Monday, 21 February 2011

Johnson and Priestley

The fact that Joseph Johnson is featured on Wikipedia today prompts me to post a snippet that reflects Joseph Priestley’s optimism – sometimes verging on Dr Pangloss’s best of all possible worlds. Even the fire at Johnson’s works (see Wikipedia article) is turned into a benefit. In the later editions of his Description of a Chart of Biography, Priestley remarks:
“The plates in which the first copy of this chart was engraved having been melted down, in the fire at Mr. Johnson’s, A.D. 1769, it is now re-engraved, with considerable improvements ; and particularly, care has been taken to mark the terminations of the lines from the dates, upon the plate itself, without any intervening drawing ; by which means it is now much more accurately finished, than it was possible to do it, in the manner in which it was first done.”