Although many of the artifices employed in the works before mentioned are remarkable for their elegance, it is easy to see they are adapted only to particular objects, and that some general method, capable of being employed in every case, is still wanting.
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The properties of bodies were investigated by several distinguished French mathematicians on the hypothesis that they are systems of molecules in equilibrium. The somewhat unsatisfactory nature of the results... produced... a reaction in favour of the opposite method of treating bodies as if they were... continuous. This method, in the hands of Green, Stokes, and others, has led to results the value of which does not at all depend on what theory we adopt as to the ultimate constitution of bodies.
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