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Page 242 - I am very sorry, that you intend soon to leave our hemisphere. America has sent us many good things, gold, silver, sugar, tobacco, indigo, &c. ; but you are the first philosopher, and indeed the first great man of letters, for whom we are beholden to her.
Page 451 - Five thousand balloons, capable of raising two men each, could not cost more than five ships of the line ; and where is the prince who can afford so to cover his country with troops for its defence, as that ten thousand men descending from the clouds might not in many places do an infinite deal of mischief, before a force could be brought together to repel them...
Page 442 - Such changes in the superficial parts of the globe seemed to me unlikely to happen, if the earth were solid at the centre. I therefore imagined that the internal parts might be a fluid more dense, and of greater specific gravity than any of the solids we are acquainted with ; which therefore might swim in or upon that fluid. Thus the surface of the globe would be a shell, capable of being broken and disordered by the violent movements of the fluid on which it rested.
Page 412 - That the vegetable creation should restore the air which is spoiled by the animal part of it, looks like a rational system, and seems to be of a piece with the rest.
Page 14 - ... all philosophical experiments that let light into the nature of things, tend to increase the power of man over matter and multiply the conveniences or pleasures of hie.
Page 455 - They were indeed rendered so faint in passing through it, that, when collected in the focus of a burning-glass, they would scarce kindle brown paper. Of course, their summer effect in heating the earth was exceedingly diminished. Hence the surface was early frozen. Hence the first snows remained on it unmelted, and received continual additions. Hence perhaps the winter of 1783-4, was more severe than any that happened for many years.
Page 236 - In a few hours (I cannot now be exact as to the time) the black, being warmed most by the sun, was sunk so low as to be below the stroke of the sun's rays; the dark blue almost as low, the lighter blue not quite so much as the dark, the other colours less as they were lighter; and the quite white remained on the surface of the snow, not having entered it at all.
Page 572 - Our ancient correspondence used to have something philosophical in it. As you are now more free from public cares, and I expect to be so in a few months, why may we not resume that kind of correspondence ? Our much regretted friend Winthrop once made me the compliment, that I was good at starting game for philosophers ; let me try if I can start a little for you.
Page 359 - ... were, by the smoothness of the water over them, which might possibly be occasioned, he thought, by some oiliness proceeding from their bodies. A gentleman from Rhode Island told me, it had been remarked, that the harbor of Newport was ever smooth while any whaling vessels were in it : which probably arose from hence, that the blubber which they sometimes bring loose in the hold, or the leakage of their barrels, might afford some oil, to mix with that water, which from time to time they pump out...
Page 356 - The same gentleman told me, he had heard it was a practice with the fishermen of Lisbon when about to return into the river (if they saw before them too great a surf upon the bar, which they apprehended might fill their boats in passing) to empty a bottle or two of oil into the sea, which would suppress the breakers, and allow them to pass safely. A confirmation of this I have not since had an opportunity of obtaining; but discoursing of it with another person, who had often been in the Mediterranean,...