ELECTION, is a term frequently used in mathematics, to signify the several dif ferent ways of taking any number of things proposed, either separately, or as combined in pairs, in threes, infours, &G.; not as to the order, but only as to the number and variety of them. Thus, of the things a, b, c, d, &c. the elections of 6, ab) c, ab, ac, bc, abc) 7=23-1 The phenomena of attraction, as dis. tinguished under the heads of simple elective attraction, and double or more complex elective attraction, have been sketched under our article CHEMISTRY. It is clear, that no results of this nature can be foretold, or indicated, unless the order and energy of the powers of bodies upon each other be first known. Geoffroy, in his table of simple elective attractions, first led the way in this research ; and he was followed by Bergman, who greatly improved both the tables and the method of philosophizing, in his treatise on the elective attractions ; and, lastly, that most perspicuous chemist, Berthollet, has pursued the subject to a much greater extent, in his " Statiqne " of which we have an indifferent translation by Lambert.
We have, at the article last quoted, made mention of the variations in results of combination arising from the propor tion of the principles, the influence of solvents, of cohesion, Of elasticity, of er.
florescence, and from the compounded nature of the principles themselves, the state of saturation, the effect of heat, &c.
These variable considerations must ne cessarily render all tables of the effects of attraction inapplicable, excepting with allowances; but they may nevertheless be considered as exhibiting very valuable summaries of facts. A like uncertainty must be considered as belonging to all numerical or other inferences of the re lative energies of the elective attractions; for determining which, it must be con fessed, our means are far from being ade quate, even if we were fully acquainted with the disturbances, to which it is pro bable they are subject from the Galvanic action. See GaLvestsm.
Tables I. to VI. contain in substance the two tables of Attractiones Electivm Sim plices, placed at the end of Bergman's treatise upon elective attractions, with such corrections and additions as subse quent discoveries have rendered neces sary. These tables require no other ex planation, than that the substances enu merated are considered to be simple, as far as relates to the facts exhibited in these sketches. The order of position denotes, that the higher any substance stands in any column, the stronger is its elective attraction to the substance at the head of that column. The under part of each table exhibits the attractions in the dry way, and must be considered as en tirely distinct from the upper part.