Elements of Chemistry, - In a New Systematic Order, Containing all the Modern Discoveries
by Antoine Lavoisier
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One pound of phosphorus melted 100 libs. of ice.

One pound of charcoal melted 96 libs. 8 oz.

One pound of hydrogen gas melted 295 libs. 9 oz. 3-1/2 gros.

As a concrete acid is formed by the combustion of phosphorus, it is probable that very little caloric remains in the acid, and, consequently, that the above experiment gives us very nearly the whole quantity of caloric contained in the oxygen gas. Even if we suppose the phosphoric acid to contain a good deal of caloric, yet, as the phosphorus must have contained nearly an equal quantity before combustion, the error must be very small, as it will only consist of the difference between what was contained in the phosphorus before, and in the phosphoric acid after combustion.

I have already shown in Chap. V. that one pound of phosphorus absorbs one pound eight ounces of oxygen during combustion; and since, by the same operation, 100 lib. of ice are melted, it follows, that the quantity of caloric contained in one pound of oxygen gas is capable of melting 66 libs. 10 oz. 5 gros 24 grs. of ice.

One pound of charcoal during combustion melts only 96 libs. 8 oz. of ice, whilst it absorbs 2 libs. 9 oz. 1 gros 10 grs. of oxygen. By the experiment with phosphorus, this quantity of oxygen gas ought to disengage a quantity of caloric sufficient to melt 171 libs. 6 oz. 5 gros of ice; consequently, during this experiment, a quantity of caloric, sufficient to melt 74 libs. 14 oz. 5 gros of ice disappears. Carbonic acid is not, like phosphoric acid, in a concrete state after combustion but in the state of gas, and requires to be united with caloric to enable it to subsist in that state; the quantity of caloric missing in the last experiment is evidently employed for that purpose. When we divide that quantity by the weight of carbonic acid, formed by the combustion of one pound of charcoal, we find that the quantity of caloric necessary for changing one pound of carbonic acid from the concrete to the gasseous state, would be capable of melting 20 libs. 15 oz. 5 gros of ice.

We may make a similar calculation with the combustion of hydrogen gas and the consequent formation of water. During the combustion of one pound of hydrogen gas, 5 libs. 10 oz. 5 gros 24 grs. of oxygen gas are absorbed, and 295 libs. 9 oz. 3-1/2 gros of ice are melted. But 5 libs. 10 oz. 5 gros 24 grs. of oxygen gas, in changing from the aeriform to the solid state, loses, according to the experiment with phosphorus, enough of caloric to have melted 377 libs. 12 oz. 3 gros of ice. There is only disengaged, from the same quantity of oxygen, during its combustion with hydrogen gas, as much caloric as melts 295 libs. 2 oz. 3-1/2 gros; wherefore there remains in the water at Zero (32 deg.), formed, during this experiment, as much caloric as would melt 82 libs. 9 oz. 7-1/2 gros of ice.

Hence, as 6 libs. 10 oz. 5 gros 24 grs. of water are formed from the combustion of one pound of hydrogen gas with 5 libs. 10 oz. 5 gros 24 grs. of oxygen, it follows that, in each pound of water, at the temperature of Zero, (32 deg.), there exists as much caloric as would melt 12 libs. 5 oz. 2 gros 48 grs. of ice, without taking into account the quantity originally contained in the hydrogen gas, which we have been obliged to omit, for want of data to calculate its quantity. From this it appears that water, even in the state of ice, contains a considerable quantity of caloric, and that oxygen, in entering into that combination, retains likewise a good proportion.

From these experiments, we may assume the following results as sufficiently established.

Combustion of Phosphorus.

From the combustion of phosphorus, as related in the foregoing experiments, it appears, that one pound of phosphorus requires 1 lib. 8 oz. of oxygen gas for its combustion, and that 2 libs. 8 oz. of concrete phosphoric acid are produced.

The quantity of caloric disengaged by the combustion of one pound of phosphorus, expressed by the number of pounds of ice melted during that operation, is 100.00000.

The quantity disengaged from each pound of oxygen, during the combustion of phosphorus, expressed in the same manner, is 66.66667.

The quantity disengaged during the formation of one pound of phosphoric acid, 40.00000.

The quantity remaining in each pound of phosphoric acid, 0.00000(A).

[Note A: We here suppose the phosphoric acid not to contain any caloric, which is not strictly true; but, as I have before observed, the quantity it really contains is probably very small, and we have not given it a value, for want of a sufficient data to go upon.—A.]

Combustion of Charcoal.

In the combustion of one pound of charcoal, 2 libs. 9 oz. 1 gros 10 grs. of oxygen gas are absorbed, and 3 libs. 9 oz. 1 gros 10 grs. of carbonic acid gas are formed.

Caloric, disengaged daring the combustion of one pound of charcoal, 96.50000(A).

Caloric disengaged during the combustion of charcoal, from each pound of oxygen gas absorbed, 37.52823.

Caloric disengaged during the formation of one pound of carbonic acid gas, 27.02024.

Caloric retained by each pound of oxygen after the combustion, 29.13844.

Caloric necessary for supporting one pound of carbonic acid in the state of gas, 20.97960.

[Note A: All these relative quantities of caloric are expressed by the number of pounds of ice, and decimal parts, melted during the several operations.—E.]

Combustion of Hydrogen Gas.

In the combustion of one pound of hydrogen gas, 5 libs. 10 oz. 5 gros 24 grs. of oxygen gas are absorbed, and 6 libs. 10 oz. 5 gros 24 grs. of water are formed.

Caloric from each lib. of hydrogen gas, 295.58950. Caloric from each lib. of oxygen gas, 52.16280. Caloric disengaged during the formation of each pound of water, 44.33840. Caloric retained by each lib. of oxygen after combustion with hydrogen, 14.50386. Caloric retained by each lib. of water at the temperature of Zero (32 deg.), 12.32823.

Of the Formation of Nitric Acid.

When we combine nitrous gas with oxygen gas, so as to form nitric or nitrous acid a degree of heat is produced, which is much less considerable than what is evolved during the other combinations of oxygen; whence it follows that oxygen, when it becomes fixed in nitric acid, retains a great part of the heat which it possessed in the state of gas. It is certainly possible to determine the quantity of caloric which is disengaged during the combination of these two gasses, and consequently to determine what quantity remains after the combination takes place. The first of these quantities might be ascertained, by making the combination of the two gasses in an apparatus surrounded by ice; but, as the quantity of caloric disengaged is very inconsiderable, it would be necessary to operate upon a large quantity of the two gasses in a very troublesome and complicated apparatus. By this consideration, Mr de la Place and I have hitherto been prevented from making the attempt. In the mean time, the place of such an experiment may be supplied by calculations, the results of which cannot be very far from truth.

Mr de la Place and I deflagrated a convenient quantity of nitre and charcoal in an ice apparatus, and found that twelve pounds of ice were melted by the deflagration of one pound of nitre. We shall see, in the sequel, that one pound of nitre is composed, as under, of

Potash 7 oz. 6 gros 51.84 grs. = 4515.84 grs. Dry acid 8 1 21.16 = 4700.16.

The above quantity of dry acid is composed of

Oxygen 6 oz. 3 gros 66.34 grs. = 3738.34 grs. Azote 1 5 25.82 = 961.82.

By this we find that, during the above deflagration, 2 gros 1-1/3 gr. of charcoal have suffered combustion, alongst with 3738.34 grs. or 6 oz. 3 gros 66.34 grs. of oxygen. Hence, since 12 libs. of ice were melted during the combustion, it follows, that one pound of oxygen burnt in the same manner would have melted 29.58320 libs. of ice. To which the quantity of caloric, retained by a pound of oxygen after combining with charcoal to form carbonic acid gas, being added, which was already ascertained to be capable of melting 29.13844 libs. of ice, we have for the total quantity of caloric remaining in a pound of oxygen, when combined with nitrous gas in the nitric acid 58.72164; which is the number of pounds of ice the caloric remaining in the oxygen in that state is capable of melting.

We have before seen that, in the state of oxygen gas, it contained at least 66.66667; wherefore it follows that, in combining with azote to form nitric acid, it only loses 7.94502. Farther experiments upon this subject are necessary to ascertain how far the results of this calculation may agree with direct fact. This enormous quantity of caloric retained by oxygen in its combination into nitric acid, explains the cause of the great disengagement of caloric during the deflagrations of nitre; or, more strictly speaking, upon all occasions of the decomposition of nitric acid.

Of the Combustion of Wax.

Having examined several cases of simple combustion, I mean now to give a few examples of a more complex nature. One pound of wax-taper being allowed to burn slowly in an ice apparatus, melted 133 libs. 2 oz. 5-1/3 gros of ice. According to my experiments in the Memoirs of the Academy for 1784, p. 606, one pound of wax-taper consists of 13 oz. 1 gros 23 grs. of charcoal, and 2 oz. 6 gros 49 grs. of hydrogen.

By the foregoing experiments, the above quantity of charcoal ought to melt 79.39390 libs. of ice; and the hydrogen should melt 52.37605 ————- In all 131.76995 libs.

Thus, we see the quantity of caloric disengaged from a burning taper, is pretty exactly conformable to what was obtained by burning separately a quantity of charcoal and hydrogen equal to what enters into its composition. These experiments with the taper were several times repeated, so that I have reason to believe them accurate.

Combustion of Olive Oil.

We included a burning lamp, containing a determinate quantity of olive-oil, in the ordinary apparatus, and, when the experiment was finished, we ascertained exactly the quantities of oil consumed, and of ice melted; the result was, that, during the combustion of one pound of olive-oil, 148 libs. 14 oz. 1 gros of ice were melted. By my experiments in the Memoirs of the Academy for 1784, and of which the following Chapter contains an abstract, it appears that one pound of olive-oil consists of 12 oz. 5 gros 5 grs. of charcoal, and 3 oz. 2 gros 67 grs. of hydrogen. By the foregoing experiments, that quantity of charcoal should melt 76.18723 libs. of ice, and the quantity of hydrogen in a pound of the oil should melt 62.15053 libs. The sum of these two gives 138.33776 libs. of ice, which the two constituent elements of the oil would have melted, had they separately suffered combustion, whereas the oil really melted 148.88330 libs. which gives an excess of 10.54554 in the result of the experiment above the calculated result, from data furnished by former experiments.

This difference, which is by no means very considerable, may arise from errors which are unavoidable in experiments of this nature, or it may be owing to the composition of oil not being as yet exactly ascertained. It proves, however, that there is a great agreement between the results of our experiments, respecting the combination of caloric, and those which regard its disengagement.

The following desiderata still remain to be determined, viz. What quantity of caloric is retained by oxygen, after combining with metals, so as to convert them into oxyds; What quantity is contained by hydrogen, in its different states of existence; and to ascertain, with more precision than is hitherto attained, how much caloric is disengaged during the formation of water, as there still remain considerable doubts with respect to our present determination of this point, which can only be removed by farther experiments. We are at present occupied with this inquiry; and, when once these several points are well ascertained, which we hope they will soon be, we shall probably be under the necessity of making considerable corrections upon most of the results of the experiments and calculations in this Chapter. I did not, however, consider this as a sufficient reason for withholding so much as is already known from such as may be inclined to labour upon the same subject. It is difficult, in our endeavours to discover the principles of a new science, to avoid beginning by guess-work; and it is rarely possible to arrive at perfection from the first setting out.


Of the Combination of Combustible Substances with each other.

As combustible substances in general have a great affinity for oxygen, they ought likewise to attract, or tend to combine with each other; quae sunt eadem uni tertio, sunt eadem inter se; and the axiom is found to be true. Almost all the metals, for instance, are capable of uniting with each other, and forming what are called alloys[22], in common language. Most of these, like all combinations, are susceptible of several degrees of saturation; the greater number of these alloys are more brittle than the pure metals of which they are composed, especially when the metals alloyed together are considerably different in their degrees of fusibility. To this difference in fusibility, part of the phenomena attendant upon alloyage are owing, particularly the property of iron, called by workmen hotshort. This kind of iron must be considered as an alloy, or mixture of pure iron, which is almost infusible, with a small portion of some other metal which fuses in a much lower degree of heat. So long as this alloy remains cold, and both metals are in the solid state, the mixture is malleable; but, if heated to a sufficient degree to liquify the more fusible metal, the particles of the liquid metal, which are interposed between the particles of the metal remaining solid, must destroy their continuity, and occasion the alloy to become brittle. The alloys of mercury, with the other metals, have usually been called amalgams, and we see no inconvenience from continuing the use of that term.

Sulphur, phosphorus, and charcoal, readily unite with metals. Combinations of sulphur with metals are usually named pyrites. Their combinations with phosphorus and charcoal are either not yet named, or have received new names only of late; so that we have not scrupled to change them according to our principles. The combinations of metal and sulphur we call sulphurets, those with phosphorus phosphurets, and those formed with charcoal carburets. These denominations are extended to all the combinations into which the above three substances enter, without being previously oxygenated. Thus, the combination of sulphur with potash, or fixed vegetable alkali, is called sulphuret of potash; that which it forms with ammoniac, or volatile alkali, is termed sulphuret of ammoniac.

Hydrogen is likewise capable of combining with many combustible substances. In the state of gas, it dissolves charcoal, sulphur, phosphorus, and several metals; we distinguish these combinations by the terms, carbonated hydrogen gas, sulphurated hydrogen gas, and phosphorated hydrogen gas. The sulphurated hydrogen gas was called hepatic air by former chemists, or foetid air from sulphur, by Mr Scheele. The virtues of several mineral waters, and the foetid smell of animal excrements, chiefly arise from the presence of this gas. The phosphorated hydrogen gas is remarkable for the property, discovered by Mr Gengembre, of taking fire spontaneously upon getting into contact with atmospheric air, or, what is better, with oxygen gas. This gas has a strong flavour, resembling that of putrid fish; and it is very probable that the phosphorescent quality of fish, in the state of putrefaction, arises from the escape of this species of gas. When hydrogen and charcoal are combined together, without the intervention of caloric, to bring the hydrogen into the state of gas, they form oil, which is either fixed or volatile, according to the proportions of hydrogen and charcoal in its composition. The chief difference between fixed or fat oils drawn from vegetables by expression, and volatile or essential oils, is, that the former contains an excess of charcoal, which is separated when the oils are heated above the degree of boiling water; whereas the volatile oils, containing a just proportion of these two constituent ingredients, are not liable to be decomposed by that heat, but, uniting with caloric into the gasseous state, pass over in distillation unchanged.

In the Memoirs of the Academy for 1784, p. 593. I gave an account of my experiments upon the composition of oil and alkohol, by the union of hydrogen with charcoal, and of their combination with oxygen. By these experiments, it appears that fixed oils combine with oxygen during combustion, and are thereby converted into water and carbonic acid. By means of calculation applied to the products of these experiments, we find that fixed oil is composed of 21 parts, by weight, of hydrogen combined with 79 parts of charcoal. Perhaps the solid substances of an oily nature, such as wax, contain a proportion of oxygen, to which they owe their state of solidity. I am at present engaged in a series of experiments, which I hope will throw great light upon this subject.

It is worthy of being examined, whether hydrogen in its concrete state, uncombined with caloric, be susceptible of combination with sulphur, phosphorus, and the metals. There is nothing that we know of, which, a priori, should render these combinations impossible; for combustible bodies being in general susceptible of combination with each other, there is no evident reason for hydrogen being an exception to the rule: However, no direct experiment as yet establishes either the possibility or impossibility of this union. Iron and zinc are the most likely, of all the metals, for entering into combination with hydrogen; but, as these have the property of decomposing water, and as it is very difficult to get entirely free from moisture in chemical experiments, it is hardly possible to determine whether the small portions of hydrogen gas, obtained in certain experiments with these metals, were previously combined with the metal in the state of solid hydrogen, or if they were produced by the decomposition of a minute quantity of water. The more care we take to prevent the presence of water in these experiments, the less is the quantity of hydrogen gas procured; and, when very accurate precautions are employed, even that quantity becomes hardly sensible.

However this inquiry may turn out respecting the power of combustible bodies, as sulphur, phosphorus, and metals, to absorb hydrogen, we are certain that they only absorb a very small portion; and that this combination, instead of being essential to their constitution, can only be considered as a foreign substance, which contaminates their purity. It is the province of the advocates[23] for this system to prove, by decisive experiments, the real existence of this combined hydrogen, which they have hitherto only done by conjectures founded upon suppositions.


[22] This term alloy, which we have from the language of the arts, serves exceedingly well for distinguishing all the combinations or intimate unions of metals with each other, and is adopted in our new nomenclature for that purpose.—A.

[23] By these are meant the supporters of the phlogistic theory, who at present consider hydrogen, or the base of inflammable air, as the phlogiston of the celebrated Stahl.—E.


Observations upon Oxyds and Acids with several Bases—and upon the Composition of Animal and Vegetable Substances.

We have, in Chap. V. and VIII. examined the products resulting from the combustion of the four simple combustible substances, sulphur, phosphorus, charcoal, and hydrogen: We have shown, in Chap. X that the simple combustible substances are capable of combining with each other into compound combustible substances, and have observed that oils in general, and particularly the fixed vegetable oils, belong to this class, being composed of hydrogen and charcoal. It remains, in this chapter, to treat of the oxygenation of these compound combustible substances, and to show that there exist acids and oxyds having double and triple bases. Nature furnishes us with numerous examples of this kind of combinations, by means of which, chiefly, she is enabled to produce a vast variety of compounds from a very limited number of elements, or simple substances.

It was long ago well known, that, when muriatic and nitric acids were mixed together, a compound acid was formed, having properties quite distinct from those of either of the acids taken separately. This acid was called aqua regia, from its most celebrated property of dissolving gold, called king of metals by the alchymists. Mr Berthollet has distinctly proved that the peculiar properties of this acid arise from the combined action of its two acidifiable bases; and for this reason we have judged it necessary to distinguish it by an appropriate name: That of nitro-muriatic acid appears extremely applicable, from its expressing the nature of the two substances which enter into its composition.

This phenomenon of a double base in one acid, which had formerly been observed only in the nitro-muriatic acid, occurs continually in the vegetable kingdom, in which a simple acid, or one possessed of a single acidifiable base, is very rarely found. Almost all the acids procurable from this kingdom have bases composed of charcoal and hydrogen, or of charcoal, hydrogen, and phosphorus, combined with more or less oxygen. All these bases, whether double or triple, are likewise formed into oxyds, having less oxygen than is necessary to give them the properties of acids. The acids and oxyds from the animal kingdom are still more compound, as their bases generally consist of a combination of charcoal, phosphorus, hydrogen, and azote.

As it is but of late that I have acquired any clear and distinct notions of these substances, I shall not, in this place, enlarge much upon the subject, which I mean to treat of very fully in some memoirs I am preparing to lay before the Academy. Most of my experiments are already performed; but, to be able to give exact reports of the resulting quantities, it is necessary that they be carefully repeated, and increased in number: Wherefore, I shall only give a short enumeration of the vegetable and animal acids and oxyds, and terminate this article by a few reflections upon the composition of vegetable and animal bodies.

Sugar, mucus, under which term we include the different kinds of gums, and starch, are vegetable oxyds, having hydrogen and charcoal combined, in different proportions, as their radicals or bases, and united with oxygen, so as to bring them to the state of oxyds. From the state of oxyds they are capable of being changed into acids by the addition of a fresh quantity of oxygen; and, according to the degrees of oxygenation, and the proportion of hydrogen and charcoal in their bases, they form the several kinds of vegetable acids.

It would be easy to apply the principles of our nomenclature to give names to these vegetable acids and oxyds, by using the names of the two substances which compose their bases: They would thus become hydro-carbonous acids and oxyds: In this method we might indicate which of their elements existed in excess, without circumlocution, after the manner used by Mr Rouelle for naming vegetable extracts: He calls these extracto-resinous when the extractive matter prevails in their composition, and resino-extractive when they contain a larger proportion of resinous matter. Upon that plan, and by varying the terminations according to the formerly established rules of our nomenclature, we have the following denominations: Hydro-carbonous, hydro-carbonic; carbono-hydrous, and carbono-hydric oxyds. And for the acids: Hydro-carbonous, hydro carbonic, oxygenated hydro-carbonic; carbono-hydrous, carbono-hydric, and oxygenated carbono-hydric. It is probable that the above terms would suffice for indicating all the varieties in nature, and that, in proportion as the vegetable acids become well understood, they will naturally arrange themselves under these denominations. But, though we know the elements of which these are composed, we are as yet ignorant of the proportions of these ingredients, and are still far from being able to class them in the above methodical manner; wherefore, we have determined to retain the ancient names provisionally. I am somewhat farther advanced in this inquiry than at the time of publishing our conjunct essay upon chemical nomenclature; yet it would be improper to draw decided consequences from experiments not yet sufficiently precise: Though I acknowledge that this part of chemistry still remains in some degree obscure, I must express my expectations of its being very soon elucidated.

I am still more forcibly necessitated to follow the same plan in naming the acids, which have three or four elements combined in their bases; of these we have a considerable number from the animal kingdom, and some even from vegetable substances. Azote, for instance, joined to hydrogen and charcoal, form the base or radical of the Prussic acid; we have reason to believe that the same happens with the base of the Gallic acid; and almost all the animal acids have their bases composed of azote, phosphorus, hydrogen, and charcoal. Were we to endeavour to express at once all these four component parts of the bases, our nomenclature would undoubtedly be methodical; it would have the property of being clear and determinate; but this assemblage of Greek and Latin substantives and adjectives, which are not yet universally admitted by chemists, would have the appearance of a barbarous language, difficult both to pronounce and to be remembered. Besides, this part of chemistry being still far from that accuracy it must arrive to, the perfection of the science ought certainly to precede that of its language; and we must still, for some time, retain the old names for the animal oxyds and acids. We have only ventured to make a few slight modifications of these names, by changing the termination into ous, when we have reason to suppose the base to be in excess, and into ic, when we suspect the oxygen predominates.

The following are all the vegetable acids hitherto known:

1. Acetous acid. 2. Acetic acid. 3. Oxalic acid. 4. Tartarous acid. 5. Pyro-tartarous acid. 6. Citric acid. 7. Malic acid. 8. Pyro-mucous acid. 9. Pyro-lignous acid. 10. Gallic acid. 11. Benzoic acid. 12. Camphoric acid. 13. Succinic acid.

Though all these acids, as has been already said, are chiefly, and almost entirely, composed of hydrogen, charcoal, and oxygen, yet, properly speaking, they contain neither water carbonic acid nor oil, but only the elements necessary for forming these substances. The power of affinity reciprocally exerted by the hydrogen, charcoal, and oxygen, in these acids, is in a state of equilibrium only capable of existing in the ordinary temperature of the atmosphere; for, when they are heated but a very little above the temperature of boiling water, this equilibrium is destroyed, part of the oxygen and hydrogen unite, and form water; part of the charcoal and hydrogen combine into oil; part of the charcoal and oxygen unite to form carbonic acid; and, lastly, there generally remains a small portion of charcoal, which, being in excess with respect to the other ingredients, is left free. I mean to explain this subject somewhat farther in the succeeding chapter.

The oxyds of the animal kingdom are hitherto less known than those from the vegetable kingdom, and their number is as yet not at all determined. The red part of the blood, lymph, and most of the secretions, are true oxyds, under which point of view it is very important to consider them. We are only acquainted with six animal acids, several of which, it is probable, approach very near each other in their nature, or, at least, differ only in a scarcely sensible degree. I do not include the phosphoric acid amongst these, because it is found in all the kingdoms of nature. They are,

1. Lactic acid. 2. Saccholactic acid. 3. Bombic acid. 4. Formic acid. 5. Sebacic acid. 6. Prussic acid.

The connection between the constituent elements of the animal oxyds and acids is not more permanent than in those from the vegetable kingdom, as a small increase of temperature is sufficient to overturn it. I hope to render this subject more distinct than has been done hitherto in the following chapter.


Of the Decomposition of Vegetable and Animal Substances by the Action of Fire.

Before we can thoroughly comprehend what takes place during the decomposition of vegetable substances by fire, we must take into consideration the nature of the elements which enter into their composition, and the different affinities which the particles of these elements exert upon each other, and the affinity which caloric possesses with them. The true constituent elements of vegetables are hydrogen, oxygen, and charcoal: These are common to all vegetables, and no vegetable can exist without them: Such other substances as exist in particular vegetables are only essential to the composition of those in which they are found, and do not belong to vegetables in general.

Of these elements, hydrogen and oxygen have a strong tendency to unite with caloric, and be converted into gas, whilst charcoal is a fixed element, having but little affinity with caloric. On the other hand, oxygen, which, in the usual temperature, tends nearly equally to unite with hydrogen and with charcoal, has a much stronger affinity with charcoal when at the red heat[24], and then unites with it to form carbonic acid.

Although we are far from being able to appreciate all these powers of affinity, or to express their proportional energy by numbers, we are certain, that, however variable they may be when considered in relation to the quantity of caloric with which they are combined, they are all nearly in equilibrium in the usual temperature of the atmosphere; hence vegetables neither contain oil[25], water, nor carbonic acid, tho' they contain all the elements of these substances. The hydrogen is neither combined with the oxygen nor with the charcoal, and reciprocally; the particles of these three substances form a triple combination, which remains in equilibrium whilst undisturbed by caloric but a very slight increase of temperature is sufficient to overturn this structure of combination.

If the increased temperature to which the vegetable is exposed does not exceed the heat of boiling water, one part of the hydrogen combines with the oxygen, and forms water, the rest of the hydrogen combines with a part of the charcoal, and forms volatile oil, whilst the remainder of the charcoal, being set free from its combination with the other elements, remains fixed in the bottom of the distilling vessel.

When, on the contrary, we employ a red heat, no water is formed, or, at least, any that may have been produced by the first application of the heat is decomposed, the oxygen having a greater affinity with the charcoal at this degree of heat, combines with it to form carbonic acid, and the hydrogen being left free from combination with the other elements, unites with caloric, and escapes in the state of hydrogen gas. In this high temperature, either no oil is formed, or, if any was produced during the lower temperature at the beginning of the experiment, it is decomposed by the action of the red heat. Thus the decomposition of vegetable matter, under a high temperature, is produced by the action of double and triple affinities; while the charcoal attracts the oxygen, on purpose to form carbonic acid, the caloric attracts the hydrogen, and converts it into hydrogen gas.

The distillation of every species of vegetable substance confirms the truth of this theory, if we can give that name to a simple relation of facts. When sugar is submitted to distillation, so long as we only employ a heat but a little below that of boiling water, it only loses its water of cristallization, it still remains sugar, and retains all its properties; but, immediately upon raising the heat only a little above that degree, it becomes blackened, a part of the charcoal separates from the combination, water slightly acidulated passes over accompanied by a little oil, and the charcoal which remains in the retort is nearly a third part of the original weight of the sugar.

The operation of affinities which take place during the decomposition, by fire, of vegetables which contain azote, such as the cruciferous plants, and of those containing phosphorus, is more complicated; but, as these substances only enter into the composition of vegetables in very small quantities, they only, apparently, produce slight changes upon the products of distillation; the phosphorus seems to combine with the charcoal, and, acquiring fixity from that union, remains behind in the retort, while the azote, combining with a part of the hydrogen, forms ammoniac, or volatile alkali.

Animal substances, being composed nearly of the same elements with cruciferous plants, give the same products in distillation, with this difference, that, as they contain a greater quantity of hydrogen and azote, they produce more oil and more ammoniac. I shall only produce one fact as a proof of the exactness with which this theory explains all the phenomena which occur during the distillation of animal substances, which is the rectification and total decomposition of volatile animal oil, commonly known by the name of Dippel's oil. When these oils are procured by a first distillation in a naked fire they are brown, from containing a little charcoal almost in a free state; but they become quite colourless by rectification. Even in this state the charcoal in their composition has so slight a connection with the other elements as to separate by mere exposure to the air. If we put a quantity of this animal oil, well rectified, and consequently clear, limpid, and transparent, into a bell-glass filled with oxygen gas over mercury, in a short time the gas is much diminished, being absorbed by the oil, the oxygen combining with the hydrogen of the oil forms water, which sinks to the bottom, at the same time the charcoal which was combined with the hydrogen being set free, manifests itself by rendering the oil black. Hence the only way of preserving these oils colourless and transparent, is by keeping them in bottles perfectly full and accurately corked, to hinder the contact of air, which always discolours them.

Successive rectifications of this oil furnish another phenomenon confirming our theory. In each distillation a small quantity of charcoal remains in the retort, and a little water is formed by the union of the oxygen contained in the air of the distilling vessels with the hydrogen of the oil. As this takes place in each successive distillation, if we make use of large vessels and a considerable degree of heat, we at last decompose the whole of the oil, and change it entirely into water and charcoal. When we use small vessels, and especially when we employ a slow fire, or degree of heat little above that of boiling water, the total decomposition of these oils, by repeated distillation, is greatly more tedious, and more difficultly accomplished. I shall give a particular detail to the Academy, in a separate memoir, of all my experiments upon the decomposition of oil; but what I have related above may suffice to give just ideas of the composition of animal and vegetable substances, and of their decomposition by the action of fire.


[24] Though this term, red heat, does not indicate any absolutely determinate degree of temperature, I shall use it sometimes to express a temperature considerably above that of boiling water.—A.

[25] I must be understood here to speak of vegetables reduced to a perfectly dry state; and, with respect to oil, I do not mean that which is procured by expression either in the cold, or in a temperature not exceeding that of boiling water; I only allude to the empyreumatic oil procured by distillation with a naked fire, in a heat superior to the temperature of boiling water; which is the only oil declared to be produced by the operation of fire. What I have published upon this subject in the Memoirs of the Academy for 1786 may be consulted.—A.


Of the Decomposition of Vegetable Oxyds by the Vinous Fermentation.

The manner in which wine, cyder, mead, and all the liquors formed by the spiritous fermentation, are produced, is well known to every one. The juice of grapes or of apples being expressed, and the latter being diluted with water, they are put into large vats, which are kept in a temperature of at least 10 deg. (54.5 deg.) of the thermometer. A rapid intestine motion, or fermentation, very soon takes place, numerous globules of gas form in the liquid and burst at the surface; when the fermentation is at its height, the quantity of gas disengaged is so great as to make the liquor appear as if boiling violently over a fire. When this gas is carefully gathered, it is found to be carbonic acid perfectly pure, and free from admixture with any other species of air or gas whatever.

When the fermentation is completed, the juice of grapes is changed from being sweet, and full of sugar, into a vinous liquor which no longer contains any sugar, and from which we procure, by distillation, an inflammable liquor, known in commerce under the name of Spirit of Wine. As this liquor is produced by the fermentation of any saccharine matter whatever diluted with water, it must have been contrary to the principles of our nomenclature to call it spirit of wine rather than spirit of cyder, or of fermented sugar; wherefore, we have adopted a more general term, and the Arabic word alkohol seems extremely proper for the purpose.

This operation is one of the most extraordinary in chemistry: We must examine whence proceed the disengaged carbonic acid and the inflammable liquor produced, and in what manner a sweet vegetable oxyd becomes thus converted into two such opposite substances, whereof one is combustible, and the other eminently the contrary. To solve these two questions, it is necessary to be previously acquainted with the analysis of the fermentable substance, and of the products of the fermentation. We may lay it down as an incontestible axiom, that, in all the operations of art and nature, nothing is created; an equal quantity of matter exists both before and after the experiment; the quality and quantity of the elements remain precisely the same; and nothing takes place beyond changes and modifications in the combination of these elements. Upon this principle the whole art of performing chemical experiments depends: We must always suppose an exact equality between the elements of the body examined and those of the products of its analysis.

Hence, since from must of grapes we procure alkohol and carbonic acid, I have an undoubted right to suppose that must consists of carbonic acid and alkohol. From these premises, we have two methods of ascertaining what passes during vinous fermentation, by determining the nature of, and the elements which compose, the fermentable substances, or by accurately examining the produces resulting from fermentation; and it is evident that the knowledge of either of these must lead to accurate conclusions concerning the nature and composition of the other. From these considerations, it became necessary accurately to determine the constituent elements of the fermentable substances; and, for this purpose, I did not make use of the compound juices of fruits, the rigorous analysis of which is perhaps impossible, but made choice of sugar, which is easily analysed, and the nature of which I have already explained. This substance is a true vegetable oxyd with two bases, composed of hydrogen and charcoal brought to the state of an oxyd, by a certain proportion of oxygen; and these three elements are combined in such a way, that a very slight force is sufficient to destroy the equilibrium of their connection. By a long train of experiments, made in various ways, and often repeated, I ascertained that the proportion in which these ingredients exist in sugar, are nearly eight parts of hydrogen, 64 parts of oxygen, and 28 parts of charcoal, all by weight, forming 100 parts of sugar.

Sugar must be mixed with about four times its weight of water, to render it susceptible of fermentation; and even then the equilibrium of its elements would remain undisturbed, without the assistance of some substance, to give a commencement to the fermentation. This is accomplished by means of a little yeast from beer; and, when the fermentation is once excited, it continues of itself until completed. I shall, in another place, give an account of the effects of yeast, and other ferments, upon fermentable substances. I have usually employed 10 libs. of yeast, in the state of paste, for each 100 libs. of sugar, with as much water as is four times the weight of the sugar. I shall give the results of my experiments exactly as they were obtained, preserving even the fractions produced by calculation.

TABLE I. Materials of Fermentation.

libs. oz. gros grs. Water 400 0 0 0 Sugar 100 0 0 0 Yeast in paste, 10 libs. { Water 7 3 6 44 composed of { Dry yeast 2 12 1 28 ——————————— Total 510

TABLE II. Constituent Elements of the Materials of Fermentation.

libs. oz. gros grs.

407 libs. 3 oz. 6 gros 44 grs. { Hydrogen 61 1 2 71.40 of water, composed of { Oxygen 346 2 3 44.60

{ Hydrogen 8 0 0 0 100 libs. sugar, composed of { Oxygen 64 0 0 0 { Charcoal 28 0 0 0

{ Hydrogen 0 4 5 9.30 2 libs. 12 oz. 1 gros 28 grs. of { Oxygen 1 10 2 28.76 dry yeast, composed of { Charcoal 0 12 4 59 { Azote 0 0 5 2.94 ———————————- Total weight 510 0 0 0

TABLE III. Recapitulation of these Elements.

libs. oz. gros grs. Oxygen: of the water 340 0 0 0 } of the water } libs. oz. gros grs. in the yeast 6 2 3 44.60 } 411 12 6 1.36 of the sugar 64 0 0 0 } of the dry yeast 1 10 2 28.76 } Hydrogen: of the water 60 0 0 0 } of the water } in the yeast 1 1 2 71.40 } 69 6 0 8.70 of the sugar 8 0 0 0 } of the dry yeast 0 4 5 9.30 } Charcoal: of the sugar 28 0 0 0 } of the yeast 0 12 4 59.00 } 28 12 4 59.00 Azote of the yeast - - - - } 0 0 5 2.94 ————————————— In all 510 0 0 0

Having thus accurately determined the nature and quantity of the constituent elements of the materials submitted to fermentation, we have next to examine the products resulting from that process. For this purpose, I placed the above 510 libs. of fermentable liquor in a proper[26] apparatus, by means of which I could accurately determine the quantity and quality of gas disengaged during the fermentation, and could even weigh every one of the products separately, at any period of the process I judged proper. An hour or two after the substances are mixed together, especially if they are kept in a temperature of from 15 deg. (65.75 deg.) to 18 deg. (72.5 deg.) of the thermometer, the first marks of fermentation commence; the liquor turns thick and frothy, little globules of air are disengaged, which rise and burst at the surface; the quantity of these globules quickly increases, and there is a rapid and abundant production of very pure carbonic acid, accompanied with a scum, which is the yeast separating from the mixture. After some days, less or more according to the degree of heat, the intestine motion and disengagement of gas diminish; but these do not cease entirely, nor is the fermentation completed for a considerable time. During the process, 35 libs. 5 oz. 4 gros 19 grs. of dry carbonic acid are disengaged, which carry alongst with them 13 libs. 14 oz. 5 gros of water. There remains in the vessel 460 libs. 11 oz. 6 gros 53 grs. of vinous liquor, slightly acidulous. This is at first muddy, but clears of itself, and deposits a portion of yeast. When we separately analise all these substances, which is effected by very troublesome processes, we have the results as given in the following Tables. This process, with all the subordinate calculations and analyses, will be detailed at large in the Memoirs of the Academy.

TABLE IV. Product of Fermentation.

libs. oz. gros grs. 35 libs. 5 oz. 4 gros 19 grs. { Oxygen 25 7 1 34 of carbonic acid, composed of { Charcoal 9 14 2 57

408 libs. 15 oz. 5 gros 14 grs. { Oxygen 347 10 0 59 of water, composed of { Hydrogen 61 5 4 27

{ Oxygen, combined { with hydrogen 31 6 1 64 { Hydrogen, combined 57 libs. 11 oz. 1 gros 58 grs. { with oxygen 5 8 5 3 of dry alkohol, composed of { Hydrogen, combined { with charcoal 4 0 5 0 { Charcoal, combined { with hydrogen 16 11 5 63

2 libs. 8 oz. of dry acetous { Hydrogen 0 2 4 0 acid, composed of { Oxygen 1 11 4 0 { Charcoal 0 10 0 0

4 libs. 1 oz. 4 gros 3 grs. { Hydrogen 0 5 1 67 of residuum of sugar, { Oxygen 2 9 7 27 composed of { Charcoal 1 2 2 53

{ Hydrogen 0 2 2 41 1 lib. 6 oz. 0 gros 5 grs. { Oxygen 0 13 1 14 of dry yeast, composed of { Charcoal 0 6 2 30 { Azote 0 0 2 37 —- ————————- 510 libs. Total 510 0 0 0

TABLE V. Recapitulation of the Products.

—————————————————————————————————————— libs. oz. gros grs.

409 libs. 10 oz. 0 gros 54 grs. { Water 347 10 0 59 of oxygen contained in the { Carbonic acid 25 7 1 34 { Alkohol 31 6 1 64 { Acetous acid 1 11 4 0 { Residuum of sugar 2 9 7 27 { Yeast 0 13 1 14

28 libs. 12 oz. 5 gros 59 grs. { Carbonic acid 9 14 2 57 of charcoal contained { Alkohol 16 11 5 63 in the { Acetous acid 0 10 0 0 { Residuum of sugar 1 2 2 53 { Yeast 0 6 2 30

{ Water 61 5 4 27 71 libs. 8 oz. 6 gros 66 grs. { Water of the alkohol 5 8 5 3 of hydrogen contained { Combined with the in the { charcoal of the alko. 4 0 5 0 { Acetous acid 0 2 4 0 { Residuum of sugar 0 5 1 67 { Yeast 0 2 2 41

2 gros 37 grs. of azote in the yeast 0 0 2 37 —- ———————- 510 libs. Total 510 0 0 0

In these results, I have been exact, even to grains; not that it is possible, in experiments of this nature, to carry our accuracy so far, but as the experiments were made only with a few pounds of sugar, and as, for the sake of comparison, I reduced the results of the actual experiments to the quintal or imaginary hundred pounds, I thought it necessary to leave the fractional parts precisely as produced by calculation.

When we consider the results presented by these tables with attention, it is easy to discover exactly what occurs during fermentation. In the first place, out of the 100 libs. of sugar employed, 4 libs. 1 oz. 4 gros 3 grs. remain, without having suffered decomposition; so that, in reality, we have only operated upon 95 libs. 14 oz. 3 gros 69 grs. of sugar; that is to say, upon 61 libs. 6 oz. 45 grs. of oxygen, 7 libs. 10 oz. 6 gros 6 grs. of hydrogen, and 26 libs. 13 oz. 5 gros 19 grs. of charcoal. By comparing these quantities, we find that they are fully sufficient for forming the whole of the alkohol, carbonic acid and acetous acid produced by the fermentation. It is not, therefore, necessary to suppose that any water has been decomposed during the experiment, unless it be pretended that the oxygen and hydrogen exist in the sugar in that state. On the contrary, I have already made it evident that hydrogen, oxygen and charcoal, the three constituent elements of vegetables, remain in a state of equilibrium or mutual union with each other which subsists so long as this union remains undisturbed by increased temperature, or by some new compound attraction; and that then only these elements combine, two and two together, to form water and carbonic acid.

The effects of the vinous fermentation upon sugar is thus reduced to the mere separation of its elements into two portions; one part is oxygenated at the expence of the other, so as to form carbonic acid, whilst the other part, being deoxygenated in favour of the former, is converted into the combustible substance alkohol; therefore, if it were possible to reunite alkohol and carbonic acid together, we ought to form sugar. It is evident that the charcoal and hydrogen in the alkohol do not exist in the state of oil, they are combined with a portion of oxygen, which renders them miscible with water; wherefore these three substances, oxygen, hydrogen, and charcoal, exist here likewise in a species of equilibrium or reciprocal combination; and in fact, when they are made to pass through a red hot tube of glass or porcelain, this union or equilibrium is destroyed, the elements become combined, two and two, and water and carbonic acid are formed.

I had formally advanced, in my first Memoirs upon the formation of water, that it was decomposed in a great number of chemical experiments, and particularly during the vinous fermentation. I then supposed that water existed ready formed in sugar, though I am now convinced that sugar only contains the elements proper for composing it. It may be readily conceived, that it must have cost me a good deal to abandon my first notions, but by several years reflection, and after a great number of experiments and observations upon vegetable substances, I have fixed my ideas as above.

I shall finish what I have to say upon vinous fermentation, by observing, that it furnishes us with the means of analysing sugar and every vegetable fermentable matter. We may consider the substances submitted to fermentation, and the products resulting from that operation, as forming an algebraic equation; and, by successively supposing each of the elements in this equation unknown, we can calculate their values in succession, and thus verify our experiments by calculation, and our calculation by experiment reciprocally. I have often successfully employed this method for correcting the first results of my experiments, and to direct me in the proper road for repeating them to advantage. I have explained myself at large upon this subject, in a Memoir upon vinous fermentation already presented to the Academy, and which will speedily be published.


[26] The above apparatus is described in the Third Part.—A.


Of the Putrefactive Fermentation.

The phenomena of putrefaction are caused, like those of vinous fermentation, by the operation of very complicated affinities. The constituent elements of the bodies submitted to this process cease to continue in equilibrium in the threefold combination, and form themselves anew into binary combinations[27], or compounds, consisting of two elements only; but these are entirely different from the results produced by the vinous fermentation. Instead of one part of the hydrogen remaining united with part of the water and charcoal to form alkohol, as in the vinous fermentation, the whole of the hydrogen is dissipated, during putrefaction, in the form of hydrogen gas, whilst, at the same time, the oxygen and charcoal, uniting with caloric, escape in the form of carbonic acid gas; so that, when the whole process is finished, especially if the materials have been mixed with a sufficient quantity of water, nothing remains but the earth of the vegetable mixed with a small portion of charcoal and iron. Thus putrefaction is nothing more than a complete analysis of vegetable substance, during which the whole of the constituent elements is disengaged in form of gas, except the earth, which remains in the state of mould[28].

Such is the result of putrefaction when the substances submitted to it contain only oxygen, hydrogen, charcoal and a little earth. But this case is rare, and these substances putrify imperfectly and with difficulty, and require a considerable time to complete their putrefaction. It is otherwise with substances containing azote, which indeed exists in all animal matters, and even in a considerable number of vegetable substances. This additional element is remarkably favourable to putrefaction; and for this reason animal matter is mixed with vegetable, when the putrefaction of these is wished to be hastened. The whole art of forming composts and dunghills, for the purposes of agriculture, consists in the proper application of this admixture.

The addition of azote to the materials of putrefaction not only accelerates the process, that element likewise combines with part of the hydrogen, and forms a new substance called volatile alkali or ammoniac. The results obtained by analysing animal matters, by different processes, leave no room for doubt with regard to the constituent elements of ammoniac; whenever the azote has been previously separated from these substances, no ammoniac is produced; and in all cases they furnish ammoniac only in proportion to the azote they contain. This composition of ammoniac is likewise fully proved by Mr Berthollet, in the Memoirs of the Academy for 1785, p. 316. where he gives a variety of analytical processes by which ammoniac is decomposed, and its two elements, azote and hydrogen, procured separately.

I already mentioned in Chap. X. that almost all combustible bodies were capable of combining with each other; hydrogen gas possesses this quality in an eminent degree, it dissolves charcoal, sulphur, and phosphorus, producing the compounds named carbonated hydrogen gas, sulphurated hydrogen gas, and phosphorated hydrogen gas. The two latter of these gasses have a peculiarly disagreeable flavour; the sulphurated hydrogen gas has a strong resemblance to the smell of rotten eggs, and the phosphorated smells exactly like putrid fish. Ammoniac has likewise a peculiar odour, not less penetrating, or less disagreeable, than these other gasses. From the mixture of these different flavours proceeds the fetor which accompanies the putrefaction of animal substances. Sometimes ammoniac predominates, which is easily perceived by its sharpness upon the eyes; sometimes, as in feculent matters, the sulphurated gas is most prevalent; and sometimes, as in putrid herrings, the phosphorated hydrogen gas is most abundant.

I long supposed that nothing could derange or interrupt the course of putrefaction; but Mr Fourcroy and Mr Thouret have observed some peculiar phenomena in dead bodies, buried at a certain depth, and preserved to a certain degree, from contact with air; having found the muscular flesh frequently converted into true animal fat. This must have arisen from the disengagement of the azote, naturally contained in the animal substance, by some unknown cause, leaving only the hydrogen and charcoal remaining, which are the elements proper for producing fat or oil. This observation upon the possibility of converting animal substances into fat may some time or other lead to discoveries of great importance to society. The faeces of animals, and other excrementitious matters, are chiefly composed of charcoal and hydrogen, and approach considerably to the nature of oil, of which they furnish a considerable quantity by distillation with a naked fire; but the intolerable foetor which accompanies all the products of these substances prevents our expecting that, at least for a long time, they can be rendered useful in any other way than as manures.

I have only given conjectural approximations in this Chapter upon the composition of animal substances, which is hitherto but imperfectly understood. We know that they are composed of hydrogen, charcoal, azote, phosphorus, and sulphur, all of which, in a state of quintuple combination, are brought to the state of oxyd by a larger or smaller quantity of oxygen. We are, however, still unacquainted with the proportions in which these substances are combined, and must leave it to time to complete this part of chemical analysis, as it has already done with several others.


[27] Binary combinations are such as consist of two simple elements combined together. Ternary, and quaternary, consist of three and four elements.—E.

[28] In the Third Part will be given the description of an apparatus proper for being used in experiments of this kind.—A.


Of the Acetous Fermentation.

The acetous fermentation is nothing more than the acidification or oxygenation of wine[29], produced in the open air by means of the absorption of oxygen. The resulting acid is the acetous acid, commonly called Vinegar, which is composed of hydrogen and charcoal united together in proportions not yet ascertained, and changed into the acid state by oxygen. As vinegar is an acid, we might conclude from analogy that it contains oxygen, but this is put beyond doubt by direct experiments: In the first place, we cannot change wine into vinegar without the contact of air containing oxygen; secondly, this process is accompanied by a diminution of the volume of the air in which it is carried on from the absorption of its oxygen; and, thirdly, wine may be changed into vinegar by any other means of oxygenation.

Independent of the proofs which these facts furnish of the acetous acid being produced by the oxygenation of wine, an experiment made by Mr Chaptal, Professor of Chemistry at Montpellier, gives us a distinct view of what takes place in this process. He impregnated water with about its own bulk of carbonic acid from fermenting beer, and placed this water in a cellar in vessels communicating with the air, and in a short time the whole was converted into acetous acid. The carbonic acid gas procured from beer vats in fermentation is not perfectly pure, but contains a small quantity of alkohol in solution, wherefore water impregnated with it contains all the materials necessary for forming the acetous acid. The alkohol furnishes hydrogen and one portion of charcoal, the carbonic acid furnishes oxygen and the rest of the charcoal, and the air of the atmosphere furnishes the rest of the oxygen necessary for changing the mixture into acetous acid. From this observation it follows, that nothing but hydrogen is wanting to convert carbonic acid into acetous acid; or more generally, that, by means of hydrogen, and according to the degree of oxygenation, carbonic acid may be changed into all the vegetable acids; and, on the contrary, that, by depriving any of the vegetable acids of their hydrogen, they may be converted into carbonic acid.

Although the principal facts relating to the acetous acid are well known, yet numerical exactitude is still wanting, till furnished by more exact experiments than any hitherto performed; wherefore I shall not enlarge any farther upon the subject. It is sufficiently shown by what has been said, that the constitution of all the vegetable acids and oxyds is exactly conformable to the formation of vinegar; but farther experiments are necessary to teach us the proportion of the constituent elements in all these acids and oxyds. We may easily perceive, however, that this part of chemistry, like all the rest of its divisions, makes rapid progress towards perfection, and that it is already rendered greatly more simple than was formerly believed.


[29] The word Wine, in this chapter, is used to signify the liquor produced by the vinous fermentation, whatever vegetable substance may have been used for obtaining it.—E.


Of the Formation of Neutral Salts, and of their different Bases.

We have just seen that all the oxyds and acids from the animal and vegetable kingdoms are formed by means of a small number of simple elements, or at least of such as have not hitherto been susceptible of decomposition, by means of combination with oxygen; these are azote, sulphur, phosphorus, charcoal, hydrogen, and the muriatic radical[30]. We may justly admire the simplicity of the means employed by nature to multiply qualities and forms, whether by combining three or four acidifiable bases in different proportions, or by altering the dose of oxygen employed for oxydating or acidifying them. We shall find the means no less simple and diversified, and as abundantly productive of forms and qualities, in the order of bodies we are now about to treat of.

Acidifiable substances, by combining with oxygen, and their consequent conversion into acids, acquire great susceptibility of farther combination; they become capable of uniting with earthy and metallic bodies, by which means neutral salts are formed. Acids may therefore be considered as true salifying principles, and the substances with which they unite to form neutral salts may be called salifiable bases: The nature of the union which these two principles form with each other is meant as the subject of the present chapter.

This view of the acids prevents me from considering them as salts, though they are possessed of many of the principal properties of saline bodies, as solubility in water, &c. I have already observed that they are the result of a first order of combination, being composed of two simple elements, or at least of elements which act as if they were simple, and we may therefore rank them, to use the language of Stahl, in the order of mixts. The neutral salts, on the contrary, are of a secondary order of combination, being formed by the union of two mixts with each other, and may therefore be termed compounds. Hence I shall not arrange the alkalies[31] or earths in the class of salts, to which I allot only such as are composed of an oxygenated substance united to a base.

I have already enlarged sufficiently upon the formation of acids in the preceding chapter, and shall not add any thing farther upon that subject; but having as yet given no account of the salifiable bases which are capable of uniting with them to form neutral salts, I mean, in this chapter, to give an account of the nature and origin of each of these bases. These are potash, soda, ammoniac, lime, magnesia, barytes, argill[32], and all the metallic bodies.

Sec. 1. Of Potash.

We have already shown, that, when a vegetable substance is submitted to the action of fire in distilling vessels, its component elements, oxygen, hydrogen, and charcoal, which formed a threefold combination in a state of equilibrium, unite, two and two, in obedience to affinities which act conformable to the degree of heat employed. Thus, at the first application of the fire, whenever the heat produced exceeds the temperature of boiling water, part of the oxygen and hydrogen unite to form water; soon after the rest of the hydrogen, and part of the charcoal, combine into oil; and, lastly, when the fire is pushed to the red heat, the oil and water, which had been formed in the early part of the process, become again decomposed, the oxygen and charcoal unite to form carbonic acid, a large quantity of hydrogen gas is set free, and nothing but charcoal remains in the retort.

A great part of these phenomena occur during the combustion of vegetables in the open air; but, in this case, the presence of the air introduces three new substances, the oxygen and azote of the air and caloric, of which two at least produce considerable changes in the results of the operation. In proportion as the hydrogen of the vegetable, or that which results from the decomposition of the water, is forced out in the form of hydrogen gas by the progress of the fire, it is set on fire immediately upon getting in contact with the air, water is again formed, and the greater part of the caloric of the two gasses becoming free produces flame. When all the hydrogen gas is driven out, burnt, and again reduced to water, the remaining charcoal continues to burn, but without flame; it is formed into carbonic acid, which carries off a portion of caloric sufficient to give it the gasseous form; the rest of the caloric, from the oxygen of the air, being set free, produces the heat and light observed during the combustion of charcoal. The whole vegetable is thus reduced into water and carbonic acid, and nothing remains but a small portion of gray earthy matter called ashes, being the only really fixed principles which enter into the constitution of vegetables.

The earth, or rather ashes, which seldom exceeds a twentieth part of the weight of the vegetable, contains a substance of a particular nature, known under the name of fixed vegetable alkali, or potash. To obtain it, water is poured upon the ashes, which dissolves the potash, and leaves the ashes which are insoluble; by afterwards evaporating the water, we obtain the potash in a white concrete form: It is very fixed even in a very high degree of heat. I do not mean here to describe the art of preparing potash, or the method of procuring it in a state of purity, but have entered upon the above detail that I might not use any word not previously explained.

The potash obtained by this process is always less or more saturated with carbonic acid, which is easily accounted for: As the potash does not form, or at least is not set free, but in proportion as the charcoal of the vegetable is converted into carbonic acid by the addition of oxygen, either from the air or the water, it follows, that each particle of potash, at the instant of its formation, or at least of its liberation, is in contact with a particle of carbonic acid, and, as there is a considerable affinity between these two substances, they naturally combine together. Although the carbonic acid has less affinity with potash than any other acid, yet it is difficult to separate the last portions from it. The most usual method of accomplishing this is to dissolve the potash in water; to this solution add two or three times its weight of quick-lime, then filtrate the liquor and evaporate it in close vessels; the saline substance left by the evaporation is potash almost entirely deprived of carbonic acid. In this state it is soluble in an equal weight of water, and even attracts the moisture of the air with great avidity; by this property it furnishes us with an excellent means of rendering air or gas dry by exposing them to its action. In this state it is soluble in alkohol, though not when combined with carbonic acid; and Mr Berthollet employs this property as a method of procuring potash in the state of perfect purity.

All vegetables yield less or more of potash in consequence of combustion, but it is furnished in various degrees of purity by different vegetables; usually, indeed, from all of them it is mixed with different salts from which it is easily separable. We can hardly entertain a doubt that the ashes, or earth which is left by vegetables in combustion, pre-existed in them before they were burnt, forming what may be called the skeleton, or osseous part of the vegetable. But it is quite otherwise with potash; this substance has never yet been procured from vegetables but by means of processes or intermedia capable of furnishing oxygen and azote, such as combustion, or by means of nitric acid; so that it is not yet demonstrated that potash may not be a produce from these operations. I have begun a series of experiments upon this object, and hope soon to be able to give an account of their results.

Sec. 2. Of Soda.

Soda, like potash, is an alkali procured by lixiviation from the ashes of burnt plants, but only from those which grow upon the sea-side, and especially from the herb kali, whence is derived the name alkali, given to this substance by the Arabians. It has some properties in common with potash, and others which are entirely different: In general, these two substances have peculiar characters in their saline combinations which are proper to each, and consequently distinguish them from each other; thus soda, which, as obtained from marine plants, is usually entirely saturated with carbonic acid, does not attract the humidity of the atmosphere like potash, but, on the contrary, desiccates, its cristals effloresce, and are converted into a white powder having all the properties of soda, which it really is, having only lost its water of cristallization.

Hitherto we are not better acquainted with the constituent elements of soda than with those of potash, being equally uncertain whether it previously existed ready formed in the vegetable or is a combination of elements effected by combustion. Analogy leads us to suspect that azote is a constituent element of all the alkalies, as is the case with ammoniac; but we have only slight presumptions, unconfirmed by any decisive experiments, respecting the composition of potash and soda.

Sec. 3. Of Ammoniac.

We have, however, very accurate knowledge of the composition of ammoniac, or volatile alkali, as it is called by the old chemists. Mr Berthollet, in the Memoirs of the Academy for 1784, p. 316. has proved by analysis, that 1000 parts of this substance consist of about 807 parts of azote combined with 193 parts of hydrogen.

Ammoniac is chiefly procurable from animal substances by distillation, during which process the azote and hydrogen necessary to its formation unite in proper proportions; it is not, however, procured pure by this process, being mixed with oil and water, and mostly saturated with carbonic acid. To separate these substances it is first combined with an acid, the muriatic for instance, and then disengaged from that combination by the addition of lime or potash. When ammoniac is thus produced in its greatest degree of purity it can only exist under the gasseous form, at least in the usual temperature of the atmosphere, it has an excessively penetrating smell, is absorbed in large quantities by water, especially if cold and assisted by compression. Water thus saturated with ammoniac has usually been termed volatile alkaline fluor; we shall call it either simply ammoniac, or liquid ammoniac, and ammoniacal gas when it exists in the aeriform state.

Sec. 4. Of Lime, Magnesia, Barytes, and Argill.

The composition of these four earths is totally unknown, and, until by new discoveries their constituent elements are ascertained, we are certainly authorised to consider them as simple bodies. Art has no share in the production of these earths, as they are all procured ready formed from nature; but, as they have all, especially the three first, great tendency to combination, they are never found pure. Lime is usually saturated with carbonic acid in the state of chalk, calcarious spars, most of the marbles, &c.; sometimes with sulphuric acid, as in gypsum and plaster stones; at other times with fluoric acid forming vitreous or fluor spars; and, lastly, it is found in the waters of the sea, and of saline springs, combined with muriatic acid. Of all the salifiable bases it is the most universally spread through nature.

Magnesia is found in mineral waters, for the most part combined with sulphuric acid; it is likewise abundant in sea-water, united with muriatic acid; and it exists in a great number of stones of different kinds.

Barytes is much less common than the three preceding earths; it is found in the mineral kingdom, combined with sulphuric acid, forming heavy spars, and sometimes, though rarely, united to carbonic acid.

Argill, or the base of alum, having less tendency to combination than the other earths, is often found in the state of argill, uncombined with any acid. It is chiefly procurable from clays, of which, properly speaking, it is the base, or chief ingredient.

Sec. 5. Of Metallic Bodies.

The metals, except gold, and sometimes silver, are rarely found in the mineral kingdom in their metallic state, being usually less or more saturated with oxygen, or combined with sulphur, arsenic, sulphuric acid, muriatic acid, carbonic acid, or phosphoric acid. Metallurgy, or the docimastic art, teaches the means of separating them from these foreign matters; and for this purpose we refer to such chemical books as treat upon these operations.

We are probably only acquainted as yet with a part of the metallic substances existing in nature, as all those which have a stronger affinity to oxygen, than charcoal possesses, are incapable of being reduced to the metallic state, and, consequently, being only presented to our observation under the form of oxyds, are confounded with earths. It is extremely probable that barytes, which we have just now arranged with earths, is in this situation; for in many experiments it exhibits properties nearly approaching to those of metallic bodies. It is even possible that all the substances we call earths may be only metallic oxyds, irreducible by any hitherto known process.

Those metallic bodies we are at present acquainted with, and which we can reduce to the metallic or reguline state, are the following seventeen:

1. Arsenic. 2. Molybdena. 3. Tungstein. 4. Manganese. 5. Nickel. 6. Cobalt. 7. Bismuth. 8. Antimony. 9. Zinc. 10. Iron. 11. Tin. 12. Lead. 13. Copper. 14. Mercury. 15. Silver. 16. Platina. 17. Gold.

I only mean to consider these as salifiable bases, without entering at all upon the consideration of their properties in the arts, and for the uses of society. In these points of view each metal would require a complete treatise, which would lead me far beyond the bounds I have prescribed for this work.


[30] I have not ventured to omit this element, as here enumerated with the other principles of animal and vegetable substances, though it is not at all taken notice of in the preceding chapters as entering into the composition of these bodies.—E.

[31] Perhaps my thus rejecting the alkalies from the class of salts may be considered as a capital defect in the method I have adopted, and I am ready to admit the charge; but this inconvenience is compensated by so many advantages, that I could not think it of sufficient consequence to make me alter my plan.—A.

[32] Called Alumine by Mr Lavoisier; but as Argill has been in a manner naturalized to the language for this substance by Mr Kirwan, I have ventured to use it in preference.—E.


Continuation of the Observations upon Salifiable Bases, and the Formation of Neutral Salts.

It is necessary to remark, that earths and alkalies unite with acids to form neutral salts without the intervention of any medium, whereas metallic substances are incapable of forming this combination without being previously less or more oxygenated; strictly speaking, therefore, metals are not soluble in acids, but only metallic oxyds. Hence, when we put a metal into an acid for solution, it is necessary, in the first place, that it become oxygenated, either by attracting oxygen from the acid or from the water; or, in other words, that a metal cannot be dissolved in an acid unless the oxygen, either of the acid, or of the water mixed with it, has a stronger affinity to the metal than to the hydrogen or the acidifiable base; or, what amounts to the same thing, that no metallic solution can take place without a previous decomposition of the water, or the acid in which it is made. The explanation of the principal phenomena of metallic solution depends entirely upon this simple observation, which was overlooked even by the illustrious Bergman.

The first and most striking of these is the effervescence, or, to speak less equivocally, the disengagement of gas which takes place during the solution; in the solutions made in nitric acid this effervescence is produced by the disengagement of nitrous gas; in solutions with sulphuric acid it is either sulphurous acid gas or hydrogen gas, according as the oxydation of the metal happens to be made at the expence of the sulphuric acid or of the water. As both nitric acid and water are composed of elements which, when separate, can only exist in the gasseous form, at least in the common temperature of the atmosphere, it is evident that, whenever either of these is deprived of its oxygen, the remaining element must instantly expand and assume the state of gas; the effervescence is occasioned by this sudden conversion from the liquid to the gasseous state. The same decomposition, and consequent formation of gas, takes place when solutions of metals are made in sulphuric acid: In general, especially by the humid way, metals do not attract all the oxygen it contains; they therefore reduce it, not into sulphur, but into sulphurous acid, and as this acid can only exist as gas in the usual temperature, it is disengaged, and occasions effervescence.

The second phenomenon is, that, when the metals have been previously oxydated, they all dissolve in acids without effervescence: This is easily explained; because, not having now any occasion for combining with oxygen, they neither decompose the acid nor the water by which, in the former case, the effervescence is occasioned.

A third phenomenon, which requires particular consideration, is, that none of the metals produce effervescence by solution in oxygenated muriatic acid. During this process the metal, in the first place, carries off the excess of oxygen from the oxygenated muriatic acid, by which it becomes oxydated, and reduces the acid to the state of ordinary muriatic acid. In this case there is no production of gas, not that the muriatic acid does not tend to exist in the gasseous state in the common temperature, which it does equally with the acids formerly mentioned, but because this acid, which otherwise would expand into gas, finds more water combined with the oxygenated muriatic acid than is necessary to retain it in the liquid form; hence it does not disengage like the sulphurous acid, but remains, and quietly dissolves and combines with the metallic oxyd previously formed from its superabundant oxygen.

The fourth phenomenon is, that metals are absolutely insoluble in such acids as have their bases joined to oxygen by a stronger affinity than these metals are capable of exerting upon that acidifying principle. Hence silver, mercury, and lead, in their metallic states, are insoluble in muriatic acid, but, when previously oxydated, they become readily soluble without effervescence.

From these phenomena it appears that oxygen is the bond of union between metals and acids; and from this we are led to suppose that oxygen is contained in all substances which have a strong affinity with acids: Hence it is very probable the four eminently salifiable earths contain oxygen, and their capability of uniting with acids is produced by the intermediation of that element. What I have formerly noticed relative to these earths is considerably strengthened by the above considerations, viz. that they may very possibly be metallic oxyds, with which oxygen has a stronger affinity than with charcoal, and consequently not reducible by any known means.

All the acids hitherto known are enumerated in the following table, the first column of which contains the names of the acids according to the new nomenclature, and in the second column are placed the bases or radicals of these acids, with observations.

Names of the Acids. Names of the Bases, with Observations.

1. Sulphurous }Sulphur. 2. Sulphuric }

3. Phosphorous }Phosphorus. 4. Phosphoric }

5. Muriatic }Muriatic radical or base, hitherto unknown. 6. Oxygenated muriatic }

7. Nitrous } 8. Nitric }Azote. 9. Oxygenated nitric }

10. Carbonic Charcoal

}The bases or radicals of all these acids 11. Acetous }seem to be formed by a combination 12. Acetic }of charcoal and hydrogen; 13. Oxalic }and the only difference seems to be 14. Tartarous }owing to the different proportions in 15. Pyro-tartarous }which these elements combine to form 16. Citric }their bases, and to the different doses 17. Malic }of oxygen in their acidification. A 18. Pyro-lignous }connected series of accurate experiments 19. Pyro-mucous }is still wanted upon this subject.

20. Gallic }Our knowledge of the bases of 21. Prussic }these acids is hitherto imperfect; we 22. Benzoic }only know that they contain hydrogen 23. Succinic }and charcoal as principal elements, 24. Camphoric }and that the prussic acid contains 25. Lactic }azote. 26. Saccholactic }

27. Bombic }The base of these and all acids 28. Formic }procured from animal substances seems 29. Sebacic }to consist of charcoal, hydrogen, }phosphorous, and azote.

30. Boracic }The bases of these two are hitherto 31. Fluoric }entirely unknown.

32. Antimonic Antimony. 33. Argentic Silver. 34. Arseniac(A) Arsenic. 35. Bismuthic Bismuth. 36. Cobaltic Cobalt. 37. Cupric Copper. 38. Stannic Tin. 39. Ferric Iron. 40. Manganic Manganese. 41. Mercuric(B) Mercury. 42. Molybdic Molybdena. 43. Nickolic Nickel. 44. Auric Gold. 45. Platinic Platina. 46. Plumbic Lead. 47. Tungstic Tungstein. 48. Zincic Zinc.

[Note A: This term swerves a little from the rule in making the name of this acid terminate in ac instead of ic. The base and acid are distinguished in French by arsenic and arsenique; but, having chosen the English termination ic to translate the French ique, I was obliged to use this small deviation.—E.]

[Note B: Mr Lavoisier has hydrargirique; but mercurius being used for the base or metal, the name of the acid, as above, is equally regular, and less harsh.—E.]

In this list, which contains 48 acids, I have enumerated 17 metallic acids hitherto very imperfectly known, but upon which Mr Berthollet is about to publish a very important work. It cannot be pretended that all the acids which exist in nature, or rather all the acidifiable bases, are yet discovered; but, on the other hand, there are considerable grounds for supposing that a more accurate investigation than has hitherto been attempted will diminish the number of the vegetable acids, by showing that several of these, at present considered as distinct acids, are only modifications of others. All that can be done in the present state of our knowledge is, to give a view of chemistry as it really is, and to establish fundamental principles, by which such bodies as may be discovered in future may receive names, in conformity with one uniform system.

The known salifiable bases, or substances capable of being converted into neutral salts by union with acids, amount to 24; viz. 3 alkalies, 4 earths, and 17 metallic substances; so that, in the present state of chemical knowledge, the whole possible number of neutral salts amounts to 1152[33]. This number is upon the supposition that the metallic acids are capable of dissolving other metals, which is a new branch of chemistry not hitherto investigated, upon which depends all the metallic combinations named vitreous. There is reason to believe that many of these supposable saline combinations are not capable of being formed, which must greatly reduce the real number of neutral salts producible by nature and art. Even if we suppose the real number to amount only to five or six hundred species of possible neutral salts, it is evident that, were we to distinguish them, after the manner of the ancients, either by the names of their first discoverers, or by terms derived from the substances from which they are procured, we should at last have such a confusion of arbitrary designations, as no memory could possibly retain. This method might be tolerable in the early ages of chemistry, or even till within these twenty years, when only about thirty species of salts were known; but, in the present times, when the number is augmenting daily, when every new acid gives us 24 or 48 new salts, according as it is capable of one or two degrees of oxygenation, a new method is certainly necessary. The method we have adopted, drawn from the nomenclature of the acids, is perfectly analogical, and, following nature in the simplicity of her operations, gives a natural and easy nomenclature applicable to every possible neutral salt.

In giving names to the different acids, we express the common property by the generical term acid, and distinguish each species by the name of its peculiar acidifiable base. Hence the acids formed by the oxygenation of sulphur, phosphorus, charcoal, &c. are called sulphuric acid, phosphoric acid, carbonic acid, &c. We thought it likewise proper to indicate the different degrees of saturation with oxygen, by different terminations of the same specific names. Hence we distinguish between sulphurous and sulphuric, and between phosphorous and phosphoric acids, &c.

By applying these principles to the nomenclature of neutral salts, we give a common term to all the neutral salts arising from the combination of one acid, and distinguish the species by adding the name of the salifiable base. Thus, all the neutral salts having sulphuric acid in their composition are named sulphats; those formed by the phosphoric acid, phosphats, &c. The species being distinguished by the names of the salifiable bases gives us sulphat of potash, sulphat of soda, sulphat of ammoniac, sulphat of lime, sulphat of iron, &c. As we are acquainted with 24 salifiable bases, alkaline, earthy, and metallic, we have consequently 24 sulphats, as many phosphats, and so on through all the acids. Sulphur is, however, susceptible of two degrees of oxygenation, the first of which produces sulphurous, and the second, sulphuric acid; and, as the neutral salts produced by these two acids, have different properties, and are in fact different salts, it becomes necessary to distinguish these by peculiar terminations; we have therefore distinguished the neutral salts formed by the acids in the first or lesser degree of oxygenation, by changing the termination at into ite, as sulphites, phosphites[34], &c. Thus, oxygenated or acidified sulphur, in its two degrees of oxygenation is capable of forming 48 neutral salts, 24 of which are sulphites, and as many sulphats; which is likewise the case with all the acids capable of two degrees of oxygenation[35].

It were both tiresome and unnecessary to follow these denominations through all the varieties of their possible application; it is enough to have given the method of naming the various salts, which, when once well understood, is easily applied to every possible combination. The name of the combustible and acidifiable body being once known, the names of the acid it is capable of forming, and of all the neutral combinations the acid is susceptible of entering into, are most readily remembered. Such as require a more complete illustration of the methods in which the new nomenclature is applied will, in the Second Part of this book, find Tables which contain a full enumeration of all the neutral salts, and, in general, all the possible chemical combinations, so far as is consistent with the present state of our knowledge. To these I shall subjoin short explanations, containing the best and most simple means of procuring the different species of acids, and some account of the general properties of the neutral salts they produce.

I shall not deny, that, to render this work more complete, it would have been necessary to add particular observations upon each species of salt, its solubility in water and alkohol, the proportions of acid and of salifiable base in its composition, the quantity of its water of cristallization, the different degrees of saturation it is susceptible of, and, finally, the degree of force or affinity with which the acid adheres to the base. This immense work has been already begun by Messrs Bergman, Morveau, Kirwan, and other celebrated chemists, but is hitherto only in a moderate state of advancement, even the principles upon which it is founded are not perhaps sufficiently accurate.

These numerous details would have swelled this elementary treatise to much too great a size; besides that, to have gathered the necessary materials, and to have completed all the series of experiments requisite, must have retarded the publication of this book for many years. This is a vast field for employing the zeal and abilities of young chemists, whom I would advise to endeavour rather to do well than to do much, and to ascertain, in the first place, the composition of the acids, before entering upon that of the neutral salts. Every edifice which is intended to resist the ravages of time should be built upon a sure foundation; and, in the present state of chemistry, to attempt discoveries by experiments, either not perfectly exact, or not sufficiently rigorous, will serve only to interrupt its progress, instead of contributing to its advancement.


[33] This number excludes all triple salts, or such as contain more than one salifiable base, all the salts whose bases are over or under saturated with acid, and those formed by the nitro-muriatic acid.—E.

[34] As all the specific names of the acids in the new nomenclature are adjectives, they would have applied severally to the various salifiable bases, without the invention of other terms, with perfect distinctness. Thus, sulphurous potash, and sulphuric potash, are equally distinct as sulphite of potash, and sulphat of potash; and have the advantage of being more easily retained in the memory, because more naturally arising from the acids themselves, than the arbitrary terminations adopted by Mr Lavoisier.—E.

[35] There is yet a third degree of oxygenation of acids, as the oxygenated muriatic and oxygenated nitric acids. The terms applicable to the neutral salts resulting from the union of these acids with salifiable bases is supplied by the Author in the Second Part of this Work. These are formed by prefixing the word oxygenated to the name of the salt produced by the second degree of oxygenation. Thus, oxygenated muriat of potash, oxygenated nitrat of soda, &c.—E.


Of the Combination of Acids with Salifiable Bases, and of the Formation of Neutral Salts.


If I had strictly followed the plan I at first laid down for the conduct of this work, I would have confined myself, in the Tables and accompanying observations which compose this Second Part, to short definitions of the several known acids, and abridged accounts of the processes by which they are obtainable, with a mere nomenclature or enumeration of the neutral salts which result from the combination of these acids with the various salifiable bases. But I afterwards found that the addition of similar Tables of all the simple substances which enter into the composition of the acids and oxyds, together with the various possible combinations of these elements, would add greatly to the utility of this work, without being any great increase to its size. These additions, which are all contained in the twelve first sections of this Part, and the Tables annexed to these, form a kind of recapitulation of the first fifteen Chapters of the First Part: The rest of the Tables and Sections contain all the saline combinations.

It must be very apparent that, in this Part of the Work, I have borrowed greatly from what has been already published by Mr de Morveau in the First Volume of the Encyclopedie par ordre des Matieres. I could hardly have discovered a better source of information, especially when the difficulty of consulting books in foreign languages is considered. I make this general acknowledgment on purpose to save the trouble of references to Mr de Morveau's work in the course of the following part of mine.


Simple substances belonging to all the kingdoms of nature, which may be considered as the elements of bodies.

New Names. Correspondent old Names.

Light Light.

Caloric {Heat. {Principle or element of heat. {Fire. Igneous fluid. {Matter of fire and of heat.

Oxygen {Dephlogisticated air. {Empyreal air. {Vital air, or {Base of vital air.

Azote {Phlogisticated air or gas. {Mephitis, or its base.

Hydrogen {Inflammable air or gas, {or the base of inflammable air.

Oxydable and Acidifiable simple Substance not Metallic.

New Names. Correspondent old names.

Sulphur } Phosphorous }The same names. Charcoal }

Muriatic radical } Fluoric radical }Still unknown. Boracic radical }

Oxydable and Acidifiable simple Metallic Bodies

New Names. Correspondent Old Names.

Antimony } { Antimony. Arsenic } { Arsenic. Bismuth } { Bismuth. Cobalt } { Cobalt. Copper } { Copper. Gold } { Gold. Iron } { Iron. Lead } Regulus of { Lead. Manganese } { Manganese. Mercury } { Mercury. Molybdena } { Molybdena. Nickel } { Nickel. Platina } { Platina. Silver } { Silver. Tin } { Tin. Tungstein } { Tungstein. Zinc } { Zinc.

Salifiable simple Earthy Substances.

New Names. Correspondent old Names.

Lime {Chalk, calcareous earth. {Quicklime.

Magnesia {Magnesia, base of Epsom salt. {Calcined or caustic magnesia.

Barytes Barytes, or heavy earth. Argill Clay, earth of alum. Silex Siliceous or vitrifiable earth.

SECT. I.—Observations upon the Table of Simple Substances.

The principle object of chemical experiments is to decompose natural bodies, so as separately to examine the different substances which enter into their composition. By consulting chemical systems, it will be found that this science of chemical analysis has made rapid progress in our own times. Formerly oil and salt were considered as elements of bodies, whereas later observation and experiment have shown that all salts, instead of being simple, are composed of an acid united to a base. The bounds of analysis have been greatly enlarged by modern discoveries[36]; the acids are shown to be composed of oxygen, as an acidifying principle common to all, united in each to a particular base. I have proved what Mr Haffenfratz had before advanced, that these radicals of the acids are not all simple elements, many of them being, like the oily principle, composed of hydrogen and charcoal. Even the bases of neutral salts have been proved by Mr Berthollet to be compounds, as he has shown that ammoniac is composed of azote and hydrogen.

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