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my possession a telescope made with his own hands, which he gave me as a token of his friendship.”
In this obscure situation Mr. Priestley continued for some years, which he employed in the acquirement of useful knowledge; when, in the year 1761, he received an invitation to fill the chair of professor in the languages and belles lettres in Warrington Academy. This arduous office he performed with the utmost dignity and propriety, aud his understanding was enlarged by new philosophic attainments. His first literary production was a Treatise on the Rudiments of English Grammar, which was published in a duodecimo volume in 1761, and afterwards republished with improvements in one volume octavo.
In 1765, while he continued at Warrington Academy, he published Charts of Universal History and Biography.
Soon after his settlement at Warrington, Mr. Priestley was united to Miss Wilkinson, daughter to Mr. Wilkinson, of Bristol. At the time of their marriage, in 1762, he was 29 years of age, and his consort nineteen.
* Wide preface to “ Letters to the Rev. Edward Burn, 1790.”
In consequence of the death of some of the principal supporters of Warrington Academy, it fell into decay; but its fame will endure while Mrs. Barbauld's elegant poem is admired by the lovers of the muse.
Before the dissolution of this literary establishment, our author in 1767 published an History of Electricity in a quarto volume, and was presented with the academic honours of LL.D. for his ingenious productions. He soon afterwards received an invitation from an opulent congregation of dissenters at Mill Hill in Leeds, to preside as their pastor. His acceptance of this offer brought him once more into the vicinity of his natal spot; and he continued at Leeds five years, during which period he made a number of philosophical experiments, afterwards published in his “History of Discoveries concerning Vision, Light, and Colours.” The Doctor's experiments with fireworks are yet remembered by several of the inhabitants of Leeds; and the people of that town, in general, treated him with great respect, and looked upon him as a very extraordinary man.
* Published in 1772, in 2 volumes quarto.
By a natural association of ideas they considered their own reputation united with that of their townsman, and were not a little proud ofthe Doctor's increasing celebrity. The society of Mr. Michel, a clergyman of the established church, contributed much to the philosophic discoveries of the Doctor, who speaks of him with the greatest respect, in the work above-mentioned. According to his own account Dr. Priestley became a Socinian in the thirty-sixth year of his age, or some time in the course of 1769.
The year 1772 was a memorable period to our philosopher; his Observations on different kinds of Air, were published in the Phil. Trans. For this valuable paper the Doctor received the gold medal of the Royal Society, and was elected a member of that illustrious body.
In 1773 Dr. Priestley was appointed chaplain and librarian to the Marquis of Lansdown. Accordingly he left Leeds, and went to reside
with his lordship at Calne. This engagement lasted seven years, during which he was chiefly employed in the education of his lordship's eldest son, Lord Wycomb, whom he accompanied to Paris. In consequence of a coolness taking place between the Doctor and his noble patron, he retired with an annuity of £150.
During his residence at Calne he became acquinted with Dr. Frampton, of whom he speaks in the following animated strain of panegyric, “When I was with the Marquis of Lansdown, Dr. Frampton, in that meighbourhood, whose principles in Church and State were the highest, as they are called, of any man’s that I ever met with, and who retained a strong predilection for the family of the Stewarts, and who retained it till his death, for some time kept aloof from me; but a common love of literature at length brought us intimately acquainted; and at last when his troubles came upon him, I was, perhaps, the only person who had his entire confidence, and whom he considered as his most sincere friend. With some failings, he was a most extraordiny man. In conversation, and preaching extempore, his talents were, indeed, wonderful. The last time I heard him
was at the consecration of a church, by the late c
Bishop of London, who had a great friendship for him. After the service he introduced me to his lordship, and we dined and spent the day very agreeebly together.
“In London, where at this time I spent my winters, I was happy in the friendship and society of the most distinguished clergymen that this country can boast.”
During Dr. Priestley's residence with his patron, he maintained the most dignified independance of principle, and pursued his philosophical experiments in preference to political disquisitions: nay, it was stipulated by the Doctor, that during this connection he should not be required to write on politics; and he assures us, on his own unimpeachable veracity, that he never wrote a single pamphlet, nor even a paragraph in a newspaper, while he continued with the Marquis.
Assisted by the liberality of his friends, Dr. Priestley, in 1780, became a resident in the vicinity of Birmingham. His motive for settling near this town, was the facility with which he
* Preface to Letters to the Rev. E. Burn.