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the principles. But, as the causes are various, so must the remedies be; and one cannot prescribe to a patient at such a distance, without first having a clear state of its case. If you should ever take the trouble of sending me a description of the circumstances of your smoky chimneys, perhaps I might offer something useful towards their cure. But doubtless you have doctors equally skilful nearer home.
I sent one of your Principles of Equity as a present to a particular friend of mine, one of the judges of the Supreme Court in Pennsylvania, where, as there is no court of chancery, equity is often mixed with the common law in their judgments. I since received two letters from him. In the first, when he had read but part of the work, he seemed to think something wanting in it. In the next, he calls his first sentiments in question. I think I will send you the letters, though of no great importance, lest, since I have mentioned them, you should think his remarks might be of more consequence. You can return them when any friend is coming this way.
May I take the freedom of recommending the bearer, Mr. Morgan, to your Lordship's protection. He purposes residing some time in Edinburgh, to improve himself in the study of physic, and I think will one day make a good figure in the profession, and be of some credit to the school he studies in, if great industry and application, joined with natural genius and sagacity, afford any foundation for the presage. He is the son of a friend and near neighbour of mine in Philadelphia, so that I have known him from a child, and am confident the same excellent dispositions, good morals, and prudent behaviour, that have procured him the esteem and affection of all that knew him in his own country, will render him not unworthy the re
gard, advice, and countenance your Lordship may be so good as to afford him.
My son (with whom I have lately made the tour of Holland and Flanders) joins with me in best wishes for you and Lady Kames, and your amiable children. We hope, however far we may be removed from you, to hear frequently of your welfare, and of the fortunes of your family ; being with the sincerest esteem and regard, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
TO MISS MARY STEVENSON.
Monday morning, 8 March, 1762. DEAR POLLY, Your good mamma has just been saying to me, that she wonders what can possibly be the reason she has not had a line from you for so long a time. I have made no complaint of that kind, being conscious, that, by not writing myself, I have forfeited all claim to such favor, though no letters give me more pleasure, and I often wish to hear from you; but indolence grows upon me with years, and writing grows more and more irksome to me.
Have you finished your course of philosophy ? No more doubts to be resolved ? No more questions to ask? If so, you may now be at full leisure to improve yourself in cards. Adieu, my dear child, and believe me ever your affectionate friend,
P.S. Respects to Mrs. Tickell, &c. Mamma bids me tell you she is lately much afflicted and half a cripple with the rheumatism. I send you two or three French Gazettes de Médecine, which I have just re
ceived from Paris, wherein is a translation of the extract of a letter you copied out for me. You will return them with my French letters on Electricity, when you have perused them.
TO MRS. DEBORAH FRANKLIN.
Death of Mrs. Franklin's Mother.
London, 24 March, 1762. MY DEAR CHILD, I condole with you most sincerely on the death of our good mother, * being extremely sensible of the distress and affliction it must have thrown you into. Your comfort will be, that no care was wanting on your part towards her, and that she had lived as long as this life could afford her any rational enjoyment. It is, I am sure, a satisfaction to me, that I cannot charge myself with having ever failed in one instance of duty and respect to her during the many years that she called me son. The circumstances attending her death were indeed unhappy in some respects; but something must bring us all to our end, and few of us shall see her length of days. My love to brother John Read, and sister and cousin Debby, and young cousin Johnny Read, and let them all know, that I sympathize with them all affectionately.
This I write in haste, Mr. Beatty having just called on me to let me know, that he is about to set out for Portsmouth, in order to sail for America. I am finishing all business here in order for my return, which will either be in the Virginia fleet, or by the packet
• Mrs. Read, the mother of Mrs. Franklin.
of May next; I am not yet determined which. I pray God grant us a happy. meeting.
We are all well, and Billy presents his duty. Mr. Strahan has received your letter, and wonders he has not been able to persuade you to come over. Mrs. Stevenson desires her compliments; she expected Sally would have answered her daughter's letter, that went with the gold needle. I have received yours by the last packet, and one from our friend Mr. Hughes. I will try to write a line to him if I have time. If not, please to tell him I will do all I can to serve him in his affair. Acquaint Mr. Charles Norris, that I send him a gardener in Bolitho's ship. The particulars of your letters I shall answer by the same ship. I can now only add, that I am, as ever, my dear Debby, your affectionate husband,
TO DAVID HUME.* Mode of fixing Lightning Rods. — Cause of Explo
sions by Lightning. — Lord Marischal. — Gold and Wisdom.
London, 19 May, 1762. DEAR SIR, It is no small pleasure to me to hear from you that my paper on the means of preserving buildings from damage by lightning, was acceptable to the Philosophical Society. Mr. Russel's proposals of improvement are very sensible and just. A leaden spout or pipe is undoubtedly a good conductor, so far as it goes. If the conductor enters the ground just at the
* The letter from Mr. Hume, to which this is a reply, may be seen in Vol. VI. p. 243.
foundation, and from thence is carried horizontally to some well, or to a distant rod driven downright into the earth, I would then propose, that the part under the ground should be lead, as less liable to consume with rust than iron. Because, if the conductor near the foot of the wall should be wasted, the lightning might act on the moisture of the earth, and by suddenly rarefying it occasion an explosion, that may damage the foundation. In the experiment of discharging my large case of electrical bottles through a piece of small glass tube filled with water, the suddenly rarefied water has exploded with a force equal, I think, to that of so much gunpowder; bursting the tube into many pieces, and driving them with violence in all directions and to all parts of the room. The shivering of trees into small splinters, like a broom, is probably owing to this rarefaction of the sap in the longitudinal pores, or capillary pipes, in the substance of the wood. And the blowing up of bricks or stones in a hearth, rending stones out of a foundation, and splitting of walls, are also probably effects sometimes of rarefied moisture in the earth, under the hearth, or in the walls. We should therefore have a durable conductor under ground, or convey the lightning to the earth at some distance.
It must afford Lord Marischal a good deal of diversion to preside in a dispute so ridiculous as that you mention. Judges in their decisions often use precedents. I have somewhere met with one, that is what the lawyers call a case in point. The Church people and the Puritans in a country town had once a bitter contention concerning the erecting of a Maypole, which the former desired and the latter opposed. Each party endeavoured to strengthen itself by obtaining the authority of the mayor, directing or fore