An exact and conscientious worker, he did much to improve and systematize the processes of analytical chemistry and mineralogy, and his appreciation of the value of quantitative methods led him to become one of the earliest adherents of the Lavoisierian doctrines outside France.
In the Lavoisierian nomenclature acids were regarded as binary oxygenated compounds, the associated water being relegated to the position of a mere solvent.
It may be noted here that, while Cavendish adhered to the phlogistic doctrine, he did not hold it with anything like the tenacity that characterized Priestley; thus, in his 1784 paper on "Experiments on Air," he remarks that not only the experiments he is describing, but also "most other phenomena of nature seem explicable as well, or nearly as well," upon the Lavoisierian view as upon the commonly believed principle of phlogiston, and he goes on to give an explanation in terms of the antiphlogistic hypothesis.
In 1785 he declared himself an adherent of the Lavoisierian school, though he did not accept Lavoisier's view of oxygen as the only and universal acidifying principle, and he took part in the reform in chemical nomenclature carried out by Lavoisier and his associates in 1787.
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