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fault, as had been confidently asserted in some of the journals of the day.
« Walls End Colliery, 21st August, 1835.
"I had the pleasure to receive your letter of the 10th instant, on returning here yesterday, after a few days' absence. I shall be happy to contribute any thing and every thing in my power to do justice to the memory of our lamented friend, with respect to his inimitable invention of the safety lamp, and to rescue it from the shade which certain pretenders are endeavouring to throw over it. But all these ephemeral attacks will pass away as a cloud, and the original Davy lamp will maintain its ground, and the memory of its immortal author be revered for ages, •after all those would-be inventors, scientific twaddlers, and nibblers at his fame are forgotten. I endeavoured, as far as I was able, in my last examination in the committee of the House on accidents in coal mines, to do ample justice to the invention of the 'Davy/ and only regret that the important task was not committed to abler hands. I, however, endeavoured to do my best; and when the evidence is published, I hope you will find the facts therein stated useful to your object as well as satisfactory to your feelings, as so near a relation to that able and excellent man, to whom the scientific world is so much indebted, and whose premature loss it has to deplore.
"In the evidence above alluded to, I stated that after nearly twenty years' experience of 'the Davy,' with from 1000 to 1500 in daily use, in all the variety of circumstances incident to coal mining, without a single accident having happened which could be attributed to any defect in its principle, or even in the rules for its practical application, as laid down by Sir Humphry Davy,—I maintained that 'The Davy' approximated perfection as nearly as any instrument of human invention could be expected to do.
"We have ascertained distinctly that the late explosion in this colliery did not happen in that part of the mine where 'the Davys' were used. They were all found in a perfect state after the accident — many of them in the hands of the dead bodies of the
"I am, my dear Sir,
"Very respectfully yours,
"John Buddle. "J. Davy, Esq. M.D."
Till the minutes of the evidence collected by the parliamentary committee be published, this letter of Mr. Buddle's will, I trust, be satisfactory to all practical men. Men of science, I hope, do not require any additional evidence in relation to the safety of the lamp, inasmuch as they well know that in accordance with its principle, it can be constructed to be as perfect a barrier against the most inflammable mixture of oxygen and hydrogen, or of defiant gas and oxygen, as against the most feebly explosive mixture that ever occurred in a colliery.*
* Whilst this sheet was in the press, the Reports from the Select Committee alluded to in the text, together with the minutes of evidence collected hy them, extending to 320 folio pages, have heen put into my hands. I shall give one extract only from the report, partly on account of the acknowledgement contained in it, of the benefits derived from the safety lamp, and partly on account of a misapprehension relative to the principles of the invention.
"Your Committee have endeavoured to investigate with strict impartiality the merits of the different lamps which have been brought under their notice. In the course of the evidence, many varieties will be found described. The invention claimed by the late Sir Humphry Davy, on principles demonstrated by that able philosopher, may be considered as having essentially served the mining interests of this kingdom, and through them contributed largely to the sources of national as well as individual wealth. Many invaluable seams of coal never could have been worked without the aid of such an instrument; and its long use throughout an extensive district, with the comparatively limited number of accidents, proves its claim to be considered, under ordinary circumstances, a safety lamp. The principles of its construction appear to have been practically known to the witnesses, Clanny and Stevenson, previously to the period when Davy brought his powerful mind to bear upon the subject, and produced an instrument which will hand down his name to the latest ages."
That the principles of the construction of the wire-gauze safety lamp were known to Dr. Clanny and Mr. Stevenson, before its invention by my brother, cannot he admitted nor maintained, — nor is it just to insinuate it. The principles of these gentlemen's lamps were totally different; and it is an abuse of language to say they were practically the same, merely because their object was to confine flame, — as must necessarily be the aim of every kind of safety lamp attempted, in which the source of light is flame.
FURTHER CHEMICAL RESEARCHES. LETTERS TO HIS MOTHER. EX
TBAOTS FROM HIS NOTE-BOOKS, PHILOSOPHICAL, RELIGIOUS, AND POLITICAL. REMARKS ON THEM. A SPECIMEN OF HIS PHILOSOPHICAL POETRY.
The preceding researches on fire-damp and flame were brought to a close in the beginning of I8I7. During the following year my brother communicated to the Royal Society two papers,—one "On the Fallacy of Experiments in which Water is said to have been formed by the Decomposition of Chlorine;" the other, "New Experiments on some of the Combinations of Phosphorus." In the first he showed, by simple and decisive experiments, that the error of conclusion relative to the production of water and the decomposition of chlorine arose from overlooking the nature of the vessels used, the impurities present, and the effects of complicated attractions. In the second, he determined many doubtful points relative to the combinations of phosphorus with oxygen and chlorine; and more especially the proportions of phosphorus and oxygen in phosphoric acid. This he was able to do with unusual accuracy by an ingenious contrivance of confining the highly inflammable body in a glass tube with a small orifice, and heating it in a measured quantity of oxygen gas. The phosphorus, by the heat, was converted into vapour, and burnt as a gas in the atmosphere of oxygen, in a regulated gentle manner, insuring its complete combustion; and the oxygen absorbed indicated the exact quantity that enters into the composition of phosphoric acid.
Between the spring of 1815 and of 1818, he made several journeys to the north of England, and into Scotland, partly in connection with his researches relative to fire-damp, but chiefly for the sake of fishing and shooting; and one of these excursions extended as far as the Orkney Islands.
Of the letters which he wrote during this period to his family, there are but few remaining, and they are chiefly confined to family matters, in which he always continued to take a lively interest, and retain all his early feelings. They are invariably kind and affectionate, and sometimes contain sentiments which to a pious and affectionate mother must have been very delightful. Thus in one, dated Kirkwall, Orkney Islands, August 12., after having freely given his opinions on a subject of some anxiety and doubt, he adds, "I trust, my dear mother, that you will not have any anxiety in consequence of my opinions on this subject. It is our duty to make the best we can of this world; and there is a Power far above our comprehension, who may produce good out of what appears for the moment an evil, and who never forsakes those who deserve well."
In only two of these remaining letters does he allude to the safety lamp. Thus in one to my mother, dated Bath, October 27. 1816, evidently in reply to some inquiries, he writes, — " It is true that the colliers are getting made for me a piece of plate. I know not the value of it, nor do I care much; it is not to be less than 1000 guineas. But it is the nature of the present, for saving the lives of my