" In the course of my experiments I noticed a curious fact, which proved very puzzling to me, until I succeeded in assigning a cause to it. I shall mention it here, because it may lead to some further discoveries. I observed that sometimes the spaces under the round holes, which had not been affected by light during the operation of the photographometer in a sufficient degree to determine the deposit of mercury, were, as was to be expected, quite black; while the spaces surrounding them were in an unaccountable manner slightly affected by mercury. At first I could not explain the phenomenon, except by supposing that the whole plate had been previously by accident slightly affected by light, and that the exposure through the holes to another sort of light had destroyed the former effect. I was naturally led to that explanation, having before observed that one kind of light destroys the effect of another; as, for example, that the effect of the light from the north is destroyed by the light from the south, when certain vapours existing in the latter portion of the atmosphere impart a yellow tint to the light of the sun. But after repeated experiments, taking great care to protect the plate from the least exposure to light, and recollecting some experiments of M. Moser (see Chapter on Thermography), I found that the affinity for mercury had been imparted to the surface of the Daguerreotype plate by the contact of the metallic plate having the round holes, while the space under the hole had received no similar action. But it must be observed that this phenomenon does not take place every time ; some days it is frequent, and in some others it does not manifest itself at all. Considering that the plate furnished with round holes is of copper, and that the Daguerreotype plate is of silver plated on copper, it is probable that the deposit of mercury is due to an electric or galvanic action determined by the contact of the two metals; and perhaps the circumstance that the action does not take place every time, will lead to the supposition that it is developed by some peculiar electric state of the ambient atmosphere ; and by a degree of dampness in the air which would increase the electric current. May we not hope that the conditions being known in which the action is produced, and by availing ourselves of that property, it will be possible to increase on the daguerreotype plate the action of light ? for it is not improbable that the affinity for mercury imparted to the plate is also due to some electrical influence of light. How could we otherwise explain that affinity for mercury given by some rays and withdrawn by some others, long before light has acted as a chemical agent ?
" The question of the actinic focus is involved in another kind of mystery, which requires some attention. I have found that with the same lenses there exists a constant variation in the distance between the two foci. They are never in the same relation to each other : they are sometimes more or less separate ; in some lights they are very distant, and in some others they are very near, and even coincide. For this reason I constantly try their position before I operate. I have not been able to discover the cause of that singular phenomenon, but I can state positively that it exists. At first, I thought that some variations in the density or dispersive power of the atmosphere, might produce the alteration in the distance between the two foci; or that when the yellow rays were more or less abundant, the visual rays were refracted on different points on the axis of the foci, according to the mean refrangibility of the rays composing white light at the moment. But a new experiment has proved to me that these could not be the real causes of the variation. I generally employ two object-glasses; one of shorter focus for small pictures, and the other of longer focus for larger images. In both, the actinic focus is longer than the visual focus ; but when they are much separated in one they are less so in the other : sometimes, when they coincide in one, they are very far apart in the other, and sometimes they both coincide. This I have tried every day during the last twelve months, and I have always found the same variations. The density of the atmosphere, or the colour of light, seems to have nothing to do with the phenomenon, otherwise the same cause would produce the same effect in both lenses. I must observe, that my daily experiments on my two object-glasses are made at the same moment and at the same distance for each, otherwise any alteration in the focal distance would disperse, more or less, the actinic rays, which is the case, as it is easy to prove. The lengthening or shortening the focus, according to the distance of the object to be represented, has, for effect to modify the achromatism of the lenses. An optician, according to M. Lere-bours' calculation, can at will, in the combination of the two glasses composing an achromatic lens, adapt such curvatures or angles in both that the visual focus shall coincide with the actinic focus ; but he can obtain this result only for one length of focus. The moment the distance is altered, the two foci separate, because the visual and actinic rays must be refracted at different angles in coming out of the lens, in order to meet at the focus given for one distance of the object. If the distance is altered, the focus becomes longer or shorter; and as the angle at which different rays are refracted remains nearly the same, they cannot meet at the new focus, and they form two images. If the visual and actinic rays were refracted parallel to each other, in coming out of the lens they would always coincide for every focus; but this is not the case. It seems, therefore, impossible that lenses can be constructed in which the two foci will agree for all the various distances, until we have discovered two kinds of glasses in which the densities or the refractive power will be in the same ratio as the dispersive power".