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OZONE.

IN Doctor Letheby's report on the sanitary
state of the city during the last quarter, the
escape of the citizens from serious epidemic
disease consequent upon the putrid fermentation
of the River Thames, is attributed to
two causes, amongst others: First, the inky
appearance of the stream arising from the
fixation of the sulphuretted hydrogen by the
iron of the clay, has been the salvation of the
lives of thousands; for, offensive as have
been the vapours evolved from the river,
they are as nothing in comparison with what
they would have been if the much–abused
clay from the lower shores of the river had
not seized the miasma in its chemical clutches,
and imprisoned it in a solid and involatile
form. As it is, however, the gases evolved
from the water amount to about fifteen cubic
inches per gallon, which forms a pretty
considerable atmosphere of stinking vapour,
when the whole contents of the Thames are
calculated. Secondly, the resistance of the
city to sickness, up to a recent date, may be
partly owing to the unusual amount of OZONE
in the air during the same period, which has
exerted its beneficial influence by oxydising
the organic poison.

Most of my readers will be familiar with
London clay, especially if they have ever
visited the Regent's Park; ozone, however, is
a comparative stranger, to whom many people
may like to have a slight introduction.

Monsieur Schœnbein, Professor of Chemistry
at Bâle, the inventor of the expression
ozone, at first considered it as an odorous
principle, emanating from a simple elementary
body. Subsequently, he regarded it as a
compound of oxygen and hydrogen. Finally,
his own discoveries, confirmed by the researches
of Messieurs Marignac, De la Rive,
Frémy, and E. Becquerel, proved that ozone
is oxygen electrified. The singular properties
of oxygen thus modified, which have generally
attracted the attention of chemists and
natural philosophers, help to explain several
natural phenomena of great importance. At
the outset, ozone was mainly studied in a
chemical point of view, and has given birth
to results of great value. It has also occupied
the thoughts of meteorologists and medical
men, who have sought to ascertain its
presence in atmospheric air, and to discover
its influence in the production of several diseases.
But the difficulties offered by a new
element of science discouraged many of its
first investigators, and they for the most part
gave up further research, in despair of arriving
at any certain conclusion. At this
conjuncture, the sources of ozone were suddenly
discovered. Monsieur Scoutteten, head
physician of the Military Hospital at Metz
and member of numerous European learned
societies (who was the first to write a book
on ozone, and to which book this article is
greatly indebted for its matter) traced the
new–found body in all its manifestations; he
watched its birth, he followed its increase,
till it assumed an importance whose limits
cannot yet be precisely fixed.

Henceforward, according to Monsieur
Scoutteten's views, ozone is no longer a mere
chemical agent; it is an instrument employed
by Providence for the production of the
grandest phenomena of nature. It is the
agent who presides over the laws of atmospheric
electricity, who explains the formation
of aqueous meteors, the periodical and the
diurnal oscillations of the barometer, the
means of restoring to the atmosphere the
oxygen destroyed by the respiration of
animals, by natural oxydisation, and by combustion
for the purposes of warmth, cookery,
and grand industrial manufactures.

Meteorology, that obscure and uncertain
science which William Herschell compared
to a romance composed of interesting episodes,
is illuminated by unexpected lights; the
globe is shown to be an immense laboratory
wherein are effected powerful combinations
(whose causes it is possible to comprehend
and foresee), which prepare and accomplish
the grand perturbations of the atmosphere.
Science will no longer remain mute respecting
the approaching terrors of fearful tempests
like that which nearly destroyed a fleet in
the Black Sea on the memorable fourteenth
of November, eighteen hundred and fifty–four,
raging so intensely and also so widely
as to be felt simultaneously at Balaklava and
at Paris. But, if such lofty anticipations appear
to savour rather of imagination than of
cool reasoning, it is easy to limit ourselves
to the lower range of the relations of ozone
with animals and vegetables. There, also, we

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