- The Works of Benjamin Franklin, Volume VI: Correspondence and Miscellaneous Writings
- 1772: Cccclxx: Settlement On the Ohio River Dr. Franklin’s Answer to the Foregoing Report ( Continued. )
- 1773: Cccclxxi: to Thomas Cushing
- Cccclxxii: to Mrs. Deborah Franklin
- Cccclxxiii: to Joseph Galloway, Esq.
- Cccclxxiv: to Mrs. Deborah Franklin
- Cccclxxv: to John Bartram
- Cccclxxvi: to Anthony Benezet 1
- Cccclxxvii: to Messrs. Abel James and Benjamin Morgan
- Cccclxxviii: to James Johnston
- Cccclxxix: to William Franklin
- Cccclxxx: to Humphrey Marshall On the Spots In the Sun—dr. Wilson’s New Hypothesis
- Cccclxxxi: to Wm. Marshall
- Cccclxxxii: to Mrs. Deborah Franklin
- Cccclxxxiii: to Josiah Davenport
- Cccclxxxiv: to Joseph Galloway, Esq.
- Cccclxxxv: From M. De Saussure 1
- Cccclxxxvi: to Mr. Colden
- Cccclxxxvii: From John Winthrop
- Cccclxxxviii: to Mrs. James Mecom
- Cccclxxxix: to Thomas Cushing
- CCCCXC: To M. Dubourg
- CCCCXCI: To M. Dubourg
- CCCCXCII: To William Franklin
- CCCCXCIII: To Abel James and Benjamin Morgan
- CCCCXCIV: From M. Dubourg
- CCCCXCV: To M. Le Roy
- CCCCXCVI: To Thomas Cushing
- CCCCXCVII: To William Franklin
- CCCCXCVIII: To His Daughter
- CCCCXCIX: To Mr. Galloway
- D: To Mr. Coombe
- DI: To Dean Woodward
- DII: To William Deane
- DIII: To M. Dubourg
- DIV: To Messrs. Dubourg and Dalibard 1
- DV: To M. Dubourg
- DVI: To Thomas Cushing
- DVII: To M. Dubourg
- DVIII: To Mr. Colden
- DIX: To Thomas Cushing
- DX: To Thomas Cushing
- DXI: From Samuel Cooper
- DXII: To M. Le Roy
- DXIII: From Thomas Cushing
- DXIV: To M. Dubourg
- DXV: Preparatory Notes and Hints For Writing a Paper Concerning What Is Called Catching Cold
- DXVI: Queries On Electricity, From Dr. Ingenhousz, 1 With Answers By Dr. Franklin
- DXVII: To Thomas Cushing
- DXVIII: To Thomas Cushing
- DXIX: To Samuel Mather 1
- DXX: To Samuel Cooper 1
- DXXI: To Samuel Cooper
- DXXII: To Mrs. Jane Mecom
- DXXIII: To Mr. Samuel Franklin
- DXXIV: To Jonathan Williams
- DXXV: To William Franklin
- DXXVI: To Benjamin Rush
- DXXVII: To Anthony Benezet
- DXXVIII: To Mr. Foxcroft
- DXXIX: To Samuel Danforth
- DXXX: To John Winthrop
- DXXXI: To Samuel Cooper
- DXXXII: To Thomas Cushing
- DXXXIII: To John Winthrop
- DXXXIV: To William Franklin
- DXXXV: To Thomas Cushing
- DXXXVI: To William Franklin
- DXXXVII: To Mrs. Deborah Franklin
- DXXXVIII: An Edict By the King of Prussia 1
- DXXXIX: To Thomas Cushing
- Dxl: to John Baskerville
- Dxli: Rules For Reducing a Great Empire to a Small One
- Dxlii: to Thomas Cushing
- Dxliii: to Thomas Percival 2
- Dxliv: to John Ingenhousz
- Dxlv: to William Franklin
- Dxlvi: From Mrs. Deborah Franklin
- Dxlvii: From His Daughter Sally
- Dxlviii: to Thomas Cushing
- Dxlix: to an Engraver 1
- Dl: to Joseph Galloway
- Dli: to William Franklin
- Dlii: of the Stilling of Waves By Means of Oil 1
- Dliii: From Thomas Cushing
- Dliv: From Thomas Cushing and Others, Committee, Etc.
- Dlv: Preface to “an Abridgment of the Book of Common Prayer.” 1
- 1774: Dlvi: to Thomas Cushing
- Dlvii: to William Franklin
- Dlviii: to Josiah Tucker
- Dlix: to Thomas Cushing
- Dlx: to Joseph Galloway
- Dlxi: the Georgia Agency
- Dlxii: to Samuel Cooper
- Dlxiii: On the Rise and Progress of the Differences Between Great Britain and Her American Colonies 1
- Dlxiv: From Samuel Young and Others, Committee of the Lower House of the Province of Georgia
- Dlxv: Queries
- Dlxvi: to the Marquis De Condorcet
- Dlxvii: to John Baptist Beccaria
- Dlxviii: to Joseph Priestley 1
- Dlxix: to Thomas Cushing
- Dlxx: to Thomas Cushing
- Dlxxi: to Joseph Priestley
- Dlxxii: to Thomas Cushing
- Dlxxiii: to Thomas Cushing
- Dlxxiv: to Mrs. Deborah Franklin
- Dlxxv: to Thomas Cushing
- Dlxxvi: to Thomas Cushing
- Dlxxvii: to Mr. Coombe 1
- Dlxxviii: to Mrs. Deborah Franklin
- Dlxxix: to Thomas Cushing
- Dlxxx: to William Franklin
- Dlxxxi: to Peter Timothy, Charleston, S. C.
- Dlxxxii: From Samuel Cooper
- Dlxxxiii: to Thomas Cushing
- Dlxxxiv: to Mrs. Jane Mecom
- Dlxxxv: to Thomas Cushing
- Dlxxxvi: to Richard Bache
- Dlxxxvii: to Joseph Galloway
- Dlxxxviii: a Parable On Persecution
- Dlxxxix: a Parable On Brotherly Love
- DXC: An Account of the Transactions Relating to Governor Hutchinson’s Letters
- DXCI: The Result of England’s Persistence In Her Policy Towards the Colonies Illustrated 1
- DXCII: On a Proposed Act of Parliament For Preventing Emigration
- 1775: DXCIII: To Thomas Cushing
- DXCIV: To Charles Thomson 1
- DXCV: To James Bowdoin
- DXCVI: To Joseph Galloway
- DXCVII: To Josiah Quincy
- DXCVIII: An Account of Negotiations In London For Effecting a Reconciliation Between Great Britain and the American Colonies 1
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 5 January, 1773.
I did myself the honor of writing to you on the 2d of December past, enclosing some original letters from persons in Boston, which I hope got safe to hand. I have since received your favor of October 27th, which, containing in a small compass so full an enumeration of our grievances, the steps necessary to remove them, and the happy effects that must follow, I thought that though marked private it might be of use to communicate it to Lord Dartmouth; the rather, too, as he would there find himself occasionally mentioned with proper respect, and learn that his character was esteemed in the colonies. Accordingly I wrote him a few lines, and enclosed it a day or two before I was to wait on his Lordship, that he might have a little time to consider the contents.
When I next attended him, he returned me the letter with great complaisance in his countenance; said he was glad to find that people in America were disposed to think so favorably of him; that they did him but justice in believing he had the best disposition towards them, for he wished sincerely their welfare, though possibly he might not always think with them, as to the means of obtaining that end; that the heads of complaint in your letter were many, some of them requiring much consideration, and therefore it could scarce be expected that a sudden change should be made in so many measures, supposing them all improper to be continued, which perhaps might not be the case. It was, however, his opinion that, if the Americans continued quiet, and gave no fresh offence to government, those measures would be reconsidered, and such relief given as upon consideration should be thought reasonable.
I need not remark that there is not much in such general discourse; but I could then obtain nothing more particular, except that his Lordship expressed in direct terms his disapprobation of the instruction for exempting the colonies from taxation; which, however, was, as he said, in confidence to me, relying that no public mention should be made of his opinion on that head.
In the meantime, some circumstances are working in our favor with regard to the duties. It is found by the last year’s accounts transmitted by the commissioners, that the balance in favor of Britain is but about eighty-five pounds, after payment of salaries, etc., exclusive of the charge of a fleet to enforce the collection. Then it is observed that the India Company is so out of cash, that it cannot pay the bills drawn upon it, and its other debts; and at the same time so out of credit, that the Bank does not care to assist them, whence they find themselves obliged to lower their dividend; the apprehension of which has sunk their stock from two hundred and eighty to one hundred and sixty, whereby several millions of property are annihilated, occasioning private bankruptcies and other distress, besides a loss to the public treasury of four hundred thousand pounds per annum, which the company are not to pay into it as heretofore, if they are not able to keep up their dividend at twelve and a half. And, as they have at the same time tea and other India goods in their warehouses, to the amount of four millions, as some say, for which they want a market, and which, if it had been sold, would have kept up their credit, I take the opportunity of remarking in all companies the great imprudence of losing the American market, by keeping up the duty on tea, which has thrown that trade into the hands of the Dutch, Danes, Swedes, and French, who, according to the reports and letters of some custom-house officers in America, now supply by smuggling, the whole continent, not with tea only, but accompany that article with other India goods, amounting, as supposed, in the whole to five hundred thousand pounds sterling per annum. This gives some alarm, and begins to convince people more and more of the impropriety of quarrelling with America, who at that rate might have taken off two millions and a half of those goods within these five years that the combination has subsisted, if the duty had not been laid, or had been speedily repealed.
But our great security lies, I think, in our growing strength, both in numbers and wealth; that creates an increasing ability of assisting this nation in its wars, which will make us more respectable, our friendship more valued, and our enmity feared; thence it will soon be thought proper to treat us not with justice only, but with kindness, and thence we may expect in a few years a total change of measures with regard to us; unless, by a neglect of military discipline, we should lose all martial spirit, and our western people become as tame as those in the eastern dominions of Britain, when we may expect the same oppressions; for there is much truth in the Italian saying, Make yourselves sheep, and the wolves will eat you. In confidence of this coming change in our favor, I think our prudence is meanwhile to be quiet, only holding up our rights and claims on all occasions in resolutions, memorials, and remonstrances; but bearing patiently the little present notice that is taken of them. They will all have their weight in time, and that time is at no great distance. With the greatest esteem, I have the honor to be, etc.,
TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN
London, 6 January, 1773.
My Dear Child:—
I feel some regard for this 6th of January, as my old nominal birthday, though the change of style has carried the real day forward to the 17th, when I shall be, if I live till then, sixty-seven years of age. It seems but the other day since you and I were ranked among the boys and girls, so swiftly does time fly! We have, however, great reason to be thankful, that so much of our lives has passed so happily; and that so great a share of health and strength remains, as to render life yet comfortable.
I received your kind letter of November 16th by Sutton. The apples are not yet come on shore, but I thank you for them. Captain All was so good as to send me a barrel of excellent ones, which serve me in the meantime. I rejoice to hear that you all continue well. But you have so used me to have something pretty about the boy, that I am a little disappointed in finding nothing more of him than that he is gone up to Burlington. Pray give in your next, as usual, a little of his history.
All our friends here are pleased with your remembering them, and send their love to you. Give mine to all that inquire concerning me, and a good deal to our children. I am ever, my dear Debby, your affectionate husband,
TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY, ESQ.
London, 6 January, 1773.
I have received your favors of October 18th and 30th. I am obliged greatly to you and Mr. Rhodes for your friendly interposition in the affair of my salary. As I never made any bargain with the House, I accept thankfully whatever they please to give me, and shall continue to serve them as long as I can afford to stay here. Perhaps it may be thought that my other agencies contribute more than sufficient for that purpose, but the Jersey allowance, though well paid, is a very small one; that from Georgia, £100 only, is some years in arrear, and will not be continued, as their appointment is by a yearly act, which, I am told, the governor will not again pass with my name in it; and from Boston I have never received a farthing, perhaps never shall, as their governor is instructed to pass no salary to an agent whose appointment he has not assented to. In these circumstances, with an almost double expense of living by my family remaining in Philadelphia, the losses I am continually suffering in my affairs there through absence, together with my now advanced age, I feel renewed inclinations to return and spend the remainder of my days in private life, having had rather more than my share of public bustle. I only wish first to improve a little, for the general advantage of our country, the favorable appearances arising from the change of our American minister, and the good light I am told I stand in with the successor. If I be instrumental in [illegible] things in good train, with a prospect of their [illegible] on a better footing than they have had for some years past, I shall think a little additional time well spent, though I were to have no allowance for it at all.
I must, however, beg you will not think of retiring from public business. You are yet a young man, and may still be greatly serviceable to your country. It would be, I think, something criminal to bury in private retirement so early all the usefulness of so much experience and such great abilities. The people do not indeed always see their friends in the same favorable light; they are sometimes mistaken, and sometimes misled; but sooner or later they come right again, and redouble their former affection. This, I am confident, will happen in your case, as it often has in the case of others. Therefore, preserve your spirits and persevere, at least to the age of sixty, a boundary I once fixed for myself, but have gone beyond it.
I am afraid the bill, Wilcocks on Col. Alex. Johnstone, for £166 15 3½ must be returned with a protest. I shall know in a day or two.
I shall consult Mr. Jackson, and do in the island affair what shall be thought best for securing your interest and that of all concerned.
By our spring ships I shall write you more fully. At present I can only add that I am with unalterable esteem and affection,
Yours most sincerely,
TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN
London, 2 February, 1773.
My Dear Child:—
Since my last I have got the apples on shore, and they come out very good. Accept my best thanks. Mr. Bache, of New York, has also kindly sent me two barrels; Capt. Winn one, and Capt. Falconer one. I told you before that Capt. All gave me one, so that I am now plentifully supplied.
I know you love to have a line from me by every packet, so I write, though I have little to say, having had no letter from you since my last, of January 6th.
In return for your history of your grandson, I must give you a little of the history of my godson. He is now twenty-one months old, very strong and healthy, begins to speak a little, and even to sing. He was with us a few days last week, grew fond of me, and would not be contented to sit down to breakfast without coming to call pa, rejoicing when he had got me into my place. When seeing me one day crack one of the Philadelphia biscuits into my tea with the nut-crackers, he took another and tried to do the same with the tea-tongs. It makes me long to be at home to play with Ben.
My love to him and our children, with all inquiring friends. Mrs. Stevenson presents her affectionate respects, and Sally her duty.
I am ever, my dear Debby,
Your loving husband,
TO JOHN BARTRAM
London, 10 February, 1773.
My Dear Good Old Friend:
I am glad to learn that the turnip-seed and the rhubarb grow with you, and that the turnip is approved. It may be depended on, that the rhubarb is the genuine sort. But, to have the root in perfection, it ought not to be taken out of the ground in less than seven years. Herewith I send you a few seeds of what is called the cabbage turnip. They say that it will stand the frost of the severest winter, and so make a fine early feed for cattle in the spring, when their other fodder may be scarce. I send also some seed of the Scotch cabbage; and some peas that are much applauded here, but I forget for what purpose, and shall inquire and let you know in my next.
I think there has been no good opportunity of sending your medal since I received it, till now. It goes in a box to my son Bache, with the seeds. I wish you joy of it. Notwithstanding the failure of your eyes, you write as distinctly as ever. With great esteem and respect, I am, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
TO ANTHONY BENEZET
London, 10 February, 1773.
I received with pleasure yours of September 13th, as it informed me of your welfare. With this I send you one of Young’s Night Thoughts—the largest print I could find. I thank you for the four copies you sent me of your translation of the French book; I have given two of them to friends here, whom I thought the subject might suit. I have commenced an acquaintance with Mr. Granville Sharpe, and we shall act in concert in the affair of slavery. The accounts you send me relating to Surinam are indeed terrible. Go on and prosper in your laudable endeavors, and believe me ever, my dear friend,
Yours most affectionately,
I send you a few copies of a pamphlet written at Paris by a well-wisher to our country. It is a little system of morals that may give distinct ideas on that subject to youth, and perhaps on that account not unfit for a school-book. I will send you more if you desire it.
TO MESSRS. ABEL JAMES AND BENJAMIN MORGAN
London, 10 February, 1773.
I duly received your favor of [mutilated], and have, after a long delay, got the [silk?] from the custom-house. The throwsters appointed to inspect it there, in order to ascertain the bounty, valued it at fifteen shillings the small pound, the whole taken together, and afterwards wanted to buy it of me at that price. But suspecting their offer to be too low, I have shown it to others, who say it is much undervalued. Our friend Freeman advises its being sold by auction at the last, and recommends the same broker. Every one I have consulted is of the same opinion. He will have a sale about April next.
The Spitalfield’s silk business is very dead at present. The enormous paper credit which circulated so freely some time since, enabled the master manufacturers to employ more men and make more goods than the market really required, and the blow such credit has lately received, obliges them to stop their work until they can dispose of the great quantity of goods on hand, which some say is enough for a twelvemonth to come.
So the disbanded workmen are starving, though great sums are collected to distribute among them in charity. Several have applied to me to ship them to America, but having no account that such workmen are wanted there, I was obliged to refuse them. One came to me with the enclosed letter, and showed me several written characters from different masters he had worked with, all strongly in his favor for ingenuity and skill in his business, as well as his sobriety and industry. He was a Quaker, and seemed a sensible young man, so that I was strongly inclined to send him, till I understood he had a wife and young family, which would make it too expensive, though he said his wife was a work-woman in the business, and one child could also be serviceable. He is endeavoring to get subscriptions to pay the passage-money, but I suppose will hardly succeed, as people here would rather maintain the workmen idle for a while, than pay toward sending them to America.
I am much obliged to the managers for their present of four pounds of the silk, and shall consider what purpose I can apply it to that may best contribute to the encouragement of the produce. Please to offer them my thankful acknowledgments, and assure them of my most faithful services.
With great esteem and respect, I am, gentlemen,
Your most obedient humble servant,
TO JAMES JOHNSTON
London, 10 February, 1773.
I received your letter with the sample of North American senna, which I put into the hands of a friend who is a great botanist as well as a physician, and has made some trial of it. He tells me that to render it merchantable here, the stalks should be picked out, and the leaves packed up neatly, as that is which comes from the Levant. Perhaps among your druggists you might see some of those packages and so inform yourself of the manner. He has not yet had sufficient experience of it to be decisive in his opinion of its qualities in comparison with other senna, but thinks it likely that it may answer the same purposes. Of the quality that may be in demand here, I have yet been able to obtain no intelligence.
I am, sir, your humble servant,
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 14 February, 1773.
The opposition are now attacking the ministry on the St. Vincent’s affair, which is generally condemned here, and some think Lord Hillsborough will be given up, as the adviser of that expedition. But, if it succeeds, perhaps all will blow over. The ministry are more embarrassed with the India affairs. The continued refusal of North America to take tea from hence, has brought infinite distress on the company. They imported great quantities in faith that that agreement could not hold; and now they can neither pay their debts nor dividends; their stock has sunk to the annihilating near three millions of their property, and government will lose its four hundred thousand pounds a year; while their teas lie on hand. The bankruptcies brought on partly by this means have given such a shock to credit as has not been experienced here since the South Sea year. And this has affected the great manufacturers so much as to oblige them to discharge their hands, and thousands of Spaitalfields and Manchester weavers are now starving, or subsisting on charity. Blessed effects of pique, and passion in government, which should have no passions. Yours, etc.,
TO HUMPHREY MARSHALL ON THE SPOTS IN THE SUN—DR. WILSON’S NEW HYPOTHESIS
London, 14 February, 1773.
A considerable time after its arrival, I received the box of seeds you sent me the beginning of last year, with your observations on spots in the sun. The seeds I distributed among some of my friends who are curious; accept my thankful acknowledgments for them. The observations I communicated to our astronomers of the Royal Society, who are much pleased with them, and hand them about from one to another; so that I have had little opportunity of examining them myself, they not being yet returned to me.
Here are various opinions about the solar spots. Some think them vast clouds of smoke and soot arising from the consuming fuel on the surface, which at length take fire again on their edges, consuming and daily diminishing till they totally disappear. Others think them spots of the surface, in which the fire has been extinguished, and which by degrees is rekindled. It is, however, remarkable that, though large spots are seen gradually to become small ones, no one has observed a small spot gradually become a large one; at least I do not remember to have met with such an observation. If this be so, it should seem they are suddenly formed of their full size; and perhaps, if there were more such constant and diligent observers as you, some might happen to be observing at the instant such a spot was formed, when the appearances might give some ground of conjecture by what means they were formed.
The professor of astronomy at Glasgow, Dr. Wilson, has a new hypothesis. It is this: that the sun is a globe of solid matter, all combustible, perhaps, but whose surface only is actually on fire to a certain depth, and all below that depth unkindled, like a log of wood, whose surface to half an inch deep may be burning coal, while all within remains wood. Then he supposes, by some explosion similar to our earthquakes, the burning part may be blown away from a particular district, leaving bare the unkindled part below, which then appears a spot, and only lessens as the fluid burning matter by degrees flows in upon it on all sides, and at last covers or rekindles it.
He founds this opinion in certain appearances of the edges of the spots as they turn under the sun’s disk, or emerge again on the other side; for, if there are such hollows in the sun’s face as he supposes and the bright border round their edges be the fluid burning matter flowing down the banks into the hollow, it will follow that, while a spot is in the middle of the sun’s disk, the eye, looking directly upon the whole, may discern that border all round; but when the hollow is moved round to near the edge of the disk, then, though the eye which now views it aslant can see full the farthest bank, yet that which is nearest is hidden, and not to be distinguished; and when the same spot comes to emerge again on the other side of the sun, the bank which before was visible is now concealed, and that concealed which before was visible, gradually changing, however, till the spot reaches the middle of the disk, when the bank all round may be seen as before. Perhaps your telescope may be scarce strong enough to observe this. If it is, I wish to know whether you find the same appearances. When your observations are returned to me, and I have considered them, I shall lodge them among the papers of the Society, and let you know their sentiments.
With great esteem and regard, I am,
TO WM. MARSHALL
London, 14 February, 1773.
I duly received your respected letter of October 30th, and am very sensible of the propriety and equity of the act passed to indulge your friends in their scruples, relating to the mode of taking an oath, which you plead for so ably by numerous reasons. That act, with others, has now been sometime laid before his Majesty in council. I have not yet heard of any objection to it; but if such should arise, I shall do my utmost to remove them, and obtain the royal assent. Believe me, Reverend Sir, to have the warmest wishes for the increase of religious as well as civil liberty throughout the world; and that I am, with great regard, your most obedient humble servant,
TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN
London, 14 February, 1773.
My Dear Child:—
I wrote to you a few days since by the packet. In a box directed to Mr. Bache, I sent a striped cotton and silk gown for you, of a manufacture now much the mode here. There is another for Sally. People line them with some old silk gown, and they look very handsome. There goes also a bedstead for Sally, sent on Capt. All’s telling Mrs. Stevenson that you wished it had been sent with the bed. She sends also some little things for Benny Boy.
Now, having nothing very material to add, let us trifle a little. The fine large gray squirrel you sent, who was a great favorite in the bishop’s family, is dead. He had got out of his cage in the country, rambled, and was rambling over a common three miles from home, when he met a man with a dog. The dog pursuing him, he fled to the man for protection; running up to his shoulder, who shook him off, and set the dog on him, thinking him to be, as he said afterwards, some varment or other. So poor Mungo, as his mistress called him, died. To amuse you a little, and nobody out of your own house, I enclose you a little correspondence between her and me on the melancholy occasion. Skugg, you must know is a common name by which all squirrels are called here, as all cats are called Puss. Miss Georgianna is the bishop’s youngest daughter but one. There are five in all. Mungo was buried in the garden, and the enclosed epitaph put upon his monument. So much for squirrels.
My poor cousin Walker, in Buckinghamshire, is a lacemaker. She was ambitious of presenting you and Sally with some netting of her work, but as I knew she could not afford it, I chose to pay for it at her usual price, 3/6 per yard. It goes also in the box. I name the price that, if it does not suit you to wear it, you may know how to dispose of it.
I have desired Miss Haydock to repay you the £8 6s. sterling, which I have laid out for her here on account of her silk. I think it is not the color she desired. I suppose her relation, Mrs. Forster, who took the management of it, will give her the reason.
My love to Sally and the dear boy. I am ever your affectionate husband,
TO JOSIAH DAVENPORT
London, 14 February, 1773.
I was sorry to hear of your failing in your business. I hear you now keep a little shop, and therefore send you four dozen of Evans’ maps, which, if you can sell, you are welcome to apply the money towards clothing your boys, or to any other purpose. Enoch seems a solid, sensible lad, and I hope will do well. If you will be advised [illegible], think of any place in the post-office. The money you [illegible] will slip through your fingers, and you will run behindhand imperceptibly, when your securities must suffer, or your employers. I grow too old to run such risks, and therefore wish you to propose nothing more of the kind to me. I have been hurt too much by endeavoring to help Cousin Ben Mecom. I have no opinion of the punctuality of cousins. They are apt to take liberties with relations they would not take with others, from a confidence that a relation will not sue them, and though I believe you now resolve and intend well in case of such an appointment, I can have no dependence that some unexpected misfortune or difficulty will not embarrass your affairs and render you again insolvent. Don’t take this unkind. It is better to be thus free with you than to give you expectations that cannot be answered. I should be glad to see you in some business that would require neither stock nor credit and yet might afford a comfortable subsistence, being ever, your affectionate cousin,
TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY, ESQ.
London, 14 February, 1773.
I wrote to you the 6th of last month in answer to your favors of October 18th and 30th; since which I have no line from you, the New York January packet not being yet arrived.
The bill on Col. Johnstone, which I mentioned as likely to be protested, is since paid. The gentleman trifled about it a good deal; first refused to accept it, then came to me and desired it might be sent to him again and he would accept it; then when it became due he wanted longer time. The drawer, I think, should be informed of this, that he may be cautious. The man seems honestly disposed, but appears embarrassed in his money affairs. This, indeed, is at present a more common case than usual, owing [illegible] the great blow paper credit has received, which first fell upon the India Company, and by degrees became general. Hence, a great stop of employment among the manufacturers, added to the mischiefs mentioned in mine of December 2d, of which retaining the duty on tea in America, and thereby the loss of that market, are now acknowledged to be the cause. The ministry now would have the company save its honor by petitioning for the repeal of that duty; and the company has it under consideration. They see government will be obliged, for its own sake, to support them, and therefore must repeal the duty, whether they petition for it or not, and ’t is said they are not willing to ask it as a favor, lest that should be made a foundation for some additional demand upon them. A fine hobble they are all got into by their unjust and blundering politics with regard to the colonies.
I thank you for proposing the two members I mentioned. I have now some others to propose, viz.: Dr. Barbeu Dubourg of Paris, a man of very extensive learning and an excellent philosopher, who is ambitious of the honor, as is Lord Stanhope for himself and son, Lord Mahon, who will be proposed by Dr. de Normandy; there is also Mr. Sam’l Dun, a very ingenious mathematician and universal mechanic, very fond of America, and would be an acquisition if we could get him there and employ him; he writes to the society, and is also very desirous of the honor. There is another gentleman, who, I believe, would be pleased with it, though he has not mentioned it; I mean the president of the Royal Society, Sir John Pringle, Bart. It is usual for the Academy of Sciences at Paris always to choose the president of the English Royal Society one of their foreign members, and it is well taken here as a mark of respect, and I think it would also be well taken by the society if you should choose him. By the way, is the ten shillings a year expected of foreign members? I have been asked that question. Here no contribution is yet taken of them. I send the society some printed pieces that will be indeed in the next volume of the Philosophical Transactions here; but as that will not come out till midsummer, it may be agreeable to have them sooner.
Enclosed I send an account of the presenting two more of your acts to the king in council; as yet I hear of no objection to any of the former thirty, of which I sent a list per January packet as presented December 22d.
With unalterable attachment, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
FROM M. DE SAUSSURE
Naples, 23 February, 1773.
I have received with the greatest pleasure the two letters, which you did me the honor to write to me; the one of October the 8th, the other of December 1st. As they were both addressed to me at Geneva, and as I left that place at the beginning of October to come to Italy to pass the winter, they reached me very late, and I have thus been debarred the privilege of showing you, by a prompt reply, how much I feel flattered by the honor of your correspondence. The letter on the action of pointed conductors, and the accompanying Essay, contain experiments and reasonings perfectly conclusive, and which leave no doubt as to the utility of these ingenious preservatives.
If I had been acquainted with these new experiments, I should have made use of them with great advantage in a short apologetic memoir, which I published in October, 1771, for the information of some people who were terrified at a conductor which I had erected at Geneva before the house I lived in. This memoir, however, met with the desired success. It reassured everybody, and I had the pleasure of watching the electricity from the clouds during the whole course of the last summer. Several persons even followed this example, and raised conductors either upon their houses or before them. M. de Voltaire was one of the first. He does the same justice to your theory that he did to that of the immortal Newton.
The project of the Royal Society is well worthy of the zeal of that illustrious body for the advancement of useful knowledge; and I should be much pleased if I could in any way aid them in the execution of this project. Had I been at Geneva, I should have made it my duty and pleasure to take a journey to the mountains in the neighborhood, to ascertain with precision the dimensions of the mountains and valleys which I thought best suited for the execution of this design. I do not believe, however, that, among those with which I am acquainted, there is any place exactly suited to give certain information on the subject to which their researches are directed. In the Jura, there is no summit sufficiently high, since the Dole, the mountain which rises highest above the level of our lake, does not reach seven hundred toises above this level.
Then it must be considered that the Jura, as well as the Alps, form continued chains of mountains, all connected together, or, at least, situated at very short distances from each other. There is no single mountain, or, at least, I know of none, of sufficient height. You often find deep valleys, surrounded by high mountains, but behind these mountains are other valleys and other mountains, so that the deviations which might be observed in the plumb-line, would be the complex effect of the combined attractions of all these mountains; and, in order to deduce from them a comparison between the density of the earth and that of these mountains, much labor and many calculations would be required. As far as I am able to judge, it appears to me that some large rock, rising out of the open sea, like the Peak of Teneriffe, would be the most suitable place for this attempt.
The memoir upon this subject, which you did me the honor to send, I have transmitted to Lord Stanhope, at Geneva, that he may confer respecting it with M. de Luc, who, having attended particularly to the height of mountains, in connection with his observations of the barometer, is the best man in the world to give valuable information on this subject. It is now, doubtless, well known that Signor Beccaria of Turin, who has measured a degree of the meridian at the foot of the Alps, has had an opportunity to observe great deviations of the plumb-line, and would thus be enabled to furnish useful hints to the Royal Society.
I have the pleasure of often seeing here Sir William Hamilton, who has the kindness to take me to the most interesting places in the neighborhood of Naples, those which establish his theory of volcanoes ancient and modern, and prove that the whole Bay of Naples, from the sea to the Apennines, has been thrown up from the bottom of the sea by subter ranean fires, and is thus the product of volcanoes rather than the theatre of their ravages. We are also much devoted to electricity. The little machine, which Mr. Nairne made for him, is really excellent, and much the best they have ever had in this part of Italy. Sir William Hamilton, knowing that I had the honor of writing to you, has requested me to present his compliments.
I regret extremely that I was not at Geneva to receive M. de Normandy. I should have been delighted to have had this opportunity to prove to you how highly I value your recommendation. If you have any commands for me in Naples, I shall still be able to receive them here, and you may address them to Sir William Hamilton. We propose to try together some experiments on the electricity of the vapors of Vesuvius, although, to say the truth, I regard them merely as conductors, which establish a communication between the earth and the higher regions of the atmosphere.
Sir William Hamilton has also done me the kindness to invite me to witness some experiments he has tried with the torpedo. These experiments are not decisive, because the fishes we had were small, and gave only slight shocks, but no sign whatever of electricity appeared. We are waiting for some larger ones, in order to continue this investigation, according to the mode which you have yourself marked out.
Accept my assurances of the high consideration and esteem with which I have the honor to be,
TO MR. COLDEN
London, 3 March, 1773.
I received yours of January 7th, enclosing a bill, Ritchie on Hyndman, Lancaster, & Co., for £100, which I hope will be paid. We have had too many bad ones of late.
I am, with great regard,
Your most obedient, humble servant,
FROM JOHN WINTHROP
Cambridge, New England, 4 March, 1773.
I received your favor of September 18th. I return you many thanks for Dr. Priestley’s piece on impregnating water with fixed air. If this should prove an effectual remedy for the sea-scurvy, it would be indeed a most important discovery. I am extremely concerned to hear that Dr. Priestley is so poorly provided for, while so many are rolling about here in gilt chariots, with very ample stipends. I admire his comprehensive genius, his perspicuity and vigor of composition, his indefatigable application, and his free, independent spirit, and wish it were in my power to do him any kind of service. It would give me great pleasure to see him well settled in America; though indeed I am inclined to think he can prosecute his learned labors to greater advantage in England. A man of his abilities would do honor to any of the colleges. At present there is no vacancy among them; but if there were, I believe, sir, you judge perfectly right, that his religious principles would hardly be thought orthodox enough. Indeed, I doubt whether they would do at the Rhode Island College, any more than in the others. That college is entirely in the hands of the Baptists, and intended to continue so, and I never understood that Dr. Priestley was of their persuasion. However, I cannot but hope that his great and just reputation will procure something valuable for him, and adequate to his merit.
I have looked over his treatise of Optics, which you were so good as to present to our library, with great satisfaction, and met with many articles, especially from the foreign publications, which were new to me. It is indeed a most noble collection of every thing relating to that science.
In my last I ventured to mention a little slip concerning the satellites of Saturn. It would be miraculous if, in so large a work collected from such a number of books and on such a variety of matters, there should not be many such. I noted the few that occurred to me in the chapters taken from those authors I was most acquainted with, and beg leave to enclose a list of the principal of them. There are not above two or three of them that are of any consequence; however, such as it is, the list is at Dr. Priestley’s service, if you think it worth sending to him. It may help to remove a few trifling inaccuracies from that valuable work.
I have enclosed the newspaper you mention, that gave an account of the thunder-storm we had here a few years ago. As you are collecting facts on this subject, I looked over my old almanacs where I had made some memoranda relating to your admirable lightning bells. I think it would not be worth while to transcribe them all, nor can I collect any thing from them but what is commonly known. In general, it seems that the bells hardly ever ring in the summer without a shower; they sometimes ring when there is no thunder or lightning, but do not always ring when there is. When there is a thunder-shower, they generally ring most briskly while the cloud is yet at some distance, and cease as soon as it rains hard. In winter they frequently ring briskly in snow-storms, and twice they have done so after the weather was cleared up, and while the new-fallen snow was driving about with the wind, as you have done me the honor already to publish.
In looking for the newspaper before mentioned, I met with another, which gives an account of damage done by lightning in some places in Connecticut in 1771. As perhaps you have not seen it, I enclose it with the other; also a letter sent me with another account. In my almanacs I found also a few minutes relating to some uncommon appearances of the Aurora Borealis. I do not know that they can be of any use, but if they will afford you the least amusement I will readily transcribe them.
In addition to my newspaper account I would mention that besides the strokes of lightning on the college and the elm-tree, July 2, 1768, there was another discharge that afternoon on a cornfield, at a little distance from the college towards the southeast. It spoiled the corn, which was of some height, in a circle of about twenty feet in diameter. That near the centre was burnt down to the roots, as I was informed by the owner. I did not hear of it till some days after, and when I saw the place it had been replanted with cabbages. The corn near the circumference of the circle was only scorched, and I saw the leaves withered and drooping. The place struck was about midway between a tree on one side and the well-pole and chimney of the house on the other, and as I judge about eighty feet distant from each; and there was nothing near so high on the other sides for a considerable distance. Hence, their protection did not extend eighty feet. If a person had been standing in that corn, I suppose there is no doubt that he would have been killed. And therefore a person in the midst of an open plain is by no means secure from the stroke of lightning. The best security seems to be to have something high, as a tree, for example, near him, but not too near; perhaps from thirty or forty to ten or fifteen feet, or rather to be near two such trees.
I am, etc.,
TO MRS. JAMES MECOM
London, 9 March, 1773.
I received your kind letter of December 30th, and rejoice to find you were well. I may, possibly, have the greater pleasure of seeing you before the year is out. I have desired Cousin Williams to give you the money he may recover from Hall. I would only mention to you that when I was in Boston in 175 [mutilated] brother John then living, an old man, whose name I have forgotten, applied to me with a bond of our father’s of about fifteen or seventeen pounds, if I remember right, desiring I would pay it, which I declined, with this answer, that as I had never received any thing from the estate, I did not think myself obliged to pay any of the debts. But I had another reason, which was that I thought the care of those matters belonged more properly to my brother. If you know that person, I wish you would now, out of Hall’s money, pay that debt; for I remember his mildness on the occasion with some regard.
My love to Jenny. I am ever,
Your affectionate brother,
I have not yet seen Capt. Jenkins, but will inquire him out when I next go to the city.
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 9 March, 1773.
I did myself the honor of writing to you on the 2d of December and the 5th of January past. Since which I have received your favor of November 28th, enclosing the Votes and Proceedings of the Town of Boston, which I have reprinted here, with a preface. Herewith I send you a few copies.
Governor Hutchinson’s speech, at the opening of your January session, has been printed and industriously circulated here by (as I think) the ministerial people, which I take to be no good sign. The Assembly’s answer to it is not yet arrived, and, in the meanwhile, it seems to make impression on the minds of many not well acquainted with the dispute. The tea duty, however, is under the consideration of Parliament, for a repeal, on a petition from the East India Company, and no new measures have been talked of against America, or are likely to be taken during the present session. I was therefore preparing to return home by the spring ships, but have been advised by our friends to stay till the session is over; as the commission sent to Rhode Island, and discontents in your province, with the correspondence of the towns, may possibly give rise to something here, when my being on the spot may be of use to our country. I conclude to stay a little longer. In the meantime I must hope that great care will be taken to keep our people quiet; since nothing is more wished for by our enemies than, by insurrections, we should give a good pretence for increasing the military among us and putting us under more severe restraints. And it must be evident that, by our rapidly increasing strength, we shall soon become of so much importance that none of our just claims of privilege will be, as heretofore, unattended to, nor any security we can wish for our rights be denied us. With great respect, I have the honor to be, etc.,
TO M. DUBOURG
London, 10 March, 1773.
As to the magnetism which seems produced by electricity, my real opinion is that these two powers of nature have no affinity with each other, and that the apparent production of magnetism is purely accidental. The matter may be explained thus:
1st. The earth is a great magnet.
2dly. There is a subtile fluid, called the magnetic fluid, which exists in all ferruginous bodies, equally attracted by all their parts, and equally diffused through their whole substance; at least where the equilibrium is not disturbed by a power superior to the attraction of the iron.
3dly. This natural quantity of the magnetic fluid, which is contained in a given piece of iron, may be put in motion so as to be more rarefied in one part and more condensed in another; but it cannot be withdrawn by any force that we are yet made acquainted with, so as to leave the whole in a negative state, at least relatively to its natural quantity; neither can it be introduced so as to put the iron into a positive state, or render it plus. In this respect, therefore, magnetism differs from electricity.
4thly. A piece of soft iron allows the magnetic fluid which it contains to be put in motion by a moderate force; so that, being placed in a line with the magnetic pole of the earth, it immediately acquires the properties of a magnet, its magnetic fluid being drawn or forced from one extremity to the other; and this effect continues as long as it remains in the same position, one of its extremities becoming positively magnetized, and the other negatively. This temporary magnetism ceases as soon as the iron is turned east and west, the fluid immediately diffusing itself equally through the whole iron, as in its natural state.
5thly. The magnetic fluid in hard iron, or steel, is put in motion with more difficulty, requiring a force greater than the earth to excite it; and, when once it has been forced from one extremity of the steel to the other, it is not easy for it to return; and thus a bar of steel is converted into a permanent magnet.
6thly. A great heat by expanding the substance of this steel and increasing the distance between its particles, affords a passage to the magnetic fluid, which is thus again restored to its proper equilibrium; the bar appearing no longer to possess magnetic virtue.
7thly. A bar of steel, which is not magnetic, being placed in the same position, relatively to the pole of the earth, which the magnetic needle assumes, and in this position being heated and suddenly cooled, becomes a permanent magnet. The reason is, that while the bar was hot, the magnetic fluid which it naturally contained was easily forced from one extremity to the other by the magnetic virtue of the earth; and that the hardness and condensation, produced by the sudden cooling of the bar, retained it in this state without permitting it to resume its original situation.
8thly. The violent vibrations of the particles of a steel bar, when forcibly struck in the same position, separate the particles in such a manner during their vibration, that they permit a portion of the magnetic fluid to pass, influenced by the natural magnetism of the earth; and it is afterwards so forcibly retained by the reapproach of the particles, when the vibration ceases, that the bar becomes a permanent magnet.
9thly. An electric shock passing through a needle in a like position, and dilating it for an instant, renders it, for the same reason, a permanent magnet, that is, not by imparting magnetism to it, but by allowing its proper magnetic fluid to put itself in motion.
10thly. Thus there is not in reality more magnetism in a given piece of steel after it is become magnetic, than existed in it before. The natural quantity is only displaced or repelled. Hence it follows, that a strong apparatus of magnets may charge millions of bars of steel, without communicating to them any part of its proper magnetism, only putting in motion the magnetism which already existed in these bars.
I am chiefly indebted to that excellent philosopher of Petersburg, Mr. Æpinus, for this hypothesis, which appears to me equally ingenious and solid. I say chiefly, because, as it is many years since I read his book, which I have left in America, it may happen that I may have added to or altered it in some respect; and if I have misrepresented any thing, the error ought to be charged to my account.
If this hypothesis appears admissible, it will serve as an answer to the greater part of your questions. I have only one remark to add, which is, that however great the force is of magnetism employed, you can only convert a given portion of steel into a magnet of a force proportioned to its capacity of retaining its magnetic fluid in the new position in which it is placed, without letting it return. Now this power is different in different kinds of steel, but limited in all kinds whatever.
TO M. DUBOURG
10 March, 1773.
I shall not attempt to explain why damp clothes occasion colds, rather than wet ones, because I doubt the fact; I imagine that neither the one nor the other contribute to this effect, and that the causes of colds are totally independent of wet and even of cold. I propose writing a short paper on this subject, the first moment of leisure I have at my disposal. In the meantime I can only say that, having some suspicions that the common notion which, attributes cold to the property of stopping the pores and obstructing perspiration, was ill founded, I engaged a young physician, who is making some experiments with Sanctorius’ balance, to estimate the different proportions of his perspirations, when remaining one hour quite naked, and another warmly clothed. He pursued the experiment in this alternate manner for eight hours successively, and found his perspiration almost doubled during those hours in which he was naked.
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 15 March, 1773.
I wrote you pretty largely by Capt. All, and sent you sundry things, particularly the plated boiler you wrote for. I have nothing to add, but to let you know I continue well. Enclosed I send you the Boston pamphlet with my preface. I grow tired of my situation here, and really think of returning in the fall. My love to Betsey.
I am ever your affectionate father,
TO ABEL JAMES AND BENJAMIN MORGAN
London, 15 March, 1773.
In mine of February 10th, I mentioned a silk weaver who was desirous of going to America; and endeavoring to get subscriptions among his friends to defray the expense of his and family’s passage. He now tells me they have been so kind as to double the sum he requested, and that he is to go in Sutton. He takes with him a good certificate from the meeting; and I beg leave to recommend him to the notice and encouragement of the silk committee, as far as they may find him deserving. For though it may be most advantageous to our country, while the bounty continues so high, to send all our raw silk hither, yet as the bounty will gradually diminish and at length cease, I should think it not amiss to begin early the laying a foundation for the future manufacture of it; and perhaps this person, if he finds employment, may be a means of raising hands for that purpose. His name is Joseph Clark.
By the enclosed you will see when the silk will probably be sold. I hope to send you a good account of it, and am, with great esteem, gentlemen, your most obedient, humble servant,
FROM M. DUBOURG
Paris, 25 March, 1773.
If I have rightly understood your principles, the glass to be used in the Leyden experiment ought to combine these two qualities: first, it should be impermeable to the electric fluid; secondly, it should not be impermeable to the action of this fluid; or, to express the same thing in other words, the electric fluid must not be able to pass from one surface to the other, but its afflux on one of the surfaces of the glass must have the power to excite an efflux on the opposite surface.
Glass generally unites these two qualities, but not every kind of glass. There is even glass that the electric fluid passes through almost as readily as it enters metals. This is a property natural to some kinds of glass, and accidental to others. It would seem astonishing that no philosopher had yet thought of seeking out the causes of all these differences, if natural philosophy alone were equal to the task; but there is need of the aid of chemistry, which certainly may throw some light on so interesting a subject.
I would not propose to the chemists to analyze the different kinds of glass, permeable or impermeable to electricity; but to endeavor to imitate them, which would be much easier for them to do.
Pure vitrifiable earth is without doubt the only ingredient in rock crystal, which may be considered as a true natural glass; but art has not yet succeeded in obtaining for us a glass so pure, and there is even very little reason to hope that such perfection can ever be attained.
There is no earth known so vitrifiable as not to require some auxiliary solvent to facilitate its vitrification. Now solvents are distinguished into three principal kinds—which are, saline solvents, metallic solvents, and earthly solvents; for there are different kinds of earths, which, although each singly is refractory, yet serve as mutual solvents, as there are also many kinds of salts, and many kinds of metals, which may be used as solvents for the vitrifiable earths, and which may be combined in different proportions with the same earths. We ought not to be more surprised to find glass more or less permeable to electricity, than to find it pervious and impervious to light. Since there is transparent glass and opaque glass, or glass of various colors, why should there not be glass which is a conductor, and that which is a non-conductor, of electricity?
It would not be a problem of difficult solution for a chemist, but yet it would be a labor requiring considerable time, to furnish us with a comparative table of the diffierent kinds of glass possessing either of these qualities in all their various degrees. The places merely, occupied by your greenish American glass, as well as by the white London glass, would indicate at the first glance the mixture of ingredients of which they are respectively composed.
On the other hand, as the intensity of heat to which the substance of the glass is exposed, whether in melting or annealing, may cause the evaporation of some of these ingredients, and as this heat is not equally powerful in every part of the furnace, it is not very surprising that you should have found considerable difference between several glass globes from the same manufactory, as you inform us.
Independently of the natural properties of one kind of glass or another, arising from their particular composition, great differences may also result from the different thicknesses of their masses, were it from this consideration alone that the heat could not be precisely the same, nor the rapidity of cooling very nearly equal, in the different layers of very thick glass; without taking into the account that it seems almost impossible that the action of the electric fluid in motion should be effectually conveyed from one surface to another of a very massive body.
Lastly; it is equally easy to conceive that a considerable degree of heat, by rarefying the substance of thin glass, should open its pores to the electric fluid; but that the degree of heat must be in proportion to the thickness of the glass; and that Mr. Kinnersley found a heat of only two hundred and ten degrees (the point at which water boils, according to Fahrenheit’s thermometer), necessary to render the very thin glass of a Florence flask permeable to the electric shock, while Mr. Cavendish required a heat of four hundred degrees to make glass a little thicker permeable to the common stream.
My reason for wishing that some chemist would have the goodness to enlighten us upon all these points is, that too much pains cannot be taken to spare the lovers of natural philosophy any unnecessary expense; because this may turn some entirely aside from its pursuit, and somewhat damp the zeal of many others. I am, etc.,
TO M. LE ROY
London, 30 March, 1773.
You punish my delay of writing to you very properly by not writing to me. It is long since I have had the pleasure of hearing from you. But it is my fault, and I must for my own sake write to you oftener, though I have little to say, or you will quite forget me.
I thank you for your advice to send an English copy of my writings to the Academy, and shall do it as soon as the new edition now in hand here is finished.
I am glad you see some weight in the experiments I sent you concerning pointed rods. Mr. Wilson is grown angry that his advice was not followed in making them blunt for the public magazines of gunpowder, and has published a pamphlet reflecting on the Royal Society, the committee, and myself, with some asperity, and endeavoring to alarm the city with the supposed danger of pointed rods drawing the lightning into them and blowing them up. I find it is expected from me that I make some answer to it, and I shall do so, though I have an extreme aversion to public altercation on philosophic points, and have never yet disputed with any one who thought fit to attack my opinions. I am obliged to you for the experiment of the point and ring.
There is no being sure of any thing before it happens; but, considering the weight of your reputation, I think there is little reason to doubt the success of your friends’ endeavors to procure from our Society here the honor of adding you to their number at the next election. In the meantime will you for my sake confer the same kind of honor on our young Society at Philadelphia. When I found that our first volume of American Transactions was favorably received in Europe, and had procured us some reputation, I took the liberty of nominating you for a member, and you were accordingly chosen at a full meeting in Philadelphia on the 15th of January last. I sent a copy of that volume to the Academy of Sciences at Paris when it first came out, but I do not remember to have heard that they ever received it. I think it was Mr. Magalhaens who undertook to convey it. If it miscarried I will send another, and by the first opportunity one for yourself.
Two ships are now fitting out here by the Admiralty, at the request of the Royal Society, to make a voyage to the north pole or to go as near to it as the ice will permit. If they return safe we shall probably obtain some new geographical knowledge and some addition to natural history.
With the greatest esteem and respect, I am, etc.,
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 3 April, 1773.
My last was of the 9th past, since which nothing material has occurred relating to the colonies. The Assembly’s answer to Governor Hutchinson’s speech is not yet come over, but I find that even his friends here are apprehensive of some ill consequences from his forcing the Assembly into that dispute; and begin to say it was not prudently done, though they believe it meant well. I enclose for you two newspapers, in which it is mentioned. Lord Dartmouth the other day expressed his wish to me, that some means could be fallen upon to heal the breach. I took the freedom to tell him that he could do much in it, if he would exert himself. I think I see signs of relenting in some others. The Bishop of St. Asaph’s sermon before the Society for Propagating the Gospel is much talked of, for its catholic spirit and favorable sentiments relating to the colonies. I will endeavor to get a copy to send you. With great esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 6 April, 1773.
I received yours of February 2d, with the papers of information that accompany it.
I have sent to Mr. Galloway one of the Bishop of St. Asaph’s sermons, before your Society for Propagating the Gospel. I would have sent you one, but you will receive it of course as a member. It contains such liberal and generous sentiments, relating to the conduct of government here towards America, that Sir John Pringle says it was written in compliment to me. But, from the intimacy of friendship in which I live with the author, I know he has expressed nothing but what he thinks and feels; and I honor him the more, that, through the mere hope of doing good, he has hazarded the displeasure of the court, and of course the prospect of further preferment. Possibly, indeed, the ideas of the court may change; for I think I see some alarms at the discontents in New England, and some appearance of softening in the disposition of government, on the idea that matters have been carried too far there. But all depends upon circumstances and events. We govern from hand to mouth. There seems to be no wise, regular plan.
I saw Lord Dartmouth about two weeks since. He mentioned nothing to me of your application for additional salary, nor did I to him, for I do not like it. I fear it will embroil you with your people.
While I am writing comes to hand yours of March 2d. My letter by the October packet must have been sent, as usual, to the office by the bellman. That being, as you inform me, rubbed open, as some of yours to me have been, gives an additional circumstance of probability to the conjecture made in mine of December 2d. For the future I shall send letters of consequence to the office, when I use the packet conveyance, by my clerk.
Your accounts of the numbers of people, births, burials, etc., in your province will be very agreeable to me, and particularly so to Dr. Price. Compared with former accounts they will show the increase of your people, but not perfectly, as I think a great many have gone from New Jersey to the more southern colonies.
The Parliament is like to sit till the end of June, as Mr. Cooper tells me. I had thoughts of returning home about that time. The Boston Assembly’s answer to the governor’s speech, which I have just received, may possibly produce something here to occasion my longer stay. I am your affectionate father,
TO HIS DAUGHTER
London, 6 April, 1773.
I received your pleasing letter of January 5th. I am glad you have undertaken the care of the housekeeping, as it will be an ease to your mother, especially if you can manage to her approbation. That may perhaps be at first a difficulty. It will be of use to you if you get a habit of keeping exact accounts; and it will be some satisfaction to me to see them. Remember, for your encouragement in good economy, that whatever a child saves of its parents’ money, will be its own another day. Study Poor Richard a little, and you may find some benefit from his instructions. I long to be with you all, and to see your son. I pray God to bless him and you; being ever. Your affectionate father,
P. S.—Mrs. Stevenson and daughter send their love to you. The latter is near lying-in again. Her boy, my godson, is a very fine child, and begins to talk.
TO MR. GALLOWAY
London, 6 April, 1773.
I wrote to you on the 14th February, and on the 15th of March, since which I have received no line from you. This just serves to cover a sermon of my friend the Bishop of St. Asaph. You will find it replete with very liberal sentiments respecting America. I hope they will prevail here and be the foundation of a better understanding between the two countries. He is the more to be honored by us for this instance of his good-will, as his censure of the late conduct towards the colonies, however tenderly expressed, cannot recommend him at court, or conduce in the least to his promotion.
The Parliament is busy about India affairs, and as yet see no end of the business. It is thought they will sit till the end of June. An alliance with France and Spain is talked of; and a war with Prussia. But this may blow over. A war with France and Spain would be of more advantage to American liberty; every step would then be taken to conciliate our friendship, our grievances would be redressed, and our claims allowed. And this will be the case sooner or later. For as the House of Bourbon is most vulnerable in its American possessions, our hearty assistance in a war there must be of the greatest importance.
The affair of the grant goes on but slowly. I do not yet clearly see land. I begin to be a little of the sailor’s mind when they were landing a cable out of a store into a ship, and one of ’em said: “ ’T is a long heavy cable. I wish we could see the end of it.” “D—n me,” says another, “if I believe it has any end; somebody has cut it off.”
I beg leave to recommend to your civilities Mr. Robert Hare, who does me the favor to carry this letter. He bears an excellent character among all that know him here, and purposes settling in America to carry on there the brewing business.
With the sincerest esteem and affection, I am ever yours,
TO MR. COOMBE
London, 6 April, 1773.
I received a few welcome lines from you acquainting me with your safe arrival at Philadelphia, and promising me a long letter, which I suppose has miscarried. So I know nothing of your reception and engagements, your views, pursuits, or studies, or which would please you best from hence, new poetry or new sermons; for the better chance, therefore, of hitting your taste, I send you a sample of each, perhaps the best we have had since Pope and Tillotson. The poetry is allowed by the wits here to be neat classical satire. Finding a vacant niche in it, I have, with my pen, stuck up there a certain enemy of America. The just, liberal, and benevolent sentiments in my friend the Bishop’s sermon, do honor both to his head and heart; and the more, as he knows the doctrine cannot be relished at court, and therefore cannot conduce to his promotion. My respects to your good father, and believe me ever.
Your affectionate friend,
P. S.—Give me leave to recommend to your acquaintance and civilities, the bearer, Mr. Robert Hare, who bears an excellent character here, and has views of settling in America.
TO DEAN WOODWARD
London, 10 April, 1773.
Desirous of being revived in your memory, I take this opportunity, by my good friend Mrs. Blacker, of sending you a printed piece, and a manuscript, both on a subject you and I frequently conversed upon with concurring sentiments, when I had the pleasure of seeing you in Dublin. I have since had the satisfaction to learn that a disposition to abolish slavery prevails in North America, that many of the Pennsylvanians have set their slaves at liberty, and that even the Virginia Assembly have petitioned the king for permission to make a law for preventing the importation of more into that colony. This request, however, will probably not be granted, as their former laws of that kind have always been repealed, and as the interest of a few merchants here has more weight with government, than that of thousands at a distance.
Witness a late fact. The gaol distemper being frequently imported and spread in Virginia by the ships transporting convicts, occasioning the death of many honest, innocent people there, a law was made to oblige those ships arriving with that distemper to perform a quarantine. But the two merchants of London, contractors in that business, alleging that this might increase the expense of their voyages, the law was at their instance repealed here. With great esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, etc.,
TO WILLIAM DEANE
London, 11 April, 1773.
Miss Martin that was, now Mrs. Blacker, being about to return to Dublin, I cannot omit the opportunity it gives me of chatting a little with one whose conversation afforded me so much pleasure and instruction while I was there.
I know of nothing new here worth communicating to you, unless perhaps the new art of making carriage-wheels, the felloes of one piece, bent into a circle and surrounded by a hoop of iron, the whole very light and strong, there being no crossed grain in the wood, which is also a great saving of timber. The wood is first steamed in the vapor from boiling water, and then bent by a forcible machine. I have seen pieces of wood so bent of six inches wide, and three and a half thick, into a circle of four feet diameter. These, for duration, can only be exceeded by your iron wheels. Pray, have you completed that ingenious invention?
What is become of honest Mr. Ketilby? Does he go on with his printing schemes, or has he got into some better employment?
They tell us here that some person with you has discovered a new moving power, that may be of use in mechanical operations; that it consists in the explosion of iron tears chilled suddenly from the melting state in cold water. That explosion I have often seen in drops of glass with wonder, understanding it no more than they did in the time of Hudibras, who makes a simile of it, which I repeat, because it is probably so long since you read it:
- “Honor is like that glassy bubble,
- That gives philosophers so much trouble;
- Whose least part cracked, the whole does fly,
- And wits are cracked to find out why.”
May I ask you if you know any thing of the application of this power, of which I have not at present the smallest conception?
I have completed my stove, in which the smoke of the coal is all turned into flame, and operates as fuel in heating the room. I have used it all this winter, and find it answers even beyond my expectations. I propose to print a little description of its use and construction, and shall send you a copy.
I hope Billy and Jennie continue, and always will continue, as happy as when I knew them. My best wishes attend them, being as ever, with sincere esteem,
Your most obedient, humble servant,
TO M. DUBOURG
Your observations on the causes of death, and the experiments which you propose for recalling to life those who appeared to be killed by lightning, demonstrate equally your sagacity and your humanity. It appears that the doctrines of life and death in general are yet but little understood.
A toad buried in sand will live, it is said, till the sand becomes petrified, and then, being enclosed in the stone, it may still live for we know not how many ages. The facts which are cited in support of this opinion are too numerous and too circumstantial not to deserve a certain degree of credit. As we are accustomed to see all the animals with which we are acquainted eat and drink, it appears to us difficult to conceive how a toad can be supported in such a dungeon; but if we reflect that the necessity of nourishment which animals experience in their ordinary state proceeds from the continual waste of their substance by perspiration, it will appear less incredible that some animals in a torpid state, perspiring less because they use no exercise, should have less need of aliment, and that others, which are covered with scales or shells, which stop perspiration, such as land and sea turtles, serpents, and some species of fish, should be able to subsist a considerable time without any nourishment whatever. A plant, with its flowers, fades and dies immediately if exposed to the air without having its root immersed in a humid soil, from which it may draw a sufficient quantity of moisture to supply that which exhales from its substance and is carried off continually by the air. Perhaps, however, if it were buried in quicksilver it might preserve for a considerable space of time its vegetable life, its smell, and color. If this be the case, it might prove a commodious method of transporting from distant countries those delicate plants which are unable to sustain the inclemency of the weather at sea, and which require particular care and attention. I have seen an instance of common flies preserved in a manner somewhat similar. They had been drowned in Madeira wine, apparently about the time when it was bottled in Virginia to be sent hither (to London). At the opening of one of the bottles at the house of a friend where I then was three drowned flies fell into the first glass that was filled. Having heard it remarked that drowned flies were capable of being revived by the rays of the sun, I proposed making the experiment upon these. They were, therefore, exposed to the sun upon a sieve which had been employed to strain them out of the wine. In less than three hours two of them began by degrees to recover life. They commenced by some convulsive motions of the thighs, and at length they raised themselves upon their legs, wiped their eyes with their forefeet, beat and brushed their wings with their hind feet, and soon after began to fly, finding themselves in Old England, without knowing how they came thither. The third continued lifeless till sunset, when losing all hopes of him, he was thrown away.
I wish it were possible, from this instance, to invent a method of embalming drowned persons in such a manner that they may be recalled to life at any period, however distant; for having a very ardent desire to see and observe the state of America a hundred years hence, I should prefer to any ordinary death the being immersed in a cask of Madeira wine with a few friends till that time, to be then recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country! But since in all probability we live in an age too early and too near the infancy of science to hope to see such an art brought in our time to its perfection, I must for the present content myself with the treat which you are so kind as to promise me of the resurrection of a fowl or a turkey-cock.
I am, etc.,
TO MESSRS. DUBOURG AND DALIBARD
My Dear Friends:—
My answer to your questions concerning the mode of rendering meat tender by electricity, can only be founded upon conjecture; for I have not experiments enough to warrant the facts. All that I can say at present is, that I think electricity might be employed for this purpose, and I shall state what follows as the observations or reasons which make me presume so.
It has been observed that lightning, by rarefying and reducing into vapor the moisture contained in solid wood, in an oak, for instance, has forcibly separated its fibres, and broken it into small splinters; that, by penetrating intimately the hardest metals, as iron, it has separated the parts in an instant, so as to convert a perfect solid into a state of fluidity; it is not then improbable, that the same subtile matter, passing through the bodies of animals with rapidity, should possess sufficient force to produce an effect nearly similar.
The flesh of animals, fresh killed in the usual manner, is firm, hard, and not in a very eatable state, because the particles adhere too forcibly to each other. At a certain period, the cohesion is weakened, and, in its progress towards putrefaction, which tends to produce a total separation, the flesh becomes what we call tender, or is in that state most proper to be used as our food.
It has frequently been remarked, that animals killed by lightning putrefy immediately. This cannot be invariably the case, since a quantity of lightning, sufficient to kill, may not be sufficient to tear and divide the fibres and particles of flesh, and reduce them to that tender state which is the prelude to putrefaction. Hence it is, that some animals killed in this manner will keep longer than others. But the putrefaction sometimes proceeds with surprising celerity. A respectable person assured me that he once knew a remarkable instance of this. A whole flock of sheep in Scotland, being closely assembled under a tree, were killed by a flash of lightning; and, it being rather late in the evening, the proprietor, desirous of saving something, sent persons early the next morning to flay them; but the putrefaction was such, and the stench so abominable, that they had not the courage to execute their orders, and the bodies were accordingly buried in their skins. It is not unreasonable to presume, that, between the period of their death and that of their putrefaction, a time intervened in which the flesh might be only tender, and only sufficiently so to be served at table. Add to this, that persons, who have eaten of fowls killed by our feeble imitation of lightning (electricity), and dressed immediately, have asserted that the flesh was remarkably tender.
The little utility of this practice has perhaps prevented its being much adopted. For, though it some times happens, that a company unexpectedly arriving at a country-house, or an unusual conflux of travellers to an inn, may render it necessary to kill a number of animals for immediate use; yet, as travellers have commonly a good appetite, little attention has been paid to the trifling inconvenience of having their meat a little tough. As this kind of death is nevertheless more sudden, and consequently less severe, than any other, if this should operate as a motive with compassionate persons to employ it for animals sacrificed for their use, they may conduct the process thus:
Having prepared a battery of six large glass jars (each from twenty to twenty-four pints) as for the Leyden experiment, and having established a communication, as usual, from the interior surface of each with the prime conductor, and having given them a full charge (which, with a good machine, may be executed in a few minutes, and may be estimated by an electrometer), a chain which communicates with the exterior of the jars must be wrapped round the thighs of the fowl; after which the operator, holding it by the wings, turned back and made to touch behind, must raise it so high that the head may receive the first shock from the prime conductor. The animal dies instantly. Let the head be immediately cut off to make it bleed, when it may be plucked and dressed immediately. This quantity of electricity is supposed sufficient for a turkey of ten pounds’ weight, and perhaps for a lamb. Experience alone will inform us of the requisite proportions for animals of different forms and ages. Probably not less will be required to render a small bird, which is very old, tender, than for a larger one, which is young. It is easy to furnish the requisite quantity of electricity, by employing a greater or less number of jars. As six jars, however, discharged at once, are capable of giving a very violent shock, the operator must be very circumspect, lest he should happen to make the experiment on his own flesh, instead of that of the fowl.
TO M. DUBOURG
4 May, 1773.
——The young physician whom I mentioned is dead, and all the notes which he had left of his curious experiments are by some accident lost between our friends Sir John Pringle and Dr. Huck (Saunders); but these gentlemen, if the papers cannot be recovered, it is to be presumed, will repeat the experiments themselves.
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 6 May, 1773.
I have received none of your favors since that of November 28th. I have since written to you of the following dates: December 2d, January 5th, March 9th, and April 3d, which I hope got safe to hand.
The Council and Assembly’s answer to Governor Hutchinson’s speech I caused to be printed here as soon as I received them. His reply I see since printed also, but their rejoinder is not yet come. If he intended, by reviving that dispute, to recommend himself, he has greatly missed his aim; for the administration are chagrined with his officiousness, their intention having been to let all contention subside and by degrees suffer matters to return to the old channel. They are now embarrassed by his proceedings; for if they lay the governor’s despatches, containing the declaration of the General Court, before Parliament, they apprehend measures may be taken that will widen the breach, which would be more particularly inconvenient at this time, when the disturbed state of Europe gives some apprehensions of a general war. On the other hand, if they do not lay them before Parliament, they give advantage to opposition against themselves, on some future occasion, in a charge of criminal neglect. Some say he must be a fool; others that, through some misinformation, he really supposed Lord Hillsborough to be again in office.
Yesterday I had a conversation with Lord Dartmouth, of which I think it right to give you some account. On my saying that I had no late advices from Boston, and asking if his Lordship had any, he said: “None since the governor’s second speech; but what difficulties that gentleman has brought us all into by his imprudence! Though I suppose he meant well, yet what can now be done? It is impossible that Parliament can suffer such a declaration of the General Assembly, asserting its independency, to pass unnoticed.” “In my opinion,” said I, “it would be better and more prudent to take no notice of it. It is words only. Acts of Parliament are still submitted to there. No force is used to obstruct their execution. And, while that is the case, Parliament would do well to turn a deaf ear, and seem not to know that such declarations had ever been made. Violent measures against the province will not change the opinion of the people. Force could do no good.” “I do not know,” said he, “that force would be thought of; but perhaps an act may pass to lay them under some inconveniences till they rescind that declaration. Can they not withdraw it? I wish they could be persuaded to reconsider the matter and do it of themselves voluntarily, and thus leave things between us on the old footing—the points undiscussed. Don’t you think,” continued his Lordship, “such a thing possible?” “No, my Lord,” said I, “I think it is impossible. If they were even to wish matters back in the situation before the governor’s speech, and the dispute obliterated, they cannot withdraw their answers till he first withdraws his speech, which methinks would be an awkward operation that perhaps he will hardly be directed to perform. As to an act of Parliament, laying that country under inconveniences, it is likely that it will only put them, as heretofore, on some method of incommoding this country till the act is repealed; and so we shall go on injuring and provoking each other instead of cultivating that good-will and harmony so necessary to the general welfare.”
He said that might be, and he was sensible our divisions must weaken the whole; “for we are yet one empire,” said he, “whatever may be the sentiments of the Massachusetts Assembly;” but he did not see how that could be avoided. He wondered, as the dispute was now of public notoriety, Parliament had not already called for the despatches; and he thought he could not omit much longer the communicating them, however unwilling he was to do it, from his apprehension of the consequences. “But what,” his Lordship was pleased to say, “if you were in my place, would or could you do? Would you hazard the being called to account in some future session of Parliament for keeping back the communication of despatches of such importance?” I said his Lordship could best judge what in his situation was the fittest for him to do. “I could only give my poor opinion with regard to Parliament, that, supposing the despatches laid before them, they would act most prudently in ordering them to lie on the table, and take no further notice of them. For were I as much an Englishman as I am an American, and ever so desirous of establishing the authority of Parliament, I protest to your Lordship I cannot conceive of a single step the Parliament can take to increase it that will not tend to diminish it, and after abundance of desirous they must finally lose it. The loss in itself perhaps would not be of much consequence, because it is an authority they can never well exercise for want of due information and knowledge, and therefore it is not worth hazarding the mischief to preserve it.”
Then adding my wishes that I could be of any service in healing our differences, his Lordship said: “I do not see any thing of more service than prevailing on the General Assembly, if you can do it, to withdraw their answers to the governor’s speech.” “There is not,” says I, “the least probability they will ever do that; for the country is all of one mind upon the subject. Perhaps the governor may have represented to your Lordship that these are the opinions of a party only, and that great numbers are of different sentiments, which may in time prevail. But if he does not deceive himself, he deceives your Lordship; for in both Houses, notwithstanding the influence appertaining to his office, there was not, in sending up those answers, a single dissenting voice.” “I do not recollect,” says his Lordship, “that the governor has written any thing of that kind. I am told, however, by gentlemen from that country, who pretend to know it, that there are many of the governor’s opinion, but they dare not show their sentiments.” “I never heard,” said I, “that any one has suffered violence for siding with the governor.” “Not violence, perhaps,” said his Lordship, “but they are reviled and held in contempt, and people do not care to incur the disesteem and displeasure of their neighbors.”
As I knew Governor Bernard had been in with his Lordship just before me, I thought he was probably one of these gentlemen informants, and therefore said: “People who are engaged in any party or have advised any measures are apt to magnify the numbers of those who would have understood as approving their measures.” His Lordship said that was natural to suppose might be the present case; for whoever observed the conduct of parties here must have seen it a constant practice, and he agreed with me that though a nemine contradicente did not prove the absolute agreement of every man in the opinion voted, it, at least, demonstrated the great prevalence of that opinion.
Thus ended our conference. I shall watch this business till the Parliament rises, and endeavor to make people in general as sensible of the inconveniences to this country that may attend a continuance of the contest, as the Spitalfields weavers seem already to be in their petition to the king, which I herewith send you. I have already the pleasure to find that my friend, the Bishop of St. Asaph’s sermon is universally approved and applauded, which I take to be no bad symptom. With sincere esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, sir, etc.,
TO M. DUBOURG
London, 1 June, 1773.
I wish, with you, that some chemist (who should, if possible, be at the same time an electrician) would, in pursuance of the excellent hints contained in your letter, undertake to work upon glass with the view you have recommended. By means of a perfect knowledge of this substance, with respect to its electrical qualities, we might proceed with more certainty as well in making our own experiments, as in repeating those which have been made by others in different countries, which, I believe, have frequently been attended with different success on account of differences in the glass employed, thence occasioning frequent misunderstandings and contrariety of opinions.
There is another circumstance much to be desired with respect to glass, and that is, that it should not be subject to break when highly charged in the Leyden experiment. I have known eight jars broken out of twenty, and, at another time, twelve out of thirty-five. A similar loss would greatly discourage electricians desirous of accumulating a great power for certain experiments. We have never been able hitherto to account for the course of such misfortunes. The first idea which occurs is, that the positive electricity, being accumulated on one side of the glass, rushes violently through it, in order to supply the deficiency on the other side and to restore the equilibrium. This, however, I cannot conceive to be the true reason, when I consider that, a great number of jars being united, so as to be charged and discharged at the same time, the breaking of a single jar will discharge the whole; for, if the accident proceeded from the weakness of the glass, it is not probable that eight of them should be precisely of the same degree of weakness, as to break every one at the same instant, it being more likely that the weakest should break first, and, by breaking, secure the rest; and again, when it is necessary to produce a certain effect, by means of the whole charge passing through a determined circle (as, for instance, to melt a small wire), if the charge, instead of passing in this circle, rushed through the sides of the jars, the intended effect would not be produced; which, however is contrary to fact. For these reasons, I suspect, that there is, in the substance of the glass, either some little globules of air, or some portions of unvitrified sand or salt, into which a quantity of the electric fluid may be forced during the charge, and there retained till the general discharge; and that the force being suddenly withdrawn, the elasticity of the fluid acts upon the glass in which it is enclosed, not being able to escape hastily without breaking the glass. I offer this only as a conjecture, which I leave to others to examine.
The globe which I had that could not be excited, though it was from the same glass-house which furnished the other excellent globes in my possession, was not of the same frit. The glass which was usually manufactured there, was rather of the green kind, and chiefly intended for drinking-glasses and bottles; but, the proprietors being desirous of attempting a trial of white glass, the globe in question was of this frit. The glass not being of a perfect white, the proprietors were dissatisfied with it, and abandoned their project. I suspected that too great a quantity of salt was admitted into the composition, but I am no judge of these matters.
TO MR. COLDEN
London, 2 June, 1773.
I received yours of April 7th enclosing Coningham and Nesbit’s bill on D. Harvey & Co. for £200, with which your account is credited. In my last I acknowledged the receipt of Christie’s renewed bill for £338 17 2½.
I am glad the last year’s accounts are to come by the next packet, for then we shall have the whole settled and passed together, there having been a delay for some time, occasioned by the mislaying of a preceding account at the office. If at the settlement any thing new should be required in the mode of rendering your accounts, I shall acquaint you with it.
I admire your good father’s rare felicity in retaining so long his health and spirits, and particularly that vigor of his mental faculties which enables him still to amuse himself with abstruse philosophical disquisitions. For my own part, every thing of difficult discussion, and that requires close attention of mind, and an application of long continuance, grows rather irksome to me, and where there is not some absolute necessity for it, as in the settlement of accounts, or the like, I am apt to indulge the indolence usually attending age, in postponing such business from time to time; though continually resolving to do it. This has been the case with regard to your father’s philosophical piece on the principles of vital motion, which he did me the honor some time since to desire my opinion of. I have read it carefully, and long intended to read it with close attention, and still intend it, but what with business that takes up so much of my time, interruptions of various kinds, and the indolence I have above confessed, I have hitherto put it off. In my voyage home which I am now preparing for, I promise myself to study it thoroughly, so that if I have the happiness once more of meeting him, we may discourse of it together. In the meantime, present my best respects to him, and believe me, with great regard, dear sir,
Your most obedient, humble servant,
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 2 June, 1773.
Since my last of the 6th past, I have been honored with yours of March 6th and 24th, enclosing a petition to the king, and a letter to Lord Dartmouth. On considering the whole, I concluded that a longer delay of presenting the first petition and remonstrance was not likely to answer any good purpose, and therefore immediately waited on Lord Dartmouth, and delivered to him the letter, and the second petition, at the same time re-delivering the first, and pressed his Lordship to present them to his Majesty, which he promised to do.
Enclosed I send you the answer I have just received from him, as this day’s packet (the mail for which is to be made up and despatched in a few hours) is the earliest opportunity, the ships for Boston not being to sail till the beginning of next week. By one of them I shall send a copy, with what observations occur to me on the occasion, which the time will not now permit me to write. In the meanwhile I would just beg leave to say that I hope the House will come to no hasty resolves upon it. The longer they deliberate, the more maturely they consider, the greater weight will attend their resolutions. With sincere respect, I am, sir, etc.,
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 4 June, 1773.
The above is a copy of mine per packet, which enclosed the original of his Majesty’s answer to our petitions and remonstrance. I now send an exact copy of the same, which I did intend to accompany with some observations and my sentiments on the general state of our affairs in this country, and the conduct proper for us to hold on this occasion. But, beginning to write, I find the matter too copious, and the subject, on reflection, too important to be treated of in a hasty letter; and, being told the ships sail to-morrow, I must postpone it to another opportunity.
It was thought at the beginning of the session that the American duty on tea would be taken off. But now the wise scheme is to take off so much duty here as will make tea cheaper in America than foreigners can supply us, and confine the duty there, to keep up the exercise of the right.
They have no idea that any people can act from any other principle but that of interest; and they believe that three pence in a pound of tea, of which one does perhaps drink ten pounds in a year, is sufficient to overcome all the patriotism of an American.
I purpose soon to write you very fully. As to the letters I communicated to you, though I have not been able to obtain leave to take copies or publish them, I have permission to let the originals remain with you as long as you may think it of any use to have them in possession. With great esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, sir, etc.,
FROM SAMUEL COOPER
Boston, 14 June, 1773.
We have received high eulogiums upon the replies of our Council and Commons from gentlemen of the most respectable characters in the other colonies, where there evidently appears an increasing regard for this province, and an inclination to unite for the common safety. Virginia has led the way by proposing a communication and correspondence between all the assemblies through the continent. The letter from their committee for this purpose was received here with no little joy, and the proposal agreed to in the most ready and respectful manner. Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire have already chosen committees, so that all New England is now united with Virginia in this salutary plan, and the accession of most, if not all, of the other colonies is not doubted. This opens a most agreeable prospect to the friends of our common rights.
In my last I mentioned to you my having had a sight of some letters that had been transmitted to the Speaker, with leave to communicate them to me and some others in confidence. I soon apprehended from the nature of the contents and the number of persons to whom they were directed to be shown, that they could not long remain secret. However, I have preserved inviolable the trust reposed in me. Some, not named by you as confidants, had hints from London that such letters were come or coming, and began to suspect they were concealed in favor of the writers. The secret was kept till the meeting of the General Court, when so many members had obtained such general intimations of it as to render them extremely inquisitive and solicitous. At last it was thought best to communicate them to the House, with the restrictions that accompanied them here. The House could not act upon them with those restrictions, but the substance of them was known everywhere, and the alarm given. Soon after, copies of them were brought into the House, said to have come from England by the last ships.
Many members scrupled to act upon these copies while they were under such public engagements to the unknown proprietor of the originals. As the matter was now so public, and the restrictions could answer no good end, no view of the sender, but on the contrary might prevent in a great measure a proper use of the letters for the public benefit, and for weakening the influence and power of the writers and their friends, and disarming their revenge, it was judged most expedient, by the gentlemen to whom they were first shown, to allow the House such a use of the originals as they might think necessary to found their proceedings upon for the common safety. By whom and to whom they were sent is still a secret, known only to three persons here, and may still remain so, if you desire it.
I forgot to mention that, upon the first appearance of the letters in the House, they voted, by a majority of one hundred and one to five, that the design and tendency of them were to subvert the constitution and introduce arbitrary power. Their committee upon this matter reported this day a number of resolutions, which are to be printed by to-morrow morning, and every member furnished with a copy, that they may compare them with the letters; and to-morrow at three o’clock in the afternoon is the time appointed to decide upon the report. The acceptance of it by a great majority is not doubted.
Should the vessel that is to carry this letter remain long enough, I will send you a copy of the resolutions. Nothing could have been more seasonable than the arrival of these letters. They have had great effect; they make deep impressions wherever they are known; they strip the mask from the writers, who, under the professions of friendship to their country, now plainly appear to have been endeavoring to build up themselves and their families upon its ruins. They and their adherents are shocked and dismayed; the confidence reposed in them by many is annihilated; and administration must soon see the necessity of putting the provincial power of the crown into other hands, if they mean it should operate to any good effect. This, at present, is almost the universal sentiment.
The House have this day sent up the letters to the Board, which, I believe, will concur with them in the substance and spirit of their proceedings. We are highly indebted to our friends in London, and to you, sir, in particular, for so important a communication, and hope, while it supports the cause of truth and justice, and promotes the deliverance of this abused and oppressed country, it will be attended with no disadvantage to them.
The inconveniences that may accidently arise from such generous interpositions are abundantly compensated by the reflection that they tend to the security and happiness of millions. I trust, however, that nothing of this kind will occur to disturb the agreeable feelings of those who, in this instance, have done such extensive good. With great esteem, I am, etc.,
TO M. LE ROY
London, 22 June, 1773.
However glad I was of the occasion, I forbore indulging myself in the pleasure of congratulating by the first post, my dear double confrère, on his election into our Royal Society, because Mr. Walsh undertook to give you the information, which would make a second expense unnecessary, and I saw I should soon have this opportunity by the favor of M. Poissonnière. I rejoice in the event, as you seemed anxiously concerned about it, and as we have done ourselves honor in distinguishing and associating a merit so universally known and acknowledged.
I am pleased to hear that you are engaged in the consideration of hospitals. I wish any observations of mine could be of use to you, they should be at your service. But it is a subject I am very little acquainted with. I can only say that, if a free and copious respiration is of use in diseases, that seems, from the experiments I mentioned to M. Dubourg, to be best obtained by light covering and fresh air continually changing; the moisture on the skin, when the body is warmly covered, being a deception, and the effect, not of greater transpiration, but of the saturation of the air included under and in the bedclothes, which therefore can absorb no more, and so leaves it on the surface of the body. From these experiments I am convinced of what I indeed before suspected, that the opinion of perspiration being checked by cold is an error, as well as that of rheum being occasioned by cold. But as this is heresy here, and perhaps may be so with you, I only whisper it and expect you will keep my secret. Our physicians have begun to discover that fresh air is good for people in the smallpox and other fevers. I hope in time they will find out that it does no harm to people in health.
We have nothing new here in the philosophic way. I shall like to hear how M. Lavoisier’s doctrine supports itself, as I suppose it will be controverted.
With the greatest esteem, I am ever, dear sir,
Yours most affectionately,
P. S.—Enclosed I send you some pamphlets relative to our American affairs for your amusement. Sir John Pringle bids me present his compliments. He interested himself much in the election.
FROM THOMAS CUSHING
- Province of Massachusetts Bay,
25 June, 1773.
The House of Representatives have lately had divers letters, signed Thomas Hutchinson, Andrew Oliver, etc., laid before them, attested copies of which you have enclosed; and after maturely considering their contents, they have voted as their sense that the tendency and design of said letters appear to have been to overthrow the constitution of this government, and to introduce arbitrary power into this province; and have passed sundry resolves respecting these letters, which accompany this letter. They have also agreed upon and passed a petition to his Majesty, which you will receive with this enclosure, praying that his Excellency, Thomas Hutchinson, governor, and Andrew Oliver, lieutenant-governor, of this province, be removed from the posts they hold within this government; which petition you are desired, as soon as possible, to present to his Majesty; and, as the persons aforenamed have by their conduct rendered themselves very obnoxious, and have entirely lost the confidence of this people, you are desired to use your interest and influence to support said petition, that it may have its desired effect; and you are further directed to employ Arthur Lee as counsel upon this occasion, and any other counsel you may think proper.
You are desired also to take effectual care that the several petitions, relative to the governor and judges of the Superior Court receiving their support from the crown, independent of the grants of the people, may be (if they have not already been) immediately laid before his Majesty, and strenuously supported; as they are matters that very nearly and essentially affect our happy constitution, the preservation of which in a great measure depends upon their meeting with a favorable reception and answer. I have the honor to be, etc.,
TO M. DUBOURG
London, 29 June, 1773.
I have not time now to write what I intended upon the cause of colds, or rheums; and my opinions on that head are so singular here that I am almost afraid to hazard them abroad. In the meantime, be so kind as to tell me at your leisure whether in France you have a general belief, that moist air, and cold air, and damp shirts or sheets, and wet floors, and beds that have not been lately used, and clothes that have not been lately worn, and going out of a warm room into the air, and leaving off a long-worn waistcoat, and wearing leaky shoes, and sitting near an open door or window, or in a coach with both glasses down, are all or any of them capable of giving the distemper we call a cold, and you a rheum, or catarrh? Or are these merely English ideas?
I am ever, with the greatest esteem and respect,
Dear sir, yours, etc.,
PREPARATORY NOTES AND HINTS FOR WRITING A PAPER CONCERNING WHAT IS CALLED CATCHING COLD
Definition of a Cold
It is a siziness and thickness of the blood, whereby the smaller vessels are obstructed, and the perspirable matter retained, which being retained offends both by its quantity and quality; by quantity, as it outfills the vessels, and by its quality, as part of it is acrid, and being retained, produces coughs and sneezing by irritation.
How this Siziness is Produced
1. By being long exposed in a cold air, without exercise; cold thickens glue.
2. By a diminished perspiration, either first from breathing and living in moist air, or, second, from the clogging of the pores by clammy sweat dried on and fastening down the scales of the skin; or, thirdly, by cold constringing the pores partially or totally, sleeping or waking; or, fourthly, by having eat food of too gross particles for free perspiration, as oysters, pork duck, etc. People are found frequently costive after much bathing.
3. By repletion, as when more is thrown into the habit by eating and drinking than common perspiration is capable of discharging in due time; whence the vessels are distended beyond their spring, and the quantity of contained fluid, that should be briskly moved to preserve or acquire a due thinness, is too weighty for their force, whence a slow motion,—thence viscidity. This repletion is increased by a constipation of the belly happening at the same time. In an approaching cold, more water is made than usual.
4. By cooling suddenly in the air after exercise. Exercise quickening the circulation, produces more perspirable matter in a given time than is produced in rest. And though more is likewise usually discharged during exercise, yet on sudden quitting of exercise, and standing in the air, the circulation and production of perspirable matter still continuing some time, the over quantity is retained. It is safer not to go into water too cold.
5. By particular effluvia in the air, from some unknown cause. General colds throughout a country. By being in a coach close, or small room with a person having a cold.
6. By relaxation of the solids, from a warm and moist air, so that they are too weak to give due motion to the fluids.
Of partial colds affecting parts only of the body.
Causes of feverishness attending colds.
Ill consequences often attending colds, as pleurisies, consumptions, etc. Some never taking cold, some frequently; cause of the difference.
Present remedies for a cold should be warming, diluting, bracing.
Means of preventing cold; temperance, choice of meats and drinks, warm rooms, and lodging and clothing in winter; dry air, care to keep the belly open, and frequent discharge of water; warm bathing to cleanse the skin; rubbing after sweat, especially in the spring.
Difficulties that first put me on thinking on this subject. People get cold by less, and not by more, viz.:
- By putting a damp shirt on a dry body,—Yes.
- By putting on a dry shirt on a wet body, though this wets the shirt ten times more,—No.
- By sitting in a room where the floor has been newly washed,—Yes.
- By going into a river and staying there an hour (no sheets so wet),—No.
- By wetting the feet only,—Yes.
- By wetting all the clothes through to the body, and wearing them a whole day,—No.
- By sitting in a room against a crevice,—Yes.
- By sitting as long in the open air,—No.
Few of these effects take place if the vessels are kept empty.
Reapers in Pennsylvania:—
- Drinking cold water when they are hot.
- If it makes them sweat, they are safe.
- If not, they fall ill, and some die.
- People hot should drink by spoonfuls; the reason.
Taking cold.—The disorder only called so in English, and in no other language.
American Indians in the woods, and the whites in imitation of them, lie with their feet to the fire in frosty nights, and take no cold while they can keep their feet warm.
Feet and hands apt to be cold in that disorder, and why? Is it the siziness, or the greater evaporation?
Hottentots grease themselves,—occasions other evacuations more plentiful. Greasing keeps the body warm. Bad to hold the water too long. Parts colder when first unclothed than afterwards, why?
It was a disgrace among the ancient Persians to cough or spit.
Probably as it argued intemperance.
Vessels when too full leak. Quicksilver through leather. Thin fluid leaked evaporates. Corners of eyes, etc. Sizy will not all evaporate. What is left corrupts. Hence consumptions. Hectic fevers from absorption of putrid pus. It ferments the blood like yeast.
People seldom get cold at sea, though they sleep in wet clothes. Constant exercise, moderate living. Bad cooks. Yet air is very moist. Wet floors. Sea surrounding, etc.
Exercise cures a cold. Bishop Williams riding several times from London, or Exeter, or Salisbury.
Bark good for a cold, taken early.
Particular parts more accustomed to discharge the irritating perspirable matter, as under the arms in some, feet in others, etc.
Experiment of two razors.
Every pain or disorder now ascribed to a cold.
It is the covering excuse of all intemperance.
Numbers of people in a close room, and exercising there, fill the air with putrid particles.
People killed by House of Commons, breathing the air through holes in ceiling.
Think they get cold by coming out of such hot rooms; they get them by being in.
Those who live in hotter rooms (stoves) get no colds.
Germans and all the Northern people.
Alderman and turtle.
People remark they were very well before a cold, and ate hearty. Wonder how they catched it.
Signs of Temperance
- Mouth not clammy after sleep.
- Saliva thin and watery.
- Eyelids not stuck together with hard glue.
- Voice clear.
- No phlegm to raise.
Advice for mode of general temperance without appearing too singular.
Supper not bad after preparatory light dinner.
May be rectified by slight breakfast next morning. He must be too full that one excess will much disorder.
Time of great meal mended of late.
One hour variation of compass in twenty years.
After dinner not fit for business.
People from the country get cold when they come to London, and why? Full living, with moist air. London air generally moist, why? Much putrid air in London. Silver, etc.
Cooks and doctors should change maxims.
Common sense more common among the common Scotch.
Those who do not compare cannot conceive the difference between themselves and themselves in full or spare living.
- Wet newspapers, why give colds.
- Old libraries and damp old books.
- Putrid animal matter in paper size.
- Courts should not sit after dinner.
- Juries fast, a good institution.
Chess—Impatience of deliberation because more difficult. Writing, etc.
Most follies arise from full feeding. Reasons pro and con not at all present.
- Temperate nation wisest.
- Dining entertainments bad.
- Remains of barbarism,—expensive.
- Full feeding of children stupefies.
Fasting strengthens reason rather than subdues passion.
People often do not get cold when they think they do, and do when they think they do not.
Causes of cold are primary and secondary.
Colds are of different kinds, putrid and plethoric.
Scarce any air abroad so unwholesome as air in a close room often breathed.
Warm air dissolves more moisture than cold.
In hot countries men wrap themselves in wet sheets to sleep.
A general service to redeem people from the slavish fear of getting cold by showing them where the danger is not, and that where it is, it is in their power to avoid it.
Surfeit, an expression formerly used, now laid aside.
Costiveness occasioning colds, how to be prevented.
Colds formerly called rheums and catarrhs.
Particular foods said to engender rheums.
Query.—Is Mr. Wood more or less subject to catch cold since he betook himself to his low diet?
Answer (by Mr. Wood).—He now finds himself much more healthy, and much less liable to catch cold. What few colds he now catches are so very slight, that he is not sensible of them, but from the urine, which is then not so clear.
I caused the above question to be asked Mr. Wood, and obtained the answer. It is the Mr. Wood who lives upon a pound of flour in a pudding.
Dampier, speaking of the customs of the people at Mindanoo (p. 330) says: “You see abundance of people in the river from morning to night washing their bodies or clothes; they strip and stand naked till they have done; then put them on and march out again.”
Dr. Gregory says: “All that class of diseases which arise from catching cold, is only found among the civilized part of mankind. An old Roman or an Indian, in the pursuit of war or hunting, would plunge into a river whilst in a profuse sweat, without fear, and without danger. The greater care we take to prevent catching cold, by the various contrivances of modern luxury, the more we become subject to it. We can guard against cold only by rendering ourselves superior to its influence. There is a striking instance of this in the vigorous constitutions of children who go thinly clad in all seasons and weathers.”
The coats of the vessels are a kind of network, which contains the fluids only when not so pressed as to enlarge the pores of the net, or when the fluids are not so pressed as to break the cohesion of the globules or particles, so as to make them small enough to come through. When the vessels are full, occasioned by a course of full living, they labor in carrying on the circulation; their spring or power of contraction and compressing the fluids they contain, being over strained is weakened, the circulation proceeds more slowly, the fluids thicken and become more gluey, both for want of due churning and because less heat is produced in the body. Such a body requires more aid of clothing and fire to preserve its warmth.
If a person in that state of body walks a mile or two, or uses any other exercise that warms him, the fluids are rarefied by the heat, distend the vessels still more, and the thinner parts of the fluids in tender places force out through the pores of the vessels in form of a gluey water, viz.: at the eyes, within the nose, and within the lungs. This is moderate exercise.
If the exercise is increased it comes through every pore in the skin, and is called sweat.
The more volatile parts of this extravasated fluid evaporate, and fly off in the air; the gluey part remains, thickens, and hardens more or less, as it becomes more or less dry; in the nose and on the lungs, where air is continually coming and going, it soon becomes a mucus, but can hardly grow drier because surrounded with moist parts and supplied with more moisture. What oozes out of the corner of the eye when shut, as in sleep, hardens into what is called a kind of gum, being in fact dry glue.
This in a morning almost sticks the eyelids together.
With such mucous matter the nose is sometimes almost stopped, and must be cleared by strong blowing.
In the windpipe and on the lungs it gathers and is impacted, so as sometimes to induce a continual coughing and hawking to discharge it.
If not easily discharged, but remaining long adhering to the lungs, it corrupts and inflames the parts it is in contact with; even behind the ears and between the parts of the body so constantly in contact, that the perspirable matter, sweat, etc., cannot easily escape from between them; the skin is inflamed by it, and a partial putrefaction begins to take place, they corrupt and ulcerate. The vessels being thus wounded, discharge greater and continual quantities. Hence consumption.
Part of the corrupted matter, absorbed again by the vessels and mixed with the blood, occasions hectic fevers.
When the body has sweated, not from a dissolution of fluids, but from the force above mentioned, as the sweat dries off, some clammy substance remains in the pores, which closes many of them, wholly or in part. The subsequent perspiration is hereby lessened.
The perspirable matter consists of parts approaching to putrefaction, and therefore destined by nature to be thrown off, that living bodies might not putrefy, which otherwise, from their warmth and moisture, they would be apt to do.
These corrupting particles, if continually thrown off, the remainder of the body continues uncorrupt, or approaches no nearer to a state of putrefaction. Just as in boiling water, no greater degree of heat than the boiling heat can be acquired, because the particles that grow hotter, as fast as they become so, fly off in vapor. But if the vapor could be retained, water might be made much hotter, perhaps red-hot, as oil may, which is not so subject to evaporation. So if the perspirable matter is retained it remixes with blood, and produces first, a slight putrid fever, attending always what we call a cold, and when retained in a great degree, more mischievous putrid diseases.
In hot countries, exercise of body with the heat of the climate create much of this putrid perspirable matter, which ought to be discharged. A check is in those countries very pernicious; putrid malignant violent fevers, and speedy death, the consequence.
Its discharge is also checked another way besides that of closing the pores, viz., by being in an air already full of it, as in close rooms containing great numbers of people, play-houses, ball-rooms, etc.
For air containing a quantity of any kind of vapor, becomes thereby less capable of imbibing more of that vapor, and finally will take no more of it.
If the air will not take it off from the body, it must remain in the body; and the perspiration is as effectually stopped, and the perspirable matter as certainly retained, as if the pores were all stopped.
A lock of wet wool contained in a nutmeg-grater, may dry, parting with its moisture through the holes of the grater. But if you stop all those holes with wax it will never dry. Nor, if exposed to the open air, will it dry when the air is as moist as itself. On the contrary, if already dry, and exposed to moist air, it would acquire moisture.
Thus people in rooms heated by a multitude of people, find their own bodies heated; thence the quantity of perspirable matter is increased that should be discharged, but the air, not being changed, grows so full of the same matter, that it will receive no more. So the body must retain it. The consequence is that next day, perhaps sooner, a slight putrid fever comes on, with all the marks of what we call a cold, and the disorder is supposed to be got by coming out of a warm room, whereas it was really taken while in that room.
Putrid ferments beget their like.—Small-pox—Wet rotten paper, containing corrupt glue. The cold fever communicable by the breath to others, etc.
Urine retained, occasions sneezing, etc.
Coughing and spitting continually, marks of intemperance.
People eat much more than is necessary.
Proportionable nourishment and strength is not drawn from great eating.
The succeeding meals force the preceding through half-undigested.
Small meals continue longer in the body, and are more thoroughly digested.
The vessels being roomy can bear and receive without hurt, an accidental excess.
They can concrete more easily.
There is less quantity of corrupting particles produced.
- Putrid fish very bad.
- Black Hole in the Indies.
QUERIES ON ELECTRICITY, FROM DR. INGENHOUSZ, WITH ANSWERS BY DR. FRANKLIN
If the electrical fluid is truly accumulated on the inside of a Leyden phial, and expelled in the same proportion from the other side, why are the particles of glass not all thrown outwards, when the phial being overcharged breaks, or is perforated by a spontaneous explosion?
By the circumstances that have appeared to me, in all the jars that I have seen perforated at the time of their explosion, I have imagined that the charge did not pass by those perforations. Several single jars, that have broke while I was charging them, have shown, besides the perforation in the body, a trace on both sides of the neck, where the polish of the glass was taken off the breadth of a straw, which proved that great part at least of the charge, probably all, had passed over that trace. I was once present at the discharge of a battery containing thirty jars, of which eight were perforated and spoilt at the time of the discharge, yet the effect of the charge on the bodies upon which it was intended to operate did not appear to be diminished. Another time I was present when twelve out of twenty jars were broken at the time of the discharge, yet the effect of the charge, which passed in the regular circuit, was the same as it would have been if they had remained whole. Were those perforations an effect of the charge within the jar forcing itself through the glass to get at the outside, other difficulties would arise and demand explanation. 1. How it happens that in eight bottles, and in twelve, the strength to bear a strong charge should be so equal, that no one of them would break before the rest, and thereby save his fellows, but all should burst at the same instant. 2. How it happens that they bear the force of the great charge till the instant that an easier means of discharge is offered them, which they make use of, and yet the fluid breaks through at the same time.
My conjecture is that there has been, in the place where the rupture happens, some defect in the glass, some grain of sand perhaps, or some little bubble in the substance nearly void, where, during the charging of the jar, the electric fluid is forced in and confined till the pressure is suddenly taken off by the discharge, when, not being able to escape so quickly, it bursts its way out by its elastic force. Hence all the ruptures happen nearly at the same instant with the regular discharge, though really a little posterior, not being themselves discharges, but the effects of a discharge which passed in another channel.
When a strong explosion is directed through a pack of cards or a book, having a piece of tinfoil between several of its leaves, the electrical flash makes an impression in some of those metallic leaves, by which it seems as if the direction of the electric explosion had gone from the outside towards the inside, when on the other metallic leaves, the impression is in such a direction that it indicates the current of electrical fire to have made its way from the inside of the phial towards the outside, so that it appears to some electricians that, in the time of the explosion of an electrical phial, two streams of electrical fire rush at the same time from both surfaces, and meet or cross one another.
These impressions are not effects of a moving body, striking with force in the direction of its motion; they are made by the burs rising in the neighboring perforated cards, which rise accidently, sometimes on one side of a card, and sometimes on the other, in consequence of certain circumstances in the form of their substances or situations. In a single card, supported without touching others, while perforated by the passing fluid, the bur generally rises on both sides, as I once showed to Mr. Symmer at his house. I imagine that the hole is made by a fine thread of electric fluid passing, and augmented to a bigger thread at the time of the explosion, which, obliging the parts of a card to recede every way, condenses a part within the substance, and forces a part out on each side, because there is least resistance.
When a flash of lightning happens to hit a flat piece of metal, the metal has sometimes been pierced with several holes, whose edges were turned some the one way and some the other, so that it has appeared to some philosophers that several streams of electrical fire had rushed in one way and some the opposite way. Such an effect of lightning has been published lately by Father Barletti.
This will be answered in my remarks on Mr. Barletti’s book; which remarks, when finished, I will send you.
Though, from the very charging of the Leyden phial, it seems clear that the electrical fluid does in reality not prevade the substance of glass, yet it is still difficult to conceive how such a subtile fluid may be forced out from one side of a very thick pane of glass, by a similar quantity of electrical fire thrown upon the other surface, and yet that it does not pass through any substance of glass, however thin, without breaking it. Is there some other fact or illustration besides those to be found in your public writings, by which it may be made more obvious to our understanding that electrical fire does not enter at all the very substance of glass, and yet may force from the opposite surface an equal quantity; or that it really enters the pores of the glass without breaking it? Is there any comparative illustration or example in nature by which it may be made clear that a fluid thrown upon one surface of any body may force out the same fluid from the other surface without passing through the substance?
That the electric fluid, by its repulsive nature, is capable of forcing portions of the same fluid out of bodies without entering them itself appears from this experiment. Approach an isolated body with a rubbed tube of glass, the side next the tube will then be electrized negatively, the opposite positively. If a pair of cork balls hang from that opposite side, the electrical fluid forced out of the body will appear in those balls, causing them to diverge. Touch that opposite side, and you thereby take away the positive electricity. Then remove the tube, and you leave the body all in a negative state. Hence it appears that the electric fluid appertaining to the glass tube did not enter the body, but retired with the tube, otherwise it would have supplied the body with the electricity it had lost.
With regard to powder magazines, my idea is that, to prevent the mischief which might be occasioned by the stones of their walls flying about in case of accidental explosion, they should be constructed in the ground; that the walls should be lined with lead, the floor lead, all a quarter of an inch thick and the joints well soldered; the cover copper, with a little scuttle to enter the whole, in the form of a canister for tea. If the edges of the cover-scuttle fall into a copper channel containing mercury, not the smallest particle of air or moisture can enter to the powder, even though the walls stood in water or the whole was under water.
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 7 July, 1773.
I thank you for the pamphlets you have sent me, containing the controversy between the governor and the two Houses. I have distributed them where I thought they might be of use. He makes perhaps as much of his argument as it will bear, but has the misfortune of being on the weak side, and so is put to shifts and quibbles, and the use of much sophistry and artifice, to give plausibility to his reasonings. The Council and the Assembly have greatly the advantage in point of fairness, perspicuity, and force. His precedents of acts of Parliament binding the colonies, and our tacit consent to those acts, are all frivolous. Shall a guardian, who has imposed upon, cheated, and plundered a minor under his care, who was unable to prevent it, plead those impositions after his ward has discovered them, as precedents and authorities for continuing them. There have been precedents, time out of mind, for robbing on Hounslow Heath, but the highwayman who robbed there yesterday does nevertheless deserve hanging.
I am glad to see the resolves of the Virginia House of Burgesses. There are brave spirits among that people. I hope their proposal will be readily complied with by all the colonies. It is natural to suppose, as you do, that, if the oppressions continue, a congress may grow out of that correspondence. Nothing would more alarm our ministers; but, if the colonies agree to hold a congress, I do not see how it can be prevented.
The instruction relating to the exemption of the commissioners I imagine is withdrawn; perhaps the others also, relating to the agents, but of that I have heard nothing. I only wonder that the governor should make such a declaration of his readiness to comply with an intimation in acting contrary to any instructions, if he had not already, or did not soon expect a repeal of those instructions. I have not and shall never use your name on this or any similar occasion.
I note your directions relating to public and private letters, and shall not fail to observe them. At the same time I think all the correspondence should be in the Speaker’s power to communicate such extracts only as he should think proper for the House. It is extremely embarrassing to an agent to write letters concerning his transactions with ministers, which letters he knows are to be read in the House, where there may be governor’s spies, who carry away parts, or perhaps take copies, that are echoed back hither privately; if they should not be, as sometimes they are, printed in the Votes. It is impossible to write freely in such circumstances, unless he would hazard his usefulness, and put it out of his power to do his country any further service. I speak this now, not upon my own account, being about to decline all public business, but for your consideration with regard to future agents.
And, now we speak of agents, I must mention my concern, that I should fall under so severe a censure of the House, as that of neglect in their business. I have submitted to the reproof without reply in my public letter, out of pure respect. It is not decent to dispute a father’s admonitions. But to you in private, permit me to observe that, as to the two things I am blamed for not giving the earliest notice of, viz., the clause in the act relating to dockyards, and the appointment of salaries for the governor and judges, the first only seems to have some foundation. I did not know, but perhaps I ought to have known, that such a clause was intended. And yet in a Parliament, that during the whole session refused admission to strangers, wherein near two hundred acts were passed, it is not so easy a matter to come at the knowledge of every clause in every act, and to give opposition to what may affect one’s constituents; especially when it is not uncommon to smuggle clauses into a bill, whose title shall give no suspicion, when an opposition to such clauses is apprehended. I say this is no easy matter. But, had I known of this clause, it is not likely I could have prevented its passing in the present disposition of government towards America; nor do I see that my giving earlier notice of its having passed could have been of much service.
As to the other, concerning the governor and judges, I should hardly have thought of sending the House an account of it, if the minister had mentioned it to me; as I understood from their first letter to me, that they had already the best intelligence “of its being determined by administration to bestow large salaries on the attorney-general, judges, and governor of the province.” I could not therefore possibly “give the first notice of this impending evil.” I answered, however, “that there was no doubt of the intention of making governors, and some other officers, independent of the people for their support; and that this purpose will be persisted in, if the American revenue is found deficient to defray the salaries.” This censure, though grievous, does not so much surprise me, as I apprehended all along from the beginning, that between the friends of an old agent, my predecessor, who thought himself hardly used in his dismission, and those of a young one impatient for the succession, my situation was not likely to be a very comfortable one, as my faults could scarce pass unobserved.
I think of leaving England in September. As soon as possible after my arrival in America, I purpose, God willing, to visit Boston, when I hope to have the pleasure of paying my respects to you. I shall then give every information in my power, and offer every advice relating to our affairs, not so convenient to be written, that my situation here for so many years may enable me to suggest for the benefit of our country. Some time before my departure I shall put your papers into the hands of Mr. Lee, and assist him with my counsel while I stay, where there may be any occasion for it. He is a gentleman of parts and ability; and, though he cannot exceed me in sincere zeal for the interest and prosperity of the province, his youth will easily enable him to serve it with more activity. I am, sir, very respectfully, etc.,
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 7 July, 1773.
The Parliament is at length prorogued, without meddling with the state of America. Their time was much employed in the East India business; and perhaps it was not thought prudent to lay before them the advices from New England, though some threatening intimations had been given of such an intention. The king’s firm answer, as it is called, to our petitions and remonstrances, has probably been judged sufficient for the present. I forwarded that answer to you by the last packet, and sent a copy of it by a Boston ship the beginning of last month. Therein we are told that “his Majesty has well weighed the subject-matter and the expressions contained in those petitions; and that, as he will ever attend to the humble petitions of his subjects, and be forward to redress every real grievance, so he is determined to support the constitution, and resist with firmness every attempt to derogate from the authority of the supreme legislature.”
By this it seems that some exception is taken to the expressions of the petitions, as not sufficiently humble, that the grievances complained of are not thought real grievances, that Parliament is deemed the supreme legislature, and its authority over the colonies supposed to be the constitution. Indeed, the last idea is expressed more fully in the next paragraph, where the words of the act are used, declaring the right of the crown, with the advice of Parliament, to make laws of sufficient force and validity to bind its subjects in America in all cases whatsoever.
When one considers the king’s situation, surrounded by ministers, counsellors, and judges, learned in the law, who are all of this opinion, and reflects how necessary it is for him to be well with his Parliament, from whose yearly grants his fleets and armies are to be supported, and the deficiencies of his civil list supplied, it is not to be wondered at that he should be firm in an opinion established, as far as an act of Parliament could establish it, by even the friends of America at the time they repealed the Stamp Act; and which is so generally thought right by his Lords and Commons, that any act of his, countenancing the contrary, would hazard his embroiling himself with those powerful bodies. And from hence it seems hardly to be expected from him, that he should take any step of that kind. The grievous instructions, indeed, might be withdrawn without their observing it, if his Majesty thought fit to do so; but, under the present prejudices of all about him, it seems that this is not yet likely to be advised.
The question then arises, how are we to obtain redress? If we look back into the Parliamentary history of this country we shall find that, in similar situations of the subjects here, redress would seldom be obtained but by withholding aids when the sovereign was in distress, till the grievances were removed. Hence the rooted custom of the Commons to keep money bills in their own disposition, not suffering even the Lords to meddle in grants, either as to quantity, manner of raising, or even in the smallest circumstance. This country pretends to be collectively our sovereign. It is now deeply in debt. Its funds are far short of recovering their par since the last war; another would distress it still more. Its people diminish, as well as its credit. Men will be wanted as well as money. The colonies are rapidly increasing in wealth and numbers. In the last war they maintained an army of twenty-five thousand. A country able to do that is no contemptible ally. In another war they may perhaps do twice as much with equal ease. Whenever a war happens our aid will be wished for, our friendship desired and cultivated, our good-will courted. Then is the time to say, “Redress our grievances. You take money from us by force, and now you ask it of voluntary grant. You cannot have it both ways. If you choose to have it without our consent, you must go on taking it in that way, and be content with what little you can so obtain. If you would have our free gifts, desist from your compulsive methods, and acknowledge our rights, and secure our future enjoyment of them.” Our claims will then be attended to, and our complaints regarded.
By what I perceived not long since, when a war was apprehended with Spain, the different countenance put on by some great men here towards those who were thought to have a little influence in America, and the language that began to be held with regard to the then minister for the colonies, I am confident that if that war had taken place he would have been immediately dismissed, all his measures reversed, and every step taken to recover our affection and procure our assistance. Thence I think it fair to conclude that similar effects will probably be produced by similar circumstances.
But as the strength of an empire depends not only on the union of its parts, but on their readiness for united exertion of their common force; and as the discussion of rights may seem unseasonable in the commencement of actual war, and the delay it might occasion be prejudicial to the common welfare; as likewise the refusal of one or a few colonies would not be so much regarded if the others granted liberally, which perhaps by various artifices and motives they might be prevailed on to do; and as this want of concert would defeat the expectation of general redress that otherwise might be justly formed; perhaps it would be best and fairest for the colonies, in a general congress now in peace to be assembled, or by means of the correspondence lately proposed, after a full and solemn assertion and declaration of their rights, to engage firmly with each other that they will never grant aids to the crown in any general war, till those rights are recognized by the king and both Houses of Parliament; communicating at the same time to the crown this their resolution. Such a step I imagine will bring the dispute to a crisis; and, whether our demands are immediately complied with, or compulsory measures thought of to make us rescind them, our ends will finally be obtained; for even the odium accompanying such compulsory attempts will contribute to unite and strengthen us, and in the meantime all the world will allow that our proceeding has been honorable.
No one doubts the advantage of a strict union between the mother country and the colonies, if it may be obtained and preserved on equitable terms. In every fair connection each party should find its own interest. Britain will find hers in our joining with her in every war she makes, to the greater annoyance and terror of her enemies; in our employment of her manufactures, and enriching her merchants by our commerce; and her government will feel some additional strengthening of its hands by the disposition of our profitable posts and places. On our side, we have to expect the protection she can afford us, and the advantage of a common umpire in our disputes, thereby preventing wars we might otherwise have with each other; so that we can without interruption go on with our improvements, and increase our numbers. We ask no more of her, and she should not think of forcing more from us.
By the exercise of prudent moderation on her part, mixed with a little kindness; and by a decent behavior on ours, excusing where we can excuse from a consideration of circumstances, and bearing a little with the infirmities of her government, as we would with those of an aged parent, though firmly asserting our privileges, and declaring that we mean at a proper time to vindicate them, this advantageous union may still be long continued. We wish it, and we may endeavor it, but God will order it as to his wisdom shall seem most suitable. The friends of liberty here wish we may long preserve it on our side of the water, that they may find it there, if adverse events should destroy it here. They are therefore anxious and afraid, lest we should hazard it by premature attempts in its favor. They think we may risk much by violent measures, and that the risk is unnecessary, since a little time must infallibly bring us all we demand or desire, and bring it to us in peace and safety. I do not presume to advise. There are many wiser men among you, and I hope you will be directed by a still superior wisdom.
With regard to the sentiments of people in general here, concerning America, I must say that we have among them many friends and well-wishers. The Dissenters are all for us, and many of the merchants and manufacturers. There seems to be, even among the country-gentlemen, a general sense of our growing importance, a disapprobation of the harsh measures with which we have been treated, and a wish that some means may be found of perfect reconciliation. A few members of Parliament in both Houses, and perhaps some in high office, have in a degree the same ideas, but none of these seem willing as yet to be active in our favor, lest adversaries should take advantage, and charge it upon them as a betraying the interests of this nation. In this state of things, no endeavor of mine, or our other friends here, “to obtain a repeal of the acts so oppressive to the colonists, or the orders of the crown so destructive of charter rights of our province in particular, can expect a sudden success.” By degrees, and a judicious improvement of events, we may work a change in minds and measures, but otherwise such great alterations are hardly to be looked for.
I am thankful to the House for their kind attention, in repeating their grant to me of six hundred pounds. Whether the instruction restraining the governor’s assent is withdrawn or not, or is likely to be, I cannot tell, having never solicited or even once mentioned it to Lord Dartmouth, being resolved to owe no obligation to the favor of any minister. If, from a sense of right, that instruction should be recalled, and the general principle on which it was founded is given up, all will be very well; but you can never think it worth while to employ an agent here, if his being paid or not is to depend on the breath of a minister, and I should think it a situation too suspicious, and therefore too dishonorable for me to remain in a single hour. Living frugally, I am under no immediate necessity; and, if I serve my constituents faithfully, though it should be unsuccessfully, I am confident they will always have it in their inclination, and some time or other in their power, to make their grants effectual.
A gentleman of our province, Captain Calef, is come hither as an agent for some of the eastern townships, to obtain a confirmation of their lands. Sir Francis Bernard seems inclined to make use of this person’s application for promoting a separation of that country from your province, and making it a distinct government; to which purpose he prepared a draft of a memorial for Calef to present, setting forth not only the hardship of being without security in the property of their improvements, but also of the distress of the people there for want of government; that they were at too great a distance from that of the government in the Massachusetts to be capable of receiving the benefits of government from thence, and expressing their willingness to be separated and formed into a new province, etc.
With this draft Sir Francis and Mr. Calef came to me to have my opinion. I read it, and observed to them that though I wished the people quieted in their possessions, and would do any thing I could to assist in obtaining the assurance of their property, yet, as I knew the province of Massachusetts had a right to that country of which they were justly tenacious, I must oppose that part of the memorial, if it should be presented. Sir Francis allowed the right, but proposed that a great tract of land between the Merrimack and Connecticut rivers, which had been alloted to New Hampshire, might be restored to our province, by order of the crown, as a compensation. This, he said, would be of more value to us than that eastern country, as being nearer home, etc. I said I would mention it in my letters, but must in the meantime oppose any step taken in the affair before the sentiments of the General Court should be known as to such an exchange, if it were offered. Mr. Calef himself did not seem fond of the draft, and I have not seen him or heard any thing further of it since; but I shall watch it.
Be pleased to present my dutiful respects to the House, and believe me with sincere and great esteem, sir, your most obedient and most humble servant,
TO SAMUEL MATHER
London, 7 July, 1773.
By a line of the 4th past, I acknowledged the receipt of your favor of March 18th, and sent you with it two pamphlets. I now add another, a spirited address to the bishops who opposed the Dissenters’ petition. It is written by a dissenting minister at York. There is preserved at the end of it a little fugitive piece of mine, written on the same occasion.
I perused your tracts with pleasure. I see you inherit all the various learning of your famous ancestors, Cotton and Increase Mather, both of whom I remember. The father, Increase, I once, when a boy, heard preach at the Old South for Mr. Pemberton, and remember his mentioning the death of “that wicked old persecutor of God’s people, Louis XIV.,” of which news had just been received, but which proved premature. I was, some years afterwards, at his house at the North End, on some errand to him, and remember him sitting in an easy chair, apparently very old and feeble. But Cotton I remember in the vigor of his preaching and usefulness.
You have made the most of your argument to prove that America might be known to the ancients. There is another discovery of [mutilated] by the Norwegians, which you have not mentioned, unless it be under the words “of old viewed and observed,” page 7. About twenty-five years since, Professor Kalm, a learned Swede, was with us in Pennsylvania. He contended that America was discovered by their northern people long before the time of Columbus, which I doubting, he drew up and gave me, some time after, a note of those discoveries, which I send you enclosed. It is his own handwriting, and his own English, very intelligible for the time he had been among us. The circumstances give the account a great appearance of authenticity. And if one may judge by the description of the winter, the country they visited should be southward of New England, supposing no change since that time of the climate. But if it be true, as Krantz, I think, and other historians tell us, that old Greenland, once inhabited and populous, is now rendered uninhabited by ice, it should seem that the almost perpetual northern winter had gained ground to the southward, and if so, perhaps more northern countries might anciently have had vines than can bear them in these days.
The remarks you have added, on the late proceedings against America, are very just and judicious; and I cannot at all see any impropriety in your making them, though a minister of the gospel. This kingdom is a good deal indebted for its liberties to the public spirit of its ancient clergy, who joined with the barons in obtaining Magna Charta, and joined heartily in forming the curses of excommunication against the infringers of it. There is no doubt but the claim of Parliament, of authority to make laws binding on the colonists in all cases whatsoever, includes an authority to change our religious constitution, and establish Popery or Mahometanism, if they please, in its stead; but, as you intimate, power does not infer right; and, as the right is nothing, and the power, by our increase, continually diminishing, the one will soon be as insignificant as the other. You seem only to have made a small mistake, in supposing they modestly avoided to declare they had a right, the words of the act being, “that they have and of right ought to have, full power, etc.”
Your suspicion “that sundry others, besides Governor Bernard, had written hither their opinions and counsels, encouraging the late measures to the prejudice of our country, which have been too much heeded and followed,” is, I apprehend, but too well founded. You call them “traitorous individuals,” whence I collect that you suppose them of our own country. There was among the twelve Apostles one traitor who betrayed with a kiss. It should be no wonder, therefore, if among so many thousand true patriots as New England contains, there should be found even twelve Judases ready to betray their country for a few paltry pieces of silver. Their ends, as well as their views, ought to be similar. But all these oppressions evidently work for our good. Providence seems by every means intent on making us a great people. May our virtues public and private grow with us, and be durable, that liberty, civil and religious, may be secured to our posterity, and to all from every part of the Old World that take refuge among us.
With great esteem, and my best wishes for a long continuance of your usefulness, I am, reverend sir, your most obedient humble servant,
TO SAMUEL COOPER
London, 7 July, 1773.
I congratulate you on the finishing of your new meeting-house. I have considered, as well as I can, without being on the spot, the intention of warming it by some machine in the cold, damp seasons. It must be a matter of difficulty to warm sensibly all the air in so large and so lofty a room, especially if the fire is not kept up in it constantly on the weekdays as well as on Sundays. For, though the machine is very large and made very hot, yet the space of air and quantity of wall to be warmed is so great, that it must be long before any considerable effect will be produced. Then it will descend by the walls and windows, which being very cold by the preceding week’s absence of fire, will cool that descending air so much in so long a descent, that it will fall very heavily and uncomfortably upon the heads of all that happened to sit under it, and will proceed in cold currents along the floor to the warming machine wherever it is situated. This must continue till the walls are warmed, for which I think one day is by no means sufficient, and that therefore a fire kindled in the morning of the Sabbath will afford no comfort to the congregation that day, except to a few that sit near it, and some inconvenience to the rest from the currents above mentioned.
If, however, your people, as they are rich, can afford it, and may be willing to indulge themselves, should choose to keep up a constant fire in the winter months, you may have from this country a machine for the purpose, cast from the same patterns with those now used at the Bank, or that in Lincoln’s Inn Hall, which are placed in the middle of the respective rooms. The smoke of these descends, and passing under ground, rises in some chimney at a distance. Yours must be a chimney built, I suppose, without the house; and, as it ought to draw well to prevent your being troubled with smoke (as they often are at the Bank), it should be on the south side; but this I fear would disfigure your front. That at Lincoln’s Inn Hall draws better. They are in the front of temples, cast in iron, with columns, cornices, and every member of elegant architecture.
And I mention casting them from the same patterns or moulds, because, those being already made, a great deal of work and expense will thereby be saved. But if you can cast them in New England, a large vase, or an antique altar, which are more simple forms, may answer the purpose as well, and be more easily executed. Yet after all, when I consider the little effect I have observed from these machines in those great rooms, the complaints of people who have tried Buzaglo’s stoves in halls, and how far your meeting-house must exceed them in all its dimensions, I apprehend that after a great deal of expense, and a good deal of dust on the seats and in the pews, which they constantly occasion, you will not find your expectations answered. And persuaded as I am, from philosophic considerations, that no one ever catches the disorder we call a cold from cold air, and therefore never at meeting, I should think it rather advisable to those who cannot well bear it, to guard against the short inconvenience of cold feet (which only takes place towards the end of the service), by basses or bearskin cases to put the legs in, or by small stoves with a few coals under foot, more majorum.
TO SAMUEL COOPER
London, 7 July, 1773.
I received your very valuable favors of March 15th and April 23d. It rejoices me to find your health so far restored that your friends can again be benefited by your correspondence.
The governor was certainly out in his politics, if he hoped to recommend himself there, by entering upon that dispute with the Assembly. His imprudence in bringing it at all upon the tapis, and his bad management of it, are almost equally censured. The Council and Assembly on the other hand have, by the coolness, clearness, and force of their answers, gained great reputation.
The unanimity of our towns in their sentiments of liberty gives me great pleasure, as it shows the generally enlightened state of our people’s minds, and the falsehood of the opinion, much cultivated here by the partisans of arbitrary power in America, that only a small fraction among us were discontented with the late measures. If that unanimity can be discovered in all the colonies, it will give much greater weight to our future remonstrances. I heartily wish, with you, that some line could be drawn, some bill of rights established for America, that might secure peace between the two countries, so necessary for the prosperity of both. But I think little attention is like to be afforded by our ministers to that salutary work, till the breach becomes greater and more alarming, and then the difficulty or repairing it will be greater in a tenfold proportion.
You mention the surprise of gentlemen to whom those letters have been communicated, at the restrictions with which they were accompanied, and which they suppose render them incapable of answering any important end. One great reason of forbidding their publication was an apprehension, that it might put all the possessors of such correspondence here upon their guard, and so prevent the obtaining more of it. And it was imagined that showing the originals to so many as were named, and to a few such others as they might think fit, would be sufficient to establish their authenticity, and to spread through the province so just an estimation of the writers as to strip them of all their deluded friends, and demolish effectually their interest and influence. The letters might be shown even to some of the governor’s and lieutenant-governor’s partisans, and spoken of to everybody; for there was no restraint proposed to talking of them, but only to copying. However, the terms given with them could only be those with which they were received.
The great defect here is, in all sorts of people, a want of attention to what passes in such remote countries as America; an unwillingness to read any thing about them if it appears a little lengthy, and a disposition to postpone the consideration even of the things they know they must at last consider, that so they may have time for what more immediately concerns them, and with all, enjoy their amusements, and be undisturbed in the universal dissipation. In other respects, though some of the great regard us with a jealous eye, and some are angry with us, the majority of the nation rather wish us well, and have no desire to infringe our liberties. And many console themselves under the apprehension of declining liberty here, that they or their posterity shall be able to find her safe and vigorous in America. With sincere and great esteem, I am, etc.,
TO MRS. JANE MECOM
London, 7 July, 1773.
I believe it is long since I have written any letters to you. I hope you will excuse it. I am oppressed with too much writing, and am apt to postpone when I presume upon some indulgence.
I received duly yours of January 19th, April 20th, May 5th, and May 15th.
Our relations, Jenkins and Paddock, came to see me. They seem to be clever, sensible men.
Is there not a little affectation in your apology for the incorrectness of your writing? Perhaps it is rather fishing for commendation. You write better, in my opinion, than most American women. Here indeed the ladies write generally with more elegance than the gentlemen.
By Capt. Hatch went a trunk containing the goods you wrote for. I hope they will come safe to hand and please. Mrs. Stevenson undertook the purchasing them with great readiness and pleasure. Teasdale, whom you mention as selling cheap, is broke and gone. Perhaps he sold too cheap. But she did her best.
I congratulate you on the marriage of your daughter. My love to them. I am obliged to good Dr. Cooper for his prayers.
Your shortness of breath might perhaps be relieved by eating honey with your bread instead of butter, at breakfast.
Young Hubbard seems a sensible boy, and fit, I should think, for a better business than the sea. I am concerned to hear of the illness of his good mother.
If Brother John had paid that bond, there was no occasion to recall it for you to pay it; for I suppose he might have had effects of our father’s to pay it with. I never heard how it was managed.
Mrs. Stevenson presents her respects, and I am ever,
Your affectionate brother,
TO MR. SAMUEL FRANKLIN
London, 7 July, 1773.
I received your kind letter of November 6th, and was glad to hear of the welfare of yourself and family, which I hope continues.
Sally Franklin is lately married to Mr. James Pearce, a substantial young farmer at Ewell, about twelve miles from London, a very sober, industrious man, and I think it likely to prove a good match.
I would not have you be discouraged at a little dulness of business, which is only occasional. A close attention to your shop and industrious application to business will always secure more than an equal share, because every competitor will not have those qualities. Some of them, therefore, must give way to you, and the constant growth of the country will increase the trade of all that steadily stand ready for it. I send you a little old piece of mine, which more particularly explains this sentiment.
I am ever your affectionate kinsman,
TO JONATHAN WILLIAMS
London, 7 July, 1773.
In looking over your letters I find in that of November 12th mention of a prize of £20 which you have drawn. It never came into my hands, and I cannot find that Smith, Wright, & Gray know any thing of it. If I knew the No. of the ticket I could inquire farther.
I am much obliged by your care in Hall’s affair, and glad you have recovered so much of that debt and are likely to get the rest. I hope it will be of service to my dear sister. The goods for her were sent per Capt. Hatch, in a trunk consigned to you.
I wish you success in your new plan of business, and shall certainly embrace every opportunity I may have of promoting it.
Upon your recommendation I went to see the black poetess and offered her any services I could do her. Before I left the house I understood her master was there, and had sent her to me, but did not come into the room himself, and I thought was not pleased with the visit. I should perhaps have inquired first for him; but I had heard nothing of him, and I have heard nothing since of her.
My love to Cousin Grace and your children.
I am, yours affectionately,
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 14 July, 1773.
I am glad to find by yours of May 4th that you have been able to assist Josiah Davenport a little; but vexed that he and you should think of putting me upon a solicitation which it is impossible for me to engage in. I am not upon terms with Lord North to ask any such favor from him. Displeased with something he said relating to America, I have never been at his levees since the first. Perhaps he has taken that amiss. For the last week we met occasionally at Lord le Despencer’s in our return from Oxford, where I had been to attend the solemnity of his installation, and he seemed studiously to avoid speaking to me. I ought to be ashamed to say that on such occasions I feel myself to be as proud as anybody. His lady indeed was more gracious. She came and sat down by me on the same sofa, and condescended to enter into a conversation with me agreeably enough, as if to make some amends. Their son and daughter were with them. They stayed all night, so that we dined, supped, and breakfasted together, without exchanging three sentences. But had he ever so great a regard for me I could not ask that office, trifling as it is, for any relation of mine. And detesting as I do the whole system of American customs, believing they will one day bring on a breach through the indiscretions and insolence of those concerned in the collection, I should never wish to see one so near to me in that business. If you think him capable of acting as deputy secretary, I imagine you might easily obtain that for him of Mr. Morgan.
He has lately been with me, is always very complaisant, and, understanding I was about returning to America, requested my interest to obtain for him the agency for your province. His friend, Sir Watkin Lewes, who was formerly candidate for the same great place, is now high sheriff of London, and in the way of being Lord Mayor. The new sheriffs-elect are (could you think it?) both Americans, viz., Mr. Sayre, the New Yorker, and Mr. William Lee, brother to Dr. Lee. I am glad you stand so well with Lord Dartmouth. I am likewise well with him, but he never spoke to me of augmenting your salary. He is truly a good man, and wishes sincerely a good understanding with the colonies, but does not seem to have strength equal to his wishes. Between you and me, the late measures have been, I suspect, very much the king’s own, and he has in some cases a great share of what his friends call firmness. Yet, by some painstaking and proper management, the wrong impressions he has received may be removed, which is perhaps the only chance America has for obtaining soon the redress she aims at. This entirely to yourself.
And, now we are among great folks, let me tell you a little of Lord Hillsborough. I went down to Oxford with and at the instance of Lord le Despencer, who is on all occasions very good to me, and seems of late very desirous of my company. Mr. Todd too was there, who has some attachment to Lord Hillsborough, and, in a walk we were taking, told me, as a secret, that Lord Hillsborough was much chagrined at being out of place, and could never forgive me for writing that pamphlet against his report about the Ohio. “I assured him,” says Mr. Todd, “that I knew you did not write it; and the consequence is, that he thinks I know the contrary, and wanted to impose upon him in your favor; and so I find he is now displeased with me, and for no other cause in the world.” His friend Bamber Gascoign, too, says, that they well know it was written by Dr. Franklin, who was one of the most mischievous men in England.
That same day Lord Hillsborough called upon Lord le Despencer, whose chamber and mine were together in Queen’s College. I was in the inner room shifting, and heard his voice, but did not see him, as he went down stairs immediately with Lord le Despencer, who mentioning that I was above, he returned directly and came to me in the pleasantest manner imaginable. “Dr. Franklin,” said he, “I did not know till this minute that you were here, and I am come back to make you my bow. I am glad to see you at Oxford, and that you look so well,” etc. In return for this extravagance, I complimented him on his son’s performance in the theatre, though indeed it was but indifferent, so that account was settled. For as people say, when they are angry, If he strikes me, I ’ll strike him again; I think sometimes it may be right to say, If he flatters me, I ’ll flatter him again. This is lex talionis, returning offences in kind. His son, however (Lord Fairford), is a valuable young man, and his daughters, Ladies Mary and Charlotte, most amiable young women. My quarrel is only with him, who, of all the men I ever met with, is surely the most unequal in his treatment of people, the most insincere, and the most wrong-headed; witness, besides his various behavior to me, his duplicity in encouraging us to ask for more land, ask for enough to make a province (when we at first asked only for two millions five hundred thousand acres), were his words, pretending to befriend our application, then doing every thing to defeat it; and reconciling the first to the last, by saying to a friend that he meant to defeat it from the beginning; and that his putting us upon asking so much was with that very view, supposing it too much to be granted. Thus, by the way, his mortification becomes double. He has served us by the very means he meant to destroy us, and tripped up his own heels into the bargain. Your affectionate father,
TO BENJAMIN RUSH
London, 14 July, 1773.
I received your favor of May 1st, with the pamphlet, for which I am much obliged to you. It is well written. I hope that in time the endeavors of the friends to liberty and humanity will get the better of a practice that has so long disgraced our nation and religion.
A few days after I received your packet for M. Dubourg, I had an opportunity of forwarding it to him per M. Poissonniére, physician of Paris, who kindly under took to deliver it. M. Dubourg has been translating my book into French. It is nearly printed, and he tells me he purposes a copy for you.
I shall communicate your judicious remark, relating to the septic quality of the air transpired by patients in putrid diseases, to my friend Dr. Priestley. I hope that after having discovered the benefit of fresh cool air applied to the sick, people will begin to suspect that possibly it may do no harm to the well. I have not seen Dr. Cullen’s book, but am glad to hear that he speaks of catarrhs or colds by contagion. I have long been satisfied from observation, that besides the general colds now termed influenzas (which may possibly spread by contagion, as well as by a particular quality of the air), people often catch cold from one another when shut up together in close rooms, coaches, etc., and when sitting near and conversing so as to breathe in each other’s transpiration; the disorder being in a certain state. I think, too, that it is the frouzy, corrupt air from animal substances, and the perspired matter from our bodies, which being long confined in the beds not lately used, and clothes not lately worn, and books long shut up in close rooms, contains that kind of putridity which occasions the colds observed upon sleeping in, wearing, and turning over such bed-clothes, or books, and not their coldness or dampness. From these causes, but more from too full living with too little exercise, proceed, in my opinion, most of the disorders which for about one hundred and fifty years past the English have called colds.
As to Dr. Cullen’s cold or catarrh a frigore, I question whether such an one ever existed. Travelling in our severe winters, I have suffered cold sometimes to an extremity only short of freezing, but this did not make me catch cold. And, for moisture, I have been in the river every evening two or three hours for a fortnight together, when one would suppose I might imbibe enough of it to take cold if humidity could give it; but no such effect ever followed. Boys never get cold by swimming. Nor are people at sea, or who live at Bermudas, or St. Helena, small islands, where the air must be ever moist from the dashing and breaking of waves against their rocks on all sides, more subject to colds than those who inhabit part of a continent where the air is driest. Dampness may indeed assist in producing putridity and those miasmata which infect us with the disorder we call a cold; but of itself can never by a little addition of moisture hurt a body filled with watery fluids from head to foot.
With great esteem, and sincere wishes for your welfare, I am, sir,
Your most obedient, humble servant,
TO ANTHONY BENEZET
London, 14 July, 1773.
I received your favor of April 24th with the pamphlets, for which I thank you. I am glad to hear that such humane sentiments prevail so much more generally than heretofore; that there is reason to hope our colonies may in time get clear of a practice that disgraces them, and, without producing any equivalent benefit, is dangerous to their very existence.
I hope ere long to have the pleasure of seeing you, and conversing with you more fully on that and other subjects than I can now do by writing.
In the meantime, believe me ever, dear friend,
Yours most affectionately,
TO MR. FOXCROFT
London, 14 July, 1773.
I received yours of June 7th, and am glad to find by it that you are safely returned from your Virginia journey, having settled your affairs there to satisfaction, and that you found your family well at New York.
I feel for you in the fall you had out of your chair. I have had three of those squelchers in different journeys, and never desire a fourth.
I do not think it was without reason that you continued so long one of St. Thomas’ disciples; for there was always some cause for doubting. Some people always ride before the horse’s head. The draft of the patent is at length got into the hands of the Attorney-General, who must approve the form before it passes the seals, so one would think much more time can scarce be required to complete the business; but ’t is good not to be too sanguine. He may go into the country, and the Privy Councillors likewise, and some months elapse before they get together again; therefore, if you have any patience, use it.
I suppose Mr. Finlay will be some time at Quebec in settling his affairs. By the next packet you will receive a draft of instructions for him.
In mine of December 2d, upon the post-office accounts to April, 1772, I took notice to you that I observed I had full credit for my salary; but no charge appeared against me for money paid on my account to Mrs. Franklin from the Philadelphia office. I supposed the thirty pounds currency per month was regularly paid, because I had had no complaint from her for want of money, and I expected to find the charge in the accounts of the last year—that is, to April 3, 1773; but nothing of it appearing there, I am at a loss to understand it, and you take no notice of my observation above mentioned. The great balance due from that office begins to be remarked here, and I should have thought the officer would, for his own sake, not have neglected to lessen it by showing what he had paid on my account. Pray, my dear friend, explain this to me.
I find by yours to Mr. Todd that you expected soon another little one. God send my daughter a good time, and you a good boy. Mrs. Stevenson is pleased with your remembrance of her, and joins with Mr. and Mrs. Hewson and myself in best wishes for you and yours.
I am ever yours affectionately,
TO SAMUEL DANFORTH
London, 25 July, 1773.
It gave me great pleasure to receive so cheerful an epistle from a friend of half a century’s standing, and to see him commencing life anew in so valuable a son. I hope the young gentleman’s patent will be as beneficial to him, as his invention must be to the public.
I see by the papers that you continue to afford her your services, which makes me almost ashamed of my resolutions for retirement. But this exile, though an honorable one, is become grievous to me, in so long a separation from my family, friends, and country, all which you happily enjoy; and long may you continue to enjoy them. I hope for the great pleasure of once more seeing and conversing with you; and, though living on in one’s children, as we both may do, is a good thing, I cannot but fancy it might be better to continue living ourselves at the same time. I rejoice, therefore, in your kind intentions of including me in the benefits of that inestimable stone, which, curing all diseases (even old age itself), will enable us to see the future glorious state of our America, enjoying in full security her own liberties, and offering in her bosom a participation of them to all the oppressed of other nations. I anticipate the jolly conversation we and twenty more of our friends may have a hundred years hence on this subject, over that well-replenished bowl at Cambridge Commencement. I am, dear sir, for an age to come, and for ever, with sincere esteem and respect, your most obedient, humble servant,
TO JOHN WINTHROP
London, 25 July, 1773.
I am glad to see that you are elected into the Council, and are about to take part in our public affairs. Your abilities, integrity, and sober attachment to the liberties of our country, will be of great use in this tempestuous time in conducting our little bark into safe harbor. By the Boston newspapers, there seems to be among us some violent spirits, who are for an immediate rupture. But I trust the general prudence of our country will see that by our growing strength we advance fast to a situation in which our claims must be allowed; that by a premature struggle we may be crippled, and kept down another age; that, as between friends, every affront is not worth a duel, between nations every injury not worth a war, so between the governed and governing every mistake in government, every encroachment on right, is not worth a rebellion.
It is, in my opinion, sufficient for the present that we hold them forth on all occasions, not giving up any of them, using at the same time every means to make them generally understood and valued by the people; cultivating a harmony among the colonies, that their union in the same sentiments may give them greater weight; remembering withall, that this Protestant country (our mother, though lately an unkind one) is worth preserving, and that her weight in the scale of Europe, and her safety in a great degree, may depend on our union with her. Thus conducting, I am confident we may, in a few years, obtain every allowance of, and every security for, our inestimable privileges, that we can wish or desire. With great and sincere esteem, I am, etc.
TO SAMUEL COOPER
London, 25 July, 1773.
I wrote to you on the 7th instant pretty fully, and am since favored with yours of June 14th. I am much pleased with the proposal of the Virginia Assembly, and the respectful manner in which it has been received by ours. I think it likely to produce very salutary effects.
I am glad to know your opinion, that those letters came seasonably, and may be of public utility. I accompanied them with no restriction relating to myself. My duty to the province, as their agent, I thought required the communication of them as far as I could. I was sensible I should make enemies there, and perhaps I might offend government here; but those apprehensions I disregarded. I did not expect that my sending them could be kept a secret; but since it is such hitherto, I now wish it may continue so, because the publication of the letters, contrary to my engagement, has changed the circumstances. If they serve to diminish the influence and demolish the power of the parties, whose correspondence has been, and probably would have continued to be, so mischievous to the interest and rights of the province, I shall on that account be more easy under any inconveniences I may suffer, either here or there; and shall bear, as well as I can, the imputation of not having taken sufficient care to insure the performance of my promise.
I think government can hardly expect to draw any future service from such instruments, and one would suppose they must soon be dismissed. We shall see.
I hope to be favored with the continuance of your correspondence and intelligence while I stay here; it is highly useful to me, and will be, as it always has been, pleasing everywhere. I am ever, dear sir, etc.,
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 25 July, 1773.
I am favored with yours of June 14th and 16th, containing some copies of the resolves of the committee upon the letters. I see by your account of the transaction, that you could not well prevent what was done. As to the report of other copies being come from England, I know that could not be. It was an expedient to disengage the House. I hope the possession of the originals, and the proceedings upon them, will be attended with salutary effects to the province, and then I shall be well pleased.
I observe that you mention that no person besides Dr. Cooper and one of the committee knew they came from me. I did not accompany them with any request of being myself concealed; for, believing what I did to be in the way of my duty as agent, though I had no doubt of its giving offence, not only to the parties exposed, but to administration here, I was regardless of the consequences. However, since the letters themselves are now copied and printed, contrary to the promise I made, I am glad my name has not been heard on the occasion; and, as I do not see it could be of any use to the public, I now wish it may continue unknown; though I hardly expect it. As to yours, you may rely on my never mentioning it, except that I may be obliged to show your letter in my own vindication to the person only, who might otherwise think he had reason to blame me for breach of engagement. It must surely be seen here that, after such a detection of their duplicity, in pretending a regard and affection to the province, while they were undermining its privileges, it is impossible for the crown to make any good use of their services, and that it can never be for its interest to employ servants who are under such universal odium. The consequence, one would think, should be their removal. But perhaps it may be to titles, or to pensions, if your revenue can pay them. I am, with great esteem, sir, your most obedient, humble servant,
TO JOHN WINTHROP
London, 25 July, 1773.
Your remark on the passage of Castillioneus will be read at the Society at their next meeting. I thank you much for the papers and accounts of damage done by lightning, which you have favored me with. The conductors begin to be used here. Many country-seats are provided with them, some churches, the powder magazines at Purfleet, the queen’s house in the park, etc.; and M. Le Roy, of the Academy of Sciences at Paris, has lately given a memoir recommending the use of them in that kingdom, which has been long opposed and obstructed by Abbé Nollet. Of the Duke of Tuscany he says: “Ce prince, qui ne connoit pas de délassement plus agréable des soins pénibles du gouvernement, que l’étude de la physique, a ordonné, l’année dernière, qu’on établît de ces barres au-dessus de tous les magasins à poudre de ses états; on dit que la république de Venise a donné les mêmes ordres.”
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
3 August, 1773.
I am come hither to spend a few days and breathe a little fresh air.
Nothing material has occurred since mine per Sutton, except the final hearing at the cockpit relating to Governor Wentworth, against whose conduct the Board of Trade had reported, and the hearing was at the instance of his friends against the report. Their lordships have not yet given their determination, but it is thought he is in no danger.
As to the Ohio affair, it is scarcely likely to be got through this summer, for reasons I have already given you.
Our paper-money account not being yet considered here, together with the Massachusetts affairs, will, I believe, keep me another winter in England.
Temple is just returned to school from his summer vacation. He always behaves himself so well as to increase my affection for him every time he is with me.
As you are likely to have a considerable landed property, it would be well to make your will, if you have not already done it, and secure that property to him. Our friend Galloway will advise you in the matter. Whatever he may come to possess, I am persuaded he will make a good use of it, if his temper and understanding do not strangely alter.
I am in this house as much at my ease as if it was my own; and the gardens are a paradise. But a pleasanter thing is the kind countenance, the facetious and very intelligent conversation of mine host, who having been for many years engaged in public affairs, seen all parts of Europe, and kept the best company in the world, is himself the best existing.
I wear the buttons (for which I thank you) on a suit of light gray which matches them. All the connoisseurs in natural productions are puzzled with them, not knowing any thing similar.
With love to Betsey, I am ever your affectionate father,
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 24 August, 1773.
I received duly your several favors of June 25th, 26th, and 30th, with the papers enclosed. My Lord Dartmouth being at his country-seat in Staffordshire, I transmitted to him the address for the removal of the governor and lieutenant-governor, and Mr. Bollan and I jointly transmitted the letter to his Lordship from both Houses. I delivered to Mr. Bollan one set of the authenticated copies of the letters, and we shall cooperate in the business we are charged with.
I am told that the governor has requested leave to come home; that some great persons about the court do not think the letters, now they have seen them, a sufficient foundation for the resolves; that therefore it is not likely he will be removed, but suffered to resign, and that some provision will be made for him here. But nothing, I apprehend, is likely to be done soon, as most of the great officers of state, who compose the Privy Council, are in the country, and likely to continue till the Parliament meets, and perhaps the above may be chiefly conjectured.
I have informed Mr. Lee that, in case there should be a hearing, I was directed to engage him as counsel for the province; that, though I had received no money, I would advance what might be necessary; those hearings by counsel being expensive. I purpose writing to you again by the packet, and am, with the greatest respect, sir, etc.,
P. S.—No determination is yet public on the case of Mr. Lewis against Governor Wentworth, which has been a very costly hearing to both sides.
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 1 September, 1773.
I have now before me yours of July 5th and 6th. The August packet is not yet arrived. Dr. Cooper of New York’s opinion of the author of the sermon, however honorable to me, is injurious to the good bishop; and therefore I must say, in justice and truth, that I knew nothing of his intention to preach on the subject, and saw not a word of the sermon till it was printed. Possibly some preceding conversation between us may have turned his thoughts that way; but, if so, that is all.
I think the resolutions of the New England townships must have the effect they seem intended for, viz., to show that the discontents were really general, and their sentiments concerning their rights unanimous, and not the faction of a few demagogues, as their governors used to represent them here; and therefore not useless, though they should not as yet induce government to acknowledge their claims; that people may probably think it sufficient for the present to assert and hold forth their rights, secure that sooner or later they must be admitted and acknowledged. The declaratory law here had too its use, viz., to prevent or lessen at least a clamor against the ministry that repealed the Stamp Act, as if they had given up the right of this country to govern America. Other use indeed it could have none; and I remember Lord Mansfield told the Lords, when upon that bill, that it was nugatory. To be sure, in a dispute between two parties about rights, the declaration of one party can never be supposed to bind the other.
It is said there is now a project on foot to form a union with Ireland, and that Lord Harcourt is to propose it at the next meeting of the Irish Parliament. The eastern side of Ireland are averse to it; supposing that when Dublin is no longer the seat of their government it will decline, the harbor being but indifferent, and that the western and southern ports will rise and flourish on its ruins, being good in themselves, and much better situated for commerce. For these same reasons, the western and southern people are inclined to the measure, and it is thought it may be carried. But these are difficult affairs and usually take longer time than the projectors imagine. Mr. Crowley, the author of several proposals for uniting the colonies with the mother country, and who runs about much among the ministers, tells me the union of Ireland is only the first step towards a general union. He is for having it done by the Parliament of England, without consulting the colonies, and he will warrant, he says, that if the terms proposed are equitable, they will all come in one after the other. He seems rather a little cracked upon the subject.
It is said here that the famous Boston letters were sent chiefly, if not all, to the late Mr. Whately. They fell into my hands, and I thought it my duty to give some principal people there a sight of them, very much with this view, that, when they saw the measures they complained of took their rise in a great degree from the representations and recommendations of their own countrymen, their resentment against Britain on account of those measures might abate, as mine had done, and a reconciliation be more easily obtained. In Boston they concealed who sent them, the better to conceal who received and communicated them. And perhaps it is as well that it should continue a secret. Being of that country myself, I think those letters more heinous than you seem to think them; but you had not read them all, nor perhaps the Council’s remarks on them. I have written to decline their agency, on account of my return to America. Dr. Lee succeeds me. I only keep it while I stay, which perhaps will be another winter.
I grieve to hear of the death of my good old friend, Dr. Evans. I have lost so many since I left America, that I begin to fear that I shall find myself a stranger among strangers when I return. If so, I must come again to my friends in England. I am ever your affectionate father,
TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN
London, 1 September, 1773.
My Dear Child:—
. . . There is a new translation of my book at Paris and printed there, being the third edition in French. A fifth edition is now preparing here. To the French edition they have prefixed a print of me, which, though a copy of that by Chamberlin, has got so French a countenance, that you would take me for one of that lively nation. I think you do not mind such things or I would send you one. I am ever, my dear Debby,
Your affectionate husband,
AN EDICT BY THE KING OF PRUSSIA
Dantzig, 5 September, 1773.
We have long wondered here at the supineness of the English nation, under the Prussian impositions upon its trade entering our port. We did not, till lately, know the claims, ancient and modern, that hang over that nation; and therefore could not suspect that it might submit to those impositions from a sense of duty or from principles of equity. The following Edict, just made public, may, if serious, throw some light upon this matter.
[“Frederic, by the grace of God, King of Prussia, etc., etc., etc., to all present and to come (à tous présens et à venir), health. The peace now enjoyed throughout our dominions, having afforded us leisure to apply ourselves to the regulation of commerce, the improvement of our finances, and at the same time the easing our domestic subjects in their taxes; for these causes, and other good considerations us thereunto moving, we hereby make known that, after having deliberated these affairs in our council, present our dear brothers, and other great officers of the state, members of the same; we, of our certain knowledge, full power, and authority royal, have made and issued this present Edict, viz.:
Whereas it is well known to all the world, that the first German settlements made in the island of Britain were by colonies of people subject to our renowned ducal ancestors, and drawn from their dominions, under the conduct of Hengist, Horsa, Hella, Uffa, Cerdicus, Ida, and others; and that the said colonies have flourished under the protection of our august house for ages past; have never been emancipated therefrom; and yet have hitherto yielded little profit to the same; and whereas we ourself have in the last war fought for and defended the said colonies against the power of France, and thereby enabled them to make conquests for the said power in America, for which we have not yet received adequate compensation; and whereas it is just and expedient that a revenue should be raised from the said colonies in Britain, towards our indemnification; and that those who are descendants of our ancient subjects, and thence still owe us due obedience, should contribute to the replenishing of our royal coffers (as they must have done, had their ancestors remained in the territories now to us appertaining); we do therefore hereby ordain and command that, from and after the date of these presents, there shall be levied and paid to our officers of the customs, on all goods, wares, and merchandises, and on all grain and other produce of the earth, exported from the said island of Britain, and on all goods of whatever kind imported into the same, a duty of four and a half per cent. ad valorem, for the use of us and our successors. And, that the said duty may more effectually be collected, we do hereby ordain that all ships or vessels bound from Great Britain to any other part of the world, or from any other part of the world to Great Britain, shall in their respective voyages touch at our port of Koningsberg, there to be unladen, searched, and charged with the said duties.
And whereas there hath been from time to time discovered in the said island of Great Britain, by our colonists there, many mines or beds of iron-stone; and sundry subjects of our ancient dominion, skilful in converting the said stone into metal, have in time past transported themselves thither, carrying with them and communicating that art; and the inhabitants of the said island, presuming that they had a natural right to make the best use they could of the natural productions of their country for their own benefit, have not only built furnaces for smelting the said stone into iron, but have erected plating-forges, slitting-mills, and steel-furnaces, for the more convenient manufacturing of the same; thereby endangering a diminution of the said manufacture in our ancient dominion; we do therefore hereby further ordain that, from and after the date hereof, no mill or other engine for slitting or rolling of iron, or any plating-forge to work with a tilt-hammer, or any furnace for making steel, shall be erected or continued in the said island of great Britain. And the lord-lieutenant of every county in the said island is hereby commanded, on information of any such erection within his county, to order, and by force to cause, the same to be abated and destroyed; as he shall answer the neglect thereof to us at his peril. But we are nevertheless graciously pleased to permit the inhabitants of the said island to transport their iron into Prussia, there to be manufactured, and to them returned; they paying our Prussian subjects for the workmanship, with all the costs of commission, freight, and risk, coming and returning; any thing herein contained to the contrary notwithstanding.
We do not, however, think fit to extend this our indulgence to the article of wool; but, meaning to encourage, not only the manufacturing of woollen cloth, but also the raising of wool, in our ancient dominions, and to prevent both, as much as may be, in our said island, we do hereby absolutely forbid the transportation of wool from thence, even to the mother country, Prussia; and, that those islanders may be further and more effectually restrained in making any advantage of their own wool in the way of manufacture, we command that none shall be carried out of one county into another; nor shall any worsted, bay, or woollen yarn, cloth, says, bays, kerseys, serges, frizes, druggets, cloth-serges, shalloons, or any other drapery stuffs, or woollen manufactures whatsoever, made up or mixed with wool in any of the said counties, be carried into any other county, or be water-borne even across the smallest river or creek, on penalty of forfeiture of the same, together with the boats, carriages, horses, etc., that shall be employed in removing them. Nevertheless, our loving subjects there are hereby permitted (if they think proper) to use all their wool as manure for the improvement of their lands.
And whereas the art and mystery of making hats hath arrived at great perfection in Prussia, and the making of hats by our remoter subjects ought to be as much as possible restrained; and forasmuch as the islanders before mentioned, being in possession of wool, beaver, and other furs, have presumptuously conceived they had a right to make some advantage thereof, by manufacturing the same into hats, to the prejudice of our domestic manufacture; we do therefore hereby strictly command and ordain, that no hats or felts whatsoever, dyed or undyed, finished or unfinished, shall be loaded or put into or upon any vessel, cart, carriage, or horse, to be transported or conveyed out of one county in the said island into another county, or to any other place whatsoever, by any person or persons whatsoever; on pain of forfeiting the same, with a penalty of five hundred pounds sterling for every offence. Nor shall any hat-maker, in any of the said counties, employ more than two apprentices, on penalty of five pounds sterling per month; we intending hereby that such hat-makers, being so restrained, both in the production and sale of their commodity, may find no advantage in continuing their business. But, lest the said islanders should suffer inconveniency by the want of hats, we are further graciously pleased to permit them to send their beaver furs to Prussia; and we also permit hats made thereof to be exported from Prussia to Britain; the people thus favored to pay all costs and charges of manufacturing, interest, commission to our merchants, insurance and freight going and returning, as in the case of iron.
And, lastly, being willing further to favor our said colonies in Britain, we do hereby also ordain and command, that all the thieves, highway and street robbers, housebreakers, forgerers, murderers, s—d—tes, and villains of every denomination, who have forfeited their lives to the law of Prussia, but whom we, in our great clemency, do not think fit here to hang, shall be emptied out of our gaols into the said island of Great Britain, for the better peopling of that country.
We flatter ourselves that these our royal regulations and commands will be thought just and reasonable by our much favored colonists in England; the said regulations being copied from their statutes of 10th and 11th William III. c. 10, 5th George II. c. 22, 23d George II. c. 26, 4th George I. c. 11, and from other equitable laws made by their Parliaments; or from instructions given by their princes; or from resolutions of both houses, entered into for the good government of their own colonies in Ireland and America.
And all persons in the said island are hereby cautioned not to oppose in any wise the execution of this our Edict, or any part thereof, such opposition being high treason; of which all who are suspected shall be transported in fetters from Britain to Prussia, there to be tried and executed according to the Prussian law.
Such is our pleasure.
Given at Potsdam, this twenty-fifth day of the month of August, one thousand seven hundred and seventy-three, and in the thirty-third year of our reign.
By the King in his Council.
Some take this edict to be merely one of the king’s jeux d’esprit; others suppose it serious, and that he means a quarrel with England; but all here think the assertion it concludes with, “that these regulations are copied from acts of the English Parliament respecting their colonies,” a very injurious one; it being impossible to believe that a people distinguished for their love of liberty, a nation so wise, so liberal in its sentiments, so just and equitable towards its neighbors, should, from mean and injudicious views of petty immediate profit, treat its own children in a manner so arbitrary and tyrannical!
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 12 September, 1773.
The above is a copy of my last by the packet. Enclosed is the original letter therein mentioned. His Lordship continues in the country, but is expected, Secretary Pownall tells me, the beginning of next month.
To avoid repealing the American tea duty, and yet find a vent for tea, a project is executing to send it from hence on account of the East India Company, to be sold in America, agreeable to a late act, empowering the Lords of the Treasury to grant licenses to the company to export tea thither, under certain restrictions, duty free. Some friends of government, as they are called, in Boston, New York, Philadelphia, etc., are to be favored with the commission, who undertake, by their interest, to carry the measure through in the colonies. How the other merchants, thus excluded from the tea trade, will like this, I cannot foresee. Their agreeement, if I remember right, was not to import tea till the duty shall be repealed. Perhaps they will think themselves still obliged by that agreement, notwithstanding this temporary expedient; which is only to introduce the tea for the present, and may be dropped next year, and the duty again required, the granting or refusing such license from time to time remaining in the power of the Treasury. And it will seem hard, while their hands are tied, to see the profits of that article all engrossed by a few particulars.
Enclosed I take the liberty of sending you a small piece of mine, written to expose, in as striking a light as I could, to the nation the absurdity of the measures towards America, and to spur the ministry if possible to a change of those measures. Please to present my duty to the House, and respects to the committee. I have the honor to be, with much esteem, sir, etc.,
TO JOHN BASKERVILLE
London, 21 September, 1773.
I duly received your favor, and some time after the packet containing the specimens and your valuable present to Shaftesbury, excellently printed, for which I hold myself greatly obliged to you. The specimens I shall distribute by the first ship among the printers of America, and I hope to your advantage. I suppose no orders will come unaccompanied by bills or money, and I would not advise you to give credit, especially as I do not think it will be necessary.
The sheet of Chinese paper, from its size, is a great curiosity. I see the marks of the mould in it. One side is smooth; that, I imagine, is the side that was applied to the smooth side of the kiln on which it was dried. The little ridges on the other side I take to be marks of a brush passed over it to press it against that face in places where it might be kept off by air between, which would otherwise prevent its receiving the smoothness. But we will talk further of this when I have the pleasure of seeing you.
You speak of enlarging your foundery. Here are all the matrices of Rumford’s and James’ founderies to be sold. There seems to be among them some tolerable Hebrews and Greeks, and some good blacks. I suppose you know them. Shall I buy any of them for you? I thank you for your kind invitation. Perhaps I may embrace it for a few days. My best respects to good Mrs. Baskerville, and believe me ever, with great esteem, etc.,
RULES FOR REDUCING A GREAT EMPIRE TO A SMALL ONE
PRESENTED TO A LATE MINISTER
An ancient sage valued himself upon this, that, though he could not fiddle he knew how to make a great city of a little one. The science that I, a modern simpleton, am about to communicate, is the very reverse.
I address myself to all ministers who have the management of extensive dominions, which from their very greatness have become troublesome to govern, because the multiplicity of their affairs leaves no time for fiddling.
1. In the first place, gentlemen, you are to consider that a great empire, like a great cake, is most easily diminished at the edges. Turn your attention, therefore, first to your remotest provinces; that, as you get rid of them, the next may follow in order.
2. That the possibility of this separation may always exist, take special care the provinces are never incorporated with the mother country; that they do not enjoy the same common rights, the same privileges in commerce; and that they are governed by severer laws, all of your enacting, without allowing them any share in the choice of the legislators. By carefully making and preserving such distinctions, you will (to keep to my simile of the cake) act like a wise gingerbread-baker, who, to facilitate a division, cuts his dough half through in those places where, when baked, he would have it broken to pieces.
3. Those remote provinces have perhaps been acquired, purchased, or conquered, at the sole expense of the settlers, or their ancestors; without the aid of the mother country. If this should happen to increase her strength, by their growing numbers ready to join in her wars; her commerce, by their growing demand for her manufactures; or her naval power, by greater employment for her ships and seamen, they may probably suppose some merit in this, and that it entitles them to some favor; you are therefore to forget it all, or resent it all, as if they had done you injury. If they happen to be zealous Whigs, friends of liberty, nurtured in revolution principles, remember all that to their prejudice, and contrive to punish it; for such principles, after a revolution is thoroughly established, are of no more use; they are even odious and abominable.
4. However peaceably your colonies have submitted to your government, shown their affection to your interests, and patiently borne their grievances, you are to suppose them always inclined to revolt, and treat them accordingly. Quarter troops among them, who by their insolence may provoke the rising of mobs, and by their bullets and bayonets suppress them. By this means, like the husband who uses his wife ill from suspicion, you may in time convert your suspicions into realities.
5. Remote provinces must have governors and judges to represent the royal person and execute everywhere the delegated parts of his office and authority. You ministers know that much of the strength of government depends on the opinion of the people, and much of that opinion on the choice of rulers placed immediately over them. If you send them wise and good men for governors, who study the interests of the colonists, and advance their prosperity, they will think their king wise and good, and that he wishes the welfare of his subjects. If you send them learned and upright men for judges, they will think him a lover of justice. This may attach your provinces more to his government, You are therefore to be careful whom you recommend to those offices. If you can find prodigals who have ruined their fortunes, broken gamesters or stockjobbers, these may do well as governors; for they will probably be rapacious, and provoke the people by their extortions. Wrangling proctors and pettifogging lawyers, too, are not amiss; for they will be forever disputing and quarrelling with their little Parliaments. If withal they should be ignorant, wrongheaded, and insolent, so much the better. Attorney’s clerks and Newgate solicitors will do for chief-justices, especially if they hold their places during your pleasure; and all will contribute to impress those ideas of your government that are proper for a people you would wish to renounce it.
6. To confirm these impressions and strike them deeper, whenever the injured come to the capital with complaints of maladministration, oppression, or injustice, punish such suitors with long delay, enormous expense, and a final judgment in favor of the oppressor. This will have an admirable effect every way. The trouble of future complaints will be prevented, and governors and judges will be encouraged to further acts of oppression and injustice; and thence the people may become more disaffected, and at length desperate.
7. When such governors have crammed their coffers and made themselves so odious to the people that they can no longer remain among them with safety to their persons, recall and reward them with pensions. You may make them baronets too, if that respectable order should not think fit to resent it. All will contribute to encourage new governors in the same practice, and make the supreme government detestable.
8. If when you are engaged in war, your colonies should vie in liberal aids of men and money against the common enemy, upon your simple requisition, and give far beyond their abilities, reflect that a penny taken from them by your power is more honorable to you than a pound presented by their benevolence; despise therefore their voluntary grants, and resolve to harass them with novel taxes. They will probably complain to your Parliament, that they are taxed by a body in which they have no representative and that this is contrary to common right. They will petition for redress. Let the Parliament flout their claims, reject their petitions, refuse even to suffer the reading of them, and treat the petitioners with the utmost contempt. Nothing can have a better effect in producing the alienation proposed; for, though many can forgive injuries, none ever forgave contempt.
9. In laying these taxes, never regard the heavy burdens those remote people already undergo, in defending their own frontiers, supporting their own provincial government, making new roads, building bridges, churches, and other public edifices; which in old countries have been done to your hands by your ancestors, but which occasion constant calls and demands on the purses of a new people. Forget the restraint you lay on their trade for your own benefit, and the advantage a monoply of this trade gives your exacting merchants. Think nothing of the wealth those merchants and your manufacturers acquire by the colony commerce; their increased ability thereby to pay taxes at home; their accumulating, in the price of their commodities, most of those taxes, and so levying them from their consuming customers; all this, and the employment and support of thousands of your poor by the colonists, you are entirely to forget. But remember to make your arbitrary tax more grievous to your provinces, by public declarations importing that your power of taxing them has no limits; so that, when you take from them without their consent a shilling in the pound, you have a clear right to the other nineteen. This will probably weaken every idea of security in their property, and convince them that under such a government they have nothing they can call their own; which can scarce fail of producing the happiest consequences!
10. Possibly, indeed, some of them might still comfort themselves, and say; “Though we have no property, we have yet something left that is valuable; we have constitutional liberty, both of person and of conscience. This King, these Lords, and these Commons, who it seems are too remote from us to know us, and feel for us, cannot take from us our Habeas Corpus right, or our right of trial by a jury of our neighbors; they cannot deprive us of the exercise of our religion, alter our ecclesiastical constitution, and compel us to be Papists, if they please, or Mahometans.” To annihilate this comfort, begin by laws to perplex their commerce with infinite regulations, impossible to be remembered and observed; ordain seizures of their property for every failure; take away the trial of such property by jury, and give it to arbitrary judges of your own appointing, and of the lowest characters in the country, whose salaries and emoluments are to arise out of the duties or condemnations, and whose appointments are during pleasure. Then let there be a formal declaration of both houses, that opposition to your edicts is treason, and that persons suspected of treason in the provinces may, according to same obsolete law, be seized and sent to the metropolis of the empire for trial; and pass an act, that those there charged with certain other offences shall be sent away in chains from their friends and country to be tried in the same manner for felony. Then erect a new court of Inquisition among them, accompanied by an armed force, with instructions to transport all such suspected persons; to be ruined by the expense, if they bring over evidences to prove their innocence, or be found guilty and hanged if they cannot afford it. And, lest the people should think you cannot possibly go any further, pass another solemn declaratory act, “that King, Lords, Commons had, have, and of right ought to have, full power and authority to make statutes of sufficient force and validity to bind the unrepresented provinces in all cases whatsoever. This will include spiritual with temporal, and, taken together, must operate wonderfully to your purpose; by convincing them that they are at present under a power something like that spoken of in the Scriptures, which can not only kill their bodies, but damn their souls to all eternity, by compelling them, if it pleases, to worship the Devil.
11. To make your taxes more odious, and more likely to procure resistance, send from the capital a board of officers to superintend the collection, composed of the most indiscreet, ill-bred, and insolent you can find. Let these have large salaries out of the extorted revenue, and live in open, grating luxury upon the sweat and blood of the industrious; whom they are to worry continually with groundless and expensive prosecutions before the above-mentioned arbitrary revenue judges; all at the cost of the party prosecuted, though acquitted, because the king is to pay no costs. Let these men, by your order, be exempted from all the common taxes and burdens of the province, though they and their property are protected by its laws. If any revenue officers are suspected of the least tenderness for the people, discard them. If others are justly complained of, protect and reward them. If any of the under officers behave so as to provoke the people to drub them, promote those to better offices; this will encourage others to procure for themselves such profitable drubbings, by multiplying and enlarging such provocations, and all will work towards the end you aim at.
12. Another way to make your tax odious, is to misapply the produce of it. If it was originally appropriated for the defence of the provinces, and the better support of government, and the administration of justice, where it may be necessary, then apply none of it to that defence; but bestow it where it is not necessary, in augmenting salaries or pensions to every governor who has distinguished himself by his enmity to the people, and by calumniating them to their sovereign. This will make them pay it more unwillingly, and be more apt to quarrel with those that collect it and those that imposed it; who will quarrel again with them; and all shall contribute to your own purpose, of making them weary of your government.
13. If the people of any province have been accustomed to support their own governors and judges to satisfaction, you are to apprehend that such governors and judges may be thereby influenced to treat the people kindly and to do them justice. This is another reason for applying part of that revenue in larger salaries to such governors and judges, given, as their commissions are, during your pleasure only; forbidding them to take any salaries from their provinces; that thus the people may no longer hope any kindness from their governors, or (in crown cases) any justice from their judges. And, as the money thus misapplied in one province is extorted from all, probably all will resent the misapplication.
14. If the Parliaments of your provinces should dare to claim rights, or complain of your administration, order them to be harassed with repeated dissolutions. If the same men are continually returned by new elections, adjourn their meetings to some country village, where they cannot be accommodated and there keep them during pleasure; for this, you know, is your prerogative; and an excellent one it is, as you may manage it to promote discontents among the people, diminish their respect, and increase their disaffection.
15. Convert the brave, honest officers of your navy into pimping tide-waiters and colony officers of the customs. Let those who in time of war fought gallantly in defence of the commerce of their countrymen, in peace be taught to prey upon it. Let them learn to be corrupted by great and real smugglers; but (to show their diligence) scour with armed boats every bay, harbor, river, creek, cove, or nook throughout the coast of your colonies; stop and detain every coaster, every wood-boat, every fisherman; tumble their cargoes and even their ballast inside out and upside down; and, if a pennyworth of pins is found unentered, let the whole be seized and confiscated. Thus shall the trade of your colonists suffer more from their friends in time of peace, than it did from their enemies in war. Then let these boats’ crews land upon every farm in their way, rob their orchards, steal their pigs and poultry, and insult the inhabitants. If the injured and exasperated farmers, unable to procure other justice, should attack the aggressors, drub them, and burn their boats; you are to call this high treason and rebellion, order fleets and armies into their country, and threaten to carry all the offenders three thousand miles to be hanged, drawn and quartered. Oh, this will work admirably!
16. If you are told of discontents in your colonies, never believe that they are general, or that you have given occasion for them; therefore do not think of applying any remedy, or of changing any offensive measure. Redress no grievance, lest they should be encouraged to demand the redress of some other grievance. Grant no request that is just and reasonable, lest they should make another that is unreasonable. Take all your informations of the state of the colonies from your governors and officers in enmity with them. Encourage and reward these leasing-makers; secrete their lying accusations, lest they should be confuted; but act upon them as the clearest evidence; and believe nothing you hear from the friends of the people. Suppose all their complaints to be invented and promoted by a few factious demagogues, whom if you could catch and hang, all would be quiet. Catch and hang a few of them accordingly; and the blood of the martyrs shall work miracles in favor of your purpose.
17. If you see rival nations rejoicing at the prospect of your disunion with your provinces, and endeavoring to promote it; if they translate, publish, and applaud all the complaints of your discontented colonists, at the same time privately stimulating you to severer measures, let not that offend you. Why should it, since you all mean the same thing?
18. If any colony should at their own charge erect a fortress to secure their port against the fleets of a foreign enemy, get your governor to betray that fortress into your hands. Never think of paying what it costs the country, for that would look at least like some regard for justice; but turn it into a citadel to awe the inhabitants and curb their commerce. If they should have lodged in such fortress the very arms they bought and used to aid you in your conquests, seize them all; it will provoke, like ingratitude added to robbery. One admirable effect of these operations will be to discourage every other colony from erecting such defences, and so their and your enemies may more easily invade them, to the great disgrace of your government, and, of course, the furtherance of your project.
19. Send armies into their country under pretence of protecting the inhabitants; but, instead of garrisoning the forts on their frontiers with those troops to prevent incursions, demolish those forts and order the troops into the heart of the country, that the savages may be encouraged to attack the frontiers, and that the troops may be protected by the inhabitants. This will seem to proceed from your ill-will or your ignorance, and contribute further to produce and strengthen an opinion among them that you are no longer fit to govern them.
20. Lastly, invest the general of your army in the provinces with great and unconstitutional powers, and free him from the control of even your own civil governors. Let him have troops enough under his command, with all the fortresses in his possession; and who knows but (like some provincial generals in the Roman empire, and encouraged by the universal discontent you have produced) he may take it into his head to set up for himself? If he should, and you have carefully practised the few excellent rules of mine, take my word for it, all the provinces will immediately join him; and you will that day (if you have not done it sooner) get rid of the trouble of governing them, and all the plagues attending their commerce and connection from thenceforth and forever.
TO THOMAS CUSHING
Nothing of importance has occurred since my last. This serves chiefly to cover a newspaper in which I have stated a few of the American grievances that were omitted in my “Receipt for Diminishing a Great Empire.” These odd ways of presenting matters to the public view sometimes occasion them to be more talked of and more attended to.
With great respect, I am, sir, etc.,
TO THOMAS PERCIVAL
- the Seat of Lord le Despencer,
25 September, 1773.
I have received here your favor of the 18th, enclosing your very valuable paper of the enumeration of Manchester. Such inquiries may be as useful as they are curious, and if once made general would greatly assist in the prudent government of a State.
The difference of deaths between one in twenty-eight at Manchester, and one in one hundred and twenty at Morton is surprising. It seems to show the unwholesomeness of the manufacturing life, owing perhaps to the confinement in small, close rooms, or in larger with numbers, or to poverty and want of necessaries, or to drinking, or to all of them. Farmers who manufacture in their own families what they have occasion for and no more, are perhaps the happiest people and the healthiest.
It is a curious remark that moist seasons are the healthiest. The gentry of England are remarkably afraid of moisture and of air. But seamen, who live in perpetually moist air, are always healthy, if they have good provisions. The inhabitants of Bermuda St. Helena, and other islands far from continents, surrounded with rocks, against which the waves continually dashing, fill the air with spray and vapor, and where no wind can arrive that does not pass over much sea, and of course bring much moisture; these people are remarkably healthy. And I have long thought that mere moist air has no ill effect on the constitution, though air impregnated with vapors from putrid marshes is found pernicious, not from the moisture, but the putridity. It seems strange that a man, whose body is composed in great part of moist fluids, whose blood and juices are so watery, who can swallow quantities of water and small beer daily without inconvenience, should fancy that a little more or less moisture in the air should be of such importance. But we abound in absurdity and inconsistency.
Thus, though it is generally allowed that taking the air is a good thing, yet what caution against air! What stopping of crevices! What wrapping up in warm clothes! What stuffing of doors and windows, even in the midst of summer! Many London families go out once a day to take the air, three or four persons in a coach, one perhaps sick; these go three or four miles, or as many turns in Hyde Park, with the glasses both up close, all breathing over and over again the same air they brought out of town with them in the coach, with the least change possible, and rendered worse and worse every moment. And this they call taking the air. From many years’ observations on myself and others, I am persuaded we are on a wrong scent in supposing moist or cold air the causes of that disorder we call a cold. Some unknown quality in the air may perhaps produce colds, as in the influenza, but generally I apprehend that they are the effect of too full living in proportion to our exercise.
Excuse, if you can, my intruding into your province, and believe me ever with sincere esteem, dear sir, Your most obedient humble servant,
TO JOHN INGENHOUSZ
London, 30 September, 1773.
My Dear Friend:—
I rejoiced as much as any friend could do at the news we received here from time to time of your success in your profession, and of the safe recovery of your illustrious patients of that most amiable family. But it grieved us all, at the same time, to hear that you did not yourself enjoy health in that country. Surely their known goodness will graciously give you leave of absence, if you have but the courage to request it, and permit you to come and reside in England, which always agreed well with your constitution. All your friends here will be made happy by such an event.
I had purposed to return to America this last summer, but some events in our colony affairs induced me to stay here another winter. Some time in May or June next I believe I shall leave England. May I hope to see you here once more?
I shall be glad to see the work of the Abbé Fontana on that disease of wheat. As yet I have not heard that it is come to England.
Sir William Hamilton writes from Naples, that after many experiments he has not been able to perceive any certain signs of electricity in the torpedo. It is perhaps best that there should be two opinions on this subject, for that may occasion a more thorough examination of it, and finally make us better acquainted with it.
It is not difficult to construct a needle, so as to keep pointing to the meridian of any one place, whatever may be the variation in that place. But to point always to the meridian, wherever the needle may be removed, is, I apprehend, not possible.
Mr. Nairne has, as you have heard, finished a very fine electric machine. I have seen sparks from the prime conductor thirteen inches in length. He has added a large battery, and produces a discharge from it sufficiently strong to blast growing vegetables, as lightning is supposed to do. From a greater force used, perhaps some more discoveries may be made. I am much pleased with the account you give me of your new machine of white velvet rubbed upon hare-skin.
Last year the Board of Ordnance applied to the Royal Society here for their opinion of the propriety of erecting conductors to secure the powder magazines at Purfleet. The Society appointed a committee to view the magazines, and report their advice. The members appointed were Messrs. Cavendish, Watson, Delaval, Robertson, Wilson, and myself. We accordingly, after reviewing them, drew up a report, recommending conductors to each, elevated ten feet above the roof, and pointed at the ends. Mr. Delaval did not attend; all the rest agreed in the Report, only Mr. Wilson objected to pointing the rods, asserting that blunt ends or knobs would be better. The work, however, was finished according to our direction. He was displeased that his opinion was not followed, and has written a pamphlet against points. I have not answered it, being averse to disputes. But in a new translation and edition of my book, printed lately at Paris, in two volumes, quarto, you will see some new experiments of mine, with the reasonings upon them, which satisfied the committee. They are not yet printed in English, but will be in a new edition now printing at Oxford, and perhaps they will be in the next Transactions.
It has been a fashion to decry Hawkesworth’s book; but it does not deserve the treatment it has met with. It acquaints us with new people having new customs, and teaches us a good deal of new knowledge.
Captain Phips has returned, not having been able to approach the Pole nearer than eighty-one degrees, the ice preventing.
M. Tremont, an ingenious young Italian, who was lately here, gave me a little spy-glass of his making, upon Père Boscovich’s principles, the ocular lens being a composition of different glasses instead of the objective. It is indeed a very good one.
Sir John Pringle is returned from Scotland, better in health than heretofore. He always speaks of you with respect and affection, as does Dr. Huck and all that knew you.
I am ever, with the sincerest esteem, dear sir,
Your faithful and most obedient servant,
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 6 October, 1773.
I wrote to you on the 1st of last month, since which I have received yours of July 29th, from New York. I know not what letters of mine Governor Hutchinson could mean as advising the people to insist on their independency. But whatever they were, I suppose he has sent copies of them hither, having heard some whisperings about them. I shall, however, be able at any time to justify every thing I have written; the purport being uniformly this, that they should carefully avoid all tumults and every violent measure, and content themselves with verbally keeping up their claims and holding forth their rights whenever occasion requires; secure that, from the growing importance of America, those claims will erelong be attended to and acknowledged.
From a long and thorough consideration of the subject, I am indeed of opinion that the Parliament has no right to make any law whatever, binding on the colonies; that the king, and not the king, Lords, and Commons collectively, is their sovereign; and that the king, with their respective Parliaments, is their only legislator. I know your sentiments differ from mine on these subjects. You are a thorough government man, which I do not wonder at, nor do I aim at converting you. I only wish you to act uprightly and steadily, avoiding that duplicity which, in Hutchinson, adds contempt to indignation. If you can promote the prosperity of your people, and leave them happier than you found them, whatever your political principles are, your memory will be honored.
I have written two pieces here lately for the Public Advertiser, on American affairs, designed to expose the conduct of this country toward the colonies in a short, comprehensive, and striking view, and stated, therefore, in out-of-the-way forms, as most likely to take the general attention. The first was called “Rules by Which a Great Empire may be Reduced to a Small One”; the second, “An Edict of the King of Prussia.” I sent you one of the first, but could not get enough of the second to spare you one, though my clerk went the next morning to the printer’s and wherever they were sold. They were all gone but two. In my own mind I preferred the first, as a composition, for the quantity and variety of the matter contained, and a kind of spirited ending of each paragraph. But I find that others here generally prefer the second.
I am not suspected as the author, except by one or two friends; and have heard the latter spoken of in the highest terms, as the keenest and severest piece that has appeared here for a long time. Lord Mansfield, I hear, said of it, that it was veryableand veryartfulindeed; and would do mischief by giving here a bad impression of the measures of government; and in the colonies, by encouraging them in their contumacy. It is reprinted in the Chronicle, where you will see it, but stripped of all the capitalizing and italicizing, that intimate the allusions and mark the emphasis of written discourses, to bring them as near as possible to those spoken. Printing such a piece all in one even small character, seems to me like repeating one of Whitefield’s sermons in the monotony of a schoolboy.
What made it the more noticed here, was that people in reading it were, as the phrase is, taken in, till they had got half through it, and imagined it a real edict, to which mistake I suppose the king of Prussia’s character must have contributed. I was down at Lord le Despencer’s, when the post brought that day’s papers. Mr. Whitehead was there, too, (Paul Whitehead, the author of Manners,) who runs early through all the papers, and tells the company what he finds remarkable. He had them in another room, and we were chatting in the breakfast parlor, when he came running in to us out of breath, with the paper in his hand. “Here!” says he, “here’s news for ye! Here ’s the king of Prussia claiming a right to this kingdom!” All stared, and I as much as anybody; and he went on to read it. When he had read two or three paragraphs, a gentleman present said: “Damn his impudence; I dare say we shall hear by next post, that he is upon his march with one hundred thousand men to back this.” Whitehead, who is very shrewd, soon after began to smoke it, and looking in my face, said, “I ’ll be hanged if this is not some of your American jokes upon us.” The reading went on, and ended with abundance of laughing, and a general verdict that it was a fair hit; and the piece was cut out of the paper and preserved in my Lord’s collection.
I do not wonder that Hutchinson should be dejected. It must be an uncomfortable thing to live among people who, he is conscious, universally detest him. Yet I fancy he will not have leave to come home, both because they know not well what to do with him, and because they do not very well like his conduct. I am ever your affectionate father,
FROM MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN
Ocktober ye 29, 1773.
My Dear Child:—
I have bin verey much distrest a boute you as I did not aney letter nor one word from you nor did I hear one word from oney bodey that you wrote to so I muste submit and inde (?) to submit to what I am to bair I did write by Capt Folkner to you but he is gon down and when I read it over I did not like t and so if this donte send it I shante like it as I donte send you aney news now I donte go abrode.
I shall tell you what Consernes my selef our youngest Grand son is the foreed child us a live he has had the Small Pox and had it very fine and got a brod a gen. Capt All will tell you aboute him and Benj Franklin Beache, but as it is so dificall to writ I have deserd him to tell you, I have sent a squerel for your friend and wish her better luck it is a very fine one I have had very bad luck they one kild and another run a way all thow they are bred up tame I have not a Caige as I donte know where the man lives that makes them my love to Salley Franklin my love to all our Cusins as thow menshond remember me to Mr. and Mrs. Weste doe you ever hear any thing of Ninely Evans as was
I thanke you for the silke and hat it at the womons to make it up but have it put up as you wrote [torn] (?) I thonke it it is very prittey; what was the prise? I desier to give my love to every bodey [torn] I shold love Billey wes in town 5 or 6 day whan the child was in the Small Pox Mr Franklin [torn] not sene him yit I am to tell a verey pirtey thing about Ben the players is cume to town and they am to ackte on Munday he wanted to see a play he unkill Beache had given him a doler his mama asked him wather he wold give it for a ticket, or buy his Brother a neckles he sed his Brother a necklas he is a charmm child as ever was Borne my Grand cheldren are the Best in the world Salley will write I cante aney mor I am your a feckshone wife,
FROM HIS DAUGHTER SALLY
30 October, 1773.
Dear and Honored Sir:—
We are all much disappointed at your not coming home this fall. I was in great hopes of seeing you and presenting you with two of the finest boys in the world. Do not let any thing, my dear sir, prevent your coming to your family in the spring, for indeed we want you here much. I give you many thanks for the very elegant silk; I never knew what it was to be proud of a new garment before—this I shall wear with pride and pleasure. Little William is just out of the small pox; had it most delightfully. He is for size and temper beyond all the boys of his age in America. How can Mrs. Stevenson wish for girls; the boy babies are infinitely cleverer. I dare say by this time she would not change her youngest grandson for a girl; I am sure I would not part with Will for a dozen girls. I have not seen Mr. Bache’s letter, but suppose he has given you an account of Ben’s manly behavior on his journey to New York, where he went in high expectation of meeting you, and would have stayed for the September packet, could they have had any hopes of your being in her. I must mention to you that I am no longer housekeeper; it gave my dear mamma so much uneasiness, and the money was given to me in a manner which made it impossible to save any thing by laying in things beforehand, so that my housekeeping answered no good purpose, and I have the more readily given it up, though I think it my duty, and would willingly take the care and trouble off of her, could I possibly please and make her happy. The dining-room wants new paper; the border, which is a gold one, never was put up; the handsome picture is in it, and it would make a sweet room if it was nicely done up. We have no plates or dishes fit to set before your friends, and the queen’s ware is thought very elegant here, particularly the spriged. I just mention this, as it would be much cheaper for you to bring them than to get them here, and you have them much handsomer. Mamma has sent a fine fellow in Mungo’s room ; the ground ones never can be tamed, they say; however, we will try to get some and send them. I have no news to write, as I know very little that passes out of the nursery, where indeed it is my greatest pleasure to be. After my mother and Mrs. Bache had done writing, a son of your old friend Potts, of Potts Grove, called to ask for a letter. Mentioning his name will, I know, be enough, and as my little boy wants me, I must conclude. With love to Mrs. Stevenson, Mr. and Mrs. Hewson, I am as ever, my dear papa, your dutiful and affectionate daughter.
TO THOMAS CUSHING
London, 1 November, 1773.
I duly received your favor of the 26th of August, with the letter enclosed for Lord Dartmouth, which I immediately sent to him. As soon as he comes to town, I shall wait upon his Lordship, and discourse with him upon the subject of it; and I shall immediately write to you what I can collect from the conversation.
In my own opinion, the letter of the two Houses of the 29th of June, proposing, as a satisfactory measure, the restoring things to the state in which they were at the conclusion of the late war, is a fair and generous offer on our part, and my discourse here is, that it is more than Britain has a right to expect from us; and that, if she has any wisdom left, she will embrace it, and agree with us immediately; for that the longer she delays the accommodation, which finally she must for her own sake obtain, the worse terms she may expect, since the inequality of power and importance, that at present subsists between us, is daily diminishing, and our sense of our own rights, and of her injustice, continually increasing. I am the more encouraged to hold such language, by perceiving that the general sense of the nation is for us; a conviction prevailing that we have been ill used, and that a breach with us would be ruinous to this country.
The pieces I wrote, to increase and strengthen those sentiments, were more read and talked of and attended to than usual. The first, as you will see by the enclosed, has been called for and reprinted in the same paper, besides being copied in others, and in the magazines. A long, labored answer has been made to it, (by Governor Bernard, it is said,) which I send you. I am told it does not satisfy those in whose justification it was written, and that a better is preparing. I think with you that great difficulties must attend an attempt to make a new representation of our grievances, in which the point of right should be kept out of sight, especially as the concurrence of so many colonies seems now necessary. And therefore it would certainly be best and wisest for Parliament (which does not meet till after the middle of January) to make up the matter themselves, and at once reduce things to the state desired. There are not wanting some here who believe this will really be the case; for that, a new election being now in view, the present members are likely to consider the composing all differences with America as a measure agreeable to the trading and manufacturing part of the nation, and that the neglecting it may be made use of by their opponents to their disadvantage.
I have as yet received no answer to the petition for removing the governors. I imagine that it will hardly be complied with, as it would embarrass government to provide for them otherwise, and it will be thought hard to elect men who have exposed themselves by adhering to what is here called the interests and rights of this country. But this I only conjecture, as I have heard nothing certain about it. Indeed I should think continuing them in their places would be rather a punishment than a favor. For what comfort can men have in living among a people with whom they are the objects of universal odium?
I shall continue here one winter longer, and use my best endeavors, as long as I stay, for the service of our country. With great esteem, I have the honor to be, sir, etc.
TO AN ENGRAVER
London, 3 November, 1773.
I was much pleased with the specimens you so kindly sent me of your new art of engraving. That on the china is admirable. No one would suppose it any thing but painting. I hope you meet with all the encouragement you merit and that the invention will be, what inventions seldom are, profitable to the inventor.
Now we are speaking of inventions; I know not who pretends to that of copper-plate engravings for earthen-ware and I am not disposed to contest the honor with anybody as the improvement in taking impressions not directly from the plate, but from printed paper applicable by that means to other than flat forms, is far beyond my first idea. But I have reason to apprehend, that I might have given the hint on which that improvement was made; for, more than twenty years since, I wrote to Dr. Mitchell from America, proposing to him the printing of square tiles, for ornamenting chimneys from copper plates, describing the manner in which I thought it might be done, and advising the borrowing from the booksellers the plates that had been used in a thin folio, called Moral Virtue Delineated for the purpose.
The Dutch Delft-ware tiles were much used in America, which are only or chiefly Scripture histories, wretchedly scrawled. I wished to have those moral prints which were originally taken from Horace’s poetical figures, introduced on tiles, which, being about our chimneys, and constantly in the eyes of children when by the fireside, might give parents an opportunity, in explaining them, to impress moral sentiments; and I gave expectations of great demand for them if executed. Dr. Mitchell wrote to me, in answer, that he had communicated my scheme to several of the principal artists in the earthen way about London, who rejected it as impracticable; and it was not till some years after that I first saw an enamelled snuff-box, which I was sure was from a copper plate, though the curvature of the form made me wonder how the impression was taken.
I understand the china work in Philadelphia is declined by the first owners. Whether any others will take it up and continue it, I know not.
Mr. Banks is at present engaged in preparing to publish the botanical discoveries of his voyage. He employs ten engravers for the plates, in which he is very curious, so as not to be quite satisfied in some cases with the expression given by either the graver, etching, or mezzotinto, particularly where there is a woolliness, or a multitude of small points, on a leaf. I sent him the largest of the specimens you sent, containing a number of sprigs. I have not seen him since, to know whether your manner would not suit some of his plants better than the more common methods. With great esteem, I am, sir, etc.,
TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY
London, 3 November, 1773.
There is at present great quietness here, and no prospect that the war between the Turks and Russians will spread farther in Europe. The last harvest is allowed to have been generally plentiful in this country; and yet, such was the preceding scantiness of crops, that it is thought there is no corn to spare for exportation, which continues the advantages to our corn provinces.
The Parliament is not to meet till after the middle of January. It is said there is a disposition to compose all differences with America before the next general election, as the trading and manufacturing part of the nation are generally our well-wishers, think we have been hardly used, and apprehend ill consequences from a continuance of the measures that we complain of; and that, if those measures are not changed, an American interest will be spirited up at the election against the present members who are in, or friends to administration. Our steady refusal to take tea from hence for several years past has made its impressions. The scheme for supplying us without repealing the act, by a temporary license from the treasury to export tea to America, free of duty, you are before this time acquainted with. I much want to hear how that tea is received. If it is rejected, the act will undoubtedly be repealed, otherwise I suppose it will be continued; and when we have got into the use of the Company’s tea, and the foreign correspondences that supply us at present are broken off, the licenses will be discontinued, and the act enforced.
I apprehend the better understanding, that lately subsisted in our provincial administration, will hardly be continued with the new governor; but you will soon see. I wish for the full letter you promise me by the next packet, which is now daily expected. With unalterable esteem and attachment, I am, etc.,
TO WILLIAM FRANKLIN
London, 3 November, 1773.
I wrote you pretty fully by the last packet, and having had no line from you of later date than the beginning of August, and little stirring here lately, I have now little to write.
In that letter I mentioned my having written two papers, of which I preferred the first, but the public the last. It seems I was mistaken in judging of the public opinion; for the first was reprinted some weeks after in the same paper, the printer giving for reason, that he did it in compliance with the earnest request of many private persons, and some respectable societies; which is the more extraordinary, as it had been copied in several other papers, and in the Gentleman’s Magazine. Such papers may seem to have a tendency to increase our divisions; but I intend a contrary effect, and hope, by comprising in little room, and setting in a strong light, the grievances of the colonies, more attention will be paid to them by our administration, and that, when their unreasonableness is generally seen, some of them will be removed, to the restoration of harmony between us.
OF THE STILLING OF WAVES BY MEANS OF OIL
read at the royal society, june 2, 1774.
Extract of a Letter from Dr. Brownrigg to Dr. Franklin dated Ormathwaite, 27 January, 1773.
By the enclosed from an old friend, a worthy clergyman at Carlisle, whose great learning and extensive knowledge in most sciences would have more distinguished him, had he been placed in a more conspicuous point of view, you will find that he had heard of your experiment on Derwent Lake, and has thrown together what he could collect on that subject; to which I have subjoined one experiment from the relation of another gentleman.
Extract of a Letter from the Reverend Mr. Farish to Dr. Brownrigg.
I some time ago met with Mr. Dun, who surprised me with an account of an experiment you had tried upon the Derwent Water, in company with Sir John Pringle and Dr. Franklin. According to his representation, the water, which had been in great agitation before, was instantly calmed upon pouring in only a very small quantity of oil, and that to so great a distance about the boat as seemed incredible. I have since had the same accounts from others, but I suspect all of a little exaggeration. Pliny mentions this property of oil as known particularly to the divers, who made use of it in his days, in order to have a more steady light at the bottom. The sailors, I have been told, have observed something of the same kind in our days, that the water is always remarkably smoother in the wake of a ship that has been newly tallowed than it is in one that is foul. Mr. Pennant also mentions an observation of the like nature made by the seal-catchers in Scotland. (British Zoloogy, vol. iv., Article “Seal.”) When these animals are devouring a very oily fish, which they always do under water, the waves above are observed to be remarkably smooth, and by this mark the fishermen know where to look for them. Old Pliny does not usually meet with all the credit I am inclined to think he deserves. I shall be glad to have an authentic account of the Keswick experiment, and if it comes up to the representations that have been made of it, I shall not much hesitate to believe the old gentleman in another more wonderful phenomenon he relates, of stilling a tempest only by throwing up a little vinegar into the air.
TO DR. BROWNRIGG
London, 7 November, 1773.
I thank you for the remarks of your learned friend at Carlisle. I had, when a youth, read and smiled at Pliny’s account of a practice among the seamen of his time, to still the waves in a storm by pouring oil into the sea; which he mentions, as well as the use made of oil by the divers; but the stilling a tempest by throwing vinegar into the air had escaped me. I think with your friend, that it has been of late too much the mode to slight the learning of the ancients. The learned, too, are apt to slight too much the knowledge of the vulgar. The cooling by evaporation was long an instance of the latter. The art of smoothing the waves by oil is an instance of both.
Perhaps you may not dislike to have an account of all I have heard, and learnt, and done in this way. Take it if you please as follows:
In 1757, being at sea in a fleet of ninety-six sail bound against Louisbourg, I observed the wakes of two of the ships to be remarkably smooth, while all the others were ruffled by the wind, which blew fresh. Being puzzled with the differing appearance, I at last pointed it out to our captain, and asked him the meaning of it. “The cooks,” said he, “have, I suppose, been just emptying their greasy water through the scuppers, which has greased the sides of those ships a little.” And this answer he gave me with an air of some little contempt, as to a person ignorant of what everybody else knew. In my own mind I at first slighted his solution, though I was not able to think of another; but recollecting what I had formerly read in Pliny, I resolved to make some experiment of the effect of oil on water, when I should have opportunity.
Afterwards being again at sea in 1762, I first observed the wonderful quietness of oil on agitated water in the swinging glass lamp I made to hang up in the cabin, as described in my printed papers. This I was continually looking at and considering as an appearance to me inexplicable. An old sea captain, then a passenger with me, thought little of it, supposing it an effect of the same kind with that of oil put on water to smooth it, which he said was a practice of the Bermudians when they would strike fish, which they could not see if the surface of the water was ruffled by the wind. This practice I had never before heard of, and was obliged to him for the information; though I thought him mistaken as to the sameness of the experiment, the operations being different as well as the effects. In one case the water is smooth till the oil is put on, and then becomes agitated. In the other it is agitated before the oil is applied, and then becomes smooth. The same gentleman told me, he had heard it was a practice with the fishermen of Lisbon when about to return into the river (if they saw before them too great a surf upon the bar, which they apprehended might fill their boats in passing) to empty a bottle or two of oil into the sea, which would suppress the breakers and allow them to pass safely. A confirmation of this I have not since had an opportunity of obtaining, but discoursing of it with another person who had often been in the Mediterranean, I was informed that the divers there, who, when under water in their business, need light, which the curling of the surface interrupts by the refractions of so many little waves, let a small quantity of oil now and then out of their mouths, which rising to the surface smooths it, and permits the light to come down to them. All these informations I at times revolved in my mind, and wondered to find no mention of them in our books of experimental philosophy.
At length being at Clapham, where there is, on the common, a large pond, which I observed one day to be very rough with the wind, I fetched out a cruet of oil, and dropped a little of it on the water. I saw it spread itself with surprising swiftness upon the surface; but the effect of smoothing the waves was not produced; for I had applied it first on the leeward side of the pond, where the waves were greatest; and the wind drove my oil back upon the shore. I then went to the windward side where they began to form; and there the oil, though not more than a teaspoonful, produced an instant calm over a space several yards square, which spread amazingly, and extended itself gradually till it reached the lee side, making all that quarter of the pond, perhaps half an acre, as smooth as a looking-glass.
After this I contrived to take with me, whenever I went into the country, a little oil in the upper hollow joint of my bamboo cane, with which I might repeat the experiment as opportunity should offer, and I found it constantly to succeed.
In these experiments, one circumstance struck me with particular surprise. This was the sudden, wide, and forcible spreading of a drop of oil on the face of the water, which I do not know that anybody has hitherto considered. If a drop of oil is put on a highly polished marble table, or on a looking glass that lies horizontally, the drop remains in its place, spreading very little. But, when put on water, it spreads instantly many feet round, becoming so thin as to produce the prismatic colors, for a considerable space, and beyond them so much thinner as to be invisible, except in its effect of smoothing the waves at a much greater distance. It seems as if a mutual repulsion between its particles took place as soon as it touched the water, and a repulsion so strong as to act on other bodies swimming on the surface, as straw, leaves, chips, etc., forcing them to recede every way from the drop, as from a centre, leaving a large clear space. The quantity of this force, and the distance to which it will operate, I have not yet ascertained; but I think it is a curious inquiry, and I wish to understand whence it arises.
In our journey to the north, when we had the pleasure of seeing you at Ormathwaite, we visited the celebrated Mr. Smeaton, near Leeds. Being about to show him the smoothing experiment on a little pond near his house, an ingenious pupil of his, Mr. Jessop, then present, told us of an odd appearance on that pond which had lately occurred to him. He was about to clean a little cup in which he kept oil, and he threw upon the water some flies that had been drowned in the oil. These flies presently began to move, and turned round on the water very rapidly, as if they were vigorously alive, though on examination he found they were not so. I immediately concluded that the motion was occasioned by the power of the repulsion above mentioned, and that the oil, issuing gradually from the spongy body of the fly, continued the motion. He found some more flies drowned in oil, with which the experiment was repeated before us. To show that it was not any effect of life recovered by the flies, I imitated it by little bits of oiled chips and paper, cut in the form of a comma, of the size of a common fly; when the stream of repelling particles issuing from the point made the comma turn round the contrary way. This is not a chamber experiment; for it cannot be well repeated in a bowl or dish of water on a table. A considerable surface of water is necessary to give room for the expansion of a small quantity of oil. In a dish of water, if the smallest drop of oil be let fall in the middle, the whole surface is presently covered with a thin greasy film proceeding from the drop; but as soon as that film has reached the sides of the dish, no more will issue from the drop, but it remains in the form of oil; the sides of the dish putting a stop to its dissipation by prohibiting the farther expansion of the film.
Our friend Sir John Pringle, being soon after in Scotland, learned there that those employed in the herring fishery could at a distance see where the shoals of herrings were, by the smoothness of the water over them, which might possibly be occasioned, he thought, by some oiliness proceeding from their bodies.
A gentleman from Rhode Island told me, it had been remarked that the harbor of Newport was ever smooth while any whaling vessels were in it; which probably arose from hence, that the blubber which they sometimes bring loose in the hold, or the leakage of their barrels, might afford some oil to mix with that water, which from time to time they pump out, to keep their vessel free, and that some oil might spread over the surface of the water in the harbor, and prevent the forming of any waves.
This prevention I would thus endeavor to explain.
There seems to be no natural repulsion between water and air, such as to keep them from coming into contact with each other. Hence we find a quantity of air in water; and if we extract it by means of the air-pump, the same water again exposed to the air will soon imbibe an equal quantity.
Therefore air in motion, which is wind, in passing over the smooth surface of water, may rub, as it were, upon that surface, and raise it into wrinkles, which, if the wind continues, are the elements of future waves.
The smallest wave once raised does not immediately subside and leave the neighboring water quiet; but in subsiding raises nearly as much of the water next to it, the friction of the parts making little difference. Thus a stone dropped into a pool raises first a single wave round itself; and leaves it by sinking to the bottom; but that first wave subsiding raises a second, the second a third, and so on in circles to a great extent.
A small power continually operating will produce a great action. A finger applied to a weighty suspended bell can at first move it but little; if repeatedly applied though with no greater strength, the motion increases till the bell swings to its utmost height, and with a force that cannot be resisted by the whole strength of the arm and body. Thus the small first-raised waves, being continually acted upon by the wind, are, though the wind does not increase in strength, continually increased in magnitude, rising higher, and extending their bases, so as to include a vast mass of water in each wave, which in its motion acts with great violence.
But if there is a mutual repulsion between the particles of oil, and no attraction between oil and water, oil dropped on water will not be held together by adhesion to the spot whereon it falls; it will not be imbibed by the water; it will be at liberty to expand itself; and it will spread on a surface that, besides being smooth to the most perfect degree of polish, prevents, perhaps by repelling the oil, all immediate contact, keeping it at a minute distance from itself; and the expansion will continue till the mutual repulsion between the particles of the oil is weakened and reduced to nothing by their distance.
Now I imagine that the wind, blowing over water thus covered with a film of oil, cannot easily catch upon it, so as to raise the first wrinkles, but slides over it, and leaves it smooth as it finds it. It moves a little the oil indeed, which being between it and the water, serves it to slide with, and prevents friction, as oil does between those parts of a machine that would otherwise rub hard together. Hence the oil dropped on the windward side of a pond proceeds gradually to leeward, as may be seen by the smoothness it carries with it, quite to the opposite side. For the wind being thus prevented from raising the first wrinkles, that I call the elements of waves, cannot produce waves, which are to be made by continually acting upon, and enlarging those elements, and thus the whole pond is calmed.
Totally therefore we might suppress the waves in any required place, if we could come at the windward place where they take their rise. This in the ocean can seldom if ever be done. But perhaps something may be done on particular occasions, to moderate the violence of the waves when we are in the midst of them, and prevent their breaking where that would be inconvenient.
For, when the wind blows fresh, there are continually rising on the back of every great wave a number of small ones, which roughen its surface, and give the wind hold, as it were, to push it with greater force. This hold is diminished, by preventing the generation of those small ones. And possibly too when a wave’s surface is oiled, the wind in passing over it may rather in some degree press it down, and contribute to prevent its rising again, instead of promoting it.
This, as mere conjecture, would have little weight, if the apparent effects of pouring oil into the midst of waves were not considerable, and as yet not otherwise accounted for.
When the wind blows so fresh, as that the waves are not sufficiently quick in obeying its impulse, their tops being thinner and lighter are pushed forward, broken, and turned over in a white foam. Common waves lift a vessel without entering it; but these when large sometimes break above and pour over it, doing great damage.
That this effect might in any degree be prevented, or the height and violence of waves in the sea moderated, we had no certain account; Pliny’s authority for the practice of seamen in his time being slighted. But discoursing lately on this subject with his Excellency Count Bentinck, of Holland, his son the Honorable Captain Bentinck, and the learned Professor Allemand, (to all whom I showed the experiment of smoothing in a windy day the large piece of water at the head of the Green Park,) a letter was mentioned, which had been received by the Count from Batavia, relative to the saving of a Dutch ship in a storm by pouring oil into the sea. I much desired to see that letter, and a copy of it was promised me, which I afterward received.
Extract of a Letter from Mr. Tengnagel to Count Bentinck, dated at Batavia, 5 January, 1770
Near the islands Paul and Amsterdam, we met with a storm, which had nothing particular in it worthy of being communicated to you, except that the captain found himself obliged for greater safety in wearing the ship, to pour oil into the sea, to prevent the waves breaking over her, which had an excellent effect, and succeeded in preserving us. As he poured out but a little at a time, the East India Company owes perhaps its ship to only six demi-ames of oil-olive. I was present upon deck when this was done; and I should not have mentioned this circumstance to you, but that we have found people here so prejudiced against the experiment, as to make it necessary for the officers on board and myself to give a certificate of the truth on this head, of which we made no difficulty.
On this occasion I mentioned to Captain Bentinck a thought which had occurred to me in reading the voyages of our late circumnavigators, particularly where accounts are given of pleasant and fertile islands which they much desired to land upon, when sickness made it more necessary, but could not effect a landing through a violent surf breaking on the shore, which rendered it impracticable. My idea was that possibly by sailing to and fro at some distance from such lee-shore, continually pouring oil into the sea, the waves might be so much depressed and lessened before they reached the shore, as to abate the height and violence of the surf, and permit a landing, which, in such circumstances, was a point of sufficient importance to justify the expense of the oil that might be requisite for the purpose. That gentleman, who is ever ready to promote what may be of public utility, though his own ingenious inventions have not always met with the countenance they merited, was so obliging as to invite me to Portsmouth, where an opportunity would probably offer, in the course of a few days, of making the experiment on some of the shores about Spithead, in which he kindly proposed to accompany me, and to give assistance with such boats as might be necessary. Accordingly, about the middle of October last, I went with some friends to Portsmouth, and a day of wind happening, which made a lee-shore between Haslar Hospital and the point near Jillkecker, we went from the Centaur with the long-boat and barge towards that shore. Our disposition was this, the long-boat was anchored about a quarter of a mile from the shore; part of the company were landed behind the point (a place more sheltered from the sea), who came round and placed themselves opposite to the long-boat, where they might observe the surf, and note if any change occurred in it upon using the oil. Another party, in the barge, plied to windward of the long-boat, as far from her as she was from the shore, making trips of about half a mile each, pouring oil continually out of a large stone bottle, through a hole in the cork, somewhat bigger than a goose-quill. The experiment had not, in the main point, the success we wished, for no material difference was observed in the height or force of the surf upon the shore; but those who were in the long-boat could observe a tract of smoothed water, the whole of the distance in which the barge poured the oil, and gradually spreading in breadth towards the long-boat. I call it smoothed, not that it was laid level, but because, though the swell continued, its surface was not roughened by the wrinkles, or smaller waves, before mentioned, and none or very few white caps (or waves whose tops turn over in foam) appeared in that whole space, though to windward and leeward of it there were plenty; and a wherry, that came round the point under sail, in her way to Portsmouth, seemed to turn into that tract of choice, and to use it from end to end as a piece of turnpike road.
It may be of use to relate the circumstances of an experiment that does not succeed, since they may give hints of amendment in future trials; it is therefore I have been thus particular. I shall only add what I apprehend may have been the reason of our disappointment.
I conceive that the operation of oil on water is: first, to prevent the raising of new waves by the wind; and, secondly, to prevent its pushing those before raised with such force, and consequently their continuance of the same repeated height, as they would have done if their surface were not oiled. But oil will not prevent waves being raised by another power—by a stone, for instance, falling into a still pond; for they then rise by the mechanical impulse of the stone, which the greasiness on the surrounding water cannot lessen or prevent, as it can prevent the winds catching the surface and raising it into waves. Now waves once raised, whether by the wind or any other power, have the same mechanical operation, by which they continue to rise and fall, as a pendulum will continue to swing a long time after the force ceases to act by which the motion was first produced; that motion will, however, cease in time; but time is necessary. Therefore, though oil spread on an agitated sea may weaken the push of the wind on those waves whose surfaces are covered by it, and so, by receiving less fresh impulse, they may gradually subside; yet a considerable time, or a distance through which they will take time to move, may be necessary to make the effect sensible on any shore in a diminution of the surf; for we know that, when wind ceases suddenly, the waves it has raised do not as suddenly subside, but settle gradually, and are not quite down till after the wind has ceased. So, though we should, by oiling them, take off the effect of wind on waves already raised, it is not to be expected that those waves should be instantly levelled. The motion they have received will, for some time, continue; and, if the shore is not far distant, they arrive there so soon, that their effect upon it will not be visibly diminished. Possibly, therefore, if we had begun our operations at a greater distance, the effect might have been more sensible. And perhaps we did not pour oil in sufficient quantity. Future experiments may determine this.
I was, however, greatly obliged to Captain Bentinck for the cheerful and ready aids he gave me; and I ought not to omit mentioning Mr. Banks, Dr. Solander, General Carnoc, and Dr. Blagden, who all assisted at the experiment, during that blustering, unpleasant day, with a patience and activity that could only be inspired by a zeal for the improvement of knowledge, such especially as might possibly be of use to men in situations of distress.
I would wish you to communicate this to your ingenious friend, Mr. Farish, with my respects; and believe me to be, with sincere esteem, dear sir,
Your most obedient humble servant,
FROM THOMAS CUSHING
Boston, 10 December, 1773.
I have duly received your several favors of August 24th and September 1st, with the papers inclosed, which I shall communicate to the House as soon as they meet.
Capts. Hall, Bruce, and Coffin are arrived with a quantity of tea shipped (in pursuance of a late act of Parliament) by the East India Company, to the address of Richard Clark & Sons, Thos. and Elisha Hutchinson, Benjamin Faneuil, and Joshua Winslow, Esq. Capt. Loring is hourly expected with more of the same article consigned to the same persons; this has greatly alarmed the people here, who have had several meetings upon the occasion. Inclosed you have a paper containing their proceedings and resolutions, by which you will perceive that they insist upon the consignees sending back the tea, and have determined it never shall be landed or pay any duty here. The colonists have been long complaining of the Parliament’s taxing them without their consent. They have frequently remonstrated against the exercise of a power they deem unconstitutional; their petitions have been neglected if not rejected. However, within about twelve or fifteen months past they have, by administration and by their friends in Great Britain, been led to expect that their grievances would be redressed and the revenue acts repealed, and from some accounts received the last winter from your side the water, they had reason to expect the Tea Act would have been repealed the very last session, instead of which the Parliament, at that very session when the people expected to have obtained relief, passed an act empowering the East India Company to ship their tea to America. This they considered as a new measure to establish and confirm a tax on the colonists, which they complained of as unjust and unrighteous, and consequently has renewed and increased their distress, and it is particularly increased by this act, as it is introductive of monopolies and of all the consequent evils thence arising. But their greatest objection is from its being manifestly intended more effectually to secure the payment of the duty on tea laid by an act passed in the 7th of George the Third, which act in its operation deprives the colonists of the exclusive right of taxing themselves; they further apprehend that this late act was passed with a view not only to secure the duty aforesaid, but to lay a foundation of enhancing it, and in a like way, if this should succeed, to lay other duties, and that it demonstrates an indisposition in ministry that the Parliament should grant them relief. Impressed with these sentiments, the people say they have been amused, they have been deceived, and at a time when they had reason to expect they should have been relieved they find administration pursuing fresh measures to establish and confirm those very acts which, if persisted in, must reduce them to abject slavery. This is the source of their distress, a distress that borders upon despair, and they know not where to fly for relief. This is the cause of the present great uneasiness and has been the occasion of the extraordinary measures pursued by the people here and in several of the principal colonies, for you must observe the same spirit prevails in Philadelphia and New York. Philadelphia began and passed their resolutions above a month ago, New York catched it from them, and so it passed on to this government, and if administration had put their invention upon the utmost stretch to contrive a plan of union for the colonies, I cannot well conceive of any one measure that would tend more effectually to unite the colonies than the present act empowering the East India Company to export their tea to America, and if they should have it in contemplation to show any marks of resentment upon the colonies for their conduct relative to this matter, it is thought they ought to begin with the people among yourselves, as many of them have for these three of four months past been repeatedly notifying our merchants of this manœuvre and advising them not by any means to suffer tea to be landed; if they designed to preserve their freedom, they have been blowing the coals. We have got into a flame, and where it will end God only knows. In short, sir, our affairs are brought to a very serious crisis; and the court party themselves, as I am informed, plainly see that the people are so thoroughly roused and alarmed, and discover such a determined resolution not any longer to suffer these impositions, that they begin to think it absolutely necessary the measures of administration with respect to America should be altered; they find that the spirit runs higher than in the time of the Stamp Act, and that the opposition is more systematical, so that they fear nothing less than the repeal of the revenue acts and a radical redress of American grievances will save us from a rupture with Great Britain, which may prove fatal to both countries.
The people here are far from desiring that the connection between Great Britain and America should be broken. Esto perpetua is their ardent wish, but upon terms only of equal liberty. May the Great Governor of the Universe overrule the councils of the nation and direct and influence to such measures as may be productive of such a happy connection.
This will be delivered you by Mr. John Sprague, a young gentleman who goes for London with a view to improve himself in the study of physic. I must refer you to him for a more particular and circumstantial account of the state of affairs here, and recommend him to your friendly notice.
I conclude with great respect, your most obedient humble servant.
Benjamin Franklin, Esq.
FROM THOMAS CUSHING AND OTHERS, COMMITTEE, ETC.
Boston, 21 December, 1773.
It has been the expectation of many of the colonists that the last session of Parliament would have put a final end to those grievances under which they had so long been oppressed, and against which they had so long in vain remonstrated. They expected that the revenue acts would have been repealed and that they should no more have had reason to complain of the unconstitutional exertions of parliamentary power; they were naturally led to form these expectations from the conduct of administration, who lately encouraged them with assurances that if all things remained quiet in America, these unhappy dissentions would soon terminate in a lasting union; but how, sir, were they surprised to find they had been deceived; to find that the Parliament, at the very time they expected relief, pursued new measures for effectively securing and enhancing the oppressive revenues, and with this view, by an act passed the last session, impowered the East India Company to ship their teas to America. From this act they readily saw that they had nothing to hope from the favor of administration, but that they rather discovered an indisposition that the Parliament should grant them any relief. They considered the act as introductive to monopolies, which, besides the train of evils that attend them in a commercial view, are forever dangerous to public liberty, more especially under the direction and influence of government. They also looked upon it pregnant with new grievances, paving the way to further impositions, and in its consequences threatening the final destruction of American liberties. Thrown by this idea into a state of desperation, the united voice of the people, not only in this province, but in New York and Pennsylvania, and as far as we can learn in all the colonies, was, that they would never suffer the tea to be landed, but would prefer any species of hazard and danger to a tame submission to measures which, if pursued, must reduce them to a state of abject slavery. Administration could not have invented a method so effectual for raising the spirit of the colonies, or promoting among them an entire union of sentiment. At the same time the people on your side the water have for several months been repeatedly informing our merchants of this manœuvre and advising them, as they regarded their sacred rights, to withstand the landing of the teas by the most vigorous opposition.
While the minds of the people were impressed with these sentiments the vessels arrived with the teas, consigned to Messrs. Richard Clark & Sons, Thomas and Elisha Hutchinson, Benjamin Faneuil and Joshua Winslow, Esqrs. Previous to this the town of Boston had several meetings, in order to induce the assignees to resign their trust, but to no purpose, and immediately upon the arrival of the vessels aforesaid, that every measure possible might be taken to prevent confusion and disorder, while the minds of all were in great agitation, the people in this and many of the neighboring towns assembled in the Old South Meeting House (Faneuil Hall not being capacious enough to contain the people that attended), to prevail with the consignees to send back the teas, and if possible to preserve it from that destruction which the resentment of the people might justly lead them to expect. You will see by the enclosed papers the measures they took and the resolves they passed, and will wonder, perhaps, that these resolves and measures were in vain. They not only treated with the consignees, but with the owners and masters of these vessels, but all without success. Despairing to effectuate any method of accommodation, after having tried all that could be devised to no purpose, they dissolved the meeting, which, agreeable to their constant and declared design, had protected the teas from destruction. Nigh twenty days were now passed since the arrival of one of the tea vessels, commanded by Capt. Hall, at which time, according to Act of Parliament, it was in the power of the custom-house officers to take the teas into their own possession in order to secure the duties. There were just grounds to think that they intended to do it the minute the twenty days were expired, and that they would attempt to land them by force and overbear any opposition that might be made by a second effusion of blood. Under these apprehensions the teas, the evening of the 16th instant, were destroyed by a number of persons unknown and in disguise. Such was the obstinacy of the consignees, their advisers and coadjutors, such their aversion to all conciliating measures, that they are almost universally condemned, and some even of the court party among us acknowledged that the destruction of the teas must be imputed to these obstinate enemies of our liberties, who never would consent to any method proposed for its preservation, and who perhaps wished to irritate and inflame the minds of an injured, oppressed people to measures of violence, of which afterwards they hoped to make their own advantages.
The House of Representatives, at the last session, appointed us a committee to write to their agent. In pursuance of this appointment we have given you this information of the present state of our affairs, and doubt not you will make such an improvement of this intelligence as shall be most for the interest of this province in particular, and of the colonies in general.
We are, with respect, your most humble servants,
Benjamin Franklin, Esq.
PREFACE TO “AN ABRIDGMENT OF THE BOOK OF COMMON PRAYER.”
The editor of the following abridgment of the Liturgy of the Church of England thinks it but decent and respectful to all, more particularly to the reverend body of clergy, who adorn the Protestant religion by their good works, preaching, and example, that he should humbly offer some reasons for such an undertaking. He addresses himself to the serious and discerning. He professes himself to be a Protestant of the Church of England, and holds in the highest veneration the doctrines of Jesus Christ. He is a sincere lover of social worship, deeply sensible of its usefulness to society; and he aims at doing some service to religion, by proposing such abbreviations and omissions in the forms of our Liturgy (retaining every thing he thinks essential) as might, if adopted, procure a more general attendance. For, besides the differing sentiments of many pious and well-disposed persons in some speculative points, who in general have a good opinion of our Church, it has often been observed and complained of, that the Morning and Evening Service, as practised in England and elsewhere, are so long, and filled with so many repetitions, that the continued attention suitable to so serious a duty becomes impracticable, the mind wanders, and the fervency of devotion is slackened. Also the propriety of saying the same prayer more than once in the same service is doubted, as the service is thereby lengthened without apparent necessity; our Lord having given us a short prayer as an example, and censured the heathen for thinking to be heard because of much speaking.
Moreover, many pious and devout persons, whose age or infirmities will not suffer them to remain for hours in a cold church, especially in the winter season, are obliged to forego the comfort and edification they would receive by their attendance at divine service. These, by shortening the time, would be relieved; and the younger sort, who have had some principles of religion instilled into them, and who have been educated in a belief of the necessity of adoring their Maker, would probably more frequently, as well as cheerfully, attend divine service, if they were not detained so long at any one time. Also many well-disposed tradesmen, shopkeepers, artificers, and others, whose habitations are not remote from churches, could, and would, more frequently at least, find time to attend divine service on other than Sundays, if the prayers were reduced to a much narrower compass.
Formerly there were three services performed at different times of the day, which three services are now usually joined in one. This may suit the convenience of the person who officiates, but is too often inconvenient and tiresome to the congregation. If this abridgment, therefore, should ever meet with acceptance, the well-disposed clergy who are laudably desirous to encourage the frequency of divine service, may promote so great and good a purpose by repeating it three times on a Sunday, without so much fatigue to themselves as at present. Suppose, at nine o’clock, at eleven, and at one in the evening; and by preaching no more sermons than usual of a moderate length; and thereby accommodate a greater number of people with convenient hours.
These were general reasons for wishing and proposing an abridgment. In attempting it we do not presume to dictate even to a single Christian. We are sensible there is a proper authority in the rulers of the Church for ordering such matters; and whenever the time shall come when it may be thought not unreasonable to revise our Liturgy, there is no doubt but every suitable improvement will be made, under the care and direction of so much learning, wisdom, and piety, in one body of men collected. Such a work as this must then be much better executed. In the meantime this humble performance may serve to show the practicability of shortening the service near one half, without the omission of what is essentially necessary; and we hope, moreover, that the book may be occasionally of some use to families, or private assemblies of Christians.
To give now some account of particulars. We have presumed upon this plan of abridgment to omit the First Lesson, which is taken from the Old Testament, and retain only the Second from the New Testament, which, we apprehend, is more suitable to teach the so-much-to-be-revered doctrine of Christ, and of more immediate importance to Christians; although the Old Testament is allowed by all to be an accurate and concise history, and, as such, may more properly be read at home.
We do not conceive it necessary for Christians to make use of more than one creed. Therefore, in this abridgment are omitted the Nicene Creed and that of St. Athanasius. Of the Apostle’s Creed we have retained the parts that are most intelligible and most essential. And as the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are there confessedly and avowedly a part of the belief, it does not appear necessary, after so solemn a confession, to repeat again, in the Litany, the Son and Holy Ghost, as that part of the service is otherwise very prolix.
The Psalms being a collection of odes written by different persons, it hath happened that many of them are on the same subject and repeat the same sentiments—such as those that complain of enemies and persecutors, call upon God for protection, express a confidence therein, and thank him for it when afforded. A very great part of the book consists of repetitions of this kind, which may therefore well bear abridgment. Other parts are merely historical, repeating the mention of facts more fully narrated in the preceding books, and which, relating to the ancestors of the Jews, were more interesting to them than to us. Other parts are local, and allude to places of which we have no knowledge, and therefore do not affect us. Others are personal, relating to the particular circumstances of David or Solomon, as kings, and can therefore seldom be rehearsed with any propriety by private Christians. Others imprecate, in the most bitter terms, the vengeance of God on our adversaries, contrary to the spirit of Christianity, which commands us to love our enemies, and to pray for those that hate us and despitefully use us. For these reasons it is to be wished that the same liberty were by the governors of our Church allowed to the minister with regard to the reading Psalms, as is taken by the clerk with regard to those that are to be sung, in directing the parts that he may judge most suitable to be read at the time, from the present circumstances of the congregation, or the tenor of his sermon, by saying, “Let us read” such and such parts of the Psalms named. Until this is done our abridgment, it is hoped, will be found to contain what may be most generally proper to be joined in by an assembly of Christian people. The Psalms are still apportioned to the days of the month, as heretofore, though the several parts for each day are generally a full third shorter.
We humbly suppose the same service contained in this abridgment might properly serve for all the saint’s days, fasts, and feasts, reading only the Epistle and Gospel appropriated to each day of the month.
The Communion is greatly abridged, on account of its great length; nevertheless, it is hoped and believed that all those parts are retained which are material and necessary.
Infant Baptism in Churches being performed during divine service, would greatly add to the length of that service, if it were not abridged. We have ventured, therefore, to leave out the less material parts.
The Catechism, as a compendium of systematic theology, which learned divines have written folio volumes to explain, and which, therefore, it may be presumed, they thought scarce intelligible without such expositions, is, perhaps, taken altogether, not so well adapted to the capacities of children as might be wished. Only those plain answers, therefore, which express our duty towards God, and our duty towards our neighbor, are retained here. The rest is recommended to their reading and serious consideration, when more years shall have ripened their understanding.
The Confirmation is here shortened.
The Commination, and all cursing of mankind, is, we think, best omitted in this abridgment.
The form of solemnization of Matrimony is often abbreviated by the officiating minister, at his discretion. We have selected what appear to us the material parts, and which, we humbly hope, will be deemed sufficient.
The long prayers in the service for the Visitation of the Sick seem not so proper, when the afflicted person is very weak and in distress.
The Order for the Burial of the Dead is very solemn and moving; nevertheless, to preserve the health and lives of the living, it appeared to us that this service ought particularly to be shortened. For numbers standing in the open air with their hats off, often in tempestuous weather, during the celebration, its great length is not only inconvenient, but may be dangerous to the attendants. We hope, therefore, that our abridgment of it will be approved by the rational and prudent.
The Thanksgiving of women after childbirth being, when read, part of the service of the day, we have also, in some measure, abridged that.
Having thus stated very briefly our motives and reasons, and our manner of proceeding in the prosecution of this work, we hope to be believed, when we declare the rectitude of our intentions. We mean not to lessen or prevent the practice of religion, but to honor and promote it. We acknowledge the excellency of our present Liturgy, and, though we have shortened it, we have not presumed to alter a word in the remaining text; not even to substitute who for which in the Lord’s Prayer, and elsewhere, although it would be more correct. We respect the characters of bishops and other dignitaries of our Church, and, with regard to the inferior clergy, we wish that they were more equally provided for, than by that odious and vexatious as well as unjust method of gathering tithes in kind, which creates animosities and litigations, to the interruption of the good harmony and respect which might otherwise subsist between the rectors and their parishioners.
And thus, conscious of upright meaning, we submit this abridgment to the serious consideration of the prudent and dispassionate, and not to enthusiasts and bigots; being convinced in our own breasts, that this shortened method, or one of the same kind better executed, would further religion, increase unanimity, and occasion a more frequent attendance on the worship of God.
The following note accompanied the letter, when it was communicated to Lord Dartmouth.
“Craven Street, 8 Dec., 1772.
Dr. Franklin presents his best respects to Lord Dartmouth, and, believing it may be agreeable as well as useful to him to receive other information of the sentiments and dispositions of the leading people in America, besides what ministers are usually furnished with from the officers of the crown residing there, takes the liberty of communicating to his Lordship a letter just received from the Speaker of the Assembly of the Massachusetts Bay, written not as Speaker, but in his private capacity.
Dr. Franklin purposes to wait on Lord Dartmouth at his levee tomorrow, and shall be happy if he may bring from thence any thing proper to write in answer that should tend to compose the minds of people in that province, at present greatly disquieted and alarmed by some late measures of government.”
An active philanthropist, born at St Quentin, in France, of Protestant parents, who, in 1715, when Anthony was two years old, removed to London, where they became Quakers, and to Philadelphia in 1731, where Anthony died May 4, 1784, in the seventy-first year of his age. He was brought up to mercantile pursuits, which, however, he abandoned in 1742, and became an instructor in a school of the Society of Friends. He took an active part in the agitation for the suppression of the slave-trade, founded a school for children of African descent, and left his property to it upon the death of his wife.
When the bill imposing a tax on glass, paper, and painters’ colors was repealed the ministry proposed a reduction of the duty on tea from one shilling to threepence a pound, thus easing the colonies, as they said, of ninepence on a pound. But, at the same time, Lord North avowed the object of retaining this threepenny tax to be for the purpose of asserting and maintaining the right of Parliament to tax the colonies. He said that “he even wished to have repealed the whole, if it could have been done without giving up that absolute right; that he should, to the last hour of his life, contend for taxing America; but, he was sorry to say, the behavior of the Americans had by no means been such as to merit such favor, neither did he think a total repeal would quell the troubles there, as experience had shown that, to lay taxes when America was quiet, and repeal them when America was in flames, only added fresh claims to those people on every occasion.” And he added, in speaking of the non-importation agreements in the colonies: “North America, from its natural situation, and the dearness of labor, would be many years before it could supply itself with manufactures; therefore there was not so much to fear from their resolutions as the nation imagined.”—Debrett’s Parliamentary Debates, Vol. V., p. 254. With these views he retained the threepence a pound on tea, and the East India Company was induced to make large importations for the American market, but the people held to their resolutions, resisted the tax, and defeated the sales, thus bringing heavy losses upon the company.
See this letter under date of September 26, 1772.
M. de Saussure was the well-known professor at Geneva, celebrated for his philosophical writings, and for his ascent of Mont Blanc.—Ed.
To ascertain the lateral attraction of mountains, with the view of determining the mean density of the earth upon the Newtonian theory of gravitation. On this subject, it would seem, Dr. Franklin had written to request the aid of M. de Saussure, who had bestowed much time and attention in observing the geological structure and formation of the mountains of the Alps.
Indian corn, or maise, which is most commonly planted in this neighborhood.
John Hyacinth de Magalhaens, a Portuguese by birth, who resided a large part of his life in England. His name frequently occurs in Franklin’s letters. He is said to have been “an able linguist, and well versed in chemistry and natural philosophy,” and to have published respectable treatises on mineralogy and some other branches of science. He was a member of the Royal Society. This is the same person (whose name is sometimes printed Magellan) that gave to the American Philosophical Society a donation of two hundred guineas, which was to be invested in a secure fund, and the interest disposed of annually in premiums to the author of the best discovery, or most useful invention, relating to navigation, astronomy, or natural philosophy.—Sparks.
This letter has no date, but the one to which it is an answer is dated May 1, 1773.
The works of Dr. Stark, the young physician here alluded to, including his experiments, have since been published.
Letters from Governor Hutchinson and Lieutenant-Governor Oliver, about which see infra, p. 378.
An eminent physician and chemist, born at Breda in 1730. He passed a large part of his life in England, where he died, September 7, 1799. He was a copious correspondent of Franklin.
The resolves, appointing a Committee of Correspondence, and requesting the legislatures of the other colonies to do the same, for the purpose of promoting concert of action, were passed on the 12th of March, 1773, by the other colonies. See the Resolves in Wirt’s Life of Patrick Henry, 3d ed., p. 87.
The young agent here mentioned, as “impatient for the succession,” was Arthur Lee. He was called in English circles Junius Americanus, to distinguish him from his elder brother, Richard Henry Lee. Arthur was admitted to the bar in England, and commenced the practice of the Law in London. Dr. Franklin’s original appointment as the agent of Massachusetts was made in contemplation of his being detained from home for only a brief period, and Arthur Lee, being a resident in London and a man of many accomplishments for such an agency, was chosen to succeed him and to act in his absence. Franklin, however, remained abroad much longer than he or his constituents had anticipated, and, to Lee’s great chagrin. It was under these circumstances that the jealousy of Franklin began, which tortured Lee for the remainder of his life, and very soon destroyed in Europe whatever influence his talents and unquestioned patriotism would have otherwise entitled him to.—Editor.
A clergyman of Boston, and son of the celebrated Cotton Mather.
Dr. Samuel Cooper, a prominent clergyman of Boston.
Governor Hutchinson’s letters.
Without proposing to meddle with a question so strictly professional as this, I think it not amiss to cite here in confirmation of the Doctor’s heretical theories about colds, the following statement made by the late Dr. John H. Griscom, Superintendent of the Commissioners of Emigration of New York, in a communication addressed to a Special Committee of the United States Senate, dated the 14th January, 1854, and during the unprecedented virulence of “ship fever” on emigrant ships arriving at the port of New York at that period.
“In the month of August, 1837, a number of ships with emigrant passengers arrived at South Amboy from Liverpool and other ports, on some of which ship fever prevailed. There was no hospital or other accommodations in the town in which the sick could be placed, and no person would admit them into private dwellings, fearing infection, at the same time they could not be left on board the ships.
An arrangement was made to land the sick passengers, and place them in an open wood, adjacent to a large spring of water, about a mile and a half from town. Rough shanties, floored with boards and covered with sails, were erected, and thirty-six patients were landed in boats as near the spring as possible, and carried in wagons to the encampment (as it was called) under the influence of a hot August sun. Of the thirty-six twelve were insensible, in the last stage of fever, and not expected to live twenty-four hours. The day after landing there was a heavy rain, and the shanties affording no protection with their sail roofs, the sick were found the next morning wet, and their bedding, such as it was, drenched with the rain. It was replaced with such articles as could be collected from the charity of the inhabitants. Their number was increased by new patients to eighty-two in all. On board the ship, which was cleansed after landing the passengers, four of the crew were taken with ship fever, and two of them died. Some of the nurses at the encampment were taken sick, but recovered. Of the whole number of eighty-two passengers taken from the ship not one died.
. . . The shanties spoken of were two in number, thirty feet long, twenty feet wide, boarded on three sides four feet up, with old sails stretched over them. The twelve who were removed from the ship in a state of insensibility were apparently in so helpless a condition that the overseer, who was a carpenter, observed, ‘well, Doctor, I think I shall have some boxes to make before many hours.’ The night after their arrival at the encampment,’ says Dr. Smith, ‘we had a violent thunder-gust, accompanied by torrents of rain. On visiting them the following morning, the clothes of all were saturated with water, in other words they had had a thorough ablution. This doubtless was a most fortunate circumstance. . . . The four sailors who sickened after the arrival of the vessel (the Phoebe) were removed to the room of an ordinary dwelling house. The medical treatment in their case was precisely similar, yet two of them died, and the others suffered from carbuncles while convalescing.’ The Doctor adds ‘My opinion is that had the eighty-two treated at the encampment been placed in a common hospital, many of them would also have fallen victims. I do not attribute their recovery so much to the remedies administered as to the circumstances in which they were placed, in other words, a good washing to begin with and an abundance of fresh air.’ ”—Editor.
The Virginia resolves for appointing a Committee of Correspondence arrived in Boston shortly before the assembling of the legislature. Its first business was to accede to the proposal of Virginia, and appoint a Committee of Correspondence.
Resolves concerning Hutchinson’s letters.
Governor Hutchinson’s letters.
See letter to his son William, infra, p. 222.
The piece was probably the Rules by Which a Great Empire may be Reduced to a Small One, or An Edict by the King of Prussia. See pages 204 and 195.
The minister here alluded to is supposed to be the Earl of Hillsborough.
One of the American writers affirms: “That there has not been a single instance in which they have complained, without being rebuked; or in which they have been complained against, without being punished.” A fundamental mistake in the minister occasioned this. Every individual in New England (the peccant country) was held a coward or a knave, and the disorders which spread abroad there were treated as the result of the too great lenity of Great Britain! By the aid of this short and benevolent rule, judgment was ever wisely predetermined; to the shutting out redress on the one hand, and enforcing every rigor of punishment on the other.—B. V.
As the reader may be inclined to divide his belief between the wisdom of the ministry and the candor and veracity of Dr. Franklin, I shall inform him that two contrary objections may be made to the truth of this representation. The first is, that the conduct of Great Britain is made too absurd for possibility; and the second, that it is not made absurd enough for fact. If we consider that this writing does not include the measures subsequent to 1773, the latter difficulty is easily set aside. The former I can only solve by the many instances in history where the infatuation of individuals has brought the heaviest calamities upon nations.—B. V.
A new and handsome edition of the above piece was published at London in 1793, with the following ironical dedication. Lord Loughborough was once Mr. Wedderburn, and the same person who uttered an abusive philippic against Dr. Franklin in a speech before the king in council relating to Hutchinson’s letters. See infra, p. 292.—Editor. [For the “dedication,” see foot note on p. 216.]
“To the Right Honorable Alexander, Lord Loughborough.
When I reflect on your lordship’s magnanimous conduct towards the author of the following golden rules, there is, in my opinion, a peculiar propriety in dedicating this new edition of them to a nobleman whose talents were so eminently useful in procuring the emancipation of our American brethren.
In the most heartfelt wish that the same talents may be employed on similar occasions with the same splendid success, I have the honor to be, my lord, your lordship’s most obedient and very humble servant,
The Editor.London, Feb. 12, 1793.”
This letter, found in the London Public Record Office, is thus endorsed. “Benjamin Franklin, Sept. 23, 1773, private, wherein he acknowledges himself author of a Receipt or rather Prescription for Diminishing a Great Empire, as published in a London newspaper.” See this Receipt or Prescription, supra, p. 204.
A physician of Manchester, in England, and author of several publications on medical and philosophical subjects.—Ed.
Dr. Ingenhousz was now residing at Vienna, whither he had gone to inoculate for the small-pox the Archduchess Theresa Elizabeth, the only daughter of the emperor, and the Archdukes Ferdinand and Maximilian, the emperor’s brothers. He remained in that city several years. He was in England during a large part of the year 1779, when he published his work, entitled, Experiments on Vegetables, etc. In the title-page of that work he styles himself “Counsellor of the Court and Body Physician to their Imperial Majesties.”—Editor.
Governor Hutchinson procured a copy of one of Dr. Franklin’s letters, and sent it to the ministry.
Of this squirrel, sent out to replace poor Mungo in the affections of Miss Shipley, we have no farther tidings.—Ed.
Petition from the Legislature of Massachusetts for the removal of Governor Hutchinson and Lieutenant-Governor Oliver.
The name of the engraver is not contained in the manuscript, from which the letter has been transcribed.
Extracted from sundry letters between Benj. Franklin, LL.D., F.R.S., Wm. Brownrigg, M.D., F.R.S., and the Reverend Mr. Farish.
Sir Gilfred Lawson, who served long in the army at Gibraltar, assures me that the fisherman in that place are accustomed to pour a little oil on the sea, in order to still its motion, that they may be enabled to see the oysters lying at its bottom; which are there very large, and which they take up with a proper instrument. This Sir Gilfred had often seen there performed, and said the same was practised on other parts of the Spanish coast.—Note by Dr. Brownrigg.
See the letter to Dr. John Pringle, dated December 1, 1762.—Ed.
In a letter dated London, June 17, 1785, Grenville Sharp wrote to Dr. Franklin: “I have been informed that several years ago you revised the Liturgy of the Church of England, with a view, by some few alterations, to promote the more general use of it; but I have never yet been able to see a copy of the form you proposed. Our present public service is certainly, upon the whole, much too long, as it is commonly used, so that a prudent revision of it, by the common consent of the members of the Episcopal Church of America, might be very advantageous; though for my own part I conceive that the addition of one single rubric from the Gospel would be amply sufficient to direct the advisers to the only corrections that seem to be necessary at present I mean a general rule illustrated by general examples, references, and marks, to warn officiating ministers how they may avoid all useless repetitions and tautology in reading the service.”
In reply to this inquiry of Mr. Sharp, Dr. Franklin wrote Mr. Sharp, about two weeks later, July 5th, as follows. “The Liturgy you mention was an abridgement of that made by a noble lord of my acquaintance, who requested me to assist him by taking the rest of the book, viz., the Catechism, and the reading and singing Psalms. These I abridged by retaining of the Catechism only the two questions, What is your duty to God? What is your duty to your neighbor? with answers. The Psalms were much contracted by leaving out the repetitions (of which I found more than I could have imagined) and the imprecations, which appeared not to suit well the Christian doctrine of forgiveness of injuries, and doing good to enemies. The book was printed by Wilkie, in St. Paul’s Churchyard, but never much noticed. Some were given away, very few sold, and I suppose the bulk became waste paper. In the prayers so much was retrenched that approbation could hardly be expected; but I think with you, a moderate abridgment might not only be useful, but generally acceptable.”
The book here referred to was entitled Abridgment of the Book of Common Prayer and Administration of the Sacraments, and Other Rites and Ceremonies of the Church, according to the Use of the Church of England, together with the Psalter or Psalms of David, pointed as they are to be sung or said in the Churches. London. Printed in the Year MDCCLXXIII. The noble lord associated in the preparation of this abridgment was Lord Despencer, with whom, during the summer of 1773, Franklin passed some time at his country residence. The Doctor probably never undertook any work for which he was so imperfectly equipped as that of settling the terms of a Liturgy for a Christian Church. It is not surprising that the fruit of his efforts was “little noticed,” and “the book became waste paper.” The preface, which was entirely his own, is interesting, however, as the fullest expression that we have of his views on the subject of public worship, just as it is interesting to get a blind man’s view of the colors of the rainbow.—Editor.