Page images
PDF
EPUB

may never be forced to acknowledge, like that hero in morals and learning, that he has passed a day without a dinner.

VISCONTI.

ORIGINAL LETTER.

No. II.

Newington Green, near London, Nov. 14, 1784.

DEAR SIR,

AVING an opportunity to send to Boston, I transmit to you a set of Bishop Hoadly's works, which I hope the University of Cambridge will acccept, as a small offering to testify my respect and good wishes. His name, as a divine, stands very high ; but among the writers on civil and religious liberty it stands next to the names of Sidney, and Locke, and Milton.*

In a former lettert I gave you an account of all, that had been determined here concerning the new planet. This discovery, together with the American revolution, and the progress, made in France in the power of flying by the Areostatic machines, render the present time a new epoch in the affairs of mankind.

The Royal Society have this winter disposed of two prize medals, one to Mr. Hutchings for the discovery of the congelation of Mercury, when the thermometer falls 46 degrees below nought ; and the other to Mr. Goodrick, a gen

This is a favorite subject with Dr. Price. His philanthropy led him sometimes almost to overstep the bounds of loyalty, and to forget his country in his ardor for thegeneral diffusion of liberty. it. This letter, as it, contains nothing but what appeared in the philosophie cal journals of the time, in which it was written, we omit publishing. .* This is one of the Doctor's airy flights. We believe the power of Aging was soon brought to its highest perfection, and its pratical utility is about commensurate to that of subterraneous navigation.

tleman in Yorkshire, for discovering a variation in the light of the star, Algol, which it goes through every three days, its light in this time gradually diminishing, till, from a star of the first magnitude, it becomes a star of the fourth or fifth magnitude, and afterwards recovers itself again. Since the disposal of these medals two ingenious papers have been read to the Royal Society, one by the Honorable Mr. Cavendish, containing some new facts concerning inflammable and deplogisticated air, and the other by Dr. Bladger, on the meteors of the last year, and the nature and causes of meteors in general. But the greater part of our time this winter has been spent in a manner very unsuitable to the design of our institution ; I mean in violent altercations and disputes, occasioned by complaints of misconduct in Sir Joseph Banks, our president, and attempts to oblige him to resign. These attempts have not succeeded, and at present he seems to be confirmed in the chair, and the society has returned to its usual business.

I have for sometime been confined by a wound in my leg, from a fall. This confinement, together with the very low and sad state of my wife's health, has pressed upon my spirits. But I have great reason to be thankful ; for indeed my life has hitherto been a happy life, and my heart is full of gratitude to the giver of it.

Wishing you, dear Sir, all possible happiness, I am, with great respect, Your obliged and very obedient servant,

RICHARD PRICE.

P.S. I hope you have received the new edition of my tremo tise on annuities, which I request the favor of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to accept.

ORIGINAL MEMOIRS OF BENJAMIN, COUNT

OF RUMFORD;
With some account of his writings, philosophical ima

provements, &c.
. [Continued from page 164.]

I HE delightful fields of philosophical investigation, through which Rumford has so usefully ranged, he was now to leave for more active scenes, where we can view him, as a soldier.

General Moreau, having passed the Rhine, notwithstanding the opposition, which he met from various bodies of soldiers, whom he defeated, was marching into Bavaria. Count Rumford, then in England, hearing of these transactions, immediately set out to assist the Elector, whither his duty and his attachment to his adopted country called him. He arrived eight days before the Elector was required to leave his residence, and seek security in Saxony. Before quitting his capital, the Elector gave Rumford particular instructions what part to act, leaving him direction to take the command in chief, when he should find circumstances required it.

After the battle of Friedburg, in which the Austrians were repulsed by the French, they fell back upon Munich, with intent to enter ; but the gates were shut against them. They then marched round the town, passed the Inn, and posted themselves on the opposite side of the river, on an eminence, commanding the bridge and city, on which they erected batteries, fortified themselves, and boldly waited for the French. In the mean time “ some disagreement or confusion, or per“haps both,” taking place among the Bavarian officers within the city, caused much concern and alarm among the inhabitants, and the inconsiderate conduct, resulting from their fears and the irregularity of the troops, was construed by the Austrian General, as a personal insult, offered to himself. He

demanded an immediate explanation from the council of re- ; gency, threatening to fire upon the town, if a single Frenchman entered the city. At this dangerous crisis, amidst the confusion and fears of the inhabitants, Rumford assumed the command of the Bavarian forces, agreeably to the orders of the Elector, and immediately the confusion yielded to order, and tranquillity was established. He peremptorily refused to comply with the demand of the Austrian general, and his firmness and presence of mind silenced and awed both armies. Neither the French nor Austrians entered Munich, and the city escaped the evils, which awaited it. . .

The noble conduct, displayed by Count Rumford in his · excellent defence of Munich, did not pass unnoticed by its' grateful inhabitants. He received again the most unequivocal testimonies of their attachment to his person, and all classes of people united in acknowledging him the saviour of the capital, and many presents were made to him by the nobility and the most respectable citizens.

.1i "On the Elector's return he did not long wait for an opportunity of showing the high esteem, in which he held the Count, and, uniting in the general expression of the inhabis. tants in his praise, placed him at the head of the department of the general police of Bavaria. In this employment, though less brilliant, than military exploits, the result of his services was lasting and highly useful.

While at Munich at this time, he made many important experiments on philosophical subjects, and, having the superintendence of casting and boring cannon for the Elector, and aided by the assistance and encouragement of his generous patron, he prosecuted his favorite inquiries concerning the cause, nature, and operation of heat.

However industrious and useful were his labors, they were not sufficient to screen him from the shafts, which jealousy and envy occasionally aimed at him. His health was again impaired, and his Serene Highness, wishing to confer on him an honorable testimony of his acknowledgments, appointed him envoy extraordinary and minister plenipotentiary at the

Vol. II. No. 3.

Court of St. James. But the rules of the English Court alallowing no subject to be accredited, as the minister of a foreign country, the Count, after his return in 1798, resided in London, as a private person.

He left Bavaria to go to England in 1798, and it was supposed he had bid adieu to that country forever. About this time he received a formal and official invitation from the government of the United States, through our embassador at London, to revisit his native land, where an honorable establishment was provided for him. To this flattering invitation, attended with the highest assurance of esteem, he returned an answer, in which he declared with the warmest sentiments of gratitude, “that engagements, rendered sacred and inviola“ ble by great obligations, did not permit him to dispose of “ himself in such a manner, as to be able to accept of the offer, “ which was made to him.". In this answer, however desirous we may be to see him in America, there is not the least tincture of enmity. But those, who are acquainted with his works, and can duly appreciate the value of the connexion, which existed between him and his munificent patron, the Elector of Bavaria, cannot attribute his refusal to an improper motive.

The Count's sixth essay, which commences the second volume,“ on the management of fire and the economy of fu“el,” deserves a more particular notice, than can be assigned it ina biographical sketch. It will be found to contain some of the most useful and practical philosophical principles, applicable to the common affairs of life, which any subject can afford ; and, when it is considered how many wants and comforts of mankind depend on the operation of that subtle and illusory agent, heat, the numerous details and experiments, which are found in this essay, cannot but be highly interesting. No possible use, to which fure can be applied, seems to have escaped the author's scrutinizing mind. But its application to cookery and warming rooms has been his chief study. With respect to the former the kitchen of the house of industry at Munich, of the military academy, of the milie

« PreviousContinue »