Had this not been the case he could scarcely have remained a firm believer in the phlogistic doctrine.
At the hands of Stahl and his school, the phlogistic theory, by exhibiting a fundamental similarity between all processes of combustion and by its remarkable flexibility, came to be a general theory of chemical action.
Scheele, although they isolated oxygen, were fogged by the phlogistic tenets; and H.
Lavoisier adequately recognized and acknowledged how much he owed to the researches of others; to himself is due the co-ordination of these researches, and the welding of his results into a doctrine to which the phlogistic theory ultimately succumbed.
The theory advocated by Lavoisier came to displace the phlogistic conception; but at first its acceptance was slow.
Chemical literature was full of the phlogistic modes of expression - oxygen was '" phlogisticated air," nitrogen " dephlogisticated air," &c. - and this tended to retard its promotion.
The phlogistic theory, which pervaded the chemical doctrine of this period, gave rise to continued study of the products of calcination and combustion; it thus happened that the knowledge of oxides and oxidation products was considerably developed.
It thus happened that in the earlier treatises on phlogistic chemistry organic substances were grouped with all combustibles.
The phlogistic theory of the processes of calcination and combustion necessitated the view that many acids, such as those produced by combustion, e.g.
Although it starts from the erroneous basis of the phlogistic theory, it contains much matter of permanent value.
It may be noted here that, while Cavendish adhered to the phlogistic doctrine, he did not hold it with anything like the tenacity that characterized Priestley; thus, in his 1784 paper on "Experiments on Air," he remarks that not only the experiments he is describing, but also "most other phenomena of nature seem explicable as well, or nearly as well," upon the Lavoisierian view as upon the commonly believed principle of phlogiston, and he goes on to give an explanation in terms of the antiphlogistic hypothesis.
He explained and simplified the process of obtaining phosphorus from urine, and made some admirable observations on phosphoric acid; but though he noted the increase in weight that attends the conversion of phosphorus into phosphoric acid he was content to remain an adherent of the phlogistic doctrine.
Lavoisier's name is indissolubly associated with the overthrow of the phlogistic doctrine that had dominated the development of chemistry for over a century, and with the establishment of the foundations upon which the modern science reposes.