Page:Berzelius Bref 2.djvu/8

La bibliothèque libre.
Sauter à la navigation Sauter à la recherche
Le texte de cette page a été corrigé et est conforme au fac-similé.

1. Davy à Berzelius.
London July 10th 1808.


Be pleased to receive my thanks for the interesting letter1 which you were so good as to address to me and for the very important and curious communication by which it was accompanied.

Some months are passed, since I had effected the decomposition of the earths, but it is only within the last fortnight that I have been able to procure their bases in a pure form.

My first methods were by bringing iron wire negatively electrified in contact with the moistened earths. Fusion takes place, and the point of the wire is found to consist of an alloy of iron and basis. Similar effects are produced when mixtures of metallic oxides and earths are exposed in the Voltaic circuit. The common metals and the metallic bases of the earths appear at the same time in combination at the negative surface. — This process answers best with barytes, strontites, and lime, moistened and mixed with red precipitate, or with minium, or oxide of silver. —

In this way I had obtained alloys and amalgams of the bases of alkaline and the common earths ; but in such small quantities that all attempts to separate them by distillation failed.

Since I have been favoured with your papers, I have, however, made new and more successful attempts, and by combining your ingenious mode of operating with those that I before employed, I have succeeded in obtaining sufficient quantities of amalgams for distillation.

At the red heat the quicksilver rises from the amalgams