ROBERTSON, Henry. A General View of the Natural History of the Atmosphere and of its Connection with Medicine and Agriculture; including an Essay on the Causes of Epide….

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The threat of carbon dioxide identified

ROBERTSON, Henry. A General View of the Natural History of the Atmosphere and of its Connection with Medicine and Agriculture; including an Essay on the Causes of Epidemical Diseases. Edinburgh: Laing et al. 1808.

8vo. 2 vols. Contemporary half brown calf, marbled boards, spines with raised bands and red morocco gilt lettering pieces; pp. xiv + 403, vii + 406; binding a little rubged, near fine. Provenance: inkstamps of the Royal Veterinary College to title pages.
First edition. A truly comprehensive attempt to summarise the science of the atmosphere at a time when many atmospheric gases had only just been defined. Robertson employs a huge range of references to different authorities and in doing so isolates carbonic acid, which breaks down into water and carbon dioxide, as the worst air pollutant, especially in cities. Remembering that this work precedes the heights of the Industrial Revolution, it is important to note how even at this stage carbon dioxide was considered to be a potental danger to the environment.

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