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36 FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

of the metal are thrown out, and umbrageous foliage loads
the branches. You have here a growth apparently as won-
derful as that of any vegetable perfected in a minute before
your eyes. Substituting for the nitrate of silver acetate of
lead, which is a compound of lead and acetic acid, the
electric current severs the lead from the acid, and there you
see the metal slowly branching into these exquisite metallic
ferns, the frondslof which, as they become too heavy, break
from their roots and fall to the bottom of the cell.

These experiments show that the common matter of our
earth—“ brute matter,” as Dr. Young pleases to call it—
when its atoms and molecules are'permitted to bring their-
forces into free play, arranges itself, under the operation of
these forces, into forms which rival in beauty those of the
vegetable world. And what is the vegetable world itself
but the result of the complex play of these molecular forces ?
Here, as elsewhere throughout Nature, if matter moves, it
is force that moves it; and if a certain structure, vegetable
or mineral, is produced, it is through the operation of- the
forces exerted between the atoms and molecules. These
atoms and molecules resemble little magnets with mutually
attractive and mutually repellant poles. The attracting
poles unite, the repellant poles retreat, and vegetable as
well as mineral forms are the final expression of this com-
plicated molecular action.

In the formation of our lead and silver trees, we needed
an agent to wrest the lead and the silver from the acids
with which they were combined. A similar agent is re-
quired in the vegetable world. The solid matter of which
our lead and silver trees were formed was, in the first in-
stance, disguised in a transparent liquid; the solid matter
of which our woods and forests are composed is also, for
the most part, disguised in a transparent gas, which is
mixed in small quantities with the air of our atmOSphere.
This gas is formed by the union of carbon and oxygen, and

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