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be, the importance and singularity of the subjects, or the advantageous manner of treating them; without pretending to answer for the certainty of the facts, or propriety of the reasonings, contained in the several papers so published, which must still rest on the credit or judgment of their respective authors.
It is likewise necessary on this occasion to remark, that it is an established rule of the Society, to which they will always adhere, never to give their opinion, as a Body, upon any subject, either of Nature or Art, that comes before them. And therefore the thanks which are frequently proposed from the Chair, to be given to the authors of such papers as are read at their accustomed meetings, or to the persons through whose hands they receive them, are to be considered in no other light than as a matter of civility, in return for the respect shewn to the Society hy those communications. The like also is to be said with regard to the several projects, inventions, and curiosities of various kinds, which are often exhibited to the Society; the authors whereof, or those who exhibit them, frequently take the liberty, to report, and even to certify in the public news, papers, that they have met with the highest applause and approbation. And therefore it is hoped, that no regard will hereafter be paid to such reports and public notices; which in some instances have been too lightly credited, to the dishonour of the Society.
1. On a new
a new detonating Compound, in a Letter from Sir HUMPHRY
Banks, Bart. K. B. P.R.S.
II. On a remarkable Application of Cotes's Theorem. By J. F.W.
Herschel, Esq. Communicated by W. Herschel, LL. D.
III. Observation of the Summer Solstice, 1812, at the Royal Ob-
IV. Observations relative to the near and distant Sight of different
Persons. By James Ware, Esq. F. R. S.
V. The Bakerian Lecture. On the elementary Particles of certain
Crystals. By William Hyde Wollaston, M. D. Sec. R. S.
VI. On a Substance from the Elm Tree, called Ulmin. By James
VII. On a Method of Freezing at a distance. By William Hyde
VIII. A Catalogue of North Polar Distances of some of the prin-
cipal fixed Stars. By John Pond, Esq. Astronomer Royal,
IX. A Description of the solvent Glands and Gizzards of the
Ardea Argala, the Casuarius Emu, and the long-legged Caso-
wary from New South Wales. By Sir Everard Home, Bart.
X. Additional Remarks on the State in which Alcohol erists in
XI. On a new Variety in the Breeds of Sheep. By Colonel David
Humphreys, F. R. S. In a Letter to the Right Hon. Sir
Joseph Banks, Bart. K. B. P. R. S.
XII. Experiments to ascertain the coagulating Power of the
Secretion of the gastric Glands. By Sir Everard Home, Bart.
F.R.S. Communicated by the Society for promoting the Know-
XIII. On some Properties of Light. By David Brewster, LL.D.
F. R. S. Edin. In a Letter to Sir H. Davy, LL. D. F. R. S.
XIV. An Appendix to Mr. Ware's Paper on Vision. By Sir
XV. A Method of drawing extremely fine Wires. By William
Hyde Wollaston, M. D. Sec. R. S.
XVI. Description of a single-lens Micrometer. By William Hyde
XVII. Observation of the Winter Solstice of 1812, with the Mural
Circle at Greenwich. By John Pond, Esq. Astronomer Royal,
XVIII. On the Tusks of the Narwhale. By Sir Everard Home,
Meteorological Journal kept at the Apartments of the Royal Society,
I. On a new detonating Compound, in a Letter from Sir HUMPHRY
Davy, LL.D. F.R.S. to the Right Honourable Sir JOSEPH BANKS, Bart. K. B. P.R.S.
Read November 5, 1812.
My Dear Sir, I think
THINK it right to communicate to you, and through you to the Royal Society, such circumstances as have come to my knowledge respecting a new and a very extraordinary detonating compound. I am anxious that those circumstances should be made public as speedily as possible, because experiments upon the substance may be connected with very
dan. gerous results; and because I have already mentioned the mode of preparing it to many of my chemical friends, to whom
, my experience may be useful in saving them from danger.
About the end of September, I received a letter from a phi· losophical gentleman at Paris on some subjects of science, which contained the following paragraph:
“ Vous avez sans doute appris, Monsieur, la découverte qu'on a faite à Paris il y a près d'un an, d'une combinaison de gaz azote et de chlorine, qui a l'apparence d'une huile plus MDCCCXIII.
pesante que l'eau, et qui détonne avec toute la violence des métaux fulminans à la simple chaleur de la main, ce qui a privé d'un oeil et d'un doigt l'auteur de cette découverte. Cette détonnation a lieu par la simple separation des deux gaz, comme celle de la combinaison d'oxigène et de chlorine ; il y
; a également beaucoup de lumière et de la chaleur produites dans cette détonnation, où un liquide se decompose en deux gaz."
The letter contained no account of the mode of preparation of this substance, nor any other details respecting it.
So curious and important a result could not fail to interest me, particularly as I have long been engaged in experiments on the action of azote and chlorine, without gaining any decided proofs of their power of combining with each other. I perused with avidity the different French chemical and physical journals, especially Les Annales de Chimie, and Le Journal de Physique, of which the complete series of last year have arrived in this country, in hopes of discovering some detail respecting the preparation of this substance, but in vain. I was unable to find any thing relative to it in these publications, or in the Moniteur.
It was evident from the notice, that it could not be formed in any operations in which heat is concerned; I therefore thought of attempting to combine azote and chlorine under circumstances which I had never tried before, that of presenting them to each other artificially cooled, the azote being in a nascent state. For this purpose I made a solution of ammonia, cooled it by a mixture of ice and muriate of lime, and slowly passed into it chlorine, cooled by the same means. There was immediately a violent action, accompanied by fumes of a pecu