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3 8 FRAGMEN TS OF SCIENCE.

not thought it necessary to dwell upon the mighty mechani-
cal energy of their act of combination, but, in passing, I
would say that the clashing together of 11b. of hydrogen
and 8 lbs. of oxygen to form 9 lbs. of aqueous vapor, is
greater than the clash of a weight of 1,000 tons falling
from a height of 20 feet against the earth. N ow, in order
that the atoms of oxygen and hydrogen should rise by their
mutual attractions to the velocity corresponding to this
enormous mechanical effect, a certain distance must exist
between the particles. It is in rushing over this that the
velocity is attained. .

This idea of distance between the attracting atoms is of
the highest importance in our conception of the system of
the world. For the world may be divided into two kinds
of matter; or rather the matter of the world may be classi-
fied under two distinct heads—namely, of atoms and mole-
cules which have already rushed together and thus satisfied
their mutual attractions, and of atoms and molecules which
have not yet rushed together, and whose mutual attractions
are, therefore, as yet unsatisfied. Now, as regards motive
power, the working of machinery, or the performance of
mechanical work generally, by means of the materials of
the earth’s crust, we are entirely dependent on those atoms
and molecules whose attractions are as yet unsatisfied. Those
attractions can produce motion, because sufficient distance
intervenes betWeen the attracting molecules, and it is this
molecular motion that we utilize in our machines. Thus
we can get power out of oxygen and hydrogen by the act
of their union, but once they are combined, and once the
motion consequent on their combination has been expended,
no further power can be got out of the mutual attraction
of oxygen and hydrogen. As dynamic agents they are
dead. If we examine the materials of which the earth’s
crust is composed, we find them to consist for the most part
of substances whose atoms have already closed in chemical

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