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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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8779. VEGETATION, Electricity, light and.—
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8779. VEGETATION, Electricity, light and.—

Dr. Ingenhouse, you know, discovered
as he supposed, from experiment, that vegetation
might be promoted by occasional streams
of the electrical fluid to pass through a plant,
and that other physicians had received and confirmed
this theory. He now, however, retracts
it, and finds by more decisive experiments that
the electrical fluid can neither forward nor retard
vegetation. Uncorrected still of the rage
of drawing general conclusions from partial
and equivocal observations, he hazards the
opinion that light promotes vegetation. I have
heretofore supposed from observation, that light
affects the color of living bodies, whether vegetable
or animal; but that either the one or the
other receives nutriment from that fluid, must
be permitted to be doubted of, till better confirmed
by observation. It is always better to
have no ideas than false ones: to believe nothing
than to believe what is wrong. In my mind,
theories are more easily demolished than rebuilt.—
To Rev. James Madison. Washington ed. ii, 430.
(P. 1788)