by Bill Nye

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Public Domain Books

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<h2>Archimedes</h2><p style=

Archimedes, whose given name has been accidentally torn off and swallowed up in oblivion, was born in Syracuse, 2,171 years ago last spring. He was a philosopher and mathematical expert. During his life he was never successfully stumped in figures. It ill befits me now, standing by his new-made grave, to say aught of him that is not of praise. We can only mourn his untimely death, and wonder which of our little band of great men will be the next to go.

Archimedes was the first to originate and use the word “Eureka.” It has been successfully used very much lately, and as a result we have the Eureka baking powder, the Eureka suspender, the Eureka bed-bug buster, the Eureka shirt, and the Eureka stomach bitters. Little did Archimedes wot, when he invented this term, that it would come into such general use.

Its origin has been explained before, but it would not be out of place here for me to tell it as I call it to mind now, looking back over Archie’s eventful life.

King Hiero had ordered an eighteen karat crown, size 7-1/8, and, after receiving it from the hands of the jeweler, suspected that it had been adulterated. He therefore applied to Archimedes to ascertain, if possible, whether such was the case or not. Archimedes had just got in on No. 3, two hours late, and covered with dust. He at once started for a hot and cold bath emporium on Sixteenth street, meantime wondering how the dickens he would settle that crown business.

He filled the bath-tub level full, and, piling up his raiment on the floor, jumped in. Displacing a large quantity of water, equal to his own bulk, he thereupon solved the question of specific gravity, and, forgetting his bill, forgetting his clothes, he sailed up Sixteenth street and all over Syracuse, clothed in shimmering sunlight and a plain gold ring, shouting “Eureka!” He ran head-first into a Syracuse policeman and howled “Eureka!” The policeman said: “You’ll have to excuse me; I don’t know him.” He scattered the Syracuse Normal school on its way home, and tried to board a Fifteenth street bob-tail car, yelling “Eureka!” The car-driver told him that Eureka wasn’t on the car, and referred Archimedes to a clothing store.

Everywhere he was greeted with surprise. He tried to pay his car-fare, but found that he had left his money in his other clothes.

Some thought it was the revised statute of Hercules; that he had become weary of standing on his pedestal during the hot weather, and had started out for fresh air. I give this as I remember it. The story is foundered on fact.

Archimedes once said: “Give me where I may stand, and I will move the world.” I could write it in the original Greek, but, fearing that the nonpareil delirium tremens type might get short, I give it in the English language.

It may be tardy justice to a great mathematician and scientist, but I have a few resolutions of respect which I would be very glad to get printed on this solemn occasion, and mail copies of the paper to his relatives and friends:

“WHEREAS, It has pleased an All-wise Providence to remove from our midst Archimedes, who was ever at the front in all deserving labors and enterprises; and

“WHEREAS, We can but feebly express our great sorrow in the loss of Archimedes, whose front name has escaped our memory; therefore

Resolved, That in his death we have lost a leading citizen of Syracuse, and one who never shook his friends–never weakened or gigged back on those he loved.

Resolved, That copies of these resolutions will be spread on the moments of the meeting of the Common Council of Syracuse, and that they be published in the Syracuse papers eodtfpdq&cod, and that marked copies of said papers be mailed to the relatives of the deceased.”

To the President-Elect.

Dear Sir.–The painful duty of turning over to you the administration of these United States and the key to the front door of the White House has been assigned to me. You will find the key hanging inside the storm-door, and the cistern-pole up stairs in the haymow of the barn. I have made a great many suggestions to the outgoing administration relative to the transfer of the Indian bureau from the department of the Interior to that of the sweet by-and-by. The Indian, I may say, has been a great source of annoyance to me, several of their number having jumped one of my most valuable mining claims on White river. Still, I do not complain of that. This mine, however, I am convinced would be a good paying property if properly worked, and should you at any time wish to take the regular army and such other help as you may need and re-capture it from our red brothers, I would be glad to give you a controlling interest in it.

You will find all papers in their appropriate pigeon-holes, and a small jar of cucumber pickles down cellar, which were left over and to which you will be perfectly welcome. The asperities and heart burnings that were the immediate result of a hot and unusually bitter campaign are now all buried. Take these pickles and use them as though they were your own. They are none too good for you. You deserve them. We may differ politically, but that need not interfere with our warm personal friendship.

You will observe on taking possession of the administration, that the navy is a little bit weather-beaten and wormy. I would suggest that it be newly painted in the spring. If it had been my good fortune to receive a majority of the suffrages of the people for the office which you now hold, I should have painted the navy red. Still, that need not influence you in the course which you may see fit to adopt.

There are many affairs of great moment which I have not enumerated in this brief letter, because I felt some little delicacy and timidity about appearing to be at all dictatorial or officious about a matter wherein the public might charge me with interference.

I hope you will receive the foregoing in a friendly spirit, and whatever your convictions may be upon great questions of national interest, either foreign or domestic, that you will not undertake to blow out the gas on retiring, and that you will in other ways realize the fond anticipations which are now cherished in your behalf by a mighty people whose aggregated eye is now on to you.

Bill Nye.

P.S.–You will be a little surprised, no doubt, to find no soap in the laundry or bath-rooms. It probably got into the campaign in some way and was absorbed.



Preface  •  Directions  •  My School Days  •  Recollections of Noah Webster  •  To Her Majesty  •  Habits of a Literary Man  •  A Father’s Letter  •  Archimedes  •  Anatomy  •  Mr. Sweeney’s Cat  •  The Heyday of Life  •  They Fell  •  Second Letter to the President  •  Milling in Pompeii  •  Broncho Sam  •  How Evolution Evolves  •  Hours With Great Men  •  Concerning Coroners  •  Down East Rum  •  Railway Etiquette  •  B. Franklin, Deceased  •  Life Insurance as a Health Restorer  •  The Opium Habit  •  More Paternal Correspondence  •  Twombley’s Tale  •  On Cyclones  •  The Arabian Language  •  Verona  •  A Great Upheaval  •  The Weeping Woman  •  The Crops  •  Literary Freaks  •  A Father’s Advice to His Son  •  Eccentricity in Lunch  •  Insomnia in Domestic Animals  •  Along Lake Superior  •  I Tried Milling  •  Our Forefathers  •  Preventing a Scandal  •  About Portraits  •  The Old South  •  Knights of the Pen  •  The Wild Cow  •  Spinal Meningitis  •  Skimming the Milky Way  •  A Thrilling Experience  •  Catching a Buffalo  •  John Adams  •  Bunker Hill  •  A Lumber Camp  •  My Lecture Abroad  •  The Miner at Home  •  An Operatic Entertainment  •  Dogs and Dog Days  •  Christopher Columbus  •  Accepting the Laramie Postoffice  •  A Journalistic Tenderfoot  •  The Amateur Carpenter  •  The Average Hen  •  Woodtick William’s Story  •  In Washington  •  My Experience as an Agriculturist  •  A New Autograph Album  •  A Resign  •  My Mine  •  Mush and Melody  •  The Blase Young Man  •  History of Babylon  •  Lovely Horrors  •  The Bite of a Mad Dog  •  Arnold Winkelreid  •  Murray and the Mormons  •  About Geology  •  A Wallula Night  •  Flying Machines  •  Asking for a Pass  •  Words About Washington  •  The Board of Trade  •  Stirring Incidents at a Fire  •  The Little Barefoot Boy  •  Favored a Higher Fine  •  Man Overbored  •  Picnic Incidents  •  Nero  •  Squaw Jim  •  Squaw Jim’s Religion  •  One Kind of Fool  •  John Adams’ Diary  •  The Approaching Humorist  •  What We Eat  •  Care of House Plants  •  A Peaceable Man

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