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walked fast and very erect, and his deportment was dignified.
His common dress was a black coat without a cape, a fine linen or cambric stock, a cocked hat, a powdered wig,” shoes and buckles. The whole of his dress was remarkably clean, and this purity of person, and simple dignity of manners, evinced that philosophic propriety which prevailed throughout his conduct as a private individual.
He commonly walked with a long cane in his right hand, and was a most excellent pedestrian. A deist who lived in Birmingham, felt an earnest desire to dispute with the Doctor on religion. But being unacquainted with any person who could introduce him, he resolved to go to the philosopher’s residence at Fair Hill, aud accost him as he came out to take his customary walk. Accordingly, he went several times, but such was the activity of the Doctor, that his visitor could never overtake him, nor make his business known.
* In a letter to Mr. Scholefield, the Doctor says, “Since I arrived in America, I have laid off my wig, and worn my own hair, which is now quite white.”
During his residence at Fair Hill, Dr. Priestley rose about 6 o'clock, and commonly retired to his study, where he continued tilleight, when he met his family at breakfast. He breakfasted on tea, and after breakfast again went to his study, accompanied by his amanuensis. He of. ten devoted the whole of the morning to original composition, and sometimes divided his time between the study and the laboratory.
His hand-writing was indifferent, for like other men of genius, ideas, not characters, were the objects of his attention.
When engaged in making philosophical experiments he commonly wore a white apron, and canvass covers drawn over his sleeves. He dined at one o'clock, and was extremely temperate. He seldom drank wine or spirituous liquors. In the afternoon he usually took a walk to Birmingham, and spent some time at the printing-office where several of his controversial publications were printed, and he afterwards visited some respectable friends. Being an excellent economist of time, he returned home at an early hour, and generally sat down to supper at eight o'clock. This repast commonly consisted of vegetables.
After supper the Doctor called all his family together to prayers, and retired to rest about ten o’clock.
By this prudent distribution of time and 'a strict habit of temperance, he was not only blest with health, but with that serenity which accompanies regular and virtuous conduct. His visitors at Fair-Hill were few, and those mostly of a philosophic turn, with whom the Doctor often shared.
“The free full converse of the friendly heart;
Such was the manner in which this celebrated philosopher usually passed his familiar.
day, but his arrangement was diversified as the occasion required, and he sometimes devoted the morning to active pursuits, instead of intense studious application.
As for the management of domestic concerns, he was too manly to interfere; and Mrs. Priestley was completely competent to the task, being a most excellent housewife. She was so thrifty and expert w her needle, that she not only made her own clothes, but
those of her daughter, and her sons while boys. In her disposition, indeed, Mrs. Priestley was irascible, and often changed her servants; she was very strict and authoritive towards them, often saying she was resolved to have one of her own teaching; and when any of them made enquiries respecting something which was obvious, she would reply, tartly, “Work with your head as well as your hands.”
Though an excellent economist and mistress in her own house, in every sense of the word, this estimable woman was of a kind disposition, and generous to her servants. Her house was one of the most clean and meat in England. Every apartment and all the furniture evinced the cleanliness and good management of the owner, and she made the bed and window curtains herself. These facts may appear trivial to some readers, but they characterize the individual, and prove the propriety of the Doctor's observation, when in a letter to a friend in England, soon after her death, he says, “In losing raywife I have lost my all, for she took every domestic trouble off my hands.”
No man ever behaved w h more moderation orbenignity to his dependants than Dr.Priestley.
Indeed, so completely was his philosophic mind absorbed in reflection, that he seldom spoke to his servants, and was so reserved in his general deportment, that he appeared like a stranger in his own house. In moments of relaxation, however, he was exceedingly cheerful and social among his friends. A pleasing and habitual smile of benevolence diffused its light over his countenance, particularly in his intercourse with his servants, to whom he sometimes presented books, but he seldom gave them any money, leaving all those pecuniary matters to his wife.
So attentive was this virtuous man to the happiness of those around him, that he left his servants entirely at leisure on the Sabbath day, to attend to their duty to their CREAton, in whatever place of public worship they thought proper. Nor did he ever use any influence to bring them over to his own opinions.
This account of his amiable deportment at home mightseem a paradox to those persons who have read his strong and caustic controversial writings; but the defender of the opinions of a sect, with his pen in his hand, is a very different character when uninfluenced by the spirit of