— Robert Chambers (publisher, born 1802), buch Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation
Quelle: Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844), p. 35
Kontext: It is remarkable of the simple substances that they are generally in some compound form. Thus oxygen and nitrogen, though in union they form the aerial envelope of the globe, are never found separate in nature. Carbon is pure only in the diamond. And the metallic bases of the earths, though the chemist can disengage them, may well be supposed unlikely to remain long uncombined, seeing that contact with moisture makes them burn. Combination and re-combination are principles largely pervading nature. There are few rocks, for example, that are not composed of at least two varieties of matter, each of which is again a compound of elementary substances. What is still more wonderful with respect to this principle of combination, all the elementary substances observe certain mathematical proportions in their unions. It is hence supposed that matter is composed of infinitely minute particles or atoms, each of which belonging to any one substance, can only (through the operation of some as yet hidden law) associate with a certain number of the atoms of any other.