|Description||Concernes at news in last letter; she believes he is best placed to offer consolation to Mrs Burnside, and will not leave her until she is better; it is a great loss to lose those "maturer age", but it can be prepared for, but Eleanor pities her most for the death of her brother's children; she has seen the anxiety of those who take charge of other's children in the absence of their parents (in her case that of Mrs Phillip); she wishes she was there to share in his sorrow. Miss Appleton has had "a bilious attack" and taken against Sarah, who she has determined should not be at Portland Place. Although Eleanor could not have borne it but from a friend, but she does not want to quarrel with her; Sarah is in lodgings, so Eleanor is without her at a time when she needs her services, not being strong enough to be left to herself; Miss Appleton's servants have little idea how to care for Eleanor, and she has concerns about not being attended to properly; sickness is therefore a concern; she feels that Miss Appleton should have been able to bear the inconvenience (of Sarah) a few weeks longer, knowing how much Eleanor needs her and how short time she expects to be there. He is not worry about her, as Mrs Oviatt will take care of her; she wishes to defer going to her sister's, who wants her to go thereas the place Eleanor will be married from. She outlines Mr. Millington's lecture on magnetism for Franklin; as she does not have enough room to carry on at present, she will send more about it in her next letter as a supplement.|
|Recipient Location||Mrs Burnside's, Castle Gate, Nottingham|
|Transcript or Index||Mill Hill. June 17th 1823|
My Dear Sir
I am truly concerned at the intelligence conveyed in your last letter but I am also well aware that you are in no need of any consolation that I could offer, at the same time that I think I can say from experience there is no one better calculated than yourself to administer it, and I trust you will not quit Mrs Burnside till she is restored to some degree of cheerfulness. The death of those of mature age, and who have been endeared to us by years of reciprocal kindness is indeed the greatest loss, yet we are generally in some degree prepared for it by the sight of gradual decay and suffering, which forbids even the wish to recall them, and I must therefore say, I pity her most in the death of your brother’s children. I have witnessed the anxiety of those who are left in such charge when the parents are at a distance, particularly Mrs Phillips, who undertook the education of both her sister’s children, and who I believe suffered much less in the illness of her own family last year than in that of Mrs Campbell’s daughter. There is a heavy weight of responsibility incurred in such a case which makes any disaster fall with double force. Pray was the little girl you mention also in delicate health since she is at Matlock? I wish I were with you now. Your gayer hours are mine only in common with the rest of your friends, but your sorrows it is my peculiar privilege to share, and I feel almost defrauded of my right if you are in scenes of affliction without me. Do not scold me for saying so.
Death has been in <our> house also, and has robbed my poor widowed cousin of her infant. Its removal however may rather be considered as a mercy, in freeing her from many years of anxiety with an unprovided child; but the Mother cannot be expected so to view it.
My distresses at Miss Appleton’s have so little of the heroic in their nature, that I cannot descend to put them on paper, and indeed it would require a long detail to make them really intelligible. To cut the matter short, Miss Appleton has had a severe bilious attack, by which I am the sufferer, since she has taken such a violent dislike to Sarah as to determine she should no longer be in Portland Place, besides two or three freaks against poor little I, which I feel a friend should not have played and which I would not have borne but from a friend. With her however I am determined to have neither coldness nor quarrel, and as a letter which I wrote to her a fortnight after her denunciation (which took place when we were both away) had no effect in conciliating her, I have no resource but to make the best of it. I have therefore the double grievance of having Sarah in a lodging, which I am uneasy at on her account, and of being without her services at a time when I particularly want them <both for much that I wish to get done and because> I am not yet quite strong enough to be left to myself, and Miss Appleton’s servants having hitherto done nothing for me, have so little idea of attending to me that I can scarce get my meals. Should I be ill in the night I have no possibility of making anyone hear and in the day the bell is rarely answered. I cannot help feeling that as Miss Appleton knew how desireable it was to me not to have another abode to seek, and how short a time I should probably require to remain with her, she might have borne the inconvenience, which after all I believe was imaginary, a few weeks longer. Do not however be uneasy about me. I will take good care of myself, and Mrs Oviatt will take good care of me till you return, when you will find me in Portland Place. My sister wants me to go to her as soon as I can, and says that she cannot bear the idea of my being married from any house but hers, to the propriety of which I undoubtedly subscribe, and in such a moment should naturally cling to her – but I own I am desirous to defer my removal thither <till something is more decidedly arranged> though my being there would probably facilitate my earnest wish of seeing you on more intimate terms in that family. I am writing to you with perfect openness – and you must not blame <me> for it.
Mr Milllington’s Lecture was so interesting as to renew my regret that you could not hear it. He stated that the Course of Magnetic effects had never yet been discovered, but from the consideration of all the phenomena connected with the subject, it appeared probable it was not material – and also that the influence, whatever it was, and in whatever way it acted, did not pervade the substances affected, but was merely superficial. It possessed no weight. It had neither taste nor smell. It differed from Electricity in having no effect whatever on our senses and in being visible only in its agency. It appeared to be a current setting constantly in one direction, and a power of circulation seemed necessary to its permanency. In this manner Horse shoe Magnets must be made face to face, so as to form a circuit, the North end of one always touching the South of the other; and a conductor is necessary to preserve the strength of compound Magnets. In the same manner as soon as two bar Magnets are brought together, end to end, the whole becomes but one Magnet. The Magnetic influence seems capable of permeating all things, and acting through all things, being affected by nothing but distance; and the great difficulty of experiments on this subject arises from the impossibility of insulation, hardened steel appearing to be the only Non Conductor known, and even that but an imperfect one. Iron itself is evidently a Conductor, though it arrests its passage sufficiently to make its exist[ence] visible. But for these two substances we might have remained i[?gnorant] of such an influence. It is probable however that the number of [?Magnetic] bodies is much greater than has been supposed; even as Amber was [...] thought to be the only electric substance, and bestowed its name upon the Science, whereas it is now found that Electricity pervades all things. We are not yet prepared to say the same of Magnetism, but the circle of its power has lately been much extended among the Metals. When Mr Stephen Clay of the Charter House, made his great electrical discovery of conductors and non conductors, the conductors shewing no signs of spontaneous electricity were called non electrics – so has it been with Magnetism. A feather suspended by a flaxen thread becomes permanently attracted by an electric body, but if by a silken thread it is first attracted then repelled; the flax being a conductor carries off the electricity and returns it to the earth whereas the silk producing insulation the feather itself <acquires> an electric power. In electricity and Magnetism the attraction alike exists only between dissimilar powers, but in one the effect is momentary, in the other permanent. If two bars of soft iron be suspended perpendicularly over each other, the needle is repelled by the lower end of each, and attracted by the upper, but when they touch they form but one magnet. (Mr Millington here shewed some analogy between this experiment which was a new one of his own, and that of electrifying two cylinders end to end, but I cannot recall his reasoning so clearly as I could wish, & therefore will not send <what may be> wrong.) A horseshoe Magnet with a Conductor attached to it uniting the poles, seems for the time to have lost its power because the circulation is complete; thus if the two conductors of the electrical machine be connected by a chain, all electrical effects cease.
In the like manner the Leyden Jar exhibits no effect till the communication be made, and it matters not whether it be the inside or outside coating of the Jar which is charged. Had we any substance capable of insulating Magnetism as Glass does Electricity our knowledge of the Science would advance rapidly. Hardened steel is the nearest approach to a non conductor, then the natural Loadstone, iron, and Nickel – As in Electricity, the opposite powers are invariably produced at the same time – and also a narrow surface concentrates the power of a conductor, thus a broad bar may be easily removed from a strong compound Magnet, but it requires considerable force to separate a wire. Both in magnetism and Electricity, points and angles seem to have a particular power of carrying off the influence - The Chief
Not having space to finish my Lecture the next letter must be a Supplement – I hope you will be able to comprehend me, but in the wish to condense I have almost confused myself- Pray write soon to
yours sincerely and affectionately
Eleanor Anne Porden.
Captain Franklin, R.N.
17 JU 1823