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other valleys and other mountains, so that the deviations which might be observed in the plumb-line, would be the complex effect of the combined attractions of all these mountains; and, in order to deduce from them a comparison between the density of the earth and that of these mountains, much labor and many calculations would be required. As far as I am able to judge, it appears to me that some large rock, rising out of the open sea, like the Peak of Teneriffe, would be the most suitable place for this attempt.
The memoir upon this subject, which you did me the honor to send, I have transmitted to Lord Stanhope, at Geneva, that he may confer respecting it with M. de Luc, who, having attended particularly to the height of mountains, in connection with his observations of the barometer, is the best man in the world to give valuable information on this subject. It is now, doubtless, well known that Signor Beccaria of Turin, who has measured a degree of the meridian at the foot of the Alps, has had an opportunity to observe great deviations of the plumb-line, and would thus be enabled to furnish useful hints to the Royal Society.
I have the pleasure of often seeing here Sir William Hamilton, who has the kindness to take me to the most interesting places in the neighborhood of Naples, those which establish his theory of volcanoes ancient and modern, and prove that the whole Bay of Naples, from the sea to the Apennines, has been thrown up from the bottom of the sea by subter ranean fires, and is thus the product of volcanoes
rather than the theatre of their ravages. We are also much devoted to electricity. The little machine, which Mr. Nairne made for him, is really excellent, and much the best they have ever had in this part of Italy. Sir William Hamilton, knowing that I had the honor of writing to you, has requested me to present his compliments.
I regret extremely that I was not at Geneva to receive M. de Normandy. I should have been delighted to have had this opportunity to prove to you how highly I value your recommendation. If you have any commands for me in Naples, I shall still be able to receive them here, and you may address them to Sir William Hamilton. We propose to try together some experiments on the electricity of the vapors of Vesuvius, although, to say the truth, I regard them merely as conductors, which establish a communication between the earth and the higher regions of the atmosphere.
Sir William Hamilton has also done me the kindness to invite me to witness some experiments he has tried with the torpedo. These experiments are not decisive, because the fishes we had were small, and gave only slight shocks, but no sign whatever of electricity appeared. We are waiting for some larger ones, in order to continue this investigation, according to the mode which you have yourself marked out.
Accept my assurances of the high consideration and esteem with which I have the honor to be,
TO MR. COLDEN
LONDON, 3 March, 1773. DEAR SIR– I received yours of January 7th, enclosing a bill, Ritchie on Hyndman, Lancaster, & Co., for £100, which I hope will be paid. We have had too many bad ones of late. I am, with great regard, Your most obedient, humble servant,
FROM JOHN WINTHROP
CAMBRIDGE, New ENGLAND, 4 March, 1773. DEAR SIR:- I received your favor of September 18th. I return you many thanks for Dr. Priestley's piece on impregnating water with fixed air. If this should prove an effectual remedy for the sea-scurvy, it would be indeed a most important discovery. I am extremely concerned to hear that Dr. Priestley is so poorly provided for, while so many are rolling about here in gilt chariots, with very ample stipends. I admire his comprehensive genius, his perspicuity and vigor of composition, his indefatigable application, and his free, independent spirit, and wish it were in my power to do him any kind of service. It would give me great pleasure to see him well settled in America; though indeed I am inclined to think he can prosecute his learned labors to greater advantage in England. A man of his abilities would do honor to any of the colleges. At present there is
no vacancy among them; but if there were, I believe, sir, you judge perfectly right, that his religious principles would hardly be thought orthodox enough. Indeed, I doubt whether they would do at the Rhode Island College, any more than in the others. That college is entirely in the hands of the Baptists, and intended to continue so, and I never understood that Dr. Priestley was of their persuasion. However, I cannot but hope that his great and just reputation will procure something valuable for him, and adequate to his merit.
I have looked over his treatise of Optics, which you were so good as to present to our library, with great satisfaction, and met with many articles, especially from the foreign publications, which were new to me.
It is indeed a most noble collection of every thing relating to that science.
In my last I ventured to mention a little slip concerning the satellites of Saturn. It would be miraculous if, in so large a work collected from such a number of books and on such a variety of matters, there should not be many such. I noted the few that occurred to me in the chapters taken from those authors I was most acquainted with, and beg leave to enclose a list of the principal of them. There are not above two or three of them that are of any consequence; however, such as it is, the list is at Dr. Priestley's service, if you think it worth sending to him. It may help to remove a few trifling inaccuracies from that valuable work.
I have enclosed the newspaper you mention, that gave an account of the thunder-storm we had here
a few years ago. As you are collecting facts on this subject, I looked over my old almanacs where I had made some memoranda relating to your admirable lightning bells. I think it would not be worth while to transcribe them all, nor can I collect any thing from them but what is commonly known. In general, it seems that the bells hardly ever ring in the summer without a shower; they sometimes ring when there is no thunder or lightning, but do not always ring when there is. When there is a thundershower, they generally ring most briskly while the cloud is yet at some distance, and cease as soon as it rains hard. In winter they frequently ring briskly in snow-storms, and twice they have done so after the weather was cleared up, and while the newfallen snow was driving about with the wind, as you have done me the honor already to publish.
In looking for the newspaper before mentioned, I met with another, which gives an account of damage done by lightning in some places in Connecticut in 1771. As perhaps you have not seen it, I enclose it with the other; also a letter sent me with another account. In my almanacs I found also a few minutes relating to some uncommon appearances of the Aurora Borealis. I do not know that they can be of any use, but if they will afford you the least amusement I will readily transcribe them.
In addition to my newspaper account I would mention that besides the strokes of lightning on the college and the elm-tree, July 2, 1768, there was another discharge that afternoon on a cornfield, at a little distance from the college towards the south