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This work of Dr. Fresenius has already gone through two editions in Germany. The abundant opportunities enjoyed by its Author of discovering the wants felt by students in entering upon the practice of chemical analysis, and his position in the School of Giessen, have enabled him to devise a method of study of the highest value. That it has received the approbation of the illustrious HEAD of that school, and the benefit of three years' practical experience under his immediate observation, must powerfully recommend it to the English student of chemistry. Whoever is desirous of obtaining the knowledge necessary to become a practical chemist, will be in no small degree indebted to Dr. Fresenius for the facilities thus afforded him. Every one who knows anything of Giessen, will bear testimony to the rigid economy of time, and the resolute adoption of every improvement in method which characterize that school, and serve to accomplish the many chemists annually flocking there for the completion of their studies. The Author, in his Preface to the First Edition, tells us that he was led to compose this volume upon perceiving that the larger works on chemical analysis, such as H. Rose's, Duflos's, and others, although admirable in themselves, present great difficulties to beginners, which difficulties may be summed up under three heads; 1st, Too great copiousness and detail; 2nd, The absence of explanations of the causes of phenomena, i. e. the theory of the operations and reactions; and 3rd, The omission altogether of many substances of very frequent occurrence, especially in the operations of the pharmaceutist, such as the organic acids, &c.
In avoiding these objections to former works on chemical analysis, Dr. Fresenius, I think, is not chargeable with having fallen into the opposite extreme of being too concise or elementary.
The student may, perhaps, at first be disappointed in taking up this work to find that there are no tables constructed to furnish him at a glance with all he is desirous to know of tests and reactions, and to save him, as he may think, trouble and time. But this has not arisen from oversight; the question of the advantage or disadvantage of tables to the student has been fully considered, and the Author has decided—and the decision is borne out by the highest authorities—that such tables serve no really good purpose ; they rather, on the contrary, supply but very superficial information, and satisfy the student before they have really informed him. The information contained in this work, like every other professing to teach a practical science, requires application and perseverance to attain; but if begun at the beginning, if the student will carefully go over the necessary preliminary facts, the examination of his tests, and the reaction of the simple bodies consecutively, and make himself master of this very simple and elementary part of the course, he will find few or no difficulties when entering upon the more elaborate, and—what might appear, without this preparation-complex and intricate processes of the Second Part, the analysis of compound bodies. It is altogether another question whether the student should or should not exercise himself and his memory by tabulating the results of his experiments as he proceeds; and to this question we reply in the affirmative ; but it must be left to individuals to act in this according to their own judgment, and their own feeling of its necessity.
In the Preface to the Second Edition, Dr. Fresenius tells us that his work has met with much success, having been adopted in the Pharmaceutical Institution of Bonn, &c., as well as in the laboratory of Giessen ; and that he has improved it by many corrections and additions.
For my own part, I may be allowed to observe that the English Edition was undertaken by the express desire of Professor Liebig, who kindly recommended its being intrusted to my care. The Author has supplied me with many corrections, and some additions, and the hope is shared by us in common that it will facilitate the study of analytical chemistry to the English student, and in every way serve to promote the interests of the science.
J. LLOYD BULLOCK.
22, CONDUIT STREET,
October 1, 1843.