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every reason to expect from one of the most subtle and profound minds ever created from the so rare 
union of the spirit of detail with the powers of generalization. This idea did not originate with 
me. I discovered it sometimes unveiled, sometimes veiled, in every page of Ampère’s 
correspondence with the friends of his youth. Each day our associate, unfortunately, weighed in the 
balance what he had done and what he should have done, and each day the results of this examination 
increased his intense sadness. 
You now know the secret of what embittered his whole life; of his desire to have inscribed on his 
tomb the brief but most expressive epitaph, also selected by a celebrated Swedish minister– 
Happy at last! (Tandem felix.)


Ampère left Paris in a suffering condition, August 17, 1836. His friends, notwithstanding, were 
full of hope and confidence, inspired by the thought that a southern climate had once before 
restored him to health. But M. Bredin, who had joined him at Saint-Etienne, did not share this 
delusion. The learned superintendent of the veterinary school of Lyons discovered in Ampère’s 
appearance unmistakable symptoms of decay; his whole face seemed changed, even the bony outline of 
the profile. All that remained unchanged about him was, and this was exerting the most fatal 
influence on his already shattered condition, the enthusiastic and absorbing interest he evinced in 
everything, north, south, east, or west, that could possibly ameliorate the present condition of the 
human race. The racking cough which was weakening our friend by slow degrees, his painfully changed 
voice, his increasing feebleness, all demanded silence and absolute rest, even those least 
interested in him would hesitate to make him utter ten words; yet when M. Bredin declined to enter 
into a minute and difficult decision on the proposed changes in the second volume of the Essay 
on the Philosophy and Classification of the Sciences, Ampère became most violently excited. 
"My health, my health!" he exclaimed, "To talk of my health! There should be no questions between us 
but those of eternal truth." These exclamations were succeeded by a profound development of the 
delicate subtle links, imperceptible to the generality of men which unite the different sciences. 
Then passing beyond the conditions at last conceded by M. Bredin, Ampère, kindling with enthusiasm, 
summoned to his presence, for more than hour, all who, in ancient or modern times, have influenced, 
for good or for evil, the lives of their fellow-beings. This violent effort exhausted him, and 
increased his illness during the remainder of the journey. On reaching Marseilles, the city of his 
affections, which once before had restored him to life, and which had overwhelmed his son with so 
many warm-hearted kindnesses, he seemed in an almost hopeless condition. The tender and respectful 
attentions of all the functionaries of the college and those of a skillful physician produced a 
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