Page:Philosophical Transactions - Volume 095.djvu/100

This page has been proofread, but needs to be validated.
86 Dr. Young's Essay

out of which it is raised ; and the same attraction must operate upon an unctuous fluid to cause it to spread on water, the fluidity of the water allowing this powerful agent to exert itself with an unresisted velocity. An oil which has thus been spread is afterwards collected, by some irregularity of attraction, into thin drops, which the slightest agitation again dissipates: their surface forms a very regular curve, which terminates abruptly in a surface perfectly horizontal: now it follows from the laws of hydrostatics, that the lower surface of these drops must constitute a curve, of which the extreme inclination to the horizon is to the inclination of the upper surface as the specific gravity of the oil to the difference between its specific gravity and that of water: consequently since the contractile forces are held in equilibrium by a force which is perfectly horizontal, their magnitude must be in the ratio that has been already assigned; and it may be assumed as consonant both to theory and to observation, that the contractile force of the common surface of two substances, is proportional, other things being equal, to the difference of their densities. Hence, in order to explain the experiments of Boyle on the effects of a combination of fluids in capillary tubes, or any other experiments of a similar nature, we have only to apply the law of an equable tension, of which the magnitude is determined by the difference of the attractive powers of the fluids.

I shall reserve some further illustrations of this subject for a work which I have long been preparing for the press, and which I flatter myself will contain a clear and simple explanation of the most important parts of natural philosophy. I