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wards compared Davy's pleasure, when surrounded with a set of fine philosophical instruments, to the delight of a child introduced to a magazine of toys. The air-pump, known to him previously only by descriptions and engravings, more especially fixed his attention. He probably revolved in his mind the problems which he hoped to investigate by its aid, and was the more interested as some of his earliest researches were directed to the investigation of the nature of the air secreted in the vessels of marine plants.
7. He was soon after engaged as assistant to Dr. Beddoes, in the Pneumatic Institution at Bristol, and, being thus set free from the medical profession, he devoted his whole time to the cultivation of science. The inquiry which he pursued with the most ardour, was the effect of various
and gaseous exhalations on life and health. Berthollet the younger, a chemist of high repute, had voluntarily sacrificed his life in the same investigation. He inclosed himself in an atmosphere destructive of life, wrote down his successive sensations with equal accuracy and coolness, and thus continued until the pen dropped from his hand and he fell lifeless. Davy exhibited an almost equal desperation, of which he has given the following account:“My friend, Mr. James Tobin, being present, after a forced exhaustion of my lungs, the nose being accurately closed, I made three inspirations and expirations of the hydro-carbonate. The first inspiration produced a sort of numbness and loss of feeling in the chest and about the pectoral muscles. After the second, I lost all power of perceiving external things, and had no distinct sensation except that of a terrible oppression on the chest. During the third, this feeling subsided, --I seemed sinking into annihilation, and had just power enough to cut off the mouthpiece from my unclosed lips.
A short interval must have passed, during which I respired common air, before the objects around me were distinguishable. On recollecting myself I faintly articulated, I do not think I shall die.''
8. The publication of these researches, and the success of the young chemist in his examination of the nature of galvanism and the structure of plants, made his name known to the leading men of science; and in 1801, on the recommendation of Count Rumford, he was appointed assistant lecturer at the Royal Institution. Davy's lectures became exceedingly popular.
9. His fame soon spread abroad. The Board of Agriculture engaged his services as professor of chemistry; and the Royal Society, of which he became secretary in 1807, frequently applied to him to deliver the annual Bakerian lecture. But these engagements did not divert his attention from experimental research.
10. His discoveries in chemical and electrical science were announced every year, to the surprise and admiration of philosophers; but his highest fame arose from his determination of the laws of voltaic electricity, by which he might be said to have created an entirely new branch of science.
11. Though England was then at war with France, the Imperial Institute of Paris awarded him a prize of three thousand francs, which he accepted, declaring that “if governments are at war men of science are not.” Honours now began to be proffered him from various quarters. The University of Dublin created him a Doctor of Laws; he was knighted by the Prince Regent; and elected an honorary member of most of the learned bodies in England and on the Continent.
12. After the return of Napoleon from Elba in 1814, Sir Humphry Davy, anxious to visit the extinct volcanoes in Auvergne, solicited permission to travel in France, which was immediately granted. The greatest attention and respect were shown him by the men of science in Paris. 13. On his return to England, in 1815, he resolved to
turn his attention to the fire-damp, or explosive gas, found in coal-mines, which had been the cause of many dreadful accidents. After a long series of experiments, he discovered that if the flame of a lamp was protected by a wire gauze, the gases brought into contact with the lamp would not explode, while the light would still be preserved.
14. This great discovery, which enabled miners to work in the midst of danger with perfect safety, was justly appreciated by the coal-owners of the north of England. They invited him to a public dinner at Newcastle, and presented him with a service of plate, valued at two thousand pounds. The Emperor of Russia sent him a splendid silver vase as a testimony of regard, and he was created a baronet by the Prince Regent. But his best reward was the consciousness that the
simple implement which he had invented, annually saved hundreds of lives. In 1820, he was elected president of the Royal Society, to whose Transactions he continued to contribute papers on subjects of the greatest interest for several years.
15. He resigned his office in the Royal Society, and went to Italy for the benefit of his health, where he amused
The Davy Lamp.
himself in writing his Consolations in Travel, or The Last Days of a Philosopher. These last days were fast approaching. He quitted Italy in a very weak state, but had only reached Geneva on his way home, when he died on the 29th of May, 1829. chemical science, the science of vagaries, follies.
chemistry reducing everything secreted, hidden. to its elements.
Pneumatic Institution for the experimental philosophy, the purpose of investigating the
discovery of truth by experi- laws of atmospheric air. ment and observation.
exhalations, effluvia. identified, so closely connected pectoral muscles, the muscles of
as to be like the same thing. the breast and chest. oratory, the art of speaking in annihilation, nothingness. public.
galvanism, a science first disenthusiasm, earnest zeal.
covered by Galvani, 1790. relaxations, amusements.
Bakerian lecture. Henry Baker, aversion to festive society, dis- an eminent naturalist, born like to gay society.
1703, died 1774. He left £100 contemplation, thought.
to the Royal Society for an gallipots and phials, the vessels annual lecture on anatomy or used in a surgery.
chemistry. chemical analysis, the practical voltaic electricity, so called from part of chemistry.
Volta, its discoverer, 1792. investigations, research or care- proffered, offered for acceptance. ful inquiry:
Auvergne, a province in Central combustion, burning up.
France. absorbed, engaged.
Describe Davy's tastes as a child. Give an account of his apprenticeship. What was his first real treasure? Whose theory did he oppose in his first publication? How did his apprenticeship end? How did he obtain access to a good laboratory? Where was he first engaged in a public institution? Describe Davy's dangerous experiment. Give the steps of his future promotions. State what honours were awarded to him. Describe his great discovery and its important results. When and where did he die?
1. Labour is rest—from the sorrows that greet us;
Rest from all petty vexations that meet us,
Rest from world-syrens that lure us to ill.
Work with a stout heart and resolute will! 2. Labour is health! Lo the husbandman reaping!
How through his veins goes the life-current leaping; How his strong arm, in its stalwart pride sweeping,
Free as a sunbeam the swift sickle guides. Labour is wealth-in the sea the pearl groweth, Rich the queen's robe from the frail cocoon floweth, From the fine acorn the strong forest bloweth,
Temple and statue the marble block hides. 3. Droop not—though shame, sin, and anguish are round
thee; Bravely fling off the cold chain that hath bound thee; Look to yon pure heaven smiling beyond thee:
Rest not content in thy darkness a clod! Work for some good, be it ever so slowly; Cherish some flower, be it ever so lowly; Labour!-all labour is noble and holy;
Let thy great deeds be thy prayer to thy God. 4. Pause not to dream of the future before us;
Pause not to weep the wild cares that come o'er us; Hark! now Creation's deep musical chorus
Unintermitting goes up into Heaven! Never the ocean-wave falters in flowing;