Baptiste Dumas, Essai de Statique Chimique, 3rd Edition,
In 1842, Jean Baptiste Dumas published a series of lectures
he had presented at the Sorbonne as An Essay on Chemical Statics.
Dumas published the first edition of this book just after Justus
Liebig published his own physiological view of nature in his
influential Animal Chemistry. The two struggled to be the higher
authority in organic chemistry. This quarrel was founded on
a series of priority disputes related to advancing chemistry
as the best science for investigating Nature’s economy.
Both drew heavily on Lavoisier’s work.
In the final lecture of his book, Dumas collaborated with Boussingault
on the topic: “The Balance of Organic Nature.” Here
they described the nature as a chemical laboratory with “the
animal kingdom constituting an immense apparatus of combustion
and the vegetable kingdom and immense apparatus of reduction.”
The “mysterious cycle of organic life on the globe”
worked by vegetables drawing matter from the atmosphere to create
organic substances, these pass into animals when they are eaten,
the plants and animals return these materials to nature’s
grand reserve upon their death and ultimate decay.”