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December 31, 1898


JAMA. 1898;XXXI(27):1567-1569. doi:10.1001/jama.1898.92450270019001h

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None but the creative power from which all things sprang can aspire to the construction of something out of nothing, or the reconstruction of an entity into nothing. Chemistry attempts to describe all material substances, to tell of their ultimate particles, and formulate the laws which govern their combinations and decompositions, but does not assume to create or annihilate the molecule with which it deals or the atom which it fondles. This is in obedience to the inevitable and immutable law of the indestructibility of matter and force. Matter is tangible; force is intangible. Matter is found in states; force is responsible for the state. Matter is also found in kingdoms; force is again ruling it. The one is made to grow from within by the complicated power of nutrition; the other to increase from without by the simpler but tardier function of accretion.

The organic and inorganic comprise everything

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