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il résulte que l'eau engendrée par la détonation d'un mélange d'oxygène et d'hydrogène, a un poids exactement égal à celui des deux gaz brûlés. Cavendish, quelque tems après, réclame ce résultat pour lui-même, et insinue qu'il l'avait communiqué verbalement au chimiste de Birmingham.
Cavendish tire de cette égalité des poids, la conséquence que l'eau n'est pas un corps simple. D'abord, il ne fait aucune mention d'un mémoire déposé aux archives de la Société Royale et dans lequel Watt développait la même théorie. Il est vrai qu'au jour de l'impression le nom de Watt n'est pas oublié; mais ce n'est pas aux archives qu'on a pu voir le travail du célèbre ingénieur : on déclare en avoir eu connaissance par une lecture récente, faite en séance publique. Aujourd'hui, cependant, il est parfaitement constaté que cette lecture a suivie plusieurs mois, celle du mémoire où Cavendish en parle.'
If this statement was correct, which we have elsewhere shown to be altogether erroneous, it would be to Dr. Priestley, and not to Mr. Cavendish or Mr. Watt, that we should be compelled, in strict justice, to ascribe the credit of this discovery; but it is sufficiently manifest, both from the admissions of M. Arago and the whole course of the transactions, that the grand result of the experiment of the production of pure water equal in weight to that of the two gases consumed, was already perfectly well known to chemists in England, whoever was the person by whom it was first ascertained; and further, that it was publicly referred to, as a notorious fact, in a minute read by the Secretary of the Royal Society of London almost on the very day on which it was cominunicated by Dr. Blagden to Lavoisier at Paris. Dr. Blagden would therefore have been equally wanting both to the interests of truth and of his patron and friend Mr. Cavendish, if he had failed to state to M. Lavoisier the whole result of the experiment; if he had simply told him, that some water only was produced by the combustion of the gases, omitting the most essential fact that its weight was exactly equal to that of the gases, or that the whole of the gases consumed were converted into pure water, he would have understated the claim of his countryman, and would have opposed the very interests which it was his object and his duty to protect. There is, therefore, the strongest probability in support of Dr. Blagden's statement; and it should be remembered that, though it deeply affected Lavoisier's veracity (and this was not the only instance in which that was similarly impugned), it was never contradicted.
There are several other inaccuracies in the preceding statement, some of which we have already noticed: Dr. Blagden was not at that time Secretary of the Royal Society; Mr. Watt's paper was not deposited in the archives—it was accessible neither to Mr. Cavendish nor to Dr. Blagden,-and its existence was probably altogether unknown to them; the public reading of Mr. Watt's paper
was subsequent to that of Mr. Cavendish, but preceded its publication by several months, so as to admit of a reference to the theory which it contained.
We will not attempt to scrutinize the remaining observations of M. Arago, which have reference to this subject; for though they are equally inaccurate with those which precede them, and profuse in charges against Mr. Cavendish, Dr. Blagden, and even the printers and compositors of the Philosophical Transactions,' as all equally involved in a conspiracy to deprive Mr. Watt as well as Lavoisier of their fair rights, they are really altogether foreign to the great points which are at issue.*
There is one department of evidence, of the most important kind, to which M. Arago has not alluded, which is the decision of contemporary chemists and philosophers, who were living witnesses of the progress of these researches. It is quite true that M. Arago has referred to a letter of M. de Luc, who had seen a copy of Mr. Cavendish's paper in its original form, in which he made no reference to Mr. Watt's theory, and of whose existence he was probably, at that time, altogether ignorant. Mr. Watt was stimulated, by the appeal thus made to him, to take the necessary steps for the public reading and immediate publication of his paper, and it appeared accordingly in the same volume of the · Philosophical Transactions' with that of Mr. Cavendish. We may safely conclude that upon a question of such importance, which concerned so nearly the scientific credit of two of the greatest men of the age, every circumstance connected with it would be thoroughly canvassed and understood. And what was the result? The assertions contained in Mr. Cavendish's paper respecting the dates of his experiments, and the extent to which they were communicated to other parties, remained uncontradicted at a period when an erroneous statement, publicly made, could not have failed to be noticed; and he was universally regarded, and has continued to be regarded, as the sole author of this great discovery; it was only in later times that attempts have been made to upset this unanimous decision in his favour, when there are no living witnesses to the impressions which prevailed amongst his contemporaries.
• Lord Brougham,' says M. Arago in a note at the conclusion of that portion of his Eloge of Mr. Watt which refers to this controversy, • assistait à la séance publique où je payai, au nom de l'Académie des
* The separate copies of Mr. Cavendish's paper, which were designed for distribution, were dated 1783 instead of 1784: as soon as the error was discovered, Mr. Cavendish wrote to the editor of one of the principal foreign journals to correct it; this is put forward as a serious charge by M. Arago.
Sciences, ce tribut de reconnaissance et d'admiration à la mémoire de Watt.
De retour en Angleterre, il recueillit de précieux documens et étudia de nouveau la question historique à laquelle je viens de donner tant de place, avec la supériorité de vues qui lui est familière, avec le scrupule, en quelque sorte judiciaire, qu'on pouvait attendre de l'ancien Lord Chancelier de la Grande-Bretagne. Je dois à une bienveillance dont je sens tout le prix, de pouvoir offrir au public le fruit encore inédit du travail de mon illustre confrère.'
Our readers might possibly expect that this careful study of the historical question, and this scrupulous and judicial examination of the documents connected with it, would have led to the detection in the first instance, and the friendly correction afterwards, of some at least of the numerous errors of fact and inference which we have considered it our duty to expose, Such, however, is not the course which Lord Brougham adopts; he examines no documents, he corrects no errors—but thinks it sufficient to give the sanction of his name to a statement drawn up by Mr. James Watt, the son of the great engineer, which is not perfectly correct in the general outline of its facts, and is singularly partial and unjust in the conclusions which it deduces from them. Lord Brougham seemed to have forgotten that much might be pardonable in the fondness of a son which would be highly reprehensible in one exercising the function of a judge.
The singularly elaborate analysis of this question which has been given by Mr. Harcourt, and the new and decisive documents by which it was accompanied, would appear to have offered his lordship a graceful opportunity of retiring from a position which he should have felt to be untenable. But let us hear Lord Brougham :
Since M. Arago's learned Eloge was published, the Rev. W. Vernon Harcourt has entered into controversy with us both, or I should rather say with M. Arago, for he has kindly spared me; and while I express my obligations for this courtesy of my reverend, learned, and valued friend, I must express my unqualified admiration of his boldness in singling out for his antagonist my illustrious colleague, rather than the far weaker combatant against whom he might so much more safely have done battle. Whatever might have been his fate had he taken the more prudent course, I must fairly say (even without waiting until my fellowchampion seal our adversary's doom) that I have seldom seen any two parties more unequally matched, or any disputation in which the victory was so complete. The attack on M. Arago might have passed well enough at a popular meeting at Birmingham, before which it was spoken; but as a scientific inquirer, it would be flattery, running the risk of seeming to be ironical, to weigh the reverend author against the most eminent philosopher of the day, although upon a question of evi
dence dence (which this really is, as well as a scientific discussion) I might be content to succumb before him.'-Lives, 8c., p. 400.
We trust that the time is past when a mere sarcasm, by whomsoever uttered, can suppress the claims of truth and justice, which Mr. Harcourt has advocated with most exemplary temperance. We feel assured that Mr. Harcourt is the last person who would seek to put his claims as a writer and a man of science in the same rank with those of M. Arago, though there are very few amongst the most distinguished of our countrymen whom, in either capacity, we should pronounce to be his superiors; and it is only when M. Arago foregoes the high position which the scientific world has assigned to him, and consents, from an unhappy ambition, to put forward views on subjects connected with scientific history which may startle by their novelty or singularity, or gratify a feeling of national vanity, which is sometimes too watchful and too jealous to be always reasonable and just, that it becomes a public and imperative duty to withstand him. We quite agree with Lord Brougham that rarely were two parties more unequally matched, as far as this controversy is concerned, than Mr. Harcourt and M. Arago; but we should venture to reverse the position which he has assigned to the combatants, as we believe there are few men of science who will doubt with whom is the issue of the contest; and we should do little justice to the manliness and candour of M. Arago, if we considered him incapable of acquiescing in a conclusion, though opposed to his own, which he finds to be supported by arguments and by documents so powerful and so convincing as those which Lord Brougham ventures to toss aside with a sneer.
Art. 7.—Lettres, Instructions, et Mémoires de Marie Stuart,
Reine d'Ecosse ; publiés sur les originaux et les manuscrits du State Paper Office de Londres, et des principales archives et bibliothèques de l'Europe, et accompagnés d'un résumé chronologique par le Prince Alexandre Labanoff. 7 vols. 8vo. Londres,
1844. T ET it no longer be said that the age of chivalry has passed. u We have here a Russian nobleman of high birth, who served with distinction in the campaigns of 1812, 1813, and 1814, attaining the rank of Major-General and of Aide-de-camp to the Emperor Alexander. But since the peace with his country's enemies he has, like a true knight-errant, sallied forth on adventures of his own. According to the best precedents of the Round
Table, Table, he has selected a princess whom he has never seen for the lady of his love; he has devoted himself to her service for many years and travelled in her cause from land to land ; until now, when armed with documents as with a shield of proof, he is prepared to maintain her peerless innocence, and to strive in champ clos against all gainsayers !
Seriously speaking, however, we think Prince Alexander Labanoff entitled to our warm thanks and hearty praise for the care, the application, and the skill with which he has elucidated the history of Mary Queen of Scots. For a long period he has spared neither expense nor exertion in the discovery of her MS. correspondence. The archives of the House of Medici at Florence, and the Imperial collection at St. Petersburg, the Bibliothèque Royale at Paris, the State Paper Office in London, and a great number of private collections both in this country and on the Continent, each examined not through agents, but by his own personal research, have all yielded materials to his meritorious and never-wearied industry. The result is, that to the 300 letters of Queen Mary which were already in print, though scattered through various compilations, he has added no less than 400 hitherto unpublished, and all these, old and new, with several from other persons relating to her history, he has edited together in seven volumes, appending a chronological summary and suitable notes-so long that they sufficiently explain, so brief that they never encumber, the text.
It could scarcely, perhaps, be expected that all this zeal and research should be unattended with some degree of enthusiasm in behalf of its object. Prince Labanoff believes that Queen Mary was entirely innocent of the heavy charges which were brought against her. This opinion, though never argued at length nor obtruded in any of the notes, is implied in several, and a separate Essay in proof of it is promised us before the close of the present year. We shall read that Essay whenever it appears with all the aitention which the character and attainments of the writer deserve, though not without being on our guard against his prepossessions. Meanwhile we must declare that while several things in this collection confirm, there is nothing to shake or alter the view which we have formerly maintained on this much debated subject.* We still hold that via media which, as we think, combines in its support all the principal arguments from both extreme parties, that Mary was innocent of any participation in, or knowledge of, her husband's murder; but, both before and after it, was swayed by a guilty passion for Bothwell.