BERTHOLLET, [Claude Louis, Comte].
Recherches sur les Lois de l’Affinité.
Paris: Baudouin,… An IX .1801
8vo, 2 leaves (half-title and title), 105 pages. Original pink wrappers (spine worn and chipped and upper wrapper almost detached), uncut. Mild foxing on the first and last leaves.
FIRST SEPARATE EDITION, originally appearing in the Mémoires of the Institut National des Sciences et Arts, vol. III (1801). This is a very important and scarce work which marks the starting point of Berthollet’s complete new system of chemistry, later developed in his comprehensive, two volume Essai de Statique Chimique. The present work has as its origins a paper read before the Institute of Egypt in Cairo in the summer of 1799 while Berthollet accompanied Napoleon on his expedition to Egypt. “The work was an attempt to improve Bergman’s determinations of affinities by recognizing the influence of such factors as volatility, solubility and especially the relative quantities of substances present (chemical mass). The reversibility and incompleteness of reactions was recognized and that the conditions of reactions could yield compounds without fixed compositions. The ideas expressed were bolstered by accounts of experiments” (Cole). Cole 130. DSB, II, pp. 73–82. Neville I, p. 140. Partington, III, pp. 496–516 and IV, 576: “The idea of chemical equilibrium and its modification by the action of mass was first clearly stated by Berthollet.”