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DR. OLIVER TO DR. DODDRIDGE.
Bath, November 12, 1744. I RETURN you my hearty thanks for the kind present you have made me of the two volumes of your Fainily Expositor. Writing books which may make men wiser and better, improve the mind, and correct the heart; is surely the noblest effort of the human faculties! It is the most diffusive beneficence we are capable of; it not only blesses our contemporaries, but extends its happy influence to the most distant posterity! How unlike the glory of heroes and conquerors, is the glory of the author of such writings! How infinitely superior; How much more solid and secure bis possession of it, which no turn of fortune, no accident can destroy; and which all the tyrants upon earth cannot ravage from him. But how different will their meditations be on the bed of sickness and languishing! What comfort will these great destroyers of mankind then feel, from reflecting on the millions of their fellow-creatures who have fallen sacrifices to their ambition, pride, or avarice; whom they will dread to meet in the world they are going to ! What hope, what joyous consolation, shall the good man feel in that trying moment, who has a wellgrounded confidence, that he is just entering into a world of spirits, where he shall be received with the acclamations of multitudes; whom he will find enjoying the good effects of his pious labours! I
do not doubt, sir, but you will be this happy man; and long may you continue to labour to secure to yourself this great, this unspeakable felicity! May the dear partner of all your joys long share them with you in health and cheerfulness, to which I think myself happy to have in the least contributed. I beg you will make her my best compliments, and believe me, with true respect, sir, your most obliged and obedient servant.
Be pleased to present my humble service to Dr. Stonhouse. A letter of his is just come to my hands, by which I perceive that his kindness to our hospital has been shamefully neglected, but I will answer it very soon.
HENRY BAKER, ESQ. TO DR. DODDRIDGE.
DEAR SIR, Catherine-street, Feb. 13, 1749-50. The shortest apologies are best; and as you are, I hope, convinced of my sincere respect, I shall not waste the little time I can command in writing you the reasons of my long silence, but come directly to the parpose of this letter, which is to inquire, if you, at Northampton, felt any thing of the earthquake that surprised us last week in London, and to send you some account thereof.
On Thursday last, the 8th of this instant, as I was walking along Chancery-lane towards Holborn, at about forty minutes past twelve at noon, people
came out of several houses to their doors, in great surprise, complaining of the shaking of their houses, and imputing it to the fall of some building, large timber, or other heavy body, which they imagined to have fallen at some little distance from them, and which they came out to inquire after.
When I was got into Holborn, I found the people there under the same consternation, and expressing themselves nearly in the same manner. Going on to Gray’s-Inn, many people were got together in the great square, talking about the shock they had felt, and, in particular, a lamplighter was giving an account, that being on his ladder pouring oil into a lamp, he was in great danger of falling by the unexpected shaking of the ladder. I then went to a friend's chambers under Gray's-Ion li. brary, where the shock had been so great that they thought a clock would have fallen down; and fancied, at the time, that some large box or vast heap of books had been tumbled down over-head. The people in all the streets, as I returned home, were talking of this strange motion, which now every body understood to be an earthquake, and many women complained it had made them sick, in which their fright might probably be equally concerned. At coming home, I found my own family had been no less surprised, and Mrs. Baker had sent to the neighbours to inquire if any thing had fallen down in their houses to occasion the shaking of mine, which she described as very violent. She sat at the time in the dining-room, on the first floor, next the street, and her supposition at the instant was, that one of the servants had fallen all along with great violence in a back room of the next story;
had tried to get up, stumbled, and was fallen down again, thereby shaking the bouse and making a great noise. My son was then at the Tower, where the same shock was felt; and every body was startled with the immediate apprehension of some explosion of gunpowder, of which there are great quantities., A gentleman who was sitting at a table writing, at his house in the Mint in the Tower, was tossed out of his chair against the table with violence.
I inquired of many people in different streets, that by comparing their accounts I might form a better judgment; and I found them agree universally in the first supposition of the fall of some ponderous body, most said with a great noise, but some few were not sensible of that. I endea. voured likewise to learn its course; and by comparing the reports of people in different situations, it seems to have lain east and west, and to have passed from the west eastward.
I felt nothing of it myself as I walked in the street, nor do I find that many who were walking did; but that I impute to the noise and shaking of the carts and coaches.
Our worthy president of the Royal Society had some gentlemen with him at his house in Queensquare, who were all surprised with something falling, as they imagined, with a great noise, and, at the instant, the house seemed to heave up, then to sink down again, and totter sideways till it seemed to settle. Two coaches waiting at his door, the coachmen found themselves lifted up, and almost tumbled from their seats; other people took notice also of this rising and sinking. In Westminster Hall both the judges and pleaders
thought the hall would tumble on their heads; and the judges, whose seats are contiguous to the wall, felt it shake from its foundation. Doors were opened, pewter and other things thrown down in many houses, and some chimneys fell.
This day fortnight, a most extraordinary light appeared in the sky towards the south-east, between six and seven in the evening, and surprised the whole town with the apprehension of a great fire; for the sky appeared of a fiery redness at the beginning, and then seemed to form a line of dark red fire of about fifteen degrees in width, which continued for some time, then diffused, and left a remarkable lightness in the sky during the whole night after.
One cannot, I think, let such uncommon phenomena pass unheeded: if these terrors of the Almighty will not excite reflection, surely nothing will. I hope, therefore, this short account will prove acceptable, and that you will excuse my great omissions towards you for a long time past, which I assure you have often given me some uneasiness.
I have several times been thinking of the two instances you mentioned, when I saw you last, of the effect some wounds have on the jaws and ner. vous system, by locking up the mouth as it were, and thereby bringing on death. As such cases are very little known, and we have none of them among the many papers sent to the Royal Society, you would oblige us much by an account thereof, especially of the last case; which happening in your own house, you can more particularly speak to ; and if you shall not judge it proper to mention the gentleman's name, if you call him only a young