Blagden, Charles, Sir, 1748-1820Alternative names
Sir Charles Blagden (1748-1820), was a physician and secretary of the Royal Society. In 1772, he was elected a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1776 he became a surgeon in the army and served on a hospital ship during the American Revolutionary War. In 1784 he was elected one of the secretaries of the Royal Society, a post he held till 1797. He died, unmarried and childless, of apoplexy in 1788.
From the description of [Diaries], 1776-1788. (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702177654
Sir Charles Blagden (1748-1820) received his M.D. in 1768 from the University of Edinburgh. After serving in the British Army as a medical officer, Blagden became a scientific assistant to Henry Cavendish. He was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1772, and was named a secretary of that group in 1784. Blagden's own scientific research included work on the freezing points of solutions.
From the description of Sir Charles Blagden papers, 1616-1861 (bulk 1770-1800). (Unknown). WorldCat record id: 702147287
Sir Charles Blagden was born in Gloucestershire, England in 1748. He received his M.D. from the University of Edinburgh in 1768. He was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1772, where he met and became friends with Joseph Banks. After serving as a surgeon in the British Army during the American revolution, Blagden returned to London, where by early 1783 he had become an assistant to the eccentric scientist Henry Cavendish. Blagden assisted Cavendish until 1789, and Cavendish provided him with a life annuity; he later bequeathed Blagden 15,000 pounds.
Blagden was elected one of the secretaries of the Royal Society in 1784, and remained loyal to its president Joseph Banks throughout the many controversies of the following decade. He visited continental Europe annually until the French Revolution and was elected a corresponding member of the Académie des Sciences in 1789; his friends included Antoine Lavoisier, Georges Cuvier, and Claude Louis Berthollet.
Blagden was involved in the "water controversy" that began in 1783. This was a dispute among Lavoisier, Cavendish, and James Watt over who was the first to discover that water is a compound; as Cavendish's assistant and secretary of the Royal Society, Blagden played a central role in the still-unsettled contest. The most important of Blagden's own discoveries was published in 1788. His demonstration that the freezing point of a solution decreases in direct proportion to the concentration of the solution is known as "Blagden's law."
Although Blagden courted Lavoisier's widow and Count Rumsford's daughter, among others, he remained unmarried. He died of apoplexy at the home of his friend Berthollet, near Paris, in March of 1820, and was buried in the cemetery of Père Lachaise.
From the guide to the Sir Charles Blagden papers, 1616-1861, 1770-1800, (Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library)
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