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and prowess of others, until they have first won for themselves their hardest victories.
2. But this position of a pioneer and a pathbreaker would have told but little on the interests of science, if it had not been seconded by enthusiasm and by the power of presenting the truths of science in their most brilliant colors. Mr. SILLIMAN was thus an eminent means of diffusing the physical sciences, of giving them their due place in the American system of education, and of commending them to the regards of the people.
As a lecturer he was almost unsurpassed. Without a severe logical method, he threw so much zeal into his discourse, expressed himself with such an attractive rhetoric, and supported his doctrine by experiments of such almost unfailing beauty and success, that all audiences delighted to hear him; so that for years no lecturer so attractive could address an assembly, whether gathered within the walls of a college or from the people of crowded cities. In his own lecture room the students felt the genial sway of his oratory. No other such instructions were given, uniting at once pleasure and improvement. Hence for many years the study of chemistry was, perhaps, the most popular one in the institution. In the latter years of his professional life the science of geology seemed to take the largest share of his interest. And, here, the grandeur of the subject matter seemed especially fitted to kindle and exalt his fervor. The mighty agencies that have moulded the earth over and over, as clay is moulded in the hands of the potter, the immense ages which almost appal the imagination, this vast framework of the earth the theatre of such sublime displays, and over all, before the eye of faith, the divine architect carrying the great building forward, until it had become a fit dwelling-place for his immortal creature, man,-these grand objects inspired him, and he threw the inspiration into his audiences, wherever they were gathered.
In the years between 1835 and 1840 he gave courses of lectures in quite a number of the large towns in the United States, from Boston as far west and south as St. Louis, New Orleans, and Mobile. He was also invited to deliver the Low
ell lectures about the same time. Treated everywhere with the highest consideration, welcomed by the numerous sons of Yale dispersed through this broad land, he had almost a triumphal progress, and widely diffused, it is believed, a taste for physical science.
3. But, again, outside of the lecture-room, by his investigations and through the press, his services to science were great. He made, indeed, no signal discoveries in his departments, but his laboratory was by no means idle. In 1807, when the meteorite fell at Weston, in this State, he, with Professor Kingsley, went to the spot and gave an account of it, and he afterwards subjected one of the fragments to an analysis. A few years afterward he made experiments on the fusibility of bodies with the compound blow-pipe of Dr. Hare, his long tried friend. His success in fusing a number of bodies supposed to be infusible before was made known in a memoir read before the Connecticut Academy. In 1822, he instituted a series of experi ments with the galvanic battery, and established the fact of a transfer of particles of charcoal from the charcoal point at one pole to the other pole of the battery; and in his various excursions he made Geological and Mineralogical observations of
Through the press also Professor SILLIMAN was a most useful diffuser and fosterer of the sciences to which he was devoted. When he began his course there were few books accessible in chemistry or mineralogy in this country. In 1822, he procured, if I am not deceived, the republication of Henry's Chemistry, and in 1829, that of Bakewell's Geology, which he enriched by notes of his own. In 1830, appeared his own text-book on Chemistry, in two octavo volumes. But the Journal of Science, which has now continued to be published for forty-six years, and which has not yet lost his name, although he has long had no active part in it, gives the best proof of his enterprise and his love for science. This journal, edited by himself for twenty years, and then in conjunction with his son for eight more, with whom Professor Dana was afterwards associated, soon become the leading organ of science in the United States; but it was long and often a question,
whether it could maintain itself and would not involve its editor in pecuniary embarrassments. The zeal and courage of Mr. SILLIMAN, after years of loss, in keeping up this journal, when his own editorial labors were uncompensated and the debts for printing had to be provided for, are worthy of the highest praise. He did persevere until it was secure against failure, and was supported by scientific readers through the country.
The reputation and eclat which Mr. SILLIMAN acquired in chemistry and geology were of the highest use to his own college. It is beyond doubt that many came here, because he was here; and he succeeded in inspiring many with a zeal for the one or the other of these departments, who have since reflected honor upon the college and the country. Among the services which he rendered at once to science and to his alma mater was the acquisition by purchase of the Gibbs Cabinet, then altogether the best collection of minerals in our country. Col. Gibbs, a Rhode Islander of wealth, had been induced by his regard for Mr. SILLIMAN, to deposit his specimens here, and rooms had been provided for them in one of the college buildings. But the time came when it was necessary that they should be sold, and in order to secure them for Yale College, the friends of the institution had to be appealed to for the sum of $20,000. Mr. SILLIMAN undertook this task with the greatest zeal and assiduity, made most of the solicitations, I believe, himself, and succeeded in his object. The cabinet over which he fondly watched, and which was enlarged' by his correspondence with other collectors and by donations, will be a memorial for him through all time.
But it was not on this occasion only that his voice was lifted up and his influence used for the benefit of Yale College. His personal presence, his great popularity, his fine powers of persuasion, caused him to be put forward whenever there were wants to be urged, before the legislature or before private friends, whenever strangers of distinction were to be honored, whenever on academic festivals responses were due from the authorities of the institution. There were, I believe, in the universities of the middle ages orators annually appointed,
who represented their communities on public occasions. He, in his prime, was our standing orator, the principal medium between those who dwelt in the academic shade and the great public.
A very important duty of Professor SILLIMAN grew out of his function as a member of the college faculty. For more than fifty years he sat and voted in that Faculty, aided in discipline as well as instruction, and being the senior professor, had a prominent place in all Faculty measures. Dr. Dwight, without doubt, would not have selected him for the new professorship, unless his clear eye had discovered in him the power of governing and controlling; and his career as a tutor must have been satisfactory. When he took the professor's chair, no especial part of the college discipline fell on him, he had no care of a division, and hence had less direct and intimate contact with the students than most of the other officers exercised. It was natural therefore that he should think less of rules than those whose business it is to enforce them. But his influence was all exerted in favor of discipline and order: especially, where insubordination and combination to resist law was rife, as happened more than once between thirty and forty years ago, he was a tower of strength to the government. His influence, again, as a man upon those students whom he knew or who were committed to his special care, was often exceedingly happy. It is but a few months ago that a gentleman of high standing in one of our large cities told me how Professor SILLIMAN had saved him from waywardness and disgrace, and how an attachment was thus begun which had never been weakened. Many such ties were established with young persons who are now prominent men in various parts of this land, and who, when they get the news of his death, will feel that a guide and a true friend has passed away.
Success so great in whatever he undertook, together with universal respect and admiration, imply a very happily constituted personal character. His mind was of the rhetorical, not of the analytical cast. He was a man of practical judgments, and not drawn by his native leanings into abstruse speculations; and hence he was better qualified to act directly
upon mankind. His perceptions were quick, his taste good,
young, the undistinguished,—for all, he had a good word; and the word was not an empty token, but the indication of the truth that lay in the heart. Hence all loved him.
It could not be that with manners and a bearing like this, manifesting unusual kindness of nature, Professor SILLIMAN should not enter with grace and beauty into all the circles of life. Among his fellow-citizens, while all gave him that respect which was due to his person and character, he aroused something more than distant respect, for his kindness brought all men near to him, and took away a sense of distance even from the humblest. Among his colleagues he moved in unbroken harmony of intercourse, not to mention that nearer intercourse