Lanark: A Life in Four Books

Carolina Scots, An Historical and Genealogical Study

Thomas Graham,
page 7 of 7

“In his administration of this important office he was on one occasion fiercely attacked in the House of Commons, and I was able to defend his administration and defeated the attack. Shortly after Graham struck a remarkable medal, made of an alloy of hydrogen and palladium, and presented it to me as a memorial of our long-continued friendship. I need scarcely say that I value this medal as one of my most precious possessions.”

There is no occasion in a short sketch like this for giving details in regard to Graham’s marvellous and useful discoveries. It may be stated as one instance of his wonderful power how experiments with a piece of meteoric iron led Graham to two of the most romantic and daring realizations of modern times, viz., that the gas separated from the meteorite had at one time formed the gaseous atmosphere of a distant star, and that that atmosphere consisted chiefly of the light inflammable gas, hydrogen. He also arrived at the important conclusion that the atmosphere of the star from which the meteorite came had a very great pressure compared with our own. Truth is stranger than fiction. What imagination fifty years ago could foretell that man would bridge space and bring the atmosphere of distant worlds into his laboratory for study!


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