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yet, if we consider the immense pression of vegetables upon the face of the earth, growing in places suited to their nature, and consequently at full liberty to exert all their powers, both inhaling and exhaling, it can hardly be thought but that it can be a sufficient couterbalance to it, and that the remedy is adequate to the evil.”
Another method of purifying air was also discovered by this philosopher. “Having rendered inflammable air perfectly innoxious by continued agitution in a trough of water, deprived of its air, I concluded that other kinds of noxious air might be restored, by the same means; and I presently found that this was the case with putrid air, even of more than a year's standing. I shall observe, once for all, that this. process never failed to resore any kind of noxious air on which I have tried it, viz. air injured by respiration or putrefaction, air infected with the fumes of burning charcoal, and of calcined metals, air in which a mixture of iron filings and brimstone, that in which paint made of white lead and oil has stood, or air which has been diminished by a mixture of nitrous air.”
Having detailed a number of curious expe-
riments in corroboration of his theory, he concludes with the following ingenious conjecture: “Since water, in these experiments, must have imbibed and retained a certain portion of the noxious effluvia, before they could be transmitted to the external air, I do not think it improbable but that the agitation of the sea, and large lakes may be of some use for the purification of the atmosphere, and the putrid matter contained in in water may be imbibed by aquatic plants, or be deposited in some other manner.”
An account of his discovery of nitrous air, its antisceptic qualities, &c. is given with his usual accuracy in the first volume.
Several new and valuable discoveries, the result of various, and some of them dangerous experiments, are detailed in the second volume. Among others, the production and properties of dephlogisticated air, or, as it is now termed, oxygen gas, are most remarkable. Speaking of the utility of this pure air, he says: “It may hence be inferred that a quantity of very pure air would agreeably qualify the noxious air of a room, in which much company should be confined, and which should be so situated that it
could not be conveniently ventilated; so that
from being offensive and unwholsome, it would almost instantly become sweet and wholsome. This air might be brought into the room in casks; or a laboratory might be constructed for generating the air, and throwing it into the room as fast as it could be produced. This pure air would be sufficient for the purpose of many assemblies, and a very little ingenuity would be sufficient to reduce the scheme into pracice.
“From the great strength and vivacity of the flame of a candle in this pure air, it may be conjectured that it might be peculiarly salutary to the lungs in certain morbid cases, when the common air would not be sufficient to carry off the phlogistic putrid effluvium fast enough. But, perhaps, we may also infer from these experiments, that though pure dephlogisticated air might be very useful as a medicine, it might not be so very proper for us in the usual healthy state of the body: for, as a candle burns out much faster in dephlogisticated than in common air, so we might, as may be said, live out too fast, and the animal powers be too soon exhausted in this pure kind of air. A moralist, at least may say, that the air which nature has provided for us is as good as we deserve.
“My reader will not wonder, that, after having ascertained the superior goodness of dephlogisticated air, by mice living in it, and the other tests abovementioned, I should have the curiosity to taste it myself. I have gratified that curiosity by breathing it, drawing it through a glass syphon, and by this means I reduced a large jar full of it to the standard of common air. The feeling of it to my lungs was not sensibly different from that of common air; but I fancied that my breast felt peculiarly light and easy for some time afterwards. Who can tell but that, in time, this pure air may become a fashionable article in luxury Hitherto only two mice and myself have had the privilege of breathing it.”
* Dr. Beddoes in his Medical Pneumatic Institutions, informs us of the cordial effects of orygen gas, and, that “ under a certain administration of this gas, sleep may possibly be dispensed with;” he intends to oppose it to the decays of nature, and he is so much re-invigorated by this grand restorative, that “His morning alertness equals that of a healthy boy.” This sage has improved upon Dr. Priestley's humourous hint, aud certainly excels all other chemists; for if he has not, like Prometheus, brought down celestial fire to animate man, he may claim the merit of a discovery which will, perhaps, prevent dissolution. We may now hope to enjoy terres
trial immortality while old age and death are for ever banished from the “chearful haunts of men.”
The most delicate bloom will adorn the cheeks of our ladies, on inhaling a portion of this cordial ether, and be a great saving in the article of cosmetics, at the same time that its exhilirating influence will operate as a tonic to invigorate the nervous system.
The observations on respiration, and the tise of the blood are ingenious and interesting. The authorhaving quoted the various opinions of anci. entand modern phisiologists,makes the following important conclusion: “That respiration is a true phlogistic process, cannot, I think, admit of a doubt, after it is found that the air which has served for this purpose,is left in precisely the same state as that which has been exposed to any other process. And since all the blood in the body passes through the lungs, and, according to Mr. Hewson's observations and others, the remarkable change between the colour of the
“Might not the general use of this enlivening ether, render our expensive public amusements unnecessay? since its titillating energy excels our farces in the excitement of laughter. Mirth may now be studied as a science; aud by the administration of different quantities of oxygen gas, every gradation of risibility?may be attained, from the gleeful titter of the fine lady, to the obstreperous roar of the coxcomb.
Perhaps the sapient Dr. B. may, by farther experiments, obtain an etherial substance, sufficient to support animal existence without the use of the grosser elements: then, indeed, like the cameleon, we might live on air. Our epicures, however, would probably object to this light diet, and prefer turtle, venison, or even roast-beef to the Doctor's ambrosia.-SATIRIcAt View of LoNDoN,