Previous Index Next
Page 346
(previous) (Page 000346) (next)
 
346 FRAGMEN TS OF‘ SCIENCE.

Faraday’s behavior to Melloni in 1835 merits a word of
notice. The young man was a political exile in Paris. He-
had newly-fashioned and applied the thermo—electric pile,
and had obtained with it results of the greatest importance.
But they were not appreciated. With the sickness of dis-
appointed hOpe, Melloni waited for the report of the Com-
missioners appointed by the Academy of Sciences to exam-
ine his labors. At length he published his researches in
the “ Annales de Chimie.” They thus fell into the hands
of Faraday, who, discerning at once their extraordinary
merit, obtained for their author the Rumford Medal of the
Royal Society. A sum of money always accompanies this
medal, and the pecuniary help was at this time even more
essential than the mark of honor to the young refugee.
Melloni’s gratitude was boundless:

“ Et vous, monsieur,”.he writes to Faraday, “ qui appar-
tenez a une société a laquelle je n’avais rien ofi'ert, vous qui
me connaissiez a peine le nom; vous n’avez pas demandé
si j’avais des ennemis faibles ou puissants, ni calculé quel
en était le nombre; mais vous avez parlé pour l’oppri-mé
étranger, pour celui qui n’avait pas le moindre droit a tant
de bienveillance, et vos paroles ont été accueillies favorable-
ment par des collegues consciencieux ! J e reconnais bien
la des hommes dignes de leur noble mission, les véritables.
représentants de la science d’un pays libre et généreux.”

Within the prescribed limits of this article it would be
impossible to give even the slenderest summary of Fara-
day’s correspondence, or to carve from it more than the
merest fragments of his character. His letters, written to
Lord Melbourne and others in 1836, regarding his pension,
illustrate his uncompromising independence. The Prime
Minister had offended him, but assuredly the apology de-
manded and given was complete. I think it certain that,
notwithstanding the very full account of this transaction
given by Dr. Bence Jones, motives and influences were at

Previous Index Next