Blagden, Charles, Sir, 1748-1820

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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)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn Pinkerton, John, 1758-1826. John Pinkerton letters, 1775 Dec 14-1815 Jan 31. Yale University, Lewis Walpole Library
creatorOf Banks, Joseph, 1743-1820. Correspondence [manuscript]. Libraries Australia
creatorOf Banks, Joseph, 1743-1820. Papers : letters from Sir Charles Blagden 1818-1819. Duke University Libraries, Duke University Library; Perkins Library
referencedIn Rumford, Benjamin, Graf von, 1753-1814. Letters, 1793-1804, to Lady Palmerston. Dartmouth College Library
creatorOf Blagden, Charles, Sir, 1748-1820. 97 ALS and 1 AL to Henry Temple, 2nd viscount Palmerston and Mary (Mee) Temple, viscountess Palmerston; various locations, 1788 Jul 9 - 1804 Nov 7. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Monroe, James, 1758-1831. Personal letters : of James Monroe, 1800-1831, n.d. James Monroe Museum & Memorial Library
referencedIn Alexander von Humboldt miscellaneous correspondence, 1789-1859, 1789-1859 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Biot, Jean-Baptiste, 1774-1862. Letters. Smithsonian Institution. Libraries
creatorOf Blagden, Charles, Sir, 1748-1820. [Letter] 1811 Oct. 1, Cheltenham [to] Countess Rumford, London / C. Blagden. Dartmouth College Library
creatorOf Sir Charles Blagden papers, 1616-1861, 1770-1800 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Blagden, Charles, Sir, 1748-1820. Sir Charles Blagden papers, 1616-1861 (bulk 1770-1800). Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Voyage en Angleterre, 1785 April 3-May 27, 1785 April 3 - 1785 May 27 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn French, Sidney J. (Sidney James), 1894-. Letter, 1948 March 15, Hamilton, N.Y., to Sanborn C. Brown, Cambridge, Mass. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Royal Society (Great Britain). Letters and communications from Americans, 1662-1900. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Sir Joseph Banks papers, 1763-1830 Yale University. Department of Manuscripts and Archives
creatorOf Blagden, Charles, Sir, 1748-1820. [Diaries], 1776-1788. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Rumford, Benjamin, Graf von, 1753-1814. Family papers, 1747-1852. New Hampshire Historical Society Library
referencedIn Astle correspondence, 1757-1803 Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Milman, Francis, Sir, 1746-1821. Letter, 1777, June 28 : to Dr. Odier, Geneva. Duke University, Medical Center Library & Archives
referencedIn Malesherbes, Chrétien Guillaume de Lamoignon de, 1721-1794. Voyage en Angleterre, 1785 April 3-May 27. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Astle, Thomas, 1735-1803. Astle correspondence, 1757-1803. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Banks, Joseph, 1743-1820. Sir Joseph Banks papers, 1763-1830 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Humboldt, Alexander von, 1769-1859. Miscellaneous correspondence, 1789-1859. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn American Philosophical Society Archives. Record Group IIa, 1743-1806 American Philosophical Society
referencedIn Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820. Sir Joseph Banks papers, 1763-1830 (inclusive). Yale University Library
referencedIn Montagu family papers, 1739-1920. Houghton Library.
referencedIn Royal Society (Great Britain) letters and communications from Americans, 1662-1900, 1662-1900 American Philosophical Society
creatorOf Blagden, Charles, Sir, 1748-1820. Autograph letter initialled from Sir Charles Blagden to Mrs. M. Montagu, Cumberland Place [manuscript], 18th or 19th century May 23 Tuesday. Folger Shakespeare Library
referencedIn Donald Hyde and Mary Hyde Eccles Autograph Collection, 1505-1957 (inclusive), 1702-1854 (bulk). Houghton Library.
creatorOf Blagden, Charles, Sir, 1748-1820. Letters from Sir Charles Blagden to Sir Joseph Banks, 1776-1780. New York Public Library System, NYPL
creatorOf Blagden, Charles, Sir, 1748-1820. [Letterbook], 1783 Aug 12 - 1787 May 16. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
creatorOf Blagden, Charles, Sir, 1748-1820. Letter, 1816 Oct. 3, Paris, to Countess Sarah Rumford, London. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Boswell's Life of Johnson : including Boswell's Journal of a tour to the Hebrides and Johnson's Diary of a journey into North Wales, edited by George Birkbeck Hill, extra-illustrated, 1464-1897 (inclusive), 1724-1874 (bulk). Houghton Library.
referencedIn Rumford, Benjamin, Graf von, 1753-1814. Letter, 1802 March 16, Brompton, to a noblewoman, Paris. Dartmouth College Library
referencedIn Anderson, Mrs.,. Autograph letter signed from Mrs. Anderson, 13 South Audley Street, to Mrs. Garrick, Adelphi Terrace [manuscript], 18th or 19th century Tuesday evening. Folger Shakespeare Library
creatorOf Letters from Sir Charles Blagden to Sir Joseph Banks, 1776-1780 New York Public Library. Manuscripts and Archives Division
referencedIn Astle, Thomas, 1735-1803. Astle correspondence, 1757-1803. Yale University, Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library
referencedIn Royal Society (Great Britain). Letters and communications from Americans, 1662-1900. American Philosophical Society Library
referencedIn Album materials, 1777-1925 American Philosophical Society
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith American Philosophical Society. corporateBody
associatedWith Anderson, Mrs., person
associatedWith Astle, Thomas, 1735-1803. person
associatedWith Banks, Joseph, Sir, 1743-1820. person
associatedWith Berthollet, Claude-Louis, 1748-1822. person
associatedWith Biot, Jean-Baptiste, 1774-1862. person
associatedWith Blanchard, Jean-Pierre, 1753-1809. person
correspondedWith Boswell, James, 1740-1795 person
associatedWith Darwin, Erasmus, 1731-1802. person
associatedWith French, Sidney J. (Sidney James), 1894- person
associatedWith Garrick, Eva Maria, 1724-1822 person
associatedWith Great Britain. Army corporateBody
associatedWith Hale, John Blagden. person
associatedWith Hale, John Blagden. person
associatedWith Hale, Richard Blagden. person
associatedWith Hale, Richard Blagden. person
associatedWith Herschel, William, Sir, 1738-1822. person
associatedWith Humboldt, Alexander von, 1769-1859. person
associatedWith Jordan, Dorothy, 1761-1816 person
associatedWith Lavoisier, Antoine Laurent, 1743-1794. person
associatedWith Malesherbes, Chrétien Guillaume de Lamoignon de, 1721-1794. person
associatedWith Milman, Francis, Sir, 1746-1821. person
associatedWith Monroe, James, 1758-1831. person
correspondedWith Montagu, Elizabeth, d. 1817 person
correspondedWith Montagu family. family
associatedWith Napoleon I, Emperor of the French, 1769-1821. person
associatedWith Palmerston, Henry Temple, 2nd Viscount, 1739-1802. person
associatedWith Palmerston, Mary (Mee) Temple, Viscountess, 1754-1805. person
associatedWith Pinkerton, John, 1758-1826. person
associatedWith Priestly, Joseph 1733-1804. person
associatedWith Royal Society (Great Britain) corporateBody
associatedWith Roy, William, 1726-1790. person
associatedWith Rumford, Benjamin, Graf von, 1753-1814. person
associatedWith Rumford, Marie Anne Pierette Paulze Lavoisier, comtesse de, 1758-1836. person
associatedWith Rumford, Sarah Thompson, Countess, 1774-1852. person
associatedWith Tipu Sultan, Fath ʻAli, Nawab of Mysore, 1753-1799. person
associatedWith Wurmser, Dagobert Sigmund, graf von, 1724-1797. person
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Birth 1748-04-17

Death 1820-03-26

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