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Title: The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, [Vol 2 of 3]
Author: Franklin, Benjamin
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, [Vol 2 of 3]" ***

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  This is Volume 2 of a 3-volume set. The other two volumes are also
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  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
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      ɧ   for the 'th' sound as in  (think, width)          0x267
      ƕ   for the 'th' sound as in  (thy, weather)          0x195

  More detail can be found at the end of the book.


  VOL. 2.

  [Illustration: (W & G Cooke Sculptor.)]


  for Longman, Hurst, Rees, & Orme, Paternoster Row, London.



  VOL. II.






  VOL. II.


  Physical and meteorological observations, conjectures and
  suppositions                                                        1

  On water-spouts                                                    11

  The same subject continued                                         13

  Water-spouts and whirlwinds compared                               19

  Description of a water-spout at Antigua                            34

  Shooting stars                                                     36

  Water-spouts and whirlwinds                                        37

  Observations on the meteorological paper; by a gentleman in
  Connecticut                                                        45

  Observations in answer to the foregoing, by B. Franklin            49

  Observations on the meteorological paper; sent by a gentleman in
  New York to B. Franklin                                            51

  Answer to the foregoing observations, by B. Franklin               55

  Gentleman of New York in reply                                     58

  Account of a whirlwind at Maryland                                 61

  On the north east storms in North America                          63

  Meteorological imaginations and conjectures                        66

  Suppositions and conjectures towards forming an hypothesis, for
  the explanation of the aurora borealis                             69

  On cold produced by evaporation                                    75

  On the same subject                                                83

  Concerning the light in sea-water                                  88

  On the saltness of sea-water                                       91

  On the effect of air on the barometer, and the benefits derived
  from the study of insects                                          92

  On the Bristol waters, and the tide in rivers                      95

  On the same subject                                               102

  Salt-water rendered fresh by distillation.--Method of relieving
  thirst by sea-water                                               103

  Tendency of rivers to the sea.--Effect of the sun's rays on cloth
  of different colours                                              105

  On the vis inertiæ of matter                                      110

  On the different strata of the earth                              116

  On the theory of the earth                                        117

  New and curious theory of light and heat                          122

  Queries and conjectures relating to magnetism and the theory of
  the earth                                                         125

  On the nature of sea coal                                         125

  Effect of vegetation on noxious air                               129

  On the inflammability of the surface of certain rivers in America  130

  On the different quantities of rain which fall at different
  heights over the same ground                                      133

  Slowly sensible hygrometer proposed, for certain purposes         135

  Curious instance of the effect of oil on water                    142

  Letters on the stilling of waves by means of oil                  144

  Extract of a letter from Mr. Tengnagel to Count Bentinck, dated at
  Batavia, the 5th of January, 1770                                 154

  On the difference of navigation in shoal and deep water           158

  Sundry maritime observations                                      162

  Remarks upon the navigation from Newfoundland to New-York, in
  order to avoid the Gulph Stream on one hand, and on the other
  the shoals that lie to the southward of Nantucket and of St.
  George's Banks                                                    197

  Observations of the warmth of the sea-water, &c. by Fahrenheit's
  Thermometer, in crossing the Gulph Stream; with other remarks
  made on board the Pensylvania packet, Capt. Osborne, bound
  from London to Philadelphia, in April and May, 1775               199

  Observations of the warmth of the sea-water, &c. by Fahrenheit's
  thermometer; with other remarks made on board the Reprisal,
  Capt. Wycks, bound from Philadelphia to France, in October
  and November, 1776                                                200

  A journal of a voyage from the Channel between France and England
  towards America                                                   202

  On the art of swimming                                            206

  On the same subject, in answer to some enquiries of M. Dubourg    210

  On the free use of air                                            213

  On the causes of colds                                            214

  Dr. Stark, and Dr. Letsom                                         215

  Number of deaths in Philadelphia by inoculation                  ibid

  Answer to the preceding                                           217

  On the effects of lead upon the human constitution                219

  Observations on the prevailing doctrines of life and death        222

  An account of the new-invented Pensylvanian fire-places           225

  On the causes and cure of smoky chimneys                          256

  Description of a new stove for burning of pitcoal, and consuming
  all its smoke                                                     296

  Method of contracting chimneys.--Modesty in disputation           317

  Covering houses with copper                                       318

  On the same subject                                               320

  Paper referred to in the preceding letter                         322

  Magical square of squares                                         324

  Magical circle                                                    328

  New musical instrument composed of glasses                        330

  Best mediums for conveying sound                                  335

  On the harmony and melody of the old Scotch tunes                 338

  On the defects of modern music                                    343

  Description of the process to be observed in making large sheets
  of paper in the Chinese manner, with one smooth surface           349

  On modern innovations in the English language and in printing     351

  A scheme for a new alphabet and reformed mode of spelling; with
  remarks and examples concerning the same; and an enquiry into
  its uses, in a correspondence between Miss S---- and Dr. Franklin,
  written in the characters of the alphabet                         357

  Rules for a club formerly established in Philadelphia             366

  Questions discussed by the Junto forming the preceding club       369

  Sketch of an English school; for the consideration of the trustees
  of the Philadelphia Academy                                       370

  Advice to youth in reading                                        378


  Observations concerning the increase of mankind, peopling of
  countries, &c                                                     383

  Remarks on some of the foregoing observations, showing particularly
  the effect which manners have on population                       392

  Plan by Messieurs Franklin and Dalrymple, for benefiting distant
  unprovided countries                                              403

  Concerning the provision made in China against famine             407

  Positions to be examined, concerning national wealth              408

  Political fragments, supposed either to be written by Dr. Franklin,
  or to contain sentiments nearly allied to his own                 411

  On the price of corn, and management of the poor                  418

  On luxury, idleness, and industry                                 424

  On smuggling, and its various species                             430

  Observations on war                                               435

  Notes copied from Dr. Franklin's writing in pencil in the margin of
  Judge Foster's celebrated argument in favour of the impressing
  of seamen                                                         437

  On the criminal laws, and the practice of privateering            441

  A parable against persecution, in imitation of scripture language 450

  A letter concerning persecution in former ages, the maintenance of
  the clergy, American bishops, and the state of toleration in Old
  England and New England compared                                  452

  On the slave trade                                                459

  Account of the highest court of judicature in Pensylvania, viz.
  The court of the press                                            463


  PLATE V.      Water-Spouts                            facing page  16

  PLATE VI.     Maritime Observations                               163

  PLATE VII.    A Chart of the Gulph Stream                         197

  PLATE VIII.   Pensylvania Fire-Place                              235

  PLATE VIII*.  Profile of the Pensylvania Chimnie                  238

  PLATE IX.     Remedies for Smoky Chimnies                         269

  PLATE X.      Stove for Burning Pit-Coal                          297

  PLATE XI.     A Magic Square of Squares                           327

  PLATE XII.    A Magic Circle of Circles                           328


  _Page._  _Line._

  117        penult.   for preceding day, read the preceding day.
  254        17:       for the annexed cut, read Plate VIII.
  276        11:       for Plate I, read Plate IX.
  293        23:       for Fig. 13, read Fig. 10.
  318         9:       for descent, read decent.
  326         5:       for Plate XI, read Plate V. Fig. 3.







  _Physical and Meteorological Observations, Conjectures and

  Read at the Royal Society, June 3, 1756.

The particles of air are kept at a distance from each other by their
mutual repulsion.

Every three particles, mutually and equally repelling each other,
must form an equilateral triangle.

All the particles of air gravitate towards the earth, which
gravitation compresses them, and shortens the sides of the triangles,
otherwise their mutual repellency would force them to greater
distances from each other.

Whatever particles of other matter (not endued with that repellency)
are supported in air, must adhere to the particles of air, and be
supported by them; for in the vacancies there is nothing they can
rest on.

Air and water mutually attract each other. Hence water will dissolve
in air, as salt in water.

The specific gravity of matter is not altered by dividing the
matter, though the superficies be increased. Sixteen leaden bullets,
of an ounce each, weigh as much in water as one of a pound, whose
superficies is less.

Therefore the supporting of salt in water is not owing to its
superficies being increased.

A lump of salt, though laid at rest at the bottom of a vessel of
water, will dissolve therein, and its parts move every way, till
equally diffused in the water; therefore there is a mutual attraction
between water and salt. Every particle of water assumes as many of
salt as can adhere to it; when more is added, it precipitates, and
will not remain suspended.

Water, in the same manner, will dissolve in air, every particle of
air assuming one or more particles of water. When too much is added,
it precipitates in rain.

But there not being the same contiguity between the particles of air
as of water, the solution of water in air is not carried on without a
motion of the air, so as to cause a fresh accession of dry particles.

Part of a fluid, having more of what it dissolves, will communicate
to other parts that have less. Thus very salt water, coming in
contact with fresh, communicates its saltness till all is equal, and
the sooner if there is a little motion of the water.

Even earth will dissolve, or mix with air. A stroke of a horse's hoof
on the ground, in a hot dusty road, will raise a cloud of dust, that
shall, if there be a light breeze, expand every way, till, perhaps,
near as big as a common house. It is not by mechanical motion
communicated to the particles of dust by the hoof, that they fly so
far, nor by the wind, that they spread so wide: but the air near
the ground, more heated by the hot dust struck into it, is rarefied
and rises, and in rising mixes with the cooler air, and communicates
of its dust to it, and it is at length so diffused as to become
invisible. Quantities of dust are thus carried up in dry seasons:
showers wash it from the air, and bring it down again. For water
attracting it stronger, it quits the air, and adheres to the water.

Air, suffering continual changes in the degrees of its heat, from
various causes and circumstances, and, consequently, changes in its
specific gravity, must therefore be in continual motion.

A small quantity of fire mixed with water (or degree of heat therein)
so weakens the cohesion of its particles, that those on the surface
easily quit it, and adhere to the particles of air.

A greater degree of heat is required to break the cohesion between
water and air.

Air moderately heated will support a greater quantity of water
invisibly than cold air; for its particles being by heat repelled
to a greater distance from each other, thereby more easily keep
the particles of water that are annexed to them from running into
cohesions that would obstruct, refract, or reflect the light.

Hence when we breathe in warm air, though the same quantity of
moisture may be taken up from the lungs, as when we breathe in cold
air, yet that moisture is not so visible.

Water being extremely heated, _i.e._ to the degree of boiling, its
particles in quitting it so repel each other, as to take up vastly
more space than before, and by that repellency support themselves,
expelling the air from the space they occupy. That degree of
heat being lessened, they again mutually attract, and having no
air-particles mixed to adhere to, by which they might be supported
and kept at a distance, they instantly fall, coalesce, and become
water again.

The water commonly diffused in our atmosphere never receives such
a degree of heat from the sun, or other cause, as water has when
boiling; it is not, therefore, supported by such heat, but by
adhering to air.

Water being dissolved in, and adhering to air, that air will not
readily take up oil, because of the mutual repellency between water
and oil.

Hence cold oils evaporate but slowly, the air having generally a
quantity of dissolved water.

Oil being heated extremely, the air that approaches its surface will
be also heated extremely; the water then quitting it, it will attract
and carry off oil, which can now adhere to it. Hence the quick
evaporation of oil heated to a great degree.

Oil being dissolved in air, the particles to which it adheres will
not take up water.

Hence the suffocating nature of air impregnated with burnt grease, as
from snuffs of candles and the like. A certain quantity of moisture
should be every moment discharged and taken away from the lungs; air
that has been frequently breathed, is already overloaded, and, for
that reason, can take no more, so will not answer the end. Greasy
air refuses to touch it. In both cases suffocation for want of the

Air will attract and support many other substances.

A particle of air loaded with adhering water, or any other matter, is
heavier than before and would descend.

The atmosphere supposed at rest, a loaded descending particle must
act with a force on the particles it passes between, or meets with,
sufficient to overcome, in some degree, their mutual repellency, and
push them nearer to each other.

[Illustration: (of air particles interacting)

    O    O    O

   F    B   C   G
  O    O    O   O

     O    O    O
  O    O    O    O

Thus, supposing the particles A B C D, and the other near them, to
be at the distance caused by their mutual repellency (confined by
their common gravity) if A would descend to E, it must pass between B
and C; when it comes between B and C, it will be nearer to them than
before, and must either have pushed them nearer to F and G, contrary
to their mutual repellency, or pass through by a force exceeding
its repellency with them. It then approaches D, and, to move it out
of the way, must act on it with a force sufficient to overcome its
repellency with the two next lower particles, by which it is kept in
its present situation.

Every particle of air, therefore, will bear any load inferior to the
force of these repulsions.

Hence the support of fogs, mists, clouds.

Very warm air, clear, though supporting a very great quantity of
moisture, will grow turbid and cloudy on the mixture of a colder air,
as foggy turbid air will grow clear by warming.

Thus the sun shining on a morning fog, dissipates it; clouds are seen
to waste in a sun-shiny day.

But cold condenses and renders visible the vapour; a tankard or
decanter filled with cold water will condense the moisture of warm
clear air on its outside, where it becomes visible as dew, coalesces
into drops, descends in little streams.

The sun heats the air of our atmosphere most near the surface of
the earth; for there, besides the direct rays, there are many
reflections. Moreover, the earth itself being heated, communicates of
its heat to the neighbouring air.

The higher regions, having only the direct rays of the sun passing
through them, are comparatively very cold. Hence the cold air on the
tops of mountains, and snow on some of them all the year, even in the
torrid zone. Hence hail in summer.

If the atmosphere were, all of it (both above and below) always of
the same temper as to cold or heat, then the upper air would always
be _rarer_ than the lower, because the pressure on it is less;
consequently lighter, and therefore would keep its place.

But the upper air may be more condensed by cold, than the lower air
by pressure; the lower more expanded by heat, than the upper for want
of pressure. In such case the upper air will become the heavier, the
lower the lighter.

The lower region of air being heated and expanded heaves up, and
supports for some time the colder heavier air above, and will
continue to support it while the equilibrium is kept. Thus water
is supported in an inverted open glass, while the equilibrium is
maintained by the equal pressure upwards of the air below; but the
equilibrium by any means breaking, the water descends on the heavier
side, and the air rises into its place.

The lifted heavy cold air over a heated country, becoming by any
means unequally supported, or unequal in its weight, the heaviest
part descends first, and the rest follows impetuously. Hence gusts
after heats, and hurricanes in hot climates. Hence the air of gusts
and hurricanes cold, though in hot climes and seasons; it coming from

The cold air descending from above, as it penetrates our warm region
full of watry particles, condenses them, renders them visible,
forms a cloud thick and dark, overcasting sometimes, at once, large
and extensive; sometimes, when seen at a distance, small at first,
gradually increasing; the cold edge, or surface of the cloud,
condensing the vapours next it, which form smaller clouds that join
it, increase its bulk, it descends with the wind and its acquired
weight, draws nearer the earth, grows denser with continual additions
of water, and discharges heavy showers.

Small black clouds thus appearing in a clear sky, in hot climates,
portend storms, and warn seamen to hand their sails.

The earth, turning on its axis in about twenty-four hours, the
equatorial parts must move about fifteen miles in each minute; in
northern and southern latitudes this motion is gradually less to the
poles, and there nothing.

If there was a general calm over the face of the globe, it must be by
the air's moving in every part as fast as the earth or sea it covers.

He that sails, or rides, has insensibly the same degree of motion as
the ship or coach with which he is connected. If the ship strikes
the shore, or the coach stops suddenly, the motion continuing in the
man, he is thrown forward. If a man were to jump from the land into
a swift sailing ship, he would be thrown backward (or towards the
stern) not having at first the motion of the ship.

He that travels by sea or land, towards the equinoctial, gradually
acquires motion; from it, loses.

But if a man were taken up from latitude 40 (where suppose the
earth's surface to move twelve miles per minute) and immediately set
down at the equinoctial, without changing the motion he had, his
heels would be struck up, he would fall westward. If taken up from
the equinoctial, and set down in latitude 40, he would fall eastward.

The air under the equator, and between the tropics, being constantly
heated and rarefied by the sun, rises. Its place is supplied by air
from northern and southern latitudes, which coming from parts where
the earth and air had less motion, and not suddenly acquiring the
quicker motion of the equatorial earth, appears an east wind blowing
westward; the earth moving from west to east, and slipping under the

Thus, when we ride in a calm, it seems a wind against us: if we ride
with the wind, and faster, even that will seem a small wind against

The air rarefied between the tropics, and rising, must flow in the
higher region north and south. Before it rose, it had acquired the
greatest motion the earth's rotation could give it. It retains some
degree of this motion, and descending in higher latitudes, where the
earth's motion is less, will appear a westerly wind, yet tending
towards the equatorial parts, to supply the vacancy occasioned by
the air of the lower regions flowing thitherwards.

Hence our general cold winds are about north west, our summer cold
gusts the same.

The air in sultry weather, though not cloudy, has a kind of haziness
in it, which makes objects at a distance appear dull and indistinct.
This haziness is occasioned by the great quantity of moisture equally
diffused in that air. When, by the cold wind blowing down among it,
it is condensed into clouds, and falls in rain, the air becomes purer
and clearer. Hence, after gusts, distant objects appear distinct,
their figures sharply terminated.

Extreme cold winds congeal the surface of the earth, by carrying off
its fire. Warm winds afterwards blowing over that frozen surface will
be chilled by it. Could that frozen surface be turned under, and
a warmer turned up from beneath it, those warm winds would not be
chilled so much.

The surface of the earth is also sometimes much heated by the sun:
and such heated surface not being changed heats the air that moves
over it.

Seas, lakes, and great bodies of water, agitated by the winds,
continually change surfaces; the cold surface in winter is turned
under by the rolling of the waves, and a warmer turned up; in summer,
the warm is turned under, and colder turned up. Hence the more equal
temper of sea-water, and the air over it. Hence, in winter, winds
from the sea seem warm, winds from the land cold. In summer the

Therefore the lakes north-west of us[2], as they are
not so much frozen, nor so apt to freeze as the earth, rather
moderate than increase the coldness of our winter winds.

The air over the sea being warmer, and therefore lighter in winter
than the air over the frozen land, may be another cause of our
general N. W. winds, which blow off to sea at right angles from our
North-American coast. The warm light sea air rising, the heavy cold
land air pressing into its place.

Heavy fluids descending, frequently form eddies, or whirlpools, as
is seen in a funnel, where the water acquires a circular motion,
receding every way from a centre, and leaving a vacancy in the
middle, greatest above, and lessening downwards, like a speaking
trumpet, its big end upwards.

Air descending, or ascending, may form the same kind of eddies,
or whirlings, the parts of air acquiring a circular motion, and
receding from the middle of the circle by a centrifugal force, and
leaving there a vacancy; if descending, greatest above, and lessening
downwards; if ascending, greatest below, and lessening upwards; like
a speaking trumpet, standing its big end on the ground.

When the air descends with violence in some places, it may rise with
equal violence in others, and form both kinds of whirlwinds.

The air in its whirling motion receding every way from the centre or
axis of the trumpet leaves there a vacuum, which cannot be filled
through the sides, the whirling air, as an arch, preventing; it must
then press in at the open ends.

The greatest pressure inwards must be at the lower end, the greatest
weight of the surrounding atmosphere being there. The air entering
rises within, and carries up dust, leaves, and even heavier bodies
that happen in its way, as the eddy, or whirl, passes over land.

If it passes over water, the weight of the surrounding atmosphere
forces up the water into the vacuity, part of which, by degrees,
joins with the whirling air, and adding weight, and receiving
accelerated motion, recedes still farther from the centre or axis of
the trump, as the pressure lessens; and at last, as the trump widens,
is broken into small particles, and so united with air as to be
supported by it, and become black clouds at the top of the trump.

Thus these eddies may be whirlwinds at land, water-spouts at sea. A
body of water so raised, may be suddenly let fall, when the motion,
&c. has not strength to support it, or the whirling arch is broken so
as to admit the air: falling in the sea, it is harmless, unless ships
happen under it; but if in the progressive motion of the whirl it has
moved from the sea, over the land, and then breaks, sudden, violent,
and mischievous torrents are the consequences.



[1] See a paper on this subject, by the late ingenious Mr. Hadley,
in the Philosophical Transactions, wherein this hypothesis for
explaining the trade-winds first appeared.

[2] In Pensylvania.


  _On Water-Spouts._

  Read at the Royal Society, June 3, 1756.

  _Boston, October 16, 1752_.


I find by a word or two in your last[4], that you are willing to
be found fault with; which authorises me to let you know what I
am at a loss about in your papers, which is only in the article
of the water-spout. I am in doubt, whether water in bulk, or even
broken into drops, ever ascends into the region of the clouds _per
vorticem_; i. e. whether there be, in reality, what I call a direct
water-spout. I make no doubt of direct and inverted whirl-winds; your
description of them, and the reason of the thing, are sufficient.
I am sensible too, that they are very strong, and often move
considerable weights. But I have not met with any historical accounts
that seem exact enough to remove my scruples concerning the ascent

Descending spouts (as I take them to be) are many times seen, as I
take it, in the calms, between the sea and land trade-winds on the
coast of Africa. These contrary winds, or diverging, I can conceive
may occasion them, as it were by suction, making a breach in a large
cloud. But I imagine they have, at the same time, a tendency to
hinder any direct or rising spout, by carrying off the lower part of
the atmosphere as fast as it begins to rarefy; and yet spouts are
frequent here, which strengthens my opinion, that all of them descend.

But however this be, I cannot conceive a force producible by the
rarefication and condensation of our atmosphere, in the circumstances
of our globe, capable of carrying water, in large portions, into the
region of the clouds. Supposing it to be raised, it would be too
heavy to continue the ascent beyond a considerable height, unless
parted into small drops; and even then, by its centrifugal force,
from the manner of conveyance, it would be flung out of the circle,
and fall scattered, like rain.

But I need not expatiate on these matters to you. I have mentioned
my objections, and, as truth is my pursuit, shall be glad to be
informed. I have seen few accounts of these whirl or eddy winds, and
as little of the spouts; and these, especially, lame and poor things
to obtain any certainty by. If you know any thing determinate that
has been observed, I shall hope to hear from you; as also of any
mistake in my thoughts. I have nothing to object to any other part
of your suppositions: and as to that of the trade-winds, I believe
nobody can.

  I am, &c.

  _P. S._. The figures in the _Philosophical Transactions_ show, by
  several circumstances, that they all descended, though the relators
  seemed to think they took up water.


[3] Dr. Perkins. _Editor._

[4] A Letter on Inoculation, which is transferred to a subsequent
part of this volume, that the papers on meteorological subjects may
not be interrupted. _Editor._


  _The same Subject continued._

  Read at the Royal Society, June 24, 1756.

  _Boston, October 23, 1752._


In the inclosed, you have all I have to say of that matter[5]. It
proved longer than I expected, so that I was forced to add a cover to
it. I confess it looks like a dispute; but that is quite contrary to
my intentions.

The sincerity of friendship and esteem were my motives; nor do I
doubt your scrupling the goodness of the intention. However, I must
confess I cannot tell exactly how far I was acted by hopes of better
information, in discovering the whole foundation of my opinion,
which, indeed, is but an opinion, as I am very much at a loss about
the validity of the reasons. I have not been able to differ from you
in sentiment concerning any thing else in your _Suppositions_. In the
present case I lie open to conviction, and shall be the gainer when
informed. If I am right, you will know that, without my adding any
more. Too much said on a merely speculative matter, is but a robbery
committed on practical knowledge. Perhaps I am too much pleased with
these dry notions: however, by this you will see that I think it
unreasonable to give you more trouble about them, than your leisure
and inclination may prompt you to.

  I am, &c.

Since my last I considered, that, as I had begun with the reasons of
my dissatisfaction about the ascent of water in spouts, you would not
be unwilling to hear the whole I have to say, and then you will know
what I rely upon.

What occasioned my thinking all spouts descend, is, that I found some
did certainly do so. A difficulty appeared concerning the ascent of
so heavy a body as water, by any force I was apprised of, as probably
sufficient. And, above all, a view of Mr. Stuart's portraits of
spouts, in the _Philosophical Transactions_.

Some observations on these last will include the chief part of my
difficulties. Mr. Stuart has given us the figures of a number
observed by him in the Mediterranean: all with some particulars which
make for my opinion, if well drawn.

The great spattering, which relators mention in the water where the
spout descends, and which appears in all his draughts, I conceive to
be occasioned by drops descending very thick and large into the place.

On the place of this spattering, arises the appearance of a bush,
into the centre of which the spout comes down. This bush I take to
be formed by a spray, made by the force of these drops, which being
uncommonly large, and descending with unusual force by a stream of
wind descending from the cloud with them, increases the height of
the spray: which wind being repulsed by the surface of the waters
rebounds and spreads; by the first raising the spray higher than it
otherwise would go; and by the last making the top of the bush appear
to bend outwards (_i. e._) the cloud of spray is forced off from the
trunk of the spout, and falls backward.

The bush does the same where there is no appearance of a spout
reaching it; and is depressed in the middle, where the spout is
expected. This, I imagine, to be from numerous drops of the spout
falling into it, together with the wind I mentioned, by their
descent, which beat back the rising spray in the centre.

This circumstance, of the bush bending outwards at the top, seems not
to agree with what I call a direct whirlwind, but consistent with the
reversed; for a direct one would sweep the bush inwards; if, in that
case, any thing of a bush would appear.

The pillar of water, as they call it, from its likeness, I suppose
to be only the end of the spout immersed in the bush, a little
blackened by the additional cloud, and, perhaps, appears to the eye
beyond its real bigness, by a refraction in the bush, and which
refraction may be the cause of the appearance of separation, betwixt
the part in the bush, and that above it. The part in the bush is
cylindrical, as it is above (_i. e._) the bigness the same from the
top of the bush to the water. Instead of this shape, in case of a
whirlwind, it must have been pyramidical.

Another thing remarkable, is, the curve in some of them: this is
easy to conceive, in case of descending parcels of drops through
various winds, at least till the cloud condenses so fast as to come
down, as it were, _uno rivo_. But it is harder to me to conceive it
in the ascent of water, that it should be conveyed along, secure of
not leaking or often dropping through the under side, in the prone
part: and, should the water be conveyed so swiftly, and with such
force, up into the cloud, as to prevent this, it would, by a natural
disposition to move on in a present direction, presently straiten the
curve, raising the shoulder very swiftly, till lost in the cloud.

Over every one of Stuart's figures, I see a cloud: I suppose his
clouds were first, and then the spout; I do not know whether it be so
with all spouts, but suppose it is. Now, if whirlwinds carried up the
water, I should expect them in fair weather, but not under a cloud;
as is observable of whirlwinds; they come in fair weather, not under
the shade of a cloud, nor in the night; since shade cools the air:
but, on the contrary, violent winds often descend from the clouds;
strong gusts which occupy small spaces; and from the higher regions,
extensive hurricanes, &c.

Another thing is the appearance of the spout _coming from_ the cloud.
This I cannot account for on the notion of a direct spout, but in the
real descending one, it is easy. I take it, that the cloud begins
first of all to pour out drops at that particular spot, or _foramen_;
and, when that current of drops increases, so as to force down wind
and vapour, the spout becomes so far as that goes opaque. I take it,
that no clouds drop spouts, but such as make very fast, and happen
to condense in a particular spot, which perhaps is coldest, and
gives a determination downwards, so as to make a passage through the
subjacent atmosphere.

If spouts ascend, it is to carry up the warm rarefied air below, to
let down all and any that is colder above; and, if so, they must
carry it through the cloud they go into (for that is cold and dense,
I imagine) perhaps far into the higher region, making a wonderful
appearance at a convenient distance to observe it, by the swift rise
of a body of vapour, above the region of the clouds. But as this has
never been observed in any age, if it be supposeable that is all.

I cannot learn by mariners, that any wind blows towards a spout more
than any other way; but it blows towards a whirlwind, for a large
distance round.

I suppose there has been no instance of the water of a spout being
salt, when coming across any vessel at sea. I suppose too, that there
have been no salt rains; these would make the case clear.

I suppose it is from some unhappy effects of these dangerous
creatures of nature, that sailors have an universal dread on them of
breaking in their decks, should they come across them. I imagine
spouts, in cold seasons, as Gordon's in the Downs, prove the descent.

_Query._ Whether there is not always more or less cloud, first, where
a spout appears?

Whether they are not, generally, on the borders of trade-winds; and
whether this is for, or against me?

Whether there be any credible account of a whirlwind's carrying up
all the water in a pool, or small pond: as when shoal, and the banks
low, a strong gust might be supposed to blow it all out?

Whether a violent tornado, of a small extent, and other sudden
and strong gusts, be not winds from above, descending nearly
perpendicular; and, whether many that are called whirlwinds at sea,
are any other than these; and so might be called air-spouts, if they
were objects of sight?

I overlooked, in its proper place, Stuart's No. 11, which is curious
for its inequalities, and, in particular, the approach to breaking,
which, if it would not be too tedious, I would have observed a little
upon, in my own way, as, I think, this would argue against the
ascent, &c. but I must pass it, not only for the reason mentioned,
but want of room besides.

As to Mr. Stuart's ocular demonstration of the ascent in his great
perpendicular spout, the only one it appears in, I say, as to this,
what I have written supposes him mistaken, which, yet, I am far from

The force of an airy vortex, having less influence on the solid drops
of water, than on the interspersed cloudy vapours, makes the last
whirl round swifter, though it descend slower: and this might easily
deceive, without great care, the most unprejudiced person.


[5] Water-Spouts.


  _Water-Spouts and Whirlwinds compared._

  Read at the Royal Society, June 24, 1756.

  _Philadelphia, Feb. 4, 1753._


I ought to have written to you, long since, in answer to yours of
October 16, concerning the water-spout; but business partly, and
partly a desire of procuring further information, by enquiry among my
seafaring acquaintance, induced me to postpone writing, from time to
time, till I am now almost ashamed 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 opinion, taken up, perhaps,
too hastily: for such objections oblige him to re-study 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 enquiries, I am so engaged in business,
public and private, that those more pleasing pursuits are frequently
interrupted, and the chain of thought, necessary to be closely
continued in such disquisitions, is so broken and disjointed, that it
is with difficulty I satisfy myself in any of them: and I 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, I will
send you my present thoughts, with some observations on your reasons
on the accounts in the _Transactions_, and on other relations I have
met with. Perhaps, while I am writing, some new light may strike me,
for I shall now be obliged to consider the subject with a little more

I agree with you, that, by means of a vacuum in a whirlwind, water
cannot be supposed to rise in large masses to the region of the
clouds; for the pressure of the surrounding atmosphere could not
force it up in a continued body, or column, to a much greater height,
than thirty feet. But, if there really is a vacuum in the centre, or
near the axis of whirlwinds, then, I think, water may rise in such
vacuum to that height, or to a less height, as the vacuum may be less

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 draughts, 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 forced up by the pressure of the
atmosphere into an exhausted tube.

I must, however, no longer call it _my hypothesis_, since I find
Stuart had the same thought, though somewhat obscurely expressed,
where he says, "he imagines this phenomenon may be solved by suction
(improperly so called) 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 M. 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,
also, a progressive motion; this is sometimes greater, and sometimes
less; in some violent, in others barely perceivable. The whirlwind at
Warrington continued long in Acrement-Close.

Whirlwinds generally arise after calms and great heats: the same
is observed of water-spouts, which are, therefore, most frequent
in the warm latitudes. The spout that happened in cold weather, in
the Downs, described by Mr. Gordon in the _Transactions_, was, for
that reason, thought extraordinary; but he remarks withal, that the
weather, though 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 sprung 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 the leeward of every one of them; and they all declared it to
have been so, when they happened afterwards in company, and came to
confer about it. So that in this particular likewise, whirlwinds and
water-spouts 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 a 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 centre, must,
at that centre, either ascend or descend. Water being in a tub, if a
hole be opened in the middle of the bottom, will flow from all sides
to the centre, and there descend in a whirl. But, air flowing on and
near the surface of land or water, from all sides, towards a centre,
must, at that centre 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 reached the earth or water, it would spread, and,
probably, blow every way from the centre. There may be whirlwinds
of both kinds, but from the commonly observed effects, I suspect
the rising one to be the most common: when the upper air descends,
it is, perhaps, in a greater body, extending wider, as in our
thunder-gusts, and without much whirling; and, 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 happened, 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

The augmentation of the cloud, which, as I am informed, is generally,
if not always the case, during a spout, seems to shew 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 cold air descending, may, by condensing the
vapours in a lower region, form and increase clouds; which, I 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, though most commonly, in
the day time. The terrible whirlwind which damaged a great part of
Rome, June 11, 1749, happened 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 abridged in the Monthly Review for December 1750. In that
account, the whirlwind is said to have appeared 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 surprising swiftness, and within three
or four 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 centre
of the whirlwind) and the very rafters of the houses were broken and
dispersed, and even hurled against houses at a considerable distance,

It seems, by an expression of Pere Boschovich's, as if the wind blew
from all sides towards the whirlwind; for, having carefully observed
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 unexceptionably, throwing them to a considerable
distance, with great impetuosity."

Such effects seem to shew 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.

1. That the lower region of air is often more heated, and so more
rarefied, 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.

2. That heated air may be very moist, and yet the moisture so equally
diffus'd and rarefied, 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 sixty miles
square, unscreened by clouds, and unfanned by winds, during great
part of a summer's day, or, it may be, for several days successively,
till it is 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 conceive, that the heated lighter air, being pressed on all
sides, must ascend, and the heavier descend; and, as this rising
cannot be in all parts, or the whole area of the 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
rarefied; and the warm air will flow horizontally from 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 centre.

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 joined the whirl, they _ascend_ by a spiral motion, in the
same manner as the water _descends_ spirally through the hole in the
tub before-mentioned.

Lastly, as the lower air, and nearest the surface, is most rarefied
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 diminished as it approaches the region of the
clouds, till it ends in a point, as at P in Fig. II. Plate V. forming
a long and sharp cone.

In Fig. I. which is a plan or ground-plat of a whirlwind, the circle
V. represents the central vacuum.

Between _a a a a_ and _b b b b_ I suppose a body of air, condensed
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.

[Illustration: (Water Spouts)

  _Plate V._      _Vol. II. page 26._

_Published as the Act directs, April 1, 1806, by Longman, Hurst, Rees
& Orme, Paternoster Row._]

It is this whirling body of air between _a a a a_ and _b b b b_ 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 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 under and between _a a a a_ and _b
b b b_ will be violently agitated and driven about, and parts of it
raised with the spiral current, and thrown about so as to form a
bush-like 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 thirty-two feet.

If it passes over houses, it may burst their windows or walls
outwards, pluck off the roofs, and pluck up the floors, by the sudden
rarefaction of the air contained within such buildings; the outward
pressure of the atmosphere being suddenly taken off: so the stopped
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 P P P to be the cone, at first a vacuum, till W W, the rising
column of water, has filled so much of it. S S S S, the spiral whirl
of air, surrounding the vacuum, and continued higher in a close
column after the vacuum ends in the point P, till it reaches the cool
region of the air. B B, the bush described 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, though 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 encreases. _At its upper
end_ it becomes visible, by the warm air brought up to the cooler
region, where its moisture begins to be condensed into thick vapour,
by the cold, and is seen first at A, the highest part, which being
now cooled, 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 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, fly 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, though
the materials of which it is composed are all the while ascending.

The condensation of the moisture, contained in so great a quantity
of warm air as may be supposed to rise in a short time in this
prodigiously rapid whirl, is, perhaps, sufficient to form a great
extent of cloud, though 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; though
the upper, or what is commonly called 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 A B C D only will be visible, and the bush, perhaps, below.

But if the whirl be strong, and there be much dust on the land, and
the column W W be raised 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 condensed, and rise with that even to the clouds: and
the friction of the whirling air, on the sides of the column W W, may
detach great quantities of its water, break it into drops, and carry
them up in the spiral whirl mixed 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
darkened and rendered visible.

As the whirl weakens, the tube may (in appearance) separate in the
middle; the column of water subsiding, and the superior condensed
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.

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 though 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 eight or ten feet
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."

[Illustration: (cross-section of a whirlwind)]

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. Stuart's spouts were full charged, that is, when the whirling
pipe of air was filled between _a a a a_ and _b b b b_, Fig. I.,
with quantities of drops, and vapour torn off from the column W W,
Fig. II., the whole was rendered so dark, as that it could not be
seen thro', nor the spiral ascending motion discovered; but when
the quantity ascending lessened, the pipe became more transparent,
and the ascending motion visible. For, by inspection of the figure
in the opposite page, 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 opaque particles
to be equally mixed 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
filled with dust, the sides were very dark, but the vacuum within
rendering the middle more transparent, he 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 the transparent part crossing each
other, represented smoak ascending in a chimney; for the quantity
being still too great in the line of sight through the sides of
the tube, the motion could not be discovered 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 of Rome.

But you object, if water may be thus carried into the clouds, why
have we not 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, though they strongly
attract water.

Hence, though all metals, even gold, may be united with air, and
rendered volatile, salt remains fixt 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
repelled and forced off from the water by some power in the air;
or, as some metals, dissolved 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 destroyed,
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 W W, sometimes
falls suddenly; and if it be, as some say, fifteen or twenty 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 Colne 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 seen at a league and a 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 whipped 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 fore-side 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.

When the wind that gives the progressive motion becomes 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 furnished 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
satisfied with it, though hereafter I may be.

Here you have my method of accounting for the principal phenomena,
which I submit to your candid examination.

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, Sir, &c.



[6] Perkins. _Editor._


  _Description of a Water-Spout at Antigua._

  Read at the Royal Society, June 24, 1756.

  _New-Brunswick, November 11, 1752._


I am favoured with your letter of the 2d instant, and shall, with
pleasure, comply with your request, in describing (as well as my
memory serves me) the water-spout I saw at Antigua; and shall think
this, or any other service I can do, well repaid, if it contributes
to your satisfaction in so curious a disquisition.

I had often seen water-spouts at a distance, and heard many strange
stories of them, but never knew any thing satisfactory of their
nature or cause, until that which I saw at Antigua; which convinced
me that a water-spout is a whirlwind, which becomes visible in all
its dimensions by the water it carries up with it.

There appeared, not far from the mouth of the harbour of St. John's,
two or three water-spouts, one of which took its course up the
harbour. Its progressive motion was slow and unequal, not in a strait
line, but, as it were, by jerks or starts. When just by the wharf, I
stood about one hundred yards from it. There appeared in the water a
circle of about twenty yards diameter, which, to me, had a dreadful,
though pleasing appearance. The water in this circle was violently
agitated, being whisked about, and carried up into the air with great
rapidity and noise, and reflected a lustre, as if the sun shined
bright on that spot, which was more conspicuous, as there appeared
a dark circle around it. When it made the shore, it carried up with
the same violence shingles, staves[8], large pieces of the roofs of
houses, &c. and one small wooden house it lifted entire from the
foundation on which it stood, and carried it to the distance of
fourteen feet, where it settled without breaking or oversetting;
and, what is remarkable, though the whirlwind moved from west to
east, the house moved from east to west. Two or three negroes and a
white woman, were killed by the fall of timber, which it carried up
into the air and dropped again. After passing through the town, I
believe it was soon dissipated; for, except tearing a large limb from
a tree, and part of the cover of a sugar-work near the town, I do
not remember any farther damage done by it. I conclude, wishing you
success in your enquiry,

  And am, &c.

  W. M.


[7] Dr. Mercer. _Editor._

[8] I suppose shingles, staves, timber, and other lumber, might be
lying in quantities on the wharf, for sale, as brought from the
northern colonies. B. F.


  _Shooting Stars._

  Read at the Royal Society, July 8, 1756.

  _Boston, May 14, 1753._


I received your letter of April last, and thank you for it. Several
things in it make me at a loss which side the truth lies on, and
determine me to wait for farther evidence.

As to shooting-stars, as they are called, I know very little, and
hardly know what to say. I imagine them to be passes of electric
fire from place to place in the atmosphere, perhaps occasioned by
accidental pressures of a non-electric circumambient fluid, and
so by propulsion, or allicited by the circumstance of a distant
quantity _minus_ electrified, which it shoots to supply, and becomes
apparent by its contracted passage through a non-electric medium.
Electric fire in our globe is always in action, sometimes ascending,
descending, or passing from region to region. I suppose it avoids too
dry air, and therefore we never see these shoots ascend. It always
has freedom enough to pass down unobserved, but, I imagine, not
always so, to pass to distant climes and meridians less stored with

The shoots are sometimes all one way, which, in the last case, they
should be.

Possibly there may be collections of particles in our atmosphere,
which gradually form, by attraction, either similar ones _per se_,
or dissimilar particles, by the intervention of others. But then,
whether they shoot or explode of themselves, or by the approach of
some suitable foreign collection, accidentally brought near by the
usual commotions and interchanges of our atmosphere, especially when
the higher and lower regions intermix, before change of winds and
weather, I leave.

I believe I have now said enough of what I know nothing about. If it
should serve for your amusement, or any way oblige you, it is all
I aim at, and shall, at your desire, be always ready to say what I
think, as I am sure of your candour.

  I am, &c.


[9] Dr. Perkins. _Editor._

  _A subsequent Paper from the same._

  _Water-Spouts and Whirlwinds._

  Read at the Royal Society, July 8, 1756.

Spouts have been generally believed ascents of water from below, to
the region of the clouds, and whirlwinds the means of conveyance.
The world has been very well satisfied with these opinions, and
prejudiced with respect to any observations about them. Men of
learning and capacity have had many opportunities in passing
those regions where these phenomena were most frequent, but seem
industriously to have declined any notice of them, unless to escape
danger, as a matter of mere impertinence in a case so clear and
certain as their nature and manner of operation are taken to be.
Hence it has been very difficult to get any tolerable accounts of
them. None but those they fell near can inform us any thing to be
depended on; three or four such instances follow, where the vessels
were so near, that their crews could not avoid knowing something
remarkable with respect to the matters in question.

Capt. John Wakefield, junior, passing the Straits of Gibraltar, had
one fall by the side of his ship; it came down of a sudden, as they
think, and all agree the descent was certain.

Captain Langstaff, on a voyage to the West Indies, had one come
across the stern of his vessel, and passed away from him. The water
came down in such quantity that the present Captain Melling, who was
then a common sailor at helm, says it almost drowned him, running
into his mouth, nose, ears, &c. and adds, that it tasted perfectly

One passed by the side of Captain Howland's ship, so near that it
appeared pretty plain that the water descended from first to last.

Mr. Robert Spring was so near one in the Straits of Malacca, that he
could perceive it to be a small very thick rain.

All these assure me, that there was no wind drawing towards them, nor
have I found any others that have observed such a wind.

It seems plain, by these few instances, that whirlwinds do not always
attend spouts; and that the water really descends in some of them.
But the following consideration, in confirmation of this opinion,
may, perhaps, render it probable that all the spouts are descents.

It seems unlikely that there should be two sorts of spouts, one
ascending and the other descending.

It has not yet been proved that any one spout ever ascended. A
specious appearance is all that can be produced in favour of this;
and those who have been most positive about it, were at more than a
league's distance when they observed, as Stuart and others, if I am
not mistaken. However, I believe it impossible to be certain whether
water ascends or descends at half the distance.

It may not be amiss to consider the places where they happen most.
These are such as are liable to calms from departing winds on both
sides, as on the borders of the equinoctial trade, calms on the
coast of Guinea, in the Straits of Malacca, &c. places where the
under region of the atmosphere is drawn off horizontally. I think
they do not come where the calms are without departing winds; and
I take the reason to be, that such places, and places where winds
blow towards one another, are liable to whirlwinds, or other ascents
of the lower region, which I suppose contrary to spouts. But the
former are liable to descents, which I take to be necessary to their
production. Agreeable to this, it seems reasonable to believe, that
any Mediterranean sea should be more subject to spouts than others.
The sea usually so called is so. The Straits of Malacca is. Some
large gulphs may probably be so, in suitable latitudes; so the Red
Sea, &c. and all for this reason, that the heated lands on each side
draw off the under region of the air, and make the upper descend,
whence sudden and wonderful condensations may take place, and make
these descents.

It seems to me, that the manner of their appearance and procedure,
favour the notion of a descent.

More or less of a cloud, as I am informed, always appears over the
place first; then a spattering on the surface of the water below; and
when this is advanced to a considerable degree, the spout emerges
from the cloud, and descends, and that, if the causes are sufficient,
down to the places of spattering, with a roaring in proportion to the
quantity of the discharge; then it abates, or stops, sometimes more
gradually, sometimes more suddenly.

I must observe a few things on these particulars, to shew how I think
they agree with my hypothesis.

The preceding cloud over the place shews condensation, and,
consequently, tendency downwards, which therefore must naturally
prevent any ascent. Besides that, so far as I can learn, a whirlwind
never comes under a cloud, but in a clear sky.

The spattering may be easily conceived to be caused by a stream of
drops, falling with great force on the place, imagining the spout
to begin so, when a sudden and great condensation happens in a
contracted space, as the Ox-Eye on the coast of Guinea.

The spout appearing to descend from the cloud seems to be, by the
stream of nearly contiguous drops bringing the air into consent,
so as to carry down a quantity of the vapour of the cloud; and the
pointed appearance it makes may be from the descending course being
swiftest in the middle, or centre of the spout: this naturally
drawing the outer parts inward, and the centre to a point; and
that will appear foremost that moves swiftest. The phenomenon of
retiring and advancing, I think may be accounted for, by supposing
the progressive motion to exceed or not equal the consumption of
the vapour by condensation. Or more plainly thus: the descending
vapour which forms the apparent spout, if it be slow in its progress
downwards, is condensed as fast as it advances, and so appears at a
stand; when it is condensed faster than it advances, it appears to
retire; and _vice versa_.

Its duration, and manner of ending, are as the causes, and may vary
by several accidents.

The cloud itself may be so circumstanced as to stop it; as when,
extending wide, it weighs down at a distance round about, while a
small circle at the spout being exonerated by the discharge ascends
and shuts up the passage. A new determination of wind may, perhaps,
stop it too. Places liable to these appearances are very liable to
frequent and sudden alterations of it.

Such accidents as a clap of thunder, firing cannon, &c. may stop
them, and the reason may be, that any shock of this kind may occasion
the particles that are near cohering, immediately to do so; and then
the whole, thus condensed, falls at once (which is what I suppose
is vulgarly called the breaking of the spout) and in the interval,
between this period and that of the next set of particles being ready
to unite, the spout shuts up. So that if this reasoning is just,
these phenomena agree with my hypothesis.

The usual temper of the air, at the time of their appearance, if I
have a right information, is for me to; it being then pretty cool for
the season and climate; and this is worth remark, because cool air
is weighty, and will not ascend; besides, when the air grows cool,
it shews that the upper region descends, and conveys this temper
down; and when the tempers are equal, no whirlwind can take place.
But spouts have been known, when the lower region has been really
cold. Gordon's spout in the Downs is an instance of this--(_Vide_
_Philosophical Transactions_)--where the upper region was probably
not at all cooler, if so cold as the lower: it was a cold day in the
month of March, hail followed, but not snow, and it is observable,
that not so much as hail follows or accompanies them in moderate
seasons or climes, when and where they are most frequent. However,
it is not improbable, that just about the place of descent may be
cooler than the neighbouring parts, and so favour the wonderful
celerity of condensation. But, after all, should we allow the under
region to be ever so much the hottest, and a whirlwind to take place
in it: suppose then the sea-water to ascend, it would certainly cool
the spout, and then, query, whether it would not very much, if not
wholly, obstruct its progress.

It commonly rains when spouts disappear, if it did not before, which
it frequently does not, by the best accounts I have had; but the
cloud encreases much faster after they disappear, and it soon rains.
The first shews the spout to be a contracted rain, instead of the
diffused one that follows; and the latter that the cloud was not
formed by ascending water, for then it would have ceased growing when
the spout vanished.

However, it seems that spouts have sometimes appeared after it began
to rain; but this is one way a proof of my hypothesis, viz. as
whirlwinds do not come under a cloud.

I forgot to mention, that the increase of cloud, while the spout
subsists, is no argument of an ascent of water, by the spout. Since
thunder-clouds sometimes encrease greatly while it rains very hard.

Divers effects of spouts seem not so well accounted for any other way
as by descent.

The bush round the feet of them seems to be a great spray of water
made by the violence of descent, like that in great falls of water
from high precipices.

The great roar, like some vast inland falls, is so different from the
roar of whirlwinds, by all acounts, as to be no ways compatible.

The throwing things from it with great force, instead of carrying
them up into the air, is another difference.

There seems some probability that the sailors traditionary belief,
that spouts may break in their decks, and so destroy vessels, might
originate from some facts of that sort in former times. This danger
is apparent on my hypothesis, but it seems not so on the other:
and my reason for it is, that the whole column of a spout from the
sea to the clouds, cannot, in a natural way, even upon the largest
supposition, support more than about three feet water, and from truly
supposeable causes, not above one foot, as may appear more plainly
by and by. Supposing now the largest of these quantities to rise, it
must be disseminated into drops, from the surface of the sea to the
region of the clouds, or higher; for this reason it is quite unlikely
to be collected into masses, or a body, upon its falling; but would
descend in progression according to the several degrees of altitude
the different portions had arrived at when it received this new

Now that there cannot more rise upon the common hypothesis than
I have mentioned, may appear probable, if we attend to the only
efficient cause in supposed ascending spouts, viz. whirlwinds.

We know that the rarefaction of the lower, and the condensation of
the upper region of air, are the only natural causes of whirlwinds.
Let us then suppose the former as hot as their greatest summer heat
in England, and the latter as cold as the extent of their winter.
These extremes have been found there to alter the weight of the air
one-tenth, which is equal to a little more than three feet water.
Were this case possible, and a whirlwind take place in it, it might
act with a force equal to the mentioned difference. But as this is
the whole strength, so much water could not rise; therefore to allow
it due motion upwards, we must abate, at least, one-fourth part,
perhaps more, to give it such a swift ascension as some think usual.
But here several difficulties occur, at least they are so to me. As,
whether this quantity would render the spout opaque? since it is
plain that in drops it could not do so. How, or by what means it may
be reduced small enough? or, if the water be not reduced into vapour,
what will suspend it in the region of the clouds when exonerated
there? And, if vapourized while ascending, how can it be dangerous by
what they call the breaking? For it is difficult to conceive how a
condensative power should instantaneously take place of a rarefying
and disseminating one.

The sudden fall of the spout, or rather, the sudden ceasing of it, I
accounted for, in my way, before. But it seems necessary to mention
something I then forgot. Should it be said to do so (_i. e._) to
fall, because all the lower rarefied air is ascended, whence the
whirlwind must cease, and its burden drop; I cannot agree to this,
unless the air be observed on a sudden to have grown much colder,
which I cannot learn has been the case. Or should it be supposed that
the spout was, on a sudden, obstructed at the top, and this the cause
of the fall, however plausible this might appear, yet no more water
would fall than what was at the same time contained in the column,
which is often, by many and satisfactory accounts to me, again far
from being the case.

We are, I think, sufficiently assured, that not only tons, but scores
or hundreds of tons descend in one spout. Scores of tons more than
can be contained in the trunk of it, should we suppose water to

But, after all, it does not appear that the above-mentioned different
degrees of heat and cold concur in any region where spouts usually
happen, nor, indeed, in any other.

  _Observations on the Meteorological Paper; by a Gentleman in

  Read at the Royal Society, Nov. 4, 1756.

"Air and water mutually attract each other, (saith Mr. F.) hence
water will dissolve in air, as salt in water." I think that he hath
demonstrated, that the supporting of salt in water is not owing to
its superficies being increased, because "the specific gravity of
salt is not altered by dividing of it, any more than that of lead,
sixteen bullets of which, of an ounce each, weigh as much in water
as one of a pound." But yet, when this came to be applied to the
supporting of water in air, I found an objection rising in my mind.

In the first place, I have always been loth to seek for any new
hypothesis, or particular law of nature, to account for any thing
that may be accounted for from the known, general, and universal law
of nature; it being an argument of the infinite wisdom of the author
of the world, to effect so many things by one general law. Now I
had thought that the rising and support of water in air, might be
accounted for from the general law of gravitation, by only supposing
the spaces occupied by the same quantity of water increased.

And, with respect to the lead, I queried thus in my own mind; whether
if the superficies of a bullet of lead should be increased four or
five fold by an internal vacuity, it would weigh the same in water
as before. I mean, if a pound of lead should be formed into a hollow
globe, empty within, whose superficies should be four or five times
as big as that of the same lead when a solid lump, it would weigh as
much in water as before. I supposed it would not. If this concavity
was filled with water, perhaps it might; if with air, it would weigh
at least as much less, as this difference between the weight of that
included air, and that of water.

Now although this would do nothing to account for the dissolution
of salt in water, the smallest lumps of salt being no more hollow
spheres, or any thing of the like nature than the greatest; yet,
perhaps, it might account for water's rising and being supported in
air. For you know that such hollow globules, or bubbles, abound upon
the surface of the water, which even by the breath of our mouths, we
can cause to quit the water, and rise in the air.

These bubbles I used to suppose to be coats of water, containing
within them air rarefied and expanded with fire, and that, therefore,
the more friction and dashing there is upon the surface of the
waters, and the more heat and fire, the more they abound.

And I used to think, that although water be specifically heavier than
air, yet such a bubble, filled only with fire and very rarefied air,
may be lighter than a quantity of common air, of the same cubical
dimensions, and, therefore, ascend; for the rarefied air inclosed,
may more fall short of the same bulk of common air, in weight, than
the watery coat exceeds a like bulk of common air in gravity.

This was the objection in my mind, though, I must confess, I know
not how to account for the watery coat's encompassing the air, as
above-mentioned, without allowing the attraction between air and
water, which the gentleman supposes; so that I do not know but
that this objection, examined by that sagacious genius, will be an
additional confirmation of the hypothesis.

The gentleman observes, "that a certain quantity of moisture should
be every moment discharged and taken away from the lungs; and
hence accounts for the suffocating nature of snuffs of candles, as
impregnating the air with grease, between which and water there is
a natural repellency; and of air that hath been frequently breathed
in, which is overloaded with water, and, for that reason, can take
no more air. Perhaps the same observation will account for the
suffocating nature of damps in wells."

But then if the air can support and take off but such a proportion of
water, and it is necessary that water be so taken off from the lungs,
I queried with myself how it is we can breathe in an air full of
vapours, so full as that they continually precipitated. Do not we see
the air overloaded, and casting forth water plentifully when there is
no suffocation?

The gentleman again observes, "That the air under the equator, and
between the tropics, being constantly heated and rarefied by the
sun, rises; its place is supplied by air from northern and southern
latitudes, which, coming from parts where the air and earth had
less motion, and not suddenly acquiring the quicker motion of the
equatorial earth, appears an east wind blowing westward; the earth
moving from west to east, and slipping under the air."

In reading this, two objections occurred to my mind:

First, that it is said, the trade-wind doth not blow in the forenoon,
but only in the afternoon.

Secondly, that either the motion of the northern and southern air
towards the equator is so slow, as to acquire almost the same motion
as the equatorial air when it arrives there, so that there will be no
sensible difference; or else the motion of the northern and southern
air towards the equator, is quicker, and must be sensible; and then
the trade-wind must appear either as a south-east or north-east wind:
south of the equator, a south-east wind; north of the equator, a
north-east. For the apparent wind must be compounded of this motion
from north to south, or _vice versa_; and of the difference between
its motion from west to east, and that of the equatorial air.

  _Observations in Answer to the foregoing, by B. Franklin._

  Read at the Royal Society, Nov. 4, 1756.

1st. The supposing a mutual attraction between the particles of water
and air is not introducing a new law of nature; such attractions
taking place in many other known instances.

2dly. Water is specifically 850 times heavier than air. To render a
bubble of water, then, specifically lighter than air, it seems to me
that it must take up more than 850 times the space it did before it
formed the bubble; and within the bubble should be either a vacuum
or air rarefied more than 850 times. If a vacuum, would not the
bubble be immediately crushed by the weight of the atmosphere? And no
heat, we know of, will rarefy air any thing near so much; much less
the common heat of the sun, or that of friction by the dashing on
the surface of the water. Besides, water agitated ever so violently
produces no heat, as has been found by accurate experiments.

3dly. A hollow sphere of lead has a firmness and consistency in it,
that a hollow sphere or bubble of fluid unfrozen water cannot be
supposed to have. The lead may support the pressure of the water it
is immersed in, but the bubble could not support the pressure of the
air, if empty within.

4thly. Was ever a visible bubble seen to rise in air? I have made
many, when a boy, with soap-suds and a tobacco-pipe; but they all
descended when loose from the pipe, though slowly, the air impeding
their motion. They may, indeed, be forced up by a wind from below,
but do not rise of themselves, though filled with warm breath.

5thly. The objection relating to our breathing moist air seems
weighty, and must be farther considered. The air that has been
breathed has, doubtless, acquired an addition of the perspirable
matter which nature intends to free the body from, and which would be
pernicious if retained and returned into the blood; such air then may
become unfit for respiration, as well for that reason, as on account
of its moisture. Yet I should be glad to learn, by some accurate
experiment, whether a draft of air, two or three times inspired,
and expired, perhaps in a bladder, has, or has not, acquired more
moisture than our common air in the dampest weather. As to the
precipitation of water in the air we breathe, perhaps it is not
always a mark of that air's being overloaded. In the region of the
clouds, indeed, the air must be overloaded if it lets fall its water
in drops, which we call rain; but those drops may fall through a
drier air near the earth; and accordingly we find that the hygroscope
sometimes shews a less degree of moisture, during a shower, than
at other times when it does not rain at all. The dewy dampness,
that settles on the insides of our walls and wainscots, seems more
certainly to denote an air overloaded with moisture; and yet this is
no sure sign: for, after a long continued cold season, if the air
grows suddenly warm, the walls, &c. continuing longer their coldness,
will, for some time, condense the moisture of such air, till they
grow equally warm, and then they condense no more, though the air is
not become drier. And, on the other hand, after a warm season, if the
air grows cold, though moister than before, the dew is not so apt to
gather on the walls. A tankard of cold water will, in a hot and dry
summer's day, collect a dew on its outside; a tankard of hot water
will collect none in the moistest weather.

6thly. It is, I think, a mistake that the trade-winds blow only in
the afternoon. They blow all day and all night, and all the year
round, except in some particular places. The southerly sea-breezes
on your coasts, indeed, blow chiefly in the afternoon. In the very
long run from the west side of America to Guam, among the Philippine
Islands, ships seldom have occasion to hand their sails, so equal
and steady is the gale, and yet they make it in about 60 days, which
could not be if the wind blew only in the afternoon.

7thly. That really is, which the gentleman justly supposes ought to
be on my hypothesis. In sailing southward, when you first enter the
trade-wind, you find it north-east, or thereabouts, and it gradually
grows more east as you approach the line. The same observation is
made of its changing from south-east to east gradually, as you come
from the southern latitudes to the equator.

  _Observations on the Meteorological Paper; sent by a Gentleman[10]
  in New-York to B. Franklin._

  Read at the Royal Society, Nov. 4, 1756.

That power by which the air expands itself, you attribute to a mutual
repelling power in the particles which compose the air, by which
they are separated from each other with some degree of force: now
this force, on this supposition, must not only act when the particles
are in mutual contact, but likewise when they are at some distance
from each other. How can two bodies, whether they be great or small,
act at any distance, whether that distance be small or great, without
something intermediate on which they act? For if any body act on
another, at any distance from it, however small that distance be,
without some medium to continue the action, it must act where it is
not, which to me seems absurd.

It seems to me, for the same reason, equally absurd to give a mutual
attractive power between any other particles supposed to be at a
distance from each other, without any thing intermediate to continue
their mutual action. I can neither attract nor repel any thing at a
distance, without something between my hand and that thing, like a
string, or a stick; nor can I conceive any mutual action without some
middle thing, when the action is continued to some distance.

The encrease of the surface of any body lessens its weight, both in
air, and water, or any other fluid, as appears by the slow descent of
leaf-gold in the air.

The observation of the different density of the upper and lower
air, from heat and cold, is good, and I do not remember it is taken
notice of by others; the consequences also are well drawn; but as to
winds, they seem principally to arise from some other cause. Winds
generally blow from some large tracts of land, and from mountains.
Where I live, on the north side of the mountains, we frequently have
a strong southerly wind, when they have as strong a northerly wind,
or calm, on the other side of these mountains. The continual passing
of vessels on Hudson's River, through these mountains, give frequent
opportunities of observing this.

In the spring of the year the sea-wind (by a piercing cold) is always
more uneasy to me, accustomed to winds which pass over a tract of
land, than the north-west wind.

You have received the common notion of water-spouts, which, from my
own ocular observation, I am persuaded is a false conception. In a
voyage to the West-Indies, I had an opportunity of observing many
water-spouts. One of them passed nearer than thirty or forty yards to
the vessel I was in, which I viewed with a good deal of attention;
and though it be now forty years since I saw it, it made so strong
an impression on me, that I very distinctly remember it. These
water-spouts were in the calm latitudes, that is, between the trade
and the variable winds, in the month of July. That spout which passed
so near us was an inverted cone, with the _tip_ or _apex_ towards
the sea, and reached within about eight feet of the surface of the
sea, its basis in a large black cloud. We were entirely becalmed. It
passed slowly by the vessel. I could plainly observe, that a violent
stream of wind issued from the spout, which made a hollow of about
six feet diameter in the surface of the water, and raised the water
in a circular uneven ring round the hollow, in the same manner that a
strong blast from a pair of bellows would do when the pipe is placed
perpendicular to the surface of the water; and we plainly heard the
same hissing noise which such a blast of wind must produce on the
water. I am very sure there was nothing like the sucking of water
from the sea into the spout, unless the spray, which was raised in a
ring to a small height, could be mistaken for a raising of water. I
could plainly distinguish a distance of about eight feet between the
sea and the tip of the cone, in which nothing interrupted the sight,
which must have been, had the water been raised from the sea.

In the same voyage I saw several other spouts at a greater distance,
but none of them whose tip of the cone came so near the surface of
the water. In some of them the axis of the cone was considerably
inclined from the perpendicular, but in none of them was there the
least appearance of sucking up of water. Others of them were bent
or arched. I believe that a stream of wind issued from all of them,
and it is from this stream of wind that vessels are often overset,
or founder at sea suddenly. I have heard of vessels being overset
when it was perfectly calm, the instant before the stream of wind
struck them, and immediately after they were overset; which could not
otherwise be but by such a stream of wind from a cloud.

That wind is generated in clouds will not admit of a dispute. Now if
such wind be generated within the body of the cloud, and issue in
one particular place, while it finds no passage in the other parts
of the cloud, I think it may not be difficult to account for all the
appearances in water-spouts; and from hence the reason of breaking
those spouts, by firing a cannon-ball through them, as thereby a
horizontal vent is given to the wind. When the wind is spent, which
dilated the cloud, or the fermentation ceases, which generates the
air and wind, the clouds may descend in a prodigious fall of water
or rain. A remarkable intestine motion, like a violent fermentation,
is very observable in the cloud from whence the spout issues. No
salt-water, I am persuaded, was ever observed to fall from the
clouds, which must certainly have happened if sea-water had been
raised by a spout.


[10] Mr. Cadwallader Colden. _Editor._

  _Answer to the foregoing Observations, by B. Franklin._

  Read at the Royal Society, NOV. 4, 1756.

I agree with you, that it seems absurd to suppose that a body can act
where it is not. I have no idea of bodies at a distance attracting or
repelling one another without the assistance of some medium, though
I know not what that medium is, or how it operates. When I speak of
attraction or repulsion, I make use of those words for want of others
more proper, and intend only to express _effects_ which I see, and
not _causes_ of which I am ignorant. When I press a blown bladder
between my knees, and find I cannot bring its sides together, but my
knees feel a springy matter, pushing them back to a greater distance,
or repelling them, I conclude that the air it contains is the cause.
And when I operate on the air, and find I cannot by pressure force
its particles into contact, but they still spring back against the
pressure, I conceive there must be some medium between its particles
that prevents their closing, though I cannot tell what it is. And
if I were acquainted with that medium, and found its particles to
approach and recede from each other, according to the pressure they
suffered, I should imagine there must be some finer medium between
them, by which these operations were performed.

I allow that increase of the surface of a body may occasion it
to descend slower in air, water, or any other fluid; but do not
conceive, therefore, that it lessens its weight. Where the increased
surface is so disposed as that in its falling a greater quantity
of the fluid it sinks in must be moved out of its way, a greater
time is required for such removal. Four square feet of sheet-lead
sinking in water _broadways_, cannot descend near so fast as it
would _edgeways_, yet its weight in the hydrostatic balance would,
I imagine, be the same, whether suspended by the middle or by the

I make no doubt but that ridges of high mountains do often interrupt,
stop, reverberate, or turn the winds that blow against them,
according to the different degrees of strength of the winds, and
angles of incidence. I suppose, too, that the cold upper parts of
mountains may condense the warmer air that comes near them, and so by
making it specifically heavier, cause it to descend on one or both
sides of the ridge into the warmer valleys, which will seem a wind
blowing from the mountain.

Damp winds, though not colder by the thermometer, give a more
uneasy sensation of cold than dry ones; because (to speak like an
electrician) they _conduct_ better; that is, are better fitted to
convey away the heat from our bodies. The body cannot feel _without_
itself; our sensation of cold is not in the air _without_ the body,
but in those parts of the body which have been deprived of their
heat by the air. My desk, and its lock, are, I suppose, of the same
temperament when they have been long exposed to the same air; but
now if I lay my hand on the wood, it does not seem so cold to me as
the lock; because (as I imagine) wood is not so good a conductor,
to receive and convey away the heat from my skin, and the adjacent
flesh, as metal is. Take a piece of wood, of the size and shape of
a dollar, between the thumb and finger of one hand, and a dollar,
in like manner, with the other hand; place the edges of both, at
the same time, in the flame of a candle; and though the edge of the
wooden piece takes flame, and the metal piece does not, yet you will
be obliged to drop the latter before the former, it conducting the
heat more suddenly to your fingers. Thus we can, without pain, handle
glass and china cups filled with hot liquors, as tea, &c. but not
silver ones. A silver tea-pot must have a wooden handle. Perhaps it
is for the same reason that woollen garments keep the body warmer
than linen ones equally thick; woollen keeping the natural heat in,
or, in other words, not conducting it out to air.

In regard to water-spouts, having, in a long letter to a gentleman
of the same sentiment with you as to their direction, said all
that I have to say in support of my opinion; I need not repeat the
arguments therein contained, as I intend to send you a copy of it by
some other opportunity, for your perusal. I imagine you will find all
the appearances you saw, accounted for by my hypothesis. I thank you
for communicating the account of them. At present I would only say,
that the opinion of winds being generated in clouds by fermentation,
is new to me, and I am unacquainted with the facts on which it is
founded. I likewise find it difficult to conceive of winds confined
in the body of clouds, which I imagine have little more solidity than
the fogs on the earth's surface. The objection from the freshness
of rain-water is a strong one, but I think I have answered it in the
letter above-mentioned, to which I must beg leave, at present, to
refer you.

[In Mr. Collinson's edition, there followed here, several extracts,
on water-spouts, from Dampier's Voyages, which, as Dampier's book is
by no means scarce, and is consequently accessible to the reader, we
have omitted, and shall content ourselves with giving the references.
The extracts are three. The first is from Vol. I. p. 451. The second
and third from Vol. III. p. 182 and 223.]

  _Gentleman of New York in Reply._

  Read at the Royal Society, December 6, 1756.

  _April 2, 1754._

Any knowledge I have of the winds, and other changes which happen in
the atmosphere, is so very defective, that it does not deserve the
name; neither have I received any satisfaction from the attempts of
others on this subject. It deserves then your thoughts, as a subject
in which you may distinguish yourself, and be useful.

Your notion of some things conducting heat or cold better than others
pleases me, and I wish you may pursue the scent. If I remember right,
Dr. Boerhaave, in his chymistry, thinks that heat is propagated
by the vibration of a subtle elastic fluid, dispersed through the
atmosphere and through all bodies. Sir Isaac Newton says, there
are many phenomena to prove the existence of such a fluid; and
this opinion has my assent to it. I shall only observe that it is
essentially different from that which I call ether; for ether,
properly speaking, is neither a fluid nor elastic; its power consists
in re-acting any action communicated to it, with the same force it
receives the action.

I long to see your explication of water-spouts, but I must tell you
before-hand, that it will not be easy for you to convince me that the
principal phenomena were not occasioned by a stream of wind issuing
with great force, my eyes and ears both concurring to give me this
sentiment, I could have no more evidence than to feel the effects,
which I had no inclination to do.

It surprises me a little, that wind, generated by fermentation, is
new to you, since it may be every day observed in fermenting liquor.
You know with what force fermenting liquors will burst the vessels
which contain them, if the generated wind have not vent; and with
what force it issues on giving it a small vent, or by drawing the
cork of a bottle. Dr. Boerhaave says, that the steam issuing from
fermenting liquors received through a very small vent-hole, into the
nose, will kill as suddenly and certainly as lightning. That air is
generated by fermentation, I think you will find fully proved in Dr.
Hales's Analysis of the Air, in his Vegetable Statics. If you have
not read the book, you have a new pleasure to come.

The solution you give to the objection I made from the contrary winds
blowing from the opposite sides of the mountains, from their being
eddies, does not please me, because the extent of these winds is by
far too large to be occasioned by any eddy. It is forty miles from
New York to our mountains, through which Hudson's River passes. The
river runs twelve miles in the mountains, and from the north side of
the mountains it is about ninety miles to Albany. I have myself been
on board a vessel more than once, when we have had a strong northerly
wind against us, all the way from New York, for two or three days.
We have met vessels from Albany, who assured us, that, on the other
side of the mountains, they had, at the same time, a strong continued
southerly wind against them; and this frequently happens.

I have frequently seen, both on the river, in places where there
could be no eddy-weeds, and on the open sea, two vessels sailing with
contrary winds, within half a mile of each other; but this happens
only in easy winds, and generally calm in other places near these

You have, no doubt, frequently observed a single cloud pass, from
which a violent gust of wind issues, but of no great extent. I have
observed such a gust make a lane through the woods, of some miles
in length, by laying the trees flat to the ground, and not above
eight or ten chains in breadth. Though the violence of the wind be
in the same direction in which the cloud moves and precedes it, yet
wind issues from all sides of it; so that supposing the cloud moves
south-easterly, those on the north-east side of it feel a south-west
wind, and others on the south-west side, a north-east. And where the
cloud passes over, we frequently have a south-east wind from the
hinder part of it, but none violent, except the wind in the direction
in which the cloud moves. To shew what it is which prevents the wind
from issuing out equally on all sides, is not an easy problem to me,
and I shall not attempt to solve it; but when you shall show what
it is which restrains the electrical fluid from spreading itself
into the air surrounding it, when it rushes with great violence
through the air along, or in the conductor, for a great extent in
length, then I may hope to explain the other problem, and remove the
difficulty we have in conceiving it.


  _Account of a Whirlwind at Maryland._

  _Philadelphia, Aug. 25, 1755._


As you have my former papers on whirlwinds, &c. I now send you an
account of one which I had lately an opportunity of seeing and
examining myself.

Being in Maryland, riding with Colonel Tasker, and some other
gentlemen, to his country seat, where I and my son were entertained
by that amiable and worthy man with great hospitality and kindness,
we saw, in the vale below us, a small whirlwind beginning in the
road, and shewing itself by the dust it raised and contained. It
appeared in the form of a sugar-loaf, spinning on its point, moving
up the hill towards us, and enlarging as it came forward. When it
passed by us, its smaller part near the ground appeared no bigger
than a common barrel, but widening upwards, it seemed, at forty or
fifty feet high, to be twenty or thirty feet in diameter. The rest of
the company stood looking after it, but my curiosity being stronger,
I followed it, riding close by its side, and observed its licking
up, in its progress, all the dust that was under its smaller part.
As it is a common opinion that a shot, fired through a water-spout,
will break it, I tried to break this little whirlwind, by striking my
whip frequently through it, but without any effect. Soon after, it
quitted the road and took into the woods, growing every moment larger
and stronger, raising, instead of dust, the old dry leaves with which
the ground was thick covered, and making a great noise with them
and the branches of the trees, bending some tall trees round in a
circle swiftly and very surprisingly, though the progressive motion
of the whirl was not so swift but that a man on foot might have kept
pace with it, but the circular motion was amazingly rapid. By the
leaves it was now filled with, I could plainly perceive that the
current of air they were driven by moved upwards in a spiral line;
and when I saw the passing whirl continue entire, after leaving the
trunks and bodies of large trees which it had enveloped, I no longer
wondered that my whip had no effect on it in its smaller state. I
accompanied it about three quarters of a mile, till some limbs of
dead trees, broken off by the whirl, flying about, and falling near
me, made me more apprehensive of danger; and then I stopped, looking
at the top of it as it went on, which was visible, by means of the
leaves contained in it, for a very great height above the trees.
Many of the leaves, as they got loose from the upper and widest
part, were scattered in the wind; but so great was their height in
the air, that they appeared no bigger than flies. My son, who was,
by this time, come up with me, followed the whirlwind till it left
the woods, and crossed an old tobacco-field, where, finding neither
dust nor leaves to take up, it gradually became invisible below as
it went away over that field. The course of the general wind then
blowing was along with us as we travelled, and the progressive motion
of the whirlwind was in a direction nearly opposite, though it did
not keep a strait line, nor was its progressive motion uniform, it
making little sallies on either hand as it went, proceeding sometimes
faster, and sometimes slower, and seeming sometimes for a few seconds
almost stationary, then starting forwards pretty fast again. When
we rejoined the company, they were admiring the vast height of the
leaves now brought by the common wind, over our heads. These leaves
accompanied us as we travelled, some falling now and then round about
us, and some not reaching the ground till we had gone near three
miles from the place where we first saw the whirlwind begin. Upon my
asking Colonel Tasker if such whirlwinds were common in Maryland,
he answered pleasantly, No, not at all common, but we got this on
purpose to treat Mr. Franklin. And a very high treat it was to,

  Dear Sir,

  Your affectionate friend and humble servant,



  _On the North-East Storms in North America._

  _May 12, 1760._


Agreeable to your request, I send you my reasons for thinking that
our north-east storms in North America begin first, in point of
time, in the south-west parts: that is to say, the air in Georgia,
the farthest of our colonies to the south-west, begins to move
south-westerly before the air of Carolina, which is the next colony
north-eastward; the air of Carolina has the same motion before the
air of Virginia, which lies still more north-eastward; and so on
north-easterly through Pensylvania, New-York, New-England, &c. quite
to Newfoundland.

These north-east storms are generally very violent, continue
sometimes two or three days, and often do considerable damage in the
harbours along the coast. They are attended with thick clouds and

What first gave me this idea, was the following circumstance. About
twenty years ago, a few more or less, I cannot from my memory be
certain, we were to have an eclipse of the moon at Philadelphia, on
a Friday evening, about nine o'clock. I intended to observe it, but
was prevented by a north-east storm, which came on about seven, with
thick clouds as usual, that quite obscured the whole hemisphere. Yet
when the post brought us the Boston news-paper, giving an account of
the effects of the same storm in those parts, I found the beginning
of the eclipse had been well observed there, though Boston lies N. E.
of Philadelphia about four hundred miles. This puzzled me, because
the storm began with us so soon as to prevent any observation, and
being a north-east storm, I imagined it must have begun rather sooner
in places farther to the north-east-ward than it did at Philadelphia.
I therefore mentioned it in a letter to my brother, who lived at
Boston; and he informed me the storm did not begin with them till
near eleven o'clock, so that they had a good observation of the
eclipse: and upon comparing all the other accounts I received from
the several colonies, of the time of beginning of the same storm, and
since that of other storms of the same kind, I found the beginning to
be always later the farther north-eastward. I have not my notes with
me here in England, and cannot, from memory, say the proportion of
time to distance, but I think it is about an hour to every hundred

From thence I formed an idea of the cause of these storms, which I
would explain by a familiar instance or two.--Suppose a long canal
of water stopped at the end by a gate. The water is quite at rest
till the gate is open, then it begins to move out through the gate;
the water next the gate is first in motion, and moves towards the
gate; the water next to that first water moves next, and so on
successively, till the water at the head of the canal is in motion,
which is last of all. In this case all the water moves indeed towards
the gate, but the successive times of beginning motion are the
contrary way, viz. from the gate backwards to the head of the canal.
Again, suppose the air in a chamber at rest, no current through the
room till you make a fire in the chimney. Immediately the air in the
chimney being rarefied by the fire rises; the air next the chimney
flows in to supply its place, moving towards the chimney; and, in
consequence, the rest of the air successively, quite back to the
door. Thus to produce our north-east storms, I suppose some great
heat and rarefaction of the air in or about the Gulph of Mexico; the
air thence rising has its place supplied by the next more northern,
cooler, and therefore denser and heavier, air; that, being in motion,
is followed by the next more northern air, &c. &c. in a successive
current, to which current our coast and inland ridge of mountains
give the direction of north-east, as they lie N. E. and S. W.

This I offer only as an hypothesis to account for this particular
fact; and perhaps, on farther examination, a better and truer may be
found. I do not suppose all storms generated in the same manner. Our
north-west thunder-gusts in America, I know are not; but of them I
have written my opinion fully in a paper which you have seen.

  I am, &c.


  _Meteorological Imaginations and Conjectures_[11].

There seems to be a region higher in the air over all countries,
where it is always winter, where frost exists continually, since in
the midst of summer, on the surface of the earth, ice falls often
from above in the form of hail.

Hailstones, of the great weight we sometimes find them, did not
probably acquire their magnitude before they began to descend. The
air, being eight hundred times rarer than water, is unable to support
it but in the shape of vapour, a state in which its particles are
separated. As soon as they are condensed by the cold of the upper
region, so as to form a drop, that drop begins to fall. If it freezes
into a grain of ice, that ice descends. In descending, both the
drop of water and the grain of ice are augmented by particles of
the vapour they pass through in falling, and which they condense by
coldness, and attach to themselves.

It is possible that, in summer, much of what is rain, when it arrives
at the surface of the earth, might have been snow when it began its
descent; but being thawed, in passing through the warm air near the
surface, it is changed from snow into rain.

How immensely cold must be the original particle of hail, which
forms the centre of the future hailstone, since it is capable of
communicating sufficient cold, if I may so speak, to freeze all the
mass of vapour condensed round it, and form a lump of perhaps six or
eight ounces in weight!

When, in summer time, the sun is high, and continues long every day
above the horizon, his rays strike the earth more directly, and with
longer continuance, than in the winter; hence the surface is more
heated, and to a greater depth, by the effect of those rays.

When rain falls on the heated earth, and soaks down into it, it
carries down with it a great part of the heat, which by that means
descends still deeper.

The mass of earth, to the depth perhaps of thirty feet, being thus
heated to a certain degree, continues to retain its heat for some
time. Thus the first snows that fall in the beginning of winter,
seldom lie long on the surface, but are soon melted, and soon
absorbed. After which, the winds, that blow over the country on which
the snows had fallen, are not rendered so cold as they would have
been, by those snows, if they had remained, and thus the approach of
the severity of winter is retarded; and the extreme degree of its
cold is not always at the time we might expect it, viz. when the sun
is at its greatest distance, and the day shortest, but some time
after that period, according to the English proverb, which says, "as
the day lengthens, the cold strengthens;" the causes of refrigeration
continuing to operate, while the sun returns too slowly, and his
force continues too weak to counteract them.

During several of the summer months of the year 1783, when the
effects of the sun's rays to heat the earth in these northern regions
should have been the greatest, there existed a constant fog over all
Europe, and great part of North America. This fog was of a permanent
nature: it was dry, and the rays of the sun seemed to have little
effect towards dissipating it, as they easily do a moist fog, arising
from water. They were indeed rendered so faint in passing through
it, that when collected in the focus of a burning glass, they would
scarce kindle brown paper. Of course, their summer effect in heating
the earth was exceedingly diminished.

Hence the surface was early frozen.

Hence the first snows remained on it unmelted, and received continual

Hence perhaps the winter of 1783-4, was more severe than any that had
happened for many years.

The cause of this universal fog is not yet ascertained. Whether
it was adventitious to this earth, and merely a smoke proceeding
from the consumption by fire of some of those great burning balls
or globes which we happen to meet with in our rapid course round
the sun, and which are sometimes seen to kindle and be destroyed
in passing our atmosphere, and whose smoke might be attracted and
retained by our earth; or whether it was the vast quantity of smoke,
long continuing to issue during the summer from Hecla, in Iceland,
and that other volcano which arose out of the sea near that island,
which smoke might be spread by various winds, over the northern part
of the world, is yet uncertain.

It seems however worth the enquiry, whether other hard winters,
recorded in history, were preceded by similar permanent and widely
extended summer fogs. Because, if found to be so, men might from such
fogs conjecture the probability of a succeeding hard winter, and of
the damage to be expected by the breaking up of frozen rivers in the
spring; and take such measures as are possible and practicable, to
secure themselves and effects from the mischiefs that attended the

  _Passy, May 1784._


[11] This paper is taken from the Memoirs of the Literary and
Philosophical Society of Manchester, Vol. II. page 373. It was
communicated by Dr. Percival, and read December 22, 1784. _Editor._

  _Suppositions and Conjectures towards forming an Hypothesis, for
  the Explanation of the Aurora Borealis_[12].

1. Air heated by any means, becomes rarefied, and specifically
lighter than other air in the same situation not heated.

2. Air being made thus lighter rises, and the neighbouring cooler
heavier air takes its place.

3. If in the middle of a room you heat the air by a stove, or pot
of burning coals near the floor, the heated air will rise to the
ceiling, spread over the cooler air till it comes to the cold walls;
there, being condensed and made heavier, it descends to supply the
place of that cool air, which had moved towards the stove or fire, in
order to supply the place of the heated air, which had ascended from
the space around the stove or fire.

4. Thus there will be a continual circulation of air in the room;
which may be rendered visible by making a little smoke, for that
smoke will rise and circulate with the air.

5. A similar operation is performed by nature on the air of this
globe. Our atmosphere is of a certain height, perhaps at a medium [___]
miles: above that height it is so rare as to be almost a vacuum. The
air heated between the tropics is continually rising; its place is
supplied by northerly and southerly winds, which come from the cooler

6. The light heated air, floating above the cooler and denser, must
spread northward and southward; and descend near the two poles, to
supply the place of the cool air, which had moved towards the equator.

7. Thus a circulation of air is kept up in our atmosphere, as in the
room above-mentioned.

8. That heavier and lighter air may move in currents of different and
even opposite direction, appears sometimes by the clouds that happen
to be in those currents, as plainly as by the smoke in the experiment
above-mentioned. Also in opening a _door_ between two chambers, one
of which has been warmed, by holding a candle near the top, near the
bottom, and near the middle, you will find a strong current of warm
air passing out of the warmed room above, and another of cool air
entering below; while in the middle there is little or no motion.

9. The great quantity of vapour rising between the tropics forms
clouds, which contain much electricity.

Some of them fall in rain, before they come to the polar regions.

10. If the rain be received in an isolated vessel, the vessel will be
electrified; for every drop brings down some electricity with it.

11. The same is done by snow or hail.

12. The electricity so descending, in temperate climates, is received
and imbibed by the earth.

13. If the clouds are not sufficiently discharged by this gradual
operation, they sometimes discharge themselves suddenly by striking
into the earth, where the earth is fit to receive their electricity.

14. The earth in temperate and warm climates is generally fit to
receive it, being a good conductor.

15. A certain quantity of heat will make some bodies good conductors,
that will not otherwise conduct.

16. Thus wax rendered fluid, and glass softened by heat, will both of
them conduct.

17. And water, though naturally a good conductor, will not conduct
well, when frozen into ice by a common degree of cold; not at all,
where the cold is extreme.

18. Snow falling upon frozen ground has been found to retain its
electricity; and to communicate it to an isolated body, when after
falling, it has been driven about by the wind.

19. The humidity, contained in all the equatorial clouds that reach
the polar regions, must there be condensed and fall in snow.

20. The great cake of ice that eternally covers those regions may be
too hard frozen to permit the electricity, descending with that snow,
to enter the earth.

21. It may therefore be _accumulated upon that ice_.

22. The atmosphere being heavier in the polar regions than in the
equatorial, will there be lower; as well from that cause, as from the
smaller effect of the centrifugal force: consequently the distance
of the vacuum above the atmosphere will be less at the poles, than
elsewhere; and probably much less than the distance (upon the surface
of the globe) extending from the pole to those latitudes in which
the earth is so thawed as to receive and imbibe electricity; (the
frost continuing to lat. 80, which is ten degrees, or six hundred
miles from the pole; while the height of the atmosphere there of such
density as to obstruct the motion of the electric fluid, can scarce
be esteemed above [___] miles).

23. The _vacuum_ above is a good conductor.

24. May not then the great quantity of electricity, brought into the
polar regions by the clouds, which are condensed there, and fall in
snow, which electricity would enter the, earth, but cannot penetrate
the ice; may it not, I say, (_as a bottle overcharged_) break through
that low atmosphere, and run along in the vacuum over the air towards
the equator; diverging as the degrees of longitude enlarge; strongly
visible where densest, and becoming less visible as it more diverges;
till it finds a passage to the earth in more temperate climates, or
is mingled with their upper air?

25. If such an operation of nature were really performed, would it
not give all the appearances of an aurora borealis?

26. And would not the auroras become more frequent _after the
approach of winter_: not only because more visible in longer nights;
but also because in summer the long presence of the sun may soften
the surface of the great ice cake, and render it a conductor, by
which the accumulation of electricity in the polar regions will be

27. The _atmosphere of the polar regions_ being made more dense by
the extreme cold, and all the moisture in that air being frozen; may
not any great light arising therein, and passing, through it, render
its density in some degree visible, during the night time, to those
who live in the rarer air of more southern latitudes; and would it
not in that case, although in itself a complete and full circle,
extending perhaps ten degrees from the pole, appear to spectators so
placed (who could see only a part of it) _in the form of a segment_;
its chord resting on the horizon, and its arch elevated more or less
above it as seen from latitudes more or less distant; _darkish in
colour_, but yet _sufficiently transparent_ to permit some stars to
be seen through it.

28. The _rays_ of electric matter issuing out of a body, diverge by
mutually repelling each other, unless there be some conducting body
near, to receive them: and if that conducting body be at a greater
distance, they will _first diverge_, and then _converge_ in order
to enter it. May not this account for some of the varieties of
figure seen at times in the _motions_ of the luminous matter of the
auroras: since it is possible, that in passing over the atmosphere,
from the north in all directions or meridians, towards the equator,
the rays of that matter may find, in many places, portions of cloudy
region, or moist atmosphere under them, which (being in the natural
or negative state) may be fit to receive them, and towards which
they may therefore converge: and when one of those receiving bodies
is more than saturated, they may _again_ diverge from it, towards
other surrounding masses of such humid atmosphere, and thus form the
_crowns_, as they are called, and other figures mentioned in the
histories of this meteor?

29. If it be true that the clouds which go to the polar regions, and
carry thither the vapours of the equatorial and temperate regions,
[have their] vapours condensed by the extreme cold of the polar
regions, and fall in snow or hail; the winds which come from those
regions ought to be generally dry, unless they gain some humidity
by sweeping the ocean in their way. And if I mistake not, the winds
between the north east and the north west, are for the most part dry,
when they have continued for some time.

[In the Philosophical Transactions for 1774, p. 122, is a letter from
Mr. I. S. Winn to Dr. Franklin, stating, that since he had first made
the observation concerning the south or south west winds succeeding
an aurora, he had found it invariably obtaining in twenty-three
instances; and he adds in a note a fresh confirming instance. In
reply, Dr. Franklin makes the following conjecture.]

The _Auroræ Boreales_, though visible almost every night of clear
weather in the more northern regions and very high in the atmosphere,
can scarce be visible in England, but when the atmosphere is pretty
clear of clouds for the whole space between us and those regions;
and therefore are seldom visible here. This extensive clearness may
have been produced by a long continuance of northerly winds. When
the winds have long continued in one quarter, the return is often
violent. Allowing the fact so repeatedly observed by Mr. Winn,
perhaps this may account for the violence of the southerly winds,
that soon follow the appearance of the aurora on our coasts.


[12] If I mistake not, this paper was read to the Royal Academy of
Sciences, at Paris, at the meeting held immediately after Easter,
1779. B. V[13].

[13] For an explanation of the signature B. V. see the note in page
399 of Vol. I. _Editor._


  _On Cold produced by Evaporation._

  _New-York, April_ 14, 1757.


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 engaged in on that account, have made me so bad a
correspondent, that I ought not to expect punctuality in others.

But being about to embark for England, I could not quit 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, colonel Henry Bouquet, who does me the favour to present you
this letter, and with whom I am sure you will be much pleased.

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 three or four 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 five
or six degrees from where it naturally stood, which was, at that
time, sixty. But it is said, that a vessel of water being placed in
another somewhat larger, containing spirit, in such a manner that
the vessel of water is surrounded with the spirit, and both placed
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,
though 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 entertained, but not yet reduced into any
form. Allowing common fire, as well as 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 through 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 tea-pot
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 tea-pot a handle of wood, which is not so good a conductor
as metal. But a china or stone tea-pot being in some degree of the
nature of glass, which 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, entering 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 sooner done by the means of good

[Illustration: (of wooden former for molten lead)]

Thus, if you take, as I have done, a square bar of lead, four inches
long, and one inch thick, together with three pieces of wood planed
to the same dimensions, and lay them, as in the margin, on a smooth
board, fixt so as not to be easily separated or moved, and pour
into the 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, though 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 supple, and the blood fit for circulation. If part of this due
proportion of fire be 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 exposed to the same temperature of the air, and have therefore
the same degree of heat or 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 itself 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 had 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
metals hammered, or repeatedly bent, grow hot in the bent or hammered
part. But when I consider 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 inclined 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 air,
recovers its fluid active state again, and diffuses itself in the
body digesting and separating it: that the fire so reproduced, by
digestion and separation continually leaving the body, its place is
supplied 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, sea-coal, &c. contain a
great deal of solid fire; and that, in short, what escapes 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 imagine 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 a distiller's vat, when in its highest
and best state of fermentation, as I have been informed, has 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 effects of an immediate
contact of the air, as are, in themselves, bad conductors of heat,
and, consequently, prevent its being communicated through 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 produced in his body, and so occasioning an accumulation.

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 chemical liquors, and even on mixing salt
and snow, where the composition appears colder than the coldest of
the ingredients? I have never seen the chemical 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
the absence of heat or fire. Now if the quantity of fire before
contained or diffused in the snow and salt was expelled in the
uniting of the two matters, it must be driven away either through
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 warm air.

This, indeed, I have not tried, but I should guess it would rather
be driven off through 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 placed
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 compared 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 extreme cold, by
being deprived 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 through 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, the snow and salt dissolve at the same time into water,
without freezing.

  I am, Sir, &c.



[14] Dr. Lining. _Editor_.


  _London, June 17, 1758._


In a former letter I mentioned the experiment for cooling bodies by
evaporation, and that I had, by repeatedly wetting the thermometer
with common spirits, brought the mercury down five or six degrees.
Being lately at Cambridge, and mentioning this in conversation with
Dr. Hadley, professor of chemistry there, he proposed repeating the
experiments with ether, instead of common spirits, as the ether is
much quicker in evaporation. We accordingly went to his chamber,
where he had both ether and a thermometer. By dipping first the
ball of the thermometer into the ether, it appeared that the ether
was precisely of the same temperament with the thermometer, which
stood then at 65; for it made no alteration in the height of the
little column of mercury. But when the thermometer was taken out
of the ether, and the ether, with which the ball was wet, began to
evaporate, the mercury sunk several degrees. The wetting was then
repeated by a feather that had been dipped into the ether, when
the mercury sunk still lower. We continued this operation, one of
us wetting the ball, and another of the company blowing on it with
the bellows, to quicken the evaporation, the mercury sinking all
the time, till it came down to 7, which is 25 degrees below the
freezing point, when we left off. Soon after it passed the freezing
point, a thin coat of ice began to cover the ball. Whether this was
water collected and condensed by the coldness of the ball, from the
moisture in the air, or from our breath; or whether the feather,
when dipped into the ether, might not sometimes go through it, and
bring up some of the water that was under it, I am not certain;
perhaps all might contribute. The ice continued increasing till we
ended the experiment, when it appeared near a quarter of an inch
thick all over the ball, with a number of small spicula, pointing
outwards. From this experiment one may see the possibility of
freezing a man to death on a warm summer's day, if he were to stand
in a passage through which the wind blew briskly, and to be wet
frequently with ether, a spirit that is more inflammable than brandy,
or common spirits of wine.

It is but within these few years, that the European philosophers seem
to have known this power in nature, of cooling bodies by evaporation.
But in the east they have long been acquainted with it. A friend
tells me, there is a passage in Bernier's Travels through Indostan,
written near one hundred years ago, that mentions it as a practice
(in travelling over dry deserts in that hot climate) to carry water
in flasks wrapt in wet woollen cloths, and hung on the shady side of
the camel, or carriage, but in the free air; whereby, as the cloths
gradually grow drier, the water contained in the flasks is made cool.
They have likewise a kind of earthen pots, unglazed, which let the
water gradually and slowly ooze through their pores, so as to keep
the outside a little wet, notwithstanding the continual evaporation,
which gives great coldness to the vessel, and the water contained
in it. Even our common sailors seem to have had some notion of this
property; for I remember, that being at sea, when I was a youth,
I observed one of the sailors, during a calm in the night, often
wetting his finger in his mouth, and then holding it up in the air,
to discover, as he said, if the air had any motion, and from which
side it came; and this he expected to do, by finding one side of his
finger grow suddenly cold, and from that side he should look for the
next wind; which I then laughed at as a fancy.

May not several phenomena, hitherto unconsidered, or unaccounted for,
be explained by this property? During the hot Sunday at Philadelphia,
in June 1750, when the thermometer was up at 100 in the shade, I
sat in my chamber without exercise, only reading or writing, with
no other cloaths on than a shirt, and a pair of long linen drawers,
the windows all open, and a brisk wind blowing through the house,
the sweat ran off the backs of my hands, and my shirt was often
so wet, as to induce me to call for dry ones to put on; in this
situation, one might have expected, that the natural heat of the body
96, added to the heat of the air 100, should jointly have created
or produced a much greater degree of heat in the body; but the fact
was, that my body never grew so hot as the air that surrounded it,
or the inanimate bodies immersed in the same air. For I remember
well, that the desk, when I laid my arm upon it; a chair, when I sat
down in it; and a dry shirt out of the drawer, when I put it on,
all felt exceeding warm to me, as if they had been warmed before a
fire. And I suppose a dead body would have acquired the temperature
of the air, though a living one, by continual sweating, and by the
evaporation of that sweat, was kept cold. May not this be a reason
why our reapers in Pensylvania, working in the open field, in the
clear hot sun-shine common in our harvest-time[15], find themselves
well able to go through that labour, without being much incommoded
by the heat, while they continue to sweat, and while they supply
matter for keeping up that sweat, by drinking frequently of a thin
evaporable liquor, water mixed with rum; but if the sweat stops,
they drop, and sometimes die suddenly, if a sweating is not again
brought on by drinking that liquor, or, as some rather chuse in that
case, a kind of hot punch, made with water, mixed with honey, and a
considerable proportion of vinegar? May there not be in negroes a
quicker evaporation of the perspirable matter from their skins and
lungs, which, by cooling them more, enables them to bear the sun's
heat better than whites do? (if that is a fact, as it is said to be;
for the alledged necessity of having negroes rather than whites, to
work in the West-India fields, is founded upon it) though the colour
of their skins would otherwise make them more sensible of the sun's
heat, since black cloth heats much sooner, and more, in the sun,
than white cloth. I am persuaded, from several instances happening
within my knowledge, that they do not bear cold weather so well as
the whites; they will perish when exposed to a less degree of it,
and are more apt to have their limbs frostbitten; and may not this
be from the same cause? Would not the earth grow much hotter under
the summer-sun, if a constant evaporation from its surface, greater
as the sun shines stronger, did not, by tending to cool it; balance,
in some degree, the warmer effects of the sun's rays? Is it not
owing to the constant evaporation from the surface of every leaf,
that trees, though shone on by the sun, are always, even the leaves
themselves, cool to our sense? at least much cooler than they would
otherwise be? May it not be owing to this, that fanning ourselves
when warm, does really cool us, though the air is itself warm that we
drive with the fan upon our faces; for the atmosphere round, and next
to our bodies, having imbibed as much of the perspired vapour as it
can well contain, receives no more, and the evaporation is therefore
checked and retarded, till we drive away that atmosphere, and bring
drier air in its place, that will receive the vapour, and thereby
facilitate and increase the evaporation? Certain it is, that mere
blowing of air on a dry body does not cool it, as any one may satisfy
himself, by blowing with a bellows on the dry ball of a thermometer;
the mercury will not fall; if it moves at all, it rather rises, as
being warmed by the friction of the air on its surface? To these
queries of imagination, I will only add one practical observation;
that wherever it is thought proper to give ease, in cases of painful
inflammation in the flesh (as from burnings, or the like) by cooling
the part; linen cloths, wet with spirit, and applied to the part
inflamed, will produce the coolness required, better than if wet with
water, and will continue it longer. For water, though cold when first
applied, will soon acquire warmth from the flesh, as it does not
evaporate fast enough; but the cloths wet with spirit, will continue
cold as long as any spirit is left to keep up the evaporation, the
parts warmed escaping as soon as they are warmed, and carrying off
the heat with them.

  I am, Sir, &c.



[15] Pensylvania is in about lat. 40, and the sun, of course, about
12 degrees higher, and therefore much hotter than in England. Their
harvest is about the end of June, or beginning of July, when the sun
is nearly at the highest.


  _Concerning the Light in Sea-Water._

  Read at the Royal Society, December 6, 1756.

  _November_ 12, 1753.

**** When I was at the eastward, I had an opportunity of observing
the luminous appearance of the sea when disturbed: at the head and
stern of the vessel, when under way, it appeared very bright. The
best opportunity I had to observe it was in a boat, in company with
several gentlemen going from Portsmouth, about three miles, to our
vessel lying at the mouth of Piscataqua River. Soon after we set
off (it being in the evening) we observed a luminous appearance,
where the oars dashed the water. Sometimes it was very bright, and
afterwards, as we rowed along, gradually lessened, till almost
imperceptible, and then re-illumined. This we took notice of several
times in the passage. When I got on board the vessel, I ordered a
pail to be dipped up, full of sea-water, in which, on the water's
being moved, a sparkling light appeared. I took a linen cloth,
and strained some of the water through it, and there was a like
appearance on the cloth, which soon went off; but on rubbing the
cloth with my finger, it was renewed. I then carried the cloth to the
light, but could not perceive any thing upon it which should cause
that appearance.

Several gentlemen were of opinion, that the separated particles
of putrid, animal, and other bodies, floating on the surface of
the sea, might cause that appearance; for putrid fish, &c. they
said, will cause it: and the sea-animals which have died, and
other bodies putrified therein since the creation, might afford
a sufficient quantity of these particles to cover a considerable
portion of the surface of the sea; which particles being differently
dispersed, might account for the different degrees of light in
the appearance above-mentioned. But this account seems liable to
this obvious objection, that as putrid fish, &c. make a luminous
appearance without being moved or disturbed, it might be expected
that the supposed putrid particles on the surface of the sea, should
always appear luminous, where there is not a greater light; and,
consequently, that the whole surface of the sea, covered with those
particles, should always, in dark nights, appear luminous, without
being disturbed. But this is not fact.

Among the rest, I threw out my conjecture, that the said appearance
might be caused by a great number of little animals, floating on the
surface of the sea, which, on being disturbed, might, by expanding
their finns, or otherwise moving themselves, expose such a part
of their bodies as exhibits a luminous appearance, somewhat in
the manner of a glow-worm, or fire-fly: that these animals may be
more numerous in some places than others; and, therefore, that the
appearance above-mentioned being fainter and stronger in different
places, might be owing to that: that certain circumstances of
weather, &c. might invite them to the surface, on which, in a calm,
they might sport themselves and glow; or in storms, being forced up,
make the same appearance.

There is no difficulty in conceiving that the sea may be stocked with
animalcula for this purpose, as we find all nature crowded with
life. But it seems difficult to conceive that such small portions
of matter, even if they were wholly luminous, should affect our
sight; much more so, when it is supposed that only a part of them is
luminous. But, if we consider some other appearances, we may find
the same difficulty to conceive of them; and yet we know they take
place. For instance, the flame of a candle, which, it is said, may
be seen four miles round. The light which fills this circle of eight
miles diameter, was contained, when it first left the candle, within
a circle of half an inch diameter. If the density of light, in these
circumstances, be as those circles to each other, that is, as the
squares of their diameters, the candle-light, when come to the eye,
will be 1027709337600 times rarer than when it quitted the half inch
circle. Now the aperture of the eye, through which the light passes,
does not exceed one-tenth of an inch diameter, and the portion of
the lesser circle, which corresponds to this small portion of the
greater circle, must be proportionably, that is, 1027709337600 times
less than one-tenth of an inch; and yet this infinitely small point
(if you will allow the expression) affords light enough to make it
visible four miles; or, rather, affords light sufficient to affect
the sight at that distance.

The smallness of the animalcula is no objection then to this
conjecture; for supposing them to be ten thousand times less than the
_minimum visibile_, they may, notwithstanding, emit light enough to
affect the eyes, and so to cause the luminous appearance aforesaid.
This conjecture I send you for want of something better ****.


[16] I. Badoin. _Editor._


  _On the Saltness of Sea-Water._

  _London, May 7, 1760._


**** It has, indeed, as you observe, been the opinion of some very
great naturalists, that the sea is salt only from the dissolution
of mineral or rock-salt, which its waters happened to meet with.
But this opinion takes it for granted that all water was originally
fresh, of which we can have no proof. I own I am inclined to a
different opinion, and rather think all the water on this globe was
originally salt, and that the fresh water we find in springs and
rivers, is the produce of distillation. The sun raises the vapours
from the sea, which form clouds, and fall in rain upon the land, and
springs and rivers are formed of that rain. As to the rock-salt found
in mines, I conceive, that instead of communicating its saltness to
the sea, it is itself drawn from the sea, and that of course the sea
is now fresher than it was originally. This is only another effect of
nature's distillery, and might be performed various ways.

It is evident from the quantities of sea-shells, and the bones and
teeth of fishes found in high lands, that the sea has formerly
covered them. Then, either the sea has been higher than it now is,
and has fallen away from those high lands, or they have been lower
than they are, and were lifted up out of the water to their present
height, by some internal mighty force, such as we still feel some
remains of, when whole continents are moved by earthquakes. In
either case it may be supposed that large hollows or valleys among
hills, might be left filled with sea-water, which evaporating, and
the fluid part drying away in a course of years, would leave the salt
covering the bottom; and that salt coming afterwards to be covered
with earth, from the neighbouring hills, could only be found by
digging through that earth. Or, as we know from their effects, that
there are deep fiery caverns under the earth, and even under the
sea, if at any time the sea leaks into any of them, the fluid parts
of the water must evaporate from that heat, and pass off through
some volcano, while the salt remains, and by degrees, and continual
acretion, becomes a great mass. Thus the cavern may at length be
filled, and the volcano connected with it cease burning, as many
it is said have done; and future miners, penetrating such cavern,
find what we call a salt-mine. This is a fancy I had on visiting
the salt-mines at Northwich, with my son. I send you a piece of the
rock-salt which he brought up with him out of the mine. ****

  I am, Sir, &c.



[17] Peter Franklin. _Editor._


  _On the Effect of Air on the Barometer, and the Benefits derived
  from the Study of Insects._

  _Craven Street, June 11, 1760._

'Tis a very sensible question you ask, how the air can affect the
barometer, when its opening appears covered with wood? If indeed it
was so closely covered as to admit of no communication of the outward
air to the surface of the mercury, the change of weight in the air
could not possibly affect it. But the least crevice is sufficient
for the purpose; a pinhole will do the business. And if you could
look behind the frame to which your barometer is fixed, you would
certainly find some small opening.

There are indeed some barometers in which the body of mercury at the
lower end is contained in a close leather bag, and so the air cannot
come into immediate contact with the mercury; yet the same effect is
produced. For the leather being flexible, when the bag is pressed by
any additional weight of air it contracts, and the mercury is forced
up into the tube; when the air becomes lighter, and its pressure
less, the weight of the mercury prevails, and it descends again into
the bag.

Your observation on what you have lately read concerning insects is
very just and solid. Superficial minds are apt to despise those who
make that part of the creation their study, as mere triflers; but
certainly the world has been much obliged to them. Under the care
and management of man, the labours of the little silkworm afford
employment and subsistence to thousands of families, and become an
immense article of commerce. The bee, too, yields us its delicious
honey, and its wax useful to a multitude of purposes. Another insect,
it is said, produces the cochineal, from whence we have our rich
scarlet dye. The usefulness of the cantharides or Spanish flies, in
medicine, is known to all, and thousands owe their lives to that
knowledge. By human industry and observation, other properties of
other insects may possibly be hereafter discovered, and of equal
utility. A thorough acquaintance with the nature of these little
creatures may also enable mankind to prevent the increase of such
as are noxious, or secure us against the mischiefs they occasion.
These things doubtless your books make mention of: I can only add
a particular late instance which I had from a Swedish gentleman of
good credit. In the green timber, intended for ship-building at the
king's yards in that country, a kind of worms were found, which every
year became more numerous and more pernicious, so that the ships were
greatly damaged before they came into use. The king sent Linnæus, the
great naturalist, from Stockholm, to enquire into the affair, and see
if the mischief was capable of any remedy. He found, on examination,
that the worm was produced from a small egg, deposited in the little
roughnesses on the surface of the wood, by a particular kind of fly
or beetle; from whence the worm, as soon as it was hatched, began
to eat into the substance of the wood, and after some time came out
again a fly of the parent kind, and so the species increased. The
season in which the fly laid its eggs, Linnæus knew to be about a
fortnight (I think) in the month of May, and at no other time in the
year. He therefore advised, that some days before that season, all
the green timber should be thrown into the water, and kept under
water till the season was over. Which being done by the king's order,
the flies missing their usual nests, could not increase; and the
species was either destroyed or went elsewhere; and the wood was
effectually preserved, for after the first year, it became too dry
and hard for their purpose.

There is, however, a prudent moderation to be used in studies of
this kind. The knowledge of nature may be ornamental, and it may
be useful, but if to attain an eminence in that, we neglect the
knowledge and practice of essential duties, we deserve reprehension.
For there is no rank in natural knowledge of equal dignity and
importance with that of being a good parent, a good child, a good
husband, or wife, a good neighbour or friend, a good subject or
citizen, that is, in short, a good christian. Nicholas Gimcrack,
therefore, who neglected the care of his family, to pursue
butterflies, was a just object of ridicule, and we must give him up
as fair game to the satyrist.

  Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever

  Yours affectionately,



  _On the Bristol Waters, and the Tide in Rivers._

  _London, Sept. 13, 1760._


I have your agreeable letter from Bristol, which I take this first
leisure hour to answer, having for some time been much engaged in

Your first question, _What is the reason the water at this place,
though cold at the spring, becomes warm by pumping?_ It will be
most prudent in me to forbear attempting to answer, till, by a more
circumstantial account, you assure me of the fact. I own I should
expect that operation to warm, not so much the water pumped, as the
person pumping.--The rubbing of dry solids together has been long
observed to produce heat; but the like effect has never yet, that
I have heard, been produced by the mere agitation of fluids, or
friction of fluids with solids. Water in a bottle shook for hours
by a mill-hopper, it is said, discovered no sensible addition of
heat. The production of animal heat by exercise is therefore to be
accounted for in another manner, which I may hereafter endeavour to
make you acquainted with.

This prudence of not attempting to give reasons before one is sure of
facts, I learnt from one of your sex, who, as Selden tells us, being
in company with some gentlemen that were viewing, and considering
something which they called a Chinese shoe, and disputing earnestly
about the manner of wearing it, and how it could possibly be put on;
put in her word, and said modestly, _Gentlemen, are you sure it is a
shoe?--Should not that be settled first?_

But I shall now endeavour to explain what I said to you about the
tide in rivers, and to that end shall make a figure, which though
not very like a river, may serve to convey my meaning.--Suppose a
canal one hundred and forty miles long, communicating at one end with
the sea, and filled therefore with sea water. I chuse a canal at
first, rather than a river, to throw out of consideration the effects
produced by the streams of fresh water from the land, the inequality
in breadth, and the crookedness of courses.

[Illustration: (showing tidal wave effects)]

Let A, C, be the head of the canal; C, D, the bottom of it; D, F,
the open mouth of it next the sea. Let the strait pricked line, B,
G, represent low water mark the whole length of the canal, A, F,
high water mark:--Now if a person standing at E, and observing at
the time of high water there, that the canal is quite full at that
place up to the line E, should conclude that the canal is equally
full to the same height from end to end, and therefore there was as
much more water come into the canal since it was down at low water
mark, as would be included in the oblong space A, B, G, F, he would
be greatly mistaken. For the tide is _a wave_, and the top of the
wave, which makes high water, as well as every other lower part, is
progressive; and it is high water successively, but not at the same
time, in all the several points between G, F, and A, B.--And in such
a length as I have mentioned it is low water at F, G, and also at A,
B, at or near the same time with its being high water at E; so that
the surface of the water in the canal, during that situation, is
properly represented by the curve pricked line B, E, G. And on the
other hand, when it is low water at E, H, it is high water both at F,
G, and at A, B, at or near the same time: and the surface would then
be described by the inverted curve line, A, H, F.

In this view of the case, you will easily see, that there must be
very little more water in the canal at what we call high water, than
there is at low water, those terms not relating to the whole canal at
the same time, but successively to its parts. And if you suppose the
canal six times as long, the case would not vary as to the quantity
of water at different times of the tide; there would only be six
waves in the canal at the same time, instead of one, and the hollows
in the water would be equal to the hills.

That this is not mere theory, but conformable to fact, we know by
our long rivers in America. The Delaware, on which Philadelphia
stands, is in this particular similar to the canal I have supposed
of one wave: for when it is high water at the Capes or mouth of the
river, it is also high water at Philadelphia, which stands about one
hundred and forty miles from the sea; and there is at the same time
a low water in the middle between the two high waters; where, when
it comes to be high water, it is at the same time low water at the
Capes and at Philadelphia. And the longer rivers have some a wave
and half, some two, three, or four waves, according to their length.
In the shorter rivers of this island, one may see the same thing in
part: for instance, it is high water at Gravesend an hour before it
is high water at London Bridge; and twenty miles below Gravesend an
hour before it is high water at Gravesend. Therefore at the time of
high water at Gravesend the top of the wave is there, and the water
is then not so high by some feet where the top of the wave was an
hour before, or where it will be an hour after, as it is just then at

Now we are not to suppose, that because the swell or top of the
wave runs at the rate of twenty miles an hour, that therefore the
current, or water itself of which the wave is composed, runs at that
rate. Far from it. To conceive this motion of a wave, make a small
experiment or two. Fasten one end of a cord in a window near the top
of a house, and let the other end come down to the ground; take this
end in your hand, and you may, by a sudden motion, occasion a wave in
the cord that will run quite up to the window; but though the wave
is progressive from your hand to the window, the parts of the rope do
not proceed with the wave, but remain where they were, except only
that kind of motion that produces the wave. So if you throw a stone
into a pond of water when the surface is still and smooth, you will
see a circular wave proceed from the stone as its centre, quite to
the sides of the pond; but the water does not proceed with the wave,
it only rises and falls to form it in the different parts of its
course; and the waves that follow the first, all make use of the same
water with their predecessors.

But a wave in water is not indeed in all circumstances exactly like
that in a cord; for water being a fluid, and gravitating to the
earth, it naturally runs from a higher place to a lower; therefore
the parts of the wave in water do actually run a little both ways
from its top towards its lower sides, which the parts of the wave
in the cord cannot do. Thus, when it is high and standing water at
Gravesend, the water twenty miles below has been running ebb, or
towards the sea for an hour, or ever since it was high water there;
but the water at London Bridge will run flood, or from the sea yet
another hour, till it is high water, or the top of the wave arrives
at that bridge, and then it will have run ebb an hour at Gravesend,
&c. &c. Now this motion of the water, occasioned only by its gravity,
or tendency to run from a higher place to a lower, is by no means so
swift as the motion of the wave. It scarce exceeds perhaps two miles
in an hour.

If it went as the wave does twenty miles an hour, no ships could
ride at anchor in such a stream, nor boats row against it.

In common speech, indeed, this current of the water both ways from
the top of the wave is called _the tide_; thus we say, _the tide runs
strong_, _the tide runs at the rate of one, two, or three miles an
hour, &c._ and when we are at a part of the river behind the top of
the wave, and find the water lower than high-water mark, and running
towards the sea, we say, _the tide runs ebb_; and when we are before
the top of the wave, and find the water higher than low-water mark,
and running from the sea, we say, _the tide runs flood_; but these
expressions are only locally proper; for a tide, strictly speaking,
is _one whole wave_, including all its parts higher and lower, and
these waves succeed one another about twice in twenty-four hours.

This motion of the water, occasioned by its gravity, will explain to
you why the water near the mouths of rivers may be salter at high
water than at low. Some of the salt-water, as the tide wave enters
the river, runs from its top and fore side, and mixes with the fresh,
and also pushes it back up the river.

Supposing that the water commonly runs during the flood at the rate
of two miles in an hour, and that the flood runs five hours, you see
that it can bring at most into our canal only a quantity of water
equal to the space included in the breadth of the canal, ten miles
of its length, and the depth between low and high-water mark; which
is but a fourteenth part of what would be necessary to fill all the
space between low and high-water mark, for one hundred and forty
miles, the whole length of the canal.

And indeed such a quantity of water as would fill that whole space,
to run in and out every tide, must create so outrageous a current, as
would do infinite damage to the shores, shipping, &c. and make the
navigation of a river almost impracticable.

I have made this letter longer than I intended, and therefore
reserve for another what I have further to say on the subject of
tides and rivers. I shall now only add, that I have not been exact
in the numbers, because I would avoid perplexing you with minute
calculations, my design at present being chiefly to give you distinct
and clear ideas of the first principles.

After writing six folio pages of philosophy to a young girl, is it
necessary to finish such a letter with a compliment?--Is not such
a letter of itself a compliment?--Does it not say, she has a mind
thirsty after knowledge, and capable of receiving it; and that the
most agreeable things one can write to her are those that tend to
the improvement of her understanding?--It does indeed say all this,
but then it is still no compliment; it is no more than plain honest
truth, which is not the character of a compliment. So if I would
finish my letter in the _mode_, I should yet add some thing that
means nothing, and is _merely_ civil and polite. But being naturally
aukward at every circumstance of ceremony, I shall not attempt it.
I had rather conclude abruptly with what pleases me more than any
compliment can please you, that I am allowed to subscribe myself

  Your affectionate friend,



  _On the same Subject._

  _Craven-street, Monday, March 30, 1761._


Supposing the fact, that the water of the well at Bristol is warmer
after sometime pumping, I think your manner of accounting for that
increased warmth very ingenious and probable. It did not occur to me,
and therefore I doubted of the fact.

You are, I think quite right in your opinion, that the rising of the
tides in rivers is not owing to the immediate influence of the moon
on the rivers. It is rather a subsequent effect of the influence
of the moon on the sea, and does not make its appearance in some
rivers till the moon has long passed by. I have not expressed myself
clearly if you have understood me to mean otherwise. You know I
have mentioned it as a fact, that there are in some rivers several
tides all existing at the same time; that is, two, three, or more,
high-waters, and as many low-waters, in different parts of the same
river, which cannot possibly be all effects of the moon's immediate
action on that river; but they may be subsequent effects of her
action on the sea.

In the enclosed paper you will find my sentiments on several points
relating to the air, and the evaporation of water. It is Mr.
Collinson's copy, who took it from one I sent through his hands to a
correspondent in France some years since; I have, as he desired me,
corrected the mistakes he made in transcribing, and must return it to
him; but if you think it worth while, you may take a copy of it: I
would have saved you any trouble of that kind, but had not time.

Some day in the next or the following week, I purpose to have the
pleasure of seeing you at Wanstead: I shall accompany your good mamma
thither, and stay till the next morning, if it may be done without
incommoding your family too much.--We may then discourse any points
in that paper that do not seem clear to you; and taking a walk to
lord Tilney's ponds, make a few experiments there to explain the
nature of the tides more fully. In the mean time, believe me to be,
with the highest esteem and regard, your sincerely affectionate



  _Salt-Water rendered fresh by Distillation.--Method of relieving
  Thirst by Sea-Water._

  _Craven-street, August 10, 1761._

We are to set out this week for Holland, where we may possibly spend
a month, but purpose to be at home again before the coronation. I
could not go without taking leave of you by a line at least, when I
am so many letters in your debt.

In yours of May 19, which I have before me, you speak of the ease
with which salt water may be made fresh by distillation, supposing it
to be, as I had said, that in evaporation the air would take up water
but not the salt that was mixed with it. It is true that distilled
sea water will not be salt, but there are other disagreeable
qualities that rise with the water in distillation; which indeed
several besides Dr. Hales have endeavoured by some means to prevent;
but as yet their methods have not been brought much into use.

I have a singular opinion on this subject, which I will venture to
communicate to you, though I doubt you will rank it among my whims.
It is certain that the skin has _imbibing_ as well as _discharging_
pores; witness the effects of a blistering plaister, &c. I have read
that a man, hired by a physician to stand by way of experiment in
the open air naked during a moist night, weighed near three pounds
heavier in the morning. I have often observed myself, that however
thirsty I may have been before going into the water to swim, I am
never long so in the water. These imbibing pores, however, are very
fine, perhaps fine enough in filtering to separate salt from water;
for though I have soaked (by swimming, when a boy) several hours in
the day for several days successively in salt-water, I never found
my blood and juices salted by that means, so as to make me thirsty
or feel a salt taste in my mouth: and it is remarkable, that the
flesh of sea fish, though bred in salt-water, is not salt.--Hence I
imagine, that if people at sea, distressed by thirst when their fresh
water is unfortunately spent, would make bathing-tubs of their empty
water-casks, and, filling them with sea-water, sit in them an hour or
two each day, they might be greatly relieved. Perhaps keeping their
clothes constantly wet might have an almost equal effect; and this
without danger of catching cold. Men do not catch cold by wet cloaths
at sea. Damp, but not wet linen may possibly give colds; but no one
catches cold by bathing, and no clothes can be wetter than water
itself. Why damp clothes should then occasion colds, is a curious
question, the discussion of which I reserve for a future letter, or
some future conversation.

Adieu, my little philosopher. Present my respectful compliments to
the good ladies your aunts, and to miss Pitt; and believe me ever

  Your affectionate friend,

  And humble Servant,



  _Tendency of Rivers to the Sea.--Effect of the Sun's Rays on Cloths
  of different Colours._

  _Sept. 20, 1761._


It is, as you observed in our late conversation, a very general
opinion, that _all rivers run into the sea_, or deposite their
waters there. 'Tis a kind of audacity to call such general opinions
in question, and may subject one to censure. But we must hazard
something in what we think the cause of truth: and if we propose our
objections modestly, we shall, though mistaken, deserve a censure
less severe, than when we are both mistaken and insolent.

That some rivers run into the sea is beyond a doubt: such, for
instance, are the Amazons, and I think the Oronoko and the
Mississippi. The proof is, that their waters are fresh quite to the
sea, and out to some distance from the land. Our question is, whether
the fresh waters of those rivers whose beds are filled with salt
water to a considerable distance up from the sea (as the Thames,
the Delaware, and the rivers that communicate with Chesapeak-bay in
Virginia) do ever arrive at the sea? And as I suspect they do not, I
am now to acquaint you with my reasons; or, if they are not allowed
to be reasons, my conceptions at least, of this matter.

The common supply of rivers is from springs, which draw their origin
from rain that has soaked into the earth. The union of a number of
springs forms a river. The waters as they run, exposed to the sun,
air, and wind, are continually evaporating. Hence in travelling one
may often see where a river runs, by a long blueish mist over it,
though we are at such a distance as not to see the river itself. The
quantity of this evaporation is greater or less, in proportion to
the surface exposed by the same quantity of water to those causes of
evaporation. While the river runs in a narrow confined channel in the
upper hilly country, only a small surface is exposed; a greater as
the river widens. Now if a river ends in a lake, as some do, whereby
its waters are spread so wide as that the evaporation is equal to
the sum of all its springs, that lake will never overflow:--And if
instead of ending in a lake, it was drawn into greater length as a
river, so as to expose a surface equal in the whole to that lake, the
evaporation would be equal, and such river would end as a canal; when
the ignorant might suppose, as they actually do in such cases, that
the river loses itself by running under ground, whereas in truth it
has run up into the air.

Now, many rivers that are open to the sea widen much before they
arrive at it, not merely by the additional waters they receive,
but by having their course stopped by the opposing flood-tide; by
being turned back twice in twenty-four hours, and by finding broader
beds in the low flat countries to dilate themselves in; hence the
evaporation of the fresh water is proportionably increased; so that
in some rivers it may equal the springs of supply. In such cases,
the salt water comes up the river, and meets the fresh in that part
where, if there were a wall or bank of earth across from side to
side, the river would form a lake, fuller indeed at some times than
at others, according to the seasons, but whose evaporation would, one
time with another, be equal to its supply.

When the communication between the two kinds of water is open, this
supposed wall of separation may be conceived as a moveable one, which
is not only pushed some miles higher up the river by every flood tide
from the sea, and carried down again as far by every tide of ebb,
but which has even this space of vibration removed nearer to the sea
in wet seasons, when the springs and brooks in the upper country are
augmented by the falling rains, so as to swell the river, and farther
from the sea in dry seasons.

Within a few miles above and below this moveable line of separation,
the different waters mix a little, partly by their motion to and fro,
and partly from the greater specific gravity of the salt water, which
inclines it to run under the fresh, while the fresh water, being
lighter, runs over the salt.

Cast your eye on the map of North America, and observe the bay of
Chesapeak in Virginia, mentioned above; you will see, communicating
with it by their mouths, the great rivers Sasquehanah, Potowmack,
Rappahanock, York, and James, besides a number of smaller streams,
each as big as the Thames. It has been proposed by philosophical
writers, that to compute how much water any river discharges into the
sea in a given time, we should measure its depth and swiftness at any
part above the tide; as, for the Thames, at Kingston or Windsor. But
can one imagine, that if all the water of those vast rivers went to
the sea, it would not first have pushed the salt water out of that
narrow-mouthed bay, and filled it with fresh?--The Sasquehanah alone
would seem to be sufficient for this, if it were not for the loss by
evaporation. And yet that bay is salt quite up to Annapolis.

As to our other subject, the different degrees of heat imbibed from
the sun's rays by cloths of different colours, since I cannot find
the notes of my experiment to send you, I must give it as well as I
can from memory.

But first let me mention an experiment you may easily make yourself.
Walk but a quarter of an hour in your garden when the sun shines,
with a part of your dress white, and a part black; then apply your
hand to them alternately, and you will find a very great difference
in their warmth. The black will be quite hot to the touch, the white
still cool.

Another. Try to fire the paper with a burning glass. If it is white,
you will not easily burn it;--but if you bring the focus to a black
spot, or upon letters, written or printed, the paper will immediately
be on fire under the letters.

Thus fullers and dyers find black cloths, of equal thickness with
white ones, and hung out equally wet, dry in the sun much sooner
than the white, being more readily heated by the sun's rays. It is
the same before a fire; the heat of which sooner penetrates black
stockings than white ones, and so is apt sooner to burn a man's
shins. Also beer much sooner warms in a black mug set before the
fire, than in a white one, or in a bright silver tankard.

My experiment was this. I took a number of little square pieces of
broad cloth from a taylor's pattern-card, of various colours. There
were black, deep blue, lighter blue, green, purple, red, yellow,
white, and other colours, or shades of colours. I laid them all out
upon the snow in a bright sun-shiny morning. In a few hours (I cannot
now be exact as to the time) the black, being warmed most by the sun,
was sunk so low as to be below the stroke of the sun's rays; the dark
blue almost as low, the lighter blue not quite so much as the dark,
the other colours less as they were lighter; and the quite white
remained on the surface of the snow, not having entered it at all.

What signifies philosophy that does not apply to some use?---May we
not learn from hence, that black clothes are not so fit to wear in a
hot sunny climate or season, as white ones; because in such clothes
the body is more heated by the sun when we walk abroad, and are at
the same time heated by the exercise, which double heat is apt to
bring on putrid dangerous fevers? That soldiers and seamen, who must
march and labour in the sun, should in the East or West Indies have
an uniform of white? That summer hats, for men or women, should be
white, as repelling that heat which gives head-achs to many, and to
some the fatal stroke that the French call the _coup de soleil?_ That
the ladies summer hats, however, should be lined with black, as not
reverberating on their faces those rays which are reflected upwards
from the earth or water? That the putting a white cap of paper or
linen _within_ the crown of a black hat, as some do, will not keep
out the heat, though it would if placed _without_. That fruit-walls
being blacked may receive so much heat from the sun in the day-time,
as to continue warm in some degree through the night, and thereby
preserve the fruit from frosts, or forward its growth?--with sundry
other particulars of less or greater importance, that will occur from
time to time to attentive minds?--I am,

  Yours affectionately,



  _On the Vis Inertiæ of Matter._

  _Philadelphia, 1748._


According to my promise, I send you _in writing_ my observations on
your book[18]: 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

I stumble at the threshold of the building, and therefore have not
read farther. The author's _vis inertiæ essential to 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 _such a 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 2 _c_, 3 _c_,
&c. or ½ _c_, ⅓ _c_, &c. respectively: also the _body_ doubled,
tripled, or halved, thirded, will be 2 _a_, 3 _a_, or ½ _a_, ⅓ _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 2 _c_, requires _twice
that force_ to be impressed upon it, &c." Here I suspect some mistake
creeps in by the author's not distinguishing between a great force
applied at once, or a small one continually applied, to a mass of
matter, in order to move it. I think it is generally allowed 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 ½ _c_, ⅓ _c_, ¼ _c_, ⅕ _c_, &c. you can never come
to a fraction of velocity that is equal to 0 _c_, 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 inertiæ, 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,
equal to the sun and to one another, exactly equipoised in Jove's
balance; suppose no friction in the centre 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 it is 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 produced by the
musketo, without whom those globes would not be moved at all.--What
then does vis inertiæ do in this case? and what other effect could
we expect _if there were no such thing_? Surely if it were 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

Our author would have reasoned more clearly, I think, if, as he has
used the letter _a_ for a certain quantity of matter, and _c_ for a
certain quantity of celerity, he had employed 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 multiplied 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_ moves _a_ with _c_, there must needs be required 2 _f_ to
move _a_ with 2 _c_; for _a_ moving with 2 _c_ would have a force
equal to 2 _f_, which it could not receive from 1 _f_; and this, not
because there is such a thing as vis inertiæ, for the case would be
the same _if that had no existence_; but because nothing _can_ give
more than it has, if 1 _f_ can to 1 _a_ give 1 _c_, which is the
same thing as giving it 1 _f_; (i. e. if force applied to matter at
rest, can put it in motion, and give it _equal_ force) where then is
vis inertiæ? 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 makes a certain
resistance, &c. A body as 2 _a_ 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 2 _a_ moved
by the force 1 _f_ (though the eye may judge otherwise of it) does
really move with the same celerity as it did when impelled by the
same force; for 2 _a_ is compounded of 1 _a_ + 1 _a_: and if each of
the 1 _a_'s or each part of the compound were made to move with 1 _c_
(as they might be by 2 _f_) then the whole would move with 2 _c_, and
not with 1 _c_, as our author supposes. But 1 _f_ applied to 2 _a_,
makes each _a_ move with ½ _c_; and so the whole moves with 1 _c_;
exactly the same as 1 _a_ was made to do by 1 _f_ before. What is
equal celerity but a _measuring the same space by moving bodies in
the same time_?--Now if 1 _a_ impelled by 1 _f_ measures 100 yards
in a minute; and in 2 _a_ impelled by 1 _f_, each _a_ measures 50
yards in a minute, which added make 100; are not the celerities 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
unimpaired, 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 number I find him observing: "We may easily conceive that a body
as 3 _a_, 4 _a_, &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 3 _a_, each _a_ requires 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 3
_a_ moving with 3 _f_ and 3 _c?_ After so distinct an observation,
how could he miss of the consequence, and imagine that 1 _c_ and 3
_c_ were the same? Thus as our author's abatement of celerity in the
case of 2 _a_ moved by 1 _f_ is imaginary, so must be his additional
resistance.--And here again, I am at a loss to discover any effect of
the vis inertiæ.

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 inertiæ? would not the effect be the same
_if there were no such thing_? A force 1 _f_ strikes a body 1 _a_,
and moves it with the celerity 1 _c_, i. e. with the force 1 _f_: It
requires, even according to our author, only an opposing 1 _f_ to
stop it. But ought it not (if there were a vis inertiæ) to have not
only the force 1 _f_, but an additional force equal to the force of
vis inertiæ, 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 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 applied.
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 inertiæ, nor any effect of it. It is allowed by all, that a body
1 _a_ moving with a velocity 1 _c_, and a force 1 _f_ _striking
another_ body 1 _a_ at rest, they will afterwards _move on together_,
each with ½ _c_ and ½ _f_; which, as I said before, is equal in the
whole to 1 _c_ and 1 _f_. If vis inertiæ, 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_
[i.e. _theist_] has 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. Whitfield seems to suppose; where (in
his journal) he tells us, "_M. B. was a deist, I had almost said an
atheist_;" that is, _chalk_, I had almost said _charcoal_.

The din of the market[19] increases 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

  Your humble servant,



[18] Baxter's Inquiry into the Nature of the Human Soul. B. V.

[19] Philadelphia market, in which Dr. Franklin lived. B. V.


  _On the different Strata of the Earth._

  _Craven-Street, Jan. 6, 1758._


I return you Mr. Mitchell's paper on the strata of the earth[20] with
thanks. The reading of it, and perusal of the draft that accompanies
it, have reconciled me to those convulsions which all naturalists
agree this globe has suffered. Had the different strata of clay,
gravel, marble, coals, lime-stone, sand, minerals, &c. continued to
lie level, one under the other, as they may be supposed to have done
before those convulsions, we should have had the use only of a few
of the uppermost of the strata, the others lying too deep and too
difficult to be come at; but the shell of the earth being broke,
and the fragments thrown into this oblique position, the disjointed
ends of a great number of strata of different kinds are brought up
to day, and a great variety of useful materials put into our power,
which would otherwise have remained eternally concealed from us. So
that what has been usually looked upon as a _ruin_ suffered by this
part of the universe, was, in reality, only a preparation, or means
of rendering the earth more fit for use, more capable of being to
mankind a convenient and comfortable habitation.

  I am, Sir, with great esteem, yours, &c.



[20] See this paper afterwards printed in the _Philosophical


  Occasioned by his sending me some notes he had taken of what I had
  said to him in conversation on the Theory of the Earth. I wrote
  it to set him right in some points wherein he had mistaken my

  _Passy, September 22, 1782._


I return the papers with some corrections. I did not find coal mines
under the calcareous rock in Derbyshire. I only remarked, that at
the lowest part of that rocky mountain which was in sight, there
were oyster shells mixed in the stone; and part of the high county
of Derby being probably as much above the level of the sea, as the
coal mines of Whitehaven were below it, seemed a proof, that there
had been a great _bouleversement_ in the surface of that island, some
part of it having been depressed under the sea, and other parts,
which had been under it, being raised above it. Such changes in the
superficial parts of the globe, seemed to me unlikely to happen,
if the earth were solid to the centre. I therefore imagined, that
the internal parts might be a fluid more dense, and of greater
specific gravity than any of the solids we are acquainted with, which
therefore might swim in or upon that fluid. Thus the surface of the
globe would be a shell, capable of being broken and disordered by
the violent movements of the fluid on which it rested. And as air
has been compressed by art so as to be twice as dense as water, in
which case, if such air and water could be contained in a strong
glass vessel, the air would be seen to take the lowest place, and
the water to float above and upon it; and as we know not yet the
degree of density to which air may be compressed, and M. Amontons
calculated, that its density increasing as it approached the centre,
in the same proportion as above the surface, it would at the depth of
[___] leagues, be heavier than gold, possibly the dense fluid occupying
the internal parts of the globe might be air compressed. And as the
force of expansion in dense air when heated is in proportion to its
density, this central air might afford another agent to move the
surface, as well as be of use in keeping alive the subterraneous
fires; though, as you observe, the sudden rarefaction of water coming
into contact without those fires, may also be an agent sufficiently
strong for that purpose, when acting between the incumbent earth and
the fluid on which it rests.

If one might indulge imagination in supposing how such a globe
was formed, I should conceive, that all the elements in separate
particles being originally mixed in confusion, and occupying a great
space, they would (as soon as the almighty fiat ordained gravity,
or the mutual attraction of certain parts, and the mutual repulsion
of others, to exist) all move to their common centre: that the air
being a fluid whose parts repel each other, though drawn to the
common centre by their gravity, would be densest towards the centre,
and rarer as more remote; consequently all matters lighter than the
central parts of that air, and immersed in it, would recede from
the centre, and rise till they arrived at that region of the air
which was of the same specific gravity with themselves, where they
would rest; while other matter, mixed with the lighter air, would
descend, and the two meeting would form the shell of the first earth,
leaving the upper atmosphere nearly clear. The original movement of
the parts towards their common centre would naturally form a whirl
there; which would continue upon the turning of the new-formed globe
upon its axis, and the greatest diameter of the shell would be in its
equator. If by any accident afterwards the axis should be changed,
the dense internal fluid, by altering its form, must burst the shell,
and throw all its substance into the confusion in which we find it. I
will not trouble you at present with my fancies concerning the manner
of forming the rest of our system. Superior beings smile at our
theories, and at our presumption in making them. I will just mention,
that your observation of the ferruginous nature of the lava which is
thrown out from the depths of our volcanoes, gave me great pleasure.
It has long been a supposition of mine, that the iron contained in
the surface of the globe has made it capable of becoming, as it is,
a great magnet; that the fluid of magnetism perhaps exists in all
space; so that there is a magnetical north and south of the universe,
as well as of this globe, and that if it were possible for a man to
fly from star to star, he might govern his course by the compass;
that it was by the power of this general magnetism this globe became
a particular magnet. In soft or hot iron the fluid of magnetism is
naturally diffused equally; when within the influence of the magnet
it is drawn to one end of the iron, made denser there and rarer
at the other. While the iron continues soft and hot, it is only a
temporary magnet; if it cools or grows hard in that situation, it
becomes a permanent one, the magnetic fluid not easily resuming its
equilibrium. Perhaps it may be owing to the permanent magnetism of
this globe, which it had not at first, that its axis is at present
kept parallel to itself, and not liable to the changes it formerly
suffered, which occasioned the rupture of its shell, the submersions
and emersions of its lands and the confusion of its seasons. The
present polar and equatorial diameters differing from each other
near ten leagues, it is easy to conceive, in case some power should
shift the axis gradually, and place it in the present equator, and
make the new equator pass through the present poles, what a sinking
of the waters would happen in the present equatorial regions, and
what a rising in the present polar regions; so that vast tracts would
be discovered, that now are under water, and others covered, that
are now dry, the water rising and sinking in the different extremes
near five leagues. Such an operation as this possibly occasioned
much of Europe, and among the rest this Mountain of Passy on which I
live, and which is composed of limestone, rock and sea-shells, to be
abandoned by the sea, and to change its ancient climate, which seems
to have been a hot one. The globe being now become a perfect magnet,
we are, perhaps, safe from any change of its axis. But we are still
subject to the accidents on the surface, which are occasioned by a
wave in the internal ponderous fluid; and such a wave is producible
by the sudden violent explosion you mention, happening from the
junction of water and fire under the earth, which not only lifts
the incumbent earth that is over the explosion, but impressing with
the same force the fluid under it, creates a wave, that may run a
thousand leagues, lifting, and thereby shaking, successively, all
the countries under which it passes. I know not, whether I have
expressed myself so clearly, as not to get out of your sight in
these reveries. It they occasion any new enquiries, and produce a
better hypothesis, they will not be quite useless. You see I have
given a loose to imagination; but I approve much more your method
of philosophising, which proceeds upon actual observation, makes
a collection of facts, and concludes no farther than those facts
will warrant. In my present circumstances, that mode of studying
the nature of the globe is out of my power, and therefore I have
permitted myself to wander a little in the wilds of fancy. With great

  I have the honour to be, Sir, &c.


_P. S._ I have heard, that chymists can by their art decompose stone
and wood, extracting a considerable quantity of water from the one,
and air from the other. It seems natural to conclude from this, that
water and air were ingredients in their original composition: for
men cannot make new matter of any kind. In the same manner may we
not suppose, that when we consume combustibles of all kinds, and
produce heat or light, we do not create that heat or light; but only
decompose a substance, which received it originally as a part of its
composition? Heat may be thus considered as originally in a fluid
state; but, attracted by organized bodies in their growth, becomes a
part of the solid. Besides this, I can conceive, that in the first
assemblage of the particles of which this earth is composed, each
brought its portion of the loose heat that had been connected with
it, and the whole, when pressed together, produced the internal fire
that still subsists.


[21] In an American periodical publication, this paper is said to
have been so endorsed in Dr. Franklin's hand. We extract the paper
itself, from the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society,
where it was read Nov. 21, 1788. The two papers that follow it are
from the same work, and were read in the Society the preceding day,
and the other Jan. 15, 1790. _Editor._


  _New and curious Theory of Light and Heat._

  [No date.]

Universal space, as far as we know of it, seems to be filled with a
subtle fluid, whose motion, or vibration, is called light.

This fluid may possibly be the same with that, which, being attracted
by, and entering into other more solid matter, dilates the substance
by separating the constituent particles, and so rendering some solids
fluid, and maintaining the fluidity of others; of which fluid, when
our bodies are totally deprived, they are said to be frozen; when
they have a proper quantity, they are in health, and fit to perform
all their functions; it is then called natural heat; when too much,
it is called fever; and when forced into the body in too great a
quantity from without, it gives pain, by separating and destroying
the flesh, and is then called burning, and the fluid so entering and
acting is called fire.

While organised bodies, animal or vegetable, are augmenting in
growth, or are supplying their continual waste, is not this done by
attracting and consolidating this fluid called fire, so as to form
of it a part of their substance? And is it not a separation of the
parts of such substance, which, dissolving its solid state, sets that
subtle fluid at liberty, when it again makes its appearance as fire?

For the power of man relative to matter, seems limited to the
separating or mixing the various kinds of it, or changing its form
and appearance by different compositions of it; but does not extend
to the making or creating new matter, or annihilating the old. Thus,
if fire be an original element or kind of matter, its quantity is
fixed and permanent in the universe. We cannot destroy any part of
it, or make addition to it; we can only separate it from that which
confines it, and so set it at liberty; as when we put wood in a
situation to be burnt, or transfer it from one solid to another, as
when we make lime by burning stone, a part of the fire dislodged
in the fuel being left in the stone. May not this fluid, when at
liberty, be capable of penetrating and entering into all bodies,
organised or not, quitting easily in totality those not organised,
and quitting easily in part those which are; the part assumed and
fixed remaining till the body is dissolved?

Is it not this fluid which keeps asunder the particles of air,
permitting them to approach, or separating them more, in proportion
as its quantity is diminished or augmented?

Is it not the greater gravity of the particles of air, which forces
the particles of this fluid to mount with the matters to which it is
attached, as smoke or vapour?

Does it not seem to have a greater affinity with water, since it will
quit a solid to unite with that fluid, and go off with it in vapour,
leaving the solid cold to the touch, and the degree measurable by the

The vapour rises attached to this fluid, but at a certain height they
separate, and the vapour descends in rain, retaining but little of
it, in snow or hail less. What becomes of that fluid? Does it rise
above our atmosphere, and mix with the universal mass of the same

Or does a spherical stratum of it, denser, as less mixed with air,
attracted by this globe, and repelled or pushed up only to a certain
height from its surface, by the greater weight of air, remain there
surrounding the globe, and proceeding with it round the sun?

In such case, as there may be a continuity or communication of this
fluid through the air quite down to the earth, is it not by the
vibrations given to it, by the sun, that light appears to us? And
may it not be, that every one of the infinitely small vibrations,
striking common matter with a certain force, enters its substance,
is held there by attraction, and augmented by succeeding vibrations,
till the matter has received as much as their force can drive into it?

Is it not thus, that the surface of this globe is continually heated
by such repeated vibrations in the day, and cooled by the escape of
the heat when those vibrations are discontinued in the night, or
intercepted and reflected by clouds?

Is it not thus, that fire is amassed and makes the greatest part of
the substance of combustible bodies?

Perhaps, when this globe was first formed, and its original particles
took their place at certain distances from the centre, in proportion
to their greater or less gravity, the fluid fire, attracted towards
that centre, might in great part be obliged, as lightest, to take
place above the rest, and thus form the sphere of fire above
supposed, which would afterwards be continually diminishing by the
substance it afforded to organised bodies, and the quantity restored
to it again, by the burning or other separating of the parts of those

Is not the natural heat of animals thus produced, by separating in
digestion the parts of food, and setting their fire at liberty?

Is it not this sphere of fire which kindles the wandering globes that
sometimes pass through it in our course round the sun, have their
surface kindled by it, and burst when their included air is greatly
rarefied by the heat on their burning surfaces?

May it not have been from such considerations that the ancient
philosophers supposed a sphere of fire to exist above the air of our



  _Queries and Conjectures relating to Magnetism and the Theory of
  the Earth._

  [No date.]


I received your favours by Messrs. Gore, Hilliard, and Lee, with
whose conversation I was much pleased, and wished for more of it; but
their stay with us was too short. Whenever you recommend any of your
friends to me, you oblige me.

I want to know whether your Philosophical Society received the
second volume of our Transactions. I sent it, but never heard of its
arriving. If it miscarried, I will send another. Has your Society
among its books the French work _Sur les Arts, et les Metiers_? It
is voluminous, well executed, and may be useful in our country. I
have bequeathed it them in my will; but if they have it already, I
will substitute something else.

Our ancient correspondence used to have something philosophical in
it. As you are now more free from public cares, and I expect to be so
in a few months, why may we not resume that kind of correspondence?
Our much regretted friend Winthrop once made me the compliment, that
I was good at starting game for philosophers, let me try if I can
start a little for you.

Has the question, how came the earth by its magnetism, ever been

Is it likely that _iron ore_ immediately existed when this globe was
first formed; or may it not rather be supposed a gradual production
of time?

If the earth is at present magnetical, in virtue of the masses of
iron ore contained in it, might not some ages pass before it had
magnetic polarity?

Since iron ore may exist without that polarity, and by being placed
in certain circumstances may obtain it, from an external cause, is
it not possible that the earth received its magnetism from some such

In short, may not a magnetic power exist throughout our system,
perhaps through all systems, so that if men could make a voyage in
the starry regions, a compass might be of use? And may not such
universal magnetism, with its uniform direction, be serviceable in
keeping the diurnal revolution of a planet more steady to the same

Lastly, as the poles of magnets may be changed by the presence of
stronger magnets, might not, in ancient times, the near passing of
some large comet of greater magnetic power than this globe of ours
have been a means of changing its poles, and thereby wrecking and
deranging its surface, placing in different regions the effect of
centrifugal force, so as to raise the waters of the sea in some,
while they were depressed in others?

Let me add another question or two, not relating indeed to magnetism,
but, however, to the theory of the earth.

Is not the finding of great quantities of shells and bones of animals
(natural to hot climates) in the cold ones of our present world,
some proof that its poles have been changed? Is not the supposition
that the poles have been changed, the easiest way of accounting for
the deluge, by getting rid of the old difficulty how to dispose of
its waters after it was over? Since if the poles were again to be
changed, and placed in the present equator, the sea would fall there
about fifteen miles in height, and rise as much in the present polar
regions; and the effect would be proportionable if the new poles were
placed any where between the present and the equator.

Does not the apparent wreck of the surface of this globe, thrown up
into long ridges of mountains, with strata in various positions, make
it probable, that its internal mass is a fluid; but a fluid so dense
as to float the heaviest of our substances? Do we know the limit of
condensation air is capable of? Supposing it to grow denser _within_
the surface, in the same proportion nearly as it does _without_, at
what depth may it be equal in density with gold?

Can we easily conceive how the strata of the earth could have been
so deranged, if it had not been a mere shell supported by a heavier
fluid? Would not such a supposed internal fluid globe be immediately
sensible of a change in the situation of the earth's axis, alter its
form, and thereby burst the shell, and throw up parts of it above
the rest? As, if we would alter the position of the fluid contained
in the shell of an egg, and place its longest diameter where the
shortest now is, the shell must break; but would be much harder to
break; if the whole internal substance were as solid and hard as the

Might not a wave, by any means raised in this supposed internal ocean
of extremely dense fluid, raise in some degree, as it passes, the
present shell of incumbent earth, and break it in some places, as in
earthquakes? And may not the progress of such wave, and the disorders
it occasions among the solids of the shell, account for the rumbling
sound being first heard at a distance, augmenting as it approaches,
and gradually dying away as it proceeds? A circumstance observed by
the inhabitants of South America in their last great earthquake, that
noise coming from a place, some degrees north of Lima, and being
traced by enquiry quite down to Buenos Ayres, proceeded regularly
from north to south at the rate of [___] leagues per minute, as I was
informed by a very ingenious Peruvian whom I met with at Paris.



  _On the Nature of Sea Coal[22]._

**** I am persuaded, as well as you, that the sea coal has a
vegetable origin, and that it has been formed near the surface of
the earth; but as preceding convulsions of nature had served to bring
it very deep in many places, and covered it with many different
strata, we are indebted to subsequent convulsions for having brought
within our view the extremities of its veins, so as to lead us to
penetrate the earth in search of it. I visited last summer a large
coal-mine at Whitehaven, in Cumberland; and in following the vein
and descending by degrees towards the sea, I penetrated below the
ocean, where the level of its surface was more than eight hundred
fathom above my head, and the miners assured me, that their works
extended some miles beyond the place where I then was, continually
and gradually descending under the sea. The slate, which forms the
roof of this coal mine, is impressed in many places with the figures
of leaves and branches of fern, which undoubtedly grew at the surface
when the slate was in the state of sand on the banks of the sea.
Thus it appears that this vein of coal has suffered a prodigious
settlement. ****



[22] Retranslated from the French edition of Dr. Franklin's works.


  _Effect of Vegetation on noxious Air._

**** That the vegetable creation should restore the air which is
spoiled by the animal part of it, looks like a rational system, and
seems to be of a piece with the rest. Thus fire purifies water all
the world over. It purifies it by distillation, when it raises it in
vapours, and lets it fall in rain; and farther still by filtration,
when, keeping it fluid, it suffers that rain to percolate the
earth. We knew before, that putrid animal substances were converted
into sweet vegetables, when mixed with the earth, and applied as
manure; and now, it seems, that the same putrid substances, mixed
with the air, have a similar effect. The strong thriving state of
your mint, in putrid air, seems to shew, that the air is mended
by taking something from it, and not by adding to it. I hope this
will give some check to the rage of destroying trees that grow near
houses, which has accompanied our late improvements in gardening,
from an opinion of their being unwholesome. I am certain, from long
observation, that there is nothing unhealthy in the air of woods; for
we Americans have every where our country habitations in the midst
of woods, and no people on earth enjoy better health, or are more
prolific. ****



[23] This extract is taken from Dr. Priestley's Experiments on
Air, Vol. I. page 94. It was written in answer to a note from Dr.
Priestley, informing our author of the result of certain experiments
on some plants which he had seen at Dr. Priestley's house in a very
flourishing state, in jars of highly noxious air. _Editor._


  _On the Inflammability of the Surface of certain Rivers in America._

  _Craven-street, April 10, 1774._


In compliance with your request, I have endeavoured to recollect the
circumstances of the American experiments I formerly mentioned to
you, of raising a flame on the surface of some waters there.

When I passed through New Jersey in 1764, I heard it several times
mentioned, that by applying a lighted candle near the surface of
some of their rivers, a sudden flame would catch and spread on the
water, continuing to burn for near half a minute. But the accounts I
received were so imperfect, that I could form no guess at the cause
of such an effect, and rather doubted the truth of it. I had no
opportunity of seeing the experiment; but calling to see a friend who
happened to be just returning home from making it himself, I learned
from him the manner of it; which was to choose a shallow place,
where the bottom could be reached by a walking-stick, and was muddy;
the mud was first to be stirred with the stick, and when a number
of small bubbles began to arise from it, the candle was applied.
The flame was so sudden and so strong, that it catched his ruffle
and spoiled it, as I saw. New Jersey having many pine-trees in many
parts of it, I then imagined that something like a volatile oil of
turpentine might be mixed with the waters from a pine-swamp, but this
supposition did not quite satisfy me. I mentioned the fact to some
philosophical friends on my return to England, but it was not much
attended to. I suppose I was thought a little too credulous.

In 1765, the Reverend Dr. Chandler received a letter from Dr.
Finley, President of the College in that province, relating the
same experiment. It was read at the Royal Society, November 21 of
that year, but not printed in the Transactions; perhaps because
it was thought too strange to be true, and some ridicule might be
apprehended, if any member should attempt to repeat it, in order to
ascertain, or refute it. The following is a copy of that account.

"A worthy gentleman, who lives at a few miles distance, informed
me, that in a certain small cove of a mill-pond, near his house, he
was surprized to see the surface of the water blaze like inflamed
spirits. I soon after went to the place, and made the experiment with
the same success. The bottom of the creek was muddy, and when stirred
up, so as to cause a considerable curl on the surface, and a lighted
candle held within two or three inches of it, the whole surface was
in a blaze, as instantly as the vapour of warm inflammable spirits,
and continued, when strongly agitated, for the space of several
seconds. It was at first imagined to be peculiar to that place; but
upon trial it was soon found, that such a bottom in other places
exhibited the same phenomenon. The discovery was accidentally made by
one belonging to the mill."

I have tried the experiment twice here in England, but without
success. The first was in a slow running water with a muddy bottom.
The second in a stagnant water at the bottom of a deep ditch. Being
some time employed in stirring this water, I ascribed an intermitting
fever, which seized me a few days after, to my breathing too much of
that foul air, which I stirred up from the bottom, and which I could
not avoid while I stooped, endeavouring to kindle it. The discoveries
you have lately made, of the manner in which inflammable air is in
some cases produced, may throw light on this experiment, and explain
its succeeding in some cases, and not in others. With the highest
esteem and respect,

I am, dear Sir, your most obedient humble servant,



[24] From his Experiments on Air, Vol. I. page 321. _Editor._


  _On the different Quantities of Rain which fall at different
  Heights over the same Ground._

  [No date.]

On my return to London I found your favour of the 16th of May (1771).
I wish I could, as you desire, give you a better explanation of the
phenomenon in question, since you seem not quite satisfied with your
own; but I think we want more and a greater variety of experiments,
in different circumstances, to enable us to form a thoroughly
satisfactory hypothesis. Not that I make the least doubt of the facts
already related, as I know both Lord Charles Cavendish, and Dr.
Heberden to be very accurate experimenters: but I wish to know the
event of the trials proposed in your six queries; and also, whether
in the same place where the lower vessel receives nearly twice the
quantity of water that is received by the upper, a third vessel
placed at half the height will receive a quantity proportionable. I
will however endeavour to explain to you what occurred to me, when I
first heard of the fact.

I suppose it will be generally allowed, on a little consideration
of the subject, that scarce any drop of water was, when it began to
fall from the clouds, of a magnitude equal to that it has acquired,
when it arrives at the earth; the same of the several pieces of
hail; because they are often so large and so weighty, that we
cannot conceive a possibility of their being suspended in the air,
and remaining at rest there, for any time, how small soever; nor do
we conceive any means of forming them so large, before they set out
to fall. It seems then, that each beginning drop, and particle of
hail, receives continual addition in its progress downwards. This
may be several ways: by the union of numbers in their course, so
that what was at first only descending mist, becomes a shower; or
by each particle, in its descent through air that contains a great
quantity of dissolved water, striking against, attaching to itself,
and carrying down with it such particles of that dissolved water, as
happen to be in its way; or attracting to itself such as do not lie
directly in its course by its different state with regard either to
common or electric fire; or by all these causes united.

In the first case, by the uniting of numbers, larger drops might be
made, but the quantity falling in the same place would be the same at
all heights; unless, as you mention, the whole should be contracted
in falling, the lines described by all the drops converging, so
that what set out to fall from a cloud of many thousand acres,
should reach the earth in perhaps a third of that extent, of which I
somewhat doubt. In the other cases we have two experiments.

1. A dry glass bottle filled with very cold water, in a warm day,
will presently collect from the seemingly dry air that surrounds
it a quantity of water, that shall cover its surface and run down
its sides, which perhaps is done by the power wherewith the cold
water attracts the fluid, common fire that had been united with the
dissolved water in the air, and drawing the fire through the glass
into itself, leaves the water on the outside.

2. An electrified body left in a room for some time, will be more
covered with dust than other bodies in the same room not electrified,
which dust seems to be attracted from the circumambient air.

Now we know that the rain, even in our hottest days, comes from a
very cold region. Its falling sometimes in the form of ice, shows
this clearly; and perhaps even the rain is snow or ice, when it first
moves downwards, though thawed in falling: and we know that the
drops of rain are often electrified: but those causes of addition to
each drop of water, or piece of hail, one would think could not long
continue to produce the same effect; since the air, through which the
drops fall, must soon be stripped of its previously dissolved water,
so as to be no longer capable of augmenting them. Indeed very heavy
showers, of either, are never of long continuance; but moderate rains
often continue so long as to puzzle this hypothesis: so that upon the
whole I think, as I intimated before, that we are yet hardly ripe for
making one. ****



[25] This letter is taken from the Memoirs of the Literary and
Philosophical Society of Manchester, Vol. II. page 126. It was
communicated by the person to whom it is addressed, and was read
in the Society, January 21, 1784, as an appendix to a paper by Dr.
Percival on the same subject. _Editor._


  _Proposing a slowly sensible Hygrometer for certain Purposes._

  _Passy, near Paris, Nov. 13, 1780._


The qualities hitherto sought in a hygrometer, or instrument to
discover the degrees of moisture and dryness in the air, seem to
have been, an aptitude to receive humidity readily from a moist
air, and to part with it is as readily to a dry air. Different
substances have been found to possess more or less of this quality;
but when we shall have found the substance that has it in the
greatest perfection, there will still remain some uncertainty in the
conclusions to be drawn from the degree shown by the instrument,
arising from the actual state of the instrument itself as to heat and
cold. Thus, if two bottles or vessels of glass or metal being filled,
the one with cold and the other with hot water, are brought into
a room, the moisture of the air in the room will attach itself in
quantities to the surface of the cold vessel, while if you actually
wet the surface of the hot vessel, the moisture will immediately quit
it, and be absorbed by the same air. And thus, in a sudden change of
the air from cold to warm, the instrument remaining longer cold may
condense and absorb more moisture, and mark the air as having become
more humid than it is in reality, and the contrary in a change from
warm to cold.

But if such a suddenly changing instrument could be freed from
these imperfections, yet when the design is to discover the
different degrees of humidity in the air of different countries,
I apprehend the quick sensibility of the instrument to be rather
a disadvantage; since, to draw the desired conclusions from it, a
constant and frequent observation day and night in each country will
be necessary for a year or years, and the mean of each different
set of observations is to be found and determined. After all which
some uncertainty will remain respecting the different degrees of
exactitude with which different persons may have made and taken
notes of their observations.

For these reasons, I apprehend that a substance which, though capable
of being distended by moisture and contracted by dryness, is so
slow in receiving and parting with its humidity, that the frequent
changes in the atmosphere have not time to affect it sensibly, and
which therefore should gradually take nearly the medium of all
those changes and preserve it constantly, would be the most proper
substance of which to make such an hygrometer.

Such an instrument, you, my dear sir, though without intending it,
have made for me; and I, without desiring or expecting it, have
received from you. It is therefore with propriety that I address to
you the following account of it; and the more, as you have both a
head to contrive and a hand to execute the means of perfecting it.
And I do this with greater pleasure, as it affords me the opportunity
of renewing that antient correspondence and acquaintance with you,
which to me was always so pleasing and so instructive.

You may possibly remember, that in or about the year 1758, you made
for me a set of artificial magnets, six in number, each five and
a half inches long, half an inch broad, and one eighth of an inch
thick. These, with two pieces of soft iron, which together equalled
one of the magnets, were inclosed in a little box of mahogany wood,
the grain of which ran with, and not across, the length of the box:
and the box was closed by a little shutter of the same wood, the
grain of which ran across the box; and the ends of this shutting
piece were bevelled so as to fit and slide in a kind of dovetail
groove when the box was to be shut or opened.

I had been of opinion, that good mahogany wood was not affected by
moisture so as to change its dimensions, and that it was always to
be found as the tools of the workman left it. Indeed the difference
at different times in the same country is so small as to be scarcely
in a common way observable. Hence the box, which was made so as to
allow sufficient room for the magnets to slide out and in freely,
and, when in, afforded them so much play that by shaking the box one
could make them strike the opposite sides alternately, continued in
the same state all the time I remained in England, which was four
years, without any apparent alteration. I left England in August
1762, and arrived at Philadelphia in October the same year. In a few
weeks after my arrival, being desirous of showing your magnets to a
philosophical friend, I found them so tight in the box, that it was
with difficulty I got them out; and constantly during the two years I
remained there, viz. till November 1764, this difficulty of getting
them out and in continued. The little shutter too, as wood does not
shrink lengthways of the grain, was found too long to enter its
grooves, and, not being used, was mislaid and lost; and I afterwards
had another made that fitted.

In December 1764 I returned to England, and after some time I
observed that my box was become full big enough for my magnets, and
too wide for my new shutter; which was so much too short for its
grooves, that it was apt to fall out; and to make it keep in, I
lengthened it by adding to each end a little coat of sealing-wax.

I continued in England more than ten years, and during all that time,
after the first change, I perceived no alteration. The magnets had
the same freedom in their box, and the little shutter continued with
the added sealing-wax to fit its grooves, till some weeks after my
second return to America.

As I could not imagine any other cause for this change of dimensions
in the box, when in the different countries, I concluded, first
generally that the air of England was moister than that of America.
And this I supposed an effect of its being an island, where every
wind that blew must necessarily pass over some sea before it arrived,
and of course lick up some vapour. I afterwards indeed doubted
whether it might be just only so far as related to the city of
London, where I resided; because there are many causes of moisture in
the city air, which do not exist to the same degree in the country;
such as the brewers' and dyers' boiling caldrons, and the great
number of pots and tea-kettles continually on the fire, sending forth
abundance of vapour; and also the number of animals who by their
breath continually increase it; to which may be added, that even the
vast quantity of sea coals burnt there, do in kindling discharge a
great deal of moisture.

When I was in England, the last time, you also made for me a little
achromatic pocket telescope, the body was brass, and it had a round
case (I think of thin wood) covered with shagrin. All the while
I remained in England, though possibly there might be some small
changes in the dimensions of this case, I neither perceived nor
suspected any. There was always comfortable room for the telescope
to slip in and out. But soon after I arrived in America, which was
in May 1775, the case became too small for the instrument, it was
with much difficulty and various contrivances that I got it out, and
I could never after get it in again, during my stay there, which
was eighteen months. I brought it with me to Europe, but left the
case as useless, imagining that I should find the continental air of
France as dry as that of Pennsylvania, where my magnet box had also
returned a second time to its narrowness, and pinched the pieces, as
heretofore, obliging me too, to scrape the sealing-wax off the ends
of the shutter.

I had not been long in France, before I was surprised to find, that
my box was become as large as it had always been in England, the
magnets entered and came out with the same freedom, and, when in,
I could rattle them against its sides; this has continued to be
the case without sensible variation. My habitation is out of Paris
distant almost a league, so that the moist air of the city cannot be
supposed to have much effect upon the box. I am on a high dry hill,
in a free air, as likely to be dry as any air in France. Whence it
seems probable that the air of England in general may, as well as
that of London, be moister than the air of America, since that of
France is so, and in a part so distant from the sea.

The greater dryness of the air in America appears from some other
observations. The cabinet work formerly sent us from London, which
consisted in thin plates of fine wood glued upon fir, never would
stand with us; the vaneering, as those plates are called, would get
loose and come off; both woods shrinking, and their grains often
crossing, they were forever cracking and flying. And in my electrical
experiments there, it was remarkable, that a mahogany table, on which
my jars stood under the prime conductor to be charged, would often be
so dry, particularly when the wind had been some time at north-west,
which with us is a very drying wind, as to isolate the jars, and
prevent their being charged till I had formed a communication between
their coatings and the earth. I had a like table in London, which I
used for the same purpose all the time I resided there; but it was
never so dry as to refuse conducting the electricity.

Now what I would beg leave to recommend to you, is, that you would
recollect, if you can, the species of mahogany of which you made
my box, for you know there is a good deal of difference in woods
that go under that name; or if that cannot be, that you would take
a number of pieces of the closest and finest grained mahogany that
you can meet with, plane them to the thinness of about a line, and
the width of about two inches across the grain, and fix each of the
pieces in some instrument that you can contrive, which will permit
them to contract and dilate, and will show, in sensible degrees, by
a moveable hand upon a marked scale, the otherwise less sensible
quantities of such contraction and dilatation. If these instruments
are all kept in the same place while making, and are graduated
together while subject to the same degrees of moisture or dryness,
I apprehend you will have so many comparable hygrometers, which,
being sent into different countries, and continued there for some
time, will find and show there the mean of the different dryness
and moisture of the air of those countries, and that with much less
trouble than by any hygrometer hitherto in use.

  With great esteem, I am,

  Dear Sir, your most obedient,

  And most humble servant,



[26] This letter is taken from the Transactions of the American
Philosophical Society, in which it was read, January 26, 1786.


  _Relating a curious Instance of the Effect of Oil on Water._

  _Philadelphia, Dec. 1, 1762._


During our passage to Madeira, the weather being warm, and the cabin
windows constantly open for the benefit of the air, the candles
at night flared and run very much, which was an inconvenience. At
Madeira, we got oil to burn, and with a common glass tumbler or
beaker, slung in wire, and suspended to the cieling of the cabin, and
a little wire hoop for the wick, furnished with corks to float on the
oil, I made an Italian lamp, that gave us very good light all over
the table.--The glass at bottom contained water to about one third of
its height; another third was taken up with oil; the rest was left
empty that the sides of the glass might protect the flame from the
wind. There is nothing remarkable in all this; but what follows is
particular. At supper, looking on the lamp, I remarked, that though
the surface of the oil was perfectly tranquil, and duly preserved
its position and distance with regard to the brim of the glass, the
water under the oil was in great commotion, rising and falling in
irregular waves, which continued during the whole evening. The lamp
was kept burning as a watch light all night, till the oil was spent,
and the water only remained. In the morning I observed, that though
the motion of the ship continued the same, the water was now quiet,
and its surface as tranquil as that of the oil had been the evening

At night again, when oil was put upon it, the water resumed its
irregular motions, rising in high waves almost to the surface of the
oil, but without disturbing the smooth level of that surface. And
this was repeated every day during the voyage.

Since my arrival in America, I have repeated the experiment
frequently thus. I have put a pack-thread round a tumbler, with
strings of the same, from each side, meeting above it in a knot at
about a foot distance from the top of the tumbler. Then putting in
as much water as would fill about one third part of the tumbler, I
lifted it up by the knot, and swung it to and fro in the air; when
the water appeared to keep its place in the tumbler as steadily as if
it had been ice. But pouring gently in upon the water about as much
oil, and then again swinging it in the air as before, the tranquility
before possessed by the water, was transferred to the surface of the
oil, and the water under it was agitated with the same commotions as
at sea.

I have shewn this experiment to a number of ingenious persons. Those
who are but slightly acquainted with the principles of hydrostatics,
&c. are apt to fancy immediately that they understand it, and readily
attempt to explain it; but their explanations have been different,
and to me not very intelligible. Others, more deeply skilled in those
principles, seem to wonder at it, and promise to consider it. And I
think it is worth considering: for a new appearance, if it cannot
be explained by our old principles, may afford us new ones, of use
perhaps in explaining some other obscure parts of natural knowledge.

  I am, &c.



[27] Dr. Pringle. _Editor._

  _Of the Stilling of Waves by Means of Oil. Extracted from Sundry
  Letters between Benjamin Franklin, L. L. D. F. R. S. William
  Brownrigg, M. D. F. R. S. and the Rev. Mr. Farish._

  Read at the Royal Society, June 2, 1774.

_Extract of a Letter from Dr. Brownrigg to Dr. Franklin, dated
Ormathwait, January 27, 1773._

By the enclosed from an old friend, a worthy clergyman at Carlisle,
whose great learning and extensive knowledge in most sciences would
have more distinguished him, had he been placed in a more conspicuous
point of view, you will find, that he had heard of your experiment on
Derwent Lake, and has thrown together what he could collect on that
subject; to which I have subjoined one experiment from the relation
of another gentleman.

_Extract of a Letter from the Rev. Mr. Farish, to Dr. Brownrigg._

I some time ago met with Mr. Dun, who surprised me with an account of
an experiment you had tried upon the Derwent Water, in company with
Sir John Pringle and Dr. Franklin. According to his representation,
the water, which had been in great agitation before, was instantly
calmed upon pouring in only a very small quantity of oil, and that
to so great a distance round the boat as seemed incredible. I have
since had the same accounts from others, but I suspect all of a
little exaggeration. Pliny mentions this property of oil as known
particularly to the divers, who made use of it in his days, in order
to have a more steady light at the bottom.[28] The sailors, I have
been told, have observed something of the same kind in our days, that
the water is always remarkably smoother, in the wake of a ship that
has been newly tallowed, than it is in one that is foul. Mr. Pennant
also mentions an observation of the like nature made by the seal
catchers in Scotland. _Brit. Zool._ Vol. IV. _Article_ Seal. When
these animals are devouring a very oily fish, which they always do
under water, the waves alone are observed to be remarkably smooth,
and by this mark the fishermen know where to look for them. Old Pliny
does not usually meet with all the credit I am inclined to think he
deserves. I shall be glad to have an authentic account of the Keswick
experiment, and if it comes up to the representations that have been
made of it, I shall not much hesitate to believe the old gentleman in
another more wonderful phenomenon he relates of stilling a tempest
only by throwing up a little vinegar into the air.

_Extract of a Letter to Dr. Brownrigg from Dr. Franklin._

  _London Nov. 7, 1773._


I thank you for the remarks of your learned friend at Carlisle. I
had, when a youth, read and smiled at Pliny's account of a practice
among the seamen of his time, to still the waves in a storm by
pouring oil into the sea; which he mentions, as well as the use
made of oil by the divers; but the stilling a tempest by throwing
vinegar into the air had escaped me. I think with your friend, that
it has been of late too much the mode to slight the learning of the
ancients. The learned, too, are apt to slight too much the knowledge
of the vulgar. The cooling by evaporation was long an instance of the
latter. This art of smoothing the waves by oil is an instance of both.

Perhaps you may not dislike to have an account of all I have heard,
and learnt, and done in this way. Take it if you please as follows.

In 1757, being at sea in a fleet of 96 sail bound against Louisbourg,
I observed the wakes of two of the ships to be remarkably smooth,
while all the others were ruffled by the wind, which blew fresh.
Being puzzled with the differing appearance, I at last pointed it out
to our captain, and asked him the meaning of it. "The cooks," says
he, "have, I suppose, been just emptying their greasy water through
the scuppers, which has greased the sides of those ships a little;"
and this answer he gave me with an air of some little contempt, as
to a person ignorant of what every body else knew. In my own mind
I at first slighted his solution, though I was not able to think
of another, but recollecting what I had formerly read in Pliny, I
resolved to make some experiment of the effect of oil on water, when
I should have opportunity.

Afterwards being again at sea in 1762, I first observed the wonderful
quietness of oil on agitated water, in the swinging glass lamp I made
to hang up in the cabin, as described in my printed papers[29]. This
I was continually looking at and considering, as an appearance to me
inexplicable. An old sea captain, then a passenger with me, thought
little of it, supposing it an effect of the same kind with that of
oil put on water to smooth it, which he said was a practice of the
Bermudians when they would strike fish, which they could not see, if
the surface of the water was ruffled by the wind. This practice I had
never before heard of, and was obliged to him for the information;
though I thought him mistaken as to the sameness of the experiment,
the operations being different as well as the effects. In one
case, the water is smooth till the oil is put on, and then becomes
agitated. In the other it is agitated before the oil is applied, and
then becomes smooth. The same gentleman told me, he had heard it was
a practice with the fisherman of Lisbon when about to return into the
river (if they saw before them too great a surf upon the bar, which
they apprehended might fill their boats in passing) to empty a bottle
or two of oil into the sea, which would suppress the breakers, and
allow them to pass safely. A confirmation of this I have not since
had an opportunity of obtaining: but discoursing of it with another
person, who had often been in the Mediterranean, I was informed,
that the divers there, who, when under water in their business, need
light, which the curling of the surface interrupts by the refractions
of so many little waves, let a small quantity of oil now and then out
of their mouths, which rising to the surface smooths it, and permits
the light to come down to them. All these informations I at times
revolved in my mind, and wondered to find no mention of them in our
books of experimental philosophy.

At length being at Clapham, where there is, on the common, a large
pond, which I observed one day to be very rough with the wind, I
fetched out a cruet of oil, and dropt a little of it on the water.
I saw it spread itself with surprising swiftness upon the surface;
but the effect of smoothing the waves was not produced; for I had
applied it first on the leeward side of the pond, where the waves
were largest, and the wind drove my oil back upon the shore. I
then went to the windward side where they began to form; and there
the oil, though not more than a tea spoonful, produced an instant
calm over a space several yards square, which spread amazingly,
and extended itself gradually till it reached the lee side, making
all that quarter of the pond, perhaps half an acre, as smooth as a

After this I contrived to take with me, whenever I went into the
country, a little oil in the upper hollow joint of my bamboo cane,
with which I might repeat the experiment as opportunity should offer,
and I found it constantly to succeed.

In these experiments, one circumstance struck me with particular
surprise. This was the sudden, wide and forcible spreading of a drop
of oil on the face of the water, which I do not know that any body
has hitherto considered. If a drop of oil is put on a highly polished
marble table, or on a looking-glass that lies horizontally, the drop
remains in its place, spreading very little. But when put on water,
it spreads instantly many feet round, becoming so thin as to produce
the prismatic colours, for a considerable space, and beyond them so
much thinner as to be invisible, except in its effect of smoothing
the waves at a much greater distance. It seems as if a mutual
repulsion between its particles took place as soon as it touched the
water, and a repulsion so strong as to act on other bodies swimming
on the surface, as straw, leaves, chips, &c. forcing them to recede
every way from the drop, as from a centre, leaving a large clear
space. The quantity of this force, and the distance to which it
will operate, I have not yet ascertained; but I think it a curious
enquiry, and I wish to understand whence it arises.

In our journey to the north, when we had the pleasure of seeing you
at Ormathwaite, we visited the celebrated Mr. Smeaton, near Leeds.
Being about to show him the smoothing experiment on a little pond
near his house, an ingenious pupil of his, Mr. Jessop, then present,
told us of an odd appearance on that pond, which had lately occurred
to him. He was about to clean a little cup in which he kept oil, and
he threw upon the water some flies that had been drowned in the oil.
These flies presently began to move, and turned round on the water
very rapidly, as if they were vigorously alive, though on examination
he found they were not so. I immediately concluded that the motion
was occasioned by the power of the repulsion above mentioned, and
that the oil issuing gradually from the spungy body of the fly
continued the motion. He found some more flies drowned in oil, with
which the experiment was repeated before us. To show that it was not
any effect of life recovered by the flies, I imitated it by little
bits of oiled chips and paper cut in the form of a comma, of the size
of a common fly; when the stream of repelling particles issuing from
the point made the comma turn round the contrary way. This is not a
chamber experiment; for it cannot be well repeated in a bowl or dish
of water on a table. A considerable surface of water is necessary to
give room for the expansion of a small quantity of oil. In a dish of
water, if the smallest drop of oil be let fall in the middle, the
whole surface is presently covered with a thin greasy film proceeding
from the drop; but as soon as that film has reached the sides of the
dish, no more will issue from the drop, but it remains in the form
of oil, the sides of the dish putting a stop to its dissipation by
prohibiting the farther expansion of the film.

Our friend Sir John Pringle, being soon after in Scotland, learned
there, that those employed in the herring-fishery could at a distance
see where the shoals of herrings were, by the smoothness of the water
over them, which might possibly be occasioned, he thought, by some
oiliness proceeding from their bodies.

A gentleman from Rhode-island told me, it had been remarked, that the
harbour of Newport was ever smooth while any whaling vessels were
in it; which probably arose from hence, that the blubber which they
sometimes bring loose in the hold, or the leakage of their barrels,
might afford some oil, to mix with that water, which from time to
time they pump out to keep their vessel free, and that some oil might
spread over the surface of the water in the harbour, and prevent the
forming of any waves.

This prevention I would thus endeavour to explain.

There seems to be no natural repulsion between water and air, such as
to keep them from coming into contact with each other. Hence we find
a quantity of air in water; and if we extract it by means of the
air-pump, the same water, again exposed to the air, will soon imbibe
an equal quantity.

Therefore air in motion, which is wind, in passing over the smooth
surface of water, may rub, as it were, upon that surface, and raise
it into wrinkles, which, if the wind continues, are the elements of
future waves.

The smallest wave once raised does not immediately subside, and leave
the neighbouring water quiet: but in subsiding raises nearly as much
of the water next to it, the friction of the parts making little
difference. Thus a stone dropped in a pool raises first a single wave
round itself; and leaves it, by sinking to the bottom; but that first
wave subsiding raises a second, the second a third, and so on in
circles to a great extent.

A small power continually operating will produce a great action. A
finger applied to a weighty suspended bell can at first move it but
little; if repeatedly applied, though with no greater strength, the
motion increases till the bell swings to its utmost height, and with
a force that cannot be resisted by the whole strength of the arm and
body. Thus the small first-raised waves, being continually acted upon
by the wind, are, though the wind does not increase in strength,
continually increased in magnitude, rising higher and extending their
bases, so as to include a vast mass of water in each wave, which in
its motion acts with great violence.

But if there be a mutual repulsion between the particles of oil, and
no attraction between oil and water, oil dropped on water will not be
held together by adhesion to the spot whereon it falls; it will not
be imbibed by the water; it will be at liberty to expand itself; and
it will spread on a surface that, besides being smooth to the most
perfect degree of polish, prevents, perhaps by repelling the oil,
all immediate contact, keeping it at a minute distance from itself;
and the expansion will continue till the mutual repulsion between
the particles of the oil is weakened and reduced to nothing by their

Now I imagine that the wind, blowing over water thus covered with
a film of oil, cannot easily _catch_ upon it, so as to raise the
first wrinkles, but slides over it, and leaves it smooth as it finds
it. It moves a little the oil indeed, which being between it and
the water, serves it to slide with, and prevents friction, as oil
does between those parts of a machine, that would otherwise rub
hard together. Hence the oil dropped on the windward side of a pond
proceeds gradually to leeward, as may be seen by the smoothness it
carries with it, quite to the opposite side. For the wind being thus
prevented from raising the first wrinkles, that I call the elements
of waves, cannot produce waves, which are to be made by continually
acting upon, and enlarging those elements, and thus the whole pond is

Totally therefore we might suppress the waves in any required place,
if we could come at the windward place where they take their rise.
This in the ocean can seldom if ever be done. But perhaps something
may be done on particular occasions, to moderate the violence of the
waves when we are in the midst of them, and prevent their breaking
where that would be inconvenient.

For when the wind blows fresh, there are continually rising on the
back of every great wave a number of small ones, which roughen its
surface, and give the wind hold, as it were, to push it with greater
force. This hold is diminished, by preventing the generation of
those small ones. And possibly too, when a wave's surface is oiled,
the wind, in passing over it, may rather in some degree press
it down, and contribute to prevent it, rising again, instead of
promoting it.

This as mere conjecture would have little weight, if the apparent
effects of pouring oil into the midst of waves were not considerable,
and as yet not otherwise accounted for.

When the wind blows so fresh, as that the waves are not sufficiently
quick in obeying its impulse, their tops being thinner and lighter
are pushed forward, broken, and turned over in a white foam. Common
waves lift a vessel without entering it; but these when large
sometimes break above and pour over it, doing great damage.

That this effect might in any degree be prevented, or the height
and violence of waves in the sea moderated, we had no certain
account; Pliny's authority for the practice of seamen in his time
being slighted. But discoursing lately on this subject with his
excellency Count Bentinck, of Holland, his son the honourable Captain
Bentinck, and the learned professor Allemand (to all whom I showed
the experiment of smoothing in a windy day the large piece of water
at the head of the Green Park) a letter was mentioned, which had
been received by the Count from Batavia, relative to the saving of a
Dutch ship in a storm by pouring oil into the sea. I much desired to
see that letter, and a copy of it was promised me, which I afterward


[28] Note by Dr. Brownrigg.

Sir Gilfred Lawson, who served long in the army at Gibraltar,
assures me, that the fishermen in that place are accustomed to pour
a little oil on the sea, in order to still its motion, that they may
be enabled to see the oysters lying at its bottom; which are there
very large, and which they take up with a proper instrument. This
Sir Gilfred had often seen there performed, and said the same was
practised on other parts of the Spanish coast.

[29] See the preceding paper. _Editor._

_Extract of a Letter from Mr. Tengnagel to Count Bentinck, dated at
Batavia, the 5th of January, 1770._

"Near the islands Paul and Amsterdam, we met with a storm, which had
nothing particular in it worthy of being communicated to you, except
that the captain found himself obliged for greater safety in wearing
the ship, to pour oil into the sea, to prevent the waves breaking
over her, which had an excellent effect, and succeeded in preserving
us. As he poured out but a little at a time, the East India Company
owes perhaps its ship to only six demi-ames of oil-olive. I was
present upon deck when this was done; and I should not have mentioned
this circumstance to you, but that we have found people here so
prejudiced against the experiment, as to make it necessary for the
officers on board and myself to give a certificate of the truth on
this head, of which we made no difficulty."

On this occasion, I mentioned to Captain Bentinck, a thought
which had occurred to me in reading the voyages of our late
circumnavigators, particularly where accounts are given of pleasant
and fertile islands which they much desired to land upon, when
sickness made it more necessary, but could not effect a landing
through a violent surf breaking on the shore, which rendered it
impracticable. My idea was, that possibly by sailing to and fro at
some distance from such lee-shore, continually pouring oil into the
sea, the waves might be so much depressed, and lessened before they
reached the shore, as to abate the height and violence of the surf,
and permit a landing; which, in such circumstances, was a point of
sufficient importance to justify the expense of the oil that might
be requisite for the purpose. That gentleman, who is ever ready
to promote what may be of public utility, though his own ingenious
inventions have not always met with the countenance they merited, was
so obliging as to invite me to Portsmouth, where an opportunity would
probably offer, in the course of a few days, of making the experiment
on some of the shores about Spithead, in which he kindly proposed
to accompany me, and to give assistance with such boats as might be
necessary. Accordingly, about the middle of October last, I went with
some friends to Portsmouth; and a day of wind happening, which made
a lee-shore between Haslar-hospital and the point near Jillkecker,
we went from the Centaur with the long-boat and barge towards that
shore. Our disposition was this: the long-boat was anchored about a
quarter of a mile from the shore; part of the company were landed
behind the point (a place more sheltered from the sea) who came
round and placed themselves opposite to the long-boat, where they
might observe the surf, and note if any change occurred in it upon
using the oil. Another party, in the barge, plied to windward of the
long-boat, as far from her as she was from the shore, making trips
of about half a mile each, pouring oil continually out of a large
stone-bottle, through a hole in the cork, somewhat bigger than a
goose-quill. The experiment had not, in the main point, the success
we wished, for no material difference was observed in the height or
force of the surf upon the shore; but those who were in the long-boat
could observe a tract of smoothed water, the whole of the distance in
which the barge poured the oil, and gradually spreading in breadth
towards the long-boat. I call it smoothed, not that it was laid
level; but because, though the swell continued, its surface was not
roughened by the wrinkles, or smaller waves, before-mentioned; and
none or very few white caps (or waves whose tops turn over in foam)
appeared in that whole space, though to windward and leeward of it
there were plenty; and a wherry, that came round the point under
sail, in her way to Portsmouth, seemed to turn into that tract of
choice, and to use it from end to end, as a piece of turnpike-road.

It may be of use to relate the circumstances of an experiment that
does not succeed, since they may give hints of amendment in future
trials: it is therefore I have been thus particular. I shall only add
what I apprehend may have been the reason of our disappointment.

I conceive, that the operation of oil on water is, first, to prevent
the raising of new waves by the wind; and, secondly, to prevent its
pushing those before raised with such force, and consequently their
continuance of the same repeated height, as they would have done, if
their surface were not oiled. But oil will not prevent waves being
raised by another power, by a stone, for instance, falling into a
still pool; for they then rise by the mechanical impulse of the
stone, which the greasiness on the surrounding water cannot lessen
or prevent, as it can prevent the winds catching the surface and
raising it into waves. Now waves once raised, whether by the wind or
any other power, have the same mechanical operation, by which they
continue to rise and fall, as a _pendulum_ will continue to swing,
a long time after the force ceases to act by which the motion was
first produced: that motion will, however, cease in time; but time
is necessary. Therefore, though oil spread on an agitated sea may
weaken the push of the wind on those waves whose surfaces are covered
by it, and so, by receiving less fresh impulse, they may gradually
subside; yet a considerable time, or a distance through which they
will take time to move, may be necessary to make the effect sensible
on any shore in a diminution of the surf: for we know, that when
wind ceases suddenly, the waves it has raised do not as suddenly
subside, but settle gradually, and are not quite down till after the
wind has ceased. So though we should, by oiling them, take off the
effect of wind on waves already raised, it is not to be expected
that those waves should be instantly levelled. The motion they have
received will, for some time, continue; and if the shore is not far
distant, they arrive there so soon, that their effect upon it will
not be visibly diminished. Possibly, therefore, if we had begun our
operations at a greater distance, the effect might have been more
sensible. And perhaps we did not pour oil in sufficient quantity.
Future experiments may determine this.

I was, however, greatly obliged to Captain Bentinck, for the chearful
and ready aids he gave me: and I ought not to omit mentioning Mr.
Banks, Dr. Solander, General Carnoc, and Dr. Blagden, who all
assisted at the experiment, during that blustering unpleasant day,
with a patience and activity that could only be inspired by a zeal
for the improvement of knowledge, such especially as might possibly
be of use to men in situations of distress.

I would wish you to communicate this to your ingenious friend, Mr.
Farish, with my respects; and believe me to be, with sincere esteem,

  Dear Sir,

  Your most obedient, humble servant,



  _On the Difference of Navigation in shoal and deep Water._

  _Craven-street, May 10, 1768._


You may remember, that when, we were travelling together in Holland,
you remarked, that the trackschuyt in one of the stages went slower
than usual, and enquired of the boatman, what might be the reason;
who answered, that it had been a dry season, and the water in the
canal was low. On being again asked if it was so low as that the boat
touched the muddy bottom; he said, no, not so low as that, but so
low as to make it harder for the horse to draw the boat. We neither
of us at first could conceive that if there was water enough for
the boat to swim clear of the bottom, its being deeper would make
any difference; but as the man affirmed it seriously as a thing
well known among them; and as the punctuality required in their
stages was likely to make such difference, if any there were, more
readily observed by them, than by other watermen who did not pass so
regularly and constantly backwards and forwards in the same track; I
began to apprehend there might be something in it, and attempted to
account for it from this consideration, that the boat in proceeding
along the canal, must in every boat's length of her course, move out
of her way a body of water, equal in bulk to the room her bottom took
up in the water; that the water so moved must pass on each side of
her and under her bottom to get behind her; that if the passage under
her bottom was straitened by the shallows, more of that water must
pass by her sides, and with a swifter motion, which would retard her,
as moving the contrary way; or that the water becoming lower behind
the boat than before, she was pressed back by the weight of its
difference in height, and her motion retarded by having that weight
constantly to overcome. But as it is often lost time to attempt
accounting for uncertain facts, I determined to make an experiment of
this when I should have convenient time and opportunity.

After our return to England, as often as I happened to be on the
Thames, I enquired of our watermen whether they were sensible of any
difference in rowing over shallow or deep water. I found them all
agreeing in the fact, that there was a very great difference, but
they differed widely in expressing the quantity of the difference;
some supposing it was equal to a mile in six, others to a mile in
three, &c. As I did not recollect to have met with any mention of
this matter in our philosophical books, and conceiving that if
the difference should really be great, it might be an object of
consideration in the many projects now on foot for digging new
navigable canals in this island, I lately put my design of making
the experiment in execution, in the following manner.

I provided a trough of plained boards fourteen feet long, six inches
wide and six inches deep, in the clear, filled with water within half
an inch of the edge, to represent a canal. I had a loose board of
nearly the same length and breadth, that, being put into the water,
might be sunk to any depth, and fixed by little wedges where I would
chuse to have it stay, in order to make different depths of water,
leaving the surface at the same height with regard to the sides of
the trough. I had a little boat in form of a lighter or boat of
burthen, six inches long, two inches and a quarter wide, and one inch
and a quarter deep. When swimming, it drew one inch water. To give
motion to the boat, I fixed one end of a long silk thread to its
bow, just even with the water's edge, the other end passed over a
well-made brass pully, of about an inch diameter, turning freely on a
small axis; and a shilling was the weight. Then placing the boat at
one end of the trough, the weight would draw it through the water to
the other.

Not having a watch that shows seconds, in order to measure the time
taken up by the boat in passing from end to end, I counted as fast
as I could count to ten repeatedly, keeping an account of the number
of tens on my fingers. And as much as possible to correct any little
inequalities in my counting, I repeated the experiment a number of
times at each depth of water, that I might take the medium. And the
following are the results.

        Water 1½ inches deep.      2 inches.         4½ inches.
  1st exp.       100                  94                 79
  2              104                  93                 78
  3              104                  91                 77
  4              106                  87                 79
  5              100                  88                 79
  6               99                  86                 80
  7              100                  90                 79
  8              100                  88                 81
                ----                ----               ----
                 813                 717                632
                ----                ----               ----
          Medium 101           Medium 89          Medium 79

I made many other experiments, but the above are those in which I was
most exact; and they serve sufficiently to show that the difference
is considerable. Between the deepest and shallowest it appears to
be somewhat more than one fifth. So that supposing large canals and
boats and depths of water to bear the same proportions, and that four
men or horses would draw a boat in deep water four leagues in four
hours, it would require five to draw the same boat in the same time
as far in shallow water; or four would require five hours.

Whether this difference is of consequence enough to justify a greater
expence in deepening canals, is a matter of calculation, which our
ingenious engineers in that way will readily determine. I am, &c.



  _Containing sundry Maritime Observations._

  At Sea, on board the London Packet, Capt. Truxton.

  _Aug. 1785._


Your learned writings on the navigation of the antients, which
contain a great deal of curious information, and your very ingenious
contrivances for improving the modern sails (_voilure_) of which
I saw with great pleasure a successful trial on the river Seine,
have induced me to submit to your consideration and judgment, some
thoughts I have had on the latter subject.

Those mathematicians, who have endeavoured to improve the swiftness
of vessels, by calculating to find the form of least resistance, seem
to have considered a ship as a body moving through one fluid only,
the water; and to have given little attention to the circumstance
of her moving through another fluid, the air. It is true that when
a vessel sails right before the wind, this circumstance is of no
importance, because the wind goes with her; but in every deviation
from that course, the resistance of the air is something, and becomes
greater in proportion as that deviation increases. I wave at present
the consideration of those different degrees of resistance given by
the air to that part of the hull which is above water, and confine
myself to that given to the sails; for their motion through the air
is resisted by the air, as the motion of the hull through the
water is resisted by the water, though with less force as the air is
a lighter fluid. And to simplify the discussion as much as possible,
I would state one situation only, to wit, that of the wind upon the
beam, the ship's course being directly across the wind; and I would
suppose the sail set in an angle of 45 degrees with the keel, as in
the following figure; wherein (Plate VI, Fig. 1.)


  _Plate VI._      MARITIME OBSERVATIONS.      _Vol. II. page 163._

_Published as the Act directs, April 1, 1806, by Longman, Hurst, Rees
& Orme, Paternoster Row._]

A B represents the body of the vessel, C D the position of the sail,
EEE the direction of the wind, MM the line of motion. In observing
this figure it will appear, that so much of the body of the vessel
as is immersed in the water must, to go forward, remove out of its
way what water it meets with between the pricked lines FF. And the
sail, to go forward, must move out of its way all the air its whole
dimension meets with between the pricked lines CG and DG. Thus both
the fluids give resistance to the motion, each in proportion to the
quantity of matter contained in the dimension to be removed. And
though the air is vastly lighter than the water, and therefore more
easily removed, yet the dimension being much greater its effect is
very considerable.

It is true that in the case stated, the resistance given by the air
between those lines to the motion of the sail is not apparent to the
eye, because the greater force of the wind, which strikes it in the
direction EEE, overpowers its effect, and keeps the sail full in the
curve a, a, a, a, a. But suppose the wind to cease, and the vessel in
a calm to be impelled with the same swiftness by oars, the sail would
then appear filled in the contrary curve b, b, b, b, b, when prudent
men would immediately perceive, that the air resisted its motion,
and would order it to be taken in.

Is there any possible means of diminishing this resistance, while
the same quantity of sail is exposed to the action of the wind, and
therefore the same force obtained from it? I think there is, and
that it may be done by dividing the sail into a number of parts, and
placing those parts in a line one behind the other; thus instead of
one sail extending from C to D, figure 2, if four sails containing
together the same quantity of canvas, were placed as in figure 3,
each having one quarter of the dimensions of the great sail, and
exposing a quarter of its surface to the wind, would give a quarter
of the force; so that the whole force obtained from the wind would be
the same, while the resistance from the air would be nearly reduced
to the space between the pricked lines _a b_ and _c d_, before the
foremost sail.

It may perhaps be doubted whether the resistance from the air would
be so diminished; since possibly each of the following small sails
having also air before it, which must be removed, the resistance on
the whole would be the same.

This is then a matter to be determined by experiment. I will mention
one that I many years since made with success for another purpose;
and I will propose another small one easily made. If that too
succeeds, I should think it worth while to make a larger, though at
some expense, on a river boat; and perhaps time, and the improvements
experience will afford, may make it applicable with advantage to
larger vessels.

Having near my kitchen chimney a round hole of eight inches diameter,
through which was a constant steady current of air, increasing or
diminishing only as the fire increased or diminished, I contrived
to place my jack so as to receive that current; and taking off the
flyers, I fixed in their stead on the same pivot a round tin plate of
nearly the same diameter with the hole; and having cut it in radial
lines almost to the centre, so as to have six equal vanes, I gave to
each of them the obliquity of forty-five degrees. They moved round,
without the weight, by the impression only of the current of air,
but too slowly for the purpose of roasting. I suspected that the air
struck by the back of each vane might possibly by its resistance
retard the motion; and to try this, I cut each of them into two, and
I placed the twelve, each having the same obliquity, in a line behind
each other, when I perceived a great augmentation in its velocity,
which encouraged me to divide them once more, and, continuing the
same obliquity, I placed the twenty-four behind each other in a line,
when the force of the wind being the same, and the surface of vane
the same, they moved round with much greater rapidity, and perfectly
answered my purpose.

The second experiment that I propose, is, to take two playing cards
of the same dimensions, and cut one of them transversely into eight
equal pieces; then with a needle string them upon two threads one
near each end, and place them so upon the threads that, when hung up,
they may be one exactly over the other, at a distance equal to their
breadth, each in a horizontal position; and let a small weight, such
as a bird-shot, be hung under them, to make them fall in a straight
line when let loose. Suspend also the whole card by threads from
its four corners, and hang to it an equal weight, so as to draw
it downwards when let fall, its whole breadth pressing against the
air. Let those two bodies be attached, one of them to one end of a
thread a yard long, the other to the other end. Extend a twine under
the ceiling of a room, and put through it at thirty inches distance
two pins bent in the form of fish-hooks. On these two hooks hang
the two bodies, the thread that connects them extending parallel to
the twine, which thread being cut, they must begin to fall at the
same instant. If they take equal time in falling to the floor, it
is a proof that the resistance of the air is in both cases equal.
If the whole card requires a longer time, it shows that the sum of
the resistances to the pieces of the cut card is not equal to the
resistance of the whole one[31].

This principle so far confirmed, I would proceed to make a larger
experiment, with a shallop, which I would rig in this manner. (Plate
VI. Fig. 4.)

A B is a long boom, from which are hoisted seven jibs, a, b, c, d,
e, f, g, each a seventh part of the whole dimensions, and as much
more as will fill the whole space when set in an angle of forty-five
degrees, so that they may lap when going before the wind, and hold
more wind when going large. Thus rigged, when going right before the
wind, the boom should be brought at right angles with the keel, by
means of the sheet ropes C D, and all the sails hauled flat to the

These positions of boom and sails to be varied as the wind quarters.
But when the wind is on the beam, or when you would turn to
windward, the boom is to be hauled right fore and aft, and the sails
trimmed according as the wind is more or less against your course.

It seems to me, that the management of a shallop so rigged would be
very easy, the sails being run up and down separately, so that more
or less sail may be made at pleasure; and I imagine, that there being
full as much sail exposed to the force of the wind which impels the
vessel in its course, as if the whole were in one piece, and the
resistance of the dead air against the foreside of the sail being
diminished, the advantage of swiftness would be very considerable;
besides that the vessel would lie nearer the wind.

Since we are on the subject of improvements in navigation, permit
me to detain you a little longer with a small relative observation.
Being, in one of my voyages, with ten merchant-ships under convoy
of a frigate at anchor in Torbay, waiting for a wind to go to the
westward; it came fair, but brought in with it a considerable swell.
A signal was given for weighing, and we put to sea all together; but
three of the ships left their anchors, their cables parting just as
the anchors came a-peak. Our cable held, and we got up our anchor;
but the shocks the ship felt before the anchor got loose from the
ground, made me reflect on what might possibly have caused the
breaking of the other cables; and I imagined it might be the short
bending of the cable just without the hause-hole, from a horizontal
to an almost vertical position, and the sudden violent jerk it
receives by the rising of the head of the ship on the swell of a wave
while in that position. For example, suppose a vessel hove up so as
to have her head nearly over her anchor, which still keeps its hold,
perhaps in a tough bottom; if it were calm, the cable still out would
form nearly a perpendicular line, measuring the distance between the
hause-hole and the anchor; but if there is a swell, her head in the
trough of the sea will fall below the level, and when lifted on the
wave will be much above it. In the first case the cable will hang
loose and bend perhaps as in figure 5. In the second case, figure 6,
the cable will be drawn straight with a jerk, must sustain the whole
force of the rising ship, and must either loosen the anchor, resist
the rising force of the ship, or break. But why does it break at the

Let us suppose it a cable of three inches diameter, and represented
by figure 7. If this cable is to be bent round the corner A, it is
evident that either the part of the triangle contained between the
letters a, b, c, must stretch considerably, and those most that are
nearest the surface; or that the parts between d, e, f, must be
compressed; or both, which most probably happens. In this case the
lower half of the thickness affords no strength against the jerk, it
not being strained, the upper half bears the whole, and the yarns
near the upper surface being first and most strained, break first,
and the next yarns follow; for in this bent situation they cannot
bear the strain all together, and each contributes its strength to
the whole, as they do when the cable is strained in a straight line.

To remedy this, methinks it would be well to have a kind of large
pulley wheel, fixed in the hause-hole, suppose of two feet diameter,
over which the cable might pass; and being there bent gradually to
the round of the wheel, would thereby be more equally strained, and
better able to bear the jerk, which may save the anchor, and by that
means in the course of the voyage may happen to save the ship.

One maritime observation more shall finish this letter. I have been a
reader of news-papers now near seventy years, and I think few years
pass without an account of some vessel met with at sea, with no
living soul on board, and so many feet of water in her hold, which
vessel has nevertheless been saved and brought into port: and when
not met with at sea, such forsaken vessels have often come ashore
on some coast. The crews, who have taken to their boats and thus
abandoned such vessels, are sometimes met with and taken up at sea by
other ships, sometimes reach a coast, and are sometimes never heard
of. Those that give an account of quitting their vessels generally
say, that she sprung a leak, that they pumped for some time, that
the water continued to rise upon them, and that, despairing to save
her, they had quitted her lest they should go down with her. It
seems by the event that this fear was not always well founded, and
I have endeavoured to guess at the reason of the people's too hasty

When a vessel springs a leak near her bottom, the water enters with
all the force given by the weight of the column of water, without,
which force is in proportion to the difference of level between the
water without and that within. It enters therefore with more force
at first and in greater quantity, than it can afterwards when the
water within is higher. The bottom of the vessel too is narrower,
so that the same quantity of water coming into that narrow part,
rises faster than when the space for it to flow in is larger. This
helps to terrify. But as the quantity entering is less and less as
the surfaces without and within become more nearly equal in height,
the pumps that could not keep the water from rising at first, might
afterwards be able to prevent its rising higher, and the people might
have remained on board in safety, without hazarding themselves in an
open boat on the wide ocean.(Fig. 8.)

Besides the greater equality in the height of the two surfaces, there
may sometimes be other causes that retard the farther sinking of a
leaky vessel. The rising water within may arrive at quantities of
light wooden work, empty chests, and particularly empty water-casks,
which if fixed so as not to float themselves may help to sustain her.
Many bodies which compose a ship's cargo may be specifically lighter
than water, all these when out of water are an additional weight to
that of the ship, and she is in proportion pressed deeper into the
water; but as soon as these bodies are immersed, they weigh no longer
on the ship, but on the contrary, if fixed, they help to support her,
in proportion as they are specifically lighter than the water. And
it should be remembered, that the largest body of a ship may be so
balanced in the water, that an ounce less or more of weight may leave
her at the surface or sink her to the bottom. There are also certain
heavy cargoes, that, when the water gets at them, are continually
dissolving, and thereby lightening the vessel, such as salt and
sugar. And as to water-casks mentioned above, since the quantity of
them must be great in ships of war where the number of men consume a
great deal of water every day, if it had been made a constant rule to
bung them up as fast as they were emptied, and to dispose the empty
casks in proper situations, I am persuaded that many ships which
have been sunk in engagements, or have gone down afterwards, might
with the unhappy people have been saved; as well as many of those
which in the last war foundered, and were never heard of. While on
this topic of sinking, one cannot help recollecting the well known
practice of the Chinese, to divide the hold of a great ship into a
number of separate chambers by partitions tight caulked (of which you
gave a model in your boat upon the Seine) so that if a leak should
spring in one of them the others are not affected by it; and though
that chamber should fill to a level with the sea, it would not be
sufficient to sink the vessel. We have not imitated this practice.
Some little disadvantage it might occasion in the stowage is perhaps
one reason, though that I think might be more than compensated by an
abatement in the insurance that would be reasonable, and by a higher
price taken of passengers, who would rather prefer going in such
a vessel. But our seafaring people are brave, despise danger, and
reject such precautions of safety, being cowards only in one sense,
that of _fearing_ to be _thought afraid_.

I promised to finish my letter with the last observation, but the
garrulity of the old man has got hold of me, and as I may never have
another occasion of writing on this subject, I think I may as well
now, once for all, empty my nautical budget, and give you all the
thoughts that have in my various long voyages occurred to me relating
to navigation. I am sure that in you they will meet with a candid
judge, who will excuse my mistakes on account of my good intention.

There are six accidents that may occasion the loss of ships at
sea. We have considered one of them, that of foundering by a
leak. The other five are, 1. Oversetting by sudden flaws of wind,
or by carrying sail beyond the bearing. 2. Fire by accident or
carelessness. 3. A heavy stroke of lightning, making a breach in the
ship, or firing the powder. 4. Meeting and shocking with other ships
in the night. 5. Meeting in the night with islands of ice.

To that of oversetting, privateers in their first cruize have, as
far as has fallen within my knowledge or information, been more
subject than any other kind of vessels. The double desire of being
able to overtake a weaker flying enemy, or to escape when pursued
by a stronger, has induced the owners to overmast their cruizers,
and to spread too much canvass; and the great number of men, many
of them not seamen, who being upon deck when a ship heels suddenly
are huddled down to leeward, and increase by their weight the effect
of the wind. This therefore should be more attended to and guarded
against, especially as the advantage of lofty masts is problematical.
For the upper sails have greater power to lay a vessel more on her
side, which is not the most advantageous position for going swiftly
through the water. And hence it is that vessels, which have lost
their lofty masts, and been able to make little more sail afterwards
than permitted the ship to sail upon an even keel, have made so much
way, even under jury masts, as to surprize the mariners themselves.
But there is besides, something in the modern form of our ships
that seems as if calculated expressly to allow their oversetting
more easily. The sides of a ship, instead of spreading out as they
formerly did in the upper works, are of late years turned in, so as
to make the body nearly round, and more resembling a cask. I do not
know what the advantages of this construction are, except that such
ships are not easily boarded. To me it seems a contrivance to have
less room in a ship at nearly the same expense. For it is evident
that the same timber and plank consumed in raising the sides from a
to b, and from d to c, would have raised them from a to e, and from
d to f, fig. 9. In this form all the spaces between e, a, b, and c,
d, f, would have been gained, the deck would have been larger, the
men would have had more room to act, and not have stood so thick in
the way of the enemy's shot; and the vessel, the more she was laid
down on her side, the more bearing she would meet with, and more
effectual to support her, as being farther from the centre. Whereas
in the present form, her ballast makes the chief part of her bearing,
without which she would turn in the sea almost as easily as a barrel.
More ballast by this means becomes necessary, and that sinking a
vessel deeper in the water occasions more resistance to her going
through it. The Bermudian sloops still keep with advantage to the old
spreading form. The islanders in the great Pacific ocean, though they
have no large ships, are the most expert boat-sailors in the world,
navigating that sea safely with their proas, which they prevent
oversetting by various means. Their sailing proas for this purpose
have outriggers generally to windward, above the water, on which, one
or more men are placed, to move occasionally further from or nearer
to the vessel as the wind freshens or slackens. But some have their
outriggers to leeward, which, resting on the water, support the boat
so as to keep her upright when pressed down by the wind. Their boats
moved by oars or rather by paddles are, for long voyages, fixed two
together by cross bars of wood that keep them at some distance from
each other, and so render their oversetting next to impossible.
How far this may be practicable in larger vessels, we have not yet
sufficient experience. I know of but one trial made in Europe, which
was about one hundred years since, by Sir William Petty. He built a
double vessel, to serve as a packet boat between England and Ireland.
Her model still exists in the museum of the Royal Society, where
I have seen it. By the accounts we have of her, she answered well
the purpose of her construction, making several voyages; and though
wrecked at last by a storm, the misfortune did not appear owing to
her particular construction, since many other vessels of the common
form were wrecked at the same time. The advantage of such a vessel
is, that she needs no ballast, therefore swims either lighter or will
carry more goods; and that passengers are not so much incommoded by
her rolling: to which may be added, that if she is to defend herself
by her cannon, they will probably have more effect, being kept more
generally in a horizontal position, than those in common vessels. I
think, however, that it would be an improvement of that model, to
make the sides which are opposed to each other perfectly parallel,
though the other sides are formed as in common thus, figure 10.

The building of a double ship would indeed be more expensive in
proportion to her burthen; and that perhaps is sufficient to
discourage the method.

The accident of fire is generally well guarded against by the prudent
captain's strict orders against smoking between decks, or carrying a
candle there out of a lanthorn. But there is one dangerous practice
which frequent terrible accidents have not yet been sufficient to
abolish; that of carrying store-spirits to sea in casks. Two large
ships, the Seraphis and the Duke of Athol, one an East-Indiaman, the
other a frigate, have been burnt within these two last years, and
many lives miserably destroyed, by drawing spirits out of a cask near
a candle. It is high time to make it a general rule, that all the
ship's store of spirits should be carried in bottles.

The misfortune by a stroke of lightning I have in my former writings
endeavoured to show a method of guarding against, by a chain and
pointed rod, extending, when run up, from above the top of the mast
to the sea. These instruments are now made and sold at a reasonable
price by Nairne & Co. in London, and there are several instances of
success attending the use of them. They are kept in a box, and may be
ran up and fixed in about five minutes, on the apparent approach of a
thunder gust.

Of the meeting and shocking with other ships in the night, I have
known two instances in voyages between London and America. In one
both ships arrived though much damaged, each reporting their belief
that the other must have gone to the bottom. In the other, only one
got to port; the other was never afterwards heard of. These instances
happened many years ago, when the commerce between Europe and America
was not a tenth part of what it is at present, ships of course
thinner scattered, and the chance of meeting proportionably less.
It has long been the practice to keep a _look-out before_ in the
channel, but at sea it has been neglected. If it is not at present
thought worth while to take that precaution, it will in time become
of more consequence; since the number of ships at sea is continually
augmenting. A drum frequently beat, or a bell rung in a dark night,
might help to prevent such accidents.

Islands of ice are frequently seen off the banks of Newfoundland,
by ships going between North-America and Europe. In the day time
they are easily avoided, unless in a very thick fog. I remember two
instances of ship's running against them in the night. The first lost
her bowsprit, but received little other damage. The other struck
where the warmth of the sea had wasted the ice next to it, and a part
hung over above. This perhaps saved her, for she was under great way;
but the upper part of the cliff taking her foretopmast, broke the
shock, though it carried away the mast. She disengaged herself with
some difficulty, and got safe into port; but the accident shows the
possibility of other ships being wrecked and sunk by striking those
vast masses of ice, of which I have seen one that we judged to be
seventy feet high above the water, consequently eight times as much
under water; and it is another reason for keeping a good _look-out
before_, though far from any coast that may threaten danger.

It is remarkable, that the people we consider as savages have
improved the art of sailing and rowing-boats in several points beyond
what we can pretend to. We have no sailing-boats equal to the flying
proas of of the South Seas, no rowing or paddling-boat equal to that
of the Greenlanders for swiftness and safety. The birch canoes of the
North-American Indians have also some advantageous properties. They
are so light that two men may carry one of them over land, which is
capable of carrying a dozen upon the water; and in heeling they are
not so subject to take in water as our boats, the sides of which are
lowest in the middle where it is most likely to enter, this being
highest in that part, as in figure 11.

The Chinese are an enlightened people, the most antiently civilized
of any existing, and their arts are antient, a presumption in their
favour: their method of rowing their boats differs from ours, the
oars being worked either two a-stern as we scull, or on the sides
with the same kind of motion, being hung parallel to the keel on a
rail and always acting in the water, not perpendicular to the side as
ours are, nor lifted out at every stroke, which is a loss of time,
and the boat in the interval loses motion. They see our manner, and
we theirs, but neither are disposed to learn of or copy the other.

To the several means of moving boats mentioned above, may be added
the singular one lately exhibited at Javelle, on the Seine below
Paris, where a clumsy boat was moved across that river in three
minutes by rowing, not in the water, but in the air, that is, by
whirling round a set of windmill vanes fixed to a horizontal axis,
parallel to the keel, and placed at the head of the boat. The axis
was bent into an elbow at the end, by the help of which it was turned
by one man at a time. I saw the operation at a distance. The four
vanes appeared to be about five feet long, and perhaps two and a
half wide. The weather was calm. The labour appeared to be great
for one man, as the two several times relieved each other. But the
action upon the air by the oblique surfaces of the vanes must have
been considerable, as the motion of the boat appeared tolerably quick
going and returning; and she returned to the same place from whence
she first set out, notwithstanding the current. This machine is since
applied to the moving of air-balloons: an instrument similar may be
contrived to move a boat by turning under water.

Several mechanical projectors have at different times proposed
to give motion to boats, and even to ships, by means of circular
rowing, or paddles placed on the circumference of wheels to be turned
constantly on each side of the vessel; but this method, though
frequently tried, has never been found so effectual as to encourage
a continuance of the practice. I do not know that the reason has
hitherto been given. Perhaps it may be this, that great part of the
force employed contributes little to the motion. For instance, (fig.
12) of the four paddles a, b, c, d, all under water, and turning to
move a boat from X to Y, c has the most power, b nearly though not
quite as much, their motion being nearly horizontal; but the force
employed in moving a, is consumed in pressing almost downright upon
the water till it comes to the place of b; and the force employed
in moving d is consumed in lifting the water till d arrives at the
surface; by which means much of the labour is lost. It is true, that
by placing the wheels higher out of the water, this waste labour
will be diminished in a calm, but where a sea runs, the wheels must
unavoidably be often dipt deep in the waves, and the turning of them
thereby rendered very laborious to little purpose.

Among the various means of giving motion to a boat, that of M.
Bernoulli appears one of the most singular, which was to have fixed
in the boat a tube in the form of an L, the upright part to have a
funnel-kind of opening at top, convenient for filling the tube with
water; which, descending and passing through the lower horizontal
part, and issuing in the middle of the stern, but under the surface
of the river, should push the boat forward. There is no doubt that
the force of the descending water would have a considerable effect,
greater in proportion to the height from which it descended; but
then it is to be considered, that every bucket-full pumped or dipped
up into the boat, from its side or through its bottom, must have
its _vis inertiæ_ overcome so as to receive the motion of the boat,
before it can come to give motion by its descent; and that will be a
deduction from the moving power. To remedy this, I would propose the
addition of another such L pipe, and that they should stand back to
back in the boat thus, figure 13, the forward one being worked as a
pump, and sucking in the water at the head of the boat, would draw it
forward while pushed in the same direction by the force at the stern.
And after all it should be calculated whether the labour of pumping
would be less than that of rowing. A fire-engine might possibly in
some cases be applied in this operation with advantage.

Perhaps this labour of raising water might be spared, and the whole
force of a man applied to the moving of a boat by the use of air
instead of water; suppose the boat constructed in this form, figure
14. A, a tube round or square of two feet diameter, in which a piston
may move up and down. The piston to have valves in it, opening
inwards to admit air when the piston rises; and shutting, when it
is forced down by means of the lever B turning on the centre C. The
tube to have a valve D, to open when the piston is forced down, and
let the air pass out at E, which striking forcibly against the water
abaft must push the boat forward. If there is added an air-vessel
F properly valved and placed, the force would continue to act while
a fresh stroke is taken with the lever. The boat-man might stand
with his back to the stern, and putting his hands behind him, work
the motion by taking hold of the cross bar at B, while another
should steer; or if he had two such pumps, one on each side of the
stern, with a lever for each hand, he might steer himself by working
occasionally more or harder with either hand, as watermen now do
with a pair of sculls. There is no position in which the body of a
man can exert more strength than in pulling right upwards. To obtain
more swiftness, greasing the bottom of a vessel is sometimes used,
and with good effect. I do not know that any writer has hitherto
attempted to explain this. At first sight one would imagine, that
though the friction of a hard body, sliding on another hard body,
and the resistance occasioned by that friction, might be diminished
by putting grease between them, yet that a body sliding on a fluid,
such as water, should have no need of, nor receive any advantage
from such greasing. But the fact is not disputed. And the reason
perhaps may be this--The particles of water have a mutual attraction,
called the attraction of adhesion. Water also adheres to wood, and
to many other substances, but not to grease: on the contrary they
have a mutual repulsion, so that it is a question whether when oil
is poured on water, they ever actually touch each other; for a drop
of oil upon water, instead of sticking to the spot where it falls,
as it would if it fell on a looking-glass, spreads instantly to an
immense distance in a film extremely thin, which it could not easily
do if it touched and rubbed or adhered even in a small degree to the
surface of the water. Now the adhesive force of water to itself, and
to other substances, may be estimated from the weight of it necessary
to separate a drop, which adheres, while growing, till it has weight
enough to force the separation and break the drop off. Let us suppose
the drop to be the size of a pea, then there will be as many of these
adhesions as there are drops of that size touching the bottom of a
vessel, and these must be broken by the moving power, every step
of her motion that amounts to a drop's breadth: and there being no
such adhesions to break between the water and a greased bottom, may
occasion the difference.

So much respecting the motion of vessels. But we have sometimes
occasion to stop their motion; and if a bottom is near enough we can
cast anchor: where there are no soundings, we have as yet no means
to prevent driving in a storm, but by lying-to, which still permits
driving at the rate of about two miles an hour; so that in a storm
continuing fifty hours, which is not an uncommon case, the ship may
drive one hundred miles out of her course; and should she in that
distance meet with a lee shore, she may be lost.

To prevent this driving to leeward in deep water, a swimming anchor
is wanting, which ought to have these properties.

1. It should have a surface so large as, being at the end of a hauser
in the water, and placed perpendicularly, should hold so much of it,
as to bring the ship's head to the wind, in which situation the wind
has least power to drive her.

2. It should be able by its resistance to prevent the ship's
receiving way.

3. It should be capable of being situated below the heave of the sea,
but not below the undertow.

4. It should not take up much room in the ship.

5. It should be easily thrown out, and put into its proper situation.

6. It should be easy to take in again, and stow away.

An ingenious old mariner, whom I formerly knew, proposed, as a
swimming anchor for a large ship, to have a stem of wood twenty-five
feet long and four inches square, with four boards of 18, 16, 14, and
12, feet long, and one foot wide, the boards to have their substance
thickened several inches in the middle by additional wood, and to
have each a four inch square hole through its middle, to permit its
being slipt on occasionally upon the stem, and at right angles with
it; where all being placed and fixed at four feet distance from
each other, it would have the appearance of the old mathematical
instrument called a forestaff. This thrown into the sea, and held by
a hauser veered out to some length, he conceived would bring a vessel
up, and prevent her driving, and when taken in might be stowed away
by separating the boards from the stem. Figure 15. Probably such a
swimming anchor would have some good effect, but it is subject to
this objection, that lying on the surface of the sea, it is liable to
be hove forward by every wave, and thereby give so much leave for the
ship to drive.

Two machines for this purpose have occurred to me, which, though not
so simple as the above, I imagine would be more effectual, and more
easily manageable. I will endeavour to describe them, that they may
be submitted to your judgment, whether either would be serviceable;
and if they would, to which we should give the preference.

The first is to be formed, and to be used in the water on almost the
same principles with those of a paper kite used in the air. Only as
the paper kite rises in the air, this is to descend in the water. Its
dimensions will be different for ships of different size.

To make one of suppose fifteen feet high; take a small spar of that
length for the back-bone, AB, figure 16, a smaller of half that
length CD, for the cross piece. Let these be united by a bolt at E,
yet so as that by turning on the bolt they may be laid parallel to
each other. Then make a sail of strong canvas, in the shape of figure
17. To form this, without waste of sail-cloth, sew together pieces of
the proper length, and for half the breadth, as in figure 18, then
cut the whole in the diagonal lines a, b, c, and turn the piece F so
as to place its broad part opposite to that of the piece G, and the
piece H in like manner opposite to I, which when all sewed together
will appear as in fig. 17. This sail is to be extended on the cross
of figure 16, the top and bottom points well secured to the ends of
the long spar; the two side points d, e, fastened to the ends of
two cords, which coming from the angle of the loop (which must be
similar to the loop of a kite) pass through two rings at the ends of
the short spar, so as that on pulling upon the loop the sail will be
drawn to its extent. The whole may, when aboard, be furled up, as in
figure 19, having a rope from its broad end, to which is tied a bag
of ballast for keeping that end downwards when in the water, and at
the other end another rope with an empty keg at its end to float on
the surface; this rope long enough to permit the kite's descending
into the undertow, or if you please lower into still water. It should
be held by a hauser. To get it home easily, a small loose rope may be
veered out with it, fixed to the keg. Hauling on that rope will bring
the kite home with small force, the resistance being small as it will
then come end ways.

It seems probable that such a kite at the end of a long hauser would
keep a ship with her head to the wind, and, resisting every tug,
would prevent her driving so fast as when her side is exposed to it,
and nothing to hold her back. If only half the driving is prevented,
so as that she moves but fifty miles instead of the hundred during a
storm, it may be some advantage, both in holding so much distance as
is saved, and in keeping from a lee-shore. If single canvas should
not be found strong enough to bear the tug without splitting, it may
be doubled, or strengthened by a netting behind it, represented by
figure 20.

The other machine for the same purpose, is to be made more in the
form of an umbrella, as represented, figure 21. The stem of the
umbrella a square spar of proper length, with four moveable arms, of
which two are represented C, C, figure 22. These arms to be fixed in
four joint cleats, as D, D, &c. one on each side of the spar, but so
as that the four arms may open by turning on a pin in the joint. When
open they form a cross, on which a four-square canvas sail is to be
extended, its corners fastened to the ends of the four arms. Those
ends are also to be stayed by ropes fastened to the stem or spar, so
as to keep them short of being at right angles with it: and to the
end of one of the arms should be hung the small bag of ballast, and
to the end of the opposite arm the empty keg. This, on being thrown
into the sea, would immediately open; and when it had performed its
function, and the storm over, a small rope from its other end being
pulled on, would turn it, close it, and draw it easily home to the
ship. This machine seems more simple in its operation, and more
easily manageable than the first, and perhaps may be as effectual[32].

Vessels are sometimes retarded, and sometimes forwarded in their
voyages, by currents at sea, which are often not perceived. About
the year 1769 or 70, there was an application made by the board
of customs at Boston, to the lords of the treasury in London,
complaining that the packets between Falmouth and New-York, were
generally a fortnight longer in their passages, than merchant-ships
from London to Rhode-Island, and proposing that for the future
they should be ordered to Rhode-Island instead of New-York. Being
then concerned in the management of the American post-office, I
happened to be consulted on the occasion; and it appearing strange
to me that there should be such a difference between two places,
scarce a day's run asunder, especially when the merchant-ships are
generally deeper laden, and more weakly manned than the packets, and
had from London the whole length of the river and channel to run
before they left the land of England, while the packets had only to
go from Falmouth, I could not but think the fact misunderstood or
misrepresented. There happened then to be in London a Nantucket
sea-captain of my acquaintance, to whom I communicated the affair. He
told me he believed the fact might be true; but the difference was
owing to this, that the Rhode-Island captains were acquainted with
the gulf-stream, which those of the English packets were not. We are
well acquainted with that stream, says he, because in our pursuit
of whales, which keep near the sides of it, but are not to be met
with in it, we run down along the sides, and frequently cross it to
change our side: and in crossing it have sometimes met and spoke with
those packets, who were in the middle of it, and stemming it. We have
informed them that they were stemming a current, that was against
them to the value of three miles an hour; and advised them to cross
it and get out of it; but they were too wise to be counselled by
simple American fishermen. When the winds are but light, he added,
they are carried back by the current more than they are forwarded
by the wind: and if the wind be good, the subtraction of 70 miles
a day from their course is of some importance. I then observed it
was a pity no notice was taken of this current upon the charts,
and requested him to mark it out for me, which he readily complied
with, adding directions for avoiding it in sailing from Europe to
North-America. I procured it to be engraved by order from the general
post-office, on the old chart of the Atlantic, at Mount and Page's,
Tower-hill; and copies were sent down to Falmouth for the captains
of the packets, who slighted it however; but it is since printed in
France, of which edition I hereto annex a copy.

This stream is probably generated by the great accumulation of
water on the eastern coast of America between the tropics, by the
trade-winds which constantly blow there. It is known that a large
piece of water ten miles broad and generally only three feet deep,
has by a strong wind had its waters driven to one side and sustained
so as to become six feet deep, while the windward side was laid dry.
This may give some idea of the quantity heaped up on the American
coast, and the reason of its running down in a strong current through
the islands into the bay of Mexico, and from thence issuing through
the gulph of Florida, and proceeding along the coast to the banks of
Newfoundland, where it turns off towards and runs down through the
Western Islands. Having since crossed this stream several times in
passing between America and Europe, I have been attentive to sundry
circumstances relating to it, by which to know when one is in it; and
besides the gulph weed with which it is interspersed, I find that it
is always warmer than the sea on each side of it, and that it does
not sparkle in the night: I annex hereto the observations made with
the thermometer in two voyages, and possibly may add a third. It will
appear from them, that the thermometer may be an useful instrument to
a navigator, since currents coming from the northward into southern
seas, will probably be found colder than the water of those seas,
as the currents from southern seas into northern are found warmer.
And it is not to be wondered that so vast a body of deep warm water,
several leagues wide, coming from between the tropics and issuing
out of the gulph into the northern seas, should retain its warmth
longer than the twenty or thirty days required to its passing the
banks of Newfoundland. The quantity is too great, and it is too
deep to be suddenly cooled by passing under a cooler air. The air
immediately over it, however, may receive so much warmth from it as
to be rarefied and rise, being rendered lighter than the air on each
side of the stream; hence those airs must flow in to supply the place
of the rising warm air, and, meeting with each other, form those
tornados and water-spouts frequently met with, and seen near and over
the stream; and as the vapour from a cup of tea in a warm room, and
the breath of an animal in the same room, are hardly visible, but
become sensible immediately when out in the cold air, so the vapour
from the gulph stream, in warm latitudes is scarcely visible, but
when it comes into the cool air from Newfoundland, it is condensed
into the fogs, for which those parts are so remarkable.

The power of wind to raise water above its common level in the sea
is known to us in America, by the high tides occasioned in all our
sea-ports when a strong north-easter blows against the gulph stream.

The conclusion from these remarks is, that a vessel from Europe to
North-America may shorten her passage by avoiding to stem the stream,
in which the thermometer will be very useful; and a vessel from
America to Europe may do the same by the same means of keeping in
it. It may have often happened accidentally, that voyages have been
shortened by these circumstances. It is well to have the command of

But may there not be another cause, independent of winds and
currents, why passages are generally shorter from America to Europe
than from Europe to America? This question I formerly considered in
the following short paper.

On board the Pennsylvania Packet, Capt. Osborne.

  _At Sea_, _April 5, 1775._

"Suppose a ship to make a voyage eastward from a place in lat. 40°
north, to a place in lat. 50° north, distance in longitude 75 degrees.

"In sailing from 40 to 50, she goes from a place where a degree of
longitude is about eight miles greater than in the place she is going
to. A degree is equal to four minutes of time; consequently the ship
in the harbour she leaves, partaking of the diurnal motion of the
earth, moves two miles in a minute faster, than when in the port she
is going to; which is 120 miles in an hour.

"This motion in a ship and cargo is of great force; and if she could
be lifted up suddenly from the harbour in which she lay quiet, and
set down instantly in the latitude of the port she was bound to,
though in a calm, that force contained in her would make her run a
great way at a prodigious rate. This force must be lost gradually in
her voyage, by gradual impulse against the water, and probably thence
shorten the voyage. Query, In returning does the contrary happen, and
is her voyage thereby retarded and lengthened?"[33]

Would it not be a more secure method of planking ships, if, instead
of thick single planks laid horizontally, we were to use planks of
half the thickness, and lay them double and across each other as
in figure 23? To me it seems that the difference of expence would
not be considerable, and that the ship would be both tighter and

The securing of the ship is not the only necessary thing; securing
the health of the sailors, a brave and valuable order of men,
is likewise of great importance. With this view the methods so
successfully practised by Captain Cook in his long voyages cannot be
too closely studied or carefully imitated. A full account of those
methods is found in Sir John Pringle's speech, when the medal of the
Royal Society was given to that illustrious navigator. I am glad to
see in his last voyage that he found the means effectual which I had
proposed for preserving flour, bread, &c. from moisture and damage.
They were found dry and good after being at sea four years. The
method is described in my printed works, page 452, fifth edition[34].
In the same, page 469, 470[35], is proposed a means of allaying
thirst in case of want of fresh water. This has since been practised
in two instances with success. Happy if their hunger, when the other
provisions are consumed, could be relieved as commodiously; and
perhaps in time this may be found not impossible. An addition might
be made to their present vegetable provision, by drying various roots
in slices by the means of an oven. The sweet potatoe of America and
Spain is excellent for this purpose. Other potatoes, with carrots,
parsnips and turnips, might be prepared and preserved in the same

With regard to make-shifts in cases of necessity, seamen are
generally very ingenious themselves. They will excuse however the
mention of two or three. If they happen in any circumstance, such
as after shipwreck, taking to their boat, or the like, to want a
compass, a fine sewing-needle laid on clear water in a cup will
generally point to the north, most of them being a little magnetical,
or may be made so by being strongly rubbed or hammered, lying in a
north and south direction. If their needle is too heavy to float by
itself, it may be supported by little pieces of cork or wood. A man
who can swim, may be aided in a long traverse by his handkerchief
formed into a kite, by two cross sticks extending to the four
corners; which, being raised in the air when the wind is fair and
fresh, will tow him along while lying on his back. Where force is
wanted to move a heavy body, and there are but few hands and no
machines, a long and strong rope may make a powerful instrument.
Suppose a boat is to be drawn up on a beach, that she may be out of
the surf; a stake drove into the beach where you would have the boat
drawn, and another to fasten the end of the rope to, which comes
from the boat, and then applying what force you have to pull upon
the middle of the rope at right angles with it, the power will be
augmented in proportion to the length of rope between the posts. The
rope being fastened to the stake A, and drawn upon in the direction
C D, will slide over the stake B; and when the rope is bent to the
angle A D B, represented by the pricked line in figure 24, the boat
will be at B.

Some sailors may think the writer has given himself unnecessary
trouble in pretending to advise them; for they have a little
repugnance to the advice of landmen, whom they esteem ignorant and
incapable of giving any worth notice; though it is certain that most
of their instruments were the invention of landmen. At least the
first vessel ever made to go on the water was certainly such. I will
therefore add only a few words more, and they shall be addressed to

When you intend a long voyage, you may do well to keep your intention
as much as possible a secret, or at least the time of your departure;
otherwise you will be continually interrupted in your preparations
by the visits of friends and acquaintance, who will not only rob
you of the time you want, but put things out of your mind, so that
when you come to sea, you have the mortification to recollect points
of business that ought to have been done, accounts you intended to
settle, and conveniencies you had proposed to bring with you, &c. &c.
all which have been omitted through the effect of these officious
friendly visits. Would it not be well if this custom could be
changed; if the voyager after having, without interruption, made all
his preparations, should use some of the time he has left, in going
himself to take leave of his friends at their own houses, and let
them come to congratulate him on his happy return.

It is not always in your power to make a choice in your captain,
though much of your comfort in the passage may depend on his personal
character, as you must for so long a time be confined to his company,
and under his direction; if he be a sensible, sociable, good-natured,
obliging man, you will be so much the happier. Such there are; but if
he happens to be otherwise, and is only skilful, careful, watchful
and active in the conduct of his ship, excuse the rest, for these are
the essentials.

Whatever right you may have by agreement in the mass of stores laid
in by him for the passengers, it is good to have some particular
things in your own possession, so as to be always at your own

1. Good water, that of the ship being often bad. You can be sure of
having it good only by bottling it from a clear spring or well and
in clean bottles. 2. Good tea. 3. Coffee ground. 4. Chocolate. 5.
Wine of the sort you particularly like, and cyder. 6. Raisins. 7.
Almonds. 8. Sugar. 9. Capillaire. 10. Lemons. 11. Jamaica spirits.
12. Eggs greased. 13. Diet bread 14. Portable soup. 15. Rusks. As to
fowls, it is not worth while to have any called yours, unless you
could have the feeding and managing of them according to your own
judgment under your own eye. As they are generally treated at present
in ships, they are for the most part sick, and their flesh tough and
hard as whit-leather. All seamen have an opinion, broached I supposed
at first prudently, for saving of water when short, that fowls do not
know when they have drank enough, and will kill themselves if you
give them too much, so they are served with a little only once in two
days. This is poured into troughs that lie sloping, and therefore
immediately runs down to the lower end. There the fowls ride upon one
another's backs to get at it, and some are not happy enough to reach
and once dip their bills in it. Thus tantalized, and tormented with
thirst, they cannot digest their dry food, they fret, pine, sicken
and die. Some are found dead, and thrown overboard every morning, and
those killed for the table are not eatable. Their troughs should be
in little divisions, like cups, to hold the water separately, figure
25. But this is never done. The sheep and hogs are therefore your
best dependance for fresh meat at sea, the mutton being generally
tolerable and the pork excellent.

It is possible your captain may have provided so well in the general
stores, as to render some of the particulars above recommended of
little or no use to you. But there are frequently in the ship poorer
passengers, who are taken at a lower price, lodge in the steerage,
and have no claim to any of the cabin provisions, or to any but
those kinds that are allowed the sailors. These people are sometimes
dejected, sometimes sick, there may be women and children among
them. In a situation where there is no going to market, to purchase
such necessaries, a few of these your superfluities distributed
occasionally may be of great service, restore health, save life, make
the miserable happy, and thereby afford you infinite pleasure.

The worst thing in ordinary merchant ships is the cookery. They have
no professed cook, and the worst hand as a seaman is appointed to
that office, in which he is not only very ignorant but very dirty.
The sailors have therefore a saying, that _God sends meat and the
devil cooks_. Passengers more piously disposed, and willing to
believe heaven orders all things for the best, may suppose, that,
knowing the sea-air and constant exercise by the motion of the vessel
would give us extraordinary appetites, bad cooks were kindly sent to
prevent our eating too much; or that, foreseeing we should have bad
cooks, good appetites were furnished to prevent our starving. If you
cannot trust to these circumstances, a spirit-lamp, with a blaze-pan,
may enable you to cook some little things for yourself; such as a
hash, a soup, &c. And it might be well also to have among your stores
some potted meats, which if well put up will keep long good. A small
tin oven, to place with the open side before the fire, may be another
good utensil, in which your own servant may roast for you a bit of
pork or mutton. You will sometimes be induced to eat of the ship's
salt beef, as it is often good. You will find cyder the best quencher
of that thirst which salt meat or fish occasions. The ship biscuit
is too hard for some sets of teeth. It may be softened by toasting.
But rusk is better; for being made of good fermented bread, sliced
and baked a second time, the pieces imbibe the water easily, soften
immediately, digest more kindly, and are therefore more wholesome
than the unfermented biscuit. By the way, rusk is the true original
biscuit, so prepared to keep for sea, biscuit in French signifying
twice baked. If your dry peas boil hard, a two-pound iron shot put
with them into the pot, will by the motion of the ship grind them as
fine as mustard.

The accidents I have seen at sea with large dishes of soup upon a
table, from the motion of the ship, have made me wish, that our
potters or pewterers would make soup-dishes in divisions, like a set
of small bowls united together, each containing about sufficient for
one person, in some such form as fig. 26; for then when the ship
should make a sudden heel, the soup would not in a body flow over one
side, and fall into people's laps and scald them, as is sometimes the
case, but would be retained in the separate divisions, as in figure

After these trifles, permit the addition of a few general
reflections. Navigation, when employed in supplying necessary
provisions to a country in want, and thereby preventing famines,
which were more frequent and destructive before the invention of that
art, is undoubtedly a blessing to mankind. When employed merely in
transporting superfluities, it is a question whether the advantage of
the employment it affords is equal to the mischief of hazarding so
many lives on the ocean. But when employed in pillaging merchants
and transporting slaves, it is clearly the means of augmenting the
mass of human misery. It is amazing to think of the ships and lives
risqued in fetching tea from China, coffee from Arabia, sugar and
tobacco from America, all which our ancestors did well without.
Sugar employs near one thousand ships, tobacco almost as many. For
the utility of tobacco there is little to be said; and for that of
sugar, how much more commendable would it be if we could give up the
few minutes gratification afforded once or twice a day by the taste
of sugar in our tea, rather than encourage the cruelties exercised
in producing it. An eminent French moralist says, that when he
considers the wars we excite in Africa to obtain slaves, the numbers
necessarily slain in those wars, the many prisoners who perish at sea
by sickness, bad provisions, foul air, &c. &c. in the transportation,
and how many afterwards die from the hardships of slavery, he cannot
look on a piece of sugar without conceiving it stained with spots of
human blood! Had he added the consideration of the wars we make to
take and retake the sugar islands from one another, and the fleets
and armies that perish in those expeditions, he might have seen his
sugar not merely spotted, but thoroughly dyed scarlet in grain. It is
these wars that make the maritime powers of Europe, the inhabitants
of London and Paris, pay dearer for sugar than those of Vienna, a
thousand miles from the sea; because their sugar costs not only the
price they pay for it by the pound, but all they pay in taxes to
maintain the fleets and armies that fight for it.

  With great esteem, I am, Sir,

  Your most obedient humble servant,



[30] This letter and the annexed paper on the Gulph stream, are taken
from the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, in which
they were read December 2, 1785. _Editor._

[31] The motion of the vessel made it inconvenient to try this simple
experiment at sea, when the proposal of it was written. But it has
been tried since we came on shore, and succeeded as the other.

[32] Captain Truxton, on board whose ship this was written, has
executed this proposed machine; he has given six arms to the
umbrella, they are joined to the stem by iron hinges, and the canvas
is double. He has taken it with him to China. February, 1786.

[33] Since this paper was read at the Society, an ingenious member,
Mr. Patterson, has convinced the writer that the returning voyage
would not, from this cause, be retarded.

[34] See the Paper referred to, Vol. I. p. 376. _Editor._

[35] See Vol. II. p. 104. _Editor._


  _Plate VII.      Vol. II. page 197._

  of The

_Published as the Act directs, April 1, 1806, by Longman, Hurst, Rees
& Orme, Paternoster Row._]

  _Remarks upon the Navigation from Newfoundland to New-York, in
  order to avoid the Gulph Stream on one hand, and on the other the
  Shoals that lie to the Southward of Nantucket and of St. George's

After you have passed the banks of Newfoundland in about the 44th
degree of latitude, you will meet with nothing, till you draw near
the Isle of Sables, which we commonly pass in latitude 43. Southward
of this isle, the current is found to extend itself as far north as
41° 20′ or 30′, then it turns towards the E. S. E. or S. E. ¼ E.

Having passed the Isle of Sables, shape your course for the St.
George's Banks, so as to pass them in about latitude 40°, because the
current southward of those banks reaches as far north as 39°. The
shoals of those banks lie in 41° 35′.

After having passed St. George's Banks, you must, to clear Nantucket,
form your course so as to pass between the latitudes 38° 30′ and 40°

The most southern part of the shoals of Nantucket lie in about 40°
45′. The northern part of the current directly to the south of
Nantucket is felt in about latitude 38° 30′.

By observing these directions and keeping between the stream and
the shoals, the passage from the Banks of Newfoundland to New-York,
Delaware, or Virginia, may be considerably shortened; for so you will
have the advantage of the eddy current, which moves contrary to the
Gulph Stream. Whereas if to avoid the shoals you keep too far to the
southward, and get into that stream, you will be retarded by it at
the rate of 60 or 70 miles a day.

The Nantucket whale-men being extremely well acquainted with the
Gulph Stream, its course, strength, and extent, by their constant
practice of whaling on the edges of it, from their island quite down
to the Bahamas, this draft of that stream was obtained from one of
them, Captain Folges, and caused to be engraved on the old chart in
London, for the benefit of navigators, by


_Note_, The Nantucket captains who are acquainted with this stream,
make their voyages from England to Boston in as short a time
generally as others take in going from Boston to England, viz. from
twenty to thirty days.

A stranger may know when he is in the Gulph Stream, by the warmth
of the water, which is much greater than that of the water on each
side of it. If then he is bound to the westward, he should cross the
stream to get out of it as soon as possible.


  OBSERVATIONS _of the Warmth of the_ SEA-WATER, &c. _by Fahrenheit's
  Thermometer, in crossing the Gulph Stream; with other Remarks made
  on board the Pennsylvania Packet, Capt. Osborne, bound from London
  to Philadelphia, in April and May, 1775_.

  |Date|  Hour |Temp|Temp |Wind|Course|Dist-| Lat |Long |  Remarks.        |
  |    |       | of | of  |    |      |ance |  N. |  W. |                  |
  |    |       | Air|Water|    |      |     |     |     |                  |
  | Apr|       |    |     |    |      |     |     |     |                  |
  |  10|       |    |  62 |    |      |     |     |     |                  |
  |  11|       |    |  61 |    |      |     |     |     |                  |
  |  12|       |    |  64 |    |      |     |     |     |                  |
  |  13|       |    |  65 |    |      |     |     |     |                  |
  |  14|       |    |  65 |    |      |     | °  ′| °  ′|                  |
  |  26|       | 60 |  70 |    |      |     |37 39|60 38|Much gulph weed;  |
  |    |       |    |     |    |      |     |     |     | saw a whale.     |
  |  27|       | 60 |  70 | SSE|  WbS |     |37 13|62 29|Colour of water   |
  |    |       |    |     |    |      |     |     |     | changed.         |
  |  28| 8 A.M.| 70 |  64 | SW |  WNW |     |37 48|64 35|No gulph weed.    |
  |  --| 6 P.M.| 67 |  60 |    |      |  34 |     |     |Sounded, no bottom|
  |  29| 8 A.M.| 63 |  71 |  N |   W  |  44 |37 26|66  0|Much light in the |
  |    |       |    |     |    |      |     |     |     | water last night.|
  |  --| 5 P.M.| 65 |  72 | NE |      |  57 |     |     |Water again of the|
  |  --|11 dit.| 66 |  66 |NWbN|  WbS |  57 |     |     | usual deep sea   |
  |  30| 8 A.M.| 64 |  70 | NE |  WbN |  69 |     |     | colour, little or|
  |    |       |    |     |    |      |     |     |     | no light in it at|
  |    |       |    |     |    |      |     |     |     | night.           |
  |  --|12     | 62 |  70 |    |  EbS |  24 |37 20|68 53|Freq. gulph weed, |
  |  --| 6 P.M.| 64 |  72 | ESE|  WbN |  43 |     |     | water continues of
  |    |       |    |     |    |      |     |     |     | sea colour, little
  |    |       |    |     |    |      |     |     |     | light.           |
  |  --|10 dit.| 65 |  65 |  S |      |  25 |     |     |Much light.       |
  | May|       |    |     |    |      |     |     |     |                  |
  |   1| 7 A.M.| 68 |  63 |    |      |  60 |     |     |Much light all    |
  |    |       |    |     |    |      |     |     |     | last night.      |
  |  --|12     | 65 |  56 | SSW|  WNW |  44 |38 13|72 2 |Colour of water   |
  |    |       |    |     |    |      |     |     |     | changed.         |
  |  --| 4 P.M.| 64 |  56 |    |  WbN |  21 |     |     |                  |
  |  --|10 dit.| 64 |  57 | SW |  WNW |  31 |     |     |Much light.       |
  |   2| 8 A.M.| 62 |  53 |    |      |  18 |38 43|74  3|Much light. Thunder
  |    |       |    |     |    |      |     |     |     | -gust.           |
  |  --|12     | 60 |  53 | WSW|   NW |  18 |     |     |                  |
  |  --| 6 P.M.| 64 |  55 |  NW|  WSW |  15 |     |     |                  |
  |  --|10     | 65 |  55 | NbW|  WbN |  10 |     |     |                  |
  |   3| 7 A.M.| 62 |  54 |    |      |  30 |38 30|75  0|                  |

  OBSERVATIONS _of the Warmth of the_ SEA-WATER, &c. _by Fahrenheit's
  Thermometer; with other Remarks made on board the Reprisal, Capt.
  Wycks, bound from Philadelphia to France, in October and November,

  |Date |Hour|Hour|Temp|Temp |Wind|Course|Dist-| Lat |Long |  Remarks      |
  |     |A.M.|P.M.| of | of  |    |      |ance |  N. |  W. |               |
  |     |    |    | Air|Water|    |      |     |     |     |               |
  | Oct |    |    |    |     |    |      |     |     |     |Left the capes |
  |   31| 10 |    | 76 |  70 |SSE | EbS  | 135 |38 12|70 30|Thursday night,|
  |   --|    |  4 |    |  71 |    |      |     |     |     |Oct 29, 1776   |
  | Nov |    |    |    |     |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |    1| 10 |    |    |  78 |WSW | E½N  | 109 |No ob|68 12|               |
  |   --|    |  4 | 71 |  81 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |    2|  8 |    | 71 |  75 |  N |      |     |     |     |Some sparks in |
  |   --| 12 |    |    |  78 |    |      | 141 |ditto|65 23|the water these|
  |   --|    |  4 | 67 |  76 |    |      |     |     |     |two last nights|
  |    3|  8 |    |    |  76 | NW | ESE½E|     |     |     |               |
  |   --| 12 |    |    |  76 |    | EbS  | 160 |37  0|62  7|               |
  |   --|    |  4 | 70 |  76 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |    4|  9 |    | 68 |  76 |    | NbE  |     |     |     |Ditto.         |
  |   --|    |  1 |    |  76 |    |      | 194 |36 26|58  8|               |
  |   --|    |  4 | 68 |  76 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |   --|    |  8 |    |  78 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |    5|  8 |    | 68 |  76 |    |  NE  |     |     |     |Ditto.         |
  |   --| 12 |    | 70 |  75 |    |      | 163 |35 21|55  3|               |
  |   --|    |  4 |    |  75 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |   --|    |  8 |    |  75 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |    6|  8 |    |    |  76 |EbN | S50E |     |     |     |               |
  |   --| 12 |    |    |  77 |    |      |  7  |35 33|53 52|               |
  |    7|  8 |    |    |  78 |SEbE| N30W |     |     |     |               |
  |   --| 12 |    |    |  77 |    |      | 108 |36  6|52 46|               |
  |   --|    |  4 |    |  77 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |    8|  9 |    | 75 |  77 |SbE | N49E |     |     |     |               |
  |   --| 12 |    |    |  77 |    |      | 175 |38  2|50  1|               |
  |   --|    |  4 |    |  77 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |    9|  9 |    | 75 |  77 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |   --| 12 |    | 75 |  70 | SW | N33E | 175 |39 39|46 55|               |


  |Date.|Hour|Hour|Temp|Temp |Wind|Course|Dist-| Lat |Long |Remarks.       |
  |     |A.M.|P.M.| of | of  |    |      |ance |  N. |  W. |               |
  |     |    |    | Air|Water|    |      |     |     |     |               |
  | Nov |    |    |    |     |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |   9 |    | 4  |    |  71 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |  10 |  8 |    | 70 |  68 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |  -- | 12 |    |    |  64 | E  |N 17 E|  64 |40 39|46 27|               |
  |  11 |  8 |    |    |  63 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |  -- | 12 |    |    |  61 |S E |N 8 E |  41 |41 19|46 19|               |
  |  12 |  8 |    | 56 |  59 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |  -- |    |  4 |    |  69 |NNW |N 80 E| 120 |41 39|43 42|               |
  |  13 | all day |    |  68 | E  |S 82 E|  69 |41 29|42 10|               |
  |  14 |  8 |    | 70 |  70 |    |N 74 E| 111 |42  0|39 57|               |
  |  -- |    |Noon|    |  72 |ESE |      |     |     |     |               |
  |  -- |    |  4 |    |  71 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |  15 |  8 |    | 61 |  69 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |  -- |    |Noon|    |  68 |WSW |N 70 E| 186 |43  3|35 51|               |
  |  -- |    |  4 |    |  67 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |  16 |    |Noon| 65 |  67 |S W |N 67 W|  48 |43 22|34 50|               |
  |  -- |    |  4 |    |  63 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |  17 |  8 |    |    |  63 |ESE |N 19 E|  56 |44 15|34 25|               |
  |  18 | all day |    |  65 |SbW |N 75 E| 210 |45  6|29 43|Some gulph weed|
  |  19 |    |Noon| 65 |  64 |S W |N 80 E| 238 |45 46|24  2|               |
  |  20 |  8 |    |    |  62 | N  |S 80 E| 155 |45 19|20 30|               |
  |  -- |    | 4  |    |  60 |    |      |     |     |     |               |
  |  21 |  9 |    |    |  62 | S  |N 88 E|  94 |45 22|18 17|               |
  |  22 | 10 |    | 60 |  62 |SSW |S 89 E| 133 |45 19|15 19|               |
  |  23 |    |Noon|    |  61 |WSW |S 86 E| 194 |45  6|10 35|               |
  |  24 |    | do.|    |  60 |NNE |N 78 E| 191 |45 46| 6 10|               |
  |  25 |    | do.|    |  60 |N E |S 76 E| 125 |45  4| 3 23|               |
  |  26 |    | do.| 56 |  60 | E  |N 73 E|  31 |45 13| 2 20|               |
  |  27 |    | do.|    |  58 |    |      |     |     |     |Soundings off  |
  |  28 |    | do.| 54 |  56 |    |      |     |     |     |  Bellisle.    |

  _A Journal of a Voyage from the Channel between France and England
  towards America._

  |    |      |     |Therm. AM|Therm. PM|     |      |      |Varia-|        |
  |    |      |     |---------|---------|     |      |Dis-  |tion  |        |
  |Date|Latit.|Long.|Air|Water|Air|Water|Winds|Course|tance |of the|        |
  |    |  N.  |  W. |   |     |   |     |     |      |      |Needle|        |
  |    |      |     |   |     |   |     |     |      |Miles.| West.|        |
  |----|------|-----|---|-----|---|-----|-----|------|------|------|        |
  |July|      |     |   |     |   |     |     |      |      |      |        |
  | 29 |      |     | 62|  57 |   |     | {These are taken on an}  |        |
  | 30 |      |     | 62|  58 | 63|  58 | {average of 24 hours. }  |        |
  | 31 |      |     | 60|  58 | 62|  62 |     |      |      |      |        |
  |Aug |      |     |   |     |   |     |     |      |      |      |        |
  |  1 |49 15 | 4 15| 63|  62 | 60|  64 |East |SW ½W |   60 |22° 0 |        |
  |  2 |48 28 | 8 58| 64|  64 | 64|  63 |E S E|WbS ½S|  174 |      |        |
  |  3 |47  0 |12 13| 60|  67 | omitted |N E  |SW bW |  160 |      |        |
  |  4 |45  0 |15 43| 66|  66 |do.|  66 |NW bW|SW ½W |  190 |      |        |
  |  5 |43  5 |17 25| 67|  65 | 65|  68 |N E  |SW bS |  131 |20  0 |        |
  |  6 |41  3 |19 44| 70|  68 | 71|  69 |N E  |SW ½S |  166 |16 30 |        |
  |  7 |38 45 |21 34| 70|  70 | 68|  70 |N E  |SSW ¾W|  165 |11 30 |        |
  |  8 |36 42 |23 10| 72|  71 | 73|  72 |N E  |SSW ¾W|  149 |11 15 |        |
  |  9 |35 40 |25 40| 73|  73 | 73|  74 |N E  |WSW ¼S|  137 |    --|--------|
  | 10 |35  0 |27  0| 71|  73 | 77|  75 |N W  |WSW ¾S|   76 |    |Therm|Noon|
  | 11 |33 51 |28 42| 74|  74 | 76|  77 |North|SW ¾W |  112 |    |-----|----|
  | 12 |33 30 |31 30| 76|  75 | 76|  76 |North|W ¾S  |  143 |    |  A. | W. |
  | 13 |33 17 |33 32| 76|  76 | 78|  77 |N E  |W ½ S |  103 |    |  77 | 78 |
  | 14 |33 22 |34 31| 76|  76 | 81|  79 |S S E|W ½ N |   50 |    |  81 | 79 |
  | 15 |33 45 |35  0| 78|  79 | 79|  78 |W N W|SW ¼W |   35 |    |  79 | 79 |
  | 16 |34 14 |35 30| 79|  78 | 81|  80 |West |NW ½N |   38 |    |  81 | 80 |
  | 17 |35 37 |36  4| 80|  79 | 80|  78 |W S W|N N W |   75 |    |  80 | 78 |
  | 18 |36  7 |37 16| 80|  78 | omitted |NW bW|WNW ½N|   65 |    |  80 | 79 |
  | 19 |36 38 |38  0| 78|  77 | 78|  77 |W S W|NW ½W |   49 |    |  79 | 77 |

  _Journal of a Voyage, &c. continued._

  |    |      |     |Therm. AM|Therm. PM|     |      |      |Varia-|Therm.  |
  |    |      |     |---------|---------|     |      |Dis-  |tion  |at Noon.|
  |Date|Latit.|Long.|Air|Water|Air|Water|Winds|Course|tance |of the|--------|
  |    |  N.  |  W. |   |     |   |     |     |      |      |Needle|   |    |
  |    |      |     |   |     |   |     |     |      |Miles.| West.| A.| W. |
  |Aug |      |     |   |     |   |     |     |      |      |      /        |
  | 20 |37 38 |38  6| 78|  76 | omitted |West |N ¼ W |   62 |     | 77 | 75 |
  | 21 |36 15 |38 26| 73|  74 | 78|  76 |W N W|S b W |   82 |     | 77 | 75 |
  | 22 |35 40 |38 44| 7 |  76 | 80|  77 |W b S|S S W |   38 |     | 80 | 77 |
  | 23 |35 35 |40 52| 7 |  77 | 78|  75 |North|W ¼ S |  100 |     | omitted.|
  | 24 |35 12 |41 31| 75|  73 | 75|  74 |W N W|S WbW |   41 |     | 75 | 74 |
  | 25 |35 40 |42 33| 79|  76 | 79|  76 |W b N|W NW¾N|   60 |     | 80 | 76 |
  | 26 |35 30 |42 44| 79|  76 | 80|  76 |S WbW|S W½S |   14 |     | 80 | 76 |
  | 27 |35 14 |43 23| 79|  77 | 81|  79 |West |W SW¼S|   38 |     | 81 | 78 |
  | 28 |34 23 |44  0| 7 |  76 | 78|  78 |N N E|S WbS |   60 |     | 78 | 78 |
  | 29 |34 12 |45 52| 77|  78 | 78|  78 |N E  |W ¼ S |   94 | 8° 0| 79 | 78 |
  | 30 |34  5 |48 31| 78|  78 | 78|  78 |East |W ½ S |  134 |     | 78 | 78 |
  | 31 |34 20 |51  4| 80|  79 | 81|  79 |East |W ¾ S |  129 |     | 80 | 80 |
  |Sep |      |     |   |     |   |     |     |      |      |     |    |    |
  |  1 |34 20 |52 47| 81|  78 | omitted |S S W|W ¼ N |   86 |     | 83 | 80 |
  |  2 |34 55 |55 12| 81|  80 | 83|  80 |S W  |WbN ½W|  125 |     | 83 | 80 |
  |  3 |35 30 |57 24| 83|  80 | 83|  80 |S WbS|WbN ½N|  114 | 6° 0| 84 | 81 |
  |  4 |35 50 |59  1| 82|  80 | 83|  80 |S W½W|WbN ¼N|   82 |     | 83 | 81 |
  |  5 |35 55 |61  0| 81|  80 | 82|  81 |S S W|W ¼ N |   96 |     | 82 | 81 |
  |  6 |36 20 |62 30| 80|  81 | 79|  80 |N WbN|W b N |   75 |     | 78 | 80 |
  |  7 |34 50 |63 10| 87|  80 | 78|  81 |N WbN|S S W |   86 |     | 78 | 81 |
  |  8 |34 45 |64 40| 75|  79 | 75|  79 |North|W ¼ S |   74 |     | 75 | 79 |
  |  9 |35 43 |66 42| 75|  79 | 77|  73 |N E  |W N W |  108 |     | 78 | 80 |
  | 10 |37 20 |68 40| 77|  73 | 77|  70 |E N E|N W   |  126 |     | 78 | 72 |

N.B. Longitude is reckoned from London, and the Thermometer is
according to Fahrenheit.


  July 31. At one P.M. the Start bore WNW. distant six leagues.

  August 1. The water appears luminous in the ship's wake.

  ---- 2. The temperature of the water is taken at eight in the
  morning and at eight in the evening.

  ---- 6. The water appears less luminous.

  ---- 7. Formegas SW. dist 32½ deg. St. Mary's SW½S. 33 leagues.

  ---- 8. From this date the temperature of the water is taken at
  eight in the morning and at six in the evening.

  ---- 10. Moonlight, which prevents the luminous appearance of the

  ---- 11. A strong southerly current.

  ---- 12. Ditto. From this date the temperature of the air and water
  was taken at noon, as well as morning and evening.

  ---- 16. Northerly current.

  ---- 19. First saw gulph weed.

  ---- 21. Southerly current.

  ---- 22. Again saw gulph weed.

  ---- 24. The water appeared luminous in a small degree before the
  moon rose.

  ---- 29. No moon, yet very little light in the water.

  ---- 30. Much gulph weed to-day.

  ---- 31. Ditto.

  Sept. 1. Ditto.

  ---- 2. A little more light in the water.

  ---- 4. No gulph weed to-day. More light in the water.

  ---- 5. Some gulph weed again.

  ---- 6. Little light in the water. A very hard thunder-gust in the

  ---- 7. Little gulph weed.

  ---- 8. More light in the water. Little gulph weed.

  ---- 9. Little gulph weed. Little light in the water last evening.

  ---- 10. Saw some beds of rock-weed; and we were surprised to
  observe the water six degrees colder by the thermometer than the
  preceding noon.

  This day (10th) the thermometer still kept descending, and at five
  in the morning of the 11th, it was in water as low as 70, when
  we struck soundings. The same evening the pilot came on board,
  and we found our ship about five degrees of longitude a-head of
  the reckoning, which our captain accounted for by supposing our
  course to have been near the edge of the gulph stream, and thus
  an eddy-current always in our favour. By the distance we ran from
  Sept. 9, in the evening, till we struck soundings, we must have
  then been at the western edge of the gulph stream, and the change
  in the temperature of the water was probably owing to our suddenly
  passing from that current, into the waters of our own climate.

  On the 14th of August the following experiment was made. The
  weather being perfectly calm, an empty bottle, corked very tight,
  was sent down 20 fathoms, and it was drawn up still empty. It was
  then sent down again 35 fathoms, when the weight of the water
  having forced in the cork, it was drawn up full; the water it
  contained was immediately tried by the thermometer, and found to be
  70, which was six degrees colder than at the surface: the lead and
  bottle were visible, but not very distinctly so, at the depth of
  12 fathoms, but when only 7 fathoms deep, they were perfectly seen
  from the ship. This experiment was thus repeated Sept. 11, when we
  were in soundings of 18 fathoms. A keg was previously prepared with
  a valve at each end, one opening inward, the other outward; this
  was sent to the bottom in expectation that by the valves being both
  open when going down, and both shut when coming up, it would keep
  within it the water received at bottom. The upper valve performed
  its office well, but the under one did not shut quite close, so
  that much of the water was lost in hauling it up the ship's side.
  As the water in the keg's passage upwards could not enter at the
  top, it was concluded that what water remained in it was of that
  near the ground, and on trying this by the thermometer, it was
  found to be at 58, which was 12 degrees colder than at the surface.

  _This last Journal was obligingly kept for me by Mr. J. Williams,
  my fellow-passenger in the London Packet, who made all the
  experiments with great exactness._

TO MR. O. N[36].

  _On the Art of Swimming._

  [No date.]


I cannot be of opinion with you that it is too late in life for you
to learn to swim. The river near the bottom of your garden affords
a most convenient place for the purpose. And as your new employment
requires your being often on the water, of which you have such a
dread, I think you would do well to make the trial; nothing being
so likely to remove those apprehensions as the consciousness of
an ability to swim to the shore, in case of an accident, or of
supporting yourself in the water till a boat could come to take you

I do not know how far corks or bladders may be useful in learning to
swim, having never seen much trial of them. Possibly they may be of
service in supporting the body while you are learning what is called
the stroke, or that manner of drawing in and striking out the hands
and feet that is necessary to produce progressive motion. But you
will be no swimmer till you can place some confidence in the power of
the water to support you; I would therefore advise the acquiring that
confidence in the first place; especially as I have known several
who, by a little of the practice necessary for that purpose, have
insensibly acquired the stroke, taught as it were by nature.

The practice I mean is this. Chusing a place where the water deepens
gradually, walk coolly into it till it is up to your breast, then
turn round, your face to the shore, and throw an egg into the water
between you and the shore. It will sink to the bottom, and be easily
seen there, as your water is clear. It must lie in water so deep
as that you cannot reach it to take it up but by diving for it. To
encourage yourself in order to do this, reflect that your progress
will be from deeper to shallower water, and that at any time you may,
by bringing your legs under you and standing on the bottom, raise
your head far above the water. Then plunge under it with your eyes
open, throwing yourself towards the egg, and endeavouring by the
action of your hands and feet against the water to get forward till
within reach of it. In this attempt you will find, that the water
buoys you up against your inclination; that it is not so easy a thing
to sink as you imagined; that you cannot but by active force get down
to the egg. Thus you feel the power of the water to support you, and
learn to confide in that power; while your endeavours to overcome it,
and to reach the egg, teach you the manner of acting on the water
with your feet and hands, which action is afterwards used in swimming
to support your head higher above water, or to go forward through it.

I would the more earnestly press you to the trial of this method,
because, though I think I satisfied you that your body is lighter
than water, and that you might float in it a long time with your
mouth free for breathing, if you would put yourself in a proper
posture, and would be still and forbear struggling; yet till you have
obtained this experimental confidence in the water, I cannot depend
on your having the necessary presence of mind to recollect that
posture and the directions I gave you relating to it. The surprize
may put all out of your mind. For though we value ourselves on being
reasonable knowing creatures, reason and knowledge seem on such
occasions to be of little use to us; and the brutes to whom we allow
scarce a glimmering of either, appear to have the advantage of us.

I will, however, take this opportunity of repeating, those
particulars to you, which I mentioned in our last conversation, as,
by perusing them at your leisure, you may possibly imprint them so in
your memory as on occasion to be of some use to you.

1. That though the legs, arms, and head, of a human body, being solid
parts, are specifically something heavier than fresh water, yet the
trunk, particularly the upper part, from its hollowness, is so much
lighter than water, as that the whole of the body taken together
is too light to sink wholly under water, but some part will remain
above, until the lungs become filled with water, which happens from
drawing water into them instead of air, when a person in the fright
attempts breathing while the mouth and nostrils are under water.

2. That the legs and arms are specifically lighter than salt water,
and will be supported by it, so that a human body would not sink
in salt-water, though the lungs were filled as above, but from the
greater specific gravity of the head.

3. That therefore a person throwing himself on his back in salt
water, and extending his arms, may easily lie so as to keep his mouth
and nostrils free for breathing; and by a small motion of his hands
may prevent turning, if he should perceive any tendency to it.

4. That in fresh water, if a man throws himself on his back, near
the surface, he cannot long continue in that situation but by proper
action of his hands on the water. If he uses no such action, the legs
and lower part of the body will gradually sink till he comes into an
upright position, in which he will continue suspended, the hollow of
the breast keeping the head uppermost.

5. But if, in this erect position, the head is kept upright above the
shoulders, as when we stand on the ground, the immersion will, by the
weight of that part of the head that is out of water, reach above the
mouth and nostrils, perhaps a little above the eyes, so that a man
cannot long remain suspended in water with his head in that position.

6. The body continuing suspended as before, and upright, if the head
be leaned quite back, so that the face looks upwards, all the back
part of the head being then under water, and its weight consequently
in a great measure supported by it, the face will remain above water
quite free for breathing, will rise an inch higher every inspiration,
and sink as much every expiration, but never so low as that the water
may come over the mouth.

7. If therefore a person unacquainted with swimming and falling
accidentally into the water, could have presence of mind sufficient
to avoid struggling and plunging, and to let the body take this
natural position, he might continue long safe from drowning till
perhaps help would come. For as to the cloaths, their additional
weight while immersed is very inconsiderable, the water supporting it
though, when he comes out of the water, he would find them very heavy

But, as I said before, I would not advise you or any one to depend on
having this presence of mind on such an occasion, but learn fairly to
swim; as I wish all men were taught to do in their youth; they would,
on many occurrences, be the safer for having that skill, and on many
more the happier, as freer from painful apprehensions of danger,
to say nothing of the enjoyment in so delightful and wholesome an
exercise. Soldiers particularly should, methinks, all be taught to
swim; it might be of frequent use either in surprising an enemy, or
saving themselves. And if I had now boys to educate, I should prefer
those schools (other things being equal) where an opportunity was
afforded for acquiring so advantageous an art, which once learned is
never forgotten.

  I am, Sir, &c.



[36] Oliver Neale. _Editor._


  _In Answer to some Enquiries of M. Dubourg[37]._

**** I am apprehensive that I shall not be able to find leisure for
making all the disquisitions and experiments which would be desirable
on this subject. I must, therefore, content myself with a few remarks.

The specific gravity of some human bodies, in comparison to that
of water, has been examined by Mr. Robinson, in our Philosophical
Transactions, volume 50, page 30, for the year 1757. He asserts, that
fat persons with small bones float most easily upon the water.

The diving-bell is accurately described in our Transactions.

When I was a boy, I made two oval pallets, each about ten inches
long, and six broad, with a hole for the thumb, in order to retain it
fast in the palm of my hand. They much resembled a painter's pallets.
In swimming I pushed the edges of these forward, and I struck the
water with their flat surfaces as I drew them back. I remember I swam
faster by means of these pallets, but they fatigued my wrists. I
also fitted to the soles of my feet a kind of sandals; but I was not
satisfied with them, because I observed that the stroke is partly
given by the inside of the feet and the ancles, and not entirely with
the soles of the feet.

We have here waistcoats for swimming, which are made of double
sail-cloth, with small pieces of cork quilted in between them.

I know nothing of the _scaphandre_ of M. de la Chapelle.

I know by experience, that it is a great comfort to a swimmer, who
has a considerable distance to go, to turn himself sometimes on
his back, and to vary in other respects the means of procuring a
progressive motion.

When he is seized with the cramp in the leg, the method of driving it
away is to give to the parts affected a sudden, vigorous and violent
shock; which he may do in the air as he swims on his back.

During the great heats of summer there is no danger in bathing,
however warm we may be, in rivers which have been thoroughly warmed
by the sun. But to throw oneself into cold spring water, when the
body has been heated by exercise in the sun, is an imprudence which
may prove fatal. I once knew an instance of four young men, who,
having worked at harvest in the heat of the day, with a view of
refreshing themselves plunged into a spring of cold water: two died
upon the spot, a third the next morning, and the fourth recovered
with great difficulty. A copious draught of cold water, in similar
circumstances, is frequently attended with the same effect in North

The exercise of swimming is one of the most healthy and agreeable in
the world. After having swam for an hour or two in the evening, one
sleeps coolly the whole night, even during the most ardent heat of
summer. Perhaps the pores being cleansed, the insensible perspiration
increases and occasions this coolness. It is certain that much
swimming is the means of stopping a diarrhœa, and even of producing a
constipation. With respect to those who do not know how to swim, or
who are affected with a diarrhœa at a season which does not permit
them to use that exercise, a warm bath, by cleansing and purifying
the skin, is found very salutary, and often effects a radical cure. I
speak from my own experience, frequently repeated, and that of others
to whom I have recommended this.

You will not be displeased if I conclude these hasty remarks by
informing you, that as the ordinary method of swimming is reduced
to the act of rowing with the arms and legs, and is consequently
a laborious and fatiguing operation when the space of water to be
crossed is considerable; there is a method in which a swimmer may
pass to great distances with much facility, by means of a sail. This
discovery I fortunately made by accident, and in the following manner.

When I was a boy I amused myself one day with flying a paper kite;
and approaching the bank of a pond, which was near a mile broad,
I tied the string to a stake, and the kite ascended to a very
considerable height above the pond, while I was swimming. In a little
time, being desirous of amusing myself with my kite, and enjoying at
the same time the pleasure of swimming, I returned; and loosing from
the stake the string with the little stick which was fastened to it,
went again into the water, where I found, that, lying on my back and
holding the stick in my hands, I was drawn along the surface of the
water in a very agreeable manner. Having then engaged another boy
to carry my clothes round the pond, to a place which I pointed out
to him on the other side, I began to cross the pond with my kite,
which carried me quite over without the least fatigue, and with
the greatest pleasure imaginable. I was only obliged occasionally
to halt a little in my course, and resist its progress, when it
appeared that, by following too quick, I lowered the kite too much;
by doing which occasionally I made it rise again. I have never since
that time practised this singular mode of swimming, though I think
it not impossible to cross in this manner from Dover to Calais. The
packet-boat, however, is still preferable. ****



[37] This and the four following extracts of letters to M. Dubourg,
are re-translated from the French edition of Dr. Franklin's works.


  _On the free Use of Air._

  _London, July 28, 1760._

**** I greatly approve the epithet which you give, in your letter
of the 8th of June, to the new method of treating the small-pox,
which you call the _tonic_ or bracing method; I will take occasion,
from it, to mention a practice to which I have accustomed myself.
You know the cold bath has long been in vogue here as a tonic; but
the shock of the cold water has always appeared to me, generally
speaking, as too violent, and I have found it much more agreeable
to my constitution to bathe in another element, I mean cold air.
With this view I rise almost every morning, and sit in my chamber
without any clothes whatever, half an hour or an hour, according
to the season, either reading or writing. This practice is not in
the least painful, but, on the contrary, agreeable; and if I return
to bed afterwards, before I dress myself, as sometimes happens, I
make a supplement to my night's rest of one or two hours of the most
pleasing sleep that can be imagined. I find no ill consequences
whatever resulting from it, and that at least it does not injure my
health, if it does not in fact contribute much to its preservation. I
shall therefore call it for the future a _bracing_ or _tonic_ bath.


  _On the Causes of Colds._

  _March 10, 1773._

**** I shall not attempt to explain why damp clothes occasion
colds, rather than wet ones, because I doubt the fact; I imagine
that neither the one nor the other contribute to this effect, and
that the causes of colds are totally independent of wet and even of
cold. I propose writing a short paper on this subject, the first
moment of leisure I have at my disposal. In the mean time I can
only say, that having some suspicions that the common notion, which
attributes to cold the property of stopping the pores and obstructing
perspiration, was ill founded, I engaged a young physician, who is
making some experiments with Sanctorius's balance, to estimate the
different proportions of his perspiration, when remaining one hour
quite naked, and another warmly clothed. He pursued the experiment
in this alternate manner for eight hours successively, and found his
perspiration almost double during those hours in which he was naked.


  _Dr. Stark_[38].

  _May 4, 1773._

**** The young physician whom I mentioned is dead, and all the notes
which he had left of his curious experiments are by some accident
lost between our friends Sir John Pringle and Dr. Huck (Saunders);
but these gentlemen, if the papers cannot be recovered, it is to be
presumed, will repeat the experiments themselves ****


  _Dr. Lettsom._

  _London, August 30, 1769._

**** This letter will be forwarded to you by Dr. Lettsom, a young
American physician of much merit, and one of the peaceable sect of
Quakers: you will therefore at least regard him as a curiosity, even
though you should have embraced all the opinions of the majority of
your countrymen concerning these people ****



  _Respecting the Number of Deaths in Philadelphia by Inoculation._

  _Boston, Aug. 3, 1752._


This comes to you on account of Dr. Douglass: he desired me to write
to you for what you know of the number that died of the inoculation
in Philadelphia, telling me he designed to write something on the
small-pox shortly. We shall both be obliged to you for a word on this

The chief particulars of our visitation, you have in the public
prints. But the less degree of mortality than usual in the common way
of infection, seems chiefly owing to the purging method designed to
prevent the secondary fever; a method first begun and carried on in
this town, and with success beyond expectation. We lost one in eleven
one-sixth, but had we been experienced in this way, at the first
coming of the distemper, probably the proportion had been but one in
thirteen or fourteen. In the year 1730 we lost one in nine, which is
more favourable than ever before with us. The distemper pretty much
the same then as now, but some circumstances not so kind this time.

If there be any particulars which you want to know, please to signify
what they are, and I shall send them.

The number of our inhabitants decreases[40]. On a strict inquiry,
the overseers of the poor find but fourteen thousand one hundred and
ninety Whites, and one thousand five hundred and forty-four Blacks,
including those absent, on account of the small-pox, many of whom, it
is probable, will never return.

I pass this opportunity without any particulars of my old theme.
One thing, however, I must mention, which is, that perhaps my last
letters contained something that seemed to militate with your
doctrine of the _Origin_, &c. But my design was only to relate the
phenomena as they appeared to me. I have received so much light and
pleasure from your writings, as to prejudice me in favour of every
thing from your hand, and leave me only liberty to observe, and a
power of dissenting when some great probability might oblige me: and
if at any time that be the case, you will certainly hear of it.

  I am, Sir, &c.


[38] The works of Dr. Stark, including the experiments alluded to,
have since been published. _Editor._

[39] Dr. Perkins. _Editor._

[40] Boston is an old town, and was formerly the seat of all the
trade of the country, that was carried on by sea. New towns, and
ports, have, of late, divided the trade with it, and diminished its
inhabitants, though the inhabitants of the country, in general, have
greatly increased.


  _In Answer to the preceding._

  _Philadelphia, Aug. 13, 1752._


I received your favour of the 3d instant. Some time last winter I
procured from one of our physicians an account of the number of
persons inoculated during the five visitations of the small-pox we
have had in twenty-two years; which account I sent to Mr. W. V. of
your town, and have no copy. If I remember right, the number exceeded
eight hundred, and the deaths were but four. I suppose Mr. V. will
show you the account, if he ever received it. Those four were all
that our doctors allow to have died of the small-pox by inoculation,
though I think there were two more of the inoculated who died of the
distemper; but the eruptions appearing soon after the operation, it
is supposed they had taken the infection before, in the common way.

I shall be glad to see what Dr. Douglass may write on the subject. I
have a French piece printed at Paris, 1724, entitled, _Observations
sur la Saignée du Pied, et sur la Purgation au commencement de la
Petite Verole, & Raisons de doubte contre l' Inoculation._--A letter
of the doctor's is mentioned in it. If he or you have it not, and
desire to see it, I will send it.--Please to favour me with the
particulars of your purging method, to prevent the secondary fever.

I am indebted for your preceding letter, but business sometimes
obliges one to postpone philosophical amusements. Whatever I
have wrote of that kind, are really, as they are entitled, but
_Conjectures_ and _Suppositions_; which ought always to give place,
when careful observation militates against them. I own I have too
strong a penchant to the building of hypotheses; they indulge my
natural indolence: I wish I had more of your patience and accuracy in
making observations, on which, alone, true philosophy can be founded.
And, I assure you, nothing can be more obliging to me, than your kind
communication of those you make, however they may disagree with my
pre-conceived notions.

I am sorry to hear that the number of your inhabitants decreases. I
some time since, wrote a small paper of _Thoughts on the peopling of
Countries_[41], which, if I can find, I will send you, to obtain your
sentiments. The favourable opinion you express of my writings, may,
you see, occasion you more trouble than you expected from,

  Sir, yours, &c.



[41] This paper will be found in a subsequent part of the present
volume. _Editor._


  _On the Effects of Lead upon the human Constitution[42]._

  _Philadelphia, July 31, 1786._


I recollect that when I had last the pleasure of seeing you at
Southampton, now a twelvemonth since, we had some conversation on
the bad effects of lead taken inwardly; and that at your request I
promised to send you in writing a particular account of several facts
I then mentioned to you, of which you thought some good use might be
made. I now sit down to fulfil that promise.

The first thing I remember of this kind was a general discourse
in Boston when I was a boy, of a complaint from North Carolina
against New-England rum, that it poisoned their people, giving
them the dry-belly-ach, with a loss of the use of their limbs. The
distilleries being examined on the occasion, it was found, that
several of them used leaden still-heads and worms, and the physicians
were of opinion, that the mischief was occasioned by that use of
lead. The legislature of Massachussetts thereupon passed an act,
prohibiting, under severe penalties, the use of such still-heads and
worms hereafter.

In 1724, being in London, I went to work in the printing-house of Mr.
Palmer, Bartholomew-close, as a compositor. I there found a practice,
I had never seen before, of drying a case of types (which are wet in
distribution) by placing it sloping before the fire.

I found this had the additional advantage, when the types were not
only dried but heated, of being comfortable to the hands working over
them in cold weather. I therefore sometimes heated my case when the
types did not want drying. But an old workman observing it advised me
not to do so, telling me I might lose the use of my hands by it, as
two of our companions had nearly done, one of whom, that used to earn
his guinea a week, could not then make more than ten shillings, and
the other, who had the dangles, but seven and sixpence. This, with a
kind of obscure pain, that I had sometimes felt, as it were, in the
bones of my hand when working over the types made very hot, induced
me to omit the practice. But talking afterwards with Mr. James, a
letter-founder in the same Close, and asking him if his people, who
worked over the little furnaces of melted metal, were not subject to
that disorder; he made light of any danger from the effluvia, but
ascribed it to particles of the metal swallowed with their food by
slovenly workmen, who went to their meals after handling the metal,
without well washing their fingers, so that some of the metalline
particles were taken off by their bread and eaten with it. This
appeared to have some reason in it. But the pain I had experienced
made me still afraid of those effluvia.

Being in Derbyshire at some of the furnaces for smelting of lead
ore, I was told, that the smoke of those furnaces was pernicious to
the neighbouring grass and other vegetables; but I do not recollect
to have heard any thing of the effect of such vegetables eaten by
animals. It may be well to make the enquiry.

In America I have often observed, that on the roofs of our
shingled-houses, where moss is apt to grow in northern exposures,
if there be any thing on the roof painted with white lead, such as
balusters, or frames of dormant windows, &c. there is constantly a
streak on the shingles from such paint down to the eaves, on which
no moss will grow, but the wood remains constantly clean and free
from it. We seldom drink rain-water that fall on our houses; and
if we did, perhaps the small quantity of lead descending from such
paint might not be sufficient to produce any sensible ill-effect
on our bodies. But I have been told of a case in Europe, I forget
the place, where a whole family was afflicted with what we call
the dry-belly-ach, or _colica pictorum_, by drinking rain-water.
It was at a country-seat, which, being situated too high to have
the advantage of a well, was supplied with water from a tank, which
received the water from the leaded roofs. This had been drank several
years without mischief, but some young trees planted near the house
growing up above the roof, and shedding their leaves upon it, it
was supposed, that an acid in those leaves had corroded the lead
they covered, and furnished the water of that year with its baneful
particles and qualities.

When I was in Paris with Sir John Pringle in 1767, he visited _La
Charité_, an hospital particularly famous for the cure of that
malady, and brought from thence a pamphlet, containing a list of
the names of persons, specifying their professions or trades, who
had been cured there. I had the curiosity to examine that list,
and found, that all the patients were of trades, that some way or
other use or work in lead; such as plumbers, glaziers, painters, &c.
excepting only two kinds, stone-cutters and soldiers. In them, I
could not reconcile it to my notion, that lead was the cause of that
disorder. But on my mentioning it to a physician of that hospital, he
informed me, that the stone-cutters are continually using melted lead
to fix the ends of iron balustrades in stone; and that the soldiers
had been employed by painters as labourers in grinding of colours.

This, my dear friend, is all I can at present recollect on the
subject. You will see by it, that the opinion of this mischievous
effect from lead, is at least above sixty years old; and you will
observe with concern how long a useful truth may be known and exist,
before it is generally received and practised on.

  I am, ever, yours most affectionately,



[42] This letter is taken from a work by Dr. John Hunter, entitled
_Observations on the Diseases of the Army_. _Editor._


  _Observations on the prevailing Doctrines of Life and Death._

**** Your observations on the causes of death, and the experiments
which you propose for recalling to life those who appear to be killed
by lightning, demonstrate equally your sagacity and your humanity. It
appears, that the doctrines of life and death, in general, are yet
but little understood.

A toad buried in sand will live, it is said, till the sand becomes
petrified: and then, being inclosed in the stone, it may still live
for we know not how many ages. The facts which are cited in support
of this opinion are too numerous, and too circumstantial, not to
deserve a certain degree of credit. As we are accustomed to see all
the animals, with which we are acquainted, eat and drink, it appears
to us difficult to conceive, how a toad can be supported in such
a dungeon: but if we reflect, that the necessity of nourishment,
which animals experience in their ordinary state, proceeds from the
continual waste of their substance by perspiration, it will appear
less incredible, that some animals in a torpid state, perspiring
less because they use no exercise, should have less need of aliment;
and that others, which are covered with scales or shells, which
stop perspiration, such as land and sea-turtles, serpents, and some
species of fish, should be able to subsist a considerable time
without any nourishment whatever.--A plant, with its flowers, fades
and dies immediately, if exposed to the air without having its
root immersed in a humid soil, from which it may draw a sufficient
quantity of moisture to supply that which exhales from its substance
and is carried off continually by the air. Perhaps, however, if it
were buried in quicksilver, it might preserve for a considerable
space of time its vegetable life, its smell and colour. If this be
the case, it might prove a commodious method of transporting from
distant countries those delicate plants, which are unable to sustain
the inclemency of the weather at sea, and which require particular
care and attention. I have seen an instance of common flies preserved
in a manner somewhat similar. They had been drowned in Madeira wine,
apparently about the time when it was bottled in Virginia, to be
sent hither (to London). At the opening of one of the bottles, at
the house of a friend where I then was, three drowned flies fell
into the first glass that was filled. Having heard it remarked, that
drowned flies were capable of being revived by the rays of the sun,
I proposed making the experiment upon these: they were therefore
exposed to the sun upon a sieve, which had been employed to strain
them out of the wine. In less than three hours, two of them began by
degrees to recover life. They commenced by some convulsive motions
of the thighs, and at length they raised themselves upon their legs,
wiped their eyes with their fore-feet, beat and brushed their wings
with their hind-feet, and soon after began to fly, finding themselves
in Old England, without knowing how they came thither. The third
continued lifeless till sunset, when, losing all hopes of him, he was
thrown away.

I wish it were possible, from this instance, to invent a method of
embalming drowned persons, in such a manner that they may be recalled
to life at any period, however distant; for having a very ardent
desire to see and observe the state of America an hundred years
hence, I should prefer to any ordinary death, the being immersed in a
cask of Madeira wine, with a few friends till that time, to be then
recalled to life by the solar warmth of my dear country! But since in
all probability we live in an age too early and too near the infancy
of science, to hope to see such an art brought in our time to its
perfection, I must for the present content myself with the treat,
which you are so kind as to promise me, of the resurrection of a fowl
or a turkey-cock.

  I am, &c.



[43] This letter is translated from the French edition of Dr.
Franklin's works. It has no date, but the letter to which it is an
answer is dated 15th April, 1773.

  _An Account of the new-invented Pensylvanian Fire-Places: wherein
  their Construction and Manner of Operation is particularly
  explained; their Advantages above every other Method of warming
  Rooms demonstrated; and all Objections that have been raised
  against the Use of them answered and obviated. With Directions for
  putting them up, and for using them to the best Advantage. And a
  Copper-Plate, in which the several parts of the Machine are exactly
  laid down, from a Scale of Equal Parts._


  (First printed at Philadelphia in 1745.)

In these northern colonies the inhabitants keep fires to sit by
generally seven months in the year; that is, from the beginning
of October, to the end of April; and, in some winters, near eight
months, by taking in part of September and May.

Wood, our common fuel, which within these hundred years might be had
at every man's door, must now be fetched near one hundred miles to
some towns, and makes a very considerable article in the expence of

As therefore so much of the comfort and conveniency of our lives, for
so great a part of the year, depends on the article of _fire_; since
fuel is become so expensive, and (as the country is more cleared and
settled) will of course grow scarcer and dearer, any new proposal for
saving the wood, and for lessening the charge, and augmenting the
benefit of fire, by some particular method of making and managing it,
may at least be thought worth consideration.

The new fire-places are a late invention to that purpose, of which
this paper is intended to give a particular account.

That the reader may the better judge whether this method of managing
fire has any advantage over those heretofore in use, it may be proper
to consider both the old and new methods separately and particularly,
and afterwards make the comparison.

In order to this, it is necessary to understand well, some few of the
properties of air and fire, viz.

1. Air is rarefied by _heat_, and condensed by _cold_, _i. e._ the
same quantity of air takes up more space when warm than when cold.
This may be shown by several very easy experiments. Take any clear
glass bottle (a Florence flask stript of the straw is best) place it
before the fire, and as the air within is warmed and rarefied, part
of it will be driven out of the bottle; turn it up, place its mouth
in a vessel of water, and remove it from the fire; then, as the air
within cools and contracts, you will see the water rise in the neck
of the bottle, supplying the place of just so much air as was driven
out. Hold a large hot coal near the side of the bottle, and as the
air within feels the heat, it will again distend and force out the
water.--Or, fill a bladder not quite full of air, tie the neck tight,
and lay it before a fire as near as may be without scorching the
bladder; as the air within heats, you will perceive it to swell and
fill the bladder, till it becomes tight, as if full blown: remove it
to a cool place, and you will see it fall gradually, till it becomes
as lank as at first.

2. Air rarefied and distended by heat is[44] specifically
lighter than it was before, and will rise in other air of greater
density. As wood, oil, or any other matter specifically lighter than
water, if placed at the bottom of a vessel of water, will rise till
it comes to the top; so rarefied air will rise in common air, till
it either comes to air of equal weight, or is by cold reduced to its
former density.

A fire then being made in any chimney, the air over the fire is
rarefied by the heat, becomes lighter, and therefore immediately
rises in the funnel, and goes out; the other air in the room (flowing
towards the chimney) supplies its place, is rarefied in its turn, and
rises likewise; the place of the air thus carried out of the room,
is supplied by fresh air coming in through doors and windows, or, if
they be shut, through every crevice with violence, as may be seen by
holding a candle to a key-hole: If the room be so tight as that all
the crevices together will not supply so much air as is continually
carried off, then, in a little time, the current up the funnel must
flag, and the smoke being no longer driven up, must come into the

1. Fire (_i. e._ common fire) throws out light, heat, and smoke (or
fume.) The two first move in right lines, and with great swiftness,
the latter is but just separated from the fuel, and then moves
only as it is carried by the stream of rarefied air: and without a
continual accession and recession of air, to carry off the smoaky
fumes, they would remain crouded about the fire, and stifle it.

2. Heat may be separated from the smoke as well as from the light, by
means of a plate of iron, which will suffer heat to pass through it
without the others.

3. Fire sends out its rays of heat as well as rays of light, equally
every way; but the greatest sensible heat is over the fire, where
there is, besides the rays of heat shot upwards, a continual rising
stream of hot air, heated by the rays shot round on every side.

These things being understood, we proceed to consider the fire-places
heretofore in use, _viz._

1. The large open fire-places used in the days of our fathers, and
still generally in the country, and in kitchens.

2. The newer-fashioned fire-places, with low breasts, and narrow

3. Fire-places with hollow backs, hearths, and jams of iron
(described by M. Gauger, in his tract entitled, _La Mechanique de
Feu_) for warming the air as it comes into the room.

4. The Holland stoves, with iron doors opening into the room.

5. The German stoves, which have no opening in the room where they
are used, but the fire is put in from some other room, or from

6. Iron pots, with open charcoal fires, placed in the middle of a

1. The first of these methods has generally the conveniency of two
warm seats, one in each corner; but they are sometimes too hot to
abide in, and, at other times, incommoded with the smoke; there is
likewise good room for the cook to move, to hang on pots, &c. Their
inconveniencies are, that they almost always smoke, if the door be
not left open; that they require a large funnel, and a large funnel
carries off a great quantity of air, which occasions what is called
a strong draft to the chimney, without which strong draft the smoke
would come out of some part or other of so large an opening, so that
the door can seldom be shut; and the cold air so nips the backs and
heels of those that sit before the fire, that they have no comfort
till either screens or settles are provided (at a considerable
expence) to keep it off, which both cumber the room, and darken the
fire-side. A moderate quantity of wood on the fire, in so large a
hearth, seems but little; and, in so strong and cold a draught, warms
but little; so that people are continually laying on more. In short,
it is next to impossible to warm a room with such a fire-place: and I
suppose our ancestors never thought of warming rooms to sit in; all
they purposed was, to have a place to make a fire in, by which they
might warm themselves when cold.

2. Most of these old-fashioned chimneys in towns and cities, have
been, of late years, reduced to the second sort mentioned, by
building jambs within them, narrowing the hearth, and making a
low arch or breast. It is strange, methinks, that though chimneys
have been so long in use, their construction should be so little
understood till lately, that no workman pretended to make one which
should always carry off all smoke, but a chimney-cloth was looked
upon as essential to a chimney. This improvement, however, by small
openings and low breasts, has been made in our days; and success in
the first experiments has brought it into general use in cities, so
that almost all new chimneys are now made of that sort, and much
fewer bricks will make a stack of chimneys now than formerly. An
improvement, so lately made, may give us room to believe, that still
farther improvements may be found to remedy the inconveniencies yet
remaining. For these new chimneys, though they keep rooms generally
free from smoke, and, the opening being contracted, will allow
the door to be shut, yet the funnel still requiring a considerable
quantity of air, it rushes in at every crevice so strongly, as to
make a continual whistling or howling; and it is very uncomfortable,
as well as dangerous, to sit against any such crevice. Many colds
are caught from this cause only, it being safer to sit in the open
street, for then the pores do all close together, and the air does
not strike so sharply against any particular part of the body.

The Spaniards have a proverbial saying,

    If the wind blows on you through a hole,
    Make your will, and take care of your soul.

Women particularly, from this cause, as they sit much in the house,
get colds in the head, rheums and defluctions, which fall into their
jaws and gums, and have destroyed early many a fine set of teeth in
these northern colonies. Great and bright fires do also very much
contribute to damage the eyes, dry and shrivel the skin, and bring
on early the appearances of old age. In short, many of the diseases
proceeding from colds, as fevers, pleurisies, &c. fatal to very
great numbers of people, may be ascribed to strong drawing chimneys,
whereby, in severe weather, a man is scorched before while he is
froze behind.[45] In the mean time, very little is done by these
chimneys towards warming the room; for the air round the fire-place,
which is warmed by the direct rays from the fire, does not continue
in the room, but is continually crouded and gathered into the chimney
by the current of cold air coming behind it, and so is presently
carried off.

In both these sorts of fire-places, the greatest part of the heat
from the fire is lost; for as fire naturally darts heat every way,
the back, the two jambs, and the hearth, drink up almost all that is
given them, very little being reflected from bodies so dark, porous,
and unpolished; and the upright heat, which is by far the greatest,
flies directly up the chimney. Thus five-sixths at least of the heat
(and consequently of the fuel) is wasted, and contributes nothing
towards warming the room.

3. To remedy this, the Sieur Gauger gives, in his book entitled, La
Mechanique de Feu, published in 1709, seven different constructions
of the third sort of chimneys mentioned above, in which there are
hollow cavities made by iron plates in the back, jambs, and hearths,
through which plates the heat passing warms the air in those
cavities, which is continually coming into the room fresh and warm.
The invention was very ingenious, and had many conveniencies: the
room was warmed in all parts, by the air flowing into it through the
heated cavities: cold air was prevented rushing through the crevices,
the funnel being sufficiently supplied by those cavities: much less
fuel would serve, &c. But the first expence, which was very great,
the intricacy of the design, and the difficulty of the execution,
especially in old chimneys, discouraged the propagation of the
invention; so that there are, I suppose, very few such chimneys now
in use. [The upright heat, too, was almost all lost in these, as in
the common chimneys.]

4. The Holland iron stove, which has a flue proceeding from the
top, and a small iron door opening into the room, comes next to be
considered. Its conveniencies are, that it makes a room all over
warm; for the chimney being wholly closed, except the flue of the
stove, very little air is required to supply that, and therefore not
much rushes in at crevices, or at the door when it is opened. Little
fuel serves, the heat being almost all saved; for it rays out almost
equally from the four sides, the bottom and the top, into the room,
and presently warms the air around it, which, being rarefied, rises
to the ceiling, and its place is supplied by the lower air of the
room, which flows gradually towards the stove, and is there warmed,
and rises in its turn, so that there is a continual circulation
till all the air in the room is warmed. The air, too, is gradually
changed, by the stove-door's being in the room, through which part of
it is continually passing, and that makes these stoves wholesomer,
or at least pleasanter than the German stoves, next to be spoken of.
But they have these inconveniencies. There is no sight of the fire,
which is in itself a pleasant thing. One cannot conveniently make
any other use of the fire but that of warming the room. When the room
is warm, people, not seeing the fire, are apt to forget supplying it
with fuel till it is almost out, then, growing cold, a great deal
of wood is put in, which soon makes it too hot. The change of air
is not carried on quite quick enough, so that if any smoke or ill
smell happens in the room, it is a long time before it is discharged.
For these reasons the Holland stove has not obtained much among the
English (who love the sight of the fire) unless in some workshops,
where people are obliged to sit near windows for the light, and in
such places they have been found of good use.

5. The German stove is like a box, one side wanting. It is composed
of five iron plates screwed together, and fixed so as that you may
put the fuel into it from another room, or from the outside of the
house. It is a kind of oven reversed, its mouth being without, and
body within the room that is to be warmed by it. This invention
certainly warms a room very speedily and thoroughly with little fuel:
no quantity of cold air comes in at any crevice, because there is
no discharge of air which it might supply, there being no passage
into the stove from the room. These are its conveniencies. Its
inconveniencies are, that people have not even so much sight or use
of the fire as in the Holland stoves, and are, moreover, obliged to
breathe the same unchanged air continually, mixed with the breath and
perspiration from one another's bodies, which is very disagreeable to
those who have not been accustomed to it.

[Illustration: (of the Pensylvania fireplace)

  _Plate VIII._      _Vol. II. page 235._

_Published as the Act directs, April 1, 1806, by Longman, Hurst, Rees
& Orme, Paternoster Row._]

6. Charcoal fires in pots are used chiefly in the shops of
handicraftsmen. They warm a room (that is kept close, and has no
chimney to carry off the warmed air) very speedily and uniformly; but
there being no draught to change the air, the sulphurous fumes from
the coals [be they ever so well kindled before they are brought in,
there will be some] mix with it, render it disagreeable, hurtful to
some constitutions, and sometimes, when the door is long kept shut,
produce fatal consequences.

To avoid the several inconveniencies, and at the same time retain all
the advantages of other fire-places, was contrived the Pensylvania
fire-place, now to be described.

This machine consists of

A bottom-plate, (i) (_See the Plate annexed_.)

A back plate, (ii)

Two side plates, (iii iii)

Two middle plates, (iv iv) which, joined together, form a tight box,
with winding passages in it for warming the air.

A front plate, (v)

A top plate (vi)

These are all cast of iron, with mouldings or ledges where the
plates come together, to hold them fast, and retain the mortar used
for pointing to make tight joints. When the plates are all in their
places, a pair of slender rods, with screws, are sufficient to bind
the whole very firmly together, as it appears in Fig. 2.

There are, moreover, two thin plates of wrought iron, viz. the
shutter, (vii) and the register, (viii); besides the screw-rods O P,
all which we shall explain in their order.

(i) The bottom plate, or hearth-piece, is round before, with a
rising moulding, that serves as a fender to keep coals and ashes from
coming to the floor, &c. It has two ears, F G, perforated to receive
the screw-rods O P; a long air-hole, _a a_, through which the fresh
outward air passes up into the air-box; and three smoke-holes B C,
through which the smoke descends and passes away; all represented
by dark squares. It has also double ledges to receive between them
the bottom edges of the back plate, the two side-plates, and the two
middle plates. These ledges are about an inch asunder, and about
half an inch high; a profile of two of them, joined to a fragment of
plate, appears in Fig. 3.

(ii) The back plate is without holes, having only a pair of ledges on
each side, to receive the back edges of the two.

(iii iii) Side-plates: These have each a pair of ledges to receive
the side-edges of the front-plate, and a little shoulder for it to
rest on; also two pair of ledges to receive the side-edges of the two
middle plates which form the air-box; and an oblong air-hole near the
top, through which is discharged into the room the air warmed in the
air-box. Each has also a wing or bracket, H and I, to keep in falling
brands, coals, &c. and a small hole, Q and R, for the axis of the
register to turn in.

(iv iv) The air-box is composed of the two middle plates, D E and
F G. The first has five thin ledges or partitions cast on it, two
inches deep, the edges of which are received in so many pair of
ledges cast in the other. The tops of all the cavities formed by
these thin deep ledges, are also covered by a ledge of the same form
and depth, cast with them; so that when the plates are put together,
and the joints luted, there is no communication between the air-box
and the smoke. In the winding passages of this box, fresh air is
warmed as it passes into the room.

(v) The front plate is arched on the under side, and ornamented with
foliages, &c. it has no ledges.

(vi) The top plate has a pair of ears, M N, answerable to those in
the bottom plate, and perforated for the same purpose: it has also a
pair of ledges running round the under side, to receive the top edges
of the front, back, and side-plates. The air-box does not reach up to
the top plate by two inches and a half.

(vii) The shutter is of thin wrought iron and light, of such a length
and breadth as to close well the opening of the fire-place. It is
used to blow up the fire, and to shut up and secure it at nights. It
has two brass knobs for handles, _d d_, and commonly slides up and
down in a groove, left, in putting up the fire-place, between the
foremost ledge of the side-plates, and the face of the front plate;
but some chuse to set it aside when it is not in use, and apply it on

(viii) The register is also of thin wrought iron. It is placed
between the back plate and air-box, and can, by means of the key S,
be turned on its axis so as to lie in any position between level and

The screw-rods O P are of wrought iron, about a third of an inch
thick, with a button at bottom, and a screw and nut at top, and may
be ornamented with two small brasses screwed on above the nuts.

To put this machine to work,

1. A false back of four inch (or, in shallow small chimneys, two
inch) brick work is to be made in the chimney, four inches or more
from the true back; from the top of this false back a closing is to
be made over to the breast of the chimney, that no air may pass into
the chimney, but what goes under the false back, and up behind it.

2. Some bricks of the hearth are to be taken up, to form a hollow
under the bottom plate; across which hollow runs a thin tight
partition, to keep apart the air entering the hollow and the smoke;
and is therefore placed between the air-hole and smoke-holes.

3. A passage is made, communicating with the outward air, to
introduce that air into the fore part of the hollow under the bottom
plate, whence it may rise through the air-hole into the air-box.

4. A passage is made from the back part of the hollow, communicating
with the flue behind the false back: through this passage the smoke
is to pass.

The fire-place is to be erected upon these hollows, by putting all
the plates in their places, and screwing them together.

Its operation may be conceived by observing the plate entitled,
Profile of the Chimney and Fire-Place.

_M_ The mantle-piece, or breast of the chimney.

_C_ The funnel.

_B_ The false back and closing.

_E_ True back of the chimney.

_T_ Top of the fire-place.

_F_ The front of it.

_A_ The place where the fire is made.

_D_ The air-box.

_K_ The hole in the side-plate, through which the warmed air is
discharged out of the air-box into the room.

_H_ The hollow filled with fresh air, entering at the passage _I_,
and ascending into the air-box through the air-hole in the bottom
plate near

_G_ The partition in the hollow to keep the air and smoke apart.

_P_ The passage under the false back and part of the hearth for the

The arrows show the course of the smoke.


  _Plate VIII*._      _Vol. II. page 238._



_Front View Side View_

_Published as the Act directs, April 1, 1806, by Longman, Hurst, Rees
& Orme, Paternoster Row._]

The fire being made at A, the flame and smoke will ascend and strike
the top T, which will thereby receive a considerable heat. The smoke,
finding no passage upwards, turns over the top of the air-box, and
descends between it and the back plate to the holes in the bottom
plate, heating, as it passes, both plates of the air-box, and the
said back plate; the front plate, bottom and side plates are also all
heated at the same time. The smoke proceeds in the passage that leads
it under and behind the false back, and so rises into the chimney.
The air of the room, warmed behind the back plate, and by the sides,
front, and top plates, becoming specifically lighter than the other
air in the room, is obliged to rise; but the closure over the
fireplace hindering it from going up the chimney, it is forced out
into the room, rises by the mantle-piece to the cieling, and spreads
all over the top of the room, whence being crouded down gradually by
the stream of newly-warmed air that follows and rises above it, the
whole room becomes in a short time equally warmed.

At the same time the air, warmed under the bottom plate, and in the
air-box, rises and comes out of the holes in the side-plates, very
swiftly, if the door of the room be shut, and joins its current with
the stream before-mentioned, rising from the side, back, and top

The air that enters the room through the air-box is fresh, though
warm; and, computing the swiftness of its motion with the areas of
the holes, it is found that near ten barrels of fresh air are hourly
introduced by the air-box; and by this means the air in the room is
continually changed, and kept, at the same time, sweet and warm.

It is to be observed, that the entering air will not be warm at first
lighting the fire, but heats gradually as the fire increases.

A square opening for a trap-door should be left in the closing of
the chimney, for the sweeper to go up: the door may be made of slate
or tin, and commonly kept close shut, but so placed as that, turning
up against the back of the chimney when open, it closes the vacancy
behind the false back, and shoots the soot, that falls in sweeping,
out upon the hearth. This trap-door is a very convenient thing.

In rooms where much smoking of tobacco is used, it is also convenient
to have a small hole, about five or six inches square, cut near the
ceiling through into the funnel: this hole must have a shutter, by
which it may be closed or opened at pleasure. When open, there will
be a strong draught of air through it into the chimney, which will
presently carry off a cloud of smoke, and keep the room clear: if
the room be too hot like-wise, it will carry off as much of the warm
air as you please, and then you may stop it entirely, or in part, as
you think fit. By this means it is, that the tobacco smoke does not
descend among the heads of the company near the fire, as it must do
before it can get into common chimneys.

_The Manner of using this Fire-Place._

Your cord-wood must be cut into three lengths; or else a short
piece, fit for the fire-place, cut off, and the longer left for the
kitchen or other fires. Dry hickery, or ash, or any woods that burn
with a clear flame are rather to be chosen, because such are less
apt to foul the smoke-passages with soot; and flame communicates
with its light, as well as by contact, greater heat to the plates
and room. But where more ordinary wood is used, half a dry faggot
of brush-wood, burnt at the first making the fire in the morning,
is very advantageous, as it immediately, by its sudden blaze, heats
the plates, and warms the room (which with bad wood slowly kindling
would not be done so soon) and at the same time by the length of
its flame, turning in the passages, consumes and cleanses away the
soot that such bad smoaky wood had produced therein the preceding
day, and so keeps them always free and clean. When you have laid a
little back log, and placed your billets on small dogs, as in common
chimneys, and put some fire to them, then slide down your shutter
as low as the dogs, and the opening being by that means contracted,
the air rushes in briskly, and presently blows up the flames. When
the fire is sufficiently kindled, slide it up again.[46] In some of
these fire-places there is a little six-inch square trap-door of
thin wrought iron or brass, covering a hole of like dimensions near
the fore-part of the bottom plate, which being by a ring lifted up
towards the fire, about an inch, where it will be retained by two
springing sides fixed to it perpendicularly (_See the Plate, Fig.
4._) the air rushes in from the hollow under the bottom plate, and
blows the fire. Where this is used, the shutter serves only to close
the fire at nights. The more forward you can make your fire on the
hearth-plate, not to be incommoded by the smoke, the sooner and
more will the room be warmed. At night, when you go to bed, cover
the coals or brands with ashes as usual; then take away the dogs,
and slide down the shutter close to the bottom-plate, sweeping a
little ashes against it, that no air may pass under it; then turn
the register, so as very near to stop the flue behind. If no smoke
then comes out at crevices into the room, it is right: if any smoke
is perceived to come out, move the register, so as to give a little
draught, and it will go the right way. Thus the room will be kept
warm all night; for the chimney being almost entirely stopt, very
little cold air, if any, will enter the room at any crevice. When you
come to re-kindle the fire in the morning, turn open the register
before you lift up the slider, otherwise, if there be any smoke in
the fireplace, it will come out into the room. By the same use of the
shutter and register, a blazing fire may be presently stifled, as
well as secured, when you have occasion to leave it for any time; and
at your return you will find the brands warm, and ready for a speedy
rekindling. The shutter alone will not stifle a fire, for it cannot
well be made to fit so exactly but that air will enter, and that
in a violent stream, so as to blow up and keep alive the flames,
and consume the wood, if the draught be not checked by turning the
register to shut the flue behind. The register has also two other
uses. If you observe the draught of air into your fire-place to be
stronger than is necessary (as in extreme cold weather it often is)
so that the wood is consumed faster than usual; in that case, a
quarter, half, or two-thirds turn of the register, will check the
violence of the draught, and let your fire burn with the moderation
you desire: and at the same time both the fire-place and the room
will be the warmer, because less cold air will enter and pass
through them. And if the chimney should happen to take fire (which
indeed there is very little danger of, if the preceding direction be
observed in making fires, and it be well swept once a year; for, much
less wood being burnt, less soot is proportionably made; and the fuel
being soon blown into flame by the shutter, or the trap-door bellows,
there is consequently less smoke from the fuel to make soot; then,
though the funnel should be foul, yet the sparks have such a crooked
up and down round about way to go, that they are out before they get
at it). I say, if ever it should be on fire, a turn of the register
shuts all close, and prevents any air going into the chimney, and so
the fire may easily be stifled and mastered.

_The Advantages of this Fire-Place._

Its advantages above the common fire-places are,

1. That your whole room is equally warmed, so that people need not
croud so close round the fire, but may sit near the window, and have
the benefit of the light for reading, writing, needle-work, &c.
They may sit with comfort in any part of the room, which is a very
considerable advantage in a large family, where there must often be
two fires kept, because all cannot conveniently come at one.

2. If you sit near the fire, you have not that cold draught of
uncomfortable air nipping your back and heels, as when before common
fires, by which many catch cold, being scorched before, and, as it
were, froze behind.

3. If you sit against a crevice, there is not that sharp draught of
cold air playing on you, as in rooms where there are fires in the
common way; by which many catch cold, whence proceed coughs[47],
catarrhs, tooth-achs, fevers, pleurisies, and many other diseases.

4. In case of sickness, they make most excellent nursing rooms; as
they constantly supply a sufficiency of fresh air, so warmed at the
same time as to be no way inconvenient or dangerous. A small one
does well in a chamber; and, the chimneys, being fitted for it, it
may be removed from one room to another, as occasion requires, and
fixed in half an hour. The equal temper too, and warmth of the air
of the room, is thought to be particularly advantageous in some
distempers; for it was observed in the winters of 1730 and 1736, when
the small-pox spread in Pensylvania, that very few children of the
Germans died of that distemper in proportion to those of the English;
which was ascribed, by some, to the warmth and equal temper of air
in their stove-rooms, which made the disease as favourable as it
commonly is in the West Indies. But this conjecture we submit to the
judgment of physicians.

5. In common chimneys, the strongest heat from the fire, which is
upwards, goes directly up the chimney, and is lost; and there is such
a strong draught into the chimney that not only the upright heat, but
also the back, sides, and downward heats are carried up the chimney
by that draught of air; and the warmth given before the fire, by
the rays that strike out towards the room, is continually driven
back, crouded into the chimney, and carried up by the same draught
of air. But here the upright heat strikes and heats the top plate,
which warms the air above it, and that comes into the room. The heat
likewise, which the fire communicates to the sides, back, bottom, and
air-box, is all brought into the room; for you will find a constant
current of warm air coming out of the chimney-corner into the room.
Hold a candle just under the mantle-piece, or breast of your chimney,
and you will see the flame bent outwards: by laying a piece of
smoaking paper on the hearth, on either side, you may see how the
current of air moves, and where it tends, for it will turn and carry
the smoke with it.

6. Thus, as very little of the heat is lost, when this fire-place is
used, _much less wood_[48] will serve you, which is a considerable
advantage where wood is dear.

7. When you burn candles near this fire-place, you will find that
the flame burns quite upright, and does not blare and run the tallow
down, by drawing towards the chimney, as against common fires.

8. This fire-place cures most smoaky chimneys, and thereby preserves
both the eyes and furniture.

9. It prevents the fouling of chimneys; much of the lint and dust
that contributes to foul a chimney being, by the low arch, obliged to
pass through the flame, where it is consumed. Then, less wood being
burnt, there is less smoke made. Again, the shutter, or trap-bellows,
soon blowing the wood into a flame, the same wood does not yield so
much smoke as if burnt in a common chimney: for as soon as flame
begins, smoke in proportion ceases.

10. And if a chimney should be foul, it is much less likely to take
fire. If it should take fire, it is easily stifled and extinguished.

11. A fire may be very speedily made in this fire-place by the help
of the shutter, or trap-bellows, as aforesaid.

12. A fire may be soon extinguished, by closing it with the shutter
before, and turning the register behind, which will stifle it, and
the brands will remain ready to rekindle.

13. The room being once warm, the warmth may be retained in it all

14. And lastly, the fire is so secured at night, that not one spark
can fly out into the room to do damage.

With all these conveniences, you do not lose the pleasing sight nor
use of the fire, as in the Dutch stoves, but may boil the tea-kettle,
warm the flat-irons, heat heaters, keep warm a dish of victuals by
setting it on the top, &c.

_Objections answered._

There are some objections commonly made by people that are
unacquainted with these fire-places, which it may not be amiss to
endeavour to remove, as they arise from prejudices which might
otherwise obstruct, in some degree, the general use of this
beneficial machine. We frequently hear it said, _They are of the
nature of Dutch stoves_; _stoves have an unpleasant smell_; _stoves
are unwholesome_; _and, warm rooms make people tender, and apt
to catch cold_.--As to the first, that they are of the nature of
Dutch stoves, the description of those stoves, in the beginning
of this paper, compared with that of these machines, shows that
there is a most material difference, and that these have vastly the
advantage, if it were only in the single article of the admission and
circulation of the fresh air. But it must be allowed there may have
been some cause to complain of the offensive smell of iron stoves.
This smell, however, never proceeded from the iron itself, which, in
its nature, whether hot or cold, is one of the sweetest of metals,
but from the general uncleanly manner of using those stoves. If they
are kept clean, they are as sweet as an ironing-box, which though
ever so hot, never offends the smell of the nicest lady: but it is
common to let them be greased, by setting candlesticks on them,
or otherwise; to rub greasy hands on them; and, above all, to spit
upon them, to try how hot they are, which is an inconsiderate filthy
unmannerly custom; for the slimy matter of spittle drying on burns
and fumes when the stove is hot, as well as the grease, and smells
most nauseously, which makes such close stove-rooms, where there is
no draught to carry off those filthy vapours, almost intolerable to
those that are not from their infancy accustomed to them. At the same
time nothing is more easy than to keep them clean; for when by any
accident they happen to be fouled, a lee made of ashes and water,
with a brush, will scour them perfectly: as will also a little strong
soft soap and water.

That hot iron of itself gives no offensive smell, those know very
well who have (as the writer of this has) been present at a furnace
when the workmen were pouring out the flowing metal to cast large
plates, and not the least smell of it to be perceived. That hot
iron does not, like lead, brass, and some other metals, give out
unwholesome vapours, is plain from the general health and strength
of those who constantly work in iron, as furnace-men, forge-men,
and smiths; that it is in its nature a metal perfectly wholesome
to the body of man, is known from the beneficial use of chalybeate
or iron-mine-waters; from the good done by taking steel filings in
several disorders; and that even the smithy water in which hot irons
are quenched, is found advantageous to the human constitution.--The
ingenious and learned Dr. Desaguliers, to whose instructive writings
the contriver of this machine acknowledges himself much indebted,
relates an experiment he made, to try whether heated iron would yield
unwholesome vapours: he took a cube of iron, and having given it
a very great heat, he fixed it so to a receiver, exhausted by the
air-pump, that all the air rushing in to fill the receiver, should
first pass through a hole in the hot iron. He then put a small bird
into the receiver, who breathed that air without any inconvenience,
or suffering the least disorder. But the same experiment being made
with a cube of hot brass, a bird put into that air died in a few
minutes. Brass, indeed, stinks even when cold, and much more when
hot; lead, too, when hot, yields a very unwholesome steam; but iron
is always sweet and every way taken is wholesome and friendly to the
human body--except in weapons.

_That warmed rooms make people tender, and apt to catch cold_, is a
mistake as great as it is (among the English) general. We have seen
in the preceding pages how the common rooms are apt to give colds;
but the writer of this paper may affirm from his own experience, and
that of his family and friends who have used warm rooms for these
four winters past, that by the use of such rooms, people are rendered
_less liable_ to take cold, and, indeed, _actually hardened_. If
sitting warm in a room made one subject to take cold on going out,
lying warm in bed, should by a parity of reason, produce the same
effect when we rise. Yet we find we can leap out of the warmest bed
naked, in the coldest morning, without any such danger; and in the
same manner out of warm cloaths into a cold bed. The reason is, that
in these cases the pores all close at once, the cold is shut out,
and the heat within augmented, as we soon after feel by the glowing
of the flesh and skin. Thus no one was ever known to catch cold by
the use of the cold bath: and are not cold baths allowed to harden
the bodies of those that use them? Are they not therefore frequently
prescribed to the tenderest constitutions? Now every time you go
out of a warm room into the cold freezing air, you do as it were
plunge into a cold bath, and the effect is in proportion the same;
for (though perhaps you may feel somewhat chilly at first) you find
in a little time your bodies hardened and strengthened, your blood
is driven round with a brisker circulation, and a comfortable steady
uniform inward warmth succeeds that equal outward warmth you first
received in the room. Farther to confirm this assertion, we instance
the Swedes, the Danes, and the Russians: these nations are said to
live in rooms, compared to ours, as hot as ovens[49]; yet where are
the hardy soldiers, though bred in their boasted cool houses, that
can, like these people, bear the fatigues of a winter campaign in so
severe a climate, march whole days to the neck in snow, and at night
entrench in ice as they do?

The mentioning of those northern nations, puts me in mind of a
considerable _public advantage_ that may arise from the general use
of these fire-places. It is observable, that though those countries
have been well inhabited for many ages, wood is still their fuel,
and yet at no very great price; which could not have been, if they
had not universally used stoves, but consumed it as we do, in great
quantities, by open fires. By the help of this saving invention our
wood may grow as fast as we consume it, and our posterity may warm
themselves at a moderate rate, without, being obliged to fetch their
fuel over the Atlantic; as, if pit-coal should not be here discovered
(which is an uncertainty) they must necessarily do.

We leave it to the _political arithmetician_ to compute how much
money will be saved to a country, by its spending two-thirds less of
fuel; how much labour saved in cutting and carriage of it; how much
more land may be cleared by cultivation; how great the profit by the
additional quantity of work done, in those trades particularly that
do not exercise the body so much, but that the workfolks are obliged
to run frequently to the fire to warm themselves: and to physicians
to say, how much healthier thick-built towns and cities will be,
now half-suffocated with sulphury smoke, when so much less of that
smoke shall be made, and the air breathed by the inhabitants be
consequently so much purer. These things it will suffice just to have
mentioned; let us proceed to give some necessary directions to the
workman who is to fix or set up these fire-places.

_Directions to the Bricklayer._

The chimney being first well swept and cleansed from soot, &c.
lay the bottom plate down on the hearth, in the place where the
fire-place is to stand, which may be as forward as the hearth will
allow. Chalk a line from one of its back corners round the plate
to the other corner, that you may afterwards know its place when
you come to fix it; and from those corners, two parallel lines to
the back of the chimney: make marks also on each side, that you
may know where the partition is to stand, which is to prevent any
communication between the air and smoke. Then, removing the plate,
make a hollow under it and beyond it, by taking up as many of the
bricks or tiles as you can, within your chalked lines, quite to
the chimney-back. Dig out six or eight inches deep of the earth
or rubbish, all the breadth and length of your hollow; then make
a passage of four inches square (if the place will allow so much)
leading from the hollow to some place communicating with the outer
air; by _outer air_ we mean air without the room you intend to warm.
This passage may be made to enter your hollow on either side, or in
the fore part, just as you find most convenient, the circumstances
of your chimney considered. If the fire-place is to be put up in
a chamber, you may have this communication of outer air from the
stair-case; or sometimes more easily from between the chamber floor,
and the ceiling of the lower room, making only a small hole in the
wall of the house entering the space betwixt those two joists with
which your air-passage in the hearth communicates. If this air
passage be so situated as that mice may enter it, and nestle in the
hollow, a little grate of wire will keep them out. This passage
being made, and, if it runs under any part of the earth, tiled
over securely, you may proceed to raise your false back. This may
be of four inches or two inches thickness, as you have room, but
let it stand at least four inches from the true chimney-back. In
narrow chimneys this false back runs from jamb to jamb, but in large
old-fashioned chimneys, you need not make it wider than the back of
the fire-place. To begin it, you may form an arch nearly flat, of
three bricks end to end, over the hollow, to leave a passage the
breadth of the iron fire-place, and five or six inches deep, rounding
at bottom, for the smoke to turn and pass under the false back, and
so behind it up the chimney. The false back is to rise till it is
as high as the breast of the chimney, and then to close over to the
breast[50]; always observing, if there is a wooden mantle-tree, to
close above it. If there is no wood in the breast, you may arch over
and close even with the lower part of the breast. By this closing the
chimney is made tight, that no air or smoke can pass up it, without
going under the false back. Then from side to side of your hollow,
against the marks you made with chalk, raise a tight partition,
brick-on-edge, to separate the air from the smoke, bevelling away to
half an inch the brick that comes just under the air-hole, that the
air may have a free passage up into the air-box: lastly, close the
hearth over that part of the hollow that is between the false back
and the place of the bottom plate, coming about half an inch under
the plate, which piece of hollow hearth may be supported by a bit
or two of old iron-hoop; then is your chimney fitted to receive the

To set it, lay first a little bed of mortar all round the
edges of the hollow, and over the top of the partition: then lay
down your bottom plate in its place (with the rods in it) and tread
it till it lies firm. Then put a little fine mortar (made of loam
and lime, with a little hair) into its joints, and set in your back
plate, leaning it for the present against the false back: then set
in your air-box, with a little mortar in its joints; then put in the
two sides, closing them up against the air-box, with mortar in their
grooves, and fixing at the same time your register: then bring up
your back to its place, with mortar in its grooves, and that will
bind the sides together. Then put in your front plate, placing it
as far back in the groove as you can, to leave room for the sliding
plate: then lay on your top plate, with mortar in its grooves also,
screwing the whole firmly together by means of the rods. The capital
letters A B D E, &c. in Plate VIII., shew the corresponding parts of
the several plates. Lastly, the joints being pointed all round on the
outside, the fire-place is fit for use.

When you make your first fire in it, perhaps if the chimney be
thoroughly cold, it may not draw, the work too being all cold and
damp. In such case, put first a few shovels of hot coals in the
fire-place, then lift up the chimney-sweeper's trap-door, and putting
in a sheet or two of flaming paper, shut it again, which will set
the chimney a drawing immediately, and when once it is filled with a
column of warm air, it will draw strongly and continually.

The drying of the mortar and work by the first fire may smell
unpleasantly, but that will soon be over.

In some shallow chimneys, to make more room for the false back and
its flue, four inches or more of the chimney back may be picked away.

Let the room be made as tight as conveniently it may be, so will the
outer air, that must come in to supply the room and draught of the
fire, be all obliged to enter through the passage under the bottom
plate, and up through the air-box, by which means it will not come
cold to your backs, but be warmed as it comes in, and mixed with the
warm air round the fire-place, before it spreads in the room.

But as a great quantity of cold air, in extreme cold weather
especially, will presently enter a room if the door be carelessly
left open, it is good to have some contrivance to shut it, either by
means of screw hinges, a spring, or a pulley.

When the pointing in the joints is all dry and hard, get some
powder of black lead (broken bits of black lead crucibles from the
silver-smiths, pounded fine, will do) and mixing it with a little rum
and water, lay it on, when the plates are warm, with a hard brush,
over the top and front-plates, part of the side and bottom-plates,
and over all the pointing; and, as it dries, rub it to a gloss with
the same brush, so the joints will not be discerned, but it will look
all of a piece, and shine like new iron. And the false back being
plaistered and white-washed, and the hearth reddened, the whole will
make a pretty appearance. Before the black lead is laid on, it would
not be amiss to wash the plates with strong lee and a brush, or soap
and water, to cleanse them from any spots of grease or filth that may
be on them. If any grease should afterwards come on them, a little
wet ashes will get it out.

If it be well set up, and in a tolerable good chimney, smoke will
draw in from as far as the fore part of the bottom plate, as you may
try by a bit of burning paper.

People are at first apt to make their rooms too warm, not imagining
how little a fire will be sufficient. When the plates are no hotter
than that one may just bear the hand on them, the room will generally
be as warm as you desire it.

_Soon after the foregoing piece was published, some persons in
England, in imitation of Mr. Franklin's invention, made what they
call_ Pensylvanian Fire-places, with improvements; _the principal of
which pretended improvements is, a contraction of the passages in the
air-box, originally designed for admitting a quantity of fresh air,
and warming it as it entered the room. The contracting these passages
gains indeed more room for the grate, but in a great measure defeats
their intention. For if the passages in the air-box do not greatly
exceed in dimensions the amount of all the crevices by which cold air
can enter the room, they will not considerably prevent, as they were
intended to do, the entry of cold air through these crevices._


[44] Body or matter of any sort, is said to be _specifically_ heavier
or lighter than other matter, when it has more or less substance or
weight in the same dimensions.

[45] As the writer is neither physician nor philosopher, the reader
may expect he should justify these his opinions by the authority of
some that are so. M. Clare, F. R. S. in his treatise of _The Motion
of Fluids_, says, page 246, &c. "And here it may be remarked, that
it is more prejudicial to health to sit near a window or door, in
a room where there are many candles and a fire, than in a room
without; for the consumption of air thereby occasioned, will always
be very considerable, and this must necessarily be replaced by cold
air from without. Down the chimney can enter none, the stream of
warm air always arising therein absolutely forbids it, the supply
must therefore come in wherever other openings shall be found. If
these happen to be small, _let those who sit near them beware_; the
smaller the floodgate, the smarter will be the stream. Was a man,
even in a sweat, to leap into a cold bath, or jump from his warm bed,
in the intensest cold, even in a frost, provided he do not continue
over-long therein, and be in health when he does this, we see by
experience that he gets no harm. If he sits a little while against a
window, into which a successive current of cold air comes, his pores
are closed, and he gets a fever. In the first case, the shock the
body endures, is general, uniform, and therefore less fierce; in the
other, a single part, a neck, or ear perchance, is attacked, and that
with the greater violence probably, as it is done by a successive
stream of cold air. And the cannon of a battery, pointed against a
single part of a bastion, will easier make a breach than were they
directed to play singly upon the whole face, and will admit the enemy
much sooner into the town."

That warm rooms, and keeping the body warm in winter, are means of
preventing such diseases, take the opinion of that learned Italian
physician Antonino Parcio, in the preface to his tract _de Militis
Sanitate tuenda_, where, speaking of a particular wet and cold
winter, remarkable at Venice for its sickliness, he says, "Popularis
autem pleuritis quæ Venetiis sæviit mensibus _Dec. Jan. Feb._ ex
cæli, aërisque inclementia facta est, quod non habeant hypocausta
[_stove-rooms_] & quod non soliciti sunt Itali omnes de auribus,
temporibus, collo, totoque corpore defendendis ab injuriis aëris; et
tegmina domorum Veneti disponant parum inclinata, ut nives diutius
permaneant super tegmina. E contra, Germani, qui experiuntur cæli
inclementiam, perdidicere sese defendere ab aëris injuria. Tecta
construunt multum inclinata, ut decidant nives. Germani abundant
lignis, domusque _hypocaustis_; foris autem incedunt pannis
pellibus, gossipio, bene mehercule loricati atque muniti. In Bavaria
interrogabam (curiositate motus videndi Germaniam) quot nam elapsis
mensibus pleuritide vel peripneumonia fuissent absumti: dicebant vix
unus aut alter illis temporibus pleuritide fuit correptus."

The great Dr. Boerhaave, whose authority alone might be sufficient,
in his _Aphorisms_, mentions, as one antecedent cause of pleurisies,
"A cold air, driven violently through some narrow passage upon the
body, overheated by labour or fire."

The eastern physicians agree with the Europeans in this point;
witness the Chinese treatise entitled, _Tschang seng_; i.e. _The
Art of procuring Health and long Life_, as translated in Pere Du
Halde's account of China, which has this passage. "As, of all the
passions which ruffle us, anger does the most mischief, so of all
the malignant affections of the air, a wind that comes through any
narrow passage, which is cold and piercing, is most dangerous; and
coming upon us unawares insinuates itself into the body, often
causing grievous diseases. It should therefore be avoided, according
to the advice of the ancient proverb, as carefully as the point of an
arrow." These mischiefs are avoided by the use of the new-invented
fire-places, as will be shown hereafter.

[46] The shutter is slid up and down in this manner, only in those
fire-places which are so made as that the distance between the top of
the arched opening, and the bottom plate, is the same as the distance
between it and the top plate. Where the arch is higher, as it is in
the draught annexed (which is agreeable to the last improvements) the
shutter is set by, and applied occasionally; because if it were made
deep enough to close the whole opening when slid down, it would hide
part of it when up.

[47] My Lord Molesworth, in his account of Denmark, says, "That few
or none of the people there are troubled with coughs, catarrhs,
consumptions, or such like diseases of the lungs; so that in the
midst of winter in the churches, which are very much frequented,
there is no noise to interrupt the attention due to the preacher.
I am persuaded (says he) their _warm stoves_ contribute to their
freedom from these kind of maladies." page 91.

[48] People who have used these fire-places, differ much in their
accounts of the wood saved by them. Some say five-sixths, others
three-fourths, and others much less. This is owing to the great
difference there was in their former fires; some (according to the
different circumstances of their rooms and chimneys) having been used
to make very large, others middling, and others, of a more sparing
temper, very small ones: while in these fire-places (their size
and draught being nearly the same), the consumption is more equal.
I suppose, taking a number of families together, that two-thirds,
or half the wood, at least, is saved. My common room, I know, is
made thrice as warm as it used to be, with a quarter of the wood I
formerly consumed there.

[49] Mr. Boyle, in his experiments and observations upon cold,
_Shaw's Abridgement_, Vol. I. p. 684, says, "It is remarkable, that
while the cold has strange and tragical effects at Moscow, and
elsewhere, the Russians and Livonians should be exempt from them, who
accustom themselves to pass immediately from a great degree of heat,
to as great an one of cold, without receiving any visible prejudice
thereby. I remember being told by a person of unquestionable credit,
that it was a common practice among them, to go from a hot stove,
into cold water; the same was also affirmed to me by another who
resided at Moscow. This tradition is likewise abundantly confirmed by
Olearius."--"It is a surprising thing, says he, to see how far the
Russians can endure heat; and how, when it makes them ready to faint,
they can go out of their stoves, stark naked, both men and women, and
throw themselves into cold water; and even in winter wallow in the

[50] See page 240, where the trap-door is described that ought to be
in this closing.


  _On the Causes and Cure of Smoky Chimnies._

  _At Sea, Aug., 28, 1785._


In one of your letters, a little before I left France, you desire
me to give you in writing my thoughts upon the construction and use
of chimneys, a subject you had sometimes heard me touch upon in
conversation. I embrace willingly this leisure afforded by my present
situation to comply with your request, as it will not only show my
regard to the desires of a friend, but may at the same time be of
some utility to others; the doctrine of chimneys appearing not to
be as yet generally well understood, and mistakes respecting them
being attended with constant inconvenience, if not remedied, and with
fruitless expence, if the true remedies are mistaken.

Those who would be acquainted with this subject should begin by
considering on what principle smoke ascends in any chimney. At first
many are apt to think that smoke is in its nature and of itself
specifically lighter than air, and rises in it for the same reason
that cork rises in water. These see no case why smoke should not rise
in the chimney, though the room be ever so close. Others think there
is a power in chimneys to _draw_ up the smoke, and that there are
different forms of chimneys which afford more or less of this power.
These amuse themselves with searching for the best form. The equal
dimensions of a funnel in its whole length is not thought artificial
enough, and it is made, for fancied reasons, sometimes tapering and
narrowing from below upwards, and sometimes the contrary, &c. &c. A
simple experiment or two may serve to give more correct ideas. Having
lit a pipe of tobacco, plunge the stem to the bottom of a decanter
half filled with cold water; then putting a rag over the bowl, blow
through it and make the smoke descend in the stem of the pipe, from
the end of which it will rise in bubbles through the water; and being
thus cooled, will not afterwards rise to go out through the neck of
the decanter, but remain spreading itself and resting on the surface
of the water. This shows that smoke is really heavier than air, and
that it is carried upwards only when attached to, or acted upon, by
air that is heated, and thereby rarefied and rendered specifically
lighter than the air in its neighbourhood.

Smoke being rarely seen but in company with heated air, and its
upward motion being visible, though that of the rarefied air that
drives it is not so, has naturally given rise to the error.

I need not explain to you, my learned friend, what is meant by
rarefied air; but if you make the public use you propose of this
letter, it may fall into the hands of some who are unacquainted with
the term and with the thing. These then may be told, that air is a
fluid which has weight as well as others, though about eight hundred
times lighter than water. That heat makes the particles of air recede
from each other and take up more space, so that the same weight of
air heated will have more bulk, than equal weights of cold air which
may surround it, and in that case must rise, being forced upwards by
such colder and heavier air, which presses to get under it and take
its place. That air is so rarefied or expanded by heat may be proved
to their comprehension, by a lank blown bladder, which, laid before a
fire, will soon swell, grow tight and burst.

[Illustration: (remedies for smoky chimnies)

  _Plate IX._      _Vol. II. page 269._

_Published as the Act directs, April 1, 1806, by Longman, Hurst, Rees
& Orme, Paternoster Row._]

Another experiment may be to take a glass tube about an inch in
diameter, and twelve inches long, open at both ends and fixed upright
on legs, so that it need not be handled, for the hands might warm it.
At the end of a quill fasten five or six inches of the finest light
filament of silk, so that it may be held either above the upper
end of the tube or under the lower end, your warm hand being at a
distance by the length of the quill. (Plate IX. fig. 1.) If there
were any motion of air through the tube, it would manifest itself
by its effect on the silk; but if the tube and the air in it are
of the same temperature with the surrounding air, there will be no
such motion, whatever may be the form of the tube, whether crooked
or strait, narrow below and widening upwards, or the contrary; the
air in it will be quiescent. Warm the tube, and you will find, as
long as it continues warm, a constant current of air entering below
and passing up through it, till discharged at the top; because the
warmth of the tube being communicated to the air it contains rarefies
that air and makes it lighter than the air without, which therefore
presses in below, forces it upwards, and follows and takes its place,
and is rarefied in its turn. And, without warming the tube, if you
hold under it a knob of hot iron, the air thereby heated will rise
and fill the tube, going out at its top, and this motion in the
tube will continue as long as the knob remains hot, because the air
entering the tube below is heated and rarefied by passing near and
over that knob.

That this motion is produced merely by the difference of specific
gravity between the fluid within and that without the tube, and not
by any fancied form of the tube itself, may appear by plunging it
into water contained in a glass jar a foot deep, through which such
motion might be seen. The water within and without the tube being
of the same specific gravity, balance each other, and both remain
at rest. But take out the tube, stop its bottom with a finger and
fill it with olive oil, which is lighter than water, then stopping
the top, place it as before, its lower end under water, its top a
very little above. As long as you keep the bottom stopt, the fluids
remain at rest, but the moment it is unstopt, the heavier enters
below, forces up the lighter, and takes its place. And the motion
then ceases, merely because the new fluid cannot be successively made
lighter, as air may be by a warm tube.

In fact, no form of the funnel of a chimney has any share in its
operation or effect respecting smoke, except its height. The longer
the funnel, if erect, the greater its force when filled with heated
and rarefied air, to _draw_ in below and drive up the smoke, if one
may, in compliance with custom, use the expression _draw_, when in
fact it is the superior weight of the surrounding atmosphere that
_presses_ to enter the funnel below, and so _drives up_ before it the
smoke and warm air it meets with in its passage.

I have been the more particular in explaining these first principles,
because, for want of clear ideas respecting them, much fruitless
expence has been occasioned; not only single chimneys, but in some
instances, within my knowledge, whole stacks having been pulled down
and rebuilt with funnels of different forms, imagined more powerful
in _drawing_ smoke; but having still the same height and the same
opening below, have performed no better than their predecessors.

What is it then which makes a _smoky chimney_, that is, a chimney
which, instead of conveying up all the smoke, discharges a part of it
into the room, offending the eyes and damaging the furniture?

The causes of this effect, which have fallen under my observation,
amount to _nine_, differing from each other, and therefore requiring
different remedies.

1. _Smoky chimneys in a new house, are such, frequently from mere
want of air._ The workmanship of the rooms being all good, and just
out of the workman's hand, the joints of the boards of the flooring,
and of the pannels of wainscotting are all true and tight, the more
so as the walls, perhaps not yet thoroughly dry, preserve a dampness
in the air of the room which keeps the wood-work swelled and close.
The doors and the sashes too, being worked with truth, shut with
exactness, so that the room is as tight as a snuff-box, no passage
being left open for air to enter, except the key-hole, and even that
is sometimes covered by a little dropping shutter. Now if smoke
cannot rise but as connected with rarefied air, and a column of such
air, suppose it filling the funnel, cannot rise, unless other air
be admitted to supply its place; and if, therefore, no current of
air enter the opening of the chimney, there is nothing to prevent
the smoke coming out into the room. If the motion upwards of the
air in a chimney that is freely supplied, be observed by the rising
of the smoke or a feather in it, and it be considered that in the
time such feather takes in rising from the fire to the top of the
chimney, a column of air equal to the content of the funnel must be
discharged, and an equal quantity supplied from the room below, it
will appear absolutely impossible that this operation should go on
if the tight room is kept shut; for were there any force capable of
drawing constantly so much air out of it, it must soon be exhausted
like the receiver of an air-pump, and no animal could live in it.
Those therefore who stop every crevice in a room to prevent the
admission of fresh air, and yet would have their chimney carry up
the smoke, require inconsistencies, and expect impossibilities.
Yet under this situation, I have seen the owner of a new house, in
despair, and ready to sell it for much less than it cost, conceiving
it uninhabitable, because not a chimney in any one of its rooms would
carry off the smoke, unless a door or window were left open. Much
expence has also been made, to alter and amend new chimneys which
had really no fault; in one house particularly that I knew, of a
nobleman in Westminster, that expence amounted to no less than three
hundred pounds, _after_ his house had been, as he thought, finished
and all charges paid. And after all, several of the alterations were
ineffectual, for want of understanding the true principles.

_Remedies._ When you find on trial, that opening the door or a
window, enables the chimney to carry up all the smoke, you may be
sure that want of air _from without_, was the cause of its smoking.
I say _from without_, to guard you against a common mistake of those
who may tell you, the room is large, contains abundance of air,
sufficient to supply any chimney, and therefore it cannot be that the
chimney wants air. These reasoners are ignorant, that the largeness
of a room, if tight, is in this case of small importance, since it
cannot part with a chimney full of its air without occasioning so
much vacuum; which it requires a great force to effect, and could not
be borne if effected.

It appearing plainly, then, that some of the outward air must be
admitted, the question will be, how much is _absolutely necessary_;
for you would avoid admitting more, as being contrary to one of your
intentions in having a fire, viz. that of warming your room. To
discover this quantity, shut the door gradually while a middling
fire is burning, till you find that, before it is quite shut, the
smoke begins to come out into the room, then open it a little till
you perceive the smoke comes out no longer. There hold the door, and
observe the width of the open crevice between the edge of the door
and the rabbit it should shut into. Suppose the distance to be half
an inch, and the door eight feet high, you find thence that your room
requires an entrance for air equal in area to ninety-six half inches,
or forty-eight square inches, or a passage of six inches by eight.
This however is a large supposition, there being few chimneys, that,
having a moderate opening and a tolerable height of funnel, will not
be satisfied with such a crevice of a quarter of an inch; and I have
found a square of six by six, or thirty-six square inches, to be a
pretty good medium, that will serve for most chimneys. High funnels,
with small and low openings, may indeed be supplied thro' a less
space, because, for reasons that will appear hereafter, the _force
of levity_, if one may so speak, being greater in such funnels, the
cool air enters the room with greater velocity, and consequently
more enters in the same time. This however has its limits; for
experience shows, that no increased velocity, so occasioned, has
made the admission of air through the key-hole equal in quantity to
that through an open door; though through the door the current moves
slowly, and through the key-hole with great rapidity.

It remains then to be considered how and where this necessary
quantity of air from without is to be admitted so as to be least
inconvenient. For if at the door, left so much open, the air thence
proceeds directly to the chimney, and in its way comes cold to your
back and heels as you sit before your fire. If you keep the door
shut, and raise a little the sash of your window, you feel the same
inconvenience. Various have been the contrivances to avoid this, such
as bringing in fresh air through pipes in the jams of the chimney,
which, pointing upwards, should blow the smoke up the funnel; opening
passages into the funnel above, to let in air for the same purpose.
But these produce an effect contrary to that intended: for as it
is the constant current of air passing from the room _through the
opening of the chimney_ into the funnel which prevents the smoke
coming out into the room, if you supply the funnel by other means or
in other ways with the air it wants, and especially if that air be
cold, you diminish the force of that current, and the smoke in its
effort to enter the room finds less resistance.

The wanted air must then _indispensably_ be admitted into the
room, to supply what goes off through the opening of the chimney.
M. Gauger, a very ingenious and intelligent French writer on the
subject, proposes with judgment to admit it _above_ the opening
of the chimney; and to prevent inconvenience from its coldness,
he directs its being made to pass in its entrance through winding
cavities made behind the iron back and sides of the fire-place, and
under the iron hearth-plate; in which cavities it will be warmed, and
even heated, so as to contribute much, instead of cooling, to the
warming of the room. This invention is excellent in itself, and may
be used with advantage in building new houses; because the chimneys
may then be so disposed, as to admit conveniently the cold air to
enter such passages: but in houses built without such views, the
chimneys are often so situated, as not to afford that convenience,
without great and expensive alterations. Easy and cheap methods,
though not quite so perfect in themselves, are of more general
utility; and such are the following.

In all rooms where there is a fire, the body of air warmed and
rarefied before the chimney is continually changing place, and making
room for other air that is to be warmed in its turn. Part of it
enters and goes up the chimney, and the rest rises and takes place
near the ceiling. If the room be lofty, that warm air remains above
our heads as long as it continues warm, and we are little benefited
by it, because it does not descend till it is cooler. Few can imagine
the difference of climate between the upper and lower parts of such
a room, who have not tried it by the thermometer, or by going up a
ladder till their heads are near the ceiling. It is then among this
warm air that the wanted quantity of outward air is best admitted,
with which being mixed, its coldness is abated, and its inconvenience
diminished so as to become scarce observable. This may be easily
done, by drawing down about an inch the upper sash of a window; or,
if not moveable, by cutting such a crevice through its frame; in both
which cases, it will be well to place a thin shelf of the length,
to conceal the opening, and sloping upwards to direct the entering
air horizontally along and under the ceiling. In some houses the air
may be admitted by such a crevice made in the wainscot, cornish or
plastering, near the ceiling and over the opening of the chimney.
This, if practicable, is to be chosen, because the entering cold air
will there meet with the warmest rising air from before the fire, and
be soonest tempered by the mixture. The same kind of shelf should
also be placed here. Another way, and not a very difficult one, is
to take out an upper pane of glass in one of your sashes, set in a
tin frame, (Plate, Fig. 2.) giving it two springing angular sides,
and then replacing it, with hinges below on which it may be turned
to open more or less above. It will then have the appearance of an
internal sky light. By drawing this pane in, more or less, you may
admit what air you find necessary. Its position will naturally throw
that air up and along the ceiling. This is what is called in France
a _Was ist das?_ As this is a German question, the invention is
probably of that nation, and takes its name from the frequent asking
of that question when it first appeared. In England, some have of
late years cut a round hole about five inches diameter in a pane
of the sash and placed against it a circular plate of tin hung on
an axis, and cut into vanes, which, being separately bent a little
obliquely, are acted upon by the entering air, so as to force the
plate continually round like the vanes of a windmill. This admits the
outward air, and by the continual whirling of the vanes, does in some
degree disperse it. The noise only, is a little inconvenient.

2. A second cause of the smoking of chimneys is, _their openings
in the room being too large_; that is, too wide, too high, or
both. Architects in general have no other ideas of proportion
in the opening of a chimney, than what relate to symmetry and
beauty, respecting the dimensions of the room;[52] while its true
proportion, respecting its function and utility depends on quite
other principles; and they might as properly proportion the step
in a stair-case to the height of the story, instead of the natural
elevation of men's legs in mounting. The proportion then to be
regarded, is what relates to the height of the funnel. For as the
funnels in the different stories of a house are necessarily of
different heights or lengths, that from the lowest floor being
the highest or longest, and those of the other floors shorter and
shorter, till we come to those in the garrets, which are of course
the shortest; and the force of draft being, as already said, in
proportion to the height of funnel filled with rarefied air; and a
current of air from the room into the chimney, sufficient to fill
the opening, being necessary to oppose and prevent the smoke coming
out into the room; it follows, that the openings of the longest
funnels may be larger, and that those of the shorter funnels should
be smaller. For if there be a large opening to a chimney that does
not draw strongly, the funnel may happen to be furnished with the
air it demands by a partial current entering on one side of the
opening, and, leaving the other side free of any opposing current,
may permit the smoke to issue there into the room. Much too of the
force of draft in a funnel depends on the degree of rarefaction in
the air it contains, and that depends on the nearness to the fire of
its passage in entering the funnel. If it can enter far from the fire
on each side, or far above the fire in a wide or high opening, it
receives little heat in passing by the fire, and the contents of the
funnel is by that means less different in levity from the surrounding
atmosphere, and its force in drawing consequently weaker. Hence if
too large an opening be given to chimneys in upper rooms, those rooms
will be smoky: on the other hand, if too small openings be given to
chimneys in the lower rooms, the entering air, operating too directly
and violently on the fire, and afterwards strengthening the draft as
it ascends the funnel, will consume the fuel too rapidly.

_Remedy._ As different circumstances frequently mix themselves
in these matters, it is difficult to give precise dimensions for
the openings of all chimneys. Our fathers made them generally
much too large; we have lessened them; but they are often still
of greater dimension than they should be, the human eye not being
easily reconciled to sudden and great changes. If you suspect that
your chimney smokes from the too great dimension of its opening,
contract it by placing moveable boards so as to lower and narrow
it gradually, till you find the smoke no longer issues into the
room. The proportion so found will be that which is proper for that
chimney, and you may employ the bricklayer or mason to reduce it
accordingly. However, as, in building new houses, something must
be sometimes hazarded, I would make the openings in my lower rooms
about thirty inches square and eighteen deep, and those in the upper,
only eighteen inches square and not quite so deep; the intermediate
ones diminishing in proportion as the height of funnel diminished.
In the larger openings, billets of two feet long, or half the common
length of cordwood, may be burnt conveniently; and for the smaller,
such wood may be sawed into thirds. Where coals are the fuel, the
grates will be proportioned to the openings. The same depth is nearly
necessary to all, the funnels being all made of a size proper to
admit a chimney-sweeper. If in large and elegant rooms custom or
fancy should require the appearance of a larger chimney, it may be
formed of expensive marginal decorations, in marble, &c. In time
perhaps, that which is fittest in the nature of things may come to be
thought handsomest. But at present, when men and women in different
countries show themselves dissatisfied with the forms God has given
to their heads, waists and feet, and pretend to shape them more
perfectly, it is hardly to be expected that they will be content
always with the best form of a chimney. And there are some, I know,
so bigotted to the fancy of a large noble opening, that rather than
change it, they would submit to have damaged furniture, sore eyes,
and skins almost smoked to bacon.

3. Another cause of smoky chimneys is, _too short a funnel_. This
happens necessarily in some cases, as where a chimney is required in
a low building; for, if the funnel be raised high above the roof, in
order to strengthen its draft, it is then in danger of being blown
down, and crushing the roof in its fall.

_Remedies_. Contract the opening of the chimney, so as to oblige all
the entering air to pass through or very near the fire; whereby it
will be more heated and rarefied, the funnel itself be more warmed,
and its contents have more of what may be called the force of levity,
so as to rise strongly and maintain a good draft at the opening.

Or you may in some cases, to advantage, build additional stories over
the low building, which will support a high funnel.

If the low building be used as a kitchen, and a contraction of the
opening therefore inconvenient, a large one being necessary, at
least when there are great dinners, for the free management of so
many cooking utensils; in such case, I would advise the building of
two more funnels joining to the first, and having three moderate
openings, one to each funnel, instead of one large one. When there is
occasion to use but one, the other two may be kept shut by sliding
plates, hereafter to be described;[53] and two or all of them may be
used together when wanted. This will indeed be an expence, but not an
useless one, since your cooks will work with more comfort, see better
than in a smoky kitchen what they are about, your victuals will be
cleaner dressed, and not taste of smoke, as is often the case; and
to render the effect more certain, a stack of three funnels may be
safely built higher above the roof than a single funnel.

The case of too short a funnel is more general than would be
imagined, and often found where one would not expect it. For it is
not uncommon, in ill-contrived buildings, instead of having a funnel
for each room or fire-place, to bend and turn the funnel of an upper
room so as to make it enter the side of another funnel that comes
from below. By this means the upper room funnel is made short of
course, since its length can only be reckoned from the place where
it enters the lower room funnel; and that funnel is also shortened
by all the distance between the entrance of the second funnel and
the top of the stack: for all that part being readily supplied with
air through the second funnel, adds no strength to the draught,
especially as that air is cold when there is no fire in the second
chimney. The only easy remedy here is, to keep the opening shut of
that funnel in which there is no fire.

4. Another very common cause of the smoking of
chimneys, is, _their overpowering one another_. For instance, if
there be two chimneys in one large room, and you make fires in both
of them, the doors and windows close shut, you will find that the
greater and stronger fire shall overpower the weaker, and draw air
down its funnel to supply its own demand; which air descending in
the weaker funnel will drive down its smoke, and force it into the
room. If, instead of being in one room, the two chimneys are in
two different rooms, communicating by a door, the case is the same
whenever that door is open. In a very tight house, I have known a
kitchen chimney on the lowest floor, when it had a great fire in,
it, overpower any other chimney in the house, and draw air and smoke
into its room, as often as the door was opened communicating with the

_Remedy._ Take care that every room has the means of supplying itself
from without, with the air its chimney may require, so that no one of
them may be obliged to borrow from another, nor under the necessity
of lending. A variety of these means have been already described.

5. Another cause of smoking is, _when the tops of chimneys are
commanded by higher buildings, or by a hill_, so that the wind
blowing over such eminences falls like water over a dam, sometimes
almost perpendicularly on the tops of the chimneys that lie in its
way, and beats down the smoke contained in them.

_Remedy._ That commonly applied to this case, is a turncap made of
tin or plate iron, covering the chimney above and on three sides,
open on one side, turning on a spindle, and which, being guided or
governed by a vane, always presents its back to the current. This
I believe may be generally effectual, though not certain, as there
may be cases in which it will not succeed. Raising your funnels, if
practicable, so as their tops may be higher, or at least equal with
the commanding eminence, is more to be depended on. But the turning
cap, being easier and cheaper, should first be tried. If obliged to
build in such a situation, I would chuse to place my doors on the
side next the hill, and the backs of my chimneys on the furthest
side; for then the column of air falling over the eminence, and of
course pressing on that below and forcing it to enter the doors or
_Was ist das_es on that side, would tend to balance the pressure down
the chimneys, and leave the funnels more free in the exercise of
their functions.

6. There is another case of command, the reverse of that last
mentioned. It is where the commanding eminence is farther from the
wind than the chimney commanded. To explain this a figure may be
necessary. Suppose then a building whose side A happens to be exposed
to the wind, and forms a kind of dam against its progress. (Plate,
Figure 3.) The air obstructed by this dam will, like water, press and
search for passages through it; and finding the top of the chimney B,
below the top of the dam, it will force itself down that funnel, in
order to get through by some door or window open on the other side of
the building. And if there be a fire in such chimney, its smoke is of
course beat down, and fills the room.

_Remedy._ I know of but one, which is to raise such funnel higher
than the roof, supporting it, if necessary by iron bars. For a
turn-cap in this case has no effect, the dammed up air pressing down
through it in whatever position the wind may have placed its opening.

I know a city in which many houses are rendered smoky by this
operation. For their kitchens being built behind, and connected by a
passage with the houses, and the tops of the kitchen chimneys lower
than the top of the houses, the whole side of a street, when the wind
blows against its back, forms such a dam, as above described; and the
wind, so obstructed, forces down those kitchen chimneys (especially
when they have but weak fires in them) to pass through the passage
and house into the street. Kitchen chimneys, so formed and situated,
have another inconvenience. In summer, if you open your upper room
windows for air, a light breeze blowing over your kitchen chimney
towards the house, though not strong enough to force down its smoke
as aforesaid, is sufficient to waft it into your windows, and fill
the rooms with it; which, besides the disagreeableness, damages your

7. Chimneys, otherwise drawing well, are sometimes made to smoke by
_the improper and inconvenient situation of a door_. When the door
and chimney are on the same side of the room as in the figure, if the
door A, being in the corner, is made to open against the wall (Plate,
Figure 4) which is common, as being there, when open, more out of the
way, it follows, that when the door is only opened in part, a current
of air rushing in passes along the wall into and across the opening
of the chimney B, and flirts some of the smoke out into the room.
This happens more certainly when the door is shutting, for then the
force of the current is augmented, and becomes very inconvenient to
those who, warming themselves by the fire, happen to sit in its way.

The _remedies_ are obvious and easy. Either put an intervening
skreen from the wall round great part of the fire-place; or, which is
perhaps preferable, shift the hinges of your door, so as it may open
the other way, and when open throw the air along the other wall.

8. A room, that has no fire in its chimney, is sometimes filled
with _smoke which is received at the top of its funnel and descends
into the room_. In a former paper[54] I have already explained the
descending currents of air in cold funnels; it may not be amiss
however to repeat here, that funnels without fires have an effect,
according to their degree of coldness or warmth, on the air that
happens to be contained in them. The surrounding atmosphere is
frequently changing its temperature; but stacks of funnels, covered
from winds and sun by the house that contains them, retain a more
equal temperature. If, after a warm season, the outward air suddenly
grows cold, the empty warm funnels begin to draw strongly upward;
that is, they rarefy the air contained in them, which of course
rises, cooler air enters below to supply its place, is rarefied in
its turn and rises; and this operation continues till the funnel
grows cooler, or the outward air warmer, or both, when the motion
ceases. On the other hand, if after a cold season, the outward air
suddenly grows warm and of course lighter, the air contained in
the cool funnels, being heavier, descends into the room; and the
warmer air which enters their tops being cooled in its turn, and
made heavier, continues to descend; and this operation goes on, till
the funnels are warmed by the passing of warm air through them, or
the air itself grows cooler. When the temperature of the air and of
the funnels is nearly equal, the difference of warmth in the air
between day and night is sufficient to produce these currents, the
air will begin to ascend the funnels as the cool of the evening comes
on, and this current will continue till perhaps nine or ten o'clock
the next morning, when it begins to hesitate; and as the heat of the
day approaches, it sets downwards, and continues so till towards
evening, when it again hesitates for some time, and then goes upwards
constantly during the night, as before mentioned. Now when smoke
issuing from the tops of neighbouring funnels passes over the tops of
funnels which are at the time drawing downwards, as they often are
in the middle part of the day, such smoke is of necessity drawn into
these funnels, and descends with the air into the chamber.

The _remedy_ is to have a sliding plate, hereafter described[55],
that will shut perfectly the offending funnel.

9. Chimneys which generally draw well, do nevertheless sometimes give
smoke into the rooms, _it being driven down by strong winds passing
over the tops of their funnels_, though not descending from any
commanding eminence. This case is most frequent where the funnel is
short, and the opening turned from the wind. It is the more grievous,
when it happens to be a cold wind that produces the effect, because
when you most want your fire, you are sometimes obliged to extinguish
it. To understand this, it may be considered that the rising light
air, to obtain a free issue from the funnel, must push out of its
way or oblige the air that is over it to rise. In a time of calm or
of little wind this is done visibly, for we see the smoke that is
brought up by that air rise in a column above the chimney. But when a
violent current of air, that is, a strong wind, passes over the top
of a chimney, its particles have received so much force, which keeps
them in a horizontal direction and follow each other so rapidly,
that the rising light air has not strength sufficient to oblige them
to quit that direction and move upwards to permit its issue. Add to
this, that some of the current passing over that side of the funnel
which it first meets with, viz. at A, (Plate IX. Figure 5.) having
been compressed by the resistance of the funnel, may expand itself
over the flue, and strike the interior opposite side at B, from
whence it may be reflected downwards and from side to side in the
direction of the pricked lines c c c.

_Remedies._ In some places, particularly in Venice, where they have
not stacks of chimneys but single flues, the custom is, to open or
widen the top of the flue rounding in the true form of a funnel;
(Plate, Figure 6) which some think may prevent the effect just
mentioned, for that the wind blowing over one of the edges into the
funnel may be slanted out again on the other side by its form. I have
had no experience of this; but I have lived in a windy country, where
the contrary is practised, the tops of the flues being _narrowed_
inwards, so as to form a slit for the issue of the smoke, long as
the breadth of the funnel, and only four inches wide. This seems to
have been contrived on a supposition, that the entry of the wind
would thereby be obstructed, and perhaps it might have been imagined,
that the whole force of the rising warm air being condensed, as it
were, in the narrow opening, would thereby be strengthened, so as
to overcome the resistance of the wind. This however did not always
succeed; for when the wind was at north-east and blew fresh, the
smoke was forced down by fits into the room I commonly sat in, so
as to oblige me to shift the fire into another. The position of the
slit of this funnel was indeed north-east and south-west. Perhaps if
it had lain across the wind, the effect might have been different.
But on this I can give no certainty. It seems a matter proper to
be referred to experiment. Possibly a turn-cap might have been
serviceable, but it was not tried.

Chimneys have not been long in use in England. I formerly saw a
book printed in the time of queen Elizabeth, which remarked the
then modern improvements of living, and mentioned among others the
convenience of chimneys. "Our forefathers," said the author, "had
no chimneys. There was in each dwelling house only one place for a
fire, and the smoke went out through a hole in the roof; but now
there is scarce a gentleman's house in England that has not at least
one chimney in it."--When there was but one chimney, its top might
then be opened as a funnel, and perhaps, borrowing the form from the
Venetians, it was then the flue of a chimney got that name. Such is
now the growth of luxury, that in both England and France we must
have a chimney for every room, and in some houses every possessor
of a chamber, and almost every servant, will have a fire; so that
the flues being necessarily built in stacks, the opening of each as
a funnel is impracticable. This change of manners soon consumed the
firewood of England, and will soon render fuel extremely scarce
and dear in France, if the use of coals be not introduced in the
latter kingdom as it has been in the former, where it at first met
with opposition; for there is extant in the records of one of queen
Elizabeth's parliaments, a motion made by a member, reciting, "That
many dyers, brewers, smiths, and other artificers of London, had
of late taken to the use of pit-coal for their fires, instead of
wood, which filled the air with noxious vapours and smoke, very
prejudicial to the health, particularly of persons coming out of
the country; and therefore moving that a law might pass to prohibit
the use of such fuel (at least during the session of parliament) by
those artificers."--It seems it was not then commonly used in private
houses. Its supposed unwholesomeness was an objection. Luckily the
inhabitants of London have got over that objection, and now think
it rather contributes to render their air salubrious, as they have
had no general pestilential disorder since the general use of coals,
when, before it, such were frequent. Paris still burns wood at an
enormous expence continually augmenting, the inhabitants having still
that prejudice to overcome. In Germany you are happy in the use of
stoves, which save fuel wonderfully: your people are very ingenious
in the management of fire; but they may still learn something in that
art from the Chinese[56], whose country being greatly populous and
fully cultivated, has little room left for the growth of wood, and
having not much other fuel that is good, have been forced upon many
inventions during a course of ages, for making a little fire go as
far as possible.

I have thus gone through all the common causes of the smoking of
chimneys that I can at present recollect as having fallen under
my observation; communicating the remedies that I have known
successfully used for the different cases, together with the
principles on which both the disease and the remedy depend, and
confessing my ignorance wherever I have been sensible of it. You
will do well, if you publish, as you propose, this letter, to add in
notes, or as you please, such observations as may have occurred to
your attentive mind; and if other philosophers will do the same, this
part of science, though humble, yet of great utility, may in time
be perfected. For many years past, I have rarely met with a case of
a smoky chimney, which has not been solvable on these principles,
and cured by these remedies, where people have been willing to apply
them; which is indeed not always the case; for many have prejudices
in favour of the nostrums of pretending chimney-doctors and fumists,
and some have conceits and fancies of their own, which they rather
chuse to try, than to lengthen a funnel, alter the size of an
opening, or admit air into a room, however necessary; for some are as
much afraid of fresh air as persons in the hydrophobia are of fresh
water. I myself had formerly this prejudice, this _aerophobia_, as I
now account it, and dreading the supposed dangerous effects of cool
air, I considered it as an enemy, and closed with extreme care every
crevice in the rooms I inhabited. Experience has convinced me of
my error. I now look upon fresh air as a friend: I even sleep with
an open window. I am persuaded that no common air from without, is
so unwholesome as the air within a close room that has been often
breathed and not changed. Moist air too, which formerly I thought
pernicious, gives me now no apprehensions: for considering that
no dampness of air applied to the outside of my skin can be equal
to what is applied to and touches it within, my whole body being
full of moisture, and finding that I can lie two hours in a bath
twice a week, covered with water, which certainly is much damper
than any air can be, and this for years together, without catching
cold, or being in any other manner disordered by it, I no longer
dread mere moisture, either in air or in sheets or shirts: and I
find it of importance to the happiness of life, the being freed
from vain terrors, especially of objects that we are every day
exposed inevitably to meet with. You physicians have of late happily
discovered, after a contrary opinion had prevailed some ages, that
fresh and cool air does good to persons in the small pox and other
fevers. It is to be hoped, that in another century or two we may all
find out, that it is not bad even for people in health. And as to
moist air, here I am at this present writing in a ship with above
forty persons, who have had no other but moist air to breathe for six
weeks past; every thing we touch is damp, and nothing dries, yet we
are all as healthy as we should be on the mountains of Switzerland,
whose inhabitants are not more so than those of Bermuda or St.
Helena, islands on whose rocks the waves are dashed into millions of
particles, which fill the air with damp, but produce no diseases,
the moisture being pure, unmixed with the poisonous vapours arising
from putrid marshes and stagnant pools, in which many insects die and
corrupt the water. These places only, in my opinion (which however
I submit to yours) afford unwholesome air; and that it is not the
mere water contained in damp air, but the volatile particles of
corrupted animal matter mixed with that water, which renders such air
pernicious to those who breathe it. And I imagine it a cause of the
same kind that renders the air in close rooms, where the perspirable
matter is breathed over and over again by a number of assembled,
people so hurtful to health. After being in such a situation, many
find themselves affected by that _febricula_, which the English alone
call a _cold_, and, perhaps from the name, imagine that they caught
the malady by _going out_ of the room, when it was in fact by being
in it.

You begin to think that I wander from my subject, and go out of my
depth. So I return again to my chimneys.

We have of late many lecturers in experimental philosophy. I have
wished that some of them would study this branch of that science,
and give experiments in it as a part of their lectures. The addition
to their present apparatus need not be very expensive. A number of
little representations of rooms composed each of five panes of sash
glass, framed in wood at the corners, with proportionable doors,
and moveable glass chimneys, with openings of different sizes, and
different lengths of funnel, and some of the rooms so contrived as
to communicate on occasion with others, so as to form different
combinations, and exemplify different cases; with quantities of green
wax taper cut into pieces of an inch and half, sixteen of which stuck
together in a square, and lit, would make a strong fire for a little
glass chimney, and blown out would continue to burn and give smoke as
long as desired. With such an apparatus all the operations of smoke
and rarified air in rooms and chimneys might be seen through their
transparent sides; and the effect of winds on chimneys, commanded or
otherwise, might be shown, by letting the entering air blow upon them
through an opened window of the lecturer's chamber, where it would
be constant while he kept a good fire in his chimney. By the help of
such lectures our fumists would become better instructed. At present
they have generally but one remedy, which perhaps they have known
effectual in some one case of smoky chimneys, and they apply that
indiscriminately to all the other cases, without success,--but not
without expence to their employers.

With all the science, however, that a man shall suppose himself
possessed of in this article, he may sometimes meet with cases
that shall puzzle him. I once lodged in a house at London, which,
in a little room, had a single chimney and funnel. The opening was
very small, yet it did not keep in the smoke, and all attempts to
have a fire in this room were fruitless. I could not imagine the
reason, till at length observing that the chamber over it, which had
no fire-place in it, was always filled with smoke when a fire was
kindled below and that the smoke came through the cracks and crevices
of the wainscot; I had the wainscot taken down, and discovered that
the funnel, which went up behind it, had a crack many feet in length,
and wide enough to admit my arm, a breach very dangerous with regard
to fire, and occasioned probably by an apparent irregular settling of
one side of the house. The air entering this breach freely, destroyed
the drawing force of the funnel. The remedy would have been, filling
up the breach or rather rebuilding the funnel: but the landlord
rather chose to stop up the chimney.

Another puzzling case I met with at a friend's country house near
London. His best room had a chimney in which, he told me, he never
could have a fire, for all the smoke came out into the room. I
flattered myself I could easily find the cause, and prescribe the
cure. I had a fire made there, and found it as he said. I opened
the door, and perceived it was not want of air. I made a temporary
contraction of the opening of the chimney, and found that it was not
its being too large that caused the smoke to issue. I went out and
looked up at the top of the chimney: its funnel was joined in the
same stack with others, some of them shorter, that drew very well,
and I saw nothing to prevent its doing the same. In fine, after
every other examination I could think of, I was obliged to own the
insufficiency of my skill. But my friend, who made no pretension to
such kind of knowledge, afterwards discovered the cause himself. He
got to the top of the funnel by a ladder, and looking down, found
it filled with twigs and straw cemented by earth, and lined with
feathers. It seems the house, after being built, had stood empty some
years before he occupied it; and he concluded that some large birds
had taken the advantage of its retired situation to make their nest
there. The rubbish, considerable in quantity, being removed, and the
funnel cleared, the chimney drew well, and gave satisfaction.

In general smoke is a very tractable thing, easily governed and
directed when one knows the principles, and is well informed of
the circumstances. You know I made it _descend_ in my Pensylvania
stove. I formerly had a more simple construction, in which the same
effect was produced, but visible to the eye (Plate, Figure 7). It
was composed of two plates A B and C D, placed as in the figure.
The lower plate A B rested with its edge in the angle made by the
hearth with the back of the chimney. The upper plate was fixed to
the breast, and lapped over the lower about six inches wide and
the length of the plates (near two feet) between them. Every other
passage of air into the funnel was well stopped. When therefore a
fire was made at E, for the first time with charcoal, till the air
in the funnel was a little heated through the plates, and then wood
laid on, the smoke would rise to A, turn over the edge of that plate,
descend to D, then turn under the edge of the upper plate, and go
up the chimney. It was pretty to see, but of no great use. Placing
therefore the under plate in a higher situation, I removed the
upper plate C D, and placed it perpendicularly (Plate, Figure 8) so
that the upper edge of the lower plate A B came within about three
inches of it, and might be pushed farther from it, or suffered to
come nearer to it, by a moveable wedge between them. The flame then
ascending from the fire at E, was, carried to strike the upper plate,
made it very hot, and its heat rose and spread with the rarefied air
into the room.

I believe you have seen in use with me, the contrivance of a
sliding-plate over the fire, seemingly placed to oppose the rising of
the smoke, leaving but a small passage for it, between the edge of
the plate and the back of the chimney. It is particularly described,
and its uses explained, in my former printed letter, and I mention it
here only as another instance of the tractability of smoke[57].

What is called the Staffordshire chimney, (see the Plate, facing page
238) affords an example of the same kind. The opening of the chimney
is bricked up, even with the fore-edge of its jams, leaving open only
a passage over the grate of the same width, and perhaps eight inches
high. The grate consists of semicircular bars, their upper bar of
the greatest diameter, the others under it smaller and smaller, so
that it has the appearance of half a round basket. It is, with the
coals it contains, wholly without the wall that shuts up the chimney,
yet the smoke bends and enters the passage above it, the draft being
strong, because no air can enter that is not obliged to pass near or
through the fire, so that all that the funnel is filled with is much
heated, and of course much rarefied.

Much more of the prosperity of a winter country depends on the plenty
and cheapness of fuel, than is generally imagined. In travelling I
have observed, that in those parts where the inhabitants can have
neither wood nor coal nor turf but at excessive prices, the working
people live in miserable hovels, are ragged, and have nothing
comfortable about them. But when fuel is cheap (or where they have
the art of managing it to advantage) they are well furnished with
necessaries, and have decent habitations. The obvious reason is,
that the working hours of such people are the profitable hours, and
they who cannot afford sufficient fuel have fewer such hours in the
twenty four, than those who have it cheap and plenty: for much of the
domestic work of poor women, such as spinning, sewing, knitting; and
of the men in those manufactures that require little bodily exercise,
cannot well be performed where the fingers are numbed with cold,
those people, therefore, in cold weather, are induced to go to bed
sooner, and lie longer in a morning, than they would do if they could
have good fires or warm stoves to sit by; and their hours of work are
not sufficient to produce the means of comfortable subsistence. Those
public works, therefore, such as roads, canals, &c. by which fuel
may be brought cheap into such countries from distant places, are of
great utility; and those who promote them may be reckoned among the
benefactors of mankind.

I have great pleasure in having thus complied with your request, and
in the reflection, that the friendship you honour me with, and in
which I have ever been so happy, has continued so many years without
the smallest interruption. Our distance from each other is now
augmented, and nature must soon put an end to the possibility of my
continuing our correspondence: but if consciousness and memory remain
in a future state, my esteem and respect for you, my dear friend,
will be everlasting.


_Notes for the Letter upon Chimneys._

No. I.

The latest work on architecture that I have seen, is that entitled
_Nutshells_, which appears to be written by a very ingenious man, and
contains a table of the proportions of the openings of chimneys; but
they relate solely to the proportions he gives his rooms, without
the smallest regard to the funnels. And he remarks, respecting those
proportions, that they are similar to the harmonic divisions of a
monochord.[58] He does not indeed lay much stress on this; but it
shows that we like the appearance of principles; and where we have
not true ones, we have some satisfaction in producing such as are

No. II.

The description of the sliding plates here promised, and which hath
been since brought into use under various names, with some immaterial
changes, is contained in a former letter to J. B. Esq. as follows:


  _London, Dec. 2, 1758,_


I have executed here an easy simple contrivance, that I have long
since had in speculation, for keeping rooms warmer in cold weather
than they generally are, and with less fire. It is this. The opening
of the chimney is contracted, by brick-work faced with marble slabs,
to about two feet between the jams, and the breast brought down to
within about three feet of the hearth. An iron frame is placed just
under the breast, and extending quite to the back of the chimney,
so that a plate of the same metal may slide horizontally backwards
and forwards in the grooves on each side of the frame. This plate
is just so large as to fill the whole space, and shut the chimney
entirely when thrust quite in, which is convenient when there is no
fire. Drawing it out, so as to leave a space between its further edge
and the back, of about two inches; this space is sufficient for the
smoke to pass; and so large a part of the funnel being stopt by the
rest of the plate, the passage of warm air out of the room, up the
chimney, is obstructed and retarded, and by that means much cold air
is prevented from coming in through crevices, to supply its place.
This effect is made manifest three ways. First, when the fire burns
briskly in cold weather, the howling or whistling noise made by the
wind, as it enters the room through the crevices, when the chimney
is open as usual, ceases as soon as the plate is slid in to its
proper distance. Secondly, opening the door of the room about half
an inch, and holding your hand against the opening, near the top of
the door, you feel the cold air coming in against your hand, but
weakly, if the plate be in. Let another person suddenly draw it out,
so as to let the air of the room go up the chimney, with its usual
freedom where chimneys are open, and you immediately feel the cold
air rushing in strongly. Thirdly, if something be set against the
door, just sufficient, when the plate is in, to keep the door nearly
shut, by resisting the pressure of the air that would force it open:
then, when the plate is drawn out, the door will be forced open by
the increased pressure of the outward cold air endeavouring to get in
to supply the place of the warm air, that now passes out of the room
to go up the chimney. In our common open chimneys, half the fuel is
wasted, and its effect lost; the air it has warmed being immediately
drawn off. Several of my acquaintance, having seen this simple
machine in my room, have imitated it at their own houses, and it
seems likely to become pretty common. I describe it thus particularly
to you, because I think it would be useful in Boston, where firing is
often dear.

Mentioning chimneys puts me in mind of a property I formerly had
occasion to observe in them, which I have not found taken notice of
by others; it is, that in the summer time, when no fire is made in
the chimneys, there is, nevertheless, a regular draft of air through
them, continually passing upwards, from about five or six o'clock
in the afternoon, till eight or nine o'clock the next morning, when
the current begins to slacken and hesitate a little, for about half
an hour, and then sets as strongly down again, which it continues to
do till towards five in the afternoon, then slackens and hesitates
as before, going sometimes a little up, then a little down, till, in
about a half an hour, it gets into a steady upward current for the
night, which continues till eight or nine the next day; the hours
varying a little as the days lengthen and shorten, and sometimes
varying from sudden changes in the weather; as if, after being long
warm, it should begin to grow cool about noon, while the air was
coming down the chimney, the current will then change earlier than
the usual hour, &c.

This property in chimneys I imagine we might turn to some account,
and render improper, for the future, the old saying, _as useless
as a chimney in summer_. If the opening of the chimney, from the
breast down to the hearth, be closed by a slight moveable frame or
two, in the manner of doors, covered with canvas, that will let the
air through, but keep out the flies; and another little frame set
within upon the hearth, with hooks on which to hang joints of meat,
fowls, &c. wrapt well in wet linen cloths, three or four fold, I
am confident, that if the linen is kept wet, by sprinkling it once
a day, the meat would be so cooled by the evaporation, carried on
continually by means of the passing air, that it would keep a week
or more in the hottest weather. Butter and milk might likewise be
kept cool, in vessels or bottles covered with wet cloths. A shallow
tray, or keeler, should be under the frame to receive any water that
might drip from the wetted cloths. I think, too, that this property
of chimneys might, by means of smoke-jack vanes, be applied to some
mechanical purposes, where a small but pretty constant power only is

If you would have my opinion of the cause of this changing current of
air in chimneys, it is, in short, as follows. In summer time there
is generally a great difference in the warmth of the air at mid-day
and mid-night, and, of course, a difference of specific gravity
in the air, as the more it is warmed the more it is rarefied. The
funnel of a chimney, being for the most part surrounded by the house,
is protected, in a great measure, from the direct action of the
sun's rays, and also from the coldness of the night air. It thence
preserves a middle temperature between the heat of the day, and the
coldness of the night. This middle temperature it communicates to
the air contained in it. If the state of the outward air be cooler
than that in the funnel of the chimney, it will, by being heavier,
force it to rise, and go out at the top. What supplies its place from
below, being warmed, in its turn, by the warmer funnel, is likewise
forced up by the colder and weightier air below, and so the current
is continued till the next day, when the sun gradually changes the
state of the outward air, makes it first as warm as the funnel of
the chimney can make it (when the current begins to hesitate) and
afterwards warmer. Then the funnel, being cooler than the air that
comes into it, cools that air, makes it heavier than the outward air,
of course it descends; and what succeeds it from above being cooled
in its turn, the descending current continues till towards evening,
when it again hesitates and changes its course, from the change of
warmth in the outward air, and the nearly remaining same middle
temperature in the funnel.

Upon this principle, if a house were built behind Beacon-hill, an
adit carried from one of the doors into the hill horizontally, till
it meet with a perpendicular shaft sunk from its top, it seems
probable to me, that those who lived in the house would constantly,
in the heat even of the calmest day, have as much cool air passing
through the house, as they should chuse; and the same, though
reversed in its current, during the stillest night.

I think, too, this property might be made of use to miners; as,
where several shafts or pits are sunk perpendicularly into the
earth, communicating at bottom by horizontal passages, which is a
common case, if a chimney of thirty or forty feet high were built
over one of the shafts, or so near the shaft, that the chimney might
communicate with the top of the shaft, all air being excluded but
what should pass up or down by the shaft, a constant change of air
would, by this means, be produced in the passages below, tending to
secure the workmen from those damps, which so frequently incommode
them. For the fresh air would be almost always going down the open
shaft, to go up the chimney, or down the chimney, to go up the shaft.
Let me add one observation more, which is, that if that part of the
funnel of a chimney, which appears above the roof of a house, be
pretty long, and have three of its sides exposed to the heat of the
sun successively, viz. when he is in the east, in the south, and in
the west, while the north side is sheltered by the building from the
cool northerly winds; such a chimney will often be so heated by the
sun, as to continue the draft strongly upwards, through the whole
twenty-four hours, and often for many days together. If the outside
of such a chimney be painted black, the effect will be still greater,
and the current stronger.

No. III.

It is said the northern Chinese have a method of warming their ground
floors, which is ingenious. Those floors are made of tiles, a foot
square and two inches thick, their corners being supported by bricks
set on end, that are a foot long and four inches square; the tiles,
too, join into each other, by ridges and hollows along their sides.
This forms a hollow under the whole floor, which on one side of the
house has an opening into the air, where a fire is made, and it has a
funnel rising from the other side to carry off the smoke. The fuel is
a sulphurous pitcoal, the smell of which in the room is thus avoided,
while the floor, and of course the room, is well warmed. But as the
underside of the floor must grow foul with soot, and a thick coat of
soot prevents much of the direct application of the hot air to the
tiles, I conceive that burning the smoke, by obliging it to descend
through red coals, would in this construction be very advantageous,
as more heat would be given by the flame than by the smoke, and the
floor being thereby kept free from soot would be more heated with
less fire. For this purpose I would propose erecting the funnel close
to the grate, so as to have only an iron plate between the fire and
the funnel, through which plate, the air in the funnel being heated,
it will be sure to draw well, and force the smoke to descend, as in
the figure (Plate, Figure 9.) where A is the funnel or chimney, B the
grate on which the fire is placed, C one of the apertures through
which the descending smoke is drawn into the channel D of figure
10, along which channel it is conveyed by a circuitous route, as
designated by the arrows, until it arrives at the small aperture E,
figure 10, through which it enters the funnel F. G in both figures is
the iron plate against which the fire is made, which, being heated
thereby, will rarefy the air in that part of the funnel, and cause
the smoke to ascend rapidly. The flame thus dividing from the grate
to the right and left, and turning in passages, disposed, as in
figure 10, so as that every part of the floor may be visited by it
before it enters the funnel F, by the two passages E E, very little
of the heat will be lost, and a winter room thus rendered very

No. IV.

Page 265. _Few can imagine_, &c. It is said the Icelanders have very
little fuel, chiefly drift wood that comes upon their coast. To
receive more advantage from its heat, they make their doors low, and
have a stage round the room above the door, like a gallery, wherein
the women can sit and work, the men read or write, &c. The roof being
tight, the warm air is confined by it and kept from rising higher and
escaping; and the cold air, which enters the house when the door is
opened, cannot rise above the level of the top of the door, because
it is heavier than the warm air above the door, and so those in the
gallery are not incommoded by it. Some of our too lofty rooms might
have a stage so constructed as to make a temporary gallery above, for
the winter, to be taken away in summer. Sedentary people would find
much comfort there in cold weather.

No. V.

Page 285. _Where they have the art of managing it_, &c. In some
houses of the lower people among the northern nations of Europe, and
among the poorer sort of Germans in Pensylvania, I have observed this
construction, which appears very advantageous. (Plate Figure 11.) A
is the kitchen with its chimney; B an iron stove in the stove-room.
In a corner of the chimney is a hole through the back into the stove,
to put in fuel, and another hole above it to let the smoke of the
stove come back into the chimney. As soon as the cooking is over,
the brands in the kitchen chimney are put through the hole to supply
the stove, so that there is seldom more than one fire burning at a
time. In the floor over the stove-room, is a small trap door, to
let the warm air rise occasionally into the chamber. Thus the whole
house is warmed at little expence of wood, and the stove-room kept
constantly warm; so that in the coldest winter nights, they can work
late, and find the room still comfortable when they rise to work
early. An English farmer in America, who makes great fires in large
open chimneys, needs the constant employment of one man to cut and
haul wood for supplying them; and the draft of cold air to them is
so strong, that the heels of his family are frozen while they are
scorching their faces, and the room is never warm, so that little
sedentary work can be done by them in winter. The difference in
this article alone of economy shall, in a course of years, enable
the German to buy out the Englishman, and take possession of his

_Miscellaneous Observations._

Chimneys, whose funnels go up in the north wall of a house and are
exposed to the north winds, are not so apt to draw well as those in
a south wall; because, when rendered cold by those winds, they draw

Chimneys, enclosed in the body of a house, are better than those
whose funnels are exposed in cold walls.

Chimneys in stacks are apt to draw better than separate funnels,
because the funnels, that have constant fires in them, warm the
others, in some degree, that have none.

One of the funnels, in a house I once occupied, had a particular
funnel joined to the south side of the stack, so that three of its
sides were exposed to the sun in the course of the day, viz. (Plate,
Figure 12.) the east side E during the morning, the south side S in
the middle part of the day, and the west side W during the afternoon,
while its north side was sheltered by the stack from the cold winds.
This funnel, which came from the ground-floor, and had a considerable
height above the roof, was constantly in a strong drawing state day
and night, winter and summer.

Blacking of funnels, exposed to the sun, would probably make them
draw still stronger.

In Paris I saw a fire-place so ingeniously contrived as to serve
conveniently two rooms, a bedchamber and a study. The funnel over the
fire was round. The fire-place was of cast iron (Plate, Figure 13.)
having an upright back A, and two horizontal semicircular plates B C,
the whole so ordered as to turn on the pivots D E. The plate B always
stopped that part of the round funnel that was next to the room
without fire, while the other half of the funnel over the fire was
always open. By this means a servant in the morning could make a fire
on the hearth C, then in the study, without disturbing the master by
going into his chamber; and the master, when he rose, could, with a
touch of his foot, turn the chimney on its pivots, and bring the fire
into his chamber, keep it there as long as he wanted it, and turn it
again, when he went out, into his study. The room which had no fire
in it was also warmed by the heat coming through the back plate, and
spreading in the room, as it could not go up the chimney.


[51] This letter, which has been published in a separate pamphlet,
both in this country and America, first appeared in the Transactions
of the American Philosophical Society, in which it was read Oct. 21,
1785. _Editor._

[52] See Notes at the end of the Letter, No. I.

[53] See Notes at the end of the Letter, No. II.

[54] See Notes at the end of the letter, No. II.

[55] See Notes at the end of the letter, No. II.

[56] See Notes at the end of the letter, No. III.

[57] See Notes at the end of the Letter, No. II.

[58] "It may be just remarked here, that upon comparing these
proportions with those arising from the common divisions of the
monochord, it happens that the first answers to unisons, and although
the second is a discord, the third answers to the third minor, the
fourth to the third major, the fifth to the fourth, the sixth to the
fifth, and the seventh to the octave." NUTSHELLS, page 85.

[59] Badoin. _Editor._


  _Plate X._      _Vol. II. page 297._


_Published as the Act directs, April 1, 1806, by Longman, Hurst, Rees
& Orme, Paternoster Row._]

  _Description of a new Stove for burning of Pitcoal, and consuming
  all its smoke._[60] _By Dr. B._ FRANKLIN.

Towards the end of the last century an ingenious French philosopher,
whose name I am sorry I cannot recollect, exhibited an experiment
to show, that very offensive things might be burnt in the middle of
a chamber, such as woollen rags, feathers, &c. without creating the
least smoke or smell. The machine in which it was made, if I remember
right, was of this form, (Plate X. Figure 1.) made of plate iron.
Some clear burning charcoals were put into the opening of the short
tube A, and supported there by the grate B. The air, as soon as the
tubes grew warm, would ascend in the longer leg C and go out at D,
consequently air must enter at A descending to B. In this course it
must be heated by the burning coals through which it passed, and
rise more forcibly in the longer tube, in proportion to its degree
of heat or rarefaction, and length of that tube. For such a machine
is a kind of inverted syphon; and as the greater weight of water in
the longer leg of a common syphon in descending is accompanied by an
ascent of the same fluid in the shorter; so, in this inverted syphon,
the greater quantity of levity of air in the longer leg, in rising
is accompanied by the descent of air in the shorter. The things to
be burned being laid on the hot coals at A, the smoke must descend
through those coals, be converted into flame, which, after destroying
the offensive smell, came out at the end of the longer tube as mere
heated air.

Whoever would repeat this experiment with success must take care that
the part A, B, of the short tube, be quite full of burning coals,
so that no part of the smoke may descend and pass by them without
going through them, and being converted into flame; and that the
longer tube be so heated as that the current of ascending hot air
is established in it before the things to be burnt are laid on the
coals; otherwise there will be a disappointment.

It does not appear either in the Memoirs of the Academy of Sciences,
or Philosophical Transactions of the English Royal Society, that any
improvement was ever made of this ingenious experiment, by applying
it to useful purposes. But there is a German book, entitled _Vulcanus
Famulans_, by Joh. George Leutmann, P. D. printed at Wirtemberg in
1723, which describes, among a great variety of other stoves for
warming rooms, one, which seems to have been formed on the same
principle, and probably from the hint thereby given, though the
French experiment is not mentioned. This book being scarce, I have
translated the chapter describing the stove, viz.

"_Vulcanus Famulans, by John George Leutmann, P. D._

"_Wirtemberg, 1723._


"On a Stove, which draws downwards.

"Here follows the description of a sort of stove, which can easily
be removed and again replaced at pleasure. This drives the fire down
under itself, and gives no smoke, but however a very unwholesome

"In the figure, A is an iron vessel like a funnel, (Plate X. Figure
20.) in diameter at the top about twelve inches, at the bottom near
the grate about five inches; its height twelve inches. This is set on
the barrel C, which is ten inches diameter and two feet long, closed
at each end E E. From one end rises a pipe or flue about four inches
diameter, on which other pieces of pipe are set, which are gradually
contracted to D, where the opening is but about two inches. Those
pipes must together be at least four feet high. B is an iron grate.
F F are iron handles guarded with wood, by which the stove is to be
lifted and moved. It stands on three legs. Care must be taken to stop
well all the joints, that no smoke may leak through.

"When this stove is to be used, it must first be carried into the
kitchen and placed in the chimney near the fire. There burning wood
must be laid and left upon its grate till the barrel C is warm, and
the smoke no longer rises at A, but descends towards C. Then it is to
be carried into the room which it is to warm. When once the barrel C
is warm, fresh wood may be thrown into the vessel A as often as one
pleases, the flame descends and without smoke, which is so consumed
that only a vapour passes out at D.

"As this vapour is unwholesome, and affects the head, one may be
freed from it, by fixing in the wall of the room an inverted funnel,
such as people use to hang over lamps, through which their smoke goes
out as through a chimney. This funnel carries out all the vapour
cleverly, so that one finds no inconvenience from it, even though the
opening D be placed a span below the mouth of the said funnel G. The
neck of the funnel is better when made gradually bending, than if
turned in a right angle.

"The cause of the draft downwards in the stove is the pressure of the
outward air, which, falling into the vessel A in a column of twelve
inches diameter, finds only a resisting passage at the grate B, of
five inches, and one at D, of two inches, which are much too weak
to drive it back again; besides, A stands much higher than B, and
so the pressure on it is greater and more forcible, and beats down
the frame to that part where it finds the least resistance. Carrying
the machine first to the kitchen fire for preparation, is on this
account, that in the beginning the fire and smoke naturally ascend,
till the air in the close barrel C is made thinner by the warmth.
When that vessel is heated, the air in it is rarefied, and then all
the smoke and fire descends under it.

"The wood should be thoroughly dry, and cut into pieces five or six
inches long, to fit it for being thrown into the funnel A." Thus far
the German book.

It appears to me, by Mr. Leutmann's explanation of the operation of
this machine, that he did not understand the principles of it, whence
I conclude he was not the inventor of it; and by the description of
it, wherein the opening at A is made so large, and the pipe E, D,
so short, I am persuaded he never made nor saw the experiment, for
the first ought to be much smaller and the last much higher, or it
hardly will succeed. The carrying it in the kitchen, too, every time
the fire should happen to be out, must be so troublesome, that it is
not likely ever to have been in practice, and probably has never been
shown but as a philosophical experiment. The funnel for conveying
the vapour out of the room would besides have been uncertain in its
operation, as a wind blowing against its mouth would drive the vapour

The stove I am about to describe was also formed on the idea given by
the French experiment, and completely carried into execution before
I had any knowledge of the German invention; which I wonder should
remain so many years in a country, where men are so ingenious in the
management of fire, without receiving long since the improvements I
have given it.

_Description of the Parts._

A, the bottom plate which lies flat upon the hearth, with its
partitions, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, (Plate X. Figure 2.) that are cast with
it, and a groove Z Z, in which are to slide, the bottom edges of the
small plates Y, Y, figure 12; which plates meeting at X close the

B 1, figure 3, is the cover plate showing its under side, with the
grooves 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, to receive the top edges of the partitions
that are fixed to the bottom plate. It shows also the grate W W, the
bars of which are cast in the plate, and a groove V V, which comes
right over the groove Z Z, figure 2, receiving the upper edges of the
small sliding plates Y Y, figure 12.

B 2, figure 4, shows the upper side of the same plate, with a square
impression or groove for receiving the bottom mouldings T T T T of
the three-sided box C, figure 5, which is cast in one piece.

D, figure 6, its cover, showing its under side with grooves to
receive the upper edges S S S of the sides of C, figure 5, also a
groove R, R, which when the cover is put on comes right over another
Q Q in C, figure 5, between which it is to slide.

E, figure 7, the front plate of the box.

P, a hole three inches diameter through the cover D, figure 6, over
which hole stands the vase F, figure 8, which has a corresponding
hole two inches diameter through its bottom.

The top of the vase opens at O, O, O, figure 8, and turns back
upon a hinge behind when coals are to be put in; the vase has a
grate within at N N of cast iron H, figure 9, and a hole in the top,
one and a half inches diameter, to admit air, and to receive the
ornamental brass guilt flame M, figure 10, which stands in that hole,
and, being itself hollow and open, suffers air to pass through it to
the fire.

G, figure 11, is a drawer of plate iron, that slips in between in
the partitions 2 and 3, figure 2, to receive the falling ashes. It
is concealed when the small sliding plates Y Y, figure 12, are shut

I, I, I, I, figure 8, is a niche built of brick in the chimney and
plastered. It closes the chimney over the vase, but leaves two
funnels, one in each corner, communicating with the bottom box K K,
figure 2.

  _Dimensions of the Parts._

                                             _Feet._    _In._

  Front of the bottom box,                      2         0
  Height of its partitions,                     0         4¼
  Length of No. 1, 2, 3 and 4, each,            1         3
  Length of No. 5 and 6, each,                  0         8¼
  Breadth of the passage between No. 2 and 3,   0         6
  Breadth of the other passages each,           0         3½
  Breadth of the grate,                         0         6½
  Length of ditto,                              0         8
  Bottom moulding of box C, square,             1         0
  Height of the sides of ditto,                 0         4
  Length of the back side,                      0        10
  Length of the right and left sides, each,     0         9½
  Length of the front plate E, where longest,   0        11
  The cover D, square,                          0        12
  Hole in ditto, diameter,                      0         3
  Sliding plates Y Y, their length, each,       1         0
  -----  -----  ----- their breadth, each,      0         4½
  Drawer G, its length,                         1         0
  -----  -----  breadth,                        0         5¾
  -----  -----  depth,                          0         4
  -----  -----  depth of its further end, only, 0         1
  Grate H in the vase, its diameter to the
    extremity of its knobs,                     0         5¾
  Thickness of the bars at top,                 0         0¼
  -----  -----  -----   at bottom, less,        0         0
  Depth of the bars at the top,                 0         0¾
  Height of the vase,                           1         6
  Diameter of the opening O, O, in the clear,   0         8
  Diameter of the air-hole at top,              0         1½
  -----    of the flame hole at bottom,         0         2

_To fix this Machine._

Spread mortar on the hearth to bed the bottom plate A, then lay that
plate level, equally distant from each jamb, and projecting out
as far as you think proper. Then putting some Windsor loam in the
grooves of the cover B, lay that on: trying the sliding plates Y Y,
to see if they move freely in the grooves Z Z, V V, designed for them.

Then begin to build the niche, observing to leave the square corners
of the chimney unfilled; for they are to be funnels. And observe also
to leave a free open communication between the passages at K K, and
the bottom of those funnels, and mind to close the chimney above the
top of the niche, that no air may pass up that way. The concave back
of the niche will rest on the circular iron partition 1 A 4, figure
2, then, with a little loam, put on the box C over the grate, the
open side of the box in front.

Then, with loam in three of its grooves, the groove R R being left
clean, and brought directly over the groove Q Q in the box, put on
the cover D, trying the front plate E, to see if it slides freely in
those grooves.

Lastly, set on the vase, which has small holes in the moulding of its
bottom to receive two iron pins that rise out of the plate D at I I,
for the better keeping it steady.

Then putting in the grate H, which rests on its three knobs h h h
against the inside of the vase, and slipping the drawer into its
place; the machine is fit for use.

_To use it._

Let the first fire be made after eight in the evening or before
eight in the morning, for at those times and between those hours all
night, there is usually a draft up a chimney, though it has long been
without fire; but between those hours in the day there is often, in
a cold chimney, a draft downwards, when, if you attempt to kindle a
fire, the smoke will come into the room.

But to be certain of your proper time, hold a flame over the air-hole
at the top. If the flame is drawn strongly down for a continuance,
without whiffling, you may begin to kindle a fire.

First put in a few charcoals on the grate H.

Lay some small sticks on the charcoals,

Lay some pieces of paper on the sticks,

Kindle the paper with a candle,

Then shut down the top, and the air will pass down through the
air-hole, blow the flame of the paper down through the sticks, kindle
them, and their flame passing lower kindles the charcoal.

When the charcoal is well kindled, lay on it the sea-coals, observing
not to choak the fire by putting on too much at first.

The flame descending through the hole in the bottom of the vase,
and that in plate D into the box C, passes down farther through the
grate W W in plate B 1, then passes horizontally towards the back of
the chimney; there dividing, and turning to the right and left, one
part of it passes round the far end of the partition 2, then coming
forward it turns round the near end of partition 1, then moving
backward it arrives at the opening into the bottom of one of the
upright corner funnels behind the niche, through which it ascends
into the chimney, thus heating that half of the box and that side of
the niche. The other part of the divided flame passes round the far
end of partition 3, round the near end of partition 4, and so into
and up the other corner funnel, thus heating the other half of the
box, and the other side of the niche. The vase itself, and the box C
will also be very hot, and the air surrounding them being heated, and
rising, as it cannot get into the chimney, it spreads in the room,
colder air succeeding is warmed in its turn, rises and spreads, till
by the continual circulation the whole is warmed.

If you should have occasion to make your first fire at hours not
so convenient as those above mentioned, and when the chimney does
not draw, do not begin it in the vase, but in one or more of the
passages of the lower plate, first covering the mouth of the vase.
After the chimney has drawn a while with the fire thus low, and
begins to be a little warm, you may close those passages and kindle
another fire in the box C, leaving its sliding shutter a little open;
and when you find after some time that the chimney being warmed draws
forcibly, you may shut that passage, open your vase, and kindle your
fire there, as above directed. The chimney well warmed by the first
day's fire will continue to draw constantly all winter, if fires are
made daily.

You will, in the management of your fire, have need of the following

A pair of small light tongs, twelve or fifteen inches long, plate,
figure 13.

A light poker about the same length with a flat broad point, figure

A rake to draw ashes out of the passages of the lower plate, where
the lighter kind escaping the ash-box will gather by degrees, and
perhaps once in a week or ten days require being removed, figure 15.

And a fork with its prongs wide enough to slip on the neck of the
vase cover, in order to raise and open it when hot, to put in fresh
coals, figure 16.

In the management of this stove there are certain precautions to
be observed, at first with attention, till they become habitual.
To avoid the inconvenience of smoke, see that the grate H be clear
before you begin to light a fresh fire. If you find it clogged with
cinders and ashes, turn it up with your tongs and let them fall upon
the grate below; the ashes will go through it, and the cinders may be
raked off and returned into the vase when you would burn them. Then
see that all the sliding plates are in their places and close shut,
that no air may enter the stove but through the round opening at the
top of the vase. And to avoid the inconvenience of dust from the
ashes, let the ash-drawer be taken out of the room to be emptied; and
when you rake the passages, do it when the draft of the air is strong
inwards, and put the ashes carefully into the ash-box, that remaining
in its place.

If, being about to go abroad, you would prevent your fire burning in
your absence, you may do it by taking the brass flame from the top
of the vase, and covering the passage with a round tin plate, which
will prevent the entry of more air than barely sufficient to keep a
few of the coals alive. When you return, though some hours absent, by
taking off the tin plate and admitting the air, your fire will soon
be recovered.

The effect of this machine, well managed, is to burn not only the
coals, but all the smoke of the coals, so that while the fire is
burning, if you go out and observe the top of your chimney, you will
see no smoke issuing, nor any thing but clear warm air, which as
usual makes the bodies seen through it appear waving.

But let none imagine from this, that it may be a cure for bad or
smoky chimneys, much less, that as it burns the smoke it may be used
in a room that has no chimney. It is by the help of a good chimney,
the higher the better, that it produces its effect; and though a
flue of plate iron sufficiently high might be raised in a very lofty
room, the management to prevent all disagreeable vapour would be too
nice for common practice, and small errors would have unpleasing

It is certain that clean iron yields no offensive smell when heated.
Whatever of that kind you perceive, where there are iron stoves,
proceeds therefore from some foulness burning or fuming on their
surface. They should therefore never be spit upon, or greased, nor
should any dust be suffered to lie upon them. But as the greatest
care will not always prevent these things, it is well once a week
to wash the stove with soap lees and a brush, rinsing it with clean

_The Advantages of this Stove._

1. The chimney does not grow foul, nor ever need sweeping; for as no
smoke enters it, no soot can form in it.

2. The air heated over common fires instantly quits the room and
goes up the chimney with the smoke; but in the stove, it is obliged
to descend in flame and pass through the long winding horizontal
passages, communicating its heat to a body of iron plate, which,
having thus time to receive the heat, communicates the same to the
air of the room, and thereby warms it to a greater degree.

3. The whole of the fuel is consumed by being turned into flame, and
you have the benefit of its heat, whereas in common chimneys a great
part goes away in smoke which you see as it rises, but it affords
you no rays of warmth. One may obtain some notion of the quantity of
fuel thus wasted in smoke, by reflecting on the quantity of soot that
a few weeks firing will lodge against the sides of the chimney, and
yet this is formed only of those particles of the column of smoke
that happen to touch the sides in its ascent. How much more must have
passed off in the air? And we know that this soot is still fuel;
for it will burn and flame as such, and when hard caked together is
indeed very like and almost as solid as the coal it proceeds from.
The destruction of your fuel goes on nearly in the same quantity
whether in smoke or in flame: but there is no comparison in the
difference of heat given. Observe when fresh coals are first put on
your fire, what a body of smoke arises. This smoke is for a long
time too cold to take flame. If you then plunge a burning candle
into it, the candle instead of inflaming the smoke will instantly be
itself extinguished. Smoke must have a certain degree of heat to be
inflammable. As soon as it has acquired that degree, the approach of
a candle will inflame the whole body, and you will be very sensible
of the difference of the heat it gives. A still easier experiment
may be made with the candle itself. Hold your hand near the side of
its flame, and observe the heat it gives; then blow it out, the hand
remaining in the same place, and observe what heat may be given by
the smoke that rises from the still burning snuff. You will find it
very little. And yet that smoke has in it the substance of so much
flame, and will instantly produce it, if you hold another candle
above it so as to kindle it. Now the smoke from the fresh coals laid
on this stove, instead of ascending and leaving the fire while too
cold to burn, being obliged to descend through the burning coals,
receives among them that degree of heat which converts it into flame,
and the heat of that flame is communicated to the air of the room, as
above explained.

4. The flame from the fresh coals laid on in this stove, descending
through the coals already ignited, preserves them long from
consuming, and continues them in the state of red coals as long as
the flame continues that surrounds them, by which means the fires
made in this stove are of much longer duration than in any other,
and fewer coals are therefore necessary for a day. This is a very
material advantage indeed. That flame should be a kind of pickle, to
preserve burning coals from consuming, may seem a paradox to many,
and very unlikely to be true, as it appeared to me the first time
I observed the fact. I must therefore relate the circumstances,
and shall mention an easy experiment, by which my reader may be in
possession of every thing necessary to the understanding of it. In
the first trial I made of this kind of stove, which was constructed
of thin plate iron, I had instead of the vase a kind of inverted
pyramid like a mill-hopper; and fearing at first that the small
grate contained in it might be clogged by cinders, and the passage
of the flame sometimes obstructed, I ordered a little door near the
grate, by means of which I might on occasion clear it: though after
the stove was made, and before I tried it, I began to think this
precaution superfluous, from an imagination, that the flame being
contracted in the narrow part where the grate was placed, would be
more powerful in consuming what it should there meet with, and that
any cinders between or near the bars would be presently destroyed
and the passage opened. After the stove was fixed and in action, I
had a pleasure now and then in opening that door a little, to see
through the crevice how the flame descended among the red coals,
and observing once a single coal lodged on the bars in the middle
of the focus, a fancy took me to observe by my watch in how short a
time it would be consumed. I looked at it long without perceiving
it to be at all diminished, which surprised me greatly. At length
it occurred to me, that I and many others had seen the same thing
thousands of times, in the conservation of the red coal formed in
the snuff of a burning candle, which while envelloped in flame, and
thereby prevented from the contact of passing air, is long continued
and augments instead of diminishing, so that we are often obliged
to remove it by the snuffers, or bend it out of the flame into the
air, where it consumes presently to ashes. I then supposed, that to
consume a body by fire, passing air was necessary to receive and
carry off the separated particles of the body: and that the air
passing in the flame of my stove, and in the flame of a candle,
being already saturated with such particles, could not receive more,
and therefore left the coal undiminished as long as the outward air
was prevented from coming to it by the surrounding flame, which
kept it in a situation somewhat like that of charcoal in a well
luted crucible, which, though long kept in a strong fire, comes out

An easy experiment will satisfy any one of this conserving power of
flame envelloping red coal. Take a small stick of deal or other wood
the size of a goose quill, and hold it horizontally and steadily in
the flame of the candle above the wick, without touching it, but in
the body of the flame. The wood will first be inflamed, and burn
beyond the edge of the flame of the candle, perhaps a quarter of an
inch. When the flame of the wood goes out, it will leave a red coal
at the end of the stick, part of which will be in the flame of the
candle and part out in the air. In a minute or two you will perceive
the coal in the air diminish gradually, so as to form a neck; while
the part in the flame continues of its first size, and at length the
neck being quite consumed it drops off; and by rolling it between
your fingers when extinguished you will find it still a solid coal.

However, as one cannot be always putting on fresh fuel in this stove
to furnish a continual flame as is done in a candle, the air in the
intervals of time gets at the red coals and consumes them. Yet the
conservation while it lasted, so much delayed the consumption of the
coals, that two fires, one made in the morning, and the other in the
afternoon, each made by only a hatfull of coals, were sufficient to
keep my writing room, about sixteen feet square and ten high, warm a
whole day. The fire kindled at seven in the morning would burn till
noon; and all the iron of the machine with the walls of the niche
being thereby heated, the room kept warm till evening, when another
smaller fire kindled kept it warm till midnight.

Instead of the sliding plate E, which shuts the front of the box C,
I sometimes used another which had a pane of glass, or, which is
better, of Muscovy talc, that the flame might be seen descending
from the bottom of the vase and passing in a column through the box
C, into the cavities of the bottom plate, like water falling from a
funnel, admirable to such as are not acquainted with the nature of
the machine, and in itself a pleasing spectacle.

Every utensil, however properly contrived to serve its purpose,
requires some practice before it can be used adroitly. Put into the
hands of a man for the first time a gimblet or a hammer (very simple
instruments) and tell him the use of them, he shall neither bore a
hole or drive a nail with the dexterity and success of another who
has been accustomed to handle them. The beginner therefore in the
use of this machine will do well not to be discouraged with little
accidents that may arise at first from his want of experience.
Being somewhat complex, it requires as already said a variety of
attentions; habit will render them unnecessary. And the studious man
who is much in his chamber, and has a pleasure in managing his own
fire, will soon find this a machine most comfortable and delightful.
To others who leave their fires to the care of ignorant servants, I
do not recommend it. They will with difficulty acquire the knowledge
necessary, and will make frequent blunders that will fill your
room with smoke. It is therefore by no means fit for common use in
families. It may be adviseable to begin with the flaming kind of
stone coal, which is large, and, not caking together, is not so apt
to clog the grate. After some experience, any kind of coal may be
used, and with this advantage, that no smell, even from the most
sulphurous kind can come into your room, the current of air being
constantly into the vase, where too that smell is all consumed.

The vase form was chosen as being elegant in itself, and very
proper for burning of coals: where wood is the usual fuel, and
must be burned in pieces of some length, a long square chest may
be substituted, in which A is the cover opening by a hinge behind,
B the grate, C the hearth-box with its divisions as in the other,
D the plan of the chest, E the long narrow grate. (Plate, Figure
17.) This I have not tried, but the vase machine was completed in
1771, and used by me in London three winters, and one afterwards in
America, much to my satisfaction; and I have not yet thought of any
improvement it may be capable of, though such may occur to others.
For common use, while in France, I have contrived another grate
for coals, which has in part the same property of burning the smoke
and preserving the red coals longer by the flame, though not so
completely as in the vase, yet sufficiently to be very useful, which
I shall now describe as follows.

A, is a round grate, one foot (French) in diameter, and eight inches
deep between the bars and the back; (Plate, Figure 18.) the sides
and back of plate iron; the sides having holes of half an inch
diameter distant three or four inches from each other, to let in air
for enlivening the fire. The back without holes. The sides do not
meet at top nor at bottom by eight inches: that square is filled by
grates of small bars crossing front to back to let in air below,
and let out the smoke or flame above. The three middle bars of the
front grate are fixed, the upper and lower may be taken out and put
in at pleasure, when hot, with a pair of pincers. This round grate
turns upon, an axis, supported by the crotchet B, the stem of which
is an inverted conical tube five inches deep, which comes on as many
inches upon a pin that fits it, and which is fixed upright in cast
iron plate D, that lies upon the hearth; in the middle of the top and
bottom grates are fixed small upright pieces E E about an inch high,
which as the whole is turned on its axis stop it when the grate is
perpendicular. Figure 19 is another view of the same machine.

In making the first fire in a morning with this grate, there is
nothing particular to be observed. It is made as in other grates,
the coals being put in above, after taking out the upper bar, and
replacing it when they are in. The round figure of the fire when
thoroughly kindled is agreeable, it represents the great giver of
warmth to our system. As it burns down and leaves a vacancy above,
which you would fill with fresh coals, the upper bar is to be taken
out, and afterwards replaced. The fresh coals, while the grate
continues in the same position, will throw up as usual a body of
thick smoke. But every one accustomed to coal fires in common grates
must have observed, that pieces of fresh coal stuck in below among
the red coals have their smoke so heated as that it becomes flame
as fast as it is produced, which flame rises among the coals and
enlivens the appearance of the fire. Here then is the use of this
swivel grate. By a push with your tongs or poker, you turn it on
its pin till it faces the back of the chimney, then turn it over on
its axis gently till it again faces the room, whereby all the fresh
coals will be found under the live coals, and the greater part of the
smoke arising from the fresh coals will in its passage through the
live ones be heated so as to be converted into flame: whence you have
much more heat from them, and your red coals are longer preserved
from consuming. I conceive this construction, though not so complete
a consumer of all the smoke as the vase, yet to be fitter for common
use, and very advantageous. It gives too a full sight of the fire,
always a pleasing object, which we have not in the other. It may
with a touch be turned more or less from any one of the company that
desires to have less of its heat, or presented full to one just come
out of the cold. And supported in a horizontal position, a tea-kettle
may be boiled on it.

The author's description of his Pensylvania fireplace, first
published in 1744, having fallen into the hands of workmen in Europe,
who did not, it seems, well comprehend the principles of that
machine, it was much disfigured in their imitations of it; and one
of its main intentions, that of admitting a sufficient quantity of
fresh air warmed in entering through the air-box, nearly defeated,
by a pretended improvement, in lessening its passages to make more
room for coals in a grate. On pretence of such improvements, they
obtained patents for the invention, and for a while made great profit
by the sale, till the public became sensible of that defect, in the
expected operation. If the same thing should be attempted with this
vase stove, it will be well for the buyer to examine thoroughly
such pretended improvements, lest, being the mere productions of
ignorance, they diminish or defeat the advantages of the machine, and
produce inconvenience and disappointment.

The method of burning smoke, by obliging it to descend through hot
coals, may be of great use in heating the walls of a hot-house. In
the common way, the horizontal passages or flues that are made to go
and return in those walls, lose a great deal of their effect when
they come to be foul with soot; for a thick blanket-like lining of
soot prevents much of the hot air from touching and heating the brick
work in its passage, so that more fire must be made as the flue grows
fouler: but by burning the smoke they are kept always clean. The same
method may also be of great advantage to those businesses in which
large coppers or caldrons are to be heated.

  _Written at Sea, 1785._


[60] From the Transactions of the American Philosophical Society, in
which it was read January 28, 1786. _Editor._


  _Method of Contracting Chimneys. Modesty in Disputation._

  _Craven-Street, Saturday Evening, past 10._

The question you ask me is a very sensible one, and I shall be
glad if I can give you a satisfactory answer. There are two ways
of contracting a chimney; one, by contracting the opening _before_
the fire; the other, by contracting the funnel _above_ the fire.
If the funnel above the fire is left open in its full dimensions,
and the opening before the fire is contracted; then the coals, I
imagine, will burn faster, because more air is directed through the
fire, and in a stronger stream; that air which before passed over
it, and on each side of it, now passing _through_ it. This is seen
in narrow stove chimneys, when a sacheverell or blower is used,
which still more contracts the narrow opening.--But if the funnel
only _above_ the fire is contracted, then, as a less stream of air
is passing up the chimney, less must pass through the fire, and
consequently it should seem that the consuming of the coals would
rather be checked than augmented by such contraction. And this will
also be the case, when both the opening _before_ the fire, and the
funnel _above_ the fire are contracted, provided the funnel above
the fire is more contracted in proportion than the opening before
the fire.--So you see I think you had the best of the argument; and
as you notwithstanding gave it up in complaisance to the company, I
think you had also the best of the dispute. There are few, though
convinced, that know how to give up, even an error, they have been
once engaged in maintaining; there is therefore the more merit in
dropping a contest where one thinks one's self right; it is at least
respectful to those we converse with. And indeed all our knowledge
is so imperfect, and we are from a thousand causes so perpetually
subject to mistake and error, that positiveness can scarce ever
become even the most knowing; and modesty in advancing any opinion,
however plain and true we may suppose it, is always decent, and
generally more likely to procure assent. Pope's rule

    To speak, though sure, with seeming diffidence,

is therefore a good one; and if I had ever seen in your conversation
the least deviation from it, I should earnestly recommend it to your

  I am, &c.



  _Respecting covering Houses with Copper.[61]_

  _London, March 17, 1770._


I received your favour of November 25, and have made enquiries, as
you desired, concerning the copper covering of houses. It has been
used here in a few instances only, and the practice does not seem to
gain ground. The copper is about the thickness of a common playing
card, and though a dearer metal than lead, I am told, that, as less
weight serves, on account of its being so much thinner, and as
slighter woodwork in the roof is sufficient to support it, the roof
is not dearer on the whole, than one covered with lead. It is said,
that hail and rain make a disagreeable drumming noise on copper; but
this I suppose is rather fancy; for the plates being fastened on
the rafters, must, in a great measure, deaden such sound. The first
cost, whatever it is, will be all, as a copper covering must last for
ages; and when the house decays, the plates will still have intrinsic
worth. In Russia, I am informed many houses are covered with plates
of iron tinned, such as our tin pots and other vases are made of,
laid on over the edges of one another like tiles; and which, it is
said, last very long, the tin preserving the iron from much decay by
rusting. In France and the Low Countries, I have seen many spouts or
pipes for conveying the water down from the roofs of houses, made of
the same kind of tin plates soldered together; and they seem to stand
very well.

  With sincere regard, I am,

  Yours, &c.



[61] The two following letters, and the accompanying paper, appeared
in several periodical publications, both English and American, many
years before the death of Franklin, which is sufficient to give them
authenticity. _Editor._


  _On the same Subject._

  _London, June 26, 1770._


It is a long time since I had the pleasure of hearing from you
directly. Mrs. Franklin has indeed now and then acquainted me of your
welfare, which I am always glad to hear of. It is, I fear, partly,
if not altogether, my fault, that our correspondence has not been
regularly continued. One thing I am sure of, that it has been from no
want of regard on either side, but rather from too much business, and
avocations of various kinds, and my having little of importance to

One of our good citizens, Mr. Hillegras, anxious for the future
safety of our town, wrote to me some time since, desiring I would
enquire concerning the covering of our houses here with copper. I
sent him the best information I could then obtain, but have since
received the inclosed from an ingenious friend, who is what they call
here a civil engineer. I should be glad you would peruse it, think of
the matter a little and give me your sentiments of it. When you have
done with the paper, please to give it to Mr. Hillegras. I am told
by Lord Despencer, who has covered a long piazza, or gallery, with
copper, that the expence is charged in this account too high, for his
cost but one shilling and ten-pence per foot, all charges included.
I suppose his copper must have been thinner. And, indeed, it is so
strong a metal, that I think it may well be used very thin.

It appears to me of great importance, to build our dwelling houses,
if we can, in a manner more secure from danger by fire. We scarcely
ever hear of fire in Paris. When I was there I took particular notice
of the construction of their houses, and I did not see how one of
them could well be burnt, the roofs are slate or tile, the walls are
stone, the walls generally lined with stucco or plaster, instead of
wainscot, the floors of stucco, or of six square tiles painted brown,
or of flag stone, or of marble; if any floors were of wood, it was of
oak wood, which is not so inflammable as pine. Carpets prevent the
coldness of stone or brick floors offending the feet in winter, and
the noise of treading on such floors, overhead, is less inconvenient
than on boards. The stairs too, at Paris, are either stone or brick,
with only a wooden edge or corner for the step; so that on the whole,
though the Parisians commonly burn wood in their chimneys, a more
dangerous kind of fuel than that used here, yet their houses escape
extremely well, as there is little in a room that can be consumed
by fire except the furniture: whereas in London, perhaps scarcely a
year passes in which half a million of property and many lives are
not lost by this destructive element. Of late, indeed, they begin
here to leave off wainscoting their rooms, and instead of it cover
the walls with stucco, often formed into pannels like wainscot,
which being painted, is very strong and warm. Stone staircases too,
with iron rails, grow more and more into fashion here: but stone
steps cannot, in some circumstances, be fixed; and there, methinks,
oak is safer than pine; and I assure you, that in many genteel
houses here, both old and new, the stairs and floors are oak, and
look extremely well. Perhaps solid oak for the steps would be still
safer than boards; and two steps might be cut diagonally out of one
piece. Excuse my talking to you on a subject with which you must
be so much better acquainted than I am. It is partly to make out a
letter, and partly in hope, that, by turning your attention to the
point, some methods of greater security in our future building may be
thought of and promoted by you, whose judgment I know has deservedly
great weight with our fellow-citizens. For though our town has not
hitherto suffered very greatly by fire, yet I am apprehensive, that
some time or other, by a concurrence of unlucky circumstances, such
as dry weather, hard frost, and high winds, a fire then happening
may suddenly spread far and wide over our cedar roofs, and do us an
immense mischief. I am,

  Yours, &c.


  _Paper referred to in the preceding Letter._

The carpentry of the roof being formed with its proper descents,
is, in the first place, sheeted or covered with deals, nailed
horizontally upon the rafters, after the same manner as when intended
to be covered with lead. The sheets of the copper for this covering
are two feet by four, and for covering the slopes of the roof are
cast so thin, as to weigh eight or nine pounds, and for covering the
flats or gutters, ten or eleven pounds each, or about one pound, or a
pound and a quarter, to the superficial foot.

A string of strong cartridge paper (over-lapping a little at its
joints) is regularly tacked down upon the sheeting, under the copper
covering, as the work proceeds from eaves to ridge. It prevents the
jingling sound of hail or rain falling upon the roof, and answers
another purpose to be mentioned by-and-by.

In order to shew the regular process of laying down the roof, we must
begin with fastening two sheets together lengthwise. The edges of two
sheets are laid down so as to lap or cover each other an inch, and a
slip of the same copper, about three and a half inches broad, called
the reeve, is introduced between them. Four oblong holes, or slits,
are then cut or punched through the whole, and they are fastened or
riveted together by copper nails, with small round shanks and flat
heads. Indents are then cut 1¾ inch deep upon the seam at top and
bottom. The right hand sheet and the reeve are then folded back to
the left. The reeve is then folded to the right, and the sheets being
laid on the roof in their place, it is nailed down to the sheeting
with flat-headed short copper nails. The right hand sheet is then
folded over the reeve to the right, and the whole beat down flat
upon the cartridge paper covering the sheeting, and thus they are
fastened and laid in their places, by nailing down the reeve only;
and by reason of the oblong holes through them and the reeve, have a
little liberty to expand or contract with the heat and cold, without
raising themselves up from the sheeting, or tearing themselves or
the fastening to pieces. Two other sheets are then fixed together,
according to the first and second operations above, and their seam,
with the reeve, introduced under the upper ends of the seam of the
former, so as to cover down about two inches upon the upper ends
of the former sheets: and so far the cartridge paper is allowed
to cover the two first sheets. This edge of the paper is dipped in
oil, or in turpentine, so far before its application, and thus a
body between the sheets is formed impenetrable to wet, and the reeve
belonging to the two last sheets is nailed down to the sheeting as
before, and the left hand sheet is turned down to the right. Four
sheets are now laid down, with the seam or joint rising to the ridge;
and thus the work is continued, both vertically and horizontally,
till the roof be covered, the sides and ends of each sheet being
alternately each way, undermost and uppermost.

The price for copper, nails, and workmanship, runs at about eight
pounds ten shillings per hundred weight, or two shillings and
three-pence per foot, superficial, exclusive of the lappings; and
about two shillings and eight-pence per foot upon the whole; which
is rather above half as much more as the price of doing it well with


  _Magical Square of Squares._


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 showed 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 nugæ_, incapable of any useful application.
He answered, that many of the arithmetical or mathematical questions,
publicly 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 I 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 me several in the same book, of an
uncommon and more curious 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, I 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_ V. Fig. 3.)

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 two
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.


  _Plate XI._      _Vol. II. page 327._

_A Magic Square of Squares._

_Published as the Act directs, April 1, 1806, by Longman, Hurst, Rees
& Orme, Paternoster Row._]

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
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 show 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 magic
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 make 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.



  _Magical Circle._


I am glad the perusal of the magical squares afforded you any
amusement. I now send you the magical circle. (_See Plate_ XII.)

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

Half the number in any radial row, added with half the 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.


  _Plate XII._       _Vol. II. page 328._


_Published as the Act directs, April 1, 1806, by Longman, Hurst, Rees
& Orme, Paternoster Row._]

There are, moreover, included four other sets of circular spaces,
excentric with respect to the first, each of these sets containing
five spaces. The centres 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 coloured ink, red, blue, green,
and yellow.[62]

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 centres A and C, taken above
or below the double horizontal line, and of those drawn from centres
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 centres, and
extend the other to any number in the circle you would examine
belonging to that centre, the moving foot will point the others out,
by passing round over all the numbers of that circle successively. I
am, &c.



[62] In the plate they are distinguished by dashed or dotted lines,
as different as the engraver could well make them.


  _Describing a new musical Instrument composed of Glasses._

  _London, July 13, 1762._


I once promised myself the pleasure of seeing you at Turin, but as
that is not now likely to happen, being just about returning to my
native country, America, I sit down to take leave of you (among
others of my European friends that I cannot see) by writing.

I thank you for the honourable mention you have so frequently made
of me in your letters to Mr. Collinson and others, for the generous
defence you undertook and executed with so much success, of my
electrical opinions; and for the valuable present you have made me
of your new work, from which I have received great information and
pleasure. I wish I could in return entertain you with any thing new
of mine on that subject; but I have not lately pursued it. Nor do I
know of any one here that is at present much engaged in it.

Perhaps, however, it may be agreeable to you, as you live in a
musical country, to have an account of the new instrument lately
added here to the great number that charming science was before
possessed of.--As it is an instrument that seems peculiarly adapted
to Italian music, especially that of the soft and plaintive kind,
I will endeavour to give you such a description of it, and of the
manner of constructing it, that you or any of your friends, may
be enabled to imitate it, if you incline so to do, without being
at the expence and trouble of the many experiments I have made in
endeavouring to bring it to its present perfection.

You have doubtless heard the sweet tone that is drawn from a drinking
glass, by passing a wet finger round its brim. One Mr. Puckeridge, a
gentleman from Ireland, was the first who thought of playing tunes,
formed of these tones. He collected a number of glasses of different
sizes, fixed them near each other on a table, and tuned them by
putting into them water more or less, as each note required. The
tones were brought out by passing his fingers round their brims.--He
was unfortunately burned here, with his instrument, in a fire which
consumed the house he lived in. Mr. E. Delaval, a most ingenious
member of our Royal Society, made one in imitation of it, with a
better choice and form of glasses, which was the first I saw or
heard. Being charmed with the sweetness of its tones, and the music
he produced from it, I wished only to see the glasses disposed in a
more convenient form, and brought together in a narrower compass, so
as to admit of a greater number of tones, and all within reach of
hand to a person sitting before the instrument, which I accomplished,
after various intermediate trials, and less commodious forms, both of
glasses and construction, in the following manner.

[Illustration: (hemispherical glass vessel)]

The glasses are blown as near as possible in the form of hemispheres,
having each an open neck or socket in the middle. The thickness of
the glass near the brim about a tenth of an inch, or hardly quite so
much, but thicker as it comes nearer the neck, which in the largest
glasses is about an inch deep, and an inch and half wide within,
these dimensions lessening as the glasses themselves diminish in
size, except that the neck of the smallest ought not to be shorter
than half an inch.--The largest glass is nine inches diameter, and
the smallest three inches. Between these three are twenty-three
different sizes, differing from each other a quarter of an inch in
diameter.--To make a single instrument there should be at least six
glasses blown of each size; and out of this number one may probably
pick thirty-seven glasses (which are sufficient for three octaves
with all the semitones) that will be each either the note one wants
or a little sharper than that note, and all fitting so well into each
other as to taper pretty regularly from the largest to the smallest.
It is true there are not thirty-seven sizes, but it often happens
that two of the same size differ a note or half note in tone, by
reason of a difference in thickness, and these may be placed one in
the other without sensibly hurting the regularity of the taper form.

The glasses being chosen, and every one marked with a diamond the
note you intend it for, they are to be tuned by diminishing the
thickness of those that are too sharp. This is done by grinding them
round from the neck towards the brim, the breadth of one or two
inches, as may be required; often trying the glass by a well tuned
harpsichord, comparing the tone drawn from the glass by your finger,
with the note you want, as sounded by that string of the harpsichord.
When you come nearer the matter, be careful to wipe the glass clean
and dry before each trial, because the tone is something flatter when
the glass is wet, than it will be when dry;--and grinding a very
little between each trial, you will thereby tune to great exactness.
The more care is necessary in this, because if you go below your
required tone, there is no sharpening it again but by grinding
somewhat off the brim, which will afterwards require polishing, and
thus increase the trouble.

The glasses being thus tuned, you are to be provided with a case
for them, and a spindle on which they are to be fixed. My case is
about three feet long, eleven inches every way wide within at the
biggest end, and five inches at the smallest end; for it tapers all
the way, to adapt it better to the conical figure of the set of
glasses. This case opens in the middle of its height, and the upper
part turns up by hinges fixed behind. The spindle, which is of hard
iron, lies horizontally from end to end of the box within, exactly
in the middle, and is made to turn on brass gudgeons at each end.
It is round, an inch diameter at the thickest end, and tapering to
a quarter of an inch at the smallest.--A square shank comes from
its thickest end through the box, on which shank a wheel is fixed
by a screw. This wheel serves as a fly to make the motion equable,
when the spindle, with the glasses, is turned by the foot like a
spinning-wheel. My wheel is of mahogany, eighteen inches diameter,
and pretty thick, so as to conceal near its circumference about 25lb
of lead.--An ivory pin is fixed in the face of this wheel, and about
four inches from the axis. Over the neck of this pin is put the loop
of the string that comes up from the moveable step to give it motion.
The case stands on a neat frame with four legs.

To fix the glasses on the spindle, a cork is first to be fitted in
each neck pretty tight, and projecting a little without the neck,
that the neck of one may not touch the inside of another when put
together, for that would make a jarring.--These corks are to be
perforated with holes of different diameters, so as to suit that
part of the spindle on which they are to be fixed. When a glass is
put on, by holding it stiffly between both hands, while another turns
the spindle, it may be gradually brought to its place. But care must
be taken that the hole be not too small, lest in forcing it up the
neck should split; nor too large, lest the glass not being firmly
fixed should turn or move on the spindle, so as to touch and jar
against its neighbouring glass. The glasses thus are placed one in
another, the largest on the biggest end of the spindle which is to
the left hand; the neck of this glass is towards the wheel, and the
next goes into it in the same position, only about an inch of its
brim appearing beyond the brim of the first; thus proceeding, every
glass when fixed shews about an inch of its brim (or three quarters
of an inch, or half an inch, as they grow smaller) beyond the brim
of the glass that contains it; and it is from these exposed parts of
each glass that the tone is drawn, by laying a finger upon one of
them as the spindle and glasses turn round.

My largest glass is G, a little below the reach of a common voice,
and my highest G, including three compleat octaves.--To distinguish
the glasses the more readily to the eye, I have painted the apparent
parts of the glasses within side, every semitone white, and the other
notes of the octave with the seven prismatic colours, _viz._ C, red;
D, orange; E, yellow; F, green; G, blue; A, indigo; B, purple; and C,
red again;--so that glasses of the same colour (the white excepted)
are always octaves to each other.

This instrument is played upon, by sitting before the middle of the
set of glasses as before the keys of a harpsichord, turning them
with the foot, and wetting them now and then with a spunge and clean
water. The fingers should be first a little soaked in water, and
quite free from all greasiness; a little fine chalk upon them is
sometimes useful, to make them catch the glass and bring out the tone
more readily. Both hands are used, by which means different parts are
played together.--Observe, that the tones are best drawn out when the
glasses turn _from_ the ends of the fingers, not when they turn _to_

The advantages of this instrument are, that its tones are
incomparably sweet beyond those of any other; that they may be
swelled and softened at pleasure by stronger or weaker pressures of
the finger, and continued to any length; and that the instrument,
being once well tuned, never again wants tuning.

In honour of your musical language, I have borrowed from it the name
of this instrument, calling it the Armonica.

  With great esteem and respect, I am, &c.



  _Respecting the best Mediums for conveying Sound._

  _July 20, 1762._


I have perused your paper on sound, and would freely mention to
you, as you desire it, every thing that appeared to me to need
correction:--But nothing of that kind occurs to me, unless it be,
where you speak of the air as "the _best_ medium for conveying
sound." Perhaps this is speaking rather too positively, if there be,
as I think there are, some other mediums that will convey it farther
and more readily.--It is a well-known experiment, that the scratching
of a pin at one end of a long piece of timber, may be heard by an
ear applied near the other end, though it could not be heard at the
same distance through the air.--And two stones being struck smartly
together under water, the stroke may be heard at a greater distance
by an ear also placed under water, than it can be heard through the
air. I think I have heard it near a mile; how much farther it may be
heard I know not; but suppose a great deal farther, because the sound
did not seem faint, as if at a distance, like distant sounds through
air, but smart and strong, and as if present just at the ear.--I wish
you would repeat these experiments now you are upon the subject, and
add your own observations.--And if you were to repeat, with your
naturally exact attention and observation, the common experiment of
the bell in the exhausted receiver, possibly something new may occur
to you, in considering,

1. Whether the experiment is not ambiguous; _i. e._ whether the
gradual exhausting of the air, as it creates an increasing difference
of pressure on the outside, may not occasion in the glass a
difficulty of vibrating, that renders it less fit to communicate to
the air without, the vibrations that strike it from within; and the
diminution of the sound arise from this cause, rather than from the
diminution of the air?

2. Whether, as the particles of air themselves are at a distance
from each other, there must not be some medium between them, proper
for conveying sound, since otherwise it would stop at the first

3. Whether the great difference we experience in hearing sounds at
a distance, when the wind blows towards us from the sonorous body,
or towards that from us, can be well accounted for by adding to or
subtracting from the swiftness of sound, the degree of swiftness that
is in the wind at the time? The latter is so small in proportion,
that it seems as if it could scarce produce any sensible effect,
and yet the difference is very great. Does not this give some hint,
as if there might be a subtle fluid, the conductor of sound, which
moves at different times in different directions over the surface of
the earth, and whose motion may perhaps be much swifter than that of
the air in our strongest winds; and that in passing through air, it
may communicate that motion to the air which we call wind, though a
motion in no degree so swift as its own?

4. It is somewhere related, that a pistol fired on the top of an
exceeding high mountain, made a noise like thunder in the valleys
below. Perhaps this fact is not exactly related: but if it is, would
not one imagine from it, that the rarer the air, the greater sound
might be produced in it from the same cause?

5. Those balls of fire which are sometimes seen passing over a
country, computed by philosophers to be often thirty miles high at
least, sometimes burst at that height; the air must be exceeding rare
there, and yet the explosion produces a sound that is heard at that
distance, and for seventy miles round on the surface of the earth,
so violent too as to shake buildings, and give an apprehension of an
earthquake. Does not this look as if a rare atmosphere, almost a
vacuum, was no bad conductor of sound?

I have not made up my own mind on these points, and only mention them
for your consideration, knowing that every subject is the better for
your handling it.

  With the greatest esteem, I am, &c.



[63] Mr. Oliver Neave. _Editor._


  _On the Harmony and Melody of the old Scotch Tunes._

  _June 2, 1765._

**** In my passage to America I read your excellent work, the
_Elements of Criticism_, in which I found great entertainment. I
only wished you had examined more fully the subject of music, and
demonstrated that the pleasure artists feel in hearing much of that
composed in the modern taste, is not the natural pleasure arising
from melody or harmony of sounds, but of the same kind with the
pleasure we feel on seeing the surprising feats of tumblers and
rope-dancers, who execute difficult things. For my part I take this
to be really the case, and suppose it the reason why those who
are unpractised in music, and therefore unacquainted with those
difficulties, have little or no pleasure in hearing this music. Many
pieces of it are mere compositions of tricks. I have sometimes, at a
concert, attended by a common audience, placed myself so as to see
all their faces, and observed no signs of pleasure in them during
the performance of a great part that was admired by the performers
themselves; while a plain old Scotch tune, which they disdained, and
could scarcely be prevailed on to play, gave manifest and general
delight. Give me leave, on this occasion, to extend a little the
sense of your position, that "melody and harmony are separately
agreeable, and in union delightful," and to give it as my opinion,
that the reason why the Scotch tunes have lived so long, and will
probably live for ever (if they escape being stifled in modern
affected ornament) is merely this, that they are really compositions
of melody and harmony united, or rather that their melody is harmony.
I mean the simple tunes sung by a single voice. As this will appear
paradoxical, I must explain my meaning. In common acceptation,
indeed, only an agreeable _succession_ of sounds is called _melody_,
and only the _co-existence_ of agreeable sounds, _harmony_. But since
the memory is capable of retaining for some moments a perfect idea of
the pitch of a past sound, so as to compare with it the pitch of a
succeeding sound, and judge truly of their agreement or disagreement,
there may and does arise from thence a sense of harmony between the
present and past sounds, equally pleasing with that between two
present sounds. Now the construction of the old Scotch tunes is this,
that almost every succeeding emphatical note is a third, a fifth, an
octave, or in short some note that is in concord with the preceding
note. Thirds are chiefly used, which are very pleasing concords. I
use the word _emphatical_ to distinguish those notes which have a
stress laid on them in singing the tune, from the lighter connecting
notes, that serve merely, like grammar articles in common speech, to
tack the whole together.

That we have a most perfect idea of a sound just past, I might appeal
to all acquainted with music, who know how easy it is to repeat a
sound in the same pitch with one just heard. In tuning an instrument,
a good ear can as easily determine that two strings are in unison
by sounding them separately, as by sounding them together; their
disagreement is also as easily, I believe I may say more easily and
better distinguished, when sounded separately; for when sounded
together, though you know by the beating that one is higher than the
other, you cannot tell which it is. I have ascribed to memory the
ability of comparing the pitch of a present tone with that of one
past. But if there should be, as possibly there may be, something
in the ear, similar to what we find in the eye, that ability would
not be entirely owing to memory. Possibly the vibrations given to
the auditory nerves by a particular sound may actually continue some
time after the cause of those vibrations is past, and the agreement
or disagreement of a subsequent sound become by comparison with them
more discernible. For the impression made on the visual nerves by a
luminous object will continue for twenty or thirty seconds. Sitting
in a room, look earnestly at the middle of a window a little while
when the day is bright, and then shut your eyes; the figure of the
window will still remain in the eye, and so distinct that you may
count the panes. A remarkable circumstance attending this experiment,
is, that the impression of forms is better retained than that of
colours; for after the eyes are shut, when you first discern the
image of the window, the panes appear dark, and the cross bars of the
sashes, with the window frames and walls, appear white or bright;
but if you still add to the darkness in the eyes by covering them
with your hand, the reverse instantly takes place, the panes appear
luminous and the cross bars dark. And by removing the hand they are
again reversed. This I know not how to account for.--Nor for the
following; that after looking long through green spectacles, the
white paper of a book will on first taking them off appear to have a
blush of red; and after long looking through red glasses, a greenish
cast; this seems to intimate a relation between green and red not
yet explained. Farther, when we consider by whom these ancient tunes
were composed, and how they were first performed, we shall see that
such harmonical successions of sounds was natural and even necessary
in their construction. They were composed by the minstrels of those
days to be played on the harp accompanied by the voice. The harp was
strung with wire, which gives a sound of long continuance, and had
no contrivance like that in the modern harpsichord, by which the
sound of the preceding could be stopt, the moment a succeeding note
began. To avoid actual discord, it was therefore necessary that the
succeeding emphatic note should be a chord with the preceding, as
their sounds must exist at the same time. Hence arose that beauty
in those tunes that has so long pleased, and will please for ever,
though men scarce know why. That they were originally composed for
the harp, and of the most simple kind, I mean a harp without any
half notes but those in the natural scale, and with no more than
two octaves of strings, from C to C, I conjecture from another
circumstance, which is, that not one of those tunes, really ancient,
has a single artificial half note in it, and that in tunes where it
was most convenient for the voice to use the middle notes of the
harp, and place the key in F, there the B, which if used should be
a B flat, is always omitted, by passing over it with a third. The
connoisseurs in modern music will say, I have no taste, but I cannot
help adding, that I believe our ancestors, in hearing a good song,
distinctly articulated, sung to one of those tunes, and accompanied
by the harp, felt more real pleasure than is communicated by the
generality of modern operas, exclusive of that arising from the
scenery and dancing. Most tunes of late composition, not having
this natural harmony united with their melody, have recourse to the
artificial harmony of a bass, and other accompanying parts.[64] This
support, in my opinion, the old tunes do not need, and are rather
confused than aided by it. Whoever has heard James Oswald play them
on his violoncello, will be less inclined to dispute this with me.
I have more than once seen tears of pleasure in the eyes of his
auditors; and yet, I think, even _his_ playing those tunes would
please more, if he gave them less modern ornament.

  I am, &c.



[64] The celebrated Rousseau in his Dictionnaire de Musique, printed
1768, appears to have similar sentiments of our modern harmony, viz.

"M. Rameau prétend que les dessus d'une certaine simplicité suggerènt
naturellement leur basse, & qu'un homme ayant l'oreille juste & non
exercée, entonnera naturellement cette basse. C'est-là un préjugé
de musicien, démenti par toute expérience. Non seulement celui qui
n'aura jamais entendu ni basse ni harmonie, ne trouvera, de lui-même,
ni cette harmonie ni cette basse; mais elles lui déplairont si on les
lui fait entendre, & il aimera beaucoup mieux le simple unisson.

Quand on songe que, de tous les peuples de la terre, qui tous ont
une musique & un chant, les Européens sont les seuls qui aient une
harmonie des accords, & qui trouvent ce mélange agréable; quand
on songe que le monde a duré tant de siècles, sans que, de toutes
les nations qui ont cultivé les beaux arts, aucune ait connu cette
harmonie; qu'aucun animal, qu'aucun oiseau, qu'aucan être dans la
nature ne produit d'autre accord que l'unisson, ni d'autre musique
que la mélodie; que les langues orientales, si sonores, si musicales;
que les oreilles Grecques, si délicates, si sensibles, exercées avec
tant d'art, n'ont jamais guidé ces peuples voluptueax & passionnés
vers notre harmonie; que, sans elle, leur musique avoits des effets
si prodigieux: qu'avec elle la nôtre en a de si foibles: qu'entin
il étoit réservé à des peuples du Nord, dont les organes durs &
grossiers sont plus touchés de l'éclat & du bruit des voix, que de la
douceur des accens, & de la mélodie des inflexions, de faire cette
grande découverte, & de la donner pour principe à toutes les régles
de l'art; quand, dis-je, on fait attention à tout cela, il est bien
difficile de ne pas soupçonner que toute notre harmonie n'est qu'une
invention gothique & barbare, dont nous ne nous fussions jamais
avisés, si nous fussions été plus sensibles aux véritables beautés de
l'art, & à la musique vraiment naturelle."


  _On the Defects of Modern Music._

  [No date.]


**** I like your ballad, and think it well adapted for your purpose
of discountenancing expensive foppery, and encouraging industry and
frugality. If you can get it generally sung in your country, it may
probably have a good deal of the effect you hope and expect from it.
But as you aimed at making it general, I wonder you chose so uncommon
a measure in poetry, that none of the tunes in common use will suit
it. Had you fitted it to an old one, well known, it must have spread
much faster than I doubt it will do from the best new tune we can
get composed for it. I think too, that if you had given it to some
country girl in the heart of the Massachusets, who has never heard
any other than psalm tunes, or _Chevy Chace_, the _Children in the
Wood_, the _Spanish Lady_, and such old simple ditties, but has
naturally a good ear, she might more probably have made a pleasing
popular tune for you, than any of our masters here, and more proper
for your purpose, which would best be answered, if every word could
as it is sung be understood by all that hear it, and if the emphasis
you intend for particular words could be given by the singer as
well as by the reader; much of the force and impression of the song
depending on those circumstances. I will however get it as well done
for you as I can.

Do not imagine that I mean to depreciate the skill of our composers
of music here; they are admirable at pleasing _practised_ ears, and
know how to delight _one another_; but, in composing for songs, the
reigning taste seems to be quite out of nature, or rather the reverse
of nature, and yet like a torrent, hurries them all away with it; one
or two perhaps only excepted.

You, in the spirit of some ancient legislators, would influence the
manners of your country by the united powers of poetry and music. By
what I can learn of _their_ songs, the music was simple, conformed
itself to the usual pronunciation of words, as to measure, cadence or
emphasis, &c. never disguised and confounded the language by making
a long syllable short, or a short one long when sung; their singing
was only a more pleasing, because a melodious manner of speaking;
it was capable of all the graces of prose oratory, while it added
the pleasure of harmony. A modern song, on the contrary, neglects
all the proprieties and beauties of common speech, and in their
place introduces its _defects_ and _absurdities_ as so many graces.
I am afraid you will hardly take my word for this, and therefore I
must endeavour to support it by proof. Here is the first song I lay
my hand on. It happens to be a composition of one of our greatest
masters, the ever-famous Handel. It is not one of his juvenile
performances, before his taste could be improved and formed: it
appeared when his reputation was at the highest, is greatly admired
by all his admirers, and is really excellent in its kind. It is
called, "The additional favourite song in Judas Maccabeus." Now I
reckon among the defects and improprieties of common speech, the
following, viz.

1. _Wrong placing the accent or emphasis_, by laying it on words of
no importance, or on wrong syllables.

2. _Drawling_; or extending the sound of words or syllables beyond
their natural length.

3. _Stuttering_; or making many syllables of one.

4. _Unintelligibleness_; the result of the three foregoing united.

5. _Tautology_; and

6. _Screaming_, without cause.

For the _wrong placing of the accent, or emphasis_, see it on the
word _their_ instead of being on the word _vain_.

[Illustration (music): with _their_ vain my-ste-rious Art]

And on the word _from_, and the wrong syllable _like_.

[Illustration (music): God _like_ wisdom _from_ a-bove.]

For the _drawling_, see the last syllable of the word _wounded_.

[Illustration (music): Nor can heal the wound_ed_ heart]

And in the syllable _wis_, and the word _from_, and syllable _bove_

[Illustration (music): God-like _wis_dom _from_ a-_bove_]

For the _stuttering_, see the words _ne'er relieve_, in

[Illustration (music): Ma-gick charms can _ne'er_ _re-lieve_ you]

Here are four syllables made of one, and eight of three; but this
is moderate. I have seen in another song that I cannot now find,
seventeen syllables made of three, and sixteen of one: the latter I
remember was the word _charms_; viz. _cha, a, a, a, a, a, a, a, a,
a, a, a, a, a, a, arms_. Stammering with a witness!

For the _unintelligibleness_; give this whole song to any taught
singer, and let her sing it to any company that have never heard it;
you shall find they will not understand three words in ten. It is
therefore, that at the oratorios and operas one sees with books in
their hands all those who desire to understand what they hear sung by
even our best performers.

For the _tautology_; you have, _with their vain mysterious art_,
twice repeated; _magic charms can ne'er relieve you_, three times.
_Nor can heal the wounded heart_, three times. _Godlike wisdom from
above_, twice; and, _this alone can deceive you_, two or three times.
But this is reasonable when compared with _the Monster Polypheme, the
Monster Polypheme_, a hundred times over and over, in his admired
_Acis and Galatea_.

As to the _screaming_; perhaps I cannot find a fair instance in this
song; but whoever has frequented our operas will remember many. And
yet here methinks the words _no_ and _e'er_, when sung to these
notes, have a little of the air of _screaming_, and would actually be
screamed by some singers.

[Illustration (music): _No_ magic charms can _e'er_ re-lieve you.]

I send you inclosed the song with its music at length. Read the words
without the repetitions. Observe how few they are, and what a shower
of notes attend them: you will then perhaps be inclined to think with
me, that though the words might be the principal part of an ancient
song, they are of small importance in a modern one; they are in short
only _a pretence for singing_.

  I am, as ever,

  Your affectionate brother,


P. S. I might have mentioned _inarticulation_ among the defects in
common speech that are assumed as beauties in modern singing. But
as that seems more the fault of the singer than of the composer, I
omitted it in what related merely to the composition. The fine singer
in the present mode, stifles all the hard consonants, and polishes
away all the rougher parts of words that serve to distinguish them
one from another; so that you hear nothing but an admirable pipe, and
understand no more of the song, than you would from its tune played
on any other instrument. If ever it was the ambition of musicians to
make instruments that should imitate the human voice, that ambition
seems now reversed, the voice aiming to be like an instrument. Thus
wigs were first made to imitate a good natural head of hair;--but
when they became fashionable, though in unnatural forms, we have seen
natural hair dressed to look like wigs.

  _Description of the Process to be observed in making large Sheets
  of Paper in the Chinese Manner, with one smooth surface._[65]

In Europe to have a large surface of paper connected together and
smooth on one side, the following operations are performed.

1. A number of small sheets are to be made separately.

2. These are to be couched, one by one, between blankets.

3. When a heap is formed it must be put under a strong press, to
force out the water.

4. Then the blankets are to be taken away, one by one, and the sheets
hung up to dry.

5. When dry they are to be again pressed, or if to be sized, they
must be dipped into size made of warm water, in which glue and alum
are dissolved.

6. They must then be pressed again to force out the superfluous size.

7. They must then be hung up a second time to dry, which, if the air
happens to be damp, requires some days.

8. They must then be taken down, laid together, and again pressed.

9. They must be pasted together at their edges.

10. The whole must be glazed by labour, with a flint.

In China, if they would make sheets, suppose of four and a half ells
long and one and a half ells wide, they have two large vats, each
five ells long and two ells wide, made of brick, lined with a plaster
that holds water. In these the stuff is mixed ready to work.

Between these vats is built a kiln or stove, with two inclining
sides; each side something larger than the sheet of paper; they are
covered with a fine stucco that takes a polish, and are so contrived
as to be well heated by a small fire circulating in the walls.

The mould is made with thin but deep sides, that it may be both
light and stiff: it is suspended at each end with cords that pass
over pullies fastened to the cieling, their ends connected with a
counterpoise nearly equal the weight of the mould.

Two men, one at each end of the mould, lifting it out of the water
by the help of the counterpoise, turn it and apply it with the stuff
to the smooth surface of the stove, against which they press it, to
force out great part of the water through the wires. The heat of the
wall soon evaporates the rest, and a boy takes off the dried sheet by
rolling it up. The side next the stove receives the even polish of
the stucco, and is thereby better fitted to receive the impression of
fine prints. If a degree of sizing is required, a decoction of rice
is mixed with the stuff in the vat.

Thus the great sheet is obtained, smooth and sized, and a number of
the European operations saved.

As the stove has two polished sides, and there are two vats, the same
operation is at the same time performed by two other men at the other
vat; and one fire serves.


[65] Communicated by Dr. Franklin to the American Philosophical
Society, in which it was read, June 20, 1788. _Editor._


  _On Modern Innovations in the English Language and in Printing._

  _Philadelphia, Dec_.26, 1789.


I received, some time since, your _Dissertations on the English
Language_. It is an excellent work, and will be greatly useful in
turning the thoughts of our countrymen to correct writing. Please to
accept my thanks for it, as well as for the great honour you have
done me in its dedication. I ought to have made this acknowledgment
sooner, but much indisposition prevented me.

I cannot but applaud your zeal for preserving the purity of our
language both in its expression and pronunciation, and in correcting
the popular errors several of our states are continually falling
into with respect to both. Give me leave to mention some of them,
though possibly they may already have occurred to you. I wish,
however, that in some future publication of yours, you would set a
discountenancing mark upon them. The first I remember, is the word
_improved_. When I left New England in the year 1723, this word had
never been used among us, as far as I know, but in the sense of
_ameliorated_, or _made better_, except once in a very old book of
Dr. Mather's, entitled _Remarkable Providences_. As that man wrote a
very obscure hand, I remember that when I read that word in his book
used instead of the word _employed_, I conjectured that it was an
error of the printer, who had mistaken a short _l_ in the writing for
an _r_, and a _y_ with too short a tail for a _v_, whereby _employed_
was converted into _improved_: but when I returned to Boston in
1733, I found this change had obtained favour, and was then become
common; for I met with it often in perusing the newspapers, where it
frequently made an appearance rather ridiculous. Such, for instance,
as the advertisement of a country house to be sold, which had been
many years _improved_ as a tavern; and in the character of a deceased
country gentleman, that he had been, for more than thirty years,
_improved_ as a justice of the peace. This use of the word _improve_
is peculiar to New England, and not to be met with among any other
speakers of English, either on this or the other side of the water.

During my late absence in France, I find that several other new
words have been introduced into our parliamentary language. For
example, I find a verb from the substantive _notice_. _I should
not have_ noticed _this, were it not that the gentleman_, &c. Also
another verb, from the substantive _advocate_; _The gentleman who_
advocates, _or who has_ advocated _that motion_,&c. Another from
the substantive _progress_, the most awkward and abominable of the
three: _the committee having_ progressed, _resolved to adjourn_. The
word _opposed_, though not a new word, I find used in a new manner,
as, _the gentlemen who are_ opposed _to this measure, to which I
have also myself always been_ opposed. If you should happen to be
of my opinion with respect to these innovations, you will use your
authority in reprobating them.

The Latin language, long the vehicle used in distributing knowledge
among the different nations of Europe, is daily more and more
neglected; and one of the modern tongues, viz. French, seems, in
point of universality, to have supplied its place. It is spoken in
all the courts of Europe; and most of the literati, those even who
do not speak it, have acquired enough knowledge of it, to enable
them easily to read the books, that are written in it. This gives
a considerable advantage to that nation. It enables its authors
to inculcate and spread through other nations, such sentiments
and opinions, on important points, as are most conducive to its
interests, or which may contribute to its reputation, by promoting
the common interests of mankind. It is, perhaps, owing to its being
written in French, that Voltaire's Treatise on Toleration has had so
sudden and so great an effect on the bigotry of Europe, as almost
entirely to disarm it. The general use of the French language has
likewise a very advantageous effect on the profits of the bookselling
branch of commerce, it being well known, that the more copies can
be sold, that are struck off from one composition of types, the
profits increase in a much greater proportion, than they do in
making a greater number of pieces in any other kind of manufacture.
And at present there is no capital town in Europe without a French
bookseller's shop corresponding with Paris. Our English bids fair
to obtain the second place. The great body of excellent printed
sermons in our language, and the freedom of our writings on political
subjects, have induced a great dumber of divines of different sects
and nations, as well as gentlemen concerned in public affairs, to
study it, so far at least as to read it. And if we were to endeavour
the facilitating its progress, the study of our tongue might become
much more general. Those, who have employed some part of their time
in learning a new language, must have frequently observed, that while
their acquaintance with it was imperfect, difficulties, small in
themselves, operated as great ones in obstructing their progress. A
book, for example, ill printed, or a pronunciation in speaking, not
well articulated, would render a sentence unintelligible, which, from
a clear print, or a distinct speaker, would have been immediately
comprehended. If, therefore, we would have the benefit of seeing our
language more generally known among mankind, we should endeavour
to remove all the difficulties, however small, that discourage the
learning of it. But I am sorry to observe, that, of late years, those
difficulties, instead of being diminished, have been augmented.

In examining the English books, that were printed between the
restoration and the accession of George the Second, we may observe,
that all the substantives were begun with a capital, in which we
imitated our mother tongue, the German. This was more particularly
useful to those, who were not well acquainted with the English,
there being such a prodigious number of our words, that are both
verbs and substantives, and spelt in the same manner, though
often accented differently in pronunciation. This method has, by
the fancy of printers, of late years been entirely laid aside;
from an idea, that suppressing the capitals shows the character
to greater advantage; those letters prominent above the line,
disturbing its even, regular appearance. The effect of this change
is so considerable, that a learned man of France, who used to read
our books, though not perfectly acquainted with our language, in
conversation with me on the subject of our authors, attributed the
greater obscurity he found in our modern books, compared with those
of the period above mentioned, to a change of style for the worse in
our writers: of which mistake I convinced him, by marking for him
each substantive with a capital, in a paragraph, which he then easily
understood, though before he could not comprehend it. This shows the
inconvenience of that pretended improvement.

From the same fondness for an uniform and even appearance of
characters in the line, the printers have of late banished also the
Italic types, in which words, of importance to be attended to in the
sense of the sentence, and words, on which an emphasis should be put
in reading, used to be printed. And lately, another fancy has induced
other printers to use the round _s_ instead of the long one, which
formerly served well to distinguish a word readily by its varied
appearance. Certainly the omitting this prominent letter makes a
line appear more even, but renders it less immediately legible; as
the paring of all men's noses might smooth and level their faces,
but would render their physiognomies less distinguishable. Add to
all these improvements backwards, another modern fancy, that _grey_
printing is more beautiful than black. Hence the English new books
are printed in so dim a character, as to be read with difficulty
by old eyes; unless in a very strong light and with good glasses.
Whoever compares a volume of the Gentleman's Magazine, printed
between the years 1731 and 1740, with one of those printed in the
last ten years, will be convinced of the much greater degree of
perspicuity given by black than by the grey. Lord Chesterfield
pleasantly remarked this difference to Faulkener, the printer of the
Dublin Journal, who was vainly making encomiums on his own paper, as
the most complete of any in the world. "But Mr. Faulkener," says my
lord, "don't you think it might be still farther improved, by using
paper and ink not quite so near of a colour?"--For all these reasons,
I cannot but wish, that our American printers would, in their
editions, avoid these fancied improvements, and thereby render their
works more agreeable to foreigners in Europe, to the great advantage
of our bookselling commerce.

Farther, to be more sensible of the advantage of clear and distinct
printing, let us consider the assistance it affords in reading
well aloud to an auditory. In so doing, the eye generally slides
forward three or four words before the voice. If the sight clearly
distinguishes what the coming words are, it gives time to order
the modulation of the voice to express them properly. But if they
are obscurely printed or disguised, by omitting the capitals and
long _ʃ_'s, or otherwise, the reader is apt to modulate wrong; and
finding he has done so, he is obliged to go back and begin the
sentence again; which lessens the pleasure of the hearers. This
leads me to mention an old error in our mode of printing. We are
sensible, that when a question is met with in the reading, there is a
proper variation to be used in the management of the voice. We have
therefore a point, called an interrogation, affixed to the question,
in order to distinguish it. But this is absurdly placed at its end,
so that the reader does not discover it till he finds, that he has
wrongly modulated his voice, and is therefore obliged to begin again
the sentence. To prevent this, the Spanish printers, more sensibly,
place an interrogation at the beginning as well as at the end of the
question. We have another error of the same kind in printing plays,
where something often occurs, that is marked as spoken _aside_. But
the word _aside_ is placed at the end of the speech, when it ought
to precede it, as a direction to the reader, that he may govern his
voice accordingly. The practice of our ladies in meeting five or six
together, to form little busy parties, where each is employed in some
useful work, while one reads to them, is so commendable in itself,
that it deserves the attention of authors and printers to make it as
pleasing as possible, both to the reader and hearers.

My best wishes attend you, being, with sincere esteem,


  Your most obedient and very humble servant,



[66] This letter is taken from an American periodical publication
entitled the Columbian Magazine. _Editor._

  _A Scheme for a New Alphabet and reformed Mode of Spelling; with
  Remarks and Examples concerning the same; and an Enquiry into its
  Uses, in a Correspondence between Miss S----[67] and Dr. Franklin,
  written in the Characters of the Alphabet[68]._


  To face page 357,
  Vol. II.

  |     |_Sounded_ respectively, as in
  |     |the Words in the Column below.
  |     |
  |     |                       |_Names_ of Letters as expressed in
  |     |                       |the reformed Sounds and Characters.
  |     |                       |
  |     |                       |     |_Manner of pronouncing_ the Sounds.
  |  o  |Old.                   |  o  |The first VOWEL naturally, and deepest|
  |     |                       |     |  sound; requires only the mouth, and |
  |     |                       |     |  breathe through it.                 |
  | *ϖ  |John, folly; awl, ball.|  ϖ  |The next requiring the mouth opened a |
  |     |                       |     |  little more, or hollower.           |
  |  a  |Man, can.              |  a  |The next, a little more.              |
  |  e  |Men, lend, name, lane. |  e  |The next requires the _tongue_ to be a|
  |     |                       |     |  little more elevated.               |
  |  i  |Did, sin, deed, seen.  |  i  |The next still more.                  |
  |  u  |Tool, fool, rule.      |  u  |The next requires the _lips_ to be    |
  |     |                       |     |  gathered up, leaving a small opening|
  | *ų  |Um, un; as in umbrage, |  ų  |The next a very short vowel, the sound|
  |     |  unto, &c. and        |     |  of which we should express in our   |
  |     |  as in _er_.          |     |  present letters thus, _uh_; a short,|
  |     |                       |     |  and not very strong _aspiration_.   |
  |  h  |Hunter, happy, high.   | huh |A stronger or more forcible aspiration|
  |     |                       |     |                                      |
  |  g  |Give, gather,          |  gi |The first CONSONANT; being formed by  |
  |     |                       |     |  the _root of the tongue_; this is   |
  |     |                       |     |  the present hard _g_.               |
  |  k  |Keep, kick.            |  ki |A kindred sound; a little more acute; |
  |     |                       |     |  to be used instead of the hard _c_. |
  | *Ի  |(sh) Ship, wish.       | ish |A new letter wanted in our language;  |
  |     |                       |     |  our _sh_, separately taken, not     |
  |     |                       |     |  being proper elements of the sound. |
  | *ŋ  |(ng) ing, repeating,   | ing |A new letter wanted for the same      |
  |     |  among,               |     |  reason:--These are formed _back in  |
  |     |                       |     |  the mouth_.                         |
  |  n  |End.                   |  en |Formed _more forward_ in the mouth;   |
  |     |                       |     |  the _tip of the tongue_ to the      |
  |     |                       |     |  _roof_ of the mouth.                |
  |  r  |Art.                   |  r  |The same; the tip of the tongue a     |
  |     |                       |     |  little loose or separate from the   |
  |     |                       |     |  roof of the mouth, and vibrating.   |
  |  t  |Teeth.                 |  ti |The tip of the tongue more forward;   |
  |     |                       |     |  touching, and then leaving, the roof|
  |  d  |Deed.                  |  di |The same; touching a little fuller.   |
  |  l  |ell, tell.             |  el |The same; touching just about the     |
  |     |                       |     |  _gums_ of the _upper teeth_.        |
  |  s  |Essence.               |  es |This sound is formed by the breath    |
  |     |                       |     |  passing _between_ the moist end of  |
  |     |                       |     |  the _tongue_ and the _upper teeth_. |
  |  z  |(ez) Wages.            |  ez |The same; a little denser and duller. |
  | *ɧ  |(th) Think             |  eɧ |The tongue under, and a little        |
  |     |                       |     |  _behind_, the upper teeth; touching |
  |     |                       |     |  them, but so as to let the breath   |
  |     |                       |     |  pass between.                       |
  | *ƕ  |(dh) Thy.              |  eƕ |The same; a little fuller.            |
  |  f  |Effect.                |  ef |Formed by the _lower lip_ against the |
  |     |                       |     |  upper teeth.                        |
  |  v  |Ever.                  |  ev |The same; fuller and duller.          |
  |  b  |Bees.                  |  b  |The _lips full together_, and _opened_|
  |     |                       |     |  as the air passes out.              |
  |  p  |Peep.                  |  pi |The same; but a thinner sound.        |
  |  m  |Ember.                 |  em |The _closing_ of the lips, while the  |
  |     |                       |     |  _e_ [here annexed] is sounding.     |

  * _N. B._ The six new letters are marked with an asterisk (*) to
  distinguish them, and show how few new characters are proposed. B. V.

  [Transcriber Note: The original text used italic styling on each
  character in columns 1 and 3 above, and column 1 below.  This
  styling (underscores) has been removed from the tables for clarity.]

  REMARKS [_on the Alphabetical Table_.]

              { It is endeavoured to give the alphabet
  o           { a _more natural order_; beginning first with
              { the simple sounds formed by the breath,
  to          { with none or very little help of tongue,
              { teeth, and lips, and produced chiefly in
  huh         { the windpipe.

              { Then coming forward to those, formed
  g k         { by the roof of the tongue next to the
              { windpipe.

  r n         { Then to those, formed more forward,
  t d         { the forepart of the tongue against the
              { roof of the mouth.

              { Then those, formed still more forward
  l           { in the mouth, by the tip of the tongue
  s z         { applied first to the roots of the upper
              { teeth.

  ɧ           { Then to those, formed by the tip of the
  ƕ           { tongue applied to the ends or edges of
              { the upper teeth.

  f           { Then to those, formed still more forward,
  v           { by the under lip applied to the upper
              { teeth.

  b           { Then to those, formed yet more forward
  p           { by the upper and under lip opening
              { to let out the sounding breath.

              { And lastly, ending with the shutting
  m           { up of the mouth, or closing the lips while
              { any vowel is sounding.

In this alphabet _c_ is _omitted_ as unnecessary; _k_ supplying
its hard sound, and _s_ the soft; _k_ also supplies well the place
of _q_, and with an _s_ added the place of _x_: _q_ and _x_ are
therefore omitted. The vowel _u_ being sounded as _oo_ makes the _w_
unnecessary. The _y_, where used simply, is supplied by _i_, and
where as a dipthong, by two vowels: that letter is therefore omitted
as useless. The jod _j_ is also omitted, its sound being supplied by
the new letter _Ի_, _ish_, which serves other purposes, assisting in
the formation of other sounds;--thus the _Ի_ with a _d_ before it
gives the sound of the jod _j_ and soft _g_, as in "James, January,
giant, gentle," "_dԻeems_, _dԻhanueri_, _dԻųiant_, _dԻentel_;" with
a _t_ before it, it gives the sound of _ch_, as in "cherry, chip,"
"_tԻeri_, _tԻip_;" and with a _z_ before it, the French sound of the
jod _j_, as in "jamais," "_zԻame_."

Thus the _g_ has no longer _two different_ sounds, which occasioned
confusion, but is, as every letter ought to be, confined to one. The
same is to be observed in _all_ the letters, vowels, and consonants,
that wherever they are met with, or in whatever company, their
sound is always the same. It is also intended, that there be _no
superfluous_ letters used in spelling; i. e. no letter that is not
sounded; and this alphabet, by six new letters, provides, that, there
be no distinct sounds in the language, _without letters_ to express
them. As to the difference between _short and long vowels_, it is
naturally expressed by a single vowel where short, a double one
where long; as for "mend," write "mend," but for "remain'd," write
"remeen'd;" for "did" write "did," but for "deed" write "diid," &c.

What in our common alphabet is supposed the third vowel, _i_, as
we sound it, is as a _dipthong_, consisting of two of our vowels
joined; [viz.] _ų_ as sounded in "unto," and _i_ in its true sound.
Any one will be sensible of this who sounds those two vowels _ų i_
quick after each other; the sounds begins _ų_ and ends _ii_. The
true sound of the _i_ is that we now give to _e_ in the words "deed,


[67] Stephenson. Editor.

[68] For the nature and intention of this alphabet, &c. I must refer
to what Dr. Franklin has himself said upon the subject, in answer
to Miss S----n's objections; as the reader may understand the whole
in an hour or two.--It is necessary to add, that the new letters;
used in the course of printing this paper, are exactly copied from
the _manuscript_ in my possession; there being no provision for a
distinction in the character as _written_ or _printed_. I have no
other way therefore of marking the scored parts of the manuscript
(answering to _italics_) than by placing such passages between
inverted commas.--As to _capitals_, I should have provided for them
by means of larger types, but the form of some of them would have
made them too large for the page: however, were the author's general
system ever adopted, nothing would be easier than to remedy this
particular. B. V.

[69] The copy, from which this is printed, ends in the same abrupt
way with the above, followed by a considerable blank space; so that
more perhaps was intended to be added by our author. B. V.

EXAMPLES [_of writing in this Character_.]

_So huen sųm EndԻel, bųi divųin kϖmand, Uiƕ rųiziŋ tempests Իeeks
e gilti Land; (SųtԻ az ϖv leet or peel Britania past,) Kalm and
siriin hi drųivs ƕi fiuriųs blast; And, pliiz'd ƕ' ϖlmųitis ϖrdųrs tu
pųrfϖrm, Rųids in ƕi Huųrluind and dųirekts ƕi Stϖrm._

_So ƕi piur limpid striim, huen fϖul uiɧ steens ϖv rųԻiŋ Tϖrents and
disendiŋ Reens, Uųrks itself kliir; and az it rųns rifųins; Til bųi
digriis, ƕe flotiŋ mirųr Իųins, Riflekts iitԻ flϖur ƕat ϖn its bϖrdųr
groz, And e nu hev'n in its feer Bųzųm Իoz._

  _Kensiŋtųn, Septembųr_ 26, 1768.

  _Diir Sųr_,

_ųi hav transkrųb'd iur alfabet, &c. huitԻ ųi ƕink mųit bi ϖv sųrvis
tu ƕoz, hu uiԻ ta akuųir an akiuret pronųnsieԻųn, if ƕat kuld bi
fiks'd; bųt ųi si meni inkϖnviiniensis, az uel oz difikųltis, ƕat
uuld atend ƕi briŋiŋ iur letųrs and ϖrɧϖgrafi intu kϖmųn ias. ϖϖl ϖur
etimϖlodԻiz uuld be lϖst, kϖnsikuentli ui kuld nϖt asųrteen ƕi miiniŋ
ϖv meni uųrds; ƕi distinkԻųn tu, bituiin uųrds ϖv difųrent miiniŋ
and similar sϖund uuld bi iusles, ųnles ui liviŋ rųiters pųbliԻ nu
iidiԻųns. In Իϖrt ųi biliiv ui mųst let piipil spel ϖn in ƕeer old
ue, (az ui fųind it iisiiest) du ƕi seem ϖurselves._ With ease and
with sincerity I can, in the old way, subscribe myself,

  Dear Sir,

  Your faithful and affectionate Servant,

  M. S.

  Dr. Franklin.


  _Diir Madam,_
_ƕi ϖbdԻekԻyn iu meek to rektifųiiŋ ϖur alfabet, "ƕat it uil bi
atended uiƕ inkϖviniensiz and difikųltiz," iz e natural uųn; fϖr it
ϖluaz ϖkųrz huen eni refϖrmeԻųn iz propozed; hueƕųr in rilidԻųn,
gųvernment, lϖz, and iven dϖun az lo az rods and huil karidԻiz.
ƕi tru kuestԻųn ƕen, is nϖt hueƕhųr ƕaer uil bi no difikųltiz ϖr
inkϖnviniensiz, bųt hueƕer ƕi difikųltiz mê nϖt bi sųrmϖunted;
and hueƕeųr ƕi kϖnviniensiz uil nϖt, ϖn ƕi huol, bi gretųr ƕan ƕi
inkϖnviniensiz. In ƕis kes, ƕi difikųltiz er onli in ƕi biginiŋ ϖv ƕi
praktis: huen ƕê er uųns ovųrkųm, ƕi advantedԻez er lastiŋ.--To ųiƕųr
iu ϖr mi, hu spel uel in ƕi prezent mod, ųi imadԻin ƕi difikųlti ϖv
tԻendiŋ ƕat mod fϖr ƕi nu, iz nϖt so grêt, bųt ƕat ui mųit pųrfektli
git ovųr it in a uiiks rųitiŋ.--Az to ƕoz hu du nϖt spel uel, if
ƕi tu difikųltiz er kųmpêrd, viz. ƕat ϖv titԻiŋ ƕem tru speliŋ in
ƕi prezent mod, and ƕat ϖv titԻing ƕem ƕi nu alfabet and ƕi nu
speliŋ akϖrdiŋ to it, ųi am kϖnfident ƕat ƕi latųr uuld bi byi far
ƕi liist. ƕê natųrali fϖl into ƕi nu meɧųd alreadi, az mųtԻ az ƕi
imperfekԻųn ϖv ƕer alfabet uil admit ϖv; ƕêr prezent bad speliŋ iz
onli bad, bikϖz kϖntreri to ƕi prezent bad ruls: ųndųr ƕi nu ruls
it uuld bi gud.--ƕi difikųlti ϖv lųrniŋ to spel uel in ƕi old uê iz
so grêt, ƕat fiu atên it; ɧϖuzands and ɧϖuzands rųitiŋ ϖn to old
edԻ, uiƕϖut ever biiŋ ebil to akuųir it. 'Tiz, bisųidz, e difikųlti
kϖntinuali inkriisiŋ az ƕi sϖund graduali veriz mor and mor frϖm ƕi
speliŋ; and to fϖrenųrs[70] it mêks ƕi lųrniŋ to pronϖns ϖur laŋuedԻ,
az riten in ϖur buks, almost impϖsibil._

_Nϖu az to "ƕi inkϖnviniensiz" iu menԻųn.--ƕi fųrst iz, ƕat "ϖϖl ϖur
etimϖlodԻiz uuld bi lϖst, kϖnsikuentli ui kuld nϖt asųrteen ƕi miiniŋ
ϖv meni uųrds."--etimϖlodԻiz er at present veri ųnsųrteen; bųt sųtԻ
az ƕê er, ƕi old buks uuld stil prizųrv ƕem, and etimolodԻiz uuld
ƕêr fųind ƕem. Uųrds in ƕi kors ϖv tyim, tԻendԻ ƕer miiniŋs, az uel
az ƕer speliŋ and pronųnsieԻųn; and ui du nϖt luk to etimϖlodԻi fϖr
ƕer prezent miiniŋs. If ųi Իuld kϖl e man e Neev and e Vilen, hi uuld
hardli bi satisfųid wiɧ mųi teliŋ him, ƕat uųn ϖv ƕi uųrds oridԻinali
signifųid onli e lad ϖr sųrvant; and ƕi ųƕųr, an ųndųr plϖuman, ϖr ƕi
inhabitant ϖv e viledԻ. It iz frϖm prezent iusedԻ onli, ƕi miiniŋ ϖv
uųrds iz to bi ditųrmined._

_Iur sekųnd inkϖnviniens iz, ƕat "ƕi distinkԻųn bituiin uųrds ϖv
difųrent miiniŋ and similar sϖund uuld bi distrϖųid."--ƕat distinkԻųn
iz ϖlreadi distrϖųid in pronϖunsiŋ ƕem; and ui rilųi ϖn ƕi sens alon
ϖv ƕi sentens to asųrteen, huitԻ ϖv ƕi several uųrds, similar in
sϖund, ui intend. If ƕis iz sųfiԻent in ƕi rapiditi ϖv diskors, it
uil bi mutԻ mor so in riten sentenses, huitԻ mê bi red lezԻurli, and
atended to mor partikularli in kes ϖv difikųlti, ƕan ui kan atend to
e past sentens, huųil e spikųr iz hųryiŋ ųs alϖng uiɧ nu uųns._

_Iur ɧųrd inkϖnviniens iz, ƕat "ϖϖl ƕi buks alredi riten uuld bi
iusles."--ƕis inkϖnviniens uuld onli kųm ϖn graduali, in e kors ϖv
edԻes. Iu and ųi, and ųƕųr nϖu liviŋ ridųrs, uuld hardli fϖrget ƕi
ius ϖv ƕem. Piipil uuld long lųrn to riid ƕi old rųiting, ƕo ƕê
praktist ƕi nu.--And ƕi inkϖnvinens iz nϖt greter, ƕan huat hes
aktuali hapend in a similar kes, in Iteli, Fϖrmerli its inhabitants
ϖϖl spok and rot Latin: az ƕi laŋuedԻ tԻendԻd, ƕi speliŋ fϖlo'd it.
It iz tru ƕat at prezent, e miir ųnlarn'd Italien knϖt riid ƕi Latin
buks; ƕo ƕe er stil red and ųndųrstud bųi meni. Bųt, if ƕi speliŋ
had nevųr bin tԻendԻed, hi uuld nϖu hev fϖund it mųtԻ mor difikųlt
to riid and ryit hiz on laŋuadԻ; fϖr riten uųrds uuld hev had no
rilêԻųn to sϖunds, ƕe uuld onli hev stud fϖr ƕiŋs; so ƕat if hi uuld
ekspres in rųitiŋ ƕi ųidia hi hez, huen hi sϖunds ƕi uųrd_ Vescovo,
_hi mųst iuz ƕi leterz_ Episcopus.--_In Իϖrt, huatever ƕi difikųltiz
and inkϖnviniensiz nϖu er, ƕe uil bi mor iizili sųrmϖunted nϖu, ƕan
hiraftųr; and sųm tųim ϖr ųƕųr, it mųst bi dųn; ϖr ϖur rųitiŋ uil
bikųm ƕi sêm uiƕ ƕi TԻųiniiz[71], az to ƕi difikųlti ϖv lųrniŋ and
iuzing it. And it uuld alredi hev bin sųtԻ, if ui had kϖntinud ƕi
Saksųn speliŋ and rųitiŋ, iuzed bųi our forfaƕers._

  _ųi am, mųi diir frind,_

  _iurs afekԻųnetli,_



  _Kreven-striit, Sept. 28, 1768._


[70] Dr. Franklin used to lay some little stress on this
circumstance, when he occasionally spoke on the subject. "A
dictionary, formed on this model, would have been serviceable to
him, he said, even as an American;" because, from the want of
public examples of pronunciation in his own country, it was often
difficult to learn the proper sound of certain words, which occurred
very frequently in our English writings, and which of course every
American very well understood as to their meaning. B. V.

[71] Chinese.

  _Rules for a Club formerly established in Philadelphia[72]._

  Previous question, to be answered at every meeting.

Have you read over these queries this morning, in order to consider
what you might have to offer the Junto [touching] any one of them?

1. Have you met with any thing, in the author you last read,
remarkable, or suitable to be communicated to the Junto? particularly
in history, morality, poetry, physic, travels, mechanic arts, or
other parts of knowledge.

2. What new story have you lately heard agreeable for telling in

3. Hath any citizen in your knowledge failed in his business lately,
and what have you heard of the cause?

4. Have you lately heard of any citizen's thriving well, and by what

5. Have you lately heard how any present rich man, here or elsewhere,
got his estate?

6. Do you know of any fellow citizen, who has lately done a worthy
action, deserving praise and imitation? or who has lately committed
an error, proper for us to be warned against and avoid?

[7. What unhappy effects of intemperance have you lately observed or
heard? of imprudence? of passion? or of any other vice or folly?

8. What happy effects of temperance? of prudence? of moderation? or
of any other virtue?]

9. Have you or any of your acquaintance been lately sick or wounded?
If so, what remedies were used, and what were their effects?

10. Who do you know that are shortly going voyages or journies, if
one should have occasion to send by them?

11. Do you think of any thing at present, in which the Junto may be
serviceable to _mankind_? to their country, to their friends, or to

12. Hath any deserving stranger arrived in town since last meeting,
that you heard of? and what have you heard or observed of his
character or merits? and whether think you, it lies in the power of
the Junto to oblige him, or encourage him as he deserves?

13. Do you know of any deserving young beginner lately set up, whom
it lies in the power of the Junto any way to encourage?

14. Have you lately observed any defect in the laws of your
_country_, [of] which it would be proper to move the legislature for
an amendment? or do you know of any beneficial law that is wanting?

15. Have you lately observed any encroachment on the just liberties
of the people?

16. Hath any body attacked your reputation lately? and what can the
Junto do towards securing it?

17. Is their any man whose friendship you want, and which the Junto,
or any of them, can procure for you?

18. Have you lately heard any member's character attacked, and how
have you defended it?

19. Hath any man injured you, from whom it is in the power of the
Junto to procure redress?

20. In what manner can the Junto, or any of them, assist you in any
of your honourable designs?

21. Have you any weighty affair in hand, in which you think the
advice of the Junto may be of service[73]?

22. What benefits have you lately received from any man not present?

23. Is there any difficulty in matters of opinion, of justice, and
injustice, which you would gladly have discussed at this time?

24. Do you see any thing amiss in the present customs or proceedings
of the Junto, which might be amended?

Any person to be qualified, to stand up, and lay his hand on his
breast, and be asked these questions; viz.

1. Have you any particular disrespect to any present
members?--_Answer._ I have not.

2. Do you sincerely declare, that you love mankind in general; of
what profession or religion soever? _Ans._ I do.

3. Do you think any person ought to be harmed in his body, name
or goods, for mere speculative opinions, or his external way of
worship?--_Ans._ No.

4. Do you love truth for truth's sake, and will you endeavour
impartially to find and receive it yourself and communicate it to
others?--_Ans._ Yes.


[72] This was an early performance, and carries along with it an
air of singularity, accompanied with such operative good sense and
philanthropy, as characterizes it for Dr. Franklin's. The club, for
which it was written, was held at Philadelphia; and, if I am well
informed, was composed of men considerable for their influence and
discretion; for though the chief measures of Pensylvania usually
received their first formation in this club, it existed for thirty
years without the nature of its institution being publicly known. B.

[73] Queries No. 7 and 8 follow here, in the original. B. V.

  _Questions discussed by the Junto forming the preceding Club[74]._

Is _sound_ an entity or body?

How may the phenomena of vapours be explained?

Is self-interest the rudder that steers mankind, the universal
monarch to whom all are tributaries?

Which is the best form of government, and what was that form which
first prevailed among mankind?

Can any one particular form of government suit all mankind?

What is the reason that the tides rise higher in the Bay of Fundy
than the Bay of Delaware?

Is the emission of paper-money safe?

What is the reason that men of the greatest knowledge not the most

How may the possession of the Lakes be improved to our advantage?

Why are tumultuous, uneasy sensations, united with our desires?

Whether it ought to be the aim of philosophy to eradicate the

How may smoaky chimneys be best cured?

Why does the flame of a candle tend upwards in a spire?

Which is least criminal, a _bad_ action joined with a _good_
intention, or a _good_ action with a _bad_ intention?

Is it consistent with the principles of liberty in a free government,
to punish a man as a libeller, when he speaks the truth?


[74] These questions are from the Eulogium of Dr. Franklin, delivered
before the American Philosophical Society, in 1791, of which the
Junto was the foundation. On the formation of that society, a
book, containing many of the questions discussed by the Junto, was
delivered into Dr. Smith's hands, for the purpose of being digested,
and in due time published among the transactions of that body.
Many of the questions Dr. Smith observes are curious and curiously
handled, and he selects the above as answering the description.

  _Sketch of an English School; for the Consideration of the Trustees
  of the Philadelphia Academy[75]._

It is expected that every scholar, to be admitted into this school,
be at least able to pronounce and divide the syllables in reading,
and to write a legible hand. None to be received, that are under
[___]years of age.

_First, or lowest Class._

Let the first class learn the English Grammar rules, and at the same
time let particular care be taken to improve them in orthography.
Perhaps the latter is best done by pairing the scholars; two of those
nearest equal in their spelling to be put together. Let these strive
for victory; each propounding ten words every day to the other to be
spelled. He that spells truly most of the other's words is victor for
that day; he that is victor most days in a month, to obtain a prize,
a pretty neat book of some kind, useful in their future studies. This
method fixes the attention of children extremely to the orthography
of words, and makes them good spellers very early. It is a shame for
a man to be so ignorant of this little art, in his own language,
as to be perpetually confounding words of like sound and different
significations; the consciousness of which defect makes some men,
otherwise of good learning and understanding, averse to writing even
a common letter.

Let the pieces read by the scholars in this class be short; such as
Croxal's fables, and little stories. In giving the lesson, let it
be read to them; let the meaning of the difficult words in it be
explained to them; and let them con over by themselves before they
are called to read to the master or usher, who is to take particular
care, that they do not read too fast, and that they duly observe the
stops and pauses. A vocabulary of the most usual difficult words
might be formed for their use, with explanations; and they might
daily get a few of those words and explanations by heart, which would
a little exercise their memories; or at least they might write a
number of them in a small book for the purpose, which would help to
fix the meaning of those words in their minds, and at the same time
furnish every one with a little dictionary for his future use.

_The Second Class_

To be taught, reading with attention, and with proper modulations of
the voice, according to the sentiment and the subject.

Some short pieces, not exceeding the length of a Spectator, to be
given this class for lessons (and some of the easier Spectators would
be very suitable for the purpose). These lessons might be given every
night as tasks; the scholars to study them against the morning. Let
it then be required of them to give an account, first of the parts of
speech, and construction of one or two sentences. This will oblige
them to recur frequently to their grammar, and fix its principal
rules in their memory. Next, of the intention of the writer, or
the scope of the piece, the meaning of each sentence, and of every
uncommon word. This would early acquaint them with the meaning and
force of words, and give them that most necessary habit, of reading
with attention.

The master then to read the piece with the proper modulations of
voice, due emphasis, and suitable action, where action is required;
and put the youth on imitating his manner.

Where the author has used an expression not the best, let it be
pointed out; and let his beauties be particularly remarked to the

Let the lessons for reading be varied, that the youth may be made
acquainted with good styles of all kinds, in prose and verse, and
the proper manner of reading each kind--sometimes a well-told story,
a piece of a sermon, a general's speech to his soldiers, a speech
in a tragedy, some part of a comedy, an ode, a satire, a letter,
blank verse, Hudibrastic, heroic, &c. But let such lessons be
chosen for reading, as contain some useful instruction, whereby the
understanding or morals of the youth may at the same time be improved.

It is required that they should first study and understand the
lessons, before they are put upon reading them properly; to which
end each boy should have an English dictionary, to help him over
difficulties. When our boys read English to us, we are apt to
imagine they understand what they read, because we do, and because
it is their mother tongue. But they often read, as parrots speak,
knowing little or nothing of the meaning. And it is impossible a
reader should give the due modulation to his voice, and pronounce
properly, unless his understanding goes before his tongue, and makes
him master of the sentiment. Accustoming boys to read aloud what
they do not first understand, is the cause of those even set tones,
so common among readers, which, when they have once got a habit of
using, they find so difficult to correct; by which means, among fifty
readers we scarcely find a good one. For want of good reading, pieces
published with a view to influence the minds of men, for their own or
the public benefit, lose half their force. Were there but one good
reader in a neighbourhood, a public orator might be heard throughout
a nation with the same advantages, and have the same effect upon his
audience, as if they stood within the reach of his voice.

_The Third Class_

To be taught speaking properly and gracefully; which is near a-kin
to good reading, and naturally follows it in the studies of youth.
Let the scholars of this class begin with learning the elements of
rhetoric from some short system, so as to be able to give an account
of the most useful tropes and figures. Let all their bad habits of
speaking, all offences against good grammar, all corrupt or foreign
accents, and all improper phrases, be pointed out to them. Short
speeches from the Romans, or other history, or from the parliamentary
debates, might be got by heart, and delivered with the proper action,
&c. Speeches and scenes in our best tragedies and comedies (avoiding
every thing, that could injure the morals of youth) might likewise
be got by rote, and the boys exercised in delivering or acting them:
great care being taken to form their manner after the truest models.

For their farther improvement, and a little to vary their studies,
let them now begin to read history, after having got by heart a short
table of the principal epochs in chronology. They may begin with
Rollin's ancient and Roman histories, and proceed at proper hours, as
they go through the subsequent classes, with the best histories of
our own nation and colonies. Let emulation be excited among the boys,
by giving, weekly, little prizes, or other small encouragements to
those, who are able to give the best account of what they have read,
as to time, places, names of persons, &c. This will make them read
with attention, and imprint the history well in their memories. In
remarking on the history, the master will have fine opportunities of
instilling instruction of various kinds, and improving the morals, as
well as the understandings, of youth.

The natural and mechanic history, contained in the Spectacle de la
Nature, might also be begun in this class, and continued through the
subsequent classes, by other books of the same kind; for, next to
the knowledge of duty, this kind of knowledge is certainly the most
useful, as well as the most entertaining. The merchant may thereby
be enabled better to understand many commodities in trade; the
handicraftsman, to improve his business by new instruments, mixtures
and materials; and frequently hints are given for new manufactures,
or new methods of improving land, that may be set on foot greatly to
the advantage of a country.

_The Fourth Class_

To be taught composition. Writing one's own language well, is
the next necessary accomplishment after good speaking. It is the
writing-master's business, to take care that the boys make fair
characters, and place them straight and even in the lines: but to
form their style, and even to take care that the stops and capitals
are properly disposed, is the part of the English master. The
boys should be put on writing letters to each other on any common
occurrences, and on various subjects, imaginary business, &c.
containing little stories, accounts of their late reading, what
parts of authors please them, and why; letters of congratulation, of
compliment, of request, of thanks, of recommendation, of admonition,
of consolation, of expostulation, excuse, &c. In these, they should
be taught to express themselves clearly, concisely, and naturally,
without affected words or high-flown phrases. All their letters to
pass through the master's hand, who is to point out the faults,
advise the corrections, and commend what he finds right. Some of the
best letters published in our own language, as sir William Temple's,
those of Pope and his friends, and some others, might be set before
the youth as models, their beauties pointed out and explained by the
master, the letters themselves transcribed by the scholar.

Dr. Johnson's Ethices Elementa, or First Principles of Morality,
may now be read by the scholars, and explained by the master, to
lay a solid foundation of virtue and piety in their minds. And as
this class continues the reading of history, let them now, at proper
hours, receive some farther instruction in chronology, and in that
part of geography (from the mathematical master) which is necessary
to understand the maps and globes. They should also be acquainted
with the modern names of the places they find mentioned in ancient
writers. The exercises of good reading, and proper speaking, still
continued at suitable times.

_Fifth Class_

To improve the youth in composition, they may now, besides continuing
to write letters, begin to write little essays in prose, and
sometimes in verse; not to make them poets, but for this reason,
that nothing acquaints a lad so speedily with variety of expression,
as the necessity of finding such words and phrases as will suit the
measure, sound and rhyme of verse, and at the same time well express
the sentiment. These essays should all pass under the master's eye,
who will point out their faults, and put the writer on correcting
them. Where the judgment is not ripe enough for forming new essays,
let the sentiments of a Spectator be given, and required to be
clothed in the scholar's own words; or the circumstances of some good
story, the scholar to find expression. Let them be put sometimes on
abridging a paragraph of a diffuse author: sometimes on dilating or
amplifying what is wrote more closely. And now let Dr. Johnson's
Noetica, or First Principles of Human Knowledge, containing a logic,
or art of reasoning, &c. be read by the youth, and the difficulties,
that may occur to them, be explained by the master. The reading of
history, and the exercises of good reading and just speaking still

_Sixth Class_

In this class, besides continuing the studies of the preceding in
history, rhetoric, logic, moral and natural philosophy, the best
English authors may be read and explained; as Tillotson, Milton,
Locke, Addison, Pope, Swift, the higher papers in the Spectator and
Guardian, the best translations of Homer, Virgil and Horace, of
Telemachus, travels of Cyrus, &c.

Once a year, let there be public exercises in the hall; the trustees
and citizens present. Then let fine gilt books be given as prizes
to such boys, as distinguish themselves, and excel the others in
any branch of learning, making three degrees of comparison: giving
the best prize to him, that performs best; a less valuable one to
him, that comes up next to the best, and another to the third.
Commendations, encouragement, and advice to the rest; keeping up
their hopes, that, by industry, they may excel another time. The
names of those, that obtain the prize, to be yearly printed in a list.

The hours of each day are to be divided and disposed in such a
manner, as that some classes may be with the writing-master,
improving their hands; others with the mathematical master, learning
arithmetic, accounts, geography, use of the globes, drawing,
mechanics, &c. while the rest are in the English school, under the
English master's care.

Thus instructed, youth will come out of this school fitted for
learning any business, calling, or profession, except such wherein
languages are required: and, though unacquainted with any ancient or
foreign tongue, they will be masters of their own, which is of more
immediate and general use, and withal will have attained many other
valuable accomplishments: the time usually spent in acquiring those
languages, often without success, being here employed in laying such
a foundation of knowledge and ability, as, properly improved, may
qualify them to pass through and execute the several offices of civil
life, with advantage and reputation to themselves and country.


[75] This piece, which we believe to be an early production of our
author, is taken from the American Museum, Vol. V. p. 473. _Editor._


  _Advice to Youth in Reading._

  _Craven-street, May 17, 1760._

I send my good girl the books I mentioned to her last night. I beg
her to accept of them as a small mark of my esteem and friendship.
They are written in the familiar easy manner for which the French are
so remarkable, and afford a good deal of philosophic and practical
knowledge, unembarrassed with the dry mathematics, used by more
exact reasoners, but which is apt to discourage young beginners. I
would advise you to read with a pen in your hand, and enter in a
little book short hints of what you find, that is curious, or that
may be useful; for this will be the best method of imprinting such
particulars in your memory, where they will be ready, either for
practice on some future occasion, if they are matters of utility,
or at least to adorn and improve your conversation, if they are
rather points of curiosity. And as many of the terms of science are
such, as you cannot have met with in your common reading, and may
therefore be unacquainted with, I think it would be well for you to
have a good dictionary at hand, to consult immediately when you meet
with a word you do not comprehend the precise meaning of. This may
at first seem troublesome and interrupting; but it is a trouble that
will daily diminish, as you will daily find less and less occasion
for your dictionary as you become more acquainted with the terms; and
in the mean time you will read with more satisfaction, because with
more understanding. When any point occurs, in which you would be glad
to have farther information than your book affords you, I beg you
would not in the least apprehend, that I should think it a trouble
to receive and answer your questions. It will be a pleasure, and no
trouble. For though I may not be able, out of my own little stock of
knowledge, to afford you what you require, I can easily direct you to
the books, where it may most readily be found. Adieu, and believe me
ever, my dear friend,

  Yours affectionately,



[76] Stevenson. _Editor._







  _Observations concerning the Increase of Mankind, peopling of
  Countries, &c[77]._

  Written in Pensylvania, 1751.

1. Tables of the proportion of marriages to births, of deaths to
births, of marriages to the number of inhabitants, &c. formed on
observations made upon the bills of mortality, christenings, &c. of
populous cities, will not suit countries; nor will tables, formed on
observations made on full settled old countries, as Europe, suit new
countries, as America.

2. For people increase in proportion to the number of marriages,
and that is greater, in proportion to the ease and convenience of
supporting a family. When families can be easily supported, more
persons marry, and earlier in life.

3. In cities, where all trades, occupations, and offices are full,
many delay marrying, till they can see how to bear the charges of
a family; which charges are greater in cities, as luxury is more
common; many live single during life, and continue servants to
families, journeymen to trades, &c. Hence cities do not, by natural
generation, supply themselves with inhabitants; the deaths are more
than the births.

4. In countries full settled, the case must be nearly the same, all
lands being occupied and improved to the height; those who cannot
get land, must labour for others, that have it; when labourers are
plenty, their wages will be low; by low wages a family is supported
with difficulty; this difficulty deters many from marriage, who
therefore long continue servants and single. Only, as the cities take
supplies of people from the country, and thereby make a little more
room in the country, marriage is a little more encouraged there, and
the births exceed the deaths.

5. Great part of Europe is fully, settled with husbandmen,
manufacturers, &c. and therefore cannot now much encrease in
people. America is chiefly occupied by Indians, who subsist mostly
by hunting. But as the hunter, of all men, requires the greatest
quantity of land from whence to draw his subsistence, (the husbandman
subsisting on much less, the gardener on still less, and the
manufacturer requiring least of all) the Europeans found America as
fully settled, as it well could be by hunters; yet these, having
large tracts, were easily prevailed on to part with portions of
territory to the new comers, who did not much interfere with the
natives in hunting, and furnished them with many things they wanted.

6. Land being thus plenty in America, and so cheap, as that a
labouring man, that understands husbandry, can, in a short time,
save money enough to purchase a piece of new land, sufficient for
a plantation, whereon he may subsist a family; such are not afraid
to marry; for if they even look far enough forward to consider how
their children, when grown up, are to be provided for, they see,
that more land is to be had at rates equally easy, all circumstances

7. Hence marriages in America are more general, and more generally
early, than in Europe. And if it is reckoned there, that there is
but one marriage _per annum_ among 100 persons, perhaps we may
here reckon two; and if in Europe, they have but four births to a
marriage, (many of their marriages being late) we may here reckon
eight, of which, if one half grow up, and our marriages are made,
reckoning one with another, at twenty years of age, our people must
at least be doubled every twenty years.

8. But notwithstanding this increase, so vast is the territory of
North America, that it will require many ages to settle it fully,
and till it is fully settled, labour will never be cheap here, where
no man continues long a labourer for others, but gets a plantation
of his own; no man continues long a journeyman to a trade, but goes
among those new settlers, and sets up for himself, &c. Hence labour
is no cheaper now, in Pensylvania, than it was thirty years ago,
though so many thousand labouring people have been imported from
Germany and Ireland.

9. The danger, therefore, of these colonies interfering with their
mother country in trades, that depend on labour, manufactures, &c. is
too remote to require the attention of Great Britain.

10. But, in proportion to the increase of the colonies, a vast demand
is growing for British manufactures; a glorious market, wholly in
the power of Britain, in which foreigners cannot interfere, which
will increase, in a short time, even beyond her power of supplying,
though her whole trade should be to her colonies.

       *       *       *       *       *

12. It is an ill-grounded opinion, that, by the labour of slaves,
America may possibly vie in cheapness of manufactures with Britain.
The labour of slaves can never be so cheap here, as the labour of
working men is in Britain. Any one may compute it. Interest of
money is in the colonies from 6 to 10 per cent. Slaves, one with
another, cost 30_l._ sterling per head. Reckon then the interest of
the first purchase of a slave, the insurance or risque on his life,
his clothing and diet, expences in his sickness, and loss of time,
loss by his neglect of business, (neglect is natural to the man,
who is not to be benefited by his own care or diligence) expence of
a driver to keep him at work, and his pilfering from time to time,
almost every slave being, from the nature of slavery, a thief, and
compare the whole amount with the wages of a manufacturer of iron or
wool in England, you will see, that labour is much cheaper there,
than it ever can be by negroes here. Why then will Americans purchase
slaves? Because slaves may be kept as long as a man pleases, or has
occasion for their labour, while hired men are continually leaving
their master (often in the midst of his business) and setting up for
themselves. §8.

13. As the increase of people depends on the encouragement of
marriages, the following things must diminish a nation, viz. 1. The
being conquered; for the conquerors will engross as many offices, and
exact as much tribute or profit on the labour of the conquered, as
will maintain them in their new establishment; and this diminishing
the subsistence of the natives discourages their marriages, and
so gradually diminishes them, while the foreigners increase. 2.
Loss of territory. Thus the Britons, being driven into Wales, and
crouded together in a barren country, insufficient to support such
great numbers, diminished, till the people bore a proportion to the
produce; while the Saxons increased on then abandoned lands, till
the island became full of English. And, were the English now driven
into Wales by some foreign nation, there would, in a few years, be no
more Englishmen in Britain, than there are now people in Wales. 3.
Loss of trade. Manufactures, exported, draw subsistence from foreign
countries for numbers, who are thereby enabled to marry and raise
families. If the nation be deprived of any branch of trade, and no
new employment is found for the people occupied in that branch, it
will soon be deprived of so many people. 4. Loss of food. Suppose
a nation has a fishery, which not only employs great numbers, but
makes the food and subsistence of the people cheaper: if another
nation becomes master of the seas, and prevents the fishery, the
people will diminish in proportion as the loss of employ and dearness
of provision makes it more difficult to subsist a family. 5. Bad
government and insecure property. People not only leave such a
country, and, settling abroad, incorporate with other nations, lose
their native language, and become foreigners; but the industry of
those that remain being discouraged, the quantity of subsistence
in the country is lessened, and the support of a family becomes
more difficult. So heavy taxes tend to diminish a people. 6. The
introduction of slaves. The negroes, brought into the English sugar
islands, have greatly diminished the whites there; the poor are by
this means deprived of employment, while a few families acquire vast
estates, which they spend on foreign luxuries; and, educating their
children in the habit of those luxuries, the same income is needed
for the support of one, that might have maintained one hundred. The
whites, who have slaves, not labouring; are enfeebled, and therefore
not so generally prolific; the slaves being worked too hard, and
ill fed, their constitutions are broken, and the deaths among them
are more than the births; so that a continual supply is needed from
Africa. The northern colonies, having few slaves, increase in whites.
Slaves also pejorate the families that use them; the white children
become proud, disgusted with labour, and, being educated in idleness,
are rendered unfit to get a living by industry.

14. Hence the prince, that acquires new territory, if he finds it
vacant, or removes the natives to give his own people room;--the
legislator, that makes effectual laws for promoting of trade,
increasing employment, improving land by more or better tillage,
providing more food by fisheries, securing property, &c.--and the man
that invents new trades, arts or manufactures, or new improvements in
husbandry, may be properly called _fathers of their nation_, as they
are the cause of the generation of multitudes, by the encouragement
they afford to marriage.

15. As to privileges granted to the married, (such as the _jus
trium liberorum_ among the Romans) they may hasten the filling of
a country, that has been thinned by war or pestilence, or that has
otherwise vacant territory, but cannot increase a people beyond the
means provided for their subsistence.

16. Foreign luxuries, and needless manufactures, imported and used
in a nation, do, by the same reasoning, increase the people of the
nation, that furnishes them, and diminish the people of the nation,
that uses them. Laws, therefore, that prevent such importations,
and, on the contrary, promote the exportation of manufactures to
be consumed in foreign countries, may be called (with respect to
the people that make them) _generative laws_, as, by increasing
subsistence, they encourage marriage. Such laws likewise strengthen
a country doubly, by increasing its own people, and diminishing its

17. Some European nations prudently refuse to consume the
manufactures of East India:--they should likewise forbid them to
their colonies; for the gain to the merchant is not to be compared
with the loss, by this means, of people to the nation.

18. Home luxury in the great increases the nation's manufacturers
employed by it, who are many, and only tends to diminish the families
that indulge in it, who are few. The greater the common fashionable
expence of any rank of people, the more cautious they are of
marriage. Therefore luxury should never be suffered to become common.

19. The great increase of offspring in particular families is not
always owing to greater fecundity of nature, but sometimes to
examples of industry in the heads, and industrious education, by
which the children are enabled to provide better for themselves,
and their marrying early is encouraged from the prospect of good

20. If there be a sect, therefore, in our nation, that regard
frugality and industry as religious duties, and educate their
children therein, more than others commonly do, such sect must
consequently increase more by natural generation than any other sect
in Britain.

21. The importation of foreigners into a country, that has as many
inhabitants as the present employments and provisions for subsistence
will bear, will be in the end no increase of people, unless the
new-comers have more industry and frugality than the natives, and
then they will provide more subsistence, and increase in the country;
but they will gradually eat the natives out.--Nor is it necessary to
bring in foreigners to fill up any occasional vacancy in a country;
for such vacancy (if the laws are good, § 14, 16) will soon be filled
by natural generation. Who can now find the vacancy made in Sweden,
France, or other warlike nations, by the plague of heroism 40 years
ago; in France, by the expulsion of the protestants; in England,
by the settlement of her colonies; or in Guinea by a hundred years
exportation of slaves, that has blackened half America? The thinness
of the inhabitants in Spain is owing to national pride, and idleness,
and other causes, rather than to the expulsion, of the Moors, or to
the making of new settlements.

22. There is, in short, no bound to the prolific nature of plants
or animals, but what is made by their crowding and interfering with
each other's means of subsistence. Was the face of the earth vacant
of other plants, it might be gradually sowed and the overspread
with one kind only, as for instance, with fennel; and were it empty
of other inhabitants, it might, in a few ages, be replenished from
one nation only, as for instance, with Englishmen. Thus there are
supposed to be now upwards of one million of English souls in North
America (though it is thought scarce 80,000 have been brought over
sea) and yet perhaps there is not one the fewer in Britain, but
rather many more, on account of the employment the colonies afford to
manufacturers at home. This million doubling, suppose but once in 25
years, will, in another century, be more than the people of England,
and the greatest number of Englishmen will be on this side the water.
What an accession of power to the British empire by sea as well as
land! What increase of trade and navigation! What numbers of ships
and seamen! We have been here but little more than a hundred years,
and yet the force of our privateers in the late war, united, was
greater, both in men and guns, than that of the whole British navy in
queen Elizabeth's time. How important an affair then to Britain is
the present treaty[78] for settling the bounds between her colonies
and the French! and how careful should she be to secure, room enough,
since on the room depends so much the increase of her people?

23. In fine, a nation well regulated is like a polypus[79], take
away a limb, its place is soon supplied; cut it in two, and each
deficient part shall speedily grow out of the part remaining. Thus,
if you have room and subsistence enough, as you may, by dividing,
make ten polypuses out of one, you may, of one, make ten nations,
equally populous and powerful; or, rather, increase a nation tenfold
in numbers and strength.

       *       *       *       *       *


[77] This paper and the answer to it are the last we have to extract
from Mr. Collinson's collection. The papers that follow, having notes
with the signature B. V., are from the collection referred to before,
Vol. I, p. 399. _Editor._

[78] In 1751.

[79] A water insect, well-known to naturalists.


  _Remarks on some of the foregoing Observations, showing
  particularly the Effect which manners have on Population._


It is now near three years since I received your excellent
_Observations on the Increase of Mankind_, &c. in which you have
with so much sagacity and accuracy shown in what manner, and by
what causes, that principal means of political grandeur is best
promoted; and have so well supported those just inferences you have
occasionally drawn, concerning the general state of our American
colonies, and the views and conduct of some of the inhabitants of
Great Britain.

You have abundantly proved, that natural fecundity is hardly to
be considered, because the _vis generandi_, as far as we know,
is unlimited, and because experience shows, that the numbers of
nations is altogether governed by collateral causes, and among these
none of so much force as quantity of subsistence, whether arising
from climate, soil, improvement of tillage, trade, fisheries,
secure property, conquest of new countries, or other favourable

As I perfectly concurred with you in your sentiments on these heads,
I have been very desirous of building somewhat on the foundation you
have there laid; and was induced, by your hints in the twenty-first
section, to trouble you with some thoughts on the influence manners
have always had, and are always likely to have, on the numbers of a
people, and their political prosperity in general.

The end of every individual is its own private good. The rules it
observes in the pursuit of this good are a system of propositions,
almost every one founded in authority, that is, derive their
weight from the credit given to one or more persons, and not from

And this, in the most important as well as the other affairs of
life, is the case even of the wisest and philosophical part of the
human species; and that it should be so is the less strange, when we
consider, that it is perhaps impossible to prove, that _being_, or
life itself, has any other value than what is set on it by authority.

A confirmation of this may be derived from the observation, that, in
every country in the universe, happiness is sought upon a different
plan; and, even in the same country, we see it placed by different
ages, professions, and ranks of men, in the attainment of enjoyments
utterly unlike.

These propositions, as well as others framed upon them, become
habitual by degrees, and, as they govern the determination of the
will, I call them _moral habits_.

There are another set of habits, that have the direction of the
members of the body, that I call therefore _mechanical habits_. These
compose what we commonly call _the arts_, which are more or less
liberal or mechanical, as they more or less partake of assistance
from the operations of the mind.

The _cumulus_ of the moral habits of each individual is the manners
of that individual; the _cumulus_ of the manners of individuals makes
up the manners of a nation.

The happiness of individuals is evidently the end of political
society; and political welfare, or the strength, splendour, and
opulence of the state, have been always admitted, both by political
writers, and the valuable part of mankind in general, to conduce to
this end, and are therefore desirable.

The causes, that advance or obstruct any one of these three objects,
are external or internal. The latter may be divided into physical,
civil, and personal, under which last head I comprehend the moral and
mechanical habits of mankind. The physical causes are principally
climate, soil, and number of subjects; the civil, are government and
laws; and political welfare is always in a ratio composed of the
force of these particular causes; a multitude of external causes,
and all these internal ones, not only control and qualify, but are
constantly acting on, and thereby insensibly, as well as sensibly,
altering one another, both for the better and the worse, and this not
excepting the climate itself.

The powerful efficacy of manners in encreasing a people is manifest
from the instance you mention, the Quakers; among them industry and
frugality multiply and extend the use of the necessaries of life;
to manners of a like kind are owing the populousness of Holland,
Switzerland, China, Japan, and most parts of Indostan, &c. in every
one of which, the force of extent of territory and fertility of soil
is multiplied, or their want compensated by industry and frugality.

Neither nature nor art have contributed much to the production of
subsistence in Switzerland, yet we see frugality preserves and
even increases families, that live on their fortunes, and which,
in England, we call the gentry; and the observation we cannot but
make in the southern part of this kingdom, that those families,
including all superior ones, are gradually becoming extinct,
affords the clearest proof, that luxury (that is, a greater expence
of subsistence than in prudence a man ought to consume) is as
destructive as a proportionable want of it; but in Scotland, as
in Switzerland, the gentry, though one with another they have not
one-fourth of the income, increase in number.

And here I cannot help remarking, by the by, how well founded your
distinction is between the increase of mankind in old and new settled
countries in general, and more particularly in the case of families
of condition. In America, where the expences are more confined, to
necessaries, and those necessaries are cheap, it is common to see
above one hundred persons descended from one living old man. In
England, it frequently happens, where a man has seven, eight, or more
children, there has not been a descendant in the next generation,
occasioned by the difficulties the number of children has brought on
the family, in a luxurious dear country, and which have prevented
their marrying.

That this is more owing to luxury than mere want appears from what I
have said of Scotland, and more plainly from parts of England remote
from London, in most of which the necessaries of life are nearly as
dear, in some dearer than London, yet the people of all ranks marry
and breed up children.

Again; among the lower ranks of life, none produce so few children
as servants. This is, in some measure, to be attributed to their
situation, which hinders marriage, but is also to be attributed to
their luxury and corruption of manners, which are greater than among
any other set of people in England, and is the consequence of a
nearer view of the lives and persons of a superior rank, than any
inferior rank, without a proper education, ought to have.

The quantity of subsistence in England has unquestionably become
greater for many ages; and yet if the inhabitants are more numerous,
they certainly are not so in proportion to our improvement of the
means of support. I am apt to think there are few parts of this
kingdom, that have not been at some former time more populous than
at present. I have several cogent reasons for thinking so of great
part of the counties I am most intimately acquainted with; but as
they were probably not all most populous at the same time, and as
some of our towns are visibly and vastly grown in bulk, I dare not
suppose, as judicious men have done, that England is less peopled
than heretofore.

This growth of our towns is the effect of a change of manners, and
improvement of arts, common to all Europe; and though it is not
imagined, that it has lessened the country growth of necessaries,
it has evidently, by introducing a greater consumption of them, (an
infallible consequence of a nation's dwelling in towns) counteracted
the effects of our prodigious advances in the arts.

But however frugality may supply the place, or prodigality counteract
the effects, of the natural or acquired subsistence of a country,
industry is, beyond doubt, a more efficacious cause of plenty than
any natural advantage of extent or fertility. I have mentioned
instances of frugality and industry united with extent and fertility.
In Spain and Asia Minor, we see frugality joined to extent and
fertility, without industry; in Ireland, we once saw the same;
Scotland had then none of them but frugality. The change in these
two countries is obvious to every one, and it is owing to industry
not yet very widely diffused in either. The effects of industry and
frugality in England are surprising; both the rent and the value of
the inheritance of land depend on them greatly more than on nature,
and this, though there is no considerable difference in the prices of
our markets. Land of equal goodness lets for double the rent of other
land lying in the same county, and there are many years purchase
difference between different counties, where rents are equally well
paid and secure.

Thus manners operate upon the number of inhabitants, but of their
silent effects upon a civil constitution, history, and even our
own experience, yields us abundance of proofs, though they are
not uncommonly attributed to external causes: their support of a
government against external force is so great, that it is a common
maxim among the advocates of liberty, that no free government was
ever dissolved, or overcome, before the manners of its subjects were

The superiority of Greece over Persia was singly owing to their
difference of manners; and that, though all natural advantages were
on the side of the latter, to which I might add the civil ones; for
though the greatest of all civil advantages, liberty, was on the
side of Greece, yet that added no political strength to her, than
as it operated on her manners, and, when they were corrupted, the
restoration of their liberty by the Romans, overturned the remains of
their power.

Whether the manners of ancient Rome were at any period calculated
to promote the happiness of individuals, it is not my design to
examine; but that their manners, and the effects of those manners
on their government and public conduct, founded, enlarged, and
supported, and afterwards overthrew their empire, is beyond all
doubt. One of the effects of their conquest furnishes us with a
strong proof, how prevalent manners are even beyond quantity of
subsistence; for, when the custom of bestowing on the citizens of
Rome corn enough to support themselves and families was become
established, and Egypt and Sicily produced the grain, that fed the
inhabitants of Italy, this became less populous every day, and the
_jus trium liberorum_ was but an expedient, that could not balance
the want of industry and frugality.

But corruption of manners did not only thin the inhabitants of the
Roman empire, it rendered the remainder incapable of defence, long
before its fall, perhaps before the dissolution of the republic; so
that without standing disciplined armies, composed of men, whose
moral habits principally, and mechanical habits secondarily, made
them different from the body of the people, the Roman empire had been
a prey to the barbarians many ages before it was.

By the mechanical habits of the soldiery, I mean their discipline,
and the art of war; and that this is but a secondary quality appears
from the inequality that has in all ages been between raw, though
well disciplined armies, and veterans, and more from the irresistible
force a single moral habit, religion, has conferred on troops,
frequently neither disciplined nor experienced.

The military manners of the noblesse in France, compose the chief
force of that kingdom, and the enterprising manners and restless
dispositions of the inhabitants of Canada have enabled a handful of
men to harass our populous, and, generally, less martial colonies;
yet neither are of the value they seem at first sight, because
overbalanced by the defect they occasion of other habits, that would
produce more eligible political good: and military manners in a
people are not necessary in an age and country where such manners may
be occasionally formed and preserved among men enough to defend the
state; and such a country is Great Britain, where, though the lower
class of people are by no means of a military cast, yet they make
better soldiers than even the noblesse of France.

The inhabitants of this country, a few ages back, were to the
populous and rich provinces of France, what Canada is now to the
British colonies. It is true, there was less disproportion between
their natural strength; but I mean, that the riches of France were a
real weakness, opposed to the military manners founded upon poverty
and a rugged disposition, then the character of the English; But it
must be remembered, that at this time the manners of a people were
not distinct from that of their soldiery, for the use of standing
armies has deprived a military people of the advantages they before
had over others; and though it has been often said, that civil wars
give power, because they render all men soldiers, I believe this has
only been found true in internal wars following civil wars, and not
in external ones; for now, in foreign wars, a small army, with ample
means to support it, is of greater force than one more numerous, with
less. This last fact has often happened between France and Germany.

The means of supporting armies, and consequently the power of
exerting external strength, are best found in the industry and
frugality of the body of a people living under a government and laws,
that encourage commerce: for commerce is at this day almost the only
stimulus, that forces every one to contribute a share of labour for
the public benefit.

But such is the human frame, and the world is so constituted, that
it is a hard matter to possess ones self of a benefit, without
laying ones self open to a loss on some other side; the improvements
of manners of one sort often deprave those of another: thus we see
industry and frugality under the influence of commerce, which I
call a commercial spirit, tend to destroy, as well as support, the
government it flourishes under.

Commerce perfects the arts, but more the mechanical than the liberal,
and this for an obvious reason; it softens and enervates the manners.
Steady virtue and unbending integrity are seldom to be found where
a spirit of commerce pervades every thing; yet the perfection of
commerce is, that every thing should have its price. We every day
see its progress, both to our benefit and detriment here. Things,
that _boni mores_ forbid to be set to sale, are become its objects,
and there are few things indeed _extra commercium_. The legislative
power itself has been _in commercio_, and church livings are seldom
given without consideration, even by sincere Christians, and, for
consideration, not seldom to very unworthy persons. The rudeness of
ancient military times and the fury of more modern enthusiastic ones
are worn off; even the spirit of forensic contention is astonishingly
diminished, all marks of manners softening; but luxury and corruption
have taken their places, and seem the inseparable companions of
commerce and the arts.

I cannot help observing, however, that this is much more the case in
extensive countries, especially at their metropolis, than in other
places. It is an old observation of politicians, and frequently
made by historians, that small states always best preserve their
manners. Whether this happens from the greater room there is for
attention in the legislature, or from the less room there is for
ambition and avarice, it is a strong argument, among others, against
an incorporating union of the colonies in America, or even a federal
one, that may tend to the future reducing them under one government.

Their power, while disunited, is less, but their liberty; as well
as manners, is more secure; and, considering the little danger
of any conquest to be made upon them, I had rather they should
suffer something through disunion, than see them under a general
administration less equitable than that concerted at Albany[81].

I take it, the inhabitants of Pensylvania are both frugal and
industrious beyond those of any province in America. If luxury should
spread, it cannot be extirpated by laws. We are told by Plutarch,
that Plato used to say, _It was a hard thing to make laws for the
Cyrenians, a people abounding in plenty and opulence_.

But from what I set out with, it is evident, if I be not mistaken,
that education only can stem the torrent, and, without checking
either true industry or frugality, prevent the sordid frugality and
laziness of the old Irish, and many of the modern Scotch, (I mean
the inhabitants of that country, those who leave it for another
being generally industrious) or the industry, mixed with luxury, of
this capital, from getting ground, and, by rendering ancient manners
familiar, produce a reconciliation between disinterestedness and
commerce; a thing we often see, but almost always in men of a liberal

To conclude: when we would form a people, soil and climate may be
found at least sufficiently good; inhabitants may be encouraged to
settle, and even supported for a while; a good government and laws
may be framed, and even arts may be established, or their produce
imported: but many necessary moral habits are hardly ever found
among those who voluntary offer themselves in times of quiet at
home, to people new colonies; besides that the moral, as well as
mechanical habits adapted to a mother country are frequently not so
to the new settled one, and to external events, many of which are
always unforeseen. Hence it is we have seen such fruitless attempts
to settle colonies, at an immense public and private expence, by
several of the powers of Europe: and it is particularly observable,
that none of the English colonies became any way considerable, till
the necessary manners were born and grew up in the country, excepting
those to which singular circumstances at home forced manners fit for
the forming a new state.

  I am, sir, &c.



[80] Richard Jackson, an English barrister. _Editor._

[81] The reader will see an account of this plan in the subsequent
volume. _Editor._

  _Plan, by Messieurs Franklin and Dalrymple, for benefitting distant
  unprovided Countries[82]._

  _Aug. 29, 1771._

The country called in the maps New Zealand has been discovered by the
Endeavour, to be two islands, together as large as Great Britain:
these islands, named Acpy-nomawée and Tovy-poennammoo, are inhabited
by a brave and generous race, who are destitute of _corn_, _fowls_,
and _all quadrupeds_, except _dogs_.

These circumstances being mentioned lately in a company of men of
liberal sentiments, it was observed, that it seemed incumbent on such
a country as this, to communicate to all others the conveniences of
life, which we enjoy.

Dr. Franklin, whose life has ever been directed to promote the true
interest of society, said, "he would with all his heart _subscribe_
to a voyage intended to communicate _in general_ those benefits,
which we enjoy, to countries destitute of them in the remote parts
of the globe." This proposition being warmly adopted by the rest of
the company, Mr. Dalrymple, then present, was induced to offer to
undertake the command on such an expedition.

On mature reflection, this scheme appears the more honourable to the
national character of any which can be conceived, as it is grounded
on the noblest principle of benevolence. Good intentions are often
frustrated by letting them remain indigested; on this consideration
Mr. Dalrymple was induced to put the outlines on paper, which are
now published, that by an early communication there, may be a better
opportunity of collecting all the hints, which can conduce to execute
effectually the benevolent purpose of the expedition, in case it
should meet with general approbation.

On this scheme being shown to Dr. Franklin, he communicated his
sentiments, by way of introduction, to the following effect:

"Britain is said to have produced originally nothing but _sloes_.
What vast advantages have been communicated to her by the fruits,
seeds, roots, herbage, animals, and arts of other countries! We are
by their means become a wealthy and a mighty nation, abounding in all
good things. Does not some _duty_ hence arise from us towards other
countries, still remaining in our former state?

"Britain is now the first maritime power in the world. Her ships are
innumerable, capable by their form, size, and strength, of sailing
all seas. Our seamen are equally bold, skilful, and hardy; dexterous
in exploring the remotest regions, and ready to engage in voyages
to unknown countries, though attended with the greatest dangers.
The inhabitants of those countries, our _fellow men_, have canoes
only; not knowing iron, they cannot build ships; they have little
astronomy, and no knowledge of the compass to guide them; they cannot
therefore come to us, or obtain any of our advantages. From these
circumstances, does not some duty seem to arise from us to them? Does
not Providence, by these distinguishing favours, seem to call on us,
to do something ourselves for the common interest of humanity!

"Those who think it their duty, to ask bread and other blessings
daily from heaven, would they not think it equally a duty, to
communicate of those blessings when they have received them, and show
their gratitude to their great Benefactor by the only means in their
power, promoting the happiness of his other children?

"Ceres is said to have made a journey through many countries to teach
the use of corn, and the art of raising it. For this single benefit
the grateful nations deified her. How much more may Englishmen
deserve such honour, by communicating the knowledge and use not of
corn only, but of all the other enjoyments earth can produce, and
which they are now in possession of. _Communiter bona profundere,
Deum est._

"Many voyages have been undertaken with views of profit or of
plunder, or to gratify resentment; to procure some advantage to
ourselves, or do some mischief to others: but a voyage is now
proposed, to visit a distant people on the other side the globe; not
to cheat them, not to rob them, not to seize their lands, or enslave
their persons; but merely to do them good, and make them, as far as
in our power lies, to live as comfortably as ourselves.

"It seems a laudable wish, that all the nations of the earth were
connected by a knowledge of each other, and a mutual exchange of
benefits: but a commercial nation particularly should wish for a
general civilization of mankind, since trade is always carried on to
much greater extent with people who have the arts and conveniences
of life, than it can be with naked savages. We may therefore hope,
in this undertaking, to be of, some service to our country, as well
as to those poor people, who, however distant from us, are in truth
related to us, and whose interests do, in some degree, concern every
one who can say, _Homo sum, &c._"

_Scheme of a voyage, by subscription_, to convey the conveniences of
life, as fowls, hogs, goats, cattle, corn, iron, &c., to those remote
regions, which are destitute of them, and to bring from thence such
productions, as can be cultivated in this kingdom to the advantage of
society, in a ship under the command of Alexander Dalrymple.

  Catt or bark, from the coal trade,          £
    of 350 tons, estimated at about         2000
  Extra expences, stores, boats, &c.        3000
  To be manned with 60 men at
                     4 per man per month
                  2880 per annum
  Wages and       8640 for three years      8640
  provisions                               -----
  Cargo included, supposed                 15000

The expences of this expedition are calculated for _three_ years: but
the greatest part of the amount of wages will not be wanted till the
ship returns, and a great part of the expence of provisions will be
saved by what is obtained in the course of the voyage, by barter, or
otherwise, though it is proper to make provision for contingencies.

       *       *       *       *       *


[82] These proposals were printed upon a sheet of paper some two or
three years ago, and distributed. The parts written by Dr. Franklin
and Mr. Dalrymple are easily distinguished. B. V.


  _Concerning the Provision made in China against Famine._

I have somewhere read, that in China an account is yearly taken of
the number of people, and the quantities of provision produced. This
account is transmitted to the emperor, whose ministers can thence
foresee a scarcity, likely to happen in any province, and from what
province it can best be supplied in good time. To facilitate the
collecting of this account, and prevent the necessity of entering
houses and spending time in asking and answering questions, each
house is furnished with a little board, to be hung without the door
during a certain time each year; on which board are marked certain
words, against which the inhabitant is to mark number and quantity,
somewhat in this manner:

  | Men,            |
  | Women,          |
  | Children,       |
  | Rice, or Wheat, |
  | Flesh, &c.      |

All under sixteen are accounted children, and all above, men
and women. Any other particulars, which the government desires
information of, are occasionally marked on the same boards. Thus the
officers, appointed to collect the accounts in each district, have
only to pass before the doors, and enter into their book what they
find marked on the board, without giving the least trouble to the
family. There is a penalty on marking falsely, and as neighbours must
know nearly the truth of each others account, they dare not expose
themselves, by a false one, to each others accusation. Perhaps such a
regulation is scarcely practicable with us[83].


[83] The above passage is taken from Dr. Percival's Essays, Vol.
III. p. 25, being an extract from a letter written to him, by
Dr. Franklin, on the subject of his observations on the state of
population in Manchester and other adjacent places. B. V.

  _Positions to be examined, concerning national Wealth[84]._

1. All food or subsistence for mankind arise from the earth or waters.

2. Necessaries of life, that are not foods, and all other
conveniences, have their values estimated by the proportion of food
consumed while we are employed in procuring them.

3. A small people, with a large territory, may subsist on the
productions of nature, with no other labour than that of gathering
the vegetables and catching the animals.

4. A large people, with a small territory, finds these insufficient,
and, to subsist, must labour the earth, to make it produce greater
quantities of vegetable food, suitable for the nourishment of men,
and of the animals they intend to eat.

5. From this labour arises a _great increase_ of vegetable and
animal food, and of materials for clothing, as flax, wool, silk,
&c. The superfluity of these is wealth. With this wealth we pay for
the labour employed in building our houses, cities, &c. which are
therefore only subsistence thus metamorphosed.

6. _Manufactures_ are only _another shape_ into which so much
provisions and subsistence are turned, as were equal in value to the
manufactures produced. This appears from hence, that the manufacturer
does not, in fact, obtain from the employer, for his labour, _more_
than a mere subsistence, including raiment, fuel, and shelter: all
which derive their value from the provisions consumed in procuring

7. The produce of the earth, thus converted into manufactures, may be
more easily carried to distant markets than before such conversion.

8. _Fair commerce_ is, where equal values are exchanged for equal,
the expence of transport included. Thus, if it costs A in England
as much labour and charge to raise a bushel of wheat, as it costs B
in France to produce four gallons of wine, then are four gallons of
wine the fair exchange for a bushel of wheat, A and B meeting at half
distance with their commodities to make the exchange. The advantage
of this fair commerce is, that each party increases the number of his
enjoyments, having, instead of wheat alone, or wine alone, the use of
both wheat and wine.

9. Where the labour and expence of producing both commodities are
known to both parties, bargains will generally be fair and equal.
Where they are known to one party only, bargains will often be
unequal, knowledge taking its advantage of ignorance.

10. Thus he, that carries one thousand bushels of wheat abroad to
sell, may not probably obtain so great a profit thereon, as if he had
first turned the wheat into manufactures, by subsisting therewith
the workmen while producing those manufactures: since there are many
expediting and facilitating methods of working, not generally known;
and strangers to the manufactures, though they know pretty well the
expence of raising wheat, are unacquainted with those short methods
of working, and thence, being apt to suppose more labour employed
in the manufactures than there really is, are more easily imposed
on in their value, and induced to allow more for them than they are
honestly worth.

11. Thus the advantage of having manufactures in a country does not
consist, as is commonly supposed, in their highly advancing the
value of rough materials, of which they are formed; since, though
six-pennyworth of flax may be worth twenty shillings when worked into
lace, yet the very cause of its being worth twenty shillings, is,
that, besides the flax, it has cost nineteen shillings and sixpence
in subsistence to the manufacturer. But the advantage of manufactures
is, that under their shape provisions may be more easily carried to a
foreign market; and by their means our traders may more easily cheat
strangers. Few, where it is not made, are judges of the value of
lace. The importer may demand forty, and perhaps get thirty shillings
for that, which cost him but twenty.

12. Finally, there seem to be but three ways for a nation to
acquire wealth. The first is by _war_, as the Romans did, in
plundering their conquered neighbours. This is _robbery_.--The
second by _commerce_, which is generally _cheating_.--The third by
_agriculture_, the only _honest way_, wherein man receives a real
increase of the seed thrown into the ground, in a kind of continual
miracle wrought by the hand of God in his favour, as a reward for his
innocent life, and his virtuous industry.


  _April 4, 1769._


[84] This article has been inserted in The Repository for select
Papers on Agriculture, Arts, and Manufactures. Vol. I, p. 350. B. V.

  _Political Fragments, supposed either to be written by Dr.
  Franklin, or to contain Sentiments nearly allied to his own[85]._

[§ 1. _Of the Employment of Time, and of Indolence: particularly as
respecting the State._]

All that live must be subsisted. Subsistence costs something. He,
that is industrious, produces, by his industry, something that is an
equivalent, and pays for his subsistence: he is therefore no charge
or burden to society. The indolent are an expence uncompensated.

There can be no doubt but all kinds of employment, that can be
followed without prejudice from interruptions; work, that can be
taken up, and laid down, often in a day, without damage; (such
as spinning, knitting, weaving, &c.) are highly advantageous to
a community; because in them may be collected all the produce of
those fragments of time, that occur in family-business, between the
constant and necessary parts of it, that usually occupy females;
as the time between rising and preparing for breakfast, between
breakfast and preparing for dinner, &c. &c. The amount of all these
fragments is, in the course of a year, very considerable to a single
family; to a state proportionably. Highly profitable therefore it is,
in this case also, to follow that divine direction, _gather up the
fragments that nothing be lost_. Lost time is lost subsistence; it is
therefore lost treasure.

Hereby, in several families, many yards of linen have been produced,
from the employment of those fragments only, in one year, though such
families were just the same in number as when not so employed.

It was an excellent saying of a certain Chinese emperor, _I will, if
possible, have no idleness in my dominions; for if there be one man
idle, some man must suffer cold or hunger_. We take this emperor's
meaning to be, that the labour due to the public by each individual,
not being performed by the indolent, must naturally fall to the share
of others, who must thereby suffer.

[§ 2. _Of Embargoes upon Corn, and of the Poor._]

In inland high countries, remote from the sea, and whose rivers
are small, running _from_ the country, and not _to_ it, as is the
case of Switzerland, great distress may arise from a course of
bad harvests, if public granaries are not provided, and kept well
stored. Anciently too, before navigation was so general, ships so
plenty, and commercial connections so well established, even maritime
countries might be occasionally distressed by bad crops. But such is
now the facility of communication between those countries, that an
unrestrained commerce can scarce ever fail of procuring a sufficiency
for any of them. If indeed any government is so imprudent, as to lay
its hands on imported corn, forbid its exportation, or compel its
sale at limited prices, there the people may suffer some famine from
merchants avoiding their ports. But wherever commerce is known to be
always free, and the merchant absolute master of his commodity, as in
Holland, there will always be a reasonable supply.

When an exportation of corn takes place, occasioned by a higher price
in some foreign countries, it is common to raise a clamour, on the
supposition, that we shall thereby produce a domestic famine. Then
follows a prohibition, founded on the imaginary distress of the poor.
The poor, to be sure, if in distress, should be relieved; but if the
farmer could have a high price for his corn from the foreign demand,
must he, by a prohibition of exportation, be compelled to take a
low price, not of the poor only, but of every one that eats bread,
even the richest? the duty of relieving the poor is incumbent on the
rich; but by this operation the whole burden of it is laid on the
farmer, who is to relieve the rich at the same time. Of the poor too,
those, who are maintained by the parishes, have no right to claim
this sacrifice of the farmer; as, while they have their allowance,
it makes no difference to them, whether bread be cheap or dear.
Those working poor, who now mind business only _five_ or _four_
days in the week, if bread should be so dear, as to oblige them to
work the whole _six_ required by the commandment, do not seem to be
aggrieved, so as to have a right to public redress. There will then
remain, comparatively, only a few families in every district, who,
from sickness, or a great number of children, will be so distressed
by a high price of corn, as to need relief; and these should be taken
care of by particular benefactions, without restraining the farmer's

Those, who fear, that exportation may so far drain the country of
corn, as to starve ourselves, fear what never did, nor ever can
happen. They may as well, when they view the tide ebbing towards
the sea, fear, that all the water will leave the river. The price
of corn, like water, will find its own level. The more we export,
the dearer it becomes at home; the more is received abroad, the
cheaper it becomes there; and as soon as these prices are equal,
the exportation stops of course. As the seasons vary in different
countries, the calamity of a bad harvest is never universal. If then,
all ports were always open, and all commerce free, every maritime
country would generally eat bread at the medium price, or average
of all the harvests; which would probably be more equal than we can
make it by out artificial regulations, and therefore a more steady
encouragement to agriculture. The nation would all have bread at this
middle price; and that nation, which at any time inhumanely refuses
to relieve the distresses of another nation, deserves no compassion
when in distress itself.

[§ 3. _Of the Effect of Dearness of Provisions upon Working, and upon

The common people do not work for pleasure generally, but from
necessity. Cheapness of provisions makes them more idle; less work is
then done, it is then more in demand proportionally, and of course
the price rises. Dearness of provisions obliges the manufacturer to
work more days and more hours; thus more work is done than equals the
usual demand; of course it becomes cheaper, and the manufactures in

[§ 4. _Of an open Trade._]

Perhaps, in general, it would be better if government meddled no
farther with trade, than to protect it, and let it take its course.
Most of the statutes or acts, edicts, arrets, and placarts of
parliaments, princes, and states, for regulating, directing, or
restraining of trade, have, we think, been either political blunders,
or jobs obtained by artful men, for private advantage, under pretence
of public good. When Colbert assembled some wise old merchants of
France, and desired their advice and opinion, how he could serve and
promote commerce: their answer, after consultation, was in three
words only, _Laissez nous faire_; "Let us alone."--It is said, by a
very solid writer of the same nation, that he is well advanced in
the science of politics, who knows the full force of that maxim,
_Pas trop gouverner_, "Not to govern too much;" which, perhaps,
would be of more use when applied to trade, than in any other public
concern. It were therefore to be wished, that commerce were as free
between all the nations of the world, as it is between the several
counties of England; so would all, by mutual communication, obtain
more enjoyments. Those counties do not ruin each other by trade,
neither would the nations. No nation was ever ruined by trade, even,
seemingly, the most disadvantageous.

Wherever desirable superfluities are imported, industry is excited,
and thereby plenty is produced. Were only necessaries permitted to be
purchased, men would work no more than was necessary for that purpose.

[§ 5. _Of Prohibitions, with Respect to the Exportation of Gold and

Could Spain and Portugal have succeeded in executing their foolish
laws for _hedging in the cuckoo_, as Locke calls it, and have kept
at home all their gold and silver, those metals would by this time
have been of little more value than so much lead or iron. Their
plenty would have lessened their value. We see the folly of these
edicts: but are not our own prohibitory and restrictive laws, that
are professedly made with intention to bring a balance in our favour
from our trade with foreign nations to be paid in money, and laws
to prevent the necessity of exporting that money, which if they
could be thoroughly executed, would make money as plenty, and of as
little value; I say, are not such laws a kin to those Spanish edicts,
follies of the same family?

[§ 6. _Of the Returns for foreign Articles._]

In fact, the _produce of other countries_ can hardly be obtained,
unless by fraud and rapine, without giving the _produce of our land
or our industry_ in exchange for them. If we have mines of gold and
silver, gold and silver may then be called the produce of our land:
if we have not, we can only fairly obtain those metals by giving for
them the produce of our land or industry. When we have them, they are
then only that produce or industry in another shape; which we may
give, if the trade requires it, and our other produce will not suit,
in exchange for the produce of some other country, that furnishes
what we have more occasion for, or more desire. When we have, to an
inconvenient degree, parted with our gold and silver, our industry
is stimulated afresh to procure more; that, by its means, we may
contrive to procure the same advantage.

[§ 7. _Of Restraints upon Commerce in Time of War._]

When princes make war by prohibiting commerce, each may hurt himself
as much as his enemy. Traders, who by their business are promoting
the common good of mankind, as well as farmers and fishermen, who
labour for the subsistence of all, should never be interrupted, or
molested in their business, but enjoy the protection of all in the
time of war, as well as in time of peace.

This policy, those, whom we are pleased to call Barbarians, have in
a great measure adopted; for the trading subjects of any power with
whom the emperor of Morocco may be at war, are not liable to capture,
when within sight of his land, going or coming; and have otherwise
free liberty to trade and reside in his dominions.

As a maritime power, we presume it is not thought right, that Great
Britain should grant such freedom, except partially; as in the case
of war with France, when tobacco is allowed to be sent thither under
the sanction of passports.

[§ 8. _Exchanges in Trade may be gainful to each Party._]

In transactions of trade, it is not to be supposed, that, like
gaming, what one party _gains_ the other must necessarily _lose_. The
gain to each may be equal. If A has more corn than he can consume,
but wants cattle; and B has more cattle, but wants corn, exchange
is gain to each: hereby the common stock of comforts in life is

[§9. _Of Paper Credit._]

It is impossible for government to circumscribe, or fix the extent of
paper credit, which must of course fluctuate. Government may as well
pretend to lay down rules for the operations, or the confidence of
every individual in the course of his trade. Any seeming temporary
evil arising, must naturally work its own cure.


[85] The political fragments, which are here presented to the reader,
were gathered up from the notes, annexed to a pamphlet called The
Principles of Trade, printed for Brotherton and Sewel, London, 1774,
second edition.--The writer of this work speaks of assistance lent to
him, in the following passage in his preface: "Some very respectable
friends have indulged me with their ideas and opinions. It is with
the greatest pleasure we, in this second edition, most gratefully
acknowledge the favour; and must add, that should the public hold
this performance in any estimation, no small share belongs to those
friends." Our author is one of the respectable friends here alluded
to. B. V.

  _On the Price of Corn, and Management of the Poor[86]._


I am one of that class of people, that feeds you all, and at present
is abused by you all;--in short, I am a _farmer_.

By your news-papers we are told, that God had sent a very short
harvest to some other countries of Europe. I thought this might be in
favour of Old England; and that now we should get a good price for
our grain, which would bring millions among us, and make us flow in
money: that to be sure is scarce enough.

But the wisdom of government forbad the exportation[87].

Well, says I, then we must be content with the market-price at home.

No, say my lords the mob, you sha'n't have that. Bring your corn to
market if your dare;--we'll sell it for you, for less money, or take
it for nothing.

Being thus attacked by both ends _of the constitution_, the head and
tail _of government_, what am I to do?

Must I keep my corn in the barn, to feed and increase
the breed of rats?--be it so;--they cannot be less thankful than
those I have been used to feed.

Are we farmers the only people to be grudged the profits of our
honest labour?--And why? One of the late scribblers against us gives
a bill of fare of the provisions at my daughter's wedding, and
proclaims to all the world, that we had the insolence to eat beef and
pudding!--Has he not read the precept in the good book, _Thou shalt
not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn_; or does
he think us less worthy of good living than our oxen?

O, but the manufacturers! the manufacturers! they are to be favoured,
and they must have bread at a cheap rate!

Hark ye, Mr. Oaf:--The farmers live splendidly, you say. And pray,
would you have them hoard the money they get? Their fine clothes
and furniture, do they make them themselves or for one another, and
so keep the money among them? Or, do they employ these your darling
manufacturers, and so scatter it again all over the nation?

The wool would produce me a better price, if it were suffered to
go to foreign markets; but that, Messieurs the Public, your laws
will not permit. It must be kept all at home, that our _dear_
manufacturers may have it the cheaper. And then, having yourselves
thus lessened our encouragement for raising sheep, you curse us for
the scarcity of mutton!

I have heard my grandfather say, that the farmers submitted to the
prohibition on the exportation of wool, being made to expect and
believe, that when the manufacturer bought his wool cheaper, they
should also have their cloth cheaper. But the deuce a bit. It has
been growing dearer and dearer from that day to this. How so? Why,
truly, the cloth is exported; and that keeps up the price.

Now if it be a good principle, that the exportation of a commodity is
to be restrained, that so our people at home may have it the cheaper;
stick to that principle, and go thorough stitch with it. Prohibit the
exportation of your cloth, your leather, and shoes, your ironware,
and your manufactures of all sorts, to make them, all cheaper at
home. And cheap enough they will be, I will warrant you--till people
leave off making them.

Some folks seem to think they ought never to be easy till England
becomes another Lubberland, where it is fancied the streets are paved
with penny-rolls, the houses tiled with pancakes, and chickens, ready
roasted, cry, Come eat me.

I say, when you are sure you have got a good principle, stick to
it, and carry it thorough.--I hear it is said, that though it was
_necessary and right_ for the m----y to advise a prohibition of the
exportation of corn, yet it was _contrary to law_; and also, that
though it was _contrary to law_ for the mob to obstruct waggons,
yet it was _necessary and right_.--Just the same thing to a tittle.
Now they tell me, an act of indemnity ought to pass in favour of
the m----y, to secure them from the consequences of having acted
illegally.--If so, pass another in favour of the mob. Others say,
some of the mob ought to be hanged, by way of example.---If so,--but
I say no more than I have said before, _when you are sure that you
have got a good principle, go through with it_.

You say, poor labourers cannot afford to buy bread at a high price,
unless they had higher wages.--Possibly.--But how shall we farmers be
able to afford our labourers higher wages, if you will not allow us
to get, when we might have it, a higher price for our corn?

By all that I can learn, we should at least have had a guinea a
quarter more, if the exportation had been allowed. And this money
England would have got from foreigners.

But, it seems, we farmers must take so much less, that the poor may
have it so much cheaper.

This operates then as a tax for the maintenance of the poor. A very
good thing, you will say. But I ask, why a partial tax? why laid on
us farmers only? If it be a good thing, pray, Messieurs the Public,
take your share of it, by indemnifying us a little out of your
public treasury. In doing a good thing, there is both honour and
pleasure--you are welcome to your share of both.

For my own part, I am not so well satisfied of the goodness of this
thing. I am for doing good to the poor, but I differ in opinion about
the means. I think the best way of doing good to the poor, is, not
making them easy _in_ poverty, but leading or driving them _out_
of it. In my youth I travelled much, and I observed in different
countries, that the more public provisions were made for the poor,
the less they provided for themselves, and of course became poorer.
And, on the contrary, the less was done for them, the more they did
for themselves, and became richer. There is no country in the world
where so many provisions are established for them; so many hospitals
to receive them when they are sick or lame, founded and maintained
by voluntary charities; so many alms houses for the aged of both
sexes, together with a solemn general law made by the rich to subject
their estates to a heavy tax for the support of the poor. Under all
these obligations, are our poor modest, humble, and thankful? And do
they use their best endeavours to maintain themselves, and lighten
our shoulders of this burthen? On the contrary, I affirm, that
there is no country in the world in which the poor are more idle,
dissolute, drunken, and insolent. The day you passed that act, you
took away from before their eyes the greatest of all inducements to
industry, frugality, and sobriety, by giving them a dependence on
somewhat else than a careful accumulation during youth and health,
for support in age or sickness. In short, you offered a premium for
the encouragement of idleness, and you should not now wonder, that
it has had its effect in the increase of poverty. Repeal that law,
and you will soon see a change in their manners, _Saint Monday_, and
_Saint Tuesday_, will soon cease to be holidays. Six _days shalt thou
labour_, though one of the old commandments long treated as out of
date, will again be looked upon as a respectable precept; industry
will increase, and with it plenty among the lower people; their
circumstances will mend, and more will be done for their happiness
by inuring them to provide for themselves, than could be done by
dividing all your estates among them.

Excuse me, Messieurs the Public, if upon this _interesting_ subject,
I put you to the trouble of reading a little of _my_ nonsense; I am
sure I have lately read a great deal of _yours_, and therefore from
you (at least from those of you who are writers) I deserve a little

  I am yours, &c.



[86] The following extracts of a letter signed Columella, and
addressed to the editors of the Repository for select Papers on
Agriculture, Arts, and Manufactures (See Vol. I. p. 352.) will again
serve the purpose of preparing those who read it, for entering upon
this paper.


"There is now publishing in France a periodical work, called
Ephemeridis du Citoyen, in which several points, interesting to those
concerned in agriculture, are from time to time discussed by some
able hands. In looking over one of the volumes of this work a few
days ago, I found a little piece written by one of our countrymen,
and which our vigilant neighbours had taken from the London Chronicle
in 1766. The author is a gentleman well known to every man of letters
in Europe, and perhaps there is none, in this age, to whom mankind in
general are more indebted.

"That this piece may not be lost to our own country, I beg you will
give it a place in your Repository: it was written in favour of the
farmers, when they suffered so much abuse in our public papers, and
were also plundered by the mob in many places."

The principles on which this piece is grounded are given more at
large in the Political Fragments, art. 2. B. V.

[87] It is not necessary to repeat in what degree Dr. Franklin
respected the ministers, to whom he alludes.--The embargo upon corn
was but a single measure, which, it is enough to say, an host of
politicians thought well advised, but ill defended. Of the great
and honourable services of the earl of Chatham to his country, Dr.
Franklin has borne the amplest testimony. B. V.

[88] The late Mr. Owen Ruffhead, being some time ago employed in
preparing _a digest of our poor laws_, communicated a copy of it to
Dr. Franklin for his advice. Dr. Franklin recommended, that provision
should be made therein, for the printing on a sheet of paper and
dispersing, in each parish in the kingdom, annual accounts of every
disbursement and receipt of its officers. It is obvious to remark,
how greatly this must tend to check both the officers and the poor,
and to inform and interest the parishioners with respect to parish
concerns.--Some of the American colonies actually practise this
measure with a success which might justify its adoption here. B. V.


  _On Luxury, Idleness, and Industry._

  Written in 1784.

It is wonderful how preposterously the affairs of this world are
managed. Naturally one would imagine, that the interest of a few
individuals should give way to general interest; but individuals
manage their affairs with so much more application, industry, and
address, than the public do theirs, that, general interest most
commonly gives way to particular. We assemble parliaments and
councils, to have the benefit of their collected wisdom; but we
necessarily have, at the same time, the inconvenience of their
collected passions, prejudices, and private interests. By the help of
these, artful men overpower their wisdom, and dupe its possessors:
and if we may judge, by the acts, arrets, and edicts, all the world
over, for regulating commerce, an assembly of great men is the
greatest fool upon earth.

I have not yet, indeed, thought of a remedy for luxury. I am not
sure that in a great state it is capable of a remedy, nor that the
evil is in itself always so great as it is represented. Suppose we
include in the definition of luxury all unnecessary expence, and then
let us consider, whether laws to prevent such expence are possible
to be executed in a great country, and whether, if they could be
executed, our people generally would be happier, or even richer. Is
not the hope of being one day able to purchase and enjoy luxuries, a
great spur to labour and industry? May not luxury therefore produce
more than it consumes, if, without such a spur, people would be,
as they are naturally enough inclined to be, lazy and indolent? To
this purpose I remember a circumstance. The skipper of a shallop,
employed between Cape-May and Philadelphia, had done us some small
service, for which he refused to be paid. My wife, understanding
that he had a daughter, sent her a present of a new-fashioned cap.
Three years after, this skipper being at my house with an old farmer
of Cape-May, his passenger, he mentioned the cap, and how much his
daughter had been pleased with it. "But (said he) it proved a dear
cap to our congregation." "How so?" "When my daughter appeared with
it at meeting, it was so much admired, that all the girls resolved
to get such caps from Philadelphia; and my wife and I computed, that
the whole could not have cost less than a hundred pounds." "True
(said the farmer), but you do not tell all the story. I think the cap
was nevertheless an advantage to us, for it was the first thing that
put our girls upon knitting worsted mittens for sale at Philadelphia,
that they might have wherewithal to buy caps and ribbons there,
and you know that that industry has continued, and is likely to
continue and increase to a much greater value, and answer better
purposes."--Upon the whole, I was more reconciled to this little
piece of luxury, since not only the girls were made happier by having
fine caps, but the Philadelphians by the supply of warm mittens.

In our commercial towns upon the sea-coast, fortunes will
occasionally be made. Some of those who grow rich will be prudent,
live within bounds, and preserve what they have gained for their
posterity: others, fond of showing their wealth, will be extravagant,
and ruin themselves. Laws cannot prevent this: and perhaps it is not
always an evil to the public. A shilling spent idly by a fool, may
be picked up by a wiser person, who knows better what to do with
it. It is therefore not lost. A vain silly fellow builds a fine
house, furnishes it richly, lives in it expensively, and in a few
years ruins himself: but the masons, carpenters, smiths, and other
honest tradesmen, have been by his employ assisted in maintaining and
raising their families; the farmer has been paid for his labour, and
encouraged, and the estate is now in better hands. In some cases,
indeed, certain modes of luxury may be a public evil, in the same
manner as it is a private one. If there be a nation, for instance,
that exports its beef and linen, to pay for the importation of claret
and porter, while a great part of its people live upon potatoes,
and wear no shirts, wherein does it differ from the sot, who lets
his family starve, and sells his clothes to buy drink? Our American
commerce is, I confess, a little in this way. We sell our victuals to
the islands for rum and sugar; the substantial necessaries of life
for superfluities. But we have plenty, and live well nevertheless,
though, by being soberer, we might be richer.

The vast quantity of forest land we have yet to clear, and put
in order for cultivation, will for a long time keep the body of
our nation laborious and frugal. Forming an opinion of our people
and their manners, by what is seen among the inhabitants of the
sea-ports, is judging from an improper sample. The people of
the trading towns may be rich and luxurious, while the country
possesses all the virtues, that tend to promote happiness and public
prosperity. Those towns are not much regarded by the country; they
are hardly considered as an essential part of the states, and the
experience of the last war has shown, that their being in the
possession of the enemy did not necessarily draw on the subjection
of the country, which bravely continued to maintain its freedom and
independence notwithstanding.

It has been computed by some political arithmetician, that if every
man and woman would work for four hours each day on something useful,
that labour would produce sufficient to procure all the necessaries
and comforts of life, want and misery would be banished out of the
world, and the rest of the twenty-four hours might be leisure and

What occasions then so much want and misery? It is the employment
of men and women in works, that produce neither the necessaries
nor conveniences of life, who, with those who do nothing, consume
necessaries raised by the laborious. To explain this.

The first elements of wealth are obtained by labour, from the earth
and waters. I have land, and raise corn. With this, if I feed a
family that does nothing, my corn will be consumed, and at the end of
the year I shall be no richer than I was at the beginning. But if,
while I feed them, I employ them, some in spinning, others in making
bricks, &c. for building, the value of my corn will be arrested and
remain with me, and at the end of the year we may all be better
clothed and better lodged. And if, instead of employing a man I feed
in making bricks, I employ him in fiddling for me, the corn he eats
is gone, and no part of his manufacture remains to augment the wealth
and convenience of the family: I shall therefore be the poorer for
this fiddling man, unless the rest of my family work more, or eat
less, to make up the deficiency he occasions.

Look round the world, and see the millions employed in doing nothing,
or in something that amounts to nothing, when the necessaries and
conveniences of life are in question. What is the bulk of commerce,
for which we fight and destroy each other, but the toil of millions
for superfluities, to the great hazard and loss of many lives, by the
constant dangers of the sea? How much labour is spent in building and
fitting great ships, to go to China and Arabia for tea and coffee,
to the West Indies for sugar, to America for tobacco? These things
cannot be called the necessaries of life, for our ancestors lived
very comfortably without them.

A question may be asked: could all these people now employed in
raising, making, or carrying superfluities, be subsisted by raising
necessaries? I think they might. The world is large, and a great part
of it still uncultivated. Many hundred millions of acres in Asia,
Africa, and America, are still in a forest, and a great deal even
in Europe. On a hundred acres of this forest a man might become a
substantial farmer, and a hundred thousand men, employed in clearing
each his hundred acres, would hardly brighten a spot big enough to be
visible from the moon, unless with Herschel's telescope; so vast are
the regions still in wood.

It is, however, some comfort to reflect, that, upon the whole, the
quantity of industry and prudence among mankind exceeds the quantity
of idleness and folly. Hence the increase of good buildings, farms
cultivated, and populous cities filled with wealth, all over Europe,
which a few ages since were only to be found on the coasts of the
Mediterranean; and this notwithstanding the mad wars continually
raging, by which are often destroyed in one year the works of many
years peace. So that we may hope the luxury of a few merchants on the
coast will not be the ruin of America.

One reflection more, and I will end this long rambling letter. Almost
all the parts of our bodies require some expence. The feet demand
shoes; the legs stockings; the rest of the body clothing; and the
belly a good deal of victuals. Our eyes, though exceedingly useful,
ask, when reasonable, only the cheap assistance of spectacles, which
could not much impair our finances. But the eyes of other people are
the eyes that ruin us. If all but myself were blind, I should want
neither fine clothes, fine houses, nor fine furniture.


[89] This letter is taken from a periodical publication, that existed
only for a short period, entitled, The Repository, to which it was
communicated by the person to whom it is addressed. _Editor._

  _On Smuggling, and its various Species[90]._


There are many people that would be thought, and even think
themselves, _honest_ men, who fail nevertheless in particular points
of honesty; deviating from that character sometimes by the prevalence
of mode or custom, and sometimes through mere inattention; so that
their _honesty_ is partial only, and not _general_ or universal. Thus
one, who would scorn to over-reach you in a bargain, shall make no
scruple of tricking you a little now and then at cards; another, that
plays with the utmost fairness, shall with great freedom cheat you in
the sale of a horse. But there is no kind of dishonesty, into which
otherwise good people more easily and frequently fall, than that of
defrauding government of its revenues by smuggling, when they have an
opportunity, or encouraging smugglers by buying their goods.

I fell into these reflections the other day, on hearing two gentlemen
of reputation discoursing about a small estate, which one of them
was inclined to sell, and the other to buy; when the seller, in
recommending the place, remarked, that its situation was very
advantageous on this account, that, being on the sea-coast in a
smuggling country, one had frequent opportunities of buying many
of the expensive articles used in a family (such as tea, coffee,
chocolate, brandy, wines, cambrics, Brussels laces, French silks,
and all kinds of India goods), 20, 30, and in some articles 50 _per
cent_ cheaper, than they could be had in the more interior parts, of
traders that paid duty.--The other _honest_ gentlemen allowed this
to be an advantage, but insisted, that the seller, in the advanced
price he demanded on that account, rated the advantage much above its
value. And neither of them seemed to think dealing with smugglers a
practice, that an _honest_ man (provided he got his goods cheap) had
the least reason to be ashamed of.

At a time when the load of our, public debt, and the heavy expence
of maintaining our fleets and armies to be ready for our defence on
occasion, makes it necessary, not only to continue old taxes, but
often to look out for new ones, perhaps it may not be unuseful to
state this matter in a light, that few seem to have considered it in.

The people of Great Britain, under the happy constitution of this
country, have a privilege few other countries enjoy, that of choosing
the third branch of the legislature, which branch has alone the
power of regulating their taxes. Now whenever the government finds
it necessary for the common benefit, advantage, and safety of the
nation, for the security of our liberties, property, religion, and
every thing that is dear to us, that certain sums shall be yearly
raised by taxes, duties, &c. and paid into the public treasury,
thence to be dispensed by government for those purposes; ought not
every _honest man_ freely and willingly to pay his just proportion
of this necessary expence? Can he possibly preserve a right to that
character, if, by any fraud, stratagem, or contrivance, he avoids
that payment in whole or in part.

What should we think of a companion, who, having supped with his
friends at a tavern, and partaken equally of the joys of the evening
with the rest of us, would nevertheless contrive by some artifice
to shift his share of the reckoning upon others, in order to go off
scot-free? If a man who practised this would, when detected, be
deemed and called a scoundrel, what ought he to be called, who can
enjoy all the inestimable benefits of public society, and yet by
smuggling, or dealing with smugglers, contrive to evade paying his
just share of the expence, as settled by his own representatives in
parliament; and wrongfully throw it upon his honester and perhaps
much poorer neighbours? He will perhaps be ready to tell me, that
he does not wrong his neighbours; he scorns the imputation, he only
cheats the king a little, who is very able to bear it. This however
is a mistake. The public treasure is the treasure of the nation,
to be applied to national purposes. And when a duty is laid for a
particular public and necessary purpose, if, through smuggling, that
duty falls short of raising the sum required, and other duties must
therefore be laid to make up the deficiency, all the additional sum
laid by the new duties and paid by other people, though it should
amount to no more than a halfpenny or a farthing per head, is so
much actually picked out of the pockets of those other people by
the smugglers and their abettors and encouragers. Are they then
any better or other than pickpockets? and what mean, low, rascally
pickpockets must those be, that can pick pockets for halfpence and
for farthings?

I would not however be supposed to allow in what I have just said,
that cheating the king is a less offence against honesty, than
cheating the public. The king and the public in this case are
different names for the same thing; but if we consider the king
distinctly it will not lessen the crime: it is no justification of
a robbery, that the person robbed was rich and able to bear it. The
king has as much right to justice as the meanest of his subjects;
and as he is truly the common _father_ of his people, those that rob
him fall under the scripture woe, pronounced against the son _that
robbeth his father, and saith it is no sin_.

Mean as this practice is, do we not daily see people of character and
fortune engaged in it for trifling advantages to themselves?--Is any
lady ashamed to request of a gentleman of her acquaintance, that when
he returns from abroad, he would smuggle her home a piece of silk or
lace from France or Flanders? Is any gentleman ashamed to undertake
and execute the commission?--Not in the least. They will talk of it
freely, even before others whose pockets they are thus contriving to
pick by this piece of knavery.

Among other branches of the revenue, that of the post-office is, by
a late law, appropriated to the discharge of our public debt, to
defray the expences of the state. None but members of parliament,
and a few public officers have now a right to avoid, by a frank, the
payment of postage. When any letter, not written by them or on their
business, is franked by any of them, it is a hurt to the revenue, an
injury which they must now take the pains to conceal by writing the
whole superscription themselves. And yet such is our insensibility
to justice in this particular, that nothing is more common than to
see, even in a reputable company, a _very honest_ gentleman or lady
declare his or her intention to cheat the nation of three-pence by
a frank, and without blushing apply to one of the very legislators
themselves, with a modest request, that he would be pleased to become
an accomplice in the crime, and assist in the perpetration.

There are those who by these practices take a great deal in a year
out of the public purse, and put the money into their own private
pockets. If, passing through a room where public treasure is
deposited, a man takes the opportunity of clandestinely pocketing and
carrying off a guinea, is he not truly and properly a thief? And if
another evades paying into the treasury a guinea he ought to pay in,
and applies it to his own use, when he knows it belongs to the public
as much as that which has been paid in, what difference is there in
the nature of the crime, or the baseness of committing it?

Some laws make the receiving of stolen goods equally penal with
stealing, and upon this principle, that if there were no receivers
there would be few thieves. Our proverb too says truly, that _the
receiver is as bad as the thief_. By the same reasoning, as there
would be few smugglers, if there were none who knowingly encouraged
them by buying their goods, we may say, that the encouragers of
smuggling are as bad as the smugglers; and that, as smugglers are a
kind of thieves, both equally deserve the punishments of thievery.

In this view of wronging the revenue, what must we think of those who
can evade paying for their wheels and their plate, in defiance of law
and justice, and yet declaim against corruption and peculation, as if
their own hands and hearts were pure and unsullied? The Americans
offend us grievously, when, contrary to our laws, they smuggle goods
into their own country: and yet they had no hand in making those
laws. I do not however pretend from thence to justify them. But
I think the offence much greater in those who either directly or
indirectly have been concerned in making the very laws they break.
And when I hear them exclaiming against the Americans, and for every
little infringement of the acts of trade, or obstruction given by a
petty mob to an officer of our customs in that country, calling for
vengeance against the whole people as REBELS and traitors, I cannot
help thinking there are still those in the world who can _see a mote
in their brother's eye, while they do not discern a beam in their
own_; and that the old saying is as true now as ever it was, _one man
may better steal a horse, than another look over the hedge_.

  F. B.


[90] This letter is extracted from the London Chronicle, for November
24, 1767, and is addressed to the printer of that newspaper. B. V.

  _Observations on War[91]._

By the original law of nations, war and extirpation were the
punishment of injury. Humanizing by degrees, it admitted slavery
instead of death: a farther step was the exchange of prisoners
instead of slavery: another, to respect more the property of private
persons under conquest, and be content with acquired dominion. Why
should not this law of nations go on improving? Ages have intervened
between its several steps: but as knowledge of late increases
rapidly, why should not those steps be quickened? Why should it
not be agreed to, as the future law of nations, that in any war
hereafter the following description of men should be undisturbed,
have the protection of both sides, and be permitted to follow their
employments in security? viz.

1. Cultivators of the earth, because they labour for the subsistence
of mankind.

2. Fishermen, for the same reason.

3. Merchants and traders in unarmed ships, who accommodate different
nations by communicating and exchanging the necessaries and
conveniences of life.

4. Artists and mechanics, inhabiting and working in open towns.

It is hardly necessary to add, that the hospitals of enemies should
be unmolested--they ought to be assisted. It is for the interest of
humanity in general, that the occasions of war, and the inducements
to it, should be diminished. If rapine be abolished, one of the
encouragements to war is taken away; and peace therefore more likely
to continue and be lasting.

The practice of robbing merchants on the high seas--a remnant of
the antient piracy--though it may be accidentally beneficial to
particular persons, is far from being profitable to all engaged in
it, or to the nation that authorises it. In the beginning of a war,
some rich ships are surprized and taken. This encourages the first
adventurers to fit out more armed vessels, and many others to do the
same. But the enemy at the same time become more careful, arm their
merchant ships better, and render them not so easy to be taken:
they go also more under the protection of convoys. Thus, while
the privateers to take them are multiplied, the vessels subject to
be taken, and the chances of profit, are diminished; so that many
cruises are made wherein the expences overgo the gains, and, as is
the case in other lotteries, though particulars have got prizes, the
mass of adventurers are losers, the whole expence of fitting out all
the privateers during a war being much greater than the whole amount
of goods taken.

Then there is the national loss of all the labour of so many men
during the time they have been employed in robbing, who besides
spend what they get in riot, drunkenness, and debauchery, lose their
habits of industry, are rarely fit for any sober business after
a peace, and serve only to increase the number of highwaymen and
housebreakers. Even the undertakers, who have been fortunate, are by
sudden wealth led into expensive living, the habit of which continues
when the means of supporting it cease, and finally ruins them: a just
punishment for their having wantonly and unfeelingly ruined many
honest, innocent traders and their families, whose substance was
employed in serving the common interest of mankind.


[91] From the American Museum, Vol. VII. p. 101. _Editor._

  _Notes copied from Dr. Franklin's writing in pencil in the margin
  of Judge Foster's celebrated argument in favour of the Impressing
  of Seamen (published in the folio edition of his works)[92]._

Judge Foster, p. 158. "Every man."--The conclusion here, from the
_whole to a part_, does not seem to be good logic. If the alphabet
should say, Let us all fight for the defence of the whole, that is
equal, and may therefore be just. But if they should say, Let A B C
and D go out and fight for us, while we stay at home and sleep in
whole skins, that is not equal, and therefore cannot be just.

_Ib._ "Employ."--If you please. The word signifies engaging a man to
work for me, by offering him such wages as are sufficient to induce
him to prefer my service. This is very different from compelling him
to work on such terms as I think proper.

_Ib._ "This service and employment, &c."--These are false facts. His
employments and service are not the same.--Under the merchant he
goes in an unarmed vessel, not obliged to fight, but to transport
merchandise. In the king's service he is obliged to fight, and to
hazard all the dangers of battle. Sickness on board of king's ships
is also more common and more mortal. The merchant's service too
he can quit at the end of the voyage, not the king's. Also, the
merchant's wages are much higher.

_Ib._ "I am very sensible, &c."--Here are two things put in
comparison that are not comparable: viz. injury to seamen, and
inconvenience to trade. Inconvenience to the whole trade of a nation
will not justify injustice to a single seaman. If the trade would
suffer without his service, it is able and ought to be willing
to offer him such wages, as may induce him to afford his service

Page 159. "Private mischief must be borne with patience, for
preventing a national calamity."--Where is this maxim in law and
good policy to be found? And how can that be a maxim, which is not
consistent with common sense? If the maxim had been, that private
mischiefs, which prevent a national calamity, ought to be generously
compensated by the nation, one might understand it: but that such
private mischiefs are only to be borne with patience, is absurd!

_Ib._ "The expedient, &c. And, &c." (Paragraphs 2 and 3).--Twenty
ineffectual or inconvenient schemes will not justify one that is

_Ib._ "Upon the foot of, &c."--Your reasoning, indeed, like a lie,
stands but upon one _foot_, truth upon two.

Page 160. "Full wages."--Probably the same they had in the merchant's

Page 174. "I hardly admit, &c." (Paragraph 5).--When this author
speaks of impressing, page 158, he diminishes the horror of the
practice as much as possible, by presenting to the mind one sailor
only suffering a "_hardship_" (as he tenderly calls it) in some
"_particular cases_" only, and he places against this private
mischief the inconvenience to the trade of the kingdom.--But if,
as he supposes is often the case, the sailor who is pressed, and
obliged to serve for the defence of trade, at the rate of twenty-five
shillings a month, could get three pounds fifteen shillings in the
merchant's service, you take from him fifty shillings a month; and if
you have a 100,000 in your service, you rob this honest industrious
part of society and their poor families of 250,000_l._ per month, or
three millions a year, and at the same time oblige them to hazard
their lives in fighting for the defence of your trade, to the defence
of which all ought indeed to contribute (and sailors among the rest)
in proportion to their profits by it: but this three millions is more
than their share, if they did not pay with their persons; but when
you force that, methinks you should excuse the other.

But it may be said, to give the king's seamen merchant's wages would
cost the nation too much, and call for more taxes. The question then
will amount to this: whether it be just in a community, that the
richer part should compel the poorer to fight in defence of them
and their properties, for such wages as they think fit to allow,
and punish them if they refuse? Our author tells us that it is
"_legal_." I have not law enough to dispute his authorities, but I
cannot persuade myself that it is equitable. I will, however, own
for the present, that it may be lawful when necessary; but then I
contend, that it may be used so as to produce the same good effects,
_the public security_, without doing so much intolerable injustice
as attends the impressing common seamen.--In order to be better
understood I would premise two things: first, that voluntary seamen
may be had for the service, if they were sufficiently paid. The proof
is, that to serve in the same ship, and incur the same dangers,
you have no occasion to impress captains, lieutenants, second
lieutenants, midshipmen, pursers, nor many other officers. Why, but
that the profits of their places, or the emoluments expected, are
sufficient inducements? The business then is, to find money, by
impressing, sufficient to make the sailors all volunteers, as well as
their officers, and this without any fresh burthen upon trade.--The
second of my premises is, that twenty-five shillings a month, with
his share of the salt beef, pork, and peas-pudding, being found
sufficient for the subsistence of a hard-working seaman, it will
certainly be so for a sedentary scholar or gentleman. I would then
propose to form a treasury, out of which encouragements to seamen
should be paid. To fill this treasury, I would impress a number of
civil officers, who at present have great salaries, oblige them to
serve in their respective offices for twenty-five shillings a month,
with their shares of mess provisions, and throw the rest of their
salaries into the seamen's treasury. If such a press-warrant were
given me to execute, the first I would press should be a recorder
of Bristol, or a Mr. Justice Foster, because I might have need of
his edifying example, to show how much impressing ought to be borne
with; for he would certainly find, that though to be reduced to
twenty-five shillings a month might be a "_private mischief_," yet
that, agreeably to his maxim of law and good policy, it "_ought to
be borne with patience_," for preventing a national calamity. Then
I would press the rest of the judges; and, opening the red book,
I would press every civil officer of government from 50_l._ a year
salary, up to 50,000_l._ which would throw an immense sum into our
treasury: and these gentlemen could not complain, since they would
receive twenty-five shillings a month, and their rations; and this
without being obliged to fight. Lastly, I think I would impress ****


[92] These notes are taken from the periodical publication mentioned
in p. 424 of the present Vol. _Editor._


  _On the criminal Laws, and the Practice of Privateering._

  _March 14, 1785._


Among the pamphlets you lately sent me, was one, entitled, Thoughts
on Executive Justice. In return for that, I send you a French one on
the same subject, Observations concernant l'Exécution de l'Article
II, de la Déclaration sur le Vol. They are both addressed to the
judges, but written, as you will see, in a very different spirit. The
English author is for hanging _all_ thieves. The Frenchman is for
proportioning punishments to offences.

If we really believe, as we profess to believe, that the law of Moses
was the law of God, the dictate of divine wisdom, infinitely superior
to human; on what principles do we ordain death as the punishment of
an offence, which, according to that law, was only to be punished
by a restitution of fourfold? To put a man to death for an offence,
which does not deserve death, is it not a murder? And, as the French
writer says, _Doit on punir un délit contre la societé, par un crime
contre la nature?_

Superfluous property is the creature of society. Simple and mild laws
were sufficient to guard the property that was merely necessary. The
savage's bow, his hatchet, and his coat of skins, were sufficiently
secured, without law, by the fear of personal resentment and
retaliation. When, by virtue of the first laws, part of the society
accumulated wealth and grew powerful, they enacted others more
severe, and would protect their property at the expence of humanity.
This was abusing their power, and commencing a tyranny. If a savage,
before he entered into society, had been told,--"Your neighbour, by
this means, may become owner of an hundred deer; but if your brother,
or your son, or yourself, having no deer of your own, and being
hungry, should kill one, an infamous death must be the consequence:"
he would probably have preferred his liberty, and his common right
of killing any deer, to all the advantages of society that might be
proposed to him.

That it is better a hundred guilty persons should escape, than that
one innocent person should suffer, is a maxim that has been long
and generally approved; never, that I know of, controverted. Even
the sanguinary author of the Thoughts agrees to it, adding well,
"that the very thought of _injured_ innocence, and much more that
of _suffering_ innocence, must awaken all our tenderest and most
compassionate feelings, and at the same time raise our highest
indignation against the instruments of it." "But," he adds, "there is
no danger of _either_, from a strict adherence to the laws."--Really!
Is it then impossible to make an unjust law? and if the law itself be
unjust, may it not be the very "instrument" which ought "to raise the
author's, and every body's highest indignation?" I see, in the last
newspapers from London, that a woman is capitally convicted at the
Old Bailey, for privately stealing out of a shop some gauze, value
fourteen shillings and three-pence: is there any proportion between
the injury done by a theft, value fourteen shillings and three-pence,
and the punishment of a human creature, by death, on a gibbet? Might
not that woman, by her labour, have made the reparation ordained by
God, in paying fourfold? Is not all punishment, inflicted beyond
the merit of the offence, so much punishment of innocence? In this
light, how vast is the annual quantity, of not only _injured_ but
_suffering_ innocence, in almost all the civilized states of Europe!

But it seems to have been thought, that this kind of innocence may
be punished by way of _preventing_ crimes. I have read, indeed, of a
cruel Turk in Barbary, who, whenever he bought a new Christian slave,
ordered him immediately to be hung up by the legs, and to receive a
hundred blows of a cudgel on the soles of his feet, that the severe
sense of the punishment, and fear of incurring it thereafter, might
prevent the faults, that should merit it. Our author himself would
hardly approve entirely of this Turk's conduct in the government
of slaves; and yet he appears to recommend something like it for
the government of English subjects, when he applauds the reply of
judge Burnet to the convict horse-stealer; who, being asked what
he had to say why judgment of death should not pass against him,
and answering, that it was hard to hang a man for _only_ stealing a
horse, was told by the judge, "Man, thou art not to be hanged _only_
for stealing a horse, but that horses may not be stolen." The man's
answer, if candidly examined, will, I imagine, appear reasonable,
as being founded on the eternal principle of justice and equity,
that punishments should be proportioned to offences; and the judge's
reply brutal and unreasonable, though the writer "wishes all judges
to carry it with them whenever they go the circuit, and to bear
it in their minds, as containing a wise reason for all the penal
statutes, which they are called upon to put in execution. "It at
once illustrates," says he, "the true grounds and reasons of all
capital punishments whatsoever, namely, that every man's property,
as well as his life, may be held sacred and inviolate." Is there
then no difference in value between property and life? If I think
it right, that the crime of murder should be punished with death,
not only as an equal punishment of the crime, but to prevent other
murders, does it follow, that I must approve of inflicting the same
punishment for a little invasion on my property by theft? If I am
not myself so barbarous, so bloody-minded, and revengeful, as to
kill a fellow-creature for stealing from me fourteen shillings and
three-pence, how can I approve of a law that does it? Montesquieu,
who was himself a judge, endeavours to impress other maxims. He must
have known what humane judges feel on such occasions, and what the
effects of those feelings; and, so far from thinking that severe and
excessive punishments prevent crimes, he asserts, as quoted by our
French writer, that

"_L'atrocité des loix en empêche l'exécution._

"_L'orsque la peine est sans mesure, on est souvent obligé de lui
préférer l'impunité._

"_La cause de tous les relâchemens vient de l'impunité des crimes, et
non de la modération des peines._"

It is said by those who know Europe generally, that there are more
thefts committed and punished annually in England, than in all the
other nations put together. If this be so, there must be a cause
or causes for such depravity in our common people. May not one be
the deficiency of justice and morality in our national government,
manifested in our oppressive conduct to subjects, and unjust wars
on our neighbours? View the long-persisted in, unjust, monopolizing
treatment of Ireland, at length acknowledged! View the plundering
government exercised by our merchants in the Indies; the confiscating
war made upon the American colonies; and, to say nothing of those
upon France and Spain, view the late war upon Holland, which was
seen by impartial Europe in no other light than that of a war of
rapine and pillage; the hopes of an immense and easy prey being
its only apparent, and probably its true and real motive and
encouragement. Justice is as strictly due between neighbour nations,
as between neighbour citizens. A highwayman is as much a robber when
he plunders in a gang, as when single; and a nation, that makes
an unjust war, is only a great gang. After employing your people
in robbing the Dutch, strange is it, that, being put out of that
employ by peace, they still continue robbing, and rob one another?
_Piraterie_, as the French call it, or privateering, is the universal
bent of the English nation, at home and abroad, wherever settled. No
less than seven hundred privateers were, it is said, commissioned in
the last war! These were fitted out by merchants, to prey upon other
merchants, who had never done them any injury. Is there probably any
one of those privateering merchants of London, who were so ready to
rob the merchants of Amsterdam, that would not as readily plunder
another London merchant of the next street, if he could do it with
the same impunity! The avidity, the _alieni appetens_, is the same;
it is the fear alone of the gallows that makes the difference. How
then can a nation, which, among the honestest of its people, has so
many thieves by inclination, and whose government encouraged and
commissioned no less than seven hundred gangs of robbers; how can
such a nation have the face to condemn the crime in individuals, and
hang up twenty of them in a morning! It naturally puts one in mind
of a Newgate anecdote. One of the prisoners complained, that in the
night somebody had taken his buckles out of his shoes. "What, the
devil!" says another, "have we then _thieves_ amongst us? It must not
be suffered. Let us search out the rogue, and pump him to death."

There is, however, one late instance of an English merchant, who will
not profit by such ill-gotten gain. He was, it seems, part-owner of
a ship, which the other owners thought fit to employ as a letter of
marque, and which took a number of French prizes. The booty being
shared, he has now an agent here enquiring, by an advertisement in
the Gazette, for those who suffered the loss, in order to make them,
as far as in him lies, restitution. This conscientious man is a
Quaker. The Scotch presbyterians were formerly as tender; for there
is still extant an ordinance of the town-council of Edinburgh, made
soon after the reformation, "forbidding the purchase of prize goods,
under pain of losing the freedom of the burgh for ever, with other
punishment at the will of the magistrate; the practice of making
prizes being contrary to good conscience, and the rule of treating
Christian brethren as we would wish to be treated; and such goods
_are not to be sold by any godly men within this burgh_." The race of
these godly men in Scotland is probably extinct, or their principles
abandoned, since, as far as that nation had a hand in promoting the
war against the colonies, prizes and confiscations are believed to
have been a considerable motive.

It has been for some time a generally received opinion, that a
military man is not to inquire whether a war be just or unjust; he is
to execute his orders. All princes who are disposed to become tyrants
must probably approve of this opinion, and be willing to establish
it; but is it not a dangerous one? since, on that principle, if
the tyrant commands his army to attack and destroy, not only an
unoffending neighbour nation, but even his own subjects, the army
is bound to obey. A negro slave, in our colonies, being commanded
by his master to rob or murder a neighbour, or do any other immoral
act, may refuse, and the magistrate will protect him in his refusal.
The slavery then of a soldier is worse than that of a negro! A
conscientious officer, if not restrained by the apprehension of
its being imputed to another cause, may indeed resign, rather than
be employed in an unjust war; but the private men are slaves for
life; and they are perhaps incapable of judging for themselves. We
can only lament their fate, and still more that of a sailor, who is
often dragged by force from his honest occupation, and compelled to
imbrue his hands in, perhaps, innocent blood. But methinks it well
behoves merchants (men more enlightened by their education, and
perfectly free from any such force or obligation) to consider well
of the justice of a war, before they voluntarily engage a gang of
ruffians to attack their fellow-merchants of a neighbouring nation,
to plunder them of their property, and perhaps ruin them and their
families, if they yield it; or to wound, maim, or murder them, if
they endeavour to defend it. Yet these things are done by Christian
merchants, whether a war be just or unjust; and it can hardly be
just on both sides. They are done by English and American merchants,
who, nevertheless, complain of private theft, and hang by dozens the
thieves they have taught by their own example.

It is high time, for the sake of humanity, that a stop were put to
this enormity. The United States of America, though better situated
than any European nation to make profit by privateering (most of the
trade of Europe, with the West Indies, passing before their doors)
are, as far as in them lies, endeavouring to abolish the practice,
by offering, in all their treaties with other powers, an article,
engaging solemnly, that, in case of future war, no privateer shall
be commissioned on either side; and that unarmed merchant-ships, on
both sides, shall pursue their voyages unmolested[94]. This will be
a happy improvement of the law of nations. The humane and the just
cannot but wish general success to the proposition.

  With unchangeable esteem and affection,

  I am, my dear friend,

  Ever yours.


[93] From a small collection of Dr. Franklin's papers, printed for
Dilly. _Editor_.

[94] This offer having been accepted by the late king of Prussia, a
treaty of amity and commerce was concluded between that monarch and
the United States, containing the following humane, philanthropic
article; in the formation of which Dr. Franklin, as one of the
American plenipotentiaries, was principally concerned, viz.


If war should arise between the two contracting parties, the
merchants of either country, then residing in the other, shall be
allowed to remain nine months to collect their debts and settle
their affairs, and may depart freely, carrying off all their effects
without molestation or hindrance; and all women and children,
scholars of every faculty, cultivators of the earth, artisans,
manufacturers, and fishermen, unarmed and inhabiting unfortified
towns, villages, or places, and in general all others, whose
occupations are for the common subsistence and benefit of mankind,
shall be allowed to continue their respective employments, and shall
not be molested in their persons, nor shall their houses and goods
be burnt, or otherwise destroyed, nor their fields wasted, by the
armed force of the enemy into whose power, by the events of war, they
may happen to fall; but if any thing is necessary to be taken from
them for the use of such armed force, the same shall be paid for at
a reasonable price. And all merchant and trading vessels employed in
exchanging the products of different places, and thereby rendering
the necessaries, conveniences, and comforts of human life more easy
to be obtained, and more general, shall be allowed to pass free and
unmolested; and neither of the contracting powers shall grant or
issue any commission to any private armed vessels, empowering them to
take or destroy such trading vessels, or interrupt such commerce.

  _A Parable against Persecution, in Imitation of Scripture

1. And it came to pass after these things, that Abraham sat in the
door of his tent, about the going down of the sun.

2. And behold a man bent with age, coming from the way of the
wilderness leaning on a staff.

3. And Abraham arose, and met him, and said unto him, Turn in, I pray
thee, and wash thy feet, and tarry all night; and thou shalt arise
early in the morning, and go on thy way.

4. And the man said, Nay; for I will abide under this tree.

5. But Abraham pressed him greatly: so he turned and they went into
the tent: and Abraham baked unleaven bread, and they did eat.

6. And when Abraham saw that the man blessed not God, he said unto
him, Wherefore dost thou not worship the most high God, creator of
heaven and earth?

7. And the man answered and said, I do not worship thy God, neither
do I call upon his name, for I have made to myself a god, which
abideth always in my house, and provideth me with all things.

8. And Abraham's zeal was kindled against the man, and he arose, and
fell upon him, and drove him forth with blows into the wilderness.

9. And God called unto Abraham, saying, Abraham, where is the

10. And Abraham answered and said, Lord, he would not worship thee,
neither would he call upon thy name, therefore have I driven him out
from before my face into the wilderness.

11. And God said, Have I borne with him these hundred and ninety and
eight years, and nourished him, and clothed him, notwithstanding his
rebellion against me, and couldst not thou, who art thyself a sinner,
bear with him one night?

12. And Abraham said, Let not the anger of my Lord wax hot against
his servant; lo, I have sinned, forgive me I pray thee.

13. And Abraham arose, and went forth into the wilderness and
diligently sought for the man and found him, and returned with him to
the tent, and when he had entreated him kindly, he sent him away on
the morrow with gifts.

14. And God spake again unto Abraham saying, For this thy sin shall
thy seed be afflicted four hundred years in a strange land.

15. But for thy repentance will I deliver them, and they shall
come forth with power, and with gladness of heart, and with much


[95] I have taken this piece from Sketches of the History of Man,
written by lord Kaims, and shall preface it with his lordship's own
words. See Vol. II. p. 472, 473.

"The following Parable against Persecution was communicated to me
by Dr. Franklin of Philadelphia, a man who makes a great figure
in the learned world: and who would still make a greater figure
for benevolence and candour, were virtue as much regarded in this
declining age as knowledge."

       *       *       *       *       *

"The historical style of the Old Testament is here finely imitated;
and the moral must strike every one who is not sunk in stupidity
and superstition. Were it really a chapter of Genesis, one is apt
to think, that persecution could never have shown a bare face among
Jews or Christians. But alas! that is a vain thought. Such a passage
in the Old Testament would avail as little against the rancorous
passions of men, as the following passages in the New Testament,
though persecution cannot be condemned in terms more explicit.
_Him that is weak in the faith, receive you, but not to doubtful
disputations. For, &c._" B. V.

[96] Dr. Franklin, as I have been told, has often imposed this
parable upon his friends and acquaintance, as part of a chapter of
Genesis. B. V.

  _A Letter concerning Persecution in former Ages, the Maintenance of
  the Clergy, American Bishops, and the State of Toleration in Old
  England and New England compared[97]._


I understand from the public papers, that in the debates on the
bill for relieving the dissenters in the point of subscription to
the church articles, sundry reflections were thrown out against
the people, importing, that they themselves are of a persecuting
intolerant spirit, for that when they had the superiority, they
persecuted the church, and still persecute it in America, where they
compel its members to pay taxes for maintaining the presbyterian or
independent worship, and at the same time refuse them a toleration
in the full exercise of their religion, by the administrations of a

If we look back into history for the character of the present sects
in Christianity, we shall find few that have not, in their turns,
been persecutors and complainers of persecution. The primitive
christians thought persecution extremely wrong in the pagans, but
practised it on one another. The first protestants of the church of
England blamed persecution in the Romish church, but practised it
against the puritans: these found it wrong in the bishops, but fell
into the same practice both here and in New England.--To account
for this, we should remember, that the doctrine of _toleration_ was
not then known, or had not prevailed in the world. Persecution was
therefore not so much the fault of the sect as of the times. It was
not in those days deemed wrong _in itself_. The general opinion
was only, that those _who are in error_ ought not to persecute
_the truth_: but the _possessors of truth_ were in the right to
persecute error, in order to destroy it. Thus every sect believing
itself possessed of _all truth_, and that every tenet differing from
theirs was _error_, conceived, that when the power was in their
hands, persecution was a duty required of them by that God whom they
supposed to be offended with heresy.--By degrees, more moderate _and
more modest_ sentiments have taken place in the christian world;
and among protestants particularly, all disclaim persecution, none
vindicate it, and few practise it.--We should then cease to reproach
each other with what was done by our ancestors, but judge of the
present character of sects or churches by their _present conduct_

Now to determine on the justice of this charge against the present
dissenters, particularly those in America, let us consider the
following facts. They went from England to establish a new country
for themselves, _at their own expence_, where they might enjoy
the free exercise of religion in their own way. When they had
purchased the territory of the natives, they granted the lands out
in townships, requiring for it neither purchase-money nor quit-rent,
but this condition only to be complied with, that the freeholders
should support a gospel-minister (meaning probably one of the then
governing sects) and a free-school, within the township. Thus,
what is commonly called presbyterianism became the _established
religion_ of that country. All went on well in this way, while the
same religious opinions were general, the support of minister and
school being raised by a proportionate tax on the lands. But, in
process of time, some becoming quakers[99], some baptists, and of
late years, some returning to the church of England (through the
laudable endeavours and a _proper application_[100] of their funds
by the society for propagating the gospel), objections were made
to the payment of a tax appropriated to the support of a church
they disapproved and had forsaken. The civil magistrates, however,
continued for a time to collect and apply the tax according to the
original laws, which remained in force; and they did it the more
freely as thinking it just and equitable, that the holders of lands
should pay what was contracted to be paid when they were granted, as
the only consideration for the grant, and what had been considered by
all subsequent purchasers as a perpetual incumbrance on the estate,
bought therefore at a proportionally cheaper rate; a payment which,
it was thought, no honest man ought to avoid, under pretence of his
having changed his religious persuasion: and this, I suppose, is one
of the best grounds of demanding tythes of dissenters now in England.
But the practice being clamoured against by the episcopalians as
persecution, the legislature of the province of Massachusets Bay,
near thirty years since, passed an act for their relief, requiring,
indeed, the tax to be paid as usual, but directing that the several
sums, levied from members of the church of England, should be paid
over to the minister of that church with whom such members usually
attended divine worship; which minister had power given him to
receive, and, on occasion, _to recover the same by law_.

It seems that legislature considered, that the end of the
tax was to secure and improve the morals of the people, and promote
their happiness, by supporting among them the public worship of God
and the preaching of the gospel; that where particular people fancied
a particular mode, that mode might probably, therefore, be of most
use to those people, and that if the good was done, it was not so
material in what mode or by whom it was done. The consideration, that
their brethren, the dissenters in England, were still compelled to
pay tythes to the clergy of the church, had not weight enough with
the legislature to prevent this moderate act, which still continues
in full force; and I hope no uncharitable conduct of the church
toward the dissenters will ever provoke them to repeal it.----

With regard to _a bishop_, I know not upon what ground the
dissenters, either here or in America, are charged with refusing the
benefit of such an officer to the church in that country. _Here_
they seem to have naturally no concern in the affair. _There_ they
have no power to prevent it, if government should think fit to send
one. They would probably _dislike_, indeed, to see an order of
men established among them, from whose persecutions their fathers
fled into that wilderness, and whose future domination they might
possibly fear, _not knowing that their natures are changed_.--But the
non-appointment of bishops for America seems to arise from another
quarter. The same wisdom of government, probably, that prevents the
sitting of convocations, and forbids, by _noli prosequi's_, the
persecution of dissenters for non-subscription, avoids establishing
bishops, where the minds of people are not yet prepared to receive
them cordially, lest the public peace should be endangered.

And now let us see how this _persecution-account_ stands between the

In New England, where the legislative bodies are almost to a man
dissenters from the church of England:

1. There is no test to prevent churchmen holding offices.

2. The sons of churchmen have the full benefit of the universities.

3. The taxes for support of public worship, when paid by churchmen,
are given to the episcopal minister.

In Old England:

1. Dissenters are excluded from all offices of profit and honour.

2. The benefits of education in the universities are appropriated to
the sons of churchmen.

3. The clergy of the dissenters receive none of the tythes paid by
their people, who must be at the additional charge of maintaining
their own separate worship.--

But it is said, that the dissenters of America _oppose_ the
introduction of a bishop.

In fact, it is not alone the dissenters there that give the
opposition (if _not encouraging_ must be termed _opposing_) but
the laity in general dislike the project, and some even of the
clergy. The inhabitants of Virginia are almost all episcopalians,
the church is fully established there, and the council and general
assembly are, perhaps to a man, its members: yet, when lately at
a meeting of the clergy, a resolution was taken to apply for a
bishop, against which several however protested; assembly of the
province, at the next meeting, expressed their disapprobation of the
thing in the strongest manner, by unanimously ordering the thanks
of the house to the protesters; for many of the American laity of
the church think it some advantage--whether their own young men
come to England for ordination, and improve themselves at the same
time by conversation with the learned here--or the congregations
are supplied by Englishmen, who have had the benefit of education
in English universities, and are ordained before they came abroad.
They do not, therefore, see the necessity of a bishop merely for
ordination; and confirmation is among them deemed a ceremony of no
very great importance, since few seek it in England, where bishops
are in plenty.--These sentiments prevail with many churchmen there,
not to promote a design which they think must sooner or later saddle
them with great expences to support it.--As to the dissenters, their
minds might probably be more conciliated to the measure, if the
bishops here should, in their wisdom and goodness, think fit to set
their sacred character in a more friendly light, by dropping their
opposition to the dissenters' application for relief in subscription,
and declaring their willingness that dissenters should be capable of
offices, enjoy the benefit of education in the universities, and the
privilege of appropriating their tythes to the support of their own
clergy. In all these points of toleration, they appear far behind
the present dissenters of New England, and it may seem to some a
step below the dignity of bishops, to follow the example of such
inferiors. I do not, however, despair of their doing it some time
or other, since nothing of the kind is too hard for _true christian

  I am, sir, yours, &c.



[97] The above letter first appeared in one of the public papers on
June 3, 1772, and seems to have been addressed to the printer. The
spirited writer of the _Two letters to the prelates_ republished
it in an appendix to that pamphlet, without, however, naming Dr.
Franklin as the author, but expressing it to be the production "of a
gentleman highly respected in the literary world." B. V.

[98] "Toleration in religion, though obvious to common understanding,
was not however the production of reason, but of commerce. The
advantage of toleration for promoting commerce was discovered long
before by the Portuguese. They were too zealous Catholics to venture
so bold a measure in Portugal; but it was permitted in Goa, and the
inquisition in that town was confined to Roman Catholics." Lord
Kaim's Sketches of the History of Man, Vol. II. p. 474. B. V.

[99] "No person appeared in New England who professed the opinion
of the Quakers, until 1656, (i. e. about 36 years after the first
settling of the colony), when Mary Fisher and Ann Austin came from
Barbadoes; and soon after, nine others arrived in the ship Speedwell
from London." They were successful in their preaching, and the
provincial government, wishing to keep the colony free from them,
attempted to send away such as they discovered, and prevent the
arrival of others. Securities, fines, banishment, imprisonment, and
corporal punishments were instituted for this purpose, but with so
little effect, that at last "a law was made for punishing with death,
all such as should _return_ into the jurisdiction _after banishment_.
A few were hanged!" See the history of the British dominions, 4to,
1773, p. 118, 120. B. V.

[100] They were to spread the gospel, and maintain a learned and
orthodox clergy, where ministers were wanted or ill-provided,
administering God's word and sacraments, and preventing atheism,
infidelity, popery, and idolatry. B. V.

  _On the Slave Trade[101]._

Reading in the newspapers the speech of Mr. Jackson in congress,
against meddling with the affair of slavery, or attempting to mend
the condition of slaves, it put me in mind of a similar speech, made
about one hundred years since, by Sidi Mehemet Ibrahim, a member
of the divan of Algiers, which may be seen in Martin's account of
his consulship, 1687. It was against granting the petition of the
sect called erika, or purists, who prayed for the abolition of
piracy and slavery, as being unjust.--Mr. Jackson does not quote it;
perhaps he has not seen it. If therefore, some of its reasonings are
to be found in his eloquent speech, it may only show, that men's
interests operate, and are operated on, with surprising similarity,
in all countries and climates, whenever they are under similar
circumstances. The African speech, as translated, is as follows:

"Alla Bismillah, &c. God is great, and Mahomet is his prophet.

"Have these erika considered the consequences of granting their
petition? If we cease our cruises against the christians, how shall
we be furnished with the commodities their countries produce,
and which are so necessary for us? If we forbear to make slaves
of their people, who, in this hot climate, are to cultivate our
lands? Who are to perform the common labours of our city, and of
our families? Must we not then be our own slaves? And is there not
more compassion and more favour due to us mussulmen, than to those
christian dogs?--We have now above fifty thousand slaves in and near
Algiers. This number, if not kept up by fresh supplies, will soon
diminish, and be gradually annihilated. If, then, we cease taking
and plundering the infidel ships, and making slaves of the seamen
and passengers, our lands will become of no value, for want of
cultivation; the rents of houses in the city will sink one half; and
the revenues of government, arising from the share of prizes, must be
totally destroyed.--And for what? To gratify the whim of a whimsical
sect, who would have us not only forbear making more slaves, but even
manumit those we have. But who is to indemnify their masters for the
loss? Will the state do it? Is our treasury sufficient? Will the
erika do it? Can they do it? Or would they, to do what they think
justice to the slaves, do a greater injustice to the owners? And if
we set our slaves free, what is to be done with them? Few of them
will return to their native countries; they know too well the greater
hardships they must there be subject to. They will not embrace our
holy religion: they will not adopt our manners: our people will not
pollute themselves by intermarrying with them. Must we maintain them
as beggars in our streets; or suffer our properties to be the prey
of their pillage? for men, accustomed to slavery, will not work for
a livelihood, when not compelled.--And what is there so pitiable
in their present condition? Were they not slaves in their own
countries? Are not Spain, Portugal, France, and the Italian states,
governed by despots, who hold all their subjects in slavery, without
exception? Even England treats her sailors as slaves, for they are,
whenever the government pleases, seized and confined in ships of war,
condemned not only to work, but to fight for small wages, or a mere
subsistence, not better than our slaves are allowed by us. Is their
condition then made worse by their falling into our hands? no; they
have only exchanged one slavery for another; and I may say a better:
for here they are brought into a land, where the sun of islamism
gives forth its light, and shines in full splendor, and they have an
opportunity of making themselves acquainted with the true doctrine,
and thereby saving their immortal souls. Those who remain at home
have not that happiness. Sending the slaves home then, would be
sending them out of light into darkness.

"I repeat the question, what is to be done with them? I have heard
it suggested, that they may be planted in the wilderness, where
there is plenty of land for them to subsist on, and where they may
flourish as a free state.--But they are, I doubt, too little disposed
to labour without compulsion, as well as too ignorant to establish
good government: and the wild Arabs would soon molest and destroy, or
again enslave them. While serving us, we take care to provide them
with every thing; and they are treated with humanity. The labourers
in their own countries are, as I am informed, worse fed, lodged,
and clothed. The condition of most of them is therefore already
mended, and requires no farther improvement. Here their lives are in
safety. They are not liable to be impressed for soldiers, and forced
to cut one another's christian throats, as in the wars of their
own countries. If some of the religious mad bigots, who now tease
us with their silly petitions, have, in a fit of blind zeal, freed
their slaves, it was not generosity, it was not humanity, that moved
them to the action; it was from the conscious burthen of a load of
sins, and hope, from the supposed merits of so good a work, to be
excused from damnation.--How grossly are they mistaken, in imagining
slavery to be disavowed by the Alcoran! Are not the two precepts, to
quote no more, "Masters, treat your slaves with kindness--Slaves,
serve your masters with cheerfulness and fidelity," clear proofs to
the contrary? Nor can the plundering of infidels be in that sacred
book forbidden; since it is well known from it, that God has given
the world, and all that it contains, to his faithful mussulmen, who
are to enjoy it, of right, as fast as they can conquer it. Let us
then hear no more of this detestable proposition, the manumission
of christian slaves, the adoption of which would, by depreciating
our lands and houses, and thereby depriving so many good citizens
of their properties, create universal discontent, and provoke
insurrections, to the endangering of government and producing general
confusion. I have, therefore, no doubt that this wise council will
prefer the comfort and happiness of a whole nation of true believers,
to the whim of a few erika, and dismiss their petition."

The result was, as Martin tells us, that the divan came to this
resolution: "That the doctrine, that the plundering and enslaving the
christians is unjust, is at best problematical; but that it is the
interest of this state to continue the practice is clear; therefore,
let the petition be rejected."----And it was rejected accordingly.

And since like motives are apt to produce, in the minds of men,
like opinions and resolutions, may we not venture to predict, from
this account, that the petitions to the parliament of England for
abolishing the slave-trade, to say nothing of other legislatures and
the debates upon them, will have a similar conclusion.


  _March 23, 1790._


[101] American Museum, Vol. IX. p. 336. _Editor._

  _Account of the highest Court of Judicature in Pensylvania, viz.
  The Court of the Press[102]._

  _Power of this Court._

It may receive and promulgate accusations of all kinds, against all
persons and characters among the citizens of the state, and even
against all inferior courts; and may judge, sentence, and condemn to
infamy, not only private individuals, but public bodies, &c. with or
without enquiry or hearing, at the court's discretion.

_Whose Favour, or for whose Emolument this Court is established._

In favour of about one citizen in five hundred, who, by education, or
practice in scribbling, has acquired a tolerable style as to grammar
and construction, so as to bear printing; or who is possessed of a
press and a few types. This five hundredth part of the citizens have
the privilege of accusing and abusing the other four hundred and
ninety-nine parts, at their pleasure; or they may hire out their
pens and press to others, for that purpose.

_Practice of this Court._

It is not governed by any of the rules of the common courts of
law. The accused is allowed no grand jury to judge of the truth of
the accusation before it is publicly made; nor is the name of the
accuser made known to him; nor has he an opportunity of confronting
the witnesses against him, for they are kept in the dark, as in the
Spanish court of inquisition. Nor is there any petty jury of his
peers sworn to try the truth of the charges. The proceedings are also
sometimes so rapid, that an honest good citizen may find himself
suddenly and unexpectedly accused, and in the same morning judged and
condemned, and sentence pronounced against him, that he is a rogue
and a villain. Yet if an officer of this court receives the slightest
check for misconduct in this his office, he claims immediately the
rights of a free citizen by the constitution, and demands to know his
accuser, to confront the witnesses, and to have a fair trial by a
jury of his peers.

_Foundation of its Authority._

It is said to be founded on an article in the state constitution,
which establishes the liberty of the press--a liberty which every
Pennsylvanian would fight and die for, though few of us, I believe,
have distinct ideas of its nature and extent. It seems, indeed,
somewhat like the liberty of the press, that felons have, by the
common law of England, before conviction; that is, to be either
pressed to death or hanged. If, by the liberty of the press, were
understood merely the liberty of discussing the propriety of public
measures and political opinions, let us have as much of it as you
please; but if it means the liberty of affronting, calumniating, and
defaming one another, I, for my part, own myself willing to part with
my share of it, whenever our legislators shall please so to alter the
law; and shall cheerfully consent to exchange my liberty of abusing
others, for the privilege of not being abused myself.

_By whom this Court is commissioned or constituted._

It is not by any commission from the supreme executive council, who
might previously judge of the abilities, integrity, knowledge, &c.
of the persons to be appointed to this great trust, of deciding upon
the characters and good fame of the citizens: for this court is above
that council, and may accuse, judge, and condemn it at pleasure.
Nor is it hereditary, as is the court of dernier resort in the
peerage of England. But any man who can procure pen, ink, and paper,
with a press, a few types, and a huge pair of blacking balls, may
commissionate himself, and his court is immediately established in
the plenary possession and exercise of its rights. For if you make
the least complaint of the judge's conduct, he daubs his blacking
balls in your face wherever he meets you; and, besides tearing your
private character to splinters, marks you out for the odium of the
public, as an enemy to the liberty of the press.

_Of the natural Support of this Court._

Its support is founded in the depravity of such minds, as have not
been mended by religion, nor improved by good education.

    There is a lust in man no charm can tame,
    Of loudly publishing his neighbour's shame.


    On eagles' wings, immortal scandals fly,
    While virtuous actions are but born and die.----DRYDEN.

Whoever feels pain in hearing a good character of his neighbour, will
feel a pleasure in the reverse. And of those who, despairing to rise
to distinction by their virtues, are happy if others can be depressed
to a level with themselves, there are a number sufficient in every
great town to maintain one of these courts by their subscription. A
shrewd observer once said, that in walking the streets of a slippery
morning, one might see where the good-natured people lived, by the
ashes thrown on the ice before the doors: probably he would have
formed a different conjecture of the temper of those whom he might
find engaged in such subscriptions.

_Of the Checks proper to be established against the Abuses of Power
in those Courts._

Hitherto there are none. But since so much has been written and
published on the federal constitution; and the necessity of checks,
in all other parts of good government, has been so clearly and
learnedly explained, I find myself so far enlightened as to suspect
some check may be proper in this part also: but I have been at a
loss to imagine any, that may not be construed an infringement of
the sacred liberty of the press. At length, however, I think I have
found one, that, instead of diminishing general liberty, shall
augment it; which is, by restoring to the people a species of liberty
of which they have been deprived by our laws, I mean the liberty of
the cudgel! In the rude state of society, prior to the existence
of laws, if one man gave another ill-language, the affronted person
might return it by a box on the ear; and if repeated, by a good
drubbing; and this without offending against any law: but now the
right of making such returns is denied, and they are punished as
breaches of the peace, while the right of abusing seems to remain in
full force; the laws made against it being rendered ineffectual by
the liberty of the press.

My proposal then is, to leave the liberty of the press untouched, to
be exercised in its full extent, force, and vigour, but to permit the
liberty of the cudgel to go with it, _pari passu_. Thus, my fellow
citizens, if an impudent writer attacks your reputation--dearer
perhaps to you than your life, and puts his name to the charge, you
may go to him as openly, and break his head. If he conceals himself
behind the printer, and you can nevertheless discover who he is, you
may, in like manner, way-lay him in the night, attack him behind, and
give him a good drubbing. If your adversary hires better writers than
himself to abuse you more effectually, you may hire brawny porters,
stronger than yourself, to assist you in giving him a more effectual
drubbing. Thus far goes my project, as to _private_ resentment and
retribution. But if the public should ever happen to be affronted, as
it ought to be, with the conduct of such writers, I would not advise
proceeding immediately to these extremities, but that we should in
moderation content ourselves with tarring and feathering, and tossing
them in a blanket.

If, however, it should be thought, that this proposal of mine may
disturb the public peace, I would then humbly recommend to our
legislators to take up the consideration of both liberties, that of
the press, and that of the cudgel; and by an explicit law mark their
extent and limits: and at the same time that they secure the person
of a citizen from assaults, they would likewise provide for the
security of his reputation.


[102] Ut supra, Vol. VI. p. 295. _Editor._



  _Ivy-Lane, Paternoster-Row._



  _Accent_, or emphasis, wrong placing of, a fault in modern tunes, ii. 345.

  _Accidents_ at sea, how to guard against, ii. 172.

  _Adams_, Mr. Matthew, offers the use of his library to Franklin, i. 16.

  _Addison_, Franklin an assiduous imitator of, in his youth, i. 13.

  _Advice_ to youth in reading, ii. 378.
      to emigrants to America, iii. 398.
      to a crafty statesman, 430.
      to a young tradesman, 463.
      to a young married man, 477.
      to players at chess, 490.

  _Æpinus_, his hypothesis of magnetism, i. 412.

  _Agriculture_ takes place of manufactures till a country is fully settled,
               iii. 107.
      the great business of America, 393.

  _Air_, some of the properties of, ii. 226.
      its properties with respect to electricity, i. 204.
      properties of its particles, 205. ii. 1.
      its currents over the globe, i. 207.
      resists the electric fluid and confines it to bodies, 241.
      its effects in electrical experiments, 253.
      its elasticity not affected by electricity, 254.
      its friction against trees, 270, 323.
      has its share of electricity, 333.
      its electricity denser above than below, 335.
      in rooms, electrified positively and negatively, 353.
      attracts water, ii. 1.
      when saturated with water precipitates it, 2.
      dissolves water, and, when dry, oil, 4.
      why suffocating, when impregnated with oil or grease, _ibid._
      supports water, 5, 46, 49.
      why less heated in the higher regions than near the earth's surface,
      how it creates hurricanes, _ibid._
          winds, 8.
          whirlwinds, 10.
      effects of heat upon, 50.
      its effects on the barometer, 92.
      condensed, supposed to form the centre of the earth, 119, 127.
      noxious, corrected by vegetation, 129.
      observations on the free use of, 213.
      rare, no bad conductor of sound, 337.
      fresh, beneficial effects of, in bed-rooms, iii. 495.

  _Air-thermometer_, electrical, experiments with, i. 336.

  _Albany_ plan of union, short account of, i. 127.
      its singular fate, 129.
      papers relating to, iii. 3.
      motives on which formed, 4.
      rejects partial unions, 6.
      its president and grand council, 9.
      election of members, 12.
      place of first meeting, 13.
      new election, _ibid._
      proportion of members after three years, 15.
      meetings of the grand council and call, 16.
      allowance to members, 17.
      power of president and his duty, 18.
      treaties of peace and war, _ibid._
      Indian trade and purchases, 19.
      new settlements, 21.
      military establishments, 23.
      laws and taxes, 24, 26.
      issuing of money, 25.
      appointment of officers, 27.
      rejected in England, 29.

  _Almanack._ _See Poor Richard._

  _Alphabet_, a new one proposed, ii. 357.
      examples of writing in it, 360.
      correspondence on its merits, 361.

  _Amber_, electrical experiments on, i. 403.

  _America_, North, air of, drier than that of England and France, ii. 140.
      why marriages are more frequent there than in Europe, 385.
      why labour will long continue dear there, _ibid._
      argument against the union of the colonies of, under one government,
      state of toleration there, 457.
      reflections on the scheme of imposing taxes on, without its consent,
               iii. 30.
      thoughts on the representation of, in the British parliament, 37.
      interest of Great Britain with regard to, 39.
      forts in the back settlements of, no security against France, 99.
      wars carried on there against the French, not merely in the cause of
               the colonies, 105.
      preference of the colonies of, to the West Indian colonies, 113.
      great navigable rivers of, favourable to inland trade, 118.
      what commodities the inland parts of, are fitted to produce, 119.
      the productions of, do not interfere with those of Britain, 123.
      union of the colonies of, in a revolt against Britain, impossible but
               from grievous oppression, 132.
      reasons given for restraining paper-bills of credit there, 144.
      intended scheme of a bank there, described, 155.
      attempts of Franklin for conciliation of Britain with, 286.
      feeling of, as to Britain, in May 1775, 346.
      conciliation of Britain with, hopeless, 355.
      account of the first campaign of the British forces against, 357.
      application of, to foreign courts, for aid in its independence, 360.
      credit of, with that of Britain, in 1777, compared, 372.
      true description of the interest and policy of, 391.
      information to those emigrating thither, 398.
      terms on which land may be obtained for new settlements there, 409.

  _Americans_, their prejudices for whatever is English, i. 144.

  _Anchor_, a swimming one proposed, ii. 181, 185.

  _Ancients_, their experimental learning too often slighted, ii. 146.

  _Anecdote_ of Franklin's early spirit of enterprise, i. 11.
      of a Swedish clergyman among the Indians, iii. 386.
      of an Indian who went to church, 389.

  _Animal_ food, Franklin's abstinence from, i. 20.
      return to, 47.
      humorous instance of abstinence from, 49.
      heat, whence it arises, ii. 79, 125.
      magnetism, detected and exposed, i. 150.

  _Animalcules_, supposed to cause the luminous appearance of sea-water,
               ii. 89.

  _Animals_, how to kill them by electricity, i. 415.

  _Antifederalists_ of America, comparison of, to the ancient Jews,
               iii. 410.

  _Apprentices_ easier placed out in America than in Europe, iii. 407.
      indentures of, how made in America, 408.

  _Argumentation_, bad effects of, as a habit, i. 17.
      best method of, 22.

  _Armies_, best means of supporting them, ii. 400.

  _Armonica_, musical instrument so called, described, ii. 330.
      manner of playing on it, 334.

  _Asbestos_, specimen of, sold by Franklin to Sir Hans Sloane, i. 60.
      letter relating to it, iii. 513.

  _Astrology_, letter to the Busy-body on, iii. 448.

  _Atmosphere_ sometimes denser above than below, ii. 6.
      electrical, its properties, i. 294.

  _Aurora borealis_ explained, i. 212.
      conjectures respecting, 257, ii. 69.
      query concerning, i. 293.


  _Badoin_, Mr. letters from, i. 314, 324.

  _Ballads_, two, written by Franklin in his youth, i. 16.

  _Balls_ of fire in the air, remark concerning, ii. 337.

  _Barometer_, how acted on by air, ii. 92.

  _Barrels_ for gunpowder, new sort proposed, i. 376.

  _Bass_, unnecessary in some tunes, ii. 343.

  _Bathing_ relieves thirst, ii. 104.
      observations on, 211.

  _Battery_, electrical, its construction, i. 193.

  _Baxter_, Mr. observations on his enquiry into the nature of the soul,
               ii. 110.

  _Beccaria_, character of his book on electricity, i. 310.

  _Beer_, not conducive to bodily strength, i. 62.

  _Bells_, form in consecrating them at Paris, i. 384.

  _Belly-ache_, dry, lead a cause of, ii. 220.

  _Bermuda_, little thunder there, i. 216.

  _Bermudian_ sloops, advantages of their construction, ii. 173.

  _Bernoulli_, Mr. his plan for moving boats, ii. 179.

  _Bevis_, Dr. draws electricity from the clouds, i. 429.

  _Bible_, anecdote of its concealment in the reign of Mary, i. 7.
      travestied by Dr. Brown, 31.

  _Bills_ of mortality, reasonings, formed on those for capital cities,
               not applicable to the country, ii. 383.

  _Birth_, noble, no qualification in America, iii. 400.

  _Bishops_, none in America, and why, ii. 456, 458.

  _Black clothes_ heat more and dry sooner than white, ii. 108.
      not fit for hot climates, 109.

  _Blacksmith_, trade of, hereditary in Franklin's family, i. 4.

  _Blindness_ occasioned both by lightning and electricity, i. 228.

  _Boats_, difference of their sailing in shoal and deep water, ii. 160.
      management of, best understood by savages, 176.
      how rowed by the Chinese, 177.
      methods of moving them by machinery, _ibid._
      improvement of Mr. Bernoulli's plan for moving them, 179.
      proposal for a new mode of moving them, _ibid._
      double, advantage of, 173, 174.
      one built by Sir W. Petty, _ibid._

  _Bodies_, electrified negatively, repel each other, ii. 294.
      effect of blunt, compared with pointed ones, i. 172, 223.

  _Body_, human, specifically lighter than water, ii. 208.
      political and human, compared, iii. 115.

  _Boerhaave_, his opinion of the propagation of heat, ii. 58.
      of steam from fermenting liquors, 59.

  _Boiling_ water, experiments with, i. 332, 344, 345.
      pot, bottom of, why cold, 387.

  _Bolton_, Mr. experiment by, i. 346.

  _Books_ read by Franklin in his youth, i. 15, 18, 20, 21.

  _Boston_, the birth-place of Franklin, i. 8.
      why quitted by him in his youth, 27,
      its inhabitants decrease, ii. 210.
      preface to proceedings of the town meeting of, iii. 317.

  _Boyle's_ lectures, effect of, on Franklin, i. 79.

  _Braddock_, general, defeat of, i. 131.

  _Bradford_, printer at Philadelphia, i. 34, 102.

  _Brass_, hot, yields unwholesome steams, ii. 249

  _Brientnal_, Joseph, a member of the Junto club, i. 83.

  _Brimstone_, when fluid, will conduct electricity, i. 256.

  _Bristol waters_, an alledged fact concerning, ii. 95.

  _Britain_, incapacity of, to supply the colonies with manufactures,
               ii. 386.

  _British empire_, an union of several states, iii. 310.

  _Brown_, Dr. acquaintance of Franklin's, i. 30.
      travestied the bible, 31.

  _Bubbles_ on the surface of water, hypothesis respecting, ii. 48.

  _Buchan_, earl of, letter to, on the price of land for new settlements
               in America, iii. 409.

  _Buildings_, what kind safest from lightning, i. 379.

  _Bullion_, causes of its variation in price, iii. 153.

  _Bunyan's_ Voyages, a book early read by Franklin, i. 15, 28.

  _Bur_, cause of, round a hole struck through pasteboard, i. 280.

  _Burnet_, governor, his attention to Franklin in his youth, i. 44.

  _Busy-body_, essays under the title of, i. 86. iii. 422.


  _Cabinet-work_, veneered in England, shrinks and flies in America,
               ii. 140.

  _Cables_, why apt to part when weighing anchor in a swell, ii. 167.
      this defect of, remedied, 168.

  _Cabot_, Sebastian, his commission from Henry VII., iii. 348.

  _Calvinism_, Franklin educated in the principles of, i. 79.

  _Campaign_ in America, account of the first, iii. 357.

  _Canals_, observations on their depth, ii. 159.

  _Canada_, importance of, to England, i. 136.
      visited by Franklin, 147.
      its extent, iii. 20.
      pamphlet on the importance of, 89.
      easily peopled without draining Britain, 139.

  _Cancers_, specific for, i. 260, 261.

  _Candles_ lighted by electricity, i. 176.
      distance at which the flame of, may be seen, ii. 90.

  _Cann_, silver, a singular experiment on, i. 307.

  _Canoes_ of the American Indians, their advantages, ii. 176.

  _Canton_, Mr. John, experiments by, i. 286, 346.
      draws electricity from the clouds, 428.

  _Capitals_, their use in printing, ii. 352.

  _Caribbees_, possession of, only a temporary benefit, iii. 142.

  _Carolina_, South, see _Lightning_.

  _Cavendish_, lord Charles, his electrical experiments, i. 348.

  _Cayenne_ would be a great acquisition to Britain, iii. 140.

  _Centre_ of the earth, hypothesis concerning, ii. 119, 127.

  _Cessions_ from an enemy, on what grounds may be demanded, iii. 93.

  _Chapel_, nickname for a printing house, i. 63.

  _Character_, remarks on the delineation of, iii. 445.

  _Charcoal-fires_, hurtful, ii. 235.

  _Charging_ and discharging, in electricity, explained, i. 190.
      a number of bottles at once, how done, _ibid._

  _Charters_ of the colonies could not be altered by parliament, iii. 332.

  _Chess_, morals of, iii. 488.
      not an idle amusement, _ibid._
      teaches various virtues, 489.
      advice to those who play, 490.
      too intense an application to, injurious, 500.

  _Chimnies_, different kinds of, enumerated, ii. 228.
      inconvenience of the old-fashioned ones, 229.
      defect of more modern ones, 230.
      have not long been in use in England, 277.
      Staffordshire, described, 285.
      have a draft of air up and down, 289.
      may be used for keeping provisions in summer, 290.
      may be of use to miners, 291.
      funnels to, what the best, 292, 295.
      method of contracting them, 317.
      smoky. See _Smoky_.

  _China_, provision made there against famine, ii. 407.

  _Chinese_ wisely divide the holds of their vessels by partitions, ii. 171.
      how they row their boats, 177.
      their method of warming ground floors, 292.
      improvement in this method suggested, 293.
      their method of making large paper, 349.

  _Circle_, magical, account of, ii. 327, 328.

  _Cities_, spring water gradually deteriorates in, i. 163.
      do not supply themselves with inhabitants, ii. 384.

  _Clark_, Dr. of Boston, quoted, on the instigation of the American
               Indians against the English, iii. 95, 100, 102.

  _Clothes_, wet, may preserve from lightning, i. 213.
          will relieve thirst, ii. 104.
          do not give colds, _ibid._
      imbibe heat according to their colour, 108.
      white, most suitable for hot climates, _ibid._

  _Clothing_ does not give, but preserves, warmth, ii. 81.

  _Clouds_, at land and at sea, difference between, i. 207.
      formed at sea, how brought to rain on land, 208.
          driven against mountains, form springs and rivers, 209.
      passing different ways, accounted for, 211.
      electrical, attracted by trees, spires, &c. 213.
      manner in which they become electrised, 257, 305.
      are electrised sometimes negatively and sometimes positively, 274,
               277, 284, 292.
      electricity drawn from them, at Marly, 420.
          by Mr. Cauton, 428.
          by Dr. Bevis, 429,
          by Mr. Wilson, _ibid._
      how supported in air, ii. 5.
      how formed, 7.
      whether winds are generated or can be confined in them, 57.
      have little more solidity than fogs, _ibid._

  _Club_, called the Junto, instituted by Franklin, i. 82.
      rules of, ii. 366, 369.
      questions discussed in, 369.

  _Coal_, sea, letter on the nature of, ii. 128.

  _Cold_, why seemingly greater in metals than in wood, ii. 56, 77.
      sensation of, how produced, 57.
      only the absence of heat, 81.
      produced by chemical mixtures, _ibid._
          evaporation. See _Evaporation_.

  _Colden_, Mr. his remarks on Abbé Nollet's letters, i. 430.
      meteorological observations, ii. 51.
      observations on water-spouts, 53.

  _Colds_, causes of, ii. 214, 230.

  _Coleman_, William, a member of the Junto club, i. 84, 89.

  _Colica pictorum_, caused by lead, ii. 219.

  _Collins_, John, an early friend of Franklin's, i. 17, 27, 41, 43, 44.

  _Collinson_, Mr. some account of, iii. 514.

  _Colonial_ governments in America of three kinds, iii. 50.

  _Colonies_, the settlement of, does not diminish national numbers,
               ii. 391.
      their prosperity beneficial to the mother country, iii. 113.
      are intitled to distinct governments, 303.
      American, preferable to the West Indies, _ibid._
          not dangerous to Britain, 132.
          aids to government, how given by, 225, 226.
          originally governed by the crown, independent of Parliament,
          not settled at the expence of Britain, 348.

  _Colonists_ in America, double their number in 25 years, iii. 113.
      from Britain, their rights, 299.

  _Colours._ See _Clothes_.

  _Comazants_, or corposants, are electrical appearances, i. 248.

  _Commerce_, influence of, on the manners of a people, ii. 400.
      is best encouraged by being left free, 415.
      should not be prohibited in time of war, 417.
      by inland carriage, how supported, iii. 116.

  _Common-sense_, by Paine, Franklin supposed to have contributed to,
               i. 148.

  _Compass_, instances of its losing its virtue by lightning, i. 248.
      how to remedy the want of, at sea, ii. 191.

  _Conductors_ of lightning, very common in America, i. 113.
          first suggestion of the utility of, 227.
          construction of, 358.
          particulars relating to, 377.
      of electricity, difference in the action of, 200, 303.
          which the most perfect, 253, 256.
      and non-conductors, other terms substituted for, _ibid._
      of common fire, their properties and differences, ii. 76, 77.
          experiments on, ii. 77.

  _Congress_, Franklin appointed a delegate to, i. 146.
      proposed overture from, in 1775, iii. 347.

  _Consecration_ of bells in France, form of, i. 384.

  _Conspirators_, electrical, meaning of the term, i. 196.

  _Controversy_, benefit of, iii. 92.

  _Conversation_, advantage of useful topics of, at dinner, i. 12.

  _Cook_, captain, circular letter concerning, iii. 515.
      copy of the voyages of, presented to Franklin, by the Admiralty, 517.

  Cookery, at sea, generally bad, ii. 194.

  _Copper_, manner of covering houses with, ii. 318, 320, 322.

  _Copper_ plate printing-press, the first in America, constructed by
               Franklin, i. 77.

  _Corn_, ill policy of laying restraints on the exportation of, ii. 413,

  _Countries_, distant and unprovided, a plan for benefiting, ii. 403.

  _Creation_, conjectures as to, ii. 118.

  _Credit_, that of America and Britain in 1777, compared, iii. 372.
      depends on payment of loans, 373.
         industry and frugality, 374.
         public spirit, 375.
         income and security, 376.
         prospects of future ability, _ibid._
         prudence, 377.
         character for honesty, 378.
      is money to a tradesman, 464.

  _Criminal_ laws, reflections on, ii. 439.

  _Crooked_ direction of lightning explained, i. 316.

  _Cutler_, circumstance that prevented Franklin's being apprenticed to
               one, i. 14.

  _Currents_ at sea, often not perceivable, ii. 185.

  _Cyder_, the best quencher of thirst, ii. 195.


  _Dalrymple_, Mr. scheme of a voyage under his command to benefit remote
               regions, ii. 403.

  _Damp_ air, why more chilling than dry air that is colder, ii. 56, 77.

  _Dampier_, account of a water-spout by, ii. 33.
      references to his voyage, on the subject of water-spouts, 58.

  _Dampness_ on walls, cause of, ii. 50.

  _Day-light_, proposal to use it instead of candle-light, iii. 470.

  _Deacon_, Isaac, from an underling to a surveyor, becomes inspector-
              general of America, i. 78.
      prognosticates the future eminence in life of Franklin, _ib._

  _Death_ of Franklin, i. 153.
          letter from Dr. Price on, iii. 541.
      of relatives, reflections on, 507.

  _Deism_, effects on Franklin of books written against, i. 79.

  _Deluge_, accounted for, ii. 127.

  _Denham_, a quaker, a friend of Franklin's, i. 54.
      extraordinary trait of honesty of, to his creditors, 67.
      Franklin's engagement with, as a clerk, 68, 70.

  _Denmark_, the people of, not subject to colds, ii. 244.

  _Denny_, governor, remarks on his official conduct in Pensylvania,
               iii. 170.

  _Desaquiliers_, his experiment on the vapour of hot iron, ii. 249.

  _Dew_, how produced, i. 207.

  _Dialogue_, between Franklin and the gout, iii. 499.

  _Dickenson_, Mr. his remarks on the views of England in framing laws
               over the colonies, iii. 234.
      remarks on his conduct, 192.
          on his protest, 202.

  _Discontented_ dispositions satirized, iii. 485.

  _Discontents_ in America before 1768, causes of, iii. 225.

  _Dissentions_ between England and America, letter on, iii. 310.

  _Dissertation_, early one of Franklin's, that he repented having written,
               i. 58.

  _Disputation_, modesty in, recommended, i. 21. ii. 317.

  _Disputes_ between Franklin and his brother, to whom he was apprenticed,
               i. 24.

  _Domien_, a traveller, short account of, i. 302.

  _Drawling_, a defect in modern tunes, ii. 345.

  _Dreams_, art of procuring pleasant ones, iii. 493.

  _Dumas_, Monsieur, letter to, on the aid wanted by America in her struggle
               for independence, iii. 360.

  _Duna_ river, not to be confounded with the Dwina, iii. 119, note.

  _Dust_, how raised and carried up into the air, ii. 3.

  _Duties_, moral, the knowledge of, more important than the knowledge of
               nature, ii. 95.

  _Dutch_ iron stove, advantages and defects of, ii. 233.


  _Early_ impressions, lasting effect of, on the mind, iii. 478.

  _Earth_ will dissolve in air, ii. 2.
      dry, will not conduct electricity, i. 206.
      the, sometimes strikes lightning into the clouds, 274.
          grows no hotter under the summer sun, why, ii. 86.
          different strata of, 116.
          theory of, 117.

  _Earthquakes_, general good arising from, ii. 116.
      how occasioned, 120, 128.

  _Eaton_, in Northamptonshire, residence of Franklin's family, i. 3.

  _Ebb_ and flood, explanation of the terms, ii. 100.

  _Economical_ project, iii. 469.

  _Edinburgh_, an ordinance there against the purchase of prize-goods,
               ii. 447.

  _Education_ of women, controversy respecting, i. 17.

  _Eel_, electrical, of Surinam, i. 408, 409.

  _Effluvia_ of drugs, &c. will not pass through glass, i. 243.

  _Electrical_ air-thermometer described, i. 336, _et seq._
      atmosphere, how produced, 221.
          how drawn off, 222.
      atmospheres repel each other, 294.
          repel electric matter in other bodies, _ib._
      battery, its construction, 193.
      clouds, experiment regarding, 229.
      death, the easiest, 307.
      experiments, Franklin's eager pursuit of, 104.
          made in France, 109.
          various, 182, 229, 254, 255, 261, 271, 278, 286, 294, 307, 327,
               337, 348, 371, 434.
      fire, not created by friction, but collected, 173.
          passes through water, 202.
          loves water and subsists in it, 203.
          diffused through all matter, 205
          visible on the surface of the sea, _ibid._
          its properties and uses, 214, _et seq._
          produces common fire, 214, 238, 356.
          has the same crooked direction as lightning, 315.
      fluid, its beneficial uses, 219.
          is strongly attracted by glass, 236.
          manner of its acting through glass hermetically sealed, 241.
          a certain quantity of, in all kinds of matter, 275.
          nature of its explosion, 280.
          chooses the best conductor, 281, 378.
      force, may be unboundedly increased, 251.
      horse-race, 334.
      jack for roasting, 197.
      kiss, its force increased, 177.
      kite, described, 268.
      machine; simple and portable one, described, 178.
      matter, its properties, 217, 294.
      party of pleasure, 202.
      phial, or Leyden bottle, its phenomena explained, 179.
      shock, observations on, 182.
          effects of a strong one on the human body, 297, 306.
      spark, perforates a quire of paper, 195.
      wheel, its construction, 196.
          self-moving one, 198.

  _Electricity_, summary of its progress, i. 104.
      positive and negative, discovered, 106.
          distinguished, 175.
          in a tourmalin, 370.
      does not affect the elasticity of the air, 254.
      its similarity to lightning, 288.
      its effects on paralysis, 401.
      of fogs in Ireland, 405.
      supposed affinity between, and magnetism, 410.

  _Electrics per se_ and non-electrics, difference between, i. 242, 258.

  _Electrified_ bumpers described, i. 203.

  _Electrisation_, what constitutes the state of, i. 218.
      various appearances of, 175.
      variety of, 176.

  _Electrising_ one's self, manner of, i. 174.

  _Elocution_, how best taught, ii. 374.

  _Embassador_ from the United States to France, Franklin appointed to the
               office of, i. 148.

  _Emblematical_ design illustrative of the American troubles, iii. 371.

  _Emigrants_ to America, advice to, iii. 398.

  _Empire_, rules for reducing a great one, iii. 334.

  _England_, Franklin's first arrival in, i. 55.
          second arrival in, as agent for the province of Pensylvania, 134.
          third arrival in, as agent for the same province, 141.
      its air moister than that of America, ii. 140.
      decrease of population in, doubtful, 296.

  _English_, effect of the ancient manners of, ii. 399.
      language, innovations in, 351.

  _Enterprises_, public, Franklin's early disposition for, i. 10.

  _Ephemera_, an emblem of human life, iii. 508.

  _Epitaph_ on Franklin's parents, i. 13.
      on himself, 155.

  _Episcopalians_, conduct of the American legislature towards, ii. 455.

  _Errors_ of Franklin's early life, i. 45, 58, 61, 80, 97.

  _Ether_, what, ii. 59.

  _Evaporation_, cold produced by, i. 344, ii. 76, 83, 85.
      of rivers, effects of, 106.

  _Examination_ of Franklin before the house of commons, i. 142, iii. 245.
      before the privy council, 328.
      further particulars of, 551.

  _Exchange_, rate of, between Philadelphia and Britain, iii. 252.

  _Exercise_, should precede meals, iii. 493.

  _Experiments_, to show the electrical effect of points, i. 171, 172.
      to prove the electrical state of the Leyden phial, 182.
      of firing spirits by a spark sent through a river, 202.
      to show how thunder-storms produce rain, 209.
      on the clouds, proposed, 228.
      on drugs electrified, 243.
      on the elasticity of the air, 254.
      on the electric fluid, 255.
      by Mr. Kennersley, 261.
      on the electricity of the clouds, 271.
      for increasing electricity, 278.
      by Mr. Canton, 286.
      in pursuance of those of Mr. Canton, 294.
      on a silver cann, 307.
      on the velocity of the electric fluid, 327, 329, 330.
      for producing cold by evaporation, 344.
      on the different effects of electricity, 357.
      by lord Charles Cavendish, 348.
      on the tourmalin, 371.
      to show the utility of long pointed rods to houses, 389.
      on amber, 403 _et seq._
      on the Leyden phial, 434.
      on different coloured cloths, ii. 108, 109.
      on the sailing of boats, 160.

  _Exportation_ of gold and silver, observations on, ii. 416.

  _Exports_ to North America and the West Indies, iii. 127, 128.
      to Pensylvania, 129, 250.
      from ditto, 250.

  _Eye_, retains the images of luminous objects, ii. 340.


  _Facts_, should be ascertained before we attempt to account for them,
               ii. 96.

  _Family_ of Franklin, account of, i. 5. _et seq._

  _Famine_, how provided against in China, ii. 407.

  _Fanning_, how it cools, ii. 87.

  _Farmers_, remonstrance in behalf of, ii. 420.

  _Federal_ constitution, speech on, iii. 416.

  _Felons_, transportation of, to America, highly disagreeable to the
               inhabitants, iii. 235.

  _Fermenting_ liquors, their steam deleterious, ii. 59.

  Fire, not destroyed by water, but dispersed, i. 172.
      makes air specifically lighter, 206.
      exists in all bodies, 214.
      common and electrical, exist together, _ibid._
      a region of, above our atmosphere, 257, ii. 124.
      many ways of kindling it, i. 356.
      exists in a solid or quiescent state in substances, _ibid._ ii. 80,
      recovers its fluidity by combustion, _ibid._
      is a fluid permeating all bodies, 76.
      conductors of, are also best conductors of the electric fluid, _ibid._
          difference between, and electrical conductors, 77.
      how diffused through substances, 78.
      how generated in animated bodies, 79.
      theory of, 122.
      a fixed and permanent quantity of, in the universe, 123.
      its properties, 227.
      electrical, see _Electrical_.

  _Fire-companies_, numerous at Philadelphia, i. 103.

  _Fire-places_, Pensylvanian, account of, ii. 225.
      large and open, inconvenient, 228.
      hollow backed, by Gauger, 232.
      Staffordshire, 285.
      an ingenious one for serving two rooms, 296.

  _Fires_, at sea, how often produced, ii. 174.
      great and bright, damage the eyes and skin, 230.

  _Fisheries_, value of those of Newfoundland, iii. 452.

  _Flame_, preserves bodies from being consumed while surrounding them,
               ii. 310, 311.

  _Flaxseed_, amount of the exportation of from America to Ireland,
               iii. 270.

  _Flesh_, of animals, made tender by lightning and by electricity, i. 359,

  _Flies_, drowned in America, brought to life in England, ii. 223.

  _Flood_ and ebb, explanation of the terms, ii. 100.

  _Florence_ flask, when filled with boiling water, not chargeable with
               electricity, i. 332, 345.

  _Fog_, great, in 1783, ii. 68.
      conjectures as to its cause, _ibid._

  _Fogs_, how supported in air, ii. 5.
      electricity of, in Ireland, i. 405.

  _Folger_, family-name of Franklin's mother, i. 8.

  _Foreigners_, the importation of, not necessary to fill up occasional
               vacancies in population, ii. 390.

  _Forts_ in the back settlements, not approved of, iii. 99.

  _Foster_, judge, notes on his argument for the impress of seamen, ii. 437.

  _Foundering_ at sea, accidents that occasion it, ii. 169, 170.

  _Fountain_, when electrified, its stream separates, i. 206.

  _Fowls_, improperly treated at sea, ii. 193.

  _Fragments_, political, ii. 411.

  _France_, its air moister than that of America, ii. 140.
      effects of its military manners, 399.

  _Franklin_, derivation of the name, i. 4.
      genealogy of the family of, 5.

  _Franks_, the improper use of, reprobated, ii. 435.

  _Freezing_ to death in summer, possibility of, ii. 84.

  _French_ language, its general use, ii. 353.

  _Frontiers_, in America, the attack of, the common cause of the state,
               iii. 109.

  _Frugality_, advantages of, ii. 397.
      observance of, in America, iii. 374

  _Fruit-walls_, blacking them recommended, ii. 110.

  _Fuel_, scarce in Philadelphia, ii. 225.

  _Fulling-mills_ in America, iii. 270.

  _Fusion_, cold, of metals, supposed, i. 215.
      proves a mistake, 339.
      error respecting it acknowledged, 355.


  _Galloway_, Mr, preface to his speech, iii. 163.

  _Garnish-money_, practice among printers of demanding it, i. 63.

  _Gauger_, M. his invention for fire-places, ii. 232.

  _Genealogy_ of the Franklin family, i. 5.

  _German_ stoves, advantages and disadvantages of, ii. 234.

  _Germany_, why the several states of, encourage foreign manufactures in
               preference to those of each other, iii. 118. note.

  _Gilding_, its properties as a conductor, i. 201.
      the effects of lightning and of electricity on, 229.
      fails as a conductor after a few shocks, 231.

  _Glass_, has always the same quantity of electrical fire, i. 191.
      possesses the whole power of giving a shock, 192, 247.
      in panes, when first used in an electrical experiment, 193, 194.
      great force in small portions of, 199.
      impermeable to the electric fluid, 234, 310.
      strongly attracts the electric fluid, 236.
      cannot be electrified negatively, _ibid._
      its opposite surfaces, how affected, _ibid._
      its component parts and pores extremely fine, 237.
      manner of its operation in producing electricity, _ibid._
      its elasticity, to what owing, 239.
      thick, resists a change of the quantity of electricity of its
               different sides, 242.
      rod of, will not conduct a shock, _ibid._
      when fluid, or red hot, will conduct electricity, 256.
      difference in its qualities, 301.
      error as to its pores, 302.
      will admit the electric fluid, when moderately heated, 345, 347.
      when cold retains the electric fluid, 346.
      experiments on warm and cold, 348.
      singular tube and ball of, 386.

  _Glasses_, musical, described, ii. 330, _et seq._

  _God_, saying in America respecting, iii. 401.

  _Godfrey_, Thomas, a lodger with Franklin, i. 81.
      a member of the Junto, 83.
      inventor of Hadley's quadrant, _ibid._
      wishes Franklin to marry a relation of his, 95.

  _Gold_ and silver, remarks on exportation of, ii. 416.

  _Golden_ fish, an electrical device, i. 233.

  _Government_, free, only destroyed by corruption of manners, ii. 397.

  _Gout_, dialogue with that disease, iii. 499.

  _Grace_, Robert, member of the Junto club, i. 84, 89.

  _Gratitude_ of America, letter on, iii. 239.

  _Greasing_ the bottoms of ships, gives them more swiftness, ii. 180.

  _Greece_, causes of its superiority over Persia, ii. 397.

  _Greek_ empire, the destruction of, dispersed manufacturers over Europe,
               iii. 122.

  _Green_ and red, relation between the colours of, ii. 341.

  _Greenlanders_, their boats best for rowing, ii. 176.

  _Guadaloupe_, its value to Britain over-rated, iii. 139.

  _Gulph-stream_, observations on, ii. 186.
      whalers frequent its edges, _ibid._
      long unknown to any but the American fishermen, _ibid._
      how generated, 187.
      its properties, _ibid._
      tornadoes and water-spouts attending it, accounted for, 188.
      how to avoid it, 197.
      Nantucket whalers best acquainted with it, 198.
      thermometrical observations on, 199.
      journal of a voyage across, _ibid._

  _Gunpowder_, fired by electricity, i. 250.
      magazines of, how to secure them from lightning, 375.
      proposal for keeping it dry, 376.


  _Habits_, effects of, on population, ii. 393. 394.

  _Hadley's_ quadrant, by whom invented, i. 83, 95.

  _Hail_, brings down electrical fire, i. 292.
      how formed, ii. 66.

  _Hamilton_, Mr. a friend of Franklin's, i. 54, 88.

  _Handel_, criticism on one of his compositions, ii. 345.

  _Harmony_, in music, what, ii. 339.

  _Harp_, effect of, on the ancient Scotch tunes, ii. 340.

  _Harry_, David, companion of Franklin's, i. 72, 93.

  _Hats_, summer, should be white, ii. 109.
      the manufacture of, in New England, in 1760, iii. 131.

  _Health_ of seamen, Captain Cook's method of preserving it recommended,
               ii. 190.

  _Heat_, produced by electricity and by lightning, i. 338, 339.
      better conducted by some substances than others, ii. 56, 58.
      how propagated, 58.
      the pain it occasions, how produced, 78.
      in animals, how generated, 79, 125.
      in fermentation, the same as that of the human body, 80.
      great, at Philadelphia, in 1750, 85.
      general theory of, 122.

  _Herrings_, shoals of, perceived by the smoothness of the sea, ii. 150.

  _Hints_ to those that would be rich, iii. 466.

  _Holmes_, Robert, brother-in-law to Franklin, i. 37, 71.

  _Honesty_, often a very partial principle of conduct, ii. 430.

  _Honours_, all descending ones absurd, iii. 550.

  _Hopkins_, governor, his report of the number of inhabitants in Rhode
               Island, iii. 129.

  _Horse-race_, electrical, i. 335.

  _Hospital_, one founded by the exertions of Franklin, i. 126.

  _Hospitals_, foundling, state of in England and France, iii. 544*, 548*.

  _Hospitality_, a virtue of barbarians, iii. 391.

  _Houses_, remarks on covering them with copper, ii. 318, 320.
      many in Russia covered with iron plates, 319.
      their construction in Paris renders them little liable to fires, 321.

  _Howe_, lord, letter from, to Franklin, iii. 365.
      Franklin's answer to, 367.

  _Hudson's_ river, winds there, ii. 52, 59.

  _Hunters_, require much land to subsist on, ii. 384.

  _Hurricanes_, how produced, ii. 7.
      why cold in hot climates, _ibid._

  _Hutchinson_, governor, cause of the application for his removal,
               iii. 323.
      account of the letters of, 331, 551.

  _Hygrometer_, best substances for forming one, ii. 136.
      mahogany recommended for forming one, 141.

  I. J.

  _Jackson_, Mr. remarks on population by, ii. 392.

  _Jamaica_, its vacant lands not easily made sugar lands, iii. 140.

  _Javelle_, his machinery for moving boats, ii. 177.

  _Ice_ will not conduct an electric shock, i. 201.

  _Ice-islands_, dangerous to shipping, ii. 176.

  _Idleness_, the heaviest tax on mankind, ii. 411, iii. 454.
      encouraged by charity, ii. 422.
      reflections on, iii. 428.

  _Jefferson_, Mr. letter from, on the character of Franklin, iii. 545.

  _Jesuits_, hostility of the Indians in America excited by, iii. 95.

  _Ignorance_, a frank acknowledgment of, commendable, i. 308.

  _Imports_ into Pensylvania from Britain before 1766, iii. 250.

  _Impress_ of seamen, notes on Judge Foster's argument in favour of,
               ii. 437.

  _Inarticulation_ in modern singing, censured, ii. 348.

  _Increase_ of mankind, observations on, ii. 383, and _seq._
      what prevented by, 386, 387.
      how promoted, 388, 389.
      further observations on, 393.

  _Indemnification_, just ground for requiring cessions from an enemy,
               iii. 93.

  _Independence_, soon acquired in America, iii. 402.

  _Indian trade_ and affairs, remarks on a plan for the future management
               of, iii. 216.
      spirituous liquors the great encouragement of, 219.
      the debts from, must be left to honour, 220.
      not an American but a British interest, 275.

  _Indians_, of North America, a number of, murdered, i. 139.
      often excited by the French against the English, iii. 95.
      list of fighting men in the different nations of, 221.
      difference of their warfare from that of Europeans, 100.
      remarks concerning, 383.
      their mode of life, 384.
          public councils, 385.
          politeness in conversation, 386.
          rules in visiting, 388.

  _Industry_, effects of Franklin's, i. 85.
      the cause of plenty, ii. 396.
      essential to the welfare of a people, 411.
      relaxed by cheapness of provisions, 415.
      a greater portion of, in every nation, than of idleness, 396, 429,
               iii. 396.
      its prevalence in America, iii. 373.

  _Inflammability_ of the surface of rivers, ii. 130.

  _Inland_ commerce, instances of, iii. 120.

  _Innovations_ in language and printing, ii. 351.

  _Inoculation_, letter on the deaths occasioned by, ii. 215.
      success of, in Philadelphia, 216, 217.

  _Insects_, utility of the study of, ii. 93.

  _Interrogation_, the mark of, how to be placed, ii. 356.

  _Invention_, the faculty of, its inconveniences, i. 308.

  _Inventions_, new, generally scouted, _ibid._

  _Journal_ of a voyage, crossing the gulph-stream, ii. 199.
      from Philadelphia to France, 200, 201.
      from the channel to America, 202, _et seq._

  _Iron_ contained in the globe, renders it a great magnet, ii. 119.
      query whether it existed at the creation, 126.
      hot, gives no bad smell, 247.
          yields no bad vapours, 248.
      rods, erected for experiments on the clouds, i. 270.
          conduct more lightning in proportion to their thickness, 282.

  _Islands_ far from a continent have little thunder, i. 216.

  _Italic_ types, use of, in printing, ii. 355.

  _Judges_, mode of their appointment in America, in 1768, iii. 23.

  _Junto._ See _Club_.


  _Keimer_, a connection of Franklin's, some account of, i. 35, 70, 93.

  _Keith_, sir William, Franklin patronized by, i. 39.
          deceived by, 54.
      character of, 57.

  _Kinnersley_, Mr. electrical experiments by, i. 261, _et seq._, 331.

  _Kiss_, electrical, i. 177.

  _Kite_ used to draw electricity from the clouds, i. 108.
      electrical, described, i. 268.

  _Knobs_, not so proper as points, for conducting lightning, i. 359.


  _Labour_, why it will long continue dear in America, ii. 385.
      its advantages, 427, 428.

  _Land_, terms on which it may be obtained in America, by settlers,
               iii. 409.

  _Landing_ in a surf, supposed practicable, how, ii. 154.
      tried without success, 155.

  _Language_, remarks on innovations in, ii. 351, _et seq._

  _Laughers_, satyrized, iii. 425.

  _Law_, the old courts of, in the colonies, as ample in their powers, as
               those in England, iii. 304.

  _Law-expenses_, no discouragement to law-suits, iii. 270.

  _Law-stamps_, a tax on the poor, iii. 269.

  _Lead_, effects of, on the human constitution, ii. 219.

  _Leaks_ in ships, why water enters by them most rapidly at first, ii. 109.
      means to prevent their being fatal, 170.

  _Leather_ globe, proposed, instead of glass, for electrical experiments,
               i. 267.

  _Left_ hand, a petition from, iii. 483.

  _Leg_, handsome and deformed, humourous anecdote of, iii. 437.

  _Legal_ tender of paper-money, its advantages, iii. 150.
      further remarks on, 151.

  _Lending_ money, new mode of, iii. 463.

  _Letter-founding_ effected by Franklin in America, i. 74.

  _Leutmann_, J. G. extract from his vulcanus famulans, ii. 298.

  _Leyden_ bottle, its phenomena explained, i. 179.
      analysed, 192.
      experiment to prove its qualities, 245.
      when sealed hermetically, retains long its electricity, 345.

  _Liberty_ of the press, observations on, ii. 463.
          abused, 465.
      of the cudgel, should be allowed in return, 467.

  _Libraries_, public, the first in America set on foot by Franklin, i. 99.
      are now numerous in America, 100.
      advantages of, to liberty, 101.

  _Life_ and death, observations on the doctrines of, ii. 222.

  _Light_, difference between that from the sun and that from a fire in
               electrical experiments, i. 173.
      difficulties in the doctrines of, i. 253.
      queries concerning, _ibid._
      visibility of its infinitely small particles computed, ii. 90.
      new theory of, 122.

  _Lighthouse-tragedy_, an early poem of Franklin's, i. 16.

  _Lightning_, represented by electricity, i. 176.
      drawn from the clouds, by a kite, 268.
          by an iron rod, _ibid._
      reasons for proposing the experiment on, 304.
      its effects at Newbury, 310.
      will leave other substances, to pass through metals, 312.
      communicates magnetism to iron, 314.
      objections to the hypothesis of its being collected from the sea,
               318, 323.
      effects of, on a wire at New York, 326.
          on Mr. West's pointed rod, 340, _et seq._
      how it shivers trees, 359.
      effects of, on conductors in Carolina, 361, 362, 364.
      does not enter through openings, 368.
      should be distinguished from its light, 369.
      an explosion always accompanies it, _ibid._
      observations on its effects on St. Bride's church, 374, 382.
      how to preserve buildings from, 377.
      personal danger from, how best avoided, 381.
      brought down by a pointed rod, in a large quantity, 389.
      how to prevent a stroke of, at sea, ii. 175.

  _Linnæus_, instance of public benefit arising from his knowledge
  of insects, ii. 94.

  _London_, atmosphere of, moister than that of the country, ii. 139.

  _Loyalty_ of America before the troubles, iii. 237.

  _Luxury_, beneficial when not too common, ii. 389.
      definition of, 395, 425.
      extinguishes families, 395.
      not to be extirpated by laws, 401.
      further observations on, 425.

  _Lying-to_, the only mode yet used for stopping a vessel at sea, ii. 181.


  _Maddeson_, Mr. death of, lamented, iii. 544*.

  _Magazine_ of powder, how to secure it from lightning, i. 375.

  _Magical_ circle of circles, ii. 327.
      picture, i. 195.
      square of squares, ii. 324.

  _Magnetism_, animal, detected and exposed, i. 150.
      given by electricity, 248, 314.
      and electricity, affinity between, 410.
      supposed to exist in all space, ii. 119, 126.
      conjectures as to its effects on the globe, 120.
      enquiry how it first came to exist, 126.

  _Mahogany_, expands and shrinks, according to climate, ii. 138.
      recommended for an hygrometer, 141.

  _Mandeville_, Franklin's acquaintance with, i. 39.

  _Manners_, effects of, on population, ii. 393, _et seq._
      letter to the Busy-body on the want of, iii. 432.

  _Manufactures_, produce greater proportionate returns than raw materials,
               ii. 410.
      founded in the want of land for the poor, iii. 107.
      are with difficulty transplanted from one country to another, 121.
      hardly ever lost but by foreign conquest, 122.
      probability of their establishment in America, 260.
      want no encouragement from the government, if a country be ripe for
               them, 405.

  _Maritime_ observations, ii. 162.

  _Marly_, experiments made at, for drawing lightning from the clouds,
               i. 421.

  _Marriage_ of Franklin, i. 97.

  _Marriages_, where the greatest number take place, ii. 383.
      why frequent and early in America, 385. iii. 113, 403.
      early, letter on, iii. 475.

  _Maryland_, account of a whirlwind there, ii. 61.
      of paper bills formerly issued there, iii. 155.
      its conduct in a French war, previous to the American troubles,
               defended, 262.

  _Massachusets_ bay, petition of the inhabitants of, to the king, iii. 325.

  _Matter_, enquiry into the supposed vis inertiæ of, ii. 110.
      man can neither create nor annihilate it, 123.

  _Mawgridge_, William, member of the Junto club, i. 84.

  _Maxims_, prudential, from poor Richard's almanack, iii. 453.

  _Mazeas_, abbe, letter from, i. 420.

  _Meal_, grain, &c. manner of preserving them good for ages, i. 376.
               ii. 190.

  _Mechanics_, advantages of an early attention to, i. 14.

  _Mediocrity_, prevalence of, in America, iii. 399.

  _Melody_ in music, what, ii. 340.

  _Men_, six, struck down by an electric shock, i. 306.

  _Mercer_, Dr. letter from, on a water-spout, ii. 34.

  _Merchants_ and shopkeepers in America, iii. 394.

  _Meredith_, Hugh, companion of Franklin, short account of, i. 72, 76, 89.

  _Metalline_ rods, secure buildings from lightning, i. 281.
      either prevent or conduct a stroke, 310.

  _Metals_, melted by electricity and by lightning, i. 215, 229.
      when melted by electricity, stain glass, 232.
      polished, spotted by electrical sparks, 253.
      feel colder than wood, why, ii. 56.

  _Meteorological_ observations, ii. 1, 45, 66.

  _Methusalem_ slept always in the open air, iii. 495.

  _Mickle_, Samuel, a prognosticator of evil, i. 81.

  _Military_ manners, effects of, ii. 398, 399.
      power of the king, remarks on, iii. 307.

  _Militia_ bill, Franklin the author of one, i. 132.
      particular one, rejected by the governor of Pensylvania, 100.
               iii. 157.

  _Mines_, method of changing air in them, ii. 291.
      of rock salt, conjectures as to their formation, 92.

  _Mists_, how supported in air, ii. 5.

  _Modesty_ in disputation recommended, ii. 317.

  _Money_, how to make it plenty, iii. 467.
      new mode of lending, 468.

  _Moral_ principles, state of Franklin's mind respecting, on his entering
               into business, i. 79.

  _Morals_ of chess, iii. 488.

  _Motion_, the communication and effects of, ii. 7, 8.
      of vessels at sea, how to be stopped, 181.

  _Mountains_, use of, in producing rain and rivers, i. 208.
      why the summits of, are cold, ii. 6.
      conjecture how they became so high, 91.

  _Music_, harmony and melody of the old Scotish, ii. 338.
      modern, defects of, 343.

  _Musical_ glasses described, ii. 330.


  _Nantucket_ whalers best acquainted with the gulph-stream, ii. 198.

  _National_ wealth, data for reasoning on, ii. 408.
      three ways of acquiring, 410.

  _Navigation_, difference of, in shoal and deep water, ii. 158.
      observations on, 195, 196.
      from Newfoundland to New York, 197.
      inland, in America, iii. 118.

  _Needle_ of a compass, its polarity reversed by lightning, i. 248, 325.
      of wood, circular motion of, by electricity, 332, 351.

  _Needles_, magnetised by electricity, i. 148.
      and pins, melted by electricity, 249.

  _Negatively_ electrised bodies repel each other, i. 294.

  _Negroes_ bear heat better, and cold worse, than whites, ii. 86.

  _Newbury_, effects of a stroke of lightning there, i. 310.

  _New-England_, former flourishing state of, from the issue of paper money,
               iii. 145.
      circumstances which rendered the restriction of paper money there not
               injurious, 148.
      abolition of paper currency there, 263.

  _Newfoundland_ fisheries, more valuable than the mines of Peru, iii. 452.

  _Newspaper_, one sufficient for all America, in 1721, i. 23.
      instance of one set up by Franklin at Philadelphia, 86.

  _New-York_, effects of lightning there, i. 326.
      former flourishing state of, from the issue of paper-money, iii. 146.
      sentiments of the colonists on the act for abolishing the legislature
               of, 232.
      obtained in exchange for Surinam, 349.

  _Nollet_, Abbé, Franklin's theory of electricity opposed by, i. 113.
      remarks on his letters, 430.

  _Non-conductors_ of electricity, i. 378.

  _Non-electric_, its property in receiving or giving electrical fire,
               i. 193.

  _North-east_ storms in America, account of, ii. 68.

  _Nurses_, office at Paris for examining the health of, iii. 549*.


  _Oak_ best for flooring and stair-cases, ii. 321.

  _Ohio_, distance of its fort from the sea, iii. 119, note.

  _Oil_, effect of heat on, ii. 4.
      evaporates only in dry air, _ibid._
      renders air unfit to take up water, _ibid._
      curious instance of its effects on water in a lamp, 142.
      stilling of waves by means of, 144, 145, 148, 150, 151, 154.

  _Old_ man's wish, song so called quoted, iii. 546*.

  _Onslow_, Arthur, dedication of a work to, by Franklin, iii. 59.

  _Opinions_, vulgar ones too much slighted, ii. 146.
      regard to established ones, thought wisdom in a government, iii. 226.

  _Orthography_, a new mode of, ii. 359.

  _Osborne_, a friend of Franklin's, i. 50, 53

  _Oversetting_ at sea, how it occurs, ii. 172.
      how to be prevented, _ibid._, 173.

  _Outriggers_ to boats, advantages of, ii. 173.


  _Packthread_, though wet, not a good conductor, i. 200.

  _Paine's_ Common Sense, Franklin supposed to have contributed to, i. 148.

  _Paper_, how to make large sheets, in the Chinese way, ii. 349.
      a poem, iii. 522.

  _Paper-credit_, cannot be circumscribed by law, ii. 418.

  _Paper-money_, pamphlet written by Franklin on, i. 91.
      American, remarks and facts relative to, iii. 144.
      advantages of, over gold and silver, iii. 152.

  _Papers_ on philosophical subjects, i. 169, _et seq._ ii. 1, _et seq._
      on general politics, ii. 383, _et seq._
      on American subjects, before the revolution, iii. 3, _et seq._
          during the revolution, iii. 225, _et seq._
          subsequent to the revolution, iii. 383, _et seq._
      on moral subjects, iii. 421, _et seq._

  _Parable_ against persecution, ii. 450.

  _Paradoxes_ inferred from some experiments, i. 262.

  _Paralysis_, effects of electricity on, i. 401.

  _Parliament_ of England, opinions in America, in 1766, concerning,
               iii. 254.

  _Parsons_, William, member of the Junto club, i. 83.

  _Parties_, their use in republics, iii. 396.

  _Party_ of pleasure, electrical, i. 202.

  _Passages_ to and from America, how to be shortened, ii. 138.
      why shorter from, than to, America, 189.

  _Passengers_ by sea, instructions to, ii. 192.

  _Patriotism_, spirit of, catching, iii. 90.

  _Peace_, the victorious party may insist on adequate securities in the
               terms of, iii. 96.

  _Penn_, governor, remarks on his administration, iii. 183.
      sold his legislative right in Pensylvania, but did not complete the
               bargain, 189.

  _Pensylvania_, Franklin appointed clerk to the general assembly of,
               i. 102.
          forms a plan of association for the defence of, 104.
          becomes a member of the general assembly of, 114.
      aggrievances of, iii. 50.
      infraction of its charter, 52.
      review of the constitution of, 59.
      former flourishing state of, from the issue of paper-money, 146.
      rate of exchange there, 154.
      letter on the militia bill of, 157.
      settled by English and Germans, 162.
      English and German, its provincial languages, _ib._
      pecuniary bargains between the governors and assembly of, 165.
      taxes there, 246, 251.
      number of its inhabitants, 249.
      proportion of quakers, and of Germans, _ibid._
      exports and imports, 250.
      assembly of, in 1766, how composed, 252.

  _Pensylvanian_ fire-places, account of, ii. 223.
      particularly described, 235.
      effects of, 239.
      manner of using them, 241.
      advantages of, 243.
      objections to, answered, 247.
      directions to bricklayers respecting, 251.

  _Peopling_ of countries, observations on, ii. 383, _et seq._

  _Perkins_, Dr. letter from, on water-spouts, ii. 11.
      on shooting stars, 36.

  _Persecution_, parable against, ii. 450.
      of dissenters, letter on, 452.
      of quakers in New England, 454.

  _Perspirable_ matter, pernicious, if retained, ii. 50.

  _Perspiration_, necessary to be kept up, in hot climates, ii. 86.
      difference of, in persons when naked and clothed, 214.

  _Petition_ from the colonists of Massachusets bay, iii. 325.
      of the left hand, 483.

  _Petty_, sir William, a double vessel built by, ii. 174.

  _Philadelphia_, Franklin's first arrival at, i. 32.
      account of a seminary there, instituted by Franklin, 116 to 127.
      state of the public bank at, iii. 551*.

  _Phytolacca_, or poke weed, a specific for cancers, i. 261.

  _Picture_, magical, described, i. 195.

  _Plain_ truth, Franklin's first political pamphlet, iii. 524.

  _Plan_ for benefiting distant countries, ii. 403.
      for settling two western colonies, iii. 41.
      for the management of Indian affairs, remarks on, 216.
      for improving the condition of the free blacks, 519.

  _Planking_ of ships, improvement in, ii. 189.

  _Pleurisy_, Franklin attacked by, i. 71, 154.

  _Plus_ and minus electricity, in the Leyden bottle, i. 181.
      in other bodies, 185.

  _Pointed_ rods, secure buildings from lightning, i. 283, 381.
      experiments and observations on, 388.
      objections to, answered, 395, 396.

  _Points_, their effects, i. 170.
      property of, explained, 223.
      experiment showing the effect of, on the clouds, 283.
      mistake respecting, 310.

  _Poke-weed_, a cure for cancers, i. 260, 261.

  _Polarity_ given to needles by electricity, i. 248.

  _Poles_ of the earth, if changed, would produce a deluge, ii. 127.

  _Political_ fragments, ii. 411.

  _Polypus_, a nation compared to, ii. 391.

  _Poor_, remarks on the management of, ii. 418.
      the better provided for, the more idle, 422.

  _Poor_ Richard, maxims of, iii. 453.

  _Pope_, criticism on two of his lines, i. 23.

  _Population_, observations on, ii. 383.
      causes which diminish it, 386.
      occasional vacancies in, soon filled by natural generation, 390.
      rate of its increase in America, 385. iii. 113, 250, 254.
      why it increases faster there, than in England, iii. 255.

  _Positions_ concerning national wealth, ii. 408.

  _Positiveness_, impropriety of, ii. 318.

  _Postage_, not a tax, but payment for a service, iii. 265.
      state of, in America, in 1766, 279.

  _Post-master_, and deputy post-master general, Franklin appointed to the
               offices of, i. 102, 127.

  _Potts_, Stephen, a companion of Franklin's, i. 72, 84.

  _Poultry_, not good at sea, ii. 193.

  _Powder-magazines_, how secured from lightning, i. 375.

  _Power_ to move a heavy body, how to be augmented, ii. 191.

  _Pownall_, governor, memorial of, to the Duke of Cumberland, iii. 41.
      letter from, on an equal communication of rights to America, 243.
      constitution of the colonies by, 299.

  _Preface_ to Mr. Galloway's speech, iii. 163.
      to proceedings of the inhabitants of Boston, 317.

  _Presbyterianism_, established religion in New England, ii. 454.

  _Press_, account of the court of, ii. 463.
      liberty of, abused, 465.

  _Pressing_ of seamen, animadversions on, ii. 437.

  _Price_, Dr. letter from, on Franklin's death, iii. 541.

  _Priestley_, Dr. letter from, on Franklin's character, iii. 547.

  _Printers_ at Philadelphia before Franklin, i. 36.

  _Printing_, Franklin apprenticed to the business of, i. 15.
      works at it as a journeymen in England, 58, 62.
      in America, 35, 71.
      enters on the business of, as master, 78.
      observations on fashions in, ii. 355.

  _Prison_, society for relieving the misery of, i. 151.
      not known among the Indians of America, iii. 220.

  _Privateering_, reprobated, ii. 436.
      further observations on, 446.
      article to prevent it, recommended in national treaties, 448.
      inserted in a treaty between America and Prussia, 449.

  _Proas_, of the pacific ocean, safety of, ii. 173.
      flying, superior to any of our sailing boats, 176.

  _Produce_ of the inland parts of America, iii. 119.

  _Products_ of America, do not interfere with those of Britain, iii. 124.

  _Prose-writing_, method of acquiring excellence in, i. 18.

  _Protest_ against Franklin's appointment as colonial agent, remarks on,
               iii. 203.

  _Provisions_, cheapness of, encourages idleness, ii. 415.

  _Prussian_ edict, assuming claims over Britain, iii. 311.

  _Public_ services and functions of Franklin, i. 125.
      spirit, manifest in England, iii. 91.
          different opinion respecting it expressed, 375.

  _Punctuality_ of America in the payment of public debts, iii. 373.

  _Puckridge_, Mr. inventor of musical glasses, i. 136.


  _Quaker-lady_, good advice of one to Franklin in his youth, i. 42.

  _Quakers_, persecution of, in New England, ii. 454.
      proportion of, in Pensylvania, iii. 249.

  _Quebec_, remarks on the enlargement of the province of, iii. 20, note.

  _Queries_ concerning light, i. 258.
      proposed at the Junto club, ii. 366.
      from Mr. Strahan, on the American disputes, iii. 287.

  _Questions_ discussed by the Junto club, ii. 369.


  _Rain_, how produced, i. 207.
      generally brings down electricity, 292.
      why never salt, ii. 32.
      different quantities of, falling at different heights, 133.

  _Ralph_, James, a friend of Franklin's, i. 50, 53, 54, 57, 60.

  _Rarefaction_ of the air, why greater in the upper regions, ii. 6.

  _Read_, maiden name of Franklin's wife, i. 33, 37, 49, 54, 59, 70, 96.

  _Reading_, Franklin's early passion for, i. 15, 16.
      how best taught, ii. 372.
      advice to youth respecting, 378.

  _Recluse_, a Roman Catholic one, in London, i. 65.

  _Red_ and green, relation between the colours of, ii. 341.

  _Regimen_, sudden alterations of, not prejudicial, i. 49.

  _Religious_ sect, new one, intended establishment of, i. 48.

  _Repellency_, electrical, how destroyed, i. 172.

  _Representation_, American, in the British parliament, thoughts on,
               iii. 37, 243.

  _Repulsion_, electrical, the doctrine of, doubted, i. 333.
      considerations in support of, 349.

  _Revelation_, doubted by Franklin in his youth, i. 79.

  _Rhode-Island_, purchased for a pair of spectacles, iii. 21.
      its population at three periods, iii. 129.

  _Rich_, hints to those that would be, iii. 466.

  _Ridicule_, delight of the prince of Condé in, iii. 424.

  _Rivers_, from the Andes, how formed, i. 209.
      motion of the tides in, explained, ii. 96, 102.
      do not run into the sea, 105.
      evaporate before they reach the sea, 106.
      inflammability of the surface of, 130.

  _Rods_, utility of long pointed ones, to secure buildings from lightning,
               i. 388.
      See farther. _Iron._ _Lightning._ _Metalline._

  _Rome_, causes of its decline enquired into, ii. 398.
      political government of its provinces, iii. 136.

  _Rooms_, warm, advantages of, ii. 249.
      do not give colds, ibid.

  _Roots_, edible, might be dried and preserved for sea-store, ii. 190.

  _Rosin_, when fluid, will conduct electricity, i. 256.

  _Rousseau_, his opinion of tunes in parts, ii. 342.

  _Rowing_ of boats, Chinese method of, ii. 177.

  _Rowley_, Dr. Franklin's obligations to, iii. 555*.


  _Sailing_, observations on, ii. 163.

  _Sails_, proposed improvements in, ii. 164, 166.

  _Saint_ Bride's church, stroke of lightning on, i. 374.

  _Salt_, dry, will not conduct electricity, i. 258.
      rock, conjectures as to its origin, ii. 91.

  _Saltness_ of the sea-water considered, _ib._

  _Savage_, John, a companion of Franklin's, i. 72.

  _Savages_ of North America, remarks on, iii. 383, _et seq._

  _School_, sketch of one, for Philadelphia, ii. 370.

  _Scotch_ tunes, harmony of, and melody, ii. 338.

  _Screaming_, a defect in modern tunes, ii. 345.

  _Scull_, Nicholas, member of the Junto club, i. 83.

  _Sea_, electrical qualities of its component parts, i. 205.
      opinion, that it is the source of lightning, considered, 269, 321,
      supposed cause of its luminous appearance, ii. 88.
      from what cause, salt, 91.
      has formerly covered the mountains, _ib._

  _Sea-coal_, has a vegetable origin, ii. 128.
      prejudices against the use of, at Paris, 278.

  _Sea-water_, soon loses its luminous quality, i. 269.
      considerations on the distillation of, ii. 103.
      how to quench thirst with, 104.
      thermometrical observation on, 199, _et seq._

  _Security_, a just ground to demand cessions from an enemy, iii. 93.

  _Separation_ of the colonies from Britain, probability of, in 1775,
               iii. 356.

  _Servants_ in England, the most barren parts of the people, ii. 395.

  _Settlements_, new, in America, letter concerning, iii. 409.

  _Settlers_ of British colonies, their rights, iii. 299.

  _Sheep_, a whole flock killed by lightning, i. 415.

  _Ships_, abandoned at sea, often saved, ii. 169.
      may be nicely balanced, 170.
      accidents to, at sea, how guarded against, 172.

  _Shirley_, governor, letters to, on the taxation of the colonies, iii. 30.
      on American representation in the British parliament, 37.

  _Shooting-stars_, letter on, ii. 36.

  _Shop-keepers_ in America, iii. 394.

  _Sides_ of vessels, the best construction of, ii. 172.

  _Silver_ cann, experiment with, i. 307.
      vessels, not so easily handled as glass, when filled with hot liquors,
               ii. 57.

  _Slavery_, society for the abolition of, i. 151.
      address to the public on the abolition of, iii. 517.

  _Slaves_, not profitable labourers, ii. 386.
      diminish population, ii. 387.

  _Slave-trade_, sentiment of a French moralist respecting, ii. 195.
      parody on the arguments in favour of, 450.

  _Sliding-plates_ for smoky chimnies described, ii. 287.

  _Slitting-mills_ in America, iii. 270.

  _Small_, Mr. Alexander, letter from, i. 374.

  _Smell_ of electricity, how produced, i. 244.

  _Smoke_, principle by which it ascends, ii. 257.
      stove that consumes it, 296.
      the burning of, useful in hot-houses, 316.

  _Smoky_ chimnies, observation on the causes and cure of, ii. 256.
      remedy for, if by want of air, 261, 262.
          if by too large openings in the room, 266, 268.
          if by too short a funnel, 269.
          if by overpowering each other, 270, 271.
          if by being overtopped, 271, 272.
          if by improper situation of a door, 273.
          if by smoke drawn down their funnels, 274, 275.
          if by strong winds, 275, 276.
      difficult sometimes to discover the cause of, 282.

  _Smuggling_, reflections on, ii. 430.
      encouragement of, not honest, 432.

  _Snow_, singular instance of its giving electricity, i. 373.

  _Soap-boiler_, part of Franklin's early life devoted to the business of,
               i. 10, 14.

  _Societies_, of which Franklin was president, i. 151.
      learned, of which he was a member, 135.

  _Socrates_, his mode of disputation, i. 21.

  _Songs_, ancient, give more pleasure than modern, ii. 342.
      modern, composed of all the defects of speech, 344.

  _Soul_, argument against the annihilation of, iii. 548*.

  _Sound_, best mediums for conveying, ii. 335.
      observations on, 336.
      queries concerning, 337.

  _Sounds_ just past, we have a perfect idea of their pitch, ii. 340.

  _Soup-dishes_ at sea, how to be made more convenient, ii. 195.

  _Spain_, what has thinned its population, ii. 390.

  _Specific_ weight, what, ii. 226.

  _Spectacles_, double, advantages of, iii. 544*, 551*.

  _Speech_, at Algiers, on slavery and piracy, ii. 450.
      of Mr. Galloway, preface to, iii. 163.
      last of Franklin, on the federal constitution, 416.

  _Spelling_, a new mode of, recommended, ii. 359.

  _Spheres_, electric, commodious ones, i. 178.

  _Spider_, artificial, described, i. 177.

  _Spirits_, fired without heating, i. 214, 245.
      linen wetted with, cooling in inflammations, ii. 87.
      should always be taken to sea in bottles, 175.

  _Spots_ in the sun, how formed, i. 260.

  _Squares_, magical square of, ii. 324.

  _Staffordshire_ chimney, description of, ii. 285.

  _Stamp-act_ in America stigmatized, iii. 228.
      letter on the repeal of, iii. 239.
      examination of Franklin on, 245.

  _Stars._ See _Shooting_.

  _State_, internal, of America, iii. 291.

  _Storms_, causes of, ii. 65.

  _Stove_, Dutch, its advantages and defects, ii. 233.
      German, ditto, 234.
      to draw downwards, by J. G. Leutmann, 298.
      for burning pit-coal and consuming its smoke, 301, 304, 308.

  _Strata_ of the earth, letter on, ii. 116.

  _Strahan_, Mr. queries by, on American politics, iii. 287.
      answer to the queries, 290.
      letter to, disclaiming his friendship, iii. 354.

  _Stuber_, Dr. continuator of Franklin's life, i. 98.

  _Studies_ of trifles, should be moderate, ii. 95.

  _Stuttering_, one of the affected beauties of modern tunes, ii. 245.

  _Sugar_, cruelties exercised in producing it, ii. 196.

  _Sulphur_ globe, its electricity different from that of the glass globe,
               i. 265.

  _Sun_, supplies vapour with fire, i. 207.
      why not wasted by expense of light, 259.
      effect of its rays on different coloured clothes, ii. 108.
      light of, proposed to be used instead of candlelight, iii. 470, 473.
      discovered to give light as soon as it rises, 471.

  _Surfaces_ of glass, different state of its opposite ones, when
               electrised, i. 191, 238.

  _Swimming_, skill of Franklin in, i. 66.
      art of, how to be acquired, ii. 206
      how a person unacquainted with it may avoid sinking, 208.
      a delightful and wholesome exercise, ii. 209, 211.
      advantage of, to soldiers, 210.
      inventions to improve it, _ibid._ 212.
      medical effects of, _ibid._


  _Tariffs_, not easily settled in Indian trade, iii. 218.

  _Tautology_, an affected beauty of modern songs, ii. 345.

  _Taxation_, American, letters to governor Shirley on, iii. 30.
      American, Dr. Franklin's examination on, iii. 246, 256.
      internal and external, distinguished, 259.
      on importation of goods and consumption, difference between, 266.

  _Tea-act_, the duty on, in America, how considered there, iii. 261, 317,
      characterized by Mr. Burke, 319, _note_.

  _Teach_, or Blackbeard, name of a ballad written by Franklin in his youth,
               i. 16.

  _Thanks_ of the assembly of Pensylvania to Franklin, iii. 214.

  _Thanksgiving-days_ appointed in New England instead of fasts, iii. 392.

  _Theory_ of the earth, ii. 117.
      of light and heat, 122.

  _Thermometer_, not cooled by blowing on, when dry, ii. 87.
      electrical, described, and experiments with, ii. 336.

  _Thermometrical_ observations on the gulph-stream, ii. 199.
      on the warmth of sea-water, 200.

  _Thirst_, may be relieved by sea-water, how, ii. 105.

  _Thunder_ and lightning, how caused, i. 209.
      seldom heard far from land, 216.
      comparatively little at Bermuda, _ibid._
      defined, 378.

  _Thunder-gusts_, what, i. 203.
      hypothesis to explain them, 203, _et seq._

  _Tides_ in rivers, motion of, explained, ii. 96, 102.

  _Time_, occasional fragments of, how to be collected, ii. 412.
      is money to a tradesman, iii. 463.

  _Toads_ live long without nourishment, ii. 223.

  _Toleration_ in Old and New England compared, ii. 457.

  _Torpedo_, how to determine its electricity, i. 408, 409.

  _Tourmalin_, its singular electrical properties, i. 370.
      experiments on it, 371, 372.

  _Trade_, pleasure attending the first earnings in, i. 81.
      should be under no restrictions, ii. 415.
      exchanges in, may be advantageous to each party, 418.
      inland carriage no obstruction, to, iii. 116.
      great rivers in America, favourable to, 118.
      bills of credit, in lieu of money, the best medium of, 156.
      will find and make its own rates, 219.

  _Tradesman_, advice to a young one, iii. 463.

  _Transportation_ of felons to America, highly disagreeable to the
               inhabitants there, iii. 235.

  _Treaty_ between America and Prussia, humane article of, ii. 449.

  _Treasures_, hidden, search after, ridiculed, iii. 450.

  _Trees_, dangerous to be under, in thunder-storms, i. 213.
      the shivering of, by lightning, explained, 359.
      why cool in the sun, ii. 87.

  _Tubes_ of glass, electrical, manner of rubbing, i. 178.
      lined with a non-electric, experiment with, 240.
      exhausted, electric fire moves freely in, 241.

  _Tunes_, ancient Scotch, why give general pleasure, ii. 338.
      composed to the wire-harp, 341.
      in parts, Rousseau's opinion of, 342.
      modern, absurdities of, 344, _et seq._

  _Turkey_ killed by electricity, i. 299.

  _Turks_, ceremony observed by, in visiting, iii. 436.

  V. U.

  _Vacuum_, Torricellian, experiment with, i. 291.
      electrical experiment in, 317.

  _Vapour_, electrical experiment on, i. 343.

  _Vapours_ from moist hay, &c. easily fired by lightning, i. 215.
      cause of their rising considered, ii. 46, 49.

  _Vanity_, observation on, i. 2.

  _Varnish_, dry, burnt by electric sparks, i. 199.

  _Vattel's_ Law of Nations, greatly consulted by the American congress,
               iii. 360.

  _Vegetable_ diet, observed by Franklin, i. 20.
      abandoned by Franklin, why, 47.

  _Vegetation_, effects of, on noxious air, ii. 129.

  _Velocity_ of the electric fire, i. 319.

  _Virtue_ in private life exemplified, iii. 427.

  _Vernon_, Mr. reposes a trust in Franklin, which he violates, i. 44.

  _Vis_ inertiæ of matter, observations on, ii. 110.

  _Visits_, unseasonable and importunate, letter on, iii. 432.

  _Unintelligibleness_, a fault of modern singing, ii. 345.

  _Union_, Albany plan of. See _Albany_.

  _Union_ of America with Britain, letter on, iii. 239.

  _United_ states of America, nature of the congress of, iii. 550*.

  _Voyage_, from Boston to New York, i. 27.
      from New York to Philadelphia, 28.
      from Newfoundland to New York, remarks on, ii. 197.
      crossing the gulph stream, journal of, 199.
      from Philadelphia to France, 200, 201.
      from the channel to America, 202.
      to benefit distant countries, proposed, 403.

  _Vulgar_ opinions, too much slighted, ii. 146.


  _Waggons_, number of, supplied by Franklin, on a military emergency,
               i. 131.

  _War_, civil, whether it strengthens a country considered, ii. 399.
      observations on, 435.
      laws of, gradually humanized, _ib._
      humane article respecting, in a treaty between Prussia and America,
               ii. 449.
      French, of 1757, its origin, iii. 274.

  _Warm_ rooms do not make people tender, or give colds, ii. 249.

  _Washington_, early military talents of, i. 130.
      Franklin's bequest to, 164.

  _Water_, a perfect conductor of electricity, i. 201.
      strongly electrified, rises in vapour, 204.
      particles of, in rising, are attached to particles of air, 205.
      and air, attract each other, 206.
      exploded like gunpowder, by electricity, 358.
      expansion of, when reduced to vapour, _ib._
      saturated with salt, precipitates the overplus, ii. 2.
      will dissolve in air, _ib._
      expands when boiling, _ib._
      how supported in air, 45.
      bubbles on the surface of, hypothesis respecting, 48.
      agitated, does not produce heat, 49, 96.
      supposed originally all salt, 91.
      fresh, produce of distillation only, _ib._
      curious effects of oil on, 142.

  _Water-casks_, how to dispose of, in leaky vessels, ii. 170.

  _Water-spouts_, observations on, ii. 11.
      whether they descend or ascend, 14, 23, 38.
      various appearances of, 16.
      winds blow from all points towards them, 21.
      are whirlwinds at sea, _ib._
      effect of one on the coast of Guinea, 33.
      account of one at Antigua, 34.
      various instances of, 38.
      Mr. Colden's observations on, 53.

  _Watson_, Mr. William, letter by, on thunder-clouds, i. 427.

  _Waves_, stilled by oil, ii. 144, 145, 148.
      greasy water, 146.

  _Wax_, when fluid will conduct electricity, i. 256.
      may be electrised positively and negatively, 291.

  _Wealth_, way to, iii. 453.
      national, positions to be examined concerning, ii. 408.
          but three ways of acquiring it, 410.

  _Webb_, George, a companion of Franklin's, i. 72, 84, 86.

  _Wedderburn_, Mr. remarks on his treatment of Franklin before the privy
               council, iii. 330, 332, notes; 550.

  _West_, Mr. his conductor struck by lightning, i. 340.

  _Western_ colonies, plan for settling them, iii. 41.

  _Whatley_, Mr. four letters to, iii. 543*.

  _Wheels_, electrical, described, i. 196.

  _Whirlwinds_, how formed, ii. 10.
      observations on, 20.
      a remarkable one at Rome, 24.
      account of one in Maryland, 61.

  _Whistle_, a story, iii. 480.

  _White_, fittest colour for clothes in hot climates, ii. 109.

  _Will_, extracts from Franklin's, i. 155.

  _Wilson_, Mr. draws electricity from the clouds, i. 429.

  _Wind_ generated by fermentation, ii. 59.

  _Winds_ explained, ii. 8, 9, 48.
      the explanation objected to, 50, 51.
      observations on, by Mr. Colden, 52.
      whether confined to, or generated in, clouds, 57.
      raise the surface of the sea above its level, 188.
      effect of, on sound, 337.

  _Winters_, hard, causes of, ii. 68.

  _Winthrop_, professor, letters from, i. 373, 382.

  _Wire_ conducts a great stroke of lightning, though destroyed itself,
               i. 282.

  _Wolfe_, general, i. 136.

  _Women_ of Paris, singular saying respecting, as mothers, iii. 548*.

  _Wood_, dry, will not conduct electricity, i. 172.
      why does not feel so cold as metals, ii. 56.

  _Woods_, not unhealthy to inhabit, ii. 130.

  _Woollen_, why warmer than linen, ii. 57, 81.

  _Words_, to modern songs, only a pretence for singing, ii. 348.

  _Wygate_, an acquaintance of Franklin's, i. 66.

  _Wyndham_, sir William, applies to Franklin to teach his sons swimming,
               i. 69.


  Italic text is denoted by _underscores_.

  Obvious typographical errors and punctuation errors have been
  corrected after careful comparison with other occurrences within
  the text and consultation of external sources.

  Several pages of the book contain a description and examples of a
  modified alphabet proposed by B.F. There are six new characters, which
  are denoted by the Unicode characters below (these are similar to,
  but not a precise rendering of the original printed characters).
      ϖ   for the 'o' sound as in  (John, folly, ball)  0x3d6
      ų   for the 'u' sound as in  (umbrage, unto, er)  0x173
      Ի   for the 'sh' sound as in  (ship, wish)  0x53b
      ŋ   for the 'ng' sound as in  (ing, repeating, among)  0x14b
      ɧ   for the 'th' sound as in  (think, width)   0x267
      ƕ   for the 'th' sound as in  (thy, weather)   0x195

  For consistency and clarity, the pound abbreviation 'l.' has been
  italicized, so for example '123,321l.' has been replaced by
  '123,321_l._' in the etext.

  For consistency, the date and salutation at the beginning of each
  letter, and the closing and name at the end of each letter,
  have been put on separate lines (they were sometimes placed on the
  same line in the original printed text).

  A 'List of the Plates' has been created and added in front of
  the Errata.

  Asterisks were used by the editor to indicate omitted text.
  For consistency, '****' is used when at the beginning or end
  of a letter, otherwise a line of 5 spaced asterisks is used.

  A deliberate blank space in the text is indicated by [___].

  All the changes noted in the Errata (pg vi) have been applied to the text.

  Many Footnotes have the signature 'B. V.' rather than 'Editor'. This is
  explained in Vol 1 p 399 Footnote [90], and is copied below for the
  reader's convenience:--
      Wherever this signature occurs, the note is taken from a volume of
      Dr. Franklin's writings, entitled Political, Miscellaneous, and
      Philosophical Pieces, printed for Johnson, 1779. The editor of that
      volume, though a young man at the time, had already evinced
      extraordinary talents, and was the friend and correspondent of our
      author. As he has chosen to withhold his name, we conceive ourselves
      not entitled to disclose it: but we shall take the freedom of an
      acquaintance to use the notes occasionally, deeming them in many
      instances valuable historical records. Editor.

  Except for those changes noted below, misspelling in the text, and
  inconsistent or archaic usage, have been retained.
  For example, compleat; cieling; inclose; watry; smoak; spunge;
  Pensylvania; Massachussets; newspaper, news-paper; midnight, mid-night.

  In addition:
  Pg iv.  'Mr. Tengugel' replaced by 'Mr. Tengnagel'.
  Pg vi.  Errata: '254  47:' replaced by '254  17:'.
  Pg 15.  'decending' replaced by 'descending'.
  Pg 28.  'cirle' replaced by 'circle'.
  Pg 49.  'immerged' replaced by 'immersed'.
  Pg 54.  'canon-ball' replaced by 'cannon-ball'.
  Pg 55 FN [10].  'Cadwalader' replaced by 'Cadwallader'.
  Pg 81.  'sik-worm' replaced by 'silk-worm'.
  Pg 84.  'desarts' replaced by 'deserts'.
  Pg 88 FN [16].  'J. B.' is probably James Bowdoin, not 'I. Badoin'.
  Pg 101. 'circumsance' replaced by 'circumstance'.
  Pg 112. 'substracted' replaced by 'subtracted'.
  Pg 126. 'larg ecomet' replaced by 'large comet'.
  Pg 131. 'frome making' replaced by 'from making'.
  Pg 137. 'ran acros' replaced by 'ran across'.
  Pg 150. 'betwween water' replaced by 'between water'.
  Pg 151. 'smoth surface' replaced by 'smooth surface'.
  Pg 196. 'throughly' replaced by 'thoroughly'.
  Pg 204. '33. Much' replaced by '30. Much'.
  Pg 227. 'he separated' replaced by 'be separated'.
  Pg 240. 'kept closes hut' replaced by 'kept close shut'.
  Pg 247. 'bginning of this' replaced by 'beginning of this'.
  Pg 272. 'for pasages' replaced by 'for passages'.
  Pg 302. 'partions' replaced by 'partitions'.
  Pg 322. 'unluckly' replaced by 'unlucky'.
  Pg 328. 'mnke 180' replaced by 'make 180'.
  Pg 331. 'on atable' replaced by 'on a table'.
  Pg 337. 'substracting' replaced by 'subtracting'.
  Pg 339. 'betwen two' replaced by 'between two'.
  Pg 347. 'srceaming' replaced by 'screaming'.
  Pg 359. 'place of z' replaced by 'place of q'.
  Pg 375. 'sir Willam Temple' replaced by 'sir William Temple'.
  Pg 385. '6. The danger' replaced by '9. The danger'.
  Pg 411 FN [85]. 'presentedt ot he' replaced by 'presented to the'.
  Pg 421. 'when yon' replaced by 'when you'.
  Pg 424. 'of yonrs' replaced by 'of yours'.
  Pg 448. 'not restained' replaced by 'not restrained'.
  Pg 448. 'Englist and' replaced by 'English and'.
  Pg 461. 'islanism' replaced by 'islamism'.
  Index Pg 4i. 'Animalcnles' replaced by 'Animalcules'.
  Index Pg 29i. 'relation batween' replaced by 'relation between'.

  The Index covers all three volumes and was originally printed
  at the end of Volume 1 only. It has been copied to the end of
  Volume 2 and 3 as a convenience for the reader.

  The Index had no page numbers in the original text; page numbers from
  1i to 36i have been added for completeness. For clarity, some volume
  identifiers (i. or ii. or iii.) have been added, or removed, in the
  index. Only references within this volume have been hyperlinked.

  The Index has some references to page numbers with a *, eg 551*.  These
  are valid references; the book printer inserted pages 543*-556* between
  pages 542 and 543 in Vol iii.

*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Complete Works in Philosophy, Politics and Morals of the late Dr. Benjamin Franklin, [Vol 2 of 3]" ***

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