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hear with pleasure, that you have been more fortunate in this respect in America than I have been in France; and I repeat to you the assurance of the sentiments of regard, with which I have the honor to be, &c.
FROM THOMAS PERCIVAL TO B. FRANKLIN.
Influence of Manufacturing Establishments on the Purity of the Air. - Priestley, Kippis, Price.
Manchester, 27 October, 1786. DEAR SIR, I received, with very great pleasure, your obliging letter by Mr. Vaughan ; and delivered to our Literary Society the volume of American Philosophical Transactions which accompanied it. The donation was highly acceptable, both from its intrinsic value, and as a pledge of friendly correspondence with the excellent institution over which you preside. The formal acknowledgment of such favors is the official duty of our secretaries; and they have been directed to return our thanks in the most grateful and respectful terms, together with the present of our Memoirs. The diffusion of the arts and sciences through so many extensive regions of the globe must afford a subject of: contemplation peculiarly satisfactory to your mind; as you cannot but feel the delightful consciousness of having been a principal instrument, under Providence, in its accomplishment. And I hope that sun, which has so long blessed the nations, will not set till the interests of truth and knowledge, of civil and religious liberty, are firmly established in the western hemisphere, which it now enlightens. VOL. X.
Your valuable papers on Chimneys, and on the Consumption of Smoke, have arrived very seasonably to aid a plan which I have in view. It is my intention to offer a representation to our magistrates, at the ensuing Quarter Sessions, of the expediency and necessity of adopting some measures to purify the air of Manchester; for they are guardians of the health, as well as of the morals, of their fellow citizens. And, though works, which are essential to the prosecution of trade, ought not to be deemed nuisances, the persons who are engaged in them should be induced or compelled to conduct them in a manner, as little injurious as possible to the public. This town now contains about forty-six thousand inhabitants; and I observe, with concern, an annual and large increase of pulmonic complaints. To the offensive fumes which we breathe, I apprehend, these distressing and fatal maladies are chiefly to be ascribed. The smoke from the velvet dress works is particularly acrimonious and offensive to the lungs; and it is so copious, even from a single chimney, as to scatter a shower of soot over a very considerable space. I shall think myself much obliged by the communication of any hints, that your knowledge or experience may suggest on this subject, which is interesting not only to Manchester, but to most other
manufacturing towns. . We have now established here an institution on a
plan similar to the late Academy at Warrington; and, in conjunction with this, a medical school is formed, which seems to bid fair for eminent success. I will send you our Reports, when the Manchester Memoirs are forwarded to you.
Dr. and Mrs. Priestley have been here this summer, together with Dr. Kippis. Dr. Priestley is not in a
very good state of health, having had a return of the complaint with which he was visited several years ago; but his spirits and ardor do not desert him. He is at this time zealously engaged in attempts to convert the Jews to Christianity. For this undertaking he believes himself peculiarly well fitted, as it is a part of his creed, that Jesus Christ was the actual son of Joseph, and a lineal descendant of the house of David. But the Jewish rabbis have declared their resolution to enter into no discussion on these topics, being forbidden, as they allege, by their most sacred laws.
Dr. Kippis is busied with the Life of Captain Cook, which is to be published separately, as well as in the Biographia Britannica. Our excellent friend, Dr. Price, is, I hear, deeply affected with the death of his wife. A fresh paralytic stroke carried her off about a month since. The Doctor is preparing for the press a volume of Sermons in support of the Arian doctrine, and an enlarged edition of his valuable “ Review of the Principal Questions and Difficulties in Morals." The College of Physicians in London have just printed a specimen of a new Pharmacopæia. The President has favored me with a copy; and I think the Dispensatory, on the whole, is likely to be much improved.
I have already transmitted, in a letter to Dr. Rush, my grateful acknowledgments to the American Philosophical Society for the honor of being elected into their body. To you I am doubtless much indebted for this mark of distinction. Accept my best thanks; and believe me to be, with the most cordial respect and esteem, dear Sir, &c.
TO WILLIAM HUNTER.
Condition of America.
Philadelphia, 24 November, 1786. MY DEAR OLD FRIEND, It rejoiced me much to learn, by your kind letter of February last, which I received about ten days since, that you are still in the land of the living; and that you are still at Bath, the very place that I think gives you the best chance of passing the evening of life agreeably. I too am got into my niche, after being kept out of it twenty-four years by foreign employments. It is a very good house that I built so long ago to retire into, without being able till now to enjoy it. I am again surrounded by my friends, with a fine family of grandchildren about my knees, and an affectionate good daughter and son-in-law to take care of me. And, after fifty years' public service, I have the pleasure to find the esteem of my country with regard to me undiminished; the late reëlection of me to the presidentship, notwithstanding the different parties we are split into, being absolutely unanimous. This I tell you, not merely to indulge my own vanity, but because I know you love me, and will be pleased to hear of whatever happens that is agreeable to your friend.
I find Mr. Anstey,* whom you recommend to me, a very agreeable, sensible man, and shall render him any service that may lie in my power. I thank you for the “New Bath Guide." I had read it formerly, but it has afforded me fresh pleasure.
* Mr. Anstey was a commissioner sent over by the British government to settle the affairs of the refugees in America.
Your newspapers, to please honest John Bull, paint our situation here in frightful colors, as if we were very miserable since we broke our connexion with him. But I will give you some remarks by which you may form your own judgment. Our husbandmen, who are the bulk of the nation, have had plentiful crops, their produce sells at high prices and for ready, hard money; wheat, for instance, at eight shillings, and eight shillings and sixpence, a bushel. Our working people are all employed and get high wages, are well fed and well clad. Our estates in houses are trebled in value by the rising of rents since the Revolution. Buildings in Philadelphia increase amazingly, besides small towns rising in every quarter of the country. The laws govern, justice is well administered, and property as secure as in any country on the globe. Our wilderness lands are daily buying up by new settlers, and our settlements extend rapidly to the westward. European goods were never so cheaply afforded us, as since Britain has no longer the monopoly of supplying us. In short, all among us may be happy, who have happy dispositions ; such being necessary to happiness even in Paradise.
I speak these things of Pennsylvania, with which I am most acquainted. . As to the other States, when I read in all the papers of the extravagant rejoicings every 4th of July, the day on which was signed the Declaration of Independence, I am convinced, that none of them are discontented with the Revolution. Adieu, my dear friend, and believe me ever, with sincere esteem and affection, yours most truly,