Category Archives: 5. Letters

Reasons Against Satirizing Religion

To ——– Dear Sir I have read your Manuscrit with some Attention. By the Arguments it contains against the Doctrine of a particular Providence, tho’ you allow a general Providence, you strike at the Foundation of all Religion: For without the Belief of a Providence that takes Cognizance of, guards and guides and may favour particular Persons, there is no Motive to Worship a Deity, to fear its Displeasure, or to pray for its Protection. I will not enter into any Discussion of your Principles, tho’ you seem to desire it; At present I shall only give you my Opinion that tho’ your Reasonings are subtle, and may prevail with some Readers, you will not succeed so as to change … Continue reading

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Electric Shocks in Paralytic Cases

To John Pringle Sir Dec. 21. 1757 The following is what I can at present recollect, relating to the Effects of Electricity in Paralytic Cases, which have fallen under my Observation. Some Years since, when the News papers made Mention of great Cures perform’d in Italy or Germany by means of Electricity, a Number of Paralytics were brought to me from different Parts of Pensilvania and the neighbouring Provinces, to be electris’d, which I did for them, at their Request. My Method was, to place the Patient first in a Chair on an electric Stool, and draw a Number of large strong Sparks from all Parts of the affected Limb or Side. Then I fully charg’d two 6 Gallon Glass … Continue reading

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Strata of the Earth

To John Pringle SIR, Craven-street, Jan. 6, 1758. I return Mr. Mitchell‘s paper on the strata of the earth with thanks. The reading of it, and perusal of the draft that accompanies it, have reconciled me to those convulsions which all naturalists agree this globe has suffered. Had the different strata of clay, gravel, marble, coals, lime-stone, sand, minerals, &c. continued to lie level, one under the other, as they may be supposed to have done before those convulsions, we should have had the use only of a few of the uppermost of the strata, the others lying too deep and too difficult to be come at; but the shell of the earth being broke, and the fragments thrown into … Continue reading

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Cooling by Evaporation

To John Lining Dear Sir, London, June 17, 1758. In a former letter I mentioned the experiment for cooling bodies by evaporation, and that I had, by repeatedly wetting the thermometer with common spirits, brought the mercury down five or six degrees. Being lately at Cambridge, and mentioning this in conversation with Dr. Hadley, professor of chemistry there, he proposed repeating the experiments with ether, instead of common spirits, as the ether is much quicker in evaporation. We accordingly went to his chamber, where he had both ether and a thermometer. By dipping first the ball of the thermometer into the ether, it appeared that the ether was precisely of the same temperament with the thermometer, which stood then at … Continue reading

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Faith, Hope, and Charity

To Jane Mecom Dear Sister London Sept 16 1758 I received your Favour of June 17. I wonder you have had no Letter from me since my being in England. I have wrote you at least two and I think a third before this; And, what was next to waiting on you in Person, sent you my Picture. In June last I sent Benny a Trunk of Books and wrote to him. I hope they are come to hand, and that he meets with Incouragement in his Business. I congratulate you on the Conquest of Cape Breton, and hope as your People took it by Praying the first Time, you will now pray that it may never be given up … Continue reading

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