of December my third Bakerian lecture to the Royal Society, in which I have given an account of various experiments which seem to me to prove the decomposition and composition of nitrogen, the boracic and the fluoric acids, and the decomposition of sulphur and phosphorus, which last I regard as triple compound of small quantities of oxygene and hydrogene with bases as yet unknown.
The decomposition of boracic acid and fluoric acid has given to me two new inflammable solids ; which are possessed of some curious properties8.
From nitrogene I have obtained a large quantity of oxygene ; but as yet I have not been able to conclude concerning its basis. It seems resolved into nothing but oxygene and hydrogene ; either some minute quantity of matter has escaped my research, or water and ammonia consist of the same kind of elementary matter ; and consequently oxygene, hydrogene, and nitrogene may be different modifications of the same substance under different electrical states, or in different states of combination with imponderable matter.
I hope in a few days to be able to transmit to you my papers, which are nearly printed. You will find that I long resisted many of the extraordinary conclusions which I have been obliged at last from the multiplicity of facts to adopt. —
I have worked much upon the muriatic acid. In its common gaseous form it contains more than ⅛ of its weight of water. It may be procured dry in combination with phosphorous, phosphoric, and sulphuric acids, and phosphorus and sulphur.
In these compounds it is a nonconductor of electricity, does not redden vegetable blues ; but detonates violently with potassium — whether it is decomposed in the process I have not yet been able to determine.
The diamond I regard as an oxide of the pure carbonaceous element.
I heated the small quantity of cerium9 you had the