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ly be mistaken as to the circumstance of the light commg in my room; for it being well known, as He says, that there could be ho light abroad at that hour, it follows that nonecould enter from without; and that of consequence, my windows being accidently left open, instead of letting in the light, had only served to let out the darkness; and he used many ingenious arguments 10 shew ms how I might, by that means, have been deceived. I own that he puzzled me a little, but he did not satisfy me; and the subsequent observations I made as above mentioned, confirmed me in my first opinion.
This event hasgiven rise, in my mind, to several serious and important reflections. I considered that, if! had not been awakened so early in the morning, I should have slept six hours longer by the light of the Sim, and in exchange have lived six hours the following night by candle-light; and the latter being a much more expensive light than the former, my love of oeronomy induced me to muster up what little .arithmetic I was master of, and to make some calculations. which I shall give you, after observing, that utility is, in my opimon, the test of value in matters of invention..and that a discovery which can be applied to no use, or is not good foi; something, is good for nothing.
I took for the basis oi my calculation the supposition that there are 100,000 families in Paris, and that these families consume in the night half a pound of bougies, or candles, per hour. i think this is a moderate allowance, taking one family with another; for though I believe some consume less, I know tliat many consume a great deal more. linen estimating seven hours pet. day, as the medium quantity between the lime of'he 6un's rising and ours, he rising during the six toiiowing months from six to eight hours before noon, and there being seven hours of course per night m wi.icli .we burn candles, the account will stand thus—
In the six months between the twentieth of March and the twentieth of Sept. there arc Nights • - • H*3
Hours of each night in which we burn candles 1
Multiplication gives for the total ■
number of hours -----------.. 1,33 a
These I'281 hours multiplied by 100,000,
the number of inhabitants, gives ■ 128,100,00* 'One hundred twenty tight millions and one hundred thousand hours, sp nt at Paris by candle.light, which, at half u pound of wax and tallow per hour.gives the weight t;f 64,050,009'
. Sixty fiur millionsand fifty thousand of pounds, which, estimating the whole at the medium price of thirtv sols the pound. makes the sunt of ninety.six millions and seventyfiv. t ou-and livrts tournois 96,075.000
A" im.i.ense sum! that the city of Paris might save every year, by the ceconom) of using sunshine mstead of candles.
It should be said, that the people are apt to be obstinate ly attached to old customs. and thai it will be difficult to induce them to rise before noon,consequently my discovery can be of little use; 1 answer, A'u deafirrandunu J helieve all who have common sense. as Sooh as they have learnt from this pa;'er that it is daylight when the sun rises, will contrive to rise with him, and to compel the vest, 1 would piopose the following regulations: ,
First. Let a tax be laid of a louis per window, on every window that is provided with shutuas to keep out the light of the sun.
Second. Let the same salutary operation of police be made use of to prevent our buining candle.s, that.inclined us last winter to be more (economical in burning wood; that is, let guards be placed in the shops of the wax and tallow cl andlers, and no family bt permittee} to be supplied with more Uian one nound of candles per week. > ...
.'Third.' Let guards be posted" to stop alt the toache«, ^ *c. that would pass the streets after sun-s^t, except' . those of physicians, surgeons and midwives. . _'
'Fourth. Every morning, as soon as the sun rises,.let; all the bells In every church be set ringing; and if that; is not sufficient, let cannon be fired in every street, and. ( wake the sluggards effectually, and make them opeft their eyes to see their true interest. ..,,..; '.. ,.-...
All the difficulty will be in the first two or three days i \ after which the reformation will be as natural and easy as the present irregularity: for ce u'est que ^ le premier Jias quicoute. Oblige a man to rise at four in the mornin.r, audit is more than probable he shall go willingly . to bed at eight in the evening; and having had eight hours sleep, he will rise more willingly at four in the morning following. But this sum of ninety six millions and seventy.five thousand livres is not the whole of what may be saved by my (Economical project. You . may observe, that I have calculated upon only one half cf the year, and much may be saved, in the other, though the days are shorter.' Besides, the immense stock of wax and tallow left unconsumed during the summer, will probably make candles much cheaper for the ensuing winter, and continue cheaper as long as the proposed reformation shall be supported.
For the great benefit of this discovery, thus Freely .communicated and bestowed by me on the public, I demand neither place, pension, exclusive privilege, nor any other reward whatever. I expect only tohi..vethe . honor of it. And yet I know there are little envious minds who will, as usual, deny me this, and say that my intention was known to the ancients, and perhaps they may bring passages out of the old books in proof of it.. 1 will not dispute with these people that the ancients knew not the sun would rise at certain hours; they possibly had, as .we have, almanacks that perdicted it; but it does not follow from thence that they knew that he gave light as soon as he rose. This is what I claim as my discovery. If the ancients knew it, .it K
must long since have been forgotten, for it certainlf was unknown to the moderns, at least to the Parisians; which to "prove, I need use but one plain simple argument. They are as well instructed, judicious, and prudent a people as exist any where in the world, all professing, like myself, to be lovers of (economy ; and from the many heavy taxes required from them by the necessities of the state, have surely reason to be (economical. I say it is impossible that so sensible a people, under such circumstances, should have lived so Jong by the smoky, unwholesome, and enormously expensive light of candles, if they, had really known that they might have as much pure light of the sun for nothing. 1 am, &c.
Of modern innovations in the English language, and in the art of Printing.
TO NOAH WEBSTER, JUN. ESQ^ AT HARTFOHD.
FMladel/ihia, Dec. 26, 1739. Dear Sis, 1 received, some time since, your Dissertations on the English Language. It is an excellent work, and will be greatly useful in turning the thoughts of our countrymen to correct writing. Please to accept my thanks for it, as well as for the great honor you have done me in .its dedication. I ought to have made this acknowledgement sooner, but much indisposition prevented me. I cannot but applaud your zeal for preserving the purity of our language both in its expression and pronunciation, and in correcting the popular errors several of onr states are continually falling in with respect to both. Give me leave to mention some in them, though possibly they may already have occurred to you. I wish, however, that in some future publication of yours you wpufd set a discountenancing mark upon them. The first I remember is the word improved. "When I lift New-England in the year 1723, this word had never been used among Us, as far as I know, but in the. sense of ameliorated, or made better, except once in a Very old book of Dr. Mather's, entitled " Remarkable Trovidences." As that man wrote a very obscure hand, I remember that when I read that word in his.book, used instead of the word employed, I conjectured that it was an error of the printer, who had mistaken a short / in the writing for an r, and a y with loo short a tail for a v, whereby employed was converted into improvedi but when I returned to Boston in L733, 1 found that this change had obtained favour, and was then become common; for I met with it often in perusing the newspapers, where it frequently made an appearance rather ridiculous. Such, for instance, as the advertisement of a country house to.be sold, which had been many; years improved as a tavern; and in the character of a deceased? country gentleman, that he had been, for more than thirty years, improved as a justice of the peace. This use of the word improve is peculiar to New-England, and not Wbe met with among any other speakers of English, either on this or the other side of the water. During'my late absence in Erance, I find that several other new .words have been introduced into our parliamentary language. For example, I find a verb formed from the substantive notice. I should not have noticed this, were, it not that the gentleman, isfc. Also another verb, from the substantive advocate: The gentleman who advocates, or who his advocated that motion, isfc. Another from the substantive progress, the most awkward and abominable of the three: The ^committee having progressed, resolved to adjourn. The. word opposed, though not a new word, I find u^ed in a new manner, as, The gentlemen who are opposed to this measure, to which I have also myself always been opposeu. If you should happen to be of my opinion with respect to these innovations, you will use your authority iuvep.. •» bating then...