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seen how much more commodiously the white people lived by the help of the arts, they would not choose to remain among us; their answer was, that they were pleased with having had an opportunity of seeing so many fine things, but they chose to live in their own country. Which country, by the way, consisted of rock only, for the Moravians were obliged to carry earth in their ship from New York, for the purpose of making a cabbage garden.
By Mr. Dollond's saying, that my double spectacles can only serve particular eyes, I doubt he has not been rightly informed of their construction. I imagine it will be found pretty generally true, that the same convexity of glass, through which a man sees clearest and best at the distance proper for reading, is not the best for greater distances. I therefore had formerly two pair of spectacles, which I shifted occasionally, as in trav. elling I sometimes read, and often wanted to regard the prospects. Finding this change troublesome, and not always sufficiently ready, I had the glasses cut, and half of each kind associated in the same circle, thus,
Least convex, for distant objects.
By this means, as I wear my spectacles constantly, I have only to move my eyes up or down, as I want to .see distinctly far or near, the proper glasses being always ready. This I find more particularly convenient since my being in France, the glasses that serve me best at table to see what I eat, not being the best to see the faces of those on the other side of the table who speak to me; and when one's ears are not well accustomed to the sounds of a language, a sight of the movements in the features of him that speaks helps to explain; so that I understand French better by the help of my spectacles.
My intended translator of your piece, the only one I know who understands the subject, as well as the two languages, (which a translator ought to do, or he cannot make so good a translation,) is at present occupied in an affair that prevents his undertaking it; but that will soon be over. I thank you for the notes. I should be glad to have another of the printed pamphlets.
We shall always be ready to take your children, if you send them to us. I only wonder, that, since London draws to itself, and consumes such numbers of your country people, the country should not, to supply their places, want and willingly receive the children you have to dispose of. That circumstance, together with the multitude who voluntarily part with their freedom as men, to serve for a time as lackeys, or for life as soldiers, in consideration of small wages, seems to me proof that your island is over-peopled. And yet it is afraid of emigrations! Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever yours very affectionately,
FROM THOMAS PERCIVAL TO B. FRANKLIN.
Perceptive Power of Vegetables. – Bishop Watson's Collection of Tracts. - Christian Charity.
Manchester, 23 May, 1785. DEAR SIR, I owe you my most cordial acknowledgments for the very friendly letter, with which you favored me last summer by Mr. Smeathman. Your ingenious manuscript concerning the cause of the severe cold in the winter of 1783 -4 I delivered to our Philosophical Society, and it is ordered by the committee of papers to be inserted in a volume of Memoirs, which is now in the press.* I am commissioned to return the thanks of the Society to you for this communication, to request your future correspondence, and to acquaint you, that we have honored our Institution by electing you an extraordinary member.
The gentleman, who took charge of your diploma, conveys it with a little tract of mine on the Perceptive Power of Vegetables. To the whimsical doctrine contained in this jeu d'esprit, you will readily believe I can hardly be a convert. Yet, the further we carry our researches into the comparative nature of animals and vegetables, the more shall we find that they elucidate the economy of each other, and reciprocally discover principles, which are common to both. Late observations have evinced, that animals have the power of resisting, to a certain point, such degrees of heat or cold as are injurious to them. It is obvious, that vegetables must be endued with the same faculty, because they are found to flourish in climates where the
• See this paper in the present work, Vol. VI. p. 455.
circumambient air varies considerably from their proper temperature. And the fact has been fully illustrated by Mr. John Hunter's experiments.
Your very kind acceptance of the volume of Moral and Literary Disserlations, which I sent to you by Mr. Thomas White, afforded me the sincerest satisfaction; and the honor you did me, by perusing the whole of it before you slept, is more flattering to me than the approbation of a hundred critics.
I have lately received a very valuable present from my friend Dr. Watson, Bishop of Landaff. It is a collection of tracts on the Evidences of Natural and Revealed Religion, selected from the works of churchmen, laymen, and dissenters, systematically arranged in six octavo volumes, so as to form a complete library for the junior and inferior clergy. I am charmed with the candor, the liberality, and the spirit of catholicism, which his Lordship has avowed with the utmost energy and freedom in his Preface. The true Christian charity of a bishop, thus manifested, will promote the interest of the Church of England far more honorably and permanently, than creeds, tests, or anathemas. He has proved himself the generous minister of peace, and, if his brethren follow so laudable an example by offering the olive branch, instead of brandishing the sword, or throwing down the gauntlet, I hope and trust an end will be put to theological contention and hostility.
Is there any prospect of your revisiting England ? Few events would give me more delight, than to have an opportunity of assuring you in person, with what cordial esteem and respect, I have the honor to be, dear Sir, &c.
THOMAS PERCIVAL. VOL. X.
· FROM RICHARD PRICE TO B. FRANKLIN. -
Newington Green, 3 June, 1785. MY DEAR FRIEND, I wrote to you and Mr. Jefferson a few weeks ago, and sent you some copies of the edition lately published here of my pamphlet on the American Revolution. Mr. Williams bas given me much pleasure by calling upon me, and bringing me a letter from you. I have, according to your desire, furnished him with a list of such books on religion and government, as I think some of the best, and added a present to the parish that is to bear your name, of such of my own publications as I think may not be unsuitable. Should this be the commencement of parochial libraries in the States, it will do great good.
Mr. Williams tells me, that you have obtained permission to resign, and that you are likely soon to return to America, there to finish your life; a life, which, without doubt, will be one of the most distinguished in future annals. Indeed, I cannot wonder, that, after being so long tossed on the sea of politics, and seeing your country, partly under your guidance, carried through a hard contest, and a most important revolution established, you should wish to withdraw to rest and tranquillity.
May the best blessings of Heaven attend you, and the sad malady under which you are suffering be rendered as tolerable to you as possible. You are going to the new world; I must stay in this; but I trust there is a world beyond the grave, where we shall be happier than ever. I shall be always following you with my good wishes, and remain with unalterable respect and affection, &c.