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Chapter 7 Justifying the Chemical Analysis of Plants

1. Charas, The Royal Pharmacopoea; Lémery, Course of Chemistry; Neville, "Christophe Glaser," and "'Pratique de chymie'"; Handford, "Chemistry at the Jardin du Roi," 37, 56. Rohault, Traité de physique, pt. 1, chap. 20, was skeptical of such methods. [BACK]

2. Distinguished scholars of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century chemistry have mapped much of the terrain of chemical activity and thought during this period: Debus, "Sir Thomas Browne," "Solution Analyses," "Fire Analysis," and The English Paracelsians; Multhauf, "Significance of Distillation" and The Origins of Chemistry; Boas, Robert Boyle, and "Quelques aspects"; M. B. Hall, "Humanism"; and Metzger, Les doctrines chimiques en France. But most modern discussions of the Academy's chemical research have relied almost exclusively on the printed sources, while some have condemned without elucidating it: Ornstein, Rôle of Scientific Societies, chap. 5; Partington, History of Chemistry, 3: 12; Bertrand, L'Académie et les académiciens, p. 340; Académie des Sciences, Troisième centenaire, 2: 1; Stubbs, "Chemistry at L'Académie." Chevreul's "Recherche expérimentale" represents the best of early efforts to assess previous hit Dodart's next hit Mémoires des plantes within a seventeenth-century context, and Holmes has perceptively treated the change from distillation to solution analysis, introducing some neglected manuscript sources into the discussion: "Analysis by Fire and by Solvent Extractions" and "Tradition and Invention." [BACK]

3. AdS, Reg., 4: 48r-55v, see 51r: "leurs eaux distillées, leurs esprits tant acres et sulphurez qu'acides et mercuriels, leurs huyles et leurs sels fixes ou volatiles." [BACK]

4. Ibid., 62r-63r. [BACK]

5. Histoire, 1: 121, 167, 252-53; Historia, 88-90: Du Hamel included chemical analysis under the heading "De animalium et plantarum Anatome." The Oxford Clubbe during the 1650s had also "merged the methods and the object of study of the chemist and the anatomist": Davis, Circulation Physiology, 29. [BACK]

6. Davis, Circulation Physiology, 9, 24; Debus, The English Paracelsians, 61, 157, 179-80; see also 95, 129-30, n. 33; 134n. 117. [BACK]

7. Debus, "Fire Analysis," 147; Le Febvre, Compleat Body, 1: 151, 223, 255-56, 257, 262-63; 2: 4-5, 13-14. [BACK]

8. Histoire, 1: 167. [BACK]

9. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 156-58, no. 4. [BACK]

10. Ibid., 158, nos. 5 and 7. [BACK]

11. Antoine de Jussieu made this point in 1738 or 1739 in his assessment of the project: BMHN MS. 2651, draft, 9r-10r. [BACK]

12. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 158-59, no. 8, and 160. [BACK]

13. Mariotte, Végétation, 127. [BACK]

14. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 159, no. 9. [BACK]

15. Debus, The English Paracelsians, 38-39, and "Fire Analysis," 145; Gregory, "Chemistry and Alchemy," 110; Boas, Robert Boyle, 112-13. [BACK]

16. Histoire, 1: 57-58 (1668). [BACK]

17. Mariotte, Végétation, 145-46, 125. [BACK]

18. AdS, Reg., 4: 59v. [BACK]

19. BMHN MS. 1278: 4r. [BACK]

20. AdS, Reg., 14: 123r (1 June 1695). [BACK]

21. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 155, no. 2; 156, no. 3; 158, no. 6; 168-69, no. 1. [BACK]

22. Ibid., 169-76. [BACK]

23. Histoire, 1: 121-22 (1670). [BACK]

24. Le Febvre, Compleat Body, 1: 244-45, and passim. [BACK]

25. Histoire, 1: 122; previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 168. [BACK]

26. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 164-65; AdS, Cartons 1666-1793, 1-3; BN MSS. n. a. fr. 5133-49; BMHN MS. 259; Tournefort, Élémens de botanique, 516, and Histoire des plantes, e xr + v. [BACK]

27. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 164; the retort was called a "cornuë." [BACK]

28. Ibid., 164-65. Hooke found the chemical analyses of the Academy particularly interesting and cited this list in his review of the book in Philosophical Collections, 1: 40. [BACK]

29. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 186-92. Bourdelin stocked the laboratory with "teinture de tornesol, des solutions de sublimé, et de sel de Saturne et de l'eau de vitriol": BN MS. n. a. fr. 5147: 119r, and passim. For his method of preparing the solution of turnsole, see BN MS. n. a. fr. 5149: 7r. On color indicators, see Baker, "History"; Nierenstein, "Early History." [BACK]

30. Glaser, Compleat Chymist, 212-14. [BACK]

31. Ibid., 228-30, 240-45. [BACK]

32. BMHN MS. 259: 8r-v. Tournefort described Bourdelin's equipment and sketched the cucurbit resting in a water bath. Bourdelin's recipients had mouths large enough to permit entry of an arm for cleaning to ensure that distillants were pure. [BACK]

33. AdS, Reg., 8: 2r-7v (23 Jan. 1675); Eklund, Incompleat Chymist, 15, 36. [BACK]

34. previous hit Dodart next hit believed that maceration freed but changed the constituents, and that fermentation reduced the oil in plants, perhaps because essential oils were changed into flammable spirits: previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 176-80; AdS, Cartons 1666-1793, 1, 1: 9-11 (30 Aug. 1672); 3, 9: 11, 20 (June, July 1673); AdS, Reg., 8: 2r-v, 102r, 104r-v, 114r, 190r-v (16 Dec. 1676, 10 Feb., 26 May 1677, 23 Nov. 1678); Eklund, Incompleat Chymist, 25. [BACK]

35. AdS, Reg., 8: 6v. Borelly suggested rectifying distillants four times: ibid., 1r (2 Jan. 1675). [BACK]

36. AdS, Reg., 8: 61r, 77v, 190v-91r, 123v-24v, 222r (2, 23 Jan., 14 Aug. 1675, 4 Mar. 1676; 1677; 23 Nov. 1678; 12 July 1679); 10: 21r, 22r, 27v, 28v-35v, 69v, 74r, 91r, 92r (5, 12 June, 3 July 1680, 11, 25 June 1681, 18 Feb., 11 Mar. 1682); 11: 168r, 169r (6 Apr. 1686); AdS, Cartons 1666-1793, 2, 7: 105 (16 Nov. 1678); 3, 3: 253r-v (4 Mar. 1682); BN MS. 5147: 103v (24 Feb. 1682); Huygens, Oeuvres, 9: 264 (3 Mar. 1688). By 1681 the Academy's three big furnaces downstairs were "bruslés et ruinés entierement" and had to be replaced: BN MS. 5147: 102r-v, 105r, 108v, 118v. [BACK]

37. AdS, Reg., 4: 49r-51r (Duclos); previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 153, 221-24. Academicians also discussed analyzing the marc of a plant and placing flowers in eau de vie in the sun to be "distilled": AdS, Reg., 16: 208v-10r (31 July 1697, La Hire fils). [BACK]

38. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 163. [BACK]

39. AdS, Reg., 4: 61v-62v: "des matieres qui sont fixes & qui ne peuvent estre bruslées"; "les menstrues resolutifs pour en discontinuer la masse et rendre separables les parties constitutives"; "ne s'esleve point"; "embrasement"; "absoluement immobiles an feu." [BACK]

40. Ibid., 4: 127v-33v, 134r-66r, 167r-75r (11, 18, 25 Aug. 1668). [BACK]

41. previous hit Dodart next hit asked whether the solvent might be useful "non pour l'analyse, a laquelle il ne peut servir, mais pour les effets merveilleux attribuez aux estres des plantes": ibid., 8: 4r. On the uselessness of these solvents, even if they could be made previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 146-48, 152; for other evidence of previous hit Dodart's next hit skepticism, see BN MS. fr. 17054: 422r-23v, and BMHN MS. 449: 154r-55v. See also Multhauf, "Medical Chemistry and 'the Paracelsians.'" [BACK]

42. BMHN MS. 1278: 4r: "Ce seroit pourtant un moyen beaucoup meilleur que celuy du feu puisque ce dissolvant n'altere point les choses, qu'il les laisse et qu'il les reduit en leurs principes constitutifs avec conservation de leurs vertus et proprietés specifiques, ce que le feu ne peut faire." Duclos recounted the changes which distillation and its prelude introduced in the plant: ibid., 9r. [BACK]

43. Ibid., 3v-4r. Duclos cited the passage on p. 152 of previous hit Dodart's next hit Mémoires des plantes as a careless dismissal of a technique that merited further consideration, and he mocked previous hit Dodart next hit — "l'auteur du projet qui n'a ni l'usage ni la connoissance ni l'experience de cette sorte d'analyse," i.e., with solvents — as lacking expertise. [BACK]

44. BN MS. fr. 1333: 42v-44r. [BACK]

45. AdS, Reg., 8: 94r-v (26 Aug. 1676); 10: 21r (5 June 1680); 11: 168r. Lémery was not one of the first advocates of wet analysis, or the use of solvents, as has been claimed: Bedel, "Conceptions en chimie biologique," 397-98. [BACK]

46. Classification of plants according to their chemical constituents does not seem to have been a motivation, although previous hit Dodart next hit mentioned that one aim of analyzing animals was to discover differences between genres AdS, Reg., 8: 126v (2 June 1677)], and mineral waters were already classified by their chemical contents: Ulyatt, "Further Studies in the History of Mineral Waters," 1-32; Duclos, Observations, 62-107. That academicians never intended to classify plants chemically, however, is clear from the way Perrault, Duclos, and previous hit Dodart next hit discussed the problem of classifying plants: AdS, Reg., 1: 30-38 (1667); 4: 48r-55r (1668); 8: 173r-78r (1678); previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 241. [BACK]

47. AdS, Reg., 1:36-37 (15 Jan. 1667); Perrault was active in the analysis of plants only briefly, in 1678 and 1679: ibid., 8: 215v-16r, 222r (Apr. 1678 to June 1679, 12 July 1679). On Perrault's corpuscularianism, see "Le pesanteur des corps" in his Oeuvres, 1: 3. On Lémery and Homberg, see Boas, "Acid and Alkali," 26. [BACK]

48. Mariotte, Végétation, pt. 1. [BACK]

49. AdS, Reg., 4: 49r; Histoire, 1: 57 (1668). [BACK]

50. AdS, Reg., 8: 2v: "ce que les plantes sont" and "ce qu'elles peuvent faire"; previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 154. [BACK]

51. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, chap. iv esp. pp. 149-51, 153, 154, 186. [BACK]

52. AdS, Reg., 8: 190v (23 Nov. 1678), AdS, Cartons 1666-1793, 2, 7: 105r (16 Nov. 1678, Bourdelin); Mariotte, Végétation, 146; previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 182. Duclos stressed that the purpose of chemical analysis was "to know what plants are in themselves, and not what they can become," and that only a sound theory assured medical knowledge (BMHN MS. 1278: 9r, 10v-11r), but he doubted the value of distillation for explaining natural compounds: Duclos, Dissertation, 2-3. [BACK]

53. This was the thrust of Homberg's assessment in 1692, although he also thought some facts about the constituents of plants had been established: AdS, Reg., 13: 116r; Histoire, 2: 148. Louis Lémery later believed that only the distillants obtained from plants redeemed Bourdelin's work: Metzger, Les doctrines chimiques en France, 357-58. [BACK]

54. See chap. 13, below, and AdS, Reg., 8: 155r-v (June 1677-Apr. 1678). [BACK]

55. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 150-51, 231-36. [BACK]

56. Le Febvre, Compleat Body, 1: 255-57, believed that only chemistry could explain "why these aliments do nourish and sustain." [BACK]

57. Histoire ... 1707, 187-89; previous hit Dodart next hit brought his sweat to Bourdelin for analysis: AdS, Cartons 1666-1793, 2, 6: 84v-85r (14 Apr. 1677). [BACK]

58. Locke, Correspondence, 2: 464; Roemer gave previous hit Dodart's next hit letter to Locke, but no reply is known. [BACK]

59. AdS, Reg., 8: 126v-27r (2 June 1677). [BACK]

60. This seemed plausible because the distilled fruit produced a lot of carbon that yielded few cinders after distillation: AdS, Reg., 8: 7v (23 Feb. 1674), 175r (18 May 1678). [BACK]

61. Ibid., 1: 203 (12 Mar. 1667); 8: 103r, 124v-26r, 173r-78r, 190r (27 Jan., 2 June 1677, 18 May, 23 Nov. 1678); 10: 71v (Aug. 1680-June 1681). [BACK]

62. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 229. [BACK]

63. Joravsky, The Lysenko Affair, 204-5, shows that the same process was necessary before genetics could develop, and that Mendel's work was ignored by contemporaries who were more interested in the general, philosophical implications of genetics than in the mechanism of change. [BACK]

64. AdS, Reg., 8: 2r-7v (1674, 1675); "Comme il n'y a guere d'apparence que les analyses nous fassent bien voir dans les produicts, ce que les plantes sont, et ce qu'elles peuvent faire, il faut an moins, qu'elles nous fassent voir ce qu'on en peut faire, par quelque voye, que ce soit" (2v). [BACK]

65. previous hit Dodart next hit, Mémoires des plantes, 182. [BACK]

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