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    Description

    Charles Blagden. Autograph Letter Signed.
    "C Blagden." Three pages with integral address sheet, 7.25" x 9", King's Row, Bedford Row, London; August 18, 1783. In this letter to Jean-André Deluc or de Luc (1727-1817), a Swiss geologist, natural philosopher, and meteorologist who moved to England in 1773, where he served for forty-four years as reader to Queen Charlotte, Blagden writes of his recent trip to Paris and the scientific experiments he saw there. He noted that chemistry "is making a rapid progress in France; it cannot be otherwise where there are so many ingenious men, working with unwearied assiduity." Blagden then refers to recent experiments of "Lavoisier and De la Place," which he found "extremely curious. "I will not attempt to describe them," he states, "because I can send, for your perusal, a copy of their paper itself, which will afford you much more complete satisfaction. The subject was thought so interesting, that they got the dissertation printed off for the Memoirs of the Academy immediately after it was read, & luckily soon enough for me to receive one copy before I left Paris." Presumably, Blagden is referring to the influential experiments of Antoine Lavoisier (1743-1794) on chemical reaction, which led to the founding of modern chemistry. "It was in consequence of what had been done here by Mr. [Henry] Cavendish & Dr. [Joseph] Priestley, that the same gentlemen [Lavoisier and De la Place] engaged in the experiment of burning together dephlogisticated & inflammable airs. The result was water alone, no other substance, solid or fluid, could be obtained. At the same time it did not seem as if the quantity of water collected was equal to the weight of the two airs consumed; but this was only a preliminary experiment to ascertain the general fact, no provision had been made for determining the quantities exactly; an apparatus is now preparing for this express object." Blagden goes on to discuss other experiments he witnessed on Paris and to thank de Luc for his letters of introductions to various men of science.

    Sir Charles Brian Blagden (1748-1820) was a British physician and scientist. He served as a medical officer in the Army and later held the position of Secretary of the Royal Society. Blagden was known for his studies of perspiration and the freezing point of solutions, the latter known as "Blagden's Law." He won the Copley Medal in 1788 and was knighted in 1792. A Francophile who fostered relations between English and French scientists, Blagden died in Arcueil, France in 1820, and was buried at Père Lachaise Cemetery in Paris.

    The letter is accompanied by a handwritten transcription.

    Condition: In addition to the usual folds, there is small paper loss on the right hand margin of page 3 where the was seal was broken to open the letter; otherwise good.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    September, 2019
    4th Wednesday
    Internet/Mail Bids: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
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