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had not felt it, but they saw I was knocked down by it, which had greatly surprised them. On recollecting myself, and examining my situation, I found the case clear. A small swelling rose on the top of my head, which continued sore for some days; but I do not remember any other effect, good or bad.
The stroke you received, and its consequences, are much more curious. I communicated that part of
your letter to an operator, encouraged by government here to electrify epileptic and other poor patients, and advised his trying the practice on mad people according to your opinion. I have not heard whether he has done it.
TO PROFESSOR LANDRIANI, OF ITALY.
On the Utility of Electrical Conductors.
Philadelphia, 14 October, 1787.
I have received the excellent work, Upon the Utility of Electrical Conductors, which you had the goodness to send me. I read it with great pleasure, and beg you to accept my sincere thanks for it.
Upon my return to this country, I found the number of conductors much increased, many proofs of their efficacy in preserving buildings from lightning having demonstrated their utility. Among other instances, my own house was one day attacked by lightning, which occasioned the neighbours to run in to give assistance, in case of its being on fire. But no damage was done, and my family was only found a good deal frightened with the violence of the explosion. Last
year, my house being enlarged, the conductor was obliged to be taken down. I found, upon examination, that the pointed termination of copper, which was originally nine inches long, and about one third of an inch in diameter in its thickest part, had been almost entirely melted; and that its connexion with the rod of iron below was very slight. Thus, in the course of time, this invention has proved of use to the author of it, and has added this personal advantage to the pleasure he before received from having been useful to others.
Mr. Rittenhouse, our astronomer, has informed me, that, having observed with his excellent telescope many conductors that are within the field of his view, he has remarked in various instances, that the points were melted in like manner. There is no example of a house, provided with a perfect conductor, which has suffered any considerable damage; and even those which are without them have suffered little, since conductors have become common in this city.