pg 1514. To Joseph Priestley, 25 September 1795
Lond. Sep. 25. 1795
I send you on the other [sic] an account of Articles ship'd for you in Aug.t on board the Bacchus, Cap.n George, in a box mark'd J. P. Sr. & consigned to Mr. Jn.° Vaughan which I hope will be with you before this Letter.1
It is natural enough for you to imagine that there are booksellers who would exchange Stock for land, no doubt there are but then the books must be of his choice & great numbers of a sort, this will never do in forming a library which ought to consist of the best books, & only one of each, such a library can only be purchased by a bookseller with ready money on his part & to have it on good terms money should be sent with the order. I applaud your idea of establishing a college in Northumberland but fear it is too early & that you have not yet a sufficient number of enlightened Men to bring it about, to omit the study of theology altogether is I think an excellent part of such a scheme, the better to secure a general support.2
To purchase Northumberland is a grand idea but no idea of purchase is a good one which involves in it the probability of much anxiety about payment. You ask me to become a sharer not considering that I want the means, connections with the poor all my life & political connections of late have prevented me from making a fortune.
I am much obliged to you for your letters of the 7th Feb. & 10 March but I wish you would describe your situation more particularly as well as that of our other friends.3
The prospect of want of bread with which we were threatened is passed, we have had a good wheat harvest well got in & immense crops of barley, that of oats good. So long and so severe a winter as the last was never known in this country perhaps, but the latter end of August & September have been delightful.4 The last news we have is that the french have crossed the Rhine & are carrying every thing before them in Germany.5 Our pg 16ministry is employed in preparing for a descent on the coast of France & sending an immense force to the West Indies, and by & by will be engaged in procuring an immense loan — these are the occupations of European Courts!6 and extermination on one side or the other the plan of ours, of course you may guess there is at present little prospect of peace, for which hardly a petition has been presented. You will oblige me in writing often, and I shall endeavor to be a better correspondent. Remember me to your whole family & believe me Dr. Sir, Yrs very truly
Text: JJLB 4v–r–5v. Unpublished.