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believed himself the sole discoverer of the nature of light, and the theory of the solar system.
Mr. J. Watt and M. Arago may now safely be left to carry on the controversy, whether with the reverend author, or with his able and ingenious, though somewhat over-zealous critic. The subject left in their hands is safe, and the truth is sure to prevail. In these circumstances I am far from feeling any anxiety as to the result, or any desire to anticipate the arguments and the statements which must so soon be brought forward. But as I have been freely and most rashly charged with inaccuracy, with inattention to facts, even with having omitted to read the original papers on which the question turns, and charged, in company with my friends M. Arago and Mr. J. Watt, one of the most careful, laborious, and scrupulously exact of men, I may simply assert, that as regards myself no imputation can well be more groundless; for there is not a single one of the whole papers which I have not repeatedly and sedulously examined, both alone and in company with others who took an interest in the controversy. I might add, that never was a charge made with a worse grace than this by the ingenious, and most careless, and very moderately-informed critic who has mixed in the discussion: for assuredly he has not taken the trouble to read the papers, or to make himself acquainted with the works which every chemist, even every student of chemistry familiarly knows. What shall we say of a writer who undertakes to discuss this question, with no better provision for handling it, than is betokened by his broadly affirming that Mr. Watt himself never preferred the disputed claim, when there exists his own paper of 1784 in the "Philosophical Transactions," referring to and indeed containing his letter of April, 1783? Nay, what shall we again say of the same critic as broadly asserting, that no one ever in Mr. Cavendish's lifetime brought it forward, when Professor Robison in the Encyclopædia, Dr. John Thomson in his celebrated Translation of Fourcroy, Dr. Thomas Thomson, and Mr. Murray, each in their “Elements of Chemistry," and Mr. W. Nicholson, in both his Dictionary," and his other works, all state Mr. Watt's claim in the very words in which M. Arago and myself now have urged it, nay, Sir C. Blagden in his letter to Crell, and all long and long before Mr. Cavendish's death,* to say nothing of others, as Dr. Thomson, in his "History of the Royal Society," published since? As for Mr. Vernon Harcourt's appealing boldly to Dr. Henry's authority, and preserving a profound silence when I quoted his letter, expressly negativing that confident statement, I say nothing; because it is a matter not easily handled, consistently with the respect and esteem in which I have ever held my reverend friend.
* Professor Robison in 1795; the Translation of Fourcroy earlier.