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early; and especially when I assure them, that he gives light as soon as he rises. I am convinced of this. I am certain of my fact. One cannot be more certain of any fact. I saw it with my own eyes. And, having repeated this observation the three following mornings, I found always precisely the saine result.
Yet so it happens, that when I speak of this discovery to others, I can easily perceive by their countenances, though they forbear expressing it in words, that they do not quite believe me. One, indeed, who is a learned natural philosopher, has assured me, that I must certainly be mistaken as to the circumstance of the light coming into my room; for it being well known, as he says, that there could be no light abroad at that hour; it follows that none could enter from without and that of consequence, my windows being accidentally left open, instead of letting in the light, had only served to let out the darkness : and be used many ingenious arguments to shew me 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 has given rise in my mind to several serious and important reflections. I considered that, if I had not been awakened so early in the morning, I should have slept six hours longer by the light of the sun, 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 economy 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
opinion, opinion, the test of value in matters of invention, and that a discovery which can be applied to no use, or is not good for something, is good for nothing.
2 H 4
I took for the basis of 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 that
many consume a great deal more. Then estimating seven hours per day, as the medium quantity between the time of the sun's rising and ours, he rising during the six following months from six to eight hours before noon, and there being seven hours of course per night in which we burn candles, the account will stand thus:
In the six months between the twentieth of March and the twentieth of September, there are Nights
183 Hours of each night in which we burn
Multiplication gives for the total number of hours
1,281 These 1,28 1 hours multiplied by 100,000,
the number of inhabitants give 128,100,000 One hundred twenty-eight millions and
one hundred thousand hours, spent at
64,050,000 Sixty-four millions and fifty thousand of
pounds, which, estimating the whole
pound, makes the sum of ninety-six
96,075,000 An immense sum ! that the city of Paris might save every year, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.
If it should be said, that people are apt to be obstinately attached to old customs, and that it will be difficult to induce them to rise before noon, consequently my discovery can be of little use: I answer, Nil desperandum. I believe all who have common sense, as soon as they have learnt from this paper that it is daylight when the sun rises, will contrive to rise with him ; and, to compel the rest, I would propose the following regulations :
First. Let a tax be laid of a louis per window, on every window that is provided with shutters to keep out the light of the sun.
Second. Let the same salutary operation of police be made use of to prevent our burning candles, 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 chandlers, and no family be permitted to be supplied with more than one pound of candles
Third. Let guards also be posted to stop all the coaches, &c. that would pass the streets after sun-set, 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, to wake the sluggards effectually, and make them open their eyes to see their true interest.
All the difficulty will be in the first two or three days : after which the reformation will be as natural and easy as the present irregularity: for, ce n'est que le premier pas qui coute. Oblige a man to rise at four in the morning, and it 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 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 of 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 propably make candles much cheaper for the ensuing winter, and continue them cheaper as long as the proposed reforınation 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 to have the honour of it. And yet I know there are little envious minds who will, as usual, deny me this, and say, that my invention was known to the ancients, and perhaps they may bring passages out of the old books in proof of it. I 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 predicted it: but it does not follow from thence, that they knew he gave light as soon as he rose. This is what 1 claim as my discovery. If the antients knew it, it might have been long since forgotten, for it certainly 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 pru. dent 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 an abundant reason to be economical. I say it is impossible that so sensible a people, under such circunstances, should have lived so long by the smoaky, unwholesome and enormously expensive light of candles, if they had really known, that they might have had as much pure light of the sun for nothing.
I am, &c,
TO JOHN ALLEYNE, ESQ.
On early Marriages. DEAR JACK, Craven Street, Aug. 9, 1768. YOU desire, you say, my impartial thoughts on the subject of an early marriage, by way of answer to the numberless objections, that have been made by numberless persons, to your own. You may remember, when: you consulted me on the occasion, that I thought youth on both sides to be no objection. Indeed, from the marriages that have fallen under my observation, I am rather inclined to think, that early ones stand the best chance of happiness. The temper and habits of the young are not yet become so stiff and uncomplying, as
* Fronu the Geatleman's Magazine, for May 1789. Editor.