Page images

when the sons of fortune walk at thy right hand: for. independency, whether with little or much, is good for. tune, and placeth thee on even ground with the proud. est of the golden fleece. Oh then, be wise, and let in-, dustry walk with thee in the morning and attend thee until thou reachest the evening hour for rest. Let honesty be as the breath of thy soul, and never forget to have a penny, when all thy expences are enumerated and paid: then shalt thou reach the point of happiness, and independence shall be thy shield and buckler, thy helmet and crown; ther shall thy soul walk upright, nor stoop to the silken wretch because he hath riches, nor pocket an abuse because the hand which oficrs is wears a ring set with diamonds.

* An Economical Project. CA translation of this Letter appeared in one of the

Daily papers of Paris about the year 1784. The fol. lowing is the original piece, with some Additions and corrections made in it by the Author.]

To the Authors of the Journal. MESSRS. You often entertain us with accounts of new discove. ries. Perinit me to communicale to the public, through your paper, one that has lately been made by myself, and which I conceive may be of great utility.

I was the other evening in a grand company, where the new lamp of Messrs. Quinquet and Lange was introduced, and much admired for its splendor ; buta ge. neral enquiry was, made, whether the oil is consumed, was not in proportion to the light it afforded, in which case there would be no Saving ithellie of it. No one present could satisfy us ali ihai point, which all agreed ought to b: kulown, it being a very desirable thing to lessen, if possible, ine cxence of lighting our apart

ments, when every other article of family expence was 80 much augmented.

I was pleased to see this general concern for econo. my; for I love economy exceedingly,

I went home, and to bed, three or four hours after midnight, with my head full of the subject. An accia dental sudden noise waked me about six in the morning, when I was surprised to find my room filled with light;and I imagined at first, that a number of these lamps had been brought into it: but rubbing my eyes, I perceive ed the light came in at my windows. I got up and looked out to see what might be the occasion of it, when I saw the sun just rising above the horizon, from whence he poured his rays plentifully into my chamber, my domestic having negligently omitted the preceding evening to close the shutters.

I looked at my watch, which goes very well, and found that it was but six o'clock: and still thinking it something extraordinary that the sun should rise so ear. ly, I looked into the almanack; where I found it to be the hout given for his rising on that day. I looked forward too, and found he was to rise still earlier every day till towards the end of June; and that at no time in the year he retarded his rising so long as till eight o'clock Your readers, who wilh me have never seen any signs of sun shi:e before noon, and seldom regard the astronomical part of the almanack, will be as much astonished as I was, when they hear of his rising so early; and especially when I assure them that he gives light (18 soon as he rises. I am convinced of this. I am certain of the fact. One cannot be more certain of any. fact. I saw it with my own eyes. Aod having repeated this observation the three following mornings, I found always precisely the same result.

Yet so it happens, that when I speak of this discovery to others, I can easily perceive by their countenances, though they for bear expressing it in words, that they do not quite believe me. One, indeed, who is a learned natural philosopher, has assured me that I must certain

ly be mistaken as to the circumstance of the light coming in my room; for it being well known, as he says, that there could be no light abroad at that hour, it follows that nonecould enter from without; and that of consequence, my windows being accidently left open, instead of letying in the light, had only served to let out the darkness; and he used many ingenious arguments 10 shew ms how I might, by that means, have been deceived. I own that he puzzled me a little, but he did not satisfy me; and the subsequent observations I made as above mentioned, confirmed me in my first opinion.'

This event has given rise, in my mind, to several serious and important reflections. I considered that, if I had not been awakened so early in the moroing, I should have slept six hours longer by the ligit of the sun, and in exchange have lived six hours the following night by candle-light; and the latter being a much more expensive light than the former, my love of economy induced me to musler up what little arithmetic I was master of, and to make some calculations, which I shall give you, after observing, that utility is, in my opinion, the test of value in matters of invention, and that a discovery which can be applied to so use, or is not good for someihing, is goud for nothing. : ..

I took for the basis of my calculation the supposition that there are 100,000 families in Paris, and that these fainilies consume in the night half a pound of bougies, or candles, per hour. I think this is a moderate allowance, taking one family with another; for though I believe some consume less, I know that many consume a great deal more. Then estimating seven hours per day, as the medium quantity between the time of be sun's rising and ours, he rising during the six to lowing months from six to eight hours b:fore noun), and there being seven hours of course per night in wiich we burn candles, the account will stand tiius

In the six months between the twentieth of March

and the twentieth of Sept. there are Nights ...

Hours of each night in which we burn candles 7
Multiplication gives for the total
- number of hours ............. 1,28.1
These 1.281 hours multiplied by 100,000,

the number of inhabitants, gives 128,100,000 One hundred twenty eight millions

and one hundred thousand hours,
sp. nt at Paris by cat dle-light,
which, a! half a pound of wax and

tallow per hour,gives the weight of 64,050,000 Sixiy four millions and fifty thousand

of pounds, which, estrating the
whole at the medium price of thir-
tv sols the pound, makes the sum
of ninety-six millions and seventy-
five t. ousand livre's tournois

96,075,000 Anim...elise sum! that the city of Paris might save every ylar, by the economy of using sunshine instead of candles.

It shouki be said, that the people are apt to be obstinaitly attached to old customs, and that it will be difficult to induce them to risc before noon, consequentJy my discovery can be of little use ; I answer, Nudespcrandum. I believe all who have common sense, as 6000 as they have learnt from this paper that it is daylight when the sun rist's, will contrive to vise with him, and to compei uie rest, I would propose the following regulations:

First. Let a tax be laid of a louis per window, on every window that is provided with shutic is to keep out ihe right of the suis

Second. Let the same salutary operation of police be made use of 10 prevent our buining candl-s, that inclined us last winter to be more economical in burning wood; that is, let guards be placed in the shops of the wax and allow chandlers, and ne family be permitted to be supplied with more than one pound of candle per week. . ??

Third. Let guards be posted to stop all the coaches, *c. that would pass the streets after sun-set, except those of physicians, surgeons and midwives... · Fourih. Every morning, as soon as the sun rises, let all the bells in every church be set ringing; and if that is not sufficient, let cannon be fired in every street, and wake the sluggards effectually, and make them open their ey«s to see their true interest. .. .

. All the difficulty will be in the first two or three days; after which the reformation will be as natural and easy as the present irregularity : for ce u'est que le premier pas qui coute. Oblige a man to rise at four in the mornint, and it is inore than probable he shall go willingly 10 bed at eight in the evening; and having had eight hour's sleep, he will rise more willingly at four in the morning following. But this sum of ninety six millio!)s and seventy-five thousand livres is not the whole of what may be saved by my economical project. You may observe, that I have calculated upon only one half of the year, and much may be saved, in the other, though the days are shorter. ' Besides, the immense stock of wax and tallow left unconsumed during the summer, will probably make candles much cheaper for the ensuing winter, and continue cheaper as long as the proposed reforination shall be supported.

For the great benefit of this discovery, thus freely communicated and bestowed by me on the public, I demand neither place, pension, exclusive privilege, nor any other reward whatever, I expect only to have the honor of it. And yet I know there are little envious minds who will, as usual, deny me this, and say that my intention was know]) to the ancients, and perhaps they may bring passages out of the old books in proof : of it. I will not dispute with these people that the ana cients knew not the sun would rise at certain hours ; they possibly had, as we have, almanacks that perdict-, ed it, but it does not follow from thence that they knew thut he gave light as soon as he rose. This is what I claiin as my discovery. If the ancients knew it, it

« PreviousContinue »