Benjamin Peirce

Gentlemen, as we study the universe we see everywhere the most tremendous manifestations of force. In our own experience we know of but one source of force, namely will. How then can we help regarding the forces we see in nature as due to the will of some omnipresent, omnipotent being? Gentlemen, there must be a GOD.

Of possible quadruple algebras the one that had seemed to him by far the most beautiful and remarkable was practically identical with quaternions, and that he thought it most interesting that a calculus which so strongly appealed to the human mind by its intrinsic beauty and symmetry should prove to be especially adapted to the study of natural phenomena. The mind of man and that of Nature’s God must work in the same channels.

The branches of mathematics are as various as the sciences to which they belong, and each subject of physical enquiry has its appropriate mathematics. In every form of material manifestation, there is a corresponding form of human thought, so that the human mind is as wide in its range of thought as the physical universe in which it thinks.

The object of geometry in all its measuring and computing, is to ascertain with exactness the plan of the great Geometer, to penetrate the veil of material forms, and disclose the thoughts which lie beneath them? When our researches are successful, and when a generous and heaven-eyed inspiration has elevated us above humanity, and raised us triumphantly into the very presence, as it were, of the divine intellect, how instantly and entirely are human pride and vanity repressed, and, by a single glance at the glories of the infinite mind, are we humbled to the dust.

I presume that to the uninitiated the formulae will appear cold and cheerless; but let it be remembered that, like other mathematical formulae, they find their origin in the divine source of all geometry. Whether I shall have the satisfaction of taking part in their exposition, or whether that will remain for some more profound expositor, will be seen in the future.