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office. The money you (illegible] will slip through your fingers, and you will run behindhand imperceptibly, when your securities must suffer, or your employers. I grow too old to run such risks, and therefore wish you to propose nothing more of the kind to me. I have been hurt too much by endeavoring to help Cousin Ben Mecom. I have no opinion of the punctuality of cousins. They are apt to take liberties with relations they would not take with others, from a confidence that a relation will not sue them, and though I believe you now resolve and intend well in case of such an appointment, I can have no dependence that some unexpected misfortune or difficulty will not embarrass your affairs and render you again insolvent. Don't take this unkind. It is better to be thus free with you than to give you expectations that cannot be answered. I should be glad to see you in some business that would require neither stock nor credit and yet might afford a comfortable subsistence, being ever, your affectionate cousin,
TO JOSEPH GALLOWAY, ESQ.
LONDON, 14 February, 1773. DEAR FRIEND:—I wrote to you the 6th of last month in answer to your favors of October 18th and 3oth; since which I have no line from you, the New York January packet not being yet arrived.
The bill on Col. Johnstone, which I mentioned as likely to be protested, is since paid. The gentleman trified about it a good deal; first refused to accept it, then came to me and desired it might be sent to him again and he would accept it; then when it became due he wanted longer time. The drawer, I think, should be informed of this, that he may be cautious. The man seems honestly disposed, but appears embarrassed in his money affairs. This, indeed, is at present a more common case than usual, owing (illegible) the great blow paper credit has received, which first fell upon the India Company, and by degrees became general. Hence, a great stop of employment among the manufacturers, added to the mischiefs mentioned in mine of December 2d, of which retaining the duty on tea in America, and thereby the loss of that market, are now acknowledged to be the cause. The ministry now would have the company save its honor by petitioning for the repeal of that duty; and the company has it under consideration. They see government will be obliged, for its own sake, to support them, and therefore must repeal the duty, whether they petition for it or not, and 't is said they are not willing to ask it as a favor, lest that should be made a foundation for some additional demand upon them. A fine hobble they are all got into by their unjust and blundering politics with regard to the colonies.
I thank you for proposing the two members I mentioned. I have now some others to propose, viz.: Dr. Barbeu Dubourg of Paris, a man of very extensive learning and an excellent philosopher, who
is ambitious of the honor, as is Lord Stanhope for himself and son, Lord Mahon, who will be proposed by Dr. de Normandy; there is also Mr. Sam'1 Dun, a very ingenious mathematician and universal mechanic, very fond of America, and would be an acquisition if we could get him there and employ him; he writes to the society, and is also very desirous of the honor. There is another gentleman, who, I believe, would be pleased with it, though he has not mentioned it; I mean the president of the Royal Society, Sir John Pringle, Bart. It is usual for the Academy of Sciences at Paris always to choose the president of the English Royal Society one of their foreign members, and it is well taken here as a mark of respect, and I think it would also be well taken by the society if you should choose him. By the way, is the ten shillings a year expected of foreign members? I have been asked that question. Here no contribution is yet taken of them. I send the society some printed pieces that will be indeed in the next volume of the Philosophical Transactions here; but as that will not come out till midsummer, it may be agreeable to have them sooner.
Enclosed I send an account of the presenting two more of your acts to the king in council; as yet I hear of no objection to any of the former thirty, of which I sent a list per January packet as presented December 22d.
With unalterable attachment, I am ever, my dear friend, yours most affectionately,
NAPLES, 23 February, 1773. SIR: I have received with the greatest pleasure the two letters, which you did me the honor to write to me; the one of October the 8th, the other of December ist. As they were both addressed to me at Geneva, and as I left that place at the beginning of October to come to Italy to pass the winter, they reached me very late, and I have thus been debarred the privilege of showing you, by a prompt reply, how much I feel flattered by the honor of your correspondence. The letter on the action of pointed conductors, and the accompanying Essay, contain experiments and reasonings perfectly conclusive, and which leave no doubt as to the utility of these ingenious preservatives.
If I had been acquainted with these new experiments, I should have made use of them with great advantage in a short apologetic memoir, which I published in October, 1771, for the information of some people who were terrified at a conductor which I had erected at Geneva before the house I lived in. This memoir, however, met with the desired success. It reassured everybody, and I had the pleasure of watching the electricity from the clouds during the whole course of the last summer. Several persons even followed this example, and raised conductors either upon their houses or before them. M. de
1 M. de Saussure was the well-known professor at Geneva, celebrated for his philosophical writings, and for his ascent of Mont Blanc.-ED.
Voltaire was one of the first. He does the same justice to your theory that he did to that of the immortal Newton.
The project of the Royal Society is well worthy of the zeal of that illustrious body for the advancement of useful knowledge; and I should be much pleased if I could in any way aid them in the execution of this project. Had I been at Geneva, I should have made it my duty and pleasure to take a journey to the mountains in the neighborhood, to ascertain with precision the dimensions of the mountains and valleys which I thought best suited for the execution of this design. I do not believe, however, that, among those with which I am acquainted, there is any place exactly suited to give certain information on the subject to which their researches are directed. In the Jura, there is no summit sufficiently high, since the Dole, the mountain which rises highest above the level of our lake, does not reach seven hundred toises above this level.
Then it must be considered that the Jura, as well as the Alps, form continued chains of mountains, all connected together, or, at least, situated at very short distances from each other. There is no single mountain, or, at least, I know of none, of sufficient height. You often find deep valleys, surrounded by high mountains, but behind these mountains are
i To ascertain the lateral attraction of mountains, with the view of determining the mean density of the earth upon the Newtonian theory of gravitation. On this subject, it would seem, Dr. Franklin had written to request the aid of M. de Saussure, who had bestowed much time and attention in observing the geological structure and formation of the mountains of the Alps.