Excerpt from Discourse, Introductory to a Course of Lectures on Chemistry: Including a View of the Subject, and Utility of That Science; Delivered at Pittsburgh, the Sixth of November, 1811
Not less than nearly twenty different definitions have been proposed by different phil... osophers, in order to deter mine the nature and the limits of chemistry. Such a disa greement of opinions strikes us with astonishment, espe cially when we consider, by what rapid strides the science has advanced in our days towards a state of perfection un paralleled in the annals of human knowledge. A nearer consideration of the subject however, will perhaps help us to account for this Singularity. Descriptions of complica ted subjects Will seldom admit of that neatness and preci Sion, which are essential to a good definition, and, indeed, the range of not any science, perhaps, is more comprehen sive than that of chemistry. I shall not perplex your minds, gentlemen, with offering to you a detailed and critical re view of these different definitions. For our present purpose it will be sufficient to remark, that Clz'emistry is that science.
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