How much stronger at every step becomes the likeness between the soil, the plant, and the animal ; how much closer tlieir connection, how much more indissoluble the union that binds them together. When dry bone is burned, the ash that remains behind amounts to two thids rits weight, and consists almost entirely of phosphates of lime and magnesi' which are so abundantly present in the ash of diflf erent varie" ties of grain This bone-earth must exist in the soiL The plant draws it from ihe earth by its roots, the cow eats it with the herbage she crops from the field, and parts with it again in the milk she produces to feed her young. The calf sucks the milk, and works up the phosphates it contains into the form of living bones, adding daily to their size and weight. Without bone our present races could not exist. It forms the skeleton to which the softer parts are attached and by whichthey are supported ; but the life of the animal being at an end the bone as a living thing is discharged and falls to the earth, new plants taking up its phosphates again to send them forward on a new mission into the stomachs of other living and growing animals. Improved Gas Process. The Euening Post, of this city, reports that Professors Silli-man and Wurtz have discovered a new and cheap method of producing a superior illuminating gas. The first step is to bring very highly heated steam into a clay retort, in which pure anthracite coal is burning. The coal is purely carbon ; the steam, of course, consists of the same elements as water that is, the two gases, oxygen and hydrogen. Now, the oxygen of the steam combines with the coal or carbon, and forms the gas known as oxide of carbon, leaving also the hydrogen gas free. These two gases are thus produced in equal volume.' They are both easily combustible, and burn ?vith an intense heat ; although they give, when burning, hardly any light. These gases are then mixed with the common illuminating gas, made by distilling bituminous coal. The mixture, it is found by experiment, forms a brilliantly-burning gas, which is better, in some respects, than the best of that with which our houses are usually lighted ; for example, it is more permanent under exposure to severe cold. But the main advantage is in the saving of expense. It is plain that this method turns water, and the whole weight of anthracite coal used, into illuminating gas ; while the old process yields in gas only the volatile part of the bituminous coal thrown off in distillation. " Messrs. SUliman and Wurtz, assures us," says the Post, " that they are able practically to add fifty per cent to the amount of illuminating gas obtained from a given expenditure of coal, or, what is the same thing, to save one third of the fuel now used in making gas." STBEBT CBOSSING.John Simpson of Cleveland proposes a a plan for street crossing by means of a bridge approached by double inclined planes instead of stairs, which are more easy flf ascent, but the difficulty is still to be overcome. Property owners object to a bridge fronting their premises, and what is wanted, is some means of crossing that will take the place of a frowning structure above ground. The DUTusion of Scientic Information. In an able address delivered before the graduating class of the Cambridge Divinity School at the close of the summer term this year,John Weiss said a great many forcible and brilliant things. Among these, none has struck us as showing so exact an appreciation of the tendencies of the age as the following remarks upon the general diffusion of scientific information in a popular form, and the avidity with which this in-forniation is sought by.the American mind. " Human nature is learning to ask very intelligent and embarrassing questions, while its religious exigences are the same that theyiSver were, and have to b harmonized "with knowledge. Here you may have been taught to gage and appreciate past epochs of spiritual development, and to note their connection with various mental states, and you have indulged religious feelings. But now you are about *o discern, by contact with men in vital society, what is essential religion, in order that your service may be timely for this race and country. The past may be the soil that holds your roots, but not a ball and chain around the ankle. If you undertake to drag the dogmatic life of nineteen centuries across the face of the country, your traces will be marked by denudation of the fertility that would prefer your bold husbandry. You go forth to quicken the native germs that lie waiting to succeed the old crops, when decay or the ax shall clear the land. " Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier, shall come up the myrtle tree." " Cheap publications of every kind spread the moods of the period far and wide. Their range passes through all the speculative forms, and all the emotions which the world at any time has known. Thje very richness is a cause of the distraction. Thought is unconsciously embarrassed as so many departments throw wide their doors at once, and displ$y their collections. And there is no statement too scientific to resist the intentions of popular treatment. It is macerated, dissected, volatilized, put up in packages for the trapper and emigrant. Every condition of half knowledge appropriates it. People who are troubled with imperfect nutrition will snatch, at every railway station, a gulp of spectrum analysis, primeval man, the correlation of forces, spontaneous generation, social statics, Carl Vogt's impetuous atheism, Mr. Darwin's pangenesis. Professor Huxley's non-committal protoplasm, and the last message from the summer land. “The scientific mind is making the whole world at once its laboratory and auditorium ; and among the hearers there is no distinction of person, color, sex, or previous preparation.“
This article was originally published with the title "The Soil, the Plant, and the Animal"