to constitute several compounds. Even the nature of the constituent ingredients, might the beginner will be prepared for this, if he is coexist with inconstancy in the proportion of the aware that the chemist has, in the mean while, latter. Now Dalton's first law affirms, in contra- reduced all kinds of matter to some fifty-six pridiction to this possibility, that the proportion of mary ones, and has the whole world to account elements in a compound is in every case as con- for out of these. This law is named that of Mulstant as their nature; a truth which the title, tiple Proportion, and enforces the remarkable * Law of definite proportion,” does not bring out, truth, that when one body combines with another whilst that of constant proportion not only does, in several proportions, the higher ones are multibut in addition includes all that the former ex- ples of the first or lowest. Oxygen and hydropresses ; for a constant proportion must of neces- gen, for example, which in water are united in sity be a definite one also.
the ratio of eight of the former to one of the latter, For these reasons, we press upon the reader unite to form a second compound, named the the propriety of avoiding the singular and almost peroxide of hydrogen, in which the oxygen is to unaccountable confusion which exists in many of the hydrogen as 16 to 1; or, the hydrogen reour best works in the use of the word definite, as maining the same, there is exactly twice as much equivalent to constant, and name the law-that of oxygen as in water. There are two compounds constant proportion.
of hydrogen and carbon remarkable as being the This law applies to all bodies, organic and in- bodies which suggested this law to Dalton. In organic, native and artificial, so that in the light the one of these, (ole fiant gas,) there are six of it our earth, with its atmosphere, may be con- parts, by weight, of carbon, to one of hydrogen ; sidered as the sum or complement of an almost in the other, (marsh gas, or fire-damp,) there are infinite number of compounds adjusted by weight, six parts of carbon to two of hydrogen ; or, the and told to the tale; and in a sense as mathemat-weight of carbon being the same in both, there is ically true as it is poetically sublime, we may un- exactly twice as much hydrogen in the first as in derstand the declaration of an inspired writer, the second. One of the most remarkable examthat God “has weighed the mountains in scales ples of this law occurs in the compounds of nitroand the hills in a balance."
gen and oxygen, which are five in number. The The law of constant proportion was known be- proportion of nitrogen is the same in all, and may fore Dalton's time, and had been distinctly an- be represented by the number 14, while that of nounced by several chemists in different coun- the oxygen, which in the lowest, may be expressed tries towards the close of last century. We by 8, in the second is 16, or twice 8; in the third, can scarcely doubt that it had been fully appre-24, or three times 8; in the fourth, 32, or four. hended, in many quarters, before it was specially times 8; and in the fifth, 40, or five times 8; the proclaimed. Every chemist who undertook the higher proportions are multiples of the lowest, by