Saturday: Hili Dialogue

August 1, 2015 • 7:51 am

Good morning!

Today is the day that oxygen was discovered by Englishman Joseph Priestley in 1774 (or “dephlogisticated air” as he liked to call it)  and is also notable for the day that the First World War started.

We would have probably liked Priestly around here, a man who could call Ben Franklin and Thomas Jefferson friend, liberal, scientist and educator. He eventually fled to America after the Priestly Riots – he was the target, not the instigator – where he remained for the rest of his life.


Hmm. Hili has been up to something. What happened to the old mouse?

Hili: Lend me 50 złoty, please.
Cyrus: What for?
Hili: I have to buy a new mouse for the computer.



In Polish:

Hili: Pożycz 50 złotych.
Cyrus: Na co?
Hili: Muszę kupić nową mysz do komputera.

12 thoughts on “Saturday: Hili Dialogue

  1. “Today is the day that oxygen was discovered by Englishman Joseph Priestley in 1774”

    Up until then, people had a hard time holding their breaths.

  2. Barbara Tuchman’s – The Guns of August is always a pretty fine book about a very bad period.

  3. The Priestley Riots intrigue me. Wikipedia: “Priestley attempted to combine theism, materialism, and determinism, a project that has been called “audacious and original”.”
    Looks like he was an original accommodationist. It appears he was a Unitarian Christian.

    1. Priestley was definitely a Unitarian in the understanding of the time. He was at least as well known for his theology as his science. Being a Unitarian in England was illegal (at least if you had been a baptized Christian) until 1813 (Unitarian Relief Act) though Unitarian meetings certainly existed and the riots were in part by those against removing the strictures on dissenters (not just Unitarians) from the Church of England. I did some looking up and got sidetracked into an 1891 book:

      Scientific Correspondence of Joseph Priestley: Ninety-seven Letters Addressed to Josiah Wedgwood, Sir Joseph Banks, Capt. James Keir, James Watt, Dr. William Withering, Dr. Benjamin Rush, and Others

      which is online. Page 108 is the start of the letters post-riot.

      1. I had only known of Priestley for his science. This sounds like a very interesting subject to explore. I’m sure there are parallels to the contemporary situation.

        1. You might find of interest; it an online archive of several of the US founding fathers online. Search for Priestley and/or unitarian.

          Many British unitarians were early against the slave trade and slavery and Priestley was one of them. However because they could not be in Parliament the public face was usually Anglican (albeit with wealthy Quakers and Unitarians often funding the effort). BTW Charles Darwin’s mother was also a unitarian as was his wife (though she attended an Anglican church).

          1. All interesting. From a letter from Franklin, it seems he did many experiments on electricity. In some of those he electrocuted animals of different sizes. No ethics board at the time.

            1. You think he should have vivisected the Ethics Board?
              Some people would not disagree with that idea.

  4. Bilingual animals!
    I know a little dog named Cashew who understands English and Farsi. Damn! I studied French for 5 yrs and can not understand conversational French

  5. World War I didn’t start on August 1, 1914. It started on July 28, 1914, when Austro-Hungary declared war on Serbia, setting off a process of mobilisations and ultimata of the Great Powers. If a definite date is wanted, then it should be August 3 or 4, when Germany invaded Luxemborg and Belgium.

Leave a Reply