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seriously meditate a visit after the middle of next month, and that you will inform us by a line when to expect you. We drank your health and Mrs. Johnson's, remembering your kind entertainment of us at Stratford.
I think with you, that nothing is of more importance for the public weal, than to form and train up youth in wisdom and virtue. Wise and good men are, in my opinion, the strength of a state; much more so than riches or arms, which, under the management of ignorance and wickedness, often draw on destruction, instead of providing for the safety of the people. And though the culture bestowed on many should be successful only with a few, yet the influence of those few and the service in their power may be very great. Even a single woman, that was wise, by her wisdom saved the city.
I think also, that general virtue is more probably to be expected and obtained from the education of youth, than from the exhortation of adult persons; bad habits and vices of the mind being, like diseases of the body, more easily prevented than cured. I think, moreover, that talents for the education of youth are the gift of God; and that he on whom they are bestowed, whenever a way is opened for the use of them, is as strongly called as if he heard a voice from heaven; nothing more surely pointing out duty in a public service, than ability and opportunity of performing it.
I have not yet discoursed with Dr. Jenney concerning your removal hither. You have reason, I own, to
Dr. Johnson. This offer he declined, on account of a similar and more advantageous one from New York. A very well written life of Dr. Johnson, by Dr. Chandler, was published some years ago, containing, besides many curious anecdotes of the history and early literature of our country, a very interesting series of correspondence between Dr. Johnson and Archbishop Secker, Bishops Lowth, Berkeley, and Gibson, and several other distinguished dignitaries of the Church of England.”
doubt whether your coming on the foot I proposed would not be disagreeable to him, though I think it ought not; for, should his particular interest be somewhat affected by it, that ought not to stand in competition with the general good; especially as it cannot be much affected, he being old, and rich, and without children. I will however learn his sentiments before the next post. But, whatever influence they might have on your determination about removing, they need have none on your intention of visiting; and if you favor us with the visit, it is not necessary that you should previously write to him to learn his disposition about your removal; since you will see him, and, when we are all together, those things may be better settled in conversation than by letters at a distance.
Your tenderness of the Church's peace is truly laudable; but, methinks, to build a new church in a growing place is not properly dividing but multiplying; and will really be the means of increasing the number of those, who worship God in that way. Many, who cannot now be accommodated in the church, go to other places, or stay at home; and, if we had another church, many, who go to other places or stay at home, would go to church. I suppose the interest of the church has been far from suffering in Boston by the building of two churches there in my memory. I had for several years nailed against the wall of my house a pigeon-box, that would hold six pair; and, though they bred as fast as my neighbours' pigeons, I never had more than six pair, the old and strong driving out the young and weak, and obliging them to seek new habitations. At length I put up an additional box with apartments for entertaining twelve pair more; and it was soon filled with inhabitants, by the overflowing of my first box, and of
others in the neighbourhood. This I take to be a parallel case with the building a new church here.
Your years I think are not so many as to be an objection of any weight, especially considering the vigor of your constitution. For the smallpox, if it should spread here, you might inoculate with great probability and safety; and I think that distemper generally more favorable here than farther northward. Your objection about the politeness of Philadelphia, and your imagined rusticity, is mere compliment; and your diffidence of yourself absolutely groundless.
My humble respects, if you please, to your brethren at the Commencement. I hope they will advise you to what is most for the good of the whole, and then I think they will advise you to remove hither. Please to tender my best respects and service to Mrs. Johnson and your son. I am, dear Sir, your obliged and affectionate humble servant,
TO JARED ELIOT.
Mr. Collinson. — Agricultural Remarks. — Philadelphia
Academy. - Barometer, Thermometer, and Hygrometer. — Ingenious Defence of Self-applause.
Philadelphia, 12 September, 1751. DEAR SIR I received your favor of last month, with the twelve Essays. The Collinson you mention is the same gentleman I correspond with. He is a most benevolent, worthy man, very curious in botany and other branches of natural history, and fond of improvements in agriculture, &c. He will be pleased with your acquaintance. In the late Philosophical Transactions, you may see frequently papers of his, or letters that were directed to him, on various subjects. He is a member of the Royal Society.
An ingenious acquaintance of mine here, Mr. Hugh Roberts, one of our most eminent farmers, tells me, that it appears by your writings, that your people are yet far behind us in the improvement of swamps and meadows. I am persuading him to send you such hints as he thinks may give you farther insight into that matter. But in other respects he greatly esteems your pieces. He says they are preferable to any thing of late years published on that subject in England. The late writers there chiefly copy from one another, and afford very little new or useful; but you have collected experiences and facts, and make propositions, that are reasonable and serviceable. You have taught him, he says, to clear his meadows of elder (a thing very pernicious to banks), which was before beyond the art of all our farmers; and given him several other useful informations.
I am exceedingly obliged to you for the plan and directions concerning ditching. It is very satisfactory, and I hope will be useful here.
Our Academy flourishes beyond expectation. We have now above one hundred scholars, and the number is daily increasing. We have excellent masters at present; and, as we give pretty good salaries, I hope we shall always be able to procure such. We pay the Rector, who teaches Latin and Greek, per annum £200 The English master, i cili:::::::: The Mathematical professor, ila...:::£125 Three assistant tutors each £60=. .. £ 180
Total per annum . . . . . £ 655 Our currency is something better than that of New York. The scholars pay each £4 per annum.
The changes of the barometer are most sensible in high latitudes. In the West India Islands the mercury continues at the same height with very little variation the year round. In these latitudes, the alterations are not frequently so great as in England. Thermometers are often badly made. I had three that differed widely from each other, though hung in the same place. As to hygrometers, there is no good one yet invented. The cord is as good as any; but, like the rest, it grows continually less sensible by time, so that the observations of one year cannot be compared with those of another by the same instrument. I will think of what you hint concerning the hydrostatic balance.
What you mention concerning the love of praise is indeed very true; it reigns more or less in every heart; though we are generally hypocrites, in that respect, and pretend to disregard praise, and our nice, modest ears are offended, forsooth, with what one of the ancients calls the sweetest kind of music. This hypocrisy is only a sacrifice to the pride of others, or to their envy; both which, I think, ought rather to be mortified. The same sacrifice we make, when we forbear to praise ourselves, which naturally we are all inclined to; and I suppose it was formerly the fashion, or Virgil, that courtly writer, would not have put a speech into the mouth of his hero, which now-a-days we should esteem so great an indecency;
“Sum pius Æneas, ...........
......... famâ super æthera notus." One of the Romans, I forget who, justified speaking in his own praise by saying, Every freeman had a right to speak what he thought of himself, as well as of others. That this is a natural inclination appears in that all children show it, and say freely, I am a good boy; Am I not a good girl? and the like, till they have been