SIR HUMPHRY DAVY
NOTES THE DANGERS OF MERCURY POISONING IN CONTROLLING BOOK WORM INFESTATIONS AND HIS ATTEMPT AT FLY-FISHING
DAVY, SIR HUMPHRY. (1778-1829). British chemist, best known for his experiments in electrochemistry and for his invention of the miner’s safety lamp. Good Autograph Letter Signed, “H. Davy”. Four pages, octavo. “Monday”. Fine condition. To “My dear Lord [Holland]”. Davy writes:
“I think your Lordship is quite right in suspending the experiment. For the vapor of mercury has unquestionably produced very serious effects on the constitution, and …that which with [produces] a vapor still have active and an extensive application of it (i.e. an application of a large surface), I should not like to live in such a room, though certainly rather at Holland House than anywhere else. Nor would I willingly lead [leave, sic] any book steeped or washed with such a solution unless it was a good novel or a poem that could be easily dispatched.
I have been able to present the stages of … my article … in which weak solutions of … but I am ignorant of the natural history of the bookworm. I wish however to soon find it out and I should think many specific metallic poisons not evaporative may be found for it. And as solutions of lead and baryts[?].
I regret very much that I cannot have the honor of dining with your Lordship and Lady Holland on Friday. Lady Davy has written to Lady Holland this day. I should have called at Holland house long ago and often, but I have been tried with experiments which have occupied my time entirely except for a few days when I vainly tried fly fishing. I have the honor to be my dear lord very sincerely your lordship’s obedient and humble servant, H Davy.”
Davy is considered one of the great scientific minds of the 19th century, and when a letter deals in two of the areas for which he is still noted, science experimentation and fly-fishing, the letter is a ‘must have’ for any serious collector of scientific material, or fly-fishing!! Very fine condition.