Letters 1726-1757

Letters 1726-1757
[Selections. 1987] Writings. Library of America. J.A. Leo Lemay, ed. New York: Literary Classics of the United States, 1987


I am highly pleased with the account captain Freeman gives me of you. I always judged by your behaviour when a child that you would make a good, agreeable woman, and you know you were ever my peculiar favourite. I have been thinking what would be a suitable present for me to make, and for you to receive, as I hear you are grown a celebrated beauty. I had almost determined on a tea table, but when I considered that the character of a good housewife was far preferable to that of being only a pretty gentlewoman, I concluded to send you a spinning wheel, which I hope you will accept as a small token of my sincere love and affection.

Sister, farewell, and remember that modesty, as it makes the most homely virgin amiable and charming, so the want of it infallibly renders the most perfect beauty disagreeable and odious. But when that brightest of female virtues shines among other perfections of body and mind in the same person, it makes the woman more lovely than an angel. Excuse this freedom, and use the same with me. I am, dear Jenny, your loving brother,

[Page 424] [Note: “TOO SEVERE UPON HOBBES”]

Having read the Chapter on Moral Good or Virtue, with all the Attention I am Capable of, amidst the many little Cares that Continually infest me, I shall, as the Author Condescends to desire, give my Opinion of it, and that with all Sincerity and Freedom, neither apprehending the Imputation of Flattery on the one hand, nor that of Ill Manners on the other.

I think the Design excellent — and the Management of it in the Main, good; a short Summary of the Chapter plac'd at [Page 425] the Beginning, and little Summaries of each Paragraph in the Margin being only necessary, and what will in my Opinion sufficiently remove any Disgust that the Authors dilate Manner of Writing may give to some Readers; And the whole is so curious and entertaining, that I know not where any thing can be spared.

It seems to me that the Author is a little too severe upon Hobbes, whose Notion, I imagine, is somewhat nearer the Truth than that which makes the State of Nature a State of Love: But the Truth perhaps lies between both Extreams.

I think what is said upon Musick, might be enlarg'd to Advantage by showing that what principally makes a Tune agreeable, is the Conformity between its Air or Genius, and some Motion, Passion or Affection of the Mind, which the Tune imitates.

I should have been glad to have seen the Virtues enumerated, distinguish'd, and the proper Ideas affix'd to each Name; which I have not yet seen, scarce two Authors agreeing therein, some annexing more, others fewer and different Ideas to the Same Name. But I think there is some Incorrectness of Sentiment in what the Author has said of Temperance concerning which I have not time to explain myself in writing.


Honour'd Father and Mother

I have your Favour of the 21st of March in which you both seem concern'd lest I have imbib'd some erroneous Opinions. Doubtless I have my Share, and when the natural Weakness and Imperfection of Human Understanding is considered, with the unavoidable Influences of Education, Custom, Books and Company, upon our Ways of thinking, I imagine a Man must have a good deal of Vanity who believes, and a good deal of Boldness who affirms, that all the Doctrines he holds, are true; and all he rejects, are false. And perhaps the [Page 426] same may be justly said of every Sect, Church and Society of men when they assume to themselves that Infallibility which they deny to the Popes and Councils. I think Opinions should be judg'd of by their Influences and Effects; and if a Man holds none that tend to make him less Virtuous or more vicious, it may be concluded he holds none that are dangerous; which I hope is the Case with me. I am sorry you should have any Uneasiness on my Account, and if it were a thing possible for one to alter his Opinions in order to please others, I know none whom ought more willingly to oblige in that respect than your selves: But since it is no more in a Man's Power to think than to look like another, methinks all that should be expected from me is to keep my Mind open to Conviction, to hear patiently and examine attentively whatever is offered me for that end; and if after all I continue in the same Errors, I believe your usual Charity will induce you rather to pity and excuse than blame me. In the mean time your Care and Concern for me is what I am very thankful for.

As to the Freemasons, unless she will believe me when assure her that they are in general a very harmless sort of People; and have no principles or Practices that are inconsistent with Religion or good Manners, I know no Way of giving my Mother a better Opinion of them than she seems to have at present, (since it is not allow'd that Women should be admitted into that secret Society). She has, I must confess, on that Account, some reason to be displeas'd with it; but for any thing else, I must entreat her to suspend her Judgment till she is better inform'd, and in the mean time exercise her Charity.

My Mother grieves that one of her Sons is an Arian, another an Arminian. What an Arminian or an Arian is, I cannot say that very well know; the Truth is, I make such Distinctions very little my Study; I think vital Religion has always suffer'd, when Orthodoxy is more regarded than Virtue. And the Scripture assures me, that at the last Day, we shall not be examin'd what we thought, but what we did; and our Recommendation will not be that we said Lord, Lord, but that we did GOOD to our Fellow Creatures. See Matth. 26.

We have had great Rains here lately, which with the Thawing of Snow in the Mountains back of our Country has made vast Floods in our Rivers, and by carrying away [Page 427] Bridges, Boats, &c. made travelling almost impracticable for a Week past, so that our Post has entirely mist making one Trip.

I know nothing of Dr. Crook, nor can I learn that any such Person has ever been here.

I hope my Sister Janey's Child is by this time recovered. I am Your dutiful Son


Dearest Sister Jenny

I took your Admonition very kindly, and was far from being offended at you for it. If I say any thing about it to you, 'tis only to rectify some wrong Opinions you seem to have entertain'd of me, and that I do only because they give you some Uneasiness, which I am unwilling to be the Occasion of. You express yourself as if you thought I was against Worshipping of God, and believed Good Works would merit Heaven; which are both Fancies of your own, think, without Foundation. I am so far from thinking that God is not to be worshipped, that I have compos'd and wrote a whole Book of Devotions for my own Use: And I imagine there are few, if any, in the World, so weake as to imagine, that the little Good we can do here, can merit so vast a Reward hereafter. There are some Things in your New England Doctrines and Worship, which I do not agree with, but I do not therefore condemn them, or desire to shake your Belief or Practice of them. We may dislike things that are nevertheless right in themselves. I would only have you make me the same Allowances, and have a better Opinion both of Morality and your Brother. Read the Pages of Mr. Edward's late Book entitled SOME THOUGHTS CONCERNING THE PRESENT REVIVAL OF RELIGION IN NE. from 367 to 375; and when you judge of others, if you can perceive the Fruit to be good, don't terrify your self that the Tree may be evil, but be assur'd it is not so; for you know who has said, Men do not gather Grapes of [Page 428] Thorns or Figs of Thistles. I have not time to add but that I shall always be Your affectionate Brother

P S. It was not kind in you to imagine when your Sister commended Good Works, she intended it a Reproach to you. 'Twas very far from her Thoughts.


— Our people are extremely impatient to hear of your success at Cape Breton. My shop is filled with thirty inquiries at the coming in of every post. Some wonder the place is not yet taken. I tell them I shall be glad to hear that news three months hence. Fortified towns are hard nuts to crack; and your teeth have not been accustomed to it. Taking strong places is a particular trade, which you have taken up without serving an apprenticeship to it. Armies and veterans need skilful engineers to direct them in their attack. Have you any? But some seem to think forts are as easy taken as snuff. Father Moody's prayers look tolerably modest. You have a fast and prayer day for that purpose; in which I compute five hundred thousand petitions were offered up to the same effect in New England, which added to the petitions of every family morning and evening, multiplied by the number of days since January 25th, make forty-five millions of prayers; which, set against the prayers of a few priests in the garrison, to the Virgin Mary, give a vast balance in your favor.

If you do not succeed, I fear I shall have but an indifferent opinion of Presbyterian prayers in such cases, as long as I live. Indeed, in attacking strong towns I should have more dependence on works, than on faith; for, like the kingdom of heaven, they are to be taken by force and violence; and in a French garrison I suppose there are devils of that kind, that they are not to be cast out by prayers and fasting, unless it be by their own fasting for want of provisions. I believe there is Scripture in what I have wrote, but I cannot adorn the [Page 429] margin with quotations, having a bad memory, and no Concordance at hand; besides no more time than to subscribe myself, &c.

May? 1745

[Page 429] [Note: “ALL WIVES ARE IN THE RIGHT”]


I have been reading your letter over again, and since you desire an answer, I sit me down to write you one; yet, as I write in the market, will, I believe, be but a short one, tho' I may be long about it. I approve of your method of writing one's mind, when one is too warm to speak it with temper: but being myself quite cool in this affair, I might as well speak as write, if I had an opportunity. Your copy of Kempis, must be a corrupt one, if it has that passage as you quote it, in omnibus requiem quaesivi, sed non inveni, nisi in angulo cum libello. The good father understood pleasure (requiem) better, and wrote, in angulo cum puella. Correct it thus, without hesitation. I know there is another reading, in angulo puellae; but this reject, tho' more to the point, as an expression too indelicate.

Are you an attorney by profession, and do you know no better, how to chuse a proper court in which to bring your action? Would you submit to the decision of a husband, a cause between you and his wife? Don't you know, that all wives are in the right? It may be you don't, for you are yet but a young husband. But see, on this head, the learned Coke, that oracle of the law, in his chapter De Jus Marit. Angl. I advise you not to bring it to trial; for if you do, you'll certainly be cast.

Frequent interruptions make it impossible for me to go thro' all your letter. I have only time to remind you of the saying of that excellent old philosopher, Socrates, that in differences among friends, they that make the first concessions are the WISEST; and to hint to you, that you are in danger of losing that honour in the present case, if you are not very speedy in [Page 430] your acknowledgments; which I persuade myself you will be, when you consider the sex of your adversary.

Your visits never had but one thing disagreeable in them, that is, they were always too short. I shall exceedingly regret the loss of them, unless you continue, as you have begun, to make it up to me by long letters. I am dear J — —— , with sincerest love to our dearest Suky,

Your very affectionate friend and cousin,



I receiv'd yours with others enclos'd for Mr. Bertram and Mr. Armit, to which I suppose the enclos'd are Answers. The Person who brought yours said he would call for Answers, but did not; or, if he did, I did not see him.

I understand Parker has begun upon your Piece. A long Sitting of our Assembly has hitherto hinder'd me from beginning the Miscellany. I shall write to Dr. Gronovius as you desire.

I wish I had Mathematics enough to satisfy my self, Whether the much shorter Voyages made by Ships bound hence to England, than by those from England hither, are not in some Degree owing to the Diurnal Motion of the Earth; and if so, in what Degree? 'Tis a Notion that has lately entred my Mind; I know not if ever any other's. Ships in a Calm at the Equator move with the Sea 15 Miles per minute; at our Capes suppose 12 Miles per Minute; in the British Channel suppose 10 Miles per Minute: Here is a Difference of 2 Miles Velocity per Minute between Cape Hinlopen and the Lizard! no small Matter in so Weighty a Body as a laden Ship swimming in a Fluid! How is this Velocity lost in the Voyage thither, if not by the Resistance of the Water? and if so, then the Water, which resisted in part, must have given Way in part to the Ship, from time to time as she proceeded continually [Page 431] out of Parallels of Latitude where the Earths Motion or Rotation was quicker into others where it was slower. And thus as her Velocity tends eastward with the Earth's Motion, she perhaps makes her Easting sooner. Suppose a Vessel lying still in a Calm at our Cape, could be taken up and the same Instant set down in an equal Calm in the English Channel, would not the Difference of Velocity between her and the Sea she was plac'd in, appear plainly by a violent Motion of the Ship thro' the Water eastward? I have not Time to explain my self farther, the Post waiting, but believe have said enough for you to comprehend my Meaning. If the Reasons hinted at should encline you to think there is any Thing in this Notion, I should be glad of an Answer to this Question, (if it be capable of a precise Answer) viz.

Suppose a Ship sails on a N. East Line from Lat. 39 to Lat. 52 in 30 Days, how long will she be returning on the same Line, Winds, Currents, &c. being equal?

Just so much as the East Motion of the Earth helps her Easting, I suppose it will hinder her Westing.

Perhaps the Weight and Dimensions or Shape of the Vessel should be taken into the Consideration, as the Water resists Bodies of different Shapes differently.

I must beg you to excuse the incorrectness of this Scrawl as I have not time to transcribe. I am Sir Your most humble Servant


According to my Promise I send you in Writing my Observations on your Book. You will be the better able to consider them; which I desire you to do at your Leisure, and to set me right where I am wrong.

I stumble at the Threshold of the Building, and therefore have not read farther. The Author's Vis Inertiae essential to [Page 432] Matter, upon which the whole Work is founded, I have not been able to comprehend. And I do not think he demonstrates at all clearly (at least to me he does not) that there is really any such Property in Matter.

He says, No. 2. “Let a given Body or Mass of Matter be called A, and let any given Celerity be called C: That Celerity doubled, tripled, &c. or halved, thirded, &c. will be 2C, 3C &c. or 1/2 C, 1/3 C &c. respectively. Also the Body doubled, tripled or halved, thirded; will be 2A, 3A, or 1/2 A, 1/2 A, respectively.” Thus far is clear. But he adds, “Now to move the Body A with the Celerity C, requires a certain Force to be impressed upon it; and to move it with a Celerity as 2C, requires twice that Force to be impressed upon it, &c.” Here I suspect some Mistake creeps in occasioned by the Author's not distinguishing between a great Force apply'd at once, and a small one continually apply'd, to a Mass of Matter, in order to move it. I think 'tis generally allow'd by the Philosophers, and for aught we know is certainly true, That there is no Mass of Matter how great soever, but may be moved by any Force how small soever (taking Friction out of the Question) and this small Force continued will in Time bring the Mass to move with any Velocity whatsoever. Our Author himself seems to allow this towards the End of the same No. 2 when he is subdividing his Celerities and Forces: For as in continuing the Division to Eternity by his Method of 1/2 C, 13 C, 1/4 C, 15 C, &c. you can never come to a Fraction of Celerity that is equal to 0C, or no Celerity at all; so dividing the Force in the same Manner, you can never come to a Fraction of Force that will not produce an equal Fraction of Celerity. Where then is the mighty Vis Inertiae, and what is its Strength when the greatest assignable Mass of Matter will give way to or be moved by the least assignable Force? Suppose two Globes each equal to the Sun and to one another, exactly equipoised in Jove's Ballance: Suppose no Friction in the Center of Motion in the Beam or elsewhere: If a Musketo then were to light on one of them, would he not give Motion to them both, causing one to descend and the other to rise? If 'tis objected, that the Force of Gravity helps one Globe to descend: I answer, The same Force opposes the other's Rising: Here is an Equality, that leaves the whole Motion to be [Page 433] produc'd by the Musketo, without whom those Globes would not be moved at all. What then does Vis Inertiae do in this Case? And what other Effect could we expect if there were no such Thing? Surely if it was any Thing more than a Phantom, there might be enough of it in such vast Bodies to annihilate, by its Opposition to Motion, so trifling a Force?

Our Author would have reason'd more clearly, I think, if, as he has us'd the Letter A for a certain Quantity of Matter, and C for a certain Degree of Celerity, he had employ'd one Letter more, and put F (perhaps) for a certain Quantity of Force. This let us suppose to be done; and then, as it is a Maxim that the Force of Bodies in Motion is equal to the Quantity of Matter multiply'd by the Celerity, or F =C x A; and as the Force received by and subsisting in Matter when it is put in Motion, can never exceed the Force given; so if F move A with C, there must needs be required (See No. 3) 2F to move A with 2C; for A moving with 2C would have a Force equal to 2F, which it could not receive from 1F; and this, not because there is such a Thing as Vis Inertiae, for the Case would be the same if that had no Existence; but, because nothing can give more than it hath. And now again, if a Thing can give what it hath; if 1F can to 1A give 1C, which is the same thing as giving it 1F; i.e. if Force apply'd to Matter at Rest, can put it in Motion, and give it equal Force; Where then is Vis Inertiae? If it existed at all in Matter, should we not find the Quantity of its Resistance subtracted from the Force given?

In No. 4. our Author goes on and says, “The Body A requires a certain Force to be impressed on it, to be moved with a Celerity as C, or such a Force is necessary; and therefore it makes a certain Resistance, &c. A Body as 2A, requires twice that Force to be moved with the same Celerity, or it makes twice that Resistance, and so on.” This I think is not true, but that the Body 2A moved by the Force 1F, (tho' the Eye may judge otherwise of it) does really move with the same Celerity as 1A did when impell'd by the same Force: For 2A is compounded of 1A + 1A; And if each of the 1A's or each Part of the Compound were made to move with 1C, (as they might be by 2F) then the whole would move with 2C, and not with 1C as our Author Supposes. But 1F apply'd to 2A [Page 434] makes each A move with 1/2 C, and so the Whole moves with 1C, exactly the same as 1A was made to do by 1F before. What is equal Celerity but a Measuring of the same Space by moving Bodies in the same Time? Now if 1A impell'd by 1F measures 100 Yards in a Minute; and in 2A impell'd by 1F, each A measures 50 Yards in a Minute, which added make 100, are not the Celerities as well as the Forces equal? And since Force and Celerity in the same Quantity of Matter are always in Proportion to each other, why should we, when the Quantity of Matter is doubled, allow the Force to continue unimpair'd, and yet suppose one Half of the Celerity to be lost? I wonder the more at our Author's Mistake in this Point, since in the same No. I find him observing, “We may easily conceive that a Body as 3A, 4A, &c. would make 3 or 4 Bodies equal to once A, each of which would require once the first Force to be moved with the Celerity C.” If then in 3A, each A require once the first Force F to be moved with the Celerity C, would not each move with the Force F, and Celerity C; and consequently the whole be 3A moving with 3F, and 3C? After so distinct an Observation, how could he miss of the Consequence, and imagine that 1C and 3C were the same? Thus as our Author's Abatement of Celerity in the Case of 2A moved by 1F, is imaginary, so must be his additional Resistance. And here again I am at a Loss to discover any Effect of the Vis Inertiae.

In No. 6 he tells us, “That all this is likewise certain when taken the contrary way, viz. from Motion to Rest; For the Body A moving with a certain Velocity as C requires a certain Degree of Force or Resistance to stop that Motion, &c. &c.” That is, in other Words, equal Force is necessary to destroy Force. It may be so; but how does that discover a Vis Inertiae? Would not the Effect be the same if there were no such Thing? A Force 1F strikes a Body 1A, and moves it with the Celerity 1C, i.e. with the Force 1F. It requires, even according to our Author, only an opposing 1F to stop it. But ought it not, (if there were a Vis Inertiae) to have not only the Force 1F, but an additional Force equal to the Force of Vis Inertiae, that obstinate Power, by which a Body endeavours with all its Might to continue in its present State, whether of Motion or Rest? I say, ought there not to be an opposing Force equal to the [Page 435] Sum of these? The Truth however is, that there is no Body how large soever, moving with any Velocity how great soever, but may be stopped by any opposing Force how small soever, continually apply'd. At least all our modern Philosophers agree to tell us so.

Let me turn the Thing in what Light I please, I cannot discover the Vis Inertiae nor any Effect of it. Tis allowed by all that a Body 1A, moving with a Velocity 1C, and a Force 1F, striking another Body 1A at Rest, they will afterwards move on together, each with 1/2 C, and 1/2 F; which, as I said before, is equal in the Whole to 1C and 1F. If Vis Inertiae as in this Case neither abates the Force nor the Velocity of Bodies, What does it, or how does it discover itself?

I imagine I may venture to conclude my Observations on this Piece, almost in the Words of the Author, “That if the Doctrines of the Immateriality of the Soul, and the Existence of God, and of Divine Providence are demonstrable from no plainer Principles, the Deist hath a desperate Cause in Hand.” I oppose my Theist to his Atheist, because I think they are diametrically opposite and not near of kin, as Mr. Whitefield seems to suppose where (in his Journal) he tells us, Mr. B. was a Deist, I had almost said an Atheist. That is, Chalk, I had almost said Charcoal.

Shall I hazard a Thought to you that for aught I know is new, viz. If God was before all Things, and fill'd all Space; then, when he form'd what we call Matter, he must have done it out of his own Thinking immaterial Substance. The same, tho' he had not fill'd all Space; if it be true that Ex nihilo nihil fit. From hence may we not draw this Conclusion, That if any Part of Matter does not at present act and think, 'tis not from an Incapacity in its Nature but from a positive Restraint. I know not yet what other Consequences may follow the admitting of this position and therefore I will not be oblig'd to defend it. [ ] 'tis with some Reluctance that either [

] in the metaphysical Way. The great Uncertainty have found in that Science; the wide Contradictions and endless Disputes it affords; and the horrible Errors I led my self into when a young Man, by drawing a Chain of plain Consequences as I thought them, from true Principles, have given me a Disgust to what I was once extreamly fond of. [Page 436]

The Din of the Market encreases upon me, and that, with frequent Interruptions, has, I find, made me say some things twice over, and I suppose forget some others I intended to say. It has, however, one good Effect, as it obliges me to come to the Relief of your Patience, with Your Humble Servant

[Page 436] [Note: “THE NATURE OF BOYS”]


I received your letter, with one for Benny, and one for Mr. Parker, and also two of Benny's letters of complaint, which, as you observe, do not amount to much. I should have had a very bad opinion of him, if he had written to you those accusations of his master, which you mention; because, from long acquaintance with his master, who lived some years in my house, I know him to be a sober, pious, and conscientious man; so that Newport, to whom you seem to have given too much credit, must have wronged Mr. Parker very much in his accounts, and have wronged Benny too, if he says Benny told him such things, for I am confident he never did.

As to the bad attendance afforded him in the smallpox, believe, if the negro woman did not do her duty, her master or mistress would, if they had known it, have had that matter mended. But Mrs. Parker was herself, if I am not mistaken, sick at that time, and her child also. And though he gives the woman a bad character in general, all he charges her with in particular, is, that she never brought him what he called for directly, and sometimes not at all. He had the distemper favorably, and yet suppose was bad enough to be, like other sick people, a little impatient, and perhaps might think a short time long, and sometimes call for things not proper for one in his condition.

As to clothes, I am frequently at New York, and I never saw him unprovided with what was good, decent, and sufficient. I was there no longer ago than March last, and he was [Page 437] then well clothed, and made no complaint to me of any kind. I heard both his master and mistress call upon him on Sunday morning to get ready to go to meeting, and tell him of his frequently delaying and shuffling till it was too late, and he made not the least objection about clothes. I did not think it any thing extraordinary, that he should be sometimes willing to evade going to meeting, for I believe it is the case with all boys, or almost all. I have brought up four or five myself, and have frequently observed, that if their shoes were bad, they would say nothing of a new pair till Sunday morning, just as the bell rung, when, if you asked them why they did not get ready, the answer was prepared, “I have no shoes,” and so of other things, hats and the like; or if they knew of any thing that wanted mending, it was a secret till Sunday morning, and sometimes believe they would rather tear a little, than be without the excuse.

As to going on petty errands, no boys love it, but all must do it. As soon as they become fit for better business, they naturally get rid of that, for the master's interest comes in to their relief. I make no doubt but Mr. Parker will take another apprentice, as soon as he can meet with a likely one. In the mean time I should be glad if Benny would exercise a little patience. There is a negro woman that does a great many of those errands.

I do not think his going on board the privateer arose from any difference between him and his master, or any ill usage he had received. When boys see prizes brought in, and quantities of money shared among the men, and their gay living, it fills their heads with notions, that half distract them, and put them quite out of conceit with trades, and the dull ways of getting money by working. This I suppose was Ben's case, the Catherine being just before arrived with three rich prizes; and that the glory of having taken a privateer of the enemy, for which both officers and men were highly extolled, treated, presented, &c. worked strongly upon his imagination, you will see, by his answer to my letter, is not unlikely. I send it to you enclosed. I wrote him largely on the occasion; and though he might possibly, to excuse that slip to others, complain of his place, you may see he says not a syllable of any such thing to me. My only son, before I permitted him to go to Albany, [Page 438] left my house unknown to us all, and got on board a privateer, from whence I fetched him. No one imagined it was hard usage at home, that made him do this. Every one, that knows me, thinks I am too indulgent a parent, as well as master.

I shall tire you, perhaps, with the length of this letter; but I am the more particular, in order, if possible, to satisfy your mind about your son's situation. His master has, by a letter this post, desired me to write to him about his staying out of nights, sometimes all night, and refusing to give an account where he spends his time, or in what company. This I had not heard of before, though I perceive you have. I do not wonder at his correcting him for that. If he was my own son, I should think his master did not do his duty by him, if he omitted it, for to be sure it is the high road to destruction. And I think the correction very light, and not likely to be very effectual, if the strokes left no marks.

His master says farther, as follows; — “I think I can't charge my conscience with being much short of my duty to him. shall now desire you, if you have not done it already, to invite him to lay his complaints before you, that I may know how to remedy them.” Thus far the words of his letter, which giving me a fair opening to inquire into the affair, I shall accordingly do it, and hope settle every thing to all your satisfactions. In the mean time, I have laid by your letters both to Mr. Parker and Benny, and shall not send them till I hear again from you, because I think your appearing to give ear to such groundless stories may give offence, and create a greater misunderstanding, and because I think what you write to Benny, about getting him discharged, may tend to unsettle his mind, and therefore improper at this time.

I have a very good opinion of Benny in the main, and have great hopes of his becoming a worthy man, his faults being only such as are commonly incident to boys of his years, and he has many good qualities, for which I love him. I never knew an apprentice contented with the clothes allowed him by his master, let them be what they would. Jemmy Franklin, when with me, was always dissatisfied and grumbling. When I was last in Boston, his aunt bid him go to a shop and please himself, which the gentleman did, and bought a suit of clothes on my account dearer by one half, than any I ever [Page 439] afforded myself, one suit excepted; which I don't mention by way of complaint of Jemmy, for he and I are good friends, but only to show you the nature of boys.

The letters to Mr. Vanhorne were sent by Mr. Whitfield, under my cover.

I am, with love to brother and all yours, and duty to mother, to whom I have not time now to write, your affectionate brother,


Dear Sir,

Since your being in England, I have received two of your favours, and a box of books to be disposed of. It gives me great pleasure to hear of your welfare, and that you purpose soon to return to America.

We have no kind of news here worth writing to you. The affair of the building remains in statu quo, there having been no new application to the Assembly about it, nor any thing done in consequence of the former.

I have received no money on your account from Mr. Thanklin, or from Boston. Mrs. Read, and your other friends here in general, are well, and will rejoice to see you again.

I am glad to hear that you have frequent opportunities of preaching among the great. If you can gain them to a good and exemplary life, wonderful changes will follow in the manners of the lower ranks; for, ad Exemplum Regis, &c. On this principle Confucius, the famous eastern reformer, proceeded. When he saw his country sunk in vice, and wickedness of all kinds triumphant, he applied himself first to the grandees; and having by his doctrine won them to the cause of virtue, the commons followed in multitudes. The mode has a wonderful influence on mankind; and there are numbers that perhaps fear less the being in Hell, than out of the fashion! Our more western reformations began with the ignorant mob; and [Page 440] when numbers of them were gained, interest and party-views drew in the wise and great. Where both methods can be used, reformations are like to be more speedy. O that some method could be found to make them lasting! He that shall discover that, will, in my opinion, deserve more, ten thousand times, than the inventor of the longtitude.

My wife and family join in the most cordial salutations to you and good Mrs. Whitefield. I am, dear Sir, your very affectionate friend, and most obliged humble servant,


Dear Sir

You desire to know my Thoughts about the N.E. Storms beginning to Leeward. Some Years since there was an Eclipse of the Moon at 9 in the Evening, which I intended to observe, but before 8 a Storm blew up at N E. and continued violent all Night and all next Day, the Sky thick clouded, dark and rainy, so that neither Moon nor Stars could be seen. The Storm did a great deal of Damage all along the Coast, for we had Accounts of it in the News Papers from Boston, Newport, New York, Maryland and Virginia. But what surpriz'd me, was to find in the Boston Newspapers an Account of an Observation of that Eclipse made there: For I thought, as the Storm came from the N E. it must have begun sooner at Boston than with us, and consequently have prevented such Observation. I wrote to my Brother about it, and he inform'd me, that the Eclipse was over there, an hour before the Storm began. Since which I have made Enquiries from time to time of Travellers, and of my Correspondents N Eastward and S. Westward, and observ'd the Accounts in the Newspapers from N England, N York, Maryland, Virginia and South Carolina, and I find it to be a constant Fact, that N East Storms begin to Leeward; and are often more violent there than farther to Windward. Thus the last October Storm, which with you was on the 8th. began on the 7th in Virginia and N [Page 441] Carolina, and was most violent there. As to the Reason of this, I can only give you my Conjectures. Suppose a great Tract of Country, Land and Sea, to wit Florida and the Bay of Mexico, to have clear Weather for several Days, and to be heated by the Sun and its Air thereby exceedingly rarified; Suppose the Country North Eastward, as Pensilvania, New England, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, &c. to be at the same time cover'd with Clouds, and its Air chill'd and condens'd. The rarified Air being lighter must rise, and the Dense Air next to it will press into its Place; that will be follow'd by the next denser Air, that by the next, and so on. Thus when I have a Fire in my Chimney, there is a Current of Air constantly flowing from the Door to the Chimney: but the beginning of the Motion was at the Chimney, where the Air being rarified by the Fire, rising, its Place was supply'd by the cooler Air that was next to it, and the Place of that by the next, and so on to the Door. So the Water in a long Sluice or Mill Race, being stop'd by a Gate, is at Rest like the Air in a Calm; but as soon as you open the Gate at one End to let it out, the Water next the Gate begins first to move, that which is next to it follows; and so tho' the Water proceeds forward to the Gate, the Motion which began there runs backwards, if one may so speak, to the upper End of the Race, where the Water is last in Motion. We have on this Continent a long Ridge of Mountains running from N East to S. West; and the Coast runs the same Course. These may, perhaps, contribute towards the Direction of the winds or at least influence them in some Degree, [ ]. If these Conjectures do not satisfy you, I wish to have yours on the Subject.

I doubt not but those Mountains which you mention contain valuable mines which Time will discover. I know of but one valuable Mine in this country which is that of Schuyler's in the Jerseys. This yields good Copper, and has turn'd out vast Wealth to the Owners. I was at it last Fall; but they were not then at Work; the Water is grown too hard for them; and they waited for a Fire Engine from England to drain their Pits; I suppose they will have that at Work next Summer; it costs them £ 1000 Sterling.

Col. John Schuyler, one of the Owners, has a Deer Park 5 Miles round, fenc'd with Cedar Logs, 5 Logs high, with [Page 442] chocks of Wood between; it contains variety of Land high and Low, woodland and clear. There are a great many Deer in it; and he expects in a few Years to be able to kill 200 head a Year, which will be a profitable Thing. He has likewise 600 Acres of Meadow, all within Bank. The Mine is not far from Passaic Falls, which went also to see. They are very curious: the Water falls 70 foot perpendicular, as we were told; but we had nothing to measure with. It gives me great Pleasure that your Sentiments are in accord with mine. I like your Notion [ ]ming; and tho' perhaps it [ ]n prudent, as we are circumstanced [ ] them in the Proposals; doubt not that they will in time become Part of the [ ]. It will be agreable to you to hear, and therefore I inform you, that our Subscription goes on with great Success, and we suppose will exceed £ 5000 of our Currency: We have bought for the Academy, the House that was built for Itinerant Preaching, which stands on a large Lot of Ground capable of receiving more Buildings to lodge the Scholars, if it should come to be a regular Colledge. The House is 100 foot long and 70 wide, built of Brick; very strong; and sufficiently high for three lofty Stories: I suppose it did not cost less than £ 2000 building; but we bought it for £ 775 18s. 11 3/4d: tho' it will cost us 3 or perhaps 400 more to make the Partitions and Floors, and fit up the Rooms. I send you enclos'd a Copy of our present Constitutions; but we expect a Charter from our Proprietaries this Summer, when they may prob'ly receive considerable Alterations. The Paper admonishes me that 'tis Time to conclude. I am, Sir, Your obliged humble Servant


Dear Mr. Parker,

I have, as you desire, read the Manuscript you sent me; and am of Opinion, with the publick-spirited Author, that securing the Friendship of the Indians is of the greatest Consequence to these Colonies; and that the surest Means of doing [Page 443] it, are, to regulate the Indian Trade, so as to convince them, by Experience, that they may have the best and cheapest Goods, and the fairest Dealing from the English; and to unite the several Governments, so as to form a Strength that the Indians may depend on for Protection, in Case of a Rupture with the French; or apprehend great Danger from, if they should break with us.

This Union of the Colonies, however necessary, I apprehend is not to be brought about by the Means that have hitherto been used for that Purpose. A Governor of one Colony, who happens from some Circumstances in his own Government, to see the Necessity of such an Union, writes his Sentiments of the Matter to the other Governors, and desires them to recommend it to their respective Assemblies. They accordingly lay the Letters before those Assemblies, and perhaps recommend the Proposal in general Words. But Governors are often on ill Terms with their Assemblies, and seldom are the Men that have the most Influence among them. And perhaps some Governors, tho' they openly recommend the Scheme, may privately throw cold Water on it, as thinking additional publick Charges will make their People less able, or less willing to give to them. Or perhaps they do not clearly see the Necessity of it, and therefore do not very earnestly press the Consideration of it: And no one being present that has the Affair at Heart, to back it, to answer and remove Objections, &c. 'tis easily dropt, and nothing is done. — Such an Union is certainly necessary to us all, but more immediately so to your Government. Now, if you were to pick out half a Dozen Men of good Understanding and Address, and furnish them with a reasonable Scheme and proper Instructions, and send them in the Nature of Ambassadors to the other Colonies, where they might apply particularly to all the leading Men, and by proper Management get them to engage in promoting the Scheme; where, by being present, they would have the Opportunity of pressing the Affair both in publick and private, obviating Difficulties as they arise, answering Objections as soon as they are made, before they spread and gather Strength in the Minds of the People, &c. &c. I imagine such an Union might thereby be made and established: For reasonable sensible Men, can always make a [Page 444] reasonable Scheme appear such to other reasonable Men, if they take Pains, and have Time and Opportunity for it; unless from some Circumstances their Honesty and good Intentions are suspected. A voluntary Union entered into by the Colonies themselves, I think, would be preferable to one impos'd by Parliament; for it would be perhaps not much more difficult to procure, and more easy to alter and improve, as Circumstances should require, and Experience direct. It would be a very strange Thing, if six Nations of ignorant Savages should be capable of forming a Scheme for such an Union, and be able to execute it in such a Manner, as that it has subsisted Ages, and appears indissoluble; and yet that a like Union should be impracticable for ten or a Dozen English Colonies, to whom it is more necessary, and must be more advantageous; and who cannot be supposed to want an equal Understanding of their Interests.

Were there a general Council form'd by all the Colonies, and a general Governor appointed by the Crown to preside in that Council, or in some Manner to concur with and confirm their Acts, and take Care of the Execution; every Thing relating to Indian Affairs and the Defence of the Colonies, might be properly put under their Management. Each Colony should be represented by as many Members as it pays Sums of Hundred Pounds into the common Treasury for the common Expence; which Treasury would perhaps be best and most equitably supply'd, by an equal Excise on strong Liquors in all the Colonies, the Produce never to be apply'd to the private Use of any Colony, but to the general Service. Perhaps if the Council were to meet successively at the Capitals of the several Colonies, they might thereby become better acquainted with the Circumstances, Interests, Strength or Weakness, &c. of all, and thence be able to judge better of Measures propos'd from time to time: At least it might be more satisfactory to the Colonies, if this were propos'd as a Part of the Scheme; for a Preference might create Jealousy and Dislike.

I believe the Place mention'd is a very suitable one to build a Fort on. In Times of Peace, Parties of the Garrisons of all Frontier Forts might be allowed to go out on Hunting Expeditions, with or without Indians, and have the Profit to themselves of the Skins they get: By this Means a Number of [Page 445] Wood-Runners would be form'd, well acquainted with the Country, and of great Use in War Time, as Guides of Parties and Scouts, &c. — Every Indian is a Hunter; and as their Manner of making War, viz. by Skulking, Surprizing and Killing particular Persons and Families, is just the same as their Manner of Hunting, only changing the Object, Every Indian is a disciplin'd Soldier. Soldiers of this Kind are always wanted in the Colonies in an Indian War; for the European Military Discipline is of little Use in these Woods.

Publick Trading Houses would certainly have a good Effect towards regulating the private Trade; and preventing the Impositions of the private Traders; and therefore such should be established in suitable Places all along the Frontiers; and the Superintendant of the Trade, propos'd by the Author, would, I think, be a useful Officer.

The Observation concerning the Importation of Germans in too great Numbers into Pennsylvania, is, I believe, a very just one. This will in a few Years become a German Colony: Instead of their Learning our Language, we must learn their's, or live as in a foreign Country. Already the English begin to quit particular Neighbourhoods surrounded by Dutch, being made uneasy by the Disagreeableness of disonant Manners; and in Time, Numbers will probably quit the Province for the same Reason. Besides, the Dutch under-live, and are thereby enabled to under-work and under-sell the English; who are thereby extreamly incommoded, and consequently disgusted, so that there can be no cordial Affection or Unity between the two Nations. How good Subjects they may make, and how faithful to the British Interest, is a Question worth considering. And in my Opinion, equal Numbers might have been spared from the British Islands without being miss'd there, and on proper Encouragement would have come over. I say without being miss'd, perhaps I might say without lessening the Number of People at Home. I question indeed, whether there be a Man the less in Britain for the Establishment of the Colonies. An Island can support but a certain Number of People: When all Employments are full, Multitudes refrain Marriage, 'till they can see how to maintain a Family. The Number of Englishmen in England, cannot by their present common Increase be doubled in a Thousand [Page 446] Years; but if half of them were taken away and planted in America, where there is Room for them to encrease, and sufficient Employment and Subsistance; the Number of Englishmen would be doubled in 100 Years: For those left at home, would multiply in that Time so as to fill up the Vacancy, and those here would at least keep Pace with them.

Every one must approve the Proposal of encouraging a Number of sober discreet Smiths to reside among the Indians. They would doubtless be of great Service. The whole Subsistance of Indians, depends on keeping their Guns in order; and if they are obliged to make a Journey of two or three hundred Miles to an English Settlement to get a Lock mended; it may, besides the Trouble, occasion the Loss of their Hunting Season. They are People that think much of their temporal, but little of their spiritual Interests; and therefore, as he would be a most useful and necessary Man to them, a Smith is more likely to influence them than a Jesuit; provided he has a good common Understanding, and is from time to time well instructed.

I wish I could offer any Thing for the Improvement of the Author's Piece, but I have little Knowledge, and less Experience in these Matters. I think it ought to be printed; and should be glad there were a more general Communication of the Sentiments of judicious Men, on Subjects so generally interesting; it would certainly produce good Effects. Please to present my Respects to the Gentleman, and thank him for the Perusal of his Manuscript.

I am,

Yours affectionately.

[Page 446] [Note: A FLEXIBLE CATHETER]

Dear Brother

Reflecting yesterday on your Desire to have a flexible Catheter, a Thought struck into my Mind how one might possibly be made: And lest you should not readily conceive it by any [Page 447] Description of mine, I went immediately to the Silversmith's, and gave Directions for making one, (sitting by 'till it was finish'd), that it might be ready for this Post. But now it is done I have some Apprehensions that it may be too large to be easy: if so, a Silversmith can easily make it less, by twisting it on a smaller Wire, and putting a smaller Pipe to the End, if the Pipe be really necessary. This Machine may either be cover'd with a small fine Gut first clean'd and soak'd a Night in a Solution of Alum and Salt in Water, then rubb'd dry which will preserve it longer from Putrefaction: then wet again, and drawn on, and ty'd to the Pipes at each End where little Hollows are made for the Thread to bind in and the Surface greas'd: Or perhaps it may be used without the Gut, having only a little Tallow rubb'd over it, to smooth it and fill the Joints. I think it is as flexible as could be expected in a thing of the kind, and I imagine will readily comply with the Turns of the Passage, yet has Stiffness enough to be protruded; if not, the enclos'd Wire may be us'd to stiffen the hinder Part of the Pipe while the fore Part is push'd forward; and as it proceeds the Wire may be gradually withdrawn. The Tube is of such a Nature, that when you have Occasion to withdraw it its Diameter will lessen, whereby it will move more easily. It is also a kind of Scrue, and may be both withdrawn and introduc'd by turning. Experience is necessary for the right using of all new Tools or Instruments, and that will perhaps suggest some Improvements to this Instrument as well as better direct the Manner of Using it.

I have read Whytt on Lime Water. You desire my Thoughts on what he says. But what can I say? He relates Facts and Experiments; and they must be allow'd good, if not contradicted by other Facts and Experiments. May not one guess by holding Lime Water some time in one's Mouth, whether it is likely to injure the Bladder?

I know not what to advise, either as to the Injection, or the Operation. I can only pray God to direct you for the best, and to grant Success.

I am, my dear Brother Yours most affectionately

I find Whytt's Experiments are approv'd and recommended by Dr. Mead.



According to your request, I now send you the Arithmetical Curiosity, of which this is the history.

Being one day in the country, at the house of our common friend, the late learned Mr. Logan, he shewed me a folio French book, filled with magic squares, wrote, if I forget not, by one M. Frenicle, in which he said the author had discovered great ingenuity and dexterity in the management of numbers; and, though several other foreigners had distinguished themselves in the same way, he did not recollect that any one Englishman had done any thing of the kind remarkable.

I said, it was, perhaps, a mark of the good sense of our English mathematicians, that they would not spend their time in things that were merely difficiles nugae, incapable of any useful application. He answered, that many of the arithmetical or mathematical questions, publickly proposed and answered in England, were equally trifling and useless. Perhaps the considering and answering such questions, I replied, may not be altogether useless, if it produces by practice an habitual readiness and exactness in mathematical disquisitions, which readiness may, on many occasions, be of real use. In the same way, says he, may the making of these squares be of use. I then confessed to him, that in my younger days, having once some leisure, (which I still think might have employed more usefully) I had amused myself in making these kind of magic squares, and, at length, had acquired such a knack at it, that I could fill the cells of any magic square, of reasonable size, with a series of numbers as fast as I could write them, disposed in such a manner, as that the sums of every row, horizontal, perpendicular, or diagonal, should be equal; but not being satisfied with these, which I looked on as common and easy things, I had imposed on myself more difficult tasks, and succeeded in making other magic squares, with a variety of properties, and much more curious. He then shewed meseveral in the same book, of an uncommon and more curious [Page 449] kind; but as I thought none of them equal to some I remembered to have made, he desired me to let him see them; and accordingly, the next time I visited him, carried him a square of 8, which I found among my old papers, and which I will now give you, with an account of its properties. (See Plate.)

The properties are,

1. That every strait row (horizontal or vertical) of 8 numbers added together, makes 260, and half each row half 260.

2. That the bent row of 8 numbers, ascending and descending diagonally, viz. from 16 ascending to 10, and from 23 descending to 17; and every one of its parallel bent rows of 8 numbers, make 260. — Also the bent row from 52, descending to 54, and from 43 ascending to 45; and every one of its parallel bent rows of 8 numbers, make 260. — Also the bent row from 45 to 43 descending to the left, and from 23 to 17 descending to the right, and every one of its parallel bent rows of 8 numbers make 260. — Also the bent row from 52 to 54 descending to the right, and from 10 to 16 descending to the left, and every one of its parallel bent rows of 8 numbers make 260. — Also the parallel bent rows next to the above- mentioned, which are shortened to 3 numbers ascending, and 3 descending, &c. as from 53 to 4 ascending, and from 29 to 44 descending, make, with the 2 corner numbers, 260. — Also the 2 numbers 14, 61 ascending, and 36, 19 descending, with the lower 4 numbers situated like them, viz. 50, 1, descending, and 32, 47, ascending, make 260. — And, lastly, the 4 corner numbers, with the 4 middle numbers, make 260.

So this magical square seems perfect in its kind. But these are not all its properties; there are 5 other curious ones, which, at some other time, I will explain to you.

Mr. Logan then shewed me an old arithmetical book, in quarto, wrote, I think, by one Stifelius, which contained a square of 16, that he said he should imagine must have been a work of great labour; but if I forget not, it had only the common properties of making the same sum, viz. 2056, in every row, horizontal, vertical, and diagonal. Not willing to be out-done by Mr Stifelius, even in the size of my square, I went home, and made, that evening, the following magical square of 16, which, besides having all the properties of the [Page 450] [Page 451] foregoing square of 8, i.e. it would make the 2056 in all the same rows and diagonals, had this added, that a four square hole being cut in a piece of paper of such a size as to take in and shew through it, just 16 of the little squares, when laid on the greater square, the sum of the 16 numbers so appearing through the hole, wherever it was placed on the greater square, should likewise make 2056. This I sent to our friend the next morning, who, after some days, sent it back in a letter, with these words: — “I return to thee thy astonishing or most stupendous piece of the magical square, in which” — but the compliment is too extravagant, and therefore, for his sake, as well as my own, I ought not to repeat it. Nor is it necessary; for I make no question but you will readily allow this square of 16 to be the most magically magical of any magic square ever made by any magician. (See the Plate.)

I did not, however, end with squares, but composed also a magick circle, consisting of 8 concentric circles, and 8 radial rows, filled with a series of numbers, from 12 to 75, inclusive, so disposed as that the numbers of each circle, or each radial row, being added to the central number 12, they made exactly 360, the number of degrees in a circle; and this circle had, moreover, all the properties of the square of 8. If you desire it, I will send it; but at present, I believe, you have enough on this subject.

I am, &c.



I am glad the perusal of the magical squares afforded you any amusement. I now send you the magical circle.

Its properties, besides those mentioned in my former, are these.

Half the number in any radial row, added with half the [Page 452] [Page 453] central number, make 180, equal to the number of degrees in a semi-circle.

Also half the numbers in any one of the concentric circles, taken either above or below the horizontal double line, with half the central number, make 180.

And if any four adjoining numbers, standing nearly in a square, be taken from any part, and added with half the central number, they make 180.

There are, moreover, included four other sets of circular spaces, excentric with respect to the first, each of these sets containing five spaces. The centers of the circles that bound them, are at A, B, C, and D. Each set, for the more easy distinguishing them from the first, are drawn with a different colour'd ink, red, blue, green, and yellow (note-MagicCircle-1, see page 453).

These sets of excentric circular spaces intersect those of the concentric, and each other; and yet the numbers contained in each of the twenty excentric spaces, taken all around, make, with the central number, the same sum as those in each of the 8 concentric, viz. 360. The halves, also of those drawn from the centers A and C, taken above or below the double horizontal line, and of those drawn from centers B and D, taken to the right or left of the vertical line, do, with half the central number, make just 180.

It may be observed, that there is not one of the numbers but what belongs at least to two of the different circular spaces; some to three, some to four, some to five; and yet they are all so placed as never to break the required number 360, in any of the 28 circular spaces within the primitive circle.

These interwoven circles make so perplexed an appearance, that it is not easy for the eye to trace every circle of numbers one would examine, through all the maze of circles intersected by it; but if you fix one foot of the compasses in either of the centers, and extend the other to any number in the circle you would examine belonging to that center, the moving foot will point the others out, by passing round over all the numbers of that circle successively.

I am, &c. [Note: (note-MagicCircle-1) In the plate they are distinguished by dashed or dotted lines, as different as the engraver could well make them. ]


Dear Sir

I ought to have wrote to you long since, in Answer to yours of Oct. 16. concerning the Water Spout: But Business partly, and partly a Desire of procuring further Information by Inquiry among my Seafaring Acquaintance, induc'd me to postpone Writing from time to time, till I am now almost asham'd to resume the Subject, not knowing but you may have forgot what has been said upon it.

Nothing certainly can be more improving to a Searcher into Nature, than Objections judiciously made to his Opinions, taken up perhaps too hastily: For such Objections oblige him to restudy the Point, consider every Circumstance carefully, compare Facts, make Experiments, weigh Arguments, and be slow in drawing Conclusions. And hence a sure Advantage results; for he either confirms a Truth, before too slightly supported; or discovers an Error and receives Instruction from the Objector.

In this View I consider the Objections and Remarks you sent me, and thank you for them sincerely: But how much soever my Inclinations lead me to philosophical Inquiries, I am so engag'd in Business public and private, that those more pleasing pursuits are frequently interrupted, and the Chain of Thought necessary to be closely continu'd in such Disquisitions, so broken and disjointed, that it is with Difficulty I satisfy myself in any of them. And am now not much nearer a Conclusion in this Matter of the Spout, than when I first read your Letter.

Yet hoping we may in time sift out the Truth between us, will send you my present Thoughts with some Observations on your Reasons, on the Accounts in the Transactions, and other Relations have met with. Perhaps while I am writing some new Light may strike me — for I shall now be oblig'd to consider the Subject with a little more Attention. I agree with you, that by means of a Vacuum in a Whirlwind, Water cannot be suppos'd to rise in large Masses to the Region of the Clouds: For the Pressure of the surrounding Atmosphere [Page 455] could not force it up in a continu'd Body or Column to a much greater Height than thirty feet: But if there really is a Vacuum in the Center or near the Axis of Whirlwinds, then I think Water may rise in such Vacuum to that Height or to less Height as the Vacuum may be less perfect.

I had not read Stuart's Account in the Transactions for many Years before the receipt of your Letter and had quite forgot it; but now, on Viewing his Drafts, and considering his Descriptions, I think they seem to favour my Hypothesis; For he describes and draws Columns of Water of various Heights, terminating abruptly at the Top, exactly as Water would do when forc'd up by the Pressure of the Atmosphere into an exhausted Tube.

I must, however, no longer call it my Hypothesis, since find Stuart had the same Thought tho' somewhat obscurely express'd, where he says, “he imagines this Phaenomenon may be solv'd by Suction (improperly so call'd) or rather Pulsion, as in the Application of a Cupping Glass to the Flesh, the Air being first voided by the kindled Flax.”

In my Paper, I supposed a Whirlwind and a Spout, to be the same Thing, and to proceed from the same Cause; the only Difference between them being, that the one passes over Land, the other over Water. I find also, in the Transactions, that Mr. de la Pryme was of the same Opinion; for he there describes two Spouts as he calls them, which were seen at different Times at Hatfield in Yorkshire, whose Appearances in the Air were the same with those of the Spouts at Sea, and Effects the same with those of real Whirlwinds.

Whirlwinds have generally a progressive as well as a circular Motion; so had what is called the Spout at Topsham; See the Account of it in the Transactions; which also appears by its Effects described to have been a real Whirlwind. Water Spouts have likewise a progressive Motion. Tho' this is sometimes greater and sometimes less, in some violent, in others barely perceivable. The Whirlwind at Warrington continu'd long in Acrement Close.

Whirlwinds generally arise after Calms and great Heats: The same is observ'd of Water Spouts, which are therefore most frequent in the warm Latitudes. The Spout that happen'd in Cold Weather in the Downs, describ'd by Mr. [Page 456] Gordon, in the Transactions, was for that reason thought extraordinary, but he remarks withal, that the Weather tho' cold when the Spout appeared, was soon after much colder; as we find it commonly less warm after a Whirlwind.

You agree that the Wind blows every way towards a Whirlwind from a large Space round; An intelligent Whaleman of Nantucket, informed me, that three of their Vessels which were out in search of Whales, happening to be becalmed lay in Sight of each other at about a League distance if I remember right nearly forming a Triangle; after some time a Water Spout appeared near the Middle of the Triangle, when a brisk Breeze of Wind also sprang up; and every Vessel made Sail and then it appeared to them all by the Setting of the Sails and the Course each Vessel stood, that the Spout was to Leeward of every one of them, and they all declar'd it to have been so when they happen'd afterwards in Company and came to confer about it. So that in this Particular likewise, Whirlwinds and Waterspouts agree.

But if that which appears a Water Spout at Sea, does sometimes in its progressive Motion, meet with and pass over Land, and there produce all the Phenomena and Effects of a Whirlwind, it should thence seem still more evident that a Whirlwind and Spout are the same. I send you herewith a Letter from an ingenious Physician of my Acquaintance, which gives one Instance of this, that fell within his Observation.

A Fluid moving from all Points horizontally towards a Center, must at that Center either ascend or descend. Water being in a Tub, if a Hole be open'd in the Middle of the Bottom, will flow from all Sides to the Center, and there descend in a Whirl. But Air flowing on and near the Surface of Land or Water from all Sides toward a Center, must at that Center ascend; the Land or Water hindering its Descent.

If these concentring Currents of Air be in the upper Region, they may indeed descend in the Spout or Whirlwind; but then when the united Current reach'd the Earth or Water it would spread and probably blow every way from the Center: There may be Whirlwinds of both kinds, but from the common observ'd Effects, suspect the Rising one to be the [Page 457] most common; and that when the upper Air descends, tis perhaps in a greater Body, extending wider and without much whirling as in our Thunder Gusts. When Air descends in a Spout or Whirlwind, I should rather expect it would press the Roof of a House inwards, or force in the Tiles, Shingles or Thatch; force a Boat down into the Water, or a Piece of Timber into the Earth than that it would lift them up and carry them away.

It has so happen'd that I have not met with any Accounts of Spouts, that certainly descended. I suspect they are not frequent. Please to communicate those you mention. The apparent dropping of a Pipe from the Clouds towards the Earth or Sea, I will endeavour to explain hereafter.

The Augmentation of the Cloud, which, as I am inform'd is generally if not always the case during a Spout, seems to show an Ascent rather than a Descent of the Matter of which such Cloud is composed. For a descending Spout one would expect should diminish a Cloud. I own, however, that descending cold Air, may by Condensing the Vapours of a lower Region form and increase Clouds, which think is generally the Case in our common Thunder Gusts, and therefore do not lay great Stress on this Argument.

Whirlwinds and Spouts are not always tho' most commonly in the Day-time. The terrible Whirlwind which damag'd a great Part of Rome June 11. 1749 happen'd in the Night of that Day. The same was supposed to have been first a Spout, for it is said to be beyond doubt that it gathered in the neighbouring Sea, as it could be tracked from Ostia to Rome. I find this in Pere Boschovich's Account of it, as abridg'd in the Monthly Review for December 1750.

In that Account the Whirlwind is said to have appear'd as a very black long and lofty Cloud, (discoverable notwithstanding the Darkness of the Night by its continually lightning or emitting Flashes on all Sides) pushing along with a surprizing Swiftness, and within 3 or 4 feet of the Ground. Its general Effects on Houses, were stripping off the Roofs, blowing away Chimneys, breaking Doors and Windows, forcing up the Floors, and unpaving the Rooms: [Some of these Effects seem to agree well with a supposed Vacuum in the [Page 458] Center of the Whirlwind;] and the very Rafters of the Houses were broke and dispersed, and even hurled against Houses at a considerable Distance, &c.

It seems by an Expression of Pere Boschovich's as if the Wind blew from all sides towards this Whirlwind for having carefully observ'd its Effects he concludes of all Whirlwinds “that their Motion is circular, and their Action attractive.”

He observes on a Number of Histories of Whirlwinds &c. “that a common Effect of them is to carry up into the Air, Tiles, Stones and Animals themselves, which happen to be in their Course, and all kinds of Bodies unexceptionally, throwing them to a considerable Distance, with great Impetuosity.” Such Effects seem to show a rising Current of Air.

I will endeavour to explain my Conceptions of this Matter, by Figures, representing a Plan and an Elevation of a Spout or Whirlwind.

I would only first beg to be allowed two or three Positions mentioned in my former Paper.

1st. That the lower Region of Air is often more heated and so more rarified, than the upper; consequently specifically lighter. The Coldness of the upper Region is manifested by the Hail which sometimes falls from it in a hot Day:

2dly. That heated Air may be very moist, and yet the Moisture so equally diffus'd and rarified, as not to be visible, till colder Air mixes with it, when it condenses and becomes visible. Thus our Breath, invisible in Summer, becomes visible in Winter.

Now let us suppose a Tract of Land or Sea of perhaps 60 Miles square unscreen'd by Clouds and unfann'd by Winds during great Part of a Summer's Day, or it may be for several Days successively till 'tis violently heated, together with the lower Region of Air in Contact with it, so that the said lower Air becomes specifically lighter than the superincumbent higher Region of the Atmosphere, in which the Clouds commonly float. Let us suppose also, that the Air surrounding this Tract has not been so much heated during those Days, and therefore remains heavier. The Consequence of this should be, as I imagine that the heated lighter Air being press'd on all Sides must ascend, and the heavier descend; and as this Rising cannot be in all Parts or the whole Area of the [Page 459] Tract at once, for that would leave too extensive a Vacuum, the Rising will begin precisely in that Column that happens to be the lightest or most rarified; and the warm Air will flow horizontallyfrom all Points to this Column, where the several Currents meeting and joining to rise, a Whirl is naturally formed, in the same Manner as a Whirl is formed in the Tub of Water by the descending Fluid flowing from all Sides of the Tub to the Hole in the Center.

And as the several Currents arrive at this central rising Column with a considerable Degree of horizontal Motion, they cannot suddenly change it to a vertical Motion, therefore as they gradually in approaching the Whirl decline from right to curve or circular Lines, so having join'd the Whirl they ascend by a spiral Motion; in the same Manner as the Water descends spirally thro' the Hole in the Tub before-mentioned.

Lastly, as the lower Air and nearest the Surface, is most rarified by the Heat of the Sun, that Air is most acted on by the Pressure of the surrounding cold and heavy Air which is to take its Place, consequently its Motion towards the Whirl is swiftest, and so the force of the lower Part of the Whirl or Trump strongest, and the Centrifugal Force of its Particles greatest; and hence the Vacuum round the Axis of the Whirl should be greatest near the Earth or Sea, and be gradually diminish'd as it approaches the Region of the Clouds, till it ends in a Point, as at A in Fig II. forming a long and sharp Cone.

In Fig I. which is a Plan or Ground Plot of a Whirlwind, the Circle V represents the central Vacuum.

Between aaaa and bbbb I suppose a Body of Air condens'd strongly by the Pressure of the Currents moving towards it from all sides without, and by its Centrifugal Force from within; moving round with prodigious Swiftness, (having as it were the Momenta of all the Currents — — — — united in itself) and with a Power equal to its Swiftness and Density.

It is this whirling Body of Air between aaaa and bbbb that rises spirally. By its Force it tears Buildings to Pieces, twists up great Trees by the Roots, &c. and by its spiral Motion raises the Fragments so high till the Pressure of the surrounding and approaching Currents diminishing can no longer confine them to the Circle, or their own centrifugal Force [Page 460] [Page 461] encreasing grows too strong for such Pressure, when they fly off in Tangent Lines as Stones out of a Sling, and fall on all Sides and at great Distances.

If it happens at Sea, the Water between aaaa and bbbb will be violently agitated and driven about, and parts of it raised with the spiral Current, and thrown about so as to form a Bushlike Appearance.

This Circle is of various Diameters, sometimes very large.

If the Vacuum passes over Water the Water may rise in it in a Body or Column to near the Height of 32 feet. If it passes over Houses, it may burst their Windows or Walls outwards, pluck off the Roofs and blow up the Floors, by the Sudden Rarefaction of the Air contain'd within such Buildings, the outward Pressure of the Atmosphere being suddenly taken off; So the stop'd Bottle of Air bursts under the exhausted Receiver of the Air Pump.

Fig II. is to represent the Elevation of a Water Spout; wherein I suppose PPP to be the Cone, at first a Vacuum till WW the rising Column of Water has fill'd so much of it. SSSS the Spiral Whirl of Air surrounding the Vacuum and continu'd higher in a close Column after the Vacuum ends in the Point P. till it reach the cool Region of the Air. B.B. the Bush describ'd by Stuart, surrounding the Foot of the Column of Water.

Now I suppose this Whirl of Air will at first be as invisible as the Air itself tho' reaching in reality from the Water to the Region of cool Air in which our low Summer Thunder Clouds commonly float; but presently it will become visible at its Extremities. At its lower End by the Agitation of the Water, under the Whirling Part of the Circle, between P and S. forming Stuart's Bush, and by the Swelling and Rising of the Water in the beginning Vacuum, which is at first a small low broad Cone whose Top gradually rises and sharpens as the Force of the Whirl increases. At its upper End, it becomes visible by the Warm Air brought up to the cooler Region, where its Moisture begins to be condens'd into thick Vapour by the Cold, and is seen first at A. the highest Parts, which being now cool'd, condenses what rises next at B. which condenses that at C; and that condenses what is rising at D. The Cold operating by the Contact of the Vapours faster in a right [Page 462] Line downwards, than the Vapours themselves can climb in a spiral Line upwards; they climb however, and as by continual Addition they grow denser and consequently their centrifugal Force greater, and being risen above the concentrating Currents that compose the Whirl, they flie off, spread and form a Cloud.

It seems easy to conceive, how by this successive Condensation from above the Spout appears to drop or descend from the Cloud, tho' the Materials of which it is composed are all the while ascending.

The Condensation of the Moisture contain'd in so great a Quantity of warm Air as may be suppos'd to rise in a short Time in this prodigiously rapid Whirl, is perhaps sufficient to form a great Extent of Cloud, tho' the Spout should be over Land as those at Hatfield; and if the Land happens not to be very dusty, perhaps the lower Part of the Spout will scarce become visible at all; Tho' the upper or what is commonly call'd the descending Part be very distinctly seen.

The same may happen at Sea, in case the Whirl is not violent enough to make a high Vacuum and raise the Column, &c. In such Case the upper Part ABCD only will be visible, and the Bush perhaps below.

But if the Whirl be strong, and there be much Dust on the Land, or the Column WW be rais'd from the Water; then the lower Part becomes visible, and sometimes even united to the upper Part. For the Dust may be carried up in the Spiral Whirl till it reach the Region where the Vapour is condens'd, and rise with that even to the Clouds. And the Friction of the Whirling Air on the Sides of the Column WW may detach great Quantities of its Water, break it into Drops and carry them up in the Spiral Whirl mix'd with the Air; the heavier Drops may indeed fly off, and fall in a Shower round the Spout; but much of it will be broken into Vapour, yet visible; and thus in both Cases, by Dust at Land, and by Water at Sea, the whole Tube may be darkned and render'd visible.

As the Whirl weakens, the Tube may (in Appearance) separate in the Middle; the Column of Water subsiding, and the superior condens'd Part drawing up to the Cloud. Yet still the Tube or Whirl of Air may remain entire, the middle only becoming invisible, as not containing visible Matter. [Page 463]

Dr. Stuart says, “it was observable of all the Spouts he saw, but more perceptible of the great One; that towards the End it began to appear like a hollow Canal, only black in the Borders but white in the Middle, and tho' at first it was altogether black and opaque, yet now one could very distinctly perceive the Sea Water to fly up along the Middle of this Canal, as Smoak up a Chimney.” And Dr. Mather describing a Whirlwind says, “a thick dark small Cloud arose, with a Pillar of Light in it, of about 8 or 10 foot Diameter and passed along the Ground in a Tract not wider than a Street, horribly tearing up Trees by the Roots, blowing them up in the Air like Feathers, and throwing up Stones of great Weight to a considerable Height in the Air, &c.”

These Accounts, the one of Water Spouts, the other of a Whirlwind, seem in this particular to agree; what one Gentleman describes as a Tube black in the Borders, and white in the middle; the other calls a black Cloud with a Pillar of Light in it; the latter Expression has only a little more of the marvellous, but the Thing is the same. And it seems not very difficult to understand. When Dr. Stuarts Spouts were full charg'd; that is, when the whirling Pipe of Air was filled, between aaaa and bbbb [Fig. I], with Quantities of Drops and Vapour torn off from the Column WW [Fig. II], the whole was render'd so dark as that it could not be seen thro', nor the spiral ascending Motion discover'd; but when the Quantity ascending lessen'd, the Pipe became more transparent, and the ascending Motion visible. For by Inspection of this Figure in the Margin representing a Section of our Spout with the Vacuum in the Middle, it is plain, that if we look at such a hollow Pipe in the Direction of the Arrows, and suppose opacous Particles to be equally mix'd in the Space between the two circular Lines, both the Part between the Arrows a and b and that between the Arrows c and d, will appear much darker than that between b and c; as there must be many more of those opaque Particles in the Line of Vision across the Sides than across the Middle. It is thus, that a Hair in a Microscope evidently appears to be a Pipe, the Sides shewing darker than the Middle. Dr. Mather's Whirl was probably fill'd with Dust; the Sides were very dark, but the Vacuum within rendering the Middle more transparent he [Page 464] calls it a Pillar of Light. It was in this more transparent Part between b and c that Stuart could see the spiral Motion of the Vapours, whose Lines on the nearest and farthest Side of this transparent Part crossing each other, represented Smoke ascending in a Chimney; for the Quantity being still too great in the Line of Sight thro' the Sides of the Tube, the Motion could not be discover'd there, and so they represented the solid Sides of the Chimney.

When the Vapours reach in the Pipe from the Clouds near to the Earth, it is no Wonder now to those who understand Electricity, that Flashes of Lightning should descend by the Spout, as in that at Rome.

But you object, If Water may be thus carried into the Clouds, why have we no salt Rains? The Objection is strong and reasonable; and I know not whether I can answer it to your Satisfaction. I never heard but of one Salt Rain, and that was where a Spout passed pretty near a Ship, so I suppose it to be only the Drops thrown off from the Spout by the centrifugal Force, (as the Birds were at Hatfield) when they had been carried so high as to be above or to be too strongly centrifugal for the Pressure of the concurring Winds surrounding it. And indeed I believe there can be no other kind of Salt Rain; for it has pleased the Goodness of God so to order it, that the Particles of Air will not attract the Particles of Salt; tho' they strongly attract Water. Hence tho' all Metals, even Gold, may be united with Air and render'd volatile, [Page 465] Salt remains fix'd in the Fire, and no Heat can force it up to any considerable Height or oblige the Air to hold it; Hence when Salt rises as it will a little Way into Air with Water, there is instantly a Separation made; the Particles of Water adhere to the Air, and the Particles of Salt fall down again, as if repell'd and forc'd off from the Water by some Power in the Air: Or as some Metals dissolv'd in a proper Menstruum will quit the Solvent when other matter approaches, and adhere to that, so the Water quits the Salt and embraces the Air but Air will not embrace the Salt and quit the Water. Otherwise, our Rains would indeed be salt, and every Tree and Plant on the Face of the Earth be destroy'd, with all the Animals that depend on them for Subsistence. He who hath proportioned and given proper Qualities to all Things, was not unmindful of this. Let us adore him with Praise and Thanksgiving!

By some Accounts of Seamen, it seems the Column of Water WW sometimes falls suddenly, and if it be as some say 15 or 20 Yards Diameter it must fall with great Force, and they may well fear for their Ships. By one Account in the Transactions of a Spout that fell at Coln in Lancashire one would think the Column is sometimes lifted off from the Water, and carried over Land, and there let fall in a Body; but this I suppose happens rarely.

Stuart describes his Spouts as appearing no bigger than a Mast! and sometimes less: but they were at a League and half Distance.

I think I formerly read in Dampier, or some other Voyager, that a Spout in its progressive Motion went over a Ship becalmed on the Coast of Guinea: and first threw her down on one Side, carrying away her Foremast; then suddenly, whipt her up, and threw her down on the other Side, carrying away her Mizen Mast; and the whole was over in an Instant. I suppose the first Mischief was done by the foreside of the Whirl, the latter by the hinder Side, their Motion being contrary.

I suppose a Whirlwind or Spout may be stationary when the concurring Winds are equal; but if unequal, the Whirl acquires a progressive Motion, in the direction of the Strongest Pressure.

Where the Wind that gives the progressive Motion becomes [Page 466] stronger below than above, or above than below, the Spout will be bent, and the Cause ceasing, straiten again.

Your Queries towards the End of your Paper, appear judicious and worth considering. At present I am not furnish'd with Facts sufficient to make any pertinent Answer to them. And this Paper has already a sufficient Quantity of Conjecture.

Your manner of accommodating the Accounts to your Hypothesis, of descending Spouts, is I own ingenious; and perhaps that Hypothesis may be true: I will consider it farther; but as yet I am not satisfy'd with it, tho' hereafter I may be. Here you have my Method of Accounting for the principal Phaenomena, which I submit to your candid Examination. If my Hypothesis is not the Truth itself, it is least as naked: For I have not with some of our learned Moderns disguis'd my Nonsense in Greek, cloth'd it in Algebra, or adorn'd it with Fluxions. And as I now seem to have almost written a Book instead of a Letter, you will think it high time I should conclude, which I beg Leave to do with assuring you that I am most sincerely, Dear Sir Your obliged Friend and humble Servant.


Dear Sir

I return you herewith Professor Kanster's Remarks. As far as I am able to judge, the Translation is just, and your Answer a good one. I am pleas'd with the Omission of that part of a Paragraph relating to the German and Pensilvanian Electricians, and have corrected the Copy as you direct. I have but one other Alteration to propose, which is, to omit some Part of the last Paragraph, and read the rest thus; — “After all, Mr. Colden must think himself obliged to the Professor, for exposing the Difficulties his Treatise lies under in the Opinion of others, as thereby an Opportunity is given of explaining his Doctrine more fully to their Satisfaction.” For it seems to [Page 467] me not so proper to make Acknowledgement for his Translating your Piece, as if it were a Favour, when he tells the World he did it by Command: And I apprehend it unnecessary, and that it may look like too great a Fondness for Complement, to draw one from him by Consequence; viz. That he did not think it a trifling Performance, or he would not have taken the Trouble, &c. since he himself freely says, that the many new, good and just Thoughts contain'd in it, made him willingly undertake the Task enjoin'd him. Besides that it is not clear he could have refus'd to obey the Command he received, whatever might have been his private Sentiments. The Ship I intended to forward these Papers by to Mr. Collinson, has stay'd much longer than expected, and now I am told will not sail before the End of next Month, so that I may possibly receive your Directions concerning this propos'd Alteration before she sails.

I find I was not wrong in my Apprehensions that your Book would be incorrectly printed. I hope however, that the Errata will be in England time enough to be published with the Work; and I thank you for sending them to me. I have corrected the Book accordingly, and given it one Reading; but it is not a Piece to make sudden Remarks on, as one might of a Poem or other Performance on common Subjects. I must read and consider it yet more attentively; at present I can only tell you, that some Things in it please me exceedingly; some I do not yet clearly understand; and one or two Positions I think wrong; of all which you shall hear more fully in my next. On the whole it gives me great Satisfaction, when consider it as a Work that will not only improve Philosophy, but do Honour to America.

I am sorry I have not, as you expect, anything new to communicate to you on the Subject of Electricity. My Time and Thoughts have of late been much engag'd in other Matters: And ever since I heard of your being furnish'd with an Apparatus, I have hoped rather to receive Information of new Discoveries from you, than expected to send you any. If your other philosophical Pursuits do not prevent your Application to the Experiments you propos'd to make on various Salts, &c. I shall still hope it. Your Skill and Expertness in Mathematical Computations, will afford you an Advantage in these [Page 468] Disquisitions, that I lament the want of, who am like a Man searching for something in a dark Room, where I can only grope and guess; while you proceed with a Candle in your Hand.

We are preparing here to make accurate Observations on the approaching Transit of Mercury over the Sun. You will oblige us much by sending the Account you have received from Lord Macclesfield of his great mural Quadrant. I congratulate you on your Discovery of a new Motion in the Earth's Axis: You will, I see, render your Name immortal.

I believe I have not before told you, that I have procur'd a Subscription here of £ 1500 to fit out a Vessel in Search of a NWest Passage: she sails in a few Days, and is called the Argo, commanded by Mr. Swaine, who was in the last Expedition in the California, Author of a Journal of that Voyage in two Volumes. We think the Attempt laudable, whatever may be the Success: if he fails, Magnis tamen excidit ausis.

With great Esteem, I am, Dear Sir, Your most humble Servant

[Page 468] [Note: THE SUPPORT OF THE POOR]


I received your Favour of the 29th. August last and thank you for the kind and judicious remarks you have made on my little Piece. Whatever further occurs to you on the same subject, you will much oblige me in communicating it.

I have often observed with wonder, that Temper of the poor English Manufacturers and day Labourers which you mention, and acknowledge it to be pretty general. When any of them happen to come here, where Labour is much better paid than in England, their Industry seems to diminish in equal proportion. But it is not so with the German Labourers; They retain the habitual Industry and Frugality they bring with them, and now receiving higher Wages an accumulation arises that makes them all rich. [Page 469]

When I consider, that the English are the Offspring of Germans, that the Climate they live in is much of the same Temperature; when I can see nothing in Nature that should create this Difference, I am apt to suspect it must arise from Institution, and I have sometimes doubted, whether the Laws peculiar to England which compel the Rich to maintain the Poor, have not given the latter, a Dependance that very much lessens the care of providing against the wants of old Age.

I have heard it remarked that the Poor in Protestant Countries on the Continent of Europe, are generally more industrious than those of Popish Countries, may not the more numerous foundations in the latter for the relief of the poor have some effect towards rendering them less provident. To relieve the misfortunes of our fellow creatures is concurring with the Deity, 'tis Godlike, but if we provide encouragements for Laziness, and supports for Folly, may it not be found fighting against the order of God and Nature, which perhaps has appointed Want and Misery as the proper Punishments for, and Cautions against as well as necessary consequences of Idleness and Extravagancy.

Whenever we attempt to mend the scheme of Providence and to interfere in the Government of the World, we had need be very circumspect lest we do more harm than Good. In New England they once thought Black-birds useless and mischievous to their corn, they made Laws to destroy them, the consequence was, the Black-birds were diminished but a kind of Worms which devoured their Grass, and which the Black-birds had been used to feed on encreased prodigiously; Then finding their Loss in Grass much greater than their saving in corn they wished again for their Black-birds.

We had here some years since a Transylvanian Tartar, who had travelled much in the East, and came hither merely to see the West, intending to go home thro' the spanish West Indies, China &c. He asked me one day what I thought might be the Reason that so many and such numerous nations, as the Tartars in Europe and Asia, the Indians in America, and the Negroes in Africa, continued a wandring careless Life, and refused to live in Cities, and to cultivate the arts they saw practiced by the civilized part of Mankind. While was considering what answer to make him; I'll tell you, says he in his [Page 470] broken English, God make man for Paradise, he make him for to live lazy; man make God angry, God turn him out of Paradise, and bid him work; man no love work; he want to go to Paradise again, he want to live lazy; so all mankind love lazy. Howe'er this may be it seems certain, that the hope of becoming at some time of Life free from the necessity of care and Labour, together with fear of penury, are the main-springs of most peoples industry.

To those indeed who have been educated in elegant plenty, even the provision made for the poor may appear misery, but to those who have scarce ever been better provided for, such provision may seem quite good and sufficient, these latter have then nothing to fear worse than their present Conditions, and scarce hope for any thing better than a Parish maintainance; so that there is only the difficulty of getting that maintainance allowed while they are able to work, or a little shame they suppose attending it, that can induce them to work at all, and what they do will only be from hand to mouth.

The proneness of human Nature to a life of ease, of freedom from care and labour appears strongly in the little success that has hitherto attended every attempt to civilize our American Indians, in their present way of living, almost all their Wants are supplied by the spontaneous Productions of Nature, with the addition of very little labour, if hunting and fishing may indeed be called labour when Game is so plenty, they visit us frequently, and see the advantages that Arts, Sciences, and compact Society procure us, they are not deficient in natural understanding and yet they have never shewn any Inclination to change their manner of life for ours, or to learn any of our Arts; When an Indian Child has been brought up among us, taught our language and habituated to our Customs, yet if he goes to see his relations and make one Indian Ramble with them, there is no perswading him ever to return, and that this is not natural to them merely as Indians, but as men, is plain from this, that when white persons of either sex have been taken prisoners young by the Indians, and lived a while among them, tho' ransomed by their Friends, and treated with all imaginable tenderness to prevail with them to stay among the English, yet in a Short time they [Page 471] become disgusted with our manner of life, and the care and pains that are necessary to support it, and take the first good Opportunity of escaping again into the Woods, from whence there is no reclaiming them. One instance I remember to have heard, where the person was brought home to possess a good Estate; but finding some care necessary to keep it together, he relinquished it to a younger Brother, reserving to himself nothing but a gun and a match- Coat, with which he took his way again to the Wilderness.

Though they have few but natural wants and those easily supplied. But with us are infinite Artificial wants, no less craving than those of Nature, and much more difficult to satisfy; so that I am apt to imagine that close Societies subsisting by Labour and Arts, arose first not from choice, but from necessity: When numbers being driven by war from their hunting grounds and prevented by seas or by other nations were crowded together into some narrow Territories, which without labour would not afford them Food. However as matters now stand with us, care and industry seem absolutely necessary to our well being; they should therefore have every Encouragement we can invent, and not one Motive to diligence be subtracted, and the support of the Poor should not be by maintaining them in Idleness, But by employing them in some kind of labour suited to their Abilities of body &c. as I am informed of late begins to be the practice in many parts of England, where work houses are erected for that purpose. If these were general I should think the Poor would be more careful and work voluntarily and lay up something for themselves against a rainy day, rather than run the risque of being obliged to work at the pleasure of others for a bare subsistence and that too under confinement. The little value Indians set on what we prize so highly under the name of Learning appears from a pleasant passage that happened some years since at a Treaty between one of our Colonies and the Six Nations; when every thing had been settled to the Satisfaction of both sides, and nothing remained but a mutual exchange of civilities, the English Commissioners told the Indians, they had in their Country a College for the instruction of Youth who were there taught various languages, Arts, and Sciences; that there was a particular foundation in favour [Page 472] of the Indians to defray the expense of the Education of any of their sons who should desire to take the Benefit of it. And now if the Indians would accept of the Offer, the English would take half a dozen of their brightest lads and bring them up in the Best manner; The Indians after consulting on the proposal replied that it was remembered some of their Youths had formerly been educated in that College, but it had been observed that for a long time after they returned to their Friends, they were absolutely good for nothing being neither acquainted with the true methods of killing deer, catching Beaver or surprizing an enemy. The Proposition however, they looked on as a mark of the kindness and good will of the English to the Indian Nations which merited a grateful return; and therefore if the English Gentlemen would send a dozen or two of their Children to Onondago the great Council would take care of their Education, bring them up in really what was the best manner and make men of them.

I am perfectly of your mind, that measures of great Temper are necessary with the Germans: and am not without Apprehensions, that thro' their indiscretion or Ours, or both, great disorders and inconveniences may one day arise among us; Those who come hither are generally of the most ignorant Stupid Sort of their own Nation, and as Ignorance is often attended with Credulity when Knavery would mislead it, and with Suspicion when Honesty would set it right; and as few of the English understand the German Language, and so cannot address them either from the Press or Pulpit, 'tis almost impossible to remove any prejudices they once entertain. Their own Clergy have very little influence over the people; who seem to take an uncommon pleasure in abusing and discharging the Minister on every trivial occasion. Not being used to Liberty, they know not how to make a modest use of it; and as Kolben says of the young Hottentots, that they are not esteemed men till they have shewn their manhood by beating their mothers, so these seem to think themselves not free, till they can feel their liberty in abusing and insulting their Teachers. Thus they are under no restraint of Ecclesiastical Government; They behave, however, submissively enough at present to the Civil Government which I wish they may continue to do: For remember when they modestly [Page 473] declined intermeddling in our Elections, but now they come in droves, and carry all before them, except in one or two Counties; Few of their children in the Country learn English; they import many Books from Germany; and of the six printing houses in the Province, two are entirely German, two half German half English, and but two entirely English; They have one German News-paper, and one half German. Advertisements intended to be general are now printed in Dutch and English; the Signs in our Streets have inscriptions in both languages, and in some places only German: They begin of late to make all their Bonds nad other legal Writings in their own Language, which (though I think it ought not to be) are allowed good in our Courts, where the German Business so encreases that there is continual need of Interpreters; and suppose in a few years they will be also necessary in the Assembly, to tell one half of our Legislators what the other half say; In short unless the stream of their importation could be turned from this to other colonies, as you very judiciously propose, they will soon so out number us, that all the advantages we have will not in My Opinion be able to preserve our language, and even our Government will become precarious. The French who watch all advantages, are now themselves making a German settlement back of us in the Ilinoes Country, and by means of those Germans they may in time come to an understanding with ours, and indeed in the last war our Germans shewed a general disposition that seems to bode us no good; for when the English who were not Quakers, alarmed by the danger arising from the defenceless state of our Country entered unanimously into an Association within this Government and the lower Countries raised armed and Disciplined near 10,000 men, the Germans except a very few in proportion to their numbers refused to engage in it, giving out one among another, and even in print, that if they were quiet the French should they take the Country would not molest them; at the same time abusing the Philadelphians for fitting out Privateers against the Enemy; and representing the trouble hazard and Expence of defending the Province, as a greater inconvenience than any that might be expected from a change of Government. Yet I am not for refusing entirely to admit them into our Colonies: all that seems to be necessary [Page 474] is, to distribute them more equally, mix them with the English, establish English Schools where they are now too thick settled, and take some care to prevent the practice lately fallen into by some of the Ship Owners, of sweeping the German Goals to make up the number of their Passengers. I say I am not against the Admission of Germans in general, for they have their Virtues, their industry and frugality is exemplary; They are excellent husbandmen and contribute greatly to the improvement of a Country.

I pray God long to preserve to Great Britain the English Laws, Manners, Liberties and Religion notwithstanding the complaints so frequent in Your public papers, of the prevailing corruption and degeneracy of your People; I know you have a great deal of Virtue still subsisting among you, and I hope the Constitution is not so near a dissolution, as some seem to apprehend; I do not think you are generally become such Slaves to your Vices, as to draw down that Justice Milton speaks of when he says that

——— sometimes Nations will descend so low

From reason, which is virtue, that no Wrong,

But Justice, and some fatal curse annex'd

Deprives them of their outward liberty,

Their inward lost. Parad: lost.

In history we find that Piety, Public Spirit and military Prowess have their Flows, as well as their ebbs, in every nation, and that the Tide is never so low but it may rise again; But should this dreaded fatal change happen in my time, how should I even in the midst of the Affliction rejoice, if we have been able to preserve those invaluable treasures, and can invite the good among you to come and partake of them! O let not Britain seek to oppress us, but like an affectionate parent endeavour to secure freedom to her children; they may be able one day to assist her in defending her own — Whereas a Mortification begun in the Foot may spread upwards to the destruction of the nobler parts of the Body.

I fear I have already extended this rambling letter beyond your patience, and therefore conclude with requesting your acceptance of the inclosed Pamphlet from Sir Your most humble servant



I received your kind Letter of the 2d Inst. and am glad to hear that you increase in Strength; I hope you will continue mending till you recover your former Health and Firmness. Let me know whether you still use the cold Bath, and what Effect it has.

As to the Kindness you mention, I wish it could have been of more Service to you. But if it had, the only Thanks I should desire is, that you would always be equally ready to serve any other Person that may need your Assistance, and so let good Offices go round, for Mankind are all of a Family.

For my own Part, when I am employed in serving others, I do not look upon my self as conferring Favours, but as paying Debts. In my Travels and since my Settlement I have received much Kindness from Men, to whom I shall never have any Opportunity of making the least direct Return. And numberless Mercies from God, who is infinitely above being benefited by our Services. These Kindnesses from Men I can therefore only return on their Fellow-Men; and I can only show my Gratitude for those Mercies from God, by a Readiness to help his other Children and my Brethren. For I do not think that Thanks, and Compliments, tho' repeated Weekly, can discharge our real Obligations to each other, and much less those to our Creator.

You will see in this my Notion of Good Works, that I am far from expecting (as you suppose) that I shall merit Heaven by them. By Heaven we understand, a State of Happiness, infinite in Degree, and eternal in Duration: I can do nothing to deserve such Reward: He that for giving a Draught of Water to a thirsty Person should expect to be paid with a good Plantation, would be modest in his Demands, compar'd with those who think they deserve Heaven for the little Good they do on Earth. Even the mix'd imperfect Pleasures we enjoy in this World are rather from God's Goodness than our Merit; how much more such Happiness of Heaven. For my own part, I have not the Vanity to think I deserve it, the Folly [Page 476] to expect it, nor the Ambition to desire it; but content myself in submitting to the Will and Disposal of that God who made me, who has hitherto preserv'd and bless'd me, and in whose fatherly Goodness I may well confide, that he will never make me miserable, and that even the Afflictions I may at any time suffer shall tend to my Benefit.

The Faith you mention has doubtless its use in the World; do not desire to see it diminished, nor would I endeavour to lessen it in any Man. But I wish it were more productive of Good Works than I have generally seen it: I mean real good Works, Works of Kindness, Charity, Mercy, and Publick Spirit; not Holiday-keeping, Sermon-Reading or Hearing, performing Church Ceremonies, or making long Prayers, fill'd with Flatteries and Compliments, despis'd even by wise Men, and much less capable of pleasing the Deity. The Worship of God is a Duty, the hearing and reading of Sermons may be useful; but if Men rest in Hearing and Praying, as too many do, it is as if a Tree should value itself on being water'd and putting forth Leaves, tho' it never produc'd any Fruit.

Your great Master tho't much less of these outward Appearances and Professions than many of his modern Disciples. He prefer'd the Doers of the Word to the meer Hearers; the Son that seemingly refus'd to obey his Father and yet perform'd his Commands, to him that profess'd his Readiness but neglected the Works; the heretical but charitable Samaritan, to the uncharitable tho' orthodox Priest and sanctified Levite: and those who gave Food to the hungry, Drink to the Thirsty, Raiment to the Naked, Entertainment to the Stranger, and Relief to the Sick, &c. tho' they never heard of his Name, he declares shall in the last Day be accepted, when those who cry Lord, Lord; who value themselves on their Faith tho' great enough to perform Miracles but have neglected good Works shall be rejected. He profess'd that he came not to call the Righteous but Sinners to Repentance; which imply'd his modest Opinion that there were some in his Time so good that they need not hear even him for Improvement; but now a days we have scarce a little Parson, that does not think it the Duty of every Man within his Reach to sit under his petty Ministrations, and that whoever omits [Page 477] them offends God. I wish to such more Humility, and to you Health and Happiness, being Your Friend and Servant

[Page 477] [Note: “KISSES IN THAT WIND”]

Dear Katy,

Your kind Letter of January 20. is but just come to hand, and I take this first Opportunity of acknowledging the Favour.

It gives me great Pleasure to hear that you got home safe and well that Day. I thought too much was hazarded, when I saw you put off to Sea in that very little Skiff, toss'd by every Wave. But the Call was strong and just, a sick Parent. I stood on the Shore, and look'd after you, till I could no longer distinguish you, even with my Glass; then returned to your Sister's, praying for your safe Passage. Towards Evening all agreed that you must certainly be arriv'd before that time, the Weather having been so favourable; which made me more easy and chearful, for I had been truly concern'd for you.

I left New England slowly, and with great Reluctance: Short Days Journeys, and loitering Visits on the Road, for three or four Weeks, manifested my Unwillingness to quit a Country in which I drew my first Breath, spent my earliest and most pleasant Days, and had now received so many fresh Marks of the People's Goodness and Benevolence, in the kind and affectionate Treatment I had every where met with. I almost forgot I had a Home; till I was more than half-way towards it; till I had, one by one, parted with all my New England Friends, and was got into the western Borders of Connecticut, among meer Strangers: then, like an old Man, who, having buried all he lov'd in this World, begins to think of Heaven, I begun to think of and wish for Home; and as I drew nearer, I found the Attraction stronger and stronger, my Diligence and Speed increas'd with my Impatience, I drove on violently, and made such long Stretches that a very few Days brought me to my own House, and to the Arms of my good old Wife and Children, where I remain, Thanks to God, at present well and happy. [Page 478]

Persons subject to the Hyp, complain of the North East Wind as increasing their Malady. But since you promis'd to send me Kisses in that Wind, and I find you as good as your Word, 'tis to me the gayest Wind that blows, and gives me the best Spirits. I write this during a N. East Storm of Snow, the greatest we have had this Winter: Your Favours come mixd with the Snowy Fleeces which are pure as your Virgin Innocence, white as your lovely Bosom, — and as cold: — But let it warm towards some worthy young Man, and may Heaven bless you both with every kind of Happiness.

I desired Miss Anna Ward, to send you over a little Book left with her; for your Amusement in that lonely Island. My Respects to your good Father and Mother, and Sister unknown. Let me often hear of your Welfare, since it is not likely I shall ever again have the Pleasure of seeing you. Accept mine, and my Wife's sincere Thanks for the many Civilities I receiv'd from you and your Relations; and do me the Justice to believe me, Dear Girl, Your affectionate faithful Friend and humble Servant

My respectful Compliments to your good Brother Ward, and Sister; and to the agreable Family of the Wards at Newport when you see them. Adieu.

[Page 478] [Note: “ONE OF GODS NOBILITY”]

Dear Sir

I beg Leave to introduce to you the Revd. Mr. Allison Rector of our Academy; a Person of great Ingenuity and Learning, a catholic Divine, and what is more, an Honest Man; For as Pope says

A Wit's a Feather, and a Chief's a Rod;

An honest Man's the noblest Work of God.

By Entertaining then this Gent. with your accustomed Hospitality and Benevolence, you will Entertain one of the [Page 479] Nobility. I mean one of Gods Nobility; for as to the Kings, there are many of them not worthy your Notice.

Do me the Favour to make my Compliments acceptable to your good Lady, Sisters and Children in whose most agreeable Company passed those Chearful Winter Evenings, which I remember with high Pleasure. I am, with the greatest Esteem and Respect, Dear Sir Your most Obedient and Most humble Servant


Dear Katy

Your Favour of the 28th of June came to hand but the 28th of September, just 3 Months after it was written. I had, two Weeks before, wrote you a long Chat, and sent it to the Care of your Brother Ward. I hear you are now in Boston, gay and lovely as usual. Let me give you some fatherly Advice. Kill no more Pigeons than you can eat. Be a good Girl, and don't forget your Catechise. Go constantly to Meeting — or Church — till you get a good Husband; then stay at home, and nurse the Children, and live like a Christian. Spend your spare Hours, in sober Whisk, Prayers, or learning to cypher. You must practise Addition to your Husband's Estate, by Industry and Frugality; Subtraction of all unnecessary Expences; Multiplication (I would gladly have taught you that myself, but you thought it was time enough, and wou'dn't learn) he will soon make you a Mistress of it. As to Division, I say with Brother Paul, Let there be no Divisions among ye. But as your good Sister Hubbard (my Love to her) is well acquainted with The Rule of Two, I hope you will become as expert in the Rule of Three; that when I have again the Pleasure of seeing you, I may find you like my Grape Vine, surrounded with Clusters, plump, juicy, blushing, pretty little rogues, like their Mama. Adieu. The Bell rings, and I must go among the Grave ones, and talk Politicks. Your affectionate Friend [Page 480]

P.S. The Plums came safe, and were so sweet from the Cause you mention'd, that I could scarce taste the Sugar.


I have just received your very obliging Favour of the 13th. September last; and as this Ship sails immediately, have little more time than to thank you cordially for communicating to me the Papers relating to your most laudable Undertaking, and to assure you, that I should esteem the being admitted into such a Society as a corresponding Member, a very great Honour, which I should be glad could in the least deserve, by promoting in any Degree so useful an Institution. But tho' you do not require your Correspondents to bear any Part of your Expence, you will I hope permit me to throw my Mite into your Fund, and accept of 20 Guineas I purpose to send you shortly, to be apply'd in Premiums for some Improvement in Britain, as a grateful, tho' small, Return for your most kind and generous Intentions of Encouraging Improvements in America. flatter myself, from that Part of your Plan, that those Jealousies of her Colonies, which were formerly entertained by the Mother Country, begin to subside. I once wrote a little Paper, tending to show that such Jealousies with Regard to Manufactures were ill- founded. It was lately printed in Boston at the End of a Pamphlet which I take the Liberty to send you. Never be discouraged by any Apprehension that Arts are come to such Perfection in England, as to be incapable of farther Improvement. As yet, the Quantity of Human Knowledge bears no Proportion to the Quantity of Human Ignorance. The Improvements made within these 2000 Years, considerable as they are, would have been much more so, if the Ancients had possess'd one or two Arts now in common Use, I mean those of Copper Plate- and Letter-Printing. Whatever is now exactly delineated and describ'd by those, can scarcely (from the Multitude of Copies) be lost to Posterity. And the Knowledge of small Matters [Page 481] being preserv'd, gives the Hint and is sometimes the Occasion of great Discoveries, perhaps Ages after.

The French War, which came on in 1744, took off our Thoughts from the Prosecution of my Proposal for Promoting useful Knowledge in America; and I have ever since the Peace been so engag'd in other Schemes of various kinds and in publick Affairs, as not to find Leisure to revive that useful and very practicable Project. But if I live to see our present Disturbances over in this Part of the World, I shall apply my self to it with fresh Spirit, as beside the Good that may be done, I hope to make myself thereby a more valuable Correspondent.

You will greatly oblige me by the Communication of the Inventions and Improvements you mention. And as it is a Maxim in Commerce, That there is no Trade without Returns, I shall be always endeavouring to ballance Accounts with you, tho' probably never able to accomplish it.

I am, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

[Page 481] [Note: “WE ARE SPIRITS”]


I condole with you, we have lost a most dear and valuable relation, but it is the will of God and Nature that these mortal bodies be laid aside, when the soul is to enter into real life; 'tis rather an embrio state, a preparation for living; a man is not completely born until he be dead: Why then should we grieve that a new child is born among the immortals? A new member added to their happy society? We are spirits. That bodies should be lent us, while they can afford us pleasure, assist us in acquiring knowledge, or doing good to our fellow creatures, is a kind and benevolent act of God — when they become unfit for these purposes and afford us pain instead of pleasure — instead of an aid, become an incumbrance and answer none of the intentions for which they were given, it is equally kind and benevolent that a way is provided by which [Page 482] we may get rid of them. Death is that way. We ourselves prudently choose a partial death. In some cases a mangled painful limb, which cannot be restored, we willingly cut off — He who plucks out a tooth, parts with it freely since the pain goes with it, and he that quits the whole body, parts at once with all pains and possibilities of pains and diseases it was liable to, or capable of making him suffer.

Our friend and we are invited abroad on a party of pleasure — that is to last forever — His chair was first ready and he is gone before us — we could not all conveniently start together, and why should you and I be grieved at this, since we are soon to follow, and we know where to find him.


[Page 482] [Note: HEAT AND COLD]


It is a long Time since I had the Pleasure of a Line from you. And indeed the Troubles of our Country, with the Hurry of Business, I have been engag'd in on that Account, have made me so bad a Correspondent, that I ought not to expect Punctuality in others.

But being just taking Passage for England, I could not leave the Continent, without paying my Respects to you, and at the same Time taking Leave to introduce to your Acquaintance a Gentleman of Learning and Merit, Col. Henry Bouquet, who does me the Favour to present you this Letter, and with whom I am sure you will be much pleased.

Mr. Professor Simpson of Glasgow, lately communicated to me some curious Experiments of a Physician of his Acquaintance, by which it appeared that an extraordinary Degree of Cold, even to Freezing, might be produced by Evaporation. I have not had Leisure to repeat and examine more than the first and easiest of them, viz. Wet the Ball of a Thermometer by a Feather dipt in Spirit of Wine, which has been kept in the same Room, and has of Course the same Degree of Heat or Cold. The Mercury sinks presently 3 or 4 [Page 483] Degrees, and the quicker if during the Evaporation you blow on the Ball with Bellows; a second Wetting and Blowing when the Mercury is down, carries it yet lower. I think I did not get it lower than 5 or 6 Degrees from where it naturally stood, which was at that time 60. But it is said, that a Vessel of Water being plac'd in another somewhat larger containing Spirit, in such a Manner that the Vessel of Water is surrounded with the Spirit, and both plac'd under the Receiver of an Air-pump, on Exhausting the Air, the Spirit evaporating leaves such a Degree of Cold as to freeze the Water, tho' the Thermometer in the open Air stands many Degrees above the Freezing Point.

I know not how this Phenomenon is to be accounted for, but it gives me Occasion to mention some loose Notions relating to Heat and Cold, which I have for some Time entertain'd, but not yet reduc'd into any Form. Allowing common Fire as well as the Electrical, to be a Fluid, capable of permeating other Bodies, and seeking an Equilibrium, I imagine some Bodies are better fitted by Nature to be Conductors of that Fluid than others; and that generally those which are the best Conductors of the Electrical Fluid, are also the best Conductors of this; and e contra. Thus a Body which is a good Conductor of Fire readily receives it into its Substance, and conducts it thro' the Whole to all the Parts; as Metals and Water do; and if two Bodies, both good Conductors, one heated, the other in its common State, are brought into Contact with each other, the Body which has most Fire, readily communicates of it to that which had least; and that which had least readily receives it, till an Equilibrium is produced. Thus, if you take a Dollar between your Fingers with one Hand, and a Piece of Wood of the same Dimensions with the other, and bring both at the same Time to the Flame of a Candle, you will find yourself obliged to drop the Dollar before you drop the Wood, because it conducts the Heat of the Candle sooner to your Flesh. Thus, if a Silver Teapot had a Handle of the same Metal, it would conduct the Heat from the Water to the Hand, and become too hot to be used; we therefore give to a Metal Teapot a Handle of Wood, which is not so good a Conductor as Metal. But a China or Stone Teapot being in some Degree of the Nature of Glass, which [Page 484] is not a good Conductor of Heat, may have a Handle of the same Stuff. Thus also a damp moist Air shall make a Man more sensible of Cold, or chill him more than a dry Air that is colder, because a moist Air is fitter to receive and conduct away the Heat of his Body. This Fluid entring Bodies in great Quantity, first expands them by separating their Parts a little, afterwards by farther separating their Parts, it renders solids fluid, and at length dissipates their Parts in Air. Take this Fluid from melted Lead, or from Water, the Parts cohere again, the first grows solid, the latter becomes Ice. And this is soonest done by the Means of good Conductors. Thus, if you take (as I have done) a square Bar of Lead, 4 Inches long, and 1 Inch thick, together with 3 Pieces of Wood planed to the same Dimensions, and lay them as in the Margin, on a smooth Board, fix'd so as not to be easily separated or moved, and pour into the square Cavity they form as much melted Lead as will fill it, you will see the melted Lead chill and become firm on the Side next the Leaden Bar, some Time before it chills on the other three Sides in Contact with the Wooden Bars; tho' before the Lead was poured in, they might all be supposed to have the same Degree of Heat or Coldness, as they had been exposed in the same Room to the same Air. You will likewise observe, that the leaden Bar, as it has cooled the melted Lead more than the wooden Bars have done, so it is itself more heated by the melted Lead. There is a certain Quantity of this Fluid, called Fire, in every living human Body, which Fluid, being in due Proportion, keeps the Parts of the Flesh and Blood at such a just Distance from each other, as that the Flesh and Nerves are suple, and the Blood fit for Circulation. If Part of this due Proportion of Fire be [Page 485] conducted away by Means of a Contact with other Bodies, as Air, Water, or Metals, the Parts of our Skin and Flesh that come into such Contact, first draw more near together than is agreeable, and give that Sensation which we call Cold, and if too much be conveyed away, the Body stiffens, the Blood ceases to flow, and Death ensues. On the other Hand, if too much of this Fluid be communicated to the Flesh, the Parts are separated too far, and Pain ensues as when they are separated by a Pin or Lancet. The Sensation that the Separation by Fire occasions, we call Heat, or Burning. My Desk, on which I now write, and the Lock of my Desk, are both expos'd to the same Temperature of the Air, and have therefore the same Degree of Heat and Cold; yet if I lay my Hand successively on the Wood and on the Metal, the latter feels much the Coldest; not that it is really so, but being a better Conductor, it more readily than the Wood takes away and draws into it self the Fire that was in my Skin. Accordingly, if I lay one Hand, Part on the Lock, and Part on the Wood, and after it has lain so some Time I feel both Parts with my other Hand, I find the Part that has been in Contact with the Lock, very sensibly colder to the Touch than the Part that lay on the Wood. How a living Animal obtains its Quantity of this Fluid called Fire, is a curious Question. I have shown that some Bodies (as Metals) have a Power of Attracting it stronger than others, and I have sometimes suspected that a living Body had some Power of Attracting out of the Air or other Bodies the Heat it wanted. Thus Metal hammer'd or repeatedly bent, grows hot in the bent or hammered Part. But when I consider'd that Air in contact with the Body cools it; that the surrounding Air is rather heated by its Contact with the Body; that every Breath of cooler Air drawn in, carries off Part of the Body's Heat when it passes out again: That therefore there must be in the Body a Fund for producing it, or otherwise the Animal would soon grow cold: I have been rather enclin'd to think that the Fluid, Fire, as well as the Fluid, Air, is attracted by Plants in their Growth, and becomes consolidated with the other Materials of which they are formed, and makes a great Part of their Substance. That when they come to be digested, and to suffer in the Vessels a Kind of Fermentation, Part of the Fire as well as Part of the [Page 486] Air, recovers its fluid Active State again, and diffuses itself in the Body digesting and separating it. That the Fire so reproduc'd by Digestion and Separation, continually leaving the Body, its Place is supply'd by fresh Quantities arising from the continual Separation. That whatever quickens the Motion of the Fluids in an Animal, quickens the Separation, and reproduces more of the Fire, as Exercise. That all the Fire emitted by Wood and other Combustibles when burning, existed in them before in a solid State, being only discovered when separating. That some Fossils, as Sulphur, Seacoal, &c. contain a great deal of solid Fire; that Gunpowder is almost all solid Fire: And that, in short, what excapes and is dissipated in the Burning of Bodies, besides Water and Earth, is generally the Air and Fire that before made Parts of the solid. Thus I imagin that Animal Heat arises by or from a Kind of Fermentation in the Juices of the Body, in the same Manner as Heat arises in the liquors preparing for Distillation; wherein there is a Separation of the spirituous from the watry and earthy Parts. And it is remarkable, that the Liquor in the Distiller's Vat, when in its highest and best State of Fermentation, shows by the Thermometer, as I have been informed, the same Degree of Heat with the human Body, that is about 94 or 96. Thus, as by a constant Supply of Fuel in a Chimney, you keep a warm Room, so by a constant Supply of Food in the Stomach, you keep a warm Body. Only where little Exercise is used, the Heat may possibly be conducted away too fast, in which Case such Materials are to be used for Cloathing and Bedding, against the Effect of an immediate Contact of the Air, as are in themselves bad Conductors of Heat, and consequently prevent its being communicated thro' their Substance to the Air. Hence what is called Warmth in Wool, and its Preference on that Account to Linen; Wool not being so good a Conductor. And hence all the natural Coverings of Animals to keep them warm, are such, as retain and confine the natural Heat in the Body, by being bad Conductors; such as Wool, Hair, Feathers, and the Silk by which the Silk-worm in its tender embrio State is first cloathed. Cloathing, thus considered, does not make a Man warm, by giving Warmth, but by preventing the too quick Dissipation of the Heat produc'd in his Body, and so occasioning an Accumulation. [Page 487]

There is another curious Question I will just venture to touch upon, viz. Whence arises the sudden extraordinary Degree of Cold, perceptible on mixing some Chymical Liquors, and even on mixing Salt and Snow, where the Composition appears colder than the coldest of the Ingredients? I have never seen the chymical Mixtures made, but Salt and Snow I have often mixed myself, and am fully satisfied that the Composition feels much colder to the Touch, and lowers the Mercury in the Thermometer more than either Ingredient would do separately. I suppose with others, that Cold is nothing more than an Absence of Heat or Fire. Now if the Quantity of Fire before contain'd or diffus'd in the Snow and Salt, was expell'd in the Uniting of the two Matters, it must be driven away either thro' the Air or the Vessel containing them. If it is driven off thro' the Air, it must warm the Air, and a Thermometer held over the Mixture without touching it, would discover the Heat by the Rising of the Mercury, as it must and always does in warmer Air. This indeed I have not try'd; but I should guess it would rather be driven off thro' the Vessel, especially if the Vessel be Metal, as being a better Conductor than Air, and so one should find the Bason warmer after such Mixture. But on the contrary the Vessel grows cold, and even Water in which the Vessel is sometimes plac'd for the Experiment, freezes into hard Ice on the Bason. Now I know not how to account for this otherwise than by supposing, that the Composition is a better Conductor of Fire than the Ingredients separately, and like the Lock compar'd with the Wood, has a stronger Power of Attracting Fire, and does accordingly attract it suddenly from the Fingers or a Thermometer put into it, from the Bason that contains it, and from the Water in contact with the Outside of the Bason, so that the Fingers have the Sensation of extream Cold, by being depriv'd of much of their natural Fire; the Thermometer sinks, by having part of its Fire drawn out of the Mercury; the Bason grows colder to the Touch, as by having its Fire drawn into the Mixture, it is become more capable of drawing and receiving it from the Hand; and thro' the Bason the Water loses its Fire that kept it fluid, so it becomes Ice. One would expect, That from all this attracted Acquisition of Fire to the Composition, it should become warmer; and in fact, [Page 488] the Snow and Salt dissolves at the same Time into Water without freezing.

I doubt whether in all this I have talked intelligibly; and indeed how should a Man do so, that does not himself clearly understand the Thing he talks of. This I confess to be my present Case. I intended to amuse you, but I fear I have done more, and tired you. Be so good as to excuse it, and believe me, with sincere Esteem and Respect, Sir, Your most obedient humble Servant

[Page 488] [Note: “OLD FOLKS AND OLD TREES”]

Dear Sister

I wrote a few Lines to you yesterday, but omitted to answer yours relating to Sister Douse: As having their own Way, is one of the greatest Comforts of Life, to old People, I think their Friends should endeavour to accommodate them in that, as well as in any thing else. When they have long liv'd in a House, it becomes natural to them, they are almost as closely connected with it as the Tortoise with his Shell, they die if you tear them out of it. Old Folks and old Trees, if you remove them, tis ten to one that you kill them. So let our good old Sister be no more importun'd on that head. We are growing old fast ourselves, and shall expect the same kind of Indulgencies. If we give them, we shall have a Right to receive them in our Turn.

And as to her few fine Things, I think she is in the right not to sell them, and for the Reason she gives, that they will fetch but little. When that little is spent, they would be of no farther use to her; but perhaps the Expectation of Possessing them at her Death, may make that Person tender and careful of her, and helpful to her, to the amount of ten times their Value. If so, they are put to the best Use they possibly can be.

I hope you visit Sister as often as your Affairs will permit, and afford her what Assistance and Comfort you can, in her present Situation. Old Age, Infirmities, and Poverty, join'd, are [Page 489] Afflictions enough; the Neglect and Slight of Friends and near Relations, should never be added. People in her Circumstances are apt to suspect this sometimes without Cause; Appearances should therefore be attended to, in our Conduct towards them, as well as Realities.

I write by this Post to Cousin Williams, to continue his Care, which I doubt not he will do.

We expect to sail in about a Week, so that I can hardly hear from you again on this Side the Water. But let me have a Line from you now and then while I am in London. I expect to stay there at least a 12 month. Direct your Letters to be left for me at the Pensilvania Coffee House in Birchin Lane London. My Love to all, from Dear Sister, Your affectionate Brother

PS. April 25. We are still here, and perhaps may be here a Week longer, Once more Adieu my dear Sister.

[Page 489] [Note: “THEY EXPECT TOO MUCH OF ME”]


I have before me yours of the 9th and 16th instant: I am glad you have resolved to visit sister Dowse oftener; it will be a great comfort to her, to find she is not neglected by you, and your example may, perhaps, be followed by some other of her relations.

As Neddy is yet a young man, I hope he may get over the disorder he complains of, and in time wear it out. My love to him and his wife and the rest of your children. It gives me pleasure to hear that Eben is likely to get into business at his trade. If he will be industrious and frugal, 'tis ten to one but he gets rich, for he seems to have spirit and activity.

I am glad that Peter is acquainted with the crown soap business, so as to make what is good of the kind. I hope he will always take care to make it faithfully, never slight manufacture, or attempt to deceive by appearances. Then he may boldly put his name and mark, and in a little time it will [Page 490] acquire as good a character as that made by his late uncle, or any other person whatever. I believe his aunt at Philadelphia, can help him to sell a good deal of it; and I doubt not of her doing every thing in her power to promote his interest in that way. Let a box be sent to her (but not unless it be right good) and she will immediately return the ready money for it. It was beginning once to be in vogue in Philadelphia, but brother John sent me one box, an ordinary sort, which checked its progress. I would not have him put the Franklin arms on it; but the soapboilers arms he has a right to use, if he thinks fit. The other would look too much like an attempt to counterfeit. In his advertisements, he may value himself on serving his time with the original maker, but put his own mark or device on the papers, or any thing he may be advised to as proper; only on the soap, as it is called by the name of crown soap, it seems necessary to use a stamp of that sort, and perhaps no soapboiler in the king's dominions has a better right to the crown than himself.

Nobody has wrote a syllable to me concerning his making use of the hammer, or made the least complaint of him or you. I am sorry however that he took it without leave. It was irregular, and if you had not approved of his doing it, I should have thought it indiscreet. Leave they say is light, and it seems to me a piece of respect that was due to his aunt to ask it, and I can scarce think she would have refused him the favour.

I am glad to hear Jamey is so good and diligent a workman; if he ever sets up at the goldsmith's business, he must remember that there is one accomplishment without which he cannot possibly thrive in that trade, (i. e. to be perfectly honest). It is a business that though ever so uprightly managed, is always liable to suspicion; and if a man is once detected in the smallest fraud it soon becomes public, and every one is put upon their guard against him; no one will venture to try his hands, or trust him to make up their plate; so at once he is ruined. I hope my nephew will therefore establish a character as an honest and faithful, as well as skilful workman, and then he need not fear employment.

And now as to what you propose for Benny I believe he may be, as you say, well enough qualified for it, and when he [Page 491] appears to be settled, if a vacancy should happen, it is very probable he may be thought of to supply it; but it is a rule with me, not to remove any officer that behaves well, keeps regular accounts, and pays duly; and I think the rule is founded on reason and justice. I have not shown any backwardness to assist Benny, where it could be done without injuring another. But if my friends require of me to gratify not only their inclinations, but their resentments, they expect too much of me. Above all things I dislike family quarrels, and when they happen among my relations, nothing gives me more pain. If I were to set myself up as a judge of those subsisting between you and brother's widow and children, how unqualified must I be, at this distance, to determine rightly, especially having heard but one side. They always treated me with friendly and affectionate regard, you have done the same. What can I say between you, but that I wish you were reconciled, and that will love that side best that is most ready to forgive and oblige the other. You will be angry with me here, for putting you and them too much upon a footing, but I shall nevertheless be,

Dear sister, your truly