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In the first of these works the authors compare the milk of woman, and that of the domestic animals, of which we make most use; and, in the second, they examine the changes produced in blood by inflammatory and putrid maladies and by the scurvy, changes which are often hardly perceptible, and which are far from explaining the disorders which they occasion, or which at least they accompany.
We have seen already how Parmentier had been in a manner singular enough, arrested in the proper line of his advancement. His merit was too great for this injustice to last long; the government employed him on several occasions as a military apothecary; and when, in 1788, a board of physicians and consulting surgeons for the army was organized, the minister wished to place him at it as apothecary, but Bayen was still alive, and Parmentier was the first to declare that he could not seat himself above his master. He was therefore only appointed as assistant to Bayen. This institution like so many others, was suppressed at the epoch of the great revolutionary anarchy, when subordination even in medicine could not be tolerated; but it was soon found necessary to re-establish it under the names of committee and council of health for the armies, and Parmentier whom the reign of terror had for some time driven from Paris, was speedily recalled.
He pursued this career with the same zeal as all the others. The hospitals of the army have been wonderfully indebted to his labours. Circulars, repeated orders to inferiors, pressing solicitations to authority, nothing was neglected. We have seen him of late
years bitterly deploring the total neglect of the asylums of the victims of war, by a government occupied with conquering and not with preserving. Above all, we should bear a signal testimony to the care which he bestowed upon the young men employed under his orders; to the kindness with which he received, and rewarded them. His protection followed them to whatever distance they might be dragged, and we know more than one of them who has owed his life in foreign climates to the provident advice of his paternal director. But his activity was not confined to the duties of his office, every thing which promised utility became of right, its object. At the time of the establishment of steam engines, water works by steam, he removed the fears of the public concerning the salubrity of the water of the Seine: at a later period he engaged with ardor in the distribution of cheap soups;—he contributed greatly to the extending of vaccination;–it was he chiefly who introduced the beautiful order which reigns in the central pharmacy of the hospitals of Paris, and who compiled the pharmaceutical code which is used in them: he superintended the great bake-house of Scision where all the bread for the hospitals is made; the domestic hospital (Hos- . pice des Ménages) was under his particular direction, and he attended most minutely to every thing which could mitigate the lot of the 800 old persons of both sexes who compose it. , In a word, wherever there was much to be done, wherever great services were to be performed without any reward, wherever there was an association for the
purpose of doing good, he was among the first, ready to consecrate his time, his pen, and even his fortune, in case of need. This long and continual habit of devoting himself to the welfare of mankind, had at length impressed itself upon his external appearance. You fancied that you saw in him beneficence personified. A person tall and erect, even in his old age, a countenance full of amenity and gentleness, fine hair as white as snow, made this venerable old man the image of goodness, and of virtue. His countenance pleased particularly by an expression of happiness arising from the good he had done; and indeed who could better deserve to be happy than the man who, without birth, without fortune, without high station, without any eminence of genius even, but by the sole perseverance of bene
volence, has perhaps contributed as much to the welfare of his fellow creatures, as any of those on whom nature and chance have heaped all the means of serving them. Parmentier was never married; his sister, Madame Houzeau, had always remained with him, and had assisted him with the utmost zeal in his auspicious labours. She died at a time when her affectionate attentions were most necessary to her brother, whose health had been declining for some years from a chronic affection of the breast. His sorrow for the loss of her increased the sufferings of this excellent man, and rendered his last days very painful, but without in the least altering his character or suspending his exertions. He was taken from us on the 17th of December, 1813, in the seventyseventh year of his age.
ROYAL INSTITUTE OF FRANCE.
Reflections on the firogress of the Sciences, and on their relations with Society, by the Chevalier Cuvier, fiershetual Secretary of the Academy of Sciences, for the Physical Sciences; read at the fublic sitting qf inauguration on the 24th Afril, 1816.
Translated by H. PAT1L.Lo, Esq. of Baltimore.
At the time when the Academy of Sciences received from Louis XIV, the form which the august successor of that monarch this day restores to us, in a solemnity similar to that which now brings us together, the ingenious historian of that body would not permit himself without a degree of reserve, to advance the opinion that the labours of his fellow-members might not be so entirely useless as they were considered in his own time.
Now, we may hold a language less timid, or rather, we may speak with boldness.
The success which has of late years attended the observation of nature, the study of her resources and her laws, has excited an interest in their history, and we have collected from it more enlarged ideas of their power and utility.
We have seen them if not create society, at least grow, and expand with it, procuring to the latter in succession all its enjoyments; sometimes completely transposing its elements; and from what they have done, it has not been difficult to foresee what they might still do.
Thrown weak and naked on the surface of the globe, man appeared created for inevitable destruction; evils assailed him on every side; the remedies remained hidden from him;-but, he had been endowed with genius to discover them.
The first savages collected in the forests a few nourishing fruits, a few salutary roots, and thus supplied their most immediate wants; the first shepherds observed that
the stars move in a regular course,
and made use of them to guide their journies across the plains of the desert; such was the origin of . the mathematical, and such of the physical sciences. Once convinced that it could combat nature by the means which she herself afforded, genius reposed no more; it watched her without" relaxation; it incessantly made new conquests over her, all of them distinguished by some improvement in the situation of our race. From that time a succession of
conducting minds, faithful deposi
tories of the attainments already made, constantly occupied in connecting them, in vivifying them by means of each other, have conducted us, in less than forty ages, from the first essays of rude observers, to the profound calculations of Newton and Laplace, to the learned classifications of Linnaeus and Jussieu. This precious inheritance, perpetually increasing, brought from Chaldea into Egypt, from Egypt into Greece, concealed during ages of disaster and of darkness, recovered in more fortunate times, unequally spread among the nations of Europe, has
every where been followed by wealth and power; the nations who have reaped it are become the mistresses of the world; such as have neglected it, are fallen into weakness and obscurity. It is true that for a long time, even those who were so fortunate as to reveal any important truths, did not clearly perceive the great relations by which all truths are united, nor the infinite consequences which may flow from each. And, indeed, it could not be expected that those Phoenician sailors
who saw the sand of the shores of.
Baetica transformed by fire into a transparent glass, should have at once foreseen that this new substance would prolong the pleasures of sight to the old; that it would one day assist the astronomer in penetrating the depths of the heavens, and in numbering the stars of the milky way; that it would lay open to the naturalist a miniature world as populous, as rich in wonders as that which alone seemed to have been granted to his senses and his contemplation; in fine, that the most simple and direct use of it would enable the inhabitants of the coast of the Baltic sea, to build palaces more magnificent than those of Tyre and Memphis, and to cultivate, almost under the frost of the polar circle, the most delicious fruits of the torrid zone. When a pious monk, in the seclusion of a German cloister, first set fire to a mixture of sulphur and saltpetre, what mortal could have predicted to him the consequences which would arise from his experiment? To change the art of war; to deprive mere physical strength of its superiority over courage; to re-establish the authority of kings in the west; to render
it impossible that civilized coun
tries should ever again be the prey
of barbarous nations; to become, in a word, one of the great causes of the propagation of knowledge, by rendering knowledge necessary to conquering nations, who had in almost every instance been the sconrges of it; such was the destination of one of the most simple chemical combinations. These consequences now strike every eye; but the most piercing sight could not have discovered them in the commencement, when every one was content with following the path which chance had opened to him; it was almost unconsciously that these first observers became the benefactors of their race. The principle and the immense advantage of the present progress of the sciences, consist in the cessation of this insulated state. The different roads have met; those who travelled on them have created for themselves a common language; their different doctrines, by gradual dilatation, at length touch, and lending a mutual support, proceeding on the same great line, they embrace, as it were, all existence in its universality. By thus elevating herself above every thing, science has been enabled to inspect every thing; all the arts are subjected to her; industry acknowledges her as its regulator; she has assisted and protected man in all his modes of being and employment, and she has connected herself in the most intimate and perceptible manner, with all the relations of society. Even before she had attained this elevation, it was not difficult to perceive that her observations, those in appearance the most humble and indifferent, might give rise to changes as important as unex
pected in social habits, in commerce, and the public weal. A botanist whose name is hardly known, brought tobacco from the new world to Europe about the time of the league. This plant now furnishes to France alone the subject of a tax of fifty millions; the other nations of Europe draw resources from it in the same proportion; even in Turkey and Persia it is become a considerable article of commerce and agriculture. Another botanist, in the time of the regency, transported to Martinique a coffee-plant, an Arabian shrub, the use of which had only commenced in Europe about the beginning of the reign of Louis XIV. This single plant has yielded all those of our islands; it has enriched the colonists. The use of this grain is now become common, and certainly it has been more efficacious than all the eloquence of moralists in destroying the abuse of wine among the upper classes of society. Who can answer that even now our botanical gardens do not contain some neglected herb, destined to produce quite as great revolu. tions in our customs and political economy? * And what places in a very distinct class, the revolutions which the sciences occasion, is, that they are always fortunate. They combat other revolutions: it is the opposition of two principles; the war of Orosmades against Arimanius. When a fatal negligence had abandoned our forests to destruction, natural philosophy improved our fire-places. When the jealousy of other nations deprived us of foreign productions, chemistry made them grow in our soil. The nations of Europe seem never to have la
boured with more ardour to destroy their means of subsistence than during the last twenty years! How many famines would not the devastations which we have witnessed have formerly produced? Botany had provided against them; she had gone beyond the seas to seek out new plants for our nourishment; she had taken advantage of every bad year to recommend the propagation of them, and had at length succeeded in rendering a famine impossible. Further yet; to see how fortunate inventions occur at the moment when the sufferings of humanity require them, it would seem that Providence holds in reserve the beneficent discoveries of the sciences to counterbalance the disastrous ingenuity of ambition. Inoculation came into use shortly after the scourge of standing armies; and at the time of the still more dreadful scourge of the conscription, the unexpected miracles of vaccination seemed intended to console the world. And, we feel a pleasure in repeating that benefits so great, so numerous, have been justly appreciated; they have been proclaimed with eclat; and in this respect, the sciences and those who cultivate them have no cause to complain of our contemporaries. But the men who do them justice do not all entertain ideas equally exact of the causes of their progress, nor of the proper means of encouraging them. Some who confound different times, imagine that we might still content ourselves with such parts of science as are immediately useful; others considering all lofty theories as barren exercises of the mind, are afraid that by deadening the imagination, they may contract the understanding, and would wish