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their chimnies, a more dangerous kind of fuel than that used here, yet their houses escape extremely well, as there is little in a room that can be consumed by fire except the furniture; whereas in London, perhaps scarcely a year passes in which half a million of property and many lives are not lost by this destructive element. Of late, indeed, they begin here to leave off wainscoting their rooms, and instead of it cover the walls with stucco, often formed into pannels, like wainscot, which, being painted, is very strong and warm. Stone staircases too, with iron rails, grow more and more into fashion here. But stone steps cannot, in some circumstances, be fixed; and there, methinks, oak is safer than pive ; and I assure you, that in many genteel houses here, both old and new, the stairs and floors are oak, and look extremely well. Perhaps solid oak for the steps would be still safer than boards; and two steps might be cut diagonally out of one piece. Excuse my talking to you on a subject with which you must be so much better acquainted than I am.. It is partly to make out a letter, and partly in hope that by turning your attention to the point, some methods of greater security in our future building may be thought of and promoted by you, whose judgment I know has deservedly great weight with our fellow-citizens. For though our town has not hitherto suffered very greatly by fire, yet I am apprehensive that some time or other, by a concurrence of unlucky circumstances, such as dry weather, hard frost, and high winds, a fire then happening may suddenly spread far and wide over our cedar roofs, and do us immense mischief. I am, yours, &c.
To GOVERNOR FRANKLIN,' NEW JERSEY.
London, August 19, 1772. In yours of May 14th, you acquaint me with your indisposition, which gave me great concern. The resolution
have taken to use more exercise is extremely proper ; and I hope you will steadily perform it. It is of the greatest importance to prevent diseases, since the cure of them by physic is so very precarious. In considering the different kinds of exercise, I have thought that the quantum of each is to be judged of, not by time or by distance, but by the degree of warmth it produces in the body: thus, when I observe if I am cold when I get into a carriage in a morning, I may ride all day without being warmed by it; that if on horseback my feet are cold, I may ride some hours before they become warm; but if I am ever so cold on foot, I cannot walk an hour briskly, without glowing from head to foot by the quickened circulation; I have been ready to say, (using round numbers without regard to exactness, but merely to make a great difference) that there is more exercise in one mile's riding on horseback, than in five in a coach; and more in one mile's walking on foot, than in five on horseback ; to which I may add, that there is more in walking one mile up and down stairs, than in five on a level Aoor. The two latter exercises may be had within doors, when the weather discourages going abroad; and the last may be had when one is pinched for time, as
' Dr. Franklin's son, to whom the first part of the Memoirs of his Life is addressed. Vol. 1.
containing a great quantity of exercise in a handful of minutes. The dumb bell is another exercise of the latter compendious kind; by the use of it I have in forty swings quickened my pulse froin sixty to one hundred beats in a minute, counted by a second watch : and I suppose the warmth generally increases with quickness of pulse.
To MR. ANTHONY BENEZET,' PHILADELPHIA.
On the Slave Trade. Dear FRIEND, London, August 22, 1772.
I made a little extract from yours of April 27, of the number of slaves imported and perishing, with some close remarks on the hypocrisy of this country, which encourages such a detestable commerce by laws for promoting the Guinea trade; while it piqued itself on its virtue, love of liberty, and the equity of its courts in setting free a single negro. This was inserted in the London Chronicle of the 20th of June last.-I thank you for the Virginia address, which I shall also publish with some remarks. I am glad to hear that the disposition against keeping negroes grows more general in North America. Several pieces have been lately printed here
* An American philanthropist. In 1767, he wrote a Caution to Great Britain and her Colonies, in a short representation of the calamitous state of the enslaved negroes in the British dominions. In 1972, he published Historical Accounts of Guinea; with an Inquiry into the Rise and Progress of the Slave-Trade, its nature and lamentable effects. This amiable man seemed to have nothing else at heart, but the good of his fellow-creatures; and the last act of his life was to take from his desk six dollars for a poor widow.
against the practice, and I hope in time it will be taken into consideration and suppressed by the legislature. Your labours have already been attended with great effects: I hope therefore you and your friends will be encouraged to proceed: my hearty wishes of success attend you, being ever, my dear friend, Yours affectionately,
To DR. PRIESTLEY.
Moral Algebra, or Method of deciding doubtful Matters
with oneself Dear Sir,
London, September 19, 1772. In the affair of so much importance to you, wherein you ask my advice ; I cannot for want of sufficient premises, counsel you what to determine ; but if you please, I will tell you how. When those difficult cases occur, they are difficult chiefly because, while we have them under consideration, all the reasons pro, and con, are not present to the mind at the same time; but sometimes one set present themselves ;' and at other times another, the first being out of sight. Hence the various purposes or inclinations that alternately prevail, and the uncertainty that perplexes us. To get over this, my way is, to divide half a sheet of paper by a line iñito two columns'; writing over the one pro, and over the other con : then during three or four days consideration, I put down under the different heads, short hints of the different molives that at different times occur to me, for or against the measure. When I have thus got them all together in one view, I endeavour to estimate their respective weights, and where I find twó, (one on each side) that seem equal, I strike them both out. If I find a reason pro equal to
some two reasons con, I strike out the three. If I judge some two reasons con, equal to some three reasons pro, I strike out the five; and thus proceeding I find at length where the balance lies; and if after a day or two of farther consideration, nothing new that is of importance occurs on either side, I come to a determination accordingly. And though the weight of reasons cannot be taken with the precision of algebraic quantities ; yet, when each is thus considered separately and comparatively, and the whole lies before me, I think I can judge better, and am less liable to make a rash step; and in fact I have found great advantage from this kind of equation, in what may be called moral or prudential algebra.
Wishing sincerely that you may determine for the best, I am ever, my dear friend,
Yours nost affectionately, B. FRANKLIN,
To Mr. MATHER. Dissenters' Petition.--- America known to the Europeans
before Columbus. REVEREND SIR,
London, July 7, 1773. By a line of the 4th past, I acknowledged the receipt of your favour of March 18; and sent you with it two pamphlets. I now add another, a spirited address to the Bishops who opposed the dissenters' petition. It is written by a dissenting minister at York. There is preserved at the end of it, a little fugitive piece of mine on the same occasion.
1 perused your tracts with pleasure : I see you inherit all the various learning of your famous ancestors, Cotton and Increase Mather. The father Increase, I once heard preach at the Old South Meeting for Mr. Pem