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242 FRAGMENTS OF SCIENCE.

which lie entirely beyond the range of the senses, the con-
ceptions are as truly mechanical as they would be if we
were dealing with ordinary masses of matter, and with
waves of sensible magnitude. N 0 really scientific mind at
the present day will be disposed to draw a substantial dis-
tinction between chemical and mechanical phenomena.
They differ from each other as regards the magnitude of
the masses involved; but in this sense the phenomena of
astronomy difi‘er, also, frOm those of ordinary mechanics.
The main bent of the natural philosophy of a future age
will probably be to chasten into order, by subjecting it to
mechanical laws, the existing chaos of chemical phe-
nomena.

Whether we see rightly or wrongly—whether our in-
tellection be real or imaginary—it is of the utmost im-
portance in science to aim at perfect .clearness in the de-
scription of all that cOmes, or seems to come, within the
range of the intellect. For, if we are right, clearness of
utterance forwards the cause of right; while, if we are
wrong, it insures the speedy correction of error. In this
spirit, and with the determination at all events to speak
plainly, let us deal with our conceptions of ether-waves and
molecules. Supposing a wave, or a train of waves, to im-
pinge upon a molecule so as to urge all its parts with the
same motion, the molecule would move bodily as a whole,
but because they are animated by a common motion there
would be no tendency of its constituent atoms to separate
from each other. Diferentz’al motions among the atoms
themselves would be necessary to effect a separation, and
if such motions be not introduced by the shock of the
Waves, there is no mechanical ground for the decomposition
of the molecule.

Thus the conception of the decomposition of compound
molecules by the waves of ether comes to us recommended
by a'priorz‘ probability. But a closer examination of the

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