HALES, Rev. Stephen.

La Statique des Vegetaux, et l’analyse de l’air. Experiences nouvelles lûes à la Société Royale de Londres. Ouvrage traduit de l’Anglois, par M. De Buffon…

A Paris: Chez Debure l’aîné,… .1735

4to, pp. xviii, (vi), 1 leaf (errata), pp. 408, (2) privilege, and 20 numbered plates by Maisonneuve on 10 sheets. Contemporary mottled calf, spine gilt in compartments with red morocco label, marbled endpapers. Paper very slightly browned, old library stamp on title with a small piece of paper pasted over it, tiny chip in foot of spine, generally a very nice copy.

FIRST EDITION IN FRENCH of Hales’ founding work on plant physiology, translated by Buffon, and published as a handsome quarto volume, “an influential French translation which has the famous ‘Préface du traducteur’, in which Buffon praises the experimental method, and includes Hales’ appendix of 1733” (DSB). It was Buffon’s first literary production. Hales studied the movement of sap in plants, and discovered what is now known as root pressure. He studied the amounts of water that plants used, and the influence of light and air on them. In that respect he discovered that plants take carbon dioxide from the air as an essential nutrient. “His work was so great an advance that it stands alone in its time, and deserves close attention” (Morton, History of Botanical Science, pp. 246–254). Hales’ work on the analysis of the air led to his invention of artificial ventilation, and facilitated the work and discoveries of Black, Lavoisier, and Priestley. See Printing and the Mind of Man 189(a); Dibner 26; Horblit 45a; and Parkinson, Breakthroughs, 1727. Foster, Lectures on the history of physiology, pp. 231–232. Cole 585. Neville I, p. 579. This copy has a cancel title with the imprint of Debure l’aîné.


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