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Source global Wall Street Journal     time 2022-12-17 14:59:32
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In the year following Taylor’s death the academy moved from the house by Mersey’s gentle current,” then, we are told, an uncontaminated stream noted for its salmon, to the new Academy, which is described as a brick building in a quiet and secluded court, with stone copings and a clock and bell turret in the centre, of no great architectural beauty, but not unpleasing with its quaint, old-world look. This, too, was celebrated in verse by Mrs Barbauld:

From Mr Lindsey’s house Priestley sent the following letter to the Birmingham Chronicle:—

This catholicity is reflected in almost every circumstance of his daily life.

The remaining papers call for little comment. In the course of some further inquiries Priestley discovered sulphuretted hydrogen, termed by him sulphurated inflammable air, and which he prepared by the action of oil of vitriol upon ferrous sulphide. This gas must of course have been frequently obtained or perceived by him, and possibly by others, as it is produced by a number of processes. Its characteristic smell was associated with sulphur: it was thought to be nothing but inflammable air modified or polluted by the accidental presence of sulphur. It cannot be held that Priestley drew the same sharp distinctions between the various kinds of inflammable air that we draw to-day. To us they are essentially different substances. Priestley, however, regarded them as in the main phlogiston combined or associated with other substances which affected the character of their flames or gave them different properties. In his opinion they were essentially the same. This fact serves to explain what is otherwise incomprehensible, and accounts for many of his mistakes.

Though this experiment failed,” he says, I have been so happy as by accident to have hit upon a method of restoring air which has been injured by the burning of candles, and to 178 have discovered at least one of the restoratives which Nature employs for this purpose. It is vegetation. This restoration of vitiated air, I conjecture, is effected by plants imbibing the phlogistic matter with which it is overloaded by the burning of inflammable bodies. But whether there be any foundation for this conjecture or not, the fact is, I think, indisputable.”


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