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or, in other words, is practicing polygamy. It follows that the demand for his expulsion from the Senate must be based upon the assertion that he is a believer in "Mormonism," and that, as a matter of theory, "Mormonism" sanctions a plurality of wives. It would be impossible to exaggerate the mischief of the consequences of expelling a Senator on the score of his theoretical opinions. Such a proceeding would be a flagrant violation of the first amendment of the Federal Constitution, which prescribes that Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof. The Act of Congress by which Utah was admitted to the Union did not violate this amendment, because it did not forbid the profession of the tenets characteristic of "Mormonism." It simply prohibited the practise of polygamy. We repeat that, so far as any evidence has been yet brought forward, Senator Smoot is a monogamist. As regards his private opinion concerning the religious or moral propriety of polygamy, he is as free from restraint as would be a Jew or a Mohammedan, either of whom is at liberty to hold what doctrines on the subject he may choose, so long as he refrains in practice from a violation of State or Federal law. This is all there is to the Smoot business, and the sooner people stop petitioning the Senate to transcend its constitutional powers, the better it will be for all concerned.

The hearing of the case, or at least the filing of an answer before the Senate Committee by Senator Smoot, has been postponed until January 9, 1904.

THE WORLD'S GOLD AND SILVER.-The Director of the Mint has completed his annual statement which shows that in 1902 the United States produced $80,000,000 of gold and $29,415,000 of silver. The world's output was $295,889,600 of gold (an increase of $32,500,003), and $88,486,500 of silver, a decrease of $8,000,000 ounces in quantity and of $16,500,000 in commercial value.

BANKRUPTS ARE FEWER.-From the annual report of the attorney in charge of bankruptcy affairs in Washington, filed December 8, it is shown that 14,308 voluntary petitions in bankruptcy were filed throughout the United States for the year ending September 30, 1903, which is more than two thousand less than were filed during any of the preceding years since the enactment of the law on July 1, 1898.

The states showing the largest number of cases filed during the year are: Alabama, 1797; New York, 1546: Illinois, 1439; Massachusetts, 128; Maine, 7033; Ohio, 585.

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Born, November 8, 1820; died, December 23, 1891.

IMPROVEMENT ERA.

VOL. VII.

FEBRUARY, 1904.

JOSEPH SMITH AS SCIENTIST.

No. 4.

BY DR. JOHN A. WIDTSOE, DIRECTOR OF THE AGRICULTURAL EXPERIMENT STATION, LOGAN, UTAH.

IV.—THE FUNDAMENTAL CONCEPT OF PHYSICAL SCIENCE.

The nature of light has been in every age a fascinating subject for study and reflection. Descartes, the French mathematician and philosopher, advanced the hypothesis that light consists of small particles emitted by luminous bodies, and that the sensation of light is produced by the impact of these particles upon the retina of the eye. Soon after this emission or corpuscular theory had been proposed, Hooke, an English investigator of great note, stated publicly that the phenomena of light, as he had observed them, led him to the belief that the nature of light could best be explained on the assumption that light was a kind of undulation or wave in some unknown medium, and that the sensation of light was produced when these waves struck upon the retina of the eye. This new hypothesis, known as the theory of undulations, after the great Isaac Newton had declared himself int favor of the corpuscular theory, was finally adjudged by the majority of students to be erroneous.

About the year 1800, more than a century after the days of Descartes, Hooke and Newton, an English physician, Dr.

Thomas Young, who had long experimented on the nature of light, asserted that the emission theory could not explain many of the best known phenomena of light. Dr. Young further claimed that correct explanations could be made only by the theory of waves of undulation of an etherial medium diffused through space, and presented numerous experimental evidences in favor of this view. This revival of the old theory of undulation met at first with violent opposition from many of the greatest scientific minds of the day. Sometime after Dr. Young's publication, a French army officer, Augustine Fresnel, undertook the study of the nature of light, and arrived, almost independently, at the conclusion stated by Dr. Young. Later, other investigators discovered light phenomena which could be explained only on the undulatory hypothesis, and so, little by little, the new theory gained ground and adherents.

Still, even as late as 1827, the astronomer Herschel published a treatise on light, in which he appeared to hold the real merit of the theory of undulations in grave doubt.* Likewise, the Imperial Academy at St. Petersburg, in 1826, proposed a prize for the best attempt to relieve the undulatory theory of light of some of the main objections against it. It was several years later before the great majority of the scientific world accepted the theory of undulations as the correct explanation of the phenomena of light.

In brief, this theory assumes that a very attenuated, but very elastic, substance, called the luminiferous ether, fills all space, and is found surrounding the ultimate particles of matter. Thus, the pores of wood, soil, lead, gold and the human body, are filled with the luminiferous ether; and it is quite impossible by any known process to obtain a portion of space free from it. A luminous body is one in which the ultimate particles, the atoms or molecules, are moving very rapidly, and thus causing disturbances in the ether, similar to the disturbances in quiet water when a rock is thrown into it; and, like the water wave, proceeding from the point of disturbance, so the ether waves radiate from the luminous body into space. When a wave strikes the retina of the eye, the sensa

* History of the Inductive Sciences, Whewell, 3rd edition. Vol.

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