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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 Pharmacopma. 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 1 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 reelection 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,
FROM M. DE SAUSSURE TO B. FRANKLIN.
Travels in the Alps. — Account of the first Ascent to
Geneva, 17 December, 1786.
I have taken the liberty of requesting Messrs. Van Neck &. Co. of -London, -to forward to you in America the second volume of my Voyages dans les Alpes. I am very desirous, that this work should be found worthy of your approbation, or at least, that you should not think it was hardly worth sending so far. Although there are few branches of human knowledge, with which you are unacquainted, and in which you have not given proofs of your genius, you have appeared to take an especial interest in Natural Philosophy, and particularly Electricity and Meteorology. In this volume you will find chapters of considerable length on these two subjects.
The structure of mountains was particularly the object of my research in these travels; but at the same time I thought I ought to take the opportunity of studying the constitution of the atmosphere at heights which are seldom reached; and for this purpose I invented a very convenient and sensitive electrometer, which you will find described in the volume, and with which I made some curious experiments upon the electricity of the air in clear weather. I found this electricity stronger in proportion as the place of observation was higher and more insulated. I am very desirous to try the same experiment on the summit of Mont Blanc, which is, as you know, the highest mountain of the old continent. I almost despaired of being able to reach it, when I finished the volume which I now have the honor to send. You will there see an account of my fruitless attempts. Since then, however, I have obtained information, which gives me an almost certain prospect of doing it; at least, if I am alive and in good health next June.
Six peasants from Chamouni made the attempt at the beginning of last summer, and went to a great height, though they did not reach the summit. One of them, who got lost while looking after crystals, was obliged to pass the night in the snows at a very elevated point. A terrible hailstorm came on, and his companions gave him up for lost. He suffered but little, however. The next morning the weather was extremely fine, and, as it was very early, he had time to examine carefully the different approaches to the summit, and to fix upon the proper path to reach it.
On his return to Chamouni, he said nothing to his companions, but he communicated his views to a young physician named Paccard, who had also several times attempted without success to scale the mountain. They went and slept on the top of the rocks at the entrance of the snows, and, starting again at break of day on the following morning, being the 8th of August, they reached the summit between six and seven in the evening. They were seen there with spyglasses from Chamouni. The Baron de Garsdorf even followed them with a good telescope and marked out their path. They returned the same day, or rather night, with excessive fatigue and danger, their faces burnt, swollen, and even bleeding; and they were almost blind from the reflection from the snow. In fact, they had taken no precautions whatever.*
* M. Paccard was accompanied by M. Balmat. They published an account of this enterprise, entitled, Premier Voyage a la Cime de la plus haute Montague du Continent.