Be gentle with Chemistry. For She is a young science.

by Instant Noodle

IR, I am a young female, being a science of recent origin: the sciences, you know, are invested with petticoats, and all sisters. You behold in me, Mr. Punch. a case of beauty in distress: for I am beautiful, though I say it: ask PROFESSOR FARADAY if he does not think so. My unhappiness arises from the circumstance of being compelled to be subservient to the designs of an odious and brutal tyrant and his thralls, whilst by the noble and the brave, the champions of liberty, to whose assistance I would devote myself with all my heart and soul, I am coldly neglected. The Russian Government has established a commission at St. Petersburg, with a view to extort from me all the destructive devices they possibly can to be employed against the Allies. My chlorate of potash, my sulphuric acid, my galvanism, they press into their abominable service, using their utmost efforts to render me ancillary to the subjugation and the degradation of mankind. By and by they will arrive at the power of wielding my fulminating silver, and my chloride and iodide of nitrogen and then what will become of civilisation! I am arming savages with thunderbolts. I cannot help myself. Those who choose can win me, and will wear me. That horrid man JACOBI, or JACOBS, was encouraged to apply me to the construction of his infernal machines, and you have only to thank his imperfect knowledge of me, and my sister, MECHANICS, that a considerable portion of the Baltic Fleet has not been blown out of the water. Has the British Government ever consulted, even, with FARADAY, or any of my other wooers, to the intent, of employing me against the common enemy? “Try me, ply me,” as the song says; you won’t know what I am capable of till you do: indeed, I don’t know that myself, exactly. But I do know that I possess tremendous powers of destruction, requiring only to be developed, and I wish that those could be employed by generous and gentle freemen for the extermination of ferocious and cruel slaves, I would, my dear Mr. Punch, wish to be,

Your faithful Handmaid,
CHEMISTRY
Albemarle Street, July, 1855

The Jacobi that she speaks of is Moritz von Jacobi, a famous physicist and engineer who revolutionized electric engines. Blind prejudice unfortunately prevents Punch from seeing Jacobi for the genius he was. Nonetheless, these are fast moving times, and the very fact that chemical warfare is possible is a chilly prospect for many.

Luckily, chemicals were never really employed by either side. Unbeknownst to Punch is the fact that, actually, Faraday had already been consulted by the British Government about the use of mass produced chemicals for the Crimean War. He point blank refused to have anything to do with it on ethical grounds, despite knowing precisely how they could be applied. Indeed, the Government had already turned down proposals to use cyanide based artillery shells against the Russians.

(August 4th, 1855)

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