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J O Η Ν
INSTIT. (ACAD. Sc.) PARIS, SOCIUS.,
MANCHESTER, ETC., ETC.;
H. BAILLIERE, 219, REGENT STREET,
AND 290, BROADWAY, NEW YORK.
In this, as in the previous Volumes, the Society is not to be considered responsible for any statements or reasonings offered.
The life of Dalton has already been written, but chemical literature seemed to demand a more minute history of the atomic theory up to his time, without at all disparaging the valuable history of chemistry by Dr. Kopp, or the work of Dr. Daubeny, which treats principally of the more modern part.
For this and reasons elsewhere mentioned, I have made the distinctive feature of the volume the history of our ideas of matter bearing on modern chemistry, until the time when Dalton flourished. There is a short memoir which breaks off at the fourth chapter, or the time when Dalton first published on atoms, in order to begin the general history, which again leads to Dalton at the eleventh chapter.
Mr. James Woolley was kind enough to lend me all the papers relating to Dalton which he possessed, together with his own MS. memoir, and Mr. Giles, with similar kindness, lent me the memoir which he had written. Dr. Henry's volume also has not been
neglected. Mr. Isaac Dickenson, of Cockermouth, and Mr. Thomas Bewley, of Bassenthwaite, have also furnished me with interesting letters.
It might have been expected that more attention would have been given to Dalton's private life, living, I
am, among so many who knew him, but none with whom I have conversed have given any important information not here embodied. I considered also that Dr. Henry had very fully treated that subject, and that it would be unwise and wanting in respect to go over the same ground exactly, even when the same materials were supplied, I have therefore been minute only in such things as did not appear to me elsewhere treated, or such as seemed the most characteristic according to
The history of Dalton's many scientific inquiries on subjects other than the atomic theory, is given so shortly that it might almost have been left out, did it not give a greater completeness to the memoir, for the use of such as read no other life of the same man. The history of our ideas of matter is one of the most interesting “fairy tales of science,” it is a pity that, like so much else in science and philosophy, it should be so frequently spoiled by dryness. The desire to avoid this has led me to extend further than usual the meaning of the title. The plan of quotation instead of description has been adopted, as the most just as well as the most interesting, if well managed, although one which may gradually be allowed