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and it was no well-fitted-up laboratory which he deemed essential to success: He was emphatically a self-helper and a self-worker, and has left an example to all who wish to follow in his steps. The whole of the apparatus with which some of his most remarkable and successful experiments had been performed could be contained on a tea-tray. In chemistry he was distinguished by the extreme nicety and delicacy of his observations, by the quickness and precision with which he marked resemblances and discriminated differences, the sagacity with which he devised experiments and anticipated their results, and the skill with which he executed the analysis of the fragments of new substances often so minute as to be scarcely perceptible by ordinary eyes. And like all truly great men, he was neither arrogant nor dogmatic in his assertions, but was content to let Truth abide her perfect time, knowing that as truth is great, yea, all.powerful, it will and must in the end prevail. He was, we are told, remarkable for the caution with which he advanced from facts to general conclusions, a caution which, if it sometimes prevented him from reaching at once to the most sublime truths, yet rendered every step of his ascent a secure station from which it was easy to rise to higher and more enlarged inductions. His motto, like that of his great predecessor, Newton, was
“ Work and wait.” Like every philosopher who has attained any distinction in these latter days, he was thoroughly impregnated with the Baconian philosophy, and was content to work slowly on step by step, istead of rushing at once, over chasms of every sort, to those general and dogmatic conclusions, crowned and apparently confirmed by brilliant experiments, which has been the practice of the soi-disant philosopher in all ages. Whether it was to this unassuming manner in himself, or to the consciousness in his auditors and readers that he was a man who would not advance what he could not prove to the satisfaction of all, we know not; but certain it is that Wollaston was not embittered by those controversies, false judgments, and false accusations, which generally fall to the lot of every man who by his own hard work, talent, and clear-sightedness, makes or endeavours to make head above his fellows, and to lead them on in new and untried paths of science and art. In former days the inventor seldom reaped the fruit of his own labour. Thanklessly received, often violently opposed in his own lifetime, the invention often lay dormant, while the body of its begetter lay dormant too beneath the lilies of the valley, till the need for some further mechanical or chemical appliance has directed attention to the despised and forgotten inventor. The work has been cleaned from the cobwebs of years, brought into action, and contributed to the enriching of the very men who scouted the inventor a few years before, and laughed at his invention. How much, alas! of this is still too true at the present day! The old, old tale. The present age seldom understands its great men, and only when the icy hand of death has removed the great but neglected mortal ones from sight do they perceive that there has indeed been a prophet among them. Such, however, was not the fate of Wollaston; since, from his different discoveries, and particularly from that of a method of manufacturing platinum, he is said to have obtained a considerable fortune-over £30,000. No one, however, could have better deserved the rewards due to genius and industry ; for not only were the qualities of his mind of a high order, but his application to philosophical investigations and experiments was unremitting.
But it is time to notice some of those discoveries which have made Wollaston's name famous, and conferred such benefits on science and on mankind. They were in general communicated to the Royal Society, and to the Transactions of that body we must look for an account of them. The first, as previously noticed, ap, peared in 1797. It was on Gouty and urinary concretions," and was read June 22nd, in which he announced the discovery of several new compounds connected with the production of those maladies.
This paper is the only one, with few exceptions, which has direct reference to the medical profession, and may doubtless be taken as an exponent of the careful, observant eye with which he noted everything when in practice. The next, which was not read till 6th March, 1800, sho that Wollaston was by this time completely devoted to natural science. It is “On double images caused by refraction.” After alluding to the various accounts received of this phenomenon, he declares it to be his intention,
“Ist. To investigate theoretically the successive variations of increasing or decreasing density to which fluids in general are liable, and the laws of refraction occasioned by them.
“2nd. To illustrate and confirm the truth of this theory by experiments upon fluids of known density.
* And, lastly, To ascertain, by trial upon the air itself, the causes and extent of those variations of its refractive density on which the inversion of objects and other observed phenomena appear to depend."
It is a rather lengthy paper, full of experiments, and close mathematical reasoning therefrom; and shows us what great strides science has made during the last half-century, chiefly through the exertions of such men as Davy, Young, and Wollaston. À year after, June 25th, 1801, Wollaston read a paper containing experiments on “The chemical production and agency of electricity.' In this paper he shows what of course all agree to now, viz., that the oxidation of the metal is the primary cause of the electric phenomena observed ; and also that galvanism and electricity are only modifications of the same phenomena. This he did by the decom. position of water. In this paper, also, be shows us on how small a scale he conducted his experiments for considering
" that the de. composition must depend on duly proportioning the charge of electricity to the quantity of water," and not to the size of the vessels. He employed a small capillary tube and very fine gold wire in place of the Leyden jar hitherto employed, and the result, he says, exceeded his anticipations.
On the 24th June, 1802, he read a paper on “A method of examining refractive and dispersive powers by prismatic reflection; and as showing that the observations of one philosopher are but the germ for the discoveries of future ones, he declares that he has been led to this method by a consideration of Sir Isaac Newton's pris. matic eye-glass. On the same day, as a corollary to the foregoing, a paper of his was read on the refraction of Iceland crystal, in which he supports Young's theory of light in opposition to Newton. These papers possess interest for the scientific reader only; but on the 10th November of this same year we find him delivering the Bakerian lecture, in which, availing himself of his previous observations and experiments on refraction, he chose as his subject, “Observations on the quantity of horizontal refraction ; with a method of measuring the dip at sea." This is, of course, of the utmost importance to astronomers and to seafaring men, and is one of those lectures which, though apparently uninteresting and abstruse, have been pregnant with results for the good of mankind. The same may be said of his next paper, read June 24, 1804, in which he announces his discovery of a new metal, called rhodium, from the rose colour of a solution of its salts. This metal is found in crude *platina ; and he also declares that the new metal palladium is con. tained in the ore of platina. This is a very interesting paper, and was followed, on July 4, 1805, by one further illustrating the properties of palladium, and its claim to be considered one of the elementary substances. In 1806, Wollaston was appointed joint secretary of the Royal Society with Davy, having previously, on November 14th of the preceding year, delivered his second Bakerian lecture, on "The Force of Percussion.” This, which is essentially a mathematical lecture, illustrates well the range and versatility of Wollaston's mind. The next year we find the distinguished mathematician and chemist descending from his lofty seat to explain, in a paper read March 12th, 1807, " The origin of fairy rings." But perhaps a great man is never better employed than when he endeavours to remove superstition or to replace a falsely assigned cause by the true one. Wollaston's account, which is now generally adopted, is so well known that it need not be repeated. His next paper, read January 28th, 1808, on "Superacid and subacid salts," shows him in a very dignified character. From a perusal of the paper we gather that he had anticipated Dalton in his discovery of the law of multiple proportions for combinations of salts ; but not baving published would not take any credit to himself, but gave
it all to his distinguished but ill-requited friend. The next two years appear to have been busy ones to Wollaston, and were distinguished by remarkable discoveries. On March 22nd, 1809, he read a paper
“ Platina and native palladium from Brazil ;" followed, on June 8th, by one in which he proved the identity of columbium and tantalum, tbus unwillingly depriving Ekesberg, the Swedish chemist, of his claim to the discovery of a new metul. Oil the sun day was read the description of a reflective gonion:eter, which has since
proved of such invaluable aid to mineralogists in the measurement of the angles of crystals. On November 18th he delivered the Croonian lecture, “ On the duration of voluntary muscular action," and gave an ingenious account of the origin of sea-sickness. In his next paper, January 24th, 1811, he, at the request of Dr. Marcet, forwards the result of some of his observations while in practice. His next paper, read February, 13th, 1812, was a practical application of his previous one on the reflective goniometer, with more especial reference to "primitive crystals of carbonate of lime and iron spar.” On June 11th of the same year was read a paper on “A periscopic camera obscura and microscope,” which the author believed much more advantageous than those constructed on the common principle, and of which great numbers were sold. On the 26th November he again delivered the Bakerian lecture, choosing for his subject “ The elementary particles of certain crystals. A month later he was ready with another paper, on “ A method of freezing at a distance,” in which he made known his “ Cryophorus, or frost-bearer;" while, early in the next year, February 18th, he made known his method of drawing extremely fine wire, and from which he is, as above stated, said to have realized a large fortune; and, as a corollary to this, read, a week later, a paper on A singlelens micrometer,” designed to measure accurately the diameter of these excessively fine wires. His “Synoptic scale of chemical equivalents," communicated during the following year, has been of the greatest possible use to the chemist and manufacturer.
In 1815 his father died, and during this year no communications were made to the Royal Society. His paper of May 2nd, 1816, is taken up with accounting for the apparently simple question of why the diamond cuts glass. Wollaston shows that this property depends upon its form rather than its hardness. We pass over papers of lesser import, the recital of the mere titles of which would only weary the reader, but which show that Wollaston's mind was ever active, and his time fully occupied with experiment and reflection, and will only note one read 17th January, 1822, in which he proves, from observations made with a telescope one inch in aperture and seven inches focal length, that the earth's atmosphere is finite.
Wollaston was now a vice-president of the Royal as well as of the Geological Society, and continued as before hard at work on experiments connected with the “ Waters of the Mediterranean;" “The light of the sun compared with that of the fixed stars," &c. : but death and disease were unconsciously hard at work too, and had already marked the hard-toiling, close-thinking, distinguished philosopher as an inhabitant of their deary, workless abodes. On November 20th, 1828, his fourth and last Bakerian lecture was read, “On a method of rendering platina malleable," and almost as if in solemn mockery to him whose spirit was so soon to go where earthly honours avail not, and where holiness is the only medal allowed to adorn the breast, this last paper was, on the 30th of the same month, awarded the Gold Medal of the Royal Society. A few weeks after, on 22nd December, 1828, his spirit took its flight to that region where faith is lost in sight, the mists of doubt und error are cleared away, and we know even as we are known, and where the faithful servant and steward is sure of an exceeding great reward. Feeling his end approaching, and being anxious that the knowledge of his discoveries and inventions should be preserved for the benefit of his fellow-creatures, he devoted his numbered hours, in the midst of pain and disease, to dictate such information as he thought worthy of being preserved. He also, to show that the consciousness of his approaching end had not innpaired his faculties, and that death is a change rather than a dissolution, called for pencil and paper, set down a long column of figures, added them up correctly, and shortly after expired. Truly his end was peace, and one well befitting a Christian philosopher. The 'cause of death was afterwards ascertained to be an effusion of blood in the vesicles of the brain.
Men of science had valued aright the researches of the ingenious and cautious philosopher, and mourned his loss accordingly, Ore and all were ready to pass upon him the eulogium which he who steadfastly works out his life for the good and advancement of his fellow-men, no matter in what path, so well deserves.
Wollaston, at the time of his death, was Senior Fellow of Caius College, and, as already mentioned, Vice-President of the Geological Society. Dr. Filton, the president of the latter body, in concluding his annual address, thus alluded to the loss of their Vice-President:
-“ It would be difficult to name a man who so well combined the qualities of an English gentleman and philosopher, or whose life better deserves the eulogium given by the first of our orators to one of our most distinguished public characters; for it was marked by a constant wish and endeavour to be useful to mankind.”
Dr. Thomson tells us that “ Dr. Wollaston's knowledge was more varied, and his taste less exclusive, than that of any other philosopher except Mr. Cavendish ; but optics and chemistry are the two sciences for which we are under the greatest obligations to him."
Dr. Henry says of him that, “trained in the discipline of the exact sciences, he had acquired a powerful command over his atten. tion, and had habituated himself to the most rigid correctness, both in thought and language. He was sufficiently provided with the resources of mathematics to be enabled to pursue with success profound inquiries in mechanical and optical philosopby, the results of which enabled him to unfold the causes of phenomena pot before understood, and to enrich the arts connected with those sciences by the invention of ingenious and valuable instruments. It must be recollected that the age in which Wollaston lived was alive with scientific thought and investigation. It was the age of Davy, of Young, of Cavendish, Rumford, and later, of Faraday. Electricity and its kindred phenomena had flashed upon philosophers, and compelled them to search for its cause. In the midst of this,