Dr. Watson (Elements of Chemistry, vol. i. p. 17, etc.), allows the original merit of the Arabians. Yet he quotes the modest confession of the famous Geber of the 9th century (D'Herbelot, p. 387), that he had drawn most of his science, perhaps the transmutation of metals, from the ancient sages. Whatever might be the origin or extent of their knowledge, the arts of chemistry and alchemy appear to have been known in Egypt at least three hundred years before Mahomet (Wotton's Reflections, p. 121-133. Pauw, Recherches sur les Egyptiens et les Chinois, tom. i. p. 376 - 429).
Note by the Rev. H. H. Milman 1782 (Written), 1845 (Revised):— Mr. Whewell (Hist. of Inductive Sciences, vol. i. p. 336) rejects the claim of the Arabians as inventors of the science of chemistry.
"The formation and realization of the notions of analysis and affinity were important steps in chemical science; which, as I shall hereafter endeavour to show it remained for the chemists of Europe to make at a much later period."