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Title: Extract of a Letter from Philadelphia.
CollectionIrish Emigration Database
Sender Genderunknown
Sender Occupationunknown
Sender Religionunknown
OriginPhiladelphia, Penn., USA
Recipient Genderunknown
Relationshipre living in the USA
SourceThe Belfast Mercury, 27th April 1784.
ArchiveThe Linenhall Library, Belfast.
Doc. No.9407189
Partial Date
Doc. TypeEMG
LogDocument added by LT, 06:06:1994
Word Count656
TranscriptExtract of a Letter from Philadelphia, March 2 1784.
"Our winter which commenced all of a sudden,
early in December, and one of the severest
that has happened for a long time past, is yet in
its rigour; in the autumn I was greatly alarmed
about its approach - I was made to believe that
it would be insupportable for us green Irishmen, as
they call us, but I find that cold is much easier to
bear than heat - I have now has a rial of both
and both in their extremes. The river Delaware
which is about an English mile broad opposite
Philadelphia was completely froze over in two
nights time, and now it is a common highway
for the people of Jersey and Pennsylvania to pass
and repass - waggons, teams, sleds and sleighs all
pass, with the greatest safety. - I myself, out of
curiosity, went over to Jersey on the ice.
"You must know that I turned experimental
philosopher the other day; but I made little by
it, except satisfying a foolish curiosity. The
Negro [man?] that had been at he pump for a bucket
of water, said that his hand stuck to the
pump - handle [an iron one] as soon as he had laid
hold of it, which circumstance I thought impossible;
but to be convinced I made the experiment,
and found it to have just as instantaneous
an effect as red hot iron would have had, and the
effect it produces on the flesh scarcely to be discriminated
from a burn, both in appearance and reality. -
But this was not all, they further assured me
that my tongue would stick to any iron or
metal that was in the air - I tried this also on
the handle of the door, but I had better have let
it alone; for altho [although?] I did it as quick as possible,
I lost about the breadth of a sixpence of the skin,
and for aught I know, if I had let it remain but
about a quarter of a minute longer I might have
lost a piece of my tongue.
"On the 22d [22nd?] past we had preparations made
for great exhibitions, fireworks, &c. in consequence
of the Definitive Treaty between the
United States and Great Britain, which I assure
you would have been elegant, but for an
accident which unluckily stopt [stopped?] the proceeding -
Just as they were lighting the lamps that were
placed behind the paintings, one of them being
too close, te blaze caught the paintings, and
instantly the whole were in flames; all the assistance
that could be given was ineffectual, the
whole preparations were reduced to ashes in a
few minutes - Near the fire there was a large
quantity of rockets and different sorts of fireworks,
in the hurry and confusion the flames communicated
to them, and the whole went off in different
directions, among the greatest concourse of
people I ever saw: there were five men killed,
and great numbers wounded. Such a scene I
believe never was exhibited as the situation of
the croud; [crowd?] some lost their hats, shoes, caps,
boots, bonnets, petticoats, and a number of
ladies the very stockings off their legs; some
women lost the children out of their arms who
were trod to pieces. - From the account you can
form some little idea of the scene. - Inclosed you
have a sketch of the triumphal arch and its ornaments,
& c. [the particulars in a future paper.]


"The Congress, who left this for Princetown,
and then abdicated Princetown for Annapolis
and comig back to Philadelphia in the
spring; tis unknown where they will fix their
residence at last.
The brig Liberty from Dublin with passengers,
is lost in the Chesapeaux, and 30 of the
people perished; the others to the amount of
100 are saved.


"The Three Brothers and Independence will
sail for Belfast as soon as the river is clear."