Previous Index Next
Page 361
(previous) (Page 000361) (next)
 
A LECTURE ON MAGNETISM. 361

of your magnet successively up to either end of the needle.
Both the poles, you find, attract both ends of the needle.
Replace the needle by a bit of annealed iron wire, the same
effects ensue. Suspend successively little rods of lead,
COpper, silver, or brass, of wood, glass, ivory, 0r whalebone;
the magnet produces no sensible effect upon any of these
substances. You thence infer a special property in the
case of steel and iron. Multiply your experiments, how-
ever, and you will find that some other substances besides
iron are acted upon by your magnet. A rod of the metal
nickel, or of the metal cobalt, from which the blue color
used by painters is derived, exhibits powers similar to those
observed with the iron and steel.

In studying the character of the force you may, how-
ever, confine yourself to iron and steel, which are always
at hand. Make your experiments with the darning-needle
over and over again; operate on both ends of the needle;
try both ends of the magnet. Do not think the work stu-
pid; you are conversing with Nature, and must acquire a
certain grace and mastery over her language; and these
practice can alone impart. Let every movement be made
with care, and avoid slovenliness from the outset. In every
one of your experiments endeavor to feel the responsibility
of a moral agent. Experiment, as I have said, is the lan-
guage by which we address Nature, and through which she
sends her replies; in the use of this language a lack .of
straightforwardness is as possible and as prejudicial as in
the spoken language of the tongue. If you wish to become
acquainted with the truth of Nature, you must from the first
resolve to deal with her sincerely.

N ow remove your needle from its loop, and draw it from
end to end along one of the ends of the magnet; resuspend
it, and repeat your former experiment. You find the result
different. You now find that each extremity of the magnet
attracts one end of the needle and repels the other. The

16

Previous Index Next