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Perceptive Power of Vegetables. Bishop Watson's Collection of Tracts.- Christian Charity.

Manchester, 23 May, 1785.


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 Dissertations, 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.


Library for the Town of Franklin.

Newington Green, 3 June, 1785.


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 has 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.



Isle of Man, 7 June, 1785.

The name of Dr. Franklin stands so high in politics and philosophy, that it were a proof of the depth of ignorance and obscurity to be unacquainted with the great things he has done in both these useful sciences. Europe as well as America looks with equal veneration and admiration on the great man, who supported an oppressed and almost sinking state, and forsook her not until he secured her freedom and established her independence among the sovereigns of the world. Some of these few, who have had the happiness of a personal acquaintance with him, have assured me, they found him as willing to communicate his knowledge as he had been studious to obtain it, and that no one could leave him without carrying away some improvement, and receiving the most pleasing entertainment.

When crowns court attention, it is scarcely decent for common people to solicit admission; but a Mr. Hamilton of Ireland, and some other friends of mine, have given me such accounts of your condescension, that I am emboldened to give you this trouble, and to presume so far as to entreat the liberty of introducing my vicar-general, the Reverend Mr. Christian, to you; and, as we have lately received some imperfect sketches of the establishment of the Episcopal Church of England in the southern colonies of North America, should Mr. Christian request any information from you, or propose any thing for the benefit of religion in that quarter of the world, you may depend with the greatest safety on his talents and intelligence in Church business, as well as his sincerity in assisting me in executing any part in the system he may have the honor

of proposing to you. I shall consider a few lines in acknowledgment of your forgiveness of this intrusion of myself and my friend upon you, as the greatest honor of my life, and remain, with the most profound respect, your most obedient servant,



Relative to his Charges for Salary as Minister

Paris, 19 June, 1785.


With respect to my continuing to charge two thousand five hundred pounds sterling per annum as my salary, of which you desire some explanation, I send you, in support of that charge, the resolution of Congress, which is in these words.

"In Congress, October 5th, 1779. Resolved, that each of the Ministers Plenipotentiary be allowed at the rate of two thousand five hundred pounds sterling per annum, and each of their secretaries at the rate of one thousand pounds sterling per annum, in full for their services and expenses respectively. That the salary of each of the said officers be computed from the time of his leaving his place of abode, to enter on the duties of his office, and be continued three months after the notice of his recall."

The several bills I afterwards received, drawn on the Congress banker, Mr. Grand, for my salary, were all calculated on that sum, as my salary; and neither the banker nor myself has received notice of any change respecting me. He has accordingly, since the drawing ceased, continued to pay me at the same rate.

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