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venal and arterial blood takes place there, it can hardly be doubted that it is by means of the blood, that the air becomes phlogisticated in passing through the lungs: and, therefore, that one great use of the blood must be to discharge the phlogiston with which the animal system abounds, imbibing it in the course of its circu
lation, and imparting it to the air, with which it is nearly brought into contact in the lungs; the air thus acting as the great menstruumum for purpose.” This opinion the author supports,
and illustrates by a series of curious experiInents.
Such was the candour of Dr. Priestley, that instead of arrogating to himself the exclusive merit of being the founder of a new system of natural philosophy, respecting aeriform fluids, he did not adopt a systematic arrangement, but published his discoveries, hints, and conjectures for the benefit of the lovers of science.
One discovery which he made, however, and which a narrow-minded man would have secured by a patent, deserves to be mentioned, especially as the Doctor, himself, has declared his conviction of its utility. It relates to the impregnation of water with fixed air,” and is
themore interesting, as it contains some memoirs of the author.
“It was a little after midsummer 1767, that I removed from Warrington to Leeds; and living, for the first year, in a house that was contiguous to a large common brewery, so good an opportunity produced in me an inclination to make some experiments on the fixed air, that was constantly produced in it. One of the first things that I did in this brewery, was to place shallow vessels of water within the region of fixed air, on the surface of the fermenting vessels; and having left them all night, I generally found, the next morning, that the water had acquired a very sensible and pleasant impregnation; and, it was with peculiar satisfaction that I first drank of this water, which, I believe, was the first of its kind that had ever been tasted by man.
“Several of my friends who visited me while I lived in that house, will remember my taking them into that brewery, and giving them a glass of this artificial Pyrmont water, made in their presence.
“From 1767 to 1772, I never heard of any
method of impregnating water with fixed air but that above-mentioned.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
“Being at dinner with the Duke of Northumberland, in the spring of the year last mentioned, his Grace produced a bottle of water distilled by Dr. Irving, for the use of the navy. This water was perfectly sweet, but, like all distilled water, wanted the briskness and spirit of fresh spring waters: when it immediately occurred to me, that I could easily mend that water for the use of the navy, and perhaps supply them with an easy and cheap method of preventing or curing the sea scurvy, viz. by impregnating it with fixed air. For, having been busy about a year before, with my experiments on air, in the course of which I had ascertained the proportional quantity of several kinds of air, that given quantities of water could take up, I was at no loss for the method of doing it in general, viz. inverting a jar filled with water, and conveying air into it, from bladders previously filled with air. This scheme I immediately mentioned to the Duke and the company, who all seemed to be much pleased with it, and expressed their wishes that I would at
tend to it, and endeavour to reduce it into practice; which I promised to do.
“A few days after this, having occasion to wait on Sir George Savile, I carried with me a bottle of my impregnated water, and told him the use that might be made of it, viz. that of supplying a pleasant and wholesome beverage for seaman, and such as might probably prevent or cure the sea scurvy. Sir George, with that warmth with which he espouses every thing that he conceives to be for the public” good, insisted upon writing a card immediately to Lord Sandwich, proposing to introduce me to him as having a proposal for the use of the navy. As I could make no objection, the card was accordingly written, and an answer was presently returned by his Lordship informing us, that he would be glad to see us the next day.
“Presently after this I had a notice from the Secretary to the Board of Admiralty, that the College of Physicians were appointed to examine my proposal, and to make their report to the Board, and an early day was fixed for me to wait upon them, at their Hall in WarwickLane; where, before a very full meeting, I produced a bottle of my impregnated water, and also, at their request, fetched my apparatus, and shewed them the manner in which I had impregnated it. There were present several of the most eminent Physicians in London; but both the scheme and the object of it, appeared to be entirely new to every one of them; and most of them seemed to be much pleased with it.
* Sir George Savile died some years ago, and a superb monument, executed by that ingenious Statuary, Mr. Fisher, sen. of York, was placed in the Minster of that city, as a monument of the public spirit and Priwate virtues of the deceased.
“Accordingly, a favourable report was made to the Board of Admiralty, and I was acquainted by the Secretary, that the Captains of the two ships which were just then sailing for the South Seas, had orders to make trial of the impregnated water; and for their use I drew out my directions in writing, and sent a drawing of the necessary apparatus.”
“As I have not to this day, directly or in
* These Directions are reprinted in the second Vol. : Experiments and Observations on Different Kinds of Air.